Hamilton to break pole record? The stats to watch for in 2017

2017 F1 season

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The 68th running of the Formula One world championship could see Lewis Hamilton become the all-time king of qualifying.

Other records are also likely to topple in the coming 12 months – here’s which ones to keep an eye out for.

Pole record beckons for Hamilton

Schumacher’s 68th pole position came at Magny-Cours
Michael Schumacher has held the record for the most pole positions for over a decade. His 66th pole position, set at the 2006 French Grand Prix, moved him ahead of Ayrton Senna’s record of 65. The Ferrari driver went on to establish a new record of 68.

However Hamilton is poised to overhaul both of them. He’s currently on 61 pole positions and has 20 chances to add more over the course of this year. Eight more pole positions will put him in the lead – and he racked up a dozen last year.

It’s not a foregone conclusion Hamilton will be able to do that. Red Bull could spring a surprise on Mercedes and Hamilton’s new team mate Valtteri Bottas is very good over a flying lap. But there’s a good chance we’ll see a new pole position record this year.

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Verstappen to become youngest pole sitter?

Make that two. Because if Red Bull are in the hunt for pole positions and Max Verstappen takes one of them, he will be the youngest driver ever to do so.

Even if he doesn’t beat the record, which was set by Sebastian Vettel in 2008, he’ll have all of next year to break the record as well.

Of course there are other drivers on the grid with the same chance, including 18-year-old Lance Stroll. But the RB13 is surely going to be better equipped to get the job done.

Hulkenberg heading for most starts without a podium

Hulkenberg on a podium (but not in F1)
Nico Hulkenberg is rapidly closing on a very unwelcome record. If he doesn’t finish in the top three within the first 14 races of the year he will set a new record for starting the most races without finishing on the podium.

In his 115 starts so far Hulkenberg has taken a trio of fourth-place finishes. Adrian Sutil currently holds the record with 128 starts and Pierluigi Martini on 118 also lies ahead of Hulkenberg.

Unless Renault produce a car quick enough for Hulkenberg to reach the rostrum before the Singapore Grand Prix, this unwelcome record will be his. Still, at least he’s been on the podium at Le Mans – and on the best step, too.

Hamilton one win from a full house

As noted last year, two drivers are close to having won at every venue on the calendar. There’s now only one track in F1 Hamilton hasn’t won at, putting him on the verge of claiming a clean sweep. Vettel, however, will need a much more competitive Ferrari than he had last year to tick any more off his list.

Lewis HamiltonSebastian Vettel
Albert Park1st1st
Bahrain International Circuit1st1st
Shanghai International Circuit1st1st
Sochi Autodrom1st2nd
Circuit de Catalunya1st1st
Circuit Gilles Villeneuve1st1st
Baku City Circuit5th2nd
Red Bull Ring1st4th
Sepang International Circuit1st1st
Circuit of the Americas1st1st
Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez1st5th
Yas Marina1st1st

Clark will get his record back

Jim Clark previously held the record for the longest career spent entirely with a single team. He made all 72 of his Formula One starts at the wheel of a Lotus.

His record fell to Bottas late last year. The Williams driver went on to start his first 77 races with Williams – an appropriate number for the driver of car number 77. However his move to Mercedes means Clark will get his record back when Bottas makes his 78th career start in Australia.

Meanwhile Nico Rosberg’s world championship victory last year meant Stirling Moss has regained his record for being the driver to have won the most races without winning the world championship. Moss won 16 grands prix in his F1 career.

New highest number to win an F1 world championship race?

P1 in ’17 for 77?
Bottas has a tremendous chance to become a grand prix winner this year. If he does his number 77 will be the highest to appear on an F1 car that won a world championship race.

Three higher numbers have won rounds of the world championship. However the highest of all, 101, was on a Formula Two car. It was used by Alberto Ascari when he won the 1952 German Grand Prix in a Ferrari, at a time when the championship was run to F2 rules.

