2021 F1 season guide: teams, drivers and schedule

2021 F1 calendar, start times, results, standings and how to watch in the UK

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THE F1 2021 calendar may have been shaken up by the coronavirus pandemic, which continues to affect both the schedule and the ability for spectators to attend races, but we have a full season of racing and it’s proving to be one of the most exciting and dramatic we’ve seen in many years.

Red Bull Racing has been the team to beat so far this season, with Max Verstappen currently on top in the driver’s championship, ahead of British ace Lewis Hamilton in his Mercedes. But it’s a close-run contest.

What’s more, the likes of Ferrari and McLaren are much closer to the top teams this year, with the latter team’s Lando Norris, a young British superstar, showing how to wring the very last drop of performance out of his machine.

The last race was the British Grand Prix, and it was a classic, with the championship leaders coming together on the first lap. For a brief race report, scroll down.

Up next is the Hungarian Grand Prix from July 30 – August 1.

Want a guide to the teams and drivers of the F1 2021 championship? Click here

What time is the 2021 Hungarian Grand Prix?

The Hungarian Grand Prix starts at 2pm UK time on Sunday, August 1.

Practice 1 and 2 are on Friday, July 30, starting at 10.30am and 2pm respectively. Practice 3 follows on Saturday at 11am, with Qualifying commencing at 2pm.

Where to buy Hungarian GP tickets

If you want to travel to Hungary for the grand prix, you can buy tickets here or here. Entrance for ages 0-13 is free, though a 0 EUR ticket is required and they must be accompanied by an adult. General admission tickets for the weekend are 90 Euros, or 80 Euros just for race day, and hospitality packages are available too.

F1 calendar 2021

Coronavirus-related disruption means that, as in 2020, we are seeing cars powering around tracks that don’t usually appear on the Formula 1 calendar, such as the race in Portimão.

However, the 2021 season sees the return of some races that weren’t possible last year, including many of the far-flung “flyaway” venues. These include Australia, USA and Brazil.

We also got back the jewel in the crown of F1: the Monaco GP, which was won this year by Max Verstappen.

As in 2020, the calendar has been forced to undergo some changes due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. After initially being abandoned due to travel restrictions, the Turkish Grand Prix is now back on the calendar, and is scheduled to take place on October 3 to replace the cancelled Singapore Grand Prix.

Upcoming F1 grands prix

August 01: Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest
August 29: Belgian Grand Prix, Spa-Francorchamps
September 5: Dutch Grand Prix, Zandvoort
September 12: Italian Grand Prix, Monza
September 26: Russian Grand Prix, Sochi
October 3: Turkish Grand Prix, Istanbul
October 10: Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka
October 24: United States Grand Prix, Austin
October 31: Mexican Grand Prix, Mexico City
November 7: Brazilian Grand Prix, São Paulo
November 21: Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne
December 5: Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, Jeddah
December 12: Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina

Completed F1 races

March 28: Bahrain Grand Prix, Sakhir: In a thrilling season opener we saw the rivalry between Hamilton and Verstappen as close as it’s ever been, with the two drivers swapping the lead throughout the race. Verstappen attempted a pass Hamilton on the 53rd of 57 laps but was forced to give the place back after being deemed to have contravened track limits. Hamilton eventually won the race by 0.7 seconds, leading Verstappen and Mercedes team mate Valtteri Bottas.

April 18: Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, Imola: Another action-packed race saw Hamilton start on pole, only to fall victim to a second-gear lunge from Verstappen on the rain-soaked first lap. Attempting to lap George Russell on the 31st lap of the race Hamilton fell further back, after struggling to find grip on a still-wet track, ending up in the gravel and dropping to eighth. However, a high speed collision between Valtteri Bottas and George Russell, which saw each driver blame the other, brought the pack back together and Hamilton recovered to second. Fellow Brit Lando Norris completed the podium after an ace drive that took him from seventh to third.

May 2: Portuguese Grand Prix, Portimão: After a poor qualifying performance in San Marino, Valtteri Bottas earned a spot at the front of the grid for the Portuguese Grand Prix in Portimão. Both Mercedes started well, with Bottas building a comfortable lead over second-placed Hamilton until a crash between Alfa Romeo teammates Antonio Giovanazzi and Kimi Raikkonen brought out the safety car. On the restart Hamilton hesitated, allowing Verstappen to overtake him, but regained second place just a few laps after, and moved swiftly up to first on the 20th lap. Things were made worse for Bottas when a sub-par pitstop allowed Verstappen the time he needed to enter the DRS zone, with the Finn falling down to, and finishing, third.

