Charles Leclerc, Sauber, Monza, 2018

2018 F1 driver rankings #3: Leclerc

2018 F1 season review

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Charles Leclerc was fairly dismissive of his efforts in the first few races of 2018. He admitted he hadn’t mastered the car and was still coming to terms with the leap from Formula 2 to Formula 1.

Unfancied team mate Marcus Ericsson showed him the way in both races. Leclerc flat-spotted his tyres early on in Bahrain, then in China he put one over his team mate in qualifying for the first time, only to spin out on race day.

Then came Baku, where everything clicked, and Leclerc has been on a roll pretty much ever since. Sixth place, his best result of the season, was somewhat flattered by retirements ahead of him – arguably some of his subsequent finishes were more impressive.

He reached Q3 for the first time in France, and impressed in the race by resisting pressure from Romain Grosjean’s faster Haas. A single point was his reward.

In Russia a superb, attacking first lap got him ahead of Ocon and Magnussen, clearing the way for him to lead the midfield home for the first time. He repeated the feat in Mexico with another seventh place, and made it three-in-a-row at Yas Marina after daringly taking on the Red Bull drivers at the start.

Charles Leclerc

Beat team mate in qualifying17/21
Beat team mate in race9/13
Races finished16/21
Laps spent ahead of team mate664/920
Qualifying margin-0.431s (adjusted)
Points39

He out-scored Ericsson 39-9 despite bearing the brunt of the team’s problems on race day. Such as the brake failure which sent him into the back of Brendon Hartley in Monaco, or the botched pit stop when he was in the hunt for ‘best of the rest’ honours at Silverstone.

By the time he was announced as a Ferrari driver ahead of the Singapore Grand Prix. Leclerc he was out-qualifying Ericsson by seven-tenths of a second. And the surprising thing about that is it wasn’t surprising any more. Leclerc was over four-tenths of a second quicker than his team mate on average over the season, the widest margin of any driver.

Perhaps the best barometer of how much Leclerc impressed is that he convinced Ferrari to break with a long tradition of hiring older, experienced drivers and take a risk on this bright new talent for 2019. Those in the know are very excited about what he’s capable of.

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Over to you

Once he found his feet in Baku, he completely destroyed his more experienced teammate. Fantastic debut season.
@Brickles

What’s your verdict on Charles Leclerc’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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  • 78 comments on “2018 F1 driver rankings #3: Leclerc”

    1. The rookie of the season by quite some margin, and quite a few stellar performances since the Azerbaijan GP most notably in Sochi, but also Brazil. Definitely deserved the Ferrari-promotion.

      1. The rookie of the season

        Well, it wasn’t so difficult to beat Sirotkin to this.

      2. I don’t like the quick promotions to the top teams that much.

        It’s one thing to beat Ericsson or Hartley. But I’d like these prodigies (more likely singular) to show their skills against a Hulkenberg or Perez first before occupying one of the only 6 race-winning-potential seats.
        @jerejj

        1. With the top teams in dire need for top drivers i think its ok for the rookies to skip one year in the midfield.
          The alternative is to promote perez or hulk to the topteams and i dont see that ever happening.

        2. @coldfly @jerejj

          Coldyfly- you are correct in a quick promotion, Ferrari never do it (I cant remember the last time they promoted a non-F1 Winner??) but with Max driving so well and Ocon looking to take a Merc seat in 2020 I don’t think that have a choice.

          Seb wont be around forever, Dan make take that seat for 2 years, but they see this guy a future Superstar – Senna won races in his 2nd year- I think its smart!

          1. “Senna won races in his 2nd year” – Hamilton won races in his first year and proved to be a match for the great Nando.

          2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
            17th December 2018, 13:51

            Massa was similarly podium-less going into ’06, but I guess it mattered much less as it was the designated wingman role

          3. Iskandar Mazlan
            17th December 2018, 14:19

            LH won on his 6th F1 starts, podium in 1st 9 starts

          4. @garns, as others have noted, the most obvious candidate would be Massa in 2006, although it was clear that he was being mentored for several years at Sauber and as Ferrari’s test driver before he drove for Ferrari.

            If you want to know the last time that a driver of similar experience as Leclerc was hired to drive for Ferrari on a permanent basis, the answer would probably be Jean Alesi in 1991 (he had 24 starts under his belt at the time).

