Nikita Mazepin, Haas, Red Bull Ring, 2021

2021 mid-season F1 driver rankings part 1: 20-17

2021 F1 season

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RaceFans’ mid-season Formula 1 driver rankings begin with the four drivers at the bottom of the list. Join us tomorrow for part two.

20. Nikita Mazepin

Nikita Mazepin

Beat team mate in qualifying0/9
Beat team mate in race2/9
Races finished9/11
Laps spent ahead of team mate141/558
Qualifying margin+0.46s
Points0

It’s only getting tougher to be a rookie in Formula 1. This year’s championship featured just three days of pre-season testing – so one-and-a-half per driver. The difficulties all three have faced therefore comes as no surprise.

In the case of Nikita Mazepin they have been especially acute. However from a rough start the Haas driver has shown progress. In particular, he’s keeping the VF-21 out of the gravel traps and barriers with more success than he managed previously. This will be to the relief of team principal Guenther Steiner, who remarked in Hungary his two rookies were smashing up their equipment too often.

Mazepin’s five offs in three days over the course of the opening race weekend in Bahrain was a hair-raising start. It culminated into a spin into a barrier on the opening lap which earned him the unfortunate distinction of the shortest grand prix debut for almost two decades. Surely things could only improve from there.

They did, albeit slowly. But while the spins became less frequent, Mazepin committed other errors. In Portugal he blundered into the path of race leader Sergio Perez while being lapped. In Spain it was Lando Norris’ turn to be delayed by Mazepin, in qualifying. The Haas driver copped penalties for both.

But he avoided a sanction – unfathomably – for a shocking swerve towards his team mate as Mick Schumacher passed him approaching the line at Baku. Norris was given a warning for far less in Spain.

It was obvious from Mazepin’s radio messages alone how badly he wanted to put one over Schumacher in Azerbaijan. Having languished behind him for much of the season to that point (he lost 43 seconds to the other Haas in 24 laps at Imola) Mazepin ended a messy Baku qualifying session within a tenth of a second of his team mate.

He slipped back in the race, but the red flag allowed him to get back on terms with Schumacher, and Mazepin moved ahead with two laps to go. When Schumacher slipstreamed past him on the straight to restore their usual running order, Mazepin jinxed alarmingly close to his team mate, risking a serious crash.

Aside from the unnecessary risk involved, the most striking thing about the incident was how unlikely it was to occur had the roles been reversed, as Schumacher has had little difficulty leaving his team mate behind so far.

19. Yuki Tsunoda

Yuki Tsunoda

Beat team mate in qualifying0/9
Beat team mate in race2/9
Races finished10/11
Laps spent ahead of team mate126/559
Qualifying margin+0.51s
Points18

Another driver who would clearly have benefited from more testing time before making his Formula 1 debut. Yuki Tsunoda has shown potential, but made a lot of mistakes.

He got off to an encouraging start in Bahrain, delivering points on his debut. But at a track where Tsunoda had already tested extensively, and with team mate Pierre Gasly compromised early on, this set unrealistic expectations of what was to come.

He came crashing down, literally, at Imola, where he binned the car in Q1. He also spun at Tamburello and collected a time penalty for repeatedly exceeding track limits. “Not acceptable”, was Tsunoda’s frank assessment of his own performance.

His team have been supportive. After spinning into a barrier again during the top 10 shoot-out at Baku team principal Franz Tost leapt to his defence, pointing out that crashing in Q3 is much easier to forgive than doing so in the first round. But next time out at Paul Ricard the wall beckoned Tsunoda once more during Q1.

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Imola, 2021
Tsunoda has smashed up his AlphaTauri more than once
Tsunoda has generally done better at tracks he knows. That Q3 appearance in Baku led to seventh in the race, his best result until he went one better in Hungary. With four points finishes from the last six races, he is at least adding to AlphaTauri’s championship score, although his contribution is less in relative terms than any other driver on the grid.

He pointed out, not unreasonably, that the sprint qualifying format introduced at Silverstone deprived rookie drivers of more valuable practice time. However his Friday crash in Hungary left him similarly disadvantaged.

His goal after the summer break must be to put an end to the negative cycle of crashing, losing practice time and compromising his own weekend. If he can do that, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest he can have a stronger second half of his debut campaign.

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18. Mick Schumacher

Mick Schumacher

Beat team mate in qualifying9/9
Beat team mate in race7/9
Races finished11/11
Laps spent ahead of team mate417/558
Qualifying margin-0.46s
Points0

It’s abundantly clear which driver has the upper hand at Haas. What is less obvious, however, is how well Mick Schumacher stacks up against the other 18 drivers with considerably quicker cars.

The Haas VF-21 – a lightly reworked version of last year’s car – has not been quick enough for Schumacher to get on terms with the others on a regular basis. But he’s taken a few scalps, starting at Autodromo do Algarve with an audacious pass on Nicholas Latifi which saw him lead the Williams driver home.

He also achieved the team’s only Q2 appearance of the season, at Paul Ricard, though he wasn’t able to take part in the session after crashing his car. This has been an unfortunate theme of Schumacher’s first half-season in F1.

Schumacher spun off behind the Safety Car during the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix. He’s also twice crashed during final practice and been unable to participate in qualifying as a result, at Monaco and Hungary.

Mick Schumacher, Haas, Hungaroring, 2021
A rare Schumacher-Verstappen scrap in Hungary
When he has qualified, he’s never failed to beat team mate Nikita Mazepin. Schumacher has often found more than half a second over the driver who caused him little trouble on their way up through the junior categories.

He’s usually had a healthy lead in the races too, putting 40 seconds on his team mate before the chequered flag in Spain. On the rare occasions Mazepin has come out ahead there’s usually been some external factor involved. In Monaco, where Schumacher irritated his team mate by passing him at the Fairmont Hotel hairpin on lap one, the team switched the running order after the number 47 car experienced a fuel pressure problem.

For both Haas drivers, 2021 is a question of waiting until they get their hands on better equipment next year. But so far Schumacher is the only one to have demonstrated he deserves that opportunity.

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17. Nicholas Latifi

Nicholas Latifi

Beat team mate in qualifying0/11
Beat team mate in race2/9
Races finished10/11
Laps spent ahead of team mate121/584
Qualifying margin+0.37s
Points6

In his second full season as a Formula 1 driver, Nicholas Latifi has shown himself to be capable if unspectacular, though that didn’t stop him grabbing more points than his much-feted team mate when the opportunity presented itself in Hungary.

After failing to out-qualify George Russell at every race where they paired up last year, Latifi’s 11-0 drubbing so far this season comes as no surprise. It’s rarely been close between the pair of them, Latifi often more than three-tenths of a second adrift, though he virtually matched Russell in France.

Latifi has generally started strongly in a car which appears particularly averse to running in dirty air or in windy conditions. That has helped compensate for his sub-par qualifying positions.

As a result his race performances have usually been better than his qualifying efforts. He’s even managed to finish ahead of Russell twice, including in Hungary where he squeezed past at the start. Although Russell gained on him at the end, Latifi beat him to the chequered flag by a second, and therefore out-scored his team mate as Williams’ two-year points drought came to an end.

He usually follows his team mate home, though he had an early bath at Imola where he went off during the first lap, rejoined the track incautiously and was knocked into a barrier.

But Imola was as much an ‘outlier’ result for Latifi as Hungary was – he’s ordinarily a safe pair of hands. Nonetheless if the team does lose Russell at the end of the season it’s not hard to imagine they will need a replacement with more raw speed than Latifi has shown.

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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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90 comments on “2021 mid-season F1 driver rankings part 1: 20-17”

  1. Well, this will be interesting. The Power Rankings on Formula1.com, at least the part where the audience could vote, gave a good ranking imho.
    1. Max
    2. Lando
    3. George
    4. Charles
    5. Carlos
    6. Alonso
    7. Pierre
    8. Lewis
    9. Vettel
    10. Ocon

    1. So, by involving the public, you create a situation where it is open to coordinated block voting?

      That suggests that it is open to manipulation – though, no doubt, you will declare it authoritative when you agree with it and discard it when it says something that you don’t like.

      1. @anon Like you then

        1. Your personal attacks are getting extremely tiresome.

          What is your problem? Why do you have such a strong desire to go after me on a personal level? Why are you so determined to stalk me and to attack me all the time?

