With the cars in the race being a vital component to the driver being able to finish the race, more often than not the part the driver plays in the race it’s only partial to the ability to complete it. If the car cannot hold up, whether it is due to malfunction, disrepair, or being rendered inoperable by collisions, the race cannot be completed. With the number of races in F1 seasons increasing from 7 to 21, this happens even more often for a variety of reasons. However, there have actually been 8 times in the history of F1 where drivers were able to complete a full season without a single DNF (Did Not Finish).
1: Dan Gurney – 1961
Gurney was the earliest to achieve this unlikely feat in 1961, when he was able to complete every race of the season (though it was not a requirement at the time), without a single DNF to his name. He never ended up winning a championship, but he did finish third in the drivers’ standing ranking. An American driver for Porsche, he provided the team with its best season which resulted in a third-place finish.
2: Richie Ginther – 1964
Before heading to the Honda team, Ginther drove for BRM and competed in all ten Grand Prix races in 1964. The points from the best six results were tabulated, netting Ginther enough points to share a fourth-place finish with 23 points.
3: Michael Schumacher – 2002
In a season for remarkable achievements, the German driver went after every available accolade in 2002. He won his fifth title, finishing on the podium position in every one of the seventeen races held that year. In a dominating win, Schumacher finished 67 points ahead of the runner up, his Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello. His performance in the season was so dominating in fact, that he clinched the championship, with six Grand Prix races left to go in the season.
4: Nick Heidfeld – 2008
Driving for BMW Sauber, Heidfeld finished a DNF-free 2008 season sixth in the driver standings. He finished with 61 points that year competing in all 18 Grand Prix races conducted that year, coming in second place in 4 of them.
5: Kimi Raikkonen – 2012
Making his return to F1 racing, Kimi Raikkonen finished every one of the twenty Grand Prix races of the 2012 season without a single retirement. He won the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that year and finish second in China GP, when his tires lost their performance. Driving for Lotus, Raikkonen claimed third place in the championship rankings and finished in fourth at the Constructor’s Championship that year.
6: Max Chilton – 2013
In his rookie year, Chilton finished every one of the nineteen races without a DNF. However, he did so without ever scoring a single point. He moved on to an uneventful 2014 season where he continued his streak of 25 consecutive completed races, before finally having to retire at that year’s Canadian Grand Prix. The lackluster performances overshadowed his DNF-less streak, and Chilton did not return for the 2015 season.
7: Daniel Ricciardo – 2016
Ricciardo competed in every one of the 21 races organized in 2016, scoring points in all but one (Russia) due to a collision on the first lap. He did finish with an impressive 256 championship points. He won the Malaysia Grand Prix, and earned a spot on the podium in 7 other races that year.
8: Lewis Hamilton – 2017
Scoring points in every one of the 20 races in 2017, Hamilton sailed to his 4th driver’s title victory. Winning nine of the Grand Prix races that year, Hamilton’s worst finish was in Mexico where he came in 9th place.