Hamilton makes his second-biggest climb to victory from 10th on the grid

2021 Sao Paulo Grand Prix stats and facts

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Lewis Hamilton took the 101st victory of his career at Sao Paulo last weekend. Having started from 10th place, Hamilton now has the same number of wins as pole positions.

This is only the fifth time Hamilton has won after started behind the front two rows of the grid. It’s the second-lowest starting position Hamilton has won a race from: he previously took victory in the German Grand Prix from 14th on the grid.

He made a larger greater gain in positions during Saturday’s sprint qualifying race, rising 15 places from 20th to fifth. But that falls short of his personal best, a 19-place climb to third in the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix, back when F1 still had 22-car fields.

That narrows his deficit to championship rival Max Verstappen to 14 points with three races remaining. To put that into perspective, last year Hamilton clinched the title with three races to go when he had a 110-point lead over Valtteri Bottas.

This is the closest the championship fight has been with three races to go since 2012, when Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel led Fernando Alonso by 13 points. Vettel won the title by three points in a thrilling finale at Interlagos. An encouraging sign for Verstappen?

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Hockenheimring, 2018
Hamilton won from 14th at Hockenheim in 2018
This was the third and final sprint qualifying race of the 2021 season and as with the previous three the top driver from the regular qualifying session on Friday didn’t end up on pole position for the grand prix, although penalties had a hand in that. Valtteri Bottas took the 20th pole position of his career, drawing level with 1996 world champion Damon Hill.

Red Bull pitted Sergio Perez for fresh tyres at the end of the race to secure the bonus point for fastest lap. He therefore took the sixth fastest lap of his career, putting him on a par with Jose Froilan Gonzalez, Mike Hawthorn, Phil Hill, Dan Gurney, Emerson Fittipaldi, Carlos Reutemann and Heinz-Harald Frentzen.

Ferrari out-scored McLaren for the fourth race in a row, in which time they’ve gone from trailling McLaren by 17.5 points to leading them by 31.5 points. The fight for third place in the constructors’ championship isn’t over but McLaren need a sudden change in fortunes to get back in the hunt.

Alpine and AlphaTauri went into the race level on points, scored points with three of their four cars, and left still tied, now on 112 each in their fight for fifth place.

Finally, Hamilton’s 101st victory means he has begun progress towards a second century of wins. Though it’s unlikely he’ll stick around long enough to achieve it.

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

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2021 Sao Paulo 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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33 comments on “Hamilton makes his second-biggest climb to victory from 10th on the grid”

  1. The first Interlagos win outside the top eight starting positions.

    Latifi out-qualified Russell (both in normal QLF & officially) for the first time.

    P1 in Saturday practice for Alonso was his first since 2017 British GP Q1.

    Ricciardo’s consecutive finishing streak from last season’s Styrian GP ended, as did his 100% finishing record chance for this season, something Sainz & Giovinazzi can still achieve.

    The third time’s the charm as the WDC contenders didn’t collide on the third Sprint weekend, albeit they weren’t far off.

    17-point wins for Ferrari over Mclaren in two consecutive races with coincidently identical driver positions (LEC P5, SAI P6, & NOR P10).

    The second time Perez took the FLAP point away from Hamilton, & the third time either Merc or RBR has done so to the winning driver with their #2s.

    Only the second time, Mazepin finished higher than his teammate in a race where both reached the chequered flag.

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      16th November 2021, 18:29

      Has Carlos been lapped at any point. I believe only Michael and Lewis have driven every lap in a GP season. Will have to check that

      1. @Jonathan Parkin Yes, he has. He got lapped in Styrian, Dutch, & Mexico City GPs.

  2. For F1’s sake, let’s hope no driver will EVER be able to beat the 100 wins.

      1. Because it is boring to see the same driver winning year after year because he is driving the fastest car on the grid.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          17th November 2021, 2:44

          @petterson I think Lewis makes it more interesting to watch F1 than it would be if 2 great drivers competed. He’s a scintillating driver to watch.

          It’s so hard to deliver under pressure and he makes it look spectacularly easy.

        2. Good drivers are sticking around for 15 years or more these days. It’s feasible that a good driver could win 9 races a season and not win a single championship given how big the calendar is now. Unlikely, but possible.

          1. @tommy-c

            Good drivers are sticking around for 15 years or more these days. It’s feasible that a good driver could win 9 races a season and not win a single championship given how big the calendar is now.

            Interesting thought. Maybe if Max has more luck than Fernando had during most of his career and the field remains competitive most of the time, he could pretty much still amass 100 wins without never driving a dominant car. Let’s say, winning in average 5 races per season with top but not all-conquering cars and sticking around in Formula 1 for more 16 seasons (it would be an amazingly long but still feasible Formula 1 career). If then this statistic of number of wins would mean much more.

    1. Yeah, we all would thank if Lewis keeps this record forever. For his fans and his critics it should be a win-win. The consequence of this record is more negative than positive, it exposes an appalling lack of competitiveness in the sharp end of the grid. His closest rivals who never had the luck to drive a dominant car don’t even have one third of his wins, it’s outrageous.

  3. The winner raised the flag of a different country to his own (no offence)

    1. I think a tribute to the fans, to the race venue and to Senna is more than acceptable. Not everyone who is British is a nationalist zealot.

