Which drivers on the 2019 grid have gained places the most frequently in races and who has lost positions most frequently? Which drivers have never gained more than ten places in a single race, and who holds the record for most places gained in a Grand Prix? We have all the stats!
THE BIGGEST GAINERS
Antonio Giovinazzi is the only driver to have gained positions in every race he’s finished; but the 2017 Australian Grand Prix is the only finish so far in his career. Behind Giovinazzi is his former GP2 team-mate and new Red Bull recruit Pierre Gasly, who has moved up the order in more than three quarters of the 21 Grands Prix he has competed in so far.
Lewis Hamilton has gained positions in the least percentage of Grands Prix compared to any of his fellow 2019 drivers, though the fact that he has more poles than anyone else can explain the reason for this. Just ahead of the reigning champion are Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel, while Carlos Sainz presently sits fourth from bottom in the list, having gained places in exactly half of the races in which he’s finished. Every other driver aside from the bottom four have gained places in over 50% of the races which they’ve finished.
Charles Leclerc, Nico Hulkenberg, Antonio Giovinazzi and Robert Kubica are the only drivers on the 2019 grid who’ve previously started a Grand Prix and have never gained more than ten places in a single race. All three of Leclerc, Hulkenberg and Kubica’s records for most places gained in a Grand Prix is eight, while Giovinazzi’s gain in the 2017 Australian Grand Prix was four places.
Despite being low down in the percentage ratings, Vettel holds the record among current drivers for the most places gained in a single race. He started from the pit-lane, in 24th position, in the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and went on to finish third, gaining 21 places from where he started. Vettel is the only driver to have gained 20 or more places in a Grand Prix since Julian Bailey and Mika Hakkinen did so in the 1991 San Marino Grand Prix. Vettel’s figure has only been equalled or bettered 22 times in the history of Formula 1, including twelve times at the Indianapolis 500 when it was a round of the F1 championship between 1950 and 1960.
Jim Rathmann holds the overall record for the most places gained in a round of the F1 championship, having gained 30 places in the 1957 Indianapolis 500 to finish as runner-up. In an actual Grand Prix, the record for most places gained is 26, by Roberto Mieres in the 1954 British Grand Prix on his way to a sixth place finish. Onofre Marimon, who finished third in the same race, is second on the list having started 28th on the grid.
Most places gained in F1 Grands Prix (not including the Indianapolis 500):
Race Driver Finished Places Gained
1 1954 British GP Roberto Mieres 6th 26
2 1954 British GP Onofre Marimon 3rd 25
3 1952 German GP Johnny Claes 10th 22
1972 US GP Ronnie Peterson 4th 22
1974 Belgian GP Vittorio Brambilla 9th 22
1989 US GP Christian Danner 4th 22
4 1974 Belgian GP Graham Hill 8th 21
1980 US West GP Emerson Fittipaldi 3rd 21
1983 US West GP Niki Lauda 2nd 21
1983 US West GP John Watson 1st 21
2012 Abu Dhabi GP Sebastian Vettel 3rd 21
THE BIGGEST LOSERS
Carlos Sainz is the driver to have lost positions in the highest percentage of races completed by any driver on the current grid. He’s lost places in 24 of the 60 Grands Prix which he’s finished, which means he’s finished lower than where he started on 40% of his race finishes. Valtteri Bottas, Daniil Kvyat, Kevin Magnussen and Lewis Hamilton round out the top five in this list. Aside from Antonio Giovinazzi who is yet to lose a place in a race which he’s finished, Charles Leclerc is the driver to lose positions less frequently than any other driver. From the 21 races which he contested in his rookie year, France and Germany were the only two of fifteen which he completed in and lost positions from his grid slot.
Lewis Hamilton is the driver on the current grid to have lost the most places in a single Grand Prix without retiring. Having started fifth in the 2009 German Grand Prix, Hamilton was among the leaders heading into the first turn, but was overly optimistic with his braking point, ran wide and picked up a puncture. Losing a lap in the pits, Hamilton continued but wasn’t able to catch the back of the pack, finishing eighteenth and last of the classified finishers.
Lewis Hamilton is the driver on the 2019 grid to have most frequently maintained the position which he started in at Grands Prix during his career. He’s done so in 65 of the 202 races which he’s finished, 47 of those occasions have been races in which he’s started from pole and won. Sebastian Vettel is just behind Hamilton in this list, having maintained the same place he started from in 53 of his 187 race finishes – 31 of those have been wins from pole position. Pierre Gasly, Kevin Magnussen and Lance Stroll are the drivers to have had their position unchanged in the least percentage of their Grand Prix finishes.
Percentage of races in which drivers have gained and lost positions*:
Gained Lost Unchanged
Lewis Hamilton 38.61% 29.21% 32.18%
Valtteri Bottas 40.74% 37.04% 22.22%
Sebastian Vettel 45.45% 26.20% 28.34%
Charles Leclerc 66.67% 13.33% 20.00%
Max Verstappen 58.06% 22.58% 19.35%
Pierre Gasly 76.19% 19.05% 4.76%
Daniel Ricciardo 57.85% 26.45% 15.70%
Nico Hulkenberg 58.68% 28.10% 13.22%
Romain Grosjean 62.75% 27.45% 9.80%
Kevin Magnussen 61.19% 32.84% 5.97%
Carlos Sainz 50.00% 40.00% 10.00%
Sergio Perez 66.92% 23.31% 9.77%
Lance Stroll 69.70% 21.21% 9.09%
Kimi Raikkonen 54.87% 24.78% 20.35%
Antonio Giovinazzi 100.00% 0.00% 0.00%
Daniil Kvyat 55.36% 33.93% 10.71%
Robert Kubica 57.14% 26.98% 15.87%
*table includes only races which the driver has finished
Nicky Haldenby is a freelance writer from Scarborough, England. After graduating from the University of Hull in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its fourth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations, and sister site GPDestinations, where he shares regular race previews and articles focussed around the latest in Formula 1 calendar and venue news. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky can also be heard regularly as a guest on various Formula 1 radio shows and podcasts.