Who won the team mate battles of 2016: The front runners

2016 F1 season review

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Which drivers ruled the roost in their teams during 2016? Now the season is over it’s time to delve into the data and deliver a verdict.

The graphs and tables below show which driver had the greater share of the better results within their teams and who came out on top in every qualifying session and race this year.


Rosberg started the season strongly
The debate over this one isn’t going away any time soon. Lewis Hamilton had a more successful season than Nico Rosberg by many significant metrics including race wins, podium finishes and pole positions. But the points tally is what counts and there Nico Rosberg pipped him by five, ending Hamilton’s two-year reign as champion.

Note that while technical problems during qualifying for Hamilton have been cited as a significant reason behind why he lost the 2016 championship, they did not stop him out-qualifying Rosberg as many times as he did last year.

Another striking feature of the Mercedes drivers’ seasons is how the balance of power shifted between them. Rosberg began the season and came back from the summer break more strongly then Hamilton, whose defeats to Rosberg during these parts of the season can only partly be blamed on unreliability.

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And look at what happened once Rosberg reached the point where he no longer had to beat Hamilton on the track to take the title. Rosberg has admitted the pressure of delivering the championship got to him, and over the final four races it was a clean sweep for his team mate.

Lewis HamiltonQ
Nico RosbergQ

Red Bull

Ricciardo has to be wary of his latest team mate
Changing your driver line-up four races into the season is bound to create headlines. But no one was questioning Red Bull’s move once Max Verstappen, who was parachuted into Daniil Kvyat’s empty seat, won first time out in Spain.

There was an element of beginners’ luck about that Spain victory. But Verstappen has left no room for doubt more wins will follow given time. Perhaps the biggest achievement of his season was out-qualified one-lap specialist Daniel Ricciardo over the final half-dozen races.

That will be cause for concern for Ricciardo. He delivered the better results of the pair on balance but it was close, and Verstappen clearly has greater potenital for growth being so much younger.

If Red Bull are championship contenders again next year, as they are widely expected to be, the fight between these two will be epic.

Daniel RicciardoQ
Max VerstappenQ

NB. Daniel Ricciardo’s team mate for the first four races was Daniil Kvyat, Max Verstappen’s team mate for the first four races was Carlos Sainz Jnr. See here for Ricciardo’s performances versus Kvyat


Raikkonen surprised by out-qualifying Vettel
It’s been a long time since Kimi Raikkonen out-qualified a team mate over the course of a season. His strengths have also been more evident on race day than in qualifying.

For him to do it to a driver with Sebastian Vettel’s record is truly surprising. Once Vettel’s superior performances in other areas are taken into account, it does tend to back up the view he was prioritising 2017 development during practice sessions this year.

But it’s clear this was Raikkonen’s best season since he returned to Ferrari two years ago. The SF16-H, not as strong at the rear at his predecessor, was more Raikkonen’s kind of car. The arrival of more muscular racing machines in 2017 could also play into his hands.

Sebastian VettelQ
Kimi RaikkonenQ

Over to you

Which of these drivers had the best or most surprising performances against their team mates? Have your say in the comments.

You can also contribute to F1 Fanatic’s end-of-season driver rankings here:

How did the other teams’ drivers fare in 2016? Find the rest of the team mate battles here:

2016 F1 season review

Browse all 2016 F1 season review articles

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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105 comments on “Who won the team mate battles of 2016: The front runners”

  1. Evil Homer (@)
    1st December 2016, 12:43

    “That will be cause for concern for Ricciardo.”

    Maybe,……… but I hope not ! I am hoping for the 2017 rules means a man has to wrestle these things again, struggle through two hours and have earned an F1 race, like the 80’s or 90’s.

    Not saying Max isn’t a talent (he will be a multi WDC) but saying young kid needs to earn his man strength and these should get harder to drive! They should almost pass out again and be the best………….. Its F1

    1. Arnoud van Houwelingen
      1st December 2016, 13:47

      so why can Max not be physically in tip top shape when F1 starts again in march 2017? He has an awesome trainer with Jake and physically there is nothing wrong with hem .. have you seen his neck lately .. like a gorilla .. so let the G-forces unlease :)

    2. why is everyone saying he will be a world champion? his aggressive style will cost him points and hes too inconsistent at the moment. he also needs to beat his team mate first

      1. he could end up like Jean Alesi.. and I hope he does for his pathetic unsporting blocking manouvers.

        1. @kpcart I agree about the blocking. But he probably will end up much more successful than Alesi, my favorite driver. Which is a sad thought. Alesi was aggressive and a tough fighter, but at the same time he was never unsporting. Never had that win at all costs and sportsmanship be damned mentality that the Verstappens, Schumachers and Sennas of this world possess.

      2. Everybody knew Senna was a future World Champion after his drive in a Toleman in the rain in Monaco. Likewise everybody knew Michael Schumacher was the next great F1 driver in 1993, before he became Champion.
        It’s the same with Verstappen, the special ones are clear for all to see.
        Your reference to Verstappens aggression will only help him in the future, he’s very similar to Senna and Schumacher in that respect. Willing to risk an overtake and great on the brakes, in defence he’s ruthless and hard to pass. 3-4 years from now you’ll se drivers getting unsettled and make unforced errors because the threat in their mirrors is Max Verstappen. Likewise you will see drivers behind Verstappen pass up passing opportunities because they know it will be extremely tough.
        What really markes him out as a future great besides his talent is his confidence. He reminds me of a young Schumacher in that respect, whatever they throw at him he just brushes it of and does what he think is right. It might not be a good character trait in normal life, but it is the character trait that separates great from good in sport. This kid has allready told multiple World Champions and senior personell in other teams to shut up when they critizice his driving because he knows what he’s doing.
        Ricciardo has the hardest job in F1 these days, to compete with that talent, confidence and will to win will require everything he’s got allready in 2017. Never mind 2018 and 19 if he doesn’t leave..

