Spanish GP driver ratings: Marvellous Max Verstappen completes rare F1 feat

Sam Cooper
Spanish driver ratings.

Spanish driver ratings.

With the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix finished, here are’s driver ratings for all 20 racers.

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.

Many predicted Max Verstappen would win in Barcelona but few would have foreseen such level of dominance. Leading from the start to the finish, anything but a Verstappen victory looked fanciful from the off.

Meanwhile it was a great day for Mercedes while Charles Leclerc had another race he would sooner forget.

Here are the driver ratings for the 2023 Spanish Grand Prix:

Max Verstappen 10

It is tough to know which is more difficult at the moment. Max Verstappen winning an F1 race or finding new ways to describe another perfect performance. For his showing in Spain, perhaps it is best to look at the cold, hard facts. Fastest in all three practice sessions, pole, leading every lap, fastest lap and race victory earned him his third Grand Chelem award, putting him equal with Nelson Piquet on three and there is little more to say then it was an utterly dominant performance.

The only piece of racing he had to do was going into Turn 1 but he defended from Carlos Sainz despite being on a slower tyre. With that battle won, from there it was a case of putting it in cruise control and even if his radar did seem a little off later in the race, earning a black and white flag for exceeding track limits, he soon recalibrated to take the fastest lap from his team-mate and finish 24 seconds ahead of P2.

Lewis Hamilton 9.5

Is this it? Is this the turning point? Is Hamilton’s nightmare over? Well for the first time in a long time, the Mercedes car had genuine pace and Hamilton certainly made the most of it. After surviving some opening lap contact with Lando Norris, Hamilton was on a mission to reclaim his P3 spot from Lance Stroll and duly did so in lap 6.

Next it was Carlos Sainz who was dispatched in lap 28 and from there, Hamilton held on to P2 to secure his 11th podium finish at the Barcelona circuit.

George Russell 9

Cut it close to being handed a penalty when he used the escape road to get past Oscar Piastri in the opening lap but from then on, the 25-year-old was on a charge up the field. Aside from some sweat/rain drops covering his visor, Russell had no problem cutting through the field to make his way near to the podium spots.

As the race went on, the question then became: does Russell have enough pace to overtake Sainz? But really, it was no question at all. Just as he had done with Esteban Ocon earlier in the race, Russell dived down the inside of Sainz in lap 35 for P3 and his first podium of the season.

Sergio Perez 7.5

After a poor qualifying session, Sergio Perez did well to return his car to a respectable finish. It was not the one-two that Red Bull would have been hoping for but it was marked improvement from the last time out in Monaco.

In Monte Carlo, Perez had difficulty overtaking but the long straight and high speed corners of Barcelona meant that was no real issue as the RB19 again showed its supremacy over every other car on the grid.

A championship bid still seems fanciful, with Verstappen extending his lead to 53 points, but Perez is on course for his highest ever season finish.

Carlos Sainz 6.5

We are beginning to lose count of just how many times Carlos Sainz has started high up the grid only to begin a slow but inevitable slide down the field. Hamilton took him early on, then came Russell at the midway point of the race before Sergio Perez completed the humiliation in lap 53.

After the race, Sainz said race pace and high speed corners were Ferrari’s weakness but it is not the first time this season the Spaniard has disappointed and you suspect it will not be the last.

Lance Stroll 7

Made a smart move to pass Hamilton early on but was ultimately not able to deal with the pace of either Mercedes. The Aston car failed to show the same level of speed as it has at other circuits which allowed the quicker cars to pass with ease but in terms of his own team-mate, it was Stroll who got the better of Alonso for the first time this season.

Fernando Alonso 6.5

It was a disappointing weekend all round for a driver many thought may make history at his home circuit. Having to recover from a P8 start, Alonso was not as able to cut through the field as both Russell and Perez did.

He did an incredibly long second stint on the softs before moving onto the hards in lap 44 but by that point, there was little more he could do then to accept the P7 finish behind his team-mate.

Esteban Ocon 7.5

After his Monaco heroics, it was a return to the more mundane life in F1 for Ocon who finished P8 to extend his points scoring streak to three.

Worryingly for Ocon and Alpine, they appear to have found their ceiling in terms of where they can realistically expect to compete and that is behind Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes and Aston Martin.

Zhou Guanyu 8

His position in P9 may have come as a result of a harsh penalty for Tsunoda but Zhou will not care one bit.

Starting in 13th, Zhou looked to be running well out of it but made up ground through a mixture of pitting early but also his team-mate Valtteri Bottas helping to slow down the drivers.

