The Bahrain Grand Prix has been won from pole only twice in the last six years, three of the top twenty grid slots have never scored and the driver starting fifth has never finished on the podium. Here are which grid slots have had favourable, and not so favourable, fortunes at the Bahrain International Circuit!
THE STATS IN BRIEF:
- Race never won from below fourth
- Nineteenth is the unluckiest grid slot
- Polesitter and fifth have never failed to score
- No podium finishes from fifth
- 16th and 20th have never scored
Less than half of the fourteen races at the Sakhir track have been won from pole. The Bahrain Grand Prix has been won from pole only twice in the last six years. The good news for the polesitter, however, is that the man starting from the front has never failed to finish the Grand Prix, and has only finished off the podium twice. These occurrences were for Sebastian Vettel, who finished fourth in 2010, and Nico Rosberg who finished ninth in 2013.
The race has never been won from outside the top four on the grid, with drivers starting on the front row winning ten times. The last time the race was won outside of the top three on the grid was in 2009, when Jenson Button took victory for Brawn GP from fourth.
LUCKY GRID POSITIONS
THE TOP THREE
All but two Bahrain Grands Prix have been won by one of the top three qualifiers. There is yet to be a race here where none of the top three qualifiers have gone on to finish on the podium, while 2007 is the only time the top three finished in the order in which they started. The only other time the top three qualifiers all finished on the podium here – though not in the order they started – was in 2017. In the past three seasons, just two podium finishes have come from outside the top three on the grid, while in the past five Bahrain races just one podium finish has come from outside the top four starters. That was courtesy of Lewis Hamilton, who finished third from ninth on the grid last season.
The driver starting from fifth place has never failed to finish the Bahrain Grand Prix and has always scored points at the event. With the exceptions of Mark Webber who finished sixth in 2005 and Kimi Raikkonen who finished tenth in 2014, the man who starts from fifth has never finished below where they started from. In all of the past four seasons, the driver starting fifth has finished the race in fourth place. While the driver starting from fifth has never failed to finish the race, there’s some bad news for the driver starting here: no one starting from fifth has finished on the podium in a Bahrain Grand Prix. The same applies for the tenth grid slot, and everywhere from twelfth back, except 22nd – a position from which Kimi Raikkonen took a third place finish in 2006.
While sixth on the grid has scored points on the least occasions from any of the top seven grid slots, Max Verstappen’s retirement here in 2017 is the only time a driver starting from sixth in the Sakhir desert has failed to finish the race. The grid slot also supplied Jenson Button with a podium finish here in 2004.
Just like first and fifth on the grid, no driver has ever retired from the race having started from seventh. However, Christian Klien failed to start the 2005 Bahrain Grand Prix from seventh on the grid due to electrical problems. Romain Grosjean is the only driver to have taken a podium finish from seventh on the grid. He did so for Lotus in 2012.
The driver starting tenthon the grid has finished every race here except David Coulthard in the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix. While the position offers a low DNF rate, it also offers a relatively low points rate, with eight top ten finishes.
Eleventh on the grid has supplied two podium finishes at the Bahrain Grand Prix, and is the only position outside the top nine, other than 22nd, to have supplied a podium finish. Kimi Raikkonen finished second in the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix having started from eleventh, and team-mate Romain Grosjean finished third from here in the following season.
UNLUCKY GRID POSITIONS
Statistically, nineteenth is the unluckiest grid slot in Bahrain. Drivers having started there have failed to finish the race seven times, including Kimi Raikkonen in 2004, Scott Speed in 2007, Sebastian Vettel in 2008, Timo Glock in 2010, Charles Pic in 2012 and Marcus Ericsson in 2017. Jolyon Palmer failed to even make the start of the race from nineteenth in 2016. Furthermore, no one has ever scored points starting from nineteenth at the Bahrain Grand Prix. The best finish for this grid slot is twelfth, which Patrick Friesacher and Charles Leclerc achieved in 2005 and 2018 respectively.
The only other grid slots to have never scored points at this track are sixteenth and twentieth. While Rubens Barrichello finished ninth from twentieth on the grid in 2005 before it offered points, no driver has ever finished in the top ten having started from sixteenth in Bahrain. The best result from sixteenth on the grid was a twelfth placed finish in 2014 for Romain Grosjean.
Both fifteenth and eighteenth grid positions have only scored points once each in the Bahrain Grand Prix. Daniil Kvyat finished seventh from fifteenth in 2016, and Sergio Perez finished in the same position from eighteenth on the grid the following year.
After graduating in 2015 with a First Class honours degree in English Language and Literature, Nicky Haldenby, a lifelong fan of Formula 1, founded the Lights Out F1 Blog in 2016. Now in its sixth 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 Motorsport Guides. In 2017 and 2018, he wrote for Badger GP. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast.