Your verdict on the best F1 drivers of 2017

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    The F1 Fanatic Driver Rankings will return as part of the 2017 F1 season review which will begin after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

    Which drivers have impressed you the most this season? Share your thoughts on and rankings of all the drivers who’ve participated this year. A selection of the best will be included in the final rankings.

    You can read all of the past F1 Fanatic Driver Rankings, including this year’s mid-season verdict, here:



    I’m going very unusual with mine;

    1) Verstappen – Had a very good season, scored two wins when he could and missed out on many podiums due to things beyond his influence. For me there is no doubt Ricciardo is the second driver at Red Bull.

    2) Alonso – What else could he have done this season?

    3) Sainz – Made some mistakes in the beginning but was consistently fast enough to warrant an escape out of STR making him the first to go from STR to anything else but Red Bull. He’s already up on Hulkenberg his level if you ask me promising good things.

    4) Hamilton – He should’ve been closer in Sochi and Monaco, if Bottas could do it he has no excuse, his mistake in Brazil was very unfortunate as he could’ve easily won the race too. He had the best car all year but as you’d expect from a man this talented he also delivered with another set of titles for Mercedes.

    5) Vettel – His Baku crash was weird, his move in Singapore was nothing but a very common defensive move and his further bad luck in Suzuka and Malaysia didn’t help his title hunt. He could’ve won more races this season I believe but the title was always Mercedes to lose.

    Ben Needham

    1. Verstappen – With a run of reliability mid-season that made Alonso glad to be powered by a Honda, Verstappen still managed to rack up two dominant wins and put his team-mate in the shade. Ricciardo is no slouch and Verstappen seems to have surpassed him. You can count on him for a good start, fiery attacks and robust defence. With a little more luck and a closer field next year, he may well be challenging for the title.

    2. Hamilton – Showed crushing form in the races leading up to Mexico where he wrapped up the title. Consistently winning race after race and cleverly accepting 2nd when Verstappen charged at him in Malaysia. With a few exceptions he has well and truly shown Bottas the way this year, while also playing the team game in Hungary. His most impressive title win to date.

    3. Ricciardo – It can’t be easy being team-mates to Max Verstappen, what with the media frenzy and his performances on track, but Ricciardo has carried on regardless this year, racking up podiums and even a win. That he has more podiums and wins than Raikkonen’s Ferrari despite more retirements is a sign of his consistency, which is an interesting compliment to Verstappen’s “all or nothing” approach. Clever, but still stunningly fast, Ricciardo won’t let Verstappen have it all his own way just yet.

    4. Vettel – A great first half of the year, where he became an unlikely title challenger. He was unlucky with reliability in places, but also his own worst enemy in Baku, Singapore and Mexico. Still, he has made a bold attempt to challenge the Mercedes monopoly on the titles and hopefully he can come back strong in 2018.

    5. Alonso – Alonso has a remarkable way of coming out of poor situations with a better reputation than he started with and his second McLaren spell has been no different. The Honda engine somehow got worse between 2016 and 2017 and it was a usually surprise to see Alonso cross the finish line, let alone in the points. He’s almost always been faster than Vandoorne, dragged the McLaren to heights it has not deserved and it would have been interesting to see where he ended up in Singapore had he not been wiped out. 2018 with Renault engines opens the door for Alonso to at least be battling the Red Bull’s, so we should see more of him.

    6. Ocon – The pink car was the laughing stock of the paddock at the start of the year, but it’ll now be seen as a classic, as Force India punched well above their weight, beating, amongst most others, the well-funded McLaren and Renault teams. Ocon was given Hulk-sized shoes to fill and did the job admirably. It’s easy to forget that this was his first full season in Formula One and he has only improved throughout the year, giving pace and consistency to the team. Some careless collisions with his team-mate have only been due to how close they’ve been performance-wise. Luckily they haven’t cost the team positions in the WDC, even if it may have cost them a win in Baku.

