Bottas is F1′s most prolific overtaker in 2014

Updated: June 12, 2014

In Formula 1, the only thing that matters is the result at the end of the race. As long as you cross the finish line first, no matter how you achieved it, that is all that will matter when it comes to deciding the winner of the championship by the end of the season.

But winning a race isn’t as simple as just driving your car very fast around the circuit for 300km until you take the chequered flag and are handed a lavish trophy. Unfortunately, other drivers tend to have a annoying habit of getting in the way and in order to win, you’ll very often be forced to ‘overtake’ them…

In many ways, overtaking is to Formula 1 what scoring a goal is to Football or a try in Rugby. They require timing and judgement to decide how best to attack as well as adequate skill to execute successfully. When it comes to racecraft, no other skill helps to win a driver fans more effectively than their ability to pull off spectacular overtaking moves.

So which of this year’s drivers has been making the most moves out on track? Well, counting all competitive passes so far this season (counting any competitive on-track move outside of the first lap of races against opponents who attempted to resist being overtaken and excluding any passes made on a driver in the pitlane or against a stricken or recovering cars), it is Valtteri Bottas who has successfully executed the most overtakes in 2014 thus far, having dispatched 21 drivers over seven races at an average of three moves per race.

Next are the two Red Bull drivers of Ricciardo (15) and Vettel (14), who have passed almost thirty rivals between them, with Jenson Button (14) and Sergio Perez (12) rounding out the top five. At the bottom end of the scale, it is perhaps a surprise to see that Lewis Hamilton has currently overtaken fewer rivals than any other driver on the grid, bar Jules Bianchi.

But how telling are these statistics, really? Well, in truth, not very. There are range of factors that influence how many overtaking opportunities a driver faces, such as whether they start a race ‘out of position’ due to a penalty or mechanical issue, while the main reason that Lewis Hamilton has overtaken so few opponents is mainly down to the fact that he has been at the very sharp end of the field all season.

That doesn’t make these figures all completely meaningless, however. When you look at the amount of times a driver has been overtaken himself this season, you start to see a better illustration of certain drivers struggling against their team mates.

For example, at Ferrari, Fernando Alonso has performed nine overtakes so far in 2014 and been overtaken just six times, whereas Kimi Raikkonen has pulled off 11 passes and been overtaken on 16 occasions – ten more than his team mate.

Whether you believe they have meaning or otherwise, here is a list of the most prolific overtakers and most overtaken drivers of the year so far. There’s still along way to go in the 2014 season and a lot of moves to be made – let’s hope we get some truly memorable ones.

Most competitive overtakes in 2014 (as of Canadian GP):

1) Valtteri Bottas – Williams (21)
2) Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull (15)
3) Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull (14)
= Jenson Button – McLaren (14)
5) Sergio Perez – Force India (12)
= Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso (12)

Least competitive overtakes in 2014:

1) Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes (1)
= Jules Bianchi – Marussia (1)
3) Marcus Ericsson – Caterham (2)
4) Max Chilton – Marussia (3)
5) Nico Rosberg – Mercedes (3)

Most overtaken drivers in 2014:

1) Kamui Kobayashi – Caterham (23)
2) Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber (19)
3) Kimi Raikkonen – Ferrari (16)
4) Marcus Ericsson – Caterham (14)
= Daniil Kvyat – Toro Rosso (14)

Least overtaken drivers in 2014:

1) Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes (2)
= Nico Rosberg – Mercedes (2)
= Daniel Ricciardo – Red Bull (2)
= Sergio Perez – Force India (2)
5) Valtteri Bottas – Williams (4)

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