POWER RANKINGS: Who’s the new king of the leaderboard after the 70th Anniversary GP?
Red Bull's Max Verstappen may have taken the first non-Mercedes victory of 2020 at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix, but how have the scores played out in Power Rankings? Our judges have had their say…
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 70TH ANNIVERSARY GP TOP 10
Hardly surprising to see Verstappen with a perfect score, is it? The Dutch driver achieved the dream of every non-Mercedes driver this year by beating the Silver Arrows at the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix. More impressively, he did it on pace alone, with a fabulously committed drive, and no Safety Car interventions or tyre failures to help him out. It’s given some hope that this title fight might not yet be done, and we’re excited to see how he goes in Spain, where hot temperatures are forecast once again – a factor which Mercedes attributed to their downfall.
If Max Verstappen was exceptional in a car that has shown flashes of being a top-drawer racing machine so far this year, Charles Leclerc was equally so in a Ferrari that has proven itself to be less than that. While team mate Sebastian Vettel spun away his chances in Turn 1, Lap1, Leclerc didn’t put a foot wrong in working his one-stop strategy – slow and steady progress apparently the best way to get a result out of the Ferrari SF1000 currently – taking a car he’d said in qualifying he could do nothing with to a fourth place that felt “like victory”. There could be no other score but a perfect one.
Nico Hulkenberg scored a 7.3 at the British Grand Prix for not even starting the race. But if his comeback last weekend was assured, it was sublime this time around, Hulkenberg a stunning P3 in qualifying, and ahead of Verstappen, while Racing Point’s lesser race pace meant he looked set to come home fifth behind Leclerc, until his late stop for softs to cure vibrations dropped him to seventh. That could be it from the Hulk in 2020, if Sergio Perez can return in Spain. But his performance won’t have escaped team bosses shopping for a driver for 2021.
P2 in both qualifying and the race – and with a different driver ahead in both those sessions – is not Lewis Hamilton’s natural habitat. But even when he’s not winning, Hamilton usually manages to get the next best result going, and so it proved, as Mercedes – ironically by studying his team mate Valtteri Bottas’ tyres – worked out they could optimise Hamilton’s strategy to allow him to work his way up to second, ahead of Bottas, by race end. A different Hamilton performance from the crushing ones we’re used to at Silverstone, then – but still an effective one in the circumstances.
Another race, another Alex Albon rampage up the order from P9 on the grid. On the one hand, that was brilliant to watch, as he put in some astounding, if edgy, moves on the likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Pierre Gasly, Lando Norris and, in the closing stages, Lance Stroll to finish fifth. On the other hand, it would be great to see what Albon could do in a more standard drive, starting a bit closer to his team mate. But he appears to be getting happier with the Red Bull RB16 – so let’s see what awaits in Barcelona.
Daniil Kvyat was chuffed to take the final point on Sunday afternoon, having failed to make it out of Q1 on Saturday thanks to a “gust of wind” messing up his lap. In the race, it was a typical Kvyat display, head down, grinding out a result by, in his words “squeezing everything” out of his AT01. A solid performance from the Russian, although his qualifying needs improvement to get up to the level of his team mate Gasly.
2020 started so well, but now appears to be ebbing slightly away from Valtteri Bottas, as he once more caught the rough end of Mercedes’ bad luck. He was brilliant on Saturday to take pole from Hamilton by 0.063s, while ironically it was by being the front-running Mercedes early on in the race that he ultimately ended up finishing behind Hamilton, thanks to the aforementioned inspection of his tyres allowing Mercedes to finesse Hamilton’s strategy. All that means a frustrated Bottas has now lost second in the drivers’ standings to Verstappen. Oh dear.
After the heady P5 heights of the British Grand Prix, Lando Norris could only take a P9 this time – and admitted after the Grand Prix that he was surprised to even get that after what he described as a "terrible race". Still, he managed to be the leading McLaren once again, as team mate Carlos Sainz came away from the Silverstone races with zero points to Norris’ 12.
While Daniel Ricciardo’s fifth place in qualifying made Esteban Ocon’s 11th look fairly ordinary (especially when that became P14 once Ocon had received a penalty for blocking George Russell), Ocon, like Leclerc, ground out an effective one-stop strategy in the Grand Prix, meaning that while Ricciardo’s race unravelled, Ocon steadily made his way up to Renault’s now-traditional P8 spot by the flag. Unspectacular, perhaps – but points is points, while Ocon was encouraged by his R.S.20’s race pace once more.
A mixed weekend for Pierre Gasly, who was one of the stars of qualifying after dragging his AlphaTauri to P7 on the grid, ahead of Leclerc’s Ferrari and Albon’s Red Bull. But on race day, struggles with the tyres – including a “horrible” stint on hards – dropped him behind team mate Kvyat at the flag, out of the points in P11. Given that a number of drivers in faster machinery also struggled with tyres, though, there was no great shame in that.
On the bubble this week were two drivers tied for 11th place with race scores of 6.8, namely Romain Grosjean and Nicholas Latifi, Grosjean having done a brilliant job in qualifying to pull the recalcitrant Haas out of Q1 in qualifying – while Latifi did well to out-qualify both Alfa Romeos, before shadowing team mate George Russell in the race.
THE OVERALL STANDINGS
The big news is that Verstappen has now overtaken Hamilton for P1 spot in our overall leaderboard thanks to his consistent high scoring, the Red Bull driver having averaged 9.1 per race so far this season. Charles Leclerc continues his inexorable climb up the order, meanwhile, jumping four places this week, while there are no drop-outs or re-entries since the British Grand Prix.