Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2018

Four wins, no poles: Verstappen equals an unusual record

2018 Austrian Grand Prix stats and facts

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The remarkable thing about Max Verstappen’s fourth career Formula 1 victory in last weekend’s Austrian Grand Prix is that he is yet to start a race from pole position.

The Red Bull driver therefore ties the record held by Eddie Irvine and Bruce McLaren for most race wins without a pole position. It’s hard to imagine he’s never going to score one, particularly as he’s out-qualified Daniel Ricciardo 6-2 so far this year (in sessions where both set times).

The only other driver who scored exactly four wins in their F1 career was the late Dan Gurney, who passed away earlier this year.


It all looked good for Mercedes on Saturday. Valtteri Bottas took his fifth career pole position, which put him level with Giuseppe Farina, Chris Amon, Clay Regazzoni, Patrick Tambay and Keke Rosberg. Lewis Hamilton joined him on the front row having missed out on pole by 19 thousandths of a second – the slimmest margin since Nico Rosberg beat Hamilton to pole at Suzuka in 2016.

It began to go wrong for them when Bottas lost the lead at the start. The last pole sitter who lost the lead by the end of lap one was also Bottas, in last year’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

But that was nothing compared with what was to follow, as both cars failed to make the finish. The last time that happened to Mercedes was at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, when Rosberg and Hamilton took each other off on lap one.

You have to go back to the 1955 Monaco Grand Prix for the last time two Mercedes retired from an F1 race due to technical problems. On that occasion Juan Manuel Fangio was sidelined with transmission trouble and an engine failure halted Andre Simon. The team’s third car, driven by Stirling Moss, was still running at the end, albeit 19 laps down.

Hamilton’s retirement means he tied Nick Heidfeld’s record for finishing in 33 consecutive races. He also established a new record for finishing in the points for 33 races in a row, increasing Kimi Raikkonen’s previous record by six races.

Raikkonen’s wait for a victory goes on. He has now finished on the podium 26 times since his last win, 10 more than any other driver in F1 history.

Vettel finished third and regained the lead of the championship from Hamilton. The points lead has changed hands for the last three races in a row. This hasn’t happened within a season since the beginning of the 2012 season when Jenson Button, Fernando Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel swapped the lead of the championship over the first four races.

In their 50th race, Haas finally delivered on the promise they have shown all year. They equalled their best ever starting position (fifth), achieved their highest individual car finish (fourth) and highest points score in a race (22). The result was a two-place jump in the constructors’ championship to fifth, ahead of McLaren and Force India.

Renault failed to score for the first time this year, and will have to take the threat from Haas seriously. There’s just 13 points between them, and Haas’s points haul in Austria was more than twice as much as Renault has managed in any race.

Force India claimed its first double points finish of the year. Behind them came Alonso who made up 12 positions from the start of the race – the most of any driver this year – on his way to eighth. He also sustained his 100% qualifying record against Stoffel Vandoorne.

Sauber scored points with both its cars for the first time since the 2015 Australian Grand Prix, when Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson took fifth and eighth positions.

Finally, for the first time in the history of the world championship, three different teams have each won three races over the opening nine races of the season. Considering just two years ago Mercedes won 14 of the first 15 races, that’s a considerable improvement in the standard of competition.

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Review the year so far in statistics here:

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

2018 Austrian Grand Prix

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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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51 comments on “Four wins, no poles: Verstappen equals an unusual record”

  1. This is Verstappen’s fourth win, all of which so far would have made him the youngest winner ever.
    Having said that, both pole position and WDC look safe in Vettel’s hands right now.

    1. both pole position and WDC look safe in Vettel’s hands right now.

      Verstappen has until the end of the year for youngest pole sitter; Singapore or Mexico could be candidates.
      And he has this (unlikely), next (I think it will take Honda some time), and 2020 (who knows) to get that record.

      No poles and four wins made me think that he is winning in suboptimal cars, and therefore is an even bigger feat than four wins with some poles.
      But not sure what Irvine is doing in that list. Probably he DID have the fastest car but simply could not beat his teammate.

      1. @coldfly It is a fact that Max has yet to be in a WCC level car, so definitely suboptimal in that regard. The rest of the grid should fear the day Max has such a car.

