Felipe Massa, Williams, Interlagos, 2017

2017 F1 driver rankings #13: Massa

2017 F1 season review

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Abandoning his plans to retire and coming back for one last season initially looked like being a smart move for Felipe Massa.

In Australia he was the first driver home who wasn’t in a Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull. That was as good as he could hope for in a Williams with a customer Mercedes engine.

At the next race in China he struggled to make his tyres work in the damp conditions, but in Bahrain he was again ‘best of the rest’. Massa and Williams had hit the ground running.

Felipe Massa

Beat team mate in qualifying17/19
Beat team mate in race9/13
Races finished17/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate589/886
Qualifying margin-0.7
Points43

From there on the season started to get away from him. There were occasional collisions with other rivals, such as in Canada where he was eliminated by an out-of-control Carlos Sainz Jnr. And in Azerbaijan a cruelly-timed suspension failure ended his best chance yet to end his nine-year win-less streak. What a story that could have been.

Having been a regular in Q3 during the first half of the year, Massa’s form dipped around mid-season. Missing Hungary due to illness didn’t help. However his increasingly frequent Q2 eliminations brought an upside: they allowed him to start on fresh tyres more often, which helped him continue to pick up low points finishes.

Some of the usual Massa weaknesses were still in evidence. His contact with Max Verstappen at Monza and the Force Indias in Malaysia was unnecessary and he was fortunate not to incur worse damage in both clashes. He continued to look sub-par in wet conditions. One of Lance Stroll’s few qualifying victories came in the rain at Monza, and Massa was all over the place with his tyre choices in Singapore.

With the end of his career in sight Massa suddenly upped his game, starting all of the final five races in the top 10 and finishing most of them there too. These included a stand-out drive to seventh in Brazil, picking off Fernando Alonso then resisting race-long pressure from a quicker car.

Solid drives like this were the best Massa had to offer in his final full season. The FW40 looked capable of more and the fact Williams have dropped him indicates they are convinced they can do better event if they aren’t sure who to replace him with.

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Over to you

In the last races of 2016, Massa acted as a retired driver: his performances were so low that we were afraid about his level in 2017.

But Massa came back strong, performed as a team leader and ultimately helped Williams finish fifth. In mid-year Stroll started to catch him in race pace, but his announcement of “actual” retirement gave him the boost to perform his last great race in Brazil. Good luck wherever you go, Felipe.
@Diezcilindros

What’s your verdict on Felipe Massa’s 2017 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than him? Have your say in the comments.

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

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  • 55 comments on “2017 F1 driver rankings #13: Massa”

    1. “Some of the usual Massa weaknesses were still in evidence. His contact with Max Verstappen at Monza and the Force Indias in Malaysia”

      Thats harsh, since both incidents were deemed as racing incidents & in Malaysia he is definetely not the one to be blamed…

      I would still put Massa in front of Grosjean.
      His races at Bahrain,Brazil,Baku were perfect & im not sure Grosjean had a better showing(along with his unstoppable moaning)…

      “And the fact Williams have dropped him indicates they are convinced they can do better event if they aren’t sure who to replace him with.”

      Ideally,Williams would like to have Massa at standby while testing & examining Kubica. But Massa didnt want that & in a way, he “forced” Williams to decide before Brazil & as a result,they didnt renew him.
      Based on the limited options they have & the fact that they want a driver with around 15 millions of sponsorship(to cover their 2 sponsor loss), i’m not sure they can find a better driver that can lead the team…

      1. @miltosgreekfan
        I strongly agree with that. Verstappen was the one who suffered in Italy. Massa got away with it. Massa cost himself no time or bad damage. He did what was within the limits, although only just. Verstappen just took an unnessesery risk of overtaking when he could have waited until a later point. I can’t understand how this is a negative point of Massa’s season. He didn’t suffer and the other driver did and he wasn’t given a penalty. Just how can it have been his fault. it was 50/50 or Verstappen’s fault. I personally would class it as a racing incident but blame Verstappen more.

