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Pole positions

What is an F1 pole position, who took pole in the 2024 season and who has the most pole positions ever? You can read about it here!

F1 poleposition Max Verstappen Red Bull Racing parc ferme Bahrain Grand Prix 2023 © XPBimages

What does pole position mean?

A pole position is the first starting spot on the grid for a Grand Prix race. A driver can achieve pole position during qualifying. The driver who completes the fastest lap in the third part of qualifying (Q3) takes this position and starts the race first.

The position of the first starting spot is sometimes on the left and sometimes on the right side of the grid. This is determined according to which way the first corner goes. Pole position is always positioned on the most ideal line to the first corner.

Where does the term 'pole position' come from?

The term 'pole position' does not originate from motorsport, but from horse racing. In fact, the number one was allowed to start on the inside pole when achieving first position in a horse race. Hence the name 'pole position'.

When does a pole position count?

An official pole position is achieved during Q3 of qualifying for the race. Here, the fastest lap driven counts.

F1 sprint races were introduced for the first time in 2021, where the result of the sprint race determined the starting grid for the race on Sunday. Also, the driver who had won the sprint race was officially given pole position. In 2022, this changed and only official qualifying counted as pole position.

In 2023, the sprint race format was completely changed and there is a separate qualifying session for the sprint race. Still, the driver only gets official pole position if he manages to clock the first time during official qualifying for the race on Sunday.

Overview of pole positions 2024

Which driver will all have a pole position behind his name in the 2024 Formula 1 season? In the overview below, you will find the driver who managed to secure pole position for each race.

Overview of pole positions F1 season 2024

Grand Prix Driver
Bahrain GP Max Verstappen
Saudi-Arabian GP Max Verstappen
Australian GP Max Verstappen
Japanese GP Max Verstappen
Chinese GP Max Verstappen

Staying up to date on which driver took pole position after qualifying? Then keep an eye on the F1 results.

F1 poleposition Max Verstappen Carlos Sainz Lando Norris Spain Grand Prix 2023 © XPBimages

Overview polesitters all time

A driver who has taken pole position is also known as a polesitter. The table below lists all Formula 1 drivers who have ever taken pole position. Also shown here are the corresponding numbers. Please note that the list is updated up to and including the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix.

All drivers with pole position all time

Position Driver Number of polepositions
1 Lewis Hamilton 104
2 Michael Schumacher 68
3 Ayrton Senna 65
4 Sebastian Vettel 57
5 Max Verstappen 37
6 Jim Clark 33
7 Alain Prost 33
8 Nigel Mansell 32
9 Nico Rosberg 30
10 Juan Manuel Fangio 29
11 Mika Häkkinen 26
12 Niki Lauda 24
12 Nelson Piquet sr. 24
14 Fernando Alonso 22
17 Charles Leclerc 22
15 Damon Hill 20
15 Valtteri Bottas 20
18 Mario Andretti 18
18 René Arnoux 18
18 Kimi Räikkönen 18
21 Jackie Stewart 17
22 Stirling Moss 16
22 Felipe Massa 16
24 Alberto Ascari 14
24 Ronnie Peterson 14
24 James Hunt 14
24 Rubens Barrichello 14
28 Jack Brabham 13
28 Graham Hill 13
28 Jacky Ickx 13
28 Jacques Villeneuve 13
28 Juan Pablo Montoya 13
28 Mark Webber 13
34 Gerhard Berger 12
34 David Coulthard 12
36 Jochen Rindt 10
37 John Surtees 8
37 Riccardo Patrese 8
37 Jenson Button 8
40 Jacques Laffite 7
41 Phil Hill 6
41 Carlos Reutemann 6
41 Emerson Fittipaldi 6
41 Jean-Pierre Jabouille 6
41 Alan Jones 6
41 Ralf Schumacher 6
47 Nino Farina 5
47 Chris Amon 5
47 Clay Regazzoni 5
47 Keke Rosberg 5
47 Patrick Tambay 5
56 Carlos Sainz jr. 5
52 Mike Hawthorn 4
52 Didier Pironi 4
52 Giancarlo Fisichella 4
52 Jarno Trulli 4
56 José Froilán González 3
56 Tony Brooks 3
56 Dan Gurney 3
56 Jean-Pierre Jarier 3
56 Jody Scheckter 3
56 Elio De Angelis 3
56 Teo Fabi 3
56 Daniel Ricciardo 3
56 Sergio Pérez 3
66 Stuart Lewis-Evans 2
66 Jo Siffert 2
66 John Watson 2
66 Gilles Villeneuve 2
66 Michele Alboreto 2
66 Jean Alesi 2
66 Heinz-Harald Frentzen 2
73 Walt Faulkner 1
73 Duke Nalon 1
73 Fred Agabashian 1
73 Bill Vukovich 1
73 Jack McGrath 1
73 Jerry Hoyt 1
73 Eugenio Castellotti 1
73 Pat Flaherty 1
73 Pat O'Connor 1
73 Dick Rathmann 1
73 Johnny Thomson 1
73 Jo Bonnier 1
73 Eddie Sachs 1
73 Wolfgang Graf Berghe von Trips 1
73 Lorenzo Bandini 1
73 Mike Parkes 1
73 Peter Revson 1
73 Denny Hulme 1
73 Patrick Depailler 1
73 José Carlos Pace 1
73 Vittorio Brambilla 1
73 Tom Pryce 1
73 Bruno Giacomelli 1
73 Andrea de Cesaris 1
73 Thierry Boutsen 1
73 Nick Heidfeld 1
73 Robert Kubica 1
73 Heikki Kovalainen 1
73 Nico Hülkenberg 1
73 Pastor Maldonado 1
73 Lance Stroll 1
73 Lando Norris 1
73 George Russell 1
73 Kevin Magnussen 1
F1 poleposition Lewis Hamilton Grand Prix Qatar 2021 © XPBimages

