Abu Dhabi Grand Prix driver ratings

Lewis Hamilton topped the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix driver ratings with one final masterclass in 2019; plus plenty of strong displays from the midfield.

For one last time this season, Late Braking cast their beady eye over the grid at the Yas Marina Circuit.

Lewis Hamilton – A crowning race on an epic season. Lewis Hamilton finished off 2019 in style as he secured pole position, fastest lap, race win and led every lap along the way. A Grand Slam to add to an already mightily successful season.

Hamilton and Mercedes proved untouchable on the day as they made their advantage count in the final sector and managed their rivals in the first two. It ended up being a 16.7 second victory for Hamilton on a day he hardly needed to get out of second gear. 10

Max Verstappen – A solid day for Verstappen who can look at the result and be satisfied knowing that was the best he could have hoped for. On the day, Mercedes proved a little too much to handle but he can be happy with how he saw off the threat of Leclerc.

There were concerns for a time as Verstappen spoke of car issues following his one and only pit stop but he remained quick throughout to claim third in the championship. 8

Charles Leclerc – After four races away from the podium, Leclerc bounced back in Abu Dhabi as he finished as the best two-stopper in the field.

Leclerc got off to a lightning start on the soft tyres but having to pit earlier than his two rivals cost him and he eventually pitted twice.

After a brilliant spell just after the summer break, Ferrari’s race pace has dropped off towards the end of the year, Leclerc will be hoping that turns around come March. 8

Valtteri Bottas – Coming from the very back of the grid is never an easy task, even when you have the best car on the grid as Bottas did. The loss of DRS for the first part of the race might have hindered his progress slightly but the Finn kept his cool.

Bottas timed his moves to perfection and avoided any disastrous scenarios. Bottas’ approach to overtaking can often be seen as conservative and patient but it has its benefits and he was justly rewarded. 9

Sebastian Vettel – Ups and downs for Vettel across 2019 and unfortunately this one belongs to the latter. Trailing narrowly to his teammate, Vettel was the victim of a poor Ferrari double-stacking effort, he then got stuck in a group behind Hulkenberg and never recovered from there.

2019 marks the first time Vettel has lost to a teammate when basked in red, he’ll look to turn that around in the new year. 6

Alex Albon – The start of Albon’s Red Bull career has featured encouraging signs but Abu Dhabi was not a good way to end as he was woefully off the pace. Finishing 53 seconds behind his teammate in 55 laps, he failed to keep pace with the other top runners.

At the end of the day, Verstappen managed to beat both Ferraris and Bottas, whereas Albon lost to all three. 5

Sergio Perez – Vintage Perez once more as he performed his trademark long first stint that focused on tyre preservation before making some clinical overtakes in the second half of the race. The result means Perez ticks over the 50 mark for the season, a solid total considering the car’s shortcomings in qualifying. 8

Lando Norris – A strong end to the season for Norris as he secured the qualifying head-to-head against his teammate and then beat him in the race by two positions.

Others around him came into the pits as their tyres struggled but Norris persevered and only gave up one position to Perez. 8

Daniil Kvyat – Outside of the Williams drivers, Kvyat was the only driver to start the race on the hard tyres. As the McLaren and Renault drivers came into the pits early on, Kvyat went all the way to lap 40 before making his stop. He then picked up positions as other drivers’ tyres fell away. 8

Carlos Sainz – Results around him meant he only needed one point to secure 6th in the championship and he did so with a gutsy late braking overtaking move on Hulkenberg on the final lap.

This might not be his best race of the season but it was entertaining as he never seemed to be more than a second clear of the car behind and never more than a second away from the car ahead. 7

Daniel Ricciardo – Undercutting the early pit stops of the McLaren duo, Ricciardo found himself in a race-long duel with the McLaren guys but he failed to beat either as he slipped out of the points, nonetheless Ricciardo has had a solid first year with the team, even if the car hasn’t been what he might’ve expected. 7

Nico Hulkenberg – In potentially his last F1 race, Hulkenberg was unable to walk away with points as he lost P10 on the final lap.

