Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Interlagos, 2012

2012 F1 Driver Rankings part two: 14-6

2012 F1 season reviewPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

The 2012 driver rankings continue with part two, which take us up to the top five.

14. Felipe Massa

Beat team mate in qualifying 2/20
Beat team mate in race 0/17
Races finished 19/20
Laps spent ahead of team mate 70/1081

Halfway through the season Massa appeared at number 22 in these rankings, so 14th represents a significant gain following his disastrous first half of the season.

Massa never mastered the F2012 when it was at its worst the way Alonso did. In Malaysia he dropped back from his team mate at a rate of over two seconds per lap and was almost lapped by him at the end. In Spain, as in Malaysia, the next car behind him at the finish was a Caterham.

As the Ferrari improved Massa made faltering progress. There were still wasted races in Canada (spin), Germany (went off during qualifying) and Singapore (collided with the other Caterham). While Alonso only failed to reach Q3 twice, Massa missed out in half of the races.

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Interlagos, 2012But there were also signs that race engineer Rob Smedley’s efforts to rebuild Massa’s confidence were working. At Silverstone he picked the strategy Alonso should have gone for. In Italy he made way for his recovering team mate. And by the Korean Grand Prix his pace had sufficiently improved that he had to be told to back off and not catch his team mate.

The final two races were a revelation: Massa was quicker than Alonso in qualifying and on race day. Ferrari went to the absurd lengths of deliberately incurring a penalty to drop him behind Alonso in America, but wisely decided not to repeat the trick in Massa’s backyard.

On the strength of the last two races he’d be well inside in the top ten, but that dismal start to the season ruined his year and almost cost him his place at Ferrari.

Lovely to see him progress from painful to watch, through signs of recovery from Monaco onwards, to looking like a winner again, with some blinding starts along the way. You have to wonder if he?s tough enough any more, but if he gets to lead a race on current form, watch him go (unless, of course, Alonso?s second…).

Felipe Massa 2012 form guide

13. Romain Grosjean

Beat team mate in qualifying 9/19
Beat team mate in race 2/12
Races finished 12/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate 230/803

Grosjean was pilloried for triggering a dangerous crash at the first corner in Spa. But in the context of how similar incidents and repeat offenders were handled during the season his ban seemed harsh, particularly as the stewards admitted it was levied in part because he’d collided with championship contenders.

Claims after the race that this was the seventh such collision he’d caused were clearly at odds with the facts. But comparisons with 2012’s other repeat offender Maldonado are inescapable. Both wield considerable talent yet have not yet learned how to temper it with restraint.

After coming back from his ban Grosjean collided with Webber in Japan (earning the sobriquet “first-lap nutcase”) and spoiled his qualifying in Brazil by tangling with De La Rosa.

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Montreal, 2012Weighed against Grosjean’s impetuous driving are several impressive performances against a world champion team mate. He narrowly came out on top in qualifying (Grosjean was slightly quicker on average), reached the podium three times and was robbed of a second-place finish in the European Grand Prix.

In Singapore he was called on to move over and let Raikkonen past. But later in the season Grosjean’s driving gave the impression he was too preoccupied with avoiding another ban to get involved with scraps like his excellent dice for position with Hamilton in Valencia.

There’s clearly potential in Grosjean, but too much of it is being wasted and it’s not hard to see why Lotus are making him sweat before revealing whether he will continue with them next year.

After the first half of the season, I was willing to give him the benefit of doubt and say that “the speed is there beneath the crashes”. But the crashes haven?t stopped. Ended up scoring just 20 points to Raikkonen’s 91 in the second half of the season.

Romain Grosjean 2012 form guide

12. Michael Schumacher

Beat team mate in qualifying 8/20
Beat team mate in race 7/10
Races finished 13/20
Laps spent ahead of team mate 348/810

It must be a source of huge frustration to Schumacher that by the time his W03 stopped breaking down it had lost its competitive edge. He could have enjoyed a very different start to the season without failures in Australia, China (due to a pit stop error), Bahrain (in qualifying) and Canada.

But he was also the architect of his own demise at times, not least with two unnecessary crashes in Spain and Singapore which cost him dearly. The former meant no pole position at Monaco, although there too any hopes of success were ultimately thwarted by another technical failure.

His worst performance came in Hungary where he crashed in practice for the second race in a row, then took up the wrong spot on the grid causing an aborted start and later retired.

After announcing his impending retirement in Japan it looked like he wasn’t going to see the points again before calling it a day. Having lined up fifth at the Circuit of the Americas he dropped quickly down the order in the race, struggling with his tyres.

Finally he rose to the occasion in Brazil and was holding sixth late in the race when Vettel appeared on his tail. Disappointingly, he passed on the opportunity to show Vettel what he was made of.

But there was symbolism and symmetry in this moment. Each of the three seasons of Schumacher’s comeback produced a world championship win for Vettel. Now Schumacher moved over to let his successor pass and move a step closer to his third title.

Best season since his comeback. Matched his team-mate through most of the year and even surpassed Rosberg at times. Car was unreliable and he made a few silly errors, however.
Stan (@Lufc4ever)

Michael Schumacher 2012 form guide

11. Kamui Kobayashi

Beat team mate in qualifying 8/19
Beat team mate in race 4/10
Races finished 16/20
Laps spent ahead of team mate 252/783

Most of Sauber’s headline-grabbing performances this year were produced by Perez. But Kobayashi had his day in Suzuka as well, and there might have been another at Spa had he not been caught up in the first corner melee.

Kobayashi had already improved on his career best with fourth in Germany after Vettel’s penalty. There were other fine performances too. In Abu Dhabi, with his career in doubt, he climbed from 15th to finish sixth.

