Which F1 drivers will beat their team mates in 2019?

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More than three-quarters of the drivers on the grid for the 2019 F1 season have a new team mate for this year. But all of them know their first goal is to beat the only other guy in the same car.

Who will come out on top at each team? Cast your vote and have your say below.

Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton versus Valtteri Bottas

After two years as Lewis Hamilton’s team mate Valtteri Bottas may be beginning to understand why Nico Rosberg scarpered after pipping Hamilton to the 2016 title. Bottas hasn’t been able to consistently operate at Hamilton’s level and tends to fade in the second half of seasons. It didn’t help matters last year that the peak of his form coincided with a bout of misfortune which left him trailing his team mate when it came to crunch time in the championship.

The pressure to perform is unrelenting at the sharp end of the grid. Mercedes faced their strongest challenge yet from Ferrari last year and the team need Bottas at the top of his game if they are to win a sixth consecutive world championship. And now there’s the threat of reserve driver Esteban Ocon waiting in the wings, eyeing a shot at a 2020 race seat.

Which Mercedes driver will finish ahead in the 2019 championship?

  • Lewis Hamilton (96%)
  • Valtteri Bottas (4%)

Total Voters: 372

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Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel versus Charles Leclerc

Of course Charles Leclerc will find Sebastian Vettel a much tougher team mate than Marcus Ericsson, who he dominated last year. But there are well-placed figures within F1 who believe the four-times champion could get a nasty surprise from his new team mate in 2019.

Which Ferrari driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Sebastian Vettel (73%)
  • Charles Leclerc (27%)

Total Voters: 372

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Red Bull: Max Verstappen versus Pierre Gasly

Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly, Red Bull, 2019
Max Verstappen, Pierre Gasly, Red Bull, 2019

Max Verstappen is considered by many to be the favoured son at Red Bull, a perception which was only increased by Daniel Ricciardo’s departure from the team last year. Pierre Gasly now has the unenviable task of going up against one of F1’s brightest talents, whose one-lap pace is formidable and whose attitude towards his team mates is utterly uncompromising. Gasly gave as good as he got against Hartley last year, however. Expect fireworks.

Which Red Bull driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Max Verstappen (93%)
  • Pierre Gasly (7%)

Total Voters: 377

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Renault: Nico Hulkenberg versus Daniel Ricciardo

An intriguing line-up. Nico Hulkenberg has been regularly touted as the midfield driver most deserving of a top-line seat, but the shine came off his reputation when Sergio Perez got the better of him at Force India. Race winner Ricciardo will surely prove his toughest team mate since then. As F1’s tallest driver, Hulkenberg stands to benefit from new rules stipulating a minimum driver weight for 2019.

Which Renault driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Nico Hulkenberg (25%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (75%)

Total Voters: 370

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Haas: Kevin Magnussen versus Romain Grosjean

Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019
Kevin Magnussen, Romain Grosjean, Haas, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

Aside from Mercedes, the only team to have retained the same two drivers for its 2019 campaign. Last year Kevin Magnussen turned the tables on Romain Grosjean, out-scoring the driver who had beaten him the year before. Grosjean was clearly capable of out-pacing his team mate, but threw too many points away with needless mistakes, a trait he has struggled to get a handle on during his career.

Which Haas driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Kevin Magnussen (56%)
  • Romain Grosjean (44%)

Total Voters: 374

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McLaren: Carlos Sainz Jnr versus Lando Norris

It’s all change at McLaren this year: Carlos Sainz Jnr starts 2019 at his third different team in as many seasons, while Lando Norris makes the step up from F2. It says a lot about how successful the latter’s junior career was that second in his rookie F2 season was something of a disappointment.

Which McLaren driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Carlos Sainz Jnr (83%)
  • Lando Norris (17%)

Total Voters: 373

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Force India: Sergio Perez versus Lance Stroll

Perez would be forgiven for feeling relieved to see Ocon lose his seat to Lance Stroll, as it was clear last year Perez was struggling to stay on terms with his team mate in qualifying. Stroll remains something of an unknown quantity: rushed into F1 after winning the European F3 title, he was unsurprisingly thrashed by the experienced Felipe Massa, but last year’s travails alongside rookie Sergey Sirotkin in the hopeless Williams FW41 taught us next to nothing about him.

Which Force India driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Sergio Perez (96%)
  • Lance Stroll (4%)

Total Voters: 375

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Sauber: Kimi Raikkonen versus Antonio Giovinazzi

Kimi Raikkonen, Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo C38 presentation, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019
Kimi Raikkonen, Antonio Giovinazzi, Alfa Romeo C38 presentation, Circuit de Catalunya, 2019

In his first full season of F1, Antonio Giovinazzi faces a tough benchmark in the shape of 2007 world champion Kimi Raikkonen. He will have to show the kind of performance Grosjean exhibited while Raikkonen’s team mate in the second half of 2013 to justify his place in F1.

