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Italian GP Driver Ratings: Ricciardo stars as title rivals collide

Another exciting round of the 2021 Formula 1 season saw Daniel Ricciardo win a dramatic Italian Grand Prix as Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen collided. RacingNews365.com rates the whole field on how they performed at Monza.

Daniel Ricciardo took an unexpected victory at the Italian Grand Prix in a McLaren 1-2 as teammate Lando Norris followed closely behind in second place. Valtteri Bottas completed the podium with the major talking point coming in the middle of the Grand Prix when Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton clashed at the first chicane, leading to both drivers retiring from the race. 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 Italian GP weekend at Monza.

Daniel Ricciardo 9/10

Started: 2nd - Finished: 1st Not long ago, Daniel Ricciardo was being comfortably beaten by teammate Lando Norris, but he has bounced back tremendously and was on top form from the outset at Monza. He was just 0.006 seconds behind Norris in qualifying and had an excellent launch in Sprint Qualifying to secure a spot on the front row of the grid for Sunday's race. Another strong start put Ricciardo in the lead and he was exemplary throughout to control the lead perfectly. This win is going to give him such a confidence boost and it's brilliant for F1 to have Ricciardo back at his best.

Lando Norris 8.5/10

Started: 3rd - Finished: 2nd Norris has to get some of the plaudits for playing the team game on Sunday. He did a magnificent job to hold off Lewis Hamilton throughout Sprint Qualifying and for most of the first stint in the main race. Both McLaren drivers admitted they didn't quite execute their Q3 laps on Friday, which was why Max Verstappen pipped them to third place, but they both did a stunning job after that. Neither put a foot wrong when the pressure was on to give McLaren their first 1-2 in over a decade.

Valtteri Bottas 8.5/10

Started: 19th - Finished: 3rd Valtteri Bottas had one of his best weekends of the year, taking top spot in qualifying before dominating Sprint Qualifying. In the race, he came through the field very well by overtaking cars relatively quickly. Bottas' only mistake was not being able to execute an overtake on Sergio Perez, to try and challenge the McLaren drivers. Nevertheless, Bottas was on excellent form and would have had a great chance of victory if he didn't take on a fourth power unit, which meant he started at the back of the grid.

Charles Leclerc 8.5/10

Started: 5th - Finished: 4th Charles Leclerc maximised what was realistically possible for Ferrari, who knew they faced a tough time on home soil. Leclerc benefitted from the Safety Car caused by the Hamilton and Verstappen collision but was simply a sitting duck against faster cars despite fighting as hard as he could. His tyre management proved vital for the second week running as he edged away from Carlos Sainz towards the end of both of his stints.

Sergio Perez 7/10

Started: 8th - Finished: 5th Perez sacrificed one of his Q3 runs to give Verstappen a slipstream but he was unable to get everything together on his one flying lap which put him down in ninth place. He made some good moves in Sprint Qualifying but could have been smarter in the race when he completed an overtake on Sainz by passing him off the track. Perez was handed a five-second time penalty for the incident and lost a spot on the podium. His pace was strong though, with a top three finish on the cards.

Carlos Sainz 7/10

Started: 6th - Finished: 6th Another crash for Sainz in FP3 may have slightly knocked his confidence for the remainder of the Italian GP weekend. Sainz did an excellent job to beat Leclerc in qualifying but wasn't quite able to match him in the sessions which took place after that. A solid weekend for Sainz, but it will be important to ensure his accidents don't become a habit even if they happen during free practice.

Lance Stroll 7/10

Started: 9th - Finished: 7th Lance Stroll had his best result of the year at the Italian GP as he took a valiant seventh place. The Aston Martin driver just missed out in beating Sebastian Vettel in qualifying but made the most of his great starts to move up the order in Sprint Qualifying. Stroll's race went under the radar but he was comfortably going along in the midfield and seemed to have the better of Vettel on long-run pace.

Fernando Alonso 8/10

Started: 10th - Finished: 8th Alpine expected to have a difficult time at Monza, but Fernando Alonso got everything out of the car to salvage eighth place. Alonso was smart with his racing even though he had a straight line speed disadvantage and was forced to cool down his car so often he had to pull out of the slipstream. Monza was a typical Alonso performance.

George Russell 7/10

Started: 14th - Finished: 9th Technically, George Russell's qualifying streak at Williams came to an end because Nicholas Latifi was ahead of him in Sprint Qualifying. In the race, he was set to finish behind Latifi but benefitted from the timing of the Safety Car and took full advantage of it to score another top 10 result. Having waited for such a long time to score points with Williams, it is starting to become a normality for Russell.

Esteban Ocon 7/10

Started: 12th - Finished: 10th Similarly to Sainz at Ferrari, Esteban Ocon was slightly off the pace compared to Alonso but salvaged a potentially important point for Alpine. Ocon received a five-second time penalty when he collided with Vettel at the second chicane, which was a fair punishment because, he did not leave the German much, if any, room. Robust, smart racing was needed in the midfield and Ocon overcame his penalty on a track which Alpine will be happy to get out of the way.