Cashing in on pole positions

It is not always certain that if a driver starts from pole position, that he can cash in on it in a win. The overview below shows the percentage of pole to wins of the active drivers on the 2024 grid. The list below is updated up to and including the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix.

Pole to win ratio current drivers 2024

Driver Pole/Win %
Max Verstappen 37/32 86,49%
Fernando Alonso 22/14 63,64%
Lewis Hamilton 104/61 58,65%
Carlos Sainz 5/2 40,00%
Sergio Perez 3/1 33,33%
Daniel Ricciardo 3/1 33,33%
Valtteri Bottas 20/6 30,00%
Charles Leclerc 22/4 18,18%
Nico Hulkenberg 1/0 0,00%
Lance Stroll 1/0 0,00%
Lando Norris 1/0 0,00%
George Russell 1/0 0,00%
Kevin Magnussen 1/0 0,00%
F1 poleposition Fernando Alonso McLaren Grand Prix Monaco 2007 © xpb.cc

Max Verstappen record: most cashed pole positions in a row

Max Verstappen broke Michael Schumacher's record after the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix with the most pole positions in a row he has converted into victories, namely 13.

Special / surprising pole positions

Over the years, there have been plenty of memorable pole positions, from surprises to pole positions where the difference was nil. Below are some special and surprising pole positions:

  • Schumacher, Villeneuve and Frentzen 1997 | Something very special happened at the 1997 European Grand Prix. During qualifying, no fewer than three drivers set exactly the same time. Both Jacques Villeneuve, Michael Schumacher and Heinz-Harald Frentzen clocked a time of 1:21.072. Jacques Villeneuve was allowed to start on pole position as he was the first driver to set the time. None of the three drivers managed to cash in on the pole. Mika Häkkinen ran away with the win.
  • Hulkenberg 2010 | Nico Hulkenberg scored his first pole position during qualifying for the Brazilian Grand Prix. In varying conditions, he and his Williams secured the first starting spot with a 1.1-second lead over Sebastian Vettel.
  • Hamilton 2018 | The pole position Lewis Hamilton grabbed during qualifying for the 2018 Singapore Grand Prix is one of the most epic ever at that circuit, according to Toto Wolff. The Briton clocked a 1:36.015, which was more than three seconds faster than Sebastian Vettel's pole time the year before (1:39.491). He did so on the hypersoft tyre and was three tenths ahead of Max Verstappen.
  • Verstappen 2019 | Two memorable moments for Max Verstappen in 2019. In qualifying for the 2019 Hungarian Grand Prix, the Dutchman took his first ever pole position, edging Valtteri Bottas by 0.018 seconds. We will also remember the qualifying for the Mexico Grand Prix. Verstappen managed to take pole position in sensational fashion, but unfortunately he was not allowed to start from the first starting spot. Indeed, he received a grid penalty for ignoring yellow flags and had to make do with fourth place on the grid.
F1 poleposition Nico Hulkenberg Brazilian Grand Prix 2010 © xpb.cc

What means pole position in F1?

Pole position in Formula 1 refers to the first starting position on the grid, which is awarded to the driver who achieved the fastest lap time during the qualifying session.

Who has the most pole position in F1 history?

Lewis Hamilton currently holds the record for the most pole positions. The Brit has started from the first position a remarkable 104 times. Behind him are Michael Schumacher with 68 pole positions and Ayrton Senna with 65 pole positions.

How many poles does have Max Verstappen have?

Max Verstappen currently has achieved 33 pole positions in his F1 career.

How many pole positions does Lewis have?

Lewis Hamilton has been on pole position a whopping 104 times in Formula 1.

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