          5. I think the last time they did that was when they promoted Massa.
            Also, Charles is the youngest driver they’ve signed since Ricardo Rodriguez.

        3. @coldfly There aren’t that many Hulkenbergs or Perezes around. There is nobody of that calibre at a Red Bull team except at Red Bull itself (preventing Gasly from being tested properly any other way than direct promotion), Ferrari doesn’t have enough control over Haas to be sure of putting Leclerc there (even if Grosjean or Magnussen could be argued to be Hulkenberg/Perez level) and every team nowadays has an engine manufacturer and leadership alignment that has to be taken into consideration – something that’s tripped up Mercedes’ more cautious approach (alongside over-ambitious psuedopoliticking on their part).

          I think Ferrari had decided they’d seen as much from Leclerc as Sauber was in a position to show, they liked what they saw, and they’d been trying to get a FDA student into Ferrari for years.

    2. Sauber was improving at an impressive rate, meaning that some of his late season results were actually quite on par with what the car had to offer. He had some great moments of wheel-to-wheel fighting and he was always firm but fair in defense.

      The best measure of his performance was the Ferrari decision. They could have easily let him do another year at Sauber, but obviously they were impressed by what they saw. I expect great things from him in the future.

    3. I don’t get why Leclerc seems to be the only driver on the list for whom experience is considered a factor in his ranking – because without the caveat ‘he was a rookie’ his performances don’t warrant top three by a long shot. Still, he was great, and I especially loved his Abu Dhabi drive. Fearless. He’s definitely taking the fight to Vettel next year – and being the youngest WDC beckons if the car is good enough.

      1. So first off the Ferrari will have to be the WCC car next year. Then as the newbie Leclerc will have to immediately be in top form, for even if he takes a few races to acclimatize with Ferrari and having SV as a teammate and with racing at the sharp end, he’ll lag behind and have to be a wingman. Presumably Merc as the multi-year WCC winners are the ones to beat going into 2019, so even if Ferrari ousts them from that I would expect Merc to be very very close.

        I think the odds are that Merc will be occupying a lot of the top spots again, as will SV at least in the Ferrari, so the odds are Leclerc is not going to cakewalk toward a WDC, and I don’t even want to think that F1 is that easy, nor have I seen anything from Leclerc that would suggest he is suddenly a Merc and an SV beater.

      2. @hahostolze

        I think he warrants about 3 based on his season. He had great results, and his bad races were a spin and being slower than his teammate.

        I would have put him ahead of Verstappen and right behind Alonso. Based purely on if he had the same season; few bludders, beating his teammate, and the occasional amazing race, in Verstappen’s Red Bull he would have likely beat RAI to 3rd place in WDC.

        1. RP
          You realize in jr series (karts and F3)where Leclerc and Verstappen were active Leclerc has hardly been impressive and surely not in a way Verstappen was…?
          Facts are Verstappen does similar numbers against a highly rated Ricciardo as Leclerc did to one of the worst drivers in F1, Ericsson.

          1. That’s not a fact. Leclerc’s qualifying advantage over Ericsson is more than double Max’s over Ricciardo.

            1. Ok, but that hints to leclerc being a verstappen-like driver, as verstappen had ofc a harder task than leclerc did.

    4. Leclerc is a spectacular talent and once he manages to smooth his (few) rough edges, he will win the WDC if given a car to do so. Look forward to see how he gets on next year against Vettel.

    5. Leclerc is obviously a great talent, otherwise he would have not sailed through GP3 / F2 winning everything along the way and beat an experienced teammate in F1 rookie year. But next year will be the real test of his career: a top drive, a 4-time WDC as a teammate and the pressure of italian F1 media on his shoulders.

      I hope i’m wrong, but i don’t think 2019 will be a good year for Charles because he’s not yet ready. Fighting HAM, VET or VER will be much more difficult than what he’s used to: the margins are a lot smaller, the mistakes are more costly and the mental effort needed to be consistenly up there is immense.

      1. Disagree on the basis that two of those three had real difficulties keeping to their margins this season (VET and VER). And no reason not to expect the same from them in 2019.

        1. you obviously only looked at the first 6 races regarding to VER. If not your post does not compute with the way VER performed the 15 other races.

