Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Hungaroring, 2015

2015 F1 driver rankings #5: Daniel Ricciardo

2015 F1 season review

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Daniel Ricciardo

Beat team mate in qualifying12/19
Beat team mate in race6/14
Races finished17/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate536/966
Points92
Daniel Ricciardo 2015 form guide

Was the Red Bull RB11 not capable of snatching the kind of victories Daniel Ricciardo scored last year? Did the cards not fall his way? Or was his driving not up to scratch?

The latter was not usually the case, even if Ricciardo has slipped four places from holding the top sport 12 months ago. The Red Bull-Renault was clearly a weaker proposition, and opportunities to win were even rarer – probably non-existent.

Singapore was the team’s best chance and Ricciardo duly put the car on the front row. He needed a Safety Car-free run to make the most of his tyre life, however, and unsurprisingly it didn’t happen. In Hungary the Safety Car played in his favour and a strong finish was in the offing, but contact from Nico Rosberg sent him into the pits for a new front wing.

The United States Grand Prix was one of his finest performances, and yielded one of few examples of a healthy Mercedes being overtaken by a rival as Ricciardo pounced on Lewis Hamilton to take the lead. Wet conditions brought out the best of car and driver, but as the track dried out he inevitably slipped backwards.

It was a frustrating season from the word go for Ricciardo. He got off the line well at Melbourne but as soon as he put his foot down the Renault’s poor power delivery ruined his run to the first corner. That was basically the story of his year.

Monaco was another track where Red Bull were more competitive. However an error with his power unit in Q3 prevented a higher qualifying position, and having slipped behind his team mate at the start he was always going to struggle to get back ahead. A superb and opportunistic overtaking move on a thoroughly unimpressed Kimi Raikkonen was the highlight of his day.

On more typical circuits Ricciardo’s options were usually limited to pitting early to take advantage of the Red Bull’s superior tyre life as a means of getting ahead of those with superior straight-line speed. Ricciardo did this well, barring a few indifferent races early in the year, but wasn’t always able to collect the results he deserved: that dreaded power unit packed up at Spa and a suspension failure put him out while running in the top five in Russia.

Italy exemplified Ricciardo’s tenacity as he climbed from 19th on the grid to pass Marcus Ericsson for eight as they sprinted for the line. The rewards were more meagre than they had been last year, but still he gave his all.

View race-by-race notes on Daniel Ricciardo

Australia – The trademark grin was seriously tested by Red Bull’s persistent problems with a Renault engine that lacks both reliability and drive-ability. The former meant he only managed 19 laps before qualifying, and the latter was a persistent aggravation, particularly when it spoiled an otherwise good start to the race. Under the circumstances he did well to qualify sixth, but the fact he finished behind a Sauber shows Renault have a lot of work to do.

Malaysia – Fourth on the grid in a wet qualifying gave further cause to believe Red Bull’s shortcomings are in the chassis department rather than the engine. But in the race it was a problem with his brakes which held him back – a string of cars demoted Ricciardo’s RB11 leaving him last of the points-scorers.

China – Decent qualifying position was squandered after poor start as the car fell into anti-stall and was forced to try and fight his way back through the field but was held up by team mate Kvyat in the opening stint. Ran the longest stint of the race on Soft tyres but had a tough time passing Ericsson’s Sauber in the final stint and inherited ninth following Verstappen’s retirement.

Bahrain – Seventh on the grid behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams looked about as good as the RB11 was capable of, as did sixth in the race after Massa’s problems. Ricciardo’s Renault engine failed spectacularly as he accelerated out of the final corner and though he was able to take the chequered flag without losing a place there will inevitably be a price to pay for it later in the year.

Spain – Covered just 13 laps on Friday due to yet more Renault power unit problems on his car. Judged tenth on the grid to be “my worst quali since I started with the team” but was much more satisfied after a trouble-free run to seventh. With Mercedes, Ferrari and Williams ahead, it’s doubtful there was more to be had.

Monaco – Was “frustrated” after qualifying as a mis-communication over engine settings cost him what he felt should have been third on the grid. He then had to give best to his team mate at turn one and was jumped by Raikkonen during the pit stops. He fought back, however, making the same late switch to another set of super-softs which scuppered Hamilton’s race. He muscled his way past Raikkonen and was waved through by Kvyat, but having been unable to pass Hamilton he then had to let Kvyat back through again.

Canada – Last year’s winner was downcast after only managing ninth on the grid behind his team mate at a track where Red Bull’s greatest weakness was exposed. He slipped out of the points in the race and was at a loss to understand why. “We just couldn’t get any pace out of the car,” he said. “It is something we will look at to understand what the cause was.”

Austria – It was always going to be a tough home race for Red Bull and it got tougher when Ricciardo had to take his fifth engine of the year and the subsequent ten-place grid penalty. Had a new chassis after his problems in Canada but lost brake temperature in qualifying and didn’t make the cut for the top ten for the first time since joining Red Bull. Ran a huge, 50-lap stint on the softs so he could attack at the end on super-softs after taking his pit stop penalty. This worked out well: he was able to take Nasr for the final point but ran out of time to demote Perez.

