21 telling stats covering every driver in the 2021 F1 season

2021 F1 season review

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What do the numbers have to tell us about the drivers who contested the 2021 Formula 1 season? Here’s a revealing statistic on each of the 21 drivers who took to the track this year.

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2021
Hamilton had the best average qualifying position of any driver – 2.14 – but penalties meant his average starting position was second-best to Verstappen

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2021
Bottas was the ‘sprint champion’, amassing seven points over the three Saturday races, the same as Verstappen, but winning two times to his rival’s one

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Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2021
Until the final lap of the season, Verstappen had led as many races as Hamilton – 15 each. The last one tipped him ahead. He led 652 laps in total, more than every other driver combined

Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Autodromo do Algarve, 2021
No driver spent less time ahead of his team mate during races than Perez, who led Verstappen for just 9.4% of their laps on-track together. He was only classified ahead once, in Baku, where Verstappen crashed out with a tyre failure

Lando Norris

Behind the Mercedes and Red Bulls, Norris was the driver who most frequently came in next, winning the ‘best of the rest’ scrap for midfield honours six times

Daniel Ricciardo

Ricciardo only led the midfield home once, at Monza – but also won the race outright! It was the only grand prix he led all year

Lance Stroll

Lance Stroll, Aston Martin, Monza, 2021
Among the teams which occupied the top seven places in the constructors championship at the end of the year, Stroll was the only one of their drivers who failed to score a top-five finish

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel, Aston Martin, Baku City Circuit, 2021
Vettel out-scored Stroll, but finished behind him in 10 of the 17 races where both took the chequered flag

Esteban Ocon

The Alpine drivers were the closest on points, Ocon trailling Alonso by just seven…

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso, Alpine, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021
…and they were closest in qualifying too, Alonso a mere 0.012s faster on average

Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Baku City Circuit, 2021
Although Leclerc took pole twice, in Monaco and Baku, he only led a single lap out of those two races. In contrast he led 49 out of 52 laps at Silverstone, and finished second

Carlos Sainz Jnr

Carlos Sainz Jnr, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2021
Consistency helped Sainz to fifth in the championship – he completed 1,353 racing laps, the most of any driver

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Pierre Gasly

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021
Gasly lost a total of 31 places on the first lap during 2021, the most of any driver, an average of 1.4 per race

Yuki Tsunoda

Yuki Tsunoda, AlphaTauri, Monza, 2021
On average Tsunoda started 5.6 places behind Gasly, the most of any driver. That contributed to the biggest points deficit between any two team mates, Tsunoda scoring just 29% of AlphaTauri’s total.

Kimi Raikkonen

Raikkonen was the best starter of the year, picking up 46 places – 20 more than any other driver – despite missing two rounds

Antonio Giovinazzi

Giovinazzi suffered the disappointment of finishing in the first point-less position – 11th – more times than any other driver. His four 11ths included three in a row.
Kubica only started two races as a substitute for Raikkonen, but in each of them he finished one place behind regular driver Giovinazzi

Mick Schumacher

Mick Schumacher, Haas, Yas Marina, 2021
Schumacher dominated his team mate in qualifying: He was over six-tenths of a second quicker on average, the best of any driver (excluding unrepresentative results) and has never beaten by Mazepin in a regular qualifying session

Nikita Mazepin

Nikita Mazepin, Haas, Bahrain International Circuit, 2021
Among the drivers who contested every round Mazepin recorded the fewest finishes, with 16. He was also the only driver who never got out of Q1

George Russell

Russell took advantage of bizarre circumstances at Spa to become the first Williams driver to stand on the podium for four years

Nicholas Latifi

Nicholas Latifi, Williams, Hungaroring, 2021
While Russell claimed the best finishes, Latifi spent more laps inside the top three (18) than his team mate (13)

2021 F1 season review

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Author information

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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42 comments on “21 telling stats covering every driver in the 2021 F1 season”

  1. Mazepin proved everyone wrong who thought he was guaranteed to finish 20th in the standings. He finished 21st.

    1. I bet someone lost a bet right there

  2. Here is an interesting stat about Mazepin. He was the slowest of all participating drivers in qualifying every single time. However, he started the main grand prix last only 7 times out of 22! 9 out of 25 if you include starts of sprint races. (Man, I hate having to correct / caveat interesting stats for the sprints)

    Most curious was Russia where he qualified 19th (Max didn’t set a time) but started the race in 15th, after penalties were applied to Leclerc, Bottas, Giovinazzi, Latifi

  3. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    24th December 2021, 12:35

    “Hamilton had the best average qualifying position of any driver – 2.14 – but penalties meant his average starting position was second-best to Verstappen”

    Although above is factual correct it is still wrong as it is populated by Russia where because Max had to start at the back he choose not to set a time in Q1.
    If he would have participated normally a 3rd or better place would be a given considering that in all other 21 races Max never qualified lower than 3rd. So changing Russia 20th to 3rd would give Max an average qualifying of 2.05.

