Rank the F1 drivers of 2016

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    It isn’t indeed an easy job to do the rankings this year since no-one was perfect nor completely hopeless but I’ll try anyway. I’ll leave Vandoorne out since he only drove one race.

    23. Rio Haryanto – Wasn’t as bad as I expected, but still rather uninspiring driver, and I doubt anyone missed him after Ocon arrived.

    22. Daniil Kvyat – A season to forget for the young Russian. Started the season OK but after his demotion to STR pretty much everything went wrong. I’m still glad he gets another chance next year, he’s still young and he has a lot of potential.

    21. Felipe Nasr – Apart from Brazil, he was very disappointing and got beaten by Ericsson more often than not.

    20. Jolyon Palmer – Was pretty hopeless at the start of the season, but improved later on the year. Still not sure he deserves another go though.

    19. Marcus Ericsson – Was the better of the Sauber-drivers, but that’s not really a huge achievement.

    18. Esteban Gutierrez – Didn’t pay a lot of attention to him really, but he was actually much closer to Grosjean than I would have thought. Won’t miss him if we don’t see him next year though.

    17. Kevin Magnussen – The better Renault-driver overall. Didn’t really impress on that many occasions but the car didn’t really give him a chance to shine. Interesting to see him alongside Grosjean next season.

    16. Felipe Massa – Started the season well compared to his team-mate but as the season progressed he slowly faded away. In a way I will miss him, but I’d say he retires just in time.

    15. Jenson Button – This year he couldn’t keep up with Alonso anymore, and made a wise decision to leave the sport. I will definitely miss him though, I wasn’t too happy when he won the title in 2009 but I really started to rate him more highly during his time at Mclaren.

    14. Esteban Ocon – Did a very good job after he arrived to Manor, and I do think he’s more talented than Wehrlein, but Pascal just edges him for this season.

    13. Pascal Wehrlein – Solid job the whole year with that Manor, shame he seems to be a rather difficult person to work with though. Interesting to see what happens if he gets the promotion to Mercedes.

    12. Romain Grosejan – Had a fantastic start to the season, but faded away with his team as the season progressed. Good driver who will get the job done if Haas give him the chance.

    11. Nico Hulkenberg – Much closer to Perez than what the points show. Had a lots of bad luck and should have gotten his first podium this year. Hopefully Renault can build a decent car next year, as I think Hulkenberg could benefit from the new rules.

    10. Valtteri Bottas – Beat Massa quite soundly, but he just lacks that wow-factor that would make him look like a potential future champion. Has a lot of work to do if we wants to keep his spot in the sport as there are lots of younger and at least equally talented drivers around.

    9. Kimi Räikkönen – By far his best season after his return to Ferrari. Out-qualified Vettel, which I think no-one predicted, and with some better strategy calls might have scored more points too.

    8. Sebastian Vettel – A solid season, but we expect more than that from Vettel. After brilliant 2015 he just didn’t perform on the level a 4-time champion should. Needs to improve a lot next year.

    7. Sergio Perez – Perez is an interesting case. I feel he’s a bit too good for a midfield-team like Force India, but I’m not sure if he’s good enough to challenge for championships. Scored 2 impressive podiums and helped FI to reach their best ever season, so there’s not much more he could have done.

    6. Carlos Sainz – Very strong season from Sainz. Soundly beat Kvyat and performed on a high level trough the whole season. It’s a shame there isn’t a third Red Bull-car on the grid, as they are unlikely to change their line-up anytime soon. He would be my pick for the second Mercedes seat.

    5. Fernando Alonso – After a rather uninspiring 2015, the real Alonso was back this season. 10th in the WDC with that Mclaren was a very impressive performance, and I guess everyone agrees that he deserves one more chance in a championship winning car.

    4. Nico Rosberg – I really don’t know how to rate Rosberg’s season, especially after his announcement yesterday. How should we look into those last 4 races? Was he happy with 2nd and didn’t even try to beat Hamilton? Would he have challenged Hamilton more in those races had Hamilton’s engine not blown up in Malaysia? Anyway, he’s the world champion, and that’s all that matters in the end.

    3. Lewis Hamilton – Most wins, most poles. Can’t really ask for more than that, even if the car is one of the most dominant ones in the history of the sport. And yet, had he been driving just a little bit better in one race, he would have won the championship.

    2. Max Verstappen – Like him or not, Max is the best thing that has happened to the sport since I started watching F1. Dare I say it, he reminds me of Villeneuve; Always giving everything he has, always looking for that chance to overtake or cover one, sometimes crashing out and making mistakes but on his day on a class of his own. And yes, I was talking about Gilles.

    1. Daniel Ricciardo – During his time at Red Bull, Daniel has become the most consistent and overall best driver on the grid. While he may not be as pretentious as his team-mate, he’s the better point-scorer of the two. At least for now.


    23. Esteban Gutierrez – Can he fuck off already?
    22. Rio Haryanto – I expected more from him, he was right up there in qualifying but in the races, he loses alot of time respecting the blue flags, I don’t think anyone realised that, if he was in a midfield car, he wouldn’t need to worry about it.
    21. Felipe Nasr – He only peforms when he wants to, in F1 you need to peform every day, just one of these lazy drivers on the grid when I know he can do better.
    20. Jolyon Palmer – Proved me wrong in the 2nd half of the year but he keeps on doing dumb pay-driver mistakes like crashing on a staright line at Monaco and at Brazil bringing Kvyat with him both in the wet. Also the car has been a dog so let’s see in 2017.
    19. Daniil Kvyat – He’s been really unlucky with those technical failures, breaking him mentally again. He got demoted just so Red Bull can keep Verstappen, he should run somewhere else before his career takes a big blow.
    18. Marcus Ericsson – been at his best this year, shame the car has been a shitbox.
    17. Felipe Massa – After Spain, his season went downhill… Compared to Bottas, he’s scored 4x less points, he’s also missed out on big ones too.
    16. Kevin Magnussen – He’s ran out of patience with that Renault, his technical feedback hasn’t been helping the car too, which makes it alot more worse
    15. Esteban Ocon – A bit higher but neutral. Just bringing the car home and staying out of the barriers like a pro.
    14. Romain Grosjean – Should go to Indycar, less technical for him…
    13. Pascal Werlhein – Rookie of the year defo… scored points at Austria, he’s been in the midfield where the car is suited for staright line speed.
    12. Jenson Button – Like Massa, he knows his time is up. Lost some speed but the consistency is still there.
    11. Sebastian Vettel – if only he gets a better strategy board, he could’ve won some races, same story as in 2014… can’t win in a shit car
    10. Kimi Raikkonen – This year, the Iceman still has his fire, he only has 2017 left unforunately like Nando.
    9. Nico Hulkenberg – I’m saying he’s better off to WEC, where consistency matters the most… when will he get a podium like Checo too?
    8. Valtteri Bottas – When will he win a race? When he gets a better car for fuck’s sake, CLAIRE!!!!!!!!
    7. Sergio Perez – He’s been his best this year, this is the REAL CHECO
    6. Nico Rosberg – Narrowly ahead of Lewis but he’s done a good job taking adantvage and never letting it go to win the title
    5. Lewis Hamilton – Despite losing the title,
    4. Fernando Alonso – He’s 35 but he has still has it, if McLaren fails to deliver a mega engine, he’s gone to WEC.
    3. Carlos Sainz – Where’s the 3rd Red Bull car when you need it? Once Ricciardo goes, he’s gonna be the next real deal.
    2. Max Verstappen – Shame he couldn’t win another one but he’s been really great, hope to see him fight for title next year, also the top 3 overtakes made by him.
    1. Daniel Ricciardo – Best driver of the year, finished all the races, been consistent also the closest non-Merc out there, deserves to be a champ one day.
    Not Rated – Stoffel Vandoorne – Done well at Bahrain, we all know why he’s a GP2 champ


    (disclaimer: the first few will be long)
    So up until the mid-season rankings I had a rating of a drivers each week which helped me give an order but I stopped it shortly after. This order is probably close to what the ratings would produce but you have to take the season as a whole anyway so maybe it’s better that I don’t let them influence me.