          1. @anon Double-speak. It’s you constantly going after posters here, and me pointing it out by turning your arguments on you. It’s more than revealing how you found them to be, but I agree fully. It’s extremely tiresome. Good you realize this.

            Leave the poster out of your posts and be topical and I will do the same in turn.

          2. anon
            You selectively pick out posters to bash when you wasn’t even called in the conversation just because of disagreements with the posts so, don’t play the victim here, okay. ;)
            You have been as fair in this website as a scam coin.

          3. Balue, when you have also attacked others on personal grounds, and continue to do so, why should I believe you?

            Who will hold you to account for your behaviour? Are you prepared to be held to the same standard you want to impose on others?

          4. Maybe take a chill pill? Maybe take one?

          5. @anon No I defend against personal attacks. Just like with you here.

            Write comments without using the word ‘you’ or that are about other posters, insinuated or otherwise. I bet it will prove quite a challenge.

          6. Sorry anon, but TAKE A CHILL PILL IMMEDIATELY.

      2. Sorry, I was just highlighting a list I agree with and to me represents what I have seen this season so far. You are all welcome to agree to a different one

        1. If the vote was different, would you still agree with it? Suppose, as some have suggested, Norris was placed in first – would you still agree?

          If the vote had also been distorted by individuals, which has happened in the past, would you still be happy with the results?

          1. Again, I agree with the list. Some nuances can be discussed. Norris 1? I wouldnt mind given his strong & consistent performance, the car he is driving with and the gap to Ricciardo. Max 1 seems a bit more logical since every race he finished he ended up either 1st or 2nd. That is quite strong. And if you do not hold him responsible for a flat tyre, Hungary and the UK it is quite impressive and I wouldnt know what he could have done better except win all races. I feel the general consensus is that Baku and Hungary were beyond his influence. Silverstone has a fierce debate and no consensus. Even when you believe he could have done better in Silverstone it is still a very impressive season (framed with some bad luck) as it would (I personally feel it was 100% Lewis fault) be the only glitch so far.

      3. The OP merely repeated a ranking list he agreed with. No reason to be so nasty.

        I used to like your historical and technical insight comments, but you seem to have been drawn into the rabbit hole too (or not all anons are the same poster).

        1. There’s “anon”, known as Lowercase Anon or Technical Insight Anon. And then there’s “Anon”, known as Uppercase Anon who isn’t Lowercase Anon. And then there’s “Anon A. Mouse” who at least avoids distinguishing himself with other anons!

        2. If that is the case, then maybe you can help me with trying to get out of the toxic mire that so many here are creating.

          The harshness comes from frustration that saying anything that might upset either erijke or balue will end with them both attacking me, as they are doing right now.

          When surrounded by such characters and being dragged down to their level so often, and when those running this site stand back as more clicks seem to be more valuable than civil discourse, then it feels inevitable that you are driven into the gutter.

          1. Stop taking the bait I guess.

            But I agree with you that owners of this site could do more to promote the quality posts, and ‘demote’ the crappy inputs; I would certainly go back to a paid membership.

          2. anon

            The harshness comes from frustration that saying anything that might upset either erijke or balue will end with them both attacking me, as they are doing right now.

            You’re no better than those guys, really, with your habit of joining their game of dissing and then victimising yourself when you lose in the argument. As long is Lewis fans being unpolite, you never care, but the double standards are high when it’s about Max fans. So put your sad fiddle into its box again and just become more coherent.

          3. @anon A defamatory personal attack based on lies. And you have the nerve to claim any sort of high ground? It’s incredible.

          4. anon you shouold take a chill pill. Sorry mate, it’s your turn.

      4. Mr ad hominem again

    2. That is imo harsh on hamilton even though he didn’t have a good first half performance wise, I think the power ranking made by those experts make more sense with verstappen, norris, hamilton.

      1. Hamilton has buckled under the pressure numerous times this season

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          17th August 2021, 12:09

          I don’t know about that – I think we’ve come to expect a level of perfection from Lewis that’s borderline superhuman. No one will have 1,000 perfect laps and 30 perfect overtakes.

          Lewis has made mistakes but he’s also delivered the best performances we’ve seen by 100 miles. He broke DRS trains by relentless pressure, he made Max lose 2 races simply by positioning his car and that’s just stuff I can think of without a cup of coffee. He’s now leading in points but it’s quite obvious that he wouldn’t be if Max had learned anything over the past 5 seasons.

          If anything, mistakes are what will give Lewis a chance to win the championship. He’s already gotten Max to make a few costly mistakes of his own and he’s now piling the pressure and set it on high for the break.

          I can’t wait to see what happens over the course of the season. Fire up the simulator, Horner!

          1. @freelittlebirds

            I don’t know about that – I think we’ve come to expect a level of perfection from Lewis that’s borderline superhuman. No one will have 1,000 perfect laps and 30 perfect overtakes.

            How about he just make less big mistakes like at least half of the current grid this season?
            Lewis has made mistakes but he’s also delivered the best performances we’ve seen by 100 miles. He broke DRS trains by relentless pressure, he made Max lose 2 races simply by positioning his car and that’s just stuff I can think of without a cup of coffee. He’s now leading in points but it’s quite obvious that he wouldn’t be if Max had learned anything over the past 5 seasons.

            You talk from the perspective of a passionate fan and I’ve proved it before in another post. Like the “magic” in the last laps of the Hungarian GP, stuff that a few drivers on the current grid could do. The fact that Bottas can’t do stuff that Hamilton does with his Mercedes doesn’t mean any other driver can’t. This is the fallacy of the chopped competition. You’re no different from some, albeit minority in this website, who think Verstappen has already overcame the greatest in Formula 1 history with his current level. Those conclusions just come out of sheer emotion from a bunch of fanatics and not from solid foundations based on verifiable data. On those measures, Lewis is having many moments of delivering wonders, but still on pair with Max in this department. Regardless of that, the big mistakes this season put him clearly below his title rival in overall performance. No kind of magic can undo that for now.

            If anything, mistakes are what will give Lewis a chance to win the championship. He’s already gotten Max to make a few costly mistakes of his own and he’s now piling the pressure and set it on high for the break.

            Incredible how mistakes get bigger and more influential when we’re talking about Max, isn’t it? The power of bias is acting strong here to fabricate distortions. Suddenly Lewis’ blunders somehow enhance him, whilst Max smaller mistakes (than binning it into the wall) become the only true costly mistakes. Worst argument ever. Pure cherrypicking, if Max was the one with the biggest mistakes you can bet how much of a Mad Max he’d have been called for, so the idol is always the best for the bandwagoning sect, no matter the context.

            I can’t wait to see what happens over the course of the season. Fire up the simulator, Horner!

            Yup, let’s pretend Max is the one facing the biggest pressure and got “something to prove” as it’s the most efficient way to make Lewis lose this championship, keep throwing a bunch of points out the window once in a while. One day the luck runs out. We’ve seen this season the mind games coming back to hunt the worshiper already, so keep it on.

          2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            17th August 2021, 16:42

            @rodewulf you’re using reverse blockquotes :-)

            Lewis is not making stupid mistakes – he’s making them as he’s going for better results. He could easily coast and see how things play out. Instead he’s going to fight for things and when you fight, you will make mistakes especially over the course of a whole season.

            Has Lewis made mistakes? Sure! Has he recovered from them? Well, he’s in P1 so obviously he has.

            As for pressure, if you look at Max’s record, he hasn’t won a single season of any racing series he’s been a part of. That doesn’t mean he can’t win anything or he’s not capable of winning – it simply means he’s never competed a full season and won a series. Now he’s racing the best team and driver of this era and has to be feeling pressure especially going into a summer break with 2 points (5 with sprint) vs 43 (45) for Hamilton in the last 2 races.

            He’s also watched Lewis in the races make huge statements in a very clam and that will be in his mind – Max he has to be questioning his own skills especially after that silly tangle at Silverstone especially after he watched Lewis tango with Alonso for 10 laps avoiding a bazillion collisions while putting on a brilliant clean overtake.

            As a competitor, these things weigh on your mind big time. Regardless of what he says, Max cannot be in a great mental state. It’s not going to be easy to recover from that especially as he’s quite young and temperamental.

