Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Hungaroring, 2018

2018 mid-season F1 driver rankings part 1: 20-13

2018 F1 season

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As we reach the mid-point in the 2018 Formula 1 season it’s time to run the rule over the grid and assess who’s performing – and who isn’t.

Here’s the first part of our mid-season driver rankings.

20. Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean, Haas, Red Bull Ring, 2018
Romain Grosjean, Haas, Red Bull Ring, 2018

Romain Grosjean

Beat team mate in qualifying3/10
Beat team mate in race3/8
Races finished8/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate184/615
Qualifying margin+0.13

Haas have come good in a big way in 2018. The VF-18, equipped with as much 2018 Ferrari hardware as the rules permit, is a seriously competitive proposition. The team should be a clear fourth in the constructors’ championship, but it isn’t.

Romain Grosjean has to carry a substantial chunk of blame for that. It isn’t just the crashes, of which there have been far too many. Kevin Magnussen has usually been quicker than him, which has been a big surprise.

There have been occasions where Grosjean has shown what he’s capable of – a solid fourth in Austria, his late climb through the field in Germany. But the rest of the season has been a litany of missed opportunities.

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19. Marcus Ericsson

Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, Hockenheimring, 2018
Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, Hockenheimring, 2018

Marcus Ericsson

Beat team mate in qualifying3/12
Beat team mate in race4/9
Races finished10/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate186/574
Qualifying margin+0.6

Pascal Wehrlein and Felipe Nasr are among Marcus Ericsson’s former team mates who beat him over the course of a season, then lost their drives. Money talks.

But Ericsson is getting such a drubbing from Charles Leclerc that it’s hard to imagine the Ferrari junior suffering the same fate. Ericsson’s experience – or, perhaps more accurately, Leclerc’s inexperience – made the difference in the opening races and it was Ericsson who bagged the team’s first points of the year. But once Leclerc hit his strike, Ericsson didn’t know what hit him.

Only in Hungary, where Ericsson came good in the rain, did it look like he had anything left to teach a team mate now widely regarded as a star of the future.

18. Sergey Sirotkin

Sergey Sirotkin, Williams, Monaco, 2018

Sergey Sirotkin

Beat team mate in qualifying6/11
Beat team mate in race3/8
Races finished9/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate230/543
Qualifying margin-0.04

Sergey Sirotkin is a thoughtful, technical driver who’s applied himself well in his rookie season. Unfortunately he’s driving the least competitive car on the grid which means most of the time his only benchmark is Lance Stroll, who is also trying to shake off the same ‘pay driver’ tag.

Sirotkin’s woes were compounded for several races by an ill-fitting seat which caused him considerable discomfort in a very sensitive area. Nonetheless he increasingly looks like a match for Stroll. He needs to press home that advantage in the second half of the season and, if Williams can make some headway with the FW41, he might yet bag himself a point before the year is out.

17. Brendon Hartley

Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
Brendon Hartley, Toro Rosso, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Brendon Hartley

Beat team mate in qualifying3/10
Beat team mate in race2/6
Races finished9/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate90/431
Qualifying margin+1.38

Rather like Grosjean, Hartley has had some big hits this year. Unlike Grosjean, only one of them was his fault – the spin at turn nine at the Circuit de Catalunya which wrecked his weekend.

The rest of the time he’s looked solid, but too seldom a match for team mate Pierre Gasly. He’s clearly on an upward curve: his starts are improving and he made his first Q3 appearance at the last round.

But claiming just two of Toro Rosso’s 28 points so far is a stark illustration of the fact he’s not delivering the results yet.

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16. Lance Stroll

Lance Stroll, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
Lance Stroll, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Lance Stroll

Beat team mate in qualifying5/11
Beat team mate in race5/8
Races finished10/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate313/543
Qualifying margin+0.04

Stroll’s eighth place in the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, at a track which clearly brings out the best in him, is the only thing keeping the team’s championship situation respectable at the moment. But the rest of the season has been a miserable slog.

Thrust into the role of team leader following the loss of Felipe Massa, Stroll hasn’t really looked the part. Nor has he sounded it in a series of increasingly terse radio messages about the performance of his FW41.

Now Sirotkin is closing the gap, and the fight between the pair looks set to be a lot closer in the second half of the season.

15. Stoffel Vandoorne

Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2018

Stoffel Vandoorne

Beat team mate in qualifying0/12
Beat team mate in race2/8
Races finished10/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate95/639
Qualifying margin+0.35

Stoffel Vandoorne must’ve been hoping for so much more from his second season in F1. Now equipped with Renault power, surely this was going to be the season McLaren gave him a car that was at least a reliable points contender?

It hasn’t quite worked out that way. To begin with the car was quick enough for points and Vandoorne was able to shadow Fernando Alonso. Then the team’s struggles with its MCL33 began.

Making matters worse, Vandoorne had a problem with his chassis in Britain and Germany. Once that was replaced he was running in the points in Hungary until his car broke brown. That encapsulates a largely frustrating season so far.

14. Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Shanghai International Circuit, 2018
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Shanghai International Circuit, 2018

Kimi Raikkonen

Beat team mate in qualifying2/12
Beat team mate in race4/9
Races finished10/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate182/668
Qualifying margin+0.27

Kimi Raikkonen’s unspectacular second stint at Ferrari has continued in much the same way as before. He hasn’t looked like a match for Sebastian Vettel, and that increasingly seems to be the point of him being there.

On the few occasions Raikkonen has wound up ahead, some error on Vettel’s part has usually been responsible. Time and again Raikkonen has looked like a contender for pole position prior to Q3, when ill-timed errors have crept in.

It’s hard to fault Raikkonen on consistency – he’s gathered plenty of strong points finishes including five podiums in a row. But at no stage has he seemed a likely contender for victory. In Austria, where both Mercedes retired and a penalty dropped Vettel back, Raikkonen allowed Max Verstappen to barge past for an eventual victory.

13. Carlos Sainz Jnr

Carlos Sainz Jnr, Renault, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2018
Carlos Sainz Jnr, Renault, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2018

Carlos Sainz Jnr

Beat team mate in qualifying5/12
Beat team mate in race2/8
Races finished11/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate147/562
Qualifying margin-0.41

Under normal circumstances – i.e., if Carlos Sainz Jnr wasn’t on loan to Renault from Red Bull – it’s hard to believe he’s be out of a drive for next season this early in the year on the strength of his results so far.

He’s made it to Q3 more often than any of the midfielders. Last time out an inspired call in a wet qualifying session bagged him fifth on the grid. And he has clearly become a stronger threat to team mate Nico Hulkenberg in recent races, due in parts to a more stable line-up in the team around him.

Renault is holding fourth place in the constructors’ championship at the moment and Sainz has made a good contribution to their total, which would be higher if he hadn’t been taken out at Silverstone by Grosjean. On the strength of his half-season so far, Sainz deserves to land a decent drive next year.

