No one in the Formula 1 field had a straightforward Las Vegas Grand Prix, as the circuit’s quirks, various form fluctuations, the first-lap mess and safety car timing meant qualifying positions became pretty irrelevant and almost every position was uncertain until the final stages.
All of which made ranking the field’s efforts tricky. Edd Straw looked beneath the results and assessed who really performed.
How do the rankings work? The 20 drivers will be ranked in order of performance from best to worst on each grand prix weekend. This will be based on the full range of criteria, ranging from pace and racecraft to consistency and whether they made key mistakes. How close each driver got to delivering on the maximum performance potential of the car will be an essential consideration.
It’s important to note both that this reflects performance across the entire weekend, cognisant of the fact that qualifying is effectively ‘lap 0’ of the race and key to laying the foundations to the race, and that it is not a ranking of the all-round qualities of each driver. It’s simply about how they performed on a given weekend. Therefore, the ranking will fluctuate significantly from weekend to weekend.
And with each of the 10 cars fundamentally having different performance potential and ‘luck’ (ie factors outside of a driver’s control) contributing to the way the weekend plays out, this ranking will also differ significantly from the overall results.
Started: 1st Finished: 2nd
Charles Leclerc was on fine form in Las Vegas and felt “the win was ours” given he was in control when the safety car appeared for the second time.
That happened shortly after he’d pitted for hard tyres, meaning he had no choice but to stay out.
His five-lap tyre-life advantage was flipped to an equivalent deficit and he couldn’t keep Max Verstappen at bay, albeit seizing second by repassing Sergio Perez with a superbly-executed last lap move.
There were a few minor criticisms, such as the small lock-up at the first restart and perhaps being a little cautious in battle while being passed, but he left very little on the table while fighting Red Bull single-handed.
Verdict: Deserved the opportunity to close out the win.
Started: 3rd Finished: 1st
Victory number 18 of 2023 was far from a foregone conclusion once Verstappen’s race was compromised by serving the five-second penalty for his over-ambitious first corner move at his first pitstop.
But George Russell turning in on him and triggering the safety car to clear up debris swung the race back in Verstappen’s favour despite giving him minor front-wing endplate damage, presenting an opportunity he seized.
Verdict: Took his chances effectively.
Started: 7th Finished: 17th
Valtteri Bottas was eighth-fastest in qualifying despite feeling ill, which was a fine achievement in the Alfa Romeo, and held his seventh-place starting spot into Turn 1 when Fernando Alonso spun into his path.
Read More: Edd Straw’s 2023 Las Vegas Grand Prix F1 driver rankings 2023-11-20 10:37:12