There was very little to separate the top three drivers of 2012 besides the cars they were competing in. Unfortunately for Lewis Hamilton his let him down while he was leading on more than one occasion – and that was just the beginning of his problems.
Hamilton’s performances in 2012 were quick and generally error-free – a world away from the troubled racer who often showed up in 2011.
However the year began with a missed opportunity in Melbourne. He put the car on pole position but was beaten off the line by his team mate and was unfortunate to slip behind Sebastian Vettel when the safety car came out.
|Beat team mate in qualifying||16/20|
|Beat team mate in race||9/13|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||638/958|
His pole-to-third result was repeated in Malaysia where the team made the first of several errors in the pits, most of which Hamilton bore the brunt of. But he also discovered that the MP4-27, though very quick in the dry, was less co-operative in the wet – as was also clear in Britain and Germany.
In China a grid penalty for a gearbox change dropped him into the pack but he emerged from it to take another third place and the lead of the championship. It proved fleeting as a pair of pit stop errors by his team in the next race left him eighth, despite a characteristically gutsy pass on Nico Rosberg.
He repeated that result in Spain after lapping quick enough for pole position in qualifying, then being sent to the back of the grid. His recovery drive, in which he made one fewer pit stop than his rivals and finished in front of his team mate, showed the kind of patience and coolness in adversity that were missing from his driving the year before.
Finally he posted his first win of the year in Canada, as he and the team sussed out the need to make an extra pit stop before Ferrari and Red Bull did. But after that his season went downhill rapidly.
In Valencia he was on course for a useful points haul when he came under attack from Maldonado. Having squeezed the Williams wide, Maldonado rejoined the track by driving clean into the side of Hamilton’s car and taking him out.
Eighth on the grid in a wet qualifying session at Silverstone yielded the same result in the race. In Germany he picked up a puncture and failed to score, though took the opportunity to vex Sebastian Vettel by un-lapping himself from the Red Bull during the race.
As F1 went into its summer break Hamilton delivered his second win of the year, a classy pole-to-win drive in Hungary despite considerable pressure from the Lotus drivers.
That cut his deficit to Alonso to 47 points and Vettel was just five ahead. Clearly, the championship was still a possibility, but there was more misfortune awaiting him once the season resumed.
Hamilton’s first-lap elimination in Belgium was entirely the fault of Romain Grosjean. But Hamilton might have avoided being caught up on it had he made the same set-up decision as his team mate, who started six places further ahead.
Button went on to win in Belgium, and it’s not hard to imagine how Hamilton might have done the same had he chosen the same rear wing. He won in Italy and retired from the lead in Singapore. This was a string of four races where he could have built a succession of title-winning Grand Prix victories the way Vettel later did. Instead he scored half the available points.
More frustration followed in Korea, where a technical problem during the race saw him limp home tenth, dragging a large clump of Astroturf which became stuck to his car. His preparations in Japan were dogged by more problems, though he recovered to beat Kimi Raikkonen to fourth. In Abu Dhabi, another likely win yielded nothing.
By this time Hamilton have made the surprising revelation that he would be leaving McLaren for Mercedes at the end of the year. Keen to go out on a high, he prised victory from Vettel’s hands at the Circuit of the Americas with an opportunistic pass when the Red Bull driver was briefly delayed by Narain Karthikeyan.
There could have been a final win in Brazil, too, even after he lost the lead by making an unnecessary switch to intermediate tyres early on. After the safety car brought him back into contention he passed Nico Hulkenberg for the lead, only for the Force India to spin into the side of him.
That was his sixth no-score in a frustrating year when things just refused to come right for Hamilton. Often – though not always – it was through no fault of his own. That he finished fourth in the championship with a car that was, on average, quickest over a single lap, is largely down to reliability and operational problems out of his control.
Hamilton was back to his best in 2012 and there is every reason to believe he’d have been in the thick of the championship contest had his car and team performed better.
Lewis Hamilton 2012 form guide
F1 Fanatic readers on Hamilton
Here’s what F1 Fanatic readers had to say about Lewis Hamilton’s season:
He always drove at the maximum of his and his car’s possibilities, he took advantage of the McLaren when it was the quicker can and battled with the Red Bulls when they were faster. His five retirements cost him so many points that he could’ve easily not only beaten Raikkonen, but likely Alonso and Vettel as well.
Seven pole positions plus the one he lost through no fault of his own in Spain, consistently faster than his team mate and as quick as Vettel when Newey improved the RB8. McLaren’s pit stop mistakes and bad reliability cost him so much that he finished the season even behind Raikkonen.
Arguably Hamilton’s best season since his rookie year, definitely his best since his title year. No driving errors, and when you see how much McLaren has been at fault this year, you get a better understanding of why Lewis decided to pull the trigger and move to Brackley.
