2023 Belgian Grand Prix weekend F1 driver ratings

2023 Belgian Grand Prix

Posted on

| Written by

The last grand prix weekend before the summer break at Spa-Francorchamps was an especially challenging one for the 20 Formula 1 drivers.

Mixed conditions over the three days led to mixed performances throughout the field, with the majority of drivers having stronger and weaker days over the weekend. However, there was one driver who delivered every time he got in the car and gave one of the best performances of the season.

Here are the RaceFans driver ratings for the Belgian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen – 9/10

Sprint qualified: Pole (+7 places ahead of team mate)
Sprint finished: Winner
Qualified: 1st (+2 places ahead of team mate, -0.877s)
Grid: 6th (-4 places behind team mate)
Start: +2 places
Strategy: Two-stop (S-M-S)
Finished: Winner (+1 place ahead of team mate)

  • Set no time in free practice
  • Only just reached Q2 in GP qualifying before setting fastest time by eight tenths
  • Snatched sprint race pole by 0.011s
  • Ran first lap of sprint race on wets then pitted, passing Piastri for lead after SC restart to win
  • Took five place gearbox penalty to start GP in sixth, moving up to fourth by first lap
  • Overtook Hamilton and Leclerc in first stint to sit second, then passed team mate for lead after first stop
  • Comfortably pulled away out front, eventually winning by 22 seconds

Throughout his domination of 2023, Verstappen’s wins have often felt a little too easy for the exceptionally high scores, either due to Red Bull’s advantage over its rivals or the total lack of challenge from his team mate. But not this weekend at Spa. Verstappen delivered the best result possible in all four competitive sessions despite the challenge of rain and having to pass rivals on track to get there in both races. The Red Bull is the best car, but yet again at Spa he was on another level, making his team mate look like he was racing a different formula. Easily his most impressive performance of the season.

Sergio Perez – 5/10

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023
Only Verstappen’s penalty put Perez ahead of him
Sprint qualified: 8th (-7 places ahead of behind team mate)
Sprint finished: Retired (Crash damage – L9)
Qualified: 3rd (-2 places behind team mate, +0.877s)
Grid: 2nd (+4 places ahead of team mate)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (S-M-S)
Finished: 2nd (-1 place behind team mate)

  • Secured third in Friday qualifying, eight tenths behind team mate, which became second on the grid
  • Qualified eight tenths behind team mate in sprint qualifying to start eighth
  • Pitted for inters at start of sprint race to rise to fourth, then retired after contact with Hamilton
  • Overtook Leclerc on opening lap to take lead until first stop
  • Lost lead to team mate on lap 17, gradually falling behind in second
  • Finished second, 22 seconds behind team mate

Not by any means the worst performance of the season so far from Perez but also far from the most impressive too. His Friday qualifying was better than plenty he has had this season but being eight tenths slower than his team mate and behind a Ferrari is hardly a great result. He wasn’t to blame for the sprint race clash that forced him out, but he perhaps wouldn’t have been in that position had he not qualified in eighth. He did succeed in taking the lead from Leclerc at the start of the grand prix, but finishing 22 seconds behind his team mate who started four places behind him is not worthy of a strong mark.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Charles Leclerc – 7/10

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023
Fine qualifying effort by Leclerc split the Red Bulls
Sprint qualified: 4th (-1 place behind team mate)
Sprint finished: 5th (-1 place behind team mate)
Qualified: 2nd (+3 places ahead of team mate, -0.164s)
Grid: Pole (+3 places ahead of team mate)
Start: -1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (S-M-S)
Finished: 3rd

  • Secured pole position for grand prix by being fastest behind Verstappen in qualifying
  • Qualified fourth for sprint race then pitted on second lap, finishing behind team mate in sixth
  • Held the lead off the line but was quickly passed by Perez on Kemmel Straight
  • Lost second to Verstappen on lap nine, then committed to two stop strategy
  • Kept out of reach of Hamilton behind despite fuel saving to finish third, ten seconds behind Perez

A strong weekend from Leclerc, even if he was not the quickest Ferrari driver across all three days. He secured pole position on Friday, courtesy of Verstappen’s penalty but while he was beaten by team mate Sainz in the sprint sessions, he was directly behind him in both sessions. Third place in the grand prix behind the two Red Bulls is as good as he could have realistically hoped for and staying out of reach of Hamilton while fuel saving required discipline also.

