Drivers, Albert Park, 2017

2017 driver mid-season rankings: 20-11

Driver RankingsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Formula One returns to action next week but which drivers performed best before the summer break began?

It’s time to take stock of the season so far and judge who’s starred and who’s struggled so far in 2017.

20. Jolyon Palmer

Jolyon Palmer, Renault, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Jolyon Palmer

Beat team mate in qualifying 0/10
Beat team mate in race 2/6
Races finished 7/11
Laps spent ahead of team mate 98/418
Qualifying margin +1.02
Points 0

Before the season began Jolyon Palmer said he was relishing the opportunity to be compared against a driver of Nico Hulkenberg’s calibre. It’s doubtful he still feels the same way.

He’s been blown away in qualifying. His average deficit of 1.02 seconds is exaggerated by Australia, where a car problem meant Palmer posted an unrealistically slow time. But even when that’s factored out his average deficit becomes 0.77 seconds which is still the worst of any driver.

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Although he’s been classified ahead of Hulkenberg twice, on one of those occasions Hulkenberg had stopped in the pits before the end of the race.

Austria has been his only highlight so far. He was just 0.17s off Hulkenberg (on the shortest lap of the year so far) and finished ahead after his team mate made a terrible start. It was Palmer’s third 11th place finish in four races, so although he hasn’t scored a point yet he has come close.

But under the circumstances the rumours over his future at the team can hardly have come as a surprise.

19. Marcus Ericsson

Marcus Ericsson, Sauber, Baku City Circuit, 2017

Marcus Ericsson

Beat team mate in qualifying 4/11
Beat team mate in race 3/7
Races finished 8/11
Laps spent ahead of team mate 291/551
Qualifying margin +0.07
Points 0

At first glance Marcus Ericsson’s season stats look fairly good. Then you realise two of the four occasions he beat his team mate in qualifying was when he was up against complete novice Antonio Giovinazzi.

On the favourable side he’s usually steered out of trouble and brought the Sauber home, though Pascal Wehrlein has regularly had the beating of him. Nonetheless Ericsson might have had a point in Baku had he not been asked to let Wehrlein through.

That aside, the only memorable moment from his first 11 races was his crash while the Safety Car was out during the Monaco Grand Prix.

18. Daniil Kvyat

Daniil Kvyat, Toro Rosso, Shanghai International Circuit, 2017

Daniil Kvyat

Beat team mate in qualifying 5/11
Beat team mate in race 0/5
Races finished 8/11
Laps spent ahead of team mate 38/395
Qualifying margin -0.04
Points 4

Over a single lap Daniil Kvyat can do at least as good a job as Carlos Sainz Jnr. Indeed he’s been fractionally quicker than his team mate on average (although that 0.04s advantage becomes a 0.06s disadvantage if you factor out Sainz’s suspension failure at Silverstone).

But stringing together enough fast, trouble-free laps for a race distance has been a problem for Kvyat, as his points deficit to Sainz attests: Sainz has out-scored him almost nine times over. While Sainz makes regular incursions into the points, Kvyat finishes outside them more often than not.

Not all of this has been Kvyat’s fault. The usual Toro Rosso unreliability has affected him more than it has Sainz. In Spain and Monaco he was hit by other drivers.

But when it comes to on-track contact he dishes out plenty as well. Austria, where he took out Fernando Alonso and Max Verstappen, was like watching a replay of the race which cost him his Red Bull seat last year. Then at the very next round he eliminated his team mate for good measure.

Whether he remains with the team in 2018 is one question, but they may be forced to act before then, as Kvyat’s too-frequent indiscretions have left him just two penalty points away from a race ban.

17. Lance Stroll

Lance Stroll, Williams, Baku City Circuit, 2017

Lance Stroll

Beat team mate in qualifying 2/11
Beat team mate in race 0/5
Races finished 8/11
Laps spent ahead of team mate 128/443
Qualifying margin +0.57
Points 18

Lance Stroll has been an enormous disappointment to his critics. Having arrived in Formula One with vast backing from his billionaire father, he has been far from the careless hothead some expected.

So much so that in Baku, where driver after driver ran into trouble, he came away with a shock podium finish – the only one so far this year for a driver not in a Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull.

But that result was the exception to the rule. And the low expectations many had for him do not make his performances any better. There’s little difference between his record against Felipe Massa and Palmer’s against the arguably stronger Hulkenberg.

There have been signs of improvement. He looked ragged at the wheel in the opening races but has clearly calmed down. And he’s steered clear of trouble better than quite a few drivers. His money will no doubt continue to buy him time to prove himself, and he may yet do so.

16. Stoffel Vandoorne

Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Hungaroring, 2017

Stoffel Vandoorne

Beat team mate in qualifying 1/11
Beat team mate in race 1/3
Races finished 7/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate 105/375
Qualifying margin +0.36
Points 1

Being paired with a very competitive team mate in a car which is both slow and unreliable is the worst possible combination for a rookie driver. Particularly one who brings some weight of expectation, as Vandoorne does.

His qualifying scoreline is comparable to that of Lance Stroll and Jolyon Palmer. But you have to consider the calibre of driver they are up against. No one is seriously going to suggest Felipe Massa or Nico Hulkenberg are at Fernando Alonso’s level.

Significantly, Vandoorne’s lap time deficit to Alonso is much less than either of those drivers have to their team mates. It’s a further indication Vandoorne is doing a decent job under the circumstances. Like Alonso, he’s lost a lot of track time to technical problems.

Vandoorne’s been ragged at times, though. His collision with Massa in Spain was silly, and he seemed to be over-driving in Monaco, one of few tracks where the MCL32 was an effective machine. He made better use of it in Hungary, claiming his only point so far this year.

15. Kevin Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen, Haas, Red Bull Ring, 2017

Kevin Magnussen

Beat team mate in qualifying 4/11
Beat team mate in race 3/6
Races finished 8/11
Laps spent ahead of team mate 245/436
Qualifying margin +0.24
Points 11

Both Haas drivers have struggled to deliver regular results, though newcomer Kevin Magnussen has been further from the mark than Romain Grosjean. His performances haven’t been as ‘peaky’ as his team mates – the lows not as low, but the highs also not as outstanding.

The fluctuating competitiveness of the Haas VF-17 has at least something to do with that. In Austria, where it was going very well indeed, Magnussen’s car let him down in qualifying and the race.

Qualifying has been a general weakness, notably in Australia, Bahrain and Britain. At Silverstone he failed to make it beyond the damp Q1 while Grosjean reached the top ten, but had a solid race.

