The Magnificent Stories Behind Formula 1 Calendar’s Fastest Laps
It seems we are going to have a smashing season this year. The weekend, Monaco saw Sergio Perez making history after breaking the 3.31km circuit record, and this makes the 2nd time a lap record has been broken. But that’s just one of the lap records smashed during the season, what about other circuits in the calendar? Let’s look at who currently holds what record and when they set it.
Australia: Michael Schumacher in 2004 (1:24.125)
This year saw the onset of wider, faster machines, and many spectators believed the record would fall during this season. However, Michael Schumacher’s Albert Park benchmark proved too difficult to beat as Kimi Raikkonen only managed a few seconds slower than what Schumacher hit in his car in a race that was dominated by Ferrari.
China: Michael Schumacher in 2004 (1:32.238)
This was one of those races the legend would like to forget. Following a stream of mishaps, the German racer went on to set the fastest lap on his final tour after a late Tyre change. First, he began from the pit following a spin in the qualifying, had to change the engine, and then slammed into Klien right before he took a spin on his own. This is one of the three records Schumacher still holds from 2004.
Bahrain: Pedro de la Rosa in 2005 (1:31.447)
This is Pedro de la Rosa’s only fastest lap of his career that came almost by luck. The professional racer took the spot as a replacement for his teammate Juan Pablo who injured himself while playing a game of tennis on a motorcycle. The record was smashed in the last season when the 3L V10 was used, though it has been under threat from Lewis Hamilton who almost smashed it in this year’s season.
Russia: Kimi Raikkonen in 2017 (1:36.844)
Currently holding the title for the fastest lap records after Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen also made history for being the first racer to smash a record in this season’s championship. The professional racer broke the preceding benchmark by 2 seconds, and this was only set one year before by Rosberg, all while the race was added to the calendar in 2014.
Spain: Kimi Raikkonen in 2008 (1:21.670)
Even though speculations indicated a possibility of the benchmark being broken in this season considering the new generation of F1 cars, none has yet to beat the time set by Raikkonen in 2008.
This particular lap record had to be reestablished after the onset of the last chicane, and Raikkonen owned it using his Ferrari. It seems like the record will remain unbroken considering that even Pirelli’s conservative tyres did not make much of an impact in helping the current crop of racers beat the record.
Monaco: Sergio Perez in 2017 (1:14.820)
This record was reestablished right before 2015 after the track got shortened following a minor upgrade. Sergio Perez beat the benchmark while driving on new tyres and was light on fuel after his 72 lap pit stop following a minor contact with Kvyat. The Mexican racer came four-tenth short of breaking Michael Schumacher’s lap record set in 2004 on the previous track layout.
Canada: Rubens Barrichello in 2004 (1:13.622)
Do the newly designed F1 cars with enhanced braking capabilities have what it takes to smash the benchmark set by Ruben Barrichello in 2004? The Brazilian racer set the record just two laps from the finish while pursuing Schumacher for the second slot. Even though Ruben did not quite have enough to surpass Schumacher, his Ferrari was given the second spot following Williams disqualification for irregularities within the brake duct.
Azerbaijan: Nico Rosberg in 2016 (1:46.485)
Nico Rosberg bagged his 2nd ‘Grand Slam’ following his win at last year’s Baku race. While recent F1 car modification allowing for improved cornering performance points to a possibility of Nico’s lap record being broken this season, the added drag of the wide tyres and chassis render the new car models a bit slower when racing in a straight line, which is Baku’s pronounced feature especially between Turns 1 and 16. We’ll just have to wait and see if Nico’s benchmark will be broken this year.
Austria: Michael Schumacher in 2003 (1:08.337)
Spielberg has been refurbished and a few changes implemented on the track, including the removal of some bumps. However, the benchmark set by Michael Schumacher in 2003 is expected to be broken this year as Lewis Hamilton almost nailed it, but fell short by only 0.0074s. It is no doubt that Schumacher’s benchmark will be smashed in this year edition of the championship.
