Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Interlagos, 2018

2018 F1 driver rankings #15: Vandoorne

2018 F1 season review

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The stand-out detail of Stoffel Vandoorne’s second and – for now – final season in Formula 1 is that he was out-qualified by his team mate in all 21 races.

Of course it’s true Vandoorne had it tough in that he was being measured against one of the very best in Fernando Alonso. But that is the point of reaching F1 in the first place.

Besides which, it’s not as if Alonso was the only driver he had to beat. Vandoorne qualified last five times, yet Alonso never featured among the bottom two in qualifying. Even in Russia, where Alonso had a grid penalty and McLaren intended to use him to give Vandoorne a slipstream in qualifying, Alonso came out ahead again.

Faced with that excruciating qualifying scoreline and Alonso’s famed bludgeoning race pace, it’s no surprise Vandoorne was outscored by a ratio of more than four to one, even with Alonso logging more non-finishes.

It looked more promising after the first four races of the season, at which point Vandoorne had scored in all bar one of the opening rounds. But as McLaren failed to keep pace with their rivals’ development he endured a long, point-less streak.

Stoffel Vandoorne

Beat team mate in qualifying0/21
Beat team mate in race3/13
Races finished19/21
Laps spent ahead of team mate165/938
Qualifying margin+0.38s
Points12

The MCL33’s core weakness, an excess of drag, was exacerbated for Vandoorne when his chassis developed a problem at mid-season which meant it was also generating insufficient downforce. Once it was fixed he was on course to score in Hungary, but suffered an ill-timed breakage, and had to wait until Mexico to get back among the points-scorers.

To his credit, Vandoorne didn’t let his obvious frustration get the better of him. He stayed out of trouble, and only the Mercedes drivers and Sebastian Vettel finished more races.

His run from 15th to eighth at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez was his highlight of the year. At a track where the car’s drag problem was nullified, Vandoorne pulled of a string of great passes to score the team’s final points of the season, edging them further clear of Force India in their successful pursuit of sixth place.

But it was too late for him to hold onto his place at the team.

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Over to you

What’s your verdict on Stoffel Vandoorne’s 2018 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? 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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80 comments on “2018 F1 driver rankings #15: Vandoorne”

  1. -Spent more laps behind team mate than Ericsson, Grosjean and Hartley (despite finishing the 4th most racing laps of the season)
    -Finished behind team mate at the chequered flag more often than the above drivers
    -Only driver to be completely dominated in qualifying
    -Of the drivers ranked lower, only Ericsson had a worse qualifying deficit

    Go home Kieth, you’re drunk.

    1. @joeypropane Ranking shouldn’t just be about statistics. It doesn’t look like Vandoorne got a fair treatment within the team. Serious chassis problems that were neglected and Stoffel hinted at severe political games within the team. My guess is that McLaren put all their effort in Alonso’s car, leaving Vandoorne with ‘just copy X and Y from Alonso’s setup’. If your input gets ignored, you are going to be very slow.

      In other words, Vandoorne got used by McLaren, and yes, that is also his own fault for accepting that. He should have slammed his fist on the table and demanded an equal treatment, which he probably did not. That’s also part of being a race driver. But he was not the worst driver on the grid. I’m 100% sure he would have done better than #16 to #20 in an equal car. I believe 15th is a fair rank.

      1. Yea right, like he is going to get equal treatment to Alonso.
        Fact is both cars sucked and although he shouldn’t have been expected to match Alonso, he surely should have done better.
        Marko didn’t want him – said he is too slow. He failed to impress the other teams enough to warrant signing him.

      2. “…severe political games within the team…” – has such a thing ever been known in a team for which Fernando Alonso drives?

