Chinese Grand Prix driver ratings: Super Norris in Shanghai

Sam Cooper
Driver ratings for the Chinese GP

Lando Norris was the start of the show in Shanghai.

Lando Norris secured his eighth P2 of his career while Max Verstappen was again in dominant form.

After a busy day for Race Control, here are our ratings for the 2024 Chinese Grand Prix:

Max Verstappen – 9

Another excellent drive from Max Verstappen in which he put his foot down early on and never looked back. Lewis Hamilton showed on Saturday that if you are quick enough in P2, you can put the pole sitter under pressure but Sergio Perez was unable to do that on Sunday.

While Fernando Alonso overtook Perez, Verstappen built up a couple seconds of a gap and even two Safety Cars and a VSC could not disrupt the Dutchman’s dominant display.

Lando Norris – 9.5

An excellent drive from Lando Norris to earn him the eighth P2 of his career. It was a race with a bit of fortune but you have to be in it to win it and his most impressive moment came late on when he not only held Sergio Perez off but disappeared over the horizon.

Norris could have come undone when the VSC was called just as he passed the pit but luckily for him, it stayed out for another lap and he could pit onto fresh tyres.

He had a bet on how far Ferrari would finish ahead of him and we guess he now owes someone money…

Sergio Perez – 8.5

Sergio Perez had P2 in the bag for a lot of the race but when the Safety Car came out, he was unable to catch Norris up ahead.

Perez lost the second spot early on to Alonso and by the time he overtook the Aston Martin driver, challenging Verstappen was always going to be unlikely.

It is just the second time this year Perez has not finished P2 but still a good haul of points.

Charles Leclerc – 8.5

Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz may be the best of mates off the track but early on in Shanghai, the Monegasque demonstrated that was not always going to be the case on track

The two went into the first corner side-by-side and Leclerc showed he had no intention of allowing his team-mate back on track. That forced Sainz off and ultimately cost both drivers as they slipped down the order but it was Leclerc who recovered best, albeit due to a safety car.

After his impressive tyre-saving skills in Japan last time out, Ferrari seemed confident Leclerc could executive “Plan D” this time round but in the end he did not need to as the Safety Car allowed him a relatively free pit stop.

From there, he tried to catch the cars ahead but they were just too quick on the day.

Carlos Sainz – 8

For the standards set by Carlos Sainz so far this year, this was a little bit of an underwhelming race but P5 is still nothing to turn your nose up at.

His race was impacted early on when he got into a tussle with team-mate Leclerc that sent him down the order and he looked vulnerable late on with old hard tyres but he was able to hang onto fifth ahead of George Russell who also seemed content with his spot.

George Russell – 8

While Lewis Hamilton had the upper hand in the sprint, when it came to the main race, Russell has always been a step ahead.

In that race, he occupied a bit of a no man’s land with much quicker cars up ahead and much slower cars behind but his P6 is his best result since the second race of the year.

Fernando Alonso – 8

Perhaps let down by Aston’s strategy as they ran an opposite plan than the rest of the grid but ultimately it left the Spaniard exposed on 20-lap old softs.

Alonso pitted with 13 laps to go but could only climb back to seventh having started the race very well.

Oscar Piastri – 7.5

A step behind Lando Norris for the entirety of the weekend but his race was ruined as the Safety Car lifted due to Ricciardo flying into the back of him.

The incident left Piastri with diffuser damage so he should be commended for managing to bring it home in eighth.

Lewis Hamilton – 8

A strange race for Lewis Hamilton in which he spent a large portion of it near the back only for him to somehow finish in the points.

There was some luck involved with multiple Safety Cars and retirements ahead of him but still nothing can be taken away from his drive in a car that is clearly not to his liking.

Nico Hulkenberg – 8.5

Another points score for Nico Hulkenberg to continue the excellent 12 months he is having.

There was some fortune in the result with Ricciardo heading out but the German ensured that if there was to be some luck to be given out, he was going to be the one to receive it.

Esteban Ocon – 7.5

With Esteban Ocon’s new floor fitted on, Alpine are making progress up the grid and came very close to their first point of the year.

The Frenchman was just 2.49 seconds behind P10 Hulkenberg and if the team continues in the right direction, the French outfit will soon have their first points of the year.

Alex Albon – 7

Another race where Alex Albon cannot seem to contend for a points spot as the Williams car lacks performance.

The British-Thai driver pitted in lap 9 but found it difficult to move up the grid as the race went on.

Pierre Gasly – 7.5

Even without the upgraded floor, Pierre Gasly moved into Q2 for the first time this season which is a positive step on his journey back up the grid.

The race itself was tougher but P13 represents his joint highest finish of the season so far. recommends

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Zhou Guanyu – 6.5

It may not have been the points score the home crowd was desperate for but his teary moment at the end of the race showed just how much it meant to Zhou Guanyu.

He was one of the early pitters and ended up making three pit stops but he was unable to extract enough pace out of the softs at the end to move up the table.

Lance Stroll – 4.5

No matter how much he would like to blame Ricciardo for apparently brake-testing him, this was entirely Stroll’s fault.

Yes, the pack ahead closed up quickly but the other drivers ahead of Stroll were able to avoid contact.

It was Stroll’s fault and he was handed a deserved 10-second penalty.

Kevin Magnussen – 5

Kevin Magnussen is no stranger to a dive bomb but this one on Yuki Tsunoda was beyond reckless.

He approached the turn with far too much speed meaning he had to use the RB of Tsunoda as a makeshift brake and it ultimately cost the Japanese driver his race.

The Dane meanwhile picked up a deserved penalty.

Logan Sargeant – 6.5

Picked up what seemed a rather harsh penalty for overtaking under Safety Car conditions but before that he had been running reasonably well.

It was still not enough to be challenging for points but perhaps a positive step in the right direction.

Daniel Ricciardo – 7

Daniel Ricciardo’s poor luck continued just at a time when it seemed he was rediscovering his form. He was running in ninth when the Safety Car cleared but the hit from Stroll all but ended any chance of him being competitive.

Missing a diffuser, Ricciardo fought on for a few laps but was forced to eventually retire the car and his baron run continued.

He was later handed a three-spot grid penalty for Miami for overtaking under Safety Car conditions.

Yuki Tsunoda – 6

After his good start to the year, Yuki Tsunoda was already enduring a tough weekend before Magnussen decided to use him as a human pinball.

The RB driver was unlikely to score points from his position but any chance he may have had was wiped out with the puncture he picked up off the Haas car.

Valtteri Bottas – 7

After his impressive quali, Valtteri Bottas was running well until lap 21 when a mechanical failure brought an early end to his race.

It was quite an alarming moment for the Finn as he climbed out of the car with just double yellow flags separating him from the grid but the VSC and then full Safety Car he caused would go on to have a big impact on the race.

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