F1i's Driver Ratings for the 2020 Austrian GP

Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W11 leads at the start of the race. 05.07.2020.'
' '

After the longest off-season in the history of Formula 1, the world championship is finally back on track - and the 2020 season kicked off with a cracker of a race with all sorts of fireworks. Which of the drivers sparkled, and which proved to be a damp squib in Spielberg? Here's our verdict.

Max Verstappen (Retired, Lap 11): 8.5/10
For pretty much the whole weekend, Max Verstappen was the only credible threat to the impending Mercedes domination in Austria. Red Bull were going all-out in their efforts to take advantage of the disruption caused by coronavirus to put the Dutch driver into title contention: their first protest stab at Mercedes over DAS failed, but the second against Lewis Hamilton found its mark wonderfully. It elevated Verstappen to the front row of the grid at the last minute, and as the only driver in the top ten on medium tyres. Unfortunately the opening laps of the race simply confirmed the performance advantage of the Mercedes, and then there was disaster on lap 11 for Verstappen when the RB16 went into anti-stall mode and had to be retired. Not his fault of course but nonetheless a gutting start to the 2020 campaign and possibly already enough to rule him out of the title race.


Daniel Ricciardo (Retired, Lap 17): 7/10
Now the senior man in the Renault team, Daniel Ricciardo didn't seem to be suffering from any internal schism resulting from his decision to move to McLaren next year. Comfortably outpacing his new team mate on Friday, he was able to sneak into the final round of qualifying and start from tenth place. Caught out by his former team mate Sebastian Vettel at the start, Ricciardo spent the rest of his race staring at the back of the Ferrari unable to make forward progress. At least he was under no pressure from Pierre Gasly behind, and it allowed him to appreciate the distinct advantages of the R.S.20 over its predecessor. Unfortunately a cooling issue obliged the team to retire the car after just 17 issues, leaving this week's Austrian Grand Prix little more than a shakedown outing for the Australian who is doubtless already pining for the wide open vistas of Woking.