Hamilton on course to equal Schumacher’s 91 wins record in 2020

2017 Japanese Grand Prix stats and facts

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Surely the most bizarre stat from the Japanese Grand Prix was the symmetry between Lewis Hamilton’s pole position time and race-winning time.

On Saturday he did one lap of Suzuka in one minute, 27.31 seconds. The next day he completed 53 laps in one hour, 27 minutes and 31 seconds. Throw in the fact that 1+27+31 equals 59, which is Hamilton’s championship lead over Sebastian Vettel, and it’s enough to make your head explode.

2017 Japanese GP in pictures
The championship has swung dramatically in Hamilton’s favour. Sunday was the second time in three races he’d scored a maximum, 25 points while Vettel came away with nothing.

It’s reminiscent of the huge points swing which cost Hamilton the championship ten years ago, when a win was worth ten points and Kimi Raikkonen came from 17 down with two races left to take the title. Cases like this give Vettel some cause for comfort.

There are many ways to illustrate how tough the last three races have been for Vettel. Perhaps the most striking is that in that time he’s scored just 12 points, the same as Stoffel Vandoorne.

But while Vettel has undoubtedly had a tough three races, it doesn’t tell the whole story in terms of the championship. He signed a new three-year contract with Ferrari ahead of the Belgian Grand Prix and since then has led exactly three laps.

Vettel has only headed the field in three of the last ten races and in two of those he was ahead for just three laps. Hamilton has now led more than twice as many laps as Vettel this year.

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Hamilton piling up the wins

This was Hamilton’s 61st career win, leaving him 30 shy of Michael Schumacher’s all-time record of 91. His last 30 wins have come over the course of the last two years and 341 days. If he continues at his current rate of victories, Hamilton could tie with Schumacher some time in late 2020.

The chances of him reaching that goal are not entirely unrealistic. The technical regulations are unlikely to change in any significant way in this time meaning Mercedes are likely to remain competitive.

The biggest question may be whether Hamilton wants to continue beyond the end of his current contract, which expires after 2018. And, if he does continue, who his team mate will be.

Hamilton’s eighth win of the year means he has now won twice as many as Vettel and no one can win more races than him this year. More importantly, it means he can clinch the drivers’ title at the next race and Mercedes can win the constructors’ championship too.

Red Bull catching Ferrari

Ferrari were leading the constructors’ championship ten races ago but now they face a growing threat from Red Bull who’ve out-scored them in all of the last three races. They are 92 points behind with 172 available over the remaining races:

Red Bull got both cars on the podium in the last two races, something they hadn’t done since the V6 hybrid turbo era began. They ended the V8 era with double podium finishes in each of the last three rounds.

Raikkonen’s 2005 lap record still stands
Hamilton took his first Suzuka pole position at his ninth attempt on Saturday. He had three-tenths of a second in hand over team mate Valtteri Bottas, who wouldn’t have taken pole anyway as he had a five-place grid penalty.

Hamilton has now started from pole position at least once at every track on the calendar, and Baku remains the only venue where he is yet to win. Of course both of these stats will change next year with the addition of Paul Ricard to the 2018 F1 calendar.

His pole position lap of 1’27.319 cut 1.635 seconds off the previous track record. Curiously Raikkonen’s best lap of the race was exactly that much slower than the race lap record, which he set in 2005 with a lap of 1.31.540. The only driver to lap faster than Raikkonen in the race was Bottas, whose 1’33.144 fell well short of breaking his countryman’s 2005 record.

This was the first time Bottas has set the fastest lap in a race since he joined Mercedes. His only previous fastest lap came in the 2014 Russian Grand Prix for Williams.

Ocon equals Chilton’s record

Ocon equalled Chilton’s record from Monaco 2014
For the third race in a row the qualifying battle between the Red Bull drivers was incredibly close. Max Verstappen prevailed in Singapore and Malaysia by 0.026s and 0.054s respectively but in Japan it was Daniel Ricciardo’s turn to shine, coming out ahead by 0.026s. This was despite the pair running substantially different downforce levels on their cars which meant Ricciardo was 4kph quicker on the straights but Verstappen gained almost all of that back in the corners.

Two drivers started their final races with their current teams last weekend. For Jolyon Palmer his 35th race for Renault may also have been his last in F1.

Carlos Sainz Jnr, who will take his place, bowed out of Toro Rosso after 56 starts for the team. He is their second longest-serving driver of all time with one more start than Sebastien Buemi and two less than Jean-Eric Vergne. However Daniil Kvyat will surpass the lot of them if he returns for the team next year.

