Power Rankings: The fight for F1 survival

This year's championships have been decided in favour of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes, but there is still plenty to play for at the final three races, including a number of seats on the 2021 grid.

In this week's rankings, we focus on the future as much as looking at recent performances. This is not a ranking of who is F1's best driver, nor how the championship would look in equal machinery. Instead it is an attempt to look at everything around each driver at the moment -- performances, status, reputation, future prospects -- and trying to make sense of who is rising and who is falling in the pecking order.

The undisputed champion

He's been at the top of our Power Rankings all year, but how can we choose anyone else?

1. Lewis Hamilton With his seventh title secure, Hamilton is arguably the greatest Formula One driver of all time, so it's no surprise to see him at the top of these rankings. He is in the form of his life at the moment and the only question is how long he will continue at this level. Surprisingly with three races remaining in the season, he doesn't have a contract for next year, but there seems to be little doubt that he will remain at Mercedes in 2021.

Undisputed best of the rest

If only he had a car capable of fighting Hamilton over the course of a season...

2. Max Verstappen Verstappen has unquestionably been best of the rest behind Hamilton this year and could still finish second in the championship standings if he outscores Valtteri Bottas by 27 points in the final three races. However, Verstappen showed an impetuous side in Turkey, taking his defeat in qualifying particularly badly before pushing beyond the limit in the race trying to overtake Sergio Perez. It made for thrilling viewing, but you have to ask whether such a trait would become a weakness in a title fight with Hamilton. Hopefully we'll find out next year.

If only they had a more competitive car

The following six drivers are the big what-ifs in F1 at the moment. Put any of them in a competitive car and there's a compelling argument they would fight for the title, but as things stand one might not even be on the grid next year...

3. Sergio Perez If Perez fails to secure a drive next year, it will serve as proof (if it was needed) that the F1 driver market is not a meritocracy. No matter which metric you choose to measure his performance by this year, Perez has earned himself a place on the 2021 grid. Yet with three races remaining in 2020 there is a very high chance he will be left on the sidelines. It's clear his future is no longer in his hands, but if he continues to secure results like his podium in Turkey he will make himself the go-to option for Red Bull if it decides against Alex Albon. Meanwhile, he looks set to secure fourth in the drivers' championship, which would be his best ever result in F1.

4. Charles Leclerc Leclerc was incredibly harsh on himself following the Turkish Grand Prix after he missed out on a podium finish with a mistake in the final few corners, but his recovery drive up to that point had been impressive. Like Perez, his championship position (fifth, three points off Perez) tells you all you need to know about the job he has done in a sub-par car this year.

5. Daniel Ricciardo Two podiums in the last four races have acted as a reminder of Ricciardo's talent, but his performances in Turkey and Portugal have shown just how easily that can become lost in such a competitive the midfield. As he prepares to move to McLaren there's a question over whether we will ever see Ricciardo back fighting at the very front, but there's little doubt he's still among the top drivers in F1.

6. Pierre Gasly Gasly has dealt with the disappointment of another Red Bull rejection well and continues to impress for AlphaTauri. He has failed to score at the last two rounds, but in Imola he was well-placed before an engine issue and in Turkey his team lost out in the game of tyre temperature roulette. But there's still a very real chance he could still finish the season ahead of Alex Albon on points (he's currently seven behind), which would keep the pressure on Red Bull to keep him in consideration for a promotion in the future.

7. Carlos Sainz Sainz's consistency has started to pay off and in Turkey he moved ahead of teammate Lando Norris on points for the first time this year. His solid -- if slightly unspectacular -- progress this year is exactly what Ferrari want from him next alongside Leclerc in 2021.

8. George Russell His Imola crash may end up haunting him over the winter if he fails to score a point at the final three races, but strip away that mistake and he has still had a very impressive sophomore season. Continue in this vein next year and it's hard to imagine him anywhere other than Mercedes in 2022.

Flashes of brilliance, lack of consistency

All of the following drivers have a place on the grid next year, but they have all been unconvincing over the balance of the season. However, a solid final three races will go a long way to changing perceptions over the winter...

9. Lance Stroll For the first 36 laps of the Turkish Grand Prix it looked like Stroll might be shooting to the top of these rankings with his first career victory. His pole position still poses an answer to a lot of his critics and there's no doubt he deserved more than two points from the race weekend, but the unconvincing second half of the race (even with the team's post-race excuses) means he remains in the class below the cream of the crop.

