Oscar Piastri, McLaren, Losail International Circuit, 2023

2023 Qatar GP weekend F1 driver ratings

Formula 1

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The Qatar Grand Prix sprint race weekend was always set to be one of the most challenging rounds of the 2023 season, but few expected just how much the drivers and teams would have to contend with.

From mandatory stint lengths being imposed due to tyre worries to the drivers battling with dehydration due to the heat, it was anything but a straightforward weekend for drivers. Naturally, some fared better than others, with some outstanding performances and some strikingly poor ones too.

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

Max Verstappen – 7/10

Sprint race start: 3rd
Sprint race finish: 2nd
Qualified: Pole (+12 places ahead of team mate, -0.979s)
Grid: Pole (+19 places ahead of team mate)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Three-stop (M-M-H-M)
Finished: Winner (+9 places ahead of team mate)

  • Fastest in practice, then took pole position despite mistake on final Q3 lap
  • Took third in sprint qualifying after losing best SQ3 time for track limits
  • Fell to fifth at start of sprint but rallied back to finish second, clinching championship
  • Held lead of grand prix off the line running ahead of Piastri
  • Led every lap of the grand prix to take victory by just under five seconds, setting fastest lap

On a weekend where Verstappen officially became a three-times world champion, he put on the kind of performance that has defined his 2023 season in Qatar. Taking pole on Friday and dominating the race on Sunday, Verstappen celebrated his most recent title in the best way possible in the grand prix. However, with his mistakes in both qualifying sessions, this was not a flawless weekend from the new world champion.

Sergio Perez – 3/10

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Losail International Circuit, 2023
It was another weekend of frustrations for Perez
Sprint race start: 8th
Sprint race finish: Retired (Crash – L11)
Qualified: 13th (-12 places behind team mate, +0.979s)
Grid: 20th (19 places behind team mate)
Start: +3 places
Strategy: Three-stop (H-M-M-M)
Finished: 10th (-9 places behind team mate)

  • Failed to reach Q2 after being eliminated in 13th
  • Qualified eighth in sprint qualifying, then crashed out of sprint race in three-car collision
  • Forced to start from the pit lane due to parc ferme violations
  • Started on hards, picking up places as drivers pitted behind under Safety Car to restart 13th
  • Passed by Russell, then sat behind Zhou until eventually overtaking him
  • Hit with five second time penalty for fourth track limits violation
  • Overtook Albon and Tsunoda, sitting 12th after second stop and serving penalty
  • Hit with second penalty for fifth track limits strike, catching Gasly and Stroll in closing laps
  • Overtook Gasly but was repassed to drop to 11th where he would finish
  • Promoted to ninth with Stroll and Gasly’s penalties, but hit by third 5s penalty, falling to tenth

Over a weekend where this mathematical chances of the world championship title finally came to an end, Perez was again in awful form in Qatar. He failed to reach Q3 on Friday, for the eighth time this season, then could manage only eighth in sprint race qualifying. He wasn’t at fault in the racing incident that ended his sprint race, but he only had himself to blame for the fact he received three separate track limits penalties in the grand prix that left him extremely fortunate to score the single point that he took on Sunday.

Charles Leclerc – 6/10

Sprint race start: 6th
Sprint race finish: 12th
Qualified: 5th (+7 places ahead of team mate, -0.249s)
Grid: 5th (+7 places ahead of team mate)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: Three-stop (M-M-H-M)
Finished: 5th

  • Had three lap times deleted in Friday qualifying but took fifth on the grid
  • Qualified behind team mate in sprint qualifying to start sixth
  • Finished seventh on softs in sprint race but demoted to 12th for four track limits strikes
  • Passed by Piastri at start of Grand Prix, then ran in fourth until first stop
  • Overtaken by Norris but gained place from Alonso after his turn two error to run fifth
  • Gained on Russell in the closing laps, but finished five seconds behind in fifth

Leclerc has traditionally been one of the more consistent performers over previous sprint race weekends, but he wasn’t quite able to string together three faultless days of running in Qatar. He secured a decent enough grid position on Friday for the grand prix and ran close with his team mate in the sprint sessions, but threw away a couple of points by not keeping inside the track. However, he put in a solid performance in the grand prix to take a respectable fifth place after the “toughest race of his career” due to the heat.

