Dutch GP driver ratings: Charles Leclerc flops and unlikely stars emerge at Zandvoort

Charles Leclerc walks through the rain at the Dutch Grand Prix weekend

In a combative race which saw Verstappen once again rise to the top, here are the driver ratings from the Dutch Grand Prix.

Driver ratings explained: Every driver starts the weekend slap bang in the middle with a 5/10 rating and we operate on a sliding scale from there. We take the entire weekend into account, not just the race itself.

However, the scores will be weighted more towards a driver’s race performance, but qualifying performances (good or bad) are also factored into our ratings and, in extreme circumstances, practice will also play a minor part in the overall score.

It was the perfect stage to become a joint-record holder, and Max Verstappen did just that with his ninth consecutive race victory to equal Sebastian Vettel’s record.

Aside from Verstappen, there were standout performances from numerous drivers in a frenetic Zandvoort race.

Here are PlanetF1.com’s driver ratings for the 2023 Dutch Grand Prix:

Max Verstappen: 10

Despite all the chaos, there was still an air of inevitability about the result, and the combination of Max Verstappen, Red Bull and Zandvoort rarely goes wrong. He was fast in the dry, fast in the wet, and handled every bit of pressure that came his way. Even when the battle for pole position looked competitive, the Dutchman pulled out a lap time several tenths faster.

Verstappen survived the start and, understandably, only fell backwards by pitting one lap later than the opportunistic opening lap stoppers. He was reeling in temporary race leader Sergio Perez in those early stages, but was helped past in the pit stops by the accommodating Red Bull team.

From there, he extended his race lead, handled the worsening conditions, nailed the restarts, and resisted early pressure from Fernando Alonso. He missed out on the fastest lap before the rain shower, but his focus now is surely on the attempt to break the consecutive race win record in Monza.

Fernando Alonso: 9.5

With Aston Martin bringing updates to their car aimed at reversing their recent podiumless run, Fernando Alonso delivered one of his drives of the season. With some wise overtakes, Alonso was up to second in the opening corners of the race, and only lost a couple of places by not pitting on the opening lap for Intermediates.

The remaining tyre strategy calls were spot on by Aston Martin, but they weren’t helped by a slow pit stop, which temporarily lost them a position to Carlos Sainz. But Alonso fought back, and also capitalised on Perez’s error in the wet weather to pinch second. He might have posed more of a threat to Verstappen with a standing restart, but second place is a fine return to form for the team.

Pierre Gasly: 8.5

The troubled Alpine team would not have been expecting to be in the hunt for a podium with their drivers lining up in P12 and P16, but a fine strategy call and an accomplished drive from Pierre Gasly secured their second podium of the season.

Gasly was one of the few drivers to pit at the end of lap one for Intermediate tyres, and this call vaulted him into the top three, which laid the foundations for a strong drive. A five-second time penalty for pit lane speeding eventually put him behind the two Red Bulls, Alonso and Sainz, but the Alpine driver fought back to claim P4 ahead of the Ferrari. Perez’s time penalty promoted Gasly to the podium, his first since Baku 2021.

Sergio Perez: 5.5

On a normal day, Perez might have spent much of the race trying to recover to a distant second place behind teammate Verstappen, but a roll of the dice with the opening lap tyre strategy brought him back into play.

He will likely feel hard done by Red Bull’s decision to pit Verstappen for slick tyres before Perez, which ultimately gifted Verstappen the race lead, but there weren’t many times when the Mexican appeared to be matching his teammate’s pace. A big mistake in the wet cost him second place, and a pit lane offence cost him third place on a day which should have probably seen a Red Bull double podium.

Carlos Sainz: 7

There wasn’t a lot that Sainz did wrong in this race. He kept his nose clean in the chaotic opening laps to keep himself in contention for a strong points finish and, if the car had the pace, might have even been in stronger contention for a podium.

After the chaos of the opening stint, Sainz managed to climb to third place ahead of Gasly (pit lane time penalty) and Alonso (slow tyre change in pits), but appeared unable to maintain sufficient pace to stay there. On a circuit with better passing opportunities, he might have even fallen down further, but strong defensive work against Hamilton prevented a further loss of positions.

