F1 driver ratings as Lewis Hamilton struggles and Verstappen pips Leclerc to Saudi title

ANOTHER battle between Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen stole centre stage on the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix with the reigning world champion popping out on high following a dramatic battle to the road.

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Max Verstappen made a shocking late overtake on Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to win the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix. The world champion intelligently waited to keep away from passing Leclerc earlier than the DRS zone and spectacularly handed his rival to bounce again from his DNF in Bahrain final weekend.

Verstappen obtained off to a cracking begin upon lights out, overtaking Carlos Sainz across the exterior of Flip 2 as Perez held off Leclerc to stay within the lead. The Ferraris had begun to take the identical line and it compelled Sainz sluggish on entry Flip 1, with house left for the Dutchman on the within.

Sainz went on to safe P3 – his second successive podium after ending behind teammate Leclerc final week – forward of Sergio Perez. It was a heartbreaking flip of occasions for the Mexican after he secured the primary pole place of his profession solely to undergo the results of pitting earlier than a security automotive.

As for the remainder of the grid, Mercedes’ George Russell completed a positive P5 after having fun with a clear race whereas his teammate Lewis Hamilton struggled to get going earlier than ending tenth. Three drivers additionally retired in a pulsating contest, so take a look at the driving force rankings for the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix:

READ MORE: Valtteri Bottas hailed by Button for actions after Schumacher crash

F1 driver ratings as Lewis Hamilton struggles and Verstappen pips Leclerc to Saudi title

Max Verstappen gained his first race of the season on the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix (Picture: GETTY)

Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes: 5

It was in the end a troublesome weekend for the seven-time world champion after he certified in P16. The Brit began on the exhausting tyres however in the end wasn’t capable of pit on the opportune second below security automotive because the pit entry was closed. He dropped from sixth to twelfth because of this, however fought again to nick a degree. A weekend to neglect.

George Russell – Mercedes: 8

Final weekend, Russell took benefit of Crimson Bull’s double DNF to say a stunning fourth place, however he secured this fifth on his personal benefit. The 24-year-old drove a clear race though he by no means actually threatened the 2 groups in entrance of him. His spotlight was undoubtedly the nice transfer to cross Ocon down the within of the ultimate hairpin early. 

Max Verstappen – Crimson Bull: 9

Verstappen was left annoyed final weekend in Bahrain, so the Dutchman made amends in Saudi Arabia. He not solely scored the primary factors as he makes an attempt to defend his world title, however secured a wonderful win after battling Leclerc for the ultimate few laps. He expertly turned DRS off earlier than going across the hairpin to be able to guarantee he had the optimum line to utilise DRS on the house straight, taking the lead and holding on to win.

Sergio Perez – Crimson Bull: 7

It may have been so totally different for the Mexican. Perez’s race was in the end undone when, after main the Grand Prix so comfortably, he was the sufferer of the security automotive following Latifi’s crash because it primarily gifted Leclerc, Verstappen and Sainz a free pit cease. He tried to search out the Spaniard for the ultimate podium spot, however it wasn’t to be.

Carlos Sainz – Ferrari: 7

He slipped from third to fourth early as Verstappen brilliantly handed him on Flip 1, and Sainz by no means discovered the tempo that teammate Leclerc may extract from the Ferrari. The Spaniard benefitted from the security automotive to cross Perez earlier than holding off the Mexican to say a second successive podium.

Charles Leclerc – Ferrari: 8

Leclerc as soon as once more displayed sensible defensive driving to maintain Verstappen at bay because the Dutchman piled the stress on him late within the race. After outfoxing his outdated rival on a lot of events, Leclerc lastly succumbed as Verstappen waited till the house straight to make his transfer. The Monegasque driver was stuffed with reward for Verstappen, and he has prolonged his lead atop the Drivers’ Championship.

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Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen confirmed respect to 1 one other after the thrilling conclusion (Picture: GETTY)

Lando Norris – McLaren: 7

Given the stuttering efficiency of the McLaren equipment, Norris would have snapped your hand off for P7 earlier than the race. He benefitted tremendously from security automobiles, however the Brit drove nicely and made a shocking cross on Pierre Gasly to show he’s nonetheless the most effective overtakers – and drivers – on the grid.