Should be holding two world titles for sure. He drove brilliantly, but when that championship winning consistency was needed by the team, Hamilton was let down numerous times. We can easily add another 100 points onto his tally if McLaren had been as operationally smooth as Red Bull or Ferrari.
These point would see him easily champion. The frustration mounted this year but Lewis dealt with it well on track. Off track he had no other choice to move to a promising team that can only move up: Mercedes.
Notes on how the rankings are produced
The F1 Fanatic Driver Rankings are my personal view on how the drivers performed across the entire season. Drivers such as Jerome D’Ambrosio who only competed in a small part of the season are not included.
Each drivers’ performance in all of the race weekends are taken into account and summarised. For more detailed views of how they fared in each weekend refer to the notes produced for each Driver of the Weekend article and the driver form guides.
A selection of F1 Fanatic readers’ views appear alongside the rankings. The full rankings will be published in seven parts, with individual articles for the top five drivers, after which there will be a vote for Driver of the Year.
Over to you
What do you think of Lewis Hamilton’s last year with McLaren? Have your say in the comments.
2012 F1 season review
- The complete F1 Fanatic 2012 season review
- What F1 Fanatics thought of 2012: The year in polls
- The drivers and cars of 2012
- F1 Fanatic’s 50 article highlights of 2012
- 11 different Driver of the Weekend winners in 2012
94 comments on “2012 F1 Driver Rankings #2: Hamilton”
14th December 2012, 11:59
I think I’ve worked out who the#1 is!
14th December 2012, 19:12
14th December 2012, 12:00
Vettel should rank higher than lewis.
The car was fastest like in most races………you can blame reliability, team strategy error, but without those, lewis didnt perform as well as the car could. Often finished out of his quali position.
he got vote as 2nd due to sympathy and nth else
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
14th December 2012, 12:07
There was no vote. See “Notes on how the rankings are produced”.
14th December 2012, 12:30
Keep them blinkers on, son
14th December 2012, 12:49
Are you sure you were watching the 2012 season?
14th December 2012, 13:47
I remember, he quali 2’nd in Canada and Austin, and he finished 1’st in both ocassions overtaking Vettel on the circuit. I think one time, he finished lower than quali, because in the rest he had problems at the pits, or tehnical problems, even in Monaco when he was overtook by Vettel in the pits, he wasn’t inform about the gap.
14th December 2012, 18:34
Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha !!!!!!!
15th December 2012, 8:39
I would put Vettel #2 and Hamilton #3 as well, but I understand why people would switch the two. Tough call.
16th December 2012, 12:32
@wiry11 You actually can in this place, when the car and pit crew didn’t have an issue Lewis either won, or at worst got a podium or was right outside it. Grabbing himself a decent point haul. And same can somewhat be said for Jenson. You can’t fully understand the scope of McLaren’s sleeping on the job, unless you look at both drivers.
Lewis was known this season for his flawless drives where he didn’t make mistakes and thus it was outside forces that got the best of him: Pit crew, suspension failures (mutli), transmission failure and change, grid penalties *(other), and other drivers such as Grosjean, Maldonado and Hulkenberg. This either cost him a chance for a win or at least real points toward the fight. So I too must ask what season did you watch?
14th December 2012, 12:10
I have such a love/hate relationship with Lewis after 2011. But that drive in America means I’m not allowed to dislike him ever again. Incredible. It really should have been that Lewis v Fernando v Seb title decider we all deserve/expect. This ranking chart is bang on.
14th December 2012, 13:56
Raikkonen should be upper than him, because is cleaner in overtaking and defending.. Hamilton crashed with : Maldonado, Hulkenberg…and Grosjean, and yes, was not his fault, BUT: why is happening only him?? This is not the faith, it’s his driving style. Plus, I remeber in Japan, Raikk-Hamilton, how incredible Raikkonen avoided Hamilton, Hamilton forcing a lot that corner. Look at onboard camera of Raikkonen to see what I’m talking about. Hamilton is a ram.
14th December 2012, 17:09
I’m a bit puzzled about this. Maldonado and Grosjean hits lots of people, not just Hamilton.
Hulkenberg wasn’t that bad over the whole season (or even in the Brazil race – you just look a real muppet if you wipe out the leader).
14th December 2012, 23:52
29th November 2013, 19:48
So those crashes weren’t Hamilton’s fault, but they were Hamilton’s fault? And they were his fault because they happened to him? Fascinating logic.
Craig Woollard (@craig-o)
14th December 2012, 12:14
Should have been number 1. Failed to make a single on-track error all season long, and unlike that overrated Spaniard, wasn’t outpaced by his teammate for the majority of the second half of the season. The car and the team let him down massively here.
