Edd Straw's British GP driver ratings + reader debate - The Race
Formula 1

Edd Straw’s British GP driver ratings + reader debate

Aug 3 2020
By Edd Straw

It’s a pair of team-mates at either end of the scale in Edd Straw’s British Grand Prix driver ratings – with his standout performer and his biggest disappointment both from the same garage.

That’s not the only set of conspicuously high or low scores in his assessment of the Silverstone performances.

Agree with Edd? Or disagree? You can debate the scores with him live in the comments section at the bottom of the article at 1pm UK time today.

Hamilton Gb

Started: 1st Finished: 1st

Qualifying

Practice laps: 76
Gap to team-mate: -0.313s
Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.109s

Hamilton wasn’t that happy throughout practice and the first two parts of qualifying, which included a Q2 spin at Luffield on mediums.

But cometh the hour, he nailed it in Q3 with a pole position lap that was built on a superb first sector where he didn’t overwork the tyres. It was a lap about intelligence as well as speed.

Race

Penalties:
Positions gained/lost lap 1: 0
1 stop (medium/hard)

Between the first lap and the last lap, Hamilton had things utterly under control on his way to another victory.

He had an iffy start but did well to ensure Bottas couldn’t make the best of a better launch, then on the final lap kept his head when the puncture struck.

VERDICT: Peaked when it mattered in qualifying and dealt with the pressure points in the race skilfully.

Bottas Gb

Started: 2nd Finished: 11th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 78
Gap to team-mate: +0.313s
Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.650s

Practice and qualifying summed up Bottas’s life alongside Hamilton – on the front foot until Hamilton hit his stride in Q3, then lifting himself on his final run to match his team-mate to the thousandth only to see the pole position mark be improved by three-tenths. Another Saturday of being a very good driver up against an all-time great.

Race

Penalties:
Positions gained/lost lap 1: 0
2 stops (medium/hard/soft)

Bottas couldn’t convert a good start into a serious attack on Hamilton, then broadly tracked his team-mate in the race until suffering the late puncture.

Agonisingly, it happened at the start of the lap, costing him a huge amount of time and leaving him hardly any time to recover on new rubber. But he perhaps should have picked off Vettel.

VERDICT: Not quite as quick as Hamilton, not quite as aggressive at the start/restarts and not quite as good at tyre management. Very unlucky, but fell short of a sky-high benchmark.

Vettel Gb

Started: 10th Finished: 10th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 46
Gap to team-mate: +0.912s
Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.360s

Vettel missed first practice with an intercooler problem, which set him back, but he was never comfortable with the Ferrari in lower-downforce configuration.

Visibly less confident than Leclerc, he even lost a position on the grid to having his last lap deleted for a track limits violation.

Race

Penalties:
Positions gained/lost lap 1: 0
1 stop (soft/hard)

Vettel held 10th at the start and even picked up ninth place thanks to Ocon’s slow pitstop. But he soon slipped behind the Renault driver, then Gasly and Albon and only scored a point thanks to the tyre problems of Sainz and Bottas – although he did well to hold off the latter at the end of the race.

VERDICT: Simply couldn’t live with the trimmed-out Ferrari as well as Leclerc and was fortunate even to salvage a point.

Leclerc Gb

Started: 4th Finished: 3rd

Qualifying

Practice laps: 71
Gap to team-mate: -0.912s
Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.000s

There are few more spectacular sights in grand prix racing than Leclerc on a qualifying lap in a car that’s a little bit tricky.

He grabbed the lower-downforce Ferrari by the scruff of the neck and did a brilliant job to qualify so close to Verstappen.

Race

Penalties:
Positions gained/lost lap 1: 0
1 stop (medium/hard)

Leclerc’s race was very straightforward on paper, starting fourth then inheriting third when Bottas suffered a puncture.

But that was a triumph for the Ferrari driver, who admitted he was worried about tyre life given the set-up choices the team made to compensate for its lack of power in qualifying.

VERDICT: A magic qualifying lap, a superb race and an outclassed team-mate. Outstanding.

Verstappen Gb

Started: 3rd Finished: 2nd

Qualifying

Practice laps: 65
Gap to team-mate: -0.401s
Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.000s

Verstappen was a second off Hamilton’s pole position, but his final Q3 lap was actually a very good one. There wasn’t much more he could do other than ensure he was ahead of the midfield pack.

