Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Monaco, 2021

2021 Monaco Grand Prix Star Performers

2021 Monaco Grand Prix

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Sebastian Vettel, Lando Norris and Antonio Giovinazzi were RaceFans’ Star Performers of the Monaco Grand Prix. Here’s why.


Sebastian Vettel

  • Bravely chose not to use a second set of soft tyres in Q1 and narrowly made it through
  • Reached Q3, almost three tenths faster than Stroll, to line up eighth
  • Ran longer than cars ahead in first stint to jump from seventh to fifth after his pit stop, holding off Gasly in a wheel-to-wheel sprint towards Massenet
  • Secured his first points for Aston Martin with a strong fifth

Lando Norris

  • Qualified fifth, less than half a tenth of a second away from starting on the front row
  • Out-qualified Ricciardo by seven places and put him a lap down during the race
  • Secured second podium of season with third place, soaking up pressure from Perez over the final stint on fading tyres

Antonio Giovinazzi

  • Reached Q3 for first time in 2021, out-qualifying team mate Raikkonen
  • Passed Ocon on the opening lap around the outside at Mirabeau
  • Alfa Romeo brought him into the pits before Ocon, but he came out behind Ricciardo, losing time which cost him a place to Ocon
  • Nonetheless secured Alfa Romeo’s first point with tenth

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Daniel Ricciardo

  • “Confused” by lack of pace after Q2 elimination
  • Dropped from 11th to 13th at start after starting on mediums
  • Lapped by team mate Norris on the 53rd tour
  • Finished 12th after ‘weekend to forget’

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And the rest

Lewis Hamilton

  • Struggled for pace after Thursday, qualifying only seventh
  • Failed to undercut Gasly at pit stop and was jumped by Vettel and Perez
  • Finished seventh after pitting late to pursue fastest lap point

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Monaco, 2021
Bottas’ best performance of the season came to naught
  • Qualified third and had a chance to take pole position before the red flag
  • Lined up second on the grid, got away slightly better than Verstappen but couldn’t pass
  • Tyres faded quickly in first stint
  • Retired in the pits when his team were unable to remove his right-front wheel

Max Verstappen

  • Was in the hunt for pole position and was on course to improve his lap time when Leclerc’s crash brought out the red flag
  • Inherited pole after Leclerc retired pre-race
  • Kept lead at start and never looked in doubt on the way to his first Monaco win

Sergio Perez

  • Qualified almost a second slower than team mate Verstappen
  • Said Q3 was ‘worst session’, struggling with tyre temperatures
  • Took advantage of clear air after rivals stopped to jump from eighth to fourth

Lance Stroll

  • Never in the top 10 before the race
  • Missed out on Q3, qualifying 13th
  • Started on hard tyre and used it well, running a long first stint to claim points for eighth

Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon, Alpine, Monaco, 2021
Alpine took points thanks to Ocon
  • Narrowly missed out on Q3 in 11th
  • Lost a place to Giovinazzi at Mirabeau on the opening lap, but was able to pass back in pit stops
  • Defended from the Alfa Romeo driver in the closing laps to finish ninth, his fourth points score in a row

Fernando Alonso

  • Struggled to unlock performance from car all weekend
  • Eliminated in Q1, qualifying 17th
  • Was surprised his team gave him soft tyres at his pit stop but was happy it proved right call on his way to 13th

Charles Leclerc

  • Didn’t do any significant running in first practice after encountering a problem with fourth gear
  • Clearly quick and committed enough for pole position, and took it provisionally in Q3…
  • …but crashed at the Swimming Pool on his final run
  • Expected to start home race on pole, but was unable to after undetected driveshaft damage caused by his crash was discovered during his pre-race reconnaissance lap

Carlos Sainz Jnr

Carlos Sainz, Ferrari, Monaco
One Ferrari driver kept it clean and reaped the rewards
  • Was close to Leclerc’s pace all weekend but, crucially, kept it out of the barriers
  • Was frustrated at missing out on his chance to take pole position when his team mate crashed, and qualified fourth
  • Moved up to third when his team mate failed to start, which became second when Bottas retired
  • Took first podium for Ferrari

Pierre Gasly

  • “Extremely happy” to qualify sixth, ahead of Hamilton
  • Kept the Mercedes behind at the start and after pitting a lap later than him, crossing the line in sixth place
  • The need to cover Hamilton’s pit stop probably cost him the chance to keep Vettel and Perez behind

