On a weekend where Max Verstappen claimed a 50th Formula 1 grand prix victory, two post-race disqualifications have dominated the narrative since.

Lewis Hamilton came close to catching the eventual winner, running out of road in the final laps. The Mercedes driver was disqualified, along with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc for excessive plank wear, which promoted Carlos Sainz onto the podium, and Logan Sargeant to the points.

Without further ado, how did the field fair in F1’s return to the Lone Star State?

Max Verstappen – 9.5

Sprint: Qualified: P1, Race: P1
Grand Prix: Qualified: P6, Race: P1

A 50th grand prix win and a third sprint victory of the season were ample rewards for Verstappen’s efforts in Texas. The Sprint saw him defend hard but fair against Leclerc approaching Turn 1, before stretching out a 10-second margin in the 19-lap affair.

After commanding the Sprint, Verstappen was tasked with a bit more of a challenge in the main event in which he started P6 following a track limits violation in Q3.

As has so often been the case this season, Verstappen again displayed superior tyre management in the RB19. He carved his way through the field methodically, assisted by an undercutting strategy which helped him escape up the road.

In the closing stages of the race, the Dutchman complained of brake issues and was quickly caught by the Mercedes of Hamilton. However, Verstappen had already done enough to join an exclusive club amongst Hamilton, Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel and Alain Prost.

Sergio Perez – 6.5

Sprint: Qualified: P7, Race: P5
Grand Prix: Qualified: P9, Race: P4

Perez escaped drama in Austin, but while he added points to his tally, the performance still wasn’t really there.

Poor qualifying performances contributed to a pretty anonymous weekend for the Mexican and even with disqualification for Hamilton, Perez missed out on the podium.

In a largely disappointing season, there were still some positive signs for Perez who is in great need of a more complete weekend in front of home support next time out.

Lando Norris – 9

Sprint: Qualified: P4, Race: P4
Grand Prix: Qualified: P2, Race: P2

McLaren were expecting to struggle at COTA, but the reality was that in the hands of Norris, the MCL60 had the potential for pole. It wasn’t quite to be for Norris who found himself about a tenth-off in terms of one lap pace on both times for asking.

The US GP weekend was Norris’ 100th, and his results were the near-perfect way to celebrate the centenary. Fourth in the Sprint, Norris led 21 laps on Sunday, his second-highest single tally.

There was no answer for the rapid Red Bull of Verstappen and strategy left him vulnerable to compatriot Hamilton. Of course, disqualification for the seven-time champion sweetened Norris’ day as McLaren continue to establish themselves as a top team once more.

Oscar Piastri – 6

Sprint: Qualified: P5, Race: P10
Grand Prix: Qualified: P10, Race: DNF

Qualifying was again the crux on one of the Australian’s weaker weekends but perhaps that shouldn’t come as a surprise from the rookie given the Sprint format.

During the Sprint, Piastri faded rapidly after pushing his tyres too hard, too soon after battling at the sharper end of the field. His race was compromised on the opening lap after contact with Esteban Ocon and would later be forced to retire as a result of the clout from the Alpine.

At the time of the contact, Piastri was running sixth. After starting towards the midfield, it begs the question of how much different his weekend could have been if he had nailed Friday’s all-important qualifying session.

Carlos Sainz – 7

Sprint: Qualified: P4, Race: P3
Grand Prix: Qualified: P6, Race: P6

Sainz was outperformed by team-mate Leclerc in terms of one-lap pace on both occasions in Austin. The Spaniard was able to nurture the Soft tyre impressively through the full distance of the Sprint and a two-stop strategy saw him the much faster Ferrari on Sunday.

Carlos Sainz Jr (ESP) Ferrari SF-23.
22.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States Grand Prix, Austin, Texas, USA, Race Day.
– www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Coates / XPB Images

The pace was still not enough to challenge for the podium on the circuit, but he too would later be rewarded as a result of disqualifications. All in all, a strong result on a weekend where Sainz had been the slower of the Ferrari duo.

Charles Leclerc – 8

Sprint: Qualified: P2, Race: P3
Grand Prix: Qualified: P1, Race: DSQ

The Monegasque found himself embroiled in a battle with Max Verstappen in Austin for one-lap supremacy, coming out on top when Verstappen broke track limits on Friday.

