Nico Hulkenberg, Sebastian Vettel, Hungaroring, 2014

2014 F1 season review: Driver rankings 10-6

2014 F1 season review

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Here is the first half of the top ten drivers of 2014. Join us next week as we count down the top five – and vote for your driver of the year.

10. Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez, Force India, Bahrain International Circuit, 2014

Sergio Perez

Beat team mate in qualifying7/19
Beat team mate in race7/15
Races finished15/18
Laps spent ahead of team mate370/883
Points59
Sergio Perez 2014 form guide

Key stat: Gave Force India their first podium finish since 2009

Cast out by McLaren after a single season, Sergio Perez needed to remind everyone what got them interested in the first place, and he did that in his third race with Force India. A battling drive in Bahrain gave the team their single podium appearance of the season – and only the second in their history.

Perez had been expected by many to have a tough time up against the highly-rated Nico Hulkenberg, who was returning to the team he raced for in 2012. But while Perez’s delicate touch with his tyres often left him lagging behind in qualifying – such as in Spain where he abandoned his last attempt at a flying lap – it proved his trump card in the races, helping him finish ahead of Hulkenberg several times.

However Perez’s key weakness remains a tendency to get involved in unnecessary incidents. Canada was the most spectacular example: having run second at one stage he was trying to hold Felipe Massa off for fourth place when an unwise defensive moved triggered a major crash which both were lucky to walk away from. An over-ambitious attmpted pass at the Circuit of the Americas also ended his race early.

In Hungary he spun into the pit wall. But following that he went on a five-race points-scoring streak, four of which saw him come home ahead of Hulkenberg. Force India seem to have a pair of drivers who complement each other well, and it bodes well for them that both have been retained for 2015.

Reader’s view

Was better against Hulkenberg than I expected. Still has his bad weekends, but the speed is there and I expect him to give Hulk a good run for his money next season.
@Diceman

9. Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa, Williams, Interlagos, 2014

Felipe Massa

Beat team mate in qualifying6/19
Beat team mate in race8/15
Races finished16/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate488/931
Points134
Felipe Massa 2014 form guide

Key stat: Scored over 70% of his total points in the final seven races

It wasn’t looking good for Massa at mid-season. Going into the summer break he was yet to appear on the podium while team mate Valtteri Bottas had done so three times – and had more than twice Massa’s points total.

While this was partly down to misfortune – Massa was hit by Caterhams in Australia and during qualifying in Monaco – he’d also caused problems for himself with over-aggressive moves at the start in China and Germany. The latter, which flipped him onto his roll hoop, was his second big accident of the year following the collision with Perez in Canada.

But it’s been a feature of Massa’s recent campaigns that he tends to come good in the second half of the year, and once again he looked a better driver after the summer break. He got the podium monkey off his back in Italy, and would have finished all the remaining races in the points but for a technical problems during qualifying in Russia.

Bottas was always the driver you’d bet on to wring the last tenth out of the FW36 in qualifying, and he scored the bulk of Williams’ points, but Massa narrowly finished ahead of him more often than not. However it turned out his refusal to let Bottas pass when he was ordered to in Malaysia was decisive.

Reader’s view

The change of scenery has obviously done Massa some good, delivered the only non-Mercedes pole position of the year and has been fairly consistent in both race and qualifying all year, poor results usually attributable to poor strategy or pit stops.

Did however have arguably the second fastest car and only finished seventh in the points.
@George

8. Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg, Sebastian Vettel, Hungaroring, 2014

Nico Hulkenberg

Beat team mate in qualifying12/19
Beat team mate in race8/15
Races finished17/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate513/883
Points96
Nico Hulkenberg 2014 form guide

Key stat: Scored points in the first ten consecutive races

Though widely regarded for the past few years as a driver who deserves promotion to a top F1 seat, the shine came off Hulkenberg a little bit in 2014. It’s perhaps a sign of the esteem he is held in that many thought he would easily have the beating of Perez.

Hulkenberg was clearly the quicker and more successful of the two Force India drivers, but their strongest showings were courtesy of Perez: the podium finish in Bahrain, the fight at the front in Canada and his spell in the lead in Austria.

But Hulkenberg was the team’s bedrock, bringing points home in all of the first ten races. The streak ended in a moment of over-exuberance in Hungary: he had just passed Vettel at the restart in slippery conditions, and perhaps sensing an opportunity to pull off a shock result he ran wide later on the lap and soon after that collided with Perez.

Hulkenberg went off the boil for the next couple of races, a development which coincided with the team losing their way with the car. His usual feel for damp conditions deserted him in qualifying in Belgium, where he was knocked out in Q1, and in Italy he was anonymous. Japan marked a return to what we expect from Hulkenberg in wet weather, and had it not been for a technical problem he would have been classified higher than eighth. That left him with a gearbox change penalty which spoiled his next weekend at the Sochi Autodrom overtaking-free zone.

As Force India got back on top of their car, Hulkenberg reverted to being a sharp midfield combatant. Sixth place in Abu Dhabi drew a line under his mid-season wobble. But after several races where late-race degradation on his Pirellis cost him points places, it’s telling he has now discovered the appeal of the World Endurance Championship.

Reader’s view

His form dropped off compared to his team-mate after an impressive first half of the season, but the last two races he seemed to be back to his best which was nice to see.
@Deej92

7. Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2014

Sebastian Vettel

Beat team mate in qualifying7/19
Beat team mate in race3/14
Races finished16/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate448/931
Points167
Sebastian Vettel 2014 form guide

Key stat: Led one lap in 2014 compared to 684 last year

The four-times champion endured a difficult 2014 season, though nowhere near as bad as was claimed by his gleeful detractors, who would have us believe it was as poor as Kimi Raikkonen’s.

Vettel’s new team mate at Ferrari makes for a useful point of comparison, as both struggled to gel with their new machinery, but Vettel coped considerably better than Raikkonen did. Even so, there’s no denying he was soundly beaten by Daniel Ricciardo this year.

Although Ricciardo came out ahead in the qualifying scoreline, in terms of lap time they were actually quite closely matched – the average difference between them less than a tenth of a second. Vettel’s weakness was that he couldn’t keep the tyres going at the same pace as Ricciardo for as long as his team mate could. That goes some way to explain why Ricciardo jumped his team mate in the pits on more than one occasion – and why he won three races while Vettel endured his first full season without a victory.

