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2021 F1 Driver Power Rankings Turkish GP: Bottas dominates, Alonso drops down


(Sam Donsig/TIS)


By: Sam Donsig


The Turkish Grand Prix brought out some of the best drives from different drivers in each team. From Valtteri Bottas' dominance at the front to Carlos Sainz Jr's. charge up the field. Turkey did not disappoint. With all that being said, here are my driver power rankings for the Turkish Grand Prix.


1. Valtteri Bottas - (9.5/10)


Previous rank: 6


It was a perfect weekend for Valtteri Bottas, from Friday practice through to Sunday’s race. He showed a consistent pace and showed up during Saturday’s qualifying. Beating out Max Verstappen was big for Mercedes, as with Lewis Hamilton’s grid penalty pushing him back from pole position to 11th. Therefore, it was important for Bottas to qualify ahead of Verstappen. He continued that dominance into Sunday’s race as he managed his tyres perfectly and converted his pole position into a 10th career race win. Overall, it was an excellent weekend for Valtteri Bottas.


2. Max Verstappen - (9.2/10)


Previous rank: 1


For Max Verstappen, it was a great weekend but wasn’t fully maximized. During Friday practice, he struggled to keep pace with both the Mercedes and Ferrari. However, he put in a great qualifying session to start Sunday’s race on the front row. However, he was unable to capitalize on converting his excellent starting position to win the race. His team gave him a good strategy. But the bottom line is that Red Bull and Verstappen couldn’t match Mercedes pace, precisely Bottas’ pace. The one positive out of the weekend was that he retook the lead of the driver’s championship by six points.


3. Sergio Perez - (9.0/10)


Previous rank: 9


Sergio Perez had a great weekend, and it was a repeat of last year’s Turkish Grand Prix. Perez, who qualified seventh on the grid for Sunday’s race, could make up multiple positions early on in the race. From there, he maintained his work and took care excellent care of his tyres. Perez also showed why he was chosen as Red Bull’s second driver with his exhilarating battle with the seven-time champ Lewis Hamilton. Perez fought hard and didn’t give way at all, and he was able to get past Hamilton on a switchback move in the first few corners. Perez finishing on the podium was the cherry on top for the weekend, as it helped Red Bull keep their fight with Mercedes in the constructor’s championship.


4. Charles Leclerc - (8.8/10)


Previous rank: 14


Charles Leclerc had another heartbreaking weekend, similar to his 2020 Turkish Grand Prix. Both last year and this year, he was poised to finish on the podium. However, once again, the choice of strategy from Ferrari ruined his race. He was running third for the majority of the race and even led the race at one point. However, he pitted too late, which caused him to drop back. Although he only lost out on one position to Sergio Perez. The impact of that one lost position was massive. It was the difference between finishing on the podium and not finishing on the podium. Overall, it was still a great weekend for the Monegasque driver and exciting to see how he does at the United States Grand Prix.


5. Lewis Hamilton - (8.5/10)


Previous rank: 3


For the seven-time champion, it was a weekend of missed opportunities. Hamilton dominated in qualifying as he was technically on pole position with a blistering lap around the track. However, due to his grid penalty. He started Sunday’s race in eleventh. Now, he was on the charge early on in the race, as he made five overtakes in the first 11 laps. From there, he was so close to finishing on the podium. But due to some disagreement with his team and some excellent defending from Sergio Perez. Hamilton dropped back from third to fifth after pitting on lap 51/58 of the race. It was the better decision to make as if he didn’t come in. He could have ended up like Esteban Ocon and finish eighth or ninth. Overall, it was an okay weekend for Hamilton. I am sure he will be back on top in Austin, Texas, for the United States Grand Prix.


