Vettel’s five in a row as Alonso breaks points record

2013 Japanese Grand Prix stats and facts

Fernando Alonso at least found one thing to be cheerful about after seeing the world championship slip further away in the Japanese Grand Prix:

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali hailed Alonso’s appearance at the top of F1’s all-time points scorers chart as “proof of his extraordinary talent and something which makes us very proud”.

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Suzuka, 2013Alonso’s formidable talent has already earned him two world championships and more race wins than all bar four drivers in the sport’s history. But, as explained here before, the greatest points haul achievement is meaningless.

This is for the obvious reasons that finishing places today are valued much more highly than they used to be and there are far more races in the season. Today’s calendar is pushing 20 races per season and 101 points are distributed at each round. F1’s inaugural season in 1950 had just seven races with a total of 24 points available at each.

So what does the fact that Alonso has reached 1,571 points, surpassing Michael Schumacher’s 1,566 at the top of the table, actually tell us? Little more than that they are both extremely good F1 drivers, something we already knew.

However we can make an attempt to address the shortcomings of the statistics. This table compares the results of all the world champions, plus the top 25 points scorers who never won a title, by adjusting all their points to the current system and by averaging that total against the number of races they competed in:

Name Starts Points Modern points* Modern points per start*
Fernando Alonso 211 1571 2414 11.44
Michael Schumacher 306 1566 3890 12.71
Sebastian Vettel 116 1351 1541 13.28
Lewis Hamilton 125 1074 1452 11.62
Jenson Button 243 1059 1683 6.93
Mark Webber 211 996.5 1311 6.21
Kimi Raikkonen 190 963 1882 9.91
Alain Prost 199 798.5 2483 12.48
Felipe Massa 187 794 1328 7.1
Rubens Barrichello 323 658 1897 5.87
Ayrton Senna 161 614 1881 11.68
David Coulthard 246 535 1726 7.02
Nico Rosberg 143 525.5 670 4.69
Nelson Piquet 204 485.5 1688 8.27
Nigel Mansell 187 482 1509 8.07
Niki Lauda 171 420.5 1343 7.85
Mika Hakkinen 161 420 1382 8.58
Gerhard Berger 210 385 1417 6.75
Jackie Stewart 99 360 1109 11.2
Damon Hill 115 360 1091 9.49
Ralf Schumacher 180 329 1096 6.09
Carlos Reutemann 146 310 1131 7.75
Juan Pablo Montoya 94 307 825 8.78
Graham Hill 175 289 1053 6.02
Emerson Fittipaldi 144 281 994 6.9
Riccardo Patrese 256 281 1111 4.34
Juan Manuel Fangio 51 277.64 873 17.12
Giancarlo Fisichella 229 275 940 4.1
Jim Clark 72 274 839 11.65
Robert Kubica 76 273 488 6.42
Jack Brabham 123 261 939 7.63
Nick Heidfeld 183 259 727 3.97
Jody Scheckter 112 255 896 8
Denny Hulme 112 248 940 8.39
Jarno Trulli 252 246.5 810 3.21
Jean Alesi 201 241 1033 5.14
Jacques Villeneuve 163 235 853 5.23
Jacques Laffite 176 228 921 5.23
Clay Regazzoni 132 212 820 6.21
Alan Jones 116 206 707 6.09
Ronnie Peterson 123 203 731 5.94
Bruce McLaren 98 196.5 745 7.6
Eddie Irvine 146 191 789 5.4
Stirling Moss 66 186.64 616 9.33
Michele Alboreto 194 186.5 767 3.95
Jacky Ickx 114 181 680 5.96
Rene Arnoux 149 181 699 4.69
John Surtees 111 180 656 5.91
Mario Andretti 128 180 671 5.24
James Hunt 92 179 629 6.84
Heinz-Harald Frentzen 156 174 780 5
John Watson 152 169 734 4.83
Keke Rosberg 114 159.5 595 5.22
Patrick Depailler 95 141 551 5.8
Alberto Ascari 32 140.14 446 13.94
Mike Hawthorn 45 127.64 468 10.4
Giuseppe Farina 33 127.33 447 13.55
Jochen Rindt 60 109 358 5.97
Phil Hill 47 98 365 7.77

*Split points scores due to shared drives or reduced race distances have been counted as full points scores.

