Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Hungaroring, 2015

2015 mid-season F1 driver rankings part two: 12-6

Driver Rankings

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Fernando Alonso, Nico Rosberg and Max Verstappen feature in part two of the mid-season 2015 driver rankings.

12: Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2015

Nico Rosberg

Beat team mate in qualifying1/10
Beat team mate in race3/10
Races finished10/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate220/633
Points181

It’s easy to forget how closely matched Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton were in their first year together at Mercedes in 2013. And last year while Hamilton cleaned up in the races, Rosberg surprisingly won the qualifying battle.

This year it seems Rosberg has run out of answers for his team mate. While Rosberg has been close to Hamilton’s qualifying pace at times (and ahead once), more often than not their pair have been separated by more than three tenths of a second. Rosberg even allowed Sebastian Vettel to get the better of him on two occasions.

He converted his sole pole position into a win in Spain, got lucky in Monaco, and beat Hamilton away from the line to win in Austria. It may seem odd to place a driver with three wins outside the top ten, but given the scale of Mercedes’ car advantage a bad day at the office for Rosberg usually means second place.

Not unreasonably, Rosberg seems fixated on seizing whatever points he can from Hamilton whenever the opportunity presents itself, hence his conservative preference for a final stint on the medium tyres in Hungary. Had he opted for softs instead, it’s doubtful he would have ended up fending off an attack from Daniel Ricciardo which ended up with him suffering a puncture. There’s a lesson in that.

Nico Rosberg 2015 form guide

11: Daniil Kvyat

Daniil Kvyat, Red Bull, Monte-Carlo, 2015

Daniil Kvyat

Beat team mate in qualifying4/10
Beat team mate in race4/7
Races finished8/9
Laps spent ahead of team mate189/498
Points45

Following his rapid promotion from Toro Rosso, Kvyat’s first races with Red Bull didn’t go well. His RB11 didn’t even make it to the grid in Melbourne, several problems delayed him in China, in Bahrain he was eliminated in Q1 and he was passed by Carlos Sainz Jnr on the last lap in Spain.

This prompted Helmut Marko to voice his concerns over Kvyat’s performance, and whether by cause or coincidence he seems to have raised his game since. Fourth in Monaco behind two Mercedes and a Ferrari, while playing the team game, was arguably even more impressive than his somewhat fortunate podium in Hungary. He might have been in the top three at Silverstone, too, had he not spun in the rain. And at the Red Bull Ring, ironically a track ill-suited to his car, it’s doubtful he could have finished higher than eighth.

The race scoreline against Ricciardo flatters him slightly, but nonetheless he’s made a very creditable start to his Red Bull career.

Daniil Kvyat 2015 form guide

10: Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Shanghai International Circuit, 2015

Romain Grosjean

Beat team mate in qualifying9/10
Beat team mate in race2/3
Races finished7/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate282/375
Points23

Few drivers are dishing out pain to their team mates as consistently as Grosjean. Pastor Maldonado is no slouch over a flying lap, yet Grosjean has beaten him on nine Saturdays out of ten so far this year and usually reaches Q3. Not bad for a driver who’s regularly had to sit out first practice.

He’s scored points in the races so far, and opportunities in the other five races were largely missed due to reasons beyond his control, whether car problems (Australia) or contact (Monaco and Britain). But his blunder in Canada looked like an error the incident-prone Grosjean of 2012 would commit and wasted his best starting position of the year so fear.

Romain Grosjean 2015 form guide

9: Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen, Toro Rosso, Hungaroring, 2015

Max Verstappen

Beat team mate in qualifying4/10
Beat team mate in race1/4
Races finished6/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate290/462
Points22

Separating the two Toro Rosso drivers is no easy task. Verstappen has arguably been more impressive given how much less experience he has than Sainz, but this is purely a ranking of how they’ve performed so far, so Sainz gets the nod.

Verstappen, however, has the greater points tally. He has also been the more uneven performance, with higher highs and lower lows, which is perhaps to be expected. Second in practice on his first visit to Monaco was astounding stuff but in the race it was Verstappen who crashed and Sainz who took a points finish from the pit lane.

Both drivers have suffered from the STR10’s poor reliability: in China Verstappen was classified 17th after a late engine failure ruined a race in which he had performed the kind of stunning late-braking passes which were his calling card in Formula Three last year. Silverstone was a low point – he spun out early having started on the harder tyres – but in Hungary he (mostly) stayed out of trouble for an excellent fourth place. If he’s already this good, how much better is he going to get?

Max Verstappen 2015 form guide

8: Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Hungaroring, 2015

Fernando Alonso

Beat team mate in qualifying4/7
Beat team mate in race2/2
Races finished4/9
Laps spent ahead of team mate178/256
Points11

Ranking McLaren’s two world champions involves a considerable margin for error as the MP4-30 has not permitted them to do much in the way of racing. Good as he’s been in the car, Alonso’s been even better out of it, gritting his teeth through endless press conference questions drawing his attention to how much better his former team are doing these days.

Alonso’s season reads as a litany of car-related failures and the occasional other aggravation: in Austria he made a superb start only to be shunted into a barrier by an out-of-control Kimi Raikkonen.

However in the last two races McLaren’s gradual gains and favourable circumstances have allowed him to deliver: a point came at a wet Silverstone, then in Hungary a well-timed tyre change led to an unlikely points finish. When this car comes good, Alonso is surely going to deliver in a big way.

Fernando Alonso 2015 form guide

7: Carlos Sainz Jnr

Carlos Sainz Jnr, Toro Rosso, Sepang International Circuit, 2015

Carlos Sainz Jnr

Beat team mate in qualifying6/10
Beat team mate in race3/4
Races finished6/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate172/462
Points9

Apart from in Canada, where the need to save fuel left Toro Rosso out of the hunt, Sainz has delivered points every time his car has gone the distance without letting him down. China was the only other occasion he saw the chequered flag while placed outside the top ten, and that came after a substantial delay due to a gearbox problem.

Ninth on his debut at Melbourne would have been higher had it not been for a slow pit stop, and he followed that up with eighth in Malaysia. That he hasn’t improved on that yet is largely down to the STR10’s poor finishing record: he was on course for points in each of the last three races when his car let him down.

Sainz hasn’t been flawless – missing the weighbridge in Monaco undoubtedly cost him a better result than he eventually got – but his performances thus far make Red Bull’s hesitance to promote him to F1 in the first place all the more surprising in retrospect.

Carlos Sainz Jnr 2015 form guide

6: Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa, Williams, Red Bull Ring, 2015

Felipe Massa

Beat team mate in qualifying6/10
Beat team mate in race4/9
Races finished10/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate247/573
Points74

On his best days, we’ve seen glimpses of 2008-vintage Massa at Williams, which is a heartening sight after his 2009 crash and those long years in Alonso’s shadow. These high points included leading in Silverstone – where his pace on the hard tyres and intermediates was better than Bottas could manage – a podium in Austria and fourth in Australia.

Massa was particularly unlucky to suffer a problem with his turbo in qualifying at Montreal, a track which suited the Williams well. In Monaco, where the FW36 was well off the pace, he still out-qualified Bottas.

Massa’s slight margin over Bottas in qualifying is partly down to his team mate’s early season back trouble, but Massa’s consistent performances are threatening to take the gloss off the occupant of the other Williams. Only in Hungary did he really look sub-par, failing to make any kind of impression in a race where big points were possible.

Felipe Massa 2015 form guide

Extended notes on each driver

Click below to read more about each driver’s performance in every round so far this year:

Nico Rosberg

Australia – Having led the way on Friday Rosberg seemed to be put off his stride by a gearbox problem in final practice, then suffered a few hiccups in qualifying and ended up well off Hamilton’s time. It wasn’t representative of the gap between them, but if the Mercedes wasn’t so much faster than anything else it would have been more of a problem. The gap between them in the race was never that large, but whenever Rosberg tested Hamilton a response came immediately, confining him to second.

Malaysia – Was bumped back to third on the grid by Vettel despite having the advantage of being the last Mercedes driver to run on a drying track. Mercedes tend to carefully manage which driver has that benefit, so it was a surprise to see Rosberg dropping back behind Hamilton after they had taken to the track. He finished where he started after using a similar strategy to Hamilton, and gained on his team mate during the second half of the race.

China – Only just missed out on beating Hamilton to pole by four hundreths of a second on Saturday. Kept pace with Hamilton during the race but once again was never close enough to mount a serious challenge for the lead. Was very open after the race about his views that Hamilton’s tyre saving pace had left him unnecessarily at risk from Vettel, but Rosberg was never required to defend his position.

Bahrain – Bumped back to third on the grid by Vettel and said after qualifying he’d tried too hard to preserve his race tyres in Q2. Having lost a place to Raikkonen at the start he took both the Ferraris in the first stint to take up second behind his team mate. When Vettel jumped back in front of him by pitting early Rosberg was always able to take the place back on the track, but he fell victim to a late attack from Raikkonen when he suffered the same braking fault as Hamilton, albeit slightly earlier.

Spain – Collected a reprimand early in the weekend for entering the pit lane on the wrong side of the marker bollard, but other than that rarely put a wheel wrong. He beat Hamilton to pole position for the first time this year with a tidy qualifying effort and made a clean start to hold his advantage at the start. From then on, with Hamilton stuck behind Vettel, he was in cruise mode.

Monaco – Touched the wall at Tabac during first practice, which seemed to put him off his stride a bit. Said he “went a bit over the limit” in pursuit of a third straight Monaco pole – and the result was second behind Hamilton. He slipped back during the race and was surprised to see the lead fall into his lap at the end. Managed the restart well, and took the victory.

Canada – Pole position was within his grasp but he had the misfortune to be allocated a duff set of tyres for one of his runs in Q3. Although eager not to appear to be making “excuses”, Rosberg said the inferior set left him short of grip, and he lined up second. He pressed Hamilton hard in the second half of the race, despite his brakes reaching a “critical” state at one stage, but had to settle for the runner-up spot.

Austria – Before he spun at the last corner of his final flying lap in Q3 Rosberg had found the missing time to his team mate and had a good chance of taking pole position. However he made an excellent start, took the lead from Hamilton and had got a hold on first place when the Safety Car came out. Thereafter his run to victory looked reasonably straightforward, though a graining tyre gave cause for concern in the closing stages.

Britain – Gearbox problems impaired his practice running on Friday and Saturday but he was clearly very quick. However having been a tenth of a second off Hamilton on his first run in Q3 Rosberg couldn’t improve on his final run, blaming a loss of grip on one of his front tyres. Having been passed by the two Williams drivers at the start he spent the first stint stuck behind Hamilton, and the pit stops failed to get him in front of either of the Williams drivers, though he came very close. Despite a brief off at Woodcote when the rain fell he quickly picked off Bottas and Massa, then slashed Hamilton’s lead. But he stayed out a lap longer than his team mate on slick tyres, which ended his bid for victory.

Hungary – The team apologised to Rosberg after his “difficult day” which they said was down to an error in setting his car up which went unnoticed. He bounced back in final practice to end up within a tenth of Hamilton, but in qualifying he was puzzled by persistent understeer and ended up over half a second off his team mate. After Hamilton took himself out of contention Rosberg was unable to close on the Ferraris – he was 22 seconds behind before the Safety Car period. Seemingly preoccupied with staying ahead of Hamilton, a conservative call for medium compound tyres under the Safety Car blunted his challenge late in the race. A lack of circumspection in his battle with Ricciardo was heavily penalised – the puncture dropped him to eighth, and spoiled what could have been a profitable day.

Daniil Kvyat

Australia – Wasn’t able to accompany his team mate into Q3, and then failed to start the race at all following a gearbox problem on his first lap. A disappointing start to his first grand prix for Red Bull.

Malaysia – Fared slightly better with Red Bull’s brake problems and finished ahead of Ricciardo despite being tipped into a spin by Perez at one stage. He felt this was the most they could take from a race in which both Red Bulls finished behind their Toro Rosso siblings.

China – A weekend of problems for the Russian with brake issues on Friday, followed by a loss of power in qualifying that left him 12th on the grid. Lost places at the start as one of only two drivers to start on Medium tyres and unnecessarily cost his team mate and himself time by fighting before his Renault engine blew on lap 15, ending a forgettable weekend.

Bahrain – Failed to make it out of Q1 after spinning in final practice. He gained two places at the start but lost them on the next lap to Massa and Maldonado. However from then on his recovery drive picked up pace and he brought his car home in the points, re-passing the long-running Massa with three laps to go.

Spain – Also missed out on some running on Friday and Saturday, but managed to out-qualify Ricciardo for the first time this year. He made a very poor start, however, dropping back five places. Although he got back in the hunt for points he lost ninth to Sainz on the final lap after the pair tangled at turn one.

Monaco – Described himself as feeling comfortable at the wheel of the RB11 for a change and qualified fifth behind his team mate. That became fourth at turn one – a position he held at the end for his best F1 finish so far.

Canada – Out-qualified Ricciardo for the second time since they became team mates. Realistically he was never going to be able to keep Massa and Vettel behind in the race, but he had to keep his foot down to stay ahead of the recovering Grosjean.

Austria – Got into Q3 but also had to take a ten-place grid penalty, leaving him 15th on the grid. Collided with Perez at the start and had to replace his front wing, but other bodywork damage made the car “very tough” to drive, and he finished 12th.

Britain – A spin late in the race when the rain returned certainly cost him a better finish – at least fifth, probably fourth in front of the Williams drivers. Until that point he’d been on great form, qualifying seventh behind six faster cars and using an early pit stop to jump ahead of Hulkenberg.

Hungary – Out-paced Ricciardo in practice but was disappointed with his qualifying effort which left him seventh. After locking up heavily at the start of the race he was ordered to let Ricciardo through, which he was not happy about, but he caught a lucky break when he switched to soft tyres before the Safety Car came out. Although he had to run a long, 36-lap stint on them and picked up a ten-second penalty for going off the track while passing Hamilton, Kvyat steered clear of the unfolding chaos to grab a career-best second place.

