The F1 races of 2021 ranked by RaceFans readers – including the lowest score ever

2021 F1 season review

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With 22 races, six different winners, 13 drivers standing on the podium at least once and both championships coming down to the final round, the 2021 Formula 1 season is one that will live long in the memory.

But while fans were treated to some heart-pounding action on a number of occasions through the year, this season also produced the most universally disliked race RaceFans readers have seen since we began our ‘Rate the Race’ polls 14 seasons and almost 300 grandsago.

Take a look back at the enthralling – and often polarising – races of the 2021 season from the worst rated to the highest rated of the year.

22. Belgian Grand Prix

Average rating: 1.9/10

The Belgian Grand Prix scored the lowest-ever rating
RaceFans readers’ lowest rated race of the 2021 season will be of no surprise. It was also the least popular race in the history of ‘Rate the Race’.

A race that very literally wasn’t, the Belgian Grand Prix lasted just three laps. Run entirely behind the safety car due to visibility-ruining wet conditions around Spa, it was controversially awarded half points after race control decided it had fulfilled the minimum race distance requirement.

Possibly the only redeemable aspect of the weekend would have been for Williams fans, who got to witness a significantly dampened podium for George Russell’s second place.

21. Monaco Grand Prix

Average rating: 4.0/10

Charles Leclerc took a dramatic home pole position, crashing at the swimming pool section in the final moments of Q3 but despite an overnight repair job to his car, was unable to start the race. That promoted Max Verstappen to an effective pole, Bottas alongside him. The Mercedes driver might have been able to challenge Verstappen on strategy, had he not been foiled by a stuck wheel nut that saw him retire in the pits.

Typically overtaking-free – bar an impressive pass by Sebastian Vettel on the hill that the television director decided was less interesting than a replay of Lance Stroll missing a chicane – Verstappen led Carlos Sainz Jnr and Lando Norris home for an exuberant podium that saw the Red Bull driver take the championship lead.

20. Styrian Grand Prix

Average rating: 5.4/10

The first race of two around the Red Bull Ring this season proved to be the far less intriguing of the pair.

Mercedes and Red Bull seemed to far outclass the rest of the field around Spielberg. Other cars were distant competition as even fifth-place Norris was lapped before the chequered flag.

A comparatively pedestrian round, by 2021’s standards, Verstappen won from pole while the only shuffle behind him to speak of was Bottas and Hamilton swapping for second. Two retirements happened: Pierre Gasly, after contact with Leclerc early on, and Russell, following a hydraulic failure while the Williams had been running in a points-paying position.

19. Mexico City Grand Prix

Average rating: 5.8/10

Mercedes swept the front row but Verstappen blasted through from third on the grid and ran away with it, the Red Bull’s slight pace advantage at the previous round in Austin turning into total superiority around Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez. Hamilton was never able to seriously contend the lead thereafter, except in a window after the Red Bull’s pit stop.

Sergio Perez became the first Mexican driver to lead his home grand prix and his third-place finish might as well have been a win as far as the raucous home crowd were concerned.

18. Saudi Arabian Grand Prix

Average rating: 6.1/10

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2021
The controversial Saudi Arabia race proved polarising
The brand new Jeddah Corniche Circuit delivered on controversy during its debut grand prix.

After an early red flag following Mick Schumacher’s crash, Verstappen and Hamilton battled at the restart before a multi-car pile-up saw the race stopped again. More action at the restart between the title contenders was followed by the pair battling for the lead in the final third of the race, with a highly contentious collision on the back straight proving to be the peak of the drama at the front.

Hamilton won the race from Verstappen who was penalised twice, with Bottas snatching a podium from Ocon in the final few metres of the race.

2021 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix report

17. Portuguese Grand Prix

Average rating: 6.2/10

Bottas claimed pole at Autodromo do Algarve but the battle between Red Bull and Mercedes was mostly won in the pits, an enormous first stint for Hamilton paying off and not so for Perez, as Red Bull tried to cover off all strategies.

An early safety car that briefly gave Verstappen the lead was caused by the Alfa Romeo drivers colliding while Alpine – who had looked uncompetitive in previous races – suddenly roared into life, both drivers finishing in the top ten.

16. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Average rating: 6.3/10

The final race of the season was set up to be an all-time classic, but ultimately proved to be one of the most polarising races in Rate the Race history.