            I guess we shall find out ;-)

          3. @freelittlebirds
            And, this “the best team and driver of this era” is highly disputed, even though it’s consolidated that, unlike Vettel, he might have a case for this one. You left a clue here, would Alonso have made that naive assumption Max did about Lewis when going into that corner? Possible, but unlikely given his experience. So the case for Fernando being the driver of this century is stronger than Lewis’, but that’s a deeeeep question. To make it shorter, who dragged slower cars to big points over full seasons and performed consistently beyond expectations more often? When they had more similar machinery to each other in the Red Bull dominance spell of 2010-13 (with Fernando driving a slower Ferrari and Lewis driving a fast but unreliable McLaren/Mercedes), who scored more points, made less mistakes and extracted the most from the car to live up longer for the title challenges? The answer is El Nano, and it’s a little bit hard to contest.

            He’s also watched Lewis in the races make huge statements in a very clam and that will be in his mind – Max he has to be questioning his own skills especially after that silly tangle at Silverstone especially after he watched Lewis tango with Alonso for 10 laps avoiding a bazillion collisions while putting on a brilliant clean overtake.

            Anecdotal evidence, typical for fans who will read in anything they want regardless of the situation. The same case could be made even more easily in reversed roles, as strange mistakes from Lewis coincide with his car not being the fastest in a race. He feels in disadvantage, then he cracks, couldn’t it be that way? Of course it’s not that simple, but see how fans’ narrative can support almost any given point of view. If the paper accepts anything, of course the mind of a fanatic can make the lie look like an universal truth.
            And now Lewis has incredible merit for not causing a collision when overtaking as he actually did cause it one race before. Laughable for a seven times world champion to be praised by standards of clean racing so low.

            As a competitor, these things weigh on your mind big time. Regardless of what he says, Max cannot be in a great mental state. It’s not going to be easy to recover from that especially as he’s quite young and temperamental.

            Yeah, in the mind of an unfathomably biased viewer it makes sense, I guess.

            I guess we shall find out ;-)

            Lewis’ big mistakes are plainly overlooked by you, and Max’s smaller ones are somehow a thunderstorm of temperamental behaviour. Most technical analysis like this one in the Formula 1 site puts Max ahead in perfromance this season (not a fan analysis), but it doesn’t matter, does it?
            https://www.formula1.com/en/latest/article.f1-power-rankings-ocon-hamilton-alonso-which-driver-scored-best-after-a.439aQ5N0QxWlWaftzZy2CQ.html
            They’re engaged on a crusade against the g.o.a.t., you’ll say. With things going this way we’ll surely never find out, there’s no possible thing to happen that might convince you that Lewis is not a god on earth. You just glued those rose tinted glasses on your face. If Alonso couldn’t be able to be back to his old self in the Alpine car, you can be certain I’d no longer insist in the case for him being the greatest of his generation. This was required from him, to turn it around if he wished to remain the same size of a living legend that he became, as adaptability should be his forte more than anyone else. As such, my claims are verifiable by evidence, but to say the same about yours, it doesn’t seem true at all.

          4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            17th August 2021, 19:04

            @rodewulf I’m not sure what your point is.

          5. @freelittlebirds
            The site probably had a bug so the other point is: you seriously overlook Lewis’ big mistakes and make a fuss about Max’s smaller mistakes in a ludicrous way, completely ignoring how many points each lost or could have lost especially when factoring luck out (what matters to measure performance) while their mistakes are put out of proportion between them. The only reasonable explanation for that is a fanatic approach that will raise the entitled one in a pedestal regardless of the scenario.

      2. I get what you say but I feel the experts are biased. Lewis clearly struggled and it turns out, just like with Vettel, you get rusty from always leading from the front. I expect him to up his game in the second half though, but imho momentarily you can’t rank anyone that is currently listed above him (bar maybe Alonso) lower than him since they were just better, especially given the material they work with.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          17th August 2021, 15:47

          @Mayrton How were the people above Hamilton better?

          Alonso has almost the same points as Ocon.
          Leclerc has the same points as Sainz.
          Lando is doing great but that’s amplified because Ricciardo is doing bad.
          Max is no longer leading the championship despite his heroics on track which Lewis used to his advantage.
          George has been great in qualifying but this season the gap in races to Latifi seems less impressive
          Gasly has been good but I’m not sure he’s been better than Lewis. Just because he beat a rookie Tsunoda 6-0, 6-0 doesn’t mean he’s ahead of a driver with 4 wins this season.

          If these drivers are better, then we need to include Ocon, Sainz, and maybe Latifi (at the reader’s discretion) ahead of Lewis on that list.

          That would put Lewis at P10 or P11 with 4 race wins (mid-season) while he’s leading the championship and ahead of Max. Which brings us to Max’s ranking which then has to be P10 or P12, depending at the reader’s choice and against where they placed him vs Latifi. It’s questionable if Max is better than Latifi if Latifi is better than Lewis.

          So yeah, the ranking makes no sense.

          There are only 2 drivers that you can argue are doing better than Lewis – Max and Lando. For Max, it’s really a matter of preference and how you judge his errors.

          For Lando, the question is “do you believe that Lando would be leading the championship against Max if he were in a Mercedes”?

          1. @freelittlebirds

            If these drivers are better, then we need to include Ocon, Sainz, and maybe Latifi (at the reader’s discretion) ahead of Lewis on that list.

            Points are a good measure of performance only when it’s convenient, isn’t it? Anyone with sufficient Formula 1 knowledge can conclude that Leclerc is performing better than Sainz and Alonso is performing better than Ocon. And also that Verstappen lost most of his points due to no fault of his own. But Hamilton lost as much points or even more than Leclerc in blunders alone, so how could you rank him above the petite mustache from Ferrari? Only fanatic reasoning will do that work for you, but that’s unconvincing from anyone outside the LH44 worshipers bubble.

          2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            17th August 2021, 18:44

            @rodewulf While I agree with you that Leclerc is performing better than Sainz, he’s also not perfect which is why Sainz has managed to score as many points. I also think Sainz is doing a great job at Ferrari for his 1st season.

            As for Alonso, while he’s doing well now, he looked bad at the start of the season. I guess I could say the same that it’s convenient for you to overlook all the stats that appeared in the comparison article between Ocon and Alonso like qualifying record, laps ahead, points, finished ahead and to dive into the FA14 worshipper’s bubble:-)

          3. @freelittlebirds

            While I agree with you that Leclerc is performing better than Sainz, he’s also not perfect which is why Sainz has managed to score as many points. I also think Sainz is doing a great job at Ferrari for his 1st season.

            Leclerc hasn’t been perfect nearly at the same rate Hamilton has not. Both lost a big chunk of points and partially recovered with speed and technique. It still hurts their performance overall though.

            As for Alonso, while he’s doing well now, he looked bad at the start of the season. I guess I could say the same that it’s convenient for you to overlook all the stats that appeared in the comparison article between Ocon and Alonso like qualifying record, laps ahead, points, finished ahead and to dive into the FA14 worshipper’s bubble:-)

            I’m really amazed by your (lack or) creativity with this parrot style reversal remark. Children do this a lot. And sadly for you there’s something you missed, that is my detailed post in the same article with even more stats explaining how Alonso performed better than Ocon even including his underwhelming start of the season. Here the stats overall:
            Alonso / Ocon
            Points finishes: 8-6
            Total points scored: 38-39
            Qualifying average position: 11.3611.36 (Q3 appearances: 6-4)
            Race average position: 9.2-9.44
            Qualified ahead: 6-5
            Finished ahead: 3-5
            Laps ahead: 223-327
            It ranks Alonso sligthly ahead Ocon but there’s more beyond it in the comment, making the case for a significant performance edge on his teammate. My point is mostly based on stats with very limited personal opinion, so feel free to try to refute it, if you can.
            Obviously I won’t assert that Alonso is the best performer of the entire season because of the big chunk of points he lost earlier when he was readapting. For instance, I wonder why not Lando Norris could have this distinction? But anyway I doubt the amount of points Fernando lost in the beginning of the season is bigger than what Charles and even more Lewis squandered on big mistakes across the year, even adjusting to machinery levels and factoring out luck.
            But I’ll definitively retain my point that Fernando is already performing at the highest level Baku onwards, even though I admit i don’t have enough proof on that for now. I think more needs to be carefully evaluated on this case, and the advantage that experience can offer versus sheer speed and moments of brilliance will be important factors to weigh on. As long as Fernando is making the best strategy calls, going fast plus giving it a visible masterclass quite often and avoiding mistakes more than anyone, I don’t see a reason to dismiss him as the strongest driver even facing the likes of Max and Lando, and the bright but more erratic ones like Lewis and Charles as well. As an experienced driver almost to the level of Fernando, Lewis can also make it work even more on his favour perfectly well, as long as he allows a more self-aware approach to guide his work and take the words of his indulging fans and team into more critical consideration.

