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Max Verstappen took his seventh victory of the season at Paul Ricard, with a big git coming from race leader and championship rival Charles Leclerc, who spun out. 

The Mercedes team got their first double-podium of the season, with Lewis Hamilton second and George Russell beating Sergio Perez to third. 

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Max Verstappen – 10

The Dutchman was second-best to Leclerc all weekend and probably would have been beaten on pure pace (it is still to be considered that Perez was miles off in the same car). 

However, this race was once again a demonstration that Verstappen doesn’t make the same mistakes as other drivers, and took victory number seven despite competing in inferior machinery for large parts of the year. 

His challenge from the first row didn’t seem fructuous enough, despite some attempts to overtake Leclerc, but once he earned first place, nobody put it at risk. 

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Lewis Hamilton – 9.5

This was Hamilton at its (almost) very best. He was about four tenths faster on Saturday and beat his teammate to the line with a comfortable performance in second-place. 

His getaway was perfect, moving past Perez and unexpectedly having the pace to pull away, despite being slightly too far off Verstappen. 

It was a slow start to the season, but this was now Hamilton’s fourth consecutive podium. 

George Russell – 7.5

Mister consistency was at it again, gaining third place off Perez on lap 51, when the Mexican had troubles after a slow virtual safety car restart. 

It was one of the first weekends in which he properly looked slower than Hamilton, but still salvaged the best result for his team by keeping out of trouble. 

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Sergio Perez – 5.5

The Mexican has had worse Red Bull drives in his career, but his performance at the Paul Ricard was disappointing, considering he looked properly off the pace compared to Verstappen after a good start to the year. 

Perez was beaten off the line by Hamilton, and lost a podium place to Russell with just a few laps remaining. 

As the title battle is heating up, Perez is starting to drop off. 

Carlos Sainz – 8

Carlos Sainz had to comeback from 19th to the grid following engine penalties, with his pace all weekend looking very convincing. 

He was quickly past all midfield, pulling up some very strong moves, but his team messed up with an unsafe release from a pit stop, which cost him a serious podium challenge. 

With the pace he had, he was one of the fastest men on track, and could have scored more than what he eventually came out with. 

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Fernando Alonso – 8.5

This race proved that when he keeps out of trouble, Fernando Alonso is still one of the very best, and it showed by beating both McLarens and keeping largely in front of Esteban Ocon. 

The Spaniard qualified seventh, and got past Lando Norris and Russell at the start, to then manage the gap on the McLaren driver with a smart race strategy. 

He never looked at risk from behind and ensured that Alpine took fourth place in the constructors standings. 

Lando Norris – 8

Despite not yet being a race winner, the same can be said about Norris, who often pulls out more than the car could give and is a driver that often races at the top of the midfield. 

He qualified a stunning fifth, but was perhaps over cautious at the start, to drop to seventh and race from there, comfortably beating teammate Daniel Ricciardo. 

Had he kept the place on Alonso, perhaps the race may have been different, but the long run showed that the McLaren looked slower on Sunday, so Norris maximised the points scored. 

Esteban Ocon – 6.5

Ocon finally scored his first points on home soil, despite struggling compared to Alonso and only securing 12th in qualifying. 

His race started with a strong getaway, despite being penalised for colliding with Yuki Tsunoda. He could discard his penalty in the safety car window and was soon back behind Ricciardo, whom he had overtaken. 

Just as the Australian looked to hold on, to keep the teams tied in the standings, Ocon moved past with few laps to go, for another podium finish. 

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Daniel Ricciardo – 6

His points are a sign that the car had a slight improvement, but Ricciardo’s race was again overshadowed by that of his teammate. 

He was nine tenths off in qualifying and steadily dropped back after competitive first parts of his stints. 

He ended up losing out to Ocon, losing costly points in the constructors battle, despite still finishing ninth at the flag, for his first consecutive points of the season. 

