Well, you’ve had Definitely Zero’s Driver Ratings from the British GP 2018 which once again was a thriller maybe possible because of the safety car. It makes me think that Bernie was onto something with a random sprinkler system – but just swapping it out for a random safety. Or we could just have Grosjean and Maldonado in an FIA sponsored F1 car and wait for either or both of them to crash out and cause it…
Anyway without further ado!
Sebastian Vettel – 10 / 10
A fabulous drive with an injured neck. His opening stint was superb pulling away over 5 seconds and then managing the gap. A win always tastes sweeter when you have to do it on the track and the move on Bottas was ballsy and decisive – even more so was the battle before it spending corner after corner side by side. Earlier I’ve been critical of Vettel’s ability to freeze when something doesn’t go his way but today he showed class.
Kimi Raikkonen – 7.5 / 10
Kimi threw that win away. An exercise in frustration, he is either on the pace and causing an issue, or off the pace and driving at 97%. That lock up was small but unfortunate with its error and cost – to me showing that in order to keep up with Sebastian he has to go over his potential. Seeing him get past Verstappen and Bottas was good, but I couldn’t help but feel he should have been passed him earlier in the race as well – especially given how quickly that 10-second penalty was recovered. Is it the car? Is it the driver? The truth is somewhere in the middle…
Lewis Hamilton – 9.5 / 10
The drive itself was stunning. His start lost him out to Vettel, he seemed spooked by Bottas diving through and then on the podium implied Kimi hit him out on purpose after spending the first 10 laps complaining how terrible the car was. Lewis’ mental state is both his strength and his weakness. His drive up the order was great but helped by everyone diving out of his way. I understand why, but it makes a drive up the field a little less powerful if this continues. Still – an excellent drive on track.
Valtteri Bottas – 8.5 / 10
Bottas is great at winding up the crank in a strategy, getting faster as the race unfolds – which is why its a shame his strategy went to counter his strength by making him manage tyres. His safety car restarts were pitch perfect, his defending was generally spot on and he clung on despite being shafted strategy wise. I wonder though – with a DRS zone given to practically every straight – without multiple ones – would he have won?
Max Verstappen – 8 / 10
Constantly 0.3 ahead of Danny all weekend until the race but in the race itself, it’s difficult to know if that translates across. His brake by wire failure stopped what could have been a great battle for 4th and with a car that is clearly down in power, he did the best he could with what he had.
Daniel Riccardo – 7.5 / 10
Not a match still for his teammate in qualifying, he is closer in race pace. I think he is able to run the tyre wear slightly better than Max but it’s unclear if his ability to catch up today was down to Max’s brake issues or just raw pace. He is doing his marketability harm by dithering around and sounding a bit like he doesn’t know what he is doing. Is that causing a slight performance dip?
Nico Hulkenburg – 8 / 10
Best of the rest mantle restored, he has had a couple of duff runs but retakes the top leader mantle after being shown the way by Sainz for a few rounds. I don’t know what else the guy needs to do to get more recognition – it’s like the Frentzen that never got the Williams call. The car looked awful in practice and quali but inspired choices of taking a tyre compound less really pulled him forward. Kept Leclerc at bay with ease too.
Carlos Sainz – 5 / 10
Sainz out in Q1 was a shock to the system and after some deft luck and good avoidance action, he looked set to recover his weekend. The issue for me, and why he gets a low score is down to two issues. Firstly, as much as I love the move around the outside of Copse on Grosjean – it’s Grosjean and he should know his rivals better than that. Secondly – his radio call on Magnussen showed to me that his race awareness is not as strong as it could be. It may be a team issue, but as a driver, you should be demanding to be informed throughout.
Kevin Magnussen – 8 / 10
I have it on good authority that most of the Haas drivers floor was missing after turn 3 of the race. If that is the case, then his battle into the points was a sterling effort. He reminds me of a modern-day equivalent of James Hunt – driving to 100% of his capacity in an environment that loves his balls out mentality. What’s interesting is he will still defend the team in all of this action as he feels wanted, whereas Romain will only defend himself. Haas is where the home is.