14th December 2012, 12:24
Massa only outpaced Alonso in like 3 races in the second half of the year. People just make a bigger thing out of it because Massa outpacing Alonso was so unexpected.
Neel Jani (@neelv27)
14th December 2012, 12:16
Surprised to see Fernando beat Lewis to no.1 though they were close but Fernando made a big mistake in Q2 in Melbourne whereas I don’t recount any from Lewis. Even the above mentioned errors were not completely down to Lewis at all (eg. his start in Melbourne).
Surprised but respect it. Good job on diagnosing each driver’s season for us Keith as always.
A big thank you from all of us.
14th December 2012, 13:53
I’d say a big mistake for Hamilton was not choosing that new rear wing in Belgium. With that he could have been on the front frow, and possibly ahead of all the carnage. And in Brazil he did make the mistake most others made too, to go in for intermediates.
But otherwise, I think it was really a season where he did as good as can be expected of anyone.
15th December 2012, 16:17
Lewis made a big mistake in Korea race. He ran inappropriate area that’s why he had to drive with “green car”
16th December 2012, 12:37
Due to a suspension failure…why do I even bother you aren’t registered
Patrick Delee (@padelee)
14th December 2012, 12:20
Might be the last time we see him ranked at Number 2 for a while..Hope im wrong, because there is never a dull moment when Lewis is up near the front.
14th December 2012, 12:52
It shouldn’t affect his ranking on this should it? I mean, if he still drives the wheels off the Merc, and has great performances relative to the Mercedes pace, i see no reason why he should drop. Should it? @keithcollantine
And indeed why Lewis is my favourite driver, as you say, always action when he’s near the front.
Kim Philby (@philby)
14th December 2012, 12:20
Absolutely spot on for Lewis the fact that he accumulated just 2 points more than Button isn’t the biggest illusion this year!
I just wonder when we are gonna witness a full blown title showdown between Hamilton and Alonso. For reason other than racing itself we deprived of that in 2007.
The second thing that shows how well Lewis performed in 2012 is that he is placed above Vettel despite the 91 point chasm in the actual standings.
Kim Philby (@philby)
14th December 2012, 12:21
is not isn’t obviously!
14th December 2012, 19:50
He is not placed above Vettel. Keith has ranked him higher on his opinion only. That’s all there is to it. A meaningless opinion.
Kim Philby (@philby)
14th December 2012, 20:21
@F1fanNL if it is meaningless then why are you here to read it an comment on it?
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
14th December 2012, 22:40
I am under no illusion that I am merely offering my own view. And it’s gratifying to see how many people are sufficiently interested in my view to come here, read it and share their thoughts on it.
Opinions can be meaningless. They can be ignorant of facts, logically unsound or defective in other ways. I don’t believe the views I’ve put forward here are. If you’d care to explain why you think they are I’d be interested to hear it. Otherwise it seems you’ve only come here to insult me and my work.
15th December 2012, 1:55
Meaningless as in, its not gonna change the fact that Vettel won a well deserved championship.
Also, there’s a general consensus on this site that best driver of the year was never a contest. I guess Alonso’s constant stream of PR-******** worked.
What’s funny though is that when Vettel was put ahead of Alonso and Hamilton by none other than Murray Walker, it was laughed at. Now though, your opinion is suddenly the bible.
A lot of people are using or will be using this to ‘prove’ Alonso is miles ahead of Vettel. He clearly isn’t. In fact, I doubt Alonso would have had such a good season if he hadn’t had such a poor teammate for most of the year.
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
15th December 2012, 10:51
More fool them if they do. Vettel drove very well this year, as I’ve already said, and I think he fully deserves the championship.
16th December 2012, 1:40
Opinions are all that we have. Even if you put every driver in the same car, reliability, setup etc would always leave room for interpretation. therefore, what I feel is one of the more comprehensive and thought out driver rankings I’ve seen will have meaning to some people, even if not to you. If you disagree with the poll there’s another page where you can vote for your top driver of the season.
16th December 2012, 12:44
@f1fannl does it get lonely on your pedestal up there? I mean you rant as if we all just blindly accept Keith’s view as if it were a dogma. If you have a personal issue with the site, why not personally brandish it with Keith and not in the open comments? Then again it is somewhat rhetorical to ask, when we get to see your attitude in how you go about it.
You seemed to have missed the point of these rankings and plenty of people -myself included- have posted our own or disagreed with Keith on these ranking but understand where he is coming from. Having an open mind and all.
15th December 2012, 5:20
+1 to that. hats off! greeting from freezing Poland to all F1 fans!
14th December 2012, 12:32
His season left a lot of ‘if’s and ‘but’s mostly due to McLaren reliability problems and even though I don’t like the public image of the guy I gotta admit he drove well this year. Still, I may have put him behind Vettel (world champion, some magnificent performances) or even Kimi (who performed greatly with inferior car, maybe too many tiny mistakes in the first part of the season though).