The next two highest, 98 and 99, both appeared on Indianapolis 500 winners. These cars were also not built to F1 rules. The winners were Troy Ruttmann (1951, car 98) and Lee Wallard (1951, car 99).


  • Lance Stroll will end Canada’s wait for a driver
    The Belgian Grand Prix will be Lewis Hamilton’s 200th career start. Assuming he holds first place in at least one race between now and then he will have led at least half of them.
  • Valtteri Bottas will make his 100th F1 race weekend appearance at the Canadian Grand Prix. His 100th race start will not come until next season (he appeared in 15 practice sessions for Williams in 2012 without starting a race and also did not start the 2015 Australian Grand Prix due to injury).
  • Similarly Sebastian Vettel will make his 200th appearance at an F1 weekend at the Singapore Grand Prix. However he will not chalk up 200 starts until next season (assuming he signs a new contract).
  • Lance Stroll will be the first Canadian to start a round of the world championship in over a decade. He picks up where Jacques Villeneuve left off at the Hockenheimring in 2006.
  • The 2017 F1 calendar will end with the 976th round of the world championship. Unless next year’s calendar features a record-smashing 24 races the 1,000th world championship grand prix will be held some time in early 2019.

Over to you

Have you spotted any statistics to look out for in the upcoming season? Share them in the comments – the more obscure the better!

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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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82 comments on “Hamilton to break pole record? The stats to watch for in 2017”

  1. the 1,000th world championship grand prix will be held some time in early 2019

    Interesting. I wonder which country will offer to pay an extortionate amount for the privilege of hosting the 1,000th GP?

    1. Damn, get Berne back quick. He wold make a killing on that one ;-)

    2. Two Abu Dhabi grands prix that year?

    3. LovelyLovelyLuffield
      26th January 2017, 12:46

      There’s math that can trace which venue gets to host, I know it.

      1. 1000 times normal points? 25,000 points for the winner? A Nonaco 96 style race with a midfielder winner thus winning the title with this ine victory.

  2. ExcitedAbout17
    26th January 2017, 12:20

    I’d add Alonso to the ‘best position per circuit’ list.
    Especially since he’s been on the podium on most (bar the newer circuits) and has done this mostly in a less dominant car.
    Albert Park 1st
    Bahrain International Circuit 1st
    Shanghai International Circuit 1st
    Sochi Autodrom 6th
    Circuit de Catalunya 1st
    Monte-Carlo 1st
    Circuit Gilles Villeneuve 1st
    Baku City Circuit RET
    Red Bull Ring 5th
    Silverstone 1st
    Hungaroring 1st
    Spa-Francorchamps 2nd
    Monza 1st
    Singapore 1st
    Sepang International Circuit 1st
    Suzuka 1st
    Circuit of the Americas 3rd
    Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez 13th
    Interlagos 2nd
    Yas Marina 2nd

    1. It always seems wrong to me he hasn’t won at Spa. It’s like Clark never having won at Monaco.

      1. @keithcollantine And considering he has been on the podium there in 2005, 2007 and 2013 and was leading for a part of the 2011 race.

  3. Re 1000th GP in 2019….2019 will also be F1’s 70th year of competition.

  4. Alonso needs to finish at least 14 races this season to become the driver with most finishes in F1.
    Current top 5 is :
    Schumacher 237
    Button 230
    Barrichello 224
    Alonso 224
    Massa 208

  5. spoiler: hamilton wins

    1. Most selfies taken during a GP weekend? Hamilton wins.

  6. How long will people keep making excuses for Hulkenberg? He is over rated – compared to Perez, for example.

    1. He would’ve had 2 podiums this season (Monaco and Brazil) if not for being pitted at the wrong time in Monaco and coming out behind Rosberg, then Perez came out ahead and got a podium, when Hulk was ahead before the stops, so not his fault. And then Brazil, he got a puncture from some of the debris left on the track from Raikkonen’s car, when he was well ahead of Perez before the safety car, and had been faster all weekend, so would’ve pulled away too far for even Verstappen to catch on his charge, again, not his fault. Nothings ever worked out for him, he’s not overrated at all.