The final points difference between the two of them was inflated by Vettel having a greater share of technical problems, which sidelined him in Australia, Austria and Monaco. But he also threw points away with needless mistakes – such as the two at Spa which meant Ricciardo was once again in the best position to capitalise on Mercedes’ problems.

Reader’s view

He always struggled with the car but still drove very well, just not as well as Ricciardo.
@Theo-hrp

6. Jenson Button

Jenson Button, McLaren, Silverstone, 2014

Jenson Button

Beat team mate in qualifying10/19
Beat team mate in race14/17
Races finished18/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate733/1102
Points126
Jenson Button 2014 form guide

Key stat: Completed the most racing laps of any driver this season

It was always hard to fathom why the team which prides itself on hiring the best two drivers available should consider dropping Button instead of the driver he comfortably beat in 2014. Granted, Kevin Magnussen was participating in his first season of F1 and driving many tracks for the first time, but Button took almost 70% of McLaren’s points this season.

Button’s habitual weakness in qualifying didn’t prevent him from being the first of the two McLarens on the grid more often than not. But his experience of coaxing the best out of the Pirelli tyres over a race stint – something Magnussen lacked having not raced in GP2 – was where he really pressed home his advantage.

Although Magnussen gave the team its single best result of the season in somewhat fortuitous circumstances in Australia, their five next best results were all supplied by Button. They featured a quartet of fourth places, including one in Canada following an opportunistic double-pass on Alonso and Hulkenberg, and a podium near-miss after a superb weekend at Silverstone.

Ill-timed problems potentially cost Button further high-scoring finishes in Bahrain and Singapore. And in Hungary the team blundered by putting him on intermediate tyres during an early pit stop while he was ahead of eventual race winner Ricciardo. A steering wheel change in Japan dropped him from third to fifth.

At the end of a difficult year for Button, which began with the loss of his father in January, it was clear he still deserves a place at the top in F1.

Reader’s view

Easily the most improved driver on the second half. He basically did everything right since Belgium. He’s had one of those seasons that proves that he absolutely deserves to stay. His performances over the season have all been, for the most part, very very good in that Jenson Button way.
@PhilEReid

How the rankings are produced

All the data I refer to while producing the rankings can be found on the site. They include 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

What’s your verdict on how these five drivers performed in 2014? Have your say in the comments.

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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113 comments on “2014 F1 season review: Driver rankings 10-6”

  1. My top 5:
    5. Rosberg
    4. Bottas
    3. Alonso
    2. Ricciardo
    1. Hamilton

    1. Difficult to me, lots of things to consider, but mine are:
      5. Rosberg
      4. Alonso
      3. Bottas
      2. Hamilton
      1. Ricciardo

      1. The top two are pretty clear in my opinion, and they’re more like 1A and 1B rather than 1 and 2. That said, for me it’s:

        5. Rosberg
        4. Bottas
        3. Alonso
        2. Ricciardo
        1. Hamilton

        1. 5. Alonso
          4. Bottas
          3. Rosberg
          2. Ricciardo
          1. Hamilton

        2. 5. Bottas
          4. Alonso
          3. Rosberg
          2. Ricciardo
          1. Hamilton

          The results don’t lie that much. If you don’t get the results, it doesn’t really matter much what you did. Just look at poor Magnussen.
          I don’t see Alonso and Bottas getting the results, that justifies a top rating. I do rate Alonso higher than Bottas, since all indications points to Williams being a much faster car than the Ferrari.

          1. I agree — Rosberg is getting dissed big time here. Out quallied Ham and nearly won the WDC out of consistency if not speed. Sure #2 or #3 at worst.

          2. @abbinator all credits to Nico for his qualifying performances, but his race performances were, overall and with a few exceptions, not good compared to Hamilton’s race performances.

            I mean, it would have been hard for a lot of drivers not to be consistently second with that W05. It was just that good. I’m thinking that if the Merc had only 1 or 2 tenths advantage, Hamilton would still have won the WDC but Rosberg would have been mightily challenged for the runner-up spot and the fight wouldn’t have been taken to Abu Dhoubli.

          3. I mean, it would have been hard for a lot of drivers not to be consistently second with that W05.

            Very true.

          4. @abbinator with the clear advantage that Mercedes had, neither Hamilton nor Rosberg should have finished less than second if there weren’t any issues. Between those two, second might as well be last. It was a pass or fail situation. One of them consistently coming second simply means the other is consistently winning.

          5. A bit silly — I’m no fan, but remember Rosberg’s quality drives (finishing German GP 2nd nursing the brakes issue that sidelined Ham). Sure, head-to-head he did not overtake Ham with equal tyres, etc. But it went to the last race and he out quallied Hammy on more than 50% of the attempts, so must have been doing something right. A bit facile to claim that anyone could do it, but I think that any of the top 10 drivers in F1 could have won the WDC in that car, sure. Just how many could have beaten LH head to head? Only one driver for one season has done that in Ham’s career so far (JB).

        3. Snap. Mine is the same as yours.

    2. I would go along with that.

    3. That would be my top 5 as well :)

      Ricciardo only 2 wins behind a dominant Merc of Rosberg, in a car high in downforce to aid overtaking where he mostly did in corners, but pulled off some fantastic moves. Yet it was obvious one of the Mercs was only ever going to be the WDC and so he could drive and enjoy with little risk, as his reputation was on the incline. Hamilton on the other hand was in a car expected to come either 1st or 2nd, yet countless times upon race day produced the performance when it most mattered despite much of the season chasing a lead established through no fault of his own and the strong performances of Rosberg on a Saturday. Rosberg though did fail ultimately to show on a Sunday why he deserves to be ahead of either Bottas or Alonso in my opinion, both of these drivers were very good and I could quite easily swap them back and forth depending on what I focus upon.

    4. My top 5:
      5. Rosberg – some amateurish driving prevents Rosberg from being higher
      4. Bottas – great pace, great overtakes, beat his team mate
      3. Hamilton – only third because of the sheer superiority of the machinery
      2. Alonso – at least the second year in a row Alonso has driven WAY beyond the capabilities of his car
      1. Riccardo – a stunning year, had the machinery

    5. 5.ROS 4.BOT 3.RIC 2.HAM 1.ALO

    6. 5. Bottas
      4. Alonso
      3. Ricciardo
      2. Rosberg
      1. Hamilton

      Rosberg almost beat hamilton for wdc. He deserves 2nd. Hamilton won wdc so if rosberg is 2nd hamilton can only be ahead.

