Verstappen’s 80-point swing against Leclerc in five races fires him into title lead

2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix stats and facts

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Charles Leclerc’s head must be spinning at the speed with which his championship fortunes have reversed in the space of just seven weeks.

Arriving in Imola he led the drivers’ championship by 34 points. Max Verstappen, clearly the Ferrari driver’s most serious threat, languished in sixth place, 46 points behind him.

Since then Verstappen has gone on a tear, winning four out of five grands prix and adding a sprint race victory to boot. He’s dropped just 12 points from an available 138.

Meanwhile Leclerc has retired twice due to car trouble and saw his Ferrari team squander more points in Monaco. He’s sunk to third in the championship, 34 points behind his rival. Verstappen has achieved an 80-point swing against him in just five races – an average of 16 points per race.

Two other statistics ram home just how badly things have gone for Leclerc. He is now just 17 points ahead of George Russell, who is working wonders with an uncompetitive Mercedes. Not only is he the only driver to have scored points in every race, he’s never placed outside the top five.

George Russell, Mercedes, Baku City Circuit, 2022
Consistent Russell is just 17 points behind Leclerc
Most depressing for Leclerc, he has now started four consecutive races from pole position without winning any of them. The last driver to do that was Juan Pablo Montoya, who won none of the five races he started from pole position consecutively in 2002. Montoya chalked up seven poles that year without a single win.

Of course none of this has done any favours for Leclerc’s pole-to-win ratio, which was already the second-lowest of any driver.

In the sixth running of this race – held five times as the Azerbaijan Grand Prix and once as the ‘European’ – it has still never been won by the same driver more than once. But while Verstappen is the sixth different driver to win, Red Bull and Mercedes remain the only teams to take victories at the Baku City Circuit.

Verstappen claimed his 25th career win, giving him as many victories as Jim Clark and Niki Lauda. The Red Bull driver has started 149 races which is fewer than Lauda (171) but more than twice as many as Clark (73).

“We do more races a year,” Verstappen pointed out when told of his record after Sunday’s race. “So if you have a good car – it’s not really comparable, but it’s nice for the books.”

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His victory was the 81st for Red Bull, giving them as many victories as Lotus (including their 2010-2015 incarnations), meaning the two teams are tied for fifth place on the all-time list of race-winning constructors. The next target is Williams on 114. Their last victory came a decade ago, in the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix, at which time Red Bull had won just 28 races.

Red Bull are poised to pass Lotus’s wins tally
Sergio Perez claimed the fastest lap, beating his team mate by a mere four-thousandths of a second. That was his eighth, giving him as many as James Hunt, Ralf Schumacher, Jenson Button and the driver this weekend’s venue is named after: Gilles Villeneuve.

The drivers in fifth and sixth places, Pierre Gasly and Sebastian Vettel, claimed the best results of the season for themselves and their teams (AlphaTauri and Aston Martin respectively) to date this year.

Ferrari’s customer teams also had a tough day in Baku. For the first time this year there were no Ferrari-powered cars among the points scorers.

Finally, Fernando Alonso reached a milestone as he surpassed Michael Schumacher – the man he beat to win his second world championship in 2006 – to become the F1 driver with the longest-running career.

Tarso Marques, Fernando Alonso, Minardi, Melbourne, 2001
Alonso on his 2001 debut with team mate Tarso Marques
Alonso made his debut at the 2001 Australian Grand Prix for Minardi. After sitting out the 2002 season he returned the following year and raced until the end of 2018. He took two years out before returning with Alpine last year.

Schumacher’s F1 career started mid-season in 1991 at the Belgian Grand Prix. He missed part of the 1999 season due to injury and retired after that 2006 title fight with Alonso. But he came back after three years away for a final, three-year stint.

As of Sunday’s race, Alonso’s career has spanned 7,770 days, seven more than Schumacher’s. Alonso is due to surpass Kimi Raikkonen as the most experienced F1 driver in terms of race starts at the Italian Grand Prix in September.

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Have you spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the Azerbaijan Grand Prix? Share them in the comments.

2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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19 comments on “Verstappen’s 80-point swing against Leclerc in five races fires him into title lead”

  1. & Leclerc, with 15 poles & 4 wins, now holds the record for most poles with the fewest wins in F1 history, a 26.6 % win conversion rate.

    He sits 22nd on the all-time list for pole positions, one shy of Felipe Massa and Stirling Moss, both at 16.

    A funnier & perhaps slightly ruthless stat is that Max has won more races from Leclerc’s poles than Leclerc from his poles.

    Ferrari’s first double-DNF since the 2020 Italian GP & first reliability-related double since the 2009 season-opening Australian GP.

    The first time RBR drivers have sat first and second in the WDC standings since the post-2011 Belgian GP gap, i.e., that season’s Spa-Monza interval (race days 28.8 & 11.9).

    Stroll’s second consecutive Baku DNF.

    1. So far 2022 is then relative a great year for Leclerc, 6 poles and 2 wins is a 33.3% win conversion rate, before the start of 2022 he was 9 poles and 2 wins = 22%

      Max obviously improved his conversion rate with 5 wins and 1 pole = 500% bringing his career up to 179% (25/14) from before the start of 2022 being 154% (20/13).