May 9: Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona: Hamilton earned the 100th pole position of his career in Barcelona, but duly gave up first position on the first corner of the grand prix, having no option but to sacrifice the spot to an aggressive move by Max Verstappen. A tense, race-long battle then commenced, but it was ultimately Hamilton and Mercedes, making excellent use of a two-stop strategy, who came out on top, overtaking Verstappen with six laps of the race to go for his third win in the season’s first four races.

May 23: Monaco Grand Prix, Monte Carlo: It’s unlikely that 2021’s race will go down in the annals of Monaco Grand Prix history. Qualifying was cut short by a Q3 crash by pole-sitter, Monaco native and Ferrari driver Charles Leclerc, causing a drivetrain issue that would ultimately prevent him from starting the race. That left Max Verstappen on pole, enabling him to take a lead from the start that he never looked like relinquishing. It was a notable off-day for Mercedes, with world champion Lewis Hamilton finishing seventh (in doing so allowing Verstappen to overtake him in the standings) and Bottas forced to retire after mechanics were unable to remove his front-right tyre during a pitstop. The Ferrari of Carlos Sainz came in second while Lando Norris claimed his second podium of the season, in third.

June 06: Azerbaijan Grand Prix, Baku: The drama dutifully returned on the street circuit of Azerbaijan’s capital, with a joint-record four red flags brought out during Saturday’s qualifying session. Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc managed to grasp pole position for the second race in a row but failed to keep it beyond lap two, when he was overtaken by Lewis Hamilton. After that the Monegasque went backwards down the order but recovered to fourth. However, the real drama came in the latter part of the race, when leader Max Verstappen suffered a tyre blowout at high speed on lap 45 of 51, becoming the second driver after Aston Martin’s Lance Stroll to suffer the same issue. That triggered a red flag, with Red Bull’s Sergio Perez and Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton lining up on the first row of the grid. However, a lock-up from Hamilton sent him into the turn one run-off, and he could only manage to recover to 15th, leaving Perez to take the win. It was a stellar day for former champion Sebastian Vettel, who claimed second place in his Aston Martin, while Pierre Gasly once again proved he can make it count on race day with the third podium spot.

June 20: French Grand Prix, Le Castellet: Max Verstappen equalled Lewis Hamilton’s trio of wins in the 2021 season at Le Castellet, in a race that defied many people’s expectations — the track, located near Marseilles, is often cited as one of the most boring in the F1 calendar. After initially ceding his place at the front of the pack to Hamilton on the first corner of the race, the Dutch driver overtook Lewis Hamilton with just two laps of the race remaining, thanks to the utilisation of a two-stop strategy by Red Bull that left Hamilton attempting to fend off a fresh-tyre-clad Verstappen on worn tyres. Verstappen took an extra point for snagging the fastest lap time, and was also awarded the Driver of the Day award. Hamilton had to settle for second, with Verstappen’s teammate Perez completing the podium.

June 27: Styrian Grand Prix, Spielberg: A more sedate race followed the French Grand Prix, with Max Verstappen dominating proceedings across the weekend. The 23-year-old took his third win at the Red Bull Ring, with his RB16B comfortably outpacing Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes throughout the race. The seven-times world champion again had to settle for second place, although he did snatch an extra point for the fastest lap thanks to a late pit stop. Mercedes Boss Toto Wolff admitted that, for the first time in the turbo-hybrid era that his team has dominated, Mercedes had “no weapons in our armoury”. Hamilton agreed, estimating that Red Bull had an advantage of a quarter of a second on every lap of its home circuit.

July 4: Austrian Grand Prix, Spielberg: The second of the back-to-back races at the Red Bull Ring saw Verstappen pick up where he left off, delighting the Austrian crowd with pole position and then leading every lap of his team’s home grand prix. A huge number of Dutch fans also mad there way to Austria to watch their hero dominate proceedings. Behind Verstappen, things were a but more complicated. At turn three, Esteban Ocon’s Alpine was squeezed between Mick Schumacher and Antonio Giovinazzi, damaging his suspension and bringing out the safety car. Lando Norris had surprised everyone with second place on the grid in his McLaren, just a fraction of a second off Verstappen’s lap time, and he did well at the restart but was soon after handed a five second stop-go penalty after Red Bull’s Sergio Perez tried to overtake around the outside of turn four and ended up taking a trip across the gravel. It was a controversial stewards’ decision that later Perez himself was handed after Leclerc, in his Ferrari, tried a similar move and also ended up run off the road. The Mexican finished sixth as a result of his tumultuous race. Lewis Hamilton had started fourth but struggled after picking up damage, and failed to capitalise on Norris’s penalty, finishing fourth. Mercedes team-mate Bottas had a better run from fifth to finish second, while Norris managed to clinch the third podium spot.

