Driver pre-race photo, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix driver ratings

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

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With a brand new season comes a brand new approach for how RaceFans assesses the performances of each driver through the 2022 Formula 1 world championship.

After each grand prix, RaceFans will grade all 20 drivers on their overall performance throughout the race weekend, across Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Each driver will be awarded a score on a scale of zero to ten, taking into account the performance expectations of their machinery, how they overcame adversity over the weekend, how many mistakes they made as well as their conduct out on the track.

But keep in mind, these drivers will be judged not only against each other, but against over 70 years of Formula 1 history. Only the most outstanding, exceptional feats of driving excellence will earn the highest scores.

With the first race of the year finally in the books, here’s how each driver fared over the course of the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend…

Lewis Hamilton – 7

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022
Podium finish looked unlikely for Hamilton until the end
Qualified: 5th (+4 above team mate)
Finished: 3rd (+1 above team mate)

  • Battled with inconsistent brake temperatures in practice
  • Easily out-qualified new team mate Russell to line up fifth behind Ferraris and Red Bulls
  • Jumped Perez at start until being repassed
  • Ran fifth until gaining fourth after Verstappen’s retirement
  • Pressured an ailing Perez until the Red Bull retired, handing him a podium

George Russell – 6

Qualified: 9th (-4 below team mate)
Finished: 5th (-1 below team mate)

  • Fourth across all three practice sessions
  • Quicker than Hamilton in Q2, but settings experiment backfired in Q3, leaving him ninth
  • Gained two places on lap one after great launch off the grid
  • Passed Magnussen to run sixth behind Hamilton for most of the race
  • Picked up fourth after Red Bulls dropped out

Max Verstappen – 8

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022
Verstappen threw everything he had at Leclerc
Qualified: 2nd (+2 above team mate)
Finished: DNF (Fuel pump – L54)

  • Fastest of all in second and third practice
  • Quickest in Q2, but missed out on pole by a tenth
  • Fought hard with Leclerc for lead but could not keep ahead after locking up heavily into turn one
  • Kept in touch with Leclerc despite complaints with braking and power steering
  • Forced to retire after restart with fuel pump problem

Sergio Perez – 6

Qualified: 4th (-2 below team mate)
Finished: DNF (Fuel pump – L57)

  • Significantly slower than Verstappen on Friday’s long runs
  • Qualified 4th but felt third was possible if not for mistake in final corner
  • Dropped two positions at the start, before gaining fourth back over opening stint
  • Maintained a steady gap to Sainz ahead for much of the race
  • Lost a podium on the final lap after engine seized at turn one

Carlos Sainz Jnr – 6

Qualified: 3rd (-2 below team mate)
Finished: 2nd (-1 below team mate)

  • Struggled with confidence in the car during practice
  • Qualified third a tenth away from Leclerc and 0.006s away from a front row start
  • Held onto third for the vast majority of the race, gradually losing touch with two leaders
  • Passed Verstappen after restart once Red Bull’s fuel pump problem began to manifest
  • Admitted to not feeling at home with the car all weekend

Charles Leclerc – 8

Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022
Clever DRS strategy kept Leclerc ahead
Qualified: Pole position (+2 above team mate)
Finished: Winner (+1 above team mate)

  • Second quickest across all three practice sessions
  • Pipped Verstappen to pole despite Red Bull appearing to have superior one lap pace
  • Led from the start and kept Verstappen at bay for most of the race
  • Incredibly cool under pressure from Verstappen, smartly exploited DRS rules to keep his lead
  • Hat trick of pole, victory and fastest lap

Lando Norris – 6

Qualified: 13th (+5 above team mate)
Finished: 15th (-1 below team mate)

  • Struggled with McLaren’s fundamental braking issue all weekend
  • Comfortably reached Q2 before being eliminated in 13th
  • Lost three places on opening lap trying to avoid Schumacher, then passed by Stroll and Zhou
  • Lost position to Ricciardo after unfortunate Safety Car timing
  • Finished 15th

