Although the 2024 Formula 1 season is just around the corner, F1Technical’s senior writer Balázs Szabó takes a look back at the last year’s championship, picking up some key facts regarding the fastest race laps.
The Formula One Championship was born in 1950 when the drivers assembled at the British Grand Prix on 13 May. Back then, the point system was very different with only the first five drivers earning points at the end of the race. The winner received eight points with the second-placed driver collecting six units, then the third-, fourth- and fifth-placed racer earning four, three and two points recpectively.
A point was awarded for the driver who set the fastest lap between 1950 and 1959. Interestingly, there was no additional condition to earn the additional point, drivers did not even need to finish the race to collect the extra point.
There were several examples for that curious occurrence to happen from this ten-year period. Retiring from the season-closing Italian Grand Prix in 1950, Juan Manuel Fangio set the fastest lap of the race and went on to add an addition point to his tally of 27 points which was enough for the five-time champion Argentine racing driver to finish the season second behind Giuseppe Farina.
As timekeeping technologies were far from highly developed, there were times when more drivers set the fastest lap. In fact, as the technology was not precise enough, officials were unable to determine the drivers who set the absolute fastest lap. As a result, the additional point was shared between drivers.
At the 1954 British Grand Prix, no less than seven drivers set a lap time of 1 min 50 secs including Juan Manuel Fangio, Jose Froilan Gonzalez, Mike Hawthorn, Stirling Moss, Onofre Marimon, Alberto Ascari and Jean Behra. It meant that all drivers received 1/7 of a point.
There was a long period when the fastest laps were not awarded. But in 2019, the point for scoring the fastest lap was re-introduced, as long as that driver finished in the top ten.
The DHL Fastest Lap Award finds a worthy champion in @Max33Verstappen. The Dutchman blazed through the season, notching up an impressive nine fastest laps - just one shy of Kimi's 2008 record. Here are the final standings of the 2023 season.#F1 #DHLF1 #MomentsThatDeliver pic.twitter.com/gWLcyJmfGw— DHL_Motorsports (@DHL_Motorsports) December 2, 2023
The 2023 F1 season saw Max Verstappen secure the highest number of fastest laps. No surprises there, as the Red Bull driver picked up the race winner's trophy on 19 occasions in 2023. The only blips were Singapore and the two victories for team-mate Sergio Perez in Saudi Arabia and Baku. Overall, the campaign record for the RB19 comprises 21 wins, 14 pole positions, five sprint wins, 30 podiums, eleven fastest race laps and 860 championship points.
The three-time world champion notched up an impressive nine fastest laps - just one shy of Kimi's 2008 record.
The Dutchman set the fastest race lap in Jeddah, Miami, Barcelona, Spielberg, Silverstone, Budapest, Suzuka, Qatar and Abu Dhabi, adding nine additional points to his points tally.
Finishing third in the drivers’ championship, Lewis Hamilton clocked in the quickest race lap in Monte Carlo, Spa, Singapore and Mexico while Red Bull’s Mexican racer Sergio Perez scored two additional points thanks to his fastest race laps in Melbourne and Montreal.
McLaren’s rookie driver Oscar Piastri also scored extra points, recording the fastest race lap in Monza and Las Vegas. Joining Aston Martin ahead of the 2023 F1 season, Fernando Alonso earned a point in Zandvoort with the quickest lap. Finishing second at the Sao Paulo Grand Prix, McLaren’s British driver Lando Norris set the fastest lap in Interlagos while Mercedes driver George Russell recorded the fastest race lap in Baku.
Completing his third F1 season in 2023, AlphaTauri’s Yuki Tsunoda set the fastest race lap in Austin. The Singapore Grand Prix saw Alfa Romeo’s Chinese driver Zhou Guanyu set the quickest race lap, but he was not able to pick up the additional point as he finished the race at the Marina Bay Circuit outside the top ten.