Start, Hungaroring, 2018

2018 mid-season F1 driver rankings part 2: 12-6

2018 F1 season

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The second part of our mid-season Formula 1 driver rankings includes several drivers increasingly seen as stars of the future.

Who just missed out on a place in the top five? Read on to find out.

12. Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez, Force India, Baku City Circuit, 2018
Sergio Perez, Force India, Baku City Circuit, 2018

Sergio Perez

Beat team mate in qualifying 3/12
Beat team mate in race 2/9
Races finished 11/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate 163/611
Qualifying margin +0.06
Points 30

According to Sergio Perez, the stress of Force India’s financial situation and the pressure he has been put under to act – which led to his extraordinary intervention to prompt administration proceedings during the Hungarian Grand Prix weekend – has taken a toll on his performance this year. Whether that’s true, a convenient excuse, or somewhere in between, it’s clear the tables have turned massively between him and team mate Esteban Ocon during the course of the last 12 months.

This time last year Perez was out-performing Ocon by the same kind of margins Ocon now has over Perez. But the key difference is Perez is still ahead on points, thanks to his inspired drive at Baku which accounted for half of his points tally so far.

With Force India’s financial situation now heading towards a positive resolution, it remains to be seen whether Perez’s performances will correspondingly improve in the second half of the season.

11. Kevin Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Montreal, 2018

Kevin Magnussen

Beat team mate in qualifying 7/10
Beat team mate in race 5/8
Races finished 11/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate 431/615
Qualifying margin -0.13
Points 45

This isn’t just the first time Kevin Magnussen has driven for the first F1 team for two consecutive seasons, it’s the first time in his entire motor racing career to date he’s benefitted from that kind of consistency. And Haas appears to be reaping the dividends.

Magnussen has matured as a driver this year, scoring points far more consistently than his team mate, and has begun to shake off a reputation for being incident-prone. But perhaps the most encouraging sign, from Magnussen’s point of view, is he’s had an edge on Grosjean in outright one-lap speed.

Although Grosjean took the team’s best result of the season so far, in Austria, it’s largely thanks to Magnussen’s efforts that they’re enjoying their best F1 season so far.

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10. Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, Red Bull Ring, 2018
Nico Hulkenberg, Renault, Red Bull Ring, 2018

Nico Hulkenberg

Beat team mate in qualifying 7/12
Beat team mate in race 6/8
Races finished 9/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate 415/562
Qualifying margin +0.41
Points 52

Nico Hulkenberg is in a tight midfield contest, driving a car which is usually a contender for ‘best of the rest’, but hasn’t always been reliable – he’s completed the fewest racing laps of any driver. Yet out of the nine occasions he’s made it to the chequered flag he’s been first home behind the much faster Ferraris, Mercedes and Red Bull four times – more than anyone else.

He let a potentially strong result slip through his fingers in Baku, however, where for the second year in a row he slipped up and hit the wall. That debut podium finish remains frustratingly elusive. In Daniel Ricciardo, Hulkenberg will have arguably his best team mate so far alongside him next year, and it will be fascinating to see how this perennial nearly-man rises to that challenge. In the meantime, he and Renault have a vital fourth place in the constructors’ championship to defend from Haas.

9. Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon, Force India, Red Bull Ring, 2018
Esteban Ocon, Force India, Red Bull Ring, 2018

Esteban Ocon

Beat team mate in qualifying 9/12
Beat team mate in race 7/9
Races finished 9/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate 448/611
Qualifying margin -0.06
Points 29

Esteban Ocon also missed out on a big result in Baku, where an unnecessarily uncompromising move on Kimi Raikkonen let him in the barriers at the end of lap one. This was a foolish risk at a track where Force India is reliably strong – a point his team mate rammed home by taking Force India’s only points finish of the year so far.

It was an uncharacteristic error on the part of a driver who tends to show restraint in wheel-to-wheel battles. The younger driver has been consistently the quicker of the pair, however. The margin between them is usually quite fine, but it counts for a lot in the congested midfield. Much of Ocon’s gain has been down to his improved form in qualifying, to which Perez doesn’t seem to have an answer.

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8. Pierre Gasly

Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018
Pierre Gasly, Toro Rosso, Bahrain International Circuit, 2018

Pierre Gasly

Beat team mate in qualifying 7/10
Beat team mate in race 4/6
Races finished 9/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate 341/431
Qualifying margin -1.38
Points 26

Pierre Gasly is having the kind of season Red Bull like to see from their junior drivers. Finally given the shot at a full-time F1 seat he should have had 12 months ago, the 22-year-old has demonstrated he’s ready to take on the pressures of racing for the top team.

It looked like the season was going to bring bigger things in terms of results when he lined up fifth on the grid for Toro Rosso’s second race with Honda power, and brought the car home a scarcely believable fourth. But the inevitable power unit penalties have dragged him down the grid and the team has clearly been out-developed by rival customer teams with better engines.

Nonetheless he went into the summer break on a high having repeated his best-of-the-rest performance at the Hungaroring, taking full advantage of the opportunity afforded by the slower track to bag some big points. That could prove sufficient to keep Toro Rosso safe from the growing threat of Sauber.

7. Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc, Kimi Raikkonen, Silverstone, 2018
Charles Leclerc, Kimi Raikkonen, Silverstone, 2018

Charles Leclerc

Beat team mate in qualifying 9/12
Beat team mate in race 5/9
Races finished 10/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate 388/574
Qualifying margin -0.6
Points 13

It’s easy to forget that Charles Leclerc got off to an initially unpromising start to life with Sauber. He started the first three races in the back three spots on the grid.

Soon afterwards things clicked in a big way. In Baku he qualified 13th, delivered a clean race, and was rewarded with a superb sixth which remains his best finish to date.

That began a run of five points finishes in six races, interrupted only in Monaco where a brake failure caused a late crash. He was on course for another points finish at Silverstone – potentially beating Hulkenberg to the ‘best of the rest’ spot – when an error by his pit crew ended his race.

