Vettel equals record for best start to a season

2011 Monaco GP stats and facts

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Monaco, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Monaco, 2011

No driver in F1 history has made a better start to a season than Sebastian Vettel has over the first six races of 2011.

Five wins and a second place from the first six races is as good as any driver has done at the start of a season.

Here’s how he stacks up so far against the drivers who made the best starts to a season:

Year Driver 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
2011 Sebastian Vettel 1 1 2 1 1 1
1994 Michael Schumacher 1 1 1 1 2 1 1
1992 Nigel Mansell 1 1 1 1 1 2 DNF
2009 Jenson Button 1 1 3 1 1 1 1
2002 Michael Schumacher 1 3 1 1 1 1 2
1965 Jim Clark 1 NE 1 1 1 1 1
1969 Jackie Stewart 1 1 DNF 1 1 1 2
2004 Michael Schumacher 1 1 1 1 1 DNF 1
1954 Juan Manuel Fangio 1 NE 1 1 4 1 1
1952 Alberto Ascari NE DNF 1 1 1 1 1

DNF: Did not finish; DNS: Did not start; NE: Not entered

Read more about those drivers’ achievements here.

Vettel started from his 20th career pole position, which gives him as many as Fernando Alonso and Damon Hill.

It was his 11th consecutive front row start and Red Bull’s seventh pole position in a row.

His 15th race win puts him on a par with Lewis Hamilton.

For Red Bull it was their 20th victory. They are ninth in the list of all time winners, behind Tyrrell with 23.

Jenson Button gave McLaren their 10,000th lap in the lead of a race. They are only the second team to achieve this, the other being Ferrari.

McLaren also scored points for the 25th race in a row – the entirety of the Button-Hamilton partnership.

Remarkably for two of the most famous and prestigious names in motor racing, Ferrari have not won the Monaco Grand Prix in the last ten attempts. Here’s how they’ve fared since Michael Schumacher last won for them in 2001:

Year Highest car Driver
2002 2nd Michael Schumacher
2003 3rd Michael Schumacher
2004 3rd Rubens Barrichello
2005 7th Michael Schumacher
2006 5th Michael Schumacher
2007 3rd Felipe Massa
2008 3rd Felipe Massa
2009 3rd Kimi R??ikk??nen
2010 4th Felipe Massa
2011 2nd Fernando Alonso

Mark Webber set the tenth fastest lap of his career, four of which have come this season. He now has as many as Graham Hill, John Surtees and Mario Andretti.

Kamui Kobayashi achieved his best ever finish with fifth place.

Williams finally scored their first points of the year courtesy of Rubens Barrichello.

The safety car made its first appearance of 2011.

Despite a troubled race, Lewis Hamilton finished in the points for the tenth time in a row, Fernando Alonso has been in the points for 12 consecutive races.

Alonso, Heikki Kovalainen and Vitantonio Liuzzi are the only drivers who have out-qualified their team mate in every race this year.

Vitaly Petrov failed to reach Q3 for the first time in 2011.

Mercedes failed to score for the second time this year.

Review the year so far in statistics here:

Spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the Monaco Grand Prix? Share them in the comments.

2011 Monaco Grand Prix

Browse all 2011 Monaco Grand Prix articles

Advert | Go Ad-free


95 comments on Vettel equals record for best start to a season

1 2 3
  1. Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 30th May 2011, 11:02

    Jenson Button has a very interesting record at Monaco – he either finishes on the podium (2nd in 2004, 1st in 2009, 3rd in 2011) or he doesn’t finish at all (every other year except 2003 and 2005 where he couldn’t race).

  2. Simon said on 30th May 2011, 11:04

    As good as Vettel has been so far, I just hope someone can start to take some race wins off him now. Mclaren look to be the only realistic challengers at the moment.

    I’d also forgotten how dominant Button was at the start of 2009.

    • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 30th May 2011, 14:54

      At least Button had some actual opposition. Although Red Bull made a huge amount of mistakes in the first 7 races, they were just as fast if not faster in half the races.

    • Joey-Poey (@joey-poey) said on 30th May 2011, 15:56

      As much as I hate to admit it, Ferrari seems to have a chance at winning a few. Had the race not been red flagged, Button would have had to get by Fernando even if both of them got by Vettel.

  3. Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 30th May 2011, 11:10

    Also, HRT get their best finish of the season so far wirh 16th and 17th.

