Careers in Formula 1 used to be shorter due to the constant danger and tighter schedules. Juan Manuel Fangio was the first driver to pass the 50 Grands Prix bar in 1958 before retiring at the end of the following event. Jack Brabham and Graham Hill Ten years later he formed the 100 Club, but Hill was the only one to surpass the record in the early 1970s.
With 175 starts, the two-time world champion previously held it for more than a decade Jacques Laffite only improved in 1986. Riccardo Patrese took office in the late 1980s, bringing the total to 256 before retiring in late 1993. The man who broke that record, Rubens Barrichello, has now surpassed 300 starts.
At the 2022 French Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton became the sixth driver in history to reach 300 grands prix. Fernando Alonso is the only other active driver to have passed that symbolic mark in 2018, but Sebastian Vettel should fail at 299 on the night of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix when it’s time for him to leave F1.
Other men also have over 300 starts and two of them currently hold the record. But in a few days only one will be at the top of the absolute leaderboard. To find out his name, just browse this article!
seasons: since 2007
Pole position: 103
Best Tricks: 60
Title: 7 (2008, 2014, 2015, 2017-2020)
With seven world titles, 103 wins, 103 pole positions and 188 podiums, Lewis Hamilton holds all the important F1 records. In the end, the number of starts and fastest laps are two of the few credentials the Brit hasn’t matched or beat in his remarkable career.
Hamilton arrived in F1 at McLaren in 2007 and immediately made life difficult for his teammate Fernando Alonso, the reigning double world champion. After missing the crown by a point on his debut, Hamilton still beat Felipe Massa by a point in 2008.red bull.
Finally, after a particularly frustrating 2012 season, Hamilton left his parent team McLaren for Mercedes. A brilliant decision as the star marque crushed the competition at the dawn of the turbo hybrid era in 2014. Hamilton’s only competitor this season and later was his teammate Nico Rosberg, who snatched the crown in 2016. With Rosberg’s retirement and the arrival of Valtteri Bottas, Hamilton arguably peaked, winning two more titles in 2017 and 2018, although Ferrari returned to the top. In 2020, Hamilton retired Michael Schumacher’s seven titles.
A new regulatory change tipped Mercedes off its pedestal in 2021, with Red Bull taking the lead, but that didn’t stop Hamilton from becoming the first driver to win 100 F1 races. Despite this, he lost to Max Verstappen in a controversial final at the Abu Dhabi GP.
Pole positions: 8th
Best Tricks: 8th
title : 1 (2009)
In 2000, after just two seasons in singles, Jenson Button was recruited by Williams and joined F1. His first season in the top flight was good but the Brit lost his spot Juan Pablo Montoya. He bounced back at Benetton and then Renault before being hired by BAR in 2003 to support Jacques Villeneuve.
And in 2004 Button became a star. Third in the championship behind the Ferrari drivers, he won his first pole position and podiums. It was only enough to win in 2006 thanks to brilliant driving in difficult conditions despite a start in 14th place. In the following years the soufflé fell, Honda (which had taken over BAR) fell behind and went out of business at the end of 2008.
We didn’t reveal much of Button’s skin back then, but in a fairytale ending, the team was bought out by Ross Brawn at the last moment. His creation, the BGP 001, crushed the competition in 2009. With six wins from the first seven races, Button secured the title and switched to McLaren the following year, where he added eight more wins between 2010 and 2012. The team returned Button up back in the ranks for his retirement.
seasons: 1991-2006, 2010-2012
Pole positions: 68
Best Tricks: 77
Title: 7 (1994, 1995, 2000-2004)
Motorsport legend Michael Schumacher made his Formula One debut for Jordan at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix. Benetton then snagged the nugget and gave him his maiden win a year later, still at Spa. A controversial title followed in 1994, followed by a brilliant campaign to defend his crown in 1995.
At the same time, Schumacher made the most important decision of his career by ending up at Ferrari, in full reconstruction. The German became the Red Baron and scored some of his finest victories over the next three years, but it wasn’t until 2000 that he claimed his third championship title, the first for a driver Ferrari since 1979.