Carlos Sainz Jnr – 6/10

Sprint qualified: 3rd (+1 place ahead of team mate)
Sprint finished: 4th (+1 place ahead of team mate)
Qualified: 5th (-3 places behind team mate, +0.164s)
Grid: 4th (-3 places behind team mate)
Start: -1 place
Strategy: One-stop (S-M)
Finished: Retired (Crash damage – L24)

  • Qualified fifth for grand prix after mistake at Bruxelles and Speaker’s Corner
  • Beat team mate in sprint qualifying, then pitted at restart to take fourth in sprint race after Hamilton’s penalty
  • Clashed with Piastri at La Source during grand prix start, suffering heavy side damage
  • Dropped gradually through the field with a wounded car, remaining on track in hopes of red flag
  • Called in to retire just after half distance

It was a case of medium-high-low for Sainz in Spa, where his Friday was not the best, his Saturday was decent and his Sunday effectively ended 300 metres after it began. Being just 0.16s off his team mate in Friday qualifying led to him being three places lower on the grid but he just out-qualified Leclerc in sprint qualifying before finishing ahead of him too. It’s frustrating his race was destroyed by a racing incident at turn one – even if he felt Piastri was more at fault.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

George Russell – 5/10

Sprint qualified: 10th (-3 places behind team mate)
Sprint finished: 8th (-1 place behind team mate)
Qualified: 8th (-4 places behind team mate, +0.718s)
Grid: 8th (-5 places behind team mate)
Start: -3 places
Strategy: One-stop (M-S)
Finished: 6th (-2 places behind team mate)

  • Reached Q3 in grand prix qualifying but took eighth behind the two McLarens
  • Described sprint qualifying as a “shitshow”, ruining last Q3 lap with mistake at La Source
  • Pitted for inters on second lap in sprint race, climbing from 12th to eighth after Safety Car
  • Lost three places when caught up behind Piastri at the start but eventually caught Stroll before pit stop
  • Overtook Norris for sixth where he would finish, six seconds behind Alonso

By his own admission, Spa was not the cleanest weekend Russell has had in a Mercedes. His Friday qualifying performance was underwhelming but not awful and his error on his final SQ3 lap compromised both his and his team mate’s positions on the sprint race grid. However, he at least took the final point in the sprint race and sixth in the grand prix with a one-stop strategy was a solid enough result after he was caught out by a wounded Piastri at the start. But had he not recovered to the top six he would have deserved a harsher rating.

Lewis Hamilton – 6/10

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023
Hamilton started third but Verstappen inevitably passed him
Sprint qualified: 7th (+3 places ahead of team mate)
Sprint finished: 7th (+1 place ahead of team mate)
Qualified: 4th (+4 places ahead of team mate, -0.718s)
Grid: 3rd (+5 places ahead of team mate)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Three-stop (S-M-S-M)
Finished: 4th (+2 places ahead of team mate)

  • Secured fourth on the grid in Friday qualifying, which became third after Verstappen’s penalty
  • Frustrated to qualify only seventh in SQ after being compromised by team mate on final lap
  • Pitted at start of sprint race but clashed with Perez, demoted from fourth to seventh after penalty
  • Started grand prix on softs and then ran third until passed by Verstappen
  • Remained within a handful of seconds of Leclerc for majority of the race but unable to challenge him
  • Pitted with two laps remaining for softs, taking fastest lap on final lap

A decent performance from Hamilton in Spa as he easily had the measure of his team mate throughout the three days and took a solid fourth in the grand prix. Who knows how high he could have qualified for the sprint race had his team mate not got in the way of his final lap, and while his penalty for clashing with Perez may have seemed harsh, it was probably fair. He had a lonely grand prix, unable to challenge Leclerc ahead but under zero pressure from behind.

Esteban Ocon – 6/10

Sprint qualified: 9th (-3 places behind team mate)
Sprint finished: 9th (-6 places behind team mate)
Qualified: 15th (-3 places behind team mate, +2.701s)
Grid: 14th (-2 places behind team mate)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (S-M-S)
Finished: 8th (+3 places ahead of team mate)

  • Knocked out of Q2 after off at Speaker’s Corner, but never got chance to improve after slow wing change
  • Qualified ninth for sprint race and pitted for inters on lap two, passing Ricciardo for ninth on last lap
  • Started grand prix on softs and made early stop for mediums, battling with Albon in middle stint
  • Switched to softs for final stint, passing four cars to finish eighth

Ocon’s weekend started off on a bad note when he hit the barriers in Friday qualifying and was eliminated in Q2. His Saturday was reasonable enough, but he was not on the same level as Gasly in either session. However, on Sunday, he went a long way to redeem himself by rising from 14th to eighth to secure four points. He earns credit for the volume of passes he pulled off to get there – including an especially excellent move on Tsunoda at Les Combes.

Pierre Gasly – 7/10

Gasly’s sprint race performance was a highlight
Sprint qualified: 6th (+3 places ahead of team mate)
Sprint finished: 3rd (+6 places ahead of team mate)
Qualified: 12th (+3 places ahead of team mate, -2.701s)
Grid: 12th (+2 places ahead of team mate)
Start: -4 places
Strategy: One-stop (S-M)
Finished: 11th (-3 places behind team mate)

  • Knocked out of Q2 in 12th on Friday after starting final push lap ‘not under the best conditions’
  • Reached SQ3 on Saturday to line up sixth on sprint race grid
  • Pitted for inters at start of sprint to jump up to third, holding position after SC to take third
  • Gained two places at the start but then lost six positions when stuck behind damaged Piastri
  • Tried to extend first stint on softs because of rain, converting to a one stop
  • Pitted as rain cleared for mediums falling to 17th, but battled back to finish just out of points in 11th

Gasly’s Belgian Grand Prix weekend was one of his best since he joined Alpine. He out-qualified his team mate on both Friday and Saturday and took an excellent third in the sprint race. He was very unlucky that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time at the start of the grand prix when he was caught behind Piastri, which robbed him of early momentum. A gamble rain did not pay off and he was left trying to make a one-stop work, which he did a good job of doing. Sadly, his Sunday ended without points but his effort could not be faulted.

