Start, Hungaroring, 2020

Who was the best Formula 1 driver of 2020?

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The 2020 Formula 1 season was not the championship anyone expected to see 12 months ago.

The original 22-round calendar was torn up, a swathe of races dropped, several new venues added and the championship eventually decided over 17 events compressed into less than six months.

While Mercedes remained the team to beat the competitive order behind them was disrupted. The Ferrari drivers found themselves in the midfield. Williams were no longer in a separate class of their own a second behind the rest. And not one, but two drivers scored their first victories.

Despite the upheaval, there was a familiar face on top of the drivers standings at the end of the season. But who impressed you most over the full, 17-round 2020 championship?

If you haven’t made up your mind yet, take a moment to review our extensive data on the full field. Make your pick for best driver of 2020 below and compare your choices in the comments.

2020 F1 team mate comparisons

2020 F1 statistics

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Who was the best F1 driver of 2020?

Cast your vote here and explain your choice in the comments.

Who was the best Formula 1 driver of 2020?

  • Lewis Hamilton (51%)
  • Valtteri Bottas (0%)
  • Sebastian Vettel (0%)
  • Charles Leclerc (4%)
  • Max Verstappen (20%)
  • Alexander Albon (0%)
  • Carlos Sainz Jnr (2%)
  • Lando Norris (1%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (6%)
  • Esteban Ocon (0%)
  • Daniil Kvyat (0%)
  • Pierre Gasly (2%)
  • Sergio Perez (9%)
  • Lance Stroll (0%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (0%)
  • Antonio Giovinazzi (0%)
  • Romain Grosjean (0%)
  • Kevin Magnussen (0%)
  • George Russell (2%)
  • Nicholas Latifi (0%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (1%)
  • Pietro Fittipaldi (0%)
  • Jack Aitken (0%)
  • No opinion (1%)

Total Voters: 405

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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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163 comments on “Who was the best Formula 1 driver of 2020?”

  1. It’s hard to pick only one considering the restrictions imposed by the inferior machinery in most cases. I should definitely recognize the standout performances of Hamilton, Verstappen, Perez, Ricciardo, Sainz, Norris, Leclerc, Gasly and Russell (and also would like to add Hülkenberg despite contesting only 3 GPs) not neccessarily in this order.

    1. Yes, while it is difficult to pick, the end result after all votes are in will be incredibly predictable. Maybe one of the the easiest year to predict the outcome. Lewis then Max

    2. Exactly. This year several drivers showed real talent, but we really can’t tell much because the cars are so unequal.

    3. Is throwing a mediocre driver like Hulkenberg who barely drove this season an inside joke on this site? I don’t get the love for this guy. You can’t have a more mediocre 10 year career than him and yet every driver of the year or who will go to Red Bull post on this site includes numerous instances of this turd thrown in the mix.

      1. @darryn I guess you must be right about his career looking mediocre, but I thought that his performances on such short notice, without knowing the car, without the pre-season preparation were outstanding this year. He got faster literally lap by lap, and found incredible speed out of nowhere. Obviously, had he driven the whole season, might have given us a different picture, and it might not be a good idea to project 3 races into a whole season.
        If I had to pick only one driver, it’s obviously wouldn’t be him, but for me his appearances were more than simply solid this year.

    4. I agree with ex f1 racer Marc Surer’s comments in this interview that F1 should allow 3 car teams in F1 now that way we would always have a proper championship battle with at least 3 drivers in the best car… and the midfield would be awesome as well

      1. I really doubt that more than 5 teams would be able to afford running a 3rd car. The mid-field battle might be better, but with top 3 locked by Mercedes the results will be even more boring and for backmarkers it will be even harder to score a point. And no points equal no prize money, so Haas, Williams, Alfa Romeo and maybe even Alpha Tauri can be gone for good in no time. So for me this is a very bad idea.

      2. 3 cars also means 3 teams of mechanics (6 if they use a roulate system) Car extra costs is manable but it’s really going to be big money.

    5. @andrewt You can also weigh in that the drivers help the engineers develop their cars. Some are better at it than others.

      1. @f1osaurus Good point, an existing phenomenon, but how could one “measure” or “compare” this ability? Sounds more difficult than dividing the performance of a driver from his/her car even though there are mathematical models for this purpose. According to common knowledge, Räikkönen is one of the best car developers, Alonso and Kubica comes to my mind as well, but as for the rest, I have not the slightest idea how effective they are at. Do you?

        1. @andrewt Well Raikkonen has demonstrated he’s not one of the best when he lost the plot midway through the 2008 season. The car got developed away from him and only after he reverted back to the original specification from Spa did he become competitive again. That pretty much ended his season.

          But yes that’s a clear example of how drivers help develop the car and how much a difference it makes.

          Another example is this year when Racing Point mentioned how Hulkenberg helped them improve their car with his input after Silverstone. Indeed the car was suddenly a much more stable performer a few races later when the improvements on that feedback were implemented.

          I would say the results speak for themselves. It does not become a great car without the drivers. Mercedes keeps improving by heaps season on season.

          While Red Bull has been slipping back since Ricciardo left. Yet Renault improved a huge amount after Ricciardo joined them. Well they didn’t see much of a position improve, but they were close in the fight for P3.

  2. The best driver(s) of the 2020 season has to be the FIA, FOM and Sky F1. I have to thank them all for pulling that off.

    1. @paulheppler Sky? What does Sky have to do with being able to pull out a season under this year’s circumstances? I don’t quite get the credit you give.

      1. Oh come on, they are all cogs in the chain. You think they could have afforded this without TV money?

    2. No way am I giving any credit to David Croft for anything other than being the sole reason that the mute button on my Sky remote is worn out.

      1. He is one of the reasons I refuse to pay for sky. Every time I hear his commentary it sounds more frenzied and just plain annoying. If you have to squawk into the microphone at piercing volumes to create a sense of excitement then you’re not doing your job properly (or nothing that exciting is happening so pipe down).

    3. Unfortunately sky pulls their narrative along. This is a poll we all have fun with despite its shortcomings. Hamilton is going to win even though he had the easiest job to pull off. All other drivers had to account for something other than reliability.

  3. There are only 2 candidates in my opinion: Hamilton and Verstappen. They showed their superiority in almost every single race. I think it is impossible to differentiate fully objectively between the two of them as they were driving different cars, had different teammates, and were driving different races (leading vs chasing) throughout the season.

    In the end I rated Verstappen’s season higher by just the smallest of margins; slightly fewer mistakes, and still able to lead Hamilton to the finish in a few races despite the weaker machinery.

    1. I follow your thoughts and agree. Just would go for Lewis given his record breaking and the fact that he did already translate talent into WDCs

    2. “slightly fewer mistakes”

      ?

      1. Probably lewis’ penalty’s at austria, russia and monza. While max only had the spins in turkey.

        Both did outstanding jobs. Almost too close to call the better driver between them.

        1. Verstappen -crashing on the formation lap in Hungary , spinning x2 in Turkey, spinning in wet Styria Q3, driving himself into the barriers Sakhir, colliding with Perez in Portugal

      2. Of course Max is going to make more mistakes because he has to push so hard to compete with a car that is one second a lap faster than his on natural pace.

    3. I have to agree with you. Verstappen seems to have finally outgrown his recklessness. Only in Turkey did he make silly aggressive mistakes.

      I also suspect, but can’t really prove, that Hamilton is showing his age. I’m just not impressed with his performance against Bottas. Especially since Russell did so well in the Mercedes.

      So he wins the number two spot, although I suspect if we gave Russell, Leclerc or Ricciardo the same car they would do just as well.

    4. @coldfly Verstappen made a lot more mistakes. Broke his front wing in Styria by panicking in trying to keep a gap to Bottas (who would have never gotten past anyway) and lost P2. Crashing on warmup lap in Hungary. Unable to figure out a setup for Hungary and Monza. Spinning off in Turkey. Crashing into Stroll in Portimao. Took too much risk trying to push through the accident in Sakhir and ended up putting his car in the wall himself.

      While Hamilton only had a few debatable steward calls go against him.

      1. @coldfly As well, it is easy to imagine what a formidable force Max would be with an utterly dominant car that fits him like a glove for 7 straight years and counting.