Operating a different strategy to his rivals, Hulkenberg was seemingly in a good position to finish best of the rest but he couldn’t make his way past Norris, at which point he likely would have formed a gap. At least the fans gave him driver of the day. 7

Kimi Raikkonen – After their best team result of the year in Brazil, it was a crash back down to earth for the Alfa duo as they struggled all weekend long. Raikkonen did at least put up more of a fight to come home P13. 7

Kevin Magnussen – Magnussen quite possibly got his best start of the year as he soared up by five positions on the opening lap. Whilst he did his best to keep cars behind him, they all eventually got by although an 18 second win over his teammate is impressive. 6

Romain Grosjean – After qualifying on Saturday, Grosjean spoke about the VF-19 and being less than reluctant to say goodbye to it. After another dismal race on Sunday, he can now draw a line under 2019 and focus on next year. 5

Antonio Giovinazzi – It’s been an improved second half of the season for Giovinazzi although this one isn’t going to be included in his highlights reel. A two stop race resulted in a distant 16th place, three positions and 46 seconds behind his teammate. 5

George Russell – It’s been a tough season for Russell who ends the year as the only driver not to score points although there is little question as to who has been the better Williams driver this year. A 21-0 record in qualifying might be small consolation but it’s those small victories that you have to take in his spot. 7

Pierre Gasly – With a chance of P6 in the championship, Gasly’s fate was out of his hands from the off as he was involved in a first corner incident that saw him dive into the pits after the opening lap.

No safety car meant no chance of recovery as he spent the rest of the race in relative obscurity. 5

Robert Kubica – The comeback season for Kubica might not have brought us the challenger of years gone by but it’s the fact he even made it to the grid in the first place that deserves recognition and praise.

The race itself was largely par for the course, Kubica led Russell early but quickly fell behind, never to get close again. 5

Did not finish

Lance Stroll – The one and only retirement from the race, Stroll pit after just five laps after involvement in the first corner incident. There was no coming back from there as Stroll was near-last by the time they called it a day. 5

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Brazilian Grand Prix driver ratings

It’s raining tens after a brilliant Brazilian Grand Prix but don’t let the very different-looking podium detract away from some other stellar driver performances.

Late Braking run the rule over all 20 drivers at Interlagos…

Max Verstappen – As carnage ensued around him, Verstappen kept his head above water and made no errors as he secured the Brazilian Grand Prix. In something of a redemption story, Verstappen saw off the continued threat of Lewis Hamilton, combining a wonderful drive with clever strategy and lightning pit stops.

The later laps might have been chaotic but that shouldn’t take away from the epic duel he had with Hamilton. We can only hope that are many more chapters to come in the rivalry and that a championship can be what the fight is over. 10

Pierre Gasly – Gasly achieving a podium in 2019 might not have been a surprising bet at the beginning of the season. Obtaining that podium at Toro Rosso after being dumped by the senior team? I doubt many would have predicted that.

After some impressive performances post-demotion, Gasly delivered an impeccable performance and took advantage of incidents ahead of him to achieve Toro Rosso’s best finish since 2008.

Even without good fortune resulting in the podium, Gasly would have finished best of the rest and held that position for the majority of the race. 10

Carlos Sainz – From the disappointment of qualifying to a maiden podium on Sunday. Last place to podium is unsurprisingly a rarity in F1, even rarer for a midfield car and it puts the cherry on top of a breakout season for Sainz.

The only car to complete a one-stop race, Sainz opted for track position over fresh tyres and he displayed excellent defensive qualities to see off the Alfas behind. 10

Kimi Raikkonen – After a long time out of the points, Raikkonen returned to form in Brazil and combined with Giovinazzi to take home 22 points for the team, the second-most on the day.

Raikkonen remained a constant in the race as drama unfolded around him as he worked his way up from the lower end of the points to P4 following the penalty to Hamilton. 8

Antonio Giovinazzi – On any other day, Giovinazzi achieving his best finish in F1 with P5 might have been one of the biggest talking points coming out of the grand prix, as it happens the great performance has gone under the radar.

Retaining his seat for 2020, his progress throughout the year has been encouraging to witness and he’ll be hoping that progress continues into the beginning of next season. 8

Daniel Ricciardo – Perhaps the most eventful race of Ricciardo’s season. Contact with Magnussen and the ensuing penalty forced Ricciardo to the back of the field, prompting a strong drive back through the pack.

Noticeably, Ricciardo’s two stints on the soft tyres were the two longest of the race and his impressive tyre management worked him back into the points. 8

Lewis Hamilton – Pushing Verstappen all the way, Hamilton applied plenty of pressure on Verstappen and it seemed as if Hamilton had 2nd place all but locked up before his teammate forced a safety car.

