While the polesitter has won two of the five races held so far in Azerbaijan, there are two grid slots which have never failed to score. Here’s everything you need to know about the history of each grid slot at the Baku City Circuit!
THE STATS IN BRIEF
- Polesitter has won twice
- 1st and 8th have never failed to score
- Three grid slots have never scored
- 6th has retired the most times
While seven podium finishes have come from within the top three at the Baku City Circuit, seven have come from sixth or lower. The Azerbaijan Grand Prix has seen wild and unpredictable races so far in its history, with 2019 being the first time that all of the top three on the grid finished on the podium.
|Grid||Last Win||Last Podium||Last Points||Last DNF||Best Finish|
In 2019, Valtteri Bottas won the Azerbaijan Grand Prix from pole position. It was only the second time that the polesitter has won in Baku, the first time since Nico Rosberg’s dominant 2016 win. They’re the only two times so far that the polesitter has finished on the podium. Lewis Hamilton finished fifth from pole in 2017, while Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc finished fourth in 2018 and 2021 respectively.
Second on the grid has supplied the most podium finishes for any grid slot at the Baku City Circuit, with three. Valtteri Bottas finished as runner-up from this grid slot in 2017, while Lewis Hamilton won the event from this position in 2018 and finished as runner-up from here in 2019. In 2021, Hamilton failed to score after locking up at the first corner on the restart of the race. It was the first time the driver starting second has failed to score in Baku.
Sebastian Vettel finished as runner-up having started from third in 2016, while the German also finished third from here in 2019. However, in the other three races here, the driver starting third failed to finish the race. Kimi Raikkonen and Valtteri Bottas were each classified fourteenth in the final result having started from third in 2017 and 2018 respectively, but neither crossed the finish line. Raikkonen was sidelined with an oil leak while Bottas suffered the cruellest luck of all – picking up a puncture just three laps from the finish, while leading the Grand Prix. In 2021, Max Verstappen led the majority of the race having started third – but he retired due to a tyre failure on the main straight.
In 2021, Pierre Gasly became the first driver to finish on the podium at the Baku City Circuit javing started from fourth place. Aside from Gasly’s podium and Daniel Ricciardo’s retirement in 2018, every driver who has started here has finished where they started, in fourth place.
Fifth is the only grid slot in the top eight to have never scored a podium finish at the Baku City Circuit. The driver starting from fifth retired in both 2017 and 2018. In both years, that driver was Max Verstappen. An oil pressure issue ended his afternoon early in 2017, while a collision with his team-mate in 2018 ended any hopes of finishing the race. The three drivers who have finished a race having started here failed to make up positions. Felipe Massa could finish only tenth in 2016, Sergio Perez finished sixth in 2019 and Carlos Sainz finished eighth in 2021.
In the five races so far at Baku City Circuit, the driver starting from sixth has finished only once. Both times, the driver has recorded a top two result. Sergio Perez won from sixth on the grid in 2021, while Kimi Raikkonen finished as runner-up in 2018. The other races have all resulted in DNFs. Daniil Kvyat retired in 2016, Perez was out in 2017 and Kvyat failed to reach the end of the race again in 2019.
Esteban Ocon’s retirement in 2018 is the only time that the driver starting seventh at the Baku City Circuit has failed to score so far. The first race at this track in 2016 resulted in a podium finish for Sergio Perez, while both Esteban Ocon in 2017 and Lando Norris in 2019, who finished sixth and eighth respectively, moved up the order from where they started. In 2021, Yuki Tsunoda finished where he started.
Impressively, eighth on the grid in Azerbaijan is tied for second-most podium finishes at the track. Lance Stroll started here in 2017, as did Sergio Perez in 2018, with both of their races culminating in taking the final podium spot. The driver starting from eighth in Baku has always finished the race further up the order than where they started it. Aside from pole, it is the only grid position to have scored in all five races here so far.
The driver starting ninth at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix has scored four times so far, with the driver starting here having made up positions in all of those points-scoring races. The best finish from ninth on the grid is fifth, recorded by Carlos Sainz in 2018 and Lando Norris in 2021, while Felipe Massa recorded the only retirement from this grid slot in 2017.
