Italian GP: Driver ratings

By on Monday, September 8, 2014
Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

We rate the drivers for their performance in the 2014 edition of the Italian Grand Prix at Monza

1 | Sebastian Vettel | Red Bull-Renault | Grid: 8th| Race: 6th | 8/10

Vettel beat Ricciardo by three-tenths in Q3 but he was more disappointed by the deficit of just over a tenth of a second to fifth-placed Kevin Magnussen. Considering the package, it was a fine effort from the outgoing champion. In the race he was part of the main group but an early stop meant that he was helpless to defend when Daniel Ricciardo arrived late on.

3 | Daniel Ricciardo | Red Bull-Renault | G: 9th | R: 5th | 9/10

Engine woes hit him in the first practice session and in qualifying he admitted he was disappointed with ninth position. He dropped to 13th at the start but from there he recovered superbly, completing several incisive moves – including a dummy on team-mate Vettel, to take advantage of a later stop and claim fifth.

44 | Lewis Hamilton | Mercedes | G: 1st | R: 1st | 10/10

Technical gremlins struck in second practice, and again in the second segment in qualifying briefly, but he remained focused and romped to a comfortable pole, his first since May. An issue with the procedure at the start left him stranded, so in the circumstances he did well to hang on in fourth. From there his move on Massa was exquisitely judged, while he upped his pace at the right time to pressure Rosberg into an error. An important win.

6 | Nico Rosberg | Mercedes | G: 2nd | R: 2nd | 8/10

Rosberg missed the majority of third practice but didn’t blame the lost time for his failure to secure pole position. He took the lead at the start but his pace was rarely awe-inspiring, while two mistakes into the Rettifilo were costly and denied him a proper shot at racing Hamilton.

14 | Fernando Alonso | Ferrari | G: 7th | R: Ret | 9/10

Scuderia Ferrari

Scuderia Ferrari

As expected, Mercedes-powered cars ruled the roost in qualifying. As expected, there was Alonso, valiantly fighting and claiming the best possible position. Throughout the opening stint of the race he continued to push but his engine let go and he was forced to retire. He deserved more.

7 | Kimi Räikkönen | Ferrari | G: 11th | R: 9th | 6/10

Räikkönen appeared to have a slight edge over Alonso throughout most of practice but when it mattered in Q2, the Finn made a couple of minor errors which left him eliminated. His race was little better as progress was minimal and a ninth place finish was a damning indictment of Ferrari’s pace as they were roundly humiliated at their home event.

8 | Romain Grosjean | Lotus-Renault | G: 17th | R: 16th | 4/10

The Lotus E22 gave Grosjean all sorts of problems all weekend so it was no shocker that he was eliminated in Q1. He bogged down at the start and on the Prime tyres it meant it was difficult for him to fight back. Minor damage and late-race downshift issues exacerbated matters further. A complete shocker.

13 | Pastor Maldonado | Lotus-Renault | G: 16th | R: 14th | 7/10

Considering the horrible nature of the E22, Maldonado did well to keep his head down and eclipse Grosjean in qualifying, even if making Q2 was impossible. The race was always a difficult proposition but he made a good start and valiantly tried to keep up with the drivers ahead.

22 | Jenson Button | McLaren-Mercedes | G: 6th| R: 8th | 7/10

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Mercedes AMG Petronas

Button maintained his sixth position throughout the opening stint but he lost out through the pit stop phase and from there on he was embroiled in a fierce fight with Sergio Pérez, and one which ultimately the Mexican won.

20 | Kevin Magnussen | McLaren-Mercedes | G: 5th | R: 10th | 7/10

Magnussen showed well throughout the weekend but only narrowly progressed through to the top 10 shootout, from where he rocketed up to a fine fifth position. He surged up to second at the start but ultimately regressed to the mean pace of the car as the race progressed. While his five second penalty was harsh, he does need to cut out his habit of regularly changing directions on the straights. It’s not on.

27 | Nico Hülkenberg | Force India-Mercedes | G: 13th | R: 12th | 4/10

Hülkenberg was ill at ease with the handling of his VJM07 and as a result was dumped out of Q2. In the race he started on the Prime tyres, which meant he lost contact with the bunch ahead and fell out of DRS range. Allied to oversteer and it made for a pretty miserable weekend.