Their decision to keep Hamilton out after the first safety car put his P2 under jeopardy before an ambitious dive on Albon gave him a penalty which dropped him down the grid. 8

Lando Norris – If there’s one thing that became evident around Interlagos, it’s that the hard tyre was not a good compound to be on as it hampered the races of anyone who crossed eyes with it.

Norris was one of those unfortunate drivers who up until that point delivered a solid race, to make matters worse he then had to witness his team-mate finish in the top three. With Norris’ talent there’s every chance he will get a future opportunity but this must have hurt nonetheless. 7

Sergio Perez – After some encouraging races for the Pink Panthers, the Interlagos circuit really didn’t seem to suit the Racing Point guys and despite the slightly strange results, Perez might actually be content with P9 here.

One of the earliest to pit, Perez’s strategy might well have been more effective without the safety car as he was in the points for much of the race even before cars started dropping out. 7

Daniil Kvyat – Who would have thought that Kvyat’s result in Germany would end up being Toro Rosso’s second best result of the year? Kvyat was essentially forced to sit this one out as his team-mate took the plaudits.

Kvyat might be slightly concerned with the regularity that his team-mate is now beating him and he’ll hope this is just a late season slump. 6

Kevin Magnussen – Even before the contact with Ricciardo, Magnussen was dropping like a stone as cars queued up to pass the Haas driver. This isn’t necessarily abnormal for Haas to do better on a Saturday than a Sunday but Magnussen was less effective at stopping the bleeding when compared to his teammate. 6

George Russell – Just as Kubica picked up a point thanks to dramatic scenes at Hockenheim, Russell must have been hoping the same thing would happen at Interlagos. Whilst he got close, it was only P12 for Russell but it was a strong showing regardless. 7

Romain Grosjean – Quite a few drivers must have bemoaned the emergence of the safety car but perhaps none more so than Grosjean. Well up in the points during the race, he was a sitting duck towards the end of the race as drivers with fresher tyres passed him. A cruel end to a great drive. 8

Alex Albon – Albon was mere laps away from his maiden podium in F1, only to be denied when Hamilton ambitiously went for an overtake.

Up until this point he had driven a solid race and held his own in wheel to wheel combat although the safety car appearing played a large role in that happening to begin with. 7

Nico Hulkenberg – At the site of his one and only pole position, Hulkenberg could not recapture the magic at Interlagos as he never really threatened the points places. A difficult stint on the hard tyre left him well behind and a five second time penalty at the end of the race only served to heap the misery on further. 5

Robert Kubica – Four stops, a near-collision in the pits with Verstappen (an incident which saw him get a penalty rather than a team fine that has been implemented before) and a lap down on every other car. Last on circuit for Kubica in another tough outing. 5

Did not finish

Sebastian Vettel – After a disappointing first stint, Vettel seemed to pick up the pace in his second stint and was briefly lapping quicker than the two cars ahead. A strong finish fell away from him though as he moved across Leclerc, with a puncture as his punishment. 6

Charles Leclerc – Using his faster car to good effect, Leclerc had no difficulty working his way through the field in the early goings and was brought back into contention with the safety car period. All of that work was undone though as contact with Vettel forced him into retirement. 7

Lance Stroll – A slightly anonymous race for Stroll who didn’t feature much until we saw him cascade into retirement with a broken suspension. Usually it’s this sort of race that Stroll does well from but there were no points to be had this time around. 5

Valtteri Bottas – Another who suffered on the hard tyres, so much so that he abandoned them after just 15 laps, Bottas seemed to struggle for pace throughout the afternoon.

When his lonely afternoon finally delivered some action, he was unable to get the decisive pass on Leclerc which might well have contributed to the issue that saw him retire. 6

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Singapore Grand Prix driver ratings

Sebastian Vettel is now back to being the outright king of the Marina Bay circuit with a long-awaited victory. Here are Late Braking’s Singapore Grand Prix driver ratings.

Plus praise for the likes of Lando Norris and Pierre Gasly in the midfield, whilst there is despair over the treatment Valtteri Bottas got on race day.

The scores on the doors, according to Late Braking…

Sebastian Vettel: Vettel started this weekend off once again trailing behind his teammate and begun Sunday’s action starting two positions back from Charles.

The first stage of the race didn’t look promising for Seb either, falling off the back of the Hamilton and Leclerc duel and almost into the clutches of a hungry Verstappen. But, out of the blue, Vettel is handed a masterstroke of a strategy which allows him to undercut all the competitors around him. It is now on him to capitalise.

