Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Bahrain International Circuit, 2019

2019 mid-season driver rankings part two: 10-4

Driver Rankings

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Which drivers have impressed over the first half of 2019? Here are the seven drivers who didn’t quite make it into our top three.

10. George Russell

George Russell

Beat team mate in qualifying 12/12
Beat team mate in race 10/12
Races finished 12/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate 622/723
Qualifying margin -0.58s (Adjusted: -0.48s)
Points 0

There are fewer drivers on the grid this year who are harder to place in the rankings than George Russell. Having comprehensively out-paced Robert Kubica so far, Russell serves the measure for how competitive Williams are. For the most part they’ve been a long way off the pace, so much so he’s usually had little opportunity to race with other cars.

That has changed over the last few rounds, however, as Williams have finally made enough progress with the FW42 that the tail end of the midfield is within reach. Russell has risen to the opportunity, and in Germany could have delivered a great result for the team if they’d heeded his call to switch to slick tyres. This was an opportunity largely squandered by the team, though Russell would have bagged the final point if he hadn’t subsequently gone off at turn two, allowing Kubica through.

On many other occasions Kubica hasn’t been close enough to Russell to benefit from that kind of error. In Austria Russell came close to lapping his team mate. In Hungary the team’s latest upgrade and Russell’s improved understanding of the tyres aligned and he nearly took them out of Q1 for the first time this year. He sustained that performance in the race as well, though with almost all the other cars finishing he only got 16th, which was less than he deserved.

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9. Lando Norris

Lando Norris

Beat team mate in qualifying 8/12
Beat team mate in race 2/8
Races finished 8/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate 178/561
Qualifying margin -0.99s
(Adjusted: -0.04s)
Points 24

Having racked up the titles in his junior career, much was expected of Lando Norris on his graduation to Formula 1. And he delivered it the first time of asking, taking a superb eighth on the grid for McLaren on his debut in Australia. In the race he was somewhat cautious at the start and lost ground, finishing out of the points.

He’s since made amends for that with several profitable excursions into the top 10. He remains somewhat cautious at the starts, though this has largely helped him steer clear of costly incidents, except in China where Daniil Kvyat wrecked his race.

Unreliability problems account for part of the points gap between him and his team mate, which is wider than it deserves to be. Over his first half-season in F1, Norris has gone some way towards justifying the hype.

8. Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo

Beat team mate in qualifying 8/12
Beat team mate in race 5/8
Races finished 8/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate 371/596
Qualifying margin -0.09s
Points 22

Although he was not immediately comfortable at the wheel of his new RS19, there was little sign that Daniel Ricciardo was playing himself in over the opening races.

As early as round three he took a best-of-the-rest ‘pole and win’, having edged new team mate Nico Hulkenberg by a mere four-thousandths of a second in qualifying. While Ricciardo has had the edge on Saturdays, it’s often been by little more than that.

At times he’s appeared to be trying too hard to make his Renault perform the kind of heroics a Red Bull is capable of. There was the over-optimistic lunge on Kvyat in Azerbaijan and his last-lap off-track excursions as he passed Norris and Kimi Raikkonen. He was penalised for all three, and unusually for Ricciardo has accumulated more penalty points than any other driver over the opening races.

But on his best days, Ricciardo has signalled that this new car and driver combination has the potential to come good. His qualifying lap in Canada ranks as one of the best of the year, beating not just his Red Bull successor but even one of the Mercedes. If Ricciardo and Renault can recapture that form in the second half of 2019, they could yet threaten McLaren for fourth in the championship.

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7. Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel

Beat team mate in qualifying 6/11
Beat team mate in race 6/10
Races finished 11/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate 271/646
Qualifying margin -0.002s
Points 156

Sebastian Vettel has out-scored his team mate in the championship so far, but has he out-driven him? On the balance of the 12 races so far, it’s been very close.

The qualifying scoreline, for instance, is very narrowly in Vettel’s favour. He leads Charles Leclerc 6-5, having been unable to set a time in Germany due to a technical problem, and on average the gap between them is so slight it makes no difference. The momentum, however, is clearly on Leclerc’s side, having started ahead of Vettel in all of the last five rounds.

In the races Vettel has come out ahead more regularly, especially when Leclerc’s two contact-related retirements are factored in. Yet while both drivers are yet to win a race this year, Vettel hasn’t got as close as often as Leclerc. In Canada he clung on by his fingertips until Lewis Hamilton forced a mistake out of him.

The only other race Vettel has led was Bahrain. On that occasion Ferrari tried to tell Leclerc to stay behind his team mate for a couple of laps, but Vettel swiftly came under attack from his junior team mate and could do nothing to contain him. It was a bad day for the four-times champion, who blew his chance to win later in the race when he fell into Hamilton’s clutches and spun.

Another low followed at Silverstone where he blundered into Max Verstappen while the pair were scrapping for position. It made for a stark contrast with Leclerc, who had fought doggedly with the Red Bull driver for lap after lap.

Encouragingly, Vettel seemed to have rediscovered his form heading into the summer break. He worked his way up from last to second in Germany, redeeming himself after his bitter retirement from last year’s race, and put one over Leclerc by nabbing third place on the penultimate lap in Hungary.

6. Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2019
Raikkonen has been a model of consistency for Alfa Romeo

Kimi Raikkonen

Beat team mate in qualifying 7/11
Beat team mate in race 10/11
Races finished 12/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate 625/702
Qualifying margin -0.06s
Points 31

Exchanging a front-running car for one in the thick of the midfield fight seems to have agreed with Raikkonen. Consistency has been his hallmark, and he has steadily accumulated an impressive haul of points, enough to almost single-handedly put the team seventh in the championship.

If there’s a criticism to offer of his 12 races so far it’s that it’s lacked both conspicuous highs as well as lows (something which cannot be said of the previous driver on the list). He hasn’t led the midfield home once, yet there he is second in the ‘Formula 1.5’ class.

The ease with which Antonio Giovinazzi has got on terms with him in qualifying suggest there have been times Raikkonen hasn’t fully exploited the one-lap performance of the C38. But you can’t fault the job he’s done bringing it home every weekend.

5. Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas, Mercedes, Albert Park, 2019
Bottas ran Hamilton close over the opening races

Valtteri Bottas

Beat team mate in qualifying 5/12
Beat team mate in race 3/11
Races finished 10/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate 212/737
Qualifying margin +0.08s
Points 188

Over the first half of the opening 12 races Bottas looked every bit like he was capable of denying Hamilton the championship, and praise doesn’t come much higher than that. He bagged wins in Australia and Azerbaijan, and was the ‘two’ in ‘one-two’ everywhere else except Monaco, where Verstappen’s pit lane foul relegated him from second to fourth.

He’s run Hamilton close in qualifying, taking as many pole positions as his opposite number, though only in Baku was he able to convert one into a victory. As the season progressed he’s found it increasingly difficult to stay on terms with Hamilton. The fought brilliantly at Silverstone, where Bottas was on pole again, but while a Safety Car ultimately cost Bottas the lead it looked like Hamilton was going to have him eventually.

The points gap between the pair of them widened over the last two races before the summer break. Eight laps from home in Germany it looked like Bottas was going to take at least a 12-point bite out of Hamilton. But he was making hard work of passing Lance Stroll, and spun into a barrier. A week later in Hungary he out-qualified his team mate again but fell behind him at the start and collected damage which ruined his race.

Bottas has measured up well against by far the toughest benchmark in the sport. For Mercedes to drop him at this point would be a tough verdict on his most convincing start to a season yet.

4. Charles Leclerc

Charles Leclerc

Beat team mate in qualifying 5/11
Beat team mate in race 4/10
Races finished 9/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate 375/646
Qualifying margin +0.002s
Points 132

Any doubts over whether Leclerc deserved a place in Ferrari’s driver line-up after just one season of Formula 1 were quickly dispelled. He would probably have led his tyre-troubled team mate home in Australia if Ferrari hadn’t told their new star to stay behind the other car, which was lapping four seconds slower.

The following race was Bahrain, where Leclerc deserved to win. He parked his car on pole, brushed Vettel aside after briefly losing the lead, and was on his way to victory in his second race as a Ferrari driver when his power unit let him down.

Whether through reliability problems such as this, team orders in Australia and China or the kind of massive tactical blunder we saw in Monaco, Ferrari cost Leclerc a lot of points over the opening races. To his credit, Leclerc held his tongue and focused on another area which was costing him: his qualifying performances. But after Canada, where he chided himself after a lap almost seven-tenths slower than Vettel’s, something clicked.

Austria was another potential win which got away, this time as he was surprised by an uncompromising attack from Verstappen. He fought back strongly at Silverstone, where the team cost him a hard-won place with a slow pit stop, though he ended up on the podium again.

Germany, however, was a big wasted opportunity. Though a car problem hindered him in qualifying (though not as badly as Vettel’s did), the cards were falling Leclerc’s way on race day when he put his car in the wall. For him, this wasn’t as serious an error as his Baku qualifying crash. Arguably either might have cost him a win, which goes some way towards explaining why only Hamilton has led more laps than Leclerc has.

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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95 comments on “2019 mid-season driver rankings part two: 10-4”

  1. Dont see much logic in the ranking this year. Points scored doesnt seem to matter?

    1. If you’re just going by points scored, there’s no point in doing a ranking: just look at the Championship standings.

      Rankings like this take into account the quality of equipment at the driver’s disposal, and misfortune which may have prevented them from scoring more points.

      1. @racer extremely well said.

      2. @racer hahahaha well said.

      3. @racer and evens out been on the wrong side of team orders (Leclerc)

    2. I think points matter too much, I see the rankings as a reflection of how good of a job a driver is doing rather than “have things aligned for you” hence why the ranking does not follow the championship order.

      Sainz jr that high up! Slower than all of his teammates in f1 except kvyat. Beaten in quali and race pace and max was putting over a pitstop over Carlos and so was Hulk that’s why he lost his seat at RB and then Renault realised how slow he is. now McLaren must be thinking where would Nando fair, mclaren is no longer a 15th place team therefore needs a top driver, more than a solid, forget the weird crashes, driver.