    3. this “man” thing… are your for real?? most f1 drivers in history have been small men weighing 65kg… – not very “masculine” Verstappen matches that. many female drivers if given the opportunity would easily handle 80s,90s and current era f1 cars… get lost with your sexism. as for nearly passing out… that was usually because of water… and water is available in the car in the last 30 years.

      1. Actually, Verstappen isn’t that small. Besides, I think he spends more time in the gym than i.e. Hamilton or Raikkonen.

        1. @datt you can’t possibly know how much time they each spend in the gym….

          But a 19/20 year old has no reason to be less able to physically more demanding car than a 28 year old, so that will probably not be factor at all.

          With more aero dependence of the cars, overtaking will be harder. Both RIC and VES are among the most daring overtakers so even if they will only be able to pull off a hand full of overtakes next year, they will probably be amongst the best overtakers still (with HAM I presume). Something I don’t expect Rosberg or Vettel to be in this new era for example.

          1. I do know Ves is a drinker tho. Bumped into him last year at 4.00 am in the city. Great fun. Onviously not during a Gp weekend tho.

          2. I’ve been drunk on multiple occasions in my life, yet I rarely drink. Going out late every now and then is not the same as ‘a drinker’ and you only even know of that one time…
            I guess from your comments you are a fairly young fellow, am I right?

    4. Daniels Red-bull engine was over 10hp down on MV engine in the 4 / 5last races. Hence the disparity in quali. This was evident on all the long straights. Race mode they had similar performance, however they did have different levels of performance in quali mode.

      Daniel did not get any slower, his car did. Where MV improved was tyre management and prep hence the better race results. Next year will be interesting the new formula with higher downforce will distinguish the boys from the men. Who has the biggest balls in the fast stuff.
      This is where vetell will suffer and kimi will be better.
      I think it will be to close to call next year.

      DR was being the model driver and not complaining.

      1. where do you get this information from that Daniels car was 10HP down in power? 10HP in power difference is about a 0.1 sec different per lap?

      2. ‘DR was being the model driver and not complaining.’

        ahm… DR is ctually a very very nice guy, but he came up with about every excuse there was when beaten

  2. A lot of people are ready to praise Raikkonen but honestly, I think Vettel just had another bad season like 2014. An on form Vettel could possibly have taken victories in Melbourne and Canada and his radio chatter showed signs of increasing frustration throughout the season. I think a realisation of why Alonso left hit him and I don’t think we saw his true form this year.

    1. I thought the car was decent and in par with Red Bull, problem was reliability and rubbish strategy especially at race they were going well at. Must be annoying that when chances are lresented you do not naximise on your opportunities.

    2. ferrari ruined his races in australia, spain, monaco and canada. he also would be outqualified if his car worked at singapur. also kvyat cost him a podium in russia.

    3. To me Vettel’s Ferrari spell confirms he isn’t an alltime great. He’s merely a very good driver, of which there have been dozens over the decades, who has been better than his teammate whilst in the best car over a 4 year period.

      In 2010 Alonso was close but nobody could deny that the Ferrari was inferior to the RBR. In 2011 it wasn’t a contest. In 2012 Ferrari again were inferior and Alonso overachieved whilst McLaren screwed up massively in terms of reliability and strategy. In 2013 Ferrari were somewhat closer at first but after the summer break RBR outdeveloped them massively. Vettel simply beat Webber over those 4 years and that meant 4 championships. Granted it might have not won 4 championships if Webber would have had a lesser teammate than Vettel, like I said I think VET is well above average, but it didn’t convince me he was ‘4x DWC good’ if you get my drift.

      Then RIC outperformed VET in the first season of the new V6 era and I was willing to contribute this to a combination of being oversaturated after 4 years of succes in combination and, possibly due to being less motivated, struggling with the new cars.

      However, his time at Ferrari over the past two years confirmed to me that Vettel is very good, but not as good as current all time greats as Hamilton and Alonso for example, despite having more titles than both of them.

      1. I can’t say I agree with your viewpoint. Vettel thrashed Kimi last year, and finished ahead of him this year. He also would have had several podiums this year if it wasn’t for Ferrari’s terrible strategy calls. He has been consistently “best of the rest” since no teams have been able to compete with Mercedes’ most dominant cars in F1 history.

      2. Fikri Harish (@)
        1st December 2016, 17:01

        Vettel is a highly capable driver, but as the first half of 2012 and the entirety of 2014 has shown us, he’s not the kind of driver that could just as easily overcame something he doesn’t like, but when things click, he is unstoppable (2013 and 2011 comes to mind).

        That’s the difference between Vettel and Alonso, I honestly believe that Vettel’s high are higher than Alonso but Alonso’s low is still so ridiculously high that when you average those two over several years, Alonso is still going to come out on top.

        1. I think Vettel was the best driver in 2015. He did the most with what he got.

          This season he was totally off. I guess in his head because he was filled with anger and frustration, blaming everything that went wrong on others (drivers).
          Abu Dabi showed a little of the old Vettel.

          I believe he has the best chance to go to Mercedes since they need a German. It will be much more predictable and comfortable there compared to Ferrari, but Lewis is will get in his head there.
          Hope he can handle that.
          He had a hard time with Ricciardo as teammate.

