The polesitter has not retired since 2005, all of the top 14 positions have provided top three finishes and wins from the second row are rare. Here’s everything you need to know about the history of each grid slot at Spa Francorchamps!
THE STATS IN BRIEF
- Polesitter has finished on the podium every year since 2007
- Only two wins away from front row in the last 13 years
- 16th has furthest back win
- 20th has never scored
- Furthest back podium finish from 21st
|Grid Slot||Last Win||Last Podium||Last Points||Last Non Finish||Best Result||Top 10 Finish %|
The polesitter has gone on to win the Belgian Grand Prix at 21 of the 55 events which have been held at Spa. Six of the last eight Spa races have been won from pole.
Pole position is the grid slot which has gone the longest without a DNF, with Juan Pablo Montoya being the last polesitter to have retired at this track back in 2005. Since then, the polesitter has finished on the podium in every race at the circuit.
In recent years, we’ve seen the driver in second being more likely to lead by the fourth corner thanks to the layout of the track. After the cars have gone through Eau Rouge and up the Raidillon section of track, they come to the Kemmel Straight, where slipstreaming can be highly effective.
Despite that, in the last nine seasons, only one win has been taken by the driver starting second. That was Sebastian Vettel in 2018. Max Verstappen’s 11th place in 2016 is the only time in the last eight years that the driver starting here has failed to score. The driver starting second has finished second in all of the last three Belgian Grands Prix.
Between 2013 and 2018, the driver starting third failed to finish on the podium at the Belgian Grand Prix. Since then, Lewis Hamilton finished as runner-up in 2019, while Max Verstappen and Hamilton finished in third place in 2020 and 2021 respectively.
The last driver to start from third and win the Belgian Grand Prix was Damon Hill, when he famously took the Jordan team’s first victory in 1998. No retirements have been recorded from this position since 2008.
In the 55 races at Spa, the driver starting from fourth has never recorded a victory. There have been ten podium finishes from this position, including six runner-up finishes, but never a win. In 2019, Valtteri Bottas became the first driver to record a podium finish from this grid slot since Fernando Alonso, who finished second in 2005.
Lewis Hamilton’s retirement from fourth on the grid at the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix brought to an end a streak of nine consecutive points-scoring races for the driver starting fourth.
The fifth grid position at Spa has suffered more DNFs than any other. There have been a total of 26 DNFs from fifth on the grid, plus a disqualification for Mika Hakkinen following a fuel irregularity in 1997, costing him a podium finish.
The recent history of this grid slot is very inconsistent. While Romain Grosjean, Alex Albon. Sebastian Vettel and George Russell have secured top seven results in the last five seasons, before that the grid slot saw four DNFs in six seasons, interspersed by two top three finishes for Daniel Ricciardo, including a win in 2014. Max Verstappen was out on the first lap having started here in 2019.
In the 11 races at the track between 1968 and 1992, Nigel Mansell in 1986 was the only driver not to record a DNF having started here – and he won the race!
Sixth on the grid has supplied five wins at Spa Francorchamps – more than either of the grid slots immediately ahead of it, and more than any behind it.
The most recent victory for a driver starting sixth was for Kimi Raikkonen in 2009. Since then, the position has had two podium finishes, both third places, for Valtteri Bottas in 2014 and Daniel Ricciardo in 2017.
The driver starting seventh has not picked up points in Belgium since 2019. The seventh grid slot was left clear in both 2020 and 2021. Carlos Sainz failed to start the race in 2020, while Sergio Perez was relegated to the back of the pack after crashing on his way to the grid in 2021. Daniel Ricciardo finished only 15th having started here in 2022.
Before 2020, the driver starting here had finished no lower than sixth in all of the previous four seasons, and Max Verstappen recorded a podium finish from here in 2018. His was the first podium result from this grid slot since the turn of the millennium, and only the fourth from here overall. It has had the least podium finishes of any grid slot in the top nine.
In 2020, Sergio Perez became the first driver to score from eighth on the grid at the Belgian Grand Prix since 2016. In 2021, Esteban Ocon finished eighth, recording the grid slot’s best result since 2014.
The driver starting here has retired from two of the last six races at the track, and has suffered five DNFs in the last 12 races. However, in better news, only pole position and third on the grid have had more points-scoring races at the track, while only pole and fourth have finished in the top ten more times than this grid slot.
There have been ten occasions when the driver starting here has finished on the podium; the most recent to do so was Sebastian Vettel in 2009.
Following a pre-race electronics issue for Pierre Gasly in 2022, the eighth grid slot was left empty for the first time in Spa’s tenure on the F1 calendar.
