Lewis Hamilton snubbed for Max Verstappen, Daniel Ricciardo, contract information

The F1 mid-season break is lastly over with racing set to renew on the Belgian Grand Prix from Friday.

There’s as much as 11 races remaining within the season, and many remains to be on the road, with Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen heading for one of many all-time championship showdowns.

In the meantime, Daniel Ricciardo desperately wants to search out his feat at McLaren, whereas Valtteri Bottas may lastly be heading into his ultimate races at Mercedes, except he turns issues round now.

Right here’s how each driver has rated within the 2021 F1 season thus far.

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LEWIS HAMILTON — A-

First — 195 factors

Race wins — 4

Podiums — eight

Poles — 4

Lewis Hamilton reclaimed the championship lead late.Supply: Getty Photos

We’re used to Hamilton speaking down Mercedes earlier than the beginning of the season whereas speaking up Pink Bull as a much-improved group. It’s simply not usually true. This time, nonetheless, Pink Bull is the true deal and Hamilton has a real combat on his fingers for the primary time in years. That he nonetheless walked away with three wins within the first 4 races was large for his marketing campaign. They have been races the place Max Verstappen was arguably stronger, notably in Spain, however did not take full benefit. Any suggestion that Hamilton is just the motive force of the quickest automobile and wouldn’t look as spectacular elsewhere merely isn’t true, and this yr proves it — if it wanted to be confirmed within the first place. He loses marks, nonetheless, for scrappy races in Monaco and Azerbaijan the place he certified in seventh and made a sloppy error at a restart respectively. Yet one more British Grand Prix win, and a restoration drive to second in Hungary noticed him reclaim the championship lead and arrange a tantalising battle with Verstappen for the sequence the rest.

VALTTERI BOTTAS — D

Fourth — 108 factors

Podiums — six

Poles — one

On borrowed time.Supply: Getty Photos

There have been no surprises from Valtteri Bottas this season. He’s been miles away from his teammate Hamilton and, in reality, has performed little to ruffle the feathers of Verstappen both. The Mercedes storage would want the Finn may take extra factors off the Dutchman to assist Hamilton’s marketing campaign. Not that that’s what Bottas is there for, however it will actually assist his case to remain. However Bottas is even being outdriven by Lando Norris in a slower McLaren. Bottas, winless this season thus far, will want a large enchancment if he’s to carry off the seemingly inevitable promotion of George Russell at Mercedes subsequent season.

MAX VERSTAPPEN — A

Second — 187 factors

Race wins — 5

Podiums — eight

Poles — 4

Driver of the season thus far.Supply: Getty Photos

By the barest of margins, we’ve made Verstappen the driver-of-the-season thus far forward of Hamilton. It was a detailed name however Hamilton’s sloppiness on the avenue circuits proved to be the deciding consider what’s shaping as one in every of F1’s all-time battles. Verstappen has made errors of his personal, notably passing Hamilton on the skin of the observe in Bahrain and breaching observe limits once more in Portugal to lose pole. Some imagine he was at fault for the crash with Hamilton at Silverstone too, though that’s actually up for debate. Both method, he’s narrowly regarded the higher driver in 2021 and would nonetheless be main the championship if it wasn’t for a tyre blowout in Baku. The break got here on the excellent time for Verstappen who had misplaced some momentum up to now two races.

SERGIO PEREZ — C

Fifth — 104 factors

Race wins — one

Podiums — two

Poles — two

Sergio Perez has had a good begin to life at Pink Bull.Supply: Getty Photos

The Mexican hasn’t precisely taken to Pink Bull like a duck to water, however he’s actually had his moments. A race win in Azerbaijan, albeit on the misfortune of Verstappen, would have been a large increase to the boldness of Perez, who’s by no means been at an F1 powerhouse. He backed it up with a podium in France whereas these two outcomes have been sandwiched by fourth-place finishes, which feels a few par consequence for him. All-in-all, it’s been a good first half of the season, though there’s little question he loses marks for a horrorshow in Austria the place he copped two five-second penalties for racing incidents. He additionally had a expensive spin at Imola the place he completed exterior of the factors having been in fourth.