    7. Perez – Perez took on the role of team leader gallantly but has had to look over his shoulder at his team-mate the entire year. Ocon’s breath has been hot on his neck and in many races, he’s been even faster than Perez. A bad team spirit in Canada may have cost a podium for the other car and he seems to only want to play the team game when it suits him. Other than that, he’s been very quick and driven the consistently good races he’s become famous for.

    8. Hulkenberg – Hulkenberg looks well at home at Renault now but faces a tough competition from Sainz if the last few races are any indication. He pulled Palmer to bits over the rest of the year and when he finished, he scored good points more often than not. A podium still eludes him, but the improving Renault will give him hope to break that duck and more come next year.

    9. Sainz – The first driver to escape Toro Rosso with a ticket to a team other than Red Bull, and deservedly so. Sainz blasted Kvyat aside in a convincing manner and immediately kept pace with Hulkenberg at Renault following the switch. He was ragged at times in the early season, but perhaps this was due to overdriving the car in a bid to get noticed. Monaco and Singapore were excellent drives and there should be more to come next year.

    10. Bottas – A promising start to the season unfortunately dwindled out quickly and his two race victories with Vettel in his mirrors seem a long time ago. He’s generally been well off the pace of Hamilton and let an open goal slip in Brazil. He often seems to be sleeping at the start of races, only to come alive towards the end when it’s too late. With the best machinery at his disposal, he needs to do better.

    11. Vandoorne – Does a debut season get any more difficult than driving the slowest engine on the grid? One that expires before the end of the race even when you’ve given your all to overcome it’s shortcomings? Yes, it does get more difficult, when Fernando Alonso is your team-mate. It’s been near enough impossible to judge Vandoorne’s year, but he’s been getting ever closer to Alonso and beating him on occassion. Some strong points finishes in the later half of the year have seen his stock raise higher and 2018 will be a crucial year for him.

    12. Massa – It’s very difficult to place Massa this year. Was he very good, or was Stroll very bad? Or some mixture of the two? Probably the latter. There’s no denying that Massa has trounced his team-mate this year and was desperately unlucky that Stroll’s podium highlight in Baku was not his. Some very strong races early in the year and some scattered good performances and poor luck in places. Forgettable perhaps, but by no means an embarrassing final year.

    13. Raikkonen – When the car is good, Raikkonen is reasonable, but Vettel is always better. He seems to have a knack of being in the wrong place at the wrong time and was taken out from good positions in Baku and Singapore. With a more favourable strategy he may have won in Monaco and Hungary, but played the team game well when he was close enough. A reasonable number two perhaps, but it’s a shame to see how far the former WDC has fallen. When it’s a question of the Top 4, he’s usually fourth. When Red Bull join in, he’s usually 6th.

    14. Magnussen – Magnussen has always got his elbows out and earns some harsh remarks from his fellow drivers. He’s been better than the points gap to Grosjean suggests and often outperforms him when there are no points on offer. A fairly underwhelming year for Haas, but Magnussen has improved throughout it while Grosjean has got worse.

    15. Grosjean – A fairly quiet year from Grosjean in terms of highs, but for a good display in Austria. He is quick to complain when something isn’t going his way and quick to the barriers when it rains. This season has resembled his 2011 showing more than his recent solid seasons. Messy and inconsistent, though perhaps that just matches his car.

    16. Wehrlein – Some good points in Spain and Baku, but other than that, an anonymous year from Wehrlein. He and Ericsson have been fairly interchangeable, even if Wehrlein is generally quicker. He looks like being out of a seat next year and it’s hard to say he’ll be missed. A year on the sidelines did wonders for Hakkinen and Massa… perhaps it’s best for Wehrlein too.

    17. Ericsson – The Swede has finished ahead of Wehrlein far more than many would have expected, but unfortunately this seems to have lowered Wehrlein’s stock, rather than raised Ericsson’s. It’s difficult to judge either Sauber as they’ve languised at the back, but Ericsson certainly hasn’t been terrible and has compared well to his team-mate.