Vettel wins five races in a row

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2013Sebastian Vettel’s inexorable accumulation of race victories continued in Japan, but this one was special. It was his fifth consecutive grand prix win, something only five other drivers in F1 history have achieved.

He joins Alberto Ascari, Michael Schumacher, Jack Brabham, Jim Clark and Nigel Mansell in scoring five in a row. The last of those drivers to do so was Schumacher, who on separate occasions in 2004 won seven and five races consecutively.

Ascari holds the records for wins in consecutive world championship starts (nine) and races (seven). The Ferrari driver won seven races in a row in 1952 and 1953, did not compete in the 1953 Indianapolis 500 (which counted towards the world championship) then won a further two races in a row.

Suzuka remains Vettel’s stomping ground – he now has four wins in five starts at the track. He failed to continue his 100% pole position record at the track though that was most likely because his KERS had failed.

However he started from the front row for the seventh race running, something Lewis Hamilton also achieved this year.

If Vettel is victorious once more in India he will be the third driver in F1 history to win six races in a row – not to mention being the third driver to win four world championships in a row, joining Schumacher and Juan Manuel Fangio.

Ferrari poised to match McLaren record

Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Hockenheim, 2010Esteban Gutierrez scored the first points of his F1 career with seventh place. He is the first rookie driver this year to claim his first points.

That means Brian Henton is once again the only F1 driver to have set fastest lap in an F1 race but never scored a point. Henton did so for Tyrrell in the 1982 British Grand Prix.

Ferrari claimed points for the 63rd race running which means in India they can tie McLaren’s record for most consecutive points finishes by a team, which they set earlier this year. Ferrari have scored in every race since the 2010 German Grand Prix.

However Ferrari lost the record for most pole positions by an engine builder to Renault. Mark Webber’s pole position was their 209th, moving them one ahead of Ferrari. More details on that in last week’s Stats and Facts.

Webber scored the 12th pole position of his career 364 days after his last once in Korea. It gives him as many as Gerhard Berger and David Coulthard. Coincidentally Webber’s 18th fastest lap also put him level with Coulthard, his previous team mate at Red Bull.

Webber out-qualified Vettel for the first time this year and Max Chilton also lapped quicker than Jules Bianchi in qualifying, meaning no driver has a perfect score against their team mate in qualifying this year.

Red Bull have now had at least one car on the podium for the last ten races in a row.

This was the sixth race Romain Grosjean has led. He headed the field for 26 laps at Suzuka having previously led a total of 12 laps in his career.

Review the year so far in statistics here:

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

2013 Japanese Grand Prix

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125 comments on Vettel’s five in a row as Alonso breaks points record

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  1. Webber out-qualified Vettel for the first time this year and Max Chilton also lapped quicker than Jules Bianchi in qualifying, meaning no driver has a perfect score against their team mate in qualifying this year.

    It’s a shame the former was lost likely due to his KERS failure, but it is amazing nonetheless that both maintained unwavering superiority for so long (even with multiple wet sessions)!

  2. This is a great maths comparison.

    As a Senna Fan (and to be fair an increasingly enthusiastic Vettel van), I have to say that there is a third ratio that needs to be applied. That is the amount of time that a really great driver had to spend in an average car to get going. If Senna had drove the RB for most of his career, as Seb has, I think his points average may have been a bit higher. However, I know that that ratio is impossible to apply because it is so subjective.

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 14th October 2013, 12:58

      Reliability is obviously an important factor too.

      • Indeed. I wonder what Clark’s point per finish would be, rather than points per race.

        • Guilherme (@guilherme) said on 14th October 2013, 17:28

          @debaser91 Clark has 839 modern points, 72 starts, 23 retirements and 1 failure to start. This leaves his points per finish at a staggering 17.48!

