Zhou Guanyu, Sauber, Bahrain International Circuit, 2024

2024 Bahrain Grand Prix weekend F1 driver ratings

Formula 1

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A new season began in Bahrain, but going from the final classification, it may have been difficult to tell.

However, the opening race weekend of the season showed that 2024 is shaping up to be a very tight and competitive championship throughout the field – even if one driver may remain at the very top of the order.

As a likely consequence of how intimately familiar the 20 drivers were with the Bahrain circuit in their new cars, the first weekend of the season saw very few incidents and errors with the general standard of performance higher than a typical grand prix weekend. That reflects in a relatively low spread of scores for RaceFans’ first driver ratings of the season. But there are no prizes for guessing which of the 20 drivers scored highest…

A guide to RaceFans’ driver ratings system

RaceFans’ driver ratings system assesses driver performance across all three days of a grand prix weekend. Naturally, performances during competitive sessions – qualifying, sprint races and grands prix – will carry the most weight to their rating. However, practice performance can affect a driver’s weekend rating in the event of a major mistake, such as a crash, consistent errors throughout practice sessions or if a driver shows a notably impressive speed throughout all free practice sessions relative to their team mate.

The system attempts to take into account the relative performance of each driver’s car and the expected results from that, meaning that a driver who wins a race in a car clearly superior to the rest of the field may not necessarily score as highly as a driver who claims a low points finish in a midfield car.

Ratings also attempt to take into account mitigating factors outside of a driver’s control. If a driver is forced to miss considerable track time due to car problems, is the victim of being blocked in qualifying, finishes far lower than expected because of a heavily botched pit stop or suffers any other misfortune they cannot be reasonably expected to control, their rating should not be penalised.

RaceFans rates each driver’s weekend performance on a scale of 0 to 10, where ‘5’ is considered to be a typically average weekend performance from a typically average Formula 1 driver. Here is a rough guide to each possible score:

N/A – No rating is given as the driver did not sufficiently participate through the competitive sessions

0 – Disqualified – Only in the most extreme instance where a driver’s conduct disqualifies them from participation

1 – Appalling – An appallingly awful display that brings a driver’s competency under immediate question

2 – Awful – A very, very poor performance of repeated errors with almost no redeeming element

3 – Very bad – Far more negatives than positives across the weekend which a driver should be very disappointed with

4 – Underperformance – Driver failed to achieve the base level expected for a Formula 1 driver

5 – Average – The standard level of performance that should be expected from an F1 driver

6 – Good – A decent overall performance across the weekend, but not one of the best

7 – Very good – A strong performance that a driver should be very pleased with

8 – Brilliant – A truly great weekend where the driver stood out among the very best of the weekend

9 – Exceptional – An outstanding performance that ranks as one of the best, if not the best, of the season

10 – Legendary – One of the few greatest performances by a driver in the history of Formula 1



Max Verstappen – 8/10

Qualified: Pole (+4 places ahead of team mate, -0.358s)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Two-stop (S-H-S)
Finished: Winner (+1 place ahead of team mate)
Secured pole position by two tenths despite Ferrari being quicker in
Kept the lead off the line and escaped DRS range after lap two
Pulled away out front with superior race pace
Set fastest lap after final stop
Won by more than 20 seconds

Verstappen’s Bahrain Grand Prix weekend in 2024 felt so much like 2023’s event, viewers could be forgiven for wondering if FOM had simply shown last year’s race footage by mistake. Although it’s impossible to be sure just how much better the RB20 is than its competition after round one, the fact so many of his rivals mentioned how far ahead Verstappen was rather than specifically Red Bull is telling.

With pole, victory after leading every lap and setting the fastest lap, why not a 9 or 10 for the world champion? Mainly because he has the fastest car in the field ⮞ however slight that advantage may be ⮞ and could afford to pace himself through the grand prix. It was another ‘class of the field’ weekend from Verstappen, but by his own admission, everything went right for him in Bahrain.

Sergio Perez – 6/10

Qualified: 5th (-4 places behind team mate, +0.358s)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (S-H-S)
Finished: 2nd (-1 place behind team mate)
⮞ Secured top five start but was four places behind team mate in Q3
Got ahead of Sainz at the start
Passed Leclerc and Russell on track to gain second place
Could not match the pace of his team mate, finishing over 20 seconds behind

Perhaps the one driver in the field whose performance is hardest to judge. Perez absolutely had a ‘good’ weekend in Bahrain, achieving the base target that he and his team would have expected. He made some good moves to get there too, with his switchback manoeuvre on Russell at turn four one of the best passes of the race.

But, again, Perez was easily out-qualified and out-raced by his team mate in the same car – although, in fairness, that team mate is the reigning triple world champion. Until the next few races play out, it’s difficult to tell if Perez could have hoped to do much better or if Verstappen drastically overperformed.

Lewis Hamilton – 6/10

Qualified: 9th (-6 places behind team mate, +0.225s)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Two-stop (S-H-H)
Finished: 7th (-2 places behind team mate)
Lined up ninth on the grid, admitting his final Q3 lap “sucked”
Passed Alonso twice on track and undercut Piastri to pick up two places
⮞ Had to manage rising power unit temperatures through the race
⮞ Finished under five seconds behind team mate after closing over final stint

Not the best start to Hamilton’s final season with Mercedes as both parties admitted to have underperformed relative to their expectations. With the field so close behind Red Bull, he paid the price for not putting in a perfect Q3 lap. Hamilton set-up his car for the race but it was hard to tell as he failed to make much progress in the early laps. He did get stronger as the race progressed, but by then it was too late for him to make a bigger difference to his result.