    1. Daniel Ricciardo
    Even though I think I’m objective putting him No.1 as well as being a fan, I’m a bit uncertain. He’s clearly the most consistent driver out there who barely (if ever) made a mistake since joining Red Bull. But Max joining him is pretty unnerving, because he’s pretty much equalled Dan on pure speed who I thought was the best out there, and is looking like the better one at tyre management.
    However, Daniel along with not making mistakes still pulled out amazing performances which made me sure of his 1st place like Monaco or Singapore, and also staying ahead of Verstappen in Malaysia thanks to that amazing wheel-to-wheel action was a great feat where he was clearly off the pace.
    But if next year the Red Bull is the dominant car, he’s going to pull of something even more to keep “Mad Max” at bay.

    2. Max Verstappen
    While I’m not a fan, you’ve got to admire him. He came in the team, with a little luck he managed a first GP win on his first try, which is unreal – but since he keeps making performances like that, it’s almost natural, and it almost could be expected. Obviously Monaco just after was a big negative of his season, but he didn’t lose his head and gave great performances throught, with Brazil and maybe Japan as a standout. As I said, his pace is great and his tyre management is even better, so Ricciardo has to look out for him.

    3. Nico Rosberg (I haven’t wrote out in any comment section what I wanted about Nico since his title win and announcement, so it’s not just about this season, but bear with me)
    Interesting thing this life, isn’t it. It was always hard to rate Nico, because pace-wise he’s (almost?) there with Lewis, but as Merc became dominant, it became obvious that his racecraft (wheel-to-wheel) was poor. I saw some trends in Nico in their three years at the top: 2014 he worked for one lap pace, was the best at that, but subordinate in races, especially battles, and also mentally, see Italian GP and Russian GP start. 2015 he let go of qualifying but worked on race pace and tyre management and a bit on the mental skills, but starting always behind Lewis (first part of the season when it counted) it just wasn’t enough – and he was still bad wheel-to-wheel. But after that season’s happenings and especially Austin he clearly knew where to focus. Find a balance between race and qualifying, find a right mental approach, and perhaps more importantly he started to be more aggressive against others (especially after getting often nudged off by Lewis at the starts on the outside and being fed up with it). I’m saying aggressive, because he probably wanted to be decisive but as he wasn’t good at it, it might have come across as aggression. That’s what led to the Spanish crash (not saying it was his fault, just letting himself get in a situation like that), that’s what led to the Austrian accident, and although he got better at it by the German and Malaysian races, the stewards still found it over the top (those two were OK by my book, but anyway). But he learned from those and he learned to keep his nerves together, and that coupled with some great performances like Baku and Singapore led to him getting to the situation which allowed him to win the championship – from Japan onwards. And that left him cramped a bit and he wasn’t as fast as a consequence, but he was mentally ready to fight these battles, and in the end, he even managed to nail a proper good overtake on Verstappen in the finale (and he thought that’s it, I’m retiring now :P ), and managed those last laps like he wouldn’t have in 2014 or even in 2015, because I’m sure he would have cracked before. Now he didn’t (which was particularly impressive in the longest season ever) and he fully deserves this title. Well done and all the best to him.

    4. Lewis Hamilton
    Before I started to write these rankings I sort of had a list in my head and he was 2nd, but I went over the results and as I’m processing the season as a whole, he wasn’t good enough. Sure he drove as quickly as always, but what was unusual is he let his bad luck dominate his mind – that with getting more open with the world outside Formula One was crucial I think. After the first few races he almost sounded like a defeatist, and after he came back and got on top he was slipping a bit. Then came Malaysia, which obviously was a big blow, but even without that closing with the Japanese GP, I think Nico was slightly better than him, and because of the engine blowup, that was set in stone. He pulled off probably his best form ever in the last 4 races without the pressure, did all he had to do, but so did Nico who did that with all the pressure. Close, but not close enough

    5. Fernando Alonso
    Australian crash was a scary thing after a small misjudgement, but after returning he pulled off great performances in frustrating circumstances. If the car is good next year, he’s surely up for a title fight.

    6. Carlos Sainz
    He was very impressive until mid-season, after that he slumped a bit, probably the old engine played a part in that, but still managed two strong points-scoring finishes near the end of the season.

    7. Sergio Perez
    Very consistent all year, he and Force India really warmed together, and his Baku performance for example was top.

    8. Valtteri Bottas
    Williams really slipped after the last two years, but Bottas performed well, even if it didn’t count for much.

    9. Sebastian Vettel
    Last four years he was up, down, up, down. Don’t know if he lost motivation after the fourth title, obviously changing to Ferrari helped him last year, but this year it was just work there. I’d blame the leaders there for giving false hopes to probably everyone around the team, but still, Vettel wasn’t good enough at times, he was better in the races, but his qualifying performance especially is mind-boggling.

    10. Nico Hülkenberg
    He had some good results, but he probably needs the change of air after the lack of success and even a podium, because I still thinks that he could produce some great things. But Perez really got the better of him.

    11. Kimi Räikkönen
    Massa and Button slowed, and Räikkönen somehow found his speed again. Quite impressive because in the last two years he wasn’t performing well enough, but this year was very reasonable.

    12. Jenson Button
    First half of the season was pretty good, with Austria one of his best weekends ever, but Alonso was better even until then. After the announcement he really said goodbye and I’ll miss him, but it’s good to see he won’t be dragging on forever.

    13. Wehrlein
    Yes, Haryanto matched him in qualifying early on, but even then he was way ahead in the races, and then he started to make almost regular appearances in Q2. Even if a little lucky, his point in Austria was very impressive, and I don’t think he’d be undeserving of the Merc seat if he got it.

    14. Romain Grosjean
    Interesting one, because on his day he was really impressive with Haas, the first two rounds were incredible. But Gutierrez often got close to him in terms of pace, and he is probably the most inconsistent driver of the really quick guys which is a shame, even if the brake problems made him reserved at times.

    15. Felipe Massa
    He was revitalized at Williams but still, after his 2009 accident he just wasn’t good enough. This year his qualifying pace really slipped, but was somewhat stronger in the races.

    16. Kevin Magnussen
    He might be the other inconsistent quick driver alongside Grosjean, because he can produce great results like in Russia, but he can be almost invisible at times, so it will be interesting to see these two pair up at Haas.

