Drivers' end of season photograph, Yas Marina, 2019

Which F1 team has the strongest driver line-up for 2020?

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All bar two of the teams have kept the same driver line-up for the 2020 F1 season. But which is the best?

Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas

Having kept the same driver line-up for the fourth year in a row, Mercedes have the benefit of consistency. More importantly, they have arguably the best all-round F1 driver today in Lewis Hamilton, paired with the dependably quick Valtteri Bottas, who beat Hamilton on merit several times last year. The biggest concern for Mercedes could be that if Bottas continues he recent upward trend it could ignite a more potent intra-team rivalry.

Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc

Sebastian Vettel is a four-times world champion but there were occasions last year when he didn’t look like it. Meanwhile Charles Leclerc demonstrated remarkable ability for a driver in only his second full season of Formula 1. This year Ferrari will be hoping the pair spur each other on to every higher heights, and steer clear of any further Interlagos-style incidents.

Red Bull: Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon

Alexander Albon, Max Verstppen, Red Bull, 2019
Will Albon get closer to Verstappen this year?
On many occasions during 2019 Max Verstappen demonstrated he has become not just a seriously quick driver and a master of wheel-to-wheel racecraft, but one with an increasingly sharp racing brain. That can make life uncomfortable for the driver in the other car: Pierre Gasly lasted only half of last season before being replaced by Alexander Albon. The newcomer wasn’t much closer to Verstappen’s raw pace, but the off-season should give him an opportunity to work on that.

McLaren: Carlos Sainz Jnr and Lando Norris

McLaren enjoyed that rarest of driver pairings last year: Two racers who were quick, learned from each other and seemed to genuinely get on with each other. If 2019 rookie Lando Norris continues his rapid rate of improvement the pair could be much more closely matched this year, and the team may then find life becomes less harmonious.

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Renault: Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon, Renault, 2019
Ocon is back full-time at Renault
Daniel Ricciardo is a polished performer and a race winner who looked ever more comfortable in his new environment at Renault last year. He is joined by Esteban Ocon, who steadily raised his game over two seasons at Force India before being elbowed out to make way for the new owner’s son at the end of 2018. It’s a good pairing on paper, but will it click?

Alpha Tauri: Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly

It’s harsh to say it, but Alpha Tauri (formerly Toro Rosso) have a line-up of ‘Red Bull rejects’ this year. Both drivers had they chances with the top team but were shown the door. Yet both also took the junior team to the podium last year. Combined, they are a much more experienced pairing than this team has typically fielded, and as Red Bull’s Junior Team is short of F1-ready talents, they have a good chance of seeing out the season.

Racing Point: Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll

The dependable Sergio Perez is increasingly part of the furniture at Racing Point, who he’s driven for since 2014. He has consistently rewarded their faith in him with regular points finished, but the same can’t yet be said of owner Lawrence Stroll’s son Lance, who joined the team last year.

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Alfa Romeo: Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi

Antonio Giovinazzi, Kimi Raikkonen, Alfa Romeo, Interlagos, 2019
Giovinazzi has the highly experienced Raikkonen to learn from
Over the first half of last year Kimi Raikkonen demonstrated what he is capable of in a midfield car. But it felt like he was phoning things in at times after the summer break, and Antonio Giovinazzi was increasingly a thorn in his side. The start of the new season will reveal whether the balance of power has shifted, or if the pendulum has swung back to Raikkonen.

Haas: Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen

Along with the two Mercedes drivers, this is the longest-running driver pairing on the grid today. That comes as something of a surprise as the pair clashed repeatedly during last season. That aside, their relative strengths complement each other quite well.

Williams: George Russell and Nicholas Latifi

Last year’s tail-end strugglers have the only rookie on the grid in Nicholas Latifi, and another driver with just one season to his name. George Russell is highly rated by many, but unless the new Williams is a significant improvement it may again prove difficult to judge just what he is capable of.

I say

Red Bull have the brilliance of Verstappen, but Albon is yet to prove himself at this level. And while Leclerc did superbly in his first full season at Ferrari last year, Vettel increasingly looks like a busted flush.

Outside the front running teams, Renault’s new pairing of Ricciardo and Ocon is particularly exciting. And McLaren should be delighted with the progress Sainz and Norris showed last year.