      Ricciardo was incredible all season. Alonso drove well but when alonso and ricciardo came head to head ricciardo always came out on top. Which is partly due to faster car but which also proves my point. If alonso had come ahead with worse car it would have reflected poorly on ricciardo.

      Bottas was a bit mystery. Consistant but made lots of mistakes in quali. Did not do anything spectacular and in the end the difference to massa was not as big as I’d hoped.

  2. I think the cut-off between 6-10 and top5 is spot on; can’t wait to see the next episode.

    1. Indeed, pretty fair review.

    2. namely the next 5, as every driver coming is always in a single article

  3. i believe the top 3 should be ricciardo, hamilton and then alonso

  4. Laps spent ahead of team mate 448/931
    This is most surprising stat for me as Ricciardo only spent 483 laps which are added with Races like Australia , Monaco , Spain , Austin , Austria. Where Vettel has much less chance to be ahead of Ricciardo.
    Vettel’s another issue might be unable to turn on the 2014 Generation Pirelli tires as well along with the unstable rear end.

    1. Ricciardo vs. Vettel majority of races in a nutshell:

      – Ricciardo qualifies ahead by 1 or 2 places
      – Ric gets horrible start; Vet moves ahead
      – Vet leads for more than 50% of the race
      – Ric makes miraculous recovery, pulls off a stunner on Vet. (Pitstop or on track)

    2. But those figures only include laps where they were both still racing. So Australia and Monaco don’t really factor.

  5. I would probably place Perez below Grosjean and Bianchi as he is too crash-prone and too inconsistent. Apart from the errors that are mentioned in the article, he also had clashes with other drivers at Melbourne, Monaco and Silverstone. In my opinion, Perez should have matched Hulkenberg as the latter seemingly had a solid but not spectacular season. He still looked like the same guy, who was not good enough even for a struggling top team.

    That said, this is another excellent article that I will definitely be rereading during the winter holidays.

    1. @girts Funny you say that when on pace Perez beat Button last year and Button is 6th here.

  6. How in the world did Hulkenburg and Vettel outperform Massa. I am not in any way a Massa fun but Vettel was inferior in comparison. As for the Hulk he was anonymous all season long, really disappointing for someone touted as the next Ferrari man.

    1. Because of how much more experienced Massa is compared to Bottas

      1. I that case compare Vettel and his performance against the new guy. That was a massacre

        1. No, a massacre happened in Ferrari.

      2. M Brundle said experience had not played a big role any more in this new era, especially in terms of pace.

    2. @blackmamba because 1st half counts :) Massa is 4th in my 2nd half rankings.

    3. I believe it is clearly stated in the picked comment – having the second-fastest car on the grid, he finished 7th in the standings. The points table doesn’t lie.

      1. If the points table does not lie then Keith should compile his list according to the positions they finished in in the drivers’ standings. Also Massa had a lot of misfortune in the first half, certainly a lot more than Bottas overall. He is the only guy on the grid to take a pole from the Mercs and that should be praised. I am not saying he lit up the season coz I too rank Bottas ahead of him, but IMO not behind Hulk and Seb. Those 2 had a dud this year.

        1. @keithcollantine – I’d like to see the comparisons without the double points affect. Very enjoyable piece anyway.

      2. @pehogarth

        I believe it is clearly stated in the picked comment – having the second-fastest car on the grid, he finished 7th in the standings. The points table doesn’t lie.

        Red Bull had, on balance, the second best car in 2014.

        1. Having the second fastest and second best cars are very, very different things.

          1. @craig-o and @george
            When you count the number of races where Red Bull was Mercedes’s closest challenger, it clearly outnumbers the races where Williams were Mercedes’s closest challenger on raw pace.

            Red Bull had the 2nd best car in: Malaysia, Bahrain, China, Spain, Monaco, Hungary, Belgium, Singapore, and Japan.
            Williams had the 2nd best car in: Austria, Great Britain, Germany, Monza, Russia, USA, Brazil, and Abu Dhabi.

            I decided not to score Australia and Canada, because based on what I saw, they were fairly evenly matched there.

            Yes, the FW36 was more reliable than the RB10, but not reliable enough to overturn the speed deficit. Williams were basically nowhere until Canada, and don’t forget that the Red Bull suddenly becomes several seconds/lap faster as soon as rain hits the track.

            If you couldn’t have a Mercedes, Red Bull was the car to have in 2014 IMO.

          2. David (@david-izquierdo)
            14th December 2014, 14:29

            I’ve analyzed that, and Williams was clearly the 2nd better car.

            Red Bull had the 2nd best car in: Malaysia, Bahrain, China, Spain, Monaco, Singapore.

            Williams had the 2nd best car in: Austria, Great Britain, Germany, Monza, Russia, USA, Brazil, Abu Dhabi, Australia, Canada, Hungary, Belgium and Japan.

            Rainy races are a little bit confusing, because it is difficult to analyze what % was driver’s fault. But in Australia, Canada and Belgium, it is pretty clear that the Williams was the second car (you only have to revise the different paces in the FIA’s pdf files: is they don’t finished ahead of RedBull, it was always caused by a driver/strategy mistake). China is almost the same case (only the wet Q prevented Williams from fighting with RB & Alonso).

            Therefore I definitely reckon that Williams was the 2ns fastest car in normal conditions, almost everywhere.

            KEY INFORMATION: Massa has outperformed Bottas in /710 (70 %) of races where none of them had any external problem:
            +7 Massa: MAL, BAH, HUN*, ITA, SIN, USA, ADH
            +3 Bottas: ESP, AUT, JAP

            It doesn’t make any sense to place Bottas as one of the best drivers of the season. He was frequently outperformed by Maldonado last year. Yes, he has improved. But the main improvement has been carried out by the team. He hasn’t done ANYTHING special.

            PD: When both drivers have been on track (without problemas), Massa has got 3 podiums, Bottas 2 (one of them in Austria, where he overtook Massa in boxes, and the other in Abu Dhabi, clearly behind of Massa). Probably, if Massa hadn’t made so many mistakes, Bottas would have only achieved two or three podium finishes.