Daniel Ricciardo – McLaren: 6

Daniel Ricciardo was driving a positive race and had made a number of positions up the order earlier than his automotive broke down. The Australian’s rotten luck since switching from Renault to McLaren for the 2021 season continues. 

Fernando Alonso – Alpine: 8

Fernando Alonso drove brilliantly towards teammate Esteban Ocon, who was relatively aggressive as he defended place. The 2-time world champion was to not be denied although and made an excellent cross by taking the skin line into Flip 1 and aggressively squeezing his teammate as they made their manner across the sluggish nook. Sadly, his automotive broke down close to the pit entry, forcing a untimely finish to the Spaniard’s race.

Esteban Ocon – Alpine: 8

The Frenchman was clearly undeterred by his five-second penalty for spinning Mick Schumacher final week as Ocon aggressively raced towards Alonso for place. He confirmed good tempo and was maybe unfortunate to have been instructed to carry place when he was, because it allowed Valtteri Bottas to sneak previous. Finally, a P6 end is a superb outcome for each Ocon and Alpine. 

Pierre Gasly – AlphaTauri: 7

Pierre Gasly drove an excellent race to secured eighth, which should be thought-about a spectacular outcome for AlphaTauri given how the Frenchman was struggling within the midfield for a lot of the competition. 

Yuki Tsunoda – AlphaTauri: N/A

Yuki Tsnuoda’s race – and weekend – ended earlier than it started. After the Japanese star couldn’t compete in qualifying, his automotive broke down from a suspected drivetrain subject, ruling him out of the race fully. He will probably be raring to go in Melbourne. 

Nico Hulkenberg – Aston Martin: 6

Standing in for the second week in a row for four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel, Nico Hulkenberg may do little as his Aston Martin equipment is clearly one of many extra uncompetitive automobiles on the grid. His P12 outcome reads like an amazing outcome on paper, however solely 13 automobiles completed. 

Lance Stroll – Aston Martin: 5

Much like Hulkenberg’s points, it’s troublesome to guage Lance Stroll given the automotive at his disposal. He completed all-time low of the automobiles that accomplished the race, and it’ll actually sting to lose as soon as once more to the German stand-in.

Alex Albon – Williams: 6

One other driver caught in uncompetitive equipment, Alex Albon competed nicely with the likes of Hamilton however his race ended one lap earlier than the tip following a scuffle with Stroll.

Nicholas Latifi – Williams: 3

One other troublesome weekend for Latifi. His crash led to the primary huge shake-up of the race, with the Canadian dropping the rear of his Williams earlier than slamming into the wall of the unforgiving Jeddah avenue circuit.

Valtteri Bottas – Alfa Romeo: 7

The Finn drove nicely and impressively handed Ocon when the Frenchman was informed to carry place, however he’ll depart the circuit empty handed after his automotive broke down. Bottas is performing nicely – he was let down by his automotive at this time.

Zhou Guanyu – Alfa Romeo: 4

It wasn’t a very good race for Alfa Romeo rookie Guanyu Zhou, as he dropped down the order after his automotive appeared to enter anti-stall firstly. He was then issued a number of penalties – together with a penalty for not serving a penalty – on a day to neglect in his younger profession. To be truthful, Zhou was quick when he may very well be.

Kevin Magnussen – Haas: 8

One other week, one other stable outcome for Kevin Magnussen. In reality, the Dane may really feel aggrieved that he didn’t get a greater outcome than P9, as he was affected by the litany of security automobiles and yellow flags that plagued the latter portion of this race. It’s one other encouraging outcome for Haas. 

Mick Schumacher – Haas: N/A

By no means lined up on the grid following his horrific crash in Q2, though the incident occurred when the German was in rivalry to succeed in Q3. He’ll doubtless be upset to have sat out the race, however all eyes will probably be on the Australian Grand Prix as Mick Schumacher hunts the primary factors of his profession.

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