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Home   /   Formula 1 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Driver Ratings
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Max Verstappen led home a Red Bull one-two, as Ferrari’s hopes were once more shattered by mechanical issues which led to a double retirement. George Russell’s top season continued with a P3 finish. 

Max Verstappen – 9

Verstappen won five of the six races he finished, showing a level of dominance that perhaps was only met in the 21st century by the likes of Michael Schumacher. 

The victory came from P3 on the grid, as Verstappen only won once from pole this season, showing his strength on Sundays. 

He had a mountain to climb, having to catch up to Sergio Perez and making the most of Charles Leclerc’s retirement, as the Dutchman appeared faster than the Monegasque in the earlier stages. 

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Sergio Perez – 8

In the end, Perez was outperformed by Verstappen, but he kept his form going, and was once again a protagonist during the race, something which rarely happened last season. 

He was quicker than his teammate on Saturday, starting from the front row and doing a perfect job at the start to move past Leclerc. Despite an assertive first 15 laps, he appeared to suffer high tyre degradation and was overtaken by Verstappen. 

This meant he settled for P2, but his fifth podium of the season ensured he would move up to second in the standings. 

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George Russell – 9

It may sound repetitive, but Russell is the only driver to finish every race in the top five this season, and once more, he was very competitive, racing at the front of his group by a wide margin. 

Only the top two cars were no match for him, but the unreliability of the Ferraris struck, as Russell took advantage for his third podium of the season. 

The British driver was in no man’s land for most of the race, finishing 46 seconds adrift at the flag, 26 in front of his teammate. 

Lewis Hamilton – 7

Lewis Hamilton overcame problems of porpoising and a slow start to finish the race in fourth and bring home 12 valuable points. 

His performance went under the radar due to Russell’s impressive drive, but Hamilton made use of Sebastian Vettel’s error and Pierre Gasly’s slower strategy to finish just behind, albeit many seconds adrift. 

It’s been a while since his last convincing performance, but at least this time he could salvage big points.

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Pierre Gasly – 8.5

His rating is half a point lower than it could have been due to Alpha Tauri’s excess of caution, with a missed opportunity to stop under the virtual safety car that cost the place to Hamilton. 

However, Pierre Gasly’s weekend was excellent, as the Frenchman ended a long spell of four races without scoring points. 

It arrived with the car making a step forward and Gasly qualifying sixth and racing in this position for most of the race, just giving up to Hamilton’s Mercedes near the end. 

Sebastian Vettel – 8

Sixth place is great, and it reflects Vettel’s great moment of form, qualifying his Aston Martin in Q3 and scoring points for back-to-back races. 

The German moved up a place at the start and was driving an impressive sixth, virtually, before he made a risky attempt to pass Esteban Ocon and went too deep into the escape route. 

He made up for it by rejoining quickly and safely, still managing to end the race for Aston Martin’s best result in 18 races. 

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Fernando Alonso – 7.5

The premises of Friday, with Fernando Alonso finishing both sessions in the top five, seemed excessive, as the Alpine went backwards, to qualify in 10th with the Spaniard. 

Alonso went long with the strategy, choosing not to box along with most of the other runners during the virtual safety car, and virtually finishing in the place he started from. 

The race was a long battle with the McLarens, which he kept behind thanks to the car’s impressive top speed. 

Daniel Ricciardo – 7.5

An awaited and appreciated return inside the top 10 for Daniel Ricciardo, who drove most of the race in pair with Lando Norris. 

The Australian was behind for the majority of the first stint, with the team choosing to favour Norris’s strategy. Once he was released, Ricciardo put in some strong laps to rejoin in front of his teammate, also thanks to a late virtual safety car. 

In the end, he was unable to overtake Alonso’s fast Alpine, but just kept in front of Norris, scoring more points than the Brit for the first time in 2022. 

