So let's go for a classic.
1- Max Verstappen. The best of the year. Super fast, dominant and aggressive (a few times over the limit though). In normal circumstances should have won with 50 points of margin. Silverstone, Baku and Hungary made Hamilton get back in the fight. Led laps, wins, poles. Max was on it.
2- Lewis Hamilton. As fast, controlled and consistent as ever. When given the car, set some dominant wins. When the car was bellow pair always got damage limitation in brilliant fashion. The thing with this guy is... he's so lucky. Imola, Silverstone (where he truly took his opponent with basically no consequences) Hungary and Baku (though he didn't take advantage of it) got Lewis to take the fight unltil the end. Only one bad weekend: Monaco.
3- Carlos Sainz. Amazing. Hired to be a good second driver, managed to beat the lead driver after even give him some points when Ferrari found that Leclerc could beat Norris. Consistent, and good in wheel to wheel battles got 4 podiums against only one of Leclerc. Chapeau, Smooth Operator.
4- Fernando Alonso. Yep. Alonso. 40 years and a race pace of a 25 ace. Started slow but when got used to the pace he was mighty. amazing first laps and overtakes. Many points, and many fights even with faster cars (Hungary...). Don't like his antics (Russia...) but he's still a top gun.
5- Lando Norris. Sure he beated soundly Ricciardo and was on the fight all the time. But I get the feeling Mclaren was a very, very good car in 2021. He showed surprising speed though: He lapped Ricciardo a few times and scored 4 podiums. A guy to follow.
6- Charles Leclerc. I still think he's the 3rd best driver out there. Specialy in pure speed (2 poles). But still a bit error prone. Being beaten by Sainz must be a shocker to him and i'm sure he will improve next year because the potential is there.
7- Valtteri Bottas. Super fast on his day Valtteri can't get a break: Wheels that don't come out in pit stops, engine penalties, tires that explode. Everything bad that happened this year at Mercedes was on his car. Even so two sprint races wins, 4 poles and a dominant rain win. Helped Mercedes to achieve constructores championship once more and took some points from Max. Will have a new life at Alfa.
8- Pierre Gasly. Super consistent and always fast, collected point after point to almost get Ricciardo in the end. I think the AT was a bit better than the Alpine overall and he bested the two Alpine drivers.
9- Sergio Pérez. It might sound a bit harsh but Sergio was overall good. Just. He gave Hamilton a good fight a few times to help Max but that was it. He lacks a bit of quali speed that he can't compensate fully in races. Nevertheless he was an improvement on Albon and Gasly and his legendary tire managment gave him many points and some strongs finnishes. Safe pair of hands.
10- Esteban Ocon. That win.... But it was not just the win. He basically matched Alonso overall but is a bit lower co's Fernando's first 6-8 races were to readapt to F1, giving Esteban a good advantage. Even so the frenchman got to the fight and almost scored another podium with a strong race in SA. Another highlight of the year was his stopless race in turkey to get a lovely point.