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French Grand Prix: Driver Ratings

French Grand Prix: Driver Ratings



French Grand Prix: Driver Ratings

French Grand Prix: Driver Ratings

The French Grand Prix might not have been an absolute thriller, but it did give a rare full marks in our driver ratings – no surprise that race-winner Lewis Hamilton takes that. There was plenty to digest through the field despite the lack of action in Paul Ricard.

With McLaren again laying down the gauntlet to their midfield rivals, mixed fortunes at Ferrari, and plenty more besides, the ratings come with a full range of scores.

Matt Scott has run the rule over all 20 drivers in action. Let us know if you agree, or not, with the scores on Facebook and Twitter!

Romain Grosjean (Qual: 17th - Race: DNF) 4/10

The only retirement from the race came from the Frenchman, who was pulled into the Haas garage early to save mileage after another frustrating outing for the American team – the weekend was labelled their worst in F1 by team boss Guenther Steiner.

George Russell (Qual: 19th - Race: 19th) 5/10

Closed the gap in qualifying to a second adrift of 18th place, albeit with a grid penalty to serve, no mean feat for one of the longest laps on the F1 calendar. Russell came off second-best in a battle with team-mate Robert Kubica and finished behind him for the first time this year after sustaining wing damage, which required an extra stop.

Robert Kubica (Qual: 20th - Race: 18th) 5/10

Kubica had a chance to flex his racing muscles as he and Russell battled over the same spot of tarmac, and the Pole came off the winner.

Kevin Magnussen (Qual: 15th - Race: 17th) 4/10

Like Grosjean, Magnussen had a dismal weekend, with Haas not even able to hit the heights of recent qualifying performances. Haas are still seemingly largely mystified about the reasons for their struggles, which is perhaps the biggest concern.

Antonio Giovinazzi (Qual: 10th - Race: 16th) 5/10

Outqualified Kimi Raikkonen for the second race running, and made it into Q3, but doing so on soft tyres would prove his downfall come race day. Still, dropping so far down the order will trouble Alfa Romeo, with Giovinazzi still yet to score a point. Although Pierre Gasly's weekend wasn't great, he at least scrambled a point from the same compromised strategy.

Alexander Albon (Qual: 11th - Race: 15th) 4/10

Ought to have been in position to capitalise on Gasly and Giovinazzi likely dropping back but a lap-one incident put him out of position and ended up behind team-mate Daniil Kvyat, who started on the back row, after a battle between them.

Daniil Kvyat (Qual: 16th - Race: 14th) 5/10

Saddled with a back-row start after taking a number of penalties and a new Honda engine. Pulled off a nice move on Albon as the pair were allowed to race by Toro Rosso – chapeau to the team!

Lance Stroll (Qual 18th - Race: 13th) 5/10

A typical Stroll start after a typical Stroll Saturday. There wasn't quite the room for Racing Point to get the Canadian into the points. Who knows what is possible if he can fix his one-lap woes…

Sergio Perez (Qual: 14th - Race: 12th) 5/10

Hampered by a five-second penalty for gaining places after running wide at the start, despite following the FIA's rules and going through the mandated route. The law was applied to the letter, but Perez's frustrations were certainly understandable.

Daniel Ricciardo (Qual: 8th - Race: 11th) 7/10

Dropped from seventh to outside the points for leaving the track to pass Lando Norris and Kimi Raikkonen on the last lap, but Ricciardo going for it all is exactly why F1 fans love him so much. The slight controversy perhaps masked another fine outing for the Australian, who seems to be getting on top of his new surroundings impressively and is giving Red Bull replacement Gasly terrors.

Pierre Gasly (Qual: 9th - Race: 10th) 4/10

That Gasly wasn't put on medium tyres to get through Q2, while both McLarens, Ricciardo in the Renault and of course team-mate Max Verstappen were speaks to a possible lack of faith in the Frenchman's performances at the moment. After doing well to eke life out of his softs, the team were left frustrated when a rapid pit-stop was followed by immediately dropping position to Ricciardo on-track. There is a growing sense that Gasly needs to improve very swiftly.

Lando Norris (Qual: 5th - Race: 9th) 7/10

A fine weekend again for the rookie, who has seamlessly fitted into life in the upper reaches of F1's midfield. Cruelly robbed of more points by a late hydraulic failure, but his ability to hang in until the very last lap speaks to a steely determination that perhaps often goes unseen behind Norris' young age and jokey nature.

Nico Hulkenberg (Qual:13th - Race: 8th) 6/10

Had to work hard to make starting on the hards work in traffic and may lament missing out on a few more places in qualifying, which could have resulted in a few more points.

Kimi Raikkonen (Qual: 12th - Race: 7th) 6/10

Similarly to Hulkenberg, Raikkonen made the most out of not having a great Saturday and he did well to keep the faster Renault behind until the chequered flag. Alfa Romeo's first points score in five races was much-needed, but Kimi's recent sluggish Saturdays will not go unnoticed.

Carlos Sainz (Qual: 6th - Race: 6th) 8/10

A brilliant race from the Spaniard, who even had a go at former team-mate Verstappen off the line and with a touch more downforce might have even made gains beyond getting through his current colleague. Sainz has been 'best of the rest' in two of the last three races and both he and McLaren deserve that moniker right now.

Sebastian Vettel (Qual: 7th - Race: 5th) 5/10

Vettel just didn't seem right all weekend, a weekend which began with the huge distraction of Ferrari's hearing with the FIA over his Canadian GP penalty. The German admitted that qualifying seventh, behind both McLarens, was down to him rather than Ferrari, but his regular suggestions that the Scuderia's upgrade package didn't work show all is not well.

Max Verstappen (Qual: 4th - Race: 4th) 7/10

Verstappen has had several races like this already this year. He got the absolute maximum out of the car, but the result was comparably mediocre to Red Bull and the Dutchman's ambitions. Post-race requests for more power from Honda is the first sign of frustration with the Japanese marque this year.

Charles Leclerc (Qual: 3rd - Race: 3rd) 7/10

Maximised a race weekend for, probably, the first time as a Ferrari driver, with Mercedes so far ahead. Leclerc showed smart development in fixing recent issues through qualifying and kept his nose in it throughout, which almost paid dividends when Bottas dropped pace suddenly at the end of the race.

Valtteri Bottas Qual: 2nd - Race: 2nd) 6/10

Not often this season has Bottas been so hugely outperformed by Hamilton, but getting such a thrashing at this point is troubling, with many of his team-mate's favourite races set to follow. A moment of mismanagement under the VSC late on almost had really costly results as Leclerc zipped onto his gearbox late on. An extra lap might have seen them switch.

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

Hamilton was just a fastest lap away from a sixth 'Grand Chelem' of his career, having won from pole and leading every single lap of Paul Ricard. He almost came close to that too, with his final lap on worn hard tyres only two hundredths slower than Vettel's, set on fresh soft tyres that had been fitted for the job. It's almost scary to think how Hamilton can continue to improve, but the pattern of recent years suggests that he is only just starting to hit peak form.


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Sun 09 Aug

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