          1. I watched his races closely actually. The other 15 races included his collision with Raikkonen in Japan, and Ocon in Brazil, both reckless incidents. That’s why I don’t think it’s out of his system yet – or maybe ever will be. Vettel has remained much the same driver throughout his career. Verstappen clearly sees no reason to change and has said as much.

            1. @david-br As if Max will not learn and grow and develop like all people, let alone drivers, do. And saying he wasn’t going to change was to say ‘at his core’…how he races in his relentless way, who he is. What makes Max Max will likely never change, but he’s already shown us he can reverse things in a season. There is just as much if not more reason to believe Max is past that first third of 2018, as it is to claim he’ll never change. All he needed was a titch less exuberance, but he’ll only take a titch at that. A bit more split-second deliberation, but not enough to rob pace.

            2. @robbie I started the season a Max fan, supported him when he was being howled at by almost everyone (and still do think he was being picked on in the first races, blamed for everything), admired his resilience – and then came the Japan clash with Raikkonen. That was just bad driving and a total failure to assume responsibility in his comments afterwards. Hmm. Not a good sign of a maturing attitude. OK maybe a one-off, but then came the petulant battle with Ocon in Brazil and losing the race. Pretty bad (immature) decision-making again, but this time followed up by a really hideously embarrassing display of fake machoism afterwards, backed by Horner et al. (which is another bad sign). I’m not condemning him, just wondering whether he really will change. Maybe. To be honest it seems spoilt brattish and in need of a sharp check to his ego – like Leclerc winning a world championship before him maybe. (Hamilton having to endure Vettel win 4 times undoubtedly honed his own focus). I’d say I’m a fan still, but after the Brazil thug show that would be untrue.

            3. @david-br You’re going to feel how you’re going to feel about Max, and I do think you are condemning him when you lay no blame on Ocon, the penalized one, for the incident. Calling Max a thug is ridiculous imho, but whatever. Some laid the blame on Max and many including F1 itself blamed Ocon. Pushing a guy three times while he smirks is hardly vilolence nor thuggish and Ocon had to have known Max would be furious, and could have easily diffused the situation but instead chose to twist the knife. If this is an incident that shall mark Max for his career, having lost him a few fans, then so should Ocon’s behaviour. Ocon was the real offender on a couple of accounts that day, but Max is the bigger icon and so the spotlight lies on him. One of the real thugs on the track, Schumacher, made a career of it and is loved and admired for it by millions.

            4. @robbie I’m not calling him a thug, I’m saying it was a deliberate show of loutishness, backed by Horner’s ‘Ocon was lucky it was just that’ nonsense. I’ve not much issue with people losing it in the heat of the moment, tempers flare, it’s a tough sport, but going after Ocon well after the incident and not being to control himself (supposedly) isn’t the same thing. To be honest it seemed like Red Bull bullying of a smaller team and I react similarly to any circumstances of bullying anywhere, just my nature.

            5. @david-br I disagree and would say that what Max did and what Horner said were still quite in the heat of the moment. Max had been robbed of a win by an act of Ocon that simply isn’t done. We simply do not see unlapping cars challenging front runners let alone leaders in this way. This was very unique.

    6. Even F1 needs new hero’s…. Leclerc at best was P6 in Baku…though that race had 7 DNF’s and became a lottery like last season. Though his P7’s towards the end of the season was quite a steady perfomance.
      Ericsson as a team mate makes it quite difficult to understand where exactly Sauber stands, ranked P3 next to a team mate like Raikkonen would have made much more sense.

      Though F1 needs new hero’s and Leclerc has been the chosen one…if Hulkenberg would have been 5 years younger maybe he would be ranked higher… we won’t know.

      Leclerc has everything going for him, to driver for Ferrari in his second year in F1 must be a dream come true.
      P3 I am not that sure about, I would have picked a couple of other drivers to put in my team before I’de name Leclerc…though he’s done a solid job.

      1. I agree – F1 needs new heroes. This ranking is part of a new legend.

        Whether contrived or not is a matter for controversy…

    7. In a ranking that awarded consistency so much, even consistently slow, and punished mistakes so much, even those that happened in free practice it is a bit contradictory to rank Verstappen #2, just saying (I’m quite sure he won’t be #1)

      1. Yes, indeed, I often said to all those in the comments who ranked verstappen 2nd that it was absurd because of his mistakes, unless we get a situation like hulkenberg #12, and damn, we did!