    17. Jolyon Palmer
    Didn’t start too strong, but as was clear in GP2 he’s a bit of a slow learner, and after a while he did get up to speed. His mistake in Hungary must have been pretty annoying, fortunately he got that first point later.

    18. Esteban Ocon
    I guess it was not easy to take a little guy like Haryanto’s seat for a guy this tall, but his performances weren’t too bad to start with, and the last two races were quite impressive.

    19. Esteban Gutierrez
    Obviously getting 0 points versus somebody who racked up quite a few is not flattering, but he wasn’t that bad. Not that good either though, and I don’t think the grid would lose too much with him. Also, the blue flag incidents were just crazy from his side as many as there were.

    20. Daniil Kvyat
    I’ve seen a picture of him in a Red Bull yesterday and realized that was from this year, it was that long ago… Putting Kvyat on the sidelines with Verstappen knocking on the door was understandable because he wasn’t performing well despite a podium, and that Sochi start was appaling. Drop of morale was also understandable on his side but he was too slow for too long, and I would have preferred to see Gasly next year instead.

    21. Marcus Ericsson
    Had good performances last year too, but it was surprising to see him constantly ahead of Nasr. Still, I’m not sure if that’s much of an honor, because…

    22. Felipe Nasr
    …Nasr was too slow compared to himself from last year. His drive at home to score the team’s only points was really good (as well as a shame for Manor), but the whole year was underwhelming.

    23. Rio Haryanto
    Wasn’t as bad as we may have expected as his qualifying record looks pretty good, but the races weren’t any good.

    + Stoffel Vandoorne
    Good performance in Bahrain, can’t wait to see what he can do against Fernando.


    Here’s my rating :

    1) Daniel Ricciardo : last year, his season was overshadowed by a bad- performing Red Bull, but in 2016 we could see the same Ricciardo than 2014. He had a very solid season. I don’t recall him making any mistakes (problems were usualy not due to his fault), and he even managed to fight above his category on a couple of occasions. Moreover, he wasn’t beaten by the next F1 superstar as his teammate.

    2) Max Verstappen : the new F1 superstar has performed once again beyond our expectations. He had a surprise promotion to Red Bull and delivered good results immediately. Although he was beaten by Ricciardo who performed even, he still did amazing races, and somehow he often succeeds in doing things which seem near impossible.

    3) Nico Rosberg : some say that Rosberg is a lucky champion. But I believe that Nico Rosberg has upped his game quite significantly this year. Compared to the two previous years, he seemed stronger in many aspects : better starts, more agression in overtakings, better mental strength, better race pace. He also won some races where he was usualy not brilliant in the past (like Monza, Spa, Suzuka). And his über-dominance in Singapore was quite phenomenal. It’s easy to remember misfortunes to his teammate, but one shouldn’t forget Rosberg’s strong performances this year.

    4) Lewis Hamilton : Hamilton’s season wasn’t as easy as previous years, but he still did a very good one. When he didn’t have problems, he still performed very very well, and he had several dominant wins, where no one could challenge him. Most wins, most poles, but just not enough points to beat Rosberg. His only big weakness this year were his bad starts, which he had quite a few this year, and which cost him a lot of points (more than the engine failure in Sepang I believe).

    5) Fernando Alonso : the McLaren might have improved a bit, but the car is still very uncompetitive. Many times, the car couldn’t compete for points. But somehow, in this piece of garbage, Alonso managed to score 54pt this season! Among which are two top 5 finishes. Once again, Fernando showed his maestra in racecraft, being able to perform much better than his car would permit. As usual, he completely dominated his teammate, who scored less than half of Fernando’s points…

    6) Carlos Sainz : Sainz was always close to Verstapen. He is as talented as the new star, but somehow has never managed to do some unexpected stuff as Max did. Every time Sainz was on course to score a lot of points, something happened, and he finished the race on a lower position than he could. It’s a shame, but he nevertheless had an excellent season, having scored almost 3 times more points than Kvyat since the driver change in Toro Rosso.

    7) Pascal Wehrlein : the Manor driver had a strong season, and some amazing races. He scored 1pt in a Manor which is an extraordinary achievement by itself. He seemed to be very strong in circuits he knew from DTM (like RB Ring and Hockenheim), but he didn’t look as good at other circuits (unlike many drivers who did GP2 and GP3, he had far less experience at most of the tracks in the calendar). The rookie showed he has a great potential for F1. Let’s hope he could get a better car next year.

    8) Sergio Perez : somehow, Perez did it again. Everyone (myself included) tend to praise Hülkenberg’s talent, but it’s always Perez who manages to attract the spotlight on him. When the car is good on the circuit, he’s able to ouperform, and do amazing drives. He got 2 podiums and scored more than 100pt. And more often than not, he was in front of his very talented teammate.

    9) Esteban Ocon : a half-season in F1 was enough for him to become competitive and be close to his teammate which was already showed his talent earlier in the season. And he also seemed competitive on circuits where both had no experience before. His good reputation is, I believe, justified, and he’ll probably become one of F1’s fron runners in the future.

    10) Nico Hülkenberg : Perez might have got all the glory from his podium finishes, but Nico Hülkenberg didn’t have a bad season. He had a bad start, with several non-finishes, but further on in th season, he became more competitive, and more consistent in his results. Still, Perez seemed to perform a bit better on average.

    11) Romain Grosjean : On a whole, Grosjean’s season wasn’t that good. Especially towards the end, he didn’t seem to perform so well, and threw away a couple of good opportunities (like his spin in Interlagos before the start). Sometimes, he seemed puzzled by his slow pace (like in Singapore). But he still succeded in scoring some strong points for the new team. Not only that, he scored all the points for Haas, which in itself is quite an achievement.

    12) Kimi Raïkönnen : The Ferrari drivers didn’t perform very well this season. But Kimi did less mistakes than Vettel, and he did some good races, like in Shanghi, Bahrain and Austria. But ha lacked some consistency. He doesn’t seem to have had a bad season, but that’s because his teammate had a much worse one in my opinion.

    13) Kevin Magnussen : his car was awful, towards the end his teammate drove as good as him, but he still scored almost all the team’s points. But it’s difficult to judge him in such an uncompetitive car.

    14) Valtteri Bottas : the Williams drivers were quite invisible this season. Valtteri still managed to get on the podium once.

    15) Marcus Ericsson : used to be known as a pay driver, but this season, he was more often than not stronger than his teammate.

    16) Jolyon Palmer : didn’t have a good first half of the season, nowhere near his teammate. But eventualy he caught up, and began to perform as good as Kevin. He even scored a point in his dreadful Renault somehow.

    17) Esteban Guttierez : He didn’t always have bad races, he wasn’t always beaten by Grosjean, but once again, Guttierez couldn’t find his way towards scoring points. I don’t belive anyone will miss him in F1.

    18) Sebastian Vettel : after an exceptional season last year, it seems like Vettel’s talent has gone away. Sure, he wasn’t always lucky (he had two potential wins thrwon away by dubious strategies), but he seemed to do way too many mistakes, especially in starts. Instead of being rememberd for good drives in the end of the season, he’s mostly rememberd for swearing at the radio.