The two championship protagonists were level on points and lined up on the front row ready for a straight shootout for the title. There was excitement from the opening lap, with Hamilton passing polesitter Verstappen at the start, before a lunge from the Red Bull driver into turn six saw Hamilton miss turn seven and retain the lead. Perez fought hard to hold up Hamilton and allow Verstappen to bridge the gap after the title contenders pitted, but Hamilton appeared to have the pace to keep in control of the race out front.

Then, Nicholas Latifi’s crash with five laps to go allowed Red Bull to go all-in with a move to soft tyres, while Mercedes chose to stay out. FIA F1 race director Michael Masi’s controversial call to allow only five lapped cars between the two leaders pass the safety car before a final lap restart left Hamilton desperately vulnerable to his rival.

Verstappen passed Hamilton on the last lap to take the chequered flag and win both the race and the championship, while an outraged Mercedes team immediately protested the result. After days of agonising over whether to appeal the stewards’ dismissal of their protests, Mercedes eventually announced they would not take the matter further, confirming Verstappen as champion.

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix report

15. British Grand Prix

Average rating: 6.3/10

The first sprint weekend of 2021 saw Hamilton take Friday pole, Verstappen win the sprint and Perez discover the hazards of the format as a spin caused him so much damage he was forced to start from the rear of the grand prix.

The grand prix provided more drama in a single lap: Verstappen and Hamilton had a high-speed collision that saw Verstappen hit the barriers hard. A red flag restart saw Hamilton cop a ten second time penalty for the accident, but he was still able to catch and pass Leclerc in the closing laps to claim an eighth home grand prix win – a major blow to Red Bull’s title lead.

14. Qatar Grand Prix

Average rating: 6.4/10

Sergio Perez, Red Bull, Losail International Circuit, 2021
Qatar’s debut was more exciting than many predicted
Despite fears from the drivers, right up until the race start, that there might be no overtaking opportunities around the Losail circuit, the inaugural Qatar Grand Prix did see a reasonable amount of action.

Hamilton and Verstappen ran away with the lead but much of the rest of the race was made interesting by the return of mysterious tyre failures. Bottas, Russell, Latifi and Norris all suffered from punctures – especially frustrating for the McLaren, who had been running in a good position and only able to salvage ninth.

The driver to profit from any tyre chaos, however, was Alonso, who took third place for his first podium finish since 2014 as Hamilton won ahead of Verstappen.

13. Dutch Grand Prix

Average rating: 6.5/10

One of 2021’s more processional races, Zandvoort did not lend itself particularly to overtaking. However, the heavily revised circuit was popular with drivers and featured some uncommonly high-banked corners that allowed for some unusual lines and opened up new passing opportunities that otherwise would not exist.

The vibrant Dutch fans would not have been disappointed by Verstappen taking pole and then a comfortable win, crossing the line 20 seconds ahead of Hamilton.

12. Spanish Grand Prix

Average rating: 6.5/10

Despite the Circuit de Catalunya’s tendency to produce pedestrian racing, 2021 saw it at least come down to tyre strategy, where a two-stop for Hamilton saw him gain an advantage over Verstappen in the early title chase.

Behind them, relatively little drama occurred bar a retirement for Yuki Tsunoda – whose rookie teething troubles were starting to show more obviously – due to an electrical failure. After a difficult start at McLaren, Daniel Ricciardo finished ahead of team mate Lando Norris for the first time.

11. Turkish Grand Prix

Average rating: 6.6/10

The lowest-rated rain-affected race of the season was also the second wet race in a row at the Istanbul circuit.

A mixed-condition start saw drivers have to make complicated calls about when to pit from initial intermediate runs. Hamilton, who had taken a grid penalty for a replacement combustion engine, made an attempt to go to the end of the race on his starting tyres (as is permitted in wet conditions) that ultimately fell apart in the final laps, allowing Red Bull to claim a two-three finish behind race winner Bottas.

Esteban Ocon did make the unlikely strategy work, running the whole grand prix distance on a flayed set of intermediate tyres to claim the last points place, despite nearly being beaten by Antonio Giovinazzi in the final corners.

10. Austrian Grand Prix

Average rating: 6.8/10

The second race at the Red Bull Ring was far more entertaining than the first,.