      Top drivers, forget luck or reliability. Too close to call many ties.
      11-Sainz Jr

    3. Officially points do matter, because that’s the only measure that counts. So this happens to be how Keith (@keithcollantine) and the team at Racefans rank the drivers. At least he or they have tried to base their decisions upon some methodology instead of just by their opinion. Unfortunately it is difficult to separate out the driver from the driver and their car. So comparison with one’s team mate is inevitable.
      Yes, the current points system does benefit drivers who by fortuitous fortune happen to do exceptionally well, e.g. Daniil Kvyat at the German GP, but what’s wrong with that? That’s how the current points system works. If the teams didn’t like this points system then they’d use another one. I think this system is much fairer than the old points system that rewarded drivers in the first 6 places and ignored everyone else.
      I guess there could be arguments for a Qualifying points table as well … but I don’t know if that would be very much different to the current points table. I suspect most drivers would rank similarly to where they are now in the WDC rankings. If Liberty were to hand out money after each Qualifying session then there’d be a reason for them, but currently the only reason for Qualifying well is because of the advantage in a race.

  2. So Verstappen 1st, Sainz 2nd and Lewis 3rd?

    1. @m-bagattini I’d switch Sainz and Lewis, but yeah

      1. Yes, like russel 10th, it’s already a lot for sainz to get 3rd with a car he can’t be compared with the top drivers on, I’m expecting vers, ham, sainz, I’d deem hamilton first unreasonable in virtue of having more mistakes than vers.

    2. @m-bagattini

      Man.. am I the only person who thought Norris has been more impressive than Sainz this year? Sainz was probably as good as Kimi this year… neither of which I would rate higher than #7. I’d put Norris as the most impressive midfield driver this year.

  3. Man is Ricciardo overrated here. Poor Lando Norris.
    Also, letting Leclerc get away with some serious errors. As well as Bottas.

    1. Ricciardo is too high, I agree. He has failed to do standout things in that, admittedly, mediocre car and the Hulk is right there with him.

      Norris has qualified really well and did some things that made you sit up during the races but he does only has less than half the points Sainz has. Now, as a rookie, he doesn’t have to as consistent as his teammate and he had some strategy issues here and there, but that car clearly is capable of more than Norris seems to get out of it on race day. All-in-all being ranked in the better half of the grid is justified imho, but not much more than that.

      1. @jeffreyj True on Norris, but (and this is personal preference) I take into account things like experience. Norris should be better than ninth, just like Albon should be better than twelfth, and Kimi and Ricciardo should be down further (as should Vettel imo). Especially as I can’t really fathom how the close call between Hulk and Ric is 14-8

  4. Norris way too low, Bottas way too high. Also Vettel should be a bit lower.
    My ranking so far:
    1. Verstappen
    2. Hamilton
    3. Sainz
    4. Norris
    5. Raikkonen
    6. Leclerc
    7. Russel
    8. Albon
    9. Bottas
    10. Ricciardo
    11. Vettel
    12. Perez
    13. Hulkenberg
    14. Kvyat
    15. Magnussen
    16. Giovinazzi
    17. Stroll
    18. Grosjean
    19. Kubica
    20. Gasly

    1. I’d agree with that, maybe with the exception if Albon being too high.

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      22nd August 2019, 13:40

      I don’t really see how it is unreasonable to hve Bottas this high. Verstappen was 6th at this stage last year when his first 6 races combined were apsolutely terrible. He was better than Bottas’s best performance this season after that, but still was ranked 6th in the mid season rankings despite the awful start. And that start over those many races was much worse than Bottas’s underperforming races this year added up. Bottas has had his one and only retirement in his entire career and it didn’t even look clumsy. Hungary was a bit of a messy start, but i don’t think these 2 recent races should be judged that badly against his season performance. Concidering he is against Hamilton, I think the rest of his season justifies a position this high in the rankings.

      1. Bottas’s qualifying performance has been great. No doubt. His race pace (and imo racecraft) hasn’t been good though. Hes lacked major pace in races like Spain, Canada and France. He also struggles a lot with clearing the traffic, as we saw in germany and hungary.
        It’s not only the latest 2 races where he has failed to impress. Its been on quite a few occasions this year (unfortunately).

        1. @jesperfey13 The part about clearing the track applies to Canada as equally as it does to Germany and Hungary. Coincidently, in two of those, he got stuck behind Ricciardo’s Renault.

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            22nd August 2019, 17:56

            yes, i thought he did struggle in Canada, but it was more getting by other cars being the difficulty rather than an obvious lack of pace. after he got by, he was pretty much as fast as Vettel and Hamilton even before he pitted.

            Not just an excuse for Bottas, but I really do think the Mercedes has suffered in dirty air far more than the other teams making it more difficult to get by. Hamilton is very rarely in Bottas’s position, but on tracks that are not even that hard to overtake it has looked hard for Hamilton to get by even when he is looking far quicker, like at the British GP and you could even say he looked quicker in Baku.

            Bottas struggling to get by much slower cars sounds a lot worse. But another example of a Hamilton struggling was in germany. He couldn’t pass Grosjean. eople made a big deal about Bottas taking his time behind Stroll while Hamilton was in the same situation behind Grosjean. I really do wonder if that car just struggles more than others in dirty air and maybe this makes Bottas look worse than he is.

      2. Bottas had one and only retirement, what? Doesn’t make sense even if you mean excluding mechanical DNF!

        1. To clarify, that’s what you said: “Bottas has had his one and only retirement in his entire career and it didn’t even look clumsy.”

