Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2014

2014 F1 Driver Rankings #5: Nico Rosberg

2014 F1 season review

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Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2014

Nico Rosberg

Beat team mate in qualifying11/18
Beat team mate in race4/14
Races finished17/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate496/976
Points317
Nico Rosberg 2014 form guide

Key stat: Never qualified outside the first two rows

Mercedes were so crushingly dominant in 2014 – far more so than Red Bull were during the previous four seasons – that ranking their two drivers alongside the 22 others is tricky. The Mercedes duo rarely found themselves having to fight the other cars on-track, when they did the W05 was usually far quicker, and the other drivers were generally advised not to waste their time trying to hold them back.

That makes it hard to judge which drivers this year might have done better than Nico Rosberg had they been in his car. But his stand-out achievement unquestionably was out-qualifying Lewis Hamilton.

Hamilton deservedly has a reputation as one of F1’s best qualifiers, and none of his previous team mates had beat him in a season’s worth of Saturday’s since Fernando Alonso in Hamilton’s debut campaign. And that was when drivers carried their starting fuel loads in qualifying.

Rosberg’s eventual winning margin in qualifying of 11-7 is a reasonably accurate reflection of how their one-lap pace compared. Hamilton did not set a time in Hungary (which is not counted in the score), and in Germany the time he set was not representative as he crashed sooner afterwards due to brake failure. But even taking that into consideration, and assuming Rosberg’s controversial trip up the escape road at Mirabeau during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix meant he kept a pole position he would have otherwise lost, making these allowances wouldn’t be enough to put Hamilton ahead.

However for the majority of the season Rosberg was plainly the weaker driver in the races. To his credit, once it was all over he acknowledged Hamilton’s superiority.

Rosberg’s strongest phase in the season was bookended by two controversies, the first of which being that moment in Monaco. Rosberg’s pole position – ill-gotten in the eyes of some – virtually guaranteed him an easy drive to victory in the race. That halted Hamilton’s run of four consecutive wins and restored Rosberg to the lead of the championship.

Although Rosberg did not consistently look the quicker of the two Mercedes drivers in the races that followed, he accumulated points at such a rate that him winning the championship began to seem a distinct possibility.

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2014Even so, rare were the days when he turned up and simply out-gunned his team mate. He was struggling to keep Hamilton behind in Canada when both were struck with similar ERS failures. While Hamilton’s prompted a terminal brake problem Rosberg coped magnificently well with the problem, keeping Sergio Perez out of range in the DRS zones so effectively some assumed the Force India’s system was damaged.

In Austria Rosberg capitalised on Hamilton’s errors in qualifying to line up ahead of him, and breezed past the Williams pair on his way to win number three. Another would surely have followed at Silverstone, where the tenacious Rosberg pressed on in qualifying while Hamilton backed off in tricky weather conditions, and reaped the rewards by taking pole position. Rosberg was leading when his gearbox failed.

Hamilton’s qualifying problems meant Rosberg took an unopposed win in Germany and might have done the same in Hungary had the Safety Car not been deployed shortly after he passed the pits to start his eighth lap. However he still should have been able to finish ahead of Hamilton, who started last, irrespective of Hamilton ignoring Mercedes’ instruction for him to let Rosberg through at one stage.

Then came the second turning point of the year – the contact between the pair at Spa. Again Rosberg had taken pole position, but Hamilton had shot into the lead only to find his team mate bearing down on him as lap two began. Hamilton saw off his challenge at Kemmel but Rosberg clipped him as he tucked in behind the Mercedes – either not realising or not caring he was dangerously close to the other car.

There was nowhere to lay the blame for this one other than at Rosberg’s feet. Mercedes did so and it plainly left him rattled. From that point on he never looked like a match for Hamilton on Sundays. Even in Brazil, where Rosberg took his fifth and final win of the year after Hamilton spun off, the number six Mercedes was plainly the slower of the two.

The timing of Rosberg’s race-ruining ERS shutdown in Abu Dhabi was cruel, but unreliability cost his team mate slightly more over the course of the season. While Rosberg’s failure was unfortunate, had it happened to Hamilton and made Rosberg champion it would have been unjust. The reverse isn’t true.

Rosberg didn’t do enough to deserve the title, and had others been given his opportunity they surely would have made Hamilton work harder for it.

Reader’s view

He delivered immense one-lap pace, but since Spa he was completely outclassed by Hamilton, although he handled the situation brilliantly in Abu Dhabi. Considering the fight was with the best driver in the grid, Rosberg did a great job.
McL88ASAP (@Deongunner)

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.

2014 F1 season review

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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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106 comments on “2014 F1 Driver Rankings #5: Nico Rosberg”

  1. I have to wonder if next year, if the front of the grid is much closer and another team can at least occasionally compete for wins, just how vulnerable Rosberg will be.

    1. I don’t think Nico would be vulnerable next year. on the contrary, I expect him to come back stronger, as I have written here before. He has mastered qualifying and all he needs to do is improve on race pace. Let’s not forget that he NEARLY won the championship. Though the article is a correct summary of Nico’s 2014 season, I think his ranking came 2 places too early. 3rd is what I would have given him because he deserves it. But then, Keith has more knowledge if the sport than I do.

      1. I disagree, in my opinion if one or two other teams can narrow the gap to Mercedes and get in the mix it is more likely Hamilton will be further ahead, and the battle between them will shape up more like Vettel vs Webber from 2009-2013. This season if the car was reliable Rosberg was guaranteed at least 2nd place, throw a few other cars capable of winning in there and it would have been a whole different story.

        1. “This season if the car was reliable Rosberg was guaranteed at least 2nd place,…”

          True that.
          As Keith pointed out in the 1st paragraph, the car was so dominant that I think a good number of the drivers could have driven it to second place. But Nico, by merit, beat Hamilton in qualifying. That hasn’t happened since LH got into F1.
          Nico has pace. As they say, one can acquire race craft but you need talent for talent. You either have it or not. Nico has shown that he has speed even during his pairing with MS. He proved it again during Saturdays this year.
          Next year, I expect him to rise to the occasion. What I can’t stand though is his cheating. I don’t like it and fans don’t take kindly to that as they showed him and the conniving F1stewards who wouldn’t lift a finger when it mattered. Had they punished Nico at Monaco or even Canada for deliberately flooring the trottle across a chicane and hanging onto the position afterwards, maybe Spa never would have happened and Nico’s sudden collapse in the second round would never have happened. It is wise to apply punishment especially when it is obvious to everyone.
          Back to the discussion, Nico has d pace. All he needs to do is refine his race craft and fight cleanly for the championship. If he gets that in order, even Lewis Hamilton will be beaten next year.

      2. how did rosberg mastered qualifying while hamilton didnt have a chance to compete for pole in 4 occasions hungary, monaco, germany and britain? all those meant 4 easy poles for rosberg. had hamilton had the chance to go for pole, he would have taken at least hungary, monaco and britain for sure. which means he would have got more poles than rosberg at the end of the season.