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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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  • 120 comments on “2018 mid-season F1 driver rankings part 1: 20-13”

    1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
      13th August 2018, 11:52

      That’s quite harsh on Raikkonen, he’s been very consistent recently, yes he’s made quite a few mistakes in qualifying but he’s made up for that in the races. He’s also not doing very bad this year compared to Vetted who trounced him last year, and while this year it’s obvious who’s better, Kimi has provided some competition against him. Definitely better then Sainz anyway

      1. 20th Sergey Sirotkin
        19th Soffel Vandorne
        18th Brendan Hartley
        17th Romain Grosjean
        16th Lance Stroll
        15th Marcus Ericsson
        14th Sergio Perez
        13th Carlos Sainz
        12th Max Verstappen
        11th Daniel Ricciardo
        10th Pierre Gasly
        9th Esteban Ocon
        8th Kimi Raikkonen
        7th Charles Leclerc
        6th Nico Hulkenberg
        5th Valtteri Bottas
        4th Fernando Alonso
        3rd Sebastian Vettel
        2nd Kevin Magnussen
        1st Lewis Hamilton

        1. @racefan What is your logic behind putting the likes of Verstappen and Ricciardo so low in the rankings, and behind Kimi Raikkonen, no less. And Kevin Magnussen in 2nd place? He really hasn’t been that exceptional. A lot of the time when Grosjean isn’t self-destructing, he is just as quick, if not quicker. Being 1 point ahead of Alonso in a much quicker car, and behind Hulkenberg in the championship with a car that has generally been quicker than the Renault isn’t hugely impressive.

          Mine would be:

          20. Lance Stroll
          19. Sergey Sirotkin
          18. Brendon Hartley
          17. Romain Grosjean
          16. Marcus Ericsson
          15. Stoffel Vandoorne
          14. Sergio Perez
          13. Carlos Sainz
          12. Kimi Raikkonen
          11. Pierre Gasly
          10. Kevin Magnussen
          9. Nico Hulkenberg
          8. Esteban Ocon
          7. Valtteri Bottas
          6. Charles Leclerc
          5. Max Verstappen
          4. Daniel Ricciardo
          3. Sebastian Vettel
          2. Fernando Alonso
          1. Lewis Hamilton

          1. Simply because Verstappen crash and makes severe mistakes in first 5-6 races. Ricciardo because his is slower than Vestappen. Kimi has had many podiums and few severe mistakes even though his top level doesn’t convince.

            Magnussen would have even more points if not for the wheel nut mistake and being hit or obstructed by his own teammate. The car is quick, but performes well above the cars potential.

            1. @racefan Well, I disagree with your logic on Ricciardo’s ranking. Being within, let’s say, 0.2s of Verstappen is a far tougher achievement than outqualifying Romain Grosjean. Not every teammate is the same, othewise we’d be talking about Vandoorne as the successor to Yuji Ide. Secondly, the Haas car is comfortably fourth best in my opinion, and even despite that wheel nut issue in Australia, Magnussen should have more points. It’s not as if Hulkenberg and Alonso haven’t also lost points due to factors out of their control.

        2. @racefan

          I largely agree, especially with your Verstappen ranking. In my view he is just like Grosjean, fast but throwing away points.

          I’d put Kimi lower and LeClerc higher.

      2. I agree, Kimi has done as well or better than Bottas. Just based on results he’s been consistent, even if he isn’t the spectacular driver he was a decade ago.

      3. @vettelfan17, is Kimi actually doing better than he was last year relative to Vettel?

        When you run a comparison with the mid-season evaluation that Keith produced in 2017, there is an argument that Kimi’s form might have marginally improved in some areas, but marginally worsened in others. In terms of qualifying performance, those errors means that Kimi’s performance has worsened in that case – whereas, by this point last year, he’d outqualified Vettel 3 times in 11 races, it has now dropped to 2 times in 12 races, whilst the average gap between himself and Vettel has slightly increased from 0.20s to 0.27s.

        It is true that, compared to 2017, Kimi has finished ahead of Vettel more times – 4 out of 9 races, compared to 1 out of 10 in 2017 – but it has to be said that has usually been because Vettel was involved in incidents on track rather than because Kimi was quicker. In terms of the number of laps that Kimi has been ahead of Vettel, in percentage terms his performance in 2017 was arguably fractionally better (being ahead 27.8% of the time as opposed to 27.2% of the time this year), although the difference is only slight.

        Now, it is true that Kimi has had problems in races in 2018, not to mention some contentious strategy decisions going against him, so he may not have had a chance to show his pace. Still, I would suggest that Kimi hasn’t necessarily improved in all areas and in some might have slipped further away from Vettel rather than closed up to him.

      4. 100% mate.

        Points for last four races:

        – Hamilton 68 points
        – Raikkonen 63 points
        – Vettel 58 points

        This as a result of Hamilton being the benefactor of team orders in Germany, and team orders being to the detriment of Kimi in Germany.

        To me its a no brainer keeping him next season.

        1. In fact, over the last 10 races its been 139 points to Vettel, 131 to Raikkonen.

    2. While i agree in having Raikkonen & Sainz, both having underwhelming seasons, i’m quite surprise to see Vandoorne that high.
      Sure, his teammate is Alonso, but the guy had a terrible season. No pace, yet to outqualify his teammate, invisible in races, no passion-“fire” shown by him. He had only 2 solid races, Bahrain & Hungary, but nothing special. He would be in the bottom of my list…
      I would rank Ericsson above Hartley & Stroll though. Leclerc is extremely talented & every race weekend he proves why, but Ericsson is closer to him in Sundays, in comparison to his bad qualy sessions. In comparison to Hartley who has been demolished by Gasly & Stroll, who is losing the qualy battle & seems totally lost at times, i would barely put Ericsson above.

      1. Agree that it seems a bit harsh to have both of them in this list, @miltosgreekfan. But it is also hard to name many drivers above them who have been consistently worse so far this season. Yes Perez has been underwhelming on many occasions and we could swap him with Sainz, but that is not a material difference to the list. Also, Raikkonen has been up there during races and practice (who cares), but in lists like this we should factor out the car component. And we cannot put him higher only on his stellar interview skills.
        Maybe the only change I would make is to present this as a 20-15 list (it feels a bit like the list of ‘losers; sorry) and get to the midfield in the second article.

        Interestingly, most drivers had some forgettable weekends (without doubt including Hamilton and Vettel), but they all either showed some exceptional highs as well (Verstappen, Bottas).
        It will be interesting to see the rest of this list. And if we really try to take the emotional and car component part out of these rankings than the top 10 will be a lot closer than many might expect.

        1. @coldfly Yeah, it will be difficult to predict the rest with the exception of Perez, who logic says will be in 12th spot.

      2. Yes this is flattering on Stoffel, so we can expect it to be flattering on Alonso too.

    3. Here is my full list:
      20th Sergey Sirotkin
      19th Romain Grosjean
      18th Brendon Hartley
      17th Stoffel Vandoorne
      16th Lance Stroll
      15th Marcus Ericsson
      14th Sergio Perez
      13th Carlos Sainz
      12th Max Verstappen
      11th Daniel Ricciardo
      10th Pierre Gasly
      9th Esteban Ocon
      8th Kimi Raikkonen
      7th Fernando Alonso
      6th Nico Hulkenberg
      5th Valtteri Bottas
      4th Charles Leclerc
      3rd Sebastian Vettel
      2nd Kevin Magnussen
      1st Lewis Hamilton

      1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
        13th August 2018, 12:36

        Ricciardo 11th?

        1. Where do you think he should be?

          1. Vettel fan 17 (@)
            13th August 2018, 13:43

            Top 6, in the top 10 at least

        2. He won 2 races, and one of them was a dominant Monaco performance.

          1. A dominant Monaco performance? You kidding right. While I like and respect the mate, Monaco was NOT dominant.

          2. @miani

            LOL. You kidding right? Dominant performance. I like and respect the Mate, but Monaco being dominant, nah!

            1. @chikano It was dominant. He finished well ahead of 2nd, despite encountering lots of major problems.

          3. Well his qualifying was dominant, in the race he mainly finished ahead because nobody can pass at Monaco with 2018 spec cars. On no other track can you lose 160 BHP from engine and still finish as winner.

      2. In general that is a good list. I would just put Magnussen a bit in the Ocon & Gasly group and Daniel & Max a bit more in the group of Hulkenberg & Bottas. Despite both being under par they did score victories.

