Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe
Special feature

How Bearman’s Baku double stacks up in historic junior single-seater feats

Oliver Bearman’s Formula 2 clean sweep in Baku was an impressive feat, with the Prema rookie joining an elite list of second-tier drivers to have done the same. But which of those drives was the most impressive?

Oliver Bearman, PREMA Racing

Bearman’s stunning weekend in Azerbaijan fired him far up the drivers’ standings, with the 38-point haul putting him in fourth place and setting him up for a title-challenging rookie season.

The Briton, who moved up to F2 with Prema after just one season in F3 which saw him finish third, learned from his early season mistakes to complete a rare clean sweep, topping practice, qualifying and both races, as well as the fastest lap in race one.

Speaking after the weekend, he said: “It was an amazing race. To take a clean sweep of wins this weekend is a great feeling. I've got to say a huge thanks to the team, they gave me the fastest car this weekend so really good job from them.

“It was a tough race, it's always close and I had a lot of pressure from behind, especially at the start but once I managed to pull a gap, I was just waiting for a safety car or something bad to happen but luckily, nothing did and we managed to take the win. Really happy with this result and let's keep it up.”

Drivers have done the double before, of course – Felipe Drugovich won both F2 races in Barcelona last year, while also taking the fastest lap in race one. Juri Vips became the first F2 driver to take two wins in one weekend in 2021, also in Baku, before Oscar Piastri repeated the feat later that season in Jeddah.

But these feats go further than that, with drivers securing pole and winning both races at a minimum, with several having also led practice ahead of that, as Bearman did, or taking fastest laps.

With that said, Autosport ranked all eight second-tier clean sweeps across F2 and its predecessors, GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5.

8. Giedo van der Garde, Formula Renault 3.5, Monza 2008

Van der Garde's double at the Monza opener launched his Formula Renault 3.5 title charge in 2008

Van der Garde's double at the Monza opener launched his Formula Renault 3.5 title charge in 2008

Photo by: Elliot Patching / Motorsport Images

Sessions led: Qualifying, Race 1, Race 2
Fastest lap: Race 2

Having been strong in pre-season testing but having failed to score a podium in his maiden Formula Renault 3.5 season in 2007, Giedo van der Garde entered his second year with something to prove. And that he did, with a superb showing at the opening round in Monza, taking pole before winning both races, including a stunning charge from seventh in race one. The Dutchman capitalised on mistakes from Charles Pic and Marco Bonanomi before a fierce battle with Pasquale di Sabatino saw him force his way into the lead.

Race two was a simpler affair, and despite locking up on the safety car restart, cruised to victory five seconds clear of his nearest rival while also scoring the fastest lap, which he had lost out on to Marcos Martinez in race one. Though it was a brilliant performance from van der Garde, he already had a year’s experience under his belt, and his strength against the rest of the field saw him win the title 31 points clear of Julien Jousse, having won five of the season’s 15 races.

7. Nico Rosberg, GP2, Bahrain 2005

Rosberg beat a quality field in the 2005 GP2 season

Rosberg beat a quality field in the 2005 GP2 season

Photo by: FIA Formula 2

Sessions led: Qualifying, Race 1, Race 2
Fastest lap: None

A superb weekend in Bahrain sealed Nico Rosberg the inaugural GP2 title, and as a rookie at that. The young German finished second in the first qualifying to fellow future Formula 1 driver Heikki Kovalainen, but came out on top after the second session to take pole by a whopping 0.7 seconds. With poor reliability which had plagued the series in its maiden season, three drivers stalled on the grid, forcing a safety car-led rolling start for race one. Though many drivers took a strategic gamble and pitted early, Rosberg controlled the pace “quite beautifully, getting faster and faster with each lap”, according to Autosport magazine’s report of the weekend.

A more dramatic race two saw Rosberg start eighth, but he made his way through the field, and despite race leader Ernesto Viso holding a 3.8s lead by the time Rosberg reached second, the future world champion slashed the Venezuelan’s lead before eventually passing him for his second win of the weekend. It was a demonstration of what was to come from Rosberg over the coming decade, beating a solid field including the likes of Kovalainen, Scott Speed and Nelson Piquet Jr to secure his graduation to F1 with Williams the following season.

