Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2018

2018 F1 driver rankings #2: Verstappen

2018 F1 season review

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After a lousy start to the year, Max Verstappen rallied in termendous fashion and had an almost unblemished second half of 2018.

Verstappen was involved in some scrape or other over most of the opening races. Some of these were serious: the Monaco practice crash which wiped out his chances of winning or the wheel-banging scrap with his team mate in Azerbaijan which was always going to end the way it did.

Some of the incidents were minor but had severe consequences. His contact with Lewis Hamilton in Bahrain was minor, but it ended his race.

It turned out Monaco was the wake-up call he needed. After that he took podium finishes in Canada and France, then showcased the very best of his uncomrpomising style by winning in Austria. This came about thanks to a surprise attack on Kimi Raikkonen on the first lap which was vintage Verstappen.

Car problems sidelined him in two of the next three races. At Spa – not a Red Bull track – he out-ran Valtteri Bottas to the final podium place, the Mercedes driver having started near the back.

Max Verstappen

Beat team mate in qualifying 14/19
Beat team mate in race 8/12
Races finished 18/21
Laps spent ahead of team mate 746/963
Qualifying margin -0.179s (adjusted)
Points 249

Over the final seven races Verstappen left almost nothing on the table. Monza and Sochi were also tough tracks for Red Bull, but he followed the Mercedes and Ferraris home. In Singapore he was second to Hamilton after jumping Sebastian Vettel in the pits.

He finished on the podium in each of the final five races, including a brilliant run to second from 18th on the grid in Austin. He repeated his 2017 Mexican Grand Prix victory after dominating the weekend, through a power glitch cost him pole to Ricciardo. Had he been more circumspect about Esteban Ocon’s to un-lap himself in Brazil he would surely have ended the season three wins.

Verstappen can be his own worst enemy with his relentless, maximum-attack style, but when he pulls it off it is a joy to behold. By the time 2018 came to an ended he looked increasingly like a complete driver and a future championship contender.

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Over to you

Terrible start to the season followed by world class 2nd part of the season. Really difficult to rate this guy.

What’s your verdict on Max Verstappen’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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99 comments on “2018 F1 driver rankings #2: Verstappen”

  1. Pretty much spot on. When everything comes together perfectly, he is unbeatable.

    1. Indeed…while Hamilton had the car, Verstappen didn’t. That was his problem during the first few races. Verstappen outraced himself. But after Monaco, IMHO, Verstappen was the most exciting driver to watch. Putting his RBR in places where it shouldn’t have been. His talent is so obvious and scary to think of when you remember he has just turned 21. Verstappen on the same level as Hamilton only for his consistency not being simply scary. How good will this kid become when reaching his peak? The only wish I have left is for Lewis and Max to team up 2020. And there is a damn good chance if Honda fails to deliver. Remember Mercedes offered Max a seat during last years break just before Max signed his contract till 2020. He, and only he is the heir to Lewis his throne. IMHO no other youngster has the speed nor talent to become a future great and legend of the sport. (Leclerc we first gave to wait and see how he does against Vettel, Lewis and Max next year before branding him a future WDC)

      What I do know is that Verstappen and Leclerc will dominate this sport when the old garde decides to call it quits

      Verstappen…the best thing F1 has got since the days of the greats

      1. Young Lewis was every bit as impressive as young Max. Lewis went off the boil for a few years speed wise as he relearned racecraft and consistency – now he has both in abundance.

        Max needs to enter that phase 2 because he’s still far too reckless to piece together a championship bid.

        1. I don’t think Max is to reckless. He certainly seems to eager in some situations, but we all know by now it all has to do with the lack of power behind his back.
          I do believe when Max gets the full package (engine+car) he will take less risks. He needs to punch above his weight at times because of the speed deficit RBR have compared to Mercedes or Ferrari.

          Both Lewis and Max are something special…I rate them both above Alonso, considered by many as one of the greats.

    2. Wouldn’t say he is unbeatable, even if everything comes together perfectly. Lets see how he goes once he’s given equal machinery to Mercedes and Ferrari. Charles Leclerc mite have a championship before Max gets a sniff of one

  2. Bad 6 starts of the season but after Monaco very strong. I agree with this article.

    1. I’d even argue from Monaco race very strong.
      He had a very solid race with many overtakes until he got stuck in the top 10 train (he was clearly more cautious than during earlier visits)

      His FP accident was stupid in retrospect, but it’s still FP. If the damage was slightly less then he could very well have been the Star of the weekend rather than a Struggler.

