The 2021 Formula 1 season is over and it’s time to give a rating for each driver of this amazing season. This championship was marked above all by the great rivalry between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton. In the thrilling finale of the Abu Dhabi race, the Dutch driver won the race and his first title defeating the seven-time world champion Hamilton.
Click here to subscribe to our print edition!
This season showed the talent of many drivers like Sergio Perez, reliable Verstappen’s squire in Red Bull, Carlos Sainz who placed ahead of his teammate Leclerc in his first year for Ferrari, the Formula 1 rising star George Russell and the winning back McLaren in Monza. If you want to live back all emotions and feelings, find out the drivers ratings of each Formula 1 team. Are you ready?
Max Verstappen & Lewis Hamilton 10/10
The last season’s finale in Abu Dhabi proved that Max and his team, Red Bull Racing, will be the Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton’s competitor for the 2021 championship. The modifications of technical rules gave an advantage to Red Bull. Mercedes felt this year would be more complicated and in fact, it was like this.
Even if the beginning of the season, Lewis won three of the first four races; in these races, Max and Lewis fought wheel to wheel on many occasions (like at the start of the Imola race and in Barcelona) and this reminded us of the greatest battles of this amazing sport.
Both of them were barely separable in all races but the Monaco race was the first turning point of the season; Max won the race while Lewis placed himself only in 7th position and the championship’s leadership was in Max’s hands. Two weeks later, in Azerbaijan, the Dutch driver was dominating the race until his right rear tyre burst to cause a retirement. But Lewis wasn’t able to use this advantage and he made a very big mistake in the restart, finishing only in 15th place. The tension was increasing race by race and Max earned a good advantage over Lewis winning in France and Austria.
It is unbelievable. The whole race I kept fighting and then that opportunity in the last lap. It is incredible. I am still having a cramp (in his leg). It is insane.
And now it is the moment of the second turning point of the season. Silverstone 18th of July, the British Grand Prix. The collision between them at Copse Corner with Max crashing into the protective barriers. Lewis won on his home soil and everybody understood since this moment the fight between these two great drivers will be even more fierce.
The next race was Monza on the 12th of September. It was the third turning point of this wonderful season. Max and Lewis collided with each other in the first corner after Lewis’ pit stop and they were forced to retire. Max received a penalty for the next race in Russia and in Sochi, he will reach 2nd place behind his great contender Hamilton. The fight kept on with Max winning in Austin and in Mexico. After the Mexican Grand Prix, the title seemed so close for him but Lewis is a fighter and he didn’t want to give up. In Interlagos, the Mercedes driver started from 10th place because of penalty for exceeding his quota of internal combustion engines, but his race pace was so quick that he got close to Max. Both drivers fought wheel to wheel and they went out of the track, but Lewis won this fight with a great overtaking manoeuvre some laps later.
Mercedes driver also won the Qatar Grand Prix ahead of Max and everybody knew at the point that this fight will be solved one way or another at the last two races: Saudi Arabian and Abu Dhabi Grands Prix. There was a huge of tension in this amazing fight in Saudi Arabia, they fought wheel to wheel for many laps, they collided with each other, but Lewis won the race. At this point, they have tied the overall standings at 369.5 points.
The next race is in Abu Dhabi on the 12th of December. Three months after their Monza’s crash. The Finale. Max got the pole position but Lewis got an incredible start and he was ahead in the race of his main rival. Max didn’t give up, he used the slipstream and he passed Lewis, but the Mercedes driver maintained his position by cutting the chicane. Controversies between Mercedes and Red Bull kept popping up. The tension was palpable because neither of them wanted to give up. The final turning point of this wonderful season happened when there were only six laps to go. Hamilton had a comfortable lead and was on his way to winning the race.
Then the collision between Latifi and Mick Schumacher occurred. Hamilton stayed on the track with the old tyres, while Max came into the box for the set of new fresh soft tyres. The Safety Car came back into the box before the last lap. Max had one shot to overtake Hamilton. When they arrived at the new section of the track, the Dutch driver dived into Lewis and he passed him. Lewis tried to use slipstream in the straights but Max resisted until the checkered flag. He won the race but above all, he became the World Drivers’ Champion for the first time in his career. Lewis and Mercedes were defeated.
These two drivers offered an amazing season to all fans, the most beautiful of last decades. We are sure they will offer so much more entertainment over the following years. This season was only the first chapter. The second one will start in some months. Are you ready?
Sergio Pérez 9/10
One year ago after Abu Dhabi’s race, Checo was without a team for the 2021 season but Red Bull Racing was interested to sign a deal with a reliable Mexican driver. After the right learning period of the new car, Sergio proved to his new team that the decision to hire him was right. He won in Baku, he reached the podium four times (four times in the third position) and he brought really important points for Red Bull in the fight for the Constructors’ Championship. If he was able to overcome his main limit (performance in qualifying), he could be a true competitor for the drivers’ championship, Max permitting. Will he solve this blank next year?
