Edd Straw’s 2024 Canadian Grand Prix F1 driver rankings

Rainfall before and during the Canadian Grand Prix not only made it the most entertaining race of the 2024 Formula 1 season so far, but also presented the drivers with their toughest test of the year as well.

Who weathered the storm better and who toiled in Montreal? This is Ed Straw's ruling.

How do ratings work? The 20 drivers will be ranked by performance from best to worst on each Grand Prix weekend. This will depend on a whole range of criteria, from speed and racing skill to consistency and whether they have made key errors. How close each driver comes to achieving the car's maximum possible performance will be a key consideration.

It is important to note that this reflects performance over the entire weekend, recognizing the fact that qualifying is effectively 'lap 0' of the race and key to laying the foundations for the race, and that it is not a classification for everyone. Round qualities for every driver. It simply comes down to how they perform on a given weekend. Therefore, the ranking will fluctuate significantly from weekend to weekend.

Although each of the ten cars has different performance potential and 'luck' (i.e. factors beyond the driver's control) contribute to the way the weekend goes, this ranking will also differ significantly from the overall results.

I started: the second I finish: the first

Except for his brief excursion off the track exiting Turn 1 and entering Turn 2 on Lap 17, Verstappen's performance was excellent.

The fact that Red Bull was under threat again allowed it to show its superiority, as it produced a difficult car in qualifying and the race. While the timing of the first safety car allowed him to jump into the lead, he was also the cleanest of the front runners.

Verdict: Make a difference again.

2: Lando Norris

I started: the third I finish: the second

How different things might have been had it not been for the timing of the first safety car, which turned a good lead achieved through excellent early tire management into third place.

He recovered to second place and was frustrated by his failure to win, the only negative being a short turn one trip during his second stint.

Verdict: It could have been won so easily.

3: Alex Albon

I started: The tenth I finish: DNF

After struggling to get the Williams team to work over hurdles, culminating in a crash into the wall in FP3, a huge windfall was made in time for qualifying. This allowed Albon to reach Q3 for the second race in a row with an impressive lap in Q2.

He was on the train vying for eighth place – having earlier pulled off a stunning passing move when he squeezed through a small gap between Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon – when he was picked off by Carlos Sainz.

Verdict: Accrued points are completely rejected.

4: Fernando Alonso

I started: VI I finish: VI

After two uncharacteristically tense weekends, Alonso returned to form in Canada.

The Aston Martin was at the top of the pack chasing the top three teams, with Alonso back in sixth in both qualifying and the race by definition, which is strong.

Verdict: Maximize the result.

5: Oscar Piastri

I started: the fourth I finish: Fifth

On paper, a fifth-place finish in a race that could have been won by his McLaren team-mate and runner-up seemed like a bad result, but there was an element of bad luck for Piastri.

He was driving well, but dry conditions late in the race and the Mercedes drivers taking new slicks under the second safety car resulted in him falling off the podium in the closing stages.

Verdict: Norris is shaded most of the way.

6: George Russell

I started: the first I finish: the third

A Weekend in Canada showcased the best and worst of George Russell.

He had a great pole position and then led the first 20 laps of the race, but he also made a lot of mistakes as well as perhaps trying too hard early in the race.

Russell still finished third, which shows how fast he is, but it was a very tough ride.

Verdict: Fast but very rough in racing.

7: Daniel Ricciardo

I started: Fifth I finish: VIII

This was the weekend Ricciardo desperately needed, and it wasn't easy due to a foul penalty for a clutch pull that wasn't his doing.

But even though he felt the race was getting away from him early on, he kept the inevitable mistakes in check and kept looking for the minor ones.

His reward was an eighth-place finish, gaining a position when right-back teammate Yuki Tsunoda spun late on.

Verdict: His best weekend of the season.

8: Pierre Gasly

I started: 15 I finish: Ninth

Gasly did well to get into Division Two and perhaps could have picked Kevin Magnussen for 14th, but there wasn't much to offer.

The race started poorly with a chicane after contact with Sergio Perez, but Gasly persisted and was at times among the quickest cars on the track in moderate conditions.

It was a slow climb, but despite switching to slightly slick tires very early on, he took the points after his Alpine teammate Ocon allowed him to pass him late during a futile chase of Ricciardo.

Verdict: Make the most of limited machinery.

9: Charles Leclerc

I started: eleventh I finish: DNF

This was a weekend that never got off the ground for Leclerc, with a loss of control that befell both Ferraris in qualifying due to a misjudged tire pressure and then an early loss of power that left him paralyzed.

Impressively, he continued to chase the points in the wet conditions, but as the track dried, he inevitably faded and the early gamble accelerated his apparent descent into retirement.

Verdict: The early race challenge was impressive.

