Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013

Which team has the best driver line-up for 2013?

2013 F1 season previewPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013With Lewis Hamilton’s headline-grabbing move to Mercedes and an influx of five new drivers, the F1 field has had a shake-up this year.

Red Bull, Ferrari, Lotus and Toro Rosso head into the new season with unchanged driver line-ups, while three of their rivals have all-new squads.

But which team has the best blend of speed, consistency, technical ability and racecraft? Read more about the 22 drivers of 2013 below and vote for which team you think has the best driver line-up.

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Three world championship titles and still only 25 years old. Superb in qualifying, he still makes mistakes but they’re getting rarer as he adds layers of experience to his daunting natural speed.

Sebastian Vettel biography

Mark Webber

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Capable of giving Vettel a hard time on his best days, but can blow hot and cold. Particularly effective on ‘proper’ tracks and fearless in wheel-to-wheel combat.

Mark Webber biography

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Two times a champion already and could have had more since. Consistent and seldom makes mistakes but doesn’t like pressure from team mates.

Fernando Alonso biography

Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Was a championship contender before his nasty crash in 2009. Has been under the cosh from Alonso ever since but ended last year on a high.

Felipe Massa biography

McLaren

Jenson Button

Jenson Button, McLaren, Jerez, 2013Surprised many by holding his own against Hamilton at McLaren after taking an unlikely title win in 2009. A shrewd judge of mixed weather conditions but often misses that final tenth in qualifying.

Jenson Button biography

Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez, McLaren, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Making the transition from scrappy insurgent to front-runner. Could be even better at eking out tyre life than Button, but had too many incidents at the end of last year.

Sergio Perez biography

Lotus

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Impressive comeback last year showed only a little race rustiness. Capable of winning another title even if he lacks that last one percent of commitment.

Kimi Raikkonen biography

Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Prone to errors of judgement, particularly on the first lap. Quick enough to trouble Raikkonen and justify a second season but needs to show a new maturity.

Romain Grosjean biography

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Defeated a past-his-prime Michael Schumacher and scored his first win last year. It’s hard to see him as a championship contender though the same might have been said of his title-winning father.

Nico Rosberg

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Possibly F1’s fastest driver. A gutsy racer, though more susceptible to mistakes than his fellow champions and occasionally gets lost on set-up.

Lewis Hamilton biography

Sauber

Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013His F1 development was disrupted by losing his Williams seat for reasons not related to his performance. Made rapid progress with Force India and is one to watch this year.

Nico Hulkenberg biography

Esteban Gutierrez

Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013His GP2 record suggests another Grosjean in the making – quick but careless. But he’s patiently racked up the miles in testing and understands the scale of the challenge awaiting him.

Esteban Gutierrez biography

Force India

Paul di Resta

Paul di Resta, Force India, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Has been solid but unspectacular in his first two years of Formula One and is yet to out-score his team mate over a season, which needs to change this year.

Paul di Resta biography

Adrian Sutil

Adrian Sutil, Force India, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Shook off his reputation for being crash-prone and had developed into a dependable midfield runner before being dropped at the end of 2011. Has something to prove on his comeback.

Adrian Sutil biography

Williams

Pastor Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013A first-rate qualifier and capable of the kind of mature race performances that you might think were beyond the same driver who all too often loses his head when battling with a rival.

Pastor Maldonado biography

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013This year’s potential Next Big Thing. Impressed Williams with his performances in practice last year off the back of a GP3 championship victory.

Valtteri Bottas biography

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne

Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Out-scored his team mate last year but was weaker in qualifying and made some costly errors.

Jean-Eric Vergne biography

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Showed flashes of promise in the uncooperative STR7 but like his team mate needs to stand out this year to remain part of the Red Bull programme.

Daniel Ricciardo biography

Caterham

Charles Pic

Charles Pic, Caterham, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Made a name for himself last year by giving the more experienced Timo Glock a hard time, particularly in qualifying. Has a lot on his hands this year as de facto team leader at Caterham.

Charles Pic biography

Giedo van der Garde

Giedo van der Garde, Caterham, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Has been on the periphery of F1 for years and would have made it in a long time ago if enthusiasm alone made it so. Caterham were pleased with his work with their fledgling GP2 squad in 2012.

Giedo van der Garde biography

Marussia

Max Chilton

Max Chilton, Marussia, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013F1 is a big step up for this well-funded driver who doesn’t have a championship victory from the junior categories on his CV. But Marussia’s problems have given him the opportunity to conduct extra testing.

Max Chilton biography

Jules Bianchi

Jules Bianchi, Marussia, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013Has got more F1 experience than a typical new driver thanks to Ferrari’s patronage and practice runs for Force India. A solid qualifier but racecraft has been a weaker side to his game.

Jules Bianchi biography

Over to you

Which team has the best driver line-up for 2013? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Which team has the best driver line-up for 2013?

  • Red Bull: Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber (27%)
  • Ferrari: Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa (14%)
  • McLaren: Jenson Button and Sergio Perez (5%)
  • Lotus: Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean (12%)
  • Mercedes: Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton (37%)
  • Sauber: Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez (1%)
  • Force India: Paul di Resta and Adrian Sutil (1%)
  • Williams: Pastor Maldonado and Valtteri Bottas (2%)
  • Toro Rosso: Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniel Ricciardo (0%)
  • Caterham: Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde (0%)
  • Marussia: Max Chilton and Jules Bianchi (1%)

Total Voters: 587

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Find the updated driver line-up for 2013 including test and reserve drivers here:

2013 F1 season preview


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287 comments on “Which team has the best driver line-up for 2013?”

  1. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey)
    5th March 2013, 9:24

    There’s no stand-out pairing this season that I think is far and away the class of the field, but if I had free pick of any combination above, I’d go for Vettel and Webber.

    1. I reluctantly concur…

      1. I get the feeling that this is Webber’s last stand, so I expect him to really push this year. I am cheering for him.

      2. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
        5th March 2013, 17:05

        me too..

    2. me too, but I was tempted to go for Ham/Ros but not sure that Nico is better than Mark despite his age advantage.

      1. Lewis and Nico are both fresh off beating a world champion team mate and they have each had three seasons defeating world champions:

        Lewis Hamilton: 2007 = Alonso*, 2010 = Button*, 2012 = Button
        Nico Rosberg: 2010 = Schumacher, 2011 = Schumacher, 2012 = Schumacher
        (* denotes reigning world champion)

        Surely this has to hold some cachet in the debate for best drivers.

        Changing subject somewhat, looking at (what we assume to be) the front of the grid this year, it is striking that McLaren have supplied each of their opponents with world champion calibre personnel in the past 7 years:

        Lotus: Kimi Raikkonen (World Champion)
        Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton (World Champion)
        Ferrari: Fernando Alonso (Two-Time World Champion)
        Red Bull: Adrian Newey (Three-Time Defending Constructors (and Drivers) World Champion)

        Of course, Lewis won his title with McLaren and Fernando won his two before his McLaren tenure but it’s still amazing how much talent has left Woking over the years.

        1. Tom (@newdecade)
          5th March 2013, 14:53

          Interesting, wonder if it denotes there is something quite wrong with Mclaren’s long term talent building strategy. There has always been a lot of discussion about their “best drivers available, whoever they may be” approach and you have to argue it hasn’t paid off like it should have.

        2. Kimi Raikkonen comes in formula 1 by Sauber-FERRARI…was Ferrari that push for him in formula 1 just like Perez now.
          Fernando Alonso was in negotiation with Renault and Ferarri (2002) but chose to go with Briatore.
          Adrian Newey started with Williams-Renault and one a couple of WCC there

          Only Hamilton is a Mclaren product school, the others no.

          1. I might be wrong, but I’ve never heard of Ferrari having pushed for Kimi in F1. When Kimi joined Sauber, Red Bull was putting pressure on Sauber to take one of their drivers, Enrique Bernoldi, but Sauber chose talent over money.

          2. @metallion
            Yes i have heard it, Ferrari wanted him in formula 1…in those times Ferrari didn’t have a driver academy but uses Sauber to test their future driver…Ferrari brought Raikkonen in formula 1 just like Massa, who was also in Sauber, and Perez (from Ferrari academy) in Sauber…and possible Hulkenberg as a new Ferrari driver.

          3. Ferrari had zero impact on Kimi getting into F1, if not for Schumacher (who saw that he can he very fast), Ferrari might have been the first in line to protest his 2001 campaign, due to lack of experience. Peter Sauber called the shot to give him a go.

        3. Why is Fernando Alonso and Adrian Newey in this list? Alonso was already a two time champion when he raced for McLaren and Newey already had designed championship winning cars before joining McLaren. Or are you implying that jus because a particular driver or techincal director had worked with McLaren at one point of time, its was McLaren who “supplied each of their opponents with world champion calibre personnel”??

          1. He’s questioning whether Mclaren have a problem of retaining top quality personnel.

        4. I am not implying that they all made their name at McLaren but rather the amount of talent they allowed to let go.

          All of these people left McLaren at the peak of their powers. Perhaps if McLaren were a little less rigid in their philosophy, they may have been able to keep some of the above names.

          1. All of these people left McLaren at the peak of their powers

            .

            I don’t see how you can say that. Raikkonen did not win his WDC with McLaren – he had to leave them to win. The same is true for Newey – he won nothing in his time at McLaren (and with Raikkonen) and many thought he was washed up when he moved to Red Bull. Peak of their powers? Not by a long shot.

            And btw, Newey is not actually the “Three-Time Defending Constructors (and Drivers) World Champion”. Red Bull are the 3 time defending constructors and Vettel the 3 time defending drivers champions.

          2. jimscreechy (@)
            5th March 2013, 20:09

            Hee hee “The Peak of their Powers!” Makes them sound kinda like Superheros or Supervillains. Adrian Newey with a cape, oversized lycra overalls, and those goggles he wore on the podium…

          3. @jimscreechy

            Oh come on! I visualized that! I need to sleep tonight! Ohhhh man….

            :D

      2. I think that Nico might surprise us this year. Maybe he lack the ambition to be a world champion but i think he is faster than most people think. We must remember that he gave quite a hard time to Michael Schumacher on his comeback…
        I think Lewis Hamilton will beat him most of the season but I think it won’t be a huge gap as many would expect..

        1. I agree. I’m expecting the battle to be somewhat similar to Button/Hamilton, with LH being generally considered the ‘faster’ driver, but Nico hauling in almost as many or perhaps more points over the course of a season. I think Nico is seriously underrated by many, and could have been in a large part responsible for Schumacher looking so bad during his comeback. Driver line up of the year: Hamilton/Rosberg.

          1. I’m with you two on NR, but I just wouldn’t say that he lacks the ambition to be a world champion. I think he probably has bucket loads of that. I think NR is about to be the best NR he’s ever been, this season. Well gelled with the likely improved team/car, coming off his first win, and handling MS for a 3rd season straight, I think he should have the upper hand initially as LH and the team grow together, and I think LH might be hard pressed to just match NR for the season, all things being equal.

            After all, this is supposed to be another step ahead this year…nobody is expecting them to leap from where they were last year… nobody is betting on them to win the WDC/WCC…ie. neither will likely be gobbling large points on average throughout the season, with hopefully more than just a few exceptions. I think they’d be happy with another win, and a strong 4th in the WCC.. knocking on the top 3’s door.

            I think NR did the opposite of what some might have thought would have been natural…to be intimidated by having MS as a teammate. He seemed invigorated by it, and handled it perfectly. I think that experience will not bode will for LH. And a few other WDC’s on the track too. Given the car.

            I say give NR the upper hand initially, LH to come up to match him as the season evolves, and a close finish in the driver standings in the end, and if they’re lucky, in a strong 4th in the WCC.

            I think LH starts off on his hind foot, new team, new everything, and no longer in a top 3 car, and no longer home. Let’s see if this ‘change as good as a rest’ allows LH a fresh perspective devoid of frustration and tweets, replaced with simple effort and ambition for a long term goal.

            NR is already home. If LH can quickly come to terms with everything and quickly matches NR and or exceeds him, I say great kudos to him, and what a great thing it will be for F1. But I am pulling for NR. I think he deserves his time and his shot too, even if that won’t really come until at least 2014 or 15. But 2013 is another great test for him, and for us to watch. I think he can only be better than ever.

        2. We are not imagining a big gap.

      3. Exactly @hohum, that’s why I went for the triple champion and his teammate as well.

    3. I’m split between Red Bull’s and Mercedes’: Vettel and Hamilton are both very good, and I would say are near enough even on balance. Therefore the issue is trying to predict who is best out of Rosberg and Webber, and I think Rosberg may have a slight edge.

