September 25, 2023

2023 Singapore Grand Prix F1 Driver Ratings


The most intense fought battle for the victory of the season took place at Singapore on a weekend when Red Bull did not have their same unstoppable pace they have enjoyed so often in 2023.

Instead, five drivers were in the hunt for victory on Sunday, in a slow-burn race where patience and strategy were the name of the game.

Here are the RaceFans driver ratings for the Singapore Grand Prix.

Max Verstappen – 8/10

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Singapore, 2023
Verstappen’s 10-race winning run came to an end

Qualified: 11th (+2 places ahead of team mate, -0.137s)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: One-stop (H-M)
Finished: 5th (+3 places ahead of team mate)

  • Complained of handling issues throughout practice, then knocked out of Q2 by Lawson
  • Started 11th on hard tyres, passing Lawson off the line, then both Haas in early laps to run eighth
  • Moved up to second staying out under Safety Car, then passed by cars behind on fresh tyres
  • Sat sixth before pitting for mediums on lap 40, emerging in 15th
  • Gained positions as cars pitted, then passed Zhou, Hulkenberg, Lawson, Piastri and Gasly
  • Chased down Leclerc in closing laps but had to settle for fifth, three tenths behind at the flag

It was the most challenging weekend of the season for the runaway championship leader where he saw his record ten-win streak come to its end. However, there was little Verstappen could do about it as his Red Bull simply lacked pace across the weekend. While fifth seemed like a strong recovery, he was likely unlucky not to finish higher up due to the badly timed Safety Car. But even when his car wasn’t the best, Verstappen showed why he’ll soon be a three-times world champion.

Sergio Perez – 4/10

Qualified: 13th (-2 places behind team mate, +0.137s)
Start: Held position
Strategy: One-stop (H-M)
Finished: 8th (-3 places behind team mate)

  • Struggled for pace all weekend with Red Bull’s balance problems
  • Eliminated from Q2 in 13th, a tenth slower than team mate
  • Started on hard tyres, suffering front wing damage when he hit Tsunoda at turn four
  • Ran 13th in the early laps until jumping to fourth under SC
  • Passed by cars on fresher tyres at restart to fall to seventh, including by Hamilton off track
  • Fought to keep Alonso behind him before pitting for medium tyres and falling to last
  • Gained places as other pitted, then overtook Zhou and Tsunoda to run 11th behind Albon
  • Punted Albon into turn 13 to gain tenth but earned five second time penalty
  • Passed Lawson for ninth, then gained eighth when Russell crashed, holding position despite penalty

For once, Perez could blame his car for why he was running in the midfield at Singapore. Suffering the same handling woes as his championship-dominating team mate, there was little shame in being knocked out 13th in Q2. However, he was a bit of a bully in the race, clashing with Tsunoda at the start and barging by Albon in the closing laps. Although he emerged from the pits in last place and recovered to eighth, he was half a minute behind Verstappen at the flag.

Charles Leclerc – 6/10

Qualified: 3rd (-2 places behind team mate, +0.079s)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: One-stop (S-H)
Finished: 4th (-3 places behind team mate)

  • Was on track for pole before error at turn 17 left him third on the grid.
  • Started on soft tyres and jumped Russell into turn one, then managed gap to team mate ahead
  • Lost places to Russell and Norris double-stacking in the pits under SC to restart sixth
  • Overtaken by Hamilton at restart but passed Perez and Verstappen soon after to sit fifth
  • Moved ahead of Mercedes under VSC but was caught and passed by both
  • Dropped off pace dramatically in final laps as hards wore but just held off Verstappen for fourth

A weekend where Leclerc was overshadowed by his team mate, he also could have had a very different outcome had he not made a slight error on his final qualifying lap. Leclerc played his part well at the start by jumping ahead of Russell and then managing the gap to Sainz and keeping his softs alive. He was caught out a little by the traffic in the pitlane but picked off the Red Bulls with fresh tyres. He couldn’t keep the pace of Sainz ahead in the final stint and faded, luckily not being caught by Verstappen at the end.