  4. Here are my rankings for the season.

    1. Lewis Hamilton – Still the best driver on the grid. He tops my rankings for the third year in a row, and this was the closest he has got to perfection. Qualifying wasn’t perfect, but whenever he was beaten by Bottas, it was by a tiny margin, so this was probably more due to Bottas doing a great lap. The only three races this year that could be described as poor from Hamilton were Sochi, Abu Dhabi and Austria, and even these were only poor by his high standards. Some of his drives this year were outstanding, most notably in Portimao, where he showed off his tyre-management abilities, and in Budapest and Istanbul, where he showed off his wet-weather skills. Hamilton has always been quick, but now he is also the most consistent driver on the grid too.
    2. Max Verstappen – Clearly, Hamilton and Verstappen are the class of the field, and have been 1st and 2nd in my ratings every year since 2018. All year, Verstappen was the only driver who could realistically challenge Mercedes on pure pace and was particularly strong in the first half of the year, beating Bottas in Hungary, Spain, and impressively winning the Anniversary GP. He doesn’t beat Hamilton in these rankings, though, because he made more mistakes. In Sakhir, he crashed at the first corner in similar fashion to Sainz in Sochi, and he was also disappointing in Turkey and Monza. It would be fascinating to watch Hamilton vs Verstappen in the same car, but unfortunately it doesn’t seem like that will ever happen.
    3. Sergio Perez – I am expecting to be accused of giving too much weight to recent races with this rating, but my rankings are based on an average score after rating each driver out of ten for each race to avoid that happening. Perez was disappointing in the first half of the season, often being outpaced by Stroll, and after Mugello he was 13th in the ratings. But in the second half of the season, he narrowly edged out Hamilton for the best driver on the grid after a series of incredible performances, none more impressive than his great win in the Sakhir Grand Prix, and eventually jumped up to third place. In my eyes, it is a no-brainer for Red Bull to sign him for next season.
    4. Daniel Ricciardo – Ricciardo’s final season for Renault was his best season since 2016, and he was fully deserving of his two podium finishes. However, I think his best drive of 2020 was in Spa, where he finished fourth. In the end, he was only just behind Perez in the championship in a slower car, but I have still ranked him behind Perez as Perez missed two races and had more bad luck with reliability. With McLaren switching to a Mercedes engine, I think Ricciardo could be fighting for race wins next year.
    5. Pierre Gasly – After being demoted after a horrific half-season with Red Bull, Gasly bounced back perfectly in 2020, in what was his best season in Formula 1 by a considerable margin. The highlight was of course his win in Monza, but he did get a bit lucky there with the safety car, and I think his best drive of the season was in Portugal, where he came fifth. He was also desperately unlucky in Imola, and surely would have come third without the mechanical issue. I think that it is unlikely he will ever drive for Red Bull again, but he should follow in Sainz’s footsteps and get a top drive elsewhere in the future.
    6. Charles Leclerc – I am sure that no driver was overtaken more than Charles Leclerc in 2020. His qualifying was magnificent, and if I had to pick the qualifying lap of the season, it would be a choice between a few Leclerc laps; probably Mugello, Portimao, Sakhir, or one of the two races in Silverstone. The races were less good, as he struggled to look after the tyres and the Ferrari was just not as fast in the races, but Leclerc is still the third fastest driver on the grid. His two podiums highlighted that. The reason he is rated only sixth, rather than third, is because he does cause a few too many collisions. Styria was the worst, but Sakhir and Sochi were also needless accidents. In a few years, I expect Leclerc to be on par with Verstappen as the joint-best driver on the grid.
    7. Carlos Sainz – Sainz wasn’t quite as good as last year and was once again edged out by Norris in qualifying. But he scored more points in the races and tended to be slightly faster than his teammate this season, so he gets the nod in these rankings. Sainz deserved to win in Monza, as his second place was completely on merit, and was also excellent in Turkey. Another standout moment of Sainz’s season was the start of the Portuguese GP, when he warmed up his tyres quickly and led the race. He had a few bad races, such as the silly crash in Sochi, but I think he will give Leclerc a fight next year, even though he probably won’t be faster than him that often.
    8. Lando Norris – Norris improved again this year and is now so close to Sainz’s level. It is a shame they won’t be teammates next year, but if they were, I think Norris would just about have the edge. His best drive of 2020 was the first race, in Austria, where he took his first ever podium, and then he drove a great race to fifth a week later, gaining him a reputation as a final lap specialist. From then on, he was generally a bit slower than Sainz, but there were still days where he was the quicker McLaren, and he was excellent in the final race in Abu Dhabi. This year’s Racing Point was far quicker than the McLaren, and although Perez’s mechanical failures played a part, Norris and Sainz should take a lot of credit for McLaren edging third in the constructors’ championship. Next year, Norris should be very close to new teammate, Ricciardo.
    9. George Russell – Russell is quite hard to rate this season. He was excellent in qualifying, making Q2 more times than any other ‘Class C’ driver, and again outqualified Latifi every time. However, he always seemed to go backwards in the races. Maybe this was the car being faster than Haas and Alfa Romeo in qualifying, but slower in the races, or maybe it was the driver. The one race where Russell had a good car, the Mercedes, he was magnificent, totally outclassing Bottas. It is possible that he has been driving that well all season, and that Latifi is actually very underrated, but I think that is unlikely. Russell also committed the cardinal sin of crashing under the safety car; without that, he might be ahead of the McLarens. Next year, I think Russell will make the difference in ‘Class C,’ and will get Williams ahead of Alfa Romeo and Haas in the championship.
    10. Valtteri Bottas – Ultimately, this was a poor season from Bottas, as his title challenge fell away before the end of the season once again. Just as in 2017, 2018 and 2019, he started the season strongly, and looked as though he might be able to take the fight to Hamilton, but this year he had a lot of bad luck, with the puncture in Silverstone coming just before Hamilton’s, and then a mechanical failure in the Nurburgring leaving him with two non-scores and making a large gap between him and Hamilton in the championship, although at this point that was largely unrepresentative of his true performance level. Bottas’ season dropped away after the horrendous Turkish GP, where he spun six times, and then two more poor races in Bahrain. Bottas is almost as fast as Hamilton, but his key weakness seems to be overtaking, as shown most notably by Monza. Bottas needs to make sure he holds on to the Mercedes drive long enough that he can take the championship when Hamilton either retires or starts to decline in skill level.
    11. Kimi Raikkonen – An interesting stat about Raikkonen from this season is that no driver on the grid had ever driven at Imola in F1 before this season except Raikkonen, who had raced there six times. He is by far the most experienced driver on the grid but is definitely ‘in decline’ now and was beaten by Giovinazzi in the qualifying battle. Portugal was by far his best drive of the season, with that first lap proving that he’s still got it, and he was also very impressive in Imola. It was mentioned a few times that he always seemed to be battling Vettel, who was in a far superior car to Kimi’s Alfa Romeo. I think 2021 may be his final season, and it will be very close between him and his teammate.
    12. Daniil Kvyat – Daniil Kvyat had an odd season. His position in these rankings show that I don’t rate him as one of the worst on the grid, but I still think it was time for him to go in favour of Yuki Tsunoda, as Kvyat has been in F1 for a long time and is very unlikely to ever drive for Red Bull again. He was very average at the start of the year; consistently behind the very impressive Gasly but improved a lot after it became clear he was unlikely to keep his job. Fourth in Imola was a definite highlight. His second spell in Formula 1 has definitely been better than his first.
    13. Esteban Ocon – Unfortunately, Esteban Ocon was, in many ways, the let-down of the season. After showing so much promise when driving for Force India and being widely regarded as a potential replacement for Bottas, he returned to Formula 1 with Renault and was consistently off Ricciardo’s pace. He had some bright moments, such as an excellent fifth on the grid in the Styrian Grand Prix, and a maiden podium in Sakhir. He also showed to be good at tyre management, going a very long way on medium tyres in Portimao, and then tyres were also key to his podium. Hopefully, his podium will have restored his confidence, and if Alonso has a Schumacher-like comeback in 2021, Ocon could end up in front.
    14. Antonio Giovinazzi – Just like last year, Giovinazzi had a disappointing start to the season, and was considerably slower than teammate Raikkonen. He took points in Austria, but this was mainly due to others retiring, and after his crash in Spa, Giovinazzi’s drive for next year was in doubt. However, just like last year, the fear of losing his seat seemed to spur him on, and Giovinazzi was arguably the better Alfa Romeo driver in the second half of the year, with two particularly good drives in Sochi and Nurburgring. He is never going to be a Ferrari driver, but I still expect him to beat Kimi Raikkonen next season.
    15. Kevin Magnussen – I am not sure about this rating of both Haas drivers behind both Alfa Romeos, as the Alfa was clearly a quicker car. I decided to go with it, though, as the Haas drivers made more mistakes, and had fewer standout moments. One standout moment that Magnussen did have was a tremendous Hungarian Grand Prix. Of course, it was the strategists who got him up to third with a genius decision to pit at the end of the formation lap, (even with the penalty, it was worth it), but it was Magnussen’s driving that meant he stayed ahead of several faster cars and finished in the points. There were also bad points this season, as Magnussen went off the track in too many qualifying sessions and had more retirements than anybody else (although these were usually not his fault). It will be a shame to see Magnussen go, and I definitely think Haas should have kept one of their experienced drivers alongside Mick Schumacher. With two rookies, including Mazepin who should definitely not be in F1, I can’t see Haas finishing anywhere other than 10th and last in 2021.
    16. Romain Grosjean – Grosjean seems to have developed a very unfair reputation for crashing all the time in his Formula 1 career. With the exception of 2009, 2012, and the first half of 2018, he has not crashed very much at all. This season was a largely anonymous one for Grosjean, mainly due to the uncompetitive Haas, up to the point of the Bahrain GP, his only real mistake of the season, where he survived one of the biggest crashes in the history of Formula 1. Grosjean’s two other notable moments in 2020 were in Nurburgring, where he finished in the points despite being hit on the finger by a stone on the first lap, and the British GP. This was in some ways an excellent drive, as he kept faster McLarens, Renaults and Racing Points at bay for over half the race, but he also came under the spotlight for some questionable moves to defend his position. Sadly, the horrific accident in Bahrain will be Grosjean’s final race in Formula 1, and it ended the career of one of the most underrated drivers of all time.
    17. Lance Stroll – At first glance, this rating may look extremely harsh, especially considering Perez is in 3rd. In the first nine races, I was thinking that maybe Stroll did deserve his drive in F1 after all, as he had been, for the majority of the season, on par with Perez, and was actually tied with him in my rankings at that stage. His performance in Hungary was particularly impressive. But after that, Stroll was very poor and, with the exception of his stunning pole in Istanbul, way off Perez’s pace. There were needless incidents at Portimao, for example, and he could never seem to get anywhere near Perez in qualifying. Stroll has the potential to be a good driver, as he showed in the first half of 2020, but he still hasn’t convinced me that he should be in Formula 1.
    18. Alexander Albon – It really feels like that second drive at Red Bull is jinxed. Gasly was awful last year in Red Bull but proved himself this year with Alpha Tauri. At the start of Albon’s Red Bull career, he seemed so much better than Gasly, mainly due to his overtaking abilities, but this year can only go down as a failure. To not finish fourth in the championship in a car that Verstappen was able to battle the two Mercedes with is simply not good enough. I do wonder how different it would have been if he had won the Austrian GP, as he probably would have done without the Hamilton collision, as it would have given him so much more confidence. Instead, he spent the entire season in the midfield battle, never challenging Verstappen. His podium in Sakhir was lucky, his podium in Mugello was more deserved but still required a bit of luck, but his actual best performance this year was in the final race in Abu Dhabi, finishing only a couple of seconds behind Hamilton, on pure pace. But in my opinion, it was not enough to justify keeping him at Red Bull, and I think they should sign Perez, dropping Albon to reserve driver, and maybe giving him another go in Alpha Tauri in 2022 if Gasly decides to jump ship.
    19. Nicholas Latifi – The only rookie on the grid had, in general, an okay season, but he was very anonymous and had no standout moments. He was outqualified at every race by Russell, although we saw in Sakhir how good Russell is, but perhaps more concerning was how close Jack Aitken got to outqualifying him in his first race. Latifi had a few good races, with eleventh in Monza probably his best, but he is rated behind Albon partly due to his total inability to drive in the wet. His race in Hungary was poor, but his Turkish GP weekend was one of the worst I have ever seen. Maybe this rating is harsh on Latifi, as Russell is very highly rated and is probably a future champion, but his driving this year did nothing to suggest he would be on the grid if it weren’t for the sponsors he brings.
    20. Sebastian Vettel – What a shocking season from the man I once considered the best on the grid. It seems strange now that from 2011 to 2013 he was, along with Alonso, the class of the field, and was actually much better than Hamilton. Even in 2015 and 2017 he was one of the best drivers, but something has gone badly wrong since then. It started in 2018 when he kept spinning needlessly, and then the arrival of Charles Leclerc just brought his Ferrari career to a close. I’m not sure whether his car was actually equal to Leclerc’s this year, but he still massively underperformed. So many times, he was at the back of the midfield in 12th-14th on the grid, while Leclerc dragged the other Ferrari to 4th. Vettel only really had two good races in 2020, the two wet races in Hungary and Turkey, but the rest of the season was a disaster. According to these ratings, Aston Martin should have the worst lineup on the grid next year, but I believe that Vettel can get back up to speed in a new car and will be at least close to the level of Perez this year. In reality, leaving Ferrari was the best decision for both parties.