      3. @jeffreyj Vettel his consistency in 2015 should exactly tell you the opposite of your first sentence. Alonso went to Ferrari after hardly winning anything since 2007, for him it was a move up, it isn’t for Vettel, and any driver has difficulties coping with that, again I refer you to the attitude Alonso has shown at Honda.

        On top of that Vettel has had a horrid season, and still easily came out on top of the two Ferrari cars. At no point was the Ferrari better than the Red Bull and he still is only 8 points shy of Ricciardo.

        1. He had had horrible season, he also has been unimpressive, not made the best of a bad situation. If he had a Vettel factor then the time to show that would have been this season.

          I was expecting it, and it never came.

        2. and ahead of Max and he didn’t take part in two of the first four rounds

      4. @jeffreyj To judge him in this way is disregarding history(and I’m not his fan). Many great drivers in the history of F1 relied on certain car characteristics that suit their driving style to be successful. It’s no mean feat. Give Vettel a car he really likes and he’ll be unstoppable. Give Sergio Perez a car he really likes(like now, with the tire saving formula that’s taylor made for him) and he’ll be merely very competitive. Vettel is not a top 10 of all time, certainly, but to say there were dozens like him is simply not true. He’s not a complete driver like Alonso, Hamilton or Ricciardo(current drivers better than him) and neither is he Fangio, Moss, Senna, Prost, Clark or Stewart. But is he any worse than Hakkinen, Mansell, Piquet, Brabham(disregarding him being a team owner, just as a driver), Fittipaldi, Graham Hill? All these drivers are considered all time greats just below the top 10, many multiple WDC’s. Vettel belongs in this group, clearly.

        1. I don’t buy that Vettel is in the all time top ten, I don’t see who you will put ahead of him!

          In a championship winning car Vettel has never failed to take the title, I can bet my house on this, if Vettel was sitting in that Mercedes as good as it;s been over the last 3 seasons, he would have re-written F1 records!

          In a good car on the current grid no one comes close to him in delivering the goods!

          1. Edit *I don’t buy that Vettel is not in the all time top 10

          2. Sorry, but your logic is wrong. Vettel has won all of his WDC’s in the same team with the same car philosophy. And when he couldn’t get the car working to his liking like in the first half of 2012. Webber was beating him. Ricciardo beat him in 2014 fair and square. He lost the qualifying head to head to Kimi this year, the first to have done so for a full season since 2005(the peak of Kimi’s career form, in the eyes of most). Yeah with that in mind I don’t see how he can be in the top 10 of all time. Forget that, I don’t see how he can be better than Hamilton, Alonso and Ricciardo. He’s not a complete driver, but he’s an all time great no doubt just not top 10. And since you’d asked, here’s the top 10 of all time IMO in chronological order:

            Which one of these should make way for Seb and why?

      5. @jeffreyj

        Agree on a lot of points. Vettel is definitely good, but he’s not a great. At the end of 2013 he was hailed as one of the greatest qualifiers of all time… and then he gets outqualified and outraced by Ricciardo in 2014. In 2016, he gets outqualified by a driver who many regard to be a slouch in quali. If Kimi was given the #1 driver strategy and treatment at Ferrari, I would expect him to outscore Vettel this year as well… which says a lot… considering Kimi was consistently thrashed during his time with Fernando.

        Although a lot of people (including myself) were doubtful of how good he would be without Newey’s special toys, and I think Vettel has answered that for us over the past 3 seasons. He’s still a very good driver… but there are a handful of drivers who would give him a thorough beating as a teammate.

        It’s crazy to think that he already has 4 WDCs to his name because I would put him as the fifth best driver on the current grid… behind Lewis, Fernando, Ricciardo & Verstappen.

        1. Vettel and Rosberg are quite similar in the sense that they are both very quick over one lap and capable of flawless quick, consistant and mistake free races when controlling from the front. Both have trouble outshining rivals in wheel to wheel situations but were in dominant cars for several seasons so that’s less often an issue. The difference ofcourse is that Webber was VET’s teammate while ROS had HAM.

      6. I fear many of you will have to change your opinion in the future, you might as well do it now. There is no such thing as a four-time Champion in F1 that is not among the greats. For that matter there is no such thing as a three-time Champion in F1 that is not among the greats either.
        And here we are talking about a driver that was a four time champion at 26 years old!!
        You obviously have no idea whatsoever of what it takes to accomplish such a feat!

        That type of success comes with a price though, and Vettel has felt that price. When you have achieved everything you ever dreamt about and more it’s hard to stay motivated when you’re not fighting for wins or Championships. Notice that when Ferrari is able to fight for victories Vettel is very strong, when Ferrari are too far behind to compete Vettel is less strong. I think Vettels reaction when Ferrari is too far behind is to try anything, even desperate measures with setup etc to compete. But it doesn’t work in F1, it’s better to just get on with the programme like Raikkonen does.
        Believe me, when Ferrari produces a car capable of winning races and Championships Vettel would probably beat any teammate he might have at the time. If the car is second or third best several drivers might compete with him over a season.
        That being said this is a weakness compared to Schumacher and Alonso who have been able to stay motivated regardless. But it is a trait Vettel shares with Hamilton who is also prone to loose his motivation when the car is less than great. I think the reason for this is that Hamilton and Vettel achieved instant success at a young age and continued to be lucky enough to be in competitive cars most of their career. Schumacher started in uncompetitive cars, then had success before going to Ferrari and many years in a semi-competitive cars. Alonso started in an uncompetitive car, then had success at Renault. Now he’s been on a desert walk for 10 years in more or less uncompetitive cars. He has to perform in uncompetitive cars in order to get a shot at the third title he so desperately wants.