Among the low points were a poor race in China, where he started third and only just hung on for a point at the end, and collisions with Senna and Massa in Valencia. He mowed down his pit crew at Silvertone and in Korea he ricocheted off Button and Rosberg at the start, ruining both their races.

It was wonderful to see him get the podium in Suzuka, and it was terrible seeing him retire after a front row start in Spa.

Some good drives and impressive overtakes, as well as some bad luck, but ultimately he just didn?t show anything that would convince me he?s a huge talent.

Kamui Kobayashi 2012 form guide

10. Paul di Resta

Beat team mate in qualifying 9/19
Beat team mate in race 7/17
Races finished 19/20
Laps spent ahead of team mate 416/1020

Both Force India’s drivers performed well during the season, but towards the end of the year Hulkenberg drew clear of Di Resta.

He began the year with points finishes in five of the first seven races when the VJM05 was not at its best. In Bahrain he produced a great drive in adversity, the team having missed the second practice session following a petrol bomb attack, rising from tenth to hold off Alonso for sixth.

As was the case last year, one of his best performances came at Singapore. This time he planted the car on the third row before finishing a career-best fourth.

Paul di Resta, Force India, Marina Bay, Singapore, 2012Although Hulkenberg ultimately outstripped him over the course of the season, there was much to credit about Di Resta’s performances.

He might have done better had it not been for an unfortunately-timed gearbox change penalty which costing him fourth on the grid in Italy. And a chance of a strong result in Spa was lost due to a KERS failure.

Di Resta’s head seemed to drop late in the year and in Abu Dhabi his eagerness to get past his team mate at the start ended in Hulkenberg’s retirement.

Overall a reasonable season on paper, but beaten by his team mate and he flagged badly in the latter half of 2012. Although he blamed chassis issues, he had a new one for the last three races and it didn?t seem to make much difference.

Touted as a potential 2013 driver at Ferrari and McLaren, his dip seemed to coincide with missing out on both those spots. Will need to do much better next year if he is to revive his dreams of ending up at a top tier team.
Tyler (@Tdog)

Paul di Resta 2012 form guide

9. Sergio Perez

Beat team mate in qualifying 11/19
Beat team mate in race 6/10
Races finished 14/20
Laps spent ahead of team mate 531/783

McLaren’s choice of replacement for Hamilton made several excellent performances during the season. But his failure to score a point since signing for McLaren will surely cause them to wonder if they got the right man.

The first of three stand-out drives from Perez came in Malaysia, where he reaped the benefits of switching to intermediate tyres early to challenge Alonso for victory. He was back on the podium in Canada after getting the tyre game right, and passed both Ferraris on his way to second in Italy.

He added to these three major points hauls on just four occasions – though it should be noted he had five 11th places.

Sergio Perez, Sauber, Monza, 2012Qualifying was a weakness, though sometimes this was the precursor towards impressive climbs into the points, such as his run from the penultimate row to finish eighth in Melbourne (which would have been higher without the safety car) and climbing to sixth having started 17th in Germany.

When he did qualify well, as in Spain and Belgium, his race prospects were ruined at the start in incidents he did not carry the blame for. At Silverstone he was making progress when he was taken out by Maldonado.

Occasions when he was the architect of his own demise included going off while trying to pass Hamilton in Japan and his penalty for improperly rejoining the track in Abu Dhabi. There’s no mistaking the potential McLaren have spotted, but there’s still a bit of honing to be done.

Used his brilliant speed and amazing ability to make a set of tyres last, to score stunning podiums in Malaysia, Canada and Monza leading many pundits to label the Mexican as a future world champion.

After being snubbed by Ferrari, Perez was snapped up by McLaren yet since then Perez has failed to score a point, next year will be very interesting indeed.

Sergio Perez 2012 form guide

8. Nico Rosberg

Beat team mate in qualifying 12/20
Beat team mate in race 3/10
Races finished 17/20
Laps spent ahead of team mate 462/810

Nico Rosberg finally became an F1 race winner in 2012. And he dominated the Chinese Grand Prix so comprehensively it looked like it might be the first of several victories.

That it didn’t turn out that way owes more to Mercedes’ development problems than missed opportunities on Rosberg’s part. His notable missed opportunities came in Monaco, where the car was clearly capable of winning, and in qualifying errors at Melbourne and Bahrain which kept him from starting closer to the front.

As Mercedes were increasingly overhauled by their rivals Rosberg’s better performances became harder to discern.

He took fifth in Singapore despite carrying damage from a first-corner collision throughout the race. In Belgium a gearbox penalty meant he started the race 23rd with virtually no dry-weather running, yet he recovered to 11th.

In Japan and Korea he was eliminated in first-corner collisions and Abu Dhabi went little better. But even making allowances for these there were some low-key weekends which gave cause to wonder how well Rosberg will fare now his ageing septuple-champion team mate is being replaced by his old karting rival.

Breakthrough win promised much, but he delivered little. Another disappointing year.

Nico Rosberg 2012 form guide

7. Jenson Button

Beat team mate in qualifying 4/20
Beat team mate in race 4/13
Races finished 18/20
Laps spent ahead of team mate 320/958

Button bookended his season with wins in Australia and Brazil. Unfortunately for him there wasn’t enough success between the two – his only other victory came in Belgium.

Although his final win was aided by a collision between Hulkenberg and Hamilton it should be remembered that, not for the first time, he judged challenging conditions better than his team mate and gained a considerable advantage over him before it was wiped out by the safety car.

