As Carlos Sainz claimed a thoroughly deserved victory at one of the most captivating races of the season, here are the ratings from the Singapore 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 Red Bull’s streak coming to an abrupt end, Formula 1 was treated to an enthralling battle for victory at the Marina Bay Circuit.
Alongside Sainz’s phenomenal drive, there were superb performances from a fan favourite, a rookie, and a desperately unlucky midfield runner.
Here are PlanetF1.com’s driver ratings for the 2023 Singapore Grand Prix:
Carlos Sainz: 10
Following his heroics at Monza, Sainz went one better by executing possibly his best ever Formula 1 race. He secured pole position, led from the start, managed the pace and preserved his tyres, something which Ferraris haven’t always done too well in 2023.
It looked clear to everybody that the Mercedes pair were going to breeze past with fresher tyres and steal the victory, which would have been a cruel ending to the race. However, Sainz had other ideas, and he masterfully kept the chasing drivers exactly where he wanted them with some clever DRS tactics.
He missed out on the fastest lap, which would have secured a rare F1 ‘grand slam’ (pole, win, fastest lap, lead every lap), but nobody is going to fault him for that.
Lando Norris: 9
Qualifying in P4, the McLaren driver eventually retained his position after Hamilton relinquished positions due to his Turn 1 corner-cutting. He profited from Leclerc’s slow pit stop to run in a ‘net’ third position after the Safety Car period, and made swift work of the late-stopping Red Bulls.
He held onto the leaders, and elected not to pit during the VSC period. This looked to be a miscalculation, but he fended off the late threat from Russell superbly, albeit with the assistance of Sainz.
Lewis Hamilton: 6.5
After seemingly being unable to keep up with the pace of teammate Russell in qualifying, it looked like Hamilton might be in for a long race where overtaking was at a premium. He made a good start off the line, but he was unable to do anything with it, and a corner cut resulted in dropping back to fifth.
His race came alive with the late pit stop under the VSC, and he slowly reeled in Russell, even before they encountered the Sainz-Norris collaboration. On a different circuit, he might have been able to profit from Russell’s inability to pass, and he kept his cool to profit from Russell’s late error.
If Hamilton was ahead of Russell in those closing laps, might his experience have yielded a different result in Mercedes’ pursuit of a win?
Charles Leclerc: 5
After narrowly losing out to Sainz and Russell in qualifying, Ferrari made the call to start Leclerc on the Soft tyres to regain ground, and the Monégasque moved up from third to second. From there, he matched Sainz’s controlled pace, but was unlucky to lose three places during the Safety Car-induced pit stops.
He made an error just after the restart to lose a place to Hamilton, and he was unable to really recover. He was powerless to stop the Mercedes duo from going by, and he was unable to preserve his Hard tyres to have any chance of hanging on at the end.
Max Verstappen: 6.5
Considering everything that was thrown at Red Bull this weekend, Verstappen coming away with a P5 is a decent recovery. As you might have expected with their P11 & P13 start, Red Bull gambled on starting the race on Hard tyres. However, a badly-timed Safety Car prevented this from paying off.
Eventually moving onto the Medium tyres, Verstappen moved through the field nicely, and showed that the Red Bull still had good race pace, even if the one-lap pace went missing this weekend. He came close to robbing P4 from Leclerc, too.
Pierre Gasly: 6
He was out-qualified and out-raced by teammate Ocon, but Gasly kept himself out of trouble, and he was in the right place to profit from others making mistakes. From P12, he gained a place at the start, and gradually picked off both Haas cars to run in the points on merit.
With McLaren disappearing up the road in the Constructors’ Championship, and with no threat from behind, Alpine appear to be in a no man’s land scenario in P6.
Oscar Piastri: 7
The Australian was desperately unlucky to be eliminated from Q1 in qualifying after Stroll’s crash, but he delivered a strong recovery drive to bring McLaren’s weekend points haul up to 24 points.
With Aston Martin failing to score, McLaren might have a chance of achieving their season target of P4 in the Constructors’ Championship after all. They have a gap of 78 points to close up with seven Grands Prix and three Sprint races left to go.
Sergio Perez: 4.5
A deficit to your teammate matters less when you’re first and second in a race, but when the car is only quick enough to qualify among the midfielders any performance gap can look much bigger.
After being unable to make much progress at the start, he became more of a victim of Red Bull’s unfortunate tyre strategy, and became a bottleneck for many of the midfielders. After the switch to Mediums, he was well behind Verstappen, but nevertheless fought back to the points, albeit with a very clumsy overtake on Albon’s Williams, for which he received a five-second time penalty.
Liam Lawson: 8.5
After being thrown into the deep end at the Dutch GP, Lawson has spent the next two races not really looking like a rookie. Whilst much more experienced drivers were making errors at one of the most demanding circuits of the season, the New Zealander claimed his first Formula 1 points finish.
He lost a couple of positions at the start, something he has admitted he still needs to work on, but he kept his head and picked his way through the chaos to earn a couple of much-needed points for AlphaTauri. He’s doing his chances of a 2024 drive no harm at all.
