2013 F1 season driver rankings part two: 16-11

2013 F1 season review

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The F1 Fanatic 2013 driver rankings continues with part two. If you missed the first part you can catch up here.

16: Jules Bianchi

Beat team mate in qualifying17/18
Beat team mate in race14/16
Races finished16/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate786/993

Jules Bianchi is one of the harder drivers to place on this list. Driving one of the least competitive cars in the field he emphatically beat a team mate who, like him, was also a rookie.

Bianchi did as much as Marussia could have expected from a driver with little experience who had a very late call-up to the team. But he quickly got to grips with the MR02, delivering a 13th place finish in round two which eventually earned Marussia their coveted tenth place in the constructors’ championship.

The few retirements he posted were either a consequence of incidents that weren’t his making or a problem with his car. And he did a far better job of avoiding the kind of penalties and incidents which afflicted fellow ‘new team’ drivers.

Given the limited frame of reference it’s hard to make a case for placing him higher on the list, but this was nonetheless an impressive first season in F1.

Jules Bianchi 2013 form guide

15: Felipe Massa

Beat team mate in qualifying8/18
Beat team mate in race1/16
Races finished17/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate169/968

This was the third year in a row Felipe Massa failed to score half as many points as team mate Fernando Alonso and Ferrari have finally seen fit to drop him. and yet in some respects this which actually a slightly better season for Massa than we have come to expect.

His qualifying form against Alonso was the strongest aspect of his performance, particularly towards the end of the year on the harder tyres. But the results still weren’t there on race day, Massa taking just a single podium to Alonso’s nine.

He went through a rough spell in the middle of the year, suffering five incidents in four weekends from Monaco to Germany. At least one of those was caused by suspension failure – one of a pair of similar shunts at Sainte Devote in Monaco. Later on in Korea he almost took his team mate out on the first lap.

He also crossed the stewards on more than one occasion: impeding Webber during qualifying in Spain and breaking the pit lane speed limit in Japan. And of course there was the much-discussed penalty for cutting the white in Brazil – despite Massa’s vocal protestations it was something all drivers had been warned about more than once and which two of Massa’s rivals complained about him doing during the race.

On Massa’s better days he was able to get within range of Alonso: in Italy he might have had a chance of a podium had he not been told to back off and let Alonso past. He lost his seat following the race and the next time he was ordered to give way, in Japan, he was not so obliging.

This belated act of defiance – which might have been more gainfully employed at Hockenheim three years ago – ultimately proved futile as Alonso passed him anyway. That rather summed up his season.

Felipe Massa 2013 form guide

14: Valtteri Bottas

Beat team mate in qualifying12/19
Beat team mate in race5/14
Races finished17/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate481/989

Pastor Maldonado may have finished ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the races more often than not, but there was a lot to like about the rookie driver’s performances this year.

He stayed out of trouble, he qualified well – and he gave the team its best Saturday and Sunday results of the year.

Canada was the first indication of what a shrewd move Williams had made by promoting Bottas to a race seat. In one of the best qualifying performance of the year by any driver he claimed third on the grid with only Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton faster than him in a rain-hit session.

He was never going to be able to sustain that giant-killing feat in a dry race. But Bottas calmly held his ground for as long as he realistically could with an impressively mature drive.

Towards the end of the year, when Williams had solved one of the key problems with the FW35, Bottas wielded it to excellent effect, giving them their best result of the season. Another fine qualifying effort – this time in a dry session – and a superb pass on Esteban Gutierrez in the race put him on course for eighth place.

It leads you to wonder how much of Pastor Maldonado’s eagerness to leave Williams came from a desire not to have to go up against Bottas again now he’s got a year’s racing under his belt.

Valtteri Bottas 2013 form guide

13. Adrian Sutil

Beat team mate in qualifying8/19
Beat team mate in race4/12
Races finished15/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate366/826

Adrian Sutil’s return to racing started very well: he was in the lead by lap 14 of his comeback race, though this eventually proved to have been largely down to his strategy.

That was one of two stand-out moments of his year, the other being a thrilling drive in Monaco featuring some brave and accomplished passes at the Fairmont Hotel hairpin. He was rewarded with fifth place, which turned out to be his best result of the season.