      3. Can’t hugely disagree with this, although for me it’s hard to choose number 1 as there hasn’t really been anyone who’s been that incredible in my eyes:
        Hamilton’s had poor races in Bahrain, China and Canada
        Vettel’s lost wins in (probably) Baku and Germany, and likely 3rd in France (and Spain, but less bad)
        Magnussen has been miles away when the cars not been that good (unlike eg Alonso), and was very poor in Monaco quali and the wet in Germany
        Leclerc was poor in the first 3 races and Hungary quali
        Bottas has been unlucky not to have more points but has generally off the pace of Hamilton, especially recently
        Hulkenberg lost good points in Baku and was slower than Sainz in France (although that’s it tbf)
        Alonso has been pretty good, but only Australia was brilliant for me
        Honestly I wouldn’t have any of them in 1st, but someone has to be…

        1. I would probably do something like this:
          Group 1 – Poor
          20 – Sirotkin; 19 – Grosjean; 18 – Stroll; 17 – Hartley; 16 – Vandoorne
          Group 2 – Meh
          15 – Ericsson; 14 – Perez; 13 – Sainz
          Group 3 – Decent
          12 – Verstappen; 11 – Raikkonen; 10 – Ricciardo
          Group 4 – Good
          9 – Ocon; 8 – Gasly; 7 – Magnussen; 6 – Bottas; 5 – Alonso
          Group 5 – Excellent
          4 – Leclerc; 3 – Hulkenberg; 2 – Vettel; 1 – Hamilton
          Group 6 – Superlative
          This is as of how I feel right now. If there was an edit button, it’d probably change about 100 times in the next hour, but I’m gonna have to commit to this, so eh.

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            13th August 2018, 20:22

            Agree with most of this. Just a few changes. Would move Vandoorne up to the next group. Would rate Ricciardo a fair bit higher than Verstappen overall this season, despite the pace difference. He’s certainly good rather than decent.

            The other 2 I would move down are Hulkenberg and Leclerc. Yes, Leclerc has been impressive for a rookie, but if we ignore the fact he’s a rookie, his first 3 races were not great. (his heavily critisized team mate beat him) and in germany, he was terrible near the end. Even if he was in a top car, the mistake he made at the time he did will have resulted in being last pretty much. Then 3rd IMO is very generous for Hulkenberg. He did have en extremely clumsy self inflicted retirement in Baku. Almost a mirror moment of the season before at this circuit. He should have learnt from this. I would have him in your good section between Gasly and Magnussen I think.

            Like you say, this is what you thought at the time and may have changed your mind since. I think the 20 – 13 list is pretty much spot on. Main thing is I think I would possibly swap Ericsson and Vandoorne. But I still agree with the words you use regarding Ericsson. I wouldn’t call him poor this season. Just nothing special. He’s made far less mistakes than this stage last year and has has a few good races.

          2. @thegianthogweed bit ignoring he is a rookie is ignoring the biggest setback the fuy faces in the season, because it is his first. If we ignored the amount of experience Ericsson has (undeserved experience also) his season would look much better, bit that’s not true is it?

            1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
              14th August 2018, 10:11

              Yes, but i base it on how the season HAS been. And Leclerc wasn’t good to start with and had a very poor race in Germany. And given that Ericsson was also better than him in germany, and was very close in Monaco and Austria (not the start of the season any more), I wouldn’t even say his season even though he is a rookie was simply excellent. Think about how Nasr and Magnussen’s first races went. Far better than leclerc’s first 3. And if Ericsson beat him, that makes them even worse IMO. He’s been excellent in qualifying. I don’t think that many drivers could get the car into Q3, but the car has certainly got better this year and him being against Ericsson makes him look a little better than he is. I would rate him 5th or 6th this year, but no higher.

            2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
              14th August 2018, 10:25

              And that said, I still would rate them at least 10 places apart with Leclerc being much higher which I think is fair enough. From the way I base things, I think Leclerc’s season has been a little over hyped and Ericsson’s decent performances, (bahrain, Austria, Germany) haven’t been recognised enough. He isn’t exactly having a poor season. I personally think he’s improved a small amount each season over the last few years, though not by as much as almost every other driver probably would in this amount of time.

            3. You have to make up your mind, first you ignored that he is a rookie to argue that his season was nothing special, now even though you aknowledge that he is a rookie you still don’t think too much of it.

              It just really sounds like a desperate attempt to make the talentless Ericsson not look that bad. Which is what has kept him all these years in the field, he was always beaten by his teammate, but it wasn’t that bad.

            4. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
              14th August 2018, 14:40

              Well, you yourself at one point said you would rate him first. I think there are quite a few drivers who have made less mistakes this year and had many impressive races too. And as I pointed out, I think there have been rookies that have had a cleaner first few races in the past. I don’t see how you don’t think me rating him 5th or 6th still indicates that I think he’s really good. He has had many more impressive races than off races. I also said on another page that he has impressed me more than Verstappen did in his rookie season. Verstappen did however look much better to begin with. But made 2 big mistakes resulting in retirement in the first half season too. But it to me is just a bit hard comparing Leclerc against Ericsson at the same time as being in a car that is clearly getting better. I will try and say this again, I do think Ericsson is not a good driver compared to the majority of the grid, but I think people think he’s a lot worse than he is. But given how close he’s been (or better) than Leclerc in 6 of the races as well as managing to beat him in qualifying in Hungary, I’m not sure that is enough to separate them by nearly 20 places in the rankings…

              And me saying Leclerc had didn’t have a good first 3 races and had a poor end to Germany does not mean his season is nothing special as you seem to be implying that is what I meant. I only mentioned 4 races in that part. And also, you saying always being beaten by team mates may be true, but is was more than obvious he got the better of Nasr in 2016.

            5. No, I didn’t imply anything, nor did I said that I would place them 20 positions apart.

              You are over analyzing it

            6. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
              14th August 2018, 19:18


              Fair enough. But as I remember you saying you would rate Leclerc 1st (guess that could have changed), unless you move Ericsson up to 16th or higher, that still will be separated by nearly 20 places, which I think this sentence of mine implies: “I’m not sure that is enough to separate them by nearly 20 places in the rankings…”

              I think we are possibly both taking each others comments too seriously.

            7. Nah, I don’t take anything serious

      4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        14th August 2018, 14:15

        @f1frog I’m not sure Stroll deserves to be 4 spots ahead of Sirotkin who is dead last. Sirotkin is a rookie, Stroll is in his 2nd season after being trumped by Massa. At best, Sirotkin should be ahead, and at worst tied for one of the lower spots.

    4. It’s especially difficult this year to make a judgement call on much of the grid. How much worse than Hamilton has Bottas been for example? Certainly not as bad as the points difference suggests. Verstappen has made nearly as many mistakes as Grosjean; how much further forward should he be just because his faster car enables him to grab wins/podiums, rather than points on his good days? Equally Verstappen has normally been quicker than Ricciardo, but more error-prone; how do we balance that? The Force India’s and Williams’ have been hard to split, where do they rank?

      Tricky to say the least! I always find it hard to give solid numberings to the drivers and prefer to drop them into vague groupings.

      Bottom of the class:
      Grosjean, Vandoorne, Ericsson, Stroll, Sirotkin, Hartley

      Must improve:
      Raikkonen, Sainz, Perez

      Tier 2:
      Bottas, Hulkenberg, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Gasly, Ocon

      Top of the class:
      Hamilton, Vettel, Leclerc, Magnussen, Alonso

      Of course, this is all subjective and I’m interested to see where everyone ends up in the list.