      Top 10 highest conversion rates for drivers having minimal 3 poles and 3 wins: (without Dennis Hulme has best with 800% being 8 wins and 1 pole)
      1) Scheckter 333% 10 wins from 3 poles
      2) Riccardio 267% 8 wins from 3 poles
      3) Fittipaldi 233% 14 wins from 6 poles
      4) Reutemann 200% 12 wins from 6 poles
      4) Jones 200% 12 wins from 6 poles
      4) Brooks 200% 6 wins from 3 poles
      7) Button 188% 15 wins from 8 poles
      8) Verstappen 179% 25 wins from 14 poles
      9) Stewart 159% 27 wins from 17 poles
      10) Prost 155% 51 wins from 33 poles

      1. I don’t think we should obsess over statistics that much (I’m not criticizing anyone, it just crossed my mind). Stats are kinda worthless without context anyway. Here that is the case for sure, since Leclerc didn’t even start one of those races, and in the rest he mostly lost positions due to car issues or team strategy. Looking at the stats someone could think he’s a nervous young talent who’s unable to convert his pace into race wins, and we know he’s actually mentally stable and pretty consistent. Yes, we all know that, but I imagine the context will be lost with the passage of time (like I have no idea about most Stewart’s or Brooks’ races).

        1. The %age in this stat makes 0 sense, as you can’t win more than 100% of races.
          It seems a flawed mathematical way of suggesting some people win more races than they start on pole. Conversation rate only really works as wins taken specially from pole starts. You can’t mix the two scenarios as it loses all context.

    2. Jockey Ewing
      15th June 2022, 15:17

      Is Max the first driver who has more wins (25) than age in years (24)? Although most likely there is no such officially redorded stat like that. Maybe because as age grows year by year, it is only valid at some point :) Although the youngest winner, youngest champion stats are recorded.

      Thats not small, although his early debut, and the fairly good car, many races/season contributes to it, and makes it hard to compare with drivers of former eras of course.

      1. What are you smoking?

        Lewis, Sebastian, Senna and a few others have more wins than their age in numbers.
        But it is the most useless and uninteresting thing someone could bring up.

        1. Jockey Ewing
          15th June 2022, 22:32

          Maybe I was tired :)

      2. Well he might have looked like it getting out of his car but last I checked Lewis is not 103 years old, nor is Vettel 53.

        1. Jockey Ewing
          15th June 2022, 22:42

          👍

      3. It is an interesting stat. Yes, Max is the youngest on this stat.
        Vettel at 2012,aged 25, became 26 times winner.
        Senna at 1991, aged 31, scored No32 win.
        Lewis at 2014,aged 29, scored 30.
        Prost 1989,aged 34, scored no35 win.
        Schumacher 1998,aged 29, scored no 30.
        Alonso 2013 scored No32 win at 32 years aged..

        1. Jockey Ewing
          15th June 2022, 22:41

          Yes, I thought of this kind of stat, but I have not expressed myself well or clearly.
          So “the youngest driver, who has more wins, than his/her age in years”, or “age when the number of wins exceeds the age in years” :)

  2. I almost can’t believe this 80 point swing.. wow. Has this ever even happened before between two rivals in such a short amount of races?

    Red bull is also looking like the better race car atm

    1. It’s not easy due to different scoring systems and addition of sprint races, but the 1976 season saw a similar points swing. Of course that needed big misfortune for Lauda.

  3. “Meanwhile Leclerc has retired twice due to car trouble and saw his Ferrari team squander more points in Monaco.”

    Leclerc has lost points due to his team but also due to himself by being outraced by Max in Miami and in both races on Imola and he did himself no favours spinning in Imola dropping an extra 10 points.

    Max and Leclerc both had 2 DNF (both mechanical) yet Max is 34 points ahead due to Leclerc’s 4th in Monaco and 6th in Imola. The 6 races that Max did finish he had 6 podiums and 5 wins.

  4. RBR is easily the best car this year performance-wise. Ferrari needs to go far closer to the limit, to be able to compete. And thats when they sometimes step over.

    Max has easy crusing wins currently, cause no other team can really challenge the RBR car currently.

    1. Would disagree, Ferrari is clearly the fastest car and has been all year as demonstrated in qualifying. The Ferrari it is sadly wasted in the hands of Sainz and Gremlins are working overtime to ensure Leclerc’s car doesn’t see the finish.

      1. @jelle-van-der-meer I think that needs nuance. The Ferrari is the faster car in qualifying, the Red Bull seems to edge it in race pace.

    2. Yesitsabobber (@)
      15th June 2022, 22:15

      Based on what? Did you drive both and compared them or are you just trolling like always? The Ferrari was quick in qualifying and the race but broke down. Based on what the Ferrari is driven more on the edge?

  5. It is an interesting stat. Yes, Max is the youngest on this stat.
    Vettel at 2012,aged 25, became 26 times winner.
    Senna at 1991, aged 31, scored No32 win.
    Lewis at 2014,aged 29, scored 30.
    Prost 1989,aged 34, scored no35 win.
    Schumacher 1998,aged 29, scored no 30.
    Alonso 2013 scored No32 win at 32 years aged..

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