CHARLES LECLERC — B+

Seventh — 80 factors

Podiums — one

Charles Leclerc is again to exhibiting the sector what he can do.Supply: Getty Photos

In some ways it was a disgrace that Ferrari was thus far off the tempo final yr. It rendered one of many area’s brightest abilities completely toothless. However now that Ferrari has made a large leap ahead, Leclerc’s high quality is as soon as once more beginning to present. Again-to-back pole place laps in Monaco and Baku was an absolute dream. Sadly for the Monegasque, the primary pole was adopted by a crash in qualifying which in the end dominated him out of the race. Nonetheless, there’s no denying that he’s fast when the celebrities align for Ferrari, whereas he’s constant even once they don’t. He’s solely twice missed out on the factors and has two podiums this yr — a powerful consequence when driving for less than the third or fourth finest group. He’s already locked in on a long-term contract and so there’s little strain on the 23-year-old heading into the back-end of the season.

CARLOS SAINZ JNR — B

Sixth — 83 factors

Podiums — two

Carlos Sainz Jnr has began effectively at Ferrari.Supply: Getty Photos

Sainz hasn’t loved the highs of a pole place, however in any other case he’s matched Leclerc each step of the way in which and even holds a slim three-point championship lead over his teammate. For a driver in his first season in Ferrari colors, that’s spectacular. Signing for Ferrari brings a strain like no the place else however Sainz has risen to the problem and has thus far vindicated the group’s resolution to deliver him over from McLaren. Nonetheless, his qualifying file thus far leaves one thing to be desired having solely gone faster than Leclerc thrice. That mentioned, his common deficit to Leclerc is just 0.117 seconds. Not a nasty approach to begin at a brand new group in any respect.

LANDO NORRIS — A

Third — 113 factors

Podiums — three

Lando Norris pushes Verstappen for driver of the season honours thus far.Supply: Getty Photos

What a season from the McLaren younger gun. It was thought strain would come his method in 2021 with the arrival of big-name signing Daniel Ricciardo. As an alternative, it’s the Australian who’s feeling the warmth, as a result of he’s been totally dominated by his junior teammate. Norris is driving like somebody who’s assured and utterly aligned together with his storage — and the McLaren hierarchy. He’s constructed on a powerful 2020 with three extra podiums this yr, whereas he’s been remarkably per 9 top-five finishes in 11 races. He’s additionally outqualified Ricciardo eight instances. Norris sits inside the highest three within the title race, edging out Bottas and Perez, which is mightily spectacular. His objective for the rest of the season must be to keep up his benefit over Ricciardo, who will certainly enhance the longer it runs. Ought to he try this, then Norris is effectively arrange in F1 for a few years to return.

DANIEL RICCIARDO — D+

Ninth — 50 factors

There’s loads of work to do for Daniel Ricciardo.Supply: Getty Photos

Properly, it wasn’t speculated to go like this. Having made the daring transfer to leap from Renault to McLaren, Ricciardo has been blindsided by a unusual automobile that must be pushed on a knife’s edge to be fast. Ricciardo has not often discovered that candy spot thus far. He had respectable Grands Prix in Spain, France and Silverstone the place he was inside the highest six, however has too usually missed Q3 and has completed exterior of the factors thrice. In fact, once you hear Ricciardo discuss simply how uncomfortable he’s within the automobile — he likened it to foxsports.com.au like kicking together with his incorrect foot — his velocity has really been exceptional. To outqualify Norris even thrice is an effective consequence contemplating. Nonetheless, to have Norris doing so effectively solely builds strain on Ricciardo. He has a observe file of coming good after some time, having taken a while earlier than being aggressive at Renault. The distinction this time, nonetheless, is that the clock is ticking, due to Norris. Ought to Ricciardo not take a giant step ahead by the top of the season, McLaren’s persistence will run skinny.

FERNANDO ALONSO — B

eleventh — 38 factors

Fernando Alonso nonetheless has it.Supply: Getty Photos

The 2-time world champion turned 40 this yr. 40. Simply let that sink in. Positive, Kimi Raikkonen is 41, however he hasn’t left the game for years. To return again into motorsport’s most cutthroat class on the ripe previous age of 40 and to seemingly be straight up to the mark is astonishing. That mentioned, Alonso is not any atypical driver — so ought to we actually be shocked? He’s only one level behind his teammate Esteban Ocon, who profited from a fortuitous sequence of occasions that noticed him remarkably win the Hungarian Grand Prix. With out that win, Alonso can be on high. In the meantime, Alonso is narrowly forward of the qualifying battle with Ocon — who’s greater than 15 years his junior — 6-5.

