2013 F1 season review
The F1 Fanatic 2013 driver rankings continues with part two. If you missed the first part you can catch up here.
16: Jules Bianchi
|Beat team mate in qualifying||17/18|
|Beat team mate in race||14/16|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||786/993|
Jules Bianchi is one of the harder drivers to place on this list. Driving one of the least competitive cars in the field he emphatically beat a team mate who, like him, was also a rookie.
Bianchi did as much as Marussia could have expected from a driver with little experience who had a very late call-up to the team. But he quickly got to grips with the MR02, delivering a 13th place finish in round two which eventually earned Marussia their coveted tenth place in the constructors’ championship.
The few retirements he posted were either a consequence of incidents that weren’t his making or a problem with his car. And he did a far better job of avoiding the kind of penalties and incidents which afflicted fellow ‘new team’ drivers.
Given the limited frame of reference it’s hard to make a case for placing him higher on the list, but this was nonetheless an impressive first season in F1.
15: Felipe Massa
|Beat team mate in qualifying||8/18|
|Beat team mate in race||1/16|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||169/968|
This was the third year in a row Felipe Massa failed to score half as many points as team mate Fernando Alonso and Ferrari have finally seen fit to drop him. and yet in some respects this which actually a slightly better season for Massa than we have come to expect.
His qualifying form against Alonso was the strongest aspect of his performance, particularly towards the end of the year on the harder tyres. But the results still weren’t there on race day, Massa taking just a single podium to Alonso’s nine.
He went through a rough spell in the middle of the year, suffering five incidents in four weekends from Monaco to Germany. At least one of those was caused by suspension failure – one of a pair of similar shunts at Sainte Devote in Monaco. Later on in Korea he almost took his team mate out on the first lap.
He also crossed the stewards on more than one occasion: impeding Webber during qualifying in Spain and breaking the pit lane speed limit in Japan. And of course there was the much-discussed penalty for cutting the white in Brazil – despite Massa’s vocal protestations it was something all drivers had been warned about more than once and which two of Massa’s rivals complained about him doing during the race.
On Massa’s better days he was able to get within range of Alonso: in Italy he might have had a chance of a podium had he not been told to back off and let Alonso past. He lost his seat following the race and the next time he was ordered to give way, in Japan, he was not so obliging.
This belated act of defiance – which might have been more gainfully employed at Hockenheim three years ago – ultimately proved futile as Alonso passed him anyway. That rather summed up his season.
14: Valtteri Bottas
|Beat team mate in qualifying||12/19|
|Beat team mate in race||5/14|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||481/989|
Pastor Maldonado may have finished ahead of Valtteri Bottas in the races more often than not, but there was a lot to like about the rookie driver’s performances this year.
He stayed out of trouble, he qualified well – and he gave the team its best Saturday and Sunday results of the year.
Canada was the first indication of what a shrewd move Williams had made by promoting Bottas to a race seat. In one of the best qualifying performance of the year by any driver he claimed third on the grid with only Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton faster than him in a rain-hit session.
He was never going to be able to sustain that giant-killing feat in a dry race. But Bottas calmly held his ground for as long as he realistically could with an impressively mature drive.
Towards the end of the year, when Williams had solved one of the key problems with the FW35, Bottas wielded it to excellent effect, giving them their best result of the season. Another fine qualifying effort – this time in a dry session – and a superb pass on Esteban Gutierrez in the race put him on course for eighth place.
It leads you to wonder how much of Pastor Maldonado’s eagerness to leave Williams came from a desire not to have to go up against Bottas again now he’s got a year’s racing under his belt.
13. Adrian Sutil
|Beat team mate in qualifying||8/19|
|Beat team mate in race||4/12|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||366/826|
Adrian Sutil’s return to racing started very well: he was in the lead by lap 14 of his comeback race, though this eventually proved to have been largely down to his strategy.
That was one of two stand-out moments of his year, the other being a thrilling drive in Monaco featuring some brave and accomplished passes at the Fairmont Hotel hairpin. He was rewarded with fifth place, which turned out to be his best result of the season.
At the time it was a welcome tonic following some early-season misfortunes. He had been taken out by Esteban Gutierrez in China and thwarted by wheel nut problems in Malaysia and Spain. But even when things went right he usually wasn’t up to the standard set by his team mate.