        2. @kingshark
          Not according to this: http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2014/12/12/mercedes-2014-dominance-outstripped-red-bulls-2010-3

          But as I said in my comment in the article, it’s arguable. I don’t think either of the Williams drivers got the most out of the car, although the team made plenty of mistakes themselves.

      3. And Bottas just managed a 4th placed finis, 52 points and a lot of luck ahead of Massa. So really, It doesnt make sense to put Valterri so far ahead

  7. Perez has kept Hulkenberg honest this season, he’s done well – and for the first time for a while he hasn’t got a new team to adapt to next year so let’s see what he can do. Hulkenberg’s season could’ve been hindered by weight limits but next season that wont be an excuse.

    I agree, Force India have a good driver pairing.

  8. Definetly agree with this list
    My top 5 : 1 RIC 2 HAM 3 ALO 4 ROS 5 BOT

  9. I think Button should be ahead of Britney who is pretty useless with the most dominant car in history of f1.

    1. Five wins and a further 10 podium appearances is hardly useless.

    2. What about Webber then last year and 2011, along with Rubens in 2002 and 2004. As bad Rosberg season this year, he still have better season than them

    3. Beating HAM in qualifying over the course of a season is not useless. Even if it shows a difference in setup philosophy, that is no mean feat.

    4. In terms of being useless in a dominant car, nothing in recent history quite beats Webber in 2013. How on earth he couldn’t win a single race with that RB9 is beyond me.

  10. Of the five left I would rank them: 1) Hamilton 2) Ricciardo 3) Alonso 4) Rosberg 5) Bottas. Personally I have would put Button above Rosberg and Bottas. I think Massa should be closer to Bottas than it appears he is going to be, but overall I think the rankings are pretty decent.

  11. No way Vettel deserves to be in front of Hulkenberg who beat his teammate comprehensively and Massa who was neck and neck with Bottas all the time. Same as with Kimi being above JEV, KK and Sutil in the rankings, given their respective circumstances neither Kimi nor Seb deserve it IMO. These two being too high up are my only disagreements with the ranking so far

    Anyway my top 5 would be:

    5) Rosberg
    4) Bottas
    3)Alonso
    2)Lewis
    1)Ricciardo

    1. It’s certainly the case that the team managers, in Autosport’s private poll of the team bosses, have ranked Massa above Vettel (although, by chance, Vettel was ranked in the same position).

      In fact, when you juxtapose some of their rankings against Keith’s, it’s striking that they’ve ranked some drivers a lot higher than he has. Their rankings, for what it is worth, is as follows:
      1. Hamilton
      2. Alonso
      3. Ricciardo
      4. Bottas
      5. Rosberg
      6. Massa
      7. Vettel
      8. Bianchi
      9. Button
      10. Kvyat

      (It’s interesting that the team bosses are putting Kvyat and Bianchi four places higher in the rankings than Keith has, whilst neither of the Force India drivers make it into the top 10).

      1. While team principals did rank Massa above Vettel, I must say that their ranking is mostly a load of croc. Bianchi P8 for example is just PC nonsense. Kvyat above Hulkenberg and Hulkenberg not in the top 10 is ridiculous. Vettel P7 is ridiculous etc. Come to think of it Hamilton and Alonso above Ricciardo is wrong as well

        Really if this is the best the people who are leaders in the sport could come up with, it doesn’t give me confidence regarding the future of the sport

        1. I agree with a lot of what you say. Why is Vettel so high and Kvyat. Kvyat had less than 50% of the points of his team mate who was dropped by the team! And no Hulkenberg.

  12. 1. Hamilton 2. Bottas 3. Ricciardo 4. Rosberg 5. Alonso

  13. At first I thought Ricciardo could top the list, but when I read that Vergne AND Ricciardo have lost a lot of places at the start.. well, I think that that leaves him 2nd. As when last years I used to rank Vettel first because he got the most out of his rocket, while Webber was mostly far behind, well, in the same way I have to aknowledge Hamilton made the most out of his silver rocket, and Rosberg was privileged to have such a formidable car, so good that even when the car fell back many places, its power was able to restore nIco to second place… that is not so impressive. So my ranking is:
    5. Rosberg
    4. Alonso
    3. Bottas
    2. Ricciardo
    1. Hamilton

    1. The fact DR lost many places at the start leaves him second to the driver who lost the qualy battle comprehensively to his team-mate by committing many mistakes on a Saturday? IMO this is more important and more under the control of the driver.

      On a Sunday Lewis was supreme, but as an overall impressive season I agree with Autosport who ranked DR at P1 as he was closer that Lewis to perfection

  14. For once, I disagree.
    Massa has beaten Valterri more times in races. And he has also managed to bring in quite a sizeable number of points.
    I would probably put Bottas , Vettel and Massa closer- 6,7 9 would be perfect for me – Bottas hasnt impressed me much, he had the fastest car in a straight line for most part of the year.

    Id say the top three – Ricciardo, hamilton and Alonso have a big gap to no.4 and 5.

  15. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    12th December 2014, 15:21

    1. Ricciardo 2. Hamilton 3. Alonso 4. Bottas 5. Rosberg

    1. +1

      Thought Ricciardo taking 3 wins definitely made him #1. He made far fewer errors than Hamilton as well.

  16. I personally think that Bottas is somewhat overrated. I mean, if his performances compared to Massa, no matter how improved he is, shows that he is still someway behind the likes of Alonso and Hamilton. And don’t forget the number of errors and underwhelming performances in Qualifying and the race he made. Here’s a few:

    1. OZ: Didn’t get the most out of the car in Quali
    2. OZ: Crashed while on course for a podium
    3. Malaysia: Didn’t get the most out of the car in Quali again
    4. Austria: Lost pole due to silly error
    5. Britain: Qualified well down
    6. Russia: Lost a chance at the front row due to mistakes

    And many more.

    1. Massa qualified “well down” in Britain, as did the Ferraris. Was that Bottas’s mistake too?

      Bottas is in his second year of F1. You can hardly expect him to be flawless. Even the best make mistakes – witness Senna at Monaco in 1988, or Michael Schumacher striking the wall at Adelaide in 1994.

