Sebastian Vettel took his ninth pole position of the season during the Korean Grand Prix weekend, but once again the German failed to turn it in to a victory. This season the Red Bull driver has won from pole on only three occassions, a one-in-three conversion rate.
There are historical occurrences of similar statistics belonging to some illustrious names. In 1974, Niki Lauda also posted nine poles in a season but won only twice. Ten years later, another three-time world champion in-the-making, Nelson Piquet, achieved the same record.
Sebastian Vettel celebrates his ninth pole of 2010 © LAT
In 1969 Jochen Rindt started from pole five times but won just once. David Coulthard recorded a similar five-to-one ratio in 1995.
At the other end of the scale, curiously, the pole position king Ayrton Senna, made the most out of his 1993 season when he took just one pole but won five times. Eddie Irvine's title-contending 1999 season stands out as well: four wins and zero pole positions.
Back to 2010, and all-in-all Korea was the tenth time this season that a Red Bull driver hasn't been able to convert from pole after Bahrain, Australia, Malaysia, China, Turkey, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary and Belgium.
Red Bull's disastrous result in Korea presented yet more statistical implications:
- A 22-race points streak came to an end;
- Red Bull was one of the two teams with a car in the points in every race this season, now only McLaren holds this record;
- It was the team that had gone the longest without a mechanical failure, which last happened when Vettel retired with brake problems in Australia. Now the record goes to Ferrari, which hasn't suffered a terminal mechanical failure since Malaysia, when Alonso's engine broke;
- For the second time this season, Australia being the other, Red Bull locked out the front row and didn't record a podium finish;
- This is the first double retirement for Red Bull in more than two years. The last time it happened was in the 2008 Australian Grand Prix, when both Coulthard and Webber retired through accidents.
• Sebastian Vettel earned his fourteenth career pole position, equalling Alberto Ascari, James Hunt, Ronnie Peterson and Rubens Barrichello
• For the third straight race the margin of the pole-sitter was less than one tenth of a second
• The occupants of the first five grid spots in Yeongam were the same as those of the British Grand Prix
• Fernando Alonso has established himself as the principal qualifying rival to the Red Bulls - Korea was his seventh third place this year, and the tenth start from the second row
• Nico Rosberg started in front of his seven-time world champion team-mate Michael Schumacher for the tenth consecutive occasion
• Jenson Button has slipped to progressively worse grid positions at every race since he started from the front row in Monza. He was fourth in Singapore, fifth in Japan and seventh in Korea
• Heikki Kovalainen equalled his worst season grid spot, 21st, obtained in China
• Sakon Yamamoto for the third time in his 21-race career was able to beat his team-mate in qualifying
• Fernando Alonso's 26th win means he is now fifth in the all-time podium list, equalling David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen on 62. The Spaniard also recorded his fourth straight podium finish in Korea
Fernando Alonso recorded his 26th victory © LAT
• Lewis Hamilton also reached a podium milestone: 35, the same number as Juan Manuel Fangio and Emerson Fittipaldi. He also recorded McLaren's 450th podium spot. Ferrari leads that list on 642
• Vitantonio Liuzzi matched his career's best result, the sixth place he scored in the 2007 Chinese Grand Prix
• Jenson Button equalled Nigel Mansell's number of race starts - 187. He moves to thirteenth in the all-time rankings
• Nico Rosberg had not retired due to an accident for 45 races. That's more than half of his career, now at 87 starts. The last time was during the 2008 Monaco Grand Prix when he swiped the wall at the Swimming Pool complex. Nico also retired in Japan two week's ago, marking these two races as his first back-to-back retirements since his debut season, when he recorded a streak of four retirements from Germany to Italy
• Michael Schumacher finished just outside the podium in fourth for the third time this season
• Seven cars went off during the race due to spins or accidents, that's the highest number this season, and two more than was recorded in Singapore
• For the eighth time this season an HRT car was classified last. In the history of Formula 1 only Minardi has a worse record. In 2004 the worst ever, it ended the season having finished at the bottom of the race classifications 12 times
• BMW Sauber put both cars in the points in back-to-back races for the first time since the 2008 Belgian and Italian Grands Prix
• Korea was the 40th straight race with a Renault engine in the points
• With a total race time of 2 hours and 48 minutes, this was the longest race since the 1960 Indianapolis Grand Prix which took 3 hours and 36 minutes. The race before that was the Monaco Grand Prix, won by Stirling Moss in 2 hours and 53 minutes
Safety car notes
The safety car led more laps than the winner © LAT
• 24 laps led in Korea improves the record of the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix (19) for safety car usage
• Bernd Maylander was at the head of the field for more laps than race winner Fernando Alonso (10)
• There have been a total of 78 laps behind the safety car this season, that's nearly the double of Felipe Massa's tally of laps in the lead (42).