Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2021

2021 F1 driver rankings #1: Max Verstappen

2021 F1 driver rankings

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Red Bull finally produced a car capable of toppling Mercedes from their position at the top of Formula 1 in 2021, and Max Verstappen never looked anything less than utterly committed to taking full advantage of the opportunity.

Max Verstappen

Beat team mate in qualifying20/21
Beat team mate in race17/18
Races finished20/22
Laps spent ahead of team mate1,006/1,101
Qualifying margin-0.44s
Points395.5

Despite that, his championship hopes appeared to be over as the final laps ticked away at the last round of the season. Verstappen had won nine races up to that point (one of them the half-points, one-lap washout at Spa) but Lewis Hamilton was poised to equal that and edge ahead in the standings. Then came that controversial, title-deciding twist in the tale.

When the Red Bull was on a par with the Mercedes, Verstappen won when he could. When the Red Bull was a smidgeon quicker, Verstappen took maximum advantage. His driving wasn’t flawless, and at times it certainly wasn’t pretty, but he was relentless in the races and often dazzlingly quick in qualifying.

A season-opening win got away from him more due to the timing of his first pit stop than his unsuccessful re-pass attempt on Hamilton. Verstappen made amends at Imola where, following his only qualifying defeat to team mate Sergio Perez all year, he shot into the lead at the start, elbowing Hamilton aside, and never looked back (though he got his RB16B rather too sideways at the restart).

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The Mercedes cars had pace in Portugal and Spain, where Verstappen had to give best to Hamilton, though he made life more difficult for himself with track limits errors at Autodromo do Algarve. But Red Bull held sway over the next five races, and Verstappen nearly won all of them.

In Monaco he qualified second but inherited pole position following Charles Leclerc’s crash at the Swimming Pool (an error Verstappen committed three years earlier) and romped to victory. But after he got ahead of Leclerc and Hamilton to lead in Azerbaijan, his left-rear tyre failed six laps from home.

The next three races all fell to Verstappen. He went off at the start in France but sharp Red Bull strategy teed him up to pass Hamilton for victory, and he was never headed in the two Austrian rounds.

After beating Silverstone pole winner Hamilton to sprint qualifying victory, Verstappen’s lead over his rival stood at 33 points. But he remained unwilling to give any quarter to his rival, and, as the pair furiously disputed the lead on the first lap of the grand prix, contact was made, and the Red Bull came off worse. Victory for Hamilton slashed Verstappen’s lead.

Verstappen treated home fans to one of his best performances
Worse followed for Verstappen in Hungary, where he was blamelessly eliminated in a first corner collision. In the space of two races, Hamilton had displaced him at the top of the table.

Verstappen set about rebuilding his advantage at Spa, where he out-qualified Hamilton and reaped the reward when the race was effectively rained off. He treated his home fans to a majestic display at Zandvoort: Without the support of his team mate, who was eliminated in Q1, Verstappen saw off both Mercedes for a hugely popular win.

He was back in the championship lead, and that meant it did less harm to his points situation when he landed on top of Hamilton in a low-speed collision at Monza, having gone into the corner behind his rival. From the back of the grid in Russia (due to a power unit change penalty, a legacy of the Silverstone crash) he made it up to sixth and was doomed to lose the points lead to Hamilton again. Then rain fell and Verstappen nailed the timing of his switch to intermediate tyres, lifting himself to a superb second behind his title rival, limiting his points deficit to just two.

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The next three races proved critical to Verstappen’s title win as he eked out enough of a lead to withstand Hamilton’s later end-of-year charge. While Hamilton took an engine change penalty in Turkey, Verstappen collected a useful second behind Valtteri Bottas. The points leader took a superb pole position at the Circuit of the Americas and fought back after losing the lead to Hamilton at the start to win. Mexico was more straightforward: After picking off the Mercedes pair at the start, he cruised home to win.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Circuit of the Americas, 2021
In Austin Verstappen out-ran Hamilton for a vital win
Brazil presented an opportunity for Verstappen to extend his points lead further as Hamilton was constrained by starting at the back in sprint qualifying. But the Red Bull driver came under attack from the Mercedes late in the race and, surprisingly, was allowed to keep his lead after running wide and taking Hamilton with him. If Verstappen was unlucky at times in 2021, he was also fortunate race control responded in such a toothless fashion to some of his antics.

As Hamilton and Mercedes cranked up the pressure, Verstappen was digging ever deeper. A great lap in Qatar put him second on the grid, though he was penalised for failing to slow for yellow flags. He came within one corner of a superb pole position in Jeddah, but the race was an unedifying spectacle, and again some of Verstappen’s rivals wondered why his brake-test on Hamilton received no more than a 10-second time penalty.

He set himself up for a crack at the title in Abu Dhabi with a tremendous lap for pole position, but was immediately beaten off the line by Hamilton. That might have been the end of it, but race control’s increasingly unfathomable decisions intervened again.

The notorious restart decision which followed gave Verstappen an unexpected, open-goal shot at winning the title, one he was never going to miss. But while Hamilton was undoubtedly hard done by in that moment, to allow that baffling piece of officiating to taint Verstappen’s championship win would not be a fair reflection on his efforts over the season. Over 22 races, it was undoubtedly a title-worthy performance.

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What’s your verdict on Max Verstappen’s 2021 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments. Add your views on the other drivers in the comments.

2021 F1 season review

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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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135 comments on “2021 F1 driver rankings #1: Max Verstappen”

  1. Lewis and Max have in common that they won 1 title in their first 7 years in F1.

    Underlines again that you need to be lucky to get a dominant car and challenge the history books.

    1. Interesting stat. Although, I think that while enlarged stats look great on paper, fans know what greatness really is. Senna’s 3 WDCs and holding very few records hasn’t diminished his legacy in any way. Conversely, Vettel’s records or being #2 or #3 in many important categories, doesn’t really do much for people to regard him in the GOAT conversation. I’ve never seen him brought up once in the last 5 years. Hamilton’s greatness will be more closely associated with his truly spectacular races at Mclaren, his battles with Rosberg and Max, than by the scores of podiums and wins obtained relatively easily.

