There are interesting stats in every Formula 1 season and 2022 will be no different. In the light section Did you know that F1 max Some of these stats. This time it’s all about Charles Leclerc’s pole positions. The Ferrari driver started from pole position nine times last season, but failed to win the title, qualifying briefly for a negative record.
Ferrari succeeded in producing a strong car for the 2022 season, but as the year progressed, problems began for the Italian team. Leclerc started the first three races with two victories, but after the Australian Grand Prix he managed only one. Despite the fact that Red Bull Racing and Max Verstappen were clearly stronger on Sunday, Ferrari had a car that was fast for one lap. After all, Leclerc has been in first place nine times during the 2022 season.
This made him the driver who was allowed to start on pole most often last year. Verstappen has taken pole position seven times, Carlos Sainz three times, Sergio Perez, George Russell and Kevin Magnussen once each. However, the title of most pole positions in a single season does not win a world championship. Verstappen has taken fifteen victories and sometimes won races from a less favorable starting position. Leclerc won only three races and only managed to finish second in the championship.
Leclerc shares fourth place with the F1 greats
Leclerc seemed to be on his way to a negative Formula 1 record for a long time, but since the driver was no longer the fastest on Saturday after the Singapore Grand Prix, he was stuck in nine pole positions. This places him fourth in the list of drivers with the most pole positions in a single year without winning the title. This venue shares with some of the greats in the history of motorsport’s royal class. Ronnie Peterson, Niki Lauda and Nelson Piquet also managed to take first place nine times in a year without finishing the season with a championship.
Peterson made his Formula 1 debut for Team Lotus in 1973 and immediately managed to impress. The Swede thus took nine pole positions, but the driver suffered several reliability problems during the season. In the first five racing weekends, Peterson took three pole positions, but retired each time during the race. The Lotus driver managed to win four races, but had to put up with Jackie Stewart and Emerson Fittipaldi in the championship. In the end, it didn’t come to Peterson’s surname.
A year later, Lauda did exactly the same as Peterson. Thus, in his third season in the sport, the Austrian showed that he is very fast. Lauda drove for Ferrari that year, but did not make it to the World Championship. The eventual multiple world champion never finished fourth overall, having failed to finish several times, especially in the latter part of the season. It was Fittipaldi who managed to win the title after finishing second in 1973.
Ten years later, Lauda was first exactly zero times, but still won the championship. In doing so, he overthrew Pique from the throne. The Brazilian himself had good qualifying sessions, but only crossed the seventh line out of sixteen races. It wasn’t enough to award Verstappen’s father-in-law the title. Piquet managed to win a total of only two times and in the end he got only 29 points, which meant that he did not get the fifth place in the championship.
Mercedes team members are at odds with each other
During the hybrid era, it was Mercedes that dominated Formula 1. Other teams occasionally had a chance to win, but the German team was never in real danger in the battle for the two championships. Sometimes their drivers can just make it difficult for each other. This was especially true of the rivalry between Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg. The relationship between the two riders became bitter when both had a chance at the world title. Both Hamilton and Rosberg have, of course, managed to win at least one title at Mercedes.
But also the negative record for most poles in a season without winning the title came close to both riders. In 2014, Rosberg took pole position 11 times, but had to leave the title to his teammate. Two years later, Hamilton came close to the negative record again. The seven-time world champion lost to Rosberg that season, but was allowed to start from pole twelve times.
Proust gives a negative record to his arch-rival
The negative record is in the hands of one of the greatest Formula 1 drivers of all time, Ayrton Senna. The Brazilian driver traveled to McLaren in 1989, sharing a garage with Alain Prost. Senna was on pole no fewer than thirteen times that year (in sixteen times on a Grand Prix weekend), but he still had to leave the title to his teammate. Of course, it wasn’t without the necessary controversy. In Japan, where Prost eventually won the title, it was first on the grid on the dirty part of the track. Senna protested, but the race management did not agree.
Especially between the Bahrain and Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Leclerc seemed to be going for Senna’s numbers. The Ferrari driver has taken pole position six times in eight race weekends. Eventually, stagnation also came for the Italian racing stable on Saturday, and Leclerc only finished on pole three more times in the months that followed. So the negative record was saved from Monegask, but the driver, of course, preferred to exchange his pole positions for Grand Prix victories.