Sergio Perez, Force India, Yas Marina, 2018

2018 F1 driver rankings #7: Perez

2018 F1 season review

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Sergio Perez was Force India’s top scorer. But there was no ignoring the fact Esteban Ocon, in his second year alongside Perez, was the quicker of the two.

The pair had a strained and, at times, destructive relationship. The trouble began in Canada last year when Ocon found himself stuck behind Perez, who refused any suggestion from the team that the pair should swap places to give Ocon the chance to attack the cars ahead. This sowed the seeds of discontent which led to a series of costly on-track clashes.

Although they tangled less frequently in 2018, both drivers still seemed too concerned with beating each other instead of shoring up the teams’ point haul. Perez’s first-lap tactics in China and Singapore demonstrated this: as he usually wasn’t able to out-qualify his team mate this year, getting ahead at the start became all the more crucial.

When that didn’t work, Perez found the team was now more willing to instruct their drivers to swap positions. Ocon was told to let him through in Austria and Russia in the hope Perez would be able to pass Kevin Magnussen, and when he couldn’t the pair restored their original running order. Had this been done in Canada last year perhasp the team could have spared themselves some aggravation.

Sergio Perez

Beat team mate in qualifying5/21
Beat team mate in race5/14
Races finished19/21
Laps spent ahead of team mate411/1021
Qualifying margin+0.115s (adjusted)

Perez’s survival instincts were what ultimately allowed him to out-score Ocon. This proved most valuable of all at Baku, where Ocon eliminated himself in a needless collision with Kimi Raikkonen, while Perez climbed from 15th to take a superb third. It was the only time all year a non-Mercedes/Red Bull/Ferrari driver apepared on the podium. He added fifth place at Spa to claim Force India’s two best finishing position of the year.

Perez let himself down at Singapore not only with the clash with his team mate (which Ocon said Perez apologised for) but also an ill-judged move on Sergey Sirotkin which earned him a penalty and ended the team’s hopes of scoring any points that day.

The pressure from Ocon may not have brought out the best in Perez but he remained one of the leading lights in the midfield. His value to Force India is likely to increase next year when he is partnered by Lance Stroll.

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Over to you

Perez has probably been the slower of the Force India drivers, but he’s also been the more consistent. He should feel hard done by that Ocon is linked with top drives, while he’s not likely to get a shot. A slightly fortuitous podium in Baku was complemented by a number of “best of the rest” finishes. A bet on him to be in the points is normally a safe one.

What’s your verdict on Sergio Perez’s 2018 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments.

Add your views on the other drivers here:

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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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42 comments on “2018 F1 driver rankings #7: Perez”

  1. Nice guy and great drive in Mexico.
    But #7 is a bit flattering; especially being ranked above Ocon.

    1. Especially being ranked above Hulk. I can understand ranking him above Ocon.

      Btw Perez spun in Suzuka during free practice. Just thought to let that out as it seems to be important

      1. @johnmilk

        I was hoping there would be some great logic to why Perez was so much higher than Hulk. But I’m underwhelmed.

        I could have been convinced Hulk was 8th and Perez 7th. But as is the gap is too big.

        1. @slotopen, I do find it interesting that, every year, there seems to be a push from people to rank Hulkenberg higher up than Perez – people don’t really seem to be interested in comparing Hulkenberg to any other driver with the same intensity with which they insist on comparing Perez and Hulkenberg.

          I mean, I can understand why people focussed on that comparison when they were team mates, but even though they stopped being team mates two seasons ago, people still seem to focus on that particular comparison – why is it that people still seem to be particularly keen to compare Perez and Hulkenberg, and why is it that people seem to be so keen on insisting that Hulkenberg must be the better driver, even when there were times in previous years where, statistically, Perez was the stronger driver?

          1. @anon I think you’re the only one fixated on Hulk vs Perez. I’ve seen you stand in Perez’s defense when he has been compared to Hulkenberg many times before this, because you believe he is victimised by Hulk fans and while you often use good arguments in his favour, I see absolutely no reason to do that here. I don’t think anyone is trying to put one driver above another when it comes to driving ability with respect to these rankings, and neither is anyone disputing Perez’s points victory over Hulkenberg in their time together.

            It’s about this season in particular, and whether Perez really performed as much better than Hulkenberg (who beat a highly rated teammate himself) as these rankings suggest. I admit that many racefans users still rate Hulk higher than Sergio, but I just don’t see anyone trying to put Sergio down here in this instant.

