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Styrian GP driver ratings

Lewis Hamilton
Qualified 1st, Finished 1st

Now Lewis Hamilton’s quest for that seventh world title is properly up and running. If the dominant and seemingly serene race-day performance that took the Mercedes driver to the 85th win of his career could be described as ‘textbook’ – at least by the six-time champion’s standards – no manual would have told you quite how Hamilton conjured up pole position by 1.2 seconds in those atrocious wet conditions of qualifying.

A “unicorn lap” said Toto Wolff. “Fun” mixed with “sheer terror” said Hamilton. Out of this world, no question.
Rating out of ten: 10

Valtteri Bottas
Qualified 4th, Finished 2nd

A step back for Valtteri Bottas, considering his perfect start to the season a week before. Bottas was a whopping 1.4s off Hamilton in qualifying in the same Mercedes car – with his reasons for the margin ranging from not “building enough temperature into my tyres” to “glazing brakes”.

That disappointment led to a fourth-place grid spot, and although the Finn passed Carlos Sainz quickly and then hunted down an ailing Verstappen, second place was the minimum to be expected here given Mercedes’ pace advantage.

Still the championship leader, but will be keen to do better.
Rating out of ten: 7.5

Max Verstappen
Qualified 2nd, Finished 3rd

There doesn’t seem there was a lot more Max Verstappen could have done to try and deny Mercedes a 1-2. Caught between the faster Mercs from lap six as Valtteri Bottas made up ground lost in qualifying, the Red Bull effectively had to pit first and then suffered the classic sucker-punch at the end when the Finn overtook him on fresher tyres.

Max was the only one to push Hamilton in qualifying – before losing a little competitiveness when conditions worsened in Q3 – and his last-lap spin just underlined how hard he was trying.
Rating out of ten: 9

Alex Albon
Qualified 7th (Started 6th), Finished 4th

Red Bull’s insistence over the weekend that they have already given a “definite no” to Sebastian Vettel will have been music to the ears of Alex Albon – but the youngster surely needs to at least get closer to Verstappen to cement that 2021 seat.

He was half a second off in qualifying and then, while having to make his way past some midfield cars, was far enough behind Verstappen that the Dutchman was able to make two pit-stops, comfortably, without being passed by his team-mate. And he finished 44 seconds behind race-winner Hamilton.

Albon defended well to hold off Perez, but will need to regain immediate momentum from Hungary.
Rating out of ten: 7

Lando Norris gained two places on an unbelievable final lap at the Styrian GP to finish fifth for McLaren

Lando Norris gained two places on an unbelievable final lap at the Styrian GP to finish fifth for McLaren

Lando Norris
Qualified 6th (Started 9th), Finished 5th

We’ve heard of qualifying specialists. We’ve heard of first-lap specialists? But last-lap specialists? Step forward Lando Norris, who certainly created a niche for himself over a stunning fortnight for the young Englishman at the Red Bull Ring.

Physical pain from his chest at the start of the weekend was followed by the sporting pain of a three-place grid drop for overtaking yellow flags. But Norris put all that aside on race day as a long first stint on soft tyres set up an attacking finish. He overtook Daniel Ricciardo on the penultimate lap, Lance Stroll mid-way round the final one, and then the ailing Sergio Perez into the very last corner.

Fifth place in the race, and third in the Drivers’ Championship. Not bad Lando, not bad at all.
Rating out of ten: 8

Sergio Perez
Qualified 17th, Finished 6th

A stunning race-day drive from Sergio Perez, even if it didn’t quite finish the way he would have hoped.

Starting 17th after a dreadful qualifying in the rain, Perez quickly made his way towards the points and then masterfully overtook his midfield rivals – including his team-mate – after running long with his stint. He was even quicker than the Mercedes as he closed towards Albon, but that was where his perfect Sunday hit a snag.

Perez made the move up the inside of Turn Four on the Red Bull but with little space for either driver, made contact and a damaged front-wing saw him drop down to sixth on the last lap. But still, a great performance.
Rating out of ten: 8.5

Lance Stroll
Qualified 13th (Started 12th), Finished 7th

As close to collecting sixth place and he was eighth amid a three-car dash to Spielberg’s finishing line, Lance Stroll can be satisfied with seventh in the end after the disappointment of missing out on points in Austria race one. The only Racing Point to make Q2 in the wet, Stroll was in the points by lap two and then overtook Lando Norris.

Norris would have the last laugh 66 laps later, though, when Stroll was overtaken by the McLaren on the final tour, just one lap after the Racing Point had finally made its way past Daniel Ricciardo’s Renault.
Rating out of ten: 7.5

Daniel Ricciardo
Qualified 9th (Started 8th), Finished 8th

Running fifth on fresh soft tyres, Daniel Ricciardo probably thought he was perfectly placed for a late surge up the order after starting the race on mediums, and seeing off team-mate Esteban Ocon before his DNF.

But for whatever reason – whether it be a lack of Renault pace or their fear of unreliability – Ricciardo just wasn’t as quick as expected late on. That saw Perez pass him and then Stroll and Norris on the penultimate lap.

