F1i's Driver Ratings for the 2023 Las Vegas GP

Esteban Ocon (P4, 12 pts): 8/10
Esteban Ocon started the weekend embroiled in 'water valve'-gate as he hit the same drain cover that had crippled Carlos Sainz' Ferrari just minutes into first practice. Like Sainz, he needed a whole new survival cell built up for him by the Alpine pit crew before he could take part in FP2, but unlike Sainz he needed no engine parts and escaped any sporting penalty for the incident. However it understandably put him on the back foot for the rest of practice, and perhaps contributed to a less than sparking qualifying in which he missed the first cut and finished in 17th place, a long way behind team mate and frenemy Pierre Gasly. Sainz' grid drop saw him start from P16 on the grid for the race, and any disappointment he had been feeling was immediately dispersed by a flying launch that propelled him up to eighth. He remained behind Gasly through their single round of pit stops, but Gasly then struggled on the new set of hards while Ocon thrived. Their fortunes totally switched over for the rest of the race, with Ocon confidently surging to fourth while Gasly ended up out of the points

Sergio Perez (P3, 15 pts): 8.5/10
Qualifying has been Sergio Perez' Achilles Heel for much of this season, and so it appeared to be again when he missed the cut at the end of Q2 leaving him 11th on the grid for the race. It's hard to know who to blame for this, since it seemed to be a miscue on the timing of his run programme in the second round. He was back in the Red Bull garage several minutes before the end, which allowed other drivers to make use of late track evolution to bump him out of the pole shoot-out. Presumably the fault for that lies with the team strategists. Could he bounce back in the race? It didn't start well when he ended up running into the back of Valtteri Bottas after the Alfa Romeo was blocked by a spinning Fernando Alonso at the first corner. Perez escaped without damage, but used the opportunity to make an early pit stop and dump his mediums in exchange for the first of two sets of hard tyres. Ironically this proved the making of him: by lap 22 he had made it through the traffic and taken the lead of the race for the first time. The lucky timing of the second safety car enabled him to hold on to second and then it came down to a thrilling battle with Charles Leclerc. It looked like Perez was on track to finish in P2 behind Max Verstappen, but the Ferrari pulled off one of the overtaking moves of the season to snatch away the chance of a Red Bull 1-2. An annoying finish perhaps, but it was enough to secure Perez the runners-up spot in the drivers championship so there was still much to celebrate.