His feisty exchange with Nico Hulkenberg in Hungary threw light on what had been a silly move by Magnussen which earned him a penalty which could have been easily avoided. Incidents like this tip the balance slightly negative for his season so far, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if he hasa stronger second half.

14. Pascal Wehrlein

Pascal Wehrlein, Sauber, Circuit de Catalunya, 2017

Pascal Wehrlein

Beat team mate in qualifying 7/9
Beat team mate in race 4/7
Races finished 8/9
Laps spent ahead of team mate 246/527
Qualifying margin -0.11
Points 5

Although Pascal Wehrlein owed some gratitude to his team mate for the point he scored in Azerbaijan, he fully deserved the four he collected in Spain. A one-stop strategy put him on course for the points, though a pit entry penalty meant he came away with slightly less than he should have done.

Having missed the first two races of the season due to injury, Wehrlein impressed by hitting the ground running in Bahrain. He put Ericsson firmly in the shade and nearly collected a point then too.

Since then he’s only been out-qualified by Ericsson twice: Once was in Canada, where Wehrlein spoiled his day with a crash, and the other was in Austria, where he had a power unit problem. On the latter occasion he started from the pits and still finished in front of his team mate.

13. Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa, Williams, Albert Park, 2017

Felipe Massa

Beat team mate in qualifying 9/10
Beat team mate in race 5/5
Races finished 8/10
Laps spent ahead of team mate 314/383
Qualifying margin -0.7
Points 23

In must be galling to Felipe Massa that despite having dominated Stroll all year long, it’s his junior team mate who scored the team’s single best result so far, in Azerbaijan.

Massa was running ahead of Stroll until he suffered a suspension failure and it’s likely he would have finished second at minimum had his car kept going. Had it done so, the points difference between them would be more reflective of Massa’s consistently superior driving.

Williams started the season in good shape and have been on a downward trajectory since then. Massa was the first driver home after the drivers from the ‘big three’ teams on two occasions, but the speed with which Force India gain the upper hand left you wondering whether a driver less close to retirement might have got more out of the car.

Arguably he best drive was in Monaco, the kind of slow track the FW40 does not thrive at, where he nonetheless delivered a points finish. In China, however, he struggled with his tyre temperatures in cool conditions. He’s got Stroll comfortably handled but the gap could probably be bigger.

12. Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean, Haas, Red Bull Ring, 2017

Romain Grosjean

Beat team mate in qualifying 7/11
Beat team mate in race 3/6
Races finished 8/11
Laps spent ahead of team mate 191/436
Qualifying margin -0.24
Points 18

It’s painfully clear that Romain Grosjean craves a promotion to a championship-contending team, but you have to wonder whether he’s proving he deserves such a chance at the moment.

His performances have been great on occasions. He was superb in Monaco where he qualified well and only lost a place to Lewis Hamilton during the race. In Austria he only had the faster Mercedes, Ferraris and a Red Bull ahead of him at the flag.

But his form is volatile, prone to dips linked to his team’s persistent problems with his brakes. Races like Russia and Azerbaijan, therefore, were a complete disaster, punctuated by seemingly endless furious radio messages and off-track moments.

More consistency is clearly needed in the second half of the season if he’s to decisively claim the tag of ‘midfield driver who most deserves a promotion’.

11. Esteban Ocon

Esteban Ocon, Force India, Red Bull Ring, 2017

Esteban Ocon

Beat team mate in qualifying 2/11
Beat team mate in race 2/10
Races finished 11/11
Laps spent ahead of team mate 129/661
Qualifying margin +0.18
Points 45

On the face of it Esteban Ocon has been beaten handily by Sergio Perez so far. But scratch beneath the surface and it’s not hard to see why he has impressed Force India so much.

Barring a few run-ins with his team mate, not all of which have been his fault, Ocon has consistently brought the car home and added to the team’s points total in 10 of the 11 races so far. He’s scored 44.5% of the team’s points, more than the two Williams drivers combined.

While Perez has usually out-qualified him, the average difference between them has been less than a couple of tenths, which is very respectable. Ocon would have been closer in Spain if he hadn’t forgotten to open his DRS.

His tangle with Perez in Azerbaijan was careless and there was more than a touch of over-exuberance about his driving in Monaco, but this really has been a fine first half of the season for Ocon.

Over to you

How do you rate the performance of these ten drivers? Should they be ahead of any of their rivals based on their performances so far this year.

Have your say in the comments and look out for the second part of the mid-season driver rankings on F1 Fanatic tomorrow.

99 comments on “2017 driver mid-season rankings: 20-11”

  1. Ocon behind Sainz is wrong. Ocon has been brilliant, Sainz has recessed on his own best.

    1. @hahostolze Agreed, Ocon’s only mistake has been Baku, Sainz has had two huge crashes which he was held responsible for.

    2. F Truth (@offdutyrockstar)
      16th August 2017, 13:53

      +1

    3. Ocon should be within 1-2 spots of Perez, and probably ahead of Sainz. My personal top 5 would be:

      1. Alonso – It must be taken in account that he isn’t in a title fight, and is thus under less pressure than those at the front, however, he has been mighty quick and incredible in all sessions bar perhaps qualifying in Silverstone. Australia, China, Canada and Hungary were some drives that were truly mindblowing at times

      2. Vettel – He would definitely have been number 1 for me by a mile a few races ago, but his silly misjudgement at Baku has to make a case against him, as he could have been quite a bit ahead, and it cost him a net 13 cruical points in the championship. Silverstone was also underwhelming, and it was hard to decide whether Vettel or Alonso should be 1st. I’ve had to change multiple times!

      3. Hamilton – Been exceptionally quick in certain weekends, but quite inconsistent, meaning he is not quite at the level of the top 2 in terms of mid season rankings in my personal opinion

      4. Verstappen – Been quite quick, but unlucky with unreliability or drivers jealous of his seat (*cough* Kvyat *cough*). China was a fantastic drive, earning a podium from the penultimate row.

      5. Ricciardo – Difficult to choose between him and Verstappen, but been his usual quick self especially in recent races. His drives in Austria and Monaco were great.

      1. Kvyat managed to touch Verstappen in Austria, but Alonso had more to lose there. Alonso is more likely to finish a race, and Verstappen was never going to finish Austria, his clutch was touch before they lights went out.
        I get the impression Sainz is much more jealous, and overrated in basically every published ratings list. Nearly 3 seasons in F1, and when has he been exceptional? We know his car is good from what Verstappen did with it in his rookie season, only his second in cars. If Sainz were only half as good as he verbally sells himself to be…he’d not be at STR anymore. I honestly don’t seem he much beyond Maldonado’s level. His peak speak is probably a bit less, as MAL won a race I wouldn’t see Sainz win. If you take Verstappen’s best 10 races since they arrived to F1 together, would Sainz’s best drive compare with #10? Kvyat has show much more in his first 3 season than Sainz has. Kvyat has his grave consistency problems, but is still the better racer. If you give them both a few races in a car that can get 2nd on the podium, Kvyat will drag out 3rd a few times. As for Sainz…I’ve not seen any evidence of getting close to a car’s potential. Or he must have done it only on days the car just wasn’t there to content for points.

