Start, Sochi Autodrom, 2021

Vote for your 2021 Russian Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend

2021 Russian Grand Prix

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Which Formula 1 driver made the most of the Russian Grand Prix weekend?

It’s time to give your verdict on which driver did the best with the equipment at their disposal over the last three days.

Review how each driver got on below and vote for who impressed you the most at Sochi Autodrom.

Driver performance summary

DriverStartedGap to team mate (Q)Laps leading team matePittedFinishedGap to team mate (R)
Lewis Hamilton4th-0.66s52/5321st-67.533s
Valtteri Bottas16th+0.66s1/5325th+67.533s
Max Verstappen20th4/5322nd-36.805s
Sergio Perez8th49/5329th+36.805s
Lando Norris1st-2.163s51/5327th+21.617s
Daniel Ricciardo5th+2.163s2/5324th-21.617s
Lance Stroll7th-0.213s34/52211thNot on same lap
Sebastian Vettel10th+0.213s18/52212thNot on same lap
Esteban Ocon9th+1.661s0/52214thNot on same lap
Fernando Alonso6th-1.661s52/5226thNot on same lap
Charles Leclerc19th+0.546s24/52215thNot on same lap
Carlos Sainz Jnr2nd-0.546s28/5223rdNot on same lap
Pierre Gasly11th-0.11s52/52213th-64.669s
Yuki Tsunoda12th+0.11s0/52317th+64.669s
Kimi Raikkonen13th-1.437s44/5228thNot on same lap
Antonio Giovinazzi17th+1.437s8/52216thNot on same lap
Mick Schumacher14th-3.934s7/321
Nikita Mazepin15th+3.934s25/32218th
George Russell3rd+0.051s47/47210thNot on same lap
Nicholas Latifi18th-0.051s0/47119thNot on same lap

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Vote for your driver of the weekend

Which driver do you think did the best job throughout the race weekend?

Who got the most out of their car in qualifying and the race? Who put their team mate in the shade?

Cast your vote below and explain why you chose the driver you picked in the comments.

Who was the best driver of the 2021 Russian Grand Prix?

  • No opinion (0%)
  • Nicholas Latifi (0%)
  • George Russell (1%)
  • Nikita Mazepin (0%)
  • Mick Schumacher (0%)
  • Antonio Giovinazzi (0%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (1%)
  • Yuki Tsunoda (0%)
  • Pierre Gasly (0%)
  • Carlos Sainz Jnr (6%)
  • Charles Leclerc (0%)
  • Fernando Alonso (8%)
  • Esteban Ocon (0%)
  • Sebastian Vettel (0%)
  • Lance Stroll (0%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (0%)
  • Lando Norris (57%)
  • Sergio Perez (0%)
  • Max Verstappen (17%)
  • Valtteri Bottas (0%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (8%)

Total Voters: 249

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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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90 comments on “Vote for your 2021 Russian Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend”

  1. It must be Verstapen, from dead last to 2nd is a no brainer.

    1. Her hasn’t even participated in the qualification sessions. Driver of the day, maybe. Driver of the weekend, never in my book.

      1. Agree, he disqualifies himself from DOTW for his non-appearance on Saturday. And though he drove really well from the back of the grid, the rain boosted him up to second when he’d actually been dropping back (passed by Alonso). The final size of the gap between Hamilton and himself in second shows how lucky he was not to have anyone between them.

        1. @david-br
          “the rain”

          Lol, you mean that wet stuff that fell down on everyone at the same time?
          The stuff that made him, opposed to 3 WDC’s, call for inters and storm to second?

          Yeah right, luck……

          From 20th to 2nd, like a proper champ!

          1. As he was behind (and dropping back) he had little to lose in pitting earlier when the rain got heavier (much like Lewis on Lando Norris) and so jump those immediately ahead.

