2021 F1 Driver Power Rankings French GP Edition: Verstappen shines, Vettel drops down


(Sam Donsig/TIS)

By: Sam Donsig


Like several other F1 fans, including myself, I wasn't expecting an exciting French Grand Prix, considering that Mercedes usually dominates and has few overtaking opportunities. The racing is usually not that exciting. However, that went out the window on Sunday because we had an exciting race from start to finish. Here are my driver power rankings for the French Grand Prix.


1. Max Verstappen - (9.6/10)


An excellent drive from the Dutchman, it was a rough start, but he bounced back nicely. He showed why he could win the drivers' world Championship with some great driving and tyre management. Verstappen was quite composed while on track despite having some radio troubles throughout the race. Overall a perfect race from Verstappen.


2. Lewis Hamilton - (9.3/10)


Like his fellow rival, Sir Lewis Hamilton had a great race. He was able to extend his hard tyres as long as possible, and it just wasn't enough to keep Verstappen behind. Hamilton seemed to have a significant pace during the race, and it was just the Mercedes one-stop strategy that ruined his race. Overall, a superb race from the seven-time world champion.


3. Sergio Perez - (9.0/10)


Red Bull couldn't have asked for a better drive from their supposed second driver. Sergio Perez is coming into midseason form, which is crucial for Red Bull's chances of capturing the Constructors Championship. Perez maintained a strong pace throughout the race and overtook Valtteri Bottas to take home third which was huge in the Constructor's fight. If he continues to perform like this Sunday, he will be staying at Red Bull for years to come.


4. Valtteri Bottas - (8.7/10)


You got to feel a little bit bad for Valtteri Bottas, as he did tell the team to do a two-stop strategy. They didn't listen, and it cost them. Regardless, Valtteri Bottas didn't have the best race. He struggled with pace a bit and was not able to keep Sergio Perez at bay. It shows that Bottas seems to be quite unlucky and struggling to live up to Mercedes' expectations.


4. Lando Norris - (8.5/10)


Considering Lando Norris' qualifying session and where he started on the grid, Norris had a great race. He made a few nice moves past Fernando Alonso and Pierre Gasly to secure fifth place. Norris seemed to have a good feeling of the car around Paul Ricard, and it showed. Overall, a good race from the Brit as he showcased some excellent driving from start to finish.


5. Daniel Ricciardo - (8.3/10)


Similar to his teammate, Daniel Ricciardo also had a good race. He was able to find a significant amount of grip around Paul Ricard, which helped with overtaking Fernando Alonso. Ricciardo seems to be more and more comfortable in the Mclaren car after each race. He is showing a good improvement in pace in comparison to his teammate Lando Norris. Overall, from start to finish, a solid race from the Aussie.


6. Valtteri Bottas - (8.1/10)


You got to feel a little bit bad for Valtteri Bottas, as he did tell the team to do a two-stop strategy. They didn't listen, and it cost them. Regardless, Valtteri Bottas didn't have the best race. He struggled with pace a bit and was not able to keep Sergio Perez at bay. It shows that Bottas seems to be quite unlucky and struggling to live up to Mercedes' expectations.


7. Pierre Gasly - (8.0/10)


Another superb weekend for Pierre Gasly from start to finish, the Frenchman at his home race showed out, finishing a solid P7. He had great control of the car and made some nice overtakes throughout the race to score some significant points for Alpha Tauri. It is good to see Pierre Gasly do well, considering how Red Bull treated him. Once his contract is up, multiple teams will call for Pierre Gasly to join their team.


8. Fernando Alonso - (7.6/10)


Wow, it seems that age is not slowing Fernando Alonso down any bit. He had a great weekend from start to finish. Alonso was able to find incredible pace in the Alpine, which helps propel him into P8. As much I was skeptical at first when I heard that Alonso was making his return to F1. I have now changed my mind and realized that Alonso still has lots left in the tank. It will be exciting to see if he scores a podium this season.


9. Sebastian Vettel - (7.4/10)


From being on the podium a week ago to now sitting just inside the points. Formula 1 is truly a rollercoaster of emotions and feelings. For Vettel, it was not the best of weekends. He struggled to find a good pace with the car. Also, Vettel seemed not to be acting like himself, and it was showing on track. Overall, not a great weekend for the four-time world champion, but still lots of races left to see if we see another podium for Vettel.


