F1 mid-season driver rankings 2019: Who's impressed and who hasn't?
- This topic has 8 replies, 9 voices, and was last updated 3 years, 7 months ago by Alex.
- 6th August 2019, 16:43 at 4:43 pm #403210Keith CollantineKeymaster
I’m working on our mid-season driver rankings article to run later on during the summer break.
Who’s impressed you so far this year? How would you rank the drivers so far?
Share your verdicts on the 20 drivers over the first 12 races below.6th August 2019, 18:18 at 6:18 pm #403212hahostolzeParticipant
Always good fun, these, and definitely never contentious ;-)
Caveat beforehand: this has been a season of really decent F1 performance, mostly. The Haas and Russell are hard to place and gauge, everyone else has mostly done quite well, my 20-17 excepted. From 16-3 they’ve all done well, some very, very well. But 2 and 1 are in a league of their own.
Let’s see, counting down:
20 – Kubica. That he is here alone deserves merit, but even so… Say goodbye.
19 – Gasly. Comparison with his teammate is so bad.
18 – Stroll. The idea of him as a permanent fixture in F1 is frightening.
17 – Giovinazzi. If Kimi was done, he did not show it.
16/15 – Grosjean/Magnussen. Impossible to place.
14 – Perez. Grey, just filling the field right now.
13 – Hulk. Can’t say more about him than what I said about Perez, sadly.
12 – Ricciardo. Not taken the Renault to dizzying heights, which he really should have.
11 – Kimi. Hardly amazing, but still did some good stuff.
10 – Vettel. Just not shining, too many mistakes. Frustrated.
9 – Russell. Williams makes this impossible to gauge, as does Kubica, but I think 9 is about right.
8 – Bottas. Good, fine, had his moments, but once again the rut set it.
7 – Kvuat. Showing his quality, which makes me very happy.
6 – Leclerc. Definitely not one of the season’s stars, despite everyone salivating over his future. Too many mistakes. Lacks consistency badly. And in a field of young stars, no longer the sole pretender to the crown.
5 – Sainz. He did what Ricciardo didn’t do. Outshone the car. Took it to dizzying heights. Last year I thought Hulk had him pegged. This year (could well be car-related), the roles are reversed.
4 – Albon. A revelation. Never particularly rated him as a young driver, but he’s shown himself to be a future star. So mature. Steady and fast.
3 – Norris. The best rookie since our 1 and 2. Unbelievable what he’s shown.
2 – Hamilton. Only not number one because of how close Bottas has run him at times, and Hockenheim. I hope he remains interested and committed to F1 for a long, long time. Becoming a true statesman.
1 – Verstappen. Best driver of the field for around a year now. Finally seems to have everything he once promised. Gap to Gasly the only thing that might be flattering him a bit…6th August 2019, 20:20 at 8:20 pm #403213Basílio YamasakiParticipant
My first post..
1- Max Verstappen
2- Lewis Hamilton
3- Carlos Sainz
Hard to put in order.7th August 2019, 11:32 at 11:32 am #403269montreal95Participant
19)Gasly.didnt think he’d beat MV but didn’t think he would be this bad either.
18) Stroll. Just hasn’t got ultimate pace
17) Giovinazzi. inconsistent and that won’t cut it next to Kimi.
16)Grosjean. car is unpredictable but he’s not doing it any favors
15) Vettel. the mistakes and the pace he’d had so far this season is unbecoming a four time champion
14) Magnussen. Better than his teammate overall but not much more.
13) Bottas. faltering badly just when he needs his a-game
12) Kvyat. much better than before but still it is his rookie teammate that’s impressing me more
11) Perez. Did what he can with a bad car but still just average
10) Hulkenberg. expected more of him even if the car let him down more often than he did himself. It’s just not happening for him despite his obvious talent
9) Ricciardo. The move to the faltering Renault team threatens to wipe that smile
8) Albon. Least impressive of the rookies which is a fantastic prospect for f1s future and in no way a backhanded compliment
7) Russell. amazing performance reminiscent of Alonso’s superlative 2001 season in the Minardi
6) Raikkonen. amazing! showing guys half his age how it’s done
5) Leclerc. not the ultimate finished product yet but for a first season in a Ferrari pressure cooker he’s great!
