2012 F1 Driver Rankings #3: Sebastian Vettel

2012 F1 season review

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2012

Sebastian Vettel was made to fight harder for his third world championship victory than he was for the first two. The performance advantage he enjoyed throughout much of 2011 was gone.

Vettel hit a purple patch late in the season with four wins on the trot as Red Bull finally hit the sweet spot with the RB8. Even this was fleeting as McLaren asserted themselves once more before the season ended, and the RB8 was not the quickest car on average throughout the season.

But he took the opportunity to rise from the battle for second place and seize the lead of the championship. After that he narrowly prevailed in a nailbiting championship showdown, soaking up immense pressure from Fernando Alonso over the last three rounds.

As the season began the name of the game for Vettel was getting the best he could out of a car that was no longer the pace setter. He achieved this admirably in Australia, passing Rosberg in fine style early on and reaching the podium. But he faltered in Malaysia where another podium looked possible had he taken a little more caution lapping Narain Karthikeyan (who was penalised for the contact).

Beat team mate in qualifying 12/20
Beat team mate in race 11/17
Races finished 19/20
Laps spent ahead of team mate 865/1103

Anxious to leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of performance, Vettel experimented with an earlier exhaust layout in China. But unusually he failed to reach Q3 and in a repeat of last year found himself slipping back late in the race, ending up fifth.

It looked like a return to business as usual, 2011-style when he won round four from pole position, coolly rebuffing an attack from Kimi Raikkonen. But Red Bull were off the pace in Spain and Vettel was outdone by Webber in Monaco.

Consecutive pole positions in Canada and Britain showed the team were on the right track. But they misread the tyre situation in Canada and had to make a late pit stop, though this at least ensured he finish ahead of Alonso.

In Valencia he was in crushing form until his alternator failed. That was a major blow to Vettel’s championship hopes, sending a 32-point swing in Alonso’s favour.

He took more than half of that back with his best drive of the season in a race he didn’t win. Alonso’s elimination in the first-lap crash at the Belgian Grand Prix gave Vettel an opportunity, but he was only 12th at the restart.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2012Vettel found it difficult to overtake other cars on Spa’s long straights due to his car’s poor straight line speed. But his commitment through the high-speed Blanchimont allowed him to make several passes into the chicane – including on his own team mate, and he rose from the field to take a valuable second.

Questions over Vettel’s capacity for racecraft are increasingly a thing of the past thanks to races like this and his recovery drives in Abu Dhabi and Brazil.

However he could have avoided penalties in Germany and Italy for errors while attacking and defending position respectively. His correct decision to cede position back to Romain Grosjean in Abu Dhabi having passed him with all four wheels off the track showed he was paying attention.

Vettel took some time to get the car to his liking in 2012 and did not always get the best out of what he had in the early part of the season. But by the final leg of the championship he was back in his comfort zone and it seemed nothing could put him off his stride.

His battling performances after being sent to the back of the grid in Abu Dhabi and knocked into a spin in Brazil demonstrated the speed, racecraft and rock-solid mental resilience of a triple-champion.

What F1 Fanatic readers said about Vettel

Michael Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Spa-Francorchamps, 2012Here’s what F1 Fanatic readers had to say about Sebastian Vettel:

Vettel truly deserved his third title. He battled with a car that wasn?t to his liking at the start, and score important points.

When the car was to his liking, he dominated. When events conspired against him he put in awe inspiring drives in both Abu Dhabi and Brazil, under immense pressure. He battled for positions in many races, and dismissed the view that he wasn?t a real racer.

Vettel still has some maturing to do, with frustration clouding his judgement in a few races. The fact that he is still developing as a racing driver must be a sobering thought to his rivals.
@Colossal-Squid

I think many people, when comparing the Red Bull to the Ferrari, simply assume that the Red Bull is a brilliant car (Newey = genius, so RB8 = genius) and because Alonso and Domenicali said at testing that the Ferrari is awful, they assume the Ferrari is awful. Think what you want, but for sure Vettel?s performance this year is highly underrated by many.
@Andae23

Vettel had some stonking races this year, and proved his mettle more than once. Alonso was just up against it in worse machinery, that?s pretty much all the difference.
@Hairs

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 view on Sebastian Vettel’s third consecutive championship victory? Have your say in the comments.

