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Australian Grand Prix: Driver Ratings

Australian Grand Prix: Driver Ratings



Australian Grand Prix: Driver Ratings

Australian Grand Prix: Driver Ratings

With the dust settling after the Australian Grand Prix, it's no surprise to see Valtteri Bottas still revelling in his finest Formula 1 victory to date. But how did the rest of the field fare in Melbourne? GPFans editor Matt Scott has taken a look at all 20 drivers' efforts over the whole weekend…

Valtteri Bottas (Qual: 2nd-Race: 1st) 10/10

Potentially a breakthrough performance for the Finn after such a torrid 2018. His qualifying, just a tenth shy of Hamilton, was impressive enough, but jumping the reigning champion off the line, streaking clear and taking the fastest lap at the last was a magnificent piece of work for a driver arguably more under pressure than any other on the grid pre-season.

Lewis Hamilton (Qual: 1st-Race: 2nd) 7/10

An off-colour race, which the Silver Arrows put down to floor damage, was just the latest Sunday slump for Hamilton, who secured a sixth straight pole in Melbourne (an F1 record) to take his tally in Australia to eight overall (a joint record with Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna). Had enough in reserve to keep Verstappen at arm's length and secure an all-silver one-two.

Max Verstappen (Qual: 4th-Race: 3rd) 9/10

This race should become the template for the Dutchman moving forward: Feisty when the door was open to overtake Vettel, but controlled and measured otherwise. The Honda power unit has clearly made a step forward, given Verstappen split the Ferraris in qualifying, and then overtook one fairly comfortably, and Max looks well-set to take advantage.

Sebastian Vettel (Qual: 3rd-Race: 4th) 5/10

Vettel was further off Hamilton's pole time than last year, despite the advances reportedly made by Ferrari in the intervening 12 months. Come race day, something clearly wasn't right with the German and by rights, he would have finished fifth, had the Scuderia pit wall not called Leclerc off from a late charge which saw him get into DRS range.

Charles Leclerc (Qual: 5th-Race: 5th) 6/10

A solid, if unspectacular debut from the much-vaunted Monegasque. Leclerc was a full second don on the pole time and spent much of Sunday in a race of his own, until Sebastian Vettel's power unit was put into safe mode and the Ferrari pair came together towards the end. Why Ferrari opted not to pit Leclerc in an attempt for the fastest lap bonus point is a bit of a mystery.

Kevin Magnussen (Qual: 7th-Race: 6th) 7/10

The last man on the lead lap at the chequered flag, Magnussen delivered what is becoming something of a trademark – qualifying at the front of the midfield battle and letting the rest squabble behind him. Haas had a distinct advantage in Melbourne over their rivals and the Dane banked a fine haul with it.

Nico Hulkenberg (Qual: 11th-Race: 7th) 8/10

Backed up last year's 'B class' 'title' with a fine start to 2019. Did his hard work at the start, jumping up three places and safely ensconced in the points after failing to make Q3 on the Saturday, before leading home a midfield train to the finish.

Kimi Raikkonen (Qual: 9th-Race: 8th) 6/10

A quiet race on his return to the team he debuted with in F1 – despite the name change! – but this is exactly why Alfa have drafted in the veteran. While Giovinazzi struggled to make his mark, Raikkonen was never in doubt of not scoring here after using his experience to squeeze out Norris at the start.

Lance Stroll (Qual: 16th-Race: 9th) 8/10

Missed out in Q1 by half a tenth, but more than made up for it on race day, gaining three places off the line in a typical lightning launch. Made the most of an off-set strategy, which was assisted by Giovinazzi's hold-up job, to score on his debut for Racing Point.

Daniil Kvyat (Qual: 15th-Race: 10th) 8/10

A feel-good story to see the Russian score on his F1 return and doing so while holding off Gasly – the man who replaced him at Toro Rosso in 2017 – will have been all the more sweet.

Pierre Gasly (Qual: 17th-Race: 11th) 3/10

Let down badly by his team in qualifying, but Gasly's failure to make an overtake was troubling, regardless of Melbourne's tight nature. Ought to have had a distinct advantage when emerging with fresh, soft tyres with 22 laps left, but he spent them all staring at the gearbox of the car he was driving last year – ouch.

Lando Norris (Qual: 8th-Race: 12th) 6/10

Astonishing effort to get into Q3 – the first rookie to do so since Sainz did for Toro Rosso four years prior – and even more so to beat out Kimi Raikkonen and Perez, despite running out of new tyres. A scruffy launch put him at the mercy of the Finn around the outside of Turn 1 and then seven laps behind the sluggish Giovinazzi wrecked his race.

Sergio Perez (Qual: 10th-Race: 13th) 5/10

Another to see his race spoiled by spending time in the Giovinazzi train, the Mexican lost his top-10 spot off the line and ultimately ended up four places behind team-mate Lance Stroll, having started six places ahead.

Alexander Albon (Qual: 13th-Race: 14th) 6/10

Outqualifying a more experienced team-mate as a rookie on debut is never a bad way to start life in F1 and the Thai driver also launched well. Pitting early put him at the back of a long queue behind Giovinazzi, though, and neutered any hopes of scoring.

Antonio Giovinazzi (Qual: 14th-Race: 15th) 4/10

A poor start was compounded by an even worse strategy from Alfa Romeo, which saw the Italian stay out far too long on worn tyres and ruin the races of several drivers who were trapped behind as he skated across the circuit at half-speed.

George Russell (Qual: 19th-Race: 16th) 6/10

Given comparisons to Kubica are all that's fair on the Formula 2 champion, you'd have to say he impressed, outqualifying the Pole by 1.7 seconds – thanks to Kubica's puncture – and then finishing a lap ahead.

Robert Kubica (Qual: 20th-Race: 17th) 4/10

Not much went right on Kubica's first F1 race in over eight years: Clipping walls in the pit-lane and track in quali, suffering a puncture against the latter, and then losing his front wing at the start, causing further damage and leaving him to limp home three laps behind the leaders.

Romain Grosjean (Qual: 6th-DNF: 29 laps) 6/10

Qualifying on the third row of the grid, four tenths behind a Ferrari, is certainly not to be sniffed at and, after falling behind teammate Kevin Magnussen off the line, Grosjean was let down by a botched pit-stop, which ultimately caused his retirement through a broken wheel-nut.

Daniel Ricciardo (Qual: 12th-DNF: 28 laps) 5/10

Five hundredths of a second away from making Q3, Ricciardo could have done with the extra metres on the grid as a skirt around Sergio Perez put him onto the grass and saw his car shed its front wing, and suffer ultimately terminal damage, before Turn 1.

Carlos Sainz (Qual: 18th-DNF: 9 laps) 5/10

When your luck's out, it's out, and it Sainz's wasn't on the same continent as him over the weekend. Saw a lap that looked good enough for Q1 progression curtailed by encountering a punctured Robert Kubica and then saw his MGU-K blow up early in the race, having made up four places on lap one to put him ahead of point-scoring Daniil Kvyat.

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