RACE DEBRIEF

    An almost flawless weekend from Max Verstappen at the Styrian Grand Prix culminated in arguably the most dominant of his 14 career victories. Was it enough to earn him top spot in this week’s Aramco F1 Power Rankings, though? Our judges' scores are in…

    HOW IT WORKS

    • Our six-judge panel assesses each driver after every Grand Prix and scores them out of 10 according to their performance across the weekend – taking machinery out of the equation

    • Our experts’ scores are then averaged out across the season to create an overall Power Rankings Leaderboard (at the bottom of the page)

    1 VER STY.jpg

    'Hamilton-esque' is how some people were describing Max Verstappen’s Styrian Grand Prix victory – and you could see what they meant. Verstappen’s 14th career win was his most commanding yet, the Dutchman leading every lap from pole, and with pace in hand to control the gap to Lewis Hamilton at will to take his first ever back-to-back win, and his third at the Red Bull Ring. A practically perfect performance.

    READ MORE: Verstappen says Red Bull car felt better than ever after dominating Styrian GP

    2 NOR STY.jpg

    Lando Norris loves the Red Bull Ring – and it showed at the Styrian Grand Prix, the Briton qualifying a superb fourth before matching his Styrian GP result from 2020 by finishing fifth after a “lonely, easy” race. If he can replicate his 2020 Austrian GP result next weekend – P3 if you recall – then Lando will leave the Red Bull Ring a very happy chappy indeed, as his standout season continues apace.

    READ MORE: Norris frustrated not to challenge Red Bull and Mercedes in Styrian GP after starting P3

    3 RUS STY.jpg

    We really thought he’d done it this time. It really looked like, after two-and-a-bit tough seasons with Williams, George Russell was finally going to get his just desserts and his first points for the team. Alas, it wasn’t to be, with Williams discovering a “very rare” issue on Russell’s Mercedes power unit that would eventually see him retired, having run comfortably in P8 for the majority of his race after starting P10.

    READ MORE: ‘Racing is just brutal’ – Russell ‘gutted’ as mechanical issues ruin great chance of first Williams points

    4 SAI STY.jpg

    After his qualifying heroics in the French GP, sticking his Ferrari P12 on the grid at the Red Bull Ring wasn’t the greatest for Carlos Sainz. But from there on, it was an exemplary race day performance for Sainz, who used the rejuvenated race pace of his SF21 (so glaringly absent at Paul Ricard) to carve through the field and claim P6 at the flag.

    READ MORE: Sainz says Ferrari pace comparable to Red Bull as he fights from P12 to P6 in Styrian GP

    5 LEC STY.jpg

    Charles Leclerc was scored just behind his team mate, after finishing P7 and 12 seconds adrift of Sainz. But what a journey Leclerc had had to get there, after Lap 1 contact with Pierre Gasly forced him to pit for a new front wing, with Leclerc falling right to the back of the pack before using his Red Bull-like pace (in Sainz’s words) to climb all the way back to seventh – and on a day when many drivers behind were complaining of being unable to make progress.

    READ MORE: Driver of the Day Leclerc hails ‘one of my best performances’ as he recovers from Gasly incident for P7

    6= HAM STY.jpg

    There was little else Lewis Hamilton could have done on race day to prevent Max Verstappen taking his fourth win of the season, Hamilton having to content himself with hanging onto the Dutchman’s tail for much of the race. That he did well. But failing to qualify higher than third (Hamilton then benefitting from a penalty for team mate Valtteri Bottas to start second) after a slightly scrappy Saturday afternoon cost Hamilton Power Rankings points too.

    READ MORE: Hamilton says Mercedes ‘have no answers’ to Red Bull pace after losing to Verstappen in Styrian GP

    6= STR STY.jpg

    Lance Stroll was visibly pumped when he entered the media pen after the Styrian Grand Prix – and you could see why. The Canadian had a fine run on Sunday, starting P9 and climbing to sixth on the first lap – helped by a lesser-spotted move around the outside of Fernando Alonso at Turn 6 – before eventually having to give best to the Ferrari duo as he came home P8, to cap off his most competitive weekend of the year so far.

    WATCH: 'Maximum attack' meant 'good points for the team' in Styrian GP, says Stroll

    8 ALO STY.jpg

    On a weekend where Esteban Ocon failed to make it out of Q1 before racing to just P14, Alpine were relying on Fernando Alonso to bring them points, at a track that’s always been something of a bogey circuit for the Enstone team. But the Spaniard rose to the challenge, making Q3 before claiming P9 for the team in the race, on a weekend where he admitted his A521 was not top-10 material.

    READ MORE: Alonso satisfied to claim Red Bull Ring points with Alpine that was ‘not a top 10’ car

    9 GAS STY.jpg

    Pierre Gasly has been doing sterling work on Saturdays this year, and duly put himself sixth on the grid for his sixth top-six start of the season (sorry, that’s a lot of sixes). But it’s rare that all drivers get through Lap 1 unscathed in Austria – and it was Gasly who was the fall guy last Sunday, squeezing his old pal Leclerc off at Turn 1 (as Gasly himself was squeezed by Alonso) before Leclerc came back on and tagged Gasly’s left-rear wheel, causing a race-ending puncture.

    READ MORE: Gasly ‘really disappointed’ as promising outing ended on Lap 1 after contact with Leclerc

    10 PER STY.jpg

    The Red Bull Ring has never been Sergio Perez’s happiest hunting ground, and he spent the whole weekend some way off the pace of team mate Max Verstappen. But through no fault of his own, Perez almost certainly lost out on the chance of taking his third straight podium thanks to a rare poor stop from Red Bull, which allowed Mercedes’ Bottas to jump him in the first stops – while an electrifying late charge for Perez after a second stop saw him come within 0.527s of unseating Bottas at the chequered flag.

    READ MORE: Horner praises Perez for ‘driving the wheels off the car’ after Red Bull pit stop error

    MISSING OUT

    It’s Yuki Tsunoda and Valtteri Bottas on the cusp after the Styrian Grand Prix, Tsunoda having a solid but low-key run to 10th after making his second Q3 appearance of the year, before being dropped to 11th on the grid – for impeding Bottas.

    Bottas had his own grid drop too, after spinning in the pit lane in Free Practice 2 – not his finest hour. In the circumstances, the Finn took the opportunities that came to him well from P5 on the grid, to come home third for his first podium since Barcelona nearly two months ago.

    2021 Styrian Grand Prix: Pérez chases Bottas to the line in late fight for podium place

    THE OVERALL STANDINGS

    Fernando Alonso is back in the top 10 after a series of improving performances for the two-time champion – with his team mate Esteban Ocon, whose form has cooled in the last few races, making way. There’s no change in the top six, however, with Verstappen and Norris stretching their advantages by 0.1 apiece.

    Leaderboard post Styria.jpg