Lando Norris – 6/10

Sprint qualified: 5th (-3 places behind team mate)
Sprint finished: 6th (-4 places ahead of behind team mate)
Qualified: 7th (-1 place behind team mate, +0.304s)
Grid: 7th (-2 places behind team mate)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-S)
Finished: 7th

  • Qualified seventh despite suffering “significant” floor damage in Q1 off
  • Secured fifth on the sprint race grid, then chose to pit on second lap, finishing seventh but promoted to sixth
  • Started grand prix on mediums but quickly sank down the order before pitting for hards
  • Continued to be overtaken before making second stop for softs on lap 17
  • Ran 27 lap final stint, climbing up to seventh where he would finish

Norris had a strange weekend where he never seemed to be firing on all cylinders but somehow still ended up getting solid points out of Sunday. He was lucky his floor-damaging Q1 off did not cost him more heavily and he was the slower of the two McLaren drivers over the weekend, but despite a miserable start to the grand prix with painfully low top speed, he managed the most impressive stint of anyone not named Verstappen to run 27 laps and take seventh, redeeming himself somewhat.

Oscar Piastri – 6/10

Oscar Piastri, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023
Piastri took the lead in sprint race
Sprint qualified: 2nd (+3 places ahead of team mate)
Sprint finished: 2nd (+4 places ahead of team mate)
Qualified: 6th (+1 place ahead of team mate, -0.304s)
Grid: 5th (+2 places ahead of team mate)
Finished: Retired (Damage – L1)

  • Beat team mate in qualifying but admitted he’d “left time on the table”
  • Just missed out on sprint race pole by 0.011s
  • Pitted for inters at sprint race start, taking the lead, but passed by Verstappen at restart to finish second
  • Suffered race-ending damage in first corner clash with Sainz

Piastri was likely on course for his best rating of the season over the first two days of the Belgian Grand Prix weekend. He out-performed his more experienced team mate in both qualifying sessions and when he took the lead in the sprint race, he did not look like a rookie, even if he had little hope of holding off Verstappen. It’s a shame his race ended at turn one, but while looking to the inside did not work out, it’s hard to blame him for trying. However, it’s difficult to award him any higher when his grand prix lasted just one lap.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Valtteri Bottas – 6/10

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023
Below-the-radar Bottas had a solid weekend
Sprint qualified: 17th (+2 places ahead of team mate)
Sprint finished: 13th (+2 places ahead of team mate)
Qualified: 14th (+3 places ahead of team mate, -1.348s)
Grid: 13th (+4 places ahead of team mate)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (S-M-M)
Finished: 12th (+1 place ahead of team mate)

  • Reached Q2 in Friday qualifying but was knocked out 14th after being first over the line on slicks
  • Eliminated from sprint qualifying in 17th, then pitted for inters at start of sprint race, finishing 13th
  • Started grand prix on softs but lost two places before pitting on lap seven
  • Rose back up to 12th on two-stop strategy, eventually finishing there ahead of team mate

A good weekend for Bottas, all considered. While he didn’t exactly achieve any stunning results across the three days, he didn’t let himself or his team down at any point either. Ahead of his team mate in every session, his pace in the grand prix was solid too. But while he gained two places from his grid slot, arguably they were only from two faster cars retiring ahead, which limits the credit he gets.

Zhou Guanyu – 5/10

Sprint qualified: 19th (-2 places behind team mate)
Sprint finished: 15th (-2 places behind team mate)
Qualified: 17th (-3 places behind team mate, +1.348s)
Grid: 17th (-4 places behind team mate)
Start: +3 places
Strategy: Two-stop (S-M-S)
Finished: 13th (-1 place behind team mate)

  • Frustrated to be knocked out of Q1 after brake bias change led to him losing time on final lap
  • Eliminated from sprint qualifying in SQ1, the slowest of drivers to set a time
  • Pitted for inters on second lap of sprint race, dropping to last, promoted to 15th after Sargeant’s penalty
  • Started grand prix on softs but was passed by Sargeant and Gasly
  • Fell to last after second stop for softs but passed Sargeant, Albon and Magnussen to finish 13th

Like so many drivers, Zhou had an iffy first two days of the Spa weekend only to seem to find pace when he needed it most during the grand prix. He had a reasonable excuse not to be judged harshly for failing to progress out of Q1 on Friday, but less so when it came to SQ1 on Saturday. He seemed to be having an average race until the last stint, which saw him chase down a group of rivals to end up right behind his team mate at the flag.