Stroll’s overtake was certainly on the edge, even from a risk-taker such as Ricciardo. But it stood, and Renault – while happy with their 2020 package – only have two eighth-place finishes to celebrate from the opening weekends.
Rating out of ten: 7.5

Carlos Sainz
Qualified 3rd, Finished 9th

“We missed out on a good P5 today,” rued Carlos Sainz, after the Spaniard dropped back via a problem at his first pit stop and saw his strategy and race compromised from there.

Nonetheless, to only be beaten by a Mercedes and Red Bull in a treacherous qualifying hour was undoubtedly another feather in Sainz’s cap – with third on the grid the best of his career so far – and he at least took home a bonus point for the fastest lap after a ‘free’ late pit stop.
Rating out of ten: 8

Daniil Kvyat
Qualified 14th (Started 13th), Finished 10th

After qualifying six spots behind team-mate Gasly, Daniil Kvyat made up for it on race day with a solid drive, finishing some distance away from ninth but comfortably 7s ahead of Kimi Raikkonen behind.

As the seventh-fastest team in F1, a points-finish is about as much as AlphaTauri can hope for right now – and Kvyat has finished in the top-10 on two consecutive weekends. This time more impressively given there were far fewer retirements.
Rating out of ten: 7

Outside the points

Kimi Raikkonen is still waiting to get off the mark in his 18th season on the grid, but at least took encouragement from Alfa Romeo’s race pace as he finished 11th from 16th after a compromised wet qualifying. As he explained: “I lost a lot of time at the start, having to avoid the crash between the two Ferraris. I had to nearly stop, the car went into anti-stall and I couldn’t get it out. In the end, I managed to recover into a good position but I had to save fuel in the last 20 laps so I couldn’t push to catch Kvyat.” He’ll hope Hungary – a venue he has always gone well – will prove more fruitful.
Rating out of ten: 7

It’s tough going for the Haas drivers at the moment and Kevin Magnussen admitted 12th was the best he could really hope for given their lack of pace. Magnussen, who did well to make it out of Q1 in qualifying, jumped up three positions on the opening lap – admitting that has become his “only weapon” – before scrapping with the Ferrari-powered duo of Raikkonen and his team-mate.
Rating out of ten: 6.5

Mechanical issues left Romain Grosjean on the sidelines in qualifying and he ultimately further disadvantaged by starting the race from the pit lane, but the Frenchman raced solidly to beat several of his rivals en-route to 13th just behind team-mate Magnussen.
Rating out of ten: 7

It was Antonio Giovinazzi’s off which put an early end to Q1 on Saturday, and the Italian didn’t have much more fun the following day. 14th and at the back of the Alfa Romeo-Haas quartet, who can only really battle each other at the moment.
Rating out of ten: 6

Pierre Gasly was one of the star performers in qualifying, up in eighth in the AlphaTauri, but it just didn’t happen for him on Sunday. The team believe he sustained damage after a nudge from Ricciardo at the opening corner, which lost him a place immediately. Gasly ended up pitting twice, and a points chance was a distant memory after that.
Rating out of ten: 7

Williams’ George Russell ends up on the gravel on Lap Five of the Styrian Grand Prix

Williams’ George Russell ends up on the gravel on Lap Five of the Styrian Grand Prix

When talking about George Russell’s weekend, you’ve got to focus on his superb qualifying rather than his first-lap mistake. Russell admitted even making it out of Q1 for the first time in his career was a long shot in the Williams, and he finished just a tenth away from the top-10 shootout. That gave him 11th on the grid, and, with little to lose, Russell tried to gain positions on the first lap but ended up running into the gravel while battling with Magnussen. That left him to a more familiar scrap against a Williams team-mate, which he won again.
Rating out of ten: 8

Feeling he had the pace to join Russell in Q2 on Saturday, Nicholas Latifi finished closer to his team-mate in the race in 16th and 17th respectively but neither Williams had the race pace to truly get in amongst the pack ahead.
Rating out of ten: 6

Did Not Finish

Another Mercedes junior who enjoyed a superb Saturday, Esteban Ocon started up in fifth in the Renault but just didn’t have the pace to stay there, losing a position to team-mate Ricciardo before having to retire the car. That’s two DNFs in two weekends for Renault.
Rating out of ten: 7

Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel were forced out of the race after colliding at the start of the Styrian Grand Prix

Ferrari pair Charles Leclerc and Sebastian Vettel were forced out of the race after colliding at the start of the Styrian Grand Prix

Oh, Charles. Scoring good points for Ferrari was going to be a long shot on Sunday but the team would at the very least to have expected to gather valuable data from their upgrades, but Leclerc put paid to that with a crazy lunge into his team-mate on the third corner of the race. There simply wasn’t space for any kind of manoeuvre, let alone with a fellow red car just ahead. Leclerc was very hard on himself afterwards and he was right to take full responsibility, and this isn’t his first big Ferrari error. How much criticism would Vettel be getting if he was in Leclerc’s shoes?
Rating out of ten: 5

You’ve got to feel for Sebastian Vettel. He qualified ahead of his team-mate and would have been optimistic for the race, starting on the more durable medium tyre which saw him under pressure on the first lap. But just as he was contending with other cars, he was shunted into by his team-mate. Ouch.
Rating out of ten: 6.5

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