    19) Jenson Button : this time, Jenson’s pace wasn’t anywhere near Alonso’s. He had a very good race in Austria, but apart from that, there’s very little to remember from his season.

    20) Felipe Nasr : there were high hopes for Nasr after a good first season, but this year he had no brilliant races like in 2015. Moreover, he was dominated by a driver which was considered like a bad pay driver. Sure, he saved the team by scoring points in Brazil, but there’s not much else to tell from his season.

    21) Daniil Kvyat : it saddens me to write this, but Kvyat had awful season. Last year, he had beaten Ricciardo in the championship, but this year, Daniil was a different man. His season didn’t start well in Red Bull : one excellent race in China, but three bad ones (with a horrible mistake in his home race). Back in Toro Rosso, he never could show anything strong. Not only Sainz was stronger, he seemed to be always in front of the Russian driver. And while Sainz still managed to score big points in a car with an underpowered engine, Kvyat hasn’t come close to emulate that kind of performance. Hopefully next year, we will see the Kvyat from 14-15.

    22) Felipe Massa : Massa had a good start of the season, before the European races. But since then, the Williams became slower, and Felipe seemed to fade away behind his teammate. It’s probably for the best that he ends his F1 career now…

    23) Ryo Haryanto : was never impressive in GP2, and was even less impressive in F1, against a strong teammate though. His replacement by Ocon made us forget about him, because there was nothing to remember from him.

    not rated) Stoffel Vandoorne : one race, no preparation, one point. I can’t wait to see him performing amazingly in 2017!

    Christopher Rehn

    1: Daniel Ricciardo
    Definitely the standout driver of 2016. His bad weekends were still 7/10. His worst is ridiculously high and he definitely stepped up when challenged by a very promosing young driver. The smiling assassin is my choice for driver of the season.

    2: Sergio Perez
    Surprised to see him beating Hülkenberg. Definitely improved in 2016 and in my eyes a logical candidate for the coveted Mercedes seat vacated by our champion Nico Rosberg. Strong drives overall.

    3: Carlos Sainz Jr
    Definitely worth more than another season at Toro Rosso. His only drawback was being paired to someone so incredibly hyped as Verstappen. Delivered frequently this year and utterly destroyed Kvyat.

    4: Lewis Hamilton
    Not much to say really. Had a bad start to this season and definitely didn’t look like challenging Rosberg up until Monaco. Since then the best driver this year. Keeping him out of the top 3 due to dips in performance. While his best is incredibly good, his worst is pretty bad.

    5: Nico Rosberg
    Consistency is key. Can be blindingly fast but drives pretty well even when he’s not at his best. Monaco stands out as his only bad race this season. Worthy champion even if he’s not topping my charts.

    6: Sebastian Vettel
    What else could he do? The Ferrari of 2016 was not a good car. Except for the (rather frequent) complaints about blue flags, he kept his cool and kept driving to the best of his abilities. This final race at Abu Dhabi stands out as proof that he is still a very good driver, and that 2016 was bad not due to Vettel but rather due to Ferrari.

    7: Fernando Alonso
    The McLaren is still a dog of a car. He extracted the most of it. Alonso’s 2016 campaign will probably most be remembered by his incident with Gutierrez. Will be interesting to see how he fares alongside highly rated Stoffel Vandoorne in 2017.

    8: Nico Hülkenberg
    Could not keep up with his team mate, but that was more down to Perez overperforming than Hulkenberg underperforming. He can keep his head held high.

    9: Max Verstappen
    Max won a race. That’s a pretty amazing achievement. He kept his cool with Raikkonen hunting him down. He mixed that with some very questionable decisions on and off track this season. Needs to mature, reduce mistakes, and achieve more consistency. Champion of the future.

    10: Kimi Räikkönen
    Matched Vettel on several occassions this year, but still lacked that final bit of oomph that would have pushed him ahead of the German in the rankings. Solid season, and fully reasonable to see him continue into 2017.

    11: Jenson Button
    After announcing his retirement from the sport, his driving got worse. It was as though he retired before the season was over. Sadly did not go out with his head held high, a bit of a disappointment this season.

    12: Valtteri Bottas
    While he matched his more experienced team mate, I expected more this year from Bottas. Perhaps the Williams car could not do any more, but Bottas has looked rather pale in the midfield this year. Hoping for a stronger return to form in 2017 for him and for the team.

    13: Marcus Ericsson
    One of the standout drivers this season. What more could he do in that Sauber? He consistently outpaced his team mate in qualifying and in races. Apart from a dip in form mid-season (Silverstone and Hungaroring) he was consistent. His Mexican GP drive was some of the best this season over the entire grid. Deserves a better car.

    14: Pascal Wehrlein
    He scored points for Manor. Not many people have. If he does get to move up to Mercedes for 2017, he will do just fine. Solid drives several times, but did look like a rookie a few times. Silverstone springs to mind.

    15: Romain Grosjean
    Fantastic start to the season, but dropped off as the Haas car failed to improve. Started complaining a lot about the car which made him look bad. Expected more of the Frenchman.

    16: Esteban Gutierrez
    Losing to your team mate is no good, and he did just that. Started the season involved in a nasty incident, and that was the most we spoke of him this season because he just did not leave a mark on this season. Average at best.

    17: Estaban Ocon
    Drove too few races to be rated higher, but steadily improved over the course of the season. His drive in Singapore was awful, but his Brazilian GP was great. Will be fun to see him at Force India in 2017. Perez may have a challenge here.

    18: Felipe Massa
    A pale final season to a great career. Fantastic person, but perhaps he should have retired 12 months ago.

    19: Daniil Kvyat
    Even after being ejected from Red Bull, he kept running into people. Vettel was not his only victim this season. Perhaps a winter rest is what he needs, because he has to step it up if he wants to remain in F1 past 2017.

    20: Jolyon Palmer
    Not flattered by a great car, he steadily improved over the season and ended up ahead of his team mate in my books. Not a great season for any Renault driver.

    21: Kevin Magnussen
    It seems as though he simply lost his mojo some time past the middle of this season. He dropped the ball. I hope he can turn it around at Haas, but I feel hesitant about that.

    22: Felipe Nasr
    What an awful season. Felipe Nasr scored points in Brazil but he did not deserve to when viewing his season. Consistently outpaced by his rather mediocre team mate, frequently complaining to his team and disobeying direct team orders from the highest instance. I do not see why he would be retained in 2017, especially with his sponsorship apparently falling away.