        1. @thegianthogweed True,it was hard racing but just that.

    2. Interesting to note that in Di Resta’s three years in F1 Keith rated him 12th (2011), 10th (2012) and 10th (2013) in the driver rankings. A distinctly better performance than most other drivers on the grid (see Grosjean, Magnussen, Ericsson, Wehrlein etc).

      If given the chance I believe Di Resta would be a significant improvement over Massa.

      1. We had much weaker drivers on the grid in the years that Di Resta was racing. There were the Caterhams, Marrusia and Sauber drivers along with Pastor on the grid.

        I don’t think Paul is a rubbish driver, but he probably isn’t much better than a Magnussen or Grosjean anyways.

    3. “And the fact Williams have dropped him indicates they are convinced they can do better event if they aren’t sure who to replace him with.”

      That’s not really true. Massa clearly didn’t want to go into his home race with his future unknown. For whatever reason, that matters to him.

      Williams weren’t willing to take their decision that early. So, Massa took away this decision away from them by retiring.

    4. Pinning the blame on Massa because of the Monza and Malaysia incidents is ridiculous. While conveniently there is no mention of Spain, when he was set to another best of the rest finish (one of the drivers that lost more points, with absolutely no fault of his own).

      Massa’s season was one of his best for quite a while now, we saw some glimpses of the driver he used to be, certainly better than both Haas, Kimi, and dare I say Alonso?

      But in retrospect, I haven’t read an overall good assessment on any of Massa’s races around here.

      1. @johnmilk
        I’ve reached very similar conclusions – with the exception of Alonso. I wouldn’t rank anyone higher than him (even though he’ll probably finish no higher than 6th here, which tells us less about his performances than about this ranking …), but I fully agree that Räikkönen and the Haases were very underwhelming, while Massa was a bit of a pleasant surprise after last season’s form dip, which may or may not have been related to the news that he was going to be replaced by Stroll.

    5. Agree with this ranking.
      As a frequent critic of Massa (after his Sauber days) and especially after his return this year, I will admit that ‘I was wrong’.
      Massa had a very decent year (not just compared to Stroll) and this is a much better final season than last year.

      Obrigado Filipe.

    6. I strongly disagree with Massa being ranked 13th. In what way were Grosjean, Hulkenberg and Alonso performing better than him?

      Grosjean was involved in quite a number of accidents himself, losing control of his car several times, and became the laughing stock along the paddock for his radio communication habits.

      Hulkenberg is vastly overrated, and it’s a screaming double standard to say that “Hulkenberg is great, because he dominated Palmer” while also saying that “Massa could have dominated Stroll even more”.

      Alonso, while his abilities are unquestionable, was not performing to his best this year, racing only half-heartedly and even retiring a perfectly funcioning car. He also decided to skip one of the races, more for the media hype than the real possibility of winning the Indy 500 as an outsider. His performance, hindered though as it was with the poor reliability of the Honda engines, doesn’t seem like top 10 in this season.

      Points-wise, Massa was better or as good as any of those three, and had it not been for the suspension failure in Baku and his puncutre in Mexico, Massa would have scored around twice as many as he actually managed to. Best of the rest on several occasions, destroyed his team mate on Saturdays and Sundays alike fair and square, there’s no way there were only seven drivers this year whom he has beaten overall.

      1. @palagyi I don’t recall him getting a puncture in Mexico, though.

        1. @jerejj Slow punchure on lap 4,while being P6 & in front of Kimi Raikkonen…He had to box & he run the soft to the end,scoring 0 points.

          1. @miltosgreekfan OK, that then explains why he stopped so early in that race. I indeed remembered that he stopped in the early laps and came back just in front of Seb, but didn’t remember/wasn’t aware of the specific reason for that early first pit stop.

      2. Massa better than Hulkenberg in 2017 – did you even watch the racing this year.
        Alonso’s ‘media hype’ must have worked well, as the serious motor press called it “superb” and “brilliant debut”.

