Hamilton vs Schumacher – and more Formula 1 stats to watch for in 2019 | 2019 F1 season

We all know the 2019 F1 season will see the 1,000th round of the world championship – but there are many other noteworthy records which will and could be broken this year.

Hamilton could pass Schumacher’s wins tally (but it’s a long shot)

For the first time in 18 years, a driver will begin a season with a chance of breaking the all-time record for most race victories.

As we noted two years ago, this isn’t likely to happen quite so soon. Lewis Hamilton would need to win 19 of the 21 races on the 2019 F1 calendar to overhaul Michael Schumacher’s tally of 91 F1 wins.

But it is a remarkable achievement for him to be within striking distance of a tally which seemed unapproachable when Schumacher set it with his final win 13 years ago.

Rather more likely is the possibility we will see Hamilton become the second driver in F1 history to win a sixth world championship. Juan Manuel Fangio held the record of five titles which he set in 1957 and wasn’t beaten until Schumacher reached six in 2003.

Mercedes could score the first ‘sextuple double’

Last year Mercedes matched Ferrari by sweeping both championships for the fifth year in a row. If they do it again this year, they will become the first team to do a ‘sextuple double’.

Ferrari has won six consecutive constructors’ championships before (1999 to 2004). However no team has ever taken one of its driver to the championship in six consecutive seasons, a record Mercedes can break this year.

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Kubica’s long-awaited return

Robert Kubica, Williams, Yas MarinaKubica’s long wait is almost overRobert Kubica has been waiting almost three thousand days to start an F1 race since he took the chequered flag in fifth place for Renault in the 2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. By the time he lines up on the grid at Melbourne on March 17th his grand prix absence will have lasted 3,045 days.

That will be the fourth-longest gap between consecutive starts ever recorded by an F1 driver. Jan Lammers holds the record at 3,767 – more than a decade – between his starts in the 1982 Dutch Grand Prix and 1992 Japanese Grand Prix. Luca Badoer (3,584 days) and Pete Lovely (3,226) also had longer absences.

During that time Kubica will have missed 159 races, which is nine fewer than Badoer and six fewer than Lammers missed in that time.

The 1,000th world championship race

The third round of the championship in Shanghai will be the 1,000th world championship race. However it will not be the 1,000th Formula 1 race, for several reasons.

For example, F1 races were held before the championship began in 1950. And there were many F1 races which did not count towards the world championship after then, the last of which was held in 1983.

Also some world championship races were not run to F1 rules, such as the 1950 to 1960 Indianapolis 500s, and every other race in the 1952 and 1953 seasons, which were run to Formula 2 rules. Because of this, while there have been 997 world championship rounds so far, there have only been 971 world championship F1 races.

The 1,000th world championship F1 race would therefore be the eighth round on the 2020 F1 calendar. Based on this year’s schedule, that would be next year’s French Grand Prix.

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Driver firsts

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Yas MarinaLeclerc could be F1’s first Monegasque winnerThere were no first-time winners last year but with new names moving into the top teams, that may not be the case this year.

New Ferrari hire Charles Leclerc is out to become the first ever Monegasque driver to win a race in F1. He also has the chance to be the second driver from Monaco to stand on the podium after Louis Chiron, who finished third at his home race in 1950, which was the second round of the world championship.

The same venue was also the scene of the last race win by a French driver, when Olivier Panis won the 1996 Monaco Grand Prix. Pierre Gasly’s move to Red Bull could end that 23-year wait.

Also within the Red Bull stable, Alexander Albon will be the second driver from Thailand to start a race. The first was since Prince Birabongse Bhanudej Bhanubandh – better known a ‘B Bira’ – who raced between 1950 and 1954, and was born before the country changed its name from Siam.

One last ‘youngest ever’ record for Verstappen?

Max Verstappen is already the youngest driver ever to start a race, score a point, win a grand prix, stand on the podium and set a fastest lap. He can’t become the youngest driver to start from pole position – Sebastian Vettel is holding on to that for the time being.

But he could become the youngest driver to win the world championship, if the Red Bull-Honda is up to it. Verstappen has two years left to beat this record, which is also held by Vettel.

To do that this year he’ll need a race-winning car underneath him. The last time a Honda-powered car won a race was Jenson Button’s 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix win 13 years ago.

Verstappen had the advantage of being able to enter F1 as a 17-year-old, before the FIA introduced its 18-year age limit. His new team mate Gasly is a year and a half older than him but has started 55 fewer F1 races.

Another record-equalling calendar

Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Yas Marina, 2018Kvyat will become Toro Rosso’s longest-serving driverThis year’s calendar may not feature more rounds than last year, but it will last longer. It starts a week earlier and ends a week later – in December.

The introduction of the Vietnamese Grand Prix means there’s already one new race confirmed on next year’s calendar. So unless one race drops from the schedule at the end of this year we could see a record-breaking 22-race 2020 F1 season.

Milestones

In addition to the 1,000th world championship race there are several other milestones coming up in 2019:

  • Monaco Grand Prix: Kimi Raikkonen’s 300th race appearance
  • French Grand Prix: Daniil Kvyat will pass Jean-Eric Vergne as the driver to have started the most races for Toro Rosso
  • Austrian Grand Prix: Raikkonen’s 300th race start, Kubica’s 100th race appearance, Lance Stroll’s 50th race start
  • Russian Grand Prix: Verstappen’s 100th race start
  • Mexican Grand Prix: Kevin Magnussen’s 100th race appearance
  • United States Grand Prix: Carlos Sainz Jnr, Verstappen and Magnussen’s 100th race starts
  • Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: Hamilton’s 250th race start, Leclerc’s 50th race appearance

Over to you

Have you got your eye on any other significant F1 statistics for the season ahead? Share them in the comments.

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