    2. Comparing team-mate deficits/stats is worthless unless you assume all team-mates are equal.

      You’d need to be exceptionally drunk to do that…

      1. Comparing team-mate deficits/stats is worthless unless you assume all team-mates are equal

        exactly, @neilosjames.
        Maybe it was Kimi himself after the FIA gala, digging up those stats ;)

      2. @neilosjames
        Its not being drunk. The deficit between the cars is bigger than between the drivers so it makes perfect sense. If you cant touch your team mate for an entire season you have a really hard case to make for yourself in F1.

      3. @neilosjames, the thing is, Vandoorne’s relative performance to Alonso worsened in 2018 when compared to 2017 – so, even allowing for Alonso being a tough team mate to beat, Vandoorne seems to have gone backwards in 2018 instead of showing any progression.

        In 2017, Vandoorne managed to outqualify Alonso three times and had an average deficit to Alonso in qualifying trim of 0.23s. In 2018, Vandoorne failed to outqualify Alonso at any point in the season and was, on average, 0.38s slower – so Vandoorne’s performance in qualifying was worsening over time, not improving.

        Similarly, the proportion of races where he beat Alonso was no better in 2018 than in 2017, and arguably worse – he beat Alonso in 2 of the 7 races where they both finished in 2017, but only managed to beat Alonso 3 times in 13 races in 2018.

        Even in terms of the statistic “Laps spent ahead of team mate”, Vandoorne declined there too – he spent 221 laps out of 696 ahead of Alonso in 2017, as against 165 out of 938 in 2018.

        In the case of Grosjean, even though he had some rather erratic form, he still managed a similar relative performance against Magnussen in 2018 compared to 2017; as for Ericsson, it is still acknowledged that there were still a number of notable occasions for him, such as his performance in the wet conditions in Germany, and there was a perception that his performances were improving over the course of the season. By contrast, there did not seem to be a similar sign of improvement from Vandoorne, and if anything signs of a decline in performance instead.

        1. Agree, anon, you make a good case for him being further behind, even though like I said, he wasn’t such a disaster in terms of qualifying pace vs alonso, raikkonen and massa didn’t do much better if they even did.

    3. Sander De Voogdt
      11th December 2018, 13:14

      All your points say the same thing: he was worse than Alonso. And he was. Not the point.

  2. Agree with his great race in Mexico (and some decent moves in Brazil I believe).
    And I don’t recall many big mistakes either.
    But all that doesn’t mean you’re better than 5 other drivers. I’d rather see a ‘racer’ take chances and miss a few than play it safe and qualify/finish last.

  3. Honestly amazed to see Vandoorne ranked this high. Your main point of reference in Formula 1 is your team-mate, and quite frankly, Stoffel did the worst job on the grid compared to his team-mate this season.

    I genuinely believe all the drivers ranked below him have made more of a case for a seat on the grid next season (with the possible exception of Sirotkin). Stellar junior series record, but just not cut out for Formula 1, unfortunately.

    1. @kevinc I disagree, Vandorne had an impossible task at McLaren and handled it extremely well.

      McLaren as a company has retained all of Ron Dennis’s soulless, ruthlessness and none of his passion. It sucked the joy out of Alonso whom, as suggested in other posts was given all their focus. Vandorne never stood a chance and yet accounted for himself well.

      Also, there are more types of driver than the attack at all costs type. I would have Vandorne down as more the Button or Prost type, and maybe even Rosberg, more risk averse but cleans up in a less predictable season.

      And yes I realize that I’ve said above that Ron Dennis is both soulless and passionate, but then he is a complicated guy ;)

      1. Soul-less is not necessarily incongruous with passionate.

        Depends on why a person is soul-less. And I’d argue many in F1 are the same.

  4. Worst ratio of qualifying against teammate
    Worst ratio of finishing behind his teammate in races from the drivers ranked from 20 to 15
    Spent most laps behind teammate than any of the other drivers ranked from 20 to 15
    Second worst qualifying margin with 0.38s
    Qualified last 5 times

    Keith Collantine:

    This is only about who performed better, irrespective of their level of experience. There are enough variables to juggle as it is!