    4. (@philipgb) (@xtwl)
      It’s about time people accept that Vettel is simply an average driver who lucked into some very fortuitous circumstances. He’s barely beaten Kimi this season, despite Ferrari making it extremely clear that Vettel is their No. 1.

      2014 wasn’t an ‘off’ year, it was a ‘representative’ year.

      1. Well why not 2015?

      2. He’s beat Kimi by more than 5 points though, he’s driven well, Ferrari strategists left him down afew times Redbull did eventually usurp them as best of the rest but although Kimi qualified ahead more he usually got beat in the race. To say it was as bad a season as 2014 is being disingenuous also it wasn’t as good as 2015.

  3. I am in anticipation at the potential for fireworks at Red Bull in 2017 (assuming they have a strong car) the driver pairing is the most exciting on the grid. McLaren as Van Doorne vs Alonso could be spicy we know how Fernando responded last time a talented rookie was in the other car. Ferrari and Mercedes less so, I expect to see Vettel and Hamilton nose in front again.

    Fingers crossed for a season to match 2012 with multiple teams capable of winning races…..

    1. I think vandoorne and Alonso are going to be great together, alonso is a lot more mature then back then, and his time in a bad car made him a lot more humble and appreciating

      1. @rike

        They won’t be fighting for the championship, which is a tragedy. I would love to see how Alonso would deal with a 2007 situation again in 2017. My guess is that he would just put his head down and drive and avoid everything else that he did in 2007.

  4. Of course Lewis Hamilton would be way ahead of everyone if it hadn’t been for The Reliability Issues!!!!!!

    1. you mean the “one” failure of the engine in race?? what about his terrible race starts? – and what about the races where Rosberg qualified and finished better???? huh?

      1. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
        1st December 2016, 15:10

        The “one” failure that caused a 28 point swing in a championship won by 5 measley points. Yeh that one.

        1. Or clouting the barrier in Baku (which left him 10th on the grid), costing him many points when he ended up losing by only 5. That was entirely his own unforced error. It was widely speculated in the media at the time that the error could cost him the title and it did. You are skipping that because it’s easier to blame the team for a car problem.

          1. To be fair you might want to check the PU usage table. It’s clear as day. Sure Hamilton had a nightmare in Baku, but isn’t that just one race in a 21 race season?!

          2. Malaysia was just one race as well, Lewis had 19 others to make up for it. 10 wins, but 4 of them came after he was down 9-6 and all Nico needed to do was follow him home (which he did).

            5 of the ten Lewis wins, Nico came second. Only 3 times did Hamilton finish 2nd to Rosberg. Everyone knows the scoring system at the start of the year, they only complain at the end if it works against them. The know DNFs, whether through accident or reliability, aren’t “what-ifs” and are part of F1.

            Other drivers have won the title with worse mechanical luck than their teammates, Lauda won versus Prost in ’84 while earning fewer wins and having 1 more DNF, back then there were far fewer races to make up the deficit. Prost was generally the quicker driver.
            Prost won versus Senna in ’89 with far better reliability but fewer wins. Senna was generally the quicker driver (both of them whined). Should we reverse all those titles (and others) ex. ’87 Piquet vs. Mansell, Piquet better reliability, fewer wins, won title?

            Even more often, drivers have defeated other team’s drivers by having a more reliable car. In ’08, Hamilton had better mechanical reliability than Massa (who was not his teammate) and fewer wins, just nudging him for the title, yet I’ve never heard him concede that Felipe was more deserving and that a more reliable car was the difference-maker.

            The team principals picked Hamilton as the best of ’16. Alonso has been in that position several times after losing a title bid, as he says, it’s not much consolation, but it will have to do. ’17 is another opportunity, everyone starts at 0 points and 100% reliability.

      2. It wasn’t just one race which was responsible for his points deficit…. It was 3 qualifying sessions –

        One where he started at the back of the grid, so he didn’t even participate.
        One he couldn’t run in Q3, and started 10th.
        One where he started in 21st because he changed car parts

        Rosberg took the WDC.. hats off to him, but how on earth can anyone argue that reliability didn’t hand Rosberg this title is beyond me.

      3. Yes because Hamilton should have been perfect- like Rosberg was all season. Rosberg was perfect in Monaco, Germany, Austria, Hungary and Brazil wasn’t he? Get real. In a sporting season competitors have their ups and downs, in a mechanical sport sometimes mechanical problems can make a difference.

        1. Oh I forgot Rosberg’s ‘perfect’ Canadian GP as well. Add that to the mix as well

    2. We really need an option where you can ignore certain users’ comments.

      1. But it’s true @xtwl. You want to ignore the truth?

        1. I think (probably way off) the point is, Nico is now champion. Something many have been saying since the day he won. Yes, many also pointed out reliability in analysis including me. Despite this, Nico is now champion. Tough luck for Lewi, on to the next season.

        2. Not quite. Hamilton would win if he didn’t had a car failure AND everything else would be the same. However, that is a contradiction and impossible. The claim makes no sense at all.

    3. Crikey – sarcasm whoooooooooooosh!

  5. what the graph between Ricciardo and Verstappen did not show is the incredible gap Ricciardo had on average to Verstappen in qualifying, the few times Verstappen outqualified Ricciardo, it was because Ricciardo was not at his best and the gap was usually less then a tenth of a secon… while Ricciardos gaps to Verstappen when beating him were often very big. admittedly Verstappen naturaly got closer to Ricciardo as the season went on, but even on Ricciardo’s off days, Ricciardo could stay within 1/10th of Verstappen, while on his ON days. he could easily be 2/3/4 tenths clear of Verstappen.

