Robert Kubica, Williams, Baku City Circuit, 2019

2019 mid-season driver rankings part one: 20-11

Driver rankings

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The 2019 F1 season is a long way from over yet one driver has already suffered the consequences of failing to perform at the required level.

Who else has had a disappointing start to their championship, and who might be showing signs of coming good? This week we’ll rank the full grid, starting with the drivers in the bottom half:

20. Robert Kubica

Robert Kubica

Beat team mate in qualifying0/12
Beat team mate in race2/12
Races finished12/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate101/723
Qualifying margin+0.58s
(adjusted: +0.48s)

It was a relief to see Robert Kubica score Williams’ only point of the season so far, as without it there hasn’t been much positive to say about his highly anticipated return to Formula 1.

Kubica was realistic about how that sole point came about when asked about it afterwards, pointing out it took the retirement of several other drivers plus a double penalty for the Alfa Romeos to elevate him to 10th place. Nonetheless he stayed out of trouble on a day when many others didn’t. It was only one of the rare occasions he managed to put one over a junior team mate who has shown him the way so far.

The gulf between the pair in qualifying hasn’t always looked as vast as it did at the last race, where Russell was more than a second ahead. Early in the season Kubica got within a tenth of Russell more than once. But as his team mate has gained in experience, the gap has widened.

Aside from Germany, where Russell went off, the only other time Kubica has finished ahead of his team mate was in France, where the two made contact while fighting for position and Russell had to pit for a new front wing.

Even taking into account how unworthy the Williams FW42 is of Kubica’s abilities, it’s hard to find much to celebrate about his first 12 races back, besides the fact he’s been able to return at all.

The team has shown progress in recent races, however, and if any driver has the determination and capabilities to turn this tough a season around it is surely Kubica.

19. Lance Stroll

Lance Stroll

Beat team mate in qualifying0/12
Beat team mate in race3/10
Races finished11/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate192/651
Qualifying margin+0.33s

In his third season of Formula 1, Stroll’s traits as a driver are well-established. Qualifying remains a persistent weakness: Last year Sergio Perez was soundly beaten by Esteban Ocon on Saturdays, yet this year he’s undefeated against Stroll. The gap isn’t even trending in the right direction, widening to an average of 0.3 seconds over the season so far.

However Stroll continues to make amends on race days: gaining places on the first lap and generally staying out of trouble, as in Australia where he rose from 16th to finish in the points. And from time to time he pulls of an unexpected result.

He did that in Germany this year, bringing his car home fourth. But even this was bittersweet. His finish came about thanks to a gamble on slick tyres which made sense given how far down the order he was running. And fourth would have been third if he hadn’t gone off and let Daniil Kvyat through.

Stroll’s 11 Q1 eliminations, almost three times as many as Perez, show there is untapped potential on this side of the Racing Point garage. The next coming two races have tended to be strong tracks for the team, and better things will surely be expected of him there.

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18. Pierre Gasly

Pierre Gasly, Red Bull, Red Bull Ring, 2019
In Austria Gasly was lapped while his team mate won

Pierre Gasly

Beat team mate in qualifying1/12
Beat team mate in race1/11
Races finished10/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate34/725
Qualifying margin+0.33s
(adjusted: +0.39s)

Red Bull have already rendered their verdict on Pierre Gasly in typical, uncompromising fashion. Despite having said after the Hungarian Grand Prix that they expected to keep him in the car for the rest of the year, one week later he was bumped down to Toro Rosso.

Gasly began the season at an alarmingly low level but showed clear signs of progress. It may well be a slump over the last two races which has cost him his place at the team.

In Australia he went out in Q1 and finished out of the points. From that low level improvement was gradual: He took sixth in China but was over a minute behind Max Verstappen after a late pit stop to bag the bonus point for fastest lap. By Spain and Monaco it seemed he had finally joined the tail of the six fastest cars, even if he couldn’t always be relied upon to match his team mate by getting through Q2 on the harder tyres.

But he couldn’t sustain that level. While Verstappen won in Austria, Gasly was lapped. At the next race the team decided he should follow Verstappen’s lead on set-up. This appeared to work: He raced more convincingly than he had in any other race, and even finished ahead of his team mate after Verstappen got hit.

That proved a false dawn, however. He went off several times in Germany and eventually retired after tangling with Alexander Albon. In Hungary he again couldn’t break free of the midfield and following Carlos Sainz Jnr home. At that point Red Bull decided on a mid-season driver change – a damning verdict on Gasly’s efforts after just 12 races.

17. Antonio Giovinazzi

Antonio Giovinazzi

Beat team mate in qualifying4/11
Beat team mate in race1/11
Races finished11/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate77/702
Qualifying margin+0.06s

Over the opening races of his first full season in Formula 1, Antonio Giovinazzi gradually moved closer to team mate Kimi Raikkonen in qualifying and even managed to beat him a few times. However this progress hasn’t been matched in the races.

As a result of this, and the team’s double penalty in Germany, Giovinazzi goes into the summer break with just one point to Raikkonen’s 31. It’s a tough but not entirely unfair verdict on their relative performances in a very close midfield fight.

Spending the best part of two years largely on the sidelines can’t have helped Giovinazzi. Alfa Romeo’s recent upgrades appear to have helped them take a step forward, and eyes will be on whether he can raise his game to match it and lift them above the likes of Renault and Toro Rosso in the constructors’ championship.

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16. Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean

Beat team mate in qualifying5/12
Beat team mate in race5/6
Races finished5/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate417/581
Qualifying margin+0.79s
(adjusted: +0.09s)

Grosjean’s season got off to a depressingly familiar start. He was on course for a solid points score in Melbourne, but a wheel problem after a pit stop forced him out as it did in 2018.

It took him until Spain to finish in the points. He held up Sebastian Vettel in qualifying in Bahrain, collecting a penalty, and struggled with his tyres in China and Azerbaijan.

Spain was a turning point in more ways than one. Grosjean was on course for seventh until team mate Kevin Magnussen dived past him at a restart. Grosjean clipped his team mate as they swapped places, then slipped down the order to an eventual 10th.