      1. I don’t understand why Magnussen is being put that high up the list. I’d put him in tier 2. Personally, I think he’s had the best midfield car this year, but his points total has put him marginally higher than Hulkenberg and Alonso. If Alonso was in that Haas, he would be leading the midfield with a large margin, and would be really closer to the Red Bull drivers in points total.

        Also thought Bottas has been really good this year. I’d definitely rate him higher than Magnussen and Leclerc.

        Would have to agree with the bottom of the class though – Grosjean, Stroll, Sirotkin, Hartley, Ericsson and Vandoorne have definitely been poor.

        1. On reflection, I think you’re right. I’d probably swap Bottas and Magnussen if I’d thought about it a bit longer!

          Magnussen has impressed me a lot though. Grosjean is no slouch and Magnussen has been far quicker.

        2. Don’t think Alonso would have much more points then Magnussen by now. Remember that 2-3 races Magnussen have been hit with mechanical failure and Grosjean. The same would Alonso have been. So Alonso might have 5-7 points more. But that’s it.

          1. @melmgreen

            Kmag’s had only one retirement this year in Australia, but Alonso has had 2 back to back retirements in Monaco and Spain when he was running in the points.

            Alonso is a point behind him in a car that has been much slower than his on almost every circuit this season. I reckon he’d be at least 10 to 15 points higher than KMag’s point tally in the same machinery.

            1. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
              14th August 2018, 3:49

              Haas has given away more of KMag’s lost points, than KMag himself has.

      2. @ Ben, agree. Would only change Bottas with Leclerc because I think it is hard to judge how good Jos performance is ( how good is his car, how bad is his teammate).

          1. Jos the boss

      3. Great list @ben-n, especially with the Magnussen adjustment suggested by @todfod.

        I don’t see Bottas in the TotC group. He’s finally showing some real speed in the Mercedes but had some big mistakes as well (his Hungary get together with Ricciardo IMO is in the Grosjean league and should bar him from the top group).

      4. + 1

        I like this approach. Only real objection is Bottas, who deserves better in my view.

      5. +1 Very good list.

        Its difficult to put some drivers in tiers. At the beginning of the season you’d put Verstappen in tier 3 (being harsh maybe 4), now tier 2 seems much better. Ricciardo I would have had tier 1 (probably still) after the China and Monaco races, he’s not been as impressive recently (maybe the move has been a distraction, and Verstappen not crashing).

        I think Magnussen is too high (looks better due to Grosjean being terrible).

        I would probably have Bottas in Tier 1 (tough against Hamilton, he’s had some great races though) and I would consider Hulkenberg to be tier 1 (difficult to know if Hulk has been great or Sainz has been bad – possibly both)

        Good shouts though, as you say very difficult to call this year and you could argue a lot of them!

      6. That’s a really good way of doing it. I would have
        • Vandoorne in ‘must improve’ (his teammate is Alonso, after all)
        • Perez in tier 2
        • Verstappen in ‘must improve’ (although he has done already, I’m taking the whole season so far into account)
        • Bottas and Ricciardo in top of the class
        • Magnussen in Tier 2

        I considered placing Vettel in tier 2 (after several serious mistakes) but he has won many races and is fighting for the championship. It is easy to remember the most recent races and base it on those, but I have tried to take the entire season into account. It is difficult to say which midfield drivers, such as Hülkenberg, should be in ‘top of the class’ as their performances cannot be judged in relation to the top drivers.

        So mine would look like this:

        Bottom of the class:
        Grosjean, Ericsson, Stroll, Sirotkin, Hartley

        Must improve:
        Räikkönen, Sainz, Vandoorne, Verstappen

        Tier 2:
        Hülkenberg, Gasly, Ocon, Perez, Magnussen

        Top of the class:
        Hamilton, Bottas, Vettel, Leclerc, Ricciardo, Alonso

    5. Of the top four Hamilton has delivered the most, but he’s had quite a few off weekends. Vettel has three glaring mistakes against his name. Kimi has been poor.

      Ricciardo and Verstappen have see-sawed between them some great performances, delivering 3 wins in the third best car. But rarely have they both performed together.

      The standouts for me are in the midfield. Alonso has destroyed Vandoorne’s entire career despite only being half interested in what’s going on, Hulkenberg has shown his class against a highly rated team mate, Magnussen has vastly exceeded most peoples (admittedly low) expectations and Leclerc has shown that special something that you only see in the true greats.

      My number one though, Ocon. A stellar season so far that has only been masked by a relatively uncompetitive Force India. He deserves more credit than he’ll receive.

      1. +1

        Think Ric and Ver are both class, think when they have different team mates we will see just how good they are.

        Definitely agree with your midfield teams opinion It’s crazy to think Ocon may not have a drive next year, surely that won’t happen

    6. Disagree with almost all the rankings from 20 to 13.

      There’s no way Kimi should be that low in the rankings. If it wasn’t for his mechanical failure in Bahrain, and the constant sabotaging of his strategy by Ferrari to help Vettel, he would have been pretty neck and neck with Vettel in terms of points. Heck, he’s actually gotten more podiums than Ferrari’s golden boy, so I don’t see how anyone can put Raikonnen in #14 and rank Vettel in the top 3 or 4.

      The way I see it –
      #20. Grosjean
      #19. Stroll
      #18. Sirotkin
      #17. Hartley
      #16. Ericsson
      # 15. Vandoorne
      #14. Sainz
      #13. Perez

      1. Totally agree. Keith always rubbishes kimi though.

      2. @todfod I totally agree with your list. In addition to Bahrain, Kimi also retired in Spain while he was on course for yet another podium. Kimi’s best days are probably over, but he is still doing pretty impressive job. Everybody loves to mention how Ferrari’s inner-team qualifying battle is 10-2 in favour of VET, but their qualifying margin is second smallest of all drivers in this list (only Williams pair have smaller margin), so it’s been close between them.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          13th August 2018, 22:58

          I do think Kimi has been put a bit low, but I’m not sure how you are seeing he was on course for a podium in Spain. When Bottas had pitted and before Kimi’s problem was there, Bottas was 15 seconds behind. From what Ferrari said on the radio, it looked like they were going to pit Kimi within a few laps, but he would have come out getting on for 10 seconds behind Bottas. And I really couldn’t see 4th place turning into 3rd by the end of that race if Kimi was still running.

      3. One might argue that even though he jas scored so many podiums and capitalised on Vettel’s mistakes the fact that he still trails his teammate by some margin might justify his position in the ranking.

        With that said, I agree with you that he is placed a bit low.

        1. If you add the 30 points to his tally which he lost because of 2 mechanical retirements. He’s only 16 points behind Vettel. That’s despite Ferrari trying their level best to destroy Kim’s race strategy on numerous occasions.

          Honestly, if Kimi should be a maximum of 4 to 5 ranks behind Vettel.

    7. I can pretty much entirely agree with the ordering of the list. Looking forward to seeing how it’s going to be from 12th to first.

      1. Oh, and BTW, I forgot to add: ”As we reach the mid-point”
        – To be precise, we’ve not only already reached it, but also passed it already (during the German GP and more precise midway through that race), so, therefore, it should be typed more like in past tense rather than present tense.

    8. @keithcollantine would it be possible to include the previous ranking of each driver alongside this year’s stats?

    9. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      13th August 2018, 13:42

      Uft very harsh on Kimi.

