Welcome at RacingNews365

Become part of the largest racing community in the United Kingdom. Create your free account now!

  • Share your thoughts and opinions about F1
  • Win fantastic prizes
  • Get access to our premium content
  • Take advantage of more exclusive benefits
Sign in
Turkish Grand Prix 2021

Turkish GP Driver Ratings: Bottas, Gasly and Leclerc star as Verstappen reclaims title lead

Another exciting round of the 2021 Formula 1 season saw Valtteri Bottas come out on top against Max Verstappen in an intense Turkish Grand Prix. RacingNews365.com rates the whole field on how they performed in Istanbul.

Turkish GP Start
To news overview © Mercedes

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas was victorious for the first time this year after a dominant performance at the Turkish Grand Prix, as he beat Red Bull's Max Verstappen.

Verstappen's second place was rewarded with the lead of the Drivers' Championship as title rival Lewis Hamilton could only finish in fifth.

Sergio Perez made it a double podium for Red Bull with Ferrari's Charles Leclerc coming home in fourth.

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 Turkish GP weekend.

Valtteri Bottas 9/10

Started: 1st - Finished: 1st

With Hamilton’s 10-grid place penalty, Bottas knew he had a big opportunity to win his first race in over a year.

He did enough to take pole position, by qualifying in second, and didn't put a foot wrong on Sunday to prove that he is capable of getting on top of the wet conditions.

Tyre management was key and Bottas looked after his Pirelli rubber almost perfectly, crucially pulling out a gap to Verstappen towards the end of the first stint which gave him a buffer for the pit-stop phase.

Max Verstappen 8.5/10

Started: 2nd - Finished: 2nd

Verstappen maximised what was realistic in qualifying and had no chance of stealing the win from Bottas.

It was clear that Mercedes had a pace advantage in the dry all weekend, and this continued into the race in the damp conditions.

Verstappen appeared to not quite be at one with the Red Bull compared to other events this year, but he will be satisfied to retake the lead in the Drivers' Championship considering how quick Mercedes were in Istanbul.

			© Mercedes
	© Mercedes

Sergio Perez 7.5/10

Started: 6th - Finished: 3rd

A podium for Perez was badly needed. The Mexican had a brilliant battle with Hamilton in the middle of the race as he got his elbows out in the final sector.

It looked like Hamilton had the move done going into Turn 12, but Perez braked very late to hold the inside and even went off the track at the next corner to maintain the position – he argued that Hamilton forced him wide.

Perez's pace on the second set of Intermediates was very strong, which allowed him to catch and overtake Leclerc to secure third place.

Charles Leclerc 9/10

Started: 3rd - Finished: 4th

For a moment, Leclerc was on course to pull off a masterstroke by not pitting and having enough pace to keep Bottas at bay.

However, his Intermediate tyres quickly began to face so he was forced to make a pit-stop. Strangely, he struggled on his new Intermediates and was a sitting duck against Perez.

We can't forget how impressive Leclerc's qualifying was, though, as he pulled out a lap at the end of Q3 to get onto the second row of the grid, and he did a mighty job to stay with Verstappen and Bottas for the majority of the Grand Prix.

			© Mercedes
	© Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton 8/10

Started: 11th - Finished: 5th

Hamilton was in imperious form on Friday and Saturday, qualifying first despite having five laps of fuel on board of his W12.

In the race, it was a typically cautious Hamilton in the first half of the Grand Prix. The key moment was his failure to get by Perez and you can't help but feel Hamilton could have been a little more aggressive going into Turn 12 or Turn 1 when he was ahead of the Red Bull driver.

Hamilton ignored the first call to pit for a new set of Intermediates, which was probably a mistake that cost him at least fourth place.

When he did pit, it was the team's decision and who knows what his pace would have been like had he not listened for a second time.

A slightly disappointing result for Hamilton, even though he drove very well all weekend.

Pierre Gasly 9/10

Started: 4th - Finished: 6th

Pierre Gasly was back where he belonged after two events featuring misfortune and strategic errors.

Even though teammate Yuki Tsunoda got into Q3, Gasly was still one second quicker, which is a huge time difference.

His five-second time penalty for making contact with Fernando Alonso was very harsh, but it didn't affect him and he had a commendable drive to underline his superb season so far.

			© Red Bull Contentpool/Getty Images
	© Red Bull Contentpool/Getty Images

Lando Norris 8/10

Started: 7th - Finished: 7th

McLaren didn't have a particularly strong package in Istanbul, but Lando Norris hauled his car into seventh, lacking the pace to challenge the cars ahead.

Norris' average advantage of a few tenths of a second per lap over teammate Daniel Ricciardo continued and he did well to be close to Gasly and Hamilton at the end of the race, because he was really struggling in the early parts of the Grand Prix.

Carlos Sainz 8/10

Started: 19th - Finished: 8th

Carlos Sainz had a tremendous drive through the field, catching and overtaking cars like he was racing for his life.

There were some bold late-braking overtakes from Sainz into Turn 12 and he showed his class by getting the right balance between being aggressive and making a mistake.

