Start, Yas Marina, 2021

Vote for your 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Which Formula 1 driver made the most of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend?

It’s time to give your verdict on which driver did the best with the equipment at their disposal over the last three days.

Review how each driver got on below and vote for who impressed you the most at Yas Marina.

Driver performance summary

DriverStartedGap to team mate (Q)Laps leading team matePittedFinishedGap to team mate (R)
Lewis Hamilton2nd-0.556s58/5812nd-5.207s
Valtteri Bottas6th+0.556s0/5816th+5.207s
Max Verstappen1st-0.838s48/5531stNot on same lap
Sergio Perez4th+0.838s7/55315thNot on same lap
Lando Norris3rd-0.478s56/5727thNot on same lap
Daniel Ricciardo10th+0.478s1/57212thNot on same lap
Lance Stroll13th-0.239s4/57213thNot on same lap
Sebastian Vettel15th+0.239s53/57111thNot on same lap
Esteban Ocon9th-0.04s15/5819th+2.318s
Fernando Alonso11th+0.04s43/5818th-2.318s
Charles Leclerc7th+0.13s0/58210th+60.884s
Carlos Sainz Jnr5th-0.13s58/5813rd-60.884s
Pierre Gasly12th+0.639s14/5825th+0.839s
Yuki Tsunoda8th-0.639s44/5824th-0.839s
Kimi Raikkonen18th+0.661s4/251
Antonio Giovinazzi14th-0.661s21/251
Mick Schumacher19th-0.779s0/0214th
Nikita Mazepin20th+0.779s0/00
George Russell17th+0.085s0/260
Nicholas Latifi16th-0.085s26/261

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Vote for your driver of the weekend

Which driver do you think did the best job throughout the race weekend?

Who got the most out of their car in qualifying and the race? Who put their team mate in the shade?

Cast your vote below and explain why you chose the driver you picked in the comments.

Who was the best driver of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix?

  • Lewis Hamilton (38%)
  • Valtteri Bottas (0%)
  • Max Verstappen (18%)
  • Sergio Perez (19%)
  • Lando Norris (0%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (0%)
  • Lance Stroll (0%)
  • Sebastian Vettel (0%)
  • Esteban Ocon (0%)
  • Fernando Alonso (0%)
  • Charles Leclerc (0%)
  • Carlos Sainz Jnr (10%)
  • Pierre Gasly (0%)
  • Yuki Tsunoda (7%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (7%)
  • Antonio Giovinazzi (0%)
  • Mick Schumacher (0%)
  • Nikita Mazepin (0%)
  • George Russell (0%)
  • Nicholas Latifi (1%)
  • No opinion (0%)

Total Voters: 246

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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81 comments on “Vote for your 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Driver of the Weekend”

  1. Can we vote for our champion of the year?

    1. Why not. Good idea. Maybe we could also rate race control?

  2. It’s a crying shame. Dominated the two RedBulls, perfect tyre management, controlled the race, only for it all to taken away by the FIA manipulating the race result by breaking their own rules. A very sad day for F1.

    1. @david-beau A tad over-dramatic. I think it was a great day for F1 – a deserving champion, and an exciting end. It would have been so sad to see it end under a safety car. Anyway, it’s Mercedes who have themselves to blame by not pitting. In addition, Hamilton still had a chance – Perez held him up successfully with a similar tyre gap, and Sainz managed to fend off the soft-shod cars behind him on old hards.

      I’m very much not a fan of Verstappen or Hamilton (or any driver) but on the whole Verstappen deserved it. And given the massive luck Mercedes have had over recent years, I’m rather glad to see them lose out for once, to be honest.

      1. I don’t think you understand how the strategy works today. Pitting Lewis would have lost him track postion to Max (RedBull pit opposite) and Masi would keep the saftey out to let Max win if he wished.

        What is sporting aboyt manipulating the rules to give a car with fresh softs a one lap shoot out against another one with forty lap old hards? It was clearly rigged. Never seen this in twenty years of F1.

        1. @david-beau Rubbish. It wasn’t some sort of conspiracy to let Max win; Masi would have done exactly the same if the roles had been reversed and it was Hamilton doing the chasing.

          1. Absolutely, pretty sure he just didn’t want the race to end under SC.

          2. It was manipulated though. Regardless of Masi’s intentions he changed his mind about lapped cars then only removed the cars between the 2 championship contenders. He did something outside of normal procedure on the one most critical lap of the season. It’s not exactly weird that people are crying foul.

      2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        13th December 2021, 4:06

        @tflb you know that was a checkmate – once Hamilton had given up the position, Masi would have ended the race behind the safety car.

