Mexican GP driver ratings: Fan favourites star, home favourite flops

Luke Murphy
Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc feature highly in Mexico City GP driver ratings.

Max Verstappen levelled Alain Prost's career win tally with victory in Mexico City on Sunday.

As Max Verstappen navigated Mexico City mayhem to claim victory, here are our driver ratings from the Mexican 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.

With all the focus on teammate Sergio Perez, Verstappen delivered a fine example of how a Mexican GP start should be executed and went on to take more records and accolades for Red Bull.

Some usual suspects stood out, but there were stellar performances from unexpected drivers and some concerning races from a couple of stars from earlier in the 2023 season.

Max Verstappen 9.5

A combination of a unique, technical track, along with improved performances from rival teams and a teammate’s home event meant the Mexican GP had the ingredients to be a banana skin race for Verstappen, but the Dutchman masterfully took his sixteenth win of the season.

Starting from P3, the World Champion nailed the first start and built up a massive lead before the red flag. The second restart threatened to completely undo all of his hard work, but he made one of the hardest startlines on the calendar look very straightforward, and he had little need to look back after that.

Lewis Hamilton 8.5

The Mercedes team would have been disappointed with their qualifying efforts, but Hamilton proved that the W14 is a candidate for being the second-fastest car on the grid at the moment.

At a place where overtaking is difficult, the Briton drove patiently to let the race come to him. He passed Ricciardo, undercut Sainz in the pit stops, then executed a fully-committed overtake on Leclerc for P2. He also held on to the medium tyres well enough to fire in a fastest lap to take the bonus point.

Charles Leclerc 7.5

The Ferrari driver took an impressive pole position, but once again had to deal with a car which wasn’t quite as quick in race trim. He was blameless for the Turn 1 collision with an ambitious Perez and seemed mostly unaffected by the resulting front wing damage.

The red flag and restart gave Ferrari the chance to fix the car, but he didn’t have the pace to fend off Hamilton and gave the toughest possible defence that he could.

Carlos Sainz 6

The Ferrari driver narrowly lost out to Leclerc in qualifying and, after being unable to pass him at the start, had no opportunities to get ahead of his teammate in the race. The strategy meant he lost a position to Hamilton, and had fewer laps on fresher tyres before the red flag.

He fended off Russell well before capitalising on well-preserved tyres to build the gap to the Mercedes driver in the later stages of the race. Mercedes are now the firm favourites for P2 in the championship, but Ferrari’s solid points haul helps them keep a solid gap to the resurgent McLaren team.

Lando Norris 8.5

After a problematic qualifying session, McLaren had no choice but to try some alternate strategies in the race. After a reasonable start on Soft tyres, Norris pitted early and used the fresh Hard tyres to recover some more ground.

He made his second pit stop under the Safety Car when Magnussen crashed out, which was a great decision until the red flags came out and gave everybody else a penalty-free pit stop. He lost four places at the restart but then provided one of the stints of his career to pass numerous drivers and claim P5. A very impressive recovery.

George Russell 5

The Mercedes driver will be frustrated not to be able to recover positions in the same way Hamilton did, but the Briton appeared to struggle with the car and tyre temperatures in Mexico.

His first pit stop could have been used to get past Piastri, but McLaren pitted their man first, and Russell had to wait until the red flag restart to get by the McLaren. He struggled to pass Sainz and then fell backwards towards Norris and Ricciardo in the closing stages. He’ll be hoping for an upturn in form in Brazil, the place where he claimed his first F1 victory.

Daniel Ricciardo 8.5

With Perez probably under the highest amount of pressure he’s ever faced in his F1 career, Red Bull ‘third driver’ Ricciardo adds to the problem by out-qualifying him in a slower car. It was a sterling effort from the Australian, and he was able to back it up in the race.

It was always going to be a tough task to hold back recovering Mercedes and McLaren cars, but finishing ahead of the driver who replaced him at McLaren will be particularly sweet. The result has done wonders for a team that are just starting to find point-scoring form at the right time.

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Oscar Piastri 6

The Australian ensured at least one McLaren was in Q3, and survived some bruising racing to help McLaren to another double-points finish. He fell behind Russell at the second start after the red flag and was probably blameless for the collision that sent Tsunoda out of the points, but losing out to Norris despite starting at opposite ends of the grid will probably sting a little bit.

