Raikkonen, Schumi, Alonso - Top F1 drivers that have completed 300 races

Image: AFP
Image: AFP

Kimi Raikkonen competed in his 300th Formula 1 race at the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix.

The Finnish driver, who started his career at Sauber in 2001, achieved this feat for the same team that’s been rebadged Alfa Romeo Racing.

Though the race itself was something Raikkonen would much rather forget - finishing in 17th place and one lap behind race winner Lewis Hamilton - the greatness of the achievement itself was something the F1 world was ecstatic about.

But while everyone was raving about it, Raikkonen was his old self; taking on a meh attitude and being totally casual about it. He noted that he did not even know about the 'Big 3', only finding out about it when his team told him about it after the Spanish GP.

Raikkonen, the 2007 world champion with his sometimes crude remarks and blank expressions, is one of F1’s biggest personalities and has his name been etched alongside those who’ve also passed the magical number. 

Here are the top F1 drivers who managed to exceed 300 races in F1:

1. Jenson Button - 306 races

Button was one of those nearly drivers in F1; early in his career he’d nearly take a win, nearly made it a the podium, nearly finished in the points. But his resolve paid off in 2009 when he, driving for Brawn GP, became world champion. And yes, by the start of that season his one and only victory came at Hungary in 2006.

In 2009, he'd add another six wins to his tally en route to winning the championship that year. In 2010 he moved to McLaren, winning in his first outing for the team. He retired at the end of the 2012 season with a total of 15 race wins behind his name and (then) as only the fourth driver to have surpassed 300 races in F1.

Button made his debut at the Australian GP in 2000 and his final appearance as guest replacement for Fernando Alonso at the 2017 Monaco GP.

2. Michael Schumacher - 307 races

His career may be littered with controversy and suspicious driving tactics but Michael Schumacher is a legend in the sport, attracting a cult following among Ferrari fans. Since making his unexpected debut at the 1991 Belgium GP, Schumacher has delighted fans with his speed and race craft. After 19 seasons in the sport, excluding his three-year hiatus between 2007 and 2009, Schumacher competed in 307 races and winning 91 of them. The most number of wins by an F1 driver yet! Schumacher won the F1 championship a total of seven times, including five on the trot with Ferrari from 2000 and 2004. 

Other career highlights include 68 pole positions, 77 fastest laps, and leading a total of 5111 laps throughout his time in F1. He retired at the end of 2006, but returned in 2010 with Mercedes before formally retiring at the end of 2012. In December 2012, mere days before his 43rd birthday, Schumacher would suffer a severe head injury while skiing with his son Mick whilst on holiday in France.

News remains scarce regarding the F1 legend’s well-being.

3. Fernando Alonso - 312 races

Alongside Raikkonen, Alonso also debuted at the 2001 Australian GP but managed to capture the championship on two occasions: 2005 and 2006 with Renault. Alonso would join McLaren in 2007, but after a tumultuous season with team mate and then-rookie Hamilton, Alonso moved back to Renault for 2008 and 2009.

In 2010 he joined Ferrari after the team ousted Raikkonen - who was their last champion since Schumacher - but failed to capture a championship with the Italian team between 2010 and 2014. Alonso’s career is marred by poor-decision making with regards to which team to join despite an offer to join Mercedes. He opted to stay with Ferrari, believing he’ll win the championship with them. Hamilton jumped ship from McLaren to join team Schumacher at the end of 2012.

Hamilton and Mercedes would go on to become the most successful pairing since the hybrid-era kicked off in 2014, leaving Alonso to flounder with Ferrari, still trying to grab that elusive championship. In 2015 Alonso rejoined McLaren who signed with Honda as a new engine partner but as the team’s performance continued to dip, so too did Alonso’s passion for the sport. He retired at the end of the 2018 season, entering IndyCar in 2019. Alonso did note, however, that he is not ruling out a return to F1 in future.

4. Rubens Barrichello - 323 races

It’s ironic that the driver who tops the list for the most races participated in, failed to win the championship throughout his 18-year-long career. Since debuting at the 1993 South African GP, Barrichello scored a relatively low total points haul of 658. To put in in perspective, that’s less than the 771 Hamilton scored in 2017 and 2018 combined!

Barrichello persevered and would join Ferrari in 2000 as team mate to Schumacher where he would form part of the of the most dominating duo’s in f1 history. Barrichello would be allowed (read: team orders) to win the odd race here and there for Ferrari, but he’d continue to pick up the scraps when Schumacher could not pull through. In 2006 he joined Honda to partner with Button but his stock in F1 would continue to fall. In 2009, when Ross Brawn purchased Honda and gave the team his name, Barrichello would score his final two victories in the sport that year. And again he had to sit by and watch a team mate with the title...

For 2010 and 2011 he joined Williams in what was a tribute of sorts to fellow Brazilian, Ayrton Senna who tragically lost his life in 1994 driving for Williams. Barrichello bowed out of F1 at the end of 2011 as perhaps the greatest wingman the sport has ever seen.

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