Vettel charges through the clean air he has finally been given and makes the most of it, leapfrogging his team-mate and Lewis Hamilton to take the net race lead. The challenges aren’t over yet, with midfield traffic blocking the road and three safety cars to deal with, Vettel displayed a confident, experienced head and a real turn of pace to carve through the late stoppers in front and to get the jump on his team-mate three times in a row. Vettel needed this and he wasn’t giving it back to Leclerc once he had it. 9

Charles Leclerc: Out of nowhere the Ferrari turns up and it is the fastest car round a circuit which notoriously doesn’t suit the Scuderia. Leclerc, the man with talent to throw away of course grabs this with both hands and plants it on pole. Early signs look good for Charles, maintaining a slow pace to conserve tyres while ensuring the gap to Hamilton is just large enough that the Mercedes cannot be a threat.

Pit stop time comes around and through no fault of his own, Charles finds himself behind his teammate. Unable to get past and back into the lead, Leclerc was slower through the traffic and couldn’t get anything done when the Safety Car was brought out three times. An incredible one-two for Ferrari and a historic three wins in a row for the first time in 11 years, but it just wasn’t meant to be Charles’ day. 8

Max Verstappen: Most had thought that Verstappen in that Red Bull would have been the combination likely to challenge the Mercedes up front, but the Bulls ended up the worst of the top 3. Max did well to remain calm and mature and to not lunge into anything silly. Holding off Hamilton to cross the line for a podium is a great result for Max. 8

Lewis Hamilton: Mercedes deployed one of their worst strategic moves this side of Rosberg retiring. Tasking Hamilton and Bottas to recover and overtake both the Red Bull of Verstappen and the two Ferrari cars. What Mercedes failed to remember is that track position is king in Singapore and they sacrificed that for Lewis by keeping him out on those old tyres.

Lewis then did what Lewis does best (with a little help from his team telling Bottas to essentially stop for a coffee on his lap) and minimalise the damage caused. Bringing home fourth still allowed him to extend his lead in the championship and had we been at another circuit or without three safety cars then he possibly would’ve passed Verstappen for a podium. 7

Valtteri Bottas: Beginning the weekend slower than your teammate is never a good thing for a Formula 1 driver, being told to slow down by 3.5 seconds on your lap to “look after the tyres”, when in fact your team just screwed up its lead driver’s strategy and feel bad about it really isn’t great at all.

The worst part is Bottas remaining fully compliant. This must have destroyed Bottas’ confidence and any chance he had of showing he could be a World Champ in the future. It was a tough weekend for Valtteri who just couldn’t get it right this weekend. 6

Alex Albon: Singapore is a tough circuit for any driver to get a move made, but when you’re only in your third race for a team and you have two Mercedes in front of you, then credit where credit is due for hanging on and being competitive. This was a good race for Albon but I feel we still need to see more to ensure that he gets the seat over Gasly, who had a blinder of a weekend by the way. Close up on Verstappen and I feel he could be a solid second driver until fully developed. 7

Lando Norris: After what have been a few difficult races for Lando for reasons mostly out of his control, the young Brit needed to turn up and deliver and boy did he. Best of the rest by a clear mile until the SC was deployed three times and he had the grid on his exhaust with fresher tyres. Holding off the likes of Hulkenberg for that many laps on very old tyres while also staying out of the carnage of the race around him was a fantastic display of skill. 9

Pierre Gasly: Starting in P11 and finishing 8th showed just how good Gasly can be when the pressure is off, and he feels comfortable in the car. Dealing with the advances of the charging leaders well after getting his elbows out and not doing anything stupid to damage the car resulted in a brilliant points finish for the Frenchman. 8

Nico Hulkenberg: After a strong Saturday performance, things were looking positive for Nico but a silly move against Sainz which felt rushed and unneeded caused Sainz to limp back to the pits and for the Hulk to have to pit much earlier than needed, ruining his strategy (and Sainz’s race). Moving on from the crash, Hulk drove well. The recovery drive was strong, carving his way through cars equal to his performance and ensuring he got back into a points paying position. 6

Antonio Giovinazzi: The first Alfa to lead a grand prix since the mid 80’s and looked like pulling an incredible result out of the bag had it not been for contact with Ricciardo only a few laps before a SC that would have seen Gio come out comfortably in the top 8. This has been a good turn of form for Antonio and should see his seat sealed for the next season. 8