    2. In spain he punched above his weight already with a deserved 3 place ( RIC 5th)

  3. I would agree if the vote was Montréal onwards. Romain Grosjean has a bad ranking thanks to his mistakes, Sebastian Vettel has quite a bad ranking thanks to his mistakes, but Max Verstappen is second despite a bigger number of mistakes ?

    All his mistakes happened during the first six races. That’s maybe because they seem far away that they are forgotten… But… Spinning in race at Melbourne, crashing in qualifying at Sakhir, crashing into Lewis Hamilton in race at Sakhir, crashing into Sebastian Vettel at race in Shanghai, crashing into Daniel Ricciardo in race at Baku, broking a part of his front wing with a contact in race at Barcelona, crashing in free practice at Monaco… Except for Melbourne and Barcelona, those are really big mistakes.

    To me he’s the second one Montreal to Yas Marina, but no better than 15th Melbourne to Monaco, and that’s more than a quarter of the season. He should’nt be ranked this well.

    1. Max made mistakes indeed…but some of those were not his fault. Also..his highs were much higher than Vettels or Grosjeans. He wad arguably the best driver during the 2nd half of the season.

      1. Yes… during the second part of the season. Not the whole season.

        1. @Vincent:
          His first 6 races were indeed not as good as possible, but in Spain he finished 3rd, in Australia he had a unexplained damage to the floor that caused the spin.
          Baku was as much Ricciardo’s fault as it was Max’s. Bahrain was more a racing incident. So it was more like 2-4(depending on how much you blame Max for Bahrain and Baku) of the first 6 races that were really bad.

          Vettel made more mistakes and cost him the title and he had the better car. Ricciardo didn’t make as much mistakes(other then Baku, Hungary), but he wasn’t as fast as Max and was no where near. Alonso is hard to judge, because his car was not good, but Vandoorne made the car look worse then it was. Leclerc… solid drive but not better then Max.
          Max has beaten Dan, Bottas, Hamilton, Vettel, Kimi many times, ranking him 2nd seems quite reasonable.

          1. Ricciardo took a penalty for ignoring a red flag in Australia, crashed in FP Spain, spun twice in the same race….
            Add Baku and Hungary and you’ll find Ricciarod actually made more mistakes by own fault than Verstappen did.

            The difference between the two is newsvalue… Verstappen is better newsvalue wich is the exact reason to why the media blew it all out proportion…. take clipping his frontwing in Spain as example… to any other driver this would have been completely unnoticed… Verstappen finished P3, a massive 23 sec in front of his team mate…yet the media put the focus on such a minor issue.

            It’s good people try an take down Verstappen…it means it bothers them.
            Ricciardo is hardly mentioned as a top driver… Max made him fade to the background

        2. Thats why he is second, not first.

      2. (@indiana)

        Max was better in the 2nd half of the season, but not the best IMO. He still got involved in clashes. He made contact with both Ferrari drivers in Japan (got a penalty for contact with kimi). He showed poor on track judgement in the Ocon clash(Brazil). Then he assaulted Ocon off track. In Abu Dhabi, he again made contact with Ocon. And it was Ricciardo that once again, took RB’s chance of pole in Mexico. Max is still yet to score a pole position.

        1. It was clear missing the pole by next to nothing wasn’t on Verstappen, but on the loss of power.

          He also showed all season long that he can score podiums from pretty much anywhere on the grid, so I don’t see why him not having a pole position (which is pretty clearly not due to lack of talent, but the RBR power deficit) is a detriment to Max.

        2. Wasnt it Vettel who drove into Verstappen? Why put the blame on Max?
          He showed poor judgement in the Ocon clash? Then why did Ocon received the penalty? I’ll bet if Hamilton was driving p1 and Verstappen would have made the move Ocon did…he would have been burned, hanged and spit on.
          Yes, when he was overtaking Ocon they hit their tyres….so what? That’s racing….anyone who tells otherwise…simply don’t know what racing on the highest level means. You ever saw Senna, Prost, Schumi or Mansell drive? It was pretty normal back in the days.
          Who cares if he took pole or not? You also know Verstappen had engine problems? Something he allready mentioned on the radio during Q2?

