Vettel: Pole record is “historic and special”

2011 Brazilian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2011
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2011

Sebastian Vettel described the moment he learned he’d broken Nigel Mansell’s record for most pole positions in a single season of F1.

Speaking in the press conference he said: “There has been quite some talk before qualifying, before this weekend, about this particular record. I think the best thing was just not to think about it at all.

“Yesterday we did have sort of a rough start to the weekend where I wasn’t 100% happy with the balance yet. But then I think we made the right choices overnight and again going into qualifying I was happier and, yeah, enjoying the moment, enjoying the laps I had.

“I was already happy with the first one in Q3 but we knew that there’s a bit more to come. And, yeah, pulled everything in the last lap and that was very emotional when I crossed the line because I knew that whatever happens, this is all I had and I gave it all.

“So I was very pleased with that but then had to wait for quite a long to see where the time was good enough or not. The names kept popping [up] and my engineer Rocky told me ‘Button P2, Mark P2’ and then ‘pole position’.”

“Really special. Different than the other poles I would say. Obviously it took the master in that discipline, Nigel Mansell, a couple of races less. But still very, very historic and very special to me.”

Vettel said the team expected rain during the session and are still wary of the forecast for tomorrow: “The weather’s going to be a big question mark, we knew that going into the weekend.

“To be honest it has improved. Today was supposed to be wet, it was dry. I think this place is a bit tricky anyway. Special races, special weather, we’ve seen it the last couple of years and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

More on Vettel and Mansell’s achievements: Vettel and Mansell?s 14 pole positions in a season compared

2011 Brazilian Grand Prix

    Browse all 2011 Brazilian Grand Prix articles

    Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

    Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

    55 comments on “Vettel: Pole record is “historic and special””

    1. Was there refueling in 1992 or how was the qualifying rules?

      1. No, they had proper qualifying in 1992, no qualify-with-your-race-fuel-load silliness.

    2. This really was a very nice pole from Vettel, done in style, so he can be proud of it. I just hope this record stays for another 20 years, as I would like to see a bit more variation on pole next year!

      1. I hope this record stays FOREVER unless there’s dramatic increased number of GPs!

        1. @BasBC @Eggry Abso-freaking-lutely!

            1. Does anyone have any stats on poles by car designer?

        2. it maybe a record in number but not by percentage . mansell will never be beaten by percentage . he won more in reality . vettel is over rated …

    3. I don’t think this record is that special. It’s interesting for sure and shows how superior the combination of Vettel and RB7 has been this season. But otherwise I think there are simply too many differences between 1992 and 2011 to be able to compare both achievements. Cars, technical rules, circuits, team mates – all this and more factors had huge impact on how both records were achieved. It’s the same story as with “the best F1 driver ever”. The discussions are often interesting and a lot of good arguments can be heard / read but in the end you cannot really compare Fangio with Schumacher.

      1. True you can’t really compare 1992 with 2011, because everything, well except the designer of Mansell’s and Vettel’s cars, are different.
        But a record is a record none the less.
        No one had been able to beat Mansell in those years. Hakkinen couldn’t, not even Schumacher who destroyed the F1 field for half a decade. And by claiming the record Vettel has done what no one else has been able to do, and I think THAT is what makes the record really special.

        1. Numbers do not mean much by themselves. Rosberg earned more points in 2010 than Schumacher did in 2000, 2001 and 2003. Does it mean anything? No.

          The stat that (IMHO) tells way more is this:
          1. 87.50% Mansell 1992
          2.-4. 81.25% Senna 1988, 1989; Prost 1993
          5. 78.95% Vettel 2011
          6. 75.00% Fangio 1956
          7. 70.00% Clark 1963
          8. 68.75% Hakkinen 1999
          But even here one may point out that data is not comparable year to year. For instance, in the days of 6 or so GP’s, just one missed pole (perhaps due to outside factors) cost you considerably in percentages.

          But I am not trying to take anything from Vettel, the guy is a qualifying demon.