          4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            17th August 2021, 21:00

            I’m really amazed by your (lack or) creativity with this parrot style reversal remark. Children do this a lot.

            You’re very condescending.

          5. @freelittlebirds
            Oh, sorry! I just meant a wake-up call. Like if you’d focus on the arguments of a reply instead of the witty part of it. But nevermind my comments, they’re too big for almost anyone to read anyway. If anything, you could make rankings of the best performers with all the drivers in order of the stongest to the weakest, in your opinion. Only then we could discuss it further.

          6. @freelittlebirds

            For Lando, the question is “do you believe that Lando would be leading the championship against Max if he were in a Mercedes”?

            In fact, maybe Lando would have even a greater advantage given how unlucky Max has been recently. On top of that, neither has been perfect and it’s rather easy to see Lando avoiding the costly mistakes Lewis has been making recently. Even if you don’t consider Lando as fast as Lewis, and of course lacking large experience, he still could have done at least marginally better being more reliable and making use of his current level of speed and abilities. Russell demonstrated how a well prepared small team’s star can also make wonders in a Mercedes. The thing is there’s a veil of perfection that many fans try to draw around LH that is mostly false or exaggerated. And his speed does not make him some kind of god like Thor, despite certainly still being one of the greatest of the current field.

          7. @freelittlebirds
            And the question about Alonso’s current level is: how many other drivers on the present day grid would have scored 33 points in only 6 races with a lowly midfield 7th fastest Alpine? Probably with his consistency, Norris would have scored a close total number of points, but it’s very likely that the difference of experience between those drivers would consign him to a slightly slower score without any major luck’s help. In the same period Ocon scored 27 points, but this figure is not much representative of his current level. He scored nothing during four of those six races with a bad chassis or confidence issues, and Lady Luck smiled bright to him for his maiden Formula 1 win. Much more on merit alone he scored just 12 points in the first five races of the season, so unless the Alpine car improved dramatically in a matter of weeks, this is Fernando and Esteban to a lesser extent making the difference recently.
            Lewis has almost the same level of experience of Fernando, but he’s partially burning that advantage with dumb (this word is about accurate, no matter how much his fans cry) mistakes that could have dropped him around 40 points behind Max in the WDC if not for trouble hitting his rival too. But self-inflicted trouble is what matters to tarnish the performance of a driver, and Lewis had it way more than Max this season. No way to hide it, even with one thousand excuses.

    3. Obciously its a popularity contest.

      1. Yes, that too is taken into account to some degree. Lewis is not in a good place this year clearly losing the public sympathy. Put some pressure on him and there is the real Lewis. People are not blind. You cannot dedicate your titles just to yourself with such a dominant car. If you then subsequently shout everywhere you welcome competition but start throwing every trick out of the book at a competitor and immediately breaking under pressure at the hint of some competition you are both being inconsistent (again) with your talk and showing some bad sportsmanship which not surprisingly is not appreciated by the fans.

  2. My ratings so far have same four drivers on the bottom, although in slightly different order.

  3. Agree mostly with the #20 to #17 rankings.. although I’d swap Latifi and Schumacher around.

    Schumi was doing quite a good job in qualifying against his teammate and is making far less rookie mistakes than both Mazepin and Tsonuda. Maybe Latifi’s Hungary result flattered his overall performance, because he just hasn’t been anywhere close to Russell all season.

    The rankings from #16 to #12 should be interesting. I think Kimi, Ricciardo, Stroll and Giovinazzi should be in those 4 spots.. but wouldn’t be surprised to see a Bottas or Perez in that list either.

    1. Agree with the swap.

      The only reason for putting Latifi above can be if George Russell is REALLY near the top (say top 5 or something).

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      17th August 2021, 9:42

      Schumacher cost wise has cost the team a HUGE amount more than Mazepin. His mistakes have been far bigger. Mazipin’s mistakes have mostly been spins as his new nick name suggests. But to be honest, while Schumacher is much quicker, he crashes more (at least doing more damage overall) and his nickname could be Schucrasher given the level of criticism his team mate gets.

      Latifi has mostly been heavily beaten by Russell, but they were closer than you’d expect a couple of times in qualifying, and averaged out in qualifying, have been closer than Verstappen and Perez. As this is the case, I think we could go as far as saying Latifi is better than Perez (in qualifying) if people rate Russell close to the top drivers. Or, Perez is one of the worst drivers on the grid in qualifying (based on this year).

    3. Mick has crashed more than latifi.

      1. @peartree

        Mick has crashed more than latifi.

        But he has been way faster. Well, at least it seems so, but who knows. Would he have scored more points than Latifi and Russell if he was driving for Williams? That’s the key question. Haas’ dreadful level of performance makes it very hard to judge.

        1. True, but Schumachers crashes do cost his team dearly. So I can agree with putting Latifi ahead.

          1. Axel
            Fine margins involved between a clearly faster but crash kid type of driver against a steadily slow but consistent pay driver.

    4. Can’t see Latifi staying.

  4. Only negative mentions to Mazepin, ignoring his better result on merit against his teammate in Silverstone. As for Tsunoda, there had been only positive notes until it no longer was possible this season. Just to clarify, those two have been pretty bad this season even for rookie standards. But the double standards are clear. No wonder why people let themselves be seduced by charisma.

    1. Tsonuda did have a few decent results.. in Bahrain and Baku in particular.. so I can understand why he isn’t getting as much flak as Mazepin. He’s also going up against a much tougher teammate, so the bar is set higher for him.
      As you mentioned, both were poor even by rookie standards, but one had absolutely nothing to show for, while the other showed some promise.

      1. Fair enough. It was understandable until some weekends after the Bahrain race but now it all is starting to wear thin for Yuki, to be ranked too much ahead even Mazespin. Recently he has been doing more mistakes, has been slower than his teammate in quali by a bigger margin than Nikita is behind Mick and probably is progressing in a slower rate than many want to admit. Granted, his race pace still lives to some promise, but again, Mazepin finished ahead his teammate on merit in the British GP, something that Tsunoda didn’t manage to do yet. Overall I wouldn’t say Mazepin is better than Tsunoda as a matter of fact, the former is having it easier against a rookie too as you said, but they’re not so far apart if you lift the veil of promises, and the habitual unwillingness to write anything good about Mazepin because of his polemical behaviour not long time ago.