          All the things you mention in your post are based on personal feelings….and not on pure facts.

    2. That’s partly because there is a difference of opinion on how many mistakes he made those 6 races. Some say (and have extenively motivated it in other conversations) it were just 2 (Monaco & China) The other part is the upward curve, like Leclerc, being admirable.

      1. That’s the problem to me. You’re as good as your last race… If Verstappen had made those errors in the last 6 races, the ranking would not be the same. But the results would have been the same. Of course it’s better to have an upward curve than a downward curve, but you can’t forget those first six races.

        1. Vincent, I would agree with you there, and this is why, in general, I find the idea of ranking the drivers in this way a bit questionable. People are prone to being biased towards the most recent results in a season, since they are the ones which are most easily recalled.

          Furthermore, even just after a few weeks or months, people will already begin reshaping their memories to conform to the sort of mental image that they want to project onto a particular driver. It therefore creates the issue that, over time, people will selectively choose what memories they want to have of a particular driver, both for positive and negative aspects.

          For an example from a few years ago, let us take Maldonado – now, as soon as you mention him, you immediately recall the tide of memes about him causing lots of crashes. If you objectively look at the 2015 season, the majority of the accidents that he was involved in were due to other drivers crashing into him, not the other way around – for example, Nasr running into the back of him in the Italian Grand Prix.

          However, because there is the constant meme that “Maldonado keeps crashing into other drivers”, I am willing to bet that a lot of people would have altered those memories and assumed that he caused those crashes because they want the memory to conform to their expectation of the driver – and, if it doesn’t, we find it easier to amend our memories to fit our expectations instead.

          That is the other issue that I have with these sorts of rankings – there may be certain narratives playing out through the season, such as “driver A is having a great season” or “driver B is hopeless, he keeps making mistakes” or “driver C is the next big thing” and so on, some of which are coming from the fans and some of which are narratives that the teams or drivers themselves want to create.

          Now, even if those narratives are not necessarily entirely true, we often shape things to make it seem true – for example, we might go “this driver is useless, look at the mistakes he’s made” if there is a driver that we might not like or respect. That then shapes our memories so, when we look back at the season, we remember those incidents and then say “well, clearly he had a bad season – just look at this, that and the other”.

          Sometimes because we preferentially select those memories that show that driver in a worse light, or sometimes just reshaping our memories entirely to make them fit to the image that we want – so, if two drivers that you had fairly neutral opinions on were involved in a minor incident, you might be inclined to say it was a “racing incident” and move on, not really paying it much regard. However, if you had a more negative impression of one of those drivers, you’d probably remember it as a way of saying “yes, I am right to think negatively of this driver – look at how he got involved in this incident” and think more negatively of it.

          The opposite effect tends to happen as well – if we want to say “this driver is having a great season”, then we will tend to preferentially select the higher points of his season, and then tend to push some of the memories that might conflict with that image to one side.

          Alternatively, we then try and find ways to reshape that memory to fit a more favourable image – for example, if we go back to that example of a minor incident on track, if it involved a driver that we are disposed to like, we may downplay the incident at the time – “it was just a racing incident”, for example, or, alternatively, seek to excuse that behaviour or shift the blame elsewhere – “the other driver didn’t give him any room”.

          Indeed, we are capable of changing our memories to an extreme extent – perhaps one interesting example was given when, after the Ocon-Verstappen antics in Brazil, a number of people harked back to the time when Senna punched Irvine in Japan in 1993.

          Now, if you look back at the reaction at the time, quite a lot of people took a pretty negative view of the event – it seemed to reinforce the attitude that Senna was a violent bully who had no respect for others and thought that he was above the law, thinking that he alone had a God-given right to punish those he saw fit for giving him a tase of his own medicine, as some noted at the time.

          However, these days, the narrative has tended to polish Senna’s reputation and show him in a more positive light, and similarly the memories of that incident are now altered to match as well. Instead, it was remembered as Senna being a tough, no-nonsense figure who didn’t suffer fools gladly and was prepared to fight his corner – whilst, at the same time, the inconvenient fact that he was given a suspended two race ban was generally forgotten given that implied that what Senna did was wrong.