10. Lando Norris After scoring just nine points in the last five races, Norris' 2020 season is in danger of fizzling out. He's had his fair share of bad luck, but the star quality that scored his first podium at the opening races of the season in Austria seems to be lacking of late. McLaren will need him to rediscover it if the team is to put up a serious fight for third in the constructors' and hold off a recovering Ferrari at the final three races.

11. Sebastian Vettel Watching Vettel take to the podium in Turkey was one of the most heart-warming sights of the 2021 season. It doesn't make up for the multiple errors and general lack of pace compared to Leclerc that has dogged him throughout the year, but it seemed right that he will leave Ferrari with one last piece of silverware. He will be looking to build on that momentum ahead of his move to Aston Martin over the winter.

12. Antonio Giovinazzi For a long part of 2020 it looked like Giovinazzi was simply keeping his seat warm for a Ferrari junior driver, but in the last few races he has started to show why Alfa Romeo have kept the faith for another year. It's clear the car is among the worst on the grid, but he still managed a point in Imola and a Q3 appearance in Turkey.

13. Kimi Raikkonen Like Giovinazzi, Raikkonen has done enough in recent races to justify Alfa Romeo's decision to keep him onboard for 2021. Quite what a world champion is trying to achieve at the back of the grid for another year is not clear, but if it makes him and the team happy then why not?

14. Esteban Ocon So much was promised from Ocon's return with Renault that it's perhaps no surprise that he has failed to live up to expectations. Being compared with Ricciardo hasn't helped, but life is unlikely to get much easier alongside Fernando Alonso in 2021.

Underperformers and uncertain futures

It's no fun to fighting for your career at the final three races of the year, but that's the case for four of the final six drivers in this week's Power Rankings...

15. Daniil Kvyat A fourth place at Imola showed what Kvyat is capable of in the right circumstances, but it doesn't seem to have been enough to guarantee his future in F1. Over the course of the year, he has been outperformed by Gasly and it's clear AlphaTauri is keen to promote Yuki Tsunoda if the Japanese driver has enough super licence points and Albon doesn't require a landing spot from Red Bull. It seems Kvyat can do very little to change his position, but a series of decent results in the final three races could still make the difference if Albon and Tsunoda underperform.

16. Valtteri Bottas As Hamilton was winning the title in style in Turkey, Bottas was dropping out of contention with one of the most humiliating races of his career. It was a shame as the performance was not representative of the close run Bottas has given Hamilton in qualifying this year nor the fact that the majority of bad luck has fallen on his side of the Mercedes garage, but the honest truth is that Bottas has failed to take the title fight to Hamilton for four years running. Three wins at the end of 2020 would help boost his confidence over the winter, but it seems like a longshot based on his current form.

17. Kevin Magnussen Like his Haas teammate Romain Grosjean, Kevin Magnussen is now counting off the races until he leaves F1 at the end of the year. Magnussen has the youth and the talent for a potential comeback in the future, but it seems more likely he'll try to craft a career in IndyCar. The last three races will be about leaving an impression on the F1 paddock to keep the door ajar.

18. Romain Grosjean Arguably Grosjean lasted longer in F1 than his results warranted, so it's no great surprise that these are likely to be his final three races. He has nothing to lose, so may as well enjoy them and hope for the best.

19. Alex Albon Red Bull wants to keep Albon, but the team just needs a few standout results to justify its decision. It looked like one of those results might come in Turkey, but a spin left him behind teammate Verstappen for the 11th time this season. He has scored just six points from the last four races, which is embarrassing compared to Verstappen's 42 (which could easily have been 60 had he not suffered a puncture at Imola). Three solid results in the next three races should be enough to secure his future, but if he continues in his current form he will give Red Bull every excuse to replace him in 2021.

20. Nicholas Latifi Latifi looked completely out of his depth in difficult conditions in Turkey. Unlike the majority of other drivers in the bottom six places of these rankings, his position is secure for next year, but he needs to start impressing to shed his pay driver tag and build a long-term future in F1. It's hard to do that when you're being compared to a talent like Russell every race weekend, but even beating his teammate in qualifying would seem like a significant step right now.