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Carlos Sainz Jnr – 5/10

Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Losail International Circuit, 2023
Singapore winner Sainz didn’t get to start the main event
Sprint race start: 5th
Sprint race finish: 6th
Qualified: 12th (-7 places behind team mate, +0.249s)
Grid: 12th (-7 places behind team mate)
Finished: Did Not Start (Fuel leak)

  • Failed to progress into Q2 on Friday and eliminated in 12th
  • Received warning for erratic driving in front of Verstappen in qualifying
  • Out-qualified team mate by one place in sprint qualifying, then finished sixth in sprint race
  • Suffered fuel leak on his car one hour before grand prix start, forcing him to miss race

A frustrating weekend for Sainz who started off struggling to find a balance with his Ferrari on Friday and ended up missing the grand prix on Sunday, forced instead to watch it from the comfort of an air conditioned garage. Although he missed the opportunity to try and fight his way into the points from 12th on the grid, he at least earned something from the weekend with sixth in the sprint race. However, given his recent strong form, this wasn’t one of Sainz’s better weekends.

George Russell – 8/10

George Russell, Mercedes, Losail International Circuit, 2023
Russell continued his excellent run of form
Sprint race start: 4th
Sprint race finish: 4th
Qualified: 2nd (+1 place ahead of team mate, -0.086s)
Grid: 2nd (+1 place ahead of team mate)
Start: -16 places
Strategy: Four-stop (M-M-M-H-S)
Finished: 4th

  • Secured second on the grid on Friday after Norris’s fastest time was deleted
  • Took fourth on the grid behind Verstappen in sprint qualifying
  • Started sprint race on soft tyres and took the lead but faded to finish fourth
  • Spun at first corner of the grand prix after being hit by team mate, dropping him to last
  • Pitted for repairs and gained places when drivers ahead stopped under Safety Car
  • Restarted 14th, passing Perez, Zhou, Sargeant, Albon, Lawson, Magnussen and Gasly to sit seventh
  • Picked up more positions in pit cycle to run as high as second before final stop
  • Rejoined in fourth and remained there until finish
  • Received black-and-white warning flag for three track limits strikes

One of the more outstanding performers of the weekend, Russell could come away from every session at Qatar rightly feeling happy with himself. Securing second in grand prix qualifying was the best realistic result and he followed that up with another solid performance to take fourth on the grid in sprint qualifying. Russell gambled on soft tyres for the sprint race and it appeared to have worked brilliantly when he dived by Piastri for the lead, but eventually his softs gave up the ghost. He wasn’t to blame for the clash at turn one with Hamilton, but despite falling almost to the back of the field he did an excellent job to climb up to fourth without any Safety Car interventions to assist him.

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Lewis Hamilton – 4/10

Sprint race start: 12th
Sprint race finish: 5th
Qualified: 3rd (-1 place behind team mate, +0.086s)
Grid: 3rd (-1 place behind team mate)
Finished: Retired (Crash – L1)

  • Secured third on the grid in Friday qualifying, just behind team mate
  • Knocked out in SQ2 on Saturday to line up 12th for sprint race
  • Started sprint race on mediums and climbed up to finish behind team mate in fifth
  • Fitted soft tyres for the grand prix start but retired after clashing with team mate into turn one

Hamilton endured a Qatar Grand Prix weekend to forget as the opportunity to take points out of Perez’s advantage over him in the championship went begging. Although describing his Friday qualifying performance as “average”, Hamilton still secured a decent starting position for Sunday. His sprint race qualifying performance was subpar, but he at least made up for it with a solid sprint race. Sadly, his misjudgement at the start of the grand prix cost him dearly as he failed to leave enough space to Russell, putting him out of the race. It was by no means an egregious error, but he rightly accepted that he had been in the wrong and suffered the consequences for it.

