Only five of the last eighteen Italian Grands Prix have not been won from pole and no driver has scored from 20th since 1993. Here’s everything you need to know about the history of each grid slot at Monza!
THE STATS IN BRIEF
- Polesitter has failed to win five times since 2003
- No retirements from 6th or 14th since 2003
- Furthest back win from 11th
- 19th has scored twice in last six years
- No points from 20th since 1993
|Grid Slot||Last Win||Last Podium||Last Points||Last Non Finish||Best Result||Point Scoring %|
Historically, the pole to win conversion rate at Monza is under 40%, though in the past eleven years the polesitter has only failed to win three times. Since the turn of the millennium, Juan Pablo Montoya’s retirement in 2002 and Lewis Hamilton’s late race crash in 2009 are the only occasions that the polesitter has failed to finish the Italian Grand Prix, while Hamilton’s seventh place is the only other time that the polesitter has failed to finish in the top two in that period. In fact, Hamilton’s seventh place was the first time since 1985 that the polesitter has not either won, finished second or retired. The polesitter never used to have much luck at Monza. In the 25 races held here between 1961 and 1986, the polesitter won only twice.
In the last fourteen Italian Grands Prix, the driver starting second has won only once. That win was for Nico Rosberg in 2016. Since 2001, Jenson Button’s retirement in 2012 is the only time that the driver starting from second on the grid has failed to finish at Monza. In total, the driver starting here has won twelve times and has finished on the podium 32 times.
Third on the grid at Monza has had less non-finishes than any of the other top twenty grid slots at the circuit. There have been nineteen non-finishes from this position in total, the most recent coming in 2007, when Felipe Massa retired from third on the grid with suspension failure. Since 1996, Ralf Schumacher’s non-finish in 2002 is the only other time that the driver starting here has failed to pick up points. In 2018, Lewis Hamilton became the first driver to win here from third on the grid since Michael Schumacher in 1996. Valtteri Bottas finished as runner-up in 2019 having started third, while Carlos Sainz achieved the same feat last season.
The driver starting fourth at the Italian Grand Prix has scored a single point in the last two years. Sebastian Vettel’s thirteenth place finish in 2019 was only the second non-score from fourth at Monza in the last thirteen years. The driver starting from fourth on the grid at the Italian Grand Prix has finished on the podium in both 2017 and 2018. In fact, they’ve finished on the podium in four of the last ten races at the track, while Nico Rosberg’s 2014 retirement is the only time a driver starting here has retired in the past fifteen Monza races.
Rubens Barrichello won the Italian Grand Prix from fifth on the grid in 2009. It was the second win from this grid slot at Monza, the first was for Alain Prost in 1985. After Barrichello’s win, the driver starting here failed to finish for three consecutive years. Since then, fifth on the grid has failed to score only once, and has scored two podium finishes, with second for Fernando Alonso in 2013 and third for Felipe Massa in 2015. Of the top six grid slots, fifth is the one which has scored on the least occasions. In 2020, Max Verstappen became the first driver to retire from this position since 2012.
In the last fifteen seasons, the driver starting sixth has gone on to stand on the podium at the Italian Grand Prix on three occasions. Also in the last fifteen seasons, the driver starting here has lost positions in the race only twice. Romain Grosjean wasn’t so lucky from this position in 2018 though. He finished where he started, but was later disqualified from the event for having an illegal floor, ending a 12-year streak of points finishes for the grid slot.
Of the top nine grid slots, seventh has had the least top ten finishes and the most non-finishes. Two wins have come from seventh on the grid at Monza, the most recent being for Ronnie Peterson in 1974. In 2019, Carlos Sainz recorded the fourth retirement from this grid slot in the last twelve seasons. No one has finished above fifth having started from seventh since Ralf Schumacher finished on the podium in 2000.
In the last seventeen years, the driver starting from eighth has scored points at Monza fourteen times. Romain Grosjean’s retirement in 2015 and Sergio Perez and Daniil Kvyat’s twelfth place finishes in 2013 and 2017 respectively are the only three occasions on which this grid slot has failed to score since 2004. Furthermore, aside from those three instances and Kamui Kobayashi’s ninth place finish in 2012, the driver starting eighth on the grid hasn’t lost a position in any race which they have finished at Monza. Last year, Lance Stroll finished third having started eighth. It was the first podium finish for the driver starting eighth at Monza since Giancarlo Fisichella’s third place in 2005.
The driver starting ninth retired from all of the first four Italian Grands Prix to be held as a round of the World Championship. In contrast, since 2004 there has been only one retirement from this grid slot, that being for Nico Rosberg in 2011. The driver starting here has failed to score in all of the last four seasons. Eight podium finishes have been recorded from ninth on the grid at Monza, including a win for John Surtees back in 1967.