Which Sauber driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Kimi Raikkonen (93%)
  • Antonio Giovinazzi (7%)

Total Voters: 373

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Toro Rosso: Daniil Kvyat versus Alexander Albon

The revolving door of driver appointments spins fastest at Toro Rosso. In this case they are welcoming two returnees. The first, Daniil Kvyat, has already been relegated first by Red Bull and then by Toro Rosso, only to be rehired after a stint in Ferrari’s simulator last year. Alexander Albon, meanwhile, is a former Red Bull Junior Team member welcomed back into the fold and hoping to do better than Brendon Hartley, who returned to the team under similar circumstances in 2017.

Which Toro Rosso driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Daniil Kvyat (72%)
  • Alexander Albon (28%)

Total Voters: 369

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Williams: Robert Kubica versus George Russell

Can Robert Kubica can still compete at anything like the level he was at before the horrible crash which halted his F1 career in 2011? If so he’ll have to conclusively beat his rookie team mate. Big things are expected of George Russell after his exemplary performance in F2 last year, but much the same was true of Stoffel Vandoorne and he’s a Formula E driver now.

Which Williams driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Robert Kubica (45%)
  • George Russell (55%)

Total Voters: 372

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How your 2018 predictions turned out

Last year four drivers were overwhelmingly chosen by RaceFans readers as the most likely to beat their team mates. And those predictions came true for Vettel (chosen by 95% of readers), Hamilton (91%), Fernando Alonso (88%) and Leclerc (88%). Readers were less sure about Gasly (59%), Verstappen (58%) and Hulkenberg (53%), but all three did end up beating their team mates.

Three drivers failed to live up to expectations, however. They were led by Grosjean, whom 72% tipped to beat Magnussen. Ocon was chosen by 71% but was out-scored by Perez, and Sirotkin let down the 70% who selected him by failing to beat Stroll.

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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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  • 78 comments on “Which F1 drivers will beat their team mates in 2019?”

    1. I often have a bleak outlook on life.

      I wish I could be as optimistic as those who voted for Bottas beating Hamilton.

      1. In theory there is a tiny chance that Lewis could have some kind of persistent car problems, bad luck, or Instagram-related injury that hands Bottas a big enough advantage? (But by that point Bottas will probably lose his seat to Russell).

        1. Instagram-related injury

          LOLed at that :)

          1. Yes, that was excellent! :O)

        2. To be fair, I think Bottas’s seat will go to Ocon before it goes to Russell. Ocon’s ready today to drive a top car. Russell still needs a season or two to get settled; he may be a great candidate for Lewis’s seat when he’s ready to retire.

          1. @partsguy20 this is the same Ocon who lost to his teammate in both of his full seasons. I can’t see why Mercedes would want him particularly. They didn’t exactly move heaven and earth to get him a seat for this year either.

            1. In points, yes, but not on speed. As @keithcollantine analysis (and autosport forum btw) points out Ocon was faster in qualifying and on race pace.

              He had a string of bad luck (some of his own doing) which cost him points to Perez.

        3. Instagram-related injury

          That’s funny

      2. Life wouldn’t be so nice without occasional expecting of unexpected.

      3. I wouldn’t call them optimistic. More like patriotic.

      4. Today I woke up grumpy, I had a bad start of the day with my kid whining all over, bad commuting at work and worse beginning of the morning with awful customer. But this joke changed everything, thank you @phylyp !

        1. @m-bagattini – I aim to please :-) Hope your day gets better!

    2. Who voted Stroll?

      1. Can’t blame them. For the last 5 years he only get beaten by his teammates once.

      2. Probably Lance or Lawrence Stroll.

        1. Guys, IT WAS ME!!! (serious)

      3. 2%? Kinda mad it’s that high tbh.

        1. It’s his dad’s team. it’s not entirely insane to think that he might be given the upper hand over his teammate.

          @faulty @hugh11

          1. @gongtong I’m very sure he’ll be given the upper hand over his teammate but I still think he’ll get absolutely destroyed by him.

          2. @gongtong

            I don’t think two upper hands and two upper legs would still see him get destroyed by his teammate.

      4. I am one who voted for Lance. His fastest pre-season lap time (1:17.556) was better than Sergio’s (1:17.791), and he was driving exactly the same car too.

        1. @drycrust
          I’m wondering if you also think Norris will be fighting for race wins.

          1. Thank you for the early morning chuckle @todfod. I agree to be fair.

            However, I still don’t think it’s THAT ridiculous to have some faith in him. Perez is very solid, but with the right environment I think Stroll might be closer than we all think. He did show a few moments of possible talent in the last two seasons.

