Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Yas Marina, 2023

2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend F1 driver ratings

Formula 1

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The 2023 season finally reached its end in Abu Dhabi with a lights-to-flag grand prix that ran without any retirements or Safety Car interventions.

In a weekend where half of the field missed out the opening practice session, there were some surprising gulfs in results between team mates through the grid at Yas Marina.

But there was little surprise who came out of the weekend victorious as F1’s most dominant season came to an end. Here are the RaceFans driver ratings for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen – 8/10

Qualified: Pole (+8 places ahead of team mate, -0.726s)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-H)
Finished: Winner (+3 places ahead of team mate)

  • Sat out of first practice to allow Dennis to fulfil junior driver allocation
  • Secured pole position by setting fastest time in all three qualifying phases
  • Held off sustained attack from Leclerc on opening lap to hold the lead at the start
  • Pitted for hard tyres on lap 16 and fell to seventh, passing Stroll and Sainz
  • Regained the lead when Tsunoda pitted, then steadily grew lead over long middle stint
  • Pitted for second set of hards on lap 43, emerging with lead of five seconds
  • Set fastest lap and pulled away from Leclerc behind, winning by 16 seconds

Verstappen drove away from the rest of the field
A trademark Verstappen victory to complete the single most dominant season of grand prix racing any driver has enjoyed. There never felt like a realistic chance it would be anyone but Verstappen taking the 25 points once qualifying began. Leclerc got a better start than him but admitted afterwards there was no reason for him to put up a fight, and from there Verstappen was always in complete control. While the RB19 was the best car all season long, Verstappen’s consistency week after week was relentless and he demonstrated it for a final time in 2023 in Abu Dhabi.

Sergio Perez – 4/10

Qualified: 9th (-8 places behind team mate, +0.726s)
Start: -1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-H)
Finished: 4th (-3 places behind team mate)

  • Missed opening practice session to let Hadjar drive his car
  • Qualified sixth but lost best Q3 lap time for track limits at turn one, dropping him to ninth
  • Lost places to Gasly and Hamilton at the start but passed Hamilton for ninth
  • Overtook Gasly, then pitted for hards, falling to 12th
  • Passed Alonso and Piastri to move up to fifth, then extended middle stint
  • Made second stop for hard tyres and emerged sixth, passing Tsunoda for fifth
  • Caught Norris but collided while trying to pass, earning five second time penalty
  • Overtook Norris for fourth, then passed Russell to move third
  • Allowed through by Leclerc on final lap and finished second but fell to fourth after penalty
  • Received formal warning from stewards for radio comments critical of penalty after race

Abu Dhabi felt like the perfect encapsulation of Perez’s season. Unable to match his team mate’s pace out front, qualifying much lower than he should have done due to an avoidable mistake, rising up the ranks in the race thanks to his car’s inherent speed but getting into trouble along the way and ultimately finishing off the podium. His penalty for hitting Norris was deserved and he again only had himself to blame for underperforming in qualifying. Even if he successfully passed many rivals on his way up to fourth, that is to be expected when he was in the one of the most successful F1 cars ever made.

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Charles Leclerc – 8/10

Leclerc did everything he could to get Ferrari second in the points
Qualified: 2nd (+14 places ahead of team mate, -0.279s)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-H)
Finished: 2nd (+16 places ahead of team mate)

  • Stepped aside in first practice for Shwartzman
  • Went quickest of all in second practice despite missing opening session
  • Secured front row start after feeling he maximised his car’s potential
  • Challenged Verstappen multiple times for lead on opening lap but settled into second
  • Pitted for hard tyres one lap after Verstappen to drop to fifth, then regained second place
  • Dropped gradually away off lead before making second stop for hards, rejoining sixth
  • Moved back up to second place and fell further away from leader over final stint
  • Deliberately allowed Perez through on final lap in desperate bid to deny Russell podium
  • Finished third but promoted back up to second after Perez’s penalty was applied

Leclerc felt that he had got the best he could have out of his car across the Abu Dhabi weekend and it’s hard to disagree with him. He was quick from the moment he stepped into the car for second practice and was the closest to Verstappen in qualifying. Then, in the race, he gave his team the best opportunity he could to try and overcome their deficit to Mercedes, even pulling a bit of last-lap trickery to let Perez through in the hope he could end up ahead of Russell after his penalty. A strong end to a disappointingly win-less season.

