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F1 2021: Glorious Season Wrap!

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The 2021 Formula One season is over and we’ve seen a new world champion in town. The championship was decided on the last lap of the season in a dramatic and controversial fashion. There is no need for us now to debate the FIA director’s decision. The season is well and truly over and the teams have moved on towards the next season. We have seen one of the best races in recent memory and were fortunate to witness many incredible performances from the drivers. Here’s a small report on the 21 drivers who participated in this 22-race season.

Max Verstappen | Rank 1 - 395.5 points

Max Verstappen
Max Verstappen

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The world champion was incredible throughout the season. We cannot bring the Abu Dhabi drama to take away any credit from him. The young dutchman gave his heart in every single race and became the first ever Dutch to win the Formula 1 World Championship. He won the title with a record 18 podiums to his name and 10 wins are also a commendable feat. Of the four races in which he didn’t stand on the podium, 2 were early retirements, one was a puncture (where he should’ve won the race in Azerbaijan) and one was when he drove with a damaged car in Hungary after Valtteri Bottas took down quite a few drivers including him. The only one that can be branded as his mistake is the Fast & Furious type stunt in Monza. Of all other races, he was either 1 or 2, not even 3. This shows how dominant he was on track. He achieved the Grand Slam feet in the Australian Open by taking pole, leading every single lap, winning the race and also the fastest lap point. Quite magnificent, isn’t it!

Race Starts - 22

Wins - 10

Total Podiums - 18

Poles won - 10

DNF - 2

Best Finish - 1 (10 Races)

Driver of the Day - 3

Lewis Hamilton | Rank 2 - 389.5 points

Lewis Hamilton
Lewis Hamilton

It will be heart breaking for Lewis to lose out on the championship in the last lap of the last race. But, when you look at the previous two second place finishes, the difference is much closer. His loss to teammate Nico Roseberg in 2016 by 5 points & lost the title in his rookie year to Kimi by a single point. So, Hamilton has seen all kinds of heartbreaks with what happened in Abu Dhabi. Nevertheless, he showed his class on more than one occasion this season. Winning the British GP despite getting the penalty, winning the Sao Paolo GP while starting way behind, the masterful driving in Spanish GP - they were all proof that the vintage Lewis is still there. The race in Brazil is definitely one of his best and that’s a lesson to the younger generation. He tied with Max for the most points won from the fastest laps (6). The comeback he staged after Sao Paolo was full of character and we hope he shows the same in 2022.

Race Starts - 22

Wins - 8

Total Podiums - 17

Poles won - 5

DNF - 2

Best Finish - 1 (8 Races)

Driver of the Day - 2

Valtteri Bottas | Rank 3 - 226 points

Valtteri Bottas
Valtteri Bottas

The final season with Mercedes turned out to be a bit of a disappointment for Bottas. He couldn’t even fight for the top spot as he had to fight with the likes of Sergio Perez. The four races that he didn’t finish cost him quite a few points and it turned about to be his worst season with Mercedes in terms of points. He failed to finish only 5 races before that in the previous four seasons! His performances on Saturdays weren’t up to the mark either, as Mercedes won one less pole than Red Bull (Max Verstappen actually)! Even though, the Finn remained a good teammate for Lewis, helping him to keep up in the title race with Verstappen. His last race with the Silver Arrows doesn’t go as planned, but he completed the chapter by giving what was expected of him.

Race Starts - 22

Wins - 1

Total Podiums - 11

Poles won - 4

DNF - 4

Best Finish - 1 (Turkish GP)

Driver of the Day - 0

Sergio Perez | Rank 4 - 190 points

Sergio Perez
Sergio Perez

Red Bull should be expecting more from their second driver. 5 podium finishes in a 22-race season is definitely not enough to win the constructors championship. It took Perez 6 races to stand on the podium and a punctured tyre for Verstappen & a ‘magical’ mistake from Hamilton presented him his second ever victory in Formula 1, first with Red Bull. But he drove some brilliant races in his very first season with Red Bull, which won him 4 Driver of the Day awards. With 115 overtakes throughout the season, better performance in qualifying would have helped him take the third spot in the driver’s standing. Also, his points tally towards the end provides a positive picture about the Mexican, as he came up with 5 consecutive top 4 finishes. The job he did in Abu Dhabi, first by towing Max in Q3 and defending Lewis in the race has already made him a proper Red Bull driver!