    18. Stroll – In truth, he should never have been on the grid and probably would have benefitted from a year in Formula 2 or the like. He was some distance from Massa, but at least managed to shake his reputation for crashing and is the only driver from outside the top 6 to have scored a podium, with a very good showing in Baku, while most others imploded. He’ll have a new team-mate next year and will have to be a great deal closer to them than he was to Massa in order to justify his place… unless someone can give the team a lot of money to overlook the lack of performance… hang on a minute…

    19. Kvyat – Graciously given a second chance where Alguersuari, Vergne and Buemi were not, Kvyat’s time ran out before the end of the year and few could argue with the decision. Totally shown the way by Sainz, he’s proved himself not good enough for the Red Bull elite, though perhaps there’s room for him elsewhere. “The Torpedo” had a number of crashes and mistakes this year, but finally got his act together in his final race in the US where he took Toro Rosso’s only point with a good showing.

    20. Palmer – A frankly dreadful display from Palmer, who we’ve surely seen the last of in Formula One now. He was so far from Hulkenberg that they could have been driving different cars. A solid points score in Singapore was the highlight of an otherwise terrible season. Bad luck and bad driving combined to give him the boot well before the end of the year. The rumoured cash settlement from Renault will probably make for a nice Christmas though…

    21. Gasly – No points just yet, but has he started a race without a grid penalty yet? He’s driven well, but it’s difficult to give any real judgement on him just yet.

    22. Hartley – Surely nobody expected to be writing a review of Brendon Hartley in the context of Formula One this year. Having never driven the car before his weekend debut in the USA, he gave a good account of himself and raced well. Unfortunately, reliability has meant that we haven’t seen what he can do just yet, but he’s compared well with Gasly so far.


    1. Hamilton – Had a near perfect season, and comfortably beat Bottas in race and qualy, had a couple of weekends when he was oddly bested by his teammate, but made no mistakes until clinching a well-deserved fourth title in Mexico

    2. Verstappen – If it wasn’t for his awful luck the most of the year, I’d say he would have the same amount of points as Ricciardo, maybe even more, since Malaysia his form has been brilliant, and if reliability holds he may be a threat next year.

    3. Ricciardo – While Verstappen had him covered in qualy, Ricciardo has had some awesome race performances this year, including that chaotic race in Baku, like his teammate he could be a threat for the title next year.

    4. Vettel – It was season of two halves for Vettel, winning 3 of the first 6 to have nice points lead early on, including another one in Hungary, but his second half is what lets him down, (and Baku, ofcourse), add that to poor reliability at the Asian races which puts the icing on the cake on his title challenge disappearing before the last race.

    5. Alonso – Quite possibly, along with Verstappen, the most unluckiest driver on the grid for much of the year, his starts have been a highlight, including an great performance in Hungary, and if his car was more reliable, he may’ve beaten Vandoorne pretty easily in the points.


    1) Hamilton
    Has been performing at his best more often than not and kept focus until the job was done. A dip of performance after clinching the title, who really cares?

    2) Vettel
    While the start of the season was on par with Hamilton. His let down before the title fight was over makes us forgot how much he has taken out of the available package and been pushing Hamilton.

    3) Verstappen
    While I hate the fuss about him, I have to reckon he is one of the best performer of the year. Taking every opportunity presented to him and maximizing his result most of the time. Not convinced that he has been on Ham and Vet level though.

    4) Ricciardo
    On par with Verstappen and I believe that closely match teammates push each other up (or down). Has been one of the best overtaker this year.

    5) Alonso
    Overdrove that McLaren. The second half of the season showed better what were the strength (chassis) and weakness (engine) of that car. Still exploit the full possibility of his package with several super races.

    6) Ocon
    Consistently on par with a more experienced teammate. Very impressed to see how he has been driving taking the most out of his car, taking risks but within an acceptable level most of the time. He has shown more maturity than Perez at times.

    7) Hulkenberg
    Really difficult to chose between him or Sainz but Hulk has shown once again impressive performance this year and really waiting to see the fight with his new teammate next year in a probably much improved Renault.

    8) Sainz
    Has been consistently delivering as well. On par with Hulk.

    9) Perez
    Mental let down led to some strange performances which should not be from an experienced driver. Still drove very well in that FI.