Britain – Still seems unsettled and wasn’t quite on Kvyat’s pace in practice, but would have been seventh on the grid had he not been among the many drivers to lose a lap time for running wide. Arguably triggered the first-lap collision which put three drivers out, but was cleared, he then retired before half-distance with an electrical problem.

Hungary – Hampered by an engine failure on Friday afternoon but qualified strongly. The only driver to save a set of soft tyres in Q1, two rapid laps in Q3 secured him fourth on the grid, just three-hundredths of a second off Vettel. Having struggled to get away from the dirty side of the grid he was hit by Bottas at turn – the first of three collisions on that part of the track. After Kvyat waved him through Ricciardo passed Hulkenberg but after switching to medium tyres he couldn’t keep Hamilton’s Mercedes behind. That paid off when the Safety Car appeared, however, as he was able to switch to softs and go on the attack. He was hit by Hamilton as he passed the Mercedes, but was still able to go after Rosberg. Again there was contact, which forced Ricciardo in for a new front wing and cost him a shot at victory.

Belgium – Red Bull said they wouldn’t be as quick on Saturday as they looked on Friday, and so it proved. Ricciardo was the only one of the pair to reach Q3, where he was the quickest non-Mercedes driver, starting a strong fifth. He started well, passing Bottas and Rosberg, and an early pit stop briefly got him in front of Perez. Having switched to the medium he was potentially in a strong position for the second half of the race, but a power unit problem forced him out on the 20th lap.

Italy – Emerged from a trying weekend for Red Bull – which included one Renault engine failing just a few laps after it had been installed – with points for eighth place. An excellent start from 19th on the grid and a very long opening stint on medium tyres was they key to his progress, and an opportunistic pass on Marcus Ericsson at Parabolica on the last lap capped a recovery driver which deserved a greater reward.

Singapore – Revelled in having a competitive car for once, splitting the Ferraris in qualifying, and while his final Q3 run wasn’t perfect he wasn’t going to find the 0.543 seconds to Vettel. He was content to let the Ferrari pull away in the opening stages, then began chipping away at Vettel’s lead after lap seven. But how this fight would have been resolved will forever remain a mystery as the Safety Car kept Red Bull from realising their full potential.

Japan – A top five start was possible, Ricciardo believes, but he qualified seventh. He started superbly but with Massa and Raikkonen converging in front of him contact was made, leaving him with a puncture and floor damage. After pitting for new rubber on the first lap he did well to complete the race distance with just one further pit stop, but without a Safety Car points were never going to happen.

Russia – Said he had sacrificed qualifying performance to have an optimal race set-up and it looked like it would pay off after the team gambled on pitting under the second Safety Car. That helped him up to fourth, but after soaking up 15 laps of pressure from Bottas the Williams finally got through. How long he could have kept Raikkonen behind we’ll never know because a suspension fault put him out shortly afterwards.

United States – Vindicated Red Bull’s decision not to use the new Red Bull engine and avoid a grid penalty by qualifying third and passing the Mercedes drivers to lead. When the track dried Red Bull were vulnerable, but Ricciardo was unfortunate to be hit by both Hulkenberg and Sainz, leaving him tenth at the flag. Had it stayed wet a win was on.

Mexico – Largely left his car settings alone in qualifying as he tried to make sense of the fluctuating track conditions. Under pressure from Williams with their high straight line speeds, Red Bull pitted Ricciardo later than the FW37s giving him a tyre advantage which he wielded to brilliant effect when he dived past Massa. However he was unhappy to use another set of soft tyres when the Safety Car gave them a free pit stop – he wanted to give mediums a try.

Brazil – Used Renault’s revised engine but might have had cause to regret it as he found himself 0.4kph down on Kvyat in qualifying. That plus a ten-place grid penalty left him 19th on the grid. With no help from Safety Cars and little benefit from the new engine, points never looked likely.

Abu Dhabi – Said he would be happy with a top five starting position which he duly delivered. Hulkenberg passed him at the start but Ricciardo reclaimed the place a few laps later with some late braking, but couldn’t do the same to the other Force India. Unsurprisingly he wasn’t able to keep Vettel behind when the Ferrari appeared in his mirrors on super-soft tyres, which meant he finished sixth.


Over to you

Pretty much extracted the maximum out of a uncompetitive and unreliable car. Lost a lot of points thanks to unreliability.
@JackySteeg

What’s your verdict on Daniel Ricciardo’s 2015 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments.

