2014 F1 Fanatic Driver Rankings: Have your say
- 2nd December 2014, 8:22 at 8:22 am #287908Ryan WilliamsParticipant
Before I start please note I will not be ranking either Andre Lotterer or Will Stevens on account of their very brief appearances this season. However, I will say that I was particularly impressed with Stevens, making his debut with minimal testing, with a team that only just made it to the actual event, and putting in a decent showing, qualifying just over half-a-second off his vastly more experienced team-mate Kobayashi, and holding his own in the race (wheel-to-wheel with Alonso on your debut isn’t bad!)
Anyway, here we go properly….
22. Esteban Gutierrez:
Granted, the Sauber C33 was probably one of the worst cars to come from the Hinwil-based team, but Gutierrez failed to put in any performances of note this year, which is particularly disappointing given the promise he showed in GP2 and GP3. The fact his best finish was 12th at Albert Park in a race that featured 7 retirements and a disqualification says it all really…
21. Max Chilton:
Thoroughly outclassed by his team-mate Bianchi, Chilton had yet another anonymous season in Formula One. Even with the troubles Marussia were suffering (just getting to Australia was a challenge according to a recent interview with Max), Jules showed the car could be dragged into half-decent positions, even making Q2 on three occasions. He won’t be missed from the grid next year
20. Kamui Kobayashi:
You might be surprised to find Kobayashi below Ericsson on this list, but the fact of the matter is, Kamui should have been vastly better than his rookie team-mate this year. Giving up a factory GT drive with Ferrari to trundle round in the worst car on the grid was a poor decision to start with, and then spectacularly binning it at the first corner of the first race, and taking a hapless Felipe Massa with him, rather set the tone for the season. Whilst his pace was usually quicker than that of Ericsson, he certainly did not look like a driver embarking on his fourth full year of Grand Prix racing.
19. Marcus Ericsson:
Arriving from 4 years in GP2, where he had scored some decent results, I had my doubts surrounding the young Swede’s appointment to Caterham race driver this year. He wasn’t the worst choice, but he wasn’t exactly the best either… His season panned out like I expected, with very few standout moments, although leading Kobayashi home to 11th place at Monaco was a highlight.
18. Adrian Sutil:
The second-half of one of Sauber’s dullest line-ups in history, Sutil plodded along through the year as if he was out on a drive to the shops for a pint of milk. The only moments where he really stood out was when he crashed in Monaco, a race where Sauber had a rare chance at points, and his frankly stunning qualifying performance at CoTA (9th) before being taken out by a wild Sergio Perez.
17. Pastor Maldonado:
Well, we all knew this was coming, didn’t we? Ever since his cash-fuelled move to Lotus, the curse of Maldonado has plagued the entire team at Enstone. Incident after incident after incident ensued, which was made even more frustrating by his occasional good turn of pace in an absolute dog of a car. A GP2 champion he may be, but you wouldn’t know it from his performances this year. If he can fill in the gaping chasms in his racecraft, given a half-decent car (which he may get with Merc power next year), he could regularly score points like his team-mate Grosjean, who at times put in Alonso-esque drives to get that E22 into the top 10
16. Kimi Raikkonen:
I strongly disagreed with Ferrari’s signing of Raikkonen for the 2014 season, especially since Ferrari once famously paid Kimi to
race for them, and instead championed Nico Hulkenberg as a worthy candidate for the drive. Alas, my calls went unheeded, and the bafflingly popular Finn duly took up the seat alongside Alonso, and was absolutely trounced. Scoring just 34% of the Spaniard’s tally, and woefully off the pace at times, Kimi just did not turn up this season. Granted, from Hungary onwards, his performances improved, but whilst Alonso was busy troubling the Williams & Red Bull cars, Kimi was often dueling for the lower points-paying positions. A strong performance at Spa, finishing 4th and frankly out-classing Alonso is the only redeeming factor from what was otherwise a very mediocre season. I expect 2015 will be his final year in the sport.
15. Jean-Eric Vergne:
The writing was on the wall for JEV ever since Daniel Ricciardo was promoted to Red Bull. Still, an astonishingly young rookie team-mate shouldn’t be any bother, right? Unfortunately for the Frenchman, Kvyat rather exceeded expectations, and whilst the final results may not show it, the young Russian was frequently grabbing the STR-related headlines. Vergne didn’t have a bad season to be honest, but the performances that Marko & co. expected of him weren’t there regularly enough to save his seat.
14. Kevin Magnussen:
After Ron Dennis swooped back into control at McLaren, disposing of Whitmarsh and Perez along the way, this young Dane found himself driving for one of the sport’s most famous marques in his rookie year. The bar had been set high by a previous McLaren rookie (more on him later…), but I think few expected him to match that standard, especially given how different the sport was compared to 2007. Whilst he may have been out-performed by his super-experience team-mate Button, for a rookie Magnussen was remarkably quick & showed no fear when it came to fighting with the big boys of the sport, even if it occasionally drew the eye of the stewards. I fully expect McLaren to retain him for next season alongside Alonso, even if the stats may swing in JB’s favour. Keep an eye on “KMag”, he’s got a lot left to give yet…
13. Romain Grosjean:
The affable Frenchman was one of my standout drivers of this season, dragging an extremely uncompetitive Lotus into the points on numerous occasions. I sincerely hope he is rewarded for his efforts this year with a vastly improved car next year. His performances at the back end of 2013 show he has enormous talent, it’s just a shame that his current machinery doesn’t really allow him to show it.