        1. @efeozata Britain – the reason Hamilton couldn’t fight for pole there was all Hamilton’s own doing, he made a mistake. You can’t count that against Rosberg.

          1. I agree that he made a mistake. But to be fair, I was there and I’ve watched F1 for a long time, there looked to be zero hope of beating previous times on that run. Before the run it looked hard, after sector 1 it looked *impossible* I can’t stress enough how impossible it looked. I find it difficult to be too hard on him for backing out of it.

      3. @tata

        He has mastered qualifying and all he needs to do is improve on race pace

        Has he mastered qualifying? Throughout the year it just seemed to me as though he set his car up for qualy whereas Lewis set his up for the race. Lewis seemed to understand that they could probably lop 50hp off their engines and still get the front row, so forget poll – be as fast as you can for the race. That’s how Nico lost out this season. It’s the only plausible explanation when you consider Nico was more often than not faster than Lewis on a Saturday, but much slower on the Sundays. Same car, obviously varying fuel loads, but consistently slower when the tank wasn’t empty as it is in qualifying. Lewis is faster, and a better racer, but some races he closed the gap so quickly that it was obvious to me which of the two was using their brain and setting their car up for the race as opposed to the no-points qualy.

        1. “..some races he closed the gap so quickly that it was obvious to me which of the two was using their brain and setting their car up for the race as opposed to the no-points qualy.”

          Hamilton in my opinion is arguably the smartest F1 driver out there. Most of the bitterness and bile towards him is to be expected. He adapts so quickly to different environments, learns quickly about his car – remember when he was made fun of for simplifying his steering when he got to Mercedes.
          He has continously debunked every unfounded theory against him from being “too aggressive” on his tyres to being a fuel gobbler. Then of course the talk about ‘his mental state’ or whatever that junk means. Thank goodness for the graphics this year. Facts as they say, don’t lie. Don’t expect the talk to go away any time soon. It will follow him all through his career, no matter his achievements.

          1. Just to add, I for one saw his decision to re-organise his steering and make it simpler to suit his needs as a very smart decision. It showed a man who thinks on his feet and isn’t afraid of being independent and outspoken. But of course a lot said he wasn’t smart enough to cope with the buttons. While in the real world, services are provided according to need.

          2. And let’s not forget who pressed the wrong button on his wheel at Austin this year!!

        2. Completely agree. If anything I’d say that Rosberg should learn that the points are scored in the race and not in qualifying. Especially since with DRS and those Pirelli tyres, overtaking isn’t as impossible as it was a few years ago.

          On the other hand, Rosberg was usually marginally faster on the softer tyres but a lot slower on the harder tyres. Hamilton would sometimes actually be faster on the “slower” harder tyres than Rosberg on softer tyres.

          Rosberg just doesn’t seem to deal well with low grip racing. Just like he had problems qualifying and racing in the wet.

          Thing is, during the races most laps would be done on the harder tyres.

          1. @patrickl Rosberg seemed to be faster in the sectors with many turns. You could actually see his speed on camera as he zig-zagged through the corners and I wonder if he was accelerating faster with the electric motor which has no lag. As you pointed out, that speed would disappear in the wet or with less grippy tyres.

            One also has to wonder if Lewis didn’t feel as confident in the car after the mid-season quali incidents to push hard. But I still think Nico does better in those twisty sectors.

        3. @timi
          PatroniseF1 called that observation the RFMODR:

          Of the many things that F1 2014 has revealed to us, perhaps chief among them is a new phenomenon which scientists are calling the Rosberg Fan Moment Of Dreaded Realisation. This is defined as that point during a grand prix at which every Rosberg fan’s* heart suddenly sinks, as it dawns on them that once again Lewis Hamilton is going to win. Last week, the RFMODR came around lap 19, shortly after the first stops, when it became clear that Hamilton was eating up Rosberg’s lead. Three weeks ago, the RFMODR came as soon as the German stood on the brakes for turn two. The RFMODR is a moveable feast, an unpredictable force of nature, but like the speed of light in a vacuum, pi, the mass of an electron, and the strength and severity of a hangover caused by 2/3rds of a bottle of Asda Smartprice gin, it also appears to be a constant.

          1. That’s quite funny!

          2. Another Patty fan! Always enjoy their tongue in cheek analysis of F1, I find it a good companion to F1 fanatic when you need a bit of humour to break the serious nature of F1 commentary.

        4. @timi

          Has he mastered qualifying? Throughout the year it just seemed to me as though he set his car up for qualy whereas Lewis set his up for the race. Lewis seemed to understand that they could probably lop 50hp off their engines and still get the front row, so forget poll – be as fast as you can for the race. That’s how Nico lost out this season.

          This has nothing to do with qualifying vs race setup whatsoever. In Suzuka, they ran identical setups. Result? Rosberg 2 tenths faster in qualifying, Hamilton aced him in the race. Rosberg is just plain faster than Hamilton over one lap, he gets heat in his tyres and brakes faster than Lewis. However, Lewis is better on his tyres and fuel consumption over a race distance, which is why he was usually faster on Sunday.

          1. @kingshark it seemed to me that Nico was gaining time in sectors with many turns.
            I don’t think Nico is faster than Hamilton over one lap because Shumi was as good in his 3rd year at Mercedes as Nico.
            I think the new engines favor Nico slightly and it might have something to do with the new cars. The new regulations have benefited drivers to different extents. Heck, even Gutierrez looked like a F1 champion in the making…
            It’s like adding a 7th string to a guitar – some players will naturally be better at using a 7 string guitar than others who struggle with it.

          2. @freelittlebirds

            I don’t think Nico is faster than Hamilton over one lap because Shumi was as good in his 3rd year at Mercedes as Nico.

            Silly logic. Rosberg destroyed Schumacher in the first two years in qualifying. What happened in 2012 has absolutely no barring to what we have seen in 2014. Button beat Hamilton in 2011 by 43 points, so that means that Jenson in a Mercedes would’ve wrapped up the WDC against Rosberg with a race to spare, right?

            I think the new engines favor Nico slightly and it might have something to do with the new cars. The new regulations have benefited drivers to different extents. Heck, even Gutierrez looked like a F1 champion in the making…

            It’s the drivers’ job to adapt as quickly as possible. I’d also like to know the races where Gutierrez ever looked like a champion?

            It’s like adding a 7th string to a guitar – some players will naturally be better at using a 7 string guitar than others who struggle with it.

            Lewis’s adaptation has been just fine this season, he’s smashed Nico quite often in the race. In qualy however, Nico has been faster, plain and simple IMO.