      I know people romanticize Schumacher these days because of his accident… but this also applies to him. 2001, 2002, and 2004 where really… akin to what Mercedes accomplished prior to 2021. Vastly superior, and a bunch of easy wins

      1. Very true. I needed Verstappen to be able to truly appreciate Hamilton, as it’s the first time I really saw him being challenged in a very long time, fighting a more or less fair fight in terms of car performance. Although I’m not sure Hamilton would do so well as Max did if he was to race for Red Bull in the past few years, I could see how extraordinary driver he really is. Vettel is kind of the opposite story, even though he’s not as bad as people often say. I rather see him being incomplete as a driver, very talented and fast, but far from being consistent and mentally strong. It’d be nice to see Hamilton drive an average car for a couple of years, I wonder how he’d do driving for Aston or one of the Alfas. That’s not going to happen, but I’d love to see it. It’d be fun if he was to change places with Norris for example, or even Gasly.

        1. Schumacher was a Great driver, but I downrated him in my book because he had the Fia backning Ferrari over everething and everyone. he had a nr 2 in his contract. I still remember wathcing a grand prix with a friend. This was the first year traction control was banned and we saw the Ferrari and when we heard the car we just looken at each other.

          The point is i rate all of Lewis championships higher then any of Schumis.

          1. Traction control was banned for season 1994. Than it was again allowed from Spain 2001 onward till the end of 2007. You have some strange memories right there…

      2. The difference is schumacher had to fight on a lot of years, while most of hamilton’s titles happened with a dominant car.

        1. Well, for me I became a fan of what Schumacher could do in 1993, the first season I saw, where he did great things in a bennetton that was not the best car of the field but showed his mettle; after 1994 I was a bit less impressed, but not due to his pace and ability to race, that never really went away (instead it made the other antics seem so unneeded that it was a bummer) @esploratore1; some of his Ferrari years though clearly were so engineered to give him, and only him, the best chance.

          I have to agree with @qeki; while the years Schumacher put in to build Ferrari definitely made his time of reaping after easier to stomach, while Hamilton only had 2013 where he had to wait (but then he had that sort of frustration at a more and more lacking McLaren for a few years before that), the fact that he came into the team and only once did Rosberg beat him with all his effort, after having outmatched Schumacher (yes, aging etc. but looking back we really should re-evaluate those Merc years for him I think), well, he’s special.

          Anyway, Verstappen won the 2021 championship, even if it was a sort of sadly not-FIA-untypical shambolic bit of finale, the season I can certainly agree with him having edged out Hamilton over the full year, with a bit more consistency and having always gotten considerable more out of the car than his teammate.

          1. I think one has to consider how superior Schumacher was to his peers almost throughout his entire career. And how he was able to make Ferrari a winning machine by team bulding as well as his talent. Lewis is the better sportsman, but I do think Schumachers sporting achievements rank slightly higher.

          2. Yes, magon and bosyber, hamilton ranks better as a sportsman, schumacher wasn’t certainly an example in this sense, but like magon said, leaving a winning team (that he contributed to building too, benetton was never this competitive after schumacher left) to go and rebuild ferrari is something not a lot of top drivers did.

      3. It’s one thing to win in a dominant car but it’s another thing to build a dominant team around you. Schumacher spent 4 years in Ferrari just to win one title. After 2000 it was clear that the wait was worth it. Mercedes was built for Nico by a helping hand of Schumacher. Hamilton just came there. Took the seat and never looked back. By 2014 Nico should have dominated Lewis like Schumacher did it with Barrichello. He had driven and built that team for 4 years. But as we saw Lewis was a pretty good driver and the rest is history.
        What happens with Max? Red Bull is his team but in the end I can see Max in Ferrari as well as in Red Bull. He has the contract but after that anything is possible.

        1. Nico has always been just a 2nd driver at Mercedes. De facto. Both alongside Michael and Lewis. Had Mercedes see their 1st driver in him (for whom the team build the car, as you said) – they’d never ever asked Lewis to join them.
          It makes Nico’s achievement in 2016 even more impressive. The greatest win of a 2nd driver in history of F1.

          1. Massa at Ferrari in 2008?
            Hill joined Williams as a second driver. But Senna’s death made him no.1

          2. Nico was never a number 2, even in 2011 Schumacher pushed for a #1 status but Ross Brawn said no, that they have to fight on a equal footing.

    2. I think you mean competitive. There was nothing dominant about Red Bull in 2021, nor McLaren in 2008.

      1. There was nothing dominant about the Mercs 2017 and 2018. In terms are car performance, the SF70h & Sf71H was on par with the W08 & W09. In fact, some analysts have cited Ferrari as equal to Merc in 2017 and arguably better than Merc in 2018

    3. So have Vettel, Kimi, Alonso, Schumacher, Hakkinen, Villeneuve and Hill. Basically, all WDC for the last 25 years except Rosberg and Button. I’m not sure that stat tells much by itself.

      1. Hill in 1996? He won because he had the dominant car. In 1994 Senna died and it was a mess. And it made Hill look good. But Rosberg and Hill won with a dominant car throughout the season. Button only for the first part.

  2. Fair enough based on the entire season, even if he ultimately won through FIA help.

    1. If Hamilton won it only wouldve been because of fia help in Bahrain and silverstone

        1. What’s so funny?

          1. It’s funny cause it’s true!

    2. He was doing sorta unbiased until this little snippet:

      “…his brake-test on Hamilton received no more than a 10-second time penalty.”

      That is tabloid-level bias, as it has been officially clarified over and over again that it was not a brake test, but most english-based F1 sites are like that and Sore Lew is english so it’s OK. We understand. Sort-of.

  3. I agree that Max was the best driver this year. But the genuinely impressive thing is when was the last time he was off the pace in a weekend? I’m not talking about getting out qualified by your teammate, but being way off the ultimate pace of the car. He has had bad results due to bad luck, incidents, or other factors, but the last time I can think of where he was off the pace on a weekend was in Singapore in 2016. That was over 5 years ago. Hamilton has had weekends where he’s been nowhere (Russia 2017, Monaco 2017, Canada 2018, Monaco 2021, etc.) which is something Max doesn’t seem to experience, at least to the same extent.

    1. Max’s pace is hard to beat. I would say Monaco 2018 was the last race he was off the pace, one where Ricciardo won without KERS.

      Max’s problem – a very minor one – is his wheel-to-wheel driving. Imola, Spain, Silverstone, Brazil, Saudi, Abu Dhabi are all examples where he forced his rival off the racing line / off-track / to back-off in order to either make an overtake or stop an overtake. On top of that, we have Monza as an example of what happens when a driver tries to force Max off.

