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Start Saudi Arabian GP
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Brazilian Grand Prix 2021

Brazilian GP Driver Ratings: Perfection from Hamilton?

Another exciting round of the 2021 Formula 1 season saw Lewis Hamilton come out on top against Max Verstappen in an intense Brazilian Grand Prix. RacingNews365.com rates the whole field on how they performed at Interlagos.

Column
To news overview © Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton was victorious after an enthralling battle with championship leader Max Verstappen at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

Hamilton's win means he is now 14 points behind Verstappen, whilst Valtteri Bottas made it a double podium for Mercedes.

We have rated all 20 drivers based on their qualifying and race performances. Team errors such as a slow pit-stop 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 throughout the Brazilian GP weekend.

Lewis Hamilton 10/10

Started: 10th - Finished: 1st

Hamilton's driving in Brazil 2021 will go down in history. You will find it difficult to pick a better weekend performance in F1 than what Hamilton did in Sao Paulo.

He was on it in qualifying, and even with the illegal DRS flap, his lap would comfortably have been good enough for pole position.

Starting at the back in Sprint Qualifying, Hamilton made up four places off the line and picked cars off one by one.

Whilst his straight-line speed was excellent, the way he positioned his Mercedes in the middle sector to follow the car in front closely was superb. He did this brilliantly on Saturday and Sunday.

Even though Verstappen tried his best to not let Hamilton by, the seven-time World Champion was aware of the danger and remained patient to make a clean overtake.

A simply incredible weekend, which has given him the first perfect score of 2021 from us.

Max Verstappen 7.5/10

Started: 2nd - Finished: 2nd

It was a slightly scruffy Brazilian GP from Verstappen, who failed to put a strong lap together in Q3. He likely wouldn't have had pole position, but should have been closer.

A tardy getaway in Sprint Qualifying saw him lose out to Bottas, but he made up for it with a great launch on Sunday.

However, the reason for his slightly lower rating was his defensive move against Hamilton at Turn 4. Verstappen did really well to keep Hamilton back for as long as he did, but he clearly went into the corner with the intention of going off the track or even forcing Hamilton to avoid a collision. This wasn't fair racing.

If it wasn't for Hamilton's reactions, there would have been an accident and Verstappen would, without doubt, be at fault. It was a desperate move from Verstappen and one step too far from the Dutchman.

Valtteri Bottas 8/10

Started: 1st - Finished: 3rd

Bottas had a solid weekend considering how good Hamilton was. He did exactly what Mercedes needed by jumping Verstappen in Sprint Qualifying and held his own.

However, he lost out to Verstappen on Sunday and made a crucial mistake at Turn 4 which let Perez by. A well-timed Virtual Safety Car put him back in play and he displayed strong pace in the second half of the race.

Poor racecraft, strong pace is the story of Bottas' time in Sao Paulo.

Sergio Perez 7.5/10

Started: 4th - Finished: 4th

Perez had an event that most people would expect of him, just off the pace compared to Verstappen, and he couldn't do more to keep Hamilton at bay.

The Mexican will be disappointed that he couldn't overtake Carlos Sainz in Sprint Qualifying, but he made up for it by forming the second half of a Red Bull 1-2 in the opening part of the Grand Prix itself.

He lost out to Bottas due to the Virtual Safety Car and had a lonely drive, other than playing the team game by taking the fastest lap of the race on the last lap.

Charles Leclerc 8/10

Started: 6th - Finished: 5th

Charles Leclerc looked below par until Sunday when he came alive with a mighty start to jump teammate Sainz.

The Ferrari pair pushed each other and found themselves in no man's land. Similarly to Mexico, they picked up a brilliant result and have taken another big step towards third place in the Constructors' Championship.

Carlos Sainz 8/10

Started: 3rd - Finished: 6th

Sainz was in great form in Brazil and did a particularly good job to take third place in Sprint Qualifying.

He mirrored Leclerc's strategy and matched him for pace, so it was all about the first lap as to who finished ahead in the inter-team battle.

Ferrari are in a great place going into the final three races, and for 2022.

Pierre Gasly 7.5/10

Started: 6th - Finished: 7th

Pierre Gasly wasn't quite at his brilliant best in Brazil, but it was enough to finish a commendable seventh.

The biggest mistake he made was his poor start on Saturday, which ended his hopes of trying to beat the Ferrari drivers.

His two-stop strategy versus the Alpine's one-stop meant he had to overtake Esteban Ocon and Fernando Alonso and he did so beautifully when the pressure was really on.

Esteban Ocon 7/10

Started: 8th - Finished: 8th

Ocon had his best race result since the Belgian GP in August as Alpine went for a bold one-stop strategy, with both drivers to challenge Gasly.

A Virtual Safety Car saved Ocon some time, helping him to stay in the battle for seventh against Gasly.

After a month of disappointing performances, Ocon showed glimpses of returning to good form.

Fernando Alonso 7.5/10

Started: 12th - Finished: 9th

Alonso's race weekend was compromised by Alpine's decision to use the Medium tyres in Sprint Qualifying, which meant the two-time F1 World Champion was stuck in traffic for most of Saturday.