Daniel Ricciardo – 4

Qualified: 18th (-5 below team mate)
Finished: 14th (+1 above team mate)

  • First time in the car since first test in Barcelona, battling brake troubles
  • Lost important track time in second practice with water leak
  • Eliminated out of Q1 in 18th
  • Dropped to last place at the start in the turn six melee
  • Tried a different strategy to his rivals and was lucky Safety Car helped him pass Norris

Fernando Alonso – 5

Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022
Safety Car timing didn’t help Alonso
Qualified: 8th (+3 above team mate)
Finished: 9th (-2 below team mate)

  • Lined up eighth after benefiting from others’ mistakes
  • Lost a place to Russell at the start
  • Passed by team mate Ocon multiple times in race, unable to match his pace despite upgraded car
  • Compromised by Safety Car while aiming to go to the end on hard compound
  • Fortunate to score points in ninth after gaining late places thanks to Red Bull’s retirements

Esteban Ocon – 6

Qualified: 11th (-3 below team mate)
Finished: 7th (+2 above team mate)

  • Sidepod exploded during first practice, had to revert to older spec floor and sidepods
  • Narrowly missed Q3 by under a tenth and less than two tenths from team mate
  • Earned five second penalty for hitting Schumacher on opening lap
  • Passed team mate multiple times, including with a late lunge into turn one
  • Was satisfied with finishing seventh at the chequered flag

Pierre Gasly – 6

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022
Luckless Gasly suffered a Red Bull engine failure
Qualified: 10th (+6 above team mate)
Finished: DNF (MGU-K – L44)

  • Topped first practice but dropped to 13th in evening conditions
  • Very pleased to reach Q3 but couldn’t match his Q2 time
  • Gained two places on opening lap, then passed Alonso and Magnussen
  • Became first retirement after MGU-K failed

Yuki Tsunoda – 5

Qualified: 16th (-6 below team mate)
Finished: 8th (team mate DNF)

  • Reprimanded for holding up Leclerc in second practice
  • Missed the entire third practice session with hydraulic problem
  • Eliminated in Q1, seven tenths slower than team mate Gasly
  • Jumped four places among the chaos of the start
  • Passed Alonso twice, including at the restart, to finish eighth

Nico Hulkenberg – 5

Nico Hulkenberg, Aston Martin, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022
Hulkenberg’s qualifying effort impressed
Qualified: 17th (+2 above team mate)
Finished: 17th (-5 below team mate)

  • Did not struggle to get to grips with the car despite no prior track time
  • Eliminated in Q1 but faster than team mate Stroll with no major errors
  • Gained two spots at start but lost them through first stint
  • Struggled with balance in race, made mistake at turn one
  • Ran at the back of the field and was last car running at finish

Lance Stroll – 5

Qualified: 19th (-2 below team mate)
Finished: 12th (+5 above team mate)

  • Reprimanded for turning into Tsunoda at end of second practice
  • Qualified on the back row, behind a team mate who had not driven the car before
  • Got a great start but had to back off to avoid being squeezed on run to turn one
  • Made his way gradually up the order despite car’s general lack of pace
  • Finished 12th

Nicholas Latifi – 4

Qualified: 20th (-6 below team mate)
Finished: 16th (-3 below team mate)

  • Qualified at the back after struggling to get his tyres to optimum performance
  • Battled with Ricciardo for 19th place in early laps
  • Consistently between 0.5-1 seconds a lap slower than team mate Albon over second half of the race
  • Only beat Hulkenberg to the chequered flag

Alexander Albon – 7

Qualified: 14th (+6 above team mate)
Finished: 13th (+3 above team mate)

  • Delighted to reach Q2 on his return to Formula 1
  • Jumped to 11th at the start before being passed by rivals
  • Consistently ran ahead of both McLarens and lapped faster than team mate
  • Satisfied to cross the line in 13th

