F1i's Driver Ratings for the 2019 Japanese GP

Charles Leclerc (P7, 6 pts): 8/10
If not for his clumsy first lap collision with Max Verstappen, we would be giving Charles Leclerc an extra point. That said, up to then it hadn't really been the sort of spectacular performance we've come to expect from the young Monegasque since the summer: consistently only fourth fastest in practice, he was then pipped to what would have been his fifth consecutive pole position by his resurgent team mate Sebastian Vettel. Vettel's stuttering start to the race then seemed to also distract Leclerc, who nearly succumbed to a challenge from Lewis Hamilton only to then run into Verstappen through turn 2. Although the Ferrari came off the better of the two cars, damage to his front wing left him shedding carbon fibre all over the grid. Leclerc was subsequently handed two penalties, one for the initial collision and the other for not immediately following team orders to pit. After that the rest of the afternoon was a damage limitation recovery drive, and in that context it was a joy to watch him slice his way through the field with some truly impressive overtaking moves worthy of a future world champion. However in the closing laps he was unable to clinch the bonus point for fastest lap that might have prevented Mercedes from being able to celebrate a sixth constructors title this weekend.