    10. My ranking of the 20 drivers
      #20 Stoffel Vandoorne
      #19 Romain Grosjean
      #18 Sergey Sirotkin
      #17 Brendon Hartley
      #16 Lance Stroll
      #15 Marcus Ericsson
      #14 Carlos Sainz
      #13 Kimi Raikkonen
      #12 Sergio Perez (mostly due to his podium)
      #11 Pierre Gasly
      #10 Daniel Ricciardo
      #9 Esteban Ocon
      #8 Max Verstappen
      #7 Fernando Alonso
      #6 Kevin Magnussen
      #5 Nico Hulkenberg
      #4 Valtteri Bottas
      #3 Charles Leclerc
      #2 Sebastian Vettel (many unforced mistakes)
      #1 Lewis Hamilton ( extremely consistent despite some off weekends)

      1. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
        13th August 2018, 14:18

        My ranking
        20. Vandoorne
        19 Stroll
        18 Grosjean
        17 Sirotkin
        16 Ericsson
        15 Hartley
        14 Perez
        13 Sainz
        12 Verstappen
        11 Raikkonen
        10 Gasly
        9 Bottas
        8 Ocon
        7 Ricciardo
        6 Magnussen
        5 Alonso
        4 Hulkenberg
        3 Vettel
        2 Leclerc
        1 Hamilton
        I’ll amend it later, this is just a rough guide

        1. I like this ranking, but I would probably have Bottas higher and Ricciardo lower.

        2. @felipemassadobrasil Bottas has done a very good season, so P9 is a bit harsh.
          Him vs Hamilton are the closest pair in qualy battle & Bottas has massively improved his race craft & aggression in comparison to last year. With the exception of Ricciardo who is too high imo, i agree with most of your picks.

        3. I would put Leclerc first,, K-mag fith and Bottas seventh. But could live with the rest of your list

      2. I almost agree. Would put Leclerc lower and Ricciardo higher

      3. Not that I disagree with Hamilton on #1 (same here), but I’m not sure what “extremely consistent despite some off weekends” means. @miltosgreekfan.
        He has been less stellar/consistent than in his best year, but the guys behind him were struggling ‘bigger’ or more often.

        The guy who has been most consistent is Hulkenberg IMO.

        1. @coldfly When i said “extremely consistent despite some off weekends”, i meant that despite having some races where he struggled for pure race pace (China, Canada), he stayed out of any trouble, didn’t overdefend & collected good points for his championship campaign.

    11. Only the following drivers has done some special (more than once) this season. Of course some more than others. My top ranking look like this:

      7th Charles Leclerc
      6th Nico Hulkenberg
      5th Valtteri Bottas
      4th Fernando Alonso
      3rd Sebastian Vettel
      2nd Kevin Magnussen
      1st Lewis Hamilton

      1. Bit harsh on a couple of drivers to say these were the only ones to do something special more than once. I’d argue both Ricciardo’s wins were pretty special, and his 4th in Hungary on a track you “can’t” overtake was pretty special. He’s had a lot of mechanical failures this year, also the crash with Max was pretty special too.

    12. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      13th August 2018, 14:05

      I think way too much of Ericsson’s qualifying weakness is being put towards his position here. That clearly is a problem, but qualifying isn’t what counts.

      Leclerc may be a rookie, and yes he has dominated Ericsson in Qualifying. But has dominated him 5 times out of all the races so far. Ericsson beat him in the first 3, looked incredibly close in Monaco, Austria and was clearly much better in Germany. Even in Hungary, he did manage to outqualify him again. We can’t judge much of that race, from what we saw, Ericsson did a little better. I think Ericsson has had a couple of very good races this year. Bahrain and Germany. Would likely have got past Leclerc without team orders later in the race in Austria too and then would have a 3rd of the teams points which really is not bad given his reputation and how highly rated his team mate is. He has made less mistakes than many drivers this season during the races. Despite being quite heavily beaten by Leclerc, he looks better than he did last year. I would rate him above both Williams drivers too. As well as hartly. So prbably 16th. 19th is a little low.

      1. Well put. Ericsson is probably the only placing I would change out of this list. He should be ahead of Hartley at least.

        1. And certainly ahead of Vandoorne. He’s been so disappointing this season.

          1. How Vandoorne is not last is beyond me. The car had problems but not in all the races.

    13. My list

      1. Lewis Hamilton
      1. Fernando Alonso (The most consistent driver on the grid. Has not had an off day and makes zero mistakes. Has his F2 champion team mate in his pocket. Would probably lead the championship by 30 points in a ferrari)
      3. Charles Leclerc
      4. Esteban Ocon
      5. Kevin Magnussen
      6. Valtteri Bottas (unlucky, but lacks Hamiltons fire)
      7. Pierre Gasly
      8. Daniel Ricciardo (too weak in qualifying)
      9. Nico Hulkenberg (Big big mistake in Baku prevent him from being higher)
      10. Sergi Perez
      11. Sebastian Vettel (3 major mistakes which has cost him the lead in the championship, last time out in Germany! name other drivers that have made the same number of major mistakes?)
      12. Max Verstappen (Has picked his act up massively, but his rough start to the season has stained his first half. Has Ricciardo beaten by ease in quali)
      13. Carlos Sainz
      14. Kimi Raikonnen (Way to many errors in quali, imagine if he was in the midfield doing that.. The fact that he has podiums to his name says more about the car. Name drivers who would fail to make the podium in a 2018 ferrari?)
      15. Stoffel Vandoorne (Has arguably the best driver in the world as a team-mate. His stats would be a completely different story with another team-mate)
      16. Brendon Hartley
      17. Romain Grosjean (big mistakes)
      18-20. Ericsson/Stroll/Sirotkin (too week to be on the grid)

    14. I think Stroll might be too highly placed here. But other then that, I agree so far with most of this.

    15. I’ve had to split my top 20 into tiers, but I’ve tried to put them in order too, though some are difficult to distinguish. I don’t think there’s a stand out top driver either, but the problem with a list is I can’t have three joint 2nds and no 1st place.

      My bottom of the list in order, hard to split them, but either too many mistakes, not quick enough, or just slow:
      15. Hartley
      16. Stroll
      17. Ericsson
      18. Vandoorne
      19. Sirotkin
      20. Grosjean

      Next bunch are generally a bit disappointing for various understandable reasons, but not total disasters:
      11. Raikkonen
      12. Sainz
      13. Magnussen
      14. Perez

      Then those that have had a mix of highlights marred with mistakes and inconsistency:
      8. Bottas
      9. Verstappen
      10. Hulkenberg

      Some outstanding moments, but generally very dependable for brilliant performances, excelling over their team-mates. Ricciardo is the exception, but makes this group owing to his two wins including a dominant Monaco GP.
      4. Vettel
      5. Alonso
      6. Ricciardo
      7. Ocon

      My stand outs this year based on memorable performances and comparisons to teammates. Hamilton still has off weekends, but he’s generally no less competitive than Bottas on those weekends. When he’s on it though, there is no matching him, hence the top spot for me. Leclerc got off to a slow start, and disappointed a little in Hungary, but generally is an exciting talent. Gasly has delivered for Toro Rosso some outstanding finishes, has shown great pace, and shown McLaren and Alonso what a Honda engine is capable of.
      1. Hamilton
      2. Leclerc
      3. Gasly

      1. Magnussen diapointing? Do you know anything about F1?

      2. Magnussen in the top 3-4 is a bit flattering as far as I’m concerned, but putting him in the 11-14 list is ridiculous, @fongu

        1. I think Kmag belongs between #8 to #10 .. anything higher than that is ridiculous. I don’t understand how people think he’s been better than both Alonso and Hulkenberg this year. I think Grosjean’s terrible performances have flattered him slightly.

          1. Well, the readers and journalists of the Magazine Autosport has Magnussen the higest rated driver last time i checked. Also the official website Formula1 has Magnussen higher rated than Hulkenberg. Maybee you underestimate his driving in the first 12 races.