Esteban Ocon – 7/10

Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Losail International Circuit, 2023
Despite being sick in his helmet, Ocon kept going and scored points
Sprint race start: 10th
Sprint race finish: Retired (Crash – L11)
Qualified: 8th (-1 place behind team mate, +0.21s)
Grid: 8th (-1 place behind team mate)
Start: +3 places
Strategy: Three-stop (M-M-H-M)
Finished: 7th (+5 places ahead of team mate)

  • Followed team mate into Q3 on Friday to secure eighth on the grid
  • Reached SQ3 on Saturday but failed to set a valid lap time, leaving him tenth
  • Started sprint race on softs and climbed up to eighth before caught up in three car crash
  • Picked up one place on track at start of grand prix to run fifth before early first stop
  • Admitted to vomiting inside car around lap 15 due to conditions
  • Worked through out-of-sequence rivals to rise back to eighth after final stop
  • Picked up seventh when Zhou pitted and finished there, four seconds ahead of Bottas

Over a weekend where drivers throughout the field saw their performances fluctuate over the three days, Ocon was one of the most consistent. He was narrowly out-qualified by team mate Gasly on Friday but took his revenge in sprint qualifying. It would be harsh to hold him accountable for the crash that took him out of the sprint race as the stewards correctly called it a racing incident. In the grand prix, Ocon battled through the physical discomfort and executed his team’s strategy as well as they could reasonably ask him to. He secured six well-earned points for his efforts.

Pierre Gasly – 5/10

Sprint race start: 11th
Sprint race finish: 9th
Qualified: 7th (+1 place ahead of team mate, -0.21s)
Grid: 7th (+1 place ahead of team mate)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Three-stop (M-M-H-M)
Finished: 12th (-5 places behind team mate)

  • Secured seventh on the grid in Friday’s qualifying for best starting position since Monaco
  • Only just failed to follow team mate into SQ3 to line up 11th for sprint race
  • Warned for exceeding maximum lap time in sprint qualifying
  • Started sprint race on softs, rising to eighth but fading to tenth, then gained ninth from Leclerc
  • Fell behind team mate and Norris at grand prix start to run seventh
  • Passed Lawson and Magnussen after pitting but overtaken by Russell
  • Handed five second time penalty for fourth track limits violation
  • Emerged 11th after final pit stop for mediums, catching and battling with Stroll and Perez
  • Passed by Perez but overtook him with three laps left to finish tenth
  • Hit with 10s of time penalties for six track limits violations, demoting him to 12th

Gasly had a decent weekend, pace wise, out-qualifying his team mate with a strong showing on Friday. His performance on Saturday was also respectable, despite the soft tyres not being the best option. His drive in the grand prix was also solid, except for the fact he sabotaged his chances of points by earning three separate time penalties for track limits violations – the most of any driver in the field. That takes away from the credit he would have earned for his solid performance up to that point.

Lando Norris – 6/10

Sprint race start: 2nd
Sprint race finish: 3rd
Qualified: 10th (-4 places behind team mate, -0.039s)
Grid: 10th (-4 places behind team mate)
Start: +4 places
Strategy: Three-stop (M-M-M-H)
Finished: 3rd (-1 place behind team mate)

  • Failed to set a legitimate time in Q3 due to track limits, leaving him down in tenth
  • Secured second on the grid in sprint qualifying after mistake on final SQ3 lap
  • Dropped to sixth at start of sprint race but recovered to third as soft runners faded
  • Gained two places on track at grand prix start to run sixth, overcut Ocon, then passed Leclerc
  • Overcut Alonso to move into third, then reeled in team mate
  • Finished third, just over a second behind team mate

Despite securing his third consecutive podium appearance, Norris left Qatar ruing some small but critical mistakes that he felt cost him a lot more. He left himself in a hole on Friday when he failed to set a single valid time in Q3, then missed a golden opportunity to secure pole in sprint qualifying with a mistake in the final corner. But despite those errors, he managed to rise up the order in both races, making good use of his car’s race pace – especially on Sunday.

Oscar Piastri – 8/10

Oscar Piastri, McLaren, Losail International Circuit, 2023
Piastri grabbed his chance to become an F1 (sprint) race winner
Sprint race start: Pole
Sprint race finish: Winner
Qualified: 6th (+4 places ahead of team mate, +0.039s)
Grid: 6th (+4 places ahead of team mate)
Start: +4 places
Strategy: Three-stop (M-M-M-H)
Finished: 2nd (+1 place ahead of team mate)

  • Lost final Q3 effort for track limits, leaving him down in sixth place
  • Secured pole position for the sprint race with an excellent final flying lap
  • Lost lead of sprint race to Russell but repassed him as his soft tyres faded to take victory
  • Jumped into second at start of grand prix amid chaos at turn one, then ran behind Verstappen
  • Maintained second place throughout the race, closing gap to leader in final stint
  • Took career-best finish in second, under five seconds behind Verstappen

The best weekend performance of Piastri’s Formula 1 career to date. Piastri demonstrated his potential once again by becoming the first rookie driver to win a race in F1 while still not being a grand prix winner. He was the best driver in the field on Saturday as he converted sprint race pole into victory and he kept Verstappen as honest as possible over the grand prix, keeping his cool in the heat to stay ahead of his team mate. His only negative came from failing to stay within the lines in Friday’s Q3, but it’s fair to say he made up for that error over the next two days.