At the time it was a welcome tonic following some early-season misfortunes. He had been taken out by Esteban Gutierrez in China and thwarted by wheel nut problems in Malaysia and Spain. But even when things went right he usually wasn’t up to the standard set by his team mate.

That was aggravated by some mistakes of his own: he was penalised after holding up Lewis Hamilton in Canada and Italy – which raised eyebrows given their recent falling-out – and spun into Webber in Korea. Nor was he blameless in his first-lap collision with Pastor Maldonado in America.

A typical year for Sutil, then: capable but rarely spectacular, and a few too many mistakes.

Adrian Sutil 2013 form guide

12. Mark Webber

Beat team mate in qualifying2/19
Beat team mate in race0/15
Races finished16/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate117/1038

Although he didn’t confirm it until June, Webber later admitted he had in mind as early as the first race of the season that this would be his last in Formula One.

It proved a bruising year. Webber has never enjoyed the current generation of tyres and the 2013 rubber was the most aggressive yet, which surely played a role in the widening gap between him and team mate Vettel.

In one sense the year was far from a disaster: he finished third in the drivers’ championship, equalling his best ever performance. But he had barely more than half his team mate’s points tally and no wins to Vettel’s 13.

Of course, he would have had a tenth career win had Vettel played ball in Malaysia. Webber sussed the conditions better than his team mate early in the race, propelling him into the lead.

The rights and wrongs of Red Bull’s attempt to tell their drivers to hold station and Vettel’s refusal to heed the instruction have been endlessly debated. But as Webber had disregarded similar instructions on at least one prior occasion (Silverstone in 2011) it would have been naive of him to expect Vettel to behave differently.

Webber probably came closest to victory in Britain despite a dreadful start in which he lost part of his front wing and later slipped to 14th place. The Safety Car helped him back into contention and he was homing in on leader Nico Rosberg when the chequered flag fell.

These poor starts were another feature of Webber’s season: his typical race pattern was to qualify (not far) behind Vettel, bog down at the start and spent the rest of the race trying to recover positions.

Bad luck also returned to haunt him at times: most significantly in China, Canada and Germany. But at other times Webber’s actions had precipitated it: a ten-place penalty in Korea for accruing three reprimands left him in the middle of the pack, where he was eventually taken out by Adrian Sutil.

But he rounded off the year – and his F1 career – with an excellent second place in Brazil following a race-long scrap with Fernando Alonso.

Mark Webber 2013 form guide

11. Sergio Perez

Beat team mate in qualifying10/19
Beat team mate in race6/19
Races finished19/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate488/1112

McLaren’s decision to drop Sergio Perez after a single season with the team invites us to view his year as an unmitigated failure.

But it wasn’t: The team’s eagerness to stress how badly they wanted to get Kevin Magnussen in a car and find a berth for Perez at another team in 2014 underlines that point.

Perez compared well against Jenson Button in qualifying – although it’s true that’s never been one of his team mate’s strengths – and had several good races too. Unfortunately most of them came after the team had already decided to replace him next year. An excellent fifth in India included a pass on Hamilton and Raikkonen, and he produced a fine recovery drive in the final race to take sixth, gaining thirteen places on the way.

Some of the criticisms levelled at his driving by his rivals were justified – Button’s complaints about being hit by his own team mate in Bahrain, for example. But on other occasions Perez was patently blameless, such as when Raikkonen hit him in China.

What should have been a great result in Monaco – following passes on Alonso and Button – ended in nothing after another collision with Raikkonen for which both drivers bore some of the blame.

But there were a few too many missed opportunities and days when he lagged behind Button at the flag. In another year he might have hung on to his seat for a second season, but McLaren believe they’ve got a star of the future on their hands in Magnussen, and that meant goodbye to Perez.

Sergio Perez 2013 form guide

How the rankings are produced

This is a ranking of how drivers have performed in the 2013 season, irrespective of their form in previous years. Among the data referred to in producing the rankings are notes on each driver’s performance at each race weekend, compiled data on car performance, direct comparisons between team mates and each driver’s form guide.

Over to you

How highly do you rate the drivers who’ve appeared so far in the rankings? Give your views on them in the comments.