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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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100 comments on “2015 F1 driver rankings #5: Daniel Ricciardo”

  1. Erm, Keith’s blog is absolutely the best in F1 media world and I have enormous respect for his opinion. And this is not first time I won’t agree with it. But it’s the first time I’ll call this no.5 spot for Daniel total nonsense. He lost to his teammate, so how can he be FIVE places above (it doesn’t matter, that he had more technical problems or was tiny bit quicker overall)? Did beating Vettel in 2014 somehow reserves him top spots in years to come? If yes, for how many years? It was huge achievement so maybe till 2017? smile emoticon

    1. He can live off this until Kyvatt beats him again next year giving him 3 losses in 5 years to teammates at which point to stave off Ferrari’s interest in Verstappen Ricciardo will be thrown out of Red Bull……maybe I will put my crystal ball away.

      I think he was mediocre this year but then again in 4 years last year was the only year he looked half decent for me.

    2. Agree 100%. 5 full places ahead of Kyvat? Pure nonsense especially since Ricciardo couldn’t even beat him. And before some fanboy makes the excuse about reliability I’ll remind them that that excuse didn’t work for Vettel in 2014 so why should if be ok for Ricci in 2015?

      1. @Apex Assassin because it was different last year. Even correcting for his bad luck, Vettel would still have lost to Ricciardo. While correcting for Ricciardo’s bad luck, he would have beaten Kvyat.

        Although Kvyat did well this year, Ricciardo was clearly the better driver this year. All who have actually analyzed the races should know that.
        As for last year, although Vettel didn’t do as badly as some make it out, Ricciardo was also the better driver.

        I’ve been a fan of Vettel for years, mind you, so this is not some kind of bias talking.

    3. He wasn’t just a tiny bit quicker. 12-7 in quali is not a ‘tiny bit,’ but stats aside, he almost always had visibly better pace (check out the race charts).

      1. I do not dispute the fact that he was a bit quicker. But he didn’t translate the better pace into results, so him being quicker doesn’t mean much. I would rate him higher than Dani too, just not so many places above and not so high up. Top five for Hungarian and Singapoure GP’s is quite ridiculous imo.

      2. Yeah, but most of those times when he missed out on better results was through no fault of his own. (That’s the whole point of analysing pace & driver errors instead of headline results and raw statistics.)

      3. I’m always suspicious of “pace” arguments. Many people were claiming that Kimi had better race pace than Vettel in the first half of the season. What they were actually noticing was that the Ferrari drivers were often on different strategies, and the same applies to the RB guys. Kvyat and Ricciardo were frequently given different strategies.

        If one driver really has better pace than his teammate and he fails to beat him over the course of the season then you’d expect that he had significantly more misfortune. And that really does not seem to be the case with the RB drivers.

    4. More or less agreed. Daniel is a little bit overrated here.
      I also don’t call for Keith’s head just because we have different opinions.

      1. Don’t call for his head but DO call to give it a good shake and get a grasp on reality. DR #5?

        Joke

    5. I think it’s worth reading through the race by race, he had, very few weekends that you can described as clean. Reliability scuppered much of his season and was on the back foot at almost every race.

      So given this, when he did have a weekend, he was brilliant. Just look at the back to back races of Russia and the US for example, both races he was on for good points, drove fantastic races, yet got (almost) nothing in terms of results because of incidents that were completely out of his control. That’s pretty much how his season went.

      1. That is what it boils down to yes, Mike. And also lets not forget we have quite a tightly packed mid field of strong drivers!

      2. I’m not sure he’s driving was that good at the USGP. Red Bull was the only team whow ent for a full wet set-up.

      3. I think it’s worth reading through the race by race, he had, very few weekends that you can described as clean. Reliability scuppered much of his season and was on the back foot at almost every race.

        You could say the same about Kvyat’s season. In fact you could say the same, with rather more justification, about Vettel’s 2014 RB campaign.

    6. @gilles

      He lost to his team mate, so how can he be five places above

      For one thing, that’s as much a reflection on the other drivers between the two of them as it is on Kvyat and Ricciardo.

    7. if you actually watched f1 2015 youd know why, Ricciardo lost so many point to bad luck with car issues etc.

      You guys are quick to excuse Vettel for 2014 when there is no reason to whereas you act amazed when Ricciardo who had genuine bad luck and the clear raw pace over Kvyat is placed 5 places higher?

      Just lol.

  2. Imo Daniel made no better than Bottas this season.

    1. I think that RIC was out driven by both BOT and RAI this season, but I respect that KC has a valid opinion on the matter.

      1. Not by RAI most definitely.

      2. Now, Bottas I can sort of see (if you give him some leeway for having had that back injury at the start and taking time to recover) but Kimi?? Sorry but Kimi really had only some 2 races where he was not seriously underperforming and quite a few bad mistakes more than either Bottas or Ricciardo @ferrox-glideh

    2. I think Ricciardo’s best drives stood out more than Bottas. Bottas’ 2 podiums came from driving easily past Kyvat, and the race where both Ferraris ran into mechanical issues. At least Massa had to deal with pressure in Austria when the same happened. Even his near miss in Russia wasn’t that impressive- he was bottled up behind inferior cars (Perez/Ricciardo) for too long when he should have been further ahead of a relatively poor Raikkonen. Ricciardo challenged for 2 wins in a worse car. Hungary was lucky with the safety car, but he was still making bold moves on the likes of Hamilton & Rosberg, Singapore he was very good in qualifying and the race to finish solidly 2nd.

