Top 11 Facts, Firsts, and Foul-ups of the 2018 Formula 1 Season
This isn't your regular trivia list about how many titles Lewis Hamilton has—it's about things that haven't happened in a while, or ever at all.
Anything can happen in Formula 1, and it usually does. -Murray Walker
Every single Formula 1 season, new milestones are reached. Some are pleasant, such as the first podium for the driver from a country that hasn't fielded a driver in the sport before. Others are less so, like the bad luck streaks of drivers such as Valtteri Bottas, Nico Hülkenberg, and Daniel Ricciardo. We'd prefer to run through the positives before having to swim through the negatives, from which we imagine some drivers pray for relief.
- Just one driver outside the top three teams of Red Bull, Ferrari, and Mercedes finished on the podium in 2018. Sergio Perez achieved P3 at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix despite a five-second time penalty, but this also required two safety cars, the first-lap collision of his teammate with Kimi Räikkönen, the Red Bulls taking each other out, Valtteri Bottas puncturing his tire on debris, Sebastian Vettel ruining his tires with a huge lockup.
- 2018 was the final of 13 straight seasons in which either (or both) Kimi Räikkönen or Felipe Massa drove for Ferrari.
- Lewis Hamilton is the only driver in history to exceed 400 points in a season, and he did so despite a retirement in Austria. He also passed the 3,000-point milestone with his Abu Dhabi win, now possessing 3,018 points.
- 2018 was the first season in F1 history to feature no driver lineup changes from start to finish. Every driver that started in Australia also started in Abu Dhabi. Finishing, however, was another matter for several in each case, especially Marcus Ericsson and Sergey Sirotkin, neither of whom finished either contest, Abu Dhabi being their last in F1.
- For the first time since the 2015 season, no race sessions were red-flagged.
- Lewis Hamilton broke the curse of the Hungarian Grand Prix, which dictated between 2005 and 2017 that the winner of said race would not go on to win the championship. Prior to Hamilton in 2018, the last exception to this rule was Michael Schumacher in 2004.
- Fernando Alonso completed the first comprehensive F1 qualifying lockout in a decade, besting his teammate Stoffel Vandoorne 21:0 in qualifying. The last driver to do this? Also Alonso, against Nelson Piquet Jr. in 2008.
- Daniel Ricciardo became the first driver to score multiple wins, but no other podiums in a season since 1970, when Jochen Rindt's successful (but fatal) title campaign boasted the same feat.
- Daniel Ricciardo suffered eight retirements in 2018, plus an MGU-K failure in Monaco that would have ended his race at any other circuit. For context, Lewis Hamilton has had eight retirements during his entire time with Mercedes, starting in 2013. The last driver to face this volume of retirements in one season was Carlos Sainz Jr., who had eight retirements in 2017.
- Valtteri Bottas became the first Mercedes driver since Michael Schumacher in 2012 not to score a win, and at fifth in the championship, was the team's lowest finisher since 2013, when Lewis Hamilton came home in the same position. It's not for a lack of competitiveness, though: the Finn had wins taken from him by a safety car in China, a puncture in Azerbaijan, and team orders in Germany as well as Russia.
- As of the end of the 2018 season, Nico Hülkenberg has started 156 Grands Prix—half as many as Fernando Alonso—and scored 474 career points, earned two fastest laps, and a pole position, but never a podium. In the 2018 championship, he finished two places and 13 points above Kevin Magnussen, whose debut at the Australian Grand Prix resulted in a second-place finish.