2016 Spanish Grand Prix driver weekend ratings

2016 Spanish Grand Prix

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Max Verstappen took a shock win but which drivers performed to their best during the Spanish Grand Prix weekends?

F1 Fanatic’s new driver-by-driver race weekend ratings assesses the full field:


Lewis Hamilton – Looked out of sorts in practice, complaining about tyre pressures, but moved towards Rosberg’s set-up in time for qualifying. After a stumble on his first lap in Q3 he produced a superb lap to take pole position. When Rosberg came at him at turn one on the opening lap Hamilton naturally covered the inside line, though it proved in vain. It’s therefore surprising he expected Rosberg to leave the inside unprotected at turn four – he didn’t, and the pair crashed.

Nico Rosberg – Impressed throughout practice but was beaten to pole position by Hamilton. Grabbed the lead at the start but his power unit was in an incorrect setting – likely because of an error on Rosberg’s part, which left him vulnerable on the approach to turn four. He defended as firmly as the rules allow, but the consequence was a collision which ended both drivers’ races. A needless accident in more ways than one.


Sebastian Vettel – Said Ferrari were mystified by their loss of pace in qualifying after they’d been within a few tenths of Mercedes in practice, and seemed to be hardest hit of the team’s two drivers. He got off the line well came out of turn one with only the Mercedes and Ricciardo ahead, but let Verstappen and Sainz get the better of him on the run to turn four. He soon re-passed Sainz after the start and closed on the Red Bulls, but although switching to a three-stop strategy got him ahead of Ricciardo it meant he lost out to Verstappen and Raikkonen.

Kimi Raikkonen – Beat Vettel to fifth in qualifying but struggled away from the line, losing three places immediately. Having re-taken Bottas before the Safety Car came out he got by Sainz when the race resumed. He was a few seconds behind the leading quartet in the middle of the race, but at the end hew drew close onto Verstappen’s tail. Try as he might, he couldn’t get close enough to attempt a pass.


Felipe Massa – Had one shot to get through Q1 but fell well short of his team mate’s time and missed the cut. But thanks to a solid driver, smart strategy and more impressive work by the Williams pit crew, he probably only finished two places lower than was possible. An early pit stop put him on a three-stop strategy which gave him more time in clear air.

Valtteri Bottas – Left Massa well behind as he took seventh on the grid. However a cautious run through the first two corner cost him places to Raikkonen and Sainz. He jumped back ahead of Sainz via the undercut, and although he probably wouldn’t have been able to keep Raikkonen behind it would at least have made his race more interesting. Picked up his pace too late in the final stint to pinch fourth from Ricciardo.

Red Bull

Verstappen clinched a shock victory
Daniel Ricciardo – Responded perfectly to the challenge of his new team mate in qualifying, using just a single lap in Q3 to put him comfortably in the shade. It’s hard to see what more he could have done in the race as Red Bull’s strategy decision made the difference between the two drivers.

Max Verstappen – Gets full marks despite being edged by Riccirado on Saturday due to his stellar drive on Sunday. Verstappen’s lap one pass on Vettel and coolness under pressure from both Ferrari drivers displayed immense maturity for a driver of comparatively few race starts.

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg – Narrowly missed a place in Q3 as he wasn’t able to find a balance he was completely happy with in the upgraded VJM09. He lost three places at the start and was running outside the points when his car developed an oil leak.

Sergio Perez – Force India’s only representative in Q3, Perez took ninth on the grid which became seventh at the start. He finished there too, holding off Massa at the end despite having six-lap-older tyres. Did well to make a two-stop strategy work with such an early first stop.


Kevin Magnussen – Was satisfied to reach Q2 while his team mate went out in the first round. However poor pace for both cars on the medium tyre forced Renault to use the hard at times – they were the only team to do so. Magnussen swapped his for softs at the end and had already passed Nasr oin his final lap when he attempted to pass Palmer too, causing contact which he was later penalised for.

Jolyon Palmer – Sat out first practice while Esteban Ocon drove his car and was delayed by a puncture in the second session. He only narrowly missed a place in Q2. Delivered what he called his best performance to date in the race, stretching out his stint on hards until the end unlike Magnussen, but points weren’t in the offing.

Sainz fought the Ferraris

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Toro Rosso

Daniil Kvyat – Like Verstappen, Kvyat had to acclimatise quickly to a new car. He used an extra set of soft tyres early in qualifying which led to an unsuccessful bid to accompany Sainz into Q3. He had to surrender places to Hulkenberg and Palmer early on as the stewards ruled he’d taken them under the Safety Car. A late switch to soft tyres allowed him to keep pace with the leaders and pass Gutierrez for the final points place with four laps to go.