    10) Vandoorne
    Did very well considering the teammate he had and the fact he had second pick on the updates brought by Honda. As a rookie, we should focus on the progress path and its very promising.

    11) Bottas
    12) Raikkonen
    13) Massa
    14) Grosjean
    15) Magnussen
    16) Wehrlein
    17) Eriksson
    18) Kvyat
    19) Stroll
    20) Palmer

    Not Classified : Gasly and Hartley since they haven’t done that many races and are hard to place. However they would most certainly be over Palmer already.

    Ben Needham

    After the post above by @jeanrien, I should clarify that my rankings of Gasly and Hartley should really be ‘Unranked’ rather than 21st and 22nd… as they’ve both started more than three races each, I felt they deserved a mention, rather than Button/Di Resta/Giovinazzi, but neither have really had a reliable enough weekend to judge them fairly.

    Our rankings are very similar @jeanrien. I expect the following groupings with their members somewhat interchangeable depending on opinion.
    1-5) Alonso, Hamilton, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Vettel
    6-9) Hulkenberg, Ocon, Perez, Sainz
    10-13) Bottas, Massa, Raikkonen, Vandoorne
    14-17) Haas and Sauber drivers
    18-20) Kvyat, Palmer, Stroll

    Curious to see everyone elses.


    @Ben-n totally agree about the groups and as said you could shuffle the drivers in the group depending on your reasoning but there are quite strong separation or gap between the various groups.


