2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Star Performers

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Pierre Gasly, Sebastian Vettel, Max Verstappen and Fernando Alonso were RaceFans’ Star Performers of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Here’s why.


Pierre Gasly

  • AlphaTauri were flying in Baku: Gasly led the times in final practice and equalled the best qualifying performance of his career with fourth, two-thousandths of a second slower than Verstappen
  • Perez overtook him at the start, but Gasly got ahead of Leclerc by running longer than the Ferrari driver when they pitted
  • Despite losing one place to Vettel, and suffering a loss of engine power, Gasly claimed the final podium place with a superb defence from Leclerc at the end of the race

Sebastian Vettel

  • Missed out on reaching Q3 by less than three-hundredths of a second after locking up at turn 15 in Q2. “Otherwise it would have been quite easy to [reach] Q3”, he admitted
  • Used his fresh tyres to pick up places from Norris and Bottas at the start
  • Led for four laps after delaying his pit stop until the leaders had been in
  • Picked off Leclerc and Gasly at the Safety Car restart for fourth place
  • The demises of Verstappen and Hamilton ahead paved his way for second, as he kept Gasly and Leclerc behind

Max Verstappen

  • Felt he took the wrong direction on set-up in second practice but was happy with pace of car
  • Hit the turn 15 barrier during final practice, but said he was quickly back on the pace in Q1
  • Was quick enough for pole position but had less of a tow than Hamilton and Leclerc on his first run in Q3, leaving him third, and had no chance to do another lap time
  • Passed Leclerc for second place and got ahead of Hamilton through a quicker pit stop
  • Had the race completely under control when a tyre failure put him in the wall five laps from home

Fernando Alonso

  • Scraped into Q3 but was unimpressed by how many crashes his rivals had and the fact they were of little consequence to their starting positions
  • Got past Tsunoda at the start but an early pit stop cost him several places
  • The quicker Ricciardo and Sainz got by during the middle stint, leaving Alonso 10th at the final restart
  • Picked off Tsunoda, Ricciardo and Sainz with a superb final two laps to bag sixth place

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Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Baku Street Circuit, 2021
Bottas laboured in Baku
  • Suspected there was something wrong with Mercedes’ car after ending second practice 16th
  • Reached Q3 but didn’t have a tow on his first run and was over a second slower than Hamilton, leaving him 10th on the grid
  • Lost even more ground in the race and was even passed by the Alfa Romeos
  • Sunk to 12th at the finish despite Verstappen and Hamilton hitting trouble

Nikita Mazepin

  • Said he was “the most disappointing that I’ve been with my job” after losing out to Schumacher by less than a tenth of a second, having been 0.4s quicker than his team mate in sector one before making a mistake on his best lap
  • Has trouble with his brakes during the race and lost time to Schumacher, then had an off which delayed him further
  • Was able to rejoin the lead lap when the race was neutralised and passed Schumacher after the standing restart, only to lose out on the final drag to the line
  • Sudden swerve towards his team mate as he was passed on the final lap was dangerous and should be investigated by the stewards

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And the rest

Lewis Hamilton

Restart, Baku City Circuit, 2021
Until the penultimate lap, Hamilton had driven superbly
  • Had first call on when to run in qualifying, chose to follow in Bottas’ slipstream, and beat him by 1.2 seconds to claim a place on the front row
  • Ran a steeper rear wing than his team mate
  • Took the lead from Leclerc as lap three began
  • Lost time with a slow pit stop which allowed Verstappen and Perez to jump ahead of him
  • After Verstappen’s retirement he had a chance to take the lead from Perez at the restart, but a costly error with a brake balance switch sent him off the track and cost him any chance of scoring points

Sergio Perez

  • Consistently quick during practice and the first stages of qualifying, so was unhappy to end up seventh-fastest after his first run in Q3 was compromised
  • Immediately picked up two places at the start, putting him in content with the leaders
  • Had superb pace before his pit stop but stopped slightly late on his marks, so while he jumped ahead of Hamilton he wasn’t able to get ahead of Verstappen
  • Would have finished behind his team mate had it not been for Verstappen’s puncture, but avoided any trouble with Hamilton at the restart to grab his second career victory

