24. Narain Karthikeyan
Thankfully he’s learned his lesson after stupidly running into Vettel in Malaysia, but other than that he’s absolutely nowhere. Poor in qualifying, nowhere near the Marussias in the race (quite unlike his teammate), makes at least one mistake per weekend. He had potential in 2005, and I applauded him for beating Ricciardo in India last year, but right now he’s absolutely nowhere. He doesn’t even bring that much money to the team. Clos or even Ma should replace him as soon as possible.
23. Bruno Senna
One good weekend out of 11, and even that one was due to the nature of Hungaroring. Yes, he had better pace than Massa, but Maldonado had car problems again and even Alonso at his strongest was severely off the pace, so it’s safe to say that the car was decent there. Past that, he’s been utterly abysmal, even moreso than his compatriot, Massa. Yes, Maldonado only has two points finishes, but one of them is a win where he held off Alonso in a similar or worse car. I can forgive him for being an unfortunate victim more often than not (Schumacher, Kobayashi etc), but he seriously lacks pace compared to Pastor.
22. Jean-Eric Vergne
Yes, his race pace is surprisingly decent, but just how much of that is due to the fact that he almost always misses out on Q2? Ricciardo got knocked out in Hungary and went on to beat the Frenchman, which makes me think that the extra tyre usage in Q2 makes a big difference. Earlier on in the season he was beating his teammate thanks to this, but Ricciardo’s now outdone him in at least 6 races, which is unforgivable.
21. Timo Glock
His whining about Pic’s so-called “qualifying attitude” says it all – he’s getting frustrated and losing motivation. He’s past his prime and I’m surprised that he’s still willing to torture himself by driving for Marussia. And now he’s even getting outshined by Pic. I feel sorry for him. Very sorry.
20. Vitaly Petrov
Yes, he’s had his moments of glory, but he still seems to lack something compared to Kovalainen. I’m fully willing to blame it on the Finn’s extended stay with Caterham though.
19. Charles Pic
He’s making a mockery of Timo. A frustrated and demotivated Timo, but a Timo nonetheless. That alone is impressive. I still think d’Ambrosio is much better than him, but he’s good enough to stay in F1.
18. Heikki Kovalainen
Dare I say it? He’s underperforming. At least noticably enough for Petrov to get near him. Or maybe this is his true potential and he’s just outright overrated. Either or.
17. Daniel Ricciardo
He was getting beaten by JEV initially, but that seems to have finally changed, which is good. Considering the status of the car, I’d dare say that Alguersuari or Buemi would be further down than him.
16. Felipe Massa
He showed great promise after Monaco, but he’s still off Alonso’s pace. He used to be a great qualifier, but now he can’t even match his teammate (one that doesn’t generally shine there), which is shameful. Considering Fernando hasn’t finished lower than 5th since Spain, Felipe should be doing much better than this.
15. Kamui Kobayashi
Underperforming. I saw this coming after I noticed how close Perez was to him last year despite the accident in Monaco, but considering the state of the car both he and Perez should be higher than this. Checo at the very least has two podium finishes. What does Kamui have?
14. Paul di Resta
He seemed decent earlier on in the season when Hulk had his oft-quoted streak of misfortune, but now he’s dropped back. Doesn’t help that Force India have a poor car this year.
13. Nico Hulkenberg
The first few races set him back a little bit, but now he’s regularly matching and even beating his teammate, which is a bit of a relief. Right now, they’re evenly matched, which is good for the team.
12. Pedro de la Rosa
Wow. I did not expect this. That HRT is about a full second off the pace of the Marussia, yet he’s always been up there, always fighting to the end. One of the best surprises of the season, clearly.
11. Nico Rosberg
He has a victory, yes. One which he attained on his best track, and in miraculously fitting conditions. Even then, he managed to hit the cliff at the end of the race and would’ve been beaten by Jenson were it not for that botched final stop. He’s been off Schumacher’s pace for a while now, and were it not for Michael’s hilarious car failures Nico wouldn’t have been nearly as far ahead, if at all ahead.
