Max Verstappen, Lewis Hamilton, Hungaroring, 2023

Closest front row for 13 years is followed by most dominant win of 2023 so far

2023 Hungarian Grand Prix stats and facts

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The margins in Hungarian Grand Prix qualifying last weekend were some of the closest Formula 1 has ever seen.

But the race was nothing like as close. After Max Verstappen crossed the line for his seventh consecutive win over half a minute passed until the next car on the same lap arrived.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton beat Verstappen to pole position by 0.003 seconds. That was the smallest pole-winning margin since Sebastian Vettel beat Fernando Alonso to pole for the 2010 German Grand Prix by 0.002s.

But while Alonso’s winning margin in that race was just four seconds (after Felipe Massa was infamously told “Fernando is faster than you”, and pulled aside), Verstappen had 33 seconds in his pocket at the chequered flag on Sunday.

Saturday’s qualifying session was the first to be decided by less than a hundredth of a second since the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix, where Valtteri Bottas out-paced Mercedes team mate Hamilton by 0.007s. Two years earlier in the British Grand Prix Bottas denied Hamilton pole by 0.006s.

With just 0.577s covering the top 10, this was the closest Q3 ever run since the current qualifying format was introduced in 2006. It matched the 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix where the top 10 in qualifying were covered by the same margin.

Despite the unusually close margins in the pole-deciding shootout, the 0.889s gap covering first to 15th in Q2 was only the closest since Monaco earlier this year and the 1.105s covering the whole field in Q1 meant it was not even as close as the opening segment of qualifying at the Austrian Grand Prix earlier this month.

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Hamilton now has the record for the most pole positions at a single grand prix, with it being the ninth time he has topped qualifying at the Hungaroring. He previously shared the record with Michael Schumacher (at Suzuka) and Ayrton Senna (Imola), and Hamilton also has eight pole in Melbourne. It was the 15th time a Mercedes-powered car has taken pole in Hungary, and the ninth time that the team has achieved the feat.

Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo, Hungaroring, 2023
Zhou had a great Saturday, just don’t mention Sunday
Zhou Guanyu claimed his (and China’s) best ever F1 qualifying result by lining up fifth on the grid, with Alfa Romeo team mate Bottas in seventh. That marked the first time two Alfa Romeos had contested Q3 since the 2020 Turkish Grand Prix.

Including their previous guise as Sauber, this team’s cars had lined up sixth and seventh for the 2019 Austrian GP and 2018 Brazilian GP, but had actually qualified seventh and eighth at both of those events. Therefore last weekend was their best combined qualifying result since the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix where Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez started third and fifth respectively after a penalty for a rival promoted each driver up a spot from their qualifying positions.

Haas team principal Guenther Steiner enthused over Nico Hulkenberg‘s one-lap ability as he qualified tenth in Hungary, marking his sixth Q3 appearance from 11 attempts in 2023. In contrast, team mate Kevin Magnussen has gone out in Q1 seven times this season.

The start of the race on Sunday marked the first time two Australians have raced in F1 since the 2013 Brazilian GP, with Daniel Ricciardo at AlphaTauri and Oscar Piastri at McLaren. Ricciardo was making his first start in 246 days.

Piastri went on to finish fifth to set a very impressive stat: he is the first driver since Hamilton and Heikki Kovalainen in 2007 to claim two top-five results in their first 11 F1 races. Kovalainen took seven races to achieve the feat, while Hamilton managed it in just two starts as he famously reached the podium in both.

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Verstappen and Red Bull reached an even more impressive achievement than that, as Verstappen’s personal best run of seven successive wins also helped Red Bull beat McLaren’s long-standing record of 11 wins in a row.

Senna’s Spa win was McLaren’s 11th in a row
Perez and Verstappen have ensured Red Bull have gone unbeaten in the last 12 races, including the 2022 season finale. Red Bull therefore beat McLaren’s record for most consecutive wins.

McLaren scored 11 consecutive wins at the start of 1988, as Red Bull have done this year. But the competitive pictures between their two drivers could hardly be much more different. In 1988, Senna led McLaren team mate Alain Prost by three points. Today, Verstappen has a 110-point margin over Perez.

Of course a win is worth 25 points today compared to nine in 1988. But under today’s scoring system, not only would the McLaren drivers be even closer, but in a different order: Prost would be two points ahead of Senna.

