Russian GP: Driver Ratings

By on Monday, October 13, 2014

We rate the drivers for their performance in the inaugural Russian Grand Prix at the Sochi Autodrom

Red Bull/Getty Images

Red Bull/Getty Images

1 | Sebastian Vettel | Red Bull-Renault | G: 10th | R: 8th | 6/10

Vettel never looked comfortable with the RB10 all weekend and the rear end instability with the car affected him in Q2 and he was knocked out. From there he made a good start but opted to stay out too long in the first stint and emerged from his stop in eighth.

3 | Daniel Ricciardo | Red Bull-Renault | G: 6th| R: 7th | 7/10

Ricciardo had the edge on Vettel throughout the weekend but spent the first stint behind his team-mate after a sub-par start. Earlier stop allowed him to jump ahead of the German, but the pace wasn’t there to challenge Fernando Alonso.

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

All weekend Hamilton was on form, only blotting his copybook with a spin at the end of Friday’s second practice session. No race is ever easy, but he never looked like being beaten and duly crossed the line 13 seconds ahead of Rosberg.

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

Rosberg hasn’t put in a strong performance since July and again an error cost him a chance at beating team-mate Hamilton. Lock-up into the first corner meant he had to pit on the first lap, fortunately he had the pace to fly through the field and finish second.

14 | Fernando Alonso | Ferrari | G: 7th | R: 6th | 8/10

Scuderia Ferrari

Scuderia Ferrari

The recalcitrant Ferrari F14 T was uncompetitive around Sochi but Alonso made a typically valiant start to move up to fourth. But from there a regression was always likely and a front jack problem in his first stop simply exacerbated matters.

7 | Kimi Räikkönen | Ferrari | G: 8th | R: 9th | 6/10

Räikkönen actually made a decent start but was squeezed out by one of the Toro Rosso drivers on the run down to Turn Two and had to back off, costing him several places. In clear air his pace was good but lack of straight line speed and fuel saving compromised race.

8 | Romain Grosjean | Lotus-Renault | G: 15th| R: 17th | 6/10

Lotus’s miserable season continued as the E22 was totally off the pace to the extent that Caterham was a threat to the working car in qualifying. Grosjean put up a fight in the race, but collided with Adrian Sutil and rather harshly copped a penalty.

13 | Pastor Maldonado | Lotus-Renault | G: 21st | R: 18th | 4/10

Maldonado had yet another horrible weekend as his car was beset by problems through practice and qualifying, leaving him rooted at the back of the grid. Balance issues, allied to low grip, made for a horrible afternoon.

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

McLaren Mercedes

McLaren Mercedes

Started fourth. Finished fourth. McLaren’s progress across recent races was once again evident as a classy Button extracted the maximum from the package to claim a big haul of points for the squad. But his demeanour in post-race interviews was eye-opening.

20 | Kevin Magnussen | McLaren-Mercedes | G: 11th | R: 5th | 9/10

Magnussen returned to the top five for the first time since Australia and this was a professional performance. He maximised his start and then ran a lonely race which he likened to a chilled out drive. Deserves acclaim for his stunning exhibition of car control in final practice session too!

27 | Nico Hülkenberg | Force India-Mercedes | G: 17th | R: 12th | 6/10

Hülkenberg’s weekend was scuppered as soon as he received a gearbox penalty. With Force India not quite Q3 contenders, it meant Hülkenberg would have to start from 17th. He made progress, but the car lacked pace to move further ahead.

11 | Sergio Pérez | Force India-Mercedes | G: 12th | R: 10th | 8/10

Pérez seemed to spend much of his race being informed to save fuel but still managed to fight on and eventually held off the charging Massa to claim a point for Force India – although McLaren’s weekend means the squad has slipped far back in the battle for fifth.

99 | Adrian Sutil | Sauber-Ferrari | G: 14th | R: 16th | 6/10

Sauber F1 Team

Sauber F1 Team

Sutil started on the Prime tyres but was edged out at the first corner and struggled desperately for grip. Sauber gambled on an early stop to Options, but progress was always improbable.

21 | Esteban Gutiérrez | Sauber-Ferrari | G: 13th | R: 15th | 7/10

Without anything extraordinary, this was always likely to be a troublesome weekend for Sauber. Gutiérrez gambled by starting on Options and running a long stint in the hope of a Safety Car, but the team had no such luck.

25 | Jean-Éric Vergne | Toro Rosso-Renault | G: 9th | R: 13th | 7/10

Vergne was inexplicably slow in qualifying but charged up to fifth at the start, with his defensive/offensive approach against Magnussen around the outside of Turn Three a joy to behold. He promised to race for Jules, and he did, although fuel saving negated such efforts.

26 | Daniil Kvyat | Toro Rosso-Renault | G: 5th | R: 14th | 7/10

Kvyat manhandled his STR9 to a sensational fifth place in qualifying but the race was a different matter as excessive fuel usage rendered his Saturday efforts redundant, although he didn’t help matters by locking up heavily, which required a second stop.

19 | Felipe Massa | Williams-Mercedes | G: 18th | R: 11th | 7/10

Massa’s race was effectively run when he suffered a fuel pressure problem in qualifying which cost him a huge amount of performance in the car. Williams adopted an aggressive two stop strategy but traffic, allied to Pérez’s straight line speed, scuppered that strategy.

77 | Valtteri Bottas | Williams-Mercedes | G: 3rd| R: 3rd | 9/10

Bottas came agonisingly close to claiming his first pole position but taking too much out of the tyres in the first two sectors left him hanging on at the end of the lap. Race was fairly straightforward but he could have perhaps offered a little more resistance against Rosberg.

4 | Max Chilton | Marussia-Ferrari | G: 20th| R: Ret | 6/10

Marussia F1 Team

Marussia F1 Team

Chilton spoke some of the most poignant words all weekend when he simply said that it wasn’t the same without his team-mate. Chilton carried the beleaguered team this weekend and conducted himself with class and dignity in horrible circumstances. All at Marussia deserve huge respect.

10 | Kamui Kobayashi | Caterham-Renault | G: 19th | R: Ret | 6/10

Kobayashi’s pace across the weekend wasn’t great, albeit not aided by again having to sit out the first practice session. Team opted to withdraw him from the race after a few laps, citing brake problems, but their driver believed otherwise.

9 | Marcus Ericsson | Caterham-Renault | G: 16th | R: 19th | 7/10

Tweaks to the brakes on the CT05 have enormously improved Ericsson’s confidence – and it shows in the lap times. With Chilton retiring early and Kobayashi also calling it a day, Ericsson’s race was consequently a rather lonely affair.

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