        2. To be honest not doing the Saterday was the very best Max could do… Otherwise he would be on pole and had to go the rear And damaged his engine unneeded.
          So i look at every DotW Lewis very bad Saterday and a good sunday Lando very good Saterday but a very very costly error ruined his sunday.
          Max did a good Saterday and a very good sunday
          Sainz a good saterday and also a very good Sunday (same as Max then looking to the places made up)
          Le Clerc a mm saterday (he tried things i heard) but had a bad sunday.
          All this keeping team performance in mind pitstops/tactics for the small points.

          1. I would say George Russel did also very well but things didn’t went his way on sunday…

            So Max, Sainz, George, Lando, Lewis, Charles and Kimi were the stars in my eyes… problem you can only give 1 person a vote @keithcollantine i would like a top 3 which you give 5 3 1 points which would give a more beter view of performance.

          2. @david-br

            He overtook 2 drivers in the wet on his slicks… are saying?

            Luck is parking your car in the barrier, fall a lap behind and be saved by a red flag.

            This was pure skill.

    2. For all the luck that has gone Hamilton’s way this season, it was Verstappen who was lucky today. Without the late rain shower he would have been 8th, behind Leclerc who also started from the back.

      1. Yeh the result was close to a lottery at the end, the ones finishing high lucky, and the ones finishing low unlucky

      2. And in your book the victory of Lewis had nothing to do with luck of course :)

  2. Norris. Hands down. Verstappen and Russell could be in it as well. But Norris was superb in qualifying and the race.

    1. Even Sainz too.

    2. If you don’t give a premium to driving up front then Alonso probably had a more impressive Sunday than all of those.

      But including Saturday it’s unfair to not give this one to Norris.

      1. If you include sunday and his mistake of ignoring the team’s strong advice to pit by saying “shut up” and missing the pit lane (which in the past with Tsunoda results in a 5 second penalty), that ruined his race result. This is enough to no longer vote him and I think it is a bit much to claim it is “unfair” not to vote Norris.

        1. No you are too harsh, because no one knew what the best option was at the time, to pit or not. This is driver of the weekend, and Norris did enough to get that vote, even driver of the race.

        2. Check the transcript of Norris’ team radio.
          There was no “strong advice” that the rain was going to intensify.
          Norris made a decision based on the information he had at the time, which was not the full picture.

          1. He was getting overtaken by a Hass that was driving well away from him… Surely that was information than he should have pitted?

  3. It has to be Lando Norris. Pole position with a perfect lap, than led the race and would have won on merit without the late rain shower, despite driving a slower car than Hamilton. His final lap pass was the icing on the cake. One of the best drives of the season.
    Honourable mentions to Charles Leclerc, Fernando Alonso and George Russell. Leclerc’s comeback drive was incredible, as he started on the back row with Verstappen but looked likely to beat him without the late rain shower despite the slow pitstop, and in a Ferrari. He had actually just passed Sainz before Sainz pitted for inters, and Leclerc can’t be faulted for the late error as he had no grip on slicks. Alonso put the Alpine where it had no business being, and might have snatched second if he had pitted for inters on the correct lap, with great pace in the wet and dry. Russell qualified a sensational third, and kept pace with Stroll for the entire race, taking tenth at the end. Sainiz and Raikkonen also impressed me this weekend.

    1. @f1frog

      As I said above, given the team strongly recommended that he pitted for inters and he said no and shut up in response and then a lap or two later said coincidently that he has to pit, then missed the pit entry which effectively should have got him a penalty.

      He was by far the best driver of the weekend until that point, but that was his error that ruined the result. So given his mistake was such a big one and resulted in losing so many places, I actually myself can’t even see how he can be considered for driver of the weekend any more. If the penalties were consistent, he should have finished 9th.

      Yes, the rain was what changed his race, but he dealt with it badly. Bottas wanted to pit a lap earlier than he did, and he showed that pitting as early as he did allowed him to shoot up the order. Basically, Norris’s decision made him get a worse result than Bottas who had a poor race overall.

