Chinese Grand Prix 2018 adjusted driver rankings - who comes out on top?

Luke Slater
The Telegraph
Daniel Ricciardo not only won the Grand Prix, he also topped our adjusted driver ratings.  - REUTERS
Daniel Ricciardo not only won the Grand Prix, he also topped our adjusted driver ratings.  - REUTERS

The dust has now settled on a very eventful Chinese Grand Prix, with Daniel Ricciardo and Red Bull emerging victors while Mercedes and Ferrari will be left to lick their wounds. Sebastian Vettel still leads the drivers' championship but his lead was slashed by Lewis Hamilton to nine points.

This season we're trying something a bit different to normal driver ratings out of ten. What we have devised an adjusted ratings system to rank the drivers. It is still a work in progress and may be tweaked throughout the season but the rating incorporates several aspects of a car and driver's performance.

Firstly, all cars are given a percentage rating relative to the quickest lap time of the weekend. So, for example, this weekend Force India's quickest lap was 101.825 percent of the quickest lap time, set by Ferrari. From this percentage their drivers get a relative rating and start with a higher base score - in this instance 18. So 101.825 equals 18. 102.000 would equal 20, 103.000 would equal 30 and so on. Ferrari drivers, by virtue of having the quickest lap of the weekend do not gain any points through this.

Drivers then pick up points from where they finish in the race - from first to fifteenth - and then gain bonus points (or lose them) for how many places they make up in the race. So, a driver who makes up five places gets an additional five points and a driver who loses five places loses five points from his adjusted points total. A driver's overall score is a combination of the pace of their car and how they perform in the race. 

<span>The Red Bull team celebrate on hearing that Daniel Ricciardo tops our driver rankings.&nbsp;</span> <span>Credit: GETTY IMAGES </span>
The Red Bull team celebrate on hearing that Daniel Ricciardo tops our driver rankings.  Credit: GETTY IMAGES

It's not by any means a perfect system (yet!) and doesn't take into account absolutely all the relevant factors - there may be the odd anomaly - but it should show us which drivers outperform their cars over the course of a weekend and the season. And hey, it's meant to be a bit of harmless fun. Remember that.  

20. Brendon Hartley - Toro Rosso

Had his race ended after he collided with his team-mate, whom he was ahead of and out-qualified. It wasn't his fault, though. 

19. Romain Grosjean

The less said about this weekend the better. Out-qualifying his team-mate was as good as it got. 

Actual finishing position: 16

Adjusted ranking points: 9

18. Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari

Losing the lead to Bottas wasn't his fault, nor was the fact that he couldn't take advantage of the safety car. Come to think of it, neither was Verstappen hitting him at the hairpin. A harsh ranking but a tough weekend for the German.

Actual finishing position: 8

Adjusted ranking points: 24

17. Pierre Gasly - Toro Rosso

<span>Gasly's collision with his team-mate Hartley marked a poor weekend for Toro Rosso.&nbsp;</span> <span>Credit: GETTY IMAGES </span>
Gasly's collision with his team-mate Hartley marked a poor weekend for Toro Rosso.  Credit: GETTY IMAGES

A clumsy incident at the hairpin with his team-mate was the most notable moment of his weekend. What a difference a week makes.

Actual finishing position: 18

Adjusted ranking points: 29

16. Sergio Perez - Force India

Points looked on the cards at the start, starting in eighth, but he went backwards in the race and ended up behind team-mate Ocon. 

Actual finishing position: 12

Adjusted ranking points: 30

15. Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren

Thirteenth in the race represented a fair distance behind Fernando Alonso in the sister McLaren, and the Belgian far off the Spaniard's pace all weekend after a decent outing in Bahrain.

Actual finishing position: 13

Adjusted ranking points: 33

14. Esteban Ocon - Force India

Force India looked to have improved race pace this weekend but Ocon and Perez had a difficult Sunday. Eleventh in the race isn't too bad an effort for Ocon, beating his team-mate at least.

Actual finishing position: 11

Adjusted ranking points: 34

13. Charles Leclerc - Sauber

Many expected this Ferrari Academy driver to beat his Swedish team-mate this year. Ericsson claimed points in Bahrain while Leclerc looked at little at sea here. He placed only ahead of the non-finishing Brendon Hartley and finished where he started.

Actual finishing position:  19

Adjusted ranking points: 36

12. Sergey Sirotkin - Williams

<span>Williams's Sergey Sirotkin struggled on Sunday but he places twelfth in our adjusted rankings.&nbsp;</span> <span>Credit: AFP </span>
Williams's Sergey Sirotkin struggled on Sunday but he places twelfth in our adjusted rankings.  Credit: AFP

Williams had the edge on Sauber this weekend, but were still a little way behind the next best car. A half-decent performance for the Russian, aided though he was by their coming-together. Out-qualified his team-mate, though he's still learning his craft. 