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Valtteri Bottas – 7/10

Sprint race start: 13th
Sprint race finish: 10th
Qualified: 9th (+11 places ahead of team mate, -1.394s)
Grid: 9th (+10 places ahead of team mate)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Three-stop (S-M-H-H)
Finished: 8th (+1 place ahead of team mate)

  • Reached Q3 on Friday for the first time since Hungary to secure ninth on the grid
  • Knocked out in SQ2 in 13th place
  • Rose to 11th in the sprint race but promoted to top ten after Leclerc’s penalty
  • Dropped two places at the start, then pitted under Safety Car to restart 15th
  • Ran a medium and two hard stints to sit in ninth before gaining eighth when team mate pitted
  • Received black-and-white warning flag for three track limits strikes
  • Finished eighth, less than four seconds behind Ocon

A job well done for Bottas who secured four points with eighth place to help move his team ahead of Haas into eighth in the championship. He achieved this by delivering a strong Friday qualifying performance and then making his strategy work on Sunday to secure a top ten on merit. He achieved the same feat on sprint Saturday but the grand prix was where he truly shone to deliver a major morale boost for his team.

Zhou Guanyu – 6/10

Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo, Losail International Circuit, 2023
Zhou joined his team mate in the points
Sprint race start: 15th
Sprint race finish: 14th
Qualified: 20th (-11 places behind team mate, +1.394s)
Grid: 19th (-10 places behind team mate)
Start: +3 places
Strategy: Three-stop (M-H-H-S)
Finished: 9th (-1 place behind team mate)

  • Eliminated slowest in Q1 on Friday, complained that Sargeant overtook him on final lap
  • Squeezed through into SQ2 but knocked out after best lap was deleted for track limits
  • Ran 15th in sprint race before pitting under SC for softs, but dropped to finish last
  • Held position at grand prix start, then rose as high as fourth before first stop
  • Maintained solid pace over both middle stints before late switch to softs
  • Crossed the line 12th but promoted to points in ninth after penalties for cars ahead

Zhou’s weekend started off in underwhelming fashion but he ended it with his first points since Barcelona after a strong drive in the intense heat. He should have qualified better than he did on both Friday and Saturday but the soft tyres were not the right call in the sprint race. However, on Sunday, Zhou made up for his disappointing results over the first few days by showing excellent pace and executing his team’s strategy with skill. As he kept between the lines, he happily hoovered up two points from the drivers ahead of him.

Lance Stroll – 3/10

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Losail International Circuit, 2023
Track limits violations cost Stroll a points finish
Sprint race start: 16th
Sprint race finish: 15th
Qualified: 17th (-13 places behind team mate, +1.122s)
Grid: 16th (-12 places behind team mate)
Start: +3 places
Strategy: Three-stop (M-M-H-M)
Finished: 11th (-5 places behind team mate)

  • Eliminated from Q1 for the fourth consecutive round on Friday
  • Just missed out on reaching SQ2 on Saturday
  • Finished sprint race in 13th but demoted to 15th after 5s penalty for track limits
  • Gained one place at the start and pitted under Safety Car, then passed Magnussen
  • Rose to tenth, battling hard against Gasly and Perez in closing laps to finish ninth
  • Demoted to 11th in final classification after ten seconds of track limits penalties
  • Admitted to ‘blacking out’ at times in the car due to the intense heat

In a car that sits fourth in the constructors’ championship which scored nine points at the hands of his team mate, Stroll contributed nothing to his team’s points tally and very little of note throughout the weekend. The frustration was evident on Friday as he fell at the first qualifying hurdle once again, while he fared no better in sprint qualifying. While not on the level of his team mate in the races once again, he showed some heart by fighting Gasly and Perez in the closing laps. However, his inability to keep clean with track limits cost him positions on Saturday and points on Sunday, capping off a poor weekend.