Valtteri Bottas 8/10
2021 season was the last for the Finnish driver with the Mercedes team. He closed his experience for Mercedes with 10 victories, 20 pole positions, 58 podiums and 18 fastest laps. In these seasons he was the perfect squire for Lewis Hamilton. Valtteri is a really fast driver and he proves it when he leads the peloton but when he is in the peloton he is not so strong. Probably it is his biggest limit.
In this season he got two pole positions (in Portimao and in Mexico), he won two sprint races in Monza and in Interlagos (sprint races are the biggest innovations for this F1 season), he won his 10th race in his career (in Turkey) but in some occasions, he was the protagonist of bad accidents – in Imola and unconventional matters like in Monaco, when at lap 31 his race ended after his team was unable to remove the front right tyre. After the Dutch Grand Prix, he announced he’s moving to Alfa Romeo for next season. He will collect the heritage of another Finnish driver, Kimi Raikkonen. Will he be able to raise the ambitious Alfa Romeo and bring her close to the top teams? Time will tell.
George Russell 8/10
We left Bahrain one year ago with George’s extraordinary race still in our eyes. It was his first race for Mercedes and on that occasion, he was second in qualifying, he was dominant during the race before the stroke of bad luck, in the form of punctures and pitfalls that fell down against him. He finished in 9th place, he set the fastest lap and he got the first points of his F1 career. He came back to Williams and this season he improved enormously. George brought back Williams close to top-class teams gaining his first podium in Spa. He reached Q3 in Russia scoring 3rd place in qualifying and 10th in the race. These results did not leave Mercedes neutral, his performances were noted and he will be alongside Lewis Hamilton next year. Will he be Lewis’ shadow or will he break the eggs in the basket for the English champion? We are looking forward to seeing it the next season.
Pierre Gasly 8/10
Pierre is the most improved driver of these last two Formula 1 seasons. Two years ago, when he was sent back to the Toro Rosso team (later named AlphaTauri), he took it himself with humility and he became one of the fastest drivers of the circus. In 2019 he got his first podium in Brazil (2nd place), last year his first victory in Monza and this year he reached the podium in Baku with an amazing 3rd place. During all season Pierre showed a great pace in qualifying and a solid race pace. The French driver has still had a lot of room to improve his margins. Next year will be very important. Will he be able to grow even more?
Fernando Alonso 8/10
Fernando came back in Formula 1 after three years and his return was absolutely positive. He proved to everybody and above all to himself that he is always quick and able to fight with other drivers. The fight with Hamilton in Hungary was simply amazing and it looked like almost a flashback when both of them raced against each other in the McLaren team. He scored the podium in Qatar after seven years (his last podium was in Hungary in 2014) achieving a fantastic 3rd place after a fantastic duel with Checo Perez. Fernando is still a driver who can offer so much show and entertainment in Formula 1. His samurai fighting spirit will never be set down.
Esteban Ocon 8/10
After getting his first podium in the second race in Bahrain last year (2nd), he won his first race in Formula 1 at Hungaroring. Okay, Hungarian Grand Prix was a crazy race, but Esteban was able to handle all race pressure from Sebastian Vettel. The French driver deserved to win because he has shown his talent, his speed and his consistency so far in his career. And he has didn’t fade at all in comparison with a mastiff-like Alonso. The biggest disappointment of his season was losing the second podium of his season at the photo finish with Bottas in Saudi Arabia. In the 2020 season, he got his first podium, in this season his first victory. What can we expect for next year from Esteban? Maybe the first pole position?
Carlos Sainz 7/10
For the Spanish driver, his first season with Ferrari was really positive. Carlos proved that he is not at all beaten in comparison with his teammate Leclerc and in fact when his teammate made some mistakes, the Spaniard brought his car to the finish line, getting points or podiums like in Monaco when he finished second and third in Hungary, in Russia and in Abu Dhabi. He is very solid during the race pace and we are confident that if he had a very good car since the first race he would have been even faster. He has all abilities to fight for the win every race. The near future will tell us if it will be like this.
Lando Norris 7/10
2021 has been the best season in Lando’s F1 career so far. Norris clearly performed better in comparison with the more experienced teammate Ricciardo. He achieved four/five podiums (three times third and second in Monza with a one-two for McLaren) and he set his first pole position in Sochi in very tricky conditions. In that race, Lando missed his first victory in F1 because of his wrong choice when the rain was increasing in intensity. He paid for the lack of pace in the last couple of the races. Lando represents with Max, George and Charles the new wave of Formula 1. The next step for him will be his first win and later who knows…
Charles Leclerc 7/10
2021 was really frustrating season for the Monegasque driver. Of course, Ferrari’s car was improved for the new season, but not enough to allow him to fight for victory in every race. Despite this, he’s got two pole positions (the first one was on his home soil in Monaco, but he crashed heavily in Q3 and he wasn’t able neither to start the race one day later, the second one was in Baku, where he finished only in the 4th place), he scored only one podium (2nd in Silverstone after leading comfortably for almost all race and after Lewis Hamilton unleashed his power). After Silverstone, he missed points only in Hungary and in Sochi (due to the wrong choices in rainy conditions). Next season will be a turning point for him. Will the Ferrari team satisfy his need to fight for the title?