He’s also thrashing Marcus Ericsson in qualifying. By every measure, Leclerc is proving himself worthy of promotion to a front-running team.

6. Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2018
Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2018

Max Verstappen

Beat team mate in qualifying 9/11
Beat team mate in race 3/7
Races finished 9/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate 390/550
Qualifying margin -0.67
Points 105

In the opening races of 2018 there seemed to be a slightly desperate edge to Max Verstappen. He’s always been full-on and utterly uncompromising, but he seemed to be leaving too little margin at times.

That led to a string of incidents which blunted his points-scoring in the early races. Canada and Monaco were both massive missed opportunities, which his team mate capitalised on.

However Verstappen’s core speed hasn’t gone anywhere – note his qualifying margin over Daniel Ricciardo, a driver who has always been strong on one-lap pace. Soon after the trauma of Monaco he began to cut out the mistakes and delivered the results we all know he’s capable.

Austria was Verstappen’s vindication: an instinctive and opportunistic first-lap pass on Kimi Raikkonen set him up for his first win of the year. He’s since largely recovered the points deficit to Ricciardo, and with the championship out of reach for both their final nine races together as team mate will be all about which of them emerges ahead.

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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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117 comments on “2018 mid-season F1 driver rankings part 2: 12-6”

  1. Hulkenberg 10th? Eh?
    And I don’t think Verstappen should be 6th – even if he’s been very quick, he’s made so many mistakes.

    1. Right, I guess it depends how heavily you weight a race win.

      1. Max would deliver the hottest pizza out of the field for sure BUT the topping would be all over the place..high ranking considering his mistakes

    2. Magnussen 11th? Eh?
      And I don’t think Verstappen should be 6th – even if he’s been very quick, he’s made so many mistakes.

      1. Also a valid point, but Magnussen’s helmet isn’t in my profile picture ;)

      2. I dont think you should take this guy seriosly.

    3. @hugh11

      I’m with you, Verstappen’s mistakes put him out of the top 10. I’d argue he has driven most like Gosjean -fast but with mistakes. Grosjean was last in these rankings.

    4. I agree. The last few races Verstappen has really pulled things back together, but it seems right to look at the whole season so far, which hasn’t been particularly great. Especially for a driver of Verstappen’s ability

      1. I agree with the general sentiment on Max. I kept scrolling through wondering when he’d spring up and couldn’t believe he got 6th. I too would struggle to allow him in my top ten.

        Now I think we all agree that he’s supreme. And still young and unpolished. But the idea of mid season ranking is simply to rate overall performance so far.

        Where would be be if his good races had been at the start and the bad later? Or if he’d alternated good, bad, good, bad? I think Keith has been generous in giving credit for him making (a very impressive) turn around in his approach to racing. Something perhaps WE are being unfair in ignoring.

        1. @gongtong, I suspect you have hit the nail on the head there with your comment about whether he would be rated so highly if those mistakes had been more recent.

          The most recent races will, of course, be the freshest in the memory and therefore the perception of a driver is going to be biased towards those races. It is true that Verstappen has cut down his errors since Monaco, but that means that half of the races on which Keith was assessing him involved errors on Verstappen’s part – though, given that those races were earlier in the season, I suspect that their importance has been downgraded as a result.

    5. Mr.Hugh, Max Verstappen is on 6th in the current drivers standings. A fact that can not be ignored.

      1. Which is the least of the three best teams he should gfet @Jeroen Bons, and a place behind his teammate. Kimi Raikkonen, who’s currently in third spot (though in arguably the fastest car and ahead of an unlucky Bottas), was ranked as 14th, so there’s a good argument for Verstappen being given a bit more credit than deserved …

  2. I’d put leclerc ahead oh Hamilton. Hamilton is leading, but hasn’t been as quick as rosberg and vettel many times, and lucked in with weather last 2 races. Leclerc is getting the most out of the car he has. Hamilton is not. Verstappen should be believe Ocon and leclerc for his calamitous start.

    1. lucked in with weather last 2 races

      ‘Lucked in’ as in Hamilton had the chance to show he’s the best wet weather driver out there. Kind of ridiculous argument, isn’t it?

    2. When you say lucked in with weather I assume you mean stood out as the best driver in the most difficult conditions?

    3. as quick as rosberg

      This is the 2018 mid-season rankings, previous seasons don’t matter. I assume you meant Bottas, but still…

      1. Again proving my theory that even if Bottas wins a race driving backwards while on fire and being pursued by bears with chainsaws, no one would notice….

        1. Lol, that made my day. Bears with chainsaw’s.
          Lets make it beerbears with hacksaws and childhood dramas.

      2. it’s iPhone auto-correct. When you type “Bottas” it thinks it’s a mistake and replaces the text with “Rosberg”

        1. Poor Bottas LOL

    4. Leclerc can’t drive in the wet. Ericsson proved to be superior in the 2 rain affected races.

    5. LOL…this poor guy. Hamilton will, and should be, at the top of this years best driver list. It certainly isn’t going to be Vettel, with his multitude of “errors”, it won’t be Kimi, it won’t be Bottas. Lewis has clearly been the best, and most consistent, driver in F1 this year. He really hasn’t made any serious mistakes, where everyone else has made several.

      1. ++++
        In addition, when others are floundering in the wet conditions, Hamilton is clearly the class of the field this year (and most years) when the track is difficult to master. But master it he does, many times beating the red cars, and his teammate, by SECONDS per lap in the wet. No contest.

      2. The problem is “not making any serious mistakes” shouldn’t qualify someone as having done the best job. If you have one of the best cars, you ought to be near the top of the classification. Lewis has had some great performances, but so have other drivers.

      3. Hamilton’s two worst races this year (Canada, China) awarded him more points than Vettel in races he should’ve won. (Azerbaijan, Germany).

        It’s much better to acknowledge your limitations given a situation and settle for the best than trying to be a hero without the tools or ability to it (Vettel out braking himself trying to overtake Bottas and ruining everything).

        1. Agree with this, this is what made hamilton better this year, he was always careful and always got a decent half of points, and would’ve done so even in austria if not for reliability, while vettel managed to get 0 points on a race he should’ve won without mechanical problems.

