Brazilian Grand Prix: Driver Ratings

By on Monday, November 25, 2013

Rating the drivers for their performance at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

Sebastian Vettel | Infiniti Red Bull Racing | 1st | 10/10

Wet conditions were no problem for Vettel in qualifying as he bossed the conditions and claimed his 45th career pole position by almost seven tenths of a second. He didn’t make the best of starts but he quickly dispatched with Nico Rosberg to reclaim the lead. A problematic second stop wiped out a large chunk of his lead but he stayed cool and calm to record his ninth successive victory. Whatever you feel about him, to win nine on the bounce is a phenomenal achievement.

Mark Webber | Infiniti Red Bull Racing | 2nd | 215/dec

Webber came into Formula 1 with the unheralded Minardi team and with little chance of seeing out the season, let alone building a successful career in the sport. At home in Melbourne, he dragged his Minardi to fifth place and sent the place wild. His final race was perhaps the epitome of his Red Bull career as he made a slow getaway, fought back, had a slow stop and was bested by Vettel but still finished on the podium. Formula 1’s loss is Porsche’s gain.

Fernando Alonso | Scuderia Ferrari | 3rd | 9/10

Qualifying has not been Alonso nor Ferrari’s strong point of the season but third place represented his best slot of the year – astonishingly the front row of the grid eluded the Spaniard across all 19 races. He made a good start and emerged in second place after the first few laps but he was eventually overhauled by Webber. He returned to the podium for the first time in several races – but Ferrari must build a better car next season.

Felipe Massa | Scuderia Ferrari | 7th | 5/10

Massa joined Ferrari and made a clumsy mistake before finishing in the lower reaches of the top 10. Massa leaves Ferrari by making a clumsy mistake before finishing in the lower reaches of the top 10. There were better times in between, but it was a silly error for Massa to make as the stewards had emphasised the rules with the drivers prior to the race.

Jenson Button | Vodafone McLaren Mercedes | 4th | 9/10

Scuderia Ferrari

Scuderia Ferrari

Button cut a dejected figure after qualifying in a lowly 15th position but he pulled off McLaren’s best race of the year after battling through to fourth place. Having started on the prime tyres, he made strong progress, including a superb double move into the Senna S. Once he came out ahead of Rosberg, he simply drove to the finish and benefited from the misfortune of others.

Sergio Pérez | Vodafone McLaren Mercedes | 6th | 8/10

McLaren seemed more focused on reminiscing about their seven year partnership with Vodafone rather than waving goodbye to Pérez after a single season, such were priorities. The Mexican’s final qualifying session with the team ended in the wall after he dropped it exiting turn five and he was moved five places down the grid due to a gearbox change. His race pace was strong, though, as he rose to sixth, which could have been fifth were it not for fuel preservation.

Heikki Kovalainen | Lotus | 14th | 4/10

By his own admission, he made a complete hash of the start, which dropped him down to familiar 2010-12 territory among the Caterham drivers. He admitted that he did not expect the transition back into a race seat to be so challenging as he could manage only 14th place for the second successive weekend; a two-stop strategy could not elevate him any higher.

Romain Grosjean | Lotus | Ret | V8/10

After eight seasons, the V8 engines bid farewell to Formula 1 ahead of the new era in 2014. For Grosjean, his engine gave up 70 laps prematurely but at least it blew up in spectacular fashion. It was a shame for Grosjean’s season to end in such a fashion but the Frenchman can hold his head up high after a hugely impressive second half to the year.

Nico Rosberg | Mercedes AMG Petronas | 5th | 8/10

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Rosberg had the upper hand over Hamilton in the wet during practice and that trend continued into qualifying as he set the second fastest time, acknowledging that most of the deficit to Vettel was due to his KERS running out on the long climb from Juncao. He benefited from a slow start by his compatriot to take the lead through the iconic first couple of corners, but he soon lost out to Vettel and slipped back to fifth.

Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes AMG Petronas | 9th| 5/10

Hamilton’s first season at Mercedes has to be viewed as a successful transition but there’s been a little bit of fizz missing on more than one occasion. Fourth place was a certainty and Alonso was not completely out of reach, but moving over under braking was a silly error that dropped him down the order.