It resulted in Zhou being in a position to attack Tsunoda and although he did not win the battle, he would win the war when he secured the second best finish of his career so far.

Pierre Gasly 7.5

Recovered from a poor start that saw him sink to P14 to then be challenging for the points-paying positions and had Alpine twice not condemned him to two slow pit stops, then Gasly’s day would have been a lot easier.

After his final stop in lap 39, he emerged behind Oscar Piastri but was able to move past him and set his focus on Zhou Guanyu. Had his stops been a little quicker then he may have been able to have moved past the Alfa but ultimately he was given the final points spot because of his friend Yuki Tsunoda’s penalty.

Charles Leclerc 4.5

A terrible weekend from almost start to finish for Leclerc. His real trouble reared its head in qualifying when an unknown issue saw him limp out in Q1 and after spending all night trying to discover the problem, Ferrari’s changes resulted in a pit lane start for Leclerc.

But as may have been expected of a Ferrari of yesteryear or even last year, he did not cut through the backmarkers but was instead forced to settle for slow and not so steady progress.

That progress ultimately resulted in P11, aided by Tsunoda’s penalty, but it is yet another pointless race for the exasperated looking Leclerc.

Yuki Tsunoda 7.5

After a great race battling amongst the final points paying spots, Tsunoda’s day was ruined when he was handed a harsh penalty for allegedly pushing Zhou Guanyu. The stewards argued Zhou was ahead going into the corner but any advantage was marginal and Tsunoda was focused only on turning in and not pushing the Alfa man off the track.

In the end, any hope Tsunoda had of any adding to his points tally was extinguished when the stewards handed him a five-second penalty and dropped him down to 12th.

Penalty aside, it was a strong performance from Tsunoda in an AlphaTauri car that looks to have a bit of pace when he is behind the wheel.

Oscar Piastri 6.5

While his opening lap was not quite as bad as his team-mate’s, it was enough to put Piastri severely on the back foot in his quest to get his third points score of the season.

There were times where Piastri looked to be in the fight for a top 10 spot but when the likes of Russell, Perez and Leclerc moved past, it pushed the young Australian out of the running.

Nyck de Vries 6

A small improvement from De Vries but still one that was in the shadow of Tsunoda. He was at times running in the top 10 but this was through a mixture of pit stop strategies rather than any driving skill.

He ultimately finished 14th and considering this was originally the final race of his ‘make it or break it’ ultimatum from Helmut Marko, his AlphaTauri future looks just as shaky as ever.

Nico Hulkenberg 6.5

Failed to capitalise on a strong qualifying and quickly fell down the order. He pitted early in lap 8 but it hurt rather than helped his chances as others made more ground on the soft tyres.

He soon found himself in a battle amongst the backmarkers and far away from the P7 spot he started the day in. recommends

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Alexander Albon 6

After a strong start to the season but ultimately one where they did not capitalise on the points, Williams have been out-developed by the teams around them giving Alex Albon an impossible task of battling for points.

In Barcelona, they looked slow and well off the pace of those around them. The world looked on in bemused horror and the simplicity of the Williams floor last weekend and that may be one of many reasons why they are quite so far behind.

In Spain, there was little Albon could have done as he came away point-less.

Lando Norris 5.5

Oh, Lando. After an excellent qualifying session to put himself in P3, all that hard work was gone in an instant with an opening lap collision.

Having been overtaken by Hamilton, Norris was holding back behind the front three but Sainz braking started a chain reaction which saw Norris drive into the back of Hamilton and lose part of his front wing.

Norris knew he had to be aggressive at the start if he had any chance of staying that high up the grid but he will now be asking himself if he went too hard, too soon and ultimately ruined his own race day.

Kevin Magnussen 5.5

Another race where Magnussen has been outshone by his team-mate and the Dane continues to struggle with the 2023 car.

P19 in Monaco and P18 here suggest Magnussen has plenty of work to do to upright his form.

Valtteri Bottas 5.5

A confusing lack of pace considering his team-mate’s speed as Bottas’ poor 2023 continues.

Since his P8 in the opening race in Bahrain, Bottas has failed to score another point and his P19 was his worst result of the season so far. Starting 16th, he went backwards rather than forward and only Logan Sargeant finished behind him.

Logan Sargeant 5

Yes the Williams car may be lacking in terms of updates, but Sargeant was again easily beaten by his team-mate. At least two of the three rookies are under pressure but while it seems De Vries is at least fighting for his spot, Sargeant has yet to show anything that suggests he has a long-term future in the sport.