    2. As for no 4 and 6 it won’t change anything in the race and I agree with @jules-winfield that British GP was not Bottas error. And no 2 was not quite clear

    3. @mashiat You must remember that the Williams was useless in wet conditions. So that nulls points one and three. He may have lost pole, but he was still second. He beat Massa in the race which was what mattered most. In Britain, it was a team strategy error which cost him, not Bottas himself. He recovered to somehow take second remember. In Russia he did make many mistakes but he was still third on a circuit where the McLarens looked much quicker in practice.

      No, Bottas did not have a flawless season, but no driver did. They all made mistakes. However, the mistakes Bottas made cost him very little, meanwhile Massa cost himself so many points with needless collisions and general off days. Bottas suffered the team’s only mechanical DNF also.

  17. I think there’s no doubt as to the top three in some order or other:

    ALO, HAM, and RIC,

    But to put them in order would be a disservice to them all.

    ALO and RIC: Both performed stupidly well in cars (with not so great engines) that appeared much less performant than their drives showed them to be. Outstanding seasons from both, and ALO handed RAI a downright lesson that none of us were expecting I think.

    HAM: Had by far the best car, and as such would be hard to rate against the prior two, were it not for a matured tenacity he hasn’t shown before to bounce back repeatedly from huge (more than a race wins) defecits. OK. They kind of evened out between the two team mates by the end of the year, but it was a champions drive for me by Lewis this year.

    Overall, wicked consistency from all three, but if I had to pick I’d go:

    ALO, HAM, RIC because ALO probably got the most out of the car’s possibilities.

    In fact no:
    HAM, RIC, ALO because of the apparent strengths of their relevant team mates this year which may have been making them look better.

    In fact no:
    RIC, ALO, HAM.. etc. etc.

    It’s all far too hard to pick, so rate them in order of cute-ness:
    RIC/ROS/BOT/ALO/HAM

    or sex appeal:
    HAM/ALO/ROS/RIC/BOT

    or by how closely they follow ancient samurai tenets:
    ALO/ALO/ALO/ALO/ALO

    1. `lol +1

      I don’t see a basis for separating them.

    2. Lol yeah i agree

      but if rated for sex appeal I think:

      RIC/HAM/ROS/ALO/BOT

      what about ranking them on their media personalities?

      ric/ham/alo/bot/ros

      :)

  18. Top Overtakes From F1 2014 Season
    https://vimeo.com/114339552

    watch while its online. Youtube deletes videos!!

  19. My only disagreement is with Button being so high up. Demote him to P9 and have the other drivers climb up a position, and the ranking would look pretty much like mine.
    Button’s in for a pretty tough season if he wants to prove worthy of the acclaim he’s had. And frankly, I don’t see him anywhere near Alonso.

  20. Autosport’s got Kvyat in the top ten lol

    1. Ahh, you’ve just reminded me I have that little beauty waiting for me at home when I finish work. I love their review of the year issues.

  21. 1. RIC
    2. BOT
    3. HAM
    4. ALO
    5. ROS

  22. “The final points difference between the two of them was inflated by Vettel having a greater share of technical problems, which sidelined him in Australia, Austria and Monaco. But he also threw points away with needless mistakes – such as the two at Spa which meant Ricciardo was once again in the best position to capitalise on Mercedes’ problems.”

    Sorry Keith, I find that very misleading. The final points between the two was not inflated be Vettel having mechanical problems.

    – Australia DR was disqualified so even with Vettel’s problems there was no points gain there
    – Austria DR came 8th, a whopping 4 points to that points gap with Vettel
    – I only agree with Monaco but you could say the same about DR for Malaysia

    The difference in the points gap was because Ricciardo was the better driver.

    1. Keith is right. A point loss is a point loss regardless of how many points your teammate scores at the same event.

      1. How can Keith be right when I’ve just proved that the races he mentioned barely “inflated” the points gap that he was pointing out and using as an argument for the difference in points between when it was clearly better driving on Ricciardo’s part for most of the season. Your argument is weak as you gloss over the whole point that Keith and I were making in the first place. You miss the entire context.

  23. Keith don’t be scared to put Hamilton 1st. Resist the barrage of inevitable British bias you will get!

    1. How rude DON’T presume that all Brits are Lulu fans cos we’re not.

  24. I don’t think vettel should even be in the top10. I mean, the 4 times world champion, was categorically beaten by the new Teammate that a lot of people said it was rebull’s choice to be the new webber, just a 2nd driver.

    Ricciardo won 3 races, Vettel 0
    In 19 races, Vettel finished ahead of Ricciardo only 5 times, and finished behind a whoping 14 races.

    I expect vettel to come much stronger in 2015, but in 2014, I don’t think he deserves a top 10. Why not Bianchi instead of him?

    1. @oliveiraz33

      Perhaps you should give more credit to Ricciardo? Vettel was of course disappointing this season to get beaten by him and I’d have certainly expected more from Vettel, but that was more of Ricciardo being exceptional rather than Vettel being a Chilton. Vettel actually did a decent job (Though definitely far below what’s expected of a 4x WDC), just that Ricciardo was pretty Alonso-like for most of the season. Much like the way Hamilton matched Alonso in his rookie season when nobody expected it.

      1. Sorry for sounding like Ricciardo success was only due to Seb’s failiure. I guess the great race margins and overtakes performed by ricciardo over vettel would tell us the truth about Ricciardo’s awesome performance.

        But as good as ricciardo is, and as good as Vettel is supposed to be, it would be more acceptable if vettel was beaten, but still close (like hamilton and rosberg), the problem is that it was a no contest, Vettel was completely outclassed, and in my opinion, being “outclassed” isn’t a “decent” job for the former Quad-World Champion.

        And even a “decent” job won’t get you a 7th place in a grid of 22 drivers, more in an average 11th-15th…

        1. @oliveiraz33

          Outclassed? Yeah. Completely? Nope, take a look at Räikkönen for that… and if you agree Massa is 9th, then Vettel should of course be 7th-8th because if Ricciardo > Bottas and Bottas > Massa to about the same extent as Ricciardo > Vettel, then naturally Vettel > Massa.