    Hamilton qualified 3 times outside top 3 (Monaco 7th, Austria 4th and Russia 4th).

    1. Jelle van der Meer (@)
      24th December 2021, 12:37

      populated = polluted

      @keithcollantine you really should have an edit button available to allow folks to make corrections like these. Some websites allow editing within 3-5 minutes of posting – that would be great to have here as well.

    2. wow, even a simple stats page gets polluted by biased max fans. its simply facts.

      1. @romtrain it’s not “simply facts” though. It counts Hamilton as qualifying P1 in Brazil, which he did not. It’s not even a matter of “after applying penalties”: Brazil’s official qualifying result is P1 for Max, not for Lewis.

        So Lewis’s 20th and last in Brazil isn’t counted as such, but rather as P1, while Max’s in Russia is. Take both anomalous results out of it and Max wins this stat with 1.95 avg vs 2.19 avg, leave both of them in and Max wins it 2.77 vs 3. Counting Lewis’s Brazil result as P1 is wrong.

        1. @mattds Disqualification is a type of penalty. That’s why it gets issued.

          Thus, to say Hamilton is P1 in Brazil before penalties is entirely correct – as it is to say he was DSQ in Brazil (not even P20) after the penalties. This is part of the reason there is such a difference between the pre- and post-penalty figures in the statistics.

          1. @alianora-la-canta sorry, but I cannot agree. Lewis’s car was deemed incompliant, and an incompliant car cannot be counted as having obtained pole.
            The stat clearly says “average qualifying position”. Look it up in Brazil’s qualifying results: Lewis’s qualifying position is not “1”. Hence it cannot count as such to determine his average qualifying position.

          2. @mattds Chronologically, it is impossible for a pole-sitting car (or driver) to be denied before penalties for any reason. Therefore, Lewis must have been P1 in Brazil before penalties and DSQ after penalties.

            It was written “average qualifying position” and “average starting position after penalties”. If you are going to say the DSQ goes in the “average qualifying position” box, then you have to put every single other penalty in the same one for the same reason, meaning “average qualifying position” and “average starting position after penalties” would be identical. That in turn would defeat the point in writing them out as separate statistics.

            Therefore, “average qualifying position” has to include Brazil as P1, in order for the distinction of DSQ in the “starting position” box to have any meaning.

          3. @alianora-la-canta

            If you are going to say the DSQ goes in the “average qualifying position” box, then you have to put every single other penalty in the same one for the same reason, meaning “average qualifying position” and “average starting position after penalties” would be identical.

            This is incorrect. There is a difference. Drivers that get grid penalties (e.g. for PU or gearbox changes) have an official qualifying result that does not include the penalty.
            A DSQ is different altogether in that a driver that is DSQ’d for a session does not maintain the result as being the official session result.

            So no, the FIA doesn’t share your reasoning, and neither do I.

      2. You calling others biased is quite a joke.

        1. @jelle-van-der-meer that’s a good update. I’d forgotten that, cheers. It deserves a mention in the article in my opinion, at least under an asterisk.

          Ignore the silly bias accusation. It’s clear what you’re explaining.

          1. @romtrain

            It’s going to go on all year in an effort to legitimise what was certainly the most egregious act of sporting integrity since Mara-donnas ‘hand of god’ Max had his backside handed to him in the most pressurised point of the season. Until someone decided to rewrite the rul book.

            While deserved of a championship. The simple facts are that when it came down to the crunch, he was not deserved of this particular one.

            Thus the rush to boast about racing laps led etc.

            Makes me laugh actually because if ever there was a case of it’s the last lap that counts..

            This was it.

            Yet all the arguing over what went before.

  4. Poor vettel, 1 million jellybeans for his achievement but no recognition by Keith..

  5. “The Alpine drivers were the closest on points, Ocon trailling Alonso by just seven…”

    How, actually? Schumacher and Mazepin finished equal on points, Lerclerc and Sainz finished 5.5 points apart. And Gio and Kimi had the same 7 points difference.

    1. Also:
      “That contributed to the biggest points deficit between any two team mates, Tsunoda scoring just 29% of AlphaTauri’s total.”

      Should probably read “biggest relative points deficit”. Also, that should be 22.5%, not 29%.

