2023 United States Grand Prix weekend F1 driver ratings

Formula 1

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The penultimate sprint race round of the 2023 season was also one of the more straightforward of the season with not a single Safety Car or Virtual Safety Car appearance across the two days of racing.

While there was a different pole winner for Saturday’s sprint race and Sunday’s grand prix, the same driver took the spoils in both. But the journey there was not so simple, with competition at the very front of the field as close as it had been all season.

But while some fared better than others over the Austin weekend, not a single driver enjoyed a flawless three days. Here are the RaceFans driver ratings for the United States Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen – 7/10

Sprint race start: Pole
Sprint race finish: Winner
Qualified: 6th (+3 places ahead of team mate, -0.092s)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (M-M-H)
Finished: Winner (+3 places ahead of team mate)

  • Lost pole position with final time deleted for track limits, leaving him sixth on the grid
  • Spun in second phase of sprint qualifying but recovered to secure sprint race pole
  • Led every lap of the sprint race to win by nine seconds
  • Passed Russell at start of grand prix, then overtook both Ferraris to take third during first stint
  • Pitted for second set of mediums, then passed Norris to take lead
  • Switched onto hard tyres and overtook Leclerc to retake lead, then pulled away from Norris
  • Maintained decent pace over final laps to stay out of reach of Hamilton and win by two seconds

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2023
Verstappen rose from sixth to take victory
Verstappen’s 15th victory of the season and 50th grand prix win of his career required a bit more effort than many others he’s won throughout 2023. It all began with an error on his final Friday qualifying lap where he ran just wide enough at turn 19 to get his otherwise pole-worthy lap taken off the board and leaving him sixth. He was back to being unbeatable on Saturday, despite a spin in SQ2, taking pole and victory in the sprint sessions. His progress through the field in the grand prix was classic Verstappen and he did not get time to relax for a lap. He pulled off well-judged moves when he needed to and managed his pace well to ensure he’d beat Hamilton to the chequered flag first – even if it would later turn out he hadn’t needed to.

Sergio Perez – 5/10

Sprint race start: 7th
Sprint race finish: 5th
Qualified: 9th (-3 places behind team mate, +0.092s)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Two-stop (M-M-H)
Finished: 4th (-3 places behind team mate)

  • Struggled with balance on Friday, leaving him down in ninth on the grand prix grid
  • Half a second slower than Verstappen in SQ3, leaving him seventh on sprint race grid
  • Overtook Piastri and Sainz to finish fifth in sprint race
  • Held position at the grand prix start until passing damaged Ocon for ninth, running behind Russell
  • Undercut Russell and Leclerc in first pit stop cycle to sit in fifth, then ran sixth after switching to hards
  • Caught and passed ailing Leclerc for fifth, where he would finish
  • Promoted one spot to fourth after the race due to Hamilton’s disqualification

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Perez continued to underwhelm in qualifying in Austin when he managed only ninth place, but only did a little better in sprint qualifying. He made modest progress to fifth in the sprint race, but in the grand prix he did not overtake a single rival on merit for the whole race, dispatching Leclerc mainly because of his tyre advantage late in the race. Inheriting fourth from Hamilton’s disqualification flattered him slightly as he spent the whole race on the same strategy as his team mate but slowly falling back from him at a routine rate. However, he at least avoided any major errors or penalties over the weekend.

Charles Leclerc – 7/10

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Circuit of the Americas, 2023
Luck was not on Leclerc’s side in Austin
Sprint race start: 2nd
Sprint race finish: 3rd
Qualified: Pole (+3 places ahead of team mate, -0.222s)
Start: -1 place
Strategy: One-stop (M-H)
Finished: Disqualified – Plank wear (6th)

  • Secured second pole position of the season with strong final lap in in Friday qualifying
  • Missed out on sprint race pole to Verstappen by just over half a tenth
  • Finished third in sprint race after losing second to Hamilton at the start
  • Beaten to turn one by Norris, settling into second until overtaken by Hamilton and Verstappen
  • Extended opening stint on mediums, taking the lead before eventually pitting on lap 23
  • Rejoined sixth on hards and committed to one-stop, gradually rising up the order
  • Overtaken by Verstappen and Norris to fall to third, then passed by Hamilton
  • Asked to allow team mate through for fourth, then fell to sixth behind Perez
  • Finished sixth but disqualified after the race for failing plank wear inspection

Although Leclerc and Hamilton were disqualified for failing a post-race scrutineering inspection, as they should have been, their performances should be judged no differently for it. Leclerc took pole with an excellent effort in Friday qualifying and he narrowly missed out on repeating that feat in sprint qualifying thanks to Verstappen. He had a good crack at racing Verstappen to turn one in the sprint race, but was rebuffed which cost him a place to Hamilton; nonetheless, third was a decent result. He lost the lead at the start on Sunday and it was clear the Ferrari didn’t quite have the same pace as their rivals, but the team did not make things easy for him by putting him on a one-stop strategy. There was little he could reasonably do by the end of the race to hold off those on fresher tyres and sixth was no bad result all considered. But sadly, it all counted for nothing in the end.