While Sainz failed to score a point on Sunday Esteban Ocon did, making it his tenth points score in a row. He was also a classified finisher for the 25th race in a row since the beginning of his F1 career, equalling the record set by Max Chilton in 2014.

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

2017 Japanese Grand Prix

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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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84 comments on “Hamilton on course to equal Schumacher’s 91 wins record in 2020”

  1. Hi all.

    In fact you are missing one stat very special. Mercedes have become the first team in F1 history that reach 10 wins or more in 4 consecutive years, something that McLaren, Williams, Ferrari and Red Bull eras couldn’t do.

    Great article by the way, as always.

    Greetings from Spain!

    1. Nice 👌🏽

    2. Also, the Schumi graph, I made a very ugly one!


      1. Also another one comparing the two by year, Schumi red, Lewis blue: https://imgur.com/j2coHRc

        And by GP’s starts; https://imgur.com/Arv6VNA

        1. Statistics often leap off the page when you draw a graph. One such is the decline and fall of McLaren from the end of the 2008 season.

          Good stuff.

        2. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
          10th October 2017, 10:54

          @montalvo another thumbs up from me – thanks.

  2. I like the mathematical approach of this stats and facts very much.

    1. As opposed to non-mathematical stats?

      1. Usually it seemed to me to be more about races, wins, drivers and records. But this time it is in detail about lap times and gaps as well as playing with numbers, which I haven’t seen for some time in the stats and facts.

    2. @unitedkingdomracing Glad you liked it and thanks for the feedback.

  3. On Saturday he did one lap of Suzuka in one minute, 27.31 seconds. The next day he completed 53 laps in one hour, 27 minutes and 31 seconds. Throw in the fact that 1+27+31 equals 59, which is Hamilton’s championship lead over Sebastian Vettel, and it’s enough to make your head explode.

    That is amazing.

    1. It is! For me, it’s almost on par with Jerez 1997.

      1. @damon Oh mate I remember that clearly, that was amazing.

        I got quite excited when I set 3 laps in the race exactly the same on F1 2017 the other day. 😂

        1. Good lord, I’m barely getting under 1.30’s…

          1. @jeffreyj oh I mean I set 3 laps with the exact same lap time, like the Jerez 97 thing.

    2. I just lined my tin-foil hat with double-sided tin-foil!
      May the Great Steering Wheel In The Sky save us! We are unworthy of such a messiah.

    3. Carlos Furtado das Neves
      9th October 2017, 20:21

      It seems like we are in the “F1 Matrix”…
      Everything is programmed…

    4. Throw in the fact that 1+27+31 equals 59

      and knowing 59 is the numbers 5 and 9 and if you 5×9=45 minus 1 race = the number of Hamilton 44.

      1. Think you can get whatever number you want with that kind of reasoning.

      2. Actually I remembered my car’s reg that way! It was 13274.

        So I would write 13 than say to myself 13+13 is 26 plus one is 27 and 1+3 is 4!

        Crazy I know!

    5. yes, crazy :)

  4. Ferrari’s unreliability rivals that of Honda for the last 2 races. The SV of Ferrari has hence scored as much as the SV of Mclaren. :( :(

    1. The Bad Luck ghost has moved on from Verstappen to Ferrari it seems

      1. Eh, you might have a good point there. Maybe the Gremlin somehow jumped from Max’s car to Seb’s during the shunt in Singapore?

    2. I think there is a difference though. Ferrari, have a power unit we know is fast, and with the exception of the last 3 races, reliable. Honda have been slow, unreliable and underpowered for 3 years. One is fast when it works, most of the time, the other is slow whenever it works.

  5. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    9th October 2017, 13:31

    I think it’s very unlikely that Hamilton will beat Schumacher’s 91 win record.

    I could see Lewis though challenging for the combined pole + wins record. Schumacher has 91 wins and 68 pols so he has a total of 159 wins and poles. Hamilton has 61 wins and 71 poles so he has 132.

    I can see Hamilton breaking the one and a half century mark and perhaps challenging Schumacher’s 159.

    1. Why not? The rules and regulations don’t change for another 3 years and he might very well win 10 races in each of those so he has a shot.

