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Lando Norris Has the Most Points in F1 History Without a Win. It Gets Worse

Suzuka, Japan, Sunday 24 September: Lando Norris (GBR) of team McLaren on the presentation stage during the 2023 Japan Formula One Grand Prix. Fee liable image, photo and copyright © PETERSON Mark ATP Images
Suzuka, Japan, Sunday 24 September: Lando Norris (GBR) of team McLaren on the presentation stage during the 2023 Japan Formula One Grand Prix. Fee liable image, photo and copyright © PETERSON Mark ATP Images

Last Sunday at the Japanese Grand Prix, McLaren's Lando Norris scored his second P2 in two races, and his fourth this season. It was a great result, but still one position shy of the win that has escaped Norris for years now. In fact, Norris has gone so long that he's now the highest-scoring Formula 1 driver in history without a win. And if you look even deeper, his situation only gets more agonizing.

The record was observed by Race Fans, which noted Norris reaching 543 career points as of last weekend's race. That exceeds the 530 points of prior record-holder Nico Hülkenberg, though Hulk has started more than twice as many races as Norris has—197 to Norris's 98.

SUZUKA INTERNATIONAL RACING COURSE, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 24: Lando Norris, McLaren F1 MCL60 during the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka International Racing Course on Sunday September 24, 2023 in Suzuka, Japan. (Photo by Michael Potts/BSR Agency/Getty Images)
Lando Norris sprays champagne during the podium celebration after the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix. Michael Potts/BSR Agency/Getty Images

But while Hoooooolkenbairgh has failed to score so much as a podium in that time (he's the most experienced F1 driver ever without one), Norris has scored 10 since his 2019 debut with McLaren. That's three shy of Nick Heidfeld, who with 13 has the most career F1 podiums without a win. Now in his fifth season, Norris nears Heidfeld's streak of five consecutive podium-finishing seasons without a win, standing at four himself.

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Together, they make up two of the five drivers in history to score a podium in four or more straight seasons but never win a race. The others at four are Jean Behra and Martin Brundle (often considered the best F1 driver never to win), while the record-holder at six is Chris Amon, who's held in similar regard as Brundle.

Of course, it's hard to compare drivers' performances over the years due to frequent changes to the scoring system, which only stabilized this century. But today's calendar is much longer than in past eras, meaning Norris has had more chances in his few years to perform despite McLaren not being a top team.

He was the man to beat at the 2021 Russian Grand Prix, snagging pole position and the fastest lap, but his strategy gamble when rain arrived backfired, knocking him down to seventh. Nevertheless, that year's McLaren still won a cathartic Italian Grand Prix in the hands of the otherwise struggling Daniel Riccardo. The car simply isn't the only reason why Norris hasn't won.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJnGWItuA5g

In fact, of all five winless drivers with four or more straight podium-finishing seasons, Norris is tied for the highest average finish in the constructors' championship. (By implication, that means he had the best car.) Heidfeld was the unluckiest of the bunch, with an average WCC finish of 6.4, while Amon came in at 5.5. Behra averaged 5, though this needs an asterisk as the first WCC was held in 1958, his final full year of racing. Finally, at the top are Brundle and Norris at an average of 4.25—though again, Norris's is tentative with the current season incomplete.

McLaren also seems to be on a hot streak, opening up the outside chance of taking fourth in the championship from Aston Martin. I'm sure Norris would like that, especially if it meant a win along the way. But for a driver of his caliber, it's probably only a matter of time. He's only in his fifth year of F1, and two of his competitors went far longer before getting their first win. Carlos Sainz took eight seasons, Sergio Perez a whole 10. Norris is just 23, and the best days of his career are probably still several years out. Hopefully, he'll fight his way to the top step of the podium before then.

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