2012 F1 season review


Browse all 2012 F1 season review articles

Advert | Go Ad-free

216 comments on 2012 F1 Driver Rankings #3: Sebastian Vettel

  1. Hotbottoms (@hotbottoms) said on 13th December 2012, 14:24

    In my opinion ranking top four is extremely hard this year, since they all drove in different teams. Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel and Räikkönen all had a great year and crushed their team mates. Alonso and Räikkönen with a bigger margin of course, due to having poor team mates.

    I’m a bit disappointed to see that in the end the humble guys (Vettel and Räikkönen) get ranked lower than those who are constantly bragging about their achievements and diminishing their team and other drivers (Hamilton and Alonso), even if the ranking might be correct.

    But I wonder if telling all year that you’re taking the maximum out of your car or that your rival has a dominant car actually affects people’s opinion. I think so, since most of the fans are certain that Alonso was the best driver of the year, even though Hamilton, Vettel and Räikkönen also had almost a perfect year.

    • Raikkonen doesn’t speak out because he just doesn’t care, I wouldn’t give him extra credit for that. And one word I would not use to describe Sebastian Vettel is humble.

      • magon4 (@magon4) said on 13th December 2012, 14:34

        Compared to our spanish friend, he is a monk.
        He generally admits mistakes and when he hasn’t had a perfect lap. In F1 this should count as humble.

        • Nirupam (@nirupam) said on 13th December 2012, 14:43

          He generally admits mistakes

          erm..does he?

          • magon4 (@magon4) said on 13th December 2012, 14:54

            Yes he does. Have you ever seen any of his interviews post-race? With Narain, he believed he was in the right, I’ll give him that. But he is not shy to say that things could have gone better, also from his side, wheras Alonso always praises himself saying that he got the maximum, even in races where Massa was better.

          • @magon4

            With Narain, he believed he was in the right

            With quite good reason. The stewards did agree with him. Not to say that, that is always the truth, but it does mean that he has the facts, numbers and rules on his side. Which in most cases would be enough. From a subjective view, it might be different, but then it will be subjective. Of cause he will believe that he didn’t do anything wrong, like Karthikeyan will believe otherwise, and us fans will be somewhere in between based on our subjective standpoint. So I think its a little harsh to hold it against him like that.

          • you seem to forget Germany when he passed Button outside the track.

          • F1fanNL (@) said on 14th December 2012, 1:15

            @mads

            Of cause he will believe that he didn’t do anything wrong, like Karthikeyan will believe otherwise

            Even Karthikeyan admitted fault.

            The only thing people can criticise Vettel for is the finger (which we have seen numerous times in F1 but only seems to be a big deal when Vettel raises it) and his comments towards Karthikeyan afterwards.

      • Hotbottoms (@hotbottoms) said on 13th December 2012, 15:07

        @debaser91 – I don’t understand why Vettel is often considered to be arrogant. Sure, he’s had his finger thing, but Alonso had his dances in 2006 and he wasn’t generally considered to be full of himself before 2007.

        Vettel probably was childish back in 2010, but I was talking about this season.

        • DaveF1 (@davef1) said on 13th December 2012, 17:35

          @hotbottoms

          I don’t see why people find the finger thing arrogant, is it annoying yes. Arrogant. No, its just his way of celebrating.

          However petty name calling to Narian, whining when he lost his from wing in Abu Dhabi and having a little fit about DRS when passed by Lewis weren’t childish?

          Not saying Alonso is any better but to say Vettel wasn’t childish this season is very ridiculous statement. To be honest, I’d say most of the top drivers, bar Webber are pretty full of themselves. Just some show it more than others.

          • you mean Button calling Kobayashi an idiot and Webber calling Grojean a first lap nut jub (when Keith has gone to pains to show that really isn’t the case) are okay?

            And while Vettel clearly was agitated after he hit the DRS board in Abu Dhabi, afterwards, he admitted that it was his mistake, that he made things harder for himself, and that he should have been paying closer attention.

