Qatar GP driver ratings: World Champions falter, unlikely Lusail heroes emerge

Qatar Grand Prix 2023 driver ratings.

Oscar Piastri, Max Verstappen and Lando Norris topped the charts this weekend, but how do their driver ratings match up?

After one of the most intense races of the 2023 season, here are our driver ratings from the Qatar Grand Prix.

Driver 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.

Max Verstappen claimed his long-anticipated third World Championship, but faced stiff competition from the surprise package of the season.

Whilst there was a (sort of) new race winner in Formula 1, there were impressive outings from backmarkers, and surprising slumps from two of the sport’s legends.

Here are’s driver ratings for the 2023 Qatar Grand Prix:

Max Verstappen: 9.5

Heading into the race weekend, Verstappen securing the title at the Lusail circuit was never in doubt, even with obscure sets of circumstances. McLaren looked like they had a car that could somewhat compete with Red Bull this weekend, and duly denied the Dutchman a race-winning title-concluding moment in the Sprint.

Nevertheless, Verstappen handled the fast McLaren recovery masterfully, and looked untroubled with the call to increase the pace to rule out any late charge from the Papaya team. The question is, how many more races will Verstappen win in 2023?

Oscar Piastri: 9

It might not be a Grand Prix victory, Piastri delivered a very accomplished performance to secure his first victory in the F1 Sprint. He retained enough patience to allow the Medium tyres to come back to him and gradually force his way back to the front of the field.

Both McLaren drivers somewhat messed up the proper qualifying session, but Piastri got ahead of both Alonso and Leclerc on the opening lap, and profited from the colliding Mercedes drivers to take P2 on lap one. He remained there until the end, and didn’t seem particularly fazed by the charging Norris behind.

Lando Norris: 8

Whilst he was defeated by his teammate in Qatar, the more experienced McLaren driver executed professional recovery drives from setbacks in the Sprint and the Grand Prix.

Starting on the Mediums, he was swamped at the start of the Sprint, but fought back to recover to the top three. He also executed a fine getaway in the main race to run P6 on Lap 1, before rising to P3 and reducing the gap to his teammate. He might well have had the edge on pace at the end, but he would have required an unlikely mistake from Piastri to defeat him.

George Russell: 7

Mercedes looked like the third-fastest team in Qatar this weekend, but Russell certainly had a good go at trying to achieve a top three result in the Sprint. A brave decision to race on the Soft tyres ultimately didn’t pay off, but he gave himself every chance to succeed with a superb start, opportunistic moves and an impressive Safety Car restart.

The race promised another opportunity for a podium, but they might have struggled to resist the McLaren drivers. Either way, their chances ended at Turn 1 when Hamilton and Russell collided, with the former taking to social media to take full responsibility for the tangle. However, it was a very solid recovery from Russell, and Mercedes edge slightly further ahead of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship.

Charles Leclerc: 6

In the peaks and troughs of Ferrari’s battle with Mercedes for P2, the Scuderia endured one of their tougher circuits. Even when given a free hit with the Mercedes drivers colliding, Leclerc was unable to prevent Russell from recovering to the top four.

Leclerc was beaten by teammate Sainz on the Sprint day, but would have likely taken the honours in the Grand Prix due to Sainz’s qualifying issues.

Fernando Alonso: 5

With the gap between Alonso and Stroll looking greater than ever, the pressure will be mounting on the Spanish driver to do all he can to prevent McLaren from claiming the P4 spot in the Constructors’ Championship, however unlikely that might be.

He only just earned a point in the Sprint race, and made a couple of errors en route to a damage-limiting P6 result in the Grand Prix. His off-track moments might have cost him a chance at P5, but the errors may be a sign of the Aston Martin really being at the limit of performance.

Esteban Ocon: 6.5

The Alpine driver had contrasting race days in Qatar. After a Sprint which ended in retirement after a collision with Hulkenberg and Perez, the Frenchman fought back to a solid points result on Sunday.

Ocon seemed to be one of the hardest hit by the extreme conditions in Qatar, and reported to the team that he had vomited early on in the race. To his credit, he persevered and seemed fairly flawless en route to P7.

Valtteri Bottas: 6.5

Just when it looked like Alfa Romeo’s season might be finishing with a whimper, their drivers delivered a double points result. Bottas fell a couple of seconds short of taking a point in the Sprint, but converted an unlikely Q3 qualifying result into a P8 points finish in the main race.

Bottas took advantage of the early Safety Car to make a cheap pit stop and run an offset strategy. He lost little time racing against the faster cars and drove an efficient race to equal his best result of the season.