Lewis Hamilton: 7

Starting in P13 (and ten places behind your teammate) meant Hamilton was in a gambling mood going into the race. When everyone was starting on Soft tyres, the Mercedes driver started on Mediums. And when most of the field pitted for Intermediates, Hamilton stayed on slicks to try and survive the rain shower, a strategy which was swiftly abandoned.

Once Hamilton and Mercedes had stopped with the gambles, they slowly rose through the field, and Hamilton made some critical moves to recover ground and take points away from a difficult weekend for the team.

Lando Norris: 7

Another loser from the opening laps of the race, Norris will be frustrated to miss out on a third podium of the season on another weekend where McLaren had impressive pace. The Briton lost out to the fast-starting Alonso on the opening lap, but the damage was done when McLaren elected to stay out on slicks in the wet.

Norris and McLaren bailed out on braving out the conditions and made a late switch to Intermediates anyway. There wasn’t much wrong with McLaren’s strategy after that, but the rest of the race was a recovery effort. If the Woking team are to recover more ground and challenge the likes of Aston Martin and Ferrari for the P4 position (a target they set at the start of the season), then they will also need to capitalise on these crazier races.

Alexander Albon: 8.5

The Williams driver was probably the most affected by incorrect tyre calls in an otherwise impressive weekend. Albon committed to the decision not to pit for Intermediate tyres in the opening phase of the race, and he controlled the car admirably in sketchy conditions to somehow stay in points contention when the track dried.

Albon ran well and climbed back up to P6 until the final rain spell, when he pitted one lap later than most drivers and lost positions as a result of the hastily-intensifying rain. He profited from the late tangle between Norris and Russell to take P8 at the flag, with the Williams team now looking a good bet for P7 in the bottom-four battle in the Constructors’ Championship.

Oscar Piastri: 7

Another driver to lose out in the opening lap stick-or-twist dilemma, PIastri stayed out on slick tyres during the manic opening phase of the race. This bravery looked to be paying dividends, as the Australian worked his way back into the points when the majority of the field switched back from Intermediates to slicks.

A pit stop right when Sargeant crashed out of the race put Piastri back down the order, whereas staying out would have kept him in the points and possibly able to push for more during the dry phase of the race.

这种“额外的”停止似乎是主要原因a bigger recovery drive, but the Australian’s pace – and overtaking skill – was encouraging, and he showed maturity to take what he could get from this race.

Esteban Ocon: 6

After becoming the shock of Q1 with an elimination, the Alpine driver’s recovery could’ve yielded a bigger points finish. He didn’t follow teammate Gasly into the pits on Lap 1, but a switch to Intermediates on Lap 2 was the second-best choice, and it bumped him into the top ten early on.

He raced well amongst the Mercedes and McLaren drivers, but his efforts took a hit when the late rain shower arrived. He pitted one lap later than the majority of the field, and the team gambled on full wet tyres. This would’ve paid off without red flag intervention, which was always likely to happen.

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Lance Stroll: 4.5

The Aston Martin driver had a relatively anonymous race. He was one of the last drivers to make the switch from slicks to Intermediates in the opening laps, which hampered his chances of points.

After that, a switch to the Medium tyre appeared to not be the right call, and he spent the majority of the race clawing his way back to P11. Another race weekend with a huge difference in result between teammates is not what Aston Martin wanted.

Nico Hulkenberg: 5.5

Haas split their tyre strategies between their two drivers in the Lap 1 downpour, and Hulkenberg was tasked with staying out on slick tyres, which was the less successful decision.

Unfortunately, there were few chances for the team to roll the dice again, and their usual lack of race pace hampered their mid-race progress. Hulkenberg eventually took the flag ahead of his teammate, but being Haas’ lead driver this weekend won’t live long in the memory.

Liam Lawson: 7.5

Drafted in for Saturday morning for injured Daniel Ricciardo, the Dutch GP was always going to be something of a ‘free hit’ for Lawson. Qualifying last was expected, and completing a full race distance with the car in one piece was the aim for Sunday.

