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Formula 1 2021: Bahrain Grand Prix driver ratings

Lewis Hamilton landed the first blow in the 2021 championship fight. Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Lewis Hamilton landed the first blow in the 2021 championship fight. Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
ANALYST
Modified 29 Mar 2021
Feature

This year's Bahrain Grand Prix was the perfect showcase for Formula 1. The race had everything but what really stood out was the close competition between some of the best talents in the history of the sport.

In the end, Lewis Hamilton triumphed in a very close race to take over the lead of the Championship yet again.

But how did each of the drivers fare at the Bahrain Grand Prix? Let's find out.

Bahrain Grand Prix Driver Ratings

#1 Lewis Hamilton

Rating: 9.5/10

That is why Lewis Hamilton is paid the big bucks. He won the race in a slower car by fending off Max Verstappen in a fast-charging Red Bull. At the Bahrain Grand Prix, Lewis Hamilton never put a foot wrong, and if it was anybody but him in that Mercedes, Max Verstappen would have won the race.

#2 Max Verstappen

Rating:9/10

The young Dutchman was in a slightly unfamiliar role in Bahrain and it showed. After years of being the hunter, Verstappen was at the other end of the spectrum as it was Hamilton chasing him down this time around. It was a learning experience for Max Verstappen and he'll grow from this and come back stronger.

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On a side note, that qualifying lap was a thing of beauty from Max Verstappen.

#3 Valtteri Bottas

Rating:5/10

Whatever Valtteri Bottas did during the winter to close the gap on Hamilton has just not worked. In fact, the it seems to have increased. It's a case of Bottas hitting the ceiling of his powers more than anything right now.

He was not a factor in the qualifying or the race. Not sure if Mercedes would be entirely happy if this is how Bottas is going to perform for the rest of the season considering multiple team radios asking him to "hunt down" Max Verstappen.

#4 Lando Norris

Rating: 8.5/10

This is how you stamp your authority within the team. Lando Norris was the better driver for McLaren throughout the weekend only to be outqualified by Daniel Ricciardo on Saturday.

After an intense battle with his teammate at the start, Norris was able to keep Ricciardo at bay and even overtake Charles Leclerc in the process. All in all, a great weekend for the young driver.

#5 Sergio Perez

Rating:7/10

Maybe we are being slightly harsh on Perez, but Red Bull could have won the Bahrain Grand Prix if Perez had qualified in P3 or P4 (the position Red Bull was capable of). If Perez was in the picture, Mercedes might not have been able to attempt the strategic gamble that they tried with Hamilton.

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Perez had great pace at the Bahrain Grand Prix and made good progress but if he has to justify his seat at Red Bull then he has to start qualifying next to Max Verstappen. Especially with Pierre Gasly in breathtaking form behind the wheels of the Alpha Tauri.

#6 Charles Leclerc

Rating: 8.5/10

The cream always rises to the top, isn't it? Charles Leclerc was struggling to extract the kind of pace that Carlos Sainz Jr was able to early in the weekend. However, when it mattered the most, it was Leclerc who put together a monster lap to put the Ferrari in P4 for the race.

It was a flawless performance in the race as well for the Monegasque driver, who should be happy with a better car underneath him at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

#7 Daniel Ricciardo

Rating:7.5/10

It was a decent return for Ricciardo at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Granted it was his first weekend and there's still a level of understanding that he needs to have before he can start stretching his legs.

His qualifying lap was exceptional. It was strange to see him lose out in a wheel-to-wheel battle with his teammate and then being unable to catch Norris or Leclerc later in the race. Decent haul of points for Ricciardo on his McLaren debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix but he will be looking for more in the future.

#8 Carlos Sainz Jr

Rating: 7.5/10

Carlos Sainz Jr had an impressive outing for Ferrari at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Despite admitting early in the weekend that he had not yet fully understood the Ferrari, Sainz was the quicker Ferrari driver through thefree practicee sessions.

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However, Leclerc was able to take the initiative from Sainz when it counts the most. Still, a decent start to life at Maranello for the Spanish driver.

#9 Yuki Tsunoda

Rating: 7.5/10

For what was his debut race in Formula 1, Yuki Tsunoda did a decent job. The qualifying was not up to the mark as he was eliminated in Q2. However, Tsunoda, unlike his teammate, kept his nose clean in the race and brought the car home in points.

