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One-hit wonders

Steven Lynch August 16, 2012
Fernando Alonso is one race away from matching Michael Schumacher's record for consecutive points finishes © Press Association

Fernando Alonso has finished in the points in every race this season so far. Is this a record? asked John Temple from Wales

That particular feat isn't yet a record, as Michael Schumacher scored points in all 17 races in 2002. In fact Michael finished on the podium in every race that year, his worst position being third in Malaysia, to go with 11 wins and five second places. You won't be entirely surprised to learn that Schumacher won the title that year, with 144 points: his Ferrari team-mate Rubens Barrichello was second on 77. However, Alonso is close to the record for the most successive points finishes all told: the recent Hungarian GP was the 23rd race in a row in which he had scored points. The record to beat is 24, by Schumacher between 2001 and 2003.

What's the best position by a driver who had just one F1 race? asked Derek Mackay from North Shields

The answer to this intriguing question is that the Italian Teodoro "Dorino" Serafini finished second in his one and only Grand Prix, at Monza in 1950. Serafini, who was better known as a motorcyclist, drove the first 47 of the race's 80 laps, but then had to hand his Ferrari over to team leader Alberto Ascari, whose own car had hit mechanical trouble. Ascari completed the last 33 laps, and ended up behind the Alfa-Romeo of Nino Farina, whose victory confirmed him as the inaugural F1 world champion. Ascari and Serafini shared the six points for the runners-up spot. Two other drivers have scored points in their only GP: Britain's Eric Thompson - later a bookdealer specialising in motor sport - finished fifth in the 1952 British GP in a Connaught, while Oscar Galvez of Argentina also finished fifth in his home Grand Prix in 1953. The circuit in Buenos Aires was later named after him.

Did anyone except Graham Hill ever win a Grand Prix in a BRM? asked George Mayfield from Manchester

BRM (which stood for British Racing Motors) won 17 GPs between 1959 and 1972. The first man to win a Grand Prix in one was actually Jo Bonnier, the popular Swedish driver, in the 1959 Dutch GP. Graham Hill won ten races in a BRM, including four in 1962, the first year he won the drivers' championship. Jackie Stewart started his F1 career with BRM in 1965, and won two races for them, then four drivers each won once for the team: Pedro Rodriguez (Belgium 1970), Jo Siffert (Austria 1971), Peter Gethin (Italy 1971), and Jean-Pierre Beltoise (Monaco 1972). The team faded after that, running short of funds, and raced in F1 for the last time in 1977.

Ayrton Senna famously said in 1993: "If you think I'm good, wait until you see my nephew Bruno." © Williams

What relation exactly is Bruno Senna to Ayrton? asked Mark Smith from Sussex

Bruno is Ayrton Senna's nephew - his mother, Viviane Senna Lalli, is Ayrton's older sister. Bruno was a talented youngster, often dicing with his uncle on the go-kart track Ayrton had built at the family farm in Brazil. But when Bruno's father Flavio Lalli was killed in a motorcycle accident just two years after Ayrton's death at the 1994 San Marino GP, his mother made her 12-year-old son give up motor racing. Bruno kept away from the track until he was around 20, but then tried his hand again. He worked his way through the lower formulae, and after being linked with several F1 teams finally made it to the big league with Hispania (now HRT) in 2010. He replaced Nick Heidfeld at Lotus-Renault halfway through 2011, finishing ninth at Monza, and secured a Williams seat for 2012. He's had six points finishes so far this year, with a best placing of sixth in Malaysia, and currently lies 15th in the championship with 24 points.

Has any team ever won all the races in a single season? asked Orlando Murray from Norfolk

It happened twice in the very early days of the world championship, when there weren't so many races. In 1950, the inaugural year of the official world drivers' title, all six GPs were won by Alfa-Romeos (Nino Farina and Juan-Manuel Fangio three apiece), and two years later Ferrari won all seven (Alberto Ascari six and Piero Taruffi one). This excludes the Indianapolis 500, which was officially part of the championship at the time but was usually ignored by the European-based teams. Probably the best sustained performance by any team, however, was achieved by McLaren in 1988, when they took the chequered flag in 15 of the season's 16 races - champion Ayrton Senna won eight and Alain Prost seven: the only interloper was Gerhard Berger, a popular winner of the Italian GP in a Ferrari after Prost ran into mechanical trouble and Senna ran into another car. Ferrari won 15 out of 17 (Michael Schumacher eleven and Rubens Barrichello four) in 2002.

My friend assures me that Damon Hill has won an Olympic medal of some sort. Is he joking? asked Mike Campbell from London

Well, Damon Hill did win a medal at the 2012 Olympics - but it wasn't the 1996 F1 world champion. Damon Hill was the name of one of the horses in the German dressage team, which won silver in the team event behind the British trio. "I don't know why he has that name," said his rider Helen Langehanenberg, "but the owners must love British sportsmen, because when he had a son they called it Daley Thompson."

If you want to ask Steven a question, use our feedback form. The most interesting questions will be answered here every other Friday. His long-running Ask Steven column on Cricinfo remains one of that site's most popular features

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If you want to ask Steven a question, use our feedback form. The most interesting questions will be answered here every other Friday. His long-running Ask Steven column on Cricinfo remains one of that site's most popular features Ask Steven features a number of experts, headed by Steven Lynch, who answer your questions across Formula One as well as a variety of other sports