Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Valencia, 2012

2012 half-term driver rankings part two: 10-6

2012 F1 season

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The second part of the F1 Fanatic half-term driver rankings brings us up to the top five.

This is my rating of how each of the drivers have performed so far this year. See here for information on how the ranking is produced and you can read the first part here.

F1 Fanatic readers were invited to share their own views on each of the drivers and a selection of those appear below.

10. Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Valencia, 2012

Beat team mate in qualifying4/11
Beat team mate in race4/5
Races finished5/11
Laps spent ahead of team mate179/487

When it comes to reliability, the law of averages seems to have finally caught up with Schumacher. During his peak years his Ferraris never seemed to let him down, but this year his car has failed him more times during races than anyone else’s.

Notably in Australia and China he was running within the top three in the opening stages only to drop out with problems not of his own making.

But it would be wrong to suggest Schumacher’s problems this year have stemmed entirely from the shortcomings in his car. The less said about his disastrous Hungarian weekend the better. A careless collision with Senna at the Circuit de Catalunya cost him what should have been pole position in Monaco.

Putting the faults of man and machine aside, it’s not been hard to appreciate that this year has seen some of Schumacher’s best performances since his comeback, notably in the wet qualifying sessions at Silverstone and Hockenheim and when he finally scored his first post-comeback podium at Valencia.

Has been much closer to Rosberg and has held the upper hand on his teammate on numerous occasions, but has been held back by silly mistake and mechanical gremlins.

Michael Schumacher 2012 form guide

9. Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Shanghai, 2012

Beat team mate in qualifying7/11
Beat team mate in race1/5
Races finished11/11
Laps spent ahead of team mate308/487

Rosberg finally claimed his first Grand Prix victory in China with a superb pole position and a consummate drive. He was pulling away from his team mate until Schumacher dropped out and was one of few front-running drivers to successfully complete the race with only two pit stops.

He followed up his China win with a strong second in Monaco. But it’s hard to avoid the impression that he might have achieved more with his W03, particularly earlier in the season. Mistakes during qualifying in Australia, Malaysia and Bahrain cost him better starting positions.

Mercedes have slipped into the midfield of late and Rosberg has found himself scrapping for points places instead of aiming for the podium. On balance he retains the upper hand at the team though by a reduced margin.

Achieved Mercedes first win since its comeback with probably the best qualifying lap of the season.

Nico Rosberg 2012 form guide

8. Jenson Button

Jenson Button, McLaren, Melbourne, 2012

Beat team mate in qualifying2/11
Beat team mate in race3/10
Races finished11/11
Laps spent ahead of team mate238/662

Given his alarming dip in form in the middle of the season it’s easy to forget how strong Button’s start to the year was.

He ran away with victory in Australia and would have pushed Rosberg much harder for victory in China had it not been for one of McLaren’s many pit stop blunders.

But after F1 returned from the opening flyaway races he seemed to lose his way on set-up completely. The nadir was Canada: while Hamilton won Button flailed around and finished a lapped 16th.

It’s difficult to comprehend how things could go so badly wrong for such an experienced driver and team. Having qualified on the front row for the first two races he found himself struggling to reach Q3 on occasions and, in Britain, failed to make it through the rain-hit Q1.

The upgrade McLaren introduced in Germany seems to have stopped the rot and Button was in the hunt for victory once more at Hockenheim. But it’s surely too late for him to think seriously about contending for the championship this year.

He?s picked up three good results, but has finished outside of the points four times, while his team-mate scored at each of those races and even managed to win one of them. The qualifying head-to-head looks even worse, as Button trails one to ten.

The 2012 season hasn?t quite been a complete disaster for Button, and a second-placed finish in Germany was an encouraging sign for the rest of the season, but he?ll be disappointed not to have stayed in the championship hunt after winning the first race in the fastest car on the grid.

Jenson Button 2012 form guide

7. Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez, Sauber, Sepang, 2012

Beat team mate in qualifying5/10
Beat team mate in race3/6
Races finished9/11
Laps spent ahead of team mate313/507

Perez came of age with his battling drive to second in Malaysia, which began when a gamble on switching to wet weather tyres early paid off.

Though much has been made of his costly mistake while pursuing Alonso it should not be forgotten that his team cost him even more time by inexplicably leaving him out a lap too long as the track dried.

He returned to the podium in Canada with a late charge through the field as the car and conditions came to him. These two races bookended a frustrating series of weekends there things failed to come right.

His qualifying has let him down on occasions but he has usually proved capable of fighting back. Such as in Germany, where a mistake in qualifying left him 17th, from which he finished sixth. In Australia a gearbox change penalty left him 22nd but he one-stopped his way to eighth.

He’s had some poor luck: picking up a puncture on the first lap in Spain after qualifying a career-best fifth, his slow pit stop in China and being taken out at Silverstone by Maldonado.

Luca di Montezemolo has said Perez is still too inexperienced to drive for Ferrari. But it’s hard to see how a driver who has performed so well this season could be considered less worthy of the seat than the persistently under-performing Massa (22nd on this list).

Quick enough to win if his team had any killer instinct. Could do with a couple more top-three finishes, but he?s already done more than Alesi, Capelli, Irvine and Massa ever did to deserve a Ferrari drive.

Sergio Perez 2012 form guide

6. Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Valencia, 2012

Beat team mate in qualifying7/11
Beat team mate in race2/7
Races finished7/11
Laps spent ahead of team mate170/480

Right from the off Romain Grosjean has looked competitive in the Lotus, regularly out-qualifying his considerably more experienced team mate.

Perversely, this has worked against him in some races, notably Bahrain where having fewer fresh tyres left him vulnerable to the recovering Raikkonen.

But he brought the car home on the podium and has done so on two subsequent occasions as well, peaking with second place in Canada. Grosjean’s maturity in wheel-to-wheel racing has won him admirers as well – recall his passes on Hamilton in Bahrain and Valencia.

It’s in the opening laps of races that he’s looked most like a rookie, often losing places and sometimes tangling with other drivers, leading to an early bath. Once he knocks that on the head it’s not hard to imagine him giving his team mate a very hard time indeed.

In March, only 9% of F1 Fanatics expected Romain Grosjean to beat his team mate over the 2012 season. The Frenchman probably won?t quite manage to do that but it?s undeniable that he has exceeded the expectations with certainty. He is leading the qualifying battle in the team by 7-4 and there is no doubt about his race pace, too.

The mistakes and mishaps have robbed him of many potential points but the speed is there and he still has plenty of time to turn his still young and promising career into a real success story.