      1. Excuse after excuse.

        Nobody is saying the man can’t drive, just that he’s “not a god”

    2. @realstig If you actually look into the races, rather than just at the points and podium tallies, then you would realize that Hulkenberg is the superior of the two. The Pirellis favored Perez. I expect Hulkenberg to be the better with these harder tyres.

    3. Yes, I find what seems to me at least, an obvious bias, in regards to how the two men – Perez and Hulkenberg, are viewed.
      I tend to focus on the accomplishments of drivers a lot more than whatever else some might seem to inject and in that sense I have always viewed Perez as the better driver of the two. A lot better actually. And I do like Hulk.
      There is however what seems to be an urgency to come to Hulk’s defense by some. It is no problem to defend any driver one likes but to mouth such dribble as tyres suit Perez better than his team mate smacks of desperation.
      It reminds one of the unsubstantiated narrative that Hamilton was a tyre muncher until they actually introduced softer tyres by Pirelli, that he was a fuel guzzler until we saw the graphics and actually found out how intelligent, smart and kind to the engine a driver the guy actually is based on FOM’s driver graphics compared to his team mates. Of course the later narrative returned as soon as such graphics were no longer displayed and his engines for understandable reasons started blowing up in 2016 while no other Mercedes’ engine did so.
      So in Perez’ case, maybe his “Mexican” heritage is what might be the underlying dark horse that is responsible for the way he is seen by many. Sad. [to borrow an expression from DT.]
      BTW, I believe Perez will have a longer career in F1 than Hulk. The results speak for themselves. Facts they say don’t lie and for all Hamilton’s detractors and nay-sayers say, the guy is on track to be an all time legend of the sport.

    4. @realstig It’s not a question of excuses. The fact is he has simply had some rotten luck. There’s no two ways about that.

      It’s unfair to say he’s overrated when, according to my understanding, he was the one Mercedes went to before Bottas.

    5. Winning Le Mans in your rookie year, driving for the “B” team, is pretty impressive.

      Hulkenberg just has awful luck. I think one of his ancestors insulted the entire gypsy nation.

  7. If Massa were to win a race in the 2017 Williams, would he not be the driver with most time between two race victories?

    1. @chrischrill That’s right, though it’s been the case for a while. Riccardo Patrese holds the record at six years and 210 days (between the 1983 South African and 1990 San Marino Grands Prix) so Massa’s been able to beat it since the 2015 Canadian Grand Prix.

  8. Wonder if Verstappen can become the youngest driver to lead the championship? He still has years to accomplish this.

    Also, Ricciardo could also break Heidfeld’s record for most consecutive finishes – he’d have to finish every race up until Austria.

    1. Two great spots there. Ricciardo is at least safe from his his run ended by a wayward Sutil like Heidfeld’s was

  9. So if Bottas wins the 77 is the highest winning number. Who’s record will he break ? Lewis ? Or am I missing something.

    1. Good question and one I should have covered in the article! The highest number to appear on an F1 car which won a round of the world championship was 71, on Alberto Ascari’s Ferrari 375 when he won the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring in 1951.

      The only other higher number than Hamilton’s 44 to win a round of the world championship run to F1 regulations was 50, on Giancarlo Baghetti’s Ferrari at the 1961 French Grand Prix. This was of course the only instance of a driver turning up and winning his first grand prix (aside from the first ever round of the championship).

      1. All the high number winner stats were on Ferrari’s.

    2. If Wehrleins wins ;)
      number 94

      1. @seth-space Sure but he’s driving a Sauber with a year-old engine! :P

  10. A lot of records are prone to get broken as f1 in the past 6 seasons has had more races and generally great reliability and few clashes, a static calendar will also ensure somebody may achieve a full house, if not Hamilton perhaps somebody else, as it takes perhaps 3 or 4 seasons of dominance to win and make many poles almost effortless.

  11. Hamilton has his win and pole in a season streak/perfect record to extend.

    Doesn’t Hamilton also have the best average championship position (average position of 2.9) throughout a career? Which unless he finishes 3rd or lower will also improve.

