Daniel Ricciardo entered the 2021 Formula 1 season leading a category which Lewis Hamilton had led for several years until the end of last year. Despite a scare, he is set to retain that lead.
While the 2020 Formula 1 season was filled with Lewis Hamilton tying and breaking all-time records, namely those which had been held by fellow seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher, he also saw one of his own historic marks come to an end.
Hamilton, who holds the all-time record for most consecutive Formula 1 starts, had been the active leader with 265 after winning the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit.
He still owns the record, but after missing that race, he is no longer the leader among active driver in this particular category.
That honor went to Daniel Ricciardo, who joined McLaren in 2021 following a two-year stint with Renault.
Hamilton tested positive for COVID-19 after winning the Bahrain Grand Prix and was forced to miss the next race, the Sakhir Grand Prix, at the track’s outer layout the following weekend, ending his streak.
That streak is roughly three full seasons higher than what was the next highest streak at the time. Nico Rosberg never missed a race over the course of his career, which lasted from 2006 to 2016, and he ended his career with 206 consecutive starts.
Hamilton made his record-tying 206th consecutive start in the 2017 Mexican Grand Prix at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez and his record-breaking 207th consecutive start in the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix at Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace.
In the race that Hamilton missed, Ricciardo took over with the longest active streak and tied Riccardo Patrese for third place on the all-time list with 187 consecutive starts.
He made his 188th straight start in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit and competed in all 22 races on the 2021 scheduled to extend that streak to 210.
He tied Rosberg in the Mexican Grand Prix with his 206th start, and he passed him in the Brazilian Grand Prix (officially the Sao Paulo Grand Prix in 2021) with his 207th.
But the active leader in consecutive starts was nearly slated to lose that title to start the 2022 season.
The 32-year-old Australian, who has not missed a race since making his Formula 1 debut in 2011, missed last week’s preseason test at Bahrain due to feeling unwell, and he later tested positive for COVID-19.
But he has since been cleared to compete in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix this weekend after returning multiple negative test results. As a result, he is still the active driver with the longest consecutive starts streak. No other active streak ranks in the top 10 all-time.
Red Bull’s Max Verstappen sits next highest, having competed in 141 straight races going back to his debut in the 2015 Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit.
If all goes as planned, Ricciardo will end the 23-race 2022 season having competed in 233 straight races, which would trail Hamilton’s record by just 32. He would foreseeably be able to break the record sometime in the 2024 season.
The 2022 season is scheduled to get underway at Bahrain International Circuit this Sunday, March 20. The Bahrain Grand Prix is set to be broadcast live on ESPN beginning at 11:00 a.m., so don’t miss your chance to get a free trial of FuboTV today!