But it’s impossible to look past the world champions. Hamilton was always there in the hunt for wins last year, even despite taking a comparatively low (for him) number of pole positions. If Bottas is at least at the same level as he was last year, Mercedes have got the drivers to beat for 2020.

You say

Which team do you think has the strongest driver line-up for 2020? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Which F1 team has the strongest driver line-up for the 2020 season?

  • Williams: George Russell and Nicholas Latifi (0%)
  • Haas: Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen (2%)
  • Alfa Romeo: Kimi Raikkonen and Antonio Giovinazzi (0%)
  • Racing Point: Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll (0%)
  • Alpha Tauri: Daniil Kvyat and Pierre Gasly (1%)
  • Renault: Daniel Ricciardo and Esteban Ocon (6%)
  • McLaren: Carlos Sainz Jnr and Lando Norris (10%)
  • Red Bull: Max Verstappen and Alexander Albon (2%)
  • Ferrari: Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc (28%)
  • Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas (50%)

Total Voters: 286

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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67 comments on “Which F1 team has the strongest driver line-up for 2020?”

  1. I think it goes:
    – Ferrari
    – Mercedes
    – Renault
    – Red Bull
    – McLaren

    (Big gap to show how big the gap is after this)

    – Alpha Tauri
    – Alfa Romeo
    – Williams
    – Racing Point
    – Haas

    1. Depends how you pick the best line up. In term of raw speed potential or consistently bringing the best result for the team (taking into account complementarity or inter team fights).

      I went for max point haul (consistency and complementarity) with Mercedes. I would have picked Ferrari for raw speed but it doesn’t win you championship. So as a team principal, the Mercedes combo is probably the best to have.

      1. So how can you after that pick Max?

        Of Hamilton’s 11 wins, 8 came from him not being on pole and he’s currently on a 33 race points scoring streak. Surely that says he’s the most consistent driver on the grid.

        1. Snap, misread the opening part of the 2nd paragraph. Apologies

    2. I would just about agree I think, but would swap Mercedes with Ferrari, though it’s tight. In my opinion, Hamilton is better than both Ferrari drivers and Bottas is worse than both, but not by much. Other than that, I think Haas have better drivers than is generally accepted; certainly better than Stroll and Latifi, so I’d probably raise them a few as well.

      1. This is great! You four are my favourite contributors to the comment section on this website.

        @hahostolze for his (though not in this case, but usually) withering sarcasm
        KGN11 for his no nonsense defence of whatever he believes to be right
        @ben-n because I find his comments to be by far the most balanced out of everyone on the site
        and @jeanrien likewise, for his balanced comments, and that really cool weird photo that makes me pause

        I almost never comment. But I enjoy reading your comments… thanks!

        The photos fit each profile persona perfectly as well. :)

    3. @hahostolze I would say Bottas is better than Vettel and Leclerc is slightly better than Vettel.

      1. @f1osaurus with respect but having Bottas as better than a quadruple champion because of a bad season is crazy talk TBPF. And Leclerc beating Vettel could be really a sign of his quality, even if Vettel was going through a slump. The pole positions and Monza win is testament to something special. I doubt there are many, if any, who could jump in at Ferrari and deliver in this way on their first try.

        1. I think he means Bottas in a Mercedes is better then Vettel in a Ferarri. Bottas is more constant point score then Vettel.

        2. @balue
          Bottas is just as fast as Vettel but makes far fewer mistakes. Vettel was a 4x champ in a newey rocketship, he’s not in that newey rocketship anymore.

          HAM, RIC, LEC, VER, BOT are all better than VET, ALO too, and maybe a couple others.

          WDC has never meant that they were the best driver on the grid, usually it just means the better driver of the two in the best car. Between 92 and 97 Williams won wdc with 4 different drivers, not because the drivers were exceptional, but because they fielded dominant newey rocketships.

          1. @megatron Let me guess, to win in a top team not a sign of quality only when it comes to Vettel, but Hamilton doing it in the most dominant team in F1 history a totally different matter, right? And similarly, Bottas getting some top results in the same car is mostly proof of his skill?

            We all remember when the roles were reversed with Vettel with a top car and Hamilton in the challenger. Was plenty mistakes with crashes and mistakes from Lewis then. Bottas has done little to nothing. Vettel even won in a Toro Rosso for chrissake.

