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2021 Driver Power Rankings Spanish GP Edition: Ricciardo moves up, Perez disappoints and drops down

(La Presse/Getty Images)

By: Sam Donsig

Wow, what a race from start to finish at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. Even though this week’s race mainly came down to strategy, drivers still showed their actual skill when it mattered the most. Here are my driver power rankings for the Spanish Grand Prix.

1. Sir Lewis Hamilton - (9.6/10)

Even though he didn’t lead for most of the race, his sprint that he made from 20 plus seconds back of Verstappen in third place to take the race win was something special. Hamilton’s ability to claw his way back and take the race was nothing short of spectacular. Of course, some had to do with his strategy team. However, not every driver could do what Hamilton did, so he is a seven-time world champion.

2. Max Verstappen - (9.3/10)

From start to finish, Max Verstappen ran a near-perfect race. He could do nothing about Hamilton’s pace and where he was at with his tyres. He gave it his all and came up a bit short. However, he was able to get the fastest lap. Which reduced what would’ve been a 15 point gap to a 14 point gap for Verstappen. Overall, it was a good race from the dutchman and excited to see how he does in Monaco in two weeks.

3. Charles Leclerc - (8.9/10)

For Charles Leclerc, he had a great race. He was able to keep Valtteri Bottas at bay for several laps and was so close to getting on the podium. This weekend was another example of that. He showed a strong pace and seemed quite comfortable on the track. Overall, a reasonable drive from the Monegasque driver and excited to see how he does in his home race in two weeks.

4. Valtteri Bottas - (8.6/10)

Besides being held up by Charles Leclerc for a good portion of the race, Bottas ran a pretty good race. He was able to keep Hamilton behind him for all of one lap before Hamilton made a proper overtake on his teammate (yes, they weren’t team orders). So I have to respect Bottas to finally stand up for himself and not let team orders dictate his career. Obviously, in this instance, Hamilton slipped past him and went on to win the race. However, for that one lap, when the two Mercedes’ were side by side, it was fun to see.

5. Daniel Ricciardo - (8.4/10)

In his fourth race for Mclaren, Daniel Ricciardo finally showed his genuine pace and skill. He was able to outqualify his teammate and have a solid race on Sunday. Ricciardo held his own and was able to keep up with the big dogs, those being Mercedes and Red Bull. He showed on Sunday that he could compete for a top-five spot in the driver's championship. Overall, he showed some strong pace, and I am excited to see how the rest of the season goes for the Australian driver.

6. Sergio Perez - (8.2/10)

Considering how his teammate fared in the race on Sunday. Sergio Perez’s performance was a little disappointing. Now I know he is still reasonably new at Red Bull. However, I feel that if Red Bull wants a chance at the championship. Perez needs to be pushing Bottas to the limit to help Red Bull win the championship. Having a second Red Bull car in the top three would help Verstappen hunt down Hamilton during the race. Overall, he ran a decent race but still could’ve done better.

7. Carlos Sainz - (8.0/10)

Carlos Sainz ran a decent race on Sunday in the Ferrari. He showed some solid pace but was just a little underwhelming compared to his teammate. As in F1, the first person a driver is compared to is their teammate. Therefore, when looking at Sainz Jr’s performance compared to Leclerc, it was pretty different. However, the Spaniard had a good outing at his home race and finished nicely to see points. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the season pans out for him.

8. Lando Norris - (7.7/10)

For Lando Norris, he did not have a great race. He was out-qualified by his teammate and wasn’t able to move up the grid much throughout the race. However, he did finish in the points and ran a clean race that is always good to see. Overall, it wasn’t the best race from the Brit, but there is still lots of time left in the season and lots to improve on.

9. Esteban Ocon - (7.4/10)

Esteban Ocon had a pretty good race. He was able to make some nice overtakes and move into the points finish. He showed some solid pace throughout the race and was able to stay out of any trouble. Ocon seems to be getting more comfortable in his car, which is good and leads to higher and higher race finishes week after week.