          2. I think it’s because of his pace that people think that Hulk and Ocon are better. I find it interesting that neither Hulk nor Ocon managed to beat Perez in terms of points. I wouldn’t say it’s because Perez is a stronger driver than either of those drivers especially if you were to consider them for a top team, not a midfield team. Perez is closely matched to both drivers especially in the race. Where they are different is that Perez is an opportunistic driver who is ready to pounce on every chance and understands that there’s a time when going longer and slightly slower ends up netting you more points.

            Perez also knows when to concede a position, thinking of the season, not the race. His tenacity to fight against Ocon on the track has been surprising in that respect but it has shown us and Ocon that he will fight for his position at the team and that passion is something you want to see in any driver as long as it’s reasonably managed. On the other hand Hulkenberg and Ocon are a bit too ambitious, in their minds they are still vying for the WDC. In many ways, all 3 drivers are doing the right thing.

          3. We are comparing them because they finished 1-2 in F1B. Not much else to it.

          4. @neutronstar, it’s just that it seems to me that particular comparison comes up quite often – looking at the 2017 rankings, as an example, the very first poster in the driver ranking thread for Hulkenberg in 2017 started with “I had Hulkenburg ahead of Perez.”, whilst others went with comments such as “Hulkenberg has ended a lot of careers in F1 – Perez’s career was saved by the VJM08b, otherwise he’d probably be out of F1 too on account of being slow.”, or outright stated that Keith was wrong for Hulkenberg to be ranked behind Perez.

            This season, it was within the first few posts that we had that same comparison coming up again – I’m not saying that it is “victimisation” or a case of “wanting to put others down”, but rather that it just seems to me that particular comparison comes up more frequently than others – more frequently than, say, comparisons between other midfield drivers, like Hulkenberg and Ocon, or between Perez and Magnussen (and Magnussen was not that much further behind in the WDC than Perez was – indeed, as late as the Japanese GP, he was tied with Perez and Hulkenberg on points, so he was a direct competitor with both of those drivers for much of the season).

          5. @anon That’s a fair point, but I still don’t think your point about people considering Hulkenberg a better driver than Perez in general is a little out of place here because there’s no indication anyone was thinking along those lines. Given how close they finished in the championship and that Hulkenberg’s record against his teammate was better than Perez’s, it’s natural to question and argue against their respective rankings.

            About the constant comparisons between those two in particular, well, I can’t argue against that. Athough, I do think that the examples you mentioned in your reply are local to a very small group of people, because those arguments against Perez are not common, especially the one about the vjm08b suiting him a lot more than Hulk. You’ll find that a lot of Hulkenberg fans actually begrudgingly respect Perez for what he achieved against him. I mean, to expect anything more than that is optimistic, to say the least.

          6. @anon *I still think your point is a little out of place

      2. To elaborate, whatever Hulk might have done better, he still couldn’t have finished better. I feel like when it is close you have to give a nod to the winner. Hulk can argue he had the right strategy to beat the rest of F1B, and anything else isn’t what played out.

        Perez, however more impressive, was a few points short. He could have done better. Don’t know if he should have, but he didnt.

        I would have given the nod to Hulk for 7th, and could have understood 8th, but 4 places between them is way to many.

        1. Agree on 4 places being too many, and I think perez is an underrated driver who would deserve a shot at a REAL top team (not mclaren), someone here a few comments ago said something about him taking every chance, you know what that reminds me? Ricciardo! A fast driver who, after being promoted to red bull, happened to have a fast car, however left it to try his luck at renault, bad idea imo, but that’s the point, he could’ve been at red bull instead of ricciardo doing similar stuff as he did.

  2. some how Max is going to be in the top 3 of drivers.crashed on 5 consecutive weekends,threw away 3 solid chances for historic youngest pole,threw away 3 races wins by drive like an idiot….but wait he is the new Great white hope….

    Conclusion about Max so far is that he is bullish when the stakes are low for him.but stuffs it up when the pressure of expectation is high.example he started this year as tittle contender but made a mess of it when the stakes were equal for all drivers,and they didnt just jump out of his way.
    On all the tracks were Rebbull was very competitive and he was suppose to take pole we saw nothing special and he under delivered…….but group and Mob thinking is very powerful….while the Fia twist themselves in prezzle to placate him….oh by the way its kind of ok now physically assault someone if you really mad about loosing a race win

    Any big Respect to Keith for being probably the only onein the mainstream media to callout Max behavior

  3. I can live with Sergio rank, but I found no line in this article that backup why he deserved to be #7. Somewhere between the line there a clue that Sergio had shown his talent in Baku by passing Seb to get a podium, but that’s it.