To my eyes Hamilton didn’t show anything spectacular (as far as I recall) which the other guys all did in their own ways. He was there when his car worked but, well, nothing special really.
Just my 2c
14th December 2012, 12:45
His recovery drive in spain was pretty amazing, and he turned it all the way up to 11 to get past Vettel in texas when so many would have given up and lumped for second. Its just sad that being constantly so far from the real championship narrative, his achievements didnt get the recognition they deserved.
14th December 2012, 13:17
Hungary, USA , Spain and Canada were all stand out drives I think.
14th December 2012, 14:10
But nothing spectacular (except for Spain maybe). In Hungary he was chased down by Räikkönen despite otherwise being faster all weekend, in USA he started from second and would’ve finished in that place if it weren’t for Karthikeyan (or whoever it was) blocking Vettel, and in Canada he won due to Alonso’s and Vettel’s bad strategy calls.
14th December 2012, 15:04
And Alonso only won in Valencia because he lucked out due to others retirements, Vettel won 4 on the trot only because he had the best car, Kimi only won in Abu Dhabi because Ham retired, Button was only great in Brazil because his tire strategy gamble paid off…. People can invent excuses for whatever they want or don’t want to believe. Fact is an excellent drive is an excellent drive whatever luck or circumstance went into it.
14th December 2012, 16:19
Yeah I’m aware of those
I was just pointing out how Hamilton’s stand out races weren’t that spectacular really (at least for him to be worthily elected as the second best driver of this year). Especially when you consider the fact that he was put higher on the list than the world champion and the guy with the best racecraft (after a break of two years spent in probably the farthest motorsport from F1).
16th December 2012, 13:04
@tmekt Yeah and Vettel has had lucky calls to with only two memorable drives from last to 3 this season and Brazil drive back. As others have made clear yet, you are on this bit that he was just a bore and capitalized on a good car…which is what Vettel did as well. It worked for Vettel because he didn’t have a transmission failure and a string of suspension failures that Button also suffered.
You answered the question to why Raikkonin beat him already, and it was due to car failures. So what I see is double standards and then contradictions. He most likely got second due to having a great car that let him down, but still pulling off nearly as many wins as Vettel and due to the adversity faced by leaving the team but still putting on a good show. Yet also coming back from 2011 and acting like a winning and or championship driver.
Either way I agree, at the end of the day it is all Vettel’s and no amount of back and forth will say otherwise. However, history is always debated and many people will look into the story of it and not just accept Vettel won.
14th December 2012, 17:18
Hungary and USA were good drives though – the former was a case of driving just quickly enough to keep control of the race while ensuring the tyres hung together; the latter stealing a win without a car advantage.
The lack a big stand-out drive (for Hamilton, Vettel and Raikkonnen) is the basic reason why I wouldn’t say more than 2nd for any of them – and the relative lack errors as why HAM gets #2.
14th December 2012, 18:49
Yeah well I disagree
14th December 2012, 19:53
Half a second advantage in one sector almost every lap isn’t a car advantage? O.K.
15th December 2012, 9:15
You have to drive all 3 sectors, not just the most advantageous one.
15th December 2012, 14:25
And in the other two sectors Vettel gained a tenth at best. Every lap Hamilton had a 2-4 tenths advantage. Do you honestly believe that’s because of Hamilton making up 3 tenths or more through skill alone?
In practice it was already obvious the McLaren would be more than a challenge to Vettel. When the cars were empty Vettel had a slight advantage.
15th December 2012, 0:15
What are you talking about? He only won Canada because of the strategy? You know that he was in front of Alonso and Vettel. At least Vettel (probably also Alonso) would stay behind him if they stoped also. And USA? Why everyone just talks about Karthy in USA, whats about the 2 laps where Hamilton lost 1 second because of HRTs…? And tell me about Vettels great races? Abu Dhabi? Where Grosjean, both TR and Webber let him pass?
14th December 2012, 20:13
I have to agree in terms of ranking him behind Vettel and Raikkonen. I do think that Lewis bounced back extremely well from what was a difficult 2011, even though he was extremely unlucky with reliabilty. However, two things bother me about his 2nd place ranking here:
1) He lost out to 2 slower cars, both of whom won less than he did (Fernando – 3, Kimi – 1). He finished 17 points behind Kimi (not exactly close)
2) He only had 2 points in hand over his teammate Button (who Keith ranked 7th) – this one really baffles me.
I do understand that Hamilton’s mechanical retirements were pretty detrimental in terms of the championship standings, but I can’t help but feel that a driver deserving the title of 2nd best in the world would’ve been able to overcome these obstacles
14th December 2012, 22:46
HAHA wow you have high standards. I’m no Hamilton fan but seriously, you expect drivers to “overcome” two mechanical car-crippling problems while leading the race? You must think drivers should have the ability to fix their cars while driving!