Guanyu Zhou: 6

After messing up qualifying and propping up the time sheets in Q1, not many would have put money on Zhou to claim a point in this race. Alfa Romeo chose opposing strategies for their drivers, with Bottas stopping as early as possible and Zhou pitting as late as possible in the opening stints.

Zhou’s longer stints meant he was one of the last to make a final stop, and fell just short of scoring points on outright pace with a late Soft tyre stint. However, he was there to take full advantage of penalties for Stroll, Gasly and Perez. Considering both strategies worked for Alfa Romeo, they will be hoping this points to a genuine upturn in pace for the team.

Sergio Perez: 2.5

After four races of the season, the two Red Bull drivers had two wins each, and there were conversations about Perez being in the title fight. Fast-forward 13 races later, and the championship is over, with Perez now without a podium in three Grands Prix.

After a pointless Sprint and woeful qualifying session, Perez earned several track limits penalties and was only able to convert a pit lane start into a P10 result. In the fastest car on the grid, the Mexican is now being thoroughly outclassed by Verstappen, and there must now be genuine concern from the Mexican and the Red Bull team.

Lance Stroll: 3.5

The Aston Martin driver is looking more and more frustrated race by race, which became obvious after another below-par qualifying effort by the Canadian.

After a scoreless Sprint accompanied by track limits penalties, he tried desperately to recover ground in the Grand Prix. He worked his way up towards the top ten, but more track limits offences meant he came away with no points. recommends

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Pierre Gasly: 4

Gasly took the qualifying accolades against his teammate in both the Shootout and the main qualifying session, but left the Qatar race weekend without a point.

He lost out to his teammate at the start and ran behind from there. He should have been able to back up Ocon’s result with more points for the team, but clumsy penalties for various track limits offences will leave the Frenchman frustrated with his race day.

Alex Albon: 6.5

At a track that was unlikely to suit the Williams car, Albon took advantage of the longevity of the Medium tyres to race well in the closing stages of the Sprint to achieve a points finish for Williams.

However, he and the team seemed powerless to achieve anything more in the Grand Prix, and could only watch as rivals Alfa Romeo took six points on Sunday.

Kevin Magnussen: 5

The Haas driver was out-qualified by his teammate for both the Sprint and the Grand Prix, but finished ahead by simply getting into less trouble than his colleague.

The team struggled for pace, and not even an early pit stop gamble could help Magnussen salvage anything from the race.

Yuki Tsunoda: 5.5

It was a fairly anonymous race weekend for the AlphaTauri team, and there were mixed results for the two drivers. Tsunoda came close to Q3 in the main qualifying, and was a couple of seconds away from a point in the Sprint.

However, the team looked distant in the Grand Prix, and the Japanese driver finished a distant P15.

Nico Hulkenberg: 4.5

It looked like it could have been another weekend where Hulkenberg pinched a point or two in the Sprint. He was eliminated in a tangle with Ocon and Perez, but was pretty blameless. However, a points opportunity was missed.

His Grand Prix was undone before the lights went out. He drove into the wrong grid box and took a 10-second penalty for it, which sent him down the order, and he failed to recover from there.

Liam Lawson: 4

This was perhaps the first race weekend since the Dutch GP where Lawson looked a little bit like the rookie that he is.

The AlphaTauri driver out-qualified Tsunoda in the Sprint, but he fell off during the Sprint race, and endured a fairly anonymous race in what could be his last appearance this season.

Logan Sargeant: 4

The under-fire American once again struggled to match teammate Albon’s pace, and didn’t do himself any favours with an early spin out of the Sprint race.

He kept his head at the start of the race and competed amongst the Haas, AlphaTauris and Alfa Romeos, but tailed off as a result of his mid-race illness, which Williams put down to “intense dehydration”. Whether this was a result of poor preparation or other factors remains unknown, but it was the last thing he needed with his F1 career under threat.

Lewis Hamilton: 3.5

Unfortunately for the seven-time champion, this was one of the most one-sided races in Russell’s favour. He qualified for the main event in a strong third place, but a Q2 elimination in the Sprint Shootout would have hurt.

He drove a patient race in the Sprint to recover to a respectable P5, but the bigger opportunity in the Grand Prix went begging.

He took responsibility for the collision with Russell at Turn 1, and it certainly looked like his line into the corner was too harsh to ensure his teammate had the space to go through unscathed. Fortunately, Mercedes didn’t lose ground to Ferrari in Qatar, but would have hoped for much more.

Carlos Sainz: 5

The Ferrari driver’s Qatar GP might well have ended in a low score after his below par qualifying, but a stronger performance on the Sprint day (defeating Leclerc in both the Shootout and the Sprint) prevented the score against his teammate being completely one-sided.

An issue with the fuel system ruled him out for the race, so we’ll never know how much he could have recovered from his Q2 qualifying exit.

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