The polesitter is yet to retire from the Bahrain Grand Prix and no wins have been taken from outside the top five on the grid. 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
|Last Win||Last Podium||Last Points||Last DNF||Points Scoring %|
|5||2020 (Sakhir)||2022||2022||2020 (Bahrain)||89%|
Less than half of the 19 races at Bahrain International Circuit have been won from pole. Only three of the last ten eight races here have been won from pole position. In 2022, Charles Leclerc became the first polesitter since Lewis Hamilton in 2020 to win the Bahrain Grand Prix. While Hamilton won the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix, the 2020 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, never finishing below Rosberg’s ninth place in 2013.
Drivers starting from the front row have won 13 of the 19 races held in Bahrain since 2004. Five of those wins have been from second on the grid – in 2008, 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2021. The second grid slot has failed to finish in the top ten only three times at the circuit, with DNFs for Michael Schumacher in 2005, Kimi Raikkonen in 2018 and Max Verstappen in 2022. In 2021, Lewis Hamilton became the first driver starting from this grid slot to win since 2016, and the first driver starting here to finish on the podium since 2017.
In the last six 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 the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, 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 13th 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 nine years, the driver starting fourth has finished on the podium five times. There have been two retirements from fourth on the grid in the last three races in Bahrain. Charles Leclerc retired having started here in the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, while Sergio Perez retired in the closing stages of the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix.
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 thanks to Sergio Perez. He started fifth in both the 2020 Bahrain and Sakhir Grands 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.
In 2022, Lewis Hamilton recorded only the second podium finish for the driver starting fifth in Bahrain. He finished in third place. Between 2015 and 2019, the driver starting fifth finished in fourth place every season. The grid slot has recorded just two retirements, with Pierre Gasly also failing to finish in 2021.
Sixth on the grid has scored points on the least occasions from any of the top seven grid slots, though the driver starting here has failed to score only twice in the last nine races at the circuit.
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. While the grid slot has had only one DNF, it has also had only one podium result, having supplied Jenson Button with a third place finish in 2004.
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. 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. Lando Norris recorded the best result since then with fourth place in 2021.
The driver starting eighth at Bahrain International Circuit has scored more often than not. All of the past seven 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 three of the last 12 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; at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, when Pierre Gasly came home tenth and only less than a second away from a points-scoring finish; and in 2021, when Fernando Alonso retired from the race on his comeback to F1. 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 in 2004. While the position offers a low DNF rate, it also offers a relatively low points rate, with only two top ten finishes from Bahrain’s last seven races – the most recent of which was tenth place for Lance Stroll in 2021.
11th 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 11th, and Lotus team-mate Romain Grosjean finished third from here in the following season.
Esteban Ocon is the only driver to score from here since 2015. He finished second place in the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix and came home seventh in the 2022 Bahrain Grand Prix. The grid slot was left clear in 2021 due to Sergio Perez being forced to start from the pit lane after mechanical issues on the Formation Lap.
Alex Albon’s ninth place finish in 2019 was the first time that the driver lining up 12th on the grid in Bahrain had scored points since 2016. The grid slot has supplied nine top ten finishes in total, with both Charles Leclerc and Albon scoring from this grid slot in 2010.
Albon’s sixth place in the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix 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 four races where the driver starting 13th has scored points, and three of those have been in the last five seasons. Daniel Ricciardo recorded the best finish for this grid slot in 2014 with fourth place.
There have been four DNFs from 13th on the grid, the most recent being for Lance Stroll in the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix.
In 2017, 2018 and 2019, the driver lining up 14th on the grid had finished in the top ten. No driver has scored from here since then, but they have at least made up positions from their grid slot during the race.
The best result from 14th on the grid in Bahrain 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 15 races that the driver starting 14th has finished, they have finished in a better position than where they started 13 times.
Carlos Sainz recorded the best ever finish for a driver starting 15th 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. Daniil Kvyat finished seventh here in 2016, while Zhou Guanyu became the third driver to score having started here in 2022, doing so on his F1 debut.
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 15th.
16th has scored only twice at Bahrain International Circuit. Yuki Tsunoda’s eighth place finish in 2022 marked the first time the driver starting here has scored points since Fernando Alonso’s sixth place in the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix in 2004. Six retirements have been recorded from this grid slot.
There have been mixed fortunes for the driver starting 17th in Bahrain since 2017: a DNS, a ninth place finish, two DNFs and three finishes outside the points in 2020.
Marcus Ericsson’s ninth place in 2018 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 from 17th on the grid.
The 18th 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 19 races that the position has supplied points or a top ten finish.
Statistically, 19th is one of the unluckiest grid slots in Bahrain. Drivers having started there have failed to finish the race nine 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, Romain Grosjean in his fiery crash at the 2020 Bahrain Grand Prix and Nikita Mazepin after three corners in 2021. Jolyon Palmer failed to even make the start of the race from 19th in 2016.
Furthermore, the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix – in which Lando Norris finished tenth – marked the first and so far only time that the driver starting 19th scored a point. The previous best finish for this grid slot was 12th, which Patrick Friesacher and Charles Leclerc achieved in 2005 and 2018 respectively. Lance Stroll also finished 12th having started here in 2022.
20th 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 have been only two pit lane starters in Bahrain Grand Prix history. Kevin Magnussen finished just outside of the points in eleventh place having started from the pit lane in 2016, while Sergio Perez made up 15 positions to finish fifth on his Red Bull debut in 2021. The Mexican’s moves saw him voted Driver of the Day.
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.