            Personally I don’t think his dad will be able to give him enough of a preference within the team anyway. I think it’s safe to assume that most of the guys working there are big fans of Checo and his input in the team.

            I’m looking forward to this battle though. I think the politics here could get explosive.

        2. @todfod Normally I’d have to say “No”, but I think there’s more uncertainty this season than normal. We don’t know how competitive the Red Bull – Honda car really is. If it takes a few GP to get going then that will be a golden opportunity for other teams to get good points.

        3. Because testing times give us a 100% accurate reflection of what is going to happen come Melbourne…

          1. I didn’t select Stroll here, but I will reserve my judgement on him as an F1 driver when he has a real car to drive, which will start this season. Now that we know how badly off Williams have been I think it is only fair to give Stroll a season in a car that is at least half-decent, which he has not had yet. A driver is coloured by his car. I don’t expect him to beat engrained Perez on the team, but I do expect a much better showing from him because he will be in a much better car. If he still falls flat on his face, so be it. I suspect he is much better than he has been able to show.

    3. In order:
      Closest driver pairings:
      – Renault
      – Toro Rosso
      – Ferrari

      Furthest apart:
      – Racing Point
      – Mercedes
      – Red Bull

    4. Mercedes: Lewis
      Ferrari: Charles
      Red Bull: Max
      Renault: Daniel
      Haas: Kevin
      McLaren: Carlos
      Racing Point: Sergio
      Alfa Romeo: Kimi
      Toro Rosso: Daniil
      Williams: Robert

      I was right about Charles in 2018, so I must be right again this year :)

      1. Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton
        Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel
        Red Bull: Max Verstappen
        Renault: Daniel Ricciardo
        Haas: Romain Grosjean
        Racing Point: Sergio Perez
        Alfa Romeo: Kimi Raikkonen
        McLaren: Carlos Sainz
        Toro Rosso: Alexander Albon
        Williams: George Russell

      2. I voted for Charles as well. I’m a Vettel fan, but the last time he was up against the fresh young superstar in the same equipment, he lost out.

        Seb has the experience, but Charles has a cooler head I think and my gut tells me he’s less likely to make the same mistakes Seb did last year. And if Seb feels the pressure in both the championship battle AND in-team, he may make the same mistakes again and cost himself a lot of points.

      3. agree @ruliemaulana, except for:
        1) Vettel is still extremely fast and Charles is bound to make some new-kid-in-big-team mistakes
        2) Grosjean showed during the last races of 2018 that he still has speed. 2019 will either be a disaster, or equal his good times at Lotus
        3) Russell is not spectacularly good, but I’ve massively reduced my expectations (not hope) of Kubica

        1. @coldfly I can understand on Romain reasoning. Kubica could be distracted by technical input Claire expected from him. But Charles… He is the beacon of hope… The second coming of a dream of having great rivalry in the sport… Just like @partsguy20, I had been betrayed by Seb… And Charles never lost to his teammates…

      4. I went:
        Mercedes: Lewis 100% sure of this
        Ferrari: Vettel Leclerc will get closer and closer as the season goes on
        Red Bull: Verstappen 95% sure of this
        Renault: Ricciardo This will be very close but Ricciardo has much better luck usually
        Haas: Magnussen Equal on pace but Grosjean makes too many mistakes
        McLaren: Sainz This will be relatively close but Lando will take a few races to get up to speed
        Racing Point: Perez I have less faith in the sun coming up tomorrow morning….
        Alfa Romeo: Raikkonen Kimi has too much experience – it’ll be closer than people think though.
        Toro Rosso: Torpedo 60% sure of this…
        Williams: Kubica I’m amazed people are doubting the great Robert Kubica. He’ll smash Russell IMO.

        1. My thoughts exactly Pete.

      5. suryana (@mursidsuryana)
        12th March 2019, 4:10

        Mercedes: Lewis
        Ferrari: Seb
        Red Bull: Max
        Renault: Daniel
        Haas: Romain
        McLaren: Carlos
        Racing Point: Checo
        Alfa Romeo: Kimi Hime
        Toro Rosso: Daniil
        Williams: George

      6. @ruliemaulana: 100% agree to this. I have the same prediction.