        1. Provide some arguement at least, because asking if I have watched the racing this year is a rather poor reasoning.
          And I never said that the hype haven’t worked well around Alonso. I just said that he neglected his duties and disrespected his team in exchange for that hype (which is no surprise coming from him, but still).

          1. 1) positon in WDC
            2) points (per race finished)
            3) quali results
            4) most laps spent in 2nd position (or 3rd, or 4th, or 5th, or 6th), or average racing position
            5) who’s being retained for 2018
            6) ranking by team managers
            7) etc.
            You see, I don’t even have to compare them to their team mates, or explain it due to a weaker PU or car.

            If you missed all that, then I seriously doubt you watched F1 this year.

            1. Overtaking under VSC and SC; hitting the wall in Baku; getting beaten to the flag by Palmer (!!!) in Spielberg; messing up starts (especially in Sepang); cutting corners and not giving back the position to Perez, riding on the idiotic 5 second-penalty rule…

              Hulk’s only ahead of Massa because he got more 6th places, and would be nowhere around him had the Williams team been luckier. Also, it’s ridiculous to compare who’s being retained: Massa was on the verge of hanging up his helmet last year, have been in the sport since 2002, while Hulkenberg is only starting his 8th season next spring.

              7) etc. (This was my favorite of your kindergarten tantrum.)

              You see, I don’t even have to compare them to their team mates, or explain it due to a costumer PU or weaker car.

            2. This was my favorite of your kindergarten tantrum.

              It takes one …..

      3. Hulkenberg is vastly overrated

        While I think Massa did better than his ranking on this site of 13, I have to disagree that Hulkenberg is vastly overrated. He’s very, very quick.

        1. He’s also the guy with the most starts without a podium, and he was a shade weaker then Perez in their last two years together. A solid hand for any of the midfield squads, but not a future champion, that much is clear after all these years. Much the same as Grosjean.

          1. @palagyi Shade weaker than Perez only in opportunism. Perez could never truly match him in raw pace. It’s evident by their qualifying stats (35-24 in Hulkenberg’s favour) and overall race result comparison (23-22 in Hulkenberg’s favour when both finished).

            He has the potential to be a future world champion because the pace is there, he just needs to grab the opportunities presented to him.

          2. @palagyi But all that does not give any reason to rate Hülkenberg lower than Massa this season, does it?

      4. @palagyi This is COTD material. Massa had a fine season and I have no clue why the likes of Grosjean, Sainz, Alonso and Hülkenberg are rated higher than him. I feel like Massa was rejuvenated after dissapointing 2016 campaign. Williams will miss him next year. Doesn’t matter who replaces him. They won’t find a better substitute in this current situation.

        1. @huhhii The ‘likes’ of Hulkenberg, Sainz and Alonso had equally fine seasons, at least. So, there should be no reason to complain about Massa’s ranking? I disagree with Massa’s ranking too, to be clear. He should be higher on this list because he was definitely better than Kimi and Grosjean, but not because there’s nothing to choose between him, Hulkenberg, Sainz and Alonso.

          If you tell me that he was convincingly better than the three of them, then I disagree. Massa annihilated Stroll in qualifying, Hulkenberg annihilated Palmer all around, Sainz annihilated Kvyat in points and Alonso annihilated Vandoorne in qualifying as well…and to be honest, this is the only proper basis of comparison between the four drivers in question i.e. how they performed against their teammates. I don’t see how Massa being ranked behind those three drivers is a problem. They can’t all be ranked the same.

          1. @neutronstar Well all of those drivers had more mistakes of their own making than Massa. Massa wasn’t guilty of any point losses, whereas Alonso was sometimes outpaced by Vandoorne, he retired perfectly running racecar and collided with Magnussen by his own making. Hülkenberg threw out great result in Baku and Sainz in Canada. Massa didn’t have these moments at all. He got all out of the car everytime when it was possible.