      This style worked in 2021 because 1) his opponent was an old-and-wise Lewis who would back out of collisions (Imola, Spain) or take evasive action to avoid contact (Brazil, Saudi, Abu Dhabi) and only rarely go toe-to-toe with him (Silverstone), 2) his car was sufficiently faster than F1.5 which meant the only driver he had to fight on track was Lewis.

      If he doesn’t have the car advantage next year over F1.5, he may have to fight the likes of Leclerc and Norris. With them, many of such incidents would result in contact-causing retirements / unscheduled pitstops and lose him vital championship points.

      He needs to be careful of that, going forward.

      1. I would disagree on Monaco 2018. Max looked every bit as quick as Ricciardo, but he mucked up in FP3 which cost him the whole weekend. Again, it was just a silly error, but I don’t think he was lacking any pace that weekend. 20th to 9th in Monaco is highly respectable and in clean air his pace was comparable/superior to those at the front.

        As for the other stuff, I think we’ll have to see. One thing I have to say about Max is that he seems to have a lot of capacity to think in situations. I think the reason he was ultra-aggressive with Hamilton was that he knew Hamilton would back out. He was never like this with anybody else. If he were to fight Lando or Leclerc for the title, he probably would keep in mind beforehand that they are less likely to give way and vice versa.

      2. He new Hamilton could not afford to crash, so he was able to “force” or put his car in those situations. It does not mean he would have done the same if the tables where turned.

      3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        28th January 2022, 14:44

        @sumedh

        Max’s problem – a very minor one – is his wheel-to-wheel driving.

        A very minor problem? Every driver is scratching their head and wondering if they can get away with murder if they change their name to Verstappen and paint the car the same.

        It’s akin to Ramos kicking Messi in the family jewels, then elbowing Pique in the face with both arms (why hit him once when you can hit him twice), scoring a goal, and then turning and punching the goalie in celebration while the ref applauds him and says “deserved goal”.

        Isn’t that what happened in F1? Only Lewis was Messi, Pique, and the goalie and nearly died and Todt/Masi were the refs.

        Agreed, it’s a minor problem. Now let’s focus on the big issues like Hamilton’s wardrobe…

        1. Absolutely love it 😍

          Brilliant

    2. Yes, that is really impressive, even I wouldn’t have expected you’d have to go back so many years!

    3. Well when you look at Vettel, Kyvat and Gasly got podiums in the Torro Rosso / Alpha Tauri something Max was unable to accomplish

      1. Vettel’s circumstances were exceptional and didn’t kvyat spend several years in that car, giving them an occasion for a podium, which verstappen in only a year never got?

      2. Gasly too ofc.

  4. I think every ranking site I have seen on social media has lost perspective.

    This will only ego boost Verstappen’s “not giving up any corner” attitude and we are going to see a lot of unnecessary crashes between him and the rest of the field instead of good clean racing in the coming years.

    The best moment of the season was the Alonso-Hamilton battle in Hungary, but that just can’t happen for any driver with Max.

    His drives were fantastic this season, don’t get me wrong. I just don’t think that he is a good wheel to wheel racer. I hope he improves on that.

    1. Max and Hamilton did have a clean but on-the-limit battle at Hungary in 2019.

    2. I think that’s a bit harsh on Max. He definitely needs to work on his wheel-to-wheel racing, I don’t argue with that, Brazil in particular really left a sour taste in my mouth. I wasn’t really an F1 fan at the time, but wasn’t it Vettel that people used to say could do brilliantly when in the lead, but struggled wheel-to-wheel, in his Red Bull days? This kind of reminds me (to an extent) of Max, who’s outright pace is absolutely outstanding, but I feel his racing skills need a bit of polishing.

      But as Mashiat says, he has had some good battles in the past, such as Hungary in 2019. But there is one Verstappen battle that I will never forget, and that was him against Leclerc two races earlier, at Silverstone in 2019. I was sat at Vale that day (towards the Stowe end, so I could see the exit of Stowe corner), and for about 10 laps the two of them were relentlessly at each other, right on the edge. It was absolutely incredible to watch.

      1. Yep, well said RadndomMallard, Verstappen has shown he can race clean and strong, I’d love to see him switch back to doing it consistently too. That and his consistent pace and car control really is what make him great to watch.

    3. Prab I would suggest that if ‘every’ site you have been on is saying similar things, it is likely you that has lost perspective, not the other way around. As well, I highly doubt Max will see these rankings nor care about them, let alone have his ego boosted over it such that we will ‘see a lot of unnecessary crashes.’

      The bottom line is Max is excellent at wheel to wheel racing and everyone on the track is well familiar with his skill and aggression that he likely learned from the likes of all the drivers preceding him, not just from his parents while karting. He takes no prisoners and it is up to the other drivers who have seen that to be aware of it if/when they get into combat with him. What we do know is that Max has said time and time again that he will not be changing his driving style. And as we see, he makes it work. This is no different that what many other drivers have done in the past and been revered for it being WDC-level driving.

      Max has shot a harpoon across everyone’s bow, and they all know what they have to be wary of when it comes to racing him, what they can expect, and Max wouldn’t have it any other way. And therefore other drivers attempting to beat Max can have that challenge to look forward to, and if they succeed, well, what a huge feat for them that will be. Max will be giving the other drivers a chance to rise to the occasion, just as I’m sure Max would rather LH stay in F1 (I’m positive he will) so he can beat him on the track and not because he is no longer there. I’m sure it will be the same for the other drivers who must recognize what a mountain to climb it would be to beat Max, but then also what a mountain of reward that would feel like too.

      1. @Robbie you’re correct about the shot across the bow – I recall when a young Hamilton first arrived, he too used to bomb away into corners in the full knowledge that the wiser old heads would avoid contact so they could live to fight another day.

        There is a few things I’ll be interested to see about him next year though, not the least is whether or not he can manage to maintain the sort of focus that his rival has done for so many years.

        The other thing is that at the moment, there’s more “young” fast drivers than we’ve seen for decades – if, for example, Russell, Leclerc and Norris all have machinery that’s as competitive as Max’s I suspect we might see more carnage than usual as none of them are likely to give ground in the same way as say an Alonso or a Ricciardo or indeed Hamilton might.