    23: Rio Haryanto
    No other driver got replaced mid-season. That says it all really. He is a pay driver, arguably not as pale as some of the others, but still. Has decent one-lap pace but cannot keep it together over an entire race. Deserves no more than the final spot in the table


    1. Daniel Ricciardo
    2. Lewis Hamilton
    3. Max Verstappen
    4. Fernando Alonso
    5. Nico Rosberg
    6. Carlos Sainz Jr
    7. Sebastian Vettel
    8. Sergio Perez
    9. Kimi Raikkonen
    10. Nico Hulkenberg
    11. Valtteri Bottas
    12. Romain Grosjean
    13. Pascal Wehrlein
    14. Jenson Button
    15. Kevin Magnussen
    16. Felipe Massa
    17. Marcus Ericsson
    18. Esteban Ocon
    19. Jolyon Palmer
    20. Esteban Gutierrez
    21. Daniil Kvyat
    22. Felipe Nasr
    23. Rio Haryanto

    Diez Cilindros

    Half season I published my ranking (you can take a look). I’ve been marking each driver’s race:

    – 0: disastrous
    – 1: weak
    – 2: passable
    – 3: nice
    – 4: brillant
    – 5: legendary

    Well, it’s time to show the final results…

    From #23 to #1 (Vandoorne’s Bahrain race was nice, but it’s not representative enough):

    #23 Daniil Kvyat: 1.71/5. Awful qualifying performance at the start of the season in Red Bull, Kvyat’s driving style is always on the edge, with the highs (China) and the lows (Russia). That deplorable start in Sochi was the perfect excuse for RB for switching seats with Verstappen… and Daniil got massively depressed. I rated him “weak” 8 out of the first 14 races, it says it all, but in the last third of the season he matched Sainz.

    #22 Rio Haryanto: 1.75/5. He didn’t impressed in any race, but he did it in some qualifying sessions, surprisingly beating Pascal Wehrlein in 5 Saturdays. But his race pace was horrific: he saw the chequered flag in 9 occasions, being the last driver in every race bar China. As expected, he hasn’t shown enough level to be in F1.

    #21 Esteban Gutiérrez: 1.81/5. In 2011, it was said that Sergio Pérez wouldn’t be the best Mexican driver during the next years: we should have to wait until the arrival of Esteban Gutiérrez. Well… Esteban was disastrous in 2013 and very poor in 2014 (not able to beat a downcast Sutil). 2016 was an undeserved third opportunity, and he failed again. Esteban lost 0-5 in qualifying at the beginning, but he improved during the year and matched Grosjean. But, as Haryanto, he couldn’t do it also on races. His erratic driving (that ugly spasms at the steering wheel at the apex of the corners…) should be clear enough to discard him.

    #20 Felipe Massa: 1.81/5. We’re not sure when did Felipe decide to retire at the end of the year, but Monaco or Canada could be the place: before the American race, he was leading his teammate 37-29 in points and in general they were quite close in terms of performance. But in the Gilles Villeneuve, Felipe was slow. He suddenly lost the speed in quali and with the drop of performance in the FW38 he struggled to just score points. That record of 4-17 in Saturdays is horrible: Felipe, you were a great driver but you did the right, your time in F1 has finally gone.

    #19 Marcus Ericsson: 1.86/5. His 2014 performance was so poor that necessarily it would improve during the next season. In fact, 2015 shown a rock-solid driver and 2016 kept the trend, but it’s quite hard to put an eye on him: he’s the opposite to “spectacular”. Yeah, he outqualified his teammate 13-8 and finished ahead 9-5 in races where neither him nor Felipe retired, but this regularity clashes with his low-profile behaviour (only Bahrain and Mexico performances to highlight).

    #18 Felipe Nasr: 1.86/5. In 2015 Felipe shone in several days, but his manipulative driving style seemed to be much dependant of the brakes material. It was his Achilles’ heel last year but we expected him to improve in a second season. Well, it hasn’t happen. Felipe was ultimately beaten by not-the-future-star Ericsson, but no one can be 100% sure if they both have the same car, because of the financial struggles of the team and the economical backing of Marcus. His drives in Europe, Austria and Brazil were good enough to beat Ericsson in my ranking.

    #17 Esteban Ocon: 1.89/5. Incredibly promising driver before his debut in Spa (F3 and GP3 titles were amazing), Esteban experienced the difficulty of Formula One in his first three races. But he steadily improved, beating Wehrlein in quali at the Sepang and Suzuka venues and, even more important, finishing ahead of him in Japan, Brazil and Abu Dhabi. His race in Interlagos was quite impressive: while Pascal drowned, Esteban raced with Nasr for the final points paying positions. But after only 9 races, he doesn’t seem to be fully prepared for the Force India challenge.

    #16 Jenson Button: 1.90/5. Beaten by his teammate only by 0.01 in my mid-season ranking, Jenson “made a Massa” and suddenly lost performance. His German race was awesome, but after that he was miles away behind the pace of Fernando. In the last 9 Grand Prix, Jenson only qualified ahead of Alonso in Belgium and Malaysia, with the Spaniard not competing because of engine penalties. Did he decided his retirement in summer break? Maybe.

    #15 Kevin Magnussen: 1.95/5. Yes, he outqualified Palmer 12-9, but who couldn’t expect that? Qualifying was his strong point in 2014, so beating a rookie in pure speed was expectable. But his racecraft was so weak: apart from being in the right place in Sochi, he didn’t outstand in any other race. Canada, Hungary or Italy were truly bad weekends, and in Spa, when the top-10 was feasible, he made a big mistake. We expect much more from the 2013 FR3.5 champion.

    #14 Jolyon Palmer: 1.95/5. In a similar way to Sauber, the Renault boys finished tied in my ranking. But in this case they were levelled in legendary (zero), brillant (zero) and nice (four) performances; the tiebreaker was “passable” (13 to 12). It means that Jolyon, in his first year, had less “disastrous” and “weak” weekends; in fact, only China, Monaco and Singapore were pretty bad. He steadily improved and matched KMag’s pace, with interesting performances in Hungary (that spin…), Malaysia and Japan. Unlike Kevin, we expected nothing from Jo, and he did enough to deserve a second F1 season.

    #13 Valtteri Bottas: 2/5. After his awesome 2014 season we thought Valtteri was ready for a big challenge. But 2015 was like a bucket full of ice over his reputation, because he didn’t raised his level. And 2016 was the same: Bottas is falling into the mediocrity. Obviously he defeated Massa easily, but there were few signs of splendor. His comeback onto the podium in Canada was superb… sadly it was his only highlight. Beating Stroll in 2017 (if, as expected, he stays in Williams) is just compulsory for him.

    #12 Pascal Wehrlein: 2/5. Again a draw, but he beats Bottas 2-1 in brilliant races: Bahrain and Austria were two superb performances by the rookie. Pascal shone in every place the MRT05 was not too weak (i.e. tracks full of straights) and had a very promising first year in F1. He deserved more in Italy and Mexico, but the promotion of Ocon to Force India hurted him, and the Frenchman started to match him. Nevertheless I think Pascal is talented enough and should be a right choice for Mercedes if they put him in Rosberg’s seat.

    #11 Romain Grosjean: 2.05/5. His P6 in Australia was purely luck and strategy, but his P5 in Bahrain was superb. The Romain that beated Räikkönen in the second half of 2013 is still here, and he showed excactly what Gene Haas expected: ability to score points. And he scored 29, while Gutiérrez took none. The Frenchman was brilliant in some qualis (Japan, Brazil) but we expected him to beat Esteban more consistently, and that mistake in Interlagos was quite unnecessary.