Images © Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, Red Bull/Getty, McLaren/Hoch Zwei

Author information

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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52 comments on “2013 F1 season driver rankings part two: 16-11”

  1. I don’t think I can ever disagree with your rankings @keithcollantine. Always perfectly justified. Well done.

  2. I’d not put Webber behind Perez and Di Resta, tbh. His car let him down while on podium position in 3 or 4 occassions at the end of the year, which would’ve improved his point tally.

    I know, compared to his team mate, he did a rubbish job. But at least he got some highlights, Suzuka pole, Abu Dhabi pole for instance. In stritct comparision between those 3 drivers, I’d have put Mark ahead.

    1. But he didn’t outperform his car at any occasion this season except for his pole position in Abu Dhabi. One highlight isn’t good enough if you have the best car on the grid, even in comparison with the seasons Di Resta or Perez had.

      1. David not Coulthard (@)
        14th December 2013, 15:27

        @gdewilde You do realise that outperforming a car is more a paradox than skill, right? Scientifically, it’s like intentionally doing something unintentional.

        1. Sorry Mr. scientist, I was talking figuratively.
          Do you comment on everybody who uses the word ‘outperforming’, because you’ll have a lot of work on this site…
          Fact is, he was to slow this year. Worthy of a 12th place, nothing more.

    2. Indeed, Vettel was categorically the better driver (I happen to think that was Vettel’s best season ever).

      It does say a lot that his season highlight was to finish second in Brazil, whilst his teammate chalked up his 9th victory in a row and stamped his name in yet another sect of the record books, even despite facing pit-stop adversity.

      Mark is a good driver, don’t get me wrong. But Vettel made him look like an average one, something he himself has acknowledged by recently lauding his former teammate.

      1. @vettel1 thats why i think Vet gets his flack many rightly or wrongly feel when his teammate wins 13 races Webber should be 2nd in the WC when that many races av been 1 it usually means thats the best car. I just think Webber as completely underperformed(its embarrasing that this year and 2011 Red Bull best years Web had 1 gifted win). It annoys me it really does that he as even had the chance to drive this car. I feel we fans av been let down from him, Red Bull dont mind thats for sure they have 4xwc but atleast next year Vet is against a young gun(who by the way i dont rate that highly especially race pace) and we can see what happens. Not that i think it would happen but just imagin Red Bull are off the pace a little diff to drive and Vet struggles like 2012 early doors and Ric beats him, you may all say but he is a 4xwc but im telling you it will make his legacy look poor. In a way he cant win cuz either way he is expected to beat him, thats why i only think people will judge if its against Ham or Alo(when Alo is in peak), as at least Ham will always have that in is armour he went toe to toe and came slighly out on top while being a rookie. I would just love to see these tyres a little harder and Merc as quick as the best team, i genuinley feel Ham is the best and fastest on tyres like Bridgestones were he goes flat out.

        1. All I can say is, don’t be expecting Ricciardo to beat him @danclapp!

      2. I couldn’t agree more, the fact is that Webber was never able to adapt his driving to what the car required, which explains why all his wins came at “classic” circuits instead of the new ones full of hairpins and chicanes.

      3. @vettel I think Webber has been very underwhelming and very average, again. He’s a good driver, no doubt, but sometimes I wonder why Webber doesn’t any flak while say Massa seems to get so much.

        In the two seasons when Vettel dominated, Webber picked up just one fortunate win. For me, that is really poor.

        He shoots himself in the foot with his bad starts, and that threw away the only opportunity he had this season to get a win when Vettel retired at Silverstone. He’s also shown to be rather clumsy on occasions this season like in China, and receiving three reprimands.

        While some might try to justify his lack of pace this season with “he is retiring so he isn’t putting in full effort”, I don’t buy that at all. He has shown some flashes of impressive pace, but just flashes. Vettel has shown brilliance throughout the year.

        I feel 12th for Webber is about right, if not lower.

    3. @fer-no65, I think I would agree, although it’s difficult to compare these drivers in vastly different cars, and with vastly different team mates. Webber’s problem is that he could not have had a more difficult team mate in Sebastian Vettel, who only slipped up enough in qualifying once, in Abu Dhabi, for Webber to take the pole. And in Austin Webber should have beaten Vettel in qualifying but messed up at the final sector.

