Formula 1: The most bizarre statistic from a crazy 2021 season

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Formula 1 (Photo by LARS BARON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Formula 1 (Photo by LARS BARON/POOL/AFP via Getty Images) /

Only one team scored a 1-2 finish over the course of the 22-race Formula 1 season, and that team didn’t even finish in the top three in the constructor standings.

After a 2019 Formula 1 season that saw them collect nine 1-2 finishes, including five in a row to start the year, and a shortened 2020 season that saw them collect five more, Mercedes knew that they would be faced with a bigger challenge in the 2021 season.

From all the way back in preseason testing, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen appeared to finally be able to challenge seven-time world champion — and four-time reigning world champion — Lewis Hamilton for the title. Hamilton had won the last two titles comfortably ahead of teammate Valtteri Bottas in second place.

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Red Bull not only improved their overall package but hired Sergio Perez as Verstappen’s teammate after two years of subpar performance from the drivers in their second seat, a move that proved to make a huge difference down the stretch.

But at the end of the 22-race 2021 season, one which saw Verstappen beat Hamilton to the title with a last-lap pass in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix at Yas Marina Circuit, only one team had managed to record a single 1-2 finish throughout the year.

And it wasn’t either one of these two; in fact, it wasn’t even third place finisher Ferrari, which failed to win a race for the second straight year.

It was McLaren.

In an Italian Grand Prix at Monza which saw a collision take out both Verstappen and Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo held on to win ahead of teammate Lando Norris in second place.

And strangely enough, given how the race had been unfolding before the collision, it may very well have happened even had the two title protagonists remained in the race.

As for Mercedes and Red Bull, they combined for 12 races with two drivers on the podium. Mercedes pulled it off eight times, including six times for a win (all Hamilton), and Red Bull pulled it off four times, including three times for a win (all Verstappen).

Bottas and Perez each won one race (Istanbul and Baku, respectively), and they did not share the podium with their teammates in those races.

Verstappen and Hamilton, however, finished 1-2 on 14 occasions, with each winning seven times. Verstappen’s other three wins came with Hamilton in seventh place (Monaco), fourth (Austria) and third (Spa). Hamilton’s other win came after first-lap contact with Verstappen knocked Verstappen out of the race at Silverstone.

As for McLaren, they had just three other podium appearances throughout the year en route to a fourth place finish in the constructor standings, all third place finishes from Norris (Imola, Monaco and Austria).

Norris finished the year in sixth place in the driver standings ahead of Ricciardo in eighth. Ferrari teammates Carlos Sainz Jr. and Charles Leclerc finished in fifth and seventh, respectively.

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The 2022 season is scheduled to get underway this weekend with the Bahrain Grand Prix at Bahrain International Circuit on Sunday, March 20. ESPN is set to broadcast the race live beginning at 11:00 a.m. ET, so be sure to start your free trial of FuboTV today!