F1 Driver Ratings from the 2021 Mexico City Grand Prix

Crash.net F1 journalist Connor McDonagh runs through the field’s driver ratings following the 2021 Mexico City Grand Prix at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
1st place Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB16B, 2nd place Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W12 and 3rd place Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing.
1st place Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB16B, 2nd place Lewis…
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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 3rd, finished 1st) - 10

Another world champion-like performance from Verstappen in Mexico as he moves 19 points clear of Lewis Hamilton in the drivers’ championship. Verstappen’s “on the edge” overtake on the Mercedes pair into Turn 1 on the opening lap made his afternoon very easy as he controlled the race from the front to take his ninth victory of the season. 

Lewis Hamilton (Qualified 2nd, finished 2nd) - 9

The seven-time champion was beaten by teammate Valtteri Bottas in qualifying, but he extracted the most from the W12 on the race day in what was clearly the second fastest car in race trim. Hamilton was unable to stick with Verstappen in the opening stint before focusing his attention on the fast-charging Sergio Perez at the end of the race. 

Sergio Perez (Qualified 4th, finished 3rd) - 8

Another solid weekend from Perez as he finished on the podium for the third consecutive race for the first time in his F1 career. Perez benefitted from Bottas’ opening lap spin to move up to third. A longer first stint gave him 11 laps fresher tyres than Hamilton but it wasn’t enough to make a move on the Mercedes driver. 

Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB16B and Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull Racing RB16B.
Max Verstappen (NLD) Red Bull Racing RB16B and Sergio Perez (MEX) Red Bull…
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Pierre Gasly (Qualified 5th, finished 4th) - 10

A perfect weekend from Gasly as his P4 in Mexico has moved AlphaTauri level with Alpine in the constructors’ championship. In what was a lonely race for the Frenchman, Gasly finished over 17 seconds clear of the lead Ferrari behind.

Charles Leclerc (Qualified 8th, finished 5th) - 7

After qualifying only eighth, Leclerc moved up to fifth on the opening lap as he got through the messy opening sequence of corners better than his teammate, who dropped to seventh behind Giovinazzi. Leclerc didn’t have the tyre management or seemingly race pace of his teammate as Ferrari ordered him to move out of the way before regaining the position as Sainz was unable to get close to Gasly ahead. 

Carlos Sainz (Qualified 6th, finished 6th) - 8

Unfortunate to lose out at the start, Sainz dropped back to seventh as he tried to avoid Bottas’ spinning Mercedes. The Spaniard was comfortable in race trim as an extended first stint gave him a significant tyre advantage over his teammate. Ferrari used team orders to get him ahead but with Gasly too far ahead, Sainz relinquished the position again to be fair to Leclerc.

Sebastian Vettel (Qualified 11th, started 9th, finished 7th) - 8

A solid race from Vettel who benefitted from Bottas and Daniel Ricciardo’s contact on the opening lap. The four-time F1 champion was stuck behind Antonio Giovinazzi in the first portion of the race but Alfa Romeo’s early stop gave him crucial free air. Vettel had no threat from behind as he finished seventh - his best result since Belgium.

Sebastian Vettel (GER) Aston Martin F1 Team AMR21.
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Aston Martin F1 Team AMR21.
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Kimi Raikkonen (Qualified 12th, started 10th, finished 8th) - 8

Raikkonen equalled his best result of the season with eighth in Mexico. The Finn remained in 10th after the opening lap, behind Williams’ George Russell. Raikkonen dispatched Russell into Turn 1 early on before settling in behind Raikkonen. With teammate Giovinazzi stopping early, Raikkonen overcut his teammate to move up to eighth. A good afternoon for the 2007 world champion.

Fernando Alonso (Qualified 16th, started 12th, finished 9th) - 7

A poor qualifying from Alonso saw him exit Q1 for the first time since Monaco. The Spaniard benefitted from the various grid penalties to move up to 12th, where he remained after a chaotic first lap. Alonso dispatched Nikita Mazepin and George Russell after the Safety Car before overcutting Giovinazzi to move up to ninth.

Lando Norris (Qualified 10th, started 18th, finished 10th) - 7

Norris was only 15th under the Safety Car as he didn’t make too much progress on the opening lap. He moved up to 11th with relative ease before jumping Giovinazzi, whose early pit stop cost him several positions. 

