Vettel closes on records for most wins and poles in a season

2011 Singapore GP stats and facts

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Singapore, 2011

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Singapore, 2011

Sebastian Vettel’s extraordinary season continued in Singapore with his third win and fourth pole position in a row.

He is closing on the records for most pole positions, victories and laps led in a single season:

Most race wins in a single season

Vettel needs to win all of the remaining races to beat Schumacher’s record of 13 wins in a season.

Year Driver Wins Races
2004 Michael Schumacher 13 18
2002 Michael Schumacher 11 17
1992 Nigel Mansell 9 16
1995 Michael Schumacher 9 17
2000 Michael Schumacher 9 17
2001 Michael Schumacher 9 17
2011 Sebastian Vettel 9 14/19

Of course it should be remembered there is one more race this year than there was in 2004.

Most pole positions in a single season

Three pole positions from the remaining five races would be enough for Vettel to match Nigel Mansell’s record of 14 set in 1992.

Nigel Mansell, Williams, Imola, 1992

Nigel Mansell, Williams, Imola, 1992

Year Driver Poles Races
1992 Nigel Mansell 14 16
1988 Ayrton Senna 13 16
1989 Ayrton Senna 13 16
1993 Alain Prost 13 16
1999 Mika Hakkinen 11 16
2001 Michael Schumacher 11 17
2011 Sebastian Vettel 11 14/19

Most laps led in a single season

With 294 laps left to run in 2011, Vettel has a strong chance of beating the record for most laps led:

Year Driver Laps led Total laps % led
1992 Nigel Mansell 694 1036 66.99
2004 Michael Schumacher 683 1122 60.87
1994 Michael Schumacher 646 1046 61.76
2011 Sebastian Vettel 582 839/1133 69.37

The highest proportion of laps led in a season is 71.47% by Jim Clark in 1963. To beat that Vettel must lead 228 of the remaining laps this year.

Vettel chalked up his 19th career win putting him alone in 13th on the list of all-time winners. Four more wins this year will put him in the top ten all-time race winners in F1.

The 26th pole position of his career puts him level with Mika Hakkinen in seventh among the drivers who have set the most pole positions.

It was the 15th consecutive pole position for Red Bull. The record for most consecutive pole positions stands at 24, set by Williams between the 1992 French and 1993 Japanese Grands Prix.

Button blocks Vettel’s perfect result

Jenson Button, McLaren, Singapore, 2011

Jenson Button, McLaren, Singapore, 2011

Vettel led every lap of the race, something he has achieved twice before in his career, at Suzuka in 2009 and Valencia last year.

If Vettel had set fastest lap he would have achieved his first ever perfect result of pole position, fastest lap, victory and leading every lap.

But he was beaten to it by Jenson Button, who set the fifth fastest lap of his career. That puts him level with Giuseppe Farina, Carlos Pace, Jody Scheckter, Didier Pironi, John Watson and Michele Alboreto. Vettel has only set fastest lap once during a race this year.

Button finished on the podium for the eighth time this year, giving him twice as many top-three finishes as his team mate.

He also held second place for every lap of the race. This meant the top two positions were unchanged throughout the Grand Prix, as they were last year when Fernando Alonso finished first ahead of Vettel.

Red Bull on verge of title

Vettel gave Red Bull their 24th win, putting them alone in eighth on the list of teams with most wins. They also had their 60th podium finish.

Red Bull are within reach of the constructors’ championship and can win it in Suzuka.

The Singapore Grand Prix has been won by four different teams in as many years: Renault in 2008, McLaren in 2009, Ferrari in 2010 and Red Bull this year.

Alonso failed to finish on the podium at Singapore for the first time.

Fifth race penalty of 2011 for Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton collected his fifth race penalty of 2011, giving him more than any other driver. The other top offenders are Sergio Perez (four), Jenson Button, Pastor Maldonado, Kamui Kobayashi and Paul di Resta (two).

Di Resta achieved the best result of his career so far with sixth. It was Force India’s first double points finish since the Australian Grand Prix.

