Vettel can win the championship in Singapore

2011 Italian GP stats and facts

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Monza, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Monza, 2011

Sebastian Vettel can win the championship with five races to spare at Singapore.

He matched Kimi Raikkonen’s tally of wins in Italy while Red Bull drew level with Tyrrell.

Read on for more stats and facts from the Italian Grand Prix.

Vettel on course for the title

Vettel’s 18th victory puts him tied for 13th on the list of all-time winners with Kimi Raikkonen.

This was the 23rd win for Red Bull, who have now won as many races as Tyrrell, and are tied for eighth on the list of all-time winners. It was their first victory in the Italian Grand Prix, and the first for a Renault-engined car since Johnny Herbert’s with Benetton in 1995.

Vettel set the 25th pole position of his career meaning he has been on pole position for exactly one-third of the races he has started. He is now eighth on the list of drivers with the most pole positions.

This was Vettel’s tenth pole position of the season. With six races to go he is closing in on Nigel Mansell’s record of 14 in one year, from 1992.

He can win the world championship in Singapore if he leaves with a lead greater than 125 points. He’s currently 112 ahead, so he needs at least a podium finish to achieve it, with his various rivals finishing well behind him.

If he does that, and wins the title with five races to spare, it will be one of the earliest championship conclusions ever. The earliest championship victories in terms of the number of races remaining are:

Driver Races left
2002 Michael Schumacher 6
1992 Nigel Mansell 5
2001 Michael Schumacher 4
2004 Michael Schumacher 4

This is particularly impressive given that the relative value of winning in points terms fell when a new points system was introduced in 2003. However, applying the last two championship points systems to this year’s results yields a similar situation each time.

Red Bull, however, will have to wait until at least Suzuka to get their hands on the constructors’ championship trophy.

Vettel has now led 521 laps this year from a total of 778 (66.97%). That means he’s already in the top ten for most laps led in a season.

If he continues at this rate he will beat the record for most laps led in a season, which stands at 694 and was set by Mansell in 1992. The highest proportion of laps led in a season is 71.47%, set by Jim Clark in 1963.

Five champions in the top five

Mark Webber posted Red Bull’s first retirement of the year. That leaves Vettel as the only driver to have completed every race this year, and every racing lap to boot.

Jaime Alguersuari achieved his best finish in an F1 race with seventh place. He is the fifth driver to finish in the points from 18th on the grid this year.

In his second race for Renault, Bruno Senna scored the first points of his F1 career with ninth place.

Vitantonio Liuzzi was out-qualified by his team mate for the first time this year.

Virgin have set a new record for most F1 race starts without scoring a point.

Their cars have started 32 races since the beginning of last year without finishing in the points. See the Belgian Grand Prix stats and facts for more on this.

Vitantonio Liuzzi started his 75th Grand Prix, as did Vettel. One did rather better than the other…

Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap, the 11th of his career, putting him level with Mark Webber.

The Italian Grand Prix had the fewest pit stops of a race so far this year: 35. Prior to that the lowest was 44 at Melbourne. The highest was 85 in Hungary.

Finally, the top five finishers in the race were all previous world champions. If anyone can provide any examples of that happening in the past, or any occasions where there have been more world champions in the top finishing positions, please share them in the comments.

Review the year so far in statistics here:

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

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93 comments on Vettel can win the championship in Singapore

  1. Anthony said on 12th September 2011, 10:22

    Vettel can also beat Mansell’s pole position record if he poles in 5 of the last 6. Mansell had 14 poles in 1992 and Vettels currently on 10. Vettel is probably the best qualifier in F1 history, he’ll finish with way more than Senna and Schumacher.

    Surely the RB6 must be one of the greatest F1 cars in history up there the great Clark/Lotus days, the Williams of the early/mid 90’s and the Ferrari 2002 and 2004 cars.