Pierre Gasly won the 2020 Italian Grand Prix from tenth on the grid. His was the first victory from this grid slot. It was the fourth podium finish from here, the other three all being third place finishes – the most recent of which was for Fernando Alonso in 2012. In the three years prior to Gasly’s win, the driver starting here finished ninth in all three seasons.
Eleventh is the furthest back grid slot to have won the Italian Grand Prix. Peter Gethin won from that position in 1971, in what remains the closest ever finish to a Formula 1 race. Gethin crossed the line 0.01 seconds ahead of Ronnie Peterson. The grid slot has scored a further three podium finishes since then, the most recent being third place for Robert Kubica in 2008. Daniil Kvyat’s ninth place in 2020 was the first time the driver starting here has scored since 2016.
There have been four podium finishes from twelfth on the grid, the most recent of which was a second place finish for Sergio Perez in 2012. Since then, the driver starting here has scored four times, with Esteban Ocon’s eighth place in 2020 the best result scored from this grid slot since Perez’s podium. In 2019, Daniil Kvyat recorded the first non-finish from twelfth on the grid at the Italian Grand Prix since 2011.
Unlucky number thirteen is certainly true at Monza. The grid slot has racked up 38 non-finishes over the history of the Italian Grand Prix at this track – the most of any position. Between 1974 and 1996, the driver starting here finished the race only four times in the 23 races. Better times have followed for the slot, with three of its thirteen points-scoring races coming in the last nine races. In the last five years however, both Pascal Wehrlein, Fernando Alonso and Charles Leclerc have failed to finish having started from thirteenth in 2016, 2018 and 2020 respectively.
While the last driver to retire from fourteenth on the grid was Heinz-Harald Frentzen back in 2003, in 2018 Sergio Perez finished seventh to take the first points finish from this position on the grid since Damon Hill twenty years previously. So, while a finish from here is likely, points-scoring races are rare. No driver has finished above sixth from this grid slot since Jean-Pierre Beltoise finished on the podium in 1970.
Nick Heidfeld’s seventh place in 2009 is the last time that the driver starting from fifteenth scored a point at the Italian Grand Prix. Though the driver lining up here has finished all but one of the last seven races at Monza, the best result from those races is eleventh for Charles Leclerc in 2018. This is the highest grid slot to have never given a podium finish at the circuit, with the best result being fourth for Arturo Merzario in 1974 and Karl Wendlinger in 1993.
In the last six seasons, the driver starting sixteenth at the Italian Grand Prix has failed to finish three times. The better news is that on two of the occasions that the driver lining up here made it to the end of the race, they scored points. In 2017, Daniel Ricciardo recorded the second-best result from this grid slot with fourth place. The only time that has been bettered was in 1977, when Alan Jones finished third.
No driver has scored from seventeenth on the grid since Jenson Button finished fifth in 2002. Both the 2008 and 2009 Italian Grands Prix resulted in tenth place finishes for the driver starting seventeenth, but that was before tenth was a points-paying position. In the last eleven years, there have been five non-finishes from seventeenth on the grid. The best result from here is fourth, recorded most recently by Stefan Johansson in 1984.
In 2019, Max Verstappen finished seventh having started eighteenth at the Italian Grand Prix. It was only the third time in the last 34 years that the driver starting there has scored. The best result for a driver starting here is fourth, recorded by Paco Godia in 1956. There have been only two retirements from this grid slot in the last sixteen years.
At the 2015 Italian Grand Prix, Daniel Ricciardo finished in eighth place having started nineteenth. That marked the first time that the driver starting nineteenth had scored points at Monza since Patrick Tambay finished fifth for McLaren in 1978. Max Verstappen also finished eighth from nineteenth in 2019, making Ricciardo and Verstappen the only two drivers to have scored from nineteenth on the grid at Monza in the last 42 years. Along with twentieth, it has had the equal-least top ten finishes of any top twenty grid slot. In two of the last four Italian Grands Prix, nineteenth on the grid has retired from the race.
What do Gerhard Berger and Erik Comas have in common? Well, they both finished in sixth place having started from twentieth on the grid at Monza in 1984 and 1993 respectively. They’re the only two drivers to have finished in points-paying positions from this grid slot at the track; though ironically Berger was ineligible to score points at the 1984 event as he was driving the second ATS car and the team had only officially entered one car into the championship. As a result of Kimi Raikkonen’s pit lane start last season, 2019 was the first year that this grid slot has been left vacant since 1969.
There have been two pit lane starters at the Italian Grand Prix. Marcus Ericsson finished nineteenth in 2014, and Kimi Raikkonen finished fifteenth in 2019.
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.