Button closes on ‘best start’ record

The only two drivers to have started a season better than Jenson Button

The only two drivers to have started a season better than Jenson Button

With five wins and a third place from the first six races, Jenson Button has made one of the best starts to the world championship ever seen in F1.

His achievement equals Michael Schumacher’s in 2002, and is bettered only by Schumacher in 1994 and Nigel Mansell in 1992.

Button has won the Australian, Malaysian, Bahrain, Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix, and was third in China.

1992 and 1994: the best starts

These are the two occasions when drivers made a better start to the season:

1992: Nigel Mansell, Williams-Renault. Five wins (South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Spain and San Marino) and one second (Monaco)
1994: Michael Schumacher, Benetton-Ford. Five wins (Brazil, Pacific, San Marino, Monaco, Canada) and one second (Spain)

Mansell failed to finish the seventh race of the year in 1992 when he crashed during the Canadian Grand Prix.

Schumacher won the seventh race of 1994 (in France) but was disqualified from round eight (Britain) having finished second on the road.

Schumacher also started a season with five wins and a third place in 2002. He won in Australia, Brazil, San Marino, Spain and – infamously – Austria, and was second in Malaysia.

Button is also on course to match Schumacher’s victory record from 2004 of 12 wins from the first 13 races. But he has a long way to go to cement that record, needing another seven wins from the next seven rounds just to equal Schumacher’s tally.

More great championship starts

A deeper delve into the history book throws up some impressive feats of consistent winning from years when cars were not as reliable as they are today.

Jackie Stewart kicked off his 1969 championship-winning campaign with five wins (South Africa, Spain, Netherlands, France and Great Britain) and one DNF (Monaco).

Jim Clark did likewise in 1965, winning in South Africa, Belgium, France, Great Britain and the Netherlands. He didn’t enter round two at Monaco, as he was competing in the Indianapolis 500 (can you imagine any current F1 driver doing that?) but as he won the seventh round in Germany, Clark won the first six races he participated in.

In the 1950s the Indy 500 counted towards the drivers’ world championship, but most European contenders skipped it.

In 1952 Alberto Ascari won five of the first six races he competed in (Belgium, France, Great Britain, Germany and Netherlands) excluding the 500. He also won his seventh start, in Italy.

Similarly in 1954 Juan Manuel Fangio scored five wins (in Argentina, Belgium, France, Germany and Switzerland) and one fourth place (Great Britain) in the first six rounds he competed in. And he won his seventh start too, also in Italy.

Can Button win as many races as Schumacher did in 2004?

I wouldn’t put my money on it. The Brawn BGP001′s margin of superiority over the opposition is not as great as Schumacher’s Ferrari F2004 was five years ago.

And that’s probably a good thing – because otherwise the season might get very boring.

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38 comments on Button closes on ‘best start’ record

  1. Richard said on 24th May 2009, 17:51

    What about 2004 Schumacher got 12 wins from the first 13 races, with one retirement in that 13, then got 2 seconds

  2. Moolander said on 24th May 2009, 18:06

    Sorry Richard, you ARE correct. I did not understand your post. Me begs forgivness.

  3. pSynrg said on 24th May 2009, 18:10

    I wouldn’t put my money on it. The Brawn BGP001’s margin of superiority over the opposition is not as great as Schumacher’s Ferrari F2004 was five years ago.

    Certainly see where you’re coming from but Button is showing incredible consistency. Can you think of any mistakes he’s made so far this year? I can’t. Not a wheel wrong anywhere, when it matters.

  4. Fer no.65 said on 24th May 2009, 18:21

    Schumacher also started a season with five wins and a third place in 2002. He won in Australia, Brazil, San Marino, Spain and – infamously – Austria, and was second in Malaysia.

    he was 3rd in Malaysia :P

  5. Chaz said on 24th May 2009, 18:33

    I’m all for breaking records, and it couldn’t happen to a nicer and more worthy person, but sadly I notice the Brawn resentment at their domination has already started which is a real shame…

    • David A said on 25th May 2009, 22:58

      It’s just unfortunate that whenever a team like Brawn or Ferrari simply does the best job, resentment seems to follow.

  6. Oliver said on 24th May 2009, 18:35

    The Brawn car is the superior car. While it doesn’t often look that way is because they didn’t test the car adequately before the start of the season, so while most teams are in search of performace from their cars, the Brawns are chasing the optimum setup.

