The Bottom Two Steps

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
There are 19 drivers who have stood on podiums three or more times without managing a single Formula One win. These are the guys who've had to look up from the bottom steps the most, without ever standing on the top one, and these are the stories of those podiums.

To be fair, Sergio Perez is quite likely to get onto the top step with McLaren. His three podiums came in 2012, and all of them have seen the man he's replaced at McLaren, Lewis Hamilton, joining him. His second position in Malaysia in the rain could have been a win, his other two came through excellent tyre strategy.

Joining him in Montreal's celebration was Romain Grosjean, who showed in Bahrain, Canada and Hungary in 2012 that he was not just about running into people on the first tour of the circuit. Though there were two third places situated just behind his more experienced team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, his tyre strategy on the Ile-Notre-Dame was also enough to beat the self-defeating Ferrari and Red Bull stables.

There was a time when Timo Glock was able to score podiums, when he was a Toyota driver rather than a Marussia/Virgin whipping boy. His first came as he drove excellently to second at the Hungaroring in 2008, even if he needed to benefit from the misfortunes of Hamilton and, particularly, Massa. No such luck at Sepang in 2009, when the rain fell at the wrong moment for the German to pass Jenson Button for the half-win, ending up behind Nick Heidfeld on count-back too! His last podium was at Singapore that year, when he took advantage of the misery of drive-through Germans Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg.

Few can claim their only three podiums to have come out of the gate at the great British F1 factories of the last 30 years - at Enstone, Woking and Grove - but Alex Wurz fits the bill. The young Wurz (a sub for Gerhard Berger at Benetton) took his first podium behind his team-mate Jean Alesi (and Jacques Villeneuve) in his third race at Silverstone. By the time of his second, his career had stalled and he ended up as McLaren test driver, getting a race at Imola in 2005 after Juan Montoya's "tennis injury". He didn't actually stand up there for this one, but BAR's Jenson Button was disqualified for having a secret fuel tank and Wurz had finished "best of the rest" after the "ITV advert" Schumacher/Alonso duel. His third came at Williams in 2007 when a one-stop strategy, a load of Safety Cars and cock-ups from just about everyone else meant he came home behind Hamilton and Heidfeld for his final podium.

Mark Blundell's three podiums came much earlier. He was on the podium in the attritional opener of 1993 at Kyalami behind Ayrton Senna and winner Alain Prost. Prost's last win, at Hockenheim that year, was less attritional - Ligier had a good week at the high speed circuit and Blundell beat Senna and Patrese home, even if a gutting puncture for Damon Hill had as much to do with it. Hill did win Williams' first race since Senna's death in Spain in 1994, with Schumacher's fifth-gear in second, but Blundell saw a Tyrrell over the line for 3rd for the last time as they began their slow decline.

Despite being famed at Ferrari for not winning podiums, Ivan Capelli did get three at March/Leyton House. With Benetton's disqualification in Spa in 1988, his March got over the line for third place, only a minute behind winner Senna! He would be a much closer second to Alain Prost at Estoril that year where he spent the whole race in 3rd until Senna's fuel readout caused him to drop back to sixth. His final podium would be his most memorable though; Leyton House built a car that just suited Paul Ricard in 1990. Capelli and his team-mate Gugelmin got to the front two positions on lap 34, Gugelmin retired but Capelli lead right until he was passed by the Ferrari of Prost just three laps from the end.

Unreliability keeps Jean-Pierre Jarier on this list. His first podium came in 1974 when he coaxed his unreliable Shadow across the line for third at Monaco. His three pole positions for Shadow and for Lotus were to come to nought before he was back on the podium for Tyrrell in 1979, in a South African Grand Prix held as Ferrari scored a one-two (or maybe a two-one) with Gilles Villeneuve taking the flag. Jarier would be back on the third step at Silverstone when Williams were the dominant force, and with Rene Arnoux' turbo Renault also finishing in front of the Frenchman. Although it took some fortune for a Williams and a Renault to retire in front of him there, a look at his list of mechanicals in 1975 alone would suggest that Jarier was not a fortuanate driver!