Verstappen’s first ever career grand slam – starting on pole, leading every lap and taking fastest lap – was at least in part due to longstanding friend Norris’ excellent performance. Norris claimed second place in qualifying and was able to hold off both Perez and Hamilton for much of the opening stint, letting Verstappen build up a lead.

Although Norris dropped down the order, he recovered to third after damage on Hamilton’s car saw him fade in the later stages of the race. Bottas, who had started fifth, made the most improvement to claim second.

A controversial five-second penalty awarded to Norris for forcing Perez wide immediately came back to haunt decision makers when they had to then award the same penalty to Perez for similar action against Leclerc. Ocon was the only retirement after lap one contact.

9. United States Grand Prix

Average rating: 7.7/10

The largest crowd for a grand prix ever held in the United States may not have witnessed the most eventful race of the season, but they did enjoy a tense duel between Verstappen and Hamilton.

Hamilton took the lead into turn one, but Verstappen was able to successfully undercut his rival to get back into the lead of the race. In the closing laps, Hamilton whittled the gap down to Verstappen to within one second at the final lap, setting the scene for an anxious end of the race. However, Hamilton was unable to get close enough to make an attempt on the lead and Verstappen held on to take his eighth win of the year.

8. Azerbaijan Grand Prix

Average rating: 7.8/10

Baku produced the most unlikely podium of the season
Leclerc took his second pole of the season, however, Ferrari’s lack of race pace became apparent around Baku’s straights. Verstappen had been irritated not to set his final lap in Q3 once again, this time due to a combined crash between Ricciardo and Sainz but, nonetheless, led the race for much of the distance before both he and Lance Stroll suffered alarming tyre failures out of the final corner.

Hamilton could, most likely, have claimed a win after the red flag restart following Verstappen’s retrieval. However, he fumbled a ‘brake magic’ button and locked up at the first corner, finishing outside the points. Perez instead took the win with surprise podiums for Vettel and Gasly alongside him.

7. Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix

Average rating: 8.2/10

The first wet start of the season, drivers struggled through changing conditions as Verstappen avoided mistakes while Hamilton made them. Hamilton lost the lead to Verstappen off the line and made things harder for himself by going into gravel at Tosa halfway through the race distance, forcing him to recover places.

Hamilton was aided in his recovery up the field by a red flag caused by Russell and Bottas dramatically colliding while the Williams and Mercedes were fighting over ninth place, both – as well as Toto Wolff – vocally unhappy about the incident afterwards. More harmoniously, the first of several battles through the year between Hamilton and Norris played out in the final laps as the McLaren tried to hold on to second, eventually accepting third for his first podium finish of the year.

6. French Grand Prix

Average rating: 8.3/10

Although previous years at Paul Ricard had produced notably dismal races, the 2021 edition was surprisingly dramatic.

Verstappen had taken pole but was passed by Hamilton off the line. However, a two-stop strategy from Red Bull saw him reclaim the lead as Hamilton (and many other drivers) began to struggle in the later laps. Perez joined the title rivals on the podium for a Red Bull one-three.

Despite qualifying fifth and seventh, Sainz and Leclerc finished 11th and 16th in a seemingly inexorable slide down the order as they struggled with serious graining on cold tyres.

5. Sao Paulo Grand Prix

Average rating: 8.3/10

In an inversion to the Red Bull’s pace advantage he previous round in Mexico City, Hamilton appeared to be virtually unstoppable in Brazil. Despite being excluded from Friday’s qualifying session for a technical infringement, Hamilton recovered 15 places in the sprint qualifying race and then, again, was hit by a further five-place grid penalty for taking a new internal combustion engine.

Despite his setbacks, Hamilton was able to make up the remaining ten positions during the grand prix in order to take the victory.

Verstappen kept hold of second but the Red Bull’s pace had never been in competition with Hamilton’s. Controversy over Verstappen pushing Hamilton wide, as he made the pass for the lead in the final stages of the race, led to no effect on the result.

4. Italian Grand Prix

Average rating: 8.4/10

Daniel Ricciardo, McLaren, Monza, 2021
Monza was a memorable race – particularly for McLaren
For the second successive season, Monza produced a memorable race and an unlikely winner.

The second sprint event of 2021 put McLaren in the spotlight, after locking out the second row following the sprint qualifying race. Although Bottas and Verstappen started ahead of Ricciardo and Norris, Bottas was relegated to the back of the grid for a power unit replacement penalty and Ricciardo passed Verstappen for the lead at the start.

