Miami GP driver ratings: Max Verstappen a cut above on way to dominant win
The Miami Grand Prix driver ratings are in! How do our scores stack up to your post-race analysis?
Ratings explained: Every driver starts the weekend slap bang in the middle with a 5/10 rating and we operate on a sliding scale from there. We take the entire weekend into account, not just the race itself.
However, the scores will be weighted more towards a driver’s race performance, but qualifying performances (good or bad) are also factored into our ratings and, in extreme circumstances, practice will also play a minor part in the overall score.
Max Verstappen came from ninth to win his third race of the season as he moved past team-mate Sergio Perez to stretch his lead at the top of the Drivers’ Standings.
So with that, here are PlanetF1.com’s driver ratings for the 2023 Miami Grand Prix:
Max Verstappen – 10
Max Verstappen’s biggest critics will often point to the dominance of his car over the past two years but even the most ardent of them will struggle to find fault in his performance in Miami.
A minor mistake in qualifying was rectified with a P1 that truth be told, looked on from the start. Having cut through the grid fairly easily, made all the more impressive by the hard tyres attached to his car, his final battle was with his own team-mate.
But as others drove into the pits around him, Verstappen just kept going and going and going. Picking the RB19’s single greatest strength is a tough ask but perhaps tyre degradation, or lack thereof, is the best of them all.
Verstappen was able to not only blast his way through the grid but to also nurse the tyres through to the closing stages of the race. Had FIA rules not dictated a driver must use two compounds then he may well have stayed out all race.
In the end, he did pit, sacrificing the lead to team-mate Perez in the process but it was not long before he got it back and claimed his third win of the season.
Sergio Perez – 8
Having claimed pole and with his team-mate and biggest rival eight places behind, Sergio Perez should have grabbed hold of the win and never let it go.
He started fine, holding off Alonso before building a gap but it was after he changed his tyres that he needed to be better. With Verstappen on older rubber, Perez should have used his tyre advantage to reduce the gap meaning that when the Dutchman did eventually pit, Perez would have more than the three-second lead he did.
This was the first time we saw the two Red Bull drivers actually battle on track and yes, Verstappen had the tyre advantage but if the Dutchman is celebrating a third World title come the end of the season, Perez may look back on this race as the moment Verstappen gained control of the title race.
Fernando Alonso – 8.5
A rather quiet race for the Spaniard whose perhaps most impressive feat was somehow spotting his team-mate Lance Stroll pull off an overtake on the big screen.
Alonso’s best chance at a potential race win or P2 would have come in the early exchanges but he was unable to challenge Perez at the start. Even if he had, the performance of Verstappen meant he would soon have passed the Aston Martin man as well.
But it was a tidy and accomplished drive from Alonso who secured his third podium of the season, a tally that only Verstappen can better.
George Russell – 8
Considering the W14 looked as if it lacked any kind of pace during qualifying, George Russell can be rather pleased with his efforts which were the result of smart driving and choosing your moments.
Russell used the speed of Verstappen to his benefit for as the Dutchman moved past former team-mate Pierre Gasly, the Mercedes man was able to tag onto the back and also move past the Frenchman.
Later on in the race, he would make a move past Carlos Sainz look oh so easy and solidify a P4 spot with Fernando Alonso up ahead never really looking like a realistic target.
Carlos Sainz – 7
While the punishment ultimately had no impact on his result, Carlos Sainz must lose points for the rookie error of speeding in the pit lane that handed him a five-second penalty.
On track, Sainz found himself unable to hold onto the coattails of Alonso ahead of him and would soon find himself with the black Mercedes of George Russell in his rear view mirrors.
The DRS proved powerful for Russell, as it did for many drivers during the race, as the Brit overtook Sainz but the Spaniard was unable to keep within DRS range for any chance of a fightback.
It was back-to-back P5s for Sainz but another race where you were left wondering if he could have done more.
Lewis Hamilton – 7.5
After a first half that saw Hamilton lacking any kind of pace, he found another gear as the race went on. With the drivers ahead of him on the hard tyres, the mediums on Hamilton’s challenger allowed him to attack cars that are usually quicker than the W14.
He overtook Gasly before pulling off a smart overtake on Leclerc to move up into P6 and secure a result he may not have expected would have been possible following his P13 start.
Charles Leclerc – 6.5
A rather frustrating afternoon for Leclerc who not only had to watch former tittle rival Verstappen breeze on past and up the grid but found himself unable to overtake at any kind of similar pace.
The thorn in Leclerc’s side proved to be Kevin Magnussen who acted as the gatekeeper to the places above. Leclerc thought he had got him on Lap 4 but the Ferrari man became the loser in a three-horse race when not only did the Haas man regain his place but Verstappen cruised by past the both of them.
Even after both had pitted, it seemed they were stuck together and it was not until Lap 38 that Leclerc finally managed to get by Magnussen. He would later move past Gasly but was unable to stop Hamilton on fresh medium tyres from passing by.
We half suspect that when Leclerc went to bed last night, the sight of the Haas car was all he could remember from the race.
Pierre Gasly – 8
A marked improvement from Gasly whose season so far has been far from smooth sailing. Having achieved P5 in qualifying, he managed to move past Kevin Magnussen into P4 and held onto it for the opening 10 laps.
It was only when Verstappen appeared in his wing mirrors that the Frenchman made an error for while he smartly chose not to defend from his former team-mate, in doing so he also left the door open for Russell who accepted the present with glee.
Dropping down to P6, Gasly took an early pit stop on Lap 15, but that would ultimately hurt him later in the race when Leclerc and Hamilton were able to get by.
But it was Gasly’s first points score since Saudi Arabia and one that moves him into the top of half in the Drivers’ Standings.
