Tuscan GP driver ratings

Only a dozen finishers, but plenty of action and top performances, through the field from a mighty Mugello weekend – but who scores the highest marks?

Last Updated: 15/09/20 6:14am

Qualified 1st, Finished 1st

Eight retirements, three starts on the grid, two red flags… and one winner. Afternoons like this sometimes don’t end too well for Lewis Hamilton – take the race a week ago a bit further north in Italy, or Germany last year, for example – but Hamilton kept out of the chaos this time, and kept his nerve. On a weekend where he was behind Valtteri Bottas all the way up to the latter stages of qualifying – and indeed after the first start of a crazy Sunday – Hamilton was understandably delighted.

Key to Hamilton’s race win was Max Verstappen, who likely would have been a big rival, losing power and crashing out on the first lap, along with his next two restarts. After the first red flag, Hamilton took back his race lead – before extending his gap to Bottas to a comfortable seven seconds – and even a second unexpected race stoppage wouldn’t put him off his game, getting his best start on the third and final restart.

“But then after that Valtteri was right there the whole time,” said Hamilton. “If I had made any mistake he would have slip-streamed me up this 1000-metre straight.”

Hamilton didn’t make that mistake and, 55 points clear in the championship and one away from the magic 91st win, has taken another giant step towards Michael Schumacher’s records.
Rating out of 10: 9

Qualified 2nd, Finished 2nd

“It has to turn out well for me at some point,” said Valtteri Bottas in what appeared more hope than definite expectation after another day and another race when he came off second best to F1’s relentless winning machine.

And it probably was just his luck that he ‘won’ the one race start of the afternoon that ended up mattering least at Mugello. On a normal day, taking the lead from Hamilton at the lights may have well set him on the way to a first victory since the season-opener in Austria. But this was no ordinary day and no ordinary race.

As it turned out, it was Hamilton’s superior getaway at the second standing start that proved decisive, with Bottas then missing the chance to hit back at the afternoon’s third and final ‘lights out’ moment when he slipped behind Ricciardo’s Renault.

He had topped all three practice sessions on F1’s Mugello debut but, again, lost out in the weekend’s decisive moments. For all of his pace and near-misses, that’s the story of Bottas’ season.
Rating out of 10: 8

Qualified 4th, Finished 3rd

A much-needed, and much-deserved, first podium for Alex Albon – and what a time to get it after coming into the weekend under increasing pressure thanks to Pierre Gasly’s win last weekend.

On the second row of the grid for the first time since the season-opener, Albon’s drive was all the more impressive considering he didn’t get clean starts in any of the three getaways, the first two of which saw him cramped up in the midfield with few chances to overtake. Crucially, after falling behind Sergio Perez on the third restart, Albon quickly swept around the outside the Racing Point. A few laps later, he found enough grip to overtake Daniel Ricciardo around Turn One.

“They should call him Mr Outside,” said an impressed Red Bull boss Christian Horner. “There’s a big difference between thinking you can do it and knowing you can do it, and I think this podium will give him a boost of confidence and self-belief. I think he’ll build from here quite nicely.”

Getting congratulatory messages from Hamilton, Charles Leclerc, Lando Norris and George Russell, this was a popular result and one Albon will, as Horner said, hope to build upon.
Rating out of 10: 8.5

Qualified 8th, Finished 4th

Nearly, Cyril, nearly. Daniel Ricciardo’s podium-challenging performance at Mugello meant he came very close to booking himself and his team boss into the nearest tattoo parlour to get some matching ink. Ultimately, the superior pace of Alex Albon’s Red Bull told, but this was another impressive race-day performance from Ricciardo.

If you didn’t know different, you wouldn’t think this was the form of a man on the way out of the team in three months’ time.