Lance Stroll – 4/10

Sprint qualified: 14th (+1 place ahead of team mate)
Sprint finished: 11th
Qualified: 10th (-1 place behind team mate, +0.998s)
Grid: 10th (-1 place behind team mate)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: One-stop (M-S)
Finished: 9th (-4 places behind team mate)

  • Comfortably reached Q3 in Friday qualifying, but was nearly a second slower than team mate in tenth
  • Gambled for slicks in SQ2 and crashed at Speaker’s Corner, leaving him 14th
  • Pitted for inters at start of sprint race, then restarted 11th where he would finish
  • Ran long opening grand prix stint on mediums rising as high as fifth before dropping back
  • Tried to extend in hope of rain but had to pit for softs when rain began, falling to 18th
  • Climbed up to eighth on long second stint, but lost a place when passed by Ocon to finish ninth

Another weekend where Stroll underdelivered on the potential of his car over the weekend, even if the Aston Martin is no longer as strong as it was near the start of the season. He was a second slower than Alonso in Q3 on Friday and while he crashed out in sprint qualifying, it was clear the track was not ready for slicks at the time. His race performance was perhaps better than it looked as he was gambling on heavier rain that never came but overall Alonso out-performed him.

Fernando Alonso – 5/10

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023
Sprint race error marred Alonso’s weekend
Sprint qualified: 15th (-1 place behind team mate)
Sprint finished: Retired (Spun out – L3)
Qualified: 9th (+1 place ahead of team mate, -0.998s)
Grid: 9th (+1 place ahead of team mate)
Start: +3 places
Strategy: Two-stop (M-M-S)
Finished: 5th (+4 places ahead of team mate)

  • Secured ninth of the grid in Friday qualifying as fastest Aston Martin driver
  • Reached SQ2 but caught out by team mate’s crash which left him 15th after setting no time
  • Pitted on second lap of sprint race for inters but spun out at Pouhon
  • Rose to fifth in grand prix after passing damaged Sainz in early laps
  • Continued to run in fifth for most of the race, well behind Hamilton, eventually finishing there

As Aston Martin continue to lack the same pace they enjoyed in the early phase of the season, Alonso endured a weekend that was challenging but coming away with ten points after starting ninth was a satisfactory result. He was unfortunate to have to start so low down in the sprint race, but spinning out was all his fault. However, he managed to make progress up to fifth in the grand prix, although two of those positions were gained when Piastri and Sainz clashed at the start.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Kevin Magnussen – 5/10

Sprint qualified: 18th (+2 places ahead of team mate)
Sprint finished: 14th (+3 places ahead of team mate)
Qualified: 13th (+7 places ahead of team mate, -3.146s)
Grid: 16th (+4 places ahead of team mate)
Start: -2 places
Strategy: Two-stop (S-M-M)
Finished: 15th (+3 places ahead of team mate)

  • Reached Q2 in Friday qualifying but knocked out 13th after hitting wall at Speaker’s Corner
  • Eliminated 18th in SQ1, then pitted on second lap for inters in sprint race to restart 18th
  • Gained one place when Perez retired to finish 15th in sprint race, gaining 14th after Sargeant’s penalty
  • Hit by three-place grid penalty for grand prix for impeding Leclerc
  • Dropped to 18th after grand prix start despite starting on softs, but climbed to just outside top ten
  • Ran 13th in final stint but was passed by Zhou and Albon to finish 15th

One of the rarer occasions in 2023 where Magnussen was the highest placed Haas driver across all days of running, however his team mate’s misfortune was a contributing factor. Magnussen was one of several victims of Speaker’s Corner in a damp Friday qualifying and although his Haas is not the strongest in race pace, he did a decent job in the grand prix to be in the thick of the midfield and ahead of his team mate, which he earns credit for after his Friday mishap.

Nico Hulkenberg – 5/10

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas, Hungaroring, 2023
Luck wasn’t on Hulkenberg’s side at Spa
Sprint qualified: 20th (-2 places behind team mate)
Sprint finished: 17th (-3 places behind team mate)
Qualified: 20th (-7 places behind team mate, +3.146s)
Grid: 20th (-4 places behind team mate)
Start: +3 places
Strategy: Two-stop (M-S-S)
Finished: 18th (-3 places behind team mate)

  • Affected by hydraulic problem in Friday’s Q1 which saw him eliminated slowest
  • Failed to set a lap in sprint qualifying after team error meant he didn’t cross the line in time
  • Pitted immediately for inters at start of sprint race, but fell down to 17th for finish
  • Forced to start grand prix from pitlane after multiple PU component changes
  • Spent most of the race in the pack, running behind team mate in middle phase
  • Lost three places in closing laps as softs degraded, leaving him last on the track in 18th

It’s hard not to sympathise with Hulkenberg after a frustrating weekend in Spa when nothing seemed to go his way. He had misfortune in both qualifying sessions which left him rock bottom on both grids, while in the races, he suffered the usual problem of fading down the order in the Haas, although was not far off his team mate throughout. A weekend to forget, though he was not the architect of his downfall.

