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Formula 1

The elite group of F1 drivers with 50 wins and who could join them

Only four Formula 1 drivers have won 50 or more races in their careers, and it doesn't look like anybody will be joining them anytime soon. Here's an in-depth look at this distinguished group.

Article
To news overview © Mercedes

Thanks to his victory at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, Sergio Perez became the 110th race winner in Formula 1 history. The feat certainly puts him amongst esteemed company, but he has quite a lot of work ahead of him if he wants to join the elite of the elite.

As of 2021, only four Formula 1 drivers have won 50 or more races. It's a rare group of drivers, all of whom have won multiple world championships and left their mark on their era of racing.

Here's a look at the four names that have set themselves apart from the rest of their competitors, and whether anybody will be joining them in the near future.

Alain Prost: 51 wins

The man known as "The Professor" became the first Formula 1 driver to pass the 50-win barrier back in 1993 at the British Grand Prix. Prost started on pole and finished ahead of Benetton duo Michael Schumacher and Riccardo Patrese, one of his seven victories that season en route to his fourth and final title.

It was the third time Prost won seven races in a season, with the other two instances coming with McLaren in 1984 and and 1988.

The lone blemish on the Frenchman's stellar career came in 1991. While he can certainly be forgiven for not winning a race during his rookie season for McLaren in 1980, the same can't be said for his second and final season with Ferrari.

Although Nigel Mansell left the team due to his poor relationship with Prost, the Frenchman failed to lead Italian outfit to success. In fact, he didn't even last the season as he publicly criticised the team and stated the car was “like a horrible truck to drive.” He was sacked before the final race of the season in Australia.

			© Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool
	© Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

Sebastian Vettel: 53 wins

The first of two Germans in this elite group, Vettel rose to fame thanks to a stunning victory for Toro Rosso in wet conditions at the 2008 Italian Grand Prix. The victory, which came from pole position, made the Heppenheim native the youngster race winner at 21 years and 73 days, a record that has since been broken by Max Verstappen.

It was a sign of things to come as Vettel's move to Red Bull in 2009 resulted in success for both parties. The German won 38 races for the team from 2009 to 2014, winning four straight titles starting in 2010.

During that time he also established records for most wins in a row (9) and most wins in a season (13, shared with Michael Schumacher), both set in 2013 en route to a dominant title victory.

Vettel's subsequent move to Ferrari wasn't as fruitful, though the German did win 15 races for the Italian outfit despite being shutout in 2016 and 2020.

Now with Aston Martin, Formula 1 fans will no doubt follow his progress with the team in 2021 as he looks to win his first race since the 2019 Singapore Grand Prix.

Michael Schumacher: 91 wins

There isn't much that hasn't been said about the seven-time world champion. Schumacher's pace was evident from the first time he stepped into a Jordan car at the 1991 Belgian Grand Prix, registering his first career win at the same track a year later with Benetton.

The Italian team's rise to prominence came at the perfect time, as Schumacher won back-to-back titles in 1994 and 1995 while winning 17 races. His move to Ferrari in 1996 resulted in three wins, with his victory in wet conditions in Spain arguably one of his greatest drives as he earned the nickname of "Rainmaster".

What was to follow was one of the most dominant runs in Formula 1 history, as Schumacher won five consecutive drivers' titles from 2000 to 2004. In 2002 the German recorded 11 wins from 17 races, yet somehow managed to top himself with 13 victories in 18 in 2004.

All in all Schumacher ended his time at Ferrari with 72 wins and 93 in total, a record that many thought would stand for decades.

Lewis Hamilton: 95 wins

Instead Schumacher's record for most wins was broken by this man, Lewis Hamilton. The Brit passed the mighty German in terms of wins thanks to a dominant drive at the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix, finishing over 25 seconds ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas.

Hamilton has won a race every season since making his debut for McLaren back in 2007, when he registered four and missed out on the world title by just one point. His lowest total came during his first year with Mercedes in 2013, picking up just one.

However since then both Hamilton and Mercedes have dominated the Formula 1 landscape, winning races, drivers' titles and constructors' titles with the rest of the grid powerless to stop him. In fact, the only driver to top the Brit since then was teammate Nico Rosberg who beat him to the title in 2016. Even then, Hamilton finished the season with more wins (10) than the German (9).

Now the question is how many more wins will Hamilton add to his lead at the top, and whether he'll claim his eighth title.

			© Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool
	© Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

Who can join the 50 win club?

The list of candidates isn't long, and even then, it might take some time for another Formula 1 driver to reach the 50 win club.

Fernando Alonso sits on 32 victories, but at the age of 39, he'll be hard pressed to win another 18 races after sitting out the last two seasons, especially as Alpine aren't expected to challenge the front of the grid just yet.

Kimi Raikkonen has 21 wins to his name, but given he now drives for Alfa Romeo and has one win in the last eight seasons, he likely won't add to that tally.

Therefore it's Max Verstappen, who sits on 10 victories, that has the best chance of hitting 50. Sure, it will take some time as the Dutchman still has to contend with Mercedes, but given his age and talent, the odds are certainly in his favour.

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