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F1 2023 Japanese GP – Driver Ratings

Here are our driver ratings for the 17th round of the 2023 Formula 1 season at the Japanese Grand Prix


Normal service has resumed as Max Verstappen dominated proceedings to win the 2023 Japanese Grand Prix, securing Red Bull’s second consecutive constructors’ championship.

Lando Norris came home a fine second for McLaren whilst Oscar Piastri ended his long wait for a Formula 1 podium with third ahead of Charles Leclerc, Lewis Hamilton and Carlos Sainz.

Total-Motorsport.com’s driver ratings for the 2023 Japanese GP assesses all 20 drivers based on their qualifying and race performances at Suzuka.

Team errors such as a slow pit stop or poor strategy do not affect our ratings as they are no fault of the drivers. Instead, our driver ratings solely look at how well the drivers got on throughout the weekend in Japan.

F1 Driver Ratings – Japanese GP

Max Verstappen 10/10

Qualifying: 1st – Race: 1st

Flawless from start to finish, Verstappen dominated every session before cruising to an easy victory, which put him in touching distance of securing his third world championship in Qatar. 

Lando Norris 9.5/10

Qualifying: 3rd – Race: 2nd

Another second place, another excellent weekend’s work for Norris, who went toe-to-toe with Verstappen before driving a great race to jump ahead of his teammate.

Max Verstappen of Red Bull and Lando Norris of McLaren after 2023 Japanese Grand Prix | Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Oscar Piastri 9/10

Qualifying: 2nd – Race: 3rd

Good things come to those who wait, and for Piastri, his first Formula 1 podium came off the back of a maiden front-row start and a great drive which secured his place on the rostrum.

Charles Leclerc 8/10

Qualifying: 4th – Race: 4th

Ferrari couldn’t replicate its Singapore heroics, but it didn’t stop Leclerc from producing an excellent weekend’s work, which included coming out the victor of a great battle with Russell.

Lewis Hamilton 7.5/10

Qualifying: 7th – Race: 5th

Mercedes were not quick enough at Suzuka, making Hamilton work hard for fifth even if he put himself under pressure with a slight off at Degner 2.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell during 2023 Japanese GP | Mercedes F1 Team

Carlos Sainz 7/10

Qualifying: 6th – Race: 6th

There was no repeat of his Singapore heroics for Sainz, but a solid drive that saw him rapidly gain on the Mercedes pair and would have gotten them both if he hadn’t run out of laps.

George Russell 7/10

Qualifying: 8th – Race: 7th

Gambling on the one-stopper meant Russell had to defend from cars on fresher tyres vigorously, but he was left hanging out to dry when losing the DRS on the front straight, costing him a top-six finish.

Fernando Alonso 7.5/10

Qualifying: 10th – Race: 8th

Alonso needed to make some magic happen, and he duly did with a spectacular start, which saw him up to sixth despite being pitted earlier than his rivals. 

Esteban Ocon 6/10

Qualifying: 14th – Race: 9th 

Ocon had his work cut out after being forced to stop early because of a puncture caused by a Turn 1 incident with Bottas. He then carved through the order, moving into 10th before inheriting ninth on the last lap.

Pierre Gasly 6.5/10

Qualifying: 12th – Race: 10th

An FP2 shunt at Degner 1 put Gasly on the backfoot, but he had the measure of his teammate for the rest of the weekend. Yet he was told to let his teammate through on the final lap, much to his annoyance.

Liam Lawson 7/10

Qualifying: 11th – Race: 11th

Another excellent weekend for Lawson, coming +0.043 short of ending Alonso’s 100% record of making every Q3 in 2023. The race, however, was a lost opportunity as the Alpines proved too strong.

Yuki Tsunoda 7/10

Qualifying: 9th – Race: 12th

Contract for 2024 secured and first Q3 appearance since Monaco were just some highlights from Tsunoda’s home GP. Yet, like so often in 2023, AlphaTauri’s race pace restricted him from gaining further rewards.

Zhou Guanyu 4.5/10

Qualifying: 19th – Race: 13th 

Zhou was unlucky to be blocked twice during Q1, putting him 19th and out of contention for points in what became a clean albeit anonymous race.

Nico Hulkenberg 4/10

Qualifying: 18th – Race: 14th

It was far from a great return to Suzuka for Hulkenberg as he was knocked out of Q1 and didn’t look like challenging for points at any stage during the race.

Kevin Magnussen 4/10

Qualifying: 15th – Race: 15th

Magnussen had avoided all of the drama of Lap 1 to move up to 11th, only to see his hard work ruined by Perez reacting too late, approaching Turn 11 and slamming into the Dane, destroying his race.

Alex Albon 6/10

Qualifying: 13th – Race: DNF

Albon did everything he could to get back into the points, but damage picked up on Lap 1 through no fault of his own ended any chance of salvaging anything from Suzuka. 

Logan Sargeant 1/10

Qualifying: 20th [Started from the pitlane] – Race: DNF

With his F1 future in doubt, Sargeant did further damage to his cause by crashing heavily in Q1 before clattering into Bottas on Lap 5, picking up a 5-second penalty before quietly retiring 20 laps later.

Lance Stroll 2.5/10

Qualifying: 17th – Race: DNF

Stroll’s string of poor weekends continued in Japan, with his third consecutive Q1 exit putting him on the backfoot before a race which ended on safety grounds caused by a flimsy rear wing. 

Sergio Perez speaks to his engineer Hugh Bird at the 2023 Japanese GP | Mark Thompson / Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Sergio Perez 1.5/10

Qualifying: 5th – Race: DNF

Over seven-tenths down on Verstappen in Qualifying, followed by a horror show of a race which included two five-second penalties and a clumsy move on Magnussen, makes Suzuka one to forget for Perez.

Valtteri Bottas 4/10

Qualifying: 16th – Race: DNF

Nothing went well for Bottas in Suzuka, and his race was over after just under a quarter distance following a pair of incidents which weren’t his fault.

Ed Spencer
Ed Spencer
FIA accredited journalist
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