Hamilton equals Schumacher’s pole record with 41 races to spare

2017 Belgian Grand Prix stats and facts

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Lewis Hamilton finally equalled Michael Schumacher’s all-time record for most pole positions in the Belgian Grand Prix.

Hamilton scored his 68th pole position at his 200th race start. It took Schumacher another 41 races to reach 68 pole positions.

However neither driver racked up pole positions at the same rate as Ayrton Senna, who made it to 65 poles in 161 races:

But having caught up to Schumacher in terms of pole positions, Hamilton still has a long way to go to match Schumacher’s wins record. He took his 58th victory yesterday which leaves him 33 shy of Schumacher’s record.

Schumacher’s 68th pole was at Magny-Cours in 2006
There’s a neat symmetry in their achievements. Hamilton matched Schumacher’s record at Spa on the occasion of his 200th race. Schumacher marked his 300th race at the same track five years earlier, before being replaced by Hamilton at the end of the year.

Hamilton is the 17th driver in the history of Formula One to reach his 200th start. Three other drivers scored wins in their 200th races: Schumacher (2004 European Grand Prix), Jenson Button (2011 Hungarian Grand Prix) and Nico Rosberg (2016 Singapore Grand Prix).

The next driver to reach 200 will be Vettel. Based on the current 2018 F1 calendar that will happen at next year’s Chinese Grand Prix.

Vettel broke his own eight-year-old lap record for Spa yesterday. By doing so he also set the 30th fastest lap of his career which means he now has as many as Nigel Mansell.

Valtteri Bottas missed out on the podium which means his five-race run of rostrum finishes has come to an end. Vettel was on the podium for the ninth time this year, which is now the most of any driver, though Hamilton has the most wins with five.

Another early retirement for Verstappen means he remains the driver who has raced the least laps so far this year. He’s done 405 out of a potential 723, which is just 56%. Thanks to four technical failures and two first-lap collisions his RB13 has failed to make it beyond lap 13 in half of the races so far.

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Despite tangling with his team mate twice, Esteban Ocon saw the chequered flag. He along with Hamilton and Vettel are the only drivers to have been classified in every race this year. He scored points for the 11th time in 12 races and is now just nine behind team mate Sergio Perez as relations between the pair plunge to new depths.

However Marcus Ericsson finished outside the top ten again meaning he has now started 40 consecutive races without earning a point.

Review the year so far in statistics here:

Have you spotted any other interesting stats and facts from the Belgian Grand Prix? Share them in the comments.

2017 Belgian Grand Prix

Browse all 2017 Belgian Grand Prix articles

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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71 comments on “Hamilton equals Schumacher’s pole record with 41 races to spare”

  1. Now that is what I call a graph, @keithcollantine It’s interesting spotting the flat periods of no poles for each driver. You can pick out Senna’s at Mclaren in 92 and 93 before his 3 poles for Williams in his last 3 races. Hamilton has one little blip in there – I’m guessing 2009. And Schumacher has his Mercedes years, but took a surprisingly long time to get his first pole position. Surely Spain ’94 wasn’t his first pole?!

    1. I don’t think that’s surprising. 92 and 93 were years of supreme Williams dominance and all other poles were taken by Senna. I’m actually blown away how few poles Schumacher had in 1995 (4) and 1997 (3):

      But my main point is: Monaco 2012 – Schumacher’s 69th pole position.
      1st wasn’t his race starting grid position, but he won the qualifying, which the “Number of pole positions” refers to.

      1. I’m fairly sure @keithcollatine his poles count as the ones you are awarded on sunday. Hamilton also lost poles in the past most recent at the 2012 Spanish GP I believe.

      2. As @flatsix mentions, F1Fanatic counts with real pole positions, not who was the fastest on saturday, so that Monaco pole doesn’t count for Schumacher any more than being fastest on Saturday but starting some way back due to a gearbox grid drop counts for Hamilton @damon

      3. In ’95 Coulthard had a run of consecutive poles, I can’t remember exactly how many off the top of my head but he and Hill were dominant in qualifying. Coulthard’s inexperience plus Hill’s lacklustre performance/mistakes and Benetton’s far superior pit strategy cost them that year.

        Pole position means you start the race in the first position on the grid and always has done.

        1. Yep correct, one of the reasons Schumacher’s pole’s were so low early in his career was the fact he was up against some superior machinery.

