POWER RANKINGS: Who emerged from France as king of Le Castellet?
Max Verstappen won the French Grand Prix after Charles Leclerc crashed out, the Dutchman having extended his championship lead with a comfortable display at Circuit Paul Ricard. But who attracted the highest score from the judges this week?
How it works
Our five-judge panel assess each driver after every Grand Prix and score 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)
Driver of the Day Sainz took the joint-highest score in this week’s Power Rankings. The Ferrari driver, who was hit with a back-of-grid penalty for taking new engine components, helped his team mate to pole position with a handy slipstream and worked his way from P19 to a high of P3. After an unfortunate five-second penalty for an unsafe release, he was able to finish fifth with fastest lap for crucial points.
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Hamilton qualified fourth to share the second row with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and quickly proved that his pace was superior to that of the RB18 driver. The seven-time champion, in his 300th race, pulled away from Perez and capitalised on the retirement of Charles Leclerc to finish second for a fourth consecutive podium finish – on a weekend in which the W13 didn’t seem to be at its best.
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Verstappen qualified second after the Scuderia employed their shrewd slipstreaming strategy on Saturday and kept pace with Leclerc in the early stages of the race, staying right on the rear wing of his Ferrari until that race-ending crash at Turn 11. From there, Verstappen cruised to victory, stretching his legs in the standings.
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Russell was out-qualified by McLaren’s Lando Norris by just under a tenth of a second, the Mercedes driver quickly passing the orange car on race day. Perez proved a more stubborn obstacle, Russell almost collecting the car at Turn 8 late on before swiping the final podium place from the Mexican in the Virtual Safety Car period. From there, he hung on by under a second to back up the Silver Arrows’ first double podium of the season.
READ MORE: Perez left feeling 'screwed' by Virtual Safety Car ending as Russell revels in 'satisfying' overtake at French GP
Alonso bossed the midfield on Sunday for P6 in the race. Despite qualifying seventh, behind Russell and Norris, the two-time champion employed every facet of his experience (surpassing Kimi Raikkonen’s raced-laps record on the way) to hold up the McLarens and help team mate Esteban Ocon finish eighth – helping Alpine pass their payapa rivals for P4 in the constructors’ championship.
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Norris impressed throughout the weekend and split the Mercedes in qualifying. But on Sunday, the Briton couldn’t contend with the pace and tactics of Alonso, Norris finishing P7 for McLaren. That seventh-place showing meant Norris headed a rapid Ocon and team mate Daniel Ricciardo in P9, helping McLaren salvage solid points in their hunt for P4.
READ MORE: Norris takes a 'lot of positives' from France despite Alpine edging ahead of McLaren in the championship
Aston Martin’s Stroll is next up in our rankings, the Canadian driver having shrugged off a lowly qualifying performance that saw him start P15. Despite that, he shot to P11 at the start and got round team mate Sebastian Vettel – who was busy dodging the Lap 1 chaos – to stay ahead of the four-time champion. The last lap of the race saw Stroll and Vettel go wheel-to-wheel in the chase for the final point, a battle that the #18 driver won as he kept his elbows out on the last corner.
READ MORE: ‘I nearly ran into him’ says Vettel after tense late-race scrap with Stroll
Ocon started P10 on Sunday and passed Ricciardo for P8 in the race, the Frenchman gaining via a helping hand from team mate Alonso. Ocon couldn’t make it much further as Norris had the pace on his Alpine, but P8 was a job well done for the home racer.
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Albon made it to 13th on the grid for the race, ahead of home racer Pierre Gasly and the Aston Martin of Lance Stroll, and while he was hovering outside the top 10 for much of the encounter, it soon became clear he wouldn’t be able to challenge for points. The Williams driver kept it clean, though, and ended up finishing 13th, behind AlphaTauri driver Gasly.
READ MORE: Albon 'frustrated' to leave France without points – but positive Latifi says his season now 'back on track'
Vettel made the top 10 in this week’s post-French GP Power Rankings, the Aston Martin driver having lost out early on after having to slow for a collision between Ocon and Yuki Tsunoda. Vettel did turn up the wick late on, catching Stroll at a rate of knots before making his move on the final corner of the final lap of the race. Stroll closed the door, Vettel avoided the contact, but the Canadian took the last point.
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Kevin Magnussen missed out on the top 10 in France, having started from the back of the grid with engine penalties before retiring on Lap 37 thanks to contact with Nicholas Latifi.