    5. Mercedes: Hamilton, but Bottas will put up more of a fight this year, if Mercedes let him.
      Ferrari: Leclerc by a good margin, Vettel will implode and quit the sport at the end of the season.
      Red Bull: Going for Gasly, for two reasons: I don’t like Verstappen, and I think Gasly is really good. Again, this depends on RB letting Max lose.
      Renault: Hulkenberg, this will be the year Ricciardo gets found out (like he was against Jev and Max but this time conclusively)
      Haas: Grosjean, or Magnussen. Whichever one crashes least/gets the fewest penalties.
      Mclaren: Sainz, I do feel that Norris could have done with another year in F2.
      Racing Point: Perez, and maybe Ferrari will come calling if Vettel leaves.
      Toro Rosso: probably the most difficult to call. I went with Albon but I think they’ll both do well.
      Alfa Romeo: Giovinazzi, very underrated and with a point to prove.
      Williams: after all the rubbish last year about ‘Williams would be good if they had Kubica in the car’ this will emphatically prove not to be the case. Russell to win the battle but still finish second-last most of the time.

      1. I enjoy your bold predictions! I really do hope that the drivers you mentioned will get loose. It will make sports way more enjoyable!!!

      2. The most relatable prediction for me. Of course, there are some points I don’t agree with, for instance Ricciardo and Norris, but I really appreciate your unorthodox views. Leclerc and Albon are going to be something, the same for Gasly.

      3. Why do some people keep referring to Magnussen as if he were on Grosjean’s level with regard to crashes and penalty points; he isn’t. Magnussen ended 2018 with 2 penalty points. Did he even have one single crash in 2018?

    6. As much as I

      1. Sorry, comment glitch –
        As much as I love the guy, I would caution against rating Leclerc too highly. Sure he was impressive at sauber, but the truth is that his performance in the upper echelon is still largely an unkown. I’m fairly surprised by the amount of people on this site who predict Leclerc winning out against Vettel (and winning the Monaco grand prix) – not sure if it’s just wishful thinking or the manifestation of people’s yearning for some proper young talent in the face of all the Strolls and Palmers of the past few years. Remember what happened to Perez…

        1. I am pretty much on the “We Love Charles” bandwagon just now and am fingers crossed that he lives up to our hype.

          If he turns into just another whiny brat then Oh Well – on to the next promised one ;)

    7. I have ranked every driver on the grid:
      1 Lewis Hamilton
      2 Max Verstappen
      3 Sebastian Vettel
      4 Daniel Ricciardo
      5 Charles Leclerc
      6 Sergio Perez
      7 Nico Hulkenberg
      8 Valtteri Bottas
      9 Carlos Sainz
      10 Kimi Raikkonen
      11 George Russell
      12 Romain Grosjean
      13 Kevin Magnussen
      14 Pierre Gasly
      15 Lando Norris
      16 Antonio Giovinazzi
      17 Alexander Albon
      18 Daniil Kvyat
      19 Lance Stroll

      No idea where Kubica will be so I have not included in the rankings. He could be one of the best on the grid, or he could be the worst

      1. Surprised by your decision to put Gasly in 14th? Do you just not rate him? @f1frog

      2. you must know very little about Albon, Norris or Gasly, to put them behind Magnussen and Grosjean. Having Bottas in front of Raikkonen after 2018 is naive as well; just my opinion.
        Anyway, Hulkenberg will probably outscore Ricciardo, so that’s another one.

    8. I’m to drunk to vote (just landed a new job today) but I fully expect LeClerc to scare the pants off Seb and for Danny Ric and Kimi to dominate their new teams.

      Kubica should be boss at Williams until mid season at least.

      Bottas will do what Lewis needs him to do in order to write history. That history will not remember Bottas.

      1. @nullapax – congratulations on the new job, one of the best reasons to get drunk!

        1. Thanks – there are random drug/drink tests in my line of work so we have to schedule our free time ;)

          1. @nullapax – and what line of work might that be? I often wish I could go bombed to work (I’m in IT) :)

            1. In my youth I worked with a guy who would come to work smashed out on Mushrooms.
              That was in a Foundry, and thinking back, how the hell did something fatal not happen?

              Security now but looking to a change.

      2. Congratulations, @nullapax.

        Maybe I should get a job as well, even if it’s just a reason to get drunk ;)

    9. Very close between the Williams boys, but still think Kubica’s experience will show itself and Russell is about impressing bigger teams so will risk a lot for the glory runs (a standout result) and not haul as many points.

      Next tightest is Haas, and who knows, maybe this will finally be the year where Grosjean strings it together? (I voted Magnussen though)

    10. Here’s mine
      MERCEDES: Lewis, I think he will have it very easy on him (“VALTERRI, ITS JAMES”)
      FERRARI: Seb, but I think he will be pushed by Charles a lot more than people predict
      RBR: Verstappen, It’s hard to see that they will give Gasly a chance to be honest, even if he’s quicker.
      RENAULT: Daniel, but only just!
      HAAS: KMag, if Grosjean makes mistakes, then he will be bound to beat him, even if he is not faster in Qualifying
      MACLAREN: Sainz, but you never know, Lando could beat him too!
      FORCE INDIA: Stroll, he has a lot of talent, and if he uses it well, the team will favour him and he can beat Perez.
      SAUBER: Kimi, I don’t think there will be much competition, unless if he makes many mistakes or has bad luck.
      STR: Albon, because he is as fast as Kvyat, and I think he will make lot’s fewer mistakes!
      WILLIAMS: Robert, he is very very fast, and I don’t think a rookie will be able to beat him. However, George looks good, and don’t be surprised if I’m wrong!

