If it wasn’t for Schumacher and Massa I would have to agree with the 1 – 9 theory. I would have to give a Kobayashi or Perez a top 9 spot for now. Even if Sutil was on the grid this year, I would place him in the top 9.
I hate people saying Di Resta did well, he did, but only taking into account that he was a rookie. Visibly people do not rate Sutil that well, so you have to take into account that Di Resta was really still quite far back on him.
I mean, Hulkenburg got lots of flak despite being generally close to Rubens… It seems like there is a different set of rules for Di Resta.
I think people are too quick to jump to conclusions on this one. @Ed241 nailed it with his post.
Just because a driver has an off year(Massa, Webber, Hamilton, etc) doesn’t mean they automatically loose their standing as one of the top drivers. The top 9 are the 9 best in F1, the order is debatable, but to me it’s a pretty straightforward case.