By: Sam Donsig
The 2021 Austrian Grand Prix brought out some excellent driving from the top drivers on the grid. From Max Verstappen’s masterclass drive from start to finish to Lando Norris finishing third on the podium. It was tough to decide who takes the top spot. Here are my driver power rankings for the Austrian Grand Prix.
1. Max Verstappen - (9.7/10)
From start to finish, Max Verstappen dominated the Austrian Grand Prix. Other than the first few laps around the Red Bull ring, he was in his own league and racing his own race. The Dutchman had a strong pace and managed his tyres well. It will be interesting to see how he and Red Bull do at Silverstone in two weeks.
2. Lando Norris - (9.5/10)
Wow, what a drive from Lando Norris. He got himself into the early penalty trouble and managed to recover into third place to get his second podium of the season. Norris has really grown and matured as a driver, which has propelled him into a successful 2021 season. I think he still has lots to learn but has made major leaps from his first year in Formula 1.
3. Valtteri Bottas - (9.3/10)
Valtteri Bottas turned it up late, the last two races at the Red Bull ring, this weekend and last weekend. Bottas has been stepping up to a new level and proving to Toto Wolff and company that he deserves that second seat. If he continues to perform like he did the past two weeks in Austria, I see no reason why they wouldn’t re-sign Bottas. However, rumours are floating around that Mercedes will be announcing their driver lineup for the 2022 season in two weeks. Supposedly it will be a Hamilton-Russell lineup. However, they are just rumours.
4. Lewis Hamilton - (9.0/10)
Well, it seems that teammate Valtteri Bottas got the better of Lewis Hamilton as it seemed like he just wasn’t the same out on track. Hamilton never was close to Verstappen and spent most of his race battling with Lando Norris and teammate Valtteri Bottas. Regardless, he did finish home 4th to pick up some good points for Mercedes. However, he needs to start winning races if he wants to keep the battle close with Max Verstappen. As of right now, Verstappen has a 32 point lead over Lewis Hamilton through nine races. Overall, still a great race from the seven-time world champion, and I am sure he will be bringing his A-game when the teams head to Silverstone.
5. Carlos Sainz Jr. - (8.8/10)
What a drive from the Spaniard, it was a bit of a rocky start, but regardless, he made some nice moves throughout the Grand Prix. For Ferrari and Sainz Jr. starting on 11th on the grid to come home fifth after Perez’s 10-second penalties kicked in, it is good to see. It is becoming more obvious that Ferrari is not as fast as McLaren but can still produce a good result and make for entertaining racing. Overall, it is a good race from Sainz Jr., and I am curious to see if he can succeed in Silverstone.
6. Daniel Ricciardo - (8.5/10)
Daniel Ricciardo made a nice recovery drive today and deserves all the credit. Like Sainz Jr., Ricciardo had a poor qualifying Saturday but could make some nice overtakes to get into the points. It is great to see Ricciardo finally coming into form for McLaren after nine races this season.
7. Sergio Perez - (8.4/10)
It wasn’t the best grand Prix for Sergio Perez, but that is racing and sometimes how it goes. Regardless, he was a little bit too aggressive, which caused him to go off the track after overtaking Lando Norris. Later on, he was quite aggressive against Charles Leclerc when defending and got himself awarded two five-second penalties. It brought back flashbacks to Austria last year when Alex Albon collided with Lewis Hamilton in the same corner. Overall, it a good race from Perez, and I can see how he bounces back in two weeks at Silverstone.
8. Charles Leclerc - (8.2/10)
Charles Leclerc’s race started well but didn’t finish the best. After being forced off the track twice by Perez, it seemed that all bets were off. And well, they were, as he struggled the rest of the race to make up any more positions and only was able to score 4 points for the team. But, in the grand scheme of things, Leclerc did well throughout the race. He just had a bit of bad luck when trying to overtake Sergio Perez. Overall, a good race from Leclerc will be interesting to see how Silverstone goes for him.
9. Pierre Gasly - (8.0/10)
When you compare it to last weekend’s race, the Austrian Grand Prix was much better for Pierre Gasly and the Alpha Tauri team. Despite only scoring 2 points, he still had a strong race pace and avoided any contact with Charles Leclerc. As well, Gasly looked a lot more comfortable on the track. I believe that he found a great amount of grip around the track, which helped him propel himself into the points.