11 | Sergio Pérez | Force India-Mercedes | G: 10th | R: 7th | 8/10

Pérez missed the second half of the third practice session when his hydraulics packed in, so in the circumstances he did a top job to make Q3. In the race he battled hard and valiantly, despite appearing to suffer from front brake issues for the duration. He held off Button and he claimed a few vital points.

99 | Adrian Sutil | Sauber-Ferrari | G: 14th | R: 15th | 6/10

Sauber F1 Team

Sauber F1 Team

Sutil missed most of the third practice session due to a hydraulics problem but was pleased with the way the car improved across qualifying as he lined up 14th. From there he just ran his own one stop strategy and trailed him in 15th. The car wasn’t good enough for further progress.

21 | Esteban Gutiérrez | Sauber-Ferrari | G: 15th | R: 19th | 4/10

Sauber was always likely to struggle but a minor moment for Gutiérrez at Ascari meant he qualified a little further back than was possible. Sauber opted to stop him twice but any hopes of a decent result were slim, while a crazy weave on Grosjean towards the end gave him a puncture. A sub-par weekend.

25 | Jean-Éric Vergne | Toro Rosso-Renault | G: 12th | R: 13th | 4/10

Vergne struggled for pace all weekend and described the handling of the STR9 as the worst it’s been all season. His race was little better as he had a pretty anonymous voyage on his way to 13th position.

26 | Daniil Kvyat | Toro Rosso-Renault | G: 21st | R: 11th | 8/10

Kvyat did well to almost make Q3 but he dropped 10 place as a result of using a sixth Internal Combustion Engine (inevitably, more penalties will follow, and not just for him). His race was very impressive as he fought back from last and sat in 11th place when his brake disc failed on the last lap. It was a great save to avoid an enormous accident though.

19 | Felipe Massa | Williams-Mercedes | G: 4th | R: 3rd | 9/10

Massa couldn’t quite match the pace of Bottas but fourth on the grid was still a reasonable effort. He jumped up to third at the start and once free of Magnussen, his pace was improved, albeit he was unable to prevent Hamilton from passing. From there it was a lonely race but one which netted him an overdue first podium of the season.

77 | Valtteri Bottas | Williams-Mercedes | G: 3rd | R: 4th | 8/10

Bottas looked confident around Monza all weekend so it was no surprise to see him line-up as ‘best of the rest’ behind the Mercedes duo. He bogged down at the start and from there his race was ultimately compromised, although he fought back well to claim fourth and move up to that position in the championship too.

17 | Jules Bianchi | Marussia-Ferrari | G: 19th | R: 18th | 7/10

Bianchi was quicker than the Lotus pair throughout practice but when push came to shove in qualifying, he was beaten by both E22s and Kamui Kobayashi. Race pace was also hard to find, although he did well early on to stay ahead of Grosjean, but straight line speed was always a problem.

4 | Max Chilton | Marussia-Ferrari | G: 20th | R: Ret | 4/10

There was a little bit too much enthusiasm from Chilton at Monza as he was so pleased to have passed a Lotus driver that he promptly went wide at Roggia, bounced across the kerb and nestled his car into the barriers, retiring for only the second time in his career.

10 | Kamui Kobayashi | Caterham-Renault | G: 18th | R: 17th | 8/10

Marussia F1 Team

Marussia F1 Team

It’s sometimes difficult to feel sorry for wealthy and talented racing drivers, but Kobayashi only received the call to drive late on Wednesday afternoon, while in Tokyo. Cue a long trip and horrendous jet lag! He nonetheless posted a superb lap in Q1 to beat both Marussia drivers. In the race he hung on to Sutil briefly and managed to beat Bianchi, which was an improvement.

9 | Marcus Ericsson | Caterham-Renault | G: Pits | R: 20th | 4/10

He failed to slow down sufficiently for double waved yellow flags in third practice and as a result had to start from the pit lane. His usual sparring partner Chilton eliminated himself from contention early on, so Ericsson had a quiet race, finishing two laps down.

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