Start, Yas Marina, 2021

Rate the race: 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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What did you think of today’s race? Share your verdict on the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

RaceFans has held polls on every F1 race since 2008 to find out which fans thought of each round of the season.

Join in the latest poll and give your verdict on the race: 10 being the highest and 1 the lowest. Please vote based on how entertaining and exciting you thought the race was, not on how your preferred driver or team performed.

What were the best and worst moments of the race? What was the main thing you’ll remember about it? Rate the race out of ten and leave a comment below:

Rate the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix out of 10

  • 10 (33%)
  • 9 (11%)
  • 8 (8%)
  • 7 (8%)
  • 6 (4%)
  • 5 (2%)
  • 4 (2%)
  • 3 (2%)
  • 2 (3%)
  • 1 (27%)

Total Voters: 322

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1 = ‘Terrible’, 10 = ‘Perfect’

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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141 comments on “Rate the race: 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix”

  1. FIA to the help once again!

    1. You are right! Not investigating the first lap incident was a farse!

      1. The first lap incident was irrelevant, Max knew his only chance against Lewis was to try and take him out. If Lewis had given the position up, he would have been by him in no time on sheer pace, or kamikaze Max predictably would have taken him out.

  2. Pathetic. Just give RedBull the title.

    1. The FIA are so corrupt, I’m surprised they didn’t ask Hamilton to park the car and let Verstappen pass. What has happened to Sport? First FIFA and now the FIA. Sky commentary was a disgrace, biased all season, everyone except DAMON HILL he was the only one worth listening too


    1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
      12th December 2021, 14:42

      Safety cars, luck and race control did all of that. max had neither the pace nor the car. But sometimes the racing gods shine.

    2. This post is so embarrassing

    3. Nice considered post. I think I now know what RandomMallard meant when he closed his account.

    4. Classy till the end

    5. I found Lewis driving very well but was unluckly with the safetycar. Over the whole season i give it to Max. Just a luckly win compared to Baku..

    6. You are just prejudiced.

      Russian poll is 85% positive with 32000 votes.

  4. Formula One is not a sport anymore. It’s like watching WWE.

    1. Sadly it felt a lot like that today. If you’re going to mess with the procedure, you might as well just red flag it immediately. It felt very manufactured

      1. The whole year has been. Yet RedBull celebrations like it wasn’t handed to them on a plate

        1. You are maybe forgetting the points verstappen lost through bad luck. I can tell you, this 14-15 points swing is not enough to say verstappen got luckier than hamilton. Mercedes got the constructor’s, which is fair given better car and number 2.

    2. now max will feel vindicated and he will never learn respect for other racers. he does not deserve the title and does race fairly

    3. F1 was never a sport. If it were, Hamilton might have only won 1 WDC.

      1. @amian
        And by Hamilton, of course you mean Schumacher.

      2. Absolutely, and he drove well today, but he also had a significantly stronger car, like the last races after mexico.

  5. That’s it. 27 years watching stops here. Enjoy fixed races.

    1. That’s how I felt. I’m really exceited by next year’s car but at the same car really dissapointed by the way the sport is being regulated and managed

    2. Blaize Falconberger (@)
      12th December 2021, 14:42

      Don’t over react. max has a long way to go until he proves he is as good as HAM.

      1. @timeslides I have been feeling like this for the last couple of races. At least I would like the procedures, and probably people in charge, to be reviewed. Now, we have a Race director who decided the championship.

        1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
          12th December 2021, 14:51

          This is true. and if this is the way it’s going to go from now on, with commercial interests at the fore, max will never achieve LH greatness.

      2. Not sure, he beat the best Lewis ever (Lewis words)

        1. Not only Lewis words Max said it also that Lewis was the greatest. I have problems rating this race it was boring with some positive points. maybe a 5 i think. But race control real sucks they need more people there 1 man is not enough.

      3. He already have. Winning a wdc with a 2nd fastest car is something lewis has never done. Dont bring in 2008 as heikki was just horrible.