          2. @balue The thing is that Vettel has been crashing away 3, 4 or even 8 races per season. So yes, the only way he can win is if he has a huge car advantage over the rest.

            He had the faster car in 2018 and an on par car in 2017. Hamilton beat Vettel in both cases because Hamilton kept his car on the grey bit and Vettel kept crashing/spinning.

            Vettel also had a decent car in 2019 and wasted a ton of races then too. So much so that even Verstappen in a much slower car ended up well ahead of him.

            It’s really not just one season or that Vettel suddenly has lost his edge. He’s been doing it since 2009. People claimed Button only won because he had the “better” better car, but realitiy is that Vettel crashed out in 3 of the first 6 races. He could have won that season with ease if he hadn’t been so error prone.

            Vettel won in a Torro Rosso when it had the identical chassis to the Red Bull car and it had the Ferrari engine which was the better option for that race. Even Bourdais quaflified in P4 for that race for chrissake! In fact 3 out of the top 4 were Red Bull cars! Talk about dominant car.

        3. with respect but having Bottas as better than a quadruple champion because of a bad season is crazy talk

          I think the problem here is that it’s not just one bad season. Seb has been struggling for a few seasons now.

          Don’t get me wrong, I rate him highly and think that he could be at the top again if he can rediscover his mojo. But he has made far too many mistakes over the last few seasons and, based on that, I think it’s a sensible comment to make (although not one I necessarily agree with). It’s certainly not “crazy talk”.

          For me, Bottas is a perfect number 2 driver for Mercedes. Hamilton is definitely a top flight driver, quite possibly the best on the grid, and one of the all-time greats. Bottas, while not on the same level, is pretty consistent and still fast enough to fight his way to the top if the cards land right for him.

          Vettel has issues right now, as I stated above. Leclerc has shown himself to be a serious challenger, often racing with a maturity beyond his years and showing serious speed and talent.

          For me, I think it comes down to 3 things:
          – Can Vettel stop making so many errors and bring himself back into serious contention?
          – Can Leclerc maintain his performance and maturity (rather than falling off with mistakes and “crashyness” as many of the greats seem to do after a couple of seasons)?
          – If both happen, can Ferrari manage the 2 great talents and their egos to keep them from… interfering in each others’ success?

          If all of these conditions are met, Ferrari’s driver lineup is strongest. If not, Mercedes takes the win.

          For me, I doubt Vettel can claw it back (although I really hope he can) so I give my vote to Mercedes.

  2. The biggest concern for Mercedes could be that if Bottas continues he recent upward trend it could ignite a more potent intra-team rivalry.

    Not with a one-year contract, it won’t.

    1. By now, Bottas would be financially secure, and would have no trouble getting well paid drives outside F1. So there is no point in him just running around behind Hamilton. I think he will give it a real hard go – sensible, but hard. He has nothing to lose and lots to gain.

  3. GtisBetter (@)
    12th January 2020, 9:52

    Until Ferraro can prove the can handle the Vettel-Leclerc situation it has to be Mercedes. They both have the speed and the experience.

    1. I agree, there’s no way Ferrari are going to win a Constructors’ Championship, especially if they keep insisting that Sebastian is their best driver. Valtteri wasn’t second on the WDC points table for no reason, he had 15 podiums last season, which was more than anyone else bar Lewis.
      There’s the other unmentioned mentioned person in the team, which is the car. That puts Mercedes as the team most likely to walk away with the World Constructors’ Championship at the end of the forthcoming season.
      If you ignored the car, the Mercedes line up is still one of the best on the grid.

  4. Strongest line up, Ferrari. 2020 WDC, Mercedes.

  5. Depends very much on Vettel’s performance. With a particularly strong season he can get to Hamilton level (or slightly below) but Leclerc is already better than Bottas. So, if everything is maxed out on paper, Ferrari should be ahead.

    Too bad RedBull let Ric go, they would have been massive this season because I honestly think their car will be a real title contender.

    1. I’d say Leclerc usually has better pace than Bottas, but the number of mistakes he made last year was more than Bottas. Retired twice and then also was lapped by Bottas and nearly Vettel in Japan. On the whole, considering his mistakes, I don’t think he was a lot better than Bottas last year, but yes, he certainly has more potential.