      3. a great day for F1

        No, an embarrassing day for entertainment over sport. One where now I’ve got to spend the next week listening to opinions from friends and colleagues who don’t even like F1, all because its garnered the worst kind of attention.

    2. Well, I think Hamilton was marginally the better driver this weekend @david-beau – he was very unlucky with the late safety car; the team had no other choice really but to keep him out – but all this stuff about “the FIA manipulating the race result” is just tedious sour grapes.

      It was a great day for F1. The greatest championship finale of my lifetime, with the possible exception of 2008. The sad thing is that so many people have worked themselves into such a pointless rage over the outcome that they can’t see that race for what it was.

      1. A great race? To me it ended up just being a roll of a dice. It was up to the Mercedes team to guesstimate how long the safety car was going to be out for. They guessed one lap too much.

        1. if mercedes would have pitted and lost track position, then the race would not have been restarted. it was clear that masi would use any chance to hand the title to verstappen.

          1. @romtrain come on then. If that was really the case, then Lewis would’ve been ordered to give back the position in lap 1 as well.

        2. If you loved Monza 2020 but hated Abu Dhabi 2021, you’re just a biased Hamilton fan. The result yesterday was much fairer than whatever happened in meme races such as Monza 2020 and Hungary 2021.

          1. the race in spa this year was best, wasnt it?

      2. There was nothing great about today. In my view it was embarrassing for F1. It makes the whole thing look fake and manipulated.

        I doubt very much there was any intention to deprive Lewis of the race and championship but this is way it now looks. It would never have been so close either but for Masi’s dreadful decision making.

        1. I agree. As a neutral, I felt completely cheated. I’m still at a loss to explain what the hell Masi was thinking, making up new rules on the last lap of the last race of the season. New rules that meant a different driver ended up winning the championship. Just makes no sense to me.

      3. I don’t think it’s just sour grapes though @red-andy. I mean of course you won’t think that and call bias on anyone that doesn’t suggest otherwise because the person you wanted to win the championship won. I think the drivers were also confused. I think people have the right to be saddened with what happened out there yesterday. Life goes on and congrats to Max for a brilliant year, he totally deserved the championship for sure, but it’s just sad to end that way.

        1. At Imola and Sverstone Hamilton benefited massively because of SC/Red Flag – yesterday it went the other way – overall he has nothing to complain about. These things happen…..

  3. I’ll give it to Hamilton only for consolation this time, but Sainz deserves this more. I mean staying out of trouble is actually underrated and has to be a skill. Why not just allow everyone to get into carnage and just drive by them? Easy way to gain places and points. I actually think in 2022, if Ferrari get a competitive car, Mercedes and Red Bull could be in trouble. More on Red Bull than Mercedes could be in trouble cause Leclerc and Sainz have done huge performances. Maybe Leclerc tends to get into more trouble, but Sainz is also no joke. Isn’t he the only one to beat Verstappen in a full season? That does give an indicator somehow of his level…

    1. Well, verstappen was on his first season, also sainz if I recall, but just watch the 2016-2017-2018 ricciardo comparison to see the level verstappen developped at.

      Sainz is consistent, but I don’t think he’s a top driver, however I wouldn’t mind if he got a ferrari like 2018 (where we had 3 very strong teams for most of the year), so we can see how good he is, in that case I’m also convinced leclerc will prove he’s in the same camp as hamilton and verstappen.

    2. No m8, Sainz won the Q duel 10-9, but Max beat Sainz massively on points. 49 Verstappen – 12 Sainz

  4. I mean, it was Yuki right? Hear me out.

    Lewis stood no chance in quali, but dominated the race.

    Max dominated in quali, but stood no chance in the race proper.

    Perez lacked the pace to ever compete, both quali and race.

    Yuki outqualified Gasly, made Q3 on mediums, and ended up a career best 4th. He’s clearly DOTW to me.

    1. @chrischrill I’d agree that Tsunoda was excellent. A note on Perez’s pace though – he seemed to be very close to front-running pace throughout the grand prix, but naturally was sacrificed to help Verstappen. But he didn’t lose much to Verstappen in the first stint, nor after his stop.

    2. Yuki’s a good shout. Great race for him. Unfortunately we only got to watch Max and Lewis today which for 99% of the race, wasn’t very exciting!

    3. Actually think that Perez might be the one this weekend, did his job to perfection and handed the title to Verstappen. Both quali tow and his Hamilton slow down were executed to perfection. Wasn’t much off the pace despite that.

    4. Agreed, I went the same way. Honourable mentions to each of the podium finishers, and to Checo for his superb execution of the rear-gunner role, but Yuki was the standout for me.