            1. @huhhii

              Massa didn’t have these moments at all. He got all out of the car everytime when it was possible.

              That’s a fair point. Although, he did get outpaced by Stroll a few times himself, like the Monza weekend and the Sepang race.

    7. In what way were Grosjean, Hulkenberg and Alonso performing better than him?

      I am curious too to know why Grosjean is rated higher than Massa.
      I concur with rating both Hülkenberg and Alonso higher than Massa though.

      1. Meant as a reply to @palagyi

      2. Grosjean at 12 won’t be a material difference to Massa at 13. @demercer

    8. I think that Massa is a driver who excels when there’s not much competition within the team. He just seems to do better when he doesn’t need to play second fiddle or he’s not in contention with his own teammate. When he was about to leave Ferrari and go to Williams, he was outqualifying Alonso pretty handily if I recall correctly.

      Psychologically he may not be able to be the best driver on the grid when he has competition in his team but it’s possible that Massa is one of the fastest drivers in F1.

      On the other hand, Hamilton can’t compete well without competition and pressure as we’ve seen in 2015 and 2017 after he wrapped up the championships.

      1. I think that Massa is a driver who excels when there’s not much competition within the team.

        He did rather well against Räikkönen, whom he outscored, outqualified, and outraced during their common time at Ferrari.
        He was pretty close to Bottas in 2014, and even closer to Bottas in 2015, despite losing more points due to unreliability and blameless accidents in both seasons.
        I think he did just fine when the competition within the team was strong.

        In fact, Lance Stroll was his first team mate who hardly ever put up a fight. He was clearly beaten by two monsters of the sport (pre-retirement Schumacher and Alonso), as well as outscored and ultimately clearly beaten by Bottas, fared better than Räikkönen and Villeneuve (although it has to be said that the latter failed to impress anyone after 1997), started his career on a similar level as Fisichella, but seemingly dropped back a little after a one-year hiatus.
        Fisichella, Villeneuve, Schumacher, Räikkönen, Alonso, Bottas. I’ve seen less impressive lists of drivers.

        1. I think that Massa is a driver who excels when there’s not much competition within the team.
          He did rather well against Räikkönen,

          You just proved the point yourself ;)

    9. See, that’s what irked me about Stroll’s rating. Massa 13th, Stroll 17th – eh, not much to choose between them?
      Consequently, it’s hardly a surprise to see the method of reverse cherry picking turned up to eleven to justify how Massa can be ranked below average despite driving in a different league than his bad-but-not-that-bad (according to the ranking) team mate.

      Having been a regular in Q3 during the first half of the year, Massa’s form dipped around mid-season.

      Massa’s form or Williams’s?
      While that question may sound an awful lot like the chicken or egg dilemma, the stats provide a surprisingly clear answer. If we look at the qualifying results of the rounds where Massa failed to reach Q3:
      – Massa’s average qualifying result was significantly worse than in the rest of the season (14.125 vs. season average of 10.68), but the same applies to Stroll (16.25 vs. season average of 14.9). Stroll’s gap does look smaller, but does that really mean he was closer?
      – No. The average gap between Massa and Stroll was even larger in those races than it was during the entire season (0.784 seconds vs. season average of 0.702).
      There is no evidence for Massa’s form being the cause of his mid-season dip in qualifying. The analysis is false.

      He continued to look sub-par in wet conditions. One of Lance Stroll’s few qualifying victories came in the rain at Monza, and Massa was all over the place with his tyre choices in Singapore.

      As I’ve said elsewhere, the impression that Massa is a subpar driver in wet conditions, is a prime example of confirmation bias which originated in the 2008 Silverstone GP. The same goes for this season. Yes, he was outclassed by Stroll in Monza, and there are no mitigating circumstances, as far as we know.
      But that’s where the reverse cherrypicking begins. What about the wet qualifying in Silverstone, where Massa was 0.699 seconds quicker than Stroll?
      And what about Singapore? Yes, Massa’s tyre strategy was a complete failure, but were those really his tyre choices? Why don’t we have a look at the available information instead of just confirming our preconceived opinion?

