Top Ten Drivers First Half 2017

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    Would be interesting to get some of the communities’ views on which ten drivers performed best (and maybe why?) in these first eleven races. If you want to do a full list of all drivers (22, I think), fair enough!


    10.Perez:Stable points scorer,but he has been lucky in many occasions & has a bad attitude towards his teammate
    9.Raikkonen:Nothing impressive/special by Kimi
    8.Verstappen:Super unlucky & generally faster than Ricciardo till Baku,but he still needs improvement in his general attidute
    7.Ricciardo:Lucky in some occasions,but very stable & has managed to split Mercedes&Ferrari in the standings
    6.Ocon:We can consider him as rookie(he raced from Spa onwoards last season)he has been amazingly stable, super close to Perez & has great potential!
    5.Alonso:When the engine lasted he performed.He is the usual Alonso!
    4.Hulkenberg:The “midfiled warrior” of 2017!He has trashed Palmer & has been a super qualifier!
    3.Hamilton:He has some weekends where he is nowhere to be seen(Sochi,Monaco) & Bottas has helped him more that enough so far.
    2.Bottas: Came late to Mercedes,solid qualified,he needs to be more agressive at the first laps(see Spain & Baku for instance)
    1.Vettel:The best driver in overall.With the exception of Baku,he has a perfect season so far.


    1. Vettel – After a tough 2016, he has bounced back in the perfect fashion. To be leading the championship by 14 points in a car probably slower than the Mercedes deserves all the praise, with four race wins to his name. His consistency has been remarkable, the only race where he’s not been on it is Silverstone. Of course we can’t forget that Baku incident, but considering the rest of the year he drove it’s fair to leave him on top.

    2. Alonso – Alonso has been hard to place this season, simply due to his lack of racing laps completed. He seems to keep putting that McLaren in the best possible position each weekend and is making Vandoorne look like an amateur. His incredible seventh on the grid in Barcelona or his fastest lap in Hungary shows this guy’s outstanding talent, only if he could have a better car.

    3. Verstappen – Max has made a big step up from 2016 driving wise, but hasn’t got the luck to match. Currently outqualifying ‘the qualifying master’ Ricciardo 7-4, shows his upturn in form, considering last year at this stage he had been outqualified 7-1. Without his dreadful luck surely would have been having a lot more points this season. His agressive driving style cost him in Budapest and perhaps in Spain, but with little chances for Red Bull, taking risks on lap one is a must.

    4. Hamilton – Hamilton when he is on it, he is on it. He is definitely over a single lap the most impressive driver this season, with sensational pole laps in Canada and Silverstone. However a couple of disastrous weekends in Russia and Monaco place him not in the lead but in fourth. Hamilton overall counting bad luck deserves the championship lead, but the Mercedes has had the slight pace advantage. He has ended the first half of the year on a very strong note, and is clearly the title favourite.

    5. Bottas – Behind the top four there is a big step back. Bottas had a difficult start, but has adjusted well to his new team and is looking as close to Hamilton as Rosberg was. He still lacks that killer instinct and is very clumsy on lap one, due to his cautiously early braking, taking out Raikkonen in two events. However two race wins on merit, and having outqualified Hamilton five times, show Bottas has done an excellent job so far.

    6. Perez – Perez has been very consistent thus far, scoring points in nine races. His high must be his superb race in Bahrain to finish seventh from eighteenth on the grid, and deserved a podium at the frenetic Baku race. Has Ocon very close behind, yet seems to extract those vital tenths to be consistently beating him.

    7. Ricciardo – Five podiums and a win speak highly of Ricciardo’s year, but let’s not forget his dodgy start. Two qualifying crashes have been the most of any driver, and usually Max has outperformed him. However he drove an outstanding race at Austria to finish on the podium, and while luck may have helped him, he has done a good job.

    8. Hulkenberg – Has been outstanding in qualifying, along with Hamilton the best qualifier on the grid this season. Not replicated the same on race day however, with a few off weekends here and there. Has demolished Palmer and is surely growing in confidence in an improving Renault machine.