12. Sergio Perez:
After being unceremoniously dumped by McLaren last year, I was pleased to see the quick Mexican picked up by Force India, and with Hülkenberg alongside him, the team actually had one of the most exciting line-ups on the 2014 grid. I will be honest, I did not expect him to keep Nico as honest as he did this year, out racing the German 7 times in the 15 races they both finished. The infamous Montreal and CoTA incidents are obviously a black mark, but on the whole it was a solid season. Force India made the right call in re-signing him for next year.
11. Jules Bianchi:
9th place. At Monaco. In a Marussia. Says it all really…
…but if I was going to add a bit more, I would say that again, Bianchi outperformed the machinery he was given and ran rings around Chilton. If the Monaco result and backing from Ferrari wasn’t enough proof of his talent, he ran as high as 4th in the treacherous conditions at Suzuka before his fateful accident.
10. Daniil Kvyat:
The reaction to Toro Rosso’s announcement of GP3 champion Daniil Kvyat as a driver for this year was incredibly negative, with cries of “pay-driver” coming from those who don’t follow any racing outside of F1, to “he’s too young” from those outside of Helmut Marko’s brain.
Put into a car that wasn’t bad, but wasn’t brilliant either, the Russian performed extremely well (well enough that it got his team-mate fired!). Mechanical retirements, especially in Abu Dhabi after running in 5th, blighted his season & his final points tally of 8 does not reflect his ability. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how he progresses!
9. Nico Hülkenberg:
After being horrendously overlooked by the top teams during the silly season, Hülkenberg found himself back at Force India for 2014, and it proved to be a very fruitful pairing. Finishing in the points in every race up until a clumsy bit of driving in Hungary put himself and team-mate Perez out of the race, the young German once again had a stellar year in an average car. Lost a bit of momentum to Perez after Hungary, but still picked up solid points in the last few races of the year. How long before someone gets him in a top car? (2016, I hope)
8. Felipe Massa:
What a difference a year makes! Massa well and truly came back to life with Williams after years of playing second-fiddle to Alonso at Ferrari. Whilst his season got off to a slow start, frequently being out-shone by Bottas, he kept racking up the results, and three podiums, two coming in the last two races, show that Massa is well and truly back to his former best. Did someone say only non-Mercedes driver to qualify on pole this year?
(Totally not-biased at all…)
7. Jenson Button:
Another solid season from one of the most dependable drivers on the grid. Despite a shaky European season, partly thanks to McLaren being rather left behind in the development race, Button found great form towards the end of the year and if he does end up leaving F1, he can hold his head up high.
6. Sebastian Vettel:
Again, what a difference a year makes! After dominating Formula One for the last four years, Vettel was brought back down to earth with a Renault-based bump as his Red Bull team struggled with the power unit package provided by their French partners. Vettel seemed to struggle all year with the new car, and certainly wasn’t helped by some ripper performances from his new team-mate. Podium in Malaysia the obvious highlight being the quickest non-Mercedes runner and without having to rely on problems for the Silver Arrows. The long-rumoured move to Ferrari finally came about, and I really hope that he shines with his new team to prove he isn’t a one tricky pony (or should that be bull?)
5. Valtteri Bottas:
Touted as a future world-champion, Bottas was absolutely mega this year. 6 podiums and 4th in the championship with rivals such as Alonso, Vettel and Ricciardo is a proper achievement, regardless of whether he had the best PU of them all. If Williams can keep up their fantastic form, Bottas could well be on the top step numerous times next year.
4. Nico Rosberg:
Few predicted that Nico Rosberg would cause Lewis Hamilton quite as much trouble as he did. Frequently outqualifying the driver many labeled as “the fastest in F1”, Rosberg came of age this season as he embarked in his first title fight in top-flight motor racing. Making the most of Lewis’ issues and taking commanding victories in Monaco and Brazil, as well as a stunning drive in Canada to finish 2nd with 160bhp less than his rivals showed his championship material. Cracked under pressure on a handful of occasions, but it would take a brave man to bet against him being just as fast, if not faster next year.
3. Lewis Hamilton:
11 wins, 16 podiums, 7 fastest laps. It was a fantastic season for Hamilton, but not one without its faults. When everything was working, Hamilton was practically untouchable, but when problems began to arise, he seemed to lose focus. I refer to Belgium when Lewis just seemed to lack motivation, despite the race being far from over, and still with a chance of bagging a few crucial points. Yes, his race had been ruined by the infamous lap 2 collision (a racing incident in my opinion), but with a championship on the line you do anything to push for points. Otherwise, one of Lewis’ finest seasons, as evidenced by the well-deserved championship win at the end of it all.
2. Fernando Alonso:
What is left to say about Fernando Alonso? Dragging his Ferrari, and seemingly the whole team with him to frankly unbelievable results, Alonso has cemented his position as the best in F1 right now. Responsible for almost 75% of Ferrari’s points haul this year, he embarrassed Raikkonen & certainly leaves Ferrari looking like they’ve performed much better than they actually have. McLaren have played an absolute masterstroke getting him onboard for 2015.