    I was at least expecting some sort of argument that could place Vandoorne ahead of the previous drivers, but I found none. Or was the fact that he stayed out of trouble? You know who also stayed out of trouble and also finished 19 races? Stroll. What else they have in common? Probably a lack of pace that keeps them away from action

    Alonso has a teammate is the only reason Vandoorne is P15, and that is just poor

    1. That quote about how the drivers are judged is why I think Vandoorne should be ranked last. If it is only based on performance, he was easily the worst driver on the grid this season.

      Frankly, I think the reason he has been placed so high is because he dominated GP2 in 2015. Does anyone really think he would be placed 15th if he was named Lance Stroll or Marcus Ericsson?

    2. Don’t forget about the man, the myth, the legend that is…….what was his name again?

      ah yes, Max Chilton, all time great

      1. Which finished last and second to last in F1Fanatics rankings

        1. Only because he was ab against Jules- oh wait

    3. The likely reason he was placed this high is he was compared to ALONSO!

      Think about it: what would’ve happened if he had a human team mate? He wouldn’t have been excused so much for a terrible performance, but certainly the comparison to his team mate wouldn’t have been so 1-sided, he’d have outqualified him at times, scored more points than he did in % to his team mate, been more laps ahead etc.

    4. I agree. This ranking is a mystery to me.

  5. I have no idea what to think of Vandoorne.

    I can’t imagine the guy just ‘forgot how to drive’? Alonso kinda made him look average a lot, but given the distance between the midfield and the back wasn’t exactly huge most of the time that ‘gap’ was enough to put Alonso in 11-12th and knocked Vandoorne down to 15th or lower. That chassis issue was something that McLaren just didn’t seem in a rush to fix and given McLaren’s record with burning up pretty decent talent it makes me wonder whether Vandoorne would have flourished better elsewhere.

    I think as a driver he deserves to be about this point on the list but his season was so painfully anonymous 15th may be slightly generous, as Grosjean/Hartley/Ericsson all seemed to perform better than him.

  6. Surprised to see Slowfel Blandoorne this high up.

    1. Ewww that was brutal :(

  7. I feel sorry for him.
    In 2013 we had Checo, walked into the worst McLaren ever……. they sacked him.
    K-Mag got a chance in 2014, 2nd on the grid after DR was disqualified in his FIRST race……….. sacked.

    I remember footage of Stoffel and Ron (just before they ousted Ron) having a chat in the motorhome, was reserve driver at the time, ‘future World Champion’- nice hand shake, our next champion…….. sacked.

    May not see him in F1 again and I don’t think that’s correct.

  8. Here’s the first one I’m agreeing with you, Keith

    1. Just out of curiosity, why do you think he should be ranked ahead of the previous drivers?

  9. I would probably have put Vandoorne around the same place, 15th or so, as I rated Alonso’s performances this year exceptionally highly. And no team was as focused towards one driver, and that driver’s style for developing the car, as McLaren were towards Alonso. Vandoorne had more cards stacked against him than anyone on the grid, so while I was definitely disappointed by his performances, I don’t think he was anything like as bad as some say he was.

    There’s no point saying ‘driver 1 was closer to his team-mate’ (eg, Hartley to Gasly) unless you think drivers like Gasly and Stroll present the same level of competition as Alonso…

    1. Completely agree with you @neilosjames. I’m really surprised that so many commentors here would place SV last based, it would seem, purely on a statistical analysis.

      He was bad, but all things considered I think only THIS bad.

      Only thing I disagree with so far is Sirotkin last, but I can offer no reason why he shouldn’t be, so I guess I’ve just taken a shine to him for some reason.

      1. I’m really surprised that so many commentors here would place SV last based, it would seem, purely on a statistical analysis.

        hhmmm….what?

      2. I would place him last, but not only based on statistics (though I think being outqualified in every single race is quite damning).

