(L to R): Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes; Max Verstappen, Red Bull; Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin; Albert Park, 2023

2023 mid-season F1 driver rankings part 5: 4-1

2023 F1 season

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The final part of RaceFans’ mid-season driver rankings covers the very best performers in the 2023 season so far.

4 – Lewis Hamilton – Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton

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Lewis Hamilton’s 16th season in Formula 1 was comfortably the least successful and most frustrating of his record-setting career. For the first time, he failed to take a single race win or pole position over a full season and ended the year 35 points adrift of his much younger new team mate, George Russell.

At the half way point of 2023, Hamilton is still without a win in the ground effect era and his hopes of an eighth title have already been dashed under the crushing dominance of Max Verstappen. But Hamilton has enjoyed much more success than last year and appears to be reasserting his position in the garage over Russell.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2023
Hamilton has been on the podium four times in 2023
While the Mercedes W14 is again not as strong as Hamilton or his team would have wanted, Hamilton has been able to make better use of it than Russell, by and large. His total of four podium appearances over the opening 12 rounds – in Melbourne, Barcelona, Montreal and Silverstone – is a tally beaten only by the two Red Bulls and Fernando Alonso. Along with Verstappen and Alonso, he is the third and final driver to have recorded a points finish across all grands prix so far this year, never finishing lower than eighth all season. While that might sound like the bare minimum for a Mercedes driver, the volatile pecking order of the teams behind Red Bull throughout the first half of the year makes it more impressive.

When Aston Martin had the clear second-best car in the field at the start of the season, Hamilton managed to hold off Alonso for the majority of the Australian Grand Prix, only allowing him within DRS range twice over 40 laps to beat him to second behind Verstappen. The next time out in Baku, Ferrari clearly had the edge over Mercedes. However, despite losing track position with a badly timed Safety Car, Hamilton restarted tenth in the grand prix and climbed up to sixth behind Carlos Sainz Jnr’s Ferrari.

Hamilton also enjoyed a strong run of races when the championship moved to Europe, outperforming Russell across the Monaco weekend and keeping his head when the rain came to finish fourth, unable to get around Esteban Ocon ahead but claiming the bonus point for fastest lap. In Barcelona, Hamilton should have been on the front row but a snap of oversteer at the final corner cost him two tenths. He made up for it in the race, moving up to second place and pulling away from Russell behind to secure his second podium finish of the season.

Montreal was another example of how Hamilton was able to extract more from the Mercedes than his team mate. While Aston Martin appeared to be back towards the top of the order, Hamilton showed good pace over the weekend to line up third before beating Alonso off the line to run second. He couldn’t hold off his rival and fell to third, but kept pace to take third on the podium within sight of the two ahead at the finish.

Lewis Hamilton and George Russell, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023
Hamilton has had the measure of team mate Russell
The sole low point for the season so far came in Austria where he was knocked out of the first phase of sprint qualifying and then fell to his worst finish of eighth in the grand prix after receiving 15 seconds of time penalties for six track limits strikes. However, he headed into the summer break on the back of two memorable results, taking a fortunate podium at Silverstone by jumping Oscar Piastri while pitting under Safety Car before storming to his first pole position in a year-and-a-half at the Hungaroring. While he could not hold off Verstappen or the McLarens at the start, fourth place behind the Red Bulls and Lando Norris was no poor result.

Hamilton’s been by no means perfect in the first half of the 2023 season – evidenced by his clash with Perez in the Spa sprint race – but of those lucky enough to be in the fastest cars in the field, he’s been one of the more consistently strong performers.

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3 – Lando Norris – McLaren

Lando Norris

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Although he spent the majority of 2022 frustrated by being locked out of the fight at the front of the field with Red Bull, Ferrari and Mercedes so far ahead of McLaren and Alpine, Lando Norris had his best season in Formula 1 last year. The only driver to score a podium finish outside of the top three teams all year, Norris ended the season in a tier of his own in seventh place – well behind the drivers ahead but 30 points ahead of Esteban Ocon.

But with a fresh younger team mate joining him for 2023, Norris headed into his first season in F1 as the undisputed senior driver in his team. However, any hopes of bridging the gap to the top three teams were shattered before the season even began as McLaren’s pre-season test was a horror show, leaving McLaren CEO Zak Brown to admit that the team had missed its targets for the start of the new year.

Lando Norris, McLaren, Albert Park, 2023
Norris had to wait until Melbourne for points
After a very frustrating start to the season in Bahrain where he pitted no fewer than six times with a pneumatic failure, Norris made an uncharacteristic mistake during qualifying in Jeddah, running into the wall and damaging his car which led to his Q1 elimination. He sustained further damage on the opening lap of the race, but this was at least not his fault after running into debris from his team mate’s car.

But after Jeddah, Norris’s performances over the following ten rounds were consistently good. He rose from 13th to eighth in Melbourne before picking up two bonus places from the chaos of the final restart to secure his first points of the season. Then in Baku, Norris was the best of the rest behind the top four teams to finish ninth – as good a result as he could have realistically hoped for given the performance of his car.

Although points were difficult to come by, with Norris only able to add two more between Miami and Montreal thanks to a ninth place in Monaco, it was not through lack of effort. He was blocked by Leclerc in Monaco qualifying which left him tenth on the grid, but did an excellent job in Barcelona to qualify third before an unfortunate touch with Hamilton damaged his front wing and ruined his race. He probably deserved points for ninth in Montreal, but lost four places as a result of a five second time penalty for driving too slowly behind the Safety Car.

When Norris arrived at the Red Bull Ring, he had a wealth of shiny new upgrades at his disposal that would end up transforming his and McLaren’s season. He immediately made use of them, qualifying fourth on Friday and then third in sprint qualifying before overtaking Hamilton’s Mercedes on merit to cross the line in fifth – which became fourth after Sainz was demoted by a penalty.

(L to R): Lando Norris, McLaren, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Silverstone, 2023
Norris held off Hamilton for second place at home
But it was Silverstone where everything changed. Norris secured a front row start alongside Verstappen, then beat the runaway championship leader off the line to lead the opening four laps of the race. Despite McLaren fitting him with hard tyres for the Safety Car restart, Norris held his nerve to keep Hamilton at bay to secure a memorable home podium in second place. He backed that up in style at the next round in Hungary, qualifying in third before jumping Hamilton into turn one and then undercutting Piastri to move up to second, then keeping Perez at bay to secure back-to-back 18 point hauls.

Even when he wasn’t faultless, such as over the Belgian Grand Prix weekend where he damaged his floor during a mistake in Friday qualifying before falling down the order in the race, he still showed his skills by running 27 laps on soft tyres over his final stint to finish in seventh in spite of his high-downforce set up. Now heading into the second half of the season, Norris could well find himself in the fight for more podiums. If so, he will be a difficult driver for those around him at the front to contend with.

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2 – Fernando Alonso – Aston Martin

Fernando Alonso

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Heading into a season in which he would turn 42-years-old at an entirely new team, Fernando Alonso has once again proven any doubters he still has wrong and also justified Aston Martin’s decision to pursue him as a race driver for this season. And it certainly did not take long for him to do so.

Not even the two-times world champion could ever have expected that he would sit in third place in the championship at the mid stage of his first season with Aston Martin. That he is just one point ahead of Lewis Hamilton in a Mercedes is as much a testament to the Silverstone squad as it is to their newest driver, but Alonso has looked reinvigorated by his return to the sharp end of the grid in 2023.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Jeddah Corniche Circuit, 2023
Alonso took three podiums in the first three rounds
With six podiums from the opening 12 rounds, nine top five finishes and more laps in second place than any other driver including Sergio Perez, Alonso has enjoyed more time as the closest competitor to the runaway Red Bulls as any other driver so far this season. And while that is largely down to him having the machinery to compete at the front, Alonso has demonstrated how he still retains his edge as a driver even after 360 starts as a grand prix driver.

Even getting hit by team mate Lance Stroll on the opening lap of the season did not stop him from passing Hamilton and Sainz on his way to picking up a podium finish in his first start in British Racing Green in Bahrain. Then in Jeddah, after being promoted to the front row thanks to Leclerc’s grid penalty, Alonso beat pole winner Perez off the line to take the lead until the Red Bull inevitably DRS’d his way back by. He initially lost his second straight podium until the stewards overturned their decision, establishing himself as the clear closest contender to the Red Bulls at the early stage of the season.

He was beaten by Hamilton in Melbourne after many laps spent unable to pass the Mercedes, but still maintained his run of podiums to start the season. This was a little fortunate, to be fair, after he benefitted from Russell ahead being caught out by the early red flag and then the final red flag negating his being hit by Sainz at the first corner. But even when his podium streak ended in Baku, he continued to show good form, stealing fourth from Sainz with a brilliant move after the Safety Car restart and then catching Leclerc over the rest of the race to finish less than a second behind the man who had secured both pole positions for that weekend.

He was back on the front row in Miami, courtesy of Leclerc prompting the red flags, running all alone in the race, unable to keep up with the Red Bulls but comfortably ahead of everyone else. Then in Monaco, Alonso just missed out on his first pole in over a decade when Verstappen broke Aston Martin’s hearts at the death. Who knows whether he would have managed to jump Verstappen for the lead had he pitted first for intermediate tyres when the rain came on Sunday, but he had once again been more of a challenge for Verstappen than his own team mate had been.

Peculiarly, his home race in Spain was the only time over the opening half of the season where Alonso was out-performed by Stroll. An error in Q1 damaged his floor which left him ninth on the grid and he settled for finishing behind his team mate in the race. But the next round in Montreal was another highlight, taking another front row start after Nico Hulkenberg was hit by a penalty. He may have lost second to Hamilton at the start, but he claimed it back by overtaking the Mercedes early on in the race. Although being asked throughout the race to keep saving fuel, he kept within ten seconds of Verstappen and managed to keep Hamilton at bay to record podium number six in second place.

