2017 F1 driver rankings #7: Perez

2017 F1 season review

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Sergio Perez had his work cut out to keep rising star Esteban Ocon in his place during 2017. He prevailed but it was too close for comfort – hence their consecutive positions in the rankings.

Perhaps Perez could have played this one better. In Canada the team wanted to switch the running order of its drivers and asked Perez to let Ocon by, telling him the positions would be reversed if Ocon failed to gain any ground. Perez wasn’t having any of it.

Sergio Perez

Beat team mate in qualifying13/20
Beat team mate in race11/18
Races finished19/20
Laps spent ahead of team mate706/1102
Qualifying margin-0.07

This sowed the seeds of the discord which followed and ultimately led to the collisions between the pair at Baku, Hungaroring and Spa. Of course Perez does not solely carry the responsibility for these: he had as much chance to avoid them as his team mate.

Eventually it led Force India to forbid their drivers from racing each other. Perez therefore had to sit behind his team mate in several of the later races.

This was a classic case of two drivers with similar strengths in the same cars finding each other on a collision course. Perez was every bit as consistent as his team mate, right down to the detail of his non-score in Monaco, where he collided with Daniil Kvyat. Those clashes with Ocon cost him points finished in Azerbaijan and Belgium too but at every other race he finished in the top ten.

Early in the season, before Ocon had got into his stride, Perez bagged plenty of points in a car which wasn’t as competitive as it became later in the year. His recovery drive to seventh from 18th on the grid in Bahrain was particularly special. In Spain he was quick enough that it didn’t matter he lost time in the pits, and earned a season-best fourth for the team.

After a strong fifth in difficult conditions in Singapore, Perez produced one of the grittiest drives of the year in Malaysia. Despite being so unwell he was on a drip before the race began, he rose from ninth on the grid to finish sixth.

For the third year running Perez faced disappointment at home. As well as running behind Ocon the Virtual Safety Car cost him a place to Lance Stroll. But Ocon’s retirement in Brazil meant Perez ended the year as the top driver in ‘class B’. He can expect a tougher time from his team mate next year, though.

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Over to you

He did outscore his team mate, but was clearly rattled by him, and had quite a few silly moments throughout the year. Since Spain he was outscored 68-66. Still did well though, and continues to be one of the ‘best of the rest’. Season will mostly be remembered for his battle with his team and team mate.

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

Add your views on the other drivers here:

2017 F1 season review

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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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43 comments on “2017 F1 driver rankings #7: Perez”

  1. In the end I agree with Pérez being ranked 1 place higher than Ocon. But at this moment I fail to see why both of them are ranked lower than Bottas (which will be ranked 6th I guess). I put Bottas below both of the FI-drivers myself.

      1. It’s a really tough one – Bottas ultimately scored almost as many points as Vettel and scored exactly 100 points more than Raikonnen.

        It was not an ideal season for him but it wasn’t a terrible one either. Bottas’ performance looks lackluster only in comparison to his teammate, Lewis but that wasn’t his fault.

        1. @freelittlebirds
          I think half the grid could have scored as much points if not more with that Mercedes. The fact that this is the first time in the hybrid era that a non Mercedes driver is classified 2nd in the constructors championship says it all.
          Bottas has only Lewis to beat, that’s a tough task I know but he wasn’t even close and in many races he was beaten pace wise by Vettel Max and RIC while Lewis was flying with the W08

          1. @tifoso1989 I’m not sure half the grid they could have scored as many points. Vettel scored a few more points – does he belong in P7 or P8 when the Ferrari was a WDC and WCC contender this year?

            Look at Lewis’s performance after winning the WDC – he let up just a little and he didn’t get a single pole or victory in the last 3 races. That tells me that Lewis was pushing to the absolute limit and the car wasn’t easy to set up or drive.

            Personally, I wouldn’t put Bottas in the top 5 but I would put him in P6 because he was able to ultimately challenge Vettel. He won 3 races, had 3 poles and 13 podiums and broke 300 points winning the WCC for Mercedes and helping them win the WDC without playing 2nd fiddle like other teams do.

