United States GP Driver Ratings

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United States GP Driver Ratings

Lewis Hamilton clinched his sixth F1 title at the US GP – but wasn’t the star performer in the race. So who else had a big day in Texas?
Valtteri Bottas
Qualified 1st, Finished 1st

United States GP Driver Ratings

Undoubtedly one of Valtteri Bottas’ best performances of the season. Just a shame for the Finn, then, that it came on the weekend when his team-mate wrapped up the championship.

He took pole by the slimmest of margins but, although strategy meant it was close at the end, was pretty dominant in the race and never really looked under threat from his main two-stopping rival Max Verstappen. It was only when Lewis Hamilton had the lead in the closing stages that it looked like Bottas might lose this race win, but even then he cooly and confidently chased the soon-to-be champion down for the victory.

Bottas believes he’s made big progress this season in getting closer to Hamilton and while he has been his main title rival, that has a lot to do with Mercedes’ package and their start to the campaign. We hadn’t really seen these kind of weekends since the start of the season from Bottas – but he’ll hope to kick-on now and admitted he “can’t wait” for F1 2020 to start.
Rating out of 10: 9.5

Lewis Hamilton
Qualified 5th, Finished 2nd

Starting fifth after an uncharacteristically poor qualifying – his worst of the season – nobody would have blamed Hamilton, needing to only finish eighth to clinch the title, if he took it easy on the first lap and coasted to an early coronation. But that just isn’t him. Filled with the desire he says he’s had since battling against the odds at go-kart tracks as an eight-year-old, Hamilton overtook two Ferraris on the first lap and then took on a riskier one-stop strategy in an attempt to seal his sixth crown in style. At one stage, Hamilton even started choosing his own strategy as he looked to save his tyres for the end of the race.

“You’ve got to admire Lewis,” said Sky F1’s Martin Brundle as Hamilton took a contrasting US GP route to main rivals Bottas and Verstappen. “Third is just fine for this sixth title. He could put his feet up and read the paper, coast in, but he just doesn’t want to.”

In the end, he was a sitting duck when Bottas came charging on Lap 52, but he can still be proud of this drive – particularly after that disappointing Saturday. Hamilton hasn’t been his best in qualifying this year – by his standards – but has been all-but-perfect on Sundays and he didn’t really put a foot wrong in the Austin race.
Rating out of 10: 8.5

Max Verstappen
Qualified 3rd, Finished 3rd

Trust Max Verstappen to get the absolute maximum out of the Red Bull. Although he never really looked to be in contention for victory, this was another complete weekend from the Dutchman. He was within a tenth of pole – and half a second ahead of his team-mate – while he did well just to stick with the Mercedes and was unlucky not to catch Hamilton in the end – yellow flags on the straight perhaps costing him second. And all that with a damaged Red Bull. Without that, who knows where Verstappen could have ended.

What Verstappen really needs is for Red Bull to be this competitive – particularly in qualifying – at every race. For in Verstappen, Red Bull have one of the quickest, and most consistent, drivers on the grid who they can trust to deliver week in, week out.
Rating out of 10: 9.5

Charles Leclerc
Qualified 4th, Finished 4th

We knew Ferrari were better in qualifying than the race, but nobody expected them to be this bad on Sunday. Especially Charles Leclerc.

While Vettel’s afternoon was undoubtedly worse, Leclerc just didn’t have the pace from the beginning and finished 41 seconds down on race-winner Bottas – albeit with a fastest lap bonus point.

By the standards he is set in a sparkling Scuderia rookie year, Leclerc wasn’t quite at his best this weekend. Although his narrow qualifying margin to Vettel, and indeed pole, could be justified by the fact he had to revert back to an older engine on Saturday morning.
Rating out of 10: 7

Alex Albon
Qualified 6th, Finished 5th

Let’s start with the positives. Alex Albon has been superb coming through the field in recent races and the way he picked off his prey in Sunday’s race proved he has the makings of a top driver. That recovery even saw him voted Driver Of The Day, while the Thai certainly seems to be much more comfortable overtaking than the man he replaced at Red Bull, Pierre Gasly.

But while fifth was impressive in the circumstances, this was another weekend where Albon made a few mistakes. In qualifying, for example, he was well off the pace on his first lap – and then his second lap was deleted for exceeding track limits. That meant he started sixth, and he then made race-altering contact with Carlos Sainz after being squeezed by a Ferrari. Sure, Albon didn’t make a big error this weekend – not by a long shot – but he has to start nailing complete weekends if he is going to have a chance of consistently competing with Max.
Rating out of 10: 8

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