Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, 2018

Verstappen breaks record for most wins without a pole

2018 Mexican Grand Prix stats and facts

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With the fifth win of his Formula 1 career, Max Verstappen set a new record for having won the most races without ever having started from pole position.

Eddie Irvine and Bruce McLaren each won four grands prix but never qualified on pole position. Of course they will get their record back if Verstappen ever gets his first pole.

Daniel Ricciardo took pole in Mexico by 0.026 seconds, the second-closest pole-winning margin this year (Valtteri Bottas beat Lewis Hamilton by 0.019s in Austria). It was his third career pole position.

That probably cost Verstappen his last and best chance to become the youngest person ever to set pole position for an F1 race. Sebastian Vettel holds the record having been 21 years and 139 days old when he set pole for the 2008 Italian Grand Prix.

Verstappen was 21 years and 32 days old last Saturday, and only has two chances left this year to beat the record. Not that he’s particularly excited about that prospect, as he explained on Sunday. “The record for me is not a big deal,” he said. “The points and stuff are always on Sunday and that’s the most important thing.”

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He’s doing well by that measure: this was his seventh consecutive top-five finish. That plus Ricciardo’s fourth retirement in the last seven races has seen Verstappen go from lagging 37 points behind his team mate after the first six races, to being an un-catchable 70 points ahead with two to go. Remarkably, he’s only 20 points off third-placed Raikkonen in the drivers’ championship.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit of the Americas, 2018
Hamilton had even more to celebrate
And Verstappen is emphatically the youngest driver ever to win a race. Having scored his first win in the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, he has added four subsequent wins and is still younger than the next-youngest race winner.

Fourth place for Hamilton ended a nine-race streak of podium finishes which is the second-longest of his career, tying with his first nine races for McLaren in 2007. But more importantly it secured his fifth world championship title.

Hamilton needs to win two more titles and 20 more races to equal Michael Schumacher’s records of seven and 91 respectively. He could make inroads on the latter by winning one of the two remaining races this year. This would be the first time Hamilton has won a race in a second in which he’d already clinched the title, though it bears pointing out he has only entered five races under those circumstances (three in 2015 and two in 2017).

Finally, eighth place for Stoffel Vandoorne meant he scored his first point for 15 races. With Force India failing to score, it gives McLaren a realistic chance of holding on to sixth in the championship.

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Review the year so far in statistics here:

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

2018 Mexican Grand Prix

Browse all 2018 Mexican 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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63 comments on “Verstappen breaks record for most wins without a pole”

  1. This equals MSCs record of five wins (Spa 1992, Portugal 1993, Brazil, Aida and Imola 1994) before his first pole (Monaco 1994) rather than sets a new record, surely another win for Max would set a new record.

    1. It says “without ever having started from pole”.
      I like these records which you can lose yourself.
      @dean111181 (PS Happy Birthday next week, unless you were born on 1 August 1111)

      1. Cheers Coldfly, not many people work out what the numbers signify, well appreciated mate :)

    2. @dean111181 I didn’t realise that Schumacher never claimed a pole in the Senna era. Of course iSchumacher didn’t really have the car to do so in 1991-1993 but it also emphasises that Senna claimed three consequtive poles in 1994.

      1. @matthijs, there is the inverse statistic to that though, which is the rate at which they won races when they were not on pole – Schumacher won 56% of his races from a place other than pole, but for Senna that rate falls to 29%.

        In some respects, some fans might be surprised at the fact that, at 29%, the percentage of Senna’s victories which came when he was not on pole is the second lowest rate of all time – only Massa, at 27%, had a smaller percentage of his victories being wins when not on pole.

        Naturally, it does stand to reason that, if other drivers are winning more races when not on pole, somebody has to be losing out when they are on pole. Still, it is quite remarkable quite how marked the difference is when you compare Senna’s statistics with the contemporary WDC winning drivers of the time (45% of Mansell’s races coming when not on pole, 64% for Lauda, 65% for Prost and 78% for Piquet Sr.).

        1. Yes, absolutely, senna wasn’t a god like the narrative suggests, he was definitely a top driver but not in contention for being the best of all times.

          He was a monster in qualifying, second to none of the drivers that came after him, probably only to someone who came before him, like clark or fangio.

