• Ask Steven

The all-conquering Kiwi

Steven Lynch December 17, 2010
Bruce McLaren celebrates victory at Spa Francorchamps © Sutton Images

Was Bruce McLaren the first man to win a Grand Prix in a McLaren? And what about Jack Brabham in a Brabham? asked Shane Bryant from Altrincham

Bruce McLaren was indeed the first man to win a world championship grand prix in a McLaren: after two relatively unsuccessful years for his fledgling team he won the Belgian GP at Spa in June 1968. Actually that was the only GP Bruce ever won in a McLaren - he was killed in testing early in 1970 - although his team-mate Denny Hulme won two more in 1968. But it's a different story with Brabham: although Jack won the world championship in his own car in 1966, the team's first GP wins came in the hands of the American Dan Gurney in 1964 - he won the French and Mexican GPs that year.

Who has won more races overall, Ferrari or McLaren? asked Tim Jackson from Reading

By the end of 2010 Ferrari had won 215 Grands Prix, and McLaren 169. The only other manufacturer with more than 100 GP wins is Williams, with 113 (Lotus are next with 79). It should be borne in mind that Ferrari has been there from the beginning of the world championship, in 1950, while McLaren only started in 1966 (see above). Overall Ferrari has won 26.47% of their 812 GPs, and McLaren 24.70% of their 684.

We had a Korean GP for the first time in 2010. Are there any new races lined up for 2011? asked Derek Bird from Plymouth

There's one new one on the 2011 schedule, which for the first time amounts to 20 races. The new race, slated for October 30, is on a new circuit at Noida, about 30 miles outside Delhi. Those who watched the build-up to the recent Commonwealth Games in Delhi will not be overly surprised to learn that the new circuit is not yet finished. But I wonder if the first winner of the Indian GP will be driving a Force India car?

There were three British 1-2s during 2010, featuring Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton. Has there ever been a British clean sweep of the podium? asked Gary Meadows from Newcastle

The last British 1-2-3 in a world championship Grand Prix was in 1968, when Jackie Stewart led home Graham Hill and John Surtees - world champions all - at the United States GP at Watkins Glen. There were six other all-British podiums in the 1960s, most of them featuring Hill and Jim Clark, and three in 1958, all including Mike Hawthorn, that year's champion. The last podium lockout for any country was in 1982, when the first three home in the French GP were, appropriately enough, French: Rene Arnoux, Alain Prost and Didier Pironi (Patrick Tambay, another Frenchman, was fourth).

It seems that the man leading the world championship into the final round - like Fernando Alonso this year - rarely wins it. When is the last time that the man leading the standings at the start of the last race actually won the title? asked Joe Stayt from Bristol

Sorry to ruin a good story, but the man leading the championship into the last race had won the title in each of the previous two years - Jenson Button in 2009 and Lewis Hamilton in 2008. It's true that Kimi Raikkonen came from behind to win in 2007, but in each of the previous two years to that Fernando Alonso was ahead and stayed there. Button had already secured the title, though, and Alonso in 2006 only needed one point to ensure his. I think it's more accurate to say that when the championship is in the balance recent history hasn't favoured the man leading the way (with the exception of Hamilton's last-gasp win in '08).

The under-rated Nico Hulkenberg took pole position at the Brazilian GP just one race before getting the boot from Williams. Who was the last Williams driver to claim pole? asked Spencer Freedman from London

The last Williams pole-sitter before Nico Hulkenberg in the penultimate race of 2010 was exactly 100 races before - at the 2005 European GP at the Nurburgring. The fastest man in qualifying there was another German, Nick Heidfeld. He ran strongly in the race, but ended up being pipped by Fernando Alonso in a Renault. Heidfeld had also been the runner-up in the previous race, at Monaco, and has been second three times since - and he's still not won a race yet in 172 attempts. This was also his only pole to date.