        Had Max given ground a couple of times earlier in the season last year, he would have had the WDC wrapped up well before Abu Dhabi – I’d like to see him take some learnings from that – to me that will show that he’s grown some.

        It’ll be a huge year this year, different cars, potentially more drivers in the mix and I’d hate to see him fall away just because he can’t reign in his aggression at those few times when it would be beneficial to do so.

        1. @dbradock The vibe I get from Max is that focus is his middle name. But yeah for sure depending on how everyone‘s cards are dealt with their new cars, and the miriad other things that can and will happen, and it’s certainly going to be fascinating to see.

          I’m sure Max is well capable of taking lessons from things that have transpired and I’m also pretty sure several of the things he did that many considered controversial, he did not, and would do the same again. I don’t think he uses the perfection of hindsight nor dwells on the past too much. He doesn’t play woulda, coulda, shoulda, but that’s not to say he won’t have taken from things as they have happened, and he’ll enjoy the same types of gains from experience that someone such as LH has. He’s got a great support system of family literally and in the form of his team, so I’m sure they will leave no stone unturned in maximizing Max’s career.

          For sure as to interactions with Max between the likes of Norris, Leclerc, and Russell in the coming years, that will be for them to sort out one incident at a time, as they as well gain from their experiences over time. Personally I think Max is going to have that little extra, but of course as we know that can be handcuffed if the car just isn’t there compared to others. One session, one day, one race at a time while we watch the history of F1 unfold. Can’t wait for this season and all the ones coming after that.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            28th January 2022, 14:55

            @robbie

            The vibe I get from Max is that focus is his middle name.

            yeah that’s not going to happen, dude!

            Crash will be his middle name for eternity, unless he kills someone and gets a worse one.

    4. So are you going to completely ignore all the clean battles they had? They literally raced each other neck and neck and had like 3 proper collisions in 23 races

      1. And how many “avoid collisions” moves did Lewis had to make so that you can make this point?
        Max’s driving was over the edge and keeping that sort of driving around doesn’t bode well for him or F1.
        Let’s hope his sake he improves.

  5. Kimberley Barrass
    27th January 2022, 17:48

    Hamilton fan agreeing 100% – MV deserves this one! – Roll on next year! – May it be as great a season as last year! :D

    1. Yes, hopefully with even more competitive cars (but might be wishful thinking), like ferrari and mclaren.

  6. Max was the most consistently high level driver all season. Really, he and Hamilton were (are) another level altogether, as shown partly by their team mates being simply way behind most of the time. I thought he came back remarkably well after Silverstone and was unfazed most of the time until Brazil, where Hamilton’s big pace advantage with the new engine definitely had an impact on Max’s standard of driving (defence) which reached its nadir in Saudi Arabia. One more such race and I’d rank him down. However, he reined it in for the final race, where his aggressive lunge at the start was at least with him remaining on track, and he looked like he would at least try to maintain that vital difference between hard-but-fair racing and taking your rival out. So kudos for that. Let’s so how this year goes in terms of racing standards.

    1. I don’t think he reined it in at Abu Dhabi.

      His lap 1 lunge was no different than in Spain. He goes down the inside so late that he is first to the apex but so fast that he will run to the outer edge of the track for the following corner. Hence, the driver on the outside has no chance of being ahead at the exit of the left-right / right-left corner. Hamilton had to relinquish his position in Spain, take to the run-off at Abu Dhabi.

      1. The point about the Abu Dhabi lunge was that he stayed on track. That meant he was back to the ‘script’ that it’s OK (apparently) to force another driver off track if you stay on track. São Paulo was something else: he went way off track to defend. Same, to a lesser extent, in Saudi Arabia. It’s a real question whether forcing the other driver off track while you stay on should be allowed, but it has been (very inconsistently) applied as a rule since Austria 2019 when Verstappen forced Leclerc off track for the win. It’s very much a ‘Masi era’ rule. ‘Let them race,’ ‘hard racing’ etc.
        Also it’s worth noting that Hamilton was allowed to keep the place after he took evasive action, which Red Bull and Max fans protested. That’s maybe another sign that the racing rules are still highly ambiguous – I felt they compensated for Max’s lunge being over-aggressive by allowing Hamilton to stay ahead, thought he actual explanation was that he slowed down enough to erase the time advantage out of the corner (if not the position).

        1. José Lopes da Silva
          27th January 2022, 20:18

          “It’s a real question whether forcing the other driver off track while you stay on should be allowed”.
          Bernie Ecclestone said that Villeneuve forced Schumacher off the track in Jerez 1997, that Villeneuve would not be able to make the corner if Schumacher didn’t “hold” him on track.
          Do you think that Villeneuve might have forced Schumacher out, if the Ferrari didn’t pulled inside for the second move? After all, Schumacher had the first reflex of moving out of Villeneuve’s way, like Hamilton in Abu Dhabi’s lap 1.

          1. Not quite sure what you mean there. MS veered right, directly into JV, in an attempt to punt him off the track, and instead bounced himself off JV’s car and into the kitty litter. Of course BE, who along with Mosley had set up MS at Ferrari to end the WDC drought there, would try to soften the embarrassment MS put on himself, and it is complete speculation as to whether or not JV would have made that corner without MS hitting him. But it’s about all BE could say in a half-hearted attempt to defend MS for what was indefensible. Next best thing they could do was give MS a meaningless penalty for it.

      2. José Lopes da Silva
        27th January 2022, 20:14

        “the driver on the outside has no chance of being ahead at the exit of the left-right / right-left corner.”
        Isn’t that the point of an overtaking?

      3. isnt that sort of the art or the whole point of overtaking? to carry just enough speed you can make it past your rival, position your car to block them without going off track? I feel that Max’s first lap lunge at abu dhabi was completely legal but Hamilton’s subsequent off track excursion was not – imagine if there was gravel there, Max would have made the lunge, blocked off hamilton and exited the corner ahead. For what it’s worth, Ricciardo was pulling the same moves back in Monza 2017 or 16 on Raikkonen and Bottas, likewise Hamilton on Massa in Germany 2008 – when you’re ahead into the braking zone you’re entitled to take up all the space in the corner. But I’m not someone that will defend all of Max’s antics, Brazil was definetely an abuse of the track limits he should be punished for

        1. @Jose, @NT;

          No, Max’s overtaking is different. The reason Max is ahead of his rival is because he misses his braking point and is never going to make the apex himself. Not just that, he misses his braking point by so much that he is not leaving any space for his rival outside. Imagine if his rival who is slightly ahead on the outside decides to miss his braking point – so that he can complete the overtake around the outside – and starts to turn in, Max will end up hitting the sidepod / front wing of the driver ahead causing the other driver to have an unscheduled pit-stop and Max to get a penalty. This is exactly what would have happened at Brazil but Hamilton decided not to turn in. Look at what happened in 1) Hungary 2017 when Ricciardo turned in but Max didn’t causing Ricciardo’s retirement. 2) China 2018 when again Max dived down the inside, Vettel turned in and both spun.