      I might have had Max in 5th, with Dan 6th, but I think DR was and is better than Kyvat & Bottas.

      1. @david-a

        His move on Rosberg was bold, and quite clumsy too, and he was primarily at fault for the contact with Rosberg, imo. While he managed to stay on the track, he went well off the racing line and came back on the racing line that Rosberg had the rights to. He said “where was I suppose to go?” It’s called a brake son, and it’s the punishment for a daring but failed pass. (He did something similar with Vettel in Mexico and again with RAI in Monaco.) Not to mention that it took him around 15 laps after the SC restart (iirc) to get into position to pass Rosberg.

        I’d definitely put Ric ahead of Kyvat and Bottas though.

  3. what you seem to have forgotten is that ricci had a total of 80grid place drops during the season and kvyat 40! add to that daniels retirements when in good point scoring positions, which i have calculated at him scoring around 32+points even if he just finished where his engine failed, and you will see where he outdrove kvyat substantially. kvyat was lucky to beat ricci by a couple of points.

    1. This is far my favourite F1 site, but I also feel like this is a very biased ranking towards Ricciardo. Last year when Ricciardo was on the lucky side against his team mate, it just did not matter.. Now suddenly in 2015 it matters even if it’s against a 2nd year rookie? All I can think of is that the author holds Kvyat in a higher regard (based on his lower category results, which clearly outshines Ricciardo’s). Anyway, personally I like Ricciardo a lot more as a person on the TV, he is a very positive, smiling dude – while Kvyat seems to be boring once his helmet is off, but yet this is only their personalities while NOT driving an F1 car.

      1. @vettel81

        Last year when Ricciardo was on the lucky side against his team mate, it just did not matter.

        It was taken into account:

        The final points difference between the two of them was inflated by Vettel having a greater share of technical problems, which sidelined him in Australia, Austria and Monaco.

        1. Austrália? Ricciardo was disqualified there!!

          1. Because of a technical infringement.

          2. Exactly. Both didn’t score there and still people counts that race to say that Vettel lost because of reliability.

            Wonder why.

    2. So as people say Sainz had bad luck during races Verstappen had those issues in qualifying.

      Yet both drivers used 8 engines this season, not sure how you get to 32+ points, with his 3 retirements he lost a possible 20 points and Kvyat lost a possible 14 points but was not even able to start in Australia where Ricciardo scored 8 points. Now do the math and Kvyatt would still be ahead.

      Ricciardo was the more steady driver as he should be with his experience where Kvyat made a lot of beginner mistakes not surprising since it was only his second season.

      In my opinion Kvyat deserves 5th spot more than Ricciardo does and the only reason Ricciardo is in 5th can be that Ricciardo is a personal favorite of the author.

      1. @rossotoro
        Russia 12 points (and Kvyat gained two for his suspension failure)
        Belgium 12/15 points (and again, Kvyat gained two)
        In Hungary Dan would have outscored Kvyat by at least 3 if not their ‘no-blame attached’ clash
        Also Ricciardo would have surely add to his tally at Silverstone if not for a car failure.

        1. Kvyat could have surely scored more points also than the 14 I found based on his position when he retired.

          In the end it is all could have and would have.

          For someone in his second season in F1 and first with the team he did remarkably well compared to his teammate in his 5th and second with the team in my opinion Kvyat deserves 5th spot more than Ricciardo does this season.

          1. @rossotoro The results are would haves could haves, but the performances aren’t. This is a list that rates performances, not the dry results – that’s what the championship is for. In your subjective ranking based on objective data – as Keith does in his – you rate them calculating with the reasons too, not just the consequences, and @keithcollantine thought that Ricciardo was that much better than Kvyat. You may rate those differently (for example they were 10 places apart in my rankings) but I don’t think you can honestly say Kvyat performed better because he scored 3 more points. And also I don’t think it matters how long a driver has been in F1, because it’s about rating the performance, not the potential, where it obviously matters.

            Kvyat has a bright future ahead of him, performed pretty good, but not as well as Ricciardo.

    3. Using the grid drops is very mis leading as sometimes drivers had 40 place grid drops with only 20 possible. He was beaten fair and square by his younger less experienced teammate just li ke he was beaten by Vergne inn their last year together. He has lost 50% of the time to his teammates and if Vettel had not had an off year I do not think he would be on the grid next year, lucky for him he gets another chance but what if he loses again next year?

    4. excuses. excuses which weren’t acceptable to you when the Vettel fans used them nut now it’s ok for Ricciardo? puh-leaze.