        It is also because he was genuinely anonymous in pretty much every race this season. Off the top of my head, I can think of good or stand-out drives or moments for all the other drivers on the grid this year. I can’t place any for Stoffel.

    2. “There’s no point saying ‘driver 1 was closer to his team-mate’ (eg, Hartley to Gasly) unless you think drivers like Gasly and Stroll present the same level of competition as Alonso…”

      Eh? I thought it was pretty much a rule of F1 that the ONLY fair comparison, in terms of out-right performance, was the other side of the garage? If we start cross-examining through different teams and cars, you can extrapolate all kinds of ridiculous conclusions.

      And comparing Alonso to Gasly (or any other team mate) is also pointless when you consider how much better Stoffel’s junior career, and thus his expectations as an F1 driver, was compared to the likes of Sirotkin and Stroll.

      Yes, Alonso is one of the best F1 drivers of all time, but that doesn’t mean the guy who “dominated every championship he competed in” on his way to F1 gets a free ride when he gets there… Not for 2 consecutive seasons.

      1. @joeypropane come on, you get the point. Yes, it is hard to take different teammates into account, but that doesn’t mean the quality difference between Alonso or, say, Stroll, isn’t there at all. It’s not because it’s complex that it’s better to just act like it doesn’t exist and equate Stroll with Alonso for the sake of drawing easy conclusions.

        I am adamant that Vandoorne, in Leclerc’s seat and pitted against Ericsson, would have been perceived as an entirely different driver today. And yes, “if’s and but’s”, I know. It wasn’t to be like that.

        1. You said it yourself, if’s and but’s. It doesn’t change the fact that, before or after this mysterious “car issue”, he didn’t get any where near the level of performance out of this years car that his team mate did – you don’t have to “equate Alonso” with anyone to see that.

          Does this mean that next year, when Perez inevitably destroys Stroll over a season, we need to move him down the ratings, regardless of where his personal performance is, because he is lassoed to the performance floor that Lance represents??

          1. @joeypropane nobody is saying that there is a treshold based on the perceived quality of a teammate that a driver can not surpass. You’re drawing up a straw man there.

          2. Before this mysterious “car issue”, he was two development steps behind on Alonso. He started the year with an enforced setup copy of Alonso, and from Spain onward, Stoffel had to race with (marginally) slower machinery. To make it worse, Stoffel was instructed not to crash, because there were no spare parts available. Try to compete with Alonso while leaving enough margin to play safe… From the Belgian GP on, there were rumors that any serious mistake (read crash) would get him sidelined prematurely.
            Stoffel didn’t bang doors or tables, because he had no leverage: He’s not from a promotional interesting country, he brought no sponsoring and his network is non-existent.

    3. Yep, well said @neilosjames; I do think Alonso will end up high on this list for his last appearance, and so I guess it is only logical Vandoorne is judged against that high standard. Looking forward to see how he does in Formula E to be able to judge him better; as @garns above mentions, McLaren doesn’t seem an ideal place to have been a young driver in over the last few years (hm, maybe since Hamilton, not saying Kovalainen was great, but …).

    4. @neilosjames @mattds @bosyber can you guys give good reasons why he should be ahead of the others in the ranking? Without naming Alonso, give it try. Otherwise his position is solely justified, as mentioned above, by the fact that he is teammate with Alonso

      1. @johnmilk yes, being a teammate with Alonso poses a far harder challenge than being a teammate with Sirotkin or Ericsson. Why should other reasons be given?

        But OK, take your reasoning and tell me how we can possibly draw up a 1-20 list if we can’t try to take both car AND team mate quality into account? Better do 10 separate 1-2 lists because there’s no definite way of comparing beyond team borders then.

        1. basically doesn’t matter how you perform as a F1 driver, if your teammate is an accomplished champion that is enough not the be the worst?