      4. I agree Rosberg did an amazing job in qualy. However there were many occasions, especially after Monaco where Lewis ‘overdrove’ in qualifying. He was often up a tenth or two compared to Rosberg and then have a lockup somewhere on the track or make a mistake that took away his chances to a pole position, for example in Canada, Brazil, Abu Dhabi, Austria, Britain. And of course then there was Monaco, Germany and Hungary where different reasons stopped him from putting a final lap together. Rosberg didn’t make these mistakes, and was very precise, but I wouldn’t say he mastered qualifying though.

    2. @newdecade Rosberg won’t be vulnerable. Rosberg has always beaten his teamates throughout his career. This season was neck and neck, what set them apart was Nico’s inability to feel the car and judge race pace enhance by his lack of experience, it has been a problem of his for a long time, as otherwise he would’ve won 2 races at Williams. All I can think is if Nico and Lewis were so close to each other and somewhat error prone, Lewis must be one position only above Nico. which may mean Bottas 3rd, I’ve always believed in Bottas but I don’t think he was that less error prone than Williams, he too had a couple of absent weekends, although he came out of his problems with typical humble and true finnish demeanour.

      1. Lacking experience for a long time ? Oxymoron alert.

      2. You said Nico has always beaten his teammate, That’s not actually true.

        Nico has never beaten Lewis when they were teammates and neither when they’re in different team running in the same category of racing.

      3. Nico has more experience than Hamilton in the top flight!

      4. Neck to neck? Beaten 4/14 is not neck to neck, plus Austria (slow pit stop) Germany (without mechanical issues in Qualy) and Monaco??? That would’ve 1/14. With equal luck Hamilton would’ve won the title in Austin

        1. But considering this was the first time he had a chance to fight a title, I think its fine. Hamilton have been in this position for 4 times. I expect Rosberg will come stronger next year.

          1. I am sorry but I don’t buy that. Hamilton got his first chance to get a to fight for a title as a rokkie and he lost it by a point, beating the highly regarded Alonso in the process . You would expect that Nico with the experience that he has to do better.

    3. Rosbergs slump just happened to coincide with him not being able to be coached around a lap, telling him where Hamilton was faster!! Which is why I was impressed in Brazil, he didn’t have that help and outclassed Hamilton, the only time in the whole year those two things both happened in a weekend!!

      1. ## have a read ##

        Outclassed in Brazil I have to question that, Hamilton was told to push hard (Hammer time), but it went wrong they (Totto and Engineers) assumed he could do more , however he knew he couldn’t as he pushed very hard with shot tyres. There was no point in going a second up on the in-lap then losing 1 – 2 seconds the next in-lap so he went for it here is where he made the mistake which cost him 7 seconds. Rosberg just raced his race, gained 7 seconds and that dwindled down remarkably demonstrating the pace of Hamilton.

        But there’s more qualifying was won by Rosberg that’s very true I give him that well done. However look at the bigger picture, Hamilton was off in qualifying mistake or car setup?

        I believe Hamilton set his car slightly more towards the race and that’s where the pace advantage came from. Rosberg fine tunes his car for qualy to beat hamilton as he knew he struggles to get passed him in the race, but Rosberg forgot that with Fuel loads high the car behaves differently tyre deg, oversteer and ride height (aerodynamics). You will notice most of the qualy laps when you watch them that Rosberg is working his steering wheel a lot less than Hamilton, his car seems more stable, he obviously found a sweet spot with his setup, however, Hamilton wrestles with his car during qualifying.

        Fast forward to the race look at the onboard camera the roles have reversed Hamilton car seems perfectly stable Rosberg is fighting over-steer (Full fuel). I noticed this in most races where Hamilton was out qualified by Rosberg.

        Next year Rosberg will try and do the same thing Hamilton did this year he will sacrifice qualifying and concentrate on the Race pace, however that could back fire with other teams coming into the mix as well as Hamilton finding his sweet spot for Qualy and Race this where Hamilton is able to naturally drive a car not so perfectly tuned for qualy but still get pole position, its a natural gift he has.

        This year has revealed one thing to me when people say Rosberg is cerebral and Hamilton is instinct they are wrong!! Rosberg is cerebral but Hamilton is both Cerebral and Instinctive, he clearly out smarted his worthy opponent looking at the bigger picture QUALIFYING DOES NOT WIN THE RACE exc Monaco lol

    4. @newdecade

      I have to wonder if next year, if the front of the grid is much closer and another team can at least occasionally compete for wins, just how vulnerable Rosberg will be.

      Did some people here only start following Rosberg when he became Hamilton’s teammate or what? Here’s a newsflash: Rosberg spent the first 8 years of his career racing in the midfield, and he did just a fine job for himself.

      1. Rosberg was made to believe that he could actually beat Lewis by the media. The same thing happens all the time when Alonso get a new teammate as well.

    5. @keithcollatine

      “assuming Rosberg’s controversial trip up the escape road at Mirabeau during qualifying for the Monaco Grand Prix meant he kept a pole position he would have otherwise lost”

      This is a relatively big assumption – how many times has a driver been purple only to blow it in the last sector or even the last few corners? I think more accurate on the “shoulda coulda woulda” quallies was the race (I forget which one – Silverstone?) where Hammy pulled up due to wet conditions and didn’t do a final attempt but Rosberg kept going because he twigged that the track was improving enough for the last lap to be better).

      NR deserves at least 3rd in the rankings IMO – he led most of the season and though he did not directly out-perform his team-mate, made a better job of it than anyone since Barrichello 2009 in recent history. (i.e. better than Webber’s efforts)

      1. oops apologies — correction: @keithcollaNtine

        Or maybe that should be “Valentine” from F1 Fantastic ;)

  2. Rosberg was always up against it as soon as Hamilton joined Mercedes and did a good job to hold his own, especially in qualifying. However Hamilton deservedly won the championship and I certainly echo the article that Rosberg really should’ve pushed Hamilton a lot harder. When you look at weekends like Austria and Brazil it’s frustrating to see that he certainly had to potential to do so.

    That being said I fully respect the way he handled defeat in Abu Dhabi, refreshing to see class like that in F1.

    1. ‘That being said I fully respect the way he handled defeat in Abu Dhabi, refreshing to see class like that in F1.’

      Rosberg’s being gracious in defeat in Abu Dhabi was nice to see. However, I’m not entirely sure it makes up for Monaco or Spa. Also, I think it was heavy influenced by the race-upon-race of boos which he received from the various international race fans from Spa onwards.

      The significance of Monaco and Spa should not be understated. Take Spa, which Hamilton was on course to win. If Hamilton had won, after that race, he would have secured 7 points more than Rosberg. However, he ended up with 18 less: an actual difference of 25; i.e. a race win. When driving the class of the field against an equally equipped rival, recovering 25 points is a tall order: the other car can easily finish 2nd and lose only 7 points each time. Let’s not forget that Hamilton took a 17 point lead into the final race. The significance of those 18 points which Rosberg scored at Spa are obvious. My point is that Hamilton’s unreliability and also Rosberg’s Schumacher Esq. driving almost won the championship. That really would have been unfair.