6. Carlos Sainz Jr. - (8.3/10)


Previous rank: 2


Wow, just wow. What a performance from Carlos Sainz. From starting 19th on the grid to coming home eighth. Sainz showed why Ferrari made the right choice in choosing him to pair with Charles Leclerc. He perfectly managed his tyres and was slicing his way right through the field. It was the perfect conditions for him, as it is was a wet race. Which helped his chances in making some of the overtakes he did. Overall, Sainz had a great weekend, and it might continue into the next race weekend at the Circuit of the Americas.


7. Pierre Gasly - (8.1/10)


Previous rank: 13


For Pierre Gasly, it was a bit of a rollercoaster weekend for the French driver. He showed great pace during FP3 as well as Qualifying later that day. However, Gasly’s race got off to a rocky start. He got overtaken by Perez going into the first corner, dropping him down to fifth. Plus, he made contact with Fernando Alonso during the opening lap. Which he was given a five-second penalty for the incident. From there on, he held his ground and lost out only one position to Lewis Hamilton when he was serving his five-second time penalty during his pit stop. Other than the time penalty, Gasly had another excellent race and is starting to show some consistency.


8. Lando Norris - (7.9/10)


Previous rank: 4


For Lando Norris, it wasn’t the best of weekends for the young Brit. As having a tough go in qualifying on Saturday to struggling with pace throughout Sunday’s race. Norris even admitted during his post-qualifying interview that he wouldn’t be able to keep Lewis Hamilton behind him like in past races. Since his heartbreak in Russia, it seems that Norris’ confidence has been a bit shaken, and it affected him during the race. Hopefully, he can regain some confidence in two weeks when the team head to Austin, Texas, for the United States Grand Prix.


9. Lance Stroll - (7.5/10)


Previous rank: 11


Lance Stroll had a decent race weekend. It could have been better, but he didn’t have the pace compared to other fellow rivals like Pierre Gasly. Stroll, who qualified ninth for Sunday’s race, didn’t move up or down the grid throughout the Grand Prix. He maintained his position, managed his tyres well but couldn’t make any overtakes. The Turkish Grand Prix being a wet race, the overtaking possibilities were limited but still up for grabs. The biggest takeaway from this weekend for Lance Stroll is that he can be consistent. He qualified ninth for the race and finished ninth in the race.


10. Esteban Ocon - (7.2/10)


Previous rank: 15


Esteban Ocon did something that no other driver did during Sunday’s race. The team and himself decided that they could go the entire race without pitting. Now granted, the tyre of choice was the intermediates. Unfortunately, it wasn’t destined to make it to the end of the race. However, due to the wacky weather conditions that the Turkish Grand Prix brought, Ocon managed to do so. Regardless, he came home to finish 10th. Now, if Ocon had pitted earlier in the race. He would have finished higher up in the grid.


11. Sebastian Vettel - (6.9/10)


Previous rank: 12


If it weren’t for the terrible strategy call to bring in Sebastian Vettel and switch him to slicks, he would have finished at least inside the points like his teammate Lance Stroll. Instead, Vettel was sitting comfortably in 10th place. So the team and himself decided that it would be okay to switch to a set of medium tyres. Unfortunately, it did not go well, as he spun out multiple times on his way back to the pits. Other than that lousy strategy call, Vettel ran a great race. He qualified 11th on the grid and held that position for about three-quarters of the race. Overall, it was a rollercoaster of a weekend for Vettel.


12. Daniel Ricciardo - (6.7/10)


Previous rank: 5


When you consider Daniel Ricciardo started at the back of the grid, had a great race. The Australian came home 13th but still made some nice overtakes and managed everything to perfection. Even though he didn’t score any points, he still could make up some places and regain some confidence in himself. After a recent slump of races, he’s slowly starting to work his way back up to the midfield. Overall, it was a good weekend for the Australian native.


13. Yuki Tsunoda - (6.5/10)


Previous rank: 17


Yuki Tsunoda had an up and down weekend. He qualified inside the top ten and beat out Sebastian Vettel for 10th on the grid. He did a great job keeping Lewis Hamilton at bay during the opening ten laps of the race, showing excellent defensive driving. However, Hamilton eventually made the pass. From there, it was all downhill. Tsunoda struggled with pace the rest of the race and couldn’t move up any positions. Other than that, the young Japanese driver showed that he still has loads of potential.


