It's a safe bet that Formula 1 drivers never dream that they'd make a list of drivers with the most starts in F1 without a race victory. At least, that's not the goal.
This week at the F1 Mexico Grand Prix, Haas F1 Team's Nico Hulkenberg makes his 200th start in Formula 1. And that places him No. 2 on the all-time list for most starts without a victory in the series. He's a good bet to pass Andrea de Cesaris (208) for the top spot on this dubious list early next season.
This list includes four active Formula 1 drivers: Hulkenberg, Kevin Magnussen, Lance Stroll and Lando Norris. It also includes the father of the driver on pace to be the most decorated driver in series history.
Here's the list of those who have raced the most in F1 without ever finding their way to the top step of the podium:
20. Chris Amon (96)
Chris Amon had several near misses (or more to the point, near victories) in a career that ran from 1963 through 1976. Three of those years, 1967-69, were with Ferrari. Amon's career included five poles and 11 podium finishes. He had three third-place finishes for Ferrari in 1967. His best season with Ferrari was 1968, when he won three poles and finished fifth in the championship. That year, he finished runner-up to Jo Siffert by 4.4 seconds at Brands Hatch. The closest Amon came to victory in his F1 career was at Spa in 1970, when he finished second, just 1.1 seconds behind Pedro Rodríguez.
19. Marcus Ericsson (97)
Marcus Ericsson toiled with the backmarker Caterham and Sauber F1 outfits from 2014 to 2018. He never managed a podium. In fact, his best finish was eighth, a lap down, at Melbourne in 2015. The closest Ericsson came to victory was at Baku, Azerbaijan, in 2018. That day, he finished 11th, but was 18.512 seconds back of race-winner Lewis Hamilton. Ericsson is driving for Chip Ganassi Racing in the NTT IndyCar Series in 2020.
18. Pedro Diniz (98)
Pedro Diniz, a pay driver who carried family sponsorship with him, raced in Formula 1 from 1995 through 2000. Diniz's father, Abilio, is a businessman in Brazil who built a supermarket chain. Forbes lists Abilio as the 1,090th richest person in the world with a net worth of $2.4 billion. Another driver who was unable to shed the backmarker label, Diniz did not even finish on the lead lap until the 48th race of his F1 career. Driving for the Arrows Grand Prix team, Diniz's best finish was fifth at the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa in 1998. The closest Diniz ever finished to a race winner was at Montreal in 1999. That time out, he finished sixth for Red Bull Sauber Petronas, just 3.711 seconds back of race-winner Mika Häkkinen.
17, Lando Norris (100)
McLaren driver Lando Norris is probably the best candidate of any driver on this list to fall off it pretty soon. Norris, who turns 24 in November, has five runner-up finishes this year alone, including one stretch of three second-place efforts in four races. In total, Norris has 12 podiums in his first 100 race starts.
16. Pedro de la Rosa (104)
Pedro de la Rosa was a late-comer to Formula 1, kicking off his career at the age of 28 with the Arrows Grand Prix team in 1999. He was in and out of the series, racing nine seasons before wrapping up his F1 career with the HRT team 2012. He had one podium in the series, finishing second for McLaren at Hungary in 2006, 30.8 seconds back of winner Jenson Button. Following his F1 career, de la Rosa moved to Formula E and became an advisor to the Techeetah team.
15. Jos Verstappen (105)
Heading into the 2020 season, Jos Verstappen's son Max had eight victories in Formula 1. Jos wasn't so lucky, going 105 races without a win between 1994 and 2003. Jos made it to the podium twice in his career, both with Benetton in his rookie season. He finished third in his sixth and seventh F1 starts, at Hungary and Belgium, respectively. In both of those races, he was 70 seconds off the pace.
14. Philippe Alliot (109)
Philippe Alliot never made it to the podium in his Formula 1 career from 1984 until 1994. His best finish with fifth in the 1993 Italian Grand Prix at Imola, two laps back of winner Alain Prost. And, in doing his part to define the term backmarker, Alliot never finished an F1 race on the lead lap.
13. Mika Salo (110)
Mika Salo raced in Formula 1 from 1994 through 2002. He managed two podiums in his career, both coming in 1999 with Ferrari. His best career finish was second at Hockenheim, Germany, that year, 1.007 seconds back of teammate Eddie Irvine. That finish came during a six-race stint, when he replaced an injured Michael Schumacher in the Ferrari ride. In 5,442 career F1 laps, he led two. Salo, however, did make it to the top step of the podium with a class championship at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2009.
12. Pierluigi Martini (118)
Pierluigi Martini raced in the series from 1984 through 1995 and never reached the podium. His best finishes came in 1991 when he was fourth in Grands Prix at Italy and Portugal. His result at Portugal marked the only time Martini finished on the lead lap in a Formula 1 race. He was 63 seconds back of Riccardo Patrese that day. Martini was an overall winner at Le Mans in 1999.