Lance Stroll – 7

The Canadian got his fourth points-finish of the season, which is also the fourth time he finishes 10th

He gained five places on lap one, after only starting 15th from a 17th-placed qualifying. As per usual, the Aston Martin also proved much quicker on Sundays than it is on Saturdays. 

This allowed Lance Stroll to fight for points and follow from close range Ocon and Ricciardo, with the Aston Martin looking to challenge for the spot of sixth fastest car this weekend. 

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Sebastian Vettel – 6

Sebastian Vettel was 14th in qualifying, proving that his qualifying form is solid, but got stuck in the midfield after a mediocre start, compared to Stroll’s excellent getaway. 

This meant Vettel had a few places to make up, and eventually caught up with the Canadian driver, with an entertaining last lap scrap that left him a place short of points. 

Pierre Gasly – 5

The Frenchman looked very competitive on Friday and was looking to turnaround Alpha Tauri’s desolate season with a strong home race. 

However, it quickly went downhill, with a shocking Q1 elimination, before a runoff whilst trying to overtake Alex Albon dropped him further back than he already was, finishing 12th and outside of the points. 

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Alex Albon – 6.5

At certain stages, William looks pretty competitive, especially in his hands, but the Thai-Brit often struggles to maximise this potential. 

He spun in Q1, but went through into Q2, which still meant he qualified 15th. He was able to follow the cars that were fighting for points, but just fell off at the end, to drop from 11th to 13th

Valtteri Bottas – 6

This track didn’t look to particularly suit the Alfa Romeo car, but Valtteri Bottas was also penalised by a poor and unlucky strategy. 

He started on hard tyres, feeling it to be too soon to stop for mediums once the safety car came out, and this meant he had to stop later on, finishing only 14th and a long way behind the points. 

From a personal point of view, his weekend still looked competitive, running in front of Zhou Guanyu in both race and qualifying. 

Mick Schumacher – 5

A weekend in which the German failed to perform, for a variety of reasons, and in which Haas were left with no points, after claiming 19 in the last two races. 

A track limit violation cancelled his Q1 lap, which meant he was excluded, and starting from the back was tricky. The team decided to stop him early to clear the traffic, but the safety car came just at the wrong time. 

Schumacher was also hit by Zhou as he tried to recover, which led to a spin and him finishing last on track. 

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Zhou Guanyu – 4.5

A difficult race for the Chinese driver, who was running at the bottom of the order after the first few laps and rarely managed to climb out from it. 

He was also penalised for hitting Schumacher, before retiring with an engine issue near the end. 

Nicholas Latifi – 6

His weekend was ruined on Saturday, when yellow flags meant he qualified last, but made up places and was in the mix with other cars after the safety car. 

He was close to Albon, but was hit by Magnussen and forced into a retirement, just as he is starting to show improvements over the season. 

Kevin Magnussen – 5.5

The Dane’s pace around Paul Ricard was competitive, which was a shame, as he was to start from last even if he entered Q3. 

He made a sensational start to be as high as 12th in the first few laps, but Haas risked a strategy which didn’t pay off, that was to pit him earlier to clear traffic. 

Magnussen was left at the back with the safety car and retired after tangling with Nicholas Latifi. 

Charles Leclerc – 3

For reasons hard to explain, Leclerc is 63 points behind Verstappen in the standings, despite registering seven pole position in 11 qualifying attempts, and often looking like the fastest combo man-machinery on track. 

The Monegasque took pole by a comfortable margin on Saturday, and resisted to Verstappen’s initial attacks, before starting to pull away. 

He inexplicably lost it on his own, probably as he was pushing too hard, giving away the lead of the race to his championship rival. This error adds to a long list of team and driver mistakes, which could cost Ferrari the 2022 world championships. 

Spinning out from first is just not what a championship contender should do. 

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Yuki Tsunoda – 6.5

After looking less at ease with the car on Saturday, it was Tsunoda who extracted the most out of the car, to start from a promising P9. 

His race hopes were over soon, when Ocon went too hot into a corner and sent him into a spin, damaging his car and having to retire soon after. 

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May 2024