    3. Thumbs up, except I’d switch Kimi and Norris.

    4. I agree with putting Vettel in the bottom half. It’s hard to imagine a worse season for him in a Ferrari.

      1. F1oSaurus (@)
        23rd August 2019, 14:33

        @sihrtogg 2018 perhaps? He had the fastest car, the full support from his #2 driver and still he kept crashing the results away.

  5. Bit cheeky that ranking, but I guess that’s only the opinion of the author (which is fine). The only major changes I’d make are Riccardo and the Toro Rossos – I’d swap which half of the table they are. Very happy for Carlos this season – I do hope he manages to go further next year, although Lando will be tougher to beat, I suspect and let’s not underestimate the fact that McLaren are a bit unpredictable lately. Also – if Carlos deserves to be in top 3, so does Kimi, in my opinion – I don’t see what more he could have done so far.

  6. Vettel beats his team mate in qualifying and in races finished ahead, is ranked below him

    “The ease with which Antonio Giovinazzi has got on terms with him in qualifying suggest there have been times Raikkonen hasn’t fully exploited the one-lap performance of the C38. ” Said ease puts Kimi ahead of Gio 7-4 (per racefans), yet Kimi is ranked below two drivers that have made considerable mistakes during the season.

    And there is a driver in the top 3 that has lost the qualifying battle against his rookie team-mate.

    Yup that makes sense

    1. Vettel is a 4 times WDC on his 13th F1 season. Leclerc is on his 2nd F1 season. I’d probably rank them closer than Keith has, but I’d definitely rank Leclerc better than Vettel right now, although it seems that in the last few races Vettel is starting to get a bit of his mojo back. I really hope Seb can get back to his old self.

      1. would agree with that if the premise of this wasn’t a season ranking, and was said previously that their performance during the season would be the judging factor, as has been over the years. Which makes that point irrelevant for the discussion

    2. @johnmilk, I think that part of the factor in that would be the use of team orders by Ferrari in Vettel’s favour, which has resulted in some questioning whether Vettel would necessarily be leading Leclerc in terms of races finished ahead if those orders had not been in place.

      With those two statistics for both the qualifying and race performances only being marginally in Vettel’s favour, and the fact that Ferrari have given team orders and strategies that have favoured Vettel over Leclerc, it has inevitably resulted in some questioning whether Vettel is really ahead because of his performances, or if he’s ahead simply because the team have ensured he will finish ahead.

      Furthermore, the statistic of “qualified ahead of team mate” technically includes Baku, where Leclerc was unable to participate in Q3 due to his crash, and it also includes Monaco, which many would say was down to Ferrari making the mistake of not sending Leclerc out until too late, rather than being down to Leclerc being too slow. Now, to be fair, you could also point out it also includes Vettel not starting Q3 in Austria due to mechanical issues there too, but it does show that there are caveats in the “qualified ahead” statistic.

      In terms of average qualifying position, if you include all results in the twelve races to date, Leclerc’s average position is 5.17 and Vettel is 5.5.

      If you exclude the freak result in Monaco and discount Germany, given he couldn’t run in Q3 due to mechanical issues then that rises to an average grid slot of 3.7 (you can debate Baku, since it was a driver induced error that resulted in him not participating in Q3). If you run the same exercise for Vettel, where you discount both Austria and Germany due to mechanical issues in qualifying, then Vettel also comes out with the same average grid slot of 3.7.

      In terms of qualifying performance, it is fairer to say that they are currently pretty evenly matched and, with some of those race strategies and team orders in Vettel’s favour, I can see why some feel that those statistics might only be tipped in Vettel’s favour because of the team, rather than because of Vettel’s own performances.

    3. @johnmilk Do you still have that dog and does he/she still support Kimi? if he/she does give it a cookie and you deserve one as well.

      1. I vaguely remember that ahah

  7. Adam (@rocketpanda)
    22nd August 2019, 12:24

    If Sainz is in the top 3 I’d say that was way too high – he’s doing well but not top 3 well. Russell and Ricciardo… I’m not sure should be in the top 10 at all while Norris should be higher & the Toro Rosso’s should be. I’d say Bottas was still doing better than Leclerc and Vettel – while being naff this year deserves better than 7th. I’ll be even more confused if Verstappen isn’t 1st.

    1. Sainz is leading the F1.5 championship and puts in very, very consistent and mature drives every race.

      Carlos has gotten more out of his car than Bottas, Leclerc, and Vettel did out of theirs. Perhaps only Raikkonen comes close but due to his extremely weak teammate (GIO) we don’t really know how good that Sauber really is.

      1. bang on there @jeffreyj

        1. I agree @rocketpanda. Sainz has done well but I really cannot see how he gets into the top 3 at this stage.

          I will probably place him in top 5 but I have yet to make my final choices. Controversial part coming. I think Keith has consistently overrated Sainz though. I think he was in the top 5 or 6 drivers of last season or around this. I just don’t see it myself. He’s no equivalent of Verstappen or Hamilton but I accept an allowance has to made for what he has been driving.

      2. such shame Kimi doesn’t sell his drives, dang it

      3. @jeffreyj sainz has under qualified got better starts than Lando and far better strategy calls, other rivals in the midfield have slower cars and worse reliability. Things have faired well for Sainz even though he has shown not to be quick enough for the top teams. Honestly I don’t know why the ranking penalises drivers that try to get more than their car deserves, last year max was 6th even though he was super quick.

