How many drivers have already led the classification?
Charles Leclerc tops the Formula 1 driver standings for the first time in his career after winning the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday.
Charles Leclerc claimed his first Formula 1 victory and that of Ferrari since the 2019 season by winning the 2022 season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix on Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Leclerc led a 1-2 finish for the Scuderia ahead of team-mate Carlos Sainz Jr. after a late fuel pump problem led to the retirement of reigning Red Bull world champion Max Verstappen who had spent a much of the race for second place.
After starting from pole position and leading 55 of the season-opening 57 laps around the 15-turn, 3.363-mile (5.412-kilometer) road course in Sakhir, Bahrain, Leclerc took the checkered flag and found himself now at the top of the driver standings. for the first time in his career.
If not for a late mechanical problem, he could have found himself at the top of the standings after the 2019 Bahrain Grand Prix, the second race of his first season in Ferrari red. Three years later, the one who ran away came back to him.
As a result, Leclerc became the 65th different driver to lead the Formula 1 standings.
A total of 771 drivers have taken part in at least one Formula 1 race, so that’s no small feat. Leclerc is the first new points leader since Verstappen took the lead after winning last year’s Monaco Grand Prix at Circuit de Monaco. Verstappen became the 34th world champion.
Before Verstappen, Formula 1 had not seen a new points leader since Valtteri Bottas, then a driver for Mercedes, became 63rd with his season-opening victory at the 2019 Australian Grand Prix at the Albert Park Grand Prix. Bottas is one of 30 drivers (31 including Leclerc) to have led the standings but never won a world title.
Of the active drivers, six drivers have topped the standings at any given time: Leclerc, Verstappen, Bottas, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton, four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel and two-time world champion Fernando Alonso.
Can Leclerc become the 35th different driver to win a world championship? The 23-race 2022 season is set to continue this Sunday March 27 with the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix at Jeddah’s Corniche Circuit. Tune into ESPN at 1:00 p.m. ET for the live broadcast of the race, and do not forget to start your free trial of FuboTV today!