    #10 Nico Hülkenberg: 2.14/5. His talent seemed to be quite high after that awesome 2012-2013-2014 seasons, but after the introduction of the VJM08B in mid 2015, Nico has struggled to match the performance of Pérez. That elusive podium is starting to undermine him. Yes, he outqualified Checo 12-9, but Pérez finished P7 with 101 points, for Hulkenberg’s P9 and 72. He’s incredibly solid and Renault will grow thanks to him, but he desperately needs outstanding performances.

    #9 Carlos Sainz: 2.14/5. What a year, Carlos! It was unfair for him to be partnered with Verstappen, because Max seems to be something special, but Sainz was relatively close to him, suggesting he has a bright future. Incredibly quick in qualifying (what a Q1 lap with Supersofts in Singapore!), he used to struggle in race conditions. But in Spain he shown he could drive and manage tyres like the top drivers. He found the regularity and he managed to score two impressive P6 in USA and Brazil with that year-old engine. Very well done.

    #8 Sergio Pérez: 2.19/5. Consistency is the name of the game in a 21-race championship, and Sergio Pérez ultimately showed it in 2016. He finished every single race bar Austria (he retired in the penultimate lap because of a braking failure) and hasn’t failed to score points since July. Of course, the highlights were that two podiums, but the visit to the Baku rostrum was much more brilliant because of his P2 in qualifying and his comeback from the P7 on the grid caused by a penalty. Maybe he wasn’t prepared for a top team in 2013, but now he is.

    #7 Kimi Räikkönen: 2,24/5. His pace at the end of 2015 was awful. We couldn’t understand why Ferrari retained him for another year. But the SF16-H was much better for his driving style than the previous Ferrari and Kimi was competitive again. Not brilliant, because he’s 37 years old and he has already contested his career top-20 races, but solid enough. His race pace in Bahrain, his comeback in Hungary and that 11-10 in qualifying against Vettel shows Kimi still deserves a seat in F1.

    #6 Sebastian Vettel: 2,29/5. Until Austria, his season was as brilliant as 2015. In fact the gap with the leader after the first 9 races (57 points) was smaller than 12 months before (59), even with the strategical mistakes in Australia, Spain and Canada, the blowup in Bahrain, the accident in Russia and the tyre explosion in Austria. But in Silverstone Sebastian had an awful Sunday, and after that he started to struggle to find the pace in qualy (7-2 to Kimi in the first 9 races, 3-9 in the last 12). Nevertheless, his speed in races remains intact, his tyre management looks as great as always and with a better car he will shine again.

    #5 Fernando Alonso: 2.3/5. In 2015, he wasn’t as quick as we expected. Jenson was quite close and even outscored Fernando. It wasn’t so real, but we wanted to see more from Fernando. And 2016 has been a great year for him. His only blot was Germany, but apart from that he was as consistent as always, and in the last races he completely beated Button. His comeback in Sepang, his fights and overtakes in Austin and his speed in qualifying in last races were all fantastic. Not his best year, but brilliant aswell.

    #4 Nico Rosberg: 2.33/5. Oh my, this is a controversial one. I think that Nico hasn’t been the best driver of the year. He was consistent as rock, but I strongly believe that without the reliability woes in the other car he wouldn’t be champion. Of course, his season has been great and several drivers in the past has been crowned doing less merits than Nico. He was particularly quick in China and Europe, and Singapore was simply legendary, but that slowness in wet conditions (Monaco, Silverstone) and that poor traffic management in Canada and Germany weren’t too impressive, and it’s hard to disociate his wins from Lewis’ troubles.

    #3 Daniel Ricciardo: 2.57/5. He was #1 in the mid 2016 ranking, but when the high speed corners arrived (Spa, Sepang, Suzuka), he struggled a bit. He’s been a late-braker with some troubles to maximise the superb traction of the RB12, and in that tracks with few long braking zones he couldn’t match the special ability of his teammate. Nevertheless, Daniel’s year has been brilliant because of his pure speed (he beated Max 11-6 in qualy and Kvyat 4-0) and his relentless wheel-to-wheel racing (Valtteri knows that!).

    #2 Max Verstappen: 2.67/5. 2015 was promising, but in 2016 Verstappen has started to write his own pages in the F1 history. After 4 impressive races at the wheel of the STR11, Max was just legendary in Spain… but heavily fell in Monaco. He has steadily found pace in qualifying and has shown special skills in tyre management. Although he lost the win in Sepang, he was much quicker than Daniel this weekend and also in Suzuka, but Max’s year will be remembered for his move on Rosberg in Silverstone and, of course, his magical race in the wet in Interlagos.

    #1 Lewis Hamilton: 2.86/5. In the first part of the year, Lewis seemed quick but erratic (that awful start in Sakhir apart from the crash with Bottas, that stupid move onto the grass in Barcelona, that childish crash with the wall in Baku…). But in Austria he showed the world that he had improved his driving style, admitting his troubles on fast, long corners, and of course defeating Nico in that crucial move. He was outstanding in home soil, in Hockenheim and he deserved to win in Italy (what a Q3!) and Sepang. And if this wasn’t enough, he was literally untouchable in the last 4 races. His management in Abu Dhabi (too slow in Sector 3 for packing the cars, too fast in Sector 1 for denying Rosberg to use DRS) will be remembered. In 2016, Lewis set a new level.


    23.Esteban Gutierrez:Zero points(some lost changes not his fault though),awful obeying blue flags,caused many crashes…

    22.Rio Haryanto:Not that awful as many expected,he brought F1 in Indonesia,but nothing more.

    21.Esteban Ocon:He didn’t impress at all,despite having a small F1 experience.His only positive memory was Brazil.

    20.Felipe Nasr:He had been off pace all season long,but his awesome drive in Brazil helped Sauber overtake Manor.I want to see him in 2017 though

    19.Daniil Kvyat:Bad season,nothing to remember.Hopefully this winter will help him!

    18.Jolyon Palmer:Another pay driver,he showed good pace in a couple of races(Hungary,Malaysia),but nothing serious…

    17.Marcus Ericsson:Big improved this year,but still accident prone and he broke the “golden rule” of not crashing into your teammate.

    16.Kevin Magnussen:Only Russia & his Eau Rouge crash can be remembered.Lets see him in Haas next year.

    15.Jenson Button:Nothing at all,only his qualy efford at Austria is to remembered.#Thank you JB

    14.Felipe Massa:Started really well,his bad luck(Canada,Germany,Austria,Malaysia) though didn’t help him.#ObrigadoFelipe

    13.Sebastian Vettel:His constant anger was really apalling…Unlucky in Bahrain,where he could fight for the win,many bad calls by Ferrari.A season to forget…

    12.Nico Hulkenberg:For another season,no podiums.He was unlucky in some occasions,but he was awful in Austria,and invisible in other races.Lets watch him in a factory team next year

    11.Romain Grosjean:The most annoying…He probably thought he raced for Mercedes…Great first half though

    10.Valtteri Bottas:Average season in this Williams,he got the podium(lucky a bit).One canditate for Mercedes!

    9.Pascal Wehrlein:Points and regular Q2 apprearances in a Manor.

    8.Kimi Raikkonen:A good season for Kimi.Nothing spectacular,but a solid job

    7.Carlos Sainz:Great effords with the worst engine on the grid!