Valtteri Bottas – 8

A cautious first lap was only weak spot for Bottas
Qualified: 6th (+9 above team mate)
Finished: 6th (+4 above team mate)

  • Missed first practice session with misfire
  • Secured sixth on the grid as “best of the rest”
  • Lost several places over a very cautious opening lap
  • Made his way back through the field thanks to strong long run pace on medium tyres
  • Finished sixth to secure valuable points on first race with Alfa Romeo

Zhou Guanyu – 6

Qualified: 15th (-9 below team mate)
Finished: 10th (-4 below team mate)

  • Built himself up gradually through the practice sessions
  • Secured a place in Q2 on debut despite admitting to nerves before qualifying
  • Fell into anti-stall at the first corner but managed to continue
  • Scythed his way through the backmarkers back up to 13th before the Safety Car
  • Passed a wounded Schumacher after the restart to take 12th, which became a point for tenth

Mick Schumacher – 5

Qualified: 12th (-5 below team mate)
Finished: 11th (-6 below team mate)

  • Missed cut to reach Q3 after his best Q2 time was half a second slower than his team mate
  • Hit by Ocon at turn six on opening lap, spinning him but able to continue
  • Struggled throughout the race from suspected damage and could not match Magnussen’s pace
  • Was tenth at the restart but was immediately passed by multiple cars, unable to defend
  • Finished 11th, last of the cars behind the main pack

Kevin Magnussen – 8

Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Bahrain International Circuit, 2022
Magnussen stressed his tyres in early fight with Russell
Qualified: 7th (+5 above team mate)
Finished: 5th (+6 above team mate)

  • Surprised himself with how comparable his practice pace was to Mercedes
  • Consistently quick in qualifying, securing seventh on the grid
  • Passed Perez and Russell at the start, before mistakes under braking cost him those positions
  • Occupied the “best of the rest” placing behind the top three teams for the majority of the race
  • Crossed the line fifth to give Haas their best finish since 2018

Over to you

Vote for the driver who impressed you most last weekend and find out whether other RaceFans share your view here:

2022 Bahrain Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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113 comments on “2022 Bahrain Grand Prix driver ratings”

  1. Ricciardo was in front of Norris before the SC

    His strategy was a little bit better, Norris was punished for going on the Hard for the second stint

    1. He was in front, but he was on 11 lap old hard tyres that would have taken him to the end of the race. Norris was only 4 laps into his soft tyre stint that likely would have also taken him to the end of the race. Norris was over 2 seconds faster than Ricciardo on lap 43 so I think he would have comfortably passed Ricciardo had the safety car no come out.

  2. How do you justify Verstappen being equal to Leclerc on 8?

    1. Because he was able to overtake and keep up with Leclerc despite no Power Steering.
      And if Gasly didn’t trigger a safetyCar Max would have been in front and possibly win the Race if the Fuel Pump held out :D

      1. If, if, if.

        Verstappen was never going to catch Leclerc, he had to make up 27 seconds in 13 laps. The best he managed was 1.7s on his first lap out of the pits. After that, his delta to Leclerc’s lap time was decreasing each lap.

        1. Leclerc still needed to pitt and he would end up behind Verstappen if Gasly didn’t DNF. And Verstappen was driving a Wounded Red Bull but was still able to keep up with Leclerc and drive away from Sainz until the Engine went.
          So how is that not worthy of a 8? or does only the end result matter? He did the Maximum in my opinion and if the Honda problems didn’t happen he might have won.

          1. Leclerc didn’t need to pit. He had much better degradation, sainz stayed out for additional laps after the first round of bit stops and didn’t suffer massive tyre drop off. Ferrari updated him 1-2 laps before verstappen pitted to tell him wear was good. Easily get 9 laps at the end out of the tyres with a 27s delta running in clean air all race.