        2. I think just because of his recovery drive from the bad start of the season was enough to give him a top 4 ranking at least. He scored more points then anybody since summer break except Hamilton. 3rd most points since Monaco, just 10 points shy off Vettel.

          Like I said about, it were not 6 races, just 2 or 3. Technically Monaco was a great race, just his FP3 crash cost him more then usual. Look at Sochi, where Max recovered from 20th to 5th. He out performed everybody except Hamilton since Monaco. If he didn’t have those bad 2 or 3 races in the beginning everybody would have voted Max nr 1. He showed he could turn a bad season in to a great season.

    3. Romain Grosjean has a bad ranking thanks to his mistakes, Sebastian Vettel has quite a bad ranking thanks to his mistakes, but Max Verstappen is second despite a bigger number of mistakes ?

      That’s because when Max wasn’t making mistakes, he was simply phenomenal. Grosjean and Vettel made mistakes and had a few slightly flattering performances in their season.

    4. A bit strange his great performance in spain ( 3th place, for Ferrari and RIC) and you only looked at the touch of the front wing with Stroll..

    5. My sentiments exactly @ Vincent. Well said +1

  4. Verstappen has Hamilton’s speed but not his brain (yet).

    1. But does he have Magnussen’s balls? ;)

      1. @coldfly I thought Hulkenberg was s**king on them?

    2. To be honest, Verstappen is faster then Lewis, but lacks his consistency (like many pundits told us before)
      But that’s not strange considering he is only 21 years young and Lewis 33 and in his peak

      Like someone said before. it’s pretty scary to think about how good he is going to be when he reaches his full potential.
      Personaly I only see Lewis and Verstappen as the extraordinary drivers on the grid, where Verstappen has much more room to grow into a legend of the sport. If this young men gets a car which he can win WCD’s with then he will go down as a legend of the sport.

      1. Verstappen is faster then Lewis

        You forgot to add, in your opinion.

    3. Hamilton’s brain is a lot like Versteppen’s when he loses.

      1. Indeed….you hear the nerves of Lewis when things don’t go to plan. Lewis greatly benefits from a great car, a great engine and a great team, with a lesser great teammate

        1. @indiana You got to be new in F1 when you make remarks like that. Lewis had better teammates then Vettel. Alonso and Schumacher just to name three and showed impressive stuff in slow cars too but i bet you don’t know that.

  5. Bigger average quali margin than Hamilton to Bottas, spent 4/5s of the laps ahead of his team-mate, who was still ranked fifth here… I’d say just on numbers alone second is bang on.
    One can and should argue that his first third of the season was not up to his 2017 standard, but his second two-thirds were up there with Hamilton.

  6. Sorry, can’t agree.

    As mentioned above, Grosjean also had a torrid start to the season, and was justifiably down-ranked because of it.

    Max’s results from Germany onward: 1 win, 6 other podium finishes, lowest finish of 5th
    Seb’s results from Germany onward: 1 win, 5 other podium finishes, lowest finish of 6th

    So Max’s “almost perfect” 2nd half VS Seb’s “unravelled” 2nd half is worth 4 steps in overall ranking? (without even considering the differences between the first half!)


    1. Seb has a better car.

      1. not so much a better car…but an engine which is far far far more powerfull

    2. Max’s results from Germany onward: 1 win, 6 other podium finishes, lowest finish of 5th
      Seb’s results from Germany onward: 1 win, 5 other podium finishes, lowest finish of 6th

      Leclerc’s results from Germany onward: 0 win, 0 other podium finishes, lowest finish of 11th

      There must also be something else driving these rankings :P

      1. Popularity maybe

    3. If they were team-mates you may gave a point here. But to my knowledge they aren’t, so your point has no value since Seb almost always had the quicker and more reliable car.

    4. @joeypropane

      It’s kind of convenient that you don’t mention the car advantage that Sebastian had on Max. Also convenient how you decided to take the results post Germany.. lol . Don’t want to take Vettel’s horrendous performance at Germany to skew your results? ;)

      1. Eh? That was ENTIRELY my point though – Keith describes Max’s 2nd half of the season as “almost unblemished”, conversely he describes Seb’s as a “complete collapse”.

