Which team has the best driver line-up for 2014?

2014 F1 season

Nico Rosberg, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Sepang, 2013Just two teams in the F1 field will begin the 2014 season with the same driver line-up they had last year.

Mercedes have kept Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg on board having described the pairing as one of their key strengths last year.

The only other team to have retained its 2013 squad is Marussia, where Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton begin their second season together.

The most eye-catching change in the 2014 roster is surely Kimi Raikkonen’s return to Ferrari. Together with Fernando Alonso the Scuderia is fielding two world champions for the first time in over 60 years.

In other major changes four-times world champion Sebastian Vettel is joined by Daniel Ricciardo at Red Bull. And McLaren have promoted one of the three rookies in the field to their team in place of Sergio Perez.

But which team has got the best driver line-up this year? Compare them and cast your vote below.

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Korea International Circuit, 2013Owned the 2009-13 rules generation, the beginning of which coincided with his arrival at Red Bull. After a perfect second half last year he could start 2014 with his tenth win in a row.

Sebastian Vettel biography

Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull, Jerez, 2014His trademark grin may be stretched to breaking point as he changes up from Toro Rosso and prepares to take on a four-times world champion. Qualifying, a strength of his, will be a key battle.

Daniel Ricciardo biography

Mercedes

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Yas Marina, 2013Never seemed to get settled in the W04 last year, but in his second year at Mercedes there should be nothing to keep him from getting the most out of what is expected to be a competitive car.

Lewis Hamilton biography

Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Suzuka, 2013Fared well against Hamilton last year particularly on their points tallies, considering Rosberg’s reliability woes. That raised his stock higher, but he still has ‘off’ days.

Nico Rosberg biography

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Jerez, 2014There’s rarely anything to fault in Alonso’s driving, though he had some indifferent qualifying performances last year. In Raikkonen he faces his toughest team mate in seven years.

Fernando Alonso biography

Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Jerez, 2014Mirrors Alonso in many respects at the wheel: consistent, quick and error-free in the races, but qualifying isn’t his strongest card. That’s probably the only vulnerability in Ferrari’s squad.

Kimi Raikkonen biography

Lotus

Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Yas Marina, 2013Just when it looked like he was never going to get his act together, Grosjean delivered a string of assured, clean and above all fast drives at the end of 2013. And not a moment too soon.

Romain Grosjean biography

Pastor Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Interlagos, 2013His speed is not in question, particularly on street circuits, but Maldonado can be as impolitic on the track as he is off it. Might have benefitted from the tutelage of the now-missing Eric Boullier.

Pastor Maldonado biography

McLaren

Jenson Button

Jenson Button, Melbourne, McLaren, 2013The most experienced driver on the grid and very much a known quantity. One-lap pace is not his forte; coaxing the best from his tyres over a race stint and judging mixed conditions is.

Jenson Button biography

Kevin Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen, McLaren, Jerez, 2014The pressure is on for Magnussen to ‘do a Hamilton’. He showed speed and maturity in Formula Renault 3.5 next year, now he needs to transfer that as McLaren regroup following a dismal 2013.

Kevin Magnussen biography

Force India

Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Jerez, 2014Although he’s changed teams a lot this highly-regarded drivers is beginning his third season with Force India so should get comfortable quickly and resume his late-2013 giant-killing.

Nico Hulkenberg biography

Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez, Force India, Jerez, 2014Time to bounce back after being cut loose by McLaren following a season where he was not quite on-par on several counts. There’s still potential in Perez, though, as his later drives showed.

Sergio Perez biography

Sauber

Adrian Sutil

Adrian Sutil, Sauber, Jerez, 2014Was shaded by Paul di Resta last year. But although he’s not in the top percentage for pure speed he has become a more dependable driver and will be a regular points scorer if the car’s up to it.

Adrian Sutil biography

Esteban Gutierrez

Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Circuit de Catalunya, 2013There were few highlights in his bruising debut season alongside Hulkenberg. With the advantage of team knowledge over Sutil he must get on terms with his new team mate quickly.

Esteban Gutierrez biography

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne

Jean-Eric Vergne, Bahrain, Toro Rosso, 2013Soundly beaten by Ricciardo in qualifying last year, he needs more Canada-quality performances to retain the backing of Red Bull with many young talents snapping at his heels.

Jean-Eric Vergne biography

Daniil Kvyat

Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Circuit of the Americas, 2013Did a good job of juggling two championships last year and his nationality can’t have hurt his chances of landing a seat. But he has a steep learning curve in front of him.

Daniil Kvyat biography

Williams

Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa, Williams, Jerez, 2014His ejection from Ferrari was overdue, but although Massa has rarely looked like the driver of 2008/09 since his Hungary crash his experience will be of great value to Williams.

Felipe Massa biography

Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Hockenheim, 2012Supplied Williams’ best results despite a poor chassis last season. With a year’s experience under his belt this promising talent could be quite a handful for Massa.

Valtteri Bottas biography

Marussia

Jules Bianchi

Jules Bianchi, Marussia, Jerez, 2014Ferrari’s development driver will benefit from Ferrari power this year which should give him a greater opportunity to show the potential that was occasionally glimpsed early last year.

