Driver Ratings: Brazilian GP

By on Monday, November 10, 2014

Rating the drivers for their performance at the Brazilian Grand Prix

Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

1 | Sebastian Vettel | Red Bull-Renault | G: 6th | R: 5th | 7/10

Vettel appeared all at sea across practice but stepped it up in qualifying and set the sixth best time, which was probably the maximum possible in the circumstances. Initial launch at the start was good but as Descida do Lago he went wide – perhaps remembering 2012 – and lost places. Fight back was decent enough.

3 | Daniel Ricciardo | Red Bull-Renault | G: 9th | R: Ret | 6/10

Ricciardo held the upper hand over Vettel for much of the weekend but during qualifying his pace disappeared and he could muster only ninth. Ran around behind Vettel in the race until his left front suspension gave way as he braked for the Senna S. Fortunate to avoid a monster accident.

44 | Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes | G: 2nd | R: 2nd | 8/10

Hamilton couldn’t match Rosberg across practice but in Q3 he stepped up a notch, although a lock up into Bico di Pato proved costly. Race pace was decent but ultimately it was his spin at Descida do Lago which was the clincher. Without it, the win was his.

6 | Nico Rosberg | Mercedes | G: 1st| R: 1st | 9/10

Congratulations to Rosberg for securing the inaugural Pole Trophy, a competition so well publicised by the FIA that about 32 people cared. He held the lead at the start and maintained pace throughout, but without Hamilton’s spin, could he have ended his team-mate’s streak?

14 | Fernando Alonso | Ferrari | G: 8th | R: 6th | 8/10

Scuderia Ferrari

Scuderia Ferrari

Alonso turned fireman during second practice when his engine let go 20 minutes earlier than anticipated. Qualified in eighth place and held off Vettel for the first stint, before his rival got ahead. Duel with team-mate Kimi Räikkönen was long overdue, a shame it was only for sixth.

7 | Kimi Räikkönen | Ferrari | G: 10th | R: 7th | 8/10

Räikkönen was near the front in practice but regressed in qualifying, albeit pleased with the progress Ferrari has made. Got edged out on the first lap but recovered well to master a two stop strategy, albeit his charge was scuppered by a front jack problem.

8 | Romain Grosjean | Lotus-Renault | G: 14th | R: 17th | 6/10

Friday pace was encouraging but that wasn’t translated across to qualifying and he was knocked out in Q1. Pace of the car in the race wasn’t brilliant but he managed an astonishing first stint on Mediums before the E22 gave up the ghost within sight of the chequered flag.

13 | Pastor Maldonado | Lotus-Renault | G: 16th | R: 12th | 6/10

Maldonado expressed happiness with the direction taken by Lotus even though he propped up the table in qualifying. Lotus intended to run a two stop strategy but higher than anticipated tyre wear meant he drifted into three stop territory and his chance of points was gone.

22 | Jenson Button | McLaren-Mercedes | G: 5th | R: 4th | 9/10

McLaren Mercedes

McLaren Mercedes

Button’s future at McLaren may be uncertain but he recovered from a difficult first practice session to post the fifth best time. He profited from Valtteri Bottas’s problems, but some of his battles – especially with Räikkönen – were exquisite. Remains a class act and if he leaves Formula 1, it’s to the sport’s detriment.

20 | Kevin Magnussen | McLaren-Mercedes | G: 7th | R: 9th | 6/10

Magnussen was on the pace all weekend but admitted he struggled with tyres in Q3 and ended in seventh. He made up a place at the start when Vettel went wide but he suffered from tyre degradation and was unable to challenge Alonso and Nico Hülkenberg.

27 | Nico Hülkenberg | Force India-Mercedes | G: 12th | R: 8th | 8/10

Hülkenberg took pole position in drizzly conditions four years ago but 12th was about the best possible in a Force India which didn’t seem to suit Interlagos. Ran an alternative strategy to briefly lead and did a fine job to claim eighth. After a few sub-par races, he was back to his best.

11 | Sergio Pérez | Force India-Mercedes | G: 18th | R: 15th | 5/10

Pérez’s weekend started badly when reserve Daniel Juncadella remodelled the front end against the Turn 8 barriers, causing damage to engine components and putting the car out of service. Penalty put him at the back of the grid, pit speeding hindered his cause further. One to forget.

99 | Adrian Sutil | Sauber-Ferrari | G: 13th | R: 16th | 5/10

Sauber F1 Team

Sauber F1 Team

Sutil was blind-sided on Thursday when Sauber announced Felipe Nasr for 2015 and left him with a contract but without a seat. He had to start from the pit lane due to a technical issue and a slow stop left him marooned at the back of the pack.

21 | Esteban Gutiérrez | Sauber-Ferrari | G: 11th | R: 14th | 8/10

Gutiérrez did a fine job in qualifying as he spent Friday plagued with electrical issues before the car gave up the ghost completely. He continued his battling spirit in the race by running in the top 10 during the first stint but tyre wear hurt him and he slipped back to the mean.

25 | Jean-Éric Vergne | Toro Rosso-Renault | G: 15th | R: 13th | 5/10

Vergne suffered yet more misfortune when his car packed up early on in second practice – having sat out the first session for Max Verstappen. Described his race as ‘painful’ as he was stuck behind Pérez for much of the race, but basic pace simply wasn’t there.

26 | Daniil Kvyat | Toro Rosso-Renault | G: 17th | R: 11th | 6/10

Kvyat had to serve the remainder of his engine penalty so qualifying was a fruitless task, even if he was able to make Q2. Kvyat gave it a good go in the race but ultimately rivals were too quick and point were just out of reach.

19 | Felipe Massa | Williams-Mercedes | G: 3rd | R: 3rd | 8/10

Williams Martini Racing

Williams Martini Racing

Massa had his typical home support and went third quickest in qualifying, before traffic, and a fuel pressure problem, scuppered his final run. Pole was unlikely, but it was a shame that he was denied another shot. Despite picking up a penalty for pit lane speeding and entering the wrong box, he sent the home crowd into raptures with a podium.

77 | Valtteri Bottas | Williams-Mercedes | G: 4th | R: 10th | 6/10

Bottas and Massa were closely matched across qualifying but the Finn ruined his final flying lap when he went wide at Descida do Lago. Tyre wear was higher than expected while a problem with his seat belt dropped him down the order. Slow second stop exacerbated matters.


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