        Seriously, I stand by my opinion that Nasr, the pay driver, is on par with Sainz. Not such a fancy and an media friendly face, but who got 6th on debut in a Sauber?

    4. @hahostolze Agree, Ocon has been a revelation. Close to top 5 performance so far.

      Also agree with others Raikkonen doesn’t deserve top 10.

  2. Ocon in P11 & Sainz in the top 10 is surprising!I expected Ocon in the top 10 & perhaps i would expect Kimi in P11.Sainz has had some good races,but in others he was nowhere & this year,he has shown bad driving attitude(Bahrain & Canada).Btw,Massa’s best race wasnt Monaco(luck helped him to take 2 points), but Bahrain where he battled with the top teams.Generally my predictions were really close to these ones😆

    1. @miltosgreekfan I agree about Ocon, Sainz, and Raikonnen. Kimi’s performances especially have been disappointing. He’s got a car that’s been capable of winning many races and other than a few close performances where he could’ve potentially taken it, namely Monaco and Hungary, he’s been always a place or two behind.

      1. @strontium After Spain Kimi “woke up”,but he still hasnt been that good,considering how strong Ferrari has been

  3. Largely agree. Difficult to argue that any of the top 6, Perez, Hulk, Alonso and Sainz should be below these 10.

    1. Kimi in no way has done better than Alonso

    2. Amazed you even have Alonso on that list; if Vettel is not #1 (Baku snafu) then it should be Alonso (so far this season).

      1. NotAgain, @lolzerbob: read again. Sumedh is saying that these drivers, including Alonso, should be in the top 10.

        1. No need to read again; I got that the 1st time.
          But don’t understand/agree how Alonso can be outside the “top 6” ;)

          1. and pretty sure the same for @lolzerbob (if you ‘read his comment again’)

          2. @notagain I think you’ve got it wrong, the top 6 @sumedh said refer to the 6 drivers from the best 3 teams. He’s not saying Alonso’s been better or worse than them.

          3. should not call it top 6 then. Easy to ‘get it wrong’ ;)

  4. Wat has Kimi done to reach the top 10? He drives a better car, bur his performance against his teammate is far worse than Ocons.

    1. Not really. He’s been pretty close to Sebastian in qualifying and race trim compared to these other drivers. He’s been more consistent than Ocon, and has been obviously faster than his teammate in more occasions this year (3) than Ocon (1).

      1. Qualy a bit yes,in the race definetely no.He had 2 good races & in the others he was nowhere close to Vettel pace

  5. he came away with a shock podium finish – the only one so far this year for a driver not in a Mercedes, Ferrari or Red Bull.

    This made me sigh…

    1. @damon It’s a hell of an outlier!

  6. Very hard to argue with any of this really and find myself largely agreeing with Keith (as I usually do on these rankings!).

    As others have commented, my own listing has Ocon above Sainz (and Raikkonen for that matter). Fully expecting Sainz, Raikkonen and Hulkenberg to fill the next three spaces and then the Top 6 or 7 drivers are a real free-for-all and you could successfully argue any order really.

    An exciting year so far!

    1. I’d predict the top 10 to go as follows: Vettel, Hamilton, Bottas, Ricciardo, Verstappen, Hulkenberg, Perez, Alonso, Raikkonen, Sainz

      1. @hugh11 I’m expecting Alonso to be in the top 3. Keith had him in 4th last year, and I would say he has done better this season, while the likes of Hamilton, Bottas, Verstappen, and Ricciardo have had their ups and downs, whereas Fernando has almost entirely had ups. This is my opinion of course, but I expect Keith to agree with me to a certain extent. And he most certainly has been better than Hulkenberg and Perez, no question.

        1. Maybe. I just don’t think we’ve seen enough of him to put him that high up (not his fault, of course).

          1. That’s my idea too @hugh11, I too find it hard to put Alonso very high. I don’t really know if Vettel should be #1, he started strongy, but the last few races weren’t, but then again, Hamilton has had great weekend, but has also been affected by his car not being great while Bottas just got the best out of it at those occasions, and Verstappen has had too little opportunity to finish the race to really put him on top.

  7. Massa should be in the top 10, in front of Ocon and Sainz.
    Unless we are only taking into account the retirements of Max and Alonso as excuses to move them up on the list.

    1. Massa is past it.

      1. Yes, does that matter for this?

    2. @johnmilk I think Massa is quite well-placed here. The problem is we don’t have anything but Stroll to compare him to so it’s difficult but I think it’s likely that he’s not extracting everything he could from the Williams.

      1. Lowe said good things about Massa many times this seasons and I don’t see any reasons for him to overvalue Massa.

    3. @johnmilk Are you suggesting Max and Alonso have been worse than Massa?

      1. No. From my comment I suggest that he should be P10, still behind those two

  8. Gap between the two Sauber’s in qualifying is +0.07… That’s insane how close they’ve been, and it’s 7-2 to Wehrlein too, so you’d expect the gap to be bigger.

    Would definitely have Ocon in the top 10, possibly even ahead of Perez, as it’s his first full season, and first time in a fairly competitive and he has often been just 1 place behind his very highly regarded team mate who’s been at the team for 3 years.

    1. Indeed. It’s easy to forget how new Ocon is due to his performances. Very close to Perez; an impressive start to the year.

    2. He will get then better score next year when he is better. But now, he stays there. Don’t forget, Force India finished ahead of their competitors because of Perez, not Hulk. If Ocon didn’t f up his race he would have probably even won.

      1. *because of Perez and Hulk.

    3. These ratings are based on performance not potential. Perez should be ahead of Ocon

    4. @hugh11

      Would definitely have Ocon in the top 10, possibly even ahead of Perez, as it’s his first full season

      The rankings are just about how well they’ve driven, not about how well they’ve driven given their level of experience. There’s enough variable to account for already without adding more!

  9. very happy to see Wehrlein placed behind Massa, the guy proved himself last year and is doing so this year. why FI didnt pick him up over Ocon left me head scratching. but Ocon has put in more than an amaizing performence for FI.
    i still feel that Wehrlein deservs a chance at a better team (wink in Williams direction). but i dont think we see that coming any time soon.