4) Sainz. Not as impressive on ultimate pace as his rookie teammate but sustained monstrous race pace is beyond impressive
3) Norris. big question mark before the start of the season and consequently the biggest positive surprise. keep it up buddy!
2) Hamilton. tough one. Lewis has been sublime this season but just by a hair less sublime than P1
1) Verstappen. perfect performance since after Monaco 2018 already. Beforehand he was in my eyes someone who’s impossible to like despite being a mega talent. Now though he’s a perfect blend of aggression and prudence and therefore one to be admired, and also one every driver in f1 in the next 15 years will probably count as a benchmark8th August 2019, 8:16 at 8:16 am #403308MiltiadisParticipant
20) Kubica: Unfortunately not the return he wanted, but at lesst he made his comeback
19) Grosjean: For his experience, it is pretty bad to see him doing all those mistakes
18) Giovinazzi: Easily outpaced by Kimi, but midways he started picking up a bit the pace
17)Stroll: His qualy really hurts him, as in race trip he is pretty decent. The qualy record is atrocious though
16)Russell: Difficult to rank George higher, since the car is really bad.
15)Gasly: He would have been much lower, if he didnt have the “excuse” of being in a big team with a clear No2 status. Awful season
14)Perez: Nothing impressive by Perez, pretty average season and he is outscored by Stroll despite being 12-0 in qualifying
13)Magnussen: Collected some points when the Haas car was fine but then he disappeared in Sundays, when Haas faced its tyre issues. Him and Grosjean started crashing between themselves, so not ideal.
12)Hulkenberg: He is doing a solid job against Ricciardo, by he still failed to deliver when it really counted. Nico was a bit soft in his overtakes as well, but solid performances by him
11)Riccardo: expected more from Ricciardo, but with the exception of 3 races(Monaco-France), he was lost in the midfield battles.
10)Albon: The positive surprise of the season. He is proving to be really quick, and he only lacks some experience, which is pretty logic to understand(for instance in Germany). He seems to be the quicker of the pair, but Kvyat is having more experience.
9)Kvyat: He returned much more mature and happy, and he made it stick when it counted (Hockenheimring). He has stayed out of trouble with one exception and as it seems the time away the sport did him wonders.
8)Norris: Lando is proving to be extremely quick and has been unlucky not to earn more points. Some signs of inexperience made its appearance, which is absolutely normal, so thays why he is in P8
7)Raikkonen: Kimi is relaxed, with a car designed around him, in an environment which he knows, so he performs really well this season
6)Vettel: He did mistakes, but most importantly he was outpaced by Leclerc with big margins in many circumstances.
5)Leclerc: He has been the faster of the Ferrari pair, but he made many mistakes as well. In my eyes, both Ferrari drivers will reduce their mistakes when the team is run by a stable and decisive management…
4)Sainz:Ms consistency, he makes it stick whenever there is an opportunity.
3)Bottas:He has upper his game this season and has been much consistent. He is giving Hamilton troubles in circuits where Hamilton is really dominant(Silverstone, Hungary), in qualifying terms. As in his Williams years, his race pace isn’t that strong, but he was unlucky to lose points in the fight with Hamilton (Monaco, Hungary)
2)Verstappen: There aren’t any big differences between Verstappen and Hamilton, but Verstappen has to settle with the second place, as RBR is pretty much an one man show and he hasnt any internal competition
1)Hamilton: On his way to his sixth championship, he is on good form throughout the season.8th August 2019, 12:20 at 12:20 pm #403312JeanrienParticipant
20 – Kubica, hasn’t been great in any race. Hard to rank him higher based on what he has shown, got a lucky point.
19 – Grosjean, too many avoidable mistakes and lack of results compared to team mate. The car isn’t great but he is not extracting much out of it either.
18 – Giovinazzi, a bit transparent with the occasional spark but it never lasts.
17 – Gasly, sub-par, could be even lower if he was not in a RBR and matched against one of the best of this season. Har to justify a higher rank given how far behind his team mate he is.
