Waiting to win: When each F1 driver last won a race

2011 F1 season preview

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Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2010

Racing drivers live to win. But when they reach the pinnacle of the sport they face the best of their peers in the fastest cars – and the wait between victories can be a long one.

For one driver on the 2011 grid it’s been well over a decade since his last win in a major international race.

Cast your eye on the list below to see who’s been waiting longest for their next taste of success.

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel

2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
Red Bull-Renault RB6
10.162s ahead of Lewis Hamilton

Mark Webber

2010 Hungarian Grand Prix
Red Bull-Renault RB6
17.821s ahead of Fernando Alonso


Lewis Hamilton

2010 Belgian Grand Prix
McLaren-Mercedes MP4-25
1.571s ahead of Mark Webber

Jenson Button

2010 Chinese Grand Prix
McLaren-Mercedes MP4-25
1.53s ahead of Lewis Hamilton


Fernando Alonso

2010 Korean Grand Prix
Ferrari F10
14.999s ahead of Lewis Hamilton

Felipe Massa

2008 Brazilian Grand Prix
Ferrari F2008
13.298s ahead of Fernando Alonso


Michael Schumacher

2006 Chinese Grand Prix
Ferrari 248 F1
3.121s ahead of Fernando Alonso

Nico Rosberg

2005 GP2 Bahrain Sprint Race
ART GP2 Dallara
8.335s ahead of Ernesto Viso


Nick Heidfeld

1999 F3000 A1-Ring
West Competition Team Lola B99/50
8.957s ahead of Soheil Ayari

Vitaly Petrov

2009 GP2 Valencia feature race
Barwa Addax Dallara GP2-08
0.396s ahead of Nico Hulkenberg

Robert Kubica

2008 Canadian Grand Prix
BMW F1.08
16.495s ahead of Nick Heidfeld

NB. Not starting the season due to injury


Rubens Barrichello

2009 Italian Grand Prix
Brawn BGP-001
2.866s ahead of Jenson Button

Pastor Maldonado

2010 GP2 Spa-Francorchamps feature race
Rapax Dallara GP2-08
0.243s ahead of Alvaro Parente

Force India

Adrian Sutil

2006 Japanese F3, Fuji Speedway (fourth race)
TOM’s Dallara F305-Toyota
2.491s ahead of Kazuya Oshima

Paul di Resta

2010 DTM Hockenheimring (second race)
Mercedes C-Klasse 09
10.532s ahead of Timo Scheider


Kamui Kobayashi

2008 GP2 Barcelona sprint race
DAMS Dallara GP2-08
1.176s ahead of Sebastien Buemi

Sergio Perez

2010 GP2 Abu Dhabi feature race
Barwa Addax Dallara GP2-08
21.065s ahead of Oliver Turvey

Toro Rosso

Sebastien Buemi

2008 GP2 Hungaroring Sprint Race
Arden GP2 Dallara
7.978s ahead of Andy Soucek

Jaime Alguersuari

2009 Formula Renault 3.5 Portugal (second race)
Carlin Dallara FR35
1.448s ahead of Charles Pic


Jarno Trulli

2004 Monaco Grand Prix
0.497s ahead of Jenson Button

Heikki Kovalainen

2008 Hungarian Grand Prix
11.061s ahead of Timo Glock


Narain Karthikeyan

2010 Superleague Formula Brands Hatch (second race)
PSV Eindhoven Panoz DP09B
12.736s ahead of Davide Rigon

Vitantonio Liuzzi

2008-09 Speedcar Series Bahrain (fourth race)
UP Team Speedcar 6.0 V8
3.453s ahead of Thomas Biagi


Timo Glock

2007 GP2 Valencia Ricardo Tormo Sprint Race
iSport GP2 Dallara
5.474s ahead of Javier Villa

Jerome d’Ambrosio

2010 GP2 Monaco sprint race
DAMS Dallara GP2-08
0.351s ahead of Giedo van der Garde

2011 F1 season preview

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Image © Bridgestone/Ercole Colombo