Jules Bianchi biography

Max Chilton

Max Chilton, Bahrain, Marussia, 2013Well off Bianchi’s pace much of the time as they made their F1 debuts together, but did gradually get closer to his team mate. Stability will help him make gains but don’t expect miracles.

Max Chilton biography

Caterham

Kamui Kobayashi

Kamui Kobayashi, Caterham, Jerez, 2014His last season for Sauber in 2012 was his third full year yet there were still several careless errors. But he brings experience – and his celebrated overtaking bravado – to Caterham.

Kamui Kobayashi biography

Marcus Ericsson

Marcus Ericsson, Caterham, Jerez, 2014Started his single seater career well but then spent an underwhelming four-year stint in GP2. On his best days he looked like a potential F1 driver but there weren’t enough of them.

Marcus Ericsson biography

Over to you

Which team has the best driver line-up for 2014? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Which team has the best driver line-up for 2014?

  • Red Bull: Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo (4%)
  • Mercedes: Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg (23%)
  • Ferrari: Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen (67%)
  • Lotus: Romain Grosjean and Pastor Maldonado (1%)
  • McLaren: Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen (2%)
  • Force India: Nico Hulkenberg and Sergio Perez (3%)
  • Sauber: Adrian Sutil and Esteban Gutierrez (0%)
  • Toro Rosso: Jean-Eric Vergne and Daniil Kvyat (0%)
  • Williams: Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas (1%)
  • Marussia: Jules Bianchi and Max Chilton (0%)
  • Caterham: Kamui Kobayashi and Marcus Ericsson (0%)

Total Voters: 572

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Find the updated driver line-up for 2014 so far including test and reserve drivers here:

2014 F1 season preview


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Images © Red Bull/Getty, Mercedes/Hoch Zwei, Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, Lotus/LAT, McLaren/Hoch Zwei, McLaren/LAT, Force India, Sauber, Williams/LAT, Marussia, Caterham/LAT

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109 comments on Which team has the best driver line-up for 2014?

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  1. andae23 (@andae23) said on 7th February 2014, 12:01

    Easy, Ferrari. Honourable mention to Mercedes, Force India and Williams.

    • Gordon (@gfreeman) said on 7th February 2014, 22:11

      Spot on.

    • dragoll (@dragoll) said on 7th February 2014, 22:13

      @andae23 I think we were trying to provoke discussion, not make 100% sense on the first comment :P

    • In terms of talent + experience, it’s clearly Ferrari.
      But there’s always the possibility that the personalities of Fernando and Kimi won’t work well in the same team. I’m not so sure that it will be the implosion a lot of people seem to think it will, but if there’s so much as a hint of trouble, I think the Mercedes boys will be right there to capitalise on it. Lewis and Nico have already proven they can handle seeing each other win without throwing their toys out of the pram. If it’s a close competition this season, that attitude might make all the difference.

    • Rockie (@rockie) said on 8th February 2014, 0:29

      I don’t see how the Ferrari is a strong pairing they have 2 drivers who are past it in qualifying and also this season qualifying is gonna be really important as you don’t wanna stress your engine trying to make up places.
      I would go with Redbull as Vettel’s points scoring alone accounts for two drivers based on the last 4 years alone.
      Last season before it all started everybody said Merc had the best pairing!

      • karter22 (@karter22) said on 8th February 2014, 3:08

        @rockie
        So what if they are past it in qualifying? What wins championships is wins, podius and points! Lewis might be able to put a rabbit out of the hat but, if he once said himself that having Fernando behind you is like having a bull behind… then there is not much validity in your comment!
        Give me a winner on sunday rather than saturday and I´m a happy camper!

  2. Easy for a non-Ferrari fan: Ferrari!

  3. Timebolt (@timebolt759) said on 7th February 2014, 12:03

    For me it’s a tosser between Lotus and Force India. If Hulkenburg went to lotus I would have said Lotus had the best Line-up

  4. Beto (@chebeto) said on 7th February 2014, 12:04

    I gave it to Ferrari but I got to admit Mercedes is a close second for me. Hamilton, though inconsitant, can have some beautiful performances (i.e. Hungary 2013) and Nico Rosberg is a much better driver than many give him credit for.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 8th February 2014, 5:23

      Honestly, I couldn’t say which driver line up was stronger – Mercedes or Ferrari.

      Although I am an Alonso and a Kimi fan, I think their raw pace during qualifying hasn’t been as spectacular as Lewis and Nico’s.

      On raceday though they both Ferrari drivers are more than a match for the Mercedes drivers, and are consistent throughout the year on Sundays.

      I think its easier to pick the 3rd best team on the grid -> Force India
      and the 4th best -> Red Bull

  5. timi (@timi) said on 7th February 2014, 12:10

    For me Mercedes has the best driver line-up. Ferrari’s is the best in a purely “who is best” decision, but these are two previous world champions and two of the strongest personalities in the sport. No more “Fernando is faster than you”, and if there is, I doubt the other would want to move out of the way, and fair enough. But this decreases team strength, so I place the Ferrari pairing second. I see something going very wrong between Fernando and Kimi at some point this season

  6. Chris (@tophercheese21) said on 7th February 2014, 12:10

    On paper, it’s Ferrari, and it’s not even close.

