Lewis Hamilton's 100th F1 race last weekend in Germany ended in a disappointing puncture-induced retirement — but a look at the stats show his first F1 century puts him up there with the best.
The three races leading up to Hamilton's landmark hundred included a crash, an eighth-place finish and a retirement but it is the preceding victory in Canada that is more in keeping with his F1 record.
The Briton arrived in F1 with a golden ticket straight into the McLaren team, and with one of the front-running cars in his hands he coped with the pressure and started scoring straight away. And, despite those much-publicised erratic moments, it seems his consistency is the key to his success.
In his 100 races so far, he has clocked up a 46 per cent average of podium finishes — around four per cent better than his two current acknowledged top rivals Fernando Alonso (who has now completed 186 races) and Sebastian Vettel (who has completed 91).
Kimi Raikkonen is the only other driver on track to come close, with a 40 per cent average from his 165 races while Jenson Button has 21 per cent (218 races), Felipe Massa 20 per cent (162 races), Mark Webber 17 per cent (186 races) and Nico Rosberg just six per cent (118 races).
Hamilton's podium consistency is an impressive statistic — but he is still some way from emulating contemporary F1 legends Michael Schumacher, Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost.
Of these, Prost leads the way with an average of 53.3 per cent podium places. Schumacher used to sit higher, but a lack of podiums during his comeback run lowered his average to 52.4 per cent, with Senna a little further back on 49.7 per cent. Hamilton is not far behind, but clearly the more races clock up the harder it is to improve the average.
Hamilton, Vettel and Alonso are statistically in a league of their own amongst their current rivals (Schumacher aside — his statistics reflect a different era).
But on most occasions Hamilton plays second fiddle to Vettel.
Hamilton's win ratio of 18 per cent is four times that of Webber, three times that of Massa and Button and two per cent better, even, than Alonso. But it is six per cent lower than Vettel's 24 per cent — and even that is some way short of Schumacher's 30 per cent.
In terms of race leading, Vettel is again ahead having led 46 per cent of the races he has started compared to Hamilton and Alonso, who are both level on 42 per cent. All three are not far behind Schumacher, however, who has an average of 48 per cent — although Senna's incredible 53 per cent of his races looks way out of reach.
In qualifying, Hamilton and Vettel really leave their current rivals standing, with both sitting well ahead of even Alonso when it comes to front row starts. Vettel has lined up at the front in an impressive 49 per cent of his races and Hamilton is not far behind with 42 per cent. Alonso's average is less than half that at 20 per cent - a ratio matched by Raikkonen — while Massa and Webber are on 15 per cent, Button nine and Rosberg 2.5. Unsurprisingly, however, Senna stands on top of the pile with an average of 53 per cent.
The numbers clearly demonstrate that Hamilton's hundred races have seen consistently strong performances, with the podium average suggesting that while he may not have always had a winning car his ability to push for a strong finish is better than any of his rivals.
Clearly, however, his percentages benefit from his golden start and the fact he spent no time in a lower level car. Webber, for instance, had lean years at Minardi, Williams and Jaguar before hitting the big time with Red Bull Racing; Button had a dire spell at Benetton / Renault to knock down his numbers; and even Vettel spent some time at Toro Rosso before stepping up to the lead team.
So, it's so far so good for Hamilton. His statistics are on course to sit up there with the best of them. Hamilton has now also suggested he will stay with McLaren for the long run — and that career consistency, too, will help. There's likely to be no better place to be for him if he wants to go on and improve those percentages to legendary levels.