When Max Verstappen crossed the chequered flag first at the end of the 2021 Austrian Grand Prix, not only did the Dutchman become the first ever driver to take all the three wins in a triple header but he also scored his first career Grand Slam or Grand Chelem.
No, we haven’t gotten our games mixed up. Formula One does have a Grand Slam and it consists of an elite group of racers who have achieved this unique feat.
A Grand Slam in Formula One is when a driver qualifies on pole, leads every lap of the race, takes the fastest lap of the race, and wins the race, all over the course of a single race.
In F1’s history, only a handful of drivers till date have managed to score a grand slam in their careers. Let’s take a look at the other members on this list apart from Verstappen.
One Grand Slam
Fernando Alonso – 2010 Singapore
Driving for Ferrari in his first season, the Spaniard put in one of the greatest drives of his career to hold off a charging Sebastian Vettel behind him to score what till date has been the two-time world champion’s only career Grand Slam.
Damon Hill – 1995 Hungary
1996 world champion Damon Hill scored his only career Grand Slam at the Hungaroring. A flawless drive from the Englishman at the 1995 Hungarian Grand Prix saw Hill drive his Williams into the record books.
Gerhard Berger – 1987 Australia
1987 was a tough season for the Austrian driver as he faced nine retirements over the season heading into the final couple of races.
At the final race of the season, the Ferrari driver scored his first and only career Grand Slam, which could’ve been his second had he done the same a week before at Japan where he narrowly missed out on by not leading one lap in the race.
Gilles Villeneuve – 1979 United States
Another Ferrari driver, Villeneuve had a strong start to the 1979 season with two victories in the opening four races.
The French-Canadian driver put in an impressive drive at Long Beach, taking home a well-earned Grand Slam.
Jacques Laffite – 1979 Brazil
If the aforementioned Villeneuve took two the opening races of the ’79 season, it was Ligier’s Laffite who won the other two.
Ligier, who started 1979 in an extremely strong manner, surprised the entire field with their pace. It was Laffite’s super drive at the Brazilian Grand Prix where he took his only career Grand Slam.
Niki Lauda – 1976 Belgium
The Three-time world champion took his only Grand Slam in the infamous 1976 season that also included his horrific crash at the Nürburgring. Lauda led Regazzoni to a dominant Ferrari one-two at the Belgian Grand Prix that year held in Zolder.
Clay Regazzoni – 1976 United States
The 1976 season saw Regazzoni’s Ferrari teammate get off to a flying start with back-to-back wins in the opening races. The Swiss driver, though, wasn’t just going to sit back, and put in a masterful performance at the US weekend on the third race weekend of the season to claim his Grand Slam.
Jacky Ickx – 1972 Germany
Former Ferrari driver Jacky Ickx took his only Grand Slam at the 1972 German Grand Prix. The race, incidentally, was the Belgian’s final Formula One victory as well.
Jo Siffert – 1971 Austria
The Swiss driver, driving for British Racing Motors, put in a super lap at the Österreichring. After taking pole from the Tyrrell-Ford of Jackie Stewart, Jo dominated the race day to score a well-earned Grand Slam.
Mike Hawthorn – 1958 France
The Brit put in a stellar performance at the 1958 French Grand Prix to earn his only Grand Slam in his championship-winning year with Ferrari.
Stirling Moss – 1959 Portugal
Regarded as the greatest driver to have never won the world championship, Stirling Moss’ Grand Slam was as impressive as his career.
At the Portuguese Grand Prix, Moss qualified on pole by a full two seconds, finished the race in first place a full lap ahead of his closest rival in second place, and also took the fastest lap by almost two seconds.
Two Grand Slams
Mika Häkkinen- 1998 Brazil and 1998 Monaco
In the first of his consecutive championship-winning years, the McLaren driver had two pristine weekends in Brazil and Monaco where he was simply a cut above the rest, scoring two Grand Slams in the same year.
Jack Brabham – 1960 Belgium and 1966 England
Australian Jack Brabham scored his first Grand Slam in a unique manner at the 1960 Belgian Grand Prix. Taking victory from pole, Brabham led every lap of the race, but his fastest lap wasn’t the only fastest lap of the race: Phil Hill and Innes Ireland also set the exact time, but since all three shared the fastest lap, Brabham was handed his first Grand Slam in a dark weekend for Formula One that saw the loss of two drivers, Cooper-Climax’s Chris Bristow and Lotus-Climax’s Alan Stacey during a fatal accident on race day.
