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

2011 Turkish GP stats and facts

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

  1. Timi said on 9th May 2011, 9:06

    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)

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

    • bosyber said on 9th May 2011, 9:14

      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.

      • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 9th May 2011, 9:32

        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.

      • Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 9th May 2011, 9:34

        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. bosyber said on 9th May 2011, 9:09

    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.

  4. Randy (@randy) said on 9th May 2011, 9:14

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

    • sumedh said on 9th May 2011, 9:44

      What is the record for the maximum races in a row without safety car?

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th May 2011, 9:58

        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)

    • topdowntoedown (@topdowntoedown) said on 9th May 2011, 11:12

      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…

  5. Eggry (@eggry) said on 9th May 2011, 9:18

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

  6. SparkyJ23 (@sparkyj23) said on 9th May 2011, 9:26

    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.

    • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 9th May 2011, 9:35

      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 :)

    • butterdori (@butterdori) said on 9th May 2011, 9:55

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

    • Enigma (@enigma) said on 9th May 2011, 10:17

      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!

      • Oliver said on 9th May 2011, 14:33

        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!

    • topdowntoedown (@topdowntoedown) said on 9th May 2011, 11:14

      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…

      • SamS (@sams) said on 9th May 2011, 15:59

        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

    • Fixy (@fixy) said on 9th May 2011, 16:22

      Probably not, as there are more races this year.

  7. butterdori (@butterdori) said on 9th May 2011, 9:30

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

  8. Gill said on 9th May 2011, 9:35

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

  9. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 9th May 2011, 9:37

    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.

    • plushpile said on 9th May 2011, 10:39

      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…

      • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 9th May 2011, 10:44

        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.

        • sato113 (@sato113) said on 9th May 2011, 13:43

          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…

          • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 9th May 2011, 20:21

            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.

          • John H said on 10th May 2011, 0:18


            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. RIISE (@riise) said on 9th May 2011, 9:40

    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).

  12. BasCB (@bascb) said on 9th May 2011, 10:00

    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. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 9th May 2011, 10:06

    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.

  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.

  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).

    • Oliver said on 9th May 2011, 14:38

      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.

    • Now THAT is an interesting statistic.

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