At the 2019 Spanish Grand Prix, Mercedes took a fifth consecutive 1-2 finish. It’s a feat which has been achieved only four times previously in Formula 1. As Mercedes stand on the brink of a historic sixth consecutive 1-2 result, we take a look back at the most dominant periods in F1 history.
🇧🇪 Belgium – 🇳🇱 Netherlands 1952
Ferrari are the only team other than Mercedes to have taken five consecutive 1-2 finishes. The first time they did so was in the sport’s third season, between the Belgian and Dutch rounds of the championship. The spell of success for Ferrari cars in the pre-Constructors’ Championship era is the only time a team dominated to such an extent in the twentieth century.
At the 1952 French Grand Prix, the second race in the streak, the result was in fact a 1-2-3 finish for Ferrari, with three Italian drivers – Alberto Ascari, Giuseppe Farina and Piero Taruffi – sharing the podium in their Italian cars. Their cars even went one better at the 1952 German Grand Prix, as Rudi Fischer, in a privately entered Ferrari, finished third, making all of the top four cars in the race Ferraris!
Ascari and Farina were responsible for four of the five 1-2s, while Ascari and Taruffi finished 1-2 in Britain. The streak was ended by Jose Frolian Gonzalez at Ferrari’s homeland in Monza. While Ferrari still won the race with Ascari, Gonzalez finished as runner-up for Maserati. Ferrari still finished 1-3-4 in that Grand Prix though.
🇭🇺 Hungary – 🇯🇵 Japan 2002
It would be fifty years before Ferrari’s 1952 dominance was matched. McLaren and Williams came close to equalling Ferrari’s record during the 1980s, but neither team achieved more than four consecutive 1-2 finishes. Instead, it was Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello who were the next duo to take five 1-2s in a row.
They did so at the final five races of the 2002 season, with Schumacher winning in Belgium and Japan, and Barrichello finishing first in Hungary, Italy and the USA. Perhaps the most unusual of those listed is the 2002 USA Grand Prix, which Barrichello won by 0.011 seconds – the second smallest win margin in F1 history, behind only the 1971 Italian Grand Prix. Schumacher, who had led the majority of the race, attempted to stage a dead heat with his team-mate, but the Brazilian crossed the line just a fraction ahead. After the race, Schumacher commented “I just felt Rubens deserved to win this race” – perhaps handing Barrichello the win after the controversial finish to the Austrian Grand Prix earlier in the season.
These five races formed a part of Ferrari’s longest dominant streak in Formula 1, where they won ten consecutive races, starting at the 2002 Canadian Grand Prix, and ending in Japan.
🇲🇾 Malaysia – 🇲🇨 Monaco 2014
The start of the V6 hybrid era was a particularly dominant time for Mercedes, whose engine was far superior to their competitors, making 1-2 finishes rather common throughout the 2014 season. The first four of the five races in the streak were won by Lewis Hamilton, but Nico Rosberg took victory at the last race of the quintet, in Monaco. The run of success was ended by Daniel Ricciardo, who took his maiden victory in the Canadian Grand Prix. Hamilton retired from the race, while Rosberg finished as runner-up to the Red Bull driver in an ailing Mercedes car.
🇺🇸 USA 2015 – 🇦🇺 Australia 2016
The end of the 2015 season, and the entire 2016 season was one of the most dominant periods in Formula 1. Had it not been for Hamilton and Rosberg colliding with each other at the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix, it’s very likely that Mercedes would have taken an incredible 21 consecutive race wins – having won the ten races before the Spanish event, and the ten races after it.
It was during that first streak of ten consecutive wins that Mercedes recorded their second set of five consecutive 1-2 finishes. In a reverse of their 2014 success, Hamilton won the first race in the streak (and claimed the 2015 Drivers’ Championship along with it), while Rosberg was victorious in the latter four, as part of his longest winning streak during his F1 career.
🇦🇺 Australia – 🇪🇸 Spain 2019
After their fifth consecutive 1-2 result at the Spanish Grand Prix, Mercedes head to Monaco with a chance of scoring an unprecedented sixth consecutive 1-2 success. They have already eclipsed the record for most 1-2 finishes for a team at the beginning of a season, which was previously held by Williams – who had three 1-2 finishes at the start of 1992.
Of the team’s 91 victories, 49 have been 1-2 finishes – that’s a mightily high percentage of 53%! Only one of those 1-2 finishes has been at Monaco, in 2014 – their afore-mention five-race-streak-ending result. Will Mercedes be able to make history in Monaco?
Nicky Haldenby is a freelance writer from Scarborough, England. After graduating from the University of Hull in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its fourth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations, and sister site GPDestinations, where he shares regular race previews and articles focussed around the latest in Formula 1 calendar and venue news. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky can also be heard regularly as a guest on various Formula 1 radio shows and podcasts.