What is a 'Grand Chelem' in F1?

Max Verstappen became the youngest Grand Chelem winner in F1 history a the 2021 Austrian Grand Prix
Max Verstappen became the youngest Grand Chelem winner in F1 history a the 2021 Austrian Grand Prix
Dese Gowda

A Grand Chelem, or a Grand Slam, is an F1 record that is a troika of pole position, race win, and fastest lap. It is also prevalent in most other motorsports, albeit with different criteria.

A driver achieves this distinction upon scoring pole position in qualifying, then winning the race after leading every lap, while also setting the fastest lap of the race – all within the same race weekend.

In F1, scoring a Grand Chelem is extremely difficult, even if the driver has the dominant car in the field. This is why, throughout F1’s 70-year-long history, only 25 drivers have ever achieved a Grand Chelem.

The record for most Grand Chelems in F1 history is still held by two-time F1 world champion Jim Clark. Between 1962 and 1965, armed with the dominant Lotus 25 DFV, Clark scored eight Grand Chelems.

Lewis Hamilton and Michael Schumacher, each with seven F1 world titles, have scored only six and five Grand Chelems respectively in their careers. This was despite each of them dominating the sport for extended periods while also being equipped with the best car on the grid.

Interestingly, the first Grand Chelem ever scored in F1 was in the very first world championship race at Monaco in 1950. Argentine driver Juan Manuel Fangio – who later went on to win five world championship titles – scored the first of his two Grand Chelems in that race.

#OnThisDay 10 years ago 4 #F1 legends stood on the #IndianGP podium, after one of them, Seb Vettel, now of @AstonMartinF1, had taken his first #F1 grand chelem (pole, fastest lap, leading from lights to flag). #AnorakFact: Clark took a record 8, all in a 32-GP period in 3 years.

Other multiple Grand Chelem scorers include Alberto Ascari with five Grand Chelems, Jackie Stewart, Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna, and Sebastian Vettel each with four, while Nelson Piquet has three to his name.

Along with Fangio, three other drivers, namely Mika Hakkinen, Nico Rosberg, and Jack Brabham, have each scored a Grand Chelem twice.

Meanwhile, 12 of the 25 drivers to have scored a Grand Chelem have done so only once in their careers. They include the likes of Niki Lauda, Stirling Moss, Gilles Villeneuve, Damon Hill, Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen.

Ballooning F1 calendar could be nightmarish for teams

For the 2022 season, F1 is set to add two more races to an already busy calendar to bring the total number of races up to 23.

While more races mean more action for fans to experience, the additional venues will have a significant toll on the well-being of team personnel. Team mechanics, in particular, are already working 12-hour shifts and could face even more work, with shrinking time to relax and recharge.

The 2022 #F1 calendar is here! πŸ™ŒA record-breaking 23 races πŸ…A brand new grand prix in Miami πŸ’œAustralia, Canada, Singapore and Japan all return πŸ‘Œ

To accommodate the lengthy calendar, F1 has also increased the number of triple headers (three back-to-back races) for next season. This could potentially lead to staff burnout, with mechanics and track-side engineers being affected the most.

The increased number of races could also have an impact on smaller teams’ performance. Larger teams such as Mercedes could hire more people to substitute their burnt-out staff, something a smaller outfit like Haas won’t be able to do.

Also Read: Who has won most F1 Championships?

What's your favorite race of the 2022 season so far? Tell us in the comments below..

Edited by Anurag C


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