    6. In the races Hamilton was at the back, he fought well to get into P5 but still would’ve been 20 secs back from the leader. In Silverstone, he was sixth before a safety car closed up all the gaps, he wasn’t on the freshest tyres but he still benefited. In Germany he was lucky with his tyres dying just as the rain came, leaving him on the best tyres for the conditions. Both times he drove well but neither he was in competition for even a podium until Lady Luck stepped in.

      1. Vettel crashed, maybe lucky for Hamilton, but Vettel did it himself. Hamilton was in competition for the podium, he was mich faster and he preserved the tyres very well.

        Silverstone is a bit more lucky, but if Kimi didnt tag him he would already be on the podium.

  3. I can agree with this ordering.

    Concerning Ocon’s part: ”unnecessarily uncompromising” is more or less the best description for his opening-lap crash with Kimi. Even though I was OK with the Stewards’ decision, I still regard it as 100% his fault for failing to leave sufficient space despite another car being alongside his with more than half of the car length. It was definitely much more if not wholly avoidable from his side than it was from the other involved driver’s.

    BTW, I think there’s a typo in the second paragraph of Verstappen’s part: ”Canada and Monaco were both massive missed opportunities, which his team mate capitalised on.” Should rather read ‘China and Monaco’ as he didn’t have any crashes in Canada.

  4. Disagree with all of these placings.

    1) Verstappen does not deserve sixth. This is the rating for the whole 12 races not since Canada. and before Canada he was rubbish

    2) Gasly in front of KMag and the Hulk? No way to justify that either. Ocon does deserve to be in front of Gasly but not in front of KMag and the Hulk that are having 9/10 seasons both of them

    3)Perez doesn’t deserve to be in the top 12. Raikkonen should be in it.

    4) Leclerc deserves to be P5 as he was overall better than Verstappen and Ricciardo clearly IMO

    In short this rating was good for P20-P15. From then on it seems like Keith and myself have seen entirely different seasons/sport/performances (pick your correct wording).

    1. To be fair Max was great in Spain as well and in Australia he had the measure of Dan, but was compromised by a damaged car.

      Since Monaco he has comfortably beaten Dan.

      2) Gasly is doing very nicely with a supposedly inferior car/engine.

      In my opinion Gasly, Hulk anf Kmag are close together.

      Kimindefinitly deserves to be in the top 6. He hasnt made the mistakes Vettel has.
      Perez is hard, deserves some credit. But was he in the 20-13 selection? Missed that article.

      1. You missed that article? Perhaps it’s a good idea to take those orange glasses off, hahaha.

        And you shouldn’t start a sentence with “To be fair” if you follow it with an argumentation for why your idol does deserve all the praise in the world. And the car was compromised by Max, not the other way around. Accept it.

        Unbelievable, their boy gets 6th while he has blundered more than any other driver I can think of, and they still talk big.

        1. Yeah missed that article as in didnt read it just yet.
          Any way, why shouldnt I start a sentence with “to be fair”?

          Max did had the measure off Dan those races, I never said Max deserves all the praise, only give reason why Max is voted 6th and I give reason why Max should be voted ahead of Dan. He outperformed Dan in most of the races and even though he screwed up couple races, he recovered quite well.

          And The damage wasnt his fault, the team acknowledged this. Accept it.

          Yes, Max blundered, but he has set things straight after Monaco and comfortably beaten Dan. Podiums and even a race win.
          Why shouldnt we talk big?
          The blunders have been exaggerated, there were only 3 race crashes and 2 of them were racing incidents. 1 of them was a damaged car that caused the spin. And in Spain he didnt loose anything.

    2. Verstappen does not deserve sixth

      True, I’d put him third. Definitely above Ricciardo and Alonso. Alonso got to look good driving against an inexperienced driver without all Alonso’s preferential treatment and with the team (and himself) bigging up his performances as ‘miraculous’ to keep the McLaren show turning (until the wheels finally fell off with his retirement from F1). Verstappen and Ricciardo were at least racing meaningfully for podiums and even the chance of the title early in the season, meaning the pressure on them is much higher. Alonso had to prove what? Nothing. I’m not criticizing him, aside from the poor decision to stay at McLaren too long, but there’s no way he merits being in the top 5. Verstappen started badly, but was blamed for too many of the incidents, has adjusted since and has shown electric pace and composure against a very fast team mate. Ricciardo really doesn’t deserve to be placed higher than him.

      1. I am a big Max fan and I agree tonsome extend. But it is hard to judgd Max and Dan, Dan is flawless but slow. Has been behind Max most of the races. If not all the races untill Max made a mistake or reliability kicked in.

        But Max on the other hand is fast and a bit hasty sometimes. He made a couple mistakes( although largely blown up by the media.) , but has put Ricciardo behind him in every race since Monaco.
        But you cant forget about the bad start, so I would put him in front of Dan as well but behind Hamilton, Vettel, Bottas and Kimi. But I think he will end up in the top 3 by the end of the year.

        And Alonso? Not in the top 5 and maybe on the back of the top 10. Hard one tomjudge as I suspect Vandoorne doesnt get equal treatment.

        1. @Folkert I wouldn’t call Ricciardo slow, but the fact he’s been so heavily outqualified is another factor putting him lower on the half-season ranking than Verstappen, also obviously account for him being behind Max so often during the races.

          1. That is true, let me than say he is slower than Max.
            But I agree, Dan has been behind to many times to be voted ahead of Max.

      2. I’m assuming DR is ranked higher than Max because Max’s downfalls have been of his own doing. He would be leading DR quite handily if his whole season had been going like it has since Monaco, which I think stung him pretty hard. I predict that even though DR has the nod over Max in this ranking so far, that will not be the case come the end of the season. The way I think of it…DR has done all he can do and doesn’t seem to have much in reserve beyond the consistency, and being there at the right time, that he has shown us. Max on the other hand has shown us that once he keeps himself in check, he is far more often ahead and far more enthralling to watch, with what feels like the potential to do more and more. Heaven help the rest of the grid when he has a better package. He’s already fighting at the sharp end of the grid moreso than DR.

