2021 Emilia Romagna GP: Driver Ratings
Red Bull's Dutch driver Max Verstappen (R) drives ahead of Mercedes' British driver Lewis Hamilton (L) during the Emilia Romagna Formula One Grand Prix at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari race track in Imola, Italy, on April 18, 2021. (Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP) (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

In the second round of the 2021 Formula One season, the teams returned to the Emilia Romagna circuit in Imola, Italy. Having considered qualifying on Saturday alongside the race, here are the driver ratings for this weekend's Grand Prix.

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  • Nicholas Latifi - 3 

Qualifying - P14

Race - DNF

More race woes for the Williams team. 

The Canadian had a promising qualifying session, making it into Q2 for a rare appearance.

However, an impressive Saturday was hindered by a disastrous Sunday as Latifi found himself not finishing the race again, after putting his car into the barrier.

A poor weekend overall, but promising signs for Latifi.

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  • George Russell - 4

Qualifying - P12

Race - DNF

The Englishman completed a double DNF for Williams. 

Having once again made his way into Q2, Russell did well to progress through the ranks of the drivers in the early stages of the race.

It looked likely that the Mercedes junior driver could pick up some championship points, however a nasty-looking crash with Valtteri Bottas saw his race end early, and more points slip away.

Russell will no doubt be disappointed that he could not capitalise on some good race pace and score his first points for Williams.

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  • Valtteri Bottas - 2

Qualifying - P8

Race - DNF

A poor performance from Valterri will not help his bid to stay on with Mercedes beyond this season.

The 'flying Finn' made up the other half of that crash with Russell, however, this will not distract us from the fact that Bottas had a dismal race in Imola

After making a mistake on his final run in qualifying, Bottas had ground to make up if he was to close the already emerging gap on his teammate Lewis Hamilton

However, the Finn struggled to execute any overtakes on the track, and as Russell was looking to pass the Mercedes, Bottas edged over, forcing the Williams onto the grass, which is what caused the incident.

Disappointment for Bottas overall, but there are a lot of races to go.

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  • Sebastian Vettel - 3

Qualifying - P13

Race - DNF

The German was forced to retire with gearbox issues towards the latter stages of the race.

Sebastian Vettel is still clearly settling into life in an Aston Martin. He has struggled to keep pace with his teammate Lance Stroll and this was the case today.

The four-time championship winner was out-qualified by his teammate who went on to claim 7th place in the race. 

His lack of pace will be a concern to the team, and this race has certainly not been any better than the P15 he secured in Bahrain.

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  • Nikita Mazepin - 4

Qualifying - P19

Race - P17

Mazepin has had a tough start to Formula 1, and this was replicated in his race today.

The Russian was drafted into Haas as part of a sponsorship programme for the team, and his results on the track have not done much to impress the hierarchy.

With only a few spins this weekend, Mazepin still only managed a measly 19th on Saturday, and he was the last of those who were left running on Sunday.

Undoubtedly there is room to improve, but the fact that he finished the race earns Mazepin a three today.

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  • Mick Schumacher - 5 

Qualifying - P18

Race - P16

On the other side of the Haas team, Schumacher had a tough time on the track today.

Having suffered an underwhelming qualifying session, the race looked promising for Schumacher

However, the young German and protege lost the back end of his car when trying to warm up his tires, sending his car into the wall.

He managed to recover to the pits, but from that point, it was always going to be difficult to recover a more meaningful position in the race.

The son of the seven-time world champion Michael will be looking to make his mark in Formula 1 in the coming races.

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  • Antonio Giovonazzi - 5 

Qualifying - P17

Race - P14

The Italian is one of the less talked about drivers on the grid, but he is putting in consistent performances for the team.

Giovonazzi will have been disappointed with 17th in qualifying, but he managed to get his head down during the race and avoided any major mistakes. 

Considering the pace of the Alfa Romeo doesn't look spectacular, the team will be happy with how both of their drivers are performing in the early stages of the season. 

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  • Yuki Tsunoda - 4

Qualifying - P20

Race - P13

Having looked impressive in Bahrain, the Japanese driver looked a bit uncertain at times.

