Saudi Arabian GP driver ratings: Daniel Ricciardo hype train derails, Oliver Bearman shines

Sam Cooper
Driver ratings for Saudi Arabian GP

While Oscar Piastri was one of the better drivers, Daniel Ricciardo and Lance Stroll both found themselves near the back.

The second race of the 2024 F1 season is in the books with Max Verstappen once again taking the victory.

Away from the Dutchman, two young guns impressed while a couple of the sport’s veterans severely disappointed.

Max Verstappen – 9.5

Max Verstappen was near perfect again in Saudi after his grand slam in Bahrain but unlike the first race, the Dutchman did not record the fastest lap.

Not scoring a 10 for starting first and finishing there seems harsh but such is the high bar that Verstappen himself has set that anything other than perfection sees him drop.

But it was another win for the Dutchman who will take some beating this year.

Sergio Perez – 9

Got given a five-second penalty after the team released him unsafely during the safety car period – but Perez held his hands up for causing this mistake.

In terms of the race, he moved past Charles Leclerc in the opening lap but lost the spot immediately. Ultimately though, it was a matter of when not if as the RB20 proved too strong for the rest of the field.

Charles Leclerc – 8.5

Achieved the maximum he could with the RB20 just a step ahead of the field. He did his best to hold on to Perez’s coattails early on, doing well to re-overtake after losing P2. But ultimately it was just a matter of time before the quicker Red Bull moved passed.

Two consecutive podiums for the Ferrari team who look the clear favourites for P2 as it stands.

Oscar Piastri – 8.5

To borrow a phrase from the race winner, a “simply lovely” performance from Oscar Piastri who slipped under the radar by many.

Starting P5, he breezed past Alonso but then found himself staring at the red INEOS-branded rear wing of Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes for what must have felt like an eternity.

Once Hamilton pitted in the 37th lap, Piastri finally found some clean air and brought it home in P4.

Fernando Alonso – 7.5

Fernando Alonso seemed as if he was missing the necessary firepower to keep him ahead of the McLaren of Piastri as the Australian overtook pretty easily early on.

With his team-mate in a wall, Alonso was one of many who pitted under the safety car but he did stay ahead of George Russell for some valuable points.

George Russell – 8

Russell got the more favourable call from his team as he pitted under the safety car and it allowed him to overtake Norris to move into P6.

From there, he was in a race of his own with too much of a gap ahead to Alonso but also a sufficiently large one behind to Bearman.

Oliver Bearman – 9

Not much more you could have asked from an 18-year-old who was given just one practice session before his F1 debut, in a Ferrari no less.

Bearman survived the chaotic start that Saudi can offer but his most impressive stint came at the end where he was faced with two of his compatriots bearing down on him, but was able to hold his nerve and earn six championship points.

Lando Norris – 8

Led the race at one point but the second safety car he and the team were desperate to come just never arrived.

In the end, Norris pitted late on for the softs but could not catch Bearman up ahead.

Lewis Hamilton – 8.5

It may not have resulted in any more points but Hamilton’s defending against Piastri was a brilliant bit of racemanship.

Piastri was on the fresher set of tyres in the quicker car but the Australian was unable to pass Hamilton cleanly until the Mercedes driver pitted.

Hamilton will be unhappy though that he was given the worse of the two strategies during the safety car period.

Nico Hulkenberg – 8

Helped out massively by his team-mate but that does not take away anything from Nico Hulkenberg’s excellent drive.

Gambled and stayed out during the safety car and ultimately he was able to create a gap big enough to pit and still come out ahead of K-Mag and the chasing pack.

A deserved point.

Alex Albon 7.5

Suffered damage when Kevin Magnussen decided to squish him into a wall and it was the same driver that ultimately held him back from attacking the points-gaining spots.

But a P11 spot in a damaged car is a good result for Albon and the team.

Kevin Magnussen – 4.5

It is hard to judge Kevin Magnussen’s race as although the first third was atrocious, the reminder showed some excellent team-work.

The Dane’s 20-seconds worth of penalties meant his race was all but over but he did ensure that a big enough gap was for his team-mate to pit and remain close to the points.

Esteban Ocon – 7.5

A much better weekend for Esteban Ocon and although he ended outside of the points, he was at least much higher up the grid than in Bahrain.

That Alpine car is clearly one of the worst, if not the worst, on the grid but in Saudi Ocon was able to draw some life out of it. Although it was alarming how Albon was able to pass Ocon despite the Williams man having damage.

 

Logan Sargeant – 5

It is not a good look when you cannot overtake your team-mate but it is especially poor when your team-mate has damage and still you cannot get past.

With Albon compromised, Williams would have liked to have their second car pull more of the weight but again Logan Sargeant was off the pace.

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Yuki Tsunoda – 5

Managed to keep his head when he was in a close battle with Magnussen but was also one of many stuck behind the Dane until his own race was comprised beyond any usefulness.

Having started P9, a P14 finish is a bad look, which dropped to P15 after a post-race penalty was applied.

Daniel Ricciardo – 5

The pre-season hype around RB and Daniel Ricciardo is fading fast with another lukewarm performance.

Starting P14, he slipped down the order until a late spin almost saw him go into the wall. If this is supposed to be a battle between him and Perez for the Red Bull seat, Checo is winning it by a mile.

Valtteri Bottas – 4

Another subpar performance from Bottas. Zhou at least was running in P11, granted having not stopped, but Bottas was at the back like the anchor of the grid.

The only thing that spared his blushes was the Stake pit crew producing an incredibly slow stop for his team-mate.

Zhou Guanyu – 6

One of many hoping for a second safety car but that ultimately did not come. Up until then it had been a good race from Zhou but a slow stop relegated him to the back of the grid.

Lance Stroll – 3.5

Two years in a row that Lance Stroll has failed to finish in Saudi but while 2023 was the engine’s fault, 2024 was entirely his.

Stroll is experienced enough and has driven on this circuit enough to not be making amateur mistakes like clipping a wall, the very same wall he hit in practice. His effort to make it into Q3 was ultimately for nothing and was another mistake to be used against the Canadian.

Pierre Gasly – 6

A gearbox issue meant he did not even complete a single lap meaning we can only really judge Pierre Gasly from his quali performance.

On the positive side, it was not the P20 he got in Bahrain but P18 is not much better.

Read next: Oliver Bearman reacts to classy Lewis Hamilton moment on Saudi Arabia cooldown lap