Carlos Sainz Jnr – Was very pleased to take eighth on the grid in front of his home crowd. A rapid start and excellent pass on the outside of Vettel moved him up to third by the Safety Car. Despite firm defending with Raikkonen, the red cars inevitably passed Sainz with his year-old motor. His early pit stop dropped him behind Haryanto which meant Williams were easily able to get Bottas out ahead of him. It didn’t look like the car had more in it.


Marcus Ericsson – Unsettled in the car in Friday, Ericsson felt he made significant progress overnight but couldn’t get the Sauber above 19th. Rated his race as one of his best in F1 so far after using a three-stop strategy to come home nine seconds ahead of his two-stopping team mate. The pair almost tangled at one point, however.

Felipe Nasr – Oversteer confined him to 20th in qualifying with only the Manors behind him. Felt a two-stop strategy meant he spent too long on the medium tyres. But though he lost a place to Magnussen on the final lap the Renault driver’s post-race penalty gifted it back.


Button bagged more points for McLaren
Fernando Alonso – Grabbing a place in Q3 represented progress, even if it meant he was the lowest driver on the grid who had to start on old tyres. He slipped behind Button at the start though and that confined him to his team mate’s pace until a power unit problem forced him out.

Jenson Button – Troubled by a loose rear on his car in qualifying and didn’t join Alonso in the final ten. However a rapid start put him in the hunt for points. Although he still found the car lacking grip he delivered nine place, passing Gutierrez close to the end.


Pascal Wehrlein – The Manor’s lack of downforce was revealed by its clear position at the top of the speed trap. Wehrlein felt the team could qualify no higher than the back row and he was proved correct. Despite tyre degradation worries he made a two-stop strategy work but lagged behind the midfield.

Rio Haryanto – Disappointed to qualify last despite being content with the progress the team made with their upgrades. Manor are now quick enough that they can delay the leaders and Haryanto gave Ricciardo and Button headaches during the race.


Romain Grosjean – Complained vociferously about his car during practice and reversed almost all of his recent set-up changes. Despite that he moved up to tenth at the start and points seemed to be a possibility again. However another front wing breakage sent him into the pits and he late retired with brake problems.

Esteban Gutierrez – Felt he got the most out of his car in qualifying but was pipped by Grosjean again. A gamble on a long final stint on mediums didn’t pay off – his tyres faded which allowed Button and Kvyat to edge him out of the points.

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    Author information

    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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    66 comments on “2016 Spanish Grand Prix driver weekend ratings”

    1. I think giving Ericsson and Perez a 3 is slightly harsh, but that’s just my opinion.

      1. Have to agree there. Perez’ 7th place is a very good result and Ericsson’s 12th place could prove to be worth USD 10 million by the end of the season as only the top ten teams get a share of the prize money.

      2. Yup, in all fairness the ratings has to be done over 10 points.

    2. If Ricciardo is a 5 for this race Kimi has to be too. Outqualified his teammate, outraced his teammate and gained places even without the Mercs crashing. How can he be a 3?

      1. Riccardo also did alot of mistakes. Locked up several times and failed to pass Vettel despite having better tyres and an car with better exit out on the straight every time. Ultimately his tyres gave in. This was far from the best performance of Ricciardo and it want flawless like his teammate.

        Ericsson had a really good Race.

        1. I agree.
          If Verstappen is a 5 , Ricciardo is a 3, and Kimi and Vettel both are 4.
          Vettel did well but the tyre strategy ruined his race.
          Kimi did well too, but couldn´t manage to overtake Verstappen. I think Vettel would have been successfull in that task.
          Ricciardo tried desperately and unsuccesfully to overtake Vettel, ate his own tyres, and has to be grateful to have arrived on P4.

          1. @oscar Ricciardo a 3?!

          2. Oscar what race were you watching? Ric got screwed by a pit call. Bril quali = 3

            1. Did he get screwed by a pit call?, or did the team deliberately sandbag to validate the VerstappenKvyat move?

            2. The same pit call that screwed VET’s race.
              I wasn´t talking about that since is clear that it was a bad call, for both.
              But while VET managed his tyres quite good, RIC destroyed his in several failed attempts to overtake VET.
              Many dirvers talked about how important it was to manage tyres in this race, VES, RAI and VET did it well, but RIC seemed to think he was racing at Sochi…

      2. Kimi hardly outraced Vettel. He lucked into the better strategy but he was consistently slower and before the strategy benefit was behind Vettel even after starting ahead.