Carlos Sainz Jnr – 6/10

Sprint race start: 6th
Sprint race finish: 6th
Qualified: 4th (-3 places behind team mate, +0.222s)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (M-M-H)
Finished: 3rd

  • Couldn’t quite match his team mate’s pace on Friday to take fourth on grid for grand prix
  • Out-qualified by his team mate again in sprint qualifying, sitting sixth on sprint race grid
  • Only driver to start sprint race on softs, gaining two places before fading back to sixth
  • Jumped Hamilton at start of grand prix but soon passed by him and Verstappen to run fifth
  • Pitted for mediums and undercut team mate to sit fourth
  • Made second stop for hards, then overtook Russell to move back to fifth
  • Allowed through into fourth by team mate where he would finish
  • Prompted onto the podium after the race following Hamilton’s disqualification

Sainz could come away from Austin reasonably satisfied with his weekend’s efforts. He lacked the overall pace of his team mate but almost accidentally fell into the best strategy of a two-stop by pushing his tyres harder than planned on his first stint. His pace was near identical to Leclerc’s but chased down his one-stopping team mate until being allowed through into fourth. Although he would pick up a podium, he was not the better performer at Ferrari over the weekend.

George Russell – 4/10

Sprint race start: 11th
Sprint race finish: 8th
Qualified: 5th (-2 places behind team mate, +0.217s)
Start: -3 places
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-M)
Finished: 5th

  • Admitted struggling for pace on Friday but still secured top five start for grand prix
  • Half a second off team mate in sprint qualifying to take eighth, but lost three places for impeding
  • Climbed from 11th to seventh in sprint race but passed Piastri off track, falling to eighth after penalty
  • Dropped three places at the start of the grand prix to sit eighth, gaining a place from damaged Ocon
  • Ran very long opening stint before pitting for hards to sit in seventh
  • Made second stop for mediums and moved back up to six where he would finish over 20s off team mate
  • Promoted one place to fifth after Leclerc’s disqualification

Russell’s fifth place finish from the US Grand Prix probably flattered his performance over the COTA weekend, even if it was the same position he had finished the opening day of the weekend in on Friday. With both Mercedes drivers talking up the impact of their upgrades for the weekend, the fact that he managed only eighth on the grid did not reflect well, with a three-place penalty not helping either. Although he climbed up to seventh, he lost a place with another penalty, then dropped positions at the start of the grand prix.

Lewis Hamilton – 7/10

Hamilton finally had the pace to challenge for a win
Sprint race start: 3rd
Sprint race finish: 2nd
Qualified: 3rd (+2 places ahead of team mate, -0.217s)
Start: -1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-M)
Finished: Disqualified – Plank wear (2nd)

  • Secured third on the grid in qualifying after being inside top three in all Friday sessions
  • Matched his Friday qualifying performance on Saturday to sit third on sprint race grid
  • Passed Leclerc at turn one of sprint race to take second place where he would finish
  • Dropped behind Sainz at start of grand prix but passed both Ferraris before end of lap six
  • Ran second, keeping pace with leader Norris before extending first stint and pitting from lead for hards
  • Sat third until regaining the lead when leaders pitted ahead before second stop for mediums
  • Rejoined fourth, catching and passing Leclerc and hunting down Norris to move into second
  • Chased down Verstappen over final laps but failed to catch him before end of the race, finishing second
  • Disqualified from final results after failing post-race plank wear check

The records will show that Hamilton’s second place finish was struck off from the final classification for the US Grand Prix, quite rightly, for failing a scrutineering check after the grand prix. But Hamilton clearly found more confidence in his Mercedes with the new updates brought to Austin and it showed over all three days. He secured third on both grids, but while he got around Leclerc at the start of the sprint race, it appeared that he had done so outside of the track limits. Although he lost a place to Sainz at the start of the grand prix he soon gained it back and while he eventually ran out of laps to catch Verstappen before the finish, he had made the best work he could from his team’s strategy. But with Toto Wolff stating Mercedes were probably the fastest car on track, second was not the best result he could’ve achieved.

Esteban Ocon – 6/10

Sprint race start: 13th
Sprint race finish: 11th
Qualified: 8th (-1 place behind team mate, +0.065s)
Start: +1 place
Finished: Retired (Damage – L6)

  • Breezed into Q3 on Friday to secure eighth on the grid just behind team mate
  • Failed to follow team mate into SQ3, eliminated in 13th in sprint qualifying
  • Gained two places on opening lap of sprint race to run 11th where he would finish
  • Got ahead of team mate and Russell at grand prix start to jump to sixth before clash with Piastri
  • Suffered severe floor damage and began dropping down the order rapidly
  • Called in to retire at the end of lap six

Ocon had a solid start to his weekend by matching his team mate’s performance in Friday qualifying to line up behind him but failed to emulate that pace in sprint qualifying. He couldn’t get into the top ten in the sprint race but on Sunday he got one of the better starts in the field to move by his team mate and Russell. Sadly, his clash with Piastri through turn two ultimately ended his race, to his great frustration, but it was hard to blame either driver. A good enough performance all considered, but not on the level of his team mate.

Pierre Gasly – 7/10

Pierre Gasly, Alpine, Circuit of the Americas, 2023
Gasly enjoyed one of his better weekends
Sprint race start: 9th
Sprint race finish: 7th
Qualified: 7th (+1 place ahead of team mate, -0.065s)
Start: -3 places
Strategy: Two-stop (M-M-H)
Finished: 6th

  • Just beat team mate in Q3 to secure strong seventh place on grand prix grid
  • Reached SQ3 in sprint qualifying to take tenth but promoted to ninth with Russell’s penalty
  • Held ninth at start of sprint race, then passed Piastri for eighth, handed seventh after Russell’s penalty
  • Dropped three places at the start, then ran between Perez and Tsunoda over first stint
  • Ran eighth in middle stint before switching to hard tyres
  • Moved back up to eighth in pit cycle where he would run until the finish, under a second ahead of Stroll
  • Promoted to sixth after post-race disqualifications

Gasly described his US Grand Prix weekend as the “most complete” of his season and it’s hard to argue against him. Backed up by his team mate, he had a strong Friday qualifying session to secure seventh on the grid and followed that with another top ten in sprint qualifying before moving up to two points in seventh in the sprint race. He may have had a largely lonely grand prix without making any on-track overtakes but he ensured that he would be the best finisher behind the Red Bulls, Ferraris, Mercedes and McLarens, gaining sixth after the race. The only area of weakness was his start, dropping three places in the opening corners.

