FAN POWER RANKINGS: Who did you vote as the 10 best drivers of 2021?
All season long, our six Aramco F1 Power Rankings judges have been scoring every driver out of 10 for their race performances – taking machinery out of the equation. But we wanted to know who you thought was deserving of a place in the Power Rankings top 10...
Our experts' scores given to the drivers were averaged out across the whole season, with Red Bull’s Max Verstappen emerging as the number one driver, with an average score of 8.9 across the 22 races. That was pretty phenomenal going from the Dutchman, who was duly crowned the 2021 world champion to boot.
But we also asked you to vote after the season had ended - so read on to see how the results played out in our Fan Power Rankings, powered by F1 Fan Voice. Interestingly the Fan and Expert rankings featured the exact same 10 drivers - but not in the same positions...
2021 F1 Power Rankings finishing position: 1st
Our judges voted eventual champion Max Verstappen the top performer of 2021, and it seems you agreed too, handing the Dutchman – who only finished outside the top-two four times across the season’s 22 races – a chart-topping score of 8.80. Simply lovely.
2021 F1 Power Rankings finishing position: 2nd
You also agreed with our judges when it came to Lewis Hamilton’s ranking for the year, marking the Mercedes man highly – but just adrift of his title rival Verstappen, with Hamilton having shown immense highs in 2021 (Interlagos weekend, we’re looking at you), but also blotting his copybook a touch, for instance with his rare indifferent performance at Monaco, where he finished seventh.
2021 F1 Power Rankings finishing position: 5th=
Equal fifth in our 2021 F1 Power Rankings, you, the fans, elevated Carlos Sainz to third overall – and we can see your point. There were many who thought that Sainz would be brought in to play a supporting role to Charles Leclerc, while worrying that the two Latin temperaments would fail to meld. But with Sainz taking four podiums to Leclerc’s one, and harmony appearing to reign at Ferrari (for now, at least), this was a truly impressive year from the Spaniard.
2021 F1 Power Rankings finishing position: 5th=
AlphaTauri will be thanking their lucky stars that they had Pierre Gasly to rely on in 2021, a season in which they were bedding in rookie Yuki Tsunoda. While the Japanese was finding his feet, Gasly was ruthlessly consistent, taking points in 15 out of 22 races, and even taking AlphaTauri back to the podium in Baku (for his third podium with the team).
It's worth noting that if both AlphaTauri drivers had scored the 110 points that Gasly claimed, the team would have bested rivals Alpine by a full 65 points – and finally taken the P5 in the constructors’ standings that boss Franz Tost has so long dreamed of...
2021 F1 Power Rankings finishing position: 3rd
Our third-placed finisher from the F1 Power Rankings was fifth here, a still-respectable result for Lando Norris after a real coming-of-age season. On the podium in only the second race of the year, there’d be three more to come in the season – while had the rain held off in Sochi, we’d be talking of Norris as an F1 race-winner and polesitter now, rather than just the latter.
2021 F1 Power Rankings finishing position: 10th
Sergio Perez squeaked back into our top 10 in the aftermath of his stupendous defence against Hamilton in the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In truth, Red Bull would have perhaps expected a little more from the seasoned campaigner in 2021 – Perez claiming just five podiums to Valtteri Bottas’ 11, for instance. Still, he added another win to his locker in Baku, and having played an instrumental role in the season finale will be looking to kick on again in 2022.
2021 F1 Power Rankings finishing position: 7th
Asked four races into his F1 comeback how he’d score himself, Fernando Alonso gave himself five out of 10. By season’s end, that’s at least risen to a 7.12 in your eyes, with Alonso several times showing flashes of the old magic. His defence against Hamilton in Hungary was magnificent, while so too was his third place in Losail – Alonso’s first podium since 2014.
2021 F1 Power Rankings finishing position: 8th
If Mercedes ever doubted their decision to bet heavy on George Russell for the future, the Briton’s performances in 2021 would most definitely have assuaged those doubts. ‘Mr Saturday’ was brilliant in qualifying, including delivering one of the all-time great quali laps at Spa-Francorchamps. But he also scored points for Williams too, claiming a podium in the rain-shortened Spa race, along with three other scores, helping the team to not finish bottom of the standings for the first time since 2017. Sir Frank would have been proud.
2021 F1 Power Rankings finishing position: 4th
Our judges put Charles Leclerc fourth in the final Power Rankings reckoning, but he’s P9 here. You could argue that Leclerc did shine a little less brightly this season relatively-speaking, especially compared to the highs of 2019, when that year’s Ferrari was really a force to be reckoned with. But look closely, and you'll see that Leclerc’s immense quality as a driver was imprinted all over his mature season, not least in his back-to-back pole positions for the Scuderia.
2021 F1 Power Rankings finishing position: 9th
While Lando Norris wasn’t able to close the deal on his first F1 victory, Esteban Ocon was, the Frenchman resisting the race-long pressure of four-time champion Sebastian Vettel in Hungary to take a sensational win – becoming the 111th and most recent F1 winner in the process. Ocon’s season vacillated in quality before and after, but his near-podium in Saudi was also stupendous.