    1. I feel a post that long deserves a response, even if I’ve got nothing to add :P

      1. I think a post this kind deserves a response even though I have nothing to add

    2. Thanks @f1frog, well argued rating.
      The comments are spot on for all the drivers.
      In my final tally I swapped: HAM/VER – as I rated the chasing higher than the leading; PER/RIC – seasonal consistency vs a poor first half; MagGro/STR – seasonal consistently ‘meh’ versus a few excellent performances (pole & leading in Turkey).

      1. @coldfly

        HAM/VER – as I rated the chasing higher than the leading

        You actually said it was because Verstappen made fewer mistakes, the opposite of @f1frog. But taking the above to be your actual reason, does that mean a season full of Abu Dhabis (Max getting poll and leading from the start) would downgrade his performance? I’d rather choose between them – equally exceptional drivers producing near flawless performances most of the time – on the basis of standout drives, and there I agree with @f1frog, Hamilton’s drives at Portimao, Istanbul and elsewhere were more memorable.

    3. To put Vettel last is, frankly, a little harsh.

      1. I think Vettel has been a huge disappointment considering his past glories, the pedigree of Ferrari, and the gap to his team mate. Latifi is a rookie so he gets a pass. Giovinazzi and Stroll improved with more experience so maybe Latifi will too. Vettel has never looked very comfortable in the red team and has spilled more donuts than the NYPD. Maybe green will suit him better.

        1. Latifi is a guy who definitely needs a fast car to show what skill set he has, in a slow car he looked incapable of being an F1 driver so to me he should be ranked last. Vettel on the other hand…who knows what the deal was with him this year. A terrible Ferrari for most of the season didn’t help but I seriously doubt he is that much slower than Leclerc in qualifying but that’s what we saw. Who knows if it wasn’t him or his Ferrari.

    4. Although I can’t say that he drove better than Hamilton, Verstappen, Perez or Russell, who for me were all clearly better than their cars, the driver who wrestled his car the furthest up the standings from where it deserved to be was Daniel Ricciardo. I look forward to watching him in a better car next year.

      1. Seems like a sympathy vote to me, which you are entitled to and dont need my permission for btw

    5. What a great, well thought ranking. I concur with you 100%. Vettel must rediscover his touch in the Aston Martin next year, otherwise he’ll loose a lot of credibility.

    6. Impressive post with lots of good observations :-)
      One thing that really bothers me with all these ratings, however, is that it is so hard to know whether this is fair or not. To me Russells performance in the Mercedes was both shocking and disturbing. Suddenly a back marker was heading for a relatively easy and dominant win. Yet back in his own car he was pretty average again in the next race.
      Hamilton is no doubt a great racer, but imagine he switched his dominant car with for example Grosjeans car – would Hamilton wipe the floor with Magnussen and Bottas narrowly beat Grosjean? That is sort of what the list suggest, but honestly I doubt this would necessarily be the outcome. It would not surprise me the least if Grosjean quickly started beating Bottas and Hamilton found himself severely challenged by Magnussen!
      Drivers seem to get the highest ratings when a team has an unevenly matched pair of drivers. Hamilton and Verstappen are god-like drivers because their team mates under perform. Grosjean and Magnussen are mediocre drivers because they are evenly matched in one of the worst cars on the grid that offers them absolutely no chance of success. Is that really right?
      The sad reality is that most of the 20 drivers on the grid would end up no 1 or 2 in the drivers standings had they been in the Merc and as long as the difference in the potential of the different cars is so humongous it is actually extremely difficult to compare drivers.

      1. What you say is true. Maybe Latifi is actually a really good driver and the Williams is as bad as it was last year. But equally, maybe Bottas just had a terrible weekend in Sakhir, and Hamilton would have dominated if he had been in the other Mercedes. The F1 metrics rankings are very interesting if you have not seen them, as they try to work out through maths exactly how good each driver is by comparing them to all their teammates.
        https://f1metrics.wordpress.com/

    7. @f1frog A great post. With so many observations there are lots to agree and disagree with. Skipping the agreement bits, where I’d most disagree was in relation to Leclerc and Russell: you say (rightly) that both qualified really well and then fell back during the race, but you make that a reason to find some fault in Russell but not Leclerc. And Vettel 20th? It feels like you’re marking him down for not being as good as he should be. Maybe that’s justified. I’d disagree though because this year must have been hell for him. Starting it already kicked out of the team, in a bad car that doesn’t suit his driving at all.

      1. Maybe it seems from the comments like I did not fault Leclerc for going backwards in the races. This was partly true because I suspect the Ferrari actually did have slower race pace than qualifying pace, but I did take some points off Leclerc for going backwards (probably enough to lose him 3rd, as that group from Perez to Leclerc was very close). I suspect that the same was true of the Williams, so I didn’t penalise Russell as much as it may seem from the comments, but I do think, rightly or wrongly, that Leclerc’s struggles were more to do with the car than Russell’s were. As for Vettel in 20th, I know that he probably struggled a lot because of the psychological impact of being sacked. Maybe his car wasn’t as good as Leclerc’s a lot of the time because of updates going to Leclerc first (I don’t know whether this happened or not), but these rankings are purely on how good their driving was on track, ignoring any psychological impacts. I do think that Vettel will be considerably better in Aston Martin.

