Nicknamed 'Baby Schumi', Sebastian Vettel is following in the footsteps of his senior compatriot, notching up wins as well as pole positions. After securing his 6th pole of the season in Canada, Vettel has become the 10th most prolific pole-sitter in the all-time list, which features only 2 current drivers. Here's a look....
Michael Schumacher (Germany): 68
It may have been a while since we last saw the German on the pole or podium, but Schumacher set quite a record before his brief retirement and then comeback.
As is the case with several other F1 records, the Mercedes driver leads the chart with 68 pole positions to his name, the last one coming at the 2006 French Grand Prix.
It was in the same year that he took over the mantle of the record holder of most pole positions.
Ayrton Senna (Brazil): 65
Schumacher overtook none other than Senna in this list. Senna's ability to register fast laps is no hidden secret, so while he may lag behind Schumi in the number of race wins, the Brazilian is not too far behind here.
Senna was known to push his limits in qualifying and was a master at taking pole positions - unfortunately they didn't always get converted into race wins due to unreliable cars.
He clinched his last pole at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, the race in which he suffered a fatal crash. Incidentally, he had won all the poles that season with San Marino being the 3rd race, but had failed to win any of them with retirements forcing him out in each race.
Alain Prost (France): 33
Lagging far behind at the third spot is the four time champion Prost. Although Prost is 2nd in the maximum number of race wins, he wasn't as successful in qualifying.
The Frenchman secured his last pole at the 1993 Japanese Grand Prix, the penultimate race of a title-winning season for Prost. The Williams driver had returned to F1 after a year's sabbatical but that didn't prove to be detrimental as Prost claimed 13 poles off 16 races in the season.
Prost, although, did not defend his title next year, retiring after the Championship winning 1993 season.
Jim Clark (Britain): 33
The Briton is tied with Prost with 33 poles but Clark's came in just 73 races. The over 45% conversion rate is the 2nd best in the history of Formula 1.
The two-time F1 champion achieved his last pole in the 1968 South African Grand Prix. The race is significant as not only the last F1 race to be won by Clark, but also the last in which he ever competed, due to his fatal crash at the Hockenheimring in Germany three months later in April.
Clark broke many records during the race, including the then most pole positions (33).
Nigel Mansell (Britain): 32
Just one behind is Mansell with 32 poles to his name. Off those, Mansell won a record 14 from 16 races in his title-winning campaign in 1992.
Mansell took retirement from the sport after the championship win, for not wanting to partner Williams' new arrival Alain Prost. However, as fate would have it, after the untimely death of Ayrton Senna at the San Marino GP in 1994, Mansell returned to F1 with Williams, replacing young rookie David Coulthard for the French Grand Prix and the last three races of the season.
The 1994 season finale, the Australian Grand Prix, proved to be not only the last pole of the Briton's career but also his final race win.
Juan Manuel Fangio (Argentina): 29
The man who held most of the F1 records for several decades is at No.6. At 55.8%, he has the best conversion rate in F1 history, with 29 poles in 52 races.
Fangio's last pole position came at the 1958 Argentine Grand Prix, the opening race of the season, and also his home race. He unfortunately finished only 4th in the GP.
He raced sparsely during the season and finally bid adieu to the sport, mid-season, after the French Grand Prix. The Argentine had won the last of his 5 F1 titles in the previous season in 1957.
Mika Hakkinen (Finland): 26
No. 7 has the Finnish driver whose on-field battles with Schumacher are famous. Hakkinen won 26 pole positions in his career, including 9 in his maiden title win in 1998 and 11 in his 2nd triumph in 1999.
The Belgian Grand Prix in 2000 witnessed the last time that Hakkinen finished as the top driver in qualifying and the season was the last time he challenged for the championship. He said goodbye to Formula 1 after the 2001 season when he finished 5th.
Niki Lauda (Austria): 24
At No. 8 is Niki Lauda with 24 poles in 177 races. The Austrian secured his last pole in the 1978 South African Grand Prix. He retired after the 1979 season following a dismal show that saw him finish 14th with 4 points.
Lauda, however, made a comeback in 1982 and won the last of his 3 championships in 1984. His last triumph was amazing not only because he achieved it at the age of 35 but also because it came without winning a single pole position. Lauda didn't claim a single pole after his comeback.
Nelson Piquet (Brazil): 24
Lauda is joined at No.8 by Brazilian Piquet. However, with 24 poles in 207 races, Piquet has the worst conversion rate of the top-10 drivers at 11.6% - his nearest competitor in this also being Lauda.
The 1987 Spanish Grand Prix, part of Piquet's last of the 3 title wins, saw his final pole win of the career.
He raced in F1 for another 4 years after that, finally bidding adieu following the 1991 season, but never again challenged for the championship and also failed to win another pole.
Sebastian Vettel (Germany): 21
The latest entrant to the elite list is the current runaway leader and defending world champion Sebastian Vettel, who already has 21 poles to his credit.
It's hardly a surprise considering in the Canadian Grand Prix, the Red Bull driver clinched his 6th pole of the season off 7 races. With his 21 poles coming off just 69 races, he's behind only Fangio, Clark and Senna in the best percentage of pole position wins.
With his latest pole, Vettel also overtook his senior pro, Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who has 20, and Lewis Hamilton, who has 18, and broke into the top-10.
|3||Daniel RicciardoRed Bull||Australian||227|
|6||Max VerstappenToro Rosso||Dutch||165|
|7||Sergio PerezForce India||Mexican||84|
|9||Nico HulkenbergForce India||German||54|
|2||Red Bull||Daniel Ricciardo |
|4||Force India||Sergio Perez|
|7||Toro Rosso||Max Verstappen|