Race

Penalties:
Positions gained/lost lap 1:
2 stops (medium/hard/soft)

Verstappen made sure he stayed clear of Leclerc early on then settled into a lonely race trying to keep the Mercedes drivers as honest as possible with a car that simply wasn’t fast enough.

His penultimate-lap pitstop netted fastest lap, but it also cost a likely victory given Hamilton’s puncture.

VERDICT: Did everything he could, although he will be ruing the late pitstop that probably cost a victory despite putting a brave face on it.

Albon Gb New

Started: 12th Finished: 8th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 47
Gap to team-mate: +0.401s
Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.217s

Things were looking promising on Friday until he crashed at Stowe, followed by falling in Q2 having lapped four-tenths off Verstappen, after which he was puzzled by the change in the balance of the car.

But despite this disappointment, there was a feeling that somewhere under all that he was making progress.

Race

Penalties: +5s (causing collision with Magnussen)
Positions gained/lost lap 1: 0
2 stops (medium/hard/medium)

Albon struggled at the start thanks to the tyres not quite being up to temperature, but the attempt to seize the chance presented by Magnussen’s mistake at Club led to contact and a rather harsh penalty.

By staying out under the safety car, and only then spotting the wheel damage, he ended up out of synch having stopped just after the restart. But he plugged away and was at times the fastest man on track. He passed six cars in his final stint and was rewarded with eighth place.

VERDICT: A better weekend than the numbers suggest and a battling racing performance, but the crash and loss of pace in Q2 do count against him.

Norris Gb

Started: 5th Finished: 5th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 71
Gap to team-mate: -0.183s
Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.000s

Norris reckoned his qualifying lap was one of his best in Formula 1, and it was hard to disagree given it was almost two-tenths faster than Sainz’s lap and put him ahead of the Racing Point of Stroll.

He also strung together his best sector times on that lap, which is usually a good sign of a quality lap.

Race

Penalties:
Positions gained/lost lap 1: DOWN 2
1 stop (soft/hard)

A lock-up into Brooklands on the first lap allowed Sainz to pass him around the outside into Luffield then Ricciardo to blast past on the run to Copse.

Having repassed Ricciardo at Luffield just after the second restart, Norris held position behind Sainz but felt he was powerless to keep the charging Renault driver at bay in the closing stages.

VERDICT: A good weekend’s work but being stuck behind Sainz perhaps helped Ricciardo beat him – something that he could have avoided without the first lap error.

Sainz Gb

Started: 7th Finished: 13th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 81
Gap to team-mate: +0.183s
Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.055s

While Sainz wasn’t delighted with his Q3 lap, it was still a decent enough qualifying performance even if he didn’t quite have the last dash of pace that team-mate Norris had.

Race

Penalties:
Positions gained/lost lap 1: UP 2
2 stops (soft/hard/medium)

Sainz passed Norris and Stroll on an attacking first lap and, after briefly being frustrated and angered by Grosjean, appeared to have fifth place and best-of-the-rest status sewn up when he suffered a puncture at Becketts.

He made it back to the pits and rejoined, passing both Grosjean and Latifi on his sole lap – then jumping Giovinazzi when the Alfa Romeo was penalised – but despite those three positions gained it only added up to 13th place.

VERDICT: Would likely have finished fourth, fifth at worst, without the puncture, but his underlying pace seemed just off Norris’s despite a well-executed weekend.

Ricciardo Gb

Started: 8th Finished: 4th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 67
Gap to team-mate: -0.200s
Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.000s

The Renault doesn’t quite seem to have the pace of McLaren or Racing Point in qualifying trim, so Ricciardo was satisfied with eighth even though it wouldn’t have taken much to have beaten Sainz to seventh.

Race

Penalties:
Positions gained/lost lap 1: UP 2
1 stop (soft/hard)

Ricciardo was sixth at the end of the first lap and finished fourth with two cars ahead of him suffering punctures. That sounds very straightforward, but it wasn’t because he twice had to fight his way past Norris – the second time after losing a place to the McLaren driver following the second restart.

His pace at the end was eye-catching, almost catching Leclerc for third.

VERDICT: Another strong weekend for Ricciardo, who was the quicker Renault driver throughout and was his usual incisive self in battle.

Ocon Gb

Started: 9th Finished: 6th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 77
Gap to team-mate: +0.200s
Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.082s

Ocon benefited from Vettel having his final laptime deleted for a track limits violation to take ninth, a couple of tenths slower than his team-mate. That perhaps slightly exaggerated the gap, but Ocon couldn’t quite nail the perfect lap when it counted.