          Max’s driving in general is always going to result in more crashes and penalties compared to others. Which is why he had so many crashes from 2016 to 2020 when he took the same no-prisoners policy while fighting similar-speed cars. 2021 was better because his car was faster than all other 16 cars and left him fighting with only 2 other cars.

          1. The ruling regarding overtaken are moving…. Max style hasn’t changed over the years.
            People focus so much on his driving they even foget there are 19 other drivers out there doing exact the same…. drivers to push off each other ALL the time.

            Lewis and Max fighting is two driver not willing to give each other any space, not giving up on corners they realisticly already lost.

            Imola…Lewis behind, did not give up
            Spain…Lewis behind, did not give up
            Portugal…Max behind, did not give up
            Silverstone…Lewis behind, did not give up

            this list is long…Lewis style is not different, he pushed Max wide in Portugal, US and Jeddah plus Perez in Turkey

          2. It’s a strange misconception you have to use the apex. It’s the driver who chooses the driving line. And if he keeps the car on track it’s okay.

  7. Diehard Hamilton fan here, and this is the right order. Max drove a great championship. Well deserved winner.

    1. Oh please!

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        28th January 2022, 19:05

        :-)

  8. Here are the total fan rankings, made up of the combined scores of 77 different driver rankings from the 2021 season.
    https://f1frogblog.wordpress.com/2022/01/27/f1-2021-fans-ranking/

    1. Enjoying your blog @f1frog – like your perspective. looking forward to seeing how it develops.

    2. Thanks for the work and sharing (as a link).

      77 ratings is a maximum score of 1925 (no flaps I assume) and 3311 for the top two.
      Thus most people voted for the same ‘winner’ (>62/77) and top two (71/77).

      The most surprising entry is the single 3rd place score for Kimi ;)

      1. Yes, I guess you know who it was (and who said I have a crusade against him), but the fact is: the biggest outlier is raikkonen, with the best ranking being 11 places above the average ranking, 2nd biggest outlier I saw with a quick look is ricciardo, who was ranked 6th by someone and therefore gained 7 places compared to the average ranking.

  9. Overall I think keith’s rankings were well done, I would agree with most of them, let’s see how I’d have them:

    1) verstappen
    2) hamilton
    3) norris
    4) leclerc
    5) sainz
    6) gasly
    7) alonso
    8) russell
    9) ocon
    10) bottas
    11) perez
    12) vettel
    13) ricciardo
    14) stroll
    15) schumacher
    16) raikkonen
    17) giovinazzi
    18) latifi
    19) tsunoda
    20) mazepin

    So the only differences I feel like making are gasly ahead of alonso, some slight change in the vettel, perez, ricciardo area, schumacher ahead of the haas drivers and stroll a bit better placed than he was, but overall they are close enough to my own ideas.

    1. Ops, meant “sauber”, not haas.

  10. Verstappen definitely doesn’t deserve to be in the first place. Neither does Hamilton, by the way.
    For what Verstappen did in Jeddah, that is intentionally trying to break the rival’s car to win the race after getting a penalty, he deserved a black flag. He deserved a severe penalty for Interlagos, etc.

    He is not the true WDC or best driver of the year. Without his reckless driving, he would be first in my list.

    1. intentionally trying to break the rival’s car

      That would indeed make him the clumsiest driver in F1; trying to damage another car by having it drive into the most sensitive part of your car (gear box).

      Or maybe he just intentionally tried to force the other car to unlap itself in a more advantageous part of the circuit.

      1. There is a thing – recent invention so you may have missed it…

        Called a crash structure at the rear – has to far exceeded the crash ability of the front wing.

        Funny, it’s pretty much what saved Max in Silverstone that you all keep ranting about.

        I am sorry but 7ntil you have had some monkey do it to you on a track, you have no idea how that pans out. It’s F1 – your probably not going to get killed but there is enough history to show it can

        That’s why it’s always black flagged…

        Well until this time.

    2. Nah, it makes no sense, when they crashed the biggest worry I had was a puncture for verstappen, let’s say verstappen had a puncture AND hamilton had to replace the front wing, I’ll let you guess who comes out best ofc.

  11. So, Max had a fantastic car in 2021, for me car of the season, strong at every track. Credit to Max he extracted it during the qualifying sessions and sprints races. If I was to base it on just that alone, I’d happily say easy #1… but… I feel he got away with a lot of questionable driving this season but I can’t blame him if he gets away with it. He also got a decent amount of outside assistance to help him topple Hamilton and Mercedes, Perez being a perfect example as well as race control (inadvertently). But he still had to get in the car and deliver which he did.

    On balance I still would’ve rated both Verstappen and Hamilton equal as they both were several skill levels above the rest of the field for different reasons.

    1. He also had the worst luck from the title contenders, I mean Lewis has benefited so much from outside help before, Bottas literally blocked drivers and handed his position so many times to Lewis, that surely it’s shouldn’t be only a Mercedes thing right?

    2. I guess you midded Baku, Silverstone and Hungary…. the fight wasn;t that actually close, those three races kept Lewis hope going

  12. Not a single mention of Michael Masi?
    Surely??
    hahaha

  13. Over the course of the season max was more consistent and got the most out of his machinery and I think overall is deserving of top spot here. He needs to reign it in a bit and learn to accept defeat and relinquish corners at times.

  14. “No, Keith! No, no, Keith! That was so no right!”

    1. Ahah, that would be funny if he came complaining here about the rankings as well.

  15. No one:

    Literally no one:

    Me: Since you asked, here’s my rankings for the season – Verstappen, Hamilton, Gasly, Norris, Sainz, Leclerc, Russell, Alonso, Ocon, Perez, Bottas, Vettel, Schumacher, Ricciardo, Raikkonen, Giovinazzi, Latifi, Tsunoda, Stroll, Mazepin.