  5. I agree with these being the bottom four, although I rated Schumacher above Latifi. Here are my full midseason driver rankings:
    1. Max Verstappen – maybe it seems strange to have Verstappen as number one seeing as he is second in the championship in the best car, but Verstappen is behind Hamilton mainly due to bad luck. He had a race victory snatched away from him in Baku, at least a second snatched away in Britain and a probable podium or even a win snatched away in Hungary. Verstappen ranks very slightly ahead of Norris because he has had no off-weekends or significant errors, although he has had some minor errors such as turn one at Paul Ricard or qualifying in Imola and Portimao. His best weekends of the season were the two wins in Austria after perfect drives, while Monaco stands out too as a flawless display, and France due to that impressive fightback after the second pitstop. Verstappen has also totally outclassed Perez, who is clearly a very strong driver, so he is my driver of the season thus far.
    2. Lando Norris – Norris has had a tremendous season in 2021, as he has utterly dominated against Ricciardo, who was expected by most to have the upper hand at McLaren. Norris’ highs this season have been higher than Verstappen’s, with an incredible weekend in Imola leading to a podium (and missing third on the grid by centimetres due to track limits), a great stint on worn tyres to fifth in Portugal, another fantastic podium in Monaco where he lapped Ricciardo and, the best of the bunch, a podium on merit in Austria that arguably should have been second. The only reason he ranks very slightly behind Verstappen is because he has had a couple of off-weekends in Spain and Baku, although he still scored great points in the latter, but there is not much in it and the two have a large advantage over the rest at the moment. For Norris to currently be third in the points, ahead of a far superior Mercedes and Red Bull, is quite simply extraordinary.
    3. Charles Leclerc – I believe Leclerc is probably the fastest driver on the grid over a single lap at the moment (with race pace not quite on the level of Verstappen, Hamilton and Norris) but the thing that has let him down in the past has been too many errors. This has reduced, but not stopped, in 2021, as he has still made two significant errors in Monaco and Styria. However, Leclerc has still shown himself to be one of the best on the grid. He was very strong in Imola and would have finished second without the red flag, then drove a perfect race to fifth in Spain. His poles in Monaco and Baku were outstanding, although he was unable to start there in Monaco due to his qualifying crash, which I did not penalise him too harshly for as, despite it ending his race, his error still came in qualifying which is more forgivable than if it had happened in the race. His best drive of the season was the sensational second place in Britain, where he led 49 laps in a Ferrari that was not on the same level as the Mercedes, while his only bad race was Paul Ricard. Leclerc is currently behind Sainz in the standings but has been the stronger Ferrari driver.
    4. Lewis Hamilton – for the last three years, I have ranked Hamilton number one for the season, but after a poor first half to 2021 it will be very difficult for him to retain this record as he is currently some way behind Verstappen and Norris. Hamilton leads the championship in the second-best car, but a lot of this is down to good fortune, as is explained in the Verstappen section, as well as him being saved by red flags in Imola and Silverstone. Hamilton is usually a very clean driver, but this year he has made many uncharacteristic mistakes, including the crash in Imola, the lockup in Baku and hitting Verstappen in Britain, while he also had a shocking weekend in Monaco. However, Hamilton has also had some great moments, with impressive wins in Bahrain and Spain where Verstappen looked quicker, as well as incredible fightbacks in Britain and Hungary after early errors that showed his ability to overtake. He is still making an underrated Bottas look very ordinary in the same car, but could have a tougher fight next season against Russell.
    5. Pierre Gasly – since leaving Red Bull two years ago, Gasly really has turned into a very decent driver, suggesting to me that maybe Albon deserves another go in F1. In 2021, Gasly has not really had any extremely great moments, but has been consistently right up there. His record of eight top-six starts in eleven races is incredible, particularly given how Tsunoda has often been eliminated in Q1. Gasly was probably most impressive in Baku, with his third podium in F1, and in Monaco where he held off Hamilton for so long. Hungary was also very impressive as he qualified fifth, dropped to the back in avoiding action during the melee, but fought back brilliantly to sixth beating his teammate despite pitting to get the fastest lap point. He has still had some mistakes, such as braking his front wing in Bahrain and driving too quickly back to the pits in Styria, braking the suspension, as well as a few off-days like Portugal and Spain, but Gasly has had another great season so far and is only fractionally behind Hamilton in these rankings.
    6. George Russell – Russell has finally scored his first points for Williams, but the result ended up being a little muted as he crossed the line behind Latifi. But Russell has thoroughly deserved some points this season after making it to Q2 in every race bar Hungary, and even making Q3 in Austria and Britain with some tremendous laps. His best drives were Paul Ricard, to twelfth with no retirements, and both races in Austria where he was first forced to retire while in the points, and then lost tenth to Alonso in the closing stages. Russell’s weakness continues to be first laps, as he often wastes good qualifying performances by dropping back, while he also had a big crash in Imola with Bottas. But Russell has overall done a great job this year, and deserves a Mercedes drive in 2022 as reward.
    7. Fernando Alonso – he went very well in the first race at Bahrain before having to retire, but the next four races were disappointing as Alonso was outperformed by teammate Ocon. After a disastrous race in Monaco, I suggested that Alonso’s comeback was similar to that of Michael Schumacher in 2010. But since then, he has really turned it around and has outclassed his teammate. Baku saw a great last couple of laps after the red flag to take sixth on a day when the Alpine was very slow, and he followed this up with strong drives in Paul Ricard, both races in Austria with points and Britain, where he was particularly good in the sprint race. But his best drive by far was in Hungary, where he dropped back at the start due to avoiding the melee, and then charged once Latifi was out of the way to reduce the gap to Ocon from thirty seconds to nine. He then defended brilliantly against Hamilton which won the race for teammate Ocon and Alpine. Alonso is now back to his former self.
    8. Carlos Sainz – Sainz currently lies above Leclerc in the points, but has not been the better Ferrari driver in 2021. He has been outqualified 8-3, has usually been behind in the races and has also had a few big errors, such as going off in Baku and Hungary qualifying. However, Leclerc is one of the fastest on the grid, and Sainz has certainly done a good job against him, closing the gap in recent races. His second place in Monaco was a fine drive, as was his sixth in Austria and his fightback in Britain, while his Hungary podium was more lucky. The meteoric rise of his former teammate Lando Norris suggests that he is possibly a lot quicker than was previously suspected in McLaren, but also underlines the speed of Leclerc. Sainz is doing a very good job for Ferrari, and will likely be even closer to Leclerc in the second half of the season.
    9. Sebastian Vettel – Vettel’s season has been very much a mixed bag, although that is a huge improvement on his final season for Ferrari. The season started off badly, with a clumsy error in Bahrain hitting Ocon, having dropped out in Q1, and a general lack of pace in Imola. In Portimao he got the upper hand over Stroll but had a quiet race, while Spain was similar with Stroll back ahead. Then Vettel’s season turned around with a fantastic drive to fifth in Monaco followed by a superb podium in Baku. He was strong in Paul Ricard too with more points, before a slightly disappointing Styrian GP where he was outclassed by Stroll. Vettel improved in Austria with a decent drive, then made another clumsy error as he spun at Silverstone. He was back on form in Hungary with a great drive to second place, pressuring Ocon all the way in what seemed to be a slower Aston Martin, only for it to be taken away. Vettel has benefitted massively from leaving Ferrari, and will surely continue to improve over the second half of the season.
    10. Lance Stroll – this has been a very un-Stroll-like season. A typical Stroll season involves a general lack of pace in qualifying, more pace in the races but with a few clumsy errors, but then the occasional superb drive. In 2021, Stroll has not had any of these brilliant highs, but has consistently done a very decent job for Aston Martin with no real errors, except, of course, that huge blunder in Hungary, before which he was ahead of Vettel in these rankings. Stroll’s best drives this season have been Styria, Imola and Bahrain, in all of which he outperformed his multiple champion teammate, while the rest of his races have been solid if unspectacular, although he did a super job to keep his car from veering into the middle of the track after the puncture in Baku. So far, 2021 has been Stroll’s best season in F1.
    11. Esteban Ocon – our newest race winner seems to have done a great job on Alonso’s off-days, but struggled when Alonso goes well. He had a poor race in Bahrain, but then had four excellent drives in a row in Imola, Portimao, Catalunya and Monaco, where he capitalised on Alonso’s struggles. Portimao was a particularly impressive drive as he finished seventh, as was Imola where he passed Alonso twice after strategic errors. Then he had a mechanical failure in Baku where Alonso went well, and seemed to struggle to match his teammate thereafter, with poor pace in France and particularly in the two races in Austria, dropping out in Q1 both times. Britain was an improvement as he made the points but was still slower than Alonso, and then came Hungary. Ocon drove a fantastic race after benefitting from the melee at the start to lead, and didn’t put a wheel wrong under immense pressure from Vettel to take his first Grand Prix win, which will hopefully give him a confidence boost going into the rest of the season. Ranks only fractionally behind Stroll.
    12. Antonio Giovinazzi – seems to have had a very decent season, as he has almost always beaten World Champion teammate Raikkonen in qualifying, and has generally been at a similar pace in the races too, but has had more bad luck. But it is difficult to know how much of this is down to Giovinazzi’s improvement and how much is down to Raikkonen declining. I suspect the Alfa is a quicker car than the drivers make it look, and if he was teammate to any of the three below him, I’m sure Giovinazzi would not beat them. But that is not all that driver rankings are about. Giovinazzi has not made many mistakes, has beaten his teammate and has taken one point for Alfa Romeo in what was his best weekend of the season, Monaco. Both Alfas need to step up their game in the second half of the season because they currently sit below Williams in the constructors’ championship in a faster car, but in recent races I feel Giovinazzi has gone backwards, rather than forwards.
    13. Sergio Perez – on first glance, Perez maybe doesn’t seem to be much of an improvement on Alex Albon, but he definitely has been. Perez was hired to stay close to Verstappen and give Red Bull more options on strategy and he has done that, although not to the extent many hoped. His Baku win was excellent on what has always been his best track, while he also drove very well in Paul Ricard and Monaco (except qualifying). However, he has been too far behind Verstappen and most of his races have been no better than average, although Britain was his only nightmarish weekend. In the same car, he would beat Stroll, Ocon and Giovinazzi, but this particular half-season they have all impressed me more. Hopefully Perez will improve in the second half of the season, as he should at least beat Norris in the championship.
    14. Valtteri Bottas – over the season, Bottas has usually done what Red Bull want from Perez. He has stayed close to Hamilton but not really challenged him, given Mercedes extra strategic options and has almost always been quicker than Perez. But his score this year is massively let down by three shocking weekends in Imola and Baku, where he was painfully slow, and in Hungary where his blunder on the brakes into turn one took out three other cars and himself. Without those three races he would be eighth, which is roughly where I suspect he would be if this was a spec-series, but those poor weekends have really let him down. His best drive has been Monaco, where he outclassed Hamilton all weekend, while he also impressed in Austria, Paul Ricard and Portimao where he took pole. I think Bottas is, in general, very underrated by fans and I hope he gets another drive in F1, maybe in Alfa Romeo, but it is time for George Russell to have his chance in Mercedes.
    15. Daniel Ricciardo – oh dear. What a horrible season Ricciardo is having in the McLaren. After an excellent season in 2020 for Renault, most, including myself, expected him to kick on with a great season for McLaren, ahead of Norris and maybe even fighting for race wins. But so far, that has not been the case. Ricciardo has been woefully off his teammate’s pace, and has never really looked in contention for a podium while his teammate has three. Ricciardo has had a few decent races that looked like the beginning of a recovery, most notably in Spain, France and Britain, but none of those improvements kicked on and he is still very much second best to Norris, with Spain remaining the only race this season where he has been the better McLaren driver. The biggest low of the season for Danny Ric has to be getting lapped by Norris in Monaco. Hopefully he can work out what is going wrong and get some podiums in the second half of the season.
    16. Kimi Raikkonen – I think it is time for Kimi to retire. He has been declining gradually since he left Ferrari, and this season his level has very much dropped below that of Giovinazzi. Raikkonen has rarely outqualified his teammate or escaped Q1, and while his race pace has been better, usually on par with his teammate, he has made numerable silly errors, such as running into the back of Giovinazzi in Portimao, and driving into the side of Vettel in Austria, which had been his best race of the season up to that point. He looked quick in Britain too, but threw it away with a silly incident with Perez. The Alfa Romeo is definitely faster than the Williams, but the drivers need to step up in the second half of the season if they want to take eighth in the standings. I think Alfa Romeo should probably drop both drivers at the end of the season in favour of Bottas and a Ferrari junior.
    17. Mick Schumacher – Schumacher’s debut season has not been too bad, certainly relative to the other two rookies, but it is difficult to know how good he is considering that his teammate is Mazepin, and he is in the worst car on the grid. Last season, I rated Magnussen and Grosjean 15th and 16th, but having seen the performances of their rookie replacements I would now be inclined to move both higher up. Maybe the 2021 Haas is worse than its predecessor, but I don’t believe it has got bad enough to finish a minute behind the rest in some races, and I’m sure that Magnussen or Grosjean would be far closer to the likes of Latifi than Mick has been. But this is, of course, an unknown, and Mick has had some good moments, with his best drive coming in Portimao where he beat Latifi, followed by Spain, and he also made a great pass on Mazepin in Monaco. He has, however, had too many crashes, although he tends to keep it clean on race day. I would like to see Mick Schumacher in an Alfa Romeo next season, but that seems unlikely, so another season at the back with Haas beckons.
    18. Nicholas Latifi – it was great to see Latifi take his first points in Formula 1 in Hungary, but seemed slightly wrong that he should lead Russell home for Williams’ first points in two years given that Russell has always had the upper hand over Latifi. He is still yet to outqualify Russell in their one and a half years as teammates, and often ends up a long way behind in qualifying. But his race pace isn’t that far off Russell’s, and Russell’s bad starts mean they often end up in a similar position on the track. Except for Hungary, all of Latifi’s races this season have been five or six out of ten standard, as he is consistently unspectacular, but he is a safe pair of hands to have in the team next year assuming Russell moves to Mercedes, and I would be happy for him to stay on in 2022 alongside a rookie.
    19. Yuki Tsunoda – on the first laps in Q1 in Bahrain, Yuki Tsunoda put his Alpha Tauri second on the timing screens. At that moment, he was hailed by many to be a future champion, with Ross Brawn calling him ‘the best rookie for years.’ Yuki then drove a solid but average race to ninth, after being knocked out in Q2, and the hype remained. But since then, he has had a pretty awful season. Three crashes in qualifying, causing red flags in Imola, Baku and Paul Ricard, along with a few more practice crashes contribute to his ranking, while he was also well off the pace in Portugal, Spain, Monaco and Hungary, where he was beaten by his teammate despite Gasly dropping to the back at the start and taking an extra stop for fastest lap. He also bafflingly crossed the pit entry line twice in Austria. Tsunoda’s three good races were Bahrain, Baku and Styria, and it is difficult when he is a rookie against such a strong teammate. But the consistency has not been there, and Red Bull may start looking at the likes of Juri Vips and Liam Lawson as potential replacements for 2022, while Alex Albon also may be looking at a return.
    20. Nikita Mazepin – unfortunately, Mazepin just isn’t good enough for Formula 1. He is driving the slowest and most-difficult-to-drive car on the grid, but has still been way off the pace, and has spun too often, while his ability to follow blue flags is quite simply atrocious. His first weekend in Bahrain was an absolute nightmare, while the next three were better but still not really good enough. Monaco was his first decent drive as he beat Schumacher, but then Baku was another shocker and ended with his dangerous swipe on Schumacher down the long straight, exposing another worry many had before he started in Formula 1. In recent races he has got better and is now closer to Schumacher’s pace, while also making fewer errors, but I can’t see Mazepin ever improving to be more than the slowest driver on the grid. There are still concerns that he might cause a dangerous accident at some point. It seems his seat at Haas is as safe as it can be for the foreseeable future, unfortunately, but hopefully he will at least stay out of trouble.

