F1 Drivers Under Most Pressure For 2021 – Bottas, Vettel and Who Else?

Published 12/21/2020, 12:09 AM EST
Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 13, 2020 Drivers pose ahead of the race Pool via REUTERS/Bryn Lennon

F1 is arguably the sport with the most cut-throat competition. Few manage to make a living out of professional racing, and even fewer make it to the pinnacle of Motorsports. Hence, drivers are under constant scrutiny in Formula 1.


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But going into the 2021 season, who faces the most pressure?

F1 Drivers facing the heat


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Valtteri Bottas – Mercedes

Probably the driver under the most pressure to perform is Valtteri Bottas. But why is it so? After all, he took second place in the drivers’ championship. However, it doesn’t work like that in Formula 1.

He has the best car on the grid and others are targeting his seat at Mercedes like a shark.

Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – December 12, 2020 Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas after qualifying in second position Pool via REUTERS/Kamran Jebreili

The Finn is, by his own admission, very exhausted from competing and losing to Lewis Hamilton year after year. Given that his contract expires at the end of 2021, someone like George Russell could be in line to replace him.

He must, at the very least, give his team bosses a headache on that decision.

Sebastian Vettel – Aston Martin F1

Ah! The curious case of Vettel, who is a four-time World Champion, but with his recent reputation in tatters. After finishing a measly 13th in the driver’s standings, he has his work cut out as he aims to rebuild his reputation as a serious title contender.

Given that he is replacing a beloved member of the team in Sergio Perez, he must replicate that trust.

Esteban Ocon – Renault

Ocon’s teammate next year will be Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard is not so kind towards his younger teammates, and there’s really no need to say more as competing alongside Alonso will be tough for Ocon.

NORTHAMPTON, ENGLAND – JULY 05: Fernando Alonso of Spain and McLaren F1 arrives at the circuit during previews ahead of the Formula One Grand Prix of Great Britain at Silverstone on July 5, 2018 in Northampton, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images)

Antonio Giovinazzi – Alfa Romeo

The Italian arguably does not deserve a place on the grid. He is underperforming, even though he matched an aging Raikkonen with his performances. But the driver with the most race starts is most probably retiring next year.

If Antonio does not deliver solid results, someone like Ilott or Schwartzman from the Ferrari Academy could send him into an early retirement too.

Carlos Sainz Jr. & Sergio Perez – Ferrari & Red Bull

These drivers just had the best seasons of their respective F1 careers, earning them a significant promotion with these two top teams with championship aspirations.


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Formula One F1 – Turkish Grand Prix – Istanbul Park, Istanbul, Turkey – Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action during REUTERS/Clive Mason

However, Sainz and Perez are just seen as stop-gap solutions. With their teams openly flirting with the idea of soon adding younger talents in Mick Schumacher and Yuki Tsunoda, respectively. Hence, they must give the teams reason to at least delay the inevitable next season.

We can’t wait to hear ‘lights out and away we go’ in Melbourne and see which of these drivers actually thrives in 2021.


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Bharat Aggarwal

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Bharat Aggarwal is a sports analyst for EssentiallySports, covering Formula 1 and NBA. A Delhi University graduate, Bharat has multi-year experience in sports writing, having closely worked with the content strategy aspect as well. Bharat Aggarwal supports Manchester United, Lewis Hamilton, Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafael Nadal, Dirk Nowitzki, Sachin Tendulkar, Ayrton Senna, Kristaps Porzingis, and Dallas Mavericks.