Nicholas Latifi 7/10

Started: 13th - Finished: 11th Latifi was on par with Russell as he displayed great pace all weekend. He had the beating of Russell in Sprint Qualifying and was on course to be the lead Williams driver in the race. However, the Safety Car came at an unfortunate time for Latifi who had already made his pit-stop, whereas Russell had yet to change tyres. This gave Russell track position as Latifi just missed out on a third points finish in four events.

Sebastian Vettel 6.5/10

Started: 11th - Finished: 12th A frustrating day for Vettel who was also a victim of the Safety Car and failed to move up the order in his Aston Martin. Vettel never looked confident and Aston Marin will be disappointed they did not fare better considering they have a Mercedes engine in the back of their car. The train of cars due to the Monza layout meant following a car and managing tyres in the dirty air was key. Vettel seemed to struggle in this department during the races.

Antonio Giovinazzi 5.5/10

Started: 7th - Finished: 13th Antonio Giovinazzi was having another strong weekend, having reached Q3 and finished Sprint Qualifying in eighth place. A points opportunity beckoned again but Giovinazzi threw it away when he missed the second chicane on the opening lap and was turned around by Sainz. Giovinazzi will rue that mistake and it will be gutting for Alfa Romeo that they have missed out on another big chance to score a top 10 finish.

Robert Kubica 5/10

Started: 17th - Finished: 14th The Italian GP wasn't quite as strong of a showing for Robert Kubica, who replaced the absent Kimi Raikkonen. Despite having more track time than he did at Zandvoort, Kubica was further off the pace compared to Giovinazzi and failed to make an impression all weekend.

Mick Schumacher 4.5/10

Started: 18th - Finished: 15th Mick Schumacher was surprisingly beaten by Nikita Mazepin in Sprint Qualifying on pure pace, only to get the upper hand on race day. Once again, though, the Haas pair collided with Mazepin deemed to be at fault by the stewards when he turned Schumacher around at the second chicane. It was unnecessary from Mazepin. Schumacher's pace was solid in the final stint, too, so he may have been able to fight Kubica, had he not been spun around.

Nikita Mazepin 4/10

Started: 16th - Finished: DNF It's a shame Mazepin had the incident with Schumacher because he was having one of his best weekends of the year. On Saturday, he had a great start and Safety Car restart to move into 18th, and held off Schumacher for the rest of the Sprint. But you cannot take out your teammate. There are no excuses for it and it's unacceptable.

Max Verstappen 8/10

Started: 1st - Finished: DNF Verstappen's qualifying lap was exceptional because the McLaren drivers arguably had the better car. He made a strong start in Sprint Qualifying to claim second and inherit pole position, but failed to replicate this on Sunday. It marked the first time Verstappen has lost a position off the start, as he dropped behind Ricciardo and simply did not have the pace to get by, no matter how hard he pushed. The incident with Hamilton was 50/50 and it was a very harsh punishment to award him a three-place grid penalty for the Russian GP. That said, to gain two points on Hamilton on a track where Mercedes were the class of the field is an indirect positive for Verstappen.

Lewis Hamilton 6.5/10

Started: 4th - Finished: DNF It’s fair to say Hamilton didn’t have a great weekend at Monza. He was outqualified by Bottas on Friday and had an awful start in Sprint Qualifying which put the seven-time World Champion on the backfoot. Hamilton was making up for his Saturday woes in the race and was unlucky to be forced off the track by Verstappen on the opening lap of the Grand Prix. He kept the pressure on Norris and eventually got by, only to be let down by his pit crew during the pit-stop which put him in that awkward position when he was side-by-side with Verstappen. Hamilton left enough room and was not at fault for the collision. However, this all came about because of his poor start on Saturday.

Pierre Gasly 7/10

Started: Pit Lane - Finished: DNF It was a nightmare Italian GP for AlphaTauri, who were the biggest losers from the event. Pierre Gasly delivered a superb Q3 lap to put his car sixth on the grid for Saturday’s Sprint, but it all came to an early end when he hit the back of Ricciardo's car and crashed out with a broken front wing moments later. Gasly didn't do much wrong and was simply unfortunate that the car in front 'checked up', which led to him running into the back of the McLaren. The team changed Gasly’s power unit and just like his teammate, he failed to race properly having completed just three laps.

Yuki Tsunoda 4.5/10

Started: DNS - Finished: DNS Tsunoda underlined AlphaTauri’s nightmare weekend as he failed to reach Q2 due to a track limits infringement on his best qualifying lap. In Sprint Qualifying, he was unlucky to damage his front wing after contact with Kubica and he didn't get the opportunity to race from 15th on the grid due to a brake problem.

Pos. Driver Points
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