Max Verstappen capped off a remarkable 2016 by breaking the Formula 1 record for the most successful overtaking manoeuvres in a single season.
The Dutch driver, who became the youngest ever F1 winner when he won the Spanish Grand Prix on his first appearance for Red Bull, made 78 passing moves during 2016, according to data calculated by Pirelli.
The Italian tyre company clarified that this was the highest number since records were first collated back in 1983 and explained how the overtaking moves were 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.”
Verstappen, who was Voted 2016 Personality of the Year at the FIA end of season awards, had also made the most overtakes during 2015, his rookie year in F1, with 49 successful moves for Toro Rosso.
Speaking about his achievements in 2016 the 19-year-old said: “[It was] very positive – some special moments, especially with the victory of course, and then some great team results – the first and second in Malaysia was very special – so I can’t complain about this season at all.”
Pirelli also calculated that there were 866 overtakes throughout the 2016 season, with 41.2 taking place each race on average. The race with the highest number of overtakes (in the dry) was the Chinese Grand Prix at 128, while the Hungarian Grand Prix featured the fewest with the field making just 10 successful moves.
The most overtakes at a wet race was the Brazilian Grand Prix, where 64 passes were completed during the rain-disrupted event.
The driver with the highest number of overtaking moves in a single race was Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who made 18 manoeuvres during the Shanghai race as he battled through the order from the back of the grid after suffering an ERS problem in qualifying.
Sebastian Vettel ended up as the driver that was overtaken the least throughout the year as he was only passed once – by Verstappen at the Brazilian race – during the 21-event season.
Pirelli also released the total number of kilometres that were completed during test runs on the wider F1 tyres that will be in use in 2017. Only Mercedes, Red Bull and Ferrari conducted the programme, but the driver with the most mileage was Pascal Wehrlein, who racked up 3,248km on the new rubber for the world champion squad.
Pierre Gasly was next up for Red Bull on 2,494km, with Vettel third on 2,228km. The other 2017 race drivers to get a head start learning the new tyres were Kimi Raikkonen (1,054km), Verstappen (517km), Daniel Ricciardo (200km), and Hamilton (50km).
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