    3. I’m not even a Hamilton fan and I just thought the same thing… been watching since Villeneuve, Senna, and Prost but after this I have genuinely no interest in the racing. I’ll probably just stick to watching engineering analysis vids of the new cars next year as they look awesome but no point following a title race which seems to have a largely pre-determined outcome…

    4. Me too. 1994- 2021. Switch to WEC, as I should long time ago

    5. Absolutely. Truly ridiculous result after such a lead, to be handed the Championship like this. Verstappen will have zero credibility from this day on. Formula 1 Champion comes down to a drag race on new sticky tyres for one lap, minus the back markers. What utter nonsense. You could barely make this up.

    6. if i had to decide to stop on 1 race i would stopped in the nineties Senna and Schumacher era when Bernie decided on stupid ideas and steward decicions. Just relax and watch the tests then decide.

  6. Cry Hamiltoners, cry.

    1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
      12th December 2021, 14:44

      The max fans get everything they ever wanted, and they are still angry… get a life mate :-)
      Still the 7 x world champ. Read it an weeeeeep…. ;-)

      1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
        12th December 2021, 14:52

        Just don’t reply to that. nothing to gain here

        1. He (max) did not win this race he was gifted it .

  7. A decent race itself, but a fixed ending.

    1. Disappointed I can understand that. Just like I was after the unbelievable non action on Lewis gained advantage off track.
      But it ended racing and the best strategy won.

  8. Incredible and then Red Bull keep pretending is against them while every time Verstappen was let of easy for his dirty driving. But then probably this is why they keep pushing that propaganda, just so when a decision needs to be made they could influence it even more in their favor.

    1. @f1osaurus
      What about Hamilton cutting the corner and being even investigated. Alonso was handed a drive through penalty in Silverstone 2010 for doing the same thing which actually compromised his championship.

      1. That’s in line with the general inconsistency the stewards have been showing over the season. Unfortunately the safety car decision was against the actual written rules, very different.

    2. now max will feel vindicated and he will never learn respect for other racers. he does not deserve the title and does race fairly

      1. Respect is something you must earn.
        Lewis got respect by max and vice versa..

  9. I feel flat. It’s usually great to see a new champion crowned but it doesn’t feel right. It seemed the race came down to which team principal lobbied Masi the best. How can you announce a decision surrounding the safety car procedure and then reverse it cause a team pleads their case? Toto can’t talk, cause he did exactly the same thing earlier!

  10. Fixed, new champion, new F1, New subscriptions availible now, just about to delete my account and take a long break away from Formula Farce

    1. In case this was an actual account (don’t remember it but looks very likely due to the “@”), at least we can see that once deleted the comments stay, just as unregistered user.

  11. Nothing fixed about it. Merc could have pitted then overtaken Max with the fresher tyres at the end. They didn’t want to take the risk and paid the price. That’s racing, in the best possible way.


    1. @skipgamer
      How often are some (but not all) of the lapped cars allowed to overtake SC?

      1. Doesn’t matter, the important cars were out of the way. It would have been a bigger stretch of the rules not to let them get out of the way.

        Merc are clutching at straws, they wanted it decided with racing, it was decided with racing.

        1. @skipgamer
          Important cars – you mean, the ones blocking Verstappen’s championship? I believe other drivers and teams would’ve regarded other lapped cars important also.

          1. The only argument is that not all cars were allowed to overtake, which is baffling, however letting lapped cars overtake IS the standard procedure. There is no reason to NOT let them overtake unless it’s unsafe to do so, which is usually only during wet conditions.

            There is no real argument here. Yes, Max got lucky, but Lewis got lucky in other races too. The luck cancels out, and Max is the champion

          2. @smartez
            I agree that the normal procedure is to let all overlapped cars overtake. However, there wasn’t time for that. The race control probably denied it, so that there would be time for another racing lap. But in the end, they made a decision that benefited Max even more.

          3. @hotbottoms

            And what if Mercedes decided to pit and put on the fresh rubber, and Max was P1 and Hamilton had the lapped cars infront of him? Would you still be saying it’s unfair to let the cars through or would you be saying it’s unfair that Hamilton had all the traffic put infront of him?