Cooper were not the dominant force of 1959-60 when Tony Maggs was driving for them. A Ferrari boycott of the French GP at Rouen and the retirements of BRM's Graham Hill and (predictably) Lotus' Jim Clark was the opportunity for Dan Gurney of Porsche to trounce the field by a lap. Maggs was a further lap clear of Richie Ginther for second place! His second podium at East London in the first South African Grand Prix had a lesser margin, but Hill did beat the Coopers of McLaren and Maggs by 40 seconds, and Clark did, of course, retire from the lead. The story at Reims in the wet in 1963 saw Jack Brabham's own brand car splutter to a halt, with Jim Clark beating Maggs by a handy minute. Those three moments capped an unremarkable F1 career for the South African.

American Masten Gregory was even further back for his first podium - his Maserati crossing the line 2 laps down on winner and team-mate Juan-Manuel Fangio and runner-up Tony Brooks at Monaco in 1957. He would drive the dominant 1959 Cooper, but was a minute behind Jo Bonnier and Jack Brabham for 3rd at Zandvoort in 1959. His only second place would come at Monsato in 1959, where Gregory finished a lap down on the fellow Cooper of Stirling Moss, although he did beat Dan Gurney's Ferrari for that position. Those three podiums made up half of his points finishes!

Eugenio Castellotti is chronologically the first to get those 3 podiums of those who never won. His first podium was at the eventful 1955 Monaco Grand Prix, with an almost complete failure of the top order on the grid to finish. When on lap 80, leader Stirling Moss lost his engine and 2nd placed man Alberto Ascari went for a splash, Castellotti's Lancia D50 was vaulted to second place behind Maurice Trintignant's Ferrari, which is where he stayed. He was on pole at Spa in the next race, but Lancia would pull out of F1 after his no finish there. Castellotti was entered for Ferrari in the Italian GP instead, where he led the Scuderia to 3rd, 40 seconds behind the full-bodied, aerodynamic and dominant Mercedes. For 1956 he was back in the D50, now badged a Ferrari, and he took his Lancia to finish less than a second behind Ferrari team-mate Peter Collins at Reims. He would die in a testing accident in 1957.

Despite only 4 F1 podiums, Derek Warwick had a talent that was thought best avoided by Ayrton Senna! Despite a lengthy F1 career, his podiums all came in 1984 when he got his hands on what was closest to a half-decent car at a Renault team which had challenged for the title the year before, but had lost Prost and much of their speed. As was 1984 tradition, McLaren made their way through the field as the Brabhams and Williamses retired from the front. Behind the two McLarens, Warwick was able to take 3rd place, a lap down but a lap up on Riccardo Patrese's 4th placed Alfa. Next time out at Zolder, both McLarens did retire, with Ferrari taking the front row. Warwick jumped Arnoux off the grid and settled into 2nd position behind Michele Alboreto, which is where the front two stayed until the flag. Warwick would be in 4th place at Brands Hatch when Alain Prost's gearbox failed, jumping to 2nd behind Niki Lauda when Piquet suffered his usual issues. The 4th podium came in the next race at Hockenheim, and followed the same pattern. Piquet, de Angelis and Rosberg retired in front of the Renault, McLaren's two took the one-two with Warwick taking third. He's one of F1's great what ifs!