In the last ten years, two podium finishes have come from ninth on the grid at the Belgian Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso recorded the grid position’s best ever result with a second place finish in 2013, while Romain Grosjean finished third in 2015.
The position has provided points scoring finishes more often than not in recent seasons, with 11 points finishes from the last 18 races.
Kimi Raikkonen won the Belgian Grand Prix from tenth on the grid in 2004, marking the only time that this grid slot has provided a win at Spa. Since then, Sebastian Vettel has also finished on the podium from here in 2012.
Tenth on the grid has had 28 top ten finishes as well as 25 non-classified results. The driver starting here has scored five times in the last seven seasons.
In the last eight seasons, only two points-scoring finishes have come from 11th on the grid at the Belgian Grand Prix. Those were for Romain Grosjean, who finished seventh in 2017, and Carlos Sainz, who finished tenth in 2021.
The driver starting here has finished on the podium three times, all three times being third place finishes; the most recent of which was for Stefan Johansson in 1986.
In the last 12 years, the driver starting twelfth at the Belgian Grand Prix has scored six times, including a second-best result of fourth for Daniil Kvyat in 2015. The only result better than that was Jim Clark’s win in 1962, making this the third furthest back grid slot from which a victory has been secured at Spa. The driver starting 12th finished eighth in both 2019 and 2020.
The driver starting from 13th at Spa has scored seven times in the last 12 races, and Jenson Button took a podium finish having started from here in 2011.
Charles Leclerc’s 14th place in 2020 marked the first time the driver starting 13th failed to score at Spa since 2016. The grid slot has not scored since, with Valtteri Bottas recording its first DNF since 2009 in 2022.
The position has given three podium finishes in total, additionally providing third place finishes for Andrea de Cesaris in 1987 and for Martin Brundle in 1995.
Max Verstappen became the first driver to win from 14th on the grid at Spa in 2022. His win was the first points finish for a driver starting here since Felipe Massa’s fifth place in 2012.
In addition to Verstappen’s win, 14th on the grid has supplied two further podium finishes at Spa: second place for Bruce McLaren in 1960 and third for Ivan Capelli in 1988.
The driver starting 15th at Spa has never finished above fifth at the Belgian Grand Prix. Two drivers have finished in the top five from this grid slot: Jackie Oliver in 1968 and Satoru Nakajima in 1987.
In 2022, Charles Leclerc finished sixth, becoming the first driver to score from 15th on the grid at Spa since 2012. Four of the last nine Spa races have resulted in retirements for the driver starting here.
The 16th grid slot is the one which holds the record for the furthest back win at Spa. Michael Schumacher took victory for Benetton from this slot back in 1995.
The grid slot may have only scored in the Belgian Grand Prix six times since then, but four of those occasions have been in the last eight races.
The driver starting 17th at Spa scored top five finishes in both 2018 and 2019. Valtteri Bottas finished fourth in 2018 – the grid slot’s best ever finishing position – while Alex Albon finished fifth in 2019.
In the last 13 years, the grid slot has had only one retirement. In total, there have been 13 top ten finishes from 17th on the grid at Spa – but only three in the last 24 races.
The driver starting from 18th at the Belgian Grand Prix has retired three times in the last six years. In the last 37 races at the track, Nico Hulkenberg and Max Verstappen are the only drivers to have scored from this position, having done so in consecutive years (2014 and 2015). Before them, Carel Godin de Beaufort was the only other driver to have scored from 18th on the grid, taking a sixth place finish for Porsche in 1963.
The driver starting 19th at the Belgian Grand Prix has scored only three times, with all three of those occasions being in the last 17 races at Spa. The best result from this grid slot is seventh, recorded by Ralf Schumacher in 2001, before the position offered points, and by Daniil Kvyat in 2019.
Romain Grosjean’s retirement in 2009 is the only time since 2005 that the driver starting here has failed to finish.
Of the top 20 grid slots at the Spa Francorchamps circuit, 20th is the only one to have never scored a point at the track; nor has it ever recorded a top ten finish. Top ten finishes have come from 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th and 25th on the grid, but never from 20th. The best finish from this grid slot was 11th place for Narain Karthikeyan in the 2005 race.
Due to pit lane starts, this grid slot has been left empty in three of the last four Belgian Grands Prix.
In 2022, Pierre Gasly became the first driver to score fro the pit lane at Spa, finishing in ninth place. His was the fifth pit lane start at the track – but none of the others have resulted in a better finishing position than 13th.
Two drivers have started from the pit lane in each of the last two Belgian Grands Prix.