  4. Funkyf1 said on 30th May 2011, 11:22

    Williams would have scored more points if Hamilton didn’t take out Maldonado

  5. ledzep4pm (@ledzep4pm) said on 30th May 2011, 11:23

    For Hamilton
    Is two penalties and a deleted qualifying time a record for a weekend ??
    May be number of incidents with stewards in a season?? Malaysia weaving, Spain reprimand, 3 in Monaco (off the top of my head)

    • sato113 (@sato113) said on 30th May 2011, 11:48

      given the circumstances, 6th wasn’t a bad result for him!

      • Commendatore said on 30th May 2011, 11:59

        To compensate for his undeserving result & his dangerous and infantile driving in Monaco yesterday, the stewards should have banned him for the Canadian GP (or even better for the British GP).
        That way he might have learnt his lesson!!!

        • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 30th May 2011, 14:55

          Yeah, how dare he overtake in a non DRS zone.

        • f1alex (@f1alex) said on 30th May 2011, 14:58

          Err, I don’t necissarily agree that everything he did was dangerous, but in general I think there should be a limit on the number of penalties (in one weekend) before a grid drop or something, similar to the three strike reprimand rule.

          • Snow Donkey said on 30th May 2011, 16:58

            I agree, but I do not feel it should carry over to the next weekend. Maybe an exclusion from the results of the event in question. I also do not feel that a deleted time should be considered a penalty, it’s just not a valid lap, try again type of deal (pity he didn’t have time to).

          • f1alex (@f1alex) said on 30th May 2011, 17:18

            Now that you mention it, Snowdonkey, I think your idea is a better one, because the problem with a grid drop is that they are punished for the one weekend by getting the three (or whatever number) penalties, and then punished again two weeks later in the form of a grid drop because they got too many, even if they did nothing wrong on that weekend. It would probably be better if the punishment is restricted to the weeked the driver offended, rather than another race.

      • Palle (@palle) said on 30th May 2011, 18:34

        Yes, if not for the red flag, the rear wing collapse could have caused a DNF for him.
        But why are they allowed to repair and change tyres in the break?
        Sadly the red flag kind of destroyed the tension, which had been built, during Buttons catch up. But a very exciting Monaco GP indeed.

  6. GameR_K (@gamer_k) said on 30th May 2011, 11:28

    Well records are meant to be broken. We wouldn’t know which car/driver combo might win the first 6 races by next year. Is that even possible? We wouldn’t know at this point. Same with the championship. Also the new points system makes this gap look humongous. Two or three bad races for the leader and everyone else will be in the reckoning for the title hunt. Besides, we still don’t know what effect the Bulls will have when the exhaust thing gets banned by the FIA. Long way to the season, so there is no point in moaning how Vettel is bad for the championship. It is an unfair game, as only two people get to drive the RBR this season. But that is how it has been for a very long time.

    • Palle (@palle) said on 30th May 2011, 18:44

      Nothing unfair about that – if You want to see drivers compete in exactly the same equipment there are other racing series, where that happen. F1 is a constructors, team and driver sport. Don’t focus on the drivers alone. We have always seen periods of varying length with a dominant combination of constructor/team/drivers and that is the spirit of F1. If You watch cycling, tennis, or whatever the equipment is almost standard, but not F1.

  7. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 30th May 2011, 11:40

    I read somewhere that Kovalainen has now taken JJ Letho’s record of most races (consectutive I think) without a point for a Finnish driver (somewhere around 30).

    The rise of Red Bull is quite a remarkable story when you think that they only scored their first win in 2009…

  8. RSWF1 said on 30th May 2011, 11:40

    It can be noted that Shuey only won in 1994 by 1 point… its a long season, thankfully!

    • sato113 (@sato113) said on 30th May 2011, 11:48

      very good point

    • Ned Flanders said on 30th May 2011, 12:09

      Yes, but that was the textbook example of a rigged championship. If Ecclestone hadn’t been looking to hold Schumacher back to keep the interest going until the end of the season, he would’ve been an easy winner

    • Neil said on 30th May 2011, 13:30

      He did only win by 1 point, but he also had 2 exlusions, 2 DNFs, and 2 retirements.

      • Robbie said on 30th May 2011, 14:29

        Senna’s death, illegal fuel fillers, illegal traction control, worn skid plates, the whack on DH for the ‘win’…94 is not a year to which to be comparing strong/record-breaking season starts. That would be like saying a bank robber and an entrepreneur are both millionaires, therefore they are comparable and honourable.

        • Neil said on 30th May 2011, 17:50

          The point im making is that for Vettel to lose this championship, hes going to have to have _alot_ of zero points finishes.