  3. “Rosberg didn’t do enough to deserve the title, and had others been given his opportunity they surely would have made Hamilton work harder for it.”

    What does it say for Hamilton struggling to beat such a regular joe in one of the most dominant cars in F1 history..

    1. finally! Thought i was the only one….
      But obviously Vettel only won because of his car

      1. Vettel has always had decent cars; in fact, he drove the class of the field between 2009 and 2013. Furthermore, Vettel has not had a particularly high calibre of teammate: Heidfeld, Liuzzi, Bourdais, an old Webber and Ricciardo (who beat him). Cf. Hamilton, Alonso or Button and their respective teammates.

        Until these two factors change, it will not be credible to rate Vettel as one of the very best in F1. In addition, there are still serious question marks over his race craft; in particular, his overtaking ability. Too many have jumped on the Vettel bandwagon: the BBC even ranked Vettel as the 8th best F1 driver – in history – in 2012. Ridiculous.

        1. Vettel and Ricciardo both faced Liuzzi, a former Red Bull junior – so if it was sought, we always had a comparison of how they would fare against each other. So did Marko – hence he went for it.

    2. Yes exactly, in one of the most dominant cars in F1 history.
      Because of that, no matter how you out-class your teammate, he’s there to finish 2nd. DNFs become quite disastrous too.

      Also, I would hardly call winning streaks of 4 and 5 races in a row, ahead of your teammate and finishing with twice the amount of wins – struggling. Hamilton didn’t really struggle on-track with Rosberg.

    3. The rankings show that @keithcollantine only believes 3 other drivers could have pushed Hamilton any harder, so hardly a regular joe. And when you consider how comfortably he was outpaced in the majority of races I wouldn’t say Hamilton “struggled” to beat him.

    4. I find it quite hilarious that some expect us to berate Hamilton, who won 11 races over the season despite suffering the lion’s share of problems, BTW, for “struggling” to beat Rosberg, when Nico could barely convert any of his pole positions into race wins… & one of those poles was questionable (Monaco) while he had no competition from Hamilton in a further two qualifying sessions due to mechanical failure… Who really struggled against whom? No wonder the team principals vote had ROS so low as well: who would you value more, the guy who can hardly win from the front or the guy who doesn’t need the pole in order to win?

    5. I wouldn’t say Hamilton struggled to beat Rosberg. I would say any race in which they both started at the front, and neither had a DNF, Hamilton easily outscored his teammate.

      Also, Hamilton, as I recall, doesn’t like the Carbon Industries brake discs– Did he switch over to them for the second half of the season? It could explain his (relatively) poor qualifying the second half of the season.

      1. @grat good point on the brakes, Lewis has always been pretty adamant about using the Brembo brakes.

        To say the people saying Hamilton “struggled” against Rosberg is ridiculous really when you look at the stats properly. Keith has listed them in the article but some have clearly missed that or decided not to bother to inform themselves before making their opinion. here’s a few stats for you, some of which are in Keiths article above, others i have added:

        First record is Hamilton, 2nd Rosberg:

        Qualifying 7/11
        Race 10/4 (where both finished – this included Germany where Hamilton started from the back so had limited chance to beat Rosberg that day)
        DNF’s – 3/2 (Not including Abu Dhabi as Rosberg finished but LH had race in control by that Point anyway)
        Poles – 7/11
        Wins – 11/5
        Wins from pole – 6/3
        Podium placings (not including wins) – 5/10
        Classified Finishes – 16/17

        What the stats above here now show is really Hamiltons domination of the season, the points table doesn’t reflect it and neither does the narrative of the season in terms of the standings with Nico leading most of the way. As someone above pointed out, with the car advantage they had if a merc didn’t win but finished with no mechanical issues it was going to be in 2nd place. Take Hamilton’s numbers for example: Out of his 16 finishes he won 11, came 2nd 3 times and 3rd twice. The 2 3rd places came when he started from the back of the grid.

        Rosberg on the other hand; 17 finishes (incl Abu Dhabi) 5 wins, 10 2nd places, 1 4th.

        When Hamilton finished almost 75% of them were wins and of his other 5 finishes 2 were hampered by having to start from the back.

        It only became hard work for hamilton because he had to Keep coming back from 25+ point defecits which in this car, meant Rosberg could afford to come home 2nd to Lewis 3-4 races in a row and keep his lead.

        1. Remember Sochi also where Rosberg’s mistake effectively cost him nothing. Normally that would mean a driver struggling to finish in the top 6, even with such a car advantage. He effectively received no penalty from having to pit so early due to the durability of the tyres. Wow. I can’t believe I’ve just said that about the Pirellis!

    6. @Andi29 Hamilton’s struggle had nothing to do with him. He was behind by 25 pts in Australia through no fault of his own and he was on pole and leading. If the rest of the season is any indication, Rosberg’s best chance of beating Lewis in Australia barring a DNF was to slash Lewis’s rear tyre as he hasn’t successfully shown that he can pass him during the race.

      As for Vettel, fighting from the back is not the same as fighting from the front like Vettel has done in most of his seasons except 2010 where they were racing for the title. You have to take more chances when you’re fighting from the back and mistakes will be more common as you naturally try to find a way to make up ground. Unless you just sit back and leave it all to chance…

  4. Lol what ? Ok, Hamilton, Ricciardo and Alonso could all be placed higher than Nico, but who else ? Bottas ? Come on. He did have a good year, but he made far too many mistakes and could’ve easily racked up a good 25-30 points more.

    1. Kinda agree with this one. Bottas wasn’t that much better than Massa (who himself was miles behind Alonso during his Ferrari stint).

      Let’s see what the reasoning is behind putting Bottas ahead of Rosberg. :)

      1. How far Massa was behind Alonso in his later years at Ferrari isn’t at question here, this is rankings based on 2014 only and Massa is clearly discovering some better form again. Massa is/was a very capable driver who lost form for at least two reasons (his accident and then having to be a pure support driver to Alonso).

        Rosberg was always going to be hard to rank compared to other drivers since he was the weaker driver in the dominant car – he clearly underperformed what the car was capable of but still drove well enough to pick up a lot of points and take the title to the last race. This ranking doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.

  5. So Bottas is ahead of Rosberg? I struggle with that to be honest. Bottas has journeyman Massa on his tail (and sometimes ahead of it) all year, while Rosberg pushes the fastest man in the world to the wire, despite no one giving him a hope in hell. But hey its all conjecture, I’d probably put him behind Dan and Alonso, so it’s not that much of a difference.

    1. @jmc200:
      Mostly agree. Can’t accept Lewis as the fastest though. That’s Alonso, by quite a margin (imho).

