Fans pick top five races of 2021 in official vote

Date published: January 9 2022 - Jamie Woodhouse

Cars head to turn one on the second restart of the Saudi Arabian GP. Jeddah December 2021.

A Formula 1 fan vote saw the Italian Grand Prix, the scene of McLaren’s one-two, chosen as the standout race of the 2021 campaign.

It was not an easy task to condense 22 races into a top five, since almost every stop on the 2021 calendar produced fantastic drama, creating one of the greatest seasons which Formula 1 has ever witnessed.

But entrusted with the responsibility, 52,000 people have spoken to give Formula 1 an official top five races.

So, let’s get stuck in…

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown partakes in a shoey. Italy, September 2021.

1. Italian Grand Prix, 19% of the votes

The Italian Grand Prix at Monza was the stage for Formula 1’s second trial of the sprint qualifying format, a weekend which ultimately turned into the ‘McLaren Show’.

Feeling an internal rage after qualifying within 0.029s of Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, Ricciardo went on a charge from P5 on the grid, finishing the sprint qualifying session P3, which became P2 for the main race thanks to a grid penalty for Valtteri Bottas.

Passing Verstappen at the start, Ricciardo kept his former Red Bull team-mate at arm’s length, and with Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton later eliminating each other from the race, Ricciardo was in the clear to take the win, the first of his McLaren career, while team-mate Lando Norris made it a McLaren one-two, the first time they had achieved such a result since Canada 2010.

A very worth winner of the vote.

2. Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, 16%

Title contenders Verstappen and Hamilton went into the season-finale level on points, the first time that had happened in F1 since 1974, and the occasion sure did not disappoint.

Verstappen was on pole, but Hamilton took the lead at the start, escaping the steward’s wrath as he went off-track and retained P1 as Verstappen soon mounted a fightback.

From there though it seemed like Hamilton had done enough, comfortably controlling the race as even the ferocious defence of Verstappen’s team-mate Sergio Perez could not bring the Dutchman back into play.

Everything changed though during a late Safety Car period – Verstappen pitted, coming back out still P2, and on the final lap passed Hamilton on fresher tyres, thus claiming the first World Championship of his career. In nearly any other season, this would likely have been number one.

3. Sao Paulo Grand Prix, 10%

Hamilton’s ‘rocket engine’ propelled him to an epic performance at Interlagos.

Disqualified from qualifying after a DRS infringement on the rear-wing of his Mercedes, Hamilton went from the back to P5 in sprint qualifying, but would start P10 due to that Internal Combustion Engine change penalty.

Hamilton’s dominant form spilled over though into race day, where he went on to win with a 10-second+ buffer over Verstappen. A trademark Hamilton recovery drive.

4. Azerbaijan Grand Prix, 8%

The tyres were not happy in Baku back in June 2021, with both Lance Stroll and Max Verstappen suffering high-speed crashes as their Pirelli rubber let go.

For Verstappen, that happened when he was leading the race, a huge blow to his title bid at the time, but for Red Bull, hope remained as Perez inherited the lead.

Hamilton looked to change that at the race restart, but accidentally altering his brake settings, went straight on at Turn 1, meaning he also finished the race with zero points. Pure drama.

 

Esteban Ocon on the podium. Hungarian Grand Prix August 2021.

5. Hungarian Grand Prix, 7%

We are surprised in a way to see this rank down in P5, as the Hungarian Grand Prix proved to be one of the most chaotic races of the 2021 season.

Valtteri Bottas triggered a multi-car pile-up at the start, eliminating himself and Perez, while leaving Verstappen with significant damage that made him a non-factor for the rest of the race.

The weather was also complicating matters, and on the formation lap back to the grid for the restart, every driver bar Hamilton pitted to ditch the intermediates. Hamilton then was left to launch from the grid alone, and dropped to the back after pitting for slicks the following lap.

Alpine’s Esteban Ocon found himself leading thanks to the chaos, but Hamilton was on a charge, that was until the other Alpine of Fernando Alonso stepped in.

Holding up Hamilton in a major way, the Briton ran out of time in his bid to catch Ocon, allowing the Frenchman to taste Formula 1 victory for the first time.

 

PlanetF1 Verdict