Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Sepang International Circuit, 2016

2016 F1 season driver rankings #1: Ricciardo

2016 F1 season review

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Comfortably the most successful non-Mercedes driver this year, Daniel Ricciardo won just once in 2016 but was owed at least two more.

Daniel Ricciardo

Beat team mate in qualifying15/21
Beat team mate in race10/18
Races finished21/21
Laps spent ahead of team mate572/1137

Red Bull weren’t on Ferrari’s pace at the beginning of the season until Renault introduced an engine upgrade at Monaco. Nonetheless Riccairdo took the fight to the red cars and impressed by beating them to a place on the front row in China. He was leading when a tyre let go.

That meant it was the other Red Bull, in Daniil Kvyat’s hands, which reached the podium first. But Kvyat lost his role as Ricciardo’s team mate after badly compromising his race in Russia. This turned out to be Ricciardo’s only point-less race in a season where he never failed to see the chequered flag.

In Spain he hit the front when the Mercedes drivers took each other off. But with Red Bull anxious to cover off the threat from Ferrari’s two-strategy approach Ricciardo ended up a distinctly unimpressed fourth. His frustration deepened in Monaco, where he dominated the weekend but lost the win when his team fluffed a tyre change.

Throughout the season Ricciardo’s strongest card was his qualifying performance. It wasn’t until Silverstone that he qualified behind his team mate, and he ended the year with a combined 15-6 margin over Verstappen and Kvyat.

As Red Bull replaced Ferrari as the second-quickest team, Ricciardo took the fight to Mercedes when the opportunity presented itself. He grabbed second in Germany (thanks in part to team orders) and split the Mercedes in Singapore.

It took until Malaysia for Ricciardo to claim an overdue first win of 2016. This was a showcase not only of his one-lap performance – he got through Q1 on medium compound tyres, saving fresh softer rubber for the race – but his racecraft, as he shrugged off a fierce attack from his team mate.

There’s no doubt Ricciardo will face an increased challenge from the occupant of the other Red Bull seat next year. Verstappen was a more potent threat in the final races of 2016. Ricciardo will have to dig deep to maintain his superiority next year.

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Over to you

Definitely the standout driver of 2016. His bad weekends were still seven-out-of-ten. His worst is ridiculously high and he definitely stepped up when challenged by a very promising young driver. The smiling assassin is my choice for driver of the season.

What’s your verdict on Daniel Ricciardo’s 2016 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments.

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The F1 Fanatic Driver Rankings are produced by referring to:

View race-by-race notes on Daniel Ricciardo

Australia – Made it into Q3 but was unable to beat any of the other cars. Hulkenberg passed him at the start but Ricciardo produced a surprise attack at turn three on lap four to regain the place. He rose as high as second place after the stoppage while running on soft tyres, but his final pit stop dropped him out of the podium places. He took Massa for fourth place.

Bahrain – A stellar qualifying lap saw Ricciardo claim fifth place on the grid despite having the fifth-slowest car in a straight line (albeit the fastest Renault). He tried to take advantage of the turn one chaos but ended up hitting Bottas with his front wing. The team elected not to change it – another indication the RB12 generates prodigious amounts of downforce. A very early change to soft tyres allowed him to use the undercut to his advantage throughout the rest of the race, and brought the car home a fine fourth once again.

China – Ricciardo fancied Red Bull’s chances of taking a Ferrari or Mercedes scalp if it rained during qualifying, but beating both SF16-Hs in the dry was an outstanding performance. He took the lead at the start thanks to his super-soft tyres but they let him down two laps later – a puncture forcing him into the pits. The appearance of the Safety Car moments later was a double-whammy. But a feisty drive through the field eventually yielded fourth place. Crucially he kept Hamilton behind early on then passed the Mercedes with a gutsy move at turn six.

Russia – Tested the Aeroscreen on Friday morning then got on with a typical programme, ending up within three tenths of a second of Raikkonen’s Ferrari. Red Bull didn’t appear to have the one-lap pace to beat Williams and Ricciardo duly lined up behind both of them. Contact from Vettel by way of Kvyat at the start left him with a badly damaged floor. A gamble on medium tyres didn’t work out ad he finished 12th after a second pit stop.

Spain – Responded perfectly to the challenge of his new team mate in qualifying, using just a single lap in Q3 to put him comfortably in the shade. It’s hard to see what more he could have done in the race as Red Bull’s strategy decision made the difference between the two drivers.

Monaco – Signalled Red Bull’s potential on Thursday, demonstrated it on Saturday with the first pole position of his career, and led masterfully in the wet conditions on Sunday. But for the second race in a row a win got away from him and the blame lay back in the pits – this time with his crew who failed to get his tyres out on time for his final pit stop. On his in-lap Ricciardo had been over two seconds quicker than Hamilton in the middle sector so this was a clear victory opportunity blown.

Canada – After Friday he said he’d be content to get within half a second of Mercedes in qualifying. He managed that with another superb lap. At the start he left Verstappen plenty of room at turn one but paid the price as they came out of the second corner and found Rosberg’s car in front of them. His first pit stop dropped him behind Raikkonen, compromising his strategy, and a lock-up meant he had to make an early second pit stop.

Europe – After being the first to hit a barrier on Friday he bounced back on Saturday, grabbing a spot on the front row by matching Vettel’s lap time to within a thousandth of a second but doing so moments before the Ferrari driver, putting him ahead. However Red Bull’s low downforce set-up meant they struggled with their tyres in the race and both drivers had to pit twice, dropping backwards.

Austria – Only had time for a single lap on slicks at the end of Q3 and although he produced a good effort Red Bull clearly missed an opportunity. Verstappen got ahead of him on lap two but Ricciardo lacked his team mate’s pace, particularly after the Safety Car period. He passed Button for fifth but wasn’t close enough to take advantage of Rosberg’s penalty.

Britain – Out-qualified by his team mate for the first time this year, Ricciardo reckoned Verstappen had found a faster way through the slow Vale chicane. He made an early switch to intermediates but lost out because of the Virtual Safety Car and had to catch and pass Perez. Appeared to be the highest-placed driver who did not go off during the race.