    1. Hamilton – Wasn’t at his best in the first half of the season, but my god he was at it in the second half. I believe Mercedes was the second-best car over the year, but he made it look as dominant as the previous years cars with some stunning performances.
    2. Verstappen – Don’t let the points table distract you from one of the best performers over the season. Despite his poor reliability, Max has soldiered one and has comprehensively beaten a top quality driver in the form of Ricciardo. He impressed with his qualifying pace and made the most of his opportunities when his car could see the flag.
    3. Alonso – Again had a pig of a car at McLaren, but has generally maximised his result. Some of his qualifying laps, especially at Catalunya, were fantastic. However at times like Spa he seemed more like he was trying to prove a point about Honda’s engine rather than focusing on scoring a strong finish.
    4. Vettel – What could have been a fifth world title for Vettel ended in disappointment. He was on it in the first half of the season with a very fast Ferrari underneath him, but two crucial mistakes in Baku and Singapore and poor reliability undid his charge. You have to wonder if Hamilton was in the Ferrari, would have had a better shot at winning the title than Vettel.
    5. Ricciardo – Having been the rising start of the last few seasons, Ricciardo was outshone by his younger teammate in all areas this year. His renowned qualifying pace was gone and most of his podiums were due to luck. I am still impressed with his overtaking skill and his ability to take opportunities as they come.
    6. Perez – A few blips in the moment discounted, it has been another excellent year for Perez. A mess of a race in Spa might cloud people’s judgement over his year, but generally he has beaten Ocon most times to the flag and picked up some very big points hauls.
    7. Hulkenberg – Hulkenberg might have been known as unlucky at his time at Force India, but this year brought unlucky to a whole new level for him. He crushed the opposition of Palmer when they were teammates, but has been put under pressure from Sainz. Lot of bad luck means the points aren’t representative again, but he has made a few sloppy races here and there.
    8. Bottas – I think Bottas’ year is quite underrated by some, since he generally had an excellent first half of the season. He was as good as Rosberg, not at Hamilton’s pace but making the most of his chances to bag two wins. However in the second half he has simply been awful and nowhere near Lewis with large margins in both qualifying and the race. He must pick his game up if he wants a seat in 2019.
    9. Ocon – A generally excellent year considering his experience for Ocon. He was a rookie for the first half of the year, and that showed as he was pretty much never ahead of Perez. In the second half he has gained the edge in both qualifying and the races but still will end the year behind. His consistency has been excellent considering how young he is, and big things are expected for next season.
    10. Raikkonen – Another scrappy season for Kimi, he has shown pace here and there but not taking a victory in an outstanding car like the Ferrari must be a disaster. This in my opinion could be his best year in his second Ferrari stint, but all that says is how woeful his previous season here have been.
    11. Sainz – Fast but wild must be a good summary of Sainz at the moment. On his day he can be outstanding, but it seems he rotates from being at Verstappen level to finding himself in the barriers the next weekend. His mistakes in Bahrain and Canada were notably clumsy, but if he can refine his craft so that his pace is overshadowing the mistakes, he will soon find himself as the lead Renault driver.
    12. Massa – Felipe has generally performed very well compared to expectations this year. He has absolutely crushed Stroll, which sadly for him isn’t reflected in the points due to some horrific luck. However it is hard to tell whether his performances are being flattered by Stroll or not.
    13. Vandoorne – Vandoorne has easily been the most improved driver this season. A combination of factors, with an uncompetitive car, lack of track time and poor reliability made his performance in the first half of the year compared to expectations a disaster. Since Silverstone he has stepped up a gear and is very close to Alonso.
    14. Grosjean – On his day he can be very good, as shown in Australia and Austria, but most of the time he is struggling with his brakes, causing collisions and moaning about something. Steiner’s ‘shut up’ remark said it all – even his own team his fed up with him.
    15. Magnussen – He is certainly the most exciting driver in the field, but that isn’t necessarily a good thing. Struggles in qualifying have lead him starting below where he should be, and whilst he can produce some ballsy overtakes, a lot of the time it instead leads to dirty driving at the cost of himself and his rivals.
    16. Wehrlein – Other than his points driver to a fantastic eighth in Barcelona, Wehrlein has to be the most disappointing driver of the season. He showed some fantastic potential to build on at Manor last year, but he hasn’t impressed much at Sauber and seems to be heading out of F1. He was expected to beat Ericsson considerably – which he has failed to do.
    17. Ericsson – Been much closer to Wehrlein than we expected, but still makes rookie mistakes here and there. Seems like money has given him a shot at this fifth season in the sport, where he must prove himself.
    18. Kvyat – It really seemed at times this year that Kvyat had regained the form he had seemed to lose in 2016, but overall it has been much the same as last year. A reckless couple of races mid-season, including wiping out his teammates was the low and a crash in Singapore sealed his exit.
    19. Gasly – Only had four races to prove himself, and he hasn’t seen the world alight, but hasn’t made many mistakes and has finished all the races. Next season will be a real test of his abilities with a guaranteed challenge in the form of a Honda Engine.
    20. Hartley – Not really impressed me too much so far but we have to remember he is only now returning to single seater so to outqualify Gasly has been an achievement. His race pace in USA against the proven Kvyat shows he has potential to build on, but has been desperately unlucky.
    21. Stroll – Wow, we all expected him to crash out of every race this year, so in that regard he has proved us wrong. However he has been slower than we all could have expected. Generally a second off Massa’s pace, his season was saved by a lucky podium in Baku and one-off fantastic wet qualifying in Monza. His dad’s money can buy him time to prove himself, but his prospects look bleak at the moment.
    22. Palmer – Jolyon was a nice chap, but he really didn’t have what it takes to be in Formula One yet alone in a works Renault outfit. Was shown up by Hulkenberg this year, with the new more demanding cars seemingly exposing his true ability.


    6-9) Hulkenberg, Ocon, Perez, Sainz
    10-13) Bottas, Massa, Raikkonen, Vandoorne

    I think you should swap Perez and Vandoorne. Perez really didn’t have a good season compared to 2012 or 2016. He’s been shown the way by Ocon to often to be in the same group.

    Ben Needham

    @flatsix – I think you’ll have a hard time convincing many people here that Vandoorne had a better year than Perez, but appreciate your reasoning.


    Did my post just get lost?


