Which drivers have the most wins and poles at the Nurburgring? Who has qualified in the top ten most regularly? Who has retired on the first lap on the most occasions? We take a look at the drivers who have their name in the record books at the Nurburgring!
Most wins: Michael Schumacher, 5
No driver has taken more F1 wins at the Nurburgring than Michael Schumacher, who won here five times between 1995 and 2006. His first victory here came in 1995 with Benetton, while he scored his other four Nurburgring wins with Ferrari. Along with his four wins at Hockenheim, Schumacher’s five wins here make him the most successful driver on home soil; though the five races which he won here were all titled the European Grand Prix, rather than the German Grand Prix.
Most poles: Jim Clark, 4
Jim Clark took four pole positions at the German Grand Prix when it was held on the Nordschleife. His most impressive pole at the circuit came in 1967, when he set the fastest time by almost ten seconds. Clark remains the last driver to have taken three successive pole positions at the Nurburgring, doing so in 1965, 1966 and 1967. It’s a feat which was also achieved by Alberto Ascari and Juan Manuel Fangio.
Most podiums: Michael Schumacher, 8
Michael Schumacher has more podiums at the Nurburgring than any other driver. In addition to his five wins at the circuit, he also finished as runner-up at the track in 1996, 1998 and 2002. The German never recorded a third place finish at the circuit.
Most fastest laps: Michael Schumacher, 5
Michael Schumacher set the Sunday pace on five occasions at the Nurburgring. Of those five, 2004 is the only time he set the Fastest Lap in a race at the circuit which he did not go on to win. In 2004, he set the Lap Record at the current layout of the Nurburgring with a 1:29.468, which remains unbeaten.
Most points scored: Michael Schumacher, 80
With the most wins and most podiums, it’s no surprise that Michael Schumacher has the record for most points scored at the Nurburgring. In total, Schumacher scored 80 points at the venue. His nearest challenger in this list is Fernando Alonso, who sits eleven points behind the German.
Most laps led: Michael Schumacher, 214
Another record for Schumacher, who has led over double the number of laps at the Nurburgring than any other driver. He sits at the top of the table with 214 laps, while Mika Hakkinen – second in the list – led only 103. It’s worth noting that races on the original Nordschleife were less than 25 laps long, so the top of the list is dominated by drivers from the 1990s and 2000s. Impressively, Juan Manuel Fangio sits seventh in the list, having led 61 tours of the old layout.
Most appearances: Rubens Barrichello, 15
Rubens Barrichello has made more race starts at the Nurburgring than any other driver. He entered all fifteen races at the circuit between 1995 and 2011. From those fifteen appearances, he won once; in 2002. Second on the list of most appearances is Graham Hill, who contested at the circuit fourteen times between 1958 and 1974. David Coulthard and Giancarlo Fisichella are tied for third place, each making thirteen outings at the circuit.
Most laps raced: Rubens Barrichello, 874
Rubens Barrichello has completed almost 200 more racing laps at the Nurburgring than any other driver. He raced 874 laps here on his fifteen appearances, compared to 695 for Michael Schumacher who sits second in the list.
Most second places: Graham Hill & Michael Schumacher, 3
Both Michael Schumacher and Graham Hill finished as runner-up on three occasions at the Nurburgring. Each time Hill finished as runner-up, he did so to a fellow British driver: John Surtees in 1964, Jim Clark in 1965 and Jackie Stewart in 1968. The latter remains the last 1-2 result for British drivers at this circuit.
Most third places: David Coulthard, 5
David Coulthard has stood on the final step of the podium on the most occasions at the Nurburgring. He finished in third place on five occasions in the seven races at the track between 1995 and 2001. All of Coulthard’s first ten appearances at the circuit resulted in either a third place finish or a retirement.
Most fourth places: Ralf Schumacher, 3
Ralf Schumacher is the driver to have missed out on the podium on the most occasions at the Nurburgring. He finished in fourth place on three occasions – in 1999, 2001 and 2002. He’d go on to win the European Grand Prix at the circuit in 2003.