Hungary – Got within two-tenths of Hamilton in qualifying and beat his team mate and felt he would have been close to Rosberg’s pole time without the yellow flag. A rapid start allowed him to briefly split the Mercedes but he got boxed in behind Hamilton, allowing Rosberg through. An aggressively early second stop proved an unsuccessful attempt to get back ahead, and left him running a long, 37-lap stint to the end under constant pressure from Vettel.

Germany – Beating either of the Mercedes didn’t seem possible but Ricciardo got within four tenths of a second of them in qualifying. Gained a place from Rosberg at the start but lost one to his team mate. Nonetheless Ricciardo’s pace on the super-softs was better, and it could have been an interesting fight between the pair had Red Bull not needed to ensure both stayed ahead of Rosberg. Ricciardo’s path to second place was therefore made easier than it might have been, but both Red Bull drivers did well to capitalise on Rosberg’s problems.

Belgium – With Red Bull diverging on strategies Ricciardo lined up fifth behind the Ferraris and Verstappen but on the soft tyres. Once that trio took itself out of contention he occupied third but struggled for pace due to front wing damage. Red Bull were able to rectify this under the Safety Car and give him a free pit stop. From then on his pace was good, often a match for Rosberg’s in the final stint, and he delivered second place.

Italy – Both Red Bull drivers tried to get through Q2 on the soft tyres but couldn’t make it. Ricciardo was one-thousandth of a second off beating Bottas to fifth. Choosing to run super-softs for his final stint gave him a chance to pass the Williams, but he had a narrow window of opportunity during which the Red Bull’s braking advantage was bigger enough to make it possible, and he came from an enormous distance back to complete a remarkable move.

Singapore – A rapid time in Q1 raised hopes another pole position would be possible but he had to settle for second place behind Rosberg. He gave chase to the Mercedes all race long, especially when he had a chance to attack in the closing stint. Finishing less than half a second behind the Mercedes, it was clear he’d left nothing on the table.

Japan – Both Red Bull drivers had their qualifying simulations on Saturday interrupted by a Virtual Safety Car period. Ricciardo said a gradual loss of engine power impaired his qualifying effort, but he was promoted to fourth by the Ferrari drivers’ penalties. That was a mixed blessing as he started directly behind Hamilton, whose own slow getaway compromised Ricciardo. He made life more difficult by going off at Spoon at the beginning of his second stint. His final pit stop was both slow and too late to prevent Raikkonen demoting him to sixth.

Malaysia – Felt his tyres beginning to go in the final sector during his qualifying lap, and ultimately was beaten to third by Verstappen. However he saved an untouched set of soft tyres by getting through Q1 having only run mediums. He fit them for the final stint having brilliantly shrugged off an attack from Verstappen, who was on much fresher rubber.

United States – Split the Mercedes on Friday and lined up behind them on Saturday, the highest-placed driver to run the super-soft tyre at the start. That paid off as he got ahead of Rosberg and did everything he could to stay there until the Virtual Safety Car thwarted his efforts.

Mexico – Red Bull had a low-key Friday but Ricciardo was the quicker of the pair. Verstappen beat him in qualifying, however, as Ricciardo was perplexed by his car’s handling. He took advantage of the Safety Car to pit on the first lap and get rid of his super-softs, and although he worked his way speedily through traffic he wasn’t able to use the time gained to jump either of the Mercedes. He let Verstappen through when asked which proved prudent, as he caught his team mate and Vettel at the end of the race and their penalties eventually allowed him to take third.

Brazil – Another driver who felt he had erred on the conservative side on his final run in qualifying. Ricciardo caught a tough break when he fell foul of the little-used rule on pit lane closures having failed to spot the warning boards in poor visibility. He was also struggling with his visor leaking in the closing stages which partly explains why Verstappen made such better progress over the final stint.

Abu Dhabi – There was little to choose between the Red Bulls on Friday – Ricciardo was just one-thousandth off Verstappen – but the gap to Mercedes was a greater concern for the team. Verstappen led much of qualifying but Ricciardo pulled a great lap out of the bag at the end to take ‘non-Mercedes pole’. He couldn’t hold his position at the start on super-softs, however, and despite a strong effort he failed to pass Raikkonen on the track. The team arguably slipped up by leaving him out while several of his rivals were stuck behind Verstappen. Sticking with the two-stopper limited his points-scoring opportunities to fifth place.

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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121 comments on “2016 F1 season driver rankings #1: Ricciardo”

  1. Good choice

    1. I would have had him 2nd behind Hamilton.

      Daniel is good, but Max made him look ordinary in some races, and outperformed him in the latter stages of the season. Daniel seems to lack race pace in comparison to his teammate and seems a little less comfortable in the wet.

      IMO, Dan should be doing better against a teenage driver, new to F1 and the team.

      Team bosses placed Hamilton first, Riccirado below him.

      1. Team bosses is the only 1 that really counts, they have all the data, expertise etc.They voted Hamilton (Dan was 4th),

        Another interesting poll was SKY. Hamilton was first. This is interesting as they rate the races each weekend, so every detail is fairly captured and assessed while fresh in the memory. http://www.skysports.com/f1/news/12433/10676670/formula-1-in-2016-who-was-the-driver-of-the-f1-year

        And surprised the Red Bull poll went for Hamilton rather than one of their own boys ! http://www.redbull.com/au/en/motorsports/f1/stories/1331832086778/best-f1-drivers-2016-this-season-s-top-5-red-bull

    1. Ricciardo may have had the best year, but he is certainly not the best driver in the world. Lewis would rub the floor with him, and Max challenged him enough this year despite only coming into the car mid season. I see Max getting the measure of him with a bit more experience.

      He is very good, but he he just seem to lack that “thing” that sets people like Max and Lewis apart. To me, he is like Jenson Button – but better.

      1. I wouldn’t say he is a worse driver than lewis, he just has a different style. less of the aggressive all out of attack of Hamilton and Verstappen and more of a clinical race management style like Vettel. If Red bull give him a car that’s marginally faster next year, he’ll spend most of the season looking at the field in his rear view mirrors.