1. Daniel Ricciardo:
Could it have been anyone else? Undoubtedly the star performer of this season, crushing his 4-time world champion team-mate & taking a trio of emphatic victories. Formula One may be in financial chaos, but at least with guys like Ricciardo, Bottas, Kvyat & Hülkenberg, the driving talent of the future looks good!
TL;DR Chilton & co. a bit rubbish. Kimi mediocre. JEV under performed. Solid rookie years from Kvyat & Magnussen. Bianchi outstanding. Massa reborn. Vettel surprisingly poor. Lewis edges Merc battle. Alonso, Ricciardo mega!2nd December 2014, 10:21 at 10:21 am #287932safeeuropeanhomeParticipant
@ryanwilliams You know Kobayashi’s brakes failed in Australia, right? Hardly fair to say he binned it.2nd December 2014, 11:02 at 11:02 am #287936Zhenshia HsiawaParticipant
@ryanwilliams not to mention Ericsson got 11th cos Bianchi damaged Kobayashi’s car in Monaco2nd December 2014, 14:11 at 2:11 pm #287945AnonymousInactive
1. Hamilton – no reason to rank him any lower. 11 wins out of 19 races, including some great recoveries and 7 poles. The machinery was miles above the rest but it finally gave him the chance he deserved, and he took it.
2. Rosberg – proved many wrong. At Williams he was said to be but mediocre, after beating Schumacher three years in a row it was down to Schumy’s age, now after 11 poles, 5 wins and 10 second places, having been a title contender up to the last race, his true speed is finally undeniable. He may have won half of Hamilton’s races, but over the course of the season it often looked like finishing second was going to be enough after Hamilton’s two retirements. Also, with Ricciardo so dangerous, finishing second would’ve meant beating Hamilton, so a few wins less than his teammate would’ve done it. Hamilton had to win and he did so, and with the failure in Abu Dhabi their misfortunes were equalised, yet the gap in points wasn’t so big. Had Rosberg won, the tally would’ve been 6-10, which is much less than the 5-11 we saw, so Rosberg wasn’t really far, on merit, to winning the title.
I’d put Rosberg second on qualifying pace alone – on a single lap he was quicker than Lewis on average. Hamilton may have put a foot wrong in Q3 after dominating every other session, but Nico was always close enough to take advantage of it. And in races they usually finished only a couple of seconds apart after one hour thirty minutes of racing, which means that if Hamilton was better than Rosberg, Nico wasn’t far behind.
3. Ricciardo – if he was underrated it’s our fault, so ranking him high based on the surprise is wrong. He is ranked high because he did a stellar job, taking a car which in pre-season looked much worse than what it turned out to be to three wins. Of course he took advantage of the Mercedes’ blips, but despite his car not clearly being second-best he was more often than not the closest to the Mercedes pair, and the only one to beat them.
4. Bottas – I’d say consistency is what really highlighted Bottas out of all. Williams weren’t used to having such a fast car, and the results of the first part of the season show this. But with more experience every race, he took six podiums, and consistency became paired with performance.
5. Alonso – The car started off badly and never improved, but I think it got worse as the season went on. Yet by looking at Alonso’s results you’d never imagine that this was Ferrari’s worst car since 1993 (results-wise). With the top two spots virtually locked by Mercedes at every event, with Red Bull and Williams clearly faster on average, Alonso managed two podiums, four 4th places, two 5ths, six 6ths, one 7th and two 9ths, with only two retirements down to technical faults. Again he put a bad car well above its standards, but when he could benefit from someone else’s misfortunes the maximum he could earn was not enough for a win.
6. Massa – had his share of bad luck at the start of the season, which led to him wanting to prove himself too much in races, which, in turn, meant accidents and low-scores. But he had an excellent pace season-long, often beating Bottas, though his track preferences were as clear as they’ve ever been. He sometimes didn’t put a foot wrong all weekend, like in Austria, and that pole gave him all his trust in his abilities he’d lost since 2010 back. From then, a 2nd, two 3rd, two 4th, two 5th places gave him a boost in the standings. More than that, he has improved much in consistency, one of his greatest weaknesses (apart from 2011), and has performed well in a car that may have improved largely thans to his feedback.
7. Button – confirmed his strong points and led Magnussen home most of the times when they both finished. With Magnussen equalling Raikkonen, and the two cars being pretty well matched, Button couldn’t match Alonso, though his team had more ups and downs than Ferrari. He was especially competitive at the end of the season, showing he still has a place in F1.
8. Vettel – his season wasn’t as bad as it’s said to be my many. Ricciardo’s and his own results aren’t much different excluding the three wins, which were down to several circumstances being in favour of the Aussie. His first half of the season was also marred by unreliability but he was a consistent contender in the top 8, which is in line with what Red Bull showed in pre-season. More or less Vettel underachieved the car’s potential by the same amount Ricciardo overachieved it.
9. Bianchi – once more showed he deserved a chance in a competitive car. Performed above expectations, still beat Chilton and Monaco alone is worth 9th place in these standings.
10. Hulkenberg – perhaps less impressive than in previous years, his involvement in the WEC may show he’s had enough of being in midfield teams when he’s shown he can be both fast and consistent. Hopefully that’s not the case and he can get a chance.
