When going through this list I genuinely thought It was going to be quite easy for which teammate will finish above the other, and for half of them it was. The other half would extend debates on the subject to well past the opening race in Australia in a months’ time. Three teams have stuck with their 2020 line up, some for good and some that I don’t think was the correct decision, the other seven have seen changes with Haas having a completely rookie set up.
George Russel vs Nicholas Latifi
There is no disrespect to Nicholas Latifi but the Canadian is no where near the same level of driver as George Russel. The Britain is one of the fastest drivers on the grid in 2021 and I am somewhat confused on why he was not afforded the second Mercedes seat. His whole weekend in Sahkir last year was almost perfect if it was not for devastating luck. His maiden win on his Mercedes debut cruelly taken away from him.
Neither driver has scored a point yet for the backmarker, Latifi in his rookie season in F1, whilst Russel has missed his opportunities in his two years with Williams. I see that changing though this year, it may be a race of attrition or the glamour of Monaco, where the late Jules Bianchi scored two points for Marussia in 2014.
Mick Schumacher vs Nikita Mazepin
After a four-year partnership of Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnusson, Haas have replaced both drivers with Formula One rookies. The first team to have both full-time drivers be rookies since, Torro Rosso ran Carlos Sainz jr and Max Verstappen in 2015.
Schumacher comes into 2021 as the reigning F2 champion whilst Mazepin finished fifth in the standings. So that should give you a little idea of the status quo, but F2 does not always give you the full picture. Mazepin is a relentless and aggressive on track which some will hate him for. He has almost all the sports fanbase against him, and although I believe he will be much slower than his teammate, I ask for people to give him time and when on track think of him as a driver not him as a person.
Kimi Raikkonen vs Antonio Giovinazzi
It was a surprise to many that Alfa Romeo decided to keep both drivers on for a third year. The likes of Robert Schwartzman and Callum Illot would have been eyeing up either of the cars after impressing in F2.
There is nothing new to say about Kimi is there? He enters his 19th season of Formula one with Alfa Romeo, with thoughts of being the man to help develop the car with changes to rule regulations for 2022. The most experienced driver in the sports history is a needed asset in the side that are at the back of the midfield, with hopes of returning up the grid. His showing at races such as Italy and Portugal show he is still both quick enough and has the enthusiasm for the sport. But as the ‘Iceman’ turns 42 at the tail end of the season, it is clear he is not what he once was.
Antonio Giovinazzi is now in his third season with the Alfa-Romeo team and despite a fifth-place finish in Brazil 2019, has never shown the promise that he came into the sport with. Now 27 years of age it is a massive season for the Italian, one that is imperative that he does not just beat his teammate, but thrash him, and to find a way into the points scoring positions much more frequently than he has despite the level of car he is driving.
This one of the toughest to dictate a winner between these two, but I do believe that the Italian might just have edge on Raikkonen due to the ‘all or nothing’ season he is facing.
Pierre Galsy vs Yuki Tsunoda
Starting his fourth full season in Formula One, race-winner Pierre Gasly has stated that he is only getting better. Last season was a massive improvement for the Frenchman, who looks much more comfortable in Red-Bull’s sister team Alpha Tauri, rather than the main constructor. Fans of Nexflix’s ‘Drive to Survive’ will notice how Gasly has not given up on his chances of promotion back to Red Bull despite the signing of Sergio Perez.
Teammate Yuki Tsunoda is the third rookie on the grid after the two Haas drivers, and comes in after only one season in both Formula3 and F2 under his belt. Three wins in the 2020 season saw the young Japanese driver finish third in the championship and claim the Antione Hubert award.
It may seem obvious who will come out on top between these two, Gasly is a tremendous driver with speed and heart and anything other than an absolute rout would be surprising. Do not talk down Tsunoda however, he is quick and will be part of the RedBull family for many more years.
Part two of this will see the Ferrari, Alpine and Aston Martin drivers under the spotlight.