        I would say it’s a pretty major stretch to say Seb’s 2nd half of the season was as error-strewn as Max’s first half, so why the huge gap in their rankings? Yes, the Ferrari was the faster car on average, but what does that matter when this whole thing says “DRIVER rankings”. I only compared them based off their own INDIVIDUAL results in relation to Keith’s assessment, which I think is well out of whack.

        Honestly, this whole list, and a hell of lot of people here, seem to be unable to evaluate a driver based purely on his own performance – every comment sections is “yeah but X is his team mate” or “Yeah but Y had a better car”.

        That’s why I find it so odd Fernando is ranked so highly compared to Hulk – both, more often than most, got the absolute maximum performance they could on the clean weekends they had. No stupid comparisons or caveats needed. Max, just like Grosjean, spent a lot of time facing the wrong way, in the barrier or in the stewards office, but yet again there is a massive gap between their rankings. Something doesn’t add up.

        1. +1

          Max is over-rated

          1. Yep.. But by almost everyone including the team bosses list, the f1 journalist list, etc..
            If you rated every race by the performances of the individual drivers you get the same or better result.

          2. You are right…Max is overrated…overrated by the teambosses, overrated by the pundits, overrated by his 100.000 fans…overrated by all

        2. @joeypropane


          Max, Fernando & Leckerc are well out of place. Neither deserves to be ranked that high. Alonso & Leclerc should not be in the top 10 and Seb shouted rank higher than Max.

          1. @KGN11 please do explain how Alonso & Leclerc should not be in the top 10, I am genuinely curious as to how an individual can come to such conclusion

  7. Max is a phenom and once he has a WCC car that fits him like a glove like LH’s does, he’ll be unstoppable.

    1. No he won’t. He’s too arrogant to share the track with 21 other cars unscathed at present. He needs 2 things to become unstoppable, 1. more power and 2. some damn humility.

      1. There are but a few kind and modest F1 WDC’s in history… Hill comes to mind, Button… in general though humility isn’t the key to succes… it’s usually needs quite an ego to win

      2. This. In terms of speed Verstappen is up there with Hamilton, his style may even be slightly quicker. But his attitude to other drivers is different. Hamilton, we know, can be aggressive and ‘physical’, pushing aside other cars (legally) when need be. But usually he carefully avoids contact and makes it his business to know how other drivers driver. Max just applies the same ‘I’m Max Verstappen, I’m coming through’ logic to every move. Fine, it intimidates, but also annoys and – aside from risking collision at the time – generates a desire for payback among the other drivers. So if he keeps that up, he’ll never have season free of Seb-like major incidents.

  8. This ranking has got me wondering…

    If you flipped Max’s season around, and had his first six races come as the last six, where would we be putting him in our rankings?

    I think Max was excellent in the latter part of the season, but I’m not sure I can agree with almost totally putting aside his dreadful beginning to the year.

    1. @exediron, it would be interesting if, had some drivers had the same overall results, but with their worst races at different ends of the calender, whether we’d react in rather different ways. Would we be quite as harsh or quite as complimentary to some drivers if their best and worst performances had occurred at a different point in the season?

      As you say, if Max’s worst races had been in the latter part of this season, would we still rank him quite as highly for his performance over the season? Similarly, if Vettel had most of his worst results at the start of the season and his best results in the latter part of this season, how would we react then?

      Had that happened, might we then have a rather different narrative being put out? Might we then hear people saying that Vettel’s accidents were because he was trying to outdrive a rival in a superior car and praise him for then turning that around in the latter half of the season?

      Equally, if Verstappen had his best races in the first half of the season, and then some of his worst performances in the latter half, might we then have people questioning his ability to sustain his performance over a season, or suggest that the praise of the team was going to his head and that he lacked focus?

      In a truly objective system, the rankings should be such that it should not matter when those bad results occurred, the weighting given to those performances would be exactly the same. However, given the biases, contradictions and quirks of human nature, like yourself, I do question whether the results would have been the same or not – as I suspect that they might not have been the same.

      1. As you say, if Max’s worst races had been in the latter part of this season, would we still rank him quite as highly for his performance over the season?