Romain Grosjean

Australia – Was quick in the new Lotus when it ran, but lost most of the first practice session and retired at the end of lap one in the race with a power unit problem.

Malaysia – Q3 was the first time he’d driven the new Lotus in the rain which explains why the team chose to begin the session on full wet weather tyres. However they did not get their timings right and Grosjean missed out on setting a quick lap on intermediate tyres at the end. He was also penalised ten places by the stewards for skipping the pit exit queue in Q2. Another driver who didn’t pit during the Safety Car period, Grosjean climbed to third but was passed with ease by the Mercedes. He was later knocked into a spin by Perez which cost him the chance of a points finish.

China – Sat out first practice as Jolyon Palmer drove his car. Consistently in the top ten on the timing sheets all weekend and qualified a decent eighth. Kept his nose clean at the start and managed his tyres well throughout the race but could do nothing to help catch the Williams ahead. Crossed the line a solid seventh for his first points since Monaco last year.

Bahrain – Continued his record of getting the Lotus into Q3 at every race this year, but in the race his two-stop strategy appeared inferior to his team mate’s three-stopper – though Maldonado’s early exit from qualifying meant he had more fresh tyres. Nonetheless Grosjean repeated his China result of taking seventh place, still on the lead lap.

Spain – As usual it was Grosjean who sat out first practice while Jolyon Palmer drove the Lotus. Grosjean’s run in second practice was then disrupted by technical problems including a dramatic rear bodywork failure. Despite having reached Q3 in the first four races, after Friday he was pessimistic about their chances of getting beyond Q1. He made it, but couldn’t progress beyond Q2. Lost places early in the race after running wide at turn one, lost time when he overshot his marks at his second pit stop, and lost fourth gear as well, but took points for eighth.

Monaco – A five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change left him on the back foot, but he failed to out-qualifying Maldonado for the first time this year. Surprisingly his Lotus withstood the battering it took from Verstappen well enough for him to reach the chequered flag, but the time lost dropped him out of the points.

Canada – Lotus were quick from the word go in Canada and Grosjean could even afford to feel slightly disappointed with fifth on the grid. He said his out-lap preparation had been compromised after Lotus sent both cars out of the pits simultaneously for their final runs. He was on course to deliver fifth place in the race when he tripped over Stevens’ Manor while lapping his rival, picking up a puncture. That dropped him to tenth, which he held despite his five-second time penalty. To his credit, having blamed Stevens initially for the contact Grosjean later accepted responsibility.

Austria – Having enjoyed the luxury of getting to drive his car in first practice for a couple of races Grosjean was relegated to spectator status again this weekend and will continue to do so until Singapore while Lotus give more seat time to Jolyon Palmer. When he did get in the car he was hampered by reliability niggles, and having reached Q3 was unable to set a time. Got hung out wide by Sainz at turn three after the restart, which allowed Perez through, and shortly afterwards he ran wide at turn eight. A good points finish was still on, however, until his gearbox failed.

Britain – As usual he spent first practice watching Jolyon Palmer drive his car, but he lost more track time in the second session by spinning off at Luffield. Puzzled by his car’s balance in Q2, he registered his lowing qualifying position of the year. Pinned between Ricciardo and Maldonado at the start of the race, damage from the collision forced him out.

Hungary – Missing first practice was less of a disadvantage than usual compared to his team mate. Once again his was the only Lotus in Q3 and he also managed to save a set of soft tyres for the race. But he made a terrible start and finished the first lap in 16th, then collected a five-second penalty for an unsafe release from the pits. His race came alive after the Safety Car period, rising to sixth as those ahead hit trouble, before being demoted by Rosberg’s recovering Mercedes.

Max Verstappen

Australia – Lost most of the second practice session due to a battery problem, but going into qualifying it was nip-and-tuck between him and Sainz for who would be quickest. A mistake at turn four on his last lap in Q2 kept Verstappen from reaching the top ten. In the race he ran as high as fifth during a long first stint on medium tyres, but the possibility of scoring points died along with his engine following his pit stop.

Malaysia – Despite having little experience of how an F1 car handles in the wet, Verstappen took a fine sixth on the grid. He looked cautious at the start, however, and by lap two had fallen to tenth, one place ahead of his team mate. Toro Rosso split their strategies when the Safety Car came out: Verstappen pitted and so by the end of the race he was battling Sainz for position. He prevailed, and seventh place made him F1’s youngest ever points-scorer.

China – A lock-up in qualifying cost Verstappen a place in Q3, by his own admission. Made up two positions at the start despite contact with Kvyat before gradually making his way into the points, pulling off a series of stunning and aggressive overtakes on the two Saubers and Sergio Perez along the way. Was running in eighth before his car ground to a halt along the pit straight.

Bahrain – Toro Rosso reliability remains poor and Verstappen has borne the brunt of it. He hoped the understeer-prone set up which confined him to 15th in qualifying would help him in the race, but as he was unable to run full engine performance and later suffered an electrical failure it proved irrelevant.

Spain – Shared the third row with his team mate but out-dragged him to turn one. Couldn’t keep Raikkonen behind on the first lap, though. Both Toro Rosso drivers were passed easily on the straight by cars with better straight-line speed, but with four laps to go Verstappen lost out to his team mate and he finished just outside the points.

Monaco – Raised eyebrows with the second-fastest time in first practice, then in qualifying was narrowly beaten to eighth place by his team mate and Maldonado. He passed the Lotus driver early in the race, but a slow tyre change spoiled his race. Put an opportunistic pass on Bottas but then collided with Grosjean, incurring a five-place grid penalty for Canada.

Canada – Arrived in Montreal with a five-place grid penalty from Monaco, then copped another ten-place penalty for an engine change, which turned into a ten-second penalty in the race when it couldn’t be applied in full. He made it into the points places by staying out late, but the inevitable penalty dropped him out of contention again.

Austria – On his first F1 race weekend at a track where he has raced before Verstappen got into Q3, qualified seventh, and picked up another place at the start. After that it was a question of how many Mercedes-powered cars could he keep behind. Bottas got him early on, and by the time Maldonado was on his tail Verstappen was having trouble with his tyres, so he had to settle for eighth.

Britain – Very pleased with his car after final practice but was caught out at Village in Q1, spinning off. The team later identified a throttle torque calibration problem which was blamed for his Q2 elimination. He was the only driver to start the race on the hard compound tyres, but after the restart he spun into retirement at Farm.

Hungary – An electrical problem confined him to the garage halfway through Friday practice, but he bounced back to become Toro Rosso’s only representative in Q3. He started poorly, falling to 13th, but after passing Alonso a well-timed pit stop moved him up to ninth. When the Safety Car came out he had not long since changed to mediums, and switching back to softs put him in a strong position at the restart. However he broke the speed limit under the Safety Car period and had to serve a drive-through penalty. Without that, he might have had his first podium finish. Instead he was fourth, his best result so far, though he was fortunate to escape a penalty after tangling with Bottas.

Fernando Alonso

Malaysia – In his first race back after injury Alonso seemed to have a pace advantage over Button during practice, though he was pipped by his team mate in qualifying. Although an ERS failure ended his race well before the chequered flag, there was some consolation to be drawn from the fact he ran as high as eighth before then.

China – Beaten by Button in qualifying to start 18th, but jumped his team mate at the start. Benefitted with a couple of positions after Button and Maldonado collided, but was too far off from the top ten to have any chance of points. Seeing the chequered flag for the first time this season will have been the main target achieved for this weekend.

Bahrain – There was a sharp contrast between the two sides of the McLaren garage in Bahrain. While Button toiled in vain, Alonso gave cause for cheer by taking the MP4-30 into Q2 for the first time, then finishing 11th in the race. Superficially that was no more than Button achieved in Melbourne – but this time there were six cars running behind the McLaren instead of none.

Spain – Had an inconsequential spin at the end of first practice. In qualifying he got his car through Q1, but his race came to an end with brake trouble – unable to stop his car at his pit box, Alonso’s front jack man had to dive for cover as the car missed its marks.

Monaco – His car broke down in Q2 and the race, but in between the two he managed to pick up a penalty for tangling with Hulkenberg at the start.

Canada – Missed most of final practice while his power unit was changed, but despite the Honda’s lack of power he got into Q2 where he claimed 13th on the grid. However he lost places to several rivals early on and was clearly unhappy when told he needed to save fuel. Capping his misery, the car failed soon afterwards.

Austria – Both McLaren drivers accumulated comical 25-place grid penalties. But Alonso, running the team’s new aerodynamic kit including a heavily revised and shortened nose, got into Q2. The upshot of that was he only had to take a drive-through penalty in the race as he could only serve a small portion of his grid penalty. He started well enough that he was up with Raikkonen turn two – unfortunately the Ferrari driver then dropped it into the barriers, taking Alonso with him.

Britain – Both McLaren drivers made it to the team’s home race without incurring more penalties for changing power unit parts, though Alonso came close as the team was reprimanded for accidentally fitting one of Button’s tyres to his car. He spun trying to avoid the Lotus drivers at the start and inadvertently ended Button’s race. The high rate of retirements helped him salvage a point, however.

Hungary – At a track which minimised the McLaren’s shortcomings, Alonso looked set to take full advantage until his car let him down in qualifying. He jumped up to 12th at the start but was passed by Verstappen shortly afterwards. The pair were destined to finish in that order after Alonso made a canny switch to soft tyres during the Safety Car period and muscled past the other, ailing Toro Rosso of Sainz.

Carlos Sainz Jnr

Australia – Qualified an excellent seventh but after making a good start he clipped Raikkonen, damaging his front wing. A disastrous pit stop then cost him half a minute and dropped him out of contention for the upper points places, and with four laps to go Ericsson demoted him to ninth. Nonetheless, he scored points on his debut.

Malaysia – Admitted he was at fault for not reaching Q3 but went on the attack at the start, making up four places. Ran fourth after the Safety Car period but was never going to keep the likes of the Mercedes drivers behind him. But he made his two-stop strategy work – he was the only two-stopper to score points besides Vettel.

China – A tough weekend for the Spanish rookie. Beaten by Verstappen in qualifying before a spin at the beginning on lap two left him last. Recovered to 14th by his first pit stop but a gearbox problem on lap 20 left him stranded on track, costing around 20 seconds. From that point on, points were never a possibility and ultimately crossed the line an unfortunate 13th.

Bahrain – Bahrain was never likely to be a strong venue for the Renault-powered team so it was to Sainz’s credit that he got the car into Q3. Like his team mate, however, he was destined not to finish.

Spain – Having been unsure about his car in practice he found its handling transformed in qualifying and duly took a best-yet fifth on the grid. Spent most of the first stint being overtaken, but kept his cool and at the end of the race his tyres were still in good enough shape for him to pass Verstappen and Kvyat for ninth place.

Monaco – Would have started eighth he had not missed the weigh bridge in qualifying. His team then didn’t take the car for weighing, and the standard penalty of a pit lane start was applied. From there a huge 66-lap stint on soft tyres helped him grab a single point.

Canada – The Circuit Gilles Villeneuve was new to both Toro Rosso drivers and Sainz prevailed in qualifying to the tune of two tenths of a second. He got ahead of Ricciardo for 12th, but the day was always going to offer little for the Renault-powered cars. “With all the fuel saving and lift-off we had to do, it was very difficult out there,” Sainz reflected.

Austria – Was a few tenths off Verstappen’s pace when the track was greasy on Friday, and a similar margin off in qualifying, where he set his car up with rain in mind. It didn’t arrive, but a quick start moved him up to ninth. Made a smart call on his own to stay out of the pits when he was told to, as Nasr in front had gone in, but when Sainz came in his pit stop was slow. A pit lane speeding penalty and an electrical problem finished off his chances.

Britain – “We knew Carlos would be strong as he had already tested here with us before,” said chief race engineer Phil Charles. Sure enough he was the only Toro Rosso driver in Q3, lining up eighth. But he made a poor start and slipped out of the points before an electrical problem ended his weekend’s work.

Hungary – Put Toro Rosso in the top five in final practice but stumbled in qualifying, unhappy with his car’s braking as the track conditions changed, and ended up 12th. Running sixth after the Safety Car period, yet another Toro Rosso failure forced him into retirement.

Felipe Massa

Australia – Close to his team mate’s pace in practice but didn’t look like out-qualifying the other car until Bottas suffered his back problem. Massa pipped both Ferrari drivers to third, albeit a daunting second and a half off the Mercedes. He didn’t have the pace to keep Vettel behind in the race, but brought the sole remaining Williams home in a useful fourth.

Malaysia – Said the team is still lagging behind in wet conditions after qualifying. He lined up ahead of Bottas and make a good start to take fifth and would have finished there had he not lost out to his team mate at the end.

China – Damaged a front wing during second practice when his rear wing stalled, sending him into the barriers. Impressive lap in qualifying put him fourth on the grid but he lost out to Raikkonen at the start. Ran fifth for the entire race, powerless to catch the leading pack but comfortably the quicker of the two Williams.

Bahrain – Qualified behind Bottas but suffered a greater setback before the race began when a technical problem forced him to start from the pits. He suffered a further setback when he was tagged by Maldonado early on. An aggressive strategy helped him find clear air late in the race, but attempting to nurse a set of medium tyres proved too ambitious, allowing Perez and Kvyat to capitalise.

Spain – Blamed an error at turn three for his disappointing qualifying performance. Started well but ran wide at turn two, losing some of the advantage he gained, but he was able to recover sixth using a three-stop strategy.

Monaco – Qualified better than Bottas but was crowded out at the start, picked up damage, and never really figured in the race from there.