          However he wasn’t as good in the races, made relatively frequent mistakes for a driver of his caliber.

          1. @esploratore

            right.. all Senna had to do was back off his supreme qualifying laps win the race from 2nd then get more respect for winning races from outside pole.
            we could also be asking if Schumacher was so great, how come Hill took poles off him in a faulty car.

            My favourite stat is that Mansell would be 5 times world champion with the same luck as Lewis Hamilton

          2. Big Joe, wasn’t that mainly because, even with issues, the Williams that Hill drove was widely considered to be vastly superior to every other car in the field (which was why Williams refused to pay Hill the sort of salary he demanded when he win his WDC, since they felt that they had made him successful and that they made drivers, not drivers made the team?).

            As for the stat about Senna, it was to put in perspective the fact that, when people criticise some drivers now for only being able to win from the front, it was to point out that most drivers who are highly lauded have generally driven off into the distance from pole or the front row of the grid.

            For example, a common complaint that is thrown at Vettel is that he has only ever won races if he qualifies in the top three positions on the grid. Whilst that is true, it wasn’t as if Senna was that much better – a full 35 of his 41 victories came from the front row, and 39 of his 41 race victories came from the first three grid positions (only his 1990 US GP and 1993 European GP victories came from lower than 3rd on the grid): people might have memories of Senna scything through the field to take victory, but it is something that was in fact fairly rare for him to do.

            Mind you, in general it is a rare trend for drivers to have scythed their way through the field to take victory – for example, Schumacher might hold the record for most wins at 91, but only six came from outside the top three. Really, the only driver who was highly skilled at working his way up through the field and into a race winning position was Prost – ten of his victories, or about 20% of his total, came from 5th or lower on the grid, a skill of his that I think is really underrated and makes him stand out when compared to his contemporaries.

  2. Does someone know what the record is for most wins till you get your 1st pole position? Has anyone before Max ever won 5 races before he got his pole position?

    1. intrigued as well, @jelle-van-der-meer.
      I found a certain kiwi (Denny Hulme) who had 6 wins before his first pole (1973 at Kyalami) after some 14 years racing in F1 (incl. non-championship races)

      1. who had 6 wins before his first pole

        and a WDC

      2. I was at that GP! Must dig out my pictures which I took with a Halina that I still have to this day!

    2. See above @jelle-van-der-meer, where @dean111181 mentions Schumacher doing that, not a bad guy to follow in terms of stats!

    3. Denny Hulme got 6 before claiming pole in South Africa 1973

      1. the seventh former Formula One champion to die, and the first to die of natural causes

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denny_Hulme

        1. I watched the race that he passed away in. Amazingly he was driving a racing car and died of natural causes. Might have been a M3 from memory. I’m sure there is Youtube footage of the incident.

    4. That conflicts with the statistic regarding Max Verstappen. I’m not sure what the difference is between Denny Hulme and Verstappen, but I’m sure both show these drivers in good light.

  3. Lewis Hamilton is fourth driver to clinch WDC two years on the row on the same circuit. Earlier done by Ayrton Senna (1990-91), Mika Häkkinen (1998-99) and Fernando Alonso (2005-06).

  4. @jelle-van-der-meer Well apparently Schumacher had 5 as well as @dean111181 pointed out. But Denny Hulme bagged 6 wins before his first pole, don’t know if someone betters that.

  5. Jackie Stewart took 7 victories before his first pole at Monaco 1969

    1. Meant to be a reply to @matthijs

  6. I noticed all the native Spanish-speaking drivers retired from the Mexican GP – Has it ever occurred that all the German-speaking drivers have retired from the German GP or similar?

    1. @joeypropane – Vettel gave it his best shot this year ;-)

    2. Didn’t it happen in French GP 2018?

      1. @Sumedh No, Grosjean did finish that race.

    3. As already noted by @joeypropane above:

      All the three Spanish speaking drivers (Sainz, Alonso, Perez) retired from the Mexican GP, which is held in a Spanish speaking country.

