Formula One

2023 Canadian Grand Prix driver ratings – How did the drivers perform in Montreal?

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Photo by XPB / Icon Sport

A wet qualifying session shook things up at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, but sunset greeted the drivers for the Grand Prix. Following two days of action, let’s rank the drivers’ performance in Canada, taking both days into consideration.

Max Verstappen, 1st – 9

Just like in Barcelona, an easy conversion from pole to victory for Max Verstappen. Following a commanding showing in the wet qualifying session, the race featured little action for the Red Bull driver, who gave his team its 100th victory in Formula 1. As for himself, he is now tied with Ayrton Senna in the victory list, both on 41 wins. His lead in the world championship is now up to 69 points.

Fernando Alonso, 2nd – 9

Questions were raised following a mediocre performance in Spain for Fernando Alonso and Aston Martin, but Canada provided the answers. Inheriting a front row start after Hulkenberg got penalised, the Spaniard lost out and dropped behind Hamilton on the run to the first corner. He was able to showcase good pace though, overtook Hamilton for second and held on despite rear brake issues.

Lewis Hamilton, 3rd – 8.5

For Lewis Hamilton, his second consecutive podium was a good result, but more could be achieved. Climbing to second at the start was a great sign, but a lack of pace on the first half of the race cost him a place to Alonso. He was fast on the last stint, but was unable to make an impression on the Aston Martin ahead. More good signs for the upgraded Mercedes W14 overall.

Charles Leclerc, 4th – 9

Frustration was evident to see for Charles Leclerc after qualifying, as bad decisions regarding on the timing of the switch from intermediate tyres to slicks left him eliminated from Q3. However, good strategy from Ferrari, leaving both cars out under the safety car, and good pace meant that Leclerc was able to finish fourth his second best result of 2023.

Carlos Sainz, 5th – 7.5

Although the end result was a satisfactory one for Ferrari and Carlos Sainz, fourth should have been on the cards for the Spaniard. The catalyst was a three-place grid penalty following a bad block on Gasly in the closing stages of Q1, which dropped him from eighth to eleventh. His race was similar to his teammate’s, but his result was affected by a moment of carelessness.

Sergio Perez, 6th – 3.5

Another race, another disappointment for Sergio Perez. For the third race in a row, the Mexican was unable to make it to Q3 and started down in eleventh. This time, the cause was confusion over what tyres to use in the changing conditions of Q2. His race was not good either, as he cleared the midfield cars by staying out under the safety car, but was unable to even pressure the Ferraris.

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Alex Albon, 7th – 10

Undoubtedly the man of the weekend right here. Following an inspiring gamble with slick tyres that saw Alex Albon top Q2, things got even better. Despite being unable to set laptime in Q3, he started ninth and maintained a good position for the opening stint. Then, Williams gambled on a one-stop strategy that saw Albon climb up to seventh, a position he amazingly held onto, taking advantage of the great straight-line speed of the Williams and great defending against Ocon!

Esteban Ocon, 8th – 8

If not for his inability to get past the Williams of Albon, Esteban Ocon would have gotten the most out of his weekend. He qualified an impressive sixth and ran at the top of the midfield for most of the race, but finishing eighth leaves a little bit more to be desired. The Frenchman is on a great run of form, as his fourth consecutive points finish proves.

Lance Stroll, 9th – 7

A bad qualifying got even worse for Lance Stroll, as a three-place grid penalty meant he would start sixteenth. He salvaged a little bit on the closing laps though, as he benefitted from Norris getting a five-second penalty and beat Bottas on the run to the line by just three hundredths of a second. Two points for the Canadian on home soil, on a weekend rescued at the very end.

Valtteri Bottas, 10th – 8

An unexpected point for Alfa Romeo and Valtteri Bottas. Starting from fourtheenth, not much was expected for the race, with faster cars ahead. However, the Finn was able to overhaul both McLaren cars with a good one-stop strategy, albeit getting ahead of Norris thanks to his penalty.

Oscar Piastri, 11th – 6.5

On the face of it, Oscar Piastri should have left Canada with points, but he run a good race nevertheless. A crash during Q3 put a dent to his good qualifying performance, which meant he would start eighth. He overtook his teammate on the first lap, but was paid back on the restart and then was unable to make progress like Norris did. Eleventh in the end for the rookie.

Pierre Gasly, 12th – 7

Difficult weekend to judge for Pierre Gasly, as everything that could have gone wrong, did. His qualifying was ruined through no fault of his own, with Sainz blocking him into the final chicane. A bad break with strategy, as he pitted before the safety car put him at the back of the field and although he climbed up, it wasn’t enough for points.

Lando Norris, 13th – 6

For Lando Norris, it was a great opportunity to score points, giving the team its first at the venue since 2014. It was all lost after a penalty for slowing down too much under the safety car, to create a gap to his teammate and avoid double-stacking behind him. A move on Ocon on the final lap dropped him further down, but points were not on the cards at that time anyway.

Yuki Tsunoda, 14th – 5.5

An anonymous race for Yuki Tsunoda, who started from the last row after a penalty and could only climb to fourteenth, with a wrong strategy costing him any chance of points.

Nico Hulkenberg, 15th – 6

It was an outstanding qualifying effort for Nico Hulkenberg, who was set to start on the front row, before a penalty for a red flag infringement dropped him to fifth. The race was a disaster though, with poor tyre degradation leaving him down to fifteenth and far from the points-paying positions.

Guanyu Zhou, 16th – 4.5

Guanyu Zhou had a difficult weekend, with a car issue leaving him on the back foot in qualifying and little pace to show on the race. Sixteenth for the Chinese, far from his teammate.

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Kevin Magnussen, 17th – 4.5

In the middle of most action today was Kevin Magnussen. With a starting position of thirteenth, a strategy that propped him up to seventh and poor pace with degrading tyres, a train formed behind him and offered plenty of action. A collision with de Vries put him at the back and he could only cruise to the finish.

Nyck de Vries, 18th – 3

A return to bad races for Nyck de Vries, who had shown signs of resurgence after a tough start. Little pace to show and a silly tangle with Magnussen put him firmly in the back and he finished last.

George Russell, DNF – 3

A relatively small error proved catastrophic for George Russell, who was running at a fast pace in fourth before an error at Turn 9 put him on the wall. Despite damage to the right rear, he kept on running and was in contention for a few points, before overheating issues put an early end to his race.

Logan Sargeant, DNF – 5

Logan Sargeant qualified nineteenth and his race ended with a mechanical failure before he could display anything during the Grand Prix. His rating is a reflection of the opportunity he was ultimately not given.

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