2019 F1 Season: King of overtakes? Part 1

Recently this infographic came out from the official Formula 1 Twitter account. I decided to take a look at how they got their data, and maybe try to get some interesting stats too. This was a difficult analysis, so it will be divided in 2 (or more) parts. Let’s take a look at the numbers.

Positions gained from races 1 to 12

I honestly could not figure out how they got their data. I think they actually made a mistake when getting the numbers. As you can see, my numbers are extremely similar, but not exactly the same. Positions 2 to 5  have the same number of positions gained as the original infographic, but position 1 (Stroll), is different. I double and triple checked my numbers, so I really think that they messed it up this time.

Just for extra information (this will pretty handy soon), I added the average starting position on the right side of the chart. Keep it in mind, it will be useful, I promise.

The numbers were calculated just by:

  1. Removing the races where a particular driver retired. For example, Stroll retired in Spain, so that race was not taken into consideration for the analysis.
  2. Getting the result of the starting position from each race and subtracting the finishing position from that race. Stroll started in 15th place in Germany, finished in 4th position. The result was 15-4 = 11 positions gained.
  3. Adding all the previous results for all the races of the season. In Stroll’s case, 11 races after removing Spain.

 

What does it mean?

That is the fun part. Do you guys do not find strange that Robert Kubica and George Russell are in the top 5 places in the previous chart? Retirements play a big role in the number of positions gained. Say whatever you want about Williams’ slow pace, but their reliability has been great. Let’s take a look at the number of positions gained by retirements.

Positions gained by retirements ahead

The result is as expected. Williams is the team that has benefited the most from retirements ahead. In case you are wondering, yes, this analysis takes into consideration whether or not a driver actually benefited from a retirement or not. This was calculated lap by lap for every single Grand Prix of the season so far.

If you are wondering why does Kubica has more positions gained from retirements that positions gained in the first chart (29 by retirements vs 22 in total), well, it is because the first chart is a subtraction. As explained, the first chart, takes all the positions gained and removes the positions lost. The second one, only takes all the positions gained by retirement into consideration.

Positions gained minus retirements ahead

We get a much different picture now. Yes, Stroll is still ahead, but Kubica is completely out of the picture, and Russell barely makes the top 10 in this category. Sergio Perez climbs to 3rd place, while Carlos Sainz moves up to the 4th position. Max Verstappen now also enters the chart, with 6 positions gained after removing the retirements.

This is still not good enough though. It gives us a more accurate representation of positions gained minus positions lost, but is that what we really want to know? If we want to know who has been good at making up positions and keeping them, then this is quite good. If we want to know who has been good just at making up positoins, then we may need another chart.

Final remarks (final for now I guess)

Positions gained by drivers retiring ahead play a big role when analyzing our data. As you can see, the picture changes quite a bit after removing those are those positions. Are those positions not valid then? Yes they are, but they represent more the reliability of a certain car, instead of actual ability to overtake.

Have you thought about why drivers that start from mid table to the back of the grid gain more positions? We will explore that data in the next post.

I hope that you have enjoyed this article. If you did, please share it with your friends and let me know what you think in the comments below.

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