That was aggravated by some mistakes of his own: he was penalised after holding up Lewis Hamilton in Canada and Italy – which raised eyebrows given their recent falling-out – and spun into Webber in Korea. Nor was he blameless in his first-lap collision with Pastor Maldonado in America.
A typical year for Sutil, then: capable but rarely spectacular, and a few too many mistakes.
12. Mark Webber
|Beat team mate in qualifying||2/19|
|Beat team mate in race||0/15|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||117/1038|
Although he didn’t confirm it until June, Webber later admitted he had in mind as early as the first race of the season that this would be his last in Formula One.
It proved a bruising year. Webber has never enjoyed the current generation of tyres and the 2013 rubber was the most aggressive yet, which surely played a role in the widening gap between him and team mate Vettel.
In one sense the year was far from a disaster: he finished third in the drivers’ championship, equalling his best ever performance. But he had barely more than half his team mate’s points tally and no wins to Vettel’s 13.
Of course, he would have had a tenth career win had Vettel played ball in Malaysia. Webber sussed the conditions better than his team mate early in the race, propelling him into the lead.
The rights and wrongs of Red Bull’s attempt to tell their drivers to hold station and Vettel’s refusal to heed the instruction have been endlessly debated. But as Webber had disregarded similar instructions on at least one prior occasion (Silverstone in 2011) it would have been naive of him to expect Vettel to behave differently.
Webber probably came closest to victory in Britain despite a dreadful start in which he lost part of his front wing and later slipped to 14th place. The Safety Car helped him back into contention and he was homing in on leader Nico Rosberg when the chequered flag fell.
These poor starts were another feature of Webber’s season: his typical race pattern was to qualify (not far) behind Vettel, bog down at the start and spent the rest of the race trying to recover positions.
Bad luck also returned to haunt him at times: most significantly in China, Canada and Germany. But at other times Webber’s actions had precipitated it: a ten-place penalty in Korea for accruing three reprimands left him in the middle of the pack, where he was eventually taken out by Adrian Sutil.
But he rounded off the year – and his F1 career – with an excellent second place in Brazil following a race-long scrap with Fernando Alonso.
11. Sergio Perez
|Beat team mate in qualifying||10/19|
|Beat team mate in race||6/19|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||488/1112|
McLaren’s decision to drop Sergio Perez after a single season with the team invites us to view his year as an unmitigated failure.
But it wasn’t: The team’s eagerness to stress how badly they wanted to get Kevin Magnussen in a car and find a berth for Perez at another team in 2014 underlines that point.
Perez compared well against Jenson Button in qualifying – although it’s true that’s never been one of his team mate’s strengths – and had several good races too. Unfortunately most of them came after the team had already decided to replace him next year. An excellent fifth in India included a pass on Hamilton and Raikkonen, and he produced a fine recovery drive in the final race to take sixth, gaining thirteen places on the way.
Some of the criticisms levelled at his driving by his rivals were justified – Button’s complaints about being hit by his own team mate in Bahrain, for example. But on other occasions Perez was patently blameless, such as when Raikkonen hit him in China.
What should have been a great result in Monaco – following passes on Alonso and Button – ended in nothing after another collision with Raikkonen for which both drivers bore some of the blame.
But there were a few too many missed opportunities and days when he lagged behind Button at the flag. In another year he might have hung on to his seat for a second season, but McLaren believe they’ve got a star of the future on their hands in Magnussen, and that meant goodbye to Perez.
How the rankings are produced
This is a ranking of how drivers have performed in the 2013 season, irrespective of their form in previous years. Among the data referred to in producing the rankings 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 highly do you rate the drivers who’ve appeared so far in the rankings? Give your views on them in the comments.
2013 F1 season review
- F1 Fanatic’s new year thanks and credits 2014
- The complete F1 Fanatic 2013 season review
- The drivers, teams and cars of 2013
- 2013 F1 season in stats: The year in context
- Essential reading: F1 Fanatic’s highlights of 2013
Browse all 2013 F1 season review articles
Images ?é?® Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, Red Bull/Getty, McLaren/Hoch Zwei