F1 Grid Slot Statistics: Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka

All but one of the last 11 races at Suzuka have been won from the front row of the grid. Here’s everything you need to know about the history of each grid slot at Suzuka!


THE STATS IN BRIEF

  • All top ten grid slots have finished on the podium
  • 7th not retired since 1999
  • 16th not classified in last three races
  • Furthest back win from 17th
  • 19th not scored since 1991

THE OVERVIEW

GridLast WinLast PodiumLast PointsLast DNFBest Finish
120182019201919981st
220152018201920171st
320192019201920131st
4-2019201920122nd
520062011201820191st
619902006201920121st
7-2003201919992nd
8-2003201820042nd
9-2014201920103rd
10-2012201720182nd
11--201820174th
12--201920185th
13-1992201820123rd
14--201920146th
15--201820174th
16-2005200520183rd
1720052005201920101st
18--201020148th
19--199120175th
20--201420045th

The polesitter has won three of the last four Japanese Grands Prix. The pole to win conversion rate here is just under 50%, with the polesitter being victorious in fifteen of the 31 races held here so far. The polesitter has finished on the podium in all but one of the last nineteen races at the track, with Ralf Schumacher starting from pole but finishing only eighth in 2005. Pole has provided more podium finishes than any other grid slot here but, strangely, Sebastian Vettel’s third place is the only time the polesitter has finished in third place at Suzuka.

There have been only four DNFs for a polesitter at Suzuka. The last driver to start from pole and fail to finish at Suzuka was Michael Schumacher back in 1998. His race was dogged with bad luck, having started from the back of the pack after stalling on the formation lap. He climbed through the field in the race but was forced to retire after picking up a puncture. Title rival Mika Hakkinen won the race and claimed his first World Championship as a result. Aside from DNFs, both Ayrton Senna in 1989 and Jacques Villenueve in 1997 started from pole and were disqualified. Senna was controversially disqualified for using an escape road to rejoin the race after colliding with title rival Alain Prost, while Villeneuve had been relegated to the back of the field for ignoring yellow flags. Williams appealed the decision and the Canadian started from the front, but was later disqualified.


The driver starting second on the grid won all three Japanese Grands Prix between 2013 and 2015, but has not won the event since. In the last four Suzuka races, there have been two podium finishes, a sixth place for Charles Leclerc in 2019 and a retirement for Sebastian Vettel in 2017. The driver starting here has had 25 top ten finishes, which is the most along with the polesitter and fourth.


In 2019, Valtteri Bottas became the first driver to win the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka from the second row of the grid. Third on the grid has provided podium finishes in all of the last four races and points finishes in every Japanese Grand Prix since 2014.


Fourth is a pretty good place to start the Japanese Grand Prix from, having given podium finishes in four of the last seven Japanese Grands Prix. Since 1996, Olivier Panis’ tenth place finish in 2003 and Romain Grosjean’s retirement in 2012 are the only times a driver starting from fourth has failed to score.


Fernando Alonso’s victory in 2006 is the only one at Suzuka to have come from fifth on the grid. Seven podium finishes have come from here in total, the most recent of which was also for Alonso in 2011. In the last eight races at the track, fifth on the grid has scored only four times, with three of those non-scoring events being retirements.


In the last six Suzuka races, the driver starting sixth has scored points five times. All five of those times have been fourth place finishes. Sixth on the grid has won the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka twice, in 1989 and 1990. Since then, there have been two podium finishes from this grid slot. Most recently a third place finish for Giancarlo Fisichella in 2006. In the last sixteen Suzuka races, the driver starting here has failed to finish only twice.


The positive news for the driver starting here is that there have been no retirements from this grid slot since Jarno Trulli in 1999. Since then, it has had two podium finishes – both third places, and both for David Coulthard in 2001 and 2003. However, in recent years, points-scoring races from this grid slot have been few. In the last six Japanese Grands Prix, Sergio Perez’s seventh place in 2017 and Carlos Sainz’s fifth place in 2019 are the only times the driver starting seventh has scored.


In the last race at the circuit in 2019, for the first time since 2009, the driver starting eighth at Suzuka failed to score. Since 2005, the best finish for a driver starting here is fourth, for Jenson Button in 2012 and for Fernando Alonso in 2013. The grid slot has taken two podium finishes, both second places for Roberto Moreno in 1990 and Kimi Raikkonen in 2003.


The ninth grid slot has had nine consecutive Japanese Grands Prix without a DNF. During that time, the grid slot has had six points-scoring races, including a podium finish for Sebastian Vettel, who finished third in 2014. Since 1997, Jacques Villeneueve and Nico Hulkenberg are the only drivers to retire from this grid slot, doing so in 2002 and 2010 respectively.