Carlos Sainz Jnr – 9/10

Sainz withstood race-long pressure for second win

Qualified: Pole (+2 places ahead of team mate, -0.079s)
Start: Held position
Strategy: One-stop (M-H)
Finished: Winner (+3 places ahead of team mate)

  • Fastest in final two practice sessions before storming to pole by 0.072s
  • Held the lead off the line and controlled the pace at the front in the early stint
  • Pitted for hard tyres under SC and pulled away from Verstappen at restart
  • Continued to dictate the pace from Russell behind, then Norris
  • Deliberately allowed Norris to gain DRS to help keep Mercedes at bay
  • Secured first win of the season by less than a second after leading every lap

Sainz claimed his previous round at Monza was his best weekend in a Ferrari, but this was a special performance. On a weekend when five cars were in contention for victory, Sainz was the class of them all, going fastest in practice before converting that pace into pole. While he was hardly pushing for most of the race, he did no more than he needed to to execute his team’s strategy, and his racecraft in the final laps was very clever. In the closest race of the season, to take pole and lead every lap on the way to victory is worthy of a rare high grade.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

George Russell – 5/10

George Russell, Mercedes, Singapore, 2023
Last-lap error ruined Russell’s weekend

Qualified: 2nd (+3 places ahead of team mate, -0.429s)
Start: -2 places (one later handed back)
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-M)
Classified: 16th (-13 places behind team mate)

  • Just missed out on pole position to line up alongside Sainz on the front row
  • Lost out to Leclerc off the line, then passed illegally by team mate who returned third to him
  • Pitted under Safety Car for hards to sit third, passing Verstappen at restart to move second
  • Ran within DRS range of leader before pitting for fresh mediums under VSC
  • Rejoined fourth and chased down Leclerc before passing him
  • Battled with Norris for second into final lap, then crashed out at turn ten after hitting wall

For a critical phase near the end of the grand prix, Russell looked like he was the favourite for the race victory. He had stormed to second on the grid in qualifying and ran third for the early phase of the race before sitting behind Sainz. When the VSC presented an opportunity, Russell took it and then drove at a controlled pace to chase down the leaders and save his tyres for the finish. He couldn’t get by Norris despite his efforts, before his race ended with an error he branded as “pathetic”. Sadly, that misjudgement undid so much good he had done every lap of the weekend prior to the last.

Lewis Hamilton – 6/10

Qualified: 5th (-3 places behind team mate, +0.429s)
Start: +2 places (gained illegally)
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-M)
Finished: 3rd (+13 places ahead of team mate)

  • Beaten by team mate and Norris in qualifying to line up fifth on the grid
  • Missed turn two and gained two places over Norris and Russell off track, later returning both
  • Ran behind team mate until pitting for hards behind SC, restarting behind Leclerc in seventh
  • Passed Leclerc, then both Red Bulls to move up to fourth, despite passing Perez off track
  • Pitted with team mate for mediums under VSC, dropping to fifth
  • Caught and passed Leclerc for fourth, then gained third on final lap after Russell’s crash

On a weekend when Mercedes may well have had their best opportunity of the season to fight for a victory, Hamilton put himself in a position to contest the battle for the win but wasn’t quite able to get everything together when he needed to. He was out-qualified by his team mate on Saturday, his antics at the first corner were rather silly and he should’ve been investigated for passing Perez out of track limits, but in a race all about patience Hamilton did what he needed to do to be in contention at the end of the race. Picking up a podium after his team mate crashed was a fortunate way for him to personally benefit from a missed opportunity for his team.

Esteban Ocon – 7/10

Unreliability undid Ocon’s fine work

Qualified: 8th (+4 places ahead of team mate, -0.185s)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: One-stop (M-H)
Finished: Retired (Gearbox – L43)

  • Qualified eighth on the grid after being inside the top ten in Q1 and Q2
  • Passed Magnussen at the start to gain seventh place where he ran behind Alonso
  • Pitted for hards under SC and restarted ninth, continuing to follow close to Alonso
  • Eventually passed Alonso with brilliantly opportunistic move to gain eighth
  • Forced to pull off into retirement from sixth when gearbox suddenly failed
  • Ahead of team mate in every timed session

A very strong weekend for Ocon where he was cruelly denied a likely points finish when his car let him down with 20 laps remaining. He had started strong by securing eighth on the grid in qualifying and gaining a place at the start, before biding his time behind Alonso. He showed great racecraft to pinch a place from Alonso after he attacked Perez and was on course for a strong finish before retiring. He was also the quicker Alpine driver all weekend.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Pierre Gasly – 6/10

