Bahrain Grand Prix team ratings: Another Ferrari disaster-class while Williams impress

Sam Cooper
The Ferrari pit wall and James Vowles. Bahrain, March 2023.

The Ferrari pit wall and James Vowles. Bahrain, March 2023.

As a new part of’s race coverage, we will be rating all 10 teams’ performances during a grand prix.

For those of you familiar with our driver ratings, the format will largely be the same but with some key differences as to what ratings will be awarded for.

To start, these ratings are focusing on the team away from the drivers so as an example, Esteban Ocon’s failure to line up properly on the grid was not caused by the team so their rating does not drop as a result. However, the move to start work on the car early during a penalty is definitely their fault so has had a big impact on their score.

It is not just penalties we are focusing on but also on team strategy as well as their reliability.

Other than that, it should be exactly the same as you are already used to so let’s dive in:

Red Bull 9.5

A front-row lockout in qualifying that carried over into the race as Red Bull nailed the strategy choices. As almost the entirety of the grid swapped onto the hards for the second stint, Red Bull put both drivers on a fresh set of softs allowing Sergio Perez to catch up to Charles Leclerc while Max Verstappen could happily drive even further into the sunset.

The only small blot on their copy book was a slightly slow pitstop for Perez which almost saw him run over his own jack man.

Aston Martin 9

As it’s the first race of the season, this rating may reflect some of the work done by the team over the winter break but what an astounding performance from Aston Martin considering where they were last season.

Judging by the opening race of the season, there is every reason to suggest Aston Martin are comfortably the third quickest car on the grid if not pushing Ferrari for the second spot. In terms of strategy, there was not much to write home about with the team following the standard soft-hard-hard route but they performed the stops well with Stroll’s 24.639 second pit being the quickest amongst both drivers.

Mercedes 6.5

As with Aston Martin, this first result is a little reflective of the off-season work and in Mercedes’ case, that heavily brings down the score. The Silver Arrows did not look quick all weekend and while there was little to no porpoising for them to worry about, a key difference from their start in 2021, there was a severe lack of speed compared to Red Bull, Ferrari and Aston Martin.

Lewis Hamilton may have got past Alonso during the opening laps but that was largely due to the hit the Spaniard was given from his own team-mate and as the race wore on, the clearly much quicker AMR23 was able to get past both Mercedes cars.

Hamilton did his best to fight for P4 late in the race but the performance in the car was just not there to allow him to do so. Russell meanwhile finished outside of the top five, something he rarely did last year.

Ferrari 5.5

Another day, another Ferrari disaster-class. In a reverse of last year’s opening race, it was Ferrari’s turn for unreliability but in comparison to Red Bull, there is no great confidence that the Italian outfit will fix it. This time it was the power unit that gave out in Charles Leclerc’s car at a point when he was in a comfortable P3. Carlos Sainz meanwhile spent a lot of the race in P4 purgatory before being gobbled up by Fernando Alonso.

Points also docked for a bizarre decision to not allow Leclerc a crack at the fastest lap in qualifying as they wanted to save a set of softs for the race itself. Whether Ferrari had planned to pit him late on for those softs we will never know as he was back in the paddock before given a chance.

Alfa Romeo 7.5

A good day out for Alfa Romeo all things considered as they fill the ‘best of the rest’ spot that has previously been reserved for Lando Norris. Bottas in particular had a great start to move up to eighth and an early put stop from Alfa meant he was as high as sixth at one point. While he was not able to hold onto that spot, he did cross the line in P8.

Alfa had a difficult choice late on caused by Leclerc’s VSC as to whether to pit for softs or keep track position with the hards and while their gamble to do the latter did pay off, a couple laps more and Pierre Gasly would have overtaken Bottas.

Zhou Guanyu’s race was not as successful, breaking into the top 10 for just two laps, but the team made the smart call to pit him late on and prevent Alpine from keeping the fastest lap point.

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Alpine 5

This rating should probably be split into two parts for those on the Gasly side of the garage and those on Ocon’s. Going into the race, the easy bet was that it would be Ocon who would finish higher given his P9 start and Gasly’s P20 but as the race wore on, the fortunes of both drivers went in the opposite direction.

We will start with the good and the team must be applauded for their decision to pit Gasly when they did. Frequently going earlier than most teams allowed the Frenchman to make the most of the undercut and helped him move his way up through the grid. The team also took the bold call to pit late on under the VSC and Gasly was able to get past Alex Albon and could have maybe done the same with Valtteri Bottas had the race not ended.

On the other end of the scale is the shambolic nature of Ocon’s evening. While the team can not be blamed for Ocon failing to line up in the right spot for the start, blame is certainly attributed to the pit crew and in particular the mechanic working on the front wing who touched it before the five-second penalty had been served. The move, which came after 4.6 seconds of the five had been served, gave Ocon another 10-second penalty before it was revealed he had sped in the pitlane, handing him a further five seconds and the joint record for most penalties in a single race.

Williams 8

Exceeded a lot of expectations by getting a point and having their rookie driver cross the line in P12. As seen with the Red Bulls, the decision to put on a fresh pair of softs for the second stint really proved effective and both the team as well as both drivers should be praised for being able to make them last that long. A good start to James Vowles’ reign.

AlphaTauri 7

As Alpine did with Gasly, AlphaTauri opted to pit Yuki Tsunoda early on and capitalise on the undercut. It was a move that worked as Tsunoda rose to P11 and kept that spot until the finishing line.

But points must be docked for the call to keep Nyck De Vries on the hards at a time when the drivers around him pitted under VSC conditions for the softs. That left the Dutchman exposed late on with old hard tyres and he began to sink further and further down the grid.

Haas 5.5

Made the bold call to start Kevin Magnussen on the hards in the hope he could make up some ground later in the race but it never really came off. He found himself plum last for a good portion of the early stages and although his lap 15 stop did allow him to reach P9 at one point, he returned to P18 following the change of tyres.

Hulkenburg meanwhile ran over some debris so not exactly the team’s fault on that front but any good work that came as a result of his late switch to softs was undone by a 15-second penalty for repeatedly exceeding track limits.

McLaren 2

One driver became the first DNF of the season while the other was on a glorified data collecting exercise. It was a nightmare day in terms of reliability for McLaren with the MCL60 proving to suffer in not only the speed department. Oscar Piastri on debut pitted for a new steering wheel only for his engine to give out while Norris had a pneumatic problem which required six pit stops in order for the team to top up. Work to do in Woking.