6. Kevin Magnussen, Formula Renault 3.5, Catalunya 2013

The Danish driver's commanding double at the season finale paved his way towards a McLaren F1 seat

The Danish driver's commanding double at the season finale paved his way towards a McLaren F1 seat

Photo by: Sebastiaan Rozendaal / Dutch Photo Agency

Sessions led: Practice 2, Qualifying, Race 1, Race 2
Fastest lap: Race 1

“For the first time all year, Kevin Magnussen’s temperament almost got the better of him. Almost,” begins the Autosport magazine report of the season finale of the 2013 Formula Renault 3.5 championship. The Dane made a rare error with five laps to go in race one, but clung on for victory and clinched the title, as well as the fastest lap. Not only that, he went on to win again the following day, dominating from pole for an emphatic double victory despite his feeling that it was “a bit like a test day” racing having already claimed a “thoroughly deserved” title.

It was his second year in the championship, having finished seventh with Carlin the previous season before switching to DAMS for 2013, and he was in a better position from the off, winning race one at the second round at Aragon before taking four more victories on his way to the title. He beat strong competition, including future world champion Stoffel Vandoorne, Antonio Felix da Costa and Carlos Sainz, although the future Ferrari F1 driver drove in only five rounds alongside his main GP3 campaign. The season culminated in that amazing weekend in Barcelona, leading all but one session, before Magnussen graduated to F1 with McLaren the following year, racing alongside Jenson Button.

5. Nico Hulkenberg, GP2, Nurburgring 2009

Hulkenberg maximised home advantage at the Nurburgring

Hulkenberg maximised home advantage at the Nurburgring

Photo by: FIA Formula 2

Sessions led: Qualifying, Race 1, Race 2
Fastest lap: None

The second young Nico to clinch the GP2 title in his rookie season, Hulkenberg became only the fifth driver to do the double in F2’s predecessor. Coming second in practice to Vitaly Petrov, who would also finish second in the standings, the young German went on to take pole before clinching victory in both races, though he missed out on the fastest laps to future Formula E driver Edoardo Mortara and Alberto Valerio. Despite being a rookie, Hulkenberg was very familiar with the circuit, having raced six rounds there across Formula BMW ADAC, German F3 and the F3 Euro Series.

Autosport magazine drew parallels with Nelson Piquet Jr’s stunning performance at the Hungaroring in 2006 (more on that later) as Hulkenberg “demolished” the opposition, conquering the feature race by 13 seconds and the sprint by 26 seconds. Like Piquet, he found his fourth-row sprint race start “complicated by wet conditions, and still managed to make it look like the track was only damp for everyone else.” It was a strong field too, with future F1 rivals Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean among those left in his wake. He also beat Pastor Maldonado, to whom he would later lose his Williams seat in 2011, forcing the German to sit out the season as a reserve driver for Force India. Well, it all worked out in the end, didn’t it?

4. Davide Valsecchi, GP2, Bahrain 2012

Valsecchi's racing career arguably peaked with his Bahrain double

Valsecchi's racing career arguably peaked with his Bahrain double

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Sessions led: Practice, Qualifying, Race 1, Race 2
Fastest lap: Race 1

Davide Valsecchi might now be better known for his excitable TV punditry, but the 2012 GP2 champion was once a very rapid junior series driver, beating the likes of Jolyon Palmer, Brendon Hartley and Felipe Nasr to that year’s title. Having fluffed a pole start at Sepang the previous month, the Italian learned from his mistakes in Bahrain, getting a good start before controlling the race to the end, his fastest lap almost a second quicker than his rivals and prompting calls from his DAMS engineer to be “calm, calm, calm” in race two.

He lined up seventh, cutting through the field before dispensing with Max Chilton and James Calado on successive laps before passing Esteban Gutierrez for the lead at the start of the final lap. Though it was almost a totally clean sweep, with Valsecchi only missing out on the race two fastest lap to Giedo van der Garde, you would expect solid performances from a driver with so much experience - 2012 was his third full GP2 season, and he had completed two partial campaigns prior to that.

3. Antonio Giovinazzi, GP2, Baku 2016

Giovinazzi avoided the chaos around him to record his Baku double

Giovinazzi avoided the chaos around him to record his Baku double

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Sessions led: Qualifying, Race 1, Race 2
Fastest lap: Race 2

GP2’s first visit to Baku proved as chaotic as its most recent, with collisions aplenty and raising questions about driving standards in the category – sound familiar? Questions were not raised, however, about the quality of Antonio Giovinazzi’s double victory. The Prema rookie (just like Bearman) completed a remarkable feat while others floundered, with Nobuharu Matsushita even handed a ban for the following round after some disastrous safety car restart antics. Giovinazzi was second in practice, and though he missed out on the race one fastest lap, won both races and took the bonus point in race two, saying afterwards he “would have never dreamed” of two wins at the third round of 11 despite having shown his street circuit expertise in F3 the previous year.

