What’s the closest ever pole margin at the German Grand Prix? Which drivers have made the most Hockenheim appearances? And which future World Champion made their F1 debut at the circuit? Here’s Hockenheim in numbers!
The closest qualifying session in Hockenheim saw pole position decided by only 0.002 seconds. That happened in 2010, when Sebastian Vettel lapped the track in his Red Bull two thousandths of a second quicker than Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso.
The only time a driver has started a German Grand Prix at Hockenheim despite not actually qualifying was in 1977. Hans Heyer was off the pace in qualifying and failed to make the cut for the Grand Prix. That didn’t stop him starting from the pit-lane though. He retired after nine laps with gear linkage problems, and was later disqualified from the event for illegally starting the race.
Three drivers hold the record for the most pole positions at Hockenheim – Ayrton Senna, Nigel Mansell and Alain Prost all have three poles each. Senna is the only driver to have taken his poles here in three consecutive seasons.
In every Grand Prix at the Hockenheim track since 1987, the polesitter has gone on to either win the race, finish in third place or retire. The only exception is Nico Rosberg, who finished in fourth in 20194 after starting on pole. He’s the only polesitter to have ever finished in fourth at the track. Before 1987, the only polesitter who didn’t either retire or finish on the podium was Nico’s dad Keke Rosberg. He finished in fifth place in 1986.
Jochen Rindt scored his sixth and final Grand Prix victory on Formula 1’s first visit to Hockenheim in 1970. It was also the Austrian’s thirteenth and final podium appearance, as well as his last points finish. He competed in just one more race before losing his life in practice for the 1970 Italian Grand Prix. After scoring five early-season wins in 1970, Rindt had still done enough to win the World Championship that year – he was the first, and to date only, driver to be posthumously awarded the driver’s crown.
Three drivers share the record for most Grand Prix starts at Hockenheim. Riccardo Patrese, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello all started sixteen races here during their careers. Both Schumacher and Barrichello took victories at the track, while Patrese’s best result was second place in 1991. Patrese and Barrichello also share the record for most DNFs at the track, with nine each.
In total, there have been 38 first lap retirements from the German Grand Prix during its tenure at Hockenheim. Eleven of those came in the 1994 event. Rubens Barrichello was one of the drivers out on the opening lap in 1994, and he’s one of only two drivers to have recorded two first lap retirements here. He retired on the first lap again in 2003. Pedro de la Rosa also has two first lap DNFs at the track, which happened in 2001 and 2002.
Nelson Piquet made the first of his 204 Grand Prix starts at Hockenheim in 1978. In his only race in an Ensign, Piquet qualified 21st and retired on Lap 31 with engine issues. He was running in twelfth at the time of his retirement.
No driver has led more laps at Hockenheim than home hero Michael Schumacher. He led 213 laps here during his career, 40 with Benetton and 173 with Ferrari. Schumacher also has the most wins of any driver here, with four victories.
In total, 258 drivers have entered F1 races at Hockenheim. That list includes 27 drivers who never actually started a Grand Prix here. The most recent time a driver failed to qualify for a Grand Prix at the track was in 2002. Alex Yoong failed to qualify after falling victim to the 107% rule. He set a lap time five seconds off the pace of the polesitter, missing out on qualifying for the event by 0.24%.