    6.Fernando Alonso:The old Alonso…

    5.Sergio Perez:Really impressive driving.Although his last 4-5 races were average,his season was really successful

    4.Lewis Hamilton:Less focused,treacherous starts/getaways,bad reliability.

    3.Nico Rosberg:Stable,less mechanical issues.Spain,Austria &Germany momemts to be forgotten…

    2.Daniel Ricciardo:Raised his driving level after Verstappen’s arrival.A great personality,I put him in P2 as he was nowhere in some races

    1.Max Verstappen:I didn’t like his defensive moves at all,but his driving in some races was outstanding!He need to stay humble though.


    01. Fernando Alonso: He has placed the car in a position that is not deserved. He is doing this year the same thing he was doing in Ferrari. No matter what he is the most desired driver of the grid for the Mercedes seat. He gained experience all these years while retaining his magic. Good strategy, good in car development, good in speed and spectacular when the car allows it. This year we have enjoyed hi with interesting battles in the mid of the table and amazing starts.

    02. Daniel Ricciardo: No flaws for this driver too. It is second just because he doesn’t add the extra development but he provides the rest: good tire management, good speed, good mood and rock constistency. The deserved to win in Spain and Monaco. In both cases it wasn’t his fault.

    03. Carlos Sainz: It is at the same level as Ricciardo. He also was able to place the Toro Rosso ahead of the natural position. He could have jump to the podium in Monaco. But his team ruined that race and some others. Last year was even worse. Watching his onboard camera is awesome, but F1 doesn’t broadcast it often. A lot of overtakes, good starts, good qualy. And in Interlagos we has able to reach 4th with a single tires set without any error while the rest had at least one issue.

    04. Lewis Hamilton: Good strategy, good speed but he is not consistent at all. He relaxes when he is ahead and had embarrasing issues in Baku and several starts. Not a round driver that was outperformed by Button not long ago. He is not good for car or tire development so not as valuable in F1. Valuable for Bernie for his agressivity during the race.

    05. Max Verstappen: he has not maximized his new car, outperformed by Ricciardo and only shined when overtaking with fresher tires after one of his errors, like Vettel. His status is only based on his spectacular (risky) driving style we use to see in kart races. However he is a quick learner and I am sure he will get the nack for consistency from his teammate. He got in Spain the win that Ricciardo deserved.

    06. Nico Rosberg: Consistent, not spectacular, not fast but valued by his teams due to his engineering knowledge in car development. He has demonstrated that It only takes a good car, a consistent season and a distracted teammate to win a WDC.

    07. Sergio Perez: Consistent, fast, best tire management of the grid, hard to overtake defending the right way. Only the lack of spectacularity and the shadow of that year at McLaren are his problems. His future is clearly Ferrari.

    08. Kimi Raikkonen: Experience, speed and team work. He was on par of his teammate while he was treated as No.2 driver.

    09. Sebastian Vettel: Good in race pace, many overtakes during the race. He was consistent and got good points while he suffered from car issues. Bad mood and was on par with his teammate throughout the season.

    10. Romain Grosjean: Like ALO and SAI, he placed the car in a position ahead on the table. Experience in car development, fast, with an strategic POV.

    11. Stoffel Vandoorne: Wow, his race is a good teaser of the movie he promises for the next year.

    12. Nico Hulkenberg: While being close to Perez, he wasn’t shinning this season. He is consistent and very close to Perez. He has the added value of good engineering support for the team. Good for development projects.

    13. Valtteri Bottas: He only shined just because Massa was so bad this year. However he is fast but not very well defending position or overtaking.

    14. Pascal Wehrlein: Good speed, good overtakes, impressive starts and very bad mood. This kid needs to learn a lot before jumping to a big team. He also had difficulties with Ocon at the end of the season.

    15. Esteban Ocon: He was better during the race than his teammate, but he had no time to show his magic this season.

    16. Kevin Magnussen: no comment.

    17. Felipe Nasr: Even worse

    18. Jenson Button: Incredibly bad season for Button. Very bad dealing with bad cars. He only did good with consistent cars.

    19. Esteban Gutierrez: He wasn’t able to show more with all the car problems. However we all saw that he is not a good driver.

    20. Felipe Massa: His worst season.

    21. Marcus Ericsson: He is just an average driver, so average that he wasn’t able to show any good move.

    22. Daniil Kvyat: Bas season for him. Going down from a good car to a bad car in the middle of the season without proper training was very bad for him. However it took too much for him to adapt to the car. Last season was excellent and this season was very bad. The lack of consistency is his big problem. However he is kind, has good mood and is a team player.

    23. Jolyon Palmer: This driver doesn’t deserve to be in F1. There where better drivers outside of F1 like Di Resta or Merhi much better than him.

    24. Rio Haryanto: Only to show that money can buy even a seat in an F1 car race.

    Iestyn Davies

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


    1. Daniel Ricciardo – I feel he’s the most consistent of the top performers in F1 – Hamilton, Rosberg, Verstappen and even Alonso all have the odd dud race but Ricciardo seems more immune to this than most.

    2. Fernando Alonso – I think Button is a good barometer of the max a car can do, the gap between Alonso and Button this season was outrageous given this. Last season ALonso didn’t seem to have the motivation to scrap for positions but this season when even minor points were on offer he performed time and again. He won’t get it but if he lands in that Mercedes seat I would fully expect him to claim his third title.

    3. Lewis Hamilton – he drove exceptionally at times this year but it wasn’t enough. I expect him to add to his titles next season

    4. Max Verstappen – he’s moved from a young talent to somebody that the top drivers are worried about. Since I have watched F1 (1999 season) I haven’t seen a young driver but so much immediate pressure on the top of the sport with the exception of Hamilton. He’s still raw but what a talent.

    5. Sergio Perez – first season I feel he’s moved back into that category of driver that you feel should have a top F1 seat after his disaster at McLaren. Can’t see it appearing though any time soon – this feels like his pinnacle unfortunately.

    6. Nico Rosberg – this is maybe a harsh ranking for Nico – he’s possibly the hardest driver to rank though. Hamilton is an immense talent and he beat him but Hamilton’s year was hardly ideal and given the advantage Mercedes have the title was almost handed out by default. Equally though he could have been getting more out of his car than drivers I’ve placed ahead of him – I could happily place him anywhere from 1-10 really.

    7. Carlos Sainz – deserves a Red Bull seat next year after this years performance but so do Verstappen and Ricciardo so he’s in a difficult decision. He needs to concentrate on comprehensively beating Kvyat next season and I think he should take any seat he’s offered away from Torro Rosso as he’s in danger of following the likes of Buemi, Vergne..etc

    8. Nico Hulkenburg – could do with a bit more luck couldn’t he? Performed well all season but his lack of results put him behind his teammate this year.

    9. Sebastian Vettel – he’s really struggled to get that Ferrari in the positions it’s expected to be – but then so has Raikkonen. He’s still a top drawer driver but this wasn’t a good season for him or Ferrari.

    10. Kimi Raikkonen – I’m kind of unsure why he’s sticking around. This was a more solid season from him but even if next seasons Ferrari was all conquering does anyone think he’d beat Vettel to the title? I’m not dismissing his talent but his drive has seemed elsewhere ever since he rejoined Ferrari. Who exactly are Ferrari waiting for?