    8. I’m not promoting gambling.. However Leclerc is probably worth a bet for WDC next year. He was at 9-1 last time I checked..

      1. Totally agree. The possibility is defenitely there.

      2. Unfortunately I wouldn’t hold my breath for anyone but hamilton to win the next titles, simply because mercedes, one way or another, seems unbeatable.

        But there’s a real chance they could stop winning in 2019, although you need the right circumstances:

        1) Ferrari makes a competitive car
        2) Honda makes a competitive engine, at least an average between renault and ferrari
        3) Leclerc doesn’t pull a fisichella\frentzen (always good except when in top cars)
        4) Verstappen doesn’t start the season like 2018

        If there’s this stuff, no matter what vettel does, there should be real chance to end mercedes’ reign.

    9. So…this means Verstappen is top2 after crashing like 6 races in a row. I know he had fabulous second half, but after that terrible first…

      1. His first half was overall not very good. But at last 6 of his weekends this year have been dreadful. And he hasn’t exactly been outstanding in every single race since. Many yes, but the awful start shows just how many more points he could have got. In the last quater of the seaon on race day, Red bull looked as strong as the 2 other top teams. Many of Verstappens drives have been a bit overrated. 2nd or possibly 1st for his season is being incredibly generous.

        1. Or, from a fan’s perspective, Max made mistakes in the first third of the season, not half, and after Monaco things improved dramatically and he was spectacular and seemed only bolstered and determined more than ever after his rough start that might have made other driver downtrodden on their season, eg, Bottas. In his third place WCC car Max regularly challenged and headed at least one Ferrari and one Merc. Max has been far and away the most exciting driver to watch.

          1. @robbie
            People often claim that Verstappen overdrives his car but i see it as he refuses to let there be untapped potential in the car. If he thinks he can go faster he bangs his head against it until he manages to push through and when he does he is the master of the car.
            Bottas is happy with driving 99% and be consistent about it.

          2. I do mean his first half overall wasn’t very good (on the whole) I know he was great past Monaco. But including the races before that does result in a not particularly good half season overall. He was very often outstanding in the 2nd half but still made some mistakes such as in italy costing him 2 positions. I just don’t think he’s quite had a solid enough season for him to be ranked higher than 4th.

            I still do think that several of his drives have been a bit over rated. As anon pointed out, the gap between the top 3 teams and other drivers has been huge. So I do think his recovery drives have been a little overrated. Red Bull is easily the best car at following other cars and probably the best handling wise round corners. And in the last 5 races or so, they have basically been matched with Ferrrari and Mercedes, or even better in Mexico. He is certainly one of the best out there, but he just isn’t consistent yet.

            1. Yes, he’d have been like 4th in my ranking too, leclerc still 3rd.

            2. The podium in Spain, outclassing his teammate was a great performance. Strangely enough only the stroll touching “incident” behind the SC seems important for some.
              He is consistent.. but his consistency is the way he drives and spices up the F1.

        2. Yet all the reasons you gave, we’re the same used to demote Vettel.

        3. * Starting 19 and driving 5th place after just a few rounds
          * Starting 18 in the USA and finished 2nd?
          * Winning in Mexico
          * Passing Ferrari and Mercedes in Brazil which is not a track that suits Red Bull

          Those are just a few. Not outstanding and overrated in those races? You are selling him short.

          1. Robert, given the gap between the top three teams and the rest of the field, in retrospect you have to ask whether any of the drives through the field for any of them was that impressive when they had a substantial performance advantage.

            After all, if you use the example of the US GP that you cite, by the end of that race Verstappen was nearly one and a half minutes ahead of the nearest driver who wasn’t in a top three team, which was Hulkenberg in 6th place. Verstappen’s pace advantage was between 1.5 seconds and 2.0 seconds a lap over the midfield pack – it was really the virtual safety car that stopped him lapping the rest of the midfield pack – to the point where you have to ask whether it is really that impressive to gain that many positions when that sort of pace advantage makes a passing move virtually inevitable.