          2. @freelittlebirds
            I would rate Bottas 6th too I think. Just to add, he had 4 poles ;) And it certainly is a positive that he had as many podiums as Vettel and Hamilton which shows he is pretty consistent. I also think that the fact Bottas is sometimes overly cautious brings home results, as it keeps him out of trouble and makes the most of it if things happen around him. He doesn’t go for it as much as other drivers do, but if you look at all the penalty points this season, Bottas and Ricciardo are the only drivers on the grid who don’t have any. Bottas is a very solid driver, just not as interesting as others. But he’s got 84% of Hamilton’s points in his first season and 45% of the teams points too. I can’t say that is bad considering Hamilton is now in his 5th year with the team and is often rated the very best out there.

    1. (@demercer)
      Keith has fell into the usual trap of grading drivers by the strength of their cars. You can’t reasonably say Vettel, or even Bottas drove better than Ocon or Hulk this year – they just sat in far superior machinery.

      Vettel managed to lose with 3 races remaining with a WDC capable car and compliant teammate, and Bottas was absolutely nowhere for pace for about half the season. Admittedly he was up against some of the steepest competition out there and it was a difficult car, but when you’re promoted to a top team you need to be able to find that performance no matter where the car is at.

      In regards to Perez, I’d rate him below Ocon simply by virtue of the fact that he was matched so consistently by a newbie to both the team and the sport, and was rattled so deeply that his behaviour was appalling.

  2. Call me harsh, but Perez and Ocon being 7th and 8th despite collectively throwing away bags of points (with the team also deserving a sizeable chunk of blame) demonstrates that, on average, driving standards throughout the field this season have been quite poor.

    1. I’d say Hulkenberg and Sainz could both be above the two FI’s – I myself had Hulk 6th, Bottas 7th, Ocon 8th, Sainz 9th and Perez 10th.

      1. Hulk dashed away a certain podium in Baku. Perez would have sewn it up like it was nothing. Hulk just a slither below Perez until he learns to carry things through.

  3. Honestly, what are we doing here?

    1. That’s a toughie. For myself I think we’re just trying to make sense of the accidental yet ordered complexity of nature as we speed through the empty vastness of space on a pale blue dot on the outer arm of one of a billion galaxies we can’t ever hope to reach… how about you?

      1. Great comment there @maciek! I hope we also enjoy it while doing so :-)

        1. @bascb I figured the question above deserved a thoughtful answer ; )

      2. Michael Brown (@)
        15th December 2017, 21:23

        In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made many people angry and is widely regarded as a bad move.

  4. He cost his team mate quite a few points in Canada, he thinks he’s better than he actually is, I suspect he will be a bit of a journeyman racer over the next 10 years, close but no cigar.

    1. They all think they are better than they actually are.

      Sometimes even I from the comfort of my coach I start wondering what could have been, deep down I think I have it in me, but I don’t

      1. Isn’t that a prerequisite for competitors in sports?

        Of course both of them think they’re better than, not only themselves but, the guy in the other car!

        1. @faulty, exactly – when did you last hear a driver say that he wasn’t as good as the wider public portrayed him to be? They’re all going to be in the mindset that they are born to win and are great drivers – as much for the importance of extending their own careers (because, if you don’t believe that you are a good driver, why would anybody else) as anything else.

    2. Really?!

      Ocon costed the team a possible victory/second place in Baku, way more points than two hypothetical points that could be gained passing an impossible to overtake Ricciardo.

      1. Come on mayn, let us race.

        *couple races later*

        Can he let me through? Pls mayn.

        1. So what’s your problem, only Ocon can ask to be let go through?

  5. I think Bottas has done enough to result in being ahead of these 2. He hasn’t been deemed at fault for any of his own or others retirements. Nor has he collected a single penalty point this season. The only other driver not to get any penalty points that has been driving all season is Ricciardo. Perez has got 2 reprimands as well as several penalty points so very close to getting nother penalty. Bottas has also had plenty of very good races. While he has had a lot of races tht were nothing special, none were terible. Bottas has also been against the driver who many consider is the best on the grid. And he’s managed to get 84% of Hamilton’s points. That is closer that Rosberg managed in both 2014 and 2015. And concidering Mercedes was dominent back then and now is very much in the mix with Ferrari and sometimes even Red Bull, Bottas has overall done a really good job. He’s also helped get 45% of the teams points in his very first season with them.

