26 of the last 40 Montreal races have been won from the front row – with all but one of the last five Canadian Grands Prix having been won from pole position. Here’s everything you need to know about the history of each grid slot at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve!
THE STATS IN BRIEF
- 26 of 40 wins from front row
- 2nd most likely to score
- 3rd has not won since 2003
- 10th has not retired since 2007
- 4 DNFs in last 6 races for 13th
The Canadian Grand Prix has been won from the front row of the grid 26 times during its tenure at the Ile Notre Dame Island. 14 races here have been won from third or further back on the grid. The furthest back a victory at this circuit has come from is tenth, which Jacques Laffite achieved in 1981. 2018 marked the first time all the top three qualifiers finished in the order they had started in at this track.
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In the 40 Canadian Grands Prix held at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve since 1978, the polesitter has gone on to win the race 19 times, giving a pole to win conversion rate of just under 50%. This may not seem like a very high percentage, but the trend has changed in recent years. 2019 marked the first time since 2014 that the polesitter failed to win the Canadian Grand Prix. The polesitter has finished every race here since 2010, and has finished only one of those not in a podium position (Sebastian Vettel finished fourth from pole in 2012). The polesitter has finished on the podium without winning the race here only five times since 1978, with four of those occurrences coming between 2001 and 2014.
In total, the polesitter has retired from the Canadian Grand Prix nine times. The most recent polesitter to retire here was Lewis Hamilton, who crashed with Kimi Raikkonen at the end of the pit-lane in 2008. Polesitter Ralf Schumacher finished second in the 2004 event, but was later disqualified due to the Williams cars failing scrutineers’ tests.
Second is the most recent grid slot to have won the Canadian Grand Prix and the position from which the most top ten finishes have come from at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. From the 40 races here, there have have been only eight in which the driver starting second has failed to score. Despite these positives, the driver starting here has finished on the podium only three times in the last six races.
Third on the grid has supplied four podium finishes in the last four Canadian Grands Prix. No driver has retired from third on the grid in Montreal since Kimi Raikkonen in 2008. In the last ten races, Valtteri Bottas’ 14th place in 2013 has been the only time that the driver starting here has finished outside of the top six. Four wins have been taken from third on the grid, with Michael Schumacher’s 2003 victory being the only win from here in the last 20 races at the track.
The driver starting from fourth has scored points in all of the last ten Canadian Grands Prix. The last driver to start from fourth and fail to pick up a point was Fernando Alonso in 2008. His retirement is one of only four occasions since 1991 where the driver starting from this position hasn’t been classified in the final order. In the last ten races, three podium finishes have come from this grid slot, most recently Valtteri Bottas, who finished third for Williams in 2015. While points are frequent, don’t expect a win from fourth on the grid – the last driver to win from this position was Gerhard Berger in 1992.
The driver starting from fifth on the grid at the Canadian Grand Prix has only taken six podiums since the event moved to Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in 1978. With less podium finishes than any other grid slot in the top eight, fifth isn’t a very lucky place to start the race from, with Michael Schumacher’s second place in 2006 the most recent time a driver starting from fifth has appeared in the top three. In the last nine races at the circuit, the driver starting from fifth has failed to finish the Canadian Grand Prix on three occasions, and has finished in a position higher than fifth only twice (Mark Webber and Max Verstappen in 2013 and 2016 respectively, who each finished fourth).
The sixth grid slot has the current longest streak of finishes at the Canadian Grand Prix. The last driver to have retired here was Nico Rosberg back in 2006. In the past seven Montreal races, sixth on the grid in Montreal has provided three podium finishes, including Daniel Ricciardo’s maiden F1 win in 2014. The other two drivers to have won having started sixth are Thierry Boutsen in 1989 and Michael Schumacher in 2004. In each of the last two Canadian Grands Prix, the driver starting here has finished fourth.
The driver starting from seventh has scored in ten of the last eleven races held at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and has finished in the top ten in 17 of the last twenty Canadian Grands Prix. Two of the last 14 races here have been won by the driver starting in seventh place. Kimi Raikkonen took victory in the 2005 race, while Jenson Button won from this position in the epic 2011 Canadian Grand Prix. Felipe Massa’s first lap collision in 2017 marks the only time a driver has failed to finish from seventh on the grid in the last twelve races. In each of the last two races, the driver starting seventh has finished where he started – something which occurred for the first time in 2018!
All of the first four Canadian Grands Prix held at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve resulted in DNFs for the driver starting eighth. In the last eleven races here, there have been just two DNFs from here, and Paul di Resta’s eleventh place in 2012 is the only other time that this position has failed to score. The most recent podium from here was in 2008, when Nick Heidfeld finished as runner-up. Just one Canadian Grand Prix has been won from eighth on the grid; Nelson Piquet was victorious for the final time in his career here in 1991.