14th December 2012, 23:56
You’re taking what i said out of context
I didn’t say he should’ve overcome to win the championship and completely annihilate the field. I simply feel as though if he deserved to be ranked 2nd, he would have overcome them to achieve the 2 points I listed above (i think he should’ve beaten raikkonnen and should’ve had more points over Button, even with the retirements).
Obviously i don’t expect a driver to win a race if their car breaks down in the middle of it
15th December 2012, 5:02
@frost_byte_94 I get what you’re saying but 1 he did beat button, so case solved. And 2, he would have beaten raikkonen, had it not been for those 2 retirements ( a bit of an assumption, i know). So basically, I just don’t get what your point is. In the slightest.
15th December 2012, 6:43
@timi my point is, as I said, I wouldnt rank him second because i would expect someone ranked second to be able to recover in subsequent rounds to make up the lost points.
The season is 20 races long. 2 mechanical failures aren’t justification for losing to a slower car that had no break downs. Vettel (who i ranked second), overcame problems in Valencia, Italy, and Abu Dhabi qualifying to win the championship.
Don’t get me wrong, I think Hamilton is the only driver along with Vettel that has the ability to light up an entire weekend and be untouchable on track (see Hungary, Canada and Abu Dhabi before the retirement). I just think that the consistency that drivers like Alonso and Raikonnen show is so impressive because it shows at the end of the season in the championship standings
15th December 2012, 12:11
Frost_Byte, don’t take this as an offense please, but in my opinion your talking nonsense here. Hamilton lost more than 100 points this season because of things which were not his fault. If you really believe it was just 2 races which he had to overcome, you haven’t watched the whole season. He lost a possible win at Spain because of his team underfueling the car, he lost a possible win at Brazil aswell – in a worst case-szenario, that’s already 100 points lost in 4 races. And I haven’t even started to count all of the points he’s lost due to bad pitstops or others crashing into him.
The inconsistancy of his results this season was not due to him, it was due his team, other drivers or simply bad luck.
14th December 2012, 13:01
2nd place? mmmmmm even when the team let him down most of the year?
14th December 2012, 15:31
I read the title of this series as ‘Driver Rankings’. The team doesn’t factor into it, otherwise Hulkenburg should never have been in the top 5, and Alonso wouldn’t be number 1.
I’m not the biggest Hamilton fan, and if you look back through my previous comments people will see I’ve been quite critical of him before. But this season was one of Hamilton’s best. Watching his pole lap in Melbourne back in March it was apparent that his driving style was smoother than it has been. He’s not had a perfect season (even when factoring out car and team errors), but he deserves 2nd in this ranking.
14th December 2012, 16:45
@keeleyobsessed I would NEVER be a Ham fan either, just in case, I’m just saying that the final poll rating Alonso better than Hamilton or Vettel (well, yes better than vettel) is harder to evaluate because of the races spoiled by the team. My memory is quite bad to tell you the exact races when Hamilton was getting the 1st and the team (or the car) sank the ship.
Armchair Expert (@armchairexpert)
14th December 2012, 13:30
My personal number 1 this year. Lewis was simply perfect, fast during every weekend, consistent, made no mistakes and the only thing which robbed him of a title was McLaren’s reliability and operational errors. He was fanstastic this year and his season is the best one pulled by a driver since Alonso’s 2006, when Fred was equally phenomenal. These 2 guys really are the best drivers on the grid by some margin. It was a pleasure to watch Hamilton this year and I hope he can deliver exactly the same feeling in Mercedes.
I don’t like the way he behaves sometimes (Twittergate i Unfollowmegate) or that he tries hard to become celebrity, but that doesn’t really matter when he is showing his magic on track. Hats off to you Lewis, hats off.
14th December 2012, 13:50
Hear hear! Well said
16th December 2012, 1:47
No mistakes is an exaggeration but any significant ones on his part could be counted on one hand.
V. Chris (@vasschu)
14th December 2012, 13:51
Well, i am not convinced Hamilton deserved 2nd (or 1st), imo. I think he had very calm season, the pressure was never on him. In the first races he was too conservative, than the problems came and in the end he wasn’t even for the title fight. Really there is little to blame Lewis for, but also is hard to admire him without using the word “if”.
15th December 2012, 0:22
Malaysia –> Pitstop
China –> Gearbox and pitstop
Spain –> Fuel
Monaco –> “Pitstop” (wasnt that bad)
Europe –> Maldonado
Germany –> Puncture
Spa –> Grosjean
Yeah, the poblems came in the end… You know that Hamilton was considered Alonsos 1st pursuer in/before Marina-Bay.
