United States GP driver ratings: Lewis Hamilton impresses, Mercedes does not

Sam Cooper
Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen finished one-two in Austin.

Max Verstappen secured one of his more difficult wins of the year while Lewis Hamilton was left to wonder what could have been.

The Austin race proved a battle of strategy with teams having to gamble when would be best to come in for their stop, but in the end, Red Bull got it right as Hamilton just ran out of road to catch Verstappen before his Mercedes car was disqualified for excessive plank wear.

Here are your driver ratings for the 2023 United States Grand Prix:

Max Verstappen – 9.5

A different kind of win for Max Verstappen and one that tested skills he has not had to use all too often this year.

Starting from P6, it was not the charge up the grid that many might have expected but instead a patient affair, like a snake coiling itself around its prey and suffocating all life out of it.

With Lando Norris and Lewis Hamilton ahead of him, Red Bull opted to bring him in early and the undercut proved effective.

Patience in overtaking turned to patience in managing a brake problem which threatened his winner status late on in the race. The Dutchman angrily asked to not be bothered while braking, suggesting all was not well in the number 1 car despite the victory.

Lando Norris – 9

An excellent start to the race saw him get past Charles Leclerc and into the lead of the race. From there he recorded 21 laps in the lead, the second most he ever has in a single race, but ultimately it was the pace of Verstappen that would cost him a chance at the win.

It was however the choice of tyres by McLaren with Norris on the hards late on that allowed Hamilton to also pass but it is another podium for the man with 100 races under his belt.

His day was later made better when he moved up to P2 following Hamilton’s DSQ.

Carlos Sainz – 8

A surprisingly high finish for Carlos Sainz who looked nowhere for a while. While Ferrari fumbled the strategy in regards to Leclerc, they got it right with Sainz who had the right tyres at the end.

He moved past Leclerc and Norris looked in range but ultimately Sainz’s former team-mate held on. Sainz did though get a podium due to Hamilton’s DSQ.

Sergio Perez – 6

Just another hugely disappointing race for Sergio Perez in front of a largely supportive crowd. It is the same question as always with Perez, if Verstappen can be that quick in the same car, then why is Perez so slow?

A P4, with the caveat of a disqualified Hamilton, is not good enough for a Red Bull driver.

George Russell – 6

If Norris’ 100th race was one to remember, George Russell’s was one to forget. Well off the pace, the Brit’s main battle appeared to be with track limits as he had numerous laps deleted and came perilously close to receiving a penalty.

Russell would cross the line seventh but considering the pace his team-mate had, it is not a great look for the 25-year-old.

Pierre Gasly – 7.5

A good race for Pierre Gasly in which he started seventh and finished eighth before the disqualifications which was probably the maximum on offer for him this weekend.

Alpine are comfortably sixth in the standings but Gasly will want to hold off Stroll having overtaken him following the sprint.

Lance Stroll – 8

Starting from the pit lane, a P9 finish is more than respectable for Lance Stroll. With the new upgrades proving ineffective on Saturday, Aston Martin opted to leave the Canadian on the new setup while Fernando Alonso reverted to the old one giving the team a perfect chance to compare the results.

It was the Spaniard who had the better day up until lap 50 when a problem with the floor caused him to retire but Stroll ensured Aston Martin did not go home empty-handed with a P9 finish.

The two points they earned from that though was not enough to stop McLaren leapfrogging them in the standings.

He does however need to work on his pit lane starts having forgot to enter the pits following his reconnaissance lap.

Yuki Tsunoda – 8

While there was plenty of focus on the other side of the AlphaTauri garage, Yuki Tsunoda put in an excellent performance to finish within the points for the first time in seven races.

He also pitted late on to secure what was the first fastest lap extra point of his career.

Alex Albon – 6.5

The only driver to fall foul of track limits one too many times as he was handed a five-second penalty late on in the race.