        • Actually, the situation is not so clear cut. Chapman was notorious for making his cars less sturdy than usual in his pursuit of speed, a “win or bust” mentality. It is quite likely that if the cars we more robust, their performance would not be so dominant. Statistically, I’d say that some retirements are a random variable that visits all drivers more-or-less randomly and it makes sense to disregard such starts, but some retirements are due to cars being too-on-the-edge or the driver choosing to drive too hard, and these then are a natural payment for the successes. We obviously have no idea what proportion of retirements fall into which category.

  3. Jimmy Hearn (@alebelly74) said on 14th October 2013, 11:16

    Those points are as relevant as Alonso being smart enough not to have have Gutierrez’s eyebrows. Looks good, but its all in vain.

  4. James (@jamesf1) said on 14th October 2013, 11:19

    The modern points table is fascinating. Fangio’s average is immense!

  5. David not Coulthard (@) said on 14th October 2013, 11:30

    What about a table of (Points in today’s system) : (races the drivers have competed).

    • That’s in the last column? Unless you mean races they have completed?

      • David not Coulthard (@) said on 14th October 2013, 12:55

        No, that’s not what I thought the last column is.

        But, I’m afraid you’re right. I just didn’t realise the fact that only the wording was a bit different as soon as I should. The numbers were the one I eneded up asking for.

        And, I must say, Fangio’s cell in the average column looks amazing.

        • pSynrg (@psynrg) said on 14th October 2013, 13:09

          Four names have an average over 13pts.

          Fangio, Ascari, Farina and …. Vettel! :)

          Now naysayers bring on your Vettel’s just a lucky rubbish. To be named with good reason in the same sentence as those three luminaries of F1 history is nothing short of true greatness.

          For god’s sake folks, sit back and enjoy history in the making. Vettel is the real deal!

  6. I’m just going to repost this (what needs to be done to win the titles) from yesterday:

    Red Bull have won (well, Vettel has won) 9 races this season of a possible 19: since Ferrari (Alonso) have won only 2 races, and Mercedes only 3, neither can possibly win 9 races anymore. So Red Bull will win as long as they are 129 points ahead at the end of the Indian Grand Prix.

    Essentially, the minimum needed by Ferrari to stay in the hunt would be a 2-9 or a 4-6 (both 20 points), with Red Bull having a double non-score (highly unlikely considering their last was Italy 2012) or, with a 1-2, Red Bull would need to be no higher than a 3-6!

    Also, on the likelihood of a Ferrari 1-2 and Red Bull scoring a 3-6 or lower (in equivalant points): the last occasion that occurred was the 2010 German GP (coincidentally, exactly those finishing positions!) and the last occasion in which Ferrari outscored Red Bull by 20 points was the 2013 Chinese GP (Ferrari 1-6, 33 points vs RBR 4-DNF, 12 points).

    Probability therefore states that Red Bull should wrap up the constructor’s championship in India, and also for reference the last time Alonso out-scored Vettel by 16 points (he needs to have a 74 point or less gap to Vettel to be mathematically in it – 75 is not enough due to race victories) was the 2012 European GP, of course where Vettel retired from the lead to gift Alonso the win.

  7. andae23 (@andae23) said on 14th October 2013, 11:41

    This is for the obvious reasons that finishing places today are valued much more highly than they used to be and there are far more races in the season. Today’s calendar is pushing 20 races per season and 101 points are distributed at each round. F1′s inaugural season in 1950 had just seven races with a total of 24 points available at each.

    It also has to be mentioned that only the best x number of results counted towards the world championship: so for instance, in 1952 two of Ascari’s victories didn’t count because he had already scored enough victories (and fastest laps) to reach the maximum amount of points that season. A minor detail, but worth mentioning imo.

    • MattDS (@mattds) said on 14th October 2013, 13:17

      While those points didn’t count towards the WDC, I believe all points scored were added to the drivers’ total. And so these would be taken up into these stats.

      Now, one thing that’s still off, I think, is the number of points scoring places. Up until 11 years ago, we only had 6 points scoring positions. Meaning people back then finishing 7-10 did not score points while in current system they do score points.