Lando Norris

  • Paid a high price for hesitating when red flags appeared in Q1 as he approached the pit lane entrance at speed: Norris decided staying out would be safer than committing to the entry road, and drove on, only to be given a three-place grid penalty
  • Left Ricciardo behind in Q2 where he was seven-tenths of a second faster
  • Started poorly, losing three places, then was passed by Ricciardo but re-took his team mate
  • Made up places during the race and produced an excellent restart to claim fifth at the finish

Daniel Ricciardo

  • Despite crashing out in Q2 Ricciardo was upbeat on Saturday evening about the progress he felt he’d made during the weekend
  • Ran a longer first stint than Norris which cost him a place to Bottas, though he retook it
  • Wasn’t able to keep Sainz back and finished ninth behind the Ferrari

Lance Stroll

The first of two frightening crashes was suffered by Stroll
  • Hit the wall at turn 15 on his first flying lap in qualifying. “I went in a little too hot,” he admitted
  • Had another crash in the race – a much bigger one – but like Verstappen appeared to be blameless for it
  • In the intervening period he worked his way forwards effectively having started on hard tyres and taken six places from slower cars at the start

Esteban Ocon

  • Said he was impeded at turn three in Q2 and brushed the wall as a result. He was just under eight hundredths of a second slower than his team mate, the last driver to reach the top 10
  • A turbocharger problem ended his day early

Charles Leclerc

  • Planted his car nose-first into the turn 15 barrier during second practice
  • The Ferrari handled Baku’s slow corners well and, aided by a tow, Leclerc went quickest at the start of Q3, which earned him pole position as a red flag prevented further improvements
  • Kept his lead at the start but cut turn 15 on lap two when he discovered debris on the racing line. Having prudently backed off to avoid gaining an advantage, Hamilton passed him, and the Red Bull pair followed over the next five laps
  • Having dropped behind Gasly in the pits, his attempt to get ahead at the Safety Car restart aided Vettel past the pair of them
  • Had another go at Gasly at the final restart, but again the AlphaTauri driver denied him, meaning he had to settle for fourth

Carlos Sainz Jnr

  • Ferrari felt Sainz was potentially as quick as Leclerc, but for the second race in a row he was unable to complete his final Q3 run as someone crashed immediately ahead of him. This time it was Tsunoda, and Sainz crashed trying to avoid the AlphaTauri
  • Went up the run-off at turn eight during the race
  • Passed several midfield rivals as he recovered eighth place

Yuki Tsunoda

  • Reached Q3 for the first time in his career but was over six-tenths slower than Gasly and crashed three corners into his final run
  • Battled well in the midfield to hold sixth at the final restart
  • Lost places to Norris and Alonso when the race resumed, but still claimed a personal best finish of seventh

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Baku City Circuit, 2021
Pass on Bottas secured Raikkonen’s first point of 2021
  • Out-qualified Giovinazzi for only the second time this year by keeping it clean and reaching Q2
  • Without a tow on his final effort, and running used tyres having got through so many new sets due to red flags, he was almost four-tenths off getting into the final 10
  • In the race he performed an opportunistic pass on a Mercedes, no less, to claim his first point of the season

Antonio Giovinazzi

  • Was the second driver to crash in qualifying, clipping the turn 15 barrier. “The wind increased and was it a little bit more difficult to drive,” he explained. “Sorry to the team, it was my mistake.”
  • Started brilliantly from last on the grid, launching past Stroll, the Haas pair, and then the Williams drivers in succession
  • Didn’t expect to be called into the pits for hard tyres on lap two – he asked his team “do we have a problem?”
  • That early stop briefly moved him ahead of his team mate, but a second pit stop dropped him back behind, and he finished there outside of the points, despite getting ahead of Bottas