George Russell – 7/10

Qualified: 3rd (+6 places ahead of team mate, -0.225s)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Two-stop (S-H-H)
Finished: 5th (+2 places ahead of team mate)
Secured third on the grid after PBs in all three sectors
Passed Leclerc on lap three to take second place
⮞ Hit with same power unit temperature struggles as team mate
⮞ Lost places to Sainz and Leclerc, falling to fifth
Finished two places and 3.5s ahead of team mate

Although it was not the weekend result that Russell or his team would have hoped for, the Mercedes driver should be satisfied with his performance. Finishing behind both Red Bulls and both Ferraris was perhaps as good a result as he realistically could have hoped for and he absolutely earns credit for beating Hamilton on Friday and Saturday as well as for appearing to manage his overheating problems effectively.

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Charles Leclerc – 7/10

Qualified: 2nd (+2 places ahead of team mate, -0.1s)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Two-stop (S-H-H)
Finished: 4th (-1 place behind team mate)
⮞ Secured second on the grid, but could’ve been on pole had he matched Q2 time
⮞ Struggled with braking imbalance problem from early laps
Undercut by Norris but overtook him and Russell to move back to fourth

Another disappointing start to a season for Leclerc, but at least he managed to finish this time around. Although it looked like he was making a series of driving errors through the grand prix, regularly running off track, Ferrari admitted he had been driving around a peculiar braking problem throughout the race. With that being the case, the fact he managed to pass Norris and Russell to finish directly behind his team mate is to his credit.

Carlos Sainz Jnr – 7/10

Qualified: 4th (-2 places behind team mate, +0.1s)
Start: -1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (S-H-H)
Finished: 3rd (+1 place ahead of team mate)
Lost a place to Perez on opening lap
Muscled by team mate and Russell in consecutive laps to move up to third
Kept largely within reach of Perez ahead to finish under three seconds behind him

It may not have been a thrilling race to watch for many fans, but Sainz certainly seemed to enjoy himself in Bahrain as he claimed the final podium position behind the two Red Bulls. It was well-deserved too, as he pulled off some well-judged moves to do so.

Despite a strong result, it’s hard to justify a higher rating. He was out-qualified by Leclerc and while he finished ahead of him, Leclerc did have a problem to contend with. Given that Ferrari appear to be the second-fastest team, third feels more like a ‘good’ result than a ‘great’ one.

Lando Norris – 7/10

Qualified: 7th (+1 place ahead of team mate, -0.069s)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Two-stop (S-H-H)
Finished: 6th (+2 places ahead of team mate)
⮞ Out-qualified team mate but felt a mistake cost him a front row start
Gained sixth by passing Alonso early on
⮞ Lacked pace to challenge cars ahead
Secured top six finish, two places and seven seconds ahead of team mate

It was good to see Lando Norris looking happy after a Bahrain Grand Prix for a change. Although McLaren may have started the season not as strong as they were at the end of last year, they at least know they were in the mix and Norris can be happy to have beaten a Mercedes to the flag as well as his team mate. But with such a competitive field, he needs to iron out these qualifying errors.

Oscar Piastri – 6/10

Qualified: 8th (-1 place behind team mate, +0.069s)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Two-stop (S-H-H)
Finished: 8th (-2 places behind team mate)
Struggled with balance in qualifying and lined up behind team mate and Alonso
Passed Alonso in early laps for seventh
⮞ Kept within five seconds of team mate until final stop for hards
⮞ Finished almost six seconds behind Hamilton and eight behind team mate

Kind of the textbook definition of a ‘good’ weekend. Piastri was behind his more experienced team mate in qualifying and the race, but was close enough at all times for McLaren to be more than satisfied that he had backed up Norris and contributed towards the team’s best start to a season for three years.

Fernando Alonso – 7/10

Qualified: 6th (+6 places ahead of team mate, -0.399s)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Two-stop (S-H-H)
Finished: 9th (+1 place ahead of team mate)
Surprised himself by securing a start on row three, ahead of McLarens and Hamilton
⮞ Lost three places over the opening stint to Norris, Piastri and Hamilton
⮞ Ran a long middle stint hoping for Safety Car and was one of the last to make second stop
Caught and overtook team mate with ten laps remaining to finish ninth

Not the start of the season that Alonso or Aston Martin would have been hoping for, but given the relative performance of their car, ninth place accurately reflected the team’s standing at the start of the season. Alonso was asked to try something different with the strategy and while it did not pay off, it didn’t cost him either. His qualifying performance with a single Q3 lap was strong, but he couldn’t keep those faster cars he out-qualified behind him in the race.

Lance Stroll – 6/10

Qualified: 12th (-6 places behind team mate, +0.399s)
Start: -7 places
Strategy: Two-stop (S-H-H)
Finished: 10th (-1 place behind team mate)
Failed to reach Q3 after being unable to match best Q1 lap in Q2
⮞ Fell to the back after being hit by Hulkenberg at turn one
Gained back several places through the undercut by pitting early in both stints
Passed Zhou to gain a points position, then overtaken by team mate on fresher tyres
⮞ Finished one place but almost 20 seconds behind team mate in tenth

Considering the fact that he was dead last half way around the opening lap, Stroll did a commendable job to finish in the points in tenth. It wasn’t his fault that he was spun around by Hulkenberg at turn one, but he kept his head down and managed his tyres well to move passed many of the midfield cars ahead of him. He may have been well behind Alonso at the finish, but in this instance there was little shame in that.

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Pierre Gasly – 5/10

Qualified: 20th (-1 place behind team mate, +0.155s)
Start: +3 places
Strategy: Three-stop (S-H-H-S)
Finished: 18th (-1 place behind team mate)
Eliminated slowest in Q1 after “messy” final out lap, but just a tenth behind his team mate
⮞ Matched pace with team mate ahead for majority of the race
⮞ Made third stop for softs, catching team mate on the final lap but finishing behind

A difficult start to the season for Gasly but there was not much more he could have reasonably expected to do given the relative slow speed of the Alpine. Although he could have delivered a better Q1 time, his pace in the race was virtually identical to his team mate. But with the slowest car in the field, your team mate is often the only one to race and Gasly was behind Ocon on both Friday and Saturday.