      13 To Felipe Massa
      Massa stayed out on full wets.
      OK Felipe so let’s just keep warming the brakes and keep the rear tyres cool. Any puddles there, use the puddles to keep the rear tyres cool.
      13 From Felipe Massa I think I will be holding everybody no, don’t you think so.
      13 To Felipe Massa That’s a gamble we need to take now. We’ve got track position. There are other cars have stayed out on full wets.

      Doesn’t really sound like a driver who got what he wanted, does it?
      => This analysis is debatable and partially false.

      Some of the usual Massa weaknesses were still in evidence. His contact with Max Verstappen at Monza and the Force Indias in Malaysia was unnecessary and he was fortunate not to incur worse damage in both clashes.

      Clashes with other opponents are one of Massa’s ‘usual weaknesses’. Okay. Can I take a wild guess at the origin of that preconception? 2011, the season which saw Lewis Hamilton test the ultimate tensile strength of his car’s aero elements, preferrably by crashing into Massa? The season which saw the British press discover they really didn’t like Massa?
      Firstly, I fail to see how his clash with Verstappen in Monza was a weakness. Whatever happened to ‘rubbing is racing’? Granted, it could’ve gone wrong. But it was his only chance to keep Verstappen behind him, and it ended up improving both Williams’s final results.
      As for the Malaysia incident, I can’t think of many observers who put the blame on Massa. It’s easy to blame the victim in hindsight, but if we look at the incident from a cockpit perspective, there was no way for Massa to know Pérez was going to squeeze his car alongside Ocon’s, forcing his team mate to take a wider line. Pérez was invisible for Massa, and his line perfectly reasonable, identical to the lines taken by Vandoorne and Stroll (who were ahead of and behind Massa). Massa turned in leaving more than a car’s width to the apex (even two, by the looks of it). Taking a line that would’ve anticipatorily taken him out of harm’s way wouldn’t have made any sense. It would’ve required Massa to both be paranoid, and willingly give up his position to Ocon.
      => This analysis is highly debatable.

      The FW40 looked capable of more and the fact Williams have dropped him indicates they are convinced they can do better event if they aren’t sure who to replace him with.

      The FW40 looked capable of more – based on what? All I can see is circular logic at work.
      In fact, there was a discrepancy between the car’s potential and Massa’s results. If we look at this season’s results, we can see that, with one exception, Massa always finished in the points whenever there weren’t any major problems in the race. His no-scores were China (the one exception), Spain (collision with Alonso while trying to avoid Verstappen and Räikkönen, resulting in a puncture and a time loss of over a minute on the first lap – 6th or 7th was possible), Canada (Sainz, DNF on the first lap – 9th was possible, maybe even 7th), Baku (damper failure – possibly missed a shot at 1st, but 2nd was definitely possible), Hungary (illness; chance of points was vanishingly small), Singapore (terrible tyre strategy, spending many laps on the wrong tyres, needing two additional pit stops, finishing 11th – 7th or 8th was possible), Mexico (tyre damage early in the race, completing the rest of the race on a tyre that didn’t seem to work for anyone, finishing 11th – 6th was possible).
      And there were races in which he did score points despite being affected by problems:
      Russia (9th despite incurring two punctures, which cost him a likely 6th), and Malaysia (first-lap incident while defending from the leading Force India, finished 9th but 6th was possible).
      So, yes, with a car that looked capable of points in virtually every race (except Monaco, Hungary, and Singapore, but it somehow even managed to score in two of those races), one should expect more than just 43 points. But if we look at the list of missed opportunities above, Massa’s performances were good enough to score up to 65 additional points, if we take the most optimistic estimations (Russia: 6, Spain: 8, Canada 6, Azerbaijan: 25, Singapore: 6, Malaysia: 6 Mexico: 8), which would’ve been enough to rival the Force India drivers in the standings.
      In contrast, there are very few opportunities where he seeemed to have wasted points. China was such a race, where he failed to convert his excellent grid position (6th) into points (7th might’ve been possible). The car didn’t seem to like the drying conditions at all, but who knows if there are drivers who would’ve succeeded in making the tyres work that day. Then there’s Monza, where it’s conceivable that he could’ve finished the race in 6th instead of 8th if only he had qualified as high as his team mate, instead of finishing the race banging wheels with this team mate, who had started 5 places further ahead. And even if we were to blame Massa for the points he lost in Singapore and Malaysia, that’d result in a tally of 22 lost points (including 12 points that I think are highly debatable), a figure that is absolutely dwarfed by the points he lost due to misfortune.
      But even so, it wouldn’t really have changed anything. Even if he had scored all those points he lost due to incidents (quite a long list) and his own shortcomings (quite a short list), he would’ve scored a maximum of 118 points. Seeing as these ‘adjusted’ results would’ve put him ahead of Stroll in 6 of the 7 races in which the latter scored points, Stroll’s tally would drop from 40 to just 30 points, resulting in a team result of 148 points, which is still almost 40 points short of Force India’s final result (28 if we adjust their race results accordingly).
      Long story short: Where’s the evidence that Massa underperformed (significantly)? I just don’t see it.

