• Ask Steven

The closest ever top three

Steven Lynch August 5, 2011
Jenson Button secured victory on the final lap having pitted six times © Sutton Images
Enlarge

Jenson Button won this year's Canadian GP despite making six pit-stops. Is this a record for one race? asked Charles Soames

Jenson Button's six visits to the pits in that amazing race in Canada earlier this season is the most stops made by the eventual winner of any world championship Grand Prix. The most known pit-stops by anyone in a Grand Prix is seven, by Alain Prost at Donington in 1993. That race - the European Grand Prix, and the only championship race ever held at Donington Park in Derbyshire - was bedevilled by heavy showers. Prost's seven visits to the Williams pit didn't prevent him from finishing third, albeit a lap down on the winner Ayrton Senna and his own team-mate Damon Hill. It's just possible that a back-marker could have made more stops in a race without them all being noted, and it's also conceivable that some of the participants in the Indianapolis 500, which counted towards the world championship in the 1950s, made more stops.

What's the smallest time difference between the winner and the third-placed finisher in a Grand Prix? asked Luschen Moodley via Facebook

The closest gap between first and third at the end of a Grand Prix is nine-hundredths of a second, between the winner Peter Gethin and Francois Cevert in the 1971 Italian GP. There are two other races when the gap was less than a second: two years previously at Monza Jackie Stewart and Jean-Pierre Beltoise were separated by just 0.17 seconds, while in the Spanish GP at Jarama in 1981 the gap between first (Gilles Villeneuve) and third (John Watson) was 0.58 seconds.

What is the most uneven performance by a pair of team-mates in a season? asked Chris Barlow

I think the record here is unapproachable, especially now more points are awarded (and more positions get points). In 1972 Emerson Fittipaldi won the world championship in a Lotus ... but his team-mate, the Australian Dave Walker, scored no points at all. There were 12 races that season, and Fittipaldi finished on the podium in eight of them - but the unfortunate Walker never finished higher than ninth, which he did in Spain. Fittipaldi finished the season with 61 points (and the title) and Walker with none. Walker, who had been the British Formula Ford champion in 1969, drifted out of F1 after this unsuccessful season, and retired from motor racing altogether a few years later after a couple of nasty accidents.

With the Hungarian GP last weekend, has there ever been a Hungarian F1 driver? asked Mark Young

Zsolt Baumgartner participated in a total of 20 races, scoring a single world championship point © Sutton Images
Enlarge

The only Hungarian driver to compete in a world championship Grand Prix was Zsolt Baumgartner, who took part in two races with Jordan in 2003 (including his home race at the Hungaroring, where he retired) before joining Minardi for 2004. He struggled in an uncompetitive car that season, although he did pick up a point at Indianapolis, when he was the last of eight cars to finish the United States GP, albeit three laps behind the winner, Michael Schumacher. He did complete his home GP that year, ending up 15th.

Before their return this year, which was the last race won by a car wearing Pirelli tyres? asked Howard Johnstone

Before this season, Pirelli tyres were last used in F1 in 1991, when four of the teams were supplied by them. They won one race that year, when Nelson Piquet's Pirelli-shod Benetton won the Canadian GP, ahead of Stefano Modena in a Tyrrell, which also used Pirellis. This was the famous race in which Nigel Mansell stalled his Williams while leading on the last lap, apparently because he knocked off a switch while waving to the crowd.

I've got an Eifelland caravan. Am I imagining it or did they have their own F1 team for a while many years ago? asked Rob Moore

No, you're not imagining it: the white car from the Eifelland caravan company took part in several races in 1972. But the car didn't owe anything to caravan technology - it was an adapted version of that year's March car, and it was driven by the German Rolf Stommelen. He didn't have much success, though: in eight GP starts his best finish was a pair of tenth places, at Monaco and Silverstone. The name comes from the Eifel mountains, where the company was based, near the Nurburgring in the west of Germany.

If you want to ask Steven a question, use his Facebook page . 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

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Feeds Feeds: Steven Lynch

Steven Lynch Close
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