        1. I agree. I don’t think Hamilton would rub the floor with him. He would probably give Hamilton a run for his money. His style of driving is st least as fast in race pace. Maybe not qualifying.

      2. the point of your comment related to the article is? You said it yourself, he had the best year

        The rest, you can speculate all you want, we just don’t know it yet

      3. @kbdavies

        Ricciardo may have had the best year, but he is certainly not the best driver in the world.

        A statement which does not contradict @keithcollantine‘s ranking.

      4. I don’t know why people make Lewis out to be perfect. He has never been the complete package of a driver over a season.
        I would love to see Ricciardo in a season long fight for the championship. I think he’s mentally tougher.

        1. He has never been the complete package of a driver over a season.

          True. And can you name one driver who has? Or does that standard only apply to Lewis?

          1. @kbdavies – MSC in 2002 comes to mind. 17 races, 17 podiums, 11 wins, 7 poles, 5 fastest laps, nearly doubled his teammate’s points, nearly tripled his nearest non-Ferrari competitor.

            But no, it doesn’t apply only to Lewis.

          2. @kbdavies
            Senna in 1991, Schumacher in 2000, Alonso in 2006, Vettel in 2013. Just a few examples of championship-winning seasons more complete than anything Lewis has had.

      5. petebaldwin (@)
        16th December 2016, 15:10

        @kbdavies – My rankings for “driver of the season” and “best driver in the field” would be very different to be fair.

        If you are a weaker driver but manage to perform on a par with your teammate who is a much stronger driver, you have had a better season than them in my opinion.

        1. Very few can say it, mostly when overachieving in a lesser car: Senna in 1993, Schumacher in 1996, Alonso in 2012…

      6. You are correct, I’m not sure how one could actually derive who is the best driver in the world. So many types of disciplines.
        But to your point, the best driver in Formula 1 this year is Rosberg, he has the Trophy to prove it. Everything else is just opinions and debate… which is what draws us all here.

      7. Disagreed. I could totally see him challenge Lewis and be pretty much head to head with him, similar to Fernando in 2007.

        1. DANRIC is currently the best and most consistant all round driving package in F1…he just goes about his business with no fuss and very rarely makes mistakes..every team in paddock would love to have him…it is a no brainer he was no 1, RB got the best out of Dan, though it wasn’t a 2 way street… Dan got some awful pit calls right up to the race…

      8. Kb davies read what you said…Lewis wiped the floor with him and max….Lewis was in a 1sec faster car and lost to his teammate?????? U understand F1?

      9. @kbdavies

        I agree

        its become clear too that Max is RedBull’s number 1 driver, he gets the better strategy and really showed his mental agility when he backed Seb into Dan, eventually securing Dan the 3rd place. Dan is good, Max is better, RedBull have again decided the Aus is number 2.

        1. The fictional story about number 1 and 2 drivers at RBR should stop.
          Split Strategy always result in the danger one of the two will do worse.

  2. I’m not convinced on his number one ranking.
    I think he isn’t all that great considering the competition from Max.
    Then again, we may be considering drinking out of a shoe, in that regard, he stands apart from his rivals.

    1. Danny had a great year, having to really step up mid season, but in the last few races he was somewhat underwhelming. 8th in Brazil, while Max was 3rd and coming from behind, in Abu Dhabi 5th while Max was 4th and coming from last after first corner.

      I’m a big fan of Danny RIC, but personally i was a bit let down by his late season performances, maybe he lost a bit of motivation or maybe VES finally got familiar with the car.

      1. in my opinion you ricciboy are about the biggest craplog of the entire field, if you admit time and time again to UP your game only , after a worthy partner is coming in , you ricciboy have been embazzling your entire team and should be sacked or at least be demoted to torro rosso .

        1. OK, that is one way of looking at it.

          You could certainly say (though I wouldn’t agree) that his remarks about upping his game reflects that he goofed off in the early parts of the season. You could also see the same remarks as reflecting an increased insight in how he functions and the brains and maturity to acknowledge that and act then act on it.

          But then again, I tend to be more impressed with drivers that display a brainy approach to drivning rather than “mere” talent.

          1. @Bob C

            I tend to be more impressed with drivers that display a brainy approach

            like Max or Lewis then.

        2. Please, we don’t need uneducated comments like yours in forums such as these.

          1. +1 Totally agree !

        3. Henker come back in here in a few more years when your testes have decended…

        4. Henker you have a frankfurter protruding from your forehead

    2. The issue with Ricciardo is relatively slow race pace. There were a few instances where Max showed that and it was very evident at Monaco.

      1. It’s very clear that IMO Red Bull have possibly the best driver pairing in F1 at the moment. They both work well together and respect each other suitably to allow for good track practice…

        They both bounce very well off each other and use the momentum of each other to improve and motivate. This sort rivalry did not show with Ric and Kvy, but, by Ric’s own admission, Ves pushed him to find additional speed (which in itself is a sign of a top driver).

        There are indications that Ves maybe the number 1 RBR driver, but, by the same measure, also indications they are considered by the team as on the same step. This position is very well deserved by Ricciardo and Verstappen should be number 2, both have had a stunning season.

  3. Hm, not sure what to make of it. Was Daniel the stand out driver this year?

    He certainly started to get ramped up once he got a competative teammate with Max Verstappen. But until then I was actually disappointed with his first few races. And not just because of the car not being up to it.

    Yes, he could have won Monaco, and it got ruined by the team strategy and then messing up that stop on top of it. But it was Hamilton who told his team he wanted to stay out, Daniel went along with his team, and to me that was what did the trick, the botched stop only amplified it.

  4. Good. Fully deserved it, fantastic season. Outperformed Max more often than not, dealt with the pressure easily and got a fantastic win in Malaysia, which he deserved after the team lost him wins at Spain and Monaco.