Although a dramatic collision between Hamilton and Verstappen took both out of the race, Ricciardo had the lead on merit and McLaren were subsequently able to bring home the only one-two finish of 2021 and their first F1 victory since 2012.

3. Bahrain Grand Prix

Average rating: 8.6/10

The season-opener back in March set the tone for how the 2021 championship would pan out: a closely-fought scrap between Hamilton and Verstappen tinged with plenty of controversy over regulations and penalties.

Verstappen took pole but Hamilton was able to come out ahead of him in pit strategy and stay ahead by exceeding track limits at turn four – only for race control to seemingly begin enforcing them mid-race. A late-race passing attempt by Verstappen wasn’t enough and Bahrain saw one of the few Hamilton/Verstappen/Bottas podiums this year.

Further down the field, Alpine and Aston Martin fumbled for pace while AlphaTauri’s Tsunoda put in a genuinely impressive rookie performance on his grand prix debut, including an eye-catching overtake on Alonso.

2. Hungarian Grand Prix

Average rating: 8.7/10

A pile-up at turn one saw Bottas, Perez, Norris and Stroll all taken out of the race, with Verstappen and Ricciardo carrying massive damage to their cars from then on.

Were that not dramatic enough, the red flag restart saw the track dry enough that every car bar leader Hamilton – who might otherwise have taken an easy win – pit for slick tyres, leaving the Mercedes alone on the grid in one of the most bizarre images seen in the sport’s history.

Hamilton fought back up the order after pitting the subsequent lap but a robustly brilliant defence by Alonso kept him at bay long enough for Alpine team mate Ocon to take his first ever F1 victory and Alpine’s first since their return to factory-team status. At the absolute back of the grid, Williams also scored their first points for over two years, in a double-points finish that saw Latifi and Russell finish seventh and eighth.

1. Russian Grand Prix

Average rating: 9/10

Sochi thrilled readers more than any other race in 2021
Few would have predicted prior to the start of the year that the Sochi Autodrom would produce RaceFans readers’ high-rated race of the 2021 season.

Unsurprisingly, the intervention of the weather played a big role in the dramatic action that unfolded throughout the course of the race.

McLaren fans’ joy in Monza turned to sorrow in Sochi as Norris took pole and led most of the race, confidently re-passing Sainz after an early loss of the lead and able to hold Hamilton behind him.

In the final laps, rain fell increasingly heavily and a bad call by Norris to attempt to hold on the chequered flag on slick tyres saw his potential win slide – along with his car – away into the runoff. Hamilton, who had taken advantage of a comfortable window to pit from second, claimed the win and Verstappen’s fight up the grid after taking power unit penalties was aided enough by the sudden change in conditions to claim second, ahead of Sainz.

What about the sprint qualifying races?

Formula 1 declared its new sprint qualifying format a success after just two events – in Britain and Monza – and committed to six more in 2022. The most lively race came at Interlagos, when Hamilton was forced to climb 15 places up the order after being excluded from Friday qualifying for a technical infringement.

Sprint races allowed teams to potentially play with strategies on tyres and fuel but the first two produced variations on Verstappen, Hamilton and Bottas as the top results, hardly shaking up the usual order. Carlos Sainz Jnr took third-place honours in Brazil, with Hamilton relegated down the order, although it wasn’t a position he could keep hold of in the grand prix.

While F1 loudly trumpeted the format as a success, its own poll showed the views of fans were mixed at best, and RaceFans readers greeted its introduction with scepticism.

British Grand Prix Sprint Qualifying rating: 4.9/10
Italian Grand Prix Sprint Qualifying rating: 3.2/10
Sao Paulo Grand Prix Sprint Qualifying rating: 5.5/10

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Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a motorsport and automotive journalist with a particular interest in hybrid systems, electrification, batteries and new fuel technologies....

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60 comments on “The F1 races of 2021 ranked by RaceFans readers – including the lowest score ever”

  1. These ratings used to be a great barometer for how good a race actually was. But with an increasingly biased and politicised f1 world (people rate 10 or 1 depending if they’re a hamilton/verstappen fan), they’re not quite as indicative.

    Also – was Bahrain really that good?!

    Anyhow, merry Christmas everyone!

    1. The polarised ratings are certainly indicative of the digital partisan era, excluding races like Belgium of course. I would hope that future seasons aren’t as divided, but online folk will always find a way.