Alex Albon 7

In a race weekend where rivals AlphaTauri scored big, Alfa Romeo showed strong pace, and Haas almost picked up a point, Albon scored points to try and keep the other backmarkers at arm’s length in the Constructors’ Championship.

Starting on the Hard tyres, Albon gained places at the start and profited from the Safety Car to make a cheap pit stop before the red flag came out. He made an important pass on Hulkenberg at the restart and built a healthy gap in the battle for P10.

Esteban Ocon 5

After a poor qualifying, the Alpine team rolled the dice with Ocon and started the Frenchman on Hard tyres. He struggled to make progress but profited from the red flag to make a free tyre change and restart the race further up. A lack of straight-line pace meant it took him a while to get past Hulkenberg, but his patience was eventually rewarded.

Pierre Gasly 5

After qualifying P11, Gasly ran inside the top ten early on but lost track position to the early-stopping Norris and Tsunoda by the time the red flags came out. He fell back slightly at the restart and was then stuck in the Hulkenberg train in the later stages of the race, before eventually passing the ailing Haas driver.

Nico Hulkenberg 5

With AlphaTauri performing well, Alfa Romeo looking quick and Williams fighting for points, Hulkenberg looked set to give the Haas team hope with a great start to the race, jumping from P12 to P8. He fell back behind recovering cars but still ran in the top ten in the final few laps of the race until his tyres started giving up.

Yuki Tsunoda 3

With Ricciardo dragging the other AlphaTauri up to P4 in qualifying, the Japanese driver needed to deliver a strong recovery from P18 on Sunday. He almost succeeded and drove well to recover to the points-paying positions after the restart.

However, some impatient driving against Piastri sent him well out of points, and he will be hoping the team won’t be missing a couple of points in the Constructors’ Championship at the end of the season.

Valtteri Bottas 4

Alfa Romeo’s inability to convert their promising qualifying pace into a strong race result in Mexico might be a costly one. After looking well-placed to score points, both drivers dropped back on Sunday, and now they have fallen behind AlphaTauri in the Constructors’ Championship. Bottas had the measure of his teammate all weekend, but got involved in a clumsy collision with Stroll towards the end of the race.

Zhou Guanyu 4

After qualifying in the top ten, albeit right behind his teammate, the second Alfa Romeo driver would have also fancied his chances of only a fourth points result of the season. However, Zhou fell backwards during the race, particularly after the restart, to complete a disappointing day for the Swiss team.

Logan Sargeant 4

It was always going to be a tall order to challenge for points from the back row of the grid, but the American didn’t look like he would be able to bridge the gap to teammate Albon. He spent a lot of time racing Aston Martins in Mexico, and had an outside chance of nicking a point if a bit more chaos befell rival teams, but he ultimately retired with fuel system issues.

Lance Stroll 4.5

Aston Martin have probably given up on trying to catch McLaren for P4. The pace difference between the two teams is massive, and the green team had a nightmare race in Mexico.

After Q1 elimination, Stroll started from the pit lane to facilitate setup changes, but it didn’t look like an Austin-style recovery to the points was on the cards. He drew unnecessary attention with some overly robust defending against Sargeant, but was then less to blame for the collision with Bottas.

Fernando Alonso 4.5

The frustrations for the two-time champion continued as Alonso’s Mexican GP ended with a whimper. He finished as the lead Aston Martin driver in qualifying, but could only manage a P13 result, and fell backwards in the race. He was passed by Stroll, who clearly found a slightly better setup through his pit lane start, and then overtaken by Sargeant after the restart to run in last before retiring the car.

Kevin Magnussen 4

The Dane had a weekend to forget. He qualified several places behind his teammate and wasn’t really running close to the points when he crashed out of the race. A suspension failure was the reason for his crash, but what is less clear is whether or not it was due to an earlier off-track moment, or simply a freak breakage.

Sergio Perez 3.5

What a disaster for the home hero. Qualifying less than two-tenths behind Verstappen, Perez was positioned pretty much where Red Bull needed their second driver, but any speculation about being replaced would not have been helped by Ricciardo qualifying ahead in the AlphaTauri.

Perez looked to make amends in the race, and looked set to send the Mexican fans berserk with a pass for the lead on the outside of Turn 1. However, an early turn-in caused his race-ending tangle with Leclerc and, if blame was to be apportioned, can only really blame himself for the heartbreaking end to his race.