Lando Norris – 7/10

Norris led, but had to settle for second
Sprint race start: 4th
Sprint race finish: 4th
Qualified: 2nd (+8 places ahead of team mate, -0.614s)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-H)
Finished: 2nd

  • Just missed out on pole position by 0.019s to secure front row start for grand prix
  • Secured fourth on the grid in sprint qualifying ahead of team mate
  • Dropped to fifth behind Sainz at start of sprint race before re-passing to finish fourth
  • Leapt into lead of grand prix at the start, leading throughout first stint
  • Inherited lead when Leclerc pitted but lost time with mistake at turn 11, then lost lead to Verstappen
  • Pitted for second set of hard tyres and emerged behind Leclerc, passing him to take second place
  • Fell off from Verstappen into clutches of Hamilton, losing second
  • Finished third to take fourth straight podium but promoted to second after Hamilton’s DSQ

Another strong weekend performance from Norris in Austin where he threw himself into contention for the race victory, even if he was not able to maintain that challenge through the whole grand prix. He put in a great performance in Friday qualifying to secure a front row start and was solid through sprint Saturday to finish fourth. For the second time in 2023, he turned second on the grid into the lead at turn one and looked very comfortable out front. He lost some confidence in the car as the wind picked up in the second stint and allowed Verstappen through a little too easily, but he fought much harder to keep Hamilton behind late in the race, if unsuccessfully. Second was as good a result he could’ve hoped for.

Oscar Piastri – 4/10

Sprint race start: 5th
Sprint race finish: 10th
Qualified: 10th (-8 places behind team mate, +0.614s)
Start: +4 places
Strategy: M
Finished: Retired (Damage – L10)

  • Reached Q3 but qualified tenth after too much wheelspin out of turn 11 on last lap
  • Matched team mate’s pace in sprint qualifying to secure fifth behind Norris
  • Suffered contact with Sainz at start of sprint race and faded to finish tenth
  • Gained three places at first corner before clashing with Ocon
  • Ran in sixth but suffered water leak from damage, forcing him to retire early

After the best weekend of his young F1 career last time out in Qatar, Piastri described Austin as a “character building” round for him. Things did not start great on Friday as he failed to match his team mate and qualified down in tenth. He did a much better job in sprint qualifying to line up behind Norris but he dropped down the order in the sprint race with front wing damage and overheating tyres. Sadly, his side-by-side contact with Ocon was enough to put him out of the race and end a tricky weekend.

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Valtteri Bottas – 5/10

Sprint race start: 18th
Sprint race finish: 16th
Qualified: 13th (-1 place behind team mate, +0.16s)
Start: -2 places
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-H)
Finished: 12th (+1 place ahead of team mate)

  • Took 13th on the grand prix grid in Friday qualifying, right behind team mate
  • Failed to progress out of first phase of sprint qualifying in 18th
  • Dropped to 19th at sprint race start, passed Magnussen, finished 17th but gained 16th after Zhou’s penalty
  • Lost two positions on opening lap, then pitted early for hard tyres to fall to 16th
  • Made relatively early second stop for second set of hards, passed by Hulkenberg and Sargeant
  • Ran ahead of team mate over the remaining laps to finish 14th, promoted to 12th in final results

While Hamilton and Leclerc lost their finishing positions due to wear on their car’s planks, Bottas was compromised by his set-up over the weekend as Alfa Romeo ran his car slightly higher than optimal out of caution over the bumps on the circuit. That might have helped to explain why he was not a factor in the battle for points, but while his team mate appeared to have the upper hand on him on Friday and Saturday, Bottas got ahead in the race and remained there.

Zhou Guanyu – 5/10

Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo, Circuit of the Americas, 2023
Alfa Romeo couldn’t repeat Qatar points haul
Sprint race start: 15th
Sprint race finish: 17th
Qualified: 12th (+1 place ahead of team mate, -0.16s)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-H)
Finished: 13th (-1 place behind team mate)

  • Out-qualified team mate to secure respectable 12th on grand prix grid
  • Reached SQ2, unlike team mate, but was eliminated 15th in sprint qualifying
  • Dropped three places sprint race start, then passed Magnussen off track, falling to 17th after penalty
  • Passed Tsunoda at start but overtaken by him on lap two before becoming first driver to pit
  • Fitted hards and dropped to 14th, then fell to 17th after second stop
  • Picked up one place when Ricciardo pitted late to finish as the first lapped car in 15th
  • Moved up to 13th in final classification

It’s always better in a grand prix weekend to finish stronger than you start, but the inverse was the case for Zhou. After qualifying 12th on the grid for the grand prix, he believed points could be on the cards for Sunday. But he couldn’t find the same pace on Saturday, falling behind his team mate in the sprint race results after a penalty. By Sunday, his performance from Friday appeared to have largely evaporated, but while he never looked like threatening the points, he at least largely matched the pace of his team mate throughout the race.