          92/93 were dominated by Williams and if they weren’t on pole, Senna was (IIRC though Mansell took 14 poles in 92 and Prost 13 in 93) and even in 94 Williams was the quicker car but it was a bit more of a beast to handle in races hence why there were lots of Poles for them that year (and they won the constructors). 95 Williams was the stronger car but Schumacher/Benetton the better package as they were often able to use strategy to win races that Williams should have won.

          I May be wrong with this one but I think the first season Schumacher took more than 5 poles was 2000 and he really racked them up in 01 and 04 (Again if IIRC in 2002 Montoya took the most poles with 7).

      4. Not a pole, shouldn’t a pole know that?

        1. @cm-cm

          Not a pole, shouldn’t a pole know that?

          Haha. I’m obviously biased as far as poles are concerned ;)

      5. @damon

        he won the qualifying, which the “Number of pole positions” refers to.


    2. That fits @unicron2002, remember first of all Williams were very fast at the time, dominating really, so getting a pole was often not really possible. And Schumacher never was a qualifying wonder per se. As for the middle period, remember that when Lewis got into the Mercedes, he was not setting poles straight away either.

      1. If I remember correctly the 2013 Merc was a bit of a beast in quli mode but was hampered by shredding it’s tyre’s on Sunday’s. I think the other few blips could be down to Hamilton’s terrible form in 2011.

        1. @oversteer I think in 2011 Redbull claimed all but 1 pole, so that’s testament to their superiority. In fact the only non Redbull pole was claimed by Hamilton, so I don’t think his pace was ever in doubt that year.

      2. “Never a qualifying wonder per se.” I’d say that ignores the fact that during his career in the 90’s, he was something like 127-6 against his teammates when both cars qualified. When comparing his record with that of Hamilton, it does bear mentioning that he did have numerous years when his car was incapable of poles, and years in which there was gimmicky qualifying – race fuel, aggregate, etc.

    3. @unicron2002 Monaco 1994 was MSC’s first pole. The race after Senna died. It was also the first race I saw live.

      1. @Montreal95 a schoolboy error, of course it was Monaco. If I remember correctly, Williams got 15 out of 16 poles in 93 and 92 was Mansell’s year so I guess Schumi didn’t get a look in in his little V8 Benetton.

    4. That blip is 2011 where he had the only non Red Bull pole, he had more poles in 09

  2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    28th August 2017, 13:59

    Alonso looks so relaxed in that picture!

  3. -Mercedes won its 71th GP. That’s 8 wins to go to catch Lotus and already 18 wins ahead of Red Bull. Ferrari obviously still holds the record at 228.

    -Thanks to the points Grosjean scored Haas is passed their 2016 total (29 to 35). One more and they’re past Sauber’s best in the hybrid era.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      28th August 2017, 14:08

      Grosjean is doing a fantastic job when it counts. The guy deserves a better car but then again so does Hulkenberg.

  4. In my books, Schumacher has one more pole.

    1. And in my books, Hamilton as well

      1. but wasn’t the Spain one because he didn’t have enough fuel? that was surely a DSQ because the car wasn’t legal. So Lewis pole was with a car that had an illegal advantage, though a small one but by the letter of the rules it wasn’t legal so I can’t see how that can be counted however you look at it.

        Schumacher was because of a mistake in the previous race (ironically the race above). So Schumacher was the fastest on that Saturday.

        1. Does it matter what the reasons were? Neither were credited with pole, so no matter how you try to spin it, the records won’t change.

  5. You know:

    MS + Ross + Todt worked hard 5 years to build Ferrari to make WDSs in 200x.

    MS + Ross + Aldo (since 2012) worked hard in 2010-2012 to prepare to WDS in 2014 for Lewis+Toto+Lauda.

    Feel the difference ?

    1. Schumacher worked hard to prepare Mercedes lol, yeah.
      Driving like he was driving, he wouldn’t even fight for the title.

      The guy was completely out of his element during that comeback.

      1. I think people judged Schumacher harshly as a result of seeing him being beaten by Rosberg. But given how we saw Rosberg perform against Hamilton I don’t think Schumacher was quite as far past his best as people concluded. He obviously wasn’t at his peak, but I think a Schumacher not quite at his best was still a better driver than the majority of the grid, and Rosberg’s speed was seriously underrated.

      2. He helped improve the car a lot, and provided valuable feedback for the team though.

        1. @hugh11 What nonsense. Schumacher was driving V8s, which is a very different technology to the V6 hybrids. Unless you are claiming he helped design the PUs?

          1. @blackmamba

            Those power units are placed within a chassis though.

            And it’s worth noting that even the first set of V6 rule era Mercedes chassis had a lot of characteristics inherited from the V8 era.