11. Magnussen – never looked as brilliant as in Melbourne but as a rookie he performed well ad hopefully learnt a lot from Button. He wasn’t consistent enough but that’s part of learning and that’s a process which has to take more than a year, so it’d be wrong to drop him now.
12. Kvyat – another driver who performed at his best in the season opener. Vergne was never known for his qualifying speed but to beat your more experienced teammate is very positive on its own, to beat him around half of the times you both were classified is even better. Yet he was consistent but not spectacular, failing to get a result when it was, perhaps, easier to.
13. Vergne – Performed, in relation to Kvyat, as he’d done with Ricciardo previously, though of course the Russian had zero experience and came from GP3. 5 retirements in the first 8 races halted his form, but although he may seem a little reckless when pushing hard it payed off in Singapore, and when he beat Kvyat he was usually in the points while Kvyat wasn’t, and when the opposite happened none of them scored so it mattered little.
14. Perez – Apart from that podium in Bahrain, usually started and finished behind Hulkenberg in the first part of the season. The opposite happened more frequently later on as Nico lost his momentum, but Sergio had no stand-out moments.
15. Lotterer – a brilliant qualifying for an above-30-year-old rookie, and a shame his race finished so early.
16. Grosjean – wasted talent in such a car, was good at taking what he could when the Lotus didn’t fail.
17. Raikkonen – he got up to speed quickly at Lotus but not as quickly at Ferrari. Of course the car was slow and built around Alonso, but he was too far behind on too many occasions. He caught up in the final races, with his best being Spa when he almost took a podium.
24. Stevens4th December 2014, 8:29 at 8:29 am #287934Ryan WilliamsParticipant
@debaser91 Okay, that might have been a little harsh on my part. But still, I expected better of him this year, even if his car was terrible4th December 2014, 21:53 at 9:53 pm #288125NickParticipant
Throughout the year I’ve been grading the drivers. Looking at the final grades, I have to say no-one had a standout season in my rankings and there were some surprises compared to where I would put the drivers on top of my head. (I’ve been giving a lot of 6s and 7s out of 10 all season.)
I decided not to include Will Stevens and Andre Lotterer, since both did just one race with minimal preparation, but both did pretty decent.
22. Esteban Gutierrez
Largely unimpressive, cost Sauber valuable points at Monaco and had a number of strange run-ins during the season. Impressed me sometimes later in the season (Hungary stands out), but doesn’t seem like a driver who can put together a full season on full power.
21. Marcus Ericsson
Started off pretty poorly with his Q1 Monaco incident with Massa as a low point. As the season progressed, he seemed to improve and kept out of trouble. Not a debut season I’ll remember.
20. Adrian Sutil
On paper should have had the upper hand on his team mate, but didn’t always do so and frankly also threw away points at Monaco. As experienced as he is, he is hopeless.
19. Kamui Kobayashi
Didn’t quite impress and as the season progressed, Ericsson seemed to get closer. It’s hard to stand out in a team like Caterham, but he simply didn’t.
18. Max Chilton
Seemed to be closer to Bianchi this season, but generally mediocre. Still, leaving a mediocre impression is better than what the drivers with lower rankings left, so he’s got that.
17. Pastor Maldonado
While he seemingly has calmed down a lot and managed to get closer and closer to Grosjean during the season, he still had his iffy moments during the beginning of his season. All in all a average season from a driver I think could do a lot better.
16. Kimi Raikkonen
To be honest, I expected him to be higher on my list. I felt I have him pretty reasonable grades for most of his races, but he averaged a 6 out of 10 on my list. I accounted his car troubles, but frankly, he has driven cars not to his liking before, but never had this kind of issue with them. Can’t call it anything other than a disappointment.
15. Daniil Kvyat
Started off strongly and frankly is one of the STR drivers I personally feel is the safest pair of hands while maintaining speed throughout the weekend. Still, as the season went on, Toro Rosso didn’t seem to be able to finish ahead of where they would logically finish, making it hard to judge his drives.
14. Jean-Eric Vergne
Vergne had a less impressive start, but I personally feel he got more out of the car during the races which gave him the edge in my personal ratings. Personally would have promoted him to RBR and kept Kvyatt in STR.
13. Kevin Magnussen
Had some weekends where he seemed to be on top of things, but a lot of times I felt he was simply following Button for most of the race, only to end up several places behind him. A good debut season, but a team with a luxury problem like McLaren might think good isn’t what they’re looking for.
12. Jules Bianchi
I think the feeling I had when he crossed the line in Monaco can only be compared to what I felt when Jos Verstappen finished 4th at Monza in 2000; an underdog I support finally got a dream result. While Monaco saw both Sauber drivers goofing off and Raikkonen having an off day, he still got the car home in 9th, despite some penalties. The rest of the season saw him ending up where I personally expected him to be; best of the backmarkers and sometimes sneaking into Q2.
He’s in my thoughts a lot and if there’s anything I’d want for Christmas, it’s good health for him and Michael Schumacher..
11. Sergio Perez
Finishing third at Bahrain was quite an awesome performance, but he didn’t quite have the same handle on Hulkenberg for most of the rest of the season, despite him looking good to finish in front of Nico during some of the races. I’d say this season with this car is a logical step after his 2012 season with Sauber and has washed away any doubts his season at McLaren have made about his capabilities. For me, anyway.