  5. It was obviously Bottas! Nah, I jest… I had a feeling Bottas was going to flop massively this weekend as he usually does when it really matters, and he duly put in one of the limpest performances of the season. If he’d been good enough then perhaps Mercedes wouldn’t be needing any of this protest nonsense now…

    Close between Hamilton, Sainz and Tsunoda for me, I’d go for Yuki if the poll would let me vote, which it doesn’t seem to let me do at the moment… Tsunoda has shown good pace for the last half-dozen races, and this time he finally put it together without mistakes. Great move on Bottas at the end too, and strong defence against Gasly. Hopefully he can carry his new confidence to next year.

    1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      13th December 2021, 4:15

      @tflb oddly enough, as bad as he’s been and even I cannot defend him, he still managed to help Mercedes clinch the WCC. How bad was Perez in that Red Bull?

      1. @freelittlebirds Perez wasn’t great on the whole, but he did his job very well this weekend when it mattered. I’d still rate him above Bottas for the season, given he’s in a new team etc.

  6. Can I vote for Michael Masi?

  7. Today left a bad taste, just like a certain ‘energy drink’. MV couldn’t win under F1 rules, so the rules were changed. A pity, as he’s an amazingly talented driver, who now has been taught that ruthless, arrogant and selfish behaviour wins championships.
    I’m sad for the sport.

    1. Ruthless, arrogant and selfish behaviour has won seven championships for some nondriver too

      1. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
        13th December 2021, 3:53

        You mean MSC

    2. I saw this season the other way around, decisions mostly favored Lewis. But certainly not the last race. Yet overall they’ve all been shunted by FIA. So undeserved victory in the last race, but deserved championship imho.

  8. Honorable mention: both Alpha Tauri, both better than Kimi and Latifi today, so 4th (Yuki) and (Pierre, usually better than Yuki but not today). Strangely, Alonso did not make the top five, he looked subdued today (but in fact we saw very litte of him in TV)

  9. With one of his best races ever, Carlos Sainz Junior gets ahead of Charles Leclerc (almost invisible today) for the season. And also ahead of Lando Norris who seemed to be way ahead in “the best of the rest” WDC (non-Merc, non RBR) in the first half of the season and got nowhere in the second half. Not everybody was expecting this, but Sainz is now officially “best of the rest” for the season. Congrats, Carlos. If Fezza improve the machinery, I see in you a serious candidate for a future WDC. Maybe “Charles is faster than you”, but you are more consistent.

    1. Exactly. He did a cracking job, very happy for him, well deserved! Best of the rest and in front of Charles and Lando as a first-year Ferrari man, no less. Ferrari did a very good choice, they have a fantastic pair of drivers.

  10. I was at a party with friends and staggering drunk and did not even know what day it was untill this morning. Delighted with the results and Hail to Max the new F1 World Champion! It’s as simple as that. Now I’m going back to sleep. Good Day Ato All.

  11. Tsunoda all the way. Outqualified Gasly and incredibly finished 4th! Sadly I feel his performance has been overshadowed by the ridiculous ending. What a way to finish your rookie season though. Great to see!

  12. Lewis Hamilton (44%)
    Max Verstappen (21%)
    Sergio Perez (21%)
    Carlos Sainz Jnr (5%)
    Yuki Tsunoda (5%)
    Kimi Raikkonen (4%)
    Nicholas Latifi (1%)
    Total Voters: 78

    Many still at 0% currently, I gave this one to hamilton because it seems clear to me red bull was the best car this quali and the merc in the race (bottas lost to perez in quali and verstappen couldn’t compete with hamilton in the race no matter the tyre), and verstappen made some mistakes, such as the start, which was important and he didn’t seem to be as strong as I’d have expected him (perez lapping faster than him when it mattered for his chase at times), while hamilton seems to have done everything right, even cutting the track had a good reason, and considering hamilton didn’t get the win he deserved this race it makes sense to vote for him for me, still think verstappen deserves the title on balance.

    Perez had a great defense and outperformed bottas this weekend, so makes sense, I’d never vote for a driver just cause it’s his last race or he wins the title if he didn’t also have a good race, latifi is a fun vote ofc, sainz and tsunoda did well with not great cars, especially tsunoda cause while sainz proved he can be good, for tsunoda it’s still a very rare occurance.

  13. I couldn’t understand what part of Sergio’s driving he considered dangerous. Perez simply defended his position as well as he could in a very robust fashion but he never did anything questionable. Just really good lines and persistence. It was the sort of brilliant defensive driving which DRS largely killed a decade ago unfortunately.