    1. Apparently it’s his attitude.

    2. He is better than Massa. Massa is not able to manage stress anymore. His last race against Bottas in williams shows that he is past it. It just baffles me why he sometimes can’t get out Q1 with Williams.

      Give Wehrlein williams car and he will deliver, and will cost < 4 mln.

      1. So what about all the millions Merc has to pay for that seat, even if he was over 25. Where do you get that number of <4 mln.

        What about the free agent talks about WEH, doesn't that mean Merc is letting him go and cut the support?

      2. Wherlein coundn’t beat Ocon as a rookie and is struggling to be a bit ahead of Ericsson.

  10. Id put kvyat just behind mag, and romain below massa and pascal just behind sainz with ocon above sainz.

    1. Kvyat is better this year, but too late and it’s just there are people waiting for their turn to show themselves. I would just let him go, along with Palmer, Ericsson, and Massa. People want to see more Ocon and Verstappens. Watching a good defending is also almost like watching a good overtaking. Max defending against Ferrari and Mercedes brought mixed feelings, I hated him because my favorites couldn’t get past and also enjoyed at the same time that we have Senna like racers at last.

  11. F Truth (@offdutyrockstar)
    16th August 2017, 13:57

    If Ocon is 11th then i’m expecting Perez to be 10th because there is barely anything between them and arguably Perez that knows that as well, taking into account his behaviour in Canada.

    Sainz should be behind both imho.

    The rest looks pretty spot on.

    1. Perez is usually best of the rest and has been ahead of Verstappen in the championship at some moment, I find hard to believe he will be rated below Sainz, Kimi and Hulk

      1. I’d expect Sainz to be 10th @aminsarur, @offdutyrockstar, unless Kimi ends up 10th. For me, I’d have put Sainz 11th, Kimi 10th, then Ocon, Perez, with Hulkenberg either between them or behind them (consistency).

    2. Perez should be around the same position as Vettel, because he’s doing basically the same as the German: maximizing the potential of the car while keeping his team mate at arms length.

  12. As Keith’s stats put it eloquently, Kimi has arrived behind his starting position more often than not – and he hasn’t even started that high up.
    He has been better than Seb only one weekend (that would be Silverstone), lost the race in Monaco on pure pace and would have only beaten Seb in Hungary due to problems in the other car.
    He finally has a Ferrari that can win races and rarely looks even close to challenging.
    He should never be in the Top Ten, in my book.

  13. In my opinion, Räikkönen isn’t in the top 10. He’s in the bottom 5.

  14. ‘Lance Stroll has been an enormous disappointment to his critics’

    No, he really hasn’t. He’s been exactly as expected. He’s been terrible. You’re actually praising him for not being apocalyptically bad, which of course is a straw man. You’re actually praising him for finding a sliver, the slighest modicum, of consistency and required level. He got on the podium in the most random, flukey, ridiculous F1 race since I can remember. That’s not an achievement that proves anything. The only salvation for Stroll is that it has giving him the sheen of doing ok, the notion of actually doing ok. The way he trails Massa is astonishing. Really, putting Kvyat behind him when Kvyat is matching someone you put in the top ten on qualifying is something you can’t really defend. Ericcsson has been close enough to Wehrlein. Yet Stroll is ahead of both. He shouldn’t be.

    We have no idea how good this Williams is. Massa has been past it for years and came into this season underprepared, yet is still destroying Stroll, who has had the most thorough F1 preparation since Lewis Hamilton. Most likely that car can do way better than Massa in anybody’s hands bar Palmer and maybe a few others. The deficit from Stroll to Massa is unforgiveable. He’s been every bit as bad as he was predicted to be. He doesn’t deserve to be in F1 at all, on what he’s shown, whereas Kvyat at least has the right to claim some semblance of F1 pedigree whilst in F1.

    1. He got on the podium in the most random, flukey, ridiculous F1 race since I can remember

      @hahostolze Indy 2005?

      1. (as in, since then?)

        1. I manage to push that race to the back of my recollections, but yeah, I started watching mid 2004, so since then ;-)

    2. Well, I have to ask @hahostolze, what were you doing at age 18? Despite the money thrown at him I think he has achieved quite a lot in the pressure cooker that is F1. Will he get any better? He seems to be. I would also remind you of MaxVerstappen’s somewhat chaotic arrival in F1. Despite being born into a motor racing family environment and having professional coaching from an early age, his on-track antics in the first year had people screaming for him to be banned! It’s Lance’s first year and @keithcollantine ‘s comment on his rating was spot on. Lance’s most voluble critics had him crashing at every corner and apart from a few shaky starts, he hasn’t done that. Is he taking a seat that a more talented youngster could appreciate? Quite possibly but this list is not about that.

    3. @hahostolze

      You’re actually praising him for not being apocalyptically bad

      No I’m not.

  15. Despite them fighting for the championship, I strangely wouldn’t put Hamilton or Vettel in the top spot. Hamilton has had his usual inconsistencies, or ‘off-days’, as his fans refer to them, while Vettel has also made a few mistakes. The problem is, though, I don’t know who I would put in the top spot. Ricciardo possibly? He’s been beaten by Verstappen on some occasions but has been perhaps the most consistently solid driver so far.

    1. I’d have serious issues placing someone who is clearly losing the pace battle with their teammate as the best driver of the (mid)season)

      1. @hahostolze Ricciardo should be in the bottom half of the top ten. Can’t put a guy whose crashed twice in qualifying and would be being beaten heavily his teammate any higher.

    2. @strontium How about Alonso? I know he doesn’t have a front running car and therefore hasn’t collected wins/podiums, but I can’t recall any times where he has performed poorly considering the reliability of that car he is driving. I think he consistent good form should be rewarded with No. 1. Everyone else have had their “off-days”.

    3. I guess Part Two will reveal who gets the top spot, although maybe Keith will keep us sitting on the edge of the sofa with Part Two just covering 10 through to 3, leaving us wondering which of the two not graded got the top spot.

      1. @drycrust Part 2 will likely be 10-6, with the top 5 getting their own articles.

  16. My prediction: 1. Vettel 2. Hamilton 3. Ricciardo 4. Bottas 5. Alonso 6. Perez 7. Verstappen 8. Hulkenberg 9. Raikkonen 10. Sainz

    1. can’t see Verstappen below Ricciardo
      can’t see Hulkenberg below Perez
      can’t see Alonso below all except Vettel

      1. Prepare to see Hulkenberg below because Perez has done an outstanding job

        1. Yep @aminsarur, I’d also put Perez ahead of Hulkenberg on consistency; I too can’t see Verstappen behind Ricciardo, given Verstappen was usually faster, and ahead of Ricciardo when his race ended. Alonso #1, I could see it, but I’d find it a bit problematic bc. he hasn’t really had to prove anything against a rookie teammate, in a car where we didn’t expect much of him: sure he did a good to very good job, but it wasn’t fighting for a pole or win, certainly not consistenly (not his fault, but still true).

