With a full-throttle obsession for records; Formula 1’s quest for accolades is constant. The greatest, the fastest, the most successful. It completely fits then that the career of one of the greatest drivers the sport has ever seen is categorised almost entirely by record-breaking.
Since bursting on the F1 scene in 2007, Lewis Hamilton has been continually cementing his place in Formula 1’s Hall of Fame. His debut season alone was unparalleled. Over just 17 Grand Prix, Lewis scored the most wins (4), the most pole positions (6) and the most points (109), of any driver in history during their rookie season of F1. Not forgetting that Lewis, also at the time, became the youngest driver to ever lead the world championship (aged 22 years and 126 days).
Lewis is currently the holder of 37 records. What’s more, Lewis has won at nearly every circuit he has ever raced an F1 car on – save for the Indian, Korean and European Grand Prix. This only because those events have been dropped from the championship calendar.
92 Grand Prix Wins
After taking the chequered flag at the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix, Lewis is now the most successful driver in F1 in terms of Grand Prix victories. Racing legend Michael Schumacher had previously held the record with 91 wins. For 14 seasons, Lewis has treated fans to some truly remarkable performances. From his 2018 German Grand Prix dash from the back to beat Sebastian Vettel and his own Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas, to his multiple victories at the Hungarian Grand Prix. This is also where he currently holds the record for the most wins at a single circuit (eight).
“I owe these 92 wins to the team here and back at the factory for their tremendous work. They are continuously innovating and pushing the barrier, even higher every year. The reliability has been incredible thanks to the Mercedes team, PETRONAS and all our partners who are continuously pushing. That’s the most incredible thing to be surrounded by – it inspires you,” explained Lewis.
“I could only ever have dreamed of being where I am today. What I can tell you is that I am trying to make the most of it every single day. My dad is here which is amazing, my step-mum Linda is here, Roscoe too. I feel very blessed. It’s going to take some time for it to sink in. I was still pushing flat out, coming across the line, and I am still in race mode mentally. I can’t find the words at the moment.”
Arguably one of his greatest single performances, however, came in only his second year in F1 – at the 2008 British Grand Prix. In absolutely torrential conditions Lewis won and lapped everyone up to and including Kimi Raikkonen in fourth. He finished one minute eight seconds ahead of second-placed Nick Heidfeld’s BMW Sauber.
161 Podium Places
While it is the big wins fans remember, Lewis is slowly collecting an astounding number of podiums. In fact, as impressive as 92 wins is; finishing over half the races you’ve ever started is not something to be sniffed at either. To date, the 35-year-old racer has scored a massive 161 podium places from 262 Grand Prix.
After a dominant victory at this year’s Spanish Grand Prix, Lewis managed to break another Michael Schumacher held record which had stood since 2012. Now Lewis is entirely out on his own at the top of the table.
156 Front Row Starts
Lewis has managed to start over half the Grand Prix of his Formula 1 career on the front row, with 97 of his 156 front row starts being in pole position. Qualifying is all about exploring the limits and getting as close to perfection as possible, something Lewis can clearly do as well as any driver in history. Team boss Toto Wolff described Lewis’ recent qualifying performance at Spa Francorchamps as “extra-terrestrial”.
6 World Championships and counting…
En-route to a seventh title, Lewis’ hunger to add to his F1 championship collection is stronger than ever. Impressively Lewis won his first F1 Drivers’ title in only his second season (2008), and then his next five titles in almost perfect succession between 2014-2019. The only exception being 2016, where he was narrowly beaten by his then Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg.
After his record-breaking finish at the Portuguese Grand Prix Lewis said: “I am 35-years-old and I still feel physically strong. Of course, you wonder when it is going to tip over and when you are going to start losing performance. Judging by today, it is not yet.
“I knew we would win championships but did I think we would win as many as we have? No. Did I think we would win this many races? Of course not. I don’t believe in the saying the sky is the limit. It depends how much we want it, how much we want to continue to raise the bar. Going by our history together, we don’t sit back on our results. We keep working and elevating.”
Images Supplied by Truth Collective