• Ask Steven

Lightning strikes twice

Steven Lynch May 24, 2013

Our resident expert - Steven Lynch - is back to answer more of your questions including repeat podiums and the most races won consecutively by one team

The Bahrain Grand Prix saw a carbon copy of the podium from the previous year © Sutton Images

The podium at this year's Bahrain GP was exactly the same as 2012's - has this ever happened before? asked Chris Kelland

Sebastian Vettel won this year's Bahrain GP, with Kimi Raikkonen second and Romain Grosjean third, which exactly replicated last year's podium result at Sakhir. This turns out to be only the third case of a repeat 1-2-3 at a world championship Grand Prix: the first was at Silverstone in 1965, when Jim Clark led home his fellow Britons Graham Hill and John Surtees, just as he had done in 1964 when the British GP was held at Brands Hatch. Remarkably, the same trio had been on the podium at Silverstone in 1963 as well, although that time Surtees just pipped Hill for second place. The only other instance was at the Spanish GP in 1999, when Mika Hakkinen won in Barcelona ahead of David Coulthard and Michael Schumacher, just as he had the year before.

What is the worst season any F1 driver has ever had? Has anyone ever retired from every race? asked Nicky Bentall

It's quite rare these days to see more than the occasional mechanical failure, but the cars were much more fragile in years gone by - and in 1987 the Italian Andrea de Cesaris ended up with the unenviable record of failing to finish all 16 GPs. The records do show him ending up eighth in that year's Australian GP, but actually he spun off with four laps remaining, while his third place at the Belgian GP was slightly tarnished when his Brabham ran out of fuel on the last lap and he again failed to cross the line. This was part of a record run of 22 successive DNFs for de Cesaris, who actually failed to finish 148 of his 208 GPs.

Who has finished second most often in GPs without ever winning one? asked John Canning

The reluctant leader of this nearly-man list is the German driver Nick Heidfeld, who was runner-up in no fewer than eight GPs without ever quite making it to the top step of the podium. That included consecutive second places for Williams at Monaco and the Nurburgring (European GP) in 2005. Next come Stefan Johansson (four second places, no wins) and Chris Amon (three). Jean Alesi finished second 16 times and only won once.

McLaren was dominant in 1988 © Sutton Images

I saw that Ferraris won ten successive races in 2002 - was this an F1 record? asked James Barron

After David Coulthard won the 2002 Monaco GP in a McLaren, Ferrari monopolised the last ten races of the season, with Michael Schumacher winning six of them and Rubens Barrichello four. Ferrari's successful sequence was ended when Coulthard won the first race of 2003, in Australia. However, that was not quite the longest run of success for a constructor: McLarens had won the first 11 races in 1988 - Ayrton Senna winning seven and Alain Prost four - before Gerhard Berger led home a popular Ferrari 1-2 in the Italian GP at Monza. McLaren won 15 of that season's 16 GPs.

So far there have been no sightings of the safety car this season. But which race saw it appear most often? asked Jamie Boyce

The most separate appearances by the safety car is six, at the rain-affected Canadian GP of 2011. That race actually started in the rain behind the safety car, which briefly disappeared before a collision between McLaren team-mates Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton brought it out again. The race was later suspended after heavy rain returned, and later restarted behind the safety car, which made three more appearances before Button finally emerged successful from a race which lasted more than four hours in all, including a rain-break of around two hours. Button, who made six visits to the pits (including one for a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane), overtook Sebastian Vettel on the last lap to take the chequered flag.

Is it true that Charles Pic holds the record for being overtaken most often in a season? asked Charles Maynard

Apparently it is: the persevering Charles Pic's Marussia was reportedly passed no fewer than 70 times during 2012 (his team-mate Timo Glock was "only" passed 64 times). The previous record, according to Finland's Turun Sanomat newspaper, was held by the Brazilian Stefano Modena, whose Brabham was overtaken 68 times during the 1989 season. I assume this is counting passes for position, rather than being lapped.