      1. He was still driver of the race and weekend, as confirm we by race vote and this vote on this page, so you don’t have to write your oppinion too many times as it won’t away people

      2. @thegianthogweed

        Thanks for the same information twice…

  4. Max if Lando would win he got it but as they say the points are giving on sunday.

    1. And Max was flawless on Saturday :P

  5. Norris. Not sure he would have kept Hamilton back if it stayed dry. Also, I know it was lap 1 but Alonso and a few other drivers cut the corner and passed multiple drivers. Should have been penalized.

    1. I saw this too. Surprised that race control did not instruct Alonso to give one or two or even 3 places back. It was useless though because Hamilton, Perez and I am not sure if Ricciardo as well, overtook him afterwards.

      1. He slotted in behind the car he was fighting with before the corner (Stroll).
        No gain there except a risk free navigation of the most accident prone turn.


        Didn’t he warn before to enforce proper policing during lap 1? He is exploiting the same now as no action was taken when he asked for one. He took the line demonstrated by the FIA. Nothing illegal here.

    2. @jimfromus

      Norris. Not sure he would have kept Hamilton back if it stayed dry. Also, I know it was lap 1 but Alonso and a few other drivers cut the corner and passed multiple drivers. Should have been penalized.

  6. Before the rain came: Norris and Leclerc. But both failed to make the right call to pit. So despite they drove an incredible race you cannot overlook that they finished down the order.
    For Hamilton and Verstappen it was the other way around. They had a mediocre weekend before and only lucked into their position due to the weather.
    In the end I gave it to Alonso, closely followed by Raikkonen. They did called the right tyres and showed good pace in the dry too.

  7. I’m confused so many of you are saying Norris. I like the guy and wanted him to win, but he was only great until the rain came. Poor communication with his team coupled with misjudging an obvious call to come in for inters (if your sliding off the track with more than 5 laps to go your going to have a bad time) led to him finishing 7th when he should have at least finished 2nd. Sainz was probably the best as far as I could tell, finished 3rd despite poor strategy and pit stops.

    1. What?! Sainz got lucky, again.
      First of all, like Russell, he had nothing to lose by qualifying on dry tyres, nevertheless, well done.
      On sunday, ferrari opted for the obvious strategy of keeping track position, since they had outqualified the car, his strategy was the right one for him, the only question mark was whether his tyres were going to hold up in the final laps, I say probably. The strategy made sense for his pace though the same cannot be said to the quicker cars who followed him in, with the undercut there is no point in getting behind the drs train again.

    2. It’s worth noting that Sainz was overtaken on track by Leclerc when the rain started, the same lap he pitted for inters. And Leclerc started from the back of the grid. Sainz really struggled with tyre deg in this race but was saved by the rain. He was one of the earliest to pit and would have really faded badly in the last 5 laps if it wasn’t for the rain. He even told the team to be ready with both softs and inters, so I think he was going to take a late stop even if the rain didn’t come.

  8. Alonso overtook Sainz, Riccardo, Perez and even Verstappen. He performed his best race of the season (almost reached a second place) and all this with an Alpine. What else should the man do to be the DOTW?

    1. Agree, great drive, but 20th to 2nd is a greater drive.

    2. Never here

    3. Yeah for me it was a close call between Norris and Alonso. Both punched way above the car’s weight all weekend.

      Had to give it to Norris though. Up until the rain arrived he was absolutely flawless.

      1. And Alonso was flawless even when the rain arrived. One should see his onboard camera, the lap he made the pitstop, the way he managed to keep the car on tracks while Perez and Leclerc were sliding away from the track.

  9. As Ves fan I liked his show from 20th to 2nd. But Norris did an outstanding job untill the rain came. Not rewarded with a win in the end. Feeling pity I vote for Norris, the poor chap.

    1. A pity vote is not one for the driver of the day, right?

    2. @pietkoster Who is VES? Do uou Mean VER who lucked from a more likely P8 to a P2 with the rain lottery?

