RACE DEBRIEF

    The first ever Grand Prix to be held at Mugello won’t be forgotten in a hurry, with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton surviving two red flag periods to claim win number six of this mad, mad season. But how did the action from the Tuscan Grand Prix 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)

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    For the briefest of moments at the start of the Tuscan Grand Prix, Hamilton’s crown slipped, as the polesitter was well and truly beaten off the line by Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas, who’d looked up for the fight all weekend. After that blipette, however, it was all Hamilton, the six-time champion (and seemingly seven-time champion in waiting) overcoming a spot of brake conflagration to re-take the lead at the first Safety Car restart, and check out for win #90. Perhaps most impressive of all, though, was how hard Hamilton had had to work to dial himself into the Mugello track after an off-key Friday.

    READ MORE: Hamilton says ‘heart-racing’ Tuscan GP was like 3 races in one day

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    Daniel Ricciardo is in a purple patch of form right now, and that was very much in evidence at Mugello. Disadvantaged by his team mate Esteban Ocon’s spin in qualifying, Ricciardo was then rampant on race day, with his dramatic “let’s finish what we started” ahead of the second restart – which briefly saw him climb to second ahead of Bottas – showing that Honey Badger mode was fully engaged. Ultimately Ricciardo had to give way to both Bottas and Alex Albon – but it was a great display nonetheless.

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    Even Sebastian Vettel, the driver who beat George Russell to his first ever career points, felt that the Williams driver deserved better than his 11th place finish. In fact, had Lance Stroll not crashed and brought out the second red flag while Russell was holding P9, he’d have almost certainly had those points. But he got passed by Kimi Raikkonen, Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean at the restart, dropped to 12th, repassed Grosjean for P11 – and that was that.

    READ MORE: ‘He really deserved a point today’ – Vettel feels for Russell after Williams driver misses out at Mugello

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    He’s finally done it! A podium! Yet while there was much to celebrate in Alex Albon’s rostrum run – two scintillating passes on Ricciardo and Sergio Perez the undoubted highlights – you could sense the note of exasperation in Team Principal Christian Horner’s voice after the race, as he told his driver: “You did it the hard way.” Horner was presumably referring to Albon’s two botched restarts, which forced those overtakes, but still, it was an immense recovery for a well-deserved podium.

    Third-time lucky: Alex Albon's near misses and podium-sealing Tuscan GP pass

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    On a 1,000th Grand Prix weekend where not huge amounts of things went right for Ferrari, Charles Leclerc was once again the team’s saviour. He got a mite lucky when several of his rivals were unable to nail their second runs in Q3 thanks to Ocon’s spin, leaving him P5 on the grid. But Leclerc was then was brilliant off the line to jump to third, before the grinding descent through the order to a classified eighth at the flag – although in truth, Leclerc’s race pace was such that he was outgunned by Raikkonen’s Alfa Romeo, who finished ahead on the road before his five-second time penalty was added.

    ‘We were just slow’ – Leclerc downbeat despite Ferrari’s double points finish in their 1000th GP

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    After an underwhelming start to the season, it appears Kimi Raikkonen’s juices are beginning to flow, with the Finn putting in a battling drive to claim his first points of the season. Key to that was his second Safety Car restart, which saw him surge from 11th on the grid to pass Leclerc for eighth, before holding onto that position all the way to the flag – whereupon his penalty dragged him down to P9.

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    Romain Grosjean was another driver who aced the second restart, as he followed Raikkonen through on Leclerc to briefly hold P9. And although he’d eventually fall to 12th and last place by the chequered flag, considering Haas estimated the Frenchman had lost 70 points of downforce (that’s a lot) in the Lap 1 chaos – his car so damaged that Grosjean had briefly switched it off, thinking he was out of the race – it was a truly commendable drive from Grosjean.

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    It was another strong weekend from Monza podiumist Lance Stroll. Yes, he lost out to team mate Sergio Perez in qualifying despite being armed with a superior aero package – although once again, you could blame his chum Ocon’s Q3 spin for that – but Stroll was doing a fine job on the fringes of a second-straight podium when he crashed heavily into the barriers through no fault of his own.

    READ MORE: Stroll blames puncture or suspension failure for massive crash at Mugello

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    You got the feeling at Mugello that, after the disappointments of Monza, Max Verstappen was a caged tiger waiting to get stuck into the Mercedes duo – who, with some sense of inevitability, were the only cars to qualify ahead of him on Saturday. That his race lasted just two corners – with Verstappen already on the back foot by the first of those thanks to an electrical issue – was a disappointment felt by both the Dutchman and F1 fans in general.

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    After the highs of Monza for the AlphaTauri team, Mugello was more their signature dish, Daniil Kvyat steadily, sensibly grinding out a strong result, as he used the AT01’s improving pace to finish just three seconds adrift of Lando Norris in the McLaren. P7 was his best result of the season, with Kvyat now having scored points consecutive races, as his performances appear to be in the ascendant.

    MISSING OUT

    A key absentee from the top 10 after Mugello was Valtteri Bottas, who after a beautiful initial launch to steal the lead from Hamilton, had to play second-best across the rest of the Grand Prix, despite having looked the stronger Mercedes driver for much of the weekend. The judges scored him with a 7.2, while he was beaten by a pair of 7.4s for Norris and Perez.

    READ MORE: 'It has to turn out well for me at some point', says beaten Bottas

    THE OVERALL STANDINGS

    Daniel Ricciardo is the biggest mover in the leaderboard after Mugello, rising up past Pierre Gasly to P3, having scored an impressive 26.8 out of 30 at the last three races. Meanwhile, Albon’s podium was enough to yank him back into the top 10, as he demoted Daniil Kvyat the other way.

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