Max Verstappen paid a high price for some careless errors in the opening races, but he recovered in superb fashion and was a match for anyone in the second half of 2018.
After a troubled debut, Charles Leclerc quickly found his form, and made an irresistible case for promotion to one of F1’s top teams.
Fernando Alonso’s Formula 1 career deserved a better end than this. He often drove superbly, but usually for little reward.
Daniel Ricciardo looked like being a championship contender after winning two of the first six races, but dire unreliability spoiled his season.
Sebastian Vettel’s litany of mistakes, not Ferrari’s late-season slump in performance, was what wrecked his championship chances.
Sergio Perez may not have been quicker than his team mate but he delivered Force India’s best results and most of their points.
Pierre Gasly made himself an obvious choice for a promotion to Red Bull by grabbing some great results when his Toro Rosso was capable of them.
Did Kimi Raikkonen raise his game in his final season at Ferrari, or was he simply cast in a better light by his team mate’s too-frequent errors?
Esteban Ocon does not deserve to spend 2019 on the sidelines but there are still areas he must improve if he wants to get his hands on a Mercedes one day
It’s easy to forget how strong Valtteri Bottas was in the opening races of 2018, but in the closing stages of the season he was destroyed by his team mate.
Nico Hulkenberg ended the season as top midfielder – or ‘Formula 1.5 champion’ – but had the potential to do so rather more emphatically.
While Carlos Sainz Jnr wasn’t able to match Nico Hulkenberg’s points score, he gave a good account of himself alongside one of F1’s most highly-rated midfielders.
Kevin Magnussen scored the points Haas were capable of more regularly than Romain Grosjean, but there were still puzzling days when he was well off the pace.
Stoffel Vandoorne suffered the ignominy of being out-qualified in every race by Fernando Alonso, so it was no surprise he lost his drive at the end of the year.
Marcus Ericsson got along well until his new team mate found his footing, and blew him away from that point onwards.
Having been last in the RaceFans F1 driver rankings at mid-season, Romain Grosjean’s improved form in the second half of the year merits a slight rise.
There was little sign Lance Stroll’s second season was all that much better than his first, though he was statistically F1’s best starter again.
Brendon Hartley lost his seat at Toro Rosso after starting the year badly and missing his best chances to deliver a big points score.
It was a tough ask for Sergey Sirotkin to make his Formula 1 debut in what turned out to be the worst car of the year by some way.
Valtteri Bottas started his second season at Mercedes in good shape but Lewis Hamilton turned the tables and was dominating his team mate as 2018 ended.