Canadian GP driver ratings: Amazing Albon and poor Perez in contrasting weekends

Sam Cooper
Canada Driver Ratings.

Canada Driver Ratings.

Max Verstappen took the win once again but the best performance of the day came further down the grid.

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.

Verstappen won his 41st and Red Bull’s 100th in a dominant performance in Montreal while Alex Albon used every inch of his talent to hold onto a strong points place.

Here are your driver ratings for the 2023 Canadian Grand Prix:

Max Verstappen 9

It seems odd for a driver who has earned another race win, the 41st of his career, to be given a nine but such is the excellence of Max Verstappen this year, he has created his own ranking scale.

Sunday’s race in Montreal was not the most difficult of his career, indeed the most challenging part of the weekend came during Saturday’s quali, but as he has done so often this season, Verstappen did what he needed to do.

Verstappen drew level with Ayrton Senna for career race wins while Red Bull celebrated their 100th success as a team. Another box ticked for the brilliant Dutchman who now looks forward to the first of three homecomings this season in Austria.

Fernando Alonso 9

After losing his P2 before the first corner, Alonso battled back to reclaim the spot from his 2007 team-mate.

It resulted in a race-long duel but if Hamilton was coming with all guns blazing, Alonso was left with a misfiring pistol. The Spaniard’s AMR23 was struggling with its brakes, forcing the team to implore Alonso to lift and coast, much to his annoyance.

As the time between the two drivers shrank to almost a second, Alonso was allowed to lift the anchor. He put his foot down and ultimately secured the P2 spot, his sixth of an already remarkable season.

Lewis Hamilton 9

An excellent start from Hamilton saw him get past Alonso going into the first corner and that battle would prove to last the entire length of the race.

The Aston Martin driver would eventually retake the lead between the two but with Hamilton on the medium for his final stint, he looked certain to chase a wounded Alonso. Ultimately, the two oldest drivers on the grid’s battle would be won by Alonso who dug deep to see it over the line.

That was no slight on Hamilton’s performance though who maximised everything he could from the W14.

Charles Leclerc 7.5

What’s this? Ferrari making a good strategy call? In what has become a rarity over the past few years, Ferrari plumped for an unconventional but effective call to start both drivers on the medium tyre and then ignore the opportunity of a cheap pit stop under the Safety Car in favour of track position.

It was move that worked as both Leclerc and Sainz did well to preserve those medium tyres and it was the former who was the quicker of the two and crucially for Leclerc’s long-term future, he is clearly the number one driver as Sainz’s requests to overtake were met with a firm no.

Leclerc, like Sainz, was often in a race of his own. Quick enough to stay ahead of Albon but not fast enough to catch Lewis Hamilton ahead.

After a disastrous Saturday, Leclerc will be feeling a little more positive now but there is still work to do.

Carlos Sainz 7

In comparison to Leclerc who started so low due to a Ferrari blunder, it was Sainz’s fault he began the race from P11 with an impeding offence that was lucky to only be given a three-place grid penalty but he made up for that with a competent race.

Like Leclerc, he benefited from a good call from Ferrari and ultimately he did the job and earned his second consecutive P5 finish.

Sergio Perez 4

With the quickest car on the grid, P6 can only be seen as a poor result.

Yes, Perez was not helped by Red Bull’s quali strategy, but ask yourself this: If Verstappen started in P12, would he have been as unable to overtake as Perez was?

The Mexican had no pace, a continuing theme of the past few races, and those early wins seem a distant memory. He is now just nine points ahead of Alonso in the championship and that battle currently looks like it is only going to go one way.

Alex Albon 9.5

A simply excellent performance from driver and team to drag a car that has finished in the points just once this season to a P7 finish.

A DRS train was visible throughout the race but the one person who does not benefit from that is the one at the front and in this case, it was Albon, making his achievement all the more impressive.

Since Bahrain, Albon’s last points score, Williams have been out-developed but with a new package on the Thai-British driver’s car this weekend, they returned to being points challengers. Now the new task is to maintain that level so Albon can continue to show his skill.

Esteban Ocon 7.5

Esteban Ocon is flying under the radar this season more than Tom Cruise did in the latest Top Gun film but it was another good if not great performance from the Frenchman.

Qualifying sixth, he lost out on two spots to the Ferraris but it was Albon who would scupper any chance of moving further up the field.

With a rear wing that was wobblier than a plate of jelly at some points, Ocon was unable to move past the Williams car and ultimately left vulnerable to a late Lando Norris charge.

Ocon held on for a P8 finish in what was a futile battle given Norris’ penalty.

Lance Stroll 6.5

A better race for Stroll as he finished in the points but it was a result caused as much by the fault of others as Stroll’s efforts.

It was another poor qualifying at a time when his dad/boss wanted a home double podium and Stroll was always playing catch up. He was lurking around the P11 spot for much of the race but was eventually promoted up due to Russell’s retirement and Norris’ penalty.

It was a second consecutive points score but Stroll continues to be outshone by his quicker team-mate.

