Vettel leads 145 laps in a row – and counting

2012 Korean Grand Prix stats and facts

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Sebastian Vettel’s 25th career win means he has now won as many races as Jim Clark and Niki Lauda.

Michael Schumacher still lies far ahead on 91 but Vettel has closed to within five of Fernando Alonso’s tally of victories.

Vettel narrowly missed out on pole position, which went instead to his team mate. Mark Webber recorded the 11th of his career. Curiously, Webber is now the only driver to have set exactly eleven pole positions and scored exactly nine wins.

Webber also beat Vettel to fastest lap in Korea. He now has 14, matching Felipe Massa’s tally.

He finished second in the race, which doubled the number of points he has scored in the seven races since announcing he will remain at Red Bull next year.

Red Bull became the first team this year to score a one-two finish. It was the 12th in their history.

Vettel leads 145 laps in a row

Vettel led throughout the Korean Grand Prix as he did in Japan. Since Lewis Hamilton’s retirement in Singapore Vettel has now led for 145 consecutive laps.

Few other drivers have led more laps consecutively. Among them is Webber, who led 159 laps in a row from the 2010 Spanish to 2010 Turkish Grands Prix. Kimi Raikkonen strung together 162 consecutive laps in the lead which, like Webber, also began with victories in the Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix.

The outright record for most consecutive laps in the lead belongs to Alberto Ascari. After taking the lead from Jean Behra on lap two of the 1952 Belgian Grand Prix he led the rest of the race plus every lap of the next four Grands Prix, a total of 305.

Fortunately we didn’t have Rate the Race back then. To beat the record, Vettel will have to lead all of the next two races, plus the first 46 laps of the United States Grand Prix.

Other great names which appear on the list of most consecutive laps led are Jim Clark (165 from the 1963 Belgian to French Grands Prix), Ayrton Senna (267 from the 1988 British to Italian Grand Prix and 237 from the 1989 San Marino to United States Grand Prix) and Nigel Mansell (235 from the 1992 Brazilian to Monaco Grands Prix).

By leading throughout this year’s Korean Grand Prix, Vettel has now led 153 of the 165 laps F1 has raced in Korea. The only other driver to have led this race is Fernando Alonso.

Vettel also passed Alonso as the driver who has led the most laps this year, with 267 to Alonso’s 216. Hamilton is next on 182.

200th Renault-powered pole position

Renault celebrated the 200th pole position for a car powered by one of their engines. Here’s how many Renault-engined pole positions have been set by different teams:

Team Poles
Williams 80
Renault 51
Red Bull 44
Lotus 19
Benetton 6

The first pole position for Renault came at the 1979 South African Grand Prix, courtesy of Jean-Pierre Jabouille. It was the only pole position for the team’s first F1 car, the RS01.

Elio de Angelis became the first driver to start a race from pole position driving non-Renault chassis with a Renault engine when he put his Lotus 94T on pole position for the 1983 European Grand Prix at Brands Hatch.

Only Ferrari engines have achieved more pole positions, with 208. Between them they account for almost half of all poles in world championship races – 46.7% of the 874 so far.

Then there were two (or six)

With four races left this year there are now only six drivers mathematically capable of winning the championship.

Realistically, the title fight is now between Vettel (215 points) and Alonso (209).

Kimi Raikkonen is now 48 points behind with a maximum of 100 to be won. Hamilton is 62 behind, Webber 63 adrift and Button 84 away.

More Korean Grand Prix stats and facts

Lewis Hamilton salvaged tenth place for McLaren after a miserable race. However it kept intact their record of scoring in every race since Jenson Button joined them as Hamilton’s team mate.

They have now scored in 54 consecutive races, one short of the all-time record held by Ferrari. This was set between the 1999 and 2003 Malaysian Grands Prix, during which time points were awarded to the top six until 2003, and then to the top eight.

But Hamilton might not want to dwell on the following statistic. Before he announced he would drive for Mercedes in 2013 they had scored in every race this year. They’ve failed to score in either of the races since. Nico Rosberg’s involvement in two first-lap crashes, neither of which were his fault, hasn’t helped matters.

Daniel Ricciardo received his first penalty of the year when he took a five-place grid drop for a gearbox change. That leaves just Alonso and Timo Glock as the only drivers to have entered every race without collecting a penalty.