    1. @ruliemaulana Seb had a flat-spotted tyre following his lock-up into T1 at the second SC-restart, though, so, therefore, the position wasn’t really gained on merit.

      1. If you are convinced about ranking for all others @ruliemaulana, then where else would you place Sergio?

        I think 7th or higher because, well, you are convinced of all other ranking announced 8th and later!

        1. Crap it wasn’t meant to be written here. Damn Safari!

  4. With all the other drivers I could understand why they’d been ranked where they were, even if I disagreed with it. But I’m majorly struggling with Perez in P7. I don’t think he was even the best Force India driver.

    1. I think he was the best force india driver and should’ve been up here, it’s hulkenberg who’s been underrated in these rankings imo.

    2. If you are convinced about ranking for all others @neilosjames, then where else would you place Sergio?

      I think 7th or higher because, well, you are convinced of all other ranking announced 8th and later!

      1. @hemzshaw there’s a difference between understanding why other drivers had been ranked where they had (which is what I wrote), and agreeing with the exact placement.

        I’d have put Perez somewhere around 11th-13th.

  5. Maybe the slower out of the two on outright speed, but definitely the more consistent one in the races to maximize opportunities.
    BTW, ”Perez’s first-lap tactics in China”
    – I don’t really recall anything unusual happening between them on the opening lap of the Chinese GP, so it must be something that wasn’t shown on the world feed. In Hungary last year there was a small contact between them at T1, and there might’ve been something similar happening at T6 (T3 in my books) at SIC as well, but if not really any footage of it was shown or perhaps a replay or two.

    1. @jerejj
      I don’t really recall anything unusual happening between them on the opening lap of the Chinese GP – They had a scuffle, but nothing really happened. What puts it even more out of place, is the context given: “(..) as he usually wasn’t able to out-qualify his team mate this year, getting ahead at the start became all the more crucial.” In China, PER outqualified OCO 8th to 12th.

  6. Lost to teammate 76% of the time in qual – check
    Lost to teammate 64% of the time in race – check
    Ran behind the teammate for 60% of the laps – check
    Scored 25% of his points haul in a single outlier event – check
    = 7th best driver performance this year in F1.

    1. Yeah, it’s one of those days when a one-handed facepalm just isn’t enough.

    2. Fudge Kobayashi (@)
      17th December 2018, 14:32


  7. I thought Keith was biased against Perez, I was wrong.
    I agree with Perez being #7, a

    1. Arguments:
      1. Only driver in podium outside top 3 teams.
      2. Raced half season without a salary.
      3. Helped to save team with a

      1. I used those arguments for Stroll last year :P

      2. …administration demand.
        4. Scored more points than any midfield car in second half of the season.
        5. Slower by a small margin than Ocon in Saturday, but definitely faster on Sunday.
        6. Defeated Ocon in their obssesive personal battle.

      3. 4.-Raced half the season with very deep mental concerns and still spared mental strenght to beat His team mate and Score a Podium

    2. @juanmelendezr1 Keith has ranked Perez 3rd, 8th, 7th and 7th in the last four years, so I don’t know where you’re seeing the bias against him.

  8. Beat team mate in qualifying 5/21
    Beat team mate in race 5/14
    Never hugely quick, but always seems to get the important points. Think 7th is a bit flattering though. Maybe 10th or so.

  9. No way i agree with a boring and medicore driver like Perez to be ranked 7th and ahead of drivers like Gasly, Ocon.
    He should have been servely punished for putting team mate Ocon in the wall at Singapore.

    1. ‘Logic’: Perez is boring and mediocre.

      Reality: Mediocrity and boredom beat Esteban Ocon two consecutive seasons.

  10. People seem to forget about all the trouble Force India was in this year and how much it affected Perez who had to save them. Despite all that pressure outside of the racing weekends, he still managed to outscore his overhyped teammate and was in a fight for best of F1.5 with a much worse car than Haas and Renault for majority f the season.
    But of course, it’s Perez so he doesn’t deserve any good ranking position he is given…..

    1. Nah, absolutely it’s deserved, if there’s anything to say that could justify hulkenber’s low ranking is that renault was a much better car for a big part of the season than force india, and haas could’ve got even more than renault with fewer driver\team mistakes.

  11. This guy delivers points.

  12. Honestly, what are we doing here again?

      1. Probably. There wasn’t as much ping-pong this year compared to last year.

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