          1. Of cause a higher percentage means more, as you say the number of races in the season affects how many it is possible to achieve.
            But a percentage is still nothing more then a number, and it does not take into account how hard the competition were and how much a car advantage the driver benefited from.
            In the end, numbers only tell half the story and whether you make it up in percentage, or percentage of *possible pole positions, or detract the races where the qualifying session was affected by rain, or mechanical failures etc. you will always be able to manipulate the outcome by using different numbers and ways of calculating.

            *where the car had a possibility of getting pole positions, like detract a race like Monza if the car was horribly slow in a straight line or similar situations.

            Not that I disagree with what you are saying, you are right that the percentage of pole positions in a season is more representative of the level of dominance if we compare different seasons with a different number of races.

          2. Lol, the irony of attempting to use that list of pole percentages to somehow discredit Vettel’s outstanding achievement.

            So we find Vettel’s name amongst Fangio, Senna, Prost & Mansell.

            What does this alone say about this spectacular, brilliant sportsman.

            Truly one of the greats.

            1. It puts it into context, showing (if the two consecutive WDC’s thing wasn’t showing that already) that he’s been able to do what only champions have been able to do before, in exceptional circumstances. Not sure that was the intent, but it works well :-)

      2. It’s just a stat, a record. People won’t remember Vettel as “the one that beated Nigel Mansell’s 15 pole in a season record” anyway.

        It’s interesting and it shows how good SV and RB7 are, as you say, but nothing else.

      3. Why do you say the record isn’t special and than explain it by saying the two periods can’t be compared.

        That’s like saying a Bugatti Veyron breaking the speed record for production cars isn’t special because when the F40 did it times were different…

        I think it’s a lot more special than Mansell’s easy 14 out of 16 poles. What challenges did he face? His teammate, that’s it.
        The rest of the field didn’t have the equipment to even come close to Mansell’s times.
        Vettel has beaten McLaren, who have been close to pole on numerous occasions, and Webber in a qualifying format where, most importantly, the driver has to make each of his laps count and only have 3 laps tops to set his qualifying time.
        Mansell had plenty of time and laps to blitz the rest of the field in a car far more dominant than the RB7.

        1. That’s a terrible analogy, the whole point of speed records is advancing technology, and the advances made are an achievement which is why the record has been broken. I don’t see how being around in a period where there are more races on the calendar is an achievement. Today was neither historic nor special, and it shows how badly this season has petered out that people are being forced to make so much of this non-story.

          1. there are more races on the calendar

            Which Vettel himself pointed out.

            1. What has that got to do with anything?

            2. What has that got to do with anything?

              It’s what you’re whingeing about. Which, when the man himself is prepared to admit it, seems rather churlish.

            3. That quote has nothing to do with it. Vettel claimed it was “historic” and “special”. I don’t think it is. I don’t see how me expressing my opinion is churlish whingeing.

            4. @racer – You call the words of SV “terrible” and “rubbish” when he admitted that Nigel had a couple less races to take his poles. Only after that did he say it was historic (record books will say Vettel – 15, after all), and special to him.

              Yes, @keithcollantine is right to say you were churlish/rude.

            5. @Racer It is when your opinion is based on such a transparently selective reading of the quote – you’ve cherry-picked a couple of words Vettel used and twisted them to cast him in the worst possible light.

              As I say, Vettel himself admits he had more races to break the record in than Mansell did. You ram home this point as if everyone’s ignoring it, when no-one is, least of all the man doing the record-breaking.

            6. David A You haven’t read my comments properly. “Terrible” and “rubbish” were not referring to Vettel, they were referring to F1fanNL’s bad analogy. I would say what I though of your misintepreting what I say, but you’d accuse me of saying that about Vettel.

              Keith I’m not trying to cast Vettel in a bad light, believe it or not I don’t hate him I’m just voicing my disagreement of the words he said which in fact you yourself chose for the title. Ram home the point? No, as I said I’m voicing my opinion which I have to keep repeating because of the waves of criticism, attacks and insults directed at me.

            7. @racer , you’re not being insulted, you’re just seeing people disagree about your opinion of today not being special. We all know that Vettel has had more races to obtain 15 poles. But it’s still an excellent achievement considering that the RB7 is seen as having stronger competition and less of a performance advantage than what the FW14 had.

            8. @David A Well each to their own opinion. Let’s end this in a civilized way and agree to disagree. I won’t comment on this post any more or read any replies that will make me want to.