Carlos Sainz Jnr – 3/10

Qualified: 16th (-14 places behind team mate, +0.279s)
Start: +2 places
Strategy: Two-stop (H-H-S)
Classified: 18th (-16 places behind team mate)

  • Suffered heavy crash in second practice after losing control over bump at turn three
  • Slowest of all in second practice, then first driver eliminated from Q1 in 16th
  • Started on hard tyres, passing Ricciardo and Albon before overtaking Hulkenberg
  • Ran 13th behind Stroll in early laps, then made late first stop for second set of hard tyres
  • Dropped to 16th before running extended middle stint hoping for Safety Car
  • Sat tenth before pitting for soft tyres with three laps remaining
  • Pulled into the garage to retire on penultimate lap with power unit problem, classified 18th

The driver who will go down in history as being the only person to beat an RB19 to victory had a torrid final weekend. Things started off badly for Sainz on Friday when he crashed into the barriers and once his car was repaired on Saturday, he never looked like he was driving a Ferrari. His Q1 elimination showed just how much he was struggling, even if a front wing problem prior to his final run did not help his preparation. An early first pit stop on hard tyres left him on a ‘Hail Mary’ strategy hoping for luck to strike, but it didn’t, and he never looked like he had the race pace to score solid points.

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George Russell – 7/10

George Russell, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2023
Unwell Russell put in a strong performance
Qualified: 4th (+7 places ahead of team mate, -0.346s)
Start: -1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-H)
Finished: 3rd (+6 places ahead of team mate)

  • Quickest of all in first and final practice sessions
  • Split the two McLarens in qualifying to secure fourth on the grid
  • Lost a place to Norris at the start but passed Piastri to take back fourth before pitting
  • Fitted hard tyres and emerged ahead of Norris, passing Bottas and Sainz to gain third
  • Kept pace with Leclerc ahead before second stop for hard tyres, climbing back to third
  • Caught and passed by Perez to fall to fourth, but promoted onto podium after finish

At the end of a season Russell called one of the most challenging and frustrating of his career, he saw off 2023 with one of his better performances and took a deserved second podium appearance of 2023. He always looked like the stronger of the two Mercedes drivers and drove hard to try and keep in touch with Leclerc. He may not have been able to keep Perez behind late in the race but managed to stay within the five seconds he needed to take back a top three finish and help secure Mercedes second in the constructors’ championship.

Lewis Hamilton – 4/10

Qualified: 11th (-7 places behind team mate, +0.346s)
Start: +2 places
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-H)
Finished: 9th (-6 places behind team mate)

  • Missed opening practice, stepping aside for Vesti
  • Knocked out of Q2 in 11th place by milliseconds
  • Passed Hulkenberg and Perez at the start but appeared to clip Gasly at turn six
  • Investigated for causing a collision but no action taken
  • Lost ninth to Perez on lap three, then ran between the Red Bull and Ocon
  • Made contact with Gasly, damaging front wing endplate, and pitted for hards but no new wing
  • Passed Ricciardo to run behind Alonso in eighth before second stop for hards
  • Almost hit Alonso at turn five and passed him, but repassed soon after
  • Passed Ocon and Sainz to move up to ninth where he would eventually finish

Hamilton secured the ‘best of the rest’ honours in the drivers’ championship in Abu Dhabi, but he did it with an unusually scrappy performance. He never looked comfortable with the car in the early phase of the weekend but unlike so many times that has happened this season, he seemingly failed to find a solution at Yas Marina. His bump into Gasly was clumsy and his front wing damage clearly did not help his speed as he ended up down in ninth, but he couldn’t match his team mate throughout the weekend and was almost 25 seconds adrift of Russell by the finish.