    1. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      1st December 2016, 15:29

      Where was this incredible gap during the race in Brazil? Or the last race where Verstappen was plum last at the beginning?

      1. kpcart, @offdutyrockstar
        – “the incredible gap Ricciardo had on average to Verstappen in qualifying”
        – reply: “Where was this incredible gap during the race in Brazil? Or the last race where Verstappen was plum last at the beginning?”
        Why is it that MVer fans seem to lose even the most basic reading skills whenever they react overly aggressively every time when their hero doesn’t come up on top in a comparison?

        And they also frequently give a nice, little insight of how it must feel like to have such a distorted view of reality to twist and bend every single event in such a way that the only logical conclusion is their hero is the best ever (any other outcome would be ludicrous) and every one else there is just to make up the numbers. Whenever he gets beaten, it’s because of external circumstances, the team, he planned to, or he actually wasn’t beaten at all. If they feel the need to, they back it up with the twisting and bending or completely just make up an argument from scratch. He simply can’t get beat on merit, period. On the other hand, whenever he ends up in front of others, it’s completely thanks to their object of devotion. No car, team, circumstances, no nothing, just him.
        Keep on denying reality batches.

    2. …and what the graph also isn’t telling, Red Bull send Verstappen 3 times out in traffic (Baku, Hungary and Singapore), both drivers being send out to do qualifying without a sighting lap on slicks at Austria and Max having damaged his cars twice in free practice being a bit too cautious, and the team giving him wrong instructions at Austin qualifying messing that one up too.

      At Belgium qualifying Ricciardo did, divided over both his Q3 runs, 3 good sectors, and they all came up short to Max’s. At Mexico qualifying Max did 3 laps which were all faster as the best Daniel could do. At Brazil Max’s first Q3 run he didn’t had the best sector 1, and when Daniel had a better one at the second Q3 run, he thought he could capitalize on it by being a bit more safe in sector 2, but he came up short (meaning he would have needed to take every bit of risk to just beat Max’s first Q3 with the not so good sector 1). Max did a good sector 1 in his second run, but made a mistake in sector 2, so if Daniel would have taken all the risk in sector 2, but Max wouldn’t have messed up sector 2 but had done the same as in his first Q3 run, Daniel still would have come up short.

      In ’15 already, Max was breaking about all the lap records in the Red Bull simulator, so if you think Daniel is going to have the measure of Max in qualifying in the future, you’re pretty deluded. Daniel can hope at best he’s able to stay consistently close enough and Max making regularly small mistakes in the future, or else it’s going to end up pretty one sided.

      1. I got a similar response on here earlier this year when I made the pre-season prediction saying Verstappen was easily going to have the measure of Sainz, and got asked in response if I was Jost (yes, he meant)…

        …but maybe you should read it again, because all I said, Daniel isn’t going to have the measure of Max in qualifying (and I’m not talking about if he won’t be beating him again in points over the season, which could happen), because Max is simply too talented for that, and at best he can hope for he doesn’t get blown away completely (which wouldn’t be that bad considering how good Max actually is).

      2. The 11 team bosses have voted for who they think was the most valuable driver of the 2016 season.
        Lewis Hamilton.
        Second was Max Verstappen, ahead of the new world champion.

        So there you have it. They think Max is more valuable than the current World Champion!
        Damn fanboy team bosses. What do they know?

      3. …And they also don’t show the poor pit stops that Daniel had this year. Spain, Monaco, Canada, Britain, Abu Dhabi.
        Some like Monaco was just plain silly by RB. Some like Spain, Canada and Abu Dhabi were poor choices by RB. Britain was just bad luck. Look, I am not complaining about that. That’s racing. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. Some seasons it works for you and some seasons it doesn’t. Example A : Hamilton this year.

        My point is that you are clutching at straws. Every lover of an F1 driver can point to times when luck or circumstances meant their driver was had done by. You bring up things like Max was good in all three sectors, but didn’t string it together at the right time. Seriously! That’s the whole point of qualifying. You don’t have to be better in 2 out of 3 sectors, you just have to have the fastest lap at the end of the lap.

        I think that in your convoluted Mexico Qualifying statement, you summed Max up 100% right now. Really freaking quick. But too error prone right now. You think I am wrong? In the last 3 races, he has had 5 off track excursions in either Qualifying of the races. The race before that, he pitted when no-one asked him to. How many time has Max banged wheels or gone of track this season in a race or qually? 15 times? I bet he has had more touched wheels and off track excursions in the last 5 races than Ricciardo has had in his entire F1 career. Actually, Monaco is probably enough to secure that record without any of the other races this season.

        Don’t get me wrong. I think Max is very very good. He may even be better than Ricciardo. Well, not yet, but soon. Ricciardo will need to bring his A+ game next year to beat Max and it may not happen. Max is very quick and if he keeps going the same way, I expect him to be quicker than Ricciardo at some point. However, I kind of feel like he is quick, because he takes more risks. That kind of approach means that you are likely to stuff up more often. If he does become quicker than Ricciardo, will it be because he is more talented, or just because he takes more risks? With risk comes the rewards, but also pain. I have been viewing a lot of comments on a lot of pages and lots of people seem to be comparing Max to Jean Alesi. I can see why. (P.S. I loved Jean Alesi)

      4. Those of you who think Ricciardo is going to dominate Verstappen for years to come have a thing or two to learn about F1 in my opinion. We have never seen a driver as young and inexperienced as Verstappen making his presence felt this way.
        You can’t compare Verstappens debut in F1 to for instant Villeneuve, Alonso, Vettel or Hamilton. They arrived at a time of unlimited testing and had driven F1 cars tens of thousands of miles before their debut. Verstappen didn’t have that opportunity, he started from skratch and I suspect it will take another couple of seasons before he has the same mileage in an F1 car as they had at their debut. On top of that the only experience Verstappen had in single seaters was one year in F3.