More famous for retiring than anything else, Andrea de Cesaris was able to pick up 5 podiums in F1 (although typically he didn't finish in all of them!). His first came at Monaco in 1982 when he ran out of fuel on the last lap when just getting to the line would be enough to win. As it was, 3rd place behind Riccardo Patrese and Didier Pironi had to suffice. He actually finished at Hockenheim in 1983, and he finished 2nd, a minute behind Ferrari's Rene Arnoux. He did have retirements to Nelson Piquet and Eddie Cheever to thank for his position there though! He was much closer at Kyalami to winner Riccardo Patrese (who shared 4 of de Cesaris' 5 podiums!). Prost's Renault and Lauda's McLaren retired in front of the Italian, and he was able to pass Piquet for 2nd when he slowed in order to preserve his car to win the title. He would wait 4 years to stand on the podium again. In 1987, de Cesaris did not finish any race, including the Belgian Grand Prix. However, McLaren were so dominant that de Cesaris was the only non-McLaren to start the final lap, and it was irrelevant that the Italian ran out of fuel and didn't cross the line. McLaren did not finish the 1989 Canadian Grand Prix, with Senna retiring 3 laps from time from his usual lead. The Williams were first and second with Bousten beating home Patrese and de Cesaris coming third for Scuderia Italia beating home Nelson Piquet's Lotus. He still holds the record for most Grand Prix without winning one.

Luigi Villoresi scored 8 podiums in F1. His first came at Spa in 1951, 2 minutes down on Ferrari team-mate Ascari and four minutes down on winner Farina's Alfa. He was the top finisher still with its original driver at Reims that year, finishing 3rd, finishing behind cars started by Luigi Fagioli and Jose-Frolian Gonzalez and finished by legends Fangio and Ascari respectively. His third podium of the year came on the auspicious occasion of Ferrari's first win at Silverstone, with Gonzalez taking the flag from Fangio, with Villoresi two laps down in third. He was still a Ferrari driver in the redwash year of 1952, acting as the three in the 1-2-3 at Zandvoort behind Ascari and Farina, and finishing third at Monza behind Ascari and Gonzalez' Maserati. Buenos Aires in 1953 saw him second to team-mate Ascari, a result repeated at Spa. By Monza, Ascari's run of success was over and Fangio won the race for Maserati, with Farina 2nd and Villoresi 3rd. It is of course worth noting that Villoresi won non-Championship races, including the 1948 British GP, but he would lose the rest of his career to the highly promising Lancia D50's failure to get off the ground in a meaningful way. Only semantics put him on this list, but a Championship race winner he never was.

Before even standing on the podium Martin Brundle had had 6 pretty fruitless years in F1. The Benetton of 1992 was quite possibly the second best car on the grid and probably the most competitive that Brundle ever drove. He was helped at Magny-Cours by Schumacher's collision with Senna (it had to happen at least once...!) and Berger's retirement, but the Englishman was able to pass an ailing Jean Alesi for 3rd behind the Williams for his first podium. As Derek Warwick before him, he picked up another one at the next race at Silverstone, jumping Schumacher off the line for 3rd place and staying there until the end. At Monza, both Williams retired giving Senna the victory, with Brundle beating Schumacher for second with the help of Schumacher's abysmal start which involved a collision with a Ligier. With Mansell, Senna and Schumacher having mechanicals at Suzuka, their team-mates Patrese, Berger and Brundle came home one, two and three although Brundle needed to rely on the retirement of Lotus' Mika Hakkinen to take his place on the dais. More Williams failure next time out in Adelaide saw Berger edge out Schumacher for the win, with Brundle coming in third 54 seconds down. He was off to Ligier for 1993, where he would require an attritional race to hit the podium. He got one at Imola, finishing a lap down on Prost and Schumacher on a day a Larrouse driven by Phillipe Alliot got into the points. For 1994, he had the unenviable task of replacing Senna at McLaren, especially difficult since the McLaren was the worst since Ron Dennis got involved. His team-mate and Damon Hill were out on lap one, leaving Michael Schumacher out front ahead of Berger, Alesi and Christian Fittipaldi. Berger lost second place on some oil left by Mark Blundell, allowing Brundle pass him and take the runners-up slot. Brundle's 8th F1 podium came as he benefitted from the Hill/Schumacher contre-temps to battle past Barrichello's Jordan and team-mate Hakkinen for 3rd in his last race for McLaren. Back at Ligier for 1995, Brundle fought through the field at Spa to take third place behind Schumi and Hill; he could not hold on to a 2nd place gifted by a frustrated Hill's stop-go penalty for speeding in the pit-lane. He went off to greater success behind the mic.

