10 Longest Point Scoring Streaks in Formula One
2013 British Grand Prix marked the fall of a 10 year old record previously held by Michael Schumacher, the driver who achieved most consecutive races finished in the points. The legendary German driver had 25 and the one who broke his record is not, as you were probably expecting, Sebastian Vettel, the other German that seems to follow in the footsteps of Schumi, but Kimi Raikkonen. The performance is a little ironic coming from the Finn, who is one of the least boring drivers in Formula One and is known to not care at all about statistics and similar stuff.
As you will see, most performances on this list were achieved in the past decade, being dominated by Schumacher, Alonso and Vettel, with only one driver from the ‘80s. Many of you will probably argue that the list is irrelevant, but while it’s true that there are more races in the calendar than ever, cars’ reliability has significantly improved in the modern age of Formula One and the number of places awarded with points has increased from 6 to 10, that doesn’t make this list irrelevant at all, on the contrary, it shows some of the most constant performances in Formula One history.
10. Sebastian Vettel – 14 finishes (2012 Singapore Grand Prix – 2013 Canada Grand Prix)
The last spot on this list is taken by Sebastian Vettel, which started this point scoring streak with a win at the Singapore Grand Prix in 2012. Three more wins followed in Japan, South Korea and India before almost ending the streak in Abu Dhabi, when he was forced to start from the pit lane, being penalized after not having enough fuel in his car to provide a sample. However, the German did an impressive race and finished 3rd, a performance which later proved to be decisive in securing him his third world championship (he won the title with just three points ahead of Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso). Vettel finished in the points in the remaining two races of the 2012 season and he also had a very good start of the 2013 season, with seven point scoring finishes.
The streak ended at the British Grand Prix in 2013 (where Raikkonen actually broke Schumacher’s record) after the German was forced to retire due to gearbox failure, when he was leading the race, with just 10 laps to go. During this time, his worst performance was a 6th place he got at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix and two 4th places in China and Spain in 2013. What’s interesting is that following the abandon in Britain, out of the 11 remaining races in the 2013 season, Vettel won 10 of them (Germany, Belgium, Italy, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, India, Abu Dhabi, United States and Brazil), plus a 3rd place in Hungary. That is absolutely incredible and makes you wonder how this list would’ve looked like if it wasn’t for the German’s gearbox problem at Silverstone.
9. Mark Webber – 14 finishes (2010 Brazilian Grand Prix – 2011 Belgian Grand Prix)
2010 was the only Formula One season when the Australian actually had a shot at the Championship and fought until the last race. Even though the last two races of the season were catastrophic (including a disappointing 8th place in the last race in Abu Dhabi, which basically cost him the title), Weber started a point scoring streak that included the first 12 races of the 2011 season. However, even though he had three poles and eight podiums, Webber never managed to win any of these races and the only reason we put him before Vettel, even though they have the same number of races finished in the points is because the Australian’s performance happened first.
During these 14 races, the only time he was almost out of the points was in China, in 2011, when he had to start from the 18th position after having some electrical problems and being eliminated during qualifying. However, he did an amazing race and secured a 3rd place at the end, overtaking Button in the last lap of the race. As a fun fact, it was the same race Button accidentally stopped at Red Bull’s pits (his former team) instead of McLaren’s. Webber’s streak ended at the 2011 Italian Grand Prix when a contact with Massa’s Ferrari seriously damaged the Australian’s front wing and caused him to crash a few corners later, retiring from the race.
8. Carlos Reutemann – 15 finishes (1980 Belgian Grand Prix – 1981 Belgian Grand Prix)
Like we said earlier in the article, this is the only performance on this list that was achieved before the 2000s. In a time when cars weren’t as reliable as they are today, the Argentinian’s performance is even more impressive. After driving for Brabham, Ferrari and Lotus, Reutemann joined Williams in 1980 and in that year’s Belgian Grand Prix his podium finish marked the start of a streak that will go on for 15 races, during which he never started any race on a position lower than 5th place. Out of these 15 races, Reutemann won three, the 1980 Monaco Grand Prix, the 1981 Brazilian Grand Prix and the 1981 Belgian Grand Prix. Unfortunately for Reutemann, a gearbox failure forced him to retire from the 1981 Monaco Grand Prix. That was just the beginning of the end for the Argentinian, who had finished the first five races of the 1981 season on the podium (leading the Championship), but after the Monaco problem, had a horrible second part of the season, including losing the title by just one point during the last race of the season.