        1. Last year Max ran into any car that was near him in the first half. 6th was being generous.

  8. Jonathan Edwards
    22nd August 2019, 12:32

    Rather difficult to understand how Keith can reconcile the relative placement of the Renault drivers on this list, with the teammate comparison he authored about the same two drivers. There’s been nothing between them on pace, and they’ve both made a couple costly errors. Hulkenberg certainly made the more costly mistake, but I can’t fathom why he’s penalized for this in Keith’s mind to such a degree. Free passes handed out to Bottas and Leclerc for making the same errors, Hamilton no doubt as well. There are no other two drivers on this list as close on pure pace, yet separated by as many positions. Asinine.

  9. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    1. Oops – meant to be as a reply to Jonathan Edwards above. I always see people make that mistake and think ‘pfft, I would never do that’ but here we are. Anyway. I guess it still kind of works as a solo comment.

      1. @hugh11 not sure about that but may also happen if someone posts between when you click “reply” and “post comment” (so, while you compose your reply).

      2. @hugh11 I very much agree with you and Edwards.

  10. Sainz in top 3. Have we been watching the same season?

    1. Sainz has been fantastic this season. Not sure what’s so controversial about it.
      Ricciardo ahead of both the Toro Rossos on the other hand!!

  11. Not sure why so much criticism of Ricciardo.

    He’s had two F1.5 wins (Raikkonen has none), and had another in Silverstone in the bag until the SC came out handing it to Sainz. His Monaco GP was stellar, running 5th until strategy dropped him down the order, as was his Canadian GP effort.

    He’s also quickly gotten on top of Hulk in qualifying, which is high praise as Hulk had the measure of Sainz last year and had been revelling in the ‘faster formula’ of the past couple of years. The last two GPs weren’t representative as he ran a dud engine in Germany (which blew) and was compromised in quali in Hungary.

    Live in F1’s midfield is scrappy and tough. Margins are much finer, and mistakes punished harder, than for the big three who can regularly cruise to podiums and top-5’s.

    I think he is being measured against expectations that are too high.

    1. @aussierod ‘He’s also quickly gotten on top of Hulk in qualifying’ – the gap is -0.09s.
      In 2017 and 2018 when Verstappen was outqualifying Ricciardo by quite a bit more, it wasn’t to be called ‘getting on top’. Double measures.

      I think that Renault have been poor, and that makes it hard to judge both drivers. But Hulk down in 14th and Ricciardo in 8th, even with my opinion that pretty much every driver 15-1 has had a very good season (except, inexplicably, Magnussen?!?), is still an unfair gap. Especially when he’s ahead of the best rookie we’ve had in ages.

      1. Yeah I agree @hahostolze Hulkenberg and Ricciardo have been close and he should be higher too in my view. He drove great in Bahrain and was the star of Germany for most of the race until a very small but very harsh error.

        Renault have been both unreliable and slow. I think everyone was expecting a lot more and it is reflecting poorly on the drivers.

    2. @aussierod Kimi was running 4th for a long time in Austrian GP until eventual downfall because of the car. He was also running 3rd(!!!) for like a dozen laps in Germany, but Sauber botched 2 pitstops and of course there was DNQ in the end. Kimi has been way, way better than Ricciardo.

  12. Vettel.

    Spun away a potential win in Bahrain.
    A very scrappy Monaco weekend, including a crash in practice that almost put him out of quali.
    A mistake in Canada losing another win.
    Two poor races in France and Austria.
    A horrible mistake in Silverstone.
    And multiple races where his young team mate has had to be given team orders to assist him.

    A perfect example of how easy life is in the big-three that he is so far up both the standings and this ranking. He has had a poor first half.

    1. This.

      Vettel’s myth has been unraveled imho. I believe it was Alsonso who said, when Vettel moved to Ferrari in 2015, the next 4 or 5 years will show if Seb is actually really good, or that he just had a superior car during his RedBull days.

      Well, in 2015 and 2016 he did ok, but ultimately the Ferrari wasn’t good enough to beat Mercedes and was too good for the RedBull. Seb was also given priority over Raikkonen every single race, which made a direct teammate comparison very hard.

      Then when the car was as good or better as the Mercedes for large stretches of the season in 2017 and2018, Not by a long shot. It has to be said that Ferrari mistakes at pitstops, some untimely unreliability and in poor strategy choices also didn’t help but overall we can safely say Seb showed us he just wasn’t on Lewis’ level.

      Imho, Lewis, Alonso and possibly even Ricciardo and Verstappen would have won the championship in at least one of the past two seasons in that Ferrari.

      1. @jeffreyj @aussierod

        > Seb was also given priority over Raikkonen every single race, which made a direct teammate comparison very hard.

        This is the same excuse I keep on hearing about Kubica.

        > Imho, Lewis, Alonso and possibly even Ricciardo and Verstappen would have won the championship in at least one of the past two seasons in that Ferrari.

        Sure thing, why not including Grosjean while you’re at it. Lewis, maybe. Alonso had his opportunity at Maranello: last year he scored less points than Sainz. Verstappen is amazing today, but let’s not forget his form before Monaco last year.