  4. Most overrated driver in the field. I’m struggling to think of the impressive drivers that warrant him this position (bar Austin), but considering somehow Perez will be rated ahead of him, this is the lesser of two evils. This has been one weird driver rankings…

  5. Ric had a reasonably good season, considering the troubles he had. But overall 5 seems too much.

  6. I actually agree with Ricciardo being placed in the top five. Red Bull was often fourth-quickest team and they were unable to fight for the podiums in most grands prix. Dan would have easily beat Kvyat if for better reliability. He lost a lot of points at Silverstone, Spa and in Singapore, was also quicker in Hungary but for a unlucky collision.

  7. This is nonsense! He did nothing spectacular and the overtake on Raikkonen in Monaco was no different than what Kimi did to Bottas in Russia yet he gets credit for it while Raikkonen is being ctiticized. The race that summarizes his year perfectly is Hungary. Constantly overdriving his machinery, accident prone and with little to show for. The fact that he is really talented means that even in a bad year he never becomes anonymous like Hulkenberg.

    1. @philby – there were completely two different situations. In Russia, Kimi just ran into the back of Bottas from a huge distance. In Monaco, the contact was only because Kimi closed the door, Ricciardo’s move was good and the stewards took no further action (as opposed to a post-race S&G in Russia). Also in Hungary, Ricciardo made two great moves on Bottas and Hulkenberg early on and he was not at fault for contact with Rosberg. They were both just unlucky.

      1. For me Kimi closed the door in Monaco as Bottas did in Russia. Both were moves from behind that hit the driver turning in. For me Raikkonen was wrong in Russia and Ricciardo in Monaco but doe s not matter as the stewards decision is final so Ricciardo got away with it. Anyway hopefully Kyvatt does him in again next year and Verstappen can take Ricciardos place.

      2. The crucial difference between the two was that Ricciardo did not lose control of his vehicle while managing to put it partially next to Kimi’s, where as Kimi did not manage to take T4 in Russia properly even with the aid of using Bottas’ car to slow down a bit.

      3. I do think that for Hungarey Daniel was gettling a slight bit carried away with himself. But then again, he was putting a car where it really did not belong pace wise

    2. How many people overtook Hamilton on track this season?
      Not too many.

      1. Plus: Hamilton had his hair colour changed more than any other driver… what is your point?

        1. Well, it’s probably a point about Hamilton being quite hard to pass and being quite successful and it being notable that Ric managed to do it.

          It’s a tricky one to pin down though.

          A better response would have been,

          Yeah well, I think in that part of that race it was the only time anyone apart from Rosberg this year actually had a car behind Hamilton that was capable of making a pass, so I’d pin that down to the circumstances of the race more than any particular genius.

          1. Well, it’s probably a point about Hamilton being quite hard to pass

            Of course he is hard to pass, given his car is nearly a second quicker than the rest. Overtaking a Merecdes with a mixed set-up in a Red Bull which was set up for a wet race isn’t mindblowing.

        2. Thanks for that interesting stat but I’m not sure what your point is.
          Luckily mike is here to provide an explanation for us. Please see his first sentence.

    3. Well said!

    4. @philby

      Constantly overdriving his machinery, accident prone and with little to show for.

      What exactly do you mean by over-driving? Getting your elbows out and not giving an inch? If so, then howcome we always applaud Hamilton and Verstappen when they do the same thing? Hungary was exactly the type of race he needed at that point in the season, fighting with the Mercedes and showing everyone he can deliver to throw himself back in the limelight after a slightly anonymous start to the season.

      1. @davef1 Could also ask what @philby means by “little to show for”. He had a podium to show for it hat day, and his 2nd in Singapore was a better drive IMO than Kyvat’s 2nd in Hungary.

        1. @david-a the “little to show for” remark came from his defeat to Kvyat. Hungary is the perfect example, fierce battles, risk taking, over-driving (yes) only to lose to his calculative teammate!

          1. You mean lucky team mate that wasnt driven into

      2. @davef1 I mean not knowing when to settle and losing places and points in the process. This year Ricciardo reminded me of Hamilton yes, but the 2011 Hamilton, trying too hard showing of course flashes of brilliance but ultimately losing out to his less gifted teammate.

        1. I think gifted is not a good word to use.

      3. Elbows out?

        Verstappen was much cleaner passing this year than Ricciardo. For all intents and purposes, Ricciardo basically went off the track in Hungary, then came back onto the racing line and hit Rosberg. He shrugs like “I had no where to go” but he could have backed out of it. The move on Kimi, while wasn’t punished certainly could’ve and probably should’ve been. Ricciardo also made that lunge on the inside of T2 on Vettel at the start of the Mexican GP. He knows the only way to carry speed through the corner from being so far inside is to go wide on the exit and most cars were doing the opposite. Again he says “I had no where to go”…well yeah, so back out of it. It was clear he had zero chance of making that corner.

        I rate Ricciardo highly, and that he comes close to making some of these passes is great, but it’s gotta be called like it is when it doesn’t work out.