    22 – Jolyon Palmer: Dropped for good reason. Was terrible, didn’t outqualify his team mate once, only got points due to luck from people retiring around him, and meant that Renault could only struggle to 6th, when if they’d have Hulkenberg and Sainz all season long, they’d have finished ahead of Williams.
    21 – Daniil Kvyat: Another one dropped for his poor performances. Only got 5 points compared to Sainz’s 48 while they were team mates, and while he was a bit closer to the pace in qualifying, he was still completely outperformed.
    20 – Brendon Hartley: 4 races isn’t really enough to show what you can do, especially when you haven’t driven the machinery before then and you get grid penalty’s at every single race, but he was off the pace. Am excited to see how he’ll do next year though, even though he’s more of a filler at Toro Rosso until Red Bull produce another good young driver.
    19 – Pierre Gasly: Again, only had 4 races to prove himself, but did better than Hartley I think. Has the potential to drive for Red Bull, and did pretty well all things considered.
    18 – Lance Stroll: Had his good moments, of course notably the podium at Baku, and most impressive to me was his qualifying at Monza, where he was spectacular. However, the rest of the season was terrible. He became more consistent over the season, but was still well off the pace of his team mate who we all know is past it. He was fast tracked into F1, and that definitely wasn’t good for him, as he has potential but his image has been tainted by this season.
    17 – Kevin Magnussen: Didn’t get into Q3 all year, and took out multiple drivers over the season as well as being immature and unsportsmanlike. Writing this, I’m thinking he could be lower, as he never really showed any pace, and Stroll at least had a few good moments, but overall he wasn’t quite as bad. Not sure why Haas are keeping him, I’d rather they take Leclerc so he can actually challenge for points, and Magnussen is costing them.
    16 – Marcus Ericsson: Still not F1 standard. He did better compared to Wehrlein than I expected, but was still outperformed. Hopefully once Joel Eriksson comes of age Marcus’ sponsors will drop him and go to Joel, a driver who actually has potential. Can’t think of a race where Ericsson really showed good pace, although he was in a Sauber to be fair.
    15 – Pascal Wehrlein: Probably the most disappointing driver of the season. He outperformed Ericsson, but not by much, and was generally off the pace except for his great race in Spain. As mentioned with Ericsson though, he was in a Sauber, so it’s all relative. But after this season, I can’t see a bright future for him in F1. Wouldn’t be surprised to see him as the headline driver for Mercedes’ Formula E venture.
    14 – Romain Grosjean: Gets more annoying as the years go by. Had some good races, like at Austria, but overall wasn’t impressive, and yet again he’s most known for his radio complaints, which is never a good thing. Underwhelming is the word, but not terrible.
    13 – Felipe Massa: His performances were made to look more impressive by his poor rookie team mate, but he still did a fairly decent job considering he didn’t really want to drive this year, and he was driving for a team who have lost out badly in the development race over the last few seasons. Will be odd not to see him in the paddock next year, and I feel like this was a better year for him than last to leave on as he did beat his team mate.
    12 – Kimi Raikkonen: At this point, I’m pretty sure he’s just being kept so Ferrari don’t have to commit to another driver until Leclerc is ready for the seat. Was just eh all year, apart from his pole lap at Monaco, but never had the pace of Vettel, and is clearly not motivated and is getting too old. Hopefully next year will be his last.
    11 – Stoffel Vandoorne: Considering he was up against the driver many consider to be the best on the grid, I think he did very well. Quite a few times he was on the pace of Alonso, and has been the biggest improvement over the course of the year, which says a lot about a rookie and how determined they are to improve. Very excited to see what next year will bring for him with Renault engines and a hopefully more competitive car. First driver on this list who I think did a good job.
    10 – Sergio Perez: He did outscore his team mate, but was clearly rustled by him, and had quite a few silly moments throughout the year. Got more points yes, but since Spain he was outscored 68-66. Still did well though, and continues to be one of the ‘best of the rest’. Season will mostly be remembered for his battle with his team and team mate.
