RACE DEBRIEF

    Lewis Hamilton made it four wins out of six in 2020 with a flawless run to victory at the Spanish Grand Prix. But how did the points play out in Power Rankings? Our judges' scores are in...

    HOW IT WORKS

    • Our five-judge panel assesses each driver after every Grand Prix and scores them out of 10 according to their performance across the weekend – taking machinery out of the equation

    • Our experts’ scores are then averaged out to produce a race score – with those scores then tallied up across the season on our overall Power Rankings Leaderboard (at the bottom of the page)

    OUR SPANISH GRAND PRIX TOP 10

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    It says a lot about Hamilton’s win in Spain that he was so in the zone he didn’t realise the race was over (or was that just the hypnotic nature of pounding out laps at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya which the drivers are so used to?).

    Either way, this was one of those relentless Hamilton performances where victory never really looked in doubt, the judges handing him a near-perfect 9.8, as he retakes the head of the leaderboard for good measure. Oh, and he surpassed another Michael Schumacher record too…

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    Red Bull team boss Christian Horner said over the Spain weekend that Verstappen was “delivering at an incredibly high level” and “arguably the most in-form driver in Formula 1 at the moment”.

    Apart from the guy above him in the Power Rankings, it’s a hard statement to dispute, as once again Verstappen managed to be the meat in a Mercedes sandwich and claim second, despite the Mercs looking much the quicker cars on race day. He sits just 0.2 points behind Hamilton on the leaderboard.

    READ MORE: Bottas and Albon have the two hardest jobs in F1, says Horner

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    With the caveat that Carlos Sainz always goes well at his home track, this was a very ‘2019 vintage’ performance from the Spaniard, in a McLaren MCL35 that he said had “new life” after a chassis and power unit change. He outpaced team mate Lando Norris across the weekend, and was once more the thorn in the side of the second Red Bull car (as he was so often last year), finishing two places ahead of Alex Albon.

    READ MORE: Sainz ‘proud’ to have taken fight to Racing Points as he maintains 100% home points record

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    If Max Verstappen’s putting his Red Bull in positions it has no right to be in, Pierre Gasly’s arguably doing the same in the AlphaTauri.

    The Frenchman once again outpaced team mate Daniil Kvyat in qualifying to make it through to Q3 and end up 10th on the grid, before an electric start in the race got him ahead of Charles Leclerc and Lando Norris, with Gasly eventually coming home ninth. The only negative for Gasly from another impressive weekend was finding that his house had been broken into when he got home…

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    It definitely didn’t look like Sergio Perez had missed the last two Grands Prix, as he slotted back into the Racing Point team with ease, outpacing Lance Stroll by a tenth in qualifying, before finishing ahead on the road in P4, having been able to execute a one-stop strategy. He dropped to P5 after his penalty for ignoring blue flags, but still – a great comeback.

    READ MORE: Perez brands blue flag penalty ‘really unfair’ after fifth place finish on F1 return

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    Remember in 2013 when we were all getting a trifle bored with Sebastian Vettel winning everything? Seems a long time ago now, eh? But it was good for the soul to see Vettel have a decent race after his and Ferrari’s poor starts to the year, the German reacting with frustration to being asked to switch to a one-stop mid-race – with some justification – but making it work a treat to take a confidence-aiding seventh.

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    In truth, had Charles Leclerc finished the Grand Prix, he’d have most likely done so as the leading Ferrari driver, having once again appeared to have the legs on Vettel slightly throughout the weekend. The Monegasque did well to get the SF1000 up into Q3 and was on for a P6 finish before his power unit decided to call it a day.

    READ MORE: Leclerc had 'good chance' of P6 before hitting electrical issue and undoing belts

    7= RAI ESP.jpg

    On paper,14th doesn’t look great for a Kimi Raikkonen who was a moderately frequent points-scorer last year. And while he doesn’t have any points in 2020 so far, this was at least a better showing from the 2007 champ, who finally, FINALLY, got an Alfa Romeo out of Q1, before enjoying some excellent battles in the race to come home in that P14.

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    There was actually very little to choose between Racing Point racers Perez and Stroll in Barcelona, 0.107s the difference in qualifying in the Mexican’s favour, while Stroll claimed P4 by dint of Perez’s penalty, having run in formation with his team mate for much of the race.

    But it was nonetheless a strong performance from the Canadian, helped by an absolute peach of a start that launched him into P3 ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the early laps.

    READ MORE: ‘It felt good to pass a Mercedes!’ says Stroll after lightning start helps him to P4 in Spain

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    There was to be no Q2 glory for George Russell this weekend, with the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya bringing Williams back to Earth somewhat on the one-lap pace front. Still, Russell outgunned his team mate Nicholas Latifi by over four-tenths in qualifying, before enjoying a battling race drive to 17th, including a genuine, no-fooling overtake on Romain Grosjean’s Haas.

    MISSING OUT

    Lando Norris finished just outside the top 10 this week with a race score of 7.0, the McLaren driver claiming a solitary point despite having been a smidgen off the pace of team mate Sainz for most of the weekend.

    Behind him, Alex Albon and Daniel Ricciardo were tied on a 6.8, Albon’s race hindered by having to go onto some unyielding hard tyres, while Daniel Ricciardo ended up puzzled by Renault’s lack of pace in the race, but still managed P11.

    THE OVERALL STANDINGS

    Leiws Hamilton re-passes Max Verstappen to take the head of the Power Rankings leaderboard, this pair of drivers in a class of two, separated by just 0.2 points – with the next closest driver, McLaren’s Lando Norris, a full 6.8 points behind Verstappen.

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