        Based on this Ricciardo really should have dominated him completely this year, and next year (it takes 3 years for a driver to understand F1 properly). But Ricciardo hasn’t been able to dominate Verstappen, and he knows the tide is turning. Ricciardos only hope at Red Bull now is that Red Bull is the car to beat in 2017 and his greater consistency will win him the title. He knows Verstappen will continue to improve for the next 5 or 6 years, and I suspect he knows he can’t win that battle in the long run. Just look at his statenents now about having to be on top of his game in 2017 to beat Verstappen. He knows Verstappen has been destroying the other Red Bull drivers in the simulator for a couple of years. That means he’s also well aware that when Verstappen gets enough experience to fine-tune his setup on track it’s game over.

        I suspect many of the established top drivers follow Verstappens rise with mixed feelings. He’s inexperienced, just 19 and not at all the finished product. But he’s allready consistently at their level, and on his good days he pulls of performances they know they are not capable of..

    3. @kpcart seems to be on Verstappen hate-campaign. Nearly every comment I see of him is a negative one about VES. They usually include RIC, so I guess he’s a RIC fan, but only in relation to VES (IE how much such and such proves RIC is better than VES).

      I get we all have our favorites and that’s fine, but an anti-obsession is really the opposite and just unhealthy.

  6. Considering Lewis actually couldnt take part in qualifying 4 times, and still beat Rosberg, that speaks for itself.
    The championship was lost because of those early engine problems. Many on the blog already saw the handwriting. Malaysia was the final seal.
    Rosberg would not even need to stress his engines coming second or third, the final 4 races.

    1. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
      1st December 2016, 16:05

      This. Even with some bad starts, Hamilton would have easily beaten Rosberg this year had they enjoyed similar engine reliability. Three mechanical failures + the start from the back of the grid at Spa (a consequence of mechanical unreliability) sealed the championship. Without them, this season would have been another whitewash – and that’s in spite of the problems getting off the line!

      1. @thegrapeunwashed But F1 is a mechanical sport and it’s just luck of the dice. I think the main reason why Hamilton didn’t win the championship is because until after Japan he seem to be at 90%, to me at least he seemed to get comfortable and compliant and thought his talent will drag him through. But in the last 4 races, once he realise that he couldn’t just sit back, he seemed a every different character and seemed to be at 100%, and if he did that all season I think he would have won it.

      2. You could say the exact same thing but flipped over, you could say he would’ve won even without the reliability, if he didn’t mess up his starts sometimes, and if he’d had good starts at Japan, Italy, Australia etc he could’ve won one of those races, which would’ve won him the championship. Reliability happens to everyone, it happened more to Rosberg the last 3 seasons. It’s a machine, it will fail at times. His own mistakes are his fault and are what cost him the championship. Even if the clutch was a bit messed up or whatever, Rosberg managed to deal with it fine, and Hamilton had the same equipment, so that’s not an excuse.

        1. Rosberg managed to deal with it fine

          He had 4 or 5 bad starts this season too, deal with it fine is not how I’d describe it.

          His own mistakes are his fault


          and are what cost him the championship.


          I think what this article shows (along with the recent team principal vote) is that of the two Merc drivers Hamilton was by far the better this season. He did not lose the championship because of his mistakes (Rosberg made more). He lost it because he wasn’t competing on a level playing field. Does that mean Rosberg doesn’t deserve his championship? No. Is Hamilton the first driver to lose a championship through bad luck? Of course not (It has already happened to him before in ’12).

          Ultimately Hamilton did what he had to do this season, he outperformed his only competitor for the championship and only lost because he had more bad luck.

        2. tgu (@thegrapeunwashed)
          1st December 2016, 18:12

          @hugh11, the point is that mechanical reliability isn’t under his control. Remove the problems beyond his control and his level of performance is far higher than Rosberg’s, even allowing for some poor starts. Hamilton had 3 catastrophic engine failures to Rosberg’s 0, had he only suffered to the tune of 2-0 he’d have won. He’s lost this championship due to rotten luck.

  7. I believe the last 6 races of this season Max out qualified Dan by 4-2. So i see a similarity with the end of 2015 season where Max took the upper hand over Sainz. Max was also faster than Sainz the first four races of this season, so I forsee Max getting the better of Dan at the beginning of next season.

    1. RIC is no slouch himself though…. IF the RBR is on par with the Merc and is genuinely fighting for the championship I expect a fascinating season between the two RBR aces and Hamilton and I think that Hamilton with all his talent ánd experience in fighting for titles would come out on top of all of them (with reliabilty being the joker-card for all ofcourse).

      I think we will also see that ROS is the 4rth best driver out of this group who, on his day, can still win a race or two but ultimately isn’t on the same level as racers. He’s a one-lap ace who can drive consistantly quick without mistakes when controlling from the front and who get’s his car back to where it belongs after a spin or pitlane start (see malaysia this year) but ultimately isn’t the wheel to wheel racer that HAM, RIC and VES are (and I place ALO in this group as well).

      That isn’t to say ROS doesn’t deserves this years championship this year. The cookie crumbled the way it crumbled and ROS capitalized. So well deserved, not an all time great.