        No is the straight answer. But the order does matter. An arc of improvement over a season is a positive, declining performance a negative. They don’t just balance out. True, you have to factor in elements like car performance, pressure on the driver at the start, mid season and the end, all of which may vary, though withstanding pressure is also an important factor in measuring performance (so Vettel’s second-half mistakes do matter in terms of how he responded to pressure).

    2. Great point and the answer is nope. He would be around Bottas ranking if the end if his season was flipped.

      1. No point in playing the if game, and nobody has almost totally put aside his ‘dreadful’ start to the season. It wasn’t actually dreadful, and it might have been necessary and a great teacher for Max and his future. He takes the full blame for 2 races gone wrong and less so the rest. It happened, and it stung him, especially Monaco, and he’s already shown that he can do a better job of picking his battles, but thankfully not at the cost of Max being Max.

        1. “and he’s already shown that he can do a better job of picking his battles”

          Except, ya’know, in the penultimate race of the season…

  9. Constantijn Blondel
    18th December 2018, 9:23

    Dutch grit. Too stubborn to give up, and if you have a problem with tfat, go talk to our collective behinds, because we’ve got mor important things to do than lisren to you whine … like keeping the water out. :)

    Sometimes I feel something resembling smug pride in being Dutch.

    1. Makes it even funnier to be proud on something that’s essentially a Belgian product. Half Belgian, half Dutch (full Limburgs) genes. Born and raised in Belgium. Went to school in Belgium. Travels with a Belgian passport. Never lived in the Netherlands. Raced with a Belgian licence. Chose to race with a Dutch licence later on due to commercial prospects.

      1. Ves has a Dutch pass, Ham is black, so what are you trying to say? Talent is based on skin colour? The place where you were born? Each driver has his share of fans all over the world. So why the Ves bashing? Verstappen did not do any harm to F1, actually he was just in time to save the circus from a slow death.

  10. Constantijn Blondel
    18th December 2018, 9:24

    Sorry for the typos. I was typing upside down and trying to keep a cat from falling off.

    1. It’s not the typos that disturbed me in your first post.

      But maybe it’s what the doctor described to get the anger/frustration out :P

      1. Constantijn Blondel
        18th December 2018, 10:19

        LOL – care to explain what you found disturbing – I’m kinda curious (let’s say my tongue wasn’t very far from my cheek when I wrote the typo-infested post :) )

        1. The ranting bit. But that was probably most of the post ;)

  11. José Lopes da Silva
    18th December 2018, 9:41

    Interesting that, so far, the only time the word “Ricciardo” is mentioned in this comment section is to remember the Baku crash.

    Looks like one of the confirmed top drivers of current F1, over the past 5 seasons, having beaten Vettel in the same car, doesn’t even exist. He may have left, but we’re talking about 2018.

    1. He had his own ranking. Number 5.

      1. The best number two in the field.

  12. Terrible start of the season. Serious errors (2) and some shared errors with other drivers. Lost victories, lost places, lost points. Heavy critics, constant blame, maximum pressure..etc…etc. Nine out of ten F1 drivers would simply fade away after such a start, they would slide down the slope being mentally wrecked and unable to recover. Not Max Verstappen. He, not only recovered, he rose to a level that no-one would have imagined possible in his underpowered car. He showed his heals to Ferrari’s and Mercedes’s alike more than once and that is why he fully deserves this ranking.

  13. Based on the overall achievment (including wins, podiums and results against the teammate) and the number of errors, I do not see VER ahead of VET…

    1. Luckily, most of us do.

  14. Verstappen is very fast but is nowhere near the complete driver. Too much ego is being fed by constant eulogies and a team which treats him as if a Young Prince. Until his temper and tantrums are under control he will have erratic results.

    Rather than flouncing off after qualifying in Mexico, or revenge banging of Ocon’s wheels in Abu Dhabi, or indeed cutting Ocon off in Brazil and damaging his own race, or refusing to do the sensible thing for the team in Monza and instead throwing away a place to Vettel simply to block Bottas, he needs to control and then channel that aggression into positive power.

    If he doesn’t he will be an exceptionally skilled and fast nearly man.