Race Starts - 22

Wins - 1

Total Podiums - 5

Poles won - 0

DNF - 2

Best Finish - 2 (Azerbeijan GP)

Driver of the Day - 4

Carlos Sainz | Rank 5 - 164.5 points

Carlos Sainz
Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz had a good start to his Ferrari career. He scored points in 20 of the 22 races, joined with Lewis Hamilton & Lando Norris. The consistency he showed this season is a positive sign for Ferrari who could definitely expect more from a driver who is improving his points tally every year. The fact that he’s the only driver to finish all the races shows his level headedness & what’s in store for the future. He maintained his brilliant qualifying performance in Monaco that gave him his best Formula 1 result, a second placed finish. Calling himself a ‘smooth operator’, Sainz once again proved that he’s very good in grabbing opportunities. His 3 other podiums of the season came in races where there was too much confusion & calamities either at the start or the end - Hungary, Russia & Abu Dhabi. With Bottas moving to Alfa Romeo next season, he will definitely put himself in the fight for third place.

Race Starts - 22

Wins - 0

Total Podiums - 4

Poles won - 0

DNF - 0

Best Finish - 2 (Monaco GP)

Driver of the Day - 1

Lando Norris | Rank 6 - 160 points

Lando Norris
Lando Norris

What should’ve been an incredible season turned out to be just good for Lando Norris. The young Brit started the season with flying colours, finishing 9 out of the first 11 races in top 5. But he squeezed into the top 5 only once in the last 11 races. Despite an average end to the season, there are many positives to think about for Norris and McLaren. Sochi could still be a nightmare for Norris, as he surrendered his first F1 victory to Hamilton. His decision to stay with slick tyres in the rain was debated, but the composure and respect he showed in Monza showed his real face. He could’ve easily taken teammate Daniel Ricciardo and clinched the victory that day, but he respected his team’s decision. His overtake of Charles Leclerc on the same track would be among one of the best moments of the season. If not for the Bottas accident in Hungary & the rain in Belgium, Norris would have scored in all 22 races.

Race Starts - 22

Wins - 0

Total Podiums - 4

Poles won - 1

DNF - 1

Best Finish - 2 (Italian GP)

Driver of the Day - 3

Charles Leclerc | Rank 7 - 159 points

Charles Leclerc
Charles Leclerc

Starting on a strong note, Leclerc lost the momentum midway. In his third season with a team like Ferrari, he should have stood on the podium more than just once. The overall points tally should be hurting him, if not finishing behind his teammate Carlos Sainz. But he had some great moments along the season. The Styrian GP comeback after an early pitstop and British GP finish was his high moments. After good qualifiers in Monaco & Baku, he failed to capitalise on them. His name was written on the Monaco track all the way, only for him to crash out of the race in Q3. He reclaimed pole position immediately in Azerbaijan but lost the podium places just inside 8 laps. Ferrari will be expecting more from Leclerc if they want to compete with the likes of Mercedes and Red Bull instead of McLaren.

Race Starts - 21

Wins - 0

Total Podiums - 1

Poles won - 2

DNF - 1

Best Finish - 2 (British GP)

Driver of the Day - 2

Daniel Ricciardo | Rank 8 - 115 points

Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel Ricciardo

Not the ideal start for someone who’s looking for stability after leaving Red Bull. But, a victory after 65 races is something the Australian would be happy about. The drama between Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton in Monza, took the limelight off Ricciardo. He had a great start and snatched the lead from Verstappen on lap 1 and maintained it till the end. Ricciardo not only maintained his lead that day, but he also managed his tyres extremely well to clock the fastest lap with 30 lap old tyres. He took away 27 points from Italy and that should be a concern for him as almost one fourth of his points came in a single race. He ended without points in 9 races and a little more consistency would help him and his team next time.

