Record crowds at the British Grand Prix were treated to a thrilling weekend, as Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel both shone in a battle befitting of their immense talent.
Hamilton took a record sixth pole position at Silverstone, edging Vettel by a slender 0.044s on Saturday. The Brit described the session as one of his “toughest ever.”
Sunday would prove even tougher, and this time, in a fight against adversity. A poor launch from Hamilton dropped him to third place. Heading into Village side-by-side with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen, the Finn locked his front-right wheel, hit Hamilton and pitched the home favourite into a spin.
From the back of the field, Hamilton fought back to an eventual second place, beaten only by his chief rival Vettel.
Safety car interventions in what was a chaotic second half of the race complicated Vettel’s race. It took a dive to the inside at Brooklands to pass Valtteri Bottas for the win, with Mercedes having engineered the Finn into the lead by not making a second pitstop.
With plenty to digest, here are the DRIVER RATINGS for the 2018 British Grand Prix.
Driver Ratings: 2018 British Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel - 9
Qualified – 2nd
Finished – 1st
In some ways, Vettel’s weekend was also a triumph against adversity. He ended FP3 early in order to investigate a pain in his neck. With strapping applied, qualifying second was a reasonable return in the circumstances, particularly considering the slender margin to pole. A fantastic launch from the line propelled him to first and when Mercedes elevated Bottas ahead with an audacious strategy, Vettel was equally bold in dispatching the Finn to deliver his second British Grand Prix win.
Lewis Hamilton - 9
Qualified – 1st
Finished – 2nd
Hamilton played his part in a super-Saturday for English sport, as he delivered a sixth pole on home soil. It wasn’t a perfect lap – a mistake on the exit of Club corner opened the door for Vettel to snatch the advantage – but it was enough for Hamilton to repel the Ferraris. By comparison, the first lap of his race was dreadful. A poor start effectively led to the contact with Raikkonen at Village. In the next 51 laps, however, Hamilton was imperious. He carved through the field and drove a textbook damage limitation race.
Kimi Raikkonen - 7
Qualified – 3rd
Finished – 3rd
Barring the opening lap, Raikkonen’s British GP was one of his stronger races of the year to date in many ways. A sluggish start cost him the place to Bottas and ultimately left him wheel to wheel with Hamilton at Village. While the clash was Raikkonen’s fault – the Finn even admitting to the fact – his recovery drive following the 10-second time penalty was strong. In his battle with Verstappen, fans glimpsed an aggressive Raikkonen which, based on the past few years, is a collector’s item. His move on Bottas to clinch third place was clinical.
Valtteri Bottas - 7
Qualified – 4th
Finished – 4th
A scruffy Q3 may have cost Bottas on Saturday, but a lightning start from fourth on the grid changed his weekend. Suddenly he was the chief challenger to Vettel and while he struggled to hang onto the Ferrari’s coattails in the first stint, he was close enough to remain a constant concern. Not pitting under the safety car was arguably a mistake, but Mercedes did at least give Bottas track position. His initial defence against Vettel was sublime on tyres that were far from optimal, but once passed by the Ferrari, Bottas’s pace deteriorated rapidly.
Daniel Ricciardo - 7
Qualified – 6th
Finished – 5th
Outqualified by team-mate Verstappen and outraced by the Dutchman until brake by wire issues became more prevalent, Ricciardo was unmistakably second best at Red Bull this weekend. A decision to roll the dice on strategy probably reflected the fact. In the end, the timing of the safety car spoilt Ricciardo’s roll of the strategic dice and resigned him to fifth once Verstappen’s issues forced him into retirement. Had this been a rating of his courage to sing on stage in front of 5000 people post-race, Ricciardo would have been the first driver to ever earn an 11 rating – entertaining as always, despite a challenging weekend.
Nico Hulkenberg - 9
Qualified – 11th
Finished – 6th
Hulkenberg was one of the stars of the race on a circuit that did not suit Renault in any capacity. He launched on medium tyres from 11th on the grid to 6th by the end of the opening lap. His race was further complicated by having to use the hard tyre in the final stint, with Renault historically struggling on the soft rubber. Despite running the slowest tyre of the allocation, he kept his midfield rivals behind him throughout the hectic final 15 laps.
Esteban Ocon - 8
Qualified – 10th
Finished – 7th
As the team desperately tries to cling onto the battle for fourth in the constructors’ championship, Ocon’s effective weekend delivered a valuable haul of six points. Progressing to Q3 for the first time in three races, Ocon was compromised against the likes of Hulkenberg and Alonso by having to start on his qualifying tyres. His pace was solid and after not pitting under the safety car, Ocon did well to hold off a fresh tyre equipped Alonso in the closing stages.
Fernando Alonso - 8
Qualified – 13th
Finished – 8th
Somehow manufacturing points from what appeared to be a difficult weekend for McLaren on home soil, this performance was a classic Alonso salvage operation. From 13th on the grid, Alonso made an early pitstop and later fitted a new set of soft tyres during the safety car intervention. He prevailed in a heated battle with Magnussen and applied significant pressure to Ocon in the closing laps, but was unable to clear the Force India. A typically determined drive from Alonso.
Kevin Magnussen - 8
Qualified – 7th
Finished – 9th
Magnussen was the leading Haas this weekend and deserved a stronger result than ninth. Ultimately, scoring points was an uphill struggle after team-mate Grosjean understeered into him at Village on the opening lap. Both drivers took to the run-off area and Magnussen was left with considerable floor damage. An excellent qualifying result and supreme car performance was wasted.
Sergio Perez - 6
Qualified – 12th
Finished – 10th
Perez was once again outclassed by his team-mate. That being noted, Perez’s race was heavily compromised on the opening lap after he spun at the flat-out left-hander at Abbey – contrary to initial reporting, Perez was not hit by Sauber’s Ericsson. His recovery drive was aided by the safety car. He was forced into the run-off area and passed by Gasly on the penultimate lap of the race at Vale, losing 10th place before being restored to the position by the stewards after Gasly was handed a five-second time penalty.
Stoffel Vandoorne - 5
Qualified – 17th
Finished – 11th
Vandoorne was once again anonymous this weekend. Exiting qualifying at the Q1 stage, he ended up on the periphery of the top 10 in the race without ever looking like breaking into the points paying positions. Promoted to 11th following Gasly’s penalty largely flattered Vandoorne on another weekend in which points never seemed possible.
Lance Stroll - 6
Qualified – DNQ
Finished – 12th
Another weekend in which it is difficult to grade the Williams drivers whose efforts are blighted by an unpredictable and, on this occasion, an undrivable car. Stroll’s spin and trip to the gravel in qualifying was caused by the floor and rear wing stalling. Caused by an aerodynamic update, the team was forced to start both cars from the pitlane after returning to the car’s previous package on Saturday night. Both Stroll and Sirotkin trailed at the back of the field. A neat overtake on his team-mate at Village was the only highlight of an otherwise dismal weekend in which Stroll was again a passenger to circumstance.
Pierre Gasly - 6
Qualified – 14th
Finished – 13th
After Hartley’s suspension failure in FP3, Gasly lost his session as the team had to investigate the cause of the issue. An accident of that nature for a team-mate will inevitably unsettle a driver and in the circumstances, 14th on the grid was a solid if unspectacular return. In the race, Gasly struggled to make progress and when he did dispatch Perez on the penultimate lap to snatch 10th place, the stewards deemed the pass to have been too robust. Gasly had ultimately pushed Perez off track and as a result, a five-second time penalty dropped him from 10th to 13th.
Sergey Sirotkin - 5
Qualified – 19th
Finished – 14th
A spin in qualifying caused by the floor and rear wing aerodynamic issues effectively wrote off Sirotkin’s Saturday. Starting from the pitlane and with a performance deficit versus the midfield, Sirotkin’s only realistic measure of performance was against his team-mate. He was passed by Stroll at Village and then fell adrift of the pack during the final 10 laps.
Max Verstappen - 8
Qualified – 5th
Finished – DNF (classified 15th)
An eight score for Verstappen may seem high at face value, but considering that he outqualified team-mate Ricciardo and outraced the Aussie is testament to Verstappen’s strong Silverstone weekend. Red Bull’s power deficit was at its most obvious and Verstappen had to use his abundance of racecraft tools to hold off Raikkonen for as long as he did. Re-passing the Ferrari around the outside of the long-radius Luffield was a stunning display. Brake by wire issues hampered Verstappen to an increasing extent as the race progressed and caused his spin in the latter stages.
Romain Grosjean - 4
Qualified – 8th
Finished – DNF
After finally securing points in Austria, Grosjean’s positive momentum halted in dramatic fashion. Caught out in an attempt to keep the DRS open through Abbey, Grosjean spun and speared into the wall in FP1. A chassis change was required and he subsequently missed FP2. Qualifying was promising, as he was outqualified by Magnussen but still managed eighth. However, colliding with Magnussen at Village hugely compromised the team result, before later oversteering into Sainz at Copse led to a second high-speed accident of the weekend for Grosjean. Another race weekend to forget.
Carlos Sainz - 6
Qualified – 16th
Finished – DNF
Sainz’s Sunday was always going to be challenging after qualifying out of position in 16th. Renault’s struggles on the soft tyre also limited his strategic scope for a recovery drive. That being noted, he did manage to climb as high as 10th before being tagged by Grosjean and Copse and ending up in the barriers.
Marcus Ericsson - 5
Qualified – 15th
Finished – DNF
It is a testament to the progress that Sauber has made in that simply progressing to Q2 for Ericsson was not indicative of a strong qualifying performance. With Leclerc in ninth, Ericsson ultimately underperformed in qualifying. He then exited the race in dramatic fashion, failing to press the button to close his DRS before Abbey and subsequently spinning into the barriers. A race ruined and plenty of repair bills all as a result of failing to push one button.
Charles Leclerc - 9
Qualified – 9th
Finished – DNF
At a circuit in which he dominated the Formula 2 feature race in 2017, Leclerc looked comfortable from the outset. He was stunningly fast in practice and similarly impressive in qualifying. During the opening stint, he harried Hulkenberg and was in contention to ultimately finish in sixth place before his team failed to fit the right-rear tyre during his first pitstop.
Brendon Hartley - 6
Qualified – DNQ
Finished – DNF
It is impossible to rate Hartley’s weekend based on driving. If it wasn’t for bad luck, the Kiwi would have no luck at all. Suspension failure in FP3 led to a huge accident at Brooklands. Hartley was unscathed but a car repair before qualifying was impossible. His power unit then failed to fire pre-race and while he started from the pitlane a lap down, he returned to the pits to retire after one tour. The rating is simply for Hartley’s attitude, never once condemning the team or refusing to speak to the media. He is a man under pressure but is continuing to maintain an unperturbed level of professionalism. Here’s hoping his bad luck comes to an end soon.
Here's more you might like
Toyota #7 claims victory in a rain hit Shanghai
Top spot! Order of Merit and Race to Dubai winners through the years
Wolves preparing £20m offer for Divock Origi
AC Milan looking to sign Gary Cahill in January
Klopp determined to secure Christian Pulisic’s services ahead of Chelsea
Villa fear Chester could miss Birmingham clash after international injury