July 18: British Grand Prix, Silverstone: At a hot Silverstone circuit, temperatures in the cockpits were high on race day. After the first Sprint Qualifying trial on Saturday, Verstappen lined up on the grid first with Hamilton second. The Brit got the better start but couldn’t edge fully in front and continued to pressure the leader all the way round the first lap before sending his Mercedes down the inside at Copse, clipping the rear of the Red Bull and sending Verstappen heavily into the barriers. Red flag and race over for the Dutchman. Hamilton received a 10-second penalty as a result but raced his heart out from second to chase a superb Charles Leclerc, who had led in the Ferrari from the restart. Hamilton hunted down Leclerc a second a lap over the final 10 laps before diving down the inside of the Ferrari at Copse on lap 51 of 52, in a brave repeat of the first lap incident. This time his opponent yielded, Leclerc running off the track to avoid contact, allowing Lewis to take the lead and his eighth British GP victory. Bottas completed the podium after a strong drive but with the championship in mind was asked to let Lewis past in his pursuit of the win. With Verstappen picking up just three points from his Qualifying Sprint win, Hamilton’s win put him nine points behind in the driver’s championship.

F1 driver standings 2021

  1. Max Verstappen (NED) RED BULL RACING HONDA 185
  2. Lewis Hamilton (GBR) MERCEDES 177
  3. Lando Norris (GBR) MCLAREN MERCEDES 113
  4. Valtteri Bottas (FIN) MERCEDES 108
  5. Sergio Perez (MEX) RED BULL RACING HONDA 104
  6. Charles Leclerc (MON) FERRARI 80
  7. Carlos Sainz (ESP) FERRARI 68
  8. Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) MCLAREN MERCEDES 50
  9. Pierre Gasly (FRA) ALPHATAURI HONDA 39
  10. Sebastian Vettel (GER) ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES 30
  11. Fernando Alonso (ESP) ALPINE RENAULT 26
  12. Lance Stroll (CAN) ASTON MARTIN MERCEDES 18
  13. Esteban Ocon (FRA) ALPINE RENAULT 14
  14. Yuki Tsunoda (JPN) ALPHATAURI HONDA 10
  15. Kimi Räikkönen (FIN) ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 1
  16. Antonio Giovinazzi (ITA) ALFA ROMEO RACING FERRARI 1
  17. George Russell (GBR) WILLIAMS MERCEDES 0
  18. Mick Schumacher (GER) HAAS FERRARI 0
  19. Nicholas Latifi (CAN) WILLIAMS MERCEDES 0
  20. Nikita Mazepin (RAF) HAAS FERRARI 0

F1 team standings 2021

  2. MERCEDES 285
  4. FERRARI 148

How to watch F1 races in the UK this year

Sky Sports F1

You’re able to watch every race, as well as the qualifying and practice sessions, live on Sky Sports F1, which costs £18 per month for people already paying for Sky TV, or £43 per month alongside Sky TV. As part of the package you also get exclusive documentaries and interviews from the Sky Sports F1 team, as well as historic races.

Now TV

You can also watch using Sky’s Now TV on demand service, which offers Sky Sports Day Passes for £9.99 or monthly passes for £33.99.

Channel 4 coverage

For those on a budget, once again there are extended highlights of all F1 races on Channel 4, which also showed live coverage of the British Grand Prix in July. Highlights are also available on the channel’s on-demand service, All 4.

Formula 1: Drive to Survive

Also, don’t miss the third season of Netflix exclusive series Formula 1: Drive to Survive. The 2020 recap went live on March 19, 2021. It’s a brilliant behind-the-scenes look at the sport, showing much more of the drama, tantrums and tears that are often unseen by the regular TV cameras.

The third season covers the shortened 2020 F1 championship, focusing on Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo and other top drivers as Covid-19 turned the world upside down.

Just hearing F1 team members swearing was quite the revelation when the first series aired, and the emotions captured make the characters involved in the sport seem much more human than the sanitised live coverage suggests.

What is Sprint Qualifying?

Another exciting new element of the 2021 F1 season is the debut of Sprint Qualifying races. The 100km races determine the starting grid for Sunday’s grands prix and also award championship points to the top three drivers, which could prove vital in a tight championship battle.

Sprint Qualifying is being trialed this year, with the first taking place at the 2021 British Grand Prix and two more scheduled at races to be confirmed. F1 management will decide whether or not it should stay for good, based on feedback from drivers, teams and fans. For more info, click here.

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