  6. Articles that are never neutral and praise Lewis at every opportunity…

    1. It’s clear that this article wasn’t aiming to be neutral.

      “Telling stats” to me suggests the author is deliberately looking for a single stat that expresses their overall feeling for that driver. It’s OK for an author to allow their own opinions into these kind of articles, and I don’t think a secret was made of it.

      Few people would argue that Lewis drove a bad season. So I’d expect his stat to be a good one. The opposite for Stroll, for example.

      I might be wrong though. Perhaps this was supposed to be entirely objective. In which case he should have hunted out more positive stats for the weaker drivers to even things out… although… that doesn’t seem quite fair either.

  7. That’s an interesting stat for Kimi. His race starts improved massively after leaving Ferrari. Portugal 2020 being the ultimate highlight.

    1. @huhhii

      He’s bound to gain positions when he’s starting on the 2nd last row of the grid, usually a place or two lower than he should have qualified.

      1. @todfod No. He was bound to gain positions because he was the greatest.

  8. My favourite stat, and it’s not really driver related, is one that shows you just how incredibly close this season was:

    There was only a single 1-2 finish for a team all season long, and that wasn’t for Mercedes or Red Bull, but for McLaren in Monza.

    1. Good stat, and it does show that Mercedes and RBR weren’t too far apart and the battle between Max and Lewis made them stand out by a huge amount compared to their respective teammates. Really brought out the best in them.

      We were on course for a 1-2 in Baku though, but it wasn’t to be, and Mexico was close.
      Turkey was probably a shoe-in for a 1-2 for Mercedes if not for Lewis’s engine penalty.

    2. That is telling. Since at most races Max and Lewis drove off into the distance I wonder, over the entire season and out of all laps, how much faster they were than the rest of the competition.

  9. Russell took advantage of bizarre circumstances at Spa to become the first Williams driver to stand on the podium for four years

    If this is, out of all stats, Russell’s most telling stat of the season, what does it say about his season?

    1. He was lucky, and Williams has been extremely short of luck in recent years.

      1. 1) “You make your own luck.”

        2) “Luck is what you get when preparation meets opportunity.”

  10. Sainz was also the only one who reached the chequered flag in every race.
    Ricciardo’s & Giovinazzi’s sole DNFs came in 4th-to-last & final rounds, respectively, so they were close.

  11. The more interesting fact about Max is that
    he is the only driver not to be out qualified by George in a session they both participated in.

    1. Robert Kubica also holds this distinction.

      1. Well… …he would except I’d forgotten that it wasn’t as simple as “Robert didn’t compete at Spa” (George outqualified Robert in Zandvoort and Monza :D )

        Before anyone pipes up with Jack Aitken, George beat him in Abu Dhabi FP1.

  12. Will a like button for comments increase interaction on this website? I would love to see a poll to see what other users think.

    1. Yes this would be awesome. Even better if replies that have too many downvotes are collapsed. Hopefully that would make the comment section a bit more civilised

      1. @stijner downvoting is a bit dangerous because some folks downvote all posts by a person regardless of content.

        I think liking is good but popular mainstream opinions aren’t necessarily the best.

    2. @tornado Why have a “like button” when you can just reply to the comment with a message of support for their opinion? Maybe better interaction on this site does not necessarily mean more superficial single clicking interactions. I think having a like button would lead to more divisiveness, and bring down the tone of the comment section to the level of a popularity contest. I vote for not having a “like button”.

    3. Likes increase the risk of engagement farming, which I would be against.

  13. Among the teams which occupied the top seven places in the constructors championship at the end of the year, Stroll was the only one of their drivers who failed to score a top-five finish

    This should also include the team that was 8th in the constructor’s championship at the end of the season (Williams) as Russell finished P2 in Belgium.

    1. No, because Nicholas Latifi also failed to score a top 5 finish.

  14. 2021 season title fight will be remembered as one of the most closely fought between 2 packages(car+driver) – Hamilton/Mercedes (HM) and Verstapen /Red Bull (VR).Here are the stats head to head:
    In qualification 11 HM : 10 VR ,average gap 0.010 sec/lap (HM faster,excluding unrepresentative sessions -Sochi ).
    In races 10VR: 9HM , average gap 0.028sec/lap ( VR faster, excluding unrepresentative laps/races) .
    The last season when packages ( car+driver ) were so close in terms of both race and pre-race times ,was 2007 , when not 2 but 4 packages were in 0.1 sec /lap in qualifications and in 0.05sec/lap race times. Those packages were the Ferraris of Masa and Raikkonen ,and Mclarens of Alonso and Hamilton .

  15. Hamilton did not qualified P1 at Brazil, his stat is wrong.
    Vettel won 1 Million JellyBeans for the Overtaking World Championship, this stat is missing.

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