Esteban Ocon – 7.5
For a lot of this race, it looked like we could have a Baku-style situation as Ocon again showed an ability to get the hard tyres to last for an incredibly long time.
As drivers ahead of him had pitted, the Frenchman was able to keep his Alpine car in P4 and was even running P3 at one point.
Ultimately, the quicker cars on fresher tyres would regain their places, dropping Ocon further back down the grid, but when he did emerge from his stop on Lap 39, he did so in P10 and on fresh tyres to boot.
That would prove to be bad news for Kevin Magnussen, with Ocon able to pass him and secure a double points finish for Alpine.
Kevin Magnussen – 8
Aided by a P4 starting spot that did come with a healthy slice of luck but was also not without merit, Kevin Magnussen’s early job was to try and stay as high up the grid for as long as possible.
That task got off to a rough start when he fell to P7 by Lap 4 but the Dane showed excellent defensive and offensive work in his one-on-one duel with Leclerc which lasted for almost two thirds of the race.
After he had eventually been vanquished, Magnussen fought to retain a points paying spot and he ultimately did with P10, his first since Saudi Arabia.
Yuki Tsunoda – 8.5
Another day, another P11 for Yuki Tsunoda. If that proves to be the trend for the season, then the two points earned by the Japanese driver will not be a fair reflection of his efforts.
After a poor qualifying which looked to have derailed his early season form, Tsunoda was overshadowed by only Max Verstappen as he too cut his way through the grid, if not with the same devastating effect that Verstappen did so.
By Lap 14, he was up to P14 and the decision from AlphaTauri to start Tsunoda on the hard meant that when he emerged onto the track on Lap 37, he had 20 laps to make his fresher and quicker tyres count.
He overtook Albon and Bottas but ultimately P10 Magnussen would prove a step too far. He may walk away pointless for the third time this season but more performances like this and luck will eventually be on his side.
Lance Stroll – 6.5
In comparison to his team-mate, Stroll looked lost this weekend. A poor qualifying which saw him exit in Q1 gave him work to do and in a quicker car, he should have moved up the field easier than he did.
His best work came during the second stint and only then did he begin to unleash some of the pace of the AMR23 but it was too little, too late as he was forced to settle for his first non-points finish of the season.
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Valtteri Bottas – 7.5
After his strongest qualifying of the season so far, Bottas just did not have the speed to move further up the grid.
Starting on the medium, Bottas found it difficult to keep Nico Hülkenberg behind him despite the German being on the hard tyre and when Bottas pitted, he emerged in P16 and with 37 laps with which to nurse his tyres.
But in an effort to do that, he found quicker cars such as Ocon and Hamilton move by and then Tsunoda and Stroll at the end leaving him with a P13 finish. Pointless yes but more reason for optimism than there has been in the other races of 2023 so far.
Alex Albon – 6.5
Alex Albon seems somewhat doomed to spend this season operating in that area just outside of the points. After the pace shown in Australia, the Williams car has struggled a bit more in the last few races and Albon has not had the speed with which to attack the top 10.
In Miami, he had as much trouble defending behind as he did trying to move forward and it seems his tyres gave way more than most as he slipped further down the grid in the last few remaining laps.
He would end in P14, his worst finishing result of the season, and will hope the Imola circuit suits the FW45 a little more than Miami did.
Nico Hulkenberg 6.5
Qualified well to start in P12 and managed to move past Albon early on and was even running in P7 at one point until his pit stop knocked him back down the grid.
He also held the fastest lap at one point but it was a rather uneventful race, unlike last week in Baku, for Hulkenberg who crossed the line in P15.
Zhou Guanyu – 5.5
At a time when his team-mate Bottas showed some pace, the same cannot be said of Zhou. Qualifying in P14, he lost an early spot to the charging Tsunoda and would also lose out to Stroll later in the race.
Being on the medium in the second stint worked in his favour as he moved past Lando Norris but a P16 finish is nothing to write home about.
Lando Norris – 6
A Nyck de Vries divebomb all but ended Norris’ chances of progressing up the grid from his P16 starting spot but even without the shunt, the performance of the MCL60 in qualifying suggested he would have found it tough going regardless.
For those watching the TV broadcast, they would have seen little of Norris during the race. He pitted on Lap 4 having started on the soft tyre and he did a good job of nursing that tyre for the remaining 53 laps.
But all in all, it was a race to forget for Norris who will be hoping he has a better time out at Imola.
Nyck de Vries – 3.5
Having made it to Q2 in qualifying, Nyck de Vries needed to do better than to lock up going into the first corner and not only ruin his own race but that of Lando Norris as well.
After his incident, he was back to his usual hunting ground of in the final quarter of the field and he did not make any kind of progress up the grid. He would finish 18th, his worst result of the year so far in a race that he has crossed the line, and his future in F1 looks even more perilous.
Oscar Piastri – 6
McLaren were bold with their strategy choice for both drivers as they represented the only two on softs in a sea of mediums and hards and while it did not make much difference for Norris, Oscar Piastri was able to capitalise early on.
By Lap 4, he was up to P14 but would fall back down the grid when he pitted on Lap 5 as the soft tyre degraded quickly.
From there, it was an uphill task in a McLaren car that has lacked performance since Saturday and he finished 19th, one of two drivers to be lapped.
Logan Sargeant – 4.5
After a poor qualifying, the last thing hometown hero Logan Sargeant would have wanted would be damage in the opening flap but that was exactly what he got.
He came into the pits on just the second lap and a lengthy change which saw his front wing replaced meant he emerged back on the track well adrift of the other drivers. Sargeant would never leave the P20 spot and remains one of two drivers without a point this year.
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