However, he had great pace in the Grand Prix, better than Ocon. Alonso tried to tow Ocon around to keep Gasly behind, but they both fell short.

Alpine's results were still enough to just hold onto fifth in the Constructors' Championship on countback.

Lando Norris 6.5/10

Started: 5th - Finished: 10th

Lando Norris had a fantastic launch and was set to challenge for a top three spot until he moved over too early on Sainz, likely thinking he had cleared him. This was a small but crucial error from Norris.

After his puncture, he did the rest of the race on two sets of Hard tyres and it was an amazing recovery drive.

It showed he had pace and almost certainly would have had a great battle with Leclerc and Sainz if he didn't make his mistake at the start.

Sebastian Vettel 7/10

Started: 9th - Finished: 11th

Sebastian Vettel was having a solid weekend and was on course for points until a slow pit-stop ruined his afternoon.

Aston Martin's tyre strategy was unusual as Vettel and Lance Stroll had no new tyres to use in Sunday's Grand Prix. It probably didn't affect the final outcome, but it was a strange decision from the team.

Kimi Raikkonen 7/10

Started: Pit Lane - Finished: 12th

Kimi Raikkonen had another storming Sunday drive, having been forced to start from the pit lane after Alfa Romeo broke parc ferme rules. This followed him being tipped into a spin by teammate Antonio Giovinazzi at Turn 1 in Sprint Qualifying, which he finished in 18th.

Without that tangle on Saturday, Raikkonen would have had a great chance to score points, which is remarkable considering the pace of the Alfa Romeo.

Despite being 42 years old and having just three more races to go in his F1 career, Raikkonen has shown that he still has the speed to warrant a place on the grid.

George Russell 6.5/10

Started: 17th - Finished: 13th

George Russell was outqualified for only the second time in 2021 as Nicholas Latifi beat him in qualifying and Sprint Qualifying.

Williams' car woes continued as they struggled for raw grip and pace on another high-altitude circuit.

Russell hasn't quite been at his best recently, though, with Latifi appearing to be closer when the car is not capable of challenging the midfield runners.

Antonio Giovinazzi 4.5/10

Started: 13th - Finished: 14th

It didn't look great for Giovinazzi, who was significantly off the pace compared to Raikkonen in the race.

With Giovinazzi's seat under threat for 2022, it looked like his motivation wasn't quite there as he got stuck behind Russell in the second half of the race.

To finish 30 seconds behind Raikkonen, who started from the pit lane, is a poor effort from Giovinazzi.

Yuki Tsunoda 4.5/10

Started: 15th - Finished: 15th

Yuki Tsunoda's move on Stroll was slightly too late, although you could argue that he should have been entitled to some more room. It was a classic case of risk versus reward and the risk was too high for Tsunoda.

However, the bigger concern is his pace deficit to Gasly, which was around half a second for the majority of the weekend at Interlagos.

Whilst Gasly qualified in fourth, Tsunoda was down in 12th on Friday. The track was new to him, and one practice session would not have helped. But you would still expect more from Tsunoda.

Nicholas Latifi 6.5/10

Started: 16th - Finished: 16th

Latifi managed to break Russell's impressive record in a conventional qualifying session by beating him on Friday, even though he admitted his lap wasn't anything special.

He stayed ahead in Sprint Qualifying but was beaten in the race. It was a result that was coming, because Latifi has been getting closer and closer to Russell in recent events.

Nikita Mazepin 6/10

Started: 19th - Finished: 17th

Nikita Mazepin had one of his best weekends of the year, matching Haas teammate Mick Schumacher for pace for large parts of the three-day event.

Mazepin was on course to beat Schumacher in qualifying until a mistake at the final corner cost him time.

In Sunday's race, he moved up as high as 14th before getting into a rhythm that was much better than the pace he has had at previous races.

Mick Schumacher 5.5/10

Started: 18th - Finished: 18th

Schumacher's race was hindered when he made contact with Raikkonen and was forced to limp back to the pit lane.

It wasn't the best weekend for Schumacher in Brazil, who spent the rest of the race having to give way to the blue flags, and he may have had to carry some small damage.

Daniel Ricciardo 7/10

Started: 10th - Finished: DNF

Similarly to Alonso, Ricciardo lost ground on the opening lap of Sprint Qualifying, but was having a good race until a power unit problem forced him to retire.

McLaren lost more crucial points in their fight with Ferrari for third place in the Constructors' Championship. They are now 31.5 points behind Ferrari with three races to go. That's a huge ask to overturn.

Lance Stroll 5/10

Started: 14th - Finished: DNF

Stroll continued his disappointing run of form and was set for a poor result, even before his contact with Tsunoda.

Stroll's car was damaged because of the incident so we were not able to get a true reflection of his pace. However, his speed all weekend before that was 0.2-0.3 seconds slower than teammate Vettel.

F1 will head to Saudi Arabia for the first time in 2021, and RacingNews365.com recently paid a visit to the spectacular Jeddah Corniche Circuit.

RN365 News dossier F1 2021 Brazilian Grand Prix

The latest news about the Sao Paulo Grand Prix straight from the Interlagos Circuit.

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