      Now, Verstappen has a good 15 years in F1 left and, if he chooses his teams right, he might get to 100. Then again, Alonso won his first championship at 23 and only won 30 odd GP’s in total after 16 years in F1, wich is still just bizarre to me.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        10th October 2017, 17:39


        Yeah it’s hard to believe that Alonso only has 30 wins and 2 championships…

        Then again, it’s hard to believe that Hamilton has 132 poles and wins and only 3 championships…

        They are clearly both underachievers :-)

    2. It is feasible for Hamilton to beat Schumacher’s total of 91 wins, the things counting against him are things like who his next team mate will be, whether or not he actually wants to retire from F1 at the end of next season, and how good other engine manufacturers are at catching Mercedes.
      In a sense, after 16 races, “wins” this season looks a bit like an inverted pyramid: Hamilton 8, Vettel 4, Bottas 2, two others (RIC and VER) 1 each =16. This has a very nice mathematical symmetry. If the wins for the remaining 4 races happened to play out in the same symmetrical way, then Hamilton would win two of them, Vettel would win one, and the remaining one win would go to one of Bottas, Verstappen, or Ricciardo.

  6. Illuminati confirmed

  7. This race saw no German drivers in the points. The same happened 2 races ago, in Singapore. But the last time it happened before had been 9 years ago, again in two races: the 2008 Spanish GP and 2008 French GP.

  8. Love the stats section! I like look forward to this after every race.

    Thanks Keith!

  9. The graph shows just how costly the McLaren years ended up being for Hamilton after 2008. As Alonso has also discovered.

    91 is still a lot. But 7 titles could have been much more in reach. Hamilton should really be approaching his sixth title now. It still seems unbelievable that he lost the 2007 championship – that McLaren/Dennis were so intent on ‘racing Alonso’ that they risked Hamilton staying out in China rather than playing moderately safe and banking the points. Mercedes just wouldn’t let that happen today (well, you assume…) And last year was really Hamilton’s on merit, lost over engine failures.

    Interesting that if you project the wins over his two best McLaren years, 2007 and 2008, for every year he’s been racing, he would have less wins than now. In other words, the Mercedes haul has been huge, even compared to when McLaren had the title winning car.

    1. Fine points. Let’s not forget 2012 with Hamilton having 5 retirements and 1 race out of the points. All due to other drivers causing crashes, mechanical failures and errors from the team.
      But as Schumacher, Vettel, and now Hamilton proves, being in the right team is most important to drivers’ career statistics.

  10. Let me point out that since Ericsson made his F1 debut in.. uh, 2014? He has always beaten his team mate in Suzuka qualifying. Ericsson has never been beaten in Suzuka F1 qualifying by his team mate.

    1. Ericsson doesn’t get due credit. He has beaten Kobayashi, a Japanese driver in Japan qualy, Nasr, the man who got Sauber on this year’s grid and Wehrlein, a driver who the world champions see fit as a future talent. He isn’t too bad in an F1 car although he does have a few brainfarts like Monaco and here.

    2. @chrischrill Very good point. Of course he knows the track from his Japanese F3 days which helps, but like you say he deserves more credit for his performance on a proper drivers’ track.

  11. On Saturday he did one lap of Suzuka in one minute, 27.31 seconds. The next day he completed 53 laps in one hour, 27 minutes and 31 seconds. Throw in the fact that 1+27+31 equals 59, which is Hamilton’s championship lead over Sebastian Vettel, and it’s enough to make your head explode.

    Whaaaaat??? 😵 😵 😵

  12. Whilst Lewis is on course to equal Schumacher’s 91 wins record. I’d like to big-up Damon Hill’s pole stats making him the 4th best British qualifier of all time. which places him above the following: (not bad considering he spent time with Brabham, Arrows and Jordan) *British drivers

    Mario Andretti
    *Jackie Stewart
    *Graham Hill
    Jaques Villeneuve

    1. Your list says Graham Hill not Damon.

      1. Damon can’t be better than Damon. Read the post again, Asanator ;)

        1. Damon can be better than Damon if he can find a closed timelike curve.

      2. Yes using stats Damon is a better qualifier than his Dad Graham

  13. Be mindful Raikonnen’s lap record was set during the refuelling era when the minimum car weight was much lower. Heaven knows what these cars would be capable of with just refuelling reintroduced.

    1. Actually, they may not get that much quicker. As the fuel requirement is much lower, the gap between a fully fuelled F1 car of 2017 and empty car is no longer as much (than compared to 2010 when refueling was banned).
      During re-fueling era, it was always a trade-off between 2 and 3 stopper as 1-stopper would be slower on most tracks. If re-fueling is introduced again now, I believe the trade-off would be between 1 and 2 stopper as the weight benefit of 3-stopper would be negligible.

  14. A more accurate title would be Hamilton has 50% fewer wind than Schumacher. Also the tradition of Ferrari not winning in Japan continues since 2004 the height of Schumacher era, the same with Canada. These 2 races have another thing in common in the 11 Schumacher years they were won each six times by Ferrari.

    1. Hamilton has 50% fewer wind than Schumacher

      Must be the lack of sauerkraut in Lewis’ diet?