10. Sergio Perez
He’s finally managed to put the accident in Monaco behind him, but his aggression has cost him dearly, and on multiple occasions as well. He and Kamui have the best midfield car, and they’ve even risen above Mercedes now, so he should be putting up more of a fight.
09. Pastor Maldonado
Well well well. This boy has pace, and he has lots of it, but I figured he would’ve learned his lesson after his multitude of accident-packed GP2 seasons. If we were to consider sheer pace alone he would be higher than this, but he needs to calm down, and fast.
08. Jenson Button
“Struggling with the rears, guys…” Boy, how the tides have turned. Last year’s tyres suited him. This year’s tyres are horrible for him. He’s a full 41 points below his teammate, which, considering how close this championship has been thus far, is unacceptable.
07. Michael Schumacher
Even considering the sad state of the Mercedes, his neck problems, his occasional brain fades, his car failures and his sheer age, he somehow still managed to put it on pole in Monaco. He should be much higher than this. Much, much higher than this. He’s still nowhere near his pre-retirement level, but he’s finally outperforming Rosberg. He’s proven his worth.
06. Romain Grosjean
I called it. He was outperforming Raikkonen at the start of the season, but his recklessness let him down, and now the Finn is seemingly back in business. Even so, considering how poor he was at the end of 2009, it pleases me to see that he’s doing well, and I strongly believe that he should be closer to the top 5 than he currently is (and definitely ahead of Rosberg and Button.)
05. Mark Webber
When he puts his foot down, he’s on par with Vettel. But when he doesn’t, he’s nowhere. Absolutely nowhere. He’s highly worthy of being in this year’s championship fight, but were it not for Malaysia and Europe he wouldn’t be ahead of Sebastian. And a highly frustrated Sebastian at that.
04. Kimi Raikkonen
His early performances let him down, and the strategy cost him a shot at winning on more than one occasion, but the fact that he is only one point behind Hamilton and 8 points behind Webber says it all – he’s back. Don’t rule him out of the championship fight yet.
03. Sebastian Vettel
He was #1 prior to Silverstone, but now that Ferrari have a matching or outright better car, his frustration is starting to show. Getting mad at Hamilton for no logical reason whatsoever, illegally overtaking Button, trying to get the team to do his dirty work for him, you name it. He’s still my bet for the championship, as neither Alonso nor Webber have retired from a single race yet, but he needs to clear his mind, and quickly, because time is slowly running out for him.
02. Fernando Alonso
Credit where it’s due – this guy is having the best season of his career. Constantly and consistently near the top, if not at the very top step of the podium, aggressive yet intelligent. He’s proving that 2005 and 2006 were no flukes. He deserves to be at the top. However, the F2012 is not a dog. It never was. He missed out on Q3 in Australia due to his own mistake. He had the best car in Malaysia. He lost at least two places in China. And since then, he’s had a top 2 car at every weekend. Not only that, but we’re seeing signs of 2007 and especially 2010 again. His car is bulletproof. There is a certain point where luck DOES come into play, and Alonso is somehow taking advantage of that once again. People whine about Schumacher’s so-called luck in his first career, but Alonso’s had much more of it, and if logic and F1 have anything to do with one another, it’s going to run out. It ran out in 2007 and it ran out in 2010. A little late, but it did. He needs a good string of podium finishes if he’s to defend his top spot. I greatly respect him for his actions against McLaren and Ron Dennis in 2007 and I’ve been a fan of his ever since, and as a tifosi it pleases me to see such a guy driving for Ferrari, but I’m going to stick my neck on the line and say that he has surpassed Ayrton Senna as the most overrated driver of all time.
01. Lewis Hamilton
Two retirements, multiple incidents, the poorest championship contending car with an engine that destroys the rear tyres…there’s no doubt about it. I figured that something was still wrong with him after his behavior in Australia, and he’s still too reliant on his team (which cost him a podium finish in Monaco), but his victory in Canada, his missed chance in Valencia (he should’ve won there, as the stop greatly set him back) and his supreme dominance in Hungary are hard to overlook. He should be second in the championship right now. No, scratch that, he should be leading. Vettel had a competitive car for longer than Hamilton.