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Poles apart

Steven Lynch April 26, 2013
Chris Amon qualified on pole five times but never won a championship grand prix © Sutton Images
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Who has been on pole the most times without ever winning a grand prix? asked Gerry Evans

The answer here is Chris Amon, the New Zealand driver generally regarded as one of the unluckiest to take part in F1. Amon started from the front of the grid no fewer than five times, but never did win a race. He finished second three times - at Brands Hatch in 1968 in a Ferrari, and in Belgium and France in 1970 in a March; he was also third eight times. Amon also holds the records for leading the most laps in total - 183 - without ever winning a Grand Prix (Jean Behra is next with 107), and driving for the most different constructors (13, including his own team).

Jules Bianchi finished 13th in the Malaysian GP. Was this the best finish for a Marussia in F1? asked Colin Browne

It wasn't quite: in 2012 Timo Glock finished 12th in Singapore, and Charles Pic equalled that in the last race of the season in Brazil. In the previous two years, when the team was known as Virgin Racing, their best positions were four 14th places (one each by Glock and Lucas di Grassi in 2010, and two by Jerome d'Ambrosio in 2011). Marussia did achieve one minor triumph at this year's first GP in Australia: it was the first time both their cars finished ahead of both Caterhams.

Why was Lewis Hamilton penalised in Bahrain for changing his gearbox? asked Richard Lawrence

The F1 regulations were changed in 2011, largely in an attempt to cut costs. Each car's gearbox is now supposed to last for five race weekends - but in Bahrain Hamilton had a tyre problem in practice. This caused some damage at the rear of the car, affecting the suspension and the gearbox. The mechanics repaired the car, but had to change the gearbox. Mercedes team principal Ross Brawn thought the automatic five-place grid demotion this incurred was rather unfair: "It is frustrating to get a penalty when there has been an outside influence."

We've seen a few sets of brothers in F1. Which grand prix had the most drivers with the same name? asked Nick O'Donoghue

This particular record was set in 1959, when the British GP weekend at Aintree featured no fewer than four drivers called Taylor, all unrelated as far as I know. Henry Taylor finished 11th in a Cooper-Climax, while Mike Taylor (also in a Cooper) went out on lap 17 with transmission trouble. Trevor Taylor (in another Cooper) and Dennis Taylor (Lotus) both practised but failed to qualify for the race. It would have been a tricky one to commentate on: there was also a driver called Brian Naylor, who competed for 18 laps before retiring his JBW-Maserati. Jack Brabham won the race, extending his lead in the championship he eventually won for the first time.

Valencia hosted a second race in Spain for five years between 2008 and 2012 © Sutton Images
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It's not happening this year but several recent seasons have seen two GPs in Spain. Has any country ever staged more than two? asked Clive Williams

The demise of the European GP at Valencia means that all this season's GPs will be in different countries. There have been several instances of a country staging two world championship GPs in the same year - the San Marino GP was held at Imola in Italy for many years, and the Nurburgring in Germany staged a few races styled the Luxembourg GP, in addition to the moveable feast of the "European" GP. But there has only been one instance of a country staging three GPs in the same year: in 1982 there were world championship races at Long Beach, Detroit and Las Vegas in the United States. The Las Vegas one famously took place in the Caesar's Palace car park.

There have been three Brazilian Fittipaldi drivers in F1. Are they all related? asked Michael Harrison

They are: Wilson (born in 1943) and Emerson Fittipaldi (1946) are brothers, the sons of Wilson Fittipaldi senior, a Brazilian journalist who specialised in motor racing. Christian Fittipaldi (born 1971), who took part in 43 GPs and later had a long career in Indycars in America, is the son of Wilson junior. Emerson Fittipaldi had the most stellar career of the three, winning the F1 world championship in 1972 and 1974, then switching to single-seaters in north America, where he was victorious in the Indianapolis 500 in both 1989 and 1993. He won the CART Indycar championship in 1989. Last month Emerson was named president of the new Drivers' Commission, formed by the World Motor Sport Council.

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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