Canada – A problem with Massa’s turbocharger robbed him of power in qualifying and consigned him to a 15th-placed start. Some well-worked passes helped him make up ground, including a superb side-by-side dice with Ericsson, as did the race’s longest stint on the super-soft tyres – 33 laps. He capped a fine damage limitation run by taking sixth place off Maldonado.

Austria – Having brought a raft of updates for the FW37 Williams played their cards close to their chest as usual on Friday, when Massa had a near-miss with Ferrari team principal Maurizio Arrivabene in the pit lane. Out-qualified Bottas thanks in part to the yellow flags, taking fourth on the grid. He ran in that position in the race until Vettel’s slow pit stop handed him his first podium finish of the year.

Britain – Williams seemed further from the pace than usual on Friday but it all came good on Saturday as they ejected Ferrari from row two, led by Massa. A brilliant start then propelled him into the lead, but his team mate was clearly quicker at this point and Massa came under pressure. His first pit stop was slightly slow as the team chose to clear debris from his rear wing, but even without that he wouldn’t have stayed ahead of Hamilton (though it might have been less close with Rosberg). When the rain fell Rosberg passed him easily at Village, and he was jumped in the pits by Vettel, falling to fourth.

Hungary – Eighth on the grid meant he was last in the Ferrari/Red Bull/Williams qualifying battle, and sloppy parking on the grid meant a five-second penalty. That dropped him back in the pack, and an early switch to soft tyres (even earlier than Kvyat’s) didn’t work out – a third pit stop was required, which dropped him out of the points.



How the rankings are produced

Among the data referred to in producing the ranks are notes on each driver’s performance at each race weekend, direct comparisons between team mates and each driver’s form guide.

Over to you

How do you think these five drivers have performed so far in 2015?

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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  • 230 comments on “2015 mid-season F1 driver rankings part two: 12-6”

    1. Personally, my 12-6 rankings would be:

      12. Verstappen
      11. Rosberg
      10. Button
      9. Sainz
      8. Massa
      7. Bottas
      6. Alonso

      1. C’mon Keith! Alonso ranks 5 places ahead of Button!? What a load of nonsense!

    2. Agree to your rankings. May swap kvyat and Rosberg but that’s about it.

    3. Strange that not long ago many were saying Massa was past it yet he seems to have rejuvenated his career at Williams and good for him. I’d still say Bottas is the better of the two but his performances have surprised me a lot considering in his latter Ferrari days he would be lingering towards the tail end of the points while Alonso was challenging for podiums.

      1. @davef1 I think Massa’s ranking is as his career, overrated. In my view it’s a gross mistake to rank him 6th, Bottas has had an iffy season and so has Williams even so Massa has been taken by Bottas on the standings with a race more on his points tally.

        1. No. Bottas isn’t doing any better than Massa. If Bottas is underperforming, that’s his problem. Massa is certainly matching him.

        2. Yeah? Kvyat would have already been ahead of Ricciardo without Australia where he didn’t even race. No one puts him ahead of his teammate though?

    4. The top 5 have to be
      5. Hulk
      4. Bottas
      3. Ricciardo
      2. Vettel
      1. Lewis

      I think there is quite a huge gulf between the top2 and the others

      1. I agree about the gulf. Though Hulk is doing a very good job, so I think he’s the 3rd and then there is another gulf. I also wouldn’t put Ricciardo above Bottas. And maybe even Massa for that matter.
        I also think Vettel was better overall this season.

      2. It’s very interesting that Vettel is performing like he’s the one driving the most dominant car and near above reproach. That’s something you expect only from the fastest driver with a dominant car. The fact that there are 2 drivers like that on the grid at the moment… Really really interesting. Especially after 2014. I think his driving is even better than 2013. And that one was VAUW. So my number 1 is Vettel, but if Hamilton does similar to what Vettel did in 2013, I’ll give him the top spot.

        1. Both weren’t perfect all the time, but yeah, this top 2 does it for me. the order doesn’t matter.
          If Hamilton looked bad on the last race, Vettel did the same in Bahrein.

          And seeing Hulk AGAIN on the last part of this list for the 3rd or 4th year in a row makes me sad, really.

          The guy delivers 90% of the time and hardly is ever considered for the top teams.

        2. One of the things that impressed me most about Vettel this year was how he managed to turn bad fridays into good saturdays and better sundays. Impressive stuff.

    5. Now, I am really looking forward to reading the next 200 comments on this article :)

      I do not think I would put Sainz and Verstappen ahead of Button and Raikkonen or Rosberg behind Kvyat and both Toro Rosso drivers simply because I refuse to believe that Verstappen would have scored more points in that Mercedes or that Sainz would have challenged Alonso more than Button has. That said, I agree that reliability issues, Honda’s disastrous start, the power of Mercedes’ cars and the need to somehow systematize the production of rankings makes it really difficult to assess the drivers’ performances this year.

      1. I do not think I would put Sainz and Verstappen ahead of Button and Raikkonen or Rosberg behind Kvyat and both Toro Rosso drivers simply because I refuse to believe that Verstappen would have scored more points in that Mercedes or that Sainz would have challenged Alonso more than Button has.

        I understand you, but based on your theory Alonso should be ranked in the top 3, certainly higher than his old teammate Massa since he would most likely score more points than Massa in the Mercedes.

        1. @Matthijs Agreed. That is why I never have strict opinions on these rankings, they are very interesting to read (and even more interesting to produce, I guess) but there is no perfect way to rank the drivers. If you put Massa ahead of Alonso, many fans will ask you “Massa better than Alonso? Really?!”. If you put Alonso in the top 3 after such an inconclusive first half of the season just because he is Alonso, then other fans will ask you what the point of the assessment is if you know the best drivers anyway. That’s why I never spend much time arguing if a driver should be higher or lower.

          1. @girts Agreed as well. These rankings are always very interesting indeed. Thankfully, you understand how difficult it is to rank the drivers and that it’s always (a bit) subjective. Therefore, I find it disturbing that some of us find Keith’s rankings ‘ridiculous’ (see comments below).

    6. Well if Rosberg isn’t in the top ten then Hamilton shouldn’t be as well. If there was Alonso or Vettel, this championship would be done and dusted a long time ago. Hamilton has failed to do this even in a dominant car so I think Mercedes should hire new drivers for next season because the current drivers aren’t doing justice to that incredible car.

      1. I wonder is Keith gonna put Hamilton in 5th or something? LOL

        1. He deserves to be third at best in my view with Ricciardo and Vettel ahead. I wouldn’t put the Hulkenberg in top 5. but as he is there I would give him 5.

          1. How is it that Ricciardo is so ahead though? He’s barely matching his teammate, and Kvyat would have been well ahead without his mistakes and first race DNS. How is that guy better than Hamilton? Or a number of other drivers for that matter? I think people are not being objective regarding him.

    7. 1. Vettel
      2. Hulkenberg
      3. Hamilton
      4. Bottas
      5. Ricciardo

      1. Same would be mine but I will swap bottas and ricciardo

        1. Yeah I wasn’t so sure about those 2, but then Bottas has been maybe the more consistent one.

        2. Since Massa is ahead of Kvyat and both are matching their teammates, Bottas should be ahead of Ricciardo. But then Rosberg is ahead of Raikkonen, is Keith gonna put Hamilton ahead of Vettel which I think would not be true.

        3. I wouldn’t put Ricciardo ahead of neither Bottas nor Massa. He would also be much closer to Kvyat and all the other Red Bull drivers. I think there’s some consideration for seasons past if that’s not the case.

      2. I think I would swap Hulk with Ham. Agreed that Hulk is punching way above his weight but Ham has been super clean most of this year – Hungary was an exception though.

      3. I don’t see why everybody rates Hunkenberg so highly.
        We had 10 races, not 3. He hasn’t been driving consistently well. His quali performances are quite good but races, where you get points, no so much. putting him 2nd? I don ‘t agree.
        Perhaps your opinions of him are influenced by Le Mans win but purely based on F1 races he shouldn’t be so high.

        1. No I realize that. It’s just the guys below him didn’t do better either.

          1. Hamilton most certainly has.

            1. That’s your opinion. This is mine.

            2. Hamilton and Hulkenberg had more than one race where they were off the pace and outqualified. But Hulkenberg made less mistakes and had better starts. The fact that he’s that consistent with a slower midfield car makes it all the more impressive. And for the same reasons and more Vettel has been the best.

            3. @jale I think we can save time if we don’t post the very obvious, don’t you think?

            4. That was what I was think when I wrote “That’s your opinion. This is mine.”
              I mean, you just said “Hamilton most certainly has.” Is that it? Is that all? There’s nothing to argue there. You said your opinion without explaining why, so I could only state the obvious in turn.

    8. So…

      1 – Vet
      2 – Ham
      3 – Bot
      4 – Hul
      5 – Ric
      6 – Mas
      7 – Sai
      8 – Alo
      9 – Ver
      10 – Gro
      11 – Kvy
      12 – Ros
      13 – But
      14 – Rai
      15 – Per
      16 – Nas
      17 – Ste
      18 – Mal
      19 – Mer
      20 – Eri

      Is it ?

      1. I’d say…
        1 – Vet
        2 – Ham
        3 – Hul
        4 – Bot
        5 – Ric
        6 – Mas
        7 – Sai
        8 – Alo
        9 – Ver
        10 – Gro
        11 – Kvy
        12 – Ros
        13 – But
        14 – Rai
        15 – Per
        16 – Nas
        17 – Ste
        18 – Mal
        19 – Mer
        20 – Eri

      2. Seems OK to me. Vettel definitely the best. The rest is a bit debatable. Hulk’s position can be from 2nd to 4th really. I think Hamilton’s been definitely better than Bottas, but Hulkenberg has been somewhere around them. Definitely better than Ricciardo, but was he better than Hamilton? Not really sure.

      3. I think Vettel and Hamilton are pushing Ricciardo and Alonso and even Button up with their results as those drivers are seen on par with them from previous seasons. Otherwise, if you watched this season without knowing who was in the car, you wouldn’t be ranking Ricciardo above Massa and far above Kvyat, and Alonso/Button well above everyone else. Similarly they are pushing their current teammates Raikkonen and Rosberg down because they are clearly outperforming them. It seems like people cannot let go of their preconceived notions on who’s the better driver.

        1. Eleventh does seem low for Kvyat, since we know Riccardo is going to be fifth at worst in Keiths ranking. And the only reason Kvyat is currently trailing RIC in the championship standings is because he missed the first race of the season.

          1. I agree. That’s completely BONKERS. If he was a veteran and not a second year driver he would have been well ahead of his teammate by now. If that’s not because Kvyat is doing well, then it’s still because Ricciardo is underperforming. If last race affected ratings, it’s for Ricciardo, not Vettel or Hamilton imo.

    9. I find it very hard to judge how good that Torro Rosso is and therefore rank drivers appropriately.
      Almost every other team has established drivers where we know their comparative worth. Here we have 2 new drivers, without baseline doing so so with occasional flashes of brilliance.

      1. The car is said to be very good, up until this part of the season better than Red Bull. Chassis wise should be ahead of Williams, and Ferrari too.

    10. How you could put Sainz 2 places ahead of Verstappen is beyond me.

      Already from the first race Verstappen outperformed Sainz on race days, Max in his first race was driving same or faster time or hard tyres than people around him on medium, where it not for his blow engine he would have been top 6 if not higher.
      In Malaysia he finished ahead of Sainz, in China he would have finished ahead of Sainz where is for the blow again yet again.
      Yes in Monaco he crashed and handled the situation badly afterwards but till then he drove much better and don’t forget he was ahead of Sainz till his horribly over 30 second pitstop that pushed him back. He made 2 very smart cunning overtakes while following Vettel lapping drivers.
      Canada you mentioned Sainz fuel saving but Max had like endless grid penalties to the point he had a drive through or even a stop and go penalty.
      In Austria he finished again ahead of Sainz and showed better pace in the wet.
      The British GP indeed was a lot point and didn’t handle the colder hard tyres well after restart.
      The Hungarian GP he was driver faster than Sainz and scored a 4th place and to sure he was to blame for speeding under safety car or his team.

      So far Sainz has done well for an F1 rookie but made mistakes as well – what I miss is brilliance – what overtake or race performance does really stand out – it is all well and solid but nothing spectacular.
      That in comparison to Max which indeed made stupid mistakes but also shown brilliant overtakes and certainly has shown more achievement and more over more potential as a real rookie to open car racing than Sainz.

      1. After everything you mentioned like Monaco and the pit blunder and him running ahead of Sainz or other penalties, you forgot to mention Sainz outqualified him in Monaco and he was given penalty resulting in him starting the race from pit.
        There are other things too but whatever, I don’t care that much.

        1. How many qualy’s did Max at Monaco? Vs Sainz?

      2. Exactly…nothing more to add

        Verstappen has outraced, thus outperformed Sainz in most of the races. Dont forget the fact Sainz has 5 years more experience under his belt and cant outpace Verstappen. Verstappen is on 22 points while Sainz has 9 points atm. People who say Sainz outquali’s Verstappen…yes thats true…so far….dont forget Sainz has alot more experience to setup his car properly for the qualy’s. BUT qualy isnt racing….and thats where the points are given.

        Everyone who says Sainz had some technical problems…well…Max had them to. Australie (points), China (6th place so points), Bahrein, Silverstone
        If Verstappen hadnt have these problems, he would have scored many more points then Sainz. Sainz got the most of his problems being outside the points.

        Sainz outqualy’d him in Monaco….haha….sure you can tell me why? Because i know that Verstappen was faster all FP’s and only during his qualy, the weather conditions changed alot so Verstappen couldn’t warm his tyres properly.

        Verstappen outpaces Sainz alot during the races. Sainz is really overrated here. I quess the English fans are pretty biased concerning Lewis and are a bit ignorant when it comes to regognise the talent of Verstappen.