Fernando Alonso, Aston Martin, Hungaroring, 2023
Alonso sits third in the championship at the break
After Canada, Aston Martin appeared to lose a step compared with their rivals Ferrari and Mercedes before even McLaren jumped ahead of them in performance. But Alonso continued to deliver solid, mistake-free performances to keep the points coming in. He also continued to vastly out-qualify and out-race Stroll – a team mate 17 years his junior – beating him 10-2 in qualifying and spending more than 500 laps ahead of Stroll on Sundays to finish ahead of him nine times in races where both reached the chequered flag.

As Aston Martin have lost pace relative to their rivals, it’s become more difficult for Alonso to let his talent make the difference. He headed into the break on the back of an underwhelming weekend in Spa where he crashed out of the sprint race with a rare error, but took ten points in fifth place behind Hamilton – his best finish since Austria.

Holding onto that third place over the rest of the season will be extremely difficult. But Alonso will certainly not surrender it without a fight.

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1 – Max Verstappen – Red Bull

Max Verstappen

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What is there to say that hasn’t already been said about the driver who, at the mid stage of the season, is clearly romping to his third-consecutive world championship?

Max Verstappen already had one of the most dominant seasons ever seen in F1 last year when he won 15 grands prix to set a new all-time benchmark for a season. Now, with ten rounds remaining in 2023, he only needs to win half of them to match that tally – and who would bet against him beating it?

Red Bull’s RB19 may be one of the most successful and dominant F1 cars in history by the end of the season, but that is almost entirely down to the reigning world champion. After thrashing team mate Perez last year on his way to a second drivers’ title, Verstappen has only widened the gulf in performance between him and Perez in the first half of the season.

(L to R): Sergio Perez, Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Miami International Autodrome, 2023
Verstappen has thrashed team mate Perez so far this year
It’s arguable that the two rounds where Perez beat Verstappen to victory – Jeddah and Baku – were ultimately only because Verstappen was unlucky. He suffered a driveshaft failure in qualifying in Jeddah which left him 15th on the grid before he recovered to second in the race behind Perez. Then in Baku, Verstappen had been leading but the Safety Car timing helped Perez ahead – although Perez’s pace that afternoon was perhaps the only time all season where Verstappen was matched by his team mate.

The prime example of Verstappen’s dominance likely came in Miami. After messing up his first qualifying run in Q3, Verstappen was caught out by a red flag that left him down in ninth. Despite no Safety Car interventions, he calmly picked his way through the field and caught up to his team mate who had led the entire race, dispatching him with a strong pass to take a win that never really seemed in doubt despite his midfield starting position.

Miami marked the start of an eight round winning streak for Verstappen that will seem him within reach of matching Sebastian Vettel’s all-time run of nine in Zandvoort after the break and potentially set a new record at Monza. It’s hard at this stage to see Verstappen being beaten at any point until the end of the championship. There’s a possibility Red Bull’s rivals could catch up to them over the second half of the season, but given Verstappen’s winning margin in Spa over the first non-Red Bull – 32 seconds – was only six seconds fewer than the equivalent from the opening round in Bahrain, that is in no way assured.

Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2023
Spa was Verstappen’s eighth straight victory
That Spa weekend was comfortably Verstappen’s strongest of his ten victories. He set the fastest time in Friday qualifying knowing he would start five places lower due to a gearbox penalty, then he secured pole for the sprint race and overtook Oscar Piastri to win it before cruising to an easy grand prix victory on Sunday. The lack of pressure that Verstappen seems to face on Sundays may lead some to argue that he is flattered by the performance of his car. But given that the advantage that the RB19 has had over its rivals pales in comparison to other dominant F1 cars like McLaren’s MP4/4 from 1988, Michael Schumacher’s championship winning Ferraris or even Lewis Hamilton’s Mercedes, it’s clear that Verstappen is simply performing at a higher level than anyone else on the grid.

It’s not a question of if he will eventually claim this season’s championship, only at which round. But if he continues how he has done, this could be another record-breaking second half of the season for Verstappen.

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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122 comments on “2023 mid-season F1 driver rankings part 5: 4-1”

  1. Well, we all got wrong: NOR ahead of HAM. Surprising, but not much.

    Good ranking anyway, apart from the ever-existing differences we all have in ours. Good job, Will.

    1. We could/should have known ;)
      I think though that Norris got a bit flattered in a few weekend rankings and Lewis hard done by in at leats one. When adjusting for those it would’ve been a toss-up between the two of them.

    2. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
      20th August 2023, 15:48

      @diezcilindros it’s a bit pointless to rank Verstappen, Alonso, and Hamilton. It’s hard to tell them apart in this season.

  2. The ratings have been all over the place this year, probably to gain some extra off season clicks, but I think everyone agrees on these being the top 4 drivers so far this season.

    I’d argue putting Hamilton above Norris, but it’s very close between them.

    1. The ratings have been all over the place this year, probably to gain some extra off season clicks

      The ranking is a direct result of the race ratings; hardly a click inducing conspiracy (even Massa would shun taking this to court).

      If you (think you) disagree with the ranking then I suggest you do your own driver rating after each race and calculate the averages (@WillWood, maybe a nice feature for this site).
      I guess that all (unbiased) raters will get to a quite similar ranking as prepared and presented by Will.

      1. driver/race ratings are a subjective metric, it’s not some bastion of objectivity we can rely on to add credibility to rankings regardless of whether said rankings are unbiased – whatever that means – or not
        someone called Facts&Stats would know this.

        If you agree with Will that you (think you) believe Lando is a better driver this season – better enough to claim a top three spot and demote Lewis, say that and possibly state your case just don’t pretend this isn’t your opinion but rather some factual finding.


        1. T seems a tad short on comprehensive reading today:
          I merely pointed out that this is hardly a ‘conspiracy’ but a simple result from in-season rating articles.
          I made it clear that ratings are subjective, and that all would get different results.
          In this comment I did not give any opinion the actual ranking/ratings themselves, nor did I mention Lando, thus I don’t need to ‘state my case’.
          Though, you might want to read my earlier post which does give an opinion. Feel free to react to that one and ask me for more details.
          I literally said that I don’t know how others will rate, hence I started that sentence with “I guess”.

          1. alright,
            you did not in any clear or even arguably unclear manner state or express that ratings are subjective. If fact it can be very easily argued that stating the rankings are a “direct result of the race ratings” could be construed as a call to objectivity when Ben questioned its validity. Especially when you doubled down and hazarded a guess that other unbiased – you still have not defined this, you chose this word for a reason – raters would draw similar conclusions so cool it with the comprehensive reading jab my guy.

            Also, this:

            I literally said that I don’t know how others will rate, hence I started that sentence with “I guess”.

            is at loggerheads with this:

            I guess that all (unbiased) raters will get to a quite similar ranking as prepared and presented by Will.

            either you don’t know how (unbiased) others will rank the drivers or you hold the opinion they’ll all loosely align with Will’s sentiments. By the way, does this mean Will is unbiased because that’s a can of worms I’d love to explore with you.
            while you’re at it, reconcile this as well:

            I made it clear that ratings are subjective, and that all would get different results.

            Last I checked different =/= similar.
            Nonetheless, make up your mind or better yet, brush up on the reading comprehension you apparently possess in droves.

            let me be frank, I don’t care about your opinion, in fact, I championed it in my prior reply and will continue to do so. My qualm was the framing of the opinion.
            Lando is in this discussion because not only is he the catalyst for the influx of comments, but also because oh I don’t know, the guy you replied to brought him up. Lastly, you don’t want me to go digging for your other comments, I believe they’ll betray you especially when it comes to the minefield of performance vs talent rating and subjectivity/objectivity as well as bias. don’t make me do it, I’m bored and it’s friday; don’t threaten me with a good time.


          2. Well T,
            you’re clearly lacking more than just reading comprehension.
            I don’t want to make this too long, as it clearly requires a lot of words and explaining for things to become clear to you, and I will focus on one misunderstanding from your side.
            ‘identical’ =/= ‘different’, but ‘similar’ = ‘different’, albeit with minimal deviations. Interestingly, in geometrics ‘different’ is even part of the definition of ‘similar’.

            If you want a more elaborate explanation about any of the other parts of my comment/reply, then don’t hesitate to ask.

          3. so let me get this straight
            I’ve asked multiple questions, you dodge a large part of them.
            You hand pick a part of one question and shift to semantics in an attempt to try to answer – and answer that mind you, YOU YOURSELF had to caveat and to top it off, you throw more salt and insinuate I lack more than just reading comprehension?

            if you want to recton three distinct statements you made to mean the same thing, there are far easier ways than dragging a completely new word and geometry into this. What is this AD2021? Do you have time to explain what geometry says about “any” and “all”?

            I love the Internet, I really truly do. Where else can I find entertainment like this?!
            Thanks for this, it was a nice way to close out the work week. Don’t be a stranger!!

          4. insinuate I lack more than just reading comprehension?

            No insinuation there, mate. I claimed it based on your comments!
            But you obviously missed that as well :p

          5. thanks for reminding me why it’s a fruitless endeavor trying to have a (nuanced) conversation on the Internet. I hope you got whatever you wanted from this, I know I did.

            have a day you deserve, mate

    2. I agree. They were definitely the top 4 this season. I’d rate Hamilton over Norris as well. I thought when the Mclaren wasn’t quite there… neither was Norris. Hamilton and Alonso were absolutely on it all season long.