Similarly in Belgium it was Button, not Hamilton, who sussed out the correct set-up after limited practice time and it was he who started from pole position, clear of the first-corner carnage.

Jenson Button, McLaren, Melbourne, 2012Contrasting sharply with performances like this was a strange succession of races early in the season where Button seemed to lose his way completely.

In Spain, Monaco and Britain he failed to reach Q3 and made little progress in the races. In Canada he only made it in thanks to Maldonado’s crash and then suffered a race every bit as poor as his drive in Brazil was great.

Like Hamilton, Button experienced McLaren pit stop and reliability problems, though they did not cost him as much. The two-point gap between them in the points at the end of the season doesn’t adequately reflect that Hamilton did a considerably better job.

Despite a few dodgy races mid-season, Button was generally pretty good. Scored three wins and his first podium for McLaren with a dominant performance in Spa.

Still amazing in tricky conditions and surely will be somewhat of a force next year if the team builds around him.

Jenson Button 2012 form guide

6. Mark Webber

Beat team mate in qualifying 8/20
Beat team mate in race 6/17
Races finished 18/20
Laps spent ahead of team mate 238/1103

Nine races into 2012, things were looking rather good for Webber. His season had begun with four fourth-place finishes on the trot and a fine win in Monaco.

He’d just scored his second victory of the year at Silverstone and it had been a particularly sweet win, seized from the clutches of no less a driver than Alonso. It moved Webber within 13 points of the championship leader. And he sealed a new deal to continue driving Adrian Newey’s sublime racing cars.

But following his Silverstone triumph his season went completely off the rails. Technical problems spoiled his qualifying in Germany and Belgium, and his race in Hungary. In Japan he was taken out by Grosjean at the start.

Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso, Silverstone, 2012Sometimes Webber paid the price of pushing too hard. He spun into retirement in Italy and his race in Abu Dhabi was ragged. In the penultimate race the car let him down again.

Despite this he remained true to his own championship ambitions as long as he could, and even within the first few hundred metres of the season finale in Brazil he refused to give quarter to his team mate. That changed later in the race.

Looking at his performances since mid-2010 it’s clear that when Red Bull are able to exploit some degree of exhaust-blowing on their cars, Vettel’s advantage over Webber widens. Webber admits that he isn’t keen on the handling characteristics it creates, but as long as it makes the car faster he’s stuck with it.

Equal machinery to the world champion, yet finished sixth in the championship, and while he had two good wins, it?s hard to see any other stand-out drives, and he only finished on the podium four times the entire season. Rather disappointing.

Mark Webber 2012 form guide

Notes on how the rankings are produced

The F1 Fanatic Driver Rankings are my personal view on how the drivers performed across the entire season. Drivers such as Jerome D’Ambrosio who only competed in a small part of the season are not included.

Each drivers’ performance in all of the race weekends are taken into account and summarised. For more detailed views of how they fared in each weekend refer to the notes produced for each Driver of the Weekend article and the driver form guides.

A selection of F1 Fanatic readers’ views appear alongside the rankings. The full rankings will be published in seven parts, with individual articles for the top five drivers, after which there will be a vote for Driver of the Year.

Over to you

What’s your verdict on the drivers ranked so far? Who deserves to be higher, who should be lower – and why?

Have your say in the comments.

2012 F1 season review

Browse all 2012 F1 season review articles

Images ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Lotus F1 Team/LAT, Force India F1 Team, Sauber F1 Team, McLaren/Hoch Zwei, Red Bull/Getty Images

126 comments on “2012 F1 Driver Rankings part two: 14-6”

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  1. Hülkenberg in the Top 5? I’m surprised (not that I don’t rate him, I really do, but he gets overlooked quite often)

    1. @gerdoner He has been quick in the later part of the season and could be considered as a clean driver amongst the younger, agressive enough but not usually the one going into trouble (except maybe Brazil, but that was a new context for him). Still surprise he makes the top 5 as well, but don’t forget that we use to juge on our last impression … Which was rather good from Hulkenberg.

    2. Perez has 3 podium finishes and great start of the season, gets a mclaren drive and is 9th just because he didn’t scored last races.

      Hulkenberg is top five because he had some decent races and a pretty good last one where he made a mistake and ruined Lewis race?

      What a lame criteria… I understand that “rookie fans” tend to think that you are as good as your last race but expected a little more from here…

      1. What a lame criteria

        Perhaps you should wait until you know what the criteria was before making that judgement.

      2. I see what you mean, in my opinion Hulk should’ve been in front of Pérez, but definitely not by 4 places.

      3. @Tonyxix Uh Perez screwed up plenty of times and not just on race day. Though he had 3 podiums, he still didn’t outclass his team mate at the end of the day only beating him by 6 points. Yet for some reason Perez should be much higher?
        I find it laughable also Hulk does deserve it @david d.m. He didn’t score a podium but due to consistency he was only beat by Perez with 3 points. Which is funny for such a great mid-field driver. Also he came closer to winning a race it could be argued than Perez

        1. perez was close to win a race in malasya in fact had better pace than Alonso and Hamilton on Hard Tyres in fact on live tv commentators think mclaren will be able to catch perez for second when they remove wet tyres but never happen but a radio message and driver mistake (like Nico in brazil) keep a perez on second position

          1. many people thinks perez its only tyre strategy buy anyone can explain why hamilton can’t catch perez in malasya after all drivers were with hards and dry track in the last part of the gp

      4. perez did ok but made too many mistakes, the car was capable of much more than what both sauber drivers delivered. they should have had 5th place in constructors.

  2. Massa should be higher up.

      1. Don’t understand how Romain Grosjean, Michael Schumacher & Paul di Resta are ahead of Massa. Stats don’t also tell the whole story and it this case it’s true.