      Bahrain was probably more indicative of Hamilton’s domination era crumbling!

      1. Don’t speak too soon about domination era crumbling, ferrari had dominant cars in 2001, 2002, 2004, so when people finally were able to compete in 2003 they then found a dominant car again the year after, and mercedes had 2014-2016, then 2 competitive years and then went back to being dominant 2 more years, so you never know with the new regulations.

        1. I have a feeling that he will never win another Drivers Championship & stay tied with Michael on 7. Next years car may well be competitive but I expect Russell to get the better of him IF he doesn’t announce retirement.

    2. I think Bahrain was rated highly cause it was quite a good tactical battle. Alongside the fact that people sensed that there was a genuine championship battle on the cards made it more exciting for the season.

      Abu Dhabi on the other hand, this was a terrible race up until the safety car (and I will leave it there).

      1. Yes, there was no competition in the lead in abu dhabi, and a thing I feel the article misses is the reverse grid aspect helping, example in russia: it was a pretty good race even before the rain, rain made it great, not to mention the hamilton-norris battle and having some unusual drivers leading.

        1. Yeah but what F1 doesn’t seem to understand is that people love a mixed up grid when it happens due to bizarre and rare circumstances. I hate that, in their polls, I am almost afraid to indicate that I like the mixed up races, because I feel like they will abuse it to make artificially mixed up races. Which takes away all the fun of the mix up.

          1. In this thread You (pl.) sum up what’s ‘wrong’ with these polls.
            1. Polarised fans;
            2. Only rating fight for the lead;
            3. Fans like unexpected mix-ups.

            PS Spa was not a race and shouldn’t have been included in the RtR poll.

          2. Spa, however, had to be included as the FIA defined it as a race and (largely by luck) no on-track disasters happened.

    3. @cduk_mugello Indeed. I really enjoyed the 17th 14th and 13th best rated races. This trend is not new. Shanghai got some of the best ever ratings just because McLaren won these races back in the early 10’s.

      1. That’s very strange people would vote that high just cause mclaren won.

        1. @esploratore1 there are more trends like that. Australia got really bad ratings because people’s expectations for the season were often not met, after a few rounds the ratings self adjust around the 3rd or 4th round. A new or unusual winner can make a race get rated a lot higher (monza, gasly and ricciardo). British winners, tend to get better ratings, for example RB’s domination years have lower scores than Merc’s domination years even though merc’s domination has been more conclusive.

        2. @esploratore1 It’s logical because the most popular driver in F1 right now is neither Lewis nor Max; it’s Lando Norris. McLaren is popular in its own right as well. Bonus: unlike Max and Lewis, Lando doesn’t have a strong locus of anti-Lando fans like Lewis and Max do, so his success isn’t seen as inherently bad by any major faction of F1 fans.

    4. Not exactly true. The majority of fans vote for Max these days. Also. Keeping mind that people like crazy races or an underdog getting a top resupt.

    5. Agreed, it very much feels like people are voting on the result and not on the excitement level. The Saudi race was genuinely tense and exciting but it’s rated really low while the Monza race is oddly high (popular winner I guess).

      Of the typical races (ie not the whacky grid order or other oddities like in Hungary, which was still awesome) I think France was my highlight.

      1. @frood19 For me Saudi is too high on the list … the track was clearly not ready for racing and unsuitable for F1 in any case. Any tension was sucked out of the race by the lengthy (and inevitable) red flag periods. And the low-speed game of bumper cars between Hamilton and Verstappen was cringeworthy rather than exciting.

      2. @frood19 For me, the Saudi Arabian race should not have happened as the track was patently unsafe, and the multiple acts of blatant rule-breaking by the FIA (which, unlike Abu Dhabi, didn’t directly change the result) eclipsed events on track. It was more evidence that the season is too long. There is another factor – positioning in the calendar. Notice that the last 8 races (i.e. those following Monza) only produced 2 races that met or exceeded a score of 7/10 (25%), as opposed to the previous 14 races providing 8 races that met or exceeded that threshold (57%). This is despite the previous 14 races including Spa (that according to the FIA’s own regulations should never have started) and Monaco (where the only driver who managed any overtaking there the previous time Monaco had run lasted minus one corner, taking much of the energy out of the race before it began).