    1. Not my rating, but I can see Gasly ahead of Norris!
      I somewhat disagree with Sainz ahead of Leclerc (over a full season).
      But I cannot understand rating Russell above Alonso (and probably even Ocon).

  16. Regardless of how impressive, fast or relentless Verstappen was in 2021, ranking a driver who deliberately hit another car as first reinforces how rotten F1 has become.

    1. It’s still crazy how the media ignores Hamilton running people off track and has for a decade. Calling Jeddah a brake test is especially egregious when Hamilton rammed into the back of him. Happy max gave him a taste of his own medicine and the best driver won

      1. Running into the back of somebody is the almost inevitable outcome of a brake test, so I’m not sure how you think that is evidence that there wasn’t a brake test.

        It’s like saying how can there have been a stabbing when the victim presumably just ran into somebody’s outstretched knife.

        1. Slowing down from 300 to 100 km/h, shifting back from 8th to 3rd gear is not a brake test, it’s a driver being desperate to force the driver behind him to overtake….I might add, Max HAD to give back his position.

          It’s all fun and games people prefer to label this as a brake test, repeating Hamilton like parrots, Hamilton always is on the radio within a second blaming the other driver, he always does. The issue was the DRS line and neither Max nor Lewis wanted to pass this line ahead of the other. This was the most absurd (symbolic) penalty of the season…I was pretty much okay with Silverstone and Monza, but this was just absurd….. same goes for Lewis cutting the corner in Abu Dhabi and Lewis exceeding track limits in Bahrain

          The FIA may want to sort this with another rule…..

          1. You forget something why didn’t Lewis overtook Max when he slowed down to give the place back? In the normal situation a driver would over take a rival if he just was slower on the straight. Max did first slow down and Lewis didn’t overtook him which is a really strange reaction then Max slowed down hard and Lewis drove against him?
            So my question why was he not over taking the moment Max slowed down?

          2. Because Max was trying to get DRS and overtake him immediately he passed.

            This is something completely against regulations however given the sheer lunatic running the asylum this year LH quite rightly figured out what he was doing slowed with him and rightly did not trust Race Direction to apply the rules or trust MV would not get away with it.

            MV being ridiculously stroppy having been thwarted stamped on his brakes to force the issue.

            Semantics aside as to brake test or check, this is a black flag offence in all forms of motorsport.

            It has killed people (long circuit karts – Brand Hatch)

            But not to worry – the crash structure at the rear would have saved him and ended LH race.

            Which was the whole point.

            Nice ethics

          3. The brake test was the bit at the end of slowing down when he did the brake test, as confirmed by telemetry and the FIA. I don’t think even Marko refuted it. Hope that helps.

          4. @drgraham but it was really far from the DRS line and which racing driver refuse to take the lead if your oppenent slows down? Lewis could drove so fast past him he never could overtake him and the DRS wouldn’t help much.

          5. Sorry suggest you watch again.

            There is and will be no excuse for that move. It was against regulation to start with and when thwarted showed the real attitude of someone that will do anything to win. Sorry not impressed.

    2. @fluxsource Having run my own analysis using python*, I’m personally not convinced “brake test” is the best term. From the telemetry I’ve seen, he brakes initially, from 300 to 180, but doesn’t stamp on the brakes when Lewis is right behind him. The stewards’ report is ambiguous in this area (imo), because it references 2.2g of braking, but doesn’t make it clear as to whether that’s him initially slowing down, or braking when Lewis is already directly behind him. The telemetry I’ve seen suggests the former. Don’t get me wrong, it was foolish, clumsy and extremely poorly executed, and was and is something I definitely disapprove of and hold against Max, but based on the evidence I’ve seen, I wouldn’t call it a brake check.

      *Note: the Python library I’m using claims to pull telemetry directly from the F1 Live Timing Service, which I trust, because the graphs do look like what I remember seeing on the Live Telemetry at the time. However, I have no way of confirming that it is in fact the official telemetry, so do take it with a pinch of salt if you wish.

      1. Yes he did

        The telemetry that RD released along with the judgement makes it completely clear.

        I am not sure what you were trying to prove as the evidence used is available?

        Semantics aside – if you have ever had it happen on track where there are no mirrors at any speed, you would realise why the penalty given was a total farce and worse than what followed at AD.

        1. Sorry no brake lights.

          There appears to be some confusion around lights at the back of F1 cars.

          These are not brake lights at all.

          They do sometimes indicate a severe slowing due to recharging.

          Stamping on a brake pedal will not activate such.

        2. Hamilton had 5 sec3to pass the constant slowing car. Only a rookie would fall for this “brake test”.
          Hamilton was confused and reacted way to slow. The last braking action was to much for Lewis.
          But there was no brake test and only a very stupid action by Lewis.

          1. @ Erikje,
            I don;t buy Lewis being confused…just a few laps before Max and Lewis where in the exact same situation….Lewis doesn’t suddenly forget Max had to give back his position…nonsense.

            Lewis played his act, like he’s doen so many times this season…when Jeddah was red flagged he couldn’t belive Max was allowed to change tyres….. Imola, Silverstone Lewis did exactly that. Lewis is quicky on the radio when racing get’s close…. he does it when Max comes close, he does it when Perez comes close.
            In AD he shouted the race was rigged right away, in Jeddah he shouted brake test right away.

            It’s all an act, Lewis is far smarter than being ‘confused’ over another driver slowing down from 300 to after cutting a corner. It was all about the DRS line and two driver being stubborn…max obviously had little choice than simply give back that position.

        3. @drgraham Aologies, I wasn’t aware telemetry, outside of the figures stated in the stewards’ report, we’re available. One of the things I was particularly annoyed about after the race is that (I thought) telemetry wasn’t released. Could you point me in the direction of this telemetry please?

          On other thing to note is that for technical reasons (due to brake pressure not having a maximum/100% applied value like a throttle does), the F1 Live Timing telemetry only shows the brakes as “on” or “off”, not how much brake pressure is applied.

          1. Suggest you look at gap+ or motor sport monthly actually pretty much every serious outlet has showed the judgement from the fia.