        Grosjean had several good results in the season but most of his retirements were down to him, he also caused retirements of others because of his idiocy. Grosjean should be in the bottom half easily and doesn’t deserve a 3rd bit at the cherry.

        I used to be a massive fan of Michael Schumacher, used to be being the key word there. He shouldn’t have returned, one podium and one fastest qualifying lap in Monaco isn’t enough. Don’t understand how he’s ahead of Massa at all. Yes Schumacher had a terrible start to the season, robbed by retirements (mechanical and of his own accord) but that doesn’t grant him such a high place.

        How Paul di Resta makes it into the top 10 just blows my mind. Kamui Kobayashi had a way better season and Force India were dumped down one constructors place because of this. Nico Hülkenberg, Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez all had similar points totals (63, 66, 60 respectively), di Resta let Force India down with only 46.

        Massa had a brilliant 2nd half to the season, collecting 99 points which isn’t bad considering his terrible form at the start. Massa should be at least 10 and 11 at worse with Kobayashi ahead.

        1. “Grosjean should be in the bottom half easily” I should of said ‘deep in the bottom half*’.

        2. @rgbsf thanks Robert! You and @uan brought the points that I wanted to bring to the table. Also that Massa really started to out-perform Alonso. I hope that he will be a contender for the championship next year.

      2. As many have noted, the F2012 was notoriously difficult to drive. It only did well in the hands of Alonso, who is considered the best driver on the grid having the best season of his career. This alone would make Massa look very poor. But as the car came together, his driving also improved. He also had to do this under the pressures being at Ferrari and keeping his career alive. Towards the end of the season a good case can be made that he was driving better than Alonso, who is undoubtable going to be ranked number 1.

        Also, his podiums, unlike Perez, came much more driving head to head with the front end of the grid, not relying on making hay out of tire choices. Further with Perez, his performance absolutely fell of the cliff after Singapore, not because the car wasn’t there, but because the pressure and expectations impacted his driving. And that was a pale shadow of the pressure Massa was driving under.

        An argument could also be made Massa for sure should be ranked higher than Grojean (who I like for his raw speed), but who was error proned, and even ended the season with that silly move on PDR in Q1 and then drove himself off the track in the early part of the race. Kind of summed up his season. Massa on average, with a car that was probably equal of the Lotus overall for the season got more out it than Grojean.

        Grojean seemed to have the same issue throughout season, lack of spatial awareness of the cars around him.

        1. Only two people know whether F2012 was notoriously difficult to drive: Alonso and Massa. If people believe the car was bad, then it makes the drivers look a little better. They have the incentive to say that. Personally, I think Massa was terrible at the start of the season. I think the problem wasn’t with the car, but with the driver.

          F2012 wasn’t quickest in qualifying, but it was very good in race conditions and was incredibly reliable. In my opinion it wasn’t bad at all.

          1. Only two people? You must be joking right? EVERYONE around the world saw from the start of the season the incar footage of Massa and Alonso. They couldn’t drive that thing….. both of them were always sideways at the exit of every cornet in every circuit in every race (ok now I’m exaggerating)! If I could get 1 euro for every time I heard this season Martin Brundle or Anthony Davidson saying “that F2012 is so difficult to drive” or “Alonso is in the ragged edge again” or “again he is sideways” or “he had a momment” I could buy my way into HRT for sure!!!!

            It is so simple man. Easy to drive is a car that is easy to find the aero and mechanical balance so it is easy to drive (duhhhh) and not having understeer or oversteer, and be stable in braking and in acceleration. If you can’t see when a car has understeer or is oversteering see this first Ok?

            F2012 was not easy to drive. Period. They made a new car from scratch and they had to fine tune it according to the feedback of the drivers. Guess whose feedback was the way to go….. Felipe said that in Monaco they find the right set up so the car could be to his liking. And Massa has a very strange driving style don’t forget. From that race his season was back on track but the results weren’t to be due to bad lack, or strategy or racing incidents or all the above. But his season was average at least. Maybe he was better that Romain or SCH or DiResta. His racecraft was for sure better, with great overtaking moves, great starts in almost every gp etc.

            The only easy way to find out if 14 is his right position is if we see the season in two halfs. He was 22 in the rankings for the first half. The question is were he was in the second half. Keith thinks that he was 6th so 22+6=28/2=14. IMHO I think that he was 5th because HULK had his 4th place in Spa were Massa was 5th. From then on he was way ahead (not in Brazil though) and don’t forget that he gave up places at least 3 or 4 times for Alonso’s champioship campain. So maybe 13 or 12th could be more fair?

      3. Keith,

        Your own article http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2012/12/03/2012-f1-car-performance/ states that Lotus was quicker than Ferrari. So, Massa in a slower car has scored more points than Grosjean. This alone should mean that Massa has done a better job than Grosjean.

        1. The article you linked to is about one-lap speed, Ferrari didn’t have that slow a car in the race. Points are scored in the race.

          Having said that, I agree that Massa’s performance over the year, IMHO, was better than Grosjean. In his bad races he was just slow, Grosjean’s problems were worse. In his better races Massa was better than Alonso which is a fairly high standard to achieve even if only in three or four races.

    1. I agree with you. Not because of Massa per se, but no way DIR, KOB or GRO are ahead of him.

    2. @dam00r I disagree, he was completely useless for the first half of the season. A common mistake with season reviews is to place too much emphasis on the later races and ignore the earlier races. Every race is equally important, and it’s not good enough to only start performing decently over half way through the season. I think his ranking is about right.

