Lucky and Unlucky Grid Positions: Austria

Here are which grid slots have had favourable, and not so favourable, fortunes at the Red Bull Ring!


  • Polesitter has won only 9 of 30 races
  • 4th has finished on podium in last 4 races
  • 10th retired twice in last 2 years
  • 14th has scored more regularly than 6th
  • 12th scored once since 1985
  • 18th finished 10th 3 times in last 4 years

Of the thirty races held at this track, the polesitter has won only nine of them, giving a pole to win conversion rate of just 30%. The polesitter has finished on the podium here on seventeen occasions, and retired from the race eight times. Of the 22 finishes for the polesitter at the Austrian circuit, Rene Arnoux’s ninth place finish in 1980 is the only time the polesitter has finished outside of the points. The polesitter has won two of the last three Austrian Grands Prix but Valtteri Bottas, last year’s polesitter, failed to finish, recording the first DNF for a polesitter at the circuit since Giancarlo Fisichella in 1998.

Sixteen races here have been won from the front row of the grid, while fourteen wins have come from third or further back.


The driver starting from fourth has enjoyed podium finishes in all of the last four Austrian Grands Prix, and Max Verstappen won last year’s race from this grid slot. The position has also provided further wins for Jacques Laffite in 1981 and Niki Lauda in 1984, the latter becoming the only Austrian to have won his home Grand Prix. Fourth on the grid has supplied twelve third place finishes – four times as many as any other grid slot – yet curiously, the driver starting here has never finished in second place!

Seventh on the grid has given points-scoring finishes on more occasions than most grid slots, with only pole and fourth on the grid scoring more often than seventh. While Daniel Ricciardo retired from this position last year, the grid slot has finished in the top ten nineteen times in total. From all the finishes at this track for the seventh grid slot, Patrick Depailler’s eleventh place finish in 1975 is the only time the driver starting from here has finished the race in a position lower than tenth.

The thirteenth grid slot has enjoyed the longest run without a DNF at the Red Bull Ring. Nick Heidfeld was the last driver to retire having started thirteenth in Austria, back in 2000 when the track was named the A1 Ring.

The furthest back win at the Austrian Grand Prix came from fourteenth on the grid in 1977, when Alan Jones took the Shadow team’s only F1 victory. The driver starting from fourteenth has scored on more occasions than any other grid slot outside the top ten, and has had more top ten finishes than any grid slot lower than seventh. Fourteenth has supplied more top ten finishes than the sixth grid slot has, and only one less top ten finish than second on the grid!

The driver starting from sixteenth at the Red Bull Ring has recorded DNFs on only nine occasions; that’s the least non-finishes from any grid slot apart from pole. While a finish looks quite certain from here – the last to retire from sixteenth on the grid was Jarno Trulli in 2002 – points are less secure, with only three drivers having scored points starting from sixteenth in Austria. The best finish for this grid slot came in 1986, when Alan Jones finished fourth.

Eighteenth may be a lowly place to start from, but points are an achievable target from here – the driver starting here has finished tenth in three of the last four Austrian Grands Prix. The grid slot provided a tenth place finish for Daniel Ricciardo in 2015, Lance Stroll in 2017 and Marcus Ericsson in 2018.


The driver starting from tenth has retired from the Austrian Grand Prix in both of the last two seasons. Both Carlos Sainz in 2016 and Nico Hulkenberg in 2017 came to a halt with engine failures before the races had reached their conclusion. Tenth has supplied the least top ten finishes of any grid slot inside the top fifteen at this track.

Last year, Esteban Ocon finished sixth having started eleventh at the Austrian Grand Prix. But that was a rare moment of joy for the driver starting here, and the only time the driver starting eleventh has scored points in the last ten Austrian Grands Prix. The grid slot has given one podium finish, but that was for Gilles Villeneuve all the way back in 1978. It was the Canadian driver’s first podium finish in Formula 1.

Since the Red Bull Ring returned to the calendar in 2014, Pascal Wehrlein is the only driver to have scored a point having started twelfth. The grid slot has had more DNFs than any other since 2014, with three retirements in 2014, 2015 and 2017. Before Wehrlein in 2016, the last driver to score here having started twelfth was Stefan Johansson, who finished fourth for Ferrari in 1985.

If you’re starting from nineteenth, the chances are that you’ll have a pretty fruitless afternoon. Nineteenth on the grid in Austria has scored only once, with Marc Surer finishing sixth for Arrows in 1984. In the last nine races at the track, the driver starting here has failed to finish on six occasions. Nineteenth has suffered 20 non-finishes in total, which is more than any other grid slot, and is the only grid position at the track to have recorded a DNS, DNF and a DSQ.

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