          2. On the other hand, you could ask how setting a record for most pole positions in a car that was some 1-2 seconds a lap quicker then the rest is anything special.
            Anyone would be able to do that if they get a team mate that is more rubbish then themselves.
            It is not my point of view of cause, I am just trying to put a perspective on things…

          3. I don’t see how being around in a period where there are more races on the calendar is an achievement.

            Hahahaha seriously?

            Yeah, you’re right — that’s why people are doing it all the time! They just happen to exist in F1 while there are more races on the calendar. Just show up, and you’re bound to be on pole fifteen times!

          4. It’s cute that you say my analogy sucks but you don’t dispute the actual point I made afterwards.

            Why? Because you can’t.

            Or will you seriously try to convince us Mansell had to fight just as much for pole in ’92 as Vettel did this year?

            Please, save yourself the embarrassment.

            1. No, I’m not trying to say that, it seems no-one is able to actually understand what I’m trying to say .I’m not a Vettel hater, and I don’t particularly like Mansell. I’m just disagreeing with something Vettel said. Car dominance is irrelevant. The RB7 is also a dominant car, I’d say a Hulkenberg’s pole in a Williams last year was a more remarkable achievement than 15 poles in an RB7. Wjhy does no-one have the intelligence to realize that I’m not trying to say that Mansell’s season was more impressive, just that the comparison is meaningless therefore today is not historic?

            2. This guy “Racer” cracks me up, there Hulk’s great lap (on better tyres than the rest of the field) more historic than Vettel’s unbeliveable 15 poles in one season!

            3. Please read my post before you dismiss it. I didn’t say it was more historic, I said it was a better achievement. Everyone had the same tyres, Hulkenberg had a much slower car but he beat everyone by over a second (more than Mansell usuallly managed!) But I’m done with this argument.

            4. Anyway you slice it, 15 poles out 19 races with competition like McLaren and Ferrari and Webber IS an incredible achievement. It’s not like the RB7 just granted Vettel poles. If it was just the car Webber would have had a lot more front row starts.
              Also, the achievement will go down in history as the day Vettel set most poles in one season. You not agreeing with it doesn’t make it any less of a fact.
              So yes, it’s a historic day and yes, to Vettel, it’s a special day. Or should he have said; “Meh, whatever. Who gives a ****.”…

              I can see why your done though. I’d give up too when I realize I’m talking out a body part nobody usually talks out off.

              As for Hulkenberg’s pole,
              Such a shame he was only able to do one impressive qualifying throughout the entire season whereas Vettel has been impressive this entire season.

        2. @F1fanNL I just wanted to point out that there are too many factors that have impact on how drivers set records like this. You mentioned some of them yourself, too. Like team mate – Vettel had to beat Webber, while Senna beat Prost as he got 13 pole positions in 1988 and in 1989. Would Vettel have the same amount of poles if his team mate was, let’s say, Hamilton? Or qualifying rules – it’s right that you now have less laps to set the perfect lap time than in 1992. But then you also need to remember that from 2003 to 2005 each driver had only one lap in qualifying. The technical rules have a big impact, too – for instance, Red Bull has been able to get most out of the DRS, which gives them a bigger margin in qualifying than they have in the race.

          I’m not saying that Vettel is worse driver than Mansell or that his record doesn’t count. I just don’t think it’s very special. It’s a stat, a record and a remarkable achievement but not more than that, that’s my opinion.

          1. “Vettel had to beat Webber, while Senna beat Prost as he got 13 pole positions in 1988 and in 1989. Would Vettel have the same amount of poles if his team mate was, let’s say, Hamilton?”

            We don’t know. But it very well could be. How many times have seen Hamilton screw up at the last moment allowing Vettel to still get pole and Button (not exactly a great qualifier) to leap past. Also, I think it’s safe to say Vettel is a qualifying specialist. Remember Webber was always mentioned as an excelent qualifier who could squeeze a lot out of the car over just a single lap but then came Vettel who outperformed him 15-2 in 2009, 12-7 last year and 16-3 this year. If Vettel had anything of an advantage in 2009 that Mansell had in ’92, he’d hold the record for most poles AND highest percentage.

