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. savage said on 25th May 2009, 7:34

    If lewis had not introduced his car to the tyre barrier i wonder where he would have been in the mix ?

    • Cameron said on 25th May 2009, 8:02

      A podium berth perhaps? As talented as Lewis is, his talent alone can’t really compete against a far superior car and years of experience. All the power to button… Good in him infact, but as a McLaren loyalist, i’m still hoping for a McLaren win before the reason concludes! :)

    • Sri said on 25th May 2009, 15:02

      Not much ahead than Heikki, whom you failed to note, did a brilliant job, with the car he has. We all know that it is a car which does not have all the shiny parts that one may find on Hamboy’s. So in my opinion, Heikki was doing better, much better than Hamilton would have otherwise, had he not introduced car to the barrier. Their quali times also, speak of the same. The difference from last year and this one, is that the McMerc isn’t that good, and wait… the driver made the difference.

      Hamilton, as Steve Slator noted while commenting, has never had second rung equipment, now may be that is showing up. I don’t know for certain, its just a theory with some facts to it, no flaming please. :P

  2. skova265 said on 25th May 2009, 14:43

    i for one love F1 and have been watching for 16 years, was i Schumacher fan but it was borring because they where always winnig. Because of the fans it would be much nicer to see a repeat of the last 2 or maybe 3 years. I really don’t have anithing against Button obviously he is a very good driver because he clearly did not make any mistakes this year but 1 or 2 DNF would be good so that they could close the championship gap a little bit.

  3. Sri said on 25th May 2009, 15:10

    Attaboy Button. He deserves all he’s getting. Admittedly a Ferrari Fan and proud one at that, but have to hand it to him and Brawn, for accomplishing what they have and will.

    I don’t mind watching a driver at his peak, romping to wins one after another, as long as he’s dignified. Then whe’s not, i guess, its just human to want him to lose, just so he’ll shut-up. Come to think of it and Hamilton comes to mind immediately (yes, he’s not very popular outside Britain, as most would assume). Which is why, i admire Button, he has suffered through years of indignation, driving dog of a car year after year, over the last few years.

    This year, he didn’t even had a confirmed drive and now this. Simply amazing and well deserved. All those who are bored, switch of the telly or watch something else but don’t bleeding complain.

  4. Alonso is still no1

  5. Chalky said on 26th May 2009, 13:16

    I haven’t found it boring at all. In these dominant years you have to appreciate the driving talent and team achievement.
    Bernie made a quip at Martin Brundle (on his grid walk) about it getting “boring” that Button was winning and said there should more variety in the winners.
    Well sorry Bernie and please no silly sandbagging rules to change it.
    Maybe Bernies worried that Button will make his medal system proposal look silly by the half way point in the season?

  6. Paul Sainsbury said on 28th May 2009, 17:12

    Sri….

    ‘We all know that it is a car which does not have all the shiny parts that one may find on Hamboy’s.’

    Um………..no we don’t.

    Could you please provide specific details of which ‘shiny new parts’ Lewis Hamilton runs on his McLaren that Heikki does not have. Also, what is your reliable source for this information?

  7. Paul Sainsbury said on 28th May 2009, 17:12

    Sri….

    ‘We all know that it is a car which does not have all the shiny parts that one may find on Hamboy’s.’

    Um………..no we don’t.

    Could you please provide specific details of which ‘shiny new parts’ Lewis Hamilton runs on his McLaren that Heikki does not have. Also, what is your reliable source for this information?

  8. alexf1man said on 25th May 2011, 17:28

    Schumacher got 5 wins, DNF in Monaco, 7 wins, then two 2nd places in first 15 races of 2004

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