      As for the final question:

      Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than him?

      Better? Hard to say. His pace is nigh impossible to assess, but his results (and especially his potential results if we look closely at all those opportunities where he lost points without being to blame for it) portray him as one of the most consistent and reliable drivers in the midfield, and while it is absolutely obvious that the McLaren was rarely a match for the Williams and only carried by Alonso’s extraordinary skill and ambition, I think it is quite telling that Massa spent many a race doing battle with Alonso, and that they treated each other as equals.
      Whom would I rank lower than Massa? All the drivers already mentioned, with a bit of a question mark in the cases of Vandoorne (was crushed by Alonso but plagued by unreliable material) and Wehrlein (showed many flashes of potential, but the situation at Sauber is rather murky, to say the least). Of the drivers who haven’t been mentioned yet, I’d rate two lower than Massa: Grosjean (I do believe in his talent, but he had too few good performances and too many inconsistencies, some but not all of which were the car’s fault) and Räikkönen (whose lowly results in a mightily competitive car are simply unforgiveable, especially considering that the huge gap behind the top 3 teams means that the results never really represented how badly he underperformed).

      I would’ve ranked Massa 11th, perfectly solid midfield, and Stroll 20th (not even Palmer was that bad). That would be in line with their respective performances throughout the season. 13th and 17th makes absolutely no sense to me. That’s overvaluing the one and undervaluing the other, based on not much more than personal preference and antipathy.

      1. @nase
        +1000000000000

        Just in Spain,he was in front of the 2 F.I when he got the punchure,so in your optimal scenario,he lost 12 points.

        1. @miltosgreekfan
          I’m not even sure I know how to pronounce that number …
          But you’re absolutely right, he was indeed ahead of the Force India duo. So, yeah, the most optimistic estimation should take that into consideration, even if those 4 points hardly change anything.

      2. Felipe baby, is that you?

        Wow…

      3. 13th and 17th makes absolutely no sense to me. That’s overvaluing the one and undervaluing the other

        Ranking one driver 13th and another 17th does not say anything about the absolute difference in ranking between these drivers, it only says that the first driver is ranked higher than the second driver as well as 3 other drivers (numbers 14th, 15th and 16th). It could be that the driver ranked 13th is absolutely seen 10 times better as the 17th driver, and just a little bit less good as the 12th ranked driver…

        1. or at
          – 17th only 3 are worse;
          – at 13th, there are 7 worse drivers.
          Ergo Massa is more than twice as good as Stroll ;)
          (half full or half empty)

      4. Analysis of the day.

        Where do I sign?

