Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes - 6

What happened to Lewis Hamilton over the Chinese Grand Prix weekend? For a race he has won five times, he was surprisingly off the boil in Shanghai, soundly being beaten in both qualifying and the race by Bottas in the sister Mercedes. The W09 car has a narrow operating window for its tyres, but even so, more was expected of Hamilton in China.

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes - 10

Much as in Bahrain, Valtteri Bottas was on brilliant form in Shanghai. He didn’t put a foot wrong, doing all he could in qualifying given Mercedes’ tyre woes to take third before a great start lifted him to second. Used the undercut brilliantly to jump Vettel, and would have won had it not been for the Safety Car, which he was powerless to react to.

Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari - 9

Like Bottas, Vettel was excellent in China, but saw his hopes of a third straight win pass by in gutting fashion. His charge to pole was sensational, and while he led comfortably early on, the gap was not big enough to stop Bottas from getting the undercut. The Safety Car hurt him badly, but not as much as Max Verstappen’s lunge at Turn 14 that left him with damage which would ultimately resign him to P8 at the flag. A tough weekend, but not by his own doing.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari - 8

The annual saga surrounding Kimi Raikkonen’s inevitable contract extension may get tiresome, but hopefully it won’t be as surprising this year given his impressive performances to start the year. Raikkonen was unlucky not to take pole, losing time on his final Q3 lap, but a poor start cost him badly. Ferrari sacrificed his race to try and help Vettel - fruitlessly - and missed a chance to put him on the same strategy as the Red Bulls. 

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull - 10

Daniel Ricciardo’s charge to victory may have been in part thanks to Red Bull’s quick thinking on the pit wall, bringing him in for a fresh set of tyres. But the way he scythed through the top order was stunning, making passes he had no right completing. Whereas teammate Verstappen lost his cool and the chance to win, Ricciardo showed plenty of maturity to take a pretty straightforward victory come the final few laps. An outstanding display, only made all the more impressive by the fact he nearly missed qualifying completely.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull - 6

Max Verstappen’s rating is wildly skewed by the way he descended into desperation in the final 20 laps of the race, contrasting Ricciardo completely. He qualified well and made an excellent start to run third, and was in the pound seat for victory after his pit stop under the Safety Car. But his lack of patience in passing Hamilton cost him the win, causing him to drop back before another pointless move on Vettel at Turn 14 that resulted in contact and a penalty. He may be F1’s wonderkid, but China showed the big areas for improvement Verstappen has.

Sergio Perez, Force India - 7

After a tough start to the season, Force India showed signs of improvement in China. Sergio Perez led its charge in qualifying to take a solid P8 on the grid, beaten only by Nico Hulkenberg in the midfield fight. A poor start saw him get pushed off the circuit and fall out of the points, and despite Force India’s best efforts to recover, Perez had to settle for P12 come the finish.

Esteban Ocon, Force India - 6

Much like Perez, Ocon certainly had a better time of it pace-wise in China than in Bahrain or Australia, but had nothing to show for it. A 0.1s gap in qualifying to his teammate led to a five-place difference on the grid, with a poor start also costing the Frenchman. The two-stop strategy planned by the team backfired thanks to the Safety Car, with his best efforts to pass Magnussen proving fruitless.

Lance Stroll, Williams - 6

A decent race for Lance Stroll as he continued to fight with the significant limitations of the Williams FW41 car. Despite qualifying a lowly 18th behind teammate Sergey Sirotkin, Stroll took off like a rocket at the start, rising to P12. He would ultimately drop back to P14, but it was nevertheless a step forward for the young Canadian.

Sergey Sirotkin, Williams - 6

Sirotkin outqualified teammate Stroll and made a decent start to run 15th early on, but never really looked capable of scoring points in China. To finish only three seconds back from Stroll was decent, particularly given the start the sister Williams driver made, and getting another race distance under his belt will certainly be of help to the Russian

Nico Hulkenberg, Renault - 9

A superb weekend for Nico Hulkenberg in China as he stood out unquestionably as the leading midfield runner. Hulkenberg impressed through qualifying to start seventh, gapping his rivals decently, and did much the same in the race. Vettel’s demise allowed him to nab a well-earned P6 finish at the flag - with another 0.7s, it would have been P5 given Verstappen’s penalty.

Carlos Sainz Jr., Renault - 6

While Hulkenberg flourished for Renault, Sainz had a tougher time of it in China, failing to match his teammate for pace in either qualifying or the race. A two-stop strategy was nearly undone by a struggle to get past Alonso and Magnussen in the final stages of the race, meaning he could only take P9 at the flag.

Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso - 5

In a real come-down from his Bahrain brilliance, Pierre Gasly was left scrambling at the back of the grid throughout the Chinese Grand Prix weekend. A Q1 knockout was followed by a poor start and a questionable strategy, starting on Mediums while looking to two-stop. Miscommunication led to the clash with Hartley, but a little more awareness may have helped the Frenchman as he ended up 15th at the flag.

Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso - 5

Toro Rosso’s weakness in China meant Brendon Hartley’s hopes of his first F1 points were always looking slim, but he struggled to perform throughout the race. A decent run to Q2 in qualifying was scuppered with a poor start as he ailed on the Ultrasoft tyres, dropping to last after his first stop. The Gasly clash only compounded matters for the New Zealander, who never ran any higher than 18th after Lap 2 before retiring with five laps remaining.

Romain Grosjean, Haas - 6

Another weekend where Romain Grosjean was put in the shade by Haas teammate Kevin Magnussen. Despite running well in the points early on, Grosjean’s attempt to one-stop saw him struggle to keep his tyres in check, forcing him into a second stop late on, meaning he finished a lowly 18th.

Kevin Magnussen, Haas - 7

A decent weekend for Magnussen and Haas, with tyre woes eventually costing the Dane in a similar way to Grosjean. The decision to one-stop had put Magnussen in a fight with Hulkenberg to lead the midfield, but by not coming in under the Safety Car, he was powerless to stop his rivals from passing. P10 at the flag perhaps an unfair reflection of what Magnussen deserved in China.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren - 8

The story of Fernando Alonso’s season so far has been ‘OK on Saturday, brilliant on Sunday’. In China he struggled to 13th in qualifying, but made an excellent start - because, you know, it’s Alonso - and nailed his one-stop strategy after a long first stint on the Soft tyre. An ailing Vettel allowed Alonso to barge past for seventh late on, taking him past last year’s points total in the process.

Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren - 6

After matching Alonso closely in qualifying, Stoffel Vandoorne had a more difficult time of it in the race, finishing a lowly 13th. A poor start could have been saved by the decision to one-stop, but the midfield drivers who stopped for fresh rubber were able to stream past, leaving the Belgian 13th and out of the points for the first time this season.

Marcus Ericsson, Sauber - 6

Marcus Ericsson’s Bahrain heroics couldn’t be replicated in China, with a poor qualifying and start leaving him adrift from his lower-midfield rivals for a period. A one-stop strategy couldn’t lift him any higher than 17th as he struggled on the Softs through the first half of the race.

Charles Leclerc, Sauber - 5

Charles Leclerc’s tough start to life in F1 continued on Sunday in China. Despite outqualifying Ericsson, the Sauber driver was beating himself up over the radio once again, believing he could have done better. The race was difficult thanks to a spin soon after pitting, causing him to lose some places as he struggled with balance issues. Took 19th, the last of the classified finishers.



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