Also appearing on 9 podiums was Eddie Cheever. His first podium came for Ligier at the tragic 1982 Belgian GP at Zolder. John Watson won the race from Keke Rosberg and Niki Lauda, but the Austrian's McLaren was found to be underweight and Cheever took advantage of an unreliable top order to finish a promoted 3rd. His 2nd podium, in Detroit, saw the American actually finish 2nd. After an interruption caused by a crash involving Riccardo Patrese and Roberto Guerrero, Cheever was in 5th. He took advatage of the typical problems suffered by Prost's leading Renault, passed Giacomelli and Pironi as the McLarens came past him from the back. Lauda would retire before Cheever passed Rosberg for 2nd, a position he held behind winner Watson. For an American, there would be no shortage of home Grands Prix and Cheever would add to his collection at Caesar's Palace, taking advantage of, again, the retirements of Prost and Patrese to finish third. He shared the podium with Watson again, but this time the Ulsterman was in 2nd behind Tyrrell's Michele Alboreto. For 1983, Cheever became Prost's team-mate at Renault. He took 3rd as part of Renault's traditional point culminant annuel at Paul Ricard, though he was unable to beat Nelson Piquet's Brabham for 2nd. Another win for Prost came at Spa, where Cheever was able to move through the field from a lowly qualifying position whilst his team-mate sat in second behind de Cesaris, taking the lead just past halfway. Cheever's time came towards the end as he passed Nelson Piquet for the podium place. The American would end up the team leader at Montreal though, as René Arnoux led from lights to flag, Cheever passed Prost, Tambay and Patrese to finish 2nd. Podium 7 came at Monza where Riccardo Patrese's early retirement left Piquet, Arnoux and Cheever in the podium places, which is where they finished. The fifth anniversary of that last podium begat Arrows driver Cheever another. He qualified 5th behind McLaren and Ferrari, which he held but became 3rd when Prost's engine and Senna's collision with Jean-Louis Schlesser created Ferrari's perfect moment in a poor year and gave Arrows 3rd and 4th. His last podium came at home in Phoenix from an unpromising grid position of 17th. Massive unreliability throughout the field saw Christian Danner finish 4th for Rial! The frontrunners left standing were McLaren's Alain Prost and Williams' Riccardo Patrese and third was Cheever. How fitting that his final podium, driver wise, could have come from his early 80s heyday.

The first to 9 non-winning podiums, save for those who eventually won, was Jean Behra. His first podium came at Bremgarten in 1952. As only two Ferraris finished the race, there was an opening for someone else to finish on the podium. Behra actually led Ferrari's runner-up Rudi Fischer for much of the race but was caught by the Swiss who finished 2 minutes down on winner Piero Taruffi. Behra was a lap down on Taruffi but beat Frazer Nash-Bristol's Ken Wharton for 4th by a lap himself in his Gordini. By 1955, Behra was driving for Maserati. In the chaotic Monaco GP the retirements of Moss and sea-farer Ascari moved Maserati's Cesare Perdisa up to 3rd behind Trintignant and Castelotti in a car that Behra had swapped out of at half way. Perdisa held on and the two of them had a shared podium. Behra was still at Maserati at Buenos Aires in 1956, where the Lancia D50 driven by Castelotti and Ascari at Monaco had become "Ferrari" D50s. Maseratis other drivers led the first 66 laps before home hero Fangio passed Moss, who promptly retired after falling behind Behra. Behra finished 2nd with Mike Hawthorn 3rd in one of the slew of Maseratis entered in an all-Italian duel. He would get on the podium next time out at Monaco too, as Moss led every lap. Fangio fell behind Collins so handed his car over to Castelloti and took Collins' car, which he used to pass Behra for 2nd as only the top 3 finished. At Reims the D50s dominated, running 1-2-3-4-5 at one point mid race, but that was not to last. Collins and Castelotti were the two running at optimum at the end of the race, while Behra had waited for the Ferraris to fail or fall back to record a podium. In Britain the home cheer of Hawthorn and Brooks leading off for BRM and then of Moss leading was punctured by their retirements. Moss succumbed to Fangio then rear axle failure leaving a car shared by Collins and Alfonso de Portago in second. Behra finished third, 2 laps down on the Maestro. The Nurburgring saw a similar story with Collins' retirement meaning Fangio's D50 was free to beat Moss by 46 seconds. Behra came in third 7 minutes behind the Argentinian as Maserati became the only team to finish a car not driven by Fangio. Behra's second second came at the same location as his first, at Buenos Aires. Maserati were now the dominant force, which meant Fangio was sitting in their cars to win the race. Behra was creditably close, only 18 seconds down and the only other on the lead lap in a Maserati 1-2-3-4. Behra's final podium came for BRM with the British now the dominant car builders. Moss won for Vanwall with Behra trailing team-mate Harry Schell for his final F1 podium.