          2. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
            22nd March 2022, 15:01

            Ferrari and Leclerc where going to the end on that set. They had no intention to pit as Ferrari’s tire degred was actually pretty good.

          3. Verstappen only had a slightly bended steering rod, due to the pitstop. Power steering was working. And the issue obviously didnt decrease his cars performance. So no heroic handling of a wounded car was needed.

            He had an average start, got dummied into overtaking at T1 multiple times until he locked up his front right, and he mispositioned himself and made a bad restart after SC. So based on his car performance his driving was not so impressive, I would say.

    2. Totally agree, leclerc outclassed him and then max’s temperment to his team wasnt great

    3. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      22nd March 2022, 13:42

      You can’t, for sure Leclerc earned a 9 for his Bahrain performance.
      He had pole, FLAP and the win and had a nice clean fight with Max for a few laps.

      Same that I can’t justify that Sainz and Perez and scored both a 6, Sainz was closer to Leclerc than Perez to Verstappen.
      So Leclerc 9, Verstappen 8, Sainz 7 and Perez 6 would have been better in my eyes.

      1. Rui (@colinmcrui)
        24th March 2022, 0:18

        I would put it like this as well, 6 for sainz is very unfair especially compared to remaining 6s across the grid

    4. Indeed – it’s very generous given the block-headed way he made 3 identical moves into Turn 1 on consecutive laps, only to be beaten each time.

      Obviously it was red mist brought on by other frustrations, but he basically ruined the entire stint by damaging his tyres so badly, even though the team kept trying to get him to cool it. Just a total inability to see the bigger picture!

      1. Can we stop with this polarised views every time. I tried to answer all those t rol ‘s but doing so required a enormous drop in intelligence. Something is impossible to keep up not being a t rol.
        So please stop with this low level remarks and protect the quality of this forum.
        I know Keith likes to stir things up but still….

        1. What are you going on about? It’s reply to a comment about a specific rating of a specific driver, offered up for public comment by the article author, who (as a point of record) is *not* Keith.

          Can I suggest you take your own advice, stop being so partisan and maybe contribute to the article rather than rebuking others?

          1. The obvious it was red mist part gave you away.
            Nothing objective in that. So stop hiding and take responsibility for your own words.

        2. This coming from someone who posts nothing but anti-Lewis/Merecedes viewpoints, at every single opportunity.

          At least treat people with courtesy and respect.

          1. So as I expected, no corrective action on the part of the hamfans.
            Okay, but stop crying when I react to those stupid remarks.

          2. I’m not a Hamilton fan!

          3. And, you show a total lack of respect in your comments. “Stop crying.”

            Incredibly rude and childish.

          4. @bradders, respect is something you should earn. The t roll remarks do not count as a respect demanding behavior.

        3. YOU are calling for an end to polarised views.


          That’s funny.

      2. @optimaximal Since Max is certainly not “block-headed” I would suggest this was just the best he and his car could do on Sunday. I’m sure he will have had his reasons for his race going as it did, and as well it is early days for learning about the cars and the tires, but in general I think I trust Max to know what is best as it comes down to the millisecond decisions needing to be made. And if there is something he could have done better that is why it is a team and the team will learn from it and advance themselves. But “block-headed?” Nah, from your armchair you can’t know what he woulda, coulda, shoulda done other than from the beauty of hindsight and because talk is easy. Of all people, Max knows that the big picture involves 23 races.

        1. Yet from your armchair you know differently. Max was played. As he was at Silverstone when he was dummied going into Copse, and on numerous other occasions throughout his F1 career. Probably because he is surrounded by yes men.

          1. A real keyboard warrior knowing the ins and outs of f1 I the verbatim and see what he had to deal with.
            No being played but fighting with a car with lots of increasingly serious errors..
            And still bringing up Silverstone where Lewis used his signature move to put his opponent in the wall. As he did multiple times before.
            No playing there but an criminal attack and he should have been black flagged for it!