    8. Stroll has not convinced you he belongs in F1 after winning a pole (Mano-a-Mano since the track was wet)?

      1. Without doubt that was an incredibly impressive lap, but I still don’t think he is one of the top 20 in the world. Stroll does seem to have the occasional moment of brilliance, such as that pole lap, but after four years in Formula 1, I would expect more consistency from him.

    9. @f1frog

      Good post, but I don’t understand why you don’t mention Lewis’ significant errors, like going into a closed pit lane, which is 100% an unforced error, while blaming Max for Sakhir, where it is hard to see what he could have done differently. For me, Max’s start at Sakhir was outstanding, where Max showed he learned from Singapore 2017 to not take opportunities where after the inevitable crash, he could reasonably claim that the other driver(s) broke the rules, but would still end up with a broken car. Despite his conservative choices, he was pushed out of the track. It is hard to see what he could have done differently. If he hadn’t driven out of the track, he would have hit a car. If he had tried to stop, he’d beached himself. Perhaps it was possible to save the car by going a bit slower through the gravel, but such a save would have been amazing and I don’t think it is fair to call it an error when a driver fails to do amazing things.

      Note that Hamilton had the chance to have these kinds of incidents far less than Max due to being in a faster car, which shields him from a lot of these risks. We’ve seen in the past that when Lewis has to battle with drivers that aren’t extremely conservative like Bottas (who seems to fear battling Lewis, which is one reason why Bottas is inferior to Rosberg, who wasn’t very good at it, but who at least tried), he regularly makes mistakes (like taking out Albon).

      Another issue I have with your post is that you claim that Bottas is almost as fast as Lewis, but that is only true for qualifying. In races, Lewis seems generally to outpace Bottas, even though Lewis often seems to keep the gap relatively low by pacing himself, where he finds much greater pace than Bottas when necessary. In contrast, Bottas typically seems to be driving near his maximum, where he cannot increase the pace substantially if the team asks him to.

    10. I agree with your ranking in general, however you are imo way too optimistic for the competitive scene next year: while reading ricciardo’s ranking I saw you said with a mercedes engine on mclaren he could be fighting for race wins and I think that is by far underestimating mercedes AND even red bull, because if you look at the last race, mclaren was still on another planet compared to them, it’s hard to gain THAT MUCH gap in a season, if they were closer I’d understand.

    11. @f1frog

      I agree with most of these with just a few drivers I would move up and down just a little. However, the main two I think I quite strongly disagree on are Perez and Stroll. Rather a lot of sites as well as my opinion rated Stroll as the stronger driver around half way through the season (which admittedly swung very heavily the other direction later on). And the races Perez missed didn’t really change that much as Storll had had bad luck and retirements too. Some of Stroll’s performances were also masked by incidents such as in Russia. He more than made up his qualifying result and likely would have got by Perez had Leclerc not taken him up. Obviously the end result is debatable. But he did have more than enough good races to be rated higher than 17th IMO.

      I just couldn’t rate Perez 3rd based on the first half of the season. I don’t think anybody can say he was obviously better than Stroll at that point including everything. Stroll’s starts were noticeably better which at least twice was what got him ahead in a race result. And if Perez was good enough at this stage of the season to still get 3rd by the end, this must have meant Stroll was incredibly good then.

      With things taken from another view, if Stroll is considered to have been bad enough to be 17th, then equalling Perez at first really should drag Perez’s ranking down a lot. Meaning less than a 14 place gap anyway

      My view is that Perez should be rated several places lower and Stroll a bit higher up. Would say Perez 5th or below and Stroll 15th or above, though neither by that much. Admittedly overall, the gap has been big, but 3rd and 17th just seems unrealistic to me given a fair old chunk of the season was matched.

      All the others are within one or two places of where i would rank them.

      Still, you have put a lot of work into this so I shouldn’t be against it! Just view a few things differently.

      1. My rankings are based around rating each driver out of ten every race, then finding the season average (with a few changes). This is to avoid putting too much weight on the last few races. After Mugello, Perez and Stroll were actually on the exact same score, in joint thirteenth, so I agree that he was quite disappointing in the first half of the season, and that he and Stroll were evenly matched. But in the second half, Perez’s total score (from adding up the last eight races) was one higher than Hamilton’s, and the highest on the grid. His average for the whole season came out in third place, although it was very close with Ricciardo, Leclerc and Gasly so he could have been in sixth. Stroll, on the other hand, was one of the lowest rated from Sochi to Abu Dhabi, and his average came out in seventeenth, although it was very close with the Haas drivers and Giovinazzi, so he could have been fourteenth.

    12. Pretty much agree with most of your assessment. Well said.

    13. F1 Frog, beauty post and enjoyed reading it.

    14. @f1frog
      Your post, in general, is awesome. But in a lot of ways it shows your bias for or against certain drivers.

      Perhaps it was the worst year of Lewis, since 2011, on unforced or unnecessary errors. He collected penalties for some of these also. NO MENTION. And of course, COME ON, stop with this “wet weather skills”. Watch the race again. During wet, HE WAS NOWHERE, he couldn’t even pass Seb. He started coming back when the track started drying. This is no personal opinion, it’s what EVERYBODY without tinted glasses can see.

      At Sakhir, you blame Max for a crash that it wasn’t his fault. Had you said “He couldn’t take effective avoiding action” or so, I would wholeheartedly accept it. But the way you put it, your preference is clear.

      As for the rest, you simply can’t say that “Esteban Ocon was the letdown of the season”, with which I agree, and have him 13th, while Stroll, who got a pole and some podiums, is 17th, without an obvious “letdown” reasoning. Similar for Albon.

      Anyway, this post, even with these facts that are excluded from your reasoning (showing your bias), definitely belongs to the hall of fame of comments on this site. What I would have changed on ranking, is Stroll 13th and Albon 14th and Ocon 15th. And, of course, Seb not last, but 19th.

      1. For Lewis Hamilton, I mentioned that Austria and Sochi (and Abu Dhabi) were Lewis Hamilton’s worst races of the season. I forgot to include that the reason for the first two was because of penalties, but that was why they were his worst races. I did not include Monza because I believe that that was more a team error, but the article posted on here later showed that actually Mercedes were just very unlucky that they had the least amount of time to react, being in first place. In terms of the wet-weather driving, you should note that even when the track was drying, the drivers were all still on intermediates, so it was still a wet track. Admittedly, Budapest shouldn’t have been in there. Hamilton really showed his wet-weather skills in Styria with that pole lap, which again I forgot to mention. I still believe that Hamilton is the best driver on the grid.
        For Max Verstappen, in the Sakhir GP, he did take avoiding action, but he still tried to go too fast and ended up crashing. It was not as much his fault as the original incident was Leclerc’s fault, but it was just as much his fault as Carlos Sainz’s crash in Sochi, where he went off at the first corner in avoiding action, but tried to get back on track too quickly and crashed. I also forgot to mention that Verstappen crashed on the formation lap in Hungary.
        And as for Esteban Ocon, my reasoning for him being the let-down of the season was that he was the driver that was slowest compared to where I was expecting him to be (apart from Vettel, I could have said). Stroll actually did better than I was expecting (the overall scores were higher than what they normally are, and 17th this year would have been more like 15th the last few years), and although I expected Albon to be closer to Verstappen, I was not expecting wins from him, just that he would beat the midfield and snatch . I was expecting Ocon to be on a similar level to Ricciardo. Maybe I could have said, ‘Ocon was the let-down of the season, along with Albon and Vettel,’ but I didn’t.
        All your accusations of bias seem to be because of things that I didn’t say. I would like to point out that it was already a very long post and I cannot mention everything.

        1. @f1frog Fair enough! And of course it wan’t accusations, but observations, on the good job you did.

          1. To make it feel less like ‘accusations’ I suggest you stop using All Caps; it’s reads very ‘screamy’ like this.
            @f1-fan
            just an observation ;)

          2. @coldfly You are completely right! But it was for emphasis, not for “yelling” purposes. I guess that next time, Bold or Italian should work better.

          3. uʍop ǝpᴉsdn ɹo

      2. Dave (@davewillisporter)
        21st December 2020, 10:23

        @f1-fan

        COME ON, stop with this “wet weather skills”.

        Of all the critiques to make of @f1frog s opinion this has got to be the worst!
        Besides the fact that Lewis has built a reputation and a record for excellence in the wet over fourteen years and consistently performs well in those conditions, you pick the one race that anyone without rose tinted spectacles could see was a Schumacher-esque performance from Lewis. I won’t begin to explain it because if you have watched the race multiple times as you ask others to do and still don’t see it then you’re beyond help! Suffice to say the reason he couldn’t get past Vettel was because it was too risky going onto the wetter off line parts of the track. The Merc needed to keep tyre temps up or it was way off the pace (see Bottas). It was too risky and Lewis knew it. Max didn’t! They are both excellent drivers in the wet but Lewis has the experience to know when to bide time and when to make a move. That’s why it was a masterclass. It isn’t biased to point that out. It’s a fact!