Actual finishing position: 15

Adjusted ranking points: 40

11. Kevin Magnussen - Haas 

A solid but unspectacular weekend for the Dane, taking home a point. His adjusted ranking sees him just a place behind his actual finishing position, having made up one place in what seemed to be the fifth-quickest car on the grid this weekend. A lot better than his team-mate, though.

Actual finishing position:10

Adjusted ranking points: 42

10. Carlos Sainz - Renault

Many thought Sainz would challenge Nico Hulkenberg all the way this year but it's the German who has the edge once again. Sainz finished where he started and picks up a couple of world championship points. Renault had the fourth quickest car this weekend, though, so it could have been more.

Actual finishing position: 9

Adjusted ranking points: 45

9. Marcus Ericcson - Sauber

It was not as successful a weekend for the Swede as Bahrain but he's up here by virtue of finishing sixteenth in the slowest car on the grid by quite a margin and making up four places (and adjusted ranking points) after being last on the grid.  

Actual finishing position: 16

Adjusted ranking points: 50

8. Lance Stroll - Williams

Again the Canadian made plenty of ground on lap one, running in the points. Last year he gained more places on the first lap than anyone else throughout the season. The car's race pace was not there - again - but finishing ahead of his team-mate, Romain Grosjean, Gasly and both Sauber cars makes this a reasonable effort for Stroll.

Actual finishing position: 14

Adjusted ranking points: 53

7. Max Verstappen - Red Bull

<span>Verstappen had a scrappy race - he could have been fighting for the win.&nbsp;</span> <span>Credit: GETTY IMAGES </span>
Verstappen had a scrappy race - he could have been fighting for the win.  Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Unlike his team-mate, Verstappen struggled to make his way through the field on the fresher tyres. At least cleanly. He came close to colliding with Hamilton, again, and did collide with Vettel at the hairpin, ruining the German's race. His newer tyres meant he was able to make time up again and finish in fifth, after a ten-second time penalty. A scrappy weekend, though and he is this high because he was quick rather than clean. 

Actual finishing position: 5

Adjusted ranking points: 58

6. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes

A frustrating weekend for the Mercedes driver but he did make ground on Vettel in the championship, reducing his lead to just nine points. Didn't make too many mistakes and profited from Verstappen and Vettel coming together, otherwise he'd be a bit further down the rankings.

Actual finishing position:

Adjusted ranking points: 63

5. Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari

Raikkonen's fortunes reversed after the safety car, really. He ran much longer than Vettel and was sacrificed for his team-mate's sake. On fresher tyres he was able to make his way through the field and finished strongly in third, just behind Bottas. Another decent effort from the Finn.

Actual finishing position: 3

Adjusted ranking points: 64

4. Nico Hulkenberg - Renault

Nico Hulkberg is without doubt one of the most consistent drivers on the grid. Renault looked to have the fourth best car here but the German got the best out of it all weekend, qualifying as the quickest driver outside of the top three teams and making up a place in the race itself.

Actual finishing position: 6

Adjusted ranking points: 65

3. Valtteri Bottas - Mercedes

Mercedes had the second-quickest car this weekend and Bottas did not do much wrong. He out-qualified and out-raced his team-mate for the second time in two weeks. The unfortunate safety car period meant he was always going to be struggling to hang onto the lead once the Red Bulls pitted. The number 77 driver, aptly, scores 77 adjusted ranking points.

Actual finishing position: 2

Adjusted ranking points: 77

2. Fernando Alonso - McLaren

<span>Fernando Alonso again had a strong race, finishing seventh in China</span> <span>Credit: AFP </span>
Fernando Alonso again had a strong race, finishing seventh in China Credit: AFP

On raw pace alone McLaren were the seventh quickest team here, behind Force India, Haas and Renault. Again, Alonso managed to get the absolute best out of his McLaren and finished in the points for the third race in a row. Seventh was probably the limit to what they could have achieved here. He's a good driver, this Fernando.  He was level with Bottas on adjusted ranking points but shades second on countback through having a slower car. 

Actual finishing position:7

Adjusted ranking points: 77

1. Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull 

The Red Bull driver pulled off a quite stunning victory with the help of his team and he comfortably tops our first adjusted driver rankings, despite being in the third-best car on the grid. Fair enough, really. The safety car helped him out a fair bit but, unlike his team-mate, he pulled off some stunning overtakes, as he often does. 

Actual finishing position: 1

Adjusted ranking points: 91

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