Feeling he could have improved on eighth on the grid had his team-mate not inadvertently triggered yellow flags with a spin on the final Q3 laps, Ricciardo picked up two places amid the early race chaos and then, once sustained racing eventually started for real, he overtook Perez and Leclerc with characteristic panache before the team got him ahead of Stroll at the stops. He ran in third for 17 laps before Albon swept by into Turn One with eight to go.
Rating out of 10: 9

Qualified 6th (Started 7th), Finished 5th

On Wednesday he was told he would be leaving Racing Point. On Thursday came confirmation that Sebsatian Vettel was replacing him. On Friday he was handed a one-place penalty, which – despite a strong Saturday – meant he would start behind his team-mate on the grid. But full credit to Sergio Perez for ensuring he enjoyed a much better end to his weekend on Sunday.

Running an older spec of the Racing Point compared to Stroll, it should be no surprise that Perez was slightly slower all weekend, particularly in the race, but the Mexican did very well indeed to keep Lando Norris in the McLaren at bay thanks to a strong finish.

“I think we did really well to maximise the situation,” said Perez, who is now one of the more talented and dependable F1 free agents in recent years.
Rating out of 10: 7.5

Qualified 11th, Finished 6th

This definitely wasn’t McLaren’s weekend on the Mugello stopwatch so coming away with a sixth-place finish was a strong result for Lando Norris. Yes, he was aided by an array of incidents elsewhere, but the Briton crucially kept out of trouble himself and made up for the disappointment of missing Q3 for the first time this season.

“Everyone that finished ahead qualified ahead and was much quicker, so I’m happy with how we performed,” said Lando, whose weekend had started on the back foot when he crashed in Friday practice.
Rating out of 10: 7

Qualified 12th, Finished 7th

A best race finish in over a year for Daniil Kvyat, who has impressively now out-qualified Pierre Gasly in two of the last three shootouts. That allowed him to avoid the carnage his team-mate drove into on lap one on Sunday, but from there all Kvyat could really do was settle for strong points – not quick enough to challenge Norris ahead but never under threat from the Ferraris behind.

“I think we can quite proudly say as a team we didn’t make any mistakes, which is great,” said the Russian.
Rating out of 10: 8

Qualified 5th, Finished 8th

Losing three places from where he qualified in a race eight drivers retired from might on paper look like a poor result, but for Charles Leclerc this was making the best out of a bad situation. Ferrari were a little more competitive than the races of the preceding fortnight, but not by much, and so Leclerc’s surprise fifth place on the grid and then great start that lifted him to third was only ever likely to be temporary.

The Monegasque’s helpless slide back down the order was rather Spa-esque, with his anguish clear over the radio. His hard-tyre stint didn’t work out too well, but the final one on softs was better and, although he finished behind Kimi Raikkonen on the road, he was promoted back ahead thanks to his Ferrari predecessor’s time penalty.
Rating out of 10: 8

Qualified 13th, Finished 9th

Twenty years on from the Mugello test that kick-started a truly wonderful F1 career, Kimi Raikkonen was superb around the Tuscan circuit.

Not only did the Iceman deliver Alfa Romeo’s best qualifying of the year – 13th and 0.3s off what would have been a very surprising Q3 berth – but he had great pace, quicker than both Ferraris, in the race despite sustaining heavy damage from a first-lap shunt.

Given that advantage, he’ll be disappointed to finish ninth – dropping behind Charles Leclerc thanks to a five-second penalty for a pit-lane error. But positive signs for Kimi, and indeed Alfa.
Rating out of 10: 8.5

Qualified 14th, Finished 10th

Sebastian Vettel collected just his 17th point of a miserable farewell Ferrari season. We now know where the former champion is headed for next season, but there are still nine more races to navigate in this with a big improvement in either the SF1000’s performance or Vettel’s liking for it seemingly unlikely.

With his absence from Q3 now stretching to five races, Vettel lucked out on the first lap when he came across a spinning Carlos Sainz – although lucked in when the Safety Car was immediately called for the first corner chaos and he could pit for repairs without losing too much ground. It was up and down from there amid all the stoppages and the fact he admitted he felt a little sorry for George Russell afterwards, who raced strongly only to miss out on a maiden F1 point behind the Ferrari, underlined the kind of season this has become for Seb.
Rating out of 10: 6

Outside the points

There was much to admire about George Russell’s weekend in Tuscany. From his not-to-be-deterred trip across the gravel to maintain his unblemished team-mate head-to-head record in qualifying, to his dogged pursuit of Sebastian Vettel in the closing laps on Sunday. So it certainly was not hard to understand why he was so gutted to miss out on a first F1 point after all that.