A very slow pit-stop potentially cost Sainz the opportunity to beat Norris and Gasly, but he has to be delighted with his wonderful wet-weather performance.

			© Ferrari
	© Ferrari

Lance Stroll 7/10

Started: 8th - Finished: 9th

Lance Stroll's good form continued as he was the lead Aston Martin driver for the majority of the weekend in Istanbul.

Stroll goes well in the mixed conditions and he held his own in the midfield to pick up two points. That's now three events in a row where Stroll has had the better of teammate Sebastian Vettel in terms of pure pace.

Esteban Ocon 7/10

Started: 12th - Finished: 10th

Esteban Ocon was the only driver to gamble by not pitting at all during the 58 laps around the Istanbul Park circuit and it worked to an extent.

Ocon was running in 10th place anyway but it was worth the risk as his tyres just held on, despite being up to eight seconds slower than the rest of the field in the final laps.

His right-front tyre was completely destroyed at the end of the race, so it was a commendable effort to salvage a point for Alpine.

			© Alpine
	© Alpine

Antonio Giovinazzi 6/10

Started: 16th - Finished: 11th

On paper, Antonio Giovinazzi had a great Sunday, but he was actually the slower of the two Alfa Romeo drivers and ignored a call to let teammate Kimi Raikkonen by.

With an excellent strategy, Giovinazzi finished ahead of Raikkonen and a more chaotic race could have seen him in a points-paying position.

Kimi Raikkonen 6.5/10

Started: 17th - Finished: 12th

Raikkonen's Sunday afternoon in Istanbul was mainly spent behind Giovinazzi for the majority of the race. The Finn was also compromised by Tsunoda's spin at the Turn 9/10 chicane.

When Raikkonen had clean air, he was very quick, so it was a small surprise that Alfa Romeo weren't more firm with any team orders to try and give him a chance to chase the limping Ocon at the end of the race.

A frustrating weekend for Raikkonen.

Daniel Ricciardo 4.5/10

Started: 20th - Finished: 13th

Daniel Ricciardo had a very disappointing Turkish GP. A poor qualifying saw him eliminated from Q1, giving McLaren fans flashbacks to some of Ricciardo's lacklustre performances from earlier in 2021.

The decision to pit early didn't pay off as the Australian simply lacked raw pace and was wearing out his tyres very quickly.

Ricciardo was close to the points but was overtaken by the two Alfa Romeo drivers, which gave clear evidence for his struggles on the Intermediate tyres.

			© McLaren
	© McLaren

Yuki Tsunoda 6/10

Started: 9th - Finished: 14th

Tsunoda appeared to be having one of his best F1 events, reaching Q3 for the first time since the Austrian GP.

However, he was still one second slower than teammate Gasly, which was a margin that continued into Sunday.

Despite the conditions, very few mistakes were made throughout the field but Tsunoda was one of the drivers to make a key error when he spun at the Turn 9/10 chicane.

Turkey will be seen as a major missed opportunity for Tsunoda.

George Russell 6/10

Started: 13th - Finished: 15th

George Russell was on track for a brilliant lap in Q2 to reach the final part of qualifying, but he overcooked the final corner, meaning he missed out on the top 10.

In the race, Russell struggled for pace and was largely unseen on Sunday.

Fernando Alonso 6.5/10

Started: 5th - Finished: 16th

Fernando Alonso had a mega lap to qualify on the third row of the grid and he was always going to go for a bold move around the outside at Turn 1.

It didn't pay off as he was turned around by Gasly. A few corners later, Alonso was part of another incident when he sent Mick Schumacher into a pirouette and rightfully received a five-second time penalty for the move.

			© Alpine
	© Alpine

Nicholas Latifi 5/10

Started: 15th - Finished: 17th

Nicholas Latifi ran in 18th for most of the race and only moved up a position due to Vettel's failed gamble on the dry tyres.

Similarly to teammate Russell, the Williams driver had a very quiet afternoon and was unable to make any impact on the midfield.

Sebastian Vettel 4.5/10

Started: 10th - Finished: 18th

Vettel's decision to use the dry tyres was a bizarre choice because the track looked nowhere near ready for slicks.

The four-time World Champion owned up to the strategy as he lost a huge amount of time on his adventure on the Medium tyre compound.

From there, Vettel's day was over despite his strong pace on the Intermediate tyres.

Mick Schumacher 7.5/10

Started: 14th - Finished: 19th

Mick Schumacher had a mighty lap to make Q2 on merit for the first time in his F1 career. He was right on the limit and could have done something spectacular in the second part of qualifying too, had he not been hindered by yellow flags.

In the race, he was unlucky to be turned around by Alonso, but he fought back by going longer than Haas teammate Nikita Mazepin on the first set of Intermediates to finish more than 20 seconds ahead at the chequered flag.

Nikita Mazepin 4/10

Started: 18th - Finished: 20th

Mazepin faced another significant deficit to Schumacher in qualifying as he trailed the German by 2.9 seconds.

On Sunday, he was the slower of the pair again, getting outpaced by Schumacher after keeping him at bay in the first part of the race.

F1 2021 Turkish Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


LATEST Has the next Lewis Hamilton already caught the eyes of F1?