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Spanish Grand Prix 2021

Spanish GP F1 Driver Ratings: Hamilton and Leclerc star, Tsunoda in trouble

Another exciting round of the 2021 Formula 1 season saw Lewis Hamilton come out on top against Max Verstappen after another on-track battle. Further down the field, Charles Leclerc was the best of the rest once again whilst Daniel Ricciardo showed his best form of the year so far. RacingNews365.com rates the whole field and how they performed at the Spanish Grand Prix.

Spain Start 2021
To news overview © Red Bull Content Pool / Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton was victorious after an enthralling strategic battle with Max Verstappen at the Spanish Grand Prix to extend his lead in the championship.

Valtteri Bottas finished third despite getting stuck behind Charles Leclerc early on as the Ferrari driver was the class of the midfield in Spain.

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 Spanish GP including their pace against their teammates and rivals, mistakes and any other standout moments from their weekend.

Lewis Hamilton 9/10

Started: 1st - Finished: 1st

It was an outstanding weekend from Hamilton to first claim his 100th pole position in Formula 1 before a perfectly managed race.

Having lost out at the start, the seven-time world champion drove brilliantly to keep the pressure on Verstappen. His pace as the tyres started to wear away won him the race and there is no other driver who can manage their tyres as well as Hamilton does.

Once again, Hamilton proved why he is the most successful driver the sport has ever seen.

Max Verstappen 9/10

Started: 2nd - Finished: 2nd

There was not much more Verstappen could do in Spain. He was just 0.036 seconds away from pole position but he crucially made a bold move at Turn 1 to take the lead.

His reaction time was superb and he left nothing left on the table to launch himself into first place. However, Verstappen and Red Bull were slightly outfoxed and the only thing Verstappen could have done better was with his tyres.

Perhaps he took too much out of them after the safety car and should have bunched up the field more rather than pushing as hard as he did. Nevertheless, Verstappen drove as good as he could and simply came up against the force that is Mercedes and Hamilton.

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

Valtteri Bottas 7/10

Started: 3rd - Finished: 3rd

Bottas had another strong qualifying even though he was third but lost out at Turn 3 to Leclerc which put any chances he had of winning to bed.

Through strategy and better pace, Bottas eventually overtook Leclerc and he failed to let teammate Hamilton by

Charles Leclerc 9/10

Started: 4th - Finished: 4th

Leclerc continued his excellence in the Ferrari and his qualifying lap was even more spectacular than normal because the track in Q3 got slower, yet he managed to get his car onto the second row of the grid.

His move around the outside of Bottas at Turn 3 was bold and he kept a cool head to keep Bottas at bay, only losing out through strategy.

On a track where teammate Carlos Sainz has been formidable at in the past, Leclerc proved why he is rated so highly at the weekend.

			© Ferrari
	© Ferrari

Sergio Perez 6/10

Started: 8th - Finished: 5th

Sergio Perez had a disappointing weekend and was unable to help Verstappen in the fight against Mercedes. A shoulder injury and dizziness did not help Perez but a crucial error when the track was at its best in Q3 put him on the backfoot.

He struggled to get past Daniel Ricciardo for the majority of the race which made it difficult to judge how good his pace could have been.

Not the best performance from the Red Bull driver in Spain.

Daniel Ricciardo 7.5/10

Started: 7th - Finished: 6th

Spain was by far Ricciardo's best F1 weekend of the year as he had the upper hand on teammate Lando Norris throughout the event.

After a good qualifying, Ricciardo controlled his pace nicely albeit with so on the limits defending to keep Perez behind.

Team boss Andreas Seidl believes the Spanish GP will now provide the platform for Ricciardo to deliver at every round.

Carlos Sainz 7/10

Started: 6th - Finished: 7th

Sainz was bettered by Leclerc in qualifying but recovered for a nice haul of points despite another race where he was given a sub-optimal strategy.

The Spaniard was stuck behind Esteban Ocon and Ferrari pitted Sainz on the same lap as Ricciardo which meant there was very little chance of Sainz overtaking the McLaren driver.

It was not a super-strong weekend for Sainz but it was still a good job considering how good Leclerc was.

Lando Norris 6/10

Started: 9th - Finished: 8th

Norris never shone at any point at the weekend in Spain, returning to some of the form he showed in 2020. His race start was far from ideal and he was unable to get into the wheel to wheel action.

The young Brit will be hoping it was a one-off as it was a quiet event for Norris who had been making the headlines for all the right reasons prior to Barcelona.