Romain Grosjean 2012 form guide

The F1 Fanatic half-term driver rankings will continue on Wednesday. Have your say on the drivers so far in the comments.

You can also read what other F1 Fanatics had to say about the drivers in the forum.

Driver rankings

Browse all driver ranking articles

Image ?? Daimler/Hoch Zwei, ?? Daimler/Hoch Zwei, McLaren/Hoch Zwei, Sauber F1 Team, Lotus F1 Team/LAT

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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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117 comments on “2012 half-term driver rankings part two: 10-6”

  1. Andy G (@toothpickbandit)
    13th August 2012, 11:57

    5. Kimi – Great race pace but qualifying still leaves something to be desired.
    4. Webber – Started consistently well, a double-victor, but has been less than impressive in Canada, Germany and Hungary.
    3. Vettel – Would be ahead of Webber if it wasn’t for his altenator depriving him of victory in Valencia.
    2. Hamilton – Has destroyed Button and would be leading the championship if it wasn’t for McLaren’s many errors.
    1. Alonso – Has maximised the car’s potential in all weekends and gone beyond in most. Best overall driver on the grid today.

    1. I fully agree with this top 5 ranking.

    2. I guess I’ll have to agree. Though I think every position is debatable, except #1, which is a clear victory for Alonso.

      1. I’d say Alonso, then Hamilton. Then it’s up to who you prefer over Vettel/Webber/Kimi. That might be my 3/4/5 actually thinking about it.

    3. id put hamilton bellow webber. webber has more points in an inferior car. hamilton should be 1st, but throught his fault of not being fast in races and his teams errors is 4th in standings. id put him 6th on the list, he has only been great in qualifying where tyre wear does not matter, and not in races.

      1. Hamilton has had several very impressive races, where he made the tyres work very well.

        I came on here wanting to say how Hamilton should be below Vettel and Webber because of the mistakes he’s made. But now I find myself defending him because you are blindly waving your arms and yelling. -.-

        1. I am a Vettel fan, but still I think Hamilton deserves to be on par or higher than Vettel. His team has cost him many points but he hasn’t lost many (if any) by his own doing.

          1. I’m a Vettel fan too, and I agree with your assessment. (Personally, I think Lewis should leave home, he is of the age)

            And the top 5 is very agreeable. Alonso is finally enjoying some good luck to go along with his incredible talent, a potent championship formula. But, this one is far from over.

    4. Agree mostly but disagree about MW vs SV. Ifs and buts don’t belong here. MW had more technical problems and lousy strategy than SV this year but all everybody remembers is Vettel in Valencia. And speaking of Valencia, do you remember where MW started there and why?

      1. MW had more technical problems and lousy strategy than SV this year but all everybody remembers is Vettel in Valencia.

        I doubt any of them cost him more than 25 points. Nevertheless, Webber is doing better now than in 2010, where he really did just hang on because of Vettel’s luck (and some driver errors).

        1. @david-a Not one of them was worth 25 points probably, but don’t forget that in Valencia alone Webber lost don’t know how many points by starting 19th through no fault of his own. It’s not inconceivable to think that with RBR speed there they would be 1-2 without their problems. So max 7 points to Vettel there.

          MW had problems in 2010 as well, though not as many points lost as Seb. I agree that this season they’re more evenly matched than even 2010.

          It’s all ifs and buts though which was my point. You can’t really say that “if not for Valencia Seb would be ahead” as an argument for why Seb should be ahead in the rating. You think that Seb should be ahead, fair enough, I respect your opinion though I disagree with it, but lets leave the buts out of it( sorry :) )

      2. Very well said sir. My top 5 would be:
        1.- Alonso His performances have been outstanding
        2.-Hamilton He has been very consistent and has missed out because of MacLaren 3.-Webber Has produced some impressive comebacks and has been more consistent
        4.- Vettel Has lacked his pace, has made silly mistakes and is not consistent
        5.- Kimi His racecraft is always there. It´s a shame he can´t qualify a bit higher.

    5. If you only consider results Vettel should be in front of Hamilton

      1. If people only considered results, we’d just look at the WDC table…

    6. The most clear-cut has to be Alonso. And that’s from someone who’s still got rather divided feelings about the fella. I grew some dislike for Alonso during his time in Renault, and to this day consider it very probably he did have something to do with Nelson Piquet Jr.’s deliberate crash at Valencia – for which Briatore (deservedly) got banned from F1 for life, even though this was later softened to please the Bernie. In 2008 Alonso showed us again his not so admirable side and often acted like a spoiled kid in the fight with Lewis. Then came Santander… and Ferrari showed they weren’t to be trusted. Admittedly their word was worth a very considerable sum of money (I believe we’re talking eiight-digit dollar amounts here?), and now we can of course say Alonso has been a tremendous success at Ferrari. But there’s no doubt that the whole affair considerably devalued Ferrari in my eyes, and it didn’t do much good for my love for Alonso either.

      This year though…. There wasn’t any doubt in my mind before that Alonso was one of the best drivers. Even so he has far exceeded expectations. And he seems to have grown up, too. I’m still enough of two minds about him to wonder if he’d have been as noble if his team mate hadn’t been such a pushover. But whatever is the case, he’s been far and away the best driver of 2012. Not only has he driven the fastest relative to the car’s potential, but he’s done so making fewer mistakes than anyone else on the grid.

      (Also, I do realize that there may be a connection between having the strongest desire to win and at times resorting to dirty tricks in the attempt. In this respect I think there are clear paralells between Alonso and Schumacher.)

      The rest of the top 6 are perhaps debateable. Hamilton has had many very impressive performances. Vettel has at times been good, but not consistently, and I see the fact that he’s pretty much on par with Webber more as evidence Vettel isn’t quite on fire than that Webber is. I think the RB has been the fastest car overall so far, and given that I don’t really think they’ve been Great with a capital G this year.

      People say Kimi lacks qualifying pace. I’m not sure his race pace could have been the same if he had pushed harder in qualifying. At least it seems like Grosjean’s pushes in qualy end up actually costing more than they’re worth come Sunday.

      For all these reasons I’d rank the remaining five

      1) Alonso
      2) Lewis
      3) Kimi
      4) Webber
      5) Vettel

      Can’t wait for Spa. :)

    7. Totally agree. Alonso is a stand out for number 1 so far. I would almost put Webber ahead of Vettel though. Vettel is proving this year that he isn’t as good as everyone wants to think he is. He isn’t like Alonso and old Schumi who can wring the performance out of a brick of a car. Vettel needs everything the way he likes it in order to compete for wins.