Even with the Dutchman’s assistance through his exploration of the run-off, the Leclerc-Ferrari partnership always looked to be the only thing that could keep the reigning champion off pole.

Leclerc slipped to third in the sprint and a slow getaway on Sunday forfeited control of the race before Turn 1. A one-stop strategy proved to be catastrophic and sentenced Leclerc to sixth across the line.

The result itself was already a reflection of Ferrari’s poor race management, but a disqualification for excessive plank wear was a further kick in the teeth.

George Russell – 6

Sprint: Qualified: P8, Race: P8
Grand Prix: Qualified: P5, Race: P5

Russell was never able to match the confidence that Hamilton exuded at COTA, and simply, nor was he able to course-correct a pretty mediocre outing.

Russell found himself breaching track limits on a number of occasions, compromising his Sprint grid spot. In the Sprint itself, he picked up a penalty for overtaking Piastri off-circuit and he would come close to acquiring a penalty in the Grand Prix for his off-track antics.

Crossing the line seventh is not how Russell would have wanted to celebrate his 100th F1 race, but a promotion to fifth certainly softens the blow.

Lewis Hamilton – 9.5

Sprint: Qualified: P3, Race: P2
Grand Prix: Qualified: P3, Race: DSQ

Hamilton has often been regarded as the master of COTA, but he will be left ruing what could have been following disqualification Stateside.

Crossing the line just 2.2 seconds behind Verstappen, Hamilton may well have lost a shot at victory due to Mercedes’ indecision over strategy.

He went on to overturn a massive gap to Norris, and given a couple more laps, looked set to do the same with Verstappen. The Briton cannot be faulted for his disqualification but should be buoyed by the evident pace the W14 has found following the introduction of a new floor.

Pierre Gasly – 9

Sprint: Qualified: P10, Race: P7
Grand Prix: Qualified: P7, Race: P6

Sporting a Francois Cevert tribute helmet, the Frenchman achieved the maximum for Alpine across the course of the weekend with the exception of the Sprint Shootout.

Aware of his success, Gasly branded the weekend his best of the year so far. He had the edge over his team-mate and achieved the absolute maximum given the machinery.

Esteban Ocon – 5

Sprint: Qualified: P13, Race: P11
Grand Prix: Qualified: P8, Race: DNF

Unable to match the level of Gasly, Ocon struggled to find pace on the medium compound which contributed to his Saturday struggles.

His Sunday ended early after taking sizeable damage due to contact with Piastri. Ocon was arguably to blame for the opening lap collision, but either way, the weekend was lost in that moment and a quick turnaround is needed in Mexico if he wants to challenge Lance Stroll and Gasly in the Drivers’ Championship.

Lance Stroll – 7.5

Sprint: Qualified: P14, Race: DNF
Grand Prix: Qualified: P19 (Pitlane start), Race: P7

The weekend started out as a disaster for Aston Martin and Stroll who only managed to complete five laps in FP1 due to brake issues. Limited practice time led to a lack of understanding of the latest additions to the AMR23, a P19 qualification and, ultimately, a pit lane start on Sunday.

Stroll’s Sprint ended early when brake issues returned, but the Canadian should be lauded for his recovery drive on Sunday.

Lance Stroll (CDN) Aston Martin F1 Team in parc ferme.
22.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States Grand Prix, Austin, Texas, USA, Race Day.
– www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Moy / XPB Images

Coming home ninth across the line, promoted to seventh, Stroll picked up his first points since Belgium. He ensured that Aston Martin was still rewarded despite the retirement of Alonso, relieving some of the recent pressure he has been subjected to.

Above all else, it is now imperative that Stroll reaches the levels he is capable of week in, week out.

Fernando Alonso – 7

Sprint: Qualified: P12, Race: P13
Grand Prix: Qualified: P17 (Pitlane start), Race: DNF

A first Q1 elimination of the season for Alonso truly highlighted Aston’s struggles at COTA.

Alonso too had to forfeit practice running as the team checked over the AMR23’s brakes and was unable to find a rhythm for qualifying.

Alonso ditched the latest package, reverting to a Qatar spec for the race which resulted in a pit-lane start. Regardless, Alonso fought back hard and was looking at a strong finish before floor damage put an end to his afternoon.

