2016 F1 driver rankings: Your mid-season verdict

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    We’re at the summer break and those of you who’ve been reading F1 Fanatic for a while know what that means: It’s time for the mid-season driver rankings.

    As always I’ll be putting the drivers in order based on how they’ve done so far this season. But I’m always interested to see what you’ve spotted about a particular racer or who’s impressed you the most, so please share your thoughts on as many of the drivers as you like below.

    And of course a selection of your comments will be used in the final rankings.


    1. Hamilton – Completely untouchable recently after a difficult start to the season due to reliability problems
    2. Ricciardo – Crushed his teammates in qualifying but has been put under pressure by Verstappen in the races, but has delivered of late
    3. Verstappen – Had the beating of Sainz at his brief Toro Rosso stint before winning his first race at Red Bull
    4. Vettel – Strong drives when he has the chance. Strategy calls lost wins in Australia and Canada. Needs to put a hold on Kimi’s strong performances of late in the underperforming Ferrari car
    4. Sainz – A brilliant season where he has thrashed Kvyat 26-2 since Spain. A matured performance
    6. Rosberg – Great first four races before he has completely bottled a 43 point lead to 19 point deficit
    7. Perez – Two impressive podiums in Monaco and Baku but his start and end to the first half of the season has let him down
    7. Raikkonen – Been performing better against Vettel and is beating him in the standings
    9. Alonso – Put in some strong drives in Monaco and Hungary but otherwise has had Button too close for his liking
    10. Button – Has been beated by Alonso but has been much closer than many expected
    11. Bottas – Williams car has let him down but still has a single podium to his name
    12. Hulkenberg – Had the edge over Perez in qualifying but has underpeformed in the races
    13. Grosjean – Was fantastic very early on but since then has dropped behind Gutierrez
    14. Wehrlein – Has beaten Haryanto comfortably in the races
    15. Magnussen – Was dominating Palmer but recently he has lost his way a bit and is under pressure for his seat
    16. Massa – Consistent points early on in the mid-field Williams car but has since lost his way
    17. Gutierrez – Reliablity ruined the start of season when the car was fast, but since then he has been closer to Grosjean than many expected
    18. Palmer – Very poor start but improvements have been showing and he has been close to Magnussen
    19. Ericsson – Was driving well in the fly-away races at the start of the season, but after that Nasr has come closer and beaten him more than often
    20. Nasr – Couldn’t get going in the slow Sauber car in the early races but has picked form up since then and has threatened to score points
    21. Haryanto – Has done well in comparison to Wehrlein in qualifying but in the races he has struggled to be within a minute to his teammate
    22. Kvyat – His career is going as we speak, scoring just 2 points since his demotion to Toro Rosso


    After each weekend I rate the drivers out of 10, from the average of that my rankings would go as so:


    It represents pretty accurately how I’d rank them on their performances for a half-season. Ricciardo was the best for me, sadly robbed of results really that would really represent it with Hamilton following; maybe without his mistakes he’d be at the top, but he was slightly error-prone to be. Verstappen with a little bit more consistent driving would certainly be ahead of Alonso by now. After Sainz and Button there’s quite a gap with Rosberg and Wehrlein tied – may be a bit favorable for the latter as he is a rookie, but shows that he could be up for that Mercedes seat in just a few seasons. The next bunch was a bit invisible, doing a good job but without too many special results, probably with the exception of Grosjean, who after two great opening races faded into the mix. Below Hülkenberg are the people who need to up their game, with Palmer and Gutierrez showing more promise recently, but the others, I wouldn’t be too bothered if they were replaced for 2017.


    My driver rankings:

    1: Verstappen
    2: Hamilton
    3: Ricciardo
    4: Perez
    5: Sainz
    6: Grosjean
    7: Raikkonen
    8: Rosberg
    9: Vettel
    10: Wehrlein
    11: Button
    12: Bottas
    13: Alonso
    14: Hulkenburg
    15: Gutierrez
    16: Kvyat (I would rank him lower but he did finish 3rd in China)
    17: Magnussen
    18: Massa
    19: Nasr
    20: Ericsson
    21: Palmer
    22: Haryanto

    It was very hard to rank these guys cause the field this year is one of the stronger ones in most recent years


    Whoops wrong order. Was meant to put Ric P2 and Ham P3. But even then, as an Aussie bloke, it was hard to rank Verstappen above Ricciardo but Max has done incredible this year

