Edd Straw's 2021 British GP driver ratings - The Race
Formula 1

Edd Straw’s 2021 British GP driver ratings

Jul 19 2021
By Edd Straw

Rating the field after as controversial a race as the British Grand Prix is never an easy task, but it’s one Edd Straw has taken on in his latest Formula 1 driver ratings.


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: 2nd Finished: 1st

Qualifying

With the dropping temperatures swinging the pendulum against Red Bull, Hamilton made the most of the opportunity by setting the fastest time – but his Q3 execution was below his usual standard.

Pole was based on his first-run time, which wasn’t a perfect lap. His second attempt should have been significantly quickly but for an error at Club that allowed Verstappen to get closer than he should have done.

Sprint

His initial launch was good, but wheelspin in the second phase meant Verstappen was ahead well before Turn 1. He tried to come back at Verstappen on the first lap, but thereafter settled into second place.

Race

After the collision with Verstappen at Copse on the opening lap, which the team said would have led to his retirement with wheelrim damage but for the red flag, Hamilton ran second to Leclerc for the first stint.

He then overtook Norris, and Bottas was ordered to let him past early in the second stint, but having not overtaxed the tyres early in the stint he attacked in the closing stages, passing Leclerc to take victory with fewer than three laps remaining.

VERDICT: Plenty of his usual brilliance, but with rough edges that could have cost him.

2021 Site Bot

Started: 3rd Finished: 3rd

Qualifying

As it was his turn to lead the Mercedes out, Bottas didn’t have the benefit of a tow in Q3, which cost him a couple of tenths. In the end, that was his margin to Hamilton, albeit with his team-mate ending up with a time that wasn’t as good as it should have been.

Jul 19 : British Grand Prix review

Sprint

Started on softs in the hope of jumping Verstappen at the start but didn’t make up any places. Resoundingly third-best throughout.

Race

Didn’t get away well for the second start, meaning he slipped to fourth behind Norris. Jumped him thanks to a slow McLaren stop, then had to cede second to Hamilton on his way to third.

VERDICT: Brisk, but really should have been there to pick up the pieces on Sunday.

2021 Site Per

Started: 20th Finished: 16th

Qualifying

Struggled for pace but would have still have been fourth on the grid – just – but for having his final Q3 laptime deleted for a track limits violation. That dropped him behind Leclerc to fifth place.

Sprint

Perez was jumped by Norris at the start, then passed by Alonso at Brooklands having been frustrated in his attempts to get back ahead of the McLaren. He spun to the back on lap five coming through Becketts into Chapel while chasing Norris, rejoining and getting back ahead of the Haas drivers before retiring.

Race

Had to drive an attacking race, climbing from the pitlane start to 12th before his first stop, then to ninth before his second. But having got back up to 10th ahead of Tsunoda, Red Bull opted to pit him again to deprive Hamilton and Mercedes of the fastest lap point, dropping him to 16th.

VERDICT: As Perez himself described it, a weekend to forget.

2021 Site Ver

Started: 1st Finished: DNF

Qualifying

As the temperatures dropped, so did Verstappen’s chances of pole position. In Q3, he struggled for front tyre temperature and therefore understeer, ending up 0.075s slower than Hamilton.

Sprint

It was all about the start for Verstappen, who pulled clear of Hamilton in the second phase with a well-executed launch. Controlled the race thereafter despite front-right blistering that manifested itself late on.

Race

Battled hard with Hamilton but didn’t quite cover the inside enough into Copse. Hamilton attacked, the pair made contact and Verstappen was fired into the wall with a 51g impact.

VERDICT: Recovered well from tyre-temperature related qualifying struggles, but perhaps should have played the percentages racecraft-wise given his points lead.

2021 Site Ric

Started: 6th Finished: 5th

Qualifying

That Ricciardo was disappointed he didn’t do better despite qualifying just two-thousandths slower than Norris tells you all you need to know about how much more comfortable he was on a weekend he described as “positive”. The track configuration, with less aggressive rotation of the car in the entry phase required, mitigated his struggles to master the car.

Sprint

Started seventh but was passed by Alonso through The Loop on the opening lap. Perez’s spin handed him back the position before he overtook Alonso on lap nine to secure sixth place.