        Had the 2021 F1 season ended in Monza or soon afterwards, it would have been an extremely strong season. Attempting to take it to 22 rounds dragged things down a lot.

  2. Plenty of memorable races and a ludicrous amount of controversy – we’ll remember this season for years! Hopefully 2022 is a little bit quieter on the drama front ;)

    1. I agree @ciaran the last 6 months or so I was genuinely arranging my day so I could watch races (don’t tell the wife, I think I got away with it..!) and shouted at the TV a few times. That’s not happened for a while. I’m glad the debacle happened at the last race as it gives me 3 months to try and forget it before the new season starts.

  3. This quite clearly shows two things:
    – How classic this season actually was
    – How devisive this season actually was

    I am guessing, if you take away the votes of the more avid Lewis and Max fans, and take a bigger picture approach, the drama was there to make races memorable.
    Starting with the non-race in Spa, which is historic to say the least.
    But also Silverstone, Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia and even Mexico might be viewed higher than the average indicates, on the long term. They were all pretty memorable, or at least more than their rating indicates.

    That almost all of the Top 10 is well beyond 7.5 on average is a testament to the greatness of this incredible season!

    1. Surprising to see how good Sochi and Paul Ricard were, with their normally boring races. And they were great – even without the rain at the end of Sochi it would have been up there!

      1. Absolutely, said it as well that russia was already good before the rain, helped by having 3 drivers in good cars starting from the back and unusual drivers battling for the lead, for mexico as a verstappen fan I’m gonna say the gaps were too wide among drivers, not a lot of battles happening, like always happens on that track, so that would explain the low rating.

    2. Spa could’ve been an incredible race if they had let it run, reminded me of 1998 conditions!

      1. @esploratore1 Or Spain 1996, Fuji 2007 or a handful of other wet races that have been run in the past … conditions were bad but not exceptionally so.

        1. Indeed, they really went overboard with safety lately in wet conditions, I think spain 1996 was run in green flag conditions all time, fuji already had an incredibly long safety car early on, 19 laps or so before the actual race started.

          1. I think given it wasn’t too long ago since Hubert’s fatality at Spa, you can forgive their playing it safe. The race should never have been awarded points though.

          2. @esploratore1 Spain 1996 ran with ambulances close enough to the hospital that drivers could have been taken care of had they got injured. Spa 2021 did not.

          3. (And Fuji 2007 had that long Safety Car as a compromise between Bernie – who wanted green flag conditions – and Gary Hartstein, who correctly pointed out that the helicopter had nowhere to land at the hospital due to conditions there being worse than at the track. After 19 laps, conditions improved to the point where the helicopter could have landed at the hospital, which was why the green flag waved at that point. If it had been purely down to take-off (i.e. track) conditions, the race would have started much earlier).

      2. Ah yes the race where undoubtedly several drivers would have been killed had Coulthard lost it a few hundred metres further down the road…

        1. And imagine if a meteorite had hit and nobody saw it coming due to the bad weather.

      3. @esploratore1 Given it ran without medical cover, it could have been a catastrophe…

  4. Racefans readers. Ok interesting. I guess F1 is more interested in how many TV viewers they had worldwide at the start of the season and at the end. Sponsors looking at that too. For them it was a great season no matter who won. They don’t care.

  5. I dont remember how long the “rate the race” is going, but I’d be nice to see the accumulated rate for the same venue during the years.

    1. Gusmaia The list hasn’t yet been updated for this season by the looks of it, but there is a page that has the average scores for all the races that have been rated since 2008 (excluding Japan 2014 due to Bianchi’s incident)

      And a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you!

  6. Odd choices.

    Zandvoort better than Jeddah? Really?!

    One was fast and mental, the other was a complete procession.

    1. One was a venue completely unsuited to F1 that the FIA made some really bad calls at, the other was at least a venue potentially compatible with racing where events reflected the athletes’ actual performance (or lack thereof, in the case of the low number of overtakes).

  7. These ratings are influenced by deluded fans hitting the ‘1’ button.
    Anyway, 18 races out out 22 were rated above 6; 9 above 7.5. This shows how good this season was.

    1. I think the results are pretty representative though, what I expected to be a good race was rated well and viceversa, I guessed both the best and worst race before checking, I knew monza was great and it ended up being 4th etc.