      I think the William’s line-up is the one to watch out for though: both drivers appear to have great natural speed, and if both improve their racecraft throughout the season they could be a very formidable line-up and if the car is there a definite threat to the front running teams.

      1. Max, have you never wondered if perhaps the Williams was an extremely fast car driven by mediocre drivers ? I am not trying to promote this as, fact merely trying to understand how a driver that spent so long in GP2 suddenly became a winner in F1 in a “midfield” car, on balance Williams have a better track record than their drivers.

        1. @hohum – of course that is a possibility and indeed I have considered it, but he also had quite a remarkable qualifying performance to get ahead of the Red Bull which clearly from the on-boards had more downforce and was more planted. I have genuine faith that he is a very quick driver when he’s not crashing…

    4. Yeah, I guess that is the most obvious choice, even though I picked Button and Perez, because Button is good enough to bring the team forward whatever the car, and Perez might be a really exiting prospect.

  2. Statistically Ferrari have the most wins as teammates but considering Massa hasn’t won or been in pole position since 2008, it’s difficult to say that they are the best.

    Red Bull have won the Constructors’ Championship three-times in a row so they have an argument for best driver-line up.

    Mercedes- Rosberg has yet to show what he can really do in a top car and Hamilton is arguably the quickest in Formula One

    McLaren- Button great when the set-up is perfect and everything is going well for him but when it isn’t results are poor and we will see after 2013.

    Verdict: Red Bull or Ferrari

    1. jimscreechy (@)
      5th March 2013, 13:26

      yeah I think you have done a fairly conciese and accurate job summing up there.

    2. Yep, same thinking in my vote.
      Went for Red Bull as Webber has been better than Massa by a larger margin than Alonso has been better than Vettel.

    3. i dont understand the argument “hamilton is arguably the quickest driver in f1” vettel is probably an equal or better qualifier then hamilton, and alonso and vettel are obviously better over a race distance.

      1. jimscreechy (@)
        5th March 2013, 20:24

        Hmmm perhaps you haven’t been watching F1 that long then, or some elaboration would help. It is certainly seems to be the opinion of a considerable portion of the f1 paddock that this is the case. Howerver his speed on the track is just one aspect of what makes a driver great. I recount Martin Brundle and Nikki Lauder (amoung others) saying on a number of occasions that he is the quickest but perhaps not the most complete driver. Simply put he lacks some of the addition qualities a driver needs to put him clearly in top spot, though I am of the opinion he has certainly grown as a driver over the years and is maturing nicely. Most of the drivers on the grid have a healthy respect for the man, and his move to Mercedes has (arguably) generated more interest and media hype that Vettels WDC. Do you not think there is some justification for the attention surrounding his presence on the track?

        1. “Hype” doesn’t necessarily equal quality. Danica Patrick and Anna Kournikova had a lot of “hype” in their respective fields. Says it all really.

        2. @jimscreechy

          “Hype” and “media interest” doesn’t necessarily equal quality. Danica Patrick and Anna Kournikova had a lot of “media attention” in their respective fields. Says it all really.

          1. jimscreechy (@)
            5th March 2013, 21:05

            Ha, that may be true, but I don’t recall anyone ever saying Danica Patrick or Anna Kournikova were the best in their field or even that highly regarded by their peers. As far as their talents are/were concerned they are pretty much accurately accredited for their level of skill. I think it is widely recognised (possibly unfortunately so) that the hype they generated was primarily for entirely different reasons.

          2. @jimscreechy – Nevertheless, despite Hamilton being fast, the media attention surrounding a move isn’t a reason for him being the best.

          3. jimscreechy (@)
            6th March 2013, 4:24

            So, its because… welll what then? I mean your implying that the media attention has negative connotations and that simply isn’t the case. The media attention is precisely because he is such a highly regarded talent.

          4. @jimscreechy – I’m implying that media attention isn’t always because of talent. You said that LH was respected by others on the grid- I agree, this is a valid reason for considering him to a top talent. Then you said that him moving to Mercedes generated more hype than the actual champion, as if that was a justification for him being the fastest or best- that I disagree with.

          5. jimscreechy (@)
            6th March 2013, 6:59

            The fact that you have to misquote me to make your point speaks volumes, but deliberately misrepresenting my post precludes further discussion.

          6. I don’t believe I’ve misquoted you, @jimscreechy . “UKF1Rules” asked why anyone would think that Hamilton was the fastest man in F1. One of your justifications was:

            Most of the drivers on the grid have a healthy respect for the man, and his move to Mercedes has (arguably) generated more interest and media hype that Vettels WDC.

            And I said, that because a sportsman/woman gets media attention does not mean they are the fastest or best. There are too many factors in this concept of “media attention” for it to be purely based on talent (which was highlighted earlier). I don’t even disagree with Hamilton being a fast driver, it’s the example of comparing the hype/attention of someone moving teams vs. someone else winning a championship that I disagreed with.

        3. Lewis is very quick yes, but I think he lacks the ability to make those crucial decisions on set-up and tyres that Vettel and Alonso in particular can make. Which Kieth has kindly highlighted in the article.

  3. If the question is who are the best 2 drivers..
    I would say Mercedes and redbull have the best 2drivers.

    But if you ask the best pairing, maybe Ferrari.
    As they have Massa as a support driver for Alonso. But that’s another story :)

    1. @solidg

      If the question is who are the best 2 drivers

      It is.

      1. @keithcollantine I think what @solidg means is that putting the two strongest individuals does not make the strongest pair – ie the two roosters in the same henhouse scenario Ferrari keep squawking about

        1. Its Nico’s chance to shine this year!

      2. He’s just elaborating onto a related topic, no need to shut him out…

        1. @mole I took it as a request for clarification, If I got that wrong I’m sure @solidg would say.

          1. @keithcollantine it wasn’t for clarification :) But not a problem at all :)
            Just wanted to go a bit ‘deeper’
            As you can look at it from 2 sides imo ;)

          2. That’s why I picked Button and Perez @solidg, because I think that they might be a good team for the next couple of years.

            Vettel and Webber together are the most successful in recent years as for Titles but really its only one reaping the rewards, Alonso paired with someone better could be great (if he doesn’t falter from being challenged) and with Hamilton/Rosberg either one gets beaten easily or it could get messy too.

    2. I think Rosberg is far better than most people think and I think that Mercedes have the best line-up at the moment. Vettel and Webber are also a very strong pair, even if Mark can’t keep his top form through the whole season.

      1. @maroonjack I disagree and think that Rosberg is very over-rated (for example I think a top driver could have achieved much more in the 2009 Williams). I await the season ahead with excitement to find out which of us is right now that he is paired with a known quantity in Hamilton.

        1. Based on what? 2009 Williams was a dog of a car and Rosberg still managed to consistently score points with it. He completely outclassed and destroyed Nakajima, effectively ending his F1 career.

          1. 2009 Williams wasn’t a dog – It had an early advantage with the double diffuser.

          2. Nakajima was rubbish though.

          3. @mole The car wasn’t good at all, and this supposed “early advantage” never materialized, but it wasn’t the fault of their drivers. Three teams had a double diffuser at the start of the 2009 season (Williams, Toyota and Brawn). Only one of them got it right. Toyota engines weren’t among the best on the grid either. I think Rosberg got all that was possible from this car.

            @debaser91 He certainly was rubbish when compared to Rosberg ;)

        2. 34 points against his team mates 0. Couldn’t ask for much more than that, could you?

        3. I don’t think NR is over-rated at all. He’s come off a win and handling a 7 time WDC. Give what ever reasons you want for that, and what matters imho is what NR has taken away from said win and handling of a WDC as a teammate. Those things do not bode well for LH and this is no longer 09. NR is leaps ahead in experience from that year. He has every reason to be 100% confident and stoked.

          LH, the known quantity, has been known to make mental errors, and get distracted, and unless that had simply become a ‘too-long-in-the-nest’ thing, he needs a new outlook and he will need to, now more than ever, put his nose to the grindstone now that he is not at home on a top 3 team. And keep it together mentally likely without a win-potential car yet. This is no longer Mac.

    3. Webber and Hamilton is the best second drivers. Many teams with strong lead driver.

      1. jimscreechy (@)
        5th March 2013, 13:30

        Hamilton a second driver…thats what I like about forums… Objectivity.

        1. Agreed. He’s Mercedes second driver in car number alone!

  4. Its the question of 2 best drivers TOGETHER. Only 2 pairs standout.

    Vettel and Webber
    Hamilton and Rosberg.

    Perez is still an unknown quantity and its tough to bet on Massa based on just 3 races from last year.

    1. @gill
      How do these two line-ups stand out any more than the Ferrari one?

      IMO Alonso > Vettel and Massa > Webber, so overall I’d say the Ferrari lineup is a bit better than the Red Bull lineup, but not by too much.

      1. @kingshark – You may have a point with the first, but Massa hasn’t been even close to his teammate over the course of a season these sat three years, so how you’ve came to the conclusion Massa is better than Webber is beyond me.

        I’d say in terms of having two strong teammates, Red Bull and Mercedes are fairly close and actually Williams may turn out of have a great line-up, if both drivers learn the art of good racecraft!

        1. @vettel1
          In case you missed the second half of 2012, Massa really did came back to life post the summer break. Massa has proven that when he’s on form, he’s a better driver than Raikkonen (08-09). I don’t rate Webber that highly, he’s yet to have a season in the same league as Massa’s 2008.

          1. @kingshark – they have both very nearly won titles, so in that respect I think they are fairly equal. But based on recent form, I think Webber clearly has the better of Massa. Absolutely Massa improved drastically after the summer break and I do hope he continues with that form, but I just don’t think he can consistently perform over the course of a season as well as Webber. And I don’t think it’s an issue of simply Alonso outshining him…

          2. @vettel1
            In the second half of the 2012 season, I think that it’s safe to say that Massa was performing tiers ahead of Webber. He kept himself out of trouble for the most part, and outscored Webber with a genuinely slower car.

            Secondly, you can’t compare 2010 with 2008. The F2008 and MP4-23 were pretty much evenly matched cars, with Ferrari being better in the heat, while McLaren being faster in the wet/cold conditions. Meantime, the RB6 was miles ahead of the rest of the field in performance. Webber didn’t have the reliability issues Vettel did throughout the season, and still only finished 3rd overall.

            Definitely Massa > Webber IMO.

          3. @kingshark – absolutely Massa was better than Webber relative to their teammates late season, but Vettel was on a fantastic run of form. I think Webber’s deficiency to his teammate in they second half though was far less significant than Massa’s in the first half, and that wasn’t offset by Massa’s slightly better performance in the second half to Webber’s first I would say.

            If indeed Massa does continue his form from last year though, I will definitely reconsider what I have said, but for now I’d say Webber holds the edge.

          4. F1fanNL (@)
            5th March 2013, 20:45

            @kingshark

            He was also better than Alonso. So, like Webber, when he’s on top form he can be unbeatable. Even for the self-proclaimed God of F1 Alonso.

            So Vettel>Alonso and Webber = Massa. This over the course of an entire season of course.

          5. @f1fannl

            He was also better than Alonso.

            He he wasn’t. Alonso was superior in Monza, Singapore, Korea and India. Massa was only better in USA and Brazil.

            So, like Webber, when he’s on top form he can be unbeatable.

            Massa being a helluva lot more unbeatable than Webber in that department.

            Even for the self-proclaimed God of F1 Alonso.

            LOL. Show me where Alonso labels himself as a God. I actually remember Fernando stating in an interview that he believes Lewis is the fastest driver out there today.

            So Vettel>Alonso and Webber = Massa. This over the course of an entire season of course.

            I’d love to see your reasoning to why you believe Vettel is better than Alonso, in equal machinery.

            What is even more amusing is your logic. Alonso scored 69.5% of Ferrari’s total points tally in 2012, while Vettel only scored 61% of Red Bull’s total points. Yet while according to you, Webber is equal to Massa, somehow Vettel is better than Alonso; I call that irrational rational.

          6. He he wasn’t. Alonso was superior in Monza, Singapore, Korea and India. Massa was only better in USA and Brazil.

            Korea? Really? So Alonso might’ve qualified in front and finished in front, but Massa was actually told to back off not to trouble Alonso…

            And in Japan, which you forget to mention, Massa finished 2nd while Alonso crashed himself out inte the first corner…

            Though overall in the second half, yes Alonso was still better than Massa, but not consistantly, and not much the times he was.

  5. James (@goodyear92)
    5th March 2013, 9:34

    Possibly F1′s fastest driver. A gutsy racer, though more susceptible to mistakes than his fellow champions and occasionally gets lost on set-up.