McLaren finished one-two in eight of those races, while Red Bull has achieved that only four times this year. Mercedes took seven one-two finishes at the start of 2015 and ‘19, and six in 2014, Williams and Ferrari had six one-twos in 1992 and 2004 respectively, McLaren achieved five in 1998.

The McLarens in 1988 were powered by Honda engines, and Red Bull use Honda Red Bull Powertrains-branded units. That meant Honda effectively beat their own consecutive wins record, and technically took their eighth Hungarian GP win as an engine supplier. It was Red Bull’s fourth win in Hungary, and with a 33.731s winning margin it was the most dominant win in F1 since Verstappen’s 2021 Styrian Grand Prix victory by 35.743s over Hamilton.

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Oscar Piastri, McLaren, Hungaroring, 2023
Piastri is having a strong rookie season
Lando Norris scored consecutive podium finishes for the first time in his career as McLaren continued their upswing in form. This was the first time McLaren have taken podium finishes in consecutive races since they won the final two rounds of 2012 with Hamilton at the Circuit of the Americas and Jenson Button at Interlagos.

Alpine suffered their first double retirement since the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix: Although neither of their cars actually met the chequered flag at this year’s Australian Grand Prix but they were still classified, as was Pierre Gasly at Silverstone where Ocon dropped out early on.

Ferrari finished two races without a car in the top five for the first time since 2021, while Aston Martin’s run to ninth and tenth with their cars marked the team’s worst showing the 2022 Sao Paulo Grand Prix.

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

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2023 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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26 comments on “Closest front row for 13 years is followed by most dominant win of 2023 so far”

  1. The picture of Alonso is not from 2010 but 2012.

    1. Kyle (@hammerheadgb)
      25th July 2023, 13:47

      I was about to say this. It is also captioned “Alonso narrowly took pole at Hockenheim in 2010” when as the in-line article text correctly states, he missed out on pole by a fraction to Vettel. Red faces all round here peeps.

  2. It astounds me the closest top 10 margin of 0.577s is IDENTICAL to its previous record, down to 3dp.

    Martin had a moment of awe on the broadcast when he heard the status, as did I.

    1. @idawood the stars about how close qualifying was are interesting but flawed. Because circuits are different lengths and have different average lap speeds, the true measure of closeness would be the percentage difference in average speed.

      Unfortunately this would not be an intuitive measure because we are so used to seeing lap times and gaps in the way you present but in your example, Hungary 2023 was objectively a closer top 10 than Brazil 2003 because the hungaroring is a longer lap than interlagos. If Spa top 10 is covered by 0.5 seconds then that will make it even closer, because the lap is longer.

      That is to say nothing of very simple circuits like the Bahrain short track, where there are scant opportunities to create gaps – but that’s all tied up in the difficulty of F1 stats where you’re hardly ever comparing like with like.

  3. Lewis Hamilton’s first pole position since the inaugural Saudi Arabian GP, i.e., his most recent victory.

    Guanyu Zhou’s first Q3 appearance this season.

    The first Hungarian GP with ‘at least’ drivers from P2-P5 qualifying within half a second off a pole position driver since 2003.

    Fernando Alonso is the only driver to reach Q3 in all 2023 events.

    Red Bull Racing’s 250th podium finish.

    Like in Melbourne, the Alpine duo collided in a chain-reaction situation.

  4. Jimmy Cliff
    25th July 2023, 15:00

    Despite a brilliant start, Piastri again missed the podium allowing the streak with no 1st time podium finisher to continue, it is now 43 races and 695 days.

    Max broke a few race win frequency records:
    * Most wins within a 12 month period is now set at 18. Ranked 2nd is Lewis with 15, 3rd is Schumacher with 14 and Vettel is ranked 4th with 13.
    * Most wins in last 30 races is now set at 23. Ranked 2nd are Lewis and Schumacher each with 19 and Vettel is ranked 4th with 17
    * At Silverstone he broke the record of most wins in last 50 races, now set at 32, at Spa he can set it at 33. Till Silverstone the record was held by Lewis and Schumacher with 31 wins in 50 races.

    Together with breaking the record for most consecutive wins Red Bull broke/tied so win frequency records as well.
    * Most wins within a 12 month period is now set at 21, breaking Mercedes record of 20.
    * Most wins in last 30 races is now set at 27, tied with Mercedes. Red Bull needs to keep winning all races including Texas to achieve 28 wins in last 30 races.