        It would have been great to see Singapore without the two SCs. Kyvat both times pitted the lap before they came out and really ruined his race. He was no doubt on for a podium and with that track favoring the Red Bulls, it would have been nice to see Kyvat go head to head with RIC.

    5. @philby In Monaco Ricciardo was already alongside Raikkonen when Raikkonen came off the racing line and caused the contact. In Russia Bottas stayed on the racing line while Raikkonen lunged at him, causing contact. Which is why Raikkonen was penalised for the Bottas incident and Ricciardo wasn’t penalised for the Raikkonen incident.

  8. Leaving aside the failure, retirements, collision etc (this is motor sport after all); Ricciardo: 3-time race winner lost to his team mate in the championship, that makes me think he’s not stellar nor spectacular on track. He’s the kind of drivers that’s always there or thereabouts driving cleanly most of the time and taking big points over a season for his team, a Webber actually.

    1. @jeff1s

      Leaving aside the failure, retirements, collision

      If you’re going to do that then I would suggest not reading these driver rankings, just look at the championship standings.

      1. @keithcollantine

        then I would suggest not reading these driver rankings

        I meant, the result is what counts at the end of the day.

        I can’t just do that, I’m too addicted to Formula 1 and motorsports to just turn the TV on and off. I have to read your articles and comments below to be enlightened and get my daily dose of F1.

  9. Fair ranking. Would have been ahead of Rosberg if Rosberg had not suddenly put 3 perfect weekends in a row over Hamilton.
    He still needs to improve though. He was over-driving his car significantly (Monaco and Hungary being prime examples) on those tracks where Red Bull had even a slight chance of points and consequently finished behind Kvyat in both. The one time he had an opportunity and drove within himself (Singapore), he performed much better. Hope 2016 shows more of this Ricciardo than the one we saw before Singapore.

  10. Well he was good in every way and form deserving of high grades… But a #5? While beaten by teammate?

    Drivers are so good these days I feel his performances were just average for a front running team.

    But that being said, he was a great sportsman. Maybe not best results but he was good at his job every second on track of track. Not something that can ne said of many primadona-drivers.

  11. i think DR did a pretty good job this year, though i would say no better than grosjean. in a similar way to alonso (though less extreme) drivers who have formerly been at the front are almost inevitably involved in more incidents (and more likely to commit errors) now they are mired in the pack further down the field.

    however, i strongly disagree about his overtaking of kimi in monaco – that was just a sloppy piece of driving that caused another driver to crash.

    1. I agree. He and Grosjean were pretty much on the same form in 2015. Ricciardo deserves spot # 6 or 7. Definitely not 5.

  12. as an absolute fan of Ricciardo I must say he is deserving of #5. After seeing what he can do last year and the amazing over takes he did, including the one on Monza and Hungary, not to mention his scrapping with Alonso at hokenhiem I knew he was up there with the greats.

    He has shown time and time again that he can deliver if he has the machinery to do it. His amazing overtake on Hamilton at the USGP to take the lead was the highlight for me in the year, it was David going against Goliath. And I don’t remember ever jumping up and down at any other time of the year.

    Although I think Vettel is great as well, people I speak to say Vettel had an off year last year and his heart wasn’t with Red Bull anymore and the changes, yes that may be true but why take away the fact that Ricciardo beat Vettel fair and square, with the same changes in machinery? why doesn’t that count? He impressed in my book.

    anyway, hoping he has better machinery next year, he is a proven driver.

    1. “After seeing what he can do last year…”

      Last year was last year, man. This year, his performance was nowhere near 2014.
      He lost his excellent tire management, his overtaking attempts at the start of the season, were sometimes amusing, he had problems with proper braking.

      “I knew he was up there with the greats.”
      So far, he lacks consistency, delivering season after season.

      1. How can he be up with the greats he has won 3 races not 3 titles? In 4 years losing half the time on points to your team mate is not exactly promising.

        1. How can he be up with the greats () losing half the time on points to your team mate

          only if his team mates are ‘the greats’. (Vettel, Kvyat, JEV)

  13. Having DR in front of DK makes sense but in a lot of rankings the difference is around 5 spots. which is too much imo.

  14. Ricciardo did nothing for me all year to justify a top 5 place, he got beaten in points by his less-experienced team mate, who I believe should be higher.

    He wouldn’t be in my top 5 , maybe not even top 10.

    1. I’d say bottom 4 along with Maldonado, Alonso and Raikkonen.

      1. I get Raikkonen, but how was Ricciardo or Alonso in the bottom four in your opinion?

        1. I think Alonso had a year like Vettel last year where he lost motivation and every time I saw him he was more often than not behind Button. I think it was a drop in performance from the outstanding effort of the last few years. I think most drivers got better results with their cars than Ricciardo and I feel it was a real come down not only in his results this year but his driving, he tangled with drivers more often than not and lost to someone in the same car as him in only his 2nd year. I feel only Maldonado was worse due to getting thrashed by his team mate in the most one sided battle between teammates on the grid. Overall apart from 2014 Ricciardo has been nothing more than a midfield driver, and every dog has it’s day or season in the case of 2014.

