Where is the best place to start the United States Grand Prix from? Here are which grid slots have had favourable, and not so favourable, fortunes at COTA!
THE STATS IN BRIEF:
- 2nd has won more often than pole
- Front row slots always deliver top 3 results
- 4th has retired from last four races
- 14th has only scored one point
- 15th, 17th and 20th never retired
Three of the seven races held so far at the Circuit of the Americas have been won from pole position. This is one of the only circuits on the calendar where pole isn’t the grid slot to have given the most victories. However, the polesitter has never retired from the U.S. Grand Prix during its tenure in Texas, and the driver starting from the front has never failed to finish in the top three. In 2018, Lewis Hamilton recorded the lowest finishing position so far for a polesitter at this track by finishing in third place.
LUCKY GRID POSITIONS:
Second on the grid has given more wins at the Circuit of the Americas than any other grid slot. The driver starting here has been victorious on four occasions. Part of it is because of the track layout, with second on the grid generally having the better line heading into the first corner of the race. The driver starting from second has led after the first turn in three of the last four races at the track. Second on the grid has never failed to take a podium finish.
Kimi Raikkonen’s retirement in 2016 is the only non-finish so far for the driver starting from fifth. Aside from that, since 2013, the driver starting fifth on the grid has never lost a position by the end of the Grand Prix and has celebrated two podium finishes – both third places for Daniel Ricciardo and Raikkonen in 2014 and 2017 respectively.
Eleventh on the grid has secured points finishes in all of the last four races and, like fifth, has only recorded one DNF so far in Texas. Felipe Massa has the best finish from the eleventh grid position so far at COTA, having finished fourth in the inaugural race in 2012.
All three of these grid slots have never failed to finish at this track. They’re the only grid slots yet to record a retirement here other than pole position and second. It’s the furthest back of these three slots which has recorded the most points so far, with a best finish of seventh for Carlos Sainz from twentieth on the grid in 2015. Meanwhile, Romain Grosjean, who finished tenth in 2016, is the only driver to have scored a point from the seventeenth grid slot.
UNLUCKY GRID POSITIONS:
With four DNFs in all of the last four seasons, fourth is an unenviable place to start the U.S. Grand Prix from. All of the past four seasons have seen a Red Bull start from here, and on all four occasions – Daniil Kvyat in 2015, Max Verstappen in 2016 and Daniel Ricciardo for the last two seasons – the car has failed to see the chequered flag. Furthermore, in the three races where the driver starting here did manage to finish, the position has never finished in a better place than where it started from.
The driver starting from eighth has retired from the last two races at COTA. Fernando Alonso was sidelined with engine problems in 2017, while Romain Grosjean was out following an early race collision in 2018. The position has only scored points twice, in 2012 and 2015, with a fourth place finish for Max Verstappen in 2015 being the best result so far.
Fourteenth on the grid is one of only two grid slots in Texas to have recorded four DNFs. Three of those non-finishes have come in the last four years, with Marcus Ericsson, Esteban Gutierrez and Pascal Wehrlein all being unlucky drivers to have started from here. Meanwhile, Jean-Eric Vergne’s tenth place finish in 2014 is the only time a driver starting here has picked up a point.
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.