Mick Schumacher

  • Narrowly beat Mazepin in qualifying despite making a mistake at turn five
  • Drew away from his team mate at around a second per lap early in the race
  • Following the restart Mazepin passed him, though Schumacher retook the place at the line, in spite of his team mate weaving towards him

George Russell

Gearbox trouble ended Russell’s day
  • Only just made it out for Q1 after Williams had to switch him back to an old power unit due to a problem in final practice
  • Quicker than Latifi and reached Q2 as usual, but Q3 didn’t seem possible as he was over half a second away from getting in
  • Made the same early pit stop as Giovinazzi and shadowed the Alfa Romeo driver until his gearbox failed before the final restart

Nicholas Latifi

  • Felt he was unlucky with the timing of the red flags after going out in Q1, 0.4s off Russell
  • Tried to run to the end after pitting for tyres on lap 10
  • Collected a 10-second stop-and-go penalty amid confusion on his radio over whether he was supposed to drive through the pits during the Safety Car period. “On the operational side, there were a few things where we needed to be sharper,” he said afterwards

Over to you

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

2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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Author information

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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78 comments on “2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix Star Performers”

  1. Max also didnt put a foot wrong throughout the race.

  2. Also the Inlaps of Max and Perez were very fast so even with a fast pitstop he would lose the lead.

    1. Would have finished behind his team mate had it not been for Verstappen’s puncture

      Yeah, well, would have come out ahead of his team mate had it not been for the team’s slow pit stop.

  3. Quite bad GP for Bottas, however, I have to say that during his Q3 it looked like he was more aware to give a good tow to Lewis instead of doing a good lap. Then, the red flag appeared… Interestingly, at that moment Lewis was not paying him back that tow..

  4. Largely agree. Perhaps, a tad generous Alonso and Sainz. Apart from the unbelievable last 2 laps (I watched the onboard, amazing clean overtakes), Alonso didn’t feature much and was unable to hold back faster cars. Sainz wasn’t close to Leclerc through qualifying and through the 1st part of the race either. Was aided by the safety car but didn’t do anything amazing (like Alonso) with that opportunity either.

    1. Rodric Ewulf
      12th June 2021, 16:54

      and was unable to hold back faster cars

      Welcome to Baku!

  5. Stars: PER, GAS, VET, and VER
    Strugglers: BOT, HAM, LEC, SAI, and MAZ

    1. @jerejj Clubbing Leclerc with Mazepin and Bottas is a bridge too far I’d think.

      1. @jerejj
        Yeah Leclerc definitely shouldn’t be in the strugglers. Ricciardo is a much stronger candidate to be put in there imo, or Stroll.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          8th June 2021, 18:28

          stroll crashed in qualifying but his recovery was just fine. He was running 4th just before his tyre failure and was around 10 seconds behind Hamilton. He very likely will have had a solid points finish.

  6. And again Lewis missing in the strugglers list.
    He was gifted a good quali thanks to Bottas
    He passed leclerc as a result of his slowing down after a cut corner (branch on track)
    He was unable to follow Perez when the technical sections popped up.
    He made a big mistake and almost took Perez out.
    He finished behind the struggling Bottas.
    Even Mazepin finished better.
    Yep, struggling.

    1. You’re not allowed to criticize the almighty Lewis, even though this is the second time he has buckled from being under pressure for the first time in years

    2. I wouldn’t rate him as a Struggler in Baku (not even close) unless the author wanted to right a wrong of the previous rating.

      1. Agreed. There is a difference between struggling, and making a mistake. Hamilton was generally quite strong in qualifying and the race but then made a costly mistake. Not a struggler imo. He should have been a struggler in Monaco imo since he just couldn’t find a balance and had poor pace compared to his teammate, but that is unrelated to Baku.

