27 of the 41 Montreal races have been won from the front row – with all but one of the last six 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
- 27 of 41 wins from front row
- 2nd most likely to score
- 3rd has not won since 2003
- 10th has not retired since 2007
- 5 DNFs in last 7 races for 13th
The Canadian Grand Prix has been won from the front row of the grid 27 times during its tenure at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on 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 – and so far only – time all the top three qualifiers finished in the order they had started in at this track.
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In the 41 Canadian Grands Prix held at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve since 1978, the polesitter has gone on to win the race 20 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.
All but one of the last six Canadian Grands Prix have been won by the polesitter. 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 was Lewis Hamilton, who crashed into 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 grid position from which the most top ten finishes have come at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve. 33 of the 41 races at the circuit have resulted in points scoring afternoons for the driver starting second.
Aside from DNFs in 2011 and 2014, the driver starting here has scored in every Canadian Grand Prix since 2001, taking five victories in that period – the most recent of which was for Lewis Hamilton in 2019.
From the 41 races here, there have have been only eight in which the driver starting second has failed to score. Despite all the positives, the driver starting here has finished on the podium only three times in the last seven races.
Third on the grid has supplied five podium finishes in the last five Canadian Grands Prix. No driver has retired from third on the grid in Montreal since Kimi Raikkonen in 2008. In the last 11 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 21 races at the track.
The driver starting from fourth has scored points in all of the last 11 Canadian Grands Prix. In 2022, Lewis Hamilton became the first driver to start fourth in Montreal and finish on the podium since Valtteri Bottas in 2015.
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.
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 back 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 10 races at the circuit, the driver starting from fifth has failed to score four times – with three retirements and a 17th place finish for Kevin Magnussen in 2022.
Since its last podium in 2006, two top five finishes have been recorded from fifth on the grid, with fourth places for Mark Webber and Max Verstappen in 2013 and 2016 respectively.
The sixth grid slot was on a 12-race finishing streak until 2022, when Mick Schumacher became the first retiree from sixth on the grid in Canada since Nico Rosberg in 2006. It was the first non-score for this grid slot since 2011.
In the past eight Montreal races, sixth on the grid in Montreal has provided three podium finishes, including Daniel Ricciardo’s maiden F1 win in 2014. The other drivers to have won having started sixth are Thierry Boutsen in 1989 and Michael Schumacher in 2004.
The driver starting from seventh has scored in 11 of the last 12 races held at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, and has finished in the top ten in 18 of the last 21 Canadian Grands Prix.
Two of the last 15 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 13 races.
All of the first four Canadian Grands Prix held at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve resulted in DNFs for the driver starting eighth. In the last 12 races, there have been just two DNFs from here, and Paul di Resta’s 11th place in 2012 is the only other time that this position has failed to score.
The most recent podium from eighth on the grid 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 s even Canadian Grands Prix, there has been just two occasions that the driver starting ninth has failed to score.
Daniel Ricciardo’s 11th place finish in 2022 marked the first time since 2015 that the driver lining up ninth on the grid failed to move forward in the race.
Before its recent 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 is 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 12 races at the track, giving it the longest active finishing streak of any grid slot. Seven of those finishes have been within the top ten – including in each of the last two seasons.
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 16 Canadian Grands Prix, the driver starting 11th has finished in the points on eight occasions, including three fourth place results.
In 2022, Valtteri Bottas finished seventh, recording the grid slot’s best result since 2014. Since 2007, there has been only one retirement from 11th on the grid.
The driver starting 11th has scored two podium finishes, both recorded in the first four races at the circuit, with third places for Carlos Reutemann in 1978 and Gilles Villeneuve in 1981.
12th on the grid has failed to reach the end of three of the last five 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 12th in Montreal has scored only five times in the last 44 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 12th in Canada. He did so with McLaren in 2014.
Unlucky number 13 definitely applies at the Canadian Grand Prix. The driver starting here has retired from three of the last four races at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
In the last nine 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.
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 11 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 nine races at the track.
Eight 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 six Montreal races, Stoffel Vandoorne’s 14th place finish in 2017, Kimi Raikkonen’s 15th place in 2019 and Sebastian Vettel’s 12th place in 2022 are the only times that 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 three times in the past four races – and all three times it has been Lance Stroll who picked up points. He finished ninth in 2017 and 2019 and finished tenth in 2022. 2022 was only the fifth time that 17th on the grid has scored in Montreal.
18th on the grid has given nine top ten finishes on just at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 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 12 races at the circuit, it has not retired since 2014.
In 2022, Charles Leclerc became the first driver to score points from 19th on the grid at the Canadian Grand Prix since Sebastian Vettel in 2008.
With fifth place, Leclerc recorded one of the grid slot’s best ever results – bettered only by fourth place for Nelson Piquet in 1989 and third place for Alexander Wurz in 2007. Wurz’s podium makes 19th the furthest back grid slot – aside from the pit lane – to record a podium finish at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.
23 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 four 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.