F1i's Driver Ratings for the 2022 Austrian GP

George Russell (P4, 17 pts): 8/10
Mercedes came bounding into the Austrian Grand Prix with a new sense of confidence that they had finally turned the corner in what's been a disappointing and frustrating season. First practice seemed to back that up with George Russell third quickest and Lewis Hamilton looking like a genuine contender for pole. And then it all blew up in their faces in qualifying with both cars crashing out in Q3. Fortunately Russell had already set a time good enough for fourth on the grid, and the damage to his car was repaired overnight, so he was able to consolidate the position in the sprint race and duly started on the second row of the grid for Sunday's Grand Prix. Unfortunately he made contact with Sergio Perez at the start, pitching the Red Bull into the gravel for which he was handed a five second penalty (rather harsh for what was little more than a racing incident in our book) and he spent the rest of the race trying to work his way back up into position. In the end he finished exactly where he had started, but even so it had been anything other than a plain, boring drive in the Austrian Alps along the way.

Lewis Hamilton (P3, 16 pts): 8/10
Lewis Hamilton really did seem to be thinking that his season was starting here, and that for the first time in 2022 he had a real chance of competing for pole position against the likes of Charles Leclerc and Max Verstappen. That explains why his self-inflicted accident in the final round of qualifying was so painful for him. It's the first time he's done anything like that in five years, which shows just how much he was pushing. The Mercedes crew only just managed to repair his car in time for the final ten minutes of FP2, and it certainly complicated his sprint race where he got stuck behind the Haas of Mic Schumacher and could't find the straight line speed he needed to pull off the pass until the final laps. It was Groundhog Day on Saturday when Schumacher managed to pass him on lap 4, and Hamilton had to wait until the first round of pit stops until he was released and finally up to fourth on a long 28-lap first stint. That's where he stayed until Carlos Sainz' retirement bumped him up to the podium. What had seemed like a Mercedes meltdown on Friday afternoon proved to be yet another very productive Sunday outing after all.