        1. @robbie I guess I’m more of the mindset that one or two astounding drives can make up for a half season of solid. I also think Ricciardo’s Monaco win was kind of untested since nobody could past even an ailing car and nobody wanted to risk trying fresh tyres when on a normal track he’d have finished much further down the order. And I’m in a minority very probably in blaming Ricciardo more for the Baku collision after some outstanding driving from both but especially Verstappen. So factoring in those two, I think Verstappen edges it. But I agree with you on the rest.

          1. @david-br Oh for sure. I think I failed to explain well enough that I wasn’t really trying to justify the ranking here between MV and DR as being correct, but was just looking to explain the likely reasons that DR is placed ahead of him. I’m unfazed by these rankings or by the fact that Max is behind DR today. That’s just subjective, and temporary. You and I are on the same page but I just wasn’t invested in rejigging the order as I would have it, or as you have.

            I agree with you on Baku in the sense that nobody was forcing DR to trail Max by inches at that spot to try to make a pass at that coming corner. It can always be said that the trailing driver in a situation is the one who has more control over the situation. Sure the leading driver can control the pace, and can make his moves, but he also only has his mirrors, whereas the trailing driver is the one seeing the whole situation more clearly. Max may have been exuberant in defending, but DR didn’t back off when he saw that happening, and he shouldn’t be surprised at how tough Max was…we all know it by now. I think DR got very frustrated that day with how tough Max was being, as he lead DR all day…challenged him all day…brilliantly.

            Monaco? Goes without saying that but for Max’s hitting the barrier in the same spot that DR rubbed it, it would most likely have been a 1-2, and without even debating which driver would be which, suffice it to say I doubt we would find anybody that would say DR would have dominated Max at Monaco. Statistically there is more evidence, going back to last year, that Max would have been on pole, as he usually qualifies ahead of DR. Not trying to rewrite history or take anything away from DR, but nobody can argue Max’s pace. He has stamped his authority on that. I’m so so glad we have him in F1.

        2. @robbie @david-br
          I would agree that Dan would be ahead of Max at mid year, but its a tight contest that’s for sure.
          Max’s first quarter of the year was dreadful, his 2nd quarter sensational. Dan has been more consistent, as he tends to do, and was great in China and Hungary. The win in Monaco was great but he was lucky it was on that track, a great drive none the less.

          Max does qualify better than Dan and that gives him the better track position and usually pit stop preference. But when you look at the gap it is usually so close. These two seem to be good team mates off track but certainly have the gloves on when racing. Will see how this continues for the rest of the year (unless there is a switch-a-ru before hand.

          Gasly and Leclerc seem fine there considered they are rookies (well Gasly got 3 or 4 last year) but they are doing well.

      3. @david-br I’m sorry but which incidents have been unfairly blamed on MV? And third?!! Why does he deserve to be in front of Ricciardo who’s been a match for MV in all but qualy yet haven’t had any of the brainfades that Max had early in the season? Why does he deserve to be in front of Hulkenberg and Magnussen both having consistently stellar seasons getting the most out of their machinery? Not Alonso either who’s doing wonders with a crap Mclaren. What team-mate he has is irrelevant as he’s been driving very well and not making mistakes. Leclerc’s having a fantastic rookie season so he’s been more impressive than Max as well. Bottas is driving very well this season and he’s the one having the worst luck by far not MV who’s been the architect of his own downfall more often than not in 2018. I’d argue that Ocon’s been more impressive than MV so far in 2018 as well. So 9-10 is his just rating for first half of 2018. Third, is unjustifiable.

        1. which incidents have been unfairly blamed on MV

          Baku and the minor Stroll scuffle (which was cited as an example of how he’s ‘always involved’ in incidents, as though blamed by association with Stroll’s distraction).
          I’d give Max third on the basis of his second quarter, which has been excellent and ‘incident free’, the fact he’s trounced Ricciardo 9-2 in qualifying, and the fact, simply, that he learned from his mistakes and withstood the intense pressure from the media – with many people calling for him to be shunted out of Red Bull – and proved them wrong. I stick by that opinion.

        2. Max is exciting, fast and yet makes mistakes under pressure. He will be a WDC in the future. He is young and can learn when to race hard, back off and not over drive his car. Good results will then follow. 6th in this half term assessment, is in my opinion fair. Could be totally different by end of season with 9 races to go. We will see

    3. Yeah I’ve usually generally agreed with the rankings over the years but this one is a bit all over the place.

    4. #1-3 100 % agree
      #4 Leclerc has done 4 good races, 4 average and 4 very bad. In his entire F1 career. And he has been beaten by his below average teammate in the races almost 1-1. This is not good enough to place him in 6th. But it’s easy to see why Keith Collantine has done it: He is in love with the kid.

      When love dosen’t matter:

      11th Perez (Raikkonen deserves 10th – Perez dosen’t belong here)
      10th Gastly
      9th Verstappen
      8th Ocon
      7th Hulkenberg
      6th Magnussen (if not for his mistakes in the last part of Germany, he truly belongs somewhere in 1-5. It’s still a Haas – the smallest team on the grid)

  5. I didn’t agree with most of the rankings from 13 to 20. Especially Kimi at #14. But I do kind of agree with this list. I thought Hulkenberg, Ocon and Leclerc were all better than KMag.

    I would swap Gasly and Hulkenberg in the rankings though. Gasly was great in Bahrain and Hungary, but lucked in to P7 in Monaco due to Alonso’s retirement and a little luck with strategy. A lot of races Gasly just didn’t show up, but Hulkenberg was always maximising the car’s potential in qualifying and races throughout the season. His error in Baku was the only blemish on a near perfect season for him. Also think Gasly has it a little easy with an extremely poor teammate, while Hulk is paired up against a really highly rated teammate.

    Got to agree with Verstappen in #6 as well. Just couldn’t rank him in the top 5 after the slew of errors in the first 6 races of the season.