    Surely that should be something said of Jenson Button, not Lewis Hamilton. Lewis has his faults, but apart from maybe once or twice in a season where he can’t seem to find his usual rythym, he always gets in the groove. Jenson, on the other hand, rarely gets the car just where he wants it and is usually stating after qualifying that he couldn’t find a good balance. His frequent qualifying issues are almost always down to set-up woes.

    I would say Lewis’ biggest failing is on strategy calls (I’m always shouting at the TV for him to follow Button’s lead), because even his occasional errors when overtaking appear to have become a thing of the past, on the evidence of his 2012 campaign. That said; his failure to make the right calls in tricky conditions is often blown way out of proportion in comparison to other drivers on the grid. He was criticised for his wrong call with the tyres in Brazil last year, yet everyone else, bar Jenson and Hulkenberg, also made the same mistake. China 2010 was the same thing: everyone bar Kubica, Rosberg and Jenson made ill-fated switches to the intermediates, but it was Hamilton being singled out as someone unable to make observant tyre calls.

    Anyway, I voted Rosberg and Hamilton as the strongest pairing. Red Bull’s is a smidge behind, and might possibly be proven stronger – I’m still not sure of Rosberg’s actual ability.

    1. I agree with every single word of this comment

    2. So according to your analysis, Hamilton is a crap strategist and Rosberg you don’t know anything about. Yet you put them ahead of Vettel and Webber who have won the last 3 constructor’s championships.

      1. No, that’s not what I’ve said. I said Hamilton’s biggest failing is on strategy calls. All drivers have their weaknesses; that is his, I believe. Rosberg, while largely being an unknown quantity, is still a very strong driver (we’ll find out just how strong this year). Also, championships are not solely down to the drivers, and over the last three years, Red Bull has had the strongest cars, so the triple double has to be evaluated as being, in part, due to the machine.

        1. F1fanNL (@)
          5th March 2013, 20:50

          @goodyear92

          Last year the McLaren was, without a doubt, the best car. Most of the points loss McLaren suffered came from human errors.

      2. Shows how little respect he has for Webber then!

        To be honest I’d agree that Mercedes have the best lineup, but I’m personally of the opinion that Rosberg is an underrated driver.

        Though it wouldn’t surprise me if they’re the lead pair in this vote purely because of the Hamilton fans!

    3. I don’t think Hamilton did make the wrong call on tyres in Brazil, or for example in Hungary the previous year. A lot of the time it’s said that Button “made the right call on tyres” in his various wins in changing conditions; as if every driver is identical and the same decision works for everybody.

      It does not seem to have occurred to people that perhaps Button is just capable of making slicks work on a wetter track than most other drivers (and if you look at it, almost all of his “correct” tyre choices were staying out on slicks longer or coming in for slicks earlier). This makes intuitive sense to me for two reasons.

      1) One of the problems with using slicks in damp conditions is keeping them up to temperature, since obviously the rain cools the tyres down substantially. Button is very used to driving an F1 car on cold tyres since his driving style struggles to get heat into them; he likely finds the adjustment easier as a result.
      2) I don’t have time to look for it now, but I remember reading an interview with Jenson and John Button in which Jenson commented/complained that his Dad never bought him wet-weather tyres for his karts when he was starting out in karting. If so, then Button’s been learning how to drive on slicks in the wet for absolutely ages.

      As for the answer to Keith’s actual question, if Massa continues his form from the final five or so races of last season, it’s Ferrari and it’s not very close. Otherwise it’s probably Mercedes but there’s not much in it between them and Red Bull.

      1. Paul Ogbeiwi (@)
        6th March 2013, 11:46

        yeah your right, because when both are on slicks on a dampening track, Button seems to have the upper hand. So Hamilton cant copy what Button does, because what Button does wont work for him.

    4. @goodyear92 Monza 2010 and Spa 2012 would be two stand-out examples from recent seasons. No, that’s not many, but this is big boy school and when did you last see Fernando Alonso sticking the wrong wing on his car?

      1. Exactly. More importantly, how often do we hear Hamilton making calls to the pits because he didn’t understand his strategy? if they get it wrong, he freaks out, but he rarely takes the initiative.

        Admittedly, this is based on what fom decide to broadcast, but backup comes in the form of third party comments. Webber has responded more than once that to win in tricky conditions, “do whatever Jenson’s doing”. Ross Brawn was equally impressed with button’s ability to read a race. Hamilton’s strengths have always been reported quite simply: “fastest man on the grid”. Which let’s face it is a good one to have!

      2. I understand that Rosberg also mentioned this as an area where he thinks he is better than Hamilton (and therefore able to beat him)

    5. I’ll try and interpret what you’ve said a little better.

      In my opinion, I would agree – compared to someone like Alonso or Raikkonen, who you could cut all telemetry and they’d still read the race around them well and deliver.

    6. Paul Ogbeiwi (@)
      6th March 2013, 11:44

      Yeah I didn’t get the “occasionally gets lost on setup”. Would have expected to see that on Button not on Hamilton. And I don’t know if Hamilton is “more susceptible to mistakes than his fellow champions” because Vettel immediately springs to mind. Although I do see Keith’s point that we haven’t seen Alonso fix up the wrong rear wing for example. But does he mean to say “wrong rear wing in comparison to his team mate”? because maybe Alonso does stick on the wrong rare wing but because Massa also does the same, we cant really make a comparison? rarely do you see other teams splitting their drivers strategies on rear wings. Its something Mclaren usually did because of the vast differing driving styles of Hamilton and Button. Making it more obvious if Hamilton looses out. but admittedly I do generally have the feeling that something bad would happen to Hamilton in every race. Whether its by racing incidents, his mistakes or mechanical problems. Bad luck just seemed to follow him at Mclaren. But hopefully now that hes at Mercedes (with arguably best driver lineup) he can start reaping some goodluck and put up a good challenge.

      1. Anyway I think the bottom line for me is that whatever LH has been as a driver/set-up man/strategist, good or bad, has been on a top 3 team. He only knows that, and if the Merc has not leapt up to a solid top 3 for 2013, then lets just see how LH does mentally, and with setup work, and with strategy, all the while potentially being frustrated not fighting for wins.

        I know some are looking at how Merc did in testing and suggesting they could be a force to be reckoned with, and if that is the case then I would count LH as one of the luckiest drivers on the grid. And if they have found something, nailed their package for this year, NR should be very strong too. But it still is hard for me to imagine that they have leapt ahead of the top 3 teams, or even matched them on a regular basis. It’s going to be a blast to see.

  6. I don’t think anybody has a truly stand-out driver line-up. Most of the teams have one excellent driver, and one driver who is either okay, or has the potential to be good, provided that they can make good on it.

    I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Williams has the best line-up. Or perhaps the most interesting. Pastor Maldonado is undoubtedly fast on his day, and seems to have polished his act up a little bit. He still has the occasional brainless moment, but performances like his qualifying and half a race in Singapore stand out as what he can be. And Valtteri Bottas certainly has potential; it’s just a question of whether he can fulfil it.

    I’m also a little bit excited about Marussia’s line-up. Jules Bianchi is clearly quick, so if any of the “new” teams score points, it’s probably going to be Marussia at the hands of Bianchi – especially when Caterham have the weakest combination on the grid in Charles Pic and Giedo van der Garde. While Max Chilton might be a pay driver, he brings financial stability to the team and his stunning turn-around in form between 2011 and 2012 in GP2 suggests he’s not wanting for talent.

    I’m going to round out my top three with Sauber. Nico Hulkenberg is Nico Hulkenberg; Sauber could have partnered him with Ricardo Teixeria and they would still have a strong line-up. Which is why it’s a good thing that they’ve got Esteban Gutierrez in the second seat – he might be rough around the edges, and he might have disappointed in GP2, but I think that Sauber is the team that will be able to get the most out of him.

    1. I’m going to round out my top three with Sauber. Nico Hulkenberg is Nico Hulkenberg; Sauber could have partnered him with Ricardo Teixeria and they would still have a strong line-up.

      Wow you’ve really changed your opinion about him haven’t you!

      1. @oel-f1 I don’t think @prisoner-monkeys ever had a problem with Nico Hulkenberg’s talent. It was Nico’s attitude about not wanting to seek out sponsorship that peeved PM’s nerves. Disclaimer – not a view I share

        1. @oel-f1, @raymondu999 – Yes and no on both counts.

          Firstly, I never doubted Hulkenberg’s talent. I simply disliked his attitude when Williams needed him to find sponsorship for the team, and I find that a driver’s attitude plays a significant role in the way I see them. Based on his performances in 2012, my perception of him has been elevated to something more neutral, though I don’t know precisely where I would place him in relation to others. 2013 will shape a lot of that.

          Secondly, I only ever said that Sauber could partner Hulkenberg with a notoriously-slow driver like Teixeria, and they would still have a strong line-up. That should not be taken to mean that I like him. To draw a parallel, I can acknowledge Kimi Raikkonen’s speed and talent, but he’s probably my least-favourite driver, simply because I find his attitude to be unlikeable.

          1. Fair enough, I just got the impression that you dismissed his performaces in the first half of 2010, which to be fair wasn’t great.

          2. And yet many of us like Kimi as much for his atitude as for his natural talent.

          3. I for one am not at all a fan of Alonso, yet I acknowledge that he is probably the most complete driver on the grid at the moment.

            I’m with you on Williams; I think they have two genuinely fast drivers and if indeed they both polish their race craft they can do great things with a decent car. Marussia I’m not so sure of: Bianchi looks to be a great driver, but Chilton not so much. Although as you have said he has been on the upward slope as of late.

            I think Sauber have a fantastic no.1 driver, who I am almost certain will one day be a world champion, but the no.2 I think offsets the line-up and consequently there are better out there, such as Red Bull’s and Mercedes’. A very interesting selection though and very intriguing!

          4. Still think McLaren has been to quick signing Sergio and they should have picked Hulkenberg instead which would have given them the strongest line up in my view …
            Interesting point anyway.
            For Marussia that stays the one good for one unknow driver as in many top teams.

            One line up similar to the wiliams one which haven’t been spoken about is Lotus. We know Kimi’s abilities and Grosjean could be on the same kind of page than Maldonado (I personnaly write him a bit above but I would understand the opposite). My point is Lotus has a line up with 2 possible WDC even if that depends on the improvement of Grosjean over “Space management” around the track …

            Lotus definitly has a beter line up than Ferrari or McLaren.
            And for the 2 drivers to watch this season, I would go for Bottas and Hulkenberg, I wouldn’t be surprise if those got a win if the car is there for them.

    2. I also did choose Williams but it made me hesistate for a short while. Maybe because I feel that Rosberg is underrated as much as Maldonado. I am very exited to see how Nico will cope with having Lewis “probably the fastest out there” as his team mate nad I believe it will be as close as Lewis- Jenson lineup.
      Maldonado thou has pure speed and I hope he will be more mature driver every year. So mainly because of sympathy reassons my top 3 is: Williams, Mercedes, Redbull. But all 3 very very close.

      1. @arrrang, what if the speed is in the Williams not the driver ? that to me is the burning question with that team.

      2. @arrrang – Maldonado may have speed, but without the maturity he is NOT the best. The best doesn’t end up on just 45 points in the Williams, throwing away bundles of points.

        1. @david-a
          No, but this is about who is the strongest this year, and Maldonado really got his act together after the summer break

          1. @skett – We haven’t seen him race this year, so we can’t tell if he’s got his act together. Therefore we can only go on the recent past, and Maldonado has not demonstrated that he is worthy of being part of the best driver lineup going into this season.

    3. Pastor Maldonado is undoubtedly fast on his day, and seems to have polished his act up a little bit. He still has the occasional brainless moment, but performances like his qualifying and half a race in Singapore stand out as what he can be.

      And the fact that he brings a chunk of change with him doesn’t hurt ;)
      That could even be counted in a debate such as this

  7. There are a lot of strong driver line-ups and it’s a difficult question to answer. But I voted for the combination of Rosberg & Hamilton.

    Rosberg has been in F1 for 7 years, Hamilton for 6 years. Both of them have been outscored by their respective team mates just once, Rosberg by Webber in 2006, his debut season, and Hamilton by Button in 2011. In the other years, they have beaten world champions Alonso, Button and Schumacher, among others. Hamilton is a world champion. Rosberg is a race winner and I think he could become a world champion in the future if the right circumstances are right.

  8. Red Bull, definetly. Webber might be the weak one but as a 2nd driver he stands much more chances than the others.

    Button-Perez is an unknown. Rosberg has been dissapointing me for years, and Massa’s pray of Ferrari’s gimmicks in terms of team battles. Webber is the one that’s free to fight, and he does it well…

    For half a championship at least !

    1. @fer-no65
      Rosberg has been disappointing you for years? For what exactly? He’s never really had a car capable of many race wins. Just curious.