Esteban Ocon – 6/10

Qualified: 19th (+1 place ahead of team mate, -0.155s)
Start: +3 places
Strategy: Two-stop (S-H-H)
Finished: 17th (+1 place ahead of team mate)
⮞ Knocked out 19th in Q1 but out-qualified team mate
Undercut Ricciardo and Albon after first stop but could not keep them behind
⮞ Overtaken by Hulkenberg in closing laps to drop to 17th
Caught by team mate with fresher tyres on final lap but finished a second ahead

There was little that Ocon could do in Bahrain with Alpine making the smallest gains from last year out of any of the ten teams. Given he had the slowest car, he only target he could reasonably have was to beat Gasly. He did exactly that, both in qualifying and the race itself – but it was close.

Alexander Albon – 6/10

Qualified: 13th (+5 places ahead of team mate, -0.373s)
Start: +2 places
Strategy: Two-stop (S-H-H)
Finished: 15th (+5 places ahead of team mate)
Reached Q2, unlike team mate, and beat prediction of 15th by two places
⮞ Suffered from major overheating concerns all race, compromising his performance
⮞ Gradually reeled in pack of cars ahead in closing laps but ran out of time to challenge them

Albon’s opening race of the season was compromised by power unit temperatures reaching critical levels in his Williams, forcing him to do heavy management throughout the race. That meant he was unable to push as hard as he would like, but he was still within five seconds of 11th placed Zhou at the finish, which was respectable.

Logan Sargeant – 5/10

Qualified: 18th (-5 places behind team mate, +0.373s)
Start: +3 places
Strategy: Three-stop (S-H-H-S)
Finished: 20th (-5 places behind team mate)
⮞ Failed to follow team mate through into Q2 but suffered electrical problem on final push lap
Picked up three places on opening lap, then overtook Magnussen
⮞ Experienced same “critical” overheating problem as team mate
⮞ Suffered recurrence of electrical problem, dropping him to rear
⮞ Ran at the very back for the remainder of race but largely matched team mate’s pace

At face value, Sargeant’s weekend appeared to be a continuation of the struggles he had in his rookie season. However, Williams excused his Q1 exit with an electrical problem which evidently struck again early in the race, ruining his evening. However, despite having nothing to race for, Sargeant finished the race almost just as far behind Albon as he had been when leaving the pits after his steering wheel change, suggesting he has little to be ashamed of.

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Yuki Tsunoda – 6/10

Qualified: 11th (+3 places ahead of team mate, -0.149s)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (S-H-H)
Finished: 14th (-1 place behind team mate)
Just missed out of Q3 by a tenth-and-a-half, three places ahead of team mate
Overtaken by Magnussen and unable to pass him despite several laps of DRS
⮞ Asked to allow team mate through on softer tyres, doing so begrudgingly
⮞ Finished behind team mate as team opted not to revert positions
⮞ Made aggressive post-race move on team mate to voice his disapproval

For 51 laps of 57 in Bahrain, Yuki Tsunoda ran ahead of his team mate after out-qualifying him. Running on a second set of hard tyres for his final stint, Tsunoda seemed unable to get by Magnussen after being overtaken by him. Whether you agree with the decision to ask him to allow Ricciardo by or not, divebombing his team mate on the cooldown lap in frustration was not Tsunoda’s finest hour – although that has no bearing on his rating.

Daniel Ricciardo – 5/10

Qualified: 14th (-3 places behind team mate, +0.149s)
Start: Held position
Strategy: Two-stop (S-H-S)
Finished: 13th (+1 place ahead of team mate)
Knocked out of Q2 behind team mate after admitting to mistake on final push lap
Lost a place to Sargeant on lap two
⮞ Fitted new softs for final stint, catching team mate
⮞ Allowed through by team mate to attack Magnussen but failed to overtake
⮞ Finished ahead of team mate after not being asked to revert position

While Ricciardo’s opening race weekend of the season was perhaps underwhelming, he did not commit any egregious errors either. He may have caught up to his team mate in the later laps, but that was largely with the benefit of a fresh set of soft tyres. He did nothing wrong to warrant Tsunoda’s wrath after the chequered flag, but he also failed to pick off Magnussen despite having four laps to do so.

Valtteri Bottas – 6/10

Qualified: 16th (+1 place ahead of team mate, -0.001s)
Start: -2 places
Strategy: Two-stop (S-H-H)
Finished: 19th (-8 places behind team mate)
Reprimanded for crossing pit exit line in FP2 under red light
⮞ First car knocked out of Q1, out-qualifying team mate by one-thousandth
⮞ Caught up in turn one melee, suffering front wing damage
Overtook Gasly after first stop
⮞ Lost almost a full minute with cross-threaded nut during second stop, dropping him to 19th
⮞ Kept pace with team mate ahead until finish

Bottas endured a frustrating start to his 2024 campaign, but he was not particularly to blame for his disappointing result. Although missing Q2 would have been disappointing, he at least wasn’t out-qualified by any slower cars. In the race he was just unlucky, suffering damage at the start before an excruciating second pit stop effectively ended his race. Despite the troubles, he could at least be happy that he matched the pace of his team mate far ahead.

Zhou Guanyu – 7/10

Qualified: 17th (-1 place behind team mate, +0.001s)
Start: +4 places
Strategy: Two-stop (S-H-H)
Finished: 11th (+8 places ahead of team mate)
⮞ Knocked out of Q1, beaten by team mate in qualifying by the tiniest of margins
Avoided mess at turn one to gain four places
Kept out of DRS range of pack of cars behind to just miss out on a point in 11th

One of the better performers of the weekend, Zhou’s rise from 17th on the grid to 11th was one of the most outstanding results of Saturday. Although Sauber are not as strong as they would like, Zhou demonstrated strong race pace and consistency to finish ‘best of the rest’ behind the top five teams. If modern Formula 1 did not have such a high rate of reliability, Zhou likely would have scored his first points of the season at the first attempt.

