Nobody wants to be out in Q1 on Saturday. Since the knockout qualifying system was first introduced in 2006, there have been five drivers who have recorded 50 or more Q1 eliminations. We take a look at who has the most Q1 exits in Formula 1!
71 – Marcus Ericsson
Marcus Ericsson currently holds the record for most Q1 exits in Formula 1. The Swedish driver was eliminated in the first part of qualifying on 71 occasions. In a career that spanned 97 races and five seasons, from 2014 to 2018, Ericsson made it out of Q1 26 times.
In his first season in F1, with Caterham, Ericsson never made it out of Q1. He joined Sauber at the start of 2015 and was once again eliminated in Q1 at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. He reached Q3 at the next two races but went on to record another eight Q1 exits that year.
The next two and a half seasons featured more Q1 and Q2 exits, including a run of 25 consecutive Q1 exits between the 2017 Bahrain Grand Prix and the 2018 Canadian Grand Prix. In the final 6 races of his F1 career, Ericsson reached Q3 three times but he remains the driver to have had the most Q1 eliminations in his career.
59 – Timo Glock
From 91 appearances when the knockout qualifying system was in place, Timo Glock recorded 59 Q1 exits and currently sits second in the list of most Q1 exits in Formula 1. All but three of those were recorded during his time with the Virgin/Marussia team between 2010 and 2012. In that period, he made it out of Q1 only twice, at the rain-hit qualifying sessions for the 2010 Malaysian and Belgian Grands Prix.
Prior to joining the backmarker team, Glock had been eliminated in Q1 only three times during his time at Toyota. He failed to reach Q2 on three occasions in 2009, at the Monaco, German and Italian Grands Prix.
56 – Lance Stroll
Lance Stroll is the only current driver in the top five of most Q1 exits in Formula 1. He recorded his 56th and most recent Q1 elimination at the 2022 Austrian Grand Prix. From his 111 starts, Stroll has made it out of Q1 55 times, with 32 Q2 exits and 23 Q3 appearances. Stroll’s longest run of Q1 exits came between the 2018 United States Grand Prix and the 2019 British Grand Prix, when he was out in the first stage of qualifying at 14 successive events.
55 – Adrian Sutil
Adrian Sutil was eliminated in the first stage of qualifying on 55 of his 128 Formula 1 appearances. Making his debut with Spyker in 2007, Sutil failed to reach Q2 on any of his first 40 F1 appearances. He recorded a further four Q1 exits in the second half of the 2009 season, but Q1 eliminations became a rarity for the German in 2010 and 2011.
After a year out in 2012, Sutil returned to F1 for a two year stint in 2013 and 2014. During that period, he added a further six Q1 exits to his tally.
55 – Heikki Kovalainen
Almost half of Heikki Kovalainen’s 112 Formula 1 appearances resulted in Q1 knockouts. The Finn began his career at Renault in 2007, recording two Q1 exits in his maiden season. In the following two seasons with McLaren, Kovalainen was knocked out in Q1 a further two times.
Kovalainen’s Q1 exit rate took a steep increase when he joined Team Lotus for the 2010 campaign. Over the next 58 races, there were only seven occasions on which he was not out in Q1. Kovalainen returned to the cockpit to deputise for Kimi Raikkonen for two races at the end of the 2013 season. He reached Q3 at the 2013 United States Grand Prix and was out in Q2 on his last F1 outing.
How many drivers never made it out of Q1?
Since the knockout qualifying system was introduced in 2006, there are 17 drivers who have been eliminated in Q1 on every appearance. The list does not include any drivers on the current grid. The drivers who never made it out of Q1 are: Alexander Rossi, André Lotterer, Charles Pic, Franck Montagny, Jack Aitken, Karun Chandhok, Luca Badoer, Lucas di Grassi, Markus Winkelhock, Narain Karthikeyan, Nikita Mazepin, Pietro Fittipaldi, Rio Haryanto, Roberto Mehri, Sakon Yamamoto, Will Stevens and Yuji Ide.
Of the drivers who never made it out of Q1, Charles Pic made the most appearances without ever progressing to Q2. He made 39 qualifying appearances in total.
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.