      But the strength as a team with Hamilton and Bottas works so much better than the current pair at Ferrari that I don’t think it is even close personally.

      Regarding Vettel, I always thought he was capable of matching Hamilton, he just can’t do it at all consistently and I am starting to loose hope of him getting to that stage now.

      There is so much tension between the Ferrari drivers that it results in silly and avoidable incidents and messing up the plans. Russia and Brazil come to mind. mercedes vertically never have this and that is IMO simply because of how well Hamilton and Bottas works as a team, even if Bottas isn’t that strong. But this combination just works out better, and I feel it will continue that way.

  6. Ferrari has potentially the best lineup, but Vettel is looking more and more like a spent force and the team keep messing up Le Clerc’s chances. If Vettel could get his head together (unlikely) and the pit wall team start performing Ferrari would be world beaters. Don’t think it will happen.

    Unless something really unexpected happens it will be Hamilton for WDC and Mercedes for WCC in 2020.

  7. I think Alpha Tauri should be looking pretty good if the car’s there. Both are experienced and both out with a point to prove, not just to Red Bull but to themselves too. Kvyat’s driving looks better than it has done, and if Gasly can have a season of the same quality as the second half of 2019 they should be a formidable force. Depending on the quality of the car, however.

  8. I went with McLaren as the best overall, both their drivers performed well last year consistently, but it’s a harder choice than usual.

    Ferrari I think have the best overall but not necessarily when together, Red Bull I rate highly but Albon needs to close the gap and Mercedes has strong drivers but bottas isn’t consistently fast and if he did that could cause problems with Hamilton.

  9. Difficult question.
    Is the strongest line-up the team with in sum the two strongest drivers.
    This should be the team which has the best chance of the WCC if all cars are equal.
    I would say it is Ferrari, slightly ahead of Mercedes.

    Or is the strongest line-up the team with the strongest #1 driver and the best supporting #2?
    This team is more likely to get the WDC (again if all cars were the same).
    In this case it is either Red Bull (if Albon improves enough to really support Verstappen) or otherwise Mercedes (superb #1 driver and the #2 always seems to revert to being accommodating when racing)

    1. Or maybe it is the driver line-up with the best rapport to the owners (Racing Point)
      or bringing in the most money (Williams).

    2. I voted based on the sum of the two drivers. Therefore I voted Ferrari. If I was asked ‘Which driver pairing would you choose for your team?’ I would probably have voted Mercedes, due to the question marks regarding Albon.

    3. I would say the strongest team is the one that can get most points for the ability of the car. With races like Russia and Brazil with Ferrari and their 2 drivers not following orders or messing up, there is not really any question about what driver line up is stronger out of Ferrari and Mercedes. It is about getting as many points as possible. Vettel and Leclerc at their best are both better than Bottas, but not as good as Hamilton. But they both have messed up too often and I think it is heavily related to then being too determined to beat each other at times. And Bottas is such a good number 2 driver (and sometimes beats hamilton who I think is currently the best) that I think it simply is the best line up at the moment. These two never get in the way of each other unlike many other team mates have at some point last year.

    4. @coldfly Bottas is clearly better than Vettel. Bottas gets his car to the finish without spinning or crashing way more often than Vettel does. Perhaps Vettel can be marginally faster when all is going perfect, but in the end Bottas will clean his clock.

      Take 2018. Vettel actually hardly scored more points than Raikkonen per race finished (Raikkonen had a lot more DNF’s). And that’s with Raikkonen being the designated #2 almost always being sacrificed to aid Vettel (either stopping too early or too late in an attempt to disturb the opposition)

      Raikkonen was at the same level as Massa and Bottas destroyed Massa. Even with Smedly always picking the best strategies for Massa.

      1. I’m not sure Bottas is more capable though. Vettel IMO has more speed than Bottas, just has made many more mistakes recently. I think that similar to Leclerc this year, if he cuts down on his mistakes, both look to be capable of being better than Bottas.

