Abu Dhabi GP – Driver Ratings

The 2020 season concluded with Max Verstappen taking his third pole position of his career, and then leading every lap around the Yas Marina Circuit to take his 10th win. The Mercedes duo rounded off the podium but were unusually off pace all weekend.  

Lewis Hamilton -7

I think it was clear that Lewis wasn’t ready to drive; visibly exhausted, coughing in interviews and needing to sit down on the podium. He probably should have skipped this weekend and come back next year fully fit, especially because the Mercedes wasn’t fast this weekend. Both cars were nursing an MGUK gremlin reducing their pace to a tenth per lap. Lewis however was behind Valtteri all weekend and was close to losing the podium altogether.

Vatteri Bottas – 7.5

Bottas looked like he was set for pole before a blinding lap by Verstappen, but again looked like he didn’t have the race pace to come close to the eventual winner. He was trailing the Dutch driver by nearly 15 seconds but gapped Hamilton all race.

Max Verstappen – 10

Max had the perfect weekend, firstly squeaking pole by a quarter of a second. In the race he excelled in the starts, and with mega race pace led every lap for the first time in his career. He was never troubled and was asking his team to turn down the engine and coast home. If there was ever an easy race, it was this one.

Alex Albon – 8

This was a good weekend for Albon, nearly achieving a podium on pace alone. His initial qualifying lap was very good, but ultimately was beaten by Lando. He quickly dispatched of the Brit in the race, and did what Red Bull needed in keeping pace with Hamilton. Questions will be asked why he didn’t push sooner because a podium was certainly on the cards, but in the latter half of the race he was clearly the fastest man on track.

Charles Leclerc – 6

A P9 qualifying session for Leclerc is standard for the Monegasque pilot. It was Ferrari’s undoing by keeping him out on the used mediums for so long when the obvious strategy was to box under the safety car. Leclerc did well to stay where he was after the safety car, but it was clear he was struggling. The change in compound was not fast enough to enable him to get back in the points, and as such a P13 finish is a disappointing end to a disappointing season.

Sebastian Vettel – 5

It was a dismal weekend for Sebastian; the team made a bad call to keep both cars out under the safety car and then they dropped further than where they qualified. Sebastian did well to keep the train of Stroll, Ocon and Gasly behind for as long as he did, but the highlight of the weekend will be the guard of honour and winning the Champions League trophy.

Carlos Sainz – 8

Carlos will be disappointed to be three tenths slower than his teammate in qualifying, but also losing the quali rivalry 9-8 in the final race. McLaren executed the double stack pit stop excellently, meaning he only had to clear the Ferrari’s to move back to sixth, which he did with some tasty overtakes.

Lando Norris – 8.5

Lando had an unbelievable qualifying, just 0.25 off a maiden pole position, and McLaren’s first pole since 2012. Qualifying on the soft tyre meant he was rapid at the start, and managed to keep Albon behind for a decent spell. He did his job during the race to ensure his team got P3 in the constructors.

Lance Stroll – 5

A P8 in qualifying is very so so, if anything, it is a good qualifying for Stroll who has struggled all year in qualifying. However, in the race it fell apart. The fate of the constructors championship fell on his shoulders due to Perez’s early retirement. But Stroll took an age to get passed Vettel, on old tyres and the slow Ferrari engine. Not only that, but he was then overtaken by Gasly in a beautiful overtake, before getting overtaken on the last lap by Ocon in a feisty duel.  

Sergio Perez – 5

Checo deserved so much better for his final race with Racing Point, having raced with the Silverstone team for seven years. Starting at the back of the field because of engine penalties meant he had a job to do to get back with the front runners, and he was on a charge before a retirement on lap nine.

Daniel Ricciardo – 7.5

After a disastrous qualifying, I think Daniel will be happy with seventh. The Renault looked mighty throughout practice, Yet, both cars were eliminated in Q2. In the race he elected to start with the hard tyre, and by not pitting in the safety car period, gained track position. He put in a monster first stint to ensure he had a pit stop window to feed back into. Whilst the Mclaren’s were clearly tyre saving, Ricciardo put in the laps to keep above them before pitting for the medium tyre. A fastest lap is a good way to end his Renault career.  

Esteban Ocon – 6.5

Ocon did well in qualifying to finally out qualify his teammate in the dry, beating Daniel by five hundredths of a second. He started on the medium tyres, which would have been the optimum strategy had the safety car not come out. It was a steady race for Ocon, but a memorable overtake on Stroll on the last lap gives him extra credit.

Pierre Gasly – 7

Another Q3 performance for the Frenchman, however, he showed his pace during the race to be able to overtake the pair of Stroll and Ocon whilst they toiled behind Vettel. He made no mistakes and was brave on the brakes, exactly the performance needed to cap off a brilliant year.

Daniil Kvyat – 7

Saturday ended with a superb qualifying performance, placing his car seventh, albeit starting on the soft tyre. The safety car came at the right time as his tyre was fading out quickly, however, Kvyat simply didn’t have the race pace and dropped off the pack squabbling for points.  

Kimi Raikkonen – 6

Qualifying for the Kimi was terrible; he was massively behind Giovinazzi which has been the story of his qualifying for the latter half of the season. Kimi pitted under the safety car and was able to pull away from the backmarker squabbles to come home as the lead Ferrari.

Antonio Giovinazzi – 6

Gio outqualified his teammate, meaning that he beat Raikkonen 9-8 over the course of the season. Giovinazzi’s race was ruined by Alfa deciding not to pit him under the safety car. This meant he ran long and didn’t capitalise on his fresher tyres. It was a shame to end the season on the back foot as he had been running well against Raikkonen all season.

Kevin Magnussen – 5

It was a torrid weekend for Magnussen as the Haas car wasn’t set up for the Yas Marina Circuit. A dismal qualifying was followed by a dismal race. It looks as if both cars struggled with their tyres and overheating as they were the only team who two stopped both drivers.

Pietro Fittipaldi – 5

An overheating issue ruined his race, forcing him into a three-stop strategy. The American-Brazilian will be happy with his qualifying performance, just 3 tenths behind Magnussen on a technical circuit. He has done a good job in the Haas the past two weeks having not raced since February.

George Russell – 6.5

There wasn’t much the Brit could do unfortunately, the Williams was blisteringly quick in the first and second sector, at one-point Russell went purple in sector 1 during FP3, but the final sector is Williams’ nightmare. Russell did what he needed to do in qualifying to be above his teammate and made the hards go to the end, fantastically fending off Giovinazzi on newer tyres towards the end of the race.

Nicolas Latifi – 5.5

Latifi made a shocking blunder to spin on the final corner of his warmup lap in qualifying. Russell had posted an ‘alright’ time, but Latifi should have come closer had he not flatspotted his tyres. The Williams struggled on track, but Latifi did enough to keep both Haas’ behind to complete his rookie season.

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