        1. Dan Rooke (@geekzilla9000)
          8th June 2021, 12:17

          @keithedin – agreed, Monaco he struggled and went backwards in real terms throughout the race (and maintained position through retirements in front).

          But in Baku he qualified 2nd in and took the lead on lap 3 (if memory serves!). He had an unfortunate race and it looks like it was driver error which caused it. He was certainly not a star of Baku, but neither was he a struggler.

        2. @keithedin

          I think that a single big mistake can certainly make someone qualify as a struggler. However, bumping a switch is not the kind of mistake that I see as egregious enough.

          1. It was not a mistake it was a finger error.

          2. ‘Finger error’ = mistake. Error and mistake mean pretty much the same in the English language.

          3. Yep the Imola blunder is as big as they come, the Baku one not so much. It was a lot costlier in the end, though.

    3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      8th June 2021, 13:36

      @erikje that’s a real way of twisting events to suit the narrative. Hamilton made a final mistake that took him out. It wasn’t even a driving mistake, it was an accidental switch. Sure, that’s terrible but anyone who has played video games including yourself and professional video game players who do that for a living know how easy it is to press a wrong button.

      Second, the Red Bull was gaining 0.1 seconds to 0.15 seconds per turn. It was hilarious that Lewis was even able to stay with a Red Bull throughout the lap mostly due to the tow on the straight.

      1. real way of twisting events to suit the narrative.

        Welcome on racefans!

        1. Where everyone thinks Ferrari and Haas are noobs!

    4. Albon sabotaged his front right brake!

      1. RandomMallard (@)
        8th June 2021, 21:24

        No Albon was sniping the tires of Stroll and Verstappen

        1. That was McLaren.

    5. Agree with some of the others that hamilton wasn’t a struggler in baku, he was at monaco and I was disappointed he wasn’t put in there on this site, but consider I’d have rated him a star performer till before verstappen’s problem; his mistake in the end cancelled out the star performer rating but not enough to rate him a struggler.

  7. Glad to see that Alonso didn’t lost his mastery of taking advantage of race situations. That restart was a reminder of what this guy possesses in terms of racing abilities. His racing IQ is unbelievable. I hope he will get more confident with the car and we will certainly witness more of this kind of performance.

    1. @tifoso1989 Well Alonso was stuck behind slower cars as he is used to but he got a massive advantage after the sudden red flag when he was able to have a free pitstop.

      If we look at ex-Ferrari drivers it was Kimi who was shining yet again.

      1. Again? I’m a big fan of his but Kimi is having a bad, bad season so far…
        This race was ok though.

  8. Dan Rooke (@geekzilla9000)
    8th June 2021, 10:00

    Baku 2021 was one of the happiest podiums I’ve ever seen.

    It was great to see Perez get a win for Red Bull, awesome to see Gasly grinning after continuing his run of superb performances from last year. And Vettel …I was one of the folk who had written him off and thought he should retire from F1, but I cheered for him this weekend and I will be more than happy to be proven wrong, let’s hope that spark has been reignited and we see some great racing from Vettel, one of the best personalities in F1.

  9. It really baffles me how off from the real world these RaceFans’ Stars & Strugglers articles are.

    What Hamilton has to do in order to end up in Strugglers list? Why Bottas made the list now when HAM didn’t at Monaco as both were underperforming quite heavily? And Hamilton dropped the ball again in Baku yet he still isn’t in Strugglers list whereas his higher finished team mate is?
    And how did Sainz escape Strugglers list?

    Makes absolutely no sense.

    1. @huhhii I’m no Hamilton fan, but you have to be terribly biased to ask why Hamilton isn’t in the Strugglers list, when he would’ve likely won the race if he hadn’t (accidentally, according to their radio messages) messed his brake balance in the restart. Hamilton’s race in Monaco was bad, and he should’ve been a struggler there, but it was nowhere as abysmal as Bottas’ race was in Baku, overtaken by the Alfas.

