Sergio Perez set a new record at the Sakhir Grand Prix for the most number of grands prix started before taking a first career win. Following the new addition to the history books, MotorsportWeek.com takes a look at the other drivers who were also subjected to a long wait before taking their maiden victory.
Jean Alesi, 91st race – 1995 Canadian Grand Prix
Having joined Ferrari in 1991 after a year and a half with Tyrrell, Alesi was made to wait for his first (and only) victory in F1, as Ferrari battled through a formidable rough patch in the early 1990s. At the 1995 Canadian Grand Prix, Benetton’s Michael Schumacher was on course to take the 14th win of his career, before he was forced to pit with an electrical issue, allowing Alesi to take the lead and eventual race win. It marked Ferrari’s second victory since the start of 1991, with Alesi leaving the team at the end of his race-winning season.
Thierry Boutsen, 95th race – 1989 Canadian Grand Prix
After a smattering of unsuccessful years with Arrows, Boutsen spent two years at Benetton picking up podiums before switching to Williams in 1989. In mixed conditions in Canada, Boutsen progressed slowly through the field, having started from sixth on the grid. On lap 63 of 69 he took second place and with Ayrton Senna leading, Boutsen was handed a gift when the Brazilian’s Honda engine failed on lap 67, dropping him out of the lead and allowing Boutsen to sweep through and claim the first of three career victories.
Mika Hakkinen, 96th race – 1997 European Grand Prix
The grand prix at Jerez in 1997 is best remembered for the title showdown between Michael Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve, however it also marked the top-step breakthrough for Hakkinen. After the infamous collision between Schumacher and Villeneuve, the McLarens of Hakkinen and David Coulthard, who had been swapped through a team order call, took the lead and eventually the 1-2 finish. The following two seasons, Hakkinen would be crowned World Champion amid battles against Schumacher.
Giancarlo Fisichella, 110th race – 2003 Brazilian Grand Prix
Confusion reigned at the end of the 2003 Brazilian GP, when the race was stopped early following a major incident involving Mark Webber and Fernando Alonso. Fisichella and McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen stopped from the lead of the race for fuel after the crashes occurred. With 75 per cent of the race completed, the event was red-flagged and not restarted, with Raikkonen being handed the win as he held the lead on the start of lap 54 (the lap of the incident) before making a mistake and allowing Fisichella through. A later ruling saw the victory awarded to Fisichella, which would be his first, but the last for the Jordan team.
Nico Rosberg, 111th race – 2012 Chinese Grand Prix
Rosberg’s first F1 win came with little challenge at the Chinese Grand Prix of 2012, as he managed his tyres on a two-stop strategy to take the win over the McLarens of Jenson Button and soon-to-be rival Lewis Hamilton. After taking his first career pole on Saturday, Rosberg commanded the race and greeted the chequered flag over 20 seconds clear of the field, which also was the first victory for the Mercedes team after it returned as a manufacturer in 2010.
Jenson Button, 113th race – 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix
After starting from 14th on the grid due to an engine change, Button benefitted hugely from a Safety Car that was called following a crash between Kimi Raikkonen and Vitantonio Liuzzi on lap 25. In mixed conditions, which Button became famous for excelling in, he soon found himself battling Fernando Alonso for the lead, before a loose wheel nut ended the Spaniard’s race, leaving Button to take his first race win and Honda’s only victory during its stint as a Constructor from 2006 to 2008. It came after several near-misses and podiums across the previous few years.
Jarno Trulli, 119th race – 2004 Monaco Grand Prix
Trulli, known as a qualifying session, claimed the first pole position of his career on Saturday and the following day he held on around the tight and unforgiving Monte Carlo circuit to acquire his first win. With rivals Michael and Ralf Schumacher crashing out, as well as team-mate Fernando Alonso, Trulli came under pressure from Button for the lead, but the Briton couldn’t make his way past, leaving Trulli to take the win by under half a second. It proved to be the only triumph of Trulli’s career, who came close for Toyota a number of times, but another win remained elusive.
Rubens Barrichello, 123rd race – 2000 German Grand Prix
Following stints at Jordan and Stewart, Barrichello joined Michael Schumacher at Ferrari in 2000 and took his first race win 11 grands prix into the season. After qualifying 18th on the grid at Hockenheim, Barrichello moved up eight positions on the opening lap. During the race, he continued to make up places and withstood the challenge of rain that fell towards the end of the race. After taking the lead with only a handful of laps left to run, Barrichello opened his advantage and came home in first place, stamping himself into the history books behind only John Watson and Bill Vukovich in wins from furthest back on the starting grid.
Mark Webber, 130th race, 2009 German Grand Prix
Webber’s aggressive start to the 2009 German Grand Prix saw him make contact with Barrichello and Hamilton before even getting to the first corner. Despite receiving a drive-through penalty for his actions, Webber’s blindingly fast pace saw him emerge as the victor as he recovered from his mishap throughout the race. A pit stop error ruined Barrichello’s chances, leaving Webber to end his win hold-up ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel, which secured a 1-2 finish for Red Bull. Webber’s win came after 130 races with Minardi, Jaguar, Williams and Red Bull.
Sergio Perez, 190th race, 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix
Perez’s hopes of a race win seemed to be dashed on the opening lap of the Sakhir Grand Prix after he was hit by Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc and spun to the rear of the field. However after joining up to the back of the pack, Perez sliced his way through the field and eventually found himself in the lead of the race when things went wrong for the dominant Mercedes team. With the pressure of a potential comeback from Mercedes debutant George Russell mounting in the latter stages, a slow puncture for the young star saw any major threat to Perez’s win collapse, leaving the Mexican to secure the victory in his 190th race start.