F1i's Driver Ratings for the 2023 Austrian GP

Charles Leclerc (SP12, P2, 18 pts): 7.5/10
Remember when Charles Leclerc was touted as the big rival in the way of Max Verstappen's campaign to take a third successive championship? How long ago that seems now. Nine races in and this is the first time that Leclerc has finished in P2 so far this season (and only the second time he's been on the podium). He set up that success with a strong run in qualifying that left him just 0.048s off Max verstappen's pole position time. Then things went strangely awry for him on Saturday (which is what pulls his overall rating down), just sixth in the showdown which was then demoted to ninth for impeding Oscar Piastri during the session. Then he had a lack of feeling and confidence in the car in the wet conditions leaving him struggling to make any progress at all. He enjoyed a proper battle with Esteban Ocon but that really wasn't the sort of midfield flap he had signed up for. Fortunately Sunday proved to be more his sort of thing all round, and he carefully held on to second from the moment the lights went out, briefly leading for ten laps after pitting early and then taking over at the front when Verstappen made a later stop. There was little chance of this being a permanent state of affairs and Verstappen was 25s ahead by the time he pitted a final time two laps from the end for a set of softs to pick up the bonus for fastest lap. Leclerc might have been just 5s behind in the final classification, but he knows that it might as well have been a mile away in practice.

Max Verstappen (Pole, SP1, P1, Fastest Lap, 34 pts): 10/10
Alright, we give up. Week after week we try and maintain a certain element of suspense about whether Max Verstappen will get a perfect ten. We don't want to make it a routine foregone conclusion, but then there are weekends like this where it's just not possible to find anything to criticise. A clean sweep of every track session puts it beyond argument in Austria, and the way he swaggered his way to getting the cherry on top with the bonus point for the fastest lap of the race was virtually beyond belief. We're surprised he didn't stop to pop round to the shops on the final lap as well. He behaved as though he was the only driver in the race, for the very simple reason that for all intents and purposes that really was the case. The only time he was rattled all weekend was on the first lap of the sprint when he got a poor start and had to battle with Sergio Perez for control of the race, and could hardly believe that his own team mate had the temerity to fight him and risk causing a collision. It was soon sorted out, and Verstappen blasted off to victory just like we had always expected him to, but perhaps that was a glimpse of the one slight chink in the formidable armour of Formula 1's current unstoppable force.