While the Australian Grand Prix polesitter has won only twice in the last nine Albert Park races, 2nd and 3rd are most likely to score, and one of the top six on the grid is likely to retire. Here’s everything you need to know about the history of each grid slot at Albert Park!
THE STATS IN BRIEF
- Polesitter has won twice in last nine races
- 2nd and 3rd most likely to score
- At least one of the top six starters is likely to retire
- 20th scored for the first time in 2022
|Grid||Last Win||Last Podium||Last Points||Last DNF||Best Finish|
Pole isn’t a particularly lucky place to start from in Melbourne. While the polesitter has finished on the podium in all but one of the last ten races here, they’ve also gone on to win the Australian Grand Prix just twice in the last nine races.
In all of the four events at Albert Park prior to 2022, the polesitter (Lewis Hamilton at all four) finished as runner-up in the Grand Prix. Charles Leclerc finally bucked that trend in 2022, becoming the first Australian Grand Prix polesitter to win the race since 2015.
While pole has been converted into a win ten times in the 25 races at the Albert Park track since 1996, the polesitter has also retired from the Grand Prix here seven times. The only other results for a driver starting from pole at the track are second, third and fourth. 2003 is the only time that the polesitter here neither finished on the podium nor retired from the race – Michael Schumacher finished fourth that year.
The driver starting from second has won three of the last five Australian Grands Prix. 2022 marked the end of a five-race streak of podiums for the driver starting here.
Only six races at the circuit have seen the driver starting from second not finish in the top ten. The driver starting here has failed to finish five times. In 2022, Max Verstappen became the first driver to retire having started second since Felipe Massa in 2008.
In addition to the five DNFs, Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified from the race having started second and finished on the podium in 2014.
Aside from grid slots below twentieth which have frequently been left vacant, third on the grid has supplied the least overall non-finishes at Albert Park, with five non-finishes. In addition to four DNFs from third on the grid – the most recent of which was in 2012, when Sebastian Vettel failed to finish but was classified 13th in 2009.
The driver starting third has won the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park on four occasions, most recently in 2018. Five podiums have been scored from third on the grid in the last seven races at the track, including two wins.
The fourth-most likely grid slot to score points at Albert Park is fourth. In 2019, Max Verstappen became the first driver since 2015 to finish on the podium having started fourth at the track. In the last eleven Albert Park races, two DNFs – for Michael Schumacher in 2012 and Kimi Raikkonen in 2016 – are the only occasions that the driver starting fourth has failed to finish in the top six. The driver starting fourth has been victorious twice, in 1997 and 2010.
A driver starting from fifth has never won the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park. It is the only grid slot in the top seven to have never won here. Furthermore, fifth is the grid position in the top five which has seen the most non-finishes and the least top ten finishes. The driver starting here has not finished on the podium since 2013.
Interestingly, there have only ever been two races here (2005 and 2011) in which all of the top six qualifiers finished the race. 2011 was also the only time the top six qualifiers at this track all went on to finish in the top six in the Grand Prix. It seems likely, then, that one big name will fail to reach the end of the Australian Grand Prix.
George Russell recorded a podium finish from 6th on the grid in 2022 – the first top three result for the driver starting sixth at Albert Park since 2012. His podium ended a streak of three successive Australian Grands Prix in which the driver starting sixth retired. Eddie Irvine is the only driver to have won from this grid slot, doing so in 1999.
Along with sixth on the grid, seventh is the grid slot in the top ten to have recorded the equal-most non finishes at Albert Park, with nine. That said, no one has retired from this grid slot since 2011 and the driver starting here has scored in all of the last eight Albert Park races.
Kimi Raikkonen’s win from seventh is the only time that the driver starting here has won at Albert Park, as well as one of only two times that a podium finish has come from seventh – the other being third place for Nico Rosberg in 2008.
2019 is the only time in the last eight Albert Park that the driver starting eighth has failed to score. The driver starting eighth has finished on the podium only once. That driver was Ralf Schumacher, who finished third in 1999.
Robert Kubica is the only driver to have scored a podium finish from ninth on the grid at Albert Park, finishing as runner-up in 2010. That’s one of only three top five finishes for the driver starting here – the others being fifth places for Olivier Panis in 1997 and Giancarlo Fisichella in 2000.
The driver starting here has not been classified ten times, including a first lap retirement for Carlos Sainz in 2022 and a DSQ for Kamui Kobayashi in 2011.