        Vettel has his shares of problems, but scored most of the victories for Ferrari in the last years. People keep forgetting how good and constant Lewis is, how hard is to beat him and how big is the mess at Ferrari after Marchionne’s death.

        1. This is the same excuse I keep on hearing about Kubica.

          That’s a cheeky but flawed debate tactic @m-bagattini. The poor credibility of the Kubica-argument has nothing to do with the Vettel-Raikkonen one. It’s basically what about-ism. Besides, isn’t the Kubica argument that he isn’t driving the same car as Russell is, rather than the latter getting preferential strategy treatment?

          Sure thing, why not including Grosjean while you’re at it.

          This is also a very suggestive, but empty line trying to discredit my point whilst not engaging with it. You’d do great in an American debate contest, I’ll give you that haha!

        2. @m-bagattini Hardly an excuse as everytime Vettel spun himself out of race wins Kimi did better job than Vettel. And look how their seasons have gone so far with Kimi being perfect and Vettel being poor.

      2. @Jeffrey

        er….. just remind me what titles Alonso managed to win for Ferrari…… how many wdc or bcc would that actually be??

        1. Oh, yes, because number of titles is everything, vettel better than senna, same as prost, piquet and brabham as good as senna or stewart or lauda, hakkinen as good as alonso, fittipaldi, clark and ascari.

          Or maybe circumstances matter too and vettel only won thanks to a far superior car and an inadequate team mate.

          Alonso is clearly superior to vettel and that can be understood easily with how they compared with their team mates, luckily we even got a common team mate at the same team: raikkonen at ferrari!

          1. ” luckily we even got a common team mate at the same team: raikkonen at ferrari!”
            Correct. Alonso beat Kimi by 106 points, and Vettel beat him by 128 the next season. Alonso also got beaten by Jarno Trulli until Alonso’s manager/team boss sacked Trulli to spare Alonso the embarrassment.

            Alonso hasn’t had many good team mates. He had Hamilton, who beat him in his rookie season when Alonso was defending double champion at the top of his game, and other than that I’m struggling to think of another decent team mate he’s had. In his early career he had fairly average team mates. He was about as good as Tarso Marques in his rookie season, though Marques had a better finish, so technically beat him. Then Trulli started making him look average until Flavio sacked him, then he was paired with an ageing and out of form Fisichella, before moving to Mclaren to get beaten by a rookie Hamilton. After that he was paired with a lapdog that was so badly Alonso’s lap dog that he was forced to crash his car to fix a race in Alonso’s favour, and he was replaced with a rookie Grosjean. Then at Ferrari Alonso had to take on Massa, who we all know was never the same driver after his 2009 crash. Alonso must have had a lot of pull at Ferrari in those years, as Massa was retained for 4 years alongside Alonso, despite massively underperforming every year. Eventually he was replaced by Raikkonen, who at that point was way past his prime. Again, Vettel beat Raikkonen by a wider margin in 2015 than Alonso had managed in 2014.

            So really, other than Hamilton, who beat Alonso in his rookie season, what team mates did Alonso ever have who were top drivers, who were in their prime, or who weren’t contractually obliged to not beat him? Vettel may have had the best car for most of the time he was winning at RBR, but he completely destroyed his team mate, who was actually fairly highly rated before he found himself against Vettel. Ricciardo is the only team mate Vettel has lost to, and Ricciardo has beaten some VERY highly rated team mates, including Vettel himself, Verstappen, and now Hulkenberg.

            To be honest, looking at their careers objectively, it’s hard to agree with the claim that Alonso is “clearly superior” to Vettel. Vettel has a better record against his team mates, and has had as many top drivers as team mates. Vettel might not have the best race craft in the field, but neither did Alonso. Alonso lost the 2010 title because he couldn’t find a way past a car he qualified what? a second and a half faster than? at a circuit that just a few years later both Vettel and Ricciardo sliced through the field from the back to finish in the top 10. I think Alonso is hugely overrated, and Vettel is at the same time quite underrated these days. Both of them had fairly significant weaknesses, and I honestly doubt there’d be a huge difference between them over a full season in the same car.

  13. Was surprised to see Kimi this high on Keith’s list, but not surprised to see him ranked still too low.

    Verstappen has probably been driving better than Kimi but I can’t make a case for any other driver. Well it’s quite even between him and Hamilton. Kimi has brought every single point home possible with that car. What more could you ask for?

    1. … Not to mention that Coolness component which refuses to diminish!!!

    2. @keithcollantine A lot of people are disagreeing with your list. Would be good journalism if you’d explain your reasoning to at least some of us.

      1. Read the article!!! Here, I’ll quote some of it for you:

        If there’s a criticism to offer of his 12 races so far it’s that it’s lacked both conspicuous highs as well as lows (something which cannot be said of the previous driver on the list). He hasn’t led the midfield home once, yet there he is second in the ‘Formula 1.5’ class.

        The ease with which Antonio Giovinazzi has got on terms with him in qualifying suggest there have been times Raikkonen hasn’t fully exploited the one-lap performance of the C38. But you can’t fault the job he’s done bringing it home every weekend.

        You may not agree, but there is your ‘good journalism’ right there.

        1. Kimi was running in 3rd and 4th for a long time in Austria and Germany. I read the article, but the article doesn’t mention those heroic moments at all. Journalist’s choice of what to left unsaid.

