The polesitter has won only once in the past seven years at the Australian Grand Prix, and there’s a further ominous statistic for the top six on the grid. Here are which grid positions have had favourable, and not so favourable, fortunes at Albert Park!
THE STATS IN BRIEF:
- Polesitter has won only once in the last seven years
- Fifth on the grid has never won
- Third on the grid supplies points most often
- A DNF from the top six qualifiers is highly likely
- Twentieth on the grid has never scored points
Pole isn’t a particularly lucky place to start from in Melbourne. While the polesitter has finished on the podium in all but one of the last eight races here, they’ve also gone on to win the Australian Grand Prix just once in the last seven years. In all of the last three events at the Albert Park track, the polesitter (Lewis Hamilton at all three) has finished as runner-up in the Grand Prix. While pole has been converted into a win nine times in the 23 races at the Albert Park track since 1996, the polesitter has also retired from the Grand Prix here seven times. The only other results for a driver starting from pole at the track are second, third and fourth. 2003 is the only time that the polesitter here neither finished on the podium nor retired from the race – Michael Schumacher finished fourth that year.
LUCKY GRID POSITIONS
Aside from grid slots below twentieth which have frequently been left vacant, second and third positions on the grid have supplied the least overall non-finishes at Albert Park, each with five non-finishes. Both those grid slots have seen DNFs four times, while Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified from second on the grid in 2014 and Sebastian Vettel failed to finish the race but was classified after starting third on the grid in 2009. Second and third places on the grid have also supplied the most top ten finishes, with eighteen each.
No grid slot has scored more points finishes than third, from which drivers have scored points on seventeen occasions. Drivers starting from third at Albert Park have scored in every season without fail since 2013. In fact, Michael Schumacher’s eighth place finish from this grid slot in 1999 is the only time a driver starting from this position has finished the race without scoring points.
Tenth and sixteenth on the grid have gone the longest without a non-finish. The last retirement from those positions was in 2010. The driver starting from tenth has scored points in every Australian Grand Prix since 2011. On every occasion, the driver starting tenth has gained at least one position over the course of the race. While no-one has recorded a DNF starting from thirteenth since 2006, Sergio Perez was disqualified having started from that position in 2011.
Eleventh on the grid is the slot with the most podium finishes from outside the top six on the grid. Drivers starting here have gone on to finish on the podium on three occasions, while eleventh position is the record for the furthest back win here, which David Coulthard achieved in 2003.
In all the races in which a driver starting fifteenth has finished a race at the track, they have never lost a position from their starting place. The same can be said of every position behind that with the exception of the sixteenth grid slot, from which Patrick Friesacher dropped one position to seventeenth during the 2005 Australian Grand Prix.
UNLUCKY GRID POSITIONS
A driver starting from fifth has never won the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park. Furthermore, fifth is the grid position in the top five which has seen the most non-finishes and the least top ten finishes.
A driver starting from twelfth has finished in the top ten only five times; less than any other grid slot within the top sixteen. A driver has retired from twelfth on the grid on thirteen occasions.
Fourteenth and nineteenth are the unluckiest grid slots at Albert Park, each having seen a total of thirteen DNFs from the 23 races held at the track. fourteenth on the grid has recorded four DNFs in the last seven Australian Grands Prix, while nineteenth has retired from both of the last two races here.
Since 2013, a driver starting from seventeenth or lower on the grid has only scored points in the Australian Grand Prix once. That driver was Romain Grosjean, who finished sixth on Haas’ debut after starting from nineteenth in 2016.
Every grid slot within the top twenty has secured at least two top ten finishes since 1996, though a driver starting from twentieth on the grid has never scored points at the Albert Park circuit. Points have come from further back than this, though. Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez finished sixth and eighth in 2007 and 2012 respectively having started from 22nd, while Toyota drivers Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock took home third and fourth place after starting from the pit-lane in 2009.
One of the top six
There have only ever been two races here (2005 and 2011) where all of the top six qualifiers finished the race. 2011 was also the only time the top six qualifiers at this track all went on to finish in the top six in the Grand Prix. It seems likely, then, that one big name will fail to reach the end of the 2019 Australian Grand Prix.
Nicky Haldenby is a freelance writer from Scarborough, England. After graduating from the University of Hull in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its fourth season, the blog has become a firm fan-favourite, delving deep into the sport’s history books and lifting the cover on unusual F1 statistics. Nicky also writes at F1Destinations, and sister site GPDestinations, where he shares regular race previews and articles focussed around the latest in Formula 1 calendar and venue news. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky can also be heard regularly as a guest on various Formula 1 radio shows and podcasts.