The Top 10 Points Runs in Formula 1 History
There might not be a great deal for Ferrari to shout about at the moment, but did you know they broke a Formula One record in Abu Dhabi last weekend?
The Yas Marina race was the 65th successive Grand Prix in which a Ferrari has finished in the points, nudging the Maranello squad one clear of the previous record held by McLaren.
In fact, there are four Ferrari runs in F1’s all-time top 10 of consecutive points finishes.
Aside from the Scuderia, three other current teams appear in the list, though only one of them has any chance of moving up the rankings in the final two races of 2013.
So, without further delay, here are F1’s nine other points runs—and a nod to the greatest points sequence of any individual driver, too.
10. McLaren—26 Races
Much like the top 10 in 2013 races, McLaren is propping up the list.
Perhaps that’s an obvious and harsh joke at the Woking squad, which features twice in this list: including a run that only ended earlier this year.
But that’s for later. This run started back at the 2000 San Marino Grand Prix, in which Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard finished second and third. The pair, between them, managed to finish in the points in each of the next 25 races.
Hakkinen’s victory at Silverstone in 2001 would be the last points finish of a 26-race run, as a pair of engine failures hobbled both drivers at the following German Grand Prix.
9. Cooper—27 Races
My personal favourite on the list because: it spans four seasons, is retro and is from a time when reliability was a luxury.
Back in the day when the calendars were shorter, the helmets were open-faced and points only extended to sixth, Cooper was a tour de force.
Jack Brabham’s Monaco Grand Prix victory in 1959 was the start of an awesome 27-race run in the points, which took in another 11 races.
The last of those (also at Monaco, courtesy of Bruce McLaren) would prove to be the final race in the points for that sequence. Neither McLaren nor teammate Tony Maggs made the finish in the next race in Belgium.
8. Red Bull—33 Races
Did you really think there was going to be a top 10 F1 list without Red Bull featuring somewhere?
Like them or loathe them, the energy drink team is a behemoth of modern F1.
Sebastian Vettel’s surge to the 2010 title started because of this run, with his and teammate Mark Webber’s one-two in the Brazilian Grand Prix beginning a sequence of 33 consecutive Grands Prix in the points.
Something of a slump in mid-2012 threatened to curtail this run, and so it proved in the Italian Grand Prix.
Vettel suffered an alternator failure (what was that about Webber’s car being the only one to strike mechanical woe?), and Mark binned it with two laps remaining.
The duo thus continued the bizarre run we’ve seen on this list of a points run ending in a dual disaster.
7. Ferrari—33 Races
Equal-seventh with Red Bull, but nudging ahead on my say-so, is the equally unsurprising inclusion of a Michael Schumacher-inspired Ferrari run.
The team enters the list at number seven (relax, there are three more entries) by virtue of Schumacher and teammate Rubens Barrichello’s relentless consistency across the 2003 and 2004 seasons.
Starting at the San Marino Grand Prix in ’03, where Schumacher won and Barrichello joined him on the podium in third, the pair finished in the points every race until the 2005 Bahrain Grand Prix.
A hydraulics failure ended Schumacher’s race after only 12 laps, while Barrichello finished a lapped ninth.
6. BMW—34 Races
Remember BMW’s flirtation with F1 as an out-and-out manufacturer?
It was moderately successful (Robert Kubica became a race winner as a result), but given the investment made by the manufacturer, one win was a paltry return.
However, the 34 races Nick Heidfeld and Kubica spent in the points between the 2007 Australian and 2008 Chinese Grands Prix is a testimony to the “there or thereabouts” pace the white-and-blue cars often had.
A host of podiums accompanied this run, which came to an end in that dramatic Brazilian Grand Prix. Caught out by the conditions, Heidfeld and Kubica struggled home 10th and 11th.
5. Lotus—37 Races (ongoing)
Lotus might just march up this list next season, for this is the sole continuing run in the top 10.
Do you want to know something special? Since “Lotus” returned to the championship after taking over the erstwhile Renault squad, it has not finished a race outside of the points.
That is, obviously, between its two drivers. Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean have always picked up the slack whenever the other has hit trouble.
That run is actually 38 if you extend it back to the Renault days. Confusing, those name changes, weren’t they?
4. Ferrari—46 Races
Here we go, the second Ferrari entry.
Guess what? It’s Michael Schumacher-led. But, guess what? Felipe Massa is at the heart of it.
Between and including the 2006 San Marino and 2008 Italian Grands Prix, Schumacher, Massa and Kimi Raikkonen managed to finish an impressive 46 races in the points consecutively.
Then, disaster in Singapore.
A race that later came to be infamous for the dirty Renault Crashgate tactics cost Massa dearly (he slumped to 13th, not helped by a botched pit stop), while Raikkonen spun off with just a few laps remaining.
3. Ferrari—55 Races
You wait a while for the second Ferrari entry in this list, and then another one follows immediately.
And guess whom this one is led by? That’s right, it’s Mich…Eddie Irvine?
The Ulsterman can attract a raw deal from some quarters for his attitude and overrated (some might suggest) ability behind the wheel. But he was a founding father of a mighty 55-race run in the points for the Scudera.
His 1999 Malaysian Grand Prix win began the sequence, which ended in the attritional 2003 Brazilian race.
Schumacher spun off at mid-distance, while Barrichello’s home jinx continued as he ran out of fuel.
2. McLaren—64 Races
Up until the last couple of races, McLaren had something to boast about this season.
The combined efforts of Sergio Perez and Jenson Button might not be enough to make the troublesome 2013 car a race winner (or even a podium finisher), but what they had between them made McLaren a record holder.
Button’s sixth-place finish in Monaco made it 64 races in the points for McLaren, a run stretching back to the 2010 Bahrain Grand Prix.
There followed a woefully uncompetitive Canadian Grand Prix in which Perez led home Button in 11th.
1. Ferrari—65 Races (Ongoing)
That McLaren run was finally surpassed last weekend.
As Alonso and Massa battled to fifth and eighth, respectively, nudging Ferrari into individual record territory was probably not entirely on their minds.
But they did it, making it an almost unbelievable 65 races in the points for the Scuderia. That run stretches back to the 2010 German Grand Prix.
Now that was less savoury for Ferrari...
The Driver Record: Kimi Raikkonen
Upon his return to the world championship in 2012, Kimi Raikkonen did something special.
After seventh and fifth on his first races back, he had a disappointing Chinese Grand Prix in which a tyre gamble backfired spectacularly as his Pirellis hit the cliff, and he tumbled down the order out of the points.
Thereafter began an almighty run of 27 races in the points.
He finished second in Bahrain to start the run, the last of which was another second-place finish in Hungary.
A mechanical failure at Spa this year robbed him of the chance to extend that run further, but he is three races clear of the second-best effort, Michael Schumacher’s 24 races from the 2001 Hungarian Grand Prix through to the 2003 Malaysian race.