    2. Even the top 15th seems generous. I ranked him 16th. Still on top of Chilton, Ericsson, Gutierrez and Sutil. Not so sure about Maldonado and Kobi

      1. You claim not to dislike Vettel in any way but your ranking of him pretty much makes it evident because I doubt anyone could be that biased unintentionally. So if Ricciardo > Bottas and Ricciardo > Vettel to about the same extent as Bottas > Massa, how is Massa 9th while Vettel is all the way down in 16th? *Facepalm* Logic would dictate Vettel would be anywhere in 7th-9th but I’m guessing you refuse to see that, don’t you?

        1. I never claimed not to dislike Vettel, and personally I’d very much like to see Kimi doing a Fernando on him next year (I’m not making any predictions however).
          Otherwise, there’s a flaw in your deduction, transitivity doesn’t apply. A can outdrive B and B can outdrive C, and yet C can outdrive A.

          1. Ah, but you previously said your personal sentiments had no effect on your rankings, no? But it’s pretty obvious it does, the way you put Vettel down in 16th is pretty much like the time The Guardian ranked Chilton ahead of Alonso in 2013 because logic would clearly dictate otherwise… and if A > B and A > C to the same extent as B > D, then of course C > D, transitivity most certainly applies because F1 isn’t rock-paper-scissors. I wouldn’t object to anyone putting let’s say perhaps Hülkenberg ahead of Vettel but putting him that low shows a complete lack of objectivity on your part.

          2. Well, if The Guardian did rank Chilton ahead of Fernando that’s fine with me, they are entitled to their own opinions. I agree to disagree with them.
            But I just don’t buy that transitivity applies in F1 or generally in sports. People aren’t numbers you can simply rank. They have complex abilities and pitfalls. A’s particular ability may play on B’s peculiar weakness and give A an edge against B which doesn’t work against C. So F1 and sports in general can be rock-paper-scissors, and many times they are. We all like rankings but they are unavoidably artificial and flawed.

          3. I’m Dan fan but Seb did not too bad at all, yes he not met the expectations but he still have several good races like : Malaysia, Monaco (unfortunate he retire early), Spain, Singapore, and Japan. I actually ranked Vettel in 15th, but then I realize that he have a solid season, and keep in mind that Vettel is no.2 and Ricciardo no. 1 even in Japan he had a shot to win if not that horrible crash. Still I ranked Ricciardo in 1st, though.

          4. Ah, the thing is there is a difference between an opinion and a clear-cut fact because common sense would dictate Alonso is better, and likewise for Vettel not being that low. Hülkenberg is 8th behind Vettel here but you certainly can make a case for him being ahead or whether Hamilton/Alonso/Ricciardo should be ranked 1st this year because the lines are very thin, but in this case there is hardly any debate because it’s very clear-cut. If we’re ranking based on expectations compared to actual performance then yeah, I’d probably rank him 21st and Räikkönen 22nd but that isn’t the case; expectations are not a factor.

        2. Massa isn’t a 4 times world champion. Bottas didn’t win 3 like Ricciardo did having the same car as Vettel

          1. @oliveiraz33

            Please read again… whether or not Vettel met his expectations as a 4x WDC is irrelevant, because if Ricciardo > Bottas and Bottas > Massa to the same extent as Ricciardo > Vettel, then by logic Vettel > Massa, so if Massa is 9th then Vettel should be 7th or 8th.

          2. Trying to follow your logic maybe the problem is that we are ranking Felipe Massa too high (I always had a soft spot for him), instead of ranking Sebastian Vettel too low. Massa was driving one of the best cars and was pretty much average. The F1metrics model ranks him 13th, just behind Vettel (and way behind Kimi).
            I also reckon that my expectatives based in previous years have played a role in my personal ranking, while really they shouldn’t have. Massa has done way better in Williams than in his Ferrari years with Alonso, so he got a bonus. On the other hand Vettel’s year seems abismal by comparison with his four WDC years, even if the were somewhat bogus.

          3. The model is of course flawed to put Räikkönen ahead of them both given how abysmal he fared compared to Alonso… even Massa did a better job back then and that’s saying something. Keith is by far the most neutral and objective person on this site and anyone who’s the same would agree with his rankings, and even if they don’t they can at least understand why he ranks them in a certain order given his substantiation and reasoning. I’m glad you have acknowledged the bias in your own personal ranking… and about being somewhat bogus, of course Vettel had the privilege of driving a rocket but you can’t fault him for making the most of it given how Webber made the same car seem on par with the likes of Lotus/Ferrari/McLaren/Mercedes back then; his driving style was well suited to the EBD which was no longer there in 2014.

          4. @hyoko

            Redbull won 3 races, williams got 0. Redbull finished well ahead of williams in the constructors championship. I don’t think williams had the best car… Yeah, redbull might have a better line up, but the redbull was a fast car, it just didn’t go well on the striaghts for obvious reasons.

  25. thankfully seb gets a better rating actually better than I expected I couldnt believe that sky gave him a 5/10
    sure he wasnt his best this season but he was better than many others

  26. dont think button deserves a 6th sure he is a better driver but he wasnt at his best this year specially earlier in the year

  27. Exactly as i predicted and completely agree with the ranking. Now the Top 5:

    1. Ricciardo
    2. Hamilton
    3. Alonso
    4. Rosberg
    5. Bottas

  28. How do I rate these guys?
    Perez: 12th
    Massa: 9th
    Hulkenberg: 8th
    Vettel: 16th
    Button: 10th

    (with Bianchi for 7th and Bottas for 6th)

  29. How is Button ahead of Vettel?

  30. AUTOSPORT TEAM PRINCIPALS’ TOP 10 2014

    1. LEWIS HAMILTON (194 points)
    2. FERNANDO ALONSO (155 points)
    3. DANIEL RICCIARDO (135 points)
    4. VALTTERI BOTTAS (119 points)
    5. NICO ROSBERG (115 points)
    6. FELIPE MASSA (55 points)
    7. SEBASTIAN VETTEL (53 points)
    8. JULES BIANCHI (44 points)
    9. JENSON BUTTON (40 points)
    10. DANIIL KVYAT (28 points)

    WHO VOTED

    Christian Horner, Red Bull
    Toto Wolff, Mercedes
    Federico Gastaldi, Lotus
    Marco Mattiacci, Ferrari
    Eric Boullier, McLaren
    Vijay Mallya, Force India
    Monisha Kaltenborn, Sauber
    Franz Tost, Toro Rosso
    Claire Williams, Williams
    Graeme Lowdon, Marussia

    1. I’d swap Massa and Button but otherwise I have no objections to their rankings

    2. Ricciardo rank is laughable, he atleast should be in top 2

    3. Wasn’t it a joke Fernando Alonso 3rd? well, the joke gets growing.

    4. Ricciardo won 3 races, Vettel 0
      In 19 races, Vettel finished ahead of Ricciardo only 5 times, and finished behind a whoping 14 races… Yes, the former 4 time in a row world champion, I don’t think he deserved a top 10, worst season in his F1 carrer in my opinion

      I wonder how vettel is this well positioned.