  2. I disagree with JB at number eight I would have put him 10th with the mercedes drivers ahead of him in the same order. My top 10 is FA, LH, KR, SV, MW, RG, SP, NR, MS, JB.

    1. I agree. Rosberg is ahead of Button in the championship while the Mercedes has been inferior to Mclaren every single race this season, apart from China and Monaco. How Button is ahead of either Mercedes drivers is beyond me.

      A lot of Button love on this website.

      1. @kingshark

        definitely JB has lot of love here. He is the first one to get 1000 likes as people’s favourite driver here ;)

      2. I agree with you guys. He had a better car and none of the misfortunes of Schumacher or even his team mate since his pit-stops seem to be always better and yet he still was a mess.

        1. He certainly had pit stop errors too, as it says in his entry.

          1. Keith, do you have any valid argument to why you put Button ahead of Rosberg and Schumacher?

    2. I agree. I generally agree with Keith’s point of view, but putting Jenson Button at #8 was just ridiculous. How on earth was he better than Rosberg, Kovalainen, Di Resta etc?

      I dont think I’ve seen a Mclaren driver perform as poorly as he has in Monaco, Canada, Spain and Malaysia. I think the 2nd half of the 2011 season provided a false sense of hope for his fans. He seems back to his usual form now, which is definitely out of the top 10 drivers on the grid

  3. I also disagree with Button being so high. Okay, he had a great win in Australia, and a good podium at China but he was nowhere in the rest of the races. He was near dead last while his teammate won in Canada. This lasted up until 2 races ago but even in Hungary he was fairly anonymous. Rosberg has been largely the same but he has at least scored points in a Merc which is not as competitive as the McLaren.

    It’s hard to judge Schumacher’s season because of his unreliability.

  4. he’s already done more than Alesi, Capelli, Irvine and Massa ever did to deserve a Ferrari drive

    Shouldn’t the selected comments be just a tiny bit more grounded in reality?

    1. Why do you disagree?

      1. It isn’t a nice thing to laud a particular driver by putting down many others. Alesi is I think, still considered to be a better bet than the likes of Berger, Irvine, and is almost level with Barrichello. With both Ferrari and Benetton, he was always an able hand, and you MUST remember that he never had a championship-winning car in his hands. Both Irvine and Massa had opportunities to win the championship and they both(esp. Irvine) flunked it.

        1. I think the argument is still valid, mainly because di Montezelomo put Perez below others criticizing him even if he outraced Felipe Massa all season.

          I remember back in 2005, when Ferrari announced Massa would drive for them, I thought why. Why, really, because he had not done anything particularly special at Sauber.

          Perez has done a lot more than enough to prove he’s fast and not only this year. To say “it’s too early”, it’s basically putting him below Massa. And he has done a lot more than him.

          1. I understand what Di Montezelomo meant, Pérez mentality isnt of an Ferrari driver, he may disturb the team chemistry.

          2. Before coming to Ferrari, Massa spent three years in the Sauber-Petronas and one year testing for Ferrari. Perez on the other hand has had only two seasons in F1. He is only 22.
            I’m not anti-Perez(he is my favourite driver outside the top 5 save Schumi) but I think a switch to Ferrari now would basically ruin his career. Barrichello’s performances in Stewart in the late ’90s was nothing short of superb, but his upward climb stalled at Ferrari, so much so that his later years in Honda and Brawn were also poor.
            I know there aren’t too many other potions, but I personally think that Heikki would be a solid choice for Ferrari. He is certainly better than Massa, and can be a perfect no.2 driver, who would help Alonso, and also help Ferrari to fight for the Constructors’ Championships(something that hasn’t happened after 2008).

          3. @ukfanatic, you mean to say “Pérez mentality isnt of an Ferrari driver, he might try to win himself instead of being a stooge to Alonso“?

          4. @bascb yes, that was exactly what i meant to say.

    2. Any particular reason you’re making sweeping statements like that?

      Maybe I was a little unfair on Alesi, but I think Pérez has driven as skilfully as the “top” drivers, more consistently than the other guys mentioned did before joining Ferrari (Massa grew into the role later) – and so I feel it would be a shame if Pérez was stuck with a midfield team for another year. Everyone keeps referring back to that old soundbite from Luca Montezemolo, but I’d imagine Ferrari are constantly re-appraising Sergio.

      1. I think it would be better for him to stay for another year at Sauber, because being number 1 in midfield team is better than being number 2 in Ferrari if you are young, and he still is. After all Alonso refused to sign for Ferrari in IIRC 2003, Todt said he never will drive for them, but we know in which team Alonso is now. If Perez won’t sign for Ferrari it’s not the end of the world, moreover there are lot of seats opening up in the next couple of seasons, so patience could be rewarded. And finally, on a personal note, I would love to see him fullfilling Peter Sauber’s dream of victory for independent Sauber team. Checo has talent and skills to do that, and there is some time left (October 2013) to achieve this success :)

      2. I think we must not forget that Perez won’t be evaluated against Massa, but against the other kandidates for that seat.

        Ferrari – maybe even Luca himself? – still have this Hungaroloyalty for Massa, so they’re not ousting him during the season. Now, contracts etc aside, I think other drivers are more worthy of that seat than Perez (Kimi, Vettel, Hamilton, Schumacher, Rosberg to name a few)

      3. Well, I would have thought the original sweeping statement was your curt dismissal of a whole bunch of recent Ferrari drivers.

        As far as I remember, neither Irvine’s nor Alesi’s reputation was too bad at the time they went to Ferrari. It certainly wasn’t a case of “Eddie who?” or “Jean who?”.

        And checking out their previous results, at least Alesi’s tally does not seem any worse than Perez’, in fact, better.

      4. @bullfrog A little unfair on Alesi? that’s you the king of understatement right there. Let me remind you that Alesi finished 4th on his F1 debut in a crap car he hasn’t even sat in until friday morning in the middle of a season. He also finished 9th in the standings of his debut championship despite only contesting half of it, while simultaneously winning the F3000 championship. In his second season he finished twice in 2nd place, in a Tyrell, both times behind Senna and qualifying usually in the top 8 in a crap car but sometimes even in the top 5. By the middle of 1990 top teams in F1 were fighting for his services and the sad fact that he chose Ferrari over Williams is the sole reason you would even dare say such nonsense about him, let alone compare Perez favourably to him. Perez is fighting an even battle with Kobayashi, despite the ridiculous gap between them in Keith’s rating. and some people proclaim him as some kind of a genius, losing handle on reality in the process.

        1. @MJ4 probably mentioned Alesi in a rush of blood to the head.