Daniel Ricciardo scored victory from tenth on the grid in the 2017 Azerbaijan Grand Prix. It’s the furthest back grid position from which the race has been won. In 2019, Ricciardo recorded the first DNF for a driver starting tenth in Baku. Valtteri Bottas failed to score having started here in 2021, coming home in twelfth. Lewis Hamilton took fifth place from here in 2016, while Lance Stroll finished eighth in 2018.
Until 2021, the driver starting eighth in Azerbaijan had never scored. That changed with a second place finish for Sebastian Vettel, who recorded Aston Martin’s first ever F1 podium. Don’t qualify here if you’re Russian – Daniil Kvyat and Sergey Sirotkin have both started here; and both were out of the race before the tenth lap!
Twelfth on the grid scored in all of the first three races at Baku City Circuit. Nico Hulkenberg finished ninth from this grid slot in 2016, while Kevin Magnussen and Fernando Alonso each finished seventh having started twelfth in 2017 and 2018 respectively. In 2019, Kevin Magnussen finished only thirteenth, while Esteban Ocon was the first driver to retire from the 2021 race.
Both of the first two Azerbaijan races resulted in DNFs for the driver starting thirteenth, but in the last three races the driver starting here has scored. The best result for the driver lining up thirteenth on the grid in Baku is sixth, scored by Charles Leclerc in 2018.
The driver starting fourteenth in Azerbaijan has scored twice, finishing tenth both times. Pascal Wehrlein picked up one point having started here in 2017, while Kimi Raikkonen followed suit in 2021. Both Nico Hulkenberg and Romain Grosjean retired from fourteenth on the grid in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
George Russell recorded the first retirement from fifteenth on the grid in Baku in 2021. Though fifteenth finished every race before that, it has scored only once. That points finish was an eighth place result for Carlos Sainz in 2017.
Sixteenth on the grid in Azerbaijan has never failed to finish but, like fifteenth, has only scored once. The best result for a driver starting here is ninth, scored by Stoffel Vandoorne in 2018.
No points have yet been scored by the driver starting seventeenth in Azerbaijan. The first race here resulted in a retirement for Pascal Wehrlein. While they haven’t scored, the driver starting here has moved at least four positions up the order in all of the last four Baku races. The best result from here so far is eleventh place for Marcus Ericsson in 2017.
The driver lining up eighteenth has never scored in Baku. In 2019, the grid slot was vacant for the first time as three drivers started from the pit-lane. The first race in Baku resulted in a retirement for Carlos Sainz, who lined up eighteenth. Stoffel Vandoorne finished twelfth in 2017, Marcus Ericsson finished eleventh in 2018 and Nikita Mazepin finished fourteenth in 2021.
Following a tyre failure, Lance Stroll became the first driver who started nineteenth to retire in Azerbaijan. The driver starting from the lowly 19th grid slot has scored points twice, in 2017 and 2018. Jenson Button gained eight places in the 2016 event to finish eleventh, while Fernando Alonso and Brendon Hartley both finished in the last two points-paying positions from this grid slot in 2017 and 2018 respectively. No driver started in the nineteenth grid slot in 2019 due to there being three pit lane starters.
While Azerbaijan has provided chaotic races in the recent seasons, the driver starting from the back hasn’t benefited points wise. Both Jolyon Palmer in 2017 and Romain Grosjean in 2018 failed to finish the race having started 20th, the latter being memorably forced off the circuit by Marcus Ericsson (at least according to Grosjean’s race engineer, before replays showed the Frenchman had mysteriously driven into the wall of his own accord under Safety Car conditions). Talking of Ericsson, the Swede was the only driver to have actually finished the Baku race having started from 20th until 2021, when Antonio Giovinazzi finished in eleventh place.
There have been four pit lane starts at the Baku City Circuit so far, including three in 2019. Kimi Raikkonen scored a point having started from the pit-lane in 2019, while Pierre Gasly retired. The other two pit lane starts resulted in point-less finishes.
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. 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 and can be heard as the resident stats man on the 2 Soft Compounds Podcast. His work has appeared on WTF1, BadgerGP, motorsport.com, Sky Sports F1 and BBC Radio 5 Live. Nicky is also the host of the F1 Rewind Podcast.