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Lance Stroll – 6/10

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Circuit of the Americas, 2023
Stroll ended his points drought from the pits
Sprint race start: 14th
Sprint race finish: Retired (Brakes – L16)
Qualified: 19th (-2 places behind team mate, +0.321s)
Grid: Pitlane start
Start: Held position
Strategy: Two-stop (H-M-M)
Finished: 7th

  • Limited to just five laps in practice after braking problem
  • Knocked out of Q1 in 19th, three tenths slower than team mate
  • Progressed into SQ2 but eliminated in 14th, less than a tenth behind team mate
  • Gained a place at start of sprint race then passed Ricciardo before called to retire with brake trouble
  • Started grand prix from pit lane after breaching parc ferme to modify car
  • Joined the race last on hard tyres but passed Hulkenberg early on
  • Pitted for mediums and overtook Ricciardo and Stroll, reaching as high as eighth before second stop
  • Muscled by Tsunoda for tenth place, then gained ninth from team mate retiring
  • Finished ninth on the road less than a second behind Gasly but promoted to seventh post-race

After his run of poor performances reached a peak in Qatar, Stroll did a good job of getting back on track in Austin. He may have failed to escape Q1 yet again on Friday, but this time he had the mitigating factor of a brake problem limiting him to only five laps in practice. On Saturday, he was running ahead of team mate Alonso in the sprint race until his brakes, again, let him down. But he put in a very decent drive in the grand prix, largely keeping pace with his team mate and making his way up to order to take ninth from the pit lane in his best Sunday for months, with seventh being a solid bonus.

Fernando Alonso – 6/10

Sprint race start: 12th
Sprint race finish: 13th
Qualified: 17th (+2 places ahead of team mate, -0.321s)
Grid: Pit lane start
Start: +1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (M-M-H)
Finished: Retired (Floor damage – L49)

  • Lost track time in practice with brake problem but still put in 19 laps
  • Failed to reach Q3 for first time in 2023, knocked out 18th in Q1
  • Reached SQ2 in sprint qualifying but eliminated in 12th
  • Dropped to 15th at the start but passed Magnussen for 14th, then gained 13th from team mate
  • Started grand prix from pit lane after breaching parc ferme to modify car
  • Overtook Hulkenberg on the opening lap, then passed Sargeant for 16th
  • Passed Albon and Zhou on same lap to gain tenth, then pitted for hard tyres
  • Overtook Tsunoda for ninth but picked up floor damage which led to retirement

Alonso faced a challenging weekend with Aston Martin not enjoying their best pace of the season so far. Although he suffered the same brake problems as his team mate in practice, it wasn’t to the same extent, though he was also eliminated in Q1. He looked unable to do much to improve his position in the sprint race which likely led to the set-up changes. But as he made he way through the field, that decision appeared to be justified. Climbing into the points from the pit lane was an decent effort, it’s just unfortunate he was forced to retire for the first time all season.

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Kevin Magnussen – 4/10

Sprint race start: 17th
Sprint race finish: 18th
Qualified: 14th (+2 places ahead of team mate, -0.226s)
Grid: Pit lane start
Start: +1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-M)
Finished: 14th (-3 places behind team mate)

  • Comfortably progressed into Q2 but knocked out in 14th place
  • Failed to get out of first phase of sprint qualifying, eliminated 17th just behind team mate
  • Jumped to 14th at start of sprint race, then dropped to 19th until gaining one place from Stroll’s DNF
  • Started grand prix from pit lane after breaching parc ferme to modify car
  • Passed Sargeant on opening lap, then made early switch to hard tyres
  • Lost a place to Sargeant to run last, then allowed team mate through after his stop
  • Continued to run in last, gaining one place when Ricciardo pitted late to finish 16th
  • Promoted to 14th place in final results

This was supposed to be the big weekend for Haas where their upgrades turned them into more of a fighting force for the rest of the season. That did not happen and Magnussen looked as though he might as well have been running the previous-spec Haas given his performance over the weekend. While he made no major errors over the three days, he never seemed able to get the most out of the car. Even after changing his set-up for Sunday, he finished practically where he started, while his team mate was close to the points.

Nico Hulkenberg – 6/10

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas, Circuit of the Americas, 2023
The upgraded Haas looked best in Hulkenberg’s hands
Sprint race start: 16th
Sprint race finish: 15th
Qualified: 16th (-2 places behind team mate, +0.226s)
Grid: Pit lane start
Start: -1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (H-M-M)
Finished: 11th (+3 places ahead of team mate)

  • Frustrated to be knocked out at the first hurdle in Friday qualifying in 16th
  • Failed to progress out of SQ1 by less than half a tenth, again in 16th
  • Overtook team mate in sprint race, then passed by Tsunoda to finish 15th
  • Started grand prix from pit lane after breaching parc ferme to modify car
  • Joined race behind team mate on hards but overtaken by Alonso on lap one
  • Fell to last after being passed by Stroll, passing Magnussen after first stop
  • Rejoined 15th after second stop and passed Bottas, then gained 13th from Ricciardo
  • Moved into 12th when Alonso retired but got passed by Sargeant to finish 13th
  • Promoted to 11th place in final classifications

Although Haas’ upgrades didn’t yield the points they would have hoped to receive at their ‘home’ grand prix, Hulkenberg came agonisingly close after Hamilton and Leclerc were disqualified. Rising from a pit lane start to 11th in the final classification was a decent effort and validated his team’s decision to break parc ferme to change his set-up. He was ahead of his team mate for most of the weekend, but probably underperformed in the two qualifying sessions.