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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98 comments on “Waiting to win: When each F1 driver last won a race”

  1. Nick Heidfeld

    1999 F3000 A1-Ring
    West Competition Team Lola B99/50
    8.957s ahead of Soheil Ayari

    Really highlights just how long Heidfeld has been in F1 without a win…

    1. He only really ever had one chance at winning (that I can think of) and that was Canada 2008. And there are few people that can beat Robert Kubica when given the same machinery. So I don’t find it that surprising. But I’d be very happy if he finally won a race this year, even if I am still angry at Renault over this Lotus naming battle!

      1. That’s not really fair to Heidfeld. I don’t remember the exact details, but it seems to have embedded itself in my memory that BMW performed some pitstop shiftery to put Kubica ahead of Heidfeld on track because Kubica’s position in the championship was quite a bit more favourable.

        1. Yeah .. Kubica was on a two stop strategy, while Nick was on a single stopper. When Robert was on Nick’s tail they didn’t let them battle it out. If Nick had kept him behind for 4-5 laps the outcome of the race could have been different.

          Lets hop he gets a win this year.. he deserves to leave the sport with a win under his belt.

        2. From what I remember they both had the possibility of winning that race, but then BMW worked the tactics so that Kubica stayed in front. Still, if your cars are running 1-2 and you’ve got the chance of your first victory, what are you meant to do?

          1. Still, if your cars are running 1-2 and you’ve got the chance of your first victory, what are you meant to do?

            Leave it to the drivers to fight it out on track. If you don’t trust your drivers not to crash into each other then there are much bigger issues in the team.

          2. It wasn’t that BMW switched them or Robert is sooo much faster, it was that Nick was on a one-stop and his tires were shredded. Kubica was on a two stopper and his tires were fresh. On the lap that RK passed Nick, he was absolutely flying and caught up to him at an alarming rate. Even if BMW said go ahead and race, Nick would have been passed….anyone would have been passed. It only made sense to let him by (similar to Shumi and Rosberg this year) becasue the two cars were on such different tires that they weren’t even comparable.

            Everyone loves to say that Robert blew him away or BMW was up to something, but the bottom line is that Robert just chose a better strategy for that day.

      2. You could argue that if Nick had not let Robert by so easily he’d have won the race.

        I’d like to see him get a win this year but I can’t see it happening.

        1. I believe it was that they could either have had Kubica first and Heidfeld second or Heidfeld first and Kubica fourth – because of their strategies. Heidfeld was man enough to let Kubica through after his stop. Had it been a driver from another team, Heidfeld would have won.

          1. I don’t think so. I remember Nicks tires being done for and he had no choice really. He did act gentlemanly and let RK by relatively easily, but it wasn’t like he could have just sailed to victory.

          2. I don’t think Nick’s tyres were gone because five laps later he did his fastest lap (and second fastest of the race) on those tyres.

          3. Heidfeld did a good enough job of keeping Alonso behind after letting Kubica through into clear air (so much so that Alonso span out trying to get past) so Nick’s tyres can’t have been in that awful a shape. I think (my personal view here) that Heidfeld could’ve had that race but abdicated it because it was the best thing for the team (guarantee the 18 points, let the leading championship driver take the spoils for a possible challenge).

          4. Again, I don’t remember the specifics, but Heidfeld would have won it had both been given the go-ahead to race as hard as they could. And it was very clear that this was the case at the time. Or, as clear as it could be without someone shouting a “he’s faster, do you understand” kind of message over the radio.