Nico Hulkenberg – 6/10

Qualified: 10th (+5 places ahead of team mate, -0.678s)
Start: -10 places
Strategy: Three-stop (S-H-H-S)
Finished: 16th (-4 places behind team mate)
Reached Q3 at the first attempt but had no fresh softs left, qualifying tenth
Hit Stroll at turn one after poor start, forced to pit for new front wing
Recovered well, gaining back many positions despite no Safety Car to help
Passed Ocon in closing laps to finish 16th

Aside from the first corner of the race, Hulkenberg was one of the more eye-catching drivers over the Bahrain weekend. His qualifying performance was among the very best and after dropping to the rear in the early laps, his pace was superior to his team mate’s and many of those ahead. But he shot himself in the foot by bumping Stroll at the first corner, undoing so much of that good work.

Kevin Magnussen – 6/10

Qualified: 15th (-5 places behind team mate, +0.678s)
Start: +3 places
Strategy: Two-stop (S-H-H)
Finished: 12th (+4 places ahead of team mate)
Failed to follow team mate into Q3, knocked out slowest in Q2
Gained three places at the start, only one of which due to the turn one clash
Passed Tsunoda and team mate after final stop
Held Tsunoda, then Ricciardo at bay over closing laps to finish 12th

Magnussen had a solid start to the new season and would have come away feeling much more positive about Haas’ potential to fight this season. Although he underperformed in qualifying on Friday, his race was much stronger. He may not have scored points, but finishing ahead of both RBs and a Williams was a good afternoon’s work. His poor Friday performance prevents him from earning a higher score.

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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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85 comments on “2024 Bahrain Grand Prix weekend F1 driver ratings”

  1. I can’t say that Sainz and Leclerc were equally good last weekend. Issues are issues (some deal with them better, some worse), but Sainz had issues too. He just wasn’t as vocal about it, at least in the broadcast. Qualy doesn’t matter as much, because the only purpose of qualy is to have a better chance in the race; so who performs better in the race deserves more points in my opinion. 7 for Sainz is probably fair, but Leclerc should have one point less. He wasn’t as quick and he scored fewer points, plus he was overtaken by Sainz twice I believe.

    1. Stephen Taylor
      4th March 2024, 8:50

      Leclerc issues were wose.

      1. DieRooiGevaar
        4th March 2024, 11:00

        True, which just made it all the more obvious that Sainz would not only be fighting his team mate this year, but also his team. They knew about Leclerc’s issue from the start yet didn’t tell him to make way for Sainz? In fact they went as far as to actively fight Sainz’s progress by undercutting him.

        Could Sainz have achieved 2nd with his team’s backing?

    2. Carlos is usually underappreciated but his drive was the redeeming grace of yesterday’s race. Would have rated him 8 in spite of the stated reasons

    3. Yes – Carlos did well, whereas Charles did not. They both had problems. They may have been at a different level, but Carlos described well all of the things he did to alleviate the issue, like going off line when he was following someone to let the brakes cool a bit, whereas Charles just seemed frustrated. Please correct me if Charles was also thinking on his feet. To me it looks like Carlos was just smarter. Charles is usually faster, but that’s not always good enough. Just ask Mansell…

      As you say, six was good enough for Charles this time.

      1. If you are unable to see the big issues that Leclerc had then there is nothing we can do.

    4. Leclerc had a car pulling to the right and multiple lock ups. To finish 4th is impressive.

      Carlos was beaten in quali, between off the line and only passed Charles in an ailing Ferrari. The car was capable of finishing 3rd and he finished 3rd I don’t think it’s a great performance.

  2. Weird scale… Having the best car means you can’t get a 10? A Grand Chelem should always be a 10, it just doesn’t get any better than that. Doesn’t seem objective at all.

    1. If we picked out Max’s 10 most impressive races of the last year, this one wouldn’t be on the list

      So it makes sense it isn’t getting full marks.

      For another angle: Max’s race seemed roughly on a par with Carlos’s, for quality (maybe a touch less impressive as Carlos had the overtakes). Max had a much better qualifying, which is worth a mark out two – but that doesn’t get you to 10.

      He’ll just have to be satisfied with the highest mark of any driver.

    2. This is about rating the driver, not the complete team package.
      If the car is simply better than all the rest, is the driver really putting in the best performance of everyone?

      There is objectively correct way to make a list like this. It is nothing more than an opinion.

      1. DieRooiGevaar
        4th March 2024, 9:42

        I think finishing 20s ahead of your team mate takes care of the driver aspect of this. I don’t think that Red Bull is anywhere near as fast as Max makes it look.

        1. I think finishing 20s ahead of your team mate takes care of the driver aspect of this.

          But that only accounts for the two drivers in that one team, doesn’t it?
          Well, not even completely then – as it also ignores the fact that the team may have provided one driver a ‘better’ (more suitable) setup/balance than the other. This isn’t entirely within the control of the driver, but is a factor that contributes massively to their performance.
          Then there are the strategic differences and the fact that the two cars didn’t face the exact same traffic conditions in the race… Clean air/dirty air… There are many more factors, if you think about it.

          And I’d love to hear how you think a driver can make a car go faster than its theoretical/technical potential. Slower, sure – nobody extracts exactly 100% of their car’s potential over an entire lap.

      2. Max got pole, while someone else even was faster in Q2. So what Max did was being on point when it matters. With a car, that is optimized for race pace and not one lap performance. He nearly was 0.400s better than his team mate with the same care in quali. He had a brilliant start drove away like nothing else. Of course a car is important, but that shouldn’t undermine the drivers success to it. We always see the difference between Checo and Max and this is what makes the difference. This is why it is a 10/10, a Grand Slam. The biggest time gap between 1 and 2 and 1 and first other team since many many years. People always just say “it’s the car” simply forget always how bad Checo is driving this one, while he was handled as a great driver always, but now being put into place by Max consistency.