Romain Grosjean: There were plenty of drivers who benefitted as a result of the safety cars and many who did not, Grosjean is definitely part of the first group. After being a long way behind the rest of the midfield, Grosjean was brought back into contention, only to narrowly miss out on points. 5

Carlos Sainz: Even with a first lap incident, there always seems to be a way back into the Singapore Grand Prix and Sainz found that to be true after three safety car periods. It wasn’t quite enough to get back into the points but he did at least put on some good moves towards the end of the Grand Prix. 7

Lance Stroll: After making his customary excellent start, Stroll decided to go long on his first stint although not as effectively as Gasly and Giovinazzi. A puncture late on confirmed no points would be heading his way although he get involved in the P11 scrap to end things. 5

Daniel Ricciardo: Many would argue that Ricciardo was the life and soul of the party for much of this race. Whilst the top 6 were travelling around at a snail’s pace, Ricciardo was busting out trademark overtakes.

He did take it too far though as his overzealous move on Giovinazzi caused damage and he lost places towards the end after a potential overtake went wrong. 6

Daniil Kvyat: In what has been a solid return season for the Russian, this was not his finest hour. Whereas drivers around him managed their tyres to last well into the Grand Prix, Kvyat was forced to pit after ruining his medium tyres in just 13.

The race never really recovered from there and he ‘torpedoed’ Kimi Raikkonen for good measure. 4

Robert Kubica: On the week it was confirmed that Kubica would not be racing for Williams in 2020, the Pole delivered arguably one of his best races in the car as he got stuck in there with a few midfield drivers. 6

Kevin Magnussen – Sometimes the finishing position does not tell the entire story and that rings true with Magnussen’s performance at Singapore. In a car that had no right to be anywhere near the top 10, Magnussen was comfortably holding his own before three untimely safety cars.

The fresher tyres on those behind was too much to resist and he fell back from there but it was a good performance up until that point. 7

Did not finish

Kimi Raikkonen: A turn 1 collision brought Raikkonen’s race to an end earlier than anticipated but in truth it had been a tough one even before the incident. Throughout qualifying and the race it was Giovinazzi who had the edge on his team-mate and Raikkonen only hung out in the top 10 briefly. 5

Sergio Perez: It was a better Singapore Grand Prix than last year for Perez although that might not be saying much. Perez pitted early in the race and might well have been flushed out of the top 10 anyway thanks to the strategy but the car decided it for him as he suffered a mechanical failure. 6

George Russell: Unfamiliar territory for Russell as he suffered his first DNF in F1. A first lap incident nearly did the trick but his survival at that point was for nothing as a collision with Grosjean ended proceedings. 5

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British Grand Prix driver ratings

Lewis Hamilton rose to the occasion that is the British GP while Sebastian Vettel went from podium step to punishment stool.

Here are the driver ratings from our friends at Late Braking…

Lewis Hamilton: By Hamilton’s standards, this might not have been the most dominant win he has ever achieved but once again he has the wherewithal to put himself in the right position at the right time.

The safety car clearly played a large role, whether he would have won the race without it is tough to say, but staying out longer on stints does lend itself to an increased chance of a safety car or VSC. Hamilton did not need to be asked twice when presented the opportunity.

The cherry on the top of the cake was secured with his last-gasp fastest lap points on old tyres, a sublime effort. 9

Valtteri Bottas: It’s tough not to feel for Valtteri, at a time he can seldom afford things to go against him, he was powerless as the safety car ruined his afternoon and made a win almost impossible to achieve.

There are positives to take away, a pole against Lewis in his home country is a fine achievement and his elbows-out move at Copse on his teammate was superlative. It proves that Bottas will not give up on this fight and isn’t afraid to push around his weight when necessary. 9

Charles Leclerc: It seems pretty clear that neither Ferrari nor Red Bull had enough in the tank to threaten the Mercedes duo at Silverstone, in which case P3 was the maximum Leclerc could have wished to achieve.

He went the long way around doing it and was helped by the Verstappen/Vettel crash but credit needs to be given where it’s due as his dogged defensive efforts throughout the afternoon were rewarded. 9

Pierre Gasly: After some dismal races, this must go down as Gasly’s best weekend to date as he proved himself to be competitive within the top 6. Getting stuck in with both Ferrari drivers, Gasly’s best moment of the season happened as he worked his way past Sebastian Vettel into Brooklands.