Also of concern to Grosjean was the team’s upgrade package introduced that weekend, which he believed was a step backwards. From then on he repeatedly urged them to go back to their previous specification.

Once they did, at Silverstone, he was much happier with the car. He subsequently delivered his best result of the season so far with seventh in Germany, aided by the Alfa Romeo penalties. It’s been a tough start to the season, but better things may lie ahead if Haas have got on top of their car problems.

15. Daniil Kvyat

Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Hockenheimring, 2019
A gamble on slicks paid off for Kvyat with third

Daniil Kvyat

Beat team mate in qualifying5/11
Beat team mate in race6/9
Races finished10/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate355/696
Qualifying margin+0.01s

This may seem a stiff verdict on a driver who took his Toro Rosso to the team’s first podium position in over a decade at the German Grand Prix. But the result needs to be seen in its full context.

Kvyat had trailed his vastly less experienced team mate throughout the race. He wound up third thanks to a tyre gamble which, had he not been running closer to the back of the field than the front, wouldn’t have been worth making. The opposite logic applied to his team mate.

This is not to say that Alexander Albon has easily had the beating of Kvyat over the half-season so far. They’ve been quite closely matched. Albon’s promotion to Red Bull over his team mate surely has at least as much to do with Kvyat having had the chance once already. While Kvyat took a decent seventh in Monaco, here too the strategy played in his favour.

Kvyat’s ‘torpedo’ reputation for getting involved in incidents is not entirely fair. But he has had a few run-ins this year, notably a clumsy collision with the McLaren drivers in China and a tangle with Antonio Giovinazzi in Bahrain.

If Kvyat had firmly put Albon in the shade over the first dozen races, it would have been very hard for Red Bull to make a case for promoting the other driver, particularly given that third place in Germany. But with Albon increasingly looking the more competitive of the two, it’s not hard to see why the team made the call they did.

14. Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg

Beat team mate in qualifying4/12
Beat team mate in race3/8
Races finished10/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate225/596
Qualifying margin+0.09s

Both Renault drivers have been frustrated at times by the unreliability of the RS19 and the relatively modest performance gain it offers compared to last year’s car. Renault’s aim of drawing clear of the midfield group clearly hasn’t been realised.

Nico Hulkenberg was hit particularly hard by the team’s problems in the opening events, which compromised practice and qualifying sessions as well as races. He voiced his concerns about the team’s progress following the Hungarian Grand Prix. But one race earlier he had blown the team’ best chance of a strong result so far, crashing while holding fourth place in Germany.

This could have been another missed podium shot for Hulkenberg. It wasn’t his first costly error of the season either: a crash in qualifying spoiled his weekend in Spain.

The arrival of Daniel Ricciardo means Hulkenberg is being measured against a race-winning driver for the first time in a while. He fared well initially, but as Ricciardo has adjusted to the team he’s increasingly put daylight between himself and Hulkenberg.

13. Kevin Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen

Beat team mate in qualifying7/12
Beat team mate in race1/6
Races finished10/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate164/581
Qualifying margin-0.79s
(adjusted: -0.09s)

Kevin Magnussen draws criticism for his feisty approach at the wheel – and not just from his team mate. But his uncompromising approach has served him well at times this year, such as the vital pass on Antonio Giovinazzi which put him on course for sixth in Australia, and the similar move on Romain Grosjean for seventh in Spain. These remain the only two occasions this year a Haas has finished ‘best of the rest’ behind the quicker cars, and Magnussen’s two biggest points hauls so far.

Unfortunately he’s only made it into the top 10 on two other occasions. Mystifying race day performance slumps have cost him points on other occasions, notably in Bahrain when the team first got an inkling that it didn’t fully have a handle on the 2019 tyres. It still doesn’t.

A strategy error wrecked his points hopes in Monaco but Magnussen was at fault in Canada when he smashed up his car in qualifying. He might also have done more to avoid futher tangles with Grosjean at Silverstone and Hockenheim – the former put both cars out of the race and incurred the wrath of team principal Guenther Steiner.

Magnussen could clearly do better with a more consistent car, but his own errors have cost him several points hauls too.

12. Alexander Albon

Alexander Albon, Toro Rosso, Hungaroring, 2019
Albon has steadily improved

Alexander Albon

Beat team mate in qualifying6/11
Beat team mate in race3/9
Races finished11/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate341/696
Qualifying margin-0.01s

By the standards of a driver who had never driven a Formula 1 car before he shook the Toro Rosso STR14 down at Misano, Alexander Albon is doing remarkably well, and justified a chance to replace the struggling Gasly. But for the purposes of these rankings, like all the other drivers, only his performances on the track are taken into consideration, and by that measure he is not very far ahead of Kvyat, as well as trailing him on points.

While he has had a couple of crashes, Albon at least confined them to practice sessions where the impact on his weekend was minimal. And you can’t fault the manner in which he’s responded to them: After his huge smash in China on Saturday morning, Albon drove his car from last to the top 10 on Sunday.

However Albon has shown a slightly tendency to be quicker in qualifying, and trend which his become more profound in recent races as he gains experience. That, and his ability to stay out of trouble in races and bring the car home, is surely what’s given Red Bull the confidence to take a gamble on him. It is a big promotion which will bring a lot of pressure with it, however.

11. Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez

Beat team mate in qualifying12/12
Beat team mate in race7/10
Races finished11/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate459/651
Qualifying margin-0.33s

It was easier to appreciate Perez’s efforts when he had a car capable of fighting at the front of the midfield and a team mate regarded as a potential star of the future. This year he has neither of those things, yet he has still impressed at times.

In Azerbaijan he was the first driver home not blessed with a Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull. And he’s consistently dragged the RP19 further through qualifying than Lance Stroll has, making it as far as Q3 on three occasions.

However he only had himself to blame in Germany where he crashed out early on in a race where big points were on offer in the closing stages. It was a rare mistake, but one which must have left a bitter taste, especially as it leaves Stroll ahead of him in the drivers’ championship.

