2012 F1 driver rankings: half-season
31st July 2012, 7:41 at 7:41 am #131874
As usual I’ll be doing my (slightly-later-than) halfway driver rankings during the August break.
How do you rate the drivers so far this season?
Leave your comments on the 24 drivers below and a selection of the best will be used in the finished article.
Here are the rankings from the end of last season:
2011 F1 driver rankings part one: 28-16
2011 F1 driver rankings part two: 15-6
2011 F1 driver rankings no.5: Lewis Hamilton
2011 F1 driver rankings no.4: Nico Rosberg
2011 F1 driver rankings no.3: Jenson Button
2011 F1 driver rankings no.2: Fernando Alonso
2011 F1 driver rankings no.1: Sebastian Vettel
And you can delve through all the past Driver Rankings articles here:31st July 2012, 7:57 at 7:57 am #206442
24. Narain Karthikeyan
23. Pedro De La Rosa
22. Vitaly Petrov
21. Daniel Ricciardo
20. Jean Eric Vergne
19. Timo Glock
18. Felipe Massa
17. Charles Pic
16. Kamui Kobayashi
15. Nico Hulkenburg
14. Bruno Senna
13. Jenson Button
12. Pastor Maldonado
11. Michael Schumacher
10. Heikki Kovalainen
9. Paul di Resta
8. Romain Grosjean
7. Sergio Perez
6. Nico Rosberg
5. Mark Webber
4. Kimi Raikkonen
3. Sebastian Vettel
2. Lewis Hamilton
1. Fernando Alonso – Who else, seriously?31st July 2012, 8:36 at 8:36 am #206443
24. Narain Karthikeyan, every time last and miles behind de la Rosa
23. Vitaly Petrov, off Kovalainen’s pace consistantly
22. Jean Eric Vergne, he doesn’t deserve something better
21. Timo Glock, Pic is better than him lately
20. Daniel Ricciardo, like his teammate
19. Felipe Massa, off Alonso’s pace, he hasn’t won Alonso a single time at qualy and race
18. Pedro de la Rosa, he is miles better than Karthikeyan
17. Nico Hulkenberg, I expected more from him
16. Pastor Maldonado, crashing, crashing
15. Kamui Kobayashi, I expected more
14. Charles Pic, improves and wins Glock
13. Bruno Senna, consistant in the points
12. Jenson Button, bad season
11. Paul di Resta, good performances
10. Heikki Kovalainen, he outperformes the car
9. Michael Schumacher, very unlucky but he has shown good pontetional
8. Romain Grosjean, very good in qualy and he improves a lot
7. Sergio Perez, two podiums and the new profesor
6. Nico Rosberg, a win and good performance
5. Mark Webber, ahead of Vettel in the standings
4. Sebastian Vettel, looks like he is crying a lot, but he has good races
3. Kimi Raikkonen, without a win, but in the title hunt
2. Lewis Hamilton, he is very fast and not crashing as he did last year. He is unlucky because of his team’s mistakes in the pitstops which has costed him some good points. Don’t forget that he has fixed his driving style and watches out his Pirellis.
1. Fernando Alonso, fantastic! He leads the championship and he is constantly on podium, because he gives everything and watches out his tyres. In the start of the season he had a midfield car but he managed to get a win. Alonso had 3 absolutely lovely races, which he won. He is at the top of his career and he has the best chance to be the champion this year.31st July 2012, 8:58 at 8:58 am #206444
I’ve tried to rank the drivers not simply based on their performances, but also taking their machinery and experience into consideration. I’ll expand each one as I go.
24 – Bruno Senna
He’s averaging one major mistake per race, and totally squandering the potential of the FW34. The fact that it has taken him eleven races to finally demonstrate that he can do something useful with the car proves that he never should have been in it to begin with. The sooner Williams get rid of him, the better – for now, Bruno Senna is an embarrassment.
23 – Narain Karthikeyan
Karthikeyan was never going to rate highly here, but the sheer fact that he’s managed to last eleven races without being replaced saves him from the bottom of the barrel.
22 – Pedro de la Rosa
Wasting his time, the team’s money, and a seat that could have gone to someone else indulging the idea that he is still relevant to Formula 1. Is the grid really so incomplete without him?
21 – Timo Glock
When Glock first joined the team, he talked up the idea of helping them up the grid. Progress has been slow – which hasn’t been helped by turbulence within the team – but at this point, one suspects Glock is just there for the paycheque.
20 – Charles Pic
It’s been a pretty quiet year for Pic, but with the second Marussia seat being something of a merry-go-round with a new face every year, he’s kept his head down and his bum up, and his reward is the way he has out-qualified Timo Glock.
