POWER RANKINGS: Big calls from the judges as the scores come in from Sao Paulo
The scores are in from the Sao Paulo Grand Prix and Sprint – where George Russell took his maiden win, and Mercedes’ first victory of the season – and there are a couple of big names missing from the top 10…
How it works
Our five-judge panel assesses each driver after every Grand Prix and scores them out of 10 according to their performance across the weekend – taking machinery out of the equation
Our experts’ scores are then averaged out and the mean of those scores are used to produce a Power Rankings leaderboard, which has been expanded below
READ MORE: 5 Winners and 5 Losers from the Sao Paulo Grand Prix
George Russell had a momentous weekend in Sao Paulo. He qualified third and then won the Saturday Sprint after a brief tussle with Max Verstappen, who defended admirably but couldn’t make those medium tires work as well in the 100km dash. On Sunday, Russell started from P1 on the grid, led all but five laps and set the fastest lap on his way to a maiden Grand Prix victory, and the team’s first of 2022. The judges gave him a perfect score.
READ MORE: Why Red Bull had no answer for Mercedes and Ferrari in the Sao Paulo GP
Lewis Hamilton qualified eighth on Friday as wet-dry-wet conditions caught out much of the field, but the seven-time champion fared much better in the Sprint where he finished third, behind penalized driver Carlos Sainz, to ensure a front-row lock -out for Mercedes on Sunday. In the Grand Prix, Hamilton led five laps and shrugged off a collision with Verstappen to back up his team mate in a sensational one-two.
READ MORE: ‘It wasn’t clear we could make it to the end’ – ‘Super proud’ Wolff on how close Russell came to losing Sao Paulo win
Sainz wasn’t the happiest driver coming into the weekend as he had a five-place grid penalty for the Grand Prix, which meant that his P5 in qualifying and P2 in the Sprint would turn into P7 on Sunday’s grid. But the Spaniard made it to P3 within the first 10 laps in a blistering show of pace, and, while he had to fight to hold on to his podium place – conceding to the Mercedes but staying ahead of his team mate Charles Leclerc plus the Red Bulls – Sainz felt like he’d finally had the smooth weekend he was hoping for.
READ MORE: Sainz pleased with ‘great fightback’ to podium as Leclerc explains team orders request in Brazil
If Sainz was miffed, Fernando Alonso was similarly unhappy going into the Grand Prix. A collision with team mate Esteban Ocon led to Alonso receiving a five-second penalty in the Sprint – for which he started seventh – but from 17th he made gradual progress into the top 10 on Sunday. From there, it was clear that the two-time champion’s space was sufficient for far more than a few points and he was allowed past Ocon late in the race to beat the Red Bulls to P5 at the flag.
READ MORE: Alonso enjoys ‘perfect Sunday’ in Sao Paulo after storming from P17 to P5
Valtteri Bottas’s performance didn’t go unoticed by our judges, despite the drama that unfolded around the Alfa Romeo driver. Bottas qualified a disappointing 18th and ended up 14th in the Sprint, but he had plenty more in the tank. Running as high as fifth in the Grand Prix itself, the Finn couldn’t quite hang on to the Alpines and Red Bulls late in the race but he finished a solid ninth on a day where points seemed a long shot.
READ MORE: What the teams said – Race day in Sao Paulo
Kevin Magnussen created headlines when he blazed to his first ever pole position in the dramatic Friday qualifying session, and that went some way to putting him in the top 10 in our Power Rankings. The Danish driver couldn’t hang onto the lead but settled for eighth, and a point, in the Sprint. Sunday was far less fortunate for the Haas driver as he was punted into a spin and out of the race on Lap 1.
READ MORE: ‘Lap 1 incidents are brutal’ – Magnussen and Ricciardo reflect on race-ending collision in Sao Paulo
Leclerc qualified 10th in the mixed-up order on Friday but made it to sixth in a tough Sprint, with the Monegasque trying to avoid needless risk. From fifth on the grid, he fell down to 18th after a collision with Lando Norris nearly sent him out of the race but he soldiered on and almost got the better of team mate Sainz at the final Safety Car restart. P4 put Leclerc level with Perez in the standings.
READ MORE: ‘I’m not here to let everyone past’ – Norris defends collision with Leclerc after ‘disappointing’ DNF in Sao Paulo
Thirteenth was Sebastian Vettel’s place in qualifying and he just missed out on a point in the Sprint after placing P9 on Saturday – a result that showed he had the race pace to fight for a top-10 spot on Sunday. The four-time champion did indeed give his all, going as high as third on a different strategy to most of the runners, and he was up to seventh before the late Safety Car dashed his hopes of points in the Grand Prix, as he fell back to 11th on medium tires.
BEYOND THE GRID: Vettel names ‘biggest natural talent’ he’s faced in F1 as he prepares for final race
Ocon qualified a stellar sixth on Friday and didn’t take the blame for the Alonso collision in the Sprint, which left his team mate holding a five-second penalty. The Frenchman started the race in 16th, however, and worked his way into the top 10 – but the late-race restart left him lagging and he ended up eighth by the checkered flag.
FACTS AND STATS: Russell and Hamilton take first British 1-2 since 2010
Despite suffering from a bout of food poisoning, Norris qualified a brilliant fourth on Friday, then fell to seventh in the Sprint as he admitted his objective was to pass Magnussen. Mission accomplished, but from sixth in the Grand Prix he tangled with Leclerc early on and took a five-second penalty for that collision. The Briton climbed as high as eighth after that but his progress was curtailed by a loss of power which ended his race on Lap 52.
Pierre Gasly was the driver to miss out on the top 10 in our Power Rankings as the AlphaTauri driver qualified 12th, finished 10th in the Sprint and then – with a five-second penalty for pit lane speeding – ended up 14th on Sunday.