    1. It doesn’t sound AT ALL surprising to see verstappen first in these rankings, in fact even if sometimes this site has been accused of bias, I wouldn’t be surprised if verstappen or norris ended up first even in the official rankings of this site.

      I think this one is a very well done ranking, although I’m surprised about hamilton only 4th, but indeed I rate leclerc very highly and agree he’s the best on a single lap, considering the opportunities he and verstappen had, verstappen is a bit like prost in that sense and leclerc like senna.

      I think giovinazzi and raikkonen are a bit too far from each other, and I guess a ranking like this further cements how unfair it was (on another site) to give 9\10 to verstappen, 8,5 to hamilton, 6,5 to perez and 5,5 to bottas: first of all I don’t agree with anyone putting perez ahead of bottas, who simply performed a little better this season, but like you said he’d be ranked higher if not for some abysmal races you heavily penalised him for, and second obviously: verstappen has been flawless, if hamilton has an abysmal monaco race and 2 serious mistakes and loses 0,5 points, as in 0,166666 points, he could have a total disasterous season and still come out with a 7, but since they gave mazepin a 4 that treatment doesn’t seem to be equal for all drivers!

      1. @esploratore1

        It doesn’t sound AT ALL surprising to see verstappen first in these rankings, in fact even if sometimes this site has been accused of bias

        Man, literally everything that doesn’t put Hamilton in an altar is called biased by this LH44 stupid troop. In the Formula 1 site they gathered some specialists to make a techinical analysis which put Verstappen first, Norris second and Hamilton third. What will they say about it? They’ll look into the mirror and say: BiAsEd!1!
        There’s no reason for a British site to please a Dutch driver against arguably the best British driver of all time, that’s just nuts, chances close to zero of happening. The favourable trend, as very likely there is some, will be massively more probable to be going for their home driver. But they will make up any conspiratorial excuse regardless of this or any other rational argument against it. This is a point of no return in the ability to make any relevant analysis, when fanaticism goes to that extent.

  6. I pretty much agree with these ranks,these 4 drivers didn’t shine throughout the season. I would rank the drivers thus far like this :

    20) Mazepin
    19)Tsunoda
    18)Mick
    17)Kimi
    16)Latifi
    15) Giovinazzi
    14) Ricciardo
    13) Bottas
    12) Stroll
    11) Perez
    10)Vettel
    9)Ocon
    8 ) Russell
    7) Hamilton
    6) Gasly
    5) Leclerc
    4) Alonso
    3) Sainz
    2) Verstappen
    1)Norris

    I expected Perez to struggle in his new team and car and steadily closing the gap but eventually the opposite happened. Since France he has been struggling a bit more. On the other hand, both Sainz and Alonso managed to have an excellent transition to their new situation (new team for Carlos and a new team + 2 years absence for Fernando).