      Also, zero wins to 13 does not make pleasant reading for Mark, though I still would have liked to see Vettel beat Webber in Malaysia if the team had not intervened. The team order may have been in Mark’s favour, but that also meant he didn’t expect an attack, and didn’t get pit stop priority even though he was leading (though I should not be ‘dragging old cows out of the ditch’, as the Dutch saying goes).

  3. I much more agree with this group than with the previous one, although I’d still place the rookies Bianchi and Bottas somewhat higher up the order. Both were awesome and largely – especially Bottas – free from the misjudgements which were present in the seasons of all the other five.

    I also agree with the majority of the posts above mine that di Resta should have never made it into the top 10 after he played second fiddle to Sutil in terms of pace for much of the first half of the season. He did recuper in the final flyaway races and made less errors, so I’d rate them pretty evenly – which means PdR would be 12th-13th for me.

    The same goes for Ricciardo: early season only misfortunes denied Vergne to beat him steadily and even after that, he was quicker on one lap only; their race paces often matched until the final two or three races of the season. All in all, comfortably better than his teammate, but surely not better than the likes of Bottas, Perez and Webber.

    I eagerly await the top 10 however. I’d expect a Vettel-Alonso 1-2, but I’m not sure the Hamilton-Raikkonen pair would follow – Hulkenberg would surely be in the top 5 and Rosberg is a dark horse for me too.

    1. Huh Di Resta was as good at the start aswell, if anything he was best at the start dude, Sutil was good in Aus and Monaco yet Di Resta was 4th in Bahrain and wa salways ahead of Sutil after like 4 races. I dont even like Di Rest 2/3 years beat by a teammate but he as more upside to Sutil imo why should Sutil get a seast he ad 5 years or whatever in f1 Hulk proved that you can come back from a year out and beat Di Resta and Sutil way more experiance has not done it. Di Resta is younger aswell he clearly deserves Sauber more than Sutil. Even in Di Resta’s first year imsure most would agree it was Di Resta who stood out more Sutil is not good atall dude.

      1. Look behind the stats, man, see long run paces and race charts and take into account the misfortunate exits as well – you’ll see Sutil getting the better of him almost every time, it’s just that di Resta had the headline-grabbing results.

        Take Bahrain for example: Sutil’d have finished ahead of di Resta in 4th without the lap 1 incident. You can see this from his pace afterwards and the position he was in at the start. There were other similar situations early season.

  4. Wow, Perez better than Massa?? That’s surprising. Also congrats to Jules Bianchi, he was the best of the young drivers and the small teams.

  5. would like to see the rest – i wouldn’t have put such a big gap between vergne and ricciardo. there’s something about these two that doesn’t seem very exciting for some reason, unlike (for instance) hulkenberg or even algesuari (who was, in my opinion, starting to mature into a really decent driver)

  6. Given Felipe’s single lap pace I think he should be higher. Webber really did under-perform and I don’t see how someone who has won no races and his team mate 13 should be in the top 10! Glad you noticed the brightest young talents in Riciardo, Hulkenberg and di Resta and put them in the top 10.

  7. I think Jules Bianchi and Valtteri Bottas are ones to watch, given their respectable performances in the first F1 season. If Alonso leaves Ferrari after 2014, Bianchi certainly has to be one of the top candidates for the vacant seat.

    It’s harder to predict where Bottas might end up as he doesn’t belong to any of the big teams’ driver academies. His 2013 season has been kind of similar to Hulkenberg’s debut season (2010). It’s clear that Bottas still has to learn but a few outstanding performances indicate that he is more than “just another F1 driver”.

    Unfortunately Hulkenberg, another ‘freelancer’, is still hanging around in the midfield despite all the praise he gets from F1 journalists, team principals and other drivers. So I guess Bottas’ future will depend not only on his own performance; different political and financial considerations will also play their role.

    1. For me i dont see much in Bottas not more than another driver as u put it anyway, what was outstanding for a rookie year beating Maldanodo by 3 points, look at the stats he outqualiied Mal yet spent more time behind in races(more laps behind and finshed more races behind). If as u say you can tell he is more than another driver surely a WC material is beating Maldonando convincingly, no? I was underwhelmed by Bottas ever since the last 4 flyaways, and i no the car was bad but i atleast notise drivers he underwhelmed me especially consiidering we got told he was a huge talent by FW he ever saw.