Fernando Alonso – 5/10

Sprint race start: 9th
Sprint race finish: 8th
Qualified: 4th (+13 places ahead of team mate, -1.122s)
Grid: 4th (+12 places ahead of team mate)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: Three-stop (M-M-H-M)
Finished: 6th (+5 places ahead of team mate)

  • Secured first top four start since Canada in Friday’s qualifying
  • Reached SQ3 but failed to set a legitimate lap time, leaving him ninth
  • Ran seventh for much of sprint race on softs until passed late by Hamilton and Albon
  • Took third at grand prix start after avoiding Mercedes, but could not keep pace with Piastri
  • Complained of a burning seat from lap 15
  • Made major mistake at turn two, losing positions to Russell and Leclerc
  • Received warning for rejoining the circuit in an unsafe manner
  • Received black-and-white warning flag for three track limits strikes
  • Ran in sixth for remainder of the race, finishing there ten seconds behind Leclerc

Not Alonso’s best weekend of the season by any means, but he would still have been happy to come away from Qatar with nine points from the weekend. Although his grand prix result was decent enough, he made a small error and a large error during the race which could have cost him at least one position. Similarly, his failure to set a clean lap in sprint qualifying is something a driver of his experience should not be doing. These untidy elements harm his rating.

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Kevin Magnussen – 5/10

Sprint race start: 19th
Sprint race finish: 13th
Qualified: 19th (-4 places behind team mate, +1.142s)
Grid: 18th (-4 places behind team mate)
Start: +4 places
Strategy: Three-stop (S-M-H-H)
Finished: 14th (+2 places ahead of team mate)

  • First time racing at Qatar
  • Eliminated 19th in Q1, significantly slower than team mate
  • Knocked out 19th again in SQ2, but climbed to finish 13th in sprint race after pitting under SC
  • Started on softs but pitted under Safety Car for mediums, then passed by Stroll to run 17th
  • Ran ahead of Tsunoda for the majority of the race but was unable to catch Albon ahead
  • Finished as the first car lapped in 14th, ahead of Tsunoda and team mate

Having never driven the Losail International Circuit prior to the weekend, Magnussen may not leave with a particularly favourable view of the track. He struggled for pace in both qualifying sessions, but made a decent go of the sprint race in the limited green flag laps available. While his grand prix wasn’t spectacular, he at least avoided any major errors or track limits penalties.

Nico Hulkenberg – 5/10

A blunder at the start ruined Hulkenberg’s race
Sprint race start: 7th
Sprint race finish: Retired (Crash – L11)
Qualified: 15th (+4 places ahead of team mate, -1.142s)
Grid: 14th (+4 places ahead of team mate)
Start: +4 places
Strategy: Three-stop (M-H-M-H)
Finished: 16th (-2 places behind team mate)

  • Breezed into Q2 on Friday but was knocked out in 15th
  • Secured an impressive seventh on the grid in sprint qualifying
  • Ran ninth in sprint race before being caught up in three-car crash
  • Lined up in wrong grid slot for grand prix and earned ten second penalty
  • Passed Tsunoda after Safety Car restart but dropped to last after serving penalty
  • Passed Lawson for 16th in the final stint to finish there, one lap down

A classic case of undoing so much of your hard work as a driver over a race weekend with one silly mistake. Hulkenberg was once again the stronger of the two Haas drivers over the Qatar weekend but torpedoed his prospects in the grand prix on Sunday by lining up in the wrong grid slot. After serving his penalty, he remained behind his team mate for the remainder of the race. At least his performance in the sprint session was strong, even if he was a victim of the racing incident that took out three cars.

Yuki Tsunoda – 5/10

Sprint race start: 18th
Sprint race finish: 11th
Qualified: 11th (+7 places ahead of team mate, -0.577s)
Grid: 11th (+6 places ahead of team mate)
Start: +3 places
Strategy: Three-stop (M-M-H-H)
Finished: 15th (+2 places ahead of team mate)

  • Almost reached Q3 on Friday but was eliminated in 11th
  • Knocked out of SQ1 in sprint qualifying after best time deleted but rose to 11th in sprint race
  • Moved up to eighth in grand prix start but dropped down the order as race progressed
  • Ran in 15th over final stint, finishing eight seconds behind Magnussen but well ahead of team mate

Tsunoda’s weekend started strongly but as the days progressed he appeared to fade. His failure to keep within the reduced white lines on Saturday saw him unable to follow his team mate into the second round of sprint race qualifying but a decent showing saw him finish just outside the top ten. While Lawson struggled with his balance in the grand prix, Tsunoda enjoyed a more neutral car but was unable to keep his car in contention for points, finishing an unremarkable 15th.

