MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - MAY 23: Race winner Max Verstappen of Netherlands and Red Bull Racing, second placed Carlos Sainz of Spain and Ferrari and third placed Lando Norris of Great Britain and McLaren F1 celebrate on the podium during the F1 Grand Prix of Monaco at Circuit de Monaco on May 23, 2021 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Joe Portlock - Formula 1/Formula 1 via Getty Images)

Consistency vs Hot and Cold

What Is Better?

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2021 has seen the old and new generations of Formula One drivers take to the grid. We’ve had drivers be new to the sport and drivers be new to a team. Some have had mixed results while others were similar the whole season long. So it begs the question, what is better: Consistency or Hot and Cold?

22 races. 20 drivers. 390 classified race results. 50 non-classified race results. 2 new tracks. 3 rookies. 1 World Champion.

Each driver has their individual strengths and tracks that they excel at. Some drivers, especially those new to F1 or a team, have struggled with getting to grips with their car.

There has been consistency throughout the whole season but also some mixed results.

Below I analyse the consistency of a constructor, comparing the two drivers’ results from all 22 races, and whether consistency is more important than having a few good points finishes for the championship.

So let’s get into it, working from the bottom up!

Haas:

Haas
Credit: formula1.com

Haas had two rookie F1 drivers this season – Nikita Mazepin and Mick Schumacher. To coin a phrase from Blackadder, the team was like a broken pencil… “pointless”. Schumacher was 19th in the Driver’s Standings, whilst Mazepin was 21st, behind Kubica who filled in for Räikkönen when he had COVID-19.

Despite their unfortunate lack of points, both drivers have been pretty consistent.

Schumacher suffered from three DNFs towards the end of the season and Mazepin had five DNFs as well as missing the final race – he tested positive for COVID.

The two rookies were in the worst car on the grid. I didn’t have high hopes heading into the season, I wasn’t predicting lots of point finishes for the team.

Schumacher finished in the bottom five a lot of the time – P16 and P18 were his most frequent positions. He managed to get into Q2 in Turkey but his race finish was P19. He was never last on track – he always saw the chequered flag before another car.

We saw Schumacher have some good races. His highest finish was P12 in Hungary. Yes, there were quite a few drivers who did not finish the race, one being Mazepin, but Mick still gave a great performance.

Mazepin’s highest race result was P14 in Azerbaijan. Again, there were a couple of driver’s who crashed and failed to finish but I think Mazepin has more up his sleeve.

Mazepin has had success in the past being vice-champion in the GP3 series in 2018 and topping the timesheets for mid-season testing for Mercedes in 2019.

Out of the two Haas drivers, Mazepin has been the most consistent, rarely getting higher than P17.

For these two, it’s hard to call whether consistency is most important as neither scored points. However, for the next constructor it is an easier decision.

Alfa Romeo:

Gio and Kimi
Credit: Getty Images

A team that saw both drivers leave F1. Kimi Räikkönen is retiring after entering Formula One back in 2001 (a long time ago!) and Antonino Giovinazzi sadly lost his seat to Guanyu Zhou.

Alfa Romeo did finish the season with 13 points after both drivers finished in the top 10 this season. Neither of them had been that impressive during Saturday qualifying sessions and when it came to the actual races, it wasn’t much better.

However, despite some DNFs Giovinazzi finished in 18th in the standings with 3 points, while ‘The Iceman’ gained 10 points, finishing in 16th.

Kimi was a bit all over the place this season – he was not that consistent. His lowest race result was P18 whilst his highest was P8 in Russia and Mexico.

At the beginning of the season he was consistent in finishing just outside the top 10, with the exception of a DNF in Portugal. The points finishes break his consistency as well as results where he is towards the back of the grid.

His teammate, however, has been one of the most consistent drivers this season. Giovinazzi did have a DNF in Abu Dhabi but in all the other 21 races, his results were similar.

In Saudi Arabia he finished P9 after numerous red flags and safety cars. His most frequent race finish is P11, which he achieved in four of the races he is classified in. Giovinazzi never strayed too far into the points or out of the points; P11-P15 are his frequent finishes.

While Giovinazzi is more consistent than Räikkönen, it didn’t really pay off as he finished lower than him in the championship standings.

Williams:

Williams
Credit: formula1.com

Williams Racing has been in the news a lot this season with George Russell moving to Mercedes for 2022, the passing of Sir Frank and Nicholas Latifi having crashed in Abu Dhabi.

Both drivers have had DNFs this year (Russell – 6, Latifi – 5) but after their drought of no points in 2020, Williams scored 23 points in 2021.

Latifi finished in the points in Hungary (P7) and Spa (P9). These results stand out when compared to Latifi’s other race finishes as he tended to be towards the back of the pack.

Finishing in the bottom five was his most frequent position, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t more consistent than his teammate.

Russell finished P8 in Hungary, gaining his first points of the season. In Spa Russell had his highest ever points finish after qualifying P2 on the Saturday. He also finished in the points in Monza as well but other than those three races, he has not been that consistent.

The Brit has finished in several positions with his lowest being P17. He has been consistent in qualifying sessions, earning the nickname ‘Mr Saturday’, but as for races the consistency is not quite there.

However, Russell did finish higher than Latifi in the standings with 16 points in 15th, two ahead of Latifi who was in 17th on 7 points.

Aston Martin:

Aston drivers
Credit: formula1.com

Aston Martin, formally Racing Point, were 7th out of all constructors on 77 points. Compared to the teams below that seems like a great amount of points but in the grand scheme of things, it is not really.

Four-time World Champion Sebastian Vettel was a rookie at Aston Martin this year being new to the team. Vettel did not only have some DNFs this year, he was also disqualified from the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Vettel had all sorts of results, lacking in consistency, as he achieved a podium in Baku but finished P18 in Turkey. We all know Vettel has skill and talent, but this season wasn’t great for him.