          2. ian darling Yeah that sounds less armchairy lol. Of course the dummy at Copse for his penalty-worthy hit on Max that also damaged his own car was LH, who was very lucky that the team had time to repair his car during the red flag that he himself caused.

          3. @maxfanshere: ofc Max was dummied in Silverstone to leave open the inside line on the straight.

            Its not about his too late braking and too much cutting into the inside line, but the opening of the line when Ham came side-by-side on the straight.

            BTW: The crash was only partly Hams fault, like the stewards judged, and many drivers stated. I understand that your souperior (no typo here) mind gives you the power of a smarter judgement, but dont be surprised when others call you blinded orange fans.

          4. Thanks for proving my point with those answers. Won’t address or admit to Max’s shortcomings but deflect elsewhere. Same old, same old. No different to those yes men he surrounds himself with. If he hits the wall he gets congratulated for the lap it could have been. Max went to close the inside at Silverstone, was dummied by Ham, and lost the inside. That’s a mistake. If he had cleared Ham it would still have been a mistake. He spun off track acting as the safety car in Imola. He got away with it. It was still a mistake. As was George when he hit the wall behind the safety car.
            He was played by Charles.
            Looking forward to your next round of whataboutisms.

        2. @robbie I’ll just leave this famously apocryphal quote here…

          The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results

          1. @optimaximal or should that be optiMAXimal lol. So kinda like LH when he kept getting pushed wide by Max last year, just as he used to do to Nico, until he’d had enough and then resorted to hitting him at Copse?

        3. No, Max is hard-headed and temperamental. He is lacking adaptability. He has one trick which is no longer quite so useful in the new regulations. He acted like a child during the race.

          Insanity has been defined as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

          Max launched the exact same attack repeatedly on LeClerc, and LeClerc defended it perfectly all three times.

    5. Max was a 7. Didn’t learn from being passed in the same way 3 times

    6. Personally I find the 8 to verstappen and a few others right, but I would’ve given more to leclerc, at least 9, even that is hard to justify, don’t see what he did wrong.

      In any case I like these numeric ratings, cause sometimes in the “the rest” section you had drivers who did fairly well and fairly bad, instead now they will get 7 and 5 for example.

  3. The drivers who impressed me the most are definitely K-Mag & Bottas.

    1. K-Mag yes but Bottas was his old self. Super in quali and average in the race. Poor start and at one point was stuck ages behind Tsunoda. This has been his issue where is poor when in traffic.

      1. @IPBA Admittedly, yes. Some things never change.

    2. Zhou (of course also based on low expectations).

  4. I would give Russell a touch more as he was catching Hamilton in the last stint and had the added handicap of a late tyre change. Similarly Sainz seems a little mean as he was running well despite his setbacks.

    Putting Magnussen on a par with Bottas who made his usual mess sat the start is unfair. The former was so much more in charge of his race than Bottas.

    1. IMHO all the inept #2s should rate at 5 (within a tenth in Q, within 5 secs in the race) or lower.

      1. Or a 4. They did in the slow cars but not the fast ones.
        Sainz reckons he had his worst race but still got a 6.

  5. Riciardo’s career is done is he has another year with Lando showing him up.

    1. Yep.

      What a waste of talent.

      1. What a waste of talent.

        I hate to say this, but I don’t think it’s the car.

    2. He missed three days of testing at this circuit and then missed some practise as well. Lets see how they compare when both have equal running prior to qualifying.

    3. Hiland (@flyingferrarim)
      22nd March 2022, 16:09

      It’s only 1 race out of 23! To be honest it looked like Riciardo’s pace seemed more in line with Norris by the end anyways and both ran near each other the entire race. McLaren has bigger fish to fry than put blame on either driver for the poor performances.

    4. It’s race #1 out of 23 plus Riccardo finished AHEAD of Norris! How exactly did Lando “show up” Danny in this scenario?