        1. @davewillisporter My friend, what you need to understand here is that I am not talking in general, but for a specific GP. “It was too risky and Lewis knew it.” Ok, then, he could tell this to Senna (he can’t) or others like Alesi. If you wonder why I say Alesi and not Schumacher, as you do, is because on official F1 video reviews, 1991-1999, Alesi is being called the “Rain Master”. These people know better than me, you and all the armchair experts on internet.

          1. Dave (@davewillisporter)
            21st December 2020, 17:03

            @f1-fan and I am specifically talking about this one race with it’s specific challenges and the specific characteristics of the Mercedes compared to other cars and how Lewis managed both the car and the race in such a specific way as to win. As I said, I’m not going into the details. It would take too long. I might be an armchair expert but I know the specifics of this race and the specifics are why every actual expert has lauded Lewis’s skill and ability and called it a masterclass. Just saying “he was nowhere in the wet” doesn’t begin to scratch the surface of why or how he won. It’s not a valid critique. That was my point, specifically.

          2. @davewillisporter No problem, I can get this. But personally, I stay clear of big words because they need big explanations, as you already pointed. You said some good things on your previous post, but man, everybody knows that Mercedes is the best car. Plus, everybody knows Lewis’s skills. When you are stuck for 20+ laps, behind a far worse car, on wet conditions, and then slowly the race starts to get in your hands, and then the way opens to start deploying your skills, no I am sorry. I can’t call it “masterclass”. As you said, Max was impatient and he paid for it. I agree. Would you like to call it “smart calculated triumph” or something like this? I am with you 100%. But “masterclass” no way. If you call this “masterclass”, what word would you use for Donington Park 1993 Senna’s appearance, for example? Bloody risk taking is what separates a small word from a big one.

    15. Nice work, fun to read, even the rest of the comments, for and against, I just miss a beer, but enjoy reading each comment, I agree with everything, I will only say something in favor of Stroll, yes Lance, I said it last year and I say it again this time, I don’t think he is a bad driver, I think this year I improve, and he had a couple of outstanding performances, some with some luck and others with some bad luck, but in general this year I improve a lot, and I think next year he will also improve, I think he is doing quite well.

      Lance has a very big flaw, having a father so rich that he was able to buy his own team for his son, this little detail clouds the vision and reasoning of many, but Lance is a good driver, and he is improving.

      Some of his good performances were overshadowed by Checo’s also excellent performances, but Lance did a good job this year too. Lance and Checo had a very good team and teammate relationship, this has helped Lance a lot to mature and when Lance follows Checo he has improved his race pace a lot.

      I think that next year Lance will have much more experience, it is very likely that Vettel will not have a very good time.

      F1 frog …thumbs up.

  5. I voted outside the box and selected Pierre Gasly. After what he had went through in 2019 with Red Bull, he performed beyond expectations, outperforming his car and getting great results, including his amazing win at Monza. Also there were times when he was driving better and got better results on the track than the man that replaced him, Alex Albon. Hopefully Pierre continues his momentum, and it leads to an opportunity with a better team

  6. Looking at the results: HAM 44%, VER 33%, PER 11%, RIC 3%. I’m beginning to see a pattern here.

    1. Leclerc 1% has me gobsmacked.

      1. Yeah, expected Leclerc to be higher. He still, to me, has incredible potential. Max, Charles and George are the short term future

  7. 20th:Latifi
    19th: Vettel
    18th: Albon
    17th: Magnussen
    16th: Grosjean
    15th:Giovinazzi
    14th:Ocon
    13th:Kimi
    12th: Kvyat
    11th:Bottas
    10th: Stroll
    9th: Russell
    8th: Norris
    7th: Leclerc
    6th: Gasly
    5th: Sainz
    4th: Ricciardo
    3rd: Verstappen
    2nd: Ηamilton
    1st: Perez

    Perez was the driver of the season for me. Its not just his on track performance,but it’s the fact that,in my eyes, he became a different driver after his exit from Racing Point. His motivation reached a totally different level,he became a race winner and thankfully convinced Red Bull to sign him.

    1. @miltosgreekfan If you don’t start showing your skills or performance until after you’ve been fired, firing you probably was the right move.

      1. @losd i think we can say with certainty that Perez did perform and he deserved the seat and his lost his seat for different reasons…

        1. @miltosgreekfan Of course. But my point still stands.

          Why didn’t he show his full potential until after he was fired?

          1. @miltosgreekfan Of course there could be other reasons. I’m just saying that valuing someone extra for improving after they have been fired seems a bit weird to me.

          2. @losd He did show his skill even early on, before he got tested positive for Covid. In my eyes, the strange reasoning of his firing, despite having a long term contract (albeit with clauses) , gave him that something extra in his driving that eluded him to a totally different driver.

          3. @miltosgreekfan What I mean is, there shouldn’t be a whole lot of performance to find if he’s already doing his best. If the reason for finding a lot of extra performance is the firing, then he wasn’t doing his best, and that would lower my estimate of him considerably.

            For the record, I DO think that Perez is a great driver. I just really hope the performance ISN’T related to him being fired.

      2. Exactly awesome move by management to get paid off and free out to get the second best seat in the current F1 grid.

        Masterpiece IMHO

    1. @f1mre My predictions proved to be quite off for the most part, although I got some correct or close to correct. For example, I predicted Mclaren to finish 4th, which almost happened as they were 4th before the last race.

  8. Given that Mercedes was so dominant this year so even Verstappen couldn’t beat Bottas, I’d say there’s no best racer. It’s way too easy for Hamilton to win when there’s no competition.

    1. So who is your driver of the year? Dont just have a dig without answering the question this thread is all about.

    2. If Verstappen did not have 5 DNF’s vs. Bottas 1 he would have beaten Bottas to second in the WDC.

      1. @petterson That is such a disingenuous way of scoring. Bottas had 6 races gone awry due to issues outside of his control. Verstappen only 4. 5 if you want to pretend he didn’t have a big hand in putting his car in the wall in Sakhir.

        Either way, Verstappen lost a lot less points than Bottas.

    3. Who helps develop that car with his feedback?

      While Red Bull with a similar budget has kept on losing out more and more since 2018. Even with Ferrari dropping out they were even less competitive than they were in 2019 and in 2019 less so than 2018.

  9. The problem with comparing drivers when the car is as good as this year’s Mercedes is that when Hamilton has an off weekend 2nd is still on the table, a simply good weekend and he can be 1st, and how do we discern an exceptional weekend? Lapping his team mate or even just a massive winning margin?

    He had those for sure, but for a larger part of the season it was Max who was stealing the results off Mercedes and were it not for the number of DNF results would probably have been 2nd in the championship

    Plenty of drivers had flashes of brilliance, but Lewis and Max were the strongest over the season, and Max takes it by a whisker

    1. @philipgb You can say the same for Max, though. Whatever his faults, Bottas performed way higher than Albon. So where’s the real metric for measuring Verstappen’s performance over the year? Hamilton clearly had to qualify well and race even better to win the title so resoundingly. Max? It would be easier to tell if there was a Ricciardo or similar level there who Max was clearly being pushed to beat. Maybe Perez will allow Max to shine more, or a resurgent Ferrari pair. As it stands, I thought he was a bit anonymous in quite a lot of races and made mistakes in others (and was also taking out earlier through no faulty of his own). We tend to remember the end of the season – which is when Red Buil always perform more strongly. Not enough for DOTY as I see it. That’s no judgement on MV’s overall talent and potential. But last year was stronger I think.

      1. @david-br

        The difference is that Max challenged Bottas for 2nd in the championship, who had a better car, but Bottas didn’t challenge Lewis. And if you rate Bottas higher, then you automatically have to rate Max higher too, for challenging him.

        1. @aapje I rate Max much higher than Bottas – over this year or any year. My point is that it’s often a criticism aimed at Hamilton that Bottas is uncompetitive (as though that’s LH’s fault) but it has also actually been difficult to gauge Max this year just because Albon was way off his pace all season and nowhere near him, usually, on track. We’ve also seen much less competitive racing from him because of Ferrari (especially Leclerc) being out of contention.

    2. @philipgb The fact in itself that Hamilton helps the team improve the car season upon season while Red Bull keeps moving backwards since Ricciardo left there, speaks volumes though.

      It’s not just getting in the car and driving it.

      1. You seem to keep hammering on this development point. Can you share some proof of this ‘fact’?
        And please not only that the Mercedes keeps improving and the Red Bull doesn’t. That may be true, but can you give solid evidence that this is mostly due to Hamilton AND that Verstappen can’t do this?

        1. I can give proof that Max helps with the development, there are enough interviews with Daniel talking about how Max is a nerd talking to the engineers about the little’s things…

  10. HAM overall, but worthy mentions to several drivers that include VER, PER, GAS, RUS, and RIC.

  11. Verstappen dragged his car to where it shouldn’t be in both qualifying and race and annihilated his team mate weekend after weekend and that was exceptional as it must have been balancing on the limit the whole time. He almost beat a Mercedes.

    1. Max had 5 DNF’s vs. Bottas 1. Even with inferior machinery he came very close to beating Bottas to 2nd.

      1. Max had 2 wins Bottas has 1 win so i rate Max much higher because he did it with a slower car.

    2. @balue Verstappen is unable to help the team improve the car. That much is true. Since 2018 they have only became less competitive. Even with Ferrari out of the mix they still won only 2 races this year.