14th December 2012, 13:57
Amazing reading the summary how he got the most out of teh car every weekend, excepting Monza set up.
How many points did he lose to external factors? And Alonso, Vettel? Seems like it would be around 150, totally crazy season.
Massa beat Alonso in final third of season, dont know how Alonso can be #1 that being the case.
14th December 2012, 14:03
This statement seem entirely unfair to me Keith. The story behind this issue is well documented. He was led to believe the wing was faster (when it wasn’t), so he chose it. Hardly his fault. At best it was a collective error. Set-up is NOT down to the driver alone. They can only make a decision on what they perceive, and what they are told. Even if we admit it was an error on his part, i cannot see how, given the facts surrounding it, that it should be a factor in assesing his performace for the season.
Also, this comment suggest that some of the issues he faced this season was his fault. It would be nice for you to elaborate exactly which one.
I believe it is paper thin between Alonso and Lewis this season, with Lewis just edging it for me. This is because Alonso was not only outpaced by his team mate in the last 3 races, but the had enjoyed unrivalled subservience from the said team mate all season. We should not forget that Alonso’s results and performance have been undeniably flattered by Massa’a subservience. This MUST be taken into account.
Neither Lewis, nor indeed Seb, have enjoyed such a luxury. Lewis did not put a foot wrong this year, and extracted the maximum from his car at ALL times – despite his team consistently throwing a spanner in the works. This is what gives him the edge over Alonso this season.
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
14th December 2012, 21:51
As you yourself admit and Hamilton also acknowledged he did participate in the decision so there is no way he can be entirely absolved of blame for what was quite a major error.
Sergio B. Perez (@sergio-perez)
15th December 2012, 10:15
And this is Hamilton’s Achiles Heel. One thing we found out in the short Button/Hamilton pairing in Mclaren is that Hamilton, while more talented in driving the car, has still a lot to learn in terms of “reading” a race weekend, in terms of strategy, setup, and even weather conditions. Hamilton proved to be the best racer, but not the best overall “f1 driver” of the 2, a least not clearly. In Brazil, if not for the safety car, he would be well behind Button. Maybe time will help him improve in this, but currently, his talent is compromised by his bad judgement calls. I also think Raikkonen should have been higher up. What a come back!
15th December 2012, 22:19
This has to be the funniest comment ever, and proves that Lewis is judged to a different standard than other drivers. All drivers experience set-up issues during the season, least not his teamate whose set-up issues are legendary. Ferrari experienced numerous set-up issues all saeson, and so did RBR, but somehow Fernando, Seb, Massa, Webber and even Button are absolved of any set-up “issues”. When it come to Lewis though, he “has still a lot to learn in terms of reading a race weekend, in terms of strategy, setup, and even weather conditions”.
I get tired of reading about what Lewis has to “learn”, but never hear about what the others have to learn (bar Vettel). ALL drivers have a lot to learn. Lewis is not unique in that respect.
And have you calculated how many races Button spent behind Lewis? And what was the cause of that?
Jorge Lardone (@jorgelardone)
14th December 2012, 14:42
I can not understand how true lovers of Formula 1 are praising today a driver (Alonso) who did not hesitate to arrange hit his teammate (Piquet) against a wall in order to win a race (Singapore 2008). Formula 1 is not a fairy tale, but an unsportsmanlike conduct and even criminal like Alonso and his team principal should not be accepted by anyone, much less forgotten.
Jorge Lardone (@jorgelardone)
14th December 2012, 14:45
Sorry, this one is a commentary to Alonso Nº1 article.
Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid)
14th December 2012, 15:46
Innocent till proven guilty. We may speculate, and even if it is probable that Alonso had some involvement in Crashgate, it hasn’t been proven, let alone to what extent.
You say he didn’t hesitate to arrange Piquet to crash. You make it sound as if Alonso was the mastermind. As I have stated that’s entirely conjecture on your part, with no substantial proof to back it up.
14th December 2012, 17:22
It didn’t happen in 2012. These articles are strictly about this year.
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
14th December 2012, 21:53
@jorgelardone I did at the time but it hardly seems relevant when discussing his 2012 performance, except perhaps in the context of Ferrari’s decision to deliberately incur a penalty on Massa’s car in America.
14th December 2012, 15:48
This is in no way surprising; if Alonso hadn’t been as good as he was F1F would have Lewis as 1st…despite its attempts to appear unbiased this site loves McLaren, in particular Hamilton, the sooner its readership wises up to this, the sooner you learn to let articles like this go. It’s a good site for factual news but it’s opinion articles are frequently partisan.
God knows what they’ll do next year when the beloved Hamilton doesn’t drive for McLaren.
