Power Rankings: Verstappen defends his world title ‘almost flawless’ and receives top grade

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Power Rankings: Verstappen defends his world title 'almost flawless' and receives top grade

With the second race of the season behind us, the five-member Formula 1 jury has again made a judgment on the state of affairs of the drivers. Max Verstappen once again emerges as a resounding winner after his ninth Grand Prix victory in a row in Jeddah. Of course, rookie Oliver Bearman should not be missing from the Power Rankings and finishes in second place. Lando Norris, George Russell, and Alexander Albon don’t perform as well.

Verstappen crossed the finish line in Saudi Arabia no less than thirteen seconds earlier than his teammate Sergio ‘Checo’ Pérez. Even on the fastest street circuit in the world, there appeared to be no other driver to compete with the Dutchman. The victory in Jeddah was the 56th in Verstappen’s career and the ninth in a row. According to Formula1.com, the Red Bull Racing driver has started the 2024 season ‘almost flawlessly’. The Limburger receives a 9.6 for his performance, and therefore takes the highest mark. The Dutchman also has an average of 9.6 after two weekends.

All credit to Bearman

In addition to Verstappen, Bearman also put in a strong showing of racing in Jeddah. The eighteen-year-old Briton filled in for Ferrari driver Carlos Sainz, who had contracted appendicitis. Despite the fact that the young driver had only been able to train for less than an hour, he managed to score points in the race. The jury calls it an ‘incredibly impressive F1 debut’ and rewards the Brit with a 9.0. ‘He managed to overtake a few times and withstood pressure from Lando Norris later in the race to finish seventh, scoring his first ever points.’ The jury therefore puts him in second place.

Teammate Charles Leclerc can also look back on a good race in Saudi Arabia where he finished third. At the start of the race he lost his second starting spot to Red Bull driver Pérez. The Monegasque also eventually managed to cross the finish line in third place, just behind the Mexican. With Piastri about 13 seconds behind him, the road to third place was ‘a lonely ride’ according to the jury. This also earned him third place with an 8.2 among the Formula 1 jury.

The midfield according to the jury

McLaren driver Oscar Piastri’s race was largely about trying to get past Lewis Hamilton. The Australian has more than succeeded. Just like Leclerc, Piastri also gets an 8.2. It is a different story for Verstappen’s teammate Pérez. In Jeddah the Mexican crossed the finish line second. Yet the five-second penalty he suffered during the race due to an unsafe release seems to have earned him fifth place with the jury, with an 8.0.

One of the most talked-about moments of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix was Kevin Magnussen’s overtake on Yuki Tsunoda. By overtaking Tsunoda off the track and delaying both him and the rest of the midfield, Magnussen secured his teammate Nico Hülkenberg a place in the points. While the German finished tenth in the race, the jury awarded him fifth place. As for Magnussen’s action, the jury calls Haas’ strategy ‘smart’.

At the Aston Martin team, Fernando Alonso had to do without a teammate after Lance Stroll retired early in the race. The Spaniard seemed to have no trouble with this, as he got the car across the finish line in fifth place. That earned him seventh place among the jury.

Russell, Norris, and Albon

The tail end of this week’s top ten Power Rankings features a top team, a mid-level team and a low-scoring team. Russell comes in at number eight on the list. ‘It proved to be a challenging race for Russell who spent much of the race within a few seconds of Alonso but was unable to overtake him.’ In the race, the Briton ultimately had to settle for sixth place.

Norris’s strategy differed from the strategy most other drivers followed during the race in Jeddah. Norris did not come in for a set of new tires when the Safety Car came out. This strategy was to no avail and earned the Briton an eighth place in Saudi Arabia. According to the jury, Norris was able to show that the MCL38 has good speed, which gives him eighth place in the rankings.

At the very bottom of the list, in ninth place, is Williams driver Albon. The jury indicates that this result cannot be entirely attributed to the Thai’s performance. A minor collision with Magnussen at the start of the race damaged the front wing of the Williams car, causing Albon to struggle to climb higher. Ultimately, Albon managed to finish in eleventh place, but that did not earn him any points.

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