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      17th August 2021, 10:38

      Sainz 3rd? Surely he’s made far too many errors as well as some underwhelming races to be this high?

      His Imola performance was masked by the red flag, but he went off and nearly crashed twice (the team came on the radio to tell him to be patient and calm down) and the red flag saved him, His performance there was only a bit better than Bottas prior to the restart, and probably saved because he finally picked up his pace after the red flags.

      In Spain, after a great qualifying, he went backwards and his pace fell off a cliff and finished out of the points, while Leclerc did the opposite in the race, showing the car was more capable.

      In Baku, he locked up and fell to 14th, then reversed out nearly collecting Giovinazzi, then was 15th. He did a few overtakes, but was helped massively by Stroll having a tyre failure, then the safety car, then verstappen’s failure and the race restart. And then – Hamilton locking up at the restart.

      He also crashed in qualifying in Hungary. He had a good start, but lets remember that being either right at the front or near the back was the best place to be to avoid the chaos. He performed well, but did get a bit lucky given his underperformance in qualifying.

      Sainz has had a pretty good season and has shown good pace, but he is inconsistent and makes quite a lot of error. The points gap and the fact he’s a head of Leclerc is not representative at all and rating him 3rd is surely extremely generous. I would say 6th is the highest I could rate him. Though more like 8th would be realistic.

      1. Yeah Sainz has done a significant amount of mistakes no doubt,but i really valued the fact that he was able to match Leclerc from the get go. He switched teams after a really successful stint at Mclaren but Sainz was able to immediately be on the pace, despite his moments here and there.

      2. Agree. Sainz has been solid but has made a decent number of mistakes where he was bailed out by safety car periods and red flags. I don’t see how he can be placed in front of Leclerc either… heck, Charles put a car on pole for two races in a row and would have been a race winner this season if he had just started the race.
        I would Leclerc at #3 and maybe Sainz around #6 or #7

  7. Yeah, this first batch is pretty clear cut.

    Lafiti seems ok-ish, although hard to judge since the Williams, but then he is up against Russel, so that tells us something. He did make some progress, but nothing to excite anyone.

    Schumacher seems to be a talent, he is clearly doing a solid job at being on the grid. But he did push the car too much and ends up crashing too often right now, needs to get the experience in. Tsunoda seems fast, and there is clearly enough talent there. But also needs to find a way out of the bad spiral he seems to get back into.

    Mazepin – well, his father ensured we have Haas still on the grid, I guess. Not much more to say, apart from him not being a completely useless driver, is making steps forward. But no sign of F1 potential either.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      17th August 2021, 10:17

      Regarding Mazepin, I think he may be similar eventually to some other drivers like Latifi maybe. He’s just not good enough at the moment, but if money helps that much, it is worth him being here. And if he’s here for a few years, he may JUST be good enough for us to stop saying he isn’t capable of driving for F1.

      1. True, look at stroll, although to be honest he had a far higher entry level at the time of his f1 debut.

        1. I think for Stroll it’s always been more due to envy and dislike than lack of talent and performance.

  8. Rookies today have a far tougher deal than 20 years ago. Little preparation and bang, onto your debut in the full glare of the world. In those circumstances, it’s quite easy to look like an idiot.

    Reply moderated
    1. @cduk_mugello

      I think that F1 has really gone the wrong way by making it harder to get a super-license, but also greatly restricting testing.

  9. The bottom half of the ranking is always quite difficult.
    Did SCH really perform worse than RAI, RIC, PER or was it mostly his car and did he wring every drop of performance out of it? And does the 2021 performance of the latter three get mixed with what they achieved in the past?
    How far should LAT be behind RUS (I know it’s a ranking, not a rating). I showed yesterday that his quali performance wasn’t even that bad compared to other line-ups, and on Sunday LAT certainly performed better during the first lap.

  10. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    17th August 2021, 11:02

    I may be a fan of Bottas, but I really can’t understand how people can possibly rate him lower than Perez this season seeing the two full ratings so far. And it isn’t just here that I’ve seen people imply Perez is doing better than Bottas.

    If it is related to being in a new team, then we should compare it to just how well Bottas did in 2017 in his first year with a top team. Perez has had 10 years in F1 before joining Red Bull, and has already had the experience of moving teams twice. Bottas had been in F1 for just 4 years and then made his first big move and performed significantly better than Perez is now, so showed it should be possible to adapt better.

    Anyhow, on to this season, there is no question that it is pretty poor for Bottas, though I would probably still have him in the top 10, though right near the Bottom. But if we are compare him against perez, we need to look at the points and compare their luck.

    Lets look at the mixture of good luck and bad luck for Perez and roughly adjust his score. In Monaco, he gained 2 points due to Bottas retiring. In Baku, he gained 7 points due to Verstappen retiring. In Styria, he lost 3 points due to a slow stop. In Hungary, it is very hard indeed to speculate. Bottas even without crashing I can’t see getting a podium. Lets say Perez got 3rd and 15 points and Bottas still had to retire.

    So, based on this assessment, Perez would be 9 points better off with 113.

    Bottas was very poor in Imola, but not as bad as Perez. He does tend to improve when the track dries up, but Russell didn’t give him that chance. I would say he’d have managed 8th as Hamilton probably will have finished behind due to his mistake. That then will have lost him 4 points.
    In Monaco, he lost a certain podium, very possibly 2nd, but lets go with 3rd and 15 points. He then was lucky in Styria with Perez’s bad stop and gained 3.

    So Bottas should be around 16 points better off with 124.

    If you look at the points difference after this with Bottas having 124 and Perez 113, it may not seem like much, but we must factor in that Red Bull on average has clearly been the better car.

    Another big difference between Perez and Bottas is the number of podiums they have this year. Bottas has had 6, with one being lucky, but missed out in Monaco, so 6 is realistic. Perez has just had 2, and it is guesswork that he will have got another in Hungary.

    All this said just makes me wonder even more how anyone can rate Perez above Bottas. They have both been poor, but perez quite clearly more so.

    1. I rated Sergio Perez fractionally above Valtteri Bottas for this half-season, and this is my reasoning as to why:
      Bahrain – Bottas drives a very decent race to third place, giving Mercedes strategy options that arguably give Hamilton the win. Perez is slightly unlucky to miss out in Q2 but fights back well to fifth after an opening lap stall. Decent from both drivers, Bottas slightly ahead.
      Imola – awful from both drivers. Perez does a great job in qualifying to get on the front row, but makes multiple silly errors during the race. Bottas struggles down in eighth in qualifying and then has no pace in the race, before being taken out by Russell in a Williams. Very low scores for both, but Perez slightly higher and moves just ahead of Bottas overall.
      Portugal – Bottas gets pole position but defends poorly in the race and only manages third. Perez keeps up with the leaders for most of the stint but fails in his bid for fastest lap. Fairly good scores for both, but Bottas is better and moves back ahead of Perez.
      Spain – not a great weekend for either. Bottas is closer to the pace of Hamilton but is extremely unhelpful to the team by blocking his teammate. Perez spins in qualifying but fights back to a distant fourth. Average scores for both, but Bottas is better again and increases his advantage over Perez.
      Monaco – arguably Bottas’ best weekend of the season, although Hamilton is also quite disappointing. Bottas should have finished second but is unlucky with the pitstop. Perez struggles in qualifying but fights back to a decent fourth. Here, Bottas extends his advantage further over Perez, but it is still quite close.
      Baku – Perez’s first win of the season. Admittedly, he is lucky to get it as Verstappen’s tyre explodes, but it is a strong drive nonetheless. Bottas, meanwhile, has an absolute shocker with no pace whatsoever, and earns a very low score. Therefore, Perez takes a fairly big lead over Bottas.
      France – both do supporting roles as their teammates fight for the win. Perez is probably better in his support as Bottas lets Verstappen through too easily, and Perez also passes Bottas late on to take third. Perez very slightly increases his advantage.
      Styria – unspectacular weekend from both drivers, finishing a long way behind their teammates, earns both a low-average score. Bottas very slightly closes in on Perez as he beats him in both qualifying and the race.
      Austria – Bottas finishes second, but is arguably lucky to beat both Hamilton and Norris after damage for the former and a penalty for the latter. Meanwhile, Perez qualifies strongly but messes up the race, forcing Leclerc off the track twice (only one penalty-worthy, in my opinion). Bottas scores better than Perez and closes the gap again so Perez now only has a slight advantage.
      Britain – a disappointing race from Bottas as he is unable to pass Leclerc when his teammate can, even with a penalty. However, Perez has an absolute shocker after spinning out in the sprint race and then only fighting back to tenth, before being brought in to steal the fastest lap. Bottas takes the advantage over Perez.
      Hungary – Perez seems off the pace all weekend, but still gets fourth in qualifying despite missing the line on his final lap. He is then taken out in the race and earns a very average score. However, Bottas has a nightmare after a huge blunder on the opening lap, despite a strong qualifying, so Perez moves marginally back in front. The gap between the two is very small, but Perez is slightly ahead.
      Over the course of the season, Bottas has generally been the stronger driver, getting a better score than Perez in seven races while Perez only wins four. But Bottas has had three awful races that lower his average to just below Perez, whose lows have been less extreme. Overall I rate Bottas as a better driver, but over this half-season I believe Perez has done a slightly better job.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        17th August 2021, 13:34