NB. ‘Adjusted’ figures ignore lap times which were deemed unrepresentative, e.g. due to technical problems

2019 F1 season

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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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80 comments on “2019 mid-season driver rankings part one: 20-11”

  1. Gasly should be stone dead last. At least Kubica has the excuse of suffering a life-threatening crash, and Stroll shows some skill not in qualifying but in the races. Gasly has delivered a 1/10 performance and the worst performance I have seen in a race-winning car since David Walker in 1972.

    1. Completely agree with @ultimateuzair

    2. Can’t argue with that.

    3. At least Kubica has the excuse of suffering a life-threatening crash

      I would argue against it. I don’t think that should influence any driver’s rating to be honest.
      Sure it makes his comeback heroic and it’s a fantastic story, but he’s still driving rubbish and this score reflects that imho.

    4. +1! Exactly my point, too!

    5. Your francly saying Kubica gets pity-points… don;t think Kubica would be happy with that…
      He chose to be in F1, he should be rated just like anyone else… he’s doing a rather terrible job so far.

    6. @ultimateuzair, in the case of Dave Walker, whilst it is true that he was struggling, it should be borne in mind that Lotus were favouring Fittipaldi too (whilst they denied it, you could see that Walker’s car was visibly an older specification to Fittipaldi’s car).

    7. I disagree because nobody forced Kubica to return to F1. It was his choice and his alone.

      These ratings are based on the results delivered on track especially compared to their teammates. Based on the objective data, getting out-qualified consistently by a rookie teammate by almost half a second doesn’t reflect well on his abilities.

    8. Agree there’s more of a case for putting gasly in the bottom, and no one said to rank kubica in the top 10, he’s still roughly at the end regardless.

    9. @ultimateuzair

      Have to disagree. Gasly is paired up against the best driver on the grid. He’s around 0.3 to 0.4s down on Max in quali pace, as compared to Stroll is 0.3 to 0.4s down on Perez. Additionally, if Gasly was paired against Perez, he’d definitely have out qualified and probably out raced him on at least a few weekends. Stroll got a little lucky in a couple of races to finish in front of Perez. Germany was the only race where he outperformed Perez on raceday.

    10. Kubica has worst car of all drivers. Even Russel has better car. You must know it

  2. So far I’d agree, though I think Perez is a little too high and Hulkenberg is a little too low. Albon, given his extreme inexperience I think deserves to be higher.

    1. Keith always seems to put Hulk lower than he should be. Just put him 3 positions higher or so and thats where he should be

      1. @hugh11 – Given Nico’s performances and results to date in 2019, I’m not sure how you can argue he should be higher.

        1. @hobo Given his performance has been very close to Ricciardo and Keith admits as much, I don’t see how you and @keithcollantine can argue why he’s so many places behind him

          1. @montreal95 – I cannot speak for Keith. But were this my list I would say something like, because Hulk has more experience in the Renault and with the team. And shouldn’t be making mistakes or underperforming at all. If you buy that (and it seems like you don’t) then even a small difference among drivers in the bottom 10 can lead to multiple places difference as it can be hard to distinguish at the non-sharp end of the grid.

            I might argue that Ricciardo is a bit too high, but I haven’t seen Keith’s reasoning yet.

          2. @hobo I see where you coming from. If there were 1-2 places between them I wouldn’t really argue the Hulk’s placing so much. it was a distinctly average first half of the season by NH standards though I placed him 10th in my rating and DR 9th. But given how close it was between them and the fact that DR also made mistakes in fact even more than NH, and the fact NH had more tech trouble outside of his control I don’t think a big gap between them is justified.

          3. @montreal95 – That makes sense.

            And having now seen RIC at #8, I would agree that the gap is too large. I also think that RIC/HUL have been fairly close on good and bad points this season. 14 vs 8 is too far for me as well.

      2. “but as Ricciardo has adjusted to the team he’s increasingly put daylight between himself and Hulkenberg”

        Nico won 3 of the last 4 qualifying battles, so I can’t see that Keith is right on this one.

        1. @zomtec Agreed. The Hulk has been very, very close to Ricciardo in both race-pace and qualifying speed. He doesn’t deserve this low ranking.

          1. I agree, if there is daylight between them both then it is only a chink which can be easily got back. Dan hasn’t been that great imo seeing as he is a proven race winner.

          2. @genuinehulkfan Performance-wise there is only a chink between them, but money-wise there is an entire ocean between them though. Hulk, understandably, wants something closer to RIC’s salary but Renault are not willing to pay him that and in fact, if they can get a French driver next to RIC, they wont even think twice about throwing Nico in the bin.

            Nico’s problem is that, unless he signs for a top team, he isn’t getting good money anywhere else either since he isn’t a proven race-winner like RIC is. Unfair? Maybe, but it is what it is.

          3. I totally get what you are saying, but I think they will be making a big mistake if they pass Nico over for Ocon (just because he’s a French driver). He seems like a nice lad, but they still need Nico imo.

          4. actually, I was going to say they may find they have trouble with Ocon out on track – not a team player as far as he’s shown us to date, and they really need a team player.

  3. Driver skill is pretty much a constant:

    And to think the only time when it has a slight upward trajectory (before it stagnates and from a certain moment declines), is in the first two years (tops).

  4. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    19th August 2019, 13:29

    I do wonder if these ratings are based on the circumstances of each driver. If we said that both Kvyat and Albon were rookies this year, I really can’t see a reason for rating Albon this much higher than Kvyat. I would say that Kvyat has had the slight edge this year and should be 1 or two places above him.