      1. You say Rosberg might be the 4th best driver. But people forget that rule changes often deliver surprises. In recent times, Brawn, then Red Bull, then Merc. Even Hamilton may be #4 next year.

        Everyone knows about the RB threat, but what about Ferrari and McLaren. The rules are changing next year and it is time for a reshuffle. Maybe Ferrari will be the #1 team. I think that is unlikely given their internal turmoil. But McLaren might jump into the mix. I know right now that is hard to believe, but historically, it is a possibility. They are a great team with tier 1 funding and Honda won’t be as bad next year, so it isn’t that unlikely. In fact, if I was a betting man, I would bet that McLaren jump the most positions up the ladder next year. The WC is very unlikely though. However it is much more likely than a Brawn WC and we know what happened there.

        Who knows. Maybe Renault might deliver a tier 1 car next year. It’s possible. They have a tier 1 budget. They stopped development of this years car in about March and focussed on next year. Maybe they found the holy grail of performance like Brawn did.

        Everything changes next year except the engines. Tyres and aero are all brand new again. The teams with the biggest budgets will probably deliver next year, but that list includes Merc, RB, Ferrari, McLaren and Renault. Rosberg could be the 10th best driver next year. If I was a betting man, I would guess that RB would come out on top and Merc close behind, but who knows.

        1. I said “if RBR and Merc are on par”…. not sure why you need 600 words to say they might not be.

    2. Daniel better in qualifying
      Max better in races

      but switch them around, it’s a little marginally off

  8. Many strange failures and bad tactical calls on Ferrari to seriously judge each cars race pace, the season was a tale of two halves on qualifying pace. The last 4 races of the MErc drivers are absolutely unrepresentative as were the 4 last rounds of 2015. The end of the season in redbull saw a much more confident Max Verstappen anyhow I still believe Daniel is going to beat Max next season.

    1. unrepresentative as were the 4 last rounds of 2015.

      @peartree Why is that? Because Lewis so called toned down because he already won the championship? If you really think that’s the reason he should have a talk with Vettel about his 9 successive wins.

      1. @xtwl I don’t know what you meant with Vettel. What I’m saying is that because as both drivers have been and are most of their time together fighting for the championship, when the circumstances regarding the championship change, so should our comparison of both drivers as rivals, because obviously that’s how we judge them. We judge them on the assumption that they’ll do their absolute best in order to win what everybody wants to win, and that is the championship of course.

    2. Going into the last four races it was 9-6 for Nico and Lewis. Lewis did what he had to do and so did Nico, hence the 10-9 afterwards

  9. Why is the United States abbreviated as “UNI” instead of “USA.”

    1. Presumably just because Keith didn’t bother to use standard country codes and took the first 3 letters of the country name instead (except in the case of British GP for some reason, Austria too though it would conflict with Australia if the pattern was applied to them both).

      I dont know if F1 themselves specify their own abbreviations (I couldn’t find anything) but these are the ones that are not using the standard 3 letter code specified by the ISO

      Bahrain (BHR)
      China (CHN)
      Spain (ESP)
      Monaco (MCO)
      Germany (DEU)
      Japan (JPN)
      Singapore (SGP)
      Malaysia (MYS)
      Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates : ARE)


  10. I’d checked, the last time Raikkonen out-qualified a single team-mate over a full season was in 2005 vs Montoya! Raikkonen out-qualified also Montoya and his replacements in 2006 and Massa(5-4 up on Massa before his accident) and his weak replacements in 2009 as well, but for a full season it’s the first time in 11 years.

    Kimi is the feel good story for me. His return to form, after everyone had already discarded him is a lesson for everyone. Massa and Button aren’t here in 2017, but Kimi will be. If Mansell could win a WDC at 38 and be a race winner at 41, Raikkonen can be successful in 2017 at 37 also.

    1. I don’t mind seeing Raikkonen do well but the idea that he could be WDC again is pretty wide of the mark I think. If the 2017 car is good enough to be in the mix for a driver winning the WDC I strongly suspect Vettel would beat Kimi. I think it also has partly to do with motivation. If Vettel was fully motivated and in a car capable of winning the WDC he would be very, very difficult to beat.

      It should also be remembered that Massa and certainly Button were in far inferior cars to Kimi this year. It’s no wonder they lost interest. Jenson could have actually had a drive in 2017 if he had wanted it I think. Williams seemed very keen on the idea at one point.

      1. Phil, and you don’t think Kimi will be motivated? Especially as the next year’s car will be much faster and higher downforce are expected to suit KR’s more flowing driving style. Anyway, I didn’t say Kimi will win the WDC, only that there’s no reason why he can’t be competitive. But I wouldn’t rule out a WDC challenge from him, if the Ferrari is up to it(a huge if).

    2. I think Kimi will be a force next year, providing Ferrari fields a competitive car.

    3. what about 2012 and 2013?

      1. Grosjean outqualified Kimi in both years I believe.

        1. @jeffreyj @rolandgrant I’ve re-checked it now. in 2012 Grosjean beat kimi 10-9. In 2013 Kimi was actually up 9-8 when he quit the team 2 races early. So, my bad, although it wasn’t quite a full season it’s plausible to give Kimi 2013

  11. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
    1st December 2016, 19:14

    Nico absolutely smashed the average Lewis this year. The stats don’t lie. Lewis caused his own reliability issues by annoying the ‘forces from above’. Best to drop Lewis now, he’s over the hill.

    1. True they don’t lie, but … ..!

    2. troll alert!

    3. Get rid of this noob.

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        1st December 2016, 20:31

        @come-on-kubica Word!!! Fire Lewis and Nico!