      Ofcourse that would normally be only a small amount of points as these top drivers tend(ed) to finish up high anyway.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th October 2013, 13:31

      @andae23 Just to be clear, all drivers’ scores are included in the table above, the various ‘dropped scores’ schemes were ignored.

  8. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 14th October 2013, 11:50

    Has anyone noticed in the picture that Fernando Alonso is sitting on Felipe Massa? :-D

  9. andae23 (@andae23) said on 14th October 2013, 12:00

    This is what I noticed:

    – In qualifying, ten of the top eleven drivers qualified in the top eleven last year as well (Kamui Kobayashi’s place was taken by Nico Rosberg).

    – Sebastian Vettel has won five of six races in Asia this season so far. The last time he won less than three race in Asia was in 2008, when he scored his first win.

    – Every race Grosjean finished in the top five this year, he finished third.

    – For the first time since Lewis Hamilton at the Chinese GP, someone managed to finish second for two races in a row.

    – Esteban Gutierrez became the first rookie to score points this season – we had to wait until the fifteenth round for it. The last time the wait for rookies to score was that long was in 1998, when Esteban Tuero and Tora Takagi failed to score a single point that year.

    – But with that, Esteban Gutierrez loses a lot of records he set during the Spanish GP: the record for leading a race and setting fastest lap without ever scoring a point is once again unclaimed. The record for setting fastest lap without scoring a point returns to Brian Henton and (officially, but not actually) Masahiro Hasemi. The record for leading a race without ever scoring a point goes back to Markus Winkelhock.

    – Valtteri Bottas still hasn’t scored a point. The last driver who started more than two races for Williams and didn’t score a single point that year was Alessandro Zanardi in 1999. Sadly the last driver to do so before Zanardi was Ayrton Senna in 1994.

    – For the first time this season, neither Mercedes managed to finish in the top seven.

    – Max Chilton has still finished every race he started. This levels him with Lewis Hamilton, who also managed to finish his first fifteen Grands Prix. He is one race finish away from Tiago Monteiro’s record.

    – After Paul di Resta finished his streak of six consecutive points finishes, he hasn’t scored a point in the last seven races.

  10. Corrado (@corrado-dub) said on 14th October 2013, 12:10

    I’m a Ferrari/Alonso fan, but this record is like a joke ! I mean, Alonso being no.1. For the calculation of this statistic in particular, must be used ONLY 1 points system, like Keith did with the MODERN POINTS column.

    • Strontium (@strontium) said on 14th October 2013, 17:16

      Yes.

      However, it is interesting to note that had the new points system been in use for these years we would have had (forgive me if these are wrong) Alonso beating Hamilton in to second place by 3 points in 2007, Hamilton beating Massa by 2 points in 2008 (at least that would ease the pain a bit), and Button would have won the 2009 a few races earlier.

      It shows how a basic thing like this can affect the overall picture, when in reality the results stay the same.

    • John H (@john-h) said on 14th October 2013, 20:22

      Tweeting it as some sort of achievement I find slightly twisted I must admit. It’s like going back in time and bragging about the speed of your Lada compared to someone on a horse. Sure its a quicker method of transport, but the sense of achievement must be hollow at best.

      • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 14th October 2013, 22:46

        I think if your Lada was faster than a horse that would have been an achievement worth boasting about :P

      • Of course we all know that it doesn’t mean FA is the greatest in F1’s
        History, but surely it is “some sort of achievement”, and it sounds somewhat spiteful to deny it.
        I can almost certainly see Vettel topping the record somewhere in the future, maybe Hamilton, but I’d bet nobody else in the present grid will do it (unless a few years from now a new system with a lot more points is introduced).

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th October 2013, 7:48

          It is “some sort of achievement” though what it tells us I really don’t know. After all we’re talking about a system that values a win by Fernando Alonso today more than three times as high as one by Juan Manuel Fangio when he was winning. What kind of meaning can we take from something so grossly distorted?