Race

Penalties:
Positions gained/lost lap 1:
1 stop (soft/hard)

Ocon held ninth place in the early stages, but time lost to Renault’s double-shuffle pitstop thanks to his proximity to Ricciardo led to Vettel getting ahead of him.

He then passed Vettel through The Loop at the restart to run ninth. Later, he passed Stroll, which added up to sixth place once Sainz and Bottas had hit trouble.

VERDICT: The lesser Renault driver again, but not by a huge margin and he banked a decent result.

Gasly Gb

Started: 11th Finished: 7th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 75
Gap to team-mate: -0.243s
Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.158s

Gasly set a lap time good enough for Q2, but it didn’t put him through by dint of Stroll having set an identical time but being ranked ahead thanks to doing it first.

But this was another excellent qualifying performance from Gasly who put the AlphaTauri a place or two higher than it should have been.

Race

Penalties:
Positions gained/lost lap 1:
1 stop (medium/hard)

Gasly held 10th in the first stint, but lost a position to Giovinazzi to a dicey release by the Alfa Romeo team in the pits – running 12th after the restart, with Grosjean also ahead after not stopping.

While it took him too long to pass Giovinazzi, they both remained in the midfield DRS train so he didn’t lose time. He then picked off Vettel and Stroll to take seventh, holding off Albon at the end of the race.

VERDICT: Best possible grid position and race finish, with the only small downside being spending too long behind Giovinazzi.

Kvyat Gb

Started: 19th Finished: DNF

Qualifying

Practice laps: 68
Gap to team-mate: +0.243s
Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.169s

With a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change, qualifying was always going to be of limited value, but being a quarter-of-a-second behind Gasly after a scrappy Q2 run meant Kvyat didn’t limit the damage as effectively as he might have done.

Race

Penalties:
Positions gained/lost lap 1: UP 5
0 stops (medium)

An aggressive first lap got Kvyat up to 14th place and into a position that should have allowed him to fight for a point or two, but he spun at Maggots and was fired into the wall.

Initially, he took the blame after being distracted while trying to make a switch change, although the team suggested a puncture might have been the cause.

VERDICT: While he can be given the benefit of the doubt for the crash and had a decent start to the race, still wasn’t at Gasly’s level.

Hulk Gb

Started: 13th Finished: DNS

Qualifying

Practice laps: 66
Gap to team-mate: +0.065s
Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.447s

It says a lot about Hulkenberg’s progress in practice and the first part of qualifying that 13th – on his second day in the car after a last-minute call up – was considered to be disappointing.

All things considered, this was a good effort in difficult circumstances.

Race

Penalties:
Positions gained/lost lap 1: N/A
Strategy: DNS

Never even got out of the garage after sheared bolt in the clutch housing lodged itself in a place that prevented the engine turning over.

VERDICT: Considering his late call up and cold-start, qualifying was a very credible effort but who knows what would have happened in the race.

Stroll Gb

Started: 6th Finished: 10th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 65
Gap to team-mate: -0.065s
Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.143s

Stroll made it through to Q3 using the medium tyres, but only by the skin of his teeth after failing to improve on his second run and only being classified ahead of Gasly thanks to setting his time earlier.

From there, sixth place was solid as the pace was there to at least be ahead of Norris.

Race

Penalties:
Positions gained/lost lap 1: DOWN 2
1 stop (medium/hard)

While the safety car negated any advantage of starting on mediums thanks to ensuring most of the field made their first stop at the same time, this was a difficult race for Stroll.

He was shuffled back two places at the start and was unable to make progress from there. In fact, he went backwards as Ocon, Gasly and Albon all passed him and he had to rely on the late tyre problems for Bottas and Sainz to salvage points for ninth.

VERDICT: A Racing Point should be qualifying a little higher and finishing a lot higher than Stroll achieved.

Kimi Gb

Started: 16th Finished: 17th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 79
Gap to team-mate: +0.202s
Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.061s

Raikkonen was happier with the feel and performance of his car, Luffield spin into the gravel in FP1 aside.

The gap to Giovinazzi was exaggerated by losing time behind Ocon in the final two corners on his quick lap, but made no difference to his position.

Race

Penalties:
Positions gained/lost lap 1: DOWN 1
2 stops (medium/hard/soft)

Raikkonen ran 16th in the first stint in the queue after losing out to a brief off at Turn 3 on the first lap, but seemed to struggle more once onto the hard tyres and became embroiled in a battle with Russell’s Williams, which he lost, before then dropping behind Latifi.