The balance of power at Sauber continues to tilt towards Sergio Perez. He out-qualified Kamui Kobayashi for the fifth race in a row and gave the team their first points in four races.

Sebastien Buemi marked his 50th race start.

Review the year so far in statistics here:

Spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the Singapore Grand Prix? And can anyone find out whether we’ve ever had five – or more – pairs of team mates occupying the front rows of the grid?

Share your favourite stats from the Singapore Grand Prix in the comments.

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96 comments on Vettel closes on records for most wins and poles in a season

  1. Eggry (@eggry) said on 26th September 2011, 9:35

    Some exciting races but championship battle is disastrous.

    I fear it might repeat 2012…

  2. himmatsj (@himmatsj) said on 26th September 2011, 9:38

    Am pretty surprised Schumacher doesn’t feature prominently in the most pole positions stats despite his dominance all those years.

    • Eggry (@eggry) said on 26th September 2011, 9:42

      Because in his hey days there was refueling. so someone drove 2nd or 3rd fastest car could snatch pole with extremely low fuel if Schumacher decided to go heavy fuel. Remember 2008&2009, Alonso who drove bad car but could manage some poles with low fuel.

      • Also in the 1990′s, and even in the 00′s there were other strong qualifying cars that could beat and challenge him in qualifying (such as the Williams, Mclarens and the Renaults later on) while he was stronger in the race.

        This year the Red Bull in Vettel’s hands is just untouchable in quali trim. No one apart from Webber has really looked like getting pole otherwise.

        For example Schumacher won 9 races in 1995 but was only on pole 4 times, Hill and Coulthard were quicker over a single lap. In 98 he was on pole twice but won 6 races, he was always stronger on race days and people like Mika Hakkinen were very quick over one lap in the late 90′s.

        Back to Vettel, I think he’ll break the poles in a season record but not the races record, although if he continues to perform like this weekend he may well just do it.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 26th September 2011, 9:45

      Remember ‘race fuel’ qualifying started to creep in around 2003, that will have taken the edge off it.

      Plus Williams built a car in 2002 that seemed to be designed to take pole position and nothing else!

      • Eggry (@eggry) said on 26th September 2011, 9:49

        Ha! designed to take pole and nothing else! I like that.

        • didnt JPM have seven and not win any of them.

          remember him hanging on on desperately for the lead at silverstone. with michael trying at every corner. They would probably get a penalty now…..

          • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 26th September 2011, 20:48

            Yeah, JPM got 7 of them, including 5 poles in a row, and yet scored no victories.

            That 2002 Wiliiams was something special over one lap, but couldn’t covert in the race. It’s a shame, I would have loved just one season where Montoya had a car equal to Schumacher and they could have duked it out.

  3. supernicebob (@supernicebob) said on 26th September 2011, 9:39

    This will be the first season in his F1 career that Hamilton has finished behind the defending world champion.

  4. Mark Hitchcock (@mark-hitchcock) said on 26th September 2011, 9:47

    Vettel alone in 13th on the all time winners list. Time for him to get some bad luck, have some retirements and give us some hope for an exciting finish to the season?

  5. Christian said on 26th September 2011, 9:51

    Whilst it’s Hamilton’s fifth race penalty this year, he’s been involved in countless other incidents that were solely his fault. Crashing into Webber and Button in Canada, Swiping across into Kobayashi in Belgium, the incident with Massa in quali yesterday…

    It really demonstrates that something needs to be done. In football, if you get 5 yellow cards over the season, you get a one match ban.

    Something similar needs to be introduced in F1, if only to demonstrate that continual bad driving is unacceptable at the highest level of Motorsport.

  6. To me the most interesting stat is that Vettel has only had one fastest lap this season, I think it shows the level of maturity that he has driven with this year, pulling out a gap when he needs to and carefully monitoring it. It has let him comfortably dictate strategy in a lot of races and he hasn’t taken unnecessary risks by always trying to push the limits. Compared to earlier seasons, Vettel’s performance really has been level-headed and world class.

