driver ratings: the shock 10/10 driver that didn’t make headlines

Crash.net F1 journalist Connor McDonagh runs through the field’s driver ratings after the 2022 Belgian Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen – 10

If we could give a higher rating than 10, then we would. Verstappen was perfect at Spa-Francorchamps despite being forced to start the race from the back of the grid (well, 14th in the end). The reigning F1 champion was devastating in qualifying, taking top spot by over 0.7s. His lowly grid position didn’t matter with Verstappen winning by over 16s at the chequered flag. A second title is within touching distance.

Sergio Perez – 7

It was a solid weekend from Perez at Spa. Every driver would struggle to match Verstappen so second was the best the Mexican could achieve, although the margin in both qualifying and the race was substantial.

Carlos Sainz – 7

Ferrari simply didn’t have the pace in Belgium but given that Sainz was starting on pole position, it was surprising to see him nearly fall into the clutches of Russell. Struggling with tyre wear, Sainz was very slow once he lost out to the two Red Bulls, even on the hard tyres at the end of the race.

driver ratings: the shock 10/10 driver that didn’t make headlines

George Russell – 7 

Russell was out-qualified by Mercedes teammate Hamilton but benefited from the seven-time champion’s collision with Alonso on the opening lap. After that, Russell performed solidly on race day, even challenging for the podium in the closing laps.

Fernando Alonso – 8

Alonso made the most of the various engine penalties to start from third on the grid. On race day, the Spaniard was fortunate to get away with a collision with Hamilton (which wasn’t the Alpine driver’s fault). However, Ocon was the more impressive Alpine this weekend – in qualifying and his recovery from the back.

Charles Leclerc – 6

The Monegasque was always going to find it tricky after his engine penalties to cut his way through the field, particularly given Ferrari’s straight-line speed deficit at Spa. His progress was thwarted by a premature pit stop under the Safety Car due to a tear-off. Fifth was on the cards for Leclerc until a late pit stop for fastest lap dropped him behind Alonso. He quickly overtook the Alpine driver but he was hit with a post-race penalty for speeding in the pit lane, dropping him to sixth in the end.

Esteban Ocon – 9

Ocon enjoyed a fine weekend at Spa. He out-qualified his teammate even though he gave him slipstream and enjoyed a strong recovery on race day, finishing a few seconds behind Alonso.

Sebastian Vettel – 8

The retiring four-time champion was knocked out in Q1 again but made up for it in the race. Starting from 10th on the grid, Vettel ran as high as fifth in the early laps. The German’s pace was brilliant on the hard tyres, closing up to within two seconds of Alonso ahead. Vettel lost out to Ocon after the second stop but eighth is a fantastic result for Aston Martin.

driver ratings: the shock 10/10 driver that didn’t make headlines

Pierre Gasly – 8

The Frenchman made his long-awaited return to the points despite starting from the pit lane. Gasly was set to start the race from eighth, but like AlphaTauri teammate Tsunoda, he was forced to start right from the back. However, Gasly still enjoyed one of his best drives of the year to finish ninth.

Alex Albon – 10

Alex Albon progressed into Q3 for the first time this season with a mighty lap in qualifying, converting the strong pace he showed in Friday practice. Despite not having the out-right pace on Sunday, Albon capitalised on Williams’ straight-line speed to maintain track position and finish in the points for the third time this year.

Lance Stroll – 7

Stroll would have been disappointed to have missed out on a top 10 finish at Spa, particularly as he started the race directly ahead of his teammate, who finished in the points. The Canadian got stuck in the train behind Albon, costing him a shot at finishing any higher.

Lando Norris – 7 

The McLaren driver continues to extract the maximum from the McLaren, progressing into Q3 at his teammate’s expense (even though Ricciardo had a tow from Norris on his best lap). Starting down the order due to engine penalties, Norris struggled to make much progress

Yuki Tsunoda – 6

Like teammate Gasly, Tsunoda was forced to start from the pit lane. The AlphaTauri seemed to be working well at Spa, although he wasn’t able to follow his teammate into the points. He overtook Zhou late on for 13th.

Zhou Guanyu – 6

Zhou managed to out-qualify teammate Bottas for the fourth time this season – only the second time in the dry. It was an anonymous display from the Chinese rookie in Spa, who was involved in the midfield scrap but couldn’t make a dent in the top 10 and the points scoring positions.

driver ratings: the shock 10/10 driver that didn’t make headlines

Daniel Ricciardo – 6

Ricciardo started the race from seventh, so to finish 15th is very disappointing. The Australian was in a good position during the first half of the race but like many others, his race was compromised behind Albon.

Kevin Magnussen – 6

Magnussen ran as high as 10th in the early stages but dropped down the order with Haas struggling for pace. Not a lot went on for the Dane so he will be hoping for a better turn of pace next time out at Zandvoort.

Mick Schumacher – 6

Schumacher was forced to start from the back of the grid due to engine penalties. Like Magnussen, he struggled for pace with Haas uncompetitive in Belgium.

Nicholas Latifi – 3

With Albon qualifying and finishing in the points, Latifi has no excuses for finishing last, especially as he started the race in 11th. His spin which collected Bottas was amateur. With Piastri no longer a factor for Williams next year, Latifi could retain his drive for 2023 but drives like these aren’t helping his cause.

Valtteri Bottas – 6

Bottas was knocked out in Q1 for the first time since 2015, but this was deliberate as he was going to start 14th (eventually 13th) regardless of where he qualified, sacrificing his qualifying to give teammate Zhou a slipstream. The Finn’s race then ended prematurely after a tangle with Latifi.

Lewis Hamilton – 4

A rare mistake from Hamilton on race day, who mis-judged his turning point into Les Combes on the opening lap, tangling with former McLaren teammate Alonso. He owned up to his mistake and avoided a penalty from the stewards, mainly because he was negatively affected by it. A chance of a podium missed potentially.

driver ratings: the shock 10/10 driver that didn’t make headlines

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