Where is the best place to start the Mexico Grand Prix from? Here are which grid slots have had favourable, and not so favourable, fortunes in Mexico City!
THE STATS IN BRIEF:
- Polesitter failed to win last two races
- 2nd finished in top two in last 6 races
- 4th finished on podium in last 3 years
- 8th and 12th retired in both last two races
- 16th and 19th have never scored
In 2018, Daniel Ricciardo became the first polesitter to retire from the Mexican Grand Prix since Jim Clark in 1965. It marked the second consecutive season where the polesitter has failed to finish on the podium at the track, with Sebastian Vettel having finished fourth from pole in 2017. Before that, there had been a run of four consecutive races where the driver starting on pole position had gone on to win the Mexican Grand Prix.
In total, nine of the nineteen races held so far in Mexico City have been won from pole and there have been only five occasions where the polesitter has failed to finish in the top three. Aside from Clark and Ricciardo’s retirements, the only other time the polesitter failed to cross the finish line at the track was in 1964. Once again it was Clark who was the polesitter, but he stopped on the penultimate lap. He was classified in fifth, so still picked up points from the event.
LUCKY GRID POSITIONS
The driver starting from second has won the last two Mexican Grands Prix. Both times it has been Max Verstappen who has taken the honours, becoming the first driver to take back-to-back wins at the circuit. Furthermore, the second grid slot has supplied a top two finish in all of the last six races here (since 1991). Aside from this, the grid slot has provided a further two wins and another two runner-up places. With no non-finishes from this slot since 1987, it’s one of two grid slots to share the longest finishing streak at the track.
In the last three seasons, the fourth grid slot has finished on the podium in all three events. Daniel Ricciardo took the final spot on the podium from fourth on the grid in 2016, while Valtteri Bottas and Sebastian Vettel have each finished as runner-up having started from fourth in the last two seasons. With Daniil Kvyat finishing where he started from fourth in 2015, the grid position is yet to lose a position or fail to score during F1’s return to the Mexican track.
Just like fourth, the ninth slot on the grid has been a consistent place to score points from since 2015. In 2015 and 2016, Sergio Perez and Felipe Massa finished where they started to score two points each, while in the last two seasons, Perez and Charles Leclerc have each started from ninth and gained two positions in the race to finish in seventh place. Bruce McLaren recorded the best finish for a driver starting ninth at the Mexican Grand Prix. He finished in second place in 1968.
Along with second on the grid, the eleventh grid slot has gone the longest without a DNF at this circuit, with no driver retiring from the position since Derek Warwick in 1987. The position has also scored good points in three of the last six races at the track – fourth for Andrea de Cesaris in 1991, fifth for de Cesaris in 1992 and sixth for Lance Stroll in 2017.
UNLUCKY GRID POSITIONS
In each of the last two seasons, Carlos Sainz has started from eighth on the grid for the Mexican Grand Prix and, in each of the last two seasons, the Spaniard has failed to finish the race. He was out with steering issues in 2017 and sidelined with battery problems in 2018. The driver starting eighth has scored only twice in the last six races at the circuit and has failed to cross the finish line in twelve of the nineteen races here.
With eleven non-finishes, twelfth on the grid has one of the highest non-finish rates at the Mexican Grand Prix, including two DNFs in the last two seasons. Marcus Ericsson retired with engine issues in 2017, while Fernando Alonso had an early exit with water pressure problems in 2018. In better news for the driver starting twelfth, in the eight races where the driver starting here has finished the race, they have finished in the top ten.
Sixteenth is another grid slot with a high DNF rate, with ten non-finishes in total. Since F1 returned to the track, the driver starting here has retired twice and is yet to finish above fifteenth. In fact, sixteenth on the grid has never given a points finish at this circuit. Hap Sharp’s seventh place finish in the first championship Mexican Grand Prix in 1963 is the best result so far for the grid slot at the track.
Nineteenth is the only other grid slot to have never scored at the Mexican Grand Prix and has never secured a top ten finish. Guy Ligier’s eleventh place finish in 1967 is the best result for this grid slot so far at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Since the track’s return to the calendar, Stoffel Vandoorne’s twelfth place in 2017 is the best finish for a driver starting from nineteenth.
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.