    1. @philipgb True, but I can’t really recall any other driver who had competitive cars basically all his career bar half a season.

      1. @mashiat

        Money or merit gets you a race seat, and Hamilton certainly doesn’t come from money.

        1. You missed out, luck. Mashiat is right. Hamilton must have a record for the having the best car the longest time.
          He’s the same as most drivers when it comes to money. Very expensive toys as kids.

        2. @philipgb When did that even come up? What I said is true, Hamilton hasn’t had a bad car except first half of 2009, and although 2.9 seems high, I would argue that in a way he has underachieved, especially when you consider that before 2014, he finished inside the top 4 once 2 times, both when 3rd was a given

          1. I meant “only 2 times”

          2. Even the second half of 2009, the McLaren was a dog, but it had KERS, which most of the other teams dropped.

            The 2011 challenger, with the “octopus” exhaust wasn’t a great car either initially– the races Button won with it tended to be in mixed conditions.

            The 2013 Mercedes was fast over a single lap, but shredded tires on the second lap, even with the Sooper Sekrett tire testing.

            “underachieved”– really?

            … there’s no point in trying to reason with some people.

    2. Even including his partial 1958 season, Fangio’s at 2.55. Excluding that, he’s at 1.29!

      1. Ah I forgot about Fangio.

        Although technically speaking, 1953 was Formula 2 :)

  12. *yawn* Hamilton’s records are largely meaningless because he’s set them in an era where there was only one car he had to beat, and the entire rest of the grid was basically unable to even remotely challenge his team. They’ll be even more meaningless now that he’ll essentially be the clear number one driver against a teammate who has hardly set the world alight despite the early hype, and who will be new to the team and his crew, meaning that Hamilton will likely romp away completely unchallenged. Wake me when there’s some interesting news…

    1. Your comment is meaningless because no matter how hard you try, you can’t erase history. Hamilton made a great decision to join Mercedes when they were an ALSO-RAN. Michael had races rigged for him

    2. The point is in 2013 he took a chance and it paid off same way as MS took a chance by leaving back to back championships winning Benetton team in 96 to go to Ferrari who hadn’t won anything for over a decade! It is the same way Seb took a chance with Redbull. These are all chances. No matter what information all these men had, the underlining factor is that THEY had to make the ultimate decision to join or not. And obviously, in hind sight, they all made wise decisions.
      So don’t deride another man for his achievements and then turn around to say a similar persons’ is worth acknowledging. If Hamilton’s is not worth anything, then using your argument, Micheal’s or Sebs’ or Senna’s isn’t worth the piece of metal or paper.

      1. MS didn’t really make a choice so much as a deal was put together for him that he couldn’t refuse because Bernie and Max wanted him away from Benetton and to be F1’s new icon post -Senna. Mega pay, his crew from Benetton moved over to Ferrari with him, contracted subservient teammate, designer cars and tires, end the Ferrari WDC drought for big headlines. I cannot respect MS’s WDCs from illegal cars and whacking Damon to having more advantages at Ferrari than any other driver before or since and still being the bully on the track that he was.

        Regarding LH. Not a fan as many of you know, but that has been particularly from 2016, maybe even end of 2015, but mostly the slapping in the face he did to his team by accusing them of conspiring against him. Huge turnoff for me. Nothing to do with his driving other than a few incidents.

        But with respect to his Championships and I’ll include Nico’s too. I cannot see them as great feats. Yes I know they are in the books, nothing will change that, and I respect that. But at the same time, when you have the drivers threatening to race elsewhere because they just aren’t enjoying themselves, pleading for faster, harder to drive cars and more challenge, then it is hard for me to categorize drivers as being amongst the greats when they haven’t been pushed, so limited have they been by the tires and the ultra-conservation of everything at once. These guys have been driving in something more like F1-lite than F1. Thankfully that’s changing. I fully acknowledge LH has great numbers and based on that will be categorized as one of the greats in terms of numbers…but in terms of challenge? Many drivers have won much harder Championships and will not be considered amongst the greats because it was just the one WDC or what have you. Icons perhaps, but not greats. But LH has much more career to go and the cars are now to be harder to drive, so there’s that.