            But against Alonso (me and the team were perfect and didn’t make any mistakes), sure… Though there is something inherently childish to continuing to say you are perfect and made no mistakes when you have. Reminds me a bit of George W. Bush.

          • Jono (@me262) said on 14th December 2012, 6:01

            @davef1 raising your index finger is not arrogant? if he did it at one or two races thats a fair comment…but 36? reminding the world he is number 1, numero uno, top of the heap, the best every race isnt arrogant? if it was his way of celebrating I’d like to see him show us 2 fingers when finishing second and 3 fingers in 3rd :)

          • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 14th December 2012, 10:01

            One thing about Vettel’s index finger – it only appears when he has won (qualifying or race). Alonso’s claims of being the best do not seem to show correlation with actual results. I think that is the important difference. Any victorious driver is entitled to express happiness at his success, the others should show respect to the victor.

  2. kimrogue (@kimrogue) said on 13th December 2012, 14:31

    Completely agree with the ranking. Frankly I didn’t expect Seb to show up at #3 here. His drive in Spa was spectacular and so was his Brazil drive under pressure. I believe his Abu Dhabi drive’s been blown out of proportions given how the race seemed to play exactly into his hands.
    And then there were 2…I know the ranking’s been decided and it would be Alonso at the top most probably. But I just wish Lewis gets it, coz he was almost flawless the whole season (which cannot be said about Alonso, who seemed slightly listless when it counted) and was on the money race after race till the last one.

  3. Jason (@jason12) said on 13th December 2012, 14:32

    Lewis was just too amazing this year…
    Lewis #1 and Fernando #2

  4. andae23 (@andae23) said on 13th December 2012, 14:44

    It’s so difficult to compose a top three this year. Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton have all had brilliant years and to be honest I don’t know which one of them would have become champion if they all would drive in the same car. As you explain, the minor details have made the difference this year: Vettel’s unnecessary penalties this year probably made him third on your list. I disagree, I would put Vettel ahead of Hamilton and Alonso.

    Vettel has really proven himself this year – like the 2010 title, it certainly wasn’t handed to him on a silver platter. His fine drives in Belgium, Abu Dhabi and Brazil proved to be crucial for his championship campaign, which I think makes the 2012 title stand out from the others. I wonder if he can emulate Schumacher’s championship tally.

  5. Andy (@turbof1) said on 13th December 2012, 15:23

    I agree with this ranking. I also acknowledge that Keith proved me wrong :p. I really tought you would put him higher, due that being less hard to understand. However, logical and rational speaking Hamilton really deserves to be higher ranked then vettel. Choosing so would always arise controverse but ultimately it is the right choice! Glad you did so Keith. Have a none-vettel thumbs up of me :p.

  6. Before every one suggests that Vettel should be higher than 3rd ask yourdelf: had Button’s car broken down on the last lap in Interlagos which given Mclaren’s record this year was possible, Alonso would be champion, in that case where should Vettel stand? Absolutely nowhere!
    He made all kinds of mistakes, he delivered the most pathetic radio message of the year as in “…do something” in Hungary, he made a mockery of the podium ceremony in Abu Dhabi, he had STRs and Schumi make way for him while giving a hard time to anyone else. But most importantly after 3 consecutive he has failed emphaticaly to win the hearts of the german crowd. Just remember the bright red grandstands and the Mercedes-BMW booing in the early noughties Hockenheim.

    From the other 2 I’d go with Alonso for the simple reason that with Hamilton missing so much from the action due to his problems doesn’t necessarily mean that he would deliver on all these situations. Yes he would have more points but inevitably he would have made more mistakes or lose some battles with the rest of the grid tainting his year.
    As for Alonso I believe he was outstanding in every respect bar qualifying and that only occasionally. Yes he is a villain but I challenge anyone to point one a single race this year that he had the fastest car, save perhaps Monza. And above all he was taken 2 times by the Lotuses. Comparing these 2 with the 2 alternators is ridiculous its the RBR obligation to have a reliable car and it is fair when they pay the price for their failings, while on the other hand Ferrari couldn’t make Romain any less erratic.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th December 2012, 15:32

      @philby All that says is you don’t like the guy, it says nothing about his qualities as a driver. Why should I care about him sounding a bit whingey on the radio (as pretty much ever driver does at one point or another) or, in your view, people at his home race not cheering him enough?