Along with 16th, tenth is the Albert Park grid slot which has gone the longest without a DNF. 2019 marked the first time since Adrian Sutil’s retirement in 2010 that the driver starting tenth failed to score at Albert Park. Sergio Perez finished only 13th in 2019 and Fernando Alonso continued the grid slot’s point-less streak in 2022.
Jenson Button is the only driver to score a podium finish from tenth on the grid here, doing so with third place in 2014.
11th is the grid position with the most podium finishes from outside the top six on the grid. Drivers starting here have gone on to finish on the podium on three occasions, and 11th position is also the record for the furthest back win here, which David Coulthard achieved in 2003. The driver starting here has scored in each of the last three Melbourne races.
One of the unluckiest grid slots at Albert Park. The driver starting from 12th has scored points only six times; less than any other grid slot in the top 13. In addition, the grid slot has recorded the most non-finishes, with 13 DNFs and a DNS in 2015. Two of the last four races for the driver starting 12th have resulted in retirements. No driver starting here has finished above fifth at the event.
In 2022, Valtteri Bottas finished eighth having started 12th, becoming the first driver to score points from 12th at Albert Park since Adrian Sutil, who finished seventh in 2013.
While no-one has recorded a DNF starting from 13th since 2006, Sergio Perez was disqualified having started from 13th in 2011. The driver starting here has scored only twice in the last eight Australian Grands Prix. Fernando Alonso is the only driver to secure a podium finish from here, doing so with a third place finish in 2005.
14th has the third-most DNFs at the Albert Park circuit. In the last nine races here, the driver starting 14th has retired four times and has scored only one point – courtesy of Sergio Perez’s tenth place finish in 2015. Mika Salo recorded the best finish from this grid slot, finishing sixth in 2002.
The driver starting 15th has scored at four of the last seven Australian Grands Prix. Between 1996 and 2011, Kimi Raikkonen’s third place in 2003 is the only time that this grid slot scored points at Albert Park. It also remains the only podium finish from this position, as well as the furthest back podium finish in the track’s history (excluding pit-lane starts).
16th on the grid holds the record for the longest amount of time since the last non-classified finish in the Australian Grand Prix. The last driver to fail to be classified having started here is Kamui Kobayashi, who failed to finish following a first lap crash in 2010. No driver starting here has finished above sixth – which is where Riccardo Zonta finished having started 16th in 2000.
Chances of scoring points from 17th or further back on the grid are minimal. 17th on the grid has had five non-finishes in the last eight races here, including a DNS for Kevin Magnussen in 2015. Kimi Raikkonen’s seventh place in 2012 is the most recent of three occasions that the driver starting 17th has scored at Albert Park.
18th is the grid slot at Albert Park which has gone the longest without scoring a point. Mark Webber’s fifth place finish in 2002 is the last time that the driver starting here scored, while Pedro de la Rosa’s sixth place in 1999 is the only other points-scoring occasion for the driver starting 18th at the Australian Grand Prix.
The driver starting 19th on the grid at Albert Park has retired on 13 occasions. 2019 marked the first time since 2016 that the driver starting 19th has finished the Australian Grand Prix. Romain Grosjean’s sixth place finish for Haas in 2016 is one of only three occasions that 19th on the grid has scored at Albert Park, the other times being Eddie Irvine’s fourth place finish in 2002 and Jacques Villeneuve’s sixth place finish in 2006.
Every grid slot within the top 20 secured at least two top ten finishes between 1996 and 2019, though no driver scored points as a result of their top ten finishes from 20th on the grid.
In 2020, Alex Albon became the first driver to score a point from 20th on the grid at Albert Park, finishing in tenth place. That’s not the best result from this position, however. Pedro de la Rosa finished eighth in 2002, before the position awarded any points.
Points have come from further back than 20th. Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez finished sixth and eighth in 2007 and 2012 respectively having started from 22nd, while Toyota drivers Jarno Trulli and Timo Glock took home third and fourth place after starting from the pit-lane in 2009.
There have been four occasions that a driver has started the Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park from the pit-lane. Both Toyota drivers started from the pits in 2009, with Jarno Trulli finishing on the podium and Timo Glock finishing fourth. The other two pit-lane starters at Albert Park – Jean Alesi in 2000 and Daniel Ricciardo in 2017 – have seen their races end in retirements.
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.