Six Top F1 Qualifiers


Putting your car on the front row, P1, has never been harder in Formula One than today, but it’s always been a difficult undertaking. Here are the best qualifiers of all time, including a current driver who is vaulting rapidly into statistical history. Part of F1A&G’s “Top Sixes” feature-in-progress.

Six Top Formula One Qualifiers
Rank Driver Poles-Races Percent
1 Juan Manuel Fangio 28-51 54.90%
2 Jim Clark 33-72 45.83%
3 Ayrton Senna 68-161 40.37%
4 Sebastian Vettel 22-70 31.43%
5 Michael Schumacher 68-275 24.72%
6 Stirling Moss 16-66 24.24%

Whether the format is one hour free-for-all sessions, single-lap or “knock out” qualifying, the art of posting the quickest lap of the entire Grand Prix field at just the right time is subtle and mysterious. Some of the greatest drivers in history, like Niki Lauda and Alain Prost, are well down the stat lists for the proportion of their races starting from pole. Michael Schumacher would be higher if his grim numbers from the past few “comeback” seasons with Mercedes GP were excluded, and will Seb Vettel top them all?  Note—through 2011 European GP only.


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