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

Max Verstappen (Qualified 1st, finished 1st) - 10

It wasn’t a perfect performance by Verstappen at the Circuit Paul Ricard as a snap of oversteer into the first corner on the opening lap handed Lewis Hamilton the lead of the race. The race ultimately came down to strategy with an impressive undercut on Lap 18 allowed Verstappen to reclaim the lead. A second stop on Lap 31 proved decisive as Mercedes couldn’t respond with Hamilton and was forced to stick to its one-stop. The Dutchman overtook Valtteri Bottas and then Hamilton on the penultimate lap with ease to clinch his third victory of the season. 

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

After a tough start to the weekend where he trailed teammate Bottas throughout Friday practice, Hamilton delivered when it mattered to secure a front-row starting position. The seven-time champion controlled the race from the front and his destiny was in the hands of his team. Naively, Mercedes allowed Verstappen to undercut despite clear indication it was strong at Paul Ricard with Charles Leclerc setting fastest laps just before the leaders stopped for fresh rubber. Hamilton did his best to challenge Verstappen but couldn’t make a pass given Red Bull’s superior tyre advantage. He did his best to manage his heavily worn hard tyres, resisting Verstappen until the final lap, where he surrendered the lead of the race. 

Sergio Perez (Qualified 4th, finished 3rd) - 9

An underwhelming opening part of the race proved to be a blessing for Perez as he was able to extend his first stint on the mediums and comfortably complete a one-stop strategy. His seven-lap tyre advantage over Bottas was crucial in securing back-to-back podium finishes as the Finn struggled with tyre degradation in the closing laps. The Mexican overtook Bottas on Lap 49 and finished 5.8s clear of the Mercedes driver. A good strategy, enhanced by Perez’s impressive race pace on the hard tyre.

Valtteri Bottas (Qualified 3rd, finished 4th) - 8

It was arguably Bottas’ best showing in a race this season as he pressured Verstappen and teammate Hamilton for most of it. An earlier stop than scheduled was forced upon him after a lock-up and trip down the Turn 4 escape road on Lap 12 left him with a small vibration. His pace on the hard tyre was impressive, sitting in Hamilton’s DRS. Mercedes kept him on a one-stop strategy despite his suggestion to switch to a two. He was left to hold up the fast-charging Red Bulls in a bid to help Hamilton secure the victory, but he couldn’t as his tyres fell away in the closing laps.

Lando Norris (Qualified 8th, finished 5th) - 9

Norris made it six top-five finishes in seven races at Paul Ricard with another stunning Sunday drive. Like Perez, Norris extended his opening medium tyre stint which gave him a significant performance advantage over his rivals when he switched to the hards. Norris breezed past both Ferraris, Fernando Alonso, Pierre Gasly and Daniel Ricciardo to secure fifth. He took the chequered flag over 11 seconds clear of teammate Ricciardo. 

Daniel Ricciardo (Qualified 10th, finished 6th) - 8

We saw a glimpse of the Ricciardo ‘of old’ as he got past teammate Norris at the start before overtaking Leclerc and Alonso on track. An aggressive undercut allowed him to get past Gasly, before overtaking Sainz in the Ferrari. The Australian didn’t have the pace to keep Norris behind, although his teammate was on significantly fresher tyres. Ricciardo kept Gasly and Alonso at bay to secure sixth. 

Pierre Gasly (Qualified 6th, finished 7th) - 8

It was six Q3 appearances in seven races for Gasly as he qualified ahead of both McLarens at Paul Ricard. The AlphaTauri fared better than Ferrari on race day, but McLaren proved to be too strong as he was undercut by Ricciardo through the pit stop phase. He did his best to keep Norris at bay with an aggressive defence into Turn 11, leaving the Brit to vent his frustration over team radio. Gasly was unable to get back past Ricciardo, finishing the race 0.7s behind.

Fernando Alonso (Qualified 9th, finished 8th) - 8

Alonso continued to banish any doubts that he doesn’t have what it takes to be in F1 in 2021 with another impressive weekend. The Spaniard consistently had the advantage over teammate Esteban Ocon throughout the weekend. It was another vintage start as Alonso gained two places on the opening lap, before dropping behind the two McLarens when he struggled with his grained medium tyres. A strong hard stint put him back into the top eight, resisting late pressure from the Aston Martins to secure eighth. 