      1. F1 stats have flattered Vettel more than any other driver in F1 history. It’s often said that Stirling Moss is the top driver who never won an WDC (he was the best in 1958-61) and that Nelson Piquet won 3 WDCs without ever being the best driver out there (but getting to drive dominant machinery). Well, Vettel outPiqueted Piquet in 2010-2013.
        Let’s see what the F1metrics math model says about Vettel’s career (yes I know models have flaws but no ranking is perfect, and models avoid the subjectivity and bandwagon effects which plague all human-made rankings).
        -No data from the model on 2007, his rookie year (he entered by mid-season and finished 14th in the official ranking).
        – 2008, a pretty good year in the Toro Rosso with the shock-victory in Monza. 2nd by the model (helped by the midfield car), 8th in the official ranking.
        – 2009, already in the Red Bull. 6th by the model, 2nd in the official ranking.
        – 2010, WDC but again 6th by the model (after Alonso, Rosberg, Kubica…)
        – 2011, WDC, 2nd in the model after Alonso
        – 2012, WDC, 4th in the model after Alonso, Rosberg…)
        – 2013, WDC, his best year, a close 2nd after Alonso.
        – 2014, officially 5th but seriously outclassed by his teammate. 12th in the model, behind almost everybody who counts (including, yes, Kimi Raikkonnen) but just ahead of Felipe Massa.

        So, in a cloned car team/model, Sebastian Vettel gets no WDCs, but three 2nds, one 4th and two 6ths. Not too bad but gets beaten every year by Alonso and most of the years by Rosberg.

  31. 5.- Alonso
    4.- Rosberg
    3.- Bottas
    2.- Hamilton
    1.- Ricciardo

  32. 1. Hamilton
    2. Rosberg
    3. Ricciardo
    4. Bottas
    5. Button

  33. David (@david-izquierdo)
    14th December 2014, 13:44

    In my opinion, Hülkenberg’s assessment in this article is incomprehensible. I’m going to explain it:

    1. “…It’s perhaps a sign of the esteem he is held in that many thought he would easily have the beating of Perez.”

    I don’t know why everyone expected that. Do you remember that Perez was extremely close to Button in 2013 (ahead of him during the last races), and Dennis is expecting him to beat Alonso (or to be really close) next year? Besides, it is estimated that 10 kg of weight penalize between 0.3 and 0.4 s / lap (drivers like Vergne have talked about it recently), therefore Hülkenberg’s superiority over Pérez has been bigger than what we have seen. I don’t think that having beaten clearly a driver that is probably at the same leves as Jenson is something bad. This means that there is a high likelihood of Hülkenberg beating Jenson, and that is not insignificant…

    http://grandprixrankings.com/compare/2013-f1/button-versus-perez/

    2. “Hulkenberg was clearly the quicker and more successful of the two Force India drivers, but their strongest showings were courtesy of Perez: the podium finish in Bahrain, the fight at the front in Canada and his spell in the lead in Austria.”

    This is not true at all:
    2.1 [BAHRAIN] Pérez only beat Hülkenberg in Bahrain due to the agressiveness of Massa with Hülkenberg. The German had made a mistake in Q2 and started P11 (P4 Pérez), but he showed a much better pace than ‘Checo’, and came back those 7 positions in order to be in front of him with half of the race to go. Then Massa appeared… But this is not an argument than can be used against Hülkenberg. Pérez was more lucky, that’s all.

    2.2 [CANADA] Do you know with what tyres did Hülkenberg and Pérez started Canadian GP? That explains everything. Nico did a miracle, because his strategy was horrible, and he simply didn’t have any chance of doing anything, because he was captured in an impossible strategy situation. Pérez never showed a better pace than Hülkenberg in this GP (you can check it: Hülkenberg spent all the first stint just behind fo Pérez, without having the permission for overtaking him).

    2.3 [AUSTRIA] This is the same as Canada. Pérez qualified worse than Hülkenberg, therefore he had the opportunity to choose whit what tyres start the race, what demonstrated to be a huge advantage. Furthermore, the wall ordered Nico to let Pérez through at the middle of the race, bacause he had an strategy advantage. One more time, Pérez never showed a better pace than Nico.

    If you still think that Pérez drove better than Hülkenberg in these races, I cannot understand it.

    3. “The streak ended in a moment of over-exuberance in Hungary: he had just passed Vettel at the restart in slippery conditions, and perhaps sensing an opportunity to pull off a shock result he ran wide later on the lap and soon after that collided with Perez.”

    Hülkenberg explained it: Pérez had drove wide in the last corner during the previous laps, therefore he thought that ther was going to be enough room. But Pérez closed the door… It’s obvioulsy Hülkenberg’s fault, but Pérez shouldn’t have closed the door (Hülkenberg’s pace was being cleary quicker), and Force India should have ask Pérez for letting Nico through. Anyway, Nico’s mistake, but it was a comprehensible mistake.

    4. “Hulkenberg went off the boil for the next couple of races, a development which coincided with the team losing their way with the car. His usual feel for damp conditions deserted him in qualifying in Belgium, where he was knocked out in Q1, and in Italy he was anonymous. Japan marked a return to what we expect from Hulkenberg in wet weather, and had it not been for a technical problem he would have been classified higher than eighth. That left him with a gearbox change penalty which spoiled his next weekend at the Sochi Autodrom overtaking-free zone.”

    4.1 [BELGIUM] In Belgium, the team (and probably Nico) decided not to stop for a new set of inters. That costed him not to be in the Q2, because he was the only one that followed that strategy. They knew that they were able to get a great result in that Q, so they risk in order to have one inters set more than the other drivers, but they lost. That’s not a Hülkenberg’s mistake, that is a mistake of both parts. And it is another ‘comprehensible’ mistake, because they were looking for something special in that afternoon, they were courageous.