          1. @chicanef1 Sure @bullfrog had a rush of blood to the the head and then @keithcollantine might have had one too. It’s all in the rushes it seems. Btw, did you notice the thunderous silence from @bullfrog here now?

          2. @MJ4 – RATS!! Big mistake, sorry…

          3. @montreal95 The silence is not just thunderous, I think it’s deafening.

    3. The stat sheet doesn’t lie, anyway that doesn’t matter at all, Pérez is still a kid and that’s why he may have said it but the real reason is perhaps the possible clash between the two drivers and their sponsors.

  5. my ranking:

    1. alonso
    2. hamilton
    3 vettel

  6. Alonso is # 1. If we compare the races of Ham, Vettel and webber. This is what’s revealed.

    Hamilton Vettel Webber
    Australia 2 1 3
    Malaysia 1 3 2
    China 1 3 2
    Bahrain 3 1 2
    Spain 1 2 3
    Monaco 3 2 1
    Canada 1 2 3
    Valencia 3 1 2
    Great Brit 3 2 1
    Germany 1 2 3
    Hungary 1 2 3
    Average 1.82 1.91 2.27

    Hence, they are #2, #3, #4

    1. these numbers are only comparing to each other, not the race as a whole, and not the cars ability. for instance, hamilton should be number #1 with the car he has, while vettel and webber have done better then hamilton with the car they have.

        1. er, watch the races, thats your proof

      1. But Hamilton had some horrible pitwork costing him points. Vettel had Valencia and Webber, again, had some technical issues and team gaffes in qualifying holding them back.

        1. hamilton should still be ahead, given qualifying performance which shows he has fastest car, he just can not dominate in races, that is his weakness, he is a much better qualifyer then racer. Vettel on the other hand can be a dominant qualifyer and a dominant racer. the pirellis are making it worse for hamilton as he has never been consistent with tyre usage in races.

          1. @kubicafanman, oh please, stop the hamilton-has-no-race-pace bashing, i seriously doubt if you ever heard of a car’s race pace vs. quali pace, especially with these Pirelli tyres now. Not so long ago in 2010 and 2011, Ferrari were always optimistic come race day, because they relied on ‘we know we have better pace on sunday’. with mclaren this year it’s been the opposite. up until their upgrade in germany, their race pace has always been weaker than that of the other top-runners. and look at button how he was nowhere. if both button and hamilton start going backwards in the race, then it’s definetly the car’s fault. and i find it funny how absolutely no one can say what the clear pecking order among the cars is, but you keep on going with ‘hamilton should be 1st because he has the fastest car’…no. he doesn’t. watch the races again

  7. It is very clear that Michael’s performance this year is way better than his last two years. Him beating his team mate 4/5 in all the 5 races he finished is a good example that he is comfortable in this years car except its reliability. I wasn’t expecting to see Michael in top 10 to be honest.

    On the other hand, Kimi on top 5 is massive for the iceman on his first year. He is a true contender for the WDC.

    1. I must say I agree with you on Kimi – he’s been much, much better than I expected. I was completely wrong about him. My doubts about him stem from the motivational problems he had at Ferrari before the rallying sabbatical. Giving up is a big no-no in my book and I didn’t think he’d cut it. Glad he has though!

  8. I think Button certainly deserves to be in the top 10. He really demonstrated fabulous performances in Australia, China and Germany but we should not forget that he also lost some points because of bad luck. At Sakhir, he most likely would have been at least 6th if he hadn’t suffered a puncture shortly before the end of the race. At Monaco, he was a bit unlucky at the start. Moreover, the closeness of the field at times made Jenson look worse than he was, for instance, he missed Q3 in Spain only by 0.04 seconds.

    1. Yes he missed Q3 in Spain by 0.04 seconds but that does not rule out the fact that he was almost half a second slower than his teammate in qualifying. He has not been able to raise his game w.r.t. Hamilton on one lap pace, something that Schumi has done.

  9. I’d like to see Webber second, just ahead of Hamilton. The guy’s been quietly consistent and consistency (as Alonso has proven) is everything this year. Webber’s looking really competitive and is also ahead of his double world champion team mate in the standings.

    Also, I have completely agreed with everything on this list so far, bar Glock being ahead of Pic!

    1. I would have said that Webber’s biggest problem has been his consistency. While he does well at his pet circuits (namely Silverstone and Monaco, with Spain an anomaly), Webber’s biggest problem is performing at circuits which he doesn’t favour, such as Hockenheim and Bahrain.

      1. Yeah, he seemed lost at those two races, compared to Vettel. His weakness does seem to be that sometimes he doesn’t seem able to bring his A game to every weekend. But he’s had two wins and five fourth places, with only one race outside the top 10. Pretty consistent in my book!

        1. And if you want consistency MW has placed in front of Hamilton on track in about two thirds of all races in the past three and a half seasons. And Hamilton has been behind MW in WDC points every year over the same period. If youre a betting man then MW is the value bet.

  10. Top 5 would be ALO, HAM, VET, WEB, KIM

    1. @eggry
      That would be my choice as well.

    2. Yeah mine too.

  11. I mostly agree with Keith’s choices here. I think it’s pretty clear who’ll be in the 1st place, and I’m pretty sure Hamilton’s been 2nd best so far. Kimi’s been slightly too inconsistent to get higher than 5th in my view, and Seb’s probably been slightly better than Mark.

    1. Kimi has been very consistent the only race where he didn’t score points was in China when his tyres fell of the cliff. His qualifying does need work there is no denying that but it also isn’t entirely as bad as the numbers suggest. In Australia Lotus could have sended him out earlier for another qualifying run and in Bahrain Permane himself made the choice that Kimi should not go to Q3, it was a tactical decision. In Valencia Kimi had technical problems during qualifying and in Siverstone his Kers wasn’t working during qualifying. Of course Grosjean is doing a great job in qualifying, but the end results dont tell the whole picture.

      1. I was talking more about qualifying sessions rather thane the races. He’s been outqualified by Grosjean many times and could’ve had much better results there. It’s hard to compare him to the Red Bulls drivers but I’d put him a bit behind.

  12. Similarly to last year, it’s a pity there’s a clear number one, depriving us F1Fanatics of an opportunity for some interesting debate. I also expect Hamilton to be 2, but 3-5 we can at least argue one way or the other.

    As for Button, it’s not too late for him to save his season, but despite his resurgence in Germany, he’s not in his best form yet. I don’t think the Button of the second half of 2011 would have gone backwards in Hungary the way he did.

