RACING

POWER RANKINGS: Which driver emerged as the No. 1 surprise after the Azerbaijan Grand Prix?

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Judges’ scores fell after the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix and neither winner Max Verstappen nor pole sitter Charles Leclerc topped the standings this week. Scroll down for scores…

How it works

  • Our panel of five judges assess each rider after each Grand Prix and rate them out of 10 based on their performance throughout the weekend – eliminating machines from the equation

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  • Our expert scores are then averaged to produce a race score – these scores are then tallied throughout the season in our overall Power Rankings chart (at the bottom of the page)


The judges were very impressed with Gasly this weekend, with the AlphaTauri driver finishing fifth behind the two Mercedes. His score increase was a brilliant P4 in qualifying on Saturday, Gasly splitting the Silver Arrows, and he only lost P4 in the race when Hamilton loaded up on newer tires late in the race. A truly brilliant performance from the Frenchman, reflected in his place at the top of this week’s Power Rankings.

READ MORE: Mixed fortunes at AlphaTauri as Gasly’s ‘incredible’ run is tempered by rear wing issues for Tsunoda


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Race winner Verstappen did not qualify as well as his rivals, taking third place on the grid, but kept his composure and seemed to take better care of his Pirellis than his team-mate Perez. Leclerc’s retirement was the icing on the cake for the leading Dutchman, who then went on to victory in Baku.

READ MORE: Horner calls Baku 1-2 ‘buyout’ from Red Bull for Verstappen losing 2021 win


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Pole sitter Leclerc lost his lead in Turn 1 but hung on and might well have had the pace to take the lead thanks to the second Virtual Safety Car. Of course, Leclerc didn’t reach the second VSC of the race, his engine cut out after 20 laps and condemned the championship contender to another DNF. His performance, however, was strong enough to place him third in our standings.

READ MORE: Binotto calls Baku DNFs ‘worrying’ as Ferrari falls 80 points behind Red Bull


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Russell once again pulled it all out of his Mercedes W13 on a day when the W13 looked tough to drive, hitting the bottom of the Baku City Circuit. The Briton qualified fifth to maintain his hopes of maintaining that top-five streak, but with both Ferraris retired he inherited the final podium spot – once again in a class of his own between the midfield and the best teams.

READ MORE: ‘We were a bit quicker than expected’ – Russell seizes chance on unlikely Baku podium


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Hamilton, like Russell, gave it his all on another tough day for Mercedes. The physical toll certainly showed on the seven-time champion, but he continued to push from a disappointing seventh on the grid, revising Gasly late to back up Russell and take more valuable points for the team.

READ MORE: Wolff backs Mercedes technical team to get W13 back on track after calling car ‘box to drive’ in Baku


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Eighth in qualifying, 13th in the race, the results don’t tell the whole story of Tsunoda’s Sunday. The Japanese pilot looked ready for P6 or thereabouts when it became apparent that only half of his DRS flap was opening. It sent him back into the pits for a lengthy repair, aided by taping, and despite installing soft tires, the AlphaTauri rider was demoted to 13th at the flag on a day he deserved so much more.

READ MORE: Mixed fortunes at AlphaTauri as Gasly’s ‘incredible’ run is tempered by rear wing issues for Tsunoda


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Vettel converted a P9 grid spot into eighth, the Aston Martin driver with good pace on Sunday. Lucky that Tsunoda fell down the order late, the four-time champion was also lucky that his first mistake in pursuit of Ocon didn’t cost him more than a few places as he executed a perfect turn into the turn. 3. runoff.

READ MORE: Vettel ignores mistake that cost him P5 shot at Azerbaijan GP


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Perhaps not Perez’s best run, and certainly not of the same caliber as his victory in Monaco. But it wasn’t a bad performance either. Perez qualified second and took the lead from Leclerc into Turn 1 but couldn’t keep pace with team-mate Verstappen, the Mexican sustaining a Red Bull one-two finish thanks to retirements from both Ferrari drivers.

READ MORE: Would Leclerc have triumphed in Baku if not for his Round 20 DNF?


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Alonso’s P10 qualification was average by definition, but the Alpine rider kept his nose clean on his way to P7 in the race. The straight-line speed of his A522 helped him keep the McLarens at bay, but even when Ricciardo charged at the end, the two-time champion seemed unfazed.

READ MORE: Alonso left with ‘good taste’ after third consecutive points score builds momentum for Canada


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What could have been for Zhou Guanyu? The rookie qualified 14th ahead of teammate Bottas and even outstripped his accomplished teammate – then reliability issues again remained. The Chinese driver’s performance was not lost on the judges, but a possible points score was, and now Zhou has suffered three retirements in the last four races.

READ MORE: ‘It’s happened too many times this year’ – Zhou left frustrated with third DNF of season in Baku

Missing

The McLaren drivers missed out on the top 10 this week, scoring just below Zhou. Both Norris and Ricciardo got the exact same score from the judges, which was enough to place them 11th in this week’s power rankings.

Ranking


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