    4.2 [ITALY] It seems like you don’t know that Hülkenberg’s race was destroyed by a problem of the flooring of his VJM07: “The last race in Italy was disappointing for me. After the race the team found some damage to the floor, which is why we had the balance problems. It made the car difficult to drive.” You cannot say “he was anonymous, because he did the same great effort as in all the other races. That was a problems that, as far as Nico was concerned, there was not anything more to be done.

    4.3 Regarding Sochi and Japan, you have explained it perfectly: Penalization in Sochi prevented him from finishing 9th (at least), and the stupid stop during the SC period in Japan stole him the sixth position, ahead of both Williams (which is really impressive).

    5. “As Force India got back on top of their car, Hulkenberg reverted to being a sharp midfield combatant. Sixth place in Abu Dhabi drew a line under his mid-season wobble. But after several races where late-race degradation on his Pirellis cost him points places, it’s telling he has now discovered the appeal of the World Endurance Championship.”

    As I have already demonstrated, that “wobble” didn’t exist. It was simply an amoun of bad luck, all together. And tires wearing didn’t cost him any point (if you find an example of it, I’ll correct). In fact, his great management of the tires made him gain some positions in the final races (Brazil, Abu Dhabi).

    I reckon that, objectively, Hülkenberg’s season has been superb. Only three appreciable mistakes (Q in Bahrain, race in Hungary and Q in Japan) show that he has been really close to a perfect season. And it is impossible to forget that he was in a considerable disadvantage with his teammate, because of his weight.

    HÜLKENBERG’S SEASON
    1. Austrialia->Perfect
    2. Malaysia->Perfect
    3. Bahrain->Mistake in Q (1st mistake of the year). In spite of that, only Massa prevented him from getting his first podium.
    4. China->Perfect (in front of Bottas)
    5. Spain->Flooring problem: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/114040
    6. Monaco->Perfect (in front of both McLarens)
    7 .Canada->Wrong strategy. Anyway, 5th
    8. Austria->Wrong strategy (9th)
    9. Great Britain->Perfect (8th, superb Q-4th)
    10. Germany->Perfect (7th, in spite of having engine problems: http://www.dekra-motorsport.com/en/f1/extnews/dekra-nico-huelkenberg-news/details/293)
    11. Hungary->DNF (collision: 2nd mistake of the year)
    12. Belgium->Despite the team’s mistake in Q, finished 1s behind of Pérez (better pace than him)
    13. Italy->Flooring problems: http://www.crash.net/f1/news/208763/1/hulkenberg-singapore-will-be-better.html
    14. Singapore->Wrong strategy (when Pérez stopped last time, Hülkenberg was 10 seconds and 5 positions ahead of him. If the team had decided to stop him, he would have finished 6th at least, in front of Vergne and, of course, Pérez).
    15. Japan->3rd (and last) mistake of the year in Q. Great race (8th, 6th without the useless stop during the SC)
    16. Russia->Despite the penalization, 1 s behind of Pérez over the finish line (impossible to overtake him).
    17. USA->Ridiculous external problem in Q (http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2014/11/01/hulkenberg-blames-visor-tear-missing-top-ten/), and DNF in race because of running out of power (nothing to do with him)
    18. Brazil->Perfect
    19. Abu Dhabi->Perfect, in spite of an arguable penalization and a ridiculous strategy from Force India, that costed him finishing 5th, and led to this ridiculous conversation:

    Nico (after losing the position with Pérez because his earlier stop and getting stuck benidh him):
    “Are you going to let me by or not? I was so much faster in the first stint (in fact he builded a more than 6 seconds margin in a few laps), you’ve got to let me by.” “Brad, when I’m asking something, please give me an answer, yeah?”

    To conclude:
    -Only 3 mistakes all over the season.
    -About 9 races (almost 50 %) seriously compromised by external problems/decisions, which prevented him from creating a greater margin over Pérez (who had in general less problems, and more mistakes).
    -Always better Q and race pace than Pérez, in spite of suffering from several disadvantages (and remember that Checo is not a bad driver…)
    -7 times in the Top6 (only 2 Pérez)

    I am unable to understand why some people continue criticizing this great driver and his (almost) perfect season. He has been terribly unlucky, and he has anyway overcome all the disadvantages to beat clearly his competitive teammate. What more do you expect from a driver? Winning every race with the 6th car of the grid? I find impossible to believe that 7 drivers had made a better season than Hülkenberg. Maybe 2 or 3, that is arguable, but 7?

    Thanks for everyone who has read this comment. If you don’t agree (or if I have made any mistake), don’t hesitate answering me!

    PD: I’m sorry for my English, there are probably several mistakes. I hope you will understand it anyway ;)

  34. You make good points, maybe a bit overstated. I do agree that he has done a lot better than Perez, even when fortune didn’t help much. I believe Perez is being overrated here, he doesn’t make my top ten (I ranked him 12th which is probably too generous), and the F1metrics model ranks him 17th (but there are no data on the Marussias, and Bianchi probably would outrank him, leaving him 18th out of 22). Food for thought.

    1. David (@david-izquierdo)
      14th December 2014, 19:16

      Yeah, and they rank him behind Ericsson and Maldonado. That model doesn’t have any rational basis. It looks fine now, but in some years, it will be a disaster. That’s because now, the mistakes are less exaggerated. But that kind of analysis doesn’t make any sense.

      Anyway, probably Pérez isn’t one of the best drivers, but last year he beat Jenson several times, therefore he isn’t really bad.

  35. My top 10 based purely on an overall gut feeling:

    1. Hamilton
    2. Ricciardo
    3. Rosberg
    4. Bottas
    5. Alonso
    6. Button
    7. Massa
    8. Vettel
    9. Hulkenberg
    10. Bianchi

    I cannot really see why anyone would not put Hamilton top. With a very competitive team mate he handled the situation and the car really well. I also think people are underrating Rosberg’s performance taking into account his many poles positions under pressure. Bianchi creeps into the top 10 because he did get his team’s first points and he did make the best of his resources. I thought everyone else below this was pretty anonymous.

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