16 – Magnussen, as Grosjean, too many avoidable mistakes. Haas looks like kinder garden this year. Magnussen brought home slightly better results than Grosjean
15 – Stroll, consistently behind his team mate which hasn’t performed great either. Opportunist on first lap earning him some nice gains but otherwise nothing spectacular (lucky roll dice in UK)
14 – Perez, he was expected to crush his team mate but that hasn’t happened. Consistently leading the team but far from his best in tire conservation or race craft.
13 – Russell, difficult to rank given his car and team mate but has shown very promising result and attitude. A driver worth to be in the midfield to have a proper chance to prove himself.
12 – Hulkenberg, the occasional mistakes reminds everyone why he hasn’t got a top seat yet. Has fared well against Ricciardo but is dropping behind his team mate now that Ricciardo is getting used to the car.
11 – Ricciardo, took a while to settle in the new car and the results took some time to come. Hasn’t shown his usual late braking and brave moves, it looked a bit more desperate driving such as his quali in hungary or overtake in France.
10 – Kvyat, good return in a well known team. Has brought home some nice performance from his car.
09 – Albon, maybe not the same high than Kvyat but has been consistent and a very good beginning for a rookie.
08 – Vettel, too many mistakes to pretend to higher rank. Is in front of team mate only thanks to early season team orders.
07 – Raikkonen, seems to enjoy driving for Alfa and has shown some nice skills attacking or defending. Always good to see a driver having fun in the car and it shows in the results
06 – Sainz, the McLaren pair is pushing each other forward and difficult to separate them.
05 – Norris, some very mature and honest drives from Norris, ranked over Sainz only because he is a rookie vs more experienced team mate.
04 – Bottas, Very good start of the season which justify his position here rather than late results. Has been consistently bringing points home.
03 – Leclerc, could/should be the leading driver at Ferrari. Has made some mistakes and has been let down by his team but still showing that he fully deserves his seat at Ferrari
02 – Verstappen, in a class shared with Hamilton, we could almost share 1 & 2 between them but given Gasly performance, hard to really gauge how much is coming from Verstappen or his car (hence his rank behind Hamilton)
01 – Hamilton, has been pushed by team mate early in the year but can deliver when it matters which is the reason to him being first.9th August 2019, 12:07 at 12:07 pm #403374Ben NeedhamParticipant
I think this is slightly easier than previous years, but there are still some tricky rankings in the midfield that could go either way. My own thoughts below.
20 – Kubica
An achievement to even be on the grid, but it ends there. He’s been destroyed by Russell. Nice that he has a point to show for it though.
19 – Gasly
Possibly the worst performance by a driver in a top team for decades. Frequently lapped by his team-mate and never challenging the rest of the top drivers. Frankly, awful. I’d get rid of him now.
18 – Giovinazzi
He’s compared poorly to Raikkonen and has only a single point to his name. A quiet year.
17 – Stroll
His highlight in Germany was due to him performing so poorly that the gamble made sense only for him and Kvyat. He did however make the most of it when the chance presented itself and took a strong 4th, which may be valuable for Racing Point in the WCC. He’s been awful in qualifying, beating only the terrible Williams and his good starts are his only saving grace.
16 – Grosjean
Romain has a frustrating ability to hit the wall in the most pathetic circumstances (coming to the grid, leaving the pits, behind the Safety Car… you name, he’s done it). If someone is complaining about a legitimate overtake, you can bet it’s him (see Perez in Canada). Hitting his team-mate regularly and otherwise generally slow. That said, he is still fast on his day.
15 – Magnussen
“K-Mag” has done what he can with the unpredictable Haas, dragging it to a great qualifying result in Austria and scoring well in Spain and Australia. He pushes his racing too far and shares the blame with his team-mate for several collisions. The only saving grace for him is that he’s been better than Grosjean.
14 – Perez
A fairly anonymous season so far. That he’s not scored points since April is pretty damning, but the car has been poor. Germany was a race right up his street, but he was the first in the wall… a fair reflection on his season so far.
13 – Hulkenberg
Hulkenberg will be feeling nervous, as Ricciardo has been better than him in general (“on his own turf”). He’s still probably the best choice Renault have and would probably deliver with a good car. He still doesn’t seize opportunities when they are presented to him.
12 – Russell
He’s in a Williams that is far off the pace, but he’s often seen dicing with a few other cars and his qualifying in Hungary was brilliant. He’s destroyed Kubica and it would be interesting to see how he’d get on in a better car.
