Start, Melbourne, 2013

2013 F1 season half-term driver rankings: 22-11

Driver RankingsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Start, Melbourne, 2013The Formula One field of 2013 features five champions, five rookies and a dozen more drivers vying to come out on top.

Separating out the driver’s contribution from the advantage or disadvantage handed to him by their car is always a challenge, but that’s exactly what the Driver Rankings aims to achieve.

The first part of this mid-season look at how each of the drivers are performing covers the 12 names in the lower portion of the list:

22. Max Chilton

Beat team mate in qualifying 0/9
Beat team mate in race 0/8
Races finished 10/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate 92/550

It’s always difficult to develop an informed view about how two rookie drivers in the same team as both are unknown quantities. In Chilton’s case he is yet to out-qualify Bianchi on merit in ten attempts.

He caused a substantial accident in Monaco for which he received a surprisingly lenient given the nature of the error and the fact it caused a race-stopping crash. In his favour, he’s a consistent finisher and has clearly made progress since the beginning of the season, winning a couple of scraps with Van der Garde.

Max Chilton 2013 form guide

21. Giedo van der Garde

Beat team mate in qualifying 3/10
Beat team mate in race 1/7
Races finished 8/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate 179/471

The contest between the two Caterham drivers has been closer than some expected. Van der Garde is clearly trailing his more experienced team mate but at times he’s had to make do without the latest upgrades.

Canada stands out as a particularly poor race as he tangled with both Webber and Hulkenberg while being lapped. However he ended the first half of the season with a decent performance in Hungary.

Giedo van der Garde 2013 form guide

20. Esteban Gutierrez

Beat team mate in qualifying 0/10
Beat team mate in race 1/6
Races finished 8/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate 76/443

Gutierrez may have been pushed into F1 too soon but he’s here now and has to be judged on the strength of his performances thus far. He’s been dealt a tough hand: the C32 is a disappointment after Sauber’s fine 2012 campaign, the team are short on cash and team mate Hulkenberg is a promising talent who’s thrashed his rookie partner so far. While Gutierrez has failed to progress beyond Q1 more often than not, Hulkenberg has managed to drag the car into the top ten.

However Gutierrez briefly led in Spain and was just a few seconds away from scoring his first point at the chequered flag. But he shunted at the pit exit in Canada and took Sutil out in China, showing he still needs quite a bit more polish.

Esteban Gutierrez 2013 form guide

19. Charles Pic

Beat team mate in qualifying 7/10
Beat team mate in race 6/7
Races finished 9/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate 292/471

Beating Grosjean during Q1 in Canada must stand out as his season highlight so far. Pic continues to show a flair for qualifying and has been a serious opponent to Bianchi in the races, though hasn’t always been able to beat the Marussia. He even chased Bottas home in Spain, and in Malaysia he beat his team mate despite being hit by Vergne earlier in the race.

Charles Pic 2013 form guide

18. Jules Bianchi

Jules Bianchi, Marussia, Melbourne, 2013

Beat team mate in qualifying 9/9
Beat team mate in race 8/8
Races finished 8/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate 458/550

The size of the gap between the midfield and the two smallest teams frustrates efforts to understand how well the latter’s drivers are performing. So far Bianchi has finished ahead of his team mate in every qualifying session and race where both were able to participate: an enviable record, but hard to make much of when he shares a team with the un-rated Chilton.

Making matters worse for Bianchi, Marussia seem to have been in decline since the season began. The days of him being able to get within a few tenths of a Williams and a Toro Rosso, as in Malaysia, seem a long time ago.

Jules Bianchi 2013 form guide

17. Pastor Maldonado

Beat team mate in qualifying 4/10
Beat team mate in race 4/6
Races finished 7/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate 271/512

Maldonado’s third season has been a largely frustrating experience so far. The car has slumped back to a 2011-level performance at best, it isn’t responding to his scruff-of-the-neck driving style, and there’s a hot prospect on the other side of the garage showing him up.

Maldonado has been a little more dependable than Bottas in the races, and with a dose of luck managed to snatch a point in Hungary, but until then it was his team mate who looked the most likely to get the job done.