Race

Effectively, Ricciardo held fifth place throughout the race having taken it when Verstappen crashed. He wasn’t quick enough to trouble the cars ahead and spent much of the race driving with precision to ensure Sainz couldn’t attack him.

VERDICT: Couldn’t live with Norris in the race, but took his best McLaren result.

2021 Site Nor

Started: 5th Finished: 4th

Qualifying

Unusually, had a fight on his hands to outpace team-mate Ricciardo, which he achieved by the narrowest or margins. Didn’t feel that there was much more to be extracted from the car.

Sprint

Briefly ran fifth on the opening lap having jumped Perez at the start, but was then shuffled back to sixth by Alonso passing him into Copse. Eventually repassed him into Village to finish fifth.

Race

Gained a place at the first start after Verstappen’s clash, then jumped to third ahead of Bottas at the second start. Held third throughout the first stop and would have had a chance to try and hold Bottas off in the second stint, only for a slow right-rear change to drop him behind the Mercedes.

That’s where he stayed, despite briefly running ahead of the penalised Hamilton before inevitably being overtaken.

VERDICT: Limited the damage on a difficult weekend for the team and might even have nicked another podium.

2021 Site Vet

Started: 8th Finished: DNF

Qualifying

Made it through to Q3 comfortably but wasn’t able to do better than 10th having lost time through Brooklands/Luffield and into the Maggots/Becketts complex in Q3. Comprehensively outpaced his team-mate.

Sprint

Started 10th and was still there at the end of the race having lost a place to Alonso at the start that he never regained but also been given a position by Sainz’s off. Pressured Alonso but was never able to launch a serious move.

Race

Ran sixth, but it was agonisingly short-lived as he spun coming off Luffield after the second restart, dropping to the back. He passed the two Haas drivers, but then spent most of the race stuck behind Latifi before retiring because there was no point continuing.

VERDICT: Unforced error destroyed what had been a strong weekend.

2021 Site Str

Started: 14th Finished: 8th

Qualifying

Car problems at the end of FP1 meant his qualifying simulation run was compromised and he didn’t recover in qualifying. “We were just slow from the beginning of the weekend” was Stroll’s summary after scraping through Q1 then lapping 0.562s slower than Vettel.

Sprint

Had to compromise his exit from Luffield while battling with Gasly as a result of Sainz’s rejoin, meaning, Raikkonen got a run and passed him into Copse. Stroll attempted to reclaim the position through Maggots/Becketts, with the pair running side by side and making contact, but couldn’t make it stick. Had an uneventful run to 15th thereafter.

Race

Did a superb job at both starts, gaining three places on the two ‘first’ laps to climb from 14th to eighth. Thereafter, didn’t put a foot wrong and was rewarded with eighth.

VERDICT: Two poor days counterbalanced by two great starts on Sunday that set up a decent result.

2021 Site Alo

Started: 7th Finished: 7th

Qualifying

Failed to reach Q3 by three-hundredths of a second, which he blamed on a combination of the wind conditions and traffic compromising his preparation lap. But considering he struggled a little in practice and early in qualifying, it was a solid result.

Sprint

Made a storming start to climb to fifth on the opening lap, although inevitably slipped back behind the McLarens.

Race

Lost out to Vettel at the first start and was overtaken by Sainz after the second but he was also handed a position by Vettel’s spin.

That put him seventh between Sainz and Stroll, which is where he still was at the finish.

VERDICT: Friday didn’t go well, but his outstanding racecraft earned him a strong seventh.

2021 Site Oco

Started: 9th Finished: 9th

Qualifying

Was much happier after a plethora of component changes following his Red Bull Ring struggles, which included a new chassis – although the only problem that was identified was a minor suspension issue the team didn’t reckon had a big impact. Like his team-mate, lost time at the start of his final Q2 lap because of compromised tyre prep and ended up a tenth slower.

Sprint

Jumped Gasly at the start to run 12th, then gained further places when Sainz ran off the track at Brooklands and later Perez had his spin. Spent the race stuck behind Russell, finishing 10th.

Race

Had a good launch but the gap he aimed for between Alonso and Vettel closed on the run to the first corner, making contact with the Aston Martin. That put Ocon on the back foot in the run through the early corners to run 10th when the race was stopped.

Ocon passed Raikkonen when the Alfa driver went off on the second lap of the restart, finding himself behind Stroll – as he still was at the finish.