Great Britain: Mark Webber in 2013 (1:33.401)
Mark Webber set the benchmark on the last lap that took place at the 2013 race at the Silverstone Grand Prix circuit. He bagged the fastest lap after chasing Nico Rosberg for the win, but failed short by only 0.7seconds. After the regulations changed to the 1.6 L turbo-hybrid engine, no racer has come close to beating the benchmark. Will it be finally broken in this year’s season? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Hungary: Michael Schumacher in 2004 (1:19:071)
Schumacher’s lap record set in 2004 still stands today, and it was the professional racer’s 5th and final Grand Slam of his incredible career. While there is a possibility that the benchmark can be broken in this year’s season, a lot of effort will be required to break it considering that last year’s closest contender, Kimi Raikkonen, managed a short of more than 4 seconds. This implies that the record set by Schumacher will not be broken anytime soon.
Belgium: Sebastian Vettel in 2009 (1:47.263)
Even though Vettel has bagged the win twice at Spa-Francorchamps, it was during one of his victorious years without victories that he set the benchmark for the famous circuit. He set the record while he was hot in pursuit of Giancarlo Fisichella who finished in the second place during the 2009 championship.
Italy: Rubens Barrichello in 2004 (1:21.046)
Rubens Barrichello’s average speed of 257.320km/h remains a record best at the 2004 Grand Prix in Monza. While the event saw Juan Pablo set the quickest lap ever in F1 at an average speed of 257.330km/h, Barrichello’s record remains the fastest lap for a race on his Williams.
Singapore: Daniel Ricciardo in 2016 (1:47.187)
The benchmark for Singapore’s race had to be reestablished following changes in the circuit. Sebastian Vettel set the record to beat, which was smashed in 2016’s edition by Red Bull’s own Daniel Ricciardo, the man who bagged the record in the closing stages while in pursuit of Rosberg’s Mercedes.
Malaysia: Juan Pablo Montoya in 2004 (1:34.223)
While Pablo Montoya was no competition for Schumacher in the 2004 Sepang edition, he drove his Williams car 0.5 seconds faster that Schumacher’s Ferrari and their best effort during the race. The benchmark set by Juan Pablo has not been threatened, and the closest contender managed 6-tenths of breaking it at the 2006 championship edition. This means the benchmark set by Pablo is here to stay, at least for a long time.
Japan: Kimi Raikkonen in 2005 (1:31.540)
The 2005 edition of the Japanese Grand Prix is to be remembered as one where Kimi Raikkonen displayed one of the outstanding performances of all time. He managed to take home the win from the 17th grid position thanks to a lap pass on the famous Giancarlo Fisichella. Raikkonen clocked the fastest lap while chasing the leading Renault during the race.
USA: Sebastian Vettel in 2012 (1:39.247)
This is another lap record established on the final lap of USA Grand Prix. Sebastian Vettel clocked the fastest lap while hot in pursuit of Lewis Hamilton, but he finished 0.6 seconds short of the race winner, Hamilton. Incredibly, three other racers set their fastest time during the final tour of the race, and all of these were quicker than the one set the previous edition.
Mexico: Nico Rosberg in 2015 (1:20.521)
The Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez has hosted only two races since the Formula 1 returned to Mexico in 2015. Nico Rosberg set the benchmark in the 1st edition of the championship, and this record stands to date. However, the record is expected to fall this year due to the high altitude that reduces drag in the F1 race.
Brazil: Juan Pablo Montoya in 2004 (1:11.473)
Juan Pablo battled it out with Kimi Raikkonen on the track and he pushed his Williams car to set the fastest lap of the race at the Interlagos 2004 championship. The benchmark still stands, and no one has come close to breaking the record. We’ll just have to wait and see if the current crop of racers have what it takes to break the benchmark.
Abu Dhabi: 1:40.279 (Sebastian Vettel, 2009)
Sebastian Vettel set the lap record at the Red Bull’s incredible RB5, where he dominated the race after the retirement of Lewis Hamilton. What does 2017’s crop of racers need to do to break the benchmark is to lap more than 3 seconds faster than last year’s season best to get close to Vettel’s lap time record. Is it possible? We’ll just have to wait and see. Meanwhile, you can discover latest Formula 1 tips here.
Now that we know all about Formula 1 Fastest Laps over the years, let’s take a look at what this season has in store with a definitive overview of all the Grand Prix dates, circuits and locations, distance and entrants, provided for you by OddsDigger