Qualified: 12th (-4 places behind team mate, +0.185s)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: One-stop (M-H)
Finished: 6th

  • Eliminated from Q2 in 12th, unable to follow team mate through to final round
  • Picked up a place passing Lawson at the start, then ran behind Hulkenberg in 11th
  • Pitted for hards under SC to restart 12th, passing Bottas to run 11th behind Magnussen
  • Gained a place when Magnussen ran wide, then a second when team mate retired
  • Stayed out under VSC to gain sixth when Alonso pitted, but passed by Verstappen
  • Ran in seventh but promoted to sixth by Russell’s last lap crash

Gasly’s Singapore Grand Prix weekend was a demonstration of the virtue of staying patient. Although he did not have the pace of his team mate over the weekend, Gasly managed his tyres well to make his one-stop strategy work and move him up into the points. He benefitted from mishaps for other drivers to gain many positions, but he kept his own race clean and reaped the rewards with a top-six finish.

Lando Norris – 7/10

Lando Norris, McLaren, Singapore, 2023
Aided by Sainz, Norris resisted Mercedes’ attack

Qualified: 4th (+13 places ahead of team mate, -0.419s)
Start: -1 place (later handed back)
Strategy: One-stop (M-H)
Finished: 2nd (+5 places ahead of team mate)

  • Only McLaren driver to run with major aero upgrades all weekend
  • Breezed through to Q3, then secured second row start in fourth
  • Passed illegally by Hamilton at the start, eventually gaining back fourth and remaining there
  • Pitted for hards under SC and overtook Red Bulls at restart to sit third behind Russell
  • Moved second when Russell pitted and ran behind Sainz as Russell caught him behind
  • Held off Russell with DRS from Sainz ahead to finish second despite clipping wall on last lap

Technically the closest that Norris has ever come to his first grand prix win, Singapore was a strong weekend for the McLaren driver thanks largely to the benefits of the team’s upgrades. Norris’s race was one of skilful management of his tyres and he held his nerve under intense pressure in the closing laps to keep Russell at bay to secure 18 well-deserved points.

Oscar Piastri – 6/10

Qualified: 17th (-13 places behind team mate, +0.419s)
Start: +3 places
Strategy: One-stop (M-H)
Finished: 7th (-5 places behind team mate)

  • First time driving the Marina Bay circuit
  • Ran without aero update provided to his team mate
  • Eliminated from Q1 after being caught out by Stroll’s crash while being on track to improve
  • Moved up to 14th at the start then pitted under SC for hard tyres
  • Passed Bottas at the restart and followed Gasly up to seventh place
  • Dropped one place when passed by Verstappen, then gained seventh when Russell retired

As was the case in Austria, Piastri’s performance needs to be considered in the context of him having a car that was not the same specification as his team mate and should never have been expected to match Norris’s pace. Piastri’s weekend was compromised heavily be Stroll’s crash at the end of Q1 but it could be argued he had left himself vulnerable to begin with. In the race, Piastri showed decent pace and made up ten places to finish seventh but only overtook one car on track to do so.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Valtteri Bottas – 5/10

Valtteri Bottas, Alfa Romeo, Singapore, 2023
Neither Alfa driver looked likely to score

Qualified: 16th (+3 places ahead of team mate, -0.449s)
Start: -1 place
Strategy: One-stop (H-M)
Finished: Retired (Gearbox – L52)

  • Just missed the cut in Q1 to be left 16th on the grid, but almost half a second quicker than team mate
  • Started on hard tyres and dropped to 17th at the start, moving up to tenth behind SC
  • Lost seven positions in two laps at the restart swamped by cars on fresher tyres
  • Ran 17th before pitting for mediums on lap 40, dropping to the back of the field
  • Sat 16th before told to pull off into retirement without making any more gear shifts on lap 52

Another challenging weekend for Bottas and his Alfa Romeo team where they simply did not have the pace of their midfield rivals to challenge for the points. Opted to start on the hard tyres and was caught out by the Safety Car coming out too early and he was bullied by his rivals on fresh tyres. Even though he was gaining on cars ahead in the final stint, he never got to fight them as his car let him down.

