1st – number 1 (181 wins)
So that just leaves our number one, which is, ahem, number 1. With 181 wins from the 956 World Championship races held since 1950, it also became the badge of honour for Drivers’ World Champions from 1975 onwards. A car wearing number 1 first tasted success when Johnnie Parsons won the points-qualifying Indy 500 in 1950, but it wasn’t until 1956, when Juan Manuel Fangio won at Silverstone for Lancia-Ferrari, that it took its first Grand Prix victory. Since that 1975 stability – and until 2015’s introduction of the voluntary carrying of number one by the title winner – many of the great champions have taken it to victory. Only Jody Scheckter (1980), Nelson Piquet (1988), Nigel Mansell (1993), Alain Prost (1994), Jacques Villeneuve (1998) and Sebastian Vettel (2014) have failed to carry number one to a race win as reigning Champion.
Numerous statistical snippets can be gleaned from the list. Which of those 42 numbers, for example, have taken just one victory? There are in fact nine of them.
#21 (Jackie Stewart, Argentina 1972)
#31 (Emerson Fittipaldi, Austria 1972)
#33 (Max Verstappen, Spain 2016)
#38 (Mike Hawthorn, Spain 1954)
#46 (Alberto Ascari, Switzerland 1953)
#71 (Alberto Ascari, Germany 1951)
#98 (Troy Ruttman, Indianapolis 1952)
#99 (Lee Wallard, Indianapolis 1951)
#101 (Alberto Ascari, Germany 1952)
One last nugget: the lowest number not to have won a World Championship event, apart from the unloved 13 (which was only ever used once), is 29.
With thanks to Joao Paolo Cunha at forix.com for his numerical nous during research for this feature.
Photography courtesy of LAT