2013 F1 season half-term driver rankings: 10-6

Driver Rankings

The second part of the 2013 half-term driver rankings features the drivers in the lower half of the top ten.

10. Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Monte-Carlo, 2013

Beat team mate in qualifying 2/10
Beat team mate in race 1/8
Races finished 8/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate 163/548

Having acquired a reputation for being accident-prone last year Grosjean has not yet done enough to shake it off. The nadir of his first half of the season was in Monaco where he seemed to either be setting purple sector times or climbing from the steaming wreck of his Lotus.
Moments like these inevitably stand out more clearly in the memory when looking back on his season so far. It began with some promise: in Malaysia, despite lacking the team’s latest upgrades for the second race in a row and missing Q3 due to a weather radar problem, he got ahead of Raikkonen early on and finished in front. In Bahrain he bounced back from another Q2 elimination to finish on the podium.
He’s looked happier in the Lotus since Silverstone, although it turned out to be the first of two races in which he was told to let his team mate past. A shot at victory in Germany was denied when the Safety Car ruined his strategy.
Hungary reinforced the view that he’s on an upward swing at the moment, out-qualifying Raikkonen for the second time in three races and pushing Vettel hard in his pursuit of victory. But carelessness got the better of him again, collecting a penalty after blundering into the side of Button. His team must despair that he’s never going to shake off these mistakes and become the driver he’s capable of being.
Romain Grosjean 2013 form guide

9. Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez, McLaren, Silverstone, 2013

Beat team mate in qualifying 4/10
Beat team mate in race 3/10
Races finished 10/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate 245/606

Perez went into the season expecting to have to deal with the pressures of getting his chance in a front-running car. It must come as a shock to him that neither he nor his team mate have come close to finishing on the podium yet – this time last year he’d done so twice for Sauber.
Despite the McLaren’s shortcomings Perez has shown some of the qualities which McLaren hired him for in the first place: he has out-qualified Button several times, been classified in every race and proven a fierce competitor in wheel-to-wheel combat.
He’s pushed the latter to the limit at times, making contact with his team mate in Bahrain and risking a fifty-fifty (at best) move on Raikkonen in Monaco. The latter came after a pair of excellent moves on his team mate and Alonso.
His attempts to get around McLaren’s problems using the ‘Sauber solution’ of trying to complete the race with one fewer pit stop than his rivals has often let him down. That left him vulnerable to pursuers in the closing stages (as in Germany) or having to make a late stop for more tyres (as in Malaysia).
Sergio Perez 2013 form guide

8. Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber, Nurburgring, 2013

Beat team mate in qualifying 10/10
Beat team mate in race 5/6
Races finished 8/9
Laps spent ahead of team mate 367/443

Another driver who has good cause to feel disappointed with the car he’s driving this year. The C32 has lacked pace and hammered its rear tyres, giving us only the occasional glimpse of the form Hulkenberg demonstrated in the second half of last season.
Malaysia was one such example, Hulkenberg wringing the most out of the car on a slippery track to claim eighth place, and with it more than half of his (and the team’s) points haul thus far.
In China he dragged the car into Q3 and, realising the futility of trying to compete on raw pace, started the race on medium tyres. After picking off Vettel, Button and Ricciardo in a single lap he led the race, but his car chewed its tyres in the final stint and he finished tenth.
On other days he might as well have stayed at home. Like in Australia, where he didn’t even make it as far as the grid due to a fuel system problem. Rear tyre degradation was the story of several races, notably in Monaco where he discovered his rears were worn down to the steel belt after the race.
The Sauber seems happier on the Kevlar-belted tyres which has given Hulkenberg and the team some optimism. But for a drive-through penalty in Hungary (a gearbox glitch put him over the pit lane speed limit) he’d have been in the points for the last three races.
Nico Hulkenberg 2013 form guide

7. Mark Webber

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Monte-Carlo, Monaco, 2013

Beat team mate in qualifying 0/10
Beat team mate in race 0/8
Races finished 9/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate 63/571