    Looking at most wins in last 100 races there is still quite a gap, Max is at 40 but Lewis holds the record with 55 and Red Bull is at 45 (Red Bull own record is 49) but Mercedes holds the record with an astonishing 75. (talking about long term domination).

  5. Red Bull’s 12 wins is technically a record, but if you discount the Indy 500 which I feel you should in these statistics as it was run to totally different regulations to the rest of the championship with almost no overlapping drivers and teams, then Ferrari won 14 consecutive races between 1952 and 1953, including one each for Piero Taruffi, Mike Hawthorn and Giuseppe Farina, and eleven from Alberto Ascari including his nine consecutive wins (which does ignore the Indy 500).

    1. This is an excellent point which I hadn’t considered!

      Similarly, I consider Ascari tied with Vettel on 9 consecutive victories under the same logic.

    2. Next record to fall then in three races time ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

      1. Yes, sadly very likely.

        1. No need to be sad. It’s an incredible achievement that we’re fortunate to witness.

  6. Group of people who thought they’d lost all hope lose last additional bit of hope they didn’t even know they still had..

  7. Both Australian drivers show Italian surnames – a powerful tribute to the Italian community in Australia, in the footsteps of the American one with Mario Andretti.

    1. isthatglock21
      25th July 2023, 23:43

      Is it really though? They’re all about as American or Australian as they come. Very few hang onto those roots & those who do embarrass themselves & release how little they have in common, bit like the ‘irish Americans’. Surnames mean little & will only erod further over time. Neither have ever claimed it in the slightest bar the old danny ric-ferrari rumours back in the dayon slow news days

      1. notagrumpyfan
        26th July 2023, 9:01

        Heritage is still a big thing in Australia. Not surprising as over half the population is either first or second generation.

        1. Anyway, this wasn´t meant to offend anyone…

  8. It was Red Bull’s fourth win in Hungary, and with a 33.731s winning margin it was the most dominant win in F1 since Verstappen’s 2021 Styrian Grand Prix victory by 35.743s over Hamilton.

    In terms of margin between 1st and 2nd, the 2021 Russian GP saw Hamilton win by 53.271s, although this was largely due to a late rain shower than any particular domination on the part of Hamilton/Mercedes.

    First race with 2 Australians since Brazil 2013 (Ricciardo’s previous race with Toro Rosso/AlphaTauri).

    First time Gasly has been eliminated in Q2 this year.

    First World Championship GP to take place on 23 July.

    First time this season that a team has seen neither of its cars classified.

    Leclerc is the only driver to have finished 2nd exactly once this year.

    Hamilton has finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th twice each in 2023.

    12th consecutive season that Mercedes have managed at least 1 pole as a constructor (Ferrari hold record from 1992-2006 inclusive).

    21st consecutive season that Mercedes have managed at least 1 pole as an engine supplier (extends their record).

    20th consecutive season that at least 1 British driver has managed a pole position.

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

  9. Red Bull’s breach of the cost cap is paying dividends. Worth the paltry fine they paid.

    1. If they succeeded winning like this with a 400.000 overspending they deserve every win.
      Stop this narrative about overspending a very small amount (largely due to taxes misrepresentation) as cause of their excellent car. Face the reality, most teams dropped the ball 🏀

      1. Every penny makes a difference with a cost cap and if they didn’t need to overspend to be this fast then why would they have done so? They didn’t do it for fun, after all.
        Regardless of how you want to justify it, you can’t deny they weren’t found to be in breach of the cost cap.

  10. A brand new stat: Norris succeeding to tumble the trophy twice (consecutive)during his celebration.

  11. I believe the smallest margin to pole position was when Jacques Villeneuve, Michael Schumacher and Harald Frentzen had the same time at the 1997 European Grand Prix.

    1. Yes, complete with Murray Walker almost exploding in the commentary box, and a not-suspicious-in-any-way failure of all the timing screens a minute or two before!

  12. Remco de Waal
    26th July 2023, 12:51

    The record for the longest period between first and last pole position, previously held by Raikkonen, set by Hamilton: 16 years and 43 days.

  13. I guess it shows that it is nice to build a fast car but it also helps if you have a driver in it that delivers lap after lap after lap. Max’ consistency is what leads to this domination. Checo is proof of it. Similar to Lewis 2014-2020 albeit their Checo’s came in 2nd most of the time which tends me to lean to giving somewhat more credits to the car back then vs the RedBull situation nowadays.

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