10. Felipe Massa
He had an amazing end to the season and his pole at Austria was an awesome lap. However, it cannot be ignored that Bottas did a lot better with the same car in more races. I’m not quite sure we have ‘the old Massa back’, but he showed a lot more of his past form than he did at Ferrari, even the good run he had in late 2012-early 2013. His start of the season was quite poor, compared to the end.
9. Nico Hulkenberg
I can be short and frank about his season; got the most out of the car more often than not and beat his teammate. Why this guy isn’t at a top team is beyond me. It could have something to do with the weekends he doesn’t seem to be on it, though.
8. Romain Grosjean
Quite surprised to see him end up so high in my rankings, but he did drag that thing called Lotus E22 to points and he had a fair share of battles that were nice to watch. Just a shame he couldn’t pick up where he left off in late 2013 as far as results go.
7. Jenson Button
Had quite a few results above my expectations, did well during races and frankly just did a good job.
6. Sebastian Vettel
Didn’t seem to enjoy this season, was beaten soundly by his teammate both in qualifying and races more often than I ever imagined and had some strange races where he just couldn’t get the most out of the car. But he’s still an amazing driver and scored some proper results.
5. Fernando Alonso
Once more (sadly) had to drag his Ferrari to results that it shouldn’t get and nearly won a race in a car that couldn’t qualify on the front row to save its life. Still, as in 2013, the highs seemed to be a little less high than in the past, or at least, fewer than in seasons like 2005, 2006, 2010 and 2012. As a Ferrari fan, I’m sad to see him go, as an Alonso fan, I hope he gets a car that can perform as well as him.
4. Valtteri Bottas
Never rated him highly, proved me wrong all season long. Great in races, great in combat and if I didn’t know any better I’d say he has been in F1 for years.
3. Nico Rosberg
Rosberg is a driver that doesn’t invoke a lot of passion or seems to have peaks like many other drivers, just a solid level and a level under solid. He had a few odd races and sessions out where I couldn’t quite put my finger on why he’d made a mistake or was slower than Hamilton. All in all a very good season (as a Schumacher fan, I’m glad his results started people talking about Schumacher’s performance at Mercedes in a more positive light as well) but he lost the title bit by bit over the season.
2. Daniel Ricciardo
What a guy. Such amazing performances against a 4 time WDC team mate, some heroic battles and some great qualifying performances. I wish I had something sensible to say, but I’ve never been as wrong about a driver as I’ve been about Ricciardo; I rated him considerably lower than Vergne and didn’t expect much of him at all.
1. Lewis Hamilton
Had a dominant car, but faced many set backs and won races by overtaking his team mate on track and frankly I found him more impressive during races.
Personally, if I hadn’t graded the drivers for each race (they competed) I think Button and Grosjean might have been a little lower, but overall I quite like this method.5th December 2014, 17:56 at 5:56 pm #288168JakeParticipant
I struggled to separate Hamilton, Ricciardo and Alonso (easily the 3 best in F1 at the moment) for best this year, but considering Hamilton did his job under the pressure of a title fight, I have to give it to him.6th December 2014, 11:09 at 11:09 am #288195TravisParticipant
This season had some very good racing and stellar performances from some. This wasn’t an easy list to rank, particularly at the top. Like many, I will not rank Will Stevens and Andre Lotterer since they only raced once, but Lotterer was solid at Spa and Stevens was better than I expected for someone thrown into an F1 car for a weekend without much testing mileage and told to go race.
For the full timers….
22. Adrian Sutil
21. Max Chilton
20. Esteban Gutierrez
19. Marcus Ericsson
18. Pastor Maldonado
17. Kamui Kobayashi
16. Kimi Raikkonen
15. Dani Kvyat
14. Jules Bianchi
13. Sergio Perez
12. Romain Grosjean
11. Kevin Magnussen
10. Nico Hulkenberg
9. Jean-Eric Vergne
8. Sebastian Vettel
7. Felipe Massa
6. Jenson Button
5. Nico Rosberg
Never would’ve guessed he’d outqualify Lewis the way he did. Although Lewis had some major qualifying issues, there were numerous weekends where Nico was simply faster. He drove some great races to prove he had race pace too over Lewis, particularly Monaco and Brazil. But, he was also not quite on it at times when he really needed to be, like the US Grand Prix when he did get the pole over Lewis but got overtaken, as with Suzuka and potentially Russia. Still a very impressive year when you can win 5 races and that many poles and podiums though.
4. Valtteri Bottas
Another breakout driver this year along with Ricciardo. Sure, he made some mistakes (Australia), but he was superb through the European season (Austria podium, beating Lewis in Germany) and although Massa came to life in the second half to challenge him a lot more, he was pretty much on it all year.
3. Fernando Alonso
Flawless. Makes you wonder what Ferrari would be if they didn’t have him. He was practically driving the car like Fred Flintstone when a rare chance at a win existed like Hungary, and even when there was no chance at all, he was flawless and consistently out-drove Kimi.
2. Lewis Hamilton
The champion. Hard to argue with 11 wins, and he drove much better in the back half of the season when the pressure really mounts when you’re in championship contention as he was. Save for Brazil, he was nearly mistake-free after the summer break and was just quicker than Rosberg week after week, which wasn’t always the case in the first part of the season (ex. Monaco, Austria, etc.)