        2. @philipgb Mate I don’t think you’re remembering those cars correctly. The chassis Hamilton jumped into in 2013 was terrible. Remember the tyre muncher. They even had to do shady Pirelli tyre development test, that’s how bad things were. If that’s what you call Schummacher development prowess, I don’t think anybody from Mercedes was thanking him.

          1. @blackmamba

            The 2012 and 2013 Mercedes had good one lap pace, especially the 2013 W04 and you’re right they struggled to protect their tyres over a race distance.

            2014 Mercedes had such an immense performance advantage and the tyres were very conservative. But come 2015 and 2016 the W06 and W07 had that very similar characteristic to the 2013 car. Immense 1 lap pace, and not as kind on tyres as the Ferrari and Red Bull chassis. They still had such a large performance advantage that it was often masked, but it was still apparent at tracks the other teams were close on.

      3. guys….most of you fail to realise that the race weekend is only a fraction of what is
        done for the rest of the year. Schumi may not have been able to provide much feedback or
        presence in 2013 onward but what he did internally as with Ferrari is understated. His work ethic and
        ability to lead the team behind closed doors is the reason why Ferrari dominated. He was able to develop the car
        and build the team around him. What you see on race weekends is the fruit of it and 2014 was the fruit of years of hard work. Rome wasnt built in 1 day and 2014+ wasnt built on 1 years worth of work.

        1. @cplchanb all of what you are describing is credited to Brawn not Schummacher. Brawn has always been the brains behind all the outfits he’s been with. Remarkable man indeed!

          1. Lewis replaced Schumacher so you know they’ll try and credit him for the Mercedes success. What many fail to realise is, it was not just the engine regs were changed but also aero & chassis. So the idea that Schumacher’s input was critical to the teams current success, is laughable.

  6. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    28th August 2017, 14:15

    Another thing is the total of poles and wins. Very few drivers are above the 100 (century) mark.

    Schumacher 159 (91 wins, 68 poles)
    Hamilton 136 (58 wins, 68 poles)
    Senna 106 (41 wins, 65 poles)
    Vettel 94 (46 wins, 48 poles)
    Prost 84 (51 wins, 33 poles)

    Only 3 drivers have broken the century mark – Vettel will be the next. Only Schumacher is over 150 combined and Lewis should catch him this year.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      28th August 2017, 14:25

      Even breaking the half century mark (50) is hard – Here are some drivers who have done that:

      Mansell 63 (31 wins, 32 poles)
      Clark 58 (25 wins, 33 poles)
      Alonso 54 (32 wins, 22 poles)
      Fangio 53 (24 wins, 29 poles)
      Rosberg 53 (23 wins, 30 poles)

      Wow, Fangio and Clark hitting the half century mark is really impressive when you consider that Lauda, Stewart, Piquet and Hakkinen couldn’t and they raced at a time when the championship had very few races.

      Drivers under the half century mark:
      Lauda 49 (25 wins, 24 poles)
      Piquet 47 (23 wins, 24 poles)
      Mika Hakkinen 46 (20 wins, 26 poles)
      Jackie Stewart hit 44 (27 wins, 17 poles)
      Raikonnen 37 (20 wins, 17 poles)

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      28th August 2017, 14:26

      Oops, Edit:
      Hamilton 126 (58 wins, 68 poles)

    3. @freelittlebirds We so often talk numbers (which is fun too) and forget context. Many come up with Senna or Schumacher as the best but for me there is no doubt Clark is the number one.

      1. I agree. 72 entries. 24 times he retired. 33 podiums from 48 classified finishes, 25 victories. For me he is the greatest.

      2. @flatsix, Clark was great, no doubt, though with the caveat that he did sometimes get the best engine in the field, and when I say that I mean quite literally the best engine (i.e. the one off FMWV’s that were made exclusively for Clark from 1964-1965 inclusive).

        I would say that there are some who advocate for Fangio being the best driver in the sport – that said, all too often it really seems that the driver whom most people will vote for as being the best is usually the driver who was most competitive about 25-30 years ago (i.e. when the average fan today was probably watching the sport as a child and began growing up with the sport, and when the drivers of the time will have thus imprinted themselves on their consciousness).

        I have seen a very consistent trend from polls which have been done in the past – when those polls were done in the mid 1990’s, the drivers that were ranked highest tended to be those from the 1960’s to the very early 1970’s (such as Clark, Fittipaldi, Hill, Moss and so forth), which then shifted to the late 1960’s to mid 1970’s when those polls were repeated in the late 1990’s.