      1. Ah, so you talked to Adrian I see. How is he doing?

  12. Hard to call between Hamilton and Verstappen. On the balance of it Hamilton probably had more noticeable ‘off’ weekends, but at the same time Verstappen’s teammate and the other teams weren’t ever close enough for us to notice whether he was having a bad weekend or not.

    Not doubt in my mind though that they’re the two best drivers in the grid by some margin.

    I voted Verstappen in the end.

    1. Verstappen had too many literal offs when it counted to secure my vote so I went HAM.

      1. @anonymouscoward Did you factor in the relative risk-taking?

        1. @balue I did, I especially considered the fact he would have been among it at the starts but I just and it was really tough, sided on Hamilton. The final lap with three wheels at silverstone and Turkey sealed the deal I think. Yes he was so far ahead to be able to pull off the robin reliant finish but it was still something to behold. I’m gutted he didn’t wrap up second though, throughly deserved.

          1. @anonymouscoward Driving with a puncture was spectacular and that therefore sealed the debate of the best driver of the year? Really?

        2. @balue What risk taking did Verstappen have to do? Who did he overtake?

          Verstappen broke his front wing in Styria, because Bottas was coming up behind Big woop. He put his car in the wall in Hungary. Was that a risk he needed to take? Hamilton also had cars behind.

          Reality check, Hamilton had Bottas to contend with during Q3. Failing to beat Bottas would inevitably mean that Hamilton would finish behind since overtaking is pretty much impossible with with Mercedes rules of engagement. Verstappen was on his own in Q3. So Hamilton had a lot more pressure than Verstappen did.

          1. @f1osaurus It’s just plain dishonest to say that one is required to risk more and not less with one of the most dominant cars in all of history compared to the ones up against it, when it’s one of the most blatantly obvious points in the sport.

            Especially so when the challenger car is notoriously difficult to drive, and the dominant one so easy a backmarker driver can come in and be on the pace right away.

            Add to that you actually try to make out that F1 is about beating your team mate in order to sell the point, but what can you expect. It’s always the same for some.

          2. @balu What risk was Verstappen taking? Who did he overtake?

            Or are you saying that the slower cars the greater the risks? So the back markers should be expected to be flying off track almost constantly?

            reality is that Verstappen was cruising in allmost all of his races this season. Apart from Styria and Turkey and he failed in both of those.

  13. No single driver was “the best” Hamilton secured his seventh title, Ricciardo had a stellar year. Verstappen showed he has definitely improved as a driver with out losing his speed and Leclerc drove the wheels of that dog a Ferrari.
    Perez, Sainz, Russell, Norris and Gasly all drove well and showed their potential.
    So yeah just a bit click baity that question isn’t it :)

    1. @johnrkh

      Leclerc drove the wheels of that dog a Ferrari

      I’ll give a shoutout to Leclerc too. Smashing a four time champion (even if he was demotivated) and dragging a backmarker car up there on a regular basis was great. Some silly errors, but that’s typical when you have to risk stuff lower down.

  14. Someone has voted for Stroll, I see ;)

    I voted for Ricciardo, the relentless demolition of a talented teammate was rivalled only by Hamilton, and given that he was on his way out, that he kept his motivation to deliver results for Renault so consistently was incredible.

    I think he might handily beat Norris next year. As good as Lando is, I expected him to be regularly beating Sainz by the second half of next year. That he fell back as the season went on might be on Sainz too, I guess, but Norris’s lack of dynamism in race conditions apart from the first three races was purely down to his own confidence in the car, which seemed inconsistent.

    Sainz was an elder brother, but I fear Ricciardo might be more of a bully. I fear for Lando, but unlike George, at least he’s proven himself against stronger teammates. George did at Sakhir, but could he replicate it across a season? It’s still a question mark.

    Ah, trust me to turn a DoTY comment into a Lando Norris one :P

    1. Gah, second half of this year I meant, not next.

    2. @wsrgo Sainz and Norris seem just about level over the season. George Russell more or less blew Bottas away in one race. It’s a question mark still, sure, but GR’s performance was impressive at a level I don’t feel I’ve seen from Lando. I think Ricciardo is going to be ahead fairly quickly and dominate the team.

    3. @wsrgo

      I was inclined to vote for Ricciardo, but I went for Hamilton instead.

      Hamilton was pretty much flawless this year, he delivered in every possible situation (I mean the guy won on three wheels!). I believe Ricciardo performed on a similar level as well, very consistent and maximised every possible result.

      Both totally destroyed their teammates as well. Teammates who are thought to have relatively good turn of speed. Sure, I can agree that Bottas has been quite unlucky this year, but he never does enough during the maximise his results. He would certainly have been closed had it not been for his misfortune, but would have had nothing on Hamilton.

      Ocon will have a quiet winter of self reflection I feel, this was year was not a good look, despite the podium. If this year was tough, imagine next year! Alonso has probably already sized Ocon up, he’s been with the team for most season, participating in race weekends and debriefs. Not sure Ocon knows what’s coming next year. With Gasly rumoured to be in the wings for 2022, next season will be a massive test for Ocon. Further to this, with the top end of the midfield ever so close, every point will count, and Renault cannot afford to have one of their drivers languishing far behind the other. Mclaren will be strong next year, and if Vettel rediscovers his form, RP will be strong as well, and if we are to believe Ferrari, they’ll be in the mix too.

  15. I voted for Hulkenberg. I suppose I’m still quite impressed at the guy jumping into an unfamiliar car at such extreme late notice and still performing excellently. Gasly, Norris, Russell & Verstappen probably impressed me the most other than them.

    1. Hulk is so unlucky…

  16. Instinctively (not thinking too much about each case, just remembering who I most recall from the season), I’d say Hamilton, Perez, Gasly and Russell most impressed me. Maybe Sainz too.

    1. + 1. I like your selection.

    2. @david-br Gasly, Sainz and Perez better than Verstappen? That’s your honest and objective take as a true F1 fan I take it? Lol

      1. @balue Weird how you ignore all my comments speaking positively about Verstappen (there are a lot), never have anything good to say about the current 7x champion (a ‘curious omittance’, let’s say) and yet you think you’re in any position to remark sarcastically about me being a ‘true F1 fan’, whatever that means? ‘Lol’.
        ‘Impressed by’ isn’t the same as ‘better than’. Has Verstappen really impressed me this year? Not really. Other years, yes. This year he’s been excellent but anonymous. There’s been no qualification or race where I’ve thought ‘he shouldn’t have been able to do that’ – something he has achieved other years. It’s a subjective impression, mine, as stated, it’s not supposed to be anyone else’s, or a reflection on who objectively has driven the best. And it actually expresses a wish to see Verstappen not stuck in 3rd-place limbo on his own and able to show his pace and skill at racing – the latter, in particular, was largely absent this year.

        1. @david-br

          ‘Impressed by’ isn’t the same as ‘better than’

          Yeah of course. As if your comment had nothing to do with the ‘best 2020 driver’ thread topic you’re replying to. It was just your random thoughts that just happened to drop in here. Nothing to do with an urge to put down your hero’s rival in any way. That wouldn’t be your way, would it..

          1. @balue Are you desperate to provoke some kind of insulting response from me and feel vindicated? Obsess about something else…

          2. @david-br Insulting response is your normal response as is proven yet again here. And the only one obsessing here is obviously you. You promised earlier you would leave this site, but you couldn’t. Too addicted to your hero-worship and hating on others, there simply weren’t enough sites on the internet feed this obsession so you just had to continue here as well, despite wanting to leave.

          3. You promised earlier you would leave this site

            @balue Seriously, you’re acting like a creepy stalker.

  17. Hamilton had a really solid year so I’ve gone with him. Sure, it sounds like the easy choice, but what stood out to me this year was his race management. His incredible tyre management in Portimao, strategy and pace in Turkey and rapid restart in Mugello won him 3 races on weekends where he didn’t have the single lap pace.

  18. 1. Hamilton – Yes, he had impressive machinery but apart from Race 1 and Race 17, he barely put a foot wrong. Stunning
    2. Perez – Got the worst luck of all drivers, 2 races lost due to COVID, bad strategy call while in comfortable podium position and a retirement while running in podium positions
    3. Verstappen – Brilliantly took fight to Merc and almost beat a sub-par Bottas but I think it is up for debate on how much of the car’s pace did he really extract given that Albon wasn’t a benchmark and there quite a few races where he didn’t put much distance between himself and the similar engined Alpha Tauri (assuming that AT isn’t that close to RB on pace). Also, got involved in a few lap 1 incidents
    4. Leclerc – What qualifying performances! Apart from the few 1st lap incidents, he was the man to watch out for in the mid-field. Look at the gap he put to Vettel and other Ferrari engined drivers.
    5. Russell – Same like Leclerc, some incredible qualifying performances and a stellar Merc debut at Sakhir GP.
    6. Ricciardo – On the balance he was 14 points clear of all other mid field drivers in a car that was at least slower than Mclaren
    7. Sainz – Beat Lando by 8 points, while making avoidable mistakes at Russia and Tuscan GPs. Led the Monza and Portuguese GPs on merit and terribly unlucky to miss out on the win in Monza
    8. Gasly – The standout performance in Monza aside, few good races but did not dominate Kvyat which I thought would have been possible

    1. Agreed on Perez, even he didn’t get the upgrades in the car for a few races, Stroll pretty much max the car out but Perez took it way beyond even sometimes was sabotage by poor pit wall calls

  19. It is easy to win from front row in a fast car that can lap half of the grid. But to be able to consistently do so race after race after race in variable conditions and over a shortened year that saw several new tracks is simply superb. Lewis Hamilton it is for the best driver of 2020.