          I don’t think there’s anything “spiteful” about pointing out the huge limitation in this data. I was dismayed so many commentators picked up on it after the race without bothering to qualify it. There certainly seemed to be no shortage of people on Twitter ready to point out the obvious oversight.

          • Nobody denies the limitation of the data. Fangio not only got less than 1/3 of the present points per win, he also raced less than hallf races/year. That notwithstanding, Fangio got his “most points in F1 history” records, back then he had nobody with over 1500 points to overcome.

            The list of the most points holders begins with Farina and Fangio, then i get lost in the middle, but it ends with Prost, Schumacher and Alonso. All of them great drivers, you don’t expect to Button or Barrichello in that list, even though they are by no means bad.

            I am the first to acknoweledge the limitations of the list. What I find “spiteful” is denying that having that record is no achievement whatsoever, nothing to celebrate or to be proud of. Like Luca Badoer or Sakon Yamamoto could have been in that list. Nobody got that record in a lottery, and Alonso is in very good company.

  11. Alexander (@alexanderfin) said on 14th October 2013, 12:33

    This is the first time the pole sitter was beaten to the first corner in Suzuka since 2000 when Häkkinen beat Schumacher to it…

    Not quite sure about it, but pretty sure.

  12. kpcart said on 14th October 2013, 13:03

    The modern points table is great, except for one thing, in the old days, drivers wouldn’t have a car capable of finishing so high every race like now, there were more car failures, and drivers didn’t get 6-8 years in a row in a car capable of winning every year, like Vettel, Schumacher and Hamilton have had.

    • MattDS (@mattds) said on 14th October 2013, 13:27

      “and drivers didn’t get 6-8 years in a row in a car capable of winning every year”

      Winning WDC or winning races?
      Because Clark, Senna, Prost, Piquet, Fangio all had race-winning cars for quite some years (spanning most of their careers).

    • Nick (@npf1) said on 14th October 2013, 14:29

      Even drivers of Schumacher’s generation suffered far more DNFs than drivers do these days. But that’s not something you could ever reflect in a points table, much like you can’t calculate what Schumacher’s stats would look like had he not broken his leg, Prost had not been fired by Ferrari, etc.

      • Robbie said on 14th October 2013, 20:56

        Not sure about that. MS enjoyed incredible reliability. To me the more relevant questions would be what of his being removed from his second place standings in 97 but getting to keep his wins and points. Hitting DH in 94 for the WDC…using a car that was repeatedly cited for illegalities…His ‘win’ at Austria 02? In general, having a contracted subservient to not compete against him?

    • pSynrg (@psynrg) said on 14th October 2013, 14:51

      So how to explain 3 of the 4 top average points scorers are from the ‘old days’?

    • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 14th October 2013, 22:53

      The reliability issue has been mentioned by a few people, but whilst your own reliability problems might lose you a few points, the reliability problems suffered by your competitors in other events is to your benefit. Overall you might be down slightly if you tend to be at the front of the field but it’s not as simple as looking at your own lost points. Reliability as an issue overall shouldn’t skew averages too much to make Keith’s analysis irrelevant since the same number of points are distributed to more-or-less the same number of drivers in total.

  13. Jelle van der Meer (@jelle-van-der-meer) said on 14th October 2013, 13:20

    With yesterday’s podium Vettel has been on the podium exactly 50% of the races he entered.

    Amazing is that even including MSC comeback years (only 1 podium in 58 races) he still was on the podium 50.32% of race entries (50.65% races started). Excluding comeback years the % are 61.60% race entries (62.10% races started).

    Still nowhere close to Fangio with 68.60%, no surprise that his points per race are by far the highest.

    Another interesting fact is that Vettel has the 4th highest points per race (adjusted to modern points) and that the top 3 all raced in 1950.

  14. For the first time in his F1 career, Grosjean finished third without Raikkonen finishing second. All of his third places have featured Vettel as the winner, except for Hungary 2012 (Hamilton).

  15. LSL1337 said on 14th October 2013, 13:42

    Vettel has the same amount of points as Ferrari (WDC #2), so Vettel would be second in the WCC.

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