    1. @thegianthogweed

      none were terible

      I think he was abysmal in Singapore…nowhere close to Hamilton, and finished right behind Ricciardo only because of the late safety car and dry track towards the end. He was overtaken by Palmer in the wet and was being caught by Hulkenberg on a drying track. Not representative of his car at all, to be honest.

      While I do think he made very few mistakes this year, Hamilton showed in races like Belgium, Italy (Bottas got destroyed in qualy there), Singapore, Malaysia, Japan and USA, that Bottas was clearly not getting the best out of his car. It’d have been another thing if he was close to Hamilton, but he was often quite far behind both in qualy and in terms of his finishing positions in the race.

      Perez and Ocon on the other hand…it’s hard to prove that they were getting the best out of vjm10, but it’s impossible to prove otherwise too. True, they cost FI valuable points in two races, but neither really seemed off the pace at any point in the season (Except probably for Ocon in Singapore, where he struggled initially).

      Bottas was rather disappointing for most of the second half of the season. You can put the blame of the deficit on Hamilton’s “purple patch” like you’ve done before, but the gap between them was too big too often, especially in qualy (5 to 6 tenths, I think?). Even Bottas has admitted that he struggled and couldn’t get the best out of his car for much of the second half, if I’m not wrong.

      Bottas had a really good first half, but a really mediocre second half, until Brazil anyway.

      That is closer that Rosberg managed in both 2014 and 2015

      Using Rosberg’s points deficit to Hamilton in 2014 as an argument is a weird choice, since most of the deficit between him and Hamilton came due to the double points system in Abu Dhabi. Rosberg was just 17 points behind Hamilton before Abu Dhabi, but ended up 67 points behind in the end because of the mechanical problems he had in the race.

      Also, whenever Hamilton finished first, Rosberg was 2nd more often than not. I never saw Hamilton dominate Rosberg (even when Hamilton was super motivated towards the end of 2016) the way he managed to dominate Bottas for six consecutive races.

      I can’t say for certain that Bottas deserves to be behind Perez and Ocon, but I’m also not confident that he was impressive enough to be considered convincingly better than two drivers who at least seemed to be consistently getting the best out of their package. If I were to agree with him being placed ahead of the two FI drivers, I would attribute that to his performance in the first half.

      1. Relating to singapore, he wasn’t listed as a struggler n this site if I remember correctly and his 2nd part of the race wasn’t bad at all and this was when he was dehydrated as he had no water all race. What I would call an terrible race is if if you crash out or end up nowhre near the points in a top car. He may have had some luck and his start was bad, but from then on, it wasn’t that bad.

        About comparing to Rosberg, I think we realy should take into concideration that this is Bottas’s first year and Hamilton’s 5th with the team. I was a bit harsh on Rosberg in 2014 really. But when you say over these years Rosberg usually was 2nd after Hamilton. Well, is it really that hard? Mercedes back then was dominent over ever other team in almost every race. Rosberg had also been with the team since 2010. That means that in even with that amount of experience in 2015, Rosberg was further behind Hamilton in the standings than Bottas is behind Hamilton this year. And Rosberg was in his 6th year with the team! And he became champion the year after. I know he did have some bad luck that in 2015, but I really think it shows that Bottas is a lot better than people think. Now that the top teams are much more closely matched, it will have been harder for Bottas to keep up with Hamilton. But given he’s managed to get nearly half of the teams points in his first season is very impressve.

        I think Bottas’s drop in form over some races isn’t as bad as having scrappy races or causing retirements. He still picks up points and is a very solid driver smae as he was at Williams. So I still do think he easily deservs to be ahead of Ocon and Perez.

        1. @thegianthogweed I don’t think Bottas is bad at all. I still rate him highly, but as I mentioned he struggled horribly against Hamilton for most of the second half of the season. He admitted it himself, and that says a lot about what he thinks about it.

          Well, is it really that hard? Mercedes back then was dominent over ever other team in almost every race.

