Hungarian GP driver ratings: Heartbreak for Hamilton, redemption for Ricciardo

Sam Cooper
Driver ratings for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Driver ratings for the Hungarian Grand Prix.

History was made as Max Verstappen earned Red Bull’s 12th consecutive victory in Hungary.

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.

While Verstappen again dominated, there were impressive showings from the likes of Lando Norris, Sergio Perez, George Russell and Daniel Ricciardo.

Here are the 2023 Hungarian Driver Ratings:

Max Verstappen: 9

Another race where the cameras weren’t on him but another race where he effortlessly got the job done.

Verstappen’s biggest challenge was taking the lead off Lewis Hamilton but he did that almost immediately. Diving up the inside into Turn 1, he nosed ahead and then used his elbows to ensure Hamilton stayed behind.

From there, it was just a case of putting his foot down and guiding the car to a record-breaking 12th consecutive win for the team.

Lando Norris: 9.5

Back-to-back podiums for Norris for the first time in his career and he deserved it as he battled plenty of adversity in Budapest.

To start with, he was caught behind Hamilton and Verstappen which allowed his team-mate to overtake on the inside but a pit strategy enabled Norris to gain P2.

From there, it was a case of keeping pace but also saving his tyres for he was never going to catch Verstappen and had a job on to ensure Perez did not creep up from behind.

He did that in the end and celebrated by smashing Verstappen’s trophy to bits.

Sergio Perez: 9.5

Hailed as a “statement drive” from team boss Christian Horner, it seemed as if the Checo of old was back in Budapest.

While a P2 starring spot was not great, his aggressive driving and daring overtakes allowed him to climb up the table with relative ease.

His first real challenge was Hamilton but a pit stop strategy from Red Bull meant he would later move past the Mercedes man.

Perez tried to catch Norris for P2 but ultimately fell a few laps short.

Lewis Hamilton: 8

A disappointing afternoon for Hamilton after a Saturday that promised so much. The Hamilton-Verstappen battle lasted all of one corner with Hamilton falling away to P4.

Toto Wolff may believe the Mercedes W14 was the second quickest car on the day but Norris was able to keep his McLaren forever out of reach of Hamilton.

Late on, he could do nothing to stop the quicker Perez but did pass Piastri for a P4 finish.

Oscar Piastri: 8.5

Another moment of misfortune seemed to have cost Piastri at least a shot at a podium in Budapest.

He started excellently, making the most of the Verstappen-Hamilton battle that also trapped Norris, to emerge in P2 but a questionable strategy choice from McLaren allowed Norris to undercut his younger team-mate.

From there, Piastri had a hard time maintaining pace while keeping the tyres alive and admitted afterwards it was an area of his driving he needs to improve. But that is one of a very few areas for the rookie driver with the mentality of a man who has been on the grid for years.

George Russell: 9

As with Perez, George Russell’s mission was one of recovery and he did just that. Whether Wolff’s claim that the W14 was the second quickest car in Budapest was true or not, Russell’s lap times provided a convincing argument.

Amidst the chaos of the start, Russell moved himself up the grid quickly and proceeded to pick off drivers one by one.

A smart strategy allowed him a run on Carlos Sainz late in the race while Russell then had the necessary speed to come within five seconds of Leclerc and finish ahead of him as a result of the latter’s penalty.

Charles Leclerc: 6

How many times can we write a disappointing race for Leclerc and Ferrari? Of all the areas in a race, it is hard to pick one that went well for Leclerc in Budapest.

Pace? No. Strategy? No. Penalty free? No.

It is another afternoon to forget for Leclerc but if he were to forget all of his poor races this year, there would not be many left to remember.

With all the other top teams having their moment in the sun, Ferrari have yet to have theirs and it does not look like it is coming anytime soon.

Carlos Sainz: 6

Once again denied the opportunity to move past his team-mate despite being on the quicker tyre that made Carlos Sainz’s job all the harder on Sunday.

The SF-23 was not a quick car this weekend meaning try as he might, Sainz could not stop the likes of Perez and Russell from easing on by.

Sainz has finished fourth or higher just once this season and that came all the way back in Bahrain.

Fernando Alonso: 6

After the high-speed circuits of Austria and Silverstone, Aston Martin were hoping that Hungary would suit their car a little more but that did not prove to be the case.