19 – Jean-Eric Vergne
Vergne is supposedly highly-rated by Red Bull management. But despite his pedigree, I’m not seeing it – poor qualifying performances and rookie mistakes have sent him plummeting to the bottom of the rankings.
18 – Daniel Ricciardo
Almost everything that can be said about Vergne can be said about Daniel Ricciardo. The only reason why he’s in front is because he has more points. The car might be horrible, but that’s hardly an excuse – even the Australian media, who have the unfortunate habit of piling pressure and expectations on the drivers (or any athlete) have given up on him.
17 – Passtor Maldonado
Expecting an intelligent comment? In order to best-represent my feelings towards Maldonado’s on-track finesse, this comment will be completely devoid of intelligence. Herp, derp.
16 – Felipe Massa
His flashes of inspiration are like lighting: as spectacular as they are brief, and few and far between. How he is still racing for Ferrari is a mystery that may never be solved.
15 – Michael Schumacher
Oh, dear. I get that Schumacher has been unlucky this year, but that doesn’t exonerate him from some bloody stupid moments, culminating with him lining up out of position in Hungary. It’s the kind of misake I would expect a Formula Ford driver to make – not a seven-time World Champion.
14 – Petrov
13 – Kovalainen
12 – Hulkenberg
11 – di Resta
10 – Kamui Kobayashi
I get the appeal of Kobayashi, but he’s only just recovering from a year-long slump in form that came at the worst possible time.
9 – Rosberg
8 – Button
7 – Vettel
6 – Kimi Raikkonen
I’m not – and never have been – a Kimi Raikkonen fan. I’ve never liked his attitude, or that of his fans. But credit where credit is due, which is why he ends up here.
5 – Perez
4 – Webber
3 – Hamilton
2 – Romain Grosjean
I was deeply critical of Grosjean when he raced in 2009, and when he signed on for Lotus, the cynic in me felt it was little more than a marketing ploy by Eric Boullier. But Grosjean has exceeded expectations, and if he can have a clean opening lap, he’ll be in contention.
1 – Fernando Alonso
I’ve never been a big fan of Alonso or Ferrari, but the one surefire way to win me over is to do incredible things in a mediocre car. And Alonso has done just that, leading the championship after eleven rounds in a car that (to my infinite glee at the time) looked nigh on undriveable in Australia.31st July 2012, 9:05 at 9:05 am #206445
Don’t forget to say why you put the drivers in each position! Otherwise it’s not much use…31st July 2012, 9:09 at 9:09 am #206446
24 – Karthikeyan – Just Disappointing
23 – De la Rosa – Same as for Narian
22 – Petrov – Could do a lot better in my opinion with a not great quali vs Heikki comparison
21 – Pic – Good for a rookie but consistency lacks.
20 – Glock – Done well in the improved Marussia.
19 – Ricciardo – Disappointing season.
18 – Vergne – Dissapointing season.
17 – Massa – Well below par performance compared to Fernando.
16 – Senna – Crashes lots occasional good performances
15 – Kobayashi – Not been at Perez’s level with some good performances.
14 – Hulkenburg – Some bad quali and not great race results.
13 – Maldonado – Won a race but his aggressive attitude spoiling points results.
12 – Schumacher – Retirements and a bad season start.
11 – Di Resta – Inconsistent with good and bad results based on car performance.
10 – Kovalainen – Outperformed car and teammate again with 2 Q2 apperances.
9 – Button – Pretty bad season for him with a win but some pretty poor results with a good car.
8 – Perez – Outperformed Kobayashi in a suprislingly strong Sauber scoring 2 podiums.
7 – Rosberg – A win but recent performences have let him down.
6 – Grosjean – Varied results with some DNF’s but also 3 podiums proving a strong comeback.
5 – Vettel – Not as good as his last 2 seasons but still won a race.
4 – Webber – One of 3 double race winners and a competitor to Alonso.
3 – Raikonnen – Proving a strong driver on his comeback with solid results but not extracting full car potential.
2 – Hamilton – One of the multiple race winners but could have extracted more from the car.
1 – Alonso – Extremely strong compared to Massa with 3 wins and solid results.31st July 2012, 9:12 at 9:12 am #206447
1. Fernando Alonso – arguably driving better now than he did in either of his world championship seasons. His Ferrari this year is certainly not at the same level as his Renault in 2005 and 2006, yet he leads the championship by 40 points, a huge margin. That is to his immense credit, especially considering how far off the pace his team were at the start of the season. He’s made the most of every opportunity presented to him, either through the weather, the failures of his nearest rivals, or just incredibly smart driving, and you can’t ask for much more than that.
