Red Bull Racing’s Max Verstappen completed more overtaking manoeuvres in one season than any other F1 driver since records began, it has been revealed. The Dutchman, who won the Spanish Grand Prix in his first race as a Red Bull Racing driver, is credited with an impressive 78 passing manoeuvres – including his four races with Toro Rosso – during the 2016 season according to new data revealed by tyre suppliers Pirelli.
Spurred on by his extraordinary run from 14th to third in just 12 laps during the Brazilian Grand Prix, Verstappen’s achievement is made all the more notable by the fact his average starting position was still a lofty sixth over the course of the year and only once did he start outside the top ten.
According to Pirelli, it is the highest value of passes recorded since 1983 – the first year when data is available -, though it should be noted it came after a record-breaking 21 race season.
Interestingly, though the Renault-powered Red Bull remains notably down on power to its Mercedes and Ferrari rivals, with Daniel Ricciardo completing 61 passes himself, Red Bull overtook more cars than any other team in 2016. Its final tally of 136 – including 15 by Daniil Kvyat – is also a new record.
Other notable statistics include Sebastian Vettel being overtaken just once in 2016 – by Verstappen in Brazil -, while Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg ceded positions on just 3 and 4 occasions respectively.
Fernando Alonso was the best starter, picking up 41 positions on the first lap over the course of the year, while Hamilton’s charge in China – from 22nd to seventh – saw him complete a total of 18 overtakes. His efforts were contributed to a busy race that saw 128 passes made in total.
How overtaking moves are calculated – An overtaking manoeuvre is counted as one that takes place during complete flying laps (so not on the opening lap) and is then maintained all the way to the lap’s finish line. Position changes due to major mechanical problems or lapping/unlapping are not counted