Driver ratings for the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Jon Wilde
Emilia Romagna Grand Prix driver ratings. Driver Ratings from the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix. April 2022

A wet weekend at Imola ended with disappointment for the raincoated tifosi, who saw Max Verstappen cross the line first rather than home hero Charles Leclerc.

It was an Emilia Romagna Grand Prix that made the score Ferrari 2-2 Red Bull for this season – and still Verstappen and Leclerc remain the only winners.

Here’s our ratings for the 20 drivers, which as usual are based largely on Sunday’s action rather than the (sprint) weekend as a whole.

Max Verstappen: Anything Leclerc can do, Verstappen can do arguably better…in the sense that his grand slam – which the Monegasque had achieved in Australia two weeks earlier – was supplemented by a sprint pole position and victory!

It is difficult to crab anything about the World Champion’s weekend, except perhaps his start to the sprint which left him trailing Leclerc for the majority of that event until getting past in the closing stages to take the win.

The Dutchman will still be rueing the 36 lost points from his two RB18 breakdowns this year, but for which he would now be leading the title race. However, he undoubtedly now has the momentum heading to Miami. 10.

Sergio Perez: Red Bull could not have asked for more than their first 1-2 finish since Malaysia 2016 and, let’s be honest, in the order they would have wanted it.

Qualifying did not go Perez’s way, but he worked his way back up to third in the sprint and also nailed the start in the grand prix to get ahead of Leclerc and provide Verstappen with a buffer.

There was one mistake in the race from the Mexican which gave Leclerc the chance to close up on him, but otherwise this was another rock-solid showing. 9.

Lando Norris: For all that he is still playing down McLaren’s potential with the MCL36, Norris keeps delivering and with P3 he has continued to improve his placing at every race this season.

There was nothing particularly outstanding about the Briton’s performance but there did not need to be – simply making no mistakes was the ideal route to the Imola podium for the second consecutive year.

15-7-5-3 in 2022…will it be No 1 in Miami, Lando? A first success is certainly due. 9.

George Russell: Nine places above his lapped team-mate Lewis Hamilton will, however much he would publicly play it down, give Russell a huge sense of satisfaction.

He is now 21 points ahead of the seven-time former World Champion in the standings after just four races of his Mercedes career.

Improving from 11th on the grid to fourth, Russell held off Valtteri Bottas in the closing stages and certainly maximised the potential of the W13 once more. 9.

Valtteri Bottas: Memories of Imola a year and a week ago must have gone through Bottas’ mind as he closed in on Russell in the last few laps. And how he would have loved to overtake a Mercedes!

The Finn is making a big success of his Alfa Romeo move, which is surely going much better than he must have realistically hoped for.

It could have been so much better too but for a slow pit-stop, which is the sort of error the team need to eradicate, while there was nothing he could do about hitting the errant Daniel Ricciardo in the early melee. 8.

Charles Leclerc: A first weekend of the year when Leclerc was some distance off being faultless – and what a place for it to happen, on home turf.

A poor start in which he fell behind Perez and Norris began his problems and then, of course, came the lap 53 spin that Leclerc himself admitted had ultimately cost him seven points.

It is one he needs to consign to history and content himself with a 27-point lead in the title race, which would still have been beyond his wildest dreams at this point. 4.

Yuki Tsunoda: This weekend should have given Tsunoda confidence for he outperformed his team-mate Pierre Gasly fair and square, which has been a rare occurrence.

Overtakes on Kevin Magnussen and Sebastian Vettel allowed the Japanese racer to finish as high up as he did, improving an impressive five places on his grid position. 8.5.

Sebastian Vettel: After a terrible Australia, this was far more like it both from Vettel and Aston Martin generally as both cars finished in the points, getting them off the mark for the campaign.

It was mainly a case of keeping out of trouble for Vettel rather than doing anything spectacular, but he did that very nicely and ought to feel boosted for the races ahead. 8.

Kevin Magnussen: Good to see K-Mag and Haas’ points totals ticking over with another two to add to the one he collected in the sprint.

The Dane made a good start and had a little duel with Russell until overtaken on lap 12, but did not have the pace of the AlphaTauri and Aston Martin ahead of him towards the end. 7.

Lance Stroll: Only two of the 20 regular drivers have yet to score after Stroll came home 10th, his highlight being a dice with Tsunoda in which he could not make a move stick.

The Canadian dropped away a bit after that, but at least his season’s account is now open. 7.

Lance Stroll ahead of Esteban Ocon and Alex Albon. Imola April 2022.

Alex Albon: No repeat of his Melbourne point, but this was another promising display of race pace from Albon and Williams compared to qualifying.

Deserves credit for keeping the two cars that finished immediately behind him exactly where they were. 7.5.

Pierre Gasly: After a collision with Zhou Guanyu in the sprint, this was a disappointing weekend for Gasly and he will not be thrilled at being so comprehensively beaten by Tsunoda.

Keeping the Mercedes behind him is as good as things got for the Frenchman. 6.

Lewis Hamilton: If it were not for his car being so uncompetitive, pit-stops would be a sore point for the seven-time former champion this year as a slow tyre change cost him places at Imola.

There were no obvious mistakes in his driving, he just could not find a way past Gasly and there must be frustration in Hamilton’s camp with Russell now having beaten him three times out of four.

It was like Monaco 2021 all over again, with the Briton also having been stuck behind the AlphaTauri for much of that race. 5.

Esteban Ocon: A poor weekend for Alpine, with Ocon always on the back foot after a gearbox issue meant he was eliminated in Q1 on Friday.

Finished 11th on the road but an unsafe release from the pits that almost put Hamilton into the pit-lane wall meant he dropped to 14th in the classification. 6.

Zhou Guanyu: Starting from the pit lane after crashing out of the sprint, Zhou appeared to keep it clean in the race but was never a factor. 6.

Nicholas Latifi: The best we can say about Latifi is that he made it to the finish without crashing, but there was nothing else in the way of good news for him. 5.

Mick Schumacher: Not a weekend when the German enhanced his reputation, spinning on lap one and contributing to the end of Fernando Alonso’s race with the contact it caused.

Another spin occurred on lap 26 and these must be worrying times for Mick given his Haas team-mate Magnussen is so far up the road, although he did achieve his first competitive F1 top-10 result in the sprint. 4.

Daniel Ricciardo: Hit Carlos Sainz at the race’s first chicane and, unlike his Ferrari rival, was able to keep going after a pit-stop under the Safety Car.

However, the McLaren was damaged and a couple of no-risk strategy gambles failed to pay off.

The collision was definitely the Australian’s fault even though he initially claimed over team radio he had been “pushed” – he was, by Bottas, but only after the contact with Sainz. 3.

Did not finish

Fernando Alonso: Impossible to rate because being hit by Schumacher tore a hole in his car’s bodywork, which later got bigger when a piece flew off while being overtaken by Hamilton and he had to retire. N/A.

Carlos Sainz: No rating because he was nudged into the gravel by Ricciardo through no fault of his own, other than being somewhat slow off the line.

But on the whole, another weekend the Spaniard will want to quickly forget and instead show next time out why Ferrari have extended his contract. N/A.