He might be on-track to overtake one of Michael Schumacher's F1 records this season should his all-conquering form continue, but 2011 world champion-elect Sebastian Vettel has conceded that no matter what he ultimately goes on to accomplish in his career, the late, great Ayrton Senna will forever be the sport's qualifying king.
To-date this year, Vettel has tallied an astonishing 284 points out of a possible 325 – or 87.4 per cent – with the all-time record over the course of a campaign in the top flight the 84.7 per cent set by Michael Schumacher in 2002 for notching up 144 points out of 170.
Another record that the Red Bull Racing star could be on-course to break is Nigel Mansell's 14 pole positions set back in 1992, as the Williams ace sped to his sole title success at the highest level. Vettel has begun from the top spot on the starting grid ten times thus far in F1 2011 – meaning he needs five more poles from the remaining six races to pip Mansell.
Regardless of whether or not he dethrones the Englishman, however, the young German is quick to stress that he would still not be in the same class as Brazilian legend Senna.
“[The record would be] nice to hear, but I think the most impressive one – and it will probably always be – is Ayrton Senna,” the 24-year-old mused. “The amount of poles he got during a year and then for three or four years in a row, I think that's the real benchmark.”
Vettel currently counts 25 career poles, 43 shy of Michael Schumacher's record of 68, with Senna having achieved 65. That represents a 33.3 per cent strike rate from the 75 grands prix he has begun – placing him fifth on the all-time list, behind Juan-Manuel Fangio, Jim Clark, Alberto Ascari and Senna.