In the last six Canadian Grands Prix, there has been just one occasion that the driver starting ninth has failed to score. In all of the last four races at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, the driver lining up ninth on the grid has moved forward in the race. Before its present run of good luck, ninth on the grid recorded three consecutive DNFs in 2011, 2012 and 2013. It has had the most DNFs of any grid slot in the top eleven at this circuit and the only one in the top ten to have not won the event.
The driver starting tenth has finished the Canadian Grand Prix in all of the last eleven races at the track. Six of those have been finishes within the top ten. Only two of those points-scoring races have come in the last five races at the circuit. The driver starting here has won once, with Jacques Laffite winning the race in 1981. It has also supplied a third place finish for Giancarlo Fisichella in 2000. It is the furthest back grid slot to have won at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
In the last 15 Canadian Grands Prix, the driver starting eleventh has finished in the points on seven occasions, including with three fourth place results. It has supplied only one point in the last five races at the track, with a tenth place finish for Sergio Perez in 2016. Since 2007, there has been only one retirement from eleventh on the grid. The driver starting eleventh has scored two podium finishes, both being recorded in the first four races at the circuit, with third places for Carlos Reutemann in 1978 and Gilles Villeneuve in 1981.
Twelfth on the grid has failed to reach the end of four of the last three Canadian Grands Prix. Jenson Button was sidelined with engine issues in 2016, as was Fernando Alonso in 2017, while Brendon Hartley was out on the first lap in 2018 after colliding with Lance Stroll. Furthermore, the driver starting from twelfth in Montreal has scored only five times in the last 42 years – the least number of times from any of the top 16 grid positions. The best finish for a driver starting here is fourth which Ricardo Patrese achieved in 1978 and Karl Wendlinger repeated in 1992. Kevin Magnussen is the most recent driver to have scored points having started twelfth here. He did so with McLaren in 2014.
In the last eight races in Montreal, Charles Leclerc’s tenth place in 2018 is the only time that 13th on the grid has picked up points at the Canadian Grand Prix. In the last six races, there have been four non-finishes for the driver starting here. Just one podium finish has been recorded from 13th in Montreal. That was for David Coulthard, who finished third in 2008.
Only one point has been scored from 14th on the grid in Canada in the last ten races at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. No driver starting here has finished above fifth, and the position holds the unwanted records for most non-finishes. There have been 25 occasions where the driver starting here has failed to finish – though only two of those have been in the last eight races at the track.
Seven years have passed since 15th on the grid last scored points in Canada. The driver starting here has not retired since 2014, but points have been rare in recent seasons. The grid slot enjoyed three consecutive points-scoring races between 2010 and 2012, culminating in a podium finish for Sergio Perez in 2012. That’s the only top three to be recorded from here so far.
In the past four Montreal races, Stoffel Vandoorne’s 14th place finish in 2017 and Kimi Raikkonen’s 15th place in 2019 are the only times where the driver starting from 16th has reached the end of the Canadian Grand Prix. Robert Mehri, Jolyon Palmer and Lance Stroll have all started from 16th in recent years and failed to finish the race. Felipe Massa’s eighth place for Ferrari in 2013 is the most recent time the driver starting from 16th has scored points in Montreal. A driver starting here has never finished above fifth position.
Between 1980 and 2012, the 17th grid slot went for 31 races at the track without scoring a point, and in all of the races between 1995 and 2005, the driver starting from 17th retired from the Grand Prix. Nevertheless, the grid slot has scored twice in the past three races, with Lance Stroll finishing ninth both times. 2019 was only the fourth time that 17th on the grid has scored in Montreal.
18th on the grid has resulted in top ten finishes on just nine occasions, with just three of those resulting in actual points for the driver starting here. The best result for this grid slot was scored on the last occasion that it finished within the top ten, with a fifth place finish for Sebastian Vettel in 2015. Though the grid slot has scored only once in the last five races at the circuit, it has not retired since 2014.
No driver has scored points from 19th on the grid since Sebastian Vettel finished eighth for Toro Rosso in 2008. That’s the longest point-less streak for a grid slot at the event. Vettel’s eighth place in 2008 is one of only two occasions from the past 17 races at the track where the driver starting 19th has finished in the top ten. The grid slot did, however, supply a podium finish for Alexander Wurz in 2007. It’s the furthest back grid slot – aside from the pit lane – from which a podium finish has been scored at this track.
22 non-finishes have come from twentieth on the grid. Of the 15 races which the driver starting here has finished, they have recorded a top ten result six times. The last driver to score from here was Carlos Sainz, who finished ninth in 2016. Due to pit lane starts, this grid slot has been left vacant twice in the last three races here. The best result from here is sixth, scored four times.
Five drivers have started the Canadian Grand Prix from the pit-lane. Of those five, two have resulted in points – including a third place finish for Rubens Barrichello in 2005 – while Esteban Gutierrez’s 2014 race ended in retirement.
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.