Yuki Tsunoda

  • Damaged his suspension in second practice after hitting barriers, ending session after 11 laps
  • Eliminated in Q1 by just 0.018s, but was half a second off Gasly
  • Ran a very long first stint and briefly held the fastest lap after his late switch to softs, but came home 16th

Kimi Raikkonen

  • Eliminated in Q2 and started four places lower than team mate Giovinazzi
  • Finished 11th, one place behind Giovinazzi, having completed the race without a drink due to a problem with the tube

Mick Schumacher

Costly practice crash kept Schumacher out of qualifying
  • Crashed at Casino Square at end of final practice, causing up to half a million dollars of damage according to his team principal and forcing him out of qualifying
  • Passed Mazepin at the Fairmont hotel hairpin on lap one but had to cede the position after suffering fuel pressure problems
  • Was told to hold position behind his team mate in the closing laps so they didn’t encounter as many blue flags

Nikita Mazepin

  • Faster than Schumacher in Thursday practice
  • First weekend without major incident of note
  • Passed by Schumacher at start, was allowed past him later and the pair were subsequently told to hold positions

George Russell

  • Reached Q2 but unable to do better than 15th
  • Finished 14th after uneventful race

Nicholas Latifi

  • Headed Russell in first practice
  • Crashed in final practice at the Swimming Pool section but was able to participate in qualifying
  • Eliminated in Q1
  • Finished 15th after “trickiest F1 race yet”

Over to you

Vote for the driver who impressed you most last weekend and find out whether other RaceFans share your view here:

2021 Monaco Grand Prix

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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111 comments on “2021 Monaco Grand Prix Star Performers”

  1. There’s a conspicuous omission in Strugglers

    1. Haha… and the first word in his paragraph being “struggled”…

      1. There is actually two solutions to this ;)

    2. Even I agree with that one, Hamilton struggled at Monaco.

      1. Stop the hate :D :D :D

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          25th May 2021, 16:35

          Facepalm! :D

        2. You beat facepalm to it!

    3. Indeed, the “And the rest” heading needs to be shifted a paragraph down

    4. Keith couldn’t afford the comments traffic bill if he did that :)

    5. It feels like an editting mistake tbh. He probably should be in there, hence his name after Ricciardo. Dunno.

      1. Have to agree with the above and below sentiments towards LH this race. I mean, if Max is not a star, presumably because he did something fairly expected, and often the driver of the day or the weekend is someone who did more with less, or, the somewhat unexpected, as seems to be the case for the three stars here, then surely LH did the least with the most. After all, he was leading the WDC and the team the WCC going into Monaco. LH a definite struggler this weekend given his car and team. And the impact his lacklustre performance and the team’s has had on the Championships.

        Early days though and everything to play for and perhaps yesterday is just being considered on this site as LH, VB, and Mercedes’ one mulligan.

        1. @robbie

          My thoughts too. If the bar for Verstappen and Hamilton is so high that beating your teammate and winning the race doesn’t make you a star (Verstappen) then getting beat by your teammate and several slower cars clearly makes you a struggler (Hamilton).

          1. Fully agree

        2. Agree, its very strange. But it fits the sentiments i often see here.

    6. I expected Lewis to be left out of the strugglers section, but it’s still disappointing.

  2. British bias at it’s finest.
    Why the hell Sir Lewis Hamilton (44) was not in the strugglers?

    1. I agree Lewis was a struggler couldn’t get the car setup had a bad qualiflier and even a bad race.
      If this is NOT a struggler he will NEVER be a struggler fix this please, Keith Collantine!

      Btw Max didn’t Inherited pole he still started on the dirty second box.

    2. I’m British, and I believe Hamilton struggled

    3. Hamilton was a struggler. He had a terrible race, not due to his team (ref Bottas) and simply well.. struggled. It doesn’t often happen to him. So no shame in calling him out once.

  3. Surprised you haven’t mentioned Hamilton as a struggler. Even without the strategy gaffe, his pace was nowhere compared to Bottas.

  4. Hard to call anyone a “star” after that turgid race. It was clear in the race that everyone was driving well within themselves.

    I’m really pleased for Vettel and hope he is turning things around. What has happened to Danny Ric though? This is normally such a happy hunting ground for him.

    Lewis is lucky not to be in the strugglers. OK he lost a lap at the end due to the red flag but he shouldn’t have been down in 7th at that point anyway. So risky around Monaco.