11. Adrian Sutil (128)
Adrian Sutil's career spanned 2007-14, and his best season was 2010 with Force India when he finished in the top 10 eight times. That year, he finished ninth in the F1 drivers' standings. His best career finish was fourth at Monza in 2009. Sutil led 11 laps in his career, with all those coming in the season-opening race at Melbourne in 2013. He actually finished his F1 career as a reserve driver with Williams in 2015.
10. Eddie Cheever (132)
Eddie Cheever Jr. was the last driver to win the Indianapolis 500 as a team owner/driver when he pulled off that feat in 1998. His Formula 1 career lasted from 1978-89, where reached the podium nine times. He finished runner-up at Detroit in 1982 and in Montreal in 1983. He never led a lap in an F1 career that included 5,487 laps.
9. Jean-Pierre Jarier (134)
Jean-Pierre Jarier raced in Formula 1 from 1971-83, and his career included three poles and three podium finishes. The closest he came to victory was at South Africa in 1979 for Tyrrell when he finished third, 22 seconds back of race-winner Gilles Villeneuve. Jarier started on the pole at Montreal in 1978 for John Player Team Lotus, leading 49 laps that day before going to the sidelines with an oil leak 21 laps short of victory.
8, Lance Stroll (140)
Until Aston Martin driver Lance Stroll wins a race, many fans will say that the only reason he still has a ride in the series is because his father (Lawrence Stroll) owns the team. Stroll has three podium finishes in his career, the most recent being a third-place finish at Bahrain in 2020.
7. Derek Warwick (146)
Derek Warwick toiled in Formula 1 from 1981-93, finishing on the podium four times in 1984 with Renault. He finished runner-up that season in both Belgium and at Brands Hatch in England. He was 42 seconds off the pace in both second-place finishes. Warwick was an overall winner at Le Mans with Peugeot in 1992.
6. Martin Brundle (158)
Martin Brundle, who is probably best known as a top F1 commentator, raced in Formula 1 from 1984-96. He finished on the podium nine times in his career, which included a runner-up finish at Monza in 1992 (17 seconds back of Ayrton Senna) and 1994 at Monte Carlo (37 seconds back of Michael Schumacher). One of several drivers on this list to achieve success at Le Mans, Brundle was an overall winner in the 24 Hours in 1990 with Jaguar.
5. Kevin Magnussen (159)
Kevin Magnussen is the first of four currently active F1 drivers on this list. He's the son of former F1 driver and four-time Le Mans class winner Jan Magnussen. Kevin kicked off his F1 career in fine fashion with McLaren, finishing runner-up in Melbourne to start the 2014 season. He finished 26.77 seconds back of race-winner Nico Rosberg. It would be Magnussen's lone podium finish to date. He lost his ride at McLaren in 2015 when the team signed Fernando Alonso. Magnussen moved to Renault for 2017. He's raced at Haas F1 since 2017. The highlight of his 2019 season was at Interlagos in Brazil, where he finished 11th and a career-best 12.732 seconds behind the winner (Max Verstappen).
4. Romain Grosjean (179)
Romain Grosjean is one of four active Formula 1 drivers on the list that also includes his current Haas F1 teammate Kevin Magnussen. Grosjean has 10 career podium finishes, the most recent coming at Spa for Lotus in 2015. Grosjean finished second at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, in 2013 for Lotus when he was 6.2 seconds back of Sebastian Vettel.
3. Nick Heidfeld (183)
Nick Heidfeld was active in Formula 1 from 2000 through 2011. His career included one pole and 13 podium finishes. He finished runner-up seven times in his F1 career, including back-to-back races in 2005 for Williams F1 team at Monte Carlo (Kimi Räikkönen beat him by 13.877 seconds) and at the Nürburgring (Fernando Alonso beat him there by 16.567 seconds). He was a class winner at Le Mans in 2014 for Toyota, and he also raced from 2014-17 in the FIA Formula E series.
2. Nico Hulkenberg (199)
Nico Hulkenburg raced full time in Formula 1 from 2010-19. He raced twice in relief roles in both 2020 and 2022 before returning to race full time for Haas in 2023.
He was surprisingly consistent, finishing in the top 10 in the season championship six times without ever making it to the podium. His best career finish is fourth, a feat he accomplished four times. His most recent fourth-place finish came at Spa in 2016 for Force India. Hulkenberg has raced once at Le Mans, winning the overall title with Porsche in 2015.
1. Andrea de Cesaris (208)
Andrea de Cesaris tops the list after a career that spanned from 1980-94 without a trip to the top step of the podium. He did manage five podiums, including runner-up finishes at Hockenheim and South Africa in 1983 for Alfa Romeo. He led 32 laps (out of 7,693 laps completed) in his career, but none over the final 171 races. He died in a motorcycle accident in Italy in 2014 at the age of 55. His death came on the same day that Jules Bianchi suffered his crash at the Japanese Grand Prix that would ultimately lead to his own death.