Liam Lawson – 4/10

Liam Lawson, AlphaTauri, Losail International Circuit, 2023
Lawson spun out early in sprint race
Sprint race start: 14th
Sprint race finish: Retired (Spun off – L1)
Qualified: 18th (-7 places behind team mate, +0.577s)
Grid: 17th (-6 places behind team mate)
Start: +2 places
Strategy: Three-stop (S-H-H-M)
Finished: 17th (-2 places behind team mate)

  • First time racing in Qatar
  • Eliminated from Q1, admitting he struggled with balance throughout Friday
  • Reached SQ2 to line up 14th for the sprint race, but spun out at the second corner
  • Held position at the start and pitted under Safety Car to restart last
  • Ran at the back for the majority of the race, struggling with the balance of his car
  • Finished last, one lap down and almost 20 seconds behind team mate
  • Received black-and-white warning flag for three track limits strikes

For the first time, Lawson truly looked like a rookie in what will likely be his final grand prix weekend in a Formula 1 car for at least the rest of the 2023 season. Likely a victim of the restrictive parc ferme rules limiting set-up changes, Lawson was fighting with his car all weekend. But in Formula 1, keeping the car on the road is a must and spinning off with an unforced error on lap two of the sprint race was the weakest moment of his stint with AlphaTauri. In the grand prix, he was at least able to match Tsunoda’s pace until fading heavily in the final stint.

Alexander Albon – 5/10

Sprint race start: 17th
Sprint race finish: 7th
Qualified: 14th (+2 places ahead of team mate, -0.092s)
Grid: 13th (+2 places ahead of team mate)
Start: +2 places
Strategy: Three-stop (M-M-H-H)
Finished: 13th

  • Just reached Q2 at the expense of his team mate, then knocked out 15th after error
  • Missed out on SQ2 berth on Saturday to line up 17th
  • Gained ten places through the carnage of the sprint race to secure two points in seventh
  • Ran tenth in the early laps, rising into the lead before pitting on lap 18
  • Climbed back into tenth but struggled for pace in the middle stints
  • Dropped to 13th on the road but hit with ten second penalty for five track limits offences
  • Taken to medical centre after the race for acute heat exposure

A confusing performance from Albon at Losail. While he enjoyed great pace in the sprint race, to his own surprise, to secure an excellent finish, he could not seem to maintain that through the full grand prix itself. Once again, he struggled to stay within the white lines at a circuit where track limits bite and although it did not cost him any positions in the grand prix, he needs to do better than committing five infringements over a race.

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Logan Sargeant – 4/10

Unwell Sargeant withdrew from grand prix
Sprint race start: 20th
Sprint race finish: Retired (Spun off – L2)
Qualified: 16th (-2 places behind team mate, +0.092s)
Grid: 15th (-2 places behind team mate)
Start: +3 places
Strategy: Two-stop (M-M-H)
Finished: Retired (Withdrew – L40)

  • Only just failed to reach Q2 after being eliminated by team mate’s final lap
  • Knocked out slowest in sprint qualifying after having both SQ1 times deleted
  • Spun out of sprint race on the second lap into retirement
  • Moved up to 12th during grand prix start and restarted in 11th after Safety Car
  • Fell to the back of the field after second stop for hard tyres, catching Hulkenberg
  • Complained of feeling unwell in the car but opted to push on
  • Received black-and-white warning flag for three track limits strikes
  • Eventually withdrew due to his physical condition on lap 40

Sargeant endured a more difficult weekend than most in Qatar. Recovering from an illness as the weekend began, he had a decent Friday showing where only his team mate prevented him from reaching Q2. But his Saturday was a typical Sargeant showing where small errors ruined both his sessions. His race pace on Sunday was respectable compared to his team mate but dehydration proved too much. His rating should not be punished for his retirement given the circumstances.

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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...

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36 comments on “2023 Qatar GP weekend F1 driver ratings”

  1. Most impressed: VER & PIA
    Most disappointing: STR, PER, & NOR

    1. @jerejj why Norris as most disappointing?