    3. There is no objectively correct way to make a list like this. Obviously.

    4. I agree with S, at some point, when you’re verstappen, or hamilton, or schumacher and so on and have a driver who’s not good enough to compete as team mate and a car comparable or stronger than the f2002 or 2004, you’re expected to do a grand slam.

      He basically did what he was supposed to do, 8 is fair.

    5. Tristan, this is ranking to assess driver performance, not their results.
      Also, it’s meant to assess them, not reward them.
      The results have already been assessed – each of the top-10 finishers has received championship points.
      Verstappen received the maximum score of 25 points for his race result. Go and enjoy that.
      Now we assess what kind of a performance on their part contributed to that result.

      “A Grand Chelem should always be a 10, it just doesn’t get any better than that. Doesn’t seem objective at all.”
      – Your statement makes no sense and you don’t seem to care about any level of objectivity at all.

      You could win a race in an Alpine, after battling a slow and unstable car requiring maximum skill and effort, and you can win a race by having a nice, easy time sitting in a RedBull. Those performances are not equal.

      1. Verstappen received the maximum score of 25 points for his race result. Go and enjoy that.

        Nope, wrong.
        A grand chelem means 26 points.

        1. if we’re being pedantic, what about a race where it’s rained off after 10 laps? A grand chelem wouldn’t mean 26 points there.

    6. A Grand Chelem should always be a 10, it just doesn’t get any better than that.

      In terms of points and domination of the event, yes.

      But this race is entirely forgettable. Nobody will talk about this in the future.

      There are races that years and even decades later people still refer to as examples of brilliance. Those are the 10s.

    7. The scale is as good as it can be. We can always criticize it. But I agree that when you have such a dominant car, it is hard to get a 10. In those cases, a 10 would be something extraordinary, unexpectedly remarkable. And in the current circumstances, VER does not seem to be doing that.

      This being said, I think HAM’s performance was poorer than 6, both in qualifying and during the race. Again, a matter of judgement, not the scale.

      1. Agreed, for Verstappen this was all he needed to do this weekend to get maximum points, but he is able to do more if needed. So that would make it a stretch to reward him with a 10 in this case. This was not a legendary performance by the driver. In Brazil 2016 he didn’t win but in my view that could have been a 9 or 10.

      2. If you don’t think a grand chelem is mighty impressive, I can’t agree with whatever else you typed.

        1. How is a grand chelem impressive when you just have to beat your team mate because you have by far the fastest car? It’s routine in these circumstances.

          1. That is stretching everything a bit too much. Leading every lap doesn’t happen every race.

            Which begs the question of how do you know what is making the difference in the end especially when a car has good enough advantage to win. Winning is the expectation, scoring a grand slam isn’t.

            Add to that weird qualifying conditions, gets pole with second fastest car over a lap given Leclerc’s final Q3 run.

            Then dominates from beginning to end.

            This is easily a 9/10 performance, as good as his Spa 2022 performance. There is far more reason to believe the car was significantly ahead of the competition in that race than in Bahrain.

    8. The rating system is described in the start:

      “10 – Legendary – One of the few greatest performances by a driver in the history of Formula 1”

      1. What examples would we put in the 10 category then? If you have the fastest car on the grid, you’re almost automatically out of the running, unless some stroke of misfortune meant you had to recover from that.

        My thoughts:
        Senna – Monaco 1984
        Senna – Donington 93
        Senna – Suzuka 88 – questionable because he had the fastest car on the grid, which almost automatically rules it out of the running.
        Hamilton – Silverstone 08 – maybe.
        Raikkonen – Japan 2005 – maybe.
        Mansell – Hungary 89 – maybe.

        1. Schumacher spain 1996, surely.

      2. In the end much of these “legendary” performance are also based on the hype surrounding the event. There needs to be a sense of expectation and general sense of disbelief after the performance.

        You can keep delivering great races every weekend but it can simply go unnoticed because it’s not going to make people go in disbelief. ‘

    9. Unfortunately it’s the same issue we had with Hamilton. He had a dominant car for most of his best years in F1 and only had to pull out an 8/10 in order to win comfortably. We’re seeing the same with Verstappen now sadly so instead of seeing arguably the best driver in the world pushing to his limit, we’re just seeing him cruise around comfortably. It’s like if Messi spent his entire career playing in the MLS instead of competing in the Champions League…

      It’s easy to be consistent and to not make any mistakes when you’re driving well within your capabilities but as we saw in 2021, once the pressure ramps up, it’s a different story. Unless you’re under that sort of pressure, I don’t think a 10/10 is a possibility.

      1. He had a dominant car for most of his best years in F1 and only had to pull out an 8/10 in order to win comfortably.

        I might be wrong here, but I could swear I remember Hamilton receiving higher than 8’s…

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          4th March 2024, 13:25

          I don’t believe the rating system has been around for that long.

          1. I took over the ratings and introduced my current system for the first race weekend in 2022.

          2. @willwood It might be interesting if you could find the time to make an article listing a bunch of 9/10 or even 10/10 races. Not an exhaustive list – that’d probably be a book – but seeing which legendary races would get that rating would give some useful comparisons to the current impressive, but largely forgettable, performances Verstappen puts in.

            To be sure, it’s not his fault that he can cruise to wins. But I suspect he’d agree that a race like last weekend’s isn’t particularly memorable.

          3. I guess it’s just a rating system. It would be too much work to try and explain it to perfection. Eight would be pretty stellar in most people’s books. I reckon that Max is making an already good car look much better, especially in qualifying. If this cannot be seen, can it be rated? Let’s see how qualifying goes for the rest of the season. At least one of the Ferraris should be able to beat Max regularly (the one with Charles in it, with occasional poles from Carlos). I think Max puts pressure on himself to get poles even though third should be good enough to win enough races to retain the championship. The main risk is starting near dangerous (or robust if you consider them that) drivers like Russell, Lewis, (sometimes) Carlos and Lance. He should be safe from the likes of Ocon, Magnussen, Gasly and Yuki, at least.