Ultimately, the Safety Car didn’t really work in his favour as he stayed out on Hard tyres. With those around him committing to a two stop race, it would have been interesting to see how Gasly’s one stop would have worked. 7

Max Verstappen: Renewing his battle with Charles Leclerc, once again the two young guns proved that F1 is in great hands moving forward and the potential title battles between the two are an exciting prospect.

The hopes of a podium were dashed in an instant as contact between himself and Seb Vettel ended his chances but he recovered well from the gravel to secure P5 and as a result he keeps P3 in the championship. Another brilliant effort from the leader of the Orange army. 9

Carlos Sainz: We often see it in the midfield and it’s happened again where a driver actually benefits from not making Q3 on Saturday. Regardless, Sainz drove a wonderful race and cemented his position as the best of the rest.

Starting on the medium tyres, Sainz worked his way through the first stint and benefitted from pitting under the safety car. From there it was a case of defending his position from the ever-threatening Daniel Ricciardo. 9

Daniel Ricciardo: Not quite the best of the rest tag that Ricciardo would have wanted from the weekend but he picks up some more points and in the process goes ahead of his teammate in the standings. Renault made the correct strategy call to pit under the safety car and he was therefore able to beat all midfield rivals bar one. 8

Kimi Raikkonen: A fairly quiet, yet impressive race for Raikkonen who continues to prove his worth to the Alfa Romeo team. Starting outside the top 10, Raikkonen pit just a few laps before the safety car made an appearance. Undeterred, Raikkonen worked with his slightly older tyres to score 4 points. 8

Daniil Kvyat: I doubt Kvyat gave himself much of a chance of scoring points after a tough qualifying session saw him start towards the back of the grid, but Kvyat produced a great performance. His second half of the race was scintillating as he pushed his way through to points. 9

Nico Hulkenberg: Involved in an incident with Sergio Perez, Hulkenberg was not quite able to capitalise on the pace Renault had during the weekend. He did eventually get into the points but it is just one that he takes away from Silverstone. 7-8 lap older tyres than those around certainly didn’t help towards the end. 7

Lando Norris: Norris has shown enough promise this season that it feels safe to say he will have many more opportunities to score points at his home Grand Prix, but that will do little to comfort him in the short term.

A wonderful start gave him a great chance to beat the rest of the midfield but Mclaren failed to pit the youngster under the Safety Car. A fateful decision. He nearly recovered to points but will have to settle for P11. 8

Alex Albon: Plenty of impressive signs for Albon but it will hurt that there is nothing to show for it. Strategy played a massive part in the tale of the midfield and Albon wound up as the unluckiest of the lot. Left to fight on old medium tyres was never going to work well and he couldn’t quite hold on to points as he slipped away in the final stage of the race. 8

Lance Stroll: A typical brilliant start to the race for Stroll gave him a slight chance of points but progress was difficult to come by as he faded into mediocrity. P13 doesn’t look too bad on paper but realistically the only drivers he beat on pace were the Williams guys. 6

George Russell: No doubt Russell is level-headed enough to know that points at his home Grand Prix was a pipe dream and nothing more but he can be content with the P14 he achieved. Taking advantage of a few situations around him, Russell beat his teammate as well as Perez and Vettel. 7

Robert Kubica: Slightly more encouraging for the Pole this week as he remained within touching distance of his teammate but the fact that 10 seconds away from Russell classifies as a good weekend says enough. 6

Sebastian Vettel: Staying out longer than the rest of his rivals seemed to work a treat for Sebastian Vettel on Sunday as he jumped those around him to claim P3. Then came the incident. Under braking Vettel stormed into the back of Max Verstappen which effectively ended his race.

Sebastian-Vettel-and-Max-Verstappen-British-GP-crash-PA

The incident will do little to answer critics questions about his wheel-to-wheel capabilities and the opportunity of a podium goes firmly in the ‘spurned’ category. 5

Sergio Perez: Usually such a consistent presence in the midfield, Perez was in the hunt for points at one stage but he ended all hopes of that when he collided with Nico Hulkenberg going into Brooklands. One to forget for Perez and for the team situated just over the road from the race track. 5

Antonio Giovinazzi: Giovinazzi has undoubtedly improved as the season has gone on and outqualifying his teammate has become something of a routine rather than an abnormality but here it was experience and consistency that seized the day as Giovinazzi was forced into an early bath. 6

Romain Grosjean: Haas must have been hoping for a strong weekend to take the conversation away from their ongoing battle with Rich Energy. That didn’t happen. 3

Kevin Magnussen: Haas are finding it hard enough to fight, let alone when they make it even more difficult for themselves by crashing into one another. These poor team performances can only go on for so long before something must be done. N/A

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United States Grand Prix driver ratings

Who played their best hand in Texas? Which drivers need improvement in Mexico? Check out the United States Grand Prix driver ratings – courtesy of Late Braking.

