All but three of the F1 races held in Barcelona have been won from the front row and no wins have been taken from further back than fifth on the grid. Here’s everything you need to know about the history of each grid slot at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya!
THE STATS IN BRIEF
- 29 wins from the front row
- Only five wins not from pole since 2001
- 7th and 19th have not retired since 2009
- Three DNFs in last five years for 16th
There have been 29 wins from the front row of the grid at this circuit, and no driver has ever won from further back than fifth on the grid. There have been six races here where all of the top three on the grid have gone on to finish on the podium, with four of those occasions seeing all three finish in the order in which they started.
2013 and 2016 are the only years so far in which none of the top three qualifiers have gone on to finish on the podium. The past eight races here have had no podium finishers from further back than sixth on the grid and, since 2003, only one podium finish (Felipe Massa, who finished third from the ninth grid slot in 2013) has come from lower than sixth on the grid.
|Grid Slot||Last Win||Last Podium||Last Points||Last Non Finish||Best Result||Point Scoring %|
In 32 races at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, there have only been nine occasions on which the polesitter has failed to go on to win the Spanish Grand Prix.
Since 2001, there have been just five occasions on which the polesitter hasn’t won the race. The polesitter has retired from the Grand Prix four times, with Charles Leclerc’s retirement while leading the 2022 Spanish Grand Prix being the first for the polesitter here since Lewis Hamilton’s first lap crash with Mercedes team-mate Nico Rosberg in 2016. Hamilton’s 2016 DNF was the first for the Spanish Grand Prix polesitter since Damon Hill’s retirement 20 years previously.
Pole has had less non-finishes than any other grid slot at the Catalunya circuit. In 2019, Valtteri Bottas became the first polesitter to finish on the podium without winning at Catalunya since Michael Schumacher back in 1994. The only other positions the polesitter has finished in are fourth (2011), fifth (2000) and sixth (2013), and each of these have only occurred once.
In 2022, Max Verstappen took only the sixth victory for the driver starting second at Catalunya, and only the third win for the grid slot in the last 22 years.
In the last nine years, second on the grid has supplied two wins, one retirement, five second place finishes and a third place finish. With seven retirements in total, it has had more failures to finish than both pole and third on the grid.
Only three DNFs have come from third on the grid at the Catalunya circuit since F1 first visited in 1991. Only Finnish drivers – Mika Hakkinen in 1994, Kimi Raikkonen in 2007 and Valtteri Bottas in 2017 – have recorded a DNF from third on the grid, while Ayrton Senna, Ralf Schumacher and Lewis Hamilton in 1992, 2002 and 2010 respectively also failed to score.
Those hiccups aside, in every other race here, the driver starting third has never failed to finish outside of the top six, and has finished on the podium 16 times. Bottas’ third place in 2020 was the first time the driver starting third finished on the podium here since 2015.
The driver starting fourth has had mixed fortunes at the Spanish Grand Prix in recent years. Max Verstappen took his maiden F1 victory from fourth on the grid in 2016, then two years of retirements for Kimi Raikkonen followed, before Verstappen finished on the podium again in 2019. In 2020 and 2021, Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc recorded top five finishes having started from this grid slot, while George Russell finished third last year.
dVerstappen’s 2016 victory is the only win from this position. Meanwhile, Raikkonen’s retirement in 2017 marked the end of a 13-year scoring streak from fourth on the grid.
Fifth on the grid holds the record for the furthest back win at the track. Fernando Alonso started from fifth and won the Spanish Grand Prix in 2013, recording his most recent F1 victory. Michael Schumacher’s win from third in 1996 and Max Verstappen’s victory from fourth in 2016 are the only other times the win has come from behind the front row.
Aside from the seven DNFs from fifth on the grid, the position has always gone on to finish in the top ten, and has supplied three podium finishes in the past seven seasons.
From the 32 Spanish Grands Prix held at Catalunya, the driver starting from sixth has scored points only 16 times; a pretty low hit rate considering the top six finishers have always been awarded points.
It’s the least number of points-scoring races from any grid slot in the top ten. While no one has retired from here since Romain Grosjean in 2013, the grid slot has the most DNFs of any in the top ten, with 11 in total. Just three podium finishes have come from sixth on the grid – Alain Prost in 1991, Sebastian Vettel in 2016 and Daniel Ricciardo in 2017.
In the last 13 years, Fernando Alonso’s 12th place finish in 2017 is the only time that the driver starting from seventh has failed to score at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Seventh on the grid has not recorded a retirement at Catalunya since 2009 – the longest time since a non-finish for a grid slot at the circuit; a record shared with 19th.
Seventh has had three podium finishes – a best ever result of second for Johnny Herbert in 1995, and two third places, for Jacques Villeneueve and David Coulthard in 2001 and 2002 respectively.
In 2022, Kevin Magnussen became the first driver to start eighth at the Spanish Grand Prix and fail to score since 2014.
While the driver starting from eighth has scored points in eight out of the last ten Spanish Grands Prix, in the past 15 years the driver starting here has moved up the order only five times.
Points can be regularly scored from eighth, but don’t expect any stand out results. The only podium finish from here was for Jean Alesi back in 1992.
