Where’s the best place on the grid to start the Brazilian Grand Prix from? Here are which grid slots have had favourable, and not so favourable, fortunes at Interlagos!
THE STATS IN BRIEF:
- 5 of last 6 races won from pole
- Last 11 races won from front row
- 5th scored in all last 11 races
- 11th has highest DNF rate
- 13th retired in all last 3 years
- 20th has never scored
All but one of the last six races at Interlagos have been won from pole position. Since 2013, Valtteri Bottas in 2017 is the only polesitter at the Brazilian Grand Prix to have failed to go on and win the race. 15 of the 36 F1 races held so far at Interlagos have been won from pole, giving an overall pole to win conversion rate of 42%.
Since 2004, Lewis Hamilton’s retirement in 2012 is the only non-finish for a polesitter, and one of only three occasions where the polesitter hasn’t finished on the podium during that fifteen year period.
LUCKY GRID POSITIONS:
The driver starting from second on the grid at the Brazilian Grand Prix last recorded a DNF all the way back in 2001. In every season since Ralf Schumacher’s 2001 retirement, second on the grid has always scored points and has finished on the podium in eight of the last ten seasons. With five wins in the last ten years, second on the grid has given the same number of wins as pole position has in the same time frame. The driver starting here has scored points 31 times – that’s more than any other grid slot at Interlagos.
Fifth on the grid has enjoyed points-finishing races in all of the last eleven Brazilian Grands Prix. During that time, the position has supplied three podium finishes – third places for Fernando Alonso in 2010 and Felipe Massa in 2012, as well as the runner-up slot for Max Verstappen last season.
The fourteenth grid slot is the only one from the second half of the grid at Interlagos which has supplied points finishes on more than ten occasions. Romain Grosjean’s retirement in the 2013 Brazilian Grand Prix is the only time in the last ten years that a driver starting from fourteenth has failed to finish at the track. The grid slot has scored points in four of the last seven races here.
Olivier Panis was the last driver to record a non-finish at Interlagos having started from fifteenth on the grid back in 2003. Though the grid slot has only scored six times in total, two of those occasions have been in the past four seasons, with Pastor Maldonado finishing tenth in 2015, and Carlos Sainz finishing sixth in 2016. The best ever finish for this grid slot was fourth for Sebastian Vettel in 2009.
UNLUCKY GRID POSITIONS:
Eleventh on the grid has suffered nineteen non-finishes in the 36 races held at Interlagos, giving it the highest DNF rate of any grid slot at the circuit. The driver starting here retired in every race at the track between 1975 and 1991, and failed to finish five times consecutively between 2003 and 2008. Daniel Ricciardo’s fourth place on the grid marked the first time the grid slot has scored points since 2011.
In all of the last three Brazilian Grands Prix, the driver starting thirteenth has failed to finish the event. Felipe Massa crashed out in the slippery conditions in 2016, Kevin Magnussen was eliminated in a first lap collision in 2017 and Nico Hulkenberg retired with overheating issues in 2018. Thirteenth position on the grid has had eighteen non-finishes in total – the second most of any grid slot. The grid slot has scored only once in the past eight seasons.
The driver starting from eighteenth on the grid has failed to pick up points or have a top ten finish at the Brazilian Grand Prix since Michael Schumacher finished seventh in 2004. The slot hasn’t given a finishing position higher than twelfth in any of the past fourteen seasons, and has retired from half of those races. The slot has suffered seventeen non-finishes in total.
Twentieth on the grid is the only slot from the top twenty at Interlagos to have never scored a point. Furthermore, there have been no top ten finishes from twentieth on the grid since Jenson Button finished tenth for Benetton in 2001. There have been just four top ten finishes in total for twentieth on the grid at Interlagos, with a best finish of seventh place for Marc Surer in 1980.
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.