Pastor Maldonado 2013 form guide

16. Jean-Eric Vergne

Beat team mate in qualifying 3/10
Beat team mate in race 3/4
Races finished 6/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate 205/469

Red Bull came to a swift decision about which of the Toro Rosso drivers is the better prospect. And looking at their qualifying results there’s no mistaking that Ricciardo is doing a far better job on Saturdays.

But Vergne, despite the worst car reliability record of any driver, still has more points than Ricciardo. These came largely thanks to two excellent drives in Monaco and Canada which must be considered the equal of anything his team mate has produced this year.

Jean-Eric Vergne 2013 form guide

15. Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, 2013

Beat team mate in qualifying 6/10
Beat team mate in race 2/6
Races finished 9/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate 241/512

It’s hard not to be impressed with how well Bottas has taken to F1 on his debut despite having spent last year out of a racing environment. To consistently be on Maldonado’s pace in qualifying – let alone beating him on balance – deserves high praise.

Claiming third on the grid during a wet qualifying session in Canada was real ‘star of the future’ stuff. He was always going to struggle come race day but he produced a mature drive, defending as well as he could in the circumstances, which was very much to his credit.

Valtteri Bottas 2013 form guide

14. Felipe Massa

Beat team mate in qualifying 3/9
Beat team mate in race 0/7
Races finished 8/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate 49/460

After ending 2012 strongly and beginning this season similarly well, Massa has reverted to his post-2009 type: not quick enough and error-prone. He had at least one spin or crash per weekend for four events in a row from Monaco to Germany – imagine how a Chilton or Van der Garde would be pilloried for such a record.

He can hold a candle to Alonso now and then but he once again has less than half his team mate’s points haul. Once again he heads into the second half of a season with doubt over his future at Ferrari.

Felipe Massa 2013 form guide

13. Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, Silverstone, 2013

Beat team mate in qualifying 7/10
Beat team mate in race 1/4
Races finished 8/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate 264/469

Ricciardo has been strong in qualifying this year but blown hot and cold during the races. Among his less compelling performances were Bahrain (16th, struggling with tyre warm-up and braking) and Canada (15th, oversteer).

On other days it’s all come together: he started and finished seventh in China, beating Grosjean. And he deserved a better result than eighth at Silverstone as his team didn’t pit him under the late Safety Car period. But it’s hard to say conclusively that, on the strength of this, he deserves to drive an RB10 next year.

Daniel Ricciardo 2013 form guide

12. Adrian Sutil

Beat team mate in qualifying 5/10
Beat team mate in race 3/7
Races finished 7/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate 263/485

Sutil’s eye-catching return to F1 in Melbourne where he led for 11 laps was flattered somewhat by his tyre strategy and his team mate being ordered not to overtake him at the end. It raised expectations for his comeback which were soon frustrated by a series of misfortunes.

He hit back with a battling drive to fifth in Monaco, the highlight of which were a pair of gutsy passes at the Fairmont hairpin on two world champions. He collected a needless penalty in Canada and got unlucky with the Safety Car in Britain. How well he and team mate Di Resta fare in the remaining races will depend on whether they can solve the VJM06’s problems on the revised tyres.

Adrian Sutil 2013 form guide

11. Paul di Resta

Paul di Resta, Force India, Bahrain International Circuit, 2013

Beat team mate in qualifying 5/10
Beat team mate in race 4/7
Races finished 9/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate 222/485

Having compared favourably to Sutil in his rookie season Di Resta needed to be decisively ahead this year following his team mate’s return from sabbatical. But so far his edge over Sutil has been marginal at best.

Fourth place in Bahrain, nursing his tyres on a two-stop strategy, suggested he could be on for a podium in the opening races. That it hasn’t happened yet is partly due to him going out in Q1 on three occasions and being sent to the back of the grid in Britain. Though misfortune and human error explains a lot of those, his round one elimination in Hungary pointed to a sheer lack of pace – an alarming development for the team at this point in the season.

Paul di Resta 2013 form guide

How the rankings are produced

Among the data referred to in producing the ranks are notes on each driver’s performance at each race weekend, compiled data on car performance, direct comparisons between team mates and each driver’s form guide.

Over to you

How do you think these 12 drivers have performed so far in 2013? Have your say in the comments.

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Images ?? Marussia, Williams/LAT, Red Bull/Getty, Force India