Hamilton is not the first or even the second! Top 10 pilots of the first part of the F1 season
Throughout the season, your author subjectively assigned ratings to the pilots, and during the summer break, we traditionally sum up the average points based on the results of the first half of the championship.
Earlier we talked about the pilots from the bottom half of the resulting table, and now it’s the top half.
- 10. Daniel Riccardo (average score – 6.4 / total – 70)
- 9. Sebastian Vettel (6.5 / 71.5)
- 8. Carlos Sainz (6.6 / 72.5)
- 7. George Russell (7.0 / 77)
- 6. Fernando Alonso (7.3 / 80.5)
- 5.Pierre Gasly (7.4 / 81)
- 4. Charles Leclair (7.6 / 83.5)
- 3. Lewis Hamilton (8.2 / 90)
- 2.Lando Norris (8.6 / 94.5)
- 1. Max Verstappen (8.9 / 97.5)
10. Daniel Riccardo (average score – 6.4 / total – 70)
When it became known about Riccardo’s transfer from Renault to McLaren, it seemed that the Australian would have a chance to hit the podium more often, but so far Dan’s performance for Woking is one of the main disappointments of the season. In the eleventh race of the 2020 season, Riccardo won the first podium with Renault and with 78 points came fourth in the overall standings. This year, the Australian did not finish higher than fifth place, and in the championship he is ninth – with 50 points.
Riccardo has not yet managed to find a common language with the machine, he is far from squeezing the maximum out of it. In qualifications, he loses to Lando Norris 3-8, although before that in intra-team duels he was second only to Max Verstappen. In racing conditions, Riccardo’s pace is lower than that of his team-mate, and he makes more mistakes (an accident in qualifying in Baku). So far, this is Riccardo’s weakest season in Formula 1.
Sebastian Vettel at the Hungarian Grand Prix podium. After the race, the German was disqualified
9. Sebastian Vettel (6.5 / 71.5)
The transfer to Aston Martin went to the ex-world champion’s advantage – in the British team, he has already spent more strong races than in the entire 2020 season at Ferrari. At the same time, it cannot be said that everything went well for Vettel from the very beginning – at first Seb lost to Lance Stroll, and continuing his career looked almost a mistake. But Vettel proved that he is still a very strong pilot.
Sebastian still cannot do without mistakes (collision with Okon in Bahrain, flight to Silverstone), but at the same time Vettel performed brilliantly in Monaco and Baku – in the latter case, the German spent the entire weekend excellently and was impeccable in every episode. If Vettel continues in the same spirit, then more than once will be on the podium, and if Aston Martin does not fail, then the German will fight for something more.
8. Carlos Sainz (6.6 / 72.5)
Sainz also changed the team in the offseason, and therefore, like Vettel and Riccardo, he was forced to start the championship in an almost unfamiliar car – a day and a half of pre-season tests is obviously not enough to study the chassis and its habits. And at first, Carlos was noticeably inferior to Leclair – both on one fast lap and at a pace at a distance.
However, over time, the Spaniard has made progress, and although he is still inferior to Leclair in qualifications (3-8), in the races Carlos began to look much more confident. In the last four races, Sainz finishes at least sixth position – due to this, the Spaniard has been ahead of Leclair in the championship and is now in sixth. Ferrari are fighting for third place in the constructors’ championship with McLaren, and Carlos is a great help in this battle – Riccardo the Spaniard is ahead by 33 points.
George Russell during a stop at the Hungarian Grand Prix
7. George Russell (7.0 / 77)
For the third season, the Briton has been chasing Williams, found at the bottom of the Constructors’ Cup, but in the 48th race he finally brought points to the British team. Russell is one of the rising stars of Formula 1, and it became apparent at last year’s Sakhir Grand Prix. That said, Q2’s ten straight streak is really impressive.
Paddock is almost certain that Russell will play for Mercedes with Hamilton next year, but it should be understood that performances at Williams also showed George’s weaknesses: he still lacks experience in wheel-to-wheel struggle. After brilliant qualifications, Russell repeatedly tries to jump over his head and eventually makes mistakes: a collision with Bottas in Imola, contact with Sainz at Silverstone. If not for these episodes, Williams would have had more points.