        With Irvine, while he was at Ferrari they didn’t have quite the dominant car that they would have by the time RB joined as MS’s subservient. So even moreso than with RB, who would have been allowed the odd pole only to have to give up positions for MS in the race whenever necessary, EI would have likely not even been allowed a pole over MS.

        1. well, you have to take into account the circumstances of those wins, not denying Max’s talents but in at least two of them two stronger cars were out of the race.

          And if that was the case what can we say about Ricciardo, after all his wins were also achieved in a car that never was the best.

          Point is, plenty of drivers have wins and podiums in lesser machinery, the important thing is the next step, a long season battle for the title

          1. @johnmilk Apart from the time it lost a huge amount of power, weirdly enough

          2. @davidnotcoulthard ahah, yes indeed. Does that make it not the best though?

        2. @robbie Allowing irvine a pole vs schumacher? Now with this “schumacher was favored idea”, irvine, a driver 1,5 sec slower per lap than schumacher would need to be slowed by team orders to not snatch a pole from him?

          I doubt, in those years the driver mattered more than the following years, you can see this in the comparison between schumacher and barrichello and massa.

          Let’s just say irvine wasn’t fast enough in qualifying, verstappen doesn’t lack this quality, he just lacks the car to get poles currently, also one could say red bull of this year is very close to being a championship contending car, verstappen would likely not have been champion had he driven as well as ricciardo this year while maintaining his own speed, but would’ve been MUCH CLOSER.

          Also verstappen stopped the kvyat conspiracy, as in that he always needs kvyat to be demoted to win a race, his 4th win was done without this superstitious act, unless kvyat is no longer ferrari’s development driver, didn’t hear of it!

          1. @esploratore My point really was just that aside from EI being a contracted subservient, the car was not yet nearly as dominant as it was for RB for example, all the while being built for MS. So EI’s odds of getting a pole were minimized just as Max’s odds are minimized by the current RBR car. It is a car that currently sits in third place and imho will likely stay there assuming Mercedes and Ferrari will on average score more points than RBR over the rest of the season. As Max himself just said ahead of the last race, it is going to be a fight between LH and SV for the WDC. Pole was available to RBR at Monaco, but much less so elsewhere. Never know of course, but in terms of the odds…I wish Max only the best in getting his first pole.

          2. @robbie Yes, irvine, like schumacher joined in 1996, which was a terrible car, 1997 and 1998 was at times a contender to the best car but overall much slower, 1999 was the only year irvine had a real championship contending car, it was probably more reliable than mclaren but slower overall, which makes it even harder to get poles from hakkinen which was a good qualifier.

            Ofc it’s going to be a fight between vettel and hamilton, but red bulls still brought the best car they made since they stopped being dominant and in race pace they’re often competitive, shown again this last race, once hamilton was no longer in front red bulls were at times the fastest car in the race, at times a bit slower than ferrari.

            They’re really weak in qualifying though, but verstappen had a chance in monaco, he might get some more in red bull tracks like hungary, mexico and singapore should be (also were very strong in malaysia last year but removed unfortunately).

          3. @esploratore Fair comment. I hope you’re right about RBR keeping up the pressure. They’ll need some attrition of others, but that’s ok that’s part of racing.

      2. @coldfly Irvine scored all his victories in 1999, twoof them when his teammate MS was sidelined with a broken leg and one of them with MS’s help.

        1. ColdFly (@)
          5th July 2018, 8:20

          So @matthijs, are you saying Ricciardo is the new Schumacher?
          Two races where he was ‘sidelined’ before the finish, and his inferior strategy helped in Spain17 :P

          1. @coldfly Good one! Btw, it was Spain 2016, time files!

    2. @hahostolze He has until 2020 to beat the record of youngest ever WDC currently held by Vettel. This particular record should be achievable If the RBR-Honda combination is competitive enough by then.

  2. You missed the best stat from this weekend; the last time Mercedes double DNF’d (Spain 2016) the podium was….VER 1st, RAI 2nd, VET 3rd. Identical to the Austria 2018 podium where both Mercs retired

    1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
      3rd July 2018, 13:45

      @celicadion23 and both times Verstappen started 4th

      1. @celicadion23 I believe that all four of verstappens wins came of days where Mercedes had double dnf’s.