Sebastian Vettel 7/10
Sebastian’s dedication to improving a car and an already disappointing situation was really touching. He got his first points with his new team in Monaco reaching a fantastic 5th place thanks to the perfect strategy. He did the same two weeks later in Baku, where, thanks to the Safety Car and his perfect tyre handling he finished 2nd behind Perez. Seb had got another podium in this season (2nd in Hungary) but he was disqualified due of the required 1 L fuel sample could not be extracted from his car during post-race scrutineering. After this disappointment, his best result was in Belgium, 5th place. As his teammate Stroll, he hopes that next year can be better for him.
Kimi Räikkönen 7/10
For the Finnish, this season was the end of his legendary career in Formula 1. In 349 starts he got 21 victories, 103 podiums, 1873 race points, 18 pole positions and 46 fastest laps. These seasons with Alfa weren’t so exciting, but Kimi showed many times his endless talent helping the team to improve as much, as possible but unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to fight with top teams every race. Next season Valtteri Bottas will inherit his seat and we’ll see if he will be able to improve the Alfa Romeo team. Goodbye Kimi, we will miss you a lot.
Daniel Ricciardo 6/10
Ricciardo was the biggest disappointment of the season despite his victory in Monza after more than three years. Apart from that race weekend, he was never close to top drivers to fight for the podium. He was defeated totally in the comparison with his younger teammate Lando Norris. One can guess that the learning process about the new car can be long, but everyone expected a better performance from a really fast and talented driver like Ricciardo. McLaren is a really ambitious team and they can’t wait for him too long, so next season must be his turning-point season.
Yuki Tsunoda 6/10
Yuki was obviously the best of three rookies of this season but he hasn’t proved all his talent yet. His debut was fantastic getting 9th place in Bahrain but during all season he sometimes showed his nervousness and anxiety to the team, above all in the radio transmissions. He achieved his best results in Hungary getting 6th place and in Abu Dhabi with an awesome 4th place finish. But in the comparison with his teammate Gasly, he suffered a lot both in qualifying and the race. Many people wait for his massive improvement for next season.
Lance Stroll 5/10
The Canadian driver suffered, like his teammate Vettel, with a disappointing season of Aston Martin. Despite this, he offered some good performances like in Monaco finishing in 8th place and in Qatar with the 6th place finish, his best one in this season. But he was also the protagonist of some spectacular crashes, especially in Baku because of puncture and in Hungary at the start. Lance probably hopes that next year, because of technical rules changes, his car can come back closer to the top teams, as it happened in the 2020 season.
Nicholas Latifi 5/10
As the saying goes “Luck favours the bold” and the Canadian used the phrase perfectly on two occasions: in Hungary, he was third for many laps and he got his first points finishing in 7th position and some weeks later in Spa with 9th position taken in dramatic conditions. He always misses something in qualifying to get close to the efforts of his teammate Russell. He can improve this aspect by gaining more experience. We are really looking forward to how the comparison will be between him and Alex Albon next year in Williams.
Antonio Giovinazzi 5/10
Antonio would have deserved much more in his, perhaps, for his last season in Formula 1. In Monaco, he would have got more than one point if it hadn’t been for the wrong strategy. On some occasions, he was very unlucky as it happened in Monza where he collided with Sainz at the start. Before the end of the season, he got two more points with a solid race in Saudi Arabia. Next season he will race in Formula E, but the feeling is that he could have been luckier in his Formula 1 adventure.
Mick Schumacher 4/10
For the son of the great Michael, the first season in Formula 1 was a learning one. The car is the worst of the pack but he proved his talent on some occasions being ahead of his teammate almost all times. If only he had a good car…
Nikita Mazepin 3/10
Nikita Mazespin, as he is called in Formula 1 paddock, became popular for his attitude to spin every single race weekend. He is a really fast driver as he proved in F2 widely, but Formula 1 is a different category and he has to show his skill next year, Haas permitting.
Rober Kubica 3/10
The Polish driver replaced Kimi Raikkonen, who tested positive for Covid-19 in two races (Zandvoort and Monza) but in these couple of races he wasn’t able to get close to Giovinazzi nor in qualifying nor during the race. His contribution to Alfa Romeo wasn’t as useful, as it could’ve been.