      1. @skett I expect more from him, really. Last year he missed a lot of chances when the car was “competitive”

        I seriously doubt at this point that he’s that kind of driver that’s capable of pushing hard for a whole year.

        1. @fer-no65

          I expect more from him, really. Last year he missed a lot of chances when the car was “competitive”

          The only time the WO3 was truly competitive was in China and Monaco. He won the first one, and finished 2nd in the other one. That’s hardly disappointing in my book.

          1. @kingshark I just think he should’ve trashed Schumi last year just as he did in 2010. If you look at the 3 years they’ve been together, it looks as if Schumcher closed the gap, when realistically it should’ve been the other way. Or maybe that’s all Rosberg has to give.

            I’m dissapointed with him as a driver because I don’t see in him that “will to win” that characterizes Hamilton, Vettel or Alonso. Or even Webber and Button too. Considering how he started back in 2006, I just expected more from him over the years. That’s all…

          2. @fer-no65
            I think part of that has to do with his dying motivation. For three years now, Merc constantly up-talked their chances ahead of each season, only to fail to close the gap time and time again.

            I think that with a new teammate, the fastest driver on the planet, and a relatively fast new car; Rosberg has found new motivation.

            What did Button & Webber accomplish in the first seven years of their careers? No more than Rosberg, 1-2 wins and a few more podiums.

          3. Button had a lot of podiums, particularly in 2004 when he came 3rd in the WDC behind to 2 easily faster Ferraris.

  9. I opted for Rosberg-Hamilton, although it’s probably a close call with Alonso-Massa as well as Vettel-Webber.

  10. Hamilton and Rosberg for sure. They’re good friends (neighbours in Monaco) and have known each other since they were kids, have arguably the fastest car, and are both good enough drivers to win races – as shown last year! :)

    1. @seb8808 they’re friends now – who knows what happens if one starts consistently bettering the other. Look at JEV vs Ricciardo – they grew apart (not hostile, but they’re not close anymore) after competing each other.

    2. Arguably the fastest car…that’s a big shout and I’m sure many many paddock insiders would disagree with you there. It looks like a dark horse, but fastest, no.

      1. @raymondu999

        Look at JEV vs Ricciardo – they grew apart (not hostile, but they’re not close anymore) after competing each other.

        Really? Where did you hear that from? Just curious.

        1. Ricciardo said it in a feature on either Autosport or F1 Racing.

  11. I’d say consistency is the Key. Vettel and Webber for me.

    1. Webber is one of the most inconsistent drivers on the grid in my opinion. He can be really brilliant, just to be completely outclassed by Vettel two weeks later.

  12. Most exciting pairing:
    Maldonado and Bottas

    Most consistant results on race day pairing:
    Button and Perez

    Most spearheaded pairing:
    Alonso and Massa

    Best pairing for flat out pace:
    Hamilton and Rosberg

    Best tried and tested pairing:
    Vettel and Webber

    I had to go for Vettel and Webber

    1. @MW nailed it!!!

      1. Tanx @mad-eric !

        The more I think about it, Vettel and Webber must be way out ahead.. Vettel is a clinical race winner triple world champ etc. etc. and Webber can win races, was leading the championship for a long time in 2010 and carried off a double last year which included Monaco (worth 1.5 wins in my book).
        If you look at Merc who are currently winning this pole, Hamilton has been very patchy over the last few years (albeit hampered by frustrations with his team or poor luck at times) and Rosberg can win, but he’s hardly a proven consistant winner like Webber.
        People seem to be “sticking their neck out” for other pairings, but if I was team boss, there’s only one logical pairing to choose!

        1. @mw

          Rosberg can win, but he’s hardly a proven consistant winner like Webber.

          Webber is far from a consistent winner, he’s just had a better car than Rosberg for the past few years.

          1. @kingshark it’s always going to be difficult to compare drivers with different machinary, but at least Webber has proven himself to be a multiple race winner, 4 times in 2010. Rosberg has only proven his winning ability once. webber is also one of the few to be a multiple winner around Monaco, a track that tends to highlight talent rather than machinery..
            Basically I would rate Webber well ahead of Rosberg due to experience and proven racecraft.

          2. Granted that Webber has had a better car than Rosberg over the last few years, he at least has a record of racking up points, wins, podiums, and WCC’s with that better car.

            Rosberg, having no such record, is a big question mark at this point. We’ll have a better idea of his quality as a driver after this season with Hamilton is done.

          3. but at least Webber has proven himself to be a multiple race winner, 4 times in 2010.

            He had the fastest car by a margin that season, and not the reliability glitches Vettel had. If Rosberg was in Webber’s position that year, IMO he would’ve won the WDC. Remember, he did nearly beat Massa that same year despite driving a much slower car.

    2. Most consistant results on race day pairing:
      Button and Perez

      Did I miss something last year?

      I think Sergio really have to watch it this year, obviously he didn’t get it last year, with regards when to drive smart and where to go all in (Through out the season, not just last part). Now that he gets a car with much more potential he really needs to start thinking or he might score less points than last year.

      1. @mw – Perez scored 3 podiums but only 15 points in 4 other races in 2012. While he had a good season with some standout performances overall, I’m not sure if that was particularly consistent.

  13. I say Mercedes. Out of the top teams who have the standout drivers in Formula One, (i.e. Red Bull with Vettel, Ferrari with Alonso, Lotus with Raikkonen and Mercedes with Hamilton) Mercedes have the strongest team-mate along with that driver. Hamilton is one of the best in Formula One, and arguments could be made for Rosberg being the best of the rest.

  14. All the data and also experience says Ferrari has the best pairing.

    1. I disagree: the evidence actually suggest Red Bull have the best pairing from last year, as Mark Webber’s and Felipe Massa’s form guides show relative to their teammates last year. Vettel and Alonso aren’t exactly miles apart, but the gap relative to their teammates is.

      1. The gap has been great, but given how last season ended it might be a different story this year.

  15. Are we voting for the pair we think will get the most combined championship points?

    1. No, for the pair we think are overall, the two best drivers combined.

    2. If we were voting purely based on championship’ points, you would probably have to discount half the grid!

  16. Another way to look at this would be; which driver pairing do you think would win the constructors title for the team if all teams had the same cars? For me that would be Hamilton & Rosberg.

  17. In my opinion, McLaren has the weakest driver lineup it has had for AT LEAST the last 25 years.

    1988 – Senna & Prost
    1989 – Senna & Prost
    1990 – Senna & Bergher
    1991 – Senna & Bergher
    1992 – Senna & Bergher
    1993 – Senna & Andretti/Hakkinen
    1994 – Hakkinen & Brundle
    1995 – Hakkinen & Mansell/Blundell
    1996 – Hakkinen & Coulthard
    1997 – Hakkinen & Coulthard
    1998 – Hakkinen & Coulthard
    1999 – Hakkinen & Coulthard
    2000 – Hakkinen & Coulthard
    2001 – Hakkinen & Coulthard
    2002 – Raikkonen & Coulthard
    2003 – Raikkonen & Coulthard
    2004 – Raikkonen & Coulthard
    2005 – Raikkonen & Montoya
    2006 – Raikkonen & Montoya
    2007 – Hamilton & Alonso
    2008 – Hamilton & Kovalainen
    2009 – Hamilton & Kovalainen
    2010 – Hamilton & Button
    2011 – Hamilton & Button
    2012 – Hamilton & Button
    2013 – Button & Perez

    In all these years they have had at least 1 definitive star driver in my opinion, and I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but I don’t think Button is on the same level as the likes of Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel. We’ll have to wait and see what Perez will perform like in the McLaren, but I don’t think he’ll be the next big thing. I honestly think McLaren won’t win a title even if they have the fastest car again and don’t make as many mistakes during pitstops as last year, I think their driver lineup is seriously lacking. Just opinion though, don’t kill me for it!

    1. The idea that 1994 Mika Hakkinen was a match for 2013 Jenson Button is pretty laughable. Hakkinen became a champion driver as he matured, but he wasn’t one in 1994.

      And as for the question of whether or not Button can win a world title with the fastest car, I direct you to the 2009 season.

      1. Hakkinen outqualified teammate Senna for the last 3 races of 1993. I’d say that made 1994 Hakkinen more than a match for 2013 Button.

        I direct you to the double diffuser advantage that Brawn had for the first half of the 2009 season. How many races did Button win in the second half of ’09?

        I agree with Roald.

        Looking at the list, I can’t imagine the Senna / Prost combo ever being bettered although Hamilton / Alonso was pretty formidable in 2007.

      2. In fairness to your comment, the bottom line is that Button did win the ’09 title. My point is that he proved barely capable of winning a title with a car that was devastatingly quicker than the rest of the field for the first half of the year.

    2. LoreMipsumdOtmElor
      5th March 2013, 11:26

      *Berger

    3. In the early Hakkinen years where Newey was still at Williams, and also 2002 where Raikkonen was inexperienced and Coulthard was a nearly man the lineups were not as strong.

    4. When you put it like this, Ron Dennis must be going ballistic inside :)

      Unless Sergio pulls a Raikkonen, it’s going to be a sad year for McLaren.

  18. I think Mercedes have the out right fastest line-up but Red Bull have the strongest line up, so they get my vote.

  19. Sean N (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
    5th March 2013, 10:25

    So McLaren only have the 4th best pairing? That’s a bit careless…

    1. Perez is such an un-known that it is showing like this at the moment, there could be a different oppinion amongst us come November..

      1. Sean N (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
        5th March 2013, 11:23

        I think you’re right. I have a suspicion Perez will beat Button on a regular basis. If he does you’d have to say they are in the top three pairings but the top five are incredibly in my opinion.
        However I’ve underrated Button a few times before. We are set for a very interesting year. Lets hope the cars are close and the best drivers come to the front.

        1. Sean N (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
          5th March 2013, 11:24

          *I meant incredibly close

        2. Hamilton was not able to beat Button on regular basis. What makes you think that Perez can? He is certainly not faster than Hamilton.

          1. Sean N (@sean-p-newmanlive-co-uk)
            5th March 2013, 15:41

            By regular I meant at least every other race. I don’t think Perez is better than Hamilton. It will be interesting to find out!

            I notice McLaren have now slipped to the 5th best pairing. I think McLarens problem is Button is not as fast as Vettel, Alonso or Hamilton yet he is perceived as team leader. I think if they want to win a championship next year they have to be much more consistent and reliable. That’s where their big gain will come from. Not the Drivers.

  20. While not exactly on the topic of debating what’s the best lineup, I find Button – Perez remarkably reminiscent of Coulthard – Raikkonen. Button being the experienced old head who can be relied on for trustworthy points – whilst Perez is the young hotshot coming in to fill the breach left by a former McLaren ace – both McLaren WDCs, no less (Hakkinen and Hamilton). Perez and Raikkonen both, funnily enough, are graduates of the Sauber Institute of Fine Young Talent. With Button being the most experienced F1 driver on the grid in 2013 (FACT) – I have a feeling that McLaren see him as the old master close to retirement, teaching winning ways to the young padawan in Perez who will be their new future star.

    Perhaps I should start a thread for this in the forums.

    1. McLaren might be banking on Perez to turn out to repeat Raikkonen’s McLaren spell, but frankly they are VERY different. We’ll see.

  21. Maybe out on a bit of a limb but I would say Lotus.
    On his day, Raikkonen is a pleasure to watch. I mean he’s brilliant to watch most of the time but hopefully he’ll be able to maintain consistency and succeed in a car that only seems to be getting closer to the top of the tables. Commitment may be seen as an issue but if Lotus give him a fast car it may spark even more determination.
    Grosjean is the big question mark, and if he has matured and manages to stay out of trouble I think his raw pace can trouble Raikkonen – not to mention Hamilton/Vettel/Alonso etc.
    That being said, I do enjoy a good underdog!

    1. I voted Lotus too. I believe Raikonnen is a definite top 5 driver and I believe Grosjean has the pace to beat any of those 5 in his good days. Now if those good days become everyday, Lotus would have a brillant lineup.

      I think Lotus have the best potential line up (Grosjean if he matures, Raikonen if he doesn’t get bored), Red Bull and Mercedes have the best proven pair and I’d say Ferrari depends on Massa’s type of year and that McLaren miss out because, not counting the many times I have been wrong about him (and maybe still am), I still don’t think Button is a top 5 on pace and Perez has been so disapointing in the last 5 races.

      Of the midfield, Sauber and Williams definitevily have really nice pairings. Matured fast drivers and rookies with potential. Hulkenberg would enhance or at least wouldn”t alter the quality of any of the top5 pairings if he was to replace driver n°2. FI has a boring one and apart from Bianchi, I believe the lower two teams really have lost driver quality during the silly season.