    1. COTD. Very well put spot on

      1. I’m sure we won’t have to worry about Max.

    2. I’ve said as much more than once when commenting here. A few times I was even met with a “you’re not Max’s Dad!” retort, implying that my lack of parental rights automatically disqualified me from any rights to a negative opinion of young Verstappen… such is the nature of quite of few of his fans, apparently.

      There is no doubt Max is immensely talented. He’s also a bit of a knob as well, & not too bright on his worst days. If he’s smart, he’ll make hay while he’s got Newey’s rocket ships beneath him: it rarely gets acknowledged, but those cars flatter drivers (having loads of grip everywhere will do that). Vettel was always pretty good, but apart from the win at Toro Rosso he never looked spectacular in his first full season & hasn’t looked particularly spectacular at Ferrari since either, IMO. Very damn good… don’t get me wrong, but nothing as impressive as when he had the Newey magic. Similarly, Ricciardo had a solid start with Toro Rosso but at the time definitely wasn’t head & shoulders above JEV. Fast forward to his Red Bull days & he’s troubling Vettel & is all of a sudden heralded as king of the late-brakers when I don’t recall a peep about his braking prowess before (pretty sure Lewis used to get a lot of those accolades, but now admittedly has lost out a bit with the brake-by-wire/regen… can’t feel the brakes like he used to). Max seemingly stepped up a gear as well after getting called up to the bigs, but I’ll be super interested to see how he does in another team, maybe in a few years time… keeping a close eye on Danny Ric over @ Renault next year too.

  15. Max is still younger than Lewis was on his debut and he’s arguably already as good if not better and more experienced.

    Please let Honda make a fast and reliable PU for the upcoming seasons.

    Let the Max Verstappen era begin

    1. We already have an egotistical maniac as leader of the free world, why don’t we have one as F1 champ aswell sure.

      1. You want Trump in a F1 car?

    2. Hamilton is more complete than Verstappen.

      Heck I would even say RIC is more complete than Verstappen. Hence, why he left RBR with a 2-1 record despite not having Max’s ultimate pace.

  16. Verstappen is peaking. He reminds me of a C. Ronaldo. 4 years of experience now and he is super fast and now becoming consistent. I don’t know where he will end up in the list of greats but he’ll be up there by the time he’s 30.

  17. I think if we’re judging drivers by their performances, taking into account mistakes made as well as their overperformance relative to teammate/machinery, I can’t place Max higher than LeClerc or Alonso. All three drivers transcended their cars, you could say Max moreso occasionally but neither LeClerc or Fernando brought the issues or cost their respective teams points as often as Max did which is ultimately their role as drivers.

  18. We all really have no clue about racing at F1 level. Calling big mistakes and incidents a drivers fail without knowing anything about it. Well you are in good company, 99% of the paddock has no clue either.

    1. Good thing we have Stroll then, a driver at a level we can relate to.

      1. Humor, I like that.

  19. Probably the hardest driver to rate due to his polarising season, but I couldn’t rate him this highly due to his bad start. I would have had to rate him dead last after the first 7 races – it doesn’t matter how fast you are if you can’t finish a race without a collision of some sort. He threw away so many results in those races, including what should have been a win in China. I would agree with 2nd from that point on though, he was exceptional (similar form to all of 2017).

  20. It’s almost funny how many people take the media’s ‘truth’ before reality…
    – Aus + Bah (FP) was mechanical, not driver errors
    – Bah + Aze incidents Max was partially to blame
    – Chi + Mon (FP) driver errors
    In the end it’s down to one really bad race, wich was China and dramatic timing in Monaco.
    Ricciardo took a penalty in Aus, crashes in Baku, crashed in Spain (FP) and spun twice in Spain….Ricciardo made as many mistakes, but with lesser consequences.

    The gap between Verstappen and his highly rated team mate is larger than between Ham and Bot + Vet and Rai.
    Verstappen was driving the RBR in the same league as Ferrari and Mercedes something Ricciardo was capable of resulting into 11 against 2 podiums.

    Verstappens style has led to great controversy… he takes risks some might seem unacceptable, but those risks resulted into 11 podiums… Verstappen doesn’t waste time, in Sochi he was driving P5 from 19th while Ricciarod was still stuck around P12 from 18th. US, Brasil and Abu Dhabi confirmed his enormous potential… while Ricciardo keeps missing podiums, Verstappen somehow fights his way through.