  5. Its just as well we don’t have F1 in Las Vagas. This race was a crapshoot. A gamble, a lottery, a game of chances rather than skill. Fortunes won and lost on a whim. I wonder what the odds were of Hamilton coming 7th, or of the balance of the championship being over turned by 18 points. Monaco with all its casinos would have had its gamblers and speculators. Fortune they say favours the brave, but i wonder about those other fellows with a finger in ever pie, steering the outcome, controlling the odds. There should be a cateory to that wholly unscientific area called Luck.

    1. You obviously didn’t witness the 2012 season.

  6. Agree about Norris as a star driver but I’d put Sainz up there. They were the two drivers who most impressed me over the weekend. Vettel did well.

    Hamilton struggled! That’s a definite inclusion as ‘struggler’ for qualifying. In the race, both Mercedes cars struggled but, even so, his general ‘let’s get this over with’ attitude didn’t help surely. It was the polar opposite of that ‘can do’ attitude at Imola when he got lucky with the red flag and unlapping, but still had many places to make up to second.

  7. Maybe make the TV director an honourably struggler for the shambles of that broadcast?

    1. was a local person so we cann’t complain!

      1. We can complain that a local person is put in charge!

    2. Everytime it’s the same a Monaco. Shows how spoiled we are at the 22 other races with the proper direction team tbh.

      1. Spoiled? Its Liberty’s business to sell this, right? Then the other races are the minimum I expect and Monaco was absolutely unacceptable. I can not imagine that whomever was responsible for this, feels proud about the job done.

    3. Very good point indeed.

  8. I would agree with the stars section. Sainz, Gasly and Verstappen also did well and could be classed as stars, but that would obviously be too many.

    I think there should be more strugglers, though. Hamilton, Alonso and Tsunoda spring to mind, and maybe Schumacher too.

  9. I can’t help but laugh at these lists. Gio was quite good, but I just don’t see him top three. Max was a second faster than Sergio in quali. You could also make a case for Pierre or Valtteri.

    Lewis was an epitome of a struggler this weekend, and although understandable I would put Yuki into the strugglers category as well.

    1. Max made the win look effortlessly and took the lead in the championship. I don’t think he left much to wish for.
      What is he supposed to do to make it on the Star Performers list?
      Rise from his seat and circle around in the air? Or rather slow down to have some heroic fights?

      And what about Lewis, who won all races but one before Monaco, not struggling?
      Near the end of the race the driver was almost a lap down with nobody in between him and Max one lap up.
      Max was coasting and spared him the disgrace of getting lapped, but no doubt he could have, and maybe even might have if he still had Valtteri behind to chase him.

      1. Hamilton did an extra stop for tyres to do the fastest lap. This put him down the field close to Max, but with fresh soft tyres onboard there was no way anyone would overtake him from then and he went on to get the new lap record.

        1. Yes, and was lapping a bit quicker than verstappen in the last laps, understandably given the tires, he recovered some seconds. Also in my opinion they should’ve been more aggressive, as in pit a little earlier and try to get back to gasly but this time with a higher pace advantage, since his previous advantage wasn’t enough, instead he seemed to have been coasting as soon as setting the fastest lap, there were still 10 laps, if he really had a 2 sec margin as he said he’d have caught up!

    2. GIO did a super quali, had to use red tires which exposed him to overcome. He also made a very good overtake on Ocon at the Mirabeau that tv failed to show. I think a well deserved mention.

  10. It’s quite funny there’s literally a strugglers section, which neither Hamilton or Alonso is in. But what’s been written about them…

    Struggled for pace after Thursday, qualifying only seventh”

    Struggled to unlock performance from car all weekend”

    Somewhat makes a mockery of this article!

    1. I agree. I am very surprised Alonso was not under the Strugglers. He had a very poor weekend. More so than Lewis.

      Maybe Hamilton and Alonso are considered too good by the author to ever be considered a struggler.

      1. @phil-f1-21 – Alonso had a bad quali, sure, but he finished only 5 seconds behind Ocon. He also made up 4 places in the race, only Perez and Stroll did better.

  11. Keith, normally a Star Performer giving these driver scores, is a struggler this time.

    Where Bottas squeezes out a 1:10.6 , Lewis was nowhere. In the race, Lewis couldn’t do wonders either. Where Max still puts the car on 2nd in his so-called off weekends, Bottas was about to do the same. Why not Lewis?