      1. I’ll be so depressed when we lose Alonso and Hamilton (I say that despite finding Lewis really annoying as a person much of the time). It may be the end of me watching F1 if the cars continue to be fat pigs and if Niels Wittich continues to be race director with his safety cars for everything and anything. For me, 2000-2016 will always be the years I remember most fondly.

  3. My rankings of the 2023 drivers’ performances so far this season. In brackets is a comparison to the end of season placing last year.

    1. Max Verstappen (no change)

    This is an easy one. It has been an outstandingly dominant season from Verstappen, with Baku the only time he has been beaten on merit all season. He has been extremely consistent at the top, with almost no off days and no mistakes. Although I am sceptical because of how Vettel’s career turned after leaving Red Bull, it seems very possible that Verstappen could be better than either Hamilton or Schumacher, as he is more consistent than the former and less error-prone than the latter, while as fast as both. For me, the highlight of his season was the Monaco weekend, with that outstanding qualifying lap to take pole and then the brilliant stint on worn tyres to make sure of victory. But every dominant weekend has been impressive, with his win in Miami another exceptional performance to beat Perez. It would be nice if he were to have more opposition, but right now Verstappen is the clear best driver on the grid.

    2. Fernando Alonso (up three)

    Maybe he is being flattered by Stroll, as it seems unlikely that at his age he would be the second-best driver, but Alonso seems to have maximised the potential of the car almost every time, particularly at the start of the season with his run of great results. Bahrain was a particularly good drive with that nice pass on Hamilton, while Monaco was a similarly strong performance, and Canada perhaps his best drive of the season. However, my main criticism of his season is the two occasions that he chose not to pass Stroll, as he is fighting for third in the championship. The Aston Martin seems to have declined in recent races but Alonso is still outperforming his teammate. It would be great for him to break the record for longest time between consecutive wins some time soon.

    3. Lewis Hamilton (up one)

    It has been a stronger season for Hamilton than last year as he is now more consistently getting the upper hand over Russell, but Hamilton has not yet returned to the level of 2021 and before. He struggled in the first few races of the season and was sometimes outperformed by Russell, but was extremely impressive in Spain and in Hungary particularly, with that fantastic pole position and charge back towards Norris in the opening laps. The podiums in Australia and Canada were good too, although it was unfortunate that he had no chance to defend his lead in the former, while the Silverstone one was far more lucky. In 2021, Hamilton made too many mistakes but his best days were better than Verstappen’s, so I still think he has the potential for another championship if he were to get a car to match the Red Bull.

    4. Lando Norris (down one)

    After another miserable start to the season in which Norris continued to look like a wasted talent in an uncompetitive car, the McLaren’s sudden huge upturn in pace, on a scale perhaps greater than any since Williams in 1979, has put him where he belongs on the grid and three consecutive outstanding drives in Austria, Silverstone and Hungary cement his place in the top four, while I expect to see him move to second in these rankings by the end of the season. Norris also put in some strong drives earlier in the season such as Australia, that great qualifying lap in Spain which was ruined by the first lap mistake, and the searing pace of both McLarens in the wet in Monaco, and has been able to see off the challenge, at least for now, of Oscar Piastri who has a stellar junior record. Currently, Norris seems the most likely driver to prevent a Red Bull clean sweep of the season, and a first race victory would be long overdue.

    5. George Russell (up one)

    Although Russell’s form has dropped away in recent races, it shouldn’t be forgotten that for the first quarter of the season he was matching Hamilton and often beating him. Jeddah and Miami were two particular standout drives in which Russell comfortably beat his teammate on merit, while in Spain he started alongside Perez outside the top ten and beat him to the podium. Even recently in Silverstone, Russell outperformed Hamilton and deserved a better result, while he was leading the race in Australia before being robbed by the ridiculous red flag. However, he has also been quite inconsistent this season with a poor race in Baku and a string of poor qualifying results, although he has often been able to recover well from them, and the crash in Canada was a major mishap, as was throwing away a podium in Monaco. While Russell hasn’t been as strong as Hamilton, he is clearly one of the top drivers on the grid and the best ‘second driver’ in any of the teams this year.

    6. Charles Leclerc (down four)

    On his day, Leclerc is still as fast as anybody, but he has arguably been more inconsistent than any other driver this season. In Baku, Leclerc was outstanding with pole position and third place, and there have been plenty of other races where he totally outperformed Sainz, such as Bahrain where he drove away from him and Belgium and Austria which were rewarded with podiums. But these great drives have been mixed with terrible races. Australia, for example, where he took himself out on the first corner, while in both Miami and Spain he was hopelessly uncompetitive, the former after a crash in qualifying. Leclerc has never quite lived up to his the potential of his early years, and I fear that he would not be able to challenge Verstappen for the title, even in the same car.

    7. Esteban Ocon (up three)

    Now becoming one of the journeymen of the midfield, Esteban Ocon is having one of his strongest seasons in Formula 1 and is looking more like the driver who was so impressive with Force India, rather than the one who disappointed with Renault in 2020. Against my expectations, he has consistently outperformed new teammate Pierre Gasly and has taken some strong points finishes, notably in Jeddah, Spain and Canada. However, the highlight of his season has clearly been an exceptional weekend in Monaco, where his qualifying lap was as good as Verstappen’s to take third on the grid, and he then made no mistakes to hold onto that podium in the race. However, Ocon has started to be outpaced more often by Gasly in recent races and certainly hasn’t looked like a potential future champion, as was suggested during his Force India years. He looks likely to have a long career in the midfield.

    8. Alex Albon (up three)

    As expected, Albon is continuing to show that his dire performances for Red Bull were not his actual level in Formula 1, comfortably outperforming rookie teammate Logan Sargeant at Williams and putting in the occasional great race, helped by the fantastic straightline speed of his car. Albon in Canada put in one of the best drives of the season, making slicks work in qualifying to make Q3 and then finishing seventh after a great stint and strong defensive driving. He was also very quick in Silverstone, and in Australia before the crash. However, Albon has also had many anonymous races when the car isn’t as competitive. After missing Monza last year, it should be his best opportunity this time to get a great result in 2023.

    9. Nico Hulkenberg

    After three years out of Formula 1 playing the role of ‘supersub,’ Hulkenberg’s much-criticised return has proved a great choice by Haas, as he has totally outperformed Kevin Magnussen. His races may not have been so impressive generally due to tyre wear but Hulkenberg has still been stronger than his teammate in this area and did particularly well in Australia and in Austria. But it is qualifying where Hulkenberg has been one of the strongest drivers on the grid, making Q3 on as many occasions as Sergio Perez including an admittedly fortunate second place in Canada, with Spain perhaps his most impressive lap. He is, of course, denied a higher placing by the poor race results, and that elusive podium still looks a long way away, even if he would have fluked it in Australia if the red flag had not been shown so quickly.

    10. Oscar Piastri

    With a junior record on par with Leclerc and Russell, there were high expectations of Piastri going into the season, but considering the trouble that Ricciardo had in the second McLaren, I thought maybe leaving Alpine would prove to be a mistake. Instead, Piastri has been able to stay close to Norris this season, if not on his level, and has also been able to benefit from their recent upturn in form. Jeddah qualifying was an initial highlight for Piastri, but his best weekend came in Silverstone, qualifying third behind Norris and being robbed of that result in the race by a poorly-timed safety car. With the McLaren now the second-best car, a first podium will surely come soon for Piastri, and I think next year McLaren might have the best driver lineup on the grid.

    11. Yuki Tsunoda (up five)

    After a very promising rookie season in Formula 2, Tsunoda always looked to have potential despite a dismal first season and disappointing second season in Formula 1, and that potential is finally starting to be realised with a good season in 2023 in which he has comfortably outperformed Nyck de Vries and quite often dragged points finishes out of an Alpha Tauri that didn’t look like it had any business being in the top ten. His most recent race in Spa was surely his best of the season, running as high as sixth on merit and finishing tenth. Tsunoda also had a very good race in Baku to finish tenth, and ran in the points for most of a strong Monaco race before brake problems relegated him out of the points. He has also had a series of disappointing races but is not making the same mistakes as last year and beat Ricciardo in his last race. It will be interesting to see how he does against Ricciardo.

    12. Carlos Sainz (down five)

    Both Ferrari drivers seem to be having difficult seasons and Sainz has consistently been a little behind Leclerc, even if he is more consistent, and hasn’t really had any standout performances all season, although his most impressive race came in Austria with that fantastic defence against Sergio Perez for many laps before losing out due to DRS. Sainz also went well in Spain, taking a front row but not having the car to beat Mercedes, and in Australia as he threatened the podium until hitting Alonso on the final restart and getting a harsh penalty. In general he has just been a little off the pace all season and has beaten Leclerc only when his teammate has had an awful weekend. Sainz is still the ideal number two for Ferrari.

    13. Pierre Gasly (no change)

    It has been a better season than 2022 for Gasly, but he is still a long way adrift of the level he was at in 2021 and, surprisingly, has generally been slightly put in the shade by teammate Ocon, although in recent races he has begun to gain the upper hand and did a decent job in both Austria and Silverstone. At the start of the year, he finished behind Ocon in Jeddah, Monaco, Spain and Canada, and ruined his very strong race in Australia by taking out Ocon on the final restart, the initial mistake costing him fifth. Gasly has also had a lot of bad luck in 2023 but it has generally been an underwhelming half-season, which is likely to get better in the second half.