Zhou Guanyu – 5/10

Qualified: 19th (-3 places behind team mate, +0.449s)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (S-H-M)
Finished: 12th

  • Knocked out from Q1 in 19th, half a second slower than team mate
  • Started from pit lane on softs after taking new power unit, then pitted for hards on lap two
  • Ran last before pitting for mediums under Safety Car to restart 18th, then passed team mate
  • Ran very long final stint on medium tyres but faded as the race progressed to
  • Passed Hulkenberg for 13th on penultimate lap, then gained 12th when Russell crashed

An unremarkable performance from Zhou at a weekend when his future in Formula 1 was confirmed for the next season. His qualifying performance was underwhelming and his team chose to tactically take his fifth power unit of the season as a result. He tried a very risky strategy with a 42-lap stint on mediums which did not pay off, but he tried his best and finished ahead of three other drivers.

Lance Stroll – 3/10

Qualified: 20th (-13 places behind team mate, +0.813s)
Finished: Did Not Start (Crash – Q1)

  • Behind team mate in all three practice sessions
  • Sat slowest of all at end of Q1, then crashed heavily at final corner on last push lap
  • Withdrawn from grand prix due to extensive car damage and soreness

Stroll’s weekend came to a sudden and violent early end on his final Q1 lap. While Aston Martin likely could have chosen to fix his car and get him on the grid if they wanted, the team and driver had their reasons for deciding he should not continue. Although his own mistake prevented him from racing, it’s hard to condemn him too harshly when it was not an especially egregious error but simply a case of pushing just a little too hard. Otherwise, it was a typical Stroll weekend of lacking the same pace as his team mate.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Fernando Alonso – 4/10

Qualified: 7th (+13 places ahead of team mate, -0.813s)
Start: +1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-S)
Finished: 15th

  • Ahead of team mate in every session
  • Easily reached Q3 in third then qualified seventh
  • Moved by Magnussen at the start to run sixth in first stint before pitting under SC for hards
  • Earned a 5s time penalty for running out of pit entry, running eighth before passed by Ocon
  • Pitted for softs under VSC, serving penalty, but suffered slow stop with rear jack
  • Rejoined last then lost more time with error at turn 14, eventually finishing last in 15th

An uncharacteristic Sunday for Alonso who finished out of the points for the first time in 2023. While his performance up to Sunday was perfectly decent, things started to unravel in the race when he ran out of the pit entry confines and earned a penalty. After losing more time with a botched pit stop under VSC, he had no excuses for missing turn 14 under braking and falling even further behind at the back. A sub-par performance.

Kevin Magnussen – 6/10

Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Singapore, 2023
Russell’s retirement handed Magnussen a much-needed point

Qualified: 6th (+3 places ahead of team mate, -0.233s)
Start: -2 places
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-S)
Finished: 10th (+3 places ahead of team mate)

  • Inside the top ten in all three qualifying sessions to secure best grid slot since Miami
  • Dropped two places at the start, then passed by Verstappen to sit ninth ahead of team mate
  • Restarted 11th after SC but passed Bottas, then shown warning flag for pushing Gasly off track
  • Lost six places after mistake at turn seven, then pitted for softs under VSC
  • Rejoined 14th, then passed Zhou, Albon and Hulkenberg to move up to 11th
  • Gained the final point when Russell crashed out on the final lap

A rollercoaster of a weekend for Magnussen who secured his first point since the Miami Grand Prix. Unusually he was one of the stand-outs in qualifying, securing a top-six starting position, but expected to drop down the order in the race. He was a little messy in the race, pushing Gasly off at turn 16 and then two errors in three corners dropped him from tenth to 16th. But after fitting softs he was able to chase down cars ahead to be in a position to benefit from Russell’s crash and snatch a final point.

Nico Hulkenberg – 6/10

Qualified: 9th (-3 places behind team mate, +0.233s)
Start: Held position
Strategy: One-stop (M-H)
Finished: 13th (-3 places behind team mate)

  • Followed team mate into Q3 but admitted his final push lap wasn’t “clean”
  • Passed by Verstappen on lap two, then ran in train behind team mate in tenth
  • Dropped to 15th after double-stacking in pits under SC, then ran behind Lawson
  • Moved up to ninth before being passed by Verstappen, Albon and Perez
  • Overtaken by team mate, Albon and Zhou in final laps to finish 13th

One of the rare weekends when Hulkenberg was not the leading Haas driver across the weekend, but he still put in a solid performance. He got his car into Q3 but couldn’t match Magnussen’s final lap, then was behind his team mate before he lost multiple positions in the busy pit lane, which he could do little about. He fought well despite his car’s heavy tyre degradation to make his hard tyres last but was a bit of a sitting duck at the finish. But despite the result he could be happy with his efforts.