    2. Hamilton has 50% fewer wind than Schumacher

      Except that he doesn’t.
      Hamilton has 33% fewer wins than Schumacher. 61 = 67% of Schumi’s 91 wins
      Schumacher has 50% more wins than Hamilton. 91 = 150% of Hamilton’s 61 wins

    3. 50% fewer wins would be 45.5 wins.

  15. With Palmer having left Renault I’d be interested to know when was the last time Formula One had only 1 British driver employed by a team (not including reserve/test drivers). Or indeed when was the last time only 1 British driver was registered to participate in a race weekend?

    If Hamilton is the only Brit to race in 2018 it’ll be the first time in the history of the World Championship to have just the one British driver participating if I’m not mistaken.

    1. … at least once over the course of an entire season, I mean.

    2. @ninjenius, I think it would be 1980 when John Watson was, for the first three races of that season, the only British driver on the grid.

      1. Thanks anon :)

        1. Thanks for asking Ninjenius, I was wondering the same thing. With Lando Norris unlikely to get a race drive (assuming Nando stays and McLaren don’t land some other big name) next year, and Palmer (thankfully) told to jog on, 2018 could be a single Brit season. And of course Lewis is out of contract at the end of next year…

      2. And back in those days some would have argued John Watson really wasn’t from Britain!

    3. The Guardian told me it was 2005 when BAR (and therefore Button) were banned for 2 races, leaving Coulthard as the only Brit. I think before that it was Watson in ’80 as anon says.

  16. The 3 drivers with the most F1 wins all have a number of victories ending in 1 (91, 61, 51), as do Senna and Mansell in 5th and 7th (41, 31).

    Only tracks that Hamilton has raced at but never been on pole: Istanbul, Magny Cours, New Delhi.

    Hamilton keeps alive his record of always finishing in an odd-numbered position in Suzuka apart from his DNF in 2013.

    Bottas now has exactly 2 pole positions, 2 wins, and 2 fastest laps.

    First season in which Ricciardo has managed 9 podiums (he managed 8 in both 2014 and 2016).

    Hulkenberg is currently ahead of Massa in the championship by virtue of 6th-place finishes (3 vs 2).

    Verstappen has finished in each of 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th exactly once so far this season.

    Sainz became the first driver to retire at Suzuka since 2014.

    Hamilton’s 116th front-row start, equalling M Schumacher.

    First British driver to start on pole in Suzuka since Mansell in 1992.

    Ricciardo’s 7th 3rd-place finish this season, equals Webber in 2011 and Vettel in 2015.

    Vettel has had 25 2nd-place places, 25 3rd-place finishes, and 25 4th-place finishes in his career (this was of course true after Malaysia, but I only noticed it today).

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

  17. Force India worm is well clear of other midfielders & Redbull. They are running a lonely season like Redbull … oh wait Redbull can catch Ferrari ?

  18. Talking about lists and stats, there is the ever more likely possibility that at the end of this season, we will have a new driver with the most wins in British F1 history.

    Was kinda wondering just what Sir Jackie Stewart is feeling right about now.

  19. Do you mean the most WDC’s @stubbornswiss?

    Lewis passed JYS GP victory total of 27 a long time ago.

    Jackie seems to find it very hard to ever say anything positive about Lewis. I find that really sad and have lost respect for Jackie as a result.

    1. @paulguitar Indeed, I did mean World Championships. My mistake.

      And it is precisely because of Stewarts attitude to Hamilton that I posted this thought!

      1. Yep, it is a real shame @stubbornswiss

        JYS will have a legacy of great safety work and has effectively saved many lives through what did regarding safety in the 1970’s. It seems like his ego can’t get to grips with the success Hamilton has had though. His racing legacy is secure, he was amongst the very best of his generation, so it seems so unnecessary.

        I wonder whether Stewart is perhaps just so traditional and conservative that he finds Hamilton’s looks and lifestyle just a step to far? If Lewis lost the earrings, wore a green blazer and tie, and talked less, he would probably have had a bit more respect, albeit grudging, I imagine. Personally, I am not at all a fan of tattoos or rap, but I think the fact that Lewis does things his own way is to his lasting credit.

        1. Barbara Melville
          9th October 2017, 22:17

          Well JYS does things his way too – since when did tartan trousers and tartan flat cap rate as the height of fashion. Lewis has always credited JYS with skills and talent – shame the same cannot be said in reverse.

        2. @stubbornswiss @paulguitar That got me thinking about other stats that Lewis is yet to surpass Jackie (and indeed there aren’t many anymore). One of them is most consecutive wins from the start of the season, with Stewart on 2. Even though I’ve supported Lewis since 2007 it shocked me a little to read that in 11 seasons he’s never won the first two races of a season.