The numbers tell the tale of a very one-sided contest at Red Bull. But given how the cards have fallen for Webber this year, he is actually doing rather well against a driver who is one of the best in the business.
Malaysia was, of course, the pivotal moment of Webber’s season so far. He took after timing his switch to slick tyres better than Vettel did and he was right to feel aggrieved after his team mate defied the “multi 21″ instruction to hold position. But Webber was perhaps being a little naive if he thought Vettel would pay any more attention to such orders than Webber himself has in the past.
Poor luck dogged several of Webber’s other races. Pit stop errors ruined his races in China and Germany – the former coming after he had run out of fuel during qualifying, sending him to the back of the grid. In Canada a podium was in the offing until a careless Van der Garde damaged his front wing.
On other occasions he’s demonstrated superb composure in recovering from setbacks: in Spain he finished fourth having almost been last at one point and he was a close second to Rosberg at Silverstone after damaging his front wing on the first lap. In Hungary he dragged his car into Q3 without KERS and claimed an impressive fourth in the race.
Mark Webber 2013 form guide

6. Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Monte-Carlo, 2013

Beat team mate in qualifying 3/10
Beat team mate in race 3/8
Races finished 8/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate 240/549

For the last three years evaluating Rosberg’s performance was bound up in questions over just how well Michael Schumacher was driving after his comeback. On the strength of this year so far, we should perhaps give Schumacher more credit, as Rosberg has been close to new team mate Hamilton and sometimes ahead of him.
Rosberg’s record might be rather better were it not for a trio of race-ending car problems, though all of them occurred while he was behind his team mate. He also finished in Hamilton’s wheel tracks in Malaysia while under orders from the team not to overtake him.
However he deserves credit for his Monaco win after beating Hamilton to pole position, his third in a row. His Silverstone victory was somewhat fortuitous, aided by Hamilton’s puncture and Vettel’s gearbox failure.
Like Hamilton he has at times struggled with the Mercedes’ harshness on its tyres but that increasingly seems to be a thing of the past. But as Hamilton becomes increasingly comfortable with the W04, Rosberg may find it gets harder to keep him in range.

Nico Rosberg 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 five drivers have performed so far in 2013?

Have your say in the comments.

Images © Lotus/LAT, McLaren/Hoch Zwei, Sauber, Red Bull/Getty, Mercedes/Hoch Zwei

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60 comments on 2013 F1 season half-term driver rankings: 10-6

  1. Kanman1 said on 14th August 2013, 13:36

    why did Keith keep mentioning Romain was told to let kimi past??

    silverstone – kimi was ahead of Alonso and romain. When alonso pitted, instead of reacting to it, the team opted to pit Romain instead. When kimi finally pitted, he was undercutted by both Alonso and Romain. Kimi was right behind Romain and he was clearly blocking Kimi. Team opted for team order to compensate for their idiotic pit calls.

    Nurbugring – Kimi again was screwed by first pit stop call decision and got stuck behind traffic. Luckily SC brought him back to the game. Due to radio failure, kimi couldn’t relay his wishes to continue with his last stint of medium tire. Opted to pit instead for 6 laps old option tire. Romain was told to let his teammate past, but he ignored. And only do so after 3 laps when its too late.

    Its not like he was ahead due to his ability. More like team often get the strategy right with Romain than Kimi.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th August 2013, 13:39

      Because the statistics show Grosjean has only finished in front of Raikkonen once. In that context, it’s only fair to point out that on two occasions he’s had to let Raikkonen past when he might have finished in front.

      As you can see similar concessions regarding team orders were made to other drivers in this article.

      • Kanman1 said on 14th August 2013, 14:06


        its only matter of time that Kimi eventually overtook Romain in both occasion. But the team was aiming for better result and do not wish their drivers to waste time helding each other.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th August 2013, 14:07

          In your opinion, I don’t necessarily agree. Certainly in the case of Germany had it not been for the Safety Car Grosjean was heading for a better result on merit and I think he deserves some credit for that.

