POWER RANKINGS: Hamilton keeps No 1 spot as Verstappen rises up the pack
Lewis Hamilton produced a masterclass to win the Singapore Grand Prix and in doing so, the Mercedes star has unsurprisingly held on to top spot in our Power Rankings. But how did his rivals get on? Some will be chuffed with their recent exploits, others not so much...
How it’s done
Our team of experts assess each driver after every Grand Prix and score them according to their performance across the weekend - taking machinery out of the equation
Our experts' scores are then combined to produce an ongoing overall ranking which reflects driver form - taking only the three most recent races into account
This week’s Top 10
A magnificent second win in a row for Lewis Hamilton has allowed him to keep hold of the No 1 spot, and deservedly so. But it isn’t just the fact he won in Singapore that has helped his cause – it’s the way in which he claimed a seventh victory of the season. Coming into this race, the Marina Bay Street Circuit was supposed to be Mercedes’ bogey track – but Hamilton put any doubts to bed with a quite superb qualifying performance, a lap his boss Toto Wolff labelled as ‘the best lap I have ever seen in an F1 car’. He then turned pole into victory, once again demonstrating his sheer class with clever tyre management – and when he was put under pressure, he kept his cool. In form like this, it's hard to see him slipping from the top spot.
Max Verstappen showed his flaws in Italy - when he was handed a five-second penalty to miss out on a podium - but he bounced back in superb fashion in Singapore, producing a mature performance to finish second for Red Bull. Like Hamilton, the Dutchman pushed his car to the limits to qualify on the front row – an impressive feat given the engine problems he had endured all weekend. Then, despite losing out to Sebastian Vettel in the early stages, he took advantage of a fine team strategy to reclaim second. This was a race in which Verstappen showed just why he is so highly-rated by Red Bull, having landed his second podium in three races and, as a result, bagged a brilliant three-race score from our panel.
With his soon-to-be team mate Verstappen stealing second spot, Pierre Gasly has to settle for third place in our latest rankings. His last two results might suggest on face value he’s gone off the boil slightly, failing to land in the points, and the Frenchman had revealed his frustrations at a lack of pace in Singapore. But he still outqualified and outperformed team mate Brendon Hartley, as has been the case for much of the season, and also kept us on the edge of our seats when tussling with Charles Leclerc. There’s no forgetting his P9 in Belgium either, while he was also slightly unfortunate to miss out on a top ten finish at Monza.
Now you might be surprised to see Esteban Ocon climb up three places to fourth, given his Singapore Grand Prix lasted a matter of corners. But before that race, the highly-rated Frenchman – who could well be without an F1 seat next year – had managed consecutive sixth places in Belgium and Italy. And his Singapore exit was hardly his fault, with the Force India driver enjoying a blistering start only to be bumped into the wall by his team mate, Sergio Perez. It was a bitter blow for Ocon, with his package looking strong all weekend, but he can take some solace with this Power Rankings P4.
Bottas returns to his fifth place, having dropped down the order to P8 in our previous tally, following a consistent showing in Singapore to add to solid outings in Belgium and Italy. The Finn perhaps knew a victory was out of his hands when he could only qualify fourth fastest, but he still needed to keep his head down in the race. That he did, enduring a quiet evening at the tight and twisty Marina Bay Street Circuit, but he picked up vital points for Mercedes – allowing them to extend their title lead over Ferrari to 37 points. He now turns his attention to Russia, a track where he secured his maiden F1 victory, so don’t be surprised if he climbs the order again next time out...
We have ourselves a new entry in Williams’ Sergey Sirotkin, whose driving of late has clearly caught the attention of our panel. It would be an understatement to say the Russian had a lively Sunday night in Singapore. He was understandably pumped for this race, given he had secured his first points of the season last time out in Italy and been similarly impressive in Belgium. A tough qualifying session, in which he finished second from bottom, albeit ahead of team mate Lance Stroll, suggested a quiet race was ahead of him on Sunday – but the opposite happened on track. He was involved in entertaining squabbles with Sergio Perez, Romain Grosjean and Brendon Hartley, running as high as 13th, before a five-second penalty pushed him down the order. Despite finishing last, the Russian rookie is finally beginning to find his feet in F1, and expect more of the same at the remaining six races of 2018.
Oh Kimi, what a time you've had recently! A difficult race (and retirement) in Belgium followed by a missed opportunity in Italy, the loss of his Ferrari drive and a fairly anonymous outing in Singapore sees him drop three places down the Power Rankings pecking order. He looked on the pace in Friday practice in the previous race, but once it became clear that he would start fifth on the grid, that was perhaps the best he was ever going to achieve at a track where overtaking is so tricky. He's not driving badly - as pole in Italy would suggest - but he's definitely not at his very best either.
McLaren-bound Carlos Sainz is proving to be Mr Consistent, pulling together a run of results that has boosted Renault’s hopes of finishing fourth this season. After an 11th place finish in Belgium, the Spaniard has since scored successive eighth places, helping him climb two places in our rankings. After struggling on the Saturday in Singapore, he delivered the goods when it mattered most, getting ahead of team mate Nico Hulkenberg at the start of the race and then taking advantage with his tyre strategy to rise up into the top ten. And if you're a fan of stats, you'll hopefully enjoy this one: he has completed more racing laps this season than anyone other than Hamilton and Vettel. Impressive right?
Vettel seemed a man on a mission after returning from the summer break, deservedly winning at Spa. Since that win, however, an early error at Monza followed by a surprisingly low-key performance in Singapore has left his championship hopes in doubt, and he now needs to regroup heading to the final six races of the season. Although much has been made of his individual mistakes this term, he wasn’t exactly at fault in Singapore, with his SF70H off the pace in qualifying, before a strategic call by Ferrari didn't pay off as hoped. It was a double blow to see his rival Hamilton win both those races, and he now has it all to do if he is to claim a fifth world title.
Fresh from the news that he’ll partner Vettel at Ferrari next season, replacing the experienced Raikkonen, Leclerc delivered a mature performance in Singapore to bring home the points for Sauber. Prior to that the youngster had endured quite a tough period, going five races without a point, three of which ended in retirement. It looked like it would be another tricky weekend, after he crashed in FP1, but he bounced back in impressive fashion to deliver a deserved P9, and now returns to our rankings. He even gave fans a glimpse of what they can expect next year, when he fought hard with Gasly before eventually finding a way through. A real racer.
Sergio Perez and Romain Grosjean, who sat third and fifth respectively, drop out this week having both endured races to forget. Perez was involved in high-profile incidents with Ocon and Sirotkin, both of which appeared to be his fault, and he now suffers the consequences by losing his Power Rankings spot. Grosjean, meanwhile, was handed a five-second penalty for ignoring blue flags in Singapore, and that performance has ultimately led to a low score from our panel, resulting in a demotion.
On the bubble
Despite their woes, Perez and Grosjean could well return to the top ten should they deliver a good performance in Russia. They are joined by Fernando Alonso, who will want to end his final season in Formula 1 with a bang.