Romain Grosjean – 3 / 10
His DRS related crash was facepalm worthy, his collision with his own teammate did not help matters and damaged both cars. His exit was unfortunate but attributed to his own self because his wing was damaged as he’d already been off the road. Seriously – come back Pastor all is forgiven. What’s very telling is in a 50/50 accident between himself and Sainz, he immediately spouts out such a pile of rubbish from his mouth to shift the blame, you immediately assume he is the guilty party. After years of flashes of utter brilliance shrouded in what must be a massive repair bill – when will enough be enough?
Esteban Ocon – 8 / 10
Something is changing in the camp at Force India and I’m not sure if its being noticed. Ocon is quietly making a play at taking over at the helm. Yet again outqualifying Perez, which was his issue last year, he outraced and outclassed the Mexican and is amassing a very solid points haul. Perez may get the headline results, but Ocon is proving a bit more consistent this year.
Sergio Perez – 6 / 10
Sergio has had a few good years of leading the Force India team and his stock has flourished but performances like this make you question just how good he is. He may have had damage from the lap 1 spin, but he was nowhere near the points until the safety car and had been outpaced by Ocon all weekend. In an era of one-stop races in 2018, has Perez’ strength in tyre management flattered his speed? (Probably not – but I’m seeing a correlation I’d like to see amended!)
Fernando Alonso – 7 / 10
A sensational qualifying effort lets us know that Alonso hasn’t checked out of F1 just yet, but during the race, it’s difficult to know where he stood. That McLaren looks like it’d struggle out of Q1 in anyone else’s hands and his run back into the points was great – but more down to attrition than anything else. If he wasn’t in someone else’s DRS range all race, he’d have been a sitting duck.
Stoffel Vandoorne – 3 / 10
Stoffel is driving like a man whose days are numbered. Way off in qualifying, last bar the Williams (and Perez whilst recovering) in the race, his drive was pretty woeful in terms of the position gap. His issue, much like Ericsson’s, is that you can be 3 or 4 tenths off and be 8 positions behind your teammate. As that car gets worse, Stoffel’s fade into obscurity is complete. 2018’s Joylon Palmer. – talented but not for F1.
Pierre Gasly – 7 / 10
I am so confused with what Toro Roso is up to these days. Are they fast? Are they slow? Can they put a car together? Gasly’s ability to mentality move all that confusion to one side and get on with it is admirable and his move on Perez at the end for 10th bashing wheels when a suspension issue is probably showed he’ll go for it. He is our next Verge.
Brendan Hartley – ? \ 10
Someone put this poor man out of his misery. No racing laps, no qualifying, a horrid accident in FP3 due to a suspension failure – it’s like F1 is trying to test his patience and tell him – this isn’t what you really wanted. Hartley’s being shafted left, right and centre and it’s ruining his excellent reputation. With Dan Ticktum now in the headlines to replace him next year, whilst I’d like to see Hartley see out the season at least, maybe Brendan should have the last laugh and walk first.
Charles Leclerc – 9.5 / 10
Putting that Sauber where it’s not meant to be, he continues to shine with his on-track performances, off-track humility and likeability across the paddock. I have no idea how he is doing it but it’s an utter joy to behold. I’ve not been so excited about a talent and watching them rise through the ranks in so many years – same again next round, please!
Marcus Ericsson – 6 / 10
With Leclerc setting off all the headlines, I think Marcus’ stock is also rising. In the top 10 in FP3, he needs consistency and a bit more of the overtaking to truly take it to Charles. His accident in the race was sad as he was all over Alonso and so that would have been a points finish and with Sauber now on song, if he wants to keep his drive, he needs to show he too can follow through on a regular occasion.
Lance Stroll – 4 / 10
Beat his teammate because of the late race tyre change under the safety car but as Sergey gets more up to speed, he is going to need to rely on more than good opening laps ala Justin Wilson 2003 Minardi style to show what he’s got.
Sergey Sirotkin – 4 / 10
Was on course to beat Stroll until the safety car and like Bottas, was a split strategy sacrifice. What strikes me most about Sirotkin is his work ethic and try hard attitude. He is realistic but wants to chip away at things. It’s this, paired with Williams’ “we’re working on it” mentality that is stopping them being in the firing line that McLaren is in. Sergey does need to improve his tyre wear rate though if he wants to take lead driver mantle.