        1. Hmmm, no? In Malaysia he even overtook Hamilton for the win. In Mexico both Mercedes were running as well.

          1. Correct. My bad. My uncle told me and for some reason I didn’t bother to fact check it.

        2. @colinchapman You’d believe wrong.

          2017 Malaysian Grand Prix
          1. Verstappen
          2. Hamilton
          5. Bottas

          2017 Mexican Grand Prix
          1. Verstappen
          2. Bottas
          9. Hamilton

          1. Yes, and about these 2, from what I saw in malaysia the performance order was: red bull = ferrari > mercedes, so hamilton just managed his 2nd place for the points, couldn’t keep up with verstappen and meanwhile bottas was jumped in the pits by vettel who started last; as for mexico I think all 3 top cars were pretty similar, vettel showed a certain speed by coming up the grid and bottas was much ahead of raikkonen, I think verstappen would’ve won even if hamilton and vettel didn’t have tyre or front wing issues, certainly they’d have been much closer than their team mates were.

        3. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
          4th July 2018, 5:06

          @colinchapman I think what actually has happened is that in order for Verstappen to win one of two things must happen.

          1) Kyvat is demoted
          2) Both Mercedes retire

          Someone please correct me if I am wrong.

  3. The consequence of not having a car fast enough to fight for pole (and the consequence of crashing in Monaco…;))

    1. That corner has a strange attraction on Max ..:)

  4. The fourth time this season that an official lap record has been beaten (although in France it was because of the fact no race had taken place on the layout option/variation used for the return of the Paul Ricard circuit before, so, therefore, no previous reference for this purpose).

    The first win for Verstappen that wasn’t preceded by Kvyat getting demoted or fired from any F1 team.

    Sirotkin is now the only driver with zero points this season so far.

    Following Hamilton’s first DNF of the season (as well as his first since the 2016 Malaysian GP), now only two drivers (Vettel and Sainz) still have a chance to achieve the feat of reaching the chequered flag in every single race of a season.

    The first time a team other than Mercedes, Ferrari, or Mclaren have won on this circuit since 1997 (when Villeneuve won for Williams).

    Raikkonen has now started from third on the grid on this track for two consecutive seasons.

    The sixth race weekend out of nine so far in which an incident relating to unsafe release in the pit lane/tyre getting loose has occurred (in comparison by this point last season there had been zero incidents of this type.

    1. The sixth race weekend out of nine so far in which an incident relating to unsafe release in the pit lane/tyre getting loose has occurred (in comparison by this point last season there had been zero incidents of this type.

      I wonder if anything changed on the procedure or materials

      1. @johnmilk That’s indeed what I’ve been wondering as well as I don’t get it either that what is so different with this season compared to the previous ones as this type of thing hasn’t really been an issue in the recent past. Last season alone there were only two incidents of this type (Grosjean in Hungary and Sainz in Abu Dhabi) the whole season.

      2. @johnmilk @jerejj – I’d hazard a guess that last year, with the bigger tyres having been introduced, teams tended to take the more cautious option. Having run through a season with normal pitstop behaviour and no unusual issues, this year they’re again trying to push the envelope in the quest to shave off a tenth or so. It is definitely interesting to see that this years issues have been spread across multiple teams, which is possibly indicative of how much on a knife-edge even a normal/cautious approach is.

        1. @phylyp if the average pitstop time (on the ones that go well) has decreased you might be right

        2. @phylyp That could very well be it.

    2. The first win for Verstappen that wasn’t preceded by Kvyat getting demoted or fired from any F1 team.

      Maybe Kvyat’s girlfriend just left him :P

      1. Yes, stuff like this could happen, or he got fired as development driver from ferrari, though I didn’t hear of it.

  5. Jonathan Parkin
    3rd July 2018, 15:33

    Fernando Alonso now has the record for most race finishes.

    When was the last race where the podium finishers were the only ones on the lead lap

    1. Spain 2017 with Hamilton, Vettel, and Ricciardo on the podium. It was even worse that day as Ricciardo would have been lapped had the lap time been as short as in Austria.

