Formula One

2023 Qatar GP driver ratings: A deep dive in drivers’ performances at Lusail

The podium of the race, with three of the driver with high grades in the Qatar GP driver ratings
Photo by ANP / Icon Sport

On a tricky weekend where tyres were a big talking point, we witnessed a lot of action in Lusail. There is a lot to unpack from the race, so let’s do it via the Qatar GP driver ratings.

Max Verstappen – 1st: 10

From pole position to victory, Max Verstappen celebrated his third World Championship with his thirteenth victory of the season. The Dutchman was unchallenged for the entirety of the race and he sailed to a comfortable win, leading every lap on his way home and scoring the fastest lap too.

Oscar Piastri – 2nd: 9

A day after winning the Sprint, Oscar Piastri completed a brilliant weekend with a second-place finish. The rookie was rightfully disappointed when his qualifying lap got deleted and he dropped three places to sixth, but he was up to second by the first corner, as he navigated brilliantly through the chaos and kept his place with great pace and a bit of help from team orders.

Lando Norris – 3rd: 8.5

Lando Norris was perhaps the most disappointed driver after two mistakes in Q3 meant he only qualified tenth. After another tough day on Saturday, the Brit came out fighting on Sunday and it paid off, as he rose to third by the halfway point of the race. Although he tried to close the gap to his teammate later on, McLaren told him not to attack his teammate and he settled for third.

George Russell – 4th: 9

George Russell found a great front-row start partly undone after contact with his teammate in the first corner. Despite sustaining damage, he lived to fight another day and he had a successful fightback. On a day when a good strategy was tricky to plan, Russell and Mercedes took all the right decisions and finished fourth on a good GP, excluding the first corner.

Charles Leclerc – 5th: 7.5

As the sole Ferrari driver in the Qatar GP, Charles Leclerc salvaged the weekend for the Scuderia with a fourth-place finish. It came after plenty of battles, but a clean drive meant he was up to fourth after Alonso made an error, but the fact Russell jumped him with better strategy meant that fifth was the best result available.

Fernando Alonso – 6th: 5.5

Fernando Alonso was looking for a podium finish early in the race, after starting fourth and spending the first half of the race in third. It all turned around later though, as he was overhauled by Norris and made a rare error to drop behind Leclerc too. He was unable to challenge him again later and finished sixth, also overhauled by Russell.

Esteban Ocon – 7th: 7

On a weekend where keeping it clean really mattered towards a good result, Esteban Ocon was a great representation of that. No real high or low moments from the Frenchman this weekend and seventh is a successful result, both for him and Alpine, as it is his second best finish of the year, after the podium in Monaco.

Valtteri Bottas during the Qatar GP
Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

Valtteri Bottas – 8th: 9.5

A brilliant, and very crucial weekend for Alfa Romeo, was headlined by an eighth-place finish for Valtteri Bottas, who played the strategy game brilliantly and sneaked his way to the top ten. He didn’t make any big moves or have any big moments, but he made sure to keep his nose clean and followed a great strategy to perfection to achieve his best result of the season.

Zhou Guanyu – 9th: 8.5

Despite qualifying slowest of all, Zhou Guanyu scored two more points to help his team in the fight for eighth in the constructors’ standings. The Chinese driver made a late stop for soft tyres and moved from twelfth to ninth after a few rapid laps in the end and a myriad of post-race time penalties for a few of the drivers ahead.

Sergio Perez – 10th: 1.5

Another Q2 elimination for Sergio Perez, who eventually elected to start from the pitlane as his chassis needed to be replaced after his clash with Ocon yesterday. He struggled to get through the field though and three penalties for exceeding track limits made things even worse. Just one point for the Mexican, who even failed to get ninth in the end, despite tellingly restarting the race ahead of Russell.

Lance Stroll – 11th: 4

Lance Stroll attracted attention for all the wrong reasons on Friday, after a Q1 elimination and questionable behaviour afterwards. His race was good and he was running ninth towards the end, before two five-second time penalties dropped him just outside the points.

Pierre Gasly – 12th: 4

Another driver with a bad performance in the late stages of the Qatar GP was Pierre Gasly. Despite staying close to the tail of his teammate for most of the race, he ran wide far too many times. One in-race five-second penalty was followed by two more post-race and he finished twelfth, despite even passing Perez in the closing laps.

Alex Albon – 13th: 4.5

On a tricky day for Williams, which looked competitive at a few points in the race, but not its entirety, Alex Albon made a few mistake that kept him out of the fight for points, especially considering how many drivers ahead of him were penalised. He was penalised too though, losing the chance to score again after a brilliant performance yesterday.

Alex Albon early in the Qatar GP
Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

Kevin Magnussen – 14th: 5

Kevin Magnussen failed to adjust quickly in a new circuit for him and it showed in qualifying, where he was placed nineteenth. His race was better, but the pace was not there to challenge for what really mattered and fourteenth was the best he could do.

Yuki Tsunoda – 15th: 4

Despite running as high as eighth in the first stint of the Grand Prix, Yuki Tsunoda was not able to challenge for points and was not even a factor in the end. Fifteenth represents the end of a bad weekend for the Italian outfit, especially considering the amount of points Alfa Romeo was able to score.

Nico Hulkenberg – 16th: 3

Another driver that ran well early on but fell hard down the order was Nico Hulkenberg. The tyre rules looked like they would work in the favour of Haas, but the experienced German picked up a silly penalty for starting in the wrong grid slot and he was never able to recover from his ten-second penalty.

Liam Lawson – 17th: 4

In his fifth -and probably last- weekend filling in for Daniel Ricciardo, Liam Lawson had his worst weekend in Formula 1 so far. He never featured in any big battles and run at the back for most of the day, completing it as the last finisher.

Logan Sargeant – DNF: 4

It is very rare that we see a driver withdraw from a race, but this is what Logan Sargeant did this weekend. The American was not feeling well in the cockpit of the Williams. He tried to fight it off, but he was increasingly feeling worse and worse, so he parked his car as a result. He showed good pace while feeling well though, running close behind his teammate.

Hamilton after his race-ending crash in Qatar
Photo by ANP / Icon Sport

Lewis Hamilton – DNF: 3

Staying within track limits in his fastest qualifying paid dividends for Lewis Hamilton, who found himself up to third from fifth as the McLarens dropped down the order. Choosing soft tyres was a bold choice and he used it to his advantage to have a good start, but squeezing his teammate led to race-ending contact.

Carlos Sainz – DNS: –

No score in both the race and the Qatar GP driver ratings for Carlos Sainz. An elimination in the second part of qualifying kept the Spaniard down in twelfth in a surprising elimination. His race never even started, because of a fuel leak that was found pre-race.

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