  20. Gasly has an impressive season, not only his maiden win in Monza but every other race. These 5th, 6th or 7th places he worked hard for were amazing to watch.

  21. Hamilton, he fought really hard for every point throughout the season and it paid off in the end when he got Covid but still had managed to wrap up the championship. The hard work all paid off!

  22. The 2020 season has left me dumbfounded really….
    The best car was 1 sec faster over the first half and around 0.5 faster after party mode got forbidden.
    Like every season the man in the faster cars tops the polls…. with Verstappen in 2nd… before 2014 the man in the currently fastest car was ranked 4th or 5th… the car can do a lot for you is my conclusion.

    Why I feel Verstappen did a better job than Lewis… with margin.
    Lewis made far too many mistakes, it started in race one…ignoring a clearly visible yellow flag which he tried to get away with, not WDC worthy… taking out Albon, ignoring the red light, making illegal practice starts.
    Lewis was also beaten by Bottas in both quali and races… he was beaten by both Verstappen and Bottas in the final race… while Mercedes did have the car that was potentially faster. Lewis worst finish was a P7…
    Lewis still knows how to race, but topping the penalty charts due to all these mistakes doesn’t make him the stand out driver…. the Mercedes was the stand out car and that saved his title this season.

    Verstappen made mistakes as well…after all no one is flawless, Hungary comes to mind, but he made up for it in the race beating a Merc taking P2, Turkey is the other one…. yes his car was set-up wrong, but it also looked a bit over ambitious. Max worst finish a P6

    Lewis simply did not maximize the car’s potential as good as Max did…

  23. Lewis for one simple reason: Had he not been in the Merc Max would have trampled alll over Bottas and won the WDC. Bottas would not have stood a chance even with Russell.

    1. @macradar So because someone in a worse car would have beaten the best cars, whoever managed to stop him in the best car is therefore the best driver? That’s some logic..

  24. So who is your driver of the year? Dont just have a dig without answering the question this thread is all about.

  25. Two simple points:
    1) the pole results as written is 100% accurate. The top five are the top five.
    2) single greatest amount of written words in a response EVER goes to “f1frog” who today actually wrote in excess of 70 million words. Maybe it was only 45-50 million words.
    3) f1frog I can report is home of recovering from excessive finger heat and docs have him soaking his hands in liquid nitrogen

    Brilliant response 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

  26. Objectively, Hamilton has been nearly faultless all year long. The only mistakes he’s made that weren’t his fault were making contact with Albon in Austria and messing up qualifying for the Russian GP which compromised his race strategy. But it’s tough to judge someone’s performance when he’s driving a car that is so much better than the rest of the field.

    Verstappen has been exceptional all season long, although very unlucky. Perez has had an exceptional season has well, particularly the second. Same could be said for Ricciardo. Honourable mentions for Sainz, Norris, Gasly, Russell and Hülkenberg.

    1. Explain how Hamilton was to not blame for the mistakes he made…?
      Hotting Albon was quite clear… Albon passed him, Lewis hit his rear… when a driver just passed you you;re not to suppose to take him out… that’s how the FIA saw it and it was a clear penalty.
      Add ignoring the yellow flag and his frist race of the season was a true drama.

      Monza and Russia was also a drivers mistake…yes the team did have a part in it, but Lewis is on F1 for so many years…he really has to take responsibility for his (odd?) actions.

      Imo he showed he’s not untouchable in a couple of other races… Bottas does have the edge on him every now and then…Bottas imo, not such a great racer.

      It’s odd though, people simply don’t seem to acknowledge the mistakes Lewis made this season

    2. @andae23

      Lewis also messed up by ignoring the closed pit lane, doing illegal practice starts in a place that is obviously dangerous and ignoring the yellows for which he got a penalty. Many people seem to ignore those type of errors even though following those rules is part of racing too, not just being fast or not hitting others.

      I think that if you take all mistakes and exceptional drives into account, it’s very close between Lewis and Max.

      1. @aapje The team didn;t notice the pit lane being closed.

        Hamilton did not start at an illegal location. The rules were not against it. They changed the description of the start location for the next race to explicitly rule out that location. Proper regulators don’t hand out a penalty for when they need to changed the rules.

        1. Lewis is the one driving and lights and flags are the first things you learn to react on otherwise penaulties. This was Leiws biggest mistake and Mercedes was to late to correct him.

        2. @f1osaurus

          There were two flashing red signs visible from the car that Lewis ignored. Noticing these signs is an important part of the job. Having the team notify the driver as well is just a courtesy, but doesn’t absolve Hamilton. If my navigation software malfunctions and doesn’t tell me when I’m speeding, it’s also fully justified if I get a fine if the speed limit is posted on the side of the road.

          Frankly, I was quite disappointed with Lewis for making this mistake twice. It’s something that I expect a Stroll-level driver to do more than once, not a top driver.

          And when the rules are ambiguous, you risk a fine when you don’t get clarification with the referees before you push your luck, in all sports. It seems that Lewis asked his team while he was already in the car, which put his team on the spot. If he’d prepared better and asked before, they could have looked at the map together and/or checked with race control. Or he could just have been more conservative, like the other drivers.

  27. I would have to vote no opinion. I can’t choose one, i would maybe vote Perez but Ham, Per, Gas, Ver and Ricc all had a great season plus many others impressed.

  28. Lewis Hamilton (49%)
    Max Verstappen (22%)
    Sergio Perez (9%)
    Daniel Ricciardo (5%)
    Charles Leclerc (3%)
    Pierre Gasly (3%)
    Nico Hulkenberg (2%)
    Lando Norris (2%)
    Carlos Sainz Jnr (1%)
    Kimi Raikkonen (1%)
    George Russell (1%)

    At this time this is how the poll looks, rest are 0, I was about to vote hamilton and agree he’s been the one on the spot that has been closest to flawless this year, certainly less mistakes than verstappen, who’s also been very strong, however, like someone else said, hamilton runs with no pressure, with a car no one can challenge and bottas as team mate, not to mention in any kind of poll I’ve always been number-focused, even for elections for example, I know my vote isn’t gonna make a difference, so I don’t vote.

    Likewise here, hamilton has 49% of voters and I always knew he was gonna win with or without my vote, hence I’m going for someone who I found underrated in this poll, such as leclerc, true he made some mistakes, but his pace has been exceptional in a car that was really lacking, even if it wasn’t as bad as vettel made it look, because a vote on someone who has 3% will be more impactful than on someone who has 49%.

    Also I would say all the ones in this list who got at least 1% of voters, which would mean 2 votes, performed well, can’t say any of these has been underwhelming.

  29. Voted Verstappen – main reason is that Hamilton had a far easier season than everyone else.

    It is far easier to lead from the front and control the pace in a superior car than to have to chase, take risks and overcome a speed difference.

    Max on various track ran with reduced downforce to booster his top speed on the straights just to have a chance.

    Have a look and compare onboard videos of Hamilton and Max. The Mercedes is pretty much on rails while you see Max having the control the car.

    Maybe I should have voted for Perez now thinking of it as same applies to Perez and he finished 4th with 2 races missed and 2 mechanical retirements in last 3 races.

    1. @jelle-van-der-meer

      I think that you make a good point. People ding Max for not having competitive team mates, but the fact that both Gasly and Albon couldn’t tame the car suggests that it is really hard to drive fast. In contrast, we saw Russell doing very well in the Mercedes right away, even though he barely even fit in it.

    2. The Merc probably has a 1 second a lap advantage over the field. If people want to argue it’s half a second, it makes no difference and my point still stands.

      When you have that kind of advantage over the field and it’s just Hamilton vs Bottas, you don’t have to setup the car to extract all the latent speed and potential out of it.

      Mercedes drivers can drive to 95% of the limits of the car and crush the field. In order for Verstappen to be anywhere close to the Mercs he needs to be at close to 100%.

      To find that extra few percent becomes exponentially harder with the car much more on edge at 100% than say 98%.

    3. @jelle-van-der-meer

      It is far easier to lead from the front and control the pace in a superior car than to have to chase, take risks and overcome a speed difference.

      Such an obvious point that ignoring it simply being insincere.

  30. Ric. Punching above his weight whole year.

  31. I voted for Perez. He seemed to improve over the course of the season and towards the end he add the added pressure of not having a drive in 2021. He had his first race win and he missed two races as well.