  17. I find it difficult to agree with the rankings of the Williams drivers. I think you could either argue for Stroll being 17th or Massa being 13th on this list. But having them separated by no more than 4 places hardly reflects the gaping abyss between their respective performances.

    1. Initially I thought Stroll should have been #19 and Massa at #12. But then.. Kvyat and Ericcson have been pretty poor as well. Romain also has shown a lot more pace than Massa, so I guess it’s a fair reflection of the rankings.

      I guess it might just be 4 spots, but there’s a decent performance amount of gap between the bottom 4 drivers (Palmer, Stroll, Ericsson and Kvyat) and the rest of the grid.

  18. How is Stroll higher than Ericsson and Kvyat? Ericsson and Kvyat aren’t great drivers, but Stroll should 100% be in the bottom 2. He should just be thankful that Palmer is in F1.

    1. @mashiat, perhaps because Stroll at least has the mitigating factor that he is in his rookie season, whereas some of the mistakes that Ericsson and Kvyat have made are not the sorts of mistakes that you would expect from drivers in their fourth year in F1.

  19. Agree, except I’ve been much much more impressed with Ocon. Waiting for the top ten to see where he can slot.

  20. The sentence under Kvyat should read: “While Sainz makes regular incursions into the points, Kvyat makes regular incursions into the penalty points.”

  21. Ocon far, far too low. He’s really exceeded my expectations this year. Raikkonen too high (as he’s in the top 10). Would probably drop Stroll a place, but other than those criticisms, I’m in agreement with Keith’s opinion.

  22. …and Renault say Palmer may still drive in 2018. Am I missing something?

    1. Even he knows that’s bull.

  23. Most I’d agree with, especially Palmer and Vandoorne. I’d probably put Grosjean and Magnussen on even par though and without question Kimi should be down here.

    1. And just to mention, I don’t think Alonso shouldn’t be #1 because he missed a race deliberately. Otherwise he would be.
      That spot has to go to Vettel I think despite his anger management issues!

    2. “without question Kimi should be down here”

      Spain: Together with Verstappen taken out by an over-ambitious Bottas in trying to defend. As the rest of the race panned out, Kimi would have had a good shot at third had not Bottas been .

      Monaco: Kimi on pole, leads up until the first pit stop when Ferrari engineer an undercut that hands Vettel the win. As for objections that Kimi was slower after the pit stop, just look at Vettel in Hungary!

      Sochi: Again taken out when overtaking Bottas who again was over-ambitious when defending. As the rest of the race panned out for Hamilton and Vettel, Kimi would have won were it not for Bottas inability to recognise that he had lost the position.

      Hungary: Were it not for team orders and carefully orchestrated pitstops by Ferrari, Kimi would have won.

      @john-h – do you still dare claim that “without question Kimi should be down here” (11-20)?

  24. @keithcollantine maybe we can fill an interactive ranking as well? With choices similar to the Predictions Championship… well I don’t know how hard it could be to set it up.

    1. @omarr-pepper I would like to do something like that.

  25. Got to agree with most of Keith’s rankings. Although the difficult one will be the top 10, as it’s a whole lot tighter. My prediction would be –
    10) Kimi Raikkonen
    9) Carlos Sainz
    8) Sergio Perez
    7) Nico Hulkenberg
    6) Valtteri Bottas
    5) Fernando Alonso
    4) Lewis Hamilton
    3) Max Verstappen
    2) Daniel Ricciardo
    1) Sebastian Vettel

    It’s kind of difficult to rate the Red Bull drivers. I thought Max has been hands down the quicker of the two in qualifying and holds a slight edge in the race, but has been over aggressive and put himself in risky positions, especially on lap 1. His reliability frustrations haven’t helped either. Ricciardo hasn’t been as quick as Max in qualifying or even race pace on times, but has kept a cool head and driven maturely to capitalise on every opportunity that has presented itself to him.

    I also though Sainz hasn’t impressed me much and it was difficult to decide who to place at #10 Kimi or Carlos.

    1. I can’t agree about Verstappen being below Ricciardo. He has beaten Ricciardo in qualifying, in the wet, and finished ahead of him in all but one race (that both finished), retired while ahead of him in almost all races.

      Ricciardo has been super lucky this season.

    2. Verstappen is often accused of putting himself in risky situations, often refered to as a risky driver…maybe to blame for some of his DNF’s..? The truth is close to the opposite. Verstappen gained many position in lap one of the race.
      In all these years he’s been hit by Hulkenberg 2015, Vettel/Raikkonen 2016 and Bottas/Raikkonen 2017.. all not his fault.
      Meanwhile the incident with Ricciardo was the very first time Verstappen was responable for another driver to DNF.

      In 2017 alone, Ricciardo crashed twice (Q3) and a near crash in Monaco… why most do fail to see that..?
      Vettel’s record of firstl lap incidents is about 5 times Verstappen’s, in fact there are but a few driver who had less incicents than Verstappen over the last 2,5 years of F1.

      He’s often refered as ‘frustrated’ as well… ahm… anyone noticed Ricciardo’s reaction after Monaco quali and his respectless middlefinger going up twice in Monaco..? Incident..? No in Hungary Ricciardo completely lost his cool towards his team mate. You might ask yourself the quastion if it’s better to go on camera and let it all out, or avoid those same camera’s.

  26. These rankings are not (intended as) a fair assessment of how each driver has fared in relation to what could in all fairness be expected of them given the potential of their car or their experience of their team as well as of F1 in general. They are more of an attempt to spark interest while still pandering to fan biases for/against certain drivers. The final proof will come when we find that Hamilton is ranked higher than his Mercedes newbie team mate Bottas. Given the disparity in experience between the two, you would expect Hamilton to have beaten Bottas as convincingly as Perez has outperformed Ocon (but perhaps not as devastatingly as Hülkenberg has trounced Palmer). In reality they are 5/5 as to who finished ahead of the other in races both finished and in spite of a DNF, Bottas is only 19 pts behind Hamilton. It’s fair to say that Bottas has made a mockery of the expectations that in his first year as a Mercedes driver he, without either a win or a pole position to his credit, would be trounced by his vastly more experienced team mate who is now in his fifth season with the team.