    Same with Grosjean and Magnussen, but the other way round. I really struggle to understand how Magnussen can even be rated above Grosjean, especially by 3 places. Grosjean has had such shocking reliability and bad luck this year that he hasn’t really had the chance to show his performance.
    There have just been 6 races that both drivers finished. And Magnussen beat Grosjean just 1 time! And this was in Spain where Grosjean was comfortably ahead until the safety car. Then admittedly he did ruin his result a bit. But in 2 of these races that Grosjean finished ahead, Magnussen was over 60 seconds behind! and I think being behind one of the williams once or both times too.

    grosjean has had 6 retirements compared to 1 for magnussen. The only one some blame could go to Grosjean was in britain, when they both retired. But I’m pretty sure the majority blamed magnussen for this.

    basically, without Grosjean’s bad luck, I am pretty sure he would be ahead of magnussen in the points. I went into more detail with a comment on this page:

    Doesn’t match the thread title but it was replying to a comment. I just do not see how magnussen has done better than Grosjean this year. Magnussen’s worst performances have been far, far worse than any of Grosjean’s. Some of Grosjean’s good performances have been when the car wasn’t really capable of points. While he suffered bad luck when it was several times. Rather unfair ratings if you ask me.

    My ratings would probably be more like this:

    10: Kvyat
    11: Albon
    12: Perez
    13: Ricciardo
    14: Hulkenberg

    15: Stroll
    16: Grosjean
    17: Gasly
    18: Magnussen
    19: Giovinazzi

    20: Kubica

    Soem won’t agree with me, but I think the 2 Renault drivers are both having a very poor season. Both have had very poor races as well as clumsy retirements. Ricciardo has had the speed, but he wrecked his car in the first race and made one of the most stupid careless mistakes of the season in Baku. Beign over optomistic at the turning point of getting by Kvyat, he forces both to get stuck off track. Then rushes to get back on and reversed into Kvyat. Really stupid. I just think he needs to get a better understanding of the car. He seems to drive it like it has more grip than it has. I’m thinking it is because he is used to Red Bull which quite possibly have had the best grip of any car for years. Helping him do his well known dives down the inside. Even in Bahrain, if it wasn’t for Hulkenberg being kind, that would have ended badly. Hulkenberg gave loads of space and he still hit him. They retired later on anyway but I still think his driving style needs to change. He used to look far better.

    The gaps in the ratings indicate that there is a large gap between the next lot of drivers. I have been very impressed with both Albon and Kvyat this year. I don’t think anyone should blame Kvyat for what happened in Bahrain with Giovinazzi. Giovinazzi was to blame for that. And I agree with Palmer’s analysis that the penalty for what happened in China was just too much. It was a tiny mistake that other drivers could well have done. But he just did it at the wrong time and the outcome was very unfortunate. Other than that, both drivers in this team have been excellent this year. The way they race each other and other drivers just looks so clean and better than a lot of drivers this year. They are looking like a very strong driver pairing at the moment. I personally think Red Bull should have waited until next year before changing drivers. I expect Gasly to be destroyed in the same way Kvyat was when red bull toss their drivers all over the place. Too early promotion, early kick out. Ugh, why can’t they be more patient….?

    10: Kvyat
    11: Albon
    12: Perez
    13: Ricciardo
    14: Hulkenberg

    15: Stroll
    16: Grosjean
    17: Gasly
    18: Magnussen
    19: Giovinazzi

    20: Kubica

    I went into a bit more detail about the reasoning for this order on this page on the planet F1 Forum:

    1. “I really struggle to understand how Magnussen can even be rated above Grosjean, especially by 3 places.” With the midfield as tight as it is, I think that the argument and reasoning for each driver is more important than where exactly they are on the list. In fact, I would probably just divide these ratings into a few categories (something like top performers, solid, not-so-solid but potential, strugglers).

      1. @kaiie – very good point and suggestion. I think Keith himself would have had a few struggles trying to assign discrete ranks.

    2. I really struggle to understand how Magnussen can even be rated above Grosjean

      Well he hasn’t binned it in the pitlane for starters.

      He also hasn’t insisted the team basically cease development on one side of the garage because he prefers the older car.

      And finally he’s not half the irritating, entitled windbag that Grosjean is so yeh, 3 places higher seems ok to me.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        19th August 2019, 15:05

        Binned it in the pit lane is irrelevant if it is practice. This is in no way a good point, but it effectively showed the team that the old speck does seem to be better, which as it happened was caused to be used by this incident.

        Grosjean’s comments about this old speck seeming better really are not negative. If it is true that it is better, he has made an important point.

        Your reasoning for judging them differently seems to be based on the most odd things. Crashing in practice, how much they complain and things they have said. It isn’t really anything to do with their performance when it counts. Magnussen has said something significantly more disrespectful than Grosjean.

        Kevin: “This is the worst experience I’ve ever had, in any race car, ever.”
        Team: “None of us are happy about this pace. Guys stayed up all night to fix the car…
        Kevin interrupts: I know but I know…
        Steiner then jumps in: “It means that for us, it’s also not a nice experience. It’s enough now. That’s what it means. Enough means enough.”

        If you want to knock off a few positions for language and being unreasonable, I think this is worse than anything Grosjean has said even if you add it up together. Grosjean’s mistake in the pitlane did look very silly, but it really could well end up making hass realise that their earlier car was better. Which once Grosjean had used it again for a while, I think he tried to make a reasonable point about this. If the car isn’t better, then Grosjean is clearly miles better than magnussen at the moment.
        But this is not the sort of thing i judge their pace on. Pace wise Grosjean has overall quite clearly been better to me. Just has had much worse luck.

        I don’t think either have been good this season, I just don’t see how most seem to rate Magnussen ahead.

      2. RB13, as @thegianthogweed rightly notes, there have been times when Magnussen has been quite abusive and rude to his team, with Canada being a particular low point – particularly given the fact that the team had worked overnight to repair the damage that Magnussen had caused to the car in the first place.

        In fact, it seems that Magnussen had spent most of his race taking out his frustrations by sending angry radio messages to the team, eventually leading to Steiner’s rebuke – it just happened that particular rant was the one that finally tipped Steiner over the edge.

        Equally, it is worth noting that the decision for Grosjean to use that older car is an intentional decision by Haas because they basically can’t work out why the performance of their upgraded car is so inconsistent. Magnussen has talked about how he is mystified by how the car has such a narrow performance window, and he has frequently changed his mind on whether the upgraded car is actually better or worse than the original specification car, whilst Steiner has called the upgraded car “the strangest car I’ve ever worked with” and stated he doesn’t actually know if the updated specification car is in fact faster, or whether it is actually a backwards step in terms of development.

