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Home   /   Formula One 2021 Azerbaijan Grand Prix – Driver Ratings
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Late drama in Baku meant that an almost certain race victory was taken off the hands of Max Verstappen, as a puncture caused the Dutchman to spin out with few laps remaining.

It was an enormous chance for Lewis Hamilton to capitalise from an another tough weekend, but on the red flag restart, the Mercedes driver made a huge mistake, going wide at Turn One.

Sergio Perez thus won the second race of his career, with Sebastian Vettel and Pierre Gasly completing a surprise podium. 

Sergio Perez – 9.5

Finally, the Mexican appeared to be at one with his car. It was the very first time that he looked competitive all round and matched Verstappen’s times in the race.

A disappointing qualifying was soon made up for, with a quick start and scintillating pace. He could even challenge Verstappen, had it not been for a very slow stop, but the chance came with his teammate’s misfortunes.

It’s a crucial win, for his morale and for Red Bull’s charge in the constructors. 

Sebastian Vettel – 10

After Monaco, the German is looking like a different driver. He was left short of a place in Q3 due to the red flag in qualifying, but a super start and another great overcut, after that of two weeks before, helped his charge.

He moved past Charles Leclerc on the safety car restart and also gained the place on Gasly, with an assertiveness that was long unseen from himself.

It was a splendid race, where all his talent emerged, to collect a very strong second place. 

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Pierre Gasly – 9.5

It was the very first time where Gasly and the Alpha Tauri finally matched their qualifying pace on Sunday. The Frenchman was very quick, putting the pressure on Charles Leclerc and keeping very close to the front trio.

He overcut the Ferrari and, even if he lost the place to Vettel, capitalised on the misfortunes of Verstappen and Hamilton to finish on the podium.

It wasn’t easy, as Leclerc’s late attack could silence his joy, but he vigorously fought back. 

Charles Leclerc – 7.5

Clearly, the Ferrari is still missing a lot of pace on Sundays. A somewhat shocking pole position, that followed that of Monaco, left fans hoping that perhaps there could be a great chance to fight for the win.

However, Leclerc was quickly attacked by Hamilton, Verstappen and Perez and even lost two places after stopping. It wasn’t a flawless strategy, but he hardly had any faults of his own. 

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Lando Norris – 7.5

An agitated and eventful weekend for Lando Norris, whose qualifying ended in disappointment once again. He only started in ninth, due to being unable to set a lap on his new tyres because of the red flag, and a further penalty.

Things appeared to get worse, as he dropped as low as 13th on the start, but fought back up to finish in the top five for the fifth time this year.

It could have been a much worse weekend for Mclaren. 

Fernando Alonso – 9

His final laps brought the best of Fernando Alonso back. He entered Q3 in a perhaps fortunate way, due to the red flag, with a decent showing that saw him start eighth.

However, Alpine’s Sunday difficulties continued, up to the point where he was very much out of points contention.

However, with a smart strategy call and some excellent final laps, Alonso came back from 14th to finish as high as 6th

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Yuki Tsunoda – 7.5

The Japanese driver finally made his return to the points, with a solid display. Even though he was behind Gasly, he appeared quicker than the last races, featuring in Q3, even if he hit the wall on his second lap and caused a red flag.

On the race, however, he was error free and appeared quite competitive, always featuring in the top ten to get his best career finish yet.

Carlos Sainz – 5.5

Carlos Sainz failed to give continuity to his podium in Monaco, as a crucial mistake in the race caused him to lose many places after going into the escape route.

The Spaniard’s race was already compromised with a missed opportunity to complete his Q3 run, but his mistake on Sunday cost Ferrari multiple points.

He came back thanks to the safety car, but it’s a wasted opportunity. 

Daniel Ricciardo – 6

The Australian was still in difficulty at Baku, as he hit the wall on Saturday and missed out on Q3 for the third time in four races.

He made up a few places by keeping error free, but it was a rather minimal display, as he was overtaken in both restarts. 

Kimi Raikkonen – 8

The tightness of the midfield group means it’s very hard for Alfa Romeo to sneak in the points paying positions, but Kimi Raikkonen finally was rewarded for his positive performance.

He missed out previously with two 11th places, but this time it was his occasion. Raikkonen always ran in front of Antonio Giovinazzi and kept close to the drivers in front of him.

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Antonio Giovinazzi – 6

A Saturday crash proved very costly, as Giovinazzi started from last. He recovered a few places and finished just behind Raikkonen, even putting in an overtake on Valtteri Bottas.

However, he just missed out on points for less than seven tenths of a second. 

Valtteri Bottas – 3

The Finn struggled incredibly all round, to finish a lone 12th place. Hamilton put his car on second place Saturday (benefitting from his slipstream), whilst Bottas struggled immensely to finish as last of the Q3 runners.

The race was a sad display, where he fell back, making several mistakes and losing further places on the restart to drop back. At one point, the only cars behind him were the Williams and the Haas.

Clearly, even if the field is tight, this is not the place where the Mercedes belongs. 

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Mick Schumacher – 6.5

Another solid weekend from the young German, who outqualified Nikita Mazepin and challenged Nicholas Latifi all throughout.

He lost the place on the restart, but fought back to overtake his teammate just before the line. 

Nikita Mazepin – 4.5

He was protagonist of several mistakes throughout the weekend, including one in the race which caused him to lose a lot of time.

He was more than a minute behind Mick Schumacher with few laps left and, even though he gained the place on the restart, he lost it on the line, putting into place a very dangerous manoeuvre.  

Lewis Hamilton – 5

Verstappen’s puncture could be a way to score big points after a difficult weekend, but it all went wrong.

Hamilton left on a warm up lap switch that caused him to go wide and completely miss turn one whilst leading.

It was a huge error in a weekend that saw him leading the race in the opening part. 

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Nicholas Latifi – 5.5

Qualifying was another disappointment, but he would have been the first Williams car had the safety car not allowed George Russell to stop and regain the place.

An unfortunate mistake from his pit wall landed him a penalty by which he finished last, albeit passing the line in 13th place. 

George Russell – 5.5

He put his car into Q2 once again, but the Williams was off the pace this weekend and he settled for P15.

An early pit stop saw him forced to recover ground and a gearbox fault prevented him from restarting the race.

A messy weekend that he will hope to make up for in France. 

Max Verstappen – 10

The Dutchman is proving that he is on top form. He rarely puts a foot wrong and once again he was set to win the race, before a puncture cruelly caused him to spin with few laps left.

He was getting a very deserved race win, which he lost through no faults of his own.

Once again, he was always up there, still as the faster Red Bull car. 

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Lance Stroll – 6

Lance Stroll was one of many drivers to hit the barriers in qualifying and having to start from the end of the grid.

He quickly made up for it, with a very strong first stint that saw him run very high up before his stop.

He had a puncture which caused him to crash out and lose likely points. 

Esteban Ocon – 5.5

Tough weekend for Esteban Ocon, who missed out on Q3 by less than a tenth and was out straight away with a mechanical issue.

He wasn’t the leading Alpine car, but there would likely have been opportunities to score, had he continued. 

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July 2024