      1. Come on. yes, VES should be VER an ouo should be you. Waste of both our time.

        1. In his dimension he scored a win on you.
          Let the clown glow a little.

        2. It was uou, not ouo. Therfore you are no longer allowed to have an opinion on the subject ;-)

  10. I have to disagree, I am a Lando fan, I think he is pretty awesome for a young man, but he made the wrong call and ruined his own race, yes the team have done the media thing, but it was Lando who said “No” to changing tires. So really great up until then.
    Verstappen on the other hand made all the right calls to come from last to second, He called for the tire change.
    I have to believe the favouring of Lando over Vertappen here is the British vote.

    1. Taking back everything I said here…I was responding in completely the wrong article. Lando tops the weekend for me, but the rookie mistake does bring others a lot closer.

  11. Interesting that so many are talking about how well they wen in Quali or not ETC.
    This is a Driver Of The DAY vote, not a Driver Of The WEEK vote…

    1. Actually, My mistake, I was reading two articles. So I’ll take that all back, it is a Vote for Driver Of The WEEKEND, so i’m also going with Lando.

  12. Alonso quietly had an amazing race. As for verstappen, like Hamilton he did a good job in a fast car, and he really lucked into p2. Hamilton had a horror start and clawed his way back to where the car should be with a lot of help from others bad stops and weird strategy. I feel like sainz was also great but got disappeared by Ferrari strategy. Norris was good but choked at the end.

  13. The best three: Fernando, Alonso and Diaz. Sorry for LandoNorris who was doing pretty well, but rejecting the inters was a disaster

    1. To be fair even Alonso rejected the inters and that cost him the podium

      1. @todfod I watched Alonso’s onboard for the last 5 laps. His problem was that on track in the slippery conditions he seemed to be winning. He was dealing with the conditions better than his immediate rivals and overtook Sainz and Perez on track. The problem is he was losing time to those behind who had already pitted. So it looked like Alonso picked the perfect time to pit, but he actually lost out to Verstappen and Sainz who were taking out big chunks of time on the inters behind him. So it was the wrong decision, but understandable why he made it.

        1. He lost out to Ricciardo and Bottas as well of course despite never seeing them or racing them on track at the end.

      2. Yep, you have a point but he was doing the best driving job out there by far

  14. petebaldwin (@)
    27th September 2021, 2:24

    Norris for me. The rain came and whilst others could happily gamble and see what happens, he had a race to lose. His team didn’t take control and tell him to pit like Mercedes did so whilst it was a mistake not to put inters on, I don’t think Lando was “predominantly to blame.” The vastly more experienced Hamilton didn’t think pitting was the right idea either but his team spotted more rain on the way whereas McLaren didn’t.

    He drove really well throughout the weekend so he gets my vote. If we’re factoring in the decision at the end, then it had to be Verstappen as he got through the field well and chose to pit at exactly the right moment to get himself up to 2nd.

    1. Lando wasn’t predominantly to blame, he was entirely to blame. There’s a saying in racing, “to finish first, first you must finish”. Every racer in the hunt for a podium could say I would have won were it not for xxxx. At the end of the day, he shouted down his MUCH more experienced team, and made the call himself. In a similar but blameless vein, Ricciardo lost a couple of spots because of a poor pitstop, but very few have called that out.

    2. Indeed, there’s a reason they make up 3\4 of the votes of this poll, and they’re also the best drivers of the season so far.

    3. Nicely summed up!

    4. @petebaldwin There are a lot of factors here. Lando would never have pitted there giving up the lead and falling 24 seconds behind Lewis. The MotoGP victory by Brad Binder was fresh in everyone’s memories. Stick it out and you can win.

      I think Lando should have communicated better but Lewis was all over him, it was raining, and he was fighting for his 1st victory. Totally acceptable to act irrationally :-)

      This is where I think the team could have stepped in especially a senior person, Zak Brown would have been ideal to tell Lando that “based on the data they’ve seen, you should come in if you want to win!” Then again, I don’t know what data McLaren had.

      It’s one of those things that are tough to place blame on anyone. I think Lando did a stellar job to get close to the victory but it wasn’t meant to be. He’s now synonymous with Lewis’ 100th victory.

