Pastor Maldonado remains the last driver to convert his maiden Formula 1 pole position into a win. There have been seven new polesitters since, all of whom have failed to win from their first pole.
2012 Spanish Grand Prix: Pastor Maldonado
Pastor Maldonado is the last driver to have won from their first pole position. Maldonado actually inherited pole for the 2012 Spanish Grand Prix. Lewis Hamilton set the fastest lap time, but was unable to supply a fuel sample and was disqualified from the result. Maldonado had qualified in a remarkable second place and was therefore bumped up into an even more remarkable pole position.
Starting alongside Fernando Alonso on the front row, the Spaniard seized the lead at the start of the race. The Ferrari driver remained in the lead but the Williams never lost sight of the leader. At the second round of pit stops, Maldonado pitted first and with a super speedy out lap, he jumped ahead of Alonso on track. Maldonado remained under pressure for the rest of the race, but secured Williams’ first victory in almost eight years. It remains the team’s last win in F1.
2016 Monaco Grand Prix: Daniel Ricciardo
It would be over four years until Formula 1 had its next new polesitter. Daniel Ricciardo mastered the streets of Monaco to secure the first pole position of his career at the 2016 Monaco Grand Prix. Race day in Monte Carlo was wet but the Australian did not put a foot wrong. The same cannot be said of his team, however. A pit stop delay when fresh tyres were not ready in time saw Ricciardo lose the lead of the race to Lewis Hamilton. He finished as runner-up.
2017 Bahrain Grand Prix: Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas secured his maiden pole position on his third appearance with Mercedes at the 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix. The Finn led the first 13 laps of the race, but Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel took the lead after undercutting the Mercedes at the first round of pit stops. Bottas was further hampered by the calling of the Safety Car and a slow pit stop.
At the restart, Bottas challenged Vettel but the Ferrari remained ahead. With ten laps to go, Bottas was overtaken by team-mate Lewis Hamilton. Bottas ultimately finished 20 seconds behind race winner Vettel.
2019 Bahrain Grand Prix: Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc impressed in qualifying for the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix, securing his first pole position on only his second appearance with Ferrari. Leclerc lost the lead at the start to team-mate Sebastian Vettel but soon wrestled it back. From there, Leclerc led until encountering engine issues just ten laps from the end. It allowed both Mercedes drivers to pass him in the closing stages. The Ferrari driver likely would have slipped further down the order, but a late race Safety Car allowed him to secure the first podium for a Monegasque driver since the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix.
2019 Hungarian Grand Prix: Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen finally secured his first pole position at the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix. He failed to go on and take victory despite leading the majority of the race. While Verstappen stopped only once in the race, Mercedes opted for a two-stop strategy. That made Verstappen’s Red Bull an easy target in the closing stages and Hamilton went on to win by over 17 seconds.
2020 Turkish Grand Prix: Lance Stroll
Formula 1 returned to Turkey amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, where a rain-filled Saturday and a slippery track produced an entertaining qualifying session. Lance Stroll secured his maiden pole position, taking the first pole for the Silverstone-based team since the 2009 Belgian Grand Prix.
Stroll led for the majority of the first 35 laps of the race as the tricky track conditions continued to catch other drivers out. However, tyre strategy saw the Canadian drop down the order later on in the race and finish only ninth. Lewis Hamilton took victory, securing a record-equalling seventh World Championship.
2021 Russian Grand Prix: Lando Norris
Lando Norris took the first pole position of his career in a wet qualifying session at the 2021 Russian Grand Prix. While the weather was on his side on Saturday, it certainly was not on Sunday.
The race started in dry conditions and Carlos Sainz took the lead on the first lap. He remained there until Lap 13, when the McLaren driver re-took the lead. Norris looked comfortable in the lead from there on in, but a change in weather undid his good work. As rain began to fall heavier, second-placed Lewis Hamilton closed in on the McLaren. Hamilton pitted for intermediate tyres, while Norris stayed out. Norris’ dry tyres were not up to the job and he ultimately finished only seventh after sliding off the circuit. Hamilton secured his 100th victory with his win in Sochi.
2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix: Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez ended the longest ever wait for pole position, taking pole on his 215th attempt at the 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Perez led the opening stages of the race but came into the pits just before a crash for Nicholas Latifi. With the Safety Car called out, both Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen were able to get ahead. The Mexican was also forced to give way to Carlos Sainz, who was ahead of him at the pit entry under Safety Car conditions. Perez ultimately finished the race in fourth place while team-mate Verstappen took the win
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.