  5. I’d say this is roughly fair. But I would really like to dispell this myth that he had some sort of flawless, consistent season. The amount of lacklustre races: Australia, Canada, Baku, Silverstone, Austria, Suzuka, Interlagos, Abu Dhabi. 8 races in which he was far from special. Yes, he didn’t make many mistakes. Yes, he upped his games significantly. Yes, his qualifying was impressive. But by the end of the season, Verstappen was firmly ahead, as this review quite rightly states. So, let’s not be too revisionist about Ricciardo, his season was good, but really, if he is number one and Hamilton two and Verstappen three and Rosberg five, it goes to show just how high the level of the field is right now (or, considering the amount of mistakes Hamilton and Verstappen made and the lacklustre races from Ricciardo and Rosberg, perhaps, how bad it is?!).

    1. Agree. Also he lucked into a 3rd in Mexico. He did deserve the win in Malaysia but he also lucked into the win too.

      1. not sure about the win in Malaysia, Max was on a different tyre strategy, they could have easily let him out without a pitstop, making RIC have to do the overtaking for the win. He might have done it on track, but RB chose to stack them together in the VSC period with 10 laps before the end, but with a big difference: RIC got fresh Softs, while VES only had used ones (due to his 1 more stop strategy).

      2. Jamie you fail to mention tmonaco spain and awful team calls like the last race

    2. Verstappen was NOT firmly ahead of Ricciardo, the review did not say that, it said Verstappen was a more potent threat.

      1. The Verstappen review did, and it also did to anyone with eyes.

    3. @hahostolze
      I agree, you could make a case for any of the top five. I think Keith gave it to Ricciardo in the end because of how he was cheated out of a couple of wins (Monaco and Spain). His performance did clearly drop off relative to Verstappen at the end of the year though.

      1. @George I don’t accept the premise that Ricciardo was robbed of a Spain win. His was clearly the preferable strategy, he didn’t manage to make it work that way. That’s not robbery.

      2. He was definately not robbed in Spain. The strategy RIC and VET chose was faster on paper, and the fact that VES on his first race in a RB managed the tyres so well was exceptional, making the strategy with more stops losing out just barely in the end. It’s the same with Verstappen in Malaysia, you could say he was robbed too.

  6. Ok, so for Ric you highlight all his strong performances, but make no mention of his poor performances at Silverstone, Canada, Austria, Japan, Brazil, Baku…. really???

    1. See the ‘race-by-race notes’ for those.

      1. But yet in the Lewis piece, you highlighted his poor performances.

        1. Yes it’s like Ric’s errors, poor starts and bad weekends get airbrushed out of history. I don’t think ‘see the race-by-race notes’ is an answer tbh @keithcollantine. Not that he isn’t a lovely guy and everything, but if they were set side by side with Hamilton’s and Rosberg’s I think we’d see most errors from NR, then DR then LH.

    2. what is it with people like you? this is a ranking over the course of a season, rankings like this take into account overall performance, and don’t simply look at negatives like people like you do.

      1. Read the Hamilton piece and you’ll see it was more focused on his bad starts as opposed to his overall performance.

        Attack my comment, don’t try and attack me. Because you’re guilty of the very same thing you’re accusing me off.

        Thank you.

        1. I also thought this, given that Lewis was placed second overall you would expect his article to try and sell that position but no it basically focusses on the bad parts of his season with very little mention of the good, if you knew nothing about F1 you’d read that article and think why is this guy ranked as number 2 he doesn’t sound very good where as this article is heavily focussed around why Ricciardo is perceived to be number 1.

          I suspect it was the result of not wanting to come across as a biased british LH fan given the hatred there is for him in this place but it has gone too far the other way imo.

          I disagree with Ricciardo being number 1 but then I don’t really know who I would put there in his place, there really wasn’t a driver who stood out over the course of the season for me it was a very “Meh” season in terms of stand out performances – Many drivers had some truely awesome moments but then those same drivers had some absolutely dire ones aswell.

          1. Many drivers had some truely awesome moments but then those same drivers had some absolutely dire ones aswell.

            No driver is perfect, and it’s the way it should be when the competition is strong. If a flawless performance would come from a driver, then it would be in a season where he had an utterly dominant car and no oposition from his team-mate… But who’d want to see such boring season?

    3. @kgn11 thank you for pointing this out!

      It is obvious people hate on Hamilton, and it’s sometimes
      Funny how they poopoo on Hamilton for being grim after losing s race, accusing him of acting “entitled”, then they give riciardo heaps of praise (post Monaco was EMBARASSING!), while saying riciardo was owed two more wins…

      We know you guys like his smile, but damn! Such bias!

  7. well deserved. best qualifyier in F1 – as shown by average gap to teammate, great in races, should have had all 3 wins that Mercedes did not get (got 1, lost 2 because of team errors). consistently quicker then teammate, very few mistakes, amazing passes – Ricciardo drove like a world champion. put him in a championship winning car like a Mercedes and he wont only be a champion, but a great champion.

    1. sorry, this is simply not true. RIC was certainly not consistently faster than Max. And Max was the one with the most overtaking. He might as well two races can win if the team does not he had made a second pit stop in Malaysia. RIC made fewer mistakes. That’s true. But put RIC in the winning car alongside Lewis and Max, he will not just be the World Champion

      1. Most overtaking, another useless stat. Either means your racecraft, starting, etc is TERRIBLE or your qualifying is as bad. Otherwise who would you be overtaking??

        1. Jamie you fail to mention monaco spain and awful team calls like the last race

  8. Ricciardo’s gift is, besides decent qualifying and respectable racecraft, spinning the media into thinking every early or mid-race opportunity for him would have been a guaranteed win, if not for… strategy.. pitstop error… Etc. Love most of his driving, but I was not so impressed with his self-victimisation after spain/monaco.

    1. agree on this, I was also not very impressed with his interviews post race Mexico and the fact he inherited a podium finish in the end.

    2. Then you weren’t impressed with Lewis in 2015 at the same venue either? I think its clear ricciardo lost the race in monaco this year purely thanks to that pitstop and i thought his reaction was full of dignity, other drivers would react in a worse way to be honest.

  9. Ricciardo was my number 1. He wasn’t spectacular in every race but he was quick and consistent and did it with a smile.

  10. Ricci rocks! I enjoy to watch how smooth he is behind the weel, reminds me of Jackie Stewart…

  11. We will see if he can cope with a pressing, only then to pic up #1.
    And the pressing is only when you are closer to WDC and you have at least 1 contender from another team.