        This guy will be world champion within 3 years. Sainz?…i think he should be lucky to have a drive in 3 years.

        Sainz is a grey mouse in the field….doing nothing extraordinary, while his teammate Verstappen is making races exciting to watch again. He overtakes, always goes for the attack and never gives up.

        I rather have Verstappen in my team then 3x Sainz

    11. Tough for Rosberg. He’s hasn’t been championship material this season but still is only a few points to lead the world championship, which makes me think that if he raises his game he might really challenge Hamilton for the crown.

      Massa is on par with Hulkenberg to me.

      1. Both Massa and Hulkenberg was better than Ricciardo though. Bottas too. I’m a bit surprised to Kvyat and Massa so down the order.

    12. Looking forward to the top 3. VET and HAM drive in their own league so it will be interesting to see who will be first. And BOT, RIC and HUL have shown some weaknesses this year, so 3rd-5th is imo a close call.

      1. Hulk was absent until Canada. Everyone was saying he was hyped up and Perez was outshining him. New aero updates, new car, Le Mans win made a big difference to his performance somehow. Why was he so underwhelming at the first part though? His starts are phenomenal.
        Bottas has been only matching Massa and getting outqualified by him. Other than Silverstone where his car launched off the grid like a rocket, his starts were nothing to write home about. Even then it looked like he was mimicking his teammate, not taking the initiative. He’s pretty consistent and dependable though.
        Ricciardo has been frequently off pace and continuous to have horrible starts, and if you discounted Australia where he raced while his teammate didn’t, he would’ve been already overhauled by his teammate who is 11th on this list and only in his second year in F1. Despite the fact that the situation would have been even worse if his teammate didn’t make rookie mistakes now and then, he had some very solid races too, and still has a quali advantage.

    13. Alonso 8º? Verstappen 9º? Absolutely ridiculous!

      1. ColdFly F1 (@)
        6th August 2015, 14:27

        Seriously, I don’t have a clue who should move where, and why!

    14. This for me, is the hardest section to rank. Here goes:
      12. Kvyat – He has made a decent start to his Red Bull stint, but was quite scrappy in the first few races compared to Ricciardo. However, he has picked up some performance since Monaco.
      11. Button – He has done well for the car he has, and is surprisingly keeping up with Alonso. However, I cannot place him any higher and it’s not his fault.
      10. Alonso – He also has done well for the car he has and is slightly better than Button. I cannot place him any higher for the same reasons.
      9. Grosjean – He is doing much better than Maldonado and is outperforming him in every aspect. Solid first half for Grosjean. He is making Maldonado look terrible (which he is, right now)
      8. Verstappen – For a 17 year old, he is a great driver. He has a long F1 career ahead of him as a result and is someone to watch out for in the future.
      7. Sainz – The amount of points that Sainz has compared to Verstappen is misleading because Sainz has edged him out in qualifying, and the race when they have both finished. Underrated driver IMO.
      6. Massa – He has kept up with Bottas, which is surprising considering that a lot of people say that Bottas is one of the future stars. Good performance from Massa, which means that Bottas just edges him out for 5th for me.

      These rankings took me 2 hours to finish. That’s how hard it was!

      1. “The amount of points that Sainz has compared to Verstappen is misleading because Sainz has edged him out in qualifying, and the race when they have both finished.”

        No he hasn’t. I seriously do not understand how Keith placed Verstappen TWO places above Sainz. Verstappen has clearly done a better job up til this point.

        First. Sainz’ “qualifying edge”, Verstappen suffered a problem during British Qualifying. If that hadn’t happened it could have easily been 5/5.
        So much for Sainz edging out Verstappen in qualifying. Even the stats show almost a 2 tenths advantage for Verstappen in relation to his teammate. I guess Keith ‘forgot’ that stat.

        And if you look at the races it’s pretty clear Verstappen has the edge. Sainz was only really faster in Bahrein. In Spain Sainz’ worse pace on the prime tyres actually helped him in that it was what made him and the team decide to put him on the options for the last stint. If Sainz had used the same strategy as Verstappen that race Sainz would not have beaten him.

        In Australia Verstappen was only +/- 6.5 seconds behind Sainz’ despite running on the harder compound. He would have easily finished 7th and ahead of Sainz (even without Sainz’ poor pitstop) that race if his car didn’t fail him there.

        In China Verstappen was A LOT better than Sainz. If Keith wants to talk mistakes like Verstappen spinning off at Silverstone,… What about Sainz spinning on lap one in China. Does that suddenly not count? Verstappen lost a lot of points there through no fault of his own. Sainz lost what little points he could have gotten there all on his own.

        As for Monaco. It was Verstappen in the spotlight again, not Sainz. First by overtaking Maldonado and later by using Vettel as a blocker. All this after that devastating pitstop that saw Verstappen go from 7th! to 13th!
        All Sainz’ did that race was overtake the two Manor’s… Yet, somehow, that deserves applause…

        In Canada Verstappen had so many penalties there was no way he would have been able to attack Sainz. He still finished just 3 places behind Sainz and just 10 seconds down the road.

        In the end, yes Verstappen has made a few more mistakes most notably a big one when he collected Grosjean at Monaco but his good moments were so much better than Sainz’. And his race pace is generally better as well. The stats proof this. Verstappen has spent the most laps ahead.
        And even though in the races where both finished Sainz has beat Verstappen 3-1, anyone with half a brain knows that if Verstappen AND Sainz had a reliable car Verstappen would have finished ahead at AUS, MAL, CHI, MON, CAN, AUS and HUN.

        7-3 for Verstappen so far.

        I would have definitely swapped Verstappen and Sainz around. Sainz in 9th and Verstappen in 7th.

        1. Amen….very good post Baron.

          Hitting the nail right on his head

    15. HAHAHAHA !

      Sainz ahead of Verstappen, nvm. having less race pace the whole season, making just as many mistakes but only being a bit more lucky with them and him driving behind Verstappen most of he time…

      …and they say Verstappen is being hyped up, poor young Carlos with expectations now running that high and not capable enough of living up to them in the future.

      1. On the contrary, looks like Sainz is not expected to do much, unlike Verstappen.

        1. Yup, race pace isn’t that important, it will only just make you finish higher up and get you less points, but as long as the expectations are low it’s ok…I can’t wait for the after-season reports, it’s always good to laugh from time to time.

          1. You should lower your tone. Don’t be personally be offended if someone ranks Verstappen lower than you would have done.

            1. I’m not being offended, I actually think it’s quite funny all in all.

        2. So now Carlos has to live up to high expectations in the second half of the season and not to the low expectations people had of him pre-season. And with him again going to be slower in the races, there will be tough times ahead of him.

    16. I do feel rather sorry for Nico Rosberg. For 2015 he took the extremely logical decision to compromise his immense qualifying form in 2014 to mitigate the raceday rout he was suffering in the later stages of 2014; only to find track position would be king in 2015. In 2014 Rosberg left Belgium as the clear championship favourite having been so adept at profiting from a messy mid-season from Hamilton. In 2015 he has not looked likely to stain an auora of ironclad confidence for Hamilton, despite genuinely outperforming Lewis in Spain and Austria. His early season anonymity aside, I have been impressed by Rosberg since Spain: I think he is deserving of a top five ranking.

      His reference is the very best, and I think Rosberg has complemented himself greatly since partnering Lewis. It does not change the fact that only Lewis can beat Lewis to the title.

      1. @countrygent I agree and I think that is very well said, as usual.

      2. Mr win or lose
        7th August 2015, 16:21

        Well said. I think Rosberg is hugely underrated.

    17. I’d say this is largely correct. Might have had Nasr in this section, and not in the lowest grouping.

    18. If, and its a big if, Riccardio didn’t collide with Rosberg, then Rosberg would have been 5 points behind with Hamilton, not 21. Would that have affected his rankings in any way?
      This was considered a racing accident, so is it really fair to have Rosberg 10-11 places behind Hamilton despite being unlucky not to be 5 pts off him ?

      1. 90% of Rosberg’s points are just thanks to his car. Compare him to Hamilton and he doesn’t have much to show for.

        1. How do you know that? Someone else could say “90% of Hamilton’s points are just thanks to his car” and justify that too.

          1. If thats the case, We need to fall back to reality. See season points total.

      2. @brum55 The problem with Rosberg aren’t those 25pt., but the fact that almost every single race he has been off the pace. Last year he at least had the advantage over a single lap, now that seems gone. As Keith put it, even a bad performance is masked by such a great car.

        Though, one should also consider who is he competing against. Hamilton is in top form this year. Would Ricciardo, Bottas or Massa have fared better against Hamilton? Impossible to know, really.

        There’s a huge subjectivity factor in these rankings, as per usual in F1 when comparing drivers in different machinery.

        1. If Vettel was in a Mercedes instead of Rosberg, he would bot only beat but he would probably OUT CLASS Hamilton.
          If Hamilton and Vettel were both in Mercedes, I think Vettel would win almost every race.
          Because.he has proved that he is probably one of the best if not the Best Driver out there. @Albert

          1. Lol.

            That was in response to the rather crazy notion that Vettel would win every race if he were driving a Mercedes and outclass Hamilton. I’m not disputing that Vettel is one of the best drivers, but Hamilton is as well.

            1. I agree with that. I wouldn’t expect Vettel to win every race either. But, I think Hamilton’s been rather inconsistent despite the fact that he should be more comfortable as he has clearly the fastest car and he is more comfortable than his teammate with that car. He’s already made more mistakes than Vettel, so people might assume Vettel would have won more races without those. A la 2013. But, the fact is we wouldn’t even know if Vettel would be more comfortable with Mercedes than Rosberg is.

            2. @debaser91

              well it could be argued thusly–in 2013 folks kept saying “Hamilton or Alonso would have done better than Vettel in that Red Bull”. Vettel won 9 straight.

              Hamilton, now in a car that has close to a 1 second a lap advantage over the field, and who has out qualified his teammate 9-1, can only muster 5 wins out of 10.

              In the last two races, his car saved his day when he did his best to lose it–in Silverstone at the restart he went wide and Bottas took a place off him. He was able to do the under cut because Williams lol.

              Then not once, but twice, Hamilton in 4th at the start of the race and at the restart threw away excellent opportunities and tumbled down the order only to be saved by having the fastest car.

              So, Vettel, when locked in with a reliable fast car, wins race in race out. Hamilton with the same advantage hasn’t (yet). In fairness, Ham had a great run at the end of last season. But the way they are driving this year, Vettel would own it, at least through the first half of the season.

            3. “But the way they are driving this year, Vettel would own it, at least through the first half of the season.”

              That is nothing more than complete conjecture.

            4. i TOTALLY disagree !! Seb is way way bwtter than Lewis! @debaser91

          2. I don’t know if I should laugh or cry. It will never happen that a driver wins every race irrespective of how good he is. It’s clearly outrageous what you are suggesting that Vettel would outclass Hamilton.

            1. out class does not mean winning every race but maybe like 14 wins to 5 wins or somewhat similiar in sebastian’s favour

        2. Where do you get the idea that Rosberg was off pace in almost every race?? I don’t think that’s true AT ALL. Even if he was off the pace in some races, same can be said about Hamilton to a similar degree.

          1. Do I really need to explain why I think ROS was often off the pace? Hint: race results, Monaco included.

            1. Really? And here I thought this was the aero challenged Formula 1 where you cannot overtake your teammate. Are we going to list all the races one had better pace than the other? They both had their races where one was much faster than the other. They also had races they were really close that even the guy behind might have had a faster pace but we will never know. I’m not saying Rosberg was faster, I’m saying Hamilton didn’t outrace him as people seem to imply.

            2. Really? And here I thought this was the aero challenged Formula 1 where you cannot overtake your teammate.

              Was there even any race (from those that Hamilton finished ahead) in which Rosberg was close enough to even try? Besides that one (can’t remember one) with the whole “you were driving too slowly ahead of me”-incident, which was genuinely funny.

              I’m saying Hamilton didn’t outrace him as people seem to imply.

              It wasn’t magic that put Hamilton ahead of him 8 times (I’m including Monaco here). The “difficult to pass” argument may fly once of twice, but not eight times.

            3. I don’t think it was funny at all. People only laugh because it is Rosberg. Afterwards everyone realized this is the aero challenged Formula 1 and it stopped being funny imo. So, it wasn’t “magic” that put Hamilton ahead of Rosberg, it was “qualifying”. Difficult to pass argument “may fly” in almost every race under these circumstances.
              Races where they were close enough: Australia, China and Canada. Differences in Malaysia and Bahrain was also due to traffic, but managing that is also due to drivers in the end. Silverstone was also traffic, but then Hamilton didn’t overtake on track either, can’t really blame Rosberg there. Those 3 are a bit inconclusive imo. Rosberg was probably faster in Spain, but Hamilton was stuck in traffic. Rosberg was clearly faster in Austria, and Hamilton was clearly faster in Monaco. Though you can say Hamilton didn’t push after he got the penalty in Austria, and Rosberg didn’t push since it was after all Monaco where it’s close to impossible to overtake. Hamilton was definitely the faster of the 2 in Hungary, but made one too many mistakes that pulled him down the order. In the end Rosberg made his mistake to put him even behind Hamilton though.
              I wouldn’t say about Rosberg that “almost every single race he has been off the pace”.

            4. Being off the pace by a little is still being off the pace. The only race I may give you is Australia. China was 1.3s behind and Canada 2.2s., at best that’s “not too far”, but definitely not “close enough”. Also Silverstone was 10s+, traffic or not that’s quite decisively. And good that you mention qualifying, another aspect that Rosberg has been off the pace too.

            5. Cars don’t get closer than 2-3-41 secs if they don’t wish to overtake. How is it that Silverstone not acknowledged? Because you say so? Doesn’t really make sense. China would be more logical as they had at least SC at the end.
              I commented on “the fact that almost every single race he has been off the pace”, not the part after that mentions qualifying.
              I don’t even think Rosberg is as fast or faster than Hamilton in general. But I also don’t think he’s off the pace.