            In fact, was it necessarily all that impressive? With that pace advantage, cutting through the midfield pack was almost trivial, so the only challenge would be catching the other drivers from the top three teams. Now, he’d already passed Vettel by virtue of the fact that he had spun and was back in 15th – the fact that he then finished in a fairly comfortable 4th only cements how easy it is for a driver in a top three team to lose a lot of places and still pretty easily make it back through the pack – and then picked up a second place when Ricciardo broke down.

            At that point, Verstappen would be in a position where he’s basically guaranteed a minimum of 4th place – so, although it was a solid drive, I don’t feel that it was that spectacular when most reasonably competent drivers should have finished not that far behind where Verstappen did.

            Equally, was winning in Mexico really that impressive when Red Bull were clearly the fastest package? There were only three other drivers on the same lap as him at the end – and that was only just, as Hamilton was not far off being lapped. Vettel was the only driver even remotely close to Verstappen – he was “just” 17 seconds off the lead, whilst Kimi was nearly 50 seconds behind – and the only other driver who might have been remotely competitive, Ricciardo, spent the entire race dealing with the damaged clutch that eventually put him out of the race and couldn’t present much threat.

            Matn, when people talk about Verstappen’s poor performance in Bahrain, they are referring to his rather bizarre mistake in qualifying – even his own team refused to back up his excuse of a “mystery power spike”, with Horner explicitly stating that it was entirely down to Verstappen having his foot on the throttle pedal (even if he did try and make it sound less critical by suggesting that it was simply because Verstappen’s foot “slipped” on the throttle pedal).

            1. “Equally, was winning in Mexico really that impressive when Red Bull were clearly the fastest package? “
              That made me laugh so hard. If you look at things this way, then why reward Hamilton for anything else but beating his team mate? Or in fact, why watch at all?

            2. Anon,
              You should watch the translation of the Max2018 interview, you’de understand a lot more about his year in F1 than just pick some random media hyped articles. Max was really frustrated after Bahrain since eveyone did have an opinion on both the incidents in Australia and Bahrain without having a clue of what was going on.

              In Australia the car lost a fin, due the vibrations, not cause of kerbs like many want us to believe, the same happend during the wintertests. Data reveiles exactly when and whee the fin sheered of and why. It was by no means a drivers error and resulted in a very poor handling car as it lost a great deal of downforce from the floor.
              Bahrain was down to poor engine mapping, the throttle response was so poor it released 180 hp extra without any curve. This was the reason why Verstappen was ordered to do a calibration lap when the car went off. Horner did a special interview a race later, explaining the situation and received some firm word from Marko. It’s a pity these things don’t get picked up, failing is a bigger story I guess.

              Sure RBR can always do P6, but there are some remarkable recoveries o remind…
              Sochi, Ver P1, Ric P18…when Verstappen was driving on P5 in lap 5, Ricciardo was still cruising in P12…that is a significant difference in potential.
              Brasil, Verstappen wasted no time overtaking Rai twice, took on 2 Ferrari’s and two Mercedes drivers with great ease. Ricciardo was 1.5 sec behing Vettel in lap 5, though didn;t get further than just P4… Rai, Ver and Ham never were in reach, yet again a great difference in potential
              Abu Dhabi, Verstappen fell back to P9 due to anti-stall, yet rapidly took back his positions and was again significant faster than Ricciardo on track, despite being in traffic.

              There are reasons to why Verstappen got rated 2nd best driver by team bosses…this site (Keith) obviously is also quite realistic to what happened on track.

            3. Oh one more thing. Try to listen to what is actually said around technical problems. Bahrain was an egine mapping issue. The throttle does not deliver power in a linear way but progressively. So yes it was actually Max (which he admitted) pushing the throttle but the bite point for the extra energy/hp came earlier than before. SW which they fixed afterwards.

            4. Matn, I am afraid that I am going to have to disagree with you there then, as even in the apparent “clarification” statement, Horner still did not make any mention of a mystery “180bhp power surge” – interesting that it seems to have grown from Verstappen’s original claim of a 150bhp power surge – and indeed went the other way, denying a number of the claims that some had put forward (such as the throttle sticking open).