Yuki Tsunoda – 6/10

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023
Tsunoda scored AlphaTauri’s first point for three months
Sprint qualified: 16th (-5 places behind team mate)
Sprint finished: 18th (-8 places behind team mate)
Qualified: 11th (+8 places ahead of team mate, -3.115s)
Grid: 11th (+8 places ahead of team mate)
Start: +3 places
Strategy: Two-stop (M-M-S)
Finished: 10th (+6 places ahead of team mate)

  • Reached Q2 in Friday qualifying, only just missing out on Q3 in 11th
  • Failed to follow team mate through into SQ2 in sprint qualifying, eliminated 16th
  • Pitted for inters on lap two of sprint race, then dropped to back after spinning at restart
  • Finished last of the runners in 18th in sprint race
  • Moved up from 11th to sixth in opening laps of grand prix, passing Norris on the way
  • Ran in ninth for much of the race, but was passed by Ocon in closing laps
  • Claimed final point in tenth

Tsunoda needed a good weekend to bump his stock heading into the summer break and he achieved that. Although his sprint Saturday was sub-par with an error at the restart and a lack of pace compared to his team mate, the roles were reversed on Sunday. Tsunoda performed as well as his team could have hoped for. He was fortunate two likely points scores retired, but there was nothing lucky about his more than 20 seconds advantage over his team mate at the flag.

Daniel Ricciardo – 5/10

Sprint qualified: 11th (+5 places ahead of team mate)
Sprint finished: 10th (+8 places ahead of team mate)
Qualified: 19th (-8 places behind team mate, +3.115s)
Grid: 19th (8 places behind team mate)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Two-stop (S-M-M)
Finished: 16th (-6 places behind team mate)

  • Eliminated from Q1 in 19th after having lap good enough for Q2 deleted for track limits
  • Reached SQ2 to line up 11th on sprint race grid after Stroll’s penalty
  • Pitted for intermediates at start of sprint race, passed by Russell and Ocon to finish tenth
  • Started grand prix on softs but made no progress in early laps
  • Ran behind Haas cars for most of the race, overtaken by Hulkenberg after final stop
  • Passed by Zhou in later laps but got ahead of Hulkenberg with three laps left to finish 16th

A ‘return to Earth’ weekend for Ricciardo just one week after his impressive comeback in Hungary. While by no means a bad performance across the weekend, he admitted there was more in his car than he got out of it. He would’ve qualified higher had he not risked Eau Rouge flat-out in a wet Q1 but his Saturday was genuinely impressive with a top ten finish. However, he lacked the pace of his team mate in the grand prix, finishing six places and over 20 seconds behind him.

Alexander Albon – 6/10

Alex Albon, Williams, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023
Three-stopping Albon couldn’t take points
Sprint qualified: 12th (+1 place ahead of team mate)
Sprint finished: 12th (+4 places ahead of team mate)
Qualified: 16th (+2 places ahead of team mate, -1.221s)
Grid: 15th (+3 places ahead of team mate)
Start: +5 places
Strategy: Three-stop (S-M-M-S)
Finished: 14th (+3 places ahead of team mate)

  • Just missed out on a Q2 berth in Friday qualifying, eliminated in 16th
  • Easily reached SQ2, securing 12th on the grid despite not setting time after Stroll’s crash
  • Pitted for inters at sprint race start to finish where he started in 12th
  • Started grand prix on softs, picking up multiple places in opening laps to run as high as seventh before pitting
  • Suffered heavy tyre wear due to pushing in middle sector to keep ahead of rivals, making three stops
  • Dropped to 17th after third stop for softs but passed Ricciardo, Hulkenberg and Magnussen to finish 14th

It’s difficult to judge Albon’s performance based on his results at Spa. Williams went all in on a low-downforce setup to play to their car’s strengths but the wet weather may not have helped his cause on Friday and Saturday. But on Sunday, he suffered heavy tyre degradation, dropping down the order. However, he made no major mistakes all weekend, made progress when he was able to attack and was quicker than his team mate over all three days.

Logan Sargeant – 4/10

Sprint qualified: 13th (-1 place behind team mate)
Sprint finished: 16th (-4 places behind team mate)
Qualified: 18th (-2 places behind team mate, +1.221s)
Grid: 18th (-3 places behind team mate)
Start: +3 places
Strategy: Three-stop (S-M-M-S)
Finished: 17th (-3 places behind team mate)

  • Aquaplaned into the Les Combes barriers in practice
  • Delayed at start of Q1 with gearbox change, then eliminated in 18th, 1.2 seconds slower than
  • Reached SQ2 but spun, then compromised by Stroll crash to line up 13th for sprint race
  • Pitted on the second lap of sprint race for intermediates but earned pit lane speeding penalty dropping him from 14th to 16th
  • Started on softs, passing five cars in first four laps but struggled with tyre wear on mediums
  • Fell to the rear of the field after making three stops but passed Hulkenberg on penultimate lap to finish 17th

Another weekend that seemed to promise plenty of opportunities for Sargeant where he was left wondering what could have been. His practice crash was a textbook example of aquaplaning where he had no hope of saving it and it’s a shame he earned a penalty in the sprint race after backing up his team mate. In the grand prix, he was a victim of Williams’ tyre troubles. He was slower than Albon, but not by an excessive amount.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Over to you

Vote for the driver who impressed you most last weekend and find out whether other RaceFans share your view here:

2023 Belgian Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Belgian Grand Prix articles

Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

49 comments on “2023 Belgian Grand Prix weekend F1 driver ratings”

  1. Only Stroll and Sargeant have a worse rating than Alonso. That’s not right. I know, sprint, but it didn’t mean much.

    1. The scores are on average on the lower side but Alsonso did well in the race and Qualify of the race Sprint race and qualify were very bad so a 5 or 6- is right but Lance should get a 2-3 he didn’t do anything i didn’t saw him during the races even in overtakes.

