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Emilia Romagna Grand Prix 2021

Emilia Romagna GP F1 Driver Ratings: Verstappen, Leclerc and Norris star

A dramatic second round of the 2021 Formula 1 season saw Max Verstappen take a stunning victory. Lewis Hamilton recovered from his off to limit the damage with second place. RacingNews365.com rates the whole field and how they performed at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix

Verstappen Imola race
To news overview © Getty Images/Red Bull Contentpool

Max Verstappen won the Emilia Romagna GP in Imola after a superb drive in mixed conditions. After Lewis Hamilton's excursion, the Red Bull driver dominated the remainder of the race.

Lando Norris took the second podium of his Formula 1 career ahead of Ferrari drivers Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz.

We have rated all 20 drivers based on their qualifying and race performances. Team errors such as a slow pitstop or a sub-optimal strategy do not affect our ratings as they are no fault of the drivers.

Our ratings solely look at how well the drivers got on at the Emilia Romagna GP including their pace against their teammates and rivals, mistakes and any other standout moments from their weekend.

Max Verstappen 8.5/10

Started: 3rd - Finished: 1st

Verstappen ended his run of Italian misfortune with a superb drive on Sunday. Qualifying did not go his way as he was outqualified by a teammate on genuine pace for the first time since Abu Dhabi 2018.

But it was an excellent performance to not put a foot wrong other than a minor scare after the red flag and we may look back at his race start, when he jumped Sergio Perez and Hamilton, as a key moment of the season.

Lewis Hamilton 7/10

Started: 1st - Finished: 2nd

Hamilton's weekend is tricky to rate. His Q3 lap was excellent as he pipped the Red Bull drivers to record his 99th pole position in F1.

He was jumped by Verstappen at the start and was on course to take the fight to the Dutch driver. However, he miscalculated a move when lapping George Russell and skated into the barriers. A rare error from the seven-time champion.

Hamilton managed to get away and the red flag saved his race as he re-gained the lap he lost. Nevertheless, his overtakes were clinical and he made the most of the fortunate opportunity he was given.

			© Mercedes
	© Mercedes

Lando Norris 9/10

Started: 7th - Finished: 3rd

Norris was gutted after qualifying when he thought he did a lap good enough for third place. It wasn't to be as he was one of many victims of the Turn 9 track limits.

He bounced back in style and made use of the excellent form he showed throughout the event. The decision to use the soft tyres after the red flag paid off and he managed his rubber very well to keep the Ferrari drivers at bay.

Norris has had a great start to a season in which he needed to perform.

Charles Leclerc 8.5/10

Started: 4th - Finished: 4th

Leclerc produced one of his magical qualifying laps to start on the second row of the grid and backed it up with a trouble-free race.

Similarly to Verstappen, Leclerc avoided any errors and kept things clean and tidy in the difficult conditions. The Ferrari driver will be slightly disappointed to miss out on the podium as he was unable to overtake Norris at the end.

			© McLaren
	© McLaren

Carlos Sainz 6.5/10

Started: 11th - Finished: 5th

Sainz had a mixed weekend that was salvaged with a top five result. The Ferrari driver missed out on Q3 having failed to put his lap together and had more troubles early in the race.

He found the gravel trap on numerous occasions and was lucky that he did not lose many positions due to Pierre Gasly's slow pace early in the race.

Sainz benefited from the red flag and found his feet again to pick up a good points haul. Ferrari will almost certainly take a podium at some point this season.

Daniel Ricciardo 6/10

Started: 6th - Finished: 6th

It was an unusually quiet weekend for Daniel Ricciardo who was consistently slower than teammate Norris. Ricciardo feels the car will come to him but the signs were not as encouraging as what we saw in Bahrain.

The wet conditions seemed to cause Ricciardo more problems and he was forced to let Norris by. Quite quickly, he lost around two seconds a lap to Norris after they swapped positions.

Considering his lack of pace in Imola, Ricciardo will be happy with sixth place.

			© Ferrari
	© Ferrari

Pierre Gasly 8/10

Started: 5th - Finished: 7th

Pierre Gasly might be disappointed with eighth place after his strong qualifying. AlphaTauri opted to start Gasly on the wet tyres which saw him fall down the order in the opening phase of the Grand Prix.

The Frenchman recovered well from the strategical error and limited the damage somewhat with a good drive following the red flag.

Gasly's result does not show how good his driver performance was in Imola.

Lance Stroll 7/10

Started: 10th - Finished: 8th

Lance Stroll continues to be the number one driver at Aston Martin. He did well to make the final part of qualifying and avoided the carnage in the midfield to execute a strong race.

It was nothing special from Stroll but he also had to deal with some gearbox synchronisation issues, handling the problem very well.

			© Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images
	© Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images

Esteban Ocon 7/10

Started: 9th - Finished: 9th

Ocon had a good qualifying which will give him a lot of confidence over one lap for the coming races but struggled in the wet.