Yuki Tsunoda – 6/10

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Circuit of the Americas, 2023
Five-point haul was a fine result for Tsunoda
Sprint race start: 19th
Sprint race finish: 14th
Qualified: 11th (+4 places ahead of team mate, -0.277s)
Grid: 11th (-3 places ahead of team mate)
Start: -1 place
Strategy: Three-stop (M-H-M-S)
Finished: 8th (+7 places ahead of team mate)

  • Just missed out on Q3 by 0.018s to secure 11th on grid for grand prix
  • Very frustrated to be out of SQ1 in 19th after traffic meant he missed starting his final lap in time
  • Gained two places at start of sprint race, then climbed up to 14th by finish
  • Ran in ninth over second stint before pitting for second set of mediums
  • Lost places to both Aston Martins but gained tenth when Alonso retired
  • Pitted with three laps remaining for soft tyres, retaining tenth place
  • Finished tenth while taking fastest lap bonus point, promoted to eighth in final results

Tsunoda seems to be a fan of COTA as the AlphaTauri driver has finished in the points there every occasion he has raced in Austin. This was his best result at the American track and came as a result of a very solid performance across Friday qualifying and the grand prix itself on Sunday. AlphaTauri’s upgrades clearly have had a positive effect and Tsunoda used them well. His sprint qualifying disappointment was the only major downside of the weekend, but while traffic was ultimately to blame, that’s not enough of an exonerating factor.

Daniel Ricciardo – 5/10

Sprint race start: 10th
Sprint race finish: 12th
Qualified: 15th (-4 places behind team mate, +0.277s)
Grid: 14th (-3 places behind team mate)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-S)
Finished: 15th (-7 places behind team mate)

  • Returned to grid after missing five rounds with broken hand
  • Knocked out slowest in Q2 to take 15th on grand prix grid
  • Just squeezed into SQ2 then only just missed out on SQ3, but gained tenth after Russell’s penalty
  • Dropped two places at start of sprint race, then passed by Stroll to finish 12th
  • Passed Bottas at start and ran very long opening stint before pitting for hards
  • Mysteriously picked up damage from debris, costing him pace
  • Fell to 15th before pitting for soft tyres
  • Finished 17th but promoted to 15th in final classification

Ricciardo’s return was not as impressive as his comeback in Hungary. Saturday was the only day he had the upper hand on his team mate but despite finishing ahead of him in the sprint race he fell backwards while Tsunoda moved forwards. His grand prix performance was perfectly decent, but once he picked up damage due to debris, his prospects of a strong result were over.

Alexander Albon – 6/10

Sprint race start: 8th
Sprint race finish: 9th
Qualified: 18th (+2 places ahead of team mate, -0.512s)
Grid: 15th (+1 place ahead of team mate)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-M)
Finished: 9th (+1 place ahead of team mate)

  • Knocked out of Q1 in 18th, admitting his best lap “wasn’t that good”
  • Only just got through to SQ3 before taking ninth in sprint qualifying, then promoted to eighth
  • Dropped to tenth at start of sprint race but passed Piastri to finish ninth
  • Passed Bottas at grand prix start to run 13th before early stop for hards
  • Moved by Zhou before second stop, then overtook Ricciardo
  • Gained 11th when Alonso retired but handed 5s penalty for four track limits
  • Finished 11th even after penalty applied but later promoted to points in ninth
  • Investigated for multiple track limits violations at turn six but no action taken

Albon had a solid performance across the weekend even though his opening day on Friday was decidedly subpar by his standards. He got through to SQ3 on Saturday and was able to finish in the top ten in the sprint race, narrowly missing out on the points. Despite not having any new medium compound tyres for the grand prix, he showed good pace in the race and gradually worked his way out to just miss out on a point in 11th. That is, until the post-race plank drama handed him eighth place and two points. He does need to watch himself with track limits, however.

Logan Sargeant – 5/10

Logan Sargeant, Williams, Circuit of the Americas, 2023
Disqualifications elevated Sargeant to the final points place
Sprint race start: 20th
Sprint race finish: 19th
Qualified: 20th (-2 places behind team mate, +0.512s)
Grid: 16th (- 1 place behind team mate)
Start: -1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-M)
Finished: 10th (-1 place behind team mate)

  • Eliminated slowest in Q1 after “terrible” final effort
  • Also knocked out slowest in sprint qualifying, but much closer to rivals ahead
  • Ran at the back of the field for the entire sprint race to finish 19th
  • Started grand prix last on grid but lost place to Magnussen falling into anti-stall at turn one
  • Overtaken by Alonso but passed Magnussen after first stop
  • Lost place to Stroll but passed Zhou, Bottas, Ricciardo and Bottas to move up to 12th
  • Promoted to tenth after the race, earning first career point

Let the eagles soar – Logan Sargeant is a points scorer in Formula 1. For the first two days of Sargeant’s Austin weekend, it felt like the same old story. Disappointing qualifying performances and an unremarkable sprint race were not the best start to the weekend, while falling into anti-stall over a sausage kerb at turn one wasn’t a strong way to begin the grand prix. But after that, Sargeant had perhaps his strongest race performance of the season, passing car after car all while keeping within eight seconds of his team mate. Although 12th was a solid result, earning his first ever point when promoted to tenth was a very welcome bonus.

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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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70 comments on “2023 United States Grand Prix weekend F1 driver ratings”

  1. It’s a difficult one to judge Leclerc vs Sainz and Hamilton vs Russell.
    I mean, Hamilton had a great weekend.. but was it great because the car was illegally low? Him commenting how he for the first time could feel the rear end? Russell had a poor weekend. But how much of that was because his ride height was legal? Assumptions of course, but there is no way to tell.

