Here’s how we rated each driver in F1’s Emilia Romagna Grand Prix…

Each driver is scored out of ten with the rating being heavily weighted on their race day performance. Qualifying performance holds less weight when deciding the ratings

Lewis Hamilton (Qualified 2nd, finished 1st) - 10

It was another sublime performance from Hamilton on race day at Portimao. The seven-time champion missed out on pole position at the expense of Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas by the slenderest of margins, but you always had a feeling come race day Hamilton would be the man to beat. Hamilton’s afternoon was made harder after a lackadaisical Safety Car restart allowed Verstappen to move into second. A rare mistake at the exit of Turn 14 from the Dutchman allowed Hamilton to get back into second place, as he looked to hunt down Bottas who was struggling on the mediums. After several laps running behind Bottas, Hamilton made the move into Turn 1 - the Finn covered the inside line, allowing Hamilton to sweep around the outside with a fantastic overtake. From then on it was comfortable for Hamilton, as he managed the gap to Verstappen to claim his 97th career victory. 

Max Verstappen (Qualified 3rd, finished 2nd) - 9

Had it not been for a small moment at Turn 4 on his first lap in Q3, Verstappen would have taken pole at Portimao. Instead, third on the grid was where Verstappen had to start from. The Dutchman made the most of Hamilton’s slow getaway behind Bottas at the restart and moved up to second. Red Bull’s lack of straight-line speed and inability to follow closely in the final sector meant he couldn’t challenge Bottas for the lead and ultimately fell into the clutches of Hamilton when he made a mistake at Turn 14 on Lap 10. Verstappen then got past Bottas when the Finn was struggling with tyre warm-up out of the pits. Red Bull pit Verstappen with two laps to go in a bid to secure the fastest lap. Verstappen looked to have delivered, but his fastest lap was chalked off after he was found to have exceeded track limits at Turn 14. 

Valtteri Bottas (Qualified 1st, finished 3rd) - 7

Bottas looked to have put the events of Imola behind him as he secured the 17th pole position of his career. Immediately from the off, Bottas struggled with the medium tyres, as he was unable to break the one-second window to Hamilton or Verstappen. Bottas could only resist Hamilton for so many laps, and his defence into Turn 1 was once again very weak. The Finn’s pace was enough to keep Verstappen behind, ensuring Hamilton wasn’t put under any additional pressure from his main championship rival. Bottas’ struggles with tyre warm-up came to the surface when he stopped for fresh hard tyres, unable to keep Verstappen behind. Bottas showed impressive pace as the hard stint progressed, reducing the gap to the Red Bull ahead to just 1.2s, before encountering an exhaust sensor issue, which cost him over five seconds. 

Sergio Perez (Qualified 4th, finished 4th) - 7

A solid, albeit unspectacular display from Perez at Portimao. He dropped behind the fast-starting, soft-fitted Ferrari of Carlos Sainz. While he managed to get back ahead, the decisive moment came after the Safety Car restart where Norris managed to overtake, although illegally as he exceeded track limits. The Mexican spent several laps stuck behind the McLaren driver, losing over eight seconds to the leading trio once he got ahead into Turn 1 on Lap 15. Once Perez had clean air, his pace was on a par with Hamilton, Verstappen and Bottas. 

Lando Norris (Qualified 7th, finished 5th) - 9

Norris continued his impressive start to 2021 as he finished in the top five for the third race in succession. He made amends for a slow start, overtaking Ocon spectacularly around the outside. Norris could only keep Perez behind up until Lap 15, surrendering the position into Turn 1 after overtaking initially with a track limits violation. Norris ensured he was ‘best of the rest’ of the midfield, managing his heavily-grained medium tyres to beat Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc to fifth.

Charles Leclerc (Qualified 8th, finished 6th) - 8 

It was a rare case of underperformance from Leclerc in qualifying, managing only eighth on the grid, while teammate Carlos Sainz qualified fifth. Starting on the medium tyres, Leclerc had a significant strategic advantage over his midfield competitors. Leclerc remained behind his teammate until the second stint, where he switched to hard tyres. Team orders from Ferrari allowed Leclerc to get ahead of his teammate for effectively sixth place once the pit stops played out. 

Esteban Ocon (Qualified 6th, finished 7th) - 8 

Ocon maximised Alpine’s performance at Portimao in qualifying with sixth on the grid, missing out on fifth by just 0.003s. Ocon dropped to eighth after the Safety Car restart and then was undercut by Gasly through the pit stop phase. Impressive pace on the hards allowed him to re-overtake Gasly and then Sainz, who was struggling on his medium tyres.

Fernando Alonso (Qualified 13th, finished 8th) - 8

The ‘gladiator of old’ looked to be back as Alonso put in a spectacular performance to finish eighth. The Spaniard had no explanation for his disappointing qualifying showing but he made up for it on race day. A long 40-lap stint on the medium tyre allowed him to switch to the hards, giving him a significant tyre advantage over his main competitors. Alonso cut through the field, overtaking Pierre Gasly, Daniel Ricciardo and Carlos Sainz on his way to eighth - finishing just a second shy of teammate Ocon.

