There have been nine occasions on which successive Grands Prix have featured a new face at the front of the grid. Here’s a list of the consecutive F1 races with maiden polesitters!
1950 British Grand Prix & 1950 Monaco Grand Prix
Unsurprisingly, the first two World Championship races were the first which had consecutive new polesitters. Giuseppe Farina took pole for the first ever World Championship race at the 1950 British Grand Prix, while Juan Manuel Fangio took pole at the next race one week later; the Monaco Grand Prix. Both drivers went on to win the respective races.
1951 British Grand Prix & 1951 German Grand Prix
José Froilán González secured his and Ferrari’s first ever pole position at Silverstone for the 1951 British Grand Prix. Two weeks later, at the Nurburgring, Ferrari were once again on pole but this time with Alberto Ascari, who secured his first of 14 F1 pole positions. Both drivers went on to win both races.
1960 Portuguese Grand Prix & 1960 Italian Grand Prix
It would be almost ten years before the next pair of consecutive races which had new polesitters. John Surtees recorded his first ever pole position with Lotus at the 1960 Portguese Grand Prix, before Phil Hill secured his first pole at the next race at Monza. While Surtees retired in Portugal, Hill converted his maiden pole into a win.
1962 Monaco Grand Prix & 1962 Belgian Grand Prix
Jim Clark took the first of his 33 career poles at the Monaco Grand Prix in June 1962, while Graham Hill took his first pole two weeks later at the Belgian Grand Prix. Neither driver went on to convert their first pole into a win. Clark retired in Monaco, while Hill finished as runner-up to Clark at Spa.
1968 United States Grand Prix & 1968 Mexican Grand Prix
Over six years passed before the next time there were two new polesitters at consecutive races. Mario Andretti took his first pole at home at the 1968 United States Grand Prix, while Jo Siffert claimed his first pole in Mexico. Neither driver converted their pole into a win. While Andretti would secure 18 more poles – though strangely none for the next eight years – Siffert would take just one more pole in his F1 career.
1973 Brazilian Grand Prix & 1973 South African Grand Prix
At the 1973 Brazilian Grand Prix, Ronnie Peterson denied his Brazilian team-mate Emerson Fittipaldi a home pole as he set the fastest qualifying time for the first time in his career. At the next race in South Africa, Denny Hulme secured the first pole of his career. Hulme did not secure his first career pole until 1973, despite having won the World Championship back in 1967. Once again, neither driver converted their maiden pole to a win.
1979 South African Grand Prix & 1979 United States Grand Prix West
Jean-Pierre Jabouille recorded his first pole position at Kyalami for the 1979 South African Grand Prix. At the next race, held over a month later at Long Beach, Gilles Villeneuve secured the first of his two F1 pole positions. Villeneuve went on to win both the South African and American races.
1980 United States Grand Prix & 1981 United States Grand Prix West
The 1980 United States Grand Prix and the 1981 United States Grand Prix West is the only time that the last race of a season and the following first race of a new season have both had new polesitters. Bruno Giacomelli secured the only pole position of his Formula 1 career at Watkins Glen in 1980 with Alfa Romeo, while Riccardo Patrese secured his first pole at the season-opening 1981 United States Grand Prix West, held at Long Beach. Patrese’s pole would be the only pole position for the Arrows team, which raced in F1 between 1978 and 2002.
1994 Belgian Grand Prix & 1994 Italian Grand Prix
It would be 13 years before the next pair of consecutive races to feature new polesitters. Rubens Barrichello secured his first pole position at the 1994 Belgian Grand Prix. Friday qualifying was held in wet conditions. With the track drying at the end of the session, the Jordan drivers were sent out on slick tyres. Barrichello set a lap time which no driver was able to beat due to further rain the following day.
Two weeks later, F1 was at Monza for the Italian Grand Prix and there was another new polesitter. Jean Alesi secured Ferrari’s first pole position in 12 years, while Gerhard Berger ensured Ferrari’s first front row lockout in almost 20 years.
This remains the last of these occurrences, which has not been repeated in almost 30 years. In that period there have been four occasions that there have been two new polesitters in the space of three races.
Note: The above list does not include the Indianapolis 500, when it was a round of the World Championship between 1950 and 1960. If you include these races – at which regular Formula 1 drivers rarely competed – the first three races of the 1950 season is the only time there have been three new consecutive polesitters. If you include the Indianapolis races, there are three other occasions that consecutive rounds of the World Championship had new polesitters: the 1955 Indianapolis 500 & 1955 Belgian Grand Prix, the 1958 Indianapolis 500 & 1958 Belgian Grand Prix and the 1959 Indianapolis 500 & 1959 Dutch Grand Prix.
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.