VERDICT: Back on form but wasn’t quite at Alonso’s level.

2021 Site Lec

Started: 4th Finished: 2nd

Qualifying

Got the best result possible and even went one place better with fourth thanks to Perez having his best lap time deleted. And even then, he came close to beating the Red Bull, as well as proving better at adapting to the changing conditions in Q3 than his team-mate.

Sprint

Started fourth, held fourth. Straightforward.

Race

Jumped Bottas at the start then capitalised on the Hamilton/Verstappen clash to take the lead. He kept hold of it throughout the first stint, but the key to the race was the second stint when he knew Hamilton would attack late on.

With two-and-a-half laps to go, Hamilton passed him on the inside of Copse. He also had problems with the engine cutting owing to an engine mapping problem related to the fuelling that he managed well.

VERDICT: A superb weekend that should be seen as an unlikely P2 gained rather than a victory lost.

2021 Site Sai

Started: 10th Finished: 6th

Qualifying

Flew in Q2 to set the fourth-fastest time and would have been fifth on the grid had he repeated it in Q3. But he struggled for grip as the temperature drop that, combined with a few small errors including one that cost him momentum off Luffield, left him a disappointed ninth.

Sprint

Knew he needed to make up places from ninth, but his attempt to pass Russell around the outside at Brooklands resulted in a collision and put him to the back. He recovered to 11th, 10 of the gains thanks to on-track passes, but got stuck once behind Ocon.

Race

Did a good job at both starts to jump from 11th on the original grid to eighth, gaining another position at the second start. He then passed Alonso on the run to Brooklands on the second green-flag lap.

But that’s as far as he could go, spending the majority of the race stuck behind Ricciardo thanks to a problem at his pitstop thwarting his attempt to overcut.

VERDICT: Had he delivered in Q3, he could have been a podium threat.

2021 Site Gas

Started: 11th Finished: 11th

Qualifying

With AlphaTauri struggling in the high-speed corners and on turn-in to the slower corners, Gasly struggled and failed to make Q3. Gasly perhaps could have been one place higher than 12th, but the car didn’t appear to have the speed to break into the top 10.

Sprint

With the AlphaTauri not working well, Gasly had a quiet race to 11th with the place he lost to Ocon at the start offset by the one gained to Perez’s off and Russell’s post-race penalty.

Race

Running long in his first stint allowed him to climb from an initial 11th to ninth, although he did pick up multiple warnings for exceeding track limits. He would have finished there but for a late puncture that dropped him behind Ocon and Gasly.

VERDICT: Battled hard despite car struggles and should have been rewarded with ninth.

2021 Site Tsu

Started: 16th Finished: 10th

Qualifying

While he complained about a weighbridge stop, the preparation for his final Q1 lap wasn’t that compromised and time lost through Village and The Loop meant he was always likely to be eliminated despite a better run through the rest of the lap.

Sprint

Slipped behind Latifi on the first lap but repassed him on lap five with a great move around the outside at Luffield. But could go no further and was frustrated by being stuck behind Giovinazzi.

Race

Having struggled badly on tyre management in Austria, Tsunoda was delighted to pull off a strategy that demanded the longest first stint of anyone after running 15th initially on his way to 10th. It was well-executed, but he needed help from Perez’s extra stop, Raikkonen’s spin and Gasly’s puncture to do it having overcut Giovinazzi and Russell.

VERDICT: Given AlphaTauri’s struggles and the lack of practice, a quietly effective weekend.

2021 Site Rai

Started: 13th Finished: 15th

Qualifying

While there were no big errors, Raikkonen simply bled time to Giovinazzi across the first two sectors of the lap in Q1 and ended up 0.467s down. This was his sixth Q1 exit in 10 attempts during 2021.

Sprint

Raikkonen was one of four drivers to start on softs, jumping Tsunoda at the start then getting team-mate Giovinazzi through Abbey. He then passed Stroll into Copse, holding him off in their dramatic side-by side battle through Maggots/Becketts to earn 13th.

Race

Made a great start to jump Russell immediately then squeeze past Gasly before passing Ocon through Village. That got him up to ninth for the restart, which he initially held but an off at Abbey allowed Ocon to jump him. Gasly then overcut his way past, but his late puncture meant Raikkonen could have finished 10th but for being squeezed into a spin by Perez.