            “Red Bull has been able to get most out of the DRS, which gives them a bigger margin in qualifying than they have in the race.”

            I don’t think that’s the case. The Red Bulls are strongest in medium to high speed corners. Mercedes get the most out of DRS. Red Bull used to be able to activate DRS sooner coming out of a corner but now McLaren and Ferrari are able to open their rear wing just as early as Red Bull.

            The fact that we’ve seen close qualifying sessions a few times already AND a pole position for McLaren proofs Red Bull don’t have a clear cut advantage anymore.

            “I just don’t think it’s very special.”
            “It’s a remarkable achievement”

            LOL. That’s quite the contradiction.

      4. Well, it’s a record. As all such things, the circumstances matter; and possibly f circumstances were different, perhaps some rained away qualifying sessions, perhaps neither Mansell nor Vettel would have gotten their record.

        But in the end both of them managed to get so many poles in a season (and a WDC) with the field and car they had at their disposal and against their teammate, something no other guy has been able to do, not even Senna or Prost, although both came close (though they bettered Vettel it in percentage as he indeed had more races to try it).

        That list is telling a story of great drivers in good cars using the opportunities they got. It’s still a listing of great achievement no matter how you turn it, as evidenced by the fact no others got there.

        It isn’t easy to put things together so consistently during a season. Which is why only great drivers with a great team, in a season they made themselves a very good car, have been able to do it so far. Including now Vettel with Red Bull.

        And what a nice lap it was too, great showing by Vettel, he deserves if fully.

    4. Why are they talking about Brazil track reconstruction? What are the disadvantages now?

    5. Historic, yes, special, yes, but please, don’t repeat or better the achievement for a very long time. Or ever.

      I’d much rather see the record for most different drivers on pole in one season being broken than the record for the most poles by a single driver!

    6. Not that special seeing as though Nige secure 14 out of 16. Vettel got 15 out of 19. But as soon as the other crossed the line, I switched it off. That finger will not dilute our TV set! ;)

      1. @f1fannl ‘s post sums up why it is still pretty special.

        1. My post sums up why his analogy is rubbish and it is neither historic nor special.

          1. @racer – And you sum it up very poorly. The poles aren’t handed to him just because he turns up to more races. He has to go out and set those 15 pole positions, which is what he did.

      2. There wasn’t too much of a surprise considering the way qualifying’s gone this year, but the record is incredible. I think qualifying, more than a race, shows the real speed of the driver (and the car). Webber’s time was excellent, yet somehow 1 tenth slower than Vettel. Explain that.

        1. Indeed. And, the most incredible thing about this sort of record is: explain it for every one of those poles how Vettel is just faster than the others, including Webber.

          There are a lot of reasons Vettel could do it and no other driver, sure, and quite possibly some of it is luck.

          But the fact remains that Vettel and his engineers did get pole consistently through the season, as shown by our lack of surprise at this record, while no one else, not even his teammate, could do more than get close on almost all attempts, even though several drives had the speed to possibly do it at more occasions than they did.

    7. That Record won’t be broken anytime Newey works at RedBull. The opposing cars will either be slower or same speed, and that doesn’t make for Pole position streaks like what we see today.

      1. I’m sure Vettel himself could break it when more races are added to the calendar…

        1. Or when Red Bull give him a car with the same advantage over the rest of the field as Mansell´s Williams.

    8. Just a great icing on the cake for Vettel.

      I fear people will always refer to Mansell when mentioning Vettel’s new record, he deserves better than that.

      As a percentage, yes, 15 is less. However, the more races available the greater the opportunity his rivals have to challenge him. I think the record is fantastic and should be taken on its own merit.

      1. And the field is more competitive, so there is much less room for small errors by Vettel. Mansell did it in a different time, and effectively had to only fight his teammate, while Vettel had car that was usually a bit faster, but not by much, fighting against two or three others every race.

        Both got it together so well throughout the season as their record shows, and that’s where the comparison fits for me (not that I wasn’t regularly watching F1 in 1992, I missed most of Mansell’s poles).

        1. make that: note that I wasn’t watching; I did enjoy Mansell in Indycar the next season.

    Comments are closed.