    1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      13th December 2021, 6:05

      Well to put it in “hyoko” terms – the little s_it complaint about Perez driving dangerously.

      Perez on worn tires did an absolute brilliant job of defending against Lewis on fresh tires. He really delivered today, similar to what he did in Turkey, really hope Perez ups his game in qualifying next season – his race craft is fine just we have seen it too little.

      1. Do you really have to put it in those terms @jelle-van-der-meer? Perez did a great job, but of course Hamilton is going to say something on the radio in the circumstances when the car in front is slowing in the corners and not driving at racing speeds. Don’t get me wrong I’m fine with it, but also fine with Lewis complaining about it.

  14. Can’t choose between Carlos and Yuki for now, need to watch some footages of them.

    1. Okay. Yuki it is. Mega lap. He passed Bottas, pushed his teammate off, and with extra lap surely he would passing Sainz to be in podium.

  15. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    13th December 2021, 4:02

    Never seen a driver who needs as much help to win as Max with clearly the fastest car. Perez bought him 10 seconds. The VSC got him a brand new set of tires and he still couldn’t do anything. Finally Horner had to ask Masi for one lap and for Max to be behind Lewis on a new set of softs against 40 lap old hard tires and Max barely won.

    1. Err Bottas would like a word. Even with the hugely dominant Merc ham has still needed his slave Bottas to assist in many races over the last few years.

      1. @nandy you could say exactly the same thing about Verstappen and Perez, especially in Abu Dhabi – a tow in quali and holding Hamilton up in the race.

    2. Long story short fastest driver beat the faster car.

  16. Arent we all voting kimi one last time??

  17. Why are comments like these allowed here @KeithCollantine?

    1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      13th December 2021, 6:07

      Because each weekend there are easily a 100 like these and worse about Max, don’t see you complaining that.

      Yes this is a very British/Lewis biased website but doesn’t mean you can censure different views/opinions.

      1. Thst makes no sense. I don’t like to see these kind of disrespectful comments from any fan, no matter who they support. And second, who is he to criticise Hamilton. He did everything he could om track and behaved graciously off track. Massive respect.

      2. Nobody on this site calls Max names like this @jelle-van-der-meer, I suggest you take that back. Of course we disagree with certain things, that’s fine, but no these comments are not reciprocated.

  18. I am going to vote for Checo because it was he who afforded Red Bull 3 strategic options during the race – 1) keeping Checo out, 2) Max’s stop under VSC, 3) Max’s stop under SC (the ultimately successful option). Red Bull could do 2 and 3 with Max because he would only lose position to Checo.

    But there was an even more important job that Checo did i.e. closing off Hamilton’s VSC pit window, which ultimately won Red Bull the race after the last SC

    Keeping Checo out bought Max 7 seconds across lap 20 and lap 21. With these 7 seconds, Hamilton’s gap at lap 36 (VSC) would have been 12 seconds. While 12 seconds wasn’t enough to be a full VSC stop for Lewis, it is plausible that Mercedes had the engine power to make that 12 into 14-15 seconds and give Hamilton a VSC window. With that, Hamilton could have pit on lap 36 (aame as Max) without losing track position. Even if Mercedes didn’t stretch it to 14-15 seconds, he could have pit at end of lap 37 (after Max pitted on lap 36). The VSC was active until Lewis had started lap 38. With those 7 seconds, Lewis would have been further ahead in lap 38, implying that he could have actually pitted on end of lap 37 under VSC and maintained track position. This would have meant that Lewis would have had fresher tyres for the one-lap championship that Masi transformed this whole year into. Hence, it is Checo that denied Hamilton a VSC stop and ultimately the race

    1. Pretty sound reasoning and some good points there

  19. You should be a bit more respectful of a 7 time world champion. Lewis drove the perfect race today. His team were forced into every tire decision because of extraneous circumstances. They did very well and couldn’t have predicted Latifi’s mistake or Masi’s topsy turvy decision making.

    I’ve supported Max the entire season and I’m glad that he won the championship despite his bad luck earlier this season. However, Lewis is a legend of the sport and he proved it again when it mattered.

    1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      13th December 2021, 6:10

      Agree that Lewis drove extremely well on Sunday but Lewis and Mercedes have been very disrespectful this season with a very negative anti Max PR campaign and in my view lost all right to respect with their own behavior.

      That said Lewis regained some with his very sportive public behavior after the race, Toto went into overdrive and seriously should seek counseling for himself – it isn’t healthy.

      1. Mercedes maybe @jelle-van-der-meer I can get on board with that, but the patience Hamilton has shown despite being faced with some pretty questionable driving standards this year and comments from Horner et al. has been quite good I thought. Anyway I guess I’m ‘biased’ someone will tell me soon!