    The top 5 should be really interesting. It’s a little difficult to call, but I’d rank them as –
    5) Ricciardo
    4) Bottas
    3) Vettel
    2) Alonso
    1) Hamilton

    1. @todfod My problem with these evaluations is how to factor in the relative pressures drivers are facing each race weekend. That’s why I find it difficult to rate Alonso so high. Even if he is driving the car far above its potential for an ‘average’ driver, without us really knowing what that benchmark would be, what real pressure was on him from either his team mate or the fight for the championship or to prove anything? Drivers in the top 3 teams will be criticized for making costly errors, poor weekends, etc. but the pressure on them is huge by comparison, including the need to risk more for podiums, wins and the title.

      1. @david-br

        I agree. There’s definitely more pressure on the Ferrari and Mercedes drivers, but then again, they have better tools to showcase their talents. Rankings are a bit hard, especially if you think about poorly performing teams like Sauber, McLaren and Williams, and how their drivers by default are going to be towards the back of the rankings. Ericsson might actually have been half decent this season, but we place him towards the back until they show something phenomenal to move them forward in the rankings. So, I feel that it kinds of evens out that the drivers with the better cars have more pressure, and the drivers with the worse car start low in the rankings by default.

        I think the drivers in the top teams get either more of a bonus when they perform well under pressure (like Lewis in Germany and Hungary), or get more criticism when they underperform (like Vettel in Germany). It’s a double edged sword.. but seems kind of fair to me.

        1. @todfod It’s a good point about better cars showcasing good driving more. Leclerc did make it to 7th though! And I think I’d agree with that. Also Gasly and Ocon in the top ten. I just think there’s a big question mark over Alonso’s late F1 career, his true capacity, and I’m kind of disappointed it will now be forever unresolved whether he really was driving a terrible car brilliantly or whether he could have beaten the likes of Vettel, Hamilton or Verstappen (or Ricciardo) in the same car today.

          1. @david-br @todfod Personally I have no doubt that FA still has it in him that if he was in a Ferrari or a Mercedes he’d be splitting poles and wins with SV or LH, perhaps even beating them, or if trailing them, not by much, and it would come down to seasons end.

  6. Putting Kimi 14th but Vettel in the top 5 makes no sense…
    There are only 43 points of difference between them. Of which the 3/4 is explained by the two abandonment of Kimi in Bahrain and Spain. Vettel gives up once but it’s his fault. As usual, no objectivity regarding Raikkonen on this site.

    1. Completely agree 100%. If Vettel will be ranked at #2 or #3 , there is no way Kimi can be lower than #6 or #7. I think the qualifying record of 10-2 has been a major contributor of Kimi’s low ranking, but on Sundays, he’s looked as impressive if not more impressive than Sebastian. If you add Kimi’s points lost from Bahrain and Spain, and keep in to account the number of times Ferrari has tried to destroy his race for Vettel’s race, then there isn’t all that much to choose between both the Ferrari drivers.

      1. Marcio Goncalves
        16th August 2018, 15:32

        He’s looked better than last year, but still has been outperformed by Vettel most Sundays.

    2. Keith Collantine is in love with Leclerc, hence he can’t see any quality in his competitors to the Ferrari seat ;-)

  7. I can’t say i agree, especially in having Ricciardo in the top 5… Despite taking his 2 wins, Ricciardo has been totally outpaced by Max, in the point of being constantly slower. Ricciardo started well, but after Monaco he has been very underwhelming.
    I dont agree with Magnussen & Hulkenberg in 11th & 10th. Sure, they have the 2 best cars after the top 3, but they have been very consistent & their off days have been limited.
    I would put Leclerc higher, lets not forget he is a rookie & lost many points due to unlucky stuff (pit stop issue in Silverstone, etc).
    I want to see where Alonso is ranked, because i could say Alonso & Leclerc have familiar seasons (both massively outperforming their teammates & collecting huge points).

  8. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    15th August 2018, 14:06

    Verstappen in 6th baffles me. Especially given the strugglers and star performer rankings. Seriusly, he was counted as a struggler for 5 of the first 6 rcaes! He’s only had 3 or 4 totally error free weekends this season. I would struggle to put him any higher than 10th. Even if we didn’t count leclerc as a rookie, his season has been better. He has’t been heavily responsible for his retiremt twice as well as spinning many times and crashing multiple times in practice and qualifying. It is probably close to 10 times including practice sessions and qualifying that Verstappen has binned his car resulting in having to get out on track. The few good performances just haven’t made up for this overall.

    1. @thegianthogweed Yeah for whatever reason, Max started out this season with over exuberance. I wonder if it is that upon pre-season testing, and the team seeing they were still not up to snuff with their Pu, Max figured he had nothing to lose anyway by just going for it, and as pointed out in the article above, leaving too little margin at times (too often). It seems like Monaco stung him the most, and has changed his approach to being just a tad conservative at the right times, and the points between he and DR since Monaco reflect that.

      I have only a growing enthusiasm for Leclerc and Gasly. That said, to compare Max and Leclerc I think is folly. While being pretty much the same age, it is Max who was vaulted into F1, and onto a top team already, and he has four wins (one of them being his first race with Red Bull) in a car that has not been better than third in the WCC. Even though they are the same age, Max has already been playing with the big boys, and has the taste of winning, and so is in a completely different kind of pressure cooker than Leclerc, including having DR as a teammate. That is not to take anything away from Leclerc whatsoever, but I see little to compare between the two this season so far.

      1. FBoy robbie still hasn’t come to terms with reality, still spreading this “Max figured he had nothing to lose anyway by just going for it”-ish. Can you believe it? A top team already throwing the towel pre Melbourne? Hey, let’s not have a go at championship points..
        This guy is still trying to bend reality, so he can get to grips with it. So he can live with the fact that his boy threw away a lot of good results.
        RB, Horner, DR and MV all were in positive spirits when they started this season. And just last month, after MVs win in Austria, Horner and MV were talking about how RB should have been leading the championship now and Max said that he’s still fighting for the championship this year.
        So @thegianthogweed and all of you other non-FBoys, this robbie and all other oranges, are just making up stories to fit their narrative, which is telling everybody that Max was, is, always has been and always will be the best ever, can’t do anything wrong and when he still does so, it’s on purpose, it was his intention to spin in MEL, crash and punture his tyre in BAH, run wide, ruin VETs race and incur a penalty in China, take DR and himself out in Baku, crash into Stroll in Barcelona, throw away yet another win in Monaco by crashing, spin in Silverstone (and these are all just the ‘incidents’ having a direct effect on the race). It was all part of his plan, hahahah.