    14. Sergio Perez (down six)

    It was always extremely unlikely that Perez was going to be able to challenge Max Verstappen for the championship this year, but after a surprisingly strong first few races, his season has totally fallen apart and his drive has now been considered enough under threat to be worth testing Ricciardo at Alpha Tauri for half a season. Perez drove extremely well to win in Jeddah and Baku, with the first being fortunate as Verstappen had problems in qualifying, but the second being completely on merit and a fantastic drive. However, his season seemed to fall apart in Miami, when he failed to beat Verstappen despite starting eight places ahead of him, and then Perez went on a horrible run, missing Q3 five times in a row albeit due to various mistakes rather than a lack of pace, and failing to finish second until Belgium while Verstappen won eight consecutive races. Monaco was particularly terrible, but Perez seems to have found his form again and may be able to keep his Red Bull drive if he can consistently finish second to Verstappen in a dominant car.

    15. Valtteri Bottas (down three)

    It is a complete mystery what happened to Bottas after Baku last year, as he immediately went from consistently dominating Zhou and finishing top of the midfield to struggling to beat his teammate and often finishing outside of the points in 2022. A solid drive to points in Bahrain seemed to suggest Bottas had found his form again, but after that he has continually had terrible races and been beaten by Zhou. Hungary was a particular disappointment, as the Alfa Romeo was clearly a very quick car on all three tyres in qualifying, but Bottas dropped multiple places at the start due to his typically poor racecraft, then couldn’t make progress and finished outside of the points. Bottas was also nowhere in Jeddah, Australia and Spain. However, Canada was a strong result and in general Bottas has just shaded Zhou. But he looks a far cry from the driver who used to give Hamilton trouble at Mercedes.

    16. Zhou Guanyu (up one)

    The only rookie of 2022 has become a fairly consistent, but slightly mediocre driver in Formula 1 terms, and while he has got closer to Bottas, this seems more due to his teammate declining than Zhou improving. However, he has had some strong races, with Spain the best of the season as Zhou finished in the points, and a great qualifying in Hungary being rewarded with fifth. In general, he has been a bit behind Bottas for most of the season but beating him when Bottas went missing, but Zhou doesn’t really look like a race winner of the future. He has probably done enough to keep his seat for 2024.

    17. Lance Stroll (down two)

    For the second time in his career, Stroll has found himself in potentially the second-best car on the grid. But just like in 2020, it feels like something of a waste as he has been totally dominated by teammate Fernando Alonso and has made a lot of mistakes. Qualifying has particularly cost him and Stroll is now a long way adrift in the championship. Stroll’s season started well, his best race coming in Bahrain with sixth despite injured wrists, while he was denied a very strong result in Jeddah by a mechanical failure. However, Stroll was fortunate to finish fourth in Australia after his late race error was wiped out by the red flag, and thereafter he has struggled to score many points and has had a dismal race in Monaco. Although it is unlikely that Stroll will be dropped any time soon, he is costing Aston Martin this season after looking stronger in 2021 and 2022.

    18. Kevin Magnussen (down four)

    After a great initial return to Formula 1 in 2022, Magnussen’s performances gradually dropped during the season and at the end of the year it wasn’t clear that he was quicker than Schumacher. Therefore, it isn’t hugely surprising that Nico Hulkenberg has been the quicker Haas driver this year, but what is surprising is the difference between them, as Magnussen has had a terrible year so far which has got worse as the season progresses. The Haas does seem a strange car and Magnussen has said it doesn’t suit him at all. He did a very good job in Miami to finish tenth, having started fourth, and also scored points in Jeddah where he beat Hulkenberg. But Magnussen has had too many races like Hungary, Austria, Canada and Australia where he was nowhere compare to Hulkenberg. I think it is unlikely he will be retained next year.

    19. Logan Sargeant

    Not much was expected from Sargeant’s rookie season after he didn’t really fight for the Formula 2 title, but a brilliant drive in Bahrain which was almost rewarded with points made him look like a great prospect. Unfortunately, that proved to be something of a false dawn and Sargeant has since been clearly outpaced by Alex Albon and hasn’t threatened the points again. He was fairly quick in Austria and Silverstone, but had an awful weekend in Australia and has generally finished at the back. Sargeant has certainly been an improvement on his predecessor, Nicholas Latifi, but he will need a strong second half to the season to keep the Williams drive beyond 2023.

    20. Nyck de Vries

    His outstanding drive in Monza 2022 to finish ninth for Williams secured De Vries a full-time drive in Formula 1, and it is certainly right that he got the chance after winning Formula 2 back in 2019. However, De Vries’ first half-season with Alpha Tauri was very disappointing and he was comfortably outpaced by Yuki Tsunoda, although he didn’t really have any particularly terrible weekends apart from Baku. The decision to drop him was harsh but was probably more about wanting to test if Ricciardo was good enough to race for Red Bull in the future, while seeing that De Vries didn’t have a chance of a promotion. In other seasons, he wouldn’t have been ranked last, but this season has a particularly strong grid. Hopefully he will return to Formula e next season.

    1. Stephen Taylor
      18th August 2023, 8:53

      You must’ve been ill during the last 5 or 6 races if you think Russell was ranked too low . Russell has been awful in recent races.

    2. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
      18th August 2023, 13:32

      In Saudi Arabia and Spain, Bolas had a load of damage. His bad start in Hungary was nothing racecraft, but having to steer round Zhou who had launch issues. His only really poor race was Australia. Other races like Monaco went unappreciated by many. His overtake on albon was superb. The quantity of bad luck bottas has had this year has not helped his results at all. 4 races with damage.

    3. @f1frog Good read, thanks for posting. All well argued.

  4. Maybe NOR higher than HAM is a bit surprising, but largely as expected.

  5. Not suprising but i think Lando is a bit too high I know his last 2 races were very good but the first races of him were best said average I think Lewis should be third as he was comfortable in front of his teammate and constant in the top 5 all races which lando didn’t do.

    Just a Note looking at the weather next week Zandvoort it will be wet all days …. after a vert warm periode.
    Now It’s more then 5 days but it’s not much different looking at all models it could a bit drier on Thursday but steadly it gets wetter ……

    1. Weather forecasts can change several times within 7+ days, so too early for judgments this far in advance.

  6. I think this is a good reflection of how much each of these drivers has got out of their equipment.

  7. On the whole I think the rankings are there or thereabouts. It’s important to remember there is no perfect way of judging and totalling the points from each round does makes sense.

    However, I think there are a couple of shortcomings: a half season review should really consider things we didn’t know on that race weekend. For example, great drives from Albon look increasingly like good drives factored into a car with strong straightline speed and a weak team-mate. Team-mates also weigh too heavily in some drivers ratings and not others. Piastri has been stellar in a lot of GPs but is statistically hammered by Lando. Given McLaren were near the back there wasn’t as much criticism as guys like Checo or Carlos get.

    Perez is far too low in my eyes. He’s paid to win the races Max doesn’t and be second in the championship. Job done. Is he performing at his peak? Certainly not. Would I look to replace him? I would. Is he having the 17th best season of all the drivers with 2 wins, not for me. He’s simply up against one of the top 5 of all time in a team built around him.

    I’d have Carlos and Perez a few places higher, Charles ahead of Albon and Hulkenberg maybe a touch lower too. That said, I do really enjoy the rankings and understand and appreciate the analysis – I’d maybe opt for a different scoring format in the future that removes team-mate focus especially on practice sessions and applies a more holistic view across the season.

    1. Your argument for Perez makes sense, until you consider that Max won 10 races and Perez wasn’t P2 for all of them. Had Verstappen not won any of the eight races since Baku, Perez’ tally would be two. He would’ve won two races out of eight (Belgium and Miami) that Verstappen not just won, but dominated.

      I think in light of that, there’s nothing unfair about his ranking.

      1. I believe Perez’ ranking is unduly harsh. I’m certainly not going to argue he’s had a great season but I think anyone who wins a race on merit should garner more respect than someone plodding around the midfield @sjaakfoo.

        If we consider Perez qualifying performance of course it’s atrocious but his powers of recovery have been decent. 7 podiums and 2 wins is a strong season from most drivers, regardless of machinery as it suggests they kept out of trouble.

        If we consider those above him. Magnussen has been comfortably beaten by a returning journeyman and has no highlight to speak of. Tsunoda performed well against a driver who was sacked with no F1 pedigree. He was beaten by Ricciardo, another driver making a comeback, who was voted 19th here last year I think. At Spa he had a solid performance but I attribute that to the dry set up on his car. Zhou has also been fairly unspectacular it’s just Bottas has had some issues.

        Gasly and Albon were ranked 18th at their midseasons at Red Bull. Perez was 8th in 21 and 11th in 22. I’d argue Perez has been closer to his 21 and 22 seasons than the Gasly and Albons travesties.

        Fundamentally, this comes down to whether it’s better to be consistently average, with no highlights but no errors, or whether to have a couple of good days and a couple of bad. I’d argue having good days should weight more heavily in a ranking. Perez hasn’t been incredible, great or even good overall but he’s had a lot of better Sundays than the drivers above him in the ratings.

        I’d have him around 14th, which is still a disgrace, but 17th is adding insult to injury I feel.

        1. I think anyone who wins a race on merit should garner more respect than someone plodding around the midfield

          The problem is that “who wins a race on merit” in a 2023 RBR only needs to beat (or benefit from the misfortune of) one driver.
          The fight successfully in the midfield you need to keep up to ten other drivers behind.

          PS the drivers who are ‘plodding’ in the midfield typically score lower than Perez when he wins a race (although the 6 in SAU was a bit harsh).

          1. You could make that argument a multitude of ways. A driver in the fifth fastest car getting a fifth is a massive overachievement compared to a driver in the best team winning. But if 5 drivers ahead of the fifth best team retire he’s met expectations just got lucky. The more drivers ahead of you the more likely you are to benefit from.l unreliability.

            That says nothing of the pressure at the front. It is harder to drive under greater pressure and scrutiny and Perez has had a world of it this year. I think he’s racing against an all time great and has had a few good races and a few bad qualis. To my mind he is not the 17th best driver this year and as you point out a 6 for a win is incredibly harsh on reflection.

