F1 Driver Ratings from the 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix
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Each driver is scored out of ten with the rating being heavily weighted on their race day performance. Qualifying performance holds less weight when deciding the ratingsSergio Perez (Qualified 6th, finished 1st) – 9Perez enjoyed his most complete weekend as a Red Bull driver in Azerbaijan. From FP1, the Mexican was on the pace and looked to be finally at one with the RB16B. Historically, the Baku circuit has been one that Perez has flourished at with his driving style renowned for nursing the rear tyres better than most. Yet again, he disappointed when it mattered most in Q3. A great opening lap moved him up to fourth and immediately in contention for the podium. Impressive pace on the soft tyres allowed him to overcut Lewis Hamilton, and without a slow pit stop, it might have been the lead of the race. Perez managed to stay within four seconds of teammate Max Verstappen before his unfortunate tyre failure, allowing him to inherit the race lead. He maintained first-place after the restart to secure the second win of his F1 career. Sebastian Vettel (Qualified 11th, finished 2nd) – 10It’s crazy how quickly things change in F1 given Vettel’s struggles over the past year. As in Monaco, Vettel looked back to his best as he scored his first podium for Aston Martin. Even without the misfortune of Verstappen and Hamilton, the four-time world champion would have comfortably finished fourth, overtaking Pierre Gasly and former Ferrari teammate Charles Leclerc with ease. Impressive tyre management once again proved critical as the ‘Seb of old’ looked like he might be back for good. Pierre Gasly (Qualified 4th, finished 3rd) – 10It was another sublime qualifying performance from Gasly as he put his AlphaTauri fourth on the grid. Overcutting Leclerc through the pit stop phase, a mid-race engine issue meant he could not keep Vettel at bay. Misfortune ahead meant the Frenchman had another shot at the podium. His robust defence of Leclerc after the restart deserves a lot of plaudits as he held onto third.Charles Leclerc (Qualified 1st, finished 4th) – 9Leclerc put in yet another breathtaking qualifying performance to claim the ninth pole position of his F1 career. The Ferrari didn’t quite have the race pace to compete with Mercedes and Red Bull as he relinquished the lead to Hamilton on Lap 3 after being forced to avoid a tree branch at Turn 15. While it was still a strong performance by Leclerc, the podium was there for the taking. 2823330.0064.jpg accImages.createImage();Lando Norris (Qualified 9th, finished 5th) – 8Up until the late red flag stoppage, it was an anonymous race for Norris in Baku. Originally qualifying sixth, he was awarded an unfortunate three-place grid penalty for failing to follow the red flag procedure correctly. Ultimately it compounded his race as he was running in ninth for much of the afternoon ahead of Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas. Norris got ahead of Tsunoda at the restart to continue his streak of finishing in the points at every race in 2021.Related ArticlesaccImages.createImage(); Perez ‘couldn’t breathe’ during Hamilton duel in “exhausting” F1 raceaccImages.createImage(); Perez ‘couldn’t breathe’ during Hamilton duel in “exhausting” F1 raceFernando Alonso (Qualified 10th, finished 6th) – 9 While Alpine lacked race pace in Baku, we saw more Alonso magic after the red flag as he progressed from 10th to sixth in the final two laps. On pure pace alone, the Alpine was only good enough to finish 11th at best, on a par with the Alfa Romeos, but in typical Alonso fashion, he was opportunistic and delivered when it counted. Yuki Tsunoda (Qualified 7th, finished 7th) – 8Tsunoda enjoyed his most complete weekend in F1 with his first Q3 appearance of the season. An error-free race ensured he ran comfortably clear of Norris and Bottas. He lost out to Norris and Alonso at the second standing start, but all in all, a sizeable improvement this weekend.2823187.0064.jpg accImages.createImage();Carlos Sainz (Qualified 5th, finished 8th) – 6After the high of Monaco, it was generally a lacklustre weekend from Sainz in Baku. He didn’t quite have the pace of Leclerc over one lap, and a trip down the run-off at Turn 8 on Lap 11 cost him a chance of points – had there not been any late stoppages. The Spaniard did well to recover to eighth, getting past Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo on the restart. Although, without his mistake, a top-five finish was possible.Related ArticlesaccImages.createImage(); Wolff left “destroyed” by Mercedes’ ‘unacceptable’ performanceaccImages.createImage(); Why F1’s red-flagged Azerbaijan GP was restarted for two racing lapsDaniel Ricciardo (Qualified 13th, finished 9th) – 7Still lacking confidence in the McLaren, Ricciardo ed out in Q2 with a shunt at Turn 3. The Australian did not have the pace of Norris, running in 11th behind his teammate and Bottas before the red flag period. A couple of points is the main positive, but there’s still a lot of work to do for the Australian going into France and Austria.Kimi Raikkonen (Qualified 14th, finished 10th) – 8Raikkonen picked up the final point in Baku, being one of only three drivers to start on the medium tyre. A long first stint on the mediums followed by a switch to