  27. For the 2nd year in a row, I’ve been rating each driver’s race:

    0: disastrous
    1: weak
    2: acceptable
    3: notable
    4: brilliant

    (I reserve a 5 for legendary performances: not yet in 2017)

    This is the list (Giovinazzi, Button and di Resta excluded):

    19º= PAL: 1,45
    19º= VAN: 1,45
    18º KVY: 1,64
    15º= STR: 1,73
    15º= MAG: 1,73
    15º= RÄI: 1,73
    13º= ERI: 1,82
    13º= GRO: 1,82
    12º MAS: 1,90
    10º= SAI: 1,91
    10º= OCO: 1,91
    9º HÜL: 2,00
    7º= RIC: 2,09
    7º= BOT: 2,09
    6º WEH: 2,22
    5º PÉR: 2,27
    3º= VES: 2,36
    3º= HAM: 2,36
    2º ALO: 2,40
    1º VET: 2,45

  28. Whether or not someone should be 17th or 12th is less interesting than who out of that 10 would you want if you ran a top top team. My own ‘fag packet’ analysis would be that Ocon & Weherlein show the most ability to get points when they shouldn’t rather than just miss out ‘unluckily’ when perhaps points were on the table.

    Whether any driver regularly outdrives the car is always difficult to tell (Alonso aside) but those 2 certainly show the right amount of cocksuredness alongside reasonable grounds for that strutting.

  29. Hard to argue against this ranking so far! Though seeing Vandoorne just in front of Stroll doesn’t seem right. Despite Stoffel being a bit disappointing so far I don’t see him close to Stroll in a ranking. And as others pointed out I don’t feel Raikonnen deserves a top ten place.

  30. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
    17th August 2017, 19:35

    It is not nice to see the amount of people that seem to be accusing the rankings here without giving a very detailed description for where and why they would rate them further up or down. Keith will have spent a fir bit of time writing this and it is just an opinion. I’ve spent ages writing my list. And be prepared, it is extremely long!

    11 – Carlos Sainz

    I’m quite surprised that Sainz is in the top 10. He has indeed had that stat that was listed recently that he has scored points every race he has finished. But the fact is, on 2 occasions he didn’t finish, he made really big mistakes. Even though he retired in both of these, the stewards didn’t think that was enough as he got a 3 place grid drop and 2 penalty points given for each of these. And another fact that doesn’t look that good is that Sainz has been responsible for more drivers retiring this season than any other driver. Correct me if I’m wrong about this. That is hard to believe considering how poor Kvyat has been. He has had good races but I have to say he was lucky to get away with his messy start in China. He carried far too much speed into the 1st corner considering the tyres he was using. He ended up spinning and hitting the wall. But only gently. This luckily didn’t cause damage. Then on his attempt to get back on track, he spun again and also nearly hit the barrier for the 2nd time. His end result was great but he waisted a fair bit of time at the start by being too frantic trying to get going again. Lets get to the positives. I can say that considering the mistake he made at the start of China, his recovery was amazing. P7 after all that was very good. Especially as he finished ahead of cars that you would have through should be better than his. He was very good at Monaco. Both in qualifying and the race. He looked to absolutely maximise the potential form that car this weekend. Hungary was another weekend he looked better that you would have thought the car could be. And he was a fair way above Kvyat. But he has been pretty much equal to Kvyat in qualifying. And because of Sainz’s poor moments this year, I just can’t have him any higher than this. I think rating Ocon below him is rather harsh.

    12 – Felipe Massa

    One of the very unlucky drivers. There was only 1 race where I thought Massa was obviously poor this season and that was China. In loads of the others, he’s been extremely unlucky. He had a solid result in Australia, Russia and Monaco. In Baku, other than qualifying, he was looking incredibly strong in the race. He challenged the Ferrari’s on one or 2 of the restarts and looked good for 2nd or a possible win. But he retired with problems again. He was unlucky in Russia as he had a slow puncture. He was unlucky in Spain as he had to avoid contact with the first corner incident which gave him a puncture. Then Vandoorne crashed into him which luckily didn’t affect him. He then got hit my Sainz in Canada at a track where he could have had a very strong result. He beat both Force India’s in qualifying. Qualifying is Massa’s weak point as he’s usually better in the race. As the Force India’s managed to get close to the Ricciardo who was 3rd, I have no doubt Massa could have managed to do something similar. He missed out on a potential podium. The race following this was a potential 2nd place or possibly even a win. He had issues again. He was unlucky that he wasn’t well last race but that’s not really related to this. But is Massa doing a decent job this year? I think so. If it wasn’t for his reliability and bad luck, I would quite possibly put him above Sainz as Massa has kept out of trouble and hasn’t made any big mistakes this year as well as looking decent a lot of the time.

    13 – Romain Grosjean

    Gorsjean seems to be the sort of driver that can bring home incredible results when his car is good but sometimes make a mess of things and be pretty poor when the car isn’t as good. This showed last year. Most of the year, the car wasn’t great and this resulted in Gutierrez beating him more often than not. This really made me wonder about Grosjean. Again this year, he has had some brilliant drives such as in Monaco and some others. But he doesn’t seem that great all the time. He often makes mistakes in practice but usually does learn form them and provide a decent race result. He’s better than Magnussen, but not by that much.

    14 – Kevin Magnussen

    I haven’t really been playing close attention to Magnussen. He seems to get s serious lack of TV coverage similar to last year for some reason. But he’s been good at times and not great at others. He had a messy first race and looked fully responsible for Ericsson’s retirement. From then he’s been a bit up and down. I have clearly written loads about other drivers but I can’t think of much more to say about him. I just think he is not quite as good as Grosjean and a little better than most of the rest below him.