          You could at least give me some examples where he performed well, what were the highlights of the season, where he showed better race craft and where he was quicker than the cars around him. Where in the entire year he showed a performance worth remembering, and why has he had a better year than the 5 guys already ranked.

          But you couldn’t, you couldn’t say any of those things, as with the author, the best thing you could point out was that his teammate was Alonso, and that alone makes him better than the other 5.

          1. Like when they finally changed his chassis and all of a sudden he was no longer las- oh no

          2. Wasn’t he doing better actually before they changed it?

      2. @johnmilk So you want some reasons, other than the way he fared against one of the best, consistently high-performing drivers on the grid, in a team built around that driver, in a car built for that driver, getting upgrades after that driver… not sure why you’d choose to exclude those things, given their great importance, but I’ll give it a go. Easiest way is to pick at the guys he beat, so much as I don’t particularly like being negative I’ll do that:

        I like Grosjean but he had his worst season for a long time. He didn’t beat Magnussen and his ‘season highlights’ would be a mechanic’s nightmare of repairs, investigations and penalties (Spain, Baku, USA, etc) punctuated by some very good drives, but they weren’t special enough to make up for the very bad moments. Hartley was utterly anonymous against a rookie team-mate who I don’t rate as a future great. Ericsson, in his fifth season, in a team owned by the guy who pays for him to be in F1, got beaten by a rookie (a good one, I admit) so badly that the owner chose to pick someone else. And Stroll and Sirotkin were quite evenly matched… against Stroll and Sirotkin, and they scored 7 points between them in a car that wasn’t always the slowest, certainly not in qualifying.

        If I put those viewpoints up against what I saw of Vandoorne’s performance against he-who-should-not-be-named, he doesn’t come last. The only one who’d be marginal with him is Grosjean.

        1. @neilosjames I know the other had bad seasons, I didn’t ask for negative, see my comment abobe to MattDs, I’m waiting for someone to point me out the good moments. Because the other 5 had them, but Vandoorne didn’t, so he should be last. It’s that simple

          1. Bahrain, Hungary, Mexico, Brazil, his call for fresh tyres during the safetycar in Baku, keeping Max behind in Monaco, his call not to pit for inters in Germany (Alonso did pit and ended up after VAN, ALO retired in the last lap so this race was another example of a wrong view on the statistics), the battle with Ocon and Grosjean,… He had very good moments, but nobody noticed them because they didn’t gave him any attention.

            The failing of VAN is in my opinion the fault of Zak Brown who was neckdeep up ALO ass. We’ll see the next couple of years who’s right.

          2. I prefer to consider the season as a whole rather than focus on peaks represented by ‘good moments’. As we obviously approach it from different directions, we could probably go round in circles forever. Although, just being within a couple of tenths of Alonso would, performance and speed-wise, very likely match or exceed any driving Hartley, Sirotkin, Stroll or Ericsson did, so even using that logic I’d place Vandoorne ahead of them…

            But OK… Mexico and Hungary? Those two stick out in my memory. As for individual moments of good race-craft, we didn’t see much of anyone outside the top six but… closing laps of Baku, good race drive in Brazil, nice fight with Grosjean and Ocon in much quicker cars in Abu Dhabi?

          3. thank you Fred, thank you @neilosjames that makes it better.

            In my opinion those moments, and I think the best race that he had was Mexico, even though a lot of people ran into trouble. Aren’t enough to place him 15. I will be honest I placed him last, I could find a reason to rate him above the others.

            But finally someone pointed out some performances from him, I been asking all over the thread and none could give me a proper answer. Not even Keith could remember those

  10. If you start out quiet and level headed in f1 driving conservatively you really are going to have to be exceptionally quick on the qually hot lap. Not only that Alonso’s strength isn’t even 1 lap qualifying.

    He’s like Bottas without the crazy devil may care attitude

    I think the stand out stat for Van door this season is 15th on this list.

