Pierre Gasly’s retirement on Lap 47 of the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix set a new record for the furthest into a Formula 1 season before a retirement. It broke a record which was set back in 1957. But what are some of F1’s other longest-standing records?
Oldest driver to start a race
Louis Chiron is the oldest driver to have started a Grand Prix. He was 55 years, 9 months and 19 days old when he raced at his home event, the Monaco Grand Prix, in 1955.
Until the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix, when Charles Leclerc finished in third place, Chiron was the only Monegasque driver to have finished on the podium in F1. He achieved that at the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix.
Unless Kimi Raikkonen makes a comeback in 15 years, or Mika Hakkinen decides to finally end his sabbatical, we can’t see this one ever being broken!
Least starts before winning the title
Another record which is unlikely to ever be broken is Giuseppe Farina’s record of least Grand Prix starts before taking the title. He started six World Championship events in the 1950 season before claiming the inaugural Drivers’ Championship at the Italian Grand Prix. Given the growth of the F1 calendar since the inaugural season, it would be all but impossible these days for a rookie driver to jump in six races from the end of the year and go on to win the title.
Farina also remains the only driver to have won the title in his first Formula 1 season. Jacques Villeneuve and Lewis Hamilton are the drivers who have come closest to emulating the Italian in recent years, in 1996 and 2007 respectively.
Most Grand Slams
From over 1,000 Grands Prix, there have been only 63 occasions on which a driver has recorded a Grand Slam. A Grand Slam is when a driver takes pole position, wins the race having led every lap and sets the fastest lap. So far this decade, it has been achieved once – by Max Verstappen at the 2021 Austrian Grand Prix.
Incredibly, Jim Clark achieved the feat eight times in his 72 Grand Prix appearances. He did so for the first time at the 1962 British Grand Prix and recorded his last at the 1965 German Grand Prix. Despite an ever expanding calendar, no driver has broken Clark’s record of 8 Grand Slams.
The driver who has come closest to doing so is Lewis Hamilton, who has taken six Grand Slams in his 289-race career. He recorded his most recent Grand Slam at the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Most consecutive laps led
Two-time World Champion Alberto Ascari holds the record for most consecutive laps led in Formula 1. The Italian led 305 laps in a row between the 1952 Belgian Grand Prix and the 1953 Dutch Grand Prix. Ascari is helped out slightly in this list due to the longer length of Grands Prix in the 1950s.
No one has come within 40 laps of equalling Ascari’s record. Ayrton Senna got close twice during his career (his personal best being 264 consecutive laps in the lead between the 1988 British and Italian Grands Prix) but Nigel Mansell and Sebastian Vettel are the only other drivers to have led over 200 laps consecutively.
Talking of laps led, Ascari held the record for most laps led at Monza for almost 70 years. He led 220 laps in total at the Italian circuit. His record was finally broken by Lewis Hamilton in 2020.
Most consecutive fastest laps
Ascari also holds the record for most consecutive fastest laps, setting seven in a row between the 1952 Belgian Grand Prix and the 1953 Argentine Grand Prix. He also won all seven of those races, which stood as the record for most consecutive wins until being broken by Sebastian Vettel at the 2013 United States Grand Prix.
Since Ascari’s record run of seven consecutive fastest laps in the early 1950s, very few drivers have come close to equalling it. The driver who got closest was Kimi Raikkonen, who set six fastest laps in a row with Ferrari between the 2008 Spanish Grand Prix and the 2008 British Grand Prix.
Titles with the most constructors
Juan Manuel Fangio is the only driver to win the Drivers’ Championship with four different teams. During his career, Fangio won five titles, two with Mercedes, and one each with Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Maserati. Impressively, he won the title in three successive years with three different teams.
Fangio remains the only driver to have taken the title with more than two different teams. Lewis Hamilton is the tenth and latest driver to have won the title with two different constructors, joining the likes of Emerson Fittipaldi, Niki Lauda and Michael Schumacher to name a few.
Meanwhile, Stirling Moss – who never won the title – holds the record for wins with the most different teams. Moss won races with Cooper, Lotus, Maserati, Mercedes and Vanwall in his career. Fangio, Jackie Stewart and Alain Prost are the only other drivers to have won with four different constructors. Of the current grid, Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel could join the list of drivers to win with four constructors in 2022.
Wins on debut
Only three drivers have ever won on their maiden F1 appearance – and you can argue that two of those don’t even really count. Giuseppe Farina joined this list at the first World Championship race in 1950 and Johnnie Parsons joined the list at the 1950 Indianapolis 500; a race which was not run to Formula 1 regulations.
The only driver since to have won on their first appearance is Giancarlo Baghetti, who won on debut in a Ferrari at the 1961 French Grand Prix. He was unable to replicate that success in any of his other F1 races and never re-appeared on the podium.
Most drivers raced against
Formula 1 had much bigger entry lists during in its formative years and a much higher turnover of drivers. Maurice Trintignant holds the record for most drivers a competitor has raced against during their F1 career, having shared the grid with 232 other drivers. Graham Hill is just one behind on this list. The record is unlikely to be broken any time soon.
As a comparison, Fernando Alonso – the most experienced driver on the current grid, and soon to be the man with the most starts of any driver in F1 history – has raced against 112 competitors during his 19 seasons in the sport. Of more recent drivers, Michael Schumacher sits atop the pile, having raced against 144 other drivers during his two F1 stints.
Biggest position gain in a Grand Prix
Unless F1 has a major influx in new teams and changes its rules to allow more spots on the grid, this record will remain unbroken. Roberto Mieres holds the record for most positions gained in a Grand Prix. He achieved the feat at the 1954 British Grand Prix, when he went from 32nd on the grid to sixth in the final order, gaining no fewer than 26 positions.
Three drivers have gained more positions in a round of the World Championship – Jim Rathmann at the 1957 Indianapolis 500 (30), Johnny Thomson at the 1955 Indianapolis 500 (29) and Andy Linden at the 1951 Indianapolis 500 (27). But, as those were not run to F1 regulations, we’re not counting them.
So far this millennium, Sebastian Vettel holds the record for the biggest gain in position at a Grand Prix. He went from the pit lane to the podium at the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – a gain of 21 places.
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.