Antonio Giovinazzi (Qualified 14th, started 11th, finished 11th) - 6

Giovinazzi made the most of the chaos in the opening couple of corners to move up to sixth. The Italian lost out to Sainz shortly after the Safety Car. Running comfortably in seventh, an early pit stop dropped him behind Ricciardo and Bottas. Giovinazzi lost a lot of time and was overcut by Vettel, Raikkonen, Alonso and Norris, surrendering potential points finish. 

Daniel Ricciardo (Qualified 7th, started 7th, finished 12th) - 5

A clumsy first lap tangle with Bottas cost McLaren crucial points in its battle with Ferrari for third in constructors’ championship. Arguably fortunate to get away with no penalty, Ricciardo defended from Bottas for over 40 laps. After losing his front wing on the opening lap, 12th was the maximum.

Esteban Ocon (FRA) Alpine F1 Team A521.
Esteban Ocon (FRA) Alpine F1 Team A521.
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Esteban Ocon (Qualified 15th, started 19th, finished 13th) - 6

Ocon was forced to start from the back of the grid after taking an entirely new engine for this weekend. The Alpine driver was caught up in the Lap 1 mayhem as he was squeezed by Yuki Tsunoda and Mick Schumacher. Stuck in the midfield train, Ocon couldn’t make much progress and was resigned to an underwhelming P13 once Bottas stopped for the fastest lap.

Lance Stroll (Qualified 20th, started 20th, finished 14th) - 5

Stroll’s crash in Q1 was unnecessary given that he was starting from the back due to an engine change. He didn’t make much progress at the start besides getting past Bottas and Ricciardo, who were forced into the pits for repairs. Stroll had a brief off at Turn 5 after the Safety Car but it was inconsequential in his pursuit of the top 10.

Valtteri Bottas (Qualified 1st, started 1st, finished 15th) - 6

It was a stunning lap in qualifying from Bottas he claimed the 19th pole position of his career. A lacklustre start meant Hamilton got alongside him while he failed to cover the racing line, allowing Verstappen to position his car perfectly for braking late into Turn 1. As he ensured Hamilton got through unscathed, he braked slightly earlier which saw Ricciardo tag him, spinning him around and dropping him to the back of the field. Mercedes’ overheating issues and inability to follow meant that Bottas couldn’t progress through the field. A slow stop cost him any chance of 10th before stopping twice for the fastest lap.

George Russell (Qualified 13th, started 16th, finished 16th) - 6

Russell ran as high as ninth before slowly dropping down the order as Williams simply didn’t have the race pace to compete in the midfield. The Mercedes-bound driver finished just over 15 seconds ahead of teammate Nicholas Latifi.

Nicholas Latifi (CDN) Williams Racing FW43B makes a pit stop.
Nicholas Latifi (CDN) Williams Racing FW43B makes a pit stop.
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Nicholas Latifi (Qualified 17th, started 13th, finished 17th) - 4

The Canadian didn’t make as much progress as teammate Russell on Lap 1 as he remained 13th under the Safety Car. Latifi lacked pace relative to his teammate as he only beat the Haas of Nikita Mazepin. 

Nikita Mazepin (Qualified 19th, started 15th, finished 18th) - 4

Mazepin enjoyed a strong start from 15th on the grid as he moved up to 11th. Naturally, he dropped through the field as Haas’ lack of pace was clearly apparent. 

Mick Schumacher (Qualified 18th, started 14th, DNF) - 5

Schumacher was comfortably ahead of his teammate in qualifying, just under 0.5s was the margin between the Haas pair. His race ended on the opening lap as he tried to get past the two Alpine drivers. 

Yuki Tsunoda (Qualified 9th, started 17th, DNF) - 6

Despite his engine penalty, it was another encouraging qualifying display from Tsunoda as he progressed into Q3. The Japanese rookie gave his teammate a slipstream in qualifying before taking to the run-off area to allow the two Red Bulls behind past as they were on flying laps. Tsunoda’s actions resulted in unfair criticism from the Red Bull management, although AlphaTauri boss Franz Tost was quick to defend him. Tsunoda’s race was ended on Lap 1 as he was sent airborne briefly after tangling with Ocon.

A damaged Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) AlphaTauri AT02 and Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Mercedes AMG F1 W12 at the start of the race.
A damaged Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) AlphaTauri AT02 and Valtteri Bottas (FIN)…
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