  12. weird ‘ratings’
    Ricciardo was closer to Norris (in Q2) than Hamilton to Bottas, or Perez to Verstappen.
    Yet Ricciardo is struggling with Norris a star, and yet both Bottas and Hamilton are ‘also runs’ like Verstappen and Perez.
    I can see that Perez mitigated his poor quali with a strong race; not sure what Hamilton did to miss out on Struggler rating.

    1. Q2? Where the top guys make sure they make the top ten whilst preserving their tyres as best they can?

    2. If you don’t think qualifying 7 places lower than your team mate, being lapped by your team mate and finishing in 12th when your team mate is on the podium counts as a struggler, then what does?

      1. If you don’t think qualifying 7 places lower than your team mate, being lapped by your team mate and finishing in 12th when your team mate is on the podium counts as a struggler

        Sorry, I missed where i said, implied, or even thought that.
        But then again you probably knew that and just wanted to put an ‘if’ statement :P

        PS I never look at qualifying difference in places, but solely in lap times.

        1. You based all your findings on Q2, which is essentially pointless. Q2 is only there to set up for Q3, and which tyres the top ten start on.
          Then you questioned why Ricciardo is a struggler, yet Norris is a star.

          1. Then you questioned why Ricciardo is a struggler, yet Norris is a star.

            Sorry, I missed where i said, implied, questioned, or even thought that.

    3. Agree, jff, basically you’re saying norris demolished ricciardo, hence it’s fair to have him as a star and ricciardo a struggler, but IF that is how things are, then verstappen (at least) should’ve been a star too and hamilton a struggler too (and alonso maybe), indeed, perez did enough in the race to shake off the struggler feeling.

    4. Agree, jff, basically you’re saying norris demolished ricciardo, hence it’s fair to have him as a star and ricciardo a struggler, but IF that is how things are, then verstappen (at least) should’ve been a star too and hamilton a struggler too (and alonso maybe), indeed, perez did enough in the race to shake off the struggler feeling

  13. Questionable ratings, in my opinion. Have thought so serveral times this year. Not one of Racefans best features tbh. Maybe if it was better explained…

  14. RebelAngelFloyd (@)
    25th May 2021, 13:54

    Looks like Keith was struggling no to list his struggling favourite driver (first name starts with L, 5 letters, not being Lando) in the strugglers section
    Quite a struggle ☺

    1. + 1 :-)

  15. Will- ‘Keith. No one did anything spectacularly good or bad this week, so you are not gonna get many response to this weeks Star Performers are you?’
    Keith-‘Hold my beer.’

  16. It’s far from enough to put him with the stars, but I think that Red Bull and Verstappen in particular were struggling in FP1 and FP2. They’ve managed to turn that around quite nicely, which in my opinion is worth mentioning.

  17. Personally I thought Gasly was a star this weekend too. Obviously Hamilton was a struggler, but perhaps an editting error there, not sure. Also Alonso, he pranged it like an amateur on Friday and was way behind Ocon in all departments.

    1. Not so sure about Alonso, very poor qualy but a half-decent race

    2. Agree about gasly, he did well all weekend, I’d have had 6 stars: the top 3, vettel, gasly and giovinazzi; I’d also have 4 strugglers: tsunoda, hamilton, ricciardo, alonso.

  18. Strange not to list Hamilton as a struggler. I wonder if Bottas would have avoided the strugglers list if the roles were reversed?

    1. Not sure, would have to look up in the past if bottas had any races where he was significantly slower than hamilton with a car that wasn’t best of the weekend, without doing particular mistakes, I know he was struggler in races like turkey 2020, but he also made a lot of mistakes, need slow ones but clean.

  19. I think the extenuating circumstances of the red flag in Hamilton excused him from the strugglers list and he was hardly to blame for his teams call on strategy to undercut (Red Bull excelled on Perez’s strategy rather than that being an amazing drive). All in all it was a messy weekend and he shouldn’t have ended up where he did but a lot of that was not his fault.

    I’d have added Tsunoda to the strugglers list personally.

    1. Hamilton aborted his lap before the red flag came. (Watch the onboards and his own comments about this in the post qualy interview.

    2. @slowmo

      The undercut was not strategic, but because the tires were gone. It’s the driver’s job to look after the tires.

