Lucky and Unlucky Grid Positions: Singapore

Where’s the best place to start the Singapore Grand Prix from? Which position has suffered the most DNFs? Here are which grid slots have had favourable, and not so favourable, fortunes at the Marina Bay Circuit!


  • Polesitter won 8 of 11 races
  • Podiums in all last 5 races for 3rd
  • 6th has always finished
  • 16th taken five DNFs
  • 19th and 20th never scored
  • 20th recorded two DNSs

With the polesitter having won eight of the eleven Singapore Grands Prix held at the Marina Bay Circuit, it seems that it really does pay to be on pole here. Lewis Hamilton’s retirement in 2012 and Sebastian Vettel’s first lap collision in 2017 are the only times that the polesitter has failed to finish the race here. Felipe Massa is the only other Singapore polesitter to fail to win. Despite being in control for the opening laps of the race, a pit-stop incident in which the Brazilian dragged the fuel hose down the pit-lane saw him finish the race in a lowly thirteenth place.

No win has come from outside the top three grid positions so far at this circuit and, strangely, the two years where the polesitter has retired are also the only two years where the driver starting from second on the grid has also failed to finish.


In all of the last five races, the driver starting from third place has finished on the podium. Sebastian Vettel won from this grid slot in 2012, while Jenson Button’s third place in 2011 takes the total tally of podiums from this position up to seven – the second most of any grid slot, only one behind pole position. As with all the top four grid slots, the driver starting third has failed to finish the race on two occasions.

Fifth on the grid has supplied points in the second-most Singapore Grands Prix, with the driver starting here only failing to score twice. The grid slot has given four podium finishes, including Lewis Hamilton’s 2017 win. Hamilton is also the only driver to have retired from this grid slot, his race ending prematurely in 2015 due to power unit issues. Other than that, Heikki Kovalainen’s tenth place finish in 2008 is the only other time this grid slot has failed to pick up points.

Grid slot number six is the only position in the top twenty to have never retired at this circuit. The position has given two podium finishes: a second place for Timo Glock in 2009, and third for Valtteri Bottas in 2017. Sixth on the grid has scored points in all but one Singapore Grand Prix. That was in 2016, when Carlos Sainz finished fourteenth having started from here, while Felipe Massa’s ninth place finish in 2011 is the only other time a driver starting here has lost positions during the race.

The driver starting from fifteenth has scored points on seven occasions – that’s the most times for any grid slot outside the top seven. The furthest back win at the circuit came from this position, somewhat controversially, as Fernando Alonso took victory in the first Singapore Grand Prix. From the four occasions where the driver starting here has failed to score, two have been DNFs (for Adrian Sutil and Jenson Button in 2009 and 2015 respectively).


The driver starting from eighth has retired from two of the last three Singapore Grands Prix. While Nico Rosberg finished as runner-up from this grid slot in 2008. such fortune hasn’t come this position’s way since, with seventh being its second-best result. The driver starting here finished seventh in four of the five races here between 2009 and 2013, but since then the position has failed to gain a place in the Grand Prix, and has only scored once.

The sixteenth grid slot had the unluckiest start to life at the Singapore Grand Prix. In all of the first five races here, the driver starting sixteenth failed to finish the race. While the DNF rate hasn’t been quite that high since, with only one DNF in the last six seasons, the sixteenth grid slot has only scored points once at the Marina Bay Circuit. Felipe Nasr, who finished tenth in 2015, is the only driver to pick up a point from this starting position.

Nineteenth on the grid at the Singapore Grand Prix has never resulted in a points-scoring finish. The best result from this position is Pascal Wehrlein’s twelfth place for Sauber in 2017, though he finished last of the finishers on that day. In more positive news for the driver starting from nineteenth, the position has only failed to finish the race once, and that was all the way back in the first race at the track, in which Adrian Sutil crashed his Force India.

Just like nineteenth, the driver starting twentieth is yet to score a point at the Singapore Grand Prix. Also just like the last grid slot, the best finish from here is also a twelfth place finish, for Timo Glock in 2012. Not only that, but the grid slot is one of only two to have recorded as many as five non-finishes at the track. While there have been three DNFs from this slot, there have also been two occasions that the driver due to start from this position has failed to line up on the grid. Kamui Kobayashi failed to start after his Caterham came to a halt on the formation lap in 2014, while Romain Grosjean failed to even leave his garage as a result of brake problems in 2016.

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