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Esteban Ocon – 6/10

Qualified: 12th (-2 places behind team mate, +0.313s)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: One-stop (M-H)
Finished: 12th (+1 place ahead of team mate)

  • Stepped aside in first practice for Doohan to run in his car
  • Reached Q2 but was eliminated in 12th place
  • Gained a place passing Hulkenberg at the start to run 11th until pitting for hards
  • Ran 43-lap second stint on hard tyres, undercutting team mate and running as high as eighth
  • Passed by several cars over final third of the race to eventually drop behind Ricciardo in 13th
  • Gained 12th from Sainz pitting late and finished there, ten seconds behind Ricciardo

Ocon’s 2023 season ended without him making the big splash he would’ve wanted to in the final race, but he still could walk away reasonable satisfied with his performance. He was out-qualified by his team mate but his race was defined by being one of the few to make a one-stop strategy work – and he did so with the longest second stint in the field. Although Alpine appeared to lack the pace they’d enjoyed elsewhere, Ocon managed his pace well through his marathon second stint and beat his team mate to the flag despite starting behind him.

Pierre Gasly – 6/10

Pierre Gasly, Alpine, Yas Marina, 2023
Contact with Hamilton damaged Gasly’s diffuser
Qualified: 10th (+2 places ahead of team mate, -0.313s)
Start: +2 places
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-H)
Finished: 13th (-1 place behind team mate)

  • Reached Q3, unlike team mate, but failed to match best Q2 time, leaving him tenth
  • Passed Hulkenberg, Hamilton and Perez at the start to run eighth in early laps
  • Complained of damage from L1 contact with Hamilton, then hit by him again on L15
  • Pitted for hards and rejoined behind team mate, running 13th before making second stop
  • Fitted second set of hard tyres, emerging behind Ricciardo
  • Gained 13th when Sainz pitted late to finish there, four seconds behind team mate

Starting from tenth on the grid, Gasly would have been hoping to be in the fight for points in Abu Dhabi. Unfortunately for him, it didn’t work out that way – although damage he sustained from two knocks from Hamilton at turn six certainly did not help his cause. He had a very good start and held Perez at bay for a surprising length of time in the early laps. He was upset to have been undercut by his team mate but while he was catching him throughout the final stint, he ran out of laps to pass him.

Lando Norris – 7/10

Lando Norris, McLaren, Yas Marina, 2023
Another slip-up in qualifying infuriated Norris
Qualified: 5th (-2 places behind team mate, +0.034s)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-H)
Finished: 5th (+1 place ahead of team mate)

  • Sat out opening practice to allow O’Ward to run his car
  • Top two in both practice sessions he participated in
  • Frustrated to miss a front row start after mistake on final Q3 lap left him fifth on the grid
  • Passed Russell at the start before overtaking team mate for third
  • Pitted for hard tyres but slow stop dropped him behind Russell in fifth
  • Made second stop for hard tyres, moving back up to fourth
  • Caught by Perez and hit by him at turn six, then overtaken the next lap
  • Finished fifth, almost three seconds off Perez after his penalty was applied

Norris ended his best season in Formula 1 to date with another good weekend in Abu Dhabi. McLaren were not as strong as they have been at other circuits in the latter part of the season, but Norris showed consistently strong pace throughout the weekend and finished off his year with a top five finish. The only negative was his failure to string a flawless lap when it mattered most in Q3, but he made up for that in the early laps of the race.

Oscar Piastri – 6/10

Qualified: 3rd (+2 places ahead of team mate, -0.034s)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-H)
Finished: 6th (-1 place behind team mate)

  • Third-fastest in final practice
  • Squeezed into Q3 in tenth, then secured third on the grid with strong final lap
  • Investigated but cleared of impeding Gasly in Q3
  • Held third at the start but soon passed by team mate, then Russell before pitting
  • Fitted hard tyres and rose back up to fifth before being passed by Perez
  • Dropped to tenth after second stop for hards, passing Sainz
  • Ran seventh but caught and passed Tsunoda for sixth
  • Finished six seconds behind team mate in sixth

Piastri was the rookie of the year in 2023 and proved it again in the final round of his rookie season. He put in an especially strong qualifying lap in Q3 to secure third on the grid, but from the early running it was clear his race pace wasn’t as strong as his rivals at the front of the field. However, he kept pace with team mate Norris, especially once the fuel had worn away, and picked off Tsunoda in the later laps to secure a solid top six finish.