ESTEBAN OCON — B-

tenth — 39 factors

Race wins — one

Podiums — one

A shock race winner in 2021.Supply: Getty Photos

Add ‘Esteban Ocon a Grand Prix winner’ to the stuff you wouldn’t have anticipated from the 2021 season. Positive, nearly a 3rd of the sector was worn out in moist circumstances and Hamilton’s storage made a giant tyre blunder, however successful a race is nothing to scoff at. Many come and go with out reaching a single race win. Moreover, he was due some luck after retirements in Azerbaijan and Austria that weren’t his fault. Nonetheless, he’s been considerably inconsistent having had back-to-back 14th place finishes between his two retirements, and earlier than his race win. He’ll want to indicate he can extra persistently problem Alonso for the remainder of the season.

ALPHATAURI

Pierre Gasly — B+

Eighth — 50 factors

Podiums — one

Yuki Tsunoda — D+

thirteenth — 18 factors

Pierre Gasly in Hungary.Supply: Getty Photos

Gasly has constructed on a powerful 2020 with a run of spectacular performances for AlphaTauri. He’s claimed seven factors finishes, together with a podium, which have made his expensive mistake on the season-opener in Bahrain a factor of the previous. His teammate, Tsunoda hasn’t completed larger than sixth — and that consequence got here with many DNFs within the area — whereas he hasn’t outqualified Gasly as soon as. It’s his debut season and he’s solely 21, however he’d nonetheless like to enhance.

ASTON MARTIN

Sebastian Vettel — B-

twelfth — 30 factors

Lance Stroll — D+

14th — 18 factors

Sebastian Vettel has had his highs and lows.Supply: Getty Photos

This wasn’t the season proprietor Lawrence Stroll had in thoughts when his Racing Level joined forces with Aston Martin, and made the big-name recruit of Sebastian Vettel. You must surprise if that’s the place the cash went as a result of it is a group sliding again by the sector. Vettel has had the strangest of seasons, with various decrease order finishes, someway paired with a second-place in Azerbaijan and second in Hungary earlier than his automobile was disqualified from the latter for not having sufficient gasoline left for the stewards to check. Stroll has arguably been extra constant, however hasn’t matched the lofty heights Vettel has sometimes been capable of attain. Stroll hasn’t completed a race larger than eighth and was at fault for inflicting a nasty crash in Hungary, whereas he’s shedding 7-4 within the qualifying battle with Vettel.

WILLIAMS

George Russell — B

sixteenth — 4 factors

Nicholas Latifi — D

fifteenth — six factors

Is George Russell lastly Mercedes sure?Supply: Getty Photos

All eyes will probably be on George Russell within the second half of the yr as he doubtlessly takes his ultimate steps in the direction of a Mercedes drive. A call is anticipated to be made quickly on whether or not Mercedes will promote Russell over Bottas as he involves the top of his three-year contract with Williams. He’s performed all he can to safe the promotion, as soon as once more dominating the storage over Latifi, whereas he’s solely been knocked out in Q1 as soon as. He’s outdriven him in all however two races through which each drivers completed, and claimed a clear sweep in qualifying.

ALFA ROMEO

Kimi Raikkonen — C

seventeenth — two factors

Antonio Giovinazzi — C-

18th — one level

Kimi Raikkonen has the higher hand over Antonio Giovinazzi.Supply: Getty Photos

It’s as soon as once more an extended slog for Raikkonen and Giovinazzi at Alfa Romeo the place any championship factors are a godsend. Raikkonen has two tenth place finishes to his title, whereas Giovinazzi has one. Little separates the pair, though Raikkonen as soon as once more has the sting on race days, even when he’s trailing Giovinazzi 3-8 in qualifying. Raikkonen is coming in the direction of the top of his profession, whereas Giovinazzi might want to begin changing his qualifying laps into higher outcomes on race day.

HAAS

Mick Schumacher — B

nineteenth — zero factors

Nikita Mazepin — D

twentieth — zero factors

Mick Schumacher is dominating Nikita Mazepin.Supply: Getty Photos

Mick Schumacher’s job this season was to outclass teammate Nikita Mazepin. He’s performed that with ease, beating him 9-2 in qualifying and outdriving him in all however two races. Whereas it’s laborious to get too enthusiastic about Schumacher when he’s driving for the slowest group, his F1 development is firmly on observe. In the meantime, Mazepin desperately must problem Schumacher extra typically if he’s to remain long-term.

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