            1. He has been good, he probably does deserve to be higher in my list. To me, he’s been more solid rather than spectacular, and it’s difficult to judge when Grosjean is not performing as well as he could and when the car works well at some tracks and not others. He came into F1 with much the same hype as Vandoorne and neither have had the opportunity to show their apparent potential. This has been Kevin’s best season to date, but when he’s finished high, it’s been more the car. With Gasly and Leclerc, you feel that they occasional deliver results higher than the car deserves at times.

            2. Romain Grosjean has been on the podium 10 times as a driver, without ever driving for Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull. He wiped the floor with his last teammate and has 7 titles in prior series to his name, and is generally recognized as very quick when things come together (which they haven’t in the races this year). On top, he is highly experienced. To say that him and Kevin Magnussen are passengers in the car when it is good, and underperforming when it is not, is too easy. The Haas might be borrowing a lot from Ferrari, but a Ferrari it is not. The Haas organisation has a fraction of the people, a fraction of the experience, nor the budget to hire the most ‘talented’ ones. Does all of that count for nothing on track? Not even 1-2-3 tenths per lap on the setup? I’d expect it does. In my view any lap Grosjean and KMag do within a sec of Vettel, a 4-times champ fighting for the title, is a lap where they’ve been throwing everything plus the kitchen sink at it and made it stick. Bravo to them. If anything Grosjean’s mishaps indicates the car is not always as easy to drive as people think.

            3. The Sauber is almost as fast the Haas and the Torro Rosso is probably faster on tracks with with many accelerations from low speed corners (Bahrain, Monaco, Hungary).

              While the teammates of Leclerc and Gastly has skills below average, Grosjean’s skills is above average. It’s just because Magnussen has put Grosjean under pressure he steamesband makes those costly mistakes. If they are not teammates next year and Grosjean will be offered another year in F1, you will understand my point ;-)

      3. @fongu

        Suck My B@LL$

        – Kevin Magnussen

    16. Grosjean: Flop Of The Year?

      1. not over yet…

      2. Absolutely. It costs me to write this as I like his personality and the way he improved himself after his big crashes.
        But he has massively disappointed so far and this looks like his last F1 season.
        Hope he can get his act together and deliver in the second half of the season.

        1. Deliver? Honestly, I don’t think so…

    17. Like many have pointed out, ranking the drivers this season is pretty difficult. My completely subjective top-10 would be:

      10. Bottas – Has been the most unlucky driver of the season so far, but after season and a half it’s starting to become painfully clear that he just isn’t capable of challenging Hamilton quite the way Rosberg was. Still doing a decent job and probably deserved his contract for next season though.

      9. Ocon – Has surprised me by beating Perez more often that not. Still a bit error-prone, but much better than last season. Hopefully he can find a decent seat next season, as it looks unlikely he will have place at Force Stroll after the current season.

      8. Verstappen – On pure pace, he might be the best driver out there, but all those mistakes during the first races of the season really drop his position on this list. Has been driving better lately, and might find himself much higher in my list by the end of the season if he can keep up the recent good performances.

      7. Ricciardo – Ranking the Red Bull-drivers feels rather difficult. In a way, Ricciardo has driven quite well, but at the same time it’s clear that Verstappen is the faster of the two, so ranking Ricciardo any higher just doesn’t feel justified.

      6. Vettel – I know it’s a bit harsh to rank him this low, but the truth is he should be leading the championship with the car he has. Still has the chance to take the title, but must improve his driving in the second half of the season and get rid of those stupid mistakes.

      5. Magnussen – I’m personally not his biggest fan, but he has been quietly impressive this season, comfortably beating his team-mate and keeping Haas in the fight for 4th place.

      4. Hulkenberg – After few rather unimpressive seasons at Force India Hulk seems to have gotten his career back on track at Renault. Might prove to be surprising difficult opponent against Ricciardo next year.

      3. Leclerc – Had a slow start to his career, but after the first few races he has probably been the most impressive driver on the grid. I really hope he would get that Ferrari-seat next season.

      2. Hamilton – While I don’t think Hamilton has actually been that sensational, he still deserves to lead the championship. It’s not his fault Vettel & Ferrari are gifting him the title, and there isn’t much more Hamilton could have done so far.

      1. Alonso – Once again working miracles in a rather weak car. I can’t think how he could have performed any better this season.

    18. Well, the readers and journalists of the Magazine Autosport has Magnussen the higest rated driver last time i checked. Also the official website Formula1 has Magnussen in top5 and higher rated than Hulkenberg. Maybee you underestimate his driving in the first 12 races.

      1. Well.. Autosport isn’t the bible. And I’m pretty sure they smoke some top tier stuff when they do their rankings.

    19. I think I will leave my top 20 until the second set of Keith’s ratings have been produced.

    20. 20-15 I agree with, largely except I think Sirotkin should be higher up, but then…oh dear.

      Raikkonen and Sainz both behind someone like Perez. Based on what, a single podium? You can maybe justify putting Sainz behind Gasly but Raikkonen? No way. And not behind Sainz, neither.

      But no matter: Put KR at P14 all you want, and Autosport can consistently rate him lower at every race than the fans do etc. etc. It only proves that the media don’t matter anymore. All the F1 journos will be terribly disappointed again soon when KR’s contract is announced for 2019. The anti-Raikkonen media crusade will have failed again. As they say the dogs bark but the caravan moves on.

      1. Kimi isn’t doing anything remarkable. He is just doing his thing.
        Driving on Auto Pilot for countless years already.

        He is driving one of the best cars of his career and he can’t come close to win a race even if his life is on the line.
        I can’t rate all the other drivers with top machinery above him. Hulkenberg, Magnussen, Leclerc and Alonso too. So, he wouldn’t be on the top 10 anyway.

      2. Raikkonen and Sainz both behind someone like Perez. Based on what, a single podium? You can maybe justify putting Sainz behind Gasly but Raikkonen? No way. And not behind Sainz, neither.


        I completely agree with you. Kimi definitely belongs in the top 10 this season. He’s been really consistent despite the fact that he gets only a fraction of the support from his garage as compared to his more illustrious teammate. If you add his points lost from mechanical retirements, he’s just a handful of points (16 to 20 points) behind Vettel. If he was racing on equal terms with Vettel, one could say they would be level on points at this point in the season.

        Yet, they rank Kimi at #14. I honestly expected a better evaluation of Kimi’s performance at racefans than I did somewhere else… but I don’t think they’ve really thought it through either. I’m not saying Kimi belongs in the top 5 drivers that season, but to keep him below Sainz, Perez and Gasly is just ridiculous. Do you actually think any of those 3 drivers in a Ferrari seat would actually have Kimi’s points tally this season?

    21. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      13th August 2018, 22:22

      Just looking back on Grosjean’s season a bit. He’s actually overall looked a bit better than Magnussen over the last 4 races. He’s scored on 3 occasions. Austria with 12, Germany with 8 and Hungary with 1. Adding up to all of his points this season. Magnussen got 10 in Austria, 2 in Britain and 6 in Hungary. Adding up to 18. I also think there is one race that many are forgetting about Grosjean. Magnussen did have a better qualifying and a better start in Australia, but Grosjean looked just as good, in fact quicker during the actual race. Once Grosjean and Magnussen were in clean air, Grosjean was catching Magnussen pretty quickly, and if it wasn’t for the track overtaking difficulties here, we just don’t know if he would have been able to pass. The team ruined a very very likely 5th and 6th place finish.

      The problem with Grosjean is that in such little time, he’s caused 3 retirements. That is extremely poor and he has looked to struggle in several other races too. But I don’t think his 3 very solid races have had enough appreciation.