      1. I have to agree with you. I think Bottas has been given a little more credit than he is due compared to his team-mate. He has been very clean and had a very good race in the USA, but for me he seems a bit tentative when battling with other drivers, sometimes a little too easy to pass, and his race pace is lacking somewhat. I know he was in an awful car, but Maldonado was ahead a lot more in the races, so there was more performance to be had.

        Bianchi was rookie of the year for me.

        1. @deej92 Nico Hulkenberg was not more impressive in his debut season as he scored less than half as many points as Barrichello. And Barrichello wasn’t much better than Maldonado in the following season.

          I think rookies need more time today and if they can produce a couple of eye-catching performances and stay out of trouble in the 1st season, it’s already a lot.

    2. David not Coulthard (@)
      14th December 2013, 15:31

      So I guess Bottas’ future will depend not only on his own performance; different political and financial considerations will also play their role.

      I think it’ll depend somewhat on what ross Brawn will deide to do half a year from now.

  8. I think @keithcollantine is being a bit generous with Mark Webber placing him in 12th. In my book he should be further back, right there with Massa. He’s got 0 wins to Vettels 13 and barely half the point his team mate scored, in the best car of the grid by a country mile. Jeez can someone have a worse season than that? I think his retirement really is him jumping before getting pushed, coz in my book that was just not a good enough performance. Anyhoo, he’s a nice guy and that and seems to strike a chord with the British media in general so they tend to turn a blind eye so that’s understandable. The rest of the ranking is pretty much spot on in my view.

    1. Massa made a lot more errors than Webber, and had less car failures.

    2. But he still came third in the drivers championship, thats not a bad effort in my opinion. Sure its not stellar but its far from terrible.

    3. Vettel got 13 wins, Alonso 2, Rosberg 2, Hamilton 1, Raikkonen 1, Webber 0, Grosjean 0, Massa 0. The difference is Webber finished 3rd in the driver championship, ahead of two world champions. Webber managed 8 podiums, Alonso 9. I’m sorry, Webber should be a bit higher.

      1. Webber had the best car on the grid buddy and did not manage to win a single race. Never mind winning a race, how about getting on top of his starts for once???? and was massacred by his team mate, come on…. @austus

  9. Bianchi and Bottas deserve to be much higher than Sutil. I’d say Bianchi should be in the top 10.

    1. Bianchi in the top 10? Based on what evidence? Ted Kravitz placing a star behind his name in Australia?

      1. No. He’s completely out-performed his team-mate (who isn’t very good admittedly, but the difference between him and an average driver wouldn’t be much different) in most ways, and he’s often beaten 2 clearly better Caterhams (which only finished behind in the constructors because of Bianchi’s performance in a high-retirement race).

        On the evidence that he’s lead Marussia into 10th in the constructors.

    2. I agree that they should be higher than Sutil, but probably not Top 10.
      Bianchi’s impressive pace did diminish somewhat through the second half. He was still impressive, just not as fantastic as his early form indicated.

  10. Keith please dont do it please dont, im on about JB dont make him too high it will it look silly, as considering the gap in points and Perez was V a WC and beat him in qually he shown that he is not great but he shown for sure Button is completely fading and fast. He drove well in Brazil and sure everything is great and dandy i could see Button being a podium rider, but he is strategic rider, he as some of the worst flat out speed i think i have ever known a WC to have its scary actually. I think Perez done a good job considering car was not good people have to rememeber he is like 10 years younger and if Perez can beat him in qually over a season and be close in points do they honestly think its better keeping and old guy who is past his prime instead of Perez. Perez as proved he can run upfront. Im no Perez fan just think its laughable how actually bad Button was yet you have him in the top 10 when i would have put Perez ahead. Or do you feel Button totally outclassed Perez? and because he had more points he was the better driver?, for a WC Button embarrased me and he is only their because his best pal Whitmarsh and the fact its new regs.

    1. How does the driving of a complete stranger embarrass you?

      This post is a blatant over-exaggeration, regardless of one’s opinion on the matter.

