Formula One

2023 Belgian GP Sprint Driver Ratings – A close look at who excelled and who struggled

Oscar Piastri leading Pierre Gasly through Eau Rouge.
Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

Despite some delays because of the rain, an entertaining Sprint took place today in Spa-Francorchamps. With an early switch from wet tyres to intermediate for the whole field in the first two laps, the order was somewhat scrambled, so let’s take a look at how everyone performed today.

The ratings take only the Sprint Shootout and Sprint race into account, so yesterday’s performance in qualifying for the Grand Prix will not be a factor.

Max Verstappen – 1st: 9

An excellent display in difficult conditions for Max Verstappen. In the country of his birth, the championship leader pipped Piastri by just 11 thousandths of a second to claim pole position. His race got harder when he stayed out an extra lap on wet tyres, but he overtook the rookie nevertheless and marched to a comfortable victory.

Oscar Piastri – 2nd: 10

An excellent day for Oscar Piastri, who only just missed out on pole by Verstappen. He even led early on, for the first time in his Formula 1 career, but he could do nothing to hold the Dutchman behind him. A second-place finish was the best possible result today and he claimed it with ease.

Pierre Gasly – 3rd: 10

Another perfect drive was the one of Pierre Gasly. The Alpine driver had a good Shootout and started sixth, before gaining three places in the pitstop cycle. Despite some pressure from Perez and Hamilton, he was able to hold them off and step on the podium, for the first time in Alpine colours.

Carlos Sainz – 4th: 6

What looked like bad race for Ferrari and Carlos Sainz was salvaged in the end. The Spaniard started third, but a slow stop dropped him to sixth. However, he was able to benefit from Perez dropping back and Hamilton taking a penalty to claim back up to fourth for five valuable points.

Charles Leclerc – 5th: 5

Not much to say about the race of Charles Leclerc, which was practically a carbon copy of his teammates’ one. A slow stop and three lost places for the Monegasque at the beginning of the race, before claiming back two of those to finish fifth.

Lando Norris – 6th: 5

A quiet day in the office for Lando Norris, while his teammate was at the front. The Brit had a mediocre qualifying and started seventh. He finished there in the race, but he was able to pick up one position as a result of Hamilton’s penalty and scored three points today.

Lewis Hamilton – 7th: 6

On a day he showed very good pace, it was all pretty much undone by a penalty for Lewis Hamilton. He qualified fourth and lost a position after the stops. He tried to pass Perez and understeered into the side of the Red Bull, damaging its sidepod. He held onto fourth for the remainder of the race and lost three positions since he earned a five-second penalty as a result of clashing with Perez.

George Russell – 8th: 6

Having qualified eighth and dropping back to twelfth after the stops, George Russell looked like he was not going to score any points today. However, a great recovery saw him climb back up to eighth for one point.

Esteban Ocon – 9th: 5.5

A very quiet day for Esteban Ocon, who started ninth, but failed to make any impact in terms of scoring points and thus finished right where he started.

Daniel Ricciardo – 10th: 9

An excellent day for Daniel Ricciardo, in his second weekend back in Formula 1. Having qualified eleventh, he was a beneficiary during the change from wets to intermediates and he was up to ninth. With Perez getting in the gravel, a points-paying opportunity seemed very realistic for the Australian, but that was lost after Russell overtook him towards the end, with Ocon following suit.

Lance Stroll – 11th: 5

Lance Stroll was the only driver who gambled on slick tyres during SQ2 and it proved to be the wrong choice. The Canadian crashed and ruined his session, as well as his teammate’s, who was unable to complete a timed lap because of the red flags that were brought out. His race was better and he climbed up to eleventh, but no points scored today for the team overall.

A crash for Lance Stroll puts brings his score down in the 2023 Belgian GP Sprint Driver Ratings
Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

Alexander Albon – 12th: 7

An anonymous race for Alex Albon, who was one of the drivers who finished in their starting position despite the early pitstop chaos. Hopes were high given the conditions and the layout of the circuit, which suits the Williams, but it would take a miracle for points to be scored today on pace.

Valtteri Bottas – 13th: 7

Starting from seventeenth, not much was expected today from Valtteri Bottas and Alfa Romeo, who were unable to show the pace that impressed everyone in Hungary. Thirteenth at the chequered flag was a very respectable result though.

Kevin Magnussen – 14th: 6.5

A very rough stretch continues for Kevin Magnussen this weekend, but the race today showed some promise. Fourteenth was a good result for the Dane, who has been lacking overall this season in comparison to his teammate.

Zhou Guanyu – 15th: 5

A bad qualifying session meant Zhou Guanyu would start in second-to-last, but he showed some good progress in the race, despite being last when the safety car entered the pits. He gained two places on track, as well as another one post-race to get classified in fifteenth.

Logan Sargeant – 16th: 6

With pressure ahead of next season increasing, Logan Sargeant needs to show good pace and he did that today. Despite a spin in qualifying he was able to start from thirteenth and he finished one position lower than that. A penalty for speeding was a dark spot though and it cost him two places in the end.

Nico Hulkenberg – 17th: 4

Nico Hulkenberg started last after Haas made a perplexing decision to pit him towards the end of SQ1, meaning he missed the chequered flag and did not record a timed lap. The race did not go well either for the German, who was only able to take the chequered flag in seventeenth position.

Yuki Tsunoda – 18th: 3.5

On a day his teammate excelled, Yuki Tsunoda had a bad day. He lost to Ricciardo after getting eliminated in the Shootout and then spun heading to the safety car restart, dropping to last. The rest of the race showed little progress and he will be hoping for something good tomorrow.

Sergio Perez – DNF: 2.5

A disastrous sprint race for Sergio Perez having qualified eighth, he benefitted from the pitstop cycle at the start and gained four positions. After the safety car intervention though, he was really lacking grip. Contact with Hamilton damaged his sidepod and certainly didn’t help matters, but he was passed by three cars in quick succession, before driving into the gravel and losing any chance of a points finish.

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Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

Fernando Alonso – DNF: 2

Fernando Alonso turned 42 years old today, but his birthday was the only reason to celebrate today. He would start 15th after he was caught out by his teammate crashing towards the end of SQ2. As for the race, he spun on the third lap and it was game over, as he was beached on the gravel.

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