        Comparing Kimi to Massa and then Massa to Bottas is a bit unfair really. there was quite some gap between this. Massa was almost certainly not at his same peak when he was along side Bottas and actually wasn’t always exactly “destroyed” by him. If you are comparing Massa from so many years ago, then we can take a look at Vettel from 2015 who was probably the best driver of the season that year.

        Overall from what we have seen in their careers, I think Vettel certainly looks to be better than Bottas. he wasn’t last year, but there is certainly a change he could be again.

        1. @thegianthogweed Vettel can be as fast as he wants, but he doesn’t get the car to the finish without crashing or spinning often enough.

          Raikkonen was’t at his peak either. The comparison is fair.

          Otherwise look at the gap between Alonso and Massa/Raikkonen. Vettel is on par with Raikkonen and Alonso was miles ahead.

        2. Also, Verstappen beat both Ferrari drivers while Ferrari clearly had the better car. I would put the Ferrari line-up third at best!

          1. I would also rate the ferrari line up 3rd. But this is because i think the line up currently doesn’t work well together. Pace wise, both vettel and Leclerc have potential to be better than Bottas and if they both do get their act together, start following team orders and stop colliding on track, then I think this is the strongest line up on the grid.

            Since you are comparing Bottas to Vettel, I think you only need to look at the years before last. He beat Bottas in both 2018 and 2017. Maybe the Ferrari could be claimed to be slightly better, but still, I think he looked better. 2016, I think he again looked better than Bottas and 2015 he looked better than virtually everyone else. It was only last year and especially 2014 that he had noticeably weaker years. And those were the only two where Bottas looked better.

            I don’t think Vettel is going to always be like he was last year, so his ability is still beyond what Bottas has IMO. His glimpses of speed last year looked better than Bottas’s best moments to me as well.

            The thing that makes me rank Ferrari low is that the team line up currently doesn’t seem to work. Even though I think Bottas is weaker than Vettel, the way him and Hamilton get on makes the team work out great. That is what makes the strongest driver pairing and Ferrari a pretty weak one. Not just because of Vettel’s recent performance.

          2. @thegianthogweed I guess we agree, but I’d like to add that Vettel has all through his career made this championship ending blunders. Already in 2009 he crashed out of 3 of the first 6 races!

            Leclerc also makes too many mistakes. Both Vettel and Leclerc can be fast (over a single lap), but both struggle at race pace and keeping the car in one piece and/or going in the right direction.

            Perhaps Leclerc can still grow out of it. Like Verstappen seems to have improved a little in that regard this season (apart from Monza, Spa and Mexico). I don’t ever see Vettel getting out of his red mist moments.

            Vettel looking strong in 2015 and 2016 is in hindisght clearly the case of a poor team mate.

      2. @F1osaurus
        “Bottas is clearly better than Vettel. Bottas gets his car to the finish without spinning or crashing way more often than Vettel does. Perhaps Vettel can be marginally faster when all is going perfect, but in the end Bottas will clean his clock.”
        So does Lance…so Lance is better than Vettel to?
        What a joke man. In equal material Seb would wipe the floor with Bottas, just like Lewis is doing now, and no amount of not crashing and cruising around in grandma mode would hand Bottas a title.
        Paul di Resta also famous for never crashing……

        1. while i disagree that vettel is far worse than Bottas, I doubt he would wipe the floor with him. Overall in 2014, the red bull was better than the williams, and bottas certainly did better than vettel that year, and far better this year. Based on last year, if Vettel keeps making these mistakes, it can be said tht Bottas is better. But when Vettel is at his best, I think he will be better, but not by as much as hamilton. So I actually don’t think he’ll be a great deal better than Bottas, and Bottas is more likely to make gains than Vettel too.

        2. Don’t be daft. Bottas is plenty fast too.

    5. I too vote Ferrari, I believe Mercedes had the best pairing in 2019 by a long shot and in all categories. Best individual driver and best support driver, best rapport.
      However I think 2020 will see Leclerc learn from his mistakes entering an untouchable God mode and Vettel , therefore out of the limelight and discounted as being passed his best will regain his past composure and mop up all the points Leclerc leaves behind. That is if Ferarri produce a competitive car to compete with the now powerful Honda and bulletproof Mercedes.
      I can’t wait for March!