      1. Or rather: “Very much agree…”

        1. I should have said one of two fastest, I’d take Alonso over Lewis any day.

      2. Perhaps you should ask Santa for the 2007 Season Review if you think Alonso is faster than Hamilton.

        The argument is sometimes made that Alonso is the most ‘complete’ F1 driver. Very few commentators argue that Alonso is the fastest driver. Interestingly, this is what Alonso said about the subject in 2011: ‘He [Hamilton] is a great driver and maybe the fastest at the moment in Formula One’.

        1. Elijah Ogunremi (@)
          16th December 2014, 13:40

          I don’t know who to pick between Hamilton and Alonso. Given Hamilton was a rookie when he came across a two-time world champion who was at the peak of his powers. That means that even though he had areas to improve on, he was still able to match and sometimes beat Alonso. What we can’t deny is that Alonso is more consistent than Hamilton in terms of pace. Whenever Alonso was quicker than Hamilton; the gap was huge and when Hamilton was quicker, the gap wasn’t that huge. I’m so confusedl, Ham or Alo. I can’t decide who is quicker. I hope Mercedes fire Rosberg and allow us fans to see the two giants collide again. It would be war between Britain and Spain. The team bosses at Mercedes will be stalked by the british and spanish media and any little sign of inequality will be blown out of proportion. We fans deserve this duel to help ease the pain of watching Vettel flick his finger at us for all these years. But I don’t see Alonso wanting Hamilton as his tea-mate due to his ego, but I’m sure Hamilton wants to beat Alonso once and for all.

          1. Well, Hamilton is quicker, by Alonso’s own admission (see above quote). Once again, the key factor is that Hamilton has better race craft: he is better at overtaking, he is better at defensive driving and he is better in the wet.

            Also, Hamilton is psychologically stronger. Alonso left Renault, complaining that the team did not want him to win and that Fisi was not helping him. At McLaren he had a meltdown and blackmailed his own team. And he left Ferrari, not on great terms, having been unable to return them to the position they enjoyed under Michael Schumacher’s stewardship.

            Furthermore, consider their respective ages. Hamilton is 29 and is approaching his prime: the perfect balance of experience and youth. However, Alonso is arguably past his prime at close to 34.

            For me, the only question mark over Hamilton has been his consistency, borne out of off-track issues. This and unreliability are his Achilles’ heel. However, this year he seems to be at ease with himself. He seems to have matured greatly. If he can keep this approach and is not hit by lady luck, he could be unbeatable.

    2. @jmc200 Massa was still in post-2010 German GP form until mid-season – but since then, he’s been driving the best he has done since before ‘Fernando is faster than you’, reversing the decline and moving back towards his pre-crash 2009 and late 2008 form. Lets see if he can rediscover his 2008 peak next year!

    3. I mean i like Alonso but and i know alot of people, Journos inclusive like to massage his ego but for any F1 fan to say Alonso is the fastest is pushing it. He is probably the most complete in terms of race distance pacing, knowing when to push and when not and being dogged but fastest he certainly isn’t.

  6. Rosberg was super quick but I’m struggling to think of a worse case of driver cheating in the history of F1. I didn’t want to believe it but…

    http://www.motorsportmagazine.com/f1/reports/2014-monaco-gp-report/ Mark Hughes says (in the comments below) he was told by someone in the team that the tyre load data showed Rosberg could have made the corner. Also the non-broadcast video he mentions was damning (in fact it was broadcast by Sky in their midweek report which is now mysteriously missing its video).

    In Spa Rosberg turned hard right into Hamilton’s tyre. Check the still frame at

    http://www1.skysports.com/f1/report/24096/9441022/nico-rosbergs-simmering-anger-with-lewis-hamilton-spills-over-at-spa-and-

    Monaco had to be premeditated, because there was no other reason for him to choose to run first. That’s how Lewis knew instantly and said on the radio “I should have known”. Spa was calculated, as Brundle noted:

    having turned away initially, he then not only straightens the wheel but actually turns towards Hamilton

    So Nico is not even 5th afaic. He was a disgrace. Maybe the booing has woken him to what is required in sport, but for 2014 he was DQ in my book. F1 collectively let itself down too, with the stewarding and the media treatment in which even those who saw it was deliberate tended to describe it as something clever that would ‘destabilise’ his opponent or ‘take his momentum away’. Brundle and Hughes both said the incidents were cheats, but even they soft-pedalled it into oblivion.

    1. I might believe someone did say that to Mark Hughes and Rosberg was deliberate in Monaco, I’m suspicious of that too, his movement, steering, braking, everything, but I doubt he per se ‘steered’ into Hamilton in Spa.

      Yes, he did not back down while following a line, which happened to cross that of his rival, but in my eyes that does not count as steering into someone. That moment when he quickly turned left for a moment was rather a correction of momentary oversteer, I think. (In fact, I think that was what left him down on Hamilton’s rear axle; without that he might have stayed side-by-side more.)

      I disagree with Rosberg being this high on this ranking (as I’ll soon explain below), but I really don’t think he was as devilish in Spa as many paint him to be and as he himself accepted himself to be later. In my view, part of him losing momentum after the incident was the fact he second-guessed himself after what happened. He stood by his line, but later on he did not stand by that decision. He confused himself 1%. And that 1% was enough for an on-fire Hamilton to claw back his deficit slowly, but surely and walk away with the title.

      1. @atticus-2 Brundle is talking about Rosberg turning Right into Hamilton’s wheel, not left. Check the frame MB chose in the link I posted.

        1. @lockup Yes, that’s the “he actually turned towards Hamilton” moment, which I think was rather a returning-to-my-chosen-racing-line-(after-correcting-oversteer)-that-happens-to-cross-that-of-my-teammate’s moment. Brundle thinks the oversteer moment was actually a “having turned away initially” moment. I 99% agree with Brundle’s assessments of racing situations, this is the exception.

          1. @atticus-2 But the offboard shows the car was in-line by then, and as we see it needed very little or no right lock. Yet it was a hard flick right, almost ninety degrees on the wheel, so quick it was barely visible at the time.

          2. @lockup Could be. Look, I don’t know (either)…

            But it could also be just a bit heavier than intended return to the require steering angle after than loose moment. He might not have remembered how much of an angle he applied before the correction and he accidentally used more.

            I’m now once again firmly on the ‘I don’t think I can reconstruct what happened based on the info I have’ field. Kind of unnerving, but I also know that it’s probably improbable that anybody aside from Rosberg really knows what he really did…

          3. Well @atticus-2 as I said it’s not something I wanted to believe. I was loving the story of the boyhood friends ending up in the top F1 team together, and I really liked Nico. When people were saying at the start of the season ‘they’ll fall out’ I was saying ‘no they won’t’.

            But there was Monaco and at Spa I found that still frame and then played the front offboard footage again, and I had to believe it. His car doesn’t need a steering input, but he gives it a maximal flick right, just as Hamilton’s rear wheel is going past.

