Edd Straw's 2021 Austrian Grand Prix F1 driver ratings - The Race
Formula 1

Edd Straw’s 2021 Austrian Grand Prix F1 driver ratings

Jul 5 2021
By Edd Straw

There were some obvious near-flawless performances at the front of the field in the Austrian Grand Prix, but also some fine drives that only earned a few – or no – points, as Edd Straw highlights in his latest Formula 1 driver ratings.

If you want to debate Edd’s driver ratings with him, you need to be part of The Race Members’ Club. Members will be sent a link to the debate via email later on Monday or can find access details in the members’ area of the Members’ Club homepage.

After each grand prix, The Race will rate each driver’s weekend with a mark out of 10.

This year, in an attempt to utilise a wider range of scores, we have recalibrated the scoring to make 5 out of 10 an average mark and therefore indicative of a decent drive given the high standard of drivers in F1.

For a more in-depth explanation, read our outline of the modified system.

2021 Site Ham

Started: 4th Finished: 4th


The Mercedes certainly didn’t have the pace to challenge Red Bull, although Hamilton’s qualifying lap wasn’t a great one, particularly in the first sector. But that was partly down to struggles getting the soft tyre in the right temperature window at the start of the lap.


Initially fourth, then third after Perez’s trip through the gravel, it took Hamilton until lap 20/71 to pass Norris.

But around lap 30, and not as a result of a mistake or misadventure, the aero surfaces in the rear-left brake drum picked up a little damage exiting Turn 10, costing an estimated 30 points of downforce. After a second stop forced by resulting accelerated tyre use, he was a lonely fourth.

VERDICT: Only just shaded Bottas in qualifying but had bigger edge in the race before aero problems.

2021 Site Bot

Started: 5th Finished: 2nd


Bottas set almost the same pace as Hamilton in qualifying with a lap that was tidier in places, although he struggled to get the power down off Turn 3, which cost him a little time.

But overall, a very similar performance to that of his team-mate.

Jul 04 : Austrian Grand Prix review


He held fifth early on, which became fourth when Perez had his off, and slowly leaked time to Hamilton in the first stint.

Bottas came back at his team-mate, then was ordered past him, due to Hamilton’s second-stint troubles and went on to take a straightforward second place.

VERDICT: A good weekend in a sub-par Mercedes.

2021 Site Per

Started: 3rd Finished: 6th


Perez spent a lot of the weekend tinkering with the balance as he started to diverge a little from Verstappen and ended up 0.270s off the other Red Bull in qualifying.

While disappointed not to be on the front row, it was a better qualifying performance than at the same venue last week and set Perez up well for the race.


Perez ran third at the start but his impatience trying to pass Norris around the outside led to him being forced into the gravel. That dropped him to 11th but he had the pace, and the one-stop strategy, to recover ground.

He used it well, albeit only passing Ricciardo on track, but two five-second penalties for pushing Leclerc into the gravel cost him. Having finished fifth on the road, he was classified sixth.

VERDICT: Early impatience and untidiness in battle turned a straightforward podium into sixth.

2021 Site Ver

Started: 1st Finished: 1st


For the second consecutive weekend, Verstappen was untouchable in qualifying. But the lack of tow on his final lap meant he was unable to improve at the end of Q3, which allowed Norris to get uncomfortably close.


Verstappen held the lead from pole position, headed every lap, set fastest lap and also took an extra pitstop – yet still finished 18s clear. It might as well have been 18 laps clear.

VERDICT: He had the fastest car, but used it impeccably.

2021 Site Ric

Started: 13th Finished: 7th


Ricciardo said that had he not seen the timesheets, he would have been relatively happy with his laps. That indicates he’s still not clicked with the capabilities of the car.

While he made reasonable progress through qualifying, he never looked like a Q3 threat and even on softs was down in 13th and over half-a-second off Norris’s medium-shod Q2 time.


Ricciardo showed that what he might lack in outright pace is made up for by sharp racing instincts by climbing to ninth early on.

From there, it was easy to clear the four two-stoppers and he climbed to fifth, but was powerless to keep Perez at bay. He came within a lap of holding off Sainz and maybe nicking fifth from the penalised Perez, but instead ended up seventh.

VERDICT: Still all at sea with the car, but racecraft salvaged a reasonable result.

2021 Site Nor

Started: 2nd Finished: 3rd


Norris looked on it throughout qualifying, then set two laps good enough for second on the grid during Q3.

The only question mark was whether it might have been possible to carry the speed through the final corner to pip Verstappen to pole given he was just ahead out of Turn 9, which is asking a lot considering Red Bull’s advantage there. But even so, it was a superb lap – particularly the way he nailed the first corner.


Norris saw off Perez’s early challenge, earning himself a penalty, then held off Hamilton until lap 20.

The time penalty meant he slipped behind Bottas at the pitstops, but he capitalised on Hamilton’s struggles from the end of lap 30 onwards, catching and passing him to bag his fourth F1 podium.

VERDICT: On inspired form both in qualifying and the race.

