At the culmination of the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi, having already achieved his 6th Formula 1 World Championship earlier in the e season, Lewis Hamilton made history with a 6th Grand Chelem. So, what is a Grand Chelem, who has the most to date in the world of Formula One and how close is Lewis Hamilton to catching them?
A Grand Chelem, more commonly referred to as a Grand Slam in motor racing, is the terminology for when a driver scores pole position in qualifying; the fastest lap in the race and also finishes a race as the victor having led every lap of that race. All of this must be achieved over the same race weekend and Lewis Hamilton has now done this 6 times in the course of his F1 history to date following his victory at the only twilight race of the 2019 F1 calendar.
In a season, which now leaves Lewis Hamilton just a single championship behind equaling the record of Michael Schumacher’s 7 F1 World Titles, it is feasible to predict that another titan of F1 could be hunted down in the record books in a shorter time.
Only 24 drivers have secured a Grand Chelem with it being to no one’s surprise that the first driver to do so was the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio. This first Grand Chelem in a Formula One World Championship race occurred at the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix – a suitably glamorous location for a prestigious event. Even more impressive was the fact that this took place in only the second World Championship race.
Out of the 24 drivers to achieve a Grand Chelem, 11 of these only managed it once (Fernando Alonso/Damon Hill/Gerhard Berger/Gilles Villeneuve/Mike Hawthorn/Sterling Moss/Jo Siffert/Jacky Ickx/Clay Regazzoni/Niki Lauda/Jacques Laffite).
Also in the record books having recorded 2 Grand Chelems are Nico Rosberg, Mika Häkkinen, Jack Brabham and the man who started the records – Juan Manuel Fangio. Just ahead in the honours list with three to his name is Nelson Piquet.
Sebastian Vettel, Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna and Jackie Stewart also achieved Grand Chelems – 4 times apiece for the four former F1 champions. Whilst, Michael Schumacher and Alberto Ascari sit just behind Hamilton in the table with 5 Grand Chelems to their name.
Notably absent from this list, is 4-time F1 World Champion Alain Prost having never mastered the feat thereby making Lewis Hamilton’s 6 Grand Chelems all the more impressive.
Therefore, who is the record holder now within reach of Lewis Hamilton? This honour goes to none other than James Clark Jr. OBE, known throughout motor racing as Jim Clark.
Britain’s double F1 Champion, Jim Clark, amassed a total of 8 Grand Chelems and whereas Lewis Hamilton’s first was recorded 5 years ago in Malaysia, Jim Clark’s total of 8 were all incredibly achieved inside a mere 32-races over a timespan of just three years.
The famous saying is that records are made to be broken and now that a bonus point is attached to a fastest lap there is an even greater desire for the honour during a race weekend.
Therefore, if the Mercedes engine continues to be dominant in 2020, it is very realistic to predict that yet more Grand Chelems could come the way of Lewis Hamilton and with it a world record equaling 7th Formula 1 World Championship.
Lewis Hamilton shows no sign of retiring or relinquishing his stranglehold on the F1 record books anytime soon. Instead of analyzing what he says, how he acts or what he wears – let’s call him what he is: a supremely talented Formula 1 racing driver, seen by many as the racer of a generation and it may be many generations before such a talent is seen again.