    15 – Pascal Wehrlein

    I have mixed feelings about Wehrlein. I don’t think he is good enough to deserve a seat in a top team unless he looks to be clearly out driving Ericsson which in my view is not happening. Or at least only is in qualifying. His start to the year wasn’t the best as he cost himself the first 2 races unfortunately. This wasn’t related to F1 but that ROC incident looked to be totally his fault. But his first driver no doubt was impressive and the fact that he missed the first 2 races didn’t seem to affect his ability at all. His qualifying was very good indeed and his race also was. Although, I mention further down, Ericsson wasn’t far off his race pace at all. In Wehrlein’s description on this page, it says that Wehrlein put him firmly in the shade. Well, in qualifying, maybe that was true as it was over half a second. But when there was about 5 laps remaining, Ericsson was 7 seconds behind and had been slowly catching him. Ericsson then had to retire. I think that he’ll have been with in 4 – 5 seconds behind when the both finished. In Spain, he had a very good drive. Although like all of the points he and Ericsson have ever collected, it has only been because of other drivers retiring. Without Bottas, Verstappen and Raikkonen retiring, he will have been 11th. I’m not sure if his drive will have been as well remembered then. It most certainly was impressive, but he did make a mistake that lost him a place as he got a time penalty. Even though Ericsson’s strategy didn’t work out anywhere near as well, he was only about 20 seconds behind and in 11th. Both Ericsson’s and Wehrlein’s race weekend were pretty much as good as each others in my opinion. Ericsson was 0.005 behind Wehrlein in Q1 and getting into Q2 was just so close. Rather unlucky. And both of their performances in the race were good. Canada was a weekend where Ericsson beat him by a huge amount of time and Wehrlein also crashed in qualifying so that wasn’t a good weekend by him. In Baku, Ericsson was better in the 1st part of the race but Wehrlein was closing in. Then on an attempted overtake by Wehrlein ended up damaging Ericsson’s car a little. The team then ordered Ericsson to pull over. They said they would swap positions if Wehrlein didn’t pull away. But Wehrlein hardly did even though his team mate has some damage. The swap never happened. Probably because of how close Vandoorne was. But this was a point Ericsson was certainly more deserving of. Although again, it was only because of multiple retirements and other problems that got them this high up. But again as has happened several times, one or both Sauber drivers have beaten Vandoorne which is one reason I have rated Vandoorne quite a bit lower. In Austria, this was a race where Wehrlein looked far better than Ericsson during the race. The on screen graphics didn’t seem to show the time gaps towards the end of the race but I think Ericsson was 30 – 40 seconds behind his team mate. One of the reasons I rate these drivers so close is that this is to me, the only race where Wehrlein has looked much better. The British grand prix was quite a good fight between the 2 of them. There were several near misses but they both has quite a few attempted overtakes and it was good to watch. Ericsson did look a little better overall but his strategy did help out a bit. Wehrlein’s strategy didn’t work out this time and in the end, it looked to cost him quite a bit of time and he finished last, 2 positions behind Ericsson. In Hungary, they looked pretty much even to me, but it often seems the case that one or other of them gets the strategy that doesn’t work out. Ericsson ended up doing 62 laps on softs and was ahead of Wehrlein until he had to pit and then he ended up being 20 seconds behind. I will could maybe say Wehrlein did better here but not by much. Where Wehrlein is doing better is qualifying. And that is much better. While Ericsson has managed Q2 on 2 occasions, they were when Wehrlein couldn’t race. But I still can say that getting into Q2 is a good achievement in this car ans Wehrlein has managed it a few times as well as beating Ericsson almost every weekend. This is actually about the only reason I am rating Wehrlein above Ericsson. That and the fact he has managed quite a few points in what is quite clearly the worst car.

    16 – Marcus Ericsson

    I can’t really agree with where Keith has rated Ericsson. Nor some of sentences describing why he was placed 19th. I can not say that his only memorable moment was crashing into the wall in Monaco…. That may have been a silly mistake but he’s had quite a few decent races. Russia was one of them. Ericsson did qualify behind as has usually been the case this year. The 2 pretty much did identical strategies during the race and pitted as close together as possible without pitting on the same lap. They both had 2 stops each. When they finished, Ericsson finished 29 seconds ahead of Wehrlein who was last. I think it was so clear that Ericsson was much better here. In Monaco, I have to say that Ericsson made a mess of it in qualifying as he damaged his front wheel by turning in too early I think. But in the race, by lap 58, he was 35 seconds ahead of Wehrlein. His pace again looked much better this race over his team mate. Strategies may have helped a bit but not by that much time. After Wehrlein got hit by Button and the safety car came out, this was where Ericsson made his mistake. Although I think I have to say it was related to that loose manhole cover and damaged track surfece. He should have known about it as the drivers had been told but he simply couldn’t have lost control of the car at the speed he was going if it wasn’t for that. The lapped drivers were supposed to be overtaking the safety car so he was only doing as he was meant to. But he clearly should have waited a little as that was the wrong place to do so. Canada was a weekend where Ericsson looked much better than his team mate. Wehrlein may have started in the pit lane because of his crash in qualifying, but I don’t think it will have been just that that meant he was very nearly 40 seconds behind Ericsson by the end of the race. On lap 69, he was 39 seconds behind. That gap is huge! Ericsson beat Vandoorne by several seconds too. This, like Russia, was a very solid race by Ericsson. In Britain, both of them looked to have a decent race, but Ericsson’s race did look better but the strategy looked help a bit. But he did manage to beat a Williams and a Toro Rosso which was pretty good. Wehrlein was last but I think he’d have been closer if he had a better strategy. In Hungary, during the race, they looked about even again. But they made Ericsson do 62 laps on a set of softs. What sort of risk is that? It just didn’t work. He then had to pit towards the end and then do just 5 laps on the other tyres. He finished about 20 seconds behind even with a messed up strategy which I don’t think was that bad to be fair. He also managed the 10th fastest lap near the end as he pitted. I don’t think he can be 19th if you look this closely to hid performance. He may be inconsistent, but there is one positive thing you can think about. He is one of only 3 drivers who don’t have any penalty points. He certainly keeps out of trouble in this area.

    17 – Lance Stroll

    He had a rather poor start to the season. Especially in the testing. But in a way, that was good practice for him. But he has had so many crashes in testing and practice this year. Even in the races, he’s had several spins but has kept out of trouble most of the time and hasn’t been to blame for when he has been in contact with other drivers other than China perhaps. I think Perez was marginally to blame for this but it mainly was Stroll’s fault. He did have rather a lot of reliability problems this year too. Something both Williams drivers seem to have had. Retiring in Australia in his first race won’t have helped. He slowly looked to be getting better and then it came to Canada where he scored his first point. I can’t say that was a great drive. It was just decent. Massa could have done a fair bit better if he hadn’t retired. I do have to say though that his drive in Baku was simply brilliant. Many people seem to have the view that he only got a good result because of all the chaos further back. Well yes, that is true. But he made no mistakes and was flawless throughout the weekend. He also beat Massa in qualifying. Many much more experienced drivers made mistakes that race. That was one of the most stand out race weekends by any driver this year. I guess his poor races make it stand out a bit more though. I do think Massa looked better but he made a mistake in qualifying and unfortunately had to retire in the race. Since then, Stroll has just been OK again, but nothing that impressive.