Valtteri Bottas 7

A six-race run of finishing outside the points is over for Bottas and the Alfa car which looks to have found a bit of much-needed performance.

The Finn qualified 14th but improved to finish 10th, albeit with Norris dropping down as a result of a penalty.

There were times where the limitations of the Alfa Romeo were exposed but Bottas did well to fend off competitors for as long as he could while making some overtakes of his own.

Whether this is the start of something new or a flash in the pan, we will see, but plenty for Bottas to be happy about.

Oscar Piastri 6.5

McLaren may still struggle to challenge higher up the grid but the Norris v Piastri battle is becoming an increasingly interesting one, and one that the rookie is clearly not afraid to get involved in.

Norris was the on-track winner in Montreal, outsmarting Piastri with a dive deep in the hairpin but Piastri gave it as good as he got.

It was his track position which proved crucial for both drivers’ races as Piastri was first into the pits, at which point Norris slowed to avoid losing time on the double stack, a move that was not seen in a favourable light by the stewards.

Piastri ultimately missed out on points, finishing just over six tenths behind Bottas and will be disappointed having started the race in P8.

Pierre Gasly 6

The racing gods clearly had it in for Pierre Gasly this weekend as pretty much everything that could go wrong did so. It started with a retirement in FP1 but his weekend came unstuck during quali when a Carlos Sainz-shaped roadblock ruined his flying lap and sent him out in Q1.

From there it was a tough ask for Gasly to move up the grid but Alpine were bold, making the Frenchman the only driver to start on the softs. That strategy unfortunately came unstuck when Gasly pitted only for the Safety Car to come out a lap later.

From then, there was little Gasly could do as he was condemned to a P12 finish.

Lando Norris 6

A points-worthy performance but ultimately one that was lost due to a Norris mistake. Wanting to avoid being slowed down by his team-mate as McLaren double stacked under the Safety Car, Norris drove slower than the stewards liked and they handed him a five-second penalty.

That meant his job was to get a five-second gap between him and Stroll in P11 but ultimately it was Bottas who was the thorn in Norris’ side. Norris proved unable to get past the Alfa until late on and by that point, there were not enough laps left for the Brit to build that gap.

He tried his best to move past Ocon late on but it was futile as his penalty sent him down to 13th.

Yuki Tsunoda 5.5

Tusndoa’s worst qualifying performance of the season was always going to make life hard for the driver who has oftentimes made it seem like he is dragging the AT04 higher than it should be.

That lack of raw pace meant he was always going to struggle to cut through the field and he could only manage a P14 finish. recommends

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Nico Hulkenberg 5

An excellent qualifying performance unfortunately translated into a quick slip down the table and even if he had held on to his P2 spot, the lack of pace suggested the result would have been the same.

Having quickly departed out of the top 10, Hulkenberg did his best to grab on and find a comfortable position within the back half of the grid.

That ended up being ahead of Zhou but behind Tsunoda, a driver who started 14 places further back.

Zhou Guanyu 5.5

After a run of form in which he has outperformed his much-experienced team-mate, Zhou endured the worst weekend of his season so far in Canada.

He started last and only rose to P16 due to retirements and Kevin Magnussen and Nyck de Vries’ decision to hold hands as they rolled down a tight escape route.

After a P9 in Spain, Zhou will hope this is a blip and not the new established order within the Alfa team.

Kevin Magnussen 4.5

It was less one killer blow but more, a death by a thousand cuts for Magnussen as he slipped down the grid.

Shown in both drivers’ performance, the Haas car continues to eat through its tyres and it cost Magnussen any hope of performance.

He would then get entangled in a fight with De Vries which left him facing the wrong way down an escape route and in need of a pit stop having sustained damage to his tyres.

That ended his race on a competitive front, Magnussen finishing ahead of only De Vries, and the Dane’s 2023 struggle continue.

Nyck de Vries 3.5

Another race and another subpar Nyck de Vries performance. He started ahead of his team-mate for the second time in as many races but again failed to make the most of it.

Tsunoda soon passed leaving De Vries to battle with Magnussen but ultimately, it was the AlphaTauri driver’s error that sent them down an escape route.

Having got his elbows out a little too aggressively, De Vries then locked up leaving the Haas driver nowhere to go but to follow him down the slip road.

From there, both drivers’ race was all but done and De Vries was last of the finishers, still just one of two drivers yet to score a point.

George Russell 5

It may have been a great recovery drive that took Russell from plum last to within the points but ultimately it was a problem of his own making.

Running in P4, Russell went wide between Turns 8 and 9 and hit the wall hard. It destroyed his rear right and snapped his front wing in half but the Brit was able to nurse it home, emerging at the back of the pack after a lengthy repair stop.

But the true extent of the damage would only reveal itself late on in the race when Russell was forced to retire with a suspected brake duct issue.

Logan Sargeant 4

It was not Sargeant’s fault that a mechanical issue caused him to retire in lap 4 but there was little to suggest during that brief stint that he was going to challenge any higher up.

He qualified 18th having not been given the upgrades that Albon enjoyed and was soon off the track as he pulled over to the side of the road early on.