    3. Beat team mate in qualifying: 2/20
      Beat team mate in race: 0/17
      Laps spent ahead of team mate: 70/1081

      Come again?

    4. Actually his position is about correct. 22nd for the first half and 5th for the 2nd half of the season. 27/2=13,5.

    5. Why because he had good last 2 races???
      The season is 20!!!

      Actually Massa should be in the bottom 7!

      1. CarnivorousPope (@)
        11th December 2012, 20:35

        Not last 2 races. Last 10 races. In the second half of the season he was only second to vettel in points scored.

        1. He wasn’t actually second to Vettel in points scored over the final 10 races.

          It was Vettel: 171
          Alonso: 124
          Button: 120
          Raikkonen: 109
          Massa: 99
          Hamilton: 98
          Weber: 59

          That said, I agree that Massa should be ranked higher. When has a driver ever more than quadrupled his first half of a season’s points in the second half? His rate of progress was meteoric, especially given he had to give way for Alonso several times over the final races, his points haul could have been on par with anyone bar Vettel.

          Sure, the first half of the year was terrible, but under greater pressure than any driver in recent memory, Massa delivered.

          1. Alonso THE Great
            12th December 2012, 18:24

            Massa should be ranked only 22

            Not 14

        2. @CarnivorousPope you might wanna get your facts straight because he wasn’t as @adam tate shows us. Also the issue still stands at this, why must it take a fire being lit under him to get him to perform? This is an F1 driver that has been in fear of his seat prior to this year and told he would need to perform.

          Also let’s be fair and use facts again it was not only the driving but Alonso’s words. When your top driving team mate asks the team to keep you on because it helps his chances, Ferrari aren’t going to not give their number one what he wants.

          Massa gets paid to drive not mope and then wait for a threat of losing his job, to actually show his worth

  3. 5. hulk
    4. kimi
    3. ham
    2. vet
    1. alonso :)

    1. @fractal Is that where you think they should be or where you think they will be?

      1. What I think should be:
        5. Hulk
        4. Rai
        3. Vet
        2. Alo
        1. Ham

        What I think it will be:
        5. Hulk
        4. Rai
        3. Vet
        2/1. I really don’t know which way you’ll go between Ham and Alo, but hugging by what you’ve said on their teammates rankings, I’m thinking Alonso 1st.

        Can’t wait to find out, this is just as important as the WDC standings as far as I’m concerned!

        1. *judging. Damn auto-correct!

        2. what about
          1 Raikkonen ?

      2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
        12th December 2012, 6:52

        My Opinion: Hamilton really should have won the championship, but Mclaren couldn’t have tripped over themselves any worse even if they tried.

        The Top 5 that i would have wanted:
        5. Vettel
        4. Raikkonen
        3. Webber
        2. Alonso
        1. Hamilton

        How i think it will be:
        5. Hulk
        4. Raikkonen
        3. Hamilton
        2. Vettel
        1. Alonso

        1. @tophercheese21 – You wanted Webber 3rd? Definitely not based on performance, then.

          1. Chris (@tophercheese21)
            13th December 2012, 0:13

            Exactly, “wanted”. Coz im Australian, haha.

            If it were based solely on performance, then it will look something like my second list.

    2. For me the top 5 should be;

      5th. Hülkenberg
      4th. Hamilton
      3rd. Räikkönen
      2nd. Vettel
      1st. Alonso

      1. Hamilton 4th? He was absolutely brilliant this season. Very quick, ambitious and aggressive, and yet very smooth and mature. Lewis and Alonso made this season great and they were both amazing. It’s hard to decide who was better, as their situations were very different, but these two have to be first and second. I can’t see Hulk higher than 5th, just as I can’t see Vettel lower than 3rd. Which leaves Raikkonen in 4th.

        As a side note: I think 6th and 7th places should be reversed. Other than that I agree with the list so far.

    3. Replace Hamilton with Vettel and I got the exact same top 5

      1. Seconded. I just feel that Keith wants to put Vettel in the top 2, but Alonso and Hamilton never made a single mistake on track. Yes Vettel’s drive at Brazil was impressive (although he putted himself in that position by making an error at Senna), but Hamilton made an almost as impressive drive at the Spanish GP IN THE DRY! The Abu Dhabi drive of Vettel was not as impressive as it looked like: had a lot of luck with the safety car and made some questionable errors. I personally find the steering wheel switch of him at India (or was it Korea?) more impressive. Infact, the only mistake Hamilton ever made this season was the set-up choice at Spa. You should also count in that Hamilton really worked on his control during the race compared to 2011.
        –> read this and compare to this season. Like day and night apart.

    4. I could put the top 3 in any order. Each was fantastic with very few drives that were anything less than very good. All 3 destroyed their team mates in terms of their performances.

    5. My top 5:
      1. Hamilton
      2. Vettel
      3. Alonso
      4. Räikkönen
      5. Hulkenberg

      1. That is the correct answer.

    6. I’m think persoanlly:
      5. Hulkenberg
      4. Räikkönen
      3. Hamilton
      2. Vettel
      1. Alonso

      Hamilton and Vettel were both very good, so I decided between them based upon Vettel’s Brazil drive and of course his championship.

  4. Looking at his performances since mid-2010 it’s clear that when Red Bull are able to exploit some degree of exhaust-blowing on their cars, Vettel’s advantage over Webber widens. Webber admits that he isn’t keen on the handling characteristics it creates, but as long as it makes the car faster he’s stuck with it.

    I hope that changes somehow next season. Not Webber liking the exhaust blowing, but Newey not getting much from it. Because Webber vs Vettel is the top intra-team fight of the grid….