      Oh, and to add my thoughts to the mix… Strategy is part of driving. Yes, he’s not flat out fast, but that’s not the only aspect of racing. Never has, never will..

  11. Considering how much further up the grid Ricciardo was usually and still ended up around JEV at the flag, i won’t put so big a gap between them.
    Seems like RB have another webber-good qualifying pace, bad race pace and poor starts. and being an aussie.

    1. Considering how much further up the grid Ricciardo was usually and still ended up around JEV at the flag, i won’t put so big a gap between them.

      In the race the cars eventually end up in the “right” order simply because there’s 50+ laps instead of 1, also it’s much easier to overtake nowadays.

    2. Dan will be 8th on Keith’s list, ahead of the two brits.

  12. @keithcollantine – Thanks for these great articles, very enjoyable and thorough. I appreciate how you explain your reasons for the rankings. Not everybody will always agree, but that is what makes this site and subject so interesting.

    Very gratifying to read about Bottas and Bianchi considering they were late hires signed for talent, not sponsor money. I have supported both all season and they did not disappoint. They both stand out as young drivers who should have bright futures.

  13. a very very very pointless article. drivers championship shows everything. everything else is a subjective opinion.

    1. @latvian – “drivers championship shows everything. everything else is a subjective opinion
      Including yours, and mine. :-)

      Yes, the cold hard statistics tell part of the story. But, the whole point of an F1 website is writing about, discussing and hashing out the who, what, where, when, how and why of everything F1. Otherwise, why would we be here?

      1. Agreed, and it’s hardly subjective to consider things that help explain a blokes standing in the WDC in terms of reliability issues, good/ bad starter, or qualifier, was the guy careless out there and harming his own chances and those of others, did the team make a few untimely mistakes that harmed his standings, did he incur penalties…etc etc…things that are simple facts….not subjective at all. And then sure it doesn’t hurt to throw in a little subjectivity too once a driver’s actual circumstances of his season are considered.

    2. If the drivers championship shows everything, are you are telling me that you genuinely think Massa or Webber did a better job than somebody like Hulkenberg? That last year Hamilton was only 2 points better than Button?

      I don’t see how anybody could consider a feature like this pointless.

      1. But of course what makes you think the Sauber wasn’t better than what the Hulk got out of it? If he really did that amazing a job why are the big teams not after him? You have been talked into this by Martin Brundle that’s all !

    3. David not Coulthard (@)
      15th December 2013, 9:31


      drivers championship shows everything

      So Andrea de Cesaris was better than Ayrton Senna in 1994?

      James Hunt would’ve been mad had he still been alive :)

  14. Perez 11th again…

  15. I didn’t think much of the bottom 6, but I think Keith has done a good job on the midfield of talent. Good to see the pace of the car didn’t dictate how the talent of the driver was perceived.

    I would have put Massa even lower and maybe given slightly bigger nods to Bianchi and Bottas (although Sunday in Brazil didn’t look so hot). Concur with the sentiments of Di Resta being in the top ten as well.

  16. Hmmm… this driver ranking, not sure I agree with it.

  17. I do feel Di Resta may be a tad high, same with both McLaren drivers, but that’s just your opinion I suppose…

  18. Is that lowest ranking ever for someone who finished in top 3 in the WDC?

    For me, it was very hard to rank the drivers around these places because the likes of Ricciardo, Di Resta, Sutil, Perez and Massa all had their great moments but they also had a lot of bad days too. It’s also hard to rank Webber, because his unimpressive stats against his team-mate were pretty much due to Vettel being so great.

    Anyway, thanks for the effort you put on theses articles, it’s really enjoyable to read them :-)

  19. Did Keith decide not to include f1fanatics comments on each driver?

  20. But on other occasions Perez was patently blameless, such as when Raikkonen hit him in China.

    It’s Perez who hitted Raikkonen …

  21. Where’s JB? Why is Massa so high I mean one position off what he should and why is Bottas below Sutil, they had their mistake but only one had highlights. Webber didn’t had a great season far from it but likewise Button if you put him side by side with Perez. I think it’s extremely tough to analyze stats they give the answers you want never the one you don’t.

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