            6. Cars don’t get closer than 2-3-41 secs if they don’t wish to overtake.

              So I’m supposed to give Rosberg credit for not even trying? Nope. Off-the-pace.

              </How is it that Silverstone not acknowledged? Because you say so?

              Partially, yes, because I say so. It’s as good as you saying it.
              Also partially because they were 10s+ seconds. Ten.

              I commented on “the fact that almost every single race he has been off the pace”, not the part after that mentions qualifying.

              That’s why I said it’s good you also mentioned it :)

              I don’t even think Rosberg is as fast or faster than Hamilton in general. But I also don’t think he’s off the pace.

              You can think whatever you want, bu

              Cars don’t get closer than 2-3-41 secs if they don’t wish to overtake.

              So I’m supposed to give Rosberg credit for not even trying? Nope. Off-the-pace.

              </How is it that Silverstone not acknowledged? Because you say so?

              Partially, yes, because I say so. It’s as good as you saying it.
              Also partially because they were 10s+ seconds. Ten.

              I commented on “the fact that almost every single race he has been off the pace”, not the part after that mentions qualifying.

              That’s why I said it’s good you also mentioned it :)

              I don’t even think Rosberg is as fast or faster than Hamilton in general. But I also don’t think he’s off the pace.

              You can think whatever you want, but with arguments like “2 seconds behind is close enough” and “10s+ shouldn’t count because traffic”, I won’t buy it.
              t with arguments like “2 seconds behind is close enough” and “10s+ shouldn’t count because traffic”, I won’t buy it.

            7. I guess we define “off the pace” differently. To me, if you are stationed behind your teammate within 3-4 seconds, you are on the pace. You cannot get close or cannot overtake, that’s another matter. But not off-pace.
              In Silverstone, Rosberg was stuck in traffic while Hamilton was not thanks to the strategy. So a gap is what happens. I don’t find Rosberg off-pace because of that. Then the rain came and the gap was gone. But one of them pitted a lap earlier. So the gap happened again. And it didn’t happen because Rosberg was lapping slower. It happened in that 1 lap Rosberg was not in the pit. You can judge him for his decision on when to pit, but not for his pace in that case. If that made sense, you should also judge Hamilton because he let Rosberg close all the gap after it started to rain and don’t tell me because Hamilton was just in no hurry. He himself said that his tyres were gone and he saw Rosberg in the mirrors so he had to do something. I still wouldn’t say Hamilton was off the pace though.
              I don’t find your arguments convincing either. It happens. I’m just stating what I think anyway, I’m not really interested in changing your mind.

            8. God are you trying waaay too hard to make up excuses.

            9. Haha. That’s funny for someone who keeps replying to my posts. I’m just explaining my rationale. I’m not really interested in making excuses for Nico Rosberg. I personally don’t care for him, and wouldn’t put him in my top 5 for ANY season of F1.

            10. That’s funny for someone who keeps replying to my posts.

              We’re not in kindergarten, you know? “You’re paying me attention” is not really an argument for anyone’s side (!)

            11. That was one of the more childish comments I’ve read. Thank you. Good day.

        3. Hamilton is in top form this year.

          How can you possibly say that? He’s been off form this year, which is why in spite of a huge car superiority and a teammate who (almost) everyone agrees is under-performing, he’s a mere 21 points in front. Compared to Vettel in 2011 or 2013 (the last occasions we’ve seen a car even close to being as dominant as the W06) Hamilton’s been merely adequate.

          I guess I have a higher opinion of Hamilton than you do because I believe that when on “top form” he’s capable of more than just five wins out of ten while driving one of the most dominant F1 cars of all time.

          1. I agree with you. If this is Hamilton’s top form… I don’t think it is. Well, I hope not.

          2. It’s precisely because the car is dominant that Rosberg is able to stay reasonably close, same as last year. And the same with Vettel, he has been the ‘best of the rest’ at practically every round, and sometimes he has done even better than that.
            Vettel never had a car advantage anywhere near as big as the Mercs have now, and it was only him who could extract that pace from the car. Webber was always fighting with other cars. The people coming 2nd and 3rd to Vettel were different every week in 2011 and 2013, hence he could pull out a much bigger gap over the rest of the field.

            That has not happened this year. Case in point, until the round in Hungary there had only been Bahrain where the podium did not consist of Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel in some order or another.

            I’m not sure what to think of Lewis’ performances to be honest., his victories have all been impressive, but he was off colour in Spain and Austria and he obviously just had an absolute shocker in Hungary. But it should really be 6 wins to 2 compared to Nico given what happened in Monaco and in qualifying he has been dominant.

            1. You forgot Canada and Austria. Probably because it wasn’t really due to driver…
              What you are saying is true, but give Webber another half a second, he might have done as well as Rosberg did. He generally had bad starts and managed the get stuck behind people while his teammate went off into the sunset.
              I think Hamilton pushed his tyres too much in Monaco to make a Grand Chalem and that’s why he wanted the pit stop with some insistence. I think he couldn’t manage the race that well, or took some risk and it didn’t pay off as his team butchered his extra stop. But his race in Silverstone wasn’t as impressive as his other wins imo. I would give the same point to both Hamilton and Vettel for that race though. They had pretty similar races, difference being Hamilton outqualified Rosberg but Vettel got outqualified by Raikkonen. However, the pit decision they both made was due to -again- tyres being gone for Hamilton whereas Vettel made a judgment call. So I wouldn’t say it is Hamilton 6-2 Rosberg. I think 5-3 is accurate.

            2. @debaser91

              That has not happened this year. Case in point, until the round in Hungary there had only been Bahrain where the podium did not consist of Hamilton, Rosberg and Vettel in some order or another.

              Don’t forget Canada and Austria were Vettel wasn’t on the podium (but arguably should have been if the team/car had not let him down)

            3. Sorry about that guys! You are quite correct that in Canada and Austria Vettel wasn’t on the podium in addition to Bahrain. But the point still stands despite my error that those three drivers have monopolised the podium positions this season, Hamilton and Rosberg both have 9 and Vettel 7 from 10 rounds.

          3. Sure, he was kinda weak in Austria and Spain, and terrible in Hungary, but the other 7 races he was really fantastic.

            1. He wasn’t fantastic in Silverstone either. I guess that is the norm every time he is challenged.

            2. agree with @lala, at Silverstone he lost a position at the restart due to sheer bad driving. He recovered because of the undercut (and Williams being too conservative) and having a pace advantage in the Merc.

            3. Same with Vettel too though. They had weirdly identical races there.

      3. Yeah but if you also points adjust Monac because of the pit blunder that gives Hamilton another ten and costs Rosberg seven so he would be 22 points off not 21.

        1. Why do we do that? Because Hamilton was pushing for a Grand Chelem and ended up 3rd?

    19. 2015 mid-season F1 Driver Rankings part one, @keithcollantine?

      1. @davidnotcoulthard Heh, I was about to ask what the hell were you on, then I noticed the url.

    20. Michael Schmiglow
      6th August 2015, 14:28

      It’s funny how people judge Massa’s performance: “outqualified his teammate, but only because Bottas has had cramp”; “Finished in front of his teammate, but was slower than him”; “got an easy podium, as his car was as fast as Mercedes, shame he didn’t win”. If it were Bottas it would have been: “outqualified sensationally his teammate and both Ferraris to claim 3rd on the grid”; “did a superb race, way faster than his teammate to bring his car home in 4th”.
      Sorry, but it doesn’t look professional, it looks personal. Massa is too underrated in my opinion, if we go straight to the facts, we will see that Massa would be ahead of Bottas in the standings if wasn’t for bad luck. He is outperforming Bottas this year, and it’s not for a small margin, especially in the race. Malaysia Massa was in front the whole race, but a 6sec pitstop allowed Bottas to catch him in the last lap with fresher tyres. Bahrain he started from the pitlane, got collected by Maldonado, and managed to get home 10th. Monaco outqualified Bottas by 1.4 seconds, had contact in the first corner, and his race was over from there on. Canada he started from 15th on the grid due to a problem in his car, got home 6th with only 16 sec separating him and Bottas, with both doing only 1 stop. Austria, got 3rd 36 seconds ahead of Bottas. China would have finished more than 20 sec in front of Bottas if it wasn’t for the SC in the last two laps. Britain, where some people claimed that Bottas would have won that race, Bottas finished 46 seconds behind Massa. Definetly in Hungary Bottas had the upper hand, and was unlucky to finish behind Felipe. But in the end, in normal conditions, usually Felipe finishes ahead by a good margin, or sometimes behind, but close from his teammate. Honestly I also don’t buy too much into this back problem of Bottas, I think this is a good excuse to be outperformed by his teammate, and I’ve already heard from him on the TV that he is already 100% since Malaysia, so I don’t know why people put this on the table at this time of the year.

      Cheers!

      1. They are close and ratings will show it.

        But why do you say things like:
        ‘if we go straight to the facts, we will see that Massa would be ahead of Bottas in the standings if wasn’t for bad luck.’

        it just makes you look like a cry baby… stay cool Michael we’re bringing you the white visor.

        1. stay cool Michael baby we’re bringing you the white visor.

          :D

        2. Michael Schmiglow
          6th August 2015, 17:35

          If you read it right, I’ve just shown you the facts, all the races he was supposed to finish in front and didn’t. It’s all about facts. There is something about F1 that those who are not paying attention will never get. That’s why Felipe still in F1 when a lot of people said he shouldn’t and this is why his salary is one of the best in F1. Those who pay attention to these things knows the real story. When Bottas has 11 wins, 16 poles, 16 fastest laps, 40 podiums, then you can maybe compare. 2008 Felipe was the guy with most wins and pole positions, and his bad luck (Hungary, Singapore) took his title away from him (by 1 point in the last corner). I think Felipe is not respected as he should be, so people don’t pay attention to him, and he has to prove people wrong every single race. I see this a lot watching Skysports, for them Felipe is always the second driver, so for him to get some credit he needs to do something like win with a Manor.

      2. I don’t really see how Ricciardo has had a better season so far than Massa tbh. Compared to teammates both has been better in quali overall, outraced and been outraced. Their teammates didn’t race in Australia. If you discounted that, Massa would have been further behind in standings, but Ricciardo would also be behind Kvyat. However, considering the fact that Kvyat is in his 2nd year in F1 and 1st year in this team, it’s really not better for Ricciardo. He also had a new chassis after a horrible Canada, don’t know if Kvyat also got one. Without his teammate making the classic rookie mistakes, Ricciardo would be in a lot worse situation then he is. Also, Massa is one of the best starters (maybe the best) on the grid, and Ricciardo is the absolute worst.

      3. Obviously that’s not me you’re quoting there – who is it?

        1. I’m not Michael but I just imagined some people who comment here or there, on TV etc.

    21. ColdFly F1 (@)
      6th August 2015, 14:34

      Great ranking again Keith!
      – as I said yesterday, it is almost impossible to rate/rank Button/Alonso against the rest
      (order between them feels correct);
      – I would have kept Sainz and Verstappen together as there is so little between the 2 talented youngsters
      (and I put Verstappen first as I rate his highs higher and forgive some of the mistakes)

    22. I still mantain that, “pound for pound”, as in boxing, Alonso is the best driver on the grid. He’s just relentless and incredibly clever inside and outside the cockpit. When Alonso smells blood, you better run fast… he’s a beast. I hope McLaren make substantial gains over the summer and next winter…

      1. Hamilton definitely has the edge over him but his lows are lower than Alonso and could last a whole year. Same with Vettel apparently.

      2. Meh. Only when he is paired with a poor driver is he good. Put him in a high pressure competitive environment and he crumbles. His qualy speed is also suspect. He would have a hard time beating Vettel or Lewis. And I am having a hard time picking the best between these two.

        1. I think all 3 of them falter a bit when they are faced with a teammate more competitive than they expected. Whoever gets the upper hand first might perform better. Or they might end up with ridiculously close results like 2007.

          1. Who wouldn’t?

            However only one of them has beaten two Current world champions (note the current) in given seasons when the need arose.. One of them is considered the very best?

            Vettel has done well with his rejuvenated year. But let’s be blunt. The KR of old is a few tenths shy of what he was, hates the tyres and was significantly better in the traction control era.

            Still quick but if we are to place Vettel first in the poll. Well frankly he should have done far more this year because much as everyone would like to suggest the car is far off the pace. There is not much in it.

            So very easy for everyone to forget the first four races (five actually bar a screw up) and given the distance between the guy in the other exact same car? LH would without be 1 and SV 2.

            1. I would most definitely NOT put Hamilton ahead of Vettel. Are you kidding me?? Having such a dominant car should make him far less error prone. Yet he’s made more mistakes than Vettel did.
              Well it’s obvious you are making a joke as you somehow think that Ferrari is not far off the pace of Mercedes and Vettel should have done more.

            2. @Drg

              Well frankly he should have done far more this year

              Hahahaha .. you must be freakin kidding me. Besides Bahrain, Vettel got the maximum every time. Only at Canada and Austria he lost points, caused by the team/car.

            3. Drg

              So very easy for everyone to forget the first four races (five actually bar a screw up) and given the distance between the guy in the other exact same car? LH would without be 1 and SV 2.

              At this stage they were 4-1 over their teammates in races, but Vettel was the one who was 5-0 in qualifying.

            4. Can you really do that for “mid-season F1 driver rankings” though? Then I’ll just look at Malaysia and Hungary. Though Hamilton’s performance in other 8 races weren’t really any better than Vettel accounting for the limitations of their vehicles. They both weren’t the best in Silverstone, and Hungary more than covers up for Bahrain and all the other little mistakes or lockups Vettel might have had all season long. Canada and Austria penalties more or less cancel each other out. Looking at the rest, well I’d put Vettel above Hamilton anyway. The fact that a “safe” driver as Vettel did better than Hamilton sounds a bit weird though.