    To me Hamilton is the well deserved winner, he has the car, the team, but above all the skills…. given Verstappen would have a car similar to Mercedes he might already have been a WDC… the gap between Ver and Ric is that big, it’s not unrealistic to think Hamilton might fit in that gap… To even suggest Leclerc should be ahead of Verstappen is not being realistic… P3 to me seems based on wishfull thinking rather than realism… Leclerc scored a P6 at best… if Gasly can take P4, leclerc could have as well. I’de pick Vettel before Leclerc surely

  21. Fikri Harish (@)
    18th December 2018, 12:07

    I would like to remind everyone here that back in ’10, Alonso was rated 2nd in the rankings after practically having the same season.

    He had an awful first half and his season only came together after “Fernando is faster than you” in Hockenheim, which was later in the season than Verstappen’s turnaround at Monaco.
    Honestly, I think positions 2-4 are pretty interchangeable, they’re all above the rest with Hamilton just slightly ahead.

    I do think that unless Verstappen can figure out how to pick his battles, a championship is still going to be a long shot unless Red Bull can recapture their dominance.

    1. Good points @marinatedmonolith, makes me feel more at ease with the ranking; agree with you about the last paragraph.

      1. The thing is, once Max has a WDC capable car, namely the necessary WCC winner, he won’t be battling as much. He’ll be ahead. Besides, he already started to show us he can do a better job at picking his battles. By the time Max has a WCC car he’ll have had more experience too.

  22. Bad start to the season followed by a great second half following a post-Monaco turnaround of things. That’s the best way, to sum up, his season.

    ”Had he been more circumspect about Esteban Ocon’s to un-lap himself in Brazil he would surely have ended the season three wins.” – I’d change that wording to something along the lines of ‘Had it not been for Ocon’s over-aggressiveness in an attempt to un-lap himself in Brazil he’d surely have ended the season with three wins.’
    – Yes, perhaps, he could’ve been more circumspect/calculative, but he wasn’t obligated to that as a driver a full lap ahead.

  23. I find it very difficult to appoint the number 2 this year and equally I find it difficult to rank Verstappen. His highs are extremely high, but his ongoing habit of bumping into others (also in the second half of the season) makes it difficult for me to rank him this high. On the other hand: who should be second then? Surely not Vettel or Leclerc who also made costly mistakes. I’d say Alonso then.

    1. Ash (@shoeybababooey)
      18th December 2018, 14:38

      Agreed. There’s no doubt the lad is championship material and (minus having enough power in the car) it all came together for Max in the latter part of the season. His Singapore qualy lap was a feat considering just how good Hamilton’s was. However, because of the start of the season I really can’t say that Verstappen deserves to be considered #2 across the whole of 2018.

  24. He even found time to rally in Termendous fashion ;-)

  25. If all races were held at altitude Max would have been world champion. He made Lewis look 2nd rate when the Renault power unit could sing.

    1. “He made Hamilton look 2nd rate”

      Is that ‘Little Joe’ talking?

    2. If all races were like Brazil Hamilton would be champion as Verstappen gets caught up in needless incidents that are avoidable. Lewis showed Max that raw speed isn’t everything in that race and F1 history is littered with examples like this were the tortoise beats the hare.

  26. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
    18th December 2018, 16:51

    too high. He was superb in the last two thirds of the season, but he looked horrid at the start…. wasted 10s of points all through his own

  27. I’m hoping he catches up to his hype. At the moment he is an arrogant bully of a manchild, who has little or no insight into his own failings and seems only to care about himself. Unfortunately he has a team that appears to enable his hubris and I fear that this will lead to him not meeting his undoubted potential.

    His outlook has cost him and his team dearly this year; and with an apparent inability to see his own mistakes never mind learn from them; I worry that he will hurt himself or someone else badly before he ever manages to become drivers’ champion. However he is young so, should he avoid catastrophy and be nurtured in the correct way; allowing him to adopt a more mature, calmer approach; he has time on his side and may well come up trumps yet. There is no denying his talent.

  28. ” he is an arrogant bully of a manchild, who has little or no insight into his own failings and seems only to care about himself.”

    Ow c’mon, your being to kind…
    F1is no personality contest ;-)

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