A race such as the 2014 Bahrain Grand Prix provided a wealth of information and fascinating story lines. Beyond the on-track headlines, here were some stats that emerged from the race:
TEN POINTS SPOTS FOR FIVE TEAMS: ONLY THE THIRD TIME IN FIVE YEARS
Since the new points system down to 10th place was introduced in 2010, there were only two Grands Prix where a minimum five teams locked out the 10 points-paying positions. It happened twice in 2010: both at China and Germany, Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes and Renault locked out all points-paying spots. It hadn’t happened since the infamous 2010 Hockenheim race where Ferrari declared over the radio “Felipe, Fernando is faster than you.”
But the five teams for 10 points-paying spots did occur Sunday in Bahrain, courtesy of Mercedes 1-2, with Force India 3-5, Red Bull 4-6, Williams 7-8 and Ferrari 9-10.
MERCEDES’ CRAZY POINTS IMPROVEMENT
Through three Grands Prix in 2013, Mercedes scored 52 points (Lewis Hamilton 40, Nico Rosberg 12). They’ve nearly doubled that in three races this year, with 111 of a possible 129 points scored – all they’re missing is a second in Melbourne. That’s a staggering 86 percent of the maximum achieved.
VETTEL’S POINTS GAP
Four-time defending World Champion Sebastian Vettel has scored just 23 points in three Grands Prix in 2014, or less than one win’s haul of 25 points. It’s his lowest points-adjusted start in the first three races since he advanced to Red Bull in 2009.
Previous totals since the new points system was introduced in 2010 include 52 (2013), 28 (2012), 68 (2011) and 37 (2010). His first win in China 2009 netted only 10 points as it was the last year under that points system; it would be worth 25 now. Additionally, he already trails Rosberg by 38 points; he trailed Fernando Alonso by as many as 39 after the 2012 Italian Grand Prix, although a run of four straight victories from there got him back in the championship hunt.
HULKENBERG’S POINTS RUN
With three scores in as many races to open the 2014 season, now with Force India, Nico Hulkenberg has scored points in nine of the last 11 races dating to the 2013 Italian Grand Prix. He ended fifth on Sunday after holding on in the final stint on the prime tires as opposed to the options.
Hulkenberg is also one of only four drivers to have scored in each race this year: Rosberg, Fernando Alonso and Valtteri Bottas. Unsurprisingly this run of success puts “the Hulk” high up in the driver’s standings – he’s third at the moment with Alonso fourth.
CHILTON EXTENDS DEBUT FINISHING STREAK
With 13th place Sunday in Bahrain, Marussia’s Max Chilton has now finished his first 22 career starts. The 13th also moved Marussia back ahead of Caterham in the battle for 10th in the Constructor’s Championship, as it was Chilton’s second 13th-place finish of the year (Australia).
After his Anaheim 2 crash, Eli Tomac was surprised he was not injured, but despite getting knocked down momentarily, he picked himself up, rode to last week’s win and reascended to the top of the SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. This is the third time in three weeks Tomac has topped the rankings.
Last week, Tomac finished second in his heat before winning the Main – and that translated to near-perfect points in the Power Rankings, which award 100 for a win in the feature and 90 for a heat victory. Tomac’s average was marred by the Houston accident when he finished 13th in that heat before settling just outside the top five in overall standings. Racing is about bouncing back and last year’s Supercross and Motocross champion Tomac did just that as he chases a third consecutive title.
Jason Anderson earned his second consecutive podium finish with a third at Houston. He momentarily rolled past Aaron Plessinger into second during a restart following an accident involving Dylan Ferrandis and held that position for four trips around the track until he was tracked down by Chase Sexton. Afterward Anderson faded and finished 12 seconds off the pace, but along with a heat win, he easily leapfrogged Ken Roczen and Cooper Webb, who struggled in the fourth race of the season.