        2. @realstig
          I’m not sure in what delusional, alternate universe Massa, Raikkonen and Button are “poor teammates”.

          1. @kingshark
            In the same one that both Massa and Raikkonen were performing atrociously during their time together.
            IIRC Autosport even ranked Massa the worst driver of the first half of 2013, and it wasn’t much better the second half. Raikkonen is rating among the worst driver this half, even though this season is considered an “improvement” over the last (which is kinda funny).

            1. Massa at his last year was performing almost as well as he did in his first year against Alonso. Raikkonen last year was performing at least as well as Massa did in those years. Despite his improved performance though Raikkonen isn’t performing any better against Vettel than he did last year against Alonso. Last one is a bit weird as they are further up the grid, Raikkonen is more comfortable with the car, Vettel cannot do better than 3rd despite his best efforts as the gap to Mercedes is too big for a driver to compensate, and Ferrari car looks like overall the 2nd and rarely the 3rd best car.

          2. @kingshark interesting that you did not include Lewis in that list. 2007 is exactly the “high pressure environment” that I am talking about and his driving was out of character. At Ferrari he was the alpha male, clear number one driver along with the advantages that come with that. That is not to excuse Massa and kimi’s perfomances- they were atrocious and Alonso certainly proved his worth.
            As for Botton, it is far to early to call that one. Still I expect Alonso to do better because he is a better driver, but put him against Vettel or Lewis and I am pretty sure he will get a spanking like in 2007.

            1. @realstig

              interesting that you did not include Lewis in that list. 2007 is exactly the “high pressure environment” that I am talking about and his driving was out of character.

              High pressure environments can be every bit as intense if you are fighting an opponent with roughly equal cars as they are when you are fighting an opponent in the same team. Alonso’s driving in 2006 was flawless, even more so than his rival Schumacher. Also, contrary to popular belief, Alonso’s 2007 was not bad at all. I rank it WAY higher than Vettel’s 2014 or Hamilton’s 2011, and that was probably his worst season of the past decade. Alonso is a more consistent performer than either Vettel or Hamilton.

              At Ferrari he was the alpha male, clear number one driver along with the advantages that come with that. That is not to excuse Massa and kimi’s perfomances- they were atrocious and Alonso certainly proved his worth.

              Massa was not attrotious, he’s always been a solid driver. Massa was the same driver from 2010-2013 as he was in 2007-2008 and he is today in Williams. The Ferrari F2007 and F2008 were by far the two best cars he ever drove in his career, nothing more. If you look at the statistcs, Massa’s results at Williams in 2014-2015 are very similar to his Ferrari days from 2010-2013 (a podium every now and then). Alonso was winning races and fighting for championships in those cars.

              As for Botton, it is far to early to call that one.

              No, it’s not too early to tell. We are already more then halfway into the season. Alonso has spend 80% of all laps ahead of Button. Most of the 20% of the laps Button spent ahead were in Monaco, where Alonso had a car failure in qualifying (and he was faster all weekend). Alonso is currently dominating Button more than Hamilton ever did.

              but put him against Vettel or Lewis and I am pretty sure he will get a spanking like in 2007.

              I’m not sure in what alternate universe, a season where both drivers score 109 points, 4 wins, and 12 podiums each, is a spanking. I challenge you to go find 2 more evenly matched teammates in the last 30 years of F1 than Alonso and Hamilton in 2007.

              The fact that you dismiss Alonso’s blatant domination of Button for being “too early to judge” (nonsense), yet make outlandish claims like Alonso being “spanked” in 2007 shows just how out of touch you are with F1.

            2. Imo, it’s either not being the number 1 driver, or being given a really fast car. People say he’s good at extracting performance from slow cars, but is he faster in a car without handicaps? Or with strong competition does he also lose his head a little bit like others do too? People assume he’s the mentally strongest driver, but without the status within the team, can he maintain his strength over a season?

            3. Very weird language from some commentators with “spanking” and “domination”. Whatever.

              I also think Massa has been the more or less same driver since 2007. But, every driver has ups and downs. His term with Alonso was pretty consistent. But looking at last year and this year, he was beaten in 2014, now he’s comfortably matching the same guy. Or look at Webber vs Vettel. They were almost on par in 2010 and maybe even 2012, but I’ve rarely seen a driver getting beaten as bad as Webber on all their odd years together.

            4. @kingshark

              High pressure environments can be every bit as intense if you are fighting an opponent with roughly equal cars as they are when you are fighting an opponent in the same team.

              i don’t think so. Teammate battles are more intense because there is not doubt that it is equal machinery. See Lewis vs. Alonso, Lewis vs Rosberg last year, Senna and Prost. With different cars all sorts of parameters come into play which cloudy the picture such as different strengths at different track, tire usage and warming charachristics ect. Ask on this forum which are was better the ferrari or the McLaren in 2007. Or 2008. Ask which car was the best in 2012 and you will get all sort of answers. But with teammate battles there in no doubt that the drives makes the difference.

              Alonso’s driving in 2006 was flawless, even more so than his rival Schumacher.

              Yes because he didnt have much of a challenge from him teammate. Which is my point. Give him a competitive teammate and he crumbles. He has alawys vetoed stronger drivers from being teammates with him because he know his weakness.

              Also, contrary to popular belief, Alonso’s 2007 was not bad at all.

              If you say so
              Also see Canada 2007. He is totally out classed by a rookie and he drove like an amateur. That is what pressure does.

              Alonso is a more consistent performer than either Vettel or Hamilton.

              Opinion which is without basis.

              Massa was not attrotious, he’s always been a solid driver. Massa was the same driver from 2010-2013 as he was in 2007-2008 and he is today in Williams. The Ferrari F2007 and F2008 were by far the two best cars he ever drove in his career, nothing more. If you look at the statistcs, Massa’s results at Williams in 2014-2015 are very similar to his Ferrari days from 2010-2013 (a podium every now and then). Alonso was winning races and fighting for championships in those cars.

              Alonso is a better driver than Massa. I don’t recall anyone disputing that.

              No, it’s not too early to tell. We are already more then halfway into the season. Alonso has spend 80% of all laps ahead of Button. Most of the 20% of the laps Button spent ahead were in Monaco, where Alonso had a car failure in qualifying (and he was faster all weekend). Alonso is currently dominating Button more than Hamilton ever did.

              Pint taken but I would like to wait til season end. Besides I thought I already conceded that “I expect Alonso to do better because he is a better driver” than Button.

              I’m not sure in what alternate universe, a season where both drivers score 109 points, 4 wins, and 12 podiums each, is a spanking.

              lol. Anyone who watched will tell you that Alonso got a spanking. Chin aand Brazil saved his bacon

              I challenge you to go find 2 more evenly matched teammates in the last 30 years of F1 than Alonso and Hamilton in 2007.

              You say it like it is an achievement on Alonso’s part? Lewis was a rookie for Pete’s sake. And he beat your precious double would champ much to the amazement of many pundits.
              I can only wonder what a more mature more experienced Lewis will do to him now.

            5. @realstig

              Yes because he didnt have much of a challenge from him teammate. Which is my point. Give him a competitive teammate and he crumbles.

              Perhaps Alonso didn’t have much of a challenge from his teammate Fisichella because he outperformed him?

              If you say so

              Is there an image of Hamilton in the gravel at the Nurburgring that year, where Alonso won?

              I can only wonder what a more mature more experienced Lewis will do to him now.

              It was a dip in form for Alonso. It’s like the folly you get amongst some who pretend Vettel was always like how he was in 2014, or Hamilton in 2011. Of course, Alonso’s dip in form cost him a title unlike the other two, but still…

            6. I don’t think he would do much better than Rosberg tbh.

            7. I think Hamilton was rookie in 2007 so he would do better, but Alonso was also a bit lost fighting with him rather than racing, so he would do a better job as well. So they are still pretty much on par. And Vettel is definitely better than his 2014 form suggests. But put them all in the same team, someone else would be the champion. I think it’s not really beneficial to have more than 1 of this kind of people in the same team.

            8. @realstig Alonso had a season with Minardi not in a points scoring car, so his stats do line up with Hamilton and Vettel.

              Hamilton had 4 slow car races in early 2009, Vettel the same when joining Toro Rosso and again in early 2008. Add in half a season in a testing spec McLaren-Honda for Alonso, and now it’s Vettel matching Fangio, 1% ahead, with Alonso likely to fall a little.

              PS. As it turned out, that crash cost Alonso the world championship, but you could also say the same about FIA stepping in in Hungary and a myriad of other things.

            9. @realstig

              i don’t think so. Teammate battles are more intense because there is not doubt that it is equal machinery. See Lewis vs. Alonso, Lewis vs Rosberg last year, Senna and Prost. With different cars all sorts of parameters come into play which cloudy the picture such as different strengths at different track, tire usage and warming charachristics ect. Ask on this forum which are was better the ferrari or the McLaren in 2007. Or 2008. Ask which car was the best in 2012 and you will get all sort of answers. But with teammate battles there in no doubt that the drives makes the difference.

              Most people are able to tell if cars are fairly evenly matched. McLaren and Ferrari in 2000 was fairly obvious, so was Renault and Ferrari in 2006. The pressure on both Schumacher and Alonso was huge in 2006. They drove far better than Hamilton and Rosberg did in 2014 (they made far less mistakes than Lewis and Nico did, and were under the same championship pressure). Championship battles between drivers in different cars (Senna vs Prost 1990, Hakkinen vs Schumacher 2000, Alonso vs Schumacher 2006) are every bit as intense as teammate battles. If anything, they are even more difficult, since at any given weekend in 2006 there were 4 drivers with a car capable of winning, while in 2014, there were only 2 drivers with a car capable of winning.

              Yes because he didnt have much of a challenge from him teammate. Which is my point. Give him a competitive teammate and he crumbles. He has alawys vetoed stronger drivers from being teammates with him because he know his weakness.

              The reason behind that is that Alonso can make champions like Raikkonen and Button look mediocre through his relentless pace. Last year, dominated Raikkonen more than Vettel currently is. This year, he is dominating Button more than Hamilton ever did.

              Also see Canada 2007. He is totally out classed by a rookie and he drove like an amateur. That is what pressure does.

              So one or two bad races make a bad season? I guess that Hamilton’s 2015 is a write-off after Hungary.

              Your choice of races (Canada, Japan) also shows just how selective you are. Alonso owned the field in the wet at Nurburgring while Hamilton beached his car in Nurburgring, he did the same thing again in China. Alonso finished 20 seconds ahead of Hamilton in Malaysia, and 20 seconds ahead of Hamilton in Silverstone, all done on pure pace.

              lol. Anyone who watched will tell you that Alonso got a spanking. Chin aand Brazil saved his bacon

              China? You mean the race where Hamilton destroyed his intermediate tyres on a drying but still damp circuit? The top 4 were all on the same strategy. Hamilton destroyed his tyres while Raikkonen and Alonso kept theirs in good shape, then Lewis beached it. In Brazil, Lewis’ gearbox problems cancels out Alonso’s gearbox problem in France earlier that year.

              Overall, when both drivers finished, Alonso finished ahead 9 times, while Lewis finished ahead only 6 times.

              You say it like it is an achievement on Alonso’s part? Lewis was a rookie for Pete’s sake. And he beat your precious double would champ much to the amazement of many pundits.

              Yes, a rookie with thousands and thousands of miles of testing with McLaren (I think it was 23 races of distance?), while Alonso was new to the team in 2007 and had never driven either a McLaren or on Bridgestone tyres before in his career.

              I can only wonder what a more mature more experienced Lewis will do to him now.

              Lewis didn’t exactly dominate Button (he was better, but it wasn’t domination). Look at what Alonso is currently doing to Button, Jenson has only spent 20% of the laps this season ahead (most of which stem from Monaco). That gives you an idea of how Alonso and Hamilton compare today.

            10. and [Alonso finished]40 seconds ahead of Hamilton in Silverstone, all done on pure pace.

              Fixed, the margin was even bigger than I thought?

            11. @kingshark
              “Last year, dominated Raikkonen more than Vettel currently is. This year, he is dominating Button more than Hamilton ever did.”
              That is totally not true. At all.
              Not for Vettel/Alonso vs Raikkonen.
              Not for Hamilton/Alonso vs Button.

            12. @kingshark
              Let me ask you this:
              If you clone a driver, the clone is exact copy of the original, and you give the two the same car, they have the same pace, and none of them makes a mistake, but they start from different grid positions and they spend the whole race in the same order as they started, but finish 1-2 sec apart, is the driver who finished first dominating the other? (this is theoretical, not ALO v BUT)

              Another thing, if these two drivers start from one place apart, one will start from the clean side of the grid, and one from the other. From that moment the same two drivers will have different opportunities to overtake, to pit. If they finish in the order they have started is the first dominating the second?

              So is laps spent ahead a good indicator of relative driver performance?

              And just to put things straight 178/256 is around 69.5% not 80.

            13. @kingshark
              If you compare drivers like that then Ricciardo would be better than both Alonso and Hamilton. Probably Kvyat too. And Vettel would still be on par with Alonso and Hamilton.

            14. @bag0

              If you clone a driver, the clone is exact copy of the original, and you give the two the same car, they have the same pace, and none of them makes a mistake, but they start from different grid positions and they spend the whole race in the same order as they started, but finish 1-2 sec apart, is the driver who finished first dominating the other?

              Another thing, if these two drivers start from one place apart, one will start from the clean side of the grid, and one from the other. From that moment the same two drivers will have different opportunities to overtake, to pit. If they finish in the order they have started is the first dominating the second?

              As you said, this is theoretical, not related to Button vs Alonso. Button was behind Alonso in Malaysia before Alonso retired, well behind in Spain before Alonso retired, well behind in Canada, and well behind in Hungary. The difference was considerable.