    1. Devil may care attitude? Bottas? The most timid guy in the entire field?

  11. Bahrain human right abusers killed another great talent.
    At least stoffel is still a rich young and racing FE. The other victims of the Bahrain regime are worse off.

    This is no longer the mclaren of the Prost Senna days, but some evil nation wearing its skin.

    1. Yeah. Sure. Not renewing contract of driver that can’t beat his teammate once is evil.

      1. his car was broken all summer long and they didn’t even know why.
        he was basically a test pilot for parts that Alonso would get.

        The Bahrain regime does not care about F1 or McLaren they just want some positive PR

        so yeah using F1 as a PR instrument to draw attention away from human right abuses is pretty evil.

        like I said stoffel won’t go hungry his life is still pretty great, but there should be more disgust about those golf states owning so much in F1

    2. Please can you let me know where you buy that stuff !

      1. so you like Bahrain? it is great news that they bought McLaren? they managed stoffel great?

  12. Vandoorne had a great junior career but failed (at least by now) in F1. There are really two options which I would like to consider as a reasons

    – He was notably older as a rookies tend do be nowadays. Of the 2018 drivers, only Brendon Hartley made his debut while being older than Vandoorne. And Vandoorne had to wait almost a year more before getting full-time drive. In that category, Grosjean was also older than Stoffel. All this may have just led that he was more matured and developed driver when being in junior formulaes and had not as much room do develop further
    – Another possibility is that he is just a driver who needs car fit him perfectly before throwing good results, which means that his McLaren stint as a team-mate of Alonso is more like Kimi Räikkönen had in 2014, which was notably bad for a driver who has won 21 GPs and World Championship title.

    1. @bleu about that first point: he was only notably older because McLaren stalled for such a long time. He was basically ready by the end of 2013, when he was 21 and just achieved second in the (back then at least) highly regarded top-end FR3.5 series, having won two series in the preceding 3 years.

      Then he had to do two years GP2 (smashing it), then one year in Japan where he did excellent, and only then he could debut in F1.

  13. 15th???

    I’d have put him behind Hartley…

  14. Car problems aside he simply under-performed too much to be retained by Mclaren.

  15. *tinfoil hat on* What if Team Alonso made Stoffel slow on purpose? Because crashing into the pit straight every race would be too obvious. And because they wanted at least some kind of glory from the misery at McLaren. Suspicious timing that both drivers leave the team together? Eh? :-D

  16. Although like almost everyone else here I feel he’s been ranked too high, I also feel that like Perez and Magnussen, Vandoorne might return to F1 at a later date and prove himself to be another talent that Mclaren let go.

    1. @major-dev
      Well so far those you name hasnt proved anything, none of them is close to a topteam which is what McLaren imagines itself to be.

  17. Very high. By this logic, Alonso will have to be rated above even Hamilton. And how bad is the car then??

  18. Not sure how good his FE car will be, but he might have a chance to win the championship… after all, he’s very used to going slow and save energy :))

  19. …and only the Mercedes drivers and Sebastian Vettel finished more races.

    I’m sure there must be a lesson somewhere in the different driving styles of Alonso and Vandoorne. When a car is struggling to perform, as the McLaren MCL33 was this season, there must be some sort of tradeoff between how hard a driver pushes the car and how many retirements they get. Pushing the car probably earns more points, but can result in more retirements, whereas keeping the car within its design thresholds means less points but more races completed.

    1. 2017: Listen Stoffel: “You’ll need to lift and coast, we’re marginal on fuel.”
      “Fernando, You’ll run out of fuel” – Fernando: “This GP2 engine should save fuel, I won’t”
      2018 Listen Stoffel: “Do not damage the front wing, it’s the only one available to you. The spare is Fernando’s”
      “Listen Stoffel, there is something wrong with you chassis but we have no spares”
      “Stoffel, The 2018 car is a donkey, this year is a done deal, we’ll use the FP1 & FP2’s to do windtunnel validation runs”

  20. Stoffel is impossible to judge. Either he did good in the worst car on the grid or he is just downright bad and Fernando overhyped.