        Get Kubica back and run 1 car instead of 2!

        1. I think Alain Prost should come out of retirement to drive a secondary effort car.

        2. Yes (@come-on-kubica)
          2nd December 2016, 0:23

          @freelittlebirds Mybe get Kubica running both cars!!!

          @krichelle You probably don’t even know who Lewis Hamilton is.

          1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
            2nd December 2016, 0:39

            @jabosha @come-on-kubica maybe Jackie Stewart can drive the 2nd car – we are all sick of these ballerinas out there:-)

  12. Can’t wait for the Red Bull fight next year. With the personalities they both have inside and outside the car, best possible advertisement for F1. Who’d have imagined saying that about Red Bull ;-)

    1. I think we’re in for some laughs next year. Did you see the Buxton interview with Ves and Ric? The beginning was hilarious. Can’t recall what race but it wasn’t Brazil/Brasil or Abu Dhabi.

  13. What was the picture before the last four races for the Mercedes drivers?

    1. That would be interesting to see since clearly Rosberg was driving for second by then.

      1. It’s not hard subtract 4 from Hamilton’s stats and you have your answer!

        You can see that from the visual table!

  14. Kimi qualified 11x ahead of Vettel and five of those were in the last 5 races; out of those 11 races he finished ahead 3x. Vettel qualified 10x ahead of Kimi and out of those 10 races he finished 4x ahead, I’m not sure what that says though

    1. You can say that when Ferrari driver tune his car up to one lap performance it sacrifices his race pace.

  15. With 186 points, this has been in that regard Kimi’s best season since he returned to Ferrari and the best since 2012. With Ferrari’s change to the push rod suspension and a James Allison’s car, the Iceman returned to his level battling through uncertain reliability and questionable strategy. Excluding his misadventures in the wet in Monaco and Brazil that ended up in retirement, he was consistent all season long.

    Kimi ended up with 128 points behind Vettel last year but managed to close the gap to 26 points this year. He scored in the 17 races where he got to see the checkered flag.

    His final score could have been even better without the retirements in Australia with a turbo in flames and the loose wheel in Austin, both races where he was fighting for P4.

    Also, he lost points in China and Spa where he had qualified in the second row and was fighting for a podium position when he was crashed into by his team mate and sent to the back of the field from where he had to charge back.

    As for bad strategy, he had races like Canada where Ferrari decided to pit him under the VSC… just when the VSC period ended so he lost time and track position for nothing, his race ruined being forced to save fuel and tyres to make it to the end. In Singapur he overtook Hamilton for P3 on track but Ferrari failed to protect him from an undercut thus losing a podium. Same story in Abu Dhabi where he overtook Ricciardo for P3 at the start and spent half the race in P3/4, only to end up in P6 after an undercut from Red Bull. Getting strategies with an extra stop in comparison to Vettel’s (and to those of RB and Merc) in Austin and Mexico when he had qualified ahead of his team mate and while running ahead only to be sent a couple of positions behind him made little sense and compromised his chances of a better result (in Austin without that botched extra stop he could have even finished the race).

    The SF16 wasn’t a bad car, it was certainly faster than the SF15, but it wasn’t a match for Mercedes from the start. Ferrari also failed to keep up with the development race against Red Bull already in Spain where RB outqualified them and even more once Renault began to deliver their PU upgrades. Losing James Allison halfway through the season left Ferrari with a car whose development had stopped around Spain and a technical team in need of both leadership and results. In that context, Kimi and Sebastian did their best with the car they were given. A car fast enough to jump ahead of the Mercedes in Australia or Canada at the start, then only good enough to qualify and finish in the third row like in Germany, then recovering enough qualifying and race pace for the second row depending on the track on the second half of the season.

    Vettel could have won both in Australia and Canada if Ferrari hadn’t failed him (and Kimi) with the strategy. After those experiencies, to avoid losing positions and points he began to question the pitwall instructions (like in Baku), taking his race strategy into his own hands when he deemed it necessary. An efficient strategy team was something the Ferrari drivers quite often couldn’t rely on.

    And between burning turbos, exploding engines, loose wheels, exploding tyres and faulty gearboxes, both Vettel and Raikkonen had to put up with grid drops or retirements all year long.

    Kimi scored 36 points more than last year with a car that clearly wasn’t the second best like in ’15, improved his qualifying form even from the first races and kept it that way all through the year, and was a perfect team player keeping his cool even when the strategy played against him costing points. For him, consistency was the name of the game.

  16. So next year Wehrlein to Mercedes…? Will he be as close to Hamilton as Verstappen is to Ricciardo… with all the expierence Wehrelin already has in the Mercedes car…? Ofcourse everybody believes he will be #2 driver.

    At RBR things are rather different, Verstappen was up there right from race one… and gave a hell of a fight.
    I most certainly believe scoring points wasn’t always more important, his action in Mexico was about prooving a point, strategy in Brazil as well.

    Down on luck a few times, from his bad streak HUN / GER / BEL / ITA / SIN / MAl at least 3 races where badly compromised by startegy or mechanical failures. Add the DNF in the US + Mex.

    Ofcourse Ric had the shorter end of the straw as well in for example Spain and Monaco, but didn’t suffer from mechanical failures which didn’t cost him precious points.

    Ric – Ves may become very exciting again next year….if Ves won’t beat him from race 1 on. we know Ricciardo can d it, but we expect Verstappen can do better.

  17. They’ll have to get a Vettel or Alonso to challenge Hamilton at Mercedes or it will be too easy for him.
    The challenge will have to come from RBR otherwise.

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