At the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton became the first driver in Formula 1 to record 100 pole positions. We take a look at the statistics behind Hamilton’s first 100 pole positions!
Lewis Hamilton claimed his first Formula 1 pole position on only his sixth attempt, at the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix – a race at which he would go on to take his first Formula 1 victory. On the occasion of his first pole, Hamilton became the third youngest driver to take pole position in F1, behind only Fernando Alonso and Rubens Barrichello. Meanwhile, Hamilton’s most recent pole makes him the 25th oldest driver to have taken pole in F1.
Hamilton took his first 26 pole positions with McLaren, before his move to Mercedes in 2013 – a team with whom he has since recorded 73 poles – more poles than any other driver has taken in the entirety of their career. Hamilton surpassed Michael Schumacher’s former record of 68 pole positions with his 69th at the 2017 Italian Grand Prix.
While the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix marks Hamilton’s 100th pole, it is actually the 101st time he has been fastest in qualifying. He was disqualified at the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix, after his car was unable to provide a fuel sample.
In Hamilton’s career, there is only one occasion on which a whole year has passed without him taking pole position. That period was for the 26 races between his poles at the 2010 Canadian Grand Prix and the 2011 Korean Grand Prix.
2016 was the year in which Hamilton enjoyed the most success on a Saturday, with him taking pole at twelve of that season’s 21 races. However, he enjoyed a higher pole percentage in 2020, setting the fastest Saturday time at ten of that season’s 17 events.
It has now been almost 14 years since Hamilton’s first pole position at the 2007 Canadian Grand Prix. Only Kimi Raikkonen, Rubens Barrichello and Mario Andretti can boast longer periods of taking pole positions in F1 than Hamilton. Hamilton, however, is the only driver to take pole in fifteen different seasons – all fifteen of those being consecutive.
HAMILTON’S POLE MARGINS
From the 100 Grands Prix at which Lewis Hamilton has taken pole position, his average pole margin has been 0.273 seconds.
The 2017 Italian Grand Prix and the 2020 Styrian Grand Prix are the only races at which Hamilton has taken pole by over a second. Both of those qualifying sessions were held in wet conditions.
The smallest margin by which Hamilton has taken pole position is 0.007 seconds, which he did at the 2014 Singapore Grand Prix. There have been 22 occasions on which Hamilton has taken pole by less than a tenth of a second.
0.102 seconds is Hamilton’s most common pole margin. It’s the margin by which he took pole position at the 2007 British Grand Prix, the 2016 Brazilian Grand Prix and the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix.
HAMILTON’S 10 SMALLEST POLE MARGINS
|2014 Singapore Grand Prix||Marina Bay Circuit||0.007s|
|2009 European Grand Prix||Valencia Street Circuit||0.034s|
|2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix||Imola||0.035s|
|2021 Spanish Grand Prix||Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||0.036s|
|2013 Hungarian Grand Prix||Hungaroring||0.038s|
|2018 Spanish Grand Prix||Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||0.040s|
|2015 Chinese Grand Prix||Shanghai International Circuit||0.042s|
|2018 British Grand Prix||Silverstone||0.044s|
|2017 Malaysia Grand Prix||Sepang||0.045s|
|2017 Spanish Grand Prix||Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya||0.051s|
HAMILTON’S 10 LARGEST POLE MARGINS
|2020 Steiermark Grand Prix||Red Bull Ring||1.216s|
|2017 Italian Grand Prix||Monza||1.148s|
|2018 Belgian Grand Prix||Spa Francorchamps||0.726s|
|2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix||Yas Marina Circuit||0.667s|
|2018 Australian Grand Prix||Albert Park||0.664s|
|2008 Canadian Grand Prix||Circuit Gilles Villeneuve||0.612s|
|2014 Chinese Grand Prix||Shanghai International Circuit||0.595s|
|2015 Australian Grand Prix||Albert Park||0.594s|
|2015 Hungarian Grand Prix||Hungaroring||0.575s|
|2020 Russian Grand Prix||Sochi Autodrom||0.563s|
HAMILTON’S POLES BY CIRCUIT AND COUNTRY
Hamilton shares the record for most pole positions at a single Grand Prix, having taken eight poles at the Australian Grand Prix – a record of which he could become the outright holder later in 2021. He currently shares the record with Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher, who each took eight poles at the San Marino and Japanese Grands Prix respectively.
Hamilton is the only driver to have taken pole position at his home Grand Prix on as many as seven occasions.
In addition to his eight poles in Australia, Hamilton has also taken seven poles at the Hungarian, British and Italian Grands Prix, and six at the Chinese, Canadian, Belgian and Spanish Grands Prix.
Hamilton’s lap for pole position at the 2020 Italian Grand Prix set a new record for the fastest lap ever completed in a Formula 1 car. Hamilton completed his lap of Monza at an average speed of 264.363km/h.
At the 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Hamilton became the first driver to have taken pole position at thirty different circuits during his Formula 1 career.
HAMILTON’S RESULTS FROM POLE
Of the 100 races at which Lewis Hamilton has taken pole (not including his most recent at the 2021 Spanish Grand Prix), he has won 59 times. Hamilton has finished on the lower steps of the podium on 23 occasions having started from pole, and has retired on eleven occasions.
At the 2019 Australian Grand Prix, Hamilton started from pole but failed to win for the 37th time in his career – surpassing Ayrton Senna’s record for the most starts from pole position which were not converted into wins.
Of the races at which Hamilton was on pole but didn’t win, Sebastian Vettel is the driver to have taken the most wins. Vettel has been victorious on eleven occasions when Hamilton has started from pole position. Nico Rosberg is next on the list, with seven wins from races in which Hamilton was the polesitter.
From the 100 races in which Hamilton has been on pole so far, the driver starting alongside him on the front row has won on 24 occasions.
Hamilton has not started from pole in any race which has decided the Drivers’ Championship in his favour. He has, however, started from pole in two races which decided the World Championship – the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix and the 2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the latter of which saw Nico Rosberg beat him to the title.
HAMILTON’S RACE RESULTS FROM POLE
|Occurrences||Result from Pole|
DRIVERS WHO WON WITH HAMILTON ON POLE
HAMILTON’S CONSECUTIVE POLE POSITIONS
Hamilton took pole positions at seven consecutive races between the 2015 Monaco and Italian Grands Prix – the second longest streak in F1 history, bettered only by Ayrton Senna’s run of eight poles from the 1988 Spanish Grand Prix to the 1989 United States Grand Prix. Hamilton has taken three or more poles consecutively on eight different occasions – his most recent such streak being for the five races between the 2020 Spanish and Russian Grands Prix.
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.