        1. Check the last stint. Vettel didn’t manage to catch up Kimi & Vestappen with slightly newer tires. Hardly consistently faster than Kimi.

          1. Kimi was more consistent than Vettel on the last stint but was also slower. Vettel was catching them until he had to deal with Ricciardo. It could be that Kimi was just being slowed by Max though. Either way Kimi didn’t outrace Vettel, not even close.

            1. As Verstappen didn’t exactly run away from Kimi, its clear that Kimi could have been lapping quicker if Verstappen had not been there. On the contrary, Vettel did not close the gap up to Kimi. Agreed, Ricciardo’s hard attack on Vettel some laps before finish did cost them both a loss around 1.2 sec or so to the two in front.

        1. When the silver arrows took each other out I thought it, (race ) should be vettel’s as he should be able to get past the less powerful RB, but it didn’t happen. Maybe he thought the same . No wonder he looked pretty glum on the podium.

    3. just like Ves you are getting things done way too early @keithcollantine

      1. Keith is getting all of this out the way asap because he’s going to see Justin Beiber later this week…

    4. Not sure I understand the scoring system here.
      E.g. Palmer gets 3 points, just like Kimi and Vettel?
      How does that add up?

      1. pastaman (@)
        16th May 2016, 15:06

        It’s all relative, man

      2. ColdFly F1 (@)
        16th May 2016, 18:22

        There is text above the rating which gives some explanation; and you can use google translate if you don’t understand English!

    5. I wonder what Manor will do at Monza with that top speed advantage!

      1. Held up others when getting lapped make sure that race will be not a foregone conclusion or lucking into a podium by making crashes :D

      2. That’s disturbing… :\

      3. You still need downforce at the track and the efficiency of the downforce is more crucial at that track than any other. I don’t know the exact figures but most teams have a ratio of drag to downforce that is acceptable before they allow a part on the car. That ratio is different from track to track and at Monza it’s most heavily in favour of low drag.

        Manor may currently have the least drag of any car, but that isn’t to say their ratio is as efficient as say Williams or Red Bull. When they get to Monza and the other teams are stripping down to a low drag setup they’re likely to still crush Manor on downforce figures while likely still only giving away a small amount down the straight, and remember they’ll be entering that straight at a higher speed than Manor so though Manor may top the speed trap at the end of it, time taken to get down it may not be less as other teams will be hitting higher speeds earlier.

      4. In Monza 2011, RedBull had one of the lowest top speeds and won there!

        1. @malik


          The key is how soon they can get up to speeds. Hitting the highest speed at the speed trap is no good if it took you the entire length of the straight to reach it. Cars like Red Bull with incredibly efficient aero allowing them to run skinny low drag wings mean they exit the corners fast and get to travel down more of the straight at a higher top speed for longer even if they are still slower speed through the speed trap.

      5. @fer-no65 Finish ahead of Sauber, Renault, STR and Haas.

      6. without the chicanes they would have a chance, but the lack of downforce will hurt then through them. if they can get in front of some of the midfield cars might be quite hard to get past

        1. @philipgb @peartree @malik @sravan-pe

          I was being hopeful ala Force India in 2009 to be honest :P

          1. @fer-no65 I think you made a fair point.

      7. Also looking forward to seeing Manor in Baku with it’s long fast straight lines and mostly slower right-angled corners. They may not be fastest around a full lap but I don’t think too many cars will be overtaking them.

    6. I wish red bull and Ferrari had kept all 4 drivers on the same strategy. Would have loved to see Max have a go at Ricciardo as in my opinion he had the better pace all through the race being much easier on the tyres.

      1. @vvans: I agree. I was following live timing and Max had faster laps compared to Daniel who was in clean air

    7. A 3 for Ericsson …. What a joke..

    8. Nice new feature this Driver rating @keithcollantine

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        16th May 2016, 18:26

        I like this feature as well!
        I was just about to say that I’m missing your view on DOTW; but this is even better.

        Like most people I have a slightly different rating for some drivers myself. But out of gratitude and respect for this new feature I’ll wait until the next race before sharing my views.