11 – Kvyat
He seems a new man; confident, quick and reliable. The podium was great, but Monaco and a few others were arguably more impressive. He and Albon are very close, as Hungary proved.
10 – Ricciardo
Fair to say that Ricciardo will be second-guessing his move to Renault now. He knew he wouldn’t be challenging for wins, but he’s only scored points four times. That said, he’s normally been the quicker driver in yellow and will surely be there if the car comes good.
9 – Albon
Albon has been mature and generally maximised opportunities in the Toro Rosso. There’s talk of promotion, which is surely too soon, but he’s compared well to Kvyat. It’s easy to forget that at the team’s highlight in Germany the only reason he didn’t finish ahead of his team-mate was because he was running too well to justify the gamble that Kvyat took.
8 – Vettel
His results read better than his races have actually been. There have been too many mistakes, in Bahrain, Britain and Canada to name a few. Leclerc has been fast and troubling him regularly, which he’ll need to watch for in the second half of the year.
7 – Bottas
A good start to the season has quickly faded and been forgotten. If you’re only as good as your last race, he’ll wish his results were swapped round… The 62 point gap to Hamilton is surely too much to recover and Bottas needs to prove that he can be a great Number 2 to show Mercedes he’s still valuable.
6 – Norris
Lando has done a great job in the McLaren but has been unlucky at times. He and Sainz have been closely matched, but Lando has just been edged in terms of race finishes. His qualifying has been exceptional at times. He also seems a breath of fresh air away from the track… which is nice to see…
5 – Leclerc
Blighted by poor luck, team orders and the occassional error, young Leclerc has shown he deserves his seat at Ferrari. He possibly could have won up to four races this year were it not for “something” ruining it each time (be it reliability, a crash in qualifying, a wet run off area or Max Verstappen). He is at least on the pace of Vettel at every race and seems slightly more reliable under pressure.
4 – Raikkonen
Able to focus entirely on his racing again, Raikkonen has dragged the best out of his Alfa Romeo, scoring points in the majority of races. He’s shown his team-mate the way almost without fail and looks comfortable despite being the oldest on the grid.
3 – Sainz
The “Smooth Operator” has had a quietly brilliant year so far, often best of the rest and close to being ahead in the standings of one of the Red Bull’s. He’s made few mistakes and seems to be edging the promising Norris. Perhaps not the most exciting driver (the producers rarely show him), but he won’t mind if he keeps racking up these results.
2 – Hamilton
Lewis will almost certainly win the WDC yet again this year, crushing Bottas once again and leading Ferrari to self-destruct in an attempt to get close. Germany was a blot on his record, but many drivers made errors that day.
1 – Verstappen
He has been quite simply exceptional all season. I’m struggling to recall a single costly mistake throughout the year. His reaction to the disappointment in Hungary and Britain shows he’s maturing as well, which is a terrifying prospect for his rivals. He’s closing on Bottas in what has long been the third best car.9th August 2019, 17:29 at 5:29 pm #403379Alianora La CantaParticipant
Ranking (note that spaces are between drivers, or sets of drivers, with significant differences in performances; had I been in a different mood, I might well have rearranged the orders of some of the drivers sharing a given paragraph):
More detailed impressions:
Hamilton – He’s closing in on the title for very good reason. Has made maybe three notable errors all season, which is astonishing given that there have been 12 races so far. Particularly given that he’s clearly been using the full range of the driver skillset at various times of the year.
Bottas – Did excellent work at the start of the season, but has faded as the season goes on. I get the impression he’s actively looking elsewhere, for reasons that aren’t quite clear, and unfortunatly it’s showing.
Verstappen – Much better than last year, but has ridden his luck on several occasions and still only seems to know one way to overtake people. Will need to make another jump to become a title contender, regardless of what the Red Bull does.
The part of the skillset Verstappen is using, he’s using well. The part he’s not using prevents me from rating him as high as many others currently do.
Gasly – I want to rate him higher. Britain showed Pierre can do more. But while Red Bull continues to treat him like a spare part, it’s going to be very difficult to do. The past five months are unlikely to sway Red Bull to treat him well, but there’s a limit to how low I can score him while his team is this unsupportive. (Red Bull should note that he is not a total loss – he did well at Toro Rosso last year – and they really need to remember there is more than one way to be a good F1 driver and to accept that two Maxes in the same team would be a Very Bad Idea).