Yuki Tsunoda – 7.5

Sprint: Qualified: P19, Race: P14
Grand Prix: Qualified: P11, Race: P8

Tsunoda was left frustrated with his qualifying outings, running out of time to set a final attempt in SQ1 and only just missing out on a Q3 appearance and a top-10 start for the main race.

Thankfully, his race performance was much better and the 23-year-old spent the majority of Sunday circulating in the points.

P8 means his first points in seven races, and a smart call to box and claim the fastest lap provides a massive boost for AlphaTauri’s Constructors’ hopes.

Daniel Ricciardo – 6

Sprint: Qualified: P11, Race: P12
Grand Prix: Qualified: P15, Race: P15

Ricciardo didn’t exactly return to grand prix racing with a bang following his extended absence due to injury. On paper, his qualifying performances suggested he was capable of matching Tsunoda from the get-go and a P11 start in the Sprint provided optimism too.

Ricciardo ended Sunday’s race last of the runners – but during the pit stops, mechanics found a large chunk of debris which had caused damage to the floor and front brakes.

His first race back was always going to be testing, but that first hurdle is now out of the way and the focus will shift to a more fruitful outing in Mexico.

Alex Albon – 7.5

Sprint: Qualified: P9, Race: P8
Grand Prix: Qualified: P18, Race: P9

Other than a disappointing Friday qualifying, Albon delivered another stellar weekend for Williams. With a penalty for Russell in the Sprint, Albon was just 0.25 seconds away from a point.

An impressive recovery to 11th on Sunday, helped by the host of pit-lane starters, only got better with the exclusion of Hamilton and Leclerc.

Albon was the only driver penalised for track limits in the race, but that would have no real implication as he held position ahead of team-mate Logan Sargeant.

Logan Sargeant – 6.5

Sprint: Qualified: P20, Race: P19
Grand Prix: Qualified: P20, Race: P10

Points on home soil for Sargeant offers some solace for Sargeant, who otherwise endured a disheartening weekend in Texas.

Logan Sargeant (USA) Williams Racing on the grid.
22.10.2023. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 19, United States Grand Prix, Austin, Texas, USA, Race Day.
– www.xpbimages.com, EMail: requests@xpbimages.com © Copyright: Bearne / XPB Images

Qualifying needs to remain an area for improvement for the American who, in his credit, looked competitive on Sunday and fought his way forward.

While his first F1 point came amid retirements and disqualifications throughout the field, that doesn’t at all devalue the achievement and its significance for the underfire driver.

Nico Hulkenberg – 6

Sprint: Qualified: P16, Race: P15
Grand Prix: Qualified: P16 (Pitlane start), Race: P11

Q1 eliminations put Hulkenberg on the backfoot for a weekend that had promised so much for Haas. The upgrade package didn’t quite work straight out of the box and rear wing adjustments in parc ferme resulted in a pit-lane start for the German.

But Hulkenberg extracted good pace in the race and was on the verge of points if it weren’t for slipping behind Sargeant late on.

Kevin Magnussen – 5

Sprint: Qualified: P17, Race: P18
Grand Prix: Qualified: P14 (Pitlane start), Race: P14

Magnussen, too, wasn’t able to extract the most from the Haas in qualifying but did at least manage to escape a Q1 exit.

Race pace though was a weak point for the Dane, who was unable to match his team-mate.

However, he did also manage to flirt with the points at stages despite a pitlane start. An alternative strategy would compromise his running, with P14 accounting for eliminations.

Valtteri Bottas – 6

Sprint: Qualified: P18, Race: P16
Grand Prix: Qualified: P13, Race: P12

Bottas struggled to keep the rear of his Alfa Romeo in check in Austin which led to difficulties in qualifying. The Finn’s race pace was stronger, though, and he was helped past the sister car thanks to team orders.

Still, another anonymous weekend for Alfa Romeo whose lack of pace continues to limit improvements.

Guanyu Zhou – 5

Sprint: Qualified: P15, Race: P17
Grand Prix: Qualified: P12, Race: P13

Zhou may have had the upper hand on Bottas in qualifying conditions, but he certainly struggled more when it came to race settings.

He struggled greatly with the Alfa Romeo’s sliding which hampered the entirety of the Austin weekend.

A track limits penalty on Saturday and being ordered to allow Bottas by on Sunday surmised a difficult weekend.

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