      Vettel put in several brilliant performances this year and it’s getting rather tiresome the lengths some people go to ignore that.

      • @Keith, “Vettel put in several brilliant performances this year and it’s getting rather tiresome the lengths some people go to ignore that.” So did half the grid, there is not any sense in this.

        I didn’t go to any “lengths” I only stated some facts which don’t dispute.
        It isn’t that I don’t like him I just don’t rate him higher than Button and lower than ALO/HAM/kimi

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 13th December 2012, 16:24

          @philby

          I only stated some facts

          This stuff about the radio and the crowds and the podium is not fact, they are your opinions. Now, I don’t mind people sharing their opinions here – indeed I encourage it – but you won’t persuade people of your opinions by trying to claim they are facts.

          Particularly when the opinions you’re voicing aren’t relevant to his qualities as an F1 driver, which is the subject here. You surely don’t think I would write “I was going to put Vettel third but I thought his radio messages were a bit silly and he hasn’t got enough fans in Germany so I’ll move him down two places”, do you?

          • @Keith,

            For the radio yes it is an opinion and irrelevant agreed. STRs and Schumi making way is fact, you chose to ignore, his many errors also.

            “I was going to put Vettel third but I thought his radio messages were a bit silly and he hasn’t got enough fans in Germany so I’ll move him down two places”

            No I didn’t his errors should have sufficed.

          • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 13th December 2012, 16:48

            @philby
            And how is Schumi and the 2 TRs moving over for him Vettels fault?

          • Alonso THE Great said on 14th December 2012, 16:55

            Hi Keith

            Vettel was not that brilliant this season as people try to make it up

            He was easily out paced by webber earlier in the season and only remained in 5th position until summer break

            Only when RB8 became quickest since singapore vettel drove better.

            Besides this vettel failed to respect other drivers with his ugly comments (Malaysia, Germany, Abu dhabi, Hungary ETc)

            Vettel is simply a driver who is in RIGHT place at the RIGHT time nothing more than that.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 13th December 2012, 16:25

          @philby

          So did half the grid, there is not any sense in this.

          “Half the grid” didn’t perform as well as Vettel did they? Or perform well as often, now?

          It isn’t that I don’t like him I just don’t rate him higher than Button and lower than ALO/HAM/kimi

          Wow, just wow.

          • @ David -A, Yes half the grid did produce brilliant drives
            HAM, BUT, ALO, MAS, RAI, MAL, PER, KOB, HULK, SENNA, WEB, RIC,ROS,MSC and Vettel of course , that’s 14 did produce a brilliant drive most of them more than one so in my opinion this argument didn’t hold any sense,

            “Wow, just wow.”

            ditto.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 13th December 2012, 17:21

            @philby

            They may have produced brilliant performances, but the point raised by Keith is that Vettel’s performances, much like the other top drivers (RAI/HAM/ALO), stood out from the rest, which is why htey are at the top if the rankings.

            And Vettel not being any better than Button? How was Vettel no better than Button this year? I don’t remember Vettel going around 6 races where he only scored 7 points?

          • Maldonado’s in Spain, Perez in Malaysia -those stand out the most- in my opinion was equal at the very least to the best of Vettel this year.
            Certainly Vettel outperformed Button this year, my assessment though was voiced regarding their quality as drivers over the last 4-5 years not this year especially.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 13th December 2012, 17:54

            @philby

            Maybe in your opinion, but over the course of the season, the number of “brilliant” performances from most of the field doesn’t stand up to Vettel’s. Vet maintained a high level of performance, with a number of standouts (just like Ham/Alo/Rai) in order to win the title.

            And the only year Button could be argued to have been as good/better than Vettel was 2009 (first half). Even 2011, Button’s best year in many people’s eyes, was likely made to look better because of Hamilton’s underperformance, while Vettel romped away from the pair of them.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 13th December 2012, 15:46

      @philby

      Before every one suggests that Vettel should be higher than 3rd ask yourdelf: had Button’s car broken down on the last lap in Interlagos which given Mclaren’s record this year was possible, Alonso would be champion, in that case where should Vettel stand? Absolutely nowhere!