      1. I forgot about Toro Rosso. They are the unknown quantity aren’t they ? Are they both outstanding ? Good ? Bad ? They have the pedigree, but it is impossible to judge !

        1. @tango While I was scribbling out an early version of this I thought I’d done all the teams, counted, and realised I’d only got 20 drivers. The anonymous pair I’d overlooked? Force India’s…

          1. @keithcollantine , I could have overlooked it too if I hadn’t got the real feeling it is quite a shame to end up with such a pair. It was judged not to be good enough a year ago by FI themselves !

            On my later comment, I feel really bad for forgetting TR drivers ! Following my brief encounter with JEV and having witnessed Riccardo’s boring but crushing F3.5 Monaco victory, I have a soft spot for the pair. It is a real shame they are effectively quite evenly matched in a car which was seldom capable of battling for interesting places with anyone (too far from midfield, not yet at the back).

        2. @tango I find the Toro Rosso pair one of the most interesting in the field purely because they’re fairly evenly matched in an ordinary car. Even last year, I’d always make sure I kept an eye on them during a race because their race long tussles were really interesting. Even though Vergne came out ontop in points, Ricciardo was stronger overall I feel, and would’ve beaten JEV if his car hasn’t failed him multiple times.

  22. All of the line ups seem to have flaws, which is actually a good thing because it will hopefully help stop one squad from completely dominating. That said, it’s is probably Vettel/Webber or Hamilton/Rosberg.

  23. Like the majority so far, I went for Mercedes. Rosberg is the unknown quantity, but I suspect he will be a faster team mate to Hamilton than Button was. Having said that, I think Rosberg didn’t get the most out of the car on a number of occasions last year. The first two qualifying sessions, when Mercedes was at its best, he didn’t max out, and then during the summer he was sometimes off the pace and getting beaten by Schumacher. I didn’t follow Mercedes that closely, however, so I don’t know if there are any explanations for his no-shows. This year, I think being partnered with Hamilton in what looks to be a pretty quick car might just be the motivation Nico needs to get the best out of himself and the car.

    Let me finally remark that the F1 grid is looking pretty strong again this year. There are many very strong and very promising drivers out there, and despite all the talk of pay-drivers, there are no weak drivers on the grid. I know Van der Garde has gotten some flak for being undeserving of the F1 grid, but if he is the ‘worst’, he is still a driver who won championships prior to F1, and races in GP2.

    1. I think Chilton is “the worst”. He would have gained from staying one more year in the lower categories.

    2. Regarding NR last year, I think he (NR) ‘simply’ suffered from the team and car not being maximized. They couldn’t maximize the tires, they had unreliability issues, MS moreso in the first half and then NR after LH was announced as going to Merc. Why I remember that so well is that Keith et al were starting to remark as to what LH must being thinking about his move to Merc as the season wound down and Merc stopped scoring points. I think NR had 3 reliability issues in the last 5 races, or something like that. And so I also think that will be a big thing to watch with this team as well. Reliability. It did bode well for them that they managed a lot of laps in testing, among the top I think, after initially LH crashing during the initial testing days with his brake pedal going to the floor. It does seem, at least in testing, like they have gotten more reliable, but that’s not racing in anger in hotter climes etc etc. Should be fascinating to see. I think LH is going to have his hands full with NR as a teammate.

  24. Aya (@ayatoybox)
    5th March 2013, 11:13

    I doubt about championship but Mercedes have the best pair

  25. LoreMipsumdOtmElor
    5th March 2013, 11:25

    Lotus has the strongest pair (not the the two strongest drivers) and Sauber the weakest apart from the “new” teams.

  26. Best pairing: Alonso and Massa
    Best driver line-up : Vettel and Webber.

    In a theoretical world where I could give exact equal chance to both my drivers, I would pick Red Bull’s drivers.
    In a realistic world, I would prefer Ferrari’s drivers.

  27. Here’s my ranking for what it’s worth:

    1. Mercedes 9,2
    2. Ferrari 9,1
    3. Red Bull 9,0
    4. McLaren 8,9

    5. Lotus 8,5

    6. Sauber 7,9
    7. Force India 7,9
    8. Williams 7,6
    9. Toro Rosso 7,5
    10. Marussia 7,2
    11. Caterham 7,1

    If I were only to go by perceived talent, upper limit for each driver, It’d look like this:

    1. Mercedes 9,8
    2. Ferrari 9,5
    3. Red Bull 9,5
    4. McLaren 9,4
    5. Sauber 9,3
    6. Williams 9,3
    7. Lotus 9,2
    8. Marussia 8,9
    9. Toro Rosso 8,7
    10. Force India 8,7
    11. Caterham 8,6

    1. If I’m reading that correctly, you think that Massa and Rosberg are stronger drivers than Webber? That seems hard to swallow given their respective records. (I’m talking about post crash Massa rather than pre-crash Massa)

      Webber is an above average driver who does not get the level of respect he deserves.

      1. again webber is not underrated , for crying out loud 1 win in 2011

  28. What a great question we’ve been set by Keith – great captions on the driver pics, and what an interesting range of responses.

    The blurb for Max Chilton made me grin – that must have been hard to write. Understatement at it’s best.

    As for the results graph, well I’m an unabashed fan of Lewis Hamilton but even I wouldn’t say that Mercedes has the strongest pairing. I’m really surprised at how few votes the Lotus drivers are getting – an oversight, surely? Although Kimi can be a grumpy old troll, he’s fast, and so is Grosjean.

    Also re: Giedo van der Garde – there’s a typo in “their fledging GP2 squad in 2012.”

    1. I hesitated over lotus – I’m still expecting great things from grosjean, but of course there’s still a big question mark. And I’m not sure Rosberg will be able to hold his own, so I went for the tried and true with webber-vettel.

      1. Oh and Williams also looking interesting. I think my dislike for Maldonado scuppered that though :)

        1. You’re right of course, a mature Grosjean could have huge potential but right now he’s still an unknown quantity. The question is, how much did he learn last year?

          And I forgot to say that I picked the Ferrari pair as the “best” pairing, simply because I think that they could well win the Constructor’s title this year. I have some respect for Massa and (grudging) admiration for Alonso.

  29. Has to be Mercedes. It’s the most down-to-the-ground pairing out there.

    Otherwise, Ferrari are worth a mention if Massa keeps up the form show at the end of 2013 and, personally, if someone managed to kick some sense into Maldonado I can see myself growing quite fond of the Williams pairing, to be honest.

  30. The results at the moment (1. Mercedes 2. Red Bull 3. Ferrari) are a bit strange I think. In my opinion, this was a shoot-out between Mercedes, Williams and Sauber. Hamilton is an outstanding driver, but I’m not so sure about Rosberg. Maybe that’s a bit of misfortune for him, as he hasn’t really had the opportunity yet to shine. Then the other two teams: both have a very talented youngster in their team, paired to a promising rookie with already some experience under the belt. It’s really a case of tossing a coin, but eventually I voted Williams.

    Red Bull and Ferrari have the two most decorated/succesful drivers in their line-up, but paired to them are drivers that I don’t normally see fighting for the championship, though both Webber and Massa have once come close. Last year, Massa underperformed once again, and I really doubt if he will pick up the pace again in 2013. Webber on the other hand is.. ok, but nothing special imo. Therefore I find it strange that so many people are voting for these two teams.

    1. It seems strange that you mention two teams who have two rookies. You have no idea really how they are going to stack up, they could do great or they could struggle. The poll is the best rather than most promising or most exciting. Maldonado and Hulkenberg are both quick, but also unproven and they are not in the proven best 5 drivers i.e. the five world champions.

      Webber is not going to win the title, but he will be consistently in the top 6. He and Vettel are a very strong team. Therefore I would go 1) Vettel/Webber 2) Hamilton/Rosberg 3) Raikkonen/Grosjean

      1. I think this is really a matter of how you read the question. I answered the question bearing in mind the appreciation I have for both drivers in the team. Looking at Williams and Sauber: in my opinion, those four drivers are extremely talented. Both teams cannot afford to have a Rosberg/Hamilton line-up as they would require a larger salary than the two drivers they have now, so for their budget I don’t think you could get a better line-up than a 2-years experienced talent plus a promising rookie.

        If the 5 top-teams would have had an extremely exciting line-up, then I would have been tempted to vote for them. Let’s see: Red Bull, Vettel is great, Webber is meh. Ferrari: Alonso is great, Massa is.. just Massa. McLaren: Button is meh, Perez is good. Lotus: Raikkonen is good, Grosjean is somewhere in between good and meh. And finally Mercedes: Hamilton is great, and I simply don’t know how good Rosberg is as he has never run alongside a reliable source of reference (i.e. was Rosberg good, or were Nakajima and Schumacher ‘bad’?). So I wasn’t really tempted to vote for the former four teams, and slightly tempted to vote for Mercedes.

        As a final remark, @debaser91 you say that Gutierrez and Bottas are unknown quantities, but the truth is that all 22 drivers that will line up in Melbourne are unknown quantities. 2010: we all expected Massa and Schumacher to do phenomenal, and look how that turned out.

        1. Ok I see, you’ve answered as if it were asking your favourite rather than the best pairing i.e. the strongest pair in terms of driving ability. Explains your vote, but it seems the vast majority of people interpreted it the way I did.

          And I will say this. There are several drivers on the grid who are definitely not unknown quantities. Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Raikkonen and Button have won over 100 races and 8 titles between them. I would say we know with some confidence how those guys are going to perform barring unforeseen circumstances (such as Massa’s crash or Schumacher’s 3 year break) i.e. if you give them a quick car they will produce good results.

          1. @debaser91

            Ok I see, you’ve answered as if it were asking your favourite rather than the best pairing i.e. the strongest pair in terms of driving ability.

            Where did you read that!? All I’m saying is that Red Bull, Ferrari, Mercedes and Lotus all have one driver that is extremely good, but as a pair they are being let down by their teammate. Williams and Sauber have a very well-balanced drivers’ pair with two drivers that I think are both very good, therefore I am also tempted to vote for one of them.

            Regarding your second paragraph: I’ll admit that my comparison was a bit of a stretch, but my point was that Bottas, Guttierez, Maldonado and Hulkenberg have performed really well in the past few years, so I don’t get why they would be less of a stable factor than drivers who have fought for championships in recent years. And please don’t reply to this saying ‘they are young and inexperienced’, because that has nothing to do with this discussion.

    2. Williams and Mercedes yes, although I don’t have very much faith in Gutierrez. Webber though I think is due more credit than he gets: despite the fact I am and avid Vettel fan (you’d never guess I know!) I think he can threaten him more than just occasionally. It is just that Vettel has been on such a good run of form recently that he has been cast to the shadows.

      1. @vettel1 Avid Vettel fan? Really? No! :P I agree with you on Webber. Whilst I don’t believe he ranks among the very top drivers, when he’s on form (eg. Silverstone, Monaco) he can get the wins. The problem is that Vettel overshadows him so much sometimes that it makes Webber look worse than he is, I think.

  31. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
    5th March 2013, 12:00

    I’m probably repeating what other people say. Both Alsonso and Hamilton have teammates who let them down. So i’d say Vettel & Webber and Raikonnen & Grojean

  32. Alonso THE Great
    5th March 2013, 12:04

    Keith you put alonso as “makes mistakes but doesn’t like pressure from team mates”

    Very poor keith. This is more of a dig @ Alonso and pathtic assessment.

    I have never seen a Phenomenal talent and driver like alonso for many years in the grid now

    For me Alonso is the greatest driver in the history of F1 and I do not buy the statement “doesn’t like pressure from team mates”

    1. I think it’s entirely accurate. He clearly didn’t like it when he was Hamilton’s team mate at McLaren. Nor when he was Fisichella team mate at Renault.

      The latter is probably more telling than the former. Few people needed telling Alonso was the better driver at Renault but on the rare occasions Fisichella put one over him – typically at Indianapolis, also his fortunate win at Melbourne in 2005 – it clearly didn’t go down well with Alonso.

      Alonso is a great talent but he’s not perfect. No one is.

      1. Alonso THE Great
        5th March 2013, 12:57

        Yes over a course of season fisichella may have outraced him in few races maybe 2 or 3. However if you look at entire season Alonso has done some miracles for me

        2012 is a fantastic example and simply showed Alonso drove a exemplary all season long.

        Mclaren cannot be taken as a example since mclaren never supported nor they needed alonso for a long term

        Nobody can be perfect, yes of course

        However when it comes to determination and skill. Alonso is the master and Genius

        1. McLaren never supported nor they needed Alonso

          Silly conspiracy theory nonsense.