          1. Seriously man… Ricciardo lost points due to reliability and other drivers and outpaced Kvyat 90% of the year how can he be bottom 4?

            If Vettel had that Red Bull you realise he would have maybe scored 30 points the entire season at best?

  15. A bit overrated, but not enough to make me care all that much.

    So, for the top 4?
    1)Vettel
    2)Hamilton
    3)Rosberg
    4)Pérez

    1. @spdoyle17 I would not put him there but of the top 4 we have remaining I would put Perez third ahead of Rosberg.

    2. Pretty much – although I wouldn’t put Perez in the top 5 either.

      People complain about the too big gap between the ranking of Ricciardo and Kvyat despite it being comppletely understandable if people would look under the hood. The huge difference between Perez and Hulkenberg, though, is indeed a mystery for me with the Force India pair running a much more evenly-matched season between themselves (Hulkenberg owned the first half, Perez owned the second) and were generally a lot closer in terms of pure quali and race pace as well than the Red Bull guys.

      1. *top 4, sorry

      2. Good point! Ricciardo should indeed have outscored Kvyat, but it’s interesting to see that Hülkenberg should/could have outscored Pérez as well, because he was usually in front of Pérez, but due to mistakes and bad luck he hasn’t.

        1. Interesting article, but do keep a very very (very very) watchful eye on what you consider a driver error, racing incident and a team error. One bad judgement call can ruin a lot of otherwise commendable results.

          Still, it’s good to see that when people delve deeper into the same hardcore stuff separately, they ‘somehow’ come up with a very similar viewpoint.

          1. Thanks!
            As the final results can be influenced by so many (unseen) factors, these analyses can never be completely accurate. But I think this method gives reasonably good results for the frontrunners and it shows the net gains and net losses for the midfield drivers (as the bad luck of other drivers is also taken into account). Next year I will do a what-if analysis after every race, so I hope the true final standings will then be as accurate as possible.

  16. For everyone saying they think Kvyat should be in front of Ricciardo, I can’t agree at all. I doubt any team principal would choose Kvyat over Ricciardo if all other factors are equal and winning is the goal. Kvyat has the talent and got some good results, but he seems a bit rough to me at this point. I am glad to see him continue n in F1, but he will need to keep improving to stay on.

    1. It’s funny the two times where the Red Bull was competitive enough for a potential win – who was there? Ricciardo.

      Hungary
      – Smashed Kvyat in qualifying
      – Ricciardo overtook the cars he needed after been punted by Bottas
      – Was 30 seconds down the road from Kvyat before the safety car
      – Was fighting for the win had he got past Rosberg
      – Kvyat only got 2nd place due to everyone falling ahead of him either through mechanical problems (2nd place), incidents (Hulk going off), inept strategy (Bottas), Ricciardo/Rosberg coming together or retirements. Any other race he would have been miles behind in places while Ricciardo would have still been gunning for the win

      Singapore
      – Again beat Kvyat in qualifying
      – While Kvyat was extreme unlucky with the safety car timings, he was still slower than Ricciardo over the weekend
      – Vettel and Ricciardo were in a class of their own this race (when did anyone see this sort of performance from Kvyat? throughout the year)

      Ricciardo would have been even further ahead in the qualifying stats in some races e.g. His Italian GP qualifying time beat Kvyat’s Q2 time even though Ricciardo didn’t even go out.

      People just looks at the end of season standings and use that as a poor excuse for driver rankings. Points don’t always tell the whole story.

      Ricciardo also didn’t make as many mistakes as Kvyat throughout the season. Fairly deserved ranking I reckon, people just keep going by the points.

    2. I doubt any team principal would choose Kvyat over Ricciardo if all other factors are equal and winning is the goal.

      But they are: http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/122079

      1. Still, I bet neither Horner nor Tost was among them.

        1. Horner was. Says at the bottom.

          The only thing I’ll say about the list, is that if Max is the fourth most wanted driver on the grid, with only Mercedes having two drivers considered better, why is he still in a Torro Rosso?

        2. @atticus-2 Tost already had been said that Kvyat, Sainz & Verstappen are better than Ricciardo
          http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2015/08/19/f1-fanatic-round-up-1908-3/

          1. Tost is right in my opinion.

            If Kyvatt improves he will beat Ricciardo next year as well then I would guess Ricciardo will be scrounging round for a midfield seat.

          2. @ruliemaulana But that was mid-season.

      2. But they also put Raikkonen in the top 10 with 37 points…

      3. I don’t know, casting votes for the year’s best drivers is not really the same as choosing who to put in your car. That list has Kvyat in front of Alonso as well.

