Singapore GP Driver Ratings: Top marks for the Ferrari boys!

22-09-2019 18:41
by Nicolás Quarles van Ufford
F1 News
Singapore GP Driver Ratings: Top marks for the Ferrari boys!

There was a lot to digest after an extremely busy two hours at the Singapore Grand Prix, but here are our grades for all drivers who finished the famous night race at the Marina Bay Street Circuit!

1. Sebastian Vettel - 10

It's not something we've been able to say much this season, but Vettel had a flawless race in Singapore. Good start, putting himself in the position to undercut, and then overtaking the midfield cars after his stop on-track. That last part was especially vital, as Mercedes were banking for the Ferrari boys to struggle to overtake after their stop, which is why they stayed out longer.

Also, the restarts after the Safety Cars were brilliant from Vettel, catching Leclerc napping twice. An all-round fantastic performance from Seb. He's still got it!

2. Charles Leclerc - 8.5

Although Vettel's undercut wasn't his fault, there were some minor nitpicks we can dig up from Leclerc's performance in Singapore. 

Leclerc clearly struggled more than Vettel to overtake the midfield cars ahead after he had pitted. This cost him as it gave Vettel breathing space. The second nitpick is the restarts after the Safety Cars. When it pulled in, Vettel floored it very early on two of the three occasions, catching Leclerc out on both occasions. Again, it probably didn't cost *that* much, but those eight-tenths are often the difference in F1. Overall, it was a fantastic performance from Leclerc, though.

3. Max Verstappen - 8

Tidy drive. Again, Max Verstappen got the most out of the race. Qualifying in fourth, he did well to keep position in front of the quicker Mercedes of Valtteri Bottas in the first stint. 

At the end, Verstappen had a lot of defending to do from, again, a much quicker Mercedes. Lewis Hamilton was applying as much pressure as he could on the Dutchman but he defended his podium place beautifully. 

4. Lewis Hamilton - 7

Like Leclerc, Hamilton was the victim of a poor strategy call. However, his was much worse, as he lost two places by staying out as long as he did. Verstappen and Vettel undercut him and it was damage limitation from there. 

The reigning champion failed to overtake Verstappen in the closing stages despite being on fresher tyres. It was all about damage limitation, so in that context he did a good job.

5. Valtteri Bottas - 6

Another victim, but in Bottas' case, he was a victim of team orders. When driving in the 1:45's, he was told to slow down to 1:48's by Mercedes so he wouldn't undercut Hamilton. It must be extremely demoralising, although the Finn himself seemed okay with the decision after the race. 

He's not allowed to race Hamilton or to beat Hamilton at this stage of the season, which is a real pity. There is a hell of a driver in there, we saw him at the start of the season.

6. Alexander Albon - 6

We don't think Alex Albon has been shown or mentioned once on the broadcast. A silent race but a solid P6, which is now his career-best in Formula 1. Onwards and upwards from here for the 24-year-old.

7. Lando Norris - 8

Another driver who barely got a mention during the race. Not the most spectacular performance but a fantastic result for McLaren nonetheless. Johnny-on-the-spot when Carlos Sainz and Nico Hülkenberg collided on lap one and drove it home from there. Like in Albon's case, it's a great drive given its his first time racing at the tricky Marina Bay Street Circuit.

8. Pierre Gasly - 9

What a result! Six points now in three races for Toro Rosso for Pierre Gasly, who fought like a lion for every track position today. A very good performance after starting from 11th.

We imagine it will be quite the confidence booster as well! Toro Rosso now sit in sixth in the constructors' championship, only allowing Renault and McLaren in front of them. 

9. Nico Hülkenberg - 8.5

Tyre management masterclass. Hülkenberg collided with Sainz on lap one and both drivers suffered punctures, forcing them to come in. For The Hülk to drive back into the points in the coming 60 laps is fantastic.

In the week where he possibly lost his final realistic seat for the 2020 season (at Haas, before Romain Grosjean resigned) he put his head down and scored two points for Renault despite being at the bottom of the pack after lap one. Bravo!

10. Antonio Giovinazzi - 7.5

Another good point for Gio. Coming off the back of his best-ever result in front of his home fans in Italy, the 25-year-old put another point on the board in a combative performance on the streets of Singapore on his first time racing there. He did receive a time penalty post-race for getting to close to the crane that was clearing debris, but it didn't affect his finishing position

Giovinazzi's confidence must be growing right now as we head into the business end of the season. We should see his best side in the remaining six races.

11. Romain Grosjean - 5

Although he wasn't penalised for it, to us it looked like Grosjean was completely at fault for the George Russell crash. He had to concede the corner and yield but kept his foot in it, ultimately colliding with the rookie and shoving him in the wall.

Besides the incident, the Frenchman will be frustrated to have missed out on a points finish by one position, although he did finish 17 seconds behind Giovinazzi in P10. Not the best outing for a driver who has just been given another chance for 2020.

12. Carlos Sainz Jr - 6

Had a collision on lap one with Hülkenberg. Racing incident in our eyes and the stewards agreed, not giving a penalty either way. There was damage on Sainz' MCL34, however, and he had a minute-long visit to the pitlane to sort his problems out. 

Despite his best efforts, the gap was simply too big for him to drive back into the points. The leader of the midfield standings started exactly there in P7 but finished empty-handed. Frustrating.

13. Lance Stroll - 5

Not a lot to say here. Started in P16, ended in P13. Tried to go long in his first stint, ended up being quicker in the second stint. Another weekend without points for the Canadian and for Racing Point.

14. Daniel Ricciardo - 7

Provided us with some good overtakes at the start. Picked off car after car as he fought his way up but suffered some damage after trying to overtake an Alfa Romeo at T23.

His weekend was pretty much over on Saturday when he got excluded from qualifying despite lining up in P8. Driving from the back is hard in a midfield car, especially on a street circuit where overtaking is risky. Did well given the circumstances.

15. Daniil Kvyat - 4

With his teammate doing as well as he did, this isn't a good look for Daniil Kvyat, who is having a very good year generally. His move on Kimi Raikkonen wasn't illegal but it was extremely optimistic, absolutely sending it down the Finn's inside at T1 as he's about to turn in. The clashed and Kvyat's STR14 survived, unlike Raikkonen's Alfa.

Race pace also wasn't there. With his home race ahead now, Kvyat will want to put in a massive performance there.

16. Robert Kubica - 8

Didn't see that one coming, did you? 

Robert Kubica honestly was very good in Singapore. Racing other drivers, making opportunistic overtakes when he saw a gap while also defending aggressively but also conceding when getting passed. In most battles he'd eventually lose because of his inferior car, but he put up a hell of a fight each time. He is a fantastic driver, Kubica, and today he showed flashes from the past. Even if his grid position doesn't show it.

17. Kevin Magnussen - 5

What an utterly weird race for Kevin Magnussen. Finishing last but also having the fastest lap, it really is a head-scratcher. Was driving well in the points at some stages, but in classic Haas fashion, struggled massively to get his tyres warmed up after stops, which cost him massively as he dropped down the order like a stone. At least he improved on his own track record.

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