        In that respect, asking Grosjean to go back to a baseline that they are hoping will be more consistent is a very logical thing to do – if you cannot tell how exactly that upgrade is working, then you need to work from your last known good data point, which is the original specification car.

        I do have to agree with Ben Rowe about Magnussen’s ranking and question why Keith is ranking him much higher and is not as critical of him as he is of Grosjean. He’s marginally edged out Grosjean on qualifying performance, but been comprehensively outraced for most of this season and has usually trailed him home. If any other driver had those performance stats, I wonder whether they’d be ranked so far ahead of their team mate or given such a positive spin.

        I’d say that, on balance, I’d be more inclined to go along with your rankings there – I think that it’s a fairer assessment, as I feel that perhaps Keith has allowed some of his personal opinions to cloud his judgement on some of the drivers on this list.

  5. Mostly agree, apart from Kvyat. He’s driven better than both Renault drivers in my opinion.

  6. Dutchguy (@justarandomdutchguy)
    19th August 2019, 14:04

    Stroll is rated too low in my opinion
    He has actually had some decent drives, and I think he’s doing better with the given material than Gasly is, and he also manages to not drive into others as much as Grosjean does, and with an inferior car, he’s also doing much better than Giovinazzi.

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      19th August 2019, 15:13

      To be fair, the only retirement Stroll caused was knocking Grosjean out. And Grosjean hasn’t beed 100% at fault for any if i am correct. I do think that he should be rated higher. I would say around 15th. On race day, he has to make up for his poor qualifying, but his race pace is not actually that much worse than Perez. That is not bad at all. His qualifying is a major let down. If he can improve this, I think he will become quite a decent driver. People just think he’s here for his money. If he came in several years after he did and didn’t have the cash, I honestly feel he would have started better and would have had far less criticism. He has an opportunity to drive due to his circumstances yet gets criticise for existing in F1 from many it seems. When a solid opportunity comes, he has performed very well a few times now. Not making a mistake when Perez did in Germany proved important and now is quite some way up on perez in the standings.

  7. Cristiano Ferreira
    19th August 2019, 14:11

    To me, the ratings could have been the following:

    20- Gasly
    19- Kubica
    18- Stroll
    17- Giovinazzi
    16- Grosjean
    15- Magnussen
    14- Hulkenberg
    13- Ricciardo
    12- Perez
    11- Albon

    I only did some minor positions swaps but overall, i agree with Keith’s arguments for them.

    1. Cristiano Ferreira
      19th August 2019, 14:14


      Kvyat would have been 11th on my list, while Albon would have been placed at 10th.


      1. Think I like these a bit more, again not too much difference.

  8. Albon below Russell, when the Williams is a total unknown, is a bit mad to me.

    1. yeah, the two toro rosso drivers have been pretty good this year. I think kvyat is a bit too low, but on the whole this list is easy to argue for, with the exception of russell, who I find quite hard to place. kubica is not a good barometer, I feel.

      1. @frood19 I guess we’ll find out how good the Toro Rosso drivers really were in a couple of weeks.

        1. My 2 cents – I expect Gasly and Kvyat to be fairly closely matched, maybe after a few races adjustment phase for Gasly. And I think Albon wont fair that much better than Gasly, at least initially. Hopefully Albon will show a better rate of improvement than gasly though so can get closer to Ver by the end of the season.

    2. It is sort of weird. If kubica is rated clearly as the worst of f1 at the moment then how much is it worth to actually beat a team mate of that caliber at continued basis? Should it really put russell into top10 when the only thing worth mentioning about the whole season so far is that russell has beaten the worst rated driver all season long?

      I think these ratings are missing one important factor. Race pace. We have the qualifying lap difference down to a hundredth of a second but only thing we know about their race pace is which driver finished ahead. When accidents and safety cars are excluded and different tactics eliminated which driver actually has the biggest pace advantage in the race over his team mate? That’s the difference that matters the most.

      1. Race pace is crucial but also harder to can get very distorted results due to things like a mechanical problem which puts you back in traffic, meaning you can never show your true pace. Also safety cars and other incidents. The stats Keith has listed are facts, which gives you a baseline for discussion. Including a race pace ‘stat’ would depend on some kind of calculation, which would be subjective.

        1. I think you can look for comparable stints for example in the race pace stats. Here is one type of statics that can be used:

          Of course in the end any kind of stat is worthless unless some analysis goes into interpreting what the results actually mean. For example if you take the hungarian gp and compare russell and kubica you get pretty equal looking pace for both drivers on its own this is pretty worthless observation unless some research goes into were they driving on equal tires and were they stuck behind someone or not. For teams like williams or merc this is kind of comparison is probably easier than for team like sauber or renault who are constantly fighting in the tight middle field. I think every stat analysis is subjective though.

  9. “But for the purposes of these rankings, like all the other drivers, only his performances on the track are taken into consideration (..)” – So RUS and NOR are to be believed to be able to do a better job than for example PER and HUL in the RP/REN? Hard to believe.

  10. This is a waste of time & effort as this driving rankings will follow the new trend. George Russell will get a top ten ranking for beating Robert Kubica (not difficult). Albon & Kvyat who are driving really well are placed 12th & 15th – shocking.
    My prediction – Max Verstappen will be ranked number one & Lewis Hamilton number 2 because it’s trending that way!

  11. So, here are some FACTS about Kubica so far:
    – He came back after 8 years absence;
    – driving for the worst team on the grid;
    – driving in a worse car of the two cars for the worst team on the grid(confirmed lack of updates in some races and driving with a broken front wing on due to no replacement parts, not to mention mirrors falling off)
    – competing vs current F2 champion, supported by Mercedes in a car powered by Mercedes engines and being very close to him on many occasions in qualifying.
    – scored team’s only point this year thanks to his consistency and lack of mistakes in key moments
    – finished ALL 12 races without making a single major mistake in the most unstable car on the grid.

    and you put him dead LAST, nice one Racefans, nice one. All I ask for is OBJECTIVITY.