      That’s a rather big and pointless “if”. What about “if” Vettel’s car didn’t break down in Valencia, or “if” Button’s car broke down in either of the other 2 races he won (Vettel would have inherited the wins, from 6th and 11th on the grid, no less)? Vettel would still have been worthy of a high ranking, since he fought all season, in a car that wasn’t always the best, and had a lot of inspired drives.

      He made all kinds of mistakes, he delivered the most pathetic radio message of the year as in “…do something” in Hungary, he made a mockery of the podium ceremony in Abu Dhabi, he had STRs and Schumi make way for him while giving a hard time to anyone else.

      I’ll assume you wrote on Kimi’s article about the “mockery” he made of the podium as well. And “all kinds of mistakes”? Yes, he had a few, but he usually atoned for them, by finishing 3rd in Abu Dhabi, and 6th in Brazil, despite the damage to his car.

      And above all he was taken 2 times by the Lotuses. Comparing these 2 with the 2 alternators is ridiculous its the RBR obligation to have a reliable car and it is fair when they pay the price for their failings, while on the other hand Ferrari couldn’t make Romain any less erratic.

      Romain didn’t take out Alonso in Japan. Kimi and Alonso had contact, and it wasn’t really even Raikkonen’s fault. And since this is a driver ranking, while it may be RBR/Mclaren’s obligation to make a reliable car, it isn’t Vettel or Hamilton that are to blame when their cars do break down.

      • A) KIMI didn’t make a mockery “****” isn’t the same as “****” and he didn’t pour champagne on DC who is trying to do his job.
        B) Ok so what if I said Button making way as Schumi did? instead of breaking down.
        C) Yes in Suzuka is debatable but to say that ” it isn’t Vettel or Hamilton that are to blame when their cars do break down.” is ludicrous. They chose to drive for the Team that designed and raced an unreliable car. And if you don’t agree with me ask Lewis Hamilton who left Mclaren for this exact reason.

        • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 13th December 2012, 16:50

          It’s just a bit of fun though.
          (and it wasn’t champagne either)

          • @xjr15jaaag,

            For your previous comment in which can’t reply for some reason

            STRs and and Schumi moving over is a fault of his, is an unfair advantage he enjoyed whie his rivals didn’t thus undermining his success.

          • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 13th December 2012, 17:04

            That’s invalid; the variation in cars means people have advantages everywhere.
            And Vettel didn’t force them to pull over for them did he?
            he didn’t stop the car and run over to tell them to move out of his way did he?

          • @xjr15jaaag,

            It is not invalid it is unfair because in Vettel’s case it doesn’t happen randomly, and even if Schumi chose to do it for the Torro Rosso boys it’s safe to assume that he did tell them to move over, not in person obviously mr. Marko handles these things.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 13th December 2012, 17:33

          @philby

          A) KIMI didn’t make a mockery “****” isn’t the same as “****” and he didn’t pour champagne on DC who is trying to do his job.

          So what? Kimi still swore. Should that be ignored? And what’s wrong with the champagne antics? DC and Vetel are good friends (I believe), and it was all in good humour.

          B) Ok so what if I said Button making way as Schumi did? instead of breaking down.

          Vettel would have passed Schumacher anyway. He was around a second a lap faster. Alonso wasn’t faster than Button. He wasn’t faster than Massa in fact, who let him through.

          C) Yes in Suzuka is debatable but to say that ” it isn’t Vettel or Hamilton that are to blame when their cars do break down.” is ludicrous. They chose to drive for the Team that designed and raced an unreliable car. And if you don’t agree with me ask Lewis Hamilton who left Mclaren for this exact reason.

          lol, if Mercedes are unreliable in 2013? Do we blame Hamilton for driving that car then? If you’re going to down grade a driver for driving an unreliable car, why not downgrade them for driving a slow one?

        • Alonso THE Great said on 14th December 2012, 11:36

          Your are spot on Kim Philby

    • Hotbottoms (@hotbottoms) said on 13th December 2012, 15:50

      @philby – It’s also fair when Alonso and Ferrari pay the price for failing to produce a faster car.