    He was splendid before F1 and when he replaced Fernando so surely he cant be this bad?

  21. Rather than jump on the Vandoorne “should be last” bandwagon, I’m a firm believer that Stoffel is a better driver than those ranked below him this year. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, although he was outperformed by Alonso, his margin was still only 0.38s over an entire season. That is a revealing number IMO. Coupled with driving a garbage car, a car perhaps slightly better than the Williams, and I think he fits fine at 15th.

    Another counter point – Ericsson .431s down on Leclerc, an up and comer in an arguably competitive car. Vandoorne, 0.38s down on Alonso, one of the best drivers of all time in a fast looking dumpster that is McLaren. Sure there are lots of factors. But the qualifying margin weighs heavily in my mind.

    1. @rpiian

      This sounds good, the idea he was soooo close. I think the deltas are important when considering teammate battles. I want to believe he didn’t fail so badly.

      But being beat every weekend is just awful. There should have been a Saturday he was fast and Alonso made the tiniest error. These guys are so good to be in F1, none of them should get beaten all the time. Even Stroll and Ericsson had their days. 15th seems to high to me.

      1. Yea I hear ya. I just can’t ignore the facts I mentioned. Also FWIW – my rankings:

        Sirotkin
        Stroll
        Ericsson
        Hartley
        Vandoorne
        Grosjean
        Bottas
        Magnussen
        Gasly
        Ocon
        Perez
        Sainz
        Raikonnen
        Ricciardo
        Vettel
        Hulkenburg
        Alonso
        LeClerc
        Verstappen
        Hamilton

    2. Considering that the car was built around Alonso, and the team failed to acknowledge any problems Stoffel had, (e.g. Germany-Hungary), I feel that the reason he performed “so poorly” was because it destroyed his morale (like Kvyat?).

  22. I would put Vandoorne in 17th, which is still higher than most people IMO. I would try to defend his position though had not seen Grosjean two places lower. The Frenchman had pretty strong second half while Vandoorne struggled for pace all the time and only positive thing was that he usually stayed out of trouble and brought some points home. I know Romain has a repution for silly incidents and had some more this year but he is pretty quick and it cannot be overlooked.

  23. Well, if it’s true that Alonso is a beast and probably the worst driver to fight against in a poor car, is also true that Vandoorne was the “next big thing”. So, if we are considering expectations and how the driver performed during the season, he was – at least – worst than Grosjean and Ericsson.
    The french was up and down but in his day he’s really fast, the sweden did what everybody expected from him.
    Still I rather prefer to see again Vandoorne in F1 for another chance to show what he’s able to do in the right car, than Ericsson.

  24. The “teammate is best comparison” rule can only have value if the cars are the same. It seems they were not. On balance Alonso’s politics got him AND Vandoorne kicked out of F1, plus has McLaren flat on its belly after ousting Dennis. Seems like Vandoorne has been a collateral victim of other peoples’ karma.

  25. How has a driver who should have been plumb last on the list as high as 15th ahead of Grosjean and Ericsson?! Unsurprisingly, a large majority of the comments on this thread bear that out.

    1. One word: controversy.

      Gets clicks and comments. As this thread also bears out

    2. I can answer that quite easily.
      He scored more points than Ericsson with a vastly inferior car.
      The Grosjean comparison is much harder however the final championship standings place Romain in 14th and Stoffel in 16th. That of course doesn’t tell the whole story but does indicate how poorly Romain utilised the 4th quickest package on the grid.

  26. Yes it seems clear that most people consider this ranking too high. Stoffel should be no higher than 17th with the two drivers below him at least one place higher.

    I don’t think he was worse than Hartley. He was just really disappointing considering his pre F1 career and there seemed to be no year on year improvement.

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