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F1 wins by starting position: Who has set the grid alight?

Qualifying is seen as an important part of an F1 weekend, yet as these statistics imply, pole position isn't a must.

Verstappen win Abu Dhabi 2023
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool

No F1 race weekend would be the same without qualifying, with the frantic Saturday [or Friday at Sprints] deemed pivotal for the outcome of the race as drivers attempt to gain the best starting position possible.

But how important is pole position really? Plenty of drivers have shown that you can start down the order and still emerge victorious.

Below is a table breaking down wins since the start of the F1 World Championship in 1950, including the Indianapolis 500 which made up part of the calendar in the first decade.

Number of F1 wins by starting position

Grid position Number of wins Win percentage [%]
1 470 42.69
2 261 23.71
3 233 12.08
4 65 5.90
5 48 4.36
6 41 3.72
7 22 2
8 17 1.54
9 5 0.45
10 12 1.09
11 5 0.45
12 4 0.36
13 3 0.27
14 7 0.64
15 1 0.09
16 2 0.18
17 2 0.18
18 1 0.09
19 1 0.09
22 1 0.09

Whilst Max Verstappen's dominance with Red Bull recently has seen the Dutchman win from all over the grid, a number of memorable races have proven just so because of where the winner came from.

Fernando Alonso came from 11th in front of his home crowd in Valencia in 2012 to secure a sensational victory to cap off what had been a frenetic event.

The Spaniard's rise from 15th at the Sinagpore Grand Prix with Renault four years prior was blighted, however, by the 'crashgate' revelations that found teammate Nelson Piquet Jr had crashed deliberately in order to play to Alonso's strategy.

Some of F1's best races have been won by those starting 14th on the grid: Jenson Button broke his duck by scoring from this position at the 2006 Hungarian Grand Prix - the same position Johnny Herbert incredibly won for Stewart at the Nurburgring in 1999.

Olivier Panis' Monaco Grand Prix triumph in the crazy 1996 event, where only three cars remained running at the chequered flag, saw the Frenchman take his first and only win from 14th on the grid as the rain came down and, one by one, his rivals dropped out.

Kimi Raikkonen pulled off a memorable final-lap overtake on Giancarlo Fisichella to secure victory at the 2005 Japanese Grand Prix from 17th on the grid, whilst Rubens Barrichello took his first F1 win at Ferrari from 18th on the grid in the 2000 German Grand Prix - a race hit by rain, incident and a man running across the track.

The lowest grid position to win a race is 22nd, with John Watson securing victory for McLaren at the 1983 US Grand Prix West at Long Beach, finishing ahead of teammate Alain Prost who had started 23rd, despite 13 cars reaching the finish.

Most recent F1 win by grid position

Grid position Driver Team Year Grand Prix
1 Max Verstappen Red Bull 2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix
2 Max Verstappen Red Bull 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix
3 Max Verstappen Red Bull 2023 Mexico City Grand Prix
4 Max Verstappen Red Bull 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix
5 Sergio Perez Racing Point 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix
6 Max Verstappen Red Bull 2023 United States Grand Prix
7 Max Verstappen Red Bull 2022 Italian Grand Prix
8 Esteban Ocon Alpine 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix
9 Max Verstappen Red Bull 2023 Miami Grand Prix
10 Max Verstappen Red Bull 2022 Hungarian Grand Prix
11 Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2012 European Grand Prix
12 Nigel Mansell Ferrari 1989 Hungarian Grand Prix
13 Alain Prost Ferrari 1990 Mexican Grand Prix
14 Max Verstappen Red Bull 2022 Belgian Grand Prix
15 Fernando Alonso Renault 2008 Singapore Grand Prix
16 Michael Schumacher Benetton 1995 Belgian Grand Prix
17 Kimi Raikkonen McLaren 2005 Japanese Grand Prix
18 Rubens Barrichello Ferrari 2000 German Grand Prix
19 Bill Vukovich - 1954 Indianapolis 500
22 John Watson McLaren 1983 US Grand Prix West

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