            It was a gamble Mercedes made, and they lost. The decision could have gone either way, there was no predicting it.

            If anything I think the fairest solution would have been a red flag for them both to put on fresh rubber and start 1-2. But racing isn’t always fair…

          4. @skipgamer
            Yes, I think the stewards and the race control should follow the rules. I’m not a Hamilton fan, even though I would’ve preferred him to win the championship.

            And yes, I agree with you that red flagging would’ve been a more fair solution.

        2. Blaize Falconberger (@)
          12th December 2021, 14:46

          The ones required to had the real chance of victory to Max? I can’t say I gree or disagree, it is what it is, but it seems like it was done for the show and little else.
          All the RB claims for conspiracy and fixes all sound rather hollow.

      2. Because masi botched it by first not allowing lapped cars to overtake, which is against the rules afaik. This wasted the time, so they had to get back to this half baked solution.

    2. Question is whether the FIA then wouldn’t have ended the race behind the safety car?

      1. @Emma

        They never would have wanted to do that if they had a chance to end the race under green conditions.

  12. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
    12th December 2021, 14:40

    Took half a lap to become a political scrap. Then got very boring until Latifi crashed, despite Perez’s best efforts. The finish feels almost scripted. RB’s tactics won them the championships. Otherwise, the end was just messy.

  13. The mantra all year for not giving Max penalties has been ‘We don’t want the stewards to decide the championship’ but in the end they couldn’t help themselves and gifted Max the championship.

  14. So the race was fixed because Mercedes had a terrible strategy. OK. British empire has died long time ago. Stop beliebing you are the center of the world

    1. Red Bull and Horner are both effectively British. Mercedes is German. You see what I did there or did you miss it? Not everything is biased.
      Starting to think like a randommallard to be honest. Is this the standard of comment were going to get on racefans nowadays?

  15. This is the BULLY Year…
    First don’t let lapped cars pass safety car, then let lapped cars pass… new tires x old tires… Shameful…

  16. petebaldwin (@)
    12th December 2021, 14:41

    The race was probably a 5/10.

    The last lap was… I don’t even know how you rate that.

    The comments on this site this evening though will definitely be 10/10 :D

    1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      12th December 2021, 14:58

      Politics, a debateable decision on lap 1, inconsistent and messy application of (SC) rules, a pair of controversial championship contestants, last lap changes.

      This race has something for everyone to be mad about

  17. I’m a neutral. I didn’t care who won or who loses because I just enjoy the racing & love the sport. I’d have been happy today regardless of who won the championship.

    But for me the end of that race & the deciding factor in the championship was really unsatisfying & rather than coming away been super thrilled or whatever I just feel really deflated somehow.

    1. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
      12th December 2021, 14:59

      But for me the end of that race & the deciding factor in the championship was really unsatisfying & rather than coming away been super thrilled or whatever I just feel really deflated somehow.

      I do prefer Verstappen over Hamilton, but yeah, this^
      A Messy end to an increasingly messy championship

  18. Lapped cars are allowed to overtake is the standard procedure. Yes, it was lucky for Max, but Lewis has also been lucky at other races.

    This race really wasn’t controversial. Safety car came out because it had to, they cleared the crash, they let the lapped cars overtake, this didn’t have to wait for them to catch the pack (This has been the procedure since 2016), then the race restarted.

    For the race itself? Eh. Apart from the end, it was like a 4, the end gave it maybe an 7, so 5 seems fair

    1. Lapped cars are allowed to overtake is the standard procedure

      Yeah, ALL of them. Not just a selected few.

      1. Yes, this is only thing that makes it baffling, and the only argument to make. Otherwise, it doesn’t change anything.

      2. @kuvemar

        Sure, but the only ones that can legitimately complain about that are those other teams that didn’t get to unlap. Mercedes just wanted to run out the clock under the SC, rather than race. Having Max just behind Lewis for the restart was fair in itself.

