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Formula 1

When an all-time F1 record was broken on New Year's Day

Grands Prix in January and February used to be rather common in F1 - with one such event leading to an all-time record being broken in a great's final race.

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In modern Formula 1, the Christmas and New Year period is usually one of the busiest times of year for teams as they make final preparations for the machine they hope will deliver the goods on-track in the next season.

However, back in the 1960s, when cars were largely the same from one season to the next, this did not need to be considered with - meaning races could, and were run from early January to late December.

The South African Grand Prix first debuted in the World Championship in December 1962, with Graham Hill securing his first title on December 29th at the East London circuit.

In both 1965 and 1968, the season-opener was held on January 1st - New Year's Day itself, both races being won by Jim Clark in the Lotus - with the second of these wins proving both poignant and historic.

Clark breaks the record

In winning the 1968 race, Clark claimed his 25th World Championship Grand Prix win, eclipsing the record held by Juan Manuel Fangio since 1957.

As ever, it was a dominant drive from the Scotsman in the Lotus, only being denied a Grand Chelem by Jackie Stewart leading the opening lap before Clark resumed his lead for the remaining 79.

He also took the record for most races led, most poles, most points but tragically would never get to add to his tally.

The next World Championship race was not until Spain on May 12th, with Clark racing in a Formula 2 event at Hockemheim in April.

He would crash early on in the wet race, succumbing to his injuries and leaving the benchmark at 25 World Championship Grand Prix wins.

Record for most wins in F1 progression

Driver Number of wins Record held since
Giuseppe Farina 1 1950 British GP
Giuseppe Farina 2 1950 Swiss GP
Juan Manuel Fangio 3 1950 French GP
Juan Manuel Fangio 4 1951 Swiss GP
Juan Manuel Fangio 6 1951 Spanish GP
Alberto Ascari 13 1953 Swiss GP
Juan Manuel Fangio 24 1955 Argentine GP
Jim Clark 25 1968 South African GP
Jackie Stewart 27 1973 Dutch GP
Alain Prost 51 1987 Portuguese GP
Michael Schumacher 91 2001 Belgian GP
Lewis Hamilton 103 2020 Portuguese GP

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