  12. Lewis had a lot more issues than any driver in F1 this season – starts, engines, settings, unexpected collisions from his teammate. Even at Monaco where he made a super call and had super pace to beat Daniel, Mercedes nearly fumbled it.

    Ricciardo was good, Lewis was absolutely stellar and at Monaco the difference between Lewis and Daniel was as clear as the difference between Messi and Lewandowski. Of course, Lewandowski is one of the best but Messi he is not…

    Oh yes, yes, I forgot, Lewis hit the wall at Baku!!! He can’t be #1… Well, Messi’s hit the post quite a few times too. It happens guys…

    1. If we consider 1-2 is settled for Merc Ric finishing 44 Points ahead of Sebastian who has 3 DNF through no fault of his own (no i dont consider Sepang as its Seb’s mistake) and certain questionable strategies vs completely reliable RBR of Ric with only 1 non point finish in sochi due to his team mate i think he was good but not certainly a #1.
      Perhaps this season is like no one was really out standing with every one has off races and Mistakes by own and team via pit calls

      1. Especially considering every mistake of Ros and Ham has more severity than others due to their title fight, hence having small mistake causing big effect in outcome i certainly cant understand ric as #1 particularly with ham being #2

    2. @freelittlebirds
      Hamilton’s had more issues ANY other driver?
      Did you not notice that Kvyat had 6 retirements and only one of them was his fault? All the others were technical problems with the car. Even in Monaco where he caused his own retirement, his team hadn’t fixed his steering wheel in place correctly and they had to sort that out when he came to pit. Then he’s had multiple punctures during the practice sessions too. While I agree Hamilton has had a lot off issues this year, he’s had nothing like the amount of issues Kvyat has had. I’d possible say there are 1 or 2 other drivers that have also had more technical issues than Hamilton. Remember that Hamilton has only retired once due to a fault in the race. He may have had several bad starts but several times just after he’d had the bad start, he’d apologized to the team for not making the best start. He blamed him self for several of them so you can’t really say it was an issue. Most other drivers have retired more than once when it wasn’t their own fault and was a technical problem. Massa had 3 retirements where he wasn’t to blame. Vettel too has had plenty of bad luck. In both qualifying and the races related to his engine or tyre problems, more so than Hamilton. And so has Raikonnen. Hamilton most certainly hasn’t had a lot more issues than any other driver this year. For reliability issues, I would quite easily say it’s been Kvyat who has suffered the most.

      I also disagree about Monaco. Ricciardo would very likely have won that race. He was comfortably well ahead of Hamilton and then he had a 13+ second pit stop that very likely cost him the win.

      I can understand why Ricciardo has been rated number 1. He has been extremely solid and consistent this year and has also been completely error free. He’s finished every single race and the only one he didn’t score at was Russia and that was pretty much because of Kvyat I think. He may have been beaten by verstappen several times, but overall, he’s been better and at leased he has completely avoided any embarrassing crashes caused by himself, unlike Verstappen and Hamilton.

      1. @freelittlebirds
        Sorry, but I think I may have taken what you meant about Ricciardo and Hamilton at Monaco the wrong way round. I now can’t quite tell if you mean you could tell Ricciardo was a lot better than Hamilton or the other way round. I’ve explained my view on it above anyway. Sorry if you meant it the other way to what I commented on.

  13. ILuvSoundtracks (@)
    16th December 2016, 14:25

    Two years ago I were paying a lot of attention to Ricciardo. I was even surprised with his win at Canada ’14 and Hungary ’14, and all my eyes were on him for the 2015 season, which didn’t go so well.
    I didn’t pay a lot of attention to Ricciardo this year because of Verstappen’s promotion to Red Bull. But still, he definitely deserved to be #1 on the rankings because he had been waiting for a victory this year – this time it happened at the most shocking race ever [Malaysian Grand Prix].

  14. 1 Evrybody forgets that half way spanish GP the one stop didn’t look to be the best option, it was Max who made it work
    2 The best driver got completly humiliated at Brasil in the rain

    Max and Lewis were simply the best drivers

    1. The same driver you mentioned as the best driver has been “completely humiliated” by Ricciardo in Monaco…

      1. i really think you are too harsh on Max regarding Monaco. It was his second race ever at Monaco, first one in a RedBull, and above all in the wet. I’m not making excuses for him, he got a bit too agressive at a place where you really can’t play with fire, but everyone here compares RIC with VES like they expected a 19 year old to be perfectly in sync with a new car in the rain at Monaco.

        1. I see what you mean but it really was a terrible weekend from him, crashed 3 times overall, one of those was practice so he could have found where is the maximum he can push but he still crashed out of the race on the same spot…

  15. Still sad he lost the Monaco race. Imagine what that could have done with his confidence. Good thing is, it didn’t seem to have a bad effect, nor did Verstappens entre wir-th Red Bull. He just kept on going, that isthe stuff of champions, which clearly Lewis didn’t had this year, so yeah, number 2 is to high for him, he should be behind Rosberg :)
    To spice things up, seems Lewis can only win at Monaco when others have bad or luck when he hits the wall.

    1. Thats harsh on lewis about winning in Monaco he could have won in 15 monaco GP if not for Pathetic stop.
      But as you stated if we see Ric wins so far
      Montreal 14 – Both Mercs has Issues with Mgu-K and Ham retired
      Hungary 14 – Rosberg cruising ahead with a much bigger lead and an SC which is very timely for ric helped him to get ahead of entire pack and most importantly Hamilton has to start from back of the grid due to issue in qualifying
      Belgium 14 – Ham and Ros collision and Ham retirement
      Malaysia 14 – Ham retirement
      See the point and stop stating things against the driver who drove his heart out this season
      (To others this is just a info not any attack on ric fans)

      1. Correct point, al the more sad that in Monaco he would have won without Mercedes hitting trouble. But for his 2014 victories, the thing that counts is that he beat Vettel. Mercedes is like the 1988 McLaren, when they hit trouble, there is no shame in winning.
        To be fair, I have no idea about Monaco 2015, I skipped that boring season.