10. Pierre Gasly - (7.2/10)

Pierre Gasly has had a bit of a roller coaster year in F1 these first four races. There’s been the good moments and the bad moments, and this week was a good moment. Even though he only finished 10th and just inside the points. He ran a solid race and was able to hold his ground well from start to finish. It will be interesting to see how the rest of the season goes for the Frenchman and how he fares in the Alpha Tauri car.

11. Lance Stroll - (6.9/10)

Lance Stroll did not have a good race and has had a bit of a disappointing season as a whole so far. As it seemed like he was going to prove the haters wrong, and he somewhat did that. However, throughout the four races so far this season, he has yet to impress people. This race was another example. He struggled to make his way up the grid and move into the points finish. It was clear from the start of the race that he was going to struggle, and it was apparent to everyone that he didn’t feel entirely comfortable out on track.

12. Kimi Räikkönen - (6.5/10)

Kimi Räikkönen had a decent race, not considering the car he is driving and just purely focusing on his driving. He was able to show a strong pace and stay out of trouble this race, unlike last week at Portugal. Räikkönen was able to finish above his teammate, which is always a bonus when racing in Formula 1.

13. Sebastian Vettel - (6.3/10)

Sebastian Vettel did not have a good race, as compared to his teammate. Vettel seemed to be struggling a lot more than Lance was, and it was apparent. It appears that for a while now, Vettel hasn't worked hard enough to have high points finishes consistently. When considering just his driving, it hasn't been terrible but definitely could be better. Overall, he didn't seem comfortable out there on the track, leading to the inferior race finish position.

14. George Russell - (6.1/10)

George Russell didn't have the best race on Sunday. He struggled for pace and couldn't move up the grid much compared to other race weekends. If he can have a couple of point finishes this season, he might be moved to Mercedes by the end of this year or maybe even next year. It all depends on how he performs and how Bottas performs. Overall, it wasn't the best drive for the Brit, and he still has lots to improve on.

15. Antonio Giovinazzi - (5.9/10)

Antonio Giovinazzi seemed to have a reasonably quiet race and held his own from start to finish, not much else to say. Despite finishing so low in the standings, I think it is reasonable considering the car he is driving and where they are in the constructor standings. It seems Antonio will be enjoying life at the bottom of the grid for a while.

16. Nicholas Latifi - (5.5/10)

Similar to George Russell, Nicholas Latifi did not have a great race either. He struggled to show some decent pace and sat at the back of the grid all race long. Latifi wasn't that aggressive on the track and decided to play it safe from start to finish. Even though the Williams car isn't the fastest, Latifi should at least beat Antonio Giovinazzi.

17. Fernando Alonso - (5.3/10)

Compared to his teammate, Fernando Alonso did not have a good race. He struggled for pace and was unable to move up the grid. It wasn't the best home race for the Spaniard and will shift his focus onto Monaco. It seemed that he didn't entirely have the track's grip and struggled immensely from start to finish. Overall, it was not a good weekend, but it will be exciting to see how he does at Monaco.

18. Mick Schumacher - (4.9/10)

Not too much to say about Mick Schumacher. He seems to have shown some solid pace and looks like a promising F1 talent. It all depends on how he does in 2022 once Haas has a developed car and makes some noise. As of right now, Schumacher will be at the bottom for a while.

19. Nikita Mazepin - (4.7/10)

Like his teammate Mick Schumacher, Nikita Mazepin will be at the bottom of the grid for 2021. Mazepin didn't show much pace on Sunday, and like Schumacher, they were both two laps down from the lead cars. This indeed shows that not only how bad Mazepin is but the Haas car itself. It's not all on Mazepin, but some blame goes towards the driver when doing poorly week after week. It doesn't look like it's going to get much better than this for the rest of the season.

20. Yuki Tsunoda - (4.4/10)

Yuki Tsunoda's race was cut short on Sunday due to an engine failure, and he couldn't do much but retire the car, which was unfortunate because he seemed to be having a pretty solid race at the time and was showing some strong pace. Overall, if you take out the retirement, Tsunoda had a decent race, and I am excited to see how he does in Monaco.


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