          5. It made sense for the team to let Kubica get past Heidfeld as easy as possible, to maximize their chance of winning the race. Alonso was directly behind Heidfeld and obviously much faster. If the two BMWs would have been racing, their was a chance that Alonso would get past them (He almost passed Heidfeld as well when Kubica passed him). Heidfeld was running until the end and was able to hold up Alonso, who (maybe) could have been a threat to Kubica’s win.
            Besides that, another SC before Kubicas second stop (not unlikely, it was Canada after all) would have ruined his race, but BMW would still have had their win with Heidfeld. So it was just about making sure that they won the race (Which makes sense, because by now we know that the chance didn’t come again)

          6. it must of been tough for nick to take as he would of won that race.

            but like the pro that he is he did the right thing for the team. and didnt bitc*h about it or make a seen like some other drivers have done.

            i also dont remember anyone complaining either about the team orders…

          7. I seem to remember that Heidfeld still had to pit, so they let Kubica through. May be wrong, but what I really remember is that Heidfeld couldn’t actually win the race anyway.

          8. Of course he could win, after all he came second. If he’d blocked Robert until his stop, he would have won. But then something might have happened later and none of them would have won. It was team play at its best.

          9. why does everyone on this site rate Heidfeld so highly?? He’s a has been/never was that is about as exciting as watching a Sebastien Vettel win from pole in a Red Bull.

            Can someone please elucidate?

          10. why does everyone on this site rate Heidfeld so highly?

            I don’t rate him particularly highly. He’s very good, but there are a lot of other drivers on the grid I’d pick before him.

  2. You left out R24 for Trulli and MP4-23 for Kovalainen.

    And Heidfeld, always the bridesmaid. Hope he gets a win this year. The R31 is one of this year’s dark horses, literally.

    1. literally dark, not literally a horse. ;-)

      1. Haha I never quite get why people use the word literally in the most daft ways. I remember back at school once when an RE teacher proclaimed “my head is literally going to explode”… it was a horrible image

        But back to F1- I fear the R31 will flatter to deceive after all this hype

        1. I’m afraid that the end times are literally upon us. I can’t get into the OED, but Merriam-Webster and Dictionary.com both have a supplementary definition of “in effect; virtually”. As does my dead-tree Collins from 1994.

          Now I’m off to boldly split infinitive’s and use grocer’s apostrophe’s until the chap’s in white coat’s turn up ;-)

          1. JimG, I hate you.

  3. I had a hunch that it would be Heidfeld, maybe he should go and win somewhere else, then come back and use that confidence to finally win in Formula 1!

  4. That’s a fascinating and brilliant list. Shows just how tough it is to get to Formula 1 and to succeed once you get there.

    1. Stunning isn’t it? It shows how all these guys really are top notch race drivers.

      I liked what DC said the other day in the 3rd part of the BBC season preview about it having been quit a shock for Nico Hülkenberg to find out how tough a job it was up against Barricello last year.
      Maybe that is where Maldonado taking 4 years to get to the GP2 top is an advantage. He has already learnt there is hard work in proving your talent at the top.

      1. Agreed! Excellent article and very insightful!

  5. Wow button didn’t win after china??!!

    1. You thought he had?

  6. Interesting overview.

    I’m often reminded of how long some drivers have to wait for a win, e.g. Roberto Moreno after his final F3000 victory in 1988 — he took the 2000 CART race in Clevelend, 12 years later — or Jos Verstappen, who won the South African A1GP race in the 2005-2006 season, also 12 years after his last F3 victory.

    1. Do you think that a driver ‘forgets’ how to win?

  7. An interesting list indeed.

    I wonder how many teams will win races this year?

    1. I guess 6 teams.

      1. I’m gonna say 5.

  8. Massa’s is depressing. 2008 seems like so long ago although I’ll let him off in 09 but he really should have won one last year :(

    1. Well, he was never quick enough to do it in 2010. :(

      1. At least not quick enough to beat the combination of Alonso and the team in Germany last year …

        1. Thanks to Vettel’s move on Alonso at the start. But as Fernando himself said afterwards; you have to take every opportunity. For which, Felipe was heavily punished (emotionally at least).