      1. @warheart Accident or not, doesn’t matter. It was a mistake that cost him and the team 18 points. I could probably let a rookie to get away with it, but not a veteran like Hamilton. So yeah, I think HAM should’ve been struggler in Monaco and both Mercs in Baku.

      2. I think no matter what, HAM will never be on the strugglers list. And how PER can not be in STAR perfomers.

    2. @huhhii So you would write off Hamilton’s entire weekend due to an accidental knock of a lever at the ‘sprint’ restart? THAT makes no sense.

      Recovered from a terrible Friday for Mercedes to out qualify both the Red Bulls in a slower car.

      Took the lead from Leclerc and lost the lead through a slow pit stop.

      Hung on to the back of Perez by ragging his Mercedes round the track at the absolute limit while driving with a damaged front wing.

      Leaped away from Perez (who had his usual slow start) into T1 and in dodging away from Perez’s defensive jink accidentally caught the ‘brake magic’ lever moving to 100% front bias.

      For a driver to ‘struggle’ implies over the weekend they underperformed 1. Their car and 2. their team mate. Hamilton outperformed both, coming unstuck with a driver error (not driving error).

      1. @ju88sy A mistake should guarantee driver a place in Strugglers’ list no matter how tiny it is if it’s costly. Sebastian Vettel was a struggler in 2018 German GP despite taking a pole and leading the race up until his one and only error. I don’t think it’s any different with Hamilton’s case here.

        1. @huhhii If your own criteria is based purely on the result then fair enough. I would class Hamilton as a struggler in Monaco based on the criteria above, and comparing with Vettel in Germany 2018, that was a driving error in the wet. Hamilton’s Baku incident was not a driving error, driver error yes in catching the button or whatever it is.

          1. @ju88sy Yeah that’s how I see it as long as it’s driver error making a difference in race result. Max had a dreadful result too but of course I don’t rate him as a Struggler because he was just unlucky.

    3. someone or something
      8th June 2021, 12:42

      I think it would be unfair to call Hamilton a struggler because of a single mistake that would’nt have made a huge difference if the race hadn’t been chopped down to a two-lap sprint race. Mercedes were clearly struggling for pace all weekend, but Hamilton managed to qualify well and even lead the race. He came tantalisingly close to actually winning this race and delivering a painful blow to Verstappen’s title hopes. All in all, his race weekend was 95% absolutely outstanding. And 5% costly mistake. Ranking him in the same category as Bottas, whose weekend was 100% embarrassing, would be weird.

      1. . He came tantalisingly close to actually winning this race and delivering a painful blow to Verstappen’s title hopes

        Wow, a good example of pure bias indeed.

        1. someone or something
          8th June 2021, 19:33

          Please describe to me what ‘example of pure bias’ your neurons have begotten. Because I’m fairly sure it’s not in my comment, not even in traces.
          Did you watch the restart at the end? Did you see how Hamilton out-accelerated Pérez and found himself in an excellent position to take the lead of the race, a mere 10 kms from its end, before undoing his entire race when he hit the brakes?
          Because that’s what I’m referring to, nothing more, nothing less. I’m not saying he would’ve been a particularly deserving winner or anything like that. Just that, for a brief moment, it looked as though he might win the race.
          If any of that really qualified as bias worthy of a sarcastic ‘wow’, then I have no idea how to make you happy. Not that I’d be overly inclined to.

          1. Hamilton went as close to winning the race as to ending outside the points, which is what happened!

          2. someone or something
            12th June 2021, 14:49

            OK, I saw that. But what are you really trying to tell me?
            Is it really that wrong of me to mention the fact that there are shades of bad, and that almost taking the lead of the race close to the end before making a race-ruining, but moderately severe mistake (which would’ve cost him about 7 seconds and maybe one or two positions at most at any other stage of the race), is a rather different shade of bad than what Bottas or Mazepin have been doing all race long?

