Here are which grid slots have had favourable, and not so favourable, fortunes in the Monaco Grand Prix!
THE STATS IN BRIEF:
- Polesitter has only won once since 2014
- 2nd finished on podium in 8 of last 10 races
- 39 DNFs from 12th
- 18th scored once in last 38 years
- 20th last scored in 1983
- Pit-lane starters have scored 4 times
The Monaco Grand Prix is such a procession that whoever takes pole will win, right? Well, not quite. Since 2004, the polesitter at the Monaco Grand Prix hasn’t failed to finish on the podium. However, last year’s win for polesitter Daniel Ricciardo was the first time the driver starting from the front had won the Monaco race since 2014. An ill-timed pit-stop lost Lewis Hamilton the win in 2015, Ricciardo suffered a slow pit stop in 2016 which lost him the win and in 2017 Kimi Raikkonen lost out on victory due to strategy, which saw his Ferrari team-mate take the honours.
Perhaps surprisingly, from the 65 F1 races held here, the polesitter has won only 29 times, giving a pole to win conversion rate of under 50%. The race has been won from the front row of the grid 44 times, including in every year since 2009 except 2016, when Hamilton won from third on the grid.
The polesitter at the Monaco Grand Prix has retired on 20 occasions, but not since 2002, when Juan Pablo Montoya was forced out of the race with engine troubles.
The Monaco Grand Prix has been won from third or further back 21 times. The furthest back win here came in 1996, when Olivier Panis took victory from fourteenth on the grid. His is the only Monaco victory in the last 33 years to have come from further back on the grid than third.
LUCKY GRID POSITIONS:
In the last ten years, 2013 and 2016 are the only occasions where the driver starting from second on the grid has failed to finish on the podium. On both occasions, though, the driver starting here still scored points. The last driver to not score points from here was Kimi Raikkonen in the rain-hit 2008 race. Since 2001, Mark Webber is the only driver to fail to finish in Monaco having started second. He retired in 2006 with an engine failure. Meanwhile, in the last twenty years the driver starting here has failed to finish only twice. The driver starting second has won the race twice in the last four seasons.
With five podium finishes in the last six years, third is a very favourable place to start the Monaco Grand Prix from. Kimi Raikkonen’s infamous retirement from the 2006 race (when he jumped on his yacht for beers instead of returning to the garage after an engine failure) is the last time a driver starting from third has failed to score. Between 1990 and 2010, the driver starting from third only ever finished on the podium or retired from the race. Lewis Hamilton is the most recent driver to have won from third on the grid, having done so in 2016.
The 14th grid slot in Monte Carlo is the only one outside of the top ten to have won a Grand Prix here. That happened in 1996, when Olivier Panis took an unlikely victory for Ligier. While no one has done anything quite so impressive from the grid slot since then, the driver starting 14th has scored points in eight of the last eleven seasons. Charles Leclerc’s late-race brake failure last season brought to an end a four-year streak of points for the driver starting from 14th. The place also supplied podium finishes for Chris Amon and Lucien Bianchi in 1967 and 1968 respectively.
At a track which is so difficult to overtake at, starting from the pit-lane may sound counter-intuitive. While the last three drivers to start from the pit-lane at the track – Felipe Nasr and Max Verstappen in 2016 and Jenson Button in 2017 – all retired from the race, before that four drivers had scored points having started from the pit-lane. Heikki Kovalainen finished eighth after starting in the pit-lane in 2008, Fernando Alonso finished sixth in 2010 and, most recently, Carlos Sainz finished tenth in 2015. But perhaps most impressive of all was Michael Schumacher who was demoted to the pit-lane following his qualifying antics in 2006. He went on to finish the race in fifth place.
UNLUCKY GRID POSITIONS:
The twelfth grid slot has amassed 39 non-finishes since 1950. That’s more than any other grid slot. Jenson Button, who finished sixth in 2014, is the last driver to have scored a point having started from this position. The place has supplied points on only 19 occasions, less than any other grid slot in the top fifteen.
In the last twelve years, the driver starting from fifteenth at the Monaco Grand Prix has scored points only once. The last driver to score points from this grid slot was Nick Heidfeld, who finished eighth in 2011.
In the last ten years, the driver starting from eighteenth has retired from the Monaco Grand Prix six times, and in the last twenty years the grid position has suffered twelve DNFs, more than any other in the timespan. There was an even lower completion rate between 1981 and 2004, when the driver starting 18th finished the race just four times in 24 years! Ralf Schumacher, who finished sixth in 2005, is the only driver to have scored points from this position in the last 38 years.
Since 1988, Sebastian Vettel’s fifth place finish for Toro Rosso in 2008 is the only time a driver starting from 19th has gone on to score points at the Monaco Grand Prix. While the position has finished in the top ten on fourteen occasions, Louis Chiron in 1955, Marc Surer in 1981 and Ivan Capelli in 1987 are the only drivers, other than Vettel in 2008, to have started 19th and scored. Curiously, all three of those results were sixth place finishes. On the plus side, the 19th grid slot has scored on more occasions than 18th or 20th.
Good news for the driver starting from 20th – Max Verstappen scored from this position in 2018. The bad news? Well, before that, Danny Sullivan was the last driver to score from the position… all the way back in 1983. Between 2010 and 2013, the driver starting here never finished the race. The driver starting here has failed to even start the race on three occasions – Chris Amon in 1974, Domenico Schiattarella in 1995 and Jenson Button, who suffered a large accident in qualifying, in 2003. In 1984 Stefan Bellof even got disqualified from the race having started 20th. It’s a position which brings a wide variety of results, but very rarely are any of those results points-paying positions. Sullivan and Verstappen are the only two drivers to have scored having started 20th on the grid in Monte Carlo.
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. 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 and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.