A front wing failure cost him late on, but the race had already got away from him before that.

VERDICT: Very much the number two Alfa Romeo driver both on qualifying and race performance.

Giovinazzi Gb

Started: 15th Finished: 14th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 64
Gap to team-mate: -0.202s
Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.133s

A spin at Becketts in FP1 followed by going a little too quickly on his return to the pits caused floor damage, but otherwise Giovinazzi had a solid run through practice before a tidy qualifying lap, although time lost in the first sector cost him a place to Magnussen.

Race

Penalties: +5s (speeding under safety car)
Positions gained/lost lap 1: UP 2
1 stop (medium/soft)

Held 13th early on and looked comfortable battling in the midfield train and kept Gasly’s AlphaTauri behind him for a decent period. The improved Alfa Romeo still is not especially fast on race pace, so he did what he could to finish 12th on the road, but a 5s penalty for speeding under the safety car meant he dropped two places.

VERDICT: A decent weekend performance wise, but undermined by his mistake under the safety car.

Grosjean Gb

Started: 17th Finished: 16th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 70
Gap to team-mate: +0.485s
Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.569s

“You can’t predict you, you can’t control it,” said the apologetic Grosjean after exiting in Q1, in reference to the wind he blamed for a couple of snaps early in the lap that cost him. It was a shame as he looked marginally the faster of the Haas drivers but ended up 19th.

Race

Penalties:
Positions gained/lost lap 1: UP 1
1 stop (medium/hard)

After getting up to 15th early on, he ran fifth thanks to taking the gamble of not stopping under the safety car. He did a good job while there, dangerous defending aside, but he didn’t get the lucky break he needed later on to make the strategy work and ended up a distant 16th.

Not great on paper, but he said he was “proud” of his race.

VERDICT: Quicker than the qualifying results indicated, although that was his own fault, better in the race than the results stated, but compromised himself with questionable defending.

Magnussen Gb

Started:14th Finished: DNF

Qualifying

Practice laps: 65
Gap to team-mate: -0.485s
Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.055s

Strung together a decent lap in Q1 when the potentially slightly faster Grosjean was unable to do so in a Haas that both drivers were satisfied with despite having to lean off the downforce to compensate for the Ferrari engine weakness.

Race

Penalties:
Positions gained/lost lap 1: DOWN 1
0 stops (medium)

A good first lap put him 12th, but he took too much of the Club kerb and clobbered the raised part on the inside, destabilising his car and pitching him wide.

He then seemed oblivious and turned in on Albon, who was legitimately alongside even though the stewards disagreed.

VERDICT: Fine while it lasted, but we can’t ignore the fact it was his kerb error that created the conditions for his race-ending collision.

Latifi Gb

Started: 18th Finished: 15th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 71
Gap to team-mate: +0.973s
Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.224s

As he admitted, he got “just a bit too greedy” on the throttle at Luffield on his final Q2 lap and spun.

This exaggerated the gap to Russell, which was 0.631s based on first runs, and Latifi would have needed to close that gap to about fourth tenths on the second run were he to achieve what he thought was possible and make Q2.

Race

Penalties:
Positions gained/lost lap 1: DOWN 1
1 stop (medium/hard)

An error at Copse, taking too much speed in while not on the conventional line, led to a snap and running wide off the track and lost positions.

But from 19th and last he passed Raikkonen in a straight fight and held off Grosjean in what was his best race performance in F1 so far.

VERDICT: Too far off Russell’s pace and made a first-lap error, but that mistake aside his race performance was decent enough.

Russell Gb

Started: 20th Finished: 12th

Qualifying

Practice laps: 71
Gap to team-mate: -0.973s
Gap to ‘ideal’ lap: +0.396s

Another quality qualifying performance was undermined by the five-place penalty for not respecting the yellow flags waved for Latifi’s spin – his explanations of innocence over the radio suggesting he knew he was in trouble.

Even so, the pace was good, although he could go no quicker in Q2 thanks to no longer having the top Mercedes engine mode available.

Race

Penalties: +5 grid drop (ignoring yellow flag)
Positions gained/lost lap 1: UP 2
1 stop (medium/hard)

This was one of Russell’s stronger races in F1, during which he was able to pass Alfa Romeos on merit and pick up a 12th place, just 10 seconds off a points position.

While the safety cars helped, this was the strongest package he’s ever had on a Sunday in F1.

VERDICT: The yellow flag infringement was unfortunate, but he also has to carry some responsibility for that. Otherwise, his strongest weekend of the season.

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