        @f1frog
        A lot of good points, but it is clear that red bull has had the better car this year, which if you take that into account surely should be enough to rate bottas above given what i explained.

        And Mayrtron, mercedes is not the best car out there. Red bull is. Mercedes could even be tied even with ferrari in 2017 and 2018. It was only the following 2 years where mercedes were clearly the best again, but still not even close to 2014 to 2016 level dominance. This year, red bull has had a very clear advantage over mercedes overall.

    2. In general I agree, I find that waaaaaaaaaay too often perez is rated higher than bottas, while even correcting for bad luck he’s simply been less bad this season.

    3. Bottas lower than Perez is due to the car advantage that people take into account. You can’t perform like this when driving the best car out there for years. He is a likeable chap, but he really is not showing his A game this year

  11. I generally agree with these rankings, but I would, as others have said, swap schumacher and latifi around, schumacher seems to have driven a worse car to better effect, I also wouldn’t have been surprised if ricciardo had made it into the bottom 4, and the rank 19 and 20 drivers were so obvious that I guessed them before looking.

  12. I think these are mostly fair to be honest, though I’d have personally put Giovinazzi there instead of Tsunoda.

    1. You’d struggle to split RAI/GIO this year, and if adding in Saturdays GIO might well be on top.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        17th August 2021, 12:46

        Jiff, if you read my comments in the rai, gio article on this site, i have explained that it is in fact quite clear that giovinazzi has been far better including both qualifying and the races. I think that being seperated by multiple positions in the rankings is realistic, and for similar reasons as @f1frog explained.

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      17th August 2021, 12:38

      Giovinazzi in 19th? Really? I agree with @f1frog , giovnazzi has been solid this season and 12th place seems about right he has been far better than his team mate as well as a few others, but many dont see this.

      1. I remain unimpressed by him across his time in F1 – personal opinion of course. I get the feeling Raikkonen’s not really putting in 100% and Giovinazzi really should be clapping him considerably harder than he has. That’s not to say he’s ‘bad’, but he’s not ‘good’ – he’s just ‘ok’. Which isn’t bad in itself but I think Alfa Sauber have a better car than either of their drivers are getting out of it.

        1. I think we should limit ourselves to rating the first 11 race performances of this season.

  13. I object to how these lists follows the standings table too much. I think there’s some mental mechanisms at play there, blocking a neutral view.

    Of course perhaps with these 3 rookies it might not be difficult, but would for example a Raikkonen really be that much better than Schumacher in that dog of a Haas, or Ricciardo better than Latifi against Russell? I’m not so sure.

    1. @balue Agree with that. Schumacher and Mazepin in particular are hard to rate with no benchmark, but it’s clear Mick has done better. Personally I would have had Mick a bit higher, likewise Latifi – and both ahead of Ricciardo, if not in raw ability then in application of that ability over the course of this season.

      1. @tflb @balue
        Yep, as much as the two Haas drivers are rookies, and none of them have been stellar so far, it feels weird if both should be at the bottom of a performance rankings or nearly it, too much a reflection of the championship positions indeed. Maybe not Mazepin but Schumacher really should be a little higher as you said. The best method I think is to indentify the strongest lineups and then distribute drivers accordingly to their performances relative to teammate, and only then taking the WDC standings into account. For instance, McLaren has arguably the best lineup on paper but it didn’t quite live up to the expectations, nevertheless Norris has been an excellent performer, so its mostly due to Ricciardo (unexpectedly), as such Norris should appear among the best-placed drivers in the rankings and Ricciardo should be ranked below 10th place, but not among the very last positions given that the pressure of performing as expected for his team is way higher than delivering for Haas or Alfa Romeo. And then keep applying this algorithm for the others.
        The list made by our fellow colleague @f1frog above on this article is pretty reasonable. I’d have just a few objections on his list, most notably ranking Giovinazzi as 12th best driver (his level is probably slightly below that but he has been flattered by good qualis, compassion over his bad luck and Kimi’s mistakes) and maybe bring Schumacher some places higher up. As for the Alpine drivers I think they’re somehow below where they should be (especially Ocon above Stroll is hard to justify), and I’m glad that one of the usually overrated drivers by sites like this, Sainz, is right where he belongs behind Leclerc and the other, Gasly, I think is too high up, 7th place or some position around it would be better representative for him despite his occasional heroics and very good qualis. So the resulting order would be:
        1st – Max Verstappen
        2nd – Lando Norris
        3rd – Charles Leclerc
        4th – Lewis Hamilton
        5th – Fernando Alonso
        6th – George Russell
        7th – Pierre Gasly
        8th – Carlos Sainz Jr.
        9th – Esteban Ocon
        10th – Sebastian Vettel
        11th – Lance Stroll
        12th – Sergio Pérez
        13th – Valtteri Bottas
        14th – Mick Schumacher
        15th – Nicholas Latifi
        16th – Daniel Ricciardo
        17th – Antonio Giovinazzi
        18th – Kimi Räikkönen
        19th – Yuki Tsunoda
        20th – Nikita Mazepin
        It might look like an insult to Raikkonen’s legacy and Ricciardo’s recent strong form to be ranked so lowly, but keep in mid that those rankings are supposed to be about this current season only, so its more a question of application of ability instead of the possession of ability indeed. Or else it would produce largely different rankings.

  14. Here’s mine so far:
    20) Mazepin: his learning curve isn’t steep as Mick’s and, without a decent car, everything good or bad will have zoomed appreciation. MSC is under the + lens, MAZ is on the – one.
    19) Tsunoda: Annoyed and annoying. His lots of errors aren’t that much of a problem, but the lack of something other than that is. He shows nothing. Has weak pace, weak mind.
    18) Ricciardo: the one who impressed me the most with such a poor form in the best F1.5 car. He is getting exposed, trashed, trounced, schooled etc et tal, and surprisingly still I don’t hear a single whisper of people saying his career is flattered by Adrian Newey and Red Bull… Regardless, the man can drive, and he better get grips on McLaren soon enough, because I expect the fight for 3rd is gonna get serious from now on.
    17) Latifi: for such a trivial driver I couldn’t differentiate from Aitken not long ago, he is finally showing himself up more. His result at Hungary was decent, but he is clearly trying harder, and that’s good enough for 17th.

  15. 20. Mazepin
    19. Schumacher
    18. Tsunoda
    17. Latifi
    16. Ricciardo
    15. Raikkonen
    14. Giovinazzi
    13. Stroll
    12. Ocon
    11. Perez
    10. Vettel
    9. Bottas
    8. Russell
    7. Alonso
    6. Sainz
    5. Gasly
    4. Hamilton
    3. Leclerc
    2. Norris
    1. Verstappen

  16. For what it`s worth…

    20. MAZ
    19. TSU
    18. LAT
    17. RAI
    16. BOT
    15. PER
    14. RAI
    13. OCO
    12. MSC
    11. GIO
    10. VET
    9. STR
    8. SAI
    7. ALO
    6. LEC
    5. RUS
    4. GAS
    3. HAM
    2. VER
    1. NOR

  17. If I were to answer the questions, based on 2020 performances, who deserves an F1 seat more, LAT or MSC, I would have to argue for MSC without hesitation. I think he deserves to be rated quite a lot higher.

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