    Uzair Syed

    1. Ricciardo – Very consistent and fast so far. Deserved the win at Monaco the most but was unlucky.
    2. Hamilton – Hampered by issues at the beginning but good mini comeback from him.
    3. Verstappen – Took a surprise win at Spain and his aggressive driving is entertaining to watch.
    4. Sainz – He is quietly proving himself. Consistently finishing in the points and outperforming Kvyat.
    5. Vettel – When the car actually works he has done a good job. Ferrari’s strategists have often screwed him over.
    6. Rosberg – After the first four races he would have been first on my list. Now he is only sixth because of his catastrophic bottling of the lead.
    7. Pérez – Took two well earned podiums this season and has been outperforming his teammate in most races.
    8. Raikkonen – He’s actually been pretty decent so far this season. He leads Vettel in the points but his car has been slightly more reliable.
    9. Alonso – He’s done pretty well so far picking up solid points on three occasions in the slow McLaren.
    10. Button – He has also done well finishing in the points quite often. Has been quite close to his teammate.
    11. Bottas – The Williams has been a tricky beast to tame this season but he has done a good job even finishing on the podium at one stage.
    12. Hulkenberg – Still behind his teammate but he is getting closer to his 2014 form.
    13. Wehrlein – He has scored points in a Manor which is no mean feat. Has also destroyed his teammate in the races.
    14. Grosjean – Was very good early in the season but has dropped off. Even the mediocre Esteban Gutiérrez is beating him.
    15. Magnussen – Scored points on one occasion in the slow yellow Lotus with Renault written on it which is pretty good, and has had the measure of Palmer.
    16. Massa – He was consistently finishing in the points early on this season but has started to slip a little recently.
    17. Palmer – Magnussen has been beating him and he could have scored points at Hungary, but he blew it.
    18. Gutiérrez – At the start of the season he was poor, but he is now starting to beat Grosjean. Hasn’t scored a point though.
    19. Ericsson – He has beaten Nasr in most of the races this season. Not much else he can do really.
    20. Nasr – This season has been poor compared to last season. He has beaten Ericsson in the last few races though.
    21. Kvyat – Had a solid start to the season, picking up a podium at China. However, his demotion to Toro Rosso has left a broken and demotivated man and I feel sorry for the guy. However, Sainz has destroyed him.
    22. Haryanto – The worst driver on the grid right now, consistently finishing last in almost every Grand Prix. He is basically Max Chilton.

    Anyone in the top 15 has impressed me at some point. Rankings 11, 12 and 13 are very close for me.


    1) Verstappen (I didn’t expect him to outrun Ricciardo, he’ll get there though, sooner than we think)
    2) Ricciardo
    3) Sainz
    4) Alonso
    5) Hamilton

    6) Vettel
    7) Perez
    8) Button
    9) Hukkenberg

    Craig Woollard

    I came up with mine after Hungary but I don’t think Germany would have influenced it too much:

    Ricciardo: So, so unlucky to have just three podiums this season and no wins.
    Vettel: Been a bit poor at times, but has been horrendously unlucky.
    Verstappen: Lacking a bit in quali, but his race pace is sensational. Defensive moves questionable.
    Perez: Placed that Force India in positions it simply does not belong in. Upped his quali performances.
    Grosjean: Been a bit off as of late, but still done magic in that Haas.
    Sainz: Stuck his Toro Rosso in the top eight quite often. The Toro Rosso is not a top eight car.
    Hamilton: Too many errors.
    Rosberg: Too many errors. Edged by his team mate in every way.
    Raikkonen: Definitely looked stronger than the last couple of years but still outpaced by Vettel.
    Bottas: Made a few clumsy moves in the races but has demolished Massa lately.
    Alonso: Starting to seem a bit more Alonso-like. Had some really good runs such as Hungary.
    Hulkenberg: Almost nowhere in the first third of the season. Not capitalised on opportunities.
    Massa: Started really well but has looked absolutely shocking since then.
    Magnussen: Tad erratic but he has generally edged his new team mate.
    Button: Had some fairly strong races but otherwise been outclassed by Alonso.
    Gutierrez: Very unlucky not to score points. Really started to come strong from Monaco onwards.
    Kvyat: Shame to stick Kvyat this low, but he is really not having any good form right now.
    Wehrlein: Unimpressive on Saturday generally. Impressive on Sunday generally. Delivered in Austria.
    Palmer: Making a few rookie mistakes here and there but otherwise not too bad for a first half-season.
    Ericsson: Looked the least worst of the two Sauber drivers.
    Nasr: Shone in the wet at Hungary, and that is about it.
    Haryanto: Occasionally doesn’t do too bad in qualifying. Absolutely nowhere in the races.

    Not ranked: Vandoorne: Did the perfect job as a substitute driver at Bahrain.


    1) Hamilton – Lewis is at a scary level right now. Scintillating in qualifying, decisive in wheel-to-wheel racing and even now the reference when it comes to tyre management. He is the complete package.

    2) Verstappen – What Max achieved in Spain is perhaps the most miraculous display in modern times. I simply refuse to believe that a teenager in his third year out of karts is one of the topline performers on the grid. He could be champion in 2017.

    3) Ricciardo – Staking his claim as being among the top echelon of drivers in the world, and a champion of the future. Classy, consistent, assured performances have proven that 2014 wasn’t a flash in the pan.