          • Kanman1 said on 14th August 2013, 14:42

            Again, it was due to Lotus getting the strategy right for Romain and wrong for Kimi.

            Of course he deserves some credit. But you fail to mention why kimi was found stuck behind the traffic in the first place. As Eric admitted it was wrong to pit kimi that time around.

          • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 14th August 2013, 14:50

            You’re so preoccupied with giving Raikkonen every possible concession and accusing his team of being incompetent you’ve overlooked the fact this isn’t about him, it’s about Grosjean. I only mentioned Raikkonen as far as it was relevant to Grosjean’s performance.

            There will, of course, be a part on Raikkonen later.

      • Angelia (@angelia) said on 15th August 2013, 9:24

        The problem is Grosjean was only in front of Kimi because Lotus screwed up Kimi’s strategy, if they made the right calls right from the start then Grosjean would never have been in front of him. Especially in Silverstone where Grosjean had no where near the pace of Kimi.

        • Alex Brown (@splittimes) said on 15th August 2013, 9:50

          I think the point is that Grosjean drove the race that he found himself in, as everyone does. The team order undermines his chances of proving he could have (or not) finished in front. It is a forced result, not one determined by skill. It removes possibilities.

    • David not Coulthard (@) said on 15th August 2013, 19:25

      Then again, Kimi’s ahead of Romain in the ranking…

  2. Krichelle (@krichelle) said on 14th August 2013, 13:39

    I think Rosberg should be in the top 5, He has 2 wins and how can a driver with 2 wins out of 10 not be in the top 5??? Personally, Rosberg should be in top 5 this season so far, Button should be in 7th or 6…

    • andae23 (@andae23) said on 14th August 2013, 13:43

      Wins doesn’t tell the whole story: Monaco was won be driving ever so slowly and he would have finished third in Silverstone had Hamilton and Vettel finished the race. Nonetheless, I agree he should have been in the top five.

    • Tomsk (@tomsk) said on 14th August 2013, 14:29

      Me too, for the first time I’ve been convinced he’s truly a top driver. For the first half I’d have put him above Button and maybe Alonso, so looking forward to reading the top five rankings.
      Nico’s race in Hungary was messy – but I hope that’s a one-off and not a bad reaction to Hamilton beginning to beat him.

  3. andae23 (@andae23) said on 14th August 2013, 13:41

    Of the drivers you had left in your pool (would have included DIR and SUT instead of GRO and PER), I think I agree with your top ten rankings. Would have put Rosberg on five instead of Button: JB sure has been impressive the first half of this season, but tonnes of experience versus newbie Perez certainly didn’t show off. I mean, Perez has had occasions where he showed that he could match Button’s pace, which doesn’t really flatter Button. Also, Rosberg has held his own against Schumacher and now he is marginally slower than Hamilton – that’s quite an achievement.

    • Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 14th August 2013, 17:04

      @andae23 Exactly . Rosberg deserves better , plus he was faster in Malaysia ( brake problems for hamilton or not , faster is faster at the end of the day ) . The way he bitterly clasped on to 1st in Barcelona till the first round of pitstops was good defensive driving as well , considering he drove a car which chewed on it’s tyres .

  4. Lance (@lancelot) said on 14th August 2013, 13:49

    I agree with you, Keith . Sensible ratings.

  5. BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th August 2013, 13:56

    Yeah, I think the top 10 so far adds up pretty well. Maybe Rosberg should be in the top 5 instead of Button, as he has been winning before Hamilton. On the other hand Button has had a far worse car to get to grips with and is holding up pretty solidly (even qualifying a tad better than I would have expected).

    • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 14th August 2013, 14:24

      @bascb I agree. I do think Rosberg has been tragically underappreciated his whole Mercedes career.

    • TMF (@tmf42) said on 14th August 2013, 15:02

      imo, Rosberg is the most underrated driver since Webber.

      • KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 15th August 2013, 8:54

        @tmf42 Personally I thought Webber was rather overrated as a driver. Admittedly I thought the same about Rosberg until this season, and still think the same about Hulkenburg (Even if he did impress towards the end of last year) but for Webber he’s always been the one who would need everything pushed to him to get the WDC. As it happened in 2010 (The only year where both Webber and Vettel had a shot at the title) Red Bull split the strategies and Webber was the one that got caught out.

        Webber’s a nice enough guy (Except when he’s biting his tongue), but nice guys don’t necessarily mean good racers

    • Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 15th August 2013, 0:57

      I would also agree with putting Rosberg in the top 5, right behind Hamilton IMO. He’s had some terrible reliability and some fantastic races.

  6. V. Chris (@vasschu) said on 14th August 2013, 14:52

    Great list so far and i agree with almost every position. I do feel however that the McLaren boys are little ahead of where they should have been, but honestly i don’t have answer who should be number 5 if not Button. I don’t think Rosberg deserves this position too. Hulk simply can’t shine enough with this car and this team mate. And the others are simply no contenders at all for me.

  7. I maybe wouldn’t have Webber so high as he has been pretty conclusively beaten by Vettel even despite his misfortunes. In Australia he had that wretched start – which I believe was a problem with the car – so the time lost in that may have allowed him to finish 5th (+2 points), Malaysia I consider absolutely irrelevant, the under-fuelling and rogue wheel in China cost him a possible 5th place (+10 points) and in Germany I’d say a 3rd was maybe possible (+9 points). He pretty munched finished where possible in Hungary regardless of the problems so overall that amounts to a 21 point loss by my I think fair estimate.

    Then there’s Vettel, who lost 25 points to a gearbox failure.

    • He pretty *much

    • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 14th August 2013, 18:59

      @vettel1, I think you’re being a bit hard on Webber here, and especially with

      and in Germany I’d say a 3rd was maybe possible

      he was right on Vettel’s tail in second place before the first pit stop, so why couldn’t he gave finished 2nd, or challenge Vettel for the win on one of Webber’s favourite circuits?

    • @Vettel1
      Never a fan of Webber … but have to say Webber was always on the back foot because of KERS issues, unsecured wheels during pit stops, stupid back markers etc…. Vettel is probably the driver of the year so far but Webber really did nt have the chance to challenge him consistently this year so far…
      a little too much of Vettel love there by you.. but I guess that’s expected of Vettel1 :)

      • @puneethvb I don’t think I’m being unfair on him at all – I’m trying to highlight through rudimentary calculation that actually all his problems haven’t amounted to as much as it may appear.

        In Australia he had the ECU problem which ruined his start and consequently his first stint, so that probably lost him only a place (he finished 1.3s behind Hamilton and 13.3s behind Massa). [+2]

        Malaysia again is not lost points – it would be artificially gained points had Vettel not “taken matters into his own hands” so to speak. So that is 0, as there was no technical problem or otherwise hindrance due to pit error or collision. [0]

        China is a difficult one as we cannot at all accurately predict Webber’s true pace. The race charts suggest he was catching but that is to be expected considering they were on different strategies. Relying on FP times for an accurate prediction of qualifying is never going to give true indication as there is far too much ambiguity also. So it is best to base it on the season form guides of each driver which by that logic would suggest Vettel would’ve held Webber off – in that sense 5th place is not an unreasonable prediction but if you must I will pencil in 3rd as a “best case scenario” figure. [+15]

        In Bahrain, I personally wouldn’t count it as Webber made his own luck there by involving himself in the incident with Vergne but lets be generous (as apparently I wasn’t generous enough before) and count it towards his point’s lost (I should clarify this is me being incredibly generous and using double standards – I never count incidents caused by the bearer towards lost points). Losing two spots on the grid probably cost him enough time in the first stint that he could’ve jumped both Perez and Hamilton (the next man up the road Di Resta was 13.5s ahead of 5th placed Hamilton). [+4]

        For Canada, I personally don’t think the front wing damage cost him all that much time but even so there was a 9.8s gap to the next man up the road Lewis Hamilton. I will be highly generous though on this occasion (assuming he’ll have lost half a second a lap despite setting the fastest lap) for 33 laps which would’ve given him 2nd place. [+6]

        Germany I will again be generous and say he’d have held off Räikkönen (which I highly doubt he would have). [+12]

        So by being super generous and breaking my own rules on these classifications purely to satisfy @njack ‘s and @puneethvb ‘s criticisms, he could have theoretically lost 39 points. That would put him only 13 points up on his current gap to Vettel (Vettel lost 25 points in Britain and so Webber gained 3 – +28; Vettel loses 2 points in China). That’s still a 54 point gap, over two race wins.