    3. Totally disagree with Keith!
      With salary and team budget adjusted ..Kimi will be on top of the list.

  14. In rankings on that site it’s better to destroy incredibly weak teammate than match or be close to proven quality driver.
    Gasly was 8th last year and now he is 18th. I doubt he was a better driver last year.

    Last year the Hulk was criticized for multiple crashes (even in practice!), but he made the difference in plenty of races instead of Sainz and scored more points despite 7 DNFs.
    Ricciardo crashed in Australia, forced Norris off the track in Bahrain, hit his teammate in the same race and mentioned incidents in Azerbaijan and France. Who cares…

    The summary about the battle between Renault drivers before German GP here.
    Worth to mention: Ricciardo participated in British GP with a new front wing. Hulkenberg participated with an older spec.

    A few words about crash in GermanGP.
    He thought he had regained the control of the car, turn the steering right and put the throttle down, because he expected the grip was enough to rejoin the track. There was no grip on the left of the kerb. It was the only mistake he did.

    I checked his TR between lap 19 and lap 41 (the crash) and there was no warning about this tricky area. The only message was: “Leclerc in the barriers on softs”.

    Nico’s thoughts after the race:
    “Any other corner, any other track…”

  15. Where did you find the team radio ?

    1. F1TV onboards.

  16. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    22nd August 2019, 14:50

    For me the 11-20 rating was pretty good but this 4-10 is odd to me certainly as Sainz is considered top 3.

    * Daniel to me should be 9th or 10th – he made mistakes – didn’t destroy his teammate and didn’t really deliver a single outstanding drive.
    * Noris is too low and should be just after Sainz.
    * Raikonnen or Leclerc should be top 3 instead of Sainz – probably Leclerc as his point tally is severely compromised by the favourtisme for Vettel and idiocy of Ferrari strategists.

    So 1-10 should be:
    10. Riccardio
    9. Russell
    8. Vettel
    7. Norris
    6. Sainz
    5. Bottas
    4. Raikonnen
    3. Leclerc
    2. Hamilton
    1. Verstappen

  17. 1. LH, 2. MV, 3. CS I assume is going to be the top-three.

    1. I think Keith will put MV 1st. The Dutchies would tear down his site if he doesn’t.

      1. Max just happens to be our top current driver by far, Dutchies or no. Lewis, for his part, is driving our top current car which is miles ahead of every other [well done stuttgart].

        1. Surely you mean “well done Brackley and Milton Keynes”.

          Apart from being where the parent company are from, not much of a Mercedes F1 car is made in Stuttgart

          1. @nvherman indeed. Apart from the badge sticker there’s nothing German about it. I wonder if there even is one single German person on the entire racing team.

    2. HAM messed up some qualies, some races, crashed and broke the rules intentionally…
      Ver on the other hand has been quite flawless in maximizing his results….

      Rai gets a high rating, though we know he’d get beaten by quite some in equal machinery
      Sai on top of Norris… I am not to sure about that, I would have ranked them in following order as Norris is seriously good in quali and is a rookie. Sainz in his 5th year should get beaten that easily by a fresh team mate.

      1. @ MATN
        Verstappen messed up Canada quali. He failed to set a banker
        He collided with Bottas in the pitlane in Monaco & got a penalty. He threw away a podium because of this.
        Scrappy race in Germany, despite the win. He had a big spin & had a couple of nears misses with Bottas
        Britain, scrappy. Before he was hit by Vettel, he made a mistake exiting the pits, losing position to Leclerc.
        And of course, he had Gasly as his teammate. So easy to look good next a poor teammate like Gasly. Verstappen is driving with no teammate of title pressure (unlike Hamilton)

        1. * EDIT
          Verstappen is driving with no teammate OR title pressure (unlike Hamilton)

        2. You just stepped on the train to ‘I hate Max and everything he does’ country… is it crowded there or are you alone?

  18. Sainz is way too high, he’s only beating a rookie! Would he be ranked third with the same level of driving but Alonso as a teammate?

    1. @francorchamps17 It’s that spanish bias. Crushed by Max crushed by Hulk but still one f1 top drivers… everytime he gets a good result we must hear how fantastic he is, whilst he only managed to sign for a team who was 2nd to last last season, teams know he is slow but fans, fans love him. Surreal.

      1. “teams know he’s slow”

        I hedge a bet most of the paddock haven’t forgotten he was pretty much on par with Verstappen when at TR. Seems like you might have done though.

      2. @peartree he wasn’t crushed by either of them. Watch again and you’ll see that Sainz was equal with Verstappen, equal with Ricciardo, but with worse luck, and last year, admittedly some more costly errors. But you sound of your rocker with anti-Sainz bias.

  19. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
    22nd August 2019, 17:44

    Normally largely agree with these rankings but this years seem a bit skewiff to me. Here is my two cents
    20 – Kubica
    19 – Gasly
    18 – Stroll
    17 – Grosjean
    16 – Giovinazzi
    15 – Magnussen
    14 – Hulkenberg
    13 – Kvyat
    12 – Ricciardo
    11 – Albon
    10 – Russell
    9 – Perez
    8 – Vettel
    7 – LeClerc
    6 – Norris
    5 – Bottas
    4 – Raikkonen
    3 – Sainz
    2 – Hamilton
    1 – Verstappen

  20. That’s probably a fair representation of the drivers so far. Seems that Ferrari downgraded the wrong driver.

  21. Nobody denies VET has made costly mistakes during the year, but British media never miss an opportunity to bash on him. This line for example on Kimi’s review “(something which cannot be said of the previous driver on the list)”. Completely unnecessary.