        2. Or rather, the combination of Massa and his ordered turned-down engine versus the combination of Alonso’s turned-up engine.

          Ironic given that some of those complaining about artificial overtaking yesterday are probably ok with team orders!

          1. So had Alonso had a normal start and been ahead of Massa, would Felipe have been able to overtake him?

          2. We’ll never know OEL and he did seem fortunate Vettel focussed solely on Alonso but when Massa did take the lead his pace was good enough to win that race until the different engine settings.

            I don’t like teams swapping positions (certainly not when their drivers are racing with one’s engine turned down and the other up) but if the team wants to sort it out that’s up to them they’re fighting for a title. I don’t like it much but I accept it. Otherwise, overtaking should just be about pulling off a good move rather than pressing a button.

          3. N, we’ll never know, but given that Alonso was unable to overtake Massa and given that Alonso’s pace had generally been stronger than Massa’s, it seems unlikely.

            P.S. What I ment with taking every opportunity was that it was what Massa did when he took the start, not that Ferrari used team orders if that is what you think.

  9. “Nico Rosberg

    2005 GP2 Bahrain Sprint Race
    ART GP2 Dallara
    8.335s ahead of Ernesto Viso”

    if i am not mistaken rosberg has beeen handed the win of the infamous singapore race which mr cheating spaniard got banned from.

    1. He hasn’t.

    2. The results of that race stand; something to do with all results being final at the end of the season after the prizes for WCC and WDC have been handed out. Prevents revisionism etc.

      If you are cynical you could conclude that the FIA waited long enough with investigating until that was the case; but they will say they didn’t have evidence before it was too late :)

    3. Also, Rosberg took advantage of the safety car as well.

      1. agree with this.

        You can’t change the result of the race because ultimately none of the drivers were in the correct position.

        1. Except that the drivers who benefited did so by chance, not because they had manipulated the race for themselves. Sure it screwed up the whole results, but had it been investigated in time then the only driver who should have been disqualified was Alonso.

    4. We’ll never know, but if someone was cheating, it was Briattore and Symonds (and Piquet, too). It was never proven Alonso was involved.

      1. Perhaps Rosberg was the mysterious “witness X” who knew about it… ;-)

        1. Witness X was Alan Permane, the senior race engineer at Renault.

      2. OmarR-Pepper (@)
        17th March 2011, 18:02

        Do you remember when Honda created, I think in 2004, a car with some kind of extra-sized fuel tanks. Even more, the extra space had a cap that had to be activated by the pilot. So, do you really think BHutton and Sato didn’t know about it? Do you really think Alonso won that race withoot knowing Piquet had crashed intentionally? And then the next year he “DIDN’t” know about the spy-gate in McLaren, (but actually he kind-of-blackmailed McLaren bosses, then he accused them, probably envious of Hamilton, and by this way he got cleaned) . Come on!!!!

  10. Are we sometimes too hard on these non-winning drivers. In the last ten years unless they drove for Ferrari, McLaren, Renault, Red Bull, Brawn (Mercedes) or Williams then they haven’t had much of a chance. And Williams haven’t won a race since Brazil 2004.

    The only exceptions are Robert Kubica for Sauber 2008 in Canada, Jenson Button Honda 2006 in Hungary and Giancarlo Fisichella Jordan 2003 in Brazil.

    1. Jelle van der Meer
      17th March 2011, 11:58

      You are forgetting Vettel in the Toro Rosso at Monza in 2008

  11. I guess that have to be Nick Heidfeld.

  12. This is a great list, IIRC remember this list was on the site back in 2009, or maybe I saw it somewhere else?

    However, I think it’d be better if it was ranked in order of most recent winners to most distant winners. Could anyone have a go at doing that in the comments?