  19. Wow that was intense throughout till the last lap

  20. 5

    No race is good enough if #44 survives it

    And Max still cannot master the trick. Max, you need a nice concrete wall, or in ists absence, some Chinese gravel

  21. Blaize Falconberger (@)
    12th December 2021, 14:47

    LH, what a sportsman. First thing he does is congratulate Max and RB.
    The Max mob could learn a thing or two about real class…

    1. First thing he did was sit in the car in silence in parc fermé for 5 minutes

      1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
        12th December 2021, 15:19

        Well, if we’re gojng to be sill, he also got out of the car and breathed in and out. Du’h.
        By anyway, I agree with you. Hamilton was calm and collected. A true man of virtue.

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          12th December 2021, 21:15

          @timeslides Lewis showed incredible composure today. I think talking to his father helped.

          He’s an amazing champion. I think even the best would have crumbled today. It was robbery and Lewis showed his class while the thief and his team of brigands were celebrating.

    2. A pity that after that his team filed two protests and he did not stop them.
      I Don’t blame him, but it does shed a different light on his wonderful sportsmanship on the podium.

  22. Less of a race, more of a stitchup.

  23. Farcical.

  24. I rate this season overwritten.

  25. Thank you, FIA, for destroying the sport I’ve loved for decades. To top it of with the horrible decision is a disgrace! Next year you can just hand the trophy to whomever you decide to win in March…

  26. I think this result will be overturned…a farce…I just wanted a fair and level playing field…but complete safety car shambles

    1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
      12th December 2021, 15:20

      No one would win in that situation. It would only cause more damage.

    2. Problem with that is the problems were by race control – how do you penalise a driver for a race control issue. RB just capitalised on this, they also took the bigger risks I. The race which put them in this position.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        12th December 2021, 21:23

        @captainpie there’s definitely something off between Masi and Red Bull. Toto’s pleas are because he knows that they are in control and they would do something like that. He wasn’t wrong.

        Horner literally said “All we need [to win] is 1 lap” and Masi immediately gave it to them and cleared the path by changing his mind.

  27. I think it’s okay that they allowed some cars to unlap so they could have a final lap of racing rather than the title decider ending under a safety car. Mercedes could have pitted (Lewis wanted to) but they decided they would rather have the track position.

    Lewis should have won but checo’s defense, good strategy and a bit of luck turned the table and Max becomes the only non-Mercedes champion of the Mercedes era.

  28. Marinated Monolith (@)
    12th December 2021, 14:59

    Despite knowing that the FIA’s decision-making has been questionable all season, why oh why, would the Mercedes gamble their race on the FIA? Never since Ferrari’s Abu Dhabi fiasco in 2010 have I seen a team shooting themselves in the foot harder than tonight.

    For what it’s worth, I truly believe that Hamilton has been the better, but not the faster, driver this season. But I honestly couldn’t fault Max and the Red Bulls for grabbing the champhionship the way he did today.
    Hopefully, Max could mature a bit after this season, I’ve lost hope on the FIA growing a backbone.

    1. I think the analysis they would have conducted was probably based on the options the stewards could take under the framework of precedence and more importantly, rules.
      Difficult to plan for scenarios involving new rules being invented on the fly…

    2. @marinatedmonolith

      Lewis has made more and bigger mistakes this season, which would have had enormous impacts on the points gained, if he hadn’t been so lucky. Driving-wise, there was little between them.

      Ultimately, a championship-battle is about collecting points and without the luck factor, Max would have had a substantial gap over Lewis. So Max was the better driver, IMO. The worst driver was Masi & the stewards.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        12th December 2021, 21:29

        @aapje I think Red Bull’s car was class of the field this championship as Newey said. The fact that Lewis was in contention was because he was in a world of his own, in terms of skill as we witnessed today.

        Perhaps Max is the 2nd best driver in F1 in terms of speed but it means nothing because the gap is as large as that between Messi and Masi.

