Azerbaijan GP driver ratings: Street king Sergio Perez and record low for Nyck de Vries

Sam Cooper
Baku driver ratings.

Baku driver ratings.

The Azerbaijan Grand Prix driver ratings are in! How do our scores from Baku stack up to your post-race analysis?

Ratings explained: Every driver starts the weekend slap bang in the middle with a 5/10 rating and we operate on a sliding scale from there. We take the entire weekend into account, not just the race itself.

However, the scores will be weighted more towards a driver’s race performance, but qualifying performances (good or bad) are also factored into our ratings and, in extreme circumstances, practice will also play a minor part in the overall score.

Sergio Perez took his second win of the season ahead of team-mate Max Verstappen while Charles Leclerc registered Ferrari’s first podium of the season.

So with that, here are’s driver ratings for the 2023 Azerbaijan Grand Prix:

Sergio Perez 9

The king of street races flexed his muscles once again and while there was an element of good fortune in regards to Max Verstappen’s pit stop, Sergio Perez was in pole position to capitalise.

That is not to say this win was solely down to a team error either as Verstappen had plenty of time to try and catch Perez but the Mexican kept him at more than arm’s length throughout, comfortably making his way round the Baku City Circuit with the air of someone on a Sunday drive in the countryside and not one driving down the narrowest section of an F1 track on the calendar.

Aside from no pole positions and missing out on a fastest lap, it was a near perfect weekend for Perez who leaves the Azerbaijani capital with 33 more points added to his tally.

Max Verstappen 8.5

The one that got away for the defending champion as a mistimed pit stop cost Verstappen the race win.

Early on, Verstappen’s challenge was to get past Charles Leclerc but it proved to be no challenge at all. In fact he was able to do it with ease twice in quick succession with his post-Safety Car overtake proving to be the pick of the bunch in a rather mundane race.

Verstappen’s attitude after the race was a lot calmer than it was the previous days as the Dutchman accepted it was one of those things and focus now turns to Miami.

Charles Leclerc 9

The best Charles Leclerc could have realistically hoped for. Having established him as arguably the best driver on the grid over a single lap, it was always going to be a tough ask to keep the Red Bulls at bay over the course of the race.

The dominance of the RB19 proved too strong and although Leclerc did get away well, he was soon eaten up by Verstappen. He regained the place after Red Bull’s pit stop blunder but lost it before DRS had even reopened.

After the Red Bulls disappeared over the horizon, Leclerc’s job was to secure the final podium spot which he duly did. A rather uneventful race for Leclerc which he will be thankful for after his up and down start to the season.

Fernando Alonso 8

Not Alonso’s finest race of the season as the Aston Martin car proved a little less effective on the Baku circuit. Working in tandem with team-mate Lance Stroll, Alonso bided his time and waited for the moment to strike, sensing that Lewis Hamilton ahead was soon to be in his wing mirror.

Alonso duly did overtake his old McLaren partner and when it came to moving past Sainz, the Aston Martin man did so with effortless aplomb.

More points on the board and hopes for a better run out in Miami.

Carlos Sainz 5.5

Sainz cited issues with the car this week but these kind of excuses tend to fall on deaf ears when your team-mate is standing on the podium.

Again in Baku, Sainz seemed to be driving with an anchor fixed on his rear wing as any hope of staying with the top three quickly disappeared. From there, it was damage limitation as Alonso comfortably eased his way past his compatriot.

Sainz’s one saving grace came late on when he was able to defend from Hamilton, but it was another race when the Smooth Operator failed to meet expectations.

Lewis Hamilton 7.5

Like Verstappen ahead of him, Hamilton was undone by the timing of the Safety Car having only just come into the pits, but the seven-time World Champion battled hard to move back into the positions he had unceremoniously lost.

The Mercedes man proved unable to stop the charging Alonso but ensured it was just the one Aston Martin that would pass him by.

Late on in the race, Hamilton got within striking distance of Sainz but the Ferrari just had enough to hold onto P5.

Lance Stroll 7

It was a sign of the togetherness within the walls of Aston Martin’s Silverstone base that when both cars were next to each other on track, the drivers were more focused on getting the maximum result for the team rather than themselves.

For Stroll, that meant not attacking Alonso ahead which was rewarded with some brake balance advice from the Spaniard and while it did mean the latter was able to get past Hamilton, Stroll was unable to.

Instead he finished P7 and continued his impressive start to the 2023 season.

George Russell 7

After his dramatic Saturday, it was a rather more quiet affair for Russell on Sunday. He had work to do of course after missing out on Q3 by the barest of margins.

Russell had not made much progress after the opening laps but was lucky with the timing of the Safety Car which promoted him up to P6.

The Brit was not quite able to hang on with both Stroll and Hamilton overtaking him and having built up enough of a gap late on, he pitted for softs to set the fastest lap and take the extra point.

Lando Norris 8

Are McLaren back? Considering their fight with Alpine now seems to be for the P5 Constructors’ spot, it was very much advantage Woking in Baku.

Norris, enjoying the level of pace he expected at the start of the season for the first time, was able to secure his first Q3 appearance of the campaign, giving him the best platform to build on he has had so far for the race itself.

But it would prove to be quite the frustrating afternoon for Norris as the hard tyre confounded everyone’s expectation by showing little signs of degradation. As Esteban Ocon continued to make it last until the very last lap, Norris was one of many cars stuck behind the Frenchman.