    9. Nice new feature Keith! But why don’t you give 4 that often?
      I don’t understand why both Red Bulls are 5 and both Ferraris are 3. Ricciardo failed to overtake Seb inspite of a clearly faster car, Kimi failed to overtake Max in only a slightly faster car.
      Yes, Ric got the bad strategy and the unfortunate puncture, but that doesn’t mean you give him a 5. According to an interview Max gave to Dutch reporters, Ric had to switch to 3-stopper because he was holding up Max.
      I would say Max gets a 5, Kimi gets a 4, Ric and Vettel get a 3

    10. Cool feature…

      Let me do mine

      Hamilton – 1
      Rosberg – 1
      Vettel – 4
      Raikkonen – 4
      Bottas – 4
      Massa – 3
      Ricciardo – 4
      Verstappen – 5
      Perez – 4
      Hulkenberg – 2
      Magnussen – 2
      Palmer – 3
      Sainz – 4
      Kvyat – 3
      Button – 4
      Alonso – 3
      Nasr – 2
      Ericsson – 4
      Wehrlein – 3
      Haryanto – 2
      Grosjean – 2
      Gutierrez – 3

    11. The credit of this idea is for Skysports F1!

      1. @malik Yes, rating sportsathletes after a sportweekend on a base of 1 to X is invented by Sky.

    12. It was a great drive by Kimi, I think he deserves more than a 3. I wouldn’t blame him for not being able to take the lead. Verstappen didn’t put a foot wrong and he never got close enough to have a real chance. I think it just highlights the problem with Formula 1 at the moment. It is way too difficult to follow other cars closely which makes overtaking nearly impossible on some tracks even with a faster car. I fear it could be even worse next year but let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that.

    13. Why give Button a 4? He made a good start but he was on the updated car.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        16th May 2016, 20:22

        @peartree what do you mean he was on the updated car? Was Alonso on an old car?

        1. @freelittlebirds New front wing for Button and Alonso was told not to overtake Button and Alonso yet again outqualified Button, why give Alonso less than Button and why so many 3’s it’s hard to judge the cars, some drivers didn’t make mistakes therefore give more 5 and 4’s and leave the low numbers for the naughty and incompetent boys.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            17th May 2016, 3:27

            @peartree I see, I wasn’t aware of that. That’s the risk of having reliability issues or running in the back, no one recognizes the effort if the result is not there.

          2. Exactly. I think Alonso deserves a little more credit for getting that car into Q3 for the first time in ages.

    14. I certainly agree that the trio of Verstappen, Sainz and Ricciardo gave the top performances this weekend on track. But I think you deserve a 5 yourself as well for the super rapid articles including this new feature @keithcollantine

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        16th May 2016, 20:23


    15. Tim Bosseloo
      16th May 2016, 21:30

      Maldonado didn’t crash into anyone, that deserves some points too. Oh wait.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        16th May 2016, 22:26

        One thing’s for sure – Maldonado’s legacy will not be forgotten:-)

    16. “When Rosberg came at him at turn one on the opening lap Hamilton naturally covered the inside line, though it proved in vain. It’s therefore surprising he expected Rosberg to leave the inside unprotected at turn four”.

      Well, one could argue that Hamilton gave Rosberg plenty of room going into turn one and that HAM expected ROS to afford him the same courtesy at turn four.

      Maybe Hamilton should’ve squeezed Rosberg at turn one, forcing him onto the escape route…

    17. A 2 for harayanto seems excessive given the amount of other people’s Laps he ruined.

    18. Buitton 4? I don’t see it

      1. I agree. I would have given both Alonso and Button a 3 for this weekend. I’d also have given Kimi a 4 and Perez a 4. Also Grosjean was a little flattered with a 3. I thought Guti was better than him this weekend

    19. This could do with 1-10 though. And some changed ratings too.

      Hamilton – 1
      Rosberg – 1
      Vettel – 8
      Raikkonen – 9
      Bottas – 8
      Massa – 7
      Ricciardo – 8
      Verstappen – 10
      Perez – 8
      Hulkenberg – 6
      Magnussen – 4
      Palmer – 5
      Sainz – 8
      Kvyat – 6
      Button – 6
      Alonso – 5
      Nasr – 4
      Ericsson – 9
      Wehrlein – 5
      Haryanto – 4
      Grosjean – 4
      Gutierrez – 7

      1. Alonso only a 5? That’s very harsh! He qualified in the top 10 and he was close to Button all the time in the race.
        I don’t think the Ferrari drivers deserve very high marks. They should have been 1st and 2nd after the Mercedes meltdown, not 2nd and 3rd. They lost the race on Saturday. Massa also had a horrible qualifying, from which he recovered reasonably well in the race, but still his performance was below average. Ericsson was again better than Nasr, but not as much as 5 points I think. Gutiérrez was indeed better than Grosjean, who struggled with his car all weekend.

