F1 Driver Ratings: Saudi Arabian GP 2024

Max Verstappen strolled to another victory in F1, while Oliver Bearman made his debut for Ferrari

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Red Bull continued their dominance at the front of the grid with Max Verstappen claiming a century of podium finishes with his ninth win in a row, with Sergio Perez completing a 1-2 for the team.

The Austrian team overcame another turbulent week to record another race win ahead of Charles Leclerc on the podium. Oscar Piastri secured fourth place ahead of Fernando Alonso, while Mercedes‘ struggles continued behind the two McLarens and Aston Martin.

It was also a day to remember for Ferrari junior driver Oliver Bearman, who stepped in to make his F1 debut after replacing Carlos Sainz, who underwent appendix surgery on Friday.

Total-Motorsport.com’s F1 driver ratings for the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP assesses all 20 drivers based on their qualifying and race performances at the Jeddah Corniche Street Circuit.

Max Verstappen 8.5/10

Qualifying: 1st – Race: 1st

Similar to Bahrain, the Dutchman got out of DRS range after the first couple of laps. He didn’t lead every race this time around thanks to the early safety car, but once again displayed pace that no driver could get near to by finishing 13 seconds clear of Perez. Untouchable all weekend, even with his team-mate in P2.

Pole position qualifier Max Verstappen is presented with the Pirelli award by Gianluigi Buffon in parc ferme at the 2024 Saudi Arabian GP | Mark Thompson/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Charles Leclerc 7.5/10

Qualifying: 2nd – Race: 3rd

He was somewhat powerless to resist the Red Bull rocketship of Perez on such a high-speed circuit, but chasing down Norris was a test of his mettle and he answered with a patient manoeuvre. Finishing best of the rest and with the fastest lap is the maximum Ferrari could have asked for this weekend.

Sergio Perez 8/10

Qualifying: 3th – Race: 2nd

Chased down Leclerc in the early stages and made a brave move down the inside, then passed Norris on fresher rubber. The five-second penalty for an unsafe release would have frustrated him as it was a team error, but he will be satisfied with another P2.

Fernando Alonso 7/10

Qualifying: 4th – Race: 5th

Lost a place to Piastri on Lap 2 but the safety car gave him a chance to throw on the hard tyres and make the one-stop work. To finish ahead of Russell and Norris is a fine achievement.

Oscar Piastri 7.5/10

Qualifying: 5th – Race: 4th

Made a super move on Alonso on Lap 2 after a fine start to the race. After that, he simply couldn’t find a way past Hamilton despite being on fresher rubber, which wrecked his slim chances of going for a podium. But fourth is a respectable result, as is beating his more experienced team-mate.

Lando Norris 6.5/10

Qualifying: 6th – Race: 8th

Escaped punishment despite footage showing he may have jumped the start. Led the race after Verstappen pitted under the safety car and clearly had the pace to stay ahead of Leclerc for 10 or so laps. Did well to hold off Hamilton at the end after a slow stop, but finishing behind Piastri will have hurt his pride.

George Russell 6.5/10

Qualifying: 7th – Race: 6th

A rather subdued race after pitting early and getting stuck behind Alonso on the same tyre. But finishing ahead of Norris is a consolation for his efforts.

Lewis Hamilton during 2024 Saudi Grand Prix practice | Mercedes / LAT Images
Lewis Hamilton during 2024 Saudi Grand Prix practice | Mercedes / LAT Images

Lewis Hamilton: 6/10

Qualifying: 8th – Race: 9th

Mercedes decided to keep him out after the early safety car, which promoted him to third, and it didn’t work in hindsight. He was quickly passed by Perez and Leclerc a few laps later, before putting up a staunch defence against Piastri and pitting for the soft tyre. Again, it didn’t work out, but the Briton gave it everything in the W15.

Yuki Tsunoda 5/10

Qualifying: 9th – Race: 14th

His absorbing battle with Magnussen was a joy to watch, but the Japanese showed he still has some work to do to perfect his racecraft after losing a few places in the order for the second consecutive race.

Lance Stroll 3/10

Qualifying: 10th – Race: DNF

Relieved to see him walk away unscathed after a heavy 150mph shunt into the barrier, having clipped the wall on the inside. From a points-scoring perspective, Aston Martin will be bitterly disappointed.

Oliver Bearman 9.5/10

Qualifying: 11th – Race: 7th

The 18-year-old had already impressed everyone with his impressive display in FP3 and qualifying, but this was a real display of his potential. The teenager showed no signs of nerves as he tried to make his way through the field and pulled off a series of overtakes that oozed with confidence. After keeping Norris and Hamilton behind him to score a P7, he won Driver of the Day for a truly magnificent drive.

Alex Albon 6/10

Qualifying: 12th – Race: 11th

The innocent bystander after being shoved into the wall by Magnussen, Albon’s damaged Williams hampered his race and ruined his chances of getting into the points. The highlight of his race was a late braking move on Tsunoda to break the DRS chain before he finally got the better of Ocon late on.

Kevin Magnussen 2/10

Qualifying: 13th – Race: 12th

The Dane was looking very racy in the midfield before he needlessly squeezed Albon into the wall, wrecking both of their races. Deservedly slapped with a 10-second penalty for that, and bizarrely picked up another for leaving the track and gaining an advantage when trying to pass Tsunoda. A nightmare race, only consoled by how he aided his team-mate get a point.

Daniel Ricciardo 4/10

Qualifying: 14th – Race: 16th

The car is absolutely nowhere near where people expected the RB to be after testing. To be behind both Williams and Haas cars at this stage of the season has to be worrying Laurent Mekies and Peter Bayer, but also Ricciardo as he eyes the Red Bull seat next year.

Nico Hulkenberg 7/10

Qualifying: 15th – Race: 10th

An impressive early stint allowed him to bridge a gap to Zhou and, with Magnussen holding up drivers from P13-18, he was able to come back out in P11 and seal a precious championship point. Not a bad effort considering their own boss thought Haas would be finishing last this season.

Nico Hulkenberg shares a joke with his engineer on the first day of 2024 F1 pre-season testing in Bahrain | Simon Galloway/LAT Images / Haas F1 Team

Valtteri Bottas 4/10

Qualifying: 16th – Race: 17th

Not competitive at all with the battles going on in front of him, the Finn must be wondering whether it’s even worth suiting up at this point. Sauber need improvements and fast.

Esteban Ocon 5.5/10

Qualifying: 17th – Race: 13th

The Frenchman was the sole runner for Alpine after Gasly’s early retirement and he pushed his car to the limit in the fascinating scrap with Albon, Magnussen, Sargeant and Tsunoda. To get 13th in this car is the best he could hope for.

Pierre Gasly N/A

Qualifying: 18th – Race: DNF

Retired after the first lap to pile the pressure on Alpine. Can they do anything to salvage this season?

Logan Sargeant 5/10

Qualifying: 19th – Race: 15th

Not far off Albon in the stakes today, the American can walk away pleased with how he gained positions as a sign of progress.

Zhou Guanyu 4/10

Qualifying: 20th – Race: 18th

Prolonged the first stint on the medium with nothing to lose and kept a steady pace. But after switching to the hards, he struggled to haul himself back up the order.

Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan
Joe Krishnan is an NCTJ-qualified journalist who has worked for a number of media organisations, including the Daily Express, The Mirror, Evening Standard, The Independent and Bleacher Report. Joe has been following F1 since when he watched Mika Hakkinen clinch the 1999 drivers' championship, and his first taste of real-life racing action was watching David Coulthard spin off into the gravel at the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 2001.
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