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Top seven drivers with most pole positions at F1 Australian GP

Published at :March 22, 2024 at 4:16 PM
Modified at :March 22, 2024 at 4:16 PM
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(Courtesy : Mercedes-AMG PETRONAS F1 Team)

Hisan Kidwai

As the Australian GP approaches, fans of Formula One are buzzing with excitement to witness the thrills and spills at Melbourne’s Albert Park circuit. While securing pole position is a significant achievement, converting it into a victory has been a challenge for many drivers over the years.

The track in Australia is renowned for making it challenging for drivers to turn pole positions into wins, so the pressure is on for those trying to grab the coveted top row of the grid.

In fact, from 2012 to 2019, the Australian GP witnessed only one victory from pole position, adding an extra layer of drama to the qualifying battles.

Let’s take a closer look at the top seven drivers who have dominated qualifying sessions and earned the coveted pole position at the Australian GP.

7. Max Verstappen- 1

The Red Bull Racing team’s reigning F1 World Champion, Max Verstappen, displayed his impressive abilities at the Australian Grand Prix in 2023.

Verstappen tied Fernando Alonso for the 22nd time in his career to take the pole during the event’s qualifying. At the Albert Park track, Verstappen secured pole position for Red Bull despite fierce opposition, which included an exceptional effort by George Russell of Mercedes.

Verstappen not only took first place in the qualifying round at Albert Park, but he also set four new lap records there.

His dominant display confirmed his status as a clear favorite for the race, setting the stage for his eventual victory in Melbourne.

6. Jacques Villeneuve- 2

Former Formula One world champion Jacques Villeneuve made a memorable mark at the Australian Grand Prix, securing pole position twice in 1996 and 1997.

In 1996, during the first race at Albert Park, Villeneuve surprised everyone by claiming pole position in his very first F1 race. Despite his impressive start, he narrowly missed out on victory, finishing second behind his teammate Damon Hill. However, Villeneuve’s outstanding performance earned him a spot on the podium, with Eddie Irvine claiming third place for Ferrari.

The next year, in 1997, Villeneuve was on pole again. But sadly, he had to retire after a crash on the first lap, missing out on the chance to finish the race.

Also Read: Top five constructors with most wins at F1 Australian GP

5. Jenson Button- 2

Jenson Button, a former world champion in Formula One, also left his mark in the Australian Grand Prix in 2006 and 2009 by taking pole position twice.

His luck, though, ran out in the 2006 race. Button started from pole position, but his chances of winning were shattered when, on the very last lap, his engine failed, forcing him to withdraw a mere few meters from the finish line. Button lost out on a possible fifth-place finish and important points as a result of this tragic turn of events. Instead, Kimi Räikkönen of McLaren finished in second position, and Fernando Alonso of Renault won the race, making it Renault’s third straight victory.

4. Mika Hakkinen- 3

At the Australian Grand Prix, two-time Formula One world champion Mika Hakkinen displayed his abilities by taking the pole position three times for the McLaren-Mercedes team in 1998, 1999, and 2000.

The Finnish driver demonstrated his dominance with three consecutive pole positions at the circuit from 1998 to 2000.

He even won the 1998 Australian Grand Prix as a result of his outstanding effort.

In the 2000 edition of the race, Hakkinen secured his 22nd pole position, showcasing his exceptional skill and speed.

In spite of the intense heat at the Albert Park circuit, Hakkinen remained composed and won the qualifying rounds, solidifying his status as one of the fastest drivers on the grid.

3. Michael Schumacher- 3

Michael Schumacher, a legendary figure in Formula One with seven world championship titles, showed his prowess at the Australian Grand Prix by clinching pole position three times in 2001, 2003, and 2004.

On the Victorian circuit, Schumacher showed off his speed and talent in spite of fierce opposition. He won his 33rd pole position in 2001 after setting the quickest lap during qualifying. Sadly, a spectator marshal lost his life in a horrific collision involving Ralf Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve, which ruined the race.

In 2003, Schumacher once again dominated qualifying, leading a Ferrari front-row lockout. Despite challenging weather conditions during the race, Schumacher maintained his competitive edge but encountered difficulties, including a collision that damaged his car and saw him finish fourth.

2. Sebastian Vettel- 3

Former Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel was really quick at qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, getting the best starting position, or pole position, three times in 2010, 2011, and 2013. He’s a four-time world champion, and during those years, he was racing for different teams.

In 2011, he even won the race with the Red Bull team, and later, with Ferrari, he won in 2017 and 2018. His skills behind the wheel and ability to get pole position showed why he was one of the top drivers in Formula One.

1. Lewis Hamilton- 8

Lewis Hamilton, a former Formula One champion with Mercedes, holds the record for most pole positions at the Australian Grand Prix. Holding the record for the most pole positions at the event, he’s secured the prime starting spot eight times, in 2008, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Since the races started at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne, Hamilton has been the king of qualifying, consistently proving his speed and skill.

However, despite his dominance in qualifying, he’s had limited success in converting these poles into wins, with only two victories at the circuit throughout his career.

This highlights the unique challenge that the Australian Grand Prix poses, where securing pole position doesn’t always guarantee victory on race day. Nonetheless, Hamilton’s impressive record demonstrates his exceptional talent and mastery of the sport.

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