Formula One

2023 Italian GP driver ratings – A close look at who excelled and who struggled

Max Verstappen and Carlos Sainz both receive good marks in the 2023 Italian GP driver ratings.
Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

A thrilling race with plenty of battles took place in Monza today, as Max Verstappen took victory once again, in front of the packed grandstands that were cheering for Ferrari. Let’s take a dive into the race, as we look into the 2023 Italian GP driver ratings.

Max Verstappen: 1st – 9

For the tenth race in a row, no one could deny Max Verstappen the race victory. Despite not taking pole position on Saturday, he was able to turn things around and break the record for consecutive victories. He was patient behind Sainz for fifteen laps and, after a couple of efforts, he seized the opportunity when the Spaniard made an error. He was then able to cruise home until the chequered flag.

Sergio Perez: 2nd – 8.5

Sergio Perez qualified fifth and spent much of the opening stint in that position, behind George Russell. He was able to pick off the British driver, as well as both Ferrari drivers, calmly to rise to second and help his team achieve its sixth 1-2 of the year. The gap between the teammates has grown to 146 points, but that will be a small worry for the Mexican, who is trying to regain his form.

Carlos Sainz: 3rd – 8.5

On a very important race for Ferrari, Carlos Sainz gave the Tifosi what they wanted, a podium on home soil. It was a race full of fights for the Spaniard, who could do nothing about the faster Red Bulls, despite trying hard. He was able to fend off his teammate in the end though, for his first podium of the season.

Charles Leclerc: 4th – 7.5

On any other weekend, fourth position would be okay for Leclerc, but not in Monza. He was behind his teammate for most of the sessions and he only caught up in qualifying, where he ended up third, just 63 thousandths of a second off of pole position. His late race efforts to claim a podium finish were thrilling to say the least, but he couldn’t pull off an overtake in the end.

George Russell: 5th – 8

A good weekend from George Russell, who placed his Mercedes higher than it was projected. He was in the spotlight while defending from Perez for the opening part of the race, but he had a very quiet second half, in which the only noteworthy event was a penalty for cutting the first chicane. This was the first time he beats his teammate since Austria, something he needs to make a more consistent occurrence.

Lewis Hamilton: 6th – 7

Lewis Hamilton struggled for the whole weekend, even in comparison to Russell. In the end he was able to make his alternative strategy work, as a late race recovery on medium tyres saw him rise from ninth to sixth. He also earned a penalty after contact with Piastri at the second chicane, but it did not affect him in the end, as he opened the gap to the cars behind.

Alex Albon: 7th – 9

Another excellent performance from Alex Albon, on a track where Williams were expected to do well. He spent most of the race defending from the McLaren drivers, which he succeeded in. His second stint was especially tough, with Norris right on his tail, but he held him back. He couldn’t do the same with Hamilton though, thus dropping out of the top six.

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Photo by Hoch Zwei / Icon Sport

Lando Norris: 8th – 6.5

Lando Norris had a quiet race, up until the second stint of the race. A small contact with his teammate could have had led to much worse consequences, but damage to his floor was narrowly avoided. He spent the second stint under the rear wing of Albon, but surprisingly he did not take any big risks, as he is usually does. It could have been a better result from him and McLaren though.

Fernando Alonso: 9th – 6.5

Heading into the weekend, Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin knew they were in for a tough weekend in the long straights of Monza. Those fears were confirmed and the Spaniard scored a ninth-place finish, his equal worse of the season. He was never a real threat for more points and he was helped by Piastri having to pit for a new front wing. Singapore is expected to be much better though.

Valtteri Bottas: 10th – 9.5

As Williams have scored big points in both races after the summer break, Alfa Romeo are focusing in the fight for eighth in the constructors championship. Today, Valtteri Bottas finished tenth to move his team one point behind Haas, after a great race. He came from fourteenth on the grid to score, taking advantage of mistakes and wrong strategies from others around him.

Liam Lawson: 11th – 9

After a chaotic debut weekend in Zandvoort, this was the first real test for Liam Lawson and the Kiwi excelled. A great qualifying effort meant he would start thirteenth and a good race pace put him in contention for points. He was put on a two-stop strategy, in contrast to the cars ahead, and he finished six second behind Bottas, narrowly missing out on his maiden points. A great effort nonetheless.

Oscar Piastri: 12th – 5.5

Oscar Piastri had a rough end to his race, as contact with Hamilton damaged his front wing dropped him from fifth to eleventh. That front wing damage could have occurred earlier, when he was racing with his teammate, but it was luckily avoided. A post-race penalty for cutting the track dropped him one more place, but it didn’t really matter.

Logan Sargeant: 13th – 4

For a while, it looked as though Logan Sargeant was going to finally score his first F1 points. A late race drop-off in pace though meant he was unable to do so. Even before the race, Monza was his best opportunity to score and the rest of the season will be an uphill struggle for him, as he tries to secure a place for 2023.

Guanyu Zhou: 14th – 5.5

On a day his teammate scored, Guanyu Zhou will be disappointed to only finish fourteenth. An elimination from Q1 was a bad first step and the race did not go much better as he made little progress. A second stop did not pay off for him and fourteenth was the best he could do.

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Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

Pierre Gasly: 15th – 4

Alpine struggled all weekend long and Pierre Gasly was limited in what he could achieve this weekend. A Q1 elimination was the start of a bad weekend for the Frenchman, who could do no better than fifteenth today, as he was a non-factor all the way through.

Lance Stroll: 16th – 2

Even with the car not suiting the track and his misfortunes on Friday, when he didn’t complete any timed laps, this weekend was a disaster for Lance Stroll. He qualified dead last and finished sixteenth, no less than forty seconds behind his teammate. This season has been a disappointment and today was no different.

Nico Hulkenberg: 17th – 5

It was the usual story of 2023 for Nico Hulkenberg and Haas in Monza. A good qualifying effort, in thirteenth, came undone on Sunday, as the car struggled with tyre overheating once again and fell far down the order to finish seventeenth.

Kevin Magnussen: 18th – 3

Kevin Magnussen had similar struggles with his teammate in the race, but -much like many other races in 2023- he was nowhere near him in qualifying. He could only manage nineteenth in qualifying and his Saturday performances need to be resolved.

Esteban Ocon: DNF – 4

Not much can be said for Esteban Ocon’s performance in Monza, as the Alpine was uncompetitive in the high-speed circuit. He ran far down the order for most of the race and eventually retired because of steering issues.

Yuki Tsunoda: DNS – 5

Yuki Tsunoda did not even get to start the race today, as an engine failure halted his car on the formation lap. From eleventh on the grid, we reckon that the Japanese driver would have at least been in the fight against Bottas for a point, his fourth of the year.

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