F1i's Driver Ratings for the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Aston Martin F1 Team AMR23 leads Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB19 at the start of the race. 19.03.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 2, Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Race Day. - www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images'
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On the face of it, it looks ominous: the second race of the season, the second Red Bull 1-2. But that overlooks some key details, including some troubled reliability that left Max Verstappen starting from P15. The fact that he wasn't able to pull off a win from there suggests the 2023 title isn't necessarily quite a done deal after all, with some hope for Mercedes and a 100th podium for Fernando Alonso - eventually.

Lance Stroll (Power unit, lap 17): 8/10
The last month has been rough on Lance Stroll, but it's actually done wonders for the Canadian's standing in the sport. Many assumed that he would be blown away by new team mate Fernando Alonso, but that hasn't happened. Despite the hand and wrist injuries that sidelined him from pre-season testing, he's been been right in the mix with the best of them, showing what he can go behind the wheel given a decent car for the first time in his F1 career. That continued in Saudi Arabia where he was constantly in or near the top six, and he carried that into a successful qualifying. He got the better of Carlos Sainz at the start of the race (imagine if we'd predicted an Aston Martin being superior to a Ferrari just a few weeks ago?) and promptly pulled away. Sadly his power unit died on him through no fault of his own just after his pit stop, before he could take the battle to George Russell. Otherwise a top four spot had been very much on the cards for Stroll.

Alexander Albon (Brake failure, Lap 28): 6.5/10
After winning Williams' first championship point last time out in Bahrain, it was a rather less satisfying weekend for Alex Albon in Saudi Arabia. Despite a sprightly start in first practice with some strong straight line speed, Albon's position declined and when it came to qualifying he was unable to make the cut at the end of the first round, leaving him frustrated and stuck in 17th place on the grid. Pitting under the safety car helped boost him to 13th, but then came the brake problems that forced him to crawl back to pit lane and retire early. While that was certainly not his fault, he hadn't really done anything particularly eye-catching before that during the weekend to earn compensatory ratings points elsewhere either.