Ayrton Senna, Alain Prost, McLaren, 1989

Fifth pole in a row puts Vettel in sight of Senna’s record

2011 Turkish GP stats and factsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Ayrton Senna, McLaren, 1989
Ayrton Senna, McLaren, 1989

Could Sebastian Vettel match or beat Ayrton Senna’s record of eight consecutive pole positions?

Vettel set his fifth in a row in Turkey this weekend and Red Bull have taken pole in 19 of the last 23 races.

The last driver to set pole in five consecutive races was Fernando Alonso in 2006.

Ayrton Senna set the record for most consecutive pole positions between 1988 and 1989.

Here are the drivers who’ve set more consecutive pole positions than Vettel – quite a few of whom also did so in cars designed by Adrian Newey:

Most consecutive pole positions

Driver Poles Races
Ayrton Senna 8 1988 Spanish GP – 1989 United States GP
Ayrton Senna 7 1990 Spanish GP – 1991 Monaco GP
Alain Prost 7 1993 South African – Canadian GP
Michael Schumacher 7 2000 Italian GP – 2001 Brazilian GP
Niki Lauda 6 1974 Dutch – Italian GP
Ayrton Senna 6 1988 Brazilian – United States GP
Ayrton Senna 6 1989 Belgian – Australian GP
Nigel Mansell 6 1992 South African – Monaco GP
Mika Hakkinen 6 1999 British – Italian GP

Victory number 13 means Vettel enters the top 20 drivers who’ve won the most races, tied with Alberto Ascari and David Coulthard.

Vettel has also led over 80% of the laps so far this year.

While his team mate wins everything else, Mark Webber has bagged fastest lap in the last three races. He now has nine, as many as Denny Hulme, Ronnie Peterson and Jacques Villeneuve did in their F1 careers.

The pair gave Red Bull their ninth one-two finish. The three other teams who have scored more one-twos are a long way ahead: Williams (33), McLaren (47) and Ferrari (81).

The race saw 81 pit stops, even more than was witnessed at the famed 1993 European Grand Prix at Donington Park when on-off rain caused some drivers to make more than half-a-dozen stops each.

Five drivers have out-qualified their team mates in all four races so far this year: Vettel, Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg, Heikki Kovalainen and Vitantonio Liuzzi.

Alonso finished in the points for the tenth race in a row.

None of the Cosworth-engined cars have scored points so far this year.

On lap 22 Jenson Button started the 10,000th lap of his career. He is the eighth driver to do so.

Most laps raced

Driver Laps
Rubens Barrichello 15784
Michael Schumacher 15121
David Coulthard 12394
Jarno Trulli 11652
Giancarlo Fisichella 11509
Riccardo Patrese 11346
Alain Prost 10540
Jenson Button 10036

Spotted any more interesting stats and facts from the Turkish Grand Prix? Post them in the comments.

Review the year so far in statistics here:

2011 Turkish Grand Prix

Browse all 2011 Turkish Grand Prix articles

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96 comments on “Fifth pole in a row puts Vettel in sight of Senna’s record”

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  1. Interesting stats.
    Also Keith, there are two columns but both containing driver names. (this is in the total laps completed table on the mobile version)

    1. Glitch in the table – have fixed it, thanks.

    2. Senna is going DOWN!

      1. Grabthebull !
        9th May 2011, 12:04

        That means he has to get pole At Canada too? Hamilton will have that one!
        To save his hero’s record!

        1. I can’t see Vettel getting pole in Monaco or Canada. I think he could do it next race but I don’t see him getting passed that.

  2. Maybe he can do it having a superior car. Unless Webber can pull the plug. :)

    1. Well, Mansell 1992 and Prost 1993, and Schumacher 2000-2001, were also in superior cars, without a teammate who could match them (Senna’s records are also in quite good/superior cars, but he did have an able team mate for at least some of it), so I guess that’s a given with this record. Senna having multiple runs is quite impressive.

      1. It really is, considering no one else is on that list more than once, and Senna is 4 times, really showcases how over a single flying lap, he was the best.

      2. Well it’s well-documented that often in 1988 Prost didn’t bother in qualifying because he knew he’d be 2nd at least, so concentrated on race set-up.