        As for wheel-to-wheel racing Lewis gets a 12 out of 10 this season (way better than any other driver will ever drive this century). Max would be lucky to get a passing grade with 6 being the cutoff – he’d only get that because he’s in F1.

        As for the championship, I put Max Verstappen on the same pedestal as Lance Armstrong. He fully deserves this championship as much as Lance did. Some would argue that Lance was more deserving than Max – very few would argue that Max was more deserving than Lance.

  29. So it seems the most popular opinion on this site is that the race should have ended under the safety car?

    1. For me @ryanoceros, two or three laps earlier but then w/o cars having time to overtake; three laps would likely have allowed them to let VER past and with better tyres get his move in, quite possibly still win it. Would it have been disadvantage VER? With only two laps, sure, but certainly not more than this was the other way around with no way for HAM to even counter (even if he had had the tyres somehow then).

      But, first thinking not safe to do that, then last minute going yeah well, only cars between HAM and VER and then we have a ‘race’ for 1 lap was off, though to be fair, rather typical of how making-it-up-as-we-go this year’s race director has seemed.

    2. Optimum scenario would have been a celeb, fully unaware of what they are doing, waving the flag one lap early. This way Masi’s flip-flopping some-lapped-cars-may-overtake decision would have still been part of the broadcast, but an extra-layer of entertainment would have been added to the F1-winter-discourse.

  30. 7/10
    First of all, very happy to see Sainz on podium. Would have loved to have Perez on the podium given how much of a team player he has been this weekend. But the stewarding felt forced. Farewell to Kimi, would have been great if he saw the chequered flag.

  31. Exactly what I feared. Difficult to watch any sporting competition end in such confusion and acrimony. Very deep and lingering feeling of unfairness surrounding the result. This year has been tainted by some of the worst officiating I’ve ever seen in any sport. Need a good winter break to let that wash away!

  32. the result is a disgrace to the sports

  33. So, the Hamiltonians are bitter that the race ended as a race.
    Whether you agree how the red period was handled or not – the race was decided on track, not elsewhere.
    The Mercedes chose a very conservative strategy that left Hamilton on old tyres, whereas Red Bull took a gamble. The win was decided on track.

    The only single unfair situation was Hamilton gaining a second outside of the track.

    1. Blaize Falconberger (@)
      12th December 2021, 15:21

      Fairnness is debatable. Rules are black and white.

    2. It didn’t end as a race though, did it? It ended with a sudden change of decision, which was then carried out half-assedly, to put someone with fresh tyres right behind someone who had easily led the race comfortably on old tyres who stood no chance of defending. There was no race there, just a farce.

  34. I’m surprised how little discussion there is of Hamilton passing off track and there being no investigation. I thought this race would be controversial for that reason, not that racing was resumed after the SC.

    1. I think it sure would have been if Lewis had cruised to the win as he appeared to have been doing. I don’t think it would have made much difference though. Lewis was just that much faster. Mercedes basically cost him the championship by butchering his strategy.

  35. Farce. Just farce.

  36. Just like in Saudi GP. Stupid stewards, good championship race. 9.

  37. Where’s 100?

    I can see many people will rate this by the outcome, not by the excitement it brought.

  38. 1 (31%)
    2 (0%)
    3 (2%)
    4 (2%)
    5 (2%)
    6 (2%)
    7 (8%)
    8 (5%)
    9 (9%)
    10 (40%)
    Total Voters: 133

    I voted 7 and that felt too much, why so many 10s?

    1. Why so many 1s?

      1. Also true, these are championship-outcome related votes, I guess, the 1s are hamilton fans and 10s are verstappen fans, I’m the latter but voted 7 cause the race wasn’t all that exciting except the last lap and a few battles such as early on or with perez; hamilton defended well considering the very old tyres, but I think it was clear merc was the fastest car this race, even with 20 laps older tyres he was competitive.

    2. Likely all the weird ‘anyone but Hamilton’ people who seem to be surprisingly well organized.

  39. Over 70% of voters so far have voted either 1 or 10. Pretty much sums up these forums this year.

    1. Indeed, as it really doesn’t reflect the race imo.