  10. I’d not be concerned about any upward trend in Bottas’ form, but about any further downward development. So far he’s ahead of Hamilton in only 28% of the races (15-39) and behind in median lap-time by 0.19%, which is worse numbers than Kovalainen (median 0.13% of lap-time, ahead 36% of races; data taken from f1metrics) and thus Hamiltons poorest performing teammate yet.
    Ferrari have the stronger combination, not because Leclerc would be there to perform at Hamiltons level just yet, and not because Vettel isn’t having his odd mistakes more regularly in recent years, but because both are further ahead of Bottas than they are behind Hamilton.

  11. I ask myself, who would I want in the cars?

    If I had WDC and WCC prospects, it would be Hamilton and Bottas by the slimmest of margins over Verstappen and Albon. Close enough I wouldn’t change anything if I was either team. Vettel and Leclerc are fast but were collectively a pain.

    In the midfield McLaren or Renault. I think I’d rather have Sainz and Norris, because I have a hunch Ricciardo and Ocon will be a difficult pairing.

  12. Jelle van der Meer (@)
    12th January 2020, 15:03

    Interesting how much Albon is pulling down the ranking of the Red Bull pair. If Max would have been paired with Hamilton, Leclerc, Riccardio that pairing would have dominated this poll. Yet due to Albon it only got 2% of the votes.

    It also seems most people voted on basis who would get the most points or win WCC – ignoring the car they are driving and the risk of inter team fights – I can’t believe people voted Hamilton/Bottas over Leclerc/Vettel (yes I put Leclerc first for good reason) I would say I rank Sainz/Norris higher than Hamilton/Bottas. Hamilton no doubt is top 3 of active drivers but Bottas certainly is not he just gets wins/podiums due to the car he is driving but will lose to Riccardio, Leclerc, Vettel, Max and probably even Sainz or Norris when put in equal material.

    1. I don’t know what evidence there is to suggest Sainz or Norris could beat Bottas. If you say it is to do with the machinery, i think it could easily be the case that the Mclaren dominated the midfield in the same way that Mercedes were the best of the lot most of the time. Mclaren likely made both these drivers look a bit better than they are. Don’t think either are better than Bottas. Norris is only in his first season and Mclaren looked to have had a sudden gain in performance relative to last year and had two new drivers, so it is pretty hard to judge these two.

      Ricciardo has clearly had a worse season than Bottas. Before now, I used to think all his seasons were better than Bottas’s from 2014 onwards, but not last year. The number of very poor mistakes was pretty shocking for a driver ranked as high as he is by many.

      I vote based on what team has the best pair of drivers based on the amount of points their car is capable of. I think it can’t really be argued that hamilton is pretty much the best out there, and it also can’t really be argued that Bottas is a very good team mate and makes it a very good team. Even if Bottas is’t the one getting a great deal of points, him being obliging in the way he is has helped out hamilton a great deal at times over the years.

      If you look at the number of times Leclerc and Vettel have ignored team orders or had fights on track that have gone wrong, this indicates why i think it is a weaker team mate like up, even if at their best, they can both be better than Bottas, and sometimes level or better than Hamilton. But it isn’t just what the drivers are capable that should be factored in. The two ferrari drivers clearly don’t get on and that is what I think makes it a weaker team, not just based on the drivers abilities.

      I still think Rosberg had a slight edge over Bottas when with Hamilton, but I would rate the driver pairing with Hamilton and Bottas as stronger than it was before simply because of how well they work together as a team. Bottas never had a stupid crash with Hamilton like the Spain 2016 one with Rosberg and Hamilton that cost a massive amount of points. And if you think about it, Leclerc and Vettel being together had something similar happen this year in Brazil.

      I think I would rate Red Bull after Mercedes as Verstappen is not that far off Hamilton IMO. But Albon is nowhere close. Much further away than Bottas is to Hamilton and I think Hamilton is better than Verstappen, so that explains my view. And until the Ferrari sort their team orders out and their drivers get on, i feel that is their weakness, but still don’t think they are better than Hamilton and Bottas as a team.

    2. @jelle-van-der-meer I also think it’s unfair. It depends on what you look for though.

      Red Bull had the third best and still Verstappen beat both Ferrari drivers. So Red Bull clearly has the better line up for a WDC.