    9. Ocon – For his lack of experience, Ocon has done a remarkably good job. He has stayed very very close to Perez all season and has finished every race and scored point in ten races. He made a costly mistake in Baku, but other than he is been the surprise of the season for his strong results.

    10. Raikkonen – Kimi rather than his 2016 form seems to have reverted back to his 2015 style. He clearly struggled in the first nine events of the season, with it seemingly likely then he would be replaced. However in the last two races he has really been on it, and seems very close with Vettel then. He seems to have secured a contract for next year with this form.

    11. Sainz
    12. Massa
    13. Grosjean
    14. Raikkonen
    15. Magnussen
    16. Ericsson
    17. Kvyat
    18. Vandoorne
    19. Stroll
    20. Palmer

    I rate based on performance of what there bringing out of the car, not based on experience or whatever


    17. Kvyat
    18. Vandoorne


    I’d say this is my current top 10.

    1; Vettel
    2; Alonso
    3; Bottas
    4; Hamilton
    5; Ricciardo
    6; Verstappen
    7; Hulkenberg
    8; Sainz
    9; Ocon
    10; Perez



    Vandoorne hasn’t been anywhere close to Alonso or done anything impressive so far this season. In the first few races he was 0.6-1.1 slower than Alonso which is much worse than Massa, Raikkonen or Button did. In Russia he picked up a penalty, in Spain he crashed into Massa and picked up another penalty and in Monaco he crashed on Saturday and Sunday, Canada was off the pace and finished behind a Sauber, Baku finished behind both Saubers and flatspotted his tyres ruining his race, penalty in Austria for not obeying blue flags and made that mistake in Hungary where P7 should have been his. Kvyat has done a few good races earlier in the season and has been regulary close to Sainz who is P8 on your list, and he’s had the same amount of accidents as Vandoorne has.

    What’s more confusing is how on earth you’ve come to the conclusion that Ocon is better than Perez this season when he’s being outqualified 2-9 and outraced 2-8 and same with Bottas and Hamilton.


    Yeah Ocon and Perez is an interesting one. Pretty much every race they run together with Perez in front, but you have to ask yourself whether Perez should be expected to do better than that against someone in their first full season.

    Ben Needham

    A really difficult thing to rank – I was waiting for Keith’s “official” mid season ranking thread – but I’ll put my thoughts here as well.

    No ranking) Antonio Giovinazzi

    An encouraging first few races but showed his lack of experience with two crashes in China. It should be the first part of a slightly longer F1 career if cards fall his way.

    No ranking) Jenson Button

    He drove well at Monaco in Qualifying, putting the McLaren chassis to good use on a circuit where Honda’s power deficit was lessened. Stuck behind Wehrlein in the race, their collision seemed to be a mixture of frustration and rustiness. I can’t see him returning in 2018.

    No ranking) Paul di Resta

    A really impressive performance from di Resta in difficult circumstances. To qualify 7 tenths off Stroll having driven a total of 4 laps in any F1 car since 2013 was stunning. In the end, the car gave out and he couldn’t finish, but he certainly held his own.

    20) Jolyon Palmer

    The less said about Palmer in 2017 the better. While luck certainly hasn’t gone his way at times (including not being able to start at Silverstone after a promising P11), he’s also compared extremely poorly to Hulkenberg in the other Renault. Theirs has easily been the largest gulf between team-mates and I can’t see Renault holding on to him for long.

    19) Daniil Kvyat

    The paddock felt for him when Red Bull gave him a brutal demotion in 2016, but his performance this year has generally justified it. Some solid races, but all too often crashing and refusing to accept blame. The relationship with Sainz seems fairly toxic at the moment and while Kvyat is often close (sometimes faster), he seems to make more mistakes despite his extra year of experience.

    18) Lance Stroll

    Even his biggest defenders cannot deny that his first few races were truly abysmal. Well off the pace of an ageing Massa and wasting a seemingly quick Williams. He then collected a mature (if still not impressive) points finish in Canada, before following it up with an exceptional drive in Baku for a podium, as one of the only drivers not to have an incident over the weekend. Since then he’s dropped back again, but is a lot closer to Massa. I don’t see where he’s got the reputation for crashing, as I don’t actually think he does too often, but he’s still not quick enough at the moment.