      1. @siegfreyco ”Ricciardo would have been lapped had the lap time been as short as in Austria.”
        – Based on what (theoretical) calculations/measures if I may ask that how did you come up with that specific outcome, LOL?

        1. Safe bet he’s basing it on the time gap from the leader back to Ricciardo being less than the time it takes to leap Spielberg?

          1. Exactly Pat. Jere it’s not a complicated thing to figure out :)

  6. Didn’t MSC have five wins (Belgium 92, Portugal 93, Brazil Aida and Imola 94) before his first pole (Monaco 94)?

    1. Good catch.

    2. Schumacher only started getting poles once the qualifying King had left us.

    3. Interesting one indeed, schumacher may as well be the one with most poles before first win, a qualifying monster like senna on a slightly better car made sure of it those years.

      1. Jack Jeffreys
        4th July 2018, 21:55

        Denny Hulme had 6 wins before his first pole

  7. OmarRoncal - Go Seb!!! (@)
    3rd July 2018, 17:10

    Considering just two years ago Mercedes won 14 of the first 15 races, that’s a considerable improvement in the standard of competition.

    And this parity is going to be spoiled by the 2020 regulations. Well done FIA! When we were finally reaching equal terms of performance* among engine manufacturers, everything will go back to scratch again.

    *Yes, I know Honda and Renault are not on par yet, but hasn’t stopped Red Bull from winning 3 races so far this year. And even if people claimed it’s just because of Mercs retirement, well… that’s also some kind of parity among teams now. Ferrari had many technical retirements at the end of last year. Now it could be that Mercedes are not so bulletproof after all.

    1. @omarr-pepper 2021 to be precise.

  8. Nine races in and neither of this season’s championship leaders have set a fastest lap.

  9. VES has finally won a race without KVY getting demoted.

  10. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    3rd July 2018, 20:59


    In China 2015, Nasr was 8th and Ericsson 10th. This was 2 races after Australia 2015.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      3rd July 2018, 21:06

      Can’t find the name to copy and paste and ended up typing it wrong.


      This is referring to my comment above.

  11. First no-score for Hamilton since Malaysia 2016 – Vettel (13) now has the longest unbroken run. Hamilton also ties Heidfeld’s record for most (actual) finishes (33).

    Raikkonen finishes 2nd 15 years after he last finished 2nd at this track.

    6th time (in 9 races) that Sainz has started 9th this year.

    Leclerc now has more points in his F1 career than Ericsson.

    First time this season Vandoorne has started the race ahead of Alonso – every driver has now started a race ahead of their team-mate in 2018.

    Only Alonso, Leclerc, and Sirotkin are in the same Drivers’ Championship after this race as they were before it.

    3rd race in a row where there has been a 15-point swing between Vettel and Hamilton.

    Under the 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1 system, Vettel and Hamilton would be tied on points, as would Ricciardo and Bottas.

    Every team has now had at least 1 mechanical DNF this season.

    Raikkonen has managed at least 1 fastest lap every year since his 2012 comeback (he also managed at least 1 every year from 2002 to 2008 inclusive).

    First no-score for Mercedes since Spain 2016 – Ferrari now have the longest unbroken (15; last no-score was Singapore 2017).

    First time since Monaco 2017 that neither Mercedes has finished on the podium.

    24th consecutive season in which at least 1 Ferrari-powered car has managed a fastest lap.

    First time since Singapore 2015 that no British driver scored points. Finland now has the longest unbroken run (24; last no-score was Spain 2017).

    Thanks to for some of these.

    1. The mercedes podium stat speaks volumes of how competitive they still are: in monaco 2017 hamilton had a terrible qualifying, otherwise he might have been able to get on the podium in the race and since then they were always at least able to compete for the podium, and even this race, they’d have got 1-2, if it weren’t for their mechanical DNF. Red bull obviously has been 3rd team for most time, so hard to get podiums, and ferrari lost the podium in spain this year due to the IMO silly decision to not let vettel do a 1-stopper, at the risk of a tyre blowup, he could’ve got 2nd, got 4th.

  12. Has a driver ever out qualified his teammate at every race during a season? Alonso is on his way to doing it as things stand.

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