      5. Fantastic post. Sadly this is a very biased article. Cherry picking Massa’s faults for an excuse to put him down the order.

    10. 20. Palmer (waste of seats for two years in a row)
      19. Ericsson (waste of seats for third year in a row)
      18. Stroll (exactly as pampered as mediocre)
      17. Kvyat (wasted talent with regular feeding frenzy)
      16. Magnussen (was more decent in the Renault last year, should’ve stayed there)
      15. Raikkonen (waste of a top-tier seat for third year in a row; has his part in the Singapore fiasco)
      14. Wehrlein (should have been considered by Williams for next year, shame about his age)
      13. Vandoorne (put up a decent fight)
      12. Grosjean (did rather okay, but he’ll step up to any of the top teams)
      11. Hulkenberg (solid job, nothing extraordinary)
      = Alonso (solid job, whines exactly as much as Grosjean, but at least he won two titles 11 seasons ago)
      = Massa (solid job, nothing extraordinary, Williams would still be a distant fifth even if he had better luck)
      8. Bottas (had wins and poles in the best car, which is okay; never in the same league with Hamilton)
      7. Perez (as fast as his car, but his ego cost definitely cost him and the team podiums)
      6. Ocon (as fast as his car, best rookie this year; not entirely blameless for the in-house collisions either)
      5. Sainz (the fact that he’s worth enough to settle an engine trade between 3 teams says everything)
      4. Verstappen (won twice, but seemed more unspirited when his share of failures went about)
      3. Ricciardo (won only once, in the end had worse reliability, still came out on top)
      2. Vettel (valiant effort, apart from Baku and Singapore; but those races did happen)
      1. Hamilton (top-shelf job with many records broken; however, the fact that about 60-70% of his wins, poles and fastest laps have been amassed in the last 30% of his career say more about Mercedes than him)

      …would be my ranking.

      1. @palagyi Would be interesting to hear how Kimi had any effect on Singapore clash. He drove a straight line since the start. Others collided to him, not the other way around.
        He was also faster than/on pace with Vettel everytime when strategy didn’t screw him up in 2016. So I don’t get this “waste of a seat for 3 years in a row” at all.

        1. Kimi should have been more catiuos at that crucial time in the championship at a wet start, simple as that. I didn’t say it was HIS fault: I said he had his part in it.

          Also, he’s been playing second fiddle to Vettel ever since the start of 2015. While his results on paper don’t look half bad, a former champion in a Ferrari should be able to do better, or leave. I think it would be more interesting to see some young talent against Vettel in the Ferrari, who wouldn’t be such a safe bet. Perez, Verstappen, Ricciardo, all of them would be more exciting.

      2. @palagyi
        I know I am known for criticising Sainz a bit, but man 5th is high! He’s had several very messy races this year and has been responsible for more retirements than any other driver as well as collecting a fair chunk of penalty points. I also think you have ranked Ericsson and Wehrlein a bit far apart in 19th and 14th given they are the most closely matched pair on the grid in qualifying and if anything have very similar pace in the races too. Ericsson certainly has made more mistakes, but not enough to warrant a 5 place gap between them IMO.

        I agree with that Palmer is last and probably your first 4 in that order maybe too. But I think I would add Alonso after Verstappen, then probably Bottas. I think Bottas has on average been better than Perez and Ocon and he hasn’t made a single big mistake that he was deemed responsible for. He’s also the one of only 2 drivers on the grid who has stayed clear of penalty points all season. He may be a bit to cautious at times but by doing this, he usually keeps out of trouble and brings great results home.