the hards, where he pressured Alonso – who was struggling on his softs having stopped under the Safety Car caused by Lance Stroll. Raikkonen got past Bottas into Turn 7 after the red flag to score his first point of the season.Antonio Giovinazzi (Qualified 20th, finished 11th) – 7After his in qualifying, Giovinazzi recovered well to finish 11th. Unlike Raikkonen, he was unable to make the most of the restart, hitting the back of Ricciardo into Turn 2, causing his car to go into anti-stall briefly and losing the position he gained from his teammate. A point was there on the table for the Italian, but at least it was his teammate who managed to secure it.”42823203.0064.jpg accImages.createImage();Valtteri Bottas (Qualified 10th, finished 12th) – 1Quite possibly the worst weekend of Bottas’ F1 career. Unlike in Imola, where he endured a similarly poor weekend, he never had the pace during practice or qualifying. It looked to be a role reversal of Monaco where Bottas was fighting for the podium, with Hamilton in the lower end of the points. Running in tenth until the red flag, Bottas lost four positions on the restart as a lack of tyre temperature meant he could not defend from the likes of Alonso, Ricciardo and Raikkonen. Mick Schumacher (Qualified 17th, finished 13th) – 8Schumacher was once again the lead Haas driver in Baku as he edged out Nikita Mazepin by less than a tenth in qualifying. The German ran comfortably clear of his teammate until the red flag stoppage on Lap 47. Mazepin did manage to get ahead into Turn 4 after the restart. The pair nearly came to blows on the final lap as Mazepin jinked to the right on the run to the start-finish line, nearly putting Schumacher into the wall. The reigning Formula 2 champion managed to get through on the run to the line to secure Haas’ best result of the season and one that moves it ahead of Williams in the constructors’ championship.Nikita Mazepin (Qualified 18th, finished 14th) – 6Like in Monaco, Mazepin seemed more at home in the Haas as he was narrowly beaten by Schumacher in qualifying. A brief trip down the Turn 4 escape road was his most notable error of the afternoon. The Russian made the most of the red flag stoppage, getting past teammate Schumacher. His robust defence to the line was too far, but overall a solid weekend for Mazepin. “5Lewis Hamilton (Qualified 2nd, finished 15th) – 4Hamilton extracted the maximum from the W12 in qualifying as he made the most of a slipstream from teammate Bottas to qualify second ahead of main title rival Verstappen. He claimed the lead with ease, making the most of Mercedes’ superior straight-line speed advantage when getting past Leclerc on Lap 3. A slow pit stop where Mercedes couldn’t release Hamilton due to Gasly driving down the pit lane meant Verstappen overcut him comfortably. Perez did the same a lap later to leave Hamilton in third. It looked like lady luck was on the reigning champion’s side again as Verstappen ed out spectacularly due to a tyre failure. A perfect launch off the line meant it looked like it was going to be Hamilton’s day but by accidentally hitting the ‘magic’ toggle, the brake balance was pushed completely forward, causing him to lock up into Turn 1 and drop to the back of the grid. While it was an impressive performance up until Lap 50, it has to go down as a Hamilton error hence his rating.Nicholas Latifi (Qualified 16th, finished 16th) – 6Latifi crossed the line in 13th but dropped to 16th as a result of his 10-second stop-and-go penalty which was converted to a 30-second time penalty for failing to enter the pit lane as instructed during the safety car period. More blame on the engineer than the driver for this one.George Russell (Qualified 15th, classified 17th) – 7‘Mr Saturday’ continued his impressive run of progressing into Q2 at every race this season. It looked like we could have had a repeat of Imola as at one stage, Russell was running a couple of seconds behind Bottas. A gearbox failure on his way to the grid for the second start meant he was unable to get among the action in the closing laps.2823010.0064.jpg accImages.createImage();Max Verstappen (Qualified 3rd, classified 18th) – 10An exemplary performance from Verstappen that should have resulted in him extending his championship lead. The Dutchman was in a league of his own in Baku, overcutting title rival Hamilton by a couple of seconds through the pit stop phase. Verstappen built up a four-plus second lead over teammate Perez before his tyre failed down the start-finish straight on Lap 47. Fortunately for Verstappen, he maintained his four-point lead in the championship after Hamilton’s mishap on the restart. “6Lance Stroll (Qualified 19th, DNF) – 7Had it not been for his tyre failure on Lap 30, there’s no doubt Stroll would have scored points. His pace on the hard tyre was impressive and likely would have been enough to see him clear Bottas and potentially Norris. Although, his in qualifying ensured he couldn’t replicate Vettel’s heroics.Esteban Ocon (Qualified 12th, DNF) – N/AOcon never had the pace of teammate Alonso throughout the weekend. He could only manage 12th on the grid, disappointing given his run of Q3 appearances as of late. He was running in 11th before he retired after just three laps due to a suspected engine issue.”72823352.0064.jpg accImages.createImage();
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