In 3rd place is Chris Amon, a New Zealander less successful than Bruce McLaren and Denny Hulme but probably at least as talented. After 4 unproductive years in F1, his first race for Ferrari was at Monaco in 1967. Hulme lead most of the way for Brabham from Amon's Ferrari team-mate Lorenzo Bandini. Amon had moved to third when Bandini became Monaco's only Championship fatality on lap 81. Amon was caught by Lotus' Graham Hill for 2nd, and the Kiwi finished 3rd on a desparately sad day for his team. He would take another podium at another great circuit at Spa, where he fell initially from 3rd down to sixth. Jim Clark suffered problems from the lead, Jack Brabham also retired while Amon passed Pedro Rodriguez for 3rd. Dan Gurney's Eagle passed Jackie Stewart for the win, but Amon kept third. Silverstone saw a similar story. Amon was 5th behind Lotus and Brabham's two each until Hill retired from the lead on lap 55. Amon passed Jack Brabham on lap 76 to follow countryman Hulme over the line behind the great Clark. His 4th podium came at the Nurburgring. Clark, Stewart and Gurney retired ahead of Amon leaving him to finish behind Hulme and Brabham for an Antipodean podium. Amon was Ferrari team leader for 1968 but only got one podium, at Brands Hatch. The three Lotuses of Hill, Oliver and Siffert were the leading three into lap 27 when Hill's British curse struck again. This put Amon into second behind Oliver when he passed Siffert on lap 37, but by the time Oliver was robbed of a maiden win by his transmission, Siffert was in front and finished ahead of the two Ferraris of Amon and Ickx. 1969 saw only the one podium, at Zandvoort. Running in 6th on lap 16, Amon saw leader Rindt and Graham Hill retire before being passed by then passing the Brabhams of Ickx and Brabham respectively, then passing Hulme's McLaren to finish 3rd behind Jackie Stewart and Jo Siffert. In 1970, Amon left for March, and he lead at lap 4 at Spa but was passed by Pedro Rodriguez, eventually falling back to a watching brief in 2nd place, where he finished. At Clermont he followed Jochen Rindt through the field, taking advantage of the misfortunes striking Ickx, Beltoise and Stewart to finish 2nd. And by the time Jackie Stewart had retired at Mont-Tremblant, Amon had got past Pedro Rodriguez and team-mate Cevert to finish 3rd behind the Ferraris of Ickx and Regazzoni. At Montjuic Park the next year in a Matra, he started in 3rd, lost it on the line to Reggazoni, earned it back by lap 3 and kept it, following home winner Stewart and runner-up Ickx.
Amon was in a class of his own on the day of his final podium at Clermont in 1972. He plonked it on pole and started to pull away from Jackie Stewart. Rocks on the road had been a problem all race, with Helmut Marko (yes, that one) half-blinded by one at the start. Amon was less unlucky, but he punctured his tyre, leading to a bungled pitstop putting him in 9th. At one point driving four seconds a lap faster than 2nd placed Fittipaldi, Amon nearly got him as he had his brother, Hailwood, Cevert and Peterson (on the same lap, no less). He finished 4 seconds behind the Brazilian. I've only told the tale of his podiums (this is my self-appointed remit :D), there are far more hard luck stories for Chris Amon in his career, sadly.