    9 – Carlos Sainz: Did brilliantly in general at Toro Rosso, bar the mistakes at Bahrain and Canada, and every race he finished with them, except for Monza, he finished in the points, which is a very impressive feat for a team who didn’t look strong. Then went to Renault and looked fairly quick, though not quite as quick as Hulkenberg, but for a move midway through the season I feel he did well. Excited for the prospect of him and Hulkenberg next year in what is probably the 3rd or 4th best driver line up.
    8 – Esteban Ocon: Against a guy who has the car built around him and is well established at the team and in the paddock, Ocon did superbly, and it’s easy to forget that this was his first full season in F1. Showed brilliant pace all year, and I was especially impressed with his starts. Another who shined at Monza in the wet, and is definitely set for a Mercedes drive in the future.
    7 – Valtteri Bottas: After the first half of the season, there was a strong argument for him being first on this list, but now, not so much. He was pretty woeful in the majority of the second half, bar Abu Dhabi and Brazil qualifying. He’s cemented his place as the second driver, despite looking like he could challenge Hamilton in the first half. Overall he did pretty well though, and being just the 4th driver to get over 300 points in a season is impressive.
    6 – Nico Hulkenberg: Some may think I’m being a bit biased, but I disagree. He completely thumped Palmer to the point where fans went from thinking he wasn’t quite good enough, to questioning how he was even there in the first place. He really excelled with these new generation cars, and having a car that wasn’t built around the other guy in the team. Especially in qualifying he was excellent, and was very good in the races too. Also, had a ton of bad luck, as he always does, especially in the second half of the season, and often had races ruined by team strategy and pit stops. Had an excellent season, and in my opinion showed he is the best of the rest right now. Think his best race was Silverstone, excellent in qualifying as he always is in those conditions, and had a brilliant race,
    5 – Daniel Ricciardo: Didn’t reach the heights of 2014 or 2016, and was overshadowed by Verstappen, but nevertheless drove very well. As ever, put on a great show with his late braking and personality, as well as being the most likeable guy on the grid, fast and consistent and a credit to the sport. Drove well this season I thought, and had some great races like in Baku and Austria. Him and Verstappen really push each other to improve, and are definitely the strongest and most exciting driver line up on the grid.
    4 – Fernando Alonso: Year after year Alonso drags terrible cars to places they shouldn’t be. This time, that place often ended up being the garage again, but only after running incredibly well and showing great pace, especially in qualifying. Probably made the worst career decisions of any driver ever, but that doesn’t take away from his speed and hunger. Really, really excited to see where he can drag the McLaren too next year when it has (hopefully reliable) Renault engines.
    3 – Sebastian Vettel: He was brilliant all year. Had his red mist moments, which is probably why he’s not higher than this, but overall he had an excellent season. If not for the Asia part of the calendar, he’d have won the title. Bad luck plagued him at Malaysia and Japan, and of course the start at Singapore was of no help. In the end, the Ferrari just couldn’t cope with the Mercedes, and Vettel just couldn’t cope with Hamilton.
    2 – Lewis Hamilton: For me, since the summer break, he’s driven the best he ever has. He’s become a lot smoother, and was well ahead of his team mate. Sure, Ferrari and Vettel lost the title, but Hamilton earned it. He would be first if not for his poor first half of the season, especially Russia, Monaco, and Austria, but overall, he was the 2nd best driver this year, and deserves his 4th world title.
    1 – Max Verstappen: Verstappen’s season is proof that the final standings don’t always give the full picture. He had horrible luck in the first half of the season, often retiring from ahead of his team mate, meaning that he was even below a Force India at one point, but he was always excellent in qualifying and doing superbly in the races as well. Then once his car did work, he showed us what he could do with 2 wins towards the end of season, both taken excellently and maturely. I reckon, if he was in the Mercedes or possibly even the Ferrari, he could well have won the title.

