Internal duels | Verstappen beats Perez again

Internal duels | Verstappen beats Perez again

27-09-2023 14:34

Ludo van Denderen

The 2023 season is slowly drawing to a close. For drivers, there are fewer and fewer opportunities to make up for any shortfalls in internal team duels. After every Grand Prix, GPblog lists how drivers are performing against their teammates.

Red Bull Racing

Verstappen   Perez
14 Qualifying duel* 1
-0,385s Qualifying difference +0,385s
14 Race duel* 2
400 Points 223

*In qualifying and race duels, results where one of the drivers has a technical problem are not included. Example: Perez does not get a point for his qualifying win in Saudi Arabia because Verstappen was unable to finish his qualifying due to a technical problem. In the case of a crash due to his own fault, the result will be taken into account. Example: Leclerc crashes in Q3 at Miami. His defeat to Sainz, however, is counted as a 'win' for Carlos. In case of rain during qualifying, the time difference between them is not factored into these results.

No longer a surprise, but once again, Max Verstappen was superior to Sergio Perez in Japan. While the Dutchman supremely won the Grand Prix at Suzuka, his teammate retired from the race early on, leading to another mutual victory for Verstappen, who increased his lead in the internal duels. He did the same earlier in qualifying, where the Mexican was really no match for the reigning (and future) world champion. The big quality difference between the Red Bull drivers is best reflected in the number of points, with Verstappen almost on the verge of having twice as many points as Perez.


Leclerc   Sainz
9 Qualifying duel 7
-0,062s Qualifying difference +0,062s
7 Race race race 7
135 Points 150

One week Carlos Sainz is the best (even the Grand Prix winner, a week later Charles Leclerc is the best of the Ferrari drivers). A better proof that both men are matched this season cannot be given. So in Japan, Leclerc managed to narrow his points gap to the Spaniard, but Sainz is still the highest-ranked of the two. So, with the end of the season now in sight, another exciting battle awaits Leclerc and Sainz internally.


Hamilton   Russell
8 Qualifying duel 8
-0,022s Qualifying difference +0,022s
11 Race duel 4
190 Points 115

Although his Mercedes is not fast enough to make things difficult for Max Verstappen in the Red Bull, Lewis Hamilton is having a top season. The seven-time world champion has Red Bull Racing's Sergio Perez - and thus second place in the championship - in sight (Hamilton is 33 points behind, ed.). Moreover, his lead over teammate Russell at Suzuka has grown further. In 2022, Russell still finished above Hamilton in the final championship standings; this season, the expected order seems restored.


Ocon   Gasly
7 Qualifying duel 9
-0,072s Qualifying difference +0,072s
6 Race duel 4
38 Points 46

Pierre Gasly and Esteban Ocon have been in the middle of the pack all season: too small to compete with the top teams and too strong for the teams at the back. Amongst themselves, the differences are, and remain, small as well, best reflected in qualifying. Only 0.072 is the average difference between the two Frenchmen in it. Only Mercedes and Ferrari have smaller qualifying differences.


Norris   Piastri
12 Qualifying duel 4
-0,186s Qualifying difference +0,186s
10 Race duel 4
115 Points 57

At last, Oscar Piastri managed to qualify ahead of his teammate Lando Norris once again. But during Sunday's race, the Australian failed to finish as the best McLaren driver of the day. Piastri extended his contract with the English team last week but realised he has quite a bit to learn compared to his more experienced teammate in terms of race pace. Indeed, the points difference ran up again at Suzuka, going in Norris' favour.

Alfa Romeo

Bottas   Zhou
10 Qualifying duel 5
-0,113s Qualifying difference +0,113s
9 Race duel 4
6 Points 4

Valtteri Bottas was the first dropout (through no fault of his own), and Guanyu Zhou did not come close to scoring. No, things are not going fast yet with the points for Alfa Romeo. That does not seem to be down to the two drivers, who qualify close to each other in terms of level every week. This shows that they are getting the most out of their cars, even if that means they are not achieving much else.

Aston Martin

Alonso   Stroll
14 Qualifying duel 2
-0,297s Qualifying difference +0,297s
12 Race duel 1
174 Points 47

What is true for Red Bull also applies to Aston Martin: one driver rises far above his teammate. Even on an afternoon at Suzuka when Fernando Alonso (partly due to a strange pit-stop strategy) does not have the speed to finish high in the points, Lance Stroll does not manage to be the team leader then. Of course, the Canadian had to retire early after problems with his rear wing. However, it is not yet clear how it got too loose. Did Stroll perhaps go a little too fast over a kerb, or was he simply unlucky this time? Either way, his gap in the internal duels did not narrow.


Magnussen   Hulkenberg
4 Qualifying duel 11
+0,255s Qualifying difference -0,255s
6 Race duel 8
3 Points 9

Frankly, it mattered little: both Nico Hulkenberg and Kevin Magnussen had a difficult afternoon in Japan at the Suzuka Grand Prix. They lacked the speed to come anywhere near points and thus finished back-to-back in the results. Points? Hulkenberg and Magnussen are mostly competing against each other this season. In that fight, the German has the upper hand for now.


Tsunoda   De Vries
7 Qualifier 2
-0.204s Qualifying difference +0.204s
8 Race duel 2
2 Points 0
Tsunoda   Ricciardo
1 Qualifying duel 1
+0.013s Qualifying difference -0.013s
1 Race duel 1
1 Points 0
Tsunoda   Lawson
3 Qualifier 1
-0,234s Qualifying difference +0,234s
0 Race duel 2
0 Points 2

Would it feel a bit like satisfaction? In Japan of all places - where Yuki Tsunoda was racing his home race and on the weekend Lawson heard there was no place for him at AlphaTauri in '24 - the New Zealander managed to cross the finish line ahead of his more experienced teammate. For four weekends, they competed together for the Italian team. Whenever both reached the finish line, it was invariably Lawson who beat Tsunoda. For now, the rookie also picked up more points than Tsunoda during their duels together.


Albon   Sargeant
16 Qualifying duel 0
-0,507s Qualifying difference +0,507s
12 Race duel* 0
21 Points 0

*Albon's crash in Australia and Sargeant's crash in Holland are not included, as the team stated after the race that a technical problem caused the dropouts.

Alexander Albon again outclassed Logan Sargeant, with the American standing out at Suzuka mainly because of a crash and a lot of on-track hassle. The American did not perform, making the qualifying duel 16-to-zero in favour of the Thai. Neither Williams driver saw the finishing flag, so there was no further damage for Sargeant in the race duel.