          3. Well, bottas was rated a struggler on here and hamilton wasn’t despite hamilton ending up behind bottas in the end, I agree with this since hamilton drove well for 95% of the race and bottas didn’t, which I noticed now is exactly the % you used in your comment too! I personally was just annoyed about the verstappen hint, it was bad luck for verstappen in the first place that hamilton was even fighting for the win.

          4. someone or something
            13th June 2021, 0:42

            So we basically agree on everything, right?
            Because that Verstappen hint was by no means me being critical of Verstappen or anything like that. In fact, I was hoping for Verstappen to put a few points between himself and Hamilton, as I believe that’s the only way we can have a long-lasting fight for the title. As much as Red Bull have upped their game, Mercedes (well, Hamilton, mostly) still appear to have the edge on permanent circuits.
            In essence, I said absolutely nothing about Verstappen.

            Instead, what I said, was:

            He came tantalisingly close to actually winning this race and delivering a painful blow to Verstappen’s title hopes.

            In other words: Exactly what would’ve happened, if not for a weird mistake that flipped the race upside-down for the second time in as many laps.
            Let’s just assume Hamilton hadn’t flicked that switch by accident. He was almost fully ahead of Pérez even before the braking point (before anyone chimes in to say that he just looked to be ahead because he simply didn’t decelerate), on the inside line. Barring an amateurish mistake (let’s just forget about that switch for a moment), the lead was his. And with only 2 laps to go and no DRS, the chances of an overtake were extremely slim. Even Hamilton got a taste of that, as he tried to make his way back up at the end of the field. For most of the lap, he was just a patient observer of the world’s fastest traffic jam. And then, despite F1’s longest straight and a massive tow from Mick Schumacher’s Haas, Hamilton simply couldn’t overtake the car ahead of him. A Haas!
            Just imagine how that would’ve looked like between two cars with similar pace.
            Thus, if Hamilton had kept it on the track (and I have very little doubt he would’ve done so under normal circumstances), he was extremely likely to win this race, cash in 25 points, and by doing so, delivering an absolutely painful blow to Verstappen’s hopes of winning the title. Not because Verstappen was in any way to blame for not winning the race, of course. Verstappen was clearly the quickest driver in the race, drove absolutely flawlessly, and deserved this win more than anyone else. But results and merit are two rather different concepts, and Hamilton was just three minutes away from capitalising on that golden opportunity Verstappen’s misfortune had handed him, by turning a somewhat uncompetitive weekend around for maximum effect.
            And then he flicked that switch.

    4. So should Max be a struggler as according to pirelli it was debris that caused his tyre failure?

    5. @huhhii Sainz was a clear struggler together with Bottas. Similar ranking ‘mistake’ as last race with Hamilton, but those 2 drivers are the site’s clear favorites and not afraid to show it.

      Only surprised there’s not a similar backlash to Sainz not being in the strugglers section, but I guess he doesn’t engage as much so it’s just meh..

      1. @balue At this point we have so many ridicilous choices over the years I think RaceFans should drop this altogether.

        1. But it saturates most articles so wouldn’t make much difference there. It’s always Hamilton said, Sainz said -stories, and Mazepin bad -stories.

          Even Edd Straw post rate ratings over at The Race has vastly improved following criticism of his pro-Britishness, but here it will likely take more when it’s solidly into fan fanatic territory when just questioning dubious on-track moves of favorites is seen as motivated by resentment and pathological hatred https://www.racefans.net/2021/04/26/hamilton-didnt-break-the-rules-by-reversing-shouldnt-be-a-story/

          1. @balue It’s just low-quality biased writing like this which keeps me from turning off uBlock Origin and subscribing @keithcollantine @dieterrencken @hazelsouthwell

            Maybe they will fix their ways, but I highly doubt so.