The floodgates then opened and Schumacher chained four titles together, with 2002 and 2004 being the best examples of dominance. A rule change and Alonso’s rise to prominence at Renault ended that streak in 2005, but Schumacher and Ferrari rallied and narrowly lost the 2006 title to the Spaniard.
Although Schumacher announced his retirement in 2006, he made his big comeback at Mercedes three years later. The German was the author of a number of feats, including first qualifying for the 2012 Monaco GP and taking the podium at Valencia the following month, but he wasn’t the alien he once was. . Schumacher finally retired at the end of 2012 with 91 career successes.
Pole positions: 14
Best Tricks: 17
As with Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello started his F1 career with Jordan. However, the Brazilian stayed with the team for four seasons. Often impressive in the wet, Barrichello took his maiden pole position in the wet at Spa in 1994 and secured a brilliant second place finish with Stewart at Monaco in 1997.
The Brazilian joined Ferrari in 2000 alongside Schumacher and took his first win in his 123rd attempt, starting from 18th place, at the German GP. Barrichello possessed a remarkable team spirit and contributed to the Cavallino Rampante’s five consecutive titles. Sometimes close enough to the team leader to challenge him, Barrichello often had to slow down, especially during the 2002 Austrian GP.
Barrichello was replaced by Felipe Massa in 2006 and found refuge at Honda, where he endured three difficult years alongside Jenson Button. The Briton benefited more from the 2009 success story with Brawn, but Barrichello managed to take two wins and take third place in the championship. After two years in midfield at Williams, Barrichello retired in 2011.
The Brazilian’s record isn’t as good as that of his elders, but he left F1 with a record number of starts, bettering Riccardo Patrese’s mark in 2008, surpassing 300 in 2010 and taking his total to 322 at the time of his retirement.
seasons: 2001-2009, 2012-2021
Pole positions: 18
Best Tricks: 46
title : 1 (2007)
Very precocious Kimi Raïkkönen entered Formula 1 in 2001 at the age of 21 after only 23 single-seater races. He switched from Sauber to McLaren in 2002 and stayed in the Woking stable for five seasons. After his first victory in 2003, Raikkonen narrowly missed out on the title in the same year and again touched the world crown in 2005.
Recruited by Ferrari for the 2007 season, the Finn finally has snatched the title after a spectacular battle against McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso. After that Raikkonen was less extravagant Displaced to Maranello at the end of 2009. Back in the premier class in 2012, the world champion was hired by Lotus at the time returned to Ferrari in 2014, this time playing second fiddle to Alonso and then Sebastian Vettel.
Raikkonen ended his career with three seasons at Alfa Romeo, during which he surpassed the 300 Grands Prix milestone (in 2019), surpassed the previous record (in 2020) and set the current one on the day of his retirement (in 2021). However, he only has a few days left before he is dethroned.
seasons: 2001, 2003-2018, since 2021
Pole positions: 22
Best Tricks: 23
Title: 2 (2005, 2006)
From humble beginnings at Minardi, Alonso joined the Renault team in 2001 and took his first win at the 2003 Hungarian Grand Prix, becoming the youngest-ever F1 winner. A brilliant campaign saw him win the title in 2005, again with record precocity, and he successfully defended his crown in 2006 despite a challenge set up by an intoxicated Michael Schumacher.
Alonso broke away from Losange in 2007, joined McLaren and engaged in a fratricidal title fight against team-mate Lewis Hamilton that allowed Kimi Raikkonen to beat her at the post. Alonso returned to Renault in 2008 before taking over Ferrari in 2010. The Spaniard came very close to winning the title in 2010 and 2012 and left the company in late 2014 as Scuderia took the wrong direction in the turbo-hybrid era.
A career choice that has since turned out to be disastrous Coming back to McLaren, Alonso had a front row seat to witness the McLaren-Honda’s demise. The Renault blocks of 2018 didn’t really improve the situation and Alonso then decided to take a break until 2021, returning to Renault (now Alpine) once more and then signing a deal with Renault Aston-Martin for 2023. Before you put that on Green combination, the Spaniard will set the record for the number of Grands Prix held this year from the Singapore round with 351 starts.
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