      1. @esploratore1 I think Silverstone, an on the whole decent race, was pretty hard done by due to certain fans rating it 1/10 simply for the lap 1 incident. It had some good battles throughout the field and a good, close battle to the finish.

        1. Yes, silverstone is probably the outlier, the most hit by the controversy, otherwise the leclerc chase was good, this happened probably even more so to canada 2019 which was also another great race, but people didn’t approve the penalty (many of them at least, me included, in both cases).

  8. Also, verstappen’s zandvoort win was all but comfortable, the ending gap doesn’t tell the whole story, hamilton very close most of the race + the bottas slowing down trick.

    1. @esploratore1

      Qualifying was also a lot of fun at Zandvoort with the challenging track.

  9. The bookends of this list are on point.
    Spa, which is typically an exciting and fast track, is nullified by weather and quite frankly criminal organization and management. The “race” which was not a race, given there was not a single lap under green flag running, not allowing any opportunity for passing.
    Sochi, on the other hand, a typically uneventful race can thank the rain for spicing up the finish. Norris’ driving to hold back Hamilton was textbook.

  10. As a couple of others have mentioned, this tells me one thing in particular: fan tribalism has spread to appreciation of races. Silverstone was a very enjoyable race to watch, with action throughout the field and through most of the race, and a close and interesting battle right to the end. But it ends up 15th.

    My least favourite races of the year:
    20: Saudi Arabia – An entirely predictable and expected series of calamities and farces that could have been easily avoided by using a more suitable track.
    21: Abu Dhabi – the farce at the end. Only kept off the bottom by…
    22: Belgium – Need I say more. Hardly even qualifies as a race

    My personal top 5 races this year:
    5. Britain
    4. Monza (as a McLaren fan, even I’m guilty of the tribalism)
    3. Russia
    2. Hungary
    1. France (never expected I’d be saying that, but in my opinion, the best pure race all season long. Action at the front and in the midfield, and no need even for a SC of VSC to spice things up)

    Honourable mentions: Bahrain, Imola, USA, Brazil

    Merry Christmas everybody and a happy new year!

  11. My ranking:
    1. Hungary
    2. Britain
    3. Russia
    4. Monza
    5. Imola
    6. Austria
    7. Brazil
    8. Austria
    9. Bahrain
    10. France
    11. USA
    12. Spain
    13. Baku
    14. Netherlands
    15. Saudi Arabia
    16. Turkey
    17. Portugal
    18. Styria
    19. Monaco
    20. Mexico
    21. Belgium
    22. Abu Dhabi

    The main thing I noticed from this is just how many amazing races we had this year. If it weren’t for that final lap it would be the greatest season of all time.

    1. @f1frog What I find incredible, is the amount of variety in best races possible from this season. For example, you’ve put Hungary first (it’s second for me), but my favourite this season was France, which was only number 10 on your list. I chose France first because I loved the battle upfront between all 4 drivers of the top 2 teams, and some great action in the midfield (especially the McLarens charging through the field), and I felt it was the best pure race of the season. I think any of your top 10, apart from maybe the two Austria races, could quite easily be considered the race of the season. This year, until Abu Dhabi, truly was incredible.

      1. I don’t think abu dhabi ruins the season, anything that balances out luck a bit is good, I don’t like luck deciding the championship and I didn’t like it even in 2016, before I get accused of favouritism.

        I think good races in no particular order were: france, zandvoort, russia, monza, turkey, usa, imola, brazil.

        1. The only reason you (in a minority) do not think AD ruins the remarkable season is because you dislike the guy who was winning until the RD decided TV and liberty needed a different outcome. In complete acquiesce with the ‘new order’ which I can almost guarantee will cause huge upheaval of the sport once a few EMP get on their horses.

          In other words Hamilton who entered that race on equal points and just one freely awarded race ahead on count back, did everything right and was handing your favourite his backside, had inexplicable controversial and frankly appalling help to win.

          If it was in reverse you would be up in arms.

      2. Hungary also can’t be missing from this list.

  12. This only goes to show how divisive this season was. I remember how in 2014 we had a number of races rated in the 9s as we exited the Red Bull domination and entered the Mercedes era. Nobody can argue against the fact, however, that this 2021 season had the most “bang-per-race” that I’ve ever seen. Barring a minute number of boring races, every single weekend this season was an absolute classic. Lovely to have been here for it.