    1. I was thinking on the same line. It’s a shame there isn’t a headline grabber editorial policy which would argue Alonso isn’t in fact, the best driver out there at the mo. Just reading the comments would be hilarious.

    2. I think it’s possible to find arguments as to why Hamilton is the best driver of the first half of the year. I personally don’t think so but such an opinion wouldn’t be as nonsensical as it seems at the first glance. Hamilton has lost a lot of points because of the team’s mistakes (and Maldonado), not because of his own shortcomings. People assume that McLaren have mostly been much quicker than Ferrari but actually qualifying pace and race pace are two different things and Ferrari themselves admit that the wet weather has helped them at times.

      1. I agree with your comment, @girts.

        I think Alonso has been the best driver so far, but the extent of his advantage over others has (in my opinion) been flattered by the team failures of McLaren and Red Bull (or Renault’s alternator, at any rate). Of all the driver rankings published on the forum, though, I haven’t seen a single one that didn’t put Alonso at no. 1. Perhaps Keith will be the first ;-)

        1. @AdrianMorse Well, Keith is never afraid to voice his own opinion, even if it’s an unpopular one so who don’t bet against it :)

          I think @Pamphlet put Hamilton 1st and @Njack has given gold medals to both Alonso & Hamilton. But you’re right, it’s not so much about whether Alonso deserves to be 1st (I think he does), rather about if he has been miles ahead of everyone else in terms of performance (I believe he hasn’t).

        2. Hamilton has been great but in some races he has been insipid, and these have proved costly, like his poor start in Melbourne, his lack of dry pace(he was slower than Perez in a faster car) in Malaysia, failed to pass Alonso in a slower Ferrari(I think everybody agrees that even in race pace Macca were quicker than Ferrari in the first 4 races) in Bahrain, was pretty anonymous in Monaco(wore out his tyres and got jumped by Alonso who came from a long way behind), locked up his tyres at a crucial time in Valencia(while defending from Raikkonen), was insipid in his home race and then slower than Massa(on the same strategy) in Germany.
          Of course, this should not take away the fact that both his wins were achieved by outstanding drives, and if you take into account the botched pitstops and McLaren’s tendency to wear out their tyres quickly, he has driven very well. But Alonso has been on a different pedestal altogether, his drive in Valencia being what has certainly been one of the best this season.

  13. If Alonso isn’t number 1, I’d be very surprised.

  14. Alonso, Raikkonen, Hamilton, Vettel, Webber
    1. Alonso is the best driver so far this season and if you disagree you havent watched F1 this season
    2. Raikkonen has not yet won a race but hes the 2nd most consistent driver, ask schumi how hard it is to get a podium after taking 2 years out. Kimi has 5 and only in his first season back
    3. Hamilton, he should really be leading the championship but its a team sport, hes destroyed his team mate and is driving alot better than last season
    4 Vettel is 4th in my rankings, he has won only one race this season but should have alot more points than he does at the moment. obvious he doesnt like to lose and his frustation is starting to show, especially in germany
    5. Although Webber has 2 wins this season hes been inconsistent in some races. Germany, Hungary etc but hes closer to his team mate than last season

  15. It hurts (the McLaren fans) seeing Alonso constantly beating Hamilton in a inferior car from Bahrain 2010 till now Hungary 2012. With Ron Dennis making the wrong choice in 2007.

    As a big fan of Ferrari for me is a satisfaction and achievement.

    Most of my McLaren’s friend admit it desperate and bored by seeing Alonso all the time in front of Lewis in the WDC.
    The problem is not that Hamilton is not a good driver (I consider him e very talented driver) and he is the second best driver in the grid (by talent).
    The problem is that the guy who is first (by talent) is the one that all the British media massacred in 2007 (and also the McLaren’s boss), they tray to make look him in the eyes of the World like he was the bad guy, the guy who want to cheat, the guy who don’t respect rules and other think like this…and we know how the British media are powerful.
    In the other hand they tray to make Hamilton (to be clear wasn’t Hamilton fault ) like the innocent guy, the guy who is a racer and don’t know nothing about favoritism and also the McLaren boss Ron Dennis like he was a martyr he doesn’t make favoritism (in fact he does this with Hakkinen, Raikkonen, Hamiltont ).

    This year Alonso prove it that they were wrong, Ron Denis was wrong.
    They will regain ALL my respect if BBC and others admit it that in 2007 was not a fairness situation in confront to Alonso. They where to aggressive to Alonso and McLaren and R.Dennis had make errors in driver management, and also some publically excuse to Alonso will be welcome as well.

    My dream is to see Alonso and Hamilton team mate again but not in a British team or Spanish team….in Italian or German will be perfect it will be awesome to see HAM-ALO in Ferrari…but Ferrari had his politics (which I hate) they don’t want two potential WDC in their cars. In Mercedes will be also good but only if they where fighting for championships.

    P.S The Classification that it was make till now (eleven races) was very good and I think the same with the author.

    1. i’m a ferrari fan and all i have to say is that you should go to the doctor and check if haven’t lost your mind, hopefully the doctor can help you deal your hatred and avoid any genocides.

      1. @xeroxpt +1!

  16. I don’t think Button deserves to be so high; he’s had 3 good races all season at best. His early season slump is non-excusable for he was driving a car (as Hamilton proved) was capable of winning races. He seems to be returning to form but still, a sixth place in Hungary compared to a race win from Hamilton; can’t argue with that.

    1. @vettel1

      a sixth place in Hungary compared to a race win from Hamilton; can’t argue with that.

      Yes you can – the strategy that condemned Button to slipping from third to sixth was clearly not his choice.

      1. Oh and all Button’s bad strategies are due to his team isn’t it? And all good strategies are due to the fact that he is a tactical genius, isn’t it?

        1. Why generalize there &chicanef1, both Keith and Max are discussing a the race in Hungary where Button made it quite clear that he was not the one making that strategy and visibly (and audibly) unhappy with it.

          There have probably been many cases where the team did get it right. And there have been some races where Button got it exactly right. And there have been races where neither got it right. But that is not part of this discussion.

      2. Maybe not his choice but necessarry. Jenson Button had not the pace for a 2 stopper. His tyre degeneration was too high
        Sam Michaels words on Speed TV:
        “His degradation was too high. If you look at his lap times, we realized at an early stage that we couldn’t do a two-stop with him. He couldn’t maintain the pace. It was just the way we had to set up and everything else. A three-stop in paper is fine, but you can’t overtake, and he lost too much time behind Senna, and once he lost that time, it was difficult for him to make it back into the top three or four.”