      But i can agree with these scores…

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        1st August 2023, 8:04

        Stroll results wise did not do well, but along with Ocon’s overtake on him, Stroll’s overtake on Norris was probably one of the most impressive overtakes of the race.

        1. True, but other than that he was pretty much terrible. Like almost always though. His points relative to Alonso just put the numbers on what we already know.

    2. @situs If anything I’d rate Alonso against himself and 5 is an ok evaluation in a weekend where he looked to underperform a bit and had a rare race-ending unforced error.

  2. I know this has been discussed to dead now, but seeing Verstappen’s rating today really shows how bad this rating system is.

    There are weekends where he dominates the entire weekend, take last weekend, qualifies P2, immediately takes the lead, leads every lap, gets fastest lap, and finishes with a 30s margin ahead of anyone else. That’s a 7/10.

    This week he struggles a bit, gets a P10 in Q2 (granted he still had a .4s margin on P11, but hardly the P1 dominance we’re used to), has a moment in the wet during the race, takes 17 laps to get to P1, but at the end still sweeps everything except fastest lap. And it’s a 9/10.

    So basically, to get a 9/10, you have to do everything the same, but just take a penalty or qualify lower. There’s not much difference between these two performances, yet in this system it’s worth a 2-point deduction just for not having a penalty.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      1st August 2023, 8:06

      But there needs to always be room for a performance out of the ordinary. To allow for something that is just incredible. However, I would say Verstappen should have an 8 not a 9 this time out.

      1. Yes, 8 looks more fair. Having said this, there’s only been 3 “9” historically on here and look at the case 2 are verstappen’s in spa races.

      2. I mean, it’s not that I need this weekend to be a 9/10. If this weekend is an 8/10 or even a 7/10, that would be fine too, if last weekend was a 7/10 then so should this be a 7/10.

        The point is, there’s no way last weekend and this weekend aren’t almost equal performances in my opinion. So the grades couldn’t possibly vary by two in either direction.

        1. @sjaakfoo he was out qualified last weekend. He cleaned up everything this weekend except fastest lap. 0.8 of a second faster than everyone in Q3 and 22sec ahead in the race. I’d hardly call that struggling.

    2. @sjaakfoo Agreed. The premise that the ratings are ‘all time ratings’ is fine, but when there are such significant swings it becomes hard to follow. A 9/10 race is something that should be really special. Something that you’d expect people to talk about for years to come. But this race? What is there to talk about? That he was quicker than Pérez? The DRS overtake on a Ferrari that didn’t even bother to defend? Verstappen has done countless of these races, as have many other albeit in slower cars that didn’t allow them to finish on the podium.

      When looking at other races at Spa, a more suitable 9/10 race might be Jim Clark’s 1963 win from 8th on the grid, with full on thunderstorms, calls for the race to be stopped, and on top of that a hampering gearbox that meant he did a lot of the race one-handed. On the old Spa!

      That was 60 years ago. Will people still talk about Verstappen’s win in 2083, or will it be just a line in a list of wins that people casually scroll past while thinking, ‘wow, those other teams were really bad’. The latter seems more probable.

      1. That Jim Clark drive would have been a certain 10/10, even under this scoring system.

    3. I’m not defending the rating but I think you do need to preface that the penalty wasn’t his fault for this race which is what put him in the position of having to come through to win. Also pretty much every driver was in the drop zone or at risk in Q2, that’s what happens in a close field with changeable conditions. Verstappen himself admitted he left too much margin but at the end of the day he did make the cut so it ended up not counting as a error.

      I personally feel given the lack of practice, running a unknown package due to upgrades and the constant changing track conditions, to deliver the results he did consistently was a very high level performance from Verstappen and far more challenging than his usual put it on pole and lap half a second a lap faster in the race than most of his races this year. I’m not a huge fan of the guy but he was in fairness the best driver by a mile at Spa, albeit he did have the best car.

    4. @sjaakfoo In all fairness, in most cases you need to have a NOT perfect weekend to drive a very memorable race that warrants a 9 or a 10. Verstappen Brazil 2016 was so special because he was on the wrong tyres, had to pit and had to overtake them all again. Senna Donington 1993 would not have been this special had Senna started from pole position. And so on. You need to have that bit of magic and this race from Verstappen was more memorable than last race in Hungary, so I think a higher grade for a not-perfect weekend than for a perfect weekend is justified. Although, I don’t think this race was so memorable to be given a 9 but I am not here to complain.