        Senna’s run of 7 is to me the most impressive from that list (I don’t know too much about the 1974 season)

  3. The most laps raced is interesting, but it isn’t a coincidence that 4 out of the 8 are stil driving in F1, and two more were driving until a few years ago – I guess that with more and more races per season, this statistic will get inflated ever more.

    1. Very true again, though I was really surprised to see that Button has completed that many laps in F1. When you think of him, you don’t often think of how he has the 8th longest career in terms of laps in the history of the sport.

    2. You must also take into account the fact that the current cars are almost unbreakable and able to complete most of the races they enter.

      1. And that drivers choose to end their careers these days rather than injury/death

      2. plus, we have a lot more races per season compared to the 90s, 80s…

  4. We saw a safest start to the season now from 2005. No safety cars in last 4 races. Just a bit interesting?

    1. Interesting!
      What is the record for the maximum races in a row without safety car?

      1. Not sure, but it to be fair it should be after the SC was introduced (otherwise it would run from that first Canada race with a SC until the last race where it did not ever appear)

    2. I was wondering that too.

      Somewhat mystified by EJ’s comment on the BBC coverage that we’ve had no safety cars this year because drivers are taking it easier in the first couple of laps though: I wonder if Keith could find any stats on what the most frequent time for safety cars is in the race? My personal feeling is that start-line carnage has been much less common for the last decade or so and SCs are usually caused towards the middle of the race either by tired drivers crashing or by mechanical/suspension failures…

      1. I don’t think it’s so much that they’re taking it easier as it is acknowledging that you can never win the race at the first corner. This is even more true now that it is possible to overtake on track.

        1. Exactly. The drivers don’t need to take the risks they used to.

  5. Oh, I wish the record would not be broken! for our fun!

    1. Records are meant to be broken, have fun :)

      1. Well it could be interesting in a way but I’m sure not for the championship!

  6. With all the talk about Red Bull Domination I’m waiting to see if they can match 1988 McLaren and win all but 1 race this season.

    1. That would be terrifying! I mean, good on em’ if they can do it. I hope they can’t honestly, but if they do that will make the statement of all statements. As it is Vettel is just perfect so far. Everyone else really needs to step up their game.

      Great article Keith! The stats and facts is always my favorite :)

    2. With the resurgence of Ferrari, and McLarens being already competitive, I don’t think that will happen.

    3. When Button was dominating the first races of 2009, he won all races from Australia to Turkey, with the exception of China, and then didn’t win any more races. Hopefully we’ll see something like that again!

      1. Unlikely. Red Bull showed over 2010 that they could develop their car and maintain it’s advantage.

        Infact, the RB6 at the end had a bigger performance advantage than at the start!

        1. While they maintained the advantage, they didn’t maintain the gap.

    4. They stand a good chance of winning the most races in a season. McLaren won 15 out of 16 that year iirc, and with 15 (or 16 if Bahrain is included) left, they can afford to not-win three…

      1. the worrying thing is that it was from 2009 that Red Bull really took the “bull by the horns” and have come out as the dominent force. i wonder how long until they get to a lull, i cant see it happening this year

    5. Probably not, as there are more races this year.

  7. That’s seriously impressive for Senna..4 separate occasions wow.

  8. One more fact is that it could be the last Turkish GP.

    1. Speculation as fact?

      Thats like saying its fact you could die tomorrow…..

  9. Vettel equalled the record most amount of stops and winning the race, held by Schumacher (France 2004) and Senna (Donington 1993). Though the latter was a special occasion, the former a ridiculously good car and the first 4 yesterday all pitted four times.

    I wonder what the record is for winning whilst making an extra stop? Probably Schumacher’s and his 3-stop in Hungary 1998. Probably a few others out there too.

    1. Hamilton won on a 3 stopper vs Vettel’s 2 stopper in China.

      Probably more impressive is Webber’s first win with = pit stops to his competitors + a drive through.

      Hakinen won Aus 98 despite falsely driving down the pits an extra time

      There’s gotta be plenty more, but the impressive thing about Hungary 1998 was that it was a mid-race switch to a 3 stopper…

      1. Schumacher four-stopper in France would be another.

        Thing is, if it’s just a pit stop strategy that’s won someone a race, it’s not that impressive. If they’ve had to do a bit of passing on the way, that deserves more credit.

        For example, what often gets overlooked about that win of Schumacher’s at Hungary is that Hakkinen had a car problem and held his team mate up. That helped Schumacher to the extent that he was even able to go off at one point and still come out ahead.

