Halftime in Formula 1! After 11 of 22 races, it's time for an interim conclusion. Which driver deserved which grade? What is the testimony of the team changers George Russell, Valtteri Bottas and Co.? Is it enough for Max Verstappen and Charles Leclerc to get the best grade?
Fernando Alonso (Alpine/29 points) - Grade 2.5: "What if...?" is the question that worries Alonso. The Spaniard is on a run and has finished in the points six times in a row. It was not uncommon for him to be slowed down by the technology, tactics or mistakes of the competition. The most recent example is Spielberg, where he unnoticed made an extra stop because a wheel was not properly fastened. The fact that he still has 29 points speaks for his class.
Valtteri Bottas (Alfa Romeo/46 points) - grade 2.0: In the last four races there was a little bit of a worm in it, but that cannot cloud the extremely positive overall picture of the Bottas season. Especially at the beginning of the year, the Finn was often the dominant man in midfield. The best way to show how good Bottas is this year is to compare it to his teammate. The veteran scored almost ten times as many points as the rookie (46:5).
Esteban Ocon (Alpine/52 points) - grade 2.5: Ocon is overshadowed by Fernando Alonso for understandable reasons, although the Frenchman is often the better of the two Alpine pilots. Ocon shows his class above all on Sundays, when he rarely makes any mistakes and gets the maximum out of the A522. It's almost unfair that his performances don't get more attention.
Lando Norris (McLaren/64 points) - grade 2.5: All in all, it's a pretty good season that Norris is having in his McLaren. The young Brit clearly put teammate Daniel Ricciardo in his place and is the first pursuer of the top three teams. His problem: The distance to Mercedes is so big that even the best driver can hardly do anything. Norris often seems frustrated, but he can't help it.
Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes/109 points) - Grade 3.5: What a resurrection from the seven-time world champion! As soon as Mercedes has the bouncing problem under control, Hamilton is (almost) the old man. Most recently, he raced onto the podium three times in a row. Only Max Verstappen, Charles Leclerc and Sergio Pérez can boast of such a series. If the Silver Arrows continue to improve the W13, Hamilton will have to be trusted to win again in the future.
George Russell (Mercedes/128 points) - Grade 1.0: A sensational series ended for Russell at the home Grand Prix in Silverstone of all places. Until then, he was the only driver to finish in the top 5 in all races. Even the wildly hopping car didn't cause any problems for the Brit. That speaks for his outstanding skills. The same applies to him as to Hamilton: If the Silver Arrows ignite the next stage of development, he could soon be at the top.
Carlos Sainz (Ferrari/133 points) - Grade 3.0: After Sainz made many unnecessary mistakes at the beginning of the season, second place in Monaco was a real liberation for the Spaniard. In the four races that followed, he was convincing across the board, but had bad luck on his side with two technical defects. He can't quite match Leclerc's speed, but he has noticeably reduced the gap to his teammates recently.
Sergio Pérez (Red Bull/151 points) - Grade 2.0: Two races have reduced the Mexican's record this season: Canada and Austria. In Montreal Pérez retired with a defect, in Spielberg he paid the price for a negligent overtaking maneuver on the first lap. Not only was that superfluous, it also cost him second place in the drivers' standings - and the chance of being able to fight for the world championship in the end.
Charles Leclerc (Ferrari/170 points) – Grade 1.0: You have to let that melt in your mouth: Ferrari prevented Leclerc from winning in two races (Monaco, Silverstone), and the technology went on strike in two more (Barcelona, Baku). In Canada there was also a penalty transfer to the end of the field. And yet Monegasse is Max Verstappen's first pursuer. There is not much more to say about Leclerc's season.
Max Verstappen (Red Bull/208 points) - Grade 1.0: It's impressive how much Max Verstappen stands out from the competition. One has the feeling that the World Cup title has lifted the Dutchman to a new level. In addition to his speed and consistency, this year there is also a noticeable calmness and serenity. Instead of using the crowbar, he drives with his head. That is what distinguishes great champions. "Mad Max" is on the way to becoming one of them.