Jean-Eric Vergne scored points for the third time in his career, all of which have come from eighth-place finishes. With Romain Grosjean scoring as well this was the first time two French drivers have appeared in the points since the 1997 Luxembourg Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, when Jean Alesi finished second and Olivier Panis sixth.

Pedro de la Rosa made his 100th start in a Grand Prix. He chose to mark this achievement during the Italian Grand Prix, which as noted here was the 100th race he “was entered for with the intention of starting it”, but only his 97th actual start.

Review the year so far in statistics here:

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

2012 Korean Grand Prix

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    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...

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    57 comments on “Vettel leads 145 laps in a row – and counting”

    1. This is what I noticed:

      – Not only was this Renault’s 200th pole position, in the race Sebastian Vettel scored Renault’s 5000th point. They now have 5051.5 points in total, 462 less than Ferrari has.

      – This was the 10th time Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso appeared on the podium together: 2010 Singapore/Japan/Brazil/Spain/Hungary, 2011 Britain/Europe/Turkey, 2012 Britain/Korea. Still waiting for our first Vettel-Hamilton-Alonso podium.

      – Of all three Korean GPs, Vettel has led 153 out of 165 laps (that’s 92.7%). However there are circuits with a higher percentages: Ain-Diab (Moss 100%), Monsanto (Moss 100%), Pescara (Moss 94%), Riverside (Moss 95%), Prince George (Clark 92%) and of course Buddh (Vettel 100%).

      – With both Grosjean and Vergne in the points, this is the first time two French drivers were in the points since the 1997 Luxembourg GP: Jean Alesi finished second, Olivier Panis sixth. If Pic would have ended up in the points as well, it would have been the first time three French drivers were in the points since the 1994 German GP.

      – Not only did Red Bull finish one-two (the first time for any constructor this year), Ferrari also finished three-four. The last time two constructors finished like this, was at the 2009 Abu Dhabi GP: Vettel, Webber (RBR), Button, Barrichello (Brawn).

      – It was the seventh time Webber took pole position, but didn’t win the race. After Kovalainen and Hülkenberg (who have 100%), he now has the highest percentage of pole positions that he could not turn into victory (64%). The driver with the lowest percentage on the grid is not Vettel, but Fernando Alonso (36%).

      – For Schumacher it was only the second time in his career he finished 13th: Singapore 2010 was the other occasion.

      1. The number 13, unlucky for some! Moss appears to have been pretty dominant on certain tracks, how many of the ones you have listed were only raced once or twice @andae23 ?

        1. @vettel1 The only two tracks that were raced on more than two times (read: three times) are Korea and Prince George/East London. Of the latter one it must be said that if you count the non-championship races under F1 regulations, then the percentage is much lower.

      2. Good work @andae23 ! I think Heidfeld should also go on your list of drivers who haven’t turned poles into wins. He took pole in the 2005 European GP and didn’t win it, so he’s also a 100%-er.

        1. I just noticed I made an error there: it should have said “After Kovalainen and Hülkenberg, he now has the highest percentage of pole positions that he could not turn into victory of all drivers on the grid.”

          There are many more drivers with higher percentages than Mark Webber: Kubica, Heidfeld, Frentzen, Alesi, Trulli, Montoya, Coulthard, Barrichello, Keke Rosberg, Graham and Damon Hill, Piquet; just to name a few.

    2. Something I heard on TV:

      Jim Clark scored 25 wins and 35 podiums in 73 races (72 started) for Lotus; Sebastian Vettel has scored 24 wins and 42 podiums in 71 races for Red Bull. If Vettel manages to win his next grand prix, he will have equaled the number of victories within one team that Clark scored but will beat him on second and third places.

      Schumacher finished outside of the top ten for the tenth time since joining Mercedes. He only finished outside the top ten once from 1991 – 2006. Wich was 13th in China.

      1. Wich was 13th in China.

        Actually it was 12th at the 2004 Chinese GP.

        1. This fact is by the way not that representative: between 1991 and 2006, a typical race saw many retirements, so every driver in a mediocre car could finish in the top ten if his car decided not to break down.

          Since then, the number of retirements has decreased dramatically, with the climax being the 2011 Valencia GP, where all 24 cars finished the race.

          1. There were however only rare occasions when Schumacher did just finish without his car breaking down. Australia 99 is the only one my memory can serve me were he just finished 8 out of 8 finishers. There weren’t a lot of other occasions as he was usualy at least battling at the front end.

