Formula One

2023 Qatar GP Sprint driver ratings: Assessing how drivers performed, as Verstappen secures third title

The podium of the Qatar GP sprint race.
Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

Max Verstappen has clinched his third World Championship in today’s Sprint at the Lusail International Circuit and there is plenty to look into, as we judge how the drivers performed in the Qatar GP Sprint driver ratings.

Oscar Piastri – 1st: 9.5

What a performance by Oscar Piastri, who got the first win of any sorts in his Formula 1 career –and he did it from pole! The rookie kept his cool when he found himself under attack from Russell and Sainz and fought back when the medium tyres prevailed over the softs. Clean moves got him to the front and nice pace as he kept his cool meant that Verstappen had no chance to challenge him.

Max Verstappen – 2nd: 7

Perhaps the most strange thing regarding Max Verstappen clinching his third championship today is the fact he did not celebrate it as a race winner. The Dutchman started third but found himself down to fifth after the first corner. The safety car certainly cost him a few laps which would have been useful in his pursuit of Piastri, but he couldn’t close the gap to him after getting up to second.

Lando Norris – 3rd: 6

While it is not a bad result, third certainly was not what Lando Norris would have hoped for. The Brit made a mistake in the Shootout and was beaten by his teammate as a result, while a mediocre start found him down to sixth. From there, he was involved in various battles, but was able to capitalise on his medium tyres and get in the podium places in the closing laps.

George Russell – 4th: 8

From fourth on the grid, George Russell had a brilliant start despite being on the dirty side of the grid. He followed it up with a fantastic move on Oscar Piastri and he pulled away on the second restart to keep the lead. His soft tyres could not hold onto the pace though and he dropped to fourth in the end.

Lewis Hamilton – 5th: 8

Another driver who fell foul of track limits in the Shootout was Lewis Hamilton. Despite his mistake though, even the lap that got deleted would not be enough to get him into SQ3. From twelfth on the grid though, he made sure to stay out of trouble and had enough life in his tyres to make plenty of moves in the closing laps.

Carlos Sainz – 6th: 7

Carlos Sainz had a great start from fifth on the grid and got up to third. The fact he started on soft tyres was his downfall though as well, as he dropped to sixth by the end of the race. It was a race of many battles though, which made his race very interesting, even if he lost fifth on the last lap.

Alex Albon – 7th: 8.5

What a race from Alex Albon, who added a further two points to his 2023 tally. He was anonymous for the first half of the race, but his medium tyres worked brilliantly in the end and he gained plenty of positions. He may have lost seventh by just four thousandths of a second initially as he failed to get by Leclerc in time, but he got the place post-race thanks to a penalty.

Fernando Alonso – 8th: 7

Despite looking towards a top five start for the Sprint, Fernando Alonso saw his lap deleted in the Shootout and he was placed ninth on the grid. His race was very interesting, as it involved battles with lots of other drivers, but as the soft tyres started to degrade the Spaniard found himself dropping down the order, just grabbing a point post-race.

Max Verstappen ahead of Fernando Alonso battling with Lando Norris
Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

Pierre Gasly – 9th: 6

Pierre Gasly found himself outside of SQ3 at the conclusion of the second segment of qualifying and expectations were not sky high ahead of the race. Another victim of soft tyres degrading towards the end, the Frenchman took a ninth-place finish in the end, just out of the points.

Valtteri Bottas – 10th: 6.5

A valiant effort was not rewarded with a points finish for Valtteri Bottas who finished tenth in the Sprint. The Finn started thirteenth and stayed out of trouble to find himself in the top ten at the conclusion of the race.

Yuki Tsunoda – 11th: 5

Getting eliminated in SQ1 was a bad start to the day for Yuki Tsunoda, but it got better later on. That was mainly thanks to the Japanese driver keeping his nose clean and rising to eleventh, but it was nowhere near the points for him.

Charles Leclerc – 12th: 3

While Charles Leclerc found himself up to fourth at the end of the first lap and crossed the line in seventh, just ahead of Albon, it was a disastrous final lap for the Monegasque. He exceeded track limits no less than four times and he received a five-second penalty that dropped him far down the order.

Kevin Magnussen – 13th: 4

On a weekend where Kevin Magnussen has admittedly struggled to get to grips with the Lusail International Circuit, where he is racing for the first time, he struggled to follow the pace of his teammate. Nineteenth in the Shootout was a bad result and there was little pace in the race too, so he finished thirteenth.

Zhou Guanyu – 14th: 4

Although Zhou Guanyu got into SQ2, his race was not good at all and he found himself as the last finisher, only rising a spot when Stroll received his post-race penalty.

Lance Stroll – 15th: 2

A weekend to forget continues for Lance Stroll, who was again eliminated in the first part of qualifying. His race looked promising in its middle part, but his progress stagnated as his tyres got worn and a post-race penalty for exceeding track limits dropped him from twelfth to fifteenth and last.

Nico Hulkenberg – DNF: 7

One of the stars of the Sprint Shootout was Nico Hulkenberg, who put his Haas seventh on a grid after a brilliant performance. His race was not as good though, as he was an innocent victim of a collision where he was sandwiched by Ocon and Perez. It was the crash that ended his race, as well as the other two drivers.

Sergio Perez – DNF: 4

Qualifying in eighth was certainly a mediocre effort by Sergio Perez, but his opening few laps of the race were even worse, as he dropped outside the top ten. His recovery was short-lived, as his race ended early after the collision with Hulkenberg and Ocon severely damaged his car.

A crash for Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon impacted their Qatar GP Sprint driver ratings.
Photo by Hoch Zwei / Icon Sport

Esteban Ocon – DNF: 4

A good performance in qualifying was neutralised by a lap deletion that left Esteban Ocon tenth on the grid. He made his way up the order early on, but his battle with Hulkenberg ended in tears, as he never saw Perez. His small error ended the race of all three drivers, but there was little he could do considering the circumstances.

Logan Sargeant – DNF: 2.5

Logan Sargeant had a prime opportunity to beat his teammate for the first time in a meaningful session this year, but his time got deleted in qualifying and that got him last on the grid, with no flying lap counting in the end, as all three got deleted. He spun on his own in the safety car restart and his day ended early.

Liam Lawson – DNF: 3.5

The Sprint had a very early finish for Liam Lawson. The rookie started fourteenth on the grid but he spun on his own in just the second corner of the race and was beached in the gravel. It was the first below standard performance for the rookie, who has impressed as the stand in for Daniel Ricciardo

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