          4. @lockup “His car doesn’t need a steering input, but he gives it a maximal flick right…”

            You have absolutely no way of knowing that. You have no clue what is going on with the rear, it could be on the verge of stepping out. If you think you can tell from an onboard camera what the drivers are feeling through the seat, then you are dreaming.

    2. @lockup if every driver caused a daft collision got disqualified from the standings, very few drivers would have been in the championship at all, and Hamilton wouldn’t have been champion in 2008.

      At Monaco, he made a mistake whilst under pressure. Drivers tend to do that. At Spa, there is no way that Rosberg would have known that he would have ended Hamilton’s race and not his own with that error. It was a racing incident as both driver could have left more room.

      If you want actual cheating in Formula One, you have to look no further than Renault in 2008. That is cheating. Accidentally braking a little bit too late whilst under pressure is not cheating.

      1. @craig-o Daft collisions don’t get a driver booed or publicly lambasted and forced to apologise by his team.

        Rosberg was not under pressure in Monaco. He had provisional pole – choice of when to run the second time, which choice he inexplicably used to run first. Followed by the weird braking/steering and the tyre load data and nearly all the other drivers believing it was deliberate (see the Hughes article I linked).

        It’s an easy calculation that Rosberg would win out in Spa. 3 miles from the pits a rear puncture was race-ending, with having to damage the floor avoid being lapped, whereas a brief lateral blow on the FW endplate would mean 15-20 seconds at most; and NR was in second already.

        1. @lockup 1) Yes, they do.

          2) Yes, he was. He didn’t beat his personal best in S1. Just after that, the mistake occurred. I’m not sure which other drivers thought that it was deliberate. I do not remember any other active driver except for Hamilton say that it was deliberate.

          3) When you do such a manoeuvre, you cannot ensure that your car will come off fine, and the opponent’s car will not. Take Jerez 1997 as an example.

          1. @craig-o F1 fans at the circuit do not boo genuine mistakes. They knew it was shady, even without the video. Mercedes even confirmed he’d admitted doing it to prove a point.

            In Monaco the other drivers stayed safely off the record. Hughes reports in the article I linked:

            That incident, which if you believe – as almost every other single driver in the paddock did – was deliberate…

            Spa was not hitting the sidepod like Jerez 97 and Rosberg did not need a guarantee his car would come off fine. As I explained, he had a good probability that it would play out to his advantage.

        2. @lockup, I tend to agree with your assessment, and by reading the body language of Nico after Monaco and Spa it appeared he was lying 1) about the data backing up a “mistake” in Monaco and 2) about the accidental nature of the “racing incident” in Spa. Nico plays the media well, is very calculated in what he says, but even so there were signs of him telling deliberate untruths.

          Unfortunately, and probably against his calculations, the tide of public opinion turned against him and after that he was never in the mix. Why not? Probably because he knows how to toe the company line, and Lewis was chosen as a more popular WDC candidate. After all, Mercedes knew they had the car to win it, so such a choice could easily have been made and if so influenced by PR for the company.

          If this conjecture is right, then Nico deserves some respect for swallowing his ambition for the rest of the season and doing what he was told without demonstrating any ill feeling in public. Very self controlled.

          But back to your point @lockup, many would disagree with you but I think you have a valid point.

          1. @Mog I’m sure Rosberg was shaken by the booing, and Toto’s recent quotes tend to confirm what I suspected, that he told Nico one more and he was out of the team.

            I don’t know about respect. The reason dishonesty is taboo is that once you know someone is willing to cheat and lie then you can’t believe anything unless you have some corroboration. How can we take his end-of-season charm offensive at face value?

            I find whole thing depressing tbh. The team knew Monaco was deliberate but they gave him a raise and extended his contract. The whole circus backed him – stewards, paddock, media. Presumably the missing Sky video means Bernie was conducting the whitewash.

            No wonder Nico did it again.

            And again the stewards bottled it and the media were desperate to paint it as ‘clumsy’.

            This comes on top of the FRIC ban, secret Bianchi crash report, a team voting for double points this year but secretly… I can’t understand why I’m hooked on a sport so steeped in dishonesty. What’s wrong with me ??? ;)

  7. Rosberg was Mr Consistency: bringing home very solid results but not standing out, positively, for any other reason. As Button proved, this when combined with Hamilton’s unreliability or petulance, is a strategy that can be greatly effective against Hamilton. Because Hamilton is so strong, it’s probably the only effective strategy.

    Hamilton was clearly quicker than Rosberg in the races. However, what has not been said, and what should be said, is that the difference between the two was actually more to do with race craft than speed. Not only did Hamilton manage to look after his tyre wear and fuel consumption better through adaptive driving techniques all year, he was also clearly better at defensive driving (cf. Bahrain), overtaking (cf. Hungary), coping with pressure (cf. Monza) and wet weather driving (cf. Suzuka). This was the key difference. In the end, the points’ difference still flattered Rosberg. Hamilton was a cut above this year.

    1. Also, Hamilton was usually faster on the harder compound used during races. He adapted faster than Rosberg after a compound change in the race. (US GP is the main example of that)

      1. @paeschli Hamilton preferred the harder tyres, Rosberg the softs.. along with a bias for Rosberg of higher speed tracks, and Hamilton the lower speed tracks (to gain time under heavy braking).

  8. I also had Rosberg in #5 for my own personal rankings. Awesome in qualifying, rarely delivered in the races.

    But I’m really not sure how many other drivers could have pushed Hamilton closer, because Lewis was very, very good on race days. Alonso would be the obvious pick as one. Vettel on 2014 form is a no. Ricciardo… if he’d hooked into Merc as well as the Bull, maybe but not sure, want to see another season out of him before promoting him to the elite in my mind. Bottas, same boat as Ricciardo.

    In the very unique two-horse title race, I don’t think anyone except Alonso could have pushed Hamilton as close as Nico did.

  9. Since the beginning of the year, Rosberg had been operating under the pretense that he is invincible. After his win in Australia following Hamilton’s retirement, which he called “a perfect weekend for Mercedes”, he was in numerous incidents: his spin in Q3 in China bringing yellow flags at the end of the session, parking at Mirabeau Haute to bring yellow flags at the end of Q3 (for the second time in 4 qualis), corner cutting in Canada, tyre cutting in Spa. None of these yielded any penalties for him.

    After his Belgium collision, he thought he could just brush the incident under the rug and move on like he did with all his other misdemeanours. I really think the fact that he did not accept any blame in that moment and the fact that he wasn’t penalised did for him. He said he did it to make a point but it wasn’t the point that he thought he was making.

    By showing he was willing to put at risk the other Mercedes to prove a personal point, he united the team in ire against his actions. By refusing to accept even partial blame, he fuelled the flame of fan discontent instead of trying to put it out.