    PS. I’m a fan of George’s talent, he’s a great guy, he doesn’t need your silly propaganda and making him the best without even letting him prove himself first.

    1. I agree 100 %

    2. Driving in circles
      22nd August 2019, 23:04

      Well said

  12. Russell, on zero points, would easily be chosen above all 10 of these drivers in any of the factory teams. Just goes to show just how little points aligns with “quality of driver”.

  13. So Russell and Ricciardo are top 10?!

    We know Russell beat Kubica in qualifying and, apart from that fluke point in Germany, is quicker in the races. Other than that we know nothing for sure about his driving and not nearly enough to warrant him a top 10 driver this season so far, imho.

    RIC isn’t doing that much better than Hulkenberg imho, in what is a terribly underwhelming car. Daniel also isn’t showing his dive-bomb overtakes and isn’t even that much ahead in qualifying speed either. All in all I don’t see how he can be justifiedly rated that far in front of Hulkenberg and I´m not even sure I’d rank him in the top half this year so far…

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      19th August 2019, 18:36

      Daniel also isn’t showing his dive-bomb overtakes

      I think he certainly is trying, but failing to do them successfully. I think it was being at Red Bull that allowed him to pull these off as well as he did. For the past few years, I think the Red Bull car has been the best of the lot in terms of grip on unusual lines round corners. And making the most of braking late without losing it. When he was at Red Bull, he pulled these moves off very well countless times. This year, he is still trying but has looked rather clumsy. In Bahrain near the end of the race, he tried to get by Hulkenberg who gave him an extremely generous amount of room. Yet Ricciardo still hit him and one or both of them got a bit of damage. But they did get away with that despite a double retirement later on which I think was totally unrelated. Had Hulkenberg taken a line and not been generous (which he didn’t have to be – similar to Stroll and Sainz in 2017) this could have been a double retirement all down to Ricciardo. Then he also had a careless attempt on Kvyat in Baku, then made it worse by reversing into him. I just can’t find a reason to vote Ricciardo this high. There are several behind him that I think have clearly done better.

      I think Russel has impressed enough to be in the top 10. He is a rookie and it certainly is obvious that Williams is dreadful. He has beaten a Hass twice if I am correct. But yes, it certainly is still difficult to decide where certain drivers go. I find the top 2 easy. Verstappen then hamilton. 3rd to 9th I just can’t decide the order yet. I think the McLaren drivers are a bit hard to judge. I have a feeling that car could very eaasily be best of the rest the whole time and both drivers are not always performing at their best. Sainz often is, but I think they have an advantage over the other teams that their drivers are not always showing. This is where I feel if we had Alonso and Button back, they would make it look quite clear that it is the 4th best car. Sainz is certainly solid, but i don’t think he’s been that special. Noris has been good in qualifying, but not quite so much in the races relative to his team mate, although has had quite a lot of bad luck. Kimi is also hard to judge. The car is way better than last year and I think Giovinazzi is worse than Ericsson. Not sure if Kimi is just the same as last year or actually very solid indeed.

      I mentioned the drivers i rated 20th to 10th further up. And my 1st and 2nd here. The rest are quite some way down on Verstappen and Hamilton but quite difficult to order.

      1. @thegianthogweed, you are correct about Russell beating Haas twice, having beaten Magnussen in Canada and Austria – he’s also managed to beat the Saubers and Racing Points a few times this season too.

        With Giovinazzi, I would agree with Keith’s point that his performance has probably been compounded by the lack of racing he has done over the past couple of years – he’d only taken part in one race over the previous two years before joining Sauber. I’d also have to say that, having been rather critical of Kimi’s performance at Ferrari over the past few years, I do feel as if perhaps Kimi’s performance has picked up now he is at Sauber.

  14. Kvyat and Albon both rated way too low.

  15. Here are my rankings:
    20 Pierre Gasly
    19 Robert Kubica
    18 Antonio Giovinazzi
    17 Lance Stroll
    16 Kevin Magnussen
    15 Romain Grosjean
    14 Nico Hulkenberg
    13 Daniel Ricciardo
    12 Sebastian Vettel
    11 Sergio Perez
    10 Daniil Kvyat
    9 Alexander Albon
    8 Lando Norris
    7 Valtteri Bottas
    6 George Russell
    5 Charles Leclerc
    4 Kimi Raikkonen
    3 Carlos Sainz
    2 Lewis Hamilton
    1 Max Verstappen

    1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      19th August 2019, 18:48

      i think pretty much every driver on this list is 2 -3 places around where i would rank them if that makes any sense. I would shuffle a few up or down but not by much. Although there is one i really disagree with and that is Vettel being 12th compared to 5th for Leclerc. You can take add on a fair few points to leclerc due to ferrari helping Vettel and messing his races up. But he has crashed out of a race and forced himself to retire in another…

      Leclerc is 24 points behind. The 2 retirements were certainly his fault. You can give him another 10 points due the the bad luck in bahrain and very nearly close the 24 point gap with the fact Ferrari have lost him a position a few times. But to place him 7 places above Vettel could do with a bit of explanation really. They both have had a mix of very good and very poor results. I can see them being considered equal, or either being slightly better or worse than each other. But a gap this large is hard to understand.

      1. I do my driver rankings by giving each driver a score out of ten each race and then adding them together and as I gave Vettel particularly low scores in Bahrain and Britain, he ended up far behind in positions. However, their actual scores out of 120 aren’t as far apart as it seems with this list:
        Leclerc 92
        Vettel 85

    2. @f1frog I also think Vettel’s and Leclerc’s rankings should be closer. Vettel by no means had a good season; in fact he was pretty bad, so I don’t think either Ferrari driver deserves a high ranking. Leclerc had a good start, but then he started making a lot of mistakes.
      I understand why you rank Sainz highly, as he is a very efficient driver. Yet it does not feel right to have him so much ahead of Ricciardo and Hülkenberg, given that Hülkenberg was generally faster last year in the same car. I think this year’s Renault is just a very poor car. The same applies to Räikkönen. He is doing a good job, but it’s still the same guy who was beaten by Vettel for 4 consecutive years, only older.
      In the second half of the season it will be interesting to see how the Albon-Gasly swap works out. According to these rankings Albon is expected to be closer to Verstappen than Gasly was, and Kvyat is expected to convincingly beat Gasly. Personally, I expect Gasly to be closer to Kvyat.