    17) Stoffel Vandoorne

    Vandoorne is probably the most difficult driver on the grid to place. Up against Fernando Alonso, with an engine that is neither fast nor reliable. He’s not given a great account of himself truth be told, with Alonso often much faster and a clumsy accident in Spain, but Vandoorne has looked better and a lot closer in recent races. Perhaps McLaren know that Alonso will be overdriving the car and so asked Vandoorne to make sure the car is given the best chance of getting over the line by driving within his limits… who knows?

    16) Marcus Ericsson

    There have been rumours of Ericsson using better equipment than Wehrlein, but I can’t imagine a team deliberately denying a driver a good car. Either way, Ericsson has been far closer to Wehrlein than many people expected and sometimes quicker. It’s tricky to pinpoint standout performances like Wehrlein has had, but he was unlucky not to get points in Baku.

    15) Pascal Wehrlein

    Often running close with his team-mate, Wehrlein has managed to score points twice this year despite missing two races. He’s performed well, but will probably feel that Ericsson is running him too close for comfort. It’s difficult to know where he’ll be left next year and I’d suggest he’ll be hoping that a Force India frees up… he doesn’t seem to fit anywhere else at the moment.

    14) Felipe Massa

    He started the year quite clearly best of the rest behind the top 3 teams, but was quickly swallowed by the Force India’s and has fallen further and further back into the clutches of Stroll who was often 1.5 seconds off the pace at the beginning of the year. It seems that when the car is good, so is Massa… and when it’s not, neither is he. On occasion he’s been let down as well, particularly in Baku where an easy 2nd and maybe even a win was on the cards.

    13) Carlos Sainz

    A disappointing year so far for Sainz, who has been very inconsistent. A stunning race in Monaco and fast in Hungary, he’s also been messy in Canada, Baku and Silverstone. Whether these errors are due to frustration, over driving and just poor luck is difficult to judge, but he’ll need to iron them out to attract a top team. He’s close to becoming the longest serving Toro Rosso driver, which is testament to his skills, but will also be making him nervous. He needs some big drives in the second half of the year.

    12) Romain Grosjean

    A very inconsistent season so far from Grosjean, who has been plagued by the same brake problems he complained of last year. Many expected him to easily have the measure of Magnussen, but it’s the Dane who’s experienced higher highs so far. Grosjean has arguably done his best with the equipment he has, but could do with some show stopping performances in the second half of the year.

    11) Kevin Magnussen

    Granted a third chance in F1 this year, Magnussen is doing everything possible to prove that he deserves it. He’s raced hard and contributed good points for the team. For a while, a podium looked on in Baku, but a solid points score was the best he could get. The tide seems to swing between the Haas drivers in terms of who is on form, but arguably Magnussen has been on it more consistently.

    10) Kimi Raikkonen

    While Vettel leads the Championship, Raikkonen finds himself behind Ricciardo in a far lesser Red Bull. Sure he’s been unlucky at times, with collisions in Spain and Baku sitting firm in the memory, but he’s also been off the pace a lot. Pole at Monaco and a resurgence at Silverstone and Hungary save him from a slightly lower position.

    9) Esteban Ocon

    The Frenchman has been stunningly consistent given his youth, only missing the points once in his quick Force India. Denied a podium in Canada by his team-mate playing blocker, he scrappily returned the favour in Baku, destroying a potentially exceptional result for them. He’s been extremely close to Perez all year but only actually beaten him once when both have finished.

    8) Nico Hulkenberg

    We’ve become used to seeing the yellow cars a long way apart on the track. Hulkenberg has been a regular fixture in the points this year and 100% of Renault’s haul has come from his efforts. Questions linger about his nerve (he made a rare mistake in Baku when a podium may have been on offer) but there’s no denying that Hulkenberg would likely be a race winner in better machinery.

    7) Sergio Perez

    The Force India has been great all year and Perez has driven it brilliantly well. A smarter drive in Canada would have rewarded the team with a podium, but as it is he’s outraced Ocon in every race bar one; though it has been very close. He had a messy race in Monaco which is his only real bad event this year. Both the pink cars have been very consistent in a congested midfield.