        1. I think it’s a bit like a coefficient so how well a driver performed over a season compared to expectation based on the individual, it is not a direct comparison of who is better. People expect more of Alonso so even if he had more good drives than Kyvatt but not as many as expected and Kyvatt surpasses expectations of him he will be ranked higher but at the current time I am sure the majority would choose Alonso over Kyvatt. Last year Ricciardo was brilliant and surpassed expectations this year for me he fell well short of that where Kyvatt was better than expected as well as out performing Ricciardo so Kyvatt is ranked higher in my mind.

  17. …I expected Ros ahead of Ham, ja ja ja

  18. Ridiculous !! He was not better than Bottas and Massa for sure and Max even ! Williams did stop their car development very early and ran the old spec Merc engine making them vulnerable at the season end and just because both Bottas and Massa dint finish the season on a high, can’t say they were not better than Ricciardo and Kvyat !! Ricciardo made good use of the car when Renault were strong and thats his greatness but lost when the car is bad and thats no way related to the driver? surprising actually.. Bottas and Massa should have been in top 8 and both redbulls near to 10-11 ! I strictly feel some drivers are over-rated always ( Ricciardo, Hulk for example) and some are always under-rated irrespective of their performance (Massa to be precise). These things come out real bad and no worries in thinking that these are making F1 more boring !

  19. If RIC was among the top five drivers of the season, that itself says a lot about how eventful/ spectacular this season has been.
    I was hoping that Max is ranked above Ric but well, the entire season was rather mediocre.
    Let the next season start already.

  20. I think RIC does deserve to be this high, look back through the lap charts for all those races when the RBR-Renault had no chance of a podium and you will see him banging in very consistent laps, no real mistakes, no big lockups/flat spots, just lap after lap to the current team strategy. When RBR did have a sniff, he was the one who looked like he could deliver it. Reviewing the incident with RAI at Monaco, RIC got both front wheels next to the Ferrari at the entrance to the corner – with both of his tyres still on the track, thats when RAI closed the door (about 2/10s too late), RIC also arrived under control as RAI was bumped out but not very far. For 2015 it was the laps when he was not being shown on TV that confirmed he is very fast, committed (not afraid to move off the track just to let a Merc move to where it want’s to be), and a team player (let KYV back into higher spots twice ? after being let loose to attack for podium). And he still had that big smile even after Mercs, Williams and FI’s just breezed past even in non-DRS zones.
    I’d have him on my team…

  21. Let’s face it – I doubt Dan will care much about ranking 5 or anything other than 1. He’s a racer like Vettel, Alonso etc and will attempt to drive the wheels off whatever he’s given, but this year was delivered a dog.

    The car was designed for a much higher spec PU and electronics package which didn’t materialise meaning compromised setups, unreliability and extreme driving conditions.

    When he had chances he took them – rarely has he failed to do so, but even Dan would probably rather 2015 be wiped from existence.
    My fear for him and Kyvat is that there’ll be more of the same next year as I doubt that their PU will come up to scratch.

  22. I agree with this one too. I think if you actually look at the races, not just the point score at the end you will see that he trounced Kvyat. I rate Kvyat as a potential star of the future. He is quick, but needs to work on his races.

    I can only look at two races for the entire year where Kvyat looked like he had Ricciardo beaten (Canada & Mexico). In Canada, I think it was more a poor weekend for Ricciardo rather than Kvyatt brilliance. Vettel is the only other driver that probably can claim to have laid their teammate to rest more than Ricciardo. Unfortunately, Raikonnen is past his best. Kvyat is still working up to it.

    The official qualifying stats ended up being 12-7, but in 2 sessions, Ricciardo had to take a new engine so was dropped down the order which would have made it 14-5.

    I think that this year, Riccardo was as good against Kvyat as he was against Vettel last year. However, they were further down the grid and both had more failures, so it wasn’t as obvious without looking for it.

    1. Not only this plus what I’ve mentioned before re Singapore/Hungary/US, three of the other big three F1 publications with their average points ranking based off the points they give out on a race-by-race basis all pretty much had Ricciardo at #4. So if anything, @keith has his ranking lower than those publications (Amus, Autosport, SkyF1).

      If the car is there for the win or a potential win, Ricciardo was there, I see more in that than when Kvyat beating Ricciardo a few times throughout the whole season.

      Absolutely agree with Canada & Mexico. Ricciardo was rubbish at Canada, seem to be a bogey track of his as he was beaten by Vergne there too. Mexico Kvyat was really solid and much more comfortable than Ricciardo all weekend.

      This battle reminds me of Ricciardo vs Vergne, Ricciardo lost in points (majority in wet/mixed conditions) and everyone kept harping out about that and how they were even in races but when you look into the races in context Ricciardo was easily the faster/better racer (RBR have all the data in the world to compare). Not to mention he smashed JEV in qualifying. There is a reason why Ricciardo was selected over Vergne and that’s because he was better driver, not because of a misleading points table. Kudos to Kvyat though, he had a solid first season @ RBR.

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