  16. There are many drivers who were very similar in their performance during the first half of this season. And it’s difficult to filter out the car component when ranking them.
    I do feel though that most teammates should not be far apart:
    – Kvyat close to Albon;
    – Magnussen close to Grosjean (not even sure if either of them was really ‘less bad’);
    – Perez close to Stroll (except for quali);
    – Ricciardo close to Hulkenberg;
    – Leclerc close to Vettel (Vettel closing in);
    – Sainz close to Norris;

    The only clear superiority between teammates was:
    – Raikkonen beating Giovinazzi (with Gio closing the gap in recent races)
    – Hamilton beating Bottas (were close initially, but are moving in opposite directions)
    – Russell continuously beating Kubica
    – Verstappen and Gasly in different Galaxies

  17. Max Verstappen
    Lewis Hamilton
    Carlos Sainz Jr.
    Lando Norris
    Kimi Räikkönen
    George Russell
    Valtteri Bottas
    Charles Leclerc
    Alexander Albon
    Daniil Kvyat
    Daniel Ricciardo
    Sebastian Vettel
    Nico Hülkenberg
    Sergio Pérez
    Lance Stroll
    Kevin Magnussen
    Romain Grosjean
    Antonio Giovinazzi
    Robert Kubica
    Pierre Gasly

    That’s what I’d put. In hindsight, I rated Stroll generously and Perez poorly – Keith gets this better, but I don’t think Stroll deserves as low as 19th. Stroll’s best result this year is better than Gasly’s best, and he’s run higher than Gasly ever has iirc. Looking at the race and laps ahead scores, it’s hard to see how Grosjean can be rated lower than Magnussen.

  18. I’d put Gasly to the 19th-place instead, perhaps even dead-last given the machinery at his disposal. He simply took too long to get to grips with the car, and more often than not was closer to the top of the midfield than to the very front of the field.

    ”has problems in traffic, he loses places, and can’t overtake” as Dr. Marko put it, which, as demotivating as it sounds, unfortunately, has validity, and the last race in which he lost ground at the beginning, and subsequently struggled to pass the ones to who he lost positions there, and eventually failed at getting past Sainz isn’t the only example of that. He also lost places and struggled to overtake in Canada, France, and Austria, as well as, in Australia and Bahrain, of course. The German GP overall was so chaotic that it’s easier to look through the fingers, but Canada, France, and Austria not so much.

  19. My take

    1. Verstappen …. Almost flawless. I remain a bit reserved because we don’t really know how good that RBR is, tnx to GAS
    2. Hamilton …….. 8 victories to 2 of his teammate, quicker in Q 2 out every 3 times, that final stint in Hungary.. WOW.
    3. Sainz …………. We never see him on TV, but best of the rest almost every race is very impressive.
    4. Raikkonen ….. In a car that is a
    5. Vettel ………… Nothing special seen from him, but apart from a dumb spin in Bahrain he’s quite consistent.
    6. Leclerc ………. Bit unlucky at times but how he got passed in Austria and just too many mistakes to be above VET.
    7. Bottas ……….. Won 2, but also he’s in a freaking Mercedes that his team won 8 in and shouldn’t be just in front of VER.
    8. Norris ……….. Good signs in quali and wheel to wheel racing, not as consistently quick in the races as his teammate.
    9. Albon ……….. Some mistakes, also some very good overtakes. Positive surprise considering he was a last minute call up
    10. Kvyat……….. Pretty close to Albon, also some good aggressive racing and of course a podium in a STR!
    11. Ricciardo …. He’s driving a bad car but also, isn’t really outperforming his car. No wow moments that I expected.
    12. Hulkenberg.. On par with his teammate, but also a crucial mistake when he could have gotten a podium.
    13. Magnussen… Better than his teammate, but also very hard to stand out in that car.
    14. Perez ………. Dominating his teammate but a very costly mistake in Germany. Solid but not great.
    15. Russell……… outperforming his KUB, that bumbs him up a few spots, but really we have no clue how well he’s doing.
    16. Grosjean ….. Crashing (even in the pitlane…) not scoring points and just generally disappointing in a difficult car.
    17. Giovinazzi….. Absolutely nowhere compared to his teammate but at least he doesn’t get lapped by him.
    18. Gasly………. Absolutely nowhere compared to his teammate, getting lapped by him but also not that bad in a race or 2
    19. Kubica…….. Absolutely nowhere compared to his teammate, but that car is so bad we can’t tell much.
    20. Stroll………. Absolutely nowhere compared to his teammate apart from a fluke result in Germany. However, in this case we do know his car isn’t too bad at all. We also know his teammate is a pretty good driver, but nothing too special (especially not in qualifying) so this puts Stroll’s efforts in a particularly bad daylight.

  20. @mrboerns he did it, Kimi gets into the top10

    1. @johnmilk i guess keith forgot about hin and Alonso is a clear #1
      -no mistakes
      -never beaten by teammate
      -didn’t finish a single race due to circumstance

  21. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    19th August 2019, 23:40

    i’m surprised how high some are rating Sainz. Others may not think this, but I’ve got the feeling that virtually every race, that McLaren is very possibly the 4th best car and is above the teams behind by quite some margin. This is what I personally think is making Sainz’s performances look better than they are. But the fact is, he isn’t always up there. I obviously can’t be certain that the car is this good. But I don’t think he’s getting the best out of it every time and it is quite clear that Norris just isn’t as good as him on race day. Another thing that I think is making him look better than he is. He has significantly more experience than Norris so the gap should be expected, but I don’t think the difference between the team mates and Sainz and other teams on race day is all down to him. I think that McLaren is better than a lot seem to think. I feel if Button and Alonso were in that car, they would be best of the rest virtually every race if they were without reliability problems.

