Rate the Race and Driver of the Weekend
COTA USA GP, 2021
Mean reader score: 6.00. ranked 10/17 races so far.
This year’s score of 6.00 is lower than the 6.69 from 2019, 8.13 from 2018, (which was rated the best race of the 2018 season). Lower than the than the 7.17 of 2017, higher than the 5.06 of 2016 but not quite as high as the hurricane ravaged race of 2015 which scored a massive 8.87.
I have to say, I’m surprised this race scored such a low score, as I personally, I felt it was one of the better races of the season, but c’est la vie , the scores are what they are and this race only scored six.
This year it was Perez (not Hamilton as in 2019) who was quickest in free practice, although Hamilton (amongst others) did have his fastest lap deleted due to exceeding track limits. As with 2019, there was no mayhem into turn 1, as all drivers seemed more determined to score points rather than take the lead. All except Hamilton, that is, who overtook Verstappen into turn 1 and led the race. The lead flip -flopped between Verstappen and Hamilton, as they pulled into the pits. Red Bull pitted very early for their first tyre change, determined to avoid Hamilton getting the undercut on Verstappen. Hamilton followed suit the following lap. Verstappen’s second pit stop was not great, allowing Hamilton to retake the lead. Hamilton came in about 8 laps later allowing Verstappen to take the lead again. On fresher tyres, Hamilton caught Verstappen and by the end of the race it was touch and go who would reach the line first. Backmarkers held each driver up in turn until the last lap of the race when Verstappen (being chased down by Hamilton) came up behind Schumacher who refused to move over for him as he ‘had his own race to drive’. This was a mixed blessing, as it slowed Verstapen down, allowing Hamilton to catch him, BUT it did mean Verstappen then had DRS, which was just enough to keep him out of the clutches of Hamilton. Hence Verstappen won the race and increased his lead in WDC to 12 points. Hamilton did score an extra point for fastest lap. Meanwhile lower down the grid, the Ferraris and Mclarens were slugging it out for dominance in the mid field (for P3 and P4 in WDC). By a narrow margin, Mclaren hung on, with Ricciardo taking P5 (to Leclerc’s P4) and Norris taking P8 to Sainz’s P7. Which meant Leclerc leap frogged team mate Sainz in WDC (previously he had been trailing Sainz by 0.5 points).
Driver of the Weekend Max Verstappen . ( 80% of reader vote.)
Verstappen won pole as well as the race, and the F1 Driver of the Day. He kept his cool when being hunted down by Hamilton in the latter stages of the race to increase his lead in WDC to 12 points.
Well done Max!! This race could have been the clincher for the WDC, but it’s not over till the fat lady sings, so let’s wait and see who has most points at the end of the season.