    5. I think Verstappen deserves no more than a 6 here! (and I’m Dutch following Max for a long time)

      With a lack of fighting on track, he’s now fighting on the radio, causing friction within the team. He’s throwing a spoiled kid tantrum when he literally has everything he could ever ask for. Sure maybe we don’t count these things in this evaluation, but what about his snap in Eau Rouge? He could have thrown it all away right there, and what for? Because he wants to finish half a minute ahead of the field instead of playing it safe and securing the win. Use your head Max!

      1. He’s never been the type of driver to settle for ‘good enough’. Why start now?

        I like that he’s pushing the team more, don’t find that spoiled kid tantrum… it would’ve been a more suspenseful race finish to pit for fastest lap with 2 laps to go, vs. the boring ending we had.

        1. I wasn’t complaining about excitement. The snap was also a thrilling moment. Great entertainment. I thank Max for being the way he is, but his rivals will also if he bins it. The decision to go all-out for no gain is a strategical mistake, regardless of the outcome. If he loses a race once every blue moon because of it, he will be berated here only in that race he loses, but it’s a bad move in all the races that he won despite his errors just the same.

          1. @sihrtogg
            That is a strong opinion, which is fine(!) but is based on a misconception I think…

            There is a review of his Spa pace on YouTube by Peter Windsor, look it up. He deconstructs the thought Verstappen was going all out taking risks while disregarding team orders… He demonstrates the exact opposite by comparing all sector times after his stop with Perez and Hamilton. He was being very careful with his tires. Despite what it might seem like on the tv and the (cherry picked) team radios we get to hear.

  3. notagrumpyfan
    1st August 2023, 7:47

    Red Bull had the perfect strategy this weekend: arrange a grid drop for Max to impress Will.

    1. Indeed, they should’ve done something to get a start at the back of the grid to make it even more interesting, as with this pace he was always likely to win.

  4. Most impressed: VER, LEC, & PIA
    Most disappointing: SAI & RIC

    1. Agree on the stars, I wouldn’t have put ricciardo in the strugglers, average weekend imo.

      1. Agreed. Without having his lap time deleted he would’ve been well ahead in qualifying and his race would’ve looked much different. His performance on Sprint day shows as much. For a second outing in a poor car, he did well.

        1. Excuses… Ric was behind Yuki even if the lap time counted

    2. I’m not disappointed at all with Sainz, only with his aggressor. Sainz’s race was ruined but it was never his fault, he left plenty of space. There was little more he could have done better. I think he’s perfectly woth a 7.

      Giving his aggressor the same 6 points is just plain blasphemous, anything over a 1 is way too much.

      1. Left plenty of space??!

        Pia’s car did NOT fit; so not enough..

        Saints cut the corner; but there already was someone there. Case closed.

        1. I think you both (melanos & mega) misread the situation:
          – Of course Saiz didn’t leave enough space! But why would he?
          – Piastri was not ‘there’ yet; his front wheel did not get further than the Sainz’ sidepod. Or as per the lesser known quote I attribute to Senna: “if you go for a gap that will not exists, then you are not yet a good racing driver.”

          1. Why? Because the FIA Code explicitly requires people to leave space at all times. Alonso’s meme isn’t just funny, it’s also true. A perhaps more compelling reason for him personally could be that he had a car that was quick enough to finish on the podium, but Sainz ended up listed in 19th and scored zero points.

          2. Piastri wasn’t going for any gap. When they start braking, Sainz was behind Hamilton and gave no indication that he was going to dart to the inside. He changes direction after Piastri starts braking, at which point there’s nothing he can do.

            Sainz makes a very late choice to overtake Hamilton, which is okay if you don’t have any cars behind but it turns out in a race start you do have cars behind you. Piastri could have braked a bit earlier, sure, he could have braked a 100m earlier and let the whole field through to be safe. But in a race start, which is a pretty chaotic moment in the best of times, Sainz decided to throw even more chaos during the braking zone, when drivers are already commited and there’s no margin to correct mistakes. With the second best car in the grid, he decided to go for a low reward, high risk pass and suffered the consequences.

        2. You are right. I mixed up two totally different incidents, my bad

          In the Sunday race first corner incident I consider Carlos Sainz mostly at fault. He divebombed maybe in a very optimistic attempt to overtake #44 and left no space at all for Oscar Piastri (whom he probably had not seen). Not even off-track space, there is a wall there. It’s true that Oscar was not quite there yet so a small fraction of the fault might be his, but he really had nowhere to go. So the 6/10 for Sainz is really generous, I probably would have given him 2-3/10 at most, for causing a collision that ruined both his race and Oscar’s. And I said that before. I am pretty sure that in any other situation he would surely have got a penalty, but stewards are always more lenient in the first turn of the race (so am I, in other circumstance I’d give him 1/10, ever though I mostly like Carlos as a driver)

          The totally unforgivable aggression I was referring to happened in the Saturday sprint race and the victim was Perez who certainly left plenty of space, and the aggressor was duly penalized and lost positions and championship points because of that. So 1/10 would be about right.

          It was a brain fade and I stand corrected

    3. Ric was just as fast as Tsunoda in clear air, but his starting position just compromised his whole race, especially because his car was just awful in a straight line and he was stuck behind Magnussen forever and then they put him on the wrong tire for his last stint. We saw yesterday in the sprint race he was effective because he wasn’t getting held up by cars like the Haas.

