F1i's Driver Ratings for the 2024 Australian GP

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Formula 1 goes down under and gets a top-drawer race as a result in Melbourne, the first race in which Red Bull didn't appear on the podium in living memory. (We jest, but that's genuinely how it feels.) So which driver - or drivers - rose to the occasion in Max Verstappen's absence?

Logan Sargeant (Withdrawn, Did Not Start): NA/10
Obviously we can't give Logan Sargeant a rating for the weekend, because he was withdrawn after the first day, but we didn't want to overlook his contribution to how events unfolded. He actually had one of his better Friday practice outings, finishing P14 in FP1 and improving a place in FP2. More importantly, he didn't write off his car at any point - unlike his Williams team mate Alex Albon. It was a cruel reward to see him sidelined in order to save Albon's weekend. While we understand James Vowles' reasons, it's nonetheless given us a worrying behind-the-scenes look at the situation at Grove: not having a spare chassis available three races into the season is a definite concern.

Max Verstappen (Pole, Retired on lap 3, Brake fire): 7.5/10
There was something in the air in Melbourne (and we don't just mean smoke billowing from the fire from Max Verstappen's rear brakes). Red Bull just did't look their usual effortless selves. Verstappen wasn't fastest in any of the practice sessions, and even by the time it got to qualifying he was still complaining about understeer. Not that this stopped him from taking pole position, and by a fairly comfortable margin at that. Everyone who had been getting excited that Red Bull might be in for bad day at the office sighed and rolled their eyes assuming that Red Bull had been pulling off their usual sandbagging misdirection. And then the world was turned upside down as the Red Bull sent up unmistakable smoke distress signals, ending Verstappen's run of 46 consecutive race finishes. Max isn't invincible after all; who knew?