Kevin Magnussen: 6.5
After being out-qualified by Hulkenberg for much of the season, Magnussen led a remarkable double-Q3 appearance for the Haas team, and the duo made a valiant attempt at hanging onto the points.
Without Safety Car interventions, they might have fallen short. In fact, Magnussen’s race was unravelling after losing several places in one lap midway through the race. A call for Soft tyres came during the VSC period, and Magnussen passed Hulkenberg and Zhou in the closing stages. Crashes and tangles for Russell and Albon helped promote the Haas driver into the final point-paying position.
Alex Albon: 5.5
The Williams team had been fearing the high-downforce nature of the Singapore GP for most of the season, but came surprisingly close to nicking a point from the event. Albon was following Lawson in the battle for points when he was nerfed out of the way by a recovering Perez.
This late tangle meant he lost out on inheriting P10 due to Russell’s accident, but it was a solid effort from Albon. Williams will now be hoping the likes of AlphaTauri and Haas don’t finish many more races ahead of them between now and the end of the season.
Zhou Guanyu: 6
After a double-Q1 elimination, Alfa Romeo went for some alternate tyre strategies in a bid to sneak any points from the race. Zhou started from the pit lane and almost immediately went into the pits for fresh tyres in the opening laps. He slowly closed the gap to the field over the next 20 laps before pitting again under the Safety Car.
He stayed out on track when the VSC was deployed later on, which brought him up to P10, but he was unable to keep the faster, recovering cars at bay. A solid effort, but it was a difficult race to read for a team which struggled for pace in Singapore.
Nico Hulkenberg: 5
Another solid Q3 effort from Hulkenberg, albeit with a rare defeat against his teammate qualifying. The race appeared to be another journey backwards for the Haas team, but the team and drivers did everything they could to hang on to any half-chance of points.
Crucially, he was behind the likes of Gasly, Piastri and Lawson by the time the first pit stops had been and gone, and he was unlikely to regain the ground by completing the same strategy as them. He was instructed not to pit under the VSC, which turned out to be the wrong decision, proven by the two-stopping Magnussen beating him to the flag.
Logan Sargeant: 4
It was a tough first visit to Singapore for Sargeant. He had a deficit of several tenths to teammate Albon in qualifying, and ran behind him in the races until hitting the wall and triggering the Safety Car period.
With Williams having a tough weekend, Sargeant was unable to recover much ground after that, and his wait for a first Formula 1 point continues.
Fernando Alonso: 4
Aston Martin only went into the race with one driver, so there was added importance on Alonso to do what he normally does and single-handedly bring home the points. Starting in P7, a quick start brought him in touch with the leaving group, but it was clear that the AMR23 wasn’t quite a match for the rival teams, made obvious by his radio outbursts.
However, a rare error at the pit lane entry brought a five-second time penalty, which was served under the VSC. A slow stop sent him further down the field than what the team had envisaged, and Alonso made an error which prevented any kind of recovery.
Did not finish
George Russell: 6
After out-qualifying teammate Hamilton, Russell looked destined to win the race when Mercedes made their pit stop call under the VSC, but it wasn’t to be.
He was jumped off the line by Leclerc, who started on the faster tyres and, once Hamilton had moved out of the way following his jump start, he led the challenge to Ferrari. Mercedes’ tyre call was one worth taking, but it would be interesting to know if Russell would have done anything different prior to clipping the wall and crashing out.
Valtteri Bottas: 5
The Finn got the better of his teammate in qualifying, but Alfa Romeo’s dice-rolling meant he was the only driver apart from the Red Bulls to not pit under the Safety Car period, which hindered any outside chances of points.
A late technical issue threatened to disrupt the race at the end, but Bottas’ swift parking of the car prevented the cameras from giving the stricken Alfa too much air time.
Esteban Ocon: 8
Alpine’s recovery from a lacklustre Monza weekend almost yielded one of their biggest points hauls of the season, which would have been spearheaded by Ocon.
After qualifying in a respectable eighth place, Ocon fought his way to the front of the ‘midfield’ fight with a well-executed move on old teammate Alonso, followed by an impressive cut-back overtake on Perez. However, it was all in vain, and his Alpine ground to a halt just after Turn 1. A thoroughly undeserved retirement for Ocon.
Yuki Tsunoda: 4.5
With Lawson taking some of the headlines for AlphaTauri, teammate Tsunoda endured a frustrating weekend. The AT04 showed reasonable pace, but the team’s lead driver had traffic issues in qualifying and couldn’t get a lap together in clear air.
His race was over on Lap 1 after getting collision damage in the usual Singapore opening lap madness, so missed his opportunity to try and recover ground.
Lance Stroll: 4.5
The Aston Martin driver was eliminated from qualifying after his huge crash in Q1, which he fortunately walked away from unscathed. He would have had it all to do from P20 on the grid, but the Canadian was withdrawn from the event due to the aftereffects of the crash.