You can now leave comments on the articles that matter to you. Find out more here

Revealed: Drivers who are current F1 race winners

Jake Nichol August 3, 2021
F1 Grand Prix of Hungary
Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images

After his shock triumph in Sunday’s Hungarian Grand Prix, Esteban Ocon became the 11th driver in the 2021 field to become a grand prix winner – the most on the grid since 2012. But who are the 11 to have won an F1 race, and where and when did they become a race winner?

The old guard still racing two decades on

There are four drivers competing in the 2021 season who took their maiden Formula One wins over a decade ago in the mid-2000s – with two nudging just under 20 years since they added their names to the winners’ list.

Kimi Raikkonen, the most experienced driver in the history of the world championship with 340 starts, was the first driver to win a grand prix among the current field.

It came in the 2003 Malaysian Grand Prix, in what was just the Finn’s third season in F1, having stepped up to McLaren in his sophomore year in ’02.

Formula 1: Drive to Survive Season 3 | F1 Netflix | Official Trailer

Quickly up to second, he passed race leader Fernando Alonso through the pitstops, to go on and win by 39s.

Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

Alonso, who took a maiden pole in that race at Sepang, would not have to wait long for his first win – with it coming 11 races later in Hungary.

In a dominant performance at the Hungaroring, Alonso led all but one lap of 70, only losing position during a round of pitstops.

Such was his pace, the great Michael Schumacher suffered the ignominy of being lapped by the Renault driver.

He became the first, and to date only, Spanish driver to win an F1 race, claiming a further 31 wins, and two world championships in F1.

The dominant forces take their first

With just the 99 F1 race wins to his name, Lewis Hamilton could probably sleepwalk his way up to the top-step of the podium.

The Brit broke Schumacher’s record of 91 wins at the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix, and is looking to set a final tally that will surely stand the test of time.

His first win, in his rookie season of 2007 in Canada, was a tricky afternoon, featuring multiple safety car restarts and a massive accident.

On Lap 26, BMW driver Robert Kubica was launched into an accident with a peak force of 75G, after hitting a barrier and being thrown across the track, coming to rest against at guardrail.

Fortunately he didn’t suffer major injuries, and while Hamilton went onto cruise to victory, Kubica was forced to miss the next race, in the US at Indianapolis.

Vettel and Hamilton have a combined 152 wins in F1. (Photo by Peter Kohalmi / AFP) (Photo by PETER KOHALMI/AFP via Getty Images)

This helped to pave the way for his replacement to start his own F1 career.

BMW elected to put a very young Sebastian Vettel in the car, the German bringing it home in eighth on debut, before joining Toro Rosso (now AlphaTauri).

A year later, Vettel demolished the field in a hideously wet 2008 Italian GP, becoming the youngest ever driver, at the time, to win an F1 race at 21 years and 74 days old.

History made by the youngest of all

As Alonso, Hamilton, and Vettel cleaned house in the early part of the last decade, it would be 2014 before a current driver joined the winner’s circle.

Daniel Ricciardo, in his first season at Red Bull, benefited from a Mercedes meltdown in Canada to slip by the ailing Nico Rosberg late on.

The fourth Australian to win a world championship event, Ricciardo added a further two wins in 2014, and to date has seven career wins, but none since Monaco in 2018.

The next winner on the list is perhaps the most controversial driver in F1’s history.

Max Verstappen made his F1 race debut at just 17 in 2015. He didn’t even hold a road driving license. But he quickly silenced the doubters.

Promoted to the senior Red Bull team early in 2016, he started his first race for the team in Spain in fourth.

As Hamilton and Rosberg elected to play team-mate total wipeout on the first lap, a surprise victor was guaranteed.

Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images

Verstappen went on to claim a stunning maiden win at just 18-years-old, to become the youngest winner of all-time.

After Rosberg got the ultimate one-up on fierce rival Hamilton by taking his title in 2016 and then retiring, Valtteri Bottas stepped up to Mercedes for ’17.

The Finn held off intense pressure from Vettel in the fourth round of the season at Sochi in Russia – a track he always excelled on for Williams.

He added two more wins that year, before a further six across the next three-and-a-half years, up to the 2021 summer shutdown.

From tragedy to triumph

After being cruelly denied winning in Bahrain due to an engine problem in his second race for Ferrari, Charles Leclerc finally claimed his first win in Belgium 2019.

It came the day after his close friend, Formula 2 racer Anthoine Hubert was killed the day before, but Leclerc led from pole, and fended off a late charge from Hamilton.

He became the first Monegasque to win an F1 race, before becoming the first Ferrari driver in nine years to win the Italian Grand Prix the next week at Monza.

Thanks to Hamilton’s dominance over the latter part of the last decade, there had been a dearth of new winners.

But F1 has seen a relative glut over the last year with three new winners.

Mercedes gaffes hand create three new winners

And all have come thanks to the all-conquering Mercedes squad dropping the ball.

Pierre Gasly had endured a torrid year, being dropped from Red Bull’s senior squad and losing Hubert at Spa over the summer of 2019.

However, a strong 2020 was highlighted by winning at Monza, to become the first Frenchman to do so since 1996.

Pitting just before the race was suspended for a big Leclerc crash, Gasly benefited when Hamilton was hit with a penalty and took the lead on the restart.

He held off a rapidly closing Carlos Sainz Jr in the last laps to record a shock win, and first for the AlphaTauri squad since its Toro Rosso and Vettel days…

Photo by Jenifer Lorenzini – Pool/Getty Images

There’s nothing like a bit of history to go with your first F1 win, which is what Sergio Perez delivered in Sakhir 2020.

First-lap contact dropped the Mexican to last, but his Racing Point machine quickly rose through the field to run in the points.

However, Mercedes looked set to win again, before a calamitous pitstop ended with Hamilton stand-in George Russell being fitted with Bottas’s tyres.

Once Mercedes sorted itself out, Perez cycled into the lead, one he’d never lose.

He became the first driver to win having been in last place at the end of the first lap.

The newest member to the club

With Hamilton and Verstappen locked into a white-hot title fight, wins left on the table could prove crucial come season’s end.

But in Sunday’s race, Hamilton threw away a potentially straightforward win, his 100th, by not pitting at the end of the restart formation lap for slick tyres.

After a shrewd start in which he avoided the chaos in front of him, Ocon maintained the lead throughout.

This was thanks in part to Alpine team-mate Alonso’s extraordinary defensive job on the recovering Hamilton.

Ocon became the 111th driver to win a world championship grand prix, 18 years after Alonso had claimed his first at the same circuit…

Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Thoughts? Comment Below
LOGIN to Comment
LOGIN to Comment
Have something to tell us about this article?
Let us know
Jake can usually be found writing about or watching anything to do with motorsport – from Formula 1 to NASCAR to British Truck Racing. His work as a motorsport journalist has been published by the likes of Autosport, and Motorsport News – all highly respected names. Away from racing he is a keen amateur astronomer, podcast listener and enjoys long walks in the park with his three dogs.