Edd Straw's 2021 mid-season F1 driver ratings - The Race
Formula 1

Edd Straw’s 2021 mid-season F1 driver ratings

Aug 17 2021
By Edd Straw

After each grand prix, The Race rates the performance of all 20 grand prix drivers based on their performance throughout the Formula 1 weekend.

The ratings are given out of 10, with five defined as an average performance for an F1-level driver, which means that is still to be considered a decent score given the ultra-high standard.

With 11 races in the history books, the August break is the logical time to take a look at the average scores over the season so far to see who the hits, misses and in-betweens of 2021 have been.

The ratings listed are simply the average of the 11 scores given to the drivers with no adjustment. Therefore, the ranking order simply reflects this rather than any other factors.

2021 Site Maz

While he has cut back on the early mistakes, Mazepin’s pace has been disappointing. He’s also struggled in terms of tyre management and mitigating time loss in blue flags during races.

But while he has lagged behind his team-mate, there have been a few promising flashes, notably passing Schumacher after the pitstops at Silverstone with a great move at Club.

2021 Site Lat

Latifi did a consummate job to finish seventh in the Hungarian Grand Prix after escaping the first-corner chaos on what was his strongest weekend relative to team-mate George Russell.

But generally, his qualifying pace has been poor even though his race performances have been dependable.

2021 Site Tsu

After taking just one points finish in his first five F1 races, Tsunoda strung together four in his next six to prove he can consistently score points in a car as competitive as AlphaTauri.

But the pace gap to team-mate Pierre Gasly has been larger than expected and there are still too many mistakes, most recently shunting in Friday practice in Hungary.

2021 Site Msc

Schumacher has had a relatively promising rookie half-season in an unpromising Haas team, but his average rating has been dragged down by too many errors.

Crashes in practice in Hungary and Monaco kept him out of qualifying, while he also hit the wall under the safety car at Imola. But he has comfortably outpaced team-mate Mazepin.

2021 Site Rai

As you’d expect, Raikkonen has turned in some decent race performances for Alfa Romeo. But he’s struggled in qualifying, which has too often compromised his points potential.

There have also been too many mistakes in races – spinning into the gravel under the safety car at Imola, rear-ending team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi in Portugal and swiping Sebastian Vettel at the Red Bull Ring – for a driver of his ability and experience.

2021 Site Per

It was always going to be tough taking on Max Verstappen at Red Bull and Perez seemed to have settled in well in the first half-dozen races, meaning he was there to pick up the pieces and win in Baku.

But he’s slipped back subsequently, particularly in qualifying, and made a crucial mistake in the Silverstone sprint that ruined his weekend.

2021 Site Bot

Bottas is slightly further behind Lewis Hamilton on qualifying pace than might be expected, but has still outqualified him three times – peaking with pole position in Portugal.

But the bottom line is that he hasn’t taken points off Verstappen once, unless you count his terrible mistake at the start in Hungary that ruined Red Bull’s – and Lando Norris’s – day.

2021 Site Ric

His racecraft has been excellent and that has ensured he’s scored points eight times out of 11 – as well as salvaging a solid average rating.

But he has struggled to adapt to the esoteric demands of the McLaren and lagged well behind team-mate Norris.

He’s worked hard to improve but with limited results, and even at Silverstone, where his qualifying pace matched Norris, his race pace couldn’t.

2021 Site Str

Stroll has been a dependable performer and taken points in half a dozen races, which is a decent enough return in the limited Aston Martin. He’s also stacked up decently compared to Vettel.

But he’s not managed to hit the same peaks his team-mate has done, limiting him to a best result of eighth in what’s been a solid but unspectacular season.

2021 Site Gio

Giovinazzi has had the edge on Raikkonen in qualifying, but hasn’t been able to turn that into points finishes as often as he perhaps should have done.

Sometimes that’s been through misfortune he can’t be blamed for, but he’s also occasionally made poor decisions on opening laps. Overall, it adds up to a decent enough season, but not an extraordinary one.

2021 Site Vet

Judged by the high points – second in Baku and on-the-road in Hungary and fifth in Monaco – and by several other good performances in a car that’s often been a marginal Q3 contender at best, it’s been an excellent season.

Judged by the low points, rear-ending Esteban Ocon in Bahrain and spinning on the first lap at Silverstone, it’s been poor.

A frustrating mixed bag.

2021 Site Oco

Ocon started the season with the edge over team-mate Fernando Alonso but looked to have slipped behind with his Red Bull Ring struggles.

Then a chassis change and elimination of a front suspension problem got him back on form at Silverstone and, crucially, the Hungaroring, where he closed out an opportunistic win skilfully.

His average would be a little higher were it clear at the time that genuine car problems were holding him back in Austria.

2021 Site Sai

Sainz has looked absolutely at home with Ferrari and a new deal to ensure he stays beyond the end of 2022 is surely a foregone conclusion.

There have been a few errors along the way, notably getting caught out by the wind conditions in Hungaroring qualifying, but he’s also been enormously consistent and only missed out on points in Portugal and France thanks to tyre struggles.

2021 Site Alo

By his own admission, it took Alonso five races to get fully into the swing of things on his F1 return, but from Baku onwards he’s been superb.

He’s also been outstanding and precise in wheel-to-wheel combat, as exemplified by his 11-lap defence against Hamilton in Hungary that ensured Ocon was in a position to close out victory.

2021 Site Gas

Gasly has started in the top six eight times out of 11 races and been a points threat everywhere save for at Silverstone, where AlphaTauri struggled.

There has been a little bad luck along the way, not to mention a mistake in Bahrain that cost him a good result, but he’s been a consistently strong performer in F1’s midfield.

2021 Site Lec

Leclerc has generally had an advantage over Sainz on qualifying pace and has delivered some outstanding race performances, notably leading the majority of the British GP before finishing second.

The only downside is there have been a couple of errors, most monumentally the crash on his final Q3 run in Monaco on a weekend when he could have won.

2021 Site Rus

No driver has been so consistently exceptional in qualifying in 2021. By extracting the most from the Williams on Saturday more often than not, Russell has advanced to Q2 10 out of 11 times – twice going onto Q3.

While the race results have been harder to come by, in what is the ninth-fastest car that is to be expected – although his first laps still need work.

2021 Site Ham

Hamilton’s rating relative to Verstappen suffers thanks to several major errors that have dragged down his mark significantly.

But his peaks – such as taking an against-the-run-of-play victory in Bahrain – have arguably been slightly higher and heading into the August break with the points lead, no matter what the circumstances, shows how strong a season he’s had.

2021 Site Nor

His peaks have always been impressive in F1 but he needed to add consistency to his game. Norris has done that, and then some, in 2021 with a superb season and would have a 100% points record but for Bottas’s Hungaroring intervention.

The only real criticism is that there have been a couple of occasions when he hasn’t completely maximised qualifying, for example with his track limits violation at Imola.

2021 Site Ver

Verstappen has risen to the challenge of a world championship fight every bit as well as was expected and is hugely unlucky not to have the points lead in the August break.

There have been a few errors, but they have generally been relatively small ones – such as the track limits violations that cost him in Portugal and the mistake at the first corner in France. Generally, he’s been exceptional.

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