Hunt for the records in the remaining races

By on Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Photo credit: Red Bull GEPA

(Written by mnmracer)

With the championship pretty much wrapped up, although it was becoming pretty obvious for a while now, watching the remaining races will not be to see who becomes champion. The most interesting driver battle will be Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Mark Webber and Lewis Hamilton duking it out for second in the championship. While Sebastian Vettel isn't fighting anyone else anymore, he is fighting the record books however.

Here is an overview of the Formula One records that can still be equaled or beaten this year, as well as some trivia. Records already held and set this year (Vettel, points in a season; Barrichello, race starts; Hamilton, overall penalties) are not included. At the end of the year, I will write one big article with everything that has been rewritten in the (top 10) record books this year.

For the record, I included a few more abstract records to make a possible and fairer comparisson between Vettel in 2011 and Schumacher in 2002. I don’t actually consider them notable records, but just to shed an interesting light on it, with the different points system.

  • Most wins in a season
    Current record: Michael Schumacher, 13 wins in 2004
    Vettel: 9 wins, 14 wins possible
  • Most pole positions in a season
    Current record: Nigel Mansell, 14 poles in 1992
    Vettel: 11 poles, 16 poles possible
  • Most wins from pole position in a season
    Current record: Nigel Mansell, 9 doubles in 1992
    Vettel: 8 doubles, 13 doubles possible
  • Highest percentage of points in a season
    Current record: Michael Schumacher, 144/170=84.71% in 2002
    Vettel: needs to score at least 94 more points, scoring at least 403 out of 475 points to score 84.84%
  • Most podium finishes in a season
    Current record: Michael Schumacher, 17 podium finishes in 2002
    Vettel: 13 podiums, 18 podiums possible
  • Most laps in the lead in a season
    Current record: Nigel Mansell, 694 laps lead in 1992
    Vettel: 582 laps lead thus far, 876 laps lead possible
  • Highest percentage of laps lead in a season
    Current record: Jim Clark, 71.47% of laps lead in 1963
    Vettel: 69.37% (582 out of 839), needs to lead at least 228 more laps this season
  • Most consecutive wins
    Current record: Alberto Ascari, 7 consecutive wins from 1952 Belgian GP to 1953 Argentine GP
    Vettel: 3 wins, 8 consecutive wins possible
  • Most consecutive pole positions
    Current record: Ayrton, 9 consecutive pole positions from 1988 Spanish GP to 1989 US GP
    Vettel: 4 poles, 9 consecutive poles possible this year
  • Most points between first and second in the championship
    Current record: Michael Schumacher (144), scoring 67 points more than second place Rubens Barrichello (77) in 2002
    Vettel: currently 124 point lead, can finish third every race, behind Button winning to still take this record
  • Highest percentage points difference between first and second in the World Championship
    Current record: Rubens Barrichello scoring 46.53% less points than Michael Schumacher in 2002
    Vettel: Currently, Button has scored 40.1% less points than Vettel. While impossible to calculate all the possibilities, Vettel will need to win all the remaining races, with Button scoring just 45 points to beat this record.
  • Most points between first and second in the championship (in race wins)
    Current record: Michael Schumacher’s 67 point lead over Rubens Barrichello in 2002 equalled 6.7 race wins
    Vettel: Currently has a 124 point lead, which equals 4.96 race wins. To beat this record, he needs to extend it to a 168 point lead in the next 5 races.
  • Most finishes in a season
    Current record: Tiago Monteiro (2005), Nick Heidfeld (2008) and Felipe Massa (2010) with 18 finishes. Of these, only Heidfeld finished 100%, but he is not the only one in history.
    Vettel: 14 finishes, 19 finishes possible
  • Most team pole positions in a season
    Current record: McLaren (1988, 1989), Williams (1992, 1993) and Red Bull (2010) with 15 pole positions in one season.
    Red Bull: 14 poles, 19 poles possible this year
  • Highest percentage of team pole positions in a season
    Current record: McLaren (1988, 1989) and Williams (1992, 1993) with 15 out of 16 pole positions in one season, or 93.75%.
    Red Bull: 14 poles, 18 poles needed for 94.7% possible this year; 100% poles also possible
  • Most drive-through or stop-and-go penalties in a season
    Current record: not yet known, but no more than 4
    Hamilton: 3 drive-through penalties, 5 races left

Records that will survive 2011:

  • Highest percentage of wins in a season
    Current record: Alberto Ascari, 6 out of 8 races in 1952, 75%
    Vettel: even if he wins the next 5 races, 14 out of 19 wins is 73.7%
  • Highest percentage of pole positions in a season
    Current record: Nigel Manssel, 14 out of 16 poles in 1992, 88%
    Vettel: even if he trains pole in the next 5 races, 16 out of 19 poles is 82.2%

Trivia:

  • Of all the Formula One champions currently on the grid, Jenson Button is the only one that has never been a runner-up in the championship. This might be his first. His second-best championship result at this moment is his 3rd place finish in 2004 with the BAR-Honda.
  • If the only drivers to win the remaining 5 races in 2011 are Sebastian Vettel, Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, or Michael Schumacher, this will be the only year in history in which all the races have been won by champions. Although in 1950, 1953, 1963 and 1993, all races were won by drivers that would at some point become champion, but were not yet at the time.
  • If Sebastian Vettel takes pole, leads every lap to a win and sets the fastest lap in Japan, he will be the second driver in history to win the title with a Grand Slam/Grand Chelem.
  • If Sebastian Vettel clinches the title in Japan, he will be the 6th driver in history to become world champion Formula One in Suzuka, after Nelso Piquet (1987), Ayrton Senna (1988, 1990, 1991), Alain Prost (1989), Damon Hill (1996), Hakkinen (1998, 1999) and Michael Schumacher (2000, 2003).
  • Sebastian Vettel holds the unofficial record for most Grand Prix wins with most different helmet designs, a record actually not really considered before, but probably held by Michael Schumacher after adding some stripes in 1994 and switching from blue top to red top in 2000, thus winning races with three helmet designs.

Point system trivia:

  • If the 2004 season -in which Schumacher got the most points in one season-record by the old points system- had been driven by the 2011 points system, the record would have been 367 points; to beat that, Vettel needs 58 more points in 5 races. (For those curious, 2002 Schumi would have had 362 points)
  • If this season was driven by the 2002 points system, in which the then-record of 144 points was set, Vettel would now have 117 points. He would need to finish 2nd in every race left this year would be enough to beat that, or win 2 races, 1 second place and 2 5th places.
  • If this season was driven by the 2004 points system, in which the then-record of 148 points was set, Vettel would now have 127 points. Finishing fourth in the remaining races of this year is enough to beat that.

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