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
14th December 2012, 16:54
If I thought Hamilton deserved to be first I’d have put him first. Like I did two years ago. Though not, as I recall, four years ago, when he won the championship.
As far as I’m concerned those are both positives. News should be factual and comment pieces should show an opinion.
14th December 2012, 20:53
Aren’t opinion pieces supposed to be partisan?
14th December 2012, 16:53
I will probably get hate for this, but I thought his season was unremarkable to say the least, and although he made very few mistakes, he didn’t appear to me to be driving at another level to everyone else.
It’s quite difficult to describe and justify, but for some reason, I didn’t think he was a particularly outstanding driver all year.
14th December 2012, 16:55
Historically, I have been an Lewis Hamilton anti-fan for reasons I will not repeat here…
This summary from Keith has shown me a few things, which have formed some hereto unseen opinions
1. LH was HUGELY let down by his team
2. The car had SO much potential and Lewis was able to capitialize on most of it.
3. The frustration of having potentially the fastest car, but the inability to win with it, to be stifled again and again by the team, by luck, by other factors outside his control; it must have been infuriating…
3. What we see in LH of 2012 was a marked departure from his performances of previous seasons. The whiny, self-entitled, mistake-prone, easily frustrated driver which I have perceived is gone and LH has made tremendous improvements in his attitude to racing. He has taken the lessons heart, and I predict these personal changes will serve him well in the future (especially now at Mercedes ;-)
If Alonso deserves the top ranking for what he did with a bad car, Hamilton deserve a high ranking for what he did with a bad team, even if neither of them took the ultimate prize.
14th December 2012, 16:56
Yey got my quote in the article! very proud.
Hamilton’s potential wins in 2012: Spain, Canada, Hungary, Italy, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, USA, Brasil. Thats 200 points alone, more than his actual 2012 points tally of 190!!!
Hamilton’s actual wins in 2012: Canada, Hungary, Italy, USA. that’s a 100 points already and we could add Australia, China, Belgium.
14th December 2012, 19:13
okay I’m confused. You list in Hamilton’s potential wins 4 races he actually won? If he won them, they aren’t potential wins. And you bold that his potential wins would be more points than he actually scored.
Then you list Australia, China and Belgium as potential wins? Even though in 2 of them (Aus, China) he clearly didn’t win or really even in the running to win? Or Belgium where he didn’t make it past the first corner in a car with the totally wrong set up.
I’m not sure what your point is.
14th December 2012, 23:04
@uan when i said potential i mean he could have potentially won all those races as a group. sorry it is a bit confusing depending how you read it. then I say he could have retired in every other race apart from those listed and still have scored more points than he actually did.
Australia- yes 100% his fault but if he just got a good start he could have controlled the race and won just as easily as Button did. IMO.
China- i dont see why peple think Mclaren were slower than Mercedes during the race. If Hamilton didnt get a gearbox penalty and lined up p2 he could have easily and yes i mean easily passed rosberg over 60 or so laps. Rosberg benefitted massively from the 2 mclarens being stuck in traffic all race. great win none the less.
Belgium- clearly an erroneous setup choice by Ham and/or the team. Lets face it, HAM is quicker than BUT. he would have got pole.
so my point is the missed wins were crucial regardless of every other result from 2nd place downwards. the wins were in his grasp but the team (mostly) let them slip away.
15th December 2012, 21:56
I agree with your point in general. Quite honestly, without the reliability issues and operational errors, Lewis was on track to have the same type of year Vettel had in 2011. I also give high marks to Lewis for staying mentally strong when mistakes after mistakes were costing him (much more mature than 2010 and 2011) hugely.
That’s why breaking out the top 3 drivers, to a certain extent, is an exercise in futility this year. Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton each were superlative given the tools at their disposal. I think Alonso is flattered the most, but I think Vettel and Hamilton would have done equally as well in the Ferrari, possibly better as both are better qualifiers.
As it is, we’re left with applying double standards to each of the drivers as cases are built for them.
I’m not sure if there’s a way to quantify it, but this year really does show that it’s too simple to say “car” and “driver”. The driver is one element in itself, but the car is really a triad of design and updates, reliability and team operations. The McLaren was the fastest car for the vast majority of the year and should have won at least half the races. But reliability and operational issues undermined it. There’s a reason the Ferrari beat McLaren in the WCC and Alonso beat both McLaren drivers. So a competitive car with bullet proof reliability and operational performance during the races made up for the lack of outright pace. The classic tortoise and hare. The RedBull was in between those two and stumbled upon a happy medium of pace and reliability and operational excellence (except in Abu Dhabi and the underfueling of the car).
