Lewis Hamilton can become only second driver in Formula 1 to lead in 100 or more races if he leads the Australian GP for at least one lap.
Hamilton’s F1 career began in 2007 in McLaren and from the beginning he started to write history – first nine races he finished on the podium, with two victories in Canada and USA, but lost the title because of errors in the last two races of the season when he dropped a big 17 points lead ahead of Kimi Raikkonen in a Ferrari.
Hamilton completed ten seasons in Formula 1 and he is the only driver to have won in all ten first seasons in his F1 career and bagged at least one pole position in each of those years.
Logically, Hamilton was in the lead in each season – from the 2007 to 2016 he led 12, 11, 5, 3, 7, 10, 5, 15, 17 and 14 races respectively. In 2010 he led in just three races despite being in the fight for the championship in the final race of the season while in 2015 he led 17 times in 19 races on his way to third world championship.
Interestingly, Hamilton led five times in Australia – 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013 and 2015 – but only won twice, in 2008 and 2015 when he won his first and third title respectively.
Driver has to be in the lead for at least one full lap to be classified as a race leader which is the reason why Hamilton havent’ led the Australian Grand Prix in 2014 although he started from pole position, but he lost the lead in the first few meters due to problems with the Mercedes’ power unit.
Michael Schumacher is the only driver to have led in more races than Hamilton – seven-time world champion led in 142 races between 1992 and 2011 with 15 consecutive seasons with at least one race in the lead from 1992 to 2006. Last race where the legendary German was in the race lead was the Japanese Grand Prix 2011 where he finished sixth with three laps in the lead.
Another interesting fact – in the last 17 years, from 2000 to 2016, the driver who won the first race of the season became world champion 11 times (64.7%).