              It also has to be said that Hulkenberg thought that explanation was rather strange as well, noting that he had never encountered anything like what Max was claiming, and indeed nor had any other Renault powered driver. It would also require a throttle map that would have to be so far outside of its usual operating parameters that it would be fundamentally illegal under the current regulations.

              Whilst there is often some throttle calibration work on a warm up or cool down lap, the degree of miscalibration required to get such a massive and instantaneous surge in power just does not seem credible, or even possible under the current regulation package. Equally, which one is it – throttle mapping, or engine mapping? You seem to be using both phrases and sometimes seem to be treating the two interchangeably, even though they are not the same thing.

      2. Maybe it would help if people take the time and efford to really look into what really happened in those first 6 races… cause it wasn’t all crashes and it wasn;t all bad, neither was it all Verstappens fault.

        – Aus, mechanical
        – Bah, mechanical + raceincident
        – Chi, first big mistake, though finished P4…wich is not to dramatic
        – Aze, raceincident
        – Spa, P3….ridicule to label touching the fallen asleep Stroll a crash while Ric crashed and spun twice that same race
        – Mon, second big mistakes with an unfortunate timing, the race itself was quite impressive.

        And yes, the rest of his season has been in fact quite outstanding, if we compare Ricciardo’s potential with Verstappens, than no two drivers on the grid have been this far apart…wich is just a fact. Over the last 15 races Verstappen scored 10 podiums against Ricciardo none.

        1. These are facts. And apart from those 2 big mistakes. He has done extraordinary.

        2. It’s indeed very strange the “6 bad races mantra” is repeated again and again and a lot of people seems to belief it.
          Even if the facts show otherwise.

        3. Australia: He was told to stop driving on the kerbs as often as he did. He kept doing so and he had a failure. Sort of his fault no?

          Bahrain: He was told to do a lap to calibrate something. He was not told to push hard at all. He may have had an issue, but he was trying way harder than he needed to. Can only really blame him for this.

          China was indeed a big mistake, but he finished 4th partly because of knocking Vettel down the grid? He also had the advantage of fresh tyres at the pit stop.

          Baku: It was a racing incident, but I am sure the vast majority will think it was Verstappen being overly aggressive.

          Spain. It is stupid to blame Stroll. At the time Verstappen his Stroll, that was just before the lights went green. Yellows were still out. That means you must be prepared to slow down or stop. Contacting a moving car is just crazy during yellow flags. You should keep your distance. Verstappen nearly got a puncture from not keeping back from stroll, and nearly gave Perez one as a result of part of his wing flying off.

          Monaco, his race can certainly be called a decent race, but the result was very poor. because of a huge mistake in in the final moments of practice (which was the worst time to be trying to do a really quick lap)

          Spain resulted in still being a very good race, so I wouldn’t include that really as a negative. The rest all had things where he could have done at least a bit better.

          1. He finished 5th in china, you both forgot that, it was ricciardo, bottas, raikkonen, whom verstappen was following and didn’t\couldn’t overtake cause of the DRS train and that even if he had passed them he had a 10 sec penalty due to vettel crash, so hamilton jumped him after the penalty and ended 4th, and don’t forget that china was supposed to be a red bull 1-2, it’s very serious.

            IMO the mistakes are 4: that, monaco practice, ok, unlucky that a practice mistakes makes you unable to qualify, BUT it happened few mins before the end of fp3, that’s way too risky, and then also bahrain excessive risk with hamilton and baku was all down to him, there was no reason to keep a faster ricciardo (for once) behind, after he had already overtaken him.

            1. Spain was overall a good race, wouldn’t blame verstappen for that small mistake.

    10. Its pretty clear that Leclerc have had some special treatment from Ferrari compare to Ericsson, But that says more about that Ericsson have been underrated. No shadow shall fall on Leclerc. He have done an excellent 2018 and have earned the position as Ferraris golden boy. With this rookieyear under his belt Vettel better raise his game 2019 or we are looking at a new nr 1 driver at Ferrari.

    11. I’ve been impressed by Leclerc’s calm confidence as much as his results. I’ve seen no bluff or arrogance, just a humble talent graciously accepting perhaps the biggest promotion in motorsport. I think it will take him a few months to settle in but fully expect him to be giving Vettel a run for his money by the summer.
      Multi 21 Seb. Multi 21.