1. Daniel Ricciardo
Incredible season. I don’t think anybody expected the way he was just faster than Vettel. He fit in nicely with Red Bull and drove a virtually mistake-free season with lots of terrific highlights to choose from. He was very often the fastest non-Mercedes, and when he wasn’t, it looked as though the car was generally not up to the job, not the driver.6th December 2014, 20:57 at 8:57 pm #288242Keith CollantineKeymaster
Thanks for all your contributions so far guys. This thread will be closing soon so if you want to contribute you’ll have to get a move on…7th December 2014, 2:35 at 2:35 am #288263RigiParticipant
Ok here we go. Won’t be ranking Will Stevens and Andre Lotterer due to their one-off racing debut. However I will say they both did well.
22. Esteban Gutierrez
Showed some promise by beating Sutil from time to time in the first half, but ultimately he was the worse driver at Sauber. Although he did have some bad luck with technical failures, it’s not hard to see why he has only scored points once in 38 races. Worst drive was definately Monaco where he threw away a points finish with a mistake not even a rookie should make.
21. Max Chilton
Did improve from last year, however it became apparent in Spa, why he had the drive at Marussia. There’s no other way of saying that he’s the slowest driver in the field, but he is consistent (however not as consistent as last year).
20. Adrian Sutil
Not much was expected from Sauber when they started the season with thier uninspired driver line-up, but was expected to beat Gutierrez due to his experience. He did beat him eventually, but not as excessively as many expected. Worst performance was, again, Monaco. Having driven the course many times now, you’d expect him to know the bumpy road after the tunnel (after all, it’s where Raikkonen once crashed into him due to those bumps) but he still threw away a possible points finsih with a driver error, like Gutierrez. Also making spiteful comments about Sauber’s future after he got sacked made the ever so slight repect i had for him vanish completely.
19. Marcus Ericsson
Generally slower than Kobayashi, but that was to be expected. Has good performances in Singapore, Japan and Russia, that weren’t down to new parts only, like many seem to know. After Italy Ericsson urged his engineers to alter his brake-by-wire settings, which were his main problem during the season. He made a few silly errors (Monaco qualifying springs to mind), but many technical failures lessend his time in practice seassions and so on. I reckon he’ll be doing a better job at Sauber next year.
18. Pastor Maldonado
Generally not as quick as Grosjean and also forgetting how to drive a F1 car during practice in China gave me the confirmation that Maldonado is simply not F1 material. With a big roll of cash under his arms it’s doubtful that we’ll see him leave the sport soon.
17. Kamui Kobayashi
Did what he could in his Caterham, but ultimately I believe it was the last we ever saw from him in F1. The last lap overtake on Bianchi in China was brilliant, but it proved to be unnecessary anyway.
16. Kimi Raikkonen
It’s quite incredible how low I have to place him, but 2014 was a year to forget for the Iceman. Many considered the fight at Ferrari was going to be close, but ultimately it wasn’t close at all. Raikkonen couldn’t get to grips with his car all year and it will be interesting to see how he fares against Vettel next year.
15. Romain Grosjean
From being a contender for wins last year he went to being a lower midfielder, most of the time due to his car and it’s terrible engine. Things can only get better next year.
14. Jules Bianchi
Scoring points in Monaco was probably the highlight of his carrer, and let’s not forget that he outqualified Raikkonen several times this year. Bianchi was supposed to be Ferraris future, and he showed us why. Such a shame about his accident.
13. Sergio Perez
Put up a good fight against Hulkenberg, but he was generally a bit slower than him. Kudos to his podium in Bahrain, probably his best drive since Monza 2012. Deserved his second season with Force India.
12. Daniil Kvyat
Has been very close to Vergne in race pace, and was better in Qualifying. In the end I don’t think he should’ve been promoted to Red Bull yet, but maybe he’ll prove me wrong in 2015.
11. Jean-Eric Vergne
Better than Kvyat in the races, slower in qualifying. Same as with Ricciardo in 2013 really (and I still say that Vergne deserved the seat at Red Bull more than Ricciardo). Again he had a lot of retirements due to technical issues, but still managed to score 22 points. He didn’t deserve to be dropped.
10. Kevin Magnussen
After the impressive debut in Austalia he was never really a contender again. A few silly mistakes in Malaysia and China. His defending at Spa was top notch driving though, the penalty he got was ridiculous in my opinion, same in Monza. Has a future ahead of him and I believe McLaren would be better off in keeping him instead of Button.
9. Nico Hülkenberg
Didn’t completely obliterate Perez as many expected, but still beat him in the end. Consistent. Not much else to say.
8. Felipe Massa
Terrible first half of the season, lots of crashes and not really making himself any friends with his comments about “GP2 drivers”. After Monza though he was constantly ahead of Bottas and looked more like his 2008 self.
7. Sebastian Vettel
A huge disappointment the 2014 season was for the world champion. Never got to grips with the car and the pressure from Ricciardo was higher than most expected. Looking forward to see him in a Ferrari next year.
6. Jenson Button
Did a good Job this year, was always quick and never looked in doubt of finishing ahead of Magnussen in the championship. Was it enough to secure his future at McLaren? He’s not the youngest anymore and Magnussen is still very young. It’s a tough call.