            I applaud your attempts but they had the readings from the brake pedal and there is a lot of what aboutery from people that have zero technical knowledge making judgement about what it is and is not and even applying different terminology to it.

            Frankly sickening. I witnessed someone being kill3d in front of my through such a childish stunt.

            Black flag – the fact is that despite his incredible season. It should have been over at that point. Just like Shumi who did a far lesser offence.

          2. And for clarity the slowing down was to activate the recharge. Thus the lights. Very occasionally so it looked like a mechanical.

            The stamp on the brakes was the icing on the cake.

          3. @drgraham I can understand your viewpoint. I’ve looked at the places you’ve suggested (assuming motor sport monthly was this site, under the section subtitled ‘The Ugly’ but I don’t know, and re-read the stewards report, but the main problem I have with this is how it’s worded.

            Firstly, the meaning of “at turn 26” is very much debatable when turn 26 is a very long left hander that just keeps going, but that’s not my main problem. I take issue with the context (or rather, lack of context) the 2.4g and 69 bar figures are used. There is, in my opinion, a large difference, between applying the brakes at that force in the split seconds before the impact (this is what I personally would call a brake check, but I understand if your interpretation varies), and slowing down with that braking pressure a couple of seconds beforehand, during the period in which Hamilton goes from being a few car lengths back to tucked up right behind Verstappen (my analysis suggests the latter appears the more likely case in this scenario, however I’m not an expert at reading telemetry!). The easy way that the stewards could have resolved this would be to throw a couple of other bits of data, such as timestamps, or the speed of the two cars at the point(s) in question.

            On the topic of the data I have, as I said in my original comment, the Python library I’m using claims to use the F1 Live Timing telemetry, but I cannot verify that this is definitely the case. On the whole, I generally trust this, although there is one minor point that makes me slightly sceptical of the data, where it shows Lewis momentarily ahead of Max just after (what appears to be) the collision, although this is only by 2 or 3 metres and could easily be the result of the error range of GPS data (the angles of the onboards also make it impossible to tell whether Lewis was momentarily ahead of Max or not, although my personal suspicion is he wasn’t). However, I am careful not to read 100% into this data, because of the reasons I’ve put above. Also, having looked at the video, I don’t think the rear red light (not a brake light, as you say) appears on Verstappen’s car at all during the course of the incident.

            However, please do not mistake this for me condoning Verstappen’s driving here. Brake check or not, it was still foolish, clumsy and reckless. Between this incident and Brazil, I went from being firmly a Verstappen fan to being neutral in the space of 3 races (if anything, I might have very slightly been leaning towards Lewis). He was told to let Lewis pass him, and while Lewis was hesitant in doing so, Max very much did not do so in the regular manner. If you are letting someone pass you, you should pull off to one side of the track (Max was pretty much in the centre), and do so mainly by lifting, or by small applications (i.e. not 2.4g) of braking.

            Did it deserve the 10 seconds (which seems like it’s become the de facto penalty for causing a collision, the offence in question) he got for it? Absolutely, no questions asked in my opinion. Should it have been classed as causing a collision through dangerous driving (which I believe last occurred with Vettel in Baku in 2017, with a 10 second stop-go)? Probably. The question of a black flag is certainly an interesting one though. I can’t remember the last time a black flag was shown for driving standards (i.e. not technical, and not counting the red light at the end of the pit lane in Canada in 2007, and probably not counting Schumacher at Silverstone in 1994, as the actual DQ was for not serving a penalty), so where the limit for what constitutes a black flag is very much an open question at the minute. I can understand arguments both for and against it. Personally, I think it probably deserved the same as the aforementioned Vettel incident in Baku (10 sec SG), but again I understand arguments both for harsher and more lenient penalties.

    3. a driver who deliberately hit another car

      He merely ‘touched’ Hamilton’s rear wing :P

    4. That’s why they ranked Hamilton second, he hit Max more than Max hit him this year

  17. I’m a Hamilton fan who thinks the officiating in Abu Dhabi was a sporting travesty. This is the correct order. Verstappen was the better driver this year, although either would have been ‘deserving’. I just wish Verstappen could have won in almost any other circumstances, as after such a great season he certainly doesn’t deserve an asterisk next to this title.

    1. Don’t worry Matt, there is not such asterisk.

      1. Many will consider there to be unfortunately.

        1. There’s an asterisk there with Hamilton fans but let’s be honest, that would have been the case if Abu Dhabi had been a controversy-free race with Verstappen winning. Most of them still have an asterisk next to Rosberg’s title win.

          You could put an asterisk next every title win but that’s not how F1 works. You score the most points over the season and you’re the Champion. People are free to complain about it but it doesn’t alter anything.

          1. I agree he scored more points.

            But let’s face it. He had zero right regardless of the season to win that last race.

            He had his backside handed to him for all bar a fixed ending.

            No matter his season or all the fuss before LH was for 99% of that race showing why he is what he is.

            And then..

            If it was a fair fight at the last race fine.

            That was not.

          2. You can have an asterisk on rosberg’s 2016 even not being a hamiton fan btw, for me luck must be equalised when it comes to deserving a title.

        2. Maybe a few Hamilton fans, that’s all. But who cares.

    2. Nicely said. Couldn’t agrea more.
      That * will disapear eventually. Not for everybody, but for most.

    3. There is no asterisk, we all are happy

  18. Max was undeniably the better driver of 2021. It’s a real shame his first championship will always carry that stain from AbuDhabi.

    1. I donno about that….Mercedes decided to protest, but no appeal after a very clear motivation of the rules by the FIA.
      People just love sich controversy….

      How about the Baku being red-flagged for no reason? The safety car was out and had the driver go through pitlane… there was no danger to the marshalls on track at all. Formula 1’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix was red-flagged late on because FIA race director Michael Masi felt a two-lap sprint to the finish was “in the best interest of the sport”.

      Very much like Abu Dhabi this was not normal procedure, it gave Lewis an immense advantage (which he ruined, but that aside). In Abu Dhabi they had 5 laps to go, Baku just 2.

      People who are okay with Baku, but protest AD is purely cause of Mercedes tyre condition.

      1. If you watched Baku, you would know that it was red flagged for safety reasons, even RBR sporting director asked for a red flag, so all cars could change tyres, quite a sportsmenship thing to do, after losing your driver to a crash

    2. Don’t forget Silverstone. At least things evened out and Max was rightly declared champion.

  19. Not convinced that giving a driver with such aggressive driving such a high ranking is sending the right message. Shame, max did have some excellent races. But driving people off the circuit and brake testing them isn’t the right way, IMO.