          1. Alonso THE Great
            6th March 2013, 9:55

            I do not know whether this is silly conspiracy thoery or non sense

            2007 is long gone. Some people within mclaren felt Alonso has been treated badly.

            Anyway my point is there is no better driver in the grid than Fernando Alonso.

            Nor do i believe he cannot handle a competitive team mate

            “Alonso doesn’t like pressure from team mates” itself is a conspiracy theory

          2. “Alonso doesn’t like pressure from team mates” itself is a conspiracy theory

            Clearly it isn’t – it doesn’t allege any kind of conspiracy and is more an observation than a theory.

        2. @KeithCollantine, Alonso THE Great

          It’s probably impossible to make a hardcore believer change his religion but even Kovalainen was worried about the prospect of Alonso becoming his team mate at Renault as his comments at the end of 2007 suggested:

          For me to start the season with the knowledge that I am equal with the teammate and have as much chance to win the championship as my teammate is very important. (…) if the team can guarantee that we are both equal, it would be perfect to have Fernando. It’s difficult to say what he wants (…) You need to be in the same car as the other one, you need to have the same service from the team.(…)If Fernando comes here, it’s something I need to be careful about.

          He clearly was worried that Alonso might demand ‘special treatment’ and not without a reason.

        3. This is a British site,mate…you wont find him very popular here. All the best…

          1. @wsrgo As a Brit and Alonso supporter, I resent your implication :P

    2. How long have you been watching F1 for? Greatest ever seems a big exaggeration.

      1. Alonso THE Great
        6th March 2013, 14:49

        I have been watching F1 for quite a while (Last decade)

        I do not know what is exaggeration here

        From what i have seen since minardi days to now is Alonso has improved consistently. What makes me to say this is quite simple “Alonso will deliver no matter how good or bad the car or team he droves for”

        last few seasons ever since 2007 has been superb and he has put in some awesome performances in woeful cars

    3. Are you sure there isn’t supposed to be a “jks” at the end of that comment..

    4. Actual post:

      Consistent and seldom makes mistakes but doesn’t like pressure from team mates.

      Your interpretation:

      Keith you put alonso as “makes mistakes but doesn’t like pressure from team mates”

      It’s like you getting annoyed at being called “not stupid”.

  33. Last three seasons says Vettel and Webber – next three seasons could say Hamilton and Rosberg.

    I had to go with the RBR pairing if we’re asking before the season.

  34. This is a tough one, cause it should be about the drivers and not the cars. So,
    RBR – Mark is probably the best number 2 driver. (I know he will hate that, but it is true), Is RBR, too much about Adrian?
    McLaren – Sergio is relatively unknown factor.
    Ferrari – Filipe is too fragile, sorry but he should have gone some time ago.
    Mercedes – Was MSC’s presence a big distraction for the team, will the real Nico come forward?
    Lotus – Will Romain stop crashing?

    The rest – too many unknowns.

    Umm, my vote has to go to the Mercedes pairing.

  35. I based my vote on my idle hope that Felipe Massa will continue his late 2012 form. If he does, Ferrari might edge out Red Bull for the constructor’s. If he doesn’t, Red Bull will once again be the strongest pairing, but Webber needs to stop dozing off mid-season.

    I’ve seen a lot of people go for Mercedes, but I was almost inclined to vote for Lotus. If Grosjean stops crashing and with Kimi fully back in the saddle, they could surprise many this year.

  36. A lot of you are downplaying Rosberg, he adnt a chance to race in a strong car, last year he showed what he can do in China. No explenations about Hamilton :) So Mercedes for me. Redbull 2nd…

  37. Actually if I were to choose one of these pairings for my own team in 2013 I’d pick Alonso-Massa. There’s no questioning Alonso’s strengths and if Massa can continue where he left in 2012 he’ll be a front-runner more often than not.
    Obviously Vettel-Webber are a good pair but Webber’s performances had big ups and downs, lacking consistency.
    The Button-Perez pairing could be interesting but I don’t think right now it’s the best. Button isn’t as fast as Vettel/Alonso/Hamilton although his experience and consistency might prove crucial in a championship bid. Perez is no doubt fast but in his first year at McLaren I don’t expect him to win races immediately.
    Rosberg-Hamilton is a good line-up but somehow I don’t think Rosberg is as good as the top drivers, and Hamilton will have to get used to the environment and perhaps change approach before he can repeat last year’s performances.
    The Hulkenberg-Gutierrez partnership is the best of the rest, with Hulkenberg as an experienced and experience-gaining driver who constantly improves and surprises. Gutierrez is a promising rookie although his outings last year and his GP2 season suggest perhaps he isn’t fast enough.

  38. I voted Ferrari with Alonso / Massa.
    Massa was nearing a return to form at the end of last season. He seems relatively happy during testing and therefore with a stable and unchanged driver line-up I would put the Ferrari drivers above Red Bull and Mercedes.
    But I did not consider McLaren. Simply because of Perez and I am not sure how he’ll adjust to life at McLaren and how that’ll affect his racing.
    I also ruled out Lotus – Has Grosjean left his first lap deamons in 2012?

  39. much as I like the look of the red bull pairing , not liable to be a better car this year , I have to go for mercedes

    hamilton , as even alonso admits , is the fastest driver in F1 …and rosberg the most under rated ; unfortunately their car is not likely to match their talent this year

  40. C’mon people… get real. Like them or not, but Red Bull is still on the top, drivers wise. And all that LH Mania – Possibly F1′s fastest driver. A gutsy racer… Possibly means “not quite”, gutsy means “still makes stupid rookie-like mistakes”. You can be fast and clean – just take a look on Kimi’s or Jenson’s on-board laps. Everybody is fast on perfect set-up, right? Nico? Britney is always in the safe cruise mode, just to see the flag. Calling Britney and Lewis the strongest pair in the field is just plain wrong.

    1. @breza

      Possibly means “not quite”

      No, “possibly” means he might be, but it’s both hard to say and a subjective assessment.

      gutsy means “still makes stupid rookie-like mistakes”

      No, “gutsy” means “courageous”.

      1. True! And I might be the next prime minister. Is that gutsy enough?

    2. Chris (@tophercheese21)
      5th March 2013, 14:15

      You can be fast and clean – just take a look on Kimi’s or Jenson’s on-board laps

      I’m sorry, Jenson only had one pole lap in 3 years. 3 YEARS!! Lewis had 7 in 2012 alone.

      How can you imply that Lewis isn’t clean? He’s one of the cleanest racers in the field. Just watch the Japanese GP when he came out of the pits and was side by side with Raikkonen around Turn 1. That was the definite of great driving. By both guys!

      1. OK, that’s one…
        I’m not talking about pole laps. That’s not even true racing – it’s racing against the clock, not a pack drivers defending their positions. By pole laps J.P.Montoya should be WC! They are by definition clean – driving in the pack is totally different game. I’m not saying Lewis isn’t true great driver (aren’t they all?), it’s just that he doesn’t drive on the level of his talent all the time. BTW, everybody’s unbeatable in the unbeatable car.
        What you do in underdog car counts. Remember certain guy named Gilles?

  41. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    5th March 2013, 14:07

    IMO it’s between Hamilton/Rosberg and Kimi/Grosjean.

    Have to give the slight edge to the Mercedes boys. Mainly because Rosberg is more consistent and less error prone than Grosjean.

    If Grosjean improves his decision making ability, I can easily see Lotus having the best driver lineup, because the boy is dam quick when he’s on it. Raikkonen provides the pure consistency (had he not had that little ‘adventure’ in São Paulo, he would have completed every lap on the calendar) and good points scoring ability.

    However Hamilton is just too quick and when he has the machine under him, he’s unbeatable, no “if’s”, “And’s” or “But’s”. Rosberg’s also proven to be quick if he’s got the car.

    Honorable mentions to Vettel/Webber.

    1. Hamilton is just too quick and when he has the machine under him, he’s unbeatable, no “if’s”, “And’s” or “But’s”

      Of which driver can this not be said?

  42. The whole subject has too many “if’s” and “but’s”, we’ll see the strongest line-up… around Christmas. That’s all that counts. Predictions are for the weather forecast people. They get paid being right or being wrong. Right?

  43. Williams. Pastor has amply improved and the ‘red-mist’ is a thing of the past. Valtteri has a very good CV, and showed good pace and maturity as their third driver. My pick for ‘rookie of the year’.
    WARNING: Valtteri might ruffle Pastor’s feathers, and the PDVSA-backed Venezuelan might get rattled by the promising Finn.

    1. How can you make that statement, Pastor has always been fast, but usually a bit uncontrolled. And how do you know the red-mist events are over, I very much doubt it.

      1. @w-k His last misdemeanour was at Spa, and unlike Grosjean did not appear to become slow and timid after being pulled up by the FIA. He’s also very fast as he showed last year with superb Q3 laps at Barcelona, Valencia, Spa, Singapore and Abu Dhabi.

        1. @wsrgo – Problem with Pastor is that his misdemanours is that over the course of 20 races, they were so severe, he could only score 45 points and 15th in the championship, in a car that merited far more. No way is he part of the best driver lineup on the grid at the moment, and I like Bottas.

        2. His career before F1 was also filled with incidents, and he hasn’t improved in F1, there were longer gaps than the present one between incidents. And if Bottas should start to threaten him then expect the toys to start flying out of the pram.

  44. though more susceptible to mistakes than his fellow champions and occasionally gets lost on set-up.

    @Keith – You are usually balanced, thoroughly fair, and i find not susceptible to the usual bias a lot of F1 journalist naturally pre-disposed towards. Therefore, i find your unfair assessment of Lewis highly unusual .
    Yes, he has been involved in quite a few incidents, due to his “gutsy” attitude, but to make such as assessment (as you made) would suggest that most of the incidents that resulted were his fault. Analysis of the stewards penalties (most of which a lot of F1 fans found to be unnecessarily unfair) does not even bear this out.

    Also, i find the suggestion that “he occasionally get lost on setup” quite preposterous. Again, to assert this would suggest that he is more prone to set-up woes than any of his competitors. I am yet to see any evidence of this, and if you have, i would welcome your elucidation on this.

    There is one driver with well-known and documented set-up problems. This does NOT mean he is the only one by a long shot, but that his issues are the most publicised by himself, and his team. If anyone deserved that comment, it should have been him.

    1. This @Keith, who hasn’t been active for 10 months and 3 weeks, must have millions of accidental replies! I wonder what he will think if he comes back online ;)

      1. @andae23
        LOL! I knew that Keith and Keith Collantine were different people all along! :p

  45. I haven’t read any other comments so far, I will only give my own opinion.

    I voted for Lotus. I think they have the strongest driver line-up in the basis that both of them can fight on equal terms for wins, if the car has genuine race wining pace. This also means that I believe Grosjean will make very few mistakes this year (compared to last year).
    For me Sauber and McLaren are very close to them. Button is a WDC and Perez should be good for race wins but still a bit of uncertainty with these 2. Hulkenberg is, IMO, a sure bet for race wins, Gutierrez might be even more promising than Perez was last year.
    It’s strange I don’t consider Mercedes one of the top-3 pairs but I just don’t like Rosberg enough.
    Webber will stand no chance this year to make a challenge to Webber (my prediction), Massa is still fast but only good for podiums (same way as Webber) and that covers the best teams.
    One mention to the Williams pair, it is not the best (Bottas still a rookie and Maldonado makes too many mistakes) but for sure it seems to be the more close fight in terms of raw pace.

    BTW, I predict that Pic wil “destroy” van der Garde, Bianchi will do the same to Chilton, Sutil will beat Di Resta but not by a long margin and the STR in-team fight will almost be as exciting as the Williams one.

    1. Just a clarification, I don’t think that Hulkenberg will for sure win this year with Sauber, but I think that he is a driver that given a race wining car, will win for sure.

  46. Just a final comment; if Lotus proves to be fast on every track, everybody will have a tough job catching Kimi and Romain (we’ll give him a THIRD chance), because Lotus is so gentle to the tires. Everybody is crying about massive degradation, so drivers like Kimi, Jenson, Pastor and Sergio will have their fair chances. I think the title will go to the most reliable (team), so every mistake will count. New RB is a mystery, McLaren will fly, Ferrari looks good, Mercedes will wake up (the only question is when), Sauber could be suprise of the season… Vale Bottas also. It’s gonna be a long and terrific season…

    1. @breza… I think this coment was written after Jerez test because at the moment, Lotus’ pace isnt great. Merc Rb and Ferrari look stronger though

  47. Best line up: Mercedes
    Most interesting line up: Williams
    The pair that I will watch out for: Force India. Both the the drivers are highly underrated by fans and both have to make a point to prove. One to move up the grid next year and another to stay in the grid next year!