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Valtteri Bottas – 5/10

Qualified: 18th (+1 place ahead of team mate, -0.371s)
Start: +2 places
Strategy: One-stop (H-M)
Finished: 19th (-2 places behind team mate)

  • Fourth-fastest in both Friday practice sessions
  • Disappointed to be knocked out in Q1 in 18th, just one place ahead of team mate
  • Started on hard tyres and passed Magnussen and Albon on the opening lap to run 16th
  • Gained places as cars ahead pitted, then passed by several of them until finally pitting
  • Switched to mediums and rejoined in 19th, but passed by team mate and Sargeant
  • Ran 19th and was lapped until eventually finishing 19th, 1.4s ahead of Magnussen

There wasn’t much more to say about Bottas’ performance than he did about as well as he could have expected in a race where there were no retirements or Safety Cars to offer him any opportunity to rise up the order. He tried his best to make a one-stop strategy work but it was not the best approach to the race and he could only do so much with the lack of speed from his car. Almost the definition of an average level performance.

Zhou Guanyu – 6/10

Zhou Guanyu, Alfa Romeo, Yas Marina, 2023
Zhou unusually preferred the medium rubber
Qualified: 19th (-1 place behind team mate, +0.371s)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-M)
Finished: 17th (+2 places ahead of team mate)

  • Sat out of first practice for Pourchaire, but was inside top ten in second practice
  • Knocked out 19th behind team mate in Q1 after locking up on final push lap
  • Passed Magnussen at the start, then overtook Albon to run 17th behind team mate
  • Pitted for mediums on lap 13 and fell to the back, rising up the order before passed by Albon
  • Dropped to the back after second stop for mediums
  • Passed Magnussen and Bottas but lost a place to Albon again
  • Overtaken by Sargeant on the penultimate lap to finish last car on lead lap in 17th

An unspectacular weekend from Zhou but by no means a bad one. He knew he could have put in a better performance in qualifying but also was under no illusion that he would’ve been likely to get into Q2 if he had. In the race, he was only driver to run two sets of mediums, which he seemed to make work. He finished higher than he started, which is at least a positive result.

Lance Stroll – 6/10

Qualified: 13th (-6 places behind team mate, +0.291s)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (H-H-M)
Finished: 10th (-3 places behind team mate)

  • Team fined for him driving ‘unnecessarily slowly’ in first practice after failing to warn him of Vesti
  • Involved in near-miss with Hadjar at end of first practice but not investigated
  • Easily reached Q2 but failed to match Q1 time to be eliminated 13th
  • Started on hards and passed Hulkenberg at the start to run 12th in early laps
  • Ran as high as second before first stop for second set of hards, falling to 14th
  • Passed Bottas, Ocon and Ricciardo to run seventh before second stop for mediums
  • Rejoined in 12th, passing Ocon for 11th, then picking up tenth from Sainz pitting
  • Took final point in tenth, less than a second ahead of Ricciardo

Stroll did not have the strongest of seasons in 2023, but he could at least go into the winter reasonably satisfied with his performance in Abu Dhabi. He admitted that he did not get the best lap out of Q2 when he was knocked out in 13th, but his performance in the grand prix redeemed him as he managed to climb into the points with an atypical strategy over a race with no retirements nor Safety Car interventions. He wasn’t as fast as his team mate, as usual, but the deficit was not as great as it has been at other times this season.

Fernando Alonso – 7/10

Fernando Alonso
Hamilton accused Alonso of a ‘brake test’
Qualified: 7th (+6 places ahead of team mate, -0.291s)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-H)
Finished: 7th (+3 places ahead of team mate)

  • Missed the opening practice session for Drugovich to drive his car
  • Comfortably reached Q3 in seventh, then qualified there
  • Held seventh for the first 12 laps before pitting for hards, dropping to 18th
  • Climbed back up the order to sixth before overtaken by Perez to run ahead of Hamilton
  • Made second stop for hards, then appeared to try baiting Hamilton into passing before DRS
  • Passed by Hamilton but overtook him, Ocon and Sainz to move up to eighth
  • Caught and passed Tsunoda in the closing laps to take seventh where he would finish

A very solid end to a memorable season for Alonso, who secured fourth place in the drivers’ championship with his seventh place finish. His performance over the weekend was as likely as good as he could have realistically hoped for and despite complaining about the lack of straight-line speed of his car, it didn’t prevent him from being able to overtake. His tactics to keep Hamilton behind him out of the pits were slightly questionable, but he got back ahead of the Mercedes after losing the place. Yet again, he was significantly quicker than his team mate over the weekend.