10. Lance Stroll - (7.2/10)


Unlike his teammate, Lance Stroll had a decent race. Despite starting from P19 on the grid. Stroll was able to make several nice overtakes on track and through pit stops to come out P10. He showed a good amount of pace, which helped propel him inside the points for double points scoring for Aston Martin. Overall a good race, considering where he started the race.


11. Carlos Sainz Jr. - (6.9/10)


It was not a great weekend for Carlos Sainz Jr. and the Tifosi. They struggled all weekend with pace, and their race pace was nothing to be scared about. For Carlos himself, he worked to set the fastest laps and get a good starting position for the race. As well, Sainz Jr. didn't seem entirely comfortable in the Ferrari at Paul Ricard. When you consider how Ferrari has done at all other previous races this season, it was a bit of a surprise to see. Some fans might've even got 2020 season flashbacks.


12. George Russell - 6.8/10)


Wow, what a race from George Russell. The young brit has a great future in Formula 1 and could be racing for Mercedes as soon as next season. He has propelled the Williams back into not being the worst team on the grid when comparing them to Haas and Alfa Romeo racing. Overall, a great race from George Russell from start to finish.


13. Esteban Ocon - (6.6/10)


Compared to his teammate, Esteban Ocon struggled during his home Grand Prix. He didn't show the best pace, and it was apparent. Ocon's 2021 French Grand Prix perfectly described the first quarter of the season, just mediocre. It hasn't been terrible, and it has not been great. He seems to be up and down like a rollercoaster when it comes to pace. He struggled during the French Grand Prix, and it appears that this trend could continue into next week at the Red Bull ring.


14. Yuki Tsunoda - (6.4/10)


For Yuki Tsunoda, he had a decent race. Considering he started the race from pitlane after crashing out in Qualifying 3, he made some nice overtakes to take home a solid P13. Despite him not scoring points, it was still good to see Tsunoda make an excellent recovery.


15. Antonio Giovinazzi - (6.2/10)


Antonio Giovinazzi seemed to have a decent race. He struggled to hold his position, with Tsunoda and others like George Russell overtaking him. Giovinazzi has struggled all season, and it seems like he could be out of his seat for 2022 If Alfa Romeo decides to bring in a Formula 2 rookie.


16. Charles Leclerc - (6.0/10)


Well, that was not the race that Charles Leclerc wanted, but that's just sometimes how it goes. Leclerc struggled to find a solid pace all weekend, limiting his chances at scoring a podium. It was weird to see Ferrari drop drastically considering how the first quarter of the season has gone for them. Leclerc has clearly shown he has the pace and can compete during qualifying, but his race pace is not where it was in previous seasons.


17. Kimi Räikkönen - (5.9/10)


For the flying Finn, it wasn't his best race. Räikkönen struggled to find grip around Paul Ricard, and it showed. He didn't seem comfortable on the track as he worked with tyre management during the race. Overall, it wasn't his best race, but I don't expect to see Kimi Räikkönen on the podium this entire season.


18. Nicholas Latifi - (5.7/10)


Not too much to say about Nicholas Latifi's race. He seemed to be in his world and didn't cause too much trouble for the other drivers on track. When looking at him compared to his teammate, Latifi is there just as a pay driver because he has struggled all season long. Overall, a good race from the Canadian.


19. Mick Schumacher - (5.5/10)


For Mick Schumacher, not much can be expected of him this season. As throughout this year and even during the French Grand Prix. He struggled for pace and had a lack of grip. This does make sense, as Schumacher usually works the first year he enters the next level of racing. Especially considering that he made the jump to Formula 1, it might take some time to get used to things.


20. Nikita Mazepin - (5.3/10)


Nikita Mazepin didn't have the best French Grand Prix's. He struggled for pace throughout the race and was overtaken by multiple cars early on in the race. It's evident that, like his teammate Mick Schumacher, he has struggled a bit during this season. Mazepin seemed to be a bit uncomfortable on track and didn't seem to have any grip on the way.