    Well that ended up being a bit longer than I anticipated…


    My driver ranking of F1:

    1 – Vettel. I know. Many disagree. But if you look at the package, you don’t convince me the Ferrari was the better car. He would have been world champion if not for the Singapore start and engine issues in Japan and Malaysia, I am convinced. It’s an intangible, but he was superb.

    2 – Verstappen. Arguably the fastest driver of the year, his quali record against Ricciardo and laps led against Ricciardo is astonishing. Still a bit of a rough one at times and inconsistent, but already past his much rated teammate. Just a shame I don’t see RB recovering to a good enough car for him to be World Champion any time soon.

    3 – Hamilton. World Champion, ridiculous qualifying, but also lucky in reliability and his opponents. Some great drives, some where he barely had to break out a sweat. Deserved World Champion, just not as deserved as Vettel would have been.

    (These first three positions are more or less ex aequo, as in the differences are minute, and they were all extraordinary. These are the best drivers in F1 by a distance. The distance to this season’s number four needs emphasizing)

    4 – Ocon. The next big thing. You may argue his quali pace isn’t quite there yet, but that is an experience issue, just look at Verstappen vs Ricciardo. A great racer, fast and consistent, so much talent, so well done. Hugely impressed.

    5 – Alonso. The ultimate intangible, ungraspable. No idea if he should actually be 1st or 10th, only the comparison with Vandoorne helps and Vandoorne had a pretty average rookie season but wasn’t even that far off. Some stellar drivers, just not the best driver in the field anymore, I reckon.

    6 – Bottas. Kept Hamilton honest more than I expected, but inconsistent. Pace is there, raw talent, but not yet the mental edge to fight Hamilton or improve his style to fit multiple circumstances. Might get there, might not. But deserving of another chance none the less.

    7 – Ricciardo. A fortuitous win and many a fortuitous podium in a season in which he outscored a teammate but was outperformed all round. Still one of the best in F1 but in serious danger of being a number two driver wherever he goes. Might need to move to say McLaren of Renault to be number one at a big team. Not of the level of Hamilton, Vettel or Verstappen at the moment, and no longer has the element of underestimation on his side.

    8 – Hulkenburg. Did very well to get that car up the field at times. Quali was breathtaking, as is his talent. Races were good, if a bit variable, although that is the car, too. Kept Sainz very honest during the last few races, which after having to race Palmer would likely have been a good eye-opener. Needs to push on to get that horrible, ignominous record off his back.

    9 – Perez. Out starred by a teammate he outscored. A very good driver, indeed F1 in 2017 is stronger than ever when Perez is 9th in these rankings. Just needs to watch out he isn’t supplanted next season.

    10 – Sainz. Had an easy job at first, but still Kvyat held him too close on quali, which is alarming. True hot and cold driver, almost of the highest level when he is on it, midfield fodder when he is not. Didn’t really elevate the car beyond its level this season. Competition with Hulkenburg will do him well, I reckon.

    11 – Vandoorne. Decent enough rookie season from a very good driver. Kept Alonso honest. Still reckon he has a good enough level to be a future World Champion. But needs a better functioning car: expect him to get close to Alonso next season.

    (the gap between Vandoorne and the rest is also quite large)

    12 – Grosjean. Good enough, nothing special. Moans too much. Has a teammate who I think has been found too weak for F1 but kept his position anyway, beat him but by no means convincingly. Needs to step up if he wants to merit staying in F1 much longer.

    13 – Gasly and Hartley. An impressive rookie stint from both. Good to see them in F1.

    14 – Kimi. Wish he would just retire. I love the man, but he’s not on it. Quali was ok, races were appalling.

    15 – Massa. We’ll never know how good the Williams was this year. Underperformed but still utterly obliterated Stroll.

    16 – Magnussen. A big mouth that doesn’t match his ability. Shows a few moments of promise, but you get the feeling ego and work ethic don’t match.

    17 – Wehrlein: see Magnussen.

    18 – Ericcson. Kept Wehrlein honest, the fact that Wehrlein is being dropped and not Ericcson (it seems) no longer feels unfair. Wehrlein has more talent: Ericcson more desire to improve.

    19 – Kvyat. Dropped harshly but finally. His quali record shows that the talent is there. The application and mental strength was lacking.

    20 – Stroll. A rookie so not last, but the worst driver in F1 by a distance comparable to a McLaren after grid penalties. A shame on Williams’ illustrious history.

    21 – Palmer. Awful. Didn’t deserve an F1 seat. Didn’t deserve a second season. Dropped. Nice guy, average racing driver.


    I’m just giving the positions as it’ll take me a while to type it all out.


    Non classified:DIR,GIO,BUT,HAR,GAS


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