Kimi Raikkonen:It finally happened. Opportunity after opportunity has slipped through Kimi Raikkonen’s fingers over the years but, with just a few races left of his Ferrari career, Kimi pulled it out the bag in Austin to break a record of 113 races without a win.

Before he did that, he snapped another streak of 37 races without picking up a position on the first lap of the race. An overtake on the inside of turn 1 gave him a lead which proved to be pivotal.

From there it was a defensive masterclass, which included a fine hold-up job on Lewis Hamilton and then keeping Max Verstappen at bay to claim a famous victory. 10

Read more: 12 things that happened between Raikkonen’s last F1 wins

Max Verstappen: Staring ahead at 17 cars off the start gave Verstappen a daunting challenge, but he proved to be more than up to it as his alternative strategy came through.

A perfect first lap paved the way, before dumping the soft tyres early was a masterstroke in disguise. He found himself just one second from the lead towards the end, but ultimately settled for 2nd.

Regardless, a quality drive from Verstappen as he claims driver of the day and a first podium in Austin after seeing it taken away from him in 2017. That’s a third podium finish in four races for the Dutchman, whose rock-solid form continues ahead of what promises to be an excellent opportunity to win in Mexico. 10

Watch: Max Verstappen raced out of his boots in Austin

Lewis Hamilton: There were many points in this race that a fifth world championship seemed probable, but ultimately pitting under the VSC didn’t work out for him and the wait continues.

By Hamilton standards, it was far from his best race (3rd is his worst result since Austria) but outscoring Vettel means the title will almost definitely be decided next time out. 7.5

More: Conclusions from the United States Grand Prix

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel: It is becoming a repetitive story, but once again Vettel costs himself points due to errors made over a race weekend. After suffering a three place grid penalty, Vettel must have been hoping for a seamless race but that isn’t what he got.

As early as lap 1, Vettel was in a spin again as he made contact with Ricciardo. From the back he recovered to P4 but it’s not enough considering the situation he is in.

In many ways this race was a reflection of his season. Quick enough, but not consistent enough. 5.5

Watch: Bad start for Hamilton, even worse for Vettel

Valtteri Bottas: Results have been hard to come by for Bottas this year. Sometimes due to bad luck, sometimes due to team orders and sometimes due to not being quick enough. The U.S. GP falls into the final category.

One of his rivals spun to the back of the field, another started P18, but they both ended up beating him on a day to forget. Whilst his fellow Finn thrived, Bottas was a non-factor and had to move over twice to let Hamilton through. Next season can’t come quickly enough for him. 5

Nico Hulkenberg:After a run of just one point in his last six, Hulkenberg needed a big result in Austin as the race for P7 in the championship heats up. Fortunately for him, he got it after a faultless drive to sixth place, ending a run of four consecutive retirements in the US.

The eight points gives him a great chance of securing best of the rest and it has helped Renault extend their advantage to Haas, who had a disastrous home race. 9

Carlos Sainz: Sainz’s impressive record of always scoring points at the Circuit of the Americas continued as he came home P7 behind his team-mate. Overcoming a five second time penalty for first corner antics, Sainz looked comfortable as he gained his best finish since Azerbaijan. 8

Sergio Perez:Track position is king in F1, as Perez became its latest victim. Stuck behind Ocon for the first stint, pitting later didn’t help him as Magnussen was able to get ahead. The two of them stuck to within a few seconds of Ocon, but Perez was forced to settle for P10. The Mexican would get the last laugh though as they were both disqualified, handing him P8. 7

Brendon Hartley:After starting last, Hartley’s chances of a good race were always slim, but he put in a solid race to gain a point following Ocon’s disqualification. Others around him decided to pit under the virtual safety car, but Hartley stayed out which was to his benefit. In a fight to keep his seat though, he might need better still. 7