    18 – Stoffel Vandoorne

    A shame to say this, but I was expecting much, much better from Vandoorne. He may have Alonso as a team mate and that may make him look worse than he is but he has made several really silly mistakes this year. In Spain, he very clumsily drove into Massa as if he wasn’t there. He at that point just seemed to lack spacial awareness. But I did appreciate and respect how clearly did admit he was to blame without creating a fuss like a lot of drivers do. He has then also crashed into the wall in Monaco pretty much repeating what Ericsson did. He should have tried to avoid that part of track with the broken manhole cover as that is what appeared to make Ericsson crash into the wall. He then got a heavy penalty for ignoring blue flags in one race. I don’t think I have seen a driver get one of these in simply ages. He really should know better. The other thing that has looked disappointing is that on quite a few occasions, he’s been beaten by one or both Saubers. Other than reliability, I don’t think the Saubers are better than the McLaren, especially considering that the McLaren chassis is very good and the Sauber has a 2016 engine! I do believe he can do a lot better than he has been so lets hope he improves later this year.

    19 – Daniil Kvyat

    I’d actually say Kvyat looked quite decent at the start of this year. Australia was probably his best race of the year. He would have very comfortably beaten Sainz there if it wasn’t for brake problems. Sainz did get team orders to let him through, and indeed Kvyat did pull away. Only to find out that he had to pit on lap 50 with overheating issues. He then somehow managed to do the fastest lap after he pitted. I think this later did get broken by another driver but that still good going. He then started to close in on Sainz and only finished 1 place behind him. That was some bad luck. In Bahrain, he was out of the points but was having a good scrap with other drivers further back which was good to watch. But so many of the other races have been a mess. He’s collected so many penalty points this year although I certainly think the ones in Canada were overly harsh. It does seem like Red Bull seem to want him though. To me, it did seem a bit suspicious that Horner clearly did defend Kvyat quite a bit for the incident involving Alonso and Verstappen. He seemed very relaxed about it and seemed to think Alonso and Verstappen wouldn’t make too bigger deal about it.
    Then even with the incident involving Sainz and Kvyat, the team boss seemed to blame both equally. I personally think it is worth the team keeping hold of Kvyat if Sainz leaves. But it possibly would be worth getting another driver in if Sainz remains. Unless of course Kvyat improves and stays out of trouble. It’s not like he hasn’t done a decent job before. It wasn’t just luck alone that made him beat Ricciardo in 2015.

    20 – Jolyon Palmer

    Well, I have to say, he has been disappointing. Unlike many others, I did think it was worth giving him another chance in F1 this year but I did expect him to improve more than he has. He just isn’t close to the other drivers. He has had incredibly bad luck but he’s also had many crashes and has been clearly beaten in pretty much everything by Hulkenberg. I think it will be a bit of a risk to switch drivers mid season, especially if it involves a driver who isn’t currently on the grid this year. So unless he dramatically improves towards the end of this year, he should be replaced next year.

    1. @thegianthogweed it’s a bit of a shame you go to great lengths to justify and explain Ericsson’s races, then not grant Vandoorne the same right with regards to his finishing positions as compared to the Saubers.

      As it stands, he has been beaten by a Sauber three times.
      – In Australia he was ahead of both (keep in mind this was two Honda-revisions ago and even the 2016 Ferrari unit would have been better than the Honda) before he encountered massive problems with the PU. He had to power cycle it, losing a lot of time, then had to drive around with a wheel without display. All in all, he had a car that limped home.
      – In Baku, he was ahead of both and was on for a points finish, but McLaren forgot they had a second car for which they had to determine a strategy. Was called in far too late, goodbye points.
      – In Canada, he was running behind Alonso, then gets illegally overtaken by Magnussen under VSC, leaving him in a bunch he shouldn’t have been in and powerless to defend with the PU (still not as good as it is today), gets left out WAY too long by McLaren who run a “strategy” of 45 laps on the US and 24 on the SS, which frankly did not make much sense. Ericsson, meanwhile, gets an almost free stop under VSC and runs a logical strategy.

      In short, it wasn’t his driving that got him behind Sauber, it was car or strategy.

      1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
        21st August 2017, 17:33

        In Baku, I think it is a bit much to say the team forgot about Vandoorne. I don’t think there was much difference between the cars pace here on a whole lap. The cars just had strengths and weaknesses in different areas of the track. Vandoorne was closing in near the end but that will have been because he pitted more recently. Eircsson did spend a few laps ahead of him earlier on and then when Vandoorne was ahead, Ericsson and Wehrlein were not far behind at all. Vandoorne did have to pit again but I didn’t think his strategy was that bad. Nothing like as bad as what both Sauber drivers have sometimes had to deal with this season.

        Canada and Australia were races where I didn’t realize how much I’d missed about Vandoorne. But I think I did say that I can’t follow what every single driver has done everywhere as closely as others. But as I think the Sauber drivers have often got a lack of attention in recent years, so I try to follow them more closely. But to me it does look like they have been doing quite a bit better. I had much higher expectations from Vandoorne. But as I said in my post, lets hope things change. He has had some positives, but he’s also made a mistake this year that I don’t think any driver has made in years as well as several other mistakes. I think I forgot to mention his big crash during Q2 in Monaco as well.

        In Spain, even before his clash with Massa, he was quite a bit behind both Sauber drivers. I think he’d been behind Wehrlein and Ericsson the whole time actually until he crashed.

        All these incidents and penalties collected due to them to me still makes 18th place quite realistic but you can have your own view.

        1. In Baku, I think it is a bit much to say the team forgot about Vandoorne.

          Rewatch the race then please, because it is not. I was following it closely, he had track position, but then the others around him pitted and he was left out far too long and he lost track position. I was saying it as the race unfolded, pit him now, but they just left him hanging and it’s not the first time they did that this year to be honest.

          Spain? Well, he had a 10-place grid penalty so he was starting from the back no matter what, and seeing how Alonso went backwards and overtaken by the Saubers, I don’t think the McLaren already had parity in Spain.

          It’s not because the McLaren is now clearly better than the Sauber, that it has been for the entire season.

          1. Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
            21st August 2017, 23:34

            The bit you have highlighted of mine, I still can’t agree with that line. It still is a bit much to say the team “forgot” about Vandoorne. No matter how silly the strategy may be, teams don’t forget that their drivers are racing on track. They maybe realized afterwards that it could have worked out better if they had done something different but I am certain that will have been totally aware of what they had chosen to do. I don’t know how they left him hanging out there. The largest number of laps he did on one set of SS was 18 in his last stint. Then the previous largest amount of laps was 17 on the SS tyres. Lots of drivers managed 29 laps on these tyres so what did Vandoorne really lose out on that much?

            I have missed a few things. I can’t remember every single moment of the season correctly (very few will). But given the high hopes I had for Vandoorne this season and the amount of mistakes he’s made, I still don’t think I could change the rating I have given him.

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