Austrian stat attack

Not content with avoiding fresh air and exercise by wading through mountains of Formula 1 statistics in his dank cellar, our resident statto has also turned his attention to Champ Cars this week. Whatever next

Austrian stat attack



A casual glance at David Coulthard's results at the A1-Ring suggests consistency, but this hides some rather more eventful races for Coulthard since the World Championship returned to Austria in 1997.

The Scot has finished second in all four races run, but only last year, when he followed team mate Mika Hakkinen, was Coulthard's afternoon a straight forward run.

The 1999 race was marred by a first lap clash with Hakkinen at the Remus Kurve. Although Coulthard continued in the lead he was eventually beaten by Eddie Irvine's Ferrari. After being delayed, Hakkinen recovered to finish third; with wins in 1998 and 2000 the accident robbed the Finn of a possible hat-trick.

In 1997 and 1998, Coulthard had to drive through the field after poor qualifying sessions (10th and 14th on the grid respectively). That 1998 qualifying performance on a damp track is Coulthard's worst in Formula 1 - 14th, as at the 1996 Brazilian and Spanish GPs.

Curiously, Michael Schumacher has traditionally struggled here. He had never qualified higher than fourth before Saturday's pole position and has only finished on the podium once (third in 1998).

Despite the A1-Ring suffering in comparison with the magnificent Osterreichring it replaced, the racing is normally good here, with the straights and slow corners promoting overtaking. The first race on the new layout in 1997 featured five changes for the lead and was led by Jarno Trulli in a Prost for 37 laps.



So Keke Rosberg thinks Mika Hakkinen's championship challenge is over, does he? Well, unfortunately for Mika, history backs Rosberg's view.

His last lap agony in Spain has left Hakkinen 32 points behind championship leader Schumacher after five Grands Prix. No one has come from so far behind after five races to win the title.

James Hunt was 24 points behind Niki Lauda at this stage of the 1976 Championship and only the Austrian's injuries at the German GP opened up the title race again, by which time Hunt's deficit had grown to 37 points.



Away from Formula 1, New Zealand rookie Scott Dixon won last week's Nazareth CART race from 23rd on the grid. Only Mike Mosley, at Milwaukee in June 1981, has won a CART-sanctioned event from further back (25th in qualifying).

The record for a road course is Al Unser Jr's victory at Tamiami Park in 1986 from 19th.

Dixon is also the youngest driver to win in CART, aged just 20 years and 289 days. This eclipsed the late Greg Moore's previous best of 22 years and 41 days when he won at Milwaukee in 1997.

A repeat of these feats in this weekend's Grand Prix would equate to Fernando Alonso winning from the back of the grid...

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