      An example of how badly compromised he was by the cars ahead of him was that at one point he was quite close to Yuki after both had made their first stop, but then his car’s terrible straight line kept him stuck in traffic and allowed cars to catch up to him.

      He gained more places from his starting place (which I’m not saying is some great achievement), but when your car has bad straight line at Spa and you’re constantly compromised by bad traffic, there’s not really anything you can do.

      So, this is a pretty classic case of a driver being judged by their car. No driver could have done anything from where he started with that car. Maybe Max could have made up two more positions.

      1. Excuses. Yuki was hampered by a poor pit stop and terrible strategy in Hungary…

  5. I’m okay-ish with the rating. Yes, the rating for Max can be confusing, but it didn’t happen only on this site but also on other sites. Basically Max making it look easy, thus some didn’t give him higher rating. But it is what it is.
    Personally the only thing that I probably change for the rating is Piastri. I think he deserves more. His weekend arguably much better than Norris yet they rated the same which doesn’t make any sense. I would give him 8 on the basis of doing really well on both qualy and sprint race and probably would give him a 9 if he managed to finish in the point and ahead of Norris. Even a 7 for Piastri would be more fair.

    1. Yes, absolutely about piastri.

    2. I think having the 2 races makes for awkward ratings for when a driver does significantly better in one than the other. Without the sprint race, Hamilton would likely have been a comfortable 7 this weekend, same with Leclerc who would likely have got an 8 for pole and a podium. I think you have to weight the full race significantly more than the sprint race or either qualifying so if you say the race accounts for half the rating at least then when you crash the car on the first corner it’s hard to justify a much higher rating than 5 so a 6 is already very generous imo.

  6. Running an absolute masterclass deserves a 9 .
    So it’s nice to see he received it at last
    Lewis and George both ran very different cars. So it’s not right they scored so different.

  7. Max has a car 2 seconds a lap faster in race trim than everyone bar Perez (who Max has a car 1 second faster) – how an earth is that worth a 9?

    He is driving a rocket ship all geared to him with not even his teammate in equal machinery.

    7 at best, pushing an 8.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      1st August 2023, 13:37

      That’s a difficult point to counter. If you look at it that way, Max is essentially racing against himself the whole weekend.

      It’s not that hard to win races when you’re not racing anyone. When Max has to race someone that has slightly worse machinery but can mount a fight, he usually historically torpedoes the other car.

      1. Both cars are the same , some driver specific setup changes but that’s it.
        Ask Perez he knows and acknowledged the facts.
        It’s not like the Mercedes this race with completely different rear wings.
        The only one who is reverting to his old habits is Lewis. He tried to torpedo Perez in sprint and was successful as far as a dnf goes. This time a tiny penalty .

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          1st August 2023, 15:33

          Well, that’s the Horner line of thought…

          1. And the Toto line of thought is any better?

    2. A car 2 seconds per lap faster?
      A car 1 second per lap faster than Perez?

      It seems like Max has just broken Perez.
      He breezed past him in the same car.

  8. 6/10 for Hamilton is beyond a joke.

    Qualified an impressive P3 on Friday and was miles quicker than his teammate ( same 0.8 gap that Verstappen had)

    Was performing excellent in SPQ until his final run where his teammate blocked him. Still improved his lap time despite having to lift 3 times in sector 1! Would have easily been pole.

    Sprint race he gave us the most entertainment and was unlucky to get a very harsh penalty.

    Performed very well in the race but ultimately was never going to keep Verstappen behind so did drop a place. But he was able to keep 30 seconds clear of Alonso to give himself a shot at fastest lap, which he got.

    Honestly what more could he have done this weekend in that Mercedes which was easily 3rd fastest at best. Anything above P5 is a much more standout performance than Verstappen driving a car 2 seconds faster than anyone getting pole and winning.

    1. 6 for Ham is perfectly fine. A 6 for Yuki is a borderline criminal offence though.

    2. I found it a bit weird myself as he out performed the car yet gets the same score as Sainz who drove like someone on a Sim at the start of the race. Max gets a nine in a car that finished 22 seconds ahead and from watching the onboards towards the end of the race wasn’t even bothering the white lines let alone riding the curbs…

  9. mohit anand
    2nd August 2023, 2:16

    leclerc just 7 and sainz 6 is a joke. granted you could blame piastri for first corner incident but still leclerc deserved a 8 he got maximum out of car

  10. What is up with George Russell? he seems to be further behind lewis this year.

    1. Seemed like Lewis struggled for the first half of last year with the new regulations and cars.. but once he got a handle on things, he looked quicker than George for the 2nd half of last season. Just looks like he’s building on that momentum this season. Honestly, George is an impressive talent.. but I still think he isn’t quite on the Lewis level yet.

      1. Hamilton also explained his car was used as a test bed in the first half of 2022 while George drove the control car. Past that point, they both had the best car Mercedes could provide them.
        So, as you say @todfod, Russell’s an impressive talent but he’s not at the level of his teammate yet.

Comments are closed.