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POWER RANKINGS: Which drivers stood out and impressed our judges at the Japanese Grand Prix weekend?

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Max Verstappen bounced back in exemplary fashion in Japan, storming to victory as Red Bull secured their third 1-2 result of the 2024 season. But who else on the grid impressed over the weekend in Suzuka? Scroll down to check out the latest Power Rankings leaderboard.

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)

READ MORE: Birthday cakes, boybands and incredible fans – it's the best social media from Japan

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After his rear brake forced him out of the Australian Grand Prix, Verstappen picked up where he left off by taking pole position and another race win. His success in Japan was the 30th time he has won from pole in his career and was also his third straight Suzuka victory – something only Michael Schumacher had previously achieved. Our judges were impressed once again by the reigning world champion.

READ MORE: Verstappen overjoyed by victory comeback at Suzuka as he says race ‘couldn’t have been better’

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As the Ferrari man seeks a new seat for 2025, Carlos Sainz’s form is doing all the talking for him. His third place in Japan means he has a 100% podium finishing record whenever he has started a race in 2024 and that has earned him another big score here.

READ MORE: Sainz thrilled with third place in Japan after making multiple overtakes during ‘tough’ race

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Sergio Perez had to work hard for his second place in Japan, but it was very well earned. He qualified brilliantly on the Saturday to give himself a front row start but, after being undercut by Lando Norris in the race, fought his way past the McLaren on track before building a comfortable gap to the chasers. His efforts land him his highest score of the season so far from the judges.

READ MORE: Perez expects decision on Red Bull future to be made 'within next month'

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Fernando Alonso displayed all his legendary race craft in Japan once again, as he kept giving the chasing Oscar Piastri DRS so that the Australian could defend from the Mercedes of George Russell. That meant Alonso held on for P6 at the flag, bagging more valuable points for Aston Martin.

READ MORE: ‘Normally we should be P9’ – Alonso praises Aston Martin for maximising ‘small factors’ to finish P6 in Japan

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With his P10 finish, Yuki Tsunoda became the first Japanese driver to score points at his home race since Kamui Kobayashi in 2012. It was another example of how far the RB racer has come on this year and his performances are starting to get noticed. Our judges certainly think he’s worth shouting about here, and that earns him a joint score with Perez and Alonso.

THE STRATEGIST: How Tsunoda beat the odds to snatch a point at his home race

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Charles Leclerc’s endeavours earned him Driver of the Day in Japan, but it wasn’t enough for a podium. Despite that, you can’t ignore how the Ferrari man excellently extended his first stint on the medium tyres during the race and earned the maximum he could out of his strategy. His P4 earns him a high score here from our judges.

READ MORE: Leclerc ‘paid the price’ for poor qualifying in Japanese GP as he vows to work on struggles

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After qualifying third and holding onto the spot early on in the race, Norris ultimately couldn’t hold on as he dropped to P5 at the flag. He acknowledged it was a tough race following the Grand Prix while McLaren couldn’t hide the fact that Ferrari have the edge on them with pace at this moment in time.

READ MORE: Norris concedes ‘Ferraris on another level’ as Piastri rues ‘not his best’ weekend in Japan

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With Mercedes seemingly opting for a one-stop strategy, before being forced to swap to a two-stop, George Russell made his fresher tyres pay late on in the race as he chased down Piastri and Alonso ahead of him. The Brit would eventually pass the McLaren late on to land himself an important P7 finish.

READ MORE: Wolff says Mercedes are in ‘live testing’ as they look to find their feet with the W15

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Nico Hulkenberg has been maximising what he has with his Haas machine and came so close to bagging more points, finishing 11th in Japan. That came despite an awful restart, with wheelspin dropping him down the field, before he superbly clawed his way back up the order.

READ MORE: Hulkenberg explains issue that may have cost him points in Japan

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Oscar Piastri was passed late on by Russell as he scored eighth place in Japan, but he wasn’t battling it out for the positions he’d ideally want. There was still plenty to take away for the young Australian, who celebrated his 23rd birthday on qualifying day, as he looks to fight for spots higher up going forward.

F1 NATION: Home hero Tsunoda, how Ferrari beat McLaren and Verstappen bounces back – it's our Japanese GP review

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Kick Sauber’s pit stop issues look to be improving, but Valtteri Bottas did his utmost to maximise what the team could achieve in Japan as he looked to be on the cusp of the top 10 briefly. His P14 finish was his best so far this year and he’ll want to build on that, but he should also get praise for his efforts in qualifying P13.

F1 EXPLAINS: Bottas and Zhou on being team mates – and why that relationship is crucial to success in Formula 1

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With the same score as Bottas and Piastri, Esteban Ocon also gets some notable praise for his efforts in dragging his Alpine into Q2. While he would only finish P15 in the race, as early contact with his team mate played a part, his clear determination over the weekend in Suzuka can only help drive Alpine onto better things.

Missing out

Just behind the joint-tenth trio of Ocon, Bottas and Piastri sit Alex Albon and Lance Stroll who both had race days they'll want to move on from. Albon's ended early thanks to his crash with Ricciardo while Stroll was heard over the radio complaining about the pace of his Aston Martin.

READ MORE: 5 Winners and 5 Losers from Japan – Who tasted success in Suzuka?

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