He made a tentative start to the race, but appeared to grow in confidence as the race went on. Passing the ailing Ferrari of Charles Leclerc must have felt good, and he acquitted himself well in the shootout after the restart. Making his way past Bottas and Magnussen to claim P13 on his unprepared debut is a solid start for the New Zealander.

Valtteri Bottas: 4.5

Alfa Romeo opted for the two extremes of the lap one tyre dilemma; Zhou pitted on Lap 1, and Bottas didn’t pit at all, and he wasn’t able to make it work. He ran well out of contention for the points throughout the race.

After the restart he had little pace, and was passed by Lawson and only avoided being last of the runners through late time penalties for Magnussen and Tsunoda. Alongside a poor qualifying, not a great weekend for the Finn.

Kevin Magnussen: 5

As one of the drivers who stopped on Lap 1, Magnussen became Haas’ lead charger in the opening stages of the Dutch GP, and defended valiantly. The switches to Intermediates and then slicks were well-timed by Haas, but both of their drivers fell back in the race, and Magnussen gradually fell away from the points.

他最终被捉住,并通过队友lkenberg, which was surprising given the strategy advantage the Dane had in the opening laps of the race.

Yuki Tsunoda: 5.5

Another driver to give themselves half-a-chance with a well-timed opening lap pit stop, Tsunoda ran on the fringes of the points. However, he was undone by the decision to extend the Soft tyre stint until the second rain shower, by which time he’d lost numerous places. No blame for Yuki there.

A trip through the gravel trap in the wet conditions didn’t help his case, and neither did his five-second time penalty for a collision with Russell, which embarrassingly saw him classified behind rookie teammate Lawson.

Did not finish

George Russell: 6.5

英国人是左街他的运气与奔驰的late Intermediate switch in the opening stint, with Russell falling to around 18th place. He set about bringing himself back into points contention with an ambitious stint on the Hard tyre.

This worked pretty well, and he progressed into the top ten before the secondary rain shower late into the race. Russell was battling with the McLarens and teammate Hamilton at the restart, but was unlucky to be eliminated by contact damage in the closing laps. An impressive qualifying, but a big dose of bad luck in the race.

Guanyu Zhou: 5

The Alfa Romeo driver narrowly missed out on a place in Q2, but finished ahead of experienced teammate Valtteri Bottas in what was a low-key qualifying day for the team.

Whether it was his call or not, Zhou was one of the drivers to make the correct decision on lap one and pit of Intermediate tyres, and ran in the top three for some time. Naturally, he fell back when the track dried and faster cars overtook, but the choice of Medium tyres might have prevented him from running in the points for longer.

He was relatively out of contention for points when the rain came and he crashed out, but he nevertheless missed out on one final chance to profit from some late chaos, which Alfa Romeo might be depending on this season.

Charles Leclerc: 4

There were contrasting weekends for the Ferrari drivers. Both appeared to have their struggles during the practice sessions, but Leclerc’s problems continued into qualifying and the race. A double-Q3 appearance was a respectable result for Ferrari, but Leclerc set himself back with an error in the final part of qualifying, which placed him in P9.

A combative start to the race resulted in front wing damage, which was likely avoidable, but the Monegasque dropped back after diving into the pits when the team were apparently telling him to stay out. Leclerc had made the correct call, but waiting one lap later might have ensured a smoother switch onto Intermediate tyres. Ferrari blamed floor damage for Leclerc’s pace drop-off and decision to retire the car.

Logan Sargeant: 4.5

It’s a weekend that could have promised so much for the rookie, but the Williams driver was left wondering what might have been. By qualifying into the top ten for the first time in his Formula 1 career, Sergeant appeared to be providing hope that he can grow and develop at the same rate as the Williams team. Despite his success, his Q3 crash soured the qualifying day with a pricey repair bill.

He was unlucky to lose out with the slick tyre decision in the opening phase of the race, and the decision to stay out cost him any hope of recovering. His crash in the race looked like a bizarre one, with the car seemingly not turning into the fast right-hander. It’s unclear if damage had occurred before the crash into the barrier, but his lonely, reflective seat on the banking of the hill was to reflect on either his bad luck, or another driver error.

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