2. Lewis Hamilton – a number of operational errors from McLaren and a generous helping of bad luck have left Hamilton much lower in the championship standings than his driving has merited. If you were to make a list of the problems that blighted him last year, you’d soon realise that he has managed to eliminate nearly all of them. His driving is no longer so erratic, he is no longer taking unnecessary risks during races, he is qualifying the car where it should be and not picking up penalties (thus avoiding the need to race against drivers like, let’s say, Felipe Massa altogether), and he is not making any silly comments off the track that turn out to be distractions for him. Instead, he has secured the best qualifying results of all the drivers over the course of the season so far, and he has the joint-second most race wins after Alonso. He should have more, of course, but that mostly isn’t his fault – he can largely blame shoddy pit stops and strategy. If he carries on exactly as he has been for the second half of the season, and McLaren keep up with the pace of development, he will make the championship battle a close one.
3. Kimi Räikkönen – there were a couple of dodgy performances at the start of the season, and he still hasn’t quite found the right formula in qualifying, but to have picked up five podium finishes in eleven races after two years away from the sport is pretty remarkable. If you’re not convinced, just ask Michael Schumacher! His team-mate has occasionally looked quicker, but Räikkönen’s consistent performances on race day have given him an outsider’s chance of the world championship. A first comeback victory still eludes him – he would have got it in Hungary had the track allowed even the slightest bit of overtaking, I feel – but who would bet against him taking it at some point before the end of the season, perhaps even at the next race in Spa?
4. Sebastian Vettel – he might be behind his team-mate in the championship, but only by a margin of two points, which he would undoubtedly have overturned had his car’s alternator not failed in Valencia when he had already built up a huge lead. That was one of the most startling performances of the season by far by any driver, and made me think he was going to dominate the next few races. That he didn’t is probably down to a combination of the weather and Red Bull having to remove some of the tricks that their car had been previously employing. I don’t believe the team or the drivers when they say that removing them makes no difference, because if that was the case, they wouldn’t have been using them in the first place, surely? Regardless, I’m certainly not writing off his season. He’ll be challenging all the way to the end.
5. Mark Webber – he has done very well to win two races this year and go into the summer break second in the championship standings, but he has finished behind Vettel too many times (six, plus the likelihood of it happening in Valencia) for me to rank him higher. It’s telling that he has not finished on the podium apart from the two races he won. I’m not expecting him to keep up a title challenge over the rest of the season, which is unfortunate, because I’d love to see it. He will, however, score plenty of points and ensure that Red Bull remain the champion constructors for the third year in a row.
6. Sergio Pérez – I was impressed with Pérez at his very first race, the Australian Grand Prix of 2011, but this year has been a real breakthrough for him. With a car which was, on paper, only the fifth or sixth fastest on the grid, he came extremely close to winning in Malaysia in difficult conditions, and then to prove it wasn’t a fluke, he scored another podium in Canada in the dry. It’s no surprise that he has been heavily linked with a move to Ferrari, because he wouldn’t be out of place there.
7. Nico Rosberg – it’s been another solid but uninspiring season from Rosberg, with the notable exception of a dominant pole-to-flag victory in China. Second place in Monaco was another good result, but I can’t help but feel he and his team could have achieved more this season. Mercedes seem to have fallen behind with development, while Rosberg finished behind Schumacher three times in a row between Valencia and Germany. He has finished in the points more than anyone else outside the top five, but at some weekends he seems to be off the pace with no logical explanation.
8. Romain Grosjean – it was difficult to know what to expect from Grosjean before the season started. I felt that it wasn’t fair to judge him on his short stint with Renault, as the team was known then, in 2009, as that had been in extremely difficult circumstances. With that in mind, it’s tricky to say whether it has been a good or bad season for him so far, especially as he has been one of the most inconsistent drivers. At times he has looked blisteringly fast, even more so than Kimi Räikkönen, but far too often he has not had the chance to show that because he has crashed unnecessarily. Apart from the German Grand Prix, he has either finished in the top six or not been classified at every race. Still, he’ll probably be quite happy – he always seems to be – with the three podiums he has picked up so far.
9. Kamui Kobayashi – he has already scored more points in 2012 than in any of his previous years in Formula One, but he has been put in the shade a little by the performances of his team-mate. I think he has matured as a driver, because I can’t recall nearly as many “Kamuikaze” moves as we’ve seen in the past. With tyre conservation rather than gung-ho driving proving to be the key to success this season, that has probably helped him to score those points.