    • on the other hand, Alonso had to record so many fastest lap that he got DHL fastest lap trophy last year :D One who don’t have to chase would not necessarily have to run fastest pace.

      • Absolutely, he’s in a position where he doesn’t have to push as hard, and the fact that he isn’t is what shows me that he has his head firmly on his shoulders and driving with a maturity that was lacking in previous seasons.

    • celeste (@celeste) said on 26th September 2011, 10:43

      Actually it seem thathe wanted to go for the fastest lap, his team told him not to… is on the FOM press conference drom yesterday…

    • Jelle van der Meer (@jelle-van-der-meer) said on 26th September 2011, 13:46

      Looking at race laptimes be aware that Vettel has the best score throughout the season.

      He has only 1 FLAP this season but many times the 2nd or 3rd fastest lap. Main reasons are that Vettel at end of race often conserves car&engine and also other drivers making late pitstop (strategy or damaged wings) and on fresh rubber and empty car set a quick lap.

      Giving 24 points for FLAP, 23 points for 2nd FLAP etc so far this season Vettel collected 300 points, Webber is 2nd with 294 points and Button is 3rd with 281 points.

      Vettel is leading all tables – practise, qualifying, race position, race points and FLAP points.

  7. Who has the all time record of most penalties in a season?

  8. roberttty (@roberttty) said on 26th September 2011, 10:48

    Singapore has 100% records in:

    1) safety car appearances
    2) penalties
    3) dry races

  9. PJ (@pjtierney) said on 26th September 2011, 11:01

    Has any team ever had a car on pole for every race of the season? Red Bull can still do that.

  10. X1/9 Dave said on 26th September 2011, 11:46

    I think Vettel is a very good driver but not yet great, he just has a great car which Mark is backing up by being as far up the table as he is.
    Put the top six drives all in a red bull and i do not think Seb would win many races if any at all
    Dave

    • Mark is backing that up? Really? He’s 127 points behind him…

      • Well, at least he’s backing up constructor points :P

      • X1/9 Dave said on 27th September 2011, 19:41

        Look at the constructors points they are running away with it it may be 127 points behind but but he is right up there all the time his problems are thet ead bull use him as the testing pad and the this is what we have left over you have to use it, marks red bul has failed a lot more than sebs look at the complete picture not the jaded seb fans rose specs

    • If you put McLaren and Ferrari drivers in Red Bull and take away any advantage Vettel has for being used to the team/car, I’m pretty sure he’d still win at least 5 races this year. At least.

    • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 26th September 2011, 12:50

      I don’t think this is fair assessment at this point. I was saying pretty much the same last year, but not after he won his championship. He is genuinely quick. He’s outclassing Webber and is controlling every race like a true master. He’s definitely among the top 3 best drivers of the grid.

    • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 26th September 2011, 13:38

      Really? If Vettel’s performances in Spa and Monza didn’t open peoples eyes to the fact he is up there with Hamilton and Alonso then nothing will.

    • I think this has to be one of the most overused criticisms of Vettel. And it’s not backed up in any way by actual experience.

      None of the top 6 (or top 3 really) drivers have had anywhere near the level of dominance Vettel has had, when they were in the most dominant car in the field (e.g., Button, Alonso, Hamilton). The only who has is/was Schumacher.

      If you look at this year, Vettel is averaging a grid position of less than 1.3 and a race finish of 1.5.

      If you take 2007 and COMBINE the results for Alonso and Hamilton (the McLaren being the dominant car that year), they had less wins and less pole positions then Vettel already has this year. (Combined they had 8 wins and 8 pole positions). While a McLaren driver was on the podium every race of the year, Vettel already has more podiums himself – 13 – than either Alonso or Hamilton did in 17 races, with each on the podium 12 times.

      So in the best car (McLaren) on the grid, combining the results of the two drivers many say are a class above Vettel (Alonso and Hamilton), they still can’t equal what Vettel has done.