      1. It’s the drivers job to look after the tyres? That’s not what you have been saying about Max’s tyre management these past few races. Glad to see you have finally seen the light.

        1. W/o whatabouting ian dearing, @aapje, in this case the team said they pitted HAM, because their setup, in order to get any kind of temperature in the tyres in qualifying, was severely overheating especially the fronts, which definitely was why Bottas was dropping back from Verstappen before his own unfortunate stop, ie. not the driver(s).

          And with Hamilton himself saying he did preserve tyres, and hence wondering about the undercut (and Toto Wolff saying ‘the front was shot’ but Allison doubting that, referring to others, like Sainz Jr., who drove through it and got them back) I don’t think it is entirely fair to blame Hamilton for not keeping the tyres well; either he was right and his team took him to a strategy that put away any chance of him proving it, or, they saved him from finding out that Gasly’s car could go a lot longer too, so an overcut wouldn’t have worked out either. Which again, seems to imply that on race day, it wasn’t Hamilton that did wrong, just that he and his team couldn’t do anything more.

          But, if HAM is also correct that he wanted to go for an even more quali-geared, race overheating setup to get himself higher up, eh, well, that even more points to a team not listening to their star driver? I mean, yeah, likely the team was right that he’d been eaten, eventually, by Perez and maybe Gasly, Vettel, but given difficulty of overtaken, who knows, maybe he could have held even Norris behind. We don’t know.

          Now, with all that said, I do think anyone who’d put Hamilton in the Strugglers category has a solid argument, and I did laugh at the ‘Strugglers’ heading appearing just below his name.

          1. @bosyber

            And with Hamilton himself saying he did preserve tyres

            Of course he did. All drivers preserved their tires. Yet Lewis and Bottas share the record of earliest pit stops in Monaco 2021, both pitting before other drivers. Verstappen pitted 5 laps later.

            Of course, it seems that the Merc is harsher on it’s tires, yet if we look at the past, then we see that Lewis and Max are normally a lot better at tire management than Bottas (to the point where Bottas has regularly struggled in races due to tire issues). However, this time, Lewis and Bottas were about equal. So this means that either Bottas overperformed, or Lewis underperformed. If Bottas overperformed, you’d expect both drivers to have run a bit longer. Lewis clearly also struggled with his tires in qualy, so it seems most likely that he also underperformed in the race.

            It’s also hard to imagine that Mercedes would pit him if the tires weren’t shot. Mercedes is known for regularly messing up a pit stop, but their strategy tends to be very good. I can’t imagine them not being aware that the overcut is the best. So why would they do an undercut as a strategy, rather than because they had to?

          2. Well @aapje, because they thought they had to. Which might still prove mistaken, but likely is quite right. And as I wrote, from what they said so far, it seems unlikely that they had enough tyre left to overcut Gasly (who would have waited for HAM to come in, likely) – so Perez might still likely have gotten past HAM.

            Anyway, thanks that we both agree it’s not clear that at least in the race, HAM under performed (as it was a Monaco-one-off team issue with getting the tyres up to temp, which meant they ‘overheated’ them on Saturday to get anywhere, resulting in them wearing them Sundays), though one might well argue that qualifying was more important here, and that’s where he lost a lot of positions to his teammate, so fair enough.

          3. @bosyber

            Perez ran 6 laps more than Hamilton on his tire, which was a huge advantage, allowing him to overcut three cars, that ran 29 to 31 laps on soft. The only way for Hamilton to keep Perez behind was for him to overcut Gasly and Vettel, which would presumably would have required at least a 33 lap first stint (while still driving fast).

            And I do rate Lewis a struggler primarily because of qualifying. However, in the best case his race was mediocre, unless you rate Bottas as a good tire saver, which means ignoring years of evidence.

  20. A couple of suggestions off the top of my head that I think would improve the stars and strugglers articles:

    – Do not limit each category to three entries only. (This is my assumption that this is the case, not actually sure). This weekend saw quite a few neat performances. Max, Pierre, and possibly Carlos and Vatteri could all be stars as well.
    – Extend the entries beyond drivers – be creative. Include strategists, mechanics, fans, the sport itself, etc.

    1. Extend the entries beyond drivers

      TV directors…

    2. I checked in the past, there can be at least 3 strugglers and there can be 4 stars, so it’s a decision of the authors, not a limit.