    11. The only vote where I wasn’t with the majority was Grosjean > Magnussen. Thinking Grosjean won’t throw away as many points this season.

      1. @kerrymaxwell – I’m with you on Haas, I too believe Grosjean will be less error-prone, and when he’s like that, he’s the vastly better racer (and point scorer) of the two.

      2. The only vote where I wasn’t with the majority was Grosjean > Magnussen.

        Same here, @kerrymaxwell.
        But the Kubica/Russell pendulum is still swinging. I’m with the (current) majority.

    12. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      11th March 2019, 19:34

      I haven’t voted yet. I’m surprised more are going for Magnussen. I’d say that Magnussen was noting special all season long. Grosjean being bad to start with made Magnussen look a fair bit better than he was. Once Grosjean sorted himself out, I think the car wasn’t as good as it was at the start of the season. But he clearly looked better than Magnussen for a big chunk of the season. And I think that is most likely to remain. Grosjean is fast but inconsistent. Magnussen is similar overall, but don’t think he’s as good as Grosjean is when both are at their best.

      I think it is very likely that Grosjean will beat him.

      1. I think Grosjean’s faster, but I voted Magnussen because, well, Grosjean’s Grosjean.

        1. @hugh11 Qualifying was similar, Magnussen slightly ahead in fastest race lap. I too had Grosjean as the inherently faster driver, but Magnussen has really stepped up and is also a better racer. Grosjean also needs the car to be perfect. Remember his whining about brakes every race?

      2. I haven’t voted yet.

        Just bookmark this page, and come back after Abu Dhabi and nail it ;)

    13. Mercedes: Hamilton, but Bottas will put up a fight and do much better this year.
      Ferrari: Leclerc will be quick, but I can’t see him beating Vettel just yet. He’ll win a few races though.
      Red Bull: They’ll favor Verstappen again, but hopefully Gasly can fight back. I still think Verstappen gets more points.
      Renault: It’ll be closer than most people think, but Ricciardo is gonna be ahead.
      Haas: I see Grosjean bouncing back, if he cuts out the mistakes, he can easily beat Magnussen.
      McLaren: Norris will do well, but Sainz should beat him this year.
      Racing Point: I don’t have much faith in Stroll, so I expect Perez to crush him. He could prove me wrong though.
      Alfa Romeo: Kimi’s experience will get him ahead, but Giovinazzi will benefit from having him as his teammate.
      Toro Rosso: This one’s close, if Kvyat really has matured, he should beat Albon, but Albon might be a dark horse. Hardest one to call.
      Williams: I hope Kubica is as fast as he was before, but Russell is very quick and I think he’ll finish ahead.

    14. I voted for Bottas. It was the beard. I regret nothing.

      1. @rocketpanda – well, I gotta respect a man who respects face fungus. More power to you, my friend :)

      2. When was the last time there was a real man in the sport?

    15. Mercedes: Hamilton
      Ferrari: Vettel
      Red Bull: Verstappen
      Renault: Ricciardo
      Haas: Grosjean
      McLaren: Sainz
      Racing Point: Perez
      Sauber: Giovinazzi
      Toro Rosso: Kvyat
      Williams: Russell

    16. Looks like I went with the majority on everyone except the Grosjean/Magnusson pairing. But for some reason I am feeling a bit lacklustre about this grid. Must the fact that there is no Alonso on it.

    17. I wonder how many people have voted for Nico Hulkenberg by accident. I know I click on his name without thinking cause I was expecting Daniel Ricciardo to be named first. Why is Nico named as the number 1 driver in the team.

      1. @macca I also voted Ricciardo, but wouldn’t be surprised if Hulkenberg finally pulls out all the stops while Ricciardo is finding his feet at the new team. If there is a podium up for grabs it will likely be Ricciardo, but over a season it could be another story.

    18. All jokes aside, i’m genuinely surprised by the amount of people tipping Leclerc to beat Vettel over the season – It took him more than a couple of races to get up to speed in the Sauber and look convincing against Ericsson. The transition to Ferrari, and all the pressure that comes with it (along with a 4 times WDC team mate), will be huge for him. I suspect it won’t be until the European leg of the season until he feels genuinely confident in his new car, team and mechanics/engineers, by which point Vettel would have asserted himself as the clear no.1.