      If Grosjean gets over his poor drives and puts in his good performances more often (which I think he may be able to), he will be worth the team giving him another chance.

    22. This list is great and all, but let’s get back to talking about Alonso.

    23. With a car like Ferrari at Kimi’s disposal, he is lucky he’s not further down the list if it weren’t for the others who have been very very poor. Stoffel has been average but having to try and beat a teammate who is regarded as one of the best, is an unfair comparison.

    24. Now I will be honest – I live in a town where if you turn onto Brendon Hartley Drive you will end up at Circuit Chris Amon (Manfeild), but I still think we give Hartley until the end of the season before making a call on him.

      Its good to see Keith has acknowledged he is getting better, but what people neglect is this is his first full time single seater season since the very year Gasly started his single seater career (2011). In light of that and in light of his ongoing progression I think he is a worthwhile investment to RB/TR.

      To be honest, and accuse me of being blinded by nationalism all you want, but in light of where Red Bull, Max, and Honda each find themselves at present I wouldn’t rule out Hartley being given a 1 year deal for the other Red Bull seat, at which point a more experienced and mature Gasly can step up.

      Red Bulls objective next year is to get the Honda partnership working. They aren’t going to win next year so what do you do? Put in a guy who is young, ambitious and potentially destabilising to Verstappen in the form of Gasly, or do you put in a guy who comes across very very relaxed, is renowned for his testing and meticulous feedback, has completed the most laps in 50% of practise sessions this season, and has not once publicly slammed Honda?

      I know who Honda and the Verstappens will be gunning for, and rightly so. I think Hartleys absolute lack of politics will put him above pretty much every other candidate.

    25. To me I think Raikkonen is a bit low in this ranking, should at least be in the bottom half of 10, besides that, I agree this ranking so far.

      My rankings:

      20. Grosjean – What is going on with him?
      19. Sirotkin – It doesn’t help that he’s a rookie and has the slowest car on the grid.
      18. Vandoorne – Disappointing really.
      17. Hartley – I like the guy, but he’s outshone by his teammate.
      16. Stroll – Not that much better, but his race starts have been cool.
      15. Ericsson – Well, its good he’s scored points atleast.
      14. Sainz – While not terrible, Hulkenberg has been better this year.
      13. Perez – Baku podium has been his highlight this year, but Ocon has been better overall.
      12. Gasly – Great at times, but probably a bit inconsistent in terms of collecting points.
      11. Magnussen – Hard to rate actually, solid, but not spectacular.
      10. Ocon – Better than Perez.
      9. Verstappen – Fast but has made more errors than Ricc,
      8. Raikkonen – Arguably his best season so far since returning to Ferrari.
      7. Leclerc – Impressive.
      6. Hulkenberg – Solid.
      5. Ricciardo – Should have more points compared to Max Imo, infact both drivers should have more if it weren’t for their Mechanical DNFs.
      4. Vettel – Not quite as good as he was this year compared to last.
      3. Bottas – Easily the unluckiest driver of the top 3 teams, should have won Baku.
      2. Hamilton – Near perfect, arguably 2nd best car and still leads WC.
      1. Alonso – As good as ever.

      1. 2nd best car the same way RBR was second best in 2012.

    26. Is there anyone out there willing to crush some numbers on the Hamilton x Bottas battle? It seems to me that, if just a few things had gone Bottas’ way this season, he might even be the championship leader.
      Not saying he has done an overall better job than Hamilton, but I think it is probably very, very close.
      This also has to do with the fact that Lewis, the rightful championship leader, has had a pretty inconsistent season, for his (high) standards. He has often been second to Bottas during F1 weekends, in the different sessions – which was pretty rare last year. But where it matters, the race, he has had a few stellar performances (one might argue, so has Bottas) and a little bit of things going his way here and there.

      I also believe that the Mercedes is the better car this year, not the Ferrari, as Hamilton wants us to believe. At least there is very a slight advantage, comparable to the Red Bull x McLaren battle in 2012, I think it was.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        14th August 2018, 11:31


        I did do some comparisons earlier on in the season, but then gave up as Bottas’s luck continued to get worse.

        So, I’m being a little generous with some of these, but lets start out what Bottas has potentially lost.

        Bahrain. Mercedes clearly did assume that Vettel was going to pit. One reason they were holding Bottas back for so long. If they had allowed him to push just 1 lap sooner, he will have almost certainly got Vettel. He was easily close enough to pass Vettel on the start/finish straight, but unfortunately only as it ended. One lap extra to push, almost no doubt he could have won.
        7 points missed.

        China. Bottas had an excellent start by getting past Kimi. Hamilton meanwhile had an underwhelming start and got overtook by Verstappen. Bottas kept within a reasonable distance to Vettel, then when Bottas pitted, vettel messed up his lap in a couple of places as well as slowign down for the limited pitlane speed earlier than he needed to. Bottas currently was doing a really fast lap, which got him ahead. Very likely will have won here. But the Toro Rosso pair changed that to a 2nd place by bringing out a safety car which resulted in Ricciardo getting fresh tyres and getting Bottas.
        7 points missed.

        Azerbaijan. Bottas may have been out qualified by Hamilton and not looked as strong to start with during the race. But Hamilton locking up basically ruined that stint and he then pitted. Bottas was then fractionally faster than him on his old tyres. Even setting some fastest sector times. He had in fact closed made the gap just about big enough to pit and come out in front of Hamilton. Or only just behind. but at that stage, he will have been on the fastest tyres available and it will have been a 2nd place at the worst. Luck did play onto Bottas’s side, but can’t be said that wasn’t due. He did end up in first because of the safety car. Vettel messed up, also allowing Hamilton another place. Then Bottas’s puncture gave Hamilton more extra points.
        While Bottas loses 25.

        France. Vettel messed up Bottas’s race here. Mercedes very clearly has the advantage on this track. Pretty much confirming it will have been a 1 – 2. Bottas suffered a puncture and didn’t have a great handling car for much of the race. Managed to recover to 7th.
        But easily 12 points lost.

        Won’t include Austria as both Mercedes drivers retired.

        Britain. Hamilton did indeed suffer some bad luck here, and he did do a great job of the recovery himself. But times when Hamilton suffers bad luck is often helped by the safety car. Just as Ericsson crashed, Hamilton was 22 seconds behind the leader. The safety car allowed him to close this up, so undoing some of his bad luck. Vettel, Kimi and Verstappen all pitted. Bottas and Hamilton didn’t. I think Hamilton’s tyres were around 5 laps newer than Bottas’s. But it was 5 laps to the end of the race that his tyres started to give up. It turned out to be the wrong decision on Bottas’s side again. Without the safety car, he will have been 2nd. With it and Mercedes choosing to pit him, 3rd will have been the lowest.
        at least 3 points lost.

        I was and still am a bit unsure about Hamilton’s “problem” in qualifying in Germany. Even the articles about it don’t really conclude anywhere that it wasn’t anything to do with hamilton’s aggressive driving
        earlier on in the lap. He went all over the kerbs once or twice before the team said there was a problem in their explanation afterwards. Anyway, Bottas did look more comfortable that qualifying session. Near the end of the race, Bottas could possibly have stayed out. He pitted to switch from softs to Ultras, but Mercedes were not ready. He was running in 1st, then had a 15 second pit stop. Luckily, kimi also stopped so he did get 1 place back. The Bottas had an excellent restart and nearly got past Hamilton. While I think it is unlikely that will have happened, Mercedes did tell him to stop trying to. So that will have been why he dropped back. Not exactly bad luck that race, but it is another race that he did very well in.

