Ahead of the 2019 Italian Grand Prix, here are which grid slots have had favourable, and not so favourable, fortunes at Monza!
THE STATS IN BRIEF:
- Pole has won 8 of last 10 races
- 4th has finished on the podium in last 2 races
- 8th has scored in 12 of last 15 races
- 13th has had most non-finishes
- 19th scored once in last 40 years
- 20th scored twice in total
Historically, the pole to win conversion rate at Monza is only 35%, though in the past ten years the polesitter has only failed to win twice. Since the turn of the millenium, Juan Pablo Montoya’s retirement in 2002 and Lewis Hamilton’s late race crash in 2009 are the only occasions that the polesitter has failed to finish in the top two at the Italian Grand Prix. In fact, on all of the 22 occasions where the polesitter has reached the end of the race in the last 32 years, they have either won or finished as runner-up.
The polesitter never used to have much luck at Monza. In the 25 races held here between 1961 and 1986, the polesitter won only twice.
LUCKY GRID POSITIONS:
Third on the grid at Monza has had less non-finishes than any of the other top twenty grid slots at the circuit. There have been nineteen non-finishes from this position in total, the most recent coming in 2007, when Felipe Massa retired from third on the grid with suspension failure. Since 1996, Ralf Schumacher’s non-finish is 2002 is the only other time that the driver starting here has failed to pick up points. Last season, Lewis Hamilton became the first driver to win here from third on the grid since Michael Schumacher in 1996.
The driver starting from fourth on the grid at the Italian Grand Prix has finished on the podium here in each of the last two seasons. In fact, they’ve finished on the podium in half of the last eight races at the track, while Nico Rosberg’s 2014 retirement is the only time a driver starting here has retired in the past fourteen Monza races.
In the last thirteen seasons, the driver starting sixth has gone on to stand on the podium at the Italian Grand Prix on three occasions. Also in the last thirteen seasons, the driver starting here has lost positions in the race only twice. Romain Grosjean wasn’t so lucky from this position last year though. He finished where he started, but was later disqualified from the event for having an illegal floor, ending a 12-year streak of points finishes from the grid slot.
From the last fifteen years, the driver starting from eighth has scored points at Monza twelve times. Romain Grosjean’s retirement in 2015 and Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat’s twelfth place finishes in 2013 and 2017 respectively are the only three occasions where this grid slot has failed to score since 2004. Furthermore, aside from those three instances and Kamui Kobayashi’s ninth place finish in 2012, the driver starting eighth on the grid hasn’t lost a position in the race.
UNLUCKY GRID POSITIONS:
Unlucky number thirteen is certainly true at Monza. The grid slot has racked up 37 non-finishes over the history of the Italian Grand Prix at this track – the most of any position. Between 1974 and 1996, the driver starting here finished the race only four times in the 23 races. Better times have followed for the slot, with three of its thirteen points-scoring races coming in the last seven races. In the last three years however, both Pascal Wehrlein and Fernando Alonso have failed to finish having started from thirteenth in 2016 and 2018 respectively.
While the last driver to retire from fourteenth on the grid was Heinz-Harald Frentzen back in 2003, last season Sergio Perez finished seventh to take the first points finish from this position on the grid since Damon Hill twenty years previously. So, while a finish from here is likely, points-scoring races are rare. No driver has finished above sixth from this grid slot since Jean-Pierre Beltoise finished on the podium in 1970.
At the 2015 Italian Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo finished in eighth place having started nineteenth. That marked the first time that the driver starting nineteenth had scored points at Monza since Patrick Tambay finished fifth for McLaren in 1978. Ricciardo remains the only driver to have scored from this position in the last forty years. It has had the least top ten finishes of any top twenty grid slot. In each of the last two Italian Grands Prix, nineteenth on the grid has supplied two retirements.
What do Gerhard Berger and Erik Comas have in common? Well, they both finished in sixth place having started from twentieth on the grid at Monza in 1984 and 1993 respectively. They’re the only two drivers to have finished in points-paying positions from this grid slot at the track; though ironically Berger was ineligible to score points at the 1984 event as he was driving the second ATS car and the team had only officially entered one car into the championship.
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.