Having crashed out in qualifying on Saturday, there was plenty of work to be done for Tsunoda in the race. 

He started well, making up several positions and getting himself into the top ten. 

However, a few spins on a wet track meant that he could not capitalise with what looked to be a very quick Alpha Tauri during the weekend's practice sessions. 

A lack of experience is certainly evident for Tsunoda, but he has shown his potential to be a really exciting driver.

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Sergio Perez - 4

Qualifying - P2

Race - P12

The Red Bull driver had a very mixed weekend.

Sergio Perez will undoubtedly be ruing the mistakes he made at Imola on Sunday.

Having put himself on the front row for the first time in his career during qualifying, there looked to be a really exciting race there for the Mexican.

He was not able to capitalise on at the start of the race as his teammate passed him with ease.

A few lapses in concentration which resulted in a few spins meant that Perez will have come away from the race extremely disappointed. 

One positive he can take is that he now knows he has the ability to challenge Max Verstappen for pace, something team principal Christian Horner will be very pleased with.

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  • Fernando Alonso - 6

Qualifying - P15

Race - P10

The veteran had a tough time in Bahrain but recovered well with an impressive drive in Italy.

Alonso managed to make up four places from the start during the race today. The Alpine driver has yet to recover his previous for his old team but the Spaniard will be pleased with his position in the race today.

A late 30 second time penalty for Raikkonen means that Alonso scores his first point since his return.

Overall it was a sound performance from the two-time champion.

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  • Esteban Ocon - 7

Qualifying - P9 

Race - P9

A superb performance from Ocon saw him pick up a single point in the driver's championship.

Arguably the most consistent driver on the grid this weekend. Ocon kept his teammate at bay for the majority of the race and held his own well.

Whilst he dropped one position from the qualifying session, Ocon was in the midst of the midfield battle.

He is another who has benefitted from Raikkonen receiving a penalty for failing to drive through the pitlane during a safety car.

Overall much improved from three weeks ago in Bahrain.

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  • Kimi Raikkonen - 8

Qualifying - P16

Race - P11

The oldest man on the grid put in a masterclass for Alfa Romeo

Despite putting his car onto the gravel during the race, Raikkonen pulled off an impressive performance initially finishing in P9.

Raikkonen endured some good battles in the midfield, as he demonstrated some good racing up against Pierre Gasly.

Overall, he had to settle for P11 as he picked up a penalty for an infringement, after he spun out during a safety car, and returned to the grid in P8, whereas he should have driven through the pitlane.

Despite this, the team will still be impressed with his performance.

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  • Pierre Gasly - 7

Qualifying - P5

Race - P7

The Frenchman showed his pace on Saturday, but a poor strategy let him down in the race.

A rating of seven may seem quite harsh for Gasly, but he clearly has a lot more potential than he showed during the race on Sunday.

By starting on the wet tires, the former Red Bull man was clearly at a disadvantage to those around him.

He originally dropped into the bottom six, before the track dried out and he was able to recover some of the lost positions. 

Gasly picked up an extra place after the race, as Stroll picked up a penalty for an illegal overtake on the Alpha Tauri, handing the Frenchman some extra points.

Considering the circumstances and conditions, it was an average race for a driver who could be competing with the top five.

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  • Lance Stroll - 7

Qualifying - P10

Race - P8

Since Perez has moved on, Stroll has really taken hold of his Aston Martin.

Lance Stroll put in an impressive performance over the course of the weekend. He managed to get himself into Q3, before making up a further three positions during the race.

He held up Lewis Hamilton for a while as the Mercedes driver looked to regain the positions he had lost after a mistake earlier in the race, however, the effect of the drag-reduction system was overpowering in the end.

Stroll managed to fend off a late challenge from Gasly, as the Canadian brought home some good points for Aston Martin.

However, Stroll picked up a penalty after the race finished, which relegated him to 8th.

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  • Daniel Ricciardo - 7

Qualifying - P6

Race - P6

Daniel Ricciardo was bested by his teammate but put in a solid performance as he becomes accustomed to his Mclaren. 

The Australian started the race ahead of Lando Norris and looked to beat his teammate in what looks to be a very quick car this year.