  48. “Possibly F1′s fastest driver ..”

    “.. the fastest driver in the world”

    “..Hamilton is arguably the quickest in Formula One”

    I’m genuinely curious as to where the belief that Hamilton is the fastest/quickest driver in F1 (or the world) comes from. Maybe it’s a question for the forum as opposed to here – I’ll ask it there if the question is too off topic.

    Hamilton is certainly one of the “A list drivers”, but what exactly has he done to lead so many to believe that he is in a class of his own?

    1. @jonsan – his spectacular qualifying ability and his immense natural ability. I am not his fan and I don’t think he is in “a class of his own” at all (Vettel is more than a match for him I would say in an F1 car) but he is undoubtably very, very fast. For sure though, he isn’t a clear best.

      1. Despite all his poles last year how many of the races did he win! Being fast in qualy doesn’t give you points or championships FACT, and don’t start the sob stories

        1. @sonia54 – in fairness to him, he lost three potential race victories through no fault of his own (definetly at least one). I am not fan of his and I don’t think he is the best driver in F1 by any means, but you are simply ignoring the reality.

        2. Sonia he won 1 less than the wchamp

    2. I think his first season (2007) has done miracles for his reputation: consistently on the podium, on par with Alonso in an equal car (though some doubt that for some reason I don’t quite get) and almost world champion. I still think Hamilton is one of the best drivers in F1 at the moment, probably along with Vettel and Alonso.

      1. exactle jon clearly ant been watching f1 , I bet you find Vettel’s stats outstanding jon well if u do surely you will rate Hamilton , because Hamilton is just like vettel , ok Vettel’s stats are more impressive but I think we’d all agree 07 and 08 when Ham had best cars the opposition was far tougher than when Vettel was dominating so is stats are not as good but their pretty close imo , 07,08,09 Hamilton was brilliant and 2010 Hamilton did very well. 2011 is his worst year and e was in a crisis yet still won 3 Grandprix , watch Nurburgring 2011 a class drive .And 2012 was arguably his best year , you must of been watching something we weren’t.

  49. kamui kobayashi &Nico Hulkenberg

  50. No other team comes close to Mercedes imho. Only other good pairings are the current Red Bull team and the Lotus. I don’t rate Webber that high, but Vettel is one of the top 3 drivers. Massa has improved a lot, but it is not a team, I’d fear. Only Alonso makes it look good on paper. Kimi and Grosjean are one of the best pairs in the grid. Just wish Kimi’s quali pace was good enough to challenge Lewis, Alonso or Vettel. Rosberg and Lewis are the strongest pair, because not only are they fast but Rosberg is a big surprise package and I think we all know Lewis’ qualities.

  51. i’d go with lotus, kimi raikkonen is probably the most consistent driver in f1 (also he is a world champion) and romain grosjean has a lot of raw pace, as long as he stays out of trouble, lotus is the team to look out for

  52. also i don’t know why people make such a big deal about hamilton, of course he is a good driver, but only when he has a good car. i still doubt that mercedes will show up on the podium a lot this year. and rosberg never did anything astonishing, i’d say they have the 4th best driver line-up, after lotus, ferrari and red bull

    1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
      5th March 2013, 16:45

      @rigi fully agreeing with you there, mate. Too much unjustified fuss about Hamilton.

  53. It’s got to be Vettel and Webber and then I would probably put Hamilton and Rosberg next.

  54. Despite being a Hamilton fan and having a fondness for Rosberg, I had to begrudgingly vote for the Red Bull pair.

    I’ve seen lots of comments saying that they still don’t know how good Rosberg actually is, and yet still picking the Mercedes pair as the strongest line-up. It’s this exact reason that I picked Vettel/Webber ahead of Rosberg/Hamilton. Vettel is one of the two out and out fastest drivers in F1, and Webber is a proven race-winner and will consistently collect points for the team. Hamilton is the second of the two fastest drivers in F1 (for arguments sake, let’s say they’re equal) and, on his day, is a match for Vettel and Alonso (these three are arguably the stand out drivers at the moment, Alonso not quite having the single-lap pace of the other two, but is a better race tactician). However, those days for Hamilton are sometimes too few and far between.

    Rosberg, as we’ve already covered, is still an unknown quantity. He has never, really, had to face a driver that is on the same level as Hamilton, Alonso or Vettel. Regardless of Schumacher’s achievements, he was not the same driver when he came back to the sport. If Mercedes’ form from testing is genuine then this season will show just how good Rosberg is. Personally, I don’t think he is quite as good as Webber at the moment if he comes out of this season with a couple of race wins, then that opinion might change. But, right now, I think the Red Bull pairing is the strongest.

  55. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
    5th March 2013, 16:43

    I cannot believe 41% of people have voted for Hamilton-Rosberg. Yes, they were topping the tables in testing. But making conclusions from testing is like deciding the winner when Nadal and Djokovic are warming up. I strongly believe Webber and Vettel are the strongest pair. I like Webber. But as a die-hard Ferrari and Alonso fan, I hate RBR and Vettel. I mean, of course, I have tremendous respect for both. In any case, there is no jusitification for people voting for Hamilton and Rosberg. That’s just, I don’t know, a whole new level of stupidity?

    1. I think there is a certain minority of people here – and on every other F1 fan site in the English speaking world – who would vote for Lewis Hamilton and a blind quadriplegic as “the strongest team”.

      1. +1…the result of the poll would have been a lot different had this site not been a British one….

        1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
          6th March 2013, 11:44

          Agreed. People need to think rather than vote for HAM just cos he is British.

    2. Hamilton is a very fast driver, and Rosberg isn’t too shabby himself. It is debatable whether they are thebest absolutely, but they both have talent. Perhaps they may not be the most witty driver line-up in the world though: Hamilton doesn’t seem to be as good with the big technical decisions as Vettel or Alonso say.

      1. Shreyas Mohanty (@)
        6th March 2013, 12:15

        Yes, Hamilton is fast, but have in mind, you have seen him with a McLaren and only a McLaren. And yes, he topped the charts in testing in the Merc, but do you really think the Merc has higher pace than RBR, McLaren, ferrari and Lotus? Maybe Lotus, who knows. But definitely not more than the top three – those teams haven’t maxed their car yet! Watch Melbourne and you will know I am correct.

        1. @shreyasf1fan – oh no I absolutely don’t think the Mercedes is the fastest car, you clearly haven’t seen my debate on the matter a few days ago!

  56. Red Bull definitely. Vettel is superb while Mark Webber is very good (and underrated).

    The other top teams all have 1 great, world champion driver (Hamilton, Alonso, Raikkonen, Button) and 1 decent driver. Of course in 1 year’s time I might be changing my tune.

  57. If the car is good then Mercedes.

  58. Well I’m sorry but I can’t see any justification on pure driving ability for Sauber or Williams having the best lineup. Each of the top 5 teams have one top class/very good driver and then a strong/good second driver. With the exception of Massa I don’t think Hulkenberg and certainly not Maldonado are much better if at all than Webber, Rosberg, Perez or Grosjean.

    And then you have a rookie in the second car. You can perform well in feeder series all you like but F1 is a step up. Hulkenberg found that out in his first year at Williams, he was meant to comfortably beat Barrichello but Rubens had the upper hand. Hulkenberg was good last year but of the other teams second drivers I would back Rosberg to beat him over a season, and if Grosjean cut out the stupid errors I reckon it would be close between them two as well.

    I think saying Maldonado has performed really well is also questionable to say the least, he has been quick yes but better than all of the drivers mentioned above over the last 2 seasons? I don’t see it. Put any of the drivers who were top 10 in the championship last season in that Williams and I reckon they all would have finished comfortably higher than 15th at the end of the season.

    1. Don’t know how this got posted here, it was meant to be a reply to @andae23

    2. @debaser91 Thanks for your replies, turns out we simply have different opinions on this matter.

  59. Out on top, it’s difficult to vote against the Mercedes crew. They’re both fast, and have few weaknesses. What ones they have, aren’t going to sabotage a season.

    Many of the other teams are suffering from “one great, one ok” syndrome.

    McLaren are interesting in that if you asked this question at this time last year of a button/Perez pairing (particularly after oz) they’d have a much stronger showing. Button off the back of a stunning season when he regularly beat Hamilton on pace as well as racecraft, and Perez already showing more spark than a flat kobayashi. During last year though, both drivers let their weaknesses overcome them for long periods. This leaves us with the position that while they probably wouldn’t derail your season they won’t drag you forward.

    If I had to do a ranking, I’d go
    Mercedes > red bull > McLaren > Ferrari > lotus (the last two Peru much solely on the strength of their lead drivers)

  60. I think that is everyone whose opinion is different than mine is insane, absurd, drunk and biased to boot, concurrently and consecutively.

    But anyhoo, ‘best’ driver pairing depends on what we mean by best. If I were to choose the most balanced driver pairing on potential before we’ve turned a wheel this season I’d go for Raikkonen and Grosjean – if he cleans up the mistakes he’s shown already that he can be very, very quick.

  61. I’m surprised that everyone has jumped off of McLaren, I would have thought that Jenson Button & Sergio Perez is a great pairing, it combines the experience and reliable driver of Jenson, and the youth and raw speed that Sergio brings with him, fresh off the back of an outstanding season with Sauber.

    1. @dragol raw speed? I believe that Perez does not have the raw speed that should come with his level of inexperience. If I remember correctly Perez was more often than not out qualified by Kobayashi – I was a little surprised at McLaren’s decision to sign Perez, not because he hasnt the talent to get better but he is pretty similar to Button: tyre management, excell in damp weather conditions etc, weak qualifiers. Button rarely out qualified Hamilton in 3 years – this akes McLaren to have the most un balanced of pairings imo. They will have an excellent hand on paper if its stop/start rainy on race day though!

  62. I’m sure that my opinion will change at the end of the season, but for now it has to be Vettel and Webber, simply because they have proven themselves more so than any other pairing in the past few years. Mercedes do have a strong line-up as well, but for me I would say that Vettel is better than Hamilton, and that Webber is more proven than Rosberg.

    The other teams have some great drivers, but their team mates are either untested, or have been inconsistent in the past. For example:
    – Alonso and Massa
    – Button and Perez
    – Raikkonen and Grosjean

    Even though I’m not a big fan of Maldonado, I’m really looking forward to the Williams pairing this year, as well as seeing how Bianchi does.

  63. Another ridiculously excited fan here. I can’t wait for the first qualifying session!

    I voted for Mercedes for best driver line-up. Two very strong drivers; Hamilton a proven entity; and I really think Rosberg still hasn’t had the chance to show in F1 his full capability. They just haven’t got the car yet.

    With a team growing and constantly adding formidably strong players, Mercedes should be a force to be reckoned with in 2014 – but doubtfully before.

  64. I know Hamilton plus fast laps in testing plus all the management reshuffle etc has put the limelight on the Mercedes team, but removing all that clutter, I find myself choosing these two…

    For me its Vettel and Webber….. not because they are in a world champion team, but these guys are together for a really long time…5 years if I am right… more than any pair today.. Have lots of wins between them…That means a lot

    And so, the signs of a good pair is well evident, they are triple world champions…

  65. Alex (@smallvizier)
    5th March 2013, 20:28

    I think this is decided on second drivers.

    Very roughly, Vettel = Alonso = Button = Raikkonen = Hamilton. However, Webber and Rosberg are quite clearly ahead of Massa (the modern version), Grosjean and Perez. Therefore the best line-up belongs to either Red Bull or Mercedes.

    Personally I believe that Webber remains better than Rosberg (though Rosberg has more potential), and that Vettel is a more complete driver than Hamilton. Therefore I voted for Red Bull.

  66. No-one stands out as being much better than the rest, but I would say Red Bull have the best proven line-up. Vettel will be relentlessly quick, and if Webber has a good season they could be untouchable, so that’s my vote. Ferrari probably have the single best driver, and also have a second driver who could go either way.

    McLaren, Lotus, Mercedes and Sauber will almost certainly be unbalanced, with one driver picking up more points than the other. All could be in the hunt if their cars are good enough. Bottas looks good, better than Maldonado, but he’s a rookie. The rest don’t stand out.

  67. What I find strange is that currently 95% has voted for the 5 ‘top-teams’, while only 5% voted for the other six (of which I am one). I get that the top-teams all have a champion in their line-up, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the ‘line-up’ is good. I have also read comments like: “Red Bull has won the constructors’ three times in a row, so they have a good line-up”. 80% of the teams simply aren’t in contention for winning that title, so why would this be a disadvantage for them in this poll.

    My question is: why do so many people don’t vote for a team like Sauber or Williams, who actually have a very exciting line-up in comparison to RBR, Ferrari, McLaren and Lotus (imo of course)?

