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Start Abu Dhabi GP
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Red Bull Racing

Data reveals all: Red Bull leap forward, Mercedes lose out

The 2021 F1 season is about to head to the Mexican Grand Prix, the 18th event on the calendar. With 17 races held last year, now marks a good time to compare how things were playing out at the same time in 2020.

Analysis
To news overview © Mercedes

With five races to go in the 2020 F1 season, it was already clear who would be champion. Lewis Hamilton was supreme in his Mercedes. On paper, only teammate Valtteri Bottas could make life difficult for him, but in reality that did not happen. It was only at the end of the season, after Red Bull continued to develop and Mercedes backed off, that Max Verstappen managed to get close to the Silver Arrows.

This year is very different, as we can see when we compare the championship standings after 17 races with the final rankings in 2020 (when the season had a total of 17 races).

Red Bull and Ferrari the big winners

Four teams are performing better this year after 17 races compared to last season. Red Bull are the biggest climber; they have 118.5 points more than in 2020. Not only is Verstappen performing better, but teammate Sergio Perez has scored more points than his predecessor Alexander Albon did last year.

The other big winners are Ferrari, which had a lousy season in 2020. This year they have made strides, with the Scuderia now fighting for third place and not sixth, as was the case last year. Their main rival, McLaren, have also made another step forward. They are faring 52 points better than the previous year's result.

The last improvers are Williams which, following several seasons of misery, have finally started an upward trend. After failing to score any points in 2020, they now have 23 points from 17 races, marking significant progress.

Mercedes and Aston Martin the big losers

Could it have something to do with those changes on the floor? Mercedes and Aston Martin, the two teams with a low rake concept, are the worst performers this year compared to 2020. Aston Martin – in their previous guise as Racing Point – fought to the last gasp for third place last year, whilst in 2021 they are likely to finish no higher than seventh

Mercedes are in contention for the title, just as they were last year, but they will have to pull out all the stops to win. While they are in the lead of the Constructors' Championship, the team have 112.5 points fewer than in 2020 after 17 Grands Prix. Many teams lost out, but AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo and Haas did not experience a huge difference. Alpine are another big loser; they currently have 77 points fewer than last year.

Check out the overview below

Teams in 2021 vs 2020

Team 2020 after 17 races 2021 after 17 races Difference
Mercedes 573 460.5 - 112.5
Red Bull 319 437.5 + 118.5
McLaren 202 254 + 52
Aston Martin 195 62 - 133
Alpine 181 104 - 77
Ferrari 131 250.5 + 119.5
AlphaTauri 107 94 - 13
Alfa Romeo 8 7 - 1
Haas 3 0 - 3
Williams 0 23 + 23

Verstappen makes big step forward

Amongst the drivers, it is immediately noticeable that Verstappen has made a big step forward this year. He is on 287.5 points, which means he has gained 73.5 points compared to 2020. This puts him in the lead in the title race. Other climbers are Lando Norris (+52), Perez (+25, although he drove for Racing Point last year) and Charles Leclerc (+30).

Verstappen has won a total of eight Grands Prix in 17 races, whilst last year he only managed to win twice. Compared to 2020, he has eight more pole positions, as he only claimed one last year. That was at the season-closing event in Abu Dhabi.

Hamilton among biggest decreases

Whilst Verstappen is on the rise, Hamilton is not. The Mercedes driver has won five races and secured pole position three times this season, whereas in 2020 he had 11 wins and 10 pole positions to his name. What is remarkable is that Norris and Leclerc have also grabbed one (or two) pole positions in 2021.

In terms of points, Hamilton currently has 71.5 fewer than last year after 17 races (275.5 to 347). Bottas has also lost out (185 to 223). Another loser is Daniel Ricciardo, who is not yet at last year's level despite his victory at Monza.

Check out the overview below

Drivers in 2021 vs 2020

Driver 2020 after 17 races 2021 after 17 races Difference
Hamilton 347 275.5 - 71.5
Bottas 223 185 - 38
Verstappen 214 287.5 + 73.5
Perez 125 150 + 25
Ricciardo 119 105 - 14
Sainz 105 122.5 + 17.5
Leclerc 98 128 + 30
Norris 97 149 + 52
Gasly 75 74 - 1

Video: Why grid penalties could decide the F1 title fight

RacingNews365.com takes a look at how grid penalties could be a crucial factor in the intense title fight between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen.

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