Daniel Ricciardo (Qualified 16th, finished 9th) - 7

A solid recovery from Ricciardo after a surprise early exit in Q1 in qualifying. He made a fantastic start and ran in 11th place once the Safety Car period ended. Like Alonso, a long medium stint allowed him to switch to the hards late on. He didn’t quite have the pace of the Spaniard, only being able to pick off Gasly and Sainz, before being overtaken by the Alpine driver. A lot of work for the Australian to do but a decent recovery nonetheless.

Pierre Gasly (Qualified 9th, finished 10th) - 8

Gasly made it into Q3 for the third race in succession even though AlphaTauri didn’t look as competitive as it did in the previous two rounds. The Frenchman ran inside the top ten for much of the race but didn’t have the pace to resist Alonso and Ricciardo on their fresher rubber. Gasly secured the final point with a late pass on Sainz. 

Carlos Sainz (Qualified 5th, finished 11th) - 7

Sainz starred in qualifying as he put his Ferrari fifth on the grid, 0.3s clear of teammate Leclerc. He made the most of the soft tyres at the start, moving up to fourth ahead of Perez, but from then on, struggled for pace. The decisive moment in the race came on Lap 21 where Ferrari stopped him for mediums. Unexpectedly, the medium tyre was performing worse than expected and the hard tyre - that Leclerc switched to - was the better race tyre. Sainz struggled with tyre graining and dropped to 11th at the end of the race. Had Ferrari put him on the hard tyre, he’d likely have finished inside the top seven.

Antonio Giovinazzi (Qualified 12th, finished 12th) - 6

Giovinazzi’s qualifying performance went under the radar as he was 0.6s faster than Alfa Romeo teammate Kimi Raikkonen in qualifying. A fairly anonymous race for the Italian once again as he ran for 12th for much of it, overtaking Sebastian Vettel’s Aston Martin to ensure he finished where he started.

Sebastian Vettel (Qualified 10th, finished 13th) - 6

Vettel enjoyed his best qualifying since the British Grand Prix last year as he progressed into Q3. The Aston Martin driver didn’t have the race pace to maintain a top ten finish, dropping behind the recovering Alonso and Ricciardo, before being overtaken by Giovinazzi. Vettel was ordered to move over for Stroll but was later given the position back as Stroll wasn’t able to overtake Giovinazzi for 12th.

Lance Stroll (Qualified 17th, finished 14th) - 5

Stroll couldn’t make the most of the upgraded Aston Martin as he dropped out of qualifying at the first hurdle in Q1. The Canadian climbed up the order, as he started on the soft tyres. A mammoth 39-lap stint on the softs was impressive but it was to no avail as Aston simply didn’t have the race pace of McLaren or Alpine. After being unable to overtake Giovinazzi, he surrendered the position to teammate Vettel.

Yuki Tsunoda (Qualified 14th, finished 15th) - 5

A clean, albeit disappointing weekend for Tsunoda. At a track he’s never driven at before, it’s hard to be too harsh. The Japanese rookie never had the pace of teammate Gasly in qualifying or on race day. The height of his race was an overtake on Williams’ George Russell into Turn 5. 

George Russell (Qualified 11th, finished 16th) - 7

‘Mr Saturday’ impressed again in qualifying as he missed out on Q3 by less than a tenth. Williams simply didn’t have the pace on race day as Russell struggled with the windy conditions, dropping from 11th to 15th in the opening phase of the race.

Mick Schumacher (Qualified 19th, finished 17th) - 7

Schumacher was once again well clear of Haas teammate Nikita Mazepin in qualifying - 0.5s the gap between the pair. The German enjoyed an error-free, clean race on his way to 17th. Schumacher managed to get past Nicholas Latifi late on with an optimistic move into Turn 3 when the Canadian locked up and went wide.

Nicholas Latifi (Qualified 18th, finished 18th) - 4

Latifi never had the pace he showed at Imola last time out nor was he a match for teammate Russell. The Canadian spent most of the race keeping Schumacher at bay, before surrendering the position to the Haas driver as he ran wide at Turn 3. 

Nikita Mazepin (Qualified 20th, finished 19th) - 3

Mazepin trailed teammate Schumacher by half a second in qualifying and finished over a minute behind in the race. The Russian appears to be taking a more cautious approach after his tricky first two races in F1. Mazepin was handed a five-second penalty and one penalty point for getting in Perez’s way while getting lapped. 

Kimi Raikkonen (Qualified 15th, DNF) - 1

Raikkonen made it into Q2 but a poor lap meant he was over 0.6s slower than Giovinazzi. An embarrassing mistake at the start of the second lap ended his race prematurely, running into the back of his teammate on the start-finish straight. The 2007 world champion owned up to his mistake afterwards. Overall, it was a weekend to forget for Kimi.

 

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