          2. That says nothing of the pressure at the front. It is harder to drive under greater pressure and scrutiny and Perez has had a world of it this year.

            Totally disagree with that, @RBAlonso! We shouldn’t start rating a driver’s performance higher, only because he is mentally not up to the pressure.
            Performance ratings should only be based on what a driver was able to show us given the car and physical circumstances.

          3. Pressure is the reason we watch sport. It’s the human toll it takes to get to finals and overcome the emotion. Pressure is and always will be a huge factor is someone’s ability. They are totally intertwined – it’s why guys like Gasly can perform horribly in a red bull and amazingly in a Toro Rosso months later.

            I can’t support the idea that Magnussen is having a better season than someone who won and was on the podium multiple times. Pressure management is part of the game and something you need to factor in your scores otherwise it’s an incomplete comparison. Perez is performing worse than Max but is not having a worse season that guys trundling round at the back hoping to score a 14th.

        2. While I disagree that just because he had some win he deserves to be ahead of drivers like magnussen, because you don’t just win in this year’s haas, while you sure win in this year’s red bull, overall I agree perez is rated too harshly, he’s had a good first few races and wasn’t as bad in the races where he qualified horribly later on; I think 12-14th would’ve been fairer, but obviously I also wouldn’t have had sainz that far back, definitely should’ve been ahead of perez.

  8. No surprise – place the black guy 4th.

    He is 3 points or so away from Alonso who was in the supposedly 2nd fastest car.

    Utter tosh yet again.

    1. That’s almost into Godwin’s law territory, quite a lame comment actually.

    2. I’d have put Hamilton above Norris myself but in relation to his skin colour, Hamilton has come first on this list for multiple years in the past. Difficult to square that with your comment. To be fair, some users of this site have a heavy Hamilton dislike but I really doubt you can claim that is applicable to the people who actually work here.

      1. Plus don’t forget this was originally f1 fanatic.co.uk and I remember a lot of people over-defending hamilton, arguing over him having had a better 2021 than verstappen, being the more deserving champion etc., I don’t think even the comment section is biased vs hamilton overall.

        I myself wasn’t sure if he should’ve been ahead of norris or not, and as for the comparison with alonso, the cars haven’t been the same all the time, aston martin started stronger, but mercedes is significantly better now, I agree for the first half aston should still be the better car, so points wise he’s got a point, though I think these 3 drivers were all pretty close.

        1. It should still be f1fanatic.co.uk. Other series’ hold no interest to me, and the .net domain was originally intended for organizations involved in networking technologies, such as Internet service providers and other infrastructure companies (yes I did just copy that from Wikipedia, but it doesn’t change the facts).

          Mind you, I’m from the UK (and I’m British), and I’m not a Hamilton fan. I will accept that this is because he came into F1 whilst ITV held the broadcasting rights, so I wasn’t watching that season. I didn’t like their coverage, or the refuelling era in general. But I started watching again in 2009 and I’ve only really heard Hamilton complaining, even when he had the fastest car for eight seasons in a row.

    3. Wait! What? Isn’t Hamilton in line for WDC this season? Per “Sky”?

    4. Utter tosh yet again.

      I fully agree, should have been 14th at the very best

  9. I personally put Hamilton 2nd. He’s been more consistently on top of the car he had each weekend than Alonso and Norris.

    1. Good call

    2. Agreed. Hamilton’s form since Mercedes stopped their experiments speaks for itself. He may not be 100% anymore, but he’s still top tier and, together with Verstappen, a step ahead of the rest.

      1. I think its important to review the season as a whole and not be selective about results. In the first 5 races he was outqualified 4 times and finished behind Russell twice. In Melbourne Russell was fighting for the lead when he retired too.

        I’d have Lewis 3rd, I think we the cars were equal in the first few rounds Alonso got the most out of the package. Since Monaco Lewis is on fantastic form but did have a blip on Austria too.

  10. I have a good understanding about the talent of Hamilton and Alonso compared to each other. Alonso was never better. Maybe less error prone than Hamilton at times. But only that. Hamilton beat him as a rookie. Hamilton embarrassed Kovalainen even more than Alonso embarrassed Fisichella. Kovalainen beat Fisichella as a rookie. Hamilton had a much superior qualifying margin over Button than what Alonso had. Hamilton made Bottas his wingman. The same Bottas who convincingly had Massa under control for years at Williams. Alonso’s Ferrari teammate for 4 years. There is not a single comparison that favours Alonso over Hamilton. Period.

    Now look at this year. They have teammates with wildly different talents. Russell is quite a bit better than Stroll. It’s not close. And Lewis is coming out on top.

    1. Hamilton embarrassed Kovalainen even more than Alonso embarrassed Fisichella. Kovalainen beat Fisichella as a rookie.

      If you want to use a common benchmark.. just use Button. Alonso was significantly better than Jenson in their 3 seasons together. Hamilton was slightly less so in their 3 seasons together. Hamilton got the better of Alonso in 2007 (tied on points, but still giving you the benefit of doubt), but that season was a complete mess for Alonso’s relationship with Mclaren.

      I think both are fairly equal.. Hamilton has the slight edge on qualifying pace, both have equally good racecraft, and Alonso is more consistent over an entire season.

      1. @todfod I think 2007 showed Hamilton has faster pace, qualifying and race, and that has only been reinforced over time as he’s developed other skills he didn’t have back then. Comparing with Button is really a moving target for a number of reasons, not least that Button ‘won’ the intra-team political battle against Hamilton at McLaren (fair enough to say Alonso lost that battle, extremely rarely, versus Hamilton in 2007 when McLaren refused to keep Lewis and his pace in check). Personally, though, I think they’re quite different drivers and difficult to compare, both excellent. A lot comes down to the risks they’re willing to take and Hamilton in his earlier career took a lot more. Alonso is much more calculating and risk-averse, playing safe. I mean, allowing Stroll to stay ahead of him is typical Alonso, all about off-track calculations as much as on. Can anyone imagine Verstappen doing that? Or Hamilton for that matter. I admire that canniness in some ways, I mean it’s fascinating too at some levels, but does it actually get the end results? On balance, Alonso’s post-2006 career perhaps suggests not.

        1. You can’t use a bad season for alonso to say hamilton is better, compared to 2007 hamilton developed new skills, yes, but alonso also had plenty of better seasons.

          1. What makes you think 2007 is a bad season for Alonso? When you put 2 of the greatest drivers of all-time in the same team someone will loose. And the loser will not look like million bucks. That’s what happened to Alonso

        2. I always laugh when people argue about peak years to suit a narrative. In my book Hamilton has always been at his peak throughout his F1 career. There was a slight dip in 2011. And an outlier qualifier result in 2014. But other than that he is always operating near his peak. I see no reason to think otherwise

      2. The reality is in 2010 and 2012 Hamilton was immensely better than Button by margins Alonso could only dream of. He had millions of reliability problems. Those years. Hamilton’s 2011 wasn’t that good. But let’s not forget about Alonso’s mediocre 2015 season.

        1. And yet he was beaten by Button over their 3 years together. Doesn’t matter how many times you deny it, he got beat and it wasn’t all down to the car.

          1. 2010 and 2012 are two of Hamilton’s most unluckiest years. 2022 is there too. There is no comparison. Button is not in the same league as Lewis. Plus didn’t Ocon outscore Alonso when they were teammates? This one is much more even than the Hamilton-Button comparison.

          2. So we should dismiss every season Hamilton lost, is that seriously your argument? There are reasons he got beat by Rosberg, Button AND Russell but instead your answer is blame it on everything but Hamilton. Its nonsense, I doubt even Hamilton wouldn’t admit whenever he’s been beaten he could have done a better job himself. He got beat, deal with it.

          3. I agree, it is not that difficult. Lewis only won when he had a stellar car. Not to say he is not a good driver. He can certainly be mentioned amongst the better/great but would Alonso have made the move to Mercedes, he’d now have 8-9 WDC and Lewis would have been stuck on 1. Lewis really isn’t that good as his stats make us believe (though still above the majority of the drivers for sure), he was rather the beneficiary of circumstances. Good for him.

        2. The 2015 season wasn’t even comparable as their car ws a garbage truck.. yet ..he was more impressive than Button. 2007 was an off season for Alonso, he was far more athis best in 2005, 2006 and 2008.

          Lets not forget that the season that everyone claims Lewis ‘thrashed’ Alonso is also the season they ended tied on points. Hamilton has had mediocre seasons as well in 2011, 2016 and even 2022. No one judjed him on getting beaten by Button and Rosberg.. but a really big deal is made out of 2007, where Alonso’s reputation was hurt when he tied with Hamilton.

          Honestly, I’m not saying Alonso is better than Hamilton. I’m saying there’s nothing to choose between them. If they both were in the exact same car this season, there would be nothing to choose between them.

    2. This has to be the biggest lot of nonsense I’ve read all day. Alonso and Hamilton have had compatible cars in 2007, the second half of 08, 10-13 and 23. They were even in 2007, Alonso had a better second half of 08 and all of 10-13, with 2 second places in the championship. He’s ahead of Lewis again this year.

      The comparison with Kovalainen is laughable. Fisi was one of the best drivers in 04 and Alonso destroyed him both seasons. Kovalainen was repeatedly berated by Briatore and was brought to McLaren due to his junior record and Alonso leaving the team. Alonso then destroyed Massa and Raikkonen who were both in titles fights.

      This season Alonso has been on the podium more and scored more points. How on earth is Lewis coming out on top?