Sebastian Vettel (Qualified 12th, finished 9th) - 8

The four-time champion continued his points streak at Paul Ricard. As in the previous two rounds, Vettel went long in the first stint with a late switch to mediums. This allowed him to get ahead of both Ferraris but he didn’t have the pace to get past his old title rival Alonso for eighth. Had it not been for an off at Turn 11 during his medium stint - which cost him around three seconds - perhaps he could have finished higher than P9.

Lance Stroll (Qualified 19th, finished 10th) - 8

Stroll was caught out by Mick Schumacher’s crash at the end of Q1 meaning he was knocked out of qualifying prematurely. The Canadian was put on the same strategy as Vettel, benefitting from a long hard stint before switching on to the mediums. Stroll overtook Sainz for the final point in the closing laps to hand Aston Martin its second double-points finish of 2021.

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

Sainz extracted the most from his Ferrari as he qualified ‘best of the rest’ in fifth. The race didn’t go so well as Ferrari grained its tyres faster than any other team, causing Sainz to plummet down the order after switching to the hard tyres. Given teammate Charles Leclerc’s abysmal race, it’s clear the lack of pace was more down to the car than Sainz’s own performance.

George Russell (Qualified 14th, finished 12th) - 9

It was one of Russell’s finest Sundays for Williams as he finished 12th on merit. A difficult start dropped him behind teammate Nicholas Latifi in the early phase of the race before recovering to finish just outside the top ten. Russell overtook Yuki Tsunoda in the closing laps to hand Williams its best result of the season and one that moves it ahead of Haas for ninth in the constructors’ championship.

Yuki Tsunoda (Qualified 20th, finished 13th) - 6

Another crash in qualifying for Tsunoda meant he was forced to start from the pit lane. In a car that was fast enough to qualify and finish inside the top ten, it was a missed opportunity for the Japanese rookie. An error-free race allowed him to recover to 13th, although being overtaken by a Williams wouldn’t have gone down well with the Red Bull hierarchy. 

Esteban Ocon (Qualified 11th, finished 14th) - 6

On the back of signing a new three-year deal with Alpine, Ocon was hoping for a big performance on home soil. The Frenchman never had the pace of teammate Alonso nor looked like threatening the top ten on race day. He was put on the same strategy as the Aston Martin pair but couldn’t make a mark on the race in a rare off day for Ocon. 

Antonio Giovinazzi (Qualified 13th, finished 15th) - 7

It was an anonymous race for Giovinazzi at Paul Ricard. The Italian once again had the advantage over Alfa Romeo teammate Kimi Raikkonen. The hard to medium strategy didn’t work out for Giovinazzi as Alfa simply lacked the race pace. 

Charles Leclerc (Qualified 8th, finished 16th) - 5

After back-to-back pole positions, Leclerc was brought back down to earth with a weekend to forget. Leclerc was the first of the top bracket of drivers to switch to hards on Lap 14. He managed to get ahead of teammate Sainz on track but quickly fell down the order. His heavily grained tyres meant he was forced into a second pit stop, leaving him to battle Raikkonen for 16th.

Kimi Raikkonen (Qualified 17th, finished 17th) - 5

Like Giovinazzi, it was an anonymous race for the 2007 world champion. Raikkonen lacked pace all weekend and was comprehensively out-paced by his Alfa Romeo teammate. The alternate strategy didn’t work out for Raikkonen and blue flags meant he couldn’t maximise the medium tyres in the same way the Aston Martins could on the same strategy.

Nicholas Latifi (Qualified 16th, finished 18th) - 5

Latifi missed out on a spot in Q2 by just 0.002s. The Canadian ran ahead of teammate Russell but didn’t have the pace to maintain the position, surrendering it on track. Pitting one lap later than teammate Russell, Latifi struggled with a lack of grip and couldn’t make any progress through the field.

Mick Schumacher (Qualified 15th, finished 19th) - 6

Schumacher was fortunate to progress into Q2 for the first time in his career as the red flag he caused meant the likes of Stroll and Raikkonen couldn’t improve. The German was overtaken by teammate Nikita Mazepin into Turn 4, forcing Schumacher to take to the escape road. Schumacher managed to get back past his teammate but didn’t have the pace to threaten the Williams of Latifi.

Nikita Mazepin (Qualified 18th, finished 20th) - 5

It wasn’t a terrible weekend by Mazepin’s standards with it being mostly error-free. Mazepin got past teammate Schumacher in the early phase of the race with an aggressive move into Turn 4. The Russian didn’t have the pace to beat his teammate as he finished last at Paul Ricard.

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F1 2021 | French GP Race Review | What a race!