      1. Haha, multi-16-5!

    12. Great driver. Ferrari are not wrong in promoting him this early. 4 tenths over Ericsson on average!! Frankly, Ocon and Gasly needed to do that against their journeymen teammates to be eligible for a merit-based promotion to their senior teams.

      1. I would hardly call Sergio Perez, who has been best-of-the-rest most often than not in the past years, a journeyman driver.

        1. I am talking of qualifying speed. Perez was beaten by Button, Hulk and all drivers before and after those in qualifying. The fact that Ocon hasn’t blown away Perez by 4 tenths is why he is on the bench this year.

          1. That’s a little bit harsh. Perez is much quicker than Ericsson over one lap.

    13. Because Ferrari chose him he’s number 3. WT THE ACTUAL F. This site loses credibility very quickly.

      1. F1metrics ranking has him at P3 as well, and that’s a purely statistical, number-crunching approach. So putting him high up isn’t damaging anyone’s credibility and it is possible to do so even without taking Ferrari’s decision to promote him into account.
        However, Leclerc is a driver who had only one teammate, and Ericsson in turn only had teammates who did not have any further teammates in F1, so obviously you can’t rank him without a big margin of error. That would still be true if you’d rank him low(er).

      2. Well, no, it’s because he drove very well indeed this season.

    14. Its quite obvious Leclerc have had som special treatment from Ferrari ( saturdays especially ) compare to Ericsson, But no shadow shall fall on him. His previous seasons and this rookieseason clearly earned him that. It rather puts Ericssons season in a different light. Vettel better raise his game next year or he looses the nr 1 position in Ferrari.

    15. While there’s a strong argument in saying that Leclerc and Verstappen should be lower down in the order because their season starts were so poor, if I was a team boss I wouldn’t want anyone else in my car (based on this years performance), bar Hamilton.
      I think they’ve both entered “legend mode” enough times to out-weigh their poorer displays. That’s why I think Hulkenberg never broke into a top team, he entered legend mode once in the rain in Brazil and the rest of the time he was just consistently performing at a very high level.
      That would be my first question as a team boss, how many times did the driver enter “legend mode” during the year.

      1. you know its not a Fia approved race game? There is no legend mode in real life ;)

    16. Seems like the Leclerc hype has become contagious. Top 3, you all must be tripping!

      1. You dislike Leclerc for the same reason you dislike Max, that they might upstage hamilton

      2. Who would be your top 3 then KGN11?
        Please note it can’t be Hamilton in all the places.

    17. Was my #1 hands down, only Alonso came close

    18. I’m excited for Leclerc and rate his season very highly too, but this rating is objectively ridiculous. Ericsson has never been a highly or even well rated driver. Throughout his F1 career, he has been effortlessly eclipsed by unremarkable drivers like Nasr, so beating him is a given for anyone with any real talent.

      Again, I like Leclerc and expect him to be a future star in F1. However, putting anyone in the top five for beating a driver as consistently underwhelming as Ericsson, no matter how comprehensive the gap, doesn’t make sense.

      1. @bforth Leclerc’s season was really impressive. Nasr and Wehrlein were quite talented drivers and they both managed to out-score Ericsson, but they were nowhere near as dominant as Leclerc. Leclerc really is a future star.

    19. It’s a shame that this site’s priorty is to promote click bait then arguments to get more traffic. Just like tabloid BS.

      What’s worse is that the “journalists” are well informed in their field. Instead of facts and reason they more often than not display either their own agenda or some faux agenda to get more clicks.

      1. Leclerc had a fantastic season. Of course this is a subjective ranking list, maybe he should be lower down, I don’t know… but comparing it to tabloid ‘BS’ is just plain wrong.

        Maybe it’s these type of comments that are dragging the site down to tabloid level instead.

        1. You’re wrong and you don’t get to turn it around like that so easily. And it’s not subjective at all, all the facts are there and if you watch the entire season and every minute of the show and extras, it’s quite easy to see when someone is talking crap.

          You must really think that it would be Le Clerk in 3rd even if Ferrari didn’t sign him. Think about that for a while.

          It’s actually delusional comments like yours that bring it down. Not that it needs any help, they do it by themselves. Keith has been consistent at this junk for a long time though so maybe you enjoy your intelligence being poked at.

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