    • bosyber said on 12th September 2011, 10:49

      And that’s before you get to the RB(R)7 then? Yes, the RB5,6,7 sequence clearly is a similar sort of greatness. As with the early 2000s Ferrari, it is a combination of a good team/car, and a driver that makes the most of it, even though I think the cars itself are more akin to the Williams cars domination.

  2. damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 12th September 2011, 10:51

    I think percentages is the only accurate way to compare drivers of today and in the past. Vettel will definitely surpass many of the “most” records simply because there are more races in a season in this era, not because he’s been any more dominant. Even if he beats Mansell’s record for most poles in a season, it will be no-where near as impressive. If he managed 17 or 18 poles, then it would be about the same.

    It’s very hard to judge Sebastian Vettel, I think. He’s obviously highly talented and extremely quick, but Mark Webber hasn’t been up to much at all this year and it’s really helped him. I believe that modern F1 really favours the younger drivers rather than the older drivers, as it really is becoming more about technology and managing several things at a time, which is of course no less of a skill than muscling an F1 car from the 70s around the track sideways; it’s just completely different. I can’t yet see that Vettel is as good as Hamilton, Button or Alonso, but I think he’s on par with Massa before his accident. I really would love to see Vettel against the others in the same car… But to be honest, I think Vettel will only get better as he matures more (scarily) and he will end up being as good as, if not better than the aforementioned drivers. The only thing we can hope for is that the other teams get their act together next year, because the RB7 is making the rest look like they’re driving GP2 cars.

    Virgin have set a new record for most F1 race starts without scoring a point.

    And I suspect they will continue to do so every Grand Prix weekend until at least 2013. They really do need to do something fast, because they’re almost being forgotten now.

    • paulguitar (@paulguitar) said on 12th September 2011, 10:57

      I think Vettel is probably as good as Alonso and Hamilton, it is just very difficult to know, since we don’t really have a comparison with a superstar driver.

      I think Hamilton had very little trouble beating Vellel in F3 Euroseries, in 2005, which is the last time we can get a comparison that is not skewed by large differences in equipment. That is not to say though that it would necessarily be the same now though, in equal F1 cars.

    • Guilherme (@the_philosopher) said on 12th September 2011, 20:56

      Even if he beats Mansell’s record for most poles in a season, it will be no-where near as impressive.

      I disagree. If he scores pole position in the 6 remaining races (I wouldn’t bet against that), he would have a 84.2% pole postion rate (the second best in history), which is not that far away from Mansell’s 87.5%

  3. Bulabog said on 12th September 2011, 11:15

    putting hamilton in a redbull wouldn’t necessarily win him a championship and blow vettel or everyone else away. He’s been on a top team since he joined F1, but wasn’t able to maximise it.

    If he was on a redbull, redbull probably will have plenty of DNFs instead of the single DNF webber had so far.

    • paulguitar (@paulguitar) said on 12th September 2011, 11:27

      I think that probably there would be far fewer Hamilton incidents if he was in a Red Bull, since he would not have to over-compensate for a car disadvantage.

      Look back to F3 Euroseries, or GP2, and you can see the situation when Lewis had the same equipment as everyone else. It tended to be total domination.

      In F1, of course, the standards are the highest of all,and it is intrinsic to the sport that the cars are all built by the individual manufacturers. It doesn’t stop me pining for equal cars from time to time, just so we could get a really accurate idea of where the drivers stand against each other.

  4. With the most laps led in a season, you have to look at this percentage wise. Vettel will surely beat the record set by Mansell because we have 4 or 5 more races these days. Love the facts and stats anyway! Personally I think the title will end in Japan, doesnt matter when it ends for me, because in my head its already over, just want to see some great racing now!

  5. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 12th September 2011, 11:47

    I don’t think the first 5 being world champions has ever happened before. For a start, it’s been very rare to even have 5 world champions in the field (I’m not sure we’ve ever had that many before this year); usually by the time a 5th champion is crowned the earliest of the 5 leaves the next year (or dies, in the case of Rindt). We came close again in the early 90s but Mansell and Prost had years out. So I think this really was the first time ever.