    1. Vettel, Alonso, Webber, Hamilton, Button, Barrichello, Räikkönen, Massa, Kubica, from the top of my head.

      1. Oops; Kovalainen later than Kubica!

        1. Updated: Vettel, Alonso, Webber, Hamilton, Button, Barrichello, Räikkönen, Massa, Kovalainen, Kubica, M Schumacher, Fisichella, Montoya, Trulli, R Schumacher, Coulthard and Häkkinen in F1 since 2000.

          1. …interestingly, going back even further to 1999, three consecutive races saw drivers win a GP for the final time:

            1999 Italian GP: Frentzen
            1999 European GP: Herbert
            1999 Malaysian GP: Irvine

            So, after Hakkinen, it goes: Irvine, Herbert, Frentzen, Hill, Villeneuve, Berger, Panis, Alesi, Mansell, Senna, Prost, Patrese…

            That’s all I can think of. Can anyone take this even further/ correct any mistakes we might have made?

  13. 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix
    Ferrari F2008
    13.298s ahead of Fernando Alonso

    Love it :D

    1. Alonso scoring P2 in 2008 is much more of a result than Massa winning in 2008.

  14. Here’s a list of drivers who have driven a race winning car over the past decade without ever winning a race themselves:

    Marc Gene: 2003 & 2004 – Williams
    Ralph Firman- 2003 – Jordan
    Antonio Pizz:nia: 2004 – Williams
    Nick Heidfeld: 2008 – BMW
    Sebastien Bourdais: 2008 – Toro Rosso
    Nelson Piquet Jr: 2008 – Renault

    …here are the drivers who underperfromed in a winning car (ie, failed to win a race in a particular season while their teammates won two or more races GP’s):

    Rubens Barrichello: 2001 – Ferrari
    Felipe Massa: 2010 – Ferrari

    …and finally, drivers who have failed to win a race in a particular season while their teammate has won one (excluding the aforementioned cases):

    Kimi Raikkonen: 2002 – McLaren
    Juan Pablo Montoya: 2002 – Williams
    Jarno Trulli: 2003 – Renault
    Fernando Alonso: 2004 – Renault
    Jaques Villeneueve: 2004 – Renault
    Rubens Barrichello: 2005 – Ferrari
    Rubens Barrichello: 2006 – Honda
    Heikki Kovalainen: 2009 – McLaren
    Felipe Massa: 2009 – Ferrari
    Luca Badoer: 2009 – Ferrari
    Giancarlo Fisichella: 2009 – Ferrari

    1. Interesting stuff!

    2. Massa shouldn’t be in these lists…. In 2009 was super quicker than Kimi is his ferrari but then came along Runbens spring! And 2010 he “almost” won the german GP. But for sure (as he always says) this will change this season.

      1. It’s true that he got completely jipped at Hockenheim last year, but at the end of the day, Alonso 5- Massa 0 is a pretty comprehensive beating I’d say

    3. Great job Ned! The funniest of all for me is this one: “Ralph Firman- 2003 – Jordan”

      That car only had 2 points finishes all year apart from that win! I think we can safely classify the 2003 Jordan as the most useless car to ever win an F1 race(unless I’ve missed something from the 1950’s-1970’s?)

      1. Other contenders for most useless car to win a race would be:

        The Ligier JS43, which Olivier Panis drove to a spectacular victory at Monaco in 1996. Panis’ next best finishes that year were one fith and a sixth.

        The BRM P160B, which won Monaco in the wet in 1972 in the hands of Jean-Pierre Beltoise. The car failed to register any other points finishes.

        1. Thank you Tim! I think JS43 was a bit better than EJ13 because EJ13’s other best result was 7th. Also from personal memory I think that Ligier was a faster car.

          I didn’t know that Beltoise’s victory in Monaco 72 was BRM’s only points finish of the year! That’s even worse than EJ13.

      2. Fisi’s 2003 win was more of a Bridgestone win than a Jordan win – he passed Raikkonen for the lead like he was on rails while Kimi had nothing…..the car had totally nothing to do with it. Might we see another similar type of result in 2011, even in the dry?