Vettel/Leclerc – more difficult to disambiguate the two than the standings suggest, because Ferrari has written their strategies in greater tandem than any other frontrunner. Both frustrated with it but expressing that in different ways. Occasionally, for both, it leaks into their driving and causes errors under stress. Although Vettel has made more of these stress errors, I also take into consideration that he’s been carrying more of the strategic load – on at least one occasion that I know of (Baku), he’s been the one to tell the pitwall to fix a problem Leclerc’s strategy, and on multiple others has had to argue hard to retrieve his own strategy. On the other hand, Leclerc seems to have been doing quite a lot of the media diversion work. Both seem to having to spend more time talking back to their team than they are letting on, and both would perform better if the rest of Ferrari was fully functional.
Hard to categorise them in relation to Verstappen (who’d be the most logical person to think of in comparisons), as none of this stuff is being tested at Red Bull. That team simply knows where it is going and goes there. Occasionally, as in Hungary, that works against them. But in general, Max doesn’t need to use as broad a range of a driver’s skillset as the Ferrari pair do just to get a decent day’s work done.
Sainz Jr – Consistent, smooth and quietly scoring lots of points. Exactly what Red Bull need in their junior driver… …oops they dropped him a while back. McLaren’s gain is a high one.
Norris – Ditto, but making occasional tactical errors due to less experience.
Giovanazzi – Occasionally does something good, better than his previous attempts, but not making the impression he would have hoped for. Put it this way, I’m not thinking “Ferrari needs to stick him in a Haas next year”.
Raikkonen – Sauber has reinvigorated Kimi, and it’s good to see. Some of his performances have been quietly excellent, and he’s providing the technical backup Sauber needs too.
Riccardo/Hulkenberg – It’s sad seeing what happened to Daniel this year. This was meant to reinvigorate him the way Kimi got reinvigorated. It hasn’t happened, and if anything he seems even less energised than at the end of last year, where he said he needed to leave Red Bull to avoid becoming embittered. The driving has lost its verve, errors are starting to creep in and points are therefore proving hard to come by. Daniel’s a tough cookie… …and he’ll need to be. Came into this season with what is apparently a better idea of what to expect. Has made almost as little of it. Seems to have unspecified difficulty with taking the “high” results that defies this viewer’s understanding – and that Renault needs to justify the spending.
Like the Ferrari duo, hard to separate them when the team appears to be the limiting factor. However, I don’t think they are making as much of what opportunities there are.
Kyvat – After a slow and error-prone start, has built up a head of steam and shown us what he meant to show us the first time he was in F1. Still not seeing the tests of mental strength that would prove he could carry the burden Gasly’s being asked to carry, but doing well in the environment he is currently in, and making good use of his niche.
Albon – Excellent debut in context. A bit less savvy than Kyvat, but otherwise a good match for him, and good at taking opportunities too. Also hasn’t done the tests of mental strength that would prove he could carry Gasly’s burden.
Perez – Has tracked the car’s performance. While I had hoped for more, after not having to take on any of the team principal’s duties this year, he did OK when the car was middling in the start of the season. Unfortunately, as the car has got slower, he’s made errors attempting to transcend that level, to the point where Stroll is sometimes outperforming him. I predict he will improve with the car after summer and leapfrog Stroll when the car allows his oversteery style to pay off better, but that’s no help to his rating this half of the year…
Stroll – In the beginning, looked like the driver Williams did well to get rid of. However, he has improved as the season has progressed, capitalising on excellent start speed and good consistency to occasionally beat his team-mate. The points of course are not reflective of the true gap, being based on one race that many other drivers made look farcical (Germany). However, I don’t see Lance looking back from here. This is the year Lance looked like someone possibly worth putting in effort to keep in F1.
Grosjean – Romain has for the most part been a caricature of himself this year, and it’s a shame. He knows how to drive better than this, he just stuggles to do it consistently, and I’m not sure what will help him not go through this same rigmarole every year. Hitting a team-mate twice in consecutive races (and three times so far this year) is the icing on a mouldy cake. Another driver I want to speak well of. Yet it’s even more difficult to do that for Romain than for Pierre. I doubt he will be a F1 driver in 2020.