On 12 podiums without a victory is Stefan Johansson. The Swede replaced Rene Arnoux at Ferrari for 1985. He would first stand on the podium at the Canadian Grand Prix as Ferrari qualified 3rd and 4th behind the Lotuses of de Angelis and Senna. Senna suffered turbo problems and fell to the back, while Alboreto in the #27 Ferrari passed his countryman for the lead. De Angelis continued to fall through the field, passed by Johansson, Prost and Rosberg. Johansson held on for 2nd place in a Ferrari 1-2. Next time out in Detroit, Ferrari had to come from further back. This time Senna lead from the off but had tyre problems, gifting Rosberg a lead he wouldn't lose. Johansson passed his team-mate for 4th on lap 15 and passed Mansell when he spun. de Angelis hit a backmarker and was forced to pit, leaving the Ferraris in 2nd and 3rd with Johansson ahead, positions they held to the flag. Johansson did not score another podium that year, and would have to wait until Spa in 1986 for his next. Getting from 11th to 4th on the first lap, the Swede was in 3rd by lap 5. He was later passed by both Mansell and Alboreto as Mansell went on to beat Senna home, but Johansson got back past his team-mate for 3rd. There was another bout of poor qualifying for Ferrari at the Osterreichring, where the Benettons of Berger and Fabi lead away, but retired. Engine failures for most of the field moved the Ferraris through, finishing laps down on the McLaren of Alain Prost. Gerhard Berger lead away but his fuel economy was poor and he needed to back off, and Alboreto was dropped back after hitting a barrier. Thus when Johansson passed Berger on lap 44 it was for 3rd behind the Williams' of Piquet and Mansell. The story of that year's Australian GP is well known; Rosberg retiring from the lead and a blown tyre costing Mansell the title and a podium. This left a space open, which was filled by the two Tyrrells of Streiff and Brundle, with Johansson (after a tyre stop) joining them a lap down on Piquet and Prost. Streiff would run out of fuel on the "penultimate" lap, where Johansson passed Brundle to become a barely registering footnote on a day of extreme drama. With Rosberg retiring, Johansson moved to McLaren for 1987, coming through the field to finish 3rd behind Prost and Piquet in the opening race at Jacarepagua in a second consecutive 1-2-3 for the same drivers in the same order. Neither Williams would finish at Spa with Johansson triumphing in a duel with Fabi to take second place behind his team-mate Prost, though Fabi would retire later. In Hockenheim, another poor qualifying position for Johansson was soothed by poor reliability in front, although he managed to pass Senna and Boutsen on the same lap, which became a 3 place gain when Mansell retired. When Alain Prost's alternator failed, Piquet won from Johansson, who didn't let a puncture stop his 2nd place. At Jerez McLaren started way down, and Johansson and Prost were line astern having passed de Cesaris' Brabham on lap 18, in a very near Noah's Ark situation - Mansell and Piquet for Williams led Senna's effective one-man Lotus team, then the two Ferraris, the two Benettons and the two McLarens. The McLarens got past the Benettons though Boutsen got past later. They started to mix with the Ferraris. It was reliability that saved the day though for McLaren. Boutsen, Alboreto and Berger all retired, Senna and Piquet dropped back. Thus Mansell was followed home by both McLarens for another Johansson podium. His final podium before being replaced by Senna in the McLaren was at Suzuka. With Mansell out and Prost forced to toil at the back, Berger lead from Boutsen and Senna. Johansson managed to get passed both Senna, Boutsen and Piquet for 2nd, a position he'd lose to the Brazilian on the final lap. And with that his "top team" career was over. However, there would be one last podium in 1989. With his Onyx team-mate JJ Lehto not even getting out of pre-qualifying at Estoril, Johansson went a stunning 2 seconds faster than the Finn to qualify in 12th in a car that rarely made it to Friday afternoon. Retirements unsurprisingly aided Johansson's path, notably the collision between Mansell and Senna, but he still beat Nannini's Benetton on merit for 3rd place behind Berger and Prost.