        By my more representative measurement the story is even bleaker: I’d scrap Bahrain entirely [-4], re-adjust China to 5th [-5, +2 VET], ignore Canada [-6] and have Webber in 3rd in Germany [-3]. By that calculation, Webber actually loses 7 points to Vettel. Nitpick all you like but the fact doesn’t change: Webber would still be over 50 points behind Vettel.

        That’s not exactly an insult as Vettel has been having one of his best starts to a season ever (maybe even better than 2011 considering the machinery at his disposal in comparison) and few would argue against Vettel being one of the top 4 drivers in the sport at the moment so Webber’s been having a very respectable season. However, I wouldn’t say it has been the 7th best performance out there – I’d have Hülkenberg ahead at least.

    • Njack (@njack) said on 14th August 2013, 21:58

      Webber’s issues this year.

      Australia – ECU communication glitch meant the clutch setting wasn’t right for the start and then no KERS for the first 20 laps. 2-4 points lost.

      Malayasia – Teammate given undercut at final pit stops, though Webber may not have held on to first anyway, Vettel would have caught him until a few laps before the end. Maybe 7 points lost.

      China – Fuel error and Wheel issue, 10 points lost minimum.

      Bahrain – No penalty from China, p4 or p5 without having to undercut in first stint and stretch out second and third stints. 4-6 points lost.

      Canada – Front wing damaged by van de garde, 3-6 points lost.

      Germany – had the same race pace as Vettel so 12 points lost.

      Hungary – Too much speculation for potential points lost, so no change.

      Webber -31 to -45.

      Vettel – 18 to -25 for Britain.

      7th is right, I’d swap Button and Rosberg though.

      • @njack I forgot about Bahrain so thanks for that addition (I’m not so sure on Canada though – I wouldn’t think it’ll have lost him all that much time) but I simply don’t agree on Malaysia: it isn’t “points lost” if your faster teammate overtakes you. I’d argue it were points lost if the faster driver is forced to stay behind (as was the case with Rosberg), not the other way round. China was 10 points maximum if we assume Vettel was faster (not unreasonable as he’s been faster than Webber on every other occasion).

        @adrianmorse it’s simply for what @dizzy-a has said – Räikkönen finished right on Vettel’s tail so it wouldn’t be unreasonable to presume Räikkönen would’ve overtaken him.

        • Njack (@njack) said on 15th August 2013, 5:44

          I have clearly stated “Maybe 7 points lost”.

          Webber had a gap of 4.2 seconds prior to the final pit stops phase. Based on the previous pit stop gap increases in the race that would have increased to 4.7 – 6.1 seconds.

          At the 0.7 lap difference average Vettel had after passing him, with 12 laps remaining he would have caught him, but with much more worn tires its debatable whether he would have been able to pass.

          As for Germany, catching and passing on the Nurburgring are two different things, Grosjean couldn’t pass Vettel in the DRS zones during laps 29-38 even when Vettel temporarily lost KERS in lap 34-42 so there is no reason to assume Raikkonen could have passed Vettel or Webber had he still been in second.

          • Njack (@njack) said on 15th August 2013, 5:54

            The available pace data for China is:

            FP1 – Vettel 1’37.942, Webber – 1’37.658
            FP2 – Vettel 1’36.791, Webber – 1’36.092
            FP3 – Vettel 1’36.286, Webber – 1’36.420
            Q1 – Vettel 1’36.537, Webber – 1’36.148

            Webber was faster in 3/4 available sessions, and Vettel made a mistake on the last lap which prevented an opportunity to pass Hamilton as well as being unable to pass Hulkenberg earlier in the race costing him around 0.5 a lap according to his radio transmission, so 3rd was possible for the Red Bull drivers in that race.