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Kevin Magnussen – 4/10

Qualified: 17th (-9 places behind team mate, +0.339s)
Start: -2 places
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-H)
Finished: 20th (-5 places behind team mate)

  • Failed to follow team mate through into Q2, eliminated 17th
  • Dropped two places to Alfa Romeos at the start to sit 19th before very early stop for hards
  • Ran last but picked up places when rivals pitted before early second stop for hards on lap 22
  • Sat last until gaining 19th when Zhou pitted, only to lose it when passed by Zhou
  • Moved ahead of Sargeant when Williams pitted but overtaken soon after
  • Ran last until finish, one lap down and two seconds behind Bottas

For one final grand prix weekend in 2023, Kevin Magnussen did not feel like much of a factor. Although Haas finished last in the constructors’ championship for a reason – evidenced by how both their drivers lacked race pace – Magnussen was again the slower of the two team mates when it mattered most. He may not have made any major mistakes, crashed, or earned any penalties, but Magnussen was just not fast throughout the weekend.

Nico Hulkenberg – 5/10

Nico Hulkenberg, Haas, Yas Marina, 2023
Hulkenberg qualified his round one-spec Haas in eighth
Qualified: 8th (+9 places ahead of team mate, -0.339s)
Start: -5 places
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-H)
Finished: 15th (+5 places ahead of team mate)

  • Replaced by Bearman in opening practice
  • Crashed into inside barrier at turn one in second Friday practice session, ending his day
  • In the top ten in each qualifying phase to secure strong eighth on the grid
  • Lost three places off the line, then two more by turn five to sit in 13th, then passed by Sainz
  • Made early stop for hard tyres and dropped to 19th place, passing team mate
  • Ran ahead of Albon before second stop for hards, rejoining in 18th
  • Lost a place to Albon but held off Zhou in closing laps
  • Picked up 15th from Sainz retiring, finishing ten seconds behind Albon

It was another frustrating weekend for Hulkenberg who was once again limited by the lack of pace from his VF-23, which he likely won’t be sad to see the back of. Despite missing first practice and running just seven laps before crashing on Friday, Hulkenberg managed to get into Q3 and secure a decent starting position of eighth on the grid. Sadly, a timid start cost him far too many places and his race pace was limited by his car. He was, however, comfortably faster than his team mate.

Yuki Tsunoda – 8/10

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Yas Marina, 2023
Tsunoda didn’t know he spent five laps in the lead
Qualified: 6th (+9 places ahead of team mate, -0.235s)
Start: Held position
Strategy: One-stop (M-H)
Finished: 8th (+3 places ahead of team mate)

  • Top ten in Q1 and Q2 before securing career-best qualifying result in sixth
  • Ran sixth in the early laps until inheriting the lead with long opening stint on mediums
  • Led five laps of the race before pitting for hards, falling to 11th
  • Passed team mate, then climbed order to third as rivals ahead pitted
  • Slipped down the field as rivals on fresher tyres overtook him, dropping to eighth
  • Caught by Hamilton in final laps but held him off to finish eighth, 1.4s ahead

Was this the best weekend of Yuki Tsunoda’s grand prix career? From securing his best ever qualifying result on Saturday to leading his first laps in Formula 1 and driving to a solid points finish ahead of a Mercedes on Sunday despite a strategy that probably wasn’t the best, Tsunoda was an outstanding performer in Abu Dhabi. All while under the pressure of his team needing him to deliver for them for their championship aspirations. It’s potential like this which explains why Red Bull are keeping him around for a fourth season.