  7. Bigbadderboom said on 24th May 2009, 18:48

    Like others on F1 fanatic I am somewhat surprised and a little dissapointed at the amount of anti-brawn feeling there is. I will be suprised if Jenson collects more than 8 or 9 wins. Rubens will come good, Ferrari are showing imporovement and with their vast resources will soon be competing at the front.
    I think the Brawn will be exposed by the Red Bull when we get back to the faster circuits, you can bet that Adrian Newey will have found the solution to the diffuser dilemma.
    The season will close up, and although Jenson may win the Drivers it might yet be closer than many think. But then again we have all learnt not to underestimate Ross Brawn……..true genius.

    • TommyB said on 24th May 2009, 20:10

      No one is anti-Brawn. People are just pro F1 and care about the sport.

      No one wants a single team to dominate every race because its not interesting.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 24th May 2009, 22:53

      No one wants a single team to dominate every race because its not interesting.

      In a fair competition there is always the risk that one team will dominate. That’s the very nature of sport.

      If one team dominates, that’s the way it is. Yes we could have success ballast and all that nonsense to stop it from happening – but then it wouldn’t be F1 any more.

    • TommyB said on 24th May 2009, 23:16

      Agreed. No one wants every car to be identical. It is just hard when I sport that people care about so much becomes dull. It happened in 2004 but things picked up and last season was incredibly exciting, who would have believed it would have gone down to the last corner!
      Lets hope it happens again and gets back to great competitive racing

  8. newdecade said on 24th May 2009, 18:50

    The Brawn BGP001’s margin of superiority over the opposition is not as great as Schumacher’s Ferrari F2004 was five years ago.

    True, but the superiority is still there and crucially does not have any areas of weakness. Many expected button’s brawn to be at least equalled today but not even that has happened.

    • Dave said on 24th May 2009, 19:26

      “Button’s Brawn” – The man or the car? Looking at Rubens, I’d say the man.

    • newdecade said on 24th May 2009, 23:12

      Button’s brawn = the brawn driven by button. The car seems to suit his driving style perfectly so he is able to get the most out of it, unlike rubens.

  9. John H said on 24th May 2009, 19:17

    Just one wet race in the next 7 will make sure this record isn’t broken.. As we know the Red Bull is immense in such conditions.

  10. Kisii said on 24th May 2009, 19:42

    I believe Brawn has won the constructors championship today and Jenson the Driver’s at Barcelona…the psychological advantage he has is massive and anybody challenging has to upset that first. I think its simply amazing that Button has been with us all this time and all we knew was that he was smooth….no one mentioned that he was relentless!

  11. HounslowBusGarage said on 24th May 2009, 20:24

    It’s not just the car that’s mighty, it’s the Mercedes engine as well. Evidently, Button has won the last three GP’s on the same engine. Now that’s impressive.

  12. Brawn said on 24th May 2009, 20:48

    Its amazing there can be such a difference between the Brawn and the Mclaren when they have the same engine. Mclaren even has Kers and cant keep up. It cant just be the diffuser, its probably the most simple thing. Think everyone will still catch up, its already begun.

  13. Cameron said on 24th May 2009, 21:30

    Up until this point, I’ve had trouble coming to terms with the fact Button may well have one of the greatest championship domminations in the history of F1. It really bothered me for some reason. Although I’ve always been a bit of a fan of Jensen, I just didn’t really think his raw talent was deserving of being regarded so highly. However, as this season progresses two things are beginning to happen.

    1, I am getting very bored very fast. I prefer close championship battles to run away ones.

    and 2, I’m become somewhat proud of Button, and almost happy for him. As a die hard McLaren loyalist all my life, admitting I’m a secret Alonso, Schumacher, Raikkonen, Vettel, Button fan is a challenge. But, the more this goes on, the more I’m starting to think come the end of the season, I’ll actually be cheering Jensen on with a proud tear in my eye!

  14. F1Yankee said on 25th May 2009, 0:19

    brawn’s biggest threat is coming up in turkey, where massa and ferrari are dominant. should button win there, prepare to crown brawn and button champs on home soil, halfway through the season.

    while having 2, 3, or more legit contenders would be best, i see nothing wrong with this. good luck brawn!

  15. “Can Button win as many races as Schumacher did in 2004?” – not without a technical veto in hand..

    i don’t think ferrari will be dominant in turkey this year, they were in past years but this year they have the same high speed aero problem as mclaren and turkey is a medium-low downforce track with long straights and fast flowing corners (esp t8)..

    looks like the all-tracks-suitable brawn car will make the next race another boring affair..

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