  15. Gave a look, noticed norris wins easily and went for the under-represented verstappen, but perfectly fine with norris winning this poll, he didn’t make mistakes, he went for a gamble and even after heavy rain managed to not retire and score some points.

    Out of the others voted here, I think alonso and sainz did a good job, hamilton only from the 2nd stint on, which isn’t enough to be considered a great weekend, even when you win the race, raikkonen drove well, also under-represented, leclerc and perez did a good job as well, missed out with the rain, ricciardo did what could be expected from him, not norris level but when norris’ gamble backfired scored some good points.

    Lando Norris (61%)
    Max Verstappen (15%)
    Fernando Alonso (7%)
    Carlos Sainz Jnr (7%)
    Lewis Hamilton (5%)
    Sergio Perez (1%)
    Daniel Ricciardo (1%)
    Charles Leclerc (1%)
    Kimi Raikkonen (1%)

    Total Voters: 97

    1. Glad to not see bottas in this poll since he was abysmal for 90% of the race and indeed, russell could’ve had some votes, he was for a long time 3rd in a williams that is still clearly not as fast as mclarens or ferraris.

    2. Is this how you pick you (future) partner? See how popular they are and go for the underdog :P

    3. @esploratore1 Verstappen was languishing in P7 until the final 5 laps or so. Ruined his tyres and dropped back almost a full minute behind Hamilton when they were actually close just after their stop.

      Yet again Verstappen was insanely lucky. And got a P2 when on performance a P8 was looking more likely

      1. Yes yes we know Max is a no talent scrublord yadayada.

      2. Let’s see, Hamilton lucked into a win and verstappen into second place.
        Lewis was unable to pass Norris and verstappen had some trouble on the the rain verstappen was about 1,5s faster then Lewis but to little laps left.

  16. Sainz is the DOTW, but I voted for Lewis as this is his 100th wins.

    1. @ruliemaulana why? Quali was an easy gamble for ferrari, their pace was not quick but he had track position and frankly @dmw Sainz had the right strategy, I don’t know why people think his strategy was poor, it was poor that many teams fell for his undercut, only to get back behind sainz. norris and lewis just streched their legs and went away, though if you don’t have the speed you need track position, since he was vulnerable on the straights their strategy was good and the hard tyre was pretty good. Was it gonna last? Luckily it rained.

  17. A little harsh on Lando, but I feel Sainz did the best job over the weekend.

    In spite of being one of the 1st drivers to the finish line in qualifying, he managed 2nd. Drivers like Russell, Hamilton had better chance of overhauling him but couldn’t.

    In the race, if you see the lap times of Lando and the Ferrari drivers, you can see that Ferrari was almost a second a lap slower on equal tyres and fuel. Lando’s fastest lap is a whopping 1.8s faster than Carlos’. In spite of that, Sainz still managed to hold lead for 11 laps.

    While the early pit-stop on lap 14 was clearly was a bad decision, Sainz did well to extend the 2nd stint. Without rain it seemed he would have hung around for a very creditable 3rd on one of the oldest set of tyres. That in itself was higher than what Ferrari thought was possible, 5th.

    When the rain came, although he had the most to lose from 3rd, he still went for the stop with 5 laps to go. The only other drivers who pitted on the lap earlier were Russell, Bottas, Raikkonen who were 10th or out of points and had nothing to lose.

    Only flaw was probably letting Max overtake him while on slicks. But then everybody had flaws yesterday.

    1. Close between Norris and Alonso, but Lando gets it for the daring qualifying lap, and especially keeping a cool head and saving tyres and having Mercedes pace for the last laps fight. I truly believe he would have beaten a Mercedes for the win in a clean fight. In a McLaren.

  18. Close between Norris and Alonso, but Lando gets it for the daring qualifying lap, and especially keeping a cool head and saving tyres and having Mercedes pace for the last laps fight. I truly believe he would have beaten a Mercedes for the win in a clean fight. In a McLaren.