10. Jenson Button – he’s picked up three good results, but has finished outside of the points four times, while his team-mate scored at each of those races and even managed to win one of them. The qualifying head-to-head looks even worse, as Button trails 1-10. 2012 hasn’t quite been a complete disaster for Button, and a second-placed finish in Germany was an encouraging sign for the rest of the season, but he’ll be disappointed not to have stayed in the championship hunt after winning the first race in the fastest car on the grid.
11. Pastor Maldonado – the importance of getting Williams’ first win since 2004 hides a multitude of sins in Maldonado’s season, and is the only reason why he’s as high as eleventh in my rankings. As impressive as that victory was, he has only scored points at one other race, which is nowhere near good enough. All too often, he has caused collisions with other drivers through dangerous driving, which is evidenced by the three non-gearbox penalties he’s picked up already. He needs to sharpen up, both to avoid crashing and drive to the potential of the car.
12. Paul di Resta – although I’ve been increasingly impressed with Nico Hülkenberg, di Resta has to rank above him for his consistent points-scoring over the first eight races of the season. His car is not as high up the pecking order as it was last year, but he’s done a respectable job of hauling it into the top ten on multiple occasions nonetheless.
13. Nico Hülkenberg – he had quite a slow start to the season, but has now finished ahead of di Resta in four consecutive races, picking up the team’s best result of the season in Valencia in the process. His qualifying has also been strong lately. The decision to give him a seat ahead of Adrian Sutil will be justified if he can keep it up over the rest of the season.
14. Bruno Senna – despite (deservedly) attracting a lot of criticism for his early-season performances, he has still managed to finish ahead of Pastor Maldonado at seven of the 11 races so far, scoring points at six of those. That’s impressive consistency. He looked very quick in Hungary and is finally starting to show a hint of potential, I think. I’d back him to out-score Maldonado over the second half of the season.
15. Michael Schumacher – he has been quicker than Rosberg on a few occasions, and he picked up his first podium since he came back to the sport, but that isn’t enough to hide the fact that this has been a terrible season for Schumacher. Yes, he suffered from some bad luck at the start of the season when his car looked quick, but hitting Bruno Senna in Barcelona was his own fault, as was qualifying outside the top ten on a number of occasions. Hungary was the nadir for him, and that too was down to him alone. Time to retire.
16. Heikki Kovalainen – what more can he do? He is still the only driver from the three new teams to ever threaten Q2 – which he has managed to reach a couple of times – while he has kept up his consistent Sunday performances. I’m not surprised that rumours of a move to another team have started, as he will be so disappointed that the team haven’t yet given him a car to start racing for the lower points yet, as they keep saying they will. Petrov isn’t as easy a team-mate to beat as Jarno Trulli was, but he has still out-qualified him nine times out of 11, and he put in the team’s best performance of the season in Monaco.
17. Vitaly Petrov – I don’t think Petrov should be too downhearted at his current predicament, even though he was challenging for points and podiums last year and is now driving for one of the back-marker teams. Kovalainen is showing that it is possible to build, or re-build, a good reputation at such a team. Petrov is doing pretty well, finishing ahead of Kovalainen five times and out-qualifying him on a few occasions.
18. Felipe Massa – shockingly bad, whichever way you look at it. Statistically: Massa has scored just 15% of the points of his team-mate, with 0% of the podiums and 0% of the wins. In fact, it has taken Massa eleven races to score the points available for one victory. He is yet to out-qualify his team-mate so much as once. Even comparing Massa to drivers outside of his team doesn’t reflect favourably upon him. He is behind drivers from seven of the other eleven teams on the grid, despite having something like the fourth quickest car. In the history of Formula One, the team that contains the championship-winning driver has also been the leading constructor on 44 occasions out of 54. Alonso may well win the WDC this season, but Massa’s continued employment is costing Ferrari a chance at the WCC. The correct decision for them would be to let Massa go during this summer break, but I have a feeling he’ll stay until the end of the season.
19. Daniel Ricciardo – this is where it starts to get difficult to decide how to rank the drivers. Ricciardo and Vergne have been fairly well matched this season, and because their car is somewhat isolated in the pecking order, ahead of the three “new” teams but behind everyone else, it’s impossible to say how well they’ve actually been driving. I’m ranking Ricciardo one place ahead of Vergne because of his stronger qualifying record, and because he has finished ahead of his team-mate in the last five races.
20. Jean-Éric Vergne – see above.
21. Timo Glock – still doing his best at a poor team.
22. Charles Pic – he’s done reasonably well, considering it’s his first season, but has still been outperformed by his team-mate.
23. Pedro de la Rosa – he has crossed the line ahead of Karthikeyan in five of the six races in which they have both finished.
