Watching the onboard starts for this race on the review DVDs you really get to see how the Force Indias, Schumacher and the Toro Rossos gained so many positions at the start. You had the crash in the middle of turn 1 with a lot of drivers stuck on the outside of it, and they were just able to sneak up the inside and pass about 8 or 9 cars in 1 corner!
Yeah, it's ridiculous. You can usually count on much better results starting from the lower end of the grid because there's always going to be chaos/trolling in the first few corners and you have a much better chance of avoiding it that way. From the first row, you're almost guaranteed to be hit from behind or spun around in the first corner.
Incidentally, I play the game as "First Lap Nutcase".