6. Fernando Alonso (7.3 / 80.5)
The legendary Fernando Alonso, who returned to Formula 1 after a two-year break, did not avoid problems at the start of the season. In the first races, the Spaniard was not only inferior to Okon, but also conceded a lot on perfectly familiar tracks – in Barcelona and Monte Carlo. However, then progress began: Fernando got used to the car, was able to explain to the engineers what he needed, and with the new adjustments he drove much better.
The last two races of the season, Alonso, in principle, held above all praise: the enchanting start of the sprint at Silverstone and ten laps of the fight with Hamilton in Hungary will go down in the history of Formula 1. Fernando himself promised before the season that he would get in shape in three or four races, and even if it took a little more time, there is no doubt that Alonso is still the same.
Pierre Gasly on the podium of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix
5.Pierre Gasly (7.4 / 81)
In the 2021 season, Pierre Gasly became the undisputed leader of the Alpha Tauri and, in fact, alone drags the team on the track. The Frenchman looks great in qualifying and not only squeezes the maximum, but surpasses the capabilities of the car: eight times out of eleven Pierre made his way into the top six!
In the overall standings, Gasli is only eighth and is partly to blame for this – if it were not for the collision on the first lap in Bahrain and the error with the location of the car on the grid in Spain, there would have been more points. If Pierre manages to avoid blunders in the future, he has every chance of becoming a top pilot.
4. Charles Leclair (7.6 / 83.5)
Leclair is having a great season and is feeling more confident in the status of the new superstar of Formula 1, but Charles still makes mistakes and loses points because of them – albeit much less often than before. So, zero points at the Monaco Grand Prix is exclusively Leclair’s fault, because it was he who put his car so hard at the end of qualification that the mechanics did not have time to check the damaged drive.
This year, Leclerc has a lot more competition inside the team – after eleven races of the 2020 season, Vettel had almost four times less points than Leclerc, and now Charles is inferior in the championship to Sainz. Monegasque benefits from such a partnership. So far, his status as the undisputed leader of the Scuderia is not in doubt, but what will happen if Sainz is regularly faster – like in Le Castellet?
Charles Leclair and Lewis Hamilton on the podium at the British Grand Prix
3. Lewis Hamilton (8.2 / 90)
Almost everyone in the paddock was confident that the 2021 season would be an easy walk for Lewis Hamilton to a record eighth title, but the changes in the regulations (reduction of the working surface of the floor in front of the rear axle) hit Mercedes hard. Ferrari in the turbo-hybrid era has never been as close to the leaders as Verstappen of Red Bull is now.
At the same time, it is not only a matter of regulations – Hamilton began to make mistakes that were unusual for him before. Among them, the departure when overtaking the circulars in Imola and the lost victory in Baku, as well as an openly weak weekend in Monaco, where the Briton was inferior even to Bottas. But in the other eight races, Lewis had a great pace.
2.Lando Norris (8.6 / 94.5)
The Englishman has an almost perfect season, only in a couple of races Lando gave up slack: in Spain, when the whole weekend looked indistinct, and in Azerbaijan – before that race, Norris did not notice the red traffic light and stayed on the track, although he had to turn into the pits. But for a 21-year-old who is in his third season in F1, this is nothing.
Debuting in 2019, Norris found himself a little overshadowed by Charles Leclerc – the Monegasque had already won races, while Landau was considered promising and promising. And all these hopes can be considered justified – just look at the overall score. There is no doubt that Norris, like Leclair, with the appropriate technique, will immediately become a contender for the championship. Now it’s up to McLaren.
Max Verstappen before the Hungarian Grand Prix
1. Max Verstappen (8.9 / 97.5)
The best pilot of the first half of the 2021 season. Claims can only be made to Max about the Portuguese Grand Prix, where mistakes in qualifying and the race cost him a victory, and the recent British Grand Prix – from a strategic point of view, it was a mistake to resist to the last in that turn. In all other races, Verstappen was flawless and squeezed the maximum out of the situation.
The Dutchman is one of the rarest talents in the history of motorsport, but he is only 23 years old and at some moments it becomes noticeable that he is not yet as mature as Hamilton. Red Bull has a lot of experience working with such riders, but the pilot is also required to withstand pressure and control the situation on the track. Lewis knows very well how to act under such pressure, but Verstappen has never encountered such a thing. The more interesting it will be to follow the outcome of the championship!