And if you think that’s all Reutemann did interesting in motorsport, you’re wrong, because he also competed in the World Rally Championship. He actually became the second Formula One driver in history to win a podium in WRC and in the last 30 years he was the only one to score points in both Formula One and WRC. That was until 2010 when, surprising or not, the one to end this was also KimiRaikkonen, who finished 8th in the Jordan Rally.
7. Fernando Alonso – 17 finishes (2006 Chinese Grand Prix – 2007 Belgium Grand Prix)
On his way to his second World Championship, the Spaniard started an impressive 17 race streak by winning the last three races of the 2006 season, in China, Japan and Brazil. He also had a great run in most of the 2007 season, despite frequent conflicts with team mate Lewis Hamilton. 2007 will be the only season when Alonso raced for McLaren, which ended up being a terrible season for the team. Hamilton and Alonso had the same number of points at the end of the season, but lost the Championship to Raikkonenin the last race, by just one point. Also, McLaren was later disqualified from that year’s season of Formula One after the Ferrari espionage scandal.
But none of these take away any of Alonso’s merits, who won 5 races during this point finishing streak (4 of which in the 2007 season) and 8 podiums, winning the 2006 Championship and finishing 3rd in the 2007 season. During this time, his worst performance was the 2007 French Grand Prix, which he finished 7th after starting the race from the 10th position.The streak ended at the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix, the fifteenth race of the season. Due to heavy rainfall, the Spanish driver crashed on lap41, making it the first time a McLaren car didn’t finish a race in the 2007 season.
6. Fernando Alonso – 18 finishes (2005 Turkish Grand Prix – 2006 German Grand Prix)
Before his experience with McLaren, Alonso became famous driving for Renault, with which he won his two Championship titles, in the 2005 and 2006 seasons. And his achievements were mainly possible thanks to an impressive series of finishes in the points that started with a 2nd place at the 2005 Turkish Grand Prix. The streak would’ve probably been longer, because, before the race in Turkey, Alonso had won two races and a 2nd place before finishing 11th in the 2005 Hungarian Grand Prix (he was involved in a collision with Ralf Schumacher). The Spaniard finished on the podium in all the remaining races of the season and won his first World Championship, ending Michael Schumacher record setting series of five consecutive titles.
The 2006 season that followed was almost perfect for Alonso, who won seven races and came 2nd in seven other races, winning his second title after a fierce rivalry with Schumacher. Unfortunately, it looks like Hungary is not Alonso’s favorite race of the season, because his point finishing streak ended at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix. He got a two-second penalty during qualifying which made him start the race in the 15th position and even though after several amazing laps he reached the 3rd place, during lap 51, following a pit stop for changing tires, one of the wheel nuts detached and made him crash and bringing his impressive streak to an end.
5. Michael Schumacher – 18 finishes (2003 San Marino Grand Prix – 2005 Spanish Grand Prix)
Just like Vettel and Webber, Alonso and Schumacher have the same number of races finished in the points, but we put the German driver in front because his performance was achieved earlier. It’s also Schumacher’s first entry on this list and it happened during the three seasons that brought the German his last World Championships. It all started at the 2003 San Marino Grand Prix when Schumacher won the race (it was the last race for the Ferrari F2002 car) and continued with two more consecutive wins with the brand new Ferrari F2003-GA, in Spain and Austria. Even though the German won two more races, the series was almost put to an end on two occasions, in Hungary and Japan, where Schumacher finished 8th, the last position that was awarded points at that time.
The streak also continued in 2004, when Schumacher had an incredible start of the season, winning the first five races, but during the sixth race of the season, the Monaco Grand Prix, Schumacher was forced to retire when his car was seriously damaged after a controversial crash with Juan Pablo Montoya, while the safety car was on. Many Formula One fans were wondering what might have happened if it wasn’t for that mistake in Monaco, because Schumacher had an almost perfect season and won the following seven races after the crash. At the end of the season which he absolutely dominated, the German won his seventh and final World Champion title.
4. Sebastian Vettel – 19 finishes (2010 Brazilian Grand Prix – 2011 Indian Grand Prix)
To be honest, it’s quite surprising to see the German driver with only two entries on this list (this one is his best), considering the way he dominated the last four Formula One season. Anyway, the performance we’re talking about now was achieved during the 2010 and 2011 seasons, when Vettel won his first two titles and it started with a win at the 2010 Brazilian Grand Prix. Another win followed, in the last race of the season in Abu Dhabi and then what was next was an almost perfect 2011 season, with eleven races won and a single finish outside the podium. Absolutely incredible!
