F1i's Driver Ratings for the 2022 French GP

Lewis Hamilton (P2, 18 pts): 9/10
The weekend didn't start on a great note for Lewis Hamilton, who was required to sit out first practice in favour of reserve driver Nyck de Vries. That would never have happened in the old days, where no one would have dared suggest the seven-time world champion interrupt his latest title campaign for such trifles. But that was then, this is now, and so Hamilton had to watch on from the Mercedes pit wall before finally getting into harness in FP2, in which he was a disturbing full second away from the top time set by Carlos Sainz. The gap was almost the same again in FP3, and while he managed to qualify in fourth place later in the day he was still nine tenths off the pace of pole sitter Charles Leclerc, resulting in some stormy words from both Hamilton and Mercedes boss Toto Wolff about how this simply wasn't good enough at this stage of the season. The best Hamilton could hope for on Sunday was a podium, and he effectively sealed that with a fine first corner pass on Sergio Perez. After that it was just a case of making sure the Red Bull didn't strike back. He picked up another place when Leclerc crashed out. Second place in his 300th race, after a season as difficult as this, must have felt been almost as sweet a taste in the mouth as the water he guzzled after being deprived of fluids in the race itself.

Max Verstappen (P1, 25 pts): 9/10
Not a perfect ten for Max Verstappen, then? To be honest this wasn't an exceptional performance by the Dutchman, mainly because he wasn't called upon to do anything particularly special. He was out of sorts on Friday, complaining about the balance of the Red Bull, but seemed to have the car where he wanted it on Saturday when he was quickest in final practice. That proved slightly deceptive, and from the start of qualifying he never seemed to have quite the pace he had been hoping for - especially not when the Ferrari drivers teamed up to tow Charles Leclerc to an emphatic pole position. But with Carlos Sainz having to start from the back row, Verstappen went into Sunday knowing that he and his team mate Sergio Perez had the Monegasque outnumbered leaving him confident of taking the lead. In fact, that didn't happen - his best attacks at the start were rebuffed, and sustained pressure meant his tyres started to degrade, forcing him into an early pit stop. Thoughts of victory were dimming, but second place would have been just fine, actually, thank you very much. And then Leclerc suddenly crashed out without warning, leaving Verstappen with the easiest drive to victory so far, in a season that's increasingly full of them. You couldn't blame Max if he had spent the rest of the race mentally planning where his second world championship trophy will best fit in his apartment.