10. George Russell - (7.9/10)
Well done, George Russell, even though he narrowly missed out on the first points of his career. Russell proved to F1 fans that he deserves that Mercedes' second driver seat for 2022. Russell took a Williams, started the race in eighth and only lost three positions. Now I know it's never good to go backwards in a race but in terms of who George Russell is and the car he is in. So one must one and one together to point out that Russell is doing a great job.
11. Fernando Alonso - (7.5/10)
Fernando Alonso had a great race. He was pushing the car to the limit, extracting as much pace out of it as he could. He made a nice move past George Russell in the last few laps to score some points, which was good to see. Alonso is proving a lot of haters wrong, even myself. I didn't think Alonso had the ability to score points consistently. Based on his time away from Formula 1 and his current stature. Overall, a great race for the Spaniards.
12. Yuki Tsunoda - (7.3/10)
Yuki Tsunoda is slowly becoming more comfortable and calm while on the racetrack, which is good to see. Although he ran an okay race on Sunday, he struggled to slow down twice in the pit lane, which caused him to receive costly penalties. A rookie mistake that even experienced drivers can make. Regardless, he still made a mistake, but he is still learning, and things will take him. Other than his speeding through the pitlane, he ran a clean race and finished in a decent position.
13. Lance Stroll - (7.1/10)
Not too much to say about Lance Stroll's race. He struggled with pace throughout the weekend and during Sunday's race. Obviously, the car wasn't set up fully to his liking, which caused some problems. As well, it didn't help when he got a penalty for speeding in the pitlane. Not something that Aston Martin wanted to deal with at the time. Overall, it was an okay race from Lance Stroll, but still, lots to improve on.
14. Antonio Giovinazzi - (7.0/10)
It seems that Antonio Giovinazzi is that one driver that nothing ever happens to him, so he doesn't get a lot of screentime, which makes sense because they want to focus on the intense battles and the pit stop strategies. Regardless, Giovinazzi ran a nice clean race and avoided contact with any other car, which is always good. Overall, a good race from the Italian will be interesting to see how he does at Silverstone.
15. Kimi Räikkönen - (6.8/10)
Not too much to say about Kimi Räikkönen's race. It was quiet all day long up until his crash with Sebastian Vettel. Other than that, there wasn't too much that Räikkönen did that made the camera gravitate towards him. As well, it seemed he was struggling a bit for grip out there, which caused him to crash with Vettel. So overall, not the best race for the Finn.
16. Nicholas Latifi - (6.6/10)
When you compare Nicholas Latifi's race to his teammate, it is obvious who is the better driver. However, Latifi seems to still find his fitting in Formula 1, causing him not to feel 100 per cent confident in himself to race. We saw that on Sunday as he was hesitant to make moves when given the opportunity. It will be interesting to see how things go for him and where he possibly goes next.
17. Sebastian Vettel - (6.4/10)
Sebastian Vettel had a bit of a roller coaster of emotions in terms of his Austrian Grand Prix. He started off high in a good qualifying position, but after some tough luck on the last two laps, everything went down from there. Obviously, he wasn't running the best race. Regardless he still did have a decent chance at scoring some points. Overall, it was a mixed bag of a race for Vettel. I am interested to see if he will bounce back at Silverstone.
18. Mick Schumacher - (6.2/10)
Not much to say about Mick Schumacher's Grand Prix. He started in a low position and remained there for the entirety of the race. Unfortunately for Mick Schumacher, I think he has not got a proper grip on his new car and is still taking his time adjusting minor details.
19. Nikita Mazepin - (6.0/10)
Like his teammate Mick Schumacher, Nikita Mazepin remained at the back of the bunch for a large portion of the race. He struggled with the pace and wasn't able to go anywhere but back down the timing charts. But, overall, the highlight of the weekend for him was probably giving his boss a gift.
20. Esteban Ocon - (N/A)
Considering Esteban lasted about three corners before having to retire, there is not much to say. Other than the fact that Alpine might need a new engine supplier after the past two weekends. Regardless, he was looking strong down the main straight, which makes sense as the Alpine's have great straight-line speed.
Who knows that will be in stock for the 2021 British Grand Prix? Only time will tell.