Marcus Ericsson: Watching your teammate make Q3 whilst you suffer a Q1 elimination cannot be easy, but that’s exactly what Ericsson was faced with. His poor starting position contributed to just P12 on track but two disqualifications ahead of him gave him a point by the end of the race. 6

Stoffel Vandoorne: It’s been a busy week for Vandoorne. Just a few days before the race he was testing a Formula E car in Valencia, but it was back to normal in F1 as he faced a seventh consecutive Q1 elimination before going scoreless in the race yet again. It’s just a case of crossing off the races now for the departing Belgian. 5.5

Pierre Gasly: Gasly can be safe in the knowledge that he won’t have to be fighting this far back for too much longer. Starting on the back row limited his chances, as did picking the wrong strategy when the VSC came out early on. This all led to a frustrating P12. Don’t expect this one to appear on his season’s highlight reel. 5

Sergey Sirotkin: The struggles of the 2018 Williams car are well documented. It’s led to a position where the drivers cannot compete with anyone other than each other, so a win in qualifying and the race over his teammate can give Sirotkin some comfort. His position in the team is still uncertain heading forward so everything counts at this point. 5.5

Lance Stroll: Q1 exit. Check. Opening lap collision. Check. Drive through penalty. Check. Last on circuit. Check. It’s hard to envision how this weekend could have gone any worse for Stroll. Now it’s just a case of waiting for 2019 and seeing what he can do at Force India. On this evidence, not much. 4.5

Disqualified

Esteban Ocon: After qualifying best of the rest, Ocon might have been slightly disappointed with P8. He would later become even more disappointed when he was disqualified for a fuel flow issue.

The most important part of Ocon’s race came on the first corner as both Renaults found their way past. From there, it was just a case of keeping others behind him as he continues to push for a 2019 seat. He might have picked up 0 points instead of 4, but it was a solid performance nonetheless.  7

Kevin Magnussen: As we’ve seen on multiple occasions this year, starting races just outside the top 10 is far from disastrous as the free choice of tyre often works out. This happened in the case of Kevin Magnussen as he seemingly scored points in Haas’ home race but, just like Ocon ahead of him, he was disqualified from the result after being 0.1kg of fuel over the limit. 8

Did not finish

Daniel Ricciardo: Season of woe continues

Daniel Ricciardo:Ricciardo’s race was ended prematurely by an energy store shut down on lap 9 and means that he equals his previous Red Bull career record of 12 races without a podium.

After a terrible run of luck in qualifying sessions of late, Ricciardo had a good Saturday, lining his car up in 4th after Vettel’s penalty. The Australian kept out of trouble, unlike his teammate, and delivered a good lap in Q3.

Verstappen showed on Sunday that the Red Bull had great pace, and there’s no doubt that Ricciardo would’ve been in the mix at the end of the race, too. He’ll be hoping for some more luck next weekend in Mexico, where the Red Bull could be strong. N/A

Fernando Alonso:Another Q1 exit summed up another wretched weekend for the Spaniard. The McLaren seemed slightly more competitive in the wet weather, and Alonso must have been hoping for some more rain throughout qualifying and the race. He has been very vocal on how Formula 1 needs to level the playing field to make the sport interesting again.

The McLaren driver was in the mix with the Haas of Kevin Magnussen at the start of the race, before he was brutally torpedoed by Williams driver, Lance Stroll, as the field flew through the esses. The damage on Alonso’s car was terminal and once again it was what Alonso said off track, rather than what he did on it, that will be the most memorable contribution. N/A

Romain Grosjean: The Circuit of The Americas was the scene of Romain Grosjean’s best finish in Formula 1, with a P2 result in 2013. Grosjean clearly likes the circuit, sticking his Haas into to P8 on the grid, and notching up his 11th consecutive Q3 appearance.

But, his hard-work was undone before the end of lap 1, after a clumsy collision with Charles Leclerc proved terminal. Another wasted weekend for the Haas driver who is now just two points away from a race ban. Best behaviour in Mexico please. N/A

Charles Leclerc:Future Ferrari driver caused the red flag in FP1 which led to Sebastian Vettel’s grid penalty. Irony alert. But then another impressive qualifying performance saw the Monegasque driver start P9.

Leclerc got the jump on Grosjean at the beginning of the race, and was challenging Esteban Ocon into turn 12, before the Haas driver then suddenly clattered into him. The Sauber driver would later retire his car on lap 33. N/A

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