        And if you’re including Firman then you
        have to also add the ZSOLT!

    4. Did you just compile that yourself Ned? It’s very interesting! ;)

      1. I did, off the top of my air filled head. Look closely and you may well find a few mistakes

    5. …here are the drivers who underperfromed in a winning car (ie, failed to win a race in a particular season while their teammates won two or more races GP’s):
      Rubens Barrichello: 2001 – Ferrari
      Felipe Massa: 2010 – Ferrari

      Plus Kovalainen in 2009, since Hamilton won 2.

      Otherwise the list is Okily-Dokily!

  15. Heidfeld poor guy! He definitely deserves a win.

  16. Haha! I knew it! poor Nick. I hope he would win this year. maybe this is his last chance. of course I wish Alonso win the title!

  17. Keith, I know you get a lot of fan mail from us – it’s getting ridiculous, really! :O) – but I have to say you have some remarkably good and original ideas for articles. Another fascinating read.

    (Now can I borrow 2 quid?)

  18. Wasn’t Kobayashi last win GP2 Asia Series 2008-09 Bahrain Feature race (January 23rd, 2009)?

    1. Keith, I think this is correct as I remember Kobayashi winning the 2008-09 GP2 Asia series.

  19. Webber must have gone 8 years before winning in 09, so things can happen late in a career if you’re lucky enough to get in the right team and still be competitive.

    Although it doesn’t really count, Heidfeld did get pole somewhere didn’t he, with Williams maybe? In the old one lap wonder or two lap combined qualifying days.

    1. Nurburgring 2005, two lap combined

  20. There’s hope for Heidfeld yet! When Jos Verstappen won the A1GP race in Durban in 2006, it was his first win in a major international race since 1993. So it is definitely possible for a driver to return to winning ways after a long period in the wilderness (especially if that wilderness is the result of a long time in F1 in cars that aren’t really capable of winning).

  21. For me, these statistics justify teams opting for young talent over more experienced midfield drivers.
    young drivers who are used to winning in lower formulae are surely much more likely to have the killer instinct and winning mentality than Heidfeld or Rosberg. Especially with the big changes of rules, everyone starts on a level playing field. For these reasons I think the rookies and more recent winners will have a relatively strong year.

    1. I disagree. The hunger for winning doesn’t go anywhere and the experience can’t be bought for any amount of money, as Hulkenberg found out last season, for example. And about “killer instinct”, it’s easier to remember something you’ve forgotten than to learn something new(see the case of Button in 2009).

    2. young drivers who are used to winning in lower formulae are surely much more likely to have the killer instinct and winning mentality than Heidfeld or Rosberg.

      Rosberg is a young driver who was used to winning in lower formulae. So what are you on about?

  22. Got to feel for old Heidfeld

  23. narain actually won a race! amazing

    1. He has won a whole bunch of races in junior formulae before 2005, so how’s that a surprise?

  24. Great list and quite a depressing read for some of them.

  25. Makes you wonder which drivers has made it into, through, and out of F1 with the fewest number of race wins in their career. There must be a fair few drivers with only a handful of career wins to their name.

    1. Kimi did 23 races in total before going into F1, of those 23 he won 13

  26. I don’t about you guys, but MSC will win atleast one race this year. I guess atleast in one race the car, tyres & the strategy will come together !

  27. I laughed out loud when I saw Heifeld’s…

  28. It’s been 12 years for Heidfeld? I feel sad.

  29. Keith, if you have time putting the number of races since their last win would be interesting too, taking into account things like Schuey’s retirement.

  30. strictly commercial
    18th March 2011, 9:09

    Hasn’t Schumacher won a couple ROC’s in the recent years? (I do get why one wouldn’t consider them as proper races though.)

  31. At the bottom of this page. There are links to every race in 2011, every team in in 2011 and every driver bar D’Ambrosio in 2011.
    Why is that?

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