        1. You talk about Robbie being a Fbky, but you sure do sound like the opposite and cant accept other opinions.

          His Silverstone and Spainish crash had no effect on his race result and in Australia his car was damaged on the cerb and the team had no explanation on why it broke.

          Robbies point presumably was that Max took more risk to get the best result and over did it. Mistakes made and he learned from it. Comfortably beaten Dan since Monaco.
          And his Monaco fp3 crash was unlucky to cause a leak in the gearbox only to be discovered 15 min prior to Q1. His fault though.

          Dan was also to blame for the crash in Baku, both were.

          We “Oranges” dont have to chance anything, After Max recovered from his mistakes, he put in grewt results and beat his teammate comfortably, just like last year. That deserves at least a spot above Dan. In my opinion, but his mistakes should be taken in to account, so he shouldnt be placed higher than 5th. Dan in 6th.

      2. “but I see little to compare between the two this season so far.” – Yet here you are ranking Max, after a comparison, above LeC

  9. My 2 cents, I think that these lists largely get ordered by car performance with a few exceptions. For example, Hulk is 10th, when he’s been best of the midfield more often than not despite poor reliablity, seems to be penalized by his mistake in Baku, which may or may not have been caused by a puncture. While Max, having made errors and crashes in each of the first 6 races, is 6th. Mitigating this is the fact that he won Formula 1A in Austria and he’s doing well in qualifying against Ricciardo.

    That is why, I believe, this list is skewed by car performance. According to the article, Hulk has 4 “wins” in Formula 1B. Should that not also be taken into consideration when ranking performances?

    1. @cavman99 that’s a good point but your logic is skewed. what if hamilton et al were driving in Formula ‘B’? do you think Hulk would have as many ‘wins’? if you’re going for performance adjusted ratings you need a complex statistical model such as the one at it’s not perfect but it’s still really interesting.

      overall, keith’s lists do tend to rank those in better cars higher, but it’s impossible to see how you could avoid doing this.

      1. @frood19 what I’m saying is that we can’t know, and so car performance plays it out. F1metrics is great, but has a Hulkenberg problem. Look at the revision to his 2014 ranking in one of F1metrics articles, where he jumped up many places. I am looking forward to seeing what his model says about Hulk this season.

    2. Absolutely agree on this list being largely ordered by car performance and somewhat lacking in objectiveness otherwise. Could have saved a lot of time and just say 1 Ham, 2 Vet, 3 Rai, …, 19 Har, 20 Sir. Done (but with less click-bait).

  10. Leclerc and Gasly have the public opinion going for them, the fans need new hero’s every now and then.

    Verstappen on 6…above Ricciardo, his mistakes kick in harder than Ricciardo’s obvious lack of overall pace (compared to Verstappen).
    Compared race by race:
    Ver better than Ric > Spa, Can, Fra, Aus, GB, Ger, Hun (4 podiums)
    Ric better than Ver > Aus, Chi, Mon (2 podiums)
    Undecided > Bah and Bak

    Overall, missing the Monaco quali led losing at least 23 points to his team mate. Verstappen failed when it cost the most. Ricciardo though was behind over 70% of all laps and beat his team mate only once in quali (Baku by 0.084 sec thanks to a tow). Verstappen being rough over a couple of races, Ricciardo being outpaced quite consistantly…wich is better, wich is worse?

    1. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
      15th August 2018, 16:46

      Ricciardo certainly won the battle in Bahrain. But I do agree that Verstappen has been quick when he hasn’t had the opportunity and error prone when he has. It’s all about timing.

      1. In Bahrain the two driver did not compete, sure it’s easy to blame Verstappen for his crash in Q1….
        Though the reasons why, in FP1, 2 and 3 Verstappen suffered from a car that wasn’t doing the right things at the right time. In Q1 he set a first time, after this first run the team asked Verstappen to do a caibration lap to synchronice the computers. During this calibration lap the gasrespons was way off, resulting in Verstappen to spin on a relative slow lap.

        In the race he was up against Hamilton, he overtook Hamilton in a convincing way, with two rules in mind
        – when the attacker is at least halfway along side he has the right to the apex
        – when the attacker is at least halfway along side the defender has to yield

        Since Verstappen already passed Hamilton I saw now reasons for hamilton to turn in instead of using his brakes.
        This was obviously going hard against hard and the lucky one could proceed the race.

        Verstappen publicly took the blame for both the crash in quali as for the raceincident with Hamilton, add the spin due to a damaged floor in Australia and clipping Stroll who failed to notice VSC ended and suddenly you’re in the rough spot.
        The media and the fans pretty much loved it, though his races always were more convincing than Ricciardo’s…apart from China and arguably Monaco… hardly ever was a crash in FP3 punished this hard. (Ricciardo won in China after a complete engine swap between FP3 and quali)

        1. “.. hardly ever was a crash in FP3 punished this hard. (Ricciardo won in China after a complete engine swap between FP3 and quali)” – Hahahahaahahhhaa

        2. And that excuse you make up, is just that. Ask Horner, DR and Hulkenberg too, hahahaha
          Just keep’em coming, those made up ‘facts’, excuses und so weiter.

          1. Ok, real facts then: Max is in front of Dan most of the races and has beaten Dan most of the races when neither driver had any problems.

            Max has been leading Dan most of the laps.
            Max outqualified Dan comfortably since 2017
            Max outperformed Dan comfortably since 2017.

            When both drivers finished:
            Max beat Dan 5-2 in 2017 and 3-3 in 2018.
            Max has 4 podiums this year, Dan 2.

