With the new Formula 1 season well underway, two drivers have shot clear in the race for the Drivers’ Championship, last season’s champion Max Verstappen and Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc.

This season could represent a changing of the guard, with Lewis Hamilton potentially set to call time on his glittering career at the end of the season, while Britain has a new emerging star of the track in George Russell.

We’ve gone through the Formula 1’s all time stats and looked at the best F1 drivers in history to try and come up with an answer.

Most world titles:

DriverTitlesSeasons
Michael Schumacher71994, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
Lewis Hamilton 72008, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
Juan Manuel Fangio51951, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957
Alain Prost41985, 1986, 1989, 1993
Sebastian Vettel42010, 2011, 2012, 2013

Hamilton may have missed his chance to record a historic eight Drivers’ Championship win, when losing out to Max Verstappen on the final day of last season.

Mercedes issues with their car this season, means Hamilton’s final season in F1 is likely to end in a disappointing finish.

Total starts:

DriverSeasonsStarts
Kimi Raikkonen2001-2009, 2012-2021349
Fernando Alonso2001, 2003-2018, 2021-2022338
Rubens Barrichello1993-2011323
Michael Schumacher1991-2006, 2010-2012306
Jenson Button2000-2017306

Kimi Räikkönen claimed the lead for the most starts last season surpassing Rubens Barrichello’s previous record. The Iceman, Raikkonen, is a former world champion in his own right and although he’s not a leading contender in the race for the G.O.A.T status, his dry sense of humour and no-nonsense radio messages have made him one of the most beloved drivers in the sport’s history.

Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso returned to the grid with Alpine last season, and has also risen above Barrichello in the rankings for all time starts. With the Spaniard suggesting that he would race on for two or three more seasons, he is likely to claim top spot from Räikkönen this term.

Most F1 races with a single constructor:

DriverConstructorSeasonsEntries
Lewis HamiltonMercedes2013-2022183
Michael SchumacherFerrari 1996-2006181
Kimi RaikkonenFerrari2007-2009, 2014-2018151
David CoulthardMcLaren1996-2004150
Felipe MassaFerrari2006-2013139

Just this season Lewis Hamilton surpassed Michael Schumacher’s record for most consecutive races with a single constructor. Hamilton’s nine seasons have seen him line up on the grid 183 times for Mercedes. He is set to add to the number before any decisions on his career at the end of the season.

Perhaps unsurprisingly during his title-laden decade at Ferrari, Schumacher lies second in the table.

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Most F1 wins:

DriverSeasonsEntriesWins
Lewis Hamilton2007-2022293103
Michael Schumacher1991-2006, 2010-201230891
Sebastian Vettel2007-202228353
Alain Prost1980-1991, 199320251
Ayrton Senna1984-199416241

While Hamilton missed the chance to eclipse Schumacher’s seven World Championship wins last season, he did stretch his lead in the standings for most overall wins. Hamilton surpassed Schumacher’s previous record of 91 wins in 2020, before surpassing the 100 milestone last season.

During his career to date Hamilton operates at a strike rate of 35.2%, winning just over a third of the races he’s started in F1, the Brit leads Schumacher’s, still impressive, strike rate of 29.5%.

Third on the list, Sebastian Vettel, didn’t win a race in his first season with Aston Martin, and will want to address that this term. However, the German has secured his legacy and currently has the third most wins of any F1 driver in history, ahead of the iconic names such as Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. Again, Vettel might not be a leading contender as the greatest of all time, but he’s certainly in the conversation.

Most podium finishes:

DriverSeasonsEntriesPodiums
Lewis Hamilton2007-2022293183
Michael Schumacher1991-2006, 2010-2012308155
Sebastian Vettel2007-2022283122
Alain Prost1980-1991, 1993202106
Kimi Raikkonen2001-2009, 2012-2020353103

Hamilton again sits at the top of this leaderboard, after overtaking Schumacher in 2020 and extending his record last season. Hamilton’s strike rate is once again superior to the German’s, finishing on the podium in 62.5% of his Grand Prix starts, compared to Schumacher’s 50.3%. Vettel has an equally impressive podium strike rate, finishing in the top three in 43.1% of his starts.

Most pole positions:

DriverSeasonsEntriesPoles
Lewis Hamilton2007-2022293103
Michael Schumacher1991-2006, 2010-201230868
Ayrton Senna1984-199416265
Sebastian Vettel2007-202228357
Jim Clark1960-19687333

Qualifying seems to be one area in which Hamilton has a definite edge. Particularly since joining Mercedes, Hamilton has been exemplary and now has a strike rate of 35.2%, compared to Schumacher’s 22%. However, these strike rates are dwarfed by Senna, who qualified on pole in a remarkable 40% of his F1 races.

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