But at the head of the list is, of course, Nick Heidfeld. The first of his unlucky 13 came at Interlagos in 2001 for Sauber. The German was down in 6th when Jos Verstappen pointlessly rear-ended leader Juan-Pablo Montoya. He was required to pass the two Jordans of Jarno Trulli and Heinz-Harald Frentzen for 3rd place behind David Coulthard and Michael Schumacher. Schumi would win 4 more titles by the time Heidfeld was seen on the podium again, in 2005 at Sepang. Renault past-and-present (Alonso, Trulli and Fisichella) led off with Heidfeld down in 8th place from the start. However, Heidfeld was to come out after the first stops in 6th and soon dispatched Ralf Schumacher's Toyota for 5th. With his team-mate Mark Webber colliding with Giancarlo Fisichella, eliminating both, Heidfeld was up to a 3rd position he held to the end. Williams were more competitive at Monaco, with Webber qualifying 3rd, but after a poor start (plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose) was just in front of his team-mate in 5th and 6th. This became 4th and 5th when Renault had more trouble than Williams double-pitting. Trulli was caught out behind a rapidly slowing Fisichella in the pit window, which gave the Williams' chance to pressure the other Renault of Alonso. Heidfeld passed Alonso (!) at the Nouveau Chicane, with Webber following through; Heidfeld having passed his team-mate in the pits. Thus they finished 2nd and 3rd behind Kimi Raikkonen. Next time out at the Nurburgring, Heidfeld was on pole! He did get jumped off the start, however, by Raikkonen. He was passed by Alonso in the pits to hold 3rd to the end, which became 2nd when the Finn had his famous tyre blow-out on the final lap. He left Williams before the end of the year amid acrimony and went "home" to BMW Sauber. He got one podium that year, at the Hungaroring. Due to penalties, he was ahead of Schumacher, Alonso and Button, but they wasted little time getting in front to chase the leading McLarens. Alonso got past them, while Schumacher suffered in the pits. Raikkonen then retired hitting the rear of Vitantonio Liuzzi's Toro Rosso, giving an order of Alonso, Button, de la Rosa, Barrichello, Heidfeld, Coulthard, M. Schumacher. Alonso's wheelrims failed on lap 51 putting him in the barrier and giving Button an unassailable lead for a maiden victory. In the pit phase, Heidfeld found himself behind Schumacher and de la Rosa but ahead of Barrichello. Schumacher started to defend rather unfairly against de la Rosa by cutting the chicane as Michelin opened up an advantage, but the Spaniard got past and karma hit Schumacher when he damaged his suspension and was forced to retire when Heidfeld passed him for a 3rd position he held to the end. BMW would be F1's third team in 2007, as Heidfeld proved by getting 3rd on the grid behind the McLarens at Montreal. Alonso, getting frustrated at being beaten by team-mate Hamilton, let Heidfeld through with a desparate attempt to take the lead. While a chaotic race unfolded behind Hamilton and Heidfeld, they calmly held first and second right to the end through all the Safety Cars and accidents. Heidfeld also qualified 3rd at the Hungaroring, which became 2nd due to the apogee of Alonso's indignation. He was jumped off the start by Raikkonen, but again held 3rd undramatically to the end. 2008 would be BMW's big year, where they challenged the Big Two on pace. Robert Kubica qualified 2nd in the other car, but he was caught out in the pit phase. Both Ferraris failed to make any impression due to overambitious overtaking moves, as Heidfeld moved to 3rd behind Hamilton and Kovalainen. When Timo Glock had an accident, it left the pit window slammed shut on Kovalainen under Safety Car, with Heidfeld making up the place into second, which he held to the finish. BMW's big day came in Canada, but it was not to be Heidfeld's. Heidfeld was the highest placed driver not to pit at the first Safety Car, as his team-mate narrowly avoided the calamity of a McLaren ploughing into him at the pit-lane red light. Such shenanigans put Kubica ahead when the 9 remaining cars were to pit. Heidfeld came out in front of Fernando Alonso and just behind his team-mate Kubica to take 2nd place. Heidfeld's next podium perhaps came after one of his best performances, at Silverstone. While Lewis Hamilton was on another planet that day, Heidfeld starting 5th moved up the field with a speed not associated with him, managing to do a couple of great double overtakes on Kovalainen/Alonso then Kovalainen/Raikkonen to get into 2nd place. From there, he was the only person save Hamilton far enough ahead not to be caught by Rubens Barrichello's inspired tyre choice, and he held 2nd in front of the Brazilian. His final podium of the year came from an unpromising source; at Spa he was in 9th just two laps from the end, before the rainstorm that saw Raikkonen in the wall changed everything. Heidfeld put on wets as others tiptoed around, and did enough to catch and pass Fernando Alonso and the Toro Rossos for 3rd and finish less than 25 seconds behind Hamilton, which earned him 2nd when the Englishman was punished. Amidst a poor year for BMW, Heidfeld picked up another 2nd place at Sepang in 2009 when he, as usual, kept a calm head to the chaos behind. He was into 3rd on lap 30, which became 2nd on lap 31 when Glock pitted. He got lucky because despite Glock getting back past, he was ahead on lap 31 which counted when they stopped the race two laps later with no restart possible. After losing his BMW seat, then getting it back for 6 races at the end of 2010, his last team (probably) would be Renault for 2011. He qualified in 6th but got up into 2nd off the grid. He was past by both McLarens and Fernando Alonso's Ferrari, but a collision between Hamilton and Alonso left Heidfeld back into 3rd behind winner Sebastian Vettel and runner-up Jenson Button.