2021 Site Vet

Started: 11th Finished: 17th


Vettel took a step forward after last weekend and despite a little understeer costing him fractions on his final Q3 lap, the car didn’t have the pace to do better than eighth.

Unfortunately, an absurd three-place grid penalty having followed the prep-lap rules to the letter but being held up by others passing him then backing up undid some of his good work. Yes, he impeded Alonso at Turn 10, but for reasons not of his making.

Fortunately, having not been able to start a final lap in Q2, his first run time had been enough for Q3.


The Aston Martin climbed to eighth early on, but was always up against it on a two-stopper.

Vettel passed Stroll early in the second stint but struggled in traffic and after his final stop it was a case of trying to catch and pass Raikkonen. He did that on the final lap, briefly taking 12th before Raikkonen swiped him.

VERDICT: Marginally the stronger Aston Martin driver but two-stopping doomed him.

2021 Site Str

Started: 9th Finished: 13th


A small advantage over Vettel last weekend in underlying pace was reversed into an even more slender disadvantage on the return to the Red Bull Ring.

That said, had Stroll repeated his Q2 time in Q3, he would have pipped Vettel.


Stroll ran seventh in the first stint, but thanks to starting on softs he was always set for a two-stopper.

According to the team, he lost a little performance to debris caught in a brake duct and was passed by Vettel early in the second stint, as well as being hit with a five-second penalty for speeding in the pits.

Combined with being in traffic at key moments, that meant he had no chance of making his strategy work in terms of points.

VERDICT: Hurt by strategy but overall not as effective as he was the previous weekend.

2021 Site Alo

Started: 14th Finished: 10th


After an excellent Q1 lap, Alonso felt he might have a shot at qualifying as high as fifth.

But Q2 went wrong, with a poor first lap after frustration with the traffic behaviour on his first run, then Vettel in the way at Turn 10 when on a comfortable top-10 lap.


Alonso ran 15th early on but after passing Raikkonen into Turn 1 at the restart, lost the position again through Turns 4-6.

He sat behind Raikkonen until making his sole pitstop at the end of lap 32. This allowed him to undercut long-running Raikkonen, but with Tsunoda and the Aston Martins losing out thanks to their two-stopper, Alonso had to battle past Russell for the final point.

VERDICT: Bided his time after quiet first stint, then won the key battle with Russell.

2021 Site Oco


Started: 17th Finished: DNF


Ocon’s struggles from last weekend continued, again falling in Q1 and visibly less confident on corner entries than Alonso.

But he didn’t have a fundamental concern with the balance and felt his laps were good, so struggled to explain his struggles and is keen for a raft of parts changes in the hope of eliminating the problem.


His race lasted just three corners as he was squeezed between Schumacher and Giovinazzi at Turn 3.

VERDICT: Until Ocon’s suspicions of something being amiss are proven, has to go down as a poor weekend.

2021 Site Lec

Started: 12th Finished: 8th


Leclerc didn’t quite have the pace of Sainz on either the soft or the mediums. He ended up four-hundredths off him in qualifying after deciding against attempting to make Q2 using the softs but was disappointed not to make the top 10 nonetheless.


Leclerc held 10th under the safety car but dropped behind Ricciardo at the restart off Turn 3 after being caught out by the concertina effect ahead and so nearly clattering into Vettel.

He passed Perez later in the first stint, but lost that place to an undercut – albeit with the benefit of overcutting the Aston Martins and Tsunoda.

Gasly’s second stop gave him another place, but Leclerc couldn’t clear Ricciardo, eventually being ordered to let Sainz past and missing out on the possibility of finishing as high as fifth.

VERDICT: A fraction off Sainz but drove a good race despite some ragged moments.

2021 Site Sai

Started: 10th Finished: 5th


Like his team-mate, Sainz didn’t want to use softs to get into Q3 so stuck with two runs on mediums – missing out on the top 10 by six-thousandths of a second.

Even on the mediums, he did have the pace available but a poor run off the last corner and through the first sector on his final lap cost him.


Sainz reprised his successful strategy of the week before with a long first stint on softs, although four places lost on the first lap – as he ended up in the wrong parts of the track in a similar manner to Russell – made it harder.

But his late-stint pace was excellent, meaning he emerged from his stop in eighth place. After Leclerc let him past, Sainz managed to overtake Ricciardo on the last lap and ensure he was within Perez’s 10-second penalty window, earning fifth place.

VERDICT: The stronger Ferrari driver overall and drove an intelligent race.

2021 Site Gas

Started: 6th Finished: 9th


Another excellent qualifying performance from Gasly, who strung together a superb lap in Q3 to earn another top-six grid slot.

Considering he wasn’t that happy with the balance of the car during practice, he did the maximum in qualifying.


Gasly was always up against it as the lead driver starting on softs and found it harder than anticipated on a two-stopper.

He slipped behind the rapid Ferraris – although he did come back at them in the closing stages – and the recovering Perez.

VERDICT: Great in qualifying and was incisive and quick enough to make the ineffective two-stopper work when no one else could.

2021 Site Tsu

Started: 7th Finished: 12th


This was Tsunoda’s best-executed qualifying session of the season, making a time improvement in every segment, reaching Q3 and then slotting in behind team-mate Gasly on the grid.

