They all say that
Jim Clark (Lotus 25 Climax) and John Surtees (Ferrari Dino 156) at the start of the 1963 Mexican Grand Prix © LAT
Here's what statistics say about it:
In the history of the championship the drivers who won at least four of the first five races always were crowned champions at the end of the season;
It happened nine times, the first in 1963 (Jim Clark), the last one in 2004 (Michael Schumacher);
Five times the runaway driver was from the United Kingdom: Jim Clark 1963-1965, Jackie Stewart 1969, Nigel Mansell 1992, Damon Hill 1996;
Button counts now 41 points. The four drivers who were able to gain at least 40 points in the first five races in history, always won the Championship at the end of the season.
They are: Nigel Mansell in 1992 (50 points, five wins); Michael Schumacher in 1994 (46) 2002 (44) and 2004 (50, five wins); Damon Hill in 1996 (43); Fernando Alonso in 2005 (44) and 2006 (44).
Three times higher
The only statistic that keeps Button on the ground is the one related to the podium finishes at the start of the season: he climbed on the podium in all the first five races (4 wins, one third place). This was recorded eleven times before and in five of them the authors lost the Championship, but in all cases they had an inferior number of wins.
It happened in 1973, with Emerson Fittipaldi (3 wins, 2 third places) losing to Jackie Stewart; in 1976 when Niki Lauda (3 wins, 2 seconds) lost to James Hunt; in 1981 when Carlos Reutemann (2 wins, 2 seconds, 1 third) lost to Nelson Piquet; in 1988 when Alain Prost (3 wins, 2 seconds) lost to Ayrton Senna; and in 2007 when Lewis Hamilton (4 seconds, 1 third) lost to Kimi Raikkonen.
After the Spanish Grand Prix, the Brawn GP team already scored 68 points in five races, which his three times higher than the points tally of Honda in the 2007 and 2008 seasons (6 in 2007, 14 in 2008).
Number 22 is becoming the lucky number in Formula 1, as it was the number of Lewis Hamilton in 2008 in his road to the title and Jenson Button's number this year.
In the last couple of seasons, the car #22 won nine times, which is three times higher than in the 57 previous seasons of Formula 1. From 1950 to 2007, the car #22 won only the 1951 Spanish Grand Prix with Juan Manuel Fangio, the 1964 French Grand Prix with Dan Gurney and the 1968 British Grand Prix with Jo Siffert.
Brawn at a record pace
After Bahrain, Brawn GP was the fourth best team to start a season in the last ten years, with a total of 50 points. With the double in Barcelona the total is now 68, which narrows the confrontation in the same time span only with Ferrari in 2004, which after five races had 82 points.
Before the change in the points system, there was only one team who fared better than Brawn, Williams, with 74 points in the first five races of the 1992 season, with four doubles and a win.
Spain qualifying notes
• The qualifying session proved to be the closest of the season so far: only 0.705 seconds separated the first fifteen drivers in the first session, with the sixteenth (Raikkonen) missing Q2 with a time only 0.807 seconds slower than the fastest one.
• The second knockout was equally very close: only 0.555 seconds between Barrichello and Alonso (tenth), with the eleventh (Nakajima) 0.577 seconds slower than Barrichello;
• Jarno Trulli was beaten for the first time in qualifying since the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix, when Glock was able to reach the 7th spot and Trulli was eleventh;
• For the first time this season, Kimi Raikkonen missed the final qualifying knockout and he recorded his worst qualifying performance since the 2007 Monaco Grand Prix, when he was 16th after a crash in the first qualifying session;
• For the third straight race, Nick Heidfeld wasn't able to reach the top 10. In the German's career this didn't happen since the 2005 season, when he was outside the top 10 spots for four straight races, from Canada to Great Britain;
• Worst qualifying performance for Heikki Kovalainen since the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix, when he was 22nd after an engine change. He had qualified 19th.
Spain race notes
Red Bull teammates Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber during the Spanish Grand Prix © LAT
• With a sixth place Felipe Massa is back in the points after a four races drought, which marked his worst start of the season ever. The three points scored take him to a total of 301 career points, at the 18th all-time spot;
• For the first time this season, Timo Glock and Toyota finished a race outside the points. Brawn GP now is the only ones who has scored points and podiums in every race;
• Hard times for Lewis Hamilton as he equals his longest win-less streak: the count is at six after the Spanish Grand Prix, the same amount he endured last year from Hungary to Japan;
• Same fate for Kubica, who posted his sixth straight race outside the points, his longest one, as before this he endured only five straight races outside the points right after his debut, from the 2006 Chinese Grand Prix to the 2007 Malaysian Grand Prix;
• For the first time this season the Toro Rossos failed to see the chequered flag. The "Spanish curse" of the team persists as in their history they were able to finish only one race out of eight participations, back in 2006 with Liuzzi in 15th.
To continue reading this feature, join Autosport Plus today.
Are you an Autosport magazine subscriber? Activate your online account
- Your Autosport Plus membership includes:
- Unlimited access to Autosport's news - no monthly cap.
- Read the best motorsport features, analysis and opinion.
- Explore Forix, our comprehensive motorsport stats database.
- Choose from a monthly or yearly membership.