        Schumacher’s second win was a good example of winning on an alternate strategy. He made one fewer tyre stop and had to defend from Prost on fresh tyres at the end.

        1. He made one fewer tyre stop and had to defend from Prost on fresh tyres at the end.

          I gues we’ll never see something like this happening again, thanks to DRS…

          1. Vettel did a pretty good job defending from Hamilton for two laps in a row in China, but the difference in tires this year is just too great to defend in that position. I think that has much more to do with it than DRS.

          2. Agreed.

            I hope DRS doesn’t spell the end of 10 laps of defending your position on worn tyres.

            It’s actually a shame it has all come at once. Would be nice to see what affect the super degrading Pirellis would have had without DRS… I’m sure it would have been just as good a ‘show.’

  10. In addition to how many laps they’ve raced can we have the amount of Kilometres they’ve covered? =)

  11. McLaren have taken points from every race since their non-scoring finish at Abu Dhabi in 2009 (Hamilton retired, Kovalainen 11th).

    1. Impressive as well.

  12. I really like these statistics. Shame I cant come up with another interesting one as well.

    Only one I can think of, this is the second race in a row where all but 1 starter finished.

  13. Over the last 2 seasons and 4 races, Vettel has won 12 Grand Prix, which is a 30% record.

    Sounds impressive. Except Damon Hill took 21 wins from 49 over three seasons, a 43% ratio. Vettel could well beat that though and my point isn’t that Vettel is only as good as Damon Hill (which isn’t too bad!), rather that before we go saying about how records are being broken because of dominant cars and more races, the original records were set for pretty much the same reasons.

    1. Twenty-one across 4 seasons (3 in ’93, 6 in ’94, 4 in ’95, 8 in ’96). Making 21/69 for Hill which is still impressive.

      1. Yeh sorry, that was completely wrong. 18 from 49, 21 from 65, 37% and 32% respectively.

  14. Vettel’s first 4 races (1, 1, 2, 1) are the most dominant since Schumacher’s title winning run in 2004 (1, 1, 1, 1, 1), surpassing Button’s start to 2009 (1, 1, 3, 1).

    Vettel’s first 4 races have also beaten Schumacher’s first 4 in 2002 (1, 3, 1, 1) and 2000 (1, 1, 1, 3) and he’s still on course to emulate Schumacher’s feat of finishing every race on the podium, which he did in 2002.

    1. I’ll be interested to see if he can beat Hill’s 1996 record of always being on the front row too.

      1. Unless there’s a wet qualifying (and possibly even then: he’s good in the wet) I’d say he’s looking good for that one :)

        1. Monaco (Doesn’t like the track) and Montreal are gonna be a challenge for Pole.

          Monza is definitely gonna be a challenge for front row.

  15. Excluding Korea, Vettel has finished in the top 2 in every race since Monza 2010 (where he came 4th), winning all but 2 (Singapore 2010 and China 2011).

    1. That is a scary statistic and highlights what I’ve been saying: The domination already started long before.

      Pretty sure he would have won Korea had it not been for the engine either.

    2. Now THAT is an interesting statistic.

  16. This is why they shouldn’t have DRS at all in Quali. The fact that the red bull DRS system gives a greater speed advantage than Mclaren is a massive advantage in quali as the DRS can be opened whenever whereas its clear to see that the Mclaren is much closer in race pace. Quali would be a lot closer without DRS

    1. I agree, this was my fear at the start of the year.. The current DRS qualifying rules only distinguish between drivers within the same team and in some case when two teams have a similar-performing car.

      I must be the only one to think the DRS rules are fine in the race (apart from the actual placing of the zones) but the qualifying rules are flawed!

      1. Or rather, I think I’m the only one.

        1. Considering that the Mercedes DRS is the best of the rest(apart from the glitches they suffer), they should be storming the grid. But ofcourse we all know that it is not enough. So maybe you can point out what this ‘greater speed advantage’ is.

          1. The Mercedes car is not really competetive in race pace. The DRS of the Merc obv aided quali as Rosberg was a sitting duck in the race with as he struggled with race pace because fundementaly the merc isn’t good enough. DRS put the merc in an grid position that in terms of race pace is false. I believe quali should mirror race pace. What im saying is that if the DRS wasn’t so significant cars wouldn’t get stuck behind slower cars on sundays and quali would be a lot closer

          2. Maybe you can point out how we know Mercedes’ is the best too?

            I think the point about Red Bull is their downforce creates so much drag, with the DRS in use everywhere they can somewhat have the best of both worlds (to an extent).

