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?

  1. ME4ME (@me4me) said on 7th February 2014, 15:03

    Ferrari. Hamilton and Rosberg are better in qualifying, but this gets outweighed by “smart driving” from Alonso and Raikkonen. With smart driving i mean, they do what’s needs to be done to get the best result, whereas Hamilton and Rosberg (to a lesser extent) sometimes drive like headless chickens (Spain 2013) and shout at their engineers complaining. Cleverness > raw talent.

  2. This isn’t a fair poll. Ferrari is the only team with two F1 champions. So, instead of submitting a vote, we are pointing to an unquestionable fact.

  3. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 7th February 2014, 15:59

    Put me down for Mercedes.

    I cannot help but think that Raikkonen’s move to Ferrari is a political one, trying to make up for shortfalls in their technical side. I think their focus is all wrong, and no matter how strong the Alonso-Raikkonen combination might be, it won’t be enough to overcome a poor car. Alonso is stronger than Raikkonen, and if he could not do it on his own, I see no reason why Raikkonen would be able to do it.

    • Slr (@slr) said on 7th February 2014, 19:33

      I think you’re reading way too much into this move. Raikkonen was the best driver available for Ferrari, so in that respect, their decision was a no brainer.

    • marino said on 13th February 2014, 18:16

      alonso is stronger than raikkone when he speaks and when he is totally supported by the team thanks to his big sponsor backing him

  4. Diceman (@diceman) said on 7th February 2014, 16:01

    Mercedes for Saturdays, Ferrari for Sundays.

  5. I think Ferrari has the best lineup, I think Mercedes has the best chance to win both championships, and I think Williams has the best chance to surprise the @%@#% out of the grid.

  6. Oli (@dh1996) said on 7th February 2014, 17:05

    Ferrari
    Alonso 10/10 — Kimi 8/10 — 18 Points
    Red Bull
    Vettel 7/10 — Ricciardo 6/10(?) — 13 Points
    Mercedes
    Hamilton 9/10 — Rosberg 8/10 — 17 Points
    McLaren
    Button 9/10 — Magnussen ? – 9+? Points
    Lotus
    Grosjean 8/10 (on a good day) — Maldonado 7/10 (on a good day) — 15 Points
    Williams
    Massa 7/10 — Bottas 6/10 — 13 Points
    Force India
    Hülkenberg 5/10 (yes, I said it) — Perez 6.5/10 — 11.5 Points
    Sauber
    Sutil 3/10 — Guiterrez 3/10 — 6 Points

    I really can’t rate the other teams as I’ve not paying too much attention to their drivers. I’d give Kobayashi a 7/10 on a good day though.

    So it’s Ferrari for me if Magnussen doesn’t turn out to be a 10/10.

    • dave mcgrory said on 11th February 2014, 19:55

      button rated better than vettel are you kidding?

      • marino said on 13th February 2014, 18:24

        yes he must be kidding
        hamilton 9 (finished 16 points ahead of rosberg, but rosberg had more dnfs)
        raikkonen 8 like grosjean(grosjean was hugely outscored both years)
        alonso 10 (why if at the beginning of 2013 he didn’t lead wdc despite having the best car for 5 races?)
        vettel 7 ( 4 time wdc, 7? you must be joking)
        hulkenberg 5???
        sutil 3?

        button better than raikkonen, rosberg, vettel…also makes me think you don’t know much about f1, sorry.

  7. D (@f190) said on 7th February 2014, 17:06

    I think it can only be RedBull. So far in the comments I’ve read several times that ” on paper its Ferrari” but actually it’s not. On paper its RedBull. Last season Vettel scored more points alone than every other teams two drivers. If the question is which team has the best lineup, then it’s the team with the 4times WDC and the guy who beat every team alone last year. Even if you say Riccado is a poor driver ( which hes not ) Redbull still have the strongest overall lineup as vettel has proved he’s the best for four years running now.

    It does pain me to say this as I’m no Vettel fan, however for me he’s the no1 right now, and he was so far ahead last year that he could not have a team mate and still be the best driver lineup.

  8. Nigelstash (@nigelstash) said on 7th February 2014, 17:30

    Merc just shading it over Ferrari for me, but ask me tomorrow and it could be the other way around.
    Most fascinating grid for years though – genuinely competitive pairings in the top teams and strength in depth elsewhere. I really hope the Williams is strong and that Massa gets a new lease of life. I’d love to see him battling with Alonso with no team orders.

  9. craig-o (@craig-o) said on 7th February 2014, 17:33

    Statistically it is Ferrari, as their two drivers share more wins and podiums than any other team.