Brabham’s second Grand Slam came a whole six years later, when he took his own Brabham-Repco car to the top of the podium in a dominant performance throughout the weekend at the 1966 British Grand Prix.
Juan Manuel Fangio – 1950 Monaco and 1956 Germany
Regarded as one of the greatest drivers to have graced the sport, Argentine Juan Manuel Fangio took his first of two career Grand Slams at the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix, where he romped to victory with relative ease after a first-lap crash saw most of his competitors get knocked out.
Like Brabham, Fangio took his second Grand Slam six years after his first one, at the 1956 German Grand Prix, where he dominated the field with a masterful performance at the Nürburgring.
Three Grand Slams
Nelson Piquet – 1980 United States, 1981 Argentina and 1984 Canada
Brazilian Nelson Piquet took his very first Grand Slam at the scene of his first Formula One victory, the 1980 United States Grand Prix, taking his Brabham to the top step of the podium.
A year later, Piquet sailed to victory at the Argentine Grand Prix where he took a dominant Brabham to victory. Piquet took his final Grand Slam in a troubled 1984 season that saw multiple reliability issues, leading to Piquet retiring nine times over the course of the season.
Overcoming reliability issues, the Brazilian put in an impressive performance at the Canadian Grand Prix to take his career’s final Grand Slam.
Four Grand Slams
Sebastian Vettel – 2011 India, 2012 Japan, 2013 Singapore and 2013 Korean
When Sebastian Vettel won four consecutive world championships between 2010-2013, there weren’t many on the track who could match the German’s performances. Having taken his first Grand Slam at the 2011 Indian Grand Prix, Vettel has a total of four grand slams till date. The Indian Grand Prix has always been a special race for the German, with Vettel having won all the editions of the short-lived Indian race. His first race in the Subcontinent in 2011 also marked the first time the four-time world champion scored a Grand Slam, romping through the field at the Buddh Circuit.
Vettel had to wait almost a year to get his second career Grand Slam, but another dominating performance at the 2012 Japanese Grand Prix saw the German win the race by over 20 seconds and score a well-deserved Grand Slam.
If you thought the German’s second grand slam with a win margin of over 20 seconds was dominant, wait till you hear about his third career Grand Slam. In what is, till date, Vettel’s most dominant victory, statistically, Vettel took the chequered flag at the 2013 Singapore Grand Prix by a whole 32 seconds and led every lap, scoring the fastest lap as well on Lap 46, which was then the lap record.
After a dominating weekend in Singapore, Vettel continued his rich vein of form, taking his final career Grand Slam at the 2013 Korean Grand Prix. In taking back-to-back Grand Slams, Vettel became only the third driver after Alberto Ascari and Jim Clark to achieve this unique feat.
Nigel Mansell – 1991 England, 1992 South Africa, 1992 Spain and 1992 England
1992 world champion Nigel Mansell took his first career Grand Slam at his home race at the 1991 British Grand Prix. Having made his debut in 1980, Mansell had to wait for more than a decade to score his maiden Grand Slam.
At his home Grand Prix, Mansell put in a stellar drive to score his first career Grand Slam with the Williams. 1992 was a special season for the British driver, with him taking his maiden world Drivers’ title. Mansell won all of the opening five races which included victories in South Africa and Spain where he had supreme weekends to score Grand Slams.
His final Grand Slam came at the same track where he scored his first one, taking consecutive Grand Slams at the British circuit; Mansell continued his strong season with another solid weekend at Silverstone.
Ayrton Senna – 1985 Portugal, 1989 Spain, 1990 Monaco and 1990 Italy
Like Piquet, Senna’s first Grand Slam came on the occasion of his very first victory at the eventful Portuguese Grand Prix in 1985. Senna had to wait another four years to take his second career Grand Slam. After desperately needing a win to keep his championship hopes alive, the Brazilian master soaked in all the pressure to deliver an astounding race weekend performance to grab a Grand Slam.
Known as the Master of Monaco, Senna put in another stellar drive at the principality to secure a third career Grand Slam. The Brazilian’s fourth and final career Grand Slam came at Monza in 1990, where he put in a dominating performance to complete a quartet of Grand Slams.
Jackie Stewart – 1969 France, 1971 Monaco, 1971 France and 1972 United States
The Flying Scot took his very first Grand Slam driving for Matra-Ford at the 1969 French Grand Prix. Two years later, at the 200th Grand Prix since its inception in 1950, Stewart put in one of his finest performances, qualifying a second over his closest rival and cruising to victory with a 25-second buffer to claim a second Grand Slam. Stewart took his third ‘untouchable weekend’ at the 1971 French Grand Prix before putting in another fine display at the 1972 United States Grand Prix to score his final Grand Slam of his illustrious career.