            You are on a mission I think, to bad.

    2. You’re a yoke, a yoke. “Overall, missing the Monaco quali led losing at least 23 points to his team mate.” – Hahaahahahhah

      1. Matured yet Krxxx…??

        1. Probably not. His name sounds familiar. I have seen him before I think.

  11. Pierre to Red Bull!

    1. Michael Brown (@)
      16th August 2018, 17:06

      I hope he doesn’t become another Kvyat.

      Although Gasly has been more impressive in his rookie season than Kyvat ever was. I can’t imagine how he got picked over Vergne.

  12. The qualifying margins between the Renault and Red Bull teammates have been massively skewed by the last qualifying in Hungary. Both Hulkenberg and Ricciardo lapped several seconds slower than their teammates in Q2, when they went out a bit too late on a wet track.

    1. Correction; Ricciardo did go out on track on time, but his first lap was compromised when Stroll spun in front of him.

      1. Hush, you’re being too factual. Something that isn’t appreciated by Max FBoys.

        1. I am a Max fan and I appreciate facts and reason.

          But how would you determine the average qualify difference?
          Based on facts, the average qualify difference is 0,67 seconds. Absolute fact.

          1. Absolutely agreed. Absolute fact Danny Boy outscores Max season after season after season. How’s that fact? Reasonable?

  13. Magnussen should be in top 5 … Leclerc and Gasly has only shined in a couple of races. Ocon 9th …. on which planet?

    1. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
      15th August 2018, 16:48

      Magnussens on track conduct has been poor. He deserves 8th at best. Ocon has been solid but for Baku and has outperformed his teammate. Your point about Gasly definitely shines with me though.

      1. What do you mean by track conduct?

  14. Verstappen higher ranked than Magnussen, Gasly and Leclerc.
    * Grabs popcorn *

    1. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
      15th August 2018, 16:49

      Let the shouting begin…

  15. So far I’ve agreed with the placing of 3 drivers at max. Kimi, Leclerc, KMag and Hulk way too low. Verstappen, Gasly, Ricciardo and Alonso all are way too high. Possibly the worst ranking I’ve read by Keith.

  16. Verstappen should be nowhere near as high as that – don’t forget how awful he was in the first weekends. Also Magnussen and Hulkenberg deserve to be higher, Ocon lower.

    I’d have said:

    12. Verstappen
    11. Ocon
    10. Perez
    9. Gasly
    8. Hulkenberg
    7. Leclerc
    6. Magnussen

    1. Why only 12th? Sure he had a bad start, but he has had only 3 crashes in a race.
      Dan hasnt had error free weekends as well. Australia, Spain, Baku, Hungary.

      Max was not aweful in all the first races. Just a few. He has beaten Dan comfortably since Monaco, showing that his first races were just uncharacteristic.
      He has shown the speed and brilliance in most of the other races.

      Magnussen and Hulk deserve to be higher indeed.
      5th max
      6th Dan
      7th Magnussen
      8th Hulk
      9th Gasly.

    2. Why would you put Perez above Ocon?

  17. I am trying to understand the 3/7 race stat for Max.

    As far as I am aware there were only 6 races they both finished. Australia, China, Monaco, France Canada and Spain.
    So it should be 3/6.
    And to be correct, Max did sufder damage on the car that caused a spin.

    Max has been leading Dan most of the time, should at least be ahead of him.

    But only other positions I cant agree with are Alonso in the top 5, Kimi on 14th, Ric ahead of Max and Hulk down in 10th.

  18. Magnussen 11th, Leclerc 7th (both too low), Verstappen 6th (too high)? Struggling to rationalise Keith’s mid-season classification this year. Gasly has had a good year, but it hasn’t been spectacular in the way elements of Leclerc’s season have been so far. Honestly though, it’s difficult to parse and directly compare many drivers’ accomplishments at this stage in 2019–perhaps more so than seasons past–so it’s understandable that some individuals might be curiously higher (or lower) than others.

  19. Thomas Bennett (@felipemassadobrasil)
    15th August 2018, 16:52

    I disagree with the placings of Hulkenberg and Verstappen. I don’t think I need to explain why

  20. I don’t think I’m watching the same races you are.

  21. These types of rankings articles are overly-predictable and thus boring. It will be Vettel or Hamilton at the top but, really, should either be? If we’re ranking drivers, isn’t the number of inspired drives the sole consideration? Or the driver that’s made the fewest # of errors and thus presumably wrung the maximum out of their car?

    In that case I would think Leclerc, Gasly, Magnussen or Alonso ought to have placed in the top-10. Instead 3 out of the 4 have apparently done worse than Bottas.

    Don’t let the top teams cloud your judgement Keith!

    1. Yes, either should be.

  22. I’m not sure why Verstappen is 6th considering the awful start to the season he had. He was really poor. Gasly and K-Mag should be higher than Verstappen surely?

  23. Regarding Ocon…there’s this gloomy quote in the post about Baku:

    a point his team mate rammed home by taking Force India’s only points finish of the year so far.

    So…just the mere financial contribution to FI by Stroll and suddenly FI has the Williams retro-virus? Assume Ocon’s 29 points have already been taken away and sent to the F1 numeric rehabilitation center. ;-)

    1. I think this sentence should be read in the context of the Baku GP. Ocon had no points back then.

      1. @x303: Ok, then. It’s official. Ocon’s points & FI’s points in Bahrain don’t count.

        by taking Force India’s only points finish of the year so far.

        1. Ok Ocon’s single point in Bahrain. But that’s not the point. The point is FI is now the new Williams according to the post. ;-)

          1. Oh my! You’re right @jimmi-cynic, I forgot about Ocon’s point in Bahrain. My apologies Sir! :)

  24. Probably because Max has regained himself since Monaco and beaten Dan every single race after. Even before his mistake(only 3 of which occured in the race) he was in front of Dan every time bar Bahrain.
    His mistakes should be taken in to account for sure, but so should other races and Max has had some really great races.
    Kmag sure does well, but he has had some weird moments as well.