24. Narain Karthikeyan – sadly, the least talented driver on the grid.31st July 2012, 9:57 at 9:57 am #206448
24. Narain Karthikeyan – Not one of the best 24 drivers in the world. Probably not one of the best 100. I don’t expect much.
23. Felipe Massa – He’s been destroyed this year. The Ferrari is one of the best cars, yet Felipe is nowhere.
22. Bruno Senna – Hasn’t been fast enough.
21. Vitaly Petrov – In a bad car, but still not fast enough.
20. Pedro de la Rosa – Sometimes out-qualifies Marussias.
19. Pastor Maldonado – Other than his win in Spain, not an impressive season. He’s been fast but crashed too much
18. Jean-Eric Vergne – Can’t beat his team-mate.
17. Timo Glock – The Marussia is bad, but his rookie team-mate has out-qualified him half of the time.
16. Charles Pic – Out-qualified his experienced team-mate half of the time.
15. Daniel Ricciardo – Beaten his team-mate most of the time, made Q1 a few times in a horrible car.
14. Jenson Button – Hasn’t quite matched Hamilton enough.
13. Michael Schumacher – Is he even still racing? I rarely see him.
12. Paul di Resta – Average.
11. Nico Hulkenberg – Improved to a level above his team-mate.
10. Kamui Kobayashi – Good season, been up and about, but not as much as Perez.
9. Heikki Kovalainen – He seems like he’s doing a good job, but it’s hard to say.
8. Nico Rosberg – Good at the start, now the Mercedes is not there anymore. Schumacher has beaten him a number of times.
7. Sergio Perez – Great season so far.
6. Romain Grosjean – Good season for him, I expected nothing more.
5. Sebastian Vettel – Webber is beating him in the points, but good season.
4. Mark Webber – Two wins, second in the standings.
3. Kimi Raikkonen – 5 podiums, he’s well and truly back.
2. Lewis Hamilton – Has been very good in qualifying and races.
1. Fernando Alonso – No explanation needed.31st July 2012, 9:59 at 9:59 am #206449
24 : Karthikeyan : soundly beaten by de la Rosa, not helped in any way by his car.
23 : Petrov : disappeared from the radar, constantly behind Heiki
22 : Massa : Even taking in account the late resurgence, Massa is nowhere near Alonso, or any 5 cars behind Alonso. If one of the top 4 team car is being dreadful, chances are it will be his. I’ve come to worry when people try to overtake him. He has sometimes been a sitting duck and his driving has verged on the dangerous side
21 : Glock : Sorry, the guy is talented, but I don’t feel the fire is burning anymore
20 : PDLR : Difficult to shine in such a car. Seems to be doing a decent job, as usual.
19 : Pic : Has done better than the other number 2 drivers at Virgin / Marussia.
18 : Schumacher : I know he wouldn’t be that far behind but for the last race. But let’s be honest : he is not going to win anything and he is taking the place of a young driver. Being that good at his age is great, but you need to be the best to stay.
17 : Jean Eric Vergne : Quali problem, decent race. Shame the car seems dreadful.
16 : Ricciardo : decent qualit, race problem. Shame the car seems dreadful.
15 : Senna : A slow slow start. Outshone by Maldonado. Seems to have picked his act out, and I can’t wait the rest of the season
14 : Maldonado : A great win (nay, a brilliant win)… But the car seems so much better than that, and so many errors ! When he gets alongside another car, I cringe. I wouldn’t want him in my team, despite the clear to see speed.
13 : Heikki Kovalainen: still trying, and he is the one bringing one of the bottom three team cars places where they shouldn’t be. I really hope he gets a decent car next season. It is a true waste. He does seem to be enjoying it though, and that I can only applaud.
12 : Nico Hulkenberg : A slowish start, difficult to put him anywhere really. No big mistakes, no stellar performance
11 : Di Resta : A solid start, difficult to put him anywhere really. The car seems nimble sometimes, and the worse thing on earth other times.
10 : Button : I am going to get so much flak for this, but since the first race, where he sat in the best car of the field by a mile and a half, it has been downhill to trully disappointing.
9 : Kamui : Ok, maybe a bit high, but you have to love the guy, and he is not getting so much beaten by his great team mate as I thought he would be. And by god I will miss him when formula one will have turned its back on him.
8 : Rosberg : At last, the win ! I have to say it was long overdue. Some less than stellar performance are pershaps due to the car, but well, you can’t honestly put him any higher until Brawn sorts his mess out.
7 : Grosjean : The boy has got talent. The boy has got what it takes. The boy has the car. The boy has brought this car really high when he did finish, I have many hopes for him for the second half of the season. If only he could finish more races. You don’t beat Raikkonen on one lap if you are a slouch.