        3. @paulguitar One of the saddest things in this world which we inhabit, is people not being able to accept other people with regards ethnicity, culture, religion, lifestyle, and skin color. The day we all can start to accept each other as fellow human beings, created equally, is the day we will start becoming a better world!

          1. @stubbornswiss I profoundly agree, but sadly it seems if anything that the world is currently going the other way…

          2. @paulguitar Yes sir. Sad but true!

        4. Well said @paulguitar, it has definitely made it harder to have the respect for Stewart that his legacy deserves, especially when I hear ‘Stewart said’ with respect to Hamilton, I just switch off because it is completely irrelevant, even if just before he was saying relevant things about other things in F1. Quite sad.

  20. Over the past 25 years since I started watching F1, the dominant eras more or less lasted for 5 years. So I hope Mercedes will get heavily under pressure latest in 2019. And honestly, I don’t want to see Schumacher’s 91 wins to get surpassed that quickly. High hopes for Red Bull in 2018 and Ferrari getting even stronger.

    It’s getting quite boring when you know before the start of almost each qualifying, that Hamilton will end up on the pole.. Let’s see, I am still hoping..

    1. I don’t expect Schumacher to be surpassed quickly, but one must remember that his record was set in 2006, and we do now have more races per season, which would add roughly 10-20%. I’d also say that Mercedes have at least not made things boring the way Ferrari or Red Bull did in their pomp. Hamilton may be the #1 driver, but he’s there on simply beating his teammate time after time, there’s nothing like Austria (2002?). SImilarly, he’s had a generally higher class of teammate than Schumacher or Vettel did. Not to take anything away from Webber or Barichello, but they didn’t have the ability to challenge week in week out. Hamilton v Rosberg meanwhile was surprisingly evenly matched. And don’t forget he was also paired with Button, Alonso, and Bottas who’s been tipped as a future champion (though his star is rather dulled this year).

      But yes, more competition would be nice.

  21. Amazing post Keith!

    Don’t get bored @milansson , admire great talent when you see it and revel in his brilliance.

    To all you gentleman who made such fantastic comments above, take a bow.
    Sometimes I’m glad I read first! I award all of you a Greta Steering Wheel in the Sky!

    I was a Jackie Stewart fan as a teenager and I am sad that my admiration was so misplaced.. He is just a sad bitter man. When I see him on TV I tend to switch off.

    For now I will just enjoy and admire a truly incredible racing driver in Lewis Hamilton.

    When Toto Woolf says Lewis outdrives the car, he should know.

    Next stop USA!

  22. PS
    I didn’t realise that my prediction would come through so soon when I said in a post on this site that Vettel would have another DNF before the season is out.

    Karma Seb karma.

    I will never forgive you for Button 2011

    Mark Webber who you could have almost had killed

    And madness of madness….Baku

    You are unhinged. You just don’t know it yet.

    When you are normal though, I respect your racing talent. Nothing more.

    1. @macradar, what are you talking about between Button and Vettel?

      1. BBC Sport – F1 – Sebastian Vettel crashes into Jenson Button in Spa
        29 Aug 2010 – Sebastian Vettel crashes into Jenson Button in Spa. Sebastian … Kasabian provide the music for the BBC’s 2011 F1 season closer Kasabian …

  23. I guess Hamilton now has a win rate that can take him to record places.

    I wonder if he wins 92 races and 8 championships by 2021 will he be regarded as greatest ever, or will there be naysayers who claim MSC isn’t greatest either.

    In any case with this team, this teammate few more years he can do it.

    1. Some of us were saying ‘he can do it’ about Senna winning the WC in 94, 95, 96 and 97.
      They are just numbers.

    2. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      10th October 2017, 11:59

      Regardless if Hamilton surpasses MSC I will still not regard him as the greatest ever nor do I regard MSC as the greatest ever.
      In my opinion Fangio is and very likely will always remain the greatest ever, simply look at % Won, % Podium and % Pole – in each of those stats Fangio is minimal 10% better than Hamilton or MSC.

  24. Don’t believe HAM will stick around much longer

  25. There’s plenty of good reasons to go for it. No one else is this close to cement himself in F1 history forever.

    And he can do it and still be relatively young in the game of life to pursue other interests afterwards. No outcome is guaranteed but why not try rack up 100 wins over the next several years?

  26. If I’m not mistaken, car number 44 won the 44th running of the Suzuka GP.

  27. And here we are in 2020. Hamilton with 87 Wins and 8 races to go!!

    It’s gonna be tight buts it’s possible.

    Great article

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