He did eventually pass him but too late to mount a charge on the pack ahead and as such had to settle for P9, though it was his second points-scoring race in as many attempts.

Yuki Tsunoda 7

Mr. P11 is quickly becoming Mr. Points with another encouraging performance from the AlphaTauri driver.

It may have been one of the easier points scores for Tsunoda as well, for while he spent most of the time outside of the top 10, he did so within a DRS train and knowing that Ocon and Hulkenburg would have to sacrifice their position at some point.

In comparison to his team-mate’s afternoon, Tsunoda’s season start is a nice early retirement present for his soon to be former boss Franz Tost.

Oscar Piastri 6

Piastri was involved in an incident on Lap 1 where he found himself becoming the unwanted filling in an F1 sandwich which, while not damaging his car, saw him lose his P10 spot earned in qualifying early on.

Like many in the second half of the grid, Piastri was stuck in a DRS train and the Australian was wedged neatly between Tsunoda and Albon. He crossed the line in P11, hoping for a better, and more entertaining race next time out in Miami.

Alexander Albon 6

An underwhelming afternoon from Albon at a circuit where there had been every expectation that Williams might do well. The FW45 favours straights over the corners and the Baku circuit features the longest straight on the F1 calendar, yet there was little speed to show for it.

The most obvious explanation behind this is, like many others, Albon found himself stuck behind Ocon. It was a frustrating race for Albon from there on with Ocon not pitting until the very last moment and giving Albon little chance to show what he could do.

After four races, Albon has impressed but has just one point on the board.

Kevin Magnussen 5.5

Magnussen’s 2023 season continues to misfire as he was never really in contention for points in Baku. Starting in P16, Magnussen was caught up in the backmarkers that were squeezed into an Ocon-shaped bottle neck.

He did at least finish three places higher than his starting spot but not enough to add anything to his tally of one point in the standings.

Pierre Gasly 5.5

Having had one of the worst Fridays in F1 history, Gasly can at least be thankful that his Sunday ended at the chequered flag and not before it.

In terms of the events from lights out until that point, the Frenchman was the first to pit, doing so on Lap 5, but his choice came undone when the Safety Car was brought out just five laps later.

From there, it was an uphill battle for the Frenchman and it seems Alpine were stuck on whether to pit again or wait. In the end they chose to wait and Gasly came in again on Lap 23, sending him down to near the back of the pack.

Unlike he did in Bahrain, Gasly could not work his way back up the order and finished P14.

Esteban Ocon 7

Alpine and Ocon gambled and unfortunately for them, it did not come off. Having been forced to start in the pit lane due to a suspension set-up change, Ocon started on the hard tyre and when that compound proved to be more durable than many anticipated, Alpine began to hope for a late Safety Car that would give them an advantage.

Before then, Ocon did very well to make those tyres last, even if the hards did perform better than expected, and when fellow pit-lane starter Nico Hulkenberg’s rubber began to go, Ocon’s held out until the final lap.

The Frenchman should also receive praise for exercising extreme caution and control when he arrived in the pit lane with an army of photographers standing in front of him! recommends

Baku GP: Street magician Sergio Perez holds off Max Verstappen to win

‘Absolute shambles’ as Esteban Ocon drives into pit lane full of people

Logan Sargeant 5.5

A bit of a dull race for Sargeant who was caught up in that train behind Ocon. The American had a few issues on the Friday and was annoyed with the position of both Ferraris as he hit the wall during Saturday’s Sprint Shootout, but the race was a quieter affair.

He started 14th but ended in 16th as the Williams car failed to make the most of the Baku straights.

Nico Hulkenberg 7

Like Alpine, Haas hoped that a late Safety Car may work in Hulkenberg’s favour but that ultimately did not come to pass. It was a great drive beforehand though from the German with the former Renault man able to make his tyres last whilst keeping quicker cars equipped with fresher rubber behind him.

The tyres began to give way late on as Hulkenberg started to tumble down the order, prompting Haas to finally bring him in. He ended P17, the second-last classified runner, which does not reflect his performance in Baku.

Valtteri Bottas 4.5

Just an awful outing for Bottas who is so far failing to match his season start of 2022.

Starting P13, Bottas was tapped by Piastri early on which then saw Magnussen drive into the back of him.

The Finn survived but lost plenty of places in the process and soon found himself near the back of the grid. The team opted for an early pit stop on Lap 6 but then strangely did so again under the Safety Car just four laps later.

That was not to be Bottas’ final stop of the day either as he returned to the garage on Lap 34 and re-emerged last of the runners still going.

In the end, he crossed the line P18 and last.

Did not finish

Zhou Guanyu 6

The Alfa Romeo car continues to show a lack of pace, only this time round there were reliability issues as well. Starting P15, Zhou was quickly overtaken by Gasly but emerged P14 after the Safety Car got involved.

He soon lost out on that place as he began to tumble down the order, Alfa then retiring him due to rising temperatures.

Nyck de Vries 2

With each passing race, Nyck de Vries further proves why it took this long for him to get an F1 seat. In Baku, like he has been so often this season, he was underwhelming with a poor start on Friday including a crash in qualifying.

While he managed to at least finish qualifying for the sprint he did so in last and only improved to 14th in the sprint itself whilst also managing to hit his own team-mate.

In the end, Saturday’s sprint turned out to be the longest time De Vries would spend on track this weekend as on Lap 10 of Sunday’s race, he clipped the wall at Turn 5 and broke his front-left wheel, signalling his second retirement in as many races.