          True, but that’s not what I was talking about. I was talking about how far off Rosberg was with respect to Hamilton’s pace. With a few exceptions, Rosberg was very close to Hamilton’s pace in qualy and even beat him regularly, throughout the year (In all the seasons they were together). Even in the races, when Rosberg finished 2nd, he was rarely as far off Hamilton’s pace as Bottas usually was in the second half (Singapore and Malaysia, for example). Bottas was close to Hamilton in the first half but absolutely nowhere for most of the second half, and that’s where he fares poorly when compared to Rosberg.

          Also, I find the “Bottas is new to the team” argument interesting. If that was as big a factor as you think, then why did Bottas’ performance dip so much in the second half of the season, when he did so well in the first half (when he was completely new to the team)? In such cases, the driver’s form is supposed to improve with time as he gets used to the team and the car, definitely not the other way round.

          2013 was Rosberg’s 4th year in Mercedes…Hamilton went there and beat him straightaway. By your logic, 2014 should have been better for Hamilton in terms of his own performance, but he and Rosberg were just as close that season and in 2016 as well.

          Pre-season testing and one half of a season is sufficient to get familiar enough with the car that your performance isn’t consistently worse in the second half.

        2. @thegianthogweed

          I think Bottas’s drop in form over some races isn’t as bad as having scrappy races or causing retirements. He still picks up points and is a very solid driver smae as he was at Williams. So I still do think he easily deservs to be ahead of Ocon and Perez.

          Perez and Ocon (especially Perez) had hardly two scrappy races all season, and as I mentioned, at least both seemed to be extracting more or less the maximum out of their cars every single race. Also, I’m pretty sure Bottas’ race in China was pretty scrappy (as Joao mentioned). If Bottas = very solid driver, then Perez and Ocon = very solid drivers as well. So, I have to disagree with the “easily deserves to be ahead of Ocon an Perez” part there.

          1. Ok, fair enough. Easily deserves to be ahead is maybe a bit much. But I still would say he overall has done better.

            Either Perez or Ocon made a mess of a quite a few races though. Both did badly in Monaco having some sort of contact. Ocon did a stupid move on Perez in Baku, although I don’t think there was any penalty. Perez got a penalty for the start of Belgium. Then Perez came and clashed with Ocon again later in the race causing himself a puncture.

            I think that is at leased 2 messy races from both of them if I’m honest and there were several that I thought they were not getting the most of it either. but I can agree Bottas had more of these. But I think Bottas had quite a few more great performances than either of these 2 but maybe the car allows him to show this more.

          2. @thegianthogweed, with regards to the question of being responsible for the retirement of other drivers, whilst he wasn’t formally found at fault, Bottas did subsequently accept responsibility for causing the accident that took Raikkonen and Verstappen out of the Spanish GP.

            It also has to be said that, although he hasn’t received points or reprimands, he has nevertheless been involved in some fairly sizeable clashes on the first lap of some GP’s – his collision with Kimi in Baku comes to mind. The stewards have stated that they do tend to give a bit more leeway on the first lap of races as the drivers are closer together and therefore more likely to clash, so some of those moves might have attracted a penalty if they had occurred after the first lap.

          3. Bottas never actually accepted responsibility of that incident. What he said in the interview seems to have got turned into a very different story in some places. He said he definitely could have done a better job. As he said he lost his reference and braked early and then just put the power on a little again to avoid loosing out too much. But Even if they are more lenient on first lap collisions now, I still don’t see that if it was classed as a racing incident and Bottas was the only one to get away, if he was to blame most, he just wouldn’t have escaped without anything. So I really can’t blame Bottas more than either of the others. You can say he triggered it, but they both chose to coma alongside and take the risk.

            About the incident in Baku, Since it was deemed a 50-50 clash (therefore equally at fault), they just wouldn’t have done any different later. As how on earth would one driver be more responsible than the other just because it was later on in the race rather than at the start? The description of that incident from the stewards made it clear why they blamed both equally. Bottas may get involved in several incidents, but other than Bahrain 2016, he hasn’t been at fault for any in his career I think. And the risks he took in Spain in the end didn’t affect him. And in Baku, admittedly with a bit of luck, he still got the 2nd best possible result even after that first incident.

    2. He was however destroyed by Hamilton, the fact that he has 45% of the teams points, only shoes that both Mercs were fighting for top positions. Had Hamilton won all races with Bottas second, Bottas would have 41% of the teams points and 71% of Hamilton’s points. It doesn’t mean much as you can see, what it means is that we can come up with numbers like this to make our arguments look better.

