Formula One drivers from Germany
There have been 51 Formula One drivers from Germany including two world champions, one of whom is currently racing in the sport. Michael Schumacher holds many records in F1 including the most world championship titles and the most consecutive titles. In 2008 Sebastian Vettel became the youngest ever driver to win a race and, in 2010, became the youngest world championship winner. There are currently four German race drivers in Formula One.
World champions and race winners
Since the first season in 1950 Germany has produced two F1 World Drivers' Champions. The first title did not come until 1994 when Michael Schumacher claimed his first of seven championship victories. Sebastian Vettel is the second German drivers' champion, winning back-to-back titles in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. Wolfgang von Trips was leading the championship in 1961 at the time of his fatal accident, and finished 2nd in the standings, just 1 point behind eventual champion Phill Hill.
There have been seven race winners from Germany, with Michael Schumacher having by far the most victories. Vettel has 39 wins to date. Ralf Schumacher won six grand prix and Heinz-Harald Frentzen won three. Wolfgang von Trips, who became the first German driver to win a grand prix, won two races both of which were in 1961. Nico Rosberg has won three races and Jochen Mass has won one.
Sebastian Vettel is the current world champion having won the 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 championships. He is the youngest driver to score a point, to win a race, and to win the title. Vettel is seen as one of the greatest qualifiers in the sport and holds the record for the most consecutive front row starts, having qualified in first or second at 25 consecutive races.
Nico Rosberg, the son of 1982 world champion Keke Rosberg, drives for Germany even though his father represented Finland. He joined Formula One as a driver with Williams before moving to Mercedes in 2010. He scored his first pole position at the 2012 Chinese Grand Prix and held on to win the race.
Nico Hülkenberg joined F1 in 2010, replacing Rosberg in the Williams team. Despite some good performances he was dropped by the team for the following season and he became a test driver for Force India. For the 2012 season he was given a race seat, and he went on to achieve his career best result at the 2012 Belgian Grand Prix, finishing fourth.
Adrian Sutil entered Formula One in 2007 with Spyker. He stayed with the team (which was renamed Force India for 2008) for the next four seasons, before a year out of the sport, and then returning to Force India in 2013. For 2014, Sutil has moved to Sauber.
Notable former drivers
Michael Schumacher has often been listed as one of the greatest drivers in the history of Formula One and the "most dominant driver in the history of the sport". He is statistically the best driver, holding many records including the most world championships, most wins, most fastest laps, most pole positions, and most points. He won an unprecedented seven world championship titles, firstly in 1994 and then his second in 1995. Those titles came while Schumacher was a driver for Bennetton but in 1996 he left to join Ferrari, a team who were, at the time, in disarray and without a champion driver since 1979. Over the next few seasons Schumacher and Ferrari saw some success and some controversy, including his disqualification from the 1997 season. However, the combination eventually proved highly successfully and Schumacher won five consecutive championships between 2000 and 2004. Many of Schumacher's records are believed unlikely to ever be surpassed.
Stefan Bellof has been described as the "ultimate 'what-might-have-been' driver". He joined Formula One in 1984, the same year that saw Ayrton Senna join the sport. Senna's performance at the 1984 Monaco Grand Prix marked him out as an immensely talented driver, but Bellof's race had shown what potential the German had as well. Starting last on a very wet grid, Bellof quickly rose through the order, passing seven cars by the end of the first lap. He was in fourth place when the race was stopped due to safety concerns brought on by the weather. It would prove to be his best result in Formula One and, in 1985, Bellof died at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps while competing in the World Sportscar Championship. Former team mate Martin Brundle later said of Bellof "as it is with Ayrton, the good ones are taken from us far too young".
Ralf Schumacher, younger brother of Michael, won six Grands Prix in a career that spanned eleven F1 seasons starting in 1997. All six wins came in the middle of his F1 career as a driver for Williams. Heinz-Harald Frentzen won three grand prix over ten seasons, twice finishing in third place in the drivers' championship. Nick Heidfeld has the most podium finishes without a win (13) and holds the record for the most consecutive race classifications with a tally of 41.
Timo Glock was the third driver for Jordan in 2004 and was called up for racing duty when Giorgio Pantano was unable to drive due to a sponsorship dispute. Glock finished 7th, becoming one of only a handful of drivers who have scored championship points on their debut. It would prove to be Glock's only race in that season and he would not return to F1 until 2009.
Other former drivers
Additional to those detailed above the following drivers started at least ten races:
- Category:German Formula One drivers
- List of Formula One drivers
- List of Formula One Grand Prix winners
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