Fernando Alonso qualified eighth but slipped down one spot to finish ninth after losing out to Perez and Russell.

At one point it looked as if Alonso could reel in Sainz but that ultimately came to nothing.

Lance Stroll: 6

As with Alonso, it was a similar story for Stroll with the second AMR23 unable to secure a top qualifying position but he did at least make up for it on the Sunday.

After working his way through the grid, he showed some smart team work to let Alonso by when he was on a different strategy.

Stroll took the last point-paying spot.

Alex Albon: 7.5

After a strong showing in Silverstone, Albon again finished just outside of the points in Hungary. The Budapest circuit did not exactly suit the Williams car but Albon did well to still be fighting amongst the points contenders.

Of course, that came with the caveat that both Alpines were out of the running but Albon still deserves praise.

Valtteri Bottas: 5.5

A second consecutive P12 for Bottas but unlike in Silverstone where he fought from P20 up the grid, the Finn will be wondering what could have been in an Alfa car that looked quick in Hungary.

He overtook his team-mate off the line but then slipped down the pecking order and became one of a number battling for the points. Bottas lost out in that battle and remains on five points for the season.

Daniel Ricciardo: 8

It is not a points-scoring return to Formula 1 but considering he took contact early on in the race, a P13 finish is certainly respectable for Ricciardo.

Another impressive feat of his race was his ability to make the medium tyres last for 40 laps and praise should go for his call to pit early and get some running in in free air.

Ricciardo equalled the best performance of Nyck de Vries in his first attempt and judging by one race alone, the Australian could challenge further up the grid this season.

Nico Hulkenberg: 7

Another strong qualy performance from Hulkenberg but another instance when the Haas car proves itself much worse in the race.

In the German’s defence, there was little he could do when the tyre gives out so easily, especially at a track like the Hungaroring and with the likes of Perez, Russell and Sainz starting behind him, it would have been a tough ask to hang out to that P10.

Finishing behind former team-mate Ricciardo will not have been a nice feeling though.

Yuki Tsunoda: 6

An underwhelming qualifying performance from Tsunoda at a time when he would have wanted to stamp his authority made Sunday’s race a tough task.

While Ricciardo did well on an extended medium stint, Tsunoda had issues preserving his tyres and after starting on the soft, he pretty quickly needed to move into the pits.

From there, it was damage limitation as he crossed the line P15.

Zhou Guanyu: 3.5

On a weekend when Oppenheimer hit the screens, Zhou Guanyu was very much the neutron that started the chain reaction.

A P5 start turned to dust in an instant when a poor getaway from the line allowed plenty to overtake Zhou.

Perhaps in an effort to make up for some lost ground, Zhou braked too late into Turn 1 and collided with the back of Ricciardo.

Ricciardo then hit Ocon who hit Gasly and all four drivers found their race compromised. Zhou and Ricciardo were the lucky ones, able to race on while both Alpines headed for an early exit, but that, and his five-second penalty for causing the collision, eliminated any chance of Zhou scoring points at a track where the Alfas had looked quick. recommends

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Kevin Magnussen: 5

K-Mag’s poor form continued with his run of finishing in the bottom five extending to six consecutive races.

At a time when Hulkenberg is getting the most out of a car on the Saturday, it is puzzling why Magnussen is failing to do so.

His contract is up for renewal at the end of this year and right now, it is his team-mate who looks the most sure to be in Haas colours next season.

Logan Sargeant: 5

A needless spin late on brought an early retirement to another underwhelming race for Sargeant.

With De Vries now gone, the title of underperforming driver falls to Sargeant and as Albon continues to perform above expectation, that spotlight only gets harsher on the American.

Esteban Ocon: 5.5

Qualified above his team-mate but his race lasted just as long. Back-to-back DNFs and the Frenchman will want a better performance next time out in Spa to end the first half of the season on a high.

Pierre Gasly: 4.5

Considering his race lasted all of a corner, there is not much to base Gasly’s rating on other than qualifying and he did not exactly set the world on fire then.

Needing to bounce back from a double DNF in Silverstone, Gasly was convinced that despite a P15 start, he could have fought for points but that would have been a tough ask considering the cars ahead of him.

Read next: Hungarian Grand Prix conclusions: Ricciardo returns, Perez’s defiant drive and more