6 : Perez : The boy has got talent. The boy has got what it takes. The boy hasn’t got the car.
5 : Vettel : Harsh, I know, but fact is, he is being realed in by Webber and hasn’t produced the magic yet. But again : solid performances and drives. Happy seeing him fighting it out. But today, if I should rank who merits the title, I wouldn’t say : Vettel.
4 : Raikkonen : Bringing in the points and staying in contention. less impressiv, and still slower on one lap (WHAT ?) than Grosjean, but the smart money in the team is on him for the championship position (and the championship ? That’s the Enstone’s team job, he will do what needs to be done).
3 : Webber : Now hat’s much better. Has to work on his starts and he keep on the good job.
2 :Hamilton : The man has been great. A treat to see following last year. A shame he has been very unlucky until now. If McLaren sort themselves out and Hamilton carries on like that, no matter how genius Alonso is this year, he will win the championship.
1 : Alonso : Do I have to say more ? He has been on the lucky side at times, but you don’t lead emphatically the championship with arguably the fourth car on the grid by luck. He has been tremendous and is in the form of his life. Saying this about a 2 time world champion is scary enough for his opponents. May be flattered by Massa’s terrible form, but some of his drives have been great to see. I am no fan at all of the man, but if the championship was won on merit, I’d give it to him.31st July 2012, 10:45 at 10:45 am #206450
1 – Alonso, Hamilton. Both getting maximum out of their cars, Hamilton being let down by his team.
3 – Webber, Vettel. Neither really performing at the same tracks as each other, which has cost them potential 1-2’s. A bit ridiculous that the usual RB reliability issues and several strategy blunders have cost Vettel 30 and Webber potentially 36 points so far.
5 – Raikkonen. Would be higher if he wasn’t getting out-qualified by his teammate and had better first laps.
6 – Button.
7 – Perez.
8 – Grosjean.
9 – Rosberg.
10 – Schumacher.
11 – Kobayashi.
12 – Di Resta.
13 – Hulkenberg.
14 – Kovalainen.
15 – Riccardo.
16 – Maldonado.
17 – Senna
18 – Vergne
19 – Petrov
20 – Massa.
21 – Glock. Beating his teammate.
22 – De La Rosa.
23 – Pic.
24 – Karthikeyan. Off the pace of his teammate and anonymous in races except when being lapped.31st July 2012, 11:43 at 11:43 am #206451
24. Narain Karthikeyan. There is a reason why he is in HRT. Less talent than anyone else on the grid and too old for a new team
23. Timo Glock. He should have been faster than the Caterhams not slower than his teammate.
22. Pedro de la Rosa. 40+ and on the worst team on the grid, the 22nd position is the best he could achieve
21.Felipe Massa. His teammate has 6 times his points and he is first on the championship. And that’s one of the reasons…
20. Jean-Ric Vergne. Expected to be better than Alguersuari and Buemi and so far he is consistently out of Q1…
19. Vitaly Petrov. He is good in a bad car.
18. Daniel Ricciardo. Average and worse than expected. He was supposed to be the new Webber…
17. Charles Pic. Big surprise. He was expected to be supportive to Glock and at some races he is faster than him.
16. Pastor Maldonado. He has an AMAZING year and normally he would have benn in top-10. But, he is causing so many avoidable accidents that he shouldn’t racing anymore.
15. Bruno Senna. He carries the heaviest name in the history of F1. His performance is nowhere near of his uncle’s, but that’s not the point. He could have been quicker as his teammate does a solid job.
14. Nico Hulkenberg. In the last races, he is excellent but the bad first races is dragging him down the list.
13. Heikki Kovalainen. He is fast, consistent and in the wrong team. I would like to see him in a better team. I can also sense, a points finish for the Finn.
12. Jenson Button. The worst season of JB with McLaren. His win seemed like a huge boost, but the car does not suit him at all.
11. Paul di Resta. Surprisingly consistent. He had a couple of races he was faster than Sauber’s and Mercedes’ cars and that’s a big positive.
10. Michael Schumacher. In the first few races, he seemed like he was very unlucky and despite the podium at Valencia he is just non-competitive
9. Nico Rosberg. After Monaco, the German is disappeared of the track. Bad on Quali and unstable in the races due to his team mistakes. Shame for a driver who was a premier championship candidate.
8. Kamui Kobayashi. The best season of his career. Amazing races in Catalunya and Valencia and solid job on a tyre-friendly car.
7. Sebastian Vettel. He is not the super-driver of last year. He proved that he can have mistakes and that Red Bull is not perfect.