    2. Yes, but Button qualified in 4th when his teammate was on pole, and apart from an opportunistic start was less than stellar and off the pace of the rest of he field, so his team had to try something different with strategy.

  17. I smell a rat in the rankings.
    Button ahead of Schumacher, Rosberg et al. ? His performances in Spain, Monaco, Canada and Valencia and qualifying in every single race has been pathetic to say the least. Granted Hamilton has been almost top-notch this season, but in those four races, the performance gap b/w him and Hamilton reminded me of Massa’s performance relative to Alonso. He failed to jump Kovalainen’s Caterham in the pits in Monaco, in a clearly quicker car. His performances in Germany and Hungary weren’t too good either. He charged up well at Germany, but couldn’t manage his tyres and would probably have finished third had Vettel been less impatient. He suffered the same fate at Hungary, where he couldn’t pass Senna for 10 odd laps despite having a quicker car and much better tyres(Alonso passed Perez, so that’s what I’m talking about, it is difficult but not impossible to pass at Hungary).
    In short, it seems whatever Schumacher does his championship will be remembered for his mistakes in Barcelona and Budapest. Whereas Button’s performances at Australia and China will be immortalised.
    Oh and I totally forgot the fact that he crashed into Karthikeyan at Malaysia, and later in the race with the fastest car on dry conditions, he was passed by Rosberg.
    After this, I won’t be surprised if Hamilton pips Alonso to the no.1 spot. This is after all, a British site.

    1. I agree with your assessment of Button’s performance this year.
      I disagree with your last statement though; I think there is certainly a bias out there in favor of Button- overhyping his good performances and excusing his bad ones. The bias is more nuanced; I think its a class thing for the British. Button’s middle class demeanor, accent, and background plays well with the F1 journalists and bloggers (BBC, JA etc) hence he gets all the passes. Hamilton meanwhile gets hammered by these people (all British) because of his different background, accent, and the hip-hop crowd he mixes with. The British tabloid journalists like him though (as you would expect) as a laddie.
      Now people will laugh this off, but I lived there as a foreigner and I **know** what I’m talking about.

      1. Button’s middle class demeanor, accent, and background plays well with the F1 journalists and bloggers

        I can only speak for myself but that’s complete rubbish. I’m as uninterested in Button’s class (in the social strata sense) as I am his nationality or which brand of corn flakes he prefers.

        1. Ofcourse I’d expect you to say that; bias is what others have:)

      2. I think the difference between the most of us and Keith here is, that we tend to rate the drivers from how we see them currently, i.e. based on their last couple of results. And for Button (apart from the last one) they have not been that great. But Keith went over all the races from the start, including those where Button looked to be continuing where he ended last year, on top form.

        And possibly there is a difference in how we value driver mistakes. With Rosberg losing good starting positions from Q3 mistakes in 3 races where it might have been a pole, Schumacher needlessly crashing into others and thereby ruining his top chance to win in Monaco. And with Maldonado throwing away points. In comparison, a driver struggling to get the perfect setup after a car update maybe is not that bad?

        1. @BasCB First, I’m pretty sure that (almost) noone else has spent as much time as Keith evaluating the drivers’ performances. For instance, I don’t think that a lot of F1 Fanatics rewatched all the races. Of course, it doesn’t mean that we can’t have our own opinions but the arguments need to be well-grounded.

          Secondly, I believe that this is quite a tricky subject that perhaps shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Of course, you can pretty easily compare two team mates and say who of them has done a better job. It is also clear that maldonadoing your car on a regular basis doesn’t give you bonus points, too. But how can one tell that Alonso has been performing better than de la Rosa this year? Both have destroyed their team mates this year, both haven’t made any serious mistakes and both seem to get most out of their cars. The difference is that Alonso has been fighting for the first places and that, given his past achievements, we naturally assume that Fernando is much better. But how much exactly? It’s impossible to measure it accurately.

          I personally spent a reasonable amount of time (not as much as Keith though) trying to compare the drivers. I printed out all the 2012 F1F reviews of drivers’ performances, calculated the average Autosport ratings and reviewed them and studied F1F statistics section, too. But I still don’t take my personal rankings very seriously.

          1. I think you are absolutely right about how hard it is to take in account the car when making a driver rating @girts, by the way kudos for putting in the effort to make a thorough analyses of their performances!

            Just had a look at your driver rating, seems you are pretty close to what Keith has, with notably differences are Petrov rated better, Button comes below the Mercedes drivers and DiResta behind Hulk.

    2. Actually Schumacher is facing ” Being Schumacher” problem. No matter what he do, how small or big is the error done by him, it will be highlighted as a BIG ISSUE. Although what he did at Budapest was definitely not a small error and you wont expect that from MS, but its alright, everyone makes mistakes . I dont understand how JB is ahead of MS. Even if we look at the statistics which is shown here , MS finished races 4/5 times ahead of his teammate whereas JB just finished 3/10 . It is very unfortunate that MS had all those reliability issues in first half of season. To judge him at this moment is very hard. But with whatever stats we have, MS deserved higher place than JB .

    3. @chicanef1

      This is after all, a British site.

      No it isn’t – this is a site for F1 fans, regardless of their nationality.

      As has been pointed out countless times before, only around a third of users on the site are British:


      1. That isn’t the main point… its strange that people when showed the truth straight in their faces suddenly become incredibly observant and start arguing on the small points which is probably not what the arguer is trying to focus on.

        1. Your whole comment is implying a British bias, it’s only at the end, in the part Keith quoted, that you said it directly. You disagree with his placing of Button. So do I, and I’m British. Sadly, there are too many people, like you, who can’t see past nationality when it comes to this sort of debate and get on some high horse. Get rid of the ‘bias’ slant and you actually had a good argument to bump Button down a few spots.

          1. My whole comment isn’t implying British bias(I have a tendency to use the word ‘rat’ in everything). I only wanted justification on why Button has been ranked ahead of Schumacher and Rosberg. In hindsight, I regret having added that last line, not because I think it is inappropriate, but because the argument shifted away from Button to Britain.
            And Keith’s argument that the site isn’t British just because 33%(which, if not an absolute majority, is still a majority) doesn’t mean that the site isn’t British. Keith is British and so is the site because he created it. For example, Force India is an Indian team because Dr. Vijay Mallya, the owner is Indian. It isn’t a British team just because most of the personnel are from the UK, is it?

        2. @chicanef1

          probably not what the arguer is trying to focus on.

          I’m well aware that may be the case. But you’ve written about my website and have made a fundamentally incorrect assumption about it. Did you really expect that I would see it and ignore it?