      Season 2 though, that could be interesting!

      1. There’s definitely an adjustment period to joining a new team, but keep in mind that last year was LeClerc’s first year in Formula 1 and it only took him until the 4th race to score points (6th place in Baku). After that he only finished outside the top ten on two occasions (finishing in the points 9 more times and gathering 6 DNF’s, one of which was Monaco where he actually classified as an 18th place finish.)

        In races where both cars were running at the end, he beat his teammate 9 times out of 12.

        Vettel’s a much more talented racer than Ericsson is, obviously, but I don’t expect it to take LeClerc too long to match Seb’s pace and produce some impressive results. If the Ferrari is as strong in Melbourne as it was in testing he might even be standing on the podium when all is said and done.

    19. Total Destruction:
      Racing Point (Perez to beat Stroll)
      Williams (Russell to beat Kubica)

      Comfortable Victory:
      Mercedes (Hamilton to beat Bottas)
      Red Bull (Verstappen to beat Gasly)
      Alfa Romeo (Raikkonen to beat Giovinazzi)
      Toro Rosso (Albon to beat Kvyat)

      Just to have the edge:
      Haas (Magnussen to beat Grosjean)
      Ferrari (Vettel to beat Leclerc)
      McLaren (Sainz to beat Norris)
      Renault (Ricciardo to beat Hulkenberg)

      Probably no controversial choices there, except me expecting (but not hoping for) Kubica to get thrashed by Russell. For the sake of the season I’m hoping for a Leclerc win and Vettel retirement in an early race so Ferrari have no choice but to back both drivers. Norris could surprise Sainz, but I think Sainz will edge it. Gasly could get under Verstappen’s skin and I fully expect fireworks if he does; unfortunately I think he’s more of a “Kvyat” than a “Vettel” or “Verstappen”.

      Looking forward to it getting underway!

    20. Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton.
      Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel.
      RBR: Max Verstappen.
      Renault: Daniel Ricciardo.
      Haas: Kevin Magnussen.
      Mclaren: Carlos Sainz.
      RP: Sergio Perez.
      Alfa Romeo: Kimi Raikkonen.
      STR: Daniil Kvyat.
      Williams: George Russell.

      1. 100% right, Well…at least I made the same choices!!!

    21. isaac (@invincibleisaac)
      12th March 2019, 14:30

      I went for:
      Mercedes – Hamilton
      Ferrari – Vettel
      Red Bull – Verstappen
      Renault – Ricciardo
      Haas – Grosjean
      McLaren – Sainz
      Racing Point – Perez
      Toro Rosso – Kvyat
      Alfa Romeo – Raikkonen
      Williams – Russel

      I think it will be especially close at; Ferrari, Renault, Haas, McLaren, Toro Rosso and Williams.
      I reckon Bottas will be better than 2018 but still not quite as quick as Hamilton
      Vettel will start off slightly better than Leclerc and then Charles will do better against Sub later on in the season, but overall Vettel will score higher. Verstappen will mostly be ahead of Gasly but wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few races where Pierre is ahead. Hulkenberg vs Ricciardo will be interesting but I think Daniel will generally have the edge. Grosjean could end up ahead of MAG if he is more consistent and makes fewer mistakes. Perez should beat Stroll but I think Lance will do better than most people expect. In terms of McLaren, Toro Rosso and Williams it’s harder to judge as I don’t know so much about their rookies. I Think Norris and Albon will be quick and Russel will have a slight edge over Kubica (although it will be harder to notice in the championship if both Williams drivers have 0 points anyway ;) )

    22. Make no mistake. Leclerc is the biggest threat from a teammate to Vettel since Riccardo in 2014. This is potentially Alonso v Hamilton ‘07 all over again, except Vettel has already been there for 4 years and Alonso was new to the team. Leclerc is a future world champion, if he’s fast he will always be fast, but does he need more experience? Time will tell. Vettel certainly wasn’t adverse to a few mistakes last year. If anything Vettel is under more pressure to perform this year than any previous year at Ferrari, if Leclerc beats Vettel in the Championship, and Ferrari again miss out on Championships with a Championship contending car, Vettel will be sacked! Ferrari/ Phillip Morris will not pay him £30 million per season to be beaten by a £2 million pound youngster however talented he is! Ferrari want Verstappen for 2021, make no mistake about that. They would rather build around Leclerc for the future but they also realise that if they don’t sign Verstappen they’ll be fighting him for the next decade whether he’s in a Red Bull or a Merc or whatever. So who will fill the vacant seat at Ferrari in 2020 if Vettel leaves Ferrari?