    I don’t think Sainz is having a bad season at all. I still haven’t decided my top 10, but I think he could be around 5th or 6th, but both on this site and some others, I have seen a few posts rating him 3rd. I think the car is making him look better than he is. He isn’t really looking challenged. And if I’m honest, from recent years, Sainz is not very good when it comes to racing others. In 2017, he caused more retirements than any other driver. I get the feeling that if he was involved in more racing, things would not be looking quite as good for him. Still, nothing against him this season. He certainly is looking solid.

    I would maybe say similar for Kimi, but it is more the car being a massive improvement on last year and having a significantly worse team mate too that could well be the reason for him looking good. I think that car is more capable than kimi is showing. Certainly top 10, but unsure about top 5 like several are ranking him.

    It seams having a team change and then also a weaker team mate really helps drivers get rated higher in my view. I get the feeling that if Bottas moves to a team and them comfortably beats his team mate, his ranking would likely go up as he is very solid. But he is getting ranked down for the fact that he’s managed as many poles as the best qualifier ever and still managed to win at least some races. A lot of the rankings are heavily based on team mates, which is a bit unfair a lot of the time. With Hamilton’s reputation, Bottas shouldn’t be getting the criticism he is. There will not be many other drivers on the grid that can get much closer to Hamilton than he has managed so far.

  22. I so want Robert Kubica to do well.

  23. LoL no Russell? Yeah, pet him even more. Albon and Perez in the bottom 10… This ranking is a joke.

    1. I have to agree with an anon here. Harsh but perhaps realist on perez and albon however Russel’s williams is so slow that he has little pressure and he has raced nobody but Kubica.

  24. Bottom was going fine then things derailed slightly. It’s always a challenge as performance and results are intertwinned. Some drivers at the bottom have had good results but probably haven’t performed much on the other hand some of the drivers here at the bottom have performed ok like Hulk but have had little on results.

  25. 20-Kubica
    9- Sainz jr
    8- Hulk
    7- Ricciardo
    6- Norris
    5- Bottas
    4- Leclerc
    3- Vettel
    2- Lewis
    1- Max

  26. Russel should definitely be in the bottom 10, its mind-boggling that he is absent from this list. Yes he has demolished Kubica, but that is about it. How you measure him against any other Drivers is beyond me.

    1. He is in a tougher car, yet has crashed less than many in the list above.

  27. The f1 sport is so much complex that rating Kubica in the worst car on the grid is near the ‘what if’ thinking. I hope that Robert will get a chance to test with other teams…His driving style is much different than, for example Hamilton’s- he need to get a car which fits his preferences. He likes more understeer cars, but he has got unstabble, more oversteer car I suppose…In my opinion, taking into consideration others’ ‘vs teammate’ performance he is better than i.a Pierre Gasly.
    The possible option is also Williams policy- the Brittish team with Mercedes engines hired Brittish Mercedes junior and Kubica…no one knows…

  28. It really baffles me how do you compare and differentiate the drivers:
    Vettel- Leclerc
    Ricciardo- Hulk
    Grosjean- Magnussen
    Russell- Kubica
    These drivers drive more or less same machinery ( without getting into argument about Williams cars ), so it is easier to compare them ( at least on the surface ) still first 3 pairs are very close to each other but you put Russell more than 10 places above his teammates ?! How the hell you come to such conclusion?
    Kubica ( being fair ) lost all qualifying sessions and most races to Russell but in the races the pace of those two drives was very comparable…even more, in some races Kubica was clearly superior ( like Monaco- were the drivers pure skill actually is very important ). Williams bad strategies for both drivers, to be fair, swag the race score as well. If you say that Kubica is so bad, who is just 0.2- 0.3 behind Russell most of the time, how the hell can you rate Russell so high?!
    How do you conclude this? Absolutely ridiculous and I am not even a fan of any of them. But reading this and trying to actually find some good opinions this is just throwing you into a deep, deep whole.
    Williams unfortunately lacks everything this year and saying anything about its drivers is just hypothesis without any kind of backing. Whether for or against any of its drivers.

  29. In general seems OK for me but just some small criticism.
    I’d like to see Gasly at the bottom, it was Badoer-like first half year for him so far.
    Vettel and Ricciardo both should be in the last 10, Albon and (not because deserved) Perez in top 10.
    By the way, as far as I can see everybody wants to see Verstappen on top of the list, but don’t forget. It was a nightmare start of the season for him, then he made an amazing comeback.

    1. It was a nightmare start of the season for him, then he made an amazing comeback.

      you realize this is 2019, right?

  30. Kvyat, Hulkenberg, Albon are too low. Vettel and Bottas should be in this part as their performance was not worthy of top half given the machinery at their disposal. The rest more or less I agree one place up or down is irrelevant. but Kvyat is three places down and the Hulk+Albon are four places down on where they should have been while Vettel is at least 5 places up and Bottas at least 3 places up from where they should have been

  31. Driving in circles
    22nd August 2019, 23:21

    I think it is clear that number 20 should be Gasly and that he isn’t says everything about the list you need to know. Secondly Kubica should be 19th and his teammate 18th. Also the William seems to be improving which is down to 3 factors getting rid of PL, Patrick Head being back and the technical feedback from Kubica which many people do not appreciate or do not know about which makes him a better driver than people give him credit for

  32. Got to agree with the rankings mostly. Although I hate to admit it, Kubica wasn’t really close to his rookie teammate. He had an incredible journey to make it back to F1, but he’s been pretty far off Russel’s pace and not quite F1 material since his comeback. Stroll, Giovinazzi and Gasly were all really poor compared to their teammates, but Gio seemed to be getting closer to Kimi’s pace and is starting to get competitive. Stroll is off Perez’s pace, but managed to put in a couple of decent drives in lucky situations to avoid embarrassment. Gasly is up against F1’s top dog… and he’s getting thrashed.

    I did think Hulkenberg is rated a couple of places lower than he should be… there’s no way he should be lower than K-Mag.

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