    1. I mean, Hamilton had a great weekend.. but was it great because the car was illegally low?

      Do you think that the teams chose one car to be aggressive with the ride height?

      1. It was even a mm? i don’t think he was fast because a mm.

      2. @notagrumpyfan
        Yes, that is very plausible.
        It would have been great if all cars were checked though.

        @AlexS
        Who came up with a mm?

    2. Gary Anderson wrote this in The Telegraph, this morning;-

      “It’s a bit of a red herring to say that Lewis Hamilton gained his performance because of plank wear. I think the Mercedes we saw in Austin is definitely a step forward for him”

      1. @banbrorace
        Well, without having read his article so only judging on your quote from him:
        he can say that but then he would be misusing the red herring logical fallacy.

        While it could be a red herring, only the coming races will give us insight on that.
        At this moment it is just highly unlikely because ride height and performance have a very strong correlation

        1. You need to read the whole article. He argues the ride height advantage is off-set, to a degree, by the increased ‘bottoming’ out of the ‘lower’ plank.

          Virtually every ‘expert’ I’ve heard or read on the subject agree, that the advantages were minimal.

          But we’ll see. If this is a one in a million result, then maybe great advantages were made – although you wonder just how bad Le Clerc’s position would have been without his.

          1. @banbrorace
            I could find it but can’t read it sadly.. Surely any kind of scraping on the ground will come at the cost of some speed, that’s basic physics. But why do we see so much of it if it was that bad? Because the losses are outweighed massively by the gains. There is no other reason. Go lower, gain drag free downforce. The only reason to not go even lower and scrape even more is the plank. It was not too long ago the teams, especially Mercedes, were running the cars so low the bouncing got ridiculous. To the point it was physically hurting the drivers. Still they did it because that is where the performance is. I don’t see how he can claim the advantages are minimal since we don’t know by how much they were too low? We just can’t know.

            I hope the pace is genuine, it will make the last races interesting. But if they’re a bit more behind coming races .. I wouldn’t be too surprised either

      2. “It’s a bit of a red herring to say that Lewis Hamilton gained his performance because of plank wear.”

        I don’t know who Gary Anderson is, and if he has any understanding of F1 (or biology), but:
        – of course ‘plank wear’ does NOT increase speed/performance as the rubbing of the floor against the tarmac slows the car down;
        – but setting the car up lower to the ground (which might result in more plank wear) does typically increase aerodynamic downforce, and thus cornering speed, without increasing drag.

        1. “I don’t know who Gary Anderson is, and if he has any understanding of F1 (or biology),” – oh dear. Gary Anderson is a retired racing car designer – he designed F1 cars for Jordan and Stewart.

          Your own experience of F1 car design is?

        2. I’d Wiki’ him. Surprised you’ve not heard of a a person who is seen as one of the best ‘technical guru’s’ of F1

        3. For someone whose tag is “Facts&Stats” not to know who Gary Anderson is, is quite something.

          Jordan, Stewart and Jordan again chief designer. And if that wasn’t enough, did a fair bit of TV work for BBC F1, and writes a lot of articles for people to understand technical concepts in F1.

          He is probably in the top 0.001% of people to be qualified to talk on this matter. Unless you’re an aerodynamicist, it’s not worth questioning him.

          1. Dear @gnosticbrian, @banbrorace, Raymond Pang,
            It is a fact (handle!) though that I did not know who Gary Anderson is. Thank you for enlightening me.
            It would have been smarter to include this background knowledge in the original post

            Notwithstanding, and most interestingly, none of you replied to the argument I made; lowering a car increases cornering speed.
            So maybe Gary was wrong* on this, or he is in fact a biologist as well and has discovered a red herring.

            * or rather Broderick’s interpretation of Gary’s words, as technically Gary was right (see above).

      3. #44 could not catch a car with bad brakes …

        1. there was only a car with a whining driver, who starts swearing whenever his car is not 1s faster than the rest

          1. You know they chance the brake pads everytime they do a session? these pads weren’t as good as the ones he used before (or they were badly mounted by a monteur …. i don’t think so)

            So as a racer it’s ‘bloody scary when your brake pedal goes further then you expect it. I could happen during the race once or twice but everytime when you brake hard you know you have a problem.

        2. Lol your evil ;)

        3. you mean the car which was developed braking the budget cap?

  2. Can’t help but feel like both Hamilton and Verstappen deserved an 8 this weekend. Both were extremely strong and the top performers this weekend in my opinion

    1. agreed, rating between 4-7 limits the possibility of performance rating differentiation over the weekend.

      1. Yeah, also felt that notagrumpyfan and Axel, sure, Verstappen could be argued to have made a mistake w. track limits that cost him a higher start spot, but really, outstanding weekend from him again. And Hamilton really didn’t set a foot wrong, the start was due to where on the grid he was and how others did, he had a good start, but then got bogged down between the Ferrari’s and Verstappen behind him. After that he didn’t set a foot wrong. 7/10 feels too low for their weekend.

        1. If the DSQ is the reason HAM got a lower score, then that really invalidates thedriver rating (and means in the opinion of the author it made a big difference, which just about anyone inside F1 seems to think isn’t the case, and also, why then is Russell not a bit higher with a Merc that apparently had their true pace?).

        2. Yeah, for me that mistake by Verstappen should count for more, since it clearly made it harder to win that race.

    2. Why not Norris too then? Surely he did the best the car had to offer this weekend?

  3. Giving Verstappen – whose only real errors all weekend were a minor track limits infringement and an inconsequential spin in sprint race qualifying – the same rating as Hamilton and Leclerc, who achieved their race results with illegal cars, seems a bit of a weird choice.