      He pulled a “Checo”…bad quali but ended up finishing as high as he could (2nd was possible if not for team orders).

      Other than that I agree with your comment

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        10th October 2023, 16:39

        If 2nd was possible, Norris should have closed the gap to Piastri and been closer to him.

        1. The team literally told him to back off. Then he insisted saying he was faster, and then the team said NO again.

          To which I agree with McLaren, especially after what happened with the Mercs

        2. Did you even watch the race? Norris had enough pace to end the race 10 seconds in front of Piastri, if they allowed him too (excluding the possibility of great defending by Piastri of course, this is all speculation now…).

      2. Doggy Because of how many unforced errors he made & generally didn’t maximize pace.

  2. The ratings are just here as bait it seems.

  3. VER = 8

    Perfect execution.

  4. I can see it now, all of the F1 drivers huddled together talking about the weekend’s results:

    Hamilton: “Great drives, Oscar. 1st place in the Sprint Race and 2nd on Sunday. Good work.”

    Piastri (dejected): “Yeah, but RaceFans only gave me 8 out of 10!”

  5. Stephen Taylor
    10th October 2023, 15:30

    I don’t see how Verstappen’s mistake on his last run in Friday qualifying marks him down as it didn’t cost him pole. I also wouldn’t give much weight to the Sprint and I think some drivers try harder in that than others to be honest. Also Piastri drove a excellent weekend but the tyre life limitiations means his weaknesses in tyre management were more or less nullified . We will have to wait until COTA to see whether he really has turned a corner on that front.

    1. Indeed. Apparently Max got exactly the right speed on his banker lap in Q3 and then of course he tried to push a bit more to see if there was a bit more left in the tank.

    2. @Stephen Taylor
      A 9 is for truly exceptional performances only, being faultless against all odds.
      So an 8 is I guess for just plain old boring faultless.
      And he wasn’t he had a track limit violation and didn’t put it on sprint-pole. So I guess not being faultless defaults to 7 then? Assuming the 7 stands for a very good performance, right on the mark of what can reasonably expected.
      Which is fine, right? And the race should have the most weight (since it has the most laps and the most points?). And he didn’t have a single track limit violation. I think that indicates he just wasn’t pushed enough, confining him to a 7?

      Still makes me wonder what you need to do for a 10. I suppose winning with 3 wheels on the car, while being on fire riding through a sharknado, curing common cold and solving world peace.

      1. If you think about the best performance of the last 5 years, which would you pick? I think it’s something like that in terms of rarity, the mark 10 in this type of ranking.

        1. @esploratore1
          Since that hasn’t happened anyway I’ll take the liberty stretching your 5 to <6.
          Then maybe Verstappen in Brazil 16, if there were more laps and he could go on and overtake Rosberg again like he did before and then close Hamilton down and after a fierce 3 lap long battle take the win inching out Hamilton on the line… sort of like Gasly in the Torro Rosso Honda did to Hamilton later..
          I guess that should be a 10 in this scoring system I suppose

          1. Yes, if he did that I suppose it could’ve qualified as a 10, however in that particular race I’m not expecting verstappen to be able to take hamilton on: hamilton went under the radar out in front, but he was going at least as fast as verstappen, even when verstappen was ahead of rosberg early on.

          2. Since Max on Brazil 2016, I’d choose Carlos Sainz at Marina Bay as the best of the last 5 years.

            Juan Manuel Fangio at the Nordschleife in 1957 would probably be a 9.5

  6. So Max has his 1st lap in SQ3 deleted and 2nd lap in Q3 aborted – neither having impact as without he would still be 3rd on grid in Sprint and he was still on pole for the race – he gets deducted a point.

    Piastri has his best time in Q3 deleted and drops to 6th on the grid but no point deducted.

    “Fastest in practice, then took pole position despite mistake on final Q3 lap”
    * Is pushing for an even better time called a mistake? when you have a moment (he certainly wasn’t the only one)

    Took third in sprint qualifying after losing best SQ3 time for track limits
    * Did it matter” – his fastest time would be P3 now still P3 – McLaren were simply fastest in Sprint Shootout

    Fell to fifth at start of sprint but rallied back to finish second, clinching championship
    * Dropped to 5th as soft starting drivers (Russell & both Ferrari’s) had more grip and he was pushed wide by Norris- he still managed to overtake Norris on lap 1. The 3 safety cars with the last one just before he would overtake Russell prevented Max from challenging Piastri – still started 3rd and finished 2nd.