    On Tarmac however, it will likely be a very different story. The ALO/RAI partnership could prove to be too divisive and implode. Leaving the two Mercedes boys to claim the WCC.

    Well, maybe that’s just what I’d like to see happen hehe.

    • Jeevan (@jee1kimi) said on 7th February 2014, 12:24

      I think Merc pair are also very strong,and if Rosberg can match Lewis’s pace,we are in for a serious pairing in Ham/Ros.It would be interesting if their partnership turns out to be implosive,(if not as much as Ferrari’s),certainly one of the things to look out for this season,with Merc well placed to have a strong season..

      And it would be interesting to see how those 2 react when team orders’ are given..With no Ross Brawn(an authoritive figure who managed to give team orders to Nico in Malaysia’13 and got obeyed by Nico[Unlike our dear 4-time WC] ),it would be interesting whether Nico would move out of way for Lewis,or vice versa..

      2 best pair of drivers for 2014 in 2 manufacturer teams is an interesting battle!!

      • George (@george) said on 7th February 2014, 16:27

        If the Merc is capable of winning the championship I think we might see Rosberg fighting his corner more vigorously, although whether he’ll disobey the team when it comes down to it I’m not sure.

      • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 7th February 2014, 17:15

        @tophercheese21

        On Tarmac however, it will likely be a very different story. The ALO/RAI partnership could prove to be too divisive and implode. Leaving the two Mercedes boys to claim the WCC.

        I’m going to make an early prediction: Mercedes is where the tension will be next year.

    • Joshua Mesh (@joshua-mesh) said on 7th February 2014, 13:29

      Kimi cant implode and you need 2 to tango!

    • I agree: Ferrari on paper, but Red Bull, Mercedes and Force India in particular all have very stable line-ups who should also theoretically perform well.

  7. It’s hard to choose anyone other than Ferrari.

    (Please liberally insert “in my opinion” below…)
    With Rosberg being rather underrated Mercedes are also very strong. Also, I think Button is still underrated, and if Magnusson turns out be very fast – and I hear good things – McLaren could run some surprises.

    • Paul (@frankjaeger) said on 7th February 2014, 15:32

      Seconded. I think if Magnusson turns out to be the 1st-year-wonder he’s marked to be, I could see McLaren’s driver pairing rivaling Mercedes’.

      That said, I think Ferrari have the strongest driver pairing available. I think people shouldn’t be so daunted by the potential implosive atmosphere, they could have a frictionless relationship providing each of them are given equal respect and opportunity

  8. Shimks (@shimks) said on 7th February 2014, 12:15

    Only 5 weeks to go!

    Ferrari have a very strong driver line-up this year. Fernando and Kimi will really push each other. I think Alonso will come out on top but there will be days when Kimi crushes him.

  9. Rob Wilson said on 7th February 2014, 12:15

    The answer was obvious before the question was asked…Sauber!

  10. Alexander (@alexanderfin) said on 7th February 2014, 12:18

    Ferrari easy no 1, Mercedes 2nd and Red Bull 3rd

  11. Adam Kibbey (@kibblesworth) said on 7th February 2014, 12:20

    Pretty much a tie between the Ferrari line-up and the Mercedes line-up; in fact I think it’s going to be a very close battle between these four this season.

    • If there were two teams i could choose to be running at the front this year it would be these two – because then i could see a four way battle for the championship. The more that can join them the better though. As long as there is a true competition for the championships this year i won’t complain.

  12. Breno (@austus) said on 7th February 2014, 12:20

    For me it goes… Ferrari, Mercedes, Force India, Red Bull (Vettel is a force to be reckoned with), Mclaren, Williams, Lotus, Caterham, Marussia, STR, Sauber

  13. Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 7th February 2014, 12:20

    Caterham.

    Although, seriously, Ferrari.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 7th February 2014, 13:03

      Actually I think it might prove to be Mercedes as best line up in my view @magnificent-geoffrey. Sure both Ferrari drivers are good enough to easily top the charts. But I am not at all convinced it will be any good as a line-up, unless Ferrari gives them a car with which they can battle it out between them for the first 2 positions each race.

      I think Mercedes might have the better pairing of a line-up, with Force India having potential as well as Lotus (if Crashtor stays away and shows us Pastor as he drove at his best) in their team.

    • George (@george) said on 7th February 2014, 16:28

      @magnificent-geoffrey
      I see your fish has morphed again :)

  14. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 7th February 2014, 12:21

    No doubt about it for me, Ferrari, really exiting champion-duo with a hunger to bring Ferrari back to former glory. However it has to be said that Mercedes and Force India also have a great line ups.

  15. Kyle Fleet (@watchkyle) said on 7th February 2014, 12:29

    Merc fan but has to be ferrari… Plus i’m new to F1F today !

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