All you need to spice up an F1 race is a bit of a mixed-up grid, some weather and a safety – who knew? (Everyone knew – all the races this year that have been disrupted have been the best). So without further ado – how did our drivers fair in what was a topsy-turvy race?
Sebastian Vettel – 6 / 10
I’m not sure how to rate the guy who was clearly speeding around leading the race after an excellent pole position only to have the most stupid of off’s possible. It reminded me of Hakkinen in Imola 1999 – where it was all in hand and then it really wasn’t. However, what marked it down for me was that instead of trying to reverse – he immediately went into paddywhack mode and again it shows me that Vettel is world class until something doesn’t go to plan – then he crumbles. That, alongside Ferrari’s first strategy fumble of 2018 could be costly for both titles.
Kimi Raikkonen – 8 / 10
Kimi is meant to be a Hockenheim specialist but was again out-qualified by his teammate. His sacrificial lamb strategy was actually working though as everyone spent so long on the Ultra’s going at a delta time, he could have made a second stop work so long as he actually tried to overtake someone. I found his radio rant at team orders fascinating as it showed that he expects to be treated with clarity and respect. One of his best races to date in 2018.
Lewis Hamilton – 10 / 10
His drive on Sunday was sublime. Picking off, admittedly very compliant, midfield runners to then making the strategy work and driving seconds faster than his competitors in the mixed conditions on ultras. It was a fantastic drive. Going back to what I said with Vettel giving up on his crash too early, I was critical of how early he jumped out the car to push it in Q1 whilst other cars were still going around on a damp track. I thought it was needlessly dangerous, but it shows exactly what that extra push gives Lewis over Seb. It could well be the deciding factor. I personally didn’t find the pit in drama an issue.
Valtteri Bottas – 8 / 10
When will the guy get a break – and a win? That should have been his and I was pleased to see him have a go at Hamilton after the safety car restart but his race was ruined in the tyre change issue. The way he immediately was compliant in the backing off and then backed right off was a shame too. He knows his place and even though he is mathematically in the title hunt, he knows the answer will be no.
Daniel Riccardo – 7 / 10
Off the pace of Max in Q1 and starting on the mediums seemed to make his initial progress slow. It could have worked as in theory he would have been the only driver to not have stopped before the rain hit but he could only have grabbed 5th at best. One to forget although he didn’t seem to get quite the same treatment of “after you” that Lewis appeared to have with the midfield.
Max Verstappen 8 / 10
Kept that Red Bull in the battle for much longer than it had any right to be. Didn’t really get to perform wonders in the mixed weather conditions either, but probably because he was punching above his weight. Would have loved to have seen him in the full-on rain instead. I found his switch to inters and then back again fascinating as it’s the mark of a team trying to go differently on purpose. It was a no-risk attempt as they were way ahead of Nico, but I’d have thought to keep Max out on dries would have worked better for his driving style.
Nico Hulkenberg – 9 / 10
A magnificent drive that was made all the better for being on the lead lap when the safety car came out. That let him get away with his switch to inters and back to dries again under the safety car and keep 5th. It’s these kinds of drives that go under the radar of so many that I wish didn’t and its another race where it works strategically for Nico and not for Carlos. Favour has been restored.
Carlos Sainz – 4 / 10
It’s been so long since the last time someone got a penalty for overtaking under the safety car I can’t remember when it was. How did he not give it back and escape the drama? There seems to be an inherent sense of desperation with Sainz of late. First, it was the car not to his liking and now its constant strategy calls that leave him stuck down the field and unable to get back to where he was. If they know overtaking is so poor why are Renault putting him on early stop strategies? Needs a race of going forwards not backwards.
Kevin Magnussen – 8 / 10
An excellent drive screwed over by strategy. In the dry, Kevin was on fire – pulling a gap over the midfield squabble and looking like he’d be the one to inherit that 5th place. As soon as the rain hit though, both Haas’ struggled horribly but Kevin more so. He lost places and coasted around with a lack of confidence. Is that a simple car concept struggling or just an inherent weakness? One buried Kevin couldn’t get back into the points but deserves praise for being best of the rest all the way till then.
Romain Grosjean – 8 / 10
It was all looking like it had gone wrong for Romain again as he complained of tyre grip early on and started sliding down the order. What was nice though was that he didn’t completely collapse in on himself like a souffle as he has before. The wet weather did not help him but the pitstop for Ultra’s then let him go on a real charge. I’ve seen the montage of his hairpin overtakes at they are all decisive and poised. More of that please RoGro!
Sergio Perez – 8.5 / 10
Had the legs on Ocon for the first time in a few races and again it’s always when the bigger points come! His spin was silly but until then and afterwards he had driven excellently. There are so many rumbles of the team going into administration it must be difficult to keep your head down and get on with it, so that makes the result all the sweeter.
Esteban Ocon – 8 / 10
Like his teammate, I think both Force India’s were hamstrung by getting into Q3 and starting on the ultra softs. It went unnoticed for most of the race but Ocon Vs Ericsson was a race-long battle that saw some really hairy moments but they kept it almost clean and showed Esteban’s defensive chops are strong.
Fernando Alonso – 6 / 10
Whilst his Q2 effort was excellent as always, he seemed really passive in the race. Yes, you can choose your battles but he didn’t seem to want to pick any. His last lap retirement instantly makes me think of 2016/7 times when he would refuse to show as a classified runner so far down the order and makes me think his brain had already switched off long before then.
Stoffel Vandoorne – 3 / 10
Last in qualifying for the second time in his career and way off Alonso for the second race in a row – Stoffel needs to return to his late 2017 form and fast. Another poor start saw him last in the race and he never did pass the Williams’ or Toro Rosso’s. Uninspired.
Pierre Gasly – 6 / 10
Get’s LOL of the race for the team sticking wets on. I’m not sure who made the call but the fact he stayed out longer than a lap on them marks him down for me. You should make those calls together – and that was a terribly poor one.
Brendan Hartley – 7 / 10
Made me laugh when he took to Instagram saying he’d doubled his point haul! Closer to Gasly in qualifying and the two were closely run in the race. I’d like to think it was experience and a calm head that kept Hartley out and running well in the mixed conditions and that should not be forgotten in the future. Hopefully a platform for the future.
Charles Leclerc 8 / 10
Another Q3 appearance that continues to beggar belief. The race pace itself was also good although with most of the midfield in a long line together, it’s difficult to know how fast he could have gone in the race. Switched to inters too early and dropped it at turn 1 trying to recover but with all that still made me want him in that Ferrari more than Kimi (or Seb to be honest).
Marcus Ericsson – 8 / 10
Hung on at the tail end of the midfield battle on the soft tyres which I think was lost on most people. Spent the entire first half battling with Ocon which resulted in a mammoth lunge at turn 8 taking them both off the track and showing some Marcus grit. Switching to Ultra’s meant, that like Hamilton and Gasly, he was on the best tyre for the mixed conditions and he was reeling in the people ahead before the safety car. Great points, but his overall performance was on par with Leclerc in the race.
Lance Stroll – 5 / 10
Absolutely nothing to write home about at all. I can feel his frustration at his situation at every turn of the wheel but I don’t see that he is taking life learning lessons from the situation. Money doesn’t always buy talent and it’s starting to show.
Sergey Sirotkin – 6.5 / 10
His Q2 appearance is just reward for hard work and a more humble approach. The more I see of Sergey, the more I like – and he is starting to do what I call a Van De Garde. Making all those little headline moments in a backmarkers season that will start to make you noticed. I’d have liked to have seen how he would have dealt with the mixed conditions as his issue has been tyre wear all year long and he needs to get over that.