      1. Come on, Ricciardo was slower in qualifying than Norris but faster in the race. So totally worse, according to self-appointed (British) expert.

  6. I struggle with 6 being the apparent standard for uncompetitive #2 drivers.

    1. Ask Sainz what he thought of his own performance. Wasn’t a 6.

      1. Yes, I think these ratings are harsh on ferrari, I think both leclerc and sainz deserved more than they got rating wise.

  7. Please explain how Leclerc is not a 10, or have I got the scale wrong?

    More or less a grand-chelem from Charles (but for a pit-stop induced loss of lead for a couple of laps)

    What does it take for a 10!?

    1. If you are Kevin and win the GP for example so a 10 must be something exclusive beyound normal …..

    2. judged not only against each other, but against over 70 years of Formula 1 history

      … so the scores awarded will likely be from 3 to 8 most of the time.

      1. I could have done much better reading the intro. Thanks for pointing that out!

    3. Back in 2016, there were plenty of 5/5 ratings to go around. Now it seems the aim is to rate in the context of all of F1 history, so one imagines that the 10/10 ratings will have to be something really special. Something like Schumacher’s 2002 win in Belgium, Hamilton’s 2008 win in England, or Vettel’s 2013 win in Singapore, where they just ran circles around everyone else and were in a class of their own.

      Still, there’s always going to be a bias towards the front of the grid. Some guy can drive the best race ever and still not score points, but it’ll often be hard to say from the outside just how much better that race was than most other midfield drives.

      1. Well, it also depends on the car however, I’m not sure if spa 2002 is the best example, rather than spain 1996, because 2002 was a dominant year for ferrari, so you can’t expect leclerc to run circles around everyone else if the car is only slightly better than red bull in performance.

  8. btw: What is this list sorted by? It’s not 2021 championship finishing positions. It’s not number of races completed. It’s not prime / 2nd car. So, good Sir, what is it?

    1. Its sorted by the 2021 constructors results

    2. Looks like it’s based on the 2021 Constructors Championship standings and then first and second drivers

    3. someone or something
      22nd March 2022, 12:40

      2021 Constructors’ World Championship. Drivers then sorted by finishing position in the Drivers’ World Championship. Hülkenberg before Stroll, as he stood in for Vettel.

  9. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    22nd March 2022, 12:27

    I was most impressed by Magnussen, Bottas & Albon, who all seemed to drive a step up above what their cars appear generally capable of.

  10. I believe Zhou deserves more than what he got. At least a 7 in my opinion, considering was the first race.

    Again I got the impression that overtakes which took Bottas multiple laps, he did in a fraction of the time.

    Something tells me that Alfa is really competitive, and we will not see a lot of it due to the driver lineup.

    1. I totally agree. How many drivers have stepped into F1 and he is one of the few to steal a point in his first race. That IMO has to mean something.

  11. How does anyone come up with numbers for this. Mag had a full test with the car, Hulk had practice, one was on a quick car the other a slow car. Hamilton looked faultless but he can’t get an 8 which is a 10 on this scale.

    1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
      22nd March 2022, 16:47

      @peartree I agree the scales are a bit strange but I’ll take you up on Hamilton. He was pressuring Perez on the SC restart BEFORE Perez started losing power.
      To quote Perez “we were holding off Lewis, which was hard” and then he lost power. Perez had newer tyres and a car that was nearly a second a lap quicker. That was some effort at the end from Lewis considering the relative handling of both cars. He deserves his 8!

      1. I don’t think he was faultless, he had some mistake with cold tyres early on, but certainly there was more positive than negative in his race.

  12. Leclerc and Magnussen deserve at least a 9 I think. Also a 6 for Sainz seems a bit harsh and Stroll probably deserves some credit for finishing in 12th with that car. By the way, what happened to Hülkenberg?

  13. That’s a 1-8 rating system, right? Right?