Max Verstappen pushed himself to brand new limits in 2021 and delivered a season-long performance deserving of a world championship crown.
A controversial end denied Lewis Hamilton an eighth world championship in cruel circumstances, but a few too many errors earlier in the season also cost him.
Lando Norris asserted himself as McLaren’s top points-scorer alongside a new, highly-rated, race-winning team mate in 2021 despite a tough end to the year.
Charles Leclerc regularly demonstrated the best Ferrari’s SF21 was capable of, but didn’t always get the results he deserved.
Carlos Sainz Jnr wasn’t quite on the pace of team mate Charles Leclerc but took four podium finishes to his team mate’s one.
On his return to F1, Fernando Alonso left little room for doubt that he is every bit as quick and tenacious as he was when he won his last world championship 15 years ago.
Pierre Gasly’s performances during 2021 gave many reasons why the AlphaTauri driver deserves another chance to join a front-running team.
George Russell won a promotion to Mercedes thanks in part to some astonishing performances for Williams during 2021.
Esteban Ocon built his strong end to 2020 and took a shock win in Hungary, but his team mate narrowly beat him in the points.
Valtteri Bottas raised his game in the second half of 2021, despite a string of engine penalties, and after Mercedes decided to replace him.
Sergio Perez played a valuable role in helping Max Verstappen win the world championship on occasions, but other times he lagged well behind his team mate.
After a tough final season at Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel put in a much more impressive campaign at Aston Martin in 2021.
The most difficult driver to position in this year’s rankings has to be the one who won the Italian Grand Prix less than four months after being lapped by his team mate in Monaco.
Although Kimi Raikkonen’s qualifying performances were a weakness, he tended to make up for it on race day.
Antonio Giovinazzi usually started ahead of his team mate but scored fewer points than him, and not only because of the times luck wasn’t on his side.
Lance Stroll was a fairly regularly points finisher in 2021 but there were no notable highs of the kind he has become known for.
Mick Schumacher easily had the beating of Haas team mate Nikita Mazepin, but seldom had the opportunity to race against drivers in quicker cars.
Nicholas Latifi managed two points finishes for Williams but remained some way off the pace of team mate George Russell.
Yuki Tsunoda was well off the pace of his team mate, but showed flashes of promise which justified AlphaTauri’s decision to keep him on.