To win Monaco once is one of the sport’s greatest achievements; to take wins in successive years takes a special driver. We take a look at those who have taken consecutive pole positions and back-to-back wins at F1’s most challenging circuit.
BACK TO BACK MONACO POLESITTERS
Ten different drivers have taken back-to-back poles at the Monaco Grand Prix. The most recent driver to do so is Nico Rosberg, who took pole position for Mercedes in 2013 and 2014. Mika Hakkinen also took two consecutive poles here in 1998 and 1999 for McLaren, while Alain Prost and Fernando Alonso are the latest drivers to have taken pole for the Monaco Grand Prix in consecutive years for different teams. Prost set the fastest qualifying time here for Renault in 1983, before moving to McLaren in the following year and taking pole again. Strangely, that’s exactly the same as what Alonso did in 2006 and 2007!
There are six drivers who can boast more than two consecutive Monaco pole positions. Among them are Stirling Moss, who was fastest of the field between 1959 and 1961; Jim Clark, who took four poles in total at Monaco, three consecutively between 1962 and 1964 yet he never won the race; Jackie Stewart, fastest every year between 1969 and 1971, and Niki Lauda, who set the pace each year between 1974 and 1976. Jackie Stewart also took three poles here between 1969 and 1971, with a different team in each year.
Juan Manuel Fangio was the first driver to take consecutive poles at Monaco, taking pole on Formula 1’s four consecutive visits to Monaco in 1950, 1955, 1956 and 1957. Impressively, Fangio took all four of his pole positions with different teams; Alfa Romeo in 1950, Mercedes in 1955, Ferrari in 1956 and Maserati in 1957. His 1950 pole remains the largest margin by which anyone has secured a pole position at the track – his closest rival was 2.6s slower than him. The only other driver to have taken four poles consecutively at the track is Ayrton Senna, who did so with McLaren between 1988 and 1991. His 1988 lap is considered one of the finest in Formula 1 history, with him taking pole by being 1.427s quicker than his own team-mate. The lap was never caught on camera, but McLaren recreated it:
BACK TO BACK MONACO WINNERS
Senna also holds the record for the most consecutive wins at the Monaco Grand Prix, having won here in every season between 1989 and 1993. Without his infamous crash at Portier in 1988 when he was way out in the lead, Senna could have won the race a remarkable seven years in a row, having also won in 1987.
Just Senna and seven other drivers in the history of Formula 1 have taken back-to-back wins in Monte Carlo. The first to do so was Stirling Moss, who won in 1960 and 1961. Niki Lauda and Michael Schumacher also completed the feat in 1975-76 and 1994-95 respectively. Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso is the only driver to have won here in two successive years with different teams, having done so with Renault and McLaren in 2006 and 2007.
Going one win further, Alain Prost and Nico Rosberg took three consecutive victories here. Prost did so from 1984-86, while Rosberg did so in 2013-15; his last win being somewhat fortuitous due to Lewis Hamilton’s ill-timed pit-stop.
Any article looking at the history of the Monaco Grand Prix wouldn’t be complete without a mention of Graham Hill, the original ‘Mr Monaco’. Hill took five victories at the Circuit de Monaco, and remains the second most successful driver at the circuit. He’s the only driver to have taken back-to-back victories here on multiple occasions. Hill took his first three victories here consecutively for BRM between 1963 and 1965, then won a further two for Lotus in 1968 and 1969.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. 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 Motorsport Guides and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.