    23. It’s good to remark (yet again) that we are indeed on a true F1 fans forum. Despite the hammering Grosjean got on Netflix and his general reputation, people here still reckon he has a serious chance of outscoring Magnussen given his pace (and I say this wholly agreeing that Grosjean’s moments might cost him again next year)

    24. Battle of the teammates

      I am late in postings this as I have been busy lately, although I am posting it after the first race weekend these were my thoughts before the season began.

      I have assumed each driver has the same amount of luck, such as reliability, as his teammate. Obviously if one driver’s car keep breaking down or if he is involved in incidents which are not his fault while his teammate has no such problems it could have a significant effect on their final placing in the championship table.

      Looking at all my choices in general I always favour experience and achievement over potential, so usually if someone has a rookie teammate I normally go with the established driver.

      Also there may turn out to be a driver pairing where one driver completely dominates his teammate but I do not expect that to be the norm, at every team there should be race weekends were the second driver is quicker than and outperforms the lead driver.

      Mercedes – Hamilton vs Bottas

      Bottas received a lot of criticism for his performances in 2018 but I think he is better than last season showed, he should have had at least two wins last year but for a tyre failure in Azerbaijan and team orders in Russia, the way those results actually turned out destroyed his confidence and affected his subsequent performances.

      I fully expect that there will be weekends where Bottas will be faster than Hamilton and win on merit just like in his first season at Mercedes in 2017 but over the course of the season Hamilton should finish above Bottas in the 2019 Championship.

      Everyone knows how good Hamilton is and if he performs to his maximum I personally think he is the best on the grid at the moment.

      Ferrari – Vettel vs Leclerc

      Vettel had a disappointing 2018, Ferrari managed to produce a car which could compete with Mercedes, and according to some analysis Ferrari were actually the quicker over the course of the season, but it was Vettel who didn’t deliver.

      The winter break should have allowed Vettel to reset and the change in leadership at Ferrari could also help him, Vettel did not win four World Championships in a row by luck and he hasn’t suddenly become a bad driver

      A lot is expected of Leclerc and from what some have said it seems they expect him to actually beat Vettel in his first season at Ferrari.

      While I agree that Leclerc has the potential to be a World Champion I do not think he will beat Vettel in the 2019 Championship. Leclerc is only in his second season while Vettel has the experience of winning multiple titles.

      Also traditionally Ferrari are the most ruthless team when it comes to team orders and prioritising one driver, they may not have done it last year later in the season when there was only a slim chance of Vettel beating Hamilton, but I would be surprised if Vettel was not the focus of Ferrari’s title challenge from early on this year.

      If Ferrari are at least as competitive as they were in 2018 than Leclerc should win his first Grand Prix.

      Red Bull – Verstappen vs Gasly

      This was one of the easiest choices out of all the teams, Verstappen should definitely beat Gasly in the championship, the only way I do not see this happening is if Verstappen has significantly worse reliability.

      Verstappen had a poor start to his 2018 season which showed he was not ready to challenge for the title even if Red Bull had produced a car capable of mounting a bid, but by the end of the season Verstappen was putting in the sort of performances which show why he is among the best in F1.

      I don’t think Red Bull and Honda will be ready to fight for the championship in 2019 but I think they should win some races.

      Gasly’s promotion to Red Bull reminds me of when Kvyat made that same move, in both cases Red Bull had to fill a space when a driver unexpectedly decided to leave the team and in both cases I think the driver promoted was just the best available at the time in the Red Bull young driver program rather than a driver who was ready to make the move.

      Maybe if Gasly had had more time to gain experience at Toro Rosso he may have been ready to make the step up to Red Bull, but as with Kvyat I think this move has come to soon, and when you think of who he will be up against with Verstappen as a teammate it will be a very difficult season for Gasly.

      However assuming Red Bull stick to their policy of only signing drivers from their own program to the Red Bull team then as long as Gasly manages a decent season I think he should still be at the team for 2020 as I don’t see any viable replacements.

      Renault – Hulkenberg vs Ricciardo

      Ricciardo should come out on top at Renault but this is a good opportunity for Hulkenberg.

      Ricciardo is a multiple race winner and the general opinion seems to be that if he had competitive machinery he could challenge for the title.

      I like Hulkenberg, but at the moment you would have to say he would only be classed as a midfield driver, he has still not had a podium in F1 and when he was teammates with Perez it was Perez who came out ahead.

      But if Hulkenberg were to perform well against Riccirado it will mean people will have to re-evaluate their opinions of him and could give his a career a boost.

      Haas – Magnussen vs Grosjean

      I think both Grosjean and Magnussen can have good races where you may end up picking them for driver of the weekend but I don’t think either will be under consideration if a top team had a space to fill, so given the relative rankings of the teams Haas is probably the best team they could both be at the moment.

