Here’s everything you need to know about each grid slot’s history at Bahrain International Circuit!
THE STATS IN BRIEF
- Polesitter has never retired
- 20th has never scored
- 19th has had most non-finishes
- No wins from further back than 5th
|Grid Slot||Last Win||Last Podium||Last Points||Last Non Finish||Best Result||Point Scoring %|
|1||2020 (Bahrain)||2020 (Bahrain)||2020 (Sakhir)||-||1st||94%|
|3||2019||2020 (Bahrain)||2020 (Bahrain)||2020 (Sakhir)||1st||71%|
|4||2009||2020 (Bahrain)||2020 (Bahrain)||2020 (Sakhir)||1st||65%|
|5||2020 (Sakhir)||2020 (Sakhir)||2020 (Sakhir)||2020 (Bahrain)||1st||88%|
|10||-||2020 (Sakhir)||2020 (Sakhir)||2019||6th||41%|
|11||-||2020 (Sakhir)||2020 (Sakhir)||2019||2nd||41%|
|19||-||-||2020 (Sakhir)||2020 (Bahrain)||10th||6%|
Less than half of the seventeen races at the Sakhir track have been won from pole. Only three of the last nine races at Bahrain International Circuit have been won from pole position. While Lewis Hamilton won last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix, the Sakhir Grand Prix polesitter – Valtteri Bottas – finished only eighth. Bottas’ eighth place was only the third time that the polesitter did not finish on the podium in Bahrain. The other occurrences were for Sebastian Vettel, who finished fourth in 2010, and Nico Rosberg who finished ninth in 2013. The good news for the polesitter is that the man starting from the front has never failed to finish the Grand Prix.
Drivers starting from the front row have won eleven of the seventeen Bahrain Grands Prix held since 2004. Four of those wins have been from second on the grid – in 2008, 2013, 2014 and 2016. The second grid slot has failed to finish in the top ten only twice at the circuit, with DNFs for Michael Schumacher in 2005 and Kimi Raikkonen in 2018. The bad news for whoever lines up second on the grid is that the driver starting here has not finished on the podium since 2017. In last year’s pair of Bahrain races, Valtteri Bottas finished eighth having started second in the Bahrain Grand Prix, while George Russell finished ninth in the Sakhir Grand Prix.
In the last four seasons, the driver starting third on the grid in Bahrain has won twice. Sebastian Vettel won in 2017, while Lewis Hamilton was victorious from third on the grid in 2019. The 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix – in which Max Verstappen crashed out from third on the grid on the opening lap – ended four consecutive races in which the driver starting here had finished in the top two. In 2018, Valtteri Bottas finished as runner-up having started third, while Verstappen finished as runner-up in the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix. Until 2020, Sebastian Vettel’s DNS in 2016 was the last time that third on the grid in Bahrain did not supply a podium finish. Meanwhile, Juan Pablo Montoya’s DNF in the inaugural race here and Lewis Hamilton’s thirteenth place in 2008 are the only other times that the grid slot has not scored points.
Until 2020, fourth was the furthest back grid slot to have won at Bahrain International Circuit. The driver starting here has won twice, with Fernando Alonso taking the win in 2006 and Jenson Button winning for Brawn GP in 2009. In the last seven years, the driver starting fourth has finished on the podium five times. Charles Leclerc’s retirement from fourth on the grid in the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix marked only the fourth time that the driver starting here failed to finish the race.
Before 2020, the driver starting fifth in Bahrain had never failed to score, had never recorded a retirement, had never finished on the podium and had never won the race. All four of those facts changed last year. Sergio Perez started fifth in both the Bahrain Grand Prix and the Sakhir Grand Prix. Perez’s retirement in the first race – when he looked set to score a podium finish – brought to an end the grid slot’s 100% scoring rate, while his win one week later set a new record for the furthest back win recorded at the track. Aside from Perez at last year’s Bahrain Grand Prix, and with the exceptions of Mark Webber who finished sixth in 2005 and Kimi Raikkonen who finished tenth in 2014, the man who started from fifth has never finished below where they started from. Between 2015 and 2019, the driver starting fifth finished in fourth place every season at the Bahrain Grand Prix.
While sixth on the grid has scored points on the least occasions from any of the top seven grid slots, Max Verstappen’s retirement here in 2017 is the only time a driver starting from sixth in the Sakhir desert has failed to finish the race. The grid slot also supplied Jenson Button with a podium finish here in 2004. 2019 marked only the second time in the last seven races at the track that the grid slot has not scored. Both Daniel Ricciardo and Daniil Kvyat finished seventh having started sixth in last year’s pair of Bahrain races.
There have been only two occasions that the driver starting from seventh has failed to score. The first was in 2005, when Christian Klien failed to start the race for Red Bull following electrical problems. While in 2019, Carlos Sainz recorded the first actual DNF from this grid slot. The driver starting here has finished on the podium once – Romain Grosjean’s third place for Lotus in 2012.
The driver starting eighth at the Bahrain International Circuit has scored more often than not. All of the past five races here have seen eighth on the grid pick up points, while Kimi Raikkonen recorded the best finish, and only podium, for a driver starting from eighth with the runner-up spot in 2013. There have been only two DNFs from eighth on the grid.