    1. I think that’s both a compliment and criticism towards both drivers tbh, it means vettel is sometimes strong, sometimes bad, and raikkonen is never either of them, always average.

  22. Sainz position is hilarious! Give Norris another half season and then next and he’ll be destroying him!

  23. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    22nd August 2019, 19:57

    I think Leclerc and vettel both have not been that good this year. Vettel is comfortably ahead on points and Leclerc may have lost some in bahrain and others due to the team, but i really don’t see how he is doing better than vettel. The other thing that i find strange is that he is right near the top in 4th. To me, he has looked worse this year than last year for him. 2 mistakes resulting in a retirement. This never happened last year. And also consider that many are saying Vettel just isn’t as good as he used to be. So maybe he is easier to match? I haven’t decided where i would rank drivers yet this high up, but i think several who are rated behind Leclerc have overall done better than him. Including Vettel.

    1. Yes, it’s debatable between vettel and lerclerc but probably there shouldn’t be anyone inbetween, and for all talks about replacing bottas he’s been decent and deserves to be ahead of both ferrari drivers, even taking the better car into account.

  24. My list for the first 12 races, I expect the end years list to change a bit here and there…rookies will get better (Nor/Alb), some lost, but where solid (Bot), some made to many mistakes Lec/Vet/Ric. This is not my list of best drivers, but best performers based on cars and experience.

    1 – Verstappen > close to flawless, always maximized his results
    2 – Hamilton > 8 P1’s that’s undeniable, but often beaten on Saturday and Germany….omg..
    3 – Bottas > fast on Saturdays though, gets beaten too often on Sundays
    4 – Sainz > winner of the F1.5 so far, solid, but often beaten in quali… by a rookie
    5 – Norris > amazed by his quali results, good racer as well..expect him to beat Sai
    6 – LeClerc > he’ll get there… to rushed, to eager, but really fast
    7 – Vettel > results above Lec, but cause of his expierence (just) below…
    8– Raikkonen > fast, solid, though we know many would beat him… time to go
    9 – Russell > my biggest new talent in F1… when he gets a good ride
    10 – Kvyat > a year without a drive and you’ll get a bit rusty, mentally solid now
    11 – Albon > competitve rookie, Kvy has his hands full
    12 – Ricciardo > he can do better… to many penalties and only marginally better than his team mate
    13 – Hulkenberg > solid, but below Dan
    14 – Perez > invisable, completely invisable, at least he doesn’t ruin races like drivers on 16/17
    15 – Magnussen > both Gros and Mag are like jojo’s for Haas, good quali / bad race
    16 – Grosjean > a clumsy, sometimes fast, but inconsistant hothead, Haas deserves better
    17 – Gasly > beaten firmly by the #1 on the list, though still better than others
    18 – Giovinazzi > Firmly beaten by an oldtimer.. a very good oldtimer though
    19 – Stroll > in F1 cause of money an occasional good result is not enough
    20 – Kubica > firmly beaten by a rookie in all qualies and all races

    1. Germany, Hamilton was actually controlling the race very well until Merc put him on the wrong tyres. Anyway, at least he had the excuse of being ill that weekend. There was a point where it looked as though Merc were going to put Ocon in Hamilton’s seat for that weekend. Verstappen’s race was equally scrappy. Botched start, big spin & near contact with Bottas.

      Verstappen failed to maximise in Monaco. Should’ve have been on the podium but threw it away with his contact with Bottas/penalty.

      And, with Gasly, Max is under no pressure. A better teammate would put Verstappen under a little bit more pressure

      1. And so on and on…
        Hamilton felt Germany was one of his worst races ever… and it was, 2 spins and an illegal move going into the pitlane…
        Max’s botched start… did you notice Gasly’s was just as poor… was down to software issues, his spin, nicely controlled…and even if it was still was the least scrappy of all since he won. And Monaco ofcourse, hey why not blame the driver for an unsafe release…

        Ofcourse no driver is truly flawless, though Verstappen has been closest this season so far… mind the top 3

  25. The problem with these rankings, is that beating an exceptionally poor teammate, seems to get more credence than beating a more polished team mate, albeit by smaller margins. I reckon every top driver would look great if they had Gasly as a teammate. Even Vettel would look like a driving God.

    1. Think I agree in part with this, seems these rankings consistently reward drivers who pull an “alonso”, as in destroy terrible team mates.

  26. The first year Sainz was faster than Verstappen (look the stats) and order was faster than hulk. If you post Sainz un p11 in the mild season you havent any idea of f1.

  27. I agreed with most of the rankings from #20 to #11, but the top 10 is just ridiculous. There’s no way Sainz belongs in the top 2 drivers this season.. also, how is Kimi rated higher than Norris? The way I see it –

    10) Russell
    9) Raikkonen
    8) Ricciardo
    7) Vettel
    6) Bottas
    5) Sainz
    4) Leclerc
    3) Norris
    2) Hamilton
    1) Verstappen

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