      1. Fernando Alonso was better than Lewis Hamilton in 2010-2013, but that was arguably his peak in Formula 1, whereas they were among Hamilton’s worst seasons. Peak Hamilton came in late 2017-2020 and during that time he reached a level that was, in my opinion, a step above Alonso at his best. I generally consider Hamilton the stronger driver, and also partly because of the 2007 season when Hamilton was slightly better despite being a rookie.

        1. @f1frog I’d go with that and add 2021 as peak Hamilton too. His performances in the final races were some of the best of his career against the most intense competition (and arguably the finest driver he’s faced).

          1. I didn’t include 2021 just because Hamilton made too many mistakes that season. He may have been totally robbed of the championship in Abu Dhabi, but over the entire season, Max Verstappen had more bad luck and Hamilton should have already wrapped up the title. But while Verstappen was the better driver overall in 2021, Hamilton’s best drives (for example Bahrain, Spain, Hungary and particularly Brazil) were stronger than anything from Verstappen that year.

          2. @f1frog I agree with all that but I’d still include 2021 as ‘peak Hamilton’ since his talent and motivation didn’t drop, both drivers made mistakes, and really much of the earlier part of the season was Hamilton trying to figure out how to deal with Verstappen’s aggressive passes (or attempts to pass), which obviously had flash points at Silverstone, Monza and later Interlagos, Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi (by when, arguably, he’d found some solutions and was the better driver). You can argue Verstappen was better or more consistent overall, sure, but it didn’t represent any real decline from Hamilton’s previous levels, only adjustment to a new and fierce rivalry.

        2. Lewis was already a World Champion by 2010 – I’m not sure there are many drivers who can claim their peak is 10 years after their first title. I think 2010-13 is the fairest comparison we can have.

          I agree Lewis was phenomenal between 17 and 20 but he had very few challengers internally or externally. Lewis is best when the car is the best. Alonso is the best when the car is not at the best. Alonso had the best car for half a season on 2006, and won 6 races and was 2nd 3 times in the first 9 races against Schumacher and Raikkonen. His poorest season he lost the title by a point in a team at war with him with a new car, engine, tyres and crucially brakes. Hamilton’s poorest season in 2011 was considerably worse. I’m not sure Alonso would lose 8 races in a row with the best car as Hamilton did either.

          This is not to say Lewis isn’t one of the best ever, I think he’s incredible but comparatively against Alonso the argument is either 2007 or when Alonso was running around at the back which isn’t useful for a clear analysis.

        3. Was he? Alonso did at Ferrari what he does : take everything for himself and just scraps for his teammate, whereas Hamilton had competition from Button and no visible preference towards him.

          To me Hamilton was the best driver of 2010, all of them made mistakes, but he made less than Alonso and Vettel, had internal competition from Button and Mclaren faded behind in the last races.

          2011 is the only of these years there’s no debate who drove better as Hamilton was rough to watch for most of this season.

          1. When Alonso went to Ferrari he wasn’t number 1, he seized it in China.

            All the title protagonists made mistakes in 2010 but Hamilton’s were particularly bad. In the crucial part of the championship with the pressure on he had two silly mistakes in Singapore and Italy. He was off the road on Japan practice too. I think Hamilton drove well in 2010 but I think Alonso edges it given these two huge errors.

          2. Ferrari was all painted with Santander stickers, they bought Raikkonen’s contract to make way for Alonso, he was obviously number 1. He just played the good team mate part at the beginning (Australia, one race).

            And he had his bad weekends too. Spa was as bad as these Hamilton mistakes, he ruined his race at Silverstone by passing Kubica off track and not giving it back then taking a drive through penalty, Turkey was plain weak and Abu Dhabi, well..

          3. And Massa was the junior driver, Schumi’s preference and the closest a Ferrari driver’s got to the title since 2007. On top of that he was returning from injury in their car and Alonso had fought SF for the title on 2 occasions. It’s not as simple as you make out, Alonso had to fight for it and Ferrari acknowledged their car was slowe than both McLaren and Red Bull and had to favour one driver. Alonso had poor weekends I agree but Hamilton’s 2 mistakes are what cost him the title.

          4. @rbalonso

            So Hamilton had crash in Japanese GP practice. Alonso crashed on his own in the race in Spa in wet.

            Your choice of 2010 as Hamilton´s low, and Alonso´s high is pretty poor. You could make that point for 2011. That would be difficult to argue, but 2010 was one of Hamilton´s strongest seasons.

            Yes he had unnecessary touch in Italy which was his fault, but the contact in Singapore was racing incident at best. Webber just could not make the corner and outbraked himself into Hamilton. But that is about it.

            He had mechanical retirements in Spain and Hungary. And he won races and podiums with brilliant performances while Button was driving the very same car on the other end of the pack (i.e. Canada, South Korea).

          5. You’re so obviously biased man.
            Every team Alonso has race must have “acknowledged his car was slower” then because it was the same every time except Mclaren in 2007, in which he quickly left because he wasn’t made number one as he was expecting and had to take matter into his own hands like that Hungary qualifying.

            Maybe Hamilton could have a chance as Alonso to win the title if Button had let him past in China just like Massa did for Alonso in Germany, who knows…

          6. Kotrba – I’ve never said Hamilton’s 2010 was poor. You’ve made that up. I’ve stated that at the crucial part of the season he made silly driving errors which is obvious.

            Edvaldo – which seasons did Alonso have a dominant car like Max, Lewis, Seb or Michael?

            In any event, we could discuss 2010 forever, all the top drivers made mistakes and all had great performances. My opinion is that Alonso got closer to the ultimate potential of his package that those around him.

          7. @rbalonso

            I was never talking about dominant cars. You’re the one who said he “seized” number 1 at China 2010 because Ferrari realized that Mclaren and Red Bull were faster.

            Turns out Ferrari was clearly faster than Mclaren in those 4 initial races. Alonso was fastest of the rest in Australia and China (where he jumped the start, another mistake), both races in which Button won because of good choices on tyres and pit stops, and Massa only lost pole to Vettel in Bahrein by a tiny margin.

            In Malaysia the 4 drivers of the 2 teams started from the back due to bad timed laps on wet weather.

            So yeah, even this story about how, when and why he seized number 1 status is off. As i said, after all the maneuvering to get him there that year, even paying Raikkonen to stay home, it’s obvious he was going there to be the main man.

          8. You’re conflating 2 points. The reference to China is about the overtake on the pit entry which is when the media started to refer to Alonso as the main man at Ferrari as he was uncompromising. I lived through it as an Alonso fan, you’d think I’d know what I’m talking about.

            In 3 of the first 4 races a McLaren led a Ferrari home and was on the podium in the other. China was the race where it was clear Massa wouldn’t mount a title fight. McLaren couldn’t favour either driver as they were both the recent Champions.

            You’d be hard pressed to convince me that Massa wasn’t the form driver of the number 2s going into 2010. Webber was considered a journeyman, Button a fluke winner. Massa had as strong 2009 as Jenson. The narrative was about how close they would be not that Alonso was number 1. That changed in China.

          9. Mclaren led Ferrari home not because of performance, but because of Button’s good choices with pit stops. I wrote that there and it seems you ignored it completely, didn’t you? Button would only win a dry race with Mclaren in Japan the next year, almost 2 years later.

            Massa had a good run the seasons before but that in no means puts him on the same level of a WDC. This is even the point of his lawsuit on the other topic here, go look at that. He was never supposed to lead that team and only did because Kimi failed in all but half a dozen of races to be the driver they were expecting him to be. So he was bought out and Alonso came in his place to be that guy. He didn’t seize anything. But again, as i said he did that in every team he raced in and you still didn’t explain why is that.

          10. I don’t recall the details of Hamilton’s 2010 season, but let’s not overlook that Alonso cost himself and Ferrari plenty of points too, with a FP3 crash in Monaco that sidelined him in qualifying, a penalty-inviting messy race in England, crashing out in Belgium and very lackluster efforts in Turkey and Abu Dhabi.

          11. I’m really not sure how we’ve ended up down this pointless rabbithole. Why is working out the exact tenth of a second or metre of track that Ferrari decided to back Alonso relevant 13 years later? I can’t reference a single article suggesting Alonso went to Ferrari as number 1.

            McLaren, by their own admission, had the second best car in 2010. I personally think it was level and that all drivers made mistakes but that over the course of the Championship Alonso and Ferrari got closer to the title than they had any right to. My argument against Hamilton is that in the crucial point in the title fight he made poor errors of judgement.

            Massa was WDC for a few seconds in 2008, it’s disingenuous to suggest he wasn’t at that level. Alonso being brought in was a reflection on Raikkonen not Massa.

            I’m not certain what you wish me to elaborate on. Alonso has been a better driver than almost all his team-mates and the team bosses have backed him. If I ran a team so would I. Some seasons it’s better to back one driver and some it isn’t. That’s the sport.

          12. Massa was never that guy. They had the fastest car in ’08, but Ferrari and himself lost too many points due to all sorts of mistakes and reliability.

            He had the season of his life and yet it wasn’t something on the level a guy like Alonso could do, and obviously, NOBODY goes to a new team speaking in public that they’re going to be number one. Alonso didn’t even admit that Germany was just a position swap, after the race they were still pretending that Massa had issues.

            And of course, he didn’t know anything about Singapore ’08 either, they did it behind his back…

            So, i wouldn’t take his words very seriously, no.

          13. Again, I’ve no idea why you insist on discussing Massa and his potential. You’ve then resorted to usual predictions digs at Alonso’s character. Germany 2010 and Singapore 08. Germany they obviously couldn’t admit it was a position swap as team orders were still illegal that was the entire controversy. In Singapore, a private detective interviewed Alonso about it and was convinced he has no knowledge of the plan. People on internet forums are entitled to believe what they wish, but if it’s good enough for professionals it’s good enough for me.

            At the end of the day, I’ve pointed out 5 full seasons and 2 half seasons where I feel the drivers had similar cars. Even if we assume Hamilton was better in 07 and 2010, where they were very marginally separated, I believe Alonso was better in the other seasons including so far this season. Given he accrued more points in every full season aside 2007 where they were even, and was within 2 points of Hamilton in the second half of 2008 I don’t think that’s contentious.

          14. They were not even if one has a whole team and a second driver making way for him and taking penalties to minimize his bad performances (USA 2012, cof, cof, cof).

            I like and respect Alonso’s talent, but he’s a shady character with lots and lots of doubtful choices and behaviors.

            And his fans, as we sere here, just shrugh these things off like it was nothing. “Singapore ’08? Big deal…”

          15. No one competing at the top of the sport for 2 decades is cleaner than clean. Senna, Prost, Schumacher, Vettel all had negative moments in the press.

            Hamilton has had Bottas and Kovalainen move over for him. He had the incident with the stewards in Aus 2009 that cost Dave Ryan his job. He was just as aware of the Spygate saga as Alonso and he instigated Hungary 2007 quali.

            Hamilton is a great racer, a clean driver and by all accounts a good man. I respect him enormously for what he has brought to our sport. But whenever there is an Alonso Hamilton comparison, the Hamilton fans always go for Alonso’s character when they’ve ran out of arguments on his talent.

            It’s a media narrative by the British press from the later 2000s that somehow is kept alive in internet comment sections. I’ve commented to another poster below why I think these are lazy tropes, regurgitated a decade later with scant supporting evidence and quite a lot of evidence to the contrary.

      2. @rbalonso He’s ahead of Lewis again this year in what was, at launch, a far better car. I don’t get how that comparison works.

        1. Define ‘far’.

          In quali in Bahrain Alonso was 0.004 ahead of Russell, 0,05 ahead of Hamilton and 0.5 ahead of Lance. In the race Alonso was 12 seconds up the road and lance splitting the Mercs.

          In Saudi Alonso was a tenth ahead of Russell and finished 5 seconds ahead. In Australia Russell led and both Mercs outqualified him.

          Hardly dominance is it?

          1. ‘Far’ as in many (most?) commentators were anticipating Aston Martin to be the team most likely to challenge Red Bull this year after a few races, as the overall results showed until after Monaco. Whereas Mercedes basically had to abandon any continuation of the 2022 design. The relative performance of the drivers is tricky to gauge, though I do think Alonso started better than Hamilton, kind of understandable perhaps given their relative expectations for the season and different experiences over the last decade.
            If I’m honest, I’m disappointed Alonso couldn’t pose a challenge to Verstappen. But that’s really just the same disappointment as Leclerc last season. Not down really to the drivers but to the relative team performances. And more understandable in Aston Martin’s case.

          2. The race pace of Aston Martin until the Monaco GP was safely second best (and again in Canada). It was the case in Bahrain, which you mention, it was the case in Saudi where Alonso was just cruising and picking up the pace whenever Russel tried something. In Monaco they matched Red Bull with quali pace too.

            It is not dominance, but for this part of the season they were in its own class, the second best.

            If Alonso was unlucky in something, it was the fact that Perez slum in performance happened only in Monaco. That meant Alonso was picking up third places at the start and not seconds.

          3. I wouldn’t describe that as ‘far better’ and after Monaco the teams were separated by one point. In any event of the 6 GP and one sprint Alonso was ahead in all of them except Australia. In the 3 races after Monaco Alonso was ahead in 2 and the sprint, Hamilton clearly has the advantage since the Silverstone upgrades.

            To me, this is the closest we have had Alonso and Hamilton on a decade and the results are in Alonso’s favour. That’s why I can’t see any argument for Lewis having a better season particularly when you factor in his first 5 races.

          4. RBAlonso – Hamilton whipped the floor with Alonso as a rookie….spin it as much as you want but that was hilarious to watch!!!

            Lewis is frankly the superior driver, hence 7 (really 8) champs to Alonsos 2.

            Facts are facts.

          5. His argument to Aston Martin and Mercedes being leveled is the constructors championship, even being crystal clear that Stroll is a non-factor and not even close to be on the same level of Alonso, Hamilton and Russell.

            C’mom man, give a little respect to your colleagues. We’re not fools.

          6. I’ve been very clear that the first 3 races of the season the qualifying stats are almost identical? How much closer would you like them to be?

            Without having equal equipment this is as close to a direct comparison as can be made. I took exception to the phrase ‘far better’ which clearly not correct. The cars in the first races were even, the Aston slightly better on race pace. But Alonso was ahead in all bar Australia – I can’t see any logic that suggests Hamilton is performing better than a guy who is beating him and was beaten in quali by his team-mate 4 out of the first 5 races.

            CP – 2007 is old news, I can give you reasons but most objective viewers see that as Lewis’s strongest season of first 5 years at McLaren against Alonso’s worst for a variety of factors.

            Edvaldo – you talk about respect without giving a single statistic to back up anything you’re saying or refuting any of mine. Let’s try to use some analysis here.

          7. @RBAlonso

            you want statistics telling you that Stroll is bad? Really? Look here on this same website, you’ll find plenty.

            The guy is bending over backwards to imply Aston Martin was never that much better, and that it was all “Magic Alonso”, with the emptiest stat possible and remember, Stroll had a hurt wrist in the first couple of rounds on top of that, and i’m the one failing to provide statistics.

          8. I’d want some stats that positively endorse an opinion you hold as oppose to “come on man Stroll is slow, look it up”. Everyone knows that and no-one is contesting it.

            This is about a ranking of whether Alonso or Hamilton deserve to place higher. I think Alonso has got the most from his package more often than Hamilton has and provided stats for that context.

            Where do you believe Hamilton was better than Alonso and where do you think Alonso underachieved?

          9. I couldn’t care less about this list. I’m saying is that it is bogus to use that moment on the constructors championship to say the cars were leveled, as you’re doing like no one would notice.

            Aston was the obvious 2nd fastest car on every round until Canada, except for Spain. Alonso had a shot at pole and could’ve won Monaco with a better strategy.

            And now they faded and he faded as well. If he can overdrive the car as you’re implying, what happened? He got tired? He got old?

          10. So you’ve came to a comments section to argue on a list you agree with?

            Mercedes qualified second and third and were running first and second in Australia until GR’s retirement. In Baku Leclerc was on pole for both sessions, the best Aston was the fourth fastest team in quali and the 5th fastest in sprint quali. A Mercedes and both Ferraris finished ahead in the sprint and Leclerc was on the podium in the race. In neither event was the Aston the second fastest. In Miami, Leclerc was in the battle for pole too.

            In all other races, besides those mentioned and Spain, until round 9 Alonso achieved the maximum finish possible which is why I think he’s had a great season and deserves to be ranked second. I’ve given my reasons why that cannot be Hamilton.

            The example of using Stroll is that if the car was so far clear of all the other teams he’d have finished 4th a lot more often than once. The battle between Mercedes, Ferrari and Aston was incredibly tight as I’ve pointed out.

            Once again, you spoken of respect then made flippant remarks about overdriving, tired and old with not a single statistic just saying it’s “obvious”.

          11. we’ve been saying it was the 2nd best car.

            You’re saying we’be been saying it’s the 2nd “by far” because it’s the only way your weak reasoning holds any water.

            And i wont’t even begin about the respect part, was i even talking about you?

            Don’t bother answering. I won’t care to read.

          12. No I said I don’t agree with ‘far better’ with the far in italics for emphasis. This implies a gap between the second team and the other which I proven out with references several times in this thread.

            My reasoning is that Alonso has achieved the maximum results possible in most races, but they were hard fought which you see unable to admit nor find any evidence positively or negatively – it’s having an argument in an empty room.

            You replied directly to my comment saying ‘his argument is’ then gave a false simplistic account of my position and said ‘we’re not fools’. All I’ve asked for during this discourse was a stat or a fact to argue the case and you’ve not bothered even to look for one.

      3. I think it’s pretty obvious Alonso had worse teammates than Hamilton most of the time since 2007. Even before that even in his championship winning years. If Fisichella did what he did in 2007 in this day and age he would be mercilessly trolled. How on earth can you loose to a rookie? lol. When you were the incumbent driver in that team.

    3. I have a good understanding about the talent of Hamilton and Alonso compared to each other.

      Good to hear that you have a ‘good understanding’ of their talents (or at least claim that you have).

      But this ranking is: firstly, not about ‘talent’ but about ‘performance’; and secondly, covers the 2023 season so far only.
      I look forward to see your 12 rating analyses of each race so far this season, and your proposed method of ranking based on those ratings.

    4. Both excellent drivers but Alonso’s 2012 puts him on top for me.

      1. It was a great season but Hamilton’s 2018 was better. That year he was up against a four-time world champion in practically equal cars and totally destroyed him. The run of drives in Germany, Hungary, Belgium, Italy and Singapore was perhaps the strongest series of five consecutive races by one driver in Formula 1 history (although Jim Clark at the start of 1965 would surely run him close, the Belgian-French-British GP trio that year was particularly outstanding and he also won Zandvoort and the Nurburgring fairly comfortably just after that, and the Indy 500 just before), and if he had driven the Ferrari he would have taken all five wins, while with the Mercedes he won four, demonstrating his total superiority over the rest of the grid.

        1. Let’s be honest. 2018 can have a claim to being Hamilton’s best ever season. But he is always operating near that level in most seasons. Same goes to Alonso.