5. Nico Rosberg
Just wasn’t as quick as Hamilton when it really mattered, so runner-up was the best he could do. With the best car on the grid it wasn’t a very hard year, but he still did good.
4. Lewis Hamilton
The world champion had a few rocks thrown in his path, but speed and determination lead to him securing the championship. Deserved it, but in the best car on the grid, it was never hard to see Hamltion as world champion at the end of the year.
3. Fernando Alonso
Once again he proved himself to be one of the best drivers in the field. After the Ferrari had been declared useless by many fans, Alonso still pulled masterful drives out of it (Hungary especially).
2. Daniel Ricciardo
Ricciardo has been a big surprise this year. He had quite a bit of pressure on him, since Vettel was a world champion and Ricciardo had barely any experience driving at the front of the field. Still he fought hard for his three victories this year and proved himself and Red Bull a force to be reckoned with in the future.
1. Valtteri Bottas
To me, there’s only one true winner for the top rank this year. Bottas has been such a consistent driver and truly showed his ability to race. Even though his second half of the season wasn’t as good as the first, he’s proved himself to be one of the fastest drivers in F1, in the third best car on the grid. Bottas is a name we will often hear in the future.
Been writing this at 3 am, any spelling or grammar errors may be forgiven.7th December 2014, 14:33 at 2:33 pm #288291DanParticipant
22. Adrian Sutil
21. Esteban Gutierrez
20. Marcus Ericsson
19. Max Chilton
18. Kamui Kobayashi
17. Pastor Maldonado
16. Kimi Raikkonen
15. Romain Grosjean
14. Sergio Perez
13. Kevin Magnussen
12. Jules Bianchi
11. Nico Hulkenberg
10. Daniil Kvyat
9. Sebastian Vettel
8. Jean-Eric Vergne
7. Felipe Massa
6. Jenson Button
5. Nico Rosberg
4. Valterri Bottas
3. Lewis Hamilton
2. Fernando Alonso
1. Daniel Ricciardo7th December 2014, 15:30 at 3:30 pm #288292Iestyn DaviesParticipant
@kingshark’s paragraph on Alonso has to be the paragraph of this thread! Like Clark, 2x WDC is a low amount for such a good driver, like 0x for Moss. @danieru summed it up when he said the Ferrari was a midfield car at best this year.
@keithedin I think that’s Guetta’s tribute to Grosjean’s success late last year. But the song title and video matter take on a new resonance for me, of hinting towards Jules Bianchi’s crash sadly. Nice song though.7th December 2014, 15:54 at 3:54 pm #288294hunocsiParticipant
I thought this guy was going to be good. As a big fan of JEV (though I like RIC as well as my profile pic might suggest) I watched them closer last year, and saw he deserved a promotion more at that point, and showed good promise. But like anyone else I didn’t think he’ll be this good. He had great racecraft, amazing overtakes and fine qualifying pace. Fantastic all around.
Rosberg beat him in qualifying this year, and he’s made a few mistakes (fortunately for him it only happened once in race in Brazil), but in nearly every race he was clearly the faster of the two of them, and still managed to win in Bahrain and Spain where he wasn’t necessarily. I read from him and some pundits that it was his best season but I think he was slightly stronger in a few past seasons, mainly in 2012.
Quite an amazing performance once again, he had a big job with a terrible car and a tough teammate, but in the circumstances he dominated Räikkönen like Massa. Getting 2 podiums was a big feat, especially holding onto the lead for so long in Hungary.
As we saw this year, Rosberg might be the better qualifier in Mercedes, but in the races he was always slightly slower per laps, he used his tyres slightly more in each stints, and the mistakes in Italy and Russia showed he needs to get his head around Sundays. And most importantly he has to improve in fights, because even in Bahrain, where he should have won he couldn’t get one pass stick for more than 2 corners, not to mention other times when he couldn’t even get close or as in Spa when he did he rushed a move when he could have waited, and neither showed big resistance during Hamilton’s overtakes.
Bottas went very well for most of the season, but there were times like in Malyasia, China, Brazil or Abu Dhabi when he simply struggled without too much of an explanation. These might have been about setups but if he cuts out these weaker weekends he will have an even brighter future. Also if he had not made that one mistake in Australia I probably would have put him ahead of Rosberg, but it’s a good sign he didn’t repeat it during the season.
Damn. Probably even before he scored points in Monaco (but after that definitely) I was thinking that Jules should get Kimi’s seat next year at Ferrari. After Räikkönen’s crash in Silverstone, where he also got into P12 in qualifying and the test the following week I thought he should get the seat even during the season. And he even improved after these with getting two further times into Q2, especially the one in Hungary in the dry was amazing – where he even beat Räikkönen (although he was on the harder tyre). And what an unbelievable thing that his only mistake in the season was so costly, because in my opinion this man could have been a champion.
As usual, Button wasn’t great in qualifying but still managed to beat Magnussen in that respect – but in the races he totally dominated him – sure, Magnussen was a rookie and Button is the most experienced on the grid, but he showed once again that he’s very strong on Sundays. Does he deserve a drive in F1 next year? Probably yes. But I can’t say about Magnussen either he doesn’t deserve it, and as the team almost certainly signed Alonso and has Vandoorne in reserve, Jenson could probably be leaving as McLaren seems to be overstaffed.