Advert | Become a RaceFans supporter and go ad-free

Yuki Tsunoda – 5/10

Perez mauled Tsunoda’s AlphaTauri on lap one

Qualified: 15th (-5 places behind team mate, -0.224s)
Finished: Retired (Damage – Lap 1)

  • Impeded by Verstappen on first Q2 lap, then mistake at turn 14 on final lap eliminated him
  • Started on softs and gained two places before being damaged by contact from Perez
  • Fell down the order with a damaged car before pulling off into retirement

Tsunoda has endured his fair share of frustrating weekends in his Formula 1 career, but Singapore had to rank among the most infuriating. With major upgrades on his car, he was compromised by both Red Bulls over the weekend – first by Verstappen on his initial push lap in Q2, then was barged into by Perez on the opening lap, which led to his retirement. Although he was the victim in both instances, he only had himself to blame for his final Q2 lap error that meant he failed to follow his inexperienced team mate into Q3.

Liam Lawson – 7/10

Qualified: 10th (+5 places ahead of team mate, +0.224s)
Start: -2 places
Strategy: One-stop (M-H)
Finished: 9th

  • First time driving the Marina Bay circuit
  • Reached Q3 for the first time in his career by 0.007s to qualify tenth
  • Dropped to 12th off the line and ran there until pitting for hard tyres under SC
  • Ran between Piastri and Hulkenberg over second stint, then absorbed pressure from Albon
  • Lost ninth place when overtaken by Perez with three laps remaining
  • Gained ninth when Russell crashed to take his first career points

Once again, Lawson looked anything but a rookie in one of his first grands prix over the Singapore weekend, not making a single error of note outside of a harmless spin in practice. Other than another sub-optimal launch off the line which left him frustrated, Lawson kept his cool over the most mentally and physically demanded race of the season to put himself into a top 10 position and secure his team’s best result of the year and further stake his claim to be on the 2024 grid.

Alexander Albon – 6/10

Qualified: 14th (+4 places ahead of team mate, -0.584s)
Start: -1 place
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-M)
Finished: 11th (+3 places ahead of team mate)

  • Lost majority of second practice with battery problem
  • Reached Q2 unlike team mate but eliminated 14th as slowest car to complete a lap
  • Lost a place at the start to run just ahead of team mate in 15th
  • Pitted under Safety Car for hard tyres and ran 15th before second stop for mediums
  • Passed Zhou and Hulkenberg to move into tenth before being barged into the wall by Perez
  • Dropped to 14th, the re-passed Zhou and Hulkenberg to finish 11th

Albon’s drive on Sunday was worthy of scoring a top eight finish but he missed out courtesy of being punted by Perez in a poorly-judged move at turn 13. Until that stage, the Williams driver was making good work of his team’s aggressive two-stop strategy and spare fresh set of mediums and did well to reclaim the positions lost after being shoved aside. Not his strongest performance of the season but certainly deserving of a top ten result.

Logan Sargeant – 4/10

Still no points for Sargeant after wall strike

Qualified: 18th (-4 places behind team mate, +0.584s)
Start: +2 places
Strategy: Two-stop (M-H-M)
Finished: 14th (-3 places behind team mate)

  • First time driving the Marina Bay circuit
  • Ran with older-specification front wing all weekend
  • Eliminated from Q1 in 18th after mistake at turn ten on final push lap
  • Gained two places at the start to run 16th before hitting turn eight wall, damaging front wing
  • Ran alone at the back after not catching the Safety Car restart
  • Moved past Alonso after his off to finish less than a second ahead of him in 14th

Another weekend where Sargeant seemed to be threatening to put in a solid performance only for small mistakes to creep in and leave him ruing what might have been. He admitted he could’ve gone quicker in qualifying if it wasn’t for a mistake, then he hit the wall with a very odd unforced error under zero pressure, which ruined any chances of a respectable finish. A shame, when he was closer in pace to Albon than he has been at many circuits this season.

Over to you

Vote for the driver who impressed you most last weekend and find out whether other RaceFans share your view here:

2023 Singapore Grand Prix

Browse all 2023 Singapore Grand Prix articles

Source link

Leave a Reply