    Ricciardo is still somewhat of an unknown, if he is as good as Vettel, then Red Bull will clearly have the best line-up.

    If Hamilton can get to his 2010 or 2012 form and Rosberg can iron out his off days then Mercedes could give any line-up a run for their money.

    Is Raikkonen as good as Alonso, I think so. Alonso is clearly very good. Therefore I think Raikkonen is very good.

    Also very good is Hulkenberg. Is Perez very good? I doubt it. But I have been wrong before. Still, a very strong (and relatively young) line-up.

    Magnussen is very highly rated, but will he make rookie errors? Can an ageing Jenson keep up with him? I don’t think McLaren have one of their strongest ever pairings here.

    Can Grosjean be amazing throughout a whole season? We shall see. Can Maldonado not crash into anybody for a whole season? We shall see. Lotus’ line-up I expect to absolutely ace qualifying, and one of their drivers at least to ace the race.

    Sauber, meh.

    Toro Rosso, JEV has great race pace but seems to not be improving his qualifying, Kvyat may have the same issues Gutierrez had last season jumping straight from GP3 to F1.

    Williams is where I expect Massa to thrive, and to teach plenty to a fast-improving #BO77AS.

    Marussia have two drivers who seem to be improving very quickly but not spectacularly.

    I don’t really rate Ericsson as anything special… Kobayashi will be good if he can keep it out of trouble though.

    I went for Ferrari in the end. Though I expect my view to change in 10 months time.

    • craig-o (@craig-o) said on 7th February 2014, 17:39

      Reading through the other comments I forgot to mention that the Ferrari team could simply implode part way through the season. Should that happen I can see a dip in form from Alonso and maybe Kimi, which would help another driver pairing. Currently I would put Mercedes second, and they seemed to work well last season together did Hamilton and Rosberg.

  10. Ciaran (@ciaran) said on 7th February 2014, 19:01

    Looking through the driver list, I’m only starting to realise how good the 2014 line-up is. Both Ferrari and Mercedes have some of the best pairings I’ve seen in years, and teams like McLaren, Red Bull, Force India and Williams all seem to have hugely interesting rivalries between teammates. Add the fact that the pay driver situation didn’t turn out half as bad as I’d feared (people calling GP2 champions pay drivers is general sign that the term has lost its meaning), and I can’t wait to see how all of this unfolds.

  11. Hard one, I would tip Mercedes but the aero change may bring the old guys closer to their origins.

  12. Rigi (@rigi) said on 7th February 2014, 22:22

    ferrari and mercedes have about equal quality drivers, ferrari in race-pace, mercedes in qualifying pace…

    i went with ferrari though, race-pace will be more important than quali-pace in 2014

  13. Overall, keeping in mind talent plus experience, Ferrari.

    On talent alone, but anticipating the odd silly mistake, Mercedes.

    In terms of excitement alone, Force India. But to be honest, I mean that mostly just in terms of Hulkenberg. I’d like to see Perez push him, but I don’t expect Perez to be able to beat him.

    • marino said on 13th February 2014, 18:31

      I rate raikkonen’s and alonso’s talent above hamilton’s and rosberg’s talent.
      hamilton and rosberg may be slightly faster but as racecraft ability (that is talent. everyone is able to go fast and stop. only few are able to go as fast as possibile without making too many mistakes thanks to a suberb control of the car or to strategical abilitlies) raikk and alonso are slightly better.

  14. Even though I consider Ferrari to have a better paring I would still rather have Mercedes simply because Lewis and Nico are good friends who worked very well together last season. Of course things might change under championship heat but they’re in the right balance where they do everything to beat each other but still support each other.

  15. Palle (@palle) said on 7th February 2014, 23:35

    The best driver line up 2014? What is the best driver line up?
    The 2 drivers, who can supplement each other, avoid inter team battles, avoid handing points and advantages to the competitors, but still a line up, where both drivers are able to take points of the competition, to maximize the potential of the car at every race, and of the team over the course of the season?
    Ferrari has overall the 2 best drivers, when You add up their merits, but the risk is high.
    The fact that RB chooses Ric over other available, seemingly better and more experienced drivers, tells me something. Vettel’s qualities are evident and if Ric can follow him, they can do great things together with low risk of inter team trouble.
    Lewis is sometimes too aggressive, too impatient, Rosberg sometimes not aggressive enough, too patient. If I was a team boss I would choose the RB pairing, Merc coming second, while the Ferrari line up would give me a headache.

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