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


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?

  1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 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

  2. Alonso THE Great said on 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”

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th March 2013, 12:44

      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.

      • Alonso THE Great said on 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

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th March 2013, 14:05

          McLaren never supported nor they needed Alonso

          Silly conspiracy theory nonsense.

          • Alonso THE Great said on 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

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 6th March 2013, 9:58

            “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.

        • Girts (@girts) said on 5th March 2013, 14:43

          @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.

        • wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 6th March 2013, 1:46

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

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

      • Alonso THE Great said on 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

    • nackavich (@nackavich) said on 5th March 2013, 13:59

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

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 5th March 2013, 21:41

      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”.

  3. electrolite (@electrolite) said on 5th March 2013, 12:05

    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.

  4. W-K (@w-k) said on 5th March 2013, 12:11

    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.

  5. Nick (@npf1) said on 5th March 2013, 12:14

    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.

  6. Roc (@r0kas23) said on 5th March 2013, 12:30

    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…

  7. Fixy (@fixy) said on 5th March 2013, 12:33

    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.

  8. Chalky (@chalky) said on 5th March 2013, 12:58

    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?

  9. colin grayson (@lebesset) said on 5th March 2013, 13:25

    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

  10. 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.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 5th March 2013, 14:00


      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”.

    • Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 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!

      • 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?

  11. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 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.

    • Jon Sandor (@jonsan) said on 5th March 2013, 15:41

      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?

  12. 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?

  13. wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 5th March 2013, 14:38

    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.

    • W-K (@w-k) said on 5th March 2013, 15:06

      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.

      • wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 5th March 2013, 16:56

        @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.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 5th March 2013, 21:48

          @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.

        • W-K (@w-k) said on 5th March 2013, 23:58

          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.

  14. kbdavies (@kbdavies) said on 5th March 2013, 14:39

    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.

  15. BaKano (@bakano) said on 5th March 2013, 15:11

    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.

    • BaKano (@bakano) said on 5th March 2013, 15:16

      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.

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