          1. No but I expected you would justify why Button is ranked higher than Schumacher and Rosberg.
            Anyway I’m building the bridge quickly so that the water flows underneath it asap. I’m sorry for offending the F1Fanatic users.

  18. I’m surprised to see Button so high. Apart from when Mclaren has been the fastest car, he has been nowhere this season. In the 5 races from Spain to Britain his performances were every bit as bad as Massa’s worst performances. When the car was fantastic of course Button looked great but when the car becomes a handful, Mclaren are every bit the one man team Ferrari are. I’d have both Mercedes drivers ahead of him so far this year.

  19. I thought Button only qualified ahead of Hamilton once in Germany or am I getting it wrong?

  20. @keithcollantine Keith I really admire your work in general and mostly agree with your rating, but I must say that for some reason in the case of the Sauber drivers you got it completely wrong suddenly. Both in terms of ratings and the comment you chose.

    Kobayashi 14th and got “poor results…(more nonsense)”?! Really? Do you have facts to support this theory?

    And then Perez 7th(huge gap and nothing like that in reality) with the ignorant comment by @bullfrog that Perez has done more to deserve Ferrari seat than “Alesi, Capelli, Irvine and Massa”. Really? Let’s start with Massa who was considered a very good young driver renown especially for his natural speed in fast corners(Peter Sauber’s words). He also had good results in a car that was farther from the front than the current Sauber is. The fact that post-crash Massa is a shadow of his former self clouds some people’s memories it seems.
    Irvine, though IMO a despicable character, was no slouch. He fought on equal footing with Barrichello in Jordan in 1994-5 and finished on the podium in Canada as well, same as certain S. Perez
    Capelli was considered by most to be a “champion of the future” with his excellent performances in March until he was destroyed by team-mate Alesi in the rubbish 1992 Ferrari. Which brings me to Alesi:
    during 1990 Alesi was courted by three of the top-four teams in F1 who fought for his services . He was signed to a pre-contract by F. Williams which Ferrari had to buy-out. All of them were stupid it turns out, how could they miss his rubbish performances, and of course he nowhere near deserved the Ferrari seat as the mighty S. Perez does, right??

  21. Button is too high for me, but the others are ok. I’d have said RG, SP, NR, MS, JB from 6 to 10
    Top 5 would be FA, LH, SV, KR, MW with the 3rd/4th/5th being very closely matched

    1. though of course having looked through the forum thread where we made the votes, Vettel will be 5th- he’s just not as popular as Webber or Kimi. Kimi might get 3rd to be honest

      1. I think Webber did a better job then Vettel so far, although its close between them @91jb12. He is consistently getting results, and he has improved his starts a lot. He did (again) suffer some issues that held him back in qualifying, and some dodgy stragegy. But Vettel had Valencia, so I guess it almost evens out.

  22. “The less said about his disastrous Hungarian weekend the better”

    Haha, that made me laugh. You have a way with words Keith!

  23. Button’s position seems to be the biggest issue here at the moment, and I have to say I agree with the general perception that he didn’t deserve 8th on this list. Looking at what the Merc drivers have achieved with the 4th best car on average, they ought to be ahead of Button.

    Also, I expect Alonso to be No.1, no argument can be strong enough to knock him off the top. If someone else is No.1 I’d love to read the justification for it – I expect it will be absurd.

    1. At the same time, both Rosberg and Schumacher have absolutely had some poor weekends as well. Neither of them seems to be able to overcome the limitations of the car and apart from China and Monaco, they’ve both spent most time being overtaken, rather than overtaking themselves.

      I personally ranked Schumacher and Button lower, but I don’t think it’s completely unjustified.

  24. Button is too high ranked. Rosberg with a inferior car has a win and is ahead of him in the championship, as would be Schumacher if he didn’t have so much car issues. And the only race that Jenson qualified ahead of Lewis was Germany. The other times Hamilton started behind Button was due to penalties.

  25. Personally I think Kimi will win the title this year. But if second part of the season repeats it self, Alonso’s laugh after he crossed the line in Valencia ’12 will sum up the season. Championship on a silver plate with kind regards from McLaren, Red Bull and Lotus.

    1. Silver plate? Really now? Not only has Alonso pushed his Ferrari to its limits and beyond, once you get an opportunity, you have to be there to capitalize on it. You have to be able to respond to that opportunity in race pace, strategy, etc. His driving has been superb and he’s on the verge of breaking Schumacher’s consecutive points finishes. I also can’t remember a race where all 3 teams you mentioned weren’t on him at least.

      Kimi is looking good, but don’t forget, Lotus/Enstone has been through a lot of changes and haven’t been this competitive since 2006. While it is a shame to see them struggle to maximize the potential of the car, it wouldn’t be a huge shame if Kimi and Lotus don’t end up as champions.

      1. Not only has Alonso pushed his Ferrari to its limits and beyond, once you get an opportunity, you have to be there to capitalize on it

        Exactly that, he did capitalize, while it was others to loose. Nothing less is expected of Fernando, he is a champ. But he is more than anyone else knows what kind of early Christmas, first part of the season turned out to be. And again, that laugh tells it all.

  26. Oooo Perez and Grosjean right next to each other. I’d put Perez above Grosjean, just. I have more confidence in him to deliver when he has the opportunity (mistake in Malaysia aside). That said, Grosjean does seem to be turning the corner very quickly.

  27. Rosberg has one less podium than button and also a single perfect win, however still a point ahead in an inferior car. He is quite closer or ahead of teammate which is not the case of Button, Massa and Schumaher hence the critics.

    In fact if drivers paycheck was a fix WDC position we will be seeing a different f1 !

    Perez and Grosjean manage to be above of some world champions so far, most give credit they are against the toughest drivers line up ever and on their early 20’s in their second season kicking ass.

  28. I echo most of the comments with regards to Button. The McLaren has been competitive at far more races than the Mercedes and yet his results don’t show that. Rosberg had two quiet races at the start of the season and has been a bit anonymous in the last three (not helped by his poor qualifying in the wet), but his run of consistency and speed in the races in between almost put him in championship contention for a while. Schumacher has had some bad luck but has been a match for Rosberg on pace. Tenth for Button behind the two Mercedes drivers would be fairer in my opinion.