VERDICT: Qualifying remains a weakness but raced strongly and came so close to a point.

2021 Site Gio

Started: 15th Finished: 13th

Qualifying

Made it through to Q2 comfortably and outpaced his team-mate by almost half-a-second. But once in Q2, he failed to repeat his Q1 time with the main loss in the middle sector. That said, he would have required a big improvement to gain a place.

Sprint

A touch of wheelspin off the line put him on the back foot and he ended up slipping from 14th to 15th behind Stroll on the first lap. Was unable to make any progress from there.

Race

The two starts went well for Giovinazzi, putting him 11th, but he was soon passed by Gasly and Perez to run 13th. He was frustrated to run a little too long in the first stint, which cost him a place to Russell, who he ran behind to the end.

VERDICT: Qualified well, although the race execution wasn’t quite as strong

2021 Site Maz

Started: 19th Finished: 17th

Qualifying

Mazepin was three-tenths of team-mate Schumacher, with the majority of the deficit in the middle sector of the lap. His struggles through Brooklands and Luffield on his best lap perhaps magnified the deficit on a weekend where his underlying pace wasn’t so far off Schumacher’s.

Sprint

Misjudged his braking in battle with Schumacher and went deep at Village, hitting his team-mate and spinning. Rejoined and finished last of the runners, which was 19th once Perez had stopped.

Race

Ambitiously tried to go around Schumacher and Latifi at the first corner after a good launch, leading to him locking up and running off the track, then settled into last place. Kept Schumacher in range in the first stint, then after making his pitstop a lap later he pulled off a great move to pass him through Club, staying ahead to the end.

VERDICT: A bit off in qualifying, careless in the sprint but his pass of Schumacher in the race was outstanding.

2021 Site Msc

Started: 18th Finished: 18th

Qualifying

Did a decent job in qualifying, although his pace in the first sector on his aborted second push lap at the end of Q1 indicated he had left a little on the table, albeit nowhere near enough to have gained a place.

Sprint

Suffered floor damage in two areas on the right side of the car after being clobbered by Mazepin at Village on the first lap. That ensured he finished 13s behind Latifi, although didn’t feel the Haas had the pace to be a threat even in healthy condition.

Race

Briefly ran 16th ahead of Latifi before inevitably slipping behind. But he was a little conservative either side of his pitstop and was surprised to see Mazepin pass him early in the second stint.

VERDICT: Decent progress but caught out by Mazepin’s pass in the race.

2021 Site Lat

Started: 17th Finished: 14th

Qualifying

Latifi’s summary of his final Q1 lap was “when I finished the lap, I was happy and then frustrated. Happy as I felt it was a good lap but frustrated that it was slow”. He was six-tenths off Russell, with the first sector his weakest part of the track and complained about losing six-tenths on the straight, something the team indicated was largely down to running more wing than his team-mate.

Sprint

Ran ahead of Tsunoda after gaining two places on the first lap before inevitably being passed. After that, held 17th to the end.

Race

Briefly fell behind Schumacher before repassing him then spent the majority of the race with Vettel’s Aston Martin in his mirrors. Felt he over-managed the tyres in the first stint, although the stint was shortened by Vettel’s failed undercut attempt, jumping ahead of the spun Raikkonen and Perez to take 14th, finishing six seconds behind Russell.

VERDICT: Poor in qualifying, better in the races

2021 Site Rus

Started: 12th Finished: 12th

Qualifying

After being “lost” during FP1, Russell made great strides through qualifying and delivered a superb lap on his second Q2 run to take seventh. Ran out of synch on his one set of softs in Q3, ensuring a clear track but no tow, and still found another tenth to take eighth.

Sprint

Lost a place to Alonso early on, then clashed with Sainz while trying to hold off the Ferrari at Brooklands on the opening lap. That earned him a three-place grid penalty for the race, but he settled in between Vettel and Ocon for the rest of the sprint, finishing ninth.

Race

A poor launch dropped him two positions to 14th at the start, but was 11th with two laps to go having gained places thanks to Perez’s extra stop and Gasly’s puncture on top over undercutting Giovinazzi and another place gained when Raikkonen spun. But he was powerless to hold off the charging Gasly, ending up 12th and falling agonisingly short of staying on the lead lap at the end.

VERDICT: Stunning in qualifying, but his hopes were dented the first laps of the two races.

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