        2. Imo 2018 reflects more on vettel’s mistakes than hamilton’s greatness: yes, he improved in terms of consistency, didn’t have those off the pace weekends he had in 2017 for example, but if your opponent spins every other race you don’t really need a super performance to win with a similar car. I find it surprising you didn’t even mention how abysmal vettel was and tried to give hamilton all the merit for the easy 2018 title.

      2. Alonso lost in 2012 in a phenomenal Ferrari. Such an overrated season.

        Vettal destroyed him.

        1. 2012 ferrari was everything but phenomenal, if that was phenomenal what about the 2007-2008 ones? What about the 2017-2018 ones? Obviously not mentioning dominant ferraris, just a few recent cars that were significantly better than the decent 2012 one.

          1. 2017 Ferrari is not that good. Raikkonen barely hanged onto 4th from Ricciardo and Verstappen that season.

          2. I mean the point surely is the hyperbole around “Alonso 2012”….to me Räikkönen was more impressive in that crappy Lotus but people seem to conveniently forget.

  11. Fadhi Abdullahi
    18th August 2023, 13:07

    Absolutely agree with you. I am always so shocked at how Lewis’s achievements are underrated and undervalued, he proves himself over and over again, but people just don’t give him credit. He should be placed second place,but is placed under Lando who had a couple of good races.

    1. It’s called unconscious bias – only have to take a look at people writing this stuff to put 2+2 together

      1. Maybe, though I think an even stronger factor is recency bias.

        1. Recency bias is likely not a thing here because they are simply ranked based on the averages of the race-by-race ratings on the site.

          See here, they even made the average after spa was done (as well as after the previous races): https://www.racefans.net/2023/08/01/2023-belgian-grand-prix-weekend-f1-driver-ratings/

  12. Piastri cant develop soon enough. I’m eager to see Norris facing real competition.

    A dead Ricciardo and a rookie.

    Of course he will look good.

  13. Fine by me. Verstappen 1. The other three you could put in any order. Alonso has faded a bit as the season has gone on (including some off-track moments) and Hamilton has improved, including snatching pole, but both arguably have been more consistent than Norris.

  14. “But given that the advantage that the RB19 has had over its rivals pales in comparison to other dominant F1 cars like McLaren’s MP4/4”, I disagree. Verstappen has never shown the true pace of the Red Bull, other than a lap here or there. In race trim, it looks to be about 1.5 – 2s/lap faster than anything else in Verstappen’s hands).
    All of which means that the Red Bull should rightly be regarded as the greatest F1 car ever made. Of course, this doesnt dull Verstappen’s achievements. Like Hamilton, Vettel, Schumacher and Senna before him, Verstappen is in a great car but extracting every ounce of performance from it, and then some.

    1. You are absolutely right: the RB19 may prove to be the most dominant car in the history of the sport at the year’s end. If RB remains undefeated – which is a real possibility, they have so much pace at hand when needed – it will be the only car with a success rate of 100% (I put aside my favorite Brabham BT46B as it only competed in one race before being banned).
      This takes nothing away from Verstappen, but in the same vein let’s give credit were credit is due.

      On a side note, if your assessment of the RB19’s pace a close to the reality, then we’re in for a few years of jail

  15. Compared to previous rankings, have we ranked Perez harsher than Bottas when he was at Mercedes? Not saying Perez is improperly placed in the rankings, because I fully agree he deserves 17th since he has become Sergio Paceless.

    1. Bottas was never even close to as bad as Perez.

      Only thing I give credit to Perez for is his fear of losing his seat hence being happy with a car 1 second slower than his teammate.

      1. There’s just no reason to give drivers like schumacher (also accused by some fans of that in the benetton and ferrari years) or verstappen a car 1 sec faster than their team mate, they’d beat them anyway, why would they need help?

        1. Oh no of course Benetton or Ferrari would never focus on one driver to give them an advantage over their teammate……(e.g. 2002 Austrian Grand Prix) …roll of eyes

    2. Easiest thing you can do to bring home a good result is to qualify well. And in that regard Bottas is much, much better than Perez.

      I don’t recall seeing Bottas being knocked out in Q1 for crashing or because of track limits.

      Perez has only himself to blame if most of the time he’s playing catch up.

  16. The Alonso arguments are funny guys, just to fan the flames on the fire though, its worth noting Alonso is not without fault for being stuck driving inferior machinery in his career. He burned a lot of bridges and made some awful choices in his career and that’s on him. Sure he’s had a good year but that seems to have been flattered by having the second best machinery on the grid for the majority of the season so far.

    I’ll concede it for the half way point as I fully expect him to fall behind Norris and Hamilton in the second half of the year anyway.

    Hamilton and Norris are the wrong way round for me but that’s expected as when the ratings are made its not always clear of the relative car performance. The Mclaren hasn’t been as bad as expected and the teams ahead Ferrari, Mercedes, Aston Martin and Red Bull all scored so heavily that they were able to develop their car without losing ground to their nearest rivals anyway. I hope now we’ve established Mclaren as the second fastest car their drivers will be under the same scrutiny as Hamilton and Leclerc.

    1. This ‘burnt his bridges’ argument is a bit stale now surely? He returned to McLaren, seen of his biggest fall out, he returned to Renault twice. Ron Dennis was at the helm at McLaren in 2007 and 2014, Whitmarsh was at McLaren in 2007 and Aston 2023. Honda are returning with his current team. Can you think of any other drivers welcomed back as frequently as Alonso?

      I’d contest, as I always have, that his career choices were correct when he made them, unfortunately the sport has had several cycles of dominance and he wasn’t in the correct project. Some you win some you lose.

      1. Hamilton spanked him as a rookie…….lol…..imagine that

        1. This is a really weird way to communicate mate.

        2. Whipped the floor with… spanked…

          Well, that is what Button did in 2011 with 43 points ahead of you know who.

          In 2007 it was same points and same wins, only ahead on countback, hardly ever it has been closer between teammates. If that’s whipping the floor, how would you call what Fred did to Kimi in their 2014 Ferrari season? (161 to 55 points).

          Now don’t get me started on the dirty trick on the Hungaroring 2007. breaking the agreements and the turns for the qualifying runs, ignoring all the radio calls, even by RD himself. And then when Fred retaliated by delaying 10 seconds his start from the pits, the unthinkable happened: the McL team lobbied hard with the stewards to get a penalty for Fred, I believe it is the only time in F1 story that a team has pressed to get a penalty for one of their drivers. Well, they got it, and it was decisive for the championship.

          The rest is history with probably the worst team/driver relationship in F1 ever, which obviously took a toll in Fred’s results. RD said it loud and clear in Shanghai: “We are racing Alonso”.

          that was hilarious to watch!!!

          Really it was!! You mean, I presume, the scene in Shanghai’s gravel trap (hallowed ground). Or the glorious start of the title-deciding race at Interlagos by your hero. Yeah, I watched both plenty of times, and always had great belly-laughs.

          Now if you want an unbiased (math-model) comparison of both drivers, free from the influence of mechanics, best place to go is f1metrics (sadly not updated since 2019). According to the model, Fred was the best driver in the grid in 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016.; your idol was in 2007 and 2018. Seb in 2015 and 2017.

          Results and stats are at least 80% machinery-driven. and the hybrid-era Mercs have been the most dominant cars in F1 since the 1961 Fezza Sharknose. But there is no doubt who has been the best driver between the Schuey and the Max eras. Fred has been miles ahead of Seb and your hero. Sorry, pal

      2. Not really, he only returned after their stock had fallen badly. Funny isn’t it how Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull have zero interest in him…

        1. @slowmo the ‘burnt his bridges’ argument was prevalent on here for years starting in 2012 stating he’d not be able.to drive for Mercedes due to Norbert Haig, that Renault wouldn’t have him back due to his relationship with the Crashgate management and McLaren wouldn’t have him back due to Spygate. He joined 2 of the 3 again and the other tried to recruit him, it’s a dated ploy. When he rejoined McLaren they had been in the fight for the title 2 years previously and had a world drivers champion in one of their cars. It was still a top seat for 2015. Honda were the next engine supplier to break the Merc stranglehold and Ferrari are yet to win again.

          Mercedes did try to recruit him, as did Red Bull and he drove for Ferrari. None of the management at these has worked with him elsewhere, from 2013 onwards. The key factor was the emergence of young driver academies – Red Bull promoted internally from 2009 til 2020. Mercedes honoured the contract with Rosberg from Brawn and chose Hamilton then Wolff managed Bottas and junior driver Russell. Ferrari recruited Leclerc internally and Sainz when Alonso was retired.

          As I say, Alonso made the right decisions at the time but the projects failed for a variety of reasons external to the drivers. The suggestion that it’s a character flaw is wide of mark imo.

          1. Alonso is and remains overrated frankly and has underachieved for his so called brilliance. Kimi was better, Vettel was better…Lewis and Max are in a different league – frankly no matter what what ever spin you keep putting on it, the facts remain he has not delivered. 2 world titles is not enough.

          2. You’re entitled to your own opinion on the matter, I just don’t have the same one :-)

          3. CP. The Alonso Raikkonen comparison is insane. Raikkonen’s title defence was weak, he was paid off by the team a year later for Alonso. He had a couple of strong season against Grosjean then Alonso destroyed him at Ferrari. His post 2013 career was frankly embarrassing given how good he was at McLaren, if anyone ever underachieved it was Kimi Raikkonen.

            As for Vettel, he was outstanding at Red Bull, strong in his first 3 seasons at Ferrari and very, very poor thereafter. Seb made more wheel to wheel mistakes in the second half of 2018 than Alonso has in his career. His highs were high but his lows were extremely low.

            The ‘Alonso versus’ arguments against both withered away a long time ago. The only comparisons for Alonso are against Schumacher and Hamilton – given the volume of success they had, being mentioned in the same breath is an achievement in itself.

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