  4. While Hamilton did wear a Senna and Brazil inspired helmet, his race had more in common with Schumacher’s race in 2006 Brazil.

    Both drivers had 2 separate incidents, one which resulted in loss of positions on the grid (Schumacher : fuel pressure issue, made him lose at least 9 positions from an easy pole , Hamilton : new engine made him lose 5 positions) and a 2nd which sent them to the back of grid (Schumacher : collision with Fisichella, Hamilton : technical infringement).

    Schumacher went 19th to 4th in the race, Hamilton went 20th to 5th in the sprint. Schumacher’s team mate won the race, Hamilton’s team mate won the sprint. Schumacher’s main title rival finished 2nd in the race, Hamilton’s title rival finished 2nd in the sprint.
    Both Schumacher and Hamilton were 7 time world champions, going for their 8th.
    Both Schumacher and Hamilton started the main race 10th. Both also took a new engine just before the Brazil weekend.

    Because of the sprint, the comparison isn’t fully perfect. But it is nevertheless quite comparable

    1. It’s the contrary sequence but quite similar. Both had two recoveries in the same weekend, but in one case it happened in the same race because of contact with another driver, and in the other case split between the sprint and the main race. For the latter, the longer recovery preceded the shorter; for the former case, a shorter recovery came first but gave way for a longer one in the same event due to an incident.

    2. wow indeed

    3. SOTD
      Stat of the day

  5. Lewis Hamilton now has more wins than all Brazilian drivers combined.

    1. @dez1972

      Lewis Hamilton now has more wins than all Brazilian drivers combined.

      Interesting to illustrate how those records have become more and more meaningless along the last two decades, only getting worse in Mercedes-dominated era. Surely one of the best of all times, Senna, is within it alongside Piquet and other greats.

      1. In fact, Hamilton now has the same number of wins – 101 – of all brazilian drivers combined: Senna 41, Piquet 23, Fittipaldi 14, Barrichello 11, Massa 11, Pace 1

    2. Really not saying much with more yearly races than ever AND the most consistently dominant car in F1 history for seven years in a row!

      100 wins is actually a bit on the low side.

  6. Kudos to Gasly who has to go it alone while Alpine has 2 drivers that can score points.

  7. Hamilton had now as many victories as pole positions (101). I do not know when he was last in this position.

  8. It is a weekend that will be talked about for a long time. It had more drama and come back stories than a TV show. Lewis showed why many call him the GOAT.

    1. If being a GOAT is defined as having the best car that has a massive speed advantage and a #2 that follows orders. The Brazil race felt like a video game where you set yourself in the back and give yourself a better car to have fun looking at all the other pretty cars as you motor by without a care. The entire race just felt like it was back to the past 7 year where Merc can dominate at will. They only slow it down to keep the distractors at bay, give the opponents a thought of a chance, then hammer them again. No wonder Indy is producing such great results and pulling drivers who see F1 as a dead end. As a supporter who has been going to races for over 40 years, this last gen of cars has ruined the sport. Hoping for competition, real competition with next gen, not more of we don’t know why we weren’t competitive, then smash the field from last. Toto and Lewis are the most disingenuous of all sporting figures in any sport.

    2. Goat lol.

      Ham has not even been the best driver on an grid he’s competed in F1, let alone anywhere near the best of all time. Schumacher, Senna, Prost, Fangio, Clark, Lauda and even Mansell and Piquet and many more would be considered better.

      Stats mean nothing over talent!

    3. Lost to Nico Rosberg in 2016 and was truly smashed by Jenson Button in 2011 with the same machinery, and while both were pretty good drivers they were clearly not GOAT material.

      Without the move to Mercedes no one would have had any caprine thoughts about Lew

      So no GOAT, nowhere near, just an average driver who nearly always had a overwhelming machinery advantage. The EWE is more like it.

  9. 2nd time in 4 races that Hamilton has been quickest in Q1, Q2 and Q3 but not started on pole.

    Mazepin has set the slowest proper lap time in every Q1 this season.

    Only 2 of Hamilton’s 6 wins this season have seen him lead the most laps.

    First mechanical DNF for McLaren this year – only Alfa Romeo are yet to have one this year.

    Ricciardo’s first DNF since Austria 2020. Sainz now has the longest unbroken finishing streak (26, last DNF was Russia 2020).

    58th time that either Hamilton or Bottas has won while they have been team-mates – equals Schumacher & Barrichello.

    All 3 sprint qualifying weekends have seen either Verstappen or his car make contact with Hamilton’s car at some point.

    3rd consecutive race Sunday in which Ferrari have scored 18 points.

    Thanks to statsf1 and the offical F1 site for some of these.

  10. Both Hamilton and his race engineer managed to get his penalties wrong in their excitement. His race engineer said it was 20 places and Hamilton said 25.

    He lost 19 places on the sprint grid (1st to 20th) then 5 on the race grid (5th to 10th) which would make 24…

  11. Hail Reubens of Hockenheim y2k

  12. There were no changes to the drivers or constructors standings after the race. When was the last time this has happened?

  13. This was the final race of the season to be held in the daytime. Therefore, this was also Kimi Raikkonen’s final GP not racing under floodlights.

  14. 2021 will be the third time (after 1959 and 1962) that the Drivers’ Championship has been clinched in December.

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