  10. someone or something
    8th June 2021, 11:10

    As much as I’m a fan of his, I don’t think Alonso deserved the distinction as a Star. His pace on the Hard tyres was a disaster, and he was far more likely to finish the race behind the Saubers than in the top 10.
    If we look at the race like an IndyCar race, counting only the last green period and regarding everything up to that point as ancient history, then yes: That was peak Fernando. Give him a car with 4 tyres and half a chance, and he’ll blow you away. But I don’t think we should forget that the neutralisations and the free tyre change at the end hugely benefitted him and allowed him to overtake people who were almost half a lap ahead at half distance – so, yes: In a normal race, they might’ve lapped him.

    1. Rodric Ewulf
      8th June 2021, 21:26

      But what he could have done better then? Alpine is currently lagging behind the upper midfield, and their pace on hards has been really awful, as demonstrated by Ocon in Monaco when he became a cork holding the Alfa Romeos on his way to finish ninth. It’s clear that this time Alonso qualified higher than the car was capable of holding on the race in normal conditions, like Ocon in the last few GPs, as such he almost inevitably would fall backwards a little bit. But in terms of final results and seized opportunities his performance was superb all weekend round: he was faster than his team-mate in all practice sessions and delivered a quick enough time earlier when in mattered to reach Q3. His race began timid, that’s true, until he made a pit stop for softs under SC and overtook Latifi, Bottas and Raikkonen before his star moment in the final two laps stint after the red flag. That’s not too short of a peak Fernando, I would say!

      1. Rodric Ewulf
        8th June 2021, 21:54

        Actually not on hards but on mediums that Esteban Ocon was running very slowly in Monaco, as opposed to the softs in which both Esteban and Fernando had a decent pace. But anyway since a surprisingly strong performance in Portimao this Alpine car seems to be struggling to offer a good enough performance with harder tyres.

  11. Can’t understand why Alonso is down as star and Perez isn’t. Perez held off Hamilton for the majority of the race in a car he is still supposedly adjusting to and also took the win

    1. Agree 100%

    2. Agree.

    3. @broke1984 It’s called “bias”. It must have been really painful for Keith to witness that PER: a) Did 2 qualifying in-laps and got ahead, b) Managed to keep at bay for 35 laps and finally c) Forced, with his aggressive defensive move, his beloved driver, his “majesty”, to a noob mistake. At least he didn’t reproduce what we read and see the last couple of days on British Media, for that “damned button”. And I think that we should give him some credit for this. Well done Keith!

    4. @broke1984

      It’s not that hard: he was trailing his teammate and wasn’t able to keep up.

    5. Agree 100% RE Alonso. Reached Q3 because Vettel had to abort his fast lap. During the race his pace was tepid and was nowhere to be seen most of the time, fighting slower cars. After the second start, with the field compacted and packed up, made some gains. Sometimes I have the feeling that if Alonso crashes we will see comments about such a skillful talent, the incredible quality, blah blah blah.
      Putting Perez in “The Rest” list is silly, IMO.

      1. Rodric Ewulf
        9th June 2021, 15:16

        But what he could have done better then? Alpine is currently lagging behind the upper midfield, and their pace on harder tyres has been really awful, as demonstrated by Ocon in Monaco when he became a cork holding the Alfa Romeos on his way to finish ninth. It’s clear that this time Alonso qualified higher than the car was capable of holding on the race in normal conditions, like Ocon in the last few GPs, as such he almost inevitably would fall backwards a little bit. But in terms of final results and seized opportunities his performance was superb all weekend round: he was faster than his team-mate in all practice sessions and delivered a quick enough time earlier when in mattered to reach Q3. His race began timid, that’s true, until he made a pit stop for softs under SC and overtook Latifi, Bottas and Raikkonen before his star moment in the final two laps stint after the red flag. He climbed from 14th to 6th in just 16 laps, and yes he was lucky but part of being a champion is to harvest that luck for a good result: Lewis did the exactly opposite on Sunday, squandered luck with a silly driver error.

        1. Ocon in Monaco when he became a cork

          Yep, the difference is that you cannot be a cork in Baku, there is no way to defend in the 2+ km straight from a car with better pace _and_ DRS. The Alpine’s pace is terrible, only ahead of Haas and Williams. Some people are so blinded by resultism they can’t appreciate a superb drive in a not-so-good machine even when it bites them in the behind.