Between 1998 and 2017, the driver starting tenth never failed to finish the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. That run included a podium finish for Felipe Massa, who finished as runner-up in 2012. It was the second time that a driver has recorded a podium finish from this track, with Thierry Boutsen having finished third in 1988. In the last eleven Japanese Grands Prix, there have been only four occasions that tenth on the grid has failed to supply a points-scoring finish.


The driver starting eleventh has scored four times in the past six Japanese Grands Prix. This grid slot’s best ever finishing position is fourth, recorded by Nelson Piquet in 1989. Since then, it has had three fifth place finishes. Since 2003, Nico Hulkenberg is the only driver to have retired from this grid slot, doing so in 2017.


Twelfth on the grid has given three points finishes in the last four races at the Japanese Grand Prix. No one has finished above fifth place having started twelfth at Suzuka. The grid slot has had two fifth place finishes for Alessandro Nannini in 1988 and Rubens Barrichello in 1993. In the last ten Suzuka races, Kevin Magnussen’s 2018 retirement has been the only time that the driver starting here has not finished the race.


Thirteenth on the grid has had four points-scoring finishes in the last six Suzuka races, the best of those being Nico Hulkenberg’s sixth place finish for Force India in 2014. The position has had only one DNF in the last ten Suzuka races, and Martin Brundle took a podium finish having started thirteenth in 1992.


Fourteenth has had more DNFs than any other grid slot in the top twenty at Suzuka. There have been thirteen retirements from this position and, while the driver starting here has at least finished all of the last five races here, 2019 is the only time the grid slot has picked up pints since its last DNF. The best result from fourteen on the grid is sixth, scored by Satoru Nakajima in 1990 and Stefano Modena in 1991.


In the last 25 Japanese Grands Prix to be held at Suzuka, the driver starting fifteenth has scored twice. Nico Hulkenberg finished seventh in 2012, while Daniel Ricciardo finished fourth in 2018. Fourth place is the best ever result from here, bettering the fifth place scored by Jean Alesi in 1992. The driver starting here would have finished in the points in each of the last two Japanese Grands Prix, but Nico Hulkenberg was disqualified from tenth place in 2019 due to his Renault car having illegal driver aids.


In all of the last three Suzuka races, the driver starting from sixteenth on the grid has not been classified in the Japanese Grand Prix. Both Marcus Ericsson and Nico Hulkenberg suffered retirements from the grid slot in 2017 and 2018, while Felipe Nasr’s retirement in 2015 makes it three DNFs in the last five races at the track for the driver starting sixteenth. In 2019, Daniel Ricciardo finished sixth, but was disqualified after the Renault was found to have illegal driver aids. In the 31 races at the track, the grid slot has only scored once. Fernando Alonso took third on the podium in 2005 having started from here.


The first time that the driver starting seventeenth scored at Suzuka was in 2005, when Kimi Raikkonen won. The Finn’s win remains the furthest back grid slot from which a victory or podium finish has been taken at the Japanese Grand Prix. In the last ten races, the driver starting here has not retired and has scored points on three occasions.


In 2010, Sebastien Buemi finished in tenth place and scored one point having started from eighteenth on the grid at Suzuka. It’s the only time the driver starting here has picked up a point. The grid slot has suffered eight retirements and two non-starts. The best result from the position is eighth on three occasions, though all before the finishing position offered any points. Philippe Streiff, Maurício Gugelmin and Christian Fittipaldi all finished eighth having started eighteenth in 1988, 1991 and 1994 respectively.


Martin Brundle’s fifth place finish in 1991 is the only time that the driver starting nineteenth at Suzuka has scored points. There have been seven top ten finishes from this grid slot in total, but none of the other six have been in points paying positions. The driver starting here has not finished in the top ten since Felipe Massa came home ninth in 2004. In the last thirteen races at the track, thirteenth has been the best result.


In the last thirteen races at Suzuka, Jean-Eric Vergne’s ninth place in 2014 is the only time that the driver starting here has scored at the track. Jarno Trulli’s fifth place in 2003 is the best result from twentieth on the grid, and the only other time that a driver starting here has scored points. Meanwhile, Maurício Gugelmin’s seventh place in 1989 is the only other occasion that this grid slot has provided a top ten result. In better news, no one has retired from here since 2004.


Two pit lane starts have been made at Suzuka. Daniil Kvyat finished thirteenth from the pit lane in 2015, while Robert Kubica finished seventeenth having started from the pits in 2019.


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