    • Guilherme (@guilherme) said on 13th December 2012, 15:56

      Thanks for replying to this @keithcollantine, saved me quite a bit of time :)

      One thing I’d like to point out though, to @philby and to all those who shares his views on Alonso’s retirements – when will people stop blaming Raikkonen for their collision in Suzuka? Alonso had a full car’s width to his right, there was absolutely zero need to squeeze Raikkonen to the left, and Raikkonen, rightly so, didn’t have to yield. Blaming Kimi for that pretty much shows the length some people will go to justify Alonso’s season as absolutely inch-perfect, and to be honest this refusal to acknowledge the very few mistakes he made this season (something that does not detract from his great performance this season at all) is just as tiresome as the constant Samurai references :P

      • @Guilherme, There is still no excuse for SPA though, and also I never said Alonso had an inch-perfect year. He made mistakes, China for example from 7th to 9th trying to overtake a Williams, but it also happens to have had a better year than anyone else.

    • sumedh said on 13th December 2012, 16:19

      Before every one suggests that Vettel should be higher than 3rd ask yourdelf: had Button’s car broken down on the last lap in Interlagos which given Mclaren’s record this year was possible, Alonso would be champion, in that case where should Vettel stand? Absolutely nowhere!

      You are wrong in your first line itself. If Button’s car had broken down, then Alonso and Vettel both would have gained a position (1st and 5th) and Red Bull would have ordered Webber to drop two places so that Vettel would have finished 4th and still won the title.

      • @sumedh, quiet possibly i must agree but then all this “the drivers are free to race at Redbull”, and the bashing for 2 1/2 years since Germany 2010 would make them big fat liars, and noone like a Liar.

        • sumedh said on 13th December 2012, 16:40

          @philby – In the Brazil race itself, Webber let Vettel through once. I am sure Red Bull wouldn’t hesitate to do the same once again.
          “Drivers are free to race” works as long as both of them are in mathematical contention. Once that is out, it is team orders at every team in F1.

    • had Button’s car broken down on the last lap in Interlagos which given Mclaren’s record this year was possible, Alonso would be champion, in that case where should Vettel stand? Absolutely nowhere!

      Umm.. I’m pretty sure that he would stand as runner up in the 2012 WDC. That’s not actually “absolutely nowhere”.

      I’ve never really understood the intense personal hostility some people seem to feel for Vettel, who strikes me as perfectly pleasant and engaging, at least by the standards of F1 drivers.

  7. TMF (@tmf42) said on 13th December 2012, 16:12

    no matter how you rank Kimi, Alonso, HAM or Seb – there will be controversy as either one would be a worthy #1.

  8. sumedh said on 13th December 2012, 16:23

    Initially, I was very convinced that Vettel should be 2nd or 1st in the rankings. But reading this paints a better picture. He did make some judgement errors early on in the season. I had completely forgotten about that German GP penalty.

    This actually paints a very dangerous picture for 2013 though. This was a year when Red Bull was 2nd fastest and Vettel also did a number of mistakes. But they STILL became champions. If both go up a notch – which they are certainly capable of – 2013 will be another 2011! That title will be fully deserved – as was this – but it will be boring for the sport.

  9. I’m surprised (in a good way!) nobody has mentioned things like ‘nationality-bias’ yet! We can have nice things.

    While I got a different order for the top 4, I can’t really argue with the reasoning, as it was very close. As for Vettel, I remember cheering when he won in Singapore, despite not being a fan at all, it was time for him to win again. I do wonder what his ranking would have been if Lewis didn’t break down in Singapore or Webber would be able to start properly, but that’s a load of ifs. His driving after the summerbreak was phenomenal, spare a race or two.

  10. katederby (@katederby) said on 13th December 2012, 16:29

    Seems fair, particularly when you compare Vettel’s qualifying record to his team mate, which has to be one of the fairest ways of measuring a driver’s performance. Alonso beat his team mate 18 times, Hamilton beat Button 16 while Vettel beat Webber 12 times and that was helped by Webber’s mechanical woes in Valenica and the team’s mistake in Q2 in Barcelona. Plus the average gap between VET and WEB was only 0.11 sec compared to Alonso’s 0.33 and Hamilton’s 0.27

    • I don’t think either Button or Massa is as strong at qualifying in general as Webber is. I know a lot of people like to talk about Webber as though he isn’t much of a benchmark, but he is actually a very good qualifier.