    1. Fully agree

      However giving him a completely and totally undeserved race win (2 if you include SPA) and thus a championship for such is really quite something no matter how fast he is!

      Regardless of who you support 2021 ranks as a total fabrication really.

      1. Yet if it was Lewis on pole, you wouldn’t complain about Spa right? You still crying about rules that no court has proven were broken too

      2. He has his methods confirmed by the regulatory body.

        From here the finest series in the world has become WWW and will suffer as a result.

        All the fuss about the next cars is just flim flam, I I have seen 45 years of ‘regulatory’ change. Usually ends up spreading the field.

        The lack of control this last couple of years just suggests someone needs to understand his job before the EU competition committee do it for him.

        If you want your classic tracks back best not vote positive at the moment because all the ‘new’ track dilute the ability for this to be F1 and not WWW through a lack of the FIA not being taken to task for policing itself – kind of a thing they promised.

    2. @juliangoddard he was just made World Champion, you think a small website’s ranking is going to be the thing that encourages him?

    3. So what did you say when Lewis was forcing drivers off the track all this time?

  20. (an error Verstappen committed three years earlier)

    Ah, the relevance, it washes over me.

    1. Maybe as in he often made mistakes at monaco, I believe this was the first monaco race where verstappen led a lap and he led all.

  21. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    28th January 2022, 13:26

    Maybe I watched a different driver but Max’s wheel-to-wheel racing appeared more worthy of the #20 spot, Mazepin, than the #1 spot.

    1. @freelittlebirds

      If you feel that Mazepin was better than Verstappen then yes you were watching a different driver.

      Max and Lewis were very respectful to each other up until Silverstone.
      Verstappen felt that Lewis was not really punished for the crash. After this he went completely wild.

      I think that this is a result of inconsistency from the stewards.

      If I were a steward then:
      1) Silverstone would be a stop-go penalty for Lewis
      2) Saudi Arabia a race ban for Verstappen

      When in the name of “let them race” aggressive driving is allowed then it is only a natural occurrence that collisions will take place.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        30th January 2022, 15:13

        @exeviolthor Not quite – Lewis was simply allowing Verstappen to do whatever he wanted before Silverstone.

        Why do you believe Silverstone was Lewis’ fault?

        There’s no “let them race” rule in F1 – that’s Horner’s saying because Max has always had trouble with wheel-to-wheel racing and is guaranteed to be disqualified from the championship.

        1. @freelittlebirds

          In Silverstone Hamilton took the inside line and then drifted to the outside so there was contact. Also he was behind and contact was made between his front and Max’s rear wheel. It is very rarely that these kind of colisions can be considered as the leading driver’s fault.
          In some ways it was like Spa 2014 when Rosberg hit Hamilton. It was more dangerous, though, due to the speed in this corner.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            31st January 2022, 2:47

            @exeviolthor First, I didn’t see any drifting of any kind, nor has anyone shown any. Second, Max moved twice before going into the corner and carried much more speed into the corner (which Horner blamed Lewis for) but the cars were close. Lewis stuck to his trajectory. Max cut in as if he was qualifying, suddenly realized that it wasn’t Saturday and there was a race going on, made a correction but it wasn’t enough and clipped Lewis’ front wheel with his rear.

            There’s no distinction of leading car since Lewis could have easily been the leading car there if he had braked late as Max does and decided to smash royally into Max going into the corner or shoved Max off the track the same way Max has been doing over the season.

          2. @freelittlebirds

            Well the stewards disagree with you.
            If you see in both cases that I mention above I do not say that the stewards got it wrong on which driver should be penalised.
            My argument is that the penalties should be more severe in both cases.
            It seems that we will not agree on who was at fault by generally speaking do you not agree that more severe penalties would result to a reduction in dangerous driving?

          3. *”but generally speaking” instead of “by…”

            I wish an edit function was available…

          4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            31st January 2022, 13:08

            @exeviolthor yes, I know the stewards disagreed.

            If I recall correctly that their claim was that Lewis understeered and wasn’t pointing at the apex :-) I suppose they had to provide a reason. Perhaps, a better reason would have been that Lewis showed up for the race. At least 100% accurate as opposed to fabricated for a sympathy call.

  22. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    28th January 2022, 14:19

    And here’s an interesting comparison. 2016 was very similar to this season. The only difference was that Nico was competing against Lewis and didn’t have any help from a teammate. Nico won by 5 points vs 8.5 and Nico didn’t have as much help from the FIA.

    Pretty much the season was nearly identical with Nico looking similar to Max in wheel-to-wheel racing. While Nico didn’t deserve a disqualification, I think Max would have been guaranteed one any other year except in 2021.

    Now where did we rank Nico compared to Max that year? Shouldn’t we have ranked him #1? He did it without help from the FIA, without a teammate running interference and retiring, and with the same car as Lewis.

    1. You mean Nico who was passed on the outside of turn 3 at Interlagos in 2016?

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        28th January 2022, 16:38

        Sure but did Nico crash into Max? Nope, that was a clean overtake by Nico in the sense that he let Max by avoiding a crash.

  23. You mean Nico who was passed on the outside of turn 3 at Interlagos in 2016?

  24. Okay, mine ended as: 1. VER 2. NOR 3. HAM 4. GAS 5. LEC 6. SAI 7. OCO 8. ALO 9. VET 10. RUS 11. STR 12. BOT 13. PER 14. RAI 15. GIO 16. RIC 17. MSC 18. LAT 19. TSU 20. MAZ

    IIRC, my mid-season ranking was nor, ver, lec, sai, ham, gas, oco, vet, alo, rus, str, msc, bot, per, rai, gio, lat, ric, tsu, maz

    Yeah, I’m ready for another season! Last one was cool!

  25. So, it’s taken 7yrs for Max to be rated number 1 by Racefans. Hamilton had been voted number 1 in 2007 and 2010 (2x in 4yrs).

    For the record, although Masi’s race manipulation, gifting Max the title can not be condoned, i more or less agree with Keith’s overall ratings. Max and Lewis were head and shoulders above anyone else on the grid. Either would make a worthy 2021 WDC.

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