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Lando Norris – 7

A messy weekend, from which he still came away with two points. Norris just missed out on Q3, and started from 11th, spending the first stint trailing behind Alonso and keeping in front of Ricciardo. 

The attempt to overcut the Spaniard proved costly, with Norris exiting the pits in traffic and taking time to clear slower cars, which cost him a few places. 

He made up the time lost on his teammate, with the team choosing to freeze positions for their first double points finish in five races. 

Esteban Ocon – 6

Ocon’s momentum appears to have decreased after a scintillating start of 2022, qualifying in 13th and finishing 10th, 20 seconds behind Alonso. 

He struggled to match his teammate throughout the weekend and could come away with a still useful point by keeping out of trouble. 

He caught the spotlight mostly for holding up traffic behind, opting for a long first stint on hard tyres which frustrated many drivers that had to overtake him. 

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Valtteri Bottas – 5

The Finn made a shocking step back from his recent performances, qualifying in 15th, behind Guanyu Zhou, and racing outside of the top 10. 

The Alfa Romeo looked slower, but Valtteri Bottas never appeared at ease and saw the chequered flag from outside of the points for the first time this season. 

Alex Albon – 6.5

After two well-caught opportunities in Australia and Saudi Arabia, the Williams seems to have lost the chance to fight for points, and for Alex Albon it was a matter of trying to finish the race as high as possible. 

He did so by racing in the mix with Valtteri Bottas, but well outside of the points, despite still being the fastest car for his team. 

Yuki Tsunoda – 7

Yuki Tsunoda was unlucky, suffering an unusual issue to his rear wing, which forced him to a late and obliged stop when running in seventh.

This time around, the Japanese driver was featuring behind Gasly, but the good pace of the car had allowed him to fight for a strong points finish. 

He could only manage 13th, after the issue, and will be very disappointed by it. 

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Mick Schumacher – 4

The German driver was disappointingly off the pace, qualifying dead last and running in last place of the trouble-free drivers all throughout. 

His pace deficit was substantial, and it was a weekend that Mick Schumacher will quickly want to forget. 

Nicholas Latifi – 4

An error in the starting procedures, with a mechanic touching the car after it was last possible to do it, cost him a stop and go and put him out of the running from the very first laps. 

The Canadian driver couldn’t catch up anymore, due to the absence of safety cars, and was penalised for failing to respect blue flags. 

Lance Stroll – 4

With Sebastian Vettel racing strongly in the top 10, both on Saturday and Sunday, Lance Stroll will be disappointed to have not matched the same level. 

He crashed more than once during qualifying and was running in 14th before retiring in the final stages. 

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Kevin Magnussen – 6

The Dane’s weekend was desolate, but more due to the car’s lack of pace than faults of his own. 

He was knocked out in Q1 and started poorly, making up positions as the race went by. 

He looked in contention for a few points, before an issue put an end to his race. 

Guanyu Zhou – 7.5

His third mechanical retirement in four races came at an unfortunate time, with the Chinese driver finally living up to the expectations and looking to deliver points. 

He was racing in front of Bottas and was just seconds behind Vettel when he had to retire. 

The pit stop under the virtual safety car would have likely given him a chance to fight with the two McLarens at the end. 

Charles Leclerc – 9

The Monegasque’s superb Saturday instinct stroke again, with a superb lap that earned him his 15th pole position. 

Unfortunately for him, he lost out on a chance to win once more, with a power unit issue striking when he was in the lead. 

He had lost out to Perez at the start, but a smart virtual safety car call put him back up to P1, with tyres 10 laps older. It cannot be said whether he would have won, but his advantage in the first three races has been dissipated. 

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Carlos Sainz – 6

The Spaniard’s hopes were over almost before the race started, retiring within 10 laps when occupying fourth place. 

A mistake in his second lap in qualifying dropped him from first to fourth, and he was losing out on the opening laps. 

A mechanical issue put an end to his race, as he was apparently managing the tyres to opt for an alternate strategy. 

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July 2024