At the 2018 Italian Grand Prix, Kimi Raikkonen became only the fifth driver in the history of Formula One to reach 100 podium finishes. He joins Alain Prost, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel in achieving the accolade. Nicky Haldenby takes a look at the drivers who’ve achieved the feat and compares the statistics between their first hundred top three finishes.
Alain Prost was the first driver to join F1’s 100 Podium Club back in 1993. He drove for four different teams – Renault, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams – on his way to reaching the milestone of 100 podiums. His first top three finish came at the 1981 Argentine Grand Prix, where he finished third with Renault. After seventeen rostrum appearances with the French team, Prost then went on to take 63 podiums with McLaren, before fourteen podiums during his stint at Ferrari took his overall total up to 94. When the Frenchman returned to the sport with Williams in 1993, he took twelve podiums during the season on his way to being crowned World Champion for a fourth time. It was at his home event, the 1993 French Grand Prix at Magny Cours, where Prost took his 100th career podium. It came at his 191st Grand Prix appearance – 4467 days after his first podium appearance – when he was 38 years, 4 months and 11 days old.
Prost would go on to take another six top three finishes in his final season in the sport, and took his 106th and final rostrum finish at his final F1 race, the 1993 Australian Grand Prix.
After a lonely nine years, Prost was joined in the 100 Podium Club by Michael Schumacher in 2002. Schumacher made his first podium appearance at the 1992 Mexican Grand Prix with Benetton, and would enjoy a further 37 podiums with the Enstone-based team before moving to Ferrari. Schumacher took his 100th podium on his way to his fifth World Championship win at the 2002 Brazilian Grand Prix, on his 164th Grand Prix appearance. There was a gap of 10 years and 10 days between his first and 100th podiums. Schumacher holds the record for the highest percentage of wins from his first hundred podiums, with 55 of his first hundred top three finishes being victories.
Schumacher’s total podium tally is an incredible 155, with his first and last spanning a period of over twenty years. His last came with Mercedes, at the 2012 European Grand Prix. It was his only podium during his comeback.
THE 100 CLUB’S FIRST 100 PODIUMS:
Lewis Hamilton became the third member of the 100 Podium Club at the 2016 Japanese Grand Prix. Hamilton is one of only a handful of drivers to have taken a podium finish on their Formula One début, having finished third at the 2007 Australian Grand Prix. Hamilton would go on to take 49 podiums with McLaren in total, with his last for the team being his victory in the inaugural Grand Prix at the Circuit of the Americas. The British driver then moved to Mercedes and continued his record of scoring at least one podium in every season he’s contested in the sport. Five podiums came Hamilton’s way in 2013 before Mercedes rocketed him to title success for 2014 – a season in which he scored a podium in every race where he saw the chequered flag. It would be a third place at Suzuka in 2016 which would secure him his hundredth top three finish.
With his podium tally nearing 130 as of the 2018 Italian Grand Prix, it seems possible that Hamilton could eclipse Schumacher’s record of 155 podiums before his time in the sport comes to an end.
DAYS BETWEEN 1ST AND 100TH PODIUM FINISHES:
Sebastian Vettel joined the 100 Podium Club at the 2018 Australian Grand Prix on his 199th race start. Vettel set a new record when he first stepped on to the podium, becoming the youngest-ever podium finisher in F1 when he won the 2008 Italian Grand Prix – a record which would later be beaten by Max Verstappen. Vettel is currently the driver to have reached 100 podium finishes in the shortest amount of time, with his quest for 100 taking just 9 years, 6 months and 12 days – a period of exactly two weeks less than it took Lewis Hamilton to do the same thing. He also holds the record of the youngest driver to reach 100 podiums, having achieved the feat when he was 30.
Having passed the hundred podium mark, Vettel’s target will be to challenge Hamilton’s career tally before the end of their respective careers. As of the 2018 Italian Grand Prix, Vettel needs 21 top three finishes to catch Hamilton. Equalling Schumacher’s record may be a little out of reach.
AGE AT TIME OF 100TH PODIUM FINISH:
|Alain Prost||38 years, 4 months and 11 days|
|Michael Schumacher||33 years, 2 months, 29 days|
|Lewis Hamilton||31 years, 9 months, 3 days|
|Sebastian Vettel||30 years, 8 months, 23 days|
|Kimi Raikkonen||38 years, 10 months, 17 days|
Kimi Raikkonen became the fifth driver to reach 100 podium finishes at the 2018 Italian Grand Prix. It’s the first time where two drivers have reached the milestone of 100 podiums during the same season.
Raikkonen has had significantly less wins than any other driver who has taken 100 podium finishes, with less than half the victories of any other driver at the time of their hundredth podium. His first podium finish came at the 2002 Australian Grand Prix, during his first race at McLaren – immediately proving wrong the critics who said the Finn was too young for a top tier seat. Raikkonen’s tally of 100 took the most time, with a gap of 16 years, 5 months and 31 days between his first and his 100th podium. At 38 years, 10 months and 17 days old, he also becomes the oldest driver at the time they reached 100 podium finishes – just over six months older than Alain Prost was when he reached the milestone.
With Raikkonen’s career seemingly in its closing stages, he needs another seven top three finishes to beat Alain Prost’s tally and move up to fourth in the all-time list of podium finishers.