24) Karthikeyan – He’s kept the worst car on the grid at the back and with little improvement. In fairness to him, Karthikeyan is far from the best driver on the grid and atleast is making the 107% rule now.
23) de la Rosa – Performed better then his team mate, but the car wont allow him any progression in race results.
22) Timo Glock – For someone who has been in F1 for as long as he has, he barely betters his younger and inexperienced teammate and has struggled to take the fight to the Caterhams, let alone take the Marussia up the grid.
21) Vergne – Ok, maybe im being too harsh here. Possibly not. But I heard good things about the lad and how highly rated he is. Ive seen none of that. He struggles in Qualy and his race day results are little better. The car might have some blame but as others on the grid have done, he hasn’t gotten the best from it.
20) Massa – What to say, if the top drivers wasn’t all contracted elsewhere, Massa would almost certainly be at another team. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him fired before Spa if i’m to be frank. There have been small glimmers of his pre-accident driving, but they are as rare as rocking horse poo.
19) Pic – Young Mr Pic looks ok, his performances have not been bad, few rookie mistakes are being made and he looks slightly better then Glock thus far.
18) Senna – I never know which Bruno Senna is going to show up each day. Where as some drivers flicker between good/bad/unlucky every so often over the season, Bruno manages it over a race weekend. His qualy and race days are all over the place and its easier to guess who his team mate is going to crash into then say what Senna will turn up. He has had a few good results and some misfortune, but he really has to step up in the last races.
17) Petrov – Heikki has had the Russian in his pocket for the best part of the season excluding the odd race, and Vitaly looks more consistant then when he was at Renault before. But there hasnt been any races similar to the Aussie GP last year or even signs hes overdriving the car. I wouldnt keep him next year if I was Tony.
16) Ricciardo – Is performing better then his teammate, has out scoring him and is more solid in qualy. But like Jean-Eric, there hasnt been a clear reason why people rate him so highly yet.
15) Schumacher – I didnt know if it was fair to place Michael in #15. I think his racing has been, to some degree, better then his previous seasons in the Merc. He’s had some awful luck at times and should have more points then current but for. But he’s also made some mistakes that Michael wouldnt ever have made in his previous F1 career. His qualy performances at Monaco and Hockeheim show there is still something there, but is it enough to warrant a seat next season? I really don’t know.
14) Kovalainen – In a better car then last season, he’s yet again been the star of the team and of the back end of the field. He remains Caterhams best chance of getting any form of success this year, and has gotten the car into Q2 on more then just luck and has had some good pace in the race. Caterham would do well to keep him there for 2013.
13) Maldonado – But for an excellent win in Spain, Maldonado might have been placed further down. Not quite to the same extent as Senna, its anyone’s guess if we will get the fast performer or the crash kid each race. His Qualy performances have been good going excellent and he has arguably gotten the best out of the car. If he can just put a lid on his magnetism to the rest of the field, there is no reason why he couldn’t finish well into the top10 of the WDC. Look at it another way, if he hadn’t won at Spain he would have as little as 4 points.
12) Hulkenburg – The year started slow for Nico, with his teammate being the better of the pair for the fist 5/6 races and outscoring him. But Nico looks to have turned a corner now and is the better of the 2 in the last few races, perhaps having a little rust from his year off. Hoping for more of the good performances we know he can produce.
11) di Resta – Out performed his teammate in the opening races and still infront on points, which is why he is infront on my list. He needs to crank it up a little and outdrive his car (as does Nico) to challenge the Saubers and Williams in the 2nd half.
10) Kobayashi – 11th seems a little bit harsh on the Japanese driver, he has a lot more points already then he did last year and has just gotten his best result in Germany. But for every good race he has, theres one he fails to score in. The car is good enough, and so is he. Kamui needs to put the 2009/10 Kamui in the 2012 car and get the results we all want him too. He’s good enough.
9) Button – Despite his season opening win, Button has not reproduced the form of late-2011, and has struggled at times. His qualy is still something of an issue at times and unlike last year, he hasnt overcome this with race results. Needs to improve ASAP or play wingman to Hamilton.
8) Rosberg – He finally managed his maiden win, with an impressive display in China, and has gotten some good results since and is the clear #1 at Mercedes.
7) Raikkonen – I’ve never got what it is about Kimi that makes people love him so. He’s fast, I wont deny, but there have been times when I have questioned his commitment this season. I wonder who of the Lotus drivers is actually the most dependable to improve the car and get results. His drive in Hungary is proof he can challenge in the car, but will he get a win?
6) Vettel – Yep, a 2x WDC winner and I’m placing him 6th. And that might still be quite generous. After last year and the waffle about how Seb was going to rule the world (err…. F1) I am shocked to see him performing well below the standards associated with a 2x WDC winner, let alone someone who broke every record going last year. Was it the car or the driver was a hot debate last year, and one that could be guessed at after 11races in 2012. Still, we had him in 2010 never having led the standings, and we know how that ended come seasons end. Don’t count him out, but he needs to use whatever it was that murdered the field last year in the next 9 races, otherwise he wont get near that triple WDC in a row.
5) Webber – Remember the Mark Webber of last season? Remember how in the same car, his team mate throttled him so badly after the near-miss of 2010. That was the old Mark Webber, the new improved Mark Webber of 2012 is so much different, and better. Yes, there have been some dodgy results but he’s won 2 races and his victory at Silverstone was right in the middle of Alonso’s hot streak, only adding to the credibility. Will 2012 be the year Mark gets the title he so clearly wants? Could be you know.
4) – Grosjean – Who would have thought after his 1st outing in F1 that Grosjean would have impressed this much? Eric Boulier took the biggest of gambles with Grosjean and it looks to have paid of, and some! He’s made some rookie mistakes, but thats to be expected, but his performances have overcome those massively. Lotus needs to keep on top of their development to give Romain the best chance to shine.
3) Perez – There is 1, and 1 good reason that I’ve put Perez so high and infront of others. This is a review on the drivers, and the Mexican has been superb. In a car thats probably 5th fastest (at best) on the grid, he has managed some amazing races, obtaining podiums and singling himself out as someone with some serious potential if given a fast enough car.
2) Hamilton – Like Webber, had a torrid 2012 and has bounced back. Lewis might still be a way behind Alonso in the standings, but his racing has been nothing short as being back at his best. He’s gotten 2 wins with excellent and mature drives in Canada and Hungary, but also prior to Valencia consistently was scoring points, but has had some DNFs that was not his fault which have hurt his scores total. But you cant keep a good driver down, and with Mclarens famed development ability, and with his mojo back, I expect that Lewis can take the fight to Alonso and make this an unforgettable ending to 2012.
1) Alonso – Like anyone else could be #1? If Vettel was accused of winning the title in an beatable car, the same can not be said of Fernando and the Ferrari, which flatters to deceive on its genuine pace. Even as I write this, I am unsure where exactly the Ferrari is on pace against the competition. One thing is for sure, the Spaniard is driving it to the very limits and is THE guy to beat so far. If Alonso doesn’t win the title this year, it won’t be because of him. But because of what he has done, Ferrari owe it to Alonso, to make sure they can keep the car in touching distance to everyone else. At the very least, that’s all the need to do, and Fernando will do the rest. Even as someone who isn’t an Alonso fan, I can’t praise him enough this year.