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Home   /   Formula One 2022 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix – Driver Ratings
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Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc go wheel-to-wheel again and this time the Dutchman comes out on top, after an exciting duel in the last laps. Carlos Sainz finishes third in front of poleman Sergio Perez. 

Max Verstappen – 9

Despite only starting from fourth place and appearing to struggle on Saturday, Verstappen’s race was good from the start. 

He cleared Sainz and was left in second place as Leclerc’s main threat when he also gained the place on Perez. He looked to pressurize the Monegasque, but wasn’t able to pull off an overtaking attempt until the end.

Finally, in the last laps he mounted the pressure and, despite a series of failed attempts, like in Bahrain, he did manage to stick his wheels in front and assertively taking his first win of the season. 

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Charles Leclerc – 9

Leclerc was once again the faster Ferrari driver, but he lacked something to either get pole position or victory, as his lap on Saturday was only two hundredths of a second slower than Perez’s pole. 

When the safety car rewarded his strategy and deeply penalised Perez, he was left at the front and looked set to win, before Verstappen closed up after a late virtual safety car. 

He was a sitting duck on the straights and, despite trying his best to stay at the front, he was powerless, but arguably happy to leave with 19 points in the bag. 

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Carlos Sainz – 7

Another performance for Sainz which leaves a bittersweet taste in his mouth. It’s a second consecutive podium, but another one which came after being soundly beaten by Leclerc. 

At the start, Leclerc turned aggressively to his side to protect and the Spaniard was leapfrogged by Verstappen, chasing him for the entire first stint. 

He could clear Perez with a stop under the virtual safety car, but a misunderstanding led to the Mexican remaining in front for some time before eventually moving aside and giving the place back. 

Had he been third on the restart, he may have had an attempt to challenge those at the front, but his pace later showed otherwise. 

Sergio Perez – 8

His first pole positon in 210 attempts was well-deserved, with a tremendous lap that gave him a head start on Verstappen for only the third time in their period together. 

It could have been an enormous chance for Perez, who also dominated the first stint, but who got incredibly unlucky by pitting before a safety car and therefore being relegated all the way down to fourth. 

There was no way back up for him and he leaves Saudi Arabia as unhappy as ever, due to the bad luck. 

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George Russell – 8

Without Lewis Hamilton challenging him, having an awful weekend, George Russell was left in no man’s land for the majority of the race.

He was outqualified by Esteban Ocon’s Alpine, whom he cleared after a few laps and left him in fifth, which is where he finished the race. 

A smooth, almost effortless race to the flag, which keeps him in fourth place in the driver standings. 

Esteban Ocon – 8.5

His lap on qualifying was superb, putting him in fifth place for the race start, just behind the Red Bulls and the Ferraris. 

He appeared marginally slower in the race and was overtaken by Russell, before going all out with Fernando Alonso in a hard-fought teammate battle. 

He came out worse, but the Spaniard’s retirement gave him P6 back and he was also able to pip Lando Norris, who looked faster and had initially overtaken the Frenchman with just few laps to go.

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Lando Norris – 7.5

A good points-finish that improves the mood for the McLaren team, who had been left shocked by their performance in Bahrain. 

Norris outqualified Ricciardo and was shy of a place in Q3, but in the race the McLarens looked to be able to follow the cars in front and with a mix of strategy, luck and driving skills he made up places up to P7. 

He even had a shot at overtaking Ocon, which he did initially, before losing out on the last lap. Considering the situation, they are six big points. 

Pierre Gasly – 7.5

He is as reliable as ever, again entering Q3 and this time scoring points, after he was denied due to a mechanical problem in Bahrain. 

His teammate was overwhelmed by issues, but Gasly demonstrated top 10 pace all throughout and settled in 10th after his usual starting woes. 

It looked like he lost out with the safety car, but he could climb back up to eighth to score his first points of the season. 

Kevin Magnussen – 7

Another points finish and it is perhaps a bit disappointing to see him only finish ninth. Kevin Magnussen struggled with lack of mileage and muscular pain, but still entered Q3 and looked sharp. 

Despite being one of the few drivers to start with the hard tyres, he looked fast and even pulled off some overtakes. However, the safety car allowed the medium runners to stop and Magnussen stayed out, hoping to make up for it at the end. 

Perhaps surprisingly, he couldn’t climb back up much, after being as high as seventh, following his stop. He undercut Hamilton, but lost out to other top 10 runners. 

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Lewis Hamilton – 4.5

A mix of bad luck and errors ruined what looked to be a promising comeback, after a disastrous Saturday for Hamilton. 

The Briton was shockingly eliminated in Q1 after struggling with confidence and grip, but in the race it looked like his pace was back, at least to match Russell’s. 

However, after returning up to sixth place, he lost the chance to stop under the virtual safety car, and struggled at the end, only managing to score a single point despite the theoretical pace advantage he should have had on newer tyres. 

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Guanyu Zhou – 5

His chance to score points was lost when he came to the pits to serve a penalty, but a problem led to him not serving it correctly and receiving a drive through. 

Without this issue, he potentially could have fought for points, even if this time his pace difference to Bottas was more significant. Zhou still started in a decent positon at P13, but also had a problem which relegated him to last. 

He made up a few places, but it was just one of those races where everything goes wrong.

Nico Hulkenberg – 5.5

This time, in a track he doesn’t know, he was outqualified by Lance Stroll. 

He was in the mix in the race, and even featured in the top 10 when he was yet to pit. 

He was the last of the incident-free runners, but it is harder to shine when driving an uncompetitive car. 

Lance Stroll – 5.5

The Aston Martin struggled in Saudi Arabia as well, with Stroll only managing 15th in qualifying, despite starting from 13th.

He gained a place at the start, but lost out significantly by stopping just before the safety car, and this meant he was relegated at the back. 

Once there, he couldn’t fight for points and his race was compromised with a late incident with Alex Albon. 

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Alex Albon – 5

Compared to his teammate, Albon’s majority of weekend wasn’t bad at all, narrowly missing Q2 and trying his best to keep in the fight with faster cars during the race.

He came close to the top 10 when some drivers boxed late, but was overtaken, before finally crashing with Stroll and ending his race prematurely.

Valtteri Bottas – 7

The Finn was set to have another top 10 finish, after a good race, but had to retire with mechanical issues. 

Bottas was eighth on Saturday and well in the mix for points, challenging the two Alpine cars and running in ninth (would have become seventh after the pit stops) when he had to retire. 

All in all, it was another proof that the package Alfa Romeo-Bottas does have pace and competitiveness. 

Fernando Alonso – 8

Alonso was conducting a great race, with brilliant wheel-to-wheel battles, but had to retire when set to score big points. 

After being outqualified by Ocon, he moved past assertively and led the midfield runners without looking particularly at risk, before his retirement. 

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Daniel Ricciardo – 6.5

Ricciardo showed encouraging signs and looked more at one with the car, after a disappointing outing in Bahrain. 

He was close to Norris in qualifying and stopped very early, with his looking set to be a good undercut that didn’t fully go to plan due to a safety car helping drivers yet to stop. 

He was still in 11th and racing closely with Norris, before losing the place and retiring soon with mechanical issues, in what looked like it could be a finish on the points. 

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Nicholas Latifi – 3

His weekend could hardly have got any worse. Latifi crashed in both qualifying and the race, in all occasions whilst running last. 

The Williams isn’t competitive, but Latifi isn’t helping his case and is struggling for speed and at keeping his car on track. 

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