        I think many will disagree about rating Ricciardo above Verstappen, but I think I may possibly do that myself. Their luck has been remarkably close now. Verstappen 7 retirements and Ricciardo 6. Ricciardo has had more grid penalties and more of his retirements were related to reliability than Verstappen. And IMO, at leased one of Verstappen’s retirements was partly related to him being a little too risky in Spain. Verstappen has also been responsible for Ricciardo’s only not mechanical DNF which is another negative towards Verstappen unfortunately. I know Verstappen has had one more retirement than Ricciardo, but the interesting thing is that Horner said Red Bull were by far at their strongest in Malaysia, Japan, USA and Mexico. 2 of which Verstappen showed Red Bull clearly very strong and capable of winning. But in 2 of these 4 races, Ricciardo had to retie. I think the bad luck is even or possibly worse on Ricciardo’s side and yet he still has 32 points more. But Verstappen has been quite a lot better in qualifying. One area where it is clear that overall he has got the better of Ricciardo. One other area is his starts. But there has been such a lack of evidence with the rest that it is hard to tell really. So I would either rate them even or possibly Ricciardo ahead as the points gap is over a race win even though their reliability has been about the same. He’s also the only other driver who has got no penalty points this season who has been racing all year. Same as Bottas managed.

        I also think Massa, Grosjean and Vandoorne, Stroll Magnussen in your rankings are about where I would vote them.

        It is always interesting seeing others views. I agree with some but as I said, strongly disagree with one or 2. Was a good read though!

        1. Ricciardo was absolutely ok, but verstappen was better, if you go look at the points lost through reliability, it will explain the points difference.

          Verstappen had a clutch failure that caused him to get hit by kvyat in austria, that’s 12 points, then he lost a likely win (was ahead of ricciardo) in baku, which is a 32 points swing on ricciardo, had another lost 2nd place and again was ahead of ricciardo, 21 points swing, in canada, and a brake failure, I think he was 4th? Not sure, in that case it’s 14 points swing against ricciardo, and again belgium, where he had another problem early on which in hindsight costed him 3rd which ricciardo got, 18 points swing.

          So that’s 97 points here, let’s see ricciardo ones now.

          I’d say he lost 8 points in russia cause ultimately he’d have been 6th, then he was obviously on course for 3rd as he started a lot ahead of verstappen, in austin, so that’s a 18 points swing, in mexico he was recovering greatly and would’ve likely ended up behind or in front of raikkonen, let’s say even 3rd, 15 points, and then abu dhabi he was gonna get 4th, so 14 points swing, as you can see that’s only 55.

          As you can see bad luck can CLEARLY explain the difference, then verstappen may have lost more points through risks, especially at start, than ricciardo, but that is already included in the bad luck, even just the mechanical problems already cost verstappen 42 points compared to ricciardo.

          Again I think ricciardo has been decent, just a little worse than verstappen.

          1. Forgot to put @thegianthogweed and agree with the rest of the rankings, namely alonso must be among the top, not 10th, massa can be 10-11th, little better than he was ranked here.

    11. I agree with comments defending Massa. There is no evidence that he underperformed unless we take 2016 as his current form, which I disagree with. Monza and Malaysia his fault?! And with Stroll ahead of Kvyat and Ericsson, then Massa is easily the top 10, which would have been fair.

      1. True, massa did very well this season.

    12. Grosjean ahead of Massa is absolutely ridiculous.

    13. Keith runs a good site but his inability to (objectively) judge driver performances is amusing to read. In the case of Massa it has been like that for years and it would be interesting to know the reason for the obvious antipathy.
      Being such a seasoned watcher of Formula 1 and being so comprehensively exposed by nase and others must feel embarrasing.

    14. @keithcollantine I love your website but your bias against Massa has always been a sad feature.

      “His contact with Max Verstappen at Monza and the Force Indias in Malaysia was unnecessary” – And the other drivers in these incidents weren’t to blame at all?

      “Massa was all over the place with his tyre choices in Singapore.” – Williams completely messed up his strategy. You’re being very nitpicky.

      “The FW40 looked capable of more and the fact Williams have dropped him indicates they are convinced they can do better event if they aren’t sure who to replace him with.” – And yet they keep Stroll.

      Massa had an excellent season.

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