  12. Ok I’ll just say it since most people seem to only comment here to either disagree, or be outraged, that the author’s views don’t line up with their own – I agree with every one of the ratings in this article.

    1. @keithedin While I agree that sometimes (ok often) the outrage gets out of hand around here, I’m not seeing much here in response to this article, and otherwise just wanted to say if everyone just said I agree, I agree, I agree one post after another, it wouldn’t be much of a blog.

      With respect to this article I am outraged (just kidding) that SP isn’t a star performer. He was second only to Vettel on this site’s dotw poll, and I would have thought based on Keith’s very own rundown of points for which he bases SP’s placing under ‘The Rest’ was enough to put him as a star.

  13. Alonso showed how phenomenal he can be, he couldn’t get more out of his car. Alpine was without a pace. Start or restart was the only chance where Alonso could get something. Unbelievable how he did it.

  14. I would have thought Sainz should be a struggler – he seemed to be making error after error (from the C4 highlights anyway). It’s a tough race but plenty made fewer errors.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      8th June 2021, 14:45

      Yea I think Sainz should be added to this list. He said he got distracted in qualifying. All he will have been able to see was smoke up ahaed. There was nothing but that that could have caused him to go wrong. He couldn’t see round a blind bend that Tsunoda had actually crashed so I think that was mostly on him as well and certainly was avoidable. That lock up in the race was more costly than the end result showed. He was lucky to recover from mistakes like he was in Imola.

    2. @frood19 Yes clearly a struggler this time. Almost worse than Bottas to be fair.

  15. I think by now you would have to give Mick some credit and this race was the perfect one to include him in the stars collumn. He was far superior than his team mate and got the best result yet for the team. Also Perez freaking won the race, he should be a star!

    1. Guess perez pays for a really bad qualifying, you see bottas did even worse but with a bit worse car in quali, and didn’t redeem himself in the race, so he ended up in the strugglers; perez did, so he ended up in the average.

  16. Happy to see Alonso as a star, I don’t think he could have done much better. The Alpine is just not good enough.

    His last two laps were a joy to watch. In the present grid I’d say only Max and Kimi might match them in that machinery.

  17. how Alonso is a star of the race? maybe only if you see the last two laps but what about the other 55?? What a joke that the winner of the race is not and Alonso is.

    1. Nonsense. One can be a star with the Alpine by making the very best of it but No one can win the race with the Alpine (or only in extravagantly unlikely circumstances). On the other hand winning with a Merc or even a RBR is the default situation, one doesn’t not have to be a star. Why do we need a Stars & Strugglers if the winner must automatically be the star? It’s the same old Results Fallacy again, forgetting that > 80% of the results are due to the team/machinery, not the driver.

      1. Agree with this, it’s a thing to get a result with a top car, another with a midfield car, example remember the times in 2017 and 2018 when ferrari, red bull and mercedes used to occasionally start from the back of the field following some grid penalties and such and recover all the way to 4-6th place routinely? They had such a pace advantage compared to the rest of the field that it was a given they’d recover that much, so keith basically never gave them star performance unless they did something extraordinaty, example hamilton in silverstone 2018 went from last to 2nd, and I believe he got a star rating for that.

  18. As many wrote before this is exactly a biased list, it does not deserve a comment.

  19. How is Perez part of the rest??? Not only in this article but in others Racefans seems to be kind of biased against Perez. The guy went from 6th to 2nd, if not for a long pit stop MAYBE might have overcut Max, kept a 7 time champion on his mirrors for 30+ laps, oh and yeah won the race.

    1. Winning the race is not deserving of a bonus point, is it? Does perez deserve to be a star purely because verstappen had a problem? Without verstappen’s problem would perez then lose the star rating? Doesn’t make much sense to me, I agree with the article this time.

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