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The History of Formula 1’s Pole Record

Back in 2006 when Michael Schumacher took his 68th and final pole position at the French Grand Prix, the total looked like a steep obstacle for anyone to climb.

That was until Lewis Hamilton came on the scene a year later. And in his 11th season in the sport, the Mercedes pilot has joined Schumacher on the same amount after setting the fastest time at Spa-Francorchamps.

Hamilton set a 1m42.553s – a new lap record – to lead the grid for the race ahead of Sebastian Vettel and Valtteri Bottas.

He is now the second British person to take this honor following Jim Clark, and it is currently the 18th record with his surname besides it.

Coincidentally for the man who now has Bottas (No. 77) as his teammate – it is the 77th change of the record since the first pole position back in 1950.

The Beginning of the Sport

As the sport first got underway in 1950, unsurprisingly the most changes at the front of this standing happened in the opening decade of racing.

Nino Farina took the first at the British Grand Prix that year before Juan Manuel Fangio started on top in Monaco. Walt Faulkner joined them on level terms when he won the pole for the 1950 Indianapolis 500, then a part of this championship.

Fangio and Farina tied on two in the next two contests before Fangio ran away to four by the end of the year, and seven at the end of 1951.

The Fall of 1952 brought Alberto Ascari’s period with the record, stealing the accolade in Italy in September, before extending his reign in Argentina, the Netherlands, France, Britain, Germany, and Italy again in 1953.

This would not stop Fangio’s time entirely, as he came back to begin a 13-year spell in the lead by taking his 13th  in Britain in 1954 before ending his career on 29, his last in Argentina in 1958.

Clark Takes Over

Fangio’s list of achievements was quickly eradicated by Lotus’s Clark as his team became dominant in the sport in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

The Scot became only the second driver to reach 20 before tying with Fangio at the 1967 German Grand Prix in August.

He took the record outright at the end of that month in Canada before having the fastest times in Italy and Mexico.

His last 33rd  was at the South African Grand Prix on New Year’s Day in 1968 as his period fighting at the front of the sport was sadly cut short on April 7 that year, dying at an F2 race in Germany.

Senna’s Supremacy

Clark’s time with the accolade was the longest period – over 21 years – until Ayrton Senna took over while fighting for his second world championship.

Starting at the front in Mexico was the 33rd of his career, but this would only be the halfway point of his amount.

Nine others in 1989 extended his record to 42, before another 10 the following year, and eight in 1991.

Just two more came for him at McLaren in 1992 and 1993 in Canada and Australia, before starting first in his first three events for Williams.

Sadly, his time would also be cut short by an accident at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, resulting in his death.

Schumacher’s Time

The final year in which Senna extended his record was the one that Michael Schumacher began his title-winning streak for Benetton.

He would be the next line in for throne, equaling the Brazilian’s tally at the 2006 Bahrain Grand Prix.

His final campaign in the sport included claiming three more at the San Marino, United States and French races.

The date of July 16, 2006, previously stood as the last time the record changed as he ended the last three months of his career without another, and without an eighth title.

What Next?

Hamilton has reached seven so far in 2017, reached double figures in the past two seasons, and has an average of eight per calendar with Mercedes – so many will wonder whether he could reach 100 if he goes on to have a career of a similar length to Schumacher’s (1991-2006, 2010-12).

For now, his next step will be to take another and complete the passing over of the baton if he wants to ensure winning the Pole Trophy for the third time in a row.

EMAIL CAMERON AT @cpatersonf1@gmail.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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Formula One Open Wheel

Canadian Auto Show to Celebrate F1 History

As Canada celebrates their Sesquicentennial, they’re also set to celebrate 50 years of Grand Prix racing in Canada. The celebration will kick off at the 2017 Canadian International AutoShow, with a display put together to highlight a combination of history, imagery, iconic cars and legends together.

“For the past 50 years, Canadians have hosted one of the best Grand Prix races on the Formula 1 circuit,” says Jason Campbell, General Manager of the AutoShow. “We are proud to collect the history of Formula 1 racing in Canada to one place at this year’s AutoShow and celebrate the great drivers and vehicles who have competed here.”

Taking place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from February 17 and 26, the event offers manufactures the opportunity to showcase their new car line-ups for the year, as well as concept cars. There is also other significant automobile-related exhibits featured throughout the event.

For the past 50 years, F1 racing has been happening on Canadian soil, beginning with Mosport Park (now Canadian Tire Motorsports Park) in 1967. One of the most iconic Canadian names that F1 fans and non-fans know is Villeneuve.

The Villeneuve family will be center of the exhibit, with Gilles Villeneuve’s 1978 Ferrari and Jacques Villeneuve’s 1997 Williams on display. In 1997, Jacques became the only Canadian to date to win the Formula 1 Championship.

There will also be a 1991 Benedetto that was driven by Michael Schumacher on display, thanks to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum. Schumacher’s history in F1 is lengthy, including seven wins in the Canadian Grand Prix.

Other cars that will be featured in 50 Years of Grand Prix in Canada, include:

  • A 1961 Cooper Climax T55 driven by Bruce McLaren
  • A 1974 Parnelli driven by Mario Andretti
  • A 1978 Walter Wolf WR6 driven by Jody Scheckter
  • A 1987 Lotus 99T/5 driven by Ayrton Senna, and
  • A 1990 Ferrari 641 driven by Nigel Mansell

Also, a newly refurbished 1971 Boss Mustang complete still with Monaco plates – only the second car ever owned by Gilles Villeneuve – will be on display for the very first time courtesy of Headrush Motors and Gilles’ widow Joann Villeneuve.  This car was one of Gilles’ first personal cars as his motor racing career started to take off, and helped cement his love and association with Ford products before he became a Ferrari icon.

“In 2017, we not only mark Canada’s 150th birthday,” says Campbell, “it is also the 20th anniversary of Jacques Villeneuve’s World Championship, 40 years of Williams Racing, 40 years since a Canadian car —Walter Wolf’s — won the 1977 Grand Prix of Canada at Mosport Park and 50 years of Formula 1 in Canada. We have a lot of reasons to celebrate.”

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement