Lewis Hamilton set new benchmarks and broke once unimaginable records at every round of his seventh title-winning year. We take a look back at the records broken by Lewis Hamilton in the 2020 Formula 1 season.
Lewis Hamilton’s record-breaking season began with a relatively low-key performance in Austria, where he qualified second and finished only fourth. Despite not stepping on the podium, the 2020 Austrian Grand Prix was the 34th consecutive race in which Hamilton scored. It was a new record for most successive races in which a driver has scored points, surpassing his own previous record of 33 consecutive points-scoring races, which he had between the 2016 Japanese Grand Prix and the 2018 French Grand Prix. It was also a new record for most consecutive race finishes. Up until his absence from the Sakhir Grand Prix, Hamilton continued to extend those two records each weekend. By the time the 2021 season begins in Australia in March, it will be almost 1,000 days since the last time Hamilton recorded a retirement from a race.
Hamilton returned to winning ways at the Styrian Grand Prix, where his longevity in the sport was highlighted. While he became only the second driver, after Michael Schumacher, to have won a race in fourteen different seasons, he also became the first driver to have taken pole position in fourteen consecutive years. That beats Schumacher’s previous record of pole positions in thirteen consecutive years between 1994 and 2006. Hamilton remains the only driver to have won a race in every season in which he has competed in Formula 1. Also over the Styrian Grand Prix weekend, Hamilton set the largest pole margin in almost six years, taking pole in the wet conditions by 1.216 seconds, and setting a new record for the largest pole margin in Austria, and tying with Rene Arnoux and Valtteri Bottas’ of most front row starts at the Styrian circuit.
At the Hungarian Grand Prix, Hamilton added another Budapest pole and win to his collection, becoming the first driver to have led in 150 Grands Prix. His win was significant, as he equalled Schumacher’s record for most wins at a single circuit. This was his eighth win at the Hungaroring, which is the same number of times that Schumacher won at Magny Cours. Meanwhile, his pole marked only the sixth time that a driver has taken seven poles at a single circuit. Hamilton would go on to achieve the same feat at Silverstone two weeks later at the British Grand Prix, setting a new record for poles for a driver at their home Grand Prix, and also set a record seventh pole later in the season at Monza. Back in Hungary, Hamilton’s pole meant that he equalled Schumacher’s record for most poles in Hungary and made him the driver to have started the Hungarian Grand Prix from the front row of the grid on the most occasions. He also equalled Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso as the driver to have scored on the most occasions at the Hungaroring.
Despite finishing the race on only three fully inflated tyres, Hamilton set a new record for most home Grand Prix wins at the 2020 British Grand Prix. Though Hamilton has broken the record of most home Grand Prix wins, he is not yet the driver to have won on home soil most frequently. That honour belongs to Michael Schumacher, who won in Germany nine times in his career. Read more: Most F1 Wins On Home Soil. Hamilton became the first driver to have taken ten podium finishes at the British Grand Prix and the first driver to have led 300 laps at Silverstone. Having led every lap of the race, Hamilton set a new record for most lights to flag victories in Formula 1. Ayrton Senna was the previous record holder, setting the record in 1991, having led nineteen races from start to finish. One week later, at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, Hamilton failed to add to his tally of wins on home soil, but finished as runner-up to Max Verstappen. This marked his 155th podium finish, equalling the all-time record for most podium finishes. The record of 155 was set at the 2012 European Grand Prix by Schumacher, who had been the record holder for most podium finishes since the 2002 British Grand Prix.
At the Spanish Grand Prix, Hamilton became the first driver in the history of Formula 1 to have lined up on the front row at 150 Grands Prix, and equalled Schumacher’s record of eight front row starts at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. With victory in the race for the fourth year running, Hamilton equalled Schumacher’s record for most consecutive wins at the circuit. He also set a new record for most podium finishes in F1. His win margin – 24.177 seconds – was the largest seen at the circuit since 2005.
Another pole position for Hamilton in Belgium saw him extend his record of Belgian Grand Prix poles and become the first driver to start from the front row at Spa Francorchamps on nine occasions. Winning the event for the first time since 2017, Hamilton led every lap of the race and became the driver to have led the furthest distance in F1, surpassing Schumacher’s former record of 24,148km in the lead. He also equalled Schumacher’s record of most Belgian Grand Prix podiums. Both drivers have finished on the podium at Spa nine times.
Lewis Hamilton took pole position for the 2020 Italian Grand Prix with the fastest lap in Formula 1 history. Kimi Raikkonen had held the record since 2018, but Hamilton’s pole lap had an average speed of 264.363km/h, around 0.8km/h faster than Raikkonen’s pole lap at the 2018 Italian Grand Prix. With pole Hamilton also became the first driver to have started the Italian Grand Prix from the front row ten times. Though Hamilton finished the Italian Grand Prix only seventh, he still managed to make history. He equalled Schumacher’s record for the most points-scoring appearances in F1 and joined Schumacher as only the second driver to have set the Fastest Lap of a Grand Prix on fifty occasions. Hamilton also broke one of F1’s oldest records, overtaking Alberto Ascari’s record of most laps led at the Italian Grand Prix – doing so 66 years and one day after the Italian last led a lap at the event.
On F1’s first visit to Mugello for the Tuscan Grand Prix, Hamilton extended his record of most circuits at which a driver has taken pole. Mugello was the 28th circuit at which Hamilton took pole, and he’d extend the record further to 29 with pole at Portimao later in the season. His Tuscan Grand Prix pole marked his 69th pole with Mercedes, meaning Hamilton has now taken more poles with Mercedes than any other driver has taken in the entirety of their career. Another victory followed on Sunday, making him the first driver to have won at 27 different circuits. Having equalled Schumacher’s record at Monza, Hamilton set a new record for most points-scoring races with his 222nd points-scoring appearance. He also equalled Kimi Raikkonen’s record for the most circuits at which a driver has finished in the top three. At this point, the list of venues where the two drivers had finished on the podium was almost identical, except Hamilton had a podium at Mugello, and Raikkonen had a podium at Imola. But Hamilton went on to finish in the top three at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, setting an outright record for most different tracks where a driver has finished on the podium. The Mugello race also saw Hamilton set a new record for most consecutive classified finishes in Formula 1. This was the 42nd consecutive race which Hamilton has finished. Having not retired since the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix, he beat the former record of 41 consecutive classified finishes, recorded by Nick Heidfeld between the 2007 French Grand Prix and the 2009 Italian Grand Prix.
Hamilton took pole position for the Russian Grand Prix, taking pole for a fifth consecutive race. It’s only the 23rd time in F1 history that a driver has taken five or more successive poles and Hamilton is only the second driver, after Ayrton Senna, to have taken five or more consecutive poles on three separate occasions. Hamilton’s pole marked the 600th time that a British driver has started on the front row of the grid at a World Championship Formula 1 Grand Prix. He failed to win the race, but extended his record for most podium finishes at the Russian Grand Prix, finishing in third place. Hamilton also equalled Schumacher’s record of 226 top ten finishes.
There were even bigger records achieved by Hamilton at the Eifel Grand Prix. With victory, Hamilton equalled Schumacher’s record of 91 Formula 1 victories. Hamilton becomes the tenth different driver to have held the record in F1’s 70 year history. Hamilton also set a new record for most top ten finishes in F1, this being his 227th. Read more: Hamilton and Schumacher’s First 91 Wins. Hamilton’s win was Mercedes’ first at the Nurburgring since Juan Manuel Fangio was victorious for the German manufacturer in 1954. At the very next race, the Portuguese Grand Prix, Hamilton recorded a record-breaking 92nd victory, becoming the eighth different driver to have held the outright record for all-time wins. He was the second driver to set a new record for most F1 wins in Portugal; Alain Prost took a then record-breaking 28th win at the 1987 Portuguese Grand Prix.
Another weekend, another win – and at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Hamilton equalled Schumacher’s record of most wins with a single constructor. This was his 72nd victory with Mercedes, while Schumacher won 72 times with Ferrari. Hamilton went on to break the record with his 73rd win for Mercedes at the Turkish Grand Prix. With victory at Imola, Hamilton also extended his record for most circuits at which a driver has won to 29 – having reached 28 at the previous round in Portugal. On his way to victory at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Hamilton became only the second driver, after Schumacher, to have led 5,000 Grand Prix laps.
Hamilton claimed his seventh title with victory at the Turkish Grand Prix, becoming only the second driver in history to have won the championship on seven occasions. Hamilton also became the first driver to win the title in three different decades. Despite starting only sixth on the grid, Hamilton won the race by 31.633 seconds, which is the second largest win margin of his career, behind only the 2008 British Grand Prix. It was the largest margin by which a driver has won a race in over four years. Hamilton became only the second driver to have won the Turkish Grand Prix on multiple occasions. At this point, Hamilton led the Drivers’ Championship by 110 points, which was the twelfth largest lead ever held by a driver – and the largest championship lead Hamilton has ever had. He’d go on to extend that lead after the Bahrain Grand Prix to 131 points – the fourth largest lead ever held in the Drivers’ Championship.
Over the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend, Hamilton equalled the record for both most poles and most wins at the Bahrain International Circuit. This was Hamilton’s tenth pole position of 2020. Including Hamilton in 2020, there have been only sixteen occasions on which a driver has taken ten or more poles in a single season – this was the fifth time that Hamilton has achieved the feat. Hamilton took his eleventh win of the 2020 season, equalling his personal best for most wins in a year. Including Hamilton in 2020, there have been only eight occasions on which a driver has recorded eleven or more wins in a year. This was the fourth time that Hamilton has done so. His win at the Bahrain Grand Prix was Hamilton’s fifth consecutive victory. The only other time that he has won five successive races was in 2014, when he won all five races between the Italian Grand Prix and the United States Grand Prix. Hamilton is only the second driver, after Michael Schumacher, to record five consecutive wins on multiple occasions. Hamilton led all but one lap of the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix. With that, Hamilton surpassed 600 laps led in the 2020 season. In F1 history, only 34 drivers have led more laps in their entire career than Hamilton has led this year. He has now led at least one lap in all of the last seven Bahrain Grands Prix.
Hamilton’s 2020 season came to an abrupt halt after the Bahrain Grand Prix. After testing positive for coronavirus, he did not take part in the Sakhir Grand Prix. His absence from the Sakhir Grand Prix meant that he missed out on the chance to become the first driver to complete every race of a season on three occasions. Having started every race since the 2007 Australian Grand Prix also brought to an end Hamilton’s record streak of 265 consecutive race starts. He was back in action at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where he finished on the podium at the event for a seventh consecutive year, extending his record of most podium finishes at the Yas Marina Circuit. His third place also meant that he equalled Michael Schumacher’s record of most podium finishes with a single constructor. This was Hamilton’s 116th top three finish with Mercedes. Schumacher finished on the podium with Ferrari on 116 occasions during his career. 2020 has been a truly remarkable record-breaking year for Lewis Hamilton.
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.