        1. @Ronnie OK lets review the facts. Mercedes was an also-ran prior to Lewis. Hamilton moved to Mercedes in 2013 and for 3 years he spanked Rosberg with ease. Rosberg had NEVER beaten HAM over a season EVER. After back to back titles in 14/15 his crew is swapped with Nico’s UNNECESSARILY for 2016. All of a sudden Hamilton gets the only crap engines of ALL Merc powered cars. Remember the bogus team requests for Lewis in the last race? Lewis had every right to voice his opinion because his team propped up the inferior driver. Lewis still ended with the most poles and wins. Merc look like fools because they still don’t have the current German champ driving their cars.

      2. Ham didn’t do a single thing to make Merc a better team, they were already ready for success. Ham was lucky. Msc joined a team with a parachute as a car and with the help of a lot of people make the Ferrari team a success. Not a lot of drivers have done that, not Villeneuve, or Ivine, or Massa, and Hamilton in McLaren was the opposite, winners when he joined and middle of the table when he left. there is no comparison between the two, Ham is a lucky guy. MSC worked all his life to do it.

    3. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      26th January 2017, 17:48

      So why did you just spend 5 minutes of your life reading this article when the premise is quite clear from the title?

      Hamilton has enjoyed nowhere near the dominance and one-sided team backing as Schumacher did sorry.

    4. Almost all records were set with dominant cars, and throughout F1 history dominant cars tend to be partnered with dominant drivers.

      I mean when was the last time a non-constructors championship car won the drivers championship? I think it was 2008 right? Remind me who won that year?

      1. 2009 Brawn. Button.

        1. Oh sorry mis read that. 2008 is right. Before that was also McLaren in 99 with Hakkinen. Both times Ferrari won the constructors.

      2. McLaren was the best car that year though, just Kovalainen wasn’t exactly good, hence why Ferrari beat them in the Constructors as they had 2 very good drivers vs 1 very good driver and an average driver.

        1. So says you. I’d argue the fact Massa was in contention against Hamilton suggests that Ferrari was every bit deserving of it’s constructors championship.

          1. Well yes, it’s not like the McLaren was completely dominant, but it was better, by a couple of tenths or so

        2. “Kovailanen wasn’t very good.” Well, neither was Kimi that year.

          1. Kimi was third on the championship that year with 75 points. Kova was 7th with 53.

      3. And the only reason he won in 2008 was the Renault Crashgate. Because of the cheating, Massa was denied the win (he was leading comfortably at the time) and had to settle for 13th place, thus Hamilton’s 2008 win is tainted as he benefited and was allowed to benefit from the cheating that robbed Massa of a well-earned F1 crown. Funny how Hamilton fans NEVER acknowledge this…

        1. I dont think it was tainted as crashgate was nothing to do with Hamilton it was an unrelated team who did that. There was the Hungary late race blow up when leading. Sometimes you benefit sometimes you don’t. Malaysia this year the ball was on the other foot and cost a title. That Massa was so close in 2008 says to me the Ferrari was a much better car.

          1. QED. Specious arguments to dismiss incontrovertible fact.

        2. Being released with the fuel hose still attached to the car and a spin at turn 18 probably didn’t help. Funny how people that want to play the fantasy shoulda woulda coulda game don’t acknowledge that.

          Renaults cheating robbed everyone in that top 8 of points, but the rest didn’t throw away what points were still on the table.

          1. But there were two safety cars at Singapore in 2008 so the much quicker cars than Renault got a second bite at Alonso who was 85HP down.
            The crash just helped him make up from not qualifying. He was lucky the initial leaders at the first safety car hadn’t yet pitted.
            Pitting before safety cars has worked in Hamilton’s favour in the past and probably worked against Massa in others.