    Looking ahead to the top five, it would take an agenda to put anyone other than Alonso at number one, though I will say he has been flattered somewhat by his good fortune compared to others. Nevertheless, he has taken full advantage of that and is my number one. I would put Hamilton second. That McLaren is not as fast in the races as it is in qualifying; in a piece in Autosport magazine, Gary Anderson says it is sixth fastest on race pace. I wouldn’t go that far, but to be as close to the Red Bulls as he is, despite a lot of mistakes by the team and some bad luck, is worthy of second place for me. Vettel is third for me. His results haven’t been brilliant, with only one podium since Bahrain, and mistakes have crept in (Malaysia, Spain, Germany), but on the whole he has been consistent and he did lose an almost certain victory in Valencia. I’m going to go against the grain a little and put Raikkonen in fourth. He has been very consistent, with points in every race except China (which was due to a strategy error by the team), and has quietly been racking up the podiums in the last few races. The only downsides are the lack of a win and a couple of quiet races at Monaco and Canada. Webber, my fifth place choice, has had two wins but a good deal more quiet races. At the beginning of the season, he was consistent but not quick enough. A win from an inherited pole position in Monaco was perhaps a bit fortunate, but still well deserved. The win at Silverstone was also good, but the Red Bull has looked consistently strong in the races this year and the number of times Webber has not delivered (Spain, Canada, Germany, Hungary, arguably even Australia and Bahrain) counts against him for me.

  29. Just wanted to draw your attention to the fact that although these lists are interesting, the Irvine/Massa comment from the previous list is actually the best comment on here because in truth there is only one way to measure a driver, and that’s not actually against his teammate, but against his car. Sadly this isn’t actually possible, since it is impossible to baseline a car’s performance, and so instead we have to use our imaginations, statistics and compare team mates to get an idea, but the theory goes like this:

    A car operates at 1:00:00 lap time as a base-line.

    An average driver will get that lap time.
    A poorer driver will be slower, say, 1:01:10
    A better driver will be faster, say 0:58:50

    Depending on the baseline of all of the cars on the grid then the difference between drivers abilities to maximise the car could end up meaning a poorer teammate comes second, or a poorer teammate comes 10th simply by virtue of how close the field is. Using the example of being 30 seconds down over a race distance compared to 5 minutes down is simply crazy. 5 minutes? Over the course of a GP? That would be what, six seconds a lap under race conditions, in the same team on the same tyres? This, of course, is why comparing to team-mates also does not allow a full ranking to be created, because there are times when some drivers will simply “own” the car and extract much more performance than it than is normal, although these can never be proven, because again, it is impossible to generate a baseline performance for a car. That’s why all of these lists will always be subjective no matter what mechanism is used, but by understanding that the drivers should be measured against the car, and that is why the team mate is used as a comparison, we can understand that being beaten by other drivers as well as your team mate does not intrinsically make you a worse driver than just finishing behind your team mate.
    Also, Given that the baseline of a car would inherently change on a track by track basis dependant on weather, circuit, etc. this should also be taken into account, with perhaps, given drivers able maximise their performance against the car better under particular conditions, or over a certain period of time.

    What’s the main point of this post, you say?

    Well, like many other people, I think Button is probably a bit too high, and although I think that using this mechanism to rate drivers would take far more time and effort than I am prepared to put in, and also, would involve so much guesswork that the results wouldn’t necessarily be different, but I would be very much surprised that, if using a system that takes these things into account the Button would finish lower than the Merc’s and possibly some others as well.

    Also it would put Alonso even higher, or at least, would make the gap between him and Lewis greater, as i truly believe that the red car is still a dog and Alonso is truly “owning” it this year. So much so, that, like some other posters, he is no longer now the guy I love to hate, but the guy I begrudgingly respect. Similar to Schuey on his first red WDC, although by the time he was finished I hated him, and now love him again :-)

    p.s. I also believe that using a system where the driver is measured against the car would have shown Vettel not be the “great” as some people say, as he would not have been as far above the baseline of the car except for maybe about a half to two thirds of last year, as someone like Alonso or Schuey/D Hill in their prime would have been able to get it. (I always thought Damon used to wring the very most out of the car pretty consistently and Schuey in his prime was a demon for it)

    Sorry for the long post….

    1. I look at it a slightly different way: A car is capable of doing a lap time which represents 100% of its potential. The best drivers get closest to that – let’s say 99.5% – whereas the merely good are in the 98-99.5% range and the rest never get into an F1 car.

      There are figures I’m plucking out of the air to illustrate a point – it would be fascinating to apply real data to it if that were possible. But how do you measure when a driver has extracted the absolute maximum from a car? That’s the difficult part here.

      1. I completely agree @keithcollantine . It’s physically impossible to go above car’s ability. If a car made that lap time-it was capable of it, even if there was only one human on the planet capable of wringing it from that car( Best example-Senna pole lap in Monaco 1988).

        @Paul Barrass-interesting post but there’s a clumsy elephant in your room: Damon Hill, really? One of the most unconvincing champions in F1 history and you say he always wrung everything from his car? I think a certain Sir Frank would disagree with you on that.

        1. @montreal95 In some ways you’re right. 1995 was probably Hills Annus Horriblis. I’ll accept that, and note that I don’t think Hill was the most well adjusted of drivers, particularly where a certain fast German was concerned, but I think over his whole career he did tend to maximise the car. Maybe it’s rose-tinted glasses as I was youthful and he looked a bit like me…. goes without saying that Senna was ludicrously fast and maximised the car, and for both @keithcollantine and @montreal95, I’m still a little unsure as to whether it’s better to go for having the car @ 100% and see whether drivers can get closest to it’s maximum, or find some way to baseline the car and see if drivers could give more than the car is capable of, say 110%.

          I’m inclined to the latter on the evidence of this season, particularly early on when the Ferrari really did not look capable of what Alonso did with it. The way he wrestled it around Aus and Mal in practice and quali sessions was inspired, but I accept that in reality the car will have a maximum potential that can’t actually be bettered no matter how good the driver so that way makes more sense in another way… Still, nice to see that the view is shared anyway. Thanks gents.

          1. Paul, don’t get me wrong. I have enormous respect for Damon and his abilities. Who knows what could he have achieved if he had had a normal junior career, not one which started around age 20(OT-it reminds me of a certain B. Senna whom certain commenters here so like to bash). I also was very much on Damon’s side in his fight with M. Scum whom i’d never liked, which only increased the level of my frustration. Like or no, I’d never put Damon in the same sentence with the Scum ability-wise. there were precious few races when he took the fight to Scum and beat him(most notably-Suzuka 1994) but generally there was no contest.

            Regarding Alonso’s amazing performances in the first half of the season: Let’s agree that he achieved the absolute maximum of what was possible with that car and that it’s a fair assessment to say that no current F1 driver could have done better, and leave it at that ok? And btw, it’s been a pleasure

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