            1. In fact, I looked it up, the worst finishing position of Schumacher between 1991 – 2006 was 9th (bare the Chinese GP) lthough he was only classified and didn’t finish that one. The only races where he went on into the top ten because others dropped out were: Hungary 2006 (8th, he didn’t finish, but was classified), Melbourne 1999 (8th) and Hungary 1997(9th, retired but classified)

              So out of races he did actually finish, only Melbourne 1999 was because of retirements of others.

            2. Then I haven’t said a word :)

    3. For Vettel to get to his quarter-century of wins, he’s competed in 97 races over 5 full seasons since 2008, and 6 including his involvement in the latter half of 2007.

      Schumacher took 92 races to reach 25 wins, which he did at the 1997 French Grand Prix. He reached this in 6 full seasons or 7 seasons counting 1991.

      Alonso took 154 races, until the 2010 Singapore GP and after 9 full seasons in F1.

    4. That is a lot of wonderful statistics. Thanks Keith.

      If I am not Wrong, The only laps Vettel did not lead in the Korean Circuit are the ones after he retired in 2010 race with the engine/mechanical Failure. That means Vettel has lead every lap on the Korean Circuit for the last 3 years when he raced on it.

      1. No: in 2011 Alonso led the race for two laps when Vettel made his pit stop.

    5. As above mentioned, it was the 10th podium with Vettel, Webber and Alonso, but it was the 4th time they finished exactly in this order. Now it is the most frequent finishing order in Formula1 history, together with three others. These also happened four times:
      Ayrton Senna – Alain Prost – Thierry Boutsen;
      Mika Hakkinen – David Coulthard – Michael Schumacher;
      Michael Schumacher – David Coulthard – Rubens Barrichello.

      1. Nice one.

      2. That’s a cracker of a statistic there.

      3. Very interesting, I would have expected some permutations to have happened more often. I would certainly expect VET, WEB, ALO to happen again at some point.

      4. Surpised that we see a Mika-David-Michael there but no Michael-Rubens-JPM or Michael-Rubens-Mika or Michael-Rubens-any driver.

        1. Actually, the “Michael-Rubens-JPM” order happened 3 times, but there never was “Michael-Rubens-Mika” podium (and only once in different order).

    6. Jacob Larsson
      15th October 2012, 13:55

      “To beat the record, Vettel will have to lead all of the next two races, plus the first 50 laps at Abu Dhabi.”

      The next two races are India and Abu Dhabi, so you must mean the first 50 laps at Austin?

      1. Apologies, have corrected it.

    7. On the one hand, it would be fitting for the strong driver pairing Hamilton – Button to break Ferrari’s record of consecutive points finishes. On the other hand, this has been such a terrible year for McLaren in terms of mistakes and breakdowns that it would be typical of their year if they didn’t. From the quotes I’ve read of Whitmarsh after the race, it seemed he was very pleased with Hamilton’s 10th place. Does he have this statistic in mind, too?

    8. This doesn’t relate to the stats and facts of this race, but it’s a curious fact I’ve noticed. If Pedro De La Rosa is still in F1 next year, he will be the last remaining F1 driver from the 1990s and the last remaining F1 driver to have started his F1 career before 2000.

      (Assuming no other ex-drivers who started before 2000 are signed on for next year, which is unlikely).

    9. Webber became the eleventh different driver to set fastest lap this year, giving 2012 the outright record.

      Vettel, Webber and Alonso joined each other on the podium for the second time this year, the first having been at Britain. In fact, they switched around their starting and finishing places from that race. Vettel taking Webber’s place (started 2nd, finished 1st), Webber taking Alonso’s place (1st/2nd) and Alonso taking Vettel’s place (4th/3rd).

      Button had his sixth first-lap retirement of his career, the joint third-highest of the current drivers. De la Rosa has eight and Schumacher seven, while Raikkonen and Webber also have six. However, it was Button’s first since Belgium 2009.

    10. Hamilton now has the most laps driven while carrying astroturf.

      1. Great comment, caught myself laughing there

      2. @olivier42 Very good! :D

    11. So, Kimi has completed every racing lap for 16 consecutive races. Vettel beat this last year, Schumacher in 2002 – is there anyone else I’m missing?

      1. Don’t know but I think Schumi completed something like 50 races straight at some point. Or was it just 50 races without mechanical failure?

