Formula One

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

2023 Belgian GP Driver Ratings: Verstappen had the top performance in Belgium
Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

A race with plenty of action, especially in the midfield, took place in Spa-Francorchamps. Max Verstappen came away with another win, as we head into the summer break. But let’s look into everyone’s race on Sunday, with the Friday qualifying session also in mind.

Max Verstappen – 1st: 10

Having taken a dominant pole by eight tenths on Friday, Max Verstappen dropped five places on the grid because of a gearbox change. He took a while to get going, but after his stop on lap 15 he was able to pass his teammate and grab the lead, a lead he would not surrender until the finish of the race. Nine consecutive wins and the streak goes on into the summer break.

Sergio Perez – 2nd: 6

With a front row start -his best qualifying since getting pole at Miami- and his teammate’s grid penalty, today’s race marked the best chance at a win for Sergio Perez. But it didn’t happen, not even close. The Mexican surrendered the lead on lap 15 and since that Verstappen pulled a 22-second gap. Second though and finally a steady Grand Prix.

Charles Leclerc – 3rd: 8

A positive Grand Prix from Charles Leclerc, who started from pole position for the 20th time in his Formula 1 career. Winning the battle against the Red Bulls in race pace was too tough a task though, but he took the most he could out of the weekend.

Lewis Hamilton – 4th: 7.5

The pace of the Mercedes was a question mark ahead of the weekend, but fourth for Lewis Hamilton was a good result in the end for the Brit and his team. A bonus point for him as well, as he pitted for the fastest lap in the closing stages of the race and achieved it.

Fernando Alonso – 5th: 7

The last three weekends were tough for Aston Martin and Fernando Alonso, but today’s fifth-place finish is a cause of optimism. The Spaniard, who turned 42 years old yesterday, made a good start and climbed from ninth to sixth on the opening lap and then passed Sainz for fifth, a position he held until the chequered flag.

George Russell – 6th: 6.5

Qualifying eighth represented a disappointing result for George Russell, but his start made things even tougher for him, as he dropped four places. But the recovery was great and he pretty much got the best possible result, in sixth, using an alternative strategy of overcutting the drivers in slower cars.

Lando Norris – 7th: 6.5

Having qualified seventh for the Grand Prix was not a great effort by Lando Norris, but his first two stints were perplexing to say the least. No pace at all for the McLaren and he kept dropping down the order. It all turned around after an early stop for soft tyres and a long final stint, which saved his race. Seventh is a great result considering how bad the first half of the race was.

Esteban Ocon – 8th: 7

A bad qualifying was turned around by Esteban Ocon, who started thirteenth today. Despite not being amongst the action early on, he had a late recovery, highlighted by a great move on Tsunoda at Les Combes. Eighth in the end for the Frenchman, a very good result for him and Alpine.

2023 Belgian GP Driver Ratings: Ocon leads, as the midfield battle rages on
Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

Lance Stroll – 9th: 6

A very promising start turned into a couple of points for Lance Stroll, who spent most of the race in the top ten. Having started tenth, he was involved in plenty of battles today and eventually came away a place higher than he qualified, in ninth.

Yuki Tsunoda – 10th: 10

A brilliant race by Yuki Tsunoda, whilst the pressure is rising with his new teammate performing well in Hungary. Qualifying eleventh was already a good effort, but a fantastic start saw him run even up to sixth position early on. He was not able to keep a few of the faster cars behind him though and he dropped to tenth. It is the third time he scores this season, all in tenth, and his first since Baku.

Pierre Gasly – 11th: 8

Pierre Gasly outqualified his teammate and started twelfth, but he was the innocent victim in the opening lap crash. Stuck behind the damaged McLaren of Piastri through Eau Rouge, he lost heaps of positions, but he recovered very well. A slow stop was another setback, one that ultimately cost him points, considering he was running in front of his teammate prior to it.

Valtteri Bottas – 12th: 6.5

Following the great pace shown in Hungary, the performance of the Alfa Romeo was a question mark heading to Belgium. Valtteri Bottas was able to finish twelfth though, for the third race in a row, in a race that saw him outside of the top ten for most of the race, but not too far away, just five seconds away eventually. A good effort by the Finn.

Guanyu Zhou – 13th: 5.5

In contrast to his teammate, Guanyu Zhou never really was in contention for points today. Starting down in seventeenth meant he was buried in the battles at the back of the field for most of the race. He was able to rise above that and finish thirteenth.

Alex Albon – 14th: 6

It was a promising weekend for Williams and Alex Albon, with Spa-Francorchamps suiting the characteristics of the track. Qualifying was a disappointment though, as he was eliminated in Q1. The start was what the Thai driver needed, propelling him up to seventh early on, a combination of a good start and the great straight-line speed of his car. A lack of pace in the second half and a bad strategy dropped him to thirteenth. Good pace but a bad result.

Kevin Magnussen – 15th: 6.5

Considering his bad run of form lately, this weekend was a step forward for Kevin Magnussen. Qualifying thirteenth was a good result, but was dropped back three places for impeding Leclerc in Q2. Fifteenth at the finish was good though, and it is promising for Haas as well, considering its struggles with tyre wear early in the season.

Daniel Ricciardo – 16th: 5

After a good showing in Hungary and an even better one in the Sprint, today was the first time Daniel Ricciardo somewhat struggled. He was caught out by a track limits violation that saw the deletion of a time that would be good enough for promotion in Q2 and he started nineteenth. In the race, he showed little signs of progress and crossed the line in sixteenth.

Logan Sargeant – 17th: 5

Much like his teammate, Logan Sargeant fell victim of the three-stop strategy in the race and, despite good pace, he dropped down the order. He finished seventeenth in the end, eight seconds off his teammate, in a race with plenty of battles, but little to show for it.

2023 Belgian GP Driver Ratings: Sargeant and Hulkenberg fought at the back end of the field
Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

Nico Hulkenberg – 18th: 4

A weekend to forget overall for Nico Hulkenberg, who fell victim of a wrong strategy in Q1 and qualified last. He took a new engine and started from the pitlane, made a few moves in the Grand Prix, but eventually dropped back down and finished last.

Carlos Sainz – DNF: 3

What was a promising day for Carlos Sainz came undone on the very first corner. A lock-up into the first corner saw him dive to the apex to avoid hitting Hamilton and was hit by Piastri as well. He sustained a substantial amount of damage and kept dropping back, before retiring from the race.

Oscar Piastri – DNF: 5.5

Oscar Piastri was one of the stars of the weekend, but not today. Coming off a second-place finish in the sprint, the rookie started fifth today, ahead of his teammate. But the first corner did not go according to plan, as he was pinched by Carlos Sainz on the apex. Despite trying to carry on, it was to no avail and he parked his car.

Subscribe to Punditfeed on Google News for all the latest updates from the world of sports!