Las Vegas GP driver ratings: Two big-name drivers suffer costly errors as Stroll surprises

Sam Cooper
George Russell returns to the paddock.

George Russell made a costly mistake in Las Vegas.

Max Verstappen took yet another victory to mark F1’s return to the city of Las Vegas.

Compared to the 17 other victories the Dutchman has enjoyed this year, it was by no means conventional in Vegas with multiple safety cars, a time penalty and contact in his way but ultimately the result was the same.

Elsewhere on the grid, there were some excellent comeback drives while a few drivers made crucial mistakes.

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.

Here are the driver ratings for the 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix:

Max Verstappen 9.5

An unconventional race but one that led to the same result for Max Verstappen. A marginal call went against him in the opening stages, giving him a five-second penalty, but his charge up the field felt almost inevitable.

He would overtake and overtake until he had the battling Sergio Perez and Charles Leclerc in front of him but when it came to the top two, it took little effort for Verstappen to move past and regain the lead.

The Red Bull driver did try his best to help his team-mate in the final lap but Perez missed out.

Charles Leclerc 9.5

Official statistics will have another failure to convert pole by Charles Leclerc but what more could he have done? An illegal overtake by Verstappen in the opening corner saw him lose P1 but he fought back relentlessly.

Yet again though, it was Ferrari who failed him. Quick thinking was needed when the second safety car was deployed but the Ferrari crew were left scratching their heads. The indecision cost Leclerc, leaving him vulnerable to the Red Bulls on fresh tyres.

But his race should be summed up by that excellent and bold overtake on Sergio Perez in the final lap.

Sergio Perez 8.5

A great drive from the Mexican even if he did miss out right at the end. Starting from 11th, the safety cars really played into Perez’s favour but that does not take anything away from the Mexican’s performance.

The only problem for Perez was the rear wing setup Red Bull had opted for which gave him less top speed than the other two meaning when it came to the final stages, Perez was a bit of a sitting duck at times.

Even a Verstappen assistance was not enough to allow him to hold onto the spot but the result was good enough to confirm P2 in the standings, a career-best for the 33-year-old.

Esteban Ocon 8

Recovered from P17 to finish just outside of the podium steps but the result was tinged with a bit of a sour taste as Esteban Ocon appeared to defy team orders and pass Pierre Gasly.

Ocon though will argue he had the pace to do that and his high finishing position should be ample justification.

Lance Stroll 8.5

A great race from the Canadian as he started P19 and finished fifth. Yes the multiple safety cars helped Lance Stroll but even with that in mind, it was a good performance from a driver who is so often criticised.

Back to back P5s for Stroll and the first time since the last race in the US that he has beaten his team-mate.

Carlos Sainz 8.5

Even with the odds stacked against him, Carlos Sainz finished well within the points. An extremely harsh penalty was no doubt a kick in the teeth but his P2 in quali would have given him the confidence that there was pace in the car and this proved to be the case as he cut his way through the field.

In contrast to his team-mate, Sainz pitted a second time which allowed him some fresh rubber to really attack up ahead and a P6, which moves him fourth in the standings, is a fine result for the Spaniard.

Lewis Hamilton 7.5

An incident-filled race for the seven-time World Champion who started by making contact with Fernando Alonso going into Turn 1. Lewis Hamilton did survive that but it was not to be his only run-in with another driver as, late on, his wheel touched Oscar Piastri’s in what first looked like an innocuous incident but actually caused damage to the Mercedes car.

Hamilton surmised he lost 40 seconds as a result which makes his P7 very impressive.

George Russell 5.5

Another incident of George Russell being far too aggressive that, for once, has landed him a penalty. It is not the first time the Mercedes driver and Verstappen have come together but unlike their run-in in Baku, this time it was clear who was at fault.

It was a painful error for Russell who crossed the line fourth but was booted down to eighth due to the close nature of the field.

Fernando Alonso 6.5

Had a nightmare start when he spun going into Turn 1, meaning the green of his Aston Martin car turned into a giant bullseye with Valtteri Bottas driving into him. The Alfa driver then took a whack from Sergio Perez which gave Alonso another thud but the AMR23 was still able to carry on.

Thankfully for the Spaniard, it quietened down and he finished P9 but he will wonder what more was on offer had he not made that mistake in the opening stages.

Oscar Piastri 7.5

After a poor qualifying, it was an excellent performance by Piastri to salvage something for McLaren, especially as his team-mate exited early.

Running on an opposite plan to the rest of the front runners, Piastri would have needed another safety car to really score big but ultimately that did not come.

In the end, he finished 10th which was a good result considering where he started from.

Pierre Gasly 7

After an excellent quali, the Frenchman started well in Vegas but for some reason in the second half of the race, he dropped like a stone. There will no doubt be some strong words inside Alpine HQ after Ocon appeared to defy team orders and overtake Gasly, something Gasly did not do when he had the chance to earlier this year.

In the end, Gasly missed out on the points, leaving Vegas with no reward for his hard work.

Alex Albon 6.5

Many had predicted the nature of the Vegas circuit would be in Williams’ favour and while that looked the case to start with, ultimately their pace slipped away and Alex Albon could do nothing but tumble down the grid.

He held on for longer than his team-mate did but in the end there were quicker cars just queuing up to overtake, meaning it was a 14th point-less race for the British-Thai driver this season.

Kevin Magnussen 6

You could copy and paste this entry from pretty much every race this season as once again, the Haas’ ability to eat through its tyres was critical to both Kevin Magnussen and team-mate Nico Hulkenberg.

While that no doubt helped early on in the race whenever everyone else was dealing with cold rubber, over the race distance neither driver could hold on. In the end, Magnussen finished ahead of Hulkenberg but another point-less race for the team. recommends

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Daniel Ricciardo 6

After some great drives since his comeback, it was a more subdued affair for Daniel Ricciardo who finished 14th after a P15 start. The pace shown by that AlphaTauri in recent weeks just was not there in Vegas.

Zhou Guanyu 6

A two place improvement on his starting spot but the Chinese driver never threatened to get any higher than that. A fourth race in a row in which Zhou Guanyu has failed to score a point.

Logan Sargeant 5.5

A career best performance in qualifying ultimately did not translate into the race with Logan Sargeant slipping down the order very quickly. Given the pace of the Williams on the straight, a P16 is a disappointing result for the American.

Valtteri Bottas 6.5

Had a terrible start not of his own making when an aggressive Alonso spun in front of him, meaning all Valtteri Bottas could do was drive into the sidepod of the Aston Martin.

Bottas then took another whack from Perez for good measure and it was always going to be hard for the Finn to recover from that. He ended 17th which was a shame considering his high quali spot.

Did not finish

Yuki Tsunoda 5

An uneventful race for Yuki Tsunoda in which he struggled to make any ground up the order. He would end up retiring with a few laps to go in Vegas.

Nico Hulkenberg 5

Like his team-mate, Hulkenberg suffered from heavy tyre degradation and ended up retiring in lap 45. A race to forget for the German.

Lando Norris 5

Not much race performance to judge Lando Norris on after just four laps before a crash that saw him hit the barriers with a thud. The McLaren looked like one of the many cars struggling to fire up its tyres but this almost looked like something different with the back end just giving out through the high speed bend.

On a qualifying front, not a great day for Norris but this was not a problem caused by a low starting position.

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