      At this point, I’d say if you put any other driver in the Redbull they more than likely wouldn’t do as well as Vettel. And if they did, it certainly wouldn’t be by much. The only driver on the grid that has been more dominant in a dominant car is Schumacher.

      • Franton said on 26th September 2011, 20:02

        The big fat flaw in that comparison is the other drivers weren’t driving cars with the same level of superiority that Red Bull’s cars have had the last two years.

        No matter what people might say, the quickest AND most reliable car wins championships.

      • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 26th September 2011, 21:02

        Excellent, excellent post!

        A further stat to emphasize that: Vettel has won 9 races this season alone, only one other driver, Button has won 9 or more races since 2009.

        Since 2009

        Vettel has 18 wins
        Button has 10
        Hamilton has 7
        Alonso has 6
        Webber has 6

        Now that ladies and gentlemen is dominance.

    • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 26th September 2011, 20:57

      I beg to differ.

  11. Vettel needs 94 points from the last 5 races to have the highest percentage of total points in a season.

    • Are you sure? Don’t forget to apply the SAME point system for both the record and Sebs count. Example: if Seb had 2 times a second place under the current point system, his percentage would be 36/50, so 72%, but under the point system of 2009, it would be 16/20, or 80%. Big difference, so be carefull with by looking into those statistics.

      • OK.
        if Schumacher used todays system in 2002, he would have got 380/425 points at about 89%.
        Seb would need to get 425 points (another 116) to beat that percentage, so a tough task as a single 3rd place would ruin it.

  12. For the first time in F1 history, teammates filled all the rows inside the top 10 on the grid.

    Itt happened 6 times when teammates ahred the rows inside the top 8: 2006 Suzuka, 2002 Suzuka,2002 Nurburgring, 1992 Imola, 1991 Adelaide, 1988 Paul Ricard.

  13. montreal95 (@montreal95) said on 26th September 2011, 14:45

    1 fastest lap for Vettel only. This strongly reminds me of Ayrton Senna who had very few fastest laps in his career. Not because he couldn’t have them, but because his style was to romp into the distance and then maintain the gap and letting others so try and catch him. Precisely what Vettel does this season. Senna is Hamilton’s hero but at the moment it’s Vettel who is Senna-esque

  14. awadgeorge_ (@awadgeorge_) said on 26th September 2011, 16:39

    Coming from a A.Senna and Alonso fan, i have to admit Vettel is doing incredible things he is matching every single record across the stats of many greats. He has become a team leader just as well as MSC and Alonso, controls his race strategy like Prost, pulls qualifying laps and outpacing his teamate in some by unexplainable margins justl like Senna. And he is doing all this in perhaps one of the most competitive field of drivers in F1 history with 5 world champions and two (web & massa)that came really close to doing it. Hats off to Seb

    • Yes, he’s doing all that against 4 WDC, but we should bear in mind that, like that adage Briatore loves, “you don’t win an F1 race in a Fiat Panda”.

      It would be better for Seb driving vs. closer competition throughout the season and win it. Seb seems to have, always, a bit of speed in his pocket to deliver whenever someone threatens his lead, that’s wise and noteworthy too.

  15. David-A (@david-a) said on 26th September 2011, 19:52

    For the last 12 races, only five drivers have reached the podium. Only seven drivers have reached the podium this season, even less than last year.

    • soulmonkey said on 26th September 2011, 21:15

      This is a telling fact.
      The mid field competitors sucks majorly (when compared to the front running teams). With reliability being as high as it is… we need an extended period of stable rules to bring the cars closer together.

      • Jelle van der Meer (@jelle-van-der-meer) said on 28th September 2011, 18:41

        It also says enough about Massa – he should be more busy with his driving skills then whinning about Hamilton.

        Massa is 2nd rate driver and the most dominated by teammate => Massa’s best result is 5th while Alonso got a win, 3x 2nd, 3x 3rd and 3x 4th.

        Agree Hamilton is off his game but despite his screw ups he remains very quick between crashes and penalties.

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