  16. I figured verstappen would’ve been #1… I don’t agree, but he was much more deserving than riciardo.

    At least verstappen took things like a man, and didn’t pout like a teenager at Monaco.

    Riacardo is a very charismatic guy… everyone wants him dating their sister.

    But the fantastic racing wasn’t there. Verstappen will wipe the floor with him in 2017, and f1fanatic will see the folly of snubbing verstappen for riciardo.

    X2 about riciardo being the new button, albeit with more shoeys.

    1. Verstappen may have been better on many occasions but Ricciardo was also better a lot of the time, got the most points since they were both at Red Bull and made no mistakes all season while Verstappen made many. In my view it is quite easy to see why Ricciardo is ahead of Verstappen and I don’t think Verstappen will beat him next year. His consistency needs to improve before I could say he’s at Ricciardo’s level. He had a dreadful weekend in Monaco, crashing in practice, qualifying as well as the race with no one else involved. Then also made several moves in Spa that were overly risky and he made light contact in one and very nearly crashed in the other. Then in one race (can’t remember which) he came into the pits thinking the team had pitted him when they hadn’t. No other driver has made that sort of mistake this year. Then, in Mexico, he forced Rosberg of in the 1st corner on lap one then cut a corner towards the end of the race that resulted in a penalty. Then, in Abu Dhabi, he spun himself on the 1st lap. Ricciardo just hasn’t made any of these errors all year. While I agree Ricciardo has had several races where his pace hasn’t been at Verstappen’s level, I think it is pretty clear that he’s overall been better. Once Verstappen stops making his mistakes as often as he has been, then I believe he could match Ricciardo. But he has yet to do that. I believe he will get better though with more experience.

      1. Then, in Abu Dhabi, he spun himself on the 1st lap

        …but still finished ahead of RIC. That doesn’t say much about this year’s #1 driver.

      2. Funny how these crashed in FP keep popping up for Verstappen. His weekend in Monaco was to soon… not used to the car on the most unforgiving track in the rain. About 11-12 drivers crashed througout that weekend.

        Ricciardo crashed in Baku and was awefully lucky when he hit the wall of Champions in Q3 at Canada… even Ricciardo’s wasn’t flawless

  17. Personally I’d put Hamilton first and Ricciardo second, mainly because of Hamilton’s need to fight back for the championship repeatedly throughout the season, which he almost won. But Ricciardo also had to respond to Verstappen and did so impressively. So first for him also seems reasonable.

  18. Daniel R. can always keep this ranking and others similar to it (that stands for he being the best in 2016) and enjoy with self solace. And IF someday he really achieves something important like winning a race (not inheriting one) or, of course, if he not only wins one or several races but also a drivers championship, then he definitely will forget all this nonsense and be a real and happy winner.

  19. first off guys this is just Keith opinion its no more valid than mine or yours.Keith is just a sheep naming the media fav driver,he is in the BUBBLE.when alonso and Vettel were the consensus he name them so bravery there.

    I think its incredible difficult to choose the best,so any one can make a case for couple of drivers,but in a clear instant of IMPLICIT BIAS none of Ricciardo under performances,bad starts,and being trounce in Brazil were mentioned,while every mistake Lewis made is micro analysis and he is even being chided for taking his eye off the ball because he didint win every race and take every pole……

    Riccardo performance and result reflects driving the 2nd best car and its no more valid than the 2 guys driving the bestt…but the trouncing he got in both wet races from Max disqualifies him from being the best…..imagime that happening to Lewis and still being named best driver?

    1. “Keiths opinion is no more valid than mine or yours” SERIOUSLY!!!!….Keith lives, breaths and eats F1…l dont always like what he writes either…John can you point me to your F1 SITE please…

  20. Agree best driver of 2016.

    Voted Rosberg driver of the year though.

  21. Well, the team bosses rated Ricciardo with 133 which is technically P4 on average across the board.

    P4 = 12 pts
    11 votes * 12 = 132 (one point short, one boss voted him P3 and another P5)

    If Daniel got a single vote for P1 from a boss, it would have thrown the other rankings off significantly – he would get 3 P6 votes for a single P1 vote (12 points to offset a 13 point jump from P4 to P1). I can’t see Daniel getting 3 P6 votes this year from 3 team bosses.

    1 Lewis Hamilton, 234 points (No change)
    2 Max Verstappen, 183 (Up two places)
    3 Nico Rosberg, 176 (No change)
    4 Daniel Ricciardo, 133 (Up five)
    5 Sebastian Vettel, 90 (Down three)
    6 Fernando Alonso, 67 (No change)
    7 Kimi Raikkonen, 61 (Up three)
    8 Sergio Perez, 52 (No change)
    9 Valtteri Bottas, 26 (Down two)
    10 Carlos Sainz Jr, 25 (New entry)

    1. So either he was consistently viewed as P4
      he was viewed as P2 and P1 by 2-3 team bosses and P5 and P6 by the rest.

  22. Agreed with the choice of Riccardo 100%, nothing more to say

  23. I agree….great choice!!

  24. Compare each race and which driver performed better that given race

    Ric (7) > Monaco, Hungary, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Singapore, US
    Ves (10)> Spain, Canada, Austria, Baku, GB, Malaysia, Japan, Mexico, Brazil, Abu Dhabi

    Strategy played a role in Spain, Hungary, Germany, Malaysia
    Mechanical issues played a role in Italy, Singapore, US
    Crashed played a role in Belgium

    No matter how you twist things, Ricciardo was more consistant, Verstappen better in races

  25. Absolutely right. A fighter if ever there was one. Just unfortunate that it didn’t show with the Mercedes superiority.

  26. Clearly the only reasonable choice for #1 was Ricciardo – and just about every other worthy outlet agrees.

    He had some shocking luck this season. Puncture in China, taken out in Russia, bad pitstop in Monaco, being put on a strategy in Spain where overtaking is near impossible with the worst engine on the grid, pitted just before VSC in Silverstone while everyone else pitted during VSC, was compromised at the start of the Canada race by Rosberg, stuck behind a poor starting Lewis in Japan, again his team mate was pitted under VSC in Malaysia which bought him into the race with Ricciardo before both being pitted under VSC, and then once again being given a poor strategy in Abu Dhabi.

