Grand prix

F1 Driver Ratings from the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix | F1

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 ratings

Valtteri Bottas (Qualified 2nd, started 1st, finished 1st) – 10

The 2021 Turkish Grand Prix was arguably Bottas’ greatest drive as an F1 driver. In conditions that he usually struggles in, Bottas dominated the race from the front as he kept Max Verstappen at arm’s length throughout. The Finn’s dominance was emphasised by his series of fastest laps at the end of the race, going over two seconds faster than Verstappen on the final lap. 

Max Verstappen (Qualified 3rd, started 2nd, finished 2nd) – 9

Given Mercedes’ performance advantage at Istanbul Park, second was the maximum for Verstappen. Verstappen got within two seconds of Bottas in the opening phase of the race but dropped to over six behind when the pit stops came around. The Dutchman settled for second and with title rival Lewis Hamilton behind him, it was still a positive weekend. 

Sergio Perez (Qualified 7th, started 6th, finished 3rd) – 8

We saw the very best of Perez on Sunday. Making up for another disappointing qualifying showing, he moved up to fourth on the opening lap. His stern defence against Hamilton was brilliant, doing his teammate a big favour in the title race. Perez got past Leclerc on track to finish on the podium for just the third time in 16 races. 

Charles Leclerc (Qualified 4th, started 3rd, finished 4th) – 9

As Ferrari went in search of its first win since 2019, Leclerc ultimately fell out of podium contention trying to do so. Up until losing out to Perez on track when he had overheated his second set of intermediates, Leclerc was driving spectacularly, maintaining a two-second gap to Verstappen ahead. Overall, another stunning qualifying lap and a race performance that should have earned him a podium.

Lewis Hamilton (Qualified 1st, started 11th, finished 5th) – 8

Hamilton was a man on a mission in the early phase of the race, moving up to fifth with relative ease. He got stuck behind Perez – whose defending deserves a lot of plaudits. The seven-time champion was reluctant to follow Mercedes’ strategy call to switch to new intermediates when his rivals did. While he would have dropped behind them regardless, Mercedes’ sheer pace advantage could have got him ahead on track. Hamilton stayed out – as he requested – but Mercedes was forced to call him in as a series of slow laps would have likely meant he’d have finished fifth, or perhaps lower if his tyres continued to degrade.

Pierre Gasly (Qualified 5th, started 4th, finished 6th) – 9

Gasly continued to extract the maximum from the AlphaTauri at Istanbul Park to reduce its deficit to Alpine in the constructors’ championship. He was unfortunate to pick up a five-second time penalty for contact with Fernando Alonso on the lap. On balance, given the pace of the car, sixth was the best result Gasly could have hoped for.

Lando Norris (Qualified 8th, started 7th, finished 7th) – 7

After the highs of recent rounds, you’d have expected McLaren to have fared better in Turkey. Norris was 0.6s shy of Gasly in qualifying, although he was more competitive in race trim, finishing just three seconds behind Gasly.

Carlos Sainz (Qualified 15th, started 19th, finished 8th) – 9

It was an overtaking masterclass from Sainz at Istanbul Park as at times during the first half of the race, he was overtaking one car every lap. Making such progress in wet conditions when DRS is disabled couldn’t be underestimated. A slow stop cost him any chance of beating Gasly or Norris but still an impressive day’s work from the Spaniard.

Lance Stroll (Qualified 9th, started 8th, finished 9th) – 8

Another solid weekend from Stroll for Aston Martin. Into Q3 and a points finish. A lonely race on the whole, with a very slow pit stop surrendering track position to Sainz. 

Esteban Ocon (Qualified 12th, started 12th, finished 10th) – 7

Ocon was the only driver to complete the race without making a pit stop. An impressive feat given his front-right tyre was completely destroyed after the race. The Frenchman never had the pace of teammate Alonso up until race day but he kept his nose clean to pick up a solitary point.

Antonio Giovinazzi (Qualified 18th, started 16th, finished 11th) – 6

After a disappointing qualifying, Giovinazzi narrowly missed out on a top 10 finish. With Ocon struggling with his tyres, the two Alfa Romeos closed up to the back of him. Seemingly, Giovinazzi was unaware it was the last lap as he was charging his battery and subsequently squandered his last chance to get past Ocon for the final point. The Italian also ignored team orders despite being slower than Raikkonen. 

Kimi Raikkonen (Qualified 19th, started 17th, finished 12th) – 7

Like Giovinazzi, Raikkonen struggled for pace in qualifying but fared better in race trim. The Finn lost ground in the first stint behind his teammate despite being faster. Raikkonen was then stuck behind Yuki Tsunoda before being unleashed, closing up to the back of his teammate once again. 

Daniel Ricciardo (Qualified 16th, started 20th, finished 13th) – 4

A poor weekend from Ricciardo who didn’t progress from Q1 for the second time in 2021. He couldn’t make much progress through the field forcing McLaren to switch him to another set of intermediates before any other driver. Ricciardo lost out to the two Alfa Romeos in the closing laps.

Yuki Tsunoda (Qualified 10th, started 9th, finished 14th) – 6

Some encouraging signs for Tsunoda as he progressed into Q3 for just the third time in 2021. His defence against Hamilton was impressive, but his race was undone when he spun at Turn 9 when running inside the points.

George Russell (Qualified 13th, started 13th, finished 15th) – 7

A rare mistake at the final corner for Russell on his final lap in Q2 cost him a place in the top 10. Williams didn’t have the pace on race day as he dropped to 15th.

Fernando Alonso (Qualified 6th, started 5th, finished 16th) – 6

A spectacular starting position was undone by contact with Gasly on the first lap. Alonso tried to hang it around the outside of the AlphaTauri into Turn 1, with Gasly’s front wing clipping Alonso, spinning him around. An unfortunate racing incident that completely ruined his race. Things got worse for Alonso when he collided with Schumacher, picking up a five-second penalty as a result.

Nicholas Latifi (Qualified 17th, started 15th, finished 17th) – 4

Latifi was knocked out in Q1 and spun on the opening lap, leaving him stuck behind the Haas duo for a number of laps. A poor weekend on the whole for the Canadian.

Sebastian Vettel (Qualified 11th, started 10th, finished 18th) – 4

Vettel was out-performed by teammate Stroll in Turkey but points were on the table had it not been for a gamble on the slicks on Lap 36. It didn’t work out as he had multiple spins before recovering to the pit lane. The decision to pit cost him a good shot at tenth.

Mick Schumacher (Qualified 14th, started 14th, finished 19th) – 8

Schumacher was the star of qualifying with a surprise Q2 appearance. He was some three seconds quicker than Haas teammate Nikita Mazepin as he enjoyed his best qualifying of the season. Schumacher’s good work was undone when he was spun by Alonso early on. 

Nikita Mazepin (Qualified 2oth, started 18th, finished 20th) – 4

Mazepin kept his car on the track but simply didn’t have the pace of teammate Schumacher in Turkey. The Russian driver got ahead after Schumacher’s incident with Alonso, but he didn’t have the pace to maintain it. Nearly caused a massive shunt when being lapped by Hamilton, which he later apologised for. 

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