    1. That’s definitely an odd one.

      Verstappen started from 6th, had to manage a problem with his car all race, and won regardless.
      Leclerc started from pole, had an illegal advantage due to a lower ride height than his competitors, chose the wrong stategy, and fell back to 6th, meanwhile not putting up any notable defenses.

      Yet both get a 7/10 out of that?

      As someone partial to Ferrari, I’d really like to see Leclerc perform at Verstappen’s level. But this isn’t convincing me he was at the US GP.

      1. But he was 6th as a result of his own error in qualifying. And he only won (on track) because of Mercedes botching Hamilton’s strategy. Merc had seen Verstappen’s pace in the sprint race the day before and got caught up with that. Hamilton had 4-4.5 seconds over Verstappen before the first stop, and it wasn’t closing. I think they thought Red Bull were just biding their time, and went for the 1 stop to do something different to Norris. Instead, they could’ve pulled an undercut on Norris and still got 2nd place, and retained track position over Verstappen.

        1. Sure, totally on board with ranking Verstappen down a bit from his usual 8/10, which seems the be the norm for a flawless but ultimately not that special performance. His qualifying mistake and the lack of a now customary gap in the race suggest this wasn’t one of his best weekends of the season. But it might have required more work because of his car’s issue, and that’s hard or even impossible to judge from the outside. Maybe it was his best race, but we’ll never know.

          Either way – it was still better than Leclerc’s. Taking poles is cool, but that’s not where it’s at. Whenever Leclerc has one of these races, it’s often pointed out that his strategy was lackluster. Sure – but he has a part in that. Would Schumacher have accepted such a strategy? Vettel also quickly became very assertive at Ferrari about his strategy. His forceful talks, almost negotiations, with his engineer during the races became a frustratingly common occurrence over the years.

          Since this keeps happening year after year, I’m not sure Leclerc will ever have it in him to assert himself forcefully. Maybe that’s just in his character. But in that case Vasseur needs to help him and put someone like Ross Brawn on the pitwall – not Xavier Marcos Padros.

    2. @red-andy
      Obviously the illegality of a car is a team’s mistake, so it would be odd to lower a driver’s rating because of that. Sure, you could argue that Leclerc and Hamilton looked better because of the illegal ride height of their cars, but then again they are running different car than Verstappen anyway, so the comparison between them is difficult in any case.

      Russell and Sainz didn’t have their cars checked and, as far as I know, neither Mercedes nor Ferrari have indicated that Hamilton or Leclerc had a lower ride height than their team mates. Even if they had, the difference probably wasn’t big – why would the team choose to set the ride height significantly differently for team mates? So, comparison between Hamilton and Russell and between Leclerc and Sainz is probably valid.

      1. Obviously the illegality of a car is a team’s mistake, so it would be odd to lower a driver’s rating because of that.

        Not if they do well compared to their team mate because their car is set up with an illegal amount of floor aero.

        1. U measured the ride height of RUS and SAI? Or how you know there was a difference?

    3. Making one minor mistake seems to eliminate the 8 rating. Max -1 is also likely a rule.

      1. Nah, it’s justified 7 here, he made more than a mistake, a spin in one of the quali sessions as well as those track limits that cost him pole: even with a good race you can’t make up for that, it’s a bit like having a bad test result at school and trying to recover with the next: it’s all good as long as your target is 6, if your target is 9 can’t do much.

        1. @esploratore
          Sounds too harsh I feel. We could easily argue for an 8. The spin was irrelevant, might as well mark him down for spilling his drink on the way to the motorhome too. Yes, he should be marked down for losing his pole attempt, sure. But let’s get realistic*, it’s about the points. He bagged both wins there. That should have weight.
          And since a 10 does not exist, if we start with a 9 as the highest possible score, we can deduct a FULL point for messing up his pole attempt. By how much do we mark it up for managing the brakes the whole race? Making on track overtakes, one of them for the lead? Oh we don’t. We still end up with an 8

          *as realistic as one can get on a hypothetical subjective scoring system, with only single digit marks on a scale from 3 – 9…..

      2. As in average target 6 vs 9.

    4. Remember that Sir always gets 4-5 extra points, maybe 1-2 more this weekend, so nothing new under the sun

      1. If that is the case Max should get extra point too as he was knighted too …. but i don’t think that is the case here more the criteria how drivers are judge is flawed the scores are really always on the lower side.

      2. melanos, really, Hamilton on this site is more likely to get -0,5-1 point by default, they are not big fans, though clearly see he is a good driver, but always see his errors very clearly while merits can be debated. Not talking about comments, as that’s a level that, as illustrated by you, is decided by those contributing.

  4. Most impressed: VER, HAM, NOR, STR, ALO, & SAR.
    Most disappointing: RUS & ZHO

    1. Including SAR must reflect the extremely low expectations.

      1. Yes, indeed, what’s noteworthy of sargeant imo is not that he scored points (hamilton and leclerc would’ve been in those positions regardless of the plank thing), but that he was just 1 place behind albon, normally that doesn’t happen at all, there’s always plenty of cars inbetween.

  5. No one even gets an 8, strange.

    Honestly this probably was Verstappens single most difficult win of the season. His competitors are still developing their cars and he was managing a brake problem, having to adjust his natural way of driving all race, while starting from 6th and still winning. If there’s one race of him this season that deserved a 9/10 it’s this one I think. Yes there was a small track limits infringement (like by now all drivers have done at some point) but he completely made up for it in a less than optimal car.