Daniel Ricciardo – 6/10

Qualified: 15th (-9 places behind team mate, +0.235s)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-H)
Finished: 11th (-3 places behind team mate)

  • Third fastest in opening practice
  • Easily reached Q2 but hardly improved on best Q1 lap to be eliminated in 15th
  • Ran 15th at the start but made very early stop for hard tyres, dropping to 19th
  • Suffered suspected tear-off in brake duct in early laps
  • Moved up the order, passing Bottas, to sit 12th before second stop for hards
  • Rejoined behind Sargeant, spending several laps behind before passing to gain 14th
  • Caught and passed Ocon in closing laps to finish less than a second off points in 11th

Ricciardo admitted he wasn’t ready for the season to finish and would have happily kept going – and it’s easy to see why from the final rounds of his season. Although he was not outstanding in Abu Dhabi and failed to score any points to support his team’s outside hopes of snatching seventh from Williams, he was only seven-tenths away from doing so in a race compromised by an overheating brake duct early on. He made passes to gain places over the final stint and made no major errors over the weekend and will be eager to start off a campaign fresh next season.

Alexander Albon – 6/10

Qualified: 14th (+6 places ahead of team mate)
Start: -3 places
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-H)
Finished: 14th (+2 places ahead of team mate)

  • Sat out first practice to allow O’Sullivan to drive in his place
  • In the top five in final practice
  • Breezed into Q2 but could not match best Q1 lap, eliminated in 14th
  • Fell three places on opening lap, then passed by Zhou to sit 18th
  • Ran behind Zhou until pitting for hards, then overtook him for 17th
  • Made second stop for hards and rejoined 17th, passing Zhou and Hulkenberg
  • Received black-and-white warning flag for three track limits strikes
  • Picked up 14th when Sainz retired on penultimate lap and finished there

A decent enough end to the season for Albon. Although he probably underperformed in qualifying after overheating his tyres, and had a poor start by his own admission, he managed to at least make limited progress over the course of the race. Although never in contention for points, Williams just didn’t seem to have the performance to fight for a top ten in race trim.

Logan Sargeant – 5/10

Logan Sargeant, Williams, Yas Marina, 2023
Williams based Sargeant’s strategy around delaying Ricciardo
Qualified: 20th (-6 places behind team mate)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-H)
Finished: 16th (-2 places behind team mate)

  • Fined for ‘erratic driving’ in opening practice
  • Inside the top ten in final practice
  • Eliminated from Q1 with no time set after having both push laps deleted for track limits
  • Started last on mediums, running behind team mate before pitting for hards
  • Ran last until Magnussen pitted, extending middle stint to hamper Ricciardo before being passed
  • Fell to the rear after final stop for hard tyres
  • Passed Magnussen, Bottas and Zhou to finish 16th

Logan Sargeant’s final grand prix weekend as a rookie was the perfect encapsulation of the driver he has become at the end of his first year at the top flight. On one hand, there were frustrating, avoidable errors that left him without a single lap time on the board in qualifying. But then in the race, he was able to match pace with Albon until he was asked to extend his middle stint and hold up Ricciardo in Williams’ battle over seventh. His race pace has definitely improved in these later rounds, but if he is granted a place on the grid next season, he needs to reduce those mistakes.

Over to you

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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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39 comments on “2023 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend F1 driver ratings”

  1. Most impressed: TSU
    Most disappointing: SAI & HAM

  2. (Sainz) who will go down in history as being the only person to beat an RB19 to victory

    Technically there are three drivers who achieved that.
    He’s the only one beating two though ;)

    1. I don’t understand that, beating 2 red bull drivers in the same race happened even if you take in consideration norris or hamilton.

      However I was thinking that ferrari simply did everything right when they got the opportunity, if it hadn’t been them mclaren or mercedes would’ve also won a race just fine in those circumstances.

      1. Will’s write-up includes two important words: “to victory” ;)

        1. Perez beat an RB19 to victory and so did Piastri

          1. Verstappen beat an RB19 to victory 19 times. :)

          2. Exactly, verstappen beat an rb19 in almost every session.

    2. Exactly. Verstappen beat a RB19 to victory 19 times, Pérez did so 2 times, and Sainz 1 time.

      1. Seems English is hard to understand …. for me that is.

  3. So another grand slam for Max. What does he have to do more to get a higher rating than 8?
    Did you see the donuts-ending? Sheer perfection…

    1. It was not a Grand Slam, Tsunoda led for 3 laps.

      1. It was not a Grand Slam, Tsunoda led for 3 laps.

        Commentators said 5 laps, Will has it as 5 laps.
        and he only found out after the event.