      This situation has now happened on 12 occasions (for Spanish speaking drivers in Spanish speaking countries):

      2018 Mexican GP (retired: Carlos Sainz, Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez)
      2008 European GP (retired: Fernando Alonso)
      2008 Spanish GP (retired: Fernando Alonso)
      1998 Argentine GP (retired: Esteban Tuero)
      1987 Mexican GP (retired: Adrian Campos)
      1974 Spanish GP (retired: Carlos Reutemann)
      1973 Spanish GP (retired: Carlos Reutemann)
      1973 Argentine GP (retired: Carlos Reutemann)
      1972 Spanish GP (retired: Alex Soler-Roig)
      1969 Spanish GP (retired: Pedro Rodriguez)
      1968 Spanish GP (retired: Pedro Rodriguez)
      1966 Mexican GP (retired: Pedro Rodriguez, Moises Solana)

      As for the German speaking drivers, it has happened only 5 times in history:

      1987 German GP (retired: Gerhard Berger, Christian Danner)
      1981 Austrian GP (retired: Marc Surer)
      1967 German GP (retired: Hubert Hahne, Jochen Rindt, Kurt Ahrens)
      1964 Austrian GP (retired: Jochen Rindt)
      1959 German GP (retired: Hans Herrmann)

      1. You probably can write a book about useless statistical F1 info ;)

        ( and looking at the interest here: a big market awaits ..)

  7. As was considered after the flag blunder in Canada, we’ve also broken the streak of winners of a race with a premature flag-wave going on to win the championship that year.
    https://www.racefans.net/2018/06/14/the-three-other-times-the-chequered-flag-was-waved-too-soon/#comment-3779511

  8. Valtteri Bottas now only has two races to avoid becoming the first Mercedes driver to fail to win at least one Grand Prix in a season in the post-2014 hybrid era.

    Ahh yes but Hamilton is going to give him one back isn’t he? LOL

    1. Jonathan Parkin Maybe, maybe not. We shall wait and see.

      1. @asanator Maybe, maybe not. We shall wait and see.

        1. Also while statistics don’t take into account team orders, we all pretty much know that every driver in a top team technically won a race this year, most hamilton, a handful vettel, 2 ricciardo, 2 verstappen, 1 bottas and raikkonen.

  9. Is anyone (here or in some other place online) keeping track of the Formula 1.5 (or Formula 1B) standings?
    I like those ones…

    1. There’s a pretty neat Instagram page with the handle – formula1point5 – dedicated to just that. The admin’s really into it, and they even post stuff like practice, qualifying, race classifications, fastest laps and pit stops.

    2. Sorry for the wrong reply.
      This is much better.

      https://i.imgur.com/fq5Dend.png

    3. 1 Hulkenberg 243
      2 Perez 202
      3 Sainz 202
      4 Ocon 194
      5 Magnussen 178
      6 Alonso 156
      7 Gasly 133
      8 Leclerc 131
      9 Grosjean 119
      10 Ericsson 107
      11 Vandoorne 102
      12 Stroll 60
      13 Hartley 55
      14 Sirotkin 33

      1 Renault 445
      2 Force India 396
      3 Haas 297
      4 McLaren 258
      5 Sauber 238
      6 Toro Rosso 188
      7 Williams 93

  10. All Spanish speaking drivers retired from the Mexican GP

    1. Already noted and excellently researched above..

  11. Is this the first time in history where a driver wins the first two races, but not the world championship?

    Also, “… has won a race in a second in which…” is probably the season :)

    1. Jacques Laffite won the first two grand prix of 1979 (Argentina and Brazil) in his Ligier JS11 Cosworth, but ultimately finished only fourth in that year’s world championship standings.

    2. Basically pretty rare, so was vettel’s title to lose and damn, he did his best, with all those spins and mistakes!

      Overall the cars seemed pretty evenly matched, true that mercedes was clear best in spain, singapore, russia and japan but ferrari had good enough races to make up for that and reliability counts as well when establishing car performance.

  12. Can’t believe Max has never had a pole.
    I predict that will change in the not to distant future and once he starts “Pole Dancing” I bet he likes it so much he makes a habit of it ;)

    1. He says he doesn’t care about it.

      1. @juan-fanger
        Yep, thats exactly what it sounded like after Q3 last week. ;)

    2. I think if honda isn’t a complete disaster mclaren style (2.0) you might be on to something, as in toro rosso is proving honda is stronger in qualifying than in the race atm, so if red bull gets a little speed boost in qualifying and keeps a top chassis like this year or later on in 2017 he should be fine.

