Where Hamilton stands compared to F1 greats?

Lewis Hamilton continues to dominate Formula 1 and write new pages of F1 history – this season he won the fifth world championship title, but also added some other records – which means it is the right time to see how Hamilton stands against the greats of this sport.

Hamilton drove for only two teams in his career, and his cars had only Mercedes’s engine. Although these cars were most often competitive, they were not always the best and most dominant, so it was a impressive achievement that he managed to secure at least one pole position and one victory in each of his 12 F1 seasons.

We bring you an overview of most important statistical categories to see how Lewis stands against the greats of this sport.

Drivers’ Championships: 5, #2

Hamilton slavi treći naslov u Austinu 2015. Foto: Mercedes)
Hamilton celebrates his third world title in Austin in 2015 (Photo: Mercedes)

Hamilton is five-time world champion which ranks him at #2 spot which he shares with another legendary driver – Juan Manuel Fangio (1951, 1954 – 1957).

Only Michael Schumacher (1994, 1995, 2000 – 2004) has more titles than Hamilton.

Wins: 73, #2

Bahrain F1 2014 podium Hamilton Rosberg Perez Foto Force India
Hamilton celebrates second victory in 2014 after thrilling Bahrain GP and duel with his team mate Rosberg (Photo: Daimler)

Only Michael Schumacher (91 wins) is more successful in this category. Hamilton won 29% of his races during six years in McLaren and 71% of races during six  years in Mercedes.

Pole positions: 83, #1

Lewis Hamilton Mercedes F1 W07 Hybrid Great Britain GP celebrates pole on car Silverstone F1 2016 Foto Daimler
Hamilton jumps after securing pole position for his home race in Silverstone in 2016 (Photo: Daimler)

Hamilton has often emphasized Ayrton Senna as his greatest role model, and after he won his third championship in 2015 and thus equalized the legendary Brazilian, two years after he caught him in another statistical category.

British driver matched Senna’s 65 pole positions in 2017 Canadian GP, for which he received special replica of Senna’s helmet, and Schumacher was matched at Spa in the same season.

Fastest lap: 41, #3

US GP F1 2018 podium Raikkonen Verstappen Hamilton Photo Ferrari
Lewis set his last fastest lap in 2018 US GP in Austin where Raikkonen won after five years (Photo: Ferrari)

Michael Schumacher is unrivaled with 77 fastest laps in his career, and Hamilton holds 3rd place behind Kimi Raikkonen (43) and shares it with Alain Prost (41).

Although Lewis had at least one pole position and victory in each year of his F1 career, this is not the case with the fastest laps because in 2009 he has not recorded a single fastest lap.

In all other years, Hamilton has recorded at least one fastest lap, and interestingly, in 2008 he set only one fastest lap (China) although he won the championship that year.

Hamilton had only three fastest laps in first four seasons (2007 – 2009), but since then each year he set at least one fastest lap. In 2015 he recorded his career best result of eight fastest laps in one season.

Podium places: 134, #2

malaysia-gp-f1-2007-foto-lat
Alonso and Hamilton secured 1-2 for McLaren in their only second race for the team in 2007 in Malaysia, but things started to get interesting after Lewis started winning in Canada (Photo: McLaren)

Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton are the most successful drivers in this category and Lewis trails Michael for 21 podium place.

Hamilton will almost certainly beat Schumacher’s record in the next two years if we consider his lately podium record per season (17, 13, 17, 17, 16).

Front row starts: 132, #1

Japanese GP F1 2018 start Hamilton leads Bottas Verstappen Raikkonen Photo Red Bull
Hamilton leads Bottas at the start of the 2018 Japanese GP (Photo: Daimler)

Hamilton is  leading in this category also as Schumacher trails him for 16 front row starts (116) followed by Vettel (94), Senna (87) and Prost (86).

Hamilton’s debut season 2007 in the great McLaren MP4-22 ensured flying start in his F1 career with 12 front row starts from 19 races. Year later, when he won his first driver’s title he had ‘only’ nine starts from front row positions.

In 2009 and 2010 he had started from the first row four times and in 2011 as many as eight times despite Red Bull dominated with Vettel taking 15 poles in 19 races. Hamilton was the only driver in 2011 who managed to beat Red Bull in qualifying (Korean GP) as he maintained his perfect record of at least one pole position in each year.

Hamilton had started 11 times from the first row in 2012 (without Spain where he was fastest in qualifying, but he started last because of a lack of fuel for the analysis), and in his first season with Mercedes in 2013 he added nine more starts from first row.

In the year of the first title for Mercedes (2014) Lewis added 15 more starts in the first row, but his record year was 2015 when he had 18 front row starts in 19 races. In 2016 Hamilton had 15 front row starts in 21 races despite grid penalties in three races (China, Russia and Belgium).

In the last two seasons, Hamilton had 27 front row starts – 13 in 2017 and 14 in 2018.

Races led: 129, #2

Hamilton leads Bottas Vettel Raikkonen Abu Dhabi GP F1 2018 Photo Daimler
Hamilton leads Botas in the final race of the 2018 F1 season in Abu Dhabi – Hamilton won while Bottas finished distant fifth (Photo: Daimler)

Another category in which Schumacher is number one (142). Hamilton is second with 129 races in which he led for at least one lap.

Hamilton left Vettel in third place with 98 races in the lead, Senna in fourth with 86 races in the lead but Prost and Alonso are close with 84 races in the lead in joint fifth place.

Distance led: 20 190 km, #2

Hamilton Rosberg Verstappen Ricciardo British GP F1 2016 in the wet Foto Red Bull
Hamilton leads Rosberg and two Red Bulls at 2016 British GP (Photo: Daimler)

Hamilton is again second behind Schumacher who spent 24 144 kilometers in the lead and left all other drivers far behind.

Lewis spent 20 190 kilometers in the lead, Vettel 17 350, Senna 13 676 and Prost 12 481. Alonso is 10th (8640 km) and Raikkonen is 15th (6612 km).

Points: 3018, #1

Hamilton British GP F1 2016 Foto Daimler
Hamilton celebrates victory at his home Grand Prix at Silverstone 2016. (Photo: Daimler)

Points system changed over the years, and although the victory was usually worth 9 or 10 points, the situation has dramatically changed in 2010 with 25 points for the winning driver.

Therefore, the drivers from the top of the table are mainly from new era and Hamilton is first with 3018 points. Vettel is second with 2745, Alonso third with 1899 points.

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