      However, if you are looking for the best pairing for winning a WCC then Ferrari got more points than Red Bull.

      I doubt any team would rather win a WCC than a WDC though, so going by last year, it would be:
      1) Mercedes
      2) Red Bull
      3) Ferrari

  13. Hard to consider which is the best driver pairing without considering the cars they’re in ie. the potency of the pairing, or even what each individual driver is going to be able to do. So based on their ability to take poles and wins I think the nod has to go to the Mercedes drivers as the defending Champs. They should still have the car this year to gleen the most poles, wins, and points, and therefore be the strongest pairing.

  14. I think at the moment it’s a two-horse race between Mercedes and Ferrari. Hamilton is the best of the four, Leclerc appears to be second-best… and I’m not sure I could separate Bottas and Vettel. At this stage of their careers, and in their current positions, I think they’re at a broadly similar level of performance (though Vettel has a higher ‘ceiling’), so I’ll consider them equal and give it to Mercedes.

    Full ranking, off the top of my head with little real thought:

    Red Bull
    Alpha Tauri
    Alfa Romeo
    Racing Point

    1. I would agree with that one.

    2. @neilosjames Seeing how Verstappen beat both Ferrari drivers even when he had the third fastest car, I’d put Red Bull on 2 and Ferrari on 3

  15. If James Key messes up the 2020 Mclaren car then Alpha Tauri might be P5 or even P4.

    1. I doubt that will happen, everyone seems to be doing only minor adjustments to their cars and McLaren will do most probably the same, with some tweaks in the suspension area to be more agile in corners. Nevertheless, Toro Rosso was quicker than McLaren on some circuits and they could be a real threat if they could perform in similar fashion on even more tracks.

  16. Although I’m nor particularly happy to admit, it has to be Mercedes – Hamilton is the best and above all the most consistent performer on the grid and Bottas improved his game last season, although being weaker in the European part of the season. You either approach this ranking on sentimental or performance reasons, and while Vettel and Leclerc could sound better (if it already wasn’t for a whole season of controversy), they are probably the most far away from an ideal duo any driver pairing can be. You just can’t be strongest if you’re taking points from one another in a rather damaging fashion to the team and your own chances.

  17. This is my ranking of the teams’ driver line-ups:
    1 Mercedes
    2 Ferrari
    3 Red Bull
    4 Renault
    5 McLaren
    6 Racing Point
    7 Alpha Tauri
    8 Alfa Romeo
    9 Williams
    10 Haas

    My ranking of all the drivers (at the moment):
    1 Lewis Hamilton
    2 Max Verstappen
    3 Charles Leclerc
    4 Sebastian Vettel
    5 Daniel Ricciardo
    6 Valtteri Bottas
    7 Carlos Sainz
    8 Sergio Perez
    9 Lando Norris
    10 Esteban Ocon
    11 George Russell
    12 Alexander Albon
    13 Pierre Gasly
    14 Kimi Raikkonen
    15 Kevin Magnussen
    16 Romain Grosjean
    17 Daniil Kvyat
    18 Antonio Giovinazzi
    19 Lance Stroll
    20 Nicolas Latifi

    1. RIC has already proven he is better than VET, in the same car. BOT drove better than VET last year, and doesn’t crash into his teammate.

      I doubt Ocon is better than Russell.


      1. @megatron

        This really is an unfair way to judge things. Basing it on just 1 year that has a simply massive change in regulations. If you look at Vettel’s form the following year in 2015, he was pretty much the best out there and rated 1st on this site for the year rankings. Ricciardo just adapted to the new regulations better than Vettel initially. It likely will have felt as much of a new car to Vettel as it did to Ricciardo in 2014.

        If we are going to judge Ricciardo as being as high as 6th, then i certainly can’t say that about this year. He made some incredibly poor looking errors. This list is likely based over many seasons, and in that case, I think Ricciardo being just behind Vettel makes sense.

        It looks like you are using just 2014 and this last year as they were two out of six years that happened to be pretty bad for Vettel.

        1. Vet was not the best driver in 2015 or any other year. The field was level for RIC vs VET and RIC dominated him.

          And it wasn’t just 2014 that was bad for Vettel, 17 was bad, 18 was bad and 19 was bad, and he made mistakes in 15 and 16 as well. He is not a top 5 driver.