  21. Stars: VER, SAI, NOR, VET, and STR.
    Strugglers: HAM, OCO, RIC, ALO, TSU, and MSC.

    1. @jerejj I can understand most of these, although Stroll as a star is very generous. Outpaced and finished behind his tea mate, and perhaps lucky to get away with barrier contact in the race. Gasly would’ve been a better shout if you wanted a fifth star. And is Ocon really a struggler? He outqualified Alonso by a huge margin, performed a lap one overtake, only to lose that place back during the pitstops. How fast do you think that Alpine is? I think Ocon had a decent weekend.

      1. @keithedin Ocon struggled on the medium, so the – comes from this.
        I feel Gasly isn’t entirely clear-cut either as he lost out to Vettel and Perez thanks to his slow-ish out-lap.

      2. @keithedin

        Ocon was overtaken on the first lap by Giovinazzi. He didn’t overtake.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          26th May 2021, 9:29


          Giovinazzi can’t have overtaken ocon unless ocon over overtook him. Look at their starting positions. Ocon had a better launch and did his overtake, then giovinazzi did a very impressive overtake a few corners later to reclaim the position.

    2. @jerejj +1 works for me.

  22. In my opinion whenever there is a significant upset between two teammates they shouldn’t be in the same group.
    Normally we don’t see that to a great extend so it’s fine to have only a few stars and strugglers.
    Last weekend though was quite different and it is very, very generous to have Hamilton, Alonso Tsunoda and maybe even Schumacher in the same category as their respective teammates…

    1. We only got a single struggler here, less than usual, this is what baffles me, there were at least 3.

  23. Been here since the early F1Fanatic days, but seldom comment.

    And again I’d prefer to keep my opinion personal. Just that articles like this popping out every once in a while validates my hunch of unconscious/induced bias creeping up with team RaceFans. It does justify my stance from years ago not to become a RaceFans Supporter (paid membership) even though there’s no denying of the fact that content quality here is superior to most other “top” motorsport websites. I remain a big fan of everyone associated with this project, but ethically/morally can’t sponsor/promote any biasness.

    All the best. Hope the realisation comes sooner than the later.

    1. Dear Debapriya Deb

      What is wrong with you?
      What you are asking for is inhuman.
      Every human being has a bias.

    2. Yes, Sir LH often doesn’t get the stick he deserves here. But it’s the same across all walks of life. People have their preferences and will show them no matter what the world thinks. Gone are the days of neutral journalism.

    3. @debapriya-deb Understandable, but the ‘fanatic’ and ‘fan’ in the names always gave it away. Feel a bit like you, but still support it. Generally good comments, but sometimes also too much ‘fan fanatics’.

    4. I agree with that. I checked out when the excessive Verstappen bashing started with as pinnacle an unprofessional (incredibly far-fetched and negative) article about influences of his dad. It is clear racefans is very pro Ham and very anti Max. Having said that, I find it in terms of news and angles chosen one of the best sites out there. Most importantly it doesnt respond to rumour and gossip, which is rare these days. So, I take the bias for granted. One thing worrying me though is that I lately get the feeling the authors are themselves certain commenters and use multiple email addresses to drive friction in dialogues to increase engagement. Lets hope that is nonsense.

  24. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
    25th May 2021, 16:49

    Surely Mazepin had to be among the stars for not binning it past weekend.

  25. Just four guys get into either stars or strugglers, which I suppose is fine given you don’t want to be too dramatic in rating their performance. Most did a decent to good job, but nothing too out of the ordinary.

    However, there’s a couple of guys who would seem to fit in the struggler section. As noted above, the very word is even used to describe their weekend. Alonso wasn’t impressive, Tsunoda was getting nowhere near the same out of the Alpha Tauri as Gasly did, Hamilton similarly lagged behind Bottas by quite a margin, and for all the jokes leading up to this weekend about Mazepin it was Schumacher who hit the most walls this weekend.

  26. I’ve just heard that Bottas’s tyre and wheel have decided to make it formal and get engaged..

    1. I thought they’d already tied the nut last Sunday

      1. Badum-tsss

  27. Thought Sainz deserved to be in the stars – kept his car at/near the front all weekend and IMO outshone his team mate. Seems that he gets glossed over pretty regularly.

    1. I think the reasoning for leaving both Max and Carlos out of the Stars list is the same – neither qualified on pole, having the car to do so.