There were some highlights like his point finishes (P5 – Monaco, P2 – Baku, P9 – France, P5 – Spa, P7 – Mexico) but there were also lowlights. Consistency wasn’t with Vettel this season, but he did finish higher than his teammate, Lance Stroll.

Vettel finished 12th on 43 points while Stroll finished 13th on 34 points.

Stroll hasn’t had a great season either. His highest race result was P6 in Qatar. He has finished in the top 10 a few times but he has also finished low on the grid – P20 in Spa.

Neither Aston Martin driver has been that consistent with their results, both being a bit hot and cold.

Alpine:

Alpine drivers
Credit: formula1.com

2021 has been a great year for Alpine. They had two podiums, including Esteban Ocon’s maiden race win, and many point finishes.

Ocon started the season out of the points, but after the first race until his DNF in Baku, he was in the top 10. There has only been five races, out of the 19 he raced, that he didn’t gain points.

His most frequent race result was P9, with the occasional top five finish.

Compared to Fernando Alonso, Ocon is more consistent but has still been a bit hot and cold.

Alonso has gone from finishing in P17 to P3 this season. Like his teammate, he has finished in the points more than he has out of them. But he still had mixed results.

Ocon has had similar race results each race but he still didn’t finish higher than Alonso in the standings. Ocon gained 74 points and finished 11th whilst Alonso finished 10th on 81 points.

So in this case, consistency may not be the most important thing.

AlphaTauri:

AlphaTauri
Credit: Scuderia AlphaTauri S.p.a

AlphaTauri had Pierre Gasly back for another season as well as rookie Yuki Tsunoda.

Both drivers had several DNFs, as well as Tsunoda failing to start the Italian Grand Prix.

They each gained points after finishing in the top 10. Gasly had point finishes more frequently than his teammate. The Frenchman’s’ highest finish was in Baku when he got a podium.

Gasly’s lowest finish, other than the DNFs, was P13. He was pretty consistent in every race had a classified result, more so than his teammate.

Tsunoda had seven top 10 finishes this season. However, he was also towards the back of the grid a lot of the time. The rookie finished in P17 in Russia and P16 in Monaco. He has shown his skills in his first F1 season and has more to show, but in terms of consistency Gasly wins.

And for Gasly it payed off as he finished in 9th in the standings on 110 points. Tsunoda unfortunately finished 14th on 32 points, behind both Aston Martin and Alpine drivers.

McLaren:

McLaren
Credit: McLaren Racing @ mclaren.com

McLaren have been one of the most loved teams this season with Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo as their drivers.

Ricciardo is an experienced driver but in the MCL35M he is still finding his footing. He started the season well finishing in the points. However, things did take a turn.

The Aussie admitted he struggled with the car this year, but he didn’t let that stop him. He finished outside the top 10 in eight of the 21 races he was classified as finishing.

But in terms of race positions, he was not as consistent as his teammate.

Norris had one DNF in Hungary and finished out of the points in only one race – Spa. He was more consistent in qualifying than Ricciardo as he qualified into Q3 more times.

His consistency carries through to his race results. At the beginning of the season, Norris finished in the top 5, apart from his P8 in Spain, in every race. After his DNF in Hungary, things were not looking good for the Brit.

McLaren achieved a 1-2 in Monza (the only 1-2 of any team in 2021) and from there, Norris was consistent in being at the back end of the top 10.

The young McLaren star was more consistent this season than his Aussie teammate and it payed off as he finished 6th in the standings whilst Ricciardo was 8th.

Ferrari:

Ferrari drivers
Credit: formula1.com

The prancing horses are back!

2021 has been a great year for Ferrari as they finished fourth in the Constructor’s. Carlos Sainz Jr had his rookie season in the red car and has proven to be the most consistent driver out of everyone.

Sainz finished every race and apart from in Portugal and France, he was in the top 10 every time. The Spaniard achieved four podiums this year, his highest being P2 in Monaco.

Being new to Ferrari, Sainz quickly adapted to the new car and at times even outshone his teammate.

Charles Leclerc has been Ferrari’s star driver since 2019 and this season he had 18 point finishes as well as a podium in Silverstone.

Both have been consistent throughout the season. Whilst Leclerc beat Sainz in 14 of the 22 races, he finished 5.5 points behind him, so Sainz’s consistency certainly payed off.

Mercedes and Red Bull:


Verstappen and Perez Credit: Getty Images for Red Bull Racing
Hamilton and Bottas Credit: formula1.com

These two teams were battling all season and so were their drivers.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen have, despite a couple of incidents, clearly been consistent this season. Their teammates have been a bit more hot and cold, but have still had some regularity in their race results.

Verstappen suffered more DNFs than Hamilton but in the races he completed, he was more consistent in his P1 or P2 finishes. Hamilton was on the podium for all but five of the races; he had a DNF in Monza due to the collision, but he did finish in P7 (Monaco), P15 (Azerbaijan), P4 (Austria) and P5 (Turkey).

They were both consistent, but Verstappen was more so. However, as they went into the final round on equal points, consistency did not really have much of an impact on the battle between these two.

They are in theory the best drivers in the best cars on the grid, so don’t typically suffer reliability issues. It is expected of them to be consistent and gaining those high point finishes.

And they did this season with all their drivers being the top four in the championship.

Conclusion:

So is it better to be consistent or hot and cold?

I think that consistency is more important. Having the odd points finish or the occasional podium is great, but in the long-term, consistency wins.

The likes of Norris, Sainz and Verstappen prove that consistency is important but the results from Giovinazzi and Ocon prove that sometimes consistency isn’t everything.

Feature Image Credit: Formula 1 via Getty Images

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