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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

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

    I doubt about championship but Mercedes have the best pair

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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”.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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…

  17. 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.

  18. 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?

  19. 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

  20. 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?

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