        • David-A (@david-a) said on 30th May 2011, 23:20

          The bank robber example is rather extreme. His point is that Vettel will need DNFs or failures to score (whether by being DQed, banned, or simply crashing or having a mechanical failure), if anyone is to catch him. Not likely.

          • Robbie said on 31st May 2011, 16:57

            Yeah it was really moreso Ned Flanders that I was responding to, who made it sound like BE held MS back in 94, when in fact Benetton was rife with actual illegalities, suspected illegalities, and the controversial whack on DH, ie. not an honourable year or start to a year to be comparing to anyone, including SV this year.

            I fully agree that SV is going to be damn hard to catch this season, and it won’t happen because we are about find out they have major illegalities going on with the car, or are withholding computer codes from the FIA, or have overly worn skid plates, or that SV is going to whack someone off the track for a ‘win’…

            So all I’m saying is 94 was a terrible and dishonourable year for MS/Benetton, and just because MS had one of the strongest starts to a season that year does not make it a season they should be proud of or that we should be comparing SV’s far more honourable season start to…

  9. Jelle van der Meer (@jelle-van-der-meer) said on 30th May 2011, 11:56

    On Vettel’s lead yes it is big but even if he finishes 3rd all the remaining races the championship is not a guarentee win.

    Vettel has bad start but has a long way to go once we get to race 13 to beat MSC 2004 start of 12 wins and 1 DNF

    All other active drivers combined have overtaken MSC with # of wins – MSC has 91 and all others have 95.

    Vettel now has a 22.1% win ratio, 36.8% podium ration and 29.4% pole ratio.

    Alonso with 65 podiums is ranked 5th in all time list, behind MSC with 154, Prost 106, Senna 80 and Barrichello 68.

    Nick Heidfeld continuous his run of starts without a win now 180 – unfortunately I think he will not be allowed to break Cesaris record of 208 unless he gets a race seat for 2012.

    Rosberg is leader in # of starts without a pole, 95 at the moment – Johnny Herbert holds the record with 160 closely followed by Martin Brundle at 158.

    Sutil is leader in # of starts without a podium, 77 at the moment – Pierluigi Martini holds the record with 119.

    The current active drives have now more than 25% of all points ever scored – 6833.5 points out of total 24512 points

  10. Journeyer (@journeyer) said on 30th May 2011, 12:14

    Oh, I should correct myself there. Button either finishes on the podium or he doesn’t score. :D Thanks for that, TheNikii!

    PS. Keith, the reply function isn’t working for me in IE9.

  11. Ned Flanders said on 30th May 2011, 12:22

    Almost half the field scored their best finish of the season yesterday: Ferrari (2nd), Sauber (5th), Force India (7th), Williams (9th) and Hispania (16th). Lotus did too (13th), but they were technichally classified in that position in Australia after the Sauber’s were excluded.

    Surely that is quite an unusual occurance over a quarter of the way into a season? I suppose it reflects the fact that reliability is so great these days that the frontrunners are usually the same at each race. I miss the days of attrition…

  12. Jelle van der Meer (@jelle-van-der-meer) said on 30th May 2011, 12:23

    Keith to confirm but Kieth’s article on “”Furious Hamilton calls penalties “a joke”” is the most commented article in history of this website

    So far 762 comments and counting :-)

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 30th May 2011, 12:30

      I think you’ve got the record for most different spellings of my name in one comment :-)

      I’m not sure if that’s the record but I’d be very surprised if it’s not the most comments in under 24 hours. As you’d expect, there’s quite a few unpublished comments on that article too!

  13. Damon (@damon) said on 30th May 2011, 12:24

    It was the 4th time in a row that when Vettel gets the pole position and the win, Webber has the fastes lap of the race.

    Webber’s had 4 FLAPs in 6 races this season, and he only won in Spain, where he didn’t have the FLAP.
    Mark Webber has scored more points this season after round six than he had last year.

    However, Webber led the championship last year (tied with Vettel) on 78 points, and this year although having scored one point more (79), he’s only third, and trailing by a gigantic margin of 65 points behind Vettel.

  14. verstappen (@verstappen) said on 30th May 2011, 12:27

    It was Vettel’s first Monaco win.

  15. sw6569 (@sw6569) said on 30th May 2011, 12:27

    What is sad about Vettel’s record is the amount of points he has. It would have taken any driver pre 2010 almost 2.5 seasons to accrue that many points. The record books are being ruined.

1 2 3

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.