6. Sergio Perez. Two podium finishes. Isn’t that enough?
5. Kimi Raikkonen. Good comeback for “Iceman”. Podiums, FLaps and good races
4. Romain Grosjean. The biggest surprise of the year. Had he had some luck and patience on the first races, he would have easily been a championship candidate.
3. Mark Webber. He is ahead of Vettel, he is 38 and drives better and faster than last year. Won a couple of races and no one would have predicted that he will be 2nd at the summer break.
2. Lewis Hamilton. After a disastrous year, Hamilton eventually grew up. He is mature, patient, consistent and fast. Along with his huge talent he is 2nd only behind Alonso
1. Fernando Alonso. What can be said about Alonso? On the prime part of his career, he always know what to do in order to gain the maximum about a car that’s neither the faster nor the better.31st July 2012, 12:00 at 12:00 pm #206452
24. Narain Karthikeyan – he’s had a couple of “better than De La Rosa” moments but they were insanely brief. Not really much to say.
23. Timo Glock – looking at the last 4-5 GPs only it would seem like he’s taking a hell of a beating from Pic. Not something you’d expect from such an experienced driver. Plus, he looks fed up with Marussia.
22. Charles Pic – clearly he has settled inside the team and is starting to perform well and outqualify his team-mate. Also he manages to bring it home safe quite often – something that looks like his and Marussia’s main objective at the moment. Still: awful car, average driver.
21. Pedro De La Rosa – it is a known fact that De La Rosa is there to help with the development of the car but, at the start of the season I would have expected the spaniard to trash his team mate and lead the charge against Marussia and Caterham. Neither of those things happened.
20. Pastor Maldonado – hauling points home on just two occasions this season with a car that is easily top 5 WCC material / getting a record breaking number of penalties / plowing through the field… literally / showing a dislikeable attitude towards everyone except Hugo Chavez. Enough said.
19. Felipe Massa – his driving this season is NOT Ferrari material. I feel sorry for him, to be honest. He looks like a decent guy and he doesn’t deserve this, but the Scuderia will probably lose the WCC title due to Massa’s lack of performance and that has to bring along a retirement plan, for sure.
18. Bruno Senna – simply not fast / consistent enough. Even though Malaysia, China and Hungary were decent runs, there’s no consistency in matching the car’s performance in one race and then underperforming in the next couple. 3 out of 11 is not a decent scoring ratio for this year’s Williams.
17. Jean Eric Vergne – even though Torro Rosso have plundered into the back of the field somehow, Vergne had a couple of interesting moments so far this season… and a couple of stupid mistakes as well. Enough for a below-average 17th.
16. Daniel Ricciardo – he doesn’t look much better than his team mate, to be honest (see right above).
15. Vitaly Petrov – he looks like he is now able to understand both the car and the Pirelli tyres. He’s right there with / right behind Heikki for most of the time, he seems consistent enough in his runs and he was so close to scoring Caterham’s first point. Also, he’s been quite a likeable fella this year. I’d say the most decent pay-driver out there, both on and off track. Too bad the car is not quite where it should be yet…
14. Michael Schumacher – it looks like the universe keeps sending Michael signs it’s time to pack up, get a nice retirement plan and go have some fun alongside his brother in DTM maybe. Awful season. Maybe the worst in Michael’s career so far. When his Merc is not a subject to technical glitches, he takes care of the driver error side of the things and vice-versa. Valencia will not be enough of a reason for him to keep racing in F1 after this season…
13. Heikki Kovalainen – he managed to show everyone that Caterham is not that much of backmarker as some would think. And he did it in style, most of the time. One of the drivers performing above the capabilites of the car this season, even though points are yet to come.
12. Paul Di Resta – I don’t know if the car is slower but Di Resta looks worse than last season, somehow. He’s at the borderline of “there” and “nowhere” most of the time, struggling in limbo between 7th and 12th in the races. No sparks.
11. Nico Hulkenberg – even though he’s been outranked in the standings by Di Resta, he somehow looks better on track. Quick, good qualifier. Demonstrated on a couple of occasions that with a slightly better car he can pull off a “Perez” or a “Maldonado”.
10. Jenson Button – too many ups and downs this season and two or three races that acted like a trip down memory lane to his Honda days. You can’t start the year as the WDC favourite and then fade so fast and so abruptly. And even worse, do that in a McLaren and you’ll get a lot of Massa – Ferrari comparisons coming at you. Glad he finally got a grip before he sunk too low, but those runs as a backmarker will leave a mark on McLaren’s WCC charge for sure…
09. Kamui Kobayashi – he’s there, and he’s been gradually improving this season. 6th, 5th, 4th… He just needs more clean weekends. He’s fast enough and his style is delicious to watch, most of the times. Well deserved 9th in my opinion. I just hope it’s gonna be enough for him to keep his seat with Sauber for 2013 as well.