#10 Lance Stroll

Rating:7.5/10

Lance Stroll was the standout driver at Aston Martin over the weekend. Qualifying the car in Q3 and then fighting for points throughout the race was a decent job by the Canadian driver. Not sure how happy he would be though with the sudden loss of competitiveness compared to last year.

#11 Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen turned back the clock in the Bahrain Grand Prix. Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images
Kimi Raikkonen turned back the clock in the Bahrain Grand Prix. Photo: Mark Thompson/Getty Images

Rating:8/10

Like it or not, Kimi Raikkonen is rolling back the years at Alfa Romeo and while he does that, he's putting Antonio Giovinazzi's career in jeopardy. The elder statesman of Formula 1 was in his elements in a much improved Alfa Romeo and finished the Bahrain Grand Prix in 11th. Should he really retire if he can drive like this?

#12 Antonio Giovinazzi

Rating: 6/10

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It's never pretty if your 40-year-old teammate dominates you in the race. Antonio Giovinazzi was able to outqualify Kimi Raikkonen for the Bahrain Grand Prix, but when it came to the race Giovinazzi had no answer to Raikkonen's pace. After blocking the Finnish driver for a large part in the first half of the race, Giovinazzi just couldn't keep up once Raikkonen took off. The signs look ominous for the Italian driver's career.

#13 Esteban Ocon

Rating: 7/10

Esteban Ocon was in a strange position at the Bahrain Grand Prix. Despite outpacing his illustrious teammate Fernando Alonso throughout the weekend, bad luck would mean Ocon would be unable to progress beyond Q1.

Then in the race, starting in 16th position on soft tires was a questionable strategy by the team, to say the least. Ocon did whatever he could with the car he had at his disposal but he needs to start qualifying ahead of Alonso in the races to establish himself within the team.

#14 George Russell

Rating:7.5/10

A fairly usual anonymous race for the young Mercedes academy driver at the Bahrain Grand Prix. The only highlight when anyone really noticed Russell was when he yet again reached Q2 with his Williams. Sadly for Russell, he could expect more of the same in the coming races as well.

#15 Sebastian Vettel

Vettel at the Bahrain Grand Prix
Vettel at the Bahrain Grand Prix

Rating: 3/10

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It was an embarrassment of sorts for Vettel to start the Bahrain Grand Prix plum last. What was even worse was his pace in the Aston Martin. He never made any meaningful progress through the race and then the clash with Ocon was entirely his fault. If Vettel needed a wake-up call then the Bahrain Grand Prix surely was one.

#16 Mick Schumacher

Rating: 6/10

Mick Schumacher is sailing in the same boat as George Russell. He's in a no-man's land and all he can show in terms of performance is how he beats his teammate Nikita Mazepin. Mick Schumacher did that at the Bahrain Grand Prix and with Mazepin crashing out early it was a lonely debut for the rookie.

#17 Pierre Gasly

Rating: 4/10

Gasly would be kicking himself after the Bahrain Grand Prix. He had the opportunity to beat Sergio Perez in Red Bull but instead, he lost his front wing and ended up having a listless performance.

Gasly is in sensational form right now and will be looking to make the most of the Alpha Tauri in the next race.

#18 Nicholas Latifi

Rating:4/10

Latifi had one of his usual performances alongside George Russell at the Bahrain Grand Prix. He was yet again outqualified and outraced by the Brit at the Bahrain Grand Prix. It's been more than a year since the two have been teammates and Russell has never been beaten in qualifying. It's time for Latifi to step up because even as a pay driver you cannot have such results.

#19 Fernando Alonso

Rating: 6/10

Fernando Alonso was his usual self on his return to the Bahrain Grand Prix. His team radios were epic, but more importantly, he got the car into Q3 and got to work at the start of the race.

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However, at the midpoint of the race, he started falling back and was only a few seconds ahead of teammate Esteban Ocon. Alonso might still have the wits and the knowledge of a Formula 1 car, but there he still needs to unlock some speed.

#20 Nikita Mazepin

Rating: 2/10

Nikita Mazepin has had a rude start to life in Formula 1. His off-track antics had not helped even before he did a single lap but spinning in Q1 and then crashing out on the first lap of the race is just not what the doctor ordered at the Bahrain Grand Prix. By the looks of it, there's still a long way to go for the young Russian.

Published 29 Mar 2021, 15:22 IST
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