Race Starts - 22

Wins - 1

Total Podiums - 1

Poles won - 0

DNF - 1

Best Finish - 1 (Italian GP)

Driver of the Day - 1

Pierre Gasly | Rank 9 - 110 points

Pierre Gasly
Pierre Gasly

Pierre Gasly had the best season of his Formula 1 career and also the best individual season for AlphaTauri / Toro Rosso. He became their first driver to cross the 100 points mark. Gasly performed well above his team’s weight in qualifying all season, and five top 5 finishes are something to be proud of. He had a great race in Azerbaijan and fought off the threat of Leclerc & Norris to finish third. If he could avoid the occasional crashes, the points tally would be healthier.

Race Starts - 22

Wins - 0

Total Podiums - 1

Poles won - 0

DNF - 3

Best Finish - 3 (Azerbeijan GP)

Driver of the Day - 0

Fernando Alonso | Rank 10 - 160 points

Fernando Alonso
Fernando Alonso

An incredible comeback by a legend, just incredible! This is his best season after leaving Ferrari in 2014. He started his return slowly but got into the groove in the second half. The podium in Qatar that came after almost 7 years reminded the Formula 1 fans how good he was. The laps he held Lewis Hamilton in Hungary should be among the best moments of the season. Alpine benefitted from his incredible defending and tyre management skills and he’ll be hoping to replicate it the next time.

Race Starts - 22

Wins - 0

Total Podiums - 1

Poles won - 0

DNF - 2

Best Finish - 3 (Qatar GP)

Driver of the Day - 2

Esteban Ocon | Rank 11 - 74 points

Esteban Ocon
Esteban Ocon

He would remember the season forever for winning his first race in Formula 1. With teammate Alonso’s help, he registered his first victory in the Hungaroring. The Frenchman was so cool that day and it increased the expectations from him. Considering his last season, 2021 doesn’t seem to be an improvement. 49 points in 21 other races aren’t huge and he should be targeting at least a top 6 finish regularly.

Race Starts - 22

Wins - 1

Total Podiums - 1

Poles won - 0

DNF - 2

Best Finish - 1 (Hungarian GP)

Driver of the Day - 0

Sebastian Vettel | Rank 12- 43 points

Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel

Four-time former champion had an okayish start with the mid table Aston Martin. He started off badly with no points from his first four races, but two strong finishes in Monaco & Azerbaijan brought him on track. He proved his class in drama filled Baku and get onto his first podium in 20 races. Hungary should have accounted as his second podium, but he was disqualified as his car failed the fuel requirement test. Point finishes in only 7 races isn’t a good return for someone like Vettel. Anyway, he comes first in the overtaking chart, with 132 overtakes in this season.

Race Starts - 22

Wins - 0

Total Podiums - 1

Poles won - 0

DNF - 2

Disqualified - 1

Best Finish - 2 (Azerbeijan GP)

Driver of the Day - 2

Lance Stroll | Rank 13 - 34 points

Lance Stroll
Lance Stroll

Consistency seems to be a huge issue for Stroll, as he dropped points on quite a few occasions when it’s expected of him. His best finish came almost at the end of the season in Qatar, where he finished P6. If not for that race, he would’ve ended up with zero points in his last 6 races. Azerbaijan could’ve been a better result if not for that left rear tyre puncture, but nothing matters now. He should be stepping up, at least to beat his teammate.

Race Starts - 22

Wins - 0

Total Podiums - 0

Poles won - 0

DNF - 3

Best Finish - 6 (Qatar GP)

Driver of the Day - 0

Yuki Tsunoda | Rank 14 - 32 points

Yuki Tsunoda
Yuki Tsunoda

Ended up as rookie of the year, Tsunoda has a mixed season with AlphaTauri. The Japanese showed promise in a few races, while turned out to be a disaster in some. His defending was too good that he turned out to be a headache even for a champion like Lewis Hamilton. While attacking in the corners, he goes too aggressively and ends up hitting someone. The result in Abu Dhabi can be a huge boost for him to maintain that level next season.

Race Starts - 21

Wins - 0

Total Podiums - 0

Poles won - 0

DNF - 3

Best Finish - 4 (Abu Dhabi GP)

Driver of the Day - 0

George Russell | Rank 15 -16 points

George Russell
George Russell

George Russell did what he could with Williams. He even won them a podium! We cannot count out his heroics at Spa, just because the race was washed out because of the rain. His heroics on Saturday is something that put him in that place, and he should be appreciated for that commendable performance. He had a few good races from Hungary to Russia & ended up with points on 4 out of those 5 races. That phase earned him a seat with Mercedes too!