              Also, almost all of Button’s laps he has spent ahead so far this season are not done on merit. In China they were on polar strategies. Alonso choose the slower tyre in the middle stint while Button choose the quicker tyre, then Alonso closed rapidly onto Button and Maldonado even before they crashed, when he was the one on the quicker tyre. In Monaco, Alonso had car problems in qualifying which forced him to start out of position, and a car failure in the race.

              Alonso has been significantly better than Button every time the McLaren has actually worked.

              So is laps spent ahead a good indicator of relative driver performance?

              If the car is usually not even close to being good enough for points, and is horrifically unreliable on top of it, please suggest a better method.

              And just to put things straight 178/256 is around 69.5% not 80.

              Check this:
              http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2015/07/31/team-mate-battles-whos-ahead-at-the-mid-point-of-2015/

              Alonso has spent 79.46% of all laps ahead where both drivers were driving, Button only 20.54%.

      3. @fer-no65 I completely agree – deftly articulated. There are no miracles in sport, and on Saturday, he is as fast as his car, but when an opportunity comes knocking, Alonso is always the driver most ready to grasp it with both hands.

        It is just his ability to rise above chaotic races, and so proficiently profit from the mistake of others that illustrates the immense depth of his talent, even when his car is not remotely capable. And let us not forget: he scored more than double the points of his teammates during his career at Ferrari, and circumstances aside, as @kingshark points out, Massa and Raikkonen are no push-overs.

        Could he beat Hamilton if he was sat in Rosberg’s seat? Difficult to say, I think Fernando would hard pressed on Saturdays and therefore under pressure on Sundays. Equally though, Rosberg is just 21 points behind Lewis, and you can bet that Hamilton would be a lot more uneasy if Nico and Fernando swapped seats. For me, over twenty races, Alonso’s cerebral style would put him in play against Hamilton – there is plenty of life in the old fox yet.

        1. I think that’s because of reliability. Plain and simple. If his car didn’t hold in Hungary, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Alonso, along with Hamilton, has had more reliable cars over his career and inherited more wins than anyone on the grid. And I’m not talking about a couple of wins. I’m talking more like 10 races. It makes 1/3rd of his wins while he lost maybe a couple of races from lead. Hamilton in comparison had more races lost from lead then he inherited. Raikkonen had more lead lost than both, but number of races he inherited covers that. Button has had generally more unreliable cars like Raikkonen or Vettel, but he didn’t lose out because of that in terms of wins, and inherited his share. In stark comparison to Alonso, Vettel lost from the lead almost as much as Alonso inherited and he maybe inherited 1 race or something over the years.
          So it’s quite understandable why people think Alonso or even Hamilton for that matter are there to pick up the points more so than others.

    23. I was shocked not to see Carmen Jorda in the 20-13 ranking range; intrigued, I read this 12-6 group carefully – and lo! She’s not in it! I’m sure Keith must include her in the 5-1 group, but where? Maybe Mr Ecclestone knows something we don’t? I’m really looking forwards to tomorrow’s big reveal.

      Seriously though, I am looking forwards to the 5-1 ranking. It’s always nice to see impassioned fanatics in discussion. Thanks, Keith.

    24. Hamilton would be 2nd and 1st would be none another an Sebadtisn Vettel.

      1. Vettel is driving brilliantly this season and is not getting enough credit. I just wonder how the reaction would be like if it was Alonso putting in similar performances.

        1. That dog of a car! Look at his teammate, half a second slower than him!!! How he wrestles that car to put it in 3rd every time even though his car is 3rd 4th maybe 5th fastest! Watch Malaysia quali, he almost got the POLE!!! He’s better than Hamilton…

          1. It is not just fans who make these comments though. Even Alonso used to say, “the front wing has not changed since the first race”, “we are no better than sauber”. Probably a reason he is out of the team.

          2. Lol, if the Ferrari is a dog everyone else apart from Mercedes might as go home and not even bother. The Ferrari has been the 2nd quickest car at nearly all of the tracks.

            1. +1

              But of course – SV’s fans are out for blood given last year.

              Like I said earlier – they would love to forget the first five races…

            2. WOW Did I really need to point out the sarcasm? I am not a Vettel fan, I don’t hate Alonso or Ricciardo (that’s for Drg who thinks Vettel should have done better this year).
              Even though we all think the car is the 2nd best mostly because Vettel finishes every race ahead of Bottas, Massa, Raikkonen, Ricciardo, and Vettel’s engineers are appreciated more than he is for his success, I don’t think anyone needs to make Ferrari a dog to give part of the credit to Vettel who’s done the best job of all drivers in my opinion.

            3. That’s pretty obviously sarcasm me thinks.

              @Drg What do you think happened in the first five races I wonder?

            4. @debaser91 – Benny was being sarcastic, poking fun of those that called Ferrari a dog in 2010-13, when they were 3rd at worst.

            5. Apologies, I didn’t realise. I have read enough plenty of comments in my time by people who have written a comment such as yours without a hint of irony and sarcasm and genuinely believed it.

            6. Me too @debaser91 , me too…

          3. Not quite the same when Kimi is generally qualifying 4th or 5th. It shows the Ferrari is comfortably the 2nd fastest car. Compare where Kimi is v Vettel to where he was v Alonso.

            1. It’s amazingly quite the same. People think Raikkonen fared worse against Alonso than Massa did. That’s not true. He’s also not faring better against Vettel than he did against Alonso though.
              There’s been some races Ferrari could have fallen been behind Williams/Red Bull in quali if not for the race. It’s questionable if they were clearly the second fastest qualifier/on race day in Monaco or Austria or Hungary, and they were at best the third fastest or maybe even the fourth fastest at Silverstone. They were also too close to others in Australia and Spain too. I assume we don’t say a car is clearly faster if the difference is something like 2 tenths…

    25. This time the inherent problem of this ranking is really shown. Driver pefrormance is too related to car performance. If Alonso(and Button for that matter) really, REALLY have done a worse job than Massa and Bottas this year then I’m a Chinese ballerina! However since it’s meaningless to rate them I’ll just put them together at 11-12 and be done with it.
      Also, Sainz deserves more than Bottas to be in the top 5

      My ratings 12-6:

      12)Button

      11) Alonso

      10) Kvyat-poor start to the year, much better since Monaco. Still not as fast as Ricciardo

      9) Massa-his performances have been vastly overrated this year. Nothing special though better than last year

      8) Grosjean-sometimes brilliant. sometimes just good. Nearly always much better than Crashtor Stupidado

      7) Verstappen- excellent performance for a rookie but Sainz is out-performing him so far

      6) Bottas-not as good as last year. That back injury has really disrupted his start of the season.

      1. @montreal95

        “Verstappen- excellent performance for a rookie but Sainz is out-performing him so far”

        No he isn’t. See the points tally.

      2. Are you joking about Verstappen and Sainz?

        Dont think we need to explain why Verstappen needs to be higher up these rankings….and certainly higher then Sainz

    26. I would add that Keith has certainly got the impossible task this season because, yes, if you look at Verstappen’s sporadic results and pair of crashes you would probably agree that he isn’t worthy of a better ranking than ninth. But hang on, he is seventeen and he first drove a racing car eighteen months ago! He should be having a second crack at F3, or bedding himself down in a GP2 or FR3.5 car, but no, he is in an F1 car, and finished fourth last time out. It would be interesting, albeit almost impossible, to incorporate these kind of contextual considerations, because, as is always the case in motorsport, results are imperfect pieces of data.

      On Verstappen “contextualised ranking”, I will say only this: I would imagine there are very few drivers in the world, even among F1’s established stars, who could have matched Max’s seventeen year old self at their age.

      1. So what? Like you said, doesn’t change the results.

      2. @countrygent That’s now what the ranking are about though. Experience and previous results don’t matter – this is simply a ranking of how well drivers have done this year, regardless of everything else. Verstappen is doing well considering his age and he has a lot of potential, but that doesn’t affect how well or not he’s driven this year.

        1. Trouble is – no one is thinking that way.

          For example. SV is racing in the clearly number two and not by much car. He comes third and when there are a couple of screw ups he comes first. That’s exactly how you expect it.

          However for the first 4 races – the chap winning, was winning by some margin regardless of his team mate who made a few screw ups and occasionally let SV through here and there.

          Then we get the big Monaco screw up (20s at Monaco – I mean really?) and a few absolutely crap starts due to the team. Not the driver. So one race in ten he has a a bad day. Yet beat his team mate.

          So bad starts etc etc until Hungary LH clawed back the very best available. Hungary was a blip – caused by… Yep the team.

          SV however was nowhere in Silverstone at all. Not much better in Bahrain. The rain in Silverstone spared the blushes but neither the race performance nor the qualy were even looking like being representative of the second best car.

          LH has done nothing other than jam it on pole in 9 out of ten races and then let the cards fall.

          In other words what bar Hungary could he have done better given the start issues are largely beyond his control? His team mate in the same car has ended up third far too often for what is supposed to be a huge car difference…

          No SV 2 LH 1 for the first half.

          1. SV is racing in the clearly number two and not by much car.

            In what alternative reality is the Ferrari “clearly” the number 2 car “and not by much”? The gap between the Mercedes and Ferrari this season is far larger than the gap between any of the title winning Bulls and the next best car in those years – typically its about about three-quarters of a second in qualifying. Meanwhile the gap between Vettel and the car behind him (when he has been P3) has been at best a couple of tenths. You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not to your own facts.

            1. Ferrari +0.8
              Williams +1.0
              I should mention though that the bulk of that gap comes from high downforce circuits and otherwise Williams is +0.9.
              It’s quite possible the reason for Ferrari to keep qualifying ahead of Williams is Sebastian Vettel.

            2. If Alonso or any other driver X has been driving that car and qualifying behind Williams/Red Bull and getting ahead in the race because the car has better race pace than quali pace, we would have been talking about what a pace driver X has. But it’s Vettel.

          2. Then we get the big Monaco screw up (20s at Monaco – I mean really?) and a few absolutely crap starts due to the team. Not the driver.

            Was it supposed to be the car in last year’s season finale?

        2. Sorry – wrong reply.

          To your comment. Yes he is – very much so and has been fun to watch but his immaturity a F3 mentality has screwed a couple of races that a year learning elsewhere would have eroded.

          His team mate while quieter about things has looked far more mature.

        3. @enigma I’m not asking Keith to amend the rankings, as I say, on the basis of results alone, it is pretty much spot on. I am simply pointing out that results are only truly meaningful if they have context, and it is these post-contextual considerations that lead guys like MartyB to say things like “we have a megastar on our hands” – and we do.

          In short, Verstappen has done a fine job, but done so despite a near absurd lack of car racing experience, and I think for the team, and for many pundits, that makes him one of the standout performers of the year so far.

          1. @countrygent Fair enough.

            Immense to think how much time he’s got – if he wins a grand prix by the end of 2018, he’ll be the youngest-ever winner, and if becomes a world champions in one of his first six seasons, he’ll be the youngest champ.

            1. I’ve always thought they should have brought Vettel earlier into the team. With a little bit more experience he would have been champion by the end of 2009. And Verstappen came 2 and a half years earlier than him if you don’t count the full year Vettel’s been the 3rd driver. He has a lot of time indeed.

      3. @countrygent Here’s a question – how would you rate Verstappen’s first year in comparison with Alonso, Raikkonen, Button & Massa? One ‘generation’ ago they were the four to enter F1 ‘early’, although maybe the best comparisons are Button (20) and Alonso (19) with Vettel (19) and Verstappen (17).

        1. I think we should take into account the circumstances of each driver’s debut seasons. And I’m not just talking about cars and drivers, you know, the times, technology, opportunities, level of professionalism, pretty much everything. It’s like how you judge historical figures lol.

          1. *Raikkonen is a good comparison to Verstappen, karting ace and then 1 season and in. Alonso, Button took 2 seasons. The difference is that as time has moved on, so has the training, and so does the youngest age able to start F1. But Verstappen is still an outlier by a good year or two, being basically a pedigree racing driver.

        2. @fastiesty Based on stats and points, 2001 Raikkonen and 2000 Button were (soundly) beaten by their teammates Heidfeld and Ralf Schumacher. 2001 Alonso was trashing his teammate, but Marques was mediocre at best. Raikkonen got his McLaren seat for 2002 not based on his results, but based on the impression he made.

          Also take rookie Vettel: it took him more than half a season to be genuinly faster than his (rookie Bourdais) teammate. Or take Kvyat, he is much better now than he was 12 months ago. If Verstappen (or Sainz for that matter) is able to improve as much as rookies Raikkonen, Vettel, Button and Kvyat have done, than we are in for a treat.

          1. I agree that it all depends on how much improvement they make.

          2. @matthijs There’s the law of diminishing returns though…but yeah, VES is on the track to being quite great.

        3. @fastiesty As I mention to @xtwl it’s a virtually impossible comparison to make because there are modern distorting factors like simulators, faster junior categories and of course the disparity between the V10 monsters and the V6 machines. Raikkonen’s rookie season is probably the most comparable, not for anything specific, but because his results required rereading with his inexperience in mind; a rereading that earned him a McLaren drive.

          I agree with @matthijs, the most interesting comparison is actually with Sebastian Vettel. With F3 and FR3.5 experience in addition to a BMW test programme that many young drivers would kill for, Vettel struggled on Saturdays against Luizzi in 2007, and only got his nose ahead in the qualifying head-to-head with Bourdais in 2008 at the British Grand Prix nine races into the season. So with better preparation, and a year older, Vettel was no more impressive in the first stages of his career than Verstappen has been.