    It’s a wonder he was able to finish as high as he did with all that, but his stellar speed and consistency came through. It’s also interesting that his engine was compromised in Japan and Malaysia and who knows how many other races which cost him in qualifying.

    Let’s just hope this year was the worst of Ricciardo’s luck out of the way as I think we could be in for a truly great fight between the two RBR drivers next season.

    Of course fans of other drivers will be blind to anyone else’s greatness but at least the respectable journalists can all agree who was the best driver of the season.

    1. OMG…. you summed up every excuse made up all season.
      Ric just planly didn’t get it together that well in a some races, he doesn’t need that large book of excuses.

      Btw you forgot the fogged up visor in Brazil which cost him dearly…. not!

    2. @guybrushthreepwood
      As I pointed out, it appears that most likely no team boss voted Ricciardo as the #1 driver and that includes Red Bull and Toro Rosso. In fact, it is more likely that Verstappen was voted #1 by a few team bosses unlike his teammate.

      How can someone be #1 if no one in the paddock thinks he’s #1?

      I’m not saying Ricciardo isn’t a top driver. I’m just saying “let’s get real here”…

      1. While the Verstappen and Hamilton fans cling to the “Team Bosses” poll (by the way, none whose results are explained or justified) , the proper commentators and analysts think differently and everyone else is getting on with their lives… :p

        1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          17th December 2016, 0:28

          What explanation does a team boss need? They have to explain to you why they think Ricciardo was 4th best?

          Isn’t it obvious he was 4 the best?

        2. ” the proper commentators and analysts think differently and everyone else is getting on with their lives… ”

          So those people know more than the team bosses? Ok

  27. Surprising. If Kyvat was still in the RBR car, he (RIC) probably would’ve had those gifted victories. RIC has been ok this season, but having his team mate change and MAX showing towards the backend of the season what he’s capable of? in a different car? I personally would’ve been happier to see MAX top and RIC 3rd, if HAM is to be denied the top spot. I guess RIC is a more likeable.

  28. placing ricciardo as #1 and rosberg as #5. right. qualifying is one of his strenghts, but his race pace is average. consistent,, but highly average. that’s how kvyat managed to get more points than him last year, and verstappen probably would have got more had he been in the red bull from the start of this year and not had more technical failures than ricciardo. this has always been the case in his career, he’s always been really lucky in terms of reliability, even at toro rosso. i admit, he got very unlucky in monaco, that’s the race he should’ve won, but up until that point of his career he was very lucky to get to where he is now; the top of the annual f1 fanatic driver rankings.

    everybody loves ricciardo, be that for his smile, his jokes or his shoeys. yet i still find myself struggling to like him, because i think he should have never got the red bull seat over vergne.

    1. @rigi I’ve heard so many comments about Ricciardo’s race pace and for a while I thought it was me and the team bosses who felt it’s lacking…

  29. With Verstappen and Hamilton at the top I can only look forward to more and more bias comments…

  30. Almost agree, but overall I’d give this season to Alonso

    So my ranking is:

    Take away the Mexican shortcut and Hamilton gets promoted to 18th

    1. Your post only demonstrates how subjective these ranking things are. Not that I’m knocking your selection, its just very different to everything else I’ve seen.

      1. Of course you are right, all these kind of rankings are subjective, and there’s the fun of it. Detracting the car factor (and team strategy, blind luck etc.) is not an exact science. It is totally naïve to go by the WDC points ranking when the cars are so different and they make up for at least 80% of the results. But it is easy also to overcompensate (and I surely do) because having the best car gives you less (instead of more) opportunity to shine. For example Alonso can get ten lap 1 overtakes twice in the season and that scores a lot in my book, but when a guy in a dominant car gets an easy pole position there’s nobody to overtake.

        Anyway for people who like a 100% non-subjective ranking of drivers surely f1metrics is the best out there. My list is very different from f1metrics’ but they both agree in something: Alonso was tops, and by a big margin.

    2. What do we have here? An Hamilton h@ter!
      Surprise surprise.

      1. why not a Haryanto hater? he scored ever lower!

  31. What can people say against this man?
    That Verstappen was better? The numbers don’t say so. Vettel? Not even close this year.
    Hamilton and Rosberg both made their mistakes.

    What was Ricciardo’s mistake this year? There wasn’t one.
    What can be said against him is that he wasn’t so competitive on some races like Canada and Japan, and that is that. No one can be perfect all the time.

    1. Say what?
      Ric has races where he wasn’t competitive – canada- Baku(latter stages especially) – Silverstone- Austria – Suzuka – Brazil – Abudhabi thats 1/3rd of races where he wasn’t competitive most of people take mistakes than being like this enough quite comfortably. If not for Ferrari awful mistakes and poor reliability Ric could be P4 in standings. Compare that to Ham/Ros/Vet/Max. He was no where when they are on fire or they had trouble free races
      There is no driver who was stand out this season from Top 10 of this rankings. Every one had fair share of mistakes

      1. @miki Baku both Red Bull drivers were not competitive. On Silverstone he was delayed by a VSC and lost at least 15 seconds to the top 3 because of it. Abu Dhabi if Red Bull had opted for the same strategy they used for Verstappen, he would be leading the race and Hamilton would need to overtake him on the track.

        You forgot to include Vettel’s mistakes too. Ricciardo was better than him this season and that’s the main reason he finished higher on the board, not Ferrari’s poor reliability.

        And frankly, where was Vettel and Verstappen on races like Germany, Monaco, Hungary, Belgium and Malaysia all of them “trouble free” ?

        They screwed their chances or couldn’t race him. Simple as that.