    • Those are some odd numbers you picked to measure a drivers performance.

      I would notice that Webber is a much stronger Number 2 then Massa or Button, and that Vettel still beat him over the course of the season by over 100 points. He had five wins to Webbers two, and ten podiums to Webbers four.

      Meanwhile Hamilton, who is presumably going to be ranked second here, finished the season essentially tied with his (more lower ranked) teammate in points and results.

      These lists are always basically popularity contests. If you want want driver A to rank higher than driver B there is usually some data you can point to support that conclusion.

      • katederby (@katederby) said on 13th December 2012, 22:22

        I don’t see how qualifying performance is an odd measure when it’s generally the one time team mates can be compared with more or less no outside interference, that you get in the race. Clearly Vettel has had a great season and I’m not arguing he should be ahead of anyone bar Alonso and Hamilton.

        • F1fanNL (@) said on 14th December 2012, 1:35

          @katederby

          And Webber had a good season as well. Or at least a much better season than Massa and Button. And as @aka_robyn pointed out, Webber is a very good qualifier. Massa and Button on the other hand aren’t.
          So no, comparing the difference in qualifying between Vettel and Webber to the difference between Alonso and Massa or Hamilton and Button isn’t a good yardstick.

  11. I personally believe it’s Ham at no. 1 over Alo.

    Correct me if I am wrong, I think both have been absolutely flawless apart from Alo spinning his car in Q2 in Australia whereas I can’t think of any driving error by Ham. In terms of racing, both are equally matched according to me.

    I think Keith ranks Alo no.1 so I’ll be really awaiting the reasons for the same if that’s the order

  12. sw280 (@sw280) said on 13th December 2012, 17:12

    Thank you, someone has not said Vettel did a brilliant job purely because he won. Whilst he made many good overtakes this year, I still don’t think he is in a HAM/BUT/ALO/RAI league. Some of the brilliant recovery drives he made were of his own making, it seems Martin Brundle is the only person to acknowledge that VET turned in on SEN putting him on the back foot. He also was the maker of much of his trouble in Abu Dhabi, damaging then futher damaging it by hitting a static object.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 13th December 2012, 18:46

      Making mistakes is one thing, atoning for them is another.

      And how would Button in the same league as those guys and Vettel not?

    • F1fanNL (@) said on 14th December 2012, 1:42

      @sw280

      it seems Martin Brundle is the only person to acknowledge that VET turned in on SEN putting him on the back foot.

      How exactly does a driver whose got an inside line turn in on another driver on the outside? Vettel would have had to steer away from the corner to do that…

      Vettel passed Senna into the hairpin but because of the Williams straight line speed Senna was able to retake Vettel. Vettel went to the inside (as he’s got every right to do) and kept his line while leaving plenty of space on the outside for Senna and making the apex. So Vettel didn’t understeer into Senna or made a move towards Senna.

    • F1fanNL (@) said on 14th December 2012, 2:14

      @sw280

      Never mind, I was thinking about Abu Dhabi. You were refering to Brazil.

      Although I do have to say Senna lunched up the inside of two cars before getting halfway next to Vettel. So It would have been impossible for Vettel to have seen Senna there.

  13. crr917 (@crr917) said on 13th December 2012, 17:18

    So Vettel became a champion with slower and not that reliable car, beating better drivers? In fact, beating the same two drivers three(four) times in a row? I am pleased, Vettel should be pleased, too.

  14. Not sure why some people are getting so steamed over this ranking business – not just Vettel, but the whole list

    It’s just one person offering his opinion, after all. I don’t happen to agree with Keith, but it’s not that big a deal.

  15. wheresF1gone said on 13th December 2012, 19:51

    Was gonna argue the wheres or whats. But the photo at the top is…….awsome.

    To capture the Pirelli logo as a ring while the car looks static is quality.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.