10: Lance's Picnic

I started: Ninth I finish: VIII

A 'Wall of Champions' hit in the first section of the race caused Lance Stroll's Aston Martin to derail slightly in qualifying, although it was not enough to explain the gap of around half a second to teammate Alonso.

But he drove a tidy race to finish just one place behind Alonso to ensure Aston Martin's highest points tally of the season.

Verdict: Decent and clean weekend getaway.

11: Esteban Ocon

I started: eighteen I finish: The tenth

With only the Alpine car capable of making Q2 at best, a slightly chaotic second round in Q1 of the race meant Ocon was out of there.

He drove a good race after the team managed to fix the waste problem before the start, although he was frustrated that he had – following a similar strategy – allowed teammate Gasly to pass late in order to go to Ricciardo and not give him the place. Back when this was unsuccessful.

Verdict: Good racing was overshadowed by anger.

12: Lewis Hamilton

I started: Seventh I finish: the fourth

Hamilton qualified nearly three-tenths and six places behind his Mercedes teammate Russell, then described Sunday as “one of the worst races I've ever driven” thanks to the number of mistakes he made.

Perhaps Hamilton was exaggerating the frustration of missed opportunities, because he knew there was a chance for a big result.

Verdict: Better than claimed.

13: Kevin Magnussen

I started: fourteenth I finish: twelveth

While Magnussen didn't feel like he got everything out of the car in qualifying, the Haas team wasn't particularly quick in Canada.

He made the most of the decision to start on the wet by climbing to fourth and could have stayed in pole position after his inevitable early shift into the intermediates but a slow stall. That negated the gains, with a slightly early switch to slick tires then allowing teammate Nico Hulkenberg to jump ahead.

Verdict: An early racing cameo is the highlight.

14: Valtteri Bottas

I started: 19th (plane path) I finish: Thirteenth

With Sauber now being the worst car in F1 at the moment, Bottas qualified well enough and did what he could to keep the car in the hunt for a point despite not having the pace to go on the attack.

All things considered, he did a decent job.

Verdict: Fighting a cause is futile.

15: Nico Hulkenberg

I started: seventeenth I finish: eleventh

The weekend was mainly affected by aero problems on Hulkenberg's side of the Haas garage, meaning the payload did not match that of teammate Magnussen's car.

This eventually led to Hulkenberg running a higher downforce rear wing in qualifying and an inevitable exit from the top division.

He still felt like he had aero problems in the race, but given the pace of the Haas team and the conditions, he did well to get very close to a certain point.

Verdict: He fought amid air problems.

16: Yuki Tsunoda

I started: VIII I finish: fourteenth

Tsunoda appeared to have a very slight speed advantage over his right-back teammate Ricciardo, but an upset at turn two on the final lap of Q3 cost him.

He elected to run long on the starting set of intermediate tires and did not enter the pits under the safety car, a tactic that paid off and left him on track for eighth.

He then made what he called a “stupid move” and finished ninth.

Verdict: He made what is now an uncharacteristic mistake.

17: Carlos Sainz

I started: twelveth I finish: DNF

Sainz had the same problems in qualifying as his Ferrari teammate Leclerc, but his car was intact in the race – except for damage to the front wing when he collided with Bottas' Sauber.

He was one of the favorites for the minor points when he dropped it while running 10th, collecting an unlucky Albon in the process.

Verdict: The errors exacerbated Ferrari's woes.

18: Logan Sargent

I started: Thirteenth I finish: DNF

Given that Sargent was still without the lighter Williams surface introduced at Imola three weeks ago, his pace was good enough and at times looked impressive during practice.

But the quarter-second gap with teammate Albon in Q2 was only partly a result of the spec difference because Sargent also lost time on the hairpin and final corner.

The race was a disaster as he dropped to last after two laps one lap early before collapsing for good.

Verdict: Terrible racing ruined a promising weekend.

19: Zhou Guanyu

I started: 20th (plane path) I finish: 15 hours

Drivers are not a problem for the struggling Sauber team, but Zhou added to the suffering by suffering two out-of-the-ordinary crashes in free practice and falling well behind team-mate Bottas in qualifying as a result.

Starting in the pits, he was hanging around towards the back, but at least he stayed out of trouble and got to the finish line.

Verdict: Loss of confidence in the car.

20: Sergio Perez

I started: sixteen I finish: DNF

This was one of those weekends where Perez's presence was only there to show how great a job his Red Bull teammate Verstappen was doing.

He struggled to get the rear tires going during qualifying, crashed out of Q1, and then suffered damage to his front wing after contact with Gasly in Turn 2.

He could get no higher than 13th in the race before crashing into the wall at Turn 6 – earning a three-place drop penalty for driving the car into the pits in unsafe conditions (per team instructions).

Verdict: Awesome weekend.


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