    1. @andae23 I think it’s just purely a matter of the fact the best drivers are usually in the best teams. There are some real gems in the midfield teams though I agree, like the William’s line-up and at least the Hulkenberg half of Sauber.

      But yes, quite why past successes of that team should influence how good their drivers are is beyond me.

    2. Very simple: once you go past the top 5, you’re into the realms of Pay Drivers.

      Nobody’s going to vote for Chilton and VanDerGarde over Rosberg and Hamilton.

    3. My question is: why do so many people don’t vote for a team like Sauber or Williams, who actually have a very exciting line-up in comparison to RBR, Ferrari, McLaren and Lotus (imo of course)?

      Because the most exciting line up and the best line up is not the same thing. Last year I would say that Sauber probably had the most exciting line up, but they most certainly did not have the best line up.

      Hulkenberg and Maldonado are quick, but they arenot amongst the best drivers in Formula One right now. And Gutierrez and Bottas haven’t proven anything yet, so I don’t see how they could be rated higher than the likes of Massa or Rosberg when they have zero starts to their names. Going on the past successes of the drivers is the best way to choose in this poll I believe.

    4. Because until a driver has had at least a full season in F1, then his past performance means very little. If past performance meant anything then Rosberg would have won the WDC at least once by now.

  68. I’ll go with Red Bull, closely followed by Mercedes. Vettel and Hamilton are class, but Vettel is the one who has 3 titles in a row. Rosberg, I believe could be better than Webber though.

    If Massa regains his 2008 form, I’d say Ferrari, as he would be better than Webber, and with Alonso, the strongest collective lineup.

    1. @david-a I’m split between Merc and Red Bull, but I’m pretty much in agreement there. However, my perspective may very well change after watching the season, so it will be very interesting to see how it pans out!

  69. McLaren all the way

  70. Chose the Red Bull pair though I could’ve easily went for the Mercedes-nothing to choose between them at all. My order would be:

    1) Red Bull, Mercedes

    3) Lotus, Ferrari(also too close to call)

    5) Mclaren

    6) Sauber(mainly because of the Hulk, who in my opinion is an outstanding driver)

    7) Toro Rosso( been quietly impressed by their drivers in 2012, especially DR)

    8) A tie between Force India who have a pair of very dependable drivers but a bit boring, and Williams where Bottas is very promising but a rookie, and Crashtor Stupidado who is worse than rubbish

    10) Marussia ’cause Bianchi>Pic and Chilton=VdG. Therefore at last place:

    11) Caterham

  71. If Massa starts the new season the same way he ended 2012, then Alonso and Massa at the wheel of the F138 are going to kick MANY *****.

  72. For me, Alonso and Massa (2nd part of last season Massa).
    Hamilton trashing is quite normal around here.
    I really don’t understand so many compliments to Webber, a very average driver who get a quick car, but maybe he’s been sandbaging all of those years (like Red Bulll this winter).

  73. Come on everyone, this is easy. I’m astounded that so many people have voted for the Mercedes pairing at this point in time (36% Mercedes vs 29% Red Bull) but I’ll get to that later.

    Red Bull have the best driver pairing for 2013. They have the three times defending drivers world champion in one seat and the third most experienced F1 driver in the other (Button debut 2000, Raikkonen 2001, Webber 2002). Vettel is on top of his game and will tackle the demands of the season with supreme confidence in his own ability and the expertise he has gained of how to win races and championships. Webber is no slouch either. He does blow hot and cold but he is often a match for Vettel on qualifying pace and he races strongly despite truly piteous starts. He’s also somewhat of a specialist at Monaco and Silverstone.

    Both drivers are well accustomed to delivering under pressure at the front of the grid for a top team which is something that shockingly can’t be said for any other current line-up besides Ferrari; although Massa hasn’t consistently been in the fray for race wins since his accident. The importance of experience winning races and contesting championships should not be underestimated and Red Bull has recent experience in abundance.

    I’d place Lotus after Red Bull based on the potential of their lineup. I think @Tango summarised their potential nicely:

    “I voted Lotus too. I believe Raikonnen is a definite top 5 driver and I believe Grosjean has the pace to beat any of those 5 in his good days. Now if those good days become everyday, Lotus would have a brillant lineup.

    I think Lotus have the best potential line up (Grosjean if he matures, Raikonen if he doesn’t get bored)”…

    The combination of a highly competitive veteran and an extremely fast but erratic younger driver has worked for plenty of teams in the past. Raikkonen is the second most experienced driver in the field and as a WDC he obviously knows what it takes so I think he can be counted on to perform at the highest level, especially after impressing on his comeback last year. Grosjean is an unknown quantity in terms of whether or not he can sufficiently hone his racecraft and awareness in race conditions but when at his best he is a force to be reckoned with. I think Grosjean will win a race and I digress, he’ll do it before Perez wins for Mclaren.

    After Lotus comes Mercedes. I am inclined to agree with the notion that Hamilton is the fastest driver in F1. If Hamilton and Button were still in the same team they would win this poll easily but they are not, so Hamilton, despite his immense talent and ability, is not in the team with the strongest driver pairing as Rosberg doesn’t quite make the grade yet in my opinion. That is not to say that he won’t in future though. Button was once on a similar career trajectory with one race win in six years, both drivers winning in changeable conditions with cars that were incapable of competing for wins in normal circumstances. Now Button has a drivers championship, fifteen wins and seven times more podium finishes than Rosberg.

    For the moment, Rosberg is an enigma. With only one win and no experience in a front running car it’s impossible to judge his true potential, although I suspect he’s not quite as good as many people are suggesting he is. He’s shown promise and consistency in junior categories and also in F1 but last season in particular was not as good as it could have been for him despite his maiden F1 race win in China. Rosberg appears to be extremely fast in qualifying but perhaps the reality is that his recent teammates were not so competitive? Wurz, Nakajima and Schumacher returning from retirement at 40+ years old.

    I share the sentiments of @fer-no65:

    ”I just think he should’ve trashed Schumi last year just as he did in 2010. If you look at the 3 years they’ve been together, it looks as if Schumcher closed the gap, when realistically it should’ve been the other way. Or maybe that’s all Rosberg has to give.”

    I anticipate that Hamilton and Button will both conclusively outperform their new teammates this year.

    I think Perez is still too rough around the edges and will need time to settle in to driving a Mclaren with the pressure and expectation of pole positions and race wins, not to mention contesting a championship despite Perez stating himself that winning the drivers title is his target for this season. If Button can be consistent in his performances with this years tyres he should dominate Perez at Mclaren.

    It wouldn’t surprise me if Hamilton is faster than Rosberg from the beginning but I’m happy to be proven wrong on that. It would definitely be exciting to watch Hamilton and Rosberg in a close contest with each other throughout the season, as it would be to see Perez closely matched against Button but I think neither is likely. I’m expecting Grosjean to come good and be closely matched with Raikkonen throughout the season.

    Bring on Melbourne!

  74. It’s a question of Webber vs Rosberg really. Close. I’m hoping Nico is going to raise his game. I must say I don’t recognise Hamilton in his little writeup – he’s probably the driver who LEAST often struggles with setup. I don’t see many driving errors either; I give him a lead over SV and FA.

  75. I think it’s hard to look past Red Bull really. Vettel with his 3 championships in a row and Webber with multiple wins. I think Mercedes have a good team too but it’s very difficult to judge Rosberg at this point I feel. Now up against Hamilton we will really see how good he is.

    I think Williams have the strongest midfield team if the hype behind Bottas is to be believed. Maldonado already seems a lot maturer this season so hopefully they can bring some good results for the team.

  76. Charlie boy
    6th March 2013, 10:10

    Hamilton lost in setup? Don’t you mean button lost in setup

    Strongest line up is Ferrari for me if massa continues how he left off last year.

  77. Soren T (@desdirodeabike)
    6th March 2013, 11:17

    I would vote Alonso and Massa every time. Alonso has a huuuge advantage of having a teammate willing to play second fiddle by: testing parts and helping him in races and qualifying (by any means necessary).
    The other drivers do not enjoy the same luxury. For instance, Webber does pretty much the opposite to Vettel than what Massa does for Alonso.

  78. Ham+Ros is by far the best pairing, but their car is probably not up to the task.

  79. 1. Merc
    2. Ferrari
    3. Redbull

  80. As a big Ferrari fan, I have to admit that I think Mercedes has the most potential (to improve) as far as drivers. I really didn’t like Hamilton at Maclaren, but that had alot to do with Maclaren vs Ferrari history. I have always respected Lewis and a great natural talent and now that he is at Mercedes, I actually hope he wins a few races and challenges the top 3 teams. (as long as Alonso is in front at Brazil. :))

    1. +1 with the guys that say Ferrari has the line up if Massa is on song like he was at the end of the year.

  81. I surprised myself and voted Red Bull. All my reasons have already been mentioned, so I’ll just continue to sit here quietly until Australia comes around.

  82. Am I missing something guys ? Webber is not all that probably most inconsistent driver in a top team , the guy had his chance in 2010 and it was only because Vettel had rotten luck he had a chance anyway. He won 1 race just 1 in 2011 lol and that was suspicious at that , and that was the most dominant f1 car since Ferrari in 04 .And last year he drove some great drives at classic venues but what else did he do .India he drove well until Kers he as had misfortune , i understand that but come on many drivers would have had more than 3 wins in 2 seasons since 2010 .He is in a great car imo for years now I just cant get over 1 win in 2011 lol .

    1. Then you are clearly uninformed about 2011. The blown diffuser along with the new spec Pirelli tires were both detrimental to Webbers driving style both in terms of tire wear and the behaviour of the car. Go read Mark Hughes article re the top 5 drivers in 11′ and how the Pirellis affected the drivers. Why do you think Button did so well in 11′. It’s easy to say pull out stats without looking at the big picture.

      1. RB, proven WCC, WDC and if Webber gets his consistency will be even stronger. Doesn’t do bad for a team with ppl against him.
      2. Hamilton IMO quickest driver over 1 lap with Seb. Rosberg hasn’t exactly lit the F1 scene on fire in his time in F1. Fans say he has potential but he has had plenty of years to show this in much the same manner Alonso showed it in Minardi etc. or alternatively Beumi in losing his drive. And he didn’t beat Webber albeit in his first year, depends whether he has improved since then. Likewise Webber.
      3. Lotus if Grosjean can keep out of trouble. The speed is there, depends if everything else in place. Kimi is just Kimi and delivers.
      4. Ferrari. Fans talking about Massa vying for wins?! He is Ferrari’s driver with the longest streak between podiums let alone wins. Looked back to his best at the end of last year, he keeps that up in 13 then Ferrari would be higher on the list.
      5. Verge/Ricciardo, both quick and talented guys. Too bad the TR was a dog of a car to let them actually do something.
      6. Mclaren. Yep this low. As mentioned both aren’t great qualifiers and you know if JB out qualifies Perez Hamilton would have been quicker. Great racer and strategist though. Perez had some great races last year but was rubbish after signing the contract – much like Webber so is a bit unknown in my book. Mclaren for best drivers in changeable conditions though.
      7. The rest. FI have a solid lineup, I expect Sutil to beat DR as IMO he is quicker. DR is bland and not quick and I don’t understand the hype around him. Sauber and Williams have nifty pairings and both will depend on how the rookies go. Interested in how Bottas will fair.

      1. No m8 im not uninformed i have wathed F1 for years every 1 had new tyres , what an excuse for an experienced driver like Webber. How good was Red bull car in 2011 , Hamilton won 3 races in a Macca that year Button won 3 , Alo won in that Ferrari , and the Red bull was the mst dominant F1 car in recent years , just face it Webber is 2 inconsistent , he is only at Rbull for 1 reason because why would Red bull risk a new driver when Vettel is producing world title’s. I lol’d at the excuse about tyres and ebd when it made the car unbeatable almost .I don’t dislike Webber it’s just 2010 was a chance he should of took with his exp yet it was the youngest wchamp who shown all the exp , Webber had every thing going for him all the bad luck for Vettel and he still didn’t capatalise , and since then imho he as proved to me that he is the most inconsistent in a top car one week he is great but more often than not he is nudged off the podium in the race when his team mate is bringing the car home 1st. Id love for him to prove me wrong but he is on the wrong side of mid 30’s and history shows he aint gonna get better now , he had his chance and I feel someone else should be bought into the seat for next season , Redbull will regret it else because Vet wont be their for much longer and you don’t want 2 rookies at the same time unless they eventually get Ham or Hulkenberg.

        1. lol
          I can spell guys just writing to quick

  83. As the question is which team has the best two drivers rather than the best pairing, I think Red Bull just edge it, with Mercedes second.

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