      2. Isn’t the fact that he is dominating without breaking a sweat an extraordinary feat on its own? Funny how the “but he drives the fastest car” crowd never seemed to bother with that fact whenever a certain fashion enthusiast was doing all the winning.

        1. At least Max is regularly putting a car that perhaps shouldn’t be quite good enough for pole on pole. The car’s advantage in the race is formidable, of course. The rubbish tyres that Goodyear and the others refuse to make are the problem.

          Unlike the 2005 anti-Schumacher tyre rules, letting tyre companies make good tyres to bring in other manufacturers would be a positive development, and might throw the non-Red Bull companies a lifeline. Bring back refuelling, too. If they’re concerned about safety they could leave a fire extinguisher lying around the pit lane somewhere.

  3. Richard Jones
    4th March 2024, 8:06

    With all my respect, Sainz was doing better than Leclerc, it seems some driver have always some kind of extra credit. First he complain of oversteering, then the brakes, then he was able to pass Russel!! Sainz has also issues with brakes and not complain.

    1. Stephen Taylor
      4th March 2024, 8:51

      Leclercs brake issues were more severe though.

      1. Coventry Climax
        4th March 2024, 13:32

        Because he moaned harder about them?
        Do we have Ferrari’s official ‘scale of brake issues severity’ figures and accompanying graph at hand to compare the extent of their problems?

        1. Yes you have. Ferrari said the differential between brakes temperature increased to 100ºC and remained somewhat that way but when it stopped increasing Leclerc could know what the car will do on next braking zone and act accordingly. The lockups in first 20 laps was that the car was behaving different in each heavy breaking.

  4. 6/10 seems high for Hulkenberg after having the worst and most dangerous lap of the weekend.

    Hamilton was marked down to 6/10 for a quali lap that was a few tenths slow (and I agree with this);

    So Hulkenberg, who had an opening lap where he caused a crash and ruined two drivers’ races, should probably be lower.

  5. Alpines_Expert
    4th March 2024, 8:20

    Lando himself told he could have been P2 in Q, ended up P7 but it never matters for the rating as long as he is cute and smiling in interviews. Having same rating for Sainz and Lando is even more pathetic – one is on podium, other was nowhere.

    1. Lando ‘what could have been’ Norris. Lando needs to just start putting it all together

  6. Most impressed: VER, SAI, & STR
    Most disappointing: HAM, TSU, & HUL

    1. I find hulkenberg excessive, he had a great qualifying.

    2. There is no disappointment when there is no appointment at all first

    3. notagrumpyfan
      4th March 2024, 10:27

      I guess you’re ‘impressed’ with Stroll, because of low expectations.
      Overall Alonso still performed better (same car) during the event I’d say.

      1. @esploratore1 – I was prepared for a counter-argument response & I was initially skeptical about him because of a good qualifying, but ultimately his unforced error in trying to make up for a bad getaway more or less undid all that, similar to Zhou in Hungary, so that’s why I ultimately added him among my least impressed ones.

        notagrumpyfan – No, but because of how well he managed to comeback after dropping last through someone else’s error, so I felt he’s note-worthy among impressed ones.

        1. Yes, this makes sense, points are given in the race after all, a bad mistake can ruin a good qualifying.

    4. Short and Perfect.

    5. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      4th March 2024, 15:21

      @jerejj I’d cut Alonso and Hamilton some slack. He took a chance and it backfired. Once the race started, he was probably just thinking about the whole season and the fact that it’s already over. Same for Alonso.

      These guys don’t want to fight for P2 with less than 50% of the points of P1 and no victories allowed.

      Russell wants to outscore Lewis and lead Mercedes into the future so every point matters.

      Once Hamilton saw that the Merc has the same pace as McLarens with the Ferrari and Red Bulls faster, this may as well have been a horror movie for him. Same for Fernando who amazingly managed not to finish P20 given the circumstances. He must have been sobbing in the car and saying “Me too Lewis… Me too”

      1. I thought Lewis did okay in the race. Not good enough to be considered one of the stand-outs, but he can still string the laps together to make a good stint and work his way up. Hopefully his talk and venting is just that. I’m not a fan of his, but his talent should not be drowned out by frustration. Now he’s no longer the golden boy at Mercedes perhaps someone will tell him to just shut up and drive. Might be just the motivation he needs!

  7. wow what does VER have to do to getter higher than 8/10 ?
    Lap the whole field?

    1. Why do you insist on him having to get anything higher than an 8/10?
      It’s a silly demand. Stop treating that score as some sort of award.

      1. Every score is a reward.

      2. notagrumpyfan
        4th March 2024, 10:29

        The upside of opening up the higher (and lower) end of the scoring range is to better differentiate between the performance of each driver.

    2. Or at least entertain us a little (his drive was otherwise perfect, but this he did not)

    3. He has to put in a flawless performance in a difficult race where there is lots of pressure. He didn’t have to overtake anyone, he didn’t have to defend against anyone (other than at the start), he was able to easily gap the field in a car faster than the rest…. It sounds weird to say he did a perfect job but doesn’t deserve a 10/10 but it depends what you’re judging it against. For a 10/10, you have to be able to say that was one of the best drives ever in F1 and it wasn’t even close – because it didn’t have to be.

      It’s one of the major downsides to domination – we rarely got to see Hamilton at his best because it wasn’t required and we’re rarely getting to see Max at his best either.

    4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      4th March 2024, 13:27

      wow what does VER have to do to getter higher than 8/10 ?
      Lap the whole field?

      He probably could have done that with that car.