    1. @BamBoomBots
      I can’t reason much against that, but he was 6th because of his own mistake. So it seems fair to take that into account. Still, how do you rate 1 mistake over a complete weekend, that is debatable. With a 9 being extremely rare in this scoring system, I guess you could argue an 8. You could consider Perez, who was happy with his improvements (?), didn’t seem to have the brake issue and still only managed to be average at best. So I agree a 7 seems low.

      1. The problem is that Ocon got a 9 in Monaco this year.
        I certainly wouldn’t rate his performance that weekend any higher.
        Both an 8 I’d say.

  6. Robert Henning
    24th October 2023, 11:33

    Seems alright. Probably wouldn’t rate Leclerc or Hamilton.

    Verstappen getting a 7 seems fine if his car basically had the usual pace advantage but he didn’t and had to nurse an issue. So that’d be an 8 for me. Apart from that I’d put Tsunoda at 7 for P8. Too much penalization for sprint. And delivered ATs best result.

    1. Said best result came with a DQ that won’t have made much difference in performance to those 2 drivers, I wouldn’t count it as best result

    2. Still, he did well, he’s been the best driver in that car overall this year.

      1. Still, he did well, he’s been the best driver in that car overall this year.

        That’s true (with a caveat), but then it’s currently a low bar.

        The caveat being that at the start of the season, Perez was happy with the car, and Verstappen was not.
        Recently, we were told Perez wanted RBR to revert to the pre-Spain spec car – request refused.
        Why would they deny Perez a car spec he liked?

  7. A 6/10 for Alonso seems awfully generous especially when Russell got a 4 and yet still finished the race at least. I doubt any other driver on the grid could get a 6/10 for qualifying horrendously and finishing with no points. Makes a mockery of the average scores when you refuse to penalise a driver properly for an awful weekend.

    1. @slowmo
      Alonso started in the pits and got into the top 10 !!! Come on man, that was a brilliant effort, especially in a car that had a different parts, let alone set-up, in each session of the weekend.
      I want to believe you didn’t say sth as nonsensical as a driver being responsible for a technical failure of his car…

      7/10 or 8/10 for Alonso

      1. Retired after sustaining damage to the floor of his car likely due to his driving over bad bumps or curbs.

  8. I read that this race has never been won from any other position than the front row? Winning from 6th seems laudable to me and worth an 8.

    1. unless grid position was caused by the drivers own messing up of qualifying.

  9. Ricciardo’s main problem is his team tried to execute a disastrous one-stop strategy. He was sticking with Yuki (Yuki only had Zhou and 1.5 seconds between him and Ricciardo despite starting much further up) and the strategy was initially looking good based on the timing charts showed. It was good to go longer, but when he started getting stuck behind traffic and his times started to drop off a cliff, they should have pitted and taken advantage of the fact he would have had fresher rubber for the second and third stints.

    1. As briefly mentioned in the article, Ricciardo picked up damage, which the team have now said was to a front brake duct and cost him a significant chunk of downforce. So that was the main reason his lap times suddenly fell off the cliff. Going for the one stopper won’t have helped, but I think his chance of points disappeared when he picked up the damage.

  10. These ratings get more and more stupid each race.

    Does whoever does the rating even watch any of the race?

    7 for Verstappen who made an error on his Quali lap on Friday, then qualified first for the Sprint and came first in both the Sprint and Race (no previous driver has won from anywhere other than the front row at COTA).

    Lewis also drove a superb race, although was later disqualified should also have got an 8

    Lando also drove a stunning race, keeping Verstappen within a handful of seconds until the last 10 laps.

    1. It was just coincidence no driver had won from outside the front row at cota, verstappen himself came 2nd starting from the back in 2018, it was a very interesting battle between raikkonen, verstappen and hamilton that were within 2 sec of each other the last 15 laps.

  11. So there’s no big difference between Stroll’s and Verstappen’s performance? I mean…

    1. Max was averagely brilliant, Stroll was brilliantly average. It works out about the same. (on average)

      1. Ahah, that’s a good way to put it, good point.

      2. Haha fair enough!

      3. @Electroball76
        Touché

      4. Stroll at least qualified in accordance with his cars performance.

  12. LEC and HAM should not be rewarded with high marks for driving illegal cars. Disqualification should mean zero rating here, in fairness.
    Piastri: it is a mystery why this Cota track was a complete bogey for him all weekend. Maybe Tom Sellik PI could investigate.

    1. They must’ve barely gained any advantage, it won’t have made any difference in terms of finishing position, so I’d say if anything their punishment was too harsh, just like all these kind of technical dq, and the minimum they should get is a decent rating!

    2. Maybe Tom Sellik PI could investigate.

      I just knew that Bottas with ‘tache reminded me of someone…

    3. 16 cars are unknown to be legal or not. so zero rating for all. rubbish

  13. The race was very hard fought for Max. Ok, he began 6th because of his own (very minor) mistake, so not a perfect weekend. But he managed extremely well a very serious issue (even the way in which he managed to get the DRS from a backmarker in the right moment in the last lap to avoid being caught screams stonking racecraft). On the other hand his rival could have won (with an illegal advantage, that is) but ruined it with below zero racecraft, aided by the team’s desultory strategy. An 8 was due with much more justification than in other weekends where the win was much easier.

    And Fernando started from the pits with an absolute dog of a car, got into the points and then had to retire due to a mech failure unrelated to his driving, is that a 6? What could have Fred done better?

    1. Not damaged his car, qualified better, finished in the points.

    2. Max just messed up his qualy, and whined half the race about a brake issue, just cause his car wasnt 1s faster than the rest. Solid 6

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