          3. Sorry, I misread what you said and get your point.

          4. Merc is often mentioned to be most powerful in that it sheds most drag, but that doesn’t mean it is the best, ie. most effective, over a race weekend, as it might mean they can’t use it as often as for example Red Bull. Also, they had those design-fault induced aero issues, and practical problems with it working at all. That rather muddles the picture.

        2. If you want quali to match race pace then you want to watch a procession.

          1. It can’t possibly be as boring as watching Vettel do an early fast lap in Quali 3 and then get out the car knowing no-one can come close to his time. It’s all very YAWN knowing that red bull will definatley be on pole

          2. We don’t need DRS for quali and race pace to be different. It’s been different for decades.

    2. The fact that the red bull DRS system gives a greater speed advantage than Mclaren is a massive advantage in quali

      Then McLaren have to ask themselves: Why is it that Red Bulls DRS system does that? As do all of the other teams.

      This is F1, not GP2.

      The DRS are not a standard spec part. Some are better than others. Make a better one.

      1. DRS was introduced as an overtaking aid. There is no overtaking in quali so in my opinion it shouldn’t be used in quali.

        Mclaren have a larger flap that yields more downforce and less DRS Potential. Red bull are the opposite in this sense but if DRS was banned in quali i believe RBR would still have the same spec due to the car bing slow in a straight line in general.

        This would even up quali and and raceday and make it more entertaining rather that Vettel getting Pole and running off in the distance whilst the rest of the cars lose time battling it out to get in front of slower cars that start in a false position due to DRS in quali

        1. This would even up quali

          The FIA should not introduce rules just to disadvantage one team that has done a good job.

          Using DRS well in qualifying is a challenge for drivers and it’s great to watch. Vettel, for example, has often been spotted opening his earlier than Webber.

          I think it’s great how it allows us to see the difference between drivers and there’s no good reason to stop using it in qualifying.

          The races, however, are a different matter. There were yet more ‘motorway passes’ yesterday and I don”t think that’s a good thing for F1.

          1. I agree on that account. It was great seeing Vettel open it at the end of turn 8 (not after the turn, just after the 3rd apex).

            THat is a very nice show of who can/dares. Although the massive downforce of the red bull cars does get highlighted by this in qualifying.

          2. But it doesn’t really show the quality of the drivers, except between cars that have a similar performance. Between cars that have a clear difference in downforce/traction, it actually makes the drivers count for less and exacerbates the difference between the cars.

            @VXR I don’t think any team really has that much of a better system (the angle is prescribed by the regulations, after all), but the characteristics of the cars lead to DRS being a greater influence. For example HRT and Virgin probably aren’t getting that much more speed.

        2. Play to the rules.

        3. mclaren are free to design a new DRS then. but the real difference between the 2 is their engine mapping. RBR lean towards gearing that favours qualifying, that is, having 7th gear open enough to gain from the DRS on every straight. in the race this means their gearing is a little compromised (at the straights with no DRS) so mclaren and others appear to catch up on race pace.

  17. Keith, these guys here report only 73 pitstops at Istanbul: http://www.motorsport.com/#/F1/article/?v=2&s=1&i=2&id=404726

    1. I could barely read the page so I’ll have to take your word for it that’s what they’re saying.

      The FIA’s pit stop summary says there were 82 visits to pit lane.

      One of those was Pastor Maldonado’s drive-through penalty. I can’t account for a figure of 73.

      1. Ok, thank you, keep up the good work!

      2. Maybe they excluded some stops where drivers got in mainly because of damage (although I remember only Schu doing so).

  18. Dan_the_McLaren_fan (@dan_the_mclaren_fan)
    9th May 2011, 10:47

    4th race this year, and still not a single SC period. Was there a season when a SC appeared later than that?

  19. Am I right in thinking that this is now 6 races without a safety car? Anyone know the records on these things?

    1. No, it’s four, there was one in Abu Dhabi. I think someone has posted this earlier in the comments.

  20. Nurburgring 2007 had more pit stops than Donington 1993.

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