        Come the 2000’s, and it is drivers from the late 1970’s and early 1980’s that were on top – now we are in the 2010’s, Senna is the crowd favourite as he was hitting his peak in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, which dovetails exactly with that 25-30 year time lag.

    4. Great stats! However it’s impossible for Hamilton to catch MSC in combined stats this year and very hard to do even next year.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        28th August 2017, 14:52

        @montreal95 yes indeed, 2 errors. I had Lewis at 136 while his actual tally is 126. I meant to say break the 150 mark, not catch Schumacher. It’ll be hugely impressive if Lewis can break 150 and darn impressive if he passes Schumacher.

    5. One thing is certain.. Schumacher doesn’t need pole to win. Most other drivers has got more poles than wins bar Steward and Kimi. That in itself is a testimony how brilliant he was.

      1. But the era of refuelling meant being on pole wasn’t the same advantage it normally is.

  7. Schumacher had 0 poles until his 41st race and 68 poles after his 241st race. So, 68 poles in 200 races, exactly same as Hamilton :)

    1. illuminati….

    2. So what you are sating is that Micheal’s first 41 races don’t counts in the statistics, talk about twisting the truth to suit your own view of reality.

      1. Sorry about the typo, should be “saying” not “sating”.

    3. Ah yes, but using the same logic Lewis had his first pole in his 6th race, meaning he has taken 68 poles in 195 races :D

  8. Not only is this the second time the Force Indias have collided and ruined both drivers races, in both races they collided twice, if you count the contact before the corner in Baku as well.

    Obviously this means they have now had one car squeezed between the other car and a concrete wall three times this year.

    1. At least they have taken it in turns to hit each other in those two races…

  9. Of the 17 drivers reaching 200 GPs, only two have done so without missing a race between 1st and 200th start: Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton.

    The rest:
    Berger 2 (1 no-entry 1984, Imola accident 1989)
    Webber 2 (team withdrawal 2002, Indygate 2005)
    Barrichello 3 (Imola accident 1994, two dummy grid retirements 2002)
    Button 4 (Monaco accident 2003, 2-race BAR ban 2005, Indygate 2005)
    Piquet 5 (1 no-entry 1978, Imola boycott 1982, DNQs 1982 and 1989, Imola accident 1987)
    Alesi 5 (2 F3000 clashes 1989, Suzuka accident 1990, 2 races with testing accident 1994)
    Coulthard 5 (4 no-entries 1994, Indygate 2005)
    Patrese 7 (3 no-entries 1977, Arrows/Shadow Gate 1978, GPDA ban 1978, DNS 1979, Imola boycott 1982)
    Trulli 7 (3 no-entries 1997, warm-up lap retirements in 1997 and 1999, no-entry in 2004, Indygate 2005)
    Schumacher 9 (2-race ban 1994, warm-up lap retirement 1996, 6 races due to Silverstone accident 1999)
    Fisichella 10 (8 no-entries 1996, Magny-Cours accident 2002, Indygate 2005)
    de Cesaris 14 (DNS 1981, exclusion 1983, 5 no-entries 1985, DNQs 1986, 1989, 1990 and 1991, 3 no-entries 1994)
    Alonso 18 (17 races in 2002, Indygate 2005)
    Massa 26 (1 no-entry in 2002, 16 races in 2003, Indygate 2005, 8 races due to Hungaroring injury 2009)
    Räikkönen 41 (Indygate 2005, 38 races 2010-11, 2 races due to back injury 2013)

    1. With an important reason being how rare injuries are now in the sport. I can’t think of any serious racing injuries for any of these men (in an F1 car) besides Schumacher, who broke his leg at Silverstone, and Massa, who had a truly “freak” accident in Hungary.

    2. @bleu that is some seriously comprehensive stats there, nice work. Indianapolis 2005 has a lot to ask for, amongst them messing up the stats for how many races drivers had took part in!

    3. +1 now this is utterly fascinating!

  10. Congrats!!! to Lewis fantastic achievement.

  11. Estaban Ocon is the current driver with the most current consecutive races completed. His first F1 race was at Spa last year, and since then he has completed every race, a total of 21 races.

    1. @drycrust True. He’s still yet to face a DNF in his so far short F1 career.

  12. Sainz finally managed to get to the chequered flag on this circuit. He faced a DNF in his first two attempts, so a third time’s a charm for him in this case, while Wehrlein is still yet to reach the chequered flag on this circuit. Last year he got rear-ended by JB, and this time around he faced a reliability problem.