          RIC has been better than Vettel in 14 and since.

          1. IMO RIC’s mistakes last year were a result pushing that car well above it’s natural position.

  18. Mercedes drivers win this hands down even if you by consistency alone.

    1. @david-beau Exactly, Its like people only look at the few races where the Ferrari drivers performed well. Yet that happens quite rarely. They both have way too many incidents and “off days”. Leclerc had 4 weekends spoiled by incidents and Vettel even six. That’s just way too much. Plus races like Bahrain (besides spinning), France and Abu Dhabi where Vettel was just mediocre. Same for Leclerc in races like Baku (besides the quali crash) and Japan plus some others where I fail to remember the venue.

      Hamilton is almost always at the maximum one could expect and Bottas is usually quite close behind.

      1. And, no surprise, they were 1 and 2 in the WDC last year. And had the WCC car for the sixth straight year. Drivers are coloured by their cars.

        1. @robbie They are both better drivers than the Ferrari drivers. Mercedes drivers and Verstappen (mostly) understand they need to bring the car home. Both Ferrari drivers are involved in waaaaay to many incidents. Every season again so it’s in their DNA!

          1. @f1osaurus Lol hard to argue that.

  19. I voted for Mercedes, and the choice wasn’t hugely tricky either.

  20. 1)Mercedes (harmony + great momentum)

    2) Ferrari ( Vettel’s performance variation kept them from being P1)

    3)Renault ( Two hungry and at perfect age drivers + expiring contract)

    4) RBR (Albon’s first full season a big questionmark)

    5)McLaren ( Decent pairing with great potential in the upcoming years)

    6)Alpha Tauri (Both have much to prove and despite their rejection from tbr, they are both really young)

    7)R.P( Stroll’s forth season and second in the team, he has all the tools to not underperform)

    8)Alfa Romeo (Giovinazzi must show improvement, as a tone of young Ferrari drivers + Hulk/Kubica will be waiting at every fault he does)


    10) Williams (Russell can’t be properly judged on his 19 campaign)

    Btw, that Alfa Romeo-Alpha Tauri reminds me of 2003, with Ralph Firman and Ralf Schumacher.

  21. In the top teams: Lewis has a perfect wingman in Bottas, Max has a (at this moment) lesser one in Albon, Ferrari has an explosive situation, but in theory a pretty strong line up. If the cars are closely matched it can go all ways imho. I sure look forward to this season.

    But with the info I have now, I’d say Mercedes has the perfect driver paring for getting the points in.

    I think Mclaren has a pretty decent pairing as well, as does Renault. The other teams have way lesser quality drivers.

  22. I never thought I’d ever say this, Ferrari has imo the strongest driver pairing, mansell and prost is the last top line up I can recall, that said most teams used to have mercedes type line ups, including Ferrari.

    1. I’d like to remind people that mansell lost against de angelis in the same car every year, so he was probably not that strong, just overrated in virtue of the car he drove, and ofc a spectacular driver.

  23. I think Ferrari has the fastest pair of drivers but Lewis is the fastest driver with the best wingman

    1. @gardenfella72 This is not about “fastest” driver line-up though. The question is who has the “strongest” line up.

      Perhaps Vettel and Leclerc can do a single fast lap yes, so they might be the “fastest” line-up. However, seeing how many blunders the Ferrari drivers keep maing, they are not very strong.

      This lack of self control and continuity has cost Ferrari the 2017 and 2018 titles. Also in 2019 they should have won a lot more: Bahrain (Vettel spun lettign Hamilton take the win), Baku (the faster driver=Leclerc crashed and Vettel opted to forego a tow), Canada (Vettel cracked again), Austria (Leclerc should have defended), Russia (just comical) and Mexico.

      That’s six races they should have won, but let themselves get beaten. Which is why both Mercedes drivers annihilated the Ferrari guys and even Verstappen in the third fastest car put them to shame.

  24. I voted Mclaren just because of how much potential they have. Sainz has proven he can get that car to the podium. Norris has only fraction of starts under his belts and if the stars are on the right order he has every chance to become wc. Of course Hamilton and Bottas are no.1’s together but Renault also have a strong lineup but Ocon was a year away so that could slow him down a bit.

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