    1. That’s a pretty one-sided fight. In the last three years Vettel has 21 wins, 37 podiums and 929 points compared to Webbers 7 wins, 24 podiums and 679 points. Hamilton vs Button was a much more equal match-up.

  5. I think Massa is a bit over-rated here. Of 20 races he was bound to be faster than Alonso on some occasions, as was the trend within all the teams.

    Di resta is also a bit overrated here. Over all the hype around him by the media, he was dominated by a team mate who was new to the team and car.

    Over the course of the season I think Perez should be higher rated than Hulk.

    1. @infy For a long time I would say you’re right for PerezHulk,but those later races definitly swing things around, Perez not scoring a single point and Hulk making the best of a car coming his way.

  6. I find it strange to see Rosberg above Perez.

  7. So,it seems Hulkenberg will be 5th!

  8. Button should have been over Webber, that’s what I think.

    1. Agreed in full. Button stormed to victory in Australia and McLaren really dropped the ball on he and Hamilton this year.

      Mark was great for the first few races, but then got comprehensively destroyed by everyone over the rest of the season. In the final 10 races; Hamilton, Massa, Raikkonen, Button, Alonso and Vettel all outscored him and by a lot.

  9. Rosberg: Beat team mate in race 3/10

    OUCH ! that’s a hard blow… I don’t stand much hope over Rosberg, really. He looked promising for years, but it’s becoming an old thing now…

    1. @fer-no65
      Out of all of Schumacher’s retirements, the only time he was ahead of Rosberg was Australia. Rosberg was ahead of Schumacher in China, Spain, Monaco, Canada, Hungary, Singapore and India. Don’t let that one statistic fool you.

      1. @kingshark you’re right ! fool me. Thanks for puting that up !

        1. Still, Rosberg stands the risk of becoming a Nick Heidfeld like character if Mercedes can’t get their act together and he can’t keep up with Hamilton next year.

  10. Button should have been over Webber, that’s what I think. Anyway, it’s how the things developed in the year what makes Webber look stronger than wwhat he really is. His starts are usually terrible!

    1. Agreed. I like Mark a lot, but he wasn’t up to the same level Button was this year.

  11. @keithcollantine There’s an error in the Button quote, it was his first McLaren pole in Spa, not podium, obviously.

    I’m interested in the top 5 now, since in the last two years the top 3 were the same as my rankings in the forum. We’ll see whether it’s the case this year as well.

    1. Indeed you’re right @Enigma, I should proof-read what I write :P

  12. I predict

    5. Hulkenberg
    4. Raikkonen
    3. Vettel
    2. Hamilton
    1. Alonso

    for the top 5.

    The thing is, I do not want to take 0.001% off of Vettel’s title-winning performance, but I think even Raikkonen made fewer mistakes than him. But it would be somewhat… offending, I feel, for the WDC to come home 4th in the rankings. Actually, I can only think of 1-1 ‘half-errors’ for Alonso, Hamilton, and Raikkonen during the year. Alonso and Raikkonen share it via the Suzuka incident, and Hamilton obviously had that Maldonado-gate again, where I think he was only the slightest bit at fault. Perhaps his Twitter fiascos can make up for the remaining part of that ‘half-mistake’ to draw even with the other two guys. On the other hand, however nicely Raikkonen drove the whole season, I still think Alonso and Hamilton got 110% out of their car more than Kimi did.

    So I’d like to see a

    5. Hulkenberg
    4. Vettel
    3. Raikkonen (oh, so close to Lewis)
    2. Hamilton
    1. Alonso

    ranking. But I still think it will be the first variation.

    1. I think why Raikkonen should be 4th is because of his qualifying, where he struggled against Grosjean.

      1. ppl keep living in the past and forgot he totally dominate his teammate after the summer break.

        1. First half of the season is equally important, as we’re looking at the season as a whole here. Raikkonen and Grosjean were very close in qualifying overall, while Hamilton and Alonso were behind only twice.
          That’s the biggest difference between Raikkonen and Hamilton&Alonso this year.

          1. what’s the point beating your teammate when they are not in their best form?? Button with his setup, massa with his mental ?? Massa in particular had outpace alonso since summer break in many occasions despite not receiving new updates as he claimed himself.

            I find it funny how people rate the driver base on statistic alone and not their driving!! Kimi and Romain were head and toe of each other do not indicate kimi wasnt good enough in quali, more on they are both very quick. Race pace is different story obviously. And people seems to forgot due to limited resource in Enstone, Kimi still didnt get his power steering setup sorted, he had to cope with it, and indeed he coped it well in the end =) Rubbishing the claims that kimi cant cope with car that doesnt suit him LOL

    2. Hamilton wasn’t even the vaguest bit at fault for being into by Maldonado.

        1. Every driver on the grid knows Maldonado is risky to pass. Ham would have got by sooner than later. He put himself in a dangerous situation and paid for it.

          Was Maldonado wrong to rejoin the track that way? Yes, but it’s not so different from actions Hamilton has taken in the past.

    3. I’d say Vettel was better than Räikkönen as we could see by their dice in Bahrain.

    4. I agree with @enigma and @vettel1 on Vettel’s case, so yeah. Basically a 4. Raikkonen, 3. Vettel, 2. Hamilton, 1. Alonso from now on. I also think that will be the eventual order.

      And it is still strange for the WDC to finish only 3rd, but I cannot see much more argument for Vettel finishing ahead of Hamilton, let alone Alonso.

      1. @atticus-2 – I can understand how Vettel may be rated higher than Hamilton as his second half of the season was phenomenal but yes to rate him higher than Alonso wouldn’t be a fair representation of just how good Alonso was this year.