        1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
          13th December 2021, 7:38

          Lewis driving in Silverstone, Monza, Jeddah and Abu Dhabi has been questionable as well and that is 2021.
          In the past there have been more questionable driving standards from Lewis and many other drivers as well.

          In the end it is for the stewards to decide and more times than either of us like, we feel the stewards get it wrong.

          I agree that Mercedes and particularly Toto has been far far worse that Lewis but also Lewis has participated multiple times and during the race make hypocritical remarks with regards to Red Bull engine, other people’s driving, red flag consequences etc.
          All drivers have done so and very little has actually helped F1.

          Lewis is far from a saint but he indeed is also not the devil, Toto is and probably Horner to.
          I think this season would have been a whole lot friendlier if both Horner and Toto would not have been there.

        2. I can agree with your last comment for sure @jelle-van-der-meer! And also Silverstone, I didn’t like the way Hamilton conducted himself and also a penalty was deserved, but you have to remember the context that Max had been very aggressive at Barcelona and Imola for example and Hamilton had avoided quite a few collisions up to that point.

          I’m not sure Hamilton’s behaviour at Jeddah on the other hand was that bad, I mean he basically got brake tested by Max and all sorts of other dive bombs he had to avoid. Not sure what you mean by Abu Dhabi 2021 either. It’s true that Hamilton also has been very aggressive in his career at times, sometimes over the line during the Rosberg years.

          Max takes aggressive driving to a level Lewis never did, but he is honest about it and if it’s not reigned in then so be it he’s within his rights to do it and I guess win the championship that way. I just wish Max admitted fault sometimes, he never does and that character trait I can’t seem to get with if I’m honest. Anyway.

  20. For me Hamilton. He did everything right during the race and should have won this race and therefore the championship. But I also gave my vote for how he behaved after the race. He must have feeled very robbed and gutted but the way he went to Max to congratulate him was impressive. Also massive respect to Hamilton’s father who was there to congratulate Max and Jos. So amazing.

  21. Is this the standard of comment now on racefans?

  22. There is a lot of good in your post hyoko, but unfortunately it is nearly drowned out by the bad, you could have just left out that one driver you seem to dislike so much.

  23. DOTW: SAI
    DOTD: HAM

  24. Obviously Max. He held out against the mighty Mercs and grabbed sweet victory in a last lap masterclass. Driver of the day and season by some margin!

    1. A last lap masterclass – soft new tyres vs 45 lap hard tyres used to hold back Verstappen on a new set of hard lap tyres that Lewis had used to drive all the masterclass laps in that race…

      1. Yep, a masterclass in strategy also.

        1. masterclass cheating.

  25. Very close between Hamilton and Sainz for me. Both had good qualifyings, a great first lap and controlled the race from there.
    Honorable mentions to Tsunoda and Norris. I would’ve given Yuki my vote, if he hadn’t made that costly mistake on his first run in Q3, which cost him two spots on the grid. Norris had a cracking Q3 lap, but crucially lost the position on lap 1 to Perez and Sainz.

  26. Somebody who made no mistakes in the race and has been absolutely consistent all year. Avoided the safety car issues at the restart and had one of his most talked-about weekends of the season.
    Nikita Mazepin.

  27. Nice duel by Perez, likely amongst the hottests during this crazy season. And Tsunoda’s sneaking up to 4th place was quite good as well. Of course Hamilton did well too. I do not know what these bad starts were from Verstappen at the last 2 races, maybe it had something to do with the quite worn engine too. Hats off for Honda, for being able to pull the season off with relaitvely and fairly low amount of ICEs -not changing for the last races was very brave, although somewhat forced by Hamilton’s success in Brazil and later-, while taking a good step in terms of horsepower as well.

  28. Got a chuckle from the Max fans who voted for Latifi. LoL

  29. I hope the rumors that are circulating around Perez aren’t true because if they are, he’s not a legend but a legendary road obstacle and Red Bull and Max were simply making fun of him yesterday. If this is proven to be true, he’ll have a hard time cart racing against toddlers and his reputation with any of his fans will sink like the Titanic.

    We were all surprised to see him retire and his response “Really?” did sound a bit disingenuous, almost scripted. It didn’t sound like someone who was missing out on the last podium of a season.

    If it turns out to be true, I wouldn’t be surprised if he loses his superlicense and his results and Red Bull end up with 0 points for the season.

    1. Which rumors? Didn’t see anything at all.

      1. His own.. He keeps repeating them.

  30. Max for the season.
    Max for the last race.

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