    1. Yes, there’s been a high level of competition and many great races.

  13. Abu Dhabi went a small way towards leveling the balance of luck for Max. It just so happened to be the decider which made it magnify the pain for Mercedes. For pure entertainment, Abu Dhabi should be near the top of the list. We all watch sport for entertainment after all.

  14. Alonso keeping an eye on the possibility of a Mercedes seat becoming available.

    1. Oh that was meant for the caption, never mind…

  15. Top 6: the 2 races won by outsiders, 1 by Verstappen and 4 by Hamilton. Interesting…

  16. The lowest-rated rain-affected race of the season was also the second wet race in a row at the Istanbul circuit.

    It is a mistake. The lowest rain-affected race was Spa.

  17. Interestingly, there is quite a big gap between the top 9 and the rest. Overall, I think the ratings are fairly low given how amazing the title battle was (he median rating was about 6.5; I don’t know how it compares to earlier seasons, but it certainly doesn’t look impressive). I’ve never seen such an intense fight between two great drivers that were so evenly matched over the course of the season. The format produced some great races, in which the title protagonists would swap places right at the end of the race (or not), which added to its unpredictability. It just was impossible to predict who would win the championship. 2021 was one of the best seasons of at least this century.

  18. My ranking – included with sprint races:(i changed my opinion about few race)
    Amazing tier:
    1. Russia
    2. Hungary
    3. Emilia Romagna
    4. Bahrein
    5. French – it was a clean race between rivals, it had lot of action and there was no stupid penalty and Paul Ricard deserves more positive attention
    6. Italian
    Good tier:
    7. Brazilian
    8. Austrian
    9. Azerbaijan
    10. Abu Dhabi –
    11. Brazilian sprint
    12. British – Leclerc almost won “the most overreacted race ever” GP and Verstapoen/Hamilton fandom became to SJW Twitter warrior
    Okay tier:
    13. Spain
    14. Saudi – disappointed but in a good way
    15. British sprint
    16. USA – just like in 2018. Enjoyable but overhyped
    17. Qatar – another positive disappointment
    18. Portugal – not classical but i like it
    19. Turkey – “rain makes races better” busted
    Meh tier:
    20. Styrian – disappointing
    Bad tier:
    21. Dutch – some action between rivals
    22. Mexico – at least the first lap was entertaining
    Unwatchable tier:
    23. Monaco – dull race, good result
    24. Italian sprint – yawn af
    25. Belgian – never again

    Great season but it have been ruined by FIA and childish fandom

  19. These Ranking might be more representative as a median rather than mean average (in the ‘mean’ the extreme voters have a disproportional impact on the outcome):

    1. (1) Russia: 9.19
    2. (2) Hungary: 9.07
    3. (3) Bahrain: 8.8
    4. (5) Sao Paulo: 8.68
    5. (4) Italy: 8.44
    6. (6) French: 8.34
    7. (7) Emilia-Romagna: 8.28
    8. (8) Azerbaijan: 8.05
    9. (9) United States: 7:87
    10. (16) Abu Dhabi: 7.75
    11. (15) British: 7.50
    12. (18) Saudi Arabia: 7.31
    13. (10) Austrian: 6.94
    14. (12) Spanish: 6.86
    15. (14) Qatar: 6.75
    16. (11) Turkey: 6.74
    17. (13) Dutch: 6.62
    18. (17) Portuguese: 6.50
    19. (19) Mexico City: 5.96
    20. (20) Styrian: 5.54
    21. (21) Monaco: 3.80

    22. (22) Belgium: 1 (IMO should not be rated, as there was no race)

    It’s not a major shift in positions, but the more contentious races (instances in the race, or decisions during those races) are now in less extreme positions:
    Saudi Arabia rated higher (I guess voted down by MV fans, 19% gave it a ‘1’);
    Abu Dhabi further up (the most binary vote (33!% voted ’10’, and 27% gave it a ‘1’)
    – if I leave out all the ‘1’ and ’10’ votes, it would even be a bit higher with a median of 8.00
    British further up (I guess voted down by MV fans, 19% gave it a ‘1’);
    Dutch further down (I guess voted up all who have orange as their favourite colour.).

    note: not pure medians as I assumed the votes for a single mark were evenly distributed around that mark (just for ranking purposes).

  20. Would be interesting to see how the ratings shake out with the outliers (1s & 10s) removed

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