The driver starting ninth has scored in all but two of the last nine races at Bahrain International Circuit. The only times that they failed to score were in 2015, when Carlos Sainz recorded only the third retirement from this grid slot, and at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, when Pierre Gasly came home tenth and only less than a second away from a points-scoring finish. Ninth on the grid has supplied two podium finishes in Bahrain, both third places for Kimi Raikkonen in 2005 and Lewis Hamilton in 2018.
Until 2020, fifth and tenth were the only two grid slots in the top ten to have never scored at Bahrain International Circuit. That all changed at the Sakhir Grand Prix, as Sergio Perez won from fifth on the grid, and Lance Stroll came home third having started tenth. In 2019, Daniel Ricciardo recorded the first non-finish for a driver starting from tenth on the grid since David Coulthard in the first Bahrain Grand Prix. While the position offers a low DNF rate, it also offers a relatively low points rate, with nine top ten finishes from Bahrain’s seventeen races.
Eleventh on the grid has supplied three podium finishes at the Bahrain Grand Prix, and is the only position outside the top ten, other than 22nd, to have supplied a podium result. Kimi Raikkonen finished second in the 2012 Bahrain Grand Prix having started from eleventh, and team-mate Romain Grosjean finished third from here in the following season. Esteban Ocon’s second place in last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix was the first time since 2015 that the driver starting here has scored points.
Alex Albon’s ninth place finish in 2019 was the first time that the driver lining up twelfth on the grid in Bahrain scored points since 2016. The grid slot has supplied nine top ten finishes in total, with both Charles Leclerc and Alex Albon scoring from this grid slot last year. Albon’s sixth place matched the best ever result for a driver starting from this grid slot. Sergio Perez also finished sixth for Force India in 2013. There have been two non-finishes from twelfth on the grid: Kazuki Nakajima in 2009 and Lance Stroll in 2017.
There have been only three races where the driver starting thirteenth has scored points, and two of those have been in the last two seasons. Daniel Ricciardo recorded the best finish for this grid slot in 2014 with fourth place. Though it has supplied points only three times, thirteenth has finished in the top ten on five occasions. There have been four DNFs from thirteenth on the grid, the most recent being for Lance Stroll in the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.
Neither George Russell nor Antonio Giovinazzi could score having started from fourteenth place last season. In all of the previous three years, the driver lining up fourteenth on the grid had finished in the top ten. The best result from this grid slot is eighth, recorded by Mark Webber, David Coulthard and Stoffel Vandoorne in 2004, 2005 and 2018 respectively. The driver starting here has retired four times. Of the thirteen races that the driver starting fourteenth has finished, they have finished in a better position than where they started eleven times.
Carlos Sainz recorded the best ever finish for a driver starting fifteenth at this circuit in the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix. He finished the race in fifth place – marking only the second time that the grid slot has supplied points. The other points finish for a driver starting here was seventh place for Daniil Kvyat in 2016. Between 2014 and 2018, Kvyat’s seventh place was the only time that the driver starting here did not retire from the race. Nelson Piquet Jnr’s tenth place in 2009 is the only other top ten finish for the driver starting fifteenth.
Sixteenth has scored only once at Bahrain International Circuit, with a sixth place finish for Fernando Alonso in the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix in 2004. That’s the only top ten finish from here, with Antonio Giovinazzi recording the best result since 2004 with eleventh place in 2019. Six retirements have been recorded from this grid slot.
There have been mixed fortunes for the driver starting seventeenth in Bahrain since 2017: a DNS, a ninth place finish, a DNF and two finishes outside the points in 2020. Marcus Ericsson’s ninth place was the second time that the driver starting here scored a top ten finish. Daniil Kvyat’s ninth place finish in 2015 is the only other points-scoring race for seventeenth on the grid.
The eighteenth grid slot has gone the longest without a DNF at the Bahrain Grand Prix, with the second and most recent DNF here being for Vitantonio Liuzzi back in 2007. But that’s where the good news ends for the driver starting here, as Sergio Perez’s seventh place finish in 2017 is the only time in fifteen races that the position has supplied points or a top ten finish.
Statistically, nineteenth is one of the unluckiest grid slots in Bahrain. Drivers having started there have failed to finish the race eight times: Kimi Raikkonen in 2004, Scott Speed in 2007, Sebastian Vettel in 2008, Timo Glock in 2010, Charles Pic in 2012, Marcus Ericsson in 2017 and Romain Grosjean in his fiery crash at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix. Jolyon Palmer failed to even make the start of the race from nineteenth in 2016. Furthermore, last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix – in which Lando Norris finished tenth – marked the first time that the driver starting nineteenth scored a point. The previous best finish for this grid slot was twelfth, which Patrick Friesacher and Charles Leclerc achieved in 2005 and 2018 respectively.
Twentieth is the only grid slot in the top twenty to have never scored in Bahrain. Rubens Barrichello finished ninth having started from twentieth on the grid in 2005, but that was before points were handed out to the driver finishing in ninth. There have been four DNFs from twentieth on the grid.
There has been only one pit lane starter in Bahrain Grand Prix history. That was Kevin Magnussen with Renault in 2016. Following his pit-lane start, the Dane finished just outside of the points in eleventh place.
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 GPDestinations. 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.