      It is also easier to prove that Bottas wasn’t getting the max out of the car, since there is a Ferrari between the two Mercs in the standings, we know that car could have won the championship, yet he finished P3, with bullet proof reliabity, which cannot be said about the Ferrari for example. With the Force Indias you don’t see a driver separating them in the standings, there is no Renault, STR, Wiliams or any other midfield team there. The margin enjoyed by FI is down to their drivers as well

      He also had a couple, maybe a few contacts that were more his fault than the other guy, had the stewards been more strict, has they were, for example, with Perez and he would have penalty points too. And weren’t the reprimands due to the national anthem thing? (don’t quote me on this, don’t remember correctly)

      And don’t forget, he was one of the two drivers (care to guess the other one? wink wink) that spun/crashed behind the safety car this season

      1. Yes, that does show statistics aren’t always the best thing to judge. But if Hamilton is as good as people rate him, then he should be able to get more out of the car seems capable of compared to the average driver, so if people do think this about Hamilton, Bottas hasn’t done as bad as people think. But lots of this isn’t really easy to guess.

        I do think that spinning behind the safety car was one of Bottas’s weakest moments of this year. I could call that a messy race. But he made a reasonable recovery, just not to a very high position. But he was right behind Raikonnen, Ricciardo and Verstappen (who were all running together) so was very close time wise to getting a podium. That said Perez and Ocon were in Canada and that was when they were in a much weaker car.

        I don’t really know where they have been harsh with Perez for penalty points relating to his driving. I could be wrong but I didn’t think reprimands were given for things like you brought up. If they were, then they would end up getting an in race penalty if they built up to 3 reprimands. if they got them for this reason, that would seem pretty strange. But I could be wrong.

        And I’m not sure where Bottas has really been more to blame than the other guy for the 2 races he had contact in. In Spain, he braked early and there is nothing wrong with that. Verstappen and Raikonnen both chose to go round him on the outside at exactly the same time. Bottas was as tight as he could be. Verstappen started turning in towards Raikonnen. Raikonnen couldn’t go any tighter because Bottas was there. All that could be done at this stage was for Verstappen to give more room (which could have been done) or Bottas to cut the corner. As the decision was a racing incident when Raikonnen and Verstappen retired and Bottas stayed out there, they were either all blameless or one of the drivers that retired was mainly at fault. I think they were blameless really but Verstappen was a bit optimistic going on the outside of 2 cars and turning in on them.

        In Baku, the stewards deemed it as a 50 – 50 clash. They explained that Raikonnen made a risky move that was possibly a bit optimistic given where he chose to do it. I think what they meant was possibly that Raikonnen forcing Bottas to run over the kerb should have made him aware that Bottas could bounce back into him. I think that could have been the reason why no further action was taken. I can’t remember exactly how they described it but it seemed a very accurate description of what happened and they blamed them both equally. But it was Bottas who lost out most relating to that incident at that moment in time.

  6. For the season, maybe, for potential, not even close. Perez or Ocon in a topline seat. Not even tricky.

  7. The number os laps ahead says it all. Both are extremely consistent, and Perez was ahead the majority of the time.
    Ocon did very good for his first complete season, but now he has to step up.
    Be close to Pérez won’t get him as much praise a second time.

    1. Every statistic is in favour of Perez, and if both had not decided to play with walls, incidents in which the only affected one was Perez, the Mexican would have a points advantage that would indeed portray the real year round advantage for Perez…

      … people are incredibly blind.

      1. Paul Villanueva
        16th December 2017, 7:09


  8. I put Ocon ahead of Perez this year mainly due to the rediculously dangerous Spa incidents.

  9. Actually bottas wasn’t that bad,merc didn’t have the advantage like in 14-16.so there was more 1-2s in qualifyng as well as races.ferrari was on par or even better than merc in many races except two or three.If Rosberg stayed this year he would have done any better and may hand championship to Vettel because of intra team rivalry.he cant win it and wont allow Hamilton to win also.Bottas did a perfect job at merc without being a number two drives as he was close to Hamilton in first half and better towards the end.considering this was his first season at merc and up against the best he did a decent job.

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