    1. Yes, Norris is an impressive driver with a bright future!

  19. Norris. Especially liked the consistent lap times in the first stint of the race. Although the laps were mostly in free air, it was still a tough ask to keep life in those tyres for a long stint. Also put the car on pole on Saturday and recovered the lost first place in the race. Misjudged the variable conditions, but that’s where experience matters.

  20. DOTW: I still went for NOR, but DOTD: Harder to choose. The whole podium trio.

  21. Wow this is a tough one at shouldn’t be. It should be Norris by miles but the mistake at the end which was probably a mixture of his and the team’s just spoils it. Alonso was great until the end, solid drives from Hamilton, Russell, Sainz and Ricciardo. I’m inclined to go with Max for showing how to come from the back unlike the very limp Bottas, but he didn’t participate in Saturday!

    Stuff it, I’ll give it to Norris just because I was gutted for him.

  22. Rewind the race and this made me realise that luck was only partly to do with it. First of all the conditions are the same for everybody and handeling the wet and making the right call is part of F1.
    Second point, both Sainz and Ricardo switched to intermediates on the same lap as Max but max finished ahead on pure racecraft. 2nd instead of 4th.
    Third point, Lewis had the same amount of luck as Max with the rain if you count the championship points. Also Toto Wolf said this in the postrace interview.
    So for me Max DOTW.
    But I have to admit I am not objective ;-) and feel sorry for Lando should have been his victory

    1. Seems like a fair assessment to me. The deciding factors to choose between Norris and Verstappen would be nailing or misjudging the inter call. But Verstappen didn’t even put a time on the board on saturday. While I think that is lame, it was probably the smart thing to do.

  23. Alonso, Sainz and Verstappen can all be very pleased with how they played their cards this weekend.

    Very solid, and somewhat unexpected, results for the three of them.

  24. Norris, not just of the weekend but probably of the season after a few up and down weekends from Max.

  25. Driver of the weekend can only be Norris.
    He made a bad decision in the last laps but until then the best by far.
    Keeping a much faster Mercedes behind him and making the best of quali. Norris DOTW.

    1. I would love to hear what is happening behind closed doors at Mercedes right now. I guess Bottas doesn”t want to interfere with the WDC in a negative way and leave it up to them.

    2. Indeed. At the end of the day, they’ve chosen to fire him. He owes them nothing anymore!

  26. Hamilton.
    Victory N°100.

  27. Alonso. Of course I would love to vote Norris and he will win this vote, but at the end of the day he didn’t want to listen to his team at the end and unlike Ricciardo, made the wrong call. I know they should have been more firm with him, but his brashness with his engineer probably led to that hesitation. Alonso on the other hand did pretty much everything right this weekend, amazing performance.

  28. I can see Norris as a popular pick. And he realistically he was so until lap 50 of the race.

    However, I choose Carlos Sainz as my driver of the weekend. Got the front row and managed to lead. Probably used tyres too much early which caused him to pit too early for hards but it’s also easy to say that Ferrari isn’t as good car as Mercedes, Red Bull or even McLaren. And he was one of those who made a change to intermediates early enough to gain from the decision, ending up with 3rd place.

  29. I don’t want to comment on other people here, but you leave me no choice. I am not a fan of Lewis Hamilton as a person, but I fight little battles here in comments with his “hardcore” supporters fanbase. But now I realize they are not Lewis fans but just British fans, as there could be no longer a reason why Norris has got more votes than Hamilton in this poll. See, Even people like me are voting for LH because we are RaceFans and F1Fanatics, and anyone who has that spirit would identify with me that getting a 100 victories in F1 is greater “drive” then ignoring your team and to “drive” with ill-suited tires in your pomp. That aside, for all those who wished Schumi to touch 100 and see these records tumbling in their presence, they must be proud today to vote for Lewis Hamilton to be the driver of the day, Just like I did. As a F1 Fanatic , as a Race Fan . @keithcollantine

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