Formula 1 records: Which F1 records could be broken in 2021?

F1 proved that it could adapt to the most challenging circumstances last season, delivering a 17-race calendar despite the upheaval caused by COVID-19. Plans for 2021 are even more ambitious, and could lead to several F1 records being broken throughout the year

Formula 1 records: Which F1 records could be broken in 2021?

Many of these records are within touching distance of Lewis Hamilton, who surpassed Michael Schumacher's record of 91 grand prix wins in 2020 en route to equalling the German driver's tally of seven world championships.

Now that Hamilton lays claim to various records outright, he'll have the chance to push these benchmarks out even further every time he takes to the track this year.

But it isn't just Hamilton and Mercedes that have records in their sights: an influx of new drivers both young and old could secure their own F1 records in 2021, some of which are desirable accolades and others that aren't.

Records that have been broken in 2021

Most grand prix wins: Lewis Hamilton - 100

Lewis Hamilton equalled and then surpassed Michael Schumacher's record for the most F1 wins in 2020, finishing the season on 95 victories. His 165 podium finishes at the end of 2020 was also a record in the sport.

While the 2021 season hasn't been as dominant for Hamilton as others, he's still managed to secure an additional five race wins - taking his total to an even 100. He's also had thirteen total podiums to date, pushing his podium finishes to 178 - another new record.

Most pole positions: Lewis Hamilton - 101

Lewis Hamilton set the record for the most pole positions at the Italian Grand Prix in 2017, edging past Michael Schumacher's previous best of 68 poles. He's been extending his lead in this category ever since, having been fastest in qualifying on 98 separate occasions by the end of the 2020 season.

While he's had only three podiums in 2021 so far, that was enough to push him into triple figures - the 100th coming at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Most wins without world title: Max Verstappen - 19 wins

For a little while Nico Rosberg had won the most races without having won the world title, but his success in 2016 - which was followed by his shock retirement from F1 - handed that record back to Stirling Moss. The British driver - who passed away at the age of 90 in 2020 - is widely regarded as the best driver not to have been crowned world champion. Moss won 16 races between 1955 and 1961, but never finished higher than second in the drivers' standings, doing so on four occasions.

Max Verstappen's strong 2021 season has seen him win nine races so far, pushing him above Moss' 16 races. While the Dutchman is the unlucky record holder at the moment, he may soon give the record back to Moss - Verstappen is 19 points ahead of second-placed Hamilton with just four races to go.

Most laps led: Lewis Hamilton - 5,253 laps

Hamilton may have won more grands prix than Michael Schumacher, but the German driver still him on laps in the lead until the 2021 season. Schumacher led for a grand total of 5,111 laps over 306 race starts, while Hamilton led 5,099 laps having started 266 races.

The 2021 season has seen Hamilton add 154 laps to his tally, pushing him above Michael Schumacher.

Best debut result for a Schumacher: Mick Schumacher - 16th place

The Schumacher name is revered in F1, and while it was Michael who saw almost all of the success his brother Ralf won six grands prix of his own and finished on the podium 27 times.

However, neither Michael nor Ralf finished their first races: the former qualified seventh on his debut at the Belgian Grand Prix in 1991 but didn't complete a single lap of the race, while the latter qualified in 12th at the Australian Grand Prix in 1997 before retiring less than two laps in.

Michael's son Mick Schumacher lined up in 19th for his first race in Formula 1 and came across the line in 16th - marking the best debut for a Schumacher in the sport.

Youngest pole, win, fastest lap and led every lap: Max Verstappen - 23 years, 277 days

Sebastian Vettel was 24 years and 119 days old when he won the Indian Grand Prix in 2011, becoming the youngest driver ever to secure pole position, set the fastest lap of the race and lead every lap en route to the chequered flag. Vettel was also the youngest to grab pole and a race win (2008 Italian Grand Prix) and also pole, victory and the fastest lap of a race (2009 British Grand Prix).

Vettel set the record in a Red Bull and, fittingly, it was a Red Bull car that broke it - this time driven by Max Verstappen during the Austrian Grand Prix. 

Lando Norris, George Russell, Lance Stroll, Yuki Tsunoda, Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher are all young enough to challenge for this record in 2021, but none of them are likely to do so based on the current performance of cars (though Lando Norris did come close to a race win in the Russian Grand Prix).

Records that could still be broken in 2021

Most world championships: Michael Schumacher & Lewis Hamilton - 7

Michael Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton are statistically the most successful F1 drivers of all time, having racked up seven world drivers' titles apiece. Both have won their championships with two constructors: Schumacher with Benetton (1994, 1995) and Ferrari (2000-2004), and Hamilton with McLaren (2008) and Mercedes (2014, 2015, 2017-2020).

Having signed to stay with Mercedes until 2023, Hamilton has the chance to win a record eighth drivers' championship in any of the next three seasons. Having prevailed in six of the last seven seasons and in the last four in a row, the British driver would have been favourite to win the championship in 2021, though he's 19 points behind Verstappen with four races to go.

Most constructors' titles in a row: Mercedes - 7

Ferrari won six consecutive constructors' titles between 1999 and 2004, building on the previous best of four in a row by McLaren between 1988 and 1991. Statistically, Ferrari is comfortably the most successful F1 team ever, although Mercedes surpassed its record for consecutive titles in 2020. It also scooped the drivers' title in all seven of those years; the first time the double has been done so many times on the spin.

Mercedes has won every world title since the beginning of the V6 turbo-hybrid era in 2014, though the 2021 season hasn't gone their way thus far - with four races to go they have a one point lead over Red Bull in the constructors' championship - so this might be another record that doesn't get broken.