  4. And at the end of the year, there does arise a problem with Racefans’ rating system as it is, if you like.

    Max Verstappen drives one of the most dominant seasons ever, 92.7% win rate, longest streak of wins ever, 1000+ laps lead bettering the previous record with more than 200 laps, breaking some 70 year old records that were set in much more favourable conditions, and the rating he gets is probably something like 7.63. Granted, that is probably still far above the rating of the nr. 2 in these rankings which I guess comes in at around a 7.

    What kind of season should a driver have to get a 9 or 10 for their season? Grand chelem every F1 race in a go-kart while driving backwards, all while giving a full PhD defense on the latest advances in quantum field theory?

    1. The idea is that this is ranking against all of F1 history.

      So a 9/10 or 10/10 race is one of those insane, once in a decade races that lives on in F1 mythology as something that barely seems possible. Something like Clark winning at Spa in 1963.

      By that metric, having an average of 9 for the season would be something like Zhou winning the title in an Alfa Romeo. It just doesn’t happen. An average of a rounded 8 is already very good, and reflective of the near-perfect season Verstappen has had. But doing perfect in perfect conditions is not a 10/10 performance, because that leaves no grades for those perfect races in ‘against all odds’ conditions.

      1. So a 9/10 or 10/10 race is one of those insane, once in a decade races that lives on in F1 mythology as something that barely seems possible. Something like Clark winning at Spa in 1963.

        With 440 rating points in a year, I would statistically expect quite a few 9’s, and even some 10’s.
        Even a in a normal distribution with an average rating of 5 and SD of 2 (thus 70% rate between 3-7) there would on average be 13% (25 instance) of 8 & 9 ratingss, and up to 2% (9 instances) of a 10.

        And if the single ratings per race become so ‘average’ it will be more difficult to differentiate the whole season averages.

        Why skew the whole rating (especially the good drives) into such a small band?

        1. *13% (55-60 instances)

        2. Why skew the whole rating (especially the good drives) into such a small band?

          That’s definitely a problem with this concept and, particularly, the chosen grading scheme. If you want to reserve the 9s (and maybe even 10s) for the truly historic drives, then it leaves only 8 and 7 for ‘good’ races, as in the classic 1-10 system a 5 is already a fail. I’m not sure why a rating scale needs five different shades of fail but that’s how it tends to work.

          I like the concept of taking the historical context into consideration when rating the weekends, but the 1-10 system might not be the best way to go. The letter grading system, especially the Japanese one which includes the S-category popularized online by Tier Lists, could work better. You’d be able to dump the truly special races in the S-category, the big fails in the F-category, and then have four letters to work with for different shades of okay to good, or even twelve if you also use the + and – to differentiate them further.

        3. This has been pointed out time and time again, the system chosen it pathetic. Do not expect any changes. It is all about getting hits than actually rating the drivers performance. Bring back Fanatic F1.

      2. You can’t race against history. And no one in history won titles by driving the second worst car. So, it is literally, and I mean literally impossible for Verstappen to deserve great ratings, no matter what he does. Actually, when he drives the best, he gets most average ratings, and when he gets himself into trouble and then makes a few routine overtakes, he gets a 9 or something. I think we’re talking about the show and quantity of action more than the actual performance here. If it’s a “boring race”, it’s automatically a 7 or 8 at most, even if you made not a single mistake (even under pressure), and won everything there was to be won. It’s more about impression than actual value, and that’s fine; but it’s also a bit pointless in my view. It’s about circumstances more than about what you deserve. If Verstappen didn’t qualify as well, he’d still win and then he’d get a 9. But in reality, that would be his poorer weekend. He didn’t have to overcome any problem because he didn’t create one. That’s a + in my book.
        But I’ll admit that rating driver performance is almost an impossible task and it can’t be objective. We’d need far more data in order to get a clear picture; so I’m not trying to be overly negative here. We’re just talking (what else can racing fans do?).

