Mercedes-Benz’s 2015 – even with the increased number of races factored – is the most dominant campaign: a dozen 1-2s from 19 rounds. A 63.2 per cent strike rate compared to McLaren’s 62.5 per cent from the 16 rounds of 1988.
1-2 Grand Prix results by team
Number of 1-2s
But this mark is up for grabs now that Mercedes-Benz has scored five 1-2s from five so far this season.
It will establish a new record for consecutive 1-2s should it repeat the trick in Monaco.
Ferrari’s longevity – it scored its first 1-2 at the 1951 Italian Grand Prix – has it ahead overall with 83 to the 49 of Mercedes-Benz.
It’s also unique in scoring a brace of 1-2-3-4s.
And its six sweeps of the podium puts it five ahead of the next best.
Such results were possible during the world championship’s early years thanks to multi-car works teams bolstered by privateers.
Ferrari’s 1-2-3-4 at the 1952 German GP – run to Formula 2 regulations – included a 500 model driven into third place by Swiss restaurateur Rudi Fischer and run by his Ecurie Espadon outfit.
Its 1-2-3-4 at the 1961 Belgian GP included a works ‘Sharknose’ painted in the yellow of Ecurie Francorchamps and driven into fourth by local hero Olivier Gendebien.
The latter had featured in Cooper’s 1-2-3-4 in the 1960 French GP at Reims, too, his Yeoman Credit Racing Team car sandwiched between the works ‘Lowline’ versions of winner Jack Brabham and Bruce McLaren. The other Yeoman Credit car of Henry Taylor completed the sequence.
Team Lotus’s inability to prepare a second car equal to that of Jim Clark’s – driver superiority accepted – skewed that figure. Only when Hill joined it in 1967 – in conjunction with the arrival of Cosworth’s DFV – did that change. And then only twice.
Upstart Brabham, blueprint for the F1 ‘kit-car’ teams to come, also scored five 1-2s, as did Ferrari.
2002 Japanese Grand PrixPhoto: Motorsport Images
One-twos were rarer yet in the 1970s: 28 from 144 races equating to 19.4 per cent.
The 1975 and 1977 seasons were devoid of them – the only occasions this has occurred.
Mauro Forghieri’s flat-12 took Ferrari to 11; Tyrrell used its Matra springboard – two 1-2s in 1969 – to score eight more as a constructor, including one for its six-wheelers; Lotus continued to struggle until it cracked ground effect and bolted on (just) enough reliability; Williams broke though; Ligier flattered to deceive; and McLaren went without.
That changed in the 1980s when Ron Dennis rewrote the rules of engagement. The first 1-2 for his McLaren was flash in the pan – John Watson and Niki Lauda charging from the back of the grid at Long Beach in 1983 – but the other 21 that decade were symptomatic of his creation of the no-stone-unturned team.
The same was true of Williams in the 1990s and Ferrari in the noughties. The former took a hi-tech lead and scored 17 1-2s. The latter created a bubble of invincibility around an unblinking lead driver and a fast but compliant number two and scored 33.
These mega teams made 1-2s more common: 26.3 per cent of all GPs in the 1980s; 24.1 per cent in the 1990s; and 31.6 per cent in the 2000s.
The current decade’s figure stands at 35.2 per cent.
Given that there are 16 GPs remaining, that Valtteri Bottas has rejoined the party and Mercedes-Benz has an unprecedented 1-2 strike rate of 25.3 per cent from 194 races – Ferrari’s is 8.5 per cent from 975 races – we may end up where we started 79 years ago.
That’s not healthy and a new regimen is required. A modern ‘1970s’?