Who would have thought anyone would have come close to Michael Schumacher’s record of seven Formula 1 world championships?
Lewis Hamilton made it six at the United States Grand Prix, but a drill down into the statistics of his career reveals in some areas he has already surpassed the sport’s true greats.
He’s not quite surpassed Schumacher’s titles and race wins total, but check out his win ratio and pole positions record – often the purest test of a driver’s speed – and you’ll see he is already a leading light in Formula 1.
How he compares to the best ever
- Hamilton is now the second most successful driver of all time, one title behind all-time record holder Michael Schumacher who won seven.
- A sixth win means Hamilton has overtaken Argentine legend Juan Manuel Fangio on the all-time leaderboard. Fangio won five titles in the 1950s.
- This is a third consecutive title for Hamilton (2017, 2018, 2019). The record of consecutive F1 championships belongs to Michael Schumacher who swept all before him in securing five title wins on the bounce between 2000 and 2004.
- It is also Hamilton’s fifth title in six years. Hamilton’s dominance was interrupted by Nico Rosberg – his Mercedes team-mate – pipping him to the championship by five points in 2016.
- The only other driver currently racing who has won more than a single championship is Sebastian Vettel on four.
- Hamilton has won 83 races. Only Michael Schumacher has won more, with 91. They are head and shoulders above the rest. Vettel is in third place with 53 wins, but the German won only one race this campaign.
- Hamilton’s 83 race wins have come at a better win rate than Schumacher’s. In each of the last six campaigns, Hamilton has won on average 10 GPs. If he is to continue that trend next year, he will overtake Schumacher as the driver with the most race victories and will have done so in fewer races.
- Hamilton has won one in every three races (33.5%) he has participated in his career (83 wins from 248 GPs started). Of all drivers who have taken part in at least 50 grands prix, only Juan Manuel Fangio (with almost one in two – 47%) and Jim Clark (35%) have a better win rate than Hamilton. However, Hamilton has been involved in at least three times as many races as both Clark and Fangio, sustaining his win rate over a much longer period of time. Hamilton has a marginally better win percentage than Schumacher, whose 91 victories came in 306 races (30% win percentage).
- Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna both won one in four of the GPs they took part in. Frenchman Prost recorded 51 wins from 199 races, while Brazilian legend Ayrton Senna secured 41 wins from 161 grands prix before tragedy struck in Imola in 1994.
What about the other race-weekend stats?
- Hamilton is way out in front in terms of pole positions – he has an all-time record of 87. Schumacher is in second place with 68.
- Hamilton is in joint second place in terms of fastest laps, with 46 – the same number as Kimi Raikkonen. However, he has a long way to go if he is to catch Schumacher on 77.
- Hamilton is just one behind Ayrton Senna in terms of races won leading from first to last lap – having done so 18 times.
- Lewis Hamilton has completed a ‘hat-trick’ of securing pole position, winning the race and recording the fastest lap on 14 different occasions. Michael Schumacher is ahead with 22 hat-tricks.
- Hamilton is in joint-second place in the list of drivers to have completed the most ‘grand-slams’. The 2019 champion has achieved the rare feat of taking pole position, winning the race having led every single lap as well as claiming the fastest lap in five grands prix, the same number as Schumacher. British driver Jim Clark, who won two titles in the 1960s, has the most grand slams with eight.
Where does he shine?
- Hamilton’s favourite circuits are Canada, where he won his first ever race in 2007, and Hungary. He has seven wins at each of these two GPs. Only Schumacher has won more wins at the same grand prix, winning in France eight times.
- Hamilton has the won more British GPs than any other driver, with six wins on his home circuit. Jim Clark and Alain Prost each have five victories. Hamilton has finished on the podium every British GP since 2014.
- He has a great record in China as well, with six wins and a total of nine podium finishes.
Where are his least successful tracks?
- Hamilton has fared badly in Malaysia, recording just a single win. Luckily for him given his dismal record there, Malaysia was removed from the race calendar after 2017.
- Melbourne has been the land of second place for Hamilton as he finished behind the leader in the last four Australian GPs, winning only in 2008 and 2015.
- Hamilton struggled in Brazil in the early part of his career, failing to win in any of his first nine races in Interlagos. He has since recorded two wins there in 2016 and 2018, with this season’s Brazilian GP taking place later in November.