So why did these guys not win. Some may not have had the talent (Blundell? Maggs?), but many of them were of a similar quality to Olivier Panis or Jochen Mass, to name but two quite fortunate winners who nearly made this list. Some didn't have the luck - Amon being the obvious example, but in an era of poorer reliability I'm sure one of Nick Heidfeld's typically calm-headed wet weather performances could have drawn a win. Most found themselves up against a high calibre of opposition - Prost alone denied a lot of the drivers on this list a victory with Stefan Johansson the obvious one. For Luigi Villoresi it was just the timing of the Championship's inception that denied him. However, some of the names on this list just evidence that it for a second-tier driver, it takes a confluence of events to get a win that is not necessarily impossible but highly unlikely, and that the second step is far more attainable than the first, and that some just don't get that top car (Heidfeld in particular may well feel aggrieved!)

And one last thing, for the 1995 Canadian GP I am now so thankful, for Jean Alesi scored 31 2nd and 3rd places to just the one win...!
 

Mansell4Ever

Test Driver
Very good! I always thought there was a cosmic meaning to that Jean Alesi win. By the way, although I agree with your conclusion (the second step is more attainable than the first) shouldn't you list the drivers who only steped 1st place in the podium? Or is Maldonado the only name on that list (and the ocasional Indy 500 winner duing the 50's).
 

Olivier

Race Winner
A driver that almost made this list is my all time favourite driver. Olivier Gendebien stood 2 times on podiums in 1960 (enough to be 6th best driver) and in 1961 he was 4th at Spa (probably the only 1-2-3-4 Ferrari finish)
 

Wombcat

Podium Finisher
Jabouille is on the list of those who stepped only on the 1st place of the podium. Jarier is on the list who didn't. I was talking about the first list, which you were also, in response to Mansell4Ever.
 
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