    He had the points lead but his bubble of invincibility had been well and truly burst over the post-Belgian fortnight. In one moment, by being willing to destroy 2 races (Lewis’ and his) to prove a point, he practically erased the team advantage he had by dint of having been there since day one and the fans didn’t hesitate to let them know what they thought of his actions. He turned Mercedes against him and the fans against him, both of whom were effectively pushed onto Hamilton’s side. He concreted that the belief that his previous action may have been malevolent rather than maladroit.

    From then on, Hamilton responded like a champion taking 193 of the final 200 points and six out of seven victories, while Rosberg continued making mistakes (this time they began to cost him). It speaks to Hamilton’s end of season form, that even if Rosberg had got second at Singapore and Abu Dhabi, he still would’ve lost the championship.

  10. Top 5 is nice, a lot of people wouldn’t have ranked him that high up a year ago or so.
    Still, I don’t think P5 values his performance highly enough. I don’t think Hamilton is going to end up 3rd or 4th, so the respective ranking is going to imply quite a big gap between the two Mercedes drivers. But was that really the case? I can think of only 3 races where Hamilton really pulled away from Rosberg (MAL, CHN, JPN), one of which was affected by technical issues on Rosberg’s car (CHN). Every other problem-free race was marked by extremly small margins between the two Mercs. Yes, Lewis won the vast majority of their duels. But this doesn’t mean Rosberg did a bad job. It just means that Lewis was extremely strong and managed to make the most of his relatively small advantage over Nico.

    Next point: Bottas. Yes, he did have an excellent season and is to be considered a man of the near future. But: Was he really better than Rosberg? I don’t hink so.
    Was he really that much better than Massa? No, i most definitely do not think so. Yes, he should be classified ahead of his team mate. But not that far. As it stands, their respective Driver Ranking hints to an even larger gap than their points, a statistic that, due to an uneven distribution of misfortune, didn’t represent how fast the Williams drivers really were.

    While I’ve mostly agreed with the ranking so far (except for Räikkönen, Vergne/Kvyat and maybe Button), I get the feeling that this is harmony is coming to a term.

    1. Spain Hamilton. Pulled away. The only reason rosberg caught up at the end was because of tyre differences. Abu dhabi Hamilton pulled away gradually before rosbergs car suffered. Silverstone Hamilton was closing so quickly, its hard not to imagine he would have also pulled away from rosberg too. Same with Brazil. Also USA he made a nice gap after overtaking. @nase

    2. Bahrain. There was no reason why Rosberg shouldn’t have won that race– The safety car eliminated Hamilton’s lead, and Rosberg had newer, soft tires. He still couldn’t make the pass stick. Hamilton simply out-drove Rosberg every time Rosberg tried to pass.

      And for the “intellectual driver” who’s supposed to adapt to the new regulations better than the “emotional driver” who abuses the tires and the equipment– Hamilton consistently used less fuel, and got more mileage out of his tires.

    3. Hamilton should be 3rd, I think. He had the dominant car but didn’t capitalise on that when he should have, and really, Nico should have been no match for him at all. He should have convincingly won the WDC earlier in the season. Ricardo was easily the driver of the year, with Alonso second and then Hamilton. We’ll see if keith agrees with my rankings ;p

      1. I wouldn’t hold my breadth on that expectation.
        No, Keith is not going to agree with your ranking simply because he does not rank them out of emotion or who he likes best. Hamilton has been ranked first in all major sports ranking he was nominated for this year, even by F1 team principals who are privy to more info and data than we do. Keith has access to a lot more info than we do so I think he is going to place Hamilton either second or first. Your asking for him to be 3rd behind Alonso is just being myopic.
        People keep saying Hamilton should have “convincingly won the WDC earlier in the season” and I wonder whether they watched a different championship. He started the season with a 25 point deficit and each time he outclassed his team mate and led d championship, his car broke down. If ur car catches fire, u pull over by the roadside, don’t you? You don’t keep driving to proove a point.

        1. Actually, that is looking at it objectively rather than emotively, and I’m sure I won’t be the only one with that opinion. It’s a bit rich for you to imply that I am ranking based purely on emotive reasons, especially when considering the nationalistic furore which accompanies Hamilton wherever he goes, including on this website. Hamilton was in the best car by far and had a teammate that really, he should have trounced. I don’t consider Rosberg to be anywhere near Hamilton’s level at all. Mechanical gremlins & other contingencies aside, Rosberg often looked like he had the upper hand and had Hamilton rattled, and it was not inconceivable at several points throughout the year that he would prevail over Hamilton. I would have hated that result if it had occurred, it would have been a travesty especially if the double points debacle had’ve been responsible for that result. Given the ranking is based on who performed the best over the season, not just who ended up with the most points at the end (otherwise the rankings would be very easy to determine indeed), then I really can’t see how you could look past Ricciardo. Scored three wins in an inferior car, made a reigning 4 time WDC look very ordinary indeed and was involved in a lot of the standout battles of the season. And did it all with a smile on his face. As for Alonso, whilst he didn’t have great results according to the scoreboard, he dragged a tractor up the grid and put it in places it had no business being. He also made an extremely highly rated teammate look very ordinary indeed and was another one who gave us some of the best ‘racing’ of the season. So you may feel free to respond on logic and to the points I’ve raised, or you can simply rely on your beleif that my ‘partisanship’ colours my view. Over to you.

          1. There actually isn’t much to debate on this issue being that the W05 was so fast that a driver’s chances of arriving either 1st or 2nd in a race was almost guaranteed. Read the 1st paragraph again. Nico, proved in Sochi that u can mess up ur first lap, get back to the pits, have a tyre change, return back to the tracks and overtake every other car except the identical car driven by his team mate.
            In such a situation, there can’t be any trouncing as some would expect since ur team mate is guaranteed to come second or first as demonstrated by the difference in points tally.
            Obviously to team principals, the general British public, and whoever else is out there who classed Hamilton a good number of places higher than Nico, he ‘trounced’ ( if that is what people want to hear ) his team mate – driving the same car and guaranteed a 1st or 2nd position – by finishing twice as much in front of him. I think 120% returns compared to 50% is a pretty good return on investment or trouncing in sports as some people would like to call it. But I don’t call it that cos it belittles the efforts of another.

      2. The only reason why Hamilton didn’t wrap up the title earlier in the season is because the car let him down. Otherwise 11 out of 19 wins is pretty “capitalising his car” I should say

  11. I wonder if the readers view gives a clue to who’s got the number1 spot…

  12. I wonder if Hamilton knew he didn’t really need to beat rosberg to pole every race as he was confident his race pace was fr more dominant (which it was).

  13. Fifth is an absolutely fair place for Rosberg. Qualifier of the year, but he made far too many mistakes whilst under pressure in the races to warrant anything higher.

