Valtteri Bottas leads the championship for the first time, Lewis Hamilton breaks a 30 year old record and Honda score their first podium finish since 2008. Here are all the facts and statistics from the 2019 Australian Grand Prix weekend!
MERCEDES’ MELBOURNE MAGIC
Valtteri Bottas got his season off to the best possible start on Sunday with the fourth win of his career. With his first win at Albert Park, he became the thirteenth different driver to have won at the track since it began hosting the Australian Grand Prix in 1996. It was Bottas’ 31st podium finish and the tenth podium finish for a Finnish driver at the track – as well as the fourth win for a Finn here. Winning by 20.886 seconds, Bottas’ win margin was the third largest recorded at Albert Park.
Bottas set the fastest lap of the race for the eleventh time in his career. With a point awarded for fastest lap for the first time since the 1959 U.S. Grand Prix, Bottas leads the championship by eight points – the largest lead held by a driver in the championship after the first race of a Formula 1 season. It was the first time Bottas has set the fastest lap at the Australian Grand Prix.
This is the first time the Finn has led the championship and the first time someone other than Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel have led the title race since the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. It also marks the first time since the 2013 Australian Grand Prix that a driver other than Hamilton, Vettel or Nico Rosberg has led the Drivers’ Championship.
Bottas’ win was the 88th victory for Mercedes in F1. It’s the fourth win for the team at the track and the third time they’ve recorded a 1-2 finish in Melbourne. They’ve now taken ten podiums in total at the circuit.
Lewis Hamilton took his sixth consecutive Australian Grand Prix pole position on Saturday. It’s the eighth time he’s taken pole at the track, equalling the record for most pole positions at a circuit in F1 history. The record is now shared between Hamilton, Michael Schumacher – who took eight poles at Suzuka – and Ayrton Senna – who took eight poles at Imola. It was the tenth pole for a British driver at the Albert Park circuit.
With their sixth pole at Albert Park, Mercedes have now taken more poles at the track than any other team. A Mercedes-powered car has now taken a pole position in seventeen consecutive seasons, equalling Ford Cosworth’s record.
Lewis Hamilton failed to win from pole position for the 37th time in his career. He’s now taken pole and failed to go on to win the race on more occasions than any other driver, beating Ayrton Senna’s previous record. Senna has held the record since he took it from Nelson Piquet at the 1989 Brazilian Grand Prix, almost exactly 30 years ago.
Finishing as runner-up for the fourth consecutive time in Australia, Lewis Hamilton took the 135th podium finish of his career. He extends the record for the most podiums at Albert Park to nine. It was the 20th podium finish for a British driver at the circuit.
Lewis Hamilton took pole by 0.112 seconds, making it the smallest pole margin since 2004.
Valtteri Bottas, Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly and Antonio Giovinazzi all recorded their best Albert Park qualifying performances, while Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen equalled their best qualifying performances at the track. Robert Kubica and Carlos Sainz recorded their worst qualifying positions at the circuit, both ending their records of reaching Q3 on every appearance in Australia. It means that Lando Norris is now the only current driver to have recorded a top ten qualifying position on every appearance at Albert Park.
Lando Norris out-qualified his team-mate on debut for McLaren, and recorded the team’s first Q3 appearance since the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix weekend. It’s also the first time McLaren have appeared in the final part of qualifying here since 2014.
An overly optimistic decision by Red Bull saw Pierre Gasly eliminated in Q1 on Saturday. It’s Red Bull’s first elimination in Q1 since the 2018 Monaco Grand Prix, and their third Q1 exit at Albert Park.
Both Alfa Romeo and Toro Rosso’s best potential lap times in qualifying were over two seconds faster in 2019 than at the circuit in 2018, while Williams were almost two tenths of a second slower than last year.
Detailed Australian Grand Prix Qualifying Analysis can be found here!
Haas recorded their first double Q3 appearance since the 2018 Russian Grand Prix, while Williams recorded their first ever double Q1 exit in Australia. Meanwhile, Racing Point (Force India) reached Q3 for the first time in Melbourne since 2014, but also recorded their first Q1 exit at the track since 2009.
Alfa Romeo, formerly the Sauber team, recorded their first appearance in Q3 at the Australian Grand Prix since 2011. With Antonio Giovinazzi reaching Q2, it was the first time neither of the team’s drivers was eliminated in Q1 here since 2012.
Max Verstappen took his 23rd Formula 1 podium by finishing third, equalling the podium tallies of James Hunt, Michele Alboreto and Jacques Villeneuve. It’s also the sixth consecutive podium finish for the Dutch driver, having finished in the top three at every race since the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix. It marks the first time Verstappen has finished in a position higher than where he started at the Albert Park circuit, and the first time a driver starting outside of the top three at the track has finished on the podium at the track since 2015. As Verstappen became the 25th different driver to finish in the top three here, the Netherlands becomes the twelfth different country to appear on the podium at the track.
Red Bull scored their first podium finish at the Australian Grand Prix since the 2013 event – not counting Daniel Ricciardo’s 2014 top three finish, from which he was later disqualified. On their first race with their new engine partner, Red Bull recorded the first podium finish for a Honda-powered car in the hybrid era, and the manufacturer’s first since the 2008 British Grand Prix.
The 2019 Australian Grand Prix is the first time Bottas, Hamilton and Verstappen have finished on the podium together since the 2018 Japanese Grand Prix. They have never finished in that order before.
This is the first season-opening Grand Prix since 2014 which neither Lewis Hamilton or Sebastian Vettel have led a lap of. Valtteri Bottas led all but two of today’s laps, with Max Verstappen leading two laps after the Finn pitted.
There were fourteen overtakes in the Grand Prix, one less than there was in the 2018 Australian Grand Prix.
Seventeen cars crossed the finish line in the race – the most since 2013. Carlos Sainz recorded his first non-finish at the track, ending his 100% points-scoring record here. Daniel Ricciardo recorded his third retirement at his home event, while Romain Grosjean recorded a third consecutive DNF at Albert Park – his fifth retirement at the track in six years. Grosjean’s retirement marked the third consecutive year that the driver starting sixth in Melbourne has failed to finish the race.
Nico Hulkenberg has finished four of the last five Australian Grands Prix in seventh place.
Sergio Perez finished thirteenth in the race, marking the first time that the driver starting tenth in the Australian Grand Prix has failed to score since 2010.
The 2019 Australian Grand Prix is the first time Sebastian Vettel has finished the event in a position lower than where he started it since 2013. It’s the first race at Albert Park which no Ferrari driver has appeared on the podium at since 2014.
In the 300th race to feature a Canadian driver, Lance Stroll scored for the first time at the Australian Grand Prix. Stroll was the driver who gained the most positions in the race, climbing seven places to finish ninth.
Kevin Magnussen scored for the first time at the Australian Grand Prix since he took a podium finish on debut at the track. It marked only the second time a Haas car has crossed the finish line at the circuit, with the Dane’s sixth place equalling the team’s best finish.
McLaren failed to score at the Australian Grand Prix for the fourth time in the last five seasons, while Williams left Albert Park without a point for the second consecutive year. All of the other eight teams picked up points, with Alfa Romeo (formerly Sauber) picking up points for the first time at the circuit since 2015. It was also the first time since 2015 that neither of the team’s drivers have retired from the event.
Robert Kubica finished in seventeenth position for the first time in his career. Other than races where he’s retired, the Polish driver has only finished lower than that in two Grands Prix – both eighteenth places in the 2007 Malaysia and 2009 Bahrain Grands Prix.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations and Motorsport Guides. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.