I loved seeing him in races he was probably the most ballsy guy apart from Ricciardo in the grid, let’s remember the fight of the two in the last race. His drive to 6th in Singapore was great – overtaking 3 guys in the last 3 laps and pulling off a 5+ second leave ahead of them to undercut his penalty. And the overtake on Magnussen in Sochi’s T3 on the outside was unbelievable. Though he suffered the most on the grid with technical problems in the first half of the season his lack of pace in qualifying is worrying, even if as he said his weight played a part in that.
Massa was hard to read. There was a period from about Spain where he seemed clearly slower than Bottas, but in the end of the season he was the better in races, even when he qualified behind. He had many crashes during the year but compared to that number weirdly none of them seemed to be his fault. I’ve written him off during most of the past 4 seasons he spent at Ferrari, but it turns out the few good weekends he had there weren’t by luck, he still has speed, even if slightly less than before his accident.
Vettel was beaten by Ricciardo, no question about that. Without the reliability problems and with more testing the gap would probably be slimmer, but Ricciardo got the better of him in both qualifyings and races. I still think he was the best driver last year, and thus he didn’t win just because his car, but this season he didn’t have that performance in himself, and maybe the lack of wins and the wind of change played a part through his emotions, so he has to pick himself up to be successful again on his own.
22. Chilton7th December 2014, 22:05 at 10:05 pm #288317Ivan VinitskyyParticipant
1. Hamilton – Most of the time looked unstoppable in the lead. Showed he has an edge in race craft and race pace over Nico. Made no stupid mistakes as in earlier seasons. Was beat in qualifying however I’m not convinced he sets up his car for quali.
2. Alonso – same old story with Alonso, seems to deliver regardless of car deficit even though his quali pace is still lacking.
3. Ricciardo – I’m probably offending most of you by placing Ricciardo so far down the list but I simply refuse to believe he’s THAT much better than Vettel. I think Redbull have the 2nd fastest car this season, and therefore I’d expect Ricciardo to deliver exactly the results he got. Whatever Vettel’s problems are, it seems wrong to just explain results gap by Ricciardo’s excellence. Having said that he was very good in races and quali. Never made mistakes and showed good pace throughout the season.
22. Chilton7th December 2014, 22:59 at 10:59 pm #288319StrontiumParticipant
Here is my view. Drivers who only competed in one race (i.e. Lotterer and Stevens aren’t included as there is not enough to base their ranking on, especially in Lotterer’s case as he only did one lap through no fault of his).
1. Daniel Ricciardo. Completely out-classed Vettel and was the only non-Mercedes winner. Don’t need to say too much.
2. Lewis Hamilton. Beat Rosberg and won the world championship.
3. Valtteri Bottas. He has helped to bring Williams out of the dark, and beaten Massa, with 6 podiums, and the highest championship position of any non-Mercedes and non-Ricciardo driver.
4. Nico Rosberg. Did a great job in his car and took the challenge to Lewis. Just wasn’t quite as good in the end.
5. Felipe Massa. I for one did not expect Massa to have such a strong season (nor end up ranking him higher than Alonso!), but he has done a solid job in the Williams, and has proved himself to continue to be an amazing driver.
6. Fernando Alonso. A somewhat more humble season out on the track, but not in the media. A solid job holding Ferrari together on track as Kimi’s performances were poor, once more proving himself to be one of (if not the) best in the world in a bad car, outclassing a world-class Kimi Raikkonen.
7. Jenson Button. Beat his rookie teammate and dragged the McLaren up as high as possible.
8. Nico Hulkenberg. Once again another great season, outscoring Perez.
9. Sergio Perez. A fantastic season, scoring Force India’s only podium, and a dramatic improvement from his disasterous season at McLaren.
10. Jules Bianchi. Capitalised on the opportunity at Monaco to finish 8th on track (later demoted to 9th) to take Marussia’s first points.
11. Jean-Eric Vergne. A strong season for STR, beating Kvyat.
12. Romain Grosjean. Difficult to rate his season after he has had such an awful car, but scoring most of Lotus’s points and outracing Maldonado significantly.
13. Sebastian Vettel. A far from ideal season, being beaten by Ricciardo, but nevertheless did well enough to get 5th over all.
14. Kamui Kobayashi. A somewhat overshadowed season, he comfortably showed his talent, outdriving his teammate, continuing even in a car which was not particularly safe.
15. Kevin Magnussen. Beaten by Button but it was his rookie season. Showed fantastic pace with his opening podium, and has struggled through with a bad car.
16. Kimi Raikkonen. Like K Mag, he was beaten by his teammate, but nevertheless scored something with his slow vacuum cleaner.
17. Daniil Kvyat. Has shown great flashes of speed in his rookie season, but was outscored significantly.
18. Pastor Maldonado. Not an ideal season, he has improved from 2013 and only flipped over one car. Still has a long way to improve.
19. Marcus Ericsson. Consistently beaten by Kobayashi and hasn’t shown much, but nevertheless kept it clean for most of the time.
20. Esteban Gutierrez. Slow, and hasn’t done much to contribute to Sauber.
21. Adrian Sutil. Same as Gutierrez but worse. No potential, no speed, and caused trouble a lot of the time.
22. Max Chilton. Pay driver.
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