          1. Vettel’s potential was pretty obvious with the races though. He had some problems but when he was running, he was good. Luizzi isn’t the benchmark, but he was experienced. Verstappen’s benchmark is another young rookie like him. Even if they underperformed first couple of rounds we wouldn’t really know. You could see Vettel getting closer and closer to Liuzzi and catching up with him in quali. It was almost comical. But I think you remember wrong with Bourdais. Vettel was faster than him right off the bat, with Bourdais occasionally outqualifying him in opening rounds. Whenever both finished, Vettel finished ahead though.

    27. Really glad to see Carlos rightfully placed ahead of Max. I was beginning to get annoyed at how much the commentators never stop raving about the amazing Max Verstappen and overlook his team mate, quietly getting on with his job and being generally quicker.

      1. Let me guess, your job isn’t data analyst ?

          1. No, I’m a job consultant.

            1. So you moonlight as a data analyst? If not why are you commenting if that’s the prerequisite in your mind?

        1. Let me guess, you’re a Max Verstappen fan? I don’t need to be a data analyst to see that Sainz is doing a better job.

      2. @dot_com

        In what universe is Sainz generally quicker than Verstappen?

        AUS – Verstappen keeping up with Sainz on the harder compound. Car failure for Verstappen.
        MAL – Verstappen beat Sainz.
        CHI – Verstappen raced one of the best races of his F1 career so far. Sainz made rookie mistakes.
        BAH – Sainz faster. Both DNF.
        SPA – Verstappen faster, Sainz lucks into a better strategy thanks to his poor prime compound pace.
        MON – Verstappen faster, crashes into Grosjean after a terrible pitstop. Sainz only passes two Manor’s.
        CAN – Penalties for Verstappen, starts from the back, still finished 10 seconds behind Sainz.
        AUS – Verstappen faster again (I begin to see a trend here).
        GBR – Verstappen spins off, Sainz DNF’s.
        HUN – Verstappen faster, Sainz DNF.

        The first 10 races in a nutshell.

        1. @dot_com, Baron and To the Max !:
          The majority of us feel that Verstappen and Sainz are fairly evenly matched at the moment. That also means that someone can rate the first higher, the other the latter higher. Why fight over it? Let the second half of the season show who left the best impression. And if they are still evenly matched, than they will have another full year at STR together to decide who is best.

          Let’s just relax en enjoy the team battle. At least I do.

          1. @matthijs
            Evenly matched is already entirely different from Sainz being generally quicker. Which he clearly isn’t.
            They’re evenly matched in qualifying but in the races Verstappen has a clear advantage. He seems to be easier on his tyres allowing him to do longer stints and better pace. Especially on the prime tyres.
            That’s not to say Sainz isn’t doing a good job, because he is. It’s just that Verstappen is doing a better job. The points tally doesn’t lie in this case. Verstappen has lost at least as many points as Sainz due to problems and poor pitstops.

            1. If Verstappen really is faster/better (which I think he is), than it will show the next 1,5 years (I estimate that is the period that they will be teammates). So I don’t say you are wrong, I’m just saying let’s wait and see. Some Verstappen-fans are rather offensive on this site (not you!)

            2. It already has shown that Verstappen was faster in the races, but it has been clouded by all the mechanical problems from being too obvious.

              The same goes for qualifying, while Sainz had the “perfect” run up to the qualifying sessions, Verstappen several times did not had it with mechanical problems during the practice sessions, and without that, even the qualifying score between them would look different now.

              If you make a rating about drivers their performances, shouldn’t race pace be the most important measure?

              And the whole argument about one driver making more mistakes only makes sense when the other driver hasn’t been making them, and in the case of Verstappen and Sainz, they both have been making and equal amount of the same mistakes, only the mistakes of Verstappen count somehow more because Sainz has been a bit more lucky with his mistakes and was able to continue after them?

      3. @Dot-com
        “Really glad to see Carlos rightfully placed ahead of Max. I was beginning to get annoyed at how much the commentators never stop raving about the amazing Max Verstappen and overlook his team mate, quietly getting on with his job and being generally quicker.”

        You said it right..quietly getting on with his job…..thats true…Sainz is a grey mouse and 1 of the many drivers that dont stand out. He is running his laps with no intention whatsoever

        Being generally quicker?
        Pls do explain…..if i look at the laps spent ahead of teammate, then Verstappen outruns Sainz with 172 laps in front. I do believe Max has 22 points….what were the points of Sainz again??

    28. I don’t think you can rank Hamilton 1st with that many bad starts. They are not totally independent of drivers.

    29. Hamilton should be at no 1,mercedes had some start issues its not hamiltons fault.hungary was really an uncharacstic drive but cannot rate Hamilton on that base,it is nothing unusual Roger federer lost matches in his prime also,c ronaldo cant do a majic everytime,same as in Hamiltons case also.these are not parameters of assessment.Hamilton drove brilliantly so far.Vettel drove well too but never been at Hamiltons level.

      1. I think Vettel’s been driving at Hamilton’s level and that’s the problem.

        1. Yes – if F1 was a spec series I think we would see the same three drivers on the podium almost every dry race, those three being Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso. I wouldn’t care to hazard a guess on which one would prevail, however.
          It’s one good reason not to have F1 turn into a spec series.

          1. 1st year: Hamilton-Alonso-Vettel (Ham-Alo very close)
            2nd year: Alonso-Hamilton-Vettel
            3rd year: Alonso-Vettel-Hamilton
            4th year: Vettel-Alonso-Hamilton (Vet-Alo very close)
            5th year: Vettel-Hamilton-Alonso
            6th year: Vettel-Hamilton-Alonso
            7th year: Vettel-Hamilton-Alonso

            It’s all psychological btw.

      2. mercedes had some start issues its not hamiltons fault

        It’s curious how things which are the drivers fault when they happen to other drivers are not the drivers fault when they happen to Hamilton. Heck, even the bad pit call in Monaco – a bad pit call which Hamilton himself made, overruling his engineer – isn’t his fault.

        1. @rm

          totally. whether someone wants to say the team should have made him stay out, the whole conversation from Hamilton’s side was very bad – his thought process and reasoning and not asking the right question that he assumed he had the answer to (one question “did Rosberg/Vet pit?” “No” “okay, I’ll stay out…”)

          Then the pit exit mistake in Austria, and the restart at Silverstone losing a place to Bottas. He was bailed out of that mistake with a far superior car.

    30. 1. Vettel
      2. Hamilton
      3. Hulkenberg
      4. Bottas
      5. Ricciardo
      It was really hard for me to decide between Hamilton and Hulkenberg. Still not exactly decided. But I wouldn’t put Ricciardo in top 5 if Keith hasn’t left him out of the list until now.

    31. All I know is Vettel has been hands down the best and that’s quite bizarre with a car 1 second off pace. It’s more impressive to me than 2012-Alonso or 2014-Ricciardo since none of his wins was due to reliability either. He just took those races from Mercedes. It was quite unbelievable watching at the time.

    32. As some others have pointed out before me, the fact that Vettel’s been driving as good as Hamilton, if not better, in an inferior car makes him the number 1 for me. Hamilton 2. Bottas 3. Hulkenberg 4. Ricciardo 5.

    33. Wow, Alonso one of the top three drivers in F1 today, placed in eight. Non sense. Simply cannot understand the fuss over Hulkenberg. Maybe its the Le Mans win… he hasn’t been consistent this year. Bottas is another one. Massa and Bottas are neck and neck this year.

    34. Seb vs Lewis is mainly about Hungary being last race and Bahrain being back in April.

      Anyway I’m interested to see Keith’s awesome detailed notes about each of them.

      1. Bahrain was not as bad as Hungary. I don’t think it’s just one race. People ranking drivers might even feel the need to overcompensate for last race being the one worst for Hamilton.

      2. I rewatched Bahrain and Hungary actually. Bahrain wasn’t as half bad as Hungary though. I guess it was a big deal at the time, but as season progresses and it’s put into context, it was nowhere near as bad.

      3. I thing Silverstone hurts Hamilton too. He made the same impatient mistake on the restart that he made in Hungary.

        It is more fun to watch Hamilton sometimes, but I’d pick Vettel if I had a team.

    35. Is this the first time since 2010 that Alonso isn’t in the top 2?

      1. Why would anyone put Alonso in top 2 for 2011?

        1. Because they considered him the 2nd best driver of 2011.

          1. Why? Because Hamilton was underwhelming? If that makes sense, choose Button. It’s like saying Ricciardo was 2nd or 3rd best this season despite the fact that it’s far from the truth.

            1. @brum55
              Wasn’t Ferrari on par with McLaren on race pace in 2011?
              I also remember Button being ranked the second best on other sites that year.

    36. A couple of points from my dotage.
      I was very excited when I first saw Bottas in a practice session. I selected him as my rookie of the year in his first season. However, in a couple of races this season, he has given up places too easily, in my opinion, so I have demoted him (in my head) from “future contender” to “safe pair of hands”.

      Modern F1 races are easier to win if you already leading. Both Vettel and Hamilton are particular exponents of this. This makes prediction very difficult so, well done Keith for making the effort.

      1. @accidental-mick

        so I have demoted him (in my head) from “future contender” to “safe pair of hands”.

        Based on his results against Massa, I begin to rank him among the ‘subtop’ together with Massa, post-2007 Raikkonen and Hülkenberg. Good enough to win a championship when the situation is there but not in the same league as Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton. No shame.
        I am very curious in what group talents like Ricciardo, Kvyat, Sainz and Verstappen will end up. I feel that within the next 2/3 years Raikkonen, Button, Massa and Alonso will all retire. This will cause a massive landslide within the top teams with a big opportunity for the talents to step up.

    37. Delusional second part of the F1 driver rankings. Unlike the 1st part I can’t understand what judgement was applied here to classify and rank the 12-6 section.
      First of all Romain. Romain has been temperamental as always, you can forgive that, Lotus is struggling all round, that said, Romain keep proving that he’s just a rich spoiled kid that gets to drive f1 cars for a living. I don’t want to sound as if I have a beef with Romain, therefore I’ll point out his psychopath outburst on the track and the fact that Maldonado is not a good pointer for form. I don’t get fooled by his smiling “façade”, cry babies smile all the time.
      2nd gross mistake. Verstappen below Sainz. Both are doing well and Sainz is responding categorically to the hype of Max, his qualifying crunch performances are proof of that. However besides qualifying, and ignoring all the shortcomings of the STR season, Max has been overwhelmingly faster on race pace. I suspect Sainz is putting too much emphasis on qualifying trying to prove something he should prove on Sundays. In the end I could have just said that jealousy is ranking Max positions for Sainz.
      3rd gross mistake… Massa. Williams have had a polarized season, they only seem to like fast tracks thankfully the 2nd half of the season is also polarized towards fast race tracks. Bad team tactics and Massa’s poor pace are the consistent trends. Bottas hasn’t been faultless even so with one race less, Bottas is ahead on the points table.

      1. @peartree
        The majority of us feel that Verstappen and Sainz are fairly evenly matched at the moment. That also means that someone can rate the first higher, the other the latter higher. Why fight over it? Let the second half of the season show who left the best impression. And if they are still evenly matched, than they will have another full year at STR together to decide who is best.

        Let’s just relax en enjoy the team battle. At least I do.

        1. @matthijs I’m sorry but a blatant lie has to be stopped. In the article above there’s more than 1 position between Sainz and Verstappen. It’s this way because of jealousy and nothing more, above there’s no answer to why these 2 are far apart and in the wrong order. It’s the reversal of the logic of last year’s top, Hamilton was below on qualifying but above on the ranking, somehow Sainz is like Rosberg last year yet above on the ranking.

    38. I cannot understand how Kvyat-11, Rosberg-12 and Raikkonen-14 are so low in the ranks? Or Button-13 for that matter…. The worst one is Kvyat. Definitely. Because without the first race he DNS’ed he would have been ahead of his teammate by this point. It doesn’t matter really if he has been making more mistakes etc, that just goes to show how Ricciardo is actually underperforming, and if it wasn’t for the fact that this is Kvyat’s second year in F1, he would have been well ahead of his teammate. Somehow his starts are still better than Ricciardo who is horrible at it by the way. This is almost like ranking Vettel below Webber for 2009/2010.
      Rosberg is too close to Hamilton who’s clearly one of the best drivers on the grid to put him in 12th position.
      Raikkonen is a bit more understandable since he made more than his share of mistakes. But then Rosberg and Raikkonen are too close to each other. Rosberg has been clearly the better driver. That means you’ll put Vettel ahead of Hamilton then?
      Button is too low if you consider the fact that his teammate is 8th.

    39. Sainz ahead of Verstappen with Verstappen only ninth, behind a very disappointing Ricciardo and Massa, is so silly, but no less than I’ve come to expect from this website.

    40. I also find it interesting to see Verstappen below Sainz. Altough Sainz has made less mistakes and dirves very matured which is very impressive as a rookie. Verstappen however have shown allot better race pace (see also laps ahead of team mate stats) Verstappen has allot of bad luck in the beginning of the season with his engine blowups in Australia and China (whereby he would have for sure be in the points) whilst Sainz had bad luck in the last 3 races. The difference I can see is that most of the races whereby Verstappen did not finish he was ahead of Sainz (or at least shown better pace: Australia). Verstappen in mu opinion have shown glimps of brilliance whereby Sainz has not. Verstappen is 1 of the reasons why people love watching F1 and in my opinion he is 1 of the most exciting drivers this season.

    41. I think this list clearly shows that the better car the driver drives, the higher up the list they are. How is Massa ahead of Alonso, when we know from previous seasons that Alonso demolished Massa, and is clearly the better driver. The difference is Alonso is driving a Mclaren, and Massa a Williams, which I think makes this list a bit pointless, as it should be independent of the car.

      1. @baz888

        when we know from previous seasons

        This isn’t a ranking of how drivers performed in previous seasons, this is a ranking of how drivers performed in 2015.

        1. Fair enough, but surely having Massa ahead of Alonso is questionable

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