Most races in a season: 21 (2016, 2018 & 2019)

F1 revealed a 23-race calendar for 2021 late last year, although the season-opener in Australia and the Chinese Grand Prix were both cancelled. F1 president Stefano Domenicali believes the sport's "flexible approach" wold allow it to fulfil all 23 races despite the ongoing global pandemic, though settled on 22 races with the addition of a race in Qatar.

Barring any sudden cancellations and assuming the remaining four races go ahead, 2021 will have the most races of any season in F1.

Most podiums without a world title: Rubens Barrichello - 68

Brazilian driver Rubens Barrichello was a podium finisher 68 times in his eighteen-year F1 career, making the top three for Jordan, Stewart, Ferrari, Honda and Brawn in that time. He also won 11 races, twice finishing second to teammate Michael Schumacher in the drivers' championship. Despite all that success, Barrichello holds the record for the most podium appearances without having been crowned world champion.

That record could pass to Valtteri Bottas in 2021: the Finn has scored 65 podiums in his Formula 1 career, with nine of them coming in 2021. If he's able to stand on the podium in each of the remaining four races he'll surpass Barrichello to hold the record.

Longest time between race wins: Riccardo Patrese - 2,402 days

Italian driver Riccardo Patrese holds the record for the longest amount of time between successive race wins in F1, having won the South African Grand Prix at Kyalami in 1983 and then the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola in 1990 a mere 2,402 days later.

Only one driver could threaten this in 2021: Fernando Alonso. The two-time champion's last F1 victory came at the Spanish Grand Prix in 2013, and 2,877 days will have elapsed when the 2021 season gets underway in Bahrain on 28 March. Were circumstances slightly different he could have taken this record at the Hungarian Grand Prix - while he went on to finish fourth, team mate Esteban Ocon took a shock win.

Longest time between first and last wins: Kimi Raikkonen - 5,691 days

5,691 days separate Kimi Raikkonen's first F1 victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix in 2003 and his most recent win at the US Grand Prix in 2018. The Finn has also seen the most races go by between wins, with 114 grands prix separating his win at the Australian Grand Prix in 2013 and that victory at the Circuit of the Americas.

Raikkonen could extend the first of those records in 2021, although Fernando Alonso could have surpassed him by winning the Bahrain Grand Prix on 28 March. Victory there would have marked 6,462 days since Alonso's maiden win at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 2003. Given the form that Alfa Romeo is currently showing though, it's unlikely that Raikkonen will secure a win in the remaining four races.

 

Most race wins in a season: Michael Schumacher & Sebastian Vettel - 13

Michael Schumacher won 13 of the 18 races in 2004 in his record-breaking season with Ferrari, and nine years later Sebastian Vettel matched the record by taking the chequered 13 times, including nine victories in a row after the summer break.

While this record can no longer be broken in 2021, it could be matched. Max Verstappen is on nine wins so far and, with four races remaining, he could join the Germans on 13 wins in a season.

Most podiums in a season: Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel & Lewis Hamilton - 17

Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton have all finished on the podium 17 times in a single season; Schumacher in 2002, Vettel in 2011 and Hamilton in 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019.

While Hamilton could once again hit 17 (with podium finishes in all remaining races), the only driver who could break the record is Max Verstappen. The Dutchman has finished first or second in 14 races in 2021 so far and, if he finishes on the podium in all remaining races, he'll be the sole record holder.

Fastest qualifying lap: Lewis Hamilton - 164.267mph

In qualifying at the Italian Grand Prix last season, Lewis Hamilton set the highest average speed ever recorded over a single lap in F1, clocking 164.267mph on his way to pole position. The accolade very nearly went to Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas however, with the Finn less than a tenth of a second behind in Q3 at Monza.

While this record could technically still be broken, it's incredibly unlikely that anyone will put in a faster lap in 2021.

Records that can no longer be broken in 2021

Most wins at one grand prix: Michael Schumacher & Lewis Hamilton - 8

Michael Schumacher was a force to be reckoned with at the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours, winning there a total of eight times between 1994 and 2006. This included victory in 2004, in which Ferrari employed an unusual four-stop strategy to overhaul polesitter Fernando Alonso.

Lewis Hamilton has shown similar strength at the Hungaroring, winning on eight occasions between 2007 and 2020, though unfortunately for him the race didn't go his way, coming in third.

Most pole positions at one grand prix: Ayrton Senna, Michael Schumacher & Lewis Hamilton - 8

Ayrton Senna was the first driver to take pole at the same grand prix eight times, finishing fastest in qualifying for the San Marino Grand Prix all but twice between 1985 and 1994. The last of these came the day before he lost his life on the notoriously dangerous Imola circuit.

Michael Schumacher went on to match Senna's qualifying feat at the Japanese Grand Prix, grabbing pole eight times between 1994 and 2004 at Suzuka.

Lewis Hamilton equalled the record with his eighth pole position at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne in 2019, although he was denied the chance to go for his ninth pole in 2020 after the race was cancelled at the eleventh hour due to public health concerns. The race was once again cancelled in 2021, cancelling any opportunity to extend his number of Australian poles to nine.

Most races as team-mates: Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello - 102 (Ferrari, 2000-2005)

Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello raced together for six consecutive seasons for Ferrari between 2000 and 2005, appearing in 102 grands prix together as team-mates in that time (not including the two times Barrichello failed to make the race start).

No pairing will surpass that mark in 2021, although Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas will get very close: they've started 78 grands prix together since 2017, with Hamilton missing just the one race (the Sakhir Grand Prix last year) after the Briton caught COVID-19. With 22 races in 2021 the pair could get to 100 races as team-mates (barring any missed races), and with Bottas departing for Alfa Romeo in 2022, Schumacher and Barrichello's record will continue to stand.

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