The Alpine driver has typically been strong in damp conditions and Alonso did not fare much better suggesting it was an Alpine wet-weather pace issue.

There was promise for Alpine with their new upgrades but they are set for a difficult year even with Ocon returning to better form.

			© Alpine
	© Alpine

Fernando Alonso 6/10

Started: 14th - Finished: 10th

After a great season-opener in Bahrain, Alonso failed to set the world alight in Imola. He was outqualified by a teammate for the first time since Malaysia 2017, by a significant margin too.

The two-time world champion blamed himself and was unable to take advantage of the mayhem in the midfield. A disappointing weekend for Alonso who scored his first point in F1 thanks to Kimi Raikkonen's post-race penalty.

Sergio Perez 4/10

Started: 2nd - Finished: 11th

From hero to zero sums up Sergio Perez's weekend. He started on the front row for the first time in his F1 career after a great effort in qualifying but could not make the most of that key starting position.

Perez did not have the pace in the wet although he seemed to improve as the stint progressed. However, it was all for nothing when he made a mistake at the second chicane, carrying too much speed into the corner to find himself in the gravel trap.

There were further small errors after that big mistake and on a day where Perez should have been fighting for the podium, he finished outside of the points.

Yuki Tsunoda 2.5/10

Started: 20th - Finished: 12th

It was a disastrous round for rookie Yuki Tsunoda. He made a substantial error in qualifying at the final chicane, which put him out of the running and made another significant mistake in the race.

Tsunoda had been going well up until then but dropped the car after a great overtake on Hamilton on the second safety car restart.

The Japanese driver got a harsh lesson in F1's risk versus reward game which every driver constantly faces. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back from a torrid event.

Kimi Raikkonen 7.5/10

Started: 16th - Finished: 13th

Kimi Raikkonen used his experience to climb up the order in the wet conditions and was able to match his midfield rivals on the intermediate tyres.

The best part of his drive was actually on the dry tyres as he kept the Alpine duo of Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso behind him in the final 15 laps of the race.

It was a performance that went under the radar in Imola as Raikkonen initially finished ninth, only to see his efforts go to waste due to a penalty.

			© Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images
	© Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images

Antonio Giovinazzi 5.5/10

Started: 15th - Finished: 14th

Antonio Giovinazzi was second-best to Raikkonen when it matted most. A problem with the rear brakes ended any chances he had of scoring points in the middle of the race when he came in for an extra pitstop.

Prior to qualifying, Giovinazzi had looked strong but could not put things together when he needed to and will see the mixed conditions as a missed opportunity to shine.

Sebastian Vettel 3.5/10

Started: 13th - Finished: 15th

It wasn't a nightmare weekend for Sebastian Vettel but it was still poor for the four-time world champion. He is yet to get to grips with his Aston Martin and is currently being outclassed by teammate Stroll.

A gamble to go on the dry tyres early was a mistake from the team but at no stage in the weekend did Vettel show any signs of having good pace.

Mick Schumacher 5.5/10

Started: 18th - Finished: 16th

Mick Schumacher continued to show steady progress in Imola. He made a mistake under the safety car when he slammed into the wall on the run down to Turn 2 but showed strong pace after that incident.

He was consistently one second quicker than teammate Nikita Mazepin which is all he can do to impress the paddock.

The rookie will look to iron out those silly errors but pace-wise, it was a solid Emilia Romagna GP for Schumacher.

			© Haas
	© Haas

Nikita Mazepin 3/10

Started: 19th - Finished: 17th

Mazepin did not make as many mistakes as he did in Bahrain but it was still a dismal showing for the Haas driver.

He continues to spin and lose control of the car in the majority of the sessions and it's something he needs to improve on to gain any confidence and build momentum.

At the moment, his deficit to Schumacher is very big.

Valtteri Bottas 3.5/10

Started: 8th - Finished: DNF

A frustrating weekend for Valtteri Bottas only got worse when he collided with George Russell. His qualifying performance was disappointing and he struggled to make clinical overtakes despite his car advantage.

Bottas still seems to struggle when following other cars and should not have been battling a Williams driver. The incident was not his fault but his lack of pace is a concern.

George Russell 4/10

Started: 12th - Finished: DNF

Russell was on course for his first Williams points until a minor misjudgement which had huge consequences.

Bottas did veer to the right but there was still enough space for Russell and he made the smallest errors, catching the white line to spin him round, smashing into the side of Russell.

The incident is still under investigation but Russell may look back at the crash, and think he could have avoided the collision.

Nicholas Latifi 4/10

Started: 14th - Finished: DNF

Nicholas Latifi was looking very strong for the majority of the Emilia Romagna GP weekend and he got into Q2 for the second time of his career.

Unfortunately, he made a crucial mistake at Turn 11 and when he re-joined the circuit he made another race-ending error. When he came back on the track, he ran side by side with Mazepin up the hill and unnecessarily squeezed the Haas driver.

Latifi came off worst and was the first retiree of the race.

F1 2021 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix RN365 News dossier