However, the worst result was the one that actually ended his point finishing series. It happened at the 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, when only bad luck made Vettel retire. After the first lap, an unexplained problem with the left rear tire forced him to spin off and abandon the race. And with Webber coming 4th, it was the first time during the 2011 season when there was a podium without at least one Red Bull driver. The next race (the last one of the season), Vettel came in 2nd and finished an amazing season, winning the World Championship with 122 points ahead of Jensen Button.
3. Fernando Alonso – 23 finishes (2011 European Grand Prix – 2012 Hungarian Grand Prix)
And if you thought Alonso’s previously listed performances were amazing, wait until you hear about this one. He’s actually the only driver to have three entries on this list and this one, his best, started with the 2011 race in Valencia where, in front of his home crowd, Alonso came in 2nd, after Vettel. Even though he was quite constant during the rest of the season (one win, six podiums and worst performance a 5th place), Alonso only finished the season 4th overall, behind Vettel, Button and only one point behind Webber.
The series continued in the 2012 season, but the Spaniard was not as constant, winning three races, two 2nd places, but also finishing 5th two times, 7th in Bahrain and almost out of the points in China, where he came in 9th. But after a total of 23 races finished in the points, Alonso was forced to retire at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix, following a massive crash caused by RomainGrosjean and Lewis Hamilton on the first corner. The collision left the two, plus Alonso and Serio Perez with their cars seriously damaged and unable to continue the race. This was one of the most important moments of the 2012 season, because Alonso was leading the Drivers’ Championship with 40 points in front of Webber and 42 in front of Vettel, but after the Belgian race, where Vettel came in 2nd, the battle for the championship was revived. In the end, even though Alonso’s finished every remaining race on the podium (except for Japan, where he retired after another crash in the first corner, this time with Raikkonen), he lost the title by just three points, especially because of Vettel’s impressive run that included 4 wins and two podiums.
2. Michael Schumacher – 24 wins (2001 Hungarian Grand Prix – 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix)
Like we said in the first part of this article, this is Schumacher’s record that stood for a decade before being broken by Raikkonen last year. The performance was achieved by Schumacher during his domination in the early 2000s, one of the most impressive dominations in Formula One’s history, and it all started with the 2001 Hungarian Grand Prix which the German driver won. With two more wins until the end of the season, in Belgium and Japan, Schumacher became World Champion for the fourth time. The 2002 season will probably go down in history as Schumacher’s finest, with eleven wins, five 2nd places and the “worst” result being a 3rd place finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix. He had no rival that season and finished 1st with almost twice as many points as the 2nd place, his team mate Rubens Barrichello.
Unfortunately, the 2003 season didn’t start too well for the German and, after finishing 4th in Australia and 6th in Malaysia, he retired from the Brazilian Grand Prix, thus ending the incredible series of finishes in the points. It was an extremely tough race in Brazil, the stormy weather causing serious troubles to most drivers (out of the 20 drivers that started the race, only 8 finished it) and Schumacher himself spun-off on lap 21. It was the German’s first crash in two years and we can’t help and image how this list might have looked like if it wasn’t for this race, because the following race marked the start of Schumacher’s other point finishing streak, the one we talked about earlier. The record would’ve probably been incredible and almost impossible to break for decades to come.
1. Kimi Raikkonen – 26 finishes (2012 Bahrain Grand Prix – 2013 German Grand Prix)
Ever since he made his debut, the Finn has always been a very “colorful” presence in Formula One. He drove his first race in 2001 for Red Bull SauberPetronas, switched to McLaren a year later and finished the season 2nd on two occasions, in 2003 and 2005 and was World Champion in 2007 with Ferrari. In 2010 he left both Ferrari and Formula One (the Italian team replacing him with Fernando Alonso) and continued competing in rally racing where he had already debuted in 2009. Racing for Citroen, Raikkonen scored his first points in April 2010, making him the second Formula One driver to also score points in the World Rally Championship after 30 years (the first one was none other than the previously mentioned Carlos Reutemann).
In 2012, Raikkonen signed with Lotus and that marked his return to Formula One. Even though he started the season quite shaky (7th in Australia, 5th in Malaysia and 14th in China), starting with the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix and ending with the 2013 German Grand Prix, Raikkonen finished every race in the points. It’s true, his series of results is not as impressive as Schumacher’s or Alonso’s or Vettel’s, but nonetheless, you can’t argue with statistics. His best results are two wins at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the 2013 Australian Grand Prix and eleven podiums. He was also very close to not finishing in the points on two occasions, in Brazil in 2012 and Monaco in 2013 (finished 10th) and he came 9th in two races (Monaco in 2012 and Canada in 2013). The Finn’s record breaking streak ended at the 2013 Belgian Grand Prix, when he was forced to retire by brake failure.