Other than losing a few hundredths in the final sector and the desire for a more effective tow in Q3, he delivered what he was capable of – albeit 0.166s slower than Gasly.


Tsunoda was right with Gasly through the first stint and immediately after they’d stopped.

But he was less efficient clearing traffic and gradually the gap opened between the pair. That, combined with two five-second penalties for cutting the pit-entry line left him 12th and half-a-minute behind Gasly.

VERDICT: Pace relative to Gasly was decent, but rough edges held him back.

2021 Site Rai

Started: 16th Finished: 15th


The pace did appear to be there to have reached Q2, but with three push laps all within 0.019s the improvement on the second run wasn’t big enough.

Raikkonen struggled in Turns 1 and 3, which was partly down to the tyres not being in the temperature window, leading to a Q1 elimination.


Raikkonen ran 14th thanks to jumping Alonso on the first lap, then repassing him brilliantly on the restart lap through Turn 4-6, but having started on hards his shot at points always depended on getting back ahead of Alonso and overtaking Russell in the closing stages.

He was furious with some of Russell’s defending, but ultimately ruined his own race by hitting Vettel at Turn 5 on the final lap.

VERDICT: A few bright flashes, a lot of nothing special and a woeful blunder.

2021 Site Gio

Started: 15th Finished: 14th


Giovinazzi did a good job in Q1, but struggled with the tyres on his one push lap on fresh softs in Q2.

That led to a big loss of time in Turn 3 in particular, meaning he was three-tenths slower than his Q1 time in a session where he hoped to have a shot at the top 10.


Brought in for a pitstop under the first lap safety car, effectively putting him on a one-stopper with two sets of hards. That followed contact with Ocon on the first lap that Giovinazzi played a part in causing.

Spending that ‘first’ stint behind Latifi cost him time and when he eventually passed him with an unexpected dive at Turn 4, could go no further. Picked up two places.

VERDICT: After flying in FP3 and Q1, a promising weekend trailed off.

2021 Site Maz

Started: 20th Finished: 19th


Mazepin struggled with rear instability that couldn’t be dialled out and was visibly tentative behind the wheel in the faster corners, which meant he didn’t take anything like the step from the previous weekend that Schumacher did.

He ended up half-a-second off Schumacher in qualifying, with a small lock-up at Turn 1 on his final lap.


“Very long” was Mazepin’s summary of the race, which panned out in keeping with the general pattern this year.

He lost a couple of tenths per lap to team-mate Schumacher in the first stint, but his losses multiplied thereafter, adding up to a 50-second deficit – albeit having made a second stop. He was then hit with a 30s time penalty for ignoring yellow flags on the last lap.

VERDICT: Failed to capitalise on the back-to-back weekends and make a bigger step.

2021 Site Msc

Started: 19th Finished: 18th


Schumacher made the most of the repeat visit to the Red Bull Ring and took the biggest step of any driver – as well as looking far more on top of the car than his team-mate.

He lost a little time to the rear stepping out at Turn 3, compromising his exit, but otherwise it was a fine qualifying lap.


Schumacher gained a place at the start and another when Giovinazzi pitted, but soon slipped back behind him and Latifi.

He still drove a better race than his two-stopping team-mate, particular when it came to tyre and traffic management.

VERDICT: Showed a good step forward from the previous weekend and again stronger than Mazepin.

2021 Site Lat

Started: 18th Finished: 17th


As ever, Latifi wasn’t at Russell’s level but would have been closer and in with a shout of escaping Q1 but for going to deep into Turn 3 and shipping time.

But as has been the pattern, he showed little sign of making the same step Russell could between runs.


Latifi had a good launch but a tight line at Turn 1 made for a poor exit – with Schumacher angering Latifi by using the run-off to get around him.

He picked off Schumacher shortly after the restart then settled into a battle with Giovinazzi, who pitted under the safety car, eventually losing the position when he rather tamely left the door open at Turn 4. To make matters worse, he also got a post-race penalty for ignoring yellow flags.

VERDICT: Well off Russell’s level, and not quite able to hang with the midfield pack.


2021 Site Rus

Started: 8th Finished: 11th


Not only did Russell make it through to Q3 in a Williams for the first time, but he also did it having set his best Q2 time on mediums and judged his backing off on softs on his first Q2 lap to perfection.

While his Q3 lap was a little untidy, particularly at Turn 1, thanks to not quite having the tyres in the window, it was a superbly-executed qualifying session.


Russell had a good launch but was boxed in by Tsunoda entering Turn 1 and slid behind the Aston Martins and Leclerc by Turn 3 – with those three places lost largely situational. He then got passed by Ricciardo into Turn 7 after a big understeer moment in Turn 6.

From 12th, he was always going to get jumped by long-running Sainz, but his one-stop strategy ensured he got back ahead of the Aston Martins and Tsunoda. In the end, he couldn’t hold off the recovering Alonso despite putting up a valiant defence.

VERDICT: Stunning in qualifying and the race has to be seen as a point nearly won rather than one lost.

What did you think of this story?

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap