Latest News / Feature

The Best of 2015 - how Hamilton at 150 compared to the greats

20 Dec 2015

Lewis Hamilton earned a place among the F1 legends by claiming a third world championship crown in 2015 - but how do his records compare to the likes of Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher? It just so happened that Hamilton reached a landmark of 150 Grand Prix starts earlier in the season - which gave us the perfect opportunity to see how the Briton stacks up against the most celebrated names in the sport. Here's what we said at the time...

Lewis Hamilton made his 150th Grand Prix start in Malaysia - but did you know that of all the drivers to have reached that landmark, only one can better Hamilton's pole position strike rate? We take a look back at some of the defining milestones and moments from the Briton's nine years of Formula One racing...

  • From 150 Grand Prix starts, Hamilton boasts a superlative record of 34 victories, 72 podiums and 40 poles (his 72nd podium, and 40th pole, came at Sepang).

  • Of the 33 other drivers to have reached 150 starts, only three can trump Hamilton's tallies at the exact same stage of their careers: Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna. Schumacher had claimed 48 wins and 89 podiums after 150 starts; Prost 39 wins and 80 podiums; and Senna 39 wins and 78 podiums. However, Hamilton is ahead of both Schumacher (37) and Prost (19) in the pole position count. In fact Senna is the only man in history to have reached 150 starts with more poles than Hamilton - his count is a staggering 61.

  • Hamilton's career started in similarly impressive fashion, as he qualified fourth and finished third in his debut race in Australia. In doing so, he became the first driver since Jacques Villeneuve in 1996 to take a podium in his first F1 race - and the first Briton to do so since Mike Parkes in 1966.

  • Five races later, and Hamilton claimed his first victory after an assured drive in an incident-packed race in Canada. Not counting the inaugural 1950 season, only a handful of drivers have claimed their first win in a shorter time period. The record belongs to Giancarlo Baghetti, who won on his debut in the 1961 French Grand Prix.
  • Hamilton went on to take four victories in his debut season, which remains the joint record (shared with Jacques Villeneuve's 1996 campaign). He came agonisingly close to winning the championship crown that year as well, which would have been a first - no rookie has ever lifted the F1 drivers' title.

  • He didn't have to wait long, however; one season later and Hamilton was crowned world champion. Again, this is a joint record - with the exception of Villeneuve in 1997, no other driver has won their first world title in only their second year in the sport. Hamilton's triumph also made him the youngest champion in F1 history, although Sebastian Vettel subsequently claimed that honour in 2010.

  • The list of record sequences don't stop there, as Hamilton's superlative 2014 campaign took him to new heights. His total of 11 wins in one season has only been bettered twice - by Michael Schumacher in 2004 and Sebastian Vettel in 2013 (both 13); his run of five straight wins between Italy and the United States was the joint fifth highest in history (Vettel is top of the list with nine consecutive victories); and he now has 34 career wins, putting him fifth in the all-time standings behind Schumacher (91), Prost (51), Senna (41) and Vettel (39).
  • From his 150 starts, Hamilton has taken 117 points finishes - in other words, he has scored points in 78 percent of his races. Only one driver with more than 10 starts can match that - Juan Manuel Fangio, who tops the pile with 43 points finishes from 52 starts, a ratio of 86 percent.

  • Hamilton surpasses Fangio in another category, however - he has won a race in every F1 season he has competed in (2015 is his ninth campaign). Fangio comes close - he won in every year bar 1958, when he contested two races before retiring - as does Jackie Stewart, who won in every year bar 1967, his third season. Senna, Prost and Clark are among those with only two winless seasons. But Hamilton's record is unprecedented: excluding one-offs, no other driver in history has managed to win in every year of their Grand Prix career.

WATCH: Hamilton reflects on 150 Grand Prix starts