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Formula 1

Verstappen or Hamilton? Rosberg ranks his best drivers of the year

Nico Rosberg has outlined who he believes were the best drivers of the 2021 season.

Verstappen Hamilton Abu Dhabi
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Former F1 World Champion Nico Rosberg has revealed who he believes were the best drivers of the 2021 season.

Rosberg, now a TV pundit and broadcaster alongside his role as a team boss in Extreme E, took to his own YouTube channel to outline his top drivers of the 2021 season and, as has become his style, wasn't shy about expressing his opinion in ranking who he believed was the best over the year.

"Verstappen first of all, because [he was] just phenomenal!" said 2016 title-winner Rosberg.

"The level in qualifying most of the time, the consistency through the whole year, the level that he took against Lewis... was probably the greatest of all time.

"[Against Lewis] in the Mercedes and in that dominant form, [it was] just off the charts. Also, the level in wheel-to-wheel racing - Lewis is the best in wheel-to-wheel racing. But Verstappen, you probably have to say he was even better - just crazy.

"And the level also during the most pressured moments. Verstappen almost gets better when the pressure is high. I got like three-tenths slower when the pressure was high, he gets like two-tenths faster! It's crazy! I don't know how he does it.

"So Verstappen [is] probably number one if you look at the whole season. If you take the bad luck into consideration, [he] probably also had a little bit more bad luck. So Verstappen one, Lewis number two.

"[Lewis had] an epic season. A little bit more up and down, also because the car was a bit more up and down, but still a little bit more up and down. Valtteri [Bottas] beat him quite a few times in qualifying also, so that's why I would just put him second and Verstappen first."

Best of the rest

Rosberg then picked out McLaren's Lando Norris and Ferrari's Carlos Sainz as the next best drivers of the year, but struggled to rank one above the other.

"I definitely have Lando there because Lando had these... he had a difficult second half of the season but, in general, overall throughout the season, he just had so many awesome peaks," Rosberg said.

"He almost won his first race, he got a pole position, he had second in Monza. He had such high peaks, peaks of World Championship level, exceptional driving, and that's why I would have put in third, definitely."

But Rosberg immediately picked out Sainz as being level with Norris, saying that the pair deserved equal third.

"Then the 'smooth operator' that Carlos is was fourth, but it's not really fair," he explained.

"You have to look at a whole season and Carlos, over a whole season, really did such a great job.

"He beat [Charles] Leclerc in his first year at Ferrari. I mean, [Sebastian] Vettel had no chance against Leclerc and here comes Carlos and beats him. You know what level that is?

"Let's put him equal third with Lando and then you'd have to put Leclerc in fifth, because we know how good he is and he had some exceptional moments this year, again."

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