    4) Rosberg – He has definitely taken a step in 2016 – three victories on merit over the newly crowned champion at the end of 2015 surely helped. The only thing stopping Nico from crossing the Rubicon and becoming a champion is the almost offensive brilliance of his teammate.

    5) Sainz – Continues to do a stellar job in showing how blinkered and small-minded Ferrari were for not investing in his services.

    6) Perez 7) Raikkonen 8) Vettel 9) Grosjean 10) Bottas


    Typed up a full list which for some reason didn’t post! :(

    1. Hamilton – I would have ranked him lower had he won the same number of races and had no reliability issues. But the speed with which he has overturned Rosberg’s lead is truly remarkable. Still at the top of his game, and that is no mean feat.
    2. Ricciardo – Mightily impressive this year, rising well to the challenge of Verstappen. He is a future world champion, there is no doubt. Robbed in Monaco.
    3. Verstappen – Won his first race in a race winning car, impressive. Not the finished article though, but there is no doubt the talent is there. Would do well to learn a bit of humility.
    4. Sainz – Really coming on as a racing driver this year, some very mature drives. So glad he is out of the hype monster’s shadow because people are actually starting to realise how good he really is.
    5. Vettel – Continues to perform to his potential, which is more than can be said of everyone at Ferrari at the moment.
    6. Perez – His drives in Monaco and Baku were sensational. He is deserving of another shot at a tope team.
    7. Rosberg – I felt bad ranking him this lowly, but he won his races where others largely had technical issues or made poor strategy calls. His antics in Austria and Germany knock points off too.
    8. Grosjean – In the form of his life. Ferrari were mad not to sign him for 2017. Getting the results he has been in a brand new team (even if it is as good as Haas is) is truly remarkable.
    9. Wehrlien – I was sceptical, but he has impressed me no end. Always looks to be knocking on the door of Q2. Oh, and he scored points in a Manor.
    10. Alonso – Continues to show that he deserves that 3rd title.
    11. Bottas – Doing as well as can be expected. Nabbed a podium when it was available, more often than not was best of the rest.
    12. Button – Impressing me no end by keeping Alonso honest. But I wouldn’t give him another year at McLaren. Or Williams.
    13. Hukenberg – Has come out on the wrong end of strategy calls a lot, most notably in Monaco and at Silverstone. Still one of the quickest out there.
    14. Magnussen – Doing as well as can be expected. Hope he can hang onto this seat because Renault will come right and he is a real talent.
    15. Raikkonen – Better than 14 and 15, but he couldn’t really have gotten worse could he. Had Vettel been behind Verstappen in Barcelona I think he would have gotten by. Not the driver he once was.
    16. Massa – Time to hang up your helmet Felipe.
    17. Haryanto – Ranks this high because he is keeping Wehrlien honest in qualifying. He is out of his depth in the races though.
    18. Kvyat – Would someone give this guy a hug! He is this high because of his pre-China form. I hope he can get his head straight over the summer break because he is a very quick driver.
    19. Palmer – The car is poor which isn’t helping his cause, but he committed the ultimate sin by failing to do what Magnussen did in Sochi: Score points when the opportunity was there.
    20. Gutierrez – Would have been stone last if it wasn’t for his recent upturn in form. Given how well Grosjean is going it is criminal that he hasn’t scored a point to date.
    21. Nasr – It is his attitude which has disappointed most, he is too quick to blame the team.
    22. Ericsson – After chances in 2014, 2015 and 2016 I hope that Sauber’s new found finance will mean he doesn’t get a seat next season.

    Uzair Syed

    Haryanto in 17th is very high. He has been absolutely destroyed by Wehrlein in the races, and Haryanto has finished last in almost every race. @geemac


    Yeah, I see that and I did acknowledge that he was out of his depth in the races @ultimateuzair. The place I gave him was largely down to is keeping Wehrlien honest in qualifying, which I think is impressive given how often Wehrlien has threatened to get into Q2…and the fact that I think those in 18-22nd have been dire.


    @keithcollantine Will Vandoorne be in it? Surely his one race was a better showing than whatever Palmer has shown over the past season.


    Just a list, I’ll provide notes if someone is interested in any particular choice.

    1. Hamilton
    2. Ricciardo
    3. Verstappen
    4. Vettel
    5. Alonso
    6. Sainz
    7. Bottas
    8. Button
    9. Raikkonen
    10. Hulkenberg
    11. Perez
    12. Rosberg
    13. Kvyat
    14. Massa
    15. Wehrlein
    16. Grosjean
    17. Gutierrez
    18. Magnussen
    19. Haryanto
    20. Ericsson
    21. Palmer
    22. Nasr


    As a Perez fan I notice he’s behind hulkenberg. I really don’t get that since Perez has clearly been better all season and has nearly double Hulk’s points so please may you elaborate?

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