			© McLaren
	© McLaren

Esteban Ocon 7.5/10

Started: 5th - Finished: 9th

Another superb qualifying performance from Ocon saw him qualify in fifth place. Alpine appeared to lack the race pace compared to their one lap form but Ocon just held onto the points with a commendable driver.

Without a doubt, Ocon is back to the speed he showed at Force India in 2017 and 2018.

Pierre Gasly 7/10

Started: 12th - Finished: 10th

Pierre Gasly made a silly mistake by starting in front of his grid box and without the five-second time penalty he was awarded, it could have been an even better day for the former GP2 champion.

Gasly has missed out on scoring bit points on numerous occasions this year but he recovered to get into the top 10 in Spain to salvage something for AlphaTauri.

An impressive fight back but he will want to iron out these unforced errors.

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

Lance Stroll 7/10

Started: 11th - Finished: 11th

Lance Stroll continues to hold his own against Sebastian Vettel and edged him for outright pace on a track which every driver knows well.

Stroll has been the better driver at Aston Martin and his overtakes in the race including Fernando Alonso were some of the best racecraft moments Stroll has produced in his F1 career.

Kimi Raikkonen 7/10

Started: 17th - Finished: 12th

Another strong drive from Kimi Raikkonen on Sunday sadly ended with no points being scored. He did not put a foot wrong other than a small mistake when Bottas was lapping him.

His race performances continue to go under the radar and he has the beating of Antonio Giovinazzi. Tyre management proved to be key in Spain and Raikkonen managed his rubber nicely to finish in 12th.

Sebastian Vettel 6/10

Started: 13th - Finished: 13th

It was a disappointing weekend for Vettel although some of his wheel to wheel racing was exciting to see. But, the four-time world champion just lacked pace compared to Stroll.

Vettel does appear to be more comfortable in the car so don't be surprised if he does start to beat Stroll soon, Spain could be a confidence booster in terms of the driveability of the Aston Martin for Vettel.

			© Aston Martin
	© Aston Martin

George Russell 7/10

Started: 15th - Finished: 14th

Williams' strategy to pit under the safety car was a great decision and it gave George Russell a chance to fight with some of the midfield runners.

It was the usual half a second pace advantage for Russell over Nicholas Latifi and he will be content that he could actually race some other drivers this weekend compared to Portimao.

Antonio Giovinazzi 4.5/10

Started: 14th - Finished: 15th

Giovinazzi was off the pace throughout the race despite a good qualifying performance.

A bizarre pitstop when one of his tyres was punctured before it was fitted to the car did not affect Giovinazzi's final result, it was simply a lack of pace.

Nicholas Latifi 4/10

Started: 19th - Finished: 16th

There is not much to comment on Latifi's race other than he benefited from Williams' strategy just like Russell. He was off the pace again and failed to show any indications of form throughout the event.

			© Williams
	© Williams

Fernando Alonso 6.5/10

Started: 10th - Finished: 17th

Alonso was happy with his weekend despite not scoring points. He tried to make the one stop strategy work and was defending like his life depended on it.

Ultimately, it was to no avail as Alpine's lack of race pace hindered Alonso's chances. There is work to do for the two-time world champion to start matching Ocon who has been very impressive in recent weekends.

Mick Schumacher 6.5/10

Started: 18th - Finished: 18th

Schumacher had one of his trademark fast starts to overtake Russell and Tsunoda but the car's lack of race pace meant he fell down the order.

The tricky thing for Schumacher and the other backmarkers is they get a lot of blue flags on tracks which are relatively short in lap time which means it's hard to get into a rhythm and you can lose a lot of time quickly.

Nevertheless, a positive weekend as Schumacher made no mistakes and kept things clean.

			© Haas
	© Haas

Nikita Mazepin 3.5/10

Started: 20th - Finished: 19th

Nikita Mazepin found himself blocking drivers in qualifying twice on Saturday, first with Lando Norris and then with Lance Stroll.

He has to start learning soon about not getting in the way because other drivers manage to do it just fine. His pace was poor once again, approximately 50 seconds behind Schumacher at the chequered flag.

Yuki Tsunoda 4/10

Started: 16th - Finished: DNF

A key error in qualifying for Yuki Tsunoda knocked him out of Q1 and his race never got going due to his engine cutting out.

Tsunoda has been very vocal on the team radio too. He has apologised and it will be intriguing to see whether he can keep a cool head as he does not want to get a reputation for being over-critical towards his team.

A learning curve for Tsunoda.

F1 2021 Spanish Grand Prix RN365 News dossier


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