2014 Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

2014 Spanish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

It was not the most thrilling of Grands Prix, but that does not take away from the fact that many spectacular performances were put on in Spain yesterday. Here are Richland F1’s driver ratings.

Sebastian Vettel:

0936LB1D7541His weekend started off about as miserably as it could have: troubles in FP1, sitting out FP2 entirely, gearbox problems in qualifying and a subsequent five-place grid penalty for replacing it. But the four time world champion kept at it and put on one of the drives of the race, surging from 15th on the grid to fourth by the checkered flag. Fastest lap honours were just icing on the cake to a weekend of near perfection – at least when he was able to drive. Rating: 9

Daniel Ricciardo:

The Aussie really showed that when his team-mate is struggling, he can be relied upon to lead the team with grace and poise. Emerged best-of-the-rest in qualifying, but an average start relegated him to fourth by Bottas at the first corner of the race. Had he stayed ahead rather than having to undercut the Finn in the pits, he might have been able to give the two Mercedes at least a fleeting challenge. Otherwise, a mature and calculated performance to his “first” career podium. Rating: 9

Lewis Hamilton:

Dominated all but one of the practice sessions, but seemingly lost some of his mojo during the first two parts of qualifying. He gathered himself, however, to take his fourth pole position of the season in convincing fashion. In the race, he made sure to keep Rosberg at bay, but confusion over the radio in the latter third of the race detracted from his performance. Rating: 9

Nico Rosberg:

Was visibly second best to Lewis all weekend apart from final practice and the first part of qualifying. Come the race, however, he was a match for his world champion team-mate, hounding him throughout the entire afternoon. Traffic perhaps played a part in him not being able to pass Hamilton for the win, but the German put on a convincing performance when it mattered. Rating: 8

Fernando Alonso:

Fernando’s usual home soil heroics were less visible this weekend as he and his team-mate struggled to get to grips with the F14 T. He was out qualified by Kimi Raikkonen for just the second time this season and did not look himself out on track. In the race, he kept at it, but the shortcomings of his car meant he was nearly lapped by the Mercedes duo in the closing stages of the race. Not the best weekend for the Spaniard. Rating: 6

Kimi Raikkonen:

Endured a similar weekend to his team-mate, though based on recent performances, this was an improvement rather than a disappointment. The Finn was constantly fighting for control over his car and had some rather exuberant twitches on corner exits. He was lapped by the duelling Mercedes on the final lap and could not sustain the fight with his team-mate for the entire race. Rating: 6

0936LB1D7759Romain Grosjean:

The E-22 chassis seems to have finally come good, as the Frenchman made it into Q3 for the second time in a row, this time cracking the top-five in surprising fashion. In the race, the car’s power deficit was apparent, but that didn’t stop Grosjean from giving it his all. A solid eighth place finish was a decent reward for all his patience so far this season. Let us hope this trend can continue. Rating: 9

Pastor Maldonado:

The Venezuelan’s weekend could not have been in starker contrast to his team-mate’s even if he tried – let us hope he was not trying. He showed good pace during practice, but failed to deliver when it counted in qualifying, instead crashing at the exit of turn 3 in Q1 before even setting a lap time. In the race, he had a clumsy crash with Marcus Ericsson on the first lap but escaped punishment. All in all, another very unconvincing weekend for Maldonado. Rating: 4

Jenson Button:

This seemed like the weekend McLaren would get its mojo back what with talk of the team’s aggressive upgrade plans. However, even though one-lap pace was decent – he qualified a respectable eighth – race pace was nothing to wave a stick at. This was proven in the race when, after a poor start, Button was unable to make real progress and ended a lap down and just out of the points. Rating: 7

Kevin Magnussen:

Like his teammate, Magnussen struggled for pace the entire race. The Dane was pretty anonymous on the TV screens but did have some nice battles with Daniil Kvyat. Being a rookie in Formula One is never easy, especially when the car is underperforming. Rating: 6

Nico Hulkenberg:

Spain has never been particularly kind to Force India, but Nico proved the relationship is salvageable by qualifying just outside the top-10. In the race, a good start helped bump him into a points-paying position but the German ultimately lost out on ninth place thanks to a late pass by his teammate. Rating: 7

Sergio Perez: 

Had a similar weekend to his team-mate. The Mexican showed good race pace during FP2, suggesting a good start would be the key to getting into the points. He got one and, thanks to a late pass, finished in 9th place. Rating: 7

Esteban Gutierrez:

Was pretty anonymous all weekend, but did a good job to out qualify the likes of Magnussen, Jean-Eric Vergne and his team-mate Adrian Sutil. In the race, he was hanging around the fringes of the top-10, but did not have the pace to sustain that charge. He eventually finished a lap down in 16th place, however he was more competitive than in previous races. Rating: 7

Adrian Sutil:

Was even more anonymous than his team-mate, thanks to his elimination in Q1. He was nowhere to be found during the race and eventually came home a distant 17th, the same place he started. Rating: 6

Jean Eric Vergne:

When his right rear wheel came off during FP2, resulting in a 10 place grid penalty, his weekend was pretty much over. He only managed 21 laps in the race before having to retire due to technical issues. A weekend to forget for the Frenchman. Rating: 5

Daniil Kvyat:

The Russian rookie continues to impress, though the Toro Rosso did not have the pace to really challenge for points this weekend. Regardless, the 20 year-old did a decent job in the race to come home 14th. Rating: 7

Felipe Massa:

0943LB1D9913The Brazilian had the measure of his team-mate all throughout the weekend except for in Q3. A mistake at turn 10 relegated him to just ninth on the grid when fourth or fifth was the goal. In the race, a three-stop strategy left him in some tough traffic and he was unable to keep his tires alive. What looked like a sure-fire points finish ended up a lonely 13th. Rating: 5

Valtteri Bottas:

Came out of nowhere in Q3 to put his Williams fourth on the grid. Made an excellent start to overtake Daniel Ricciardo and run in a podium position for a majority of the race. Stayed out a little too long on his first stint and was unable to cover the quicker Ricciardo when he finally came out from his first stop, though he was unlikely to have held him off any other time in the race. Eventually came home an equal career-best fifth after the charging Sebastian Vettel passed him late in the race. Rating: 9

Jules Bianchi:

Was surprisingly close to the Saubers in practice but did not quite pull it all together in qualifying. Had the best of his teammate in the race and eventually came home at the front of the “new teams” in 18th. Rating: 7

Max Chilton: 

Surprised in qualifying by outpacing his team-mate by six tenths of a second. In the race, however, he could not match the Frenchman. A solid weekend’s work earned him 19th place at the checkered flag. Rating: 6

Kamui Kobayashi:

Was no match for the Marussia’s this weekend, and didn’t quite have the measure of his rookie team-mate in qualifying. Brake failure during the race curtailed his running on Sunday. Rating: 6

Marcus Ericsson:

Like his team-mate, Ericsson did not have the pace to really challenge the Marussias, but did emerge the best of the Caterham duo. A clash with Maldonado on the first lap nearly ruined his race, but kept it together to bring it home in 20th. Rating: 7

Images courtesy of Octane Photographic