The Formula One championship will go down to the wire in the best possible way points-wise: Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton are tied on points with one race left.
The Brit won in Saudi Arabia, but there were numerous controversies, with multiple red flags and a fight between the two which wasn’t totally fair.
Lewis Hamilton – 9
His win was possibly overshadowed by the fight with Verstappen, particularly the contact with the Dutchman, but Hamilton is in the form of his life.
He was fastest in qualifying and drove away at the start, only for the red flag to ruin his chances and drop him second for the restart. He was pushed wide by Verstappen on the first occasion and later caught napping on the third start.
He put himself at the chase of Verstappen once the race finally flowed and it’s pretty unclear what he intended to do when the two touched. However, Hamilton’s lightning pace even with a damaged car proved he was a worthy winner.
Max Verstappen – 5
The weekend began with a crucial mistake, as he lost a certain pole position by crashing at the last corner. After following the Mercedes duo, he got lucky with the red flag, as he chose not to stop and found himself in the lead.
The start wasn’t perfect and Verstappen dived on the outside of Hamilton to overtake off the track. He was relegated to third again, but moved at the front with an amazing and, finally, assertive move.
It was clear he had a tough job having to defend to a faster car, but he first tried a do or die move, for which he got a penalty, and later he had some responsibilities when slowing down to let Hamilton past and causing a crash.
He settled for second, but his race conduct is clearly showing he is struggling to accept a possible defeat.
Valtteri Bottas – 6
With Hamilton and Verstappen coming so close on multiple occasions, you would expect Bottas to be there to pick up the pieces. Guess what? Yet again he wasn’t.
He binned all his chances by running off on the restart and losing a possible lead to drop fifth.
He spent a vain chase on Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon, to finally move past when the tyres of his opponents dropped.
He got third on the line and was seen to celebrate hard, but is this really what a Mercedes driver should aspire to?
Esteban Ocon – 9
He is proving that when he is in the conditions to score big points, he always delivers. It’s true that the red flag was a big helping hand, but Ocon was having a great weekend regardless.
He overtook Bottas on the first start and then moved past the title challenging duo in an opportunistic way.
It was clear that his first place grid slot on the third start wouldn’t last long, but the Frenchman did extremely well to hang on until the end, only to lose the podium on the line.
Daniel Ricciardo – 8
He finally looked comfortable with his car and it was a big shame that an issue in qualifying prevented him to be any higher than P11.
A good race start on hard tyres saw him climb a few places and then he chose not to stop, finding himself fifth.
His medium tyres had to last a long distance and Ricciardo eventually gave the place back to Bottas, but still brought home a solid 10 points for McLaren.
Pierre Gasly – 7.5
The Frenchman seems to love red flags and on Sunday he was helped avoid what looked likely to be another race fiasco.
After a great qualifying, he dropped to ninth in the opening laps and his pace wasn’t irresistible. However, by choosing not to stop, he could move back to seventh.
The move on Leclerc at the restart was his final overtake of the day, as he could snatch sixth and give Alpha Tauri a glimmer of hope to finish fifth in the constructors’ championship.
Charles Leclerc – 8
The Monegasque was one of the drivers to get most unlucky with the red flag, moving down from fourth to sixth and losing places at all starts.
After a stellar lap on Saturday, Charles Leclerc looked quite fast, but it didn’t work out too well for him in the second part of the race.
He moved back up a few places, after dropping as low as 10th, to finish seventh.
Carlos Sainz – 6.5
Not the smoothest weekend, which was essentially ruined by a spin on Saturday that caused him to start 15th.
He climbed back a few places and was ninth on the restart by choosing not to stop. That was the end of the progress for the Ferrari, who only gained further places due to crashes.
He also lost the place to Leclerc at the end, after assertively moving in front.
Antonio Giovinazzi – 8
The Italian will be pleased to finally catch a break and finish his season on a high, in what could be his penultimate Formula One race.
Antonio Giovinazzi was fast all weekend and made a surprise Q3 appearance, running in the top 10 for all of Sunday and finally keeping out of trouble.
He couldn’t hold off the Ferraris after running as high as seventh, but it was a good finish to get two points home.
Lando Norris – 7
He is probably the most unlucky driver for this second half of the season and it showed again this weekend, as a sixth place became 14th due to the red flag.
He was last on the third start after taking avoiding action from Sergio Perez’s crashed car and had to make his way back up to 10th.
It’s his 19th points-finish of the year, but he only scored nine in the last five races, though it’s hardly his fault.
Lance Stroll – 5.5
A very difficult weekend for the Aston Martin, who saw both cars knocked out in Q1 and showed a severe lack of pace.
At one point, Lance Stroll was in the top 10, but he was soon caught by Lando Norris and left behind to finish just a place short.
Nicholas Latifi – 6
Nicholas Latifi finished 12th after keeping error free and avoiding the crashes around.
He could hardly do anything more in this race, as he was still a long way off the points.
Fernando Alonso – 4.5
Just after an amazing weekend in Qatar, Fernando Alonso put up a shocking display in Saudi Arabia.
He struggled massively in qualifying, only managing 13th. The Spaniard was making good progress in the race, but the red flag penalised him a lot.
Finally, a spin put an end to all his chances for points, in what was a very unusual performance.
Yuki Tsunoda – 4.5
His pace has improved in the last few races, but his points scoring form remains poor, with only two gained in the last 10 outings.
He made Q3 to start eighth and was on course for a good result, but a silly move on Sebastian Vettel caused a crash and put him out of contention.
Kimi Raikkonen – 5
The Finn’s typical fast pace on Sundays meant there were high hopes after starting from 12th, but it wasn’t to be.
Kimi Raikkonen didn’t make his way in the top 10 and later crashed with Vettel, with the damages meaning he was the last one of those who finished the race.
Sebastian Vettel – 5.5
Vettel was the unfortunate protagonist of two crashes, after he managed to overturn a poor qualifying (P17), to find himself eighth.
Even though he managed to get back running after he was hit by Yuki Tsunoda, a second crash with Raikkonen forced him to retire.
Nikita Mazepin – 5
His crash at the second start wasn’t necessarily his fault, considering the pack of cars suddenly slowed down due to an accident in front.
However, Nikita Mazepin’s performance was still far from memorable, qualifying a second behind his teammate.
Sergio Perez – 4
Red Bull have practically lost the constructors’ championship and it’s not because of his crash on Sunday, but because of his consistently disappointing performances.
He qualified behind a Ferrari, meaning he couldn’t be there to help Verstappen and he was in the middle of the pack when he tangled with Leclerc and was forced to retire.
George Russell – 6
It was another difficult weekend for the Williams and George Russell couldn’t get to the end, being crashed by Mazepin, who hit him from behind.
The Brit will just be hoping this season ends soon to fully focus on the Mercedes drive for next year.
Mick Schumacher – 5
Mick Schumacher was the only driver to hit the barriers on his own during the race and it put a premature end to his Sunday.
It’s true that the Haas is probably a hard car to drive given its lack of downforce, but the incident is all his fault.
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