        1. @f1infigures

          Sorry, a few numbers got lost in the conversion. Button and Alonso should be 7 and 6. I believe Raikkonen deserves the high score courtesy of his ability to maintain tyres despite pushing so hard behind Verstappen.

          Your point on Massa is valid, I would revise that if possible. In regards to Nasr vs. Ericsson, I believe the gap is justified. Nasr hasn’t been able to keep up with Ericsson this whole season, and he lapped a lot slower on the same tyres. I’d perhaps say it’s a Nasr 4 and Ericsson 8, but the gap was indeed big.

          1. @chrischrill Thanks for your reply. :) Ericsson has been dominating Nasr every race so far this year, which is quite surprising given that Nasr was ranked as the 5th best driver last year (https://f1metrics.wordpress.com/2015/12/02/2015-model-based-driver-rankings/). Possibly Ericsson has improved dramatically this season.

    20. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      17th May 2016, 8:26

      That’s a really harsh rating of Hamilton, I feel. In turn 1 he picked a line and stuck to it, allowing Rosberg room along the outside. When Rosberg got the move done, that could have decided the race right there, but he clung to the inside line round turn 3, giving himself a poor exit. Hamilton exited turn 3 much faster and then Rosberg lost power suddenly: Rosberg didn’t ‘defend the inside line’ he swung back over to it AFTER Hamilton had darted right at a massively faster speed – it looked like a DRS assisted overtake! At that speed differential Hamilton couldn’t prevent a crash other than by taking to the grass – he did so, lost control and collected his teammate anyway.

      Hamilton showed how to calmly defend the inside line in T1, he chose the line early and forced Rosberg around the outside. After T3 Rosberg picked the inside line AFTER Hamilton had chosen it, i.e. he simply crowded him off the track. It seems to me that Hamilton was blameless in the accident.

      Factor in Hamilton’s masterful pole lap – nearly 3/10ths quicker than his teammate – and Hamilton deserves 4/5. One mark deducted for not acing his getaway.

    21. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
      17th May 2016, 11:56

      A different, broader take on the same question. You won’t be amazed by my choice, but check it out: https://opinionatedmotorsportfan.com/2016/05/17/driver-of-the-week-max-verstappen/

    22. Tony Mansell
      17th May 2016, 14:24

      I don’t understand how LH taking the inside line when the speed differential was negligible means you cant go for a gap when its 17kph different. An instinctive attack and in my view justified. If Lewis had held HIS line, they’d have crashed, he took to the astro as he had his wing and wheel alongside. guess some like racers to race, others prefer them to hang back.

    23. @Keith Collantine – I think you really do need to change to a 10-point system with clearly defined levels, something we had during my days in the Army. Adapted to F1, it would look something like this:

      1 – “So you crashed on the warm-up lap in dry conditions. Nevermind. There’s a job opening for you at the ETSC – as a crash dummy.”

      2 – “You blithering eejit! Did you leave your brain in the motorhome or were you absent when they were handed out?”

      3 – “Were you trying to set a new record for the worst mistake of the season?”

      4 – “That’s not the kind of mistake we expect from one of our drivers”

      5 – “Not your best effort, but we all have our off days”

      6 – “Good race. Pity about XXX though.”

      7 – “Solid race but there are a few things for us all to improve upon”

      8 – “Excellent race. I can’t see how you or anyone else could have improved upon that.”

      9 – “Outstanding! Best race of your career and if you keep delivering this kind of performance, there’s no doubt that you’ll be crowned WC one day soon.”

      10. “Awesome! This will go down in the history books as one of the top-ten races of all time”

      With levels clearly defined, it’s easy to see that Verstappen deserves a 9; Räikkönen, Vettel and Ricciaro 7, Rosberg a 4 while Hamilton merits no more than a 3 (to rate but a few).

    24. @keithcollantine

      “Nico Rosberg – He defended as firmly as the rules allow.”

      I doubt so. Even the stewards’ report says that Hamilton had his front wing alongside him (even his front axle in fact) which (in the rules) they consider as “significant portion” and thus the rule says that Rosberg should have left a car’s width of space at least. Which he clearly didn’t. I’m baffled why he was not given anything, not even a reprimand, in the aftermath, especially considering the stewards’ report.

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