    5. Jockey Ewing
      4th March 2024, 16:27

      I have no particular problem with the rating system, other types or more linear systems have their own weak points too, like awarding 9.5s and 10s every week for multiple participants, and not having a numerical distinction for performances above super or brilliant.

      Also as I see, around and after the Schumacher era, partially due to the reliability-related tech rules the “we lap everyone as many times as we can, just because it is possible with our package” approach desiappeared. Most likely there is an optimal gap to pull (like to protect themselves agaist a late race problem, like a spin, incident on lapping someone, puncture), maybe some teams even asked someone who is good at mathematical optimization to research it, and they do not go for more. There is no point to damage the power unit, just to finish 50 secs ahead instead of 20, to recover from a medium sized off track excursion, with x% probability 20 secs gap is most often enough, and if not, you still have spared the machinery. So imo, as many changes in F1 over the decades, this has a skewing nature on statistics as well. Statistics is nice, can do wonders in many cases when it comes to optimizing something -even at first sight shockingly complex systems, if enough data is available-, but definitely not a religion to follow imo.

  8. Thanks for adding the clarification to the ratings, makes these ratings much easier to understand

  9. Verstappen could negotiate world peace whilst racing and RaceFans still wouldn’t give him more than 9/10!

    1. That’d be funny. He’s an amazing driver, but wouldn’t make a good diplomat. If he could overcome this to achieve world peace then they could at least consider a 10 before electing to give him a six and “Newey” a ten.

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      4th March 2024, 15:13

      yeah, he’s probably more likely to start World War III especially with Jos behind him :-)

  10. Thank you for including the guide in the beginning of the article. Hopefully people would read it resulting in a reduction of complaints in the comments such as “what does a man need to do to get a 10 around these pages”.

    1. Allerd Hobers
      4th March 2024, 11:56

      Indeedio!

    2. I apologise for not considering doing it sooner.

  11. Hmm…

    Max was great and it’s amazing he can get poles in what clearly is not a qualifying car. Yes, others make mistakes. He makes fewer of them. His consistency is scary. A one point deduction for having the better racing car would be enough. Perez can be decent at managing his pace and tyres and he seemed to do okay in the race. The pace difference between them is still a reasonable indication of what other drivers might expect if they end up racing against Max.

    Perez is harder to judge, alright, and this is a fair assessment. He’s in the best car. Is it too kind to say that he should be next after the Ferraris and Max, so he was about where you might expect other than for George pulling one out of the bag?

    Lewis: Probably fair again. Lewis can be hard to judge, too. No matter what happens in terms of bad luck or mistakes, he usually shows a turn of pace somewhere in the race that means he suffers little in terms of points. Bahrain was okay for damage limitation. Needs to put it together next time.

    George: Again a fair rating. Will be interesting to see if he can establish himself as Mr. “Saturday” this year. He should be doing this or making up some of the pace gap between himself and Lewis this year if he’s to lead the team. I’d guess that who Mercedes gets for 2025 will depend on whether George is going to be their man… or remain a journeyman.

    Charles: He’s a very likeable young man, but he didn’t show much in the race, so his rating is too generous. I don’t think it’s harsh to expect someone to have to sparkle in some way to get a seven. He was hardly stuck in 5th gear! Carlos had a similar issue. Was it less pronounced, or did the things Carlos did to manage the issue help him to pace himself better? Charles and Carlos have been almost inseparable when it comes to points. Charles is usually faster, but he needs to work on consistency and intelligence if he’s to beat Carlos properly in their last year together at Ferrari.

    Carlos: He sparkled where Charles did not, so this is a fair rating. He spoke well at all times in the press conferences and it was interesting to hear what he did to address his brake problem, including going off line to get some cooler air in when he was following someone. Good stuff, Carlos. Only one race down, but it’s nice to be the second best driver on the grid for at least a little while. If he can up his pace this year, he may become one of the more complete of the current crop of younger drivers.

    Lando: Mistake in qualifying… again, and fairly anonymous in the race. Good at attracting high ratings in spite of his form. He did well enough, which is a six for me.

    Oscar: Yes, fair enough. Didn’t do as well as Lando, but I’m not sure the performance difference was enough to have one point separate them.

    Alonso: Did very well in qualifying. A little risky to try only one lap at the end, but they probably knew their place was around ninth and tenth so it was smart to do the lap when he had the track to himself. He was fairly anonymous otherwise. Good pace at the end, but a six would be a fairer rating. Putting in a good qualifying lap and then dropping back is not the thing sevens are made of.

    Lance: I’m not sure quite where he came from after going to the back. Perhaps the Astons are much faster then everyone except the top four. That would make for a depressing season, as they take ninth and tenth places and have to rely on the misfortune of others to do better. Maybe Lance had one of his occasional super days? I don’t know.

    Gasly and Ocon: Ocon qualified by enough to show a difference. Ultimately their fortunes seemed similar and they didn’t get to show a lot. I’d both give them an average rating, although I didn’t get to see them much.

    Alex: Did he do well enough in qualifying to warrant a six? The jury is out and it’s difficult to say quite how good he is when his team mate might continue to make the car look worse than it is.

    Logan: Maybe fair. I’ll accept the team’s excuses for now.

    Yuki: I’ve liked Yuki, but this was disgraceful behaviour. I know that there will be a Honda man in a Red Bull car while they have the engine. Yuki can be fast, but I think it’s time for Honda to consider sending another man to them for next year. Give someone else a chance to shine in a Red Bull car. 4/10

    Daniel: Yeah. Needs to qualify better. Red Bull “only” has four seats and Max, Lawson, Perez and whoever Honda’s man is are looking like the drivers for 2025. If Perez shows himself to be a safe pair of hands could he remain alongside Max? Would the company consider the loyalty he has shown them to be worth offering him a position in RB if they want a more competitive driver to keep Max interested in F1? Could Perez take up some other role with Red Bull and retire? Daniel does have some say in this if he improves, but it may depend on what Perez wants to do it he does okay this year.