Most top ten finishes: Michael Schumacher & Rubens Barrichello, 11
Former Ferrari team-mates Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello share the record for most top ten finishes at the Nurburgring. Both of them finished in the top ten at the circuit on eleven occasions. 1998 and 2011 are the only occasions when Schumacher finished in the top ten at the track and Barrichello failed to, while 1999 and 2009 are the only years when Barrichello finished in the top ten without Schumacher also making an appearance in the top ten.
Most DNFs: Ralf Schumacher, 7
No driver has had more retirements at the Nurburgring than Ralf Schumacher. From his eleven appearances at the circuit, he retired on no fewer than seven occasions. Runners-up in this list are Chris Amon and David Coulthard, who each recorded six retirements at the track.
Most consecutive DNFs: Jack Brabham & Ralf Schumacher, 4
As well as holding the outright record for most DNFs at the Nurburgring, Ralf Schumacher shares the record for most consecutive DNFs at the track with Jack Brabham. After winning at the circuit in 2003, Schumacher retired from all four of his final appearances at the track. Meanwhile, Jack Brabham retired on his first four appearances at the venue in 1957, 1958, 1961 and 1962. Bruce McLaren, David Coulthard, Denny Hulme, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jacky Ickx are second on this list, each having recorded three consecutive non-finishes.
Most first lap retirements: Ronnie Peterson, Ralf Schumacher & Vic Elford, 2
Three drivers share the record for most first lap retirements at the Nurburgring. Vic Elford, Ronnie Peterson and Ralf Schumacher all retired on the first lap twice. Elford was first to do so, after being caught up in first lap crashes in both 1968 and 1969. Peterson was eliminated on the first lap of the race in both 1973 and 1976. The Swede also retired on the second lap in 1975. Schumacher became the third driver to record two first lap retirements at the circuit in 2004. He was out on the first lap, along with his Jordan team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella in 1997 and collided with Williams team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya on Lap 1 in 2004. Vitantonio Liuzzi is the most recent driver to retire from an F1 race at the Nurburgring on the first lap, doing so in 2006.
Most positions gained: Johnny Claes, 22 in 1952
Johnny Claes holds the record for most positions gained in a race at the Nurburgring – and it’s a record which is unlikely to be beaten any time soon. Having set the 32nd fastest time in qualifying, the Belgian driver went on to finish in tenth place, gaining 22 positions over the course of the eighteen lap race. Two drivers who qualified ahead of Claes failed to start the race, so he had to pass “only” 20 cars to reach tenth; but even that would be the record for most positions gained in a race at this circuit. Second on the list are Karl Kling and Mike Beuttler, who each made up nineteen positions in 1954 and 1972 respectively.
Most front row starts: Jackie Stewart, 7
Jackie Stewart holds the record for most front row starts at the Nurburgring. He started on the front row on seven occasions in total, including with two pole positions. He also started third in 1966 and 1967, back when four drivers lined up on the front row of the grid. Just like Stewart, Jim Clark qualified in the top two on five occasions, but started from the front row six times. He also qualified third in 1962. Michael Schumacher has started in the top two on the most occasions at the Nurburgring. He lined up on the front row at the circuit six times, with three of those occasions being pole positions.
Most top ten qualifications: Michael Schumacher, 12
126 different drivers have qualified in the top ten for a Grand Prix at the Nurburgring. No one has had more top ten qualifications at the circuit than Michael Schumacher, who set one of the top ten fastest times on all twelve of his appearances. The only other drivers to have had ten top ten qualifications at the circuit are Ralf Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello – though Kimi Raikkonen has a chance of joining that list at the 2020 Eifel Grand Prix.
Most DNQs: André Pilette & Ian Raby, 2
Only two drivers have recorded multiple failures to qualify at the Nurburgring. André Pilette failed to qualify in both 1963 and 1964, while Ian Raby failed to qualify in 1963 and 1965. While Raby never qualified for a race at the circuit, Pilette had some previous Grand Prix experience at the circuit. He retired from the 1954 German Grand Prix after twenty laps and recorded a DNS after crashing in practice in 1956.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. 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 Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.