Nico Hülkenberg | Sauber | 8th | 8/10

Wet qualifying at Interlagos evoked memories of Hülkenberg’s starring run to pole position in 2010 but this season he did well just to qualify in the top 10. His race wasn’t as eventful as his 2012 charge to the front as he had a lonely but methodical race to eighth place, which means that he finishes in the top 10 of the championship for the first time in his career and deservedly so.

Esteban Gutierrez | Sauber | 12th | 6/10

Gutiérrez showed promising pace all weekend but not for the first time in 2013 it was qualifying that scuppered his progress as he floundered when it mattered and was knocked out in the first segment. Gutiérrez made strong progress across the opening laps of the race but his charge was then stunted and he managed only twelfth place.

Paul di Resta | Sahara Force India | 11th | 6/10

Sahara Force India

Sahara Force India

Di Resta may well be the victim of Formula 1’s changeable driver market as his season came to an end without any points. Force India wasn’t competitive in Brazil but di Resta still managed a commendable grid slot and came close to finishing in the top 10. His race, however, was compromised by a very slow getaway.

Adrian Sutil | Sahara Force India | 13th | 5/10

Sutil started from the lower end of the midfield but his race was ultimately compromised by excessive tyre wear. While his rivals were able to stop only twice, the German had to make three excursions to the pits. He was catching slower rivals throughout the final laps but ultimately it was just one of those days.

Pastor Maldonado | Williams | 16th | 4/10

It’s difficult to think of a Formula 1 driver with such a tendency to get involved in scrapes as Maldonado and he signed off from Williams by colliding with Jean-Eric Vergne. Maldonado ended up facing backwards at the Senna S and eventually came home in a lowly 16th position. A completely forgettable season.

Valtteri Bottas | Williams | Ret | 6/10

Bottas again trumped Maldonado in qualifying and was racing well in the midfield until he tried to get through on Hamilton. He was justified in his ambition but was unfortunate that the Brit was half-asleep in the braking zone. The impact had drastic consequences as the wheel was sheared off but fortunately landed safely. A sad end to what has been a very good rookie year.

Jean-Eric Vergne | Scuderia Toro Rosso | 15th | 5/10

Caterham F1 Team

Caterham F1 Team

Vergne usually excels in low-grip situations and did a sterling job to climb out of the drop zone in Q1 and eventually qualify eighth on the grid, albeit behind team-mate Ricciardo. His race was less successful as he struggled for balance, tumbling down the order and then colliding with Maldonado (albeit, not exactly the Frenchman’s fault). Still point-less since June.

Daniel Ricciardo | Scuderia Toro Rosso | 10th | 8/10

As of today, Ricciardo is now a Red Bull driver and he signed off from Toro Rosso with a top 10 grid position and result, securing the final point of the season. Cold graining on the right front and a tricky car balance meant it was a case of managing the regression rather than progression, but he managed the situation far better than Vergne.

Charles Pic | Caterham | Ret | 7/10

Pic rounded out the season aiding the damp marshals push his stricken Caterham up a grassy hill; as finales go, other drivers have enjoyed better ones. Pic was running strongly (comparatively) but a suspension failure pitched him off at turn five – he stumbled on to Ferradura where he wisely prked his stricken car.

Giedo van der Garde | Caterham | 18th | 6/10

Van der Garde has fared far better in the sport than many anticipated but it was a minor transgression that cost him time in Brazil. The Dutch racer was running ahead of Jules Bianchi but was handed a drive through penalty for ignoring blue flags and dropped time. He recovered to within seven seconds of Bianchi but ran out of laps.

Jules Bianchi | Marussia | 17th | 8/10

Marussia F1 Team

Marussia F1 Team

When Luiz Razia’s sponsorship money fell through at the final pre-season test, a deal was thrashed out that meant Jules Bianchi jumped into a race seat. At the first round of the season, Bianchi secured 13th place for the team, meaning that Marussia held 10th in the championship. There were worrying moments, but unlike in 2012, they hung on until the end.

Max Chilton | Marussia | 19th | 6/10

There weren’t too many highlights for Chilton in 2013 as he stayed out of trouble (albeit, he did cause the red flag in Monaco) but he did achieve the record of finishing every single race. Finances will decide whether he remains with the team for a second season.

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