    I am quite a fan of Gasly, but he hasnt shown much more than Hungary, Canada and Bahrain.

  25. Another without any sense list.
    Verstappen in sixth!? better than Hulk, Mag !?
    I guess crashing several times in half a season does not matter for some pilots.
    Vettel seems to be an even worse case since he is not in this list so will be in first 5 list despite making several costly mistakes.

  26. Todd (@braketurnaccelerate)
    15th August 2018, 21:11

    This list literally makes near zero sense. I’ve agreed with a lot of your rankings and analysis before @keithcollantine, but this one is way off.

    Perez ahead of Kimi? Really? Both have been beaten by their teammates on similar terms, except one teammate is a 4x WDC and one is a 2x 5th Place finisher. Not to mention Kimi has 8 podiums in 12 races, 1 more than his “#2 Teammate”. He’s done exactly what Scuderia have asked of him.

    There are several other things that irk me. Gasly at 7th, Ocon ahead of both Hulk & Mag, Ericsson ahead of Grosjean, Stroll ahead of Sirotkin, etc.

    1. Kimi has been driving the best car, a car capable of win every race and the guy hasn’t come even close to win a race this year unlike Bottas that had it not been for bad luck he would have won at least 2 races so far. I think his place is about right in the ranking.

      Honestly, if it was me I would have put him even lower in the list, the guy has no passion anymore he is just showing up at every race to collect his money, most of the grid would have killed to have a chance to drive for Ferrari.

  27. Strange that the driver leading the star performance only gets a 11 th place of the season?

  28. Like many others has said, I don’t understand how Verstappen is ranked 6th, let one in the top 10.

    Yes, he has won a race but he ruined 2 other shots of victory. He almost certainly should have won China if he didn’t screw up overtaking Hamilton and judging by his edge in qualifying he most likely could have beaten Ricciardo at Monaco. Even if he didn’t get pole position, he would have likely been swapped with Ricciardo in the race due to his engine issues.

    If the Red Bull was reliable and he didn’t make these mistakes then he could have had an outside shot at the title, similar to Kubica in 2008. His speed this year has been great but his season has been poor.

    This is the bias we all have towards the top drivers / drivers in top cars. Hulkenberg and Magnussen have driven better this season but aren’t being recognised for it as they don’t have the name power behind them.

  29. Yes, I don’t agree with the ranking overall, I said in the other one that raikkonen and grosjean have been criminally underrated, I’d have done raikkonen 9\10 and grosjean 15\16, here verstappen has been overrated, I’d have done 10 or so, too many mistakes, he’s fast and was also fast the races he’s made mistakes but he threw away so many points it’s just unacceptable for the car he’s driving.

    As such, hulkenberg and magnussen who had awesome seasons certainly should be ahead of him, same for gasly and leclerc, perhaps even others but at least these.

    Oh, and why not raikkonen? He’s not been that slow and was a lot more consistent than verstappen, so we have a 14th that could be realistically better than a 6th for this first half.

  30. Question: if Bottas didn’t go to Mercedes last year, stayed with Williams and drove as well well as he has this year but in the current car, would he be in the top 5 drivers of the year?

    1. Of course not, the bias of this kind of lists include always the car performance unfortunately.

  31. The thing I like the most about this grouping of 6-12 is how few Grand Prix they have all done. Magnussen and Verstappen are the most, both with 72 starts.

    The future of F1 is in safe hands. With Sainz, Hulkenberg, Perez and Grosjean missing out on the big team drives its almost as if the sport has skipped a generation.

    Once Hamilton, Vettel and Raikkonen go Magnussen, Ocon, LeClerc, Verstappen and Gasly are pretty much the superstars.

  32. My 2 cents is that Keith kind of mixes up 3 different criteria:

    1) current best drivers on the grid, in general
    2) ranking of drivers based on their perceived highest top potential
    3) this years actual F1 season.

    I would have different Top Tens for each one of these, and for me, Keith mixes them a bit (which still wouldnt explain Nico Hülkenberg in 10th, that one is kind of a mystery).

    So, for what its worth, here are my Top Tens in each of the above criteria.

    1. Hamilton, 2. Vettel, 3. Alonso, 4. Verstappen, 5. Ricciardo, 6. Hülkenberg, 7. Ocon, 8. Bottas, 9. Perez, 10. Leclerc

    1. Hamilton, 2. Alonso, 3. Verstappen, 4. Vettel, 5. Hülkenberg, 6. Leclerc, 7. Kimi, 8. Ocon, 9. Ricciardo, 10. Perez

    3) is tougher
    because for each of the top candidates, you can argue against them being in the lead. I’m almost inclined to give Bottas top spot this season. Because of the number of mistakes (Max) and the being thrashed by the team mate in terms of pace (Dan), I would leave RBR out of the Top 5. Alonso is doing fine, but he doesn’t have the pressure of the top dogs. Vettel has had a more consistently high level season than Hamilton (which was also true for the first half of last season), but his downfalls have cost him more. Still, I can see them neck to neck on pure performance, this season. Charles and Nico would possibly get into my Top 5, just purely looking at this season.

  33. F1Fanatic became Racefans and besides clickbait titles the latest addition is joke rankings! Verstappen 6th? With so many incidents and an inherited win?

    1. +1. First year of F1Fanatic/Racefans that I cannot follow the logic either. Case in point: Number 11th and 12th in this ranking: One has beaten his teammate by a substantial 75-25% margin, scoring significant points for an above expectations small team. The other has lost to his teammate 25-75%, scoring less driving for a well-established team.
      One has over-delivered compared to expectation. The other has ‘hung in there’.
      Yet they are basically considered equal performances…? This years list definitely plays its favorites… and when the top teams have 1 sec. over the midfield pack seeing Hamilton, Bottas, Ricciardo, Vettel and Verstappen as 5 of the top 6, makes the entire list pointless, especially in a season where the midfield has seen unusually strong drives.
      Losing its credibility?

  34. Racefans is again downgrading Mag.. The F1 media in The hole world is takling about Mag as The Best of The rest and being a reborn driver – im so confused about this site..

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