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

2013 F1 season preview

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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2013 F1 season preview


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

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  1. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 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.

    • I reluctantly concur…

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 5th March 2013, 13:07

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

      • 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.

        • Tom (@newdecade) said on 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.

        • Nomore (@nomore) said on 5th March 2013, 14:54

          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.

          • Metallion (@metallion) said on 5th March 2013, 15:34

            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.

          • Nomore (@nomore) said on 5th March 2013, 16:04

            @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.

          • Kimi4WDC said on 5th March 2013, 22:40

            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.

        • AbeyG (@1abe) said on 5th March 2013, 14:59

          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”??

          • Mike (@mike) said on 6th March 2013, 3:30

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

        • 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.

          • Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 5th March 2013, 16:45

            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.

          • jimscreechy (@) said on 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…

          • Mike (@mike) said on 6th March 2013, 3:31

            @jimscreechy

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

            :D

      • TonyZZZBZ said on 5th March 2013, 15:47

        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..

        • dot_com (@dot_com) said on 5th March 2013, 23:40

          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.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th March 2013, 5:51

            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.

        • Jason (@jason12) said on 6th March 2013, 13:40

          We are not imagining a big gap.

      • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 5th March 2013, 18:04

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

    • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 5th March 2013, 16:06

      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.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 5th March 2013, 20:55

        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.

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 5th March 2013, 21:17

          @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…

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th March 2013, 10:50

      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. Connor McDonagh (@conmcdonaghf1) said on 5th March 2013, 9:25

    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

    • jimscreechy (@) said on 5th March 2013, 13:26

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

    • plushpile (@plushpile) said on 5th March 2013, 14:00

      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.

    • UKF1rules said on 5th March 2013, 15:14

      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.

      • jimscreechy (@) said on 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?

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 5th March 2013, 20:54

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

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 5th March 2013, 20:54

          @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.

          • jimscreechy (@) said on 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.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 6th March 2013, 3:27

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

          • jimscreechy (@) said on 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.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 6th March 2013, 4:47

            @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.

          • jimscreechy (@) said on 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.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 6th March 2013, 8:54

            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.

        • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 5th March 2013, 23:00

          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. SoLiDG (@solidg) said on 5th March 2013, 9:26

    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 :)

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th March 2013, 9:26

      @solidg

      If the question is who are the best 2 drivers

      It is.

    • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 5th March 2013, 9:43

      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.

      • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 5th March 2013, 11:08

        @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.

        • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 5th March 2013, 11:21

          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.

          • mole (@mole) said on 5th March 2013, 12:45

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

          • Nakajima was rubbish though.

          • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 6th March 2013, 6:31

            @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 ;)

        • marcusbreese (@marcusbreese) said on 5th March 2013, 11:33

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

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th March 2013, 6:05

          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.

    • Kelsier (@kelsier) said on 5th March 2013, 12:23

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

  4. Gill (@gill) said on 5th March 2013, 9:31

    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.

    • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 5th March 2013, 15:27

      @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.

      • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 5th March 2013, 18:22

        @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!

        • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 5th March 2013, 18:25

          @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.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 5th March 2013, 18:35

            @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…

          • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 5th March 2013, 18:47

            @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.

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 5th March 2013, 18:54

            @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.

          • F1fanNL (@) said on 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.

          • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 6th March 2013, 1:13

            @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.

          • OEL F1 (@oel-f1) said on 6th March 2013, 11:05

            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) said on 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.

    • Jake (@jleigh) said on 5th March 2013, 9:42

      I agree with every single word of this comment

    • CNSZU said on 5th March 2013, 9:53

      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.

      • James (@goodyear92) said on 5th March 2013, 10:02

        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.

      • Skett (@skett) said on 5th March 2013, 10:06

        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!

    • Ilanin (@ilanin) said on 5th March 2013, 10:03

      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.

      • Paul Ogbeiwi (@pauldstar) said on 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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th March 2013, 11:55

      @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?

      • Hairs (@hairs) said on 5th March 2013, 16:21

        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!

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th March 2013, 10:54

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

    • electrolite (@electrolite) said on 5th March 2013, 12:49

      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.

    • Paul Ogbeiwi (@pauldstar) said on 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.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 7th March 2013, 13:45

        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. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th March 2013, 9:47

    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.

    • OEL F1 (@oel-f1) said on 5th March 2013, 10:18

      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!

      • raymondu999 (@raymondu999) said on 5th March 2013, 10:31

        @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

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th March 2013, 10:51

          @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.

          • OEL F1 (@oel-f1) said on 5th March 2013, 11:40

            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.

          • HoHum (@hohum) said on 5th March 2013, 13:16

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

          • Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 5th March 2013, 18:31

            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!

          • Jeanrien (@jeanrien) said on 6th March 2013, 4:22

            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.

    • Arrrang (@arrrang) said on 5th March 2013, 11:14

      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.

    • Skett (@skett) said on 5th March 2013, 23:00

      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. Girts (@girts) said on 5th March 2013, 9:48

    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. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 5th March 2013, 9:50

    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 !

    • Skett (@skett) said on 5th March 2013, 10:09

      @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.

      • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 5th March 2013, 10:40

        @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.

        • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 5th March 2013, 14:42

          @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.

          • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 5th March 2013, 16:52

            @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…

          • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 5th March 2013, 18:05

            @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.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 6th March 2013, 10:45

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

  9. Lustigson (@lustigson) said on 5th March 2013, 9:58

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

  10. Sebastian (@seb8808) said on 5th March 2013, 9:59

    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! :)

  11. Bendanarama (@bendana) said on 5th March 2013, 10:03

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

  12. MW (@) said on 5th March 2013, 10:03

    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

    • Mad Eric (@mad-eric) said on 5th March 2013, 10:59

      @MW nailed it!!!

      • MW (@) said on 5th March 2013, 12:07

        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!

        • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 5th March 2013, 15:31

          @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.

          • MW (@) said on 5th March 2013, 16:57

            @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.

          • Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 5th March 2013, 17:16

            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.

          • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 5th March 2013, 18:07

            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.

    • Kimi4WDC said on 5th March 2013, 22:52

      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.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 5th March 2013, 23:11

        @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. Slr (@slr) said on 5th March 2013, 10:12

    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. Nomore said on 5th March 2013, 10:14

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

  15. robfff said on 5th March 2013, 10:14

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

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