It did not have much impact in the end, only bringing team-mate Sargeant to within 1.284 seconds and Williams will look ahead now to the Mexican race which may suit their car a bit more.

He was later moved up into the points as a result of Hamilton and Leclerc’s DSQ.

Logan Sargeant – 7

Points in the weirdest way possible for Logan Sargeant. Yes he finished behind his team-mate once again but this time it was only by one place and by a little over a second.

His P12 finish proved to be vital with space opening up ahead meaning his quest for an F1 point is over at the 18th attempt.

Nico Hulkenberg – 7

Not the dramatic rise in performance Haas would have been hoping for after their new upgrades but a P13 finish from a pit start is a good afternoon for Hulkenberg.

He beat his team-mate comfortably but Haas will be hoping these upgrades result in better performance in Mexico.

Valtteri Bottas – 5

After a good result in Qatar, Valtteri Bottas returned to his familiar surroundings of no man’s land down in 14th. The Alfa car lacked pace in Austin and Bottas was unable to make up for that in the race.

Zhou Guanyu – 5

Like his team-mate, a poor day out with no performance in the Alfa car to be found. A start position of 12th turned into a finishing position of 15th before the disqualifications and Alfa’s 12th point-less race of the season.

Kevin Magnussen – 4.5

While team-mate Nico Hulkenberg managed to make some headway up the order, Kevin Magnussen was stuck near the back of the running for the duration.

The highlight of Magnussen’s race was a battle with Logan Sargeant for who gets the honour of running last.

Daniel Ricciardo – 5.5

Not exactly the comeback race Daniel Ricciardo had promised. He started the race just three places behind his team-mate but would end up crossing the finishing line last of the runners while Tsunoda made it into the points.

The cause of that was identified during a pit stop when a mechanic pulled a sizeable chunk of debris out from under the car which was later revealed to have caused damage to the front brake duct and floor.

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Lewis Hamilton – 9.5

Oh what could have been for Lewis Hamilton. From a driver’s perspective, it was a near perfect performance but ultimately it was the team’s indecision that cost him the win.

With both Lando Norris and Verstappen pitting for fresh tyres, the Mercedes strategy team were caught in two minds and it was that hesitation that punished them.

To Hamilton’s credit, he closed a huge gap to not only reel in Norris but come ever so close to getting past Verstappen as well. A couple more laps and he could have done it, something that made the seven-time World Champion happy as he realised the steps the team had made.

He was later disqualified for too much wear on his plank which would have been a team choice, not his.

Charles Leclerc – 7

A poor start put him on the back foot with not only Norris able to pass but Hamilton soon after. From there, it seemed as if Ferrari were hoping to use strategy to make up the lost places but it cost Leclerc dear.

With the rest of the field opting for two-stop strategies, Leclerc attempted just one and it proved to be a fatal move. Late on, his tyres gave way and he was instructed to let Sainz by, an order he was not too happy about.

That was also Leclerc’s 17th pole which he has failed to convert into a win.

He was later disqualified for having too much wear on his plank.


Fernando Alonso – 8

Having reverted to the setup he had in Qatar, Alonso seemed much more comfortable in the AMR23 and looked to be on for a good haul of points.

In the end though, floor damage sustained late on would cost Alonso the chance to finish within the top 10 and he retired in lap 50 in what was his first DNF of the season.

Oscar Piastri – 6.5

If blame is to be handed out for the crash that caused both Oscar Piastri and Esteban Ocon to retire then not much of it will be heading the Australian’s way.

Early on, Piastri made an excellent move around the Alpine driver and with both front wheels ahead and the corner his, he was rewarded with a heavy shunt into his side from Ocon.

The damage was more immediately obvious for Ocon who dropped like a stone but it would also prove to be terminal for Piastri who retired on lap 10.

Esteban Ocon – 4.5

Having been fairly overtaken, Ocon smashed into the side of Piastri and cost both of them their race. For Ocon, the contact caused major damage to the left sidepod and floor and he would leave the race in the seventh lap.

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