    6) Valtteri Bottas

    After a reasonably slow start with a careless spin in China, Bottas has ended the first half with a solid shout at a title charge. Quick enough to win when the opportunity presents itself, he’s also quietly but consistently racked up podiums, only missing the champagne on three occasions; a better return than his team-mate. He’s generally been clearly the slower of the two Mercedes but this is understandable; expect a closer battle in the second half of the year.

    5) Daniel Ricciardo

    The 60pt gap between the Red Bull’s flatters Ricciardo hugely, having had the rub of the green in reliability terms. Having said that, the “smiling assassin” has been ready to pounce when a door opens and has made some stunning overtakes. His run of 5 podiums cannot totally be the result of good luck and his position ahead of Raikkonen in the WDC is well deserved. It should be an interesting battle between these team-mates for the rest of the year.

    4) Max Verstappen

    Aside from the McLaren drivers, probably the most unlucky racer on the 2017 grid. Car failures and being collected in the accidents of others while in good positions has near enough summed up Verstappen’s efforts this year. Often retiring in front of Ricciardo, his qualifying performance is also starting to match this. Comparisons further than this are difficult as they’ve only both finished 3 races (Hungary thanks to a mistake from Max). An exciting second half in prospect.

    3) Fernando Alonso

    Who knows where he’d be in a car that actually worked? Most people would suggest he’d be winning races and maybe even the Championship. He’s outclassed Vandoorne in almost every way and put his car in places it was absolutely undeserving of. The roar of the British GP crowd when we went P1 in Q1 shows how attitudes have changed towards him over the years and morphed into sympathy of his plight. Good points and Fastest Lap in Hungary are hopefully signs of a resurgence in the second half of the year.

    2) Lewis Hamilton

    A very hot and cold year so far, with poor displays in Russia and Monaco, but as usual, when he’s hot, he’s scorching. Nobody came near in Britain and Canada and he’s also had his share of poor luck with the headrest issue in Baku. The Mercedes seems to be stretching a slight gap over Ferrari, so he’ll be getting more and more confident of the title, but he’ll need to look over his shoulder to Bottas, as well as trying to overhaul Vettel.

    1) Sebastian Vettel

    He’s been consistently excellent in his Ferrari this year, almost always faster than Raikkonen and frequently ahead of or between the Mercedes cars. He’s normally first or second and that will be key if he has hopes of staying in the lead come the end of the season. His head gets a little hot sometimes, but if he can channel it and keep it in check, he should continue to grind in these results.


    1. Sebastian Vettel
    2. Max Verstappen
    3. Fernando Alonso
    4. Lewis Hamilton
    5. Valtteri Bottas
    6. Daniel Ricciardo
    7. Nico Hulkenberg
    8. Sergio Perez
    9. Felipe Massa
    10. Kimi Raikkonen
    11. Esteban Ocon
    12. Carlos Sainz
    13. Romain Grosjean
    14. Kevin Magnussen
    15. Pascal Wehrlein
    16. Marcus Ericsson
    17. Stoffel Vandoorne
    18. Daniil Kvyat
    19. Lance Stroll
    20. Jolyon Palmer


    I’ll go with

    1. Vettel
    2. Alonso
    3. Verstappen
    4. Ricciardo
    5. Hamilton
    6. Bottas
    7. Hülkenberg
    8. Perez
    9. Ocon
    10. Sainz Jr


    For both Ocon and Vandoorne I apply the same rule; They’re outperforming my expectations as a rookie in a new formula they have never tested before. Perez is expected to beat Ocon by a mile, and he isn’t doing that, therefore Ocon is performing better than expected. Same for Vandoorne, he hasn’t had the best of runs sure, but’s he’s closer than expected to Alonso whom is still the ‘best’ driver on the grid.

    For me one can easily be outqualified 2-9 but still perform better relative to their expected performances. For example Palmer could have a better race than Hulkenberg and still finish behind after starting behind. I simply expect less of him.

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