  13. di Resta 10th ahead of Kobayashi, Schumacher and Maldonado. I’m sorry but aside from 4th on the grid at Monza and 4th at Singapore, what exactly has he done to merit 10th on this list?

    1. Consistency. His poor end to the season aside, he consistently picked up points when the car was 8th best. He finished the championship ahead of Maldonado, just behind Schumacher and not far from Kobayashi, despite sitting in the worst car of those 4.

    2. Di Resta will always be over-rated while he remains in the sport. Had Kobayashi finished Monaco and Spa in the points (both occasions he was deprived through Crashjean first corner incidents). He would have looked pretty damn consistent.. It’s amazing how a couple of results can make a big difference in this sport.

      1. Di Resta was consistent, consistently good. But that’s just it. Schumacher, Kobayashi and especially Maldonado showed moments of brilliance this year. Di Resta never had that kind of spark, despite the hype of “I beat Vettel in F3” Di Resta didn’t deserve a Ferrari or McLaren seat for next year and doesn’t quite deserve to be ranked this highly.

  14. Funny, I came up with the same top 5.

    Agree with you on most points, though I would swap Di Resta and Grosjean. Di Resta has delivered some fine performances this year, but looking at those behind him (Kobayashi, Schumacher and Grosjean): they have all had some great performances this year too. And without a podium for Di Resta, I don’t think he should be in front of the three before mentioned drivers.

    Grosjean has had a difficult year and was clearly beaten by his teammate, both in points as in pace. But if one would assume that Raikkonen has had an outstanding season (like I did: I put him first on my list), the conclusion is that Grosjean has had a more than decent year, though spatial awareness at the start proved to be his Achilles’ heel.

    1. Also, I still find it hard to believe you put Massa 14th and Maldonado 15th: Massa has been beaten fair and square by his teammate in, say, 95% of the races. Maldonado has also beaten his teammate in more than 75% of the races this year. So, even if Maldonado has issues with crashing into others, overall he has done a way better job than Massa, at least in my opinion.

      1. @andae23
        You are comparing Bruno Senna to Fernando Alonso.

        1. @kingshark ok I may have exaggerated that a little :P, but still: overall I think Maldonado has had a far better year than Massa.

      2. @andae23
        I don’t think Maldonad’o’s crashes can be that easily overlooked. He definitely got more out of his car than Massa, but the amount of points he wasted is inexcusable.

        Overall I think Keith has very good and balanced arguments for his decisions. I really enjoy these articles and reading the comments as well so thanks Keith!

  15. I really enjoy the rankings on F1F, mainly because, even though I try to rate people through their performances, it’s hard to sometimes look above the achievements of the top team drivers. For example, I never would have considered Hulkenberg in the top 5, especially as I haven’t looked too closely at him this season.

    Good on him though, if he has impressed, and there is no doubt in my mind that he is one of the better ‘young’ drivers on the grid, especially in terms of spatial awareness and overtaking, if you compare him against Grosjean, Maldonado and even Perez at times. What will be interesting to see next season is if he can do as he did in Brazil and not let the team decide his strategy, which is a common flaw with Sauber. If he can do that, and Sauber produce another strong car, then perhaps Hulkenberg can do for them what Raikkonen did for Lotus this season (Though, probably to a slightly lesser extent).

  16. Paul Di Resta 10th and Bruno Senna 22th can only be a joke. British drivers can only be overrated in a british blog but this is too much! I’m sure Senna would give Di Resta a hard time if he could get the Force India drive for 2013! Sure, this ranking apllies to the 2012 season but even so… Let’s be honest, Di Resta would always be in front of Senna this year in any ranking but he should never be so much in front. He was better than Hulkenberg in the first half of the season but was clearly behind his team mate in the second half even in race pace, while Senna was level with Maldonado in race pace during the same period. Di Resta was in his second year of racing with his team to Hulkenberg’s first, while Senna was in his first to Maldonado’s second. Furthermore Di Resta had more track time, he didn’t lose 15 FP1, unlike Senna. He should be some 3 or 4 spots in front of the brazilian instead of 12!

    1. Senna’s performances this year were terrible. And look at his teammate. Di Resta has a better teammate and had far fewer bad days. if you look at the stats the williams was faster yet neither driver got the maximum out of it.

      1. The Williams was not faster than the Force India in many races of the second half of the year. Senna was as consistent as Di Resta in many races, beating him in Abu Dhabi (after Di Resta crashed into Hulkenberg at the first corner, senting him to hit Senna) and Austin. Di Resta made mistakes in his last three races, something Senna didn’t. Di Resta is not a better driver than Senna, for what we have seen in the second half of the season. He did better than Senna overall, but the brazilian is improving more. If they were team mates in 2013, with equal conditions, they would be evenly matched.

    2. a British blog

      No, this is a site for F1 fans – regardless of their nationality. As has been pointed out countless times before, only around a third of users on the site are British:


      Not that this has any bearing on what I think or write. I gave ample reasons in yesterday’s article for why Senna is ranked as lowly as he is. I acknowledged his loss of practice time and I even wrote an article earlier this year saying Williams were wrong to do it.

      I stand by that criticism of a British team and I stand by this criticism of a Brazilian driver, neither of which are related to their nationality.

      1. But….but….The man who devised the rankings is a British person. Furthermore, the percentage of British members of this site is higher than any other country. So, di Resta’s being ranked in the top 10 isn’t surprising at all….