14. Antonio Giovinazzi - (6.3/10)


Previous rank: 16


Antonio Giovinazzi proved that he deserves the second Alfa Romeo seat this past Sunday. Giovinazzi, who started Sunday’s race 16th on the grid, ended up moving up five positions to finish just outside the points. He managed his tyres well, which helped him make his way through the field. It goes to show that he is a super-skilled driver and can perform when needed. However, the consistency issues from him are causing the delay in announcing the second Alfa Romeo seat. He is pretty hot and cold in his race performances throughout this season. Other than that, he had a good race weekend.


15. Kimi Räikkönen - (6.0/10)


Previous rank: 8


Similar to his teammate, Kimi Räikkönen had a pretty good race weekend. Although he didn’t have the best qualifying performance, he was promoted up three spots due to other drivers taking grid penalties. From there, he had a pretty quiet race. He managed his tyres well and made a few nice overtakes to come home 12th place. Not much else to say about Räikkönen’s race, similar to how he answers most interview questions.


16. Mick Schumacher - (5.8/10)


Previous rank: 20


Hats off to Mick Schumacher! Schumacher showed off some brilliant driving and put in a blistering lap to get the Haas car and himself into Q2. It was quite the lap from the young German driver. Although from qualifying on, and fast forward to Sunday’s race. Things took a different turn. Of course, the Haas’ race pace is not close to any other car, and it showed. After getting struck by Fernando Alonso and spinning. Schumacher’s race was over as he struggled to regain his starting position. It was tough to see. However, Alonso was given a proper five-second time penalty for causing a collision. Overall, it was a bit of a roller coaster of a weekend for Schumacher.


17. George Russell - (5.6/10)


Previous rank: 10


For George Russell, it wasn’t the best of weekends for the young Brit. As a result, he struggled to qualify into the top ten for Sunday’s starting grid, just missing out after losing it on the last corner. Which then carried over during Sunday’s race. Russell was unable to make any headway and struggled throughout the race managing his tyres. Hopefully, he bounces back for the United States Grand Prix in two weeks.


18. Nicholas Latifi - (5.3/10)


Previous rank: 19


Like Lance Stroll, Nicholas Latifi didn’t move up or down the grid from where he qualified for Sunday’s race. He didn’t have much pace to overtake the cars in front of him and struggled to get a nice clean racing line. In addition, Latifi failed to manage his tyres properly, which forced him to sit at the back of the grid. Overall, it wasn’t the best of weekends for the Canadian driver. It will be interesting to see how he does at the United States Grand Prix in two weeks.

19. Fernando Alonso - (4.8/10)


Previous rank: 7


Fernando Alonso did not have a good race weekend. It’s well-known around the paddock that Alonso is an aggressive driver, and he showed it on Sunday. Not one but two times did Alonso stick his nose where it shouldn’t have been. The first time was during the opening lap when he was trying to sneak past Pierre Gasly on the outside and made contact and spun. Then later in the lap, he managed to hit and spin Mick Schumacher and was given a five-second time penalty. Alonso dropped to the back of the grid because of his time penalty, which caused him to finish 16th.


20. Nikita Mazepin - (4.0/10)


Previous rank: 18


Nikita Mazepin’s race weekend didn’t go well at all. From nearly causing a collision with the seven-time champion Lewis Hamilton to finishing at the back of the grid and behind his teammate. This weekend couldn’t have been any worse for the athlete from the Russian Olympic Committee (ROC). When comparing it to his teammate’s performance, it was next to nothing. It shows that Schumacher is a better driver than Mazepin. Who knows what the United States Grand Prix will bring us, and maybe Mazepin can beat Schumacher once this season.


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