Grid position nine got off to a rather unlucky start in Catalunya’s history. The driver starting from ninth retired in all five seasons between 1993 and 1997, yet Ralf Schumacher’s exit from the 1997 Spanish Grand Prix was the last time a driver starting here has failed to be classified until Charles Leclerc’s retirement in 2020.
Since 1998, the position has scored points more often than not, and there have been just seven races where the driver starting here has finished in a position lower than where they started.
Felipe Massa is the only driver to have finished on the podium having started ninth. He did so in 2013 for Ferrari. Ninth on the grid has also given five further top five finishes.
The driver starting from tenth has not enjoyed much luck in recent seasons, scoring only twice since 2016. Esteban Ocon finished fifth in 2017 and Pierre Gasly finished ninht in 2020, but three of the last seven races here have resulted in retirements – along with two non-scores in the last two seasons.
Tenth on the grid is the only grid position from the top 12 to have never scored a podium finish at Catalunya. Fifth is the best result recorded from this grid slot. Aside from Ocon in 2017, three drivers finished fifth having started tenth in the 1990s.
With seventh place in 2020, Sebastian Vettel became the first driver to score at the Spanish Grand Prix having started 11th on the grid since Romain Grosjean in 2015. Lando Norris added to the points haul from this grid slot in 2022, finishing eighth.
The best result for the driver lining up 11th on the grid was back in 1994, when Mark Blundell finished on the podium in third place. 11th on the grid has had only two DNFs at the Spanish Grand Prix in the last 14 years.
In five of the last seven seasons, the driver starting from 12th has scored at the Spanish Grand Prix. While points have been frequent in recent years, twelfth on the grid has also retired three times in the last ten seasons.
The best result for a driver starting here is second, which Olivier Panis and Juan Pablo Montoya recorded in 1997 and 2001 respectively.
The driver starting 13th has never finished above sixth at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya – a position which it has secured five times in total. With 15 top ten finishes in total, chances of finishing in the points from thirteenth are relatively high when compared to the grid slots around it.
In 2022, Yuki Tsunoda finished in tenth place. It made him the first driver to score points from 13th on the grid at Catalunya since Nico Hulkenberg in 2017, who equalled the grid slot’s best-ever finish with sixth place.
None of the first 13 Spanish Grands Prix held at Catalunya resulted in points for the driver starting fourteenth. Since 2004, the grid slot has scored four times, with a best result of eighth for Jenson Button in both 2004 and 2013.
In the last seven years, 14th has retired twice and picked up one point, with a tenth place finish for Romain Grosjean in 2017.
In 2022, Zhou Guanyu recorded the first retirement from 15th on the grid at the Spanish Grand Prix since 2011. The grid slot recorded 13 DNFs in 20 seasons between 1992 and 2011, but since then has supplied points on three occasions, including a best result of fourth for Sebastian Vettel in 2014. The driver starting here last scored in 2018.
Grid position 16 is the most unlucky at Catalunya, having recorded the most non-finishes, with 14 retirements – including three in the last five seasons.
You have to go all the way back to 1992 for the only points-scoring race for a driver starting from sixteenth. That was for Michele Alboreto, who finished fifth in a Footwork.
Between 2001 and 2010, the driver starting 16th failed to finish all but one race here, while Rubens Barrichello’s ninth place finish in 2005 is the most recent time a driver has finished in the top ten from this grid slot.
In the last 26 years, the driver starting 17th at the Spanish Grand Prix has scored only once. That was Rubens Barrichello in 2010, who crossed the line in ninth place.
Pedro Diniz in 1996 is the only other driver to have scored from this grid slot, with sixth place, while the position has supplied only three further top ten finishes.
In the last 13 seasons, Bruno Senna is the only driver to retire from 17th on the grid at Catalunya, doing so in 2012.
Felipe Massa’s eighth place in the 2016 Spanish Grand Prix marked the first time that a driver starting 18th at Catalunya had scored since Pierluigi Martini’s fifth place in 1994.
In the last six years, the driver starting here has not finished above 16th. There have been only two retirements from this grid slot in the last 13 years, in 2013 and 2018.
The driver starting from 19th on the grid has recorded a DNF at Catalunya on only four occasions, the most recent to do so being Adrian Sutil in 2009. It is one of two grid slots, along with seventh, which has gone the longest without recording a non finish at Catalunya.
While a finish is highly likely from the grid slot, points are not. Daniil Kvyat’s ninth place here in 2017 is the only time a driver starting from 19th has scored at the circuit, and 2002 and 2008 are the only other occasions where the grid slot has provided a top ten finish.
Until 2022, the driver starting 20th at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya had never scored a point. Fernando Alonso finally gave this position its first points finish in 2022 with ninth place.
Alonso’s ninth place is not the best result recorded form here. Two drivers have finished in the top eight from 20th on the grid at Catalunya, with eighth places for Christian Fittpaldi in 1993 and Éric Bernard in 1994 – before finishing eighth awarded any points.
There have only been three occasions where a driver starting lower than 19th has scored points at Catalunya. In addition to Alonso’s ninth place from 20th on the grid in 2022, it happened in 2011 and 2012, when both Nick Heidfeld and Lewis Hamilton started from 24th on the grid and finished in eighth place.
In 2019, Nico Hulkenberg became the first driver to start the Spanish Grand Prix at Catalunya from the pit lane. He finished the race in 13th position.
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.