Taking a 1-2 finish at the first two races of a Formula 1 season is a very rare occurrence and has been achieved only five times in F1 history. We take a look at the teams who’ve achieved the feat.
Every team wants to get their season off to a perfect start with a 1-2 finish. It’s something which Ferrari and Red Bull have both been lucky to achieve in the last two seasons, with Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz bringing home a 1-2 result at the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix, and Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez finishing first and second at the 2023 Bahrain Grand Prix.
The seasons in which a team recorded a 1-2 finish at the first race
|1950||British Grand Prix||Alfa Romeo||Giuseppe Farina, Luigi Fagioli|
|1952||Swiss Grand Prix||Ferrari||Piero Taruffi, Rudi Fischer|
|1953||Argentine Grand Prix||Ferrari||Alberto Ascari, Luigi Villoresi|
|1957||Argentine Grand Prix||Maserati||Juan Manuel Fangio, Jean Behra|
|1963||Monaco Grand Prix||BRM||Graham Hill, Richie Ginther|
|1964||Monaco Grand Prix||BRM||Graham Hill, Richie Ginther|
|1967||South African Grand Prix||Cooper||Pedro Rodriguez, John Love|
|1968||South African Grand Prix||Lotus||Jim Clark, Graham Hill|
|1981||United States Grand Prix West||Williams||Alan Jones, Carlos Reutemann|
|1992||South African Grand Prix||Williams||Nigel Mansell, Riccardo Patrese|
|1996||Australian Grand Prix||Williams||Damon Hill, Jacques Villeneuve|
|1998||Australian Grand Prix||McLaren||Mika Hakkinen, David Coulthard|
|2000||Australian Grand Prix||Ferrari||Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello|
|2004||Australian Grand Prix||Ferrari||Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello|
|2009||Australian Grand Prix||Brawn GP||Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello|
|2010||Bahrain Grand Prix||Ferrari||Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa|
|2015||Australian Grand Prix||Mercedes||Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg|
|2016||Australian Grand Prix||Mercedes||Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton|
|2019||Australian Grand Prix||Mercedes||Valtteri Bottas, Lewis Hamilton|
|2022||Bahrain Grand Prix||Ferrari||Charles Leclerc, Carlos Sainz|
|2023||Bahrain Grand Prix||Red Bull||Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez|
2023 is only the 21st Formula 1 season in which a team has opened the year with a 1-2 result. Only ten teams have achieved the feat, with Ferrari being the constructor to have done it on the most occasions. The 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix marked the sixth time that the Scuderia finished first and second at the season-opener. Finishing 1-2 at both of the first two races of the season is much harder to pull off…
Which teams have recorded consecutive 1-2 finishes at the start of a season?
It’s very rare for a team to record 1-2 finishes in each of the first two rounds of the season. In fact, this has happened only five times in Formula 1 history – for Williams in 1981 and 1992, for McLaren in 1998, for Mercedes in 2019 and for Red Bull in 2023. Impressively, Williams recorded 1-2 results at all of the first three races in 1992, while Mercedes finished 1-2 at all of the first five races of the 2019 season.
Williams in 1981
Williams became the first team to record 1-2 results at the first two races of a season in 1981. Alan Jones won the season-opening United States Grand Prix West at Long Beach, with team-mate Carlos Reutemann in second place. Jones crossed the line 35 seconds ahead of nearest non-Williams rival – and eventual 1981 World Champion – Nelson Piquet.
Two weeks later, it was Reutemann who led home Jones. It was a contentious victory, with Reutemann having ignored messages from the pit lane to relinquish the lead to his team-mate. The Williams pair finished a whole minute ahead of their other rivals.
Williams in 1992
11 years later, Williams were once again dominant at the start of the season. In 1992, they became the first team to record consecutive 1-2 finishes at all of the first three races of the year. Nigel Mansell won all three of those races having started from pole position, with team-mate Riccardo Patrese in second place.
Williams’ streak came to an end at the rain-hit Spanish Grand Prix, where Patrese spun off while trying to lap a backmarker. Mansell went on to win all of the first five races of the year and was later crowned 1992 World Champion.
McLaren in 1998
McLaren’s 1-2 finish at the 1998 Australian Grand Prix certainly left their rivals feeling like they had a lot of work to do. Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard lapped the entire field in the season-opener, a race in which Coulthard moved over to allow his team-mate to win due to a pre-race agreement between the pair.
McLaren were almost as dominant in the second race of the season, recording a 1-2 finish once more, this time with their nearest rival Michael Schumacher finishing over a minute behind race winner Hakkinen.
The team’s winning streak ended at the next race – the Argentine Grand Prix – where Schumacher won, ahead of Hakkinen.
Mercedes in 2019
Mercedes enjoyed the most dominant start to a Formula 1 season in history in 2019, with Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas finishing first and second at all of the first five races of the year. Hamilton took three of the race wins, while Bottas won in Australia and Azerbaijan. The team’s impressive 1-2 finish streak was broken by Sebastian Vettel, who finished as runner-up to Hamilton at the 2019 Monaco Grand Prix.
Red Bull in 2023
Red Bull became the latest team to record 1-2 finishes at the first two races of a season in 2023. While Max Verstappen led Sergio Perez home in the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix, it was Perez who won from pole position at the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. Verstappen finished second in Jeddah having started only 15th on the grid. These 1-2 finishes marked Red Bull’s first successive 1-2 results since the 2009 season.
What about Ferrari in the 1950s?
You could argue that Ferrari recorded consecutive 1-2 results in the opening rounds of the 1952 and 1953 seasons. However, in both years, the second round of the season was the Indianapolis 500 – an event which counted towards the World Championship but which regular Formula 1 competitors did not race in.
If you take out the Indianapolis 500 in 1952, the last race of the season – the 1952 Italian Grand Prix – was the only round that year in which Ferrari did not record a 1-2 result. Their impressive run of dominance saw them record six consecutive 1-2 finishes in the first six races they entered in the 1952 season.
It was a similar story in 1953, when – again excluding the Indianapolis 500 – Ferrari recorded 1-2 results in all of the first three Grands Prix of the year. A team would not record 1-2 results in the first two races of a season again until Williams did so in 1981.
Which team holds the record for the longest ever 1-2 finish streak in Formula 1?
Mercedes’ dominant start to the 2019 season is actually one of the longest 1-2 finish streaks of any for a team in Formula 1 history. No team has previously taken more than five successive 1-2 results. Ferrari and Mercedes are the only teams to have taken as many as five 1-2 results in a row. Ferrari have achieved the feat twice (in 1952 and 2002), while Mercedes have done so three times (in 2014, 2016 and 2019).
There have been 41 occasions on which a team has taken consecutive 1-2 results. At the start of the 2023 season, the most recent time it has happened was for Mercedes at the 2020 Portuguese and Emilia Romagna Grands Prix.