        Hungary. I’m being a bit generous here too. There really wasn’t much need to pit Bottas as soon as they did. He was on really old tyres near the end of the race. Only Ericsson was on older ones. If they had pitted him later, he will have very likely have kept both Vettel and Kimi behind. The first incident was clearly classed as a racing incident. But it was because of this one that Bottas fell back and got involved with another. I do blame him for the 2nd one, but understeer as well as his actions were to blame. And none of this will have happened if it wasn’t for Mercedes pitting him so early. But I guess you can’t not blame him for the 2nd contact. But still, he will have lost all these points due to the first contact anyway, which was deemed a racing incident. So if things had gone better with his strategy, 2nd will have easily been possible.
        So, quite possibly 8 points lost.

        Regarding Hamilton, he gained 7 points in Azerbaijan due to Bottas’s bad luck there.

        If you add up all of Bottas’s points i’ve noted here, that is 62. Bottas would in that case have 194 and Hamilton 206. If I’ve been a bit generous with Bottas, lets lake away 10 points. He’s still less than a race win behind Hamilton. And if I worked out Vettel’s change in points if Bottas had been a bit more lucky, it is likely Bottas would be ahead of him too.

        Bottas certainly is having a good season.

        1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
          14th August 2018, 11:49

          I am admittedly leaning the good luck towards Bottas here. As it currently most certainly is towards Hamilton at the moment. If I took it a bit further and Hamilton had lost 25 points like Bottas did in Baku and Bottas took the win instead, he could be leading the championship. If things were how they were in 2014 – 2016 with Mercedes dominance, if luck had gone his way like it did for Rosberg, he could be a champion.

          Bottas’s bad luck this season and his championship position is making him look much worse than he’s been. That 1 incident in hungary was the only mistake that Bottas has made since Bahrain 2016 that resulted in a penalty. Hamilton basically did exactly the same on Ricciardo at that same corner in 2015. So even drivers like Hamilton make these mistakes sometimes. People shouldn’t judge that incident on how good a driver Bottas has been this season.

          1. @thegianthogweed great job, man! thanks!

          2. @thegianthogweed Good job! Please do Kimi and Vettel

    27. One of the things I find really interesting is the fact no one rates Gasly very high, for me he wold be on my top 3 with Alonso and hulkenberg.
      This year there hasn’t been any driver that has stood above all others. All the top 6 are having a really mediocre year, being Hamilton the better of the 6 of them, but even him had some really off weekends.
      For me the great drives of the year have been Gasly in Bahrain and Hungary, Perez on that podium and Leclerc to sixth in Azerbaijan,

    28. Amazing, it seems now mistakes don’t count for the overall rating of a driver.
      Except if his name is Grosjean it seems…or Raikonnen qualifying ones.

      So how many points a driver lost due to his own mistakes:
      Lets compare:

      Vettel – who should leading championship comfortably
      Verstappen – who should be in front of Ricciardi.

      But it seems Grosjean is pillored for what others have also done and should be pillored too.

      And nothing shows more bias than this:
      “On the few occasions Raikkonen has wound up ahead, some error on Vettel’s part has usually been responsible. Time and again Raikkonen has looked like a contender for pole position prior to Q3, when ill-timed errors have crept in.”

      So the Vettel mistakes in races devalue Kimi performance in race and Kimi mistakes in qualifying devalue Kimi performance in qualifying…

      1. Agreed. Raikkonen has been reasonably decent this season, and has made no more mistakes than Vettel really. Grosjean has made some bone-headed moves, but has shown some exceptional pace during other times – not unlike Verstappen.

        My rankings would be as follows:
        Had Kimi not made 3 mistakes during qualifying sessions this year, there’s a good chance he’d be equal with Vettel on points. He’s actually looked quicker during qualifying quite often this year, possibly more often than not, only to lose out a few places due to a mistake in Q3.

        Personally, I wouldn’t put Vettel or Hamilton in the top 5. Neither of them have been outperforming their cars, and both have made mistakes and had off weekends. Hamilton is leading the championship basically due to sheer luck through strategy calls.

        I’d rank them as follows:
        20 – Sirotkin
        19 – Hartley
        18 – Vandoorne
        17 – Stroll
        16 – Ericsson
        15 – Perez
        14 – Grosjean
        13 – Sainz
        12 – Verstappen
        11 – Ricciardo
        10 – Raikkonen
        9 – Magnussen
        8 – Bottas
        7 – Vettel
        6 – Hamilton
        5 – Gasly
        4 – Alonso
        3 – Ocon
        2 – Hulkenberg
        1 – Leclerc

        The top 12 are pretty close.

    29. Sorry for my English, I’m French.
      Kimi 14th? It’s completely ridiculous.
      There is only 43 points difference between him and Vettel. But more than half can be explained by Kimi’s two exits in Spain and Bahrain, which probably cost him two more podiums. Vettel gives up once but it’s his fault. Raikkonen is less performant in pure performance but is more regular. He is the second driver with the most podium after Hamilton. When he finishes the race, he misses twice the podium (Monaco, Canada), he is 3rd in the championship. He does not win a race, he does not pole, OK. But to put it … 14th between Vandoorne and Sainz? Sorry but this is not the first time that Keith Collantine put Raikkonen in bad positions, even in 2016 when Kimi beats Vettel in qualifying and has only 26 points less, he is out of the top 10 “best drivers” “under the pretext that he often finishes behind in the race. What do you have to do to be in the top 10? Win most races? I think especially that the detractors of the Finn does not support that Kimi always rolls at Ferrari and that he is likely to make a year at Ferrari, suddenly it dissects his season looking for the bad.

    30. Vettel made more mistakes than Kimi while being a faster overall driver. Vettel mistakes are also more serious. If Kimi did not have 2 DNF’s which were not of his fault he would be near Vettel point haul.

      For me is very difficult to rank driver unless there is a clear case so i would not make a sequential qualification. And there are also over or below expectations considerations to mud things even further, i only include the drivers i followed more closely.

      Overall quality
      better than median Hamilton, Hulkenberg, Alonso, Gasly, Mag
      median Verstappen, Vettel, Kimi, Bottas, Ricciardi, Leclerc, Sainz
      worse than median Grosjean, Vandoorne.

      better than expected Leclerc, Gasly, Mag, Bottas
      follow expectation: Hamilton, Hulkenberg, Kimi, Alonso, Ricciardi
      worse than expected Vettel, Verstappen, Grosjean, Vandoorne, Sainz

      1. I think this is a good way of looking at it, especially as this year there’s been quite a lot of poor weekends, mistakes etc by drivers that complicate things. I’d probably agree with all your categorisations too, I might be tempted to bump both Verstappen and Hulkenberg up in Expectation, but it’s almost a coin toss.

        1. Verstappen put himself in a lot of accidents until he lost the hope for championship fight.

    31. Grosjean in last is harsh. I understand he has had a dreadful first half of the year, but money aside who would you rather have in your team ? Stroll, Sirotkin, Ericsson or Grosjean ?

      1. Yes, grosjean and raikkonen are the ones who stand out in this first ranking, as in who deserved much more, I think grosjean like 15th-16th and raikkonen 9th-10th.

    32. So Vandoorne, Hartley,Stroll, Sirotkin ahead of Ericsson. Seriously? I dont think this Keith Collantine person know what he is doing realy. Kimi p14? Sorry but that is just stupid.

    33. I think we put too much emphasis on qualifying in these lists.
      Surely keeping your nose clean and finishing should be taken much more in to consideration.
      Verstappen may be fast and great in qly but has thrown so many points away this year , where as somebody like Kimi gets the car home collects the points every race..
      Speed does not make a great driver , race craft is far more important to me.

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