  13. “The record for me is not a big deal”….

    Could have fooled me… I thought he lost sleep over it, & was driving angry the next day because of it… at least, that’s what his Boss & his father said…

    No big deal though. He might not get the record but he’ll certainly be on pole sooner rather than later, I think.

    1. I thought he lost sleep over it, & was driving angry the next day because of it

      I think it was being on pole position he cared about, not the record.

      1. He says he doesn’t care, which is not the same thing as not actually caring.
        He says he’s not to blame for any of his incidents and accidents as well. Maybe it’s all front and deep down he knows that he is, in fact, not perfect.

  14. The winner of Hungarian GP finally wone the championship after 2005 if i remember correct!

    1. it was not 2005, i look at it, it was 2004 Michael Schumacher.

      1. Yes, hamilton is indeed schumacher’s successor, he managed to do what no one after schumacher did, break the hungarian gp curse!

        1. @esploratore, where exactly did this weird statistic arise from anyway?

          Why was it seen as a “curse” when there are other circuits on the calender where the race winner didn’t win the WDC for multiple years? The winner of the Monaco GP has not gone on to win the WDC since 2011, whilst ever since the Austrian GP was revived, the winner of that race has failed to go on to win the WDC as well. It is rather irritating when people cling to random acts of coincidence as a “curse” or other such rubbish, seemingly only to hold on to some sort of vague crumb of comfort.

  15. I’m pretty surprised.

    But I’m even more surprised that at Mexico if he’d got pole, he’d still be the youngest driver to get pole. He’s been in F1 since 2015, so that’s 3 years he could have had this title!.

    Stating the obvious I know, but I totally forgot just how damn young this bloke was when he started.

  16. Also first red bull front row lockout since US 2013 and was on course to be the first red bull 1-2 on merit since interlagos 2013, although monaco 2018 would’ve been on merit as well but thrown away by verstappen, and malaysia 2016 was thanks to hamilton’s engine problem.

    1. And most red bull wins in a season since 2013, most ferrari wins in a season since 2008, most races lost in a season for mercedes since 2013, that’s quite some time that we don’t have such competitiveness.

  17. OK… I’m going to throw myself on the ‘grill of gloom’ (for those who like to have a dig… ;-).
    I do not understand how the record returns to Irvine & McLaren when Max gets his first pole.
    And I don’t understand how Irvine & McLaren have the record (4 wins) if Hulme had six, and Stewart had seven…
    Maybe I was sick that day… Or maybe I went to bed late last night…
    How about it, ‘Phylyp’…?

    1. BlackJackFan, I can see why you might be getting confused, but the argument is that Eddie Irvine and Bruce McLaren won four races even though neither driver ever qualified in pole throughout the entirety of their racing career.

      It is true that Hulme and Stewart did initially score more race victories before they secured a pole position, but the point is that they did eventually score a pole position during their racing career – the other two only ever had a best starting position of 2nd or lower on the grid.

      1. Hi anon – I had a sort of sneaky feeling it might have had something to do with that, but I was perhaps too tired to work it out from the text – as I said, possibly too many late nights.
        So, it seems that there are actually two possible records here: The number of wins before having a pole… and the number of wins without ever having a pole…
        I must admit I’ve not encountered these records before, so thanks for those who brought them to light – and bothered to elucidate… I do prefer when people contribute to the greater good of this site.

  18. If more races this season were held at altitude, MV would have won the championship with plenty of poles.

  19. Second marks Sebastian Vettel’s best finish since the Belgian Grand Prix back in August.

    This is one of the big reasons why Vettel became out of contention for the WDC at Mexico. He needed to minimise the loss of points in comparison to Hamilton every time Hamilton won, which meant finishing second. Hamilton won 9 races this season, so Vettel needed to finish second 9 times, but he did it 3 times. Conversely Vettel won 5 races, 3 of which had Hamilton finish 2nd. There was only one race which Vettel won were Hamilton wasn’t also on the podium (the Candian GP). So Hamilton was better at minimising his loss in comparison to Vettel than Vettel was to Hamilton.

  20. Yawn. How people get so excited over stats is beyond me……

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