Red Bull Racing: 8.2
The Austrian racing team has worked hard in recent years to compete with Mercedes. In the last three seasons, however, it never came to a serious battle - until last season. At the opening race of the season in Bahrain, Red Bull already made a good impression on the general public, and the team continued in excellent form throughout the following months.
It wasn't just Red Bull that were convincing, Max Verstappen also showed he was ready to fight for the world title. Competitor Lewis Hamilton tried to throw him off balance on several occasions throughout the season, but each time he kept his nerve and decided to stay calm. This allowed him to fight for the title until the last race, while Mercedes had the better car after the summer.
With Hamilton winning the races in Brazil, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, Mercedes headed to Abu Dhabi with a mental advantage. However, Red Bull and Verstappen managed to keep a cool head even in this race, in which the Dutchman remained in second place for long periods. In the final round, Red Bull was rewarded for this by winning the world championship.
While Red Bull had hoped Sergio Perez would be able to compete with Verstappen prior to the season, it turned out to be a mistake. The Dutchman achieved such a high level of performance last year that it was impossible for Perez to make things difficult for his teammate. The Mexican was only once better in qualifying and in the race on Sunday he had an even harder time.
Max Verstappen: 9.1
For years Verstappen talked about winning a world title, but until 2021 this remained a dream for him. Last year he realised he had a chance of beating Hamilton. However, it remained to be seen how Verstappen would cope with the pressure to perform and how close Hamilton's and Verstappen's qualities were.
The two drivers appeared to be very close, and a fierce battle was brewing. Hamilton seemed to have the advantage due to his experience in a title fight, but Verstappen appeared to care little. The Red Bull driver remained relaxed on the track and decided to put little pressure on himself. With his realism, he showed his fellow drivers that it was important to stay calm.
Although Verstappen's tension was also palpable in the last race in Abu Dhabi, he did exactly what he had to do on the track. Verstappen waited patiently for his chance and did not do so in vain, as he managed to overtake Hamilton a lap before the end of the race. Verstappen, therefore, enters the new year as a full-fledged world champion.
Sergio Perez: 6.7
Red Bull has struggled in recent years to find the ideal teammate for Verstappen. Where Pierre Gasly and Alexander Albon proved not to be good enough in recent seasons, the team tried with Perez this season. The Mexican driver has performed well in the past, but at Red Bull, he was also able to match Verstappen's qualities.
Perez's season has been an unstable one. While he showed a good level in Azerbaijan, he failed to qualify in the top ten in other races. As a result, Verstappen was unable to rely on his teammate for much of the race, which was a major setback for him in the championship.
In the final race, Perez made up for it by holding off Hamilton for long periods of time, allowing the Dutchman to get closer to his rival. Red Bull will no doubt be hoping that this action will give him the necessary confidence to come back stronger after the winter break. If Perez fails to do so then it cannot be ruled out that the team will once again opt for a different driver in 2023.