        1. Don’t know about consecutive races (couldn’t be bothered to check – except that Schumacher’s season of podiums was in a stretch of only 24 races without retirement or being lapped) – I was just looking at consecutive races within a single season. Rubens also matched Kimi’s current tally, 16, in 2004.

      2. Alonso had 23 consecutive races in which he scored points (that streak was ended at the Belgian GP), which fell one short of Schumacher’s record which he set in 2003 (ended at the Brazilian GP in which Jordan won after many top drivers, of which Schumacher was one, crashed after they were only allowed to use one wet weather tyre – many only had intermediates).
        As for in one season, Vettel and Schumacher are tied for the record, in the 2011 & 2002 seasons respectively, with 17 consecutive points finishes (Schumacher finished every race on the podium but as there were only 17 races his achievement is perhaps more impressive than Vettel’s).
        Räikkönen of course didn’t score in the Chinese GP (after his tyres dramatically hit the cliff) so he can only equal Schumacher & Vettel’s record for consecutive points finishes, but if he finishes every lap this year then he will have the record, as this will be the longest season in terms of the number of races.

    12. I think this is all great but I’m afraid I have to toss some sand int he grinder: Starting from 2nd is hardly leading at the point of the start itself, sorry.

      1. Ah – but ‘laps led’ means ‘laps led, at the end of each lap’. Vettel never crossed the finish line behind another driver, unless you propose including the warm-up lap as a lap led?

        1. Exactly. (And no, the formation lap doesn’t count as a lap because it’s not part of the race distance.)

          1. Sorry, that makes no sense to me. If you can lead a succession of laps from one race to the next you have to lead throughout each lap as I see it. For some meters of the first lap in Korea Vettel wasn’t leading.

            Don’t think he was leading through each pit stop either.

            1. He was leading after every pitstop. He took the lead at the start and was leading by the end of lap 1, so he was leader of lap 1. It has always been like this.

    13. While Vettel’s stats are impressive, don’t forget that there are far more races in the calendar than before, coupled with bullet-proof reliability (compared to old days) and a strong car over a year and you’re bound to get such a high win/podium/pole-to-races ratio.

      1. Yet the difference between cars in this age is a lot less then it was back then. Vettel was called dominant with a car that had an average of 0,4 over his competitors in qualifying, but if you look at Senna at the McLaren for instance, it wasn’t uncommon for them to be wel over a second ahead.

    14. Interestingly, Vettel has led every lap of the last 2 Korean GPs, despite not taking pole in either of them!
      The Korean GP has never been won from pole in its 3 years on the calendar.

    15. I’m very surprised that Vettel didn’t break Ascari’s record for the most consecutive laps led last year.

      1. Red Bull had problems with blistering tyres last year, and due to the fact that last year was comparatively linear(as opposed to 2012), we generally had a Button or an Alonso or someone who stretched their tyres longer and were able to lead a few laps.

      2. The pit lane speed limit might’ve had something to do with that statistic.
        Same reason nobody can beat the 90+ laps Emerson Fittipaldi led from the start in the Indy 500, the speed limit virtually assures that somebody else will momentarily take the lead.

    16. In the three seasons 2009, 2010 and 2012, Vettel has led the championship standings only thrice. None in 2009, After Abu Dhabi in 2010, Bahrain in 2012 and now.

      Of course, he led at every stage in 2011.

    17. Alonso has either finished 3rd or crashed on lap 1 in each of the last 5 races.

      Vergne has had 3 8ths, Ricciardo has had 4 9ths – neither has had anything better.

      Petrov has started 18th 9 times this year, but no higher.

      And I believe this is the second time that somebody known by a short name starting with P has waved the chequered flag, but only the first time that the winner has seen said flag waved…

    18. Curiously, Webber is now the only driver to have set exactly eleven pole positions and scored exactly nine wins.

      This wording suggests that Webber is the only driver to have managed both 11 poles AND 9 wins (i.e. allowing the possibility of a driver to have had 11 poles and 10 wins). In fact he is the only driver to have managed EITHER of these, which is more ‘impressive’.

    19. The winner of the Korean Grand Prix has always went on to be world champion. On both occasions it was Vettel ;)

      1. Alonso 2010?

        1. Damn, had a temporary blackout I guess :|

    20. “Only Ferrari engines have achieved more pole positions, with 208. Between them they account for almost half of all poles in world championship races – 46.7% of the 874 so far.”

      This is an incredible statistic – I wonder what happens if you add Cosworth?

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