        1. Vettel mistakes costed him you must be joking
          Vettel has 3 DNF races where he was competitive and already ahead of Ricciardo put them together you have all the gap to 3rd and 4th vanished up in smoke and the races you mention and Ricciardo finished every race in points bar Sochi which was down to Kvyat who destroyed seb race completely and still finished only 44 Points and no im not even Going to Ferrari ever stupid Pit Strategies
          Germany – Ric was faster and Max was behind him Vettel was 5th the max ferrari can achieve
          Monaco – Just like RBR costed Ric the win Ferrari gone to Inters very early and costed him a podium for Vettel where as Max drove a very good race and crashed while pushing even more which is his mistake.
          Hungary- Vettel was faster than Ric but couldn’t overtake him due to circuit nature finished P4 right behind him.
          Spa – Vettel and max made start lap errors which didn’t help them but with out that no way Ricciardo can go to P2 unless you think other wise
          Malaysia – Max was faster but had to stack up behind Ricciardo for the final stop but due to Max strategy he was already used his fresh set and Ricciardo has his fresh set.
          Ricciardo was better driver than vettel but only marginally as he kept his head down not and Ham drove even better this season only to be denied by Reliability issues so i don’t see how Ric was better than Ham.
          Also same question where is Ricciardo in races i mentioned also about Yas You are forgetting he was on fresh tires and Ham is going as slow as he can go yet He couldn’t catch up to max who was in p4. i agree with British Gp though but doubt that has an effect on his final position considering how much difference is between max and ric in wet conditions after what we witnessed in Brazil

          1. Also you are thinking like had ric was same strategy as max can stay ahead in Yas. He was slower already on 2 stop how you think he can stay ahead of Ham with one stop. they all can breeze past him quite easily

    2. Sorry, can’t help myself but…

      If Ricciardo wasn’t perfect then he made mistakes. At least one.

  32. I can understand why Ricciardo was placed number one, when it was the competition for the most cheerful and nicest driver of the year. But the best F1 driver of 2016? I doubt if we think back in few years about 2016 and we will say, oh yes, the year that Ricciardo was so outstanding. Of course I’m biased, but I think in a few years we will remember 2016 as the year that his teammate got the headlines by his spectacular driving that made the fans all over the world enthusiastic about Formula 1 again. Brazil 2016 will be in our memories for many years.
    I guess we will see some more shoes used as a champagne flute next year, but I expect the balance between the teammates will shift towards Max.

  33. I’d rank Daniel first from 2014-2016, for 2014, for 2016 though, I would not rank him first. I’d rank Nico 1st because of the way he handled the championship. I still think Daniel is the best driver out there but his last 6 races were not as confident as Daniel seems to be. Max is good, an early yet late driver swap is a tremendous risk and despite the victory, Max was consistently slower than Daniel, but some time in September the dutch craze seems to have made a dent to Daniel’s confidence, not only he stopped being so authoritative and overwhelmingly quicker than Max but he also started doubting his Pu’s, under pushing in qualifying and overdoing his tyres, the pressure got to Daniel. Even in the last race, Daniel managed to beat Max in qualifying again, Max had a bad q3 and a bad start but somehow strategy saved him, Daniel was furious. Daniel is shaken psychologically.

    1. @peartree
      The Problem of Daniel is Max getting used to car lot more. Malaysia as quoted by Max is the race where he got grips of the car and most importantly he found the setup he likes rather than a setup given by the team to help him which is itself taken from Ric setup and fine tuning it to max liking. Once max got his setup he was just using it core and we shouldn’t forget one thing when Ric was faster he was faster than Max but when Max was faster he was often fighting with Mercs

    2. Mr. Pennyroyal.

      Your trying to make a subtile analyze, but it doesn’stick…
      Checking the actuall numbers, Verstapppen had better race pace in 12 races versus Ricciardo 9 (yes that includes the four TR races). Verstappen got it together in qualifying after the summerbreak, but was competitive right from race 1 on.
      If Ricciardo is rated #1 driver he should not have been beatable by a very unexpierenced driver who was 100% new with the actuall car.

      We keep saying Ricciardo is consistant, but if he upped his game and confidence dropped again then probably he isn’t that consistant after all (??). I think Ricciardo has been consistant with better and worse races, I feel Hamilton has been more consistant, Rosberg as well… even Verstappen has been more consistant driving the most laps on P3.
      Ricciardo point scores are consistant also thanks to some luck here and there (Spa, Malaysia, Mexico for example).

  34. Ricciardo better than Hamilton?
    Do you mean, the guy who was unable to match Verstappen’s speed?
    No way.

    1. Riccardo beat Verstappen. Your comment has no fact. What is fact in the last five races Danny ric was down on power compared to Verstappen.

  35. I don’t want to go on extensively but suffice it to say that Kimi , Fernando and Sergio drove better than did Daniel on 2016 . They were and are simply better drivers . Had any one of them ( and a few others) been given a seat by Mercedes they would have the WDC . I can’t say that about Daniel. He seems like a very nice guy but, does not have the brain that the others top drivers have and all other things being even close to equal its the smarter driver that wins .
    Case in point this year in Spain , Daniel was pressing Vettel and finally past him but, within seconds Vettel took the position back and Daniel could do nothing about it . Vettel just looked so much better, in control . Daniel seemed to be trying his best ,pushing the car to its limits and risking an incident while Sebastian seemed annoyed and able to retake the position with little effort . the juxtaposition demonstrated the difference in their level of driving. Vettel just looked so much better .
    Daniel is a good to very good driver but, simply does not have the mind to see things that the more gifted driver do and I don’t think that will ever change. He is the # 2 driver on his team and that is not going to change unless either he or Verstappen go elsewhere.
    Did Daniel have a good year ? Yes, but mostly because Red Bull was so good ,aside from Mercedes they had the best cars on the track for 2016. Ferrari was in a state if disarray and Red Bull’s aero and chassis work was just too much for anyone save Mercedes . That is why Daniel looked so good but,as pointed out by several: as the season closed it was clear that Daniel was not even the best driver on his team so-best of the year ? NO.

  36. My Top 10
    1st Daniel Ricciardo
    2nd Max Verstappen
    3rd Fernando Alonso
    4th Lewis Hamilton
    5th Carlos Sainz
    6th Nico Rosberg
    7th Valterri Bottas
    8th Sergio Perez
    9th Nico Hulkenberg
    10th Pascal Wehrlein

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