NB: ‘Verstappen has shown that Red Bull is a top team with historical value’


Now that the 2021 season is over, it is time to look back. In a series of eight reviews, the editors of F1Maximum look back on the special, but especially exciting Formula 1 year, with the title battle between Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen. Editor-in-chief Rick Pasker and editors Mitchel Zandee, Mika Hofstra and Gino Haverkamp discuss who was the best driver of 2021.

Rick: ‘There is really only one answer to that, and that is Max Verstappen. But we can be grateful to both Lewis Hamilton and Verstappen that it has been such an exciting season. In the last race exactly equal in points is of course the ideal scenario for the neutral fan.’

‘Verstappen had a few bad luck earlier in the season, so it had to come to such a climax. Otherwise I think the Dutchman could have been champion before. But the fact that Verstappen really knows how to squeeze everything out of the Red Bull, because Mercedes still has the better car, is fantastic to see.’

Mitchel: ‘Of course it is very obvious to choose Max Verstappen, because becoming world champion in a car that is actually less than that of your competitor is simply very clever. Still, I’m going for Carlos Sainz. The Spaniard has had a very strong first year at Ferrari. To be the best in midfield and thereby also beat your teammate who has been with the team for years is, in my view, a special achievement and a sign of class.’

“At least will have a worthy champion on the grid”

Mika: ‘The best driver of 2021 has to be Max Verstappen. Not only because he became world champion, but he was number 1 overall. He has led more laps than the rest combined, he took pole position the most and he has the most wins to his name.’

“I’m so curious if he can continue this trend in 2022. But with the new regulations, I don’t think we can determine yet that Red Bull and Mercedes will be the strongest again. In any case, we will have a new, worthy, champion on the grid.”

Gino: “I naturally agree with my colleagues and think that Verstappen and Hamilton were in a class of their own in 2021. I thought Verstappen was the slightly better driver, because at Mercedes I always have the idea that there is some ‘residual speed’ in that see car. Where Hamilton can achieve this performance at 99 percent, so to speak, Verstappen has to do it at 101 percent. That is also great for Red Bull, because with this title Verstappen has shown that Red Bull is really an accomplished top team that now has historical value and not that one trick pony that could only do it with Vettel’

‘Behind those two, I thought Norris was clearly best of the rest. Yes, the second half of the season was less. It actually went wrong after Russia, but I think it’s too easy to say that it was because something snapped at Norris in Russia. He also just had bad luck. What he showed before that, I thought was not normal. At times being able to keep up with the second drivers of Red Bull and Mercedes, while driving a McLaren yourself; that says enough.’

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