  14. Rosberg’s eventual winning margin in qualifying of 11-7 is a reasonably accurate reflection

    Followed by a list of races where things went wrong for Hamilton (beyond his control) and therefore explaining why it isn’t an accurate reflection. Why not work it down to the 8-7 margin that actually is an accurate reflection?

    1. @patrickl Because the term ‘accurate reflection’ is subjective and delving deeper into events at each individual qualifying session would just lead to further disagreement. The actual qualifying score was 12-7 to Rosberg, Keith Collantine called the score 11-7, I would call the score 10-7 (discounting the two sessions Hamilton was unable to complete) and you say it is 8-7. Presumably you have also discounted Monaco (possibly fair enough) and Silverstone – I’m not sure why you would discount Silverstone because you specifically used the term “beyond his control” and Hamilton had an equal chance to get pole there, he just made a mental error and abandoned his lap. An understandable mistake in the circumstances but it was still his own doing. All in all I think Keith’s term “reasonably accurate reflection” covers the bases.

  15. My theory on Rosberg’s pace is that he is more sensitive to tire and car changes as the race progresses. On a one lap qualifier, the car is optimized and has the maximum amount of grip possible. When it comes to the race, the cars balance changes drastically within 5 laps, the car starts to move around more and grip diminishes. A car that moves around seems to unsettle Rosberg, whereas Hamilton can manage with the slides whether its oversteer or locking up the front wheels at entry.

    Pirelli went fairly conservative this year and will go more aggressive with tire compounds next year. I think next year is going to bring tire management back to the fore. Which I don’t mind. This is why we talk of “complete drivers.” Drivers that can manage multiple variables in a Grand Prix.

  16. A fairly apt summation & placing for Rosberg.

  17. The top-5 is very close this year.

    Rosberg was very good but I struggle to remember the times he overtook Lewis; with the exception of the starting lap.
    Bahrain was very telling, he had the faster tyre and many chances to get past but could not.

    Would we say the same about any others in the top 5?

    1. I’d add Hungary to the list of telling races as well: Rosberg got stuck for a long time behind a Torro Rosso while Hamilton promptly got on with the business of putting it in his mirrors where it belonged. Twice Rosberg caught up to Hamilton on the quicker tire, & he couldn’t get past… even though HAM had done nearly 30 laps on his harder tire by the end. By contrast, Ricciardo pitted for his sorts 2 laps before ROS & he went on to pass both Hamilton & Alonso (also on similarly worn tires… he & HAM had a decent scrap but they both ran out of grip & the latter fell back to defend from ROS) for the win… so I agree, I don’t think we can say the same for the other top fivers :)

      1. *Ricciardo pitted for his SOFTS…

  18. I like Nico but think 5th is a stretch. It’s hard to judge a driver when he has a car that is far and away better than the rest. Rosberg simply couldn’t pass Hamilton ALL YEAR even with better tires. I think ALO, RIC, RAI, BUT and others including Vettel would have in the same car. Hamilton screwed up most of the qualy sessions Rosberg won so that statistic is deceiving. Telling Hamilton to move aside in Hungary was very telling. Apologizing at SPA proved he is too soft. Why apologize for a mistake? Hamilton will beat him more handily next year I would wager.

    1. I would have placed Nico higher than 5th but I understand the sentiment for the placing. That said, it seems funny to claim ‘Hamilton screwed up most of the quali sessions’…therefore…what?…Rosberg doesn’t deserve that trophy? Rosbergs pace couldn’t have anything to do with LH being forced to drive into mistakes?

      Also, they didn’t tell LH to move aside…they asked him to not make it difficult for Nico as he was by then on a different strategy. LH agreed, but in short order after seeing NR was not right on his butt, rightly told the pit he would not go so far as to slow for Nico, which made sense. Had Nico a bit more pace at the time, LH would have not impeded NR and would have
      let him go.

      As to apologizing making him soft…recall…he didn’t apologize until there were team meetings. He was initially not apologizing for his mistake. His stance was that he had vowed to himself to stand his ground and try to beat LH…you know…what we expect of a rivalry.

      It is hard to think other than that LH is going to be darn hard to beat next year, but I’d wager that at a minimum Nico has learned a ton from this first season of having a WDC capable car.
      Except for RIC you have cited all WDC winners in your list of those who would have passed LH with that car.

      I say let’s see what Nico can bring in his second WDC capable car next year. Do any WDC winners win every year they race? He’s certainly no Webber to Vettel, nor Kimi to FA. This year’s results and circumstances do not guarantee the same next year. That’s why they run all the races.

  19. A bit off topic, but didn’t Lewis beat Alonso in qualifying? I remember him doing so, and even went back and counted it and got 9-8 in favor of Lewis qualifying ahead. 10-7 if you count Alonso’s penalty at Hungary.

    Just curious, are we only counting pole positions?
    @keithcollantine

  20. I think hamilton would have won comfortably if it wasnt for the reliability issues and if others were closer wouldnt have come that close hamilton only lost in qualifying due to the added pressure he though i think rosberg is going to improve next year due to the confidence he gained this year but if things dont go wrong for hamilton he will win next year as well

  21. I rewatch again Monaco and Belgium then I think it was the part of Rosberg mind games

  22. The top five, one position at a time? Squeezing everything out of it.

  23. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
    16th December 2014, 9:57

    5th seems about right to me – certainly Hamilton, Ricciardo and Alonso should be ahead, so he couldn’t be higher than 4th.

    It was a strange season for Rosberg, as he was getting thrashed by Hamilton on every weekend (except for a lucky win at the first race) up until Monaco. The stunt he pulled in qualifying was pretty appalling, but the effect it had on Hamilton in the following races was out of all proportion, it completely derailed his season (well, up until Spa).

    Neither Mercedes driver covered himself in glory last season: Rosberg seems to have cheated twice, while Hamilton tried to play mind games on his teammate but only succeeded in beating himself up.

    But towards the end of the season they seemed to come to some sort of settlement: Rosberg’s victory in Brazil was outstanding, and after the race he said that he had a new understanding of the level he had to drive at to beat his teammate. While after Spa, Hamilton gave up on trying to out-psych his teammate and simply out-drove him. I think this bodes well for next season.

  24. 5th seems harsh but did he do a better job than Ricciardo or Alonso and obviously Lewis? Categorically no.

    It used to be to finish first, first you need to finish. That’s long gone but to finish first you definitely must finish ahead of your team mate

  25. ” … Rosberg’s eventual winning margin in qualifying of 11-7 is a reasonably accurate reflection of how their one-lap pace compared. ……. making these allowances wouldn’t be enough to put Hamilton ahead. … ”

    Eh?
    Take away three poles from Rosberg, leaves him with 8
    Give those to Hamilton, and that brings him up to 10

    So Hamilton wins 10-8.

  26. Just to clarify something in the article, Hamilton beat Alonso 9-8 in qualifying in 2007, so 2014 was the first time Hamilton has ever been outqualified over a season.

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