Five Grand Slams
Michael Schumacher – 1994 Monaco, 1994 Canadian 2002 Spain, 2004 Australian and 2004 Hungary
Michael Schumacher has a special place in Formula One history. The German, who has had one of the most decorated careers in the sport, took his very first Grand Slam at the 1994 Monaco Grand Prix, although his celebrations were muted due to the death of Ayrton Senna in the previous race.
Schumacher repeated the feat in Canada again the same year with a stunning drive at the Giles Villeneuve circuit including setting a then lap record fastest lap. However, he had to wait eight more years to take his next Grand Slam at the 2002 Spanish Grand Prix.
It is surprising Schumacher took only three Grand Slams in his title winning years with Ferrari following his Grand Slam at Spain with two more in his final title winning campaign at the 2004 Australian and Hungarian Grands Prix.
Alberto Ascari – 1952 France, 1952 Germany, 1952 Netherlands, 1953 Argentina and 1953 England
Alberto Ascari and Ferrari’s dominance between 1952 and 1953 can be only compared to the Schumacher-Ferrari dominance of the early 2000s and the Hamilton-Mercedes dominance in the turbo-hybrid era. Winning an astounding 11 out of 13 races, Ascari took home five Grand Slams during that period.
Ascari followed up his maiden Grand Slam at the 1952 French Grand Prix with dominating performances at the German and Dutch Grands Prix that season before taking two more Grand Slams the following season in Argentina and England.
Ascari’s dominance at the German and Dutch Grands Prix saw the Ferrari driver achieve a unique feat of achieving Grand Slams in consecutive races – a feat that has only ever been matched by Jim Clark and Sebastian Vettel.
Six Grand Slams
Lewis Hamilton – 2014 Malaysia, 2015 Italy, 2017 China, 2017 Canada, 2017 England and 2019 UAE
Statistically, Hamilton is the greatest there’s even been, and given some of his records, he might be the greatest. Boasting of a record seven world titles and 98 wins till date, Hamilton holds some of the most illustrious Formula One records. Even though he won his first championship in 2008, Hamilton didn’t score his first Grand Slam until 2014, with the turbo-hybrid era being kind to the Brit.
After having put in an impressive weekend in Malaysia, Hamilton took his first career Grand Slam at the 2014 Malaysian race. The turbo-hybrid era marked the start of the Mercedes dominance, and Hamilton was in prime position to take full advantage. Securing a Grand Slam in his third title-winning year in 2015 at the Italian Grand Prix, the Brit followed it up with three Grand Slams in the 2017 season, having dominated the field after early pressure from Ferrari.
Hamilton’s final Grand Slam, till date, came at the last race of the 2019 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. With only two Grand Slams short of the record and not looking to slow down, it won’t be a surprise if by the end of his career the Formula One Grand Slam record ended in Lewis Hamilton’s corner.
Eight Grand Slams
Jim Clark – 1962 England, 1963 Netherlands, 1963 France, 1963 Mexico, 1964 England, 1965 South Africa, 1965 France and 1965 Germany
Jim Clark’s career has gone down with a question of what if? A two-time world champion in his short career of nine seasons, Clark was one of the greats of the sport.
Driving a superior Lotus, there weren’t many who could match the Scot on his day. With 25 victories from 72 starts, Clark was simply invincible. He made his debut at the 1960 season, but had to wait two seasons for his first win.
Once he got off, there was no stopping Clark. He scored his first Grand Slam at the 1962 British Grand Prix, announcing himself to the world. The following season saw utter dominance from the Lotus driver as he won seven of the ten races, scoring three Grand Slams at the Dutch, French and Mexican Grands Prix.
Reliability issues saw Clark miss out on back-to-back championships, but that didn’t stop him from picking up three wins in the 1964 season along with a Grand Slam at the British Grand Prix.
Clark’s final title-winning season of 1965 saw the Scot once again dominate the field and win six races out of the ten, even though he retired and didn’t take part in three. Clark put in untouchable performances at the South African, French and German Grands Prix that season to take his tally of Grand Slams to a record eight and win a second World Drivers’ title.
Clark unfortunately lost his life on the track in Germany in 1968, cutting short a very promising career. One can’t help but wonder what could have been had the Scot not had that fatal accident – how many more records would he have set?