Race Starts - 22

Wins - 0

Total Podiums - 1

Poles won - 0

DNF - 4

Best Finish - 2 (Belgian GP)

Driver of the Day - 0

Kimi Raikkonen | Rank 16 - 10 points

Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen

The driver with most Formula 1 race starts is now retired! Kimi Raikkonen, the legend says goodbye to the tracks thus ending the 20-year association with the sports. When he started racing, Jos Verstappen was driving in Formula 1 and now his son became the World Champion. That is some time, isn’t it! He had to miss two races because of COVID, and finished with points in 4 races out of the remaining 16. It’s a shame that his last race was recorded as DNF, but at least he’ll be happy that he doesn’t have to attend pressers anymore. We’ll leave you alone now, Kimi!

Race Starts - 20

Wins - 0

Total Podiums - 0

Poles won - 0

DNF - 2

Best Finish - 8

(Russian GP & Mexican GP)

Driver of the Day - 1

Nicholas Latifi | Rank 17 - 7 points

Nicholas Latifi
Nicholas Latifi

Two consecutive races in Hungary & Belgium helped Williams so much. Not only, George Russell took a podium, his teammate Latifi’s point finishes came in those races. His 7th place finish in the Hungaroring was the first time he scored a point in Formula 1. But, anyway, he’ll be known for the incident in Abu Dhabi, where he crashed and brought the safety car into play which resulted in Verstappen winning the title.

Race Starts - 22

Wins - 0

Total Podiums - 0

Poles won - 0

DNF - 3

Best Finish - 7 (Hungarian GP)

Driver of the Day - 0

Antonio Giovinazzi | Rank 18 - 3 points

Antonio Giovinazzi
Antonio Giovinazzi

What to say about the not so good & not too bad Italian! His last season turned out to be his worst season in Formula 1, in terms of points. But we cannot just blame him for that as he was always in the fight for points. He ended up in 11th place on four occasions this season & three of them were consecutive finishes. If not for the retirement in the last race of the season, he would’ve been the only driver in this season to end up with zero DNF. A decent achievement missed!

Race Starts - 22

Wins - 0

Total Podiums - 0

Poles won - 0

DNF - 1

Best Finish - 9

(Saudi Arabian GP)

Driver of the Day - 0

Mick Schumacher | Rank 19 - 0 points

Mick Schumacher
Mick Schumacher

Not a start Mick would’ve wanted in his Formula 1 career. But you can’t expect more with what Hass provides. Considering the ability of the car, Mick’s performance shouldn’t be considered bad. Even Hass’s boss Guenther Steiner praised the legendary driver’s son for his performance towards the end of the season. Mick was clearly pushing his car to its limits & which should encourage the team to give the young German the support he deserves.

Race Starts - 22

Wins - 0

Total Podiums - 0

Poles won - 0

DNF - 3

Best Finish - 12

(Hungarian GP)

Driver of the Day - 0

Robert Kubica | Rank 21 - 0 points

Robert Kubica
Robert Kubica

Filled in for Raikkonen in Hungary & Italy, when the Finn was suffering from COVID. Drove decent enough came 15th and 14th respectively in those races. Outperforming the two Williams in Hungary is something he could be proud of from those races.

Race Starts - 2

Wins - 0

Total Podiums - 0

Poles won - 0

DNF - 0

Best Finish - 14 (Italian GP)

Driver of the Day - 0

Nikita Mazepin | Rank 20 - 0 points

Nikita Mazepin
Nikita Mazepin

The Russian rookie had the worst possible start to his Formula 1 career. His very first race didn’t even last one full lap and that was just a trailer to what followed. Mazepin made too many mistakes in qualifying, in races and has a DNF to his name in 5 out of 21 races he started. He’s the driver with most retirements this season. He could beat his teammate only thrice and was the only driver who failed to cross Q1 at least once. Miles to go.

Race Starts - 21

Wins - 0

Total Podiums - 0

Poles won - 0

DNF - 5

Best Finish - 14

(Azerbeijan GP)

Driver of the Day - 0