    Led every lap of the grand prix to take victory by just under five seconds, setting fastest lap
    * Indeed – scored a grand chelem (pretty rare these days) and scored 33 out of maximum 34 points. Also “by just under” – is Max score lowered now if he doesn’t win with 20 seconds or more?

    I amazed you didn’t deduct points for him going wide during the 10 minute new track practice session and arguing with GP why he aborted the lap.

    He should get a bonus point for not getting a single track limit violation during the whole race – he was the only driver to do so while also setting the fastest lap.

  7. Verstappen 7? OK, that’s where I can stop reading. I mean… Maybe it’s boring to you, or too repeating, but that shouldn’t affect the score. I understand that it’s not a 10, but -3? Based on what? How much fun he provided or something? That’s not his job.

    1. In normal circumstances the max is 8 and any minor mistake over the weekend means 7.

    2. Racefans rankings for Max Verstappen:

      7 – drive needs to be almost perfect. Achieving a Grand Slam doesn’t raise the score
      8 – requires absolute perfection: pole, race win, fastest lap, 0 mistakes.
      9 – needs to win from the back of the grid
      10 – needs to win from the back of the grid, with car issues, on a hard-to-overtake track.

  8. When a Grand Slam merely earns you a 7, you must be a racing God.

  9. BOT 7, just one less than PIA on 8?
    That’s bizarre.
    I’d say PIA and VER should be equal on 9.

    1. 9 so far was for exceptional performances, verstappen’s was pretty ordinary, don’t know about piastri, he was really good, but enough for 9 with the 2nd best car?

    2. Given the machinery difference (2nd best car versus 7th best) and the fact that Piastri didn’t maximise his quali result, I wouldn’t consider it bad for them to have the same rating, actually.

  10. Grand Chelem, but only 7… big mistake there…

  11. Grand Chelem=7, wow.

  12. Guess who has 4 extra points

  13. We will never know, but… what if McLaren was the quickest car this weekend? Norris talked about losing the pole on Friday, they secured the front row on Saturday, the won the Sprint, and then both finished incredibly close to Max. Pérez was really, really far away from podium, so… what if Max has scored a Grand Chelem in the second best car, for once?

    I think that would be close to 10.

  14. If we’re looking at the weekend as a whole, then I would rate Piastri higher than Max this weekend.
    Although, I would put Piastri on 9 – the only reason it isn’t a 10 is because of his Friday qualifying lap that was over the limit.
    I would put Max on 8, as his sprint quali was not particularly impressive, nor was his start in the sprint race. He also didn’t dominate the Sunday race, as he finished just down the road from the Mclarens, who don’t have a race car as strong as the Red Bulls.
    I’m also shocked that Lance Stroll and Sergio Perez have a rating higher than 2. Their performances were appalling.

  15. The usual bickering over +1 or -1. But what I take mostly out of it is the averages over the season which clearly indicate Tsunoda, Zhou, Magnussen, Perez, Stroll and Sargeant need to go (maybe Hulkenberg too). Hard to argue with that. They are occupying a seat where the world would like to see others perform in. This should be the pinnacle of Motorsport. Time to live up to that I would say.

    1. There aren’t 5 or 6 drivers that are good enough to replace them though. You might argue that there are 2 drivers that should get a shot in F1 next year – Lawson and Drugovich, but even they aren’t any more confidence inspiring as the people you think should leave the sport.

      Sargeant and Stroll really don’t belong on the grid, but the others should be safe till junior categories throw up some more credible talents.

    2. Overtaking Perez would really be funny. Hope he can take Ricciardo as well

      1. Well that went in the wrong section…

  16. I’m rooting for Nyck de Vries here. He has done Sargeant and now he’s inching towards Perez and Stroll!!
    I’m curious to see if he can overtake them in the coming races!
    Go Nyck!

  17. Overtaking Perez would really be funny. Hope he can take Ricciardo as well

  18. 5 for Alonso seems harsh, given what he was having to deal with in the race (yes his off cost him dearly, but in that race and with his seat issue, you got to give him some leeway…).

    That car is clearly the 5th or 6th fastest now, so coming away with 9 points in total more than an “average” result.

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