    If anyone had said at the start of the season that Perez would be in contention for, let alone secure a drive for next year with Red Bull, people would have thought you were mad. I realise of course that at the start Perez was under a long term contract.

    Other honourable mentions to Hamilton of course, Ricciardo, Gasly, Sainz and Norris.

    Am I alone in thinking Verstappen was a little disappointing? He did well enough but then by now he is expected to do well, if he is such a talent as many people think he is. I think he made too many little mistakes and actually could have done a bit better. Now some will compare his points position to Bottas but Valteri was very disappointing this year so it’s not a clear comparison.

  32. From the polls, it’s pretty clear.

  33. Clearly Verstappen.

    Russell could jump in Hamilton’s car and despite not being able to fit in it properly and the car being setup for Hamilton’s preferences, he was able to do Hamilton’s job. Russell would have won the race if not for two bouts of cruel misfortune. Drove superbly up until the botched pitstop, then had two brilliant recovery drivers.

    I couldn’t imagine Russell jumping into Verstappen’s Red Bull and replicating Verstappen’s performances over Albon.

    You could also put Leclerc in the conversation. I know he made mistakes but he was driving such an awful car that he had to be very aggressive when any opportunities presented.

    Ricciardo had a great year too. Total dominance over a teammate who was touted as the next big Mercedes talent.

    Russell has to be in the conversation as well. To jump into a Merc not set up for him, not knowing all the settings, not knowing the limit of the tyres in the race, and 48 hours later on his way to a faultless debut win. That was extraordinary. Imagine what he’d do after a few months in that car if he’s that quick after 48 hours. If Russell joined Mercedes at the start of 2014 he’d probably win 7 straight titles.

  34. Rating the fastest ( not the best) drivers (not packages ,car+driver).
    Tier 1
    Hamilton
    Verstappen
    Tier 2 0-0.1 sec/lap average gap
    Riciardo
    Leclerc
    Tier 3. 0.1- 0.2 sec/lap
    Russell
    Bottas
    Vettel
    Sainz
    Norris
    Gasly
    Tier4. 0.2- 0.3 sec/lap
    Raikkonen
    Ocon
    Perez
    Grosjean
    Magnussen
    Giovinazzi
    Tier5. 0.3-0.4sec/lap
    Albon
    Kvyat
    Tier 6. 0.4-0.5 sec /lap
    Stroll
    Latifi

    1. I see no basis to put vettel in that position this year, his gap to leclerc was astounding, while perez performed much better, I don’t think you can claim if perez was at ferrari this year he’d have normally lost qualifying by 6-7 places to leclerc!

      1. In fact I’m looking forward to next f1 year, vettel tier 3, stroll tier 6… until stroll outperforms vettel, that is!

  35. It has to be Lewis Hamilton. Notable mentions Ricciardo, Russel and Perez.

    Max threw away race wins in Bahrain and Turkey.

    1. BAhrain? was he not pushed out of the track into the gravel?

      1. @macleod Verstappen choose to keep his foot in and put it in the wall in Sakhir

        1. do you have proof that max gave full throttle because it looked me more he run out of asfalt which was dirty so slippery. try to watch the onboard you see the car turning untill he hit the gravel then the car went straight to the wall.

          I see a lot of comments from you but not much proof, are you a formule driver or any professional racing driver which experience can help us with your comments?

  36. It was a close and tense race between three contenders for the championship and in my season they finish like this:

    1. Gasly: Some stunning performances in a midfield car, much faster than his teammate and very consistent over the season. I can’t remember an error either. And for some reasons he was frequently able to make the softest tyre work.
    Underdog!

    2. Verstappen: Always in hot pursuit of the Mercs and more than once beat at least one of them. He even gave Bottas a run for second. And he’s making fewer and fewer silly mistakes.
    Fast and furious!

    3. Hamilton: Rock solid and almost flawless as ever. And his combination of speed, race management, and consistency makes him the best all-rounder by some margin. But this season he had it far too easy and the two drivers above impressed me more.
    Cruise mode!

    Now it’s becoming harder. The chasing pack between 4 – 8 is so close together that you can shuffle them anyway you like. For me they came home as follows:

    4. Perez and equally Leclerc: Perez had a soso start to the season but really got going in the second half. His race pace deserved him a lot more podiums and his last to first challenge in Sakhir was remarkable.
    The hare and the hedgehog.

    Leclerc drove the wheels of his car and on raw pace he arguably is second to none. His 58 laps of total commitment in Istanbul were one of the standout drives this year as well. But by overdriving and taking risks he makes too many mistakes.
    Full sent!

    6. Ricciardo: He finally achieved Renaults elusive podiums and as always he was a force to be reckoned with. And he firmly put Ocon in the shade although the gap (in Qualifying) was very marginal and got closer at the end. He beat both McLaren drivers by the way.
    Still underrated.

    7. Sainz and Norris. Nothing to choose between the pair of them. Maybe neither of them is as fast as Russel or Ricciardo but they are getting the job done and together they secured third for McLaren. Norris started the season on a high and appeared to be the faster of the two. He won the internal qualifying battle two.
    Sainz though was able to fight back and his superb race in Monza plus other very strong performances in the second half of the season meant he scored more points than his teammate.
    Bromance ♥️

    9. Russel: Difficult to judge before he drove the Mercedes. But that weekend he showed that the pace most of us expected him to have was real. His qualifying record is also quite telling. On the other hand he doesn’t seem to be able to make his own luck or he has no luck at all. And sometimes in Formula 1 it’s like Napoleon said: “I don’t care if my generals are good or bad, all they need to have is fortune.”
    Heartbreak!

    Then there is quite a gap to the midfield.

    10. For nostalgic reasons and his first lap in Portugal the last points scoring position goes to Kimi Raikkonen. Albeit not as fast anymore he still stands his ground and the fact that he and his teammate were so close was a good indication that they pretty much maximized the car’s potential. Over a race distance though he was easily faster than Giovinnazi and often even able to fight and beat the works Ferraris.
    Stamina!

    11. Bottas: I think he might have had a better season than Raikonnen and by now is probably even faster but I was so underwhelmed by this him this year I couldn’t vote him into the top then…
    Disappointment!

    12. Ocon: Despite him beeing one year out of F1 I expected him to do better. But Ricciardo is a tough nut and the longer the season went on the more competitive Ocon got. So let’s see how he’ll compare to Alonso next year.
    There is still hope.

    13. Kvyat: He’s certainly not horrible but compared to Gasly he pretty much looked like it. But assuming Gasly was the outstanding driver this season he did still better than a lot of other drivers.
    Happy farewell!

    14. Giovinnazi: Solid second year, but nothing special and certainly no world championship material. If he wants to extend his career he should start beating his teammate soon.
    Mediocre!

    Now we start with the backmarkers. None of them imho opinion deserved a place in F1 last year.

    15. Stroll is debatable though. He started the year competitively but than faded away completely. In fact his second half of the year (expect the one high in Turkey which was quite a high high) was the worst of any driver.
    One hit wonder!

    16. Vettel: Anonymous is the understatement of the year. He obviously struggled with the car and the whole situation at Ferrari but that was still unworthy of a 4 times world champion.
    Bad, even for a number two!

    17. Albon: Did he even take part in the season? I can only remember having seen him in the first race an in the last.
    Nowhere boy!

    18. Magnusson: He had speed at occasions but but most of the time was doing Magnusson things.
    Road rage and repair bills.

    19. Grosjean: The best thing is, that he is alive and can still enjoy his retirement. He had speed at occasions but most of the times he was doing Grosjean things.
    Road rage and repair bills.

    20. Latifi: Paydriver and not a particularly fast one either. Won’t be missed.
    Slow.

  37. 1-Ricciardo
    2-Verstappen
    3-Perez
    4-Sainz
    5-Gasly
    6-Russell
    7-Leclerc
    8-Norris
    9-Hulkenberg
    10-Raikkonen
    11-Kvyat
    12-Stroll
    13-Bottas
    14-Giovinazzi
    15-Ocon
    16-Albon
    17-Vettel
    18-Grosjean
    19-Magnussen
    20-Latifi
    Unrated:Aitken & Fittipaldi

    1. Erasing Hamilton from history?
      Not going to happen.

  38. Lewis was No.1, Max not too far from him as No.2. The poll should actually be about places from 3-20. Charles made more mistakes than required for No.3 of the season. So, Sergio is my choice for No.3.

  39. Who was the worst driver? A much harder question to answer, because there are so many average drivers in F1.

  40. All good drivers in F1 but the best drivers demonstrated their skill during the Turkish GP. HAM is still the top driver. Really looking forward to seeing VET next year. I think the dysfunction between the driver and the team was the reason for the lackluster season. I think some weeks the team didn’t bring their best stuff for the driver and on other weeks the driver didn’t bring the best stuff for the team.

    1. Hamilton had the fastest car once the circuit became drier. He was nowhere while it was wet.

  41. Hamilton, the best. Great champion.
    Also good year for Leclerc, Perez, Ricciardo, Sainz, Norris.

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