POWER RANKINGS: One perfect 10 as the scores come in from the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix – Formula 1


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12 October 2022
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It’s no surprise that 2022 Formula 1 champion Max Verstappen took a perfect 10 from the 2022 Japanese Grand Prix, but who else joined him in the top 10? Here are the Power Rankings scores from Suzuka.
Our five-judge panel assess each driver after every Grand Prix and score them out of 10 according to their performance across the weekend – taking machinery out of the equation
Our experts’ scores are then averaged out and the mean of those scores are used to produce a Power Rankings leaderboard, which has been expanded below
READ MORE: 5 Winners and 5 Losers from the Japanese Grand Prix – Who mastered the wet conditions in Suzuka?
Verstappen put not a foot wrong this weekend, the Red Bull driver taking pole over Leclerc by just 0.010s before mastering a soaked Grand Prix on Sunday, in which he was quick on wet tyres and rapid on intermediates. That pace saw him win over team mate Perez by more than 27 seconds – a fitting display to seal his second Formula 1 drivers’ title. This week it’s a perfect 10 for the Dutchman.
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Ocon out-qualified Mercedes driver Hamilton by just under a tenth of a second and Ocon also managed to out-pace Alonso in qualifying, by 0.157s. The Frenchman then managed to hold off the Mercedes after the restart, using his Alpine’s superior top speed to finish a stellar fourth, under a second ahead of the seven-time champion.
READ MORE: Ocon enjoys ‘karting battle’ with Hamilton as Alpine reclaim P4 from McLaren with Suzuka points haul
Vettel captured hearts in qualifying on Saturday with the four-time champion taking P9 on the grid in what is set to be his final Suzuka appearance. A clash with Alonso at the start of the race was the only blip on the Aston Martin driver’s copybook, as he went on to jump the field with an earlier stop for intermediates and take sixth – just ahead of Alonso – in a photo finish.
READ MORE: ‘A dream weekend’ for Vettel in Japan as he matches best result of the season on final Suzuka outing
Perez struggled in qualifying as he couldn’t keep up with team mate Verstappen – nor the Ferraris – and ended up fourth on the grid, four-tenths off pole position. On Sunday he capitalised on trouble for the Ferraris, jumping Sainz at the start and then closing in on Leclerc when the Monegasque driver struggled on intermediates. A five-second penalty for Leclerc gave Perez P2 and sealed a Red Bull one-two.
Despite being out-qualified by team mate Ocon, Alonso still did a solid job with P7 on Saturday. The Spaniard perhaps had the pace for more on Sunday but staying out later than his rivals on wet tyres cost Alonso time, and he ended up finishing behind Aston Martin’s Vettel in P7.
READ MORE: ‘It’s the best track in the world’ – Drivers revel in F1’s return to Suzuka
Leclerc improved on his final Q3 run but missed out on Verstappen’s pole position by 0.010s. The Monegasque driver seemed to have the lead over Verstappen at the original start, but the Dutchman held on around the outside of Turn 1. From then on, tyre degradation cost Leclerc time and Perez caught up. A mistake at the final chicane saw Leclerc take a five-second time penalty and end up a disappointing third.
READ MORE: Leclerc offers ‘huge congratulations’ to Verstappen as he reacts to time penalty
Latifi qualified 20th (his five-place grid penalty from Singapore turning out to be arbitrary) but a modest two-tenths off the pace of team mate Albon on Saturday. An early stop for intermediates helped him make gains and run as high as eighth, before falling to P9 for his first points finish of the year in tough conditions.
Hamilton was faster than his team mate Russell in qualifying but lost time to end up sixth on the grid, behind Alpine’s Ocon. The seven-time champion then gained a place to P5 thanks to Sainz’s retirement but inferior straight-line speed saw him lose out to Ocon ahead.
READ MORE: ‘We were so slow in a straight line’ – Hamilton reflects on close fight with Ocon at Suzuka
Norris managed to out-pace team mate Daniel Ricciardo but ended up at the back of Q3 on used soft compounds. The McLaren driver fell to P13 on the first lap after taking a small bump from Lance Stroll but clawed his way back into the top 10 after pitting for intermediates. He finished 10th as Russell passed him mid-way through the race, Norris taking the final point as McLaren fell back behind Alpine in the standings.
Russell was out-qualified by team mate Hamilton plus Alpine’s Alonso on Saturday and the Mercedes driver was then unfortunate to be the second car in a Mercedes double-stack stop, which saw him lose time before he clawed his way back to P8.
Ricciardo was the driver to miss out on the top 10 in this week’s Power Rankings. The McLaren driver qualified and finished 11th in Japan, but showed flashes of encouraging pace across the weekend.
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