    Bottas: Did he hit Hulkenberg multiple times or just once? Did he hit Hulkenberg before Hulk hit Stroll? I find it difficult to see that, even in the replays. I’d give him an average rating.

    Zhou: Maybe this is about right. Didn’t see as much of him as Sainz, but I did watch Yuki chase him before Zhou pitted, expecting him to pass. Zhou seemed to be driving quite well to stay ahead. Did he have a sparkling race, or just keep out of trouble and do a good job, though?

    Hulkenberg: Rating would vary depending on the chain of events that lead to him hitting Stroll. Brilliant in qualifying. Should be in a better team.

    Magnussen: Like Zhou, I think he did a good job, stayed out of trouble and was rewarded for it. Six is a fair rating for this.

    1. Of course, Bottas’ rating would go down below par if he initiated the contact.

    2. Thought Leclerc was more aggressive than was necessary against Carlos. He needed to lay down a marker with Max after being pushed around a bit too much in their exchanges last seasons, but why risk colliding with your team mate when he’s faster and you have a problem?

  12. This race was so dull that if everybody got 6, but Max and Sainz 7 or 8, it’s fine by me.

  13. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    4th March 2024, 15:03

    Charles just doesn’t do it for me as a driver. He’s phenomenally talented but he just doesn’t have the fight in him. He has yet to take a stand against Max, his biggest contemporaneous rival.

    He needs to own that track. He doesn’t have to drive like Max and go diagonally or smash into everyone as if he’s the only driver on track (Silverstone and last year with Russell) but he has to let him know that passing him will cost him dearly.

    As a driver, every moment you meet another driver on track sets the tone for future meetings where it may matter. No driver makes that more apparent than Alonso and the lengths he will go to slow down Hamilton. We may find it dangerous (brake testing) or exorbitant (Hungary) but it’s what Charles needs to do.

    Charles needs to nut up and stand his ground…

    1. Agree, consider their situation too: leclerc, based on 2023, had to know he wouldn’t be fighting for the title, while verstappen would be the favourite for it, so who has less to lose? In case they crash, leclerc won’t mind ending 3rd or 4th or whatever, but it could cost verstappen the title potentially.

      Hard with perez as a team mate ofc, but that’s a reason for leclerc to defend more aggressively.

  14. divebombing his team mate on the cooldown lap in frustration was not Tsunoda’s finest hour – although that has no bearing on his rating.

    This I do not agree with. For me the weekend doesn’t stop 1 meter after the finish line. When a driver willfully puts himself, other drivers and cars at risk on the cooldown lap, I think that should have impact on the ratings. I don’t know how this is handled within the RB organization, but so far I think he got off easy for this.

    1. Exactly. What does Honda think of this? They should consider putting someone else in Yuki’s place for dishonourable conduct.

  15. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    4th March 2024, 15:33

    Well, it turns out that the Bahrain 2024 race will be remembered as one of the best horror movies of all time as Alonso, Hamilton, Gasly, and Ocon will confirm.

    After the 2 hour race, all 4 agreed that they lost at least 1 year of their lives :-)

    The Ferrari drivers enjoyed the scares and thrills, Russell was upbeat about the sequels despite the impossibility of a happy ending, Verstappen won the Oscar for best actor, Perez was also nominated for best actor in a supporting role, the Red Bull Studio appeared united while maintaining separate camps.

    The Papaya orange team weren’t sure what to make of it. The neon green cinematography was a tad blatant and didn’t get as many scares as intended. It was also noted that some Australian and Japanese members in the audience kept unnecessarily talking towards the end of the movie making it even more difficult to follow the non-existent plot.

    1. Ahah, that’s a good one!

  16. When Lewis said his seat had broke, why did the stewards not give him a black & orange flag so it could be checked?

  17. Not too hard to agree with most scores, but when 8 is a perfect weekend and 5 is a mild performance, 80% of the grid is either a 6 or a 7. Sainz, Leclerc, Alonso, Norris, Russell, Zhou. Some are closer to 6 than 7. As Perez is much closer to a 7 than many other drivers in the 6 bucket. This scoring lacks resolution, other than that, fun read to agree and disagree.

  18. 5 for the whole field for letting F1 down
    Max score is fine and Perez should get -5 for being the most lacklustre teammate of all time.

  19. Not saying I would have ranked exactly the same, but the only stand out thing for me is rating YT over DN. It may be hard to argue DR should be higher (Though I’m unsure strategy alone would have seen him closer to YT than than the starting positions) but they should at least be the same.

  20. Lando

    – Out-qualified team mate but felt a mistake cost him a front row start
    … But with such a competitive field, he needs to iron out these qualifying errors.

    Lando appears to be mentioning these qualifying errors all too often, but is it any different to any other driver? It is very rare to hear a driver say they did the perfect lap, maybe Oscar made some errors too?? To say his errors cost him a front row start; that seems a tad optimistic.
    To me it seems like Lando is managing our expectations i.e. The reason Oscar is so close is because I made an error, in someways he is trying to convince us all that he is a lot better than it seems. Other drivers make these mistakes but don’t go on about it, it’s what happens when you try to push the boundaries and extract the absolute maximum possible. I think it’s time he took a leaf out of Lance’s book and let his on-track performance do the talking.

    1. Yes. When it comes to Lando and Charles they seem overly critical of themselves. This can be a virtue, but not in a competitive sport where you should cultivate an aura of invincibility, or a lack of concern for these things. Still think Lando was rated too highly. If I’m wrong I blame him for repeatedly telling me that he’s error prone.

  21. I wanted to say I like that you clarified what the marks stand for, it makes more sense now, and as I had mentioned in the past, this seems to confirm that a 5 here is not the typical failing grade, it could be considered sufficient.

  22. Excellent race from Charles with a car pulling to the right, left under breaking.

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