        1. If Verstappen didn’t qualify as well, he’d still win and then he’d get a 9. But in reality, that would be his poorer weekend. He didn’t have to overcome any problem because he didn’t create one. That’s a + in my book.

          Very true. It’s one thing to win after starting 5th because you fluffed qualifying, and quite another to do when there were genuinely four faster cars. Especially when rating the weekend, the first case is obviously a poorer job, even if the result is the same.

          Unfortunately, it’s very hard to tell from the outside how this all breaks down. Latifi in his last (latest?) appearance on the F1 Beyond the Grid podcast gave a nice anecdote about this; they were running the updates on Albon’s car which were expected to be about five tenths faster than his package. Then he qualified within two tenths of Albon and was very pleased, whereas the outside world said he was doing a terrible job because he was once again outqualified by Albon. Pérez has been so poor in qualifying that Verstappen missing pole is therefore instantly attributed to the Ferrari being quick – and not blamed on Verstappen doing a poor job.

    2. If you win a rainy race in a poor car starting from the last position – that is a 10. How hard is this to get?

      1. Except that wouldn’t be the case as they’d likely detract 2 points for them not qualifying better and not being first in every practice session.

        1. Easy fix: the driver took pole but his car was hit by a drain cover and had to start from the back through no fault of his own!

      2. It is hard to get. Because that’s about circumstances, not about performance. And these are performance ratings. You could still perform as well under normal circumstances and win a race comfortably, and get a 7 or 8. All you did wrong is to be racing on a dry track and you dared to qualify well. I mean, I get it, I just don’t appreciate it. I think that’s fair enough.

  5. Setting the scale. Tens:
    Fangio, Nurburgring, 1957
    Moss, Monaco & Nurburgring, 1961
    Clark, Belgium, 1963
    Senna, Donnington, 1993


    1. Max Barcelona 2016: 10

    2. Schumacher Barcelona 1996

    3. Stewart Nurburgring 1968?

      1. Yes you beat me too it. Excellent.

    4. Schumacher china 2006? It was an impressive performance against all odds and was rated 10 by most journalists at the time, however those are ranking systems that give 10 way more often, so might not be enough by this ranking’s standards.

      Was thinking fisichella winning in a jordan in the rain at brazil 2003 has to be special as well, just like perez in bahrain outer track in a force india in 2020.

      1. Especially after being involved in an accident and having to recover from the back.

      2. Imo Fisico and Perez got the victory through circumstances rather than through sheer brilliance.

        Nominations for a perfect 10 would probably include Schumacher Monaco & Spa 97, maybe also Schumacher Spa 95 – but there Hill would have challenged him for the win without a pit lane speeding infringement so probably not as empathic a victory as the 97 examples.

        Hamilton Silverstone 2008? Vettel Monza 2008? Hill Hungary 1997?

        1. Yes on Hamilton 2008. Couldn’t remember the year.

    5. Hamilton China 2007: Best use of a gravel trap ever
      Hamilton Europa 2007: Best (and only) use of a crane while still racing ever
      Hamilton Australia 2009: Best misinformation to stewarts ever

    6. Well, I wouldn’t be surprised if Senna would be deducted a point for Donnington 1993 because he lost a spot at the start.

      1. Also Fernando Alonso Hungary 2006, a non-driver related DNF (bad pitstop, loose wheel) but was worth a 10. Started P15 due to a 2 sec penalty for overtaking under yellow flag in practice. Eleven overtakes just in the first lap. Then an unbelievable overtake on Schuey for P3 at the outside of T5, and FA soon was in the lead. Would have been one of the most astonishing victories ever if not for the bad pitstop (it was Jenson Button’s maiden win in the end)

        Then again, although the race was worthy of a 10 you could argue the weekend wasn’t, because the 2 seconds penalty in practice was his fault.

  6. I don’t see how Stroll impressed you far more than Perez to be honest, to get a 6 vs 4.

    1. Stroll does seem to be uprated a little too much by many media outlets. Just an obsevation

  7. I’m happy for De Vries.. Solid performance to beat Sargeant in the standings

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