Magnussen – Almost a carbon-copy of Grosjean’s year. Kevin really, really does know better than this. Maybe the partnership has gone on too long. If either Haas driver was going to improve in the second half, I’d imagine it would be Kevin, but that’s no help to his first-half rating. It wouldn’t surprise me if we did not see him in 2020. Gets a slightly better rating than Grosjean due to fewer complaints, though he’s also complained too much about his own misfortune at the wrong moments.
Russell – Williams needed this from their rookie. He has fresh ideas on how to race a Williams and sometimes makes it look better than it is, particularly in qualifying. I predict he will improve as the season progresses and he gains experience. Ranking position limited as it is not clear how much he is able to do of the out-of-car element of a driver’s skillset yet, and that’s a great situation for a rookie to be in.
Kubica – Somewhat difficult to place, though definitely not in Russell’s league at this moment. I do wonder how he would fare in a Haas – they need his toughness, expertise and ability to not get in embarrassing situations, he needs a car that doesn’t fight him quite so much. The bare qualifying and race figures will almost certainly prevent him being considered (if his sponsor’s contract with Williams doesn’t!) but he’s not as bad as they’re making him look, and he’s not the worst driver this year. He won’t settle for that, though.12th August 2019, 16:12 at 4:12 pm #403413AlexParticipant
1. Verstappen – Lets be honest, did we expect him to be Mercedes’ closest challenger? Most of us expected it to be Ferrari. Nevertheless, he destroyed Gasly so much in that car that the team demoted his teammate and promoted Albon, that says a lot. His highlights of the year so far been Austria/Germany wins and Hungary pole.
2. Hamilton – I feel he has scored far too many points thanks to some given wins by Ferrari, his qualy pace hasn’t been the best despite being all time pole position leader, but his Sundays have been quite exceptional, apart from Germany, lets forget that happened..
3. Sainz – Quietly impressive, a bit like Hamilton in some ways, great on Sundays, not so much on Saturdays, if he works on qualy pace in second half of the season, he might just give Max a run for his money.
4. Raikkonen – Shows that age doesn’t matter, despite being in a midfield team, he has shown his rookie the way in the team and has been one of the most consisent drivers all year, shame how he was treated at Ferrari the past few years despite being there last WDC.
5. Norris – Although his teammate has outscored him and has performed a bit better, he has sort of been hyped by the media more, not that thats a bad thing, he’s put in some great drives so far this year.
6. Leclerc – Great really, sure he’s made a few silly mistakes, but he is still in his second season, should be ahead of Vettel but is not due to team errors.
7. Bottas – So much for Bottas 2.0, had a great start in Australia (literally) and has showed great qualy pace, but he needs to work on race pace if he wants a drivers title.
8. Kvyat – Great comeback, scored an unlikely podium in Germany and IMO should’ve been picked to replace Gasly (for now atleast).
9. Russell – Hard to rate him as he’s in a dog of a car, like Verstappen, has destroyed his teammate, can’t say much else cause we don’t see him that much.
10. Ricciardo – Oh Daniel, the luck doesn’t like you does it? Bit better than Hulkenberg as expected, but still a disappointing year.
11. Albon – Solid, but not spectacular, is the RB promotion too soon though however? We’ll see…
12. Hulkenberg – Disappointing, just like the team, however…
13. Vettel – Apart from Gasly, the disappointment of the season so far, in terms of the top teams. Despite being ahead of Leclerc in points, he’s made inexcusable mistakes, including that own goal in Canada, crashing Max out in Britain, spinning again in Bahrain, not going aggressive at the start of Spain… ugh, hopefully Germany was a start of a turnaround.
14. Perez – ‘Just there’, not a good car either, has struggled to get points for the team.
15. Giovinazzi – Raikkonen 31 Giovinazzi 1.
16. Stroll – I don’t care if your good at starts, work on your qualifying!
17. Magnussen – Sure you have a rubbish car, but complaining about it isn’t going to help.
18. Grosjean – Same as Mag.
19. Gasly – Ouch.
20. Kubica – …I’m just happy your here.
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