    I’m going to bring my Hill 1994-1996 v Vettel 2009-2011 comparison back up now because Vettel’s just completed the same amount of races as Hill did in those years. Apologies if my maths is off:

    Hill:
    – 18 wins over 49 races, 36.7%
    – 30 podiums, 61.2%
    – 18 pole positions, 36.7%
    – 35 front-row starts, 71.4%
    – Pole-to-win ratio 7/18, 38.9%
    – Ratio of victories won from not starting on pole 11/18, 61.1%
    – Races won from all non-pole starts 11/31 35.5%
    – Points percentage 257/490 52.4%

    Vettel:
    – 17 wins over 49 races, 34.6%
    – 30 podiums, 61.2%
    – 24 pole positions, 48.9%
    – 33 front-row starts, 67.3%
    – Pole-to-win ratio 13/24, 54.1%
    – Win from non-pole ratio 4/17, 23.5%
    – Non-pole to win ratio 4/25 16%
    – Points percentage 260/490 53%

    The only worrying one is how few times he wins when he doesn’t start on pole but you could put that down to Red Bull being strongest in qualifying – if he’s not on the front row, he might not be on the pace either. And of course 2009 blurs the stats somewhat, where different cars were good at different tracks and neither Red Bull would have a hope of victory.

  6. Finally, the top five finishers in the race were all previous world champions.

    That is well cool!

  7. Checked a few random races, and found a couple of “x number of champions in the top x” places:
    1967 Mexico: Clark, Brabham, Hulme, Surtees.
    1985 Belgium: Senna, Mansell, Prost, Rosberg and Piquet.
    1986 Canada: Mansell, Prost, Piquet, Rosberg and Senna.

    Of course on the two latter instances, a few of those drivers hadn’t won their championship(s) yet.

    There are plenty of four champions finishing in the top 5, but I think 5 in 5 is the new record.

  8. Vitantonio Liuzzi started his 75th Grand Prix, as did Vettel. One did rather better than the other…

    Haha. I liked that one the most.

  9. Drivers Championship is over, Vettel will take ! But I hope the constructors will be a great two way battle between Red Bull and Mclaren. I know the Red Bull lead is massive, but it only takes two 1 – 2 finishes for Mclaren and Red Bull DNFs or low scores for both drives to close the constructtors gap !

  10. That’s a great one, with all the champions finishing ahead of the non-champions. I can think of some other, though less impressive examples:

    Alonso’s wins in Malaysia, Monaco, Europe and Italy in 2007 – the only world champion on the grid finished in the top 1 positions. Same goes for Schumacher in the 2004 races he won that Villeneuve didn’t drive.

  11. marcusbreese (@marcusbreese) said on 12th September 2011, 13:03

    Hamilton has been beaten by his team-mate every year at Monza. I think this is the only track on the calendar where this is true.

  12. Is that a record? 7 different teams scored points yesterday (Red Bull, McLaren, Ferrari, Mercedes, Toro Rosso, Force India and Renault). Had Perez not had a gearbox failure it would be 8 (Buemi would be 11th instead of 10th but Alguersuari scored for Toro Rosso anyway).

  13. That was the third time in a row Button finished the Italian GP in second.

    Each time he was in front of a Ferrari driver (Raikkonen, Massa and Alonso).

    • Paul Gilbert said on 13th September 2011, 18:54

      Lewis Hamilton managed a similar streak at Valencia in 2008, 2009 and 2010. In both cases, the driver won the Drivers’ Championship in the first of those years, both were beaten by Barrichello in 2009, and both were beaten by Vettel in the third year.

  14. Red Bull now have 14 pole positions in a row – the last driver to beat them on a Saturday was, curiously, Nico Hulkenberg.

  15. Mr draw said on 12th September 2011, 16:40

    Virgin have set a new record for most F1 race starts without scoring a point.

    Their cars have started 32 races since the beginning of last year without finishing in the points. See the Belgian Grand Prix stats and facts for more on this.

    How about the new Lotus-team and HRT?

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