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POWER RANKINGS: Two drivers share top spot as the scores come in from the US GP – Formula 1

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26 October 2022
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Driver of the Day Sebastian Vettel took the top score from the United States, but who else did the judges deem worthy of praise in Texas? Here are the Power Rankings from the Circuit of The Americas…
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
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Vettel was out of qualifying in Q2 while Aston Martin team mate Stroll forged his way into Q3, but the pair had dramatically different races. Stroll collided with Fernando Alonso and was forced to retire, while Vettel capitalised on his own brilliant start and faced off against faster cars, even leading some laps, before a slow pit stop sent him dropping down the order. No worries; the four-time champion pulled off a sensational recovery – including a thrilling last lap battle with Kevin Magnussen – and was also voted Driver of the Day.
READ MORE: ‘I will miss these moments’ says Vettel after last-lap Magnussen pass earns him P7 in Austin
Hamilton eked out everything possible from his Mercedes at Austin. Qualifying was never going to end up with the Silver Arrows on pole but Hamilton did outdo his team mate, the pair going on to start from the second row as grid penalties kicked in. A brake issue threatened to derail his day, but the seven-time champion put on an impressive show of pace, leading after a slow stop for Verstappen, and dreaming of a first win of the year. Ultimately, Hamilton couldn’t hold on to P1 – but his efforts were not lost on the judges.
READ MORE: Hamilton says ‘it felt amazing’ to lead US Grand Prix as wait for victory continues
Verstappen couldn’t take pole position as Carlos Sainz snatched the qualifying win on Saturday, but the Red Bull driver soon shot to the lead when the Spaniard was spun out at Turn 1. The Dutchman seemed to be cruising to victory after that, shrugging off Safety Car restarts and a glacial pit stop to overhaul Leclerc and Hamilton for the win.
READ MORE: Verstappen dedicates record-equalling victory and constructors’ title to late Red Bull co-founder Mateschitz
Leclerc seemed to have the edge over Sainz in qualifying but the Monegasque couldn’t make it count in Q3. Second on Saturday, he started 12th thanks to power unit changes. From there, he took advantage of the Safety Car for an opportune pit stop and then ran as high as second. In the end Verstappen’s pace proved too much, and Leclerc settled for a very useful P3.
READ MORE: Mekies says Ferrari left with ‘mixed feelings’ from USA after Red Bull take eighth-straight win and constructors’ title
Norris comfortably out-did McLaren team mate Ricciardo in qualifying but the Briton seemed to be out of the running in Q2 – before Zhou Guanyu’s time was deleted and Norris was bumped back up into the top 10. Outqualifying Alonso, Norris set himself up for a solid race. Going into Turn 1, Norris was hampered by the Sainz/Russell collision but the pulled off numerous impressive passes to claw his way back into the points.
READ MORE: Norris relieved after ‘incredibly difficult’ run to P6 after battling with Alonso in Texas
While Alpine team mate Esteban Ocon dropped out in Q1, Alonso gave the team a lifeline by making it to Q3. A grid drop saw him start outside the top 10, but Alonso pounced on the Safety Car to pit. Then came the collision that changed his race, as the two-time champion was caught off-guard by the jinking Aston Martin of Stroll. But after contact with the barriers, followed by a pit stop, amazingly Alonso came back into the race and powered on in a trademark display of his indefatigability, and finished in the points – before a 30-second penalty dropped him down to P15.
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It looked like it was going to be a painful weekend for Haas when in qualifying Mick Schumacher spun on his final Q1 lap and Magnussen struggled for pace, taking 16th on the grid. The Danish driver backed himself on Sunday though – Magnussen was the only driver to pull off a one-stopper – and found himself running up in the points. His medium tyres did eventutally drop off, which allowed Vettel to pass him, but Haas welcomed P8 after a slow Saturday.
READ MORE: ‘That was some driving’ – Magnussen applauds Vettel’s last gasp overtake as Haas finally get back in the points
Albon out-paced team mate Nicholas Latifi in qualifying and very nearly made it to Q3. Grid penalties meant that the Thai driver still started in the top 10, where Albon sparred against much faster midfielders before falling to P12. Taking into account machinery, this was still a solid weekend for the Williams driver.
READ MORE: Albon says Williams should be ‘proud’ of performance in Austin despite missing out on points
Perez somewhat flew under the radar this weekend. Fourth in qualifying, he couldn’t keep up with his team mate, nor the leading Ferraris, and the Mexican then had a five-place grid drop to contend with. He kept his head down, battling back into the top five, but his pace was just not enough to break into the podium places as he finished behind fellow penalty-hit driver Leclerc.
WATCH: How Red Bull charged to the 2022 Formula 1 constructors’ championship
After securing Ppole position on Saturday, Sainz was beaming going into the US Grand Prix. Then, as he lost out to Verstappen going into Turn 1, the Spaniard was tipped into a spin and out of the race by George Russell. It was a harsh ending to what should have been a smooth weekend for Ferrari’s sooth operator, and Sainz’s frustration was clear to see after the race. Seven is perhaps too harsh a score for the Ferrari driver – but once again, we didn’t get to see what he was truly capable of.
READ MORE: Pole-sitter Sainz says he ‘paid the price again’ after suffering sixth DNF of the season in United States Grand Prix start
Tsunoda was next on the list, as the Japanese driver qualified 15th but took the last point on offer on Sunday to seal his first points finish since the Spanish Grand Prix.
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