However, as the race progressed, Norris found himself stuck behind Ricciardo and it was clear that the former Renault and Red Bull driver did not have the same pace that the young Englishman did.

This led to the two trading positions, but Ricciardo still couldn't find the pace to catch the Ferrari of Carlos Sainz in front of him.

Nevertheless, the Aussie has started well this season, and Mclaren poses serious competition to retain P3 in the constructor's championship.

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  • Carlos Sainz - 9

Qualifying - P11

Race - P5

The Spaniard had a superb day at Imola on Sunday, recovering from a shock Q2 exit during qualifying.

Sainz was rightly frustrated after being knocked out in the second round of qualifying.

However, the new Ferrari driver managed to claw his way up to fifth in the race. 

This was despite him making a few mistakes on a slippery track and finding himself in the gravel in a couple of instances.

Sainz has certainly been a part of a resurgence at Ferrari that has seen them perform very well both today and in Bahrain. 

He is more than deserving of a nine after what was a fine drive today.

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  • Charles Leclerc - 9

Qualifying - P4

Race - P4

Leclerc has shown once again that he has the potential of a future world champion.

Finishing fourth in arguably the seventh-best car on the grid deserves its plaudits. 

Leclerc has looked quick all weekend and this was demonstrated through a fine qualifying performance, lining up behind two Red Bulls and a Mercedes.

The Monégasque driver was almost flawless in the race, which is what has earned him such a high score. 

Leclerc was running in the podium places until Hamilton utilised DRS to relegate the Ferrari driver down to the best of the rest. 

He put some serious pressure on Norris towards the end of the race, however, he just missed out on that extra bit of horsepower that would have allowed him to get past the Mclaren.

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  • Lando Norris - 9

Qualifying - P7

Race - P3

What a race from Lando Norris that was!

Norris' rating would've been a 10 if he had managed to hold on to P2 in the final few laps. 

Lando originally thought he had scored himself P2 in qualifying, just for his time to be deleted for track limits. 

The race saw Lando complete a double-British podium for the first time since China in 2012. 

His trophy was more than warranted as the Englishman fought hard for all 63 laps. 

Having been given priority over his teammate early in the race, Norris was able to chase down both Ferrari's and get past them.

Norris faced late pressure from Leclerc as his soft tires started to wear, however, he was able to keep a calm head and bring home a podium for his team.

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  • Lewis Hamilton - 10 

Qualifying - P1

Race - P2

Despite not winning the race, Lewis showed all of us why he is a seven-time championship winner.

Some may look at this and wonder why someone who has one of the best cars but yet did not win the race, got a 10.

Not many will have been able to execute the moves Hamilton did on such a hard track today. 

Imola is a narrow track with limited overtaking areas but Hamilton managed to recover from ninth to finish second today.

After a surprising pole position in qualifying, it was all to play for in the wet conditions on Sunday for Hamilton

A tangle with  Verstappen in the first corner inflicted some front-wing damage on the Mercedes, but luckily it did not affect the performance too badly. 

Just as he was chasing down Verstappen, Lewis lost control of his newly fitted medium tyres and slid into the barrier. Luckily, this came at a time in which the collision between Bottas and Russell occurred, red-flagging the race.

Lewis restarted in ninth and managed to overtake all but the leader, which is no easy task. It is for this reason he gets a rating of 10 today.

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  • Max Verstappen - 10

Qualifying - P3

Race - P2

Max is showing the world what he can do in a competitive car he has so desperately desired.

A poor last lap in qualifying meant that Verstappen would start behind his rival Hamilton for the race on Sunday.

The Dutchman managed to get a fantastic launch in which he propelled himself into first place.

He pulled away quickly, leaving a five-second gap between him and second. 

He looked to come under some pressure as Lewis initiated 'hammer time and reduced the gap to around 1.5 seconds.

However, with Lewis' mistake, the rest of the race was relatively plain sailing for Max, who missed out on taking the championship lead when Lewis snatched the fastest lap from the Red Bull driver.

His excellent racing warrants a perfect score this afternoon, and this will hopefully continue on into the races to come. 

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