          • @njack I realise now you haven’t purely considered it as Webber lost out due to Vettel ignoring team orders so I apologise for that. However, the strategic decisions in terms of pitting each driver is a constant (to use physics terminology) so I do not agree with you arguing that Webber may have had the chance to hang on to the win if that were have to changed. By that logic you’d have to completely re-affirm Vettel’s game-plan also so it is best to ignore it completely otherwise it becomes far too complicated. In that case, Malaysia is irrelevant.

  8. xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 14th August 2013, 15:27

    I think Hülkenberg is about right; he has been brilliant this year, espescially given the machinery at his disposal, just not super brilliant, and I suppose Gutierrez is an unreliable performance guide given he’s a rookie.

    • Bianchi also drives a machinery way off than Sauber and he too has a rookie co-driver. How come he after not performing(understandibly) is kept in the end bracket and on the other side Hulk is given the benefit of the doubt??? Agreed to Bianchi’s position but don’t think Hulk should have been above Di resta or even in the top 10.

  9. wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 14th August 2013, 15:27

    Hungary reinforced the view that he’s on an upward swing at the moment, out-qualifying Raikkonen for the second race in a row

    A little mistake in the facts here, @keithcollantine…Grosjean outqualified Kimi at Silverstone, was behind the Finn at the Nurburgring, before outqualifying him again at the Hungaroring…so it isn’t two races in a row.

  10. Grosjean didn’t get his penalty in Hungary for hitting Button, but for going off track to pass Massa. But, yeah, he made these errors and ruined a chance of winning. You totally snarked me yesterday about Grosjean and why he was not worse than 10th, which was cool, but as your analysis shows, he doesn’t deserve to be in the top 10. Indeed, what other driver hs had a devasting twitpic made inspired by his lack of judgement oon the track? (see oppan grosjean style) I go by the twitpic rule.

    Also, Rosberg needs more love. After Monaco people were all, Rosberg is crushing Hamilton, he is much better than we thought. He lost the plot in Hungary but still he has put up a very good record this year against a guy who people 1. think is pretty and good and 2. was going to embarass Rosberg.

  11. Hamilfan (@hamilfan) said on 14th August 2013, 17:10

    @keithcollantine ‘Sauber solution’ LOL that was a good catchphrase for ‘ a solution that turned sober ‘ :-P .

    Agree with your rankings . However , Rosberg ahead of Button according to me for sure .

  12. hunocsi (@hunocsi) said on 14th August 2013, 17:18

    It must come as a shock to him that neither he nor his team mate have come close to finishing on the podium yet – this time last year he’d done so twice for Sauber.

    Button had a chance of a third place in Malaysia until the team screwed up his last pit stop which took that opportunity away from him.

  13. OEL F1 (@oel-f1) said on 14th August 2013, 21:55

    China and Germany – the former coming after he had run out of fuel during qualifying, sending him to the back of the grid.

    Wasn’t that fuel penalty in Spain? In Germany he chased down Vettel until that pitstop error.

  14. oliveiraz33 (@oliveiraz33) said on 14th August 2013, 23:01

    I think that Ricciardo could be among Grosjean and Perez… Both Perez and Grosjean have proven to be quick, but they are still lacking some confidence, resulting in uneven performance…

    Despite Webber’s problems with multi21, unreliable race-car and pitcrew, and some hints of great form in some races, I think hulkenberg should be ahead of him… Hulkenberg has been very strong, consistent, and driving fast a car lacking performance… I even think that Ricciardo’s performance is overrated compared to Hulkenberg, despite me liking Ric more than Hulk…

  15. olivier (@olivier) said on 15th August 2013, 13:25

    Button in the top 5? I don’t see how can that be …

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