  17. In my opinion…

    1. Kimi
    2. Sebastian
    3. Fernando
    4. Hamilton
    5. Hulk

  18. Di Resta should not be that high, he is thoroughly average. Once Hulkenberg up to speedThe rest is pretty similar to what I would done, although I think Maldonado should be higher and so should Ricciardo. I personally would have for the top 5:

    5. Hulkenberg
    4. Raikkonen
    3. Vettel
    2. Alonso
    1. Hamilton

    But Alonso will probably be number 1 and I wouldn’t be surprised if Vettel is put above Hamilton as well. The reason I put Lewis number 1 is he did not make a mistake worth mentioning all year, Mclaren really let him down this season. Alonso was absolutely outstanding for the first 12 or 13 races but my problem is that when it really mattered Massa was the quicker Ferrari driver. Vettel made too mistakes to be ahead of Hamilton and Alonso but I put him above Kimi because Raikkonen’s qualifying pace was pretty lacklustre. Saying that his racecraft was outstanding, the best of anyones all year with Alonso and even more impressive given he’d not done much wheel to wheel racing in the previous two years.

    1. Sorry I posted too early, it should say once Hulkenberg got up to speed he was the more impressive driver.

      1. I quite like your order and reasoning.

        Though I’d go for

        5. Hulkenberg
        4. Alonso
        3. Raikkonen
        2. Hamilton
        1. Vettel

        I’m sure most people would want to shoot me for putting Alonso back in 4th, but he enjoyed advantages no other driver had, complete team attention and a subservient team mate. Add to this quite a bit of luck and good fortune.

        1. I actually agree about Alonso, though I’d probably flip Vettel & Hamilton. I’m no Hamilton fan, but his performances this year were spectacular. Alonso’s fight for the championship so late in the season was largely down to stellar luck and the great misfortune of his competitors, e.g. Hamilton.

        2. davidnotcoulthard
          12th December 2012, 1:06

          Some might shoot you, but….while Fernando might not deserve 4th perhaps he does actually deserve to be behind Kimi, Sebastian, and Lewis……which does put him in 4th place.

        3. It seems that your vote is more a chose of the quality of the car that the driver was racing with and not their driving talent. Can’t agree with that and I believe so will the majority of votes. My vote is

          5. Hulkenberg
          3. Hamilton, Räikkönen
          2. Vettel
          1. Alonso

          1. As @us_peter pointed out, Alonso’s performances were aided greatly by the misfortune of his competitors. Alonso deserves all the credit in the world, especially for the first half of the season when the car was well and truly lacking. But he performed no better than Hamilton, who were it not for car failures would have been fighting for the championship to the last round.

            Further can we lambast Vettel for having the best car? Look at how comprehensively he destroyed Weber over the final races as he seized the championship by the throat.

            In my mind Alonso and Raikkonen performed very similarly. Hamilton and Vettel, just slightly better.

  19. Di Resta is too high in my opinion. I wouldn’t put him ahead of Maldonado or Grosjean, or even Kobayashi or Schmacher. He was really overshadowed by Hulk and is overhyped by the British media. Maldonado’s win in Spain and Kobayashi’s podium in Suzuka were better than anything Di Resta did this season. Sure, he was pretty consistent, but I’d rather have fast than consistent in a middle-of-the-pack car. Webber is a tad too high on here as well.

    Good rankings generally though. And thanks for using my comment to sum up Schumi’s season!

  20. Button is too high I think.

    Destroyed by Hamilton all season, only beating him when Hamilton race ruined by operational or technical issues.

    His successes also only seem to come on back of tyre calls. Clearly a valid racing skill, but he does also get them wrong, but those calls get forgotten. He has such experience its inevitable he has an advantage on that type of call.

    1 – Hamilton
    2 – Alonso
    3 – Raikonnen
    4 – Vettel

    1 – Seems to me Hamilton got most out of car throughout nearly every weekend, cant see how he could have done more. Operational errors, reliability issues, getting crashed into – only way he lost points.

    2 – Alonso was sublime in a poor car as documented so fully already. His championship standing is skewed by Ferrari’s lead driver policy however, an advantage that Hamilton didn’t have (viz. Spa, Hamilton’s 1.1 second handicap to Button for example).

    3 – Not the best race pace Lotus but always in the mix, class.

    4 – Vettel gets pole when missing apexes, for me that says it all, and does significantly undermine his achievements. If any of the three stars Ive placed above him had his car, they’d be champion. If he raced for Lotus he’d be found out by errors when pressured.

    1. Vettel gets pole when missing apexes

      No he doesn’t. Or at least the others put in poorer laps if he does.

    2. @switchbacker Have you analyzed on board footage yourself? If so, please mention three q3 sessions where he “missed apexes” (all apexes? one apex? two apexes?) and still got pole or front row. I would like to see it for myself.
      But I guess you just believe anything that Hamilton says

      1. I dont keep spreadsheets of this stuff, but I know Ive seen him outqualify his rivals with less well executed quali laps than them.

        Would you agree that he makes far more errors undr pressure than say Alonso?

        1. No, I wouldn’t agree. Vettel is excellent under pressure, 2010 and 2012 shows just that. And if he makes some silly mistake, he compensates for it right away. Alonso has been outstanding this season, but I remember him crashing in a penultimate round of 2007 championship which cost him the world title. Also he underperformed in last 2 races of 2012 season in my opinion, qualifying 9’th and saying that he got everything out of the car and put it in “it’s usual grid position around 8’th” while his teammate qualified 5’th didn’t help too.

          1. Vettel has more than once lost big points dropping it when pressured, and often looks shaky when he dosnt have it all his own way.

            Surprising if you think Vettel had a better season than Alonso. Much better car, scraped to victory.

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