  13. Great from the hammertime, but i still look at ayrton senna s rate, amazing: 65 from 161 starts..

    1. Just looking at how steep Ayrton’s pole count was when he had a competitive machine is unreal. The Mercedes car since 2014 was as competitive as the McLaren of 1988 to 1991 but Ayrton racked up those poles at a much quicker rate. Hamilton is a phenomenal qualifier, but Senna was something else.

  14. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    28th August 2017, 20:03

    Here’s a tough one for the gurus here. Without rain in Q3, has there been a race where a driver has set the fastest time in Q2 but not able to replicate in Q3? Essentially, a pole that didn’t count.

    Did Lewis or Schumi have any?

    1. Just from memory (and confirmation with Google) I’m going to say Austria 2014, where both MBs messed up Q3 and Williams locked out the front row. Rosberg was fastest in Q2.

  15. This also highlights how often in Schumacher era pole positon was not best for race strategy.

    But these days Pole is #1 way to a race win.

    Hamilton has good chance to get even more poles this year.. And finally noone on the current grid is getting them faster.

    Vettel would be nice to see on this graph.

    1. I feel like I’ve seen someone do “fuel-corrected” pole stats for the start-fuel era, but probably Schumacher would tallying up few more with this adjustment.

  16. First time ever that Hamilton has finished in Belgium 3 years in a row.

    Exactly 100 career points for Carlos Sainz.

    All 3 podium finishers finished in the respective positions for the 5th time this season.

    86th race Vettel has led – same as Senna.

    First race this year that Hamilton has won but not scored fastest lap.

    Thanks to magnetimarelli.com, statsf1.com, and formula1.com for some of these.

    Could someone provide a stat about the number of 2nd and 3rd grid starting positions for the top drivers?
    You’d think those should go hand in hand with pole positions, but they might not at all.
    Those are dependent on the class of your team-mate while you’re both having the best car in the field (which is largely responsible for getting poles) or on the class of your car.

    Senna & Prost 1988-89 – if they didn’t win the pole it was most likely because their team mate did, because the McLarens were so far ahead of the field. So Senna and Prost shoulv’ve gotten a considerable number of 2nd places, while not having many 3rd places.

    …whereas – conversely…
    Schumacher 1995-1997 – The car wasn’t better than the dominant Williams, so if Schumi wasn’t on pole, most likely he wasn’t on the 2nd place either, with both Williams cars beating him.

    1. This not so hard to take from statsf1.com:

      Schumacher, Senna and Hakkinen have more 3rd starting positions than 2nd while Prost has more 2nd than 1st.

      What would be more interesting is starting place compared to teammate as that would give better indication who was better on that machine. I can see something from http://f1-facts.com/ but their 2015 season comparison seems to be broken.

      1. Awesome! Thanks mate :)
        I was blown away seeing Senna decimate Prost in qualifying in 1988 and 1989.
        I’m interested to find out how Prost did vs. old Lauda at McLaren in the 80s.

        And onto the stat you’ve provided. It confirms my assumptions:
        – Prost and Rosberg have a lot of 2nd places for being demolished by their team mates, yet out or reach of anybody not in the top car they had.
        – Schumacher and Mansell have a lot of 3rd places for being the best-of-the-rest’s during another team’s dominance.

  18. Great Achievement from Lewis equalling Schumacher’s Pole record and one I feel is well deserved.

    Everyone knows had Senna carried on he would have scored more poles than the 65 he had, but realistically i think He had 3-4 years at best left then. Hamilton has that left at least if he wants it, his record stands up against anyones.

    One thing about MSC’s record…i was a huge fan of his growing up, it was clear in them 96-99 days struggling against Williams and then Mclaren that if he ever did get hold of the best car on the grid he’d absolutely walk it (I dont think he had THE best in 94/95 but his brilliance made up for the cars shortcomings and Williams/Hill mistakes helped him too).

    Hamilton though is a supreme qualifier, some of the gaps to Bottas this season have been something else, I read over the weekend he was half a second quicker in the middle sector on his pole lap. Granted with Lewis he has them occasional off weekends but when hes in this kind of form he really is something else.

    Critics will argue he’s had the best car on the grid the last few seasons and he has (closer this year but on one lap mercedes have the advantage) but what many forget is how many poles Hamilton took between 09 and 13 when he rarely had the fastest car in the field. He took 14 poles in them years so when it came to Mercedes dominance from 2014-2017 he already had 25-30 pole positions before ever having a truly dominant car.

    that to me shows he deserves to be up there with that record.

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