14th December 2012, 17:34
Honestly Keith i think you are are a bit biased towards Lewis and this is not the first time. When i read this article it seems that you want to blame Lewis for some of the errors that occurred, Lewis drove an error free season and should be No1 instead of Alonso who get to often overhyped by media such as this site and others. While Alonso needed to be benefitted by handicapping Massa Lewis did everything on his own
14th December 2012, 20:10
Bloody hell when Keith puts Alonso first he’s biased towards Alonso. When he puts Vettel first, he’s biased towards Vettel. When he puts Hamilton first he’s biased towards Hamilton. He can’t win regardless of who he puts first on his own personal ranking.
At your other point, Hamilton did not have an error free season. There’s no such thing as an error free season, Lewis made very few mistakes (the majority of which were off the track) and perhaps had the best season of his career. Ferrari only pushed Massa down the order once and it was a point where Felipe has ZERO chance of winning the championship.
Take you’re blinkers off mate before you start suggesting that Hamilton built the MP4-27 himself.
15th December 2012, 1:10
” Lewis made very few mistakes” – Don’t give me this nonsense!
”Take you’re blinkers off mate before you start suggesting that Hamilton built the MP4-27 himself” – how did you came to this conclusion ?
14th December 2012, 19:16
Lewis was stellar this year. The top 3 drivers are covered by the narrowest of margins and an argument can be made that anyone of them could justifiably be in any of the top positions.
On the whole, Lewis made the most of the car he was given. I think the most impressive thing for me about his driving this year, is how well he kept his mind in the game and how well he drove the entire year despite some pretty tough set backs.
15th December 2012, 4:32
Lewis was pretty good, but driver+team combo wins championships. McLaren performed quite poorly this season in terms of lost points, and I don’t think the F1 commentary/reporting has really taken the McLaren management to task for it. Looks like with every occasional win, Whitmarsh wipes his memory clean of any past blunders.
At Ferrari, Alonso did have his personal best season to date. Ferrari probably made only 1 mistake all year, with the wrong strategy at Montreal, and they lost effectively 5 pts to Vettel (since Alonso was running ahead of Vettel before Red Bull pitted late in the race to leapfrog Alonso.) It would have been just enough :) Yet, in the end, it would have been “unjust” for a Ferrari starting regularly on the 3rd or 4th row to sneak its way to the title from the team locking out the front row. Vettel & Red Bull deserve the WDC.
15th December 2012, 3:12
i don’t know way but i think that lowis is the most overrated in the history of f1
he got the bast car in 2012 and didn’t won wdc
so how is he better then vettle
it’s so funny that i can cry from envy too lowis
think for a second if lowis won the wdc in 2012 all the britsh will praise it as the driver best in history in the sports
15th December 2012, 4:11
Keith, what makes it “a *classy* pole-to-win drive in Hungary”? Since there have been many pole-to-win drives by Mr Vettel the past few years, I thought I’d search f1fanatic.co.uk for “classy pole-to-win”… nope, didn’t happen before. A bit of british bias perhaps?
Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine)
15th December 2012, 10:40
So now I’m only allowed to compliment drivers who are a different nationality to me?
I thought Alonso’s drive in Valencia showed class as well. So did Vettel’s in Brazil. I don’t see what that has to do with Hamilton being British.
15th December 2012, 10:49
@jjtg Isn’t the term “masterclass” good enough? ;)
15th December 2012, 9:55
Lewis still has a major problem with tyre wear all though he seems to have mostly come to terms with this problem mentally it seems he is destined be in a difficult place .I am still hoping to see a season on real racing tyres ,then perhaps the evaluations will be on the best racer.I would love to see who came out on top,it might not be any of the top three but it looks like we might have a long wait.
15th December 2012, 12:14
“Lewis still has a major problem with tyre wear”
This myth was put to rest years ago when tyre suppliers said there was no notable difference in tyre wear between Jenson and Lewis after thousands of km’s of pre-season testing.
Also, did you miss Spain 2012?
15th December 2012, 13:09
Kieth, BIG RESPECT for this ranking!
From a driving point of View Hamilton made less mistakes than vettel and was faster too. So I see why he got the 2nd. He could have been above Alonso too, but yeah, there were some moments when Alonso transcended a mere driver into a TEAM GOD. So I will will accept Hamilton in 2nd this time around.
15th December 2012, 14:16
Just being curious, while Raikkonen was still in McLaren, any particular year did he suffer from the car’s unreliability like Hamilton did this season?
Thanks in advance.
15th December 2012, 20:39
@zetaoku Not too similar, but he did have quite a few technical problems in 2005 which you could argue cost him the championship
16th December 2012, 21:04
as a button fan [ 7th about right this year ] it gripes me to have to admit it ,but hamilton was by a margin the outstanding driver of the year , always fast and flawless …..ok the car/team ruined his chances but he got 100% out of the car in every race ; kimi second , he did much the same , but not as quick as hamilton [ or his team mate a lot of the time ]
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