Webb held his position by passing Roczen in NBC’s SuperMotocross Power Rankings after Houston. Webb has been solid in 2023 with a worst moto result of seventh in the first Triple Crown race at Anaheim 2, but in order to be considered a solid challenger to Tomac he needs to win either a heat or main this week in Tampa.
Roczen was involved in the incident that sidelined Ferrandis in Houston. Racing for eighth at the time, his bike may have sustained some damage when Ferrandis landed on his back tire, but he was not overly impressive in his heat either with a fifth-place finish. That was enough to drop him three positions in the standings, but he still has Tomac in sight.
After his disappointing heat in San Diego when he crashed and sustained enough damage to place him last, Sexton has roared back. He won the overall in Anaheim 2’s Triple Crown format and narrowed the points’ gap slightly on Tomac. Last week he yarded the field in his heat race and won by a wide margin. A modest start in the Main kept him from getting to Tomac’s back wheel early in the Houston round, and he lost a little ground in the championship.
The 250 East division debuted in Houston and with only one race – and therefore no chance yet to stumble – three of their riders jumped to the top of the chart.
Hunter Lawrence had a perfect week with wins in both his main and heat. It wasn’t without drama, however, as he was forced to jump wide early in the feature to avoid contact with Tom Vialle, who was making his Supercross debut. Without a former 250 champion in the field, it is guaranteed someone new will grace the top of the box at Salt Lake City after the season-ender and it looks like it’s going to be Lawrence’s to lose.
It was more than four years ago that Jordon Smith scored his last Supercross podium in Detroit. Despite finishing second that afternoon, he was battling a wrist injury that eventually sidelined him. More injuries have followed, but Smith was a favorite to win the title in 2019 and he’s shown how well he can ride when he’s healthy.
Debuting third in the Houston SuperMotocross Power Rankings, Max Anstie moved from the 450 class last year to 250s in 2023 and the change has gone better than he anticipated. Finishing second in both his heat and main, Anstie was edged by Smith because he finished second behind that rider in their heat. That is Anstie’s first top-10 since finishing sixth at Southwick, Massachusetts last year on his 450. In that race, he scored fifth-place results in both motos.
Haiden Deegan proved the hype surrounding his graduation into the 250 class was well deserved and he landed fourth in his division and fifth overall in the SuperMotocross Power Rankings. In his first professional Supercross race, he finished fourth in his heat. In a field with twice the talent, he finished fourth again in the main. At Houston, he balanced aggression with patience. Now that he has a taste of that success, everyone will be watching him closely at Tampa to see if he can continue tiptoeing on the line.
Michael Mosiman, Jeremy Martin, and Vialle are tied for fifth in the 250 East division and seventh overall.
Vialle is the most notable of these three because he challenged for a podium position during the Main before making a mistake and falling in a turn. Significantly, this was not only his 250 debut, but his first time in Supercross. As with Deegan, he has generated a lot of attention for the coming weeks.
Hunter Lawrence – E
[1 Main; 1 Heat Win]
Jordon Smith – E
[1 Heat Win]
Max Anstie – E
Jett Lawrence – W
[2 Main; 2 Heat Wins]
Haiden Deegan – E
Cameron McAdoo – W
[1 Heat Win]
Mitchell Oldenburg – W
Michael Mosiman – E
Jeremy Martin – E
Tom Vialle – E
Stilez Robertson – W
[1 Heat Win]
Chance Hymas – E
Levi Kitchen – W
[1 Main Win]
RJ Hampshire – W
[3 Heat Wins]
Max Vohland – W
Cullin Park – E
Chris Blose – E
Derek Kelley – W
Enzo Lopes – W
Pierce Brown – W
* The NBC Power Rankings assign 100 points to a Main event winner and 90 points for each Heat and Triple Crown win, (Triple Crown wins are included with heat wins below the rider’s name). The points decrement by a percentage equal to the number of riders in the field until the last place rider in each event receives five points. The Power Ranking is the average of these percentage points over the past 45 days.