Formula One

2023 Spanish Grand Prix driver ratings – How did the drivers perform in Barcelona?

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Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

Mixed strategies, plenty of battles and a great race at the renovated Barcelona circuit in 2023! Max Verstappen may have strolled to his fifth win of the season, but there was plenty of action behind, so let’s see how the drivers did and how well they performed, over both the qualifying session and the Grand Prix!

Max Verstappen: 1st – 9

A clinical performance for Max Verstappen in Spain, as the Dutchman continues his domination of 2023. He showed commanding pace from Friday and translated into pole position and victory, a task that got much easier once his teammate, Sergio Perez, got eliminated in Q2. Goal achieved, as he extends his lead in the championship to 53 points.

Lewis Hamilton: 2nd – 9.5

Α fantastic weekend for Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes, as the upgrades looked to work in Barcelona. Fourth on the grid was a slight disappointment after a mistake on his last lap coming through Turn 10, but the race left no more to be desired, with a drive that left him easily in second place.

George Russell: 3rd – 9

George Russell had a bad day on Saturday, with only twelfth on the grid and a bizarre collision with his teammate as well. However, it was all forgotten in the Grand Prix, as he gained places during the opening lap -despite going off the track as the stewards deemed legal- and great pace throughout the 66 laps, for his first podium of the season.

Sergio Perez: 4th – 5

For the second weekend in a row, Sergio Perez compromised his weekend on Saturday. A lack of pace and a mistake in Q2 meant he was eliminated early and would start eleventh. After a cautious opening lap, he made his way through the grid and was eventually able to climb up to fourth as the chequered flag fell.

Carlos Sainz: 5th – 7

Qualifying on the front row for his home race was a fantastic surprise for Carlos Sainz, but dreams of a podium finish in front of his fans proved to be a bit too much for him and Ferrari. Ultimately, the car did not have the desired pace in longer stints and the Spaniard could do no better than fifth.

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Lance Stroll: 6th – 7

For Lance Stroll, this weekend marked the first time he outqualified his teammate, and he proceeded to do the same in the race as well. Fifth on the grid, sixth at the chequered flag for the Canadian driver, who succeded in bouncing back from two disappointing races in Miami and Monaco.

Fernando Alonso: 7th – 5

It is rare that we see a driver’s weekend get compromised on his Q1 outlap, but such was the case for Fernando Alonso. A mistake put him into the gravel, damaging his floor and leaving him eighth on the starting grid. Unable to find pace on the opening stint, he surprisingly settled behind his teammate for the closing laps and finished seventh, easily his worst result of the season.

Esteban Ocon: 8th – 7

After the highs of a podium finish in Monaco, a return to more usual territory for Esteban Ocon in Barcelona. The Frenchman had plenty of battles and eighth was as good as it could possibly get for him, as he resisted from pressure from behind in the closing stages for more points.

Zhou Guanyu: 9th – 10

A brilliant race from Zhou Guanyu in Barcelona, probably his best in Formula 1 so far. Fifteenth on the grid, ahead of Valtteri Bottas was as good as he could do, but he executed a great strategy with consistently fast pace and grabbed ninth, climbing one position because of Tsunoda’s penalty after the incident between them at Turn 1 in the final stint.

Pierre Gasly: 10th – 6

Such a promising weekend ended up as a lost opportunity for Pierre Gasly. Qualifying a brilliant fourth, it was a result that didn’t come without incident, since he blocked both Carlos Sainz and Max Verstappen, which earned him a couple of penalties that dropped him to tenth on the grid. From there, a disappointing opening lap compounded his misery. He bounced back to grab a point after holding Leclerc behind him and Tsunoda’s penalty.

Charles Leclerc: 11th – 4

It was a qualifying session shrouded in mystery for Charles Leclerc and Ferrari, as the Monegasque inexplicably could do no better than nineteenth. Ferrari took his rear suspension apart to get to the bottom of the presumed issue under parc ferme, so he started from the pitlane, but the general lack of pace persisted in the race and he could only finish eleventh. An odd weekend to say the least.

Yuki Tsunoda: 12th – 7

After a disappointing qualifying session, Yuki Tsunoda looked to turn things around with a great race on Sunday. With Alpha Tauri making the correct strategy calls and the Japanese driver executing it with good pace and daring moves, it seemed as though a return to the points was on offer, but a questionable penalty for forcing Zhou Guanyu off the track derailed his hopes and dropped him from ninth to twelfth.

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Oscar Piastri: 13th – 5

For Oscar Piastri, a mistake in Q3 left a bitter taste to a good day, but the race went even worse for him. From ninth on the grid, pace was nowhere to be found and thirteenth was the best he could do, in a race that provided plenty of action and battles for him in the lower midfield.

Nyck de Vries: 14th – 6.5

It was another step in the right direction for Nyck de Vries, who ended up fourteenth, with encouraging pace -not far behind his teammate- and no incidents. He beat Tsunoda for the first time in qualifying as well, so good signs all around from the rookie.

Nico Hulkenberg: 15th – 6

Qualifying showed plenty of promise for Nico Hulkenberg and Haas, at a circuit where both parties have performed well in the past. In a race where we saw plenty of tyre degradation though and both Haas drivers stood no chance, dropping rapidly through the order. From seventh to fifteenth for the German left a lot to be desired.

Alex Albon: 16th – 5

In a Grand Prix that had plenty of action especially in the lower half of the grid, we somewhat surprisingly saw very little of Alex Albon. Barcelona was clearly not suited to the characteristics of the Williams FW45 and the Thai driver could only finish sixteenth.

Lando Norris: 17th – 6

A brilliant qualifying effort put him third on the grid, but a mistake on the opening lap erased high hopes for Lando Norris. Pitting for a new front wing after contact with Hamilton on the second corner of the race, he spent most of the day at the back and it was an anonymous race for the Brit.

Kevin Magnussen: 18th – 4

Much like his teammate, extensive tyre wear for the Haas cars left Kevin Magnussen with little hopes for a good result in the race, but the Dane was also nowhere to be found in qualifying, as he started the race from seventeenth on the grid, in an overall mediocre weekend.

Valtteri Bottas: 19th – 3

In a weekend, and especially a race, where his teammate shined, Valtteri Bottas had a disappointing trip to Barcelona. Unable to extract pace from his Alfa Romeo, he spent most of the last stint in last position, a sign of how tough the race was for him.

Logan Sargeant: 20th – 5

Last in qualifying and second-to-last in the race was not what Logan Sargeant would have liked heading to the weekend, but after some tough races, the American showed consistent pace and finished not very long behind Alex Albon. Overall, a positive weekend, but he will be wanting more for the next few races.

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