“We had P9 in the bag there to bring it home,” rued the Williams driver. “Then I lost all my positions off the line on the second restart with a poor launch.” That dropped him to 12th and, although he picked Romain Grosjean off soon after to gain one place back, he just couldn’t find a way back into 10th.
Rating out of 10: 7.5

He may have finished last of the 12 remaining runners, but Romain Grosjean deserves credit just for finishing this race: He was hit on the first lap and ended up in the gravel. He was directly behind the post-Safety Car carnage and drove right through it. And according to the Frenchman, “half of the left-hand side [of his car] was missing”, “missing about two seconds a lap”. Even with all that, Grosjean got up to ninth after the final restart, although he was understandably then easily overtaken by those behind.

“It’s one of the strengths of Haas – we never give up,” he said.
Rating out of 10: 7

Did Not Finish

The suspected puncture which pitched Lance Stroll into a high-speed accident into the barriers at Arrabbiata Two cruelly ended the Canadian’s career-best run of seven consecutive points finishes and, more unluckily, his chance of a second successive podium. After losing position to Ricciardo’s undercutting Renault in the pits, Stroll was setting about trying to catch the Aussie for third before his race was abruptly spinning – and crashing – to a halt.
Rating out of 10: 7

Renault believe Esteban Ocon could have been in contention for a top-six finish on Sunday, but the Frenchman was out of the race early – the only driver to retire with a mechanical failure rather than after a crash. He was running 10th before overheating brakes ended his afternoon. That was a disappointing finish to a disappointing weekend – Ocon had a costly spin in Q3, and is now 8-1 down to Ricciardo in the qualifying head-to-head.
Rating out of 10: 6

Nicholas Latifi had looked at home around the fast sweeps of Mugello but let slip a chance to outqualify team-mate Russell for the first time at the end of Q1, despite the sister Williams’ dramatic trip across the gravel. The Canadian picked his way through the lap-one chaos to run 13th and, while he successfully swerved to avoid Kevin Magnussen in the later restart confusion, he was still slammed into by Antonio Giovinazzi’s Alfa.
Rating out of 10: 6

Kevin Magnussen felt his early exit was a “great opportunity missed” in a race that almost everyone who finished scored points. The Dane qualified last in a Q1 session in which a few tenths made a big difference and was running 12th after the dramatic first lap before being hit from behind by not one, but two cars in the total chaos that engulfed the back of the field.
Rating out of 10: 5

Antonio Giovinazzi certainly lost some momentum in the battle of the Alfa Romeos over the Spa-Monza-Mugello triple header and was outqualifed again by Kimi Raikkonen here. His race ended in what he termed “very dangerous” fashion when he slammed straight into the back of Magnussen, before being lifted up into the air by Sainz’s McLaren.
Rating out of 10: 5

It’s hard to pack as much chaos into eight laps as Carlos Sainz managed on Sunday. He had a great start and was fighting for fifth after starting ninth, but made contact with Stroll in the Racing Point on Lap One and went spinning. That sent him back down the order for the Safety Car restart, and we know how that ended for the Spaniard, who described the big shunt – which ended with an Alfa Romeo right over his Halo – as “very scary”.
Rating out of 10: 7

“No power!” shouted Max Verstappen in anguish as the field engulfed him on the run to Turn One on the original start of Mugello. He was then powerless to avoid being shunted into the gravel at the next corner as the luckless victim of a three-car tangle behind him. “I am not disappointed by that, we shouldn’t have been in that position. Just really disappointing again we have a retirement.” A very promising qualifying here, but two power unit-related DNFs in a row now have dropped him 80 points off the title pace.
Rating out of 10: 7.5

Two weeks in Italy and two results that bared absolutely no resemblance to each other. After the unexpected euphoria of winning at Monza, Gasly’s Mugello weekend consisted of his first Q1 exit of the season and then all of two corners of racing as he found himself as the pinball between Raikkonen and Grosjean.
Rating out of ten: 5

Source : Sky Sports