08. Nico Rosberg – well, he is consistent. That is a fact. Except for 3 races this season he’s brought points home everytime plus Merc’s first clean win in the modern era. With Michael down, he’s Mercedes’ life support machine now.
07. Romain Grosjean – brilliant runs vs. disastrous mistakes. It seems to be either one or the other with the frenchman. Otherwise he’s actually a great addition to this year’s grid.
06. Sebastian Vettel – I’m sorry. No other way to put this but: “it’s a bad season for him” and the worst thing is that he doesn’t seem to understand it yet. His attitude towards his engineers, his all around frustration resulted from not winning every race by a mile, all point that way. Seb needs to get it together and play it smart. Until then, 6th seems fair.
05. Sergio Perez – he’s shown a spark of some sort. That’s it. He’s getting 2-3 moments in the spotlight every race / he’s fast / he can make the tyres work. This season he proved that: 1. he’s a well-above average driver / 2. he’s Ferrari material. And he managed to motivate the whole team as well with those podiums. Despite Montezemolo’s ranting, Perez not signing with the Scuderia for 2013 is gonna be quite a shocker for me.
04. Lewis Hamilton – The will is there, the talent is there, he’s close to the top of his game, the car finally looks good again, but somehow I still feel this can’t be Hamilton’s season.
03. Mark Webber – His best season so far with Red Bull. Even better than 2010, by some standards. He’s in front of Vettel in the WDC / he’s in contention for the title. So it’s 2 main objectives out of 2 for him at the halftime. :)
02. Kimi Raikkonen – He’s probably the biggest surprise this season as no one expected him to be so quick right from the start. He’s provided some of the best passes and best moments so far / he’s got his chance at the WDC and his favourite tracks are yet to be raced on. So if there’s someone in particular to watch out there, it’s Kimi. 2012 would have been a worse season without him, for sure.
01. Fernando Alonso – Obviously. Best driver out there / performing a mile above what the car’s potential is / 11 races in the points out of 11 / most wins this season / being smart when needed, taking risks when needed… the whole package.31st July 2012, 12:16 at 12:16 pm #206453
1. Alonso – easy one, best performer this year, 110% at all times, no mistakes
2. Raikonnen – excellent return, consistent
3. Webber – very good, given how he fared against Vettel last season
4. Hamilton – consistent, only mistake vs Maldonado in Valencia. Qualifying superb
5. Vettel – would always be difficult to follow last season, but has been consistent and is in a good position in the championship going into the summer break
6. DelaRosa – no mistakes, 100% record v team mate in Q
7. Perez – flashes of brilliance, but too inconsistent
8. Grosjean – see Perez
9. Pic – doing very well v more experienced team mate, had the edge recently
10. Di Resta – consistent, no mistakes, this guy would be an excellent No2 in a top team
11. Hulkenberg – improved throughout the season, very close with Di Resta
12. Rosberg – done well in parts – qualy mistakes in Aus & Mal, and doesn’t seem to be able to drive in wet
13. Petrov – done well against team mate in races
14. Kovalainen – consistent
15. Ricciardo – way ahead of Vergne in Q but not in races
16. Button – inconsistent – limited ability exposed by Lewis when car has not been great
17. Schumacher – Q much better but rookie mistakes in Spain and Hungary
18. Vergne – poor in Q but catches up with team mate in races
19. Kobayashi – not been very impressive this year, no progress, now behind team mate
20. Glock – hasn’t dominated Pic as was expected
21. Massa – just can’t compete with Alonso (though I think many drivers would be this low in Ferrari’s No2 seat this year with Alonso flawless)
22. Kartikeyan – Q behind team mate every time
23. Maldonado – useless. at least he won a race
24. Senna – useless. thinking of changing my surname to Fangio so I can get a seat for next year31st July 2012, 13:12 at 1:12 pm #206454
@prisoner-monkeys So you think Karthikeyan would have done a better job at Williams than Senna has?31st July 2012, 13:53 at 1:53 pm #206455
I’ll probably be updating this a bit at a time:
1. Alonso- exceeded the performance of his car when it was awful, and since it came good he has consistently put it where it belongs, managing races brilliantly, jumping on chances brilliantly.
2. Hamilton- not the best due to not getting the maximum out of the car in the first couple of races, although his qualifying pace throughout the season has been fantastic. Since then he had been phenomenal, often thwarted by his team or just bad luck, which is probably the only thing keeping him from the championship lead. He should have 4 poles, and probably 3 wins to his name.
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