    11. Valtteri Bottas – he must be praying Mercedes do a deal with Williams for him. I think this is his last chance to end up in a car capable of winning races. This season was not his best but he yet again scored the important points for Williams and beat Massa. Given a car that was unable to fight for wins not much more could of been expected.

    12. Romain Grosjean – got the points at the beginning when the HAAS was competitive and then fought valiantly at times through the season to grab the odd point here and there.

    13. Pascal Wehrlein – He consistently outperformed the car although he didn’t do it with the kind of swagger that Bianchi did previously which made you think he was destined for greatness. I’m intrigued if he gets the Mercedes drive what he’ll be like.

    14. Jenson Button – I think he probably should have left last season – he held his own against Alonso in the dismal first Mclaren-Honda, this year though it’s hard to make a case that Button did better than Vandoorne would have.

    15. Kevin Magnusson – I actually feel he’s a solid driver, he’s just never really landed in a great seat. He landed up in a poor Mclaren with big expectations when he wasn’t ready, and now he’s had a season in a positively dismal Renault.

    16. Esteban Gutierrez – if he’d have had a little more look and nicked the odd point his season would look dramatically better. He’s quite a solid performer – his consistency in coming 11th is testament to that, perhaps in a better he’d be consistently in the points.

    17. Estaban Ocon – decent and hopefully we’ll get to see more of his potential next season

    18. Felipe Massa – sad to see him going out. A whisker away from a world champion although his decline has been obvious for multiple years now

    19. Marcus Ericsson – struggled to impress in a terrible car although probably edged Nasr – can’t see him staying in F1 beyond next year

    20. Jolyon Palmer – one of the surprises of the season was that he got a drive for next year. Next year will definitely be his last unless he improves dramatically

    21. Felipe Nasr – a name which will make a good trivia question in a few years for Sauber’s sole point scorer – painfully dull season for both Sauber drivers. I hope Sauber get their car somewhere next year or we could be losing one of our longer running teams soon.

    22. Daniil Kvyat – surely a year for him to shine in but instead he got demoted a few races in and just didn’t recover. I’m very surprised he kept his seat for next year but actually think he could recover although quite where his career is going is a bit of a mystery – I can’t see Red Bull promoting him any time soon.

    23. Rio Haryanto – probably exceeded expectations but I doubt many non-Indonesian fans were bothered when he was replaced.


    1. Ricciardo – Brilliant. Won Malaysia, should’ve won Monaco, beat Verstappen despite all of the hype around the Spain switch and proved again he’s one of the best drivers in F1. (My tip for 2017 title…)
    2. Rosberg – Deserving World Champion. Won the early races when he needed to, capitalised strongly on Hamilton bad starts, and was unmoved by Hamilton mind games especially in Abu Dhabi. Will be missed.
    3. Verstappen – First teenage race winner, performed well against Ricciardo and Ferraris, and his drive in Brazil was just stunning. Definite Champion of the future.
    5. Hamilton – Ok, he was unlucky in Malaysia, China, Belgium and Russia, but he did lose crucial points in bad starts in Australia, Bahrain, Italy and Japan, and given that he was only 5 points behind Rosberg in the end, if he had got one of those starts right he would have been champion…
    6. Sainz – Did very well against Kvyat, and was still a strong driver even when RB promoted his teammate over him. Deserves a good car (apparently he’s in the running for Mercedes?)
    7. Perez – 2 podiums, including a brilliant one in Baku, and beat Hulkenberg again even further than 2015. He has almost completely rebuilt his reputation from McLaren in 2013.
    8. Vettel – 4th place in the Championship with 0 wins is not what we expected from 2016’s joint championship favourite. Ferrari to blame for a lot, but Vettel was surprisingly inconsistent. Gave us some radio gold though with Blue Flags and his outburst at Kvyat in Russia.
    9. Raikkonen – A better season, was closer to Vettel than 2015, but still outperformed by his teammate. His Ferrari return hasn’t gone well. Expect him to retire in 2017.
    10. Grosjean – The start of miracles in Australia and Bahrain, faded a little but still outperformed the car massively. Needs big Haas improvement for 2017.
    11. Hulkenberg – Beaten by Perez again, and nearing 30, he needs some luck. Performed well in Austria Qualifying, and was unlucky about being smashed off at turn 1 quite a few times. Gamble on Renault might just pay off.
    12. Bottas – underwhelming, just like Williams’ season, but scored a good podium in Canada. Will be desperately trying to get Williams to let him go join Mercedes!
    13. Magnussen – started well, drove brilliantly in Russia, but lost ground to Palmer who he should be beating comprehensively. Interesting to see how he performs alongside Grosjean next season.
    14. Palmer – the complete opposite to Magnussen’s season. His end of the season helped him win his drive at Renault next season and he deserves it. Competed well with Magnussen late on.
    15. Wehrlein – scored good points in Austria, but didn’t impress enough throughout the season. If he had had a Verstappen-in-2015 season or even a Ricciardo-in-2012/13, he would be straight in that Mercedes seat, the fact that they’re stalling, coupled with Ocon being picked for Force India, means that Wehrlein badly needs to step up his game
    16. Button – sad way to go out, unlucky in many circumstances but was smashed to bits by Alonso this season. Will be missed after a good career.
    17. Massa – same as above, read Bottas for Alonso
    18. Ocon – impressively nicked the Force India seat from Wehrlein, impressed in Brazil and Abu Dhabi. Star of the future.
    19. Gutierrez – outperformed Grosjean a little bit but still couldn’t score a point. Still hasn’t proved he is a competent F1 driver.
    20. Kvyat – Scored a podium in China. Anyone else remember? Very unlucky to be at Red Bull at a time when Ricciardo, Verstappen and Sainz are all there. Readjustment to STR dropped him behind Sainz so I reckon their battle will be closer in 2017.
    21. Ericsson – crashed way too much and scored no points. I was surprised that he retained his seat
    22. Nasr – outperformed by a guy who crashed too much and scored no points. Scored crucial points in wet Brazil but was nowhere near the levels of his impressive 2015.
    23. Haryanto – yeah, not great. Dropped too early to be Maldonado’s true successor as F1’s figure of fun.


    Last year we added up the top 10s of these rankings (like they do at Autosport with the team principals), 25 points for 1st, 18 for 2nd, etc. Here is how the drivers stand this season by the rankings so far:

    1. Ricciardo 539
    2. Verstappen 370
    3. Hamilton 313
    4. Alonso 306
    5. Rosberg 289
    6. Sainz 200
    7. Perez 170
    8. Vettel 81
    9. Hülkenberg 54
    9. Räikkönen 54
    11. Bottas 20
    12. Wehrlein 19
    13. Grosjean 9
    14. Ocon 2
    (somebody gave a tied 7th place for Perez and Hülkenberg, that’s why it wouldn’t add up if you tried)

    Ricciardo was on top of 17 out of 24 lists, Alonso 3 times, Verstappen twice, Rosberg and Hamilton once. Ricciardo, Alonso, Verstappen, Rosberg and Perez were in everybody’s top 10, Hamilton and Sainz missed the cut once each.

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