      1. lol yeah they should have set a time after the Red Flag………

      2. Well, that makes a very easy stars list for future episodes then

  28. 2018 Japanese Grand Prix Star Performers
    Max Verstappen, Sergio Perez, Carlos Sainz Jnr, and Lewis Hamilton were RaceFans’ Star Performers of the Japanese Grand Prix – here’s why.

    As you can see, there can be even 4 stars, so it’s not limited to 3, and strugglers aren’t certainly limited to a number, it’s just their decision to pick these particular stars and strugglers.

    Also, I’m really suspecting bias now: I checked all bad races from hamilton I remember in recent times: this one, germany 2019, austria 2018, russia and austria 2017, but I never saw him being a struggler.

    Anyone found any race at all in the past where he was listed as a struggler?

    I think in this particular circumstance having both verstappen and hamilton in the “the rest” category is insane.

    1. Oh, I’d like to add, if you check websites that give ratings, and I know they can be biased too but some seem to be quite fair, example

      Verstappen got a mark 3x better than hamilton, which is what really baffles me to see them both in the “not special” category, that would in my opinion mean a sort of 6 mark for both.

      1. @esploratore Ultra-British The Race also gave Hamilton a pass. It was the car of course.

        1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
          26th May 2021, 13:27

          Well they were less biased than Keith – they scored Hamilton with a 4.5.
          “VERDICT: Uncharacteristically, he didn’t extract the most from a difficult Mercedes.”

          The weirdest thing that The Race did was score Perez lower with a 4.0, seemingly penalizing him more harshly for qualifying 7 places down to Max versus Hamilton only 4 places down from Bottas. Somehow they forgot that Perez on race day finished 5 places higher than he qualified while Hamilton stayed 7th despite 2 retirements.

          1. And yes, it’s very weird to give perez a 4, it’s like turning a blind eye to the race and valuing only qualifying.


          I checked and jelle is right, hamilton got a 4,5, verstappen 9, again this would hint at struggler and star on here I presume.

  29. Star: NOR
    a ‘nicegoing!‘ to GAS, OCO and VET.
    Strugglers: it’s a really rare day when all the darlings jointly hit rock bottom: RIC, HAM and ALO.
    a shoutout to TSU.

  30. I hope we’ll see Sebastian earn points on a regular basis.

  31. “the 53rd *tour*” Isn’t that the French way of things? :-)

  32. I feel for Bottas. What rotten luck again.

  33. Kimi “completed the race without a drink due to a problem with the tube” SIGH……

  34. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    26th May 2021, 13:21

    Lewis had his worst qualifying since Germany 2018 – his teammate qualified 3rd.
    Lewis didn’t manage to undercut Gasly due to bad in & outlap, he came out of the pit in clean air till Gasly pitted the next lap.
    Lewis would have lost 2 positions and finished 9th if not for retirements of Leclerc and Bottas.

    Sure Keith – that isn’t sufficient to be called a struggler :-(

  35. Norris, Sainz and Perez were very lucky that they had no competition from Bottas, Hamilton & Leclerc…

  36. Why wasn’t Lewhine Hamilton included in strugglers?

  37. Maybe it’s too late at this point, I think most people stopped checking this article, but anyone knows if hamilton was EVER rated a struggler so far in this type of articles?

    I know he usually doesn’t qualify there, but I checked the worst races I remember until 2017 and didn’t see any, and it could be that these articles started in 2017, with a search I don’t see any before then.

    1. Ok, my question remains open if anyone remembers any struggler case, but I found out before 2017 there were “driver rating” articles for a few races in 2016, the worst I found were baku (european gp back then) 2016 where he was rated 2 stars out of 5, which is like a 4\10 mark, so by far insufficient, so one would presume he’d be rated a struggler in that case, after crashing out of q3 and lining up 10th on the grid and eventually had an engine problem that relegated him to 5th after recovering several places.

      And obviously the famous spain 2016 with the crash with rosberg, both drivers were rated 1 star out of 5, mostly to do with the crash it seems.

      1. I think the situation is blatantly clear in terms of bias. On the other hand Hamilton does make very few mistakes, so he hasnt been a struggler that many times (besides not being mentioned as such). He did his own share of struggling in his first few years, which everyone seems to forget (I remember Lauda warning him people would get killed because of his driving) but does like to remind Max of. Seriously, the bias is something very hard to take on this site but knowing it you can read around it and in all other areas they’re quite entertaining and informative.

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