          2. QED. Specious arguments to dismiss incontrovertible fact.

          3. You’ve not only used the word fact incorrectly, but you’ve doubled down saying it’s incontrovertible for emphasis. It’s similar to how people use literally to emphasise their figurative statement.

            Renaults cheating undoubtedly changed the outcome of the race, Alonso’s win was the product of cheating, and every driver on the grid ahead of him was equally disadvantaged by those events.

            Faced with the same obstacle as every other team, Ferrari through human error released Massa unsafely which lost them what result was still available after those events, he then span the car later on further harming his result. There is no fact on the table that it was a certain win, bad luck and good luck happen during a season, the teams own errors cost them greater than the incident of cheating. That is my entirely controvertible hypothesis.

        3. Spa 2008…

          Nuff said.

    5. Randolph blackman
      27th January 2017, 1:26

      What about vettel and red bull.only his team mate weber to race.so his record mean nothing. You obviously don’t like Hamilton.

  13. Bottas will be the 75th GP winner, and only the 5th Fin to do so. Keke Rosberg remains the only Fin to have won his first race in a non-Mercedes powered car.

    Vandoorne will become the first person from Flanders in Formula One and the first rookie in a topteam since Hamilton himself I believe.

    1. I thought Vandoorne was driving for McLaren?

    2. @xtwl If we assume McLaren actually does count as a top team, Magnussen in 2015.

  14. Hamilton could also extend his record of being the only driver to have won 10 or more races in a season. Only two other drivers have done so, Schumacher in 2002/04 and Vettel 2011/13. Lewis is the only one to have done it 3 years straight years.

    1. And do not forget the record for most non formula 1 related travels during a season !

      1. Don’t forget the record for most bunny ears digitally placed on another driver during a live press conference. Lewis takes the cake for that one as well.

        1. The salt levels are too high. Take it easy guys.

  15. Hamilton has the most snapchat followers out of all the drivers. That’s another record for Ham.

  16. Massa’s ‘return of the never gone’ means Brazil will have a driver on the grid for the 48th consecutive season, since Emerson’s debut in 1970.To the best of my knowledge, only Britain has a longer streak.

    2018, however, probably will see the end of this streak, unless Nasr scores a surprise return, or Massa a surprise contract extension…

  17. And thus it becomes apparent why stats like these have no reflection on a driver’s talent. They are merely a talking point for novelties sake.

    1. Have you watched F1 the last 10 years? You don’t need the stats to see Hamilton is talented.

      1. Hmmmm, and how many poles would he have had if he wasn’t in a Mercedes? Not saying he isn’t super quick, but you can’t use stats like these to compare drivers because often statistical achievements are born out of opportunity rather than equality.

        1. which is how F1 has always worked. Best teams best drivers springs to mind.

        2. @guybrushthreepwood

          No one claims pure stats prove driver ranking. The majority of drivers, Schumacher included before his accident, rank Senna as the greatest ever driver despite the sheer numbers favouring Schumacher, and the results to entries ratio favouring Fangio.

          But it takes a special kind of bias to not consider Hamilton among the all-time greats given his qualifying, win and championships record. Even without watching some of his driving.

  18. A record comparing Jim Clark with Bottas is meaningless. Comparing statistics from 1960s Grand Prix racing with those of modern F1 is akin to comparing rugby with American football.

    1. I’d agree with that to an extend, except I feel it is more like comparing modern humans to our ancient ancestors. They might have been apes but we are basically just a continuation of the species.

    2. People compare Grand Slams won in tennis since the late 19th Century, so I don’t think it is meaningless to compare the 1960s to the 2010s in Formula 1.

      As tennis is concerned, when people talk about the “open era” (from 1968 on) it is mostly because of the 1950s and 1960s “Pro Slams”, that probably were more competitive than the amateur-only Grand Slams, but early 20th and early 21th centuries tennis eras are pretty much comparable because there is a constant metric: four slams per year. The only constant metric in Formula 1 is most championships won. Clark and Bottas are part of the same sport, and a 72 races career in the same team is a pretty much comparable stat, but probably “the longest career, in seasons, in only one team” would be more accurate

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