F1i's Driver Ratings for the 2022 Emilia Romagna GP

Sergio Perez (P2, 24 pts): 9/10
Remember when Sergio Perez was let go by Racing Point before the end of the 2000 season, and he looked set to leave Formula 1? Only to be given a lifeline by Red Bull, which was in desperate need of a compatible team mate to Max Verstappen in the absence of any suitable available graduates from the team's development programme? It all looked a bit desperate at the time and many expected Perez to be just a one-year single-serving stopgap solution, but the choice has actually turned into quite the work of genius with Perez never looking better, stronger or more comfortable behind the wheel as he does in the RB18. That said, he was still two seconds slower than Verstappen in the wet first practice and was a disappointing seventh place on the grid in qualifying later the same day. But Saturday was a different matter altogether, second quickest (and ahead of Max) in FP2 and then making amends for his poor qualifying by confidently surging to third in the sprint race, giving him the perfect opportunity to move up to second ahead of Charles Leclerc at the start of the Grand Prix. He came under huge pressure from the Ferrari later in the race but kept his cool, and it was actually Leclerc who blinked first and spun off on lap 53. It left Red Bull to enjoy its first one-two race success since 2016, further proof - if any were needed - that Perez is the perfect counterpart to the reigning world champion this season.

Max Verstappen (Pole, Sprint, P1, Fastest lap, 34 pts): 9.5/10
He won pole position, the sprint race, the Grand Prix and also an additional bonus point for fastest lap; what more could Max Verstappen have possibly done this weekend to reassert his world championship credentials? He has taken a 19 point bite out of Charles Leclerc's points lead in a single weekend, and must now be considered favourite for the title again given Red Bull's dominant performance over Ferrari at Imola. That is, assuming that the team's early reliability issues really are behind them after two DNFs for Verstappen in the first three races. Compared to those nightmares, Imola was a dream for Verstappen despite being slower than both Ferraris in the wet first practice. Losing the lead to Leclerc at the start of Saturday's sprint also wasn't in the script, but Verstappen did well to keep his cool and wait for an opportunity to counterattack. Even so he was lucky that his rival was harder on his tyres than he had been himself, enabling him to retake the lead in the closing laps. What would have happened if Leclerc had been able to hold on and had duly started on pole for the Grand Prix? Would Verstappen have still found a way to win on Sunday? We'll never know for sure, but on the basis of Verstappen's performance throughout the weekend, we'd say ... Yes, actually he probably would.