On paper, this is Rosberg’s best season so far against Hamilton. After Japan, he had nine wins to Hamilton’s six, while in 2015 and 2014 it was 10-6 and 11-5 in Hamilton’s favour. But statistics can be misleading. Of those nine wins, only ve were achieved when both started together on the front row and nished – Australia, Bahrain, Italy, Singapore and Japan. That’s 55.6 per cent of Rosberg’s wins occurring in genuine competition. Three of those ve (60 per cent) were due to bad starts for Hamilton. His other wins came when Hamilton was taken out of the equation.
By contrast, Hamilton has beaten Rosberg six times on the same basis, in Monaco, Canada, Austria, Silverstone, Hungary and Germany. That’s 100 per cent of Hamilton’s wins occurring in genuine competition. Only two of those six (33 per cent) were down to bad starts for Rosberg.
It is a driver’s job to get his car off the line, but starts also inuence the championship. Hamilton had six bad starts that affected results (Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Monza and Japan); Rosberg three (Austria, Hungary, Germany). In each case, one (Canada for Hamilton; Austria for Rosberg) did not negatively affect either driver’s race.
Then there’s qualifying. Hamilton and Rosberg set eight poles each this year. In 2015 it was 11-7 to Hamilton and in 2014 11-7 to Rosberg, although the latter was more like eight-seven if you disregard Germany and Hungary, where Hamilton had technical failures, and Monaco, where Rosberg had his ‘off’ at Mirabeau.
The key measurement of pace is the average qualifying gap between the two. If you take the sessions where both can be compared, Hamilton has been faster in all three seasons, and his advantage has grown with time. In 2014, Hamilton’s gap was 0.086 seconds; in 2015, 0.14s; and in 2016, 0.162s*