      I think Grosjean is the better of the two and so should come out on top in the teammate battle, but if he repeats his start to 2018 with all the mistakes he made then it will be Magnussen who finishes ahead.

      McLaren – Sainz vs Norris

      This is a perfect example of backing experience when making my choice in the teammate battles, so I will pick Sainz over Norris.

      At the moment I would rank Sainz as a midfield driver, while you have Norris as a highly rated rookie, but with some questions considering he didn’t win the F2 championship last year.

      With McLaren’s troubles in recent years it has not been a good place for young drivers, so we will have to see how both drivers get on as both are new to the team and it is unlikely the car will be troubling the podium places any time soon.

      Racing Point – Perez vs Stroll

      In the last few seasons Perez was probably the best of the rest driver (I class this as drivers not at the top teams, but not including Alonso obviously) but I feel that if he were ever to get a chance at a top team again then it would have happened by now.

      The obvious time would have been when Mercedes needed a replacement for Rosberg but they went with Bottas, and if they decide to replace Bottas in the near future the rumours favour Ocon, who performed well against Perez over the last two seasons.

      Stroll does not seem to have many fans partly due to the perception he is only in F1 because of his father’s money, while I do think he will never compete for a world title I don’t think he is as bad as some make out, he obviously has some talent but I continue to think that he made a big mistake in entering F1 so soon and missing out on F2 in the process.

      I think some people view all the junior formula as just things you had to do to get into Formula 1 and if you can miss some out then great, and actually think it is an achievement to be able to miss a stage out on the way.

      But I view the junior categories as vital experience a driver needs, you may occasionally get an exceptional talent such as Raikkonen or more recently Verstappen who can miss a stage out but Stroll it not in that class.

      I wonder if Verstappen’s rapid rise to F1 had not been so recent if Stroll would have been so quick to also miss out F2, with the financial backing from his father and the deal they had with Williams it was not as if he had to join F1 when he did or run the risk missing his chance, he could have had a year in F2 and still signed with Williams in F1.

      I expect Perez to finish ahead in the teammate battle at Racing Point, but on the occasions when Stroll out performs Perez, given how the internet is I would not be surprised if there are people saying it is only because his dad owns the team and so he got preferential treatment.

      Alfa Romeo – Raikkonen vs Giovinazzi

      Raikkonen showed last year he still has what it takes to win a Grand Prix but I doubt he will have an opportunity to do so again now he has moved to Alfa Romeo.

      Giovinazzi impressed on his F1 debut when he was a late replacement for Wehrlein in 2017 but his second race was not too good.

      This is another case of choosing experience when I choose Raikkonen to come out on top at Alfa Romeo.

      Toro Rosso – Kvyat vs Albon

      With Kvyat’s history with Red Bull and Toro Rosso it was a surprise to see him return for 2019, with his greater experience he should outperform Albon this season and if he doesn’t then surely that will be the final nail in his F1 career.

      I don’t follow any junior series or the Red Bull young driver program so I don’t know what drivers Toro Rosso had to choose from or what drivers may be available in the near future, but from reading reports at the end of last year it seemed like they were struggling to get two drivers with connections to Red Bull, with enough super licence points who Red Bull thought were ready to fill the seats at Toro Rosso.

      If this continues to be the case next year it could give both drivers longer at Toro Rosso than they may normally enjoy simply because Red Bull will have no one to replace them with.

      Williams – Kubica vs Russell

      In my opinion this is the hardest pick out of all the teams simply because we do not know what Kubica will be like on his return to F1.

      Before Kubica’s rally crash and serious injury at the start of 2011 he was tipped by many to be a future World Champion and any team would have considered signing him if they had a vacancy.

      Before being signed up by Williams for 2019 he had other F1 tests with Renault and Williams and it is only now that he has secured a race seat, so you would think that if they had seen enough of the old Kubica and his injuries weren’t too big a factor someone would have signed him up before now.

      The main question seemed to be could he physically manage to compete in a full F1 season, but even if you ignore his injury the fact is he has been out of F1 for eight seasons and a lot has changed in that period, even if he had been racing in other series in all that time away I would be wary about what he could achieve on his comeback

      Even though he has over 4 years of racing experience in F1 and has won a Grand Prix you could class Kubica as a rookie considering his time away from the sport, and he is not a rookie fresh from competing in various single seat formula.
      Russell is joining F1 fresh from winning the GP3 title in 2017 and then the F2 title in 2018, I think he is the best driver among all the 2019 rookies although he has the worst car of them all.

      With all the unknowns about Kubica I was inclined to vote for Russell but if Kubica can manage to be anything like he was before his accident then he should be able to beat his rookie teammate.

      But with the way Williams as a team are at the moment both drivers will struggle to score points this season.

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