He had superior pace in race one, seizing the lead from compatriot Raffaele Marciello in the closing stages and avoiding chaos behind him. Even an engine issue in race two wasn’t enough to hamper his progress, with Matsushita’s “erratic” driving causing several pile-ups and allowing Giovinazzi and team-mate Pierre Gasly to seal a 1-2. Though he eventually missed out on the title to Gasly, Giovinazzi impressed enough to secure a role as Ferrari’s third F1 driver the following year.

2. Oliver Bearman, F2, Baku 2023

Bearman didn't miss a beat in Baku to take full advantage of the mistakes from others

Bearman didn't miss a beat in Baku to take full advantage of the mistakes from others

Photo by: Andrew Ferraro / Motorsport Images

Sessions led: Practice, Qualifying, Race 1, Race 2
Fastest lap: Race 1

Oliver Bearman’s sensational Baku weekend was just one point off a flawless haul, with the Prema driver only missing out on the fastest lap in race two. The Briton led practice before snatching pole, despite having damaged his steering by swiping the Turn 2 wall on his final flying lap. Bearman lined up ninth for Saturday’s reverse-grid sprint race which was chaotic from the off, with the top three all involved in incidents in the opening seconds. The second safety car restart saw the top three again tangle, allowing Bearman’s team-mate Vesti to inherit the front spot before Bearman snatched the lead moments before a race-ending safety car.

His brilliant weekend continued with a commanding win in Sunday’s feature race, and despite briefly losing the lead to Pourchaire, quickly regained control. Though he missed out on the race two fastest lap to Isack Hadjar, it was a standout performance by the two-time Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Award finalist. Without the benefit of hindsight to rate the field, it’s hard to tell where this performance will rate in years to come, but in the immediate aftermath it’s clear that this was a masterclass by a driver in just his fourth round of F2. Big things await Bearman if he can continue this streak.

1. Nelson Piquet Jr, GP2, Hungaroring 2006

Piquet took the clean sweep in Hungary - he topped every session and set the fastest laps in both races

Piquet took the clean sweep in Hungary - he topped every session and set the fastest laps in both races

Photo by: FIA Formula 2

Sessions led: Practice, Qualifying, Race 1, Race 2
Fastest lap: Both races

It was an “untouchable” performance by Nelson Piquet Jr at the Hungaroring for round nine of 11 in the 2006 GP2 title fight. The cleanest of clean sweeps slashed Lewis Hamilton’s championship lead from 26 to 11, with Piquet becoming the first driver to take the full 20 points from a GP2 weekend. The 10 August 2006 issue of Autosport magazine proclaimed Piquet’s victory “as dominant as anything achieved by Nico Rosberg last year or Lewis Hamilton this.” He led practice before taking pole by over half a second from Jose Maria Lopez while Hamilton spun and was forced to line up last. Race one saw Piquet disappear up the road from his rivals, coming in for his mandatory pitstop with a 20s lead over the chasing pack and eventually claiming his first lead since the season-opener at Valencia in what was branded a “demolition job” by Autosport and “the sort of race every driver dreams of” by Piquet himself.

Though he lined up eighth for the sprint race, a soaking circuit saw Piquet capitalise on mistakes from those ahead and took the lead by lap eight before building a 10s lead. The race report read: “Hamilton stemmed the rate at which Piquet was pulling away, but there was no touching the Brazilian. And at the track where his father won the inaugural grand prix after a legendary pass around the outside of Ayrton Senna at the first corner, Nelsinho etched his own name into the record books with another dominant win. Fittingly, Senior was on hand to watch it all unfold.” Though it wasn’t enough to defeat Hamilton to the title, Piquet’s stunning drives that weekend were enough to mark his place in the history books - no other driver is yet to repeat this feat.

It was fitting that Piquet Jr starred at the Hungaroring, after his father won the first F1 race held at the track back in 1986

It was fitting that Piquet Jr starred at the Hungaroring, after his father won the first F1 race held at the track back in 1986

Photo by: Motorsport Images

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article How F1’s popularity boom is attracting corporate sponsors to F2
Next article F2 Monaco: Iwasa dominates for third win this season

Top Comments

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe