F1 Fanatic Driver Rankings 2012: Your views wanted

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    1. Alonso: I’m not a fan of him, I just cannot tolerate his personality = ‘I’m the one and only, everyone else should get out of my way.’ But I have to say he was the most impressive this season.
    2. Vettel: World Champion for the 3rd time in a row.
    3. Raikkonen: Great comeback year, very consistent, no mistakes.
    4. Hamilton: Was very unlucky all season. Sometimes the pitcrew, sometimes the car let him down. Should’ve been fighting for the WDC in Brazil. I put him 3rd at first but too many DNFs. Okay, not his faults, but…
    5. Rosberg: First win, many pointscoring finishes. End of year not so good, perhaps because of the car.
    6. Button: Had 5 nightmare weekends. Serious contender for 2013 if Perez is declared as 2nd driver as soon as possible.
    7. Hülkenberg: Was missed in 2011. Hopefully he’ll get the car his talent deserves. I don’t understand his Sauber switch.
    8. Pic: Had to put him so high up. Some really good races. Hopefully Caterham will be good and he can show his potential ever more.
    9-24: Rest of the field. Others didn’t really impress me. Nothing special. Perhaps Perez but his season ending…… destroyed much. Webber only 6th in the championship. What was he doing in the 2nd half of the season? And what was Massa doing in the first half!? Grosean is very quick but his racing is not smart to say the least. Maldonado the same.



    I don’t want to half-*** a lengthy analysis, so for now, I just want to say that it’s

    1. Alonso
    2. Hamilton
    3. Vettel

    on the podium for me with a bit less to choose between Alonso and Hmailton than between Hamilton and Vettel.



    1. Fernando Alonso: His best season so far, without a doubt. Very fast, consistent and he mad very few mistakes. He has been a little bit disappointing in qualifying in the last races, but his excellent starts and race pace allowed him to fight for podium even from P6 or P7.

    2. Sebastian Vettel: He has done a fantastic season. Not as perfect as Alonso, though. He made a couple of costly mistakes, but he showed that he doesn’t lack anything. He is fast, he is able to overtake and he doesn’t get distracted by anything. Great drives in Abu Dhabi and Brazil, but I think that his four consecutive victories are the most impressive thing in such a crazy season.

    3. Lewis Hamilton: Probably his best season. Very fast, as always, and very few mistakes, which is quite new for him. I think that sometimes he wasn’t impressive (Belgium, Suzuka, Australia) and his team mate did a much better job in those weekends.

    4. Kimi Raikkonen: I’m very, very surprised by Kimi. I didn’t expect him to be so strong. His consistency is something amazing. To be honest Grosjean has been better than him in qualifying overall, and even in some races. I think that he lacked a little bit of aggression in wheel-to-wheel action, it seemed that he wanted to bring the car home regardless of the position. I still believe that he could have taken the lead in Bahrain.

    5. Nico Hulkenberg: What a great comeback! I loved the guy in 2010, I was so disappointed that he ended up without a seat in 2011. He had a slow start of the season, but in the Asian rounds he proved that he is a much better driver than Di Resta. His speed and his consistency were really impressive. He is just behind Perez and ahead of Kobayashi in the standings. Considering that Sauber had a car capable of podiums in a lot of races, that’s a great achievement.

    6. Michael Schumacher: His best season after his comeback, it’s disappointing that he has to leave now. He proved that he is still one of the best, but a lot of bad luck and some stupid mistakes costed him a lot of points. His pole in Monaco was just amazing.

    7. Mark Webber: Solid season, even if he probably wanted more. As always, he has been very fast in Monaco and Silverstone, but he was nowhere near Vettel in many races. He was very competitive in qualifying, but his race pace hasn’t been brilliant compared to Vettel.

    8. Romain Grosjean: Very welcome surprise. He has been better than Raikkonen in qualifying, but he failed to score points in many occasions. Sometimes not his fault, sometimes definitely his fault. If he learns from his mistakes, I think that he is going to be one of the protagonists of 2013.

    9. Nico Rosberg: His victory in China and his second place in Monaco were definitely great drives. A part from those, he hasn’t been impressive. Still, I think it was a good, solid season. Can’t wait to see what he does next year.

    10. Jenson Button: Disappointing season, I think that it was his worst in Mclaren. His gap to Lewis was frankly embarassing in some races and it took quite a while for him to recover. He had some very good races, though.

    11. Felipe Massa: The first part of the season was awful. It was embarassing to watch him. He managed to recover very well in the second part, and he has been faster than Alonso in a couple of weekends, which is something that we have never seen since 2010.

    12. Sergio Perez: His podiums were incredible, but a part from those he hasn’t been impressive. Too many mistakes in the closing rounds.

    13. Pastor Maldonado: Overall a very good season for him. Not only for the win, but I think that he matured in the second part of the season. He has thrown away too many points, though.

    14. Kamui Kobayashi: I loved his podium in Japan and his qualifying in Spa. A part from those events, I don’t think that he has been remarkable.

    15. Paul Di Resta: Good first half of the season and great performance in Singapore. In the remaining part of the season he has been slower than Hulkenberg.

    16. Jean-Eric Vergne: I feel a little bit bad to put the Toro Rosso pair so low, because the car probably didn’t help. JEV had a good race in Monaco and his race pace was very good compared to Ricciardo’s. He suffered qualifying too much.

    17. Daniel Ricciardo: Some good performances in qualifying, but in the race JEV has been slightly better. It’s difficult to judge, really.

    18. Heikki Kovalainen: Good season, again. Great race in Monaco, it was incredible to watch him fight like that. But he was not so brilliant against Petrov in the last part of the season.

    19. Bruno Senna: Ok, sometimes his race pace was good and he has scored points in many occasions. I can’t help thinking that he underperformed, though. It’s true that he got a lot of 9th and 10th place, but Maldonado in the meanwhile was fighting for podiums and double digit points. He missed almost every FP1, but I don’t think it was such an obstacle, especially later in the season.

    20. Vitaly Petrov: Well, I didn’t expect him to be so competitive with Kovalainen. He is a paydriver, but I have to admit that he doesn’t seem so bad.

    21. Charles Pic: Great season. He has been quite close to Glock, and even faster sometimes. I was very happy when he was confirmed for Caterham, because his seat in Marussia was at risk.

    22. Timo Glock: I think that he suffered a little bit too much against Pic. Nonetheless, he drove some amazing races. Singapore comes to my mind.

    23. Pedro De La Rosa: Much better than Karthikeyan, and he challenged the Marussia guys sometimes.

    24. Narain Karthikeyan: DLR was faster in qualifying sessions and in the races by quite some margin. Awful season.



    24.) Narain Karthikeyan
    23.) Timo Glock
    22.) Pedro De La Rosa
    21.) Bruno Senna
    20.) Heikki Kovalainen
    19.) Vitaly Petrov
    18.) Daniel Ricciardo
    17.) Charles Pic
    16.) Jean-Eric Vergne
    15.) Kamui Kobayashi
    14.) Paul di Resta
    13.) Pastor Maldonado
    12.) Felipe Massa
    11.) Sergio Perez
    10.) Romain Grosjean
    9.) Michael Schumacher
    8.) Nico Rosberg
    7.) Jenson Button
    6.) Mark Webber
    5.) Nico Hulkenburg
    4.) Kimi Raikkonen
    3.) Sebastian Vettel
    2.) Lewis Hamilton
    1.) Fernando Alonso



    1 – Fernando Alonso: I feel his season has been a bit overrated by some, and his car wasn’t as terrible as he would have us believe, but it was a fantastic season Alonso’s had nevertheless. With his usual relentlessness he got everything out of the car and consistently delivered. Great opportunism allowed him to secure three very impressive victories and his race craft was amazing all through the year. It’s always a shame when a driver’s season of such incredible driving is not awarded with the title.

    2 – Lewis Hamilton: After the blip that was his 2011 season, Hamilton was back on top form. Drove very, very well all through and showed a great deal of consistency. With such great driving and with the season’s fastest car in his hands, the title should have been his – but unreliability, problems in the pits and bad luck cost him the championship.

    3 – Sebastian Vettel: The car didn’t suit him too much early on and he lost some important points with a few incidents he could have avoided. Really impressed with some drives when the car wasn’t at its best, such as in Melbourne and Spa, and had very bad luck to lose the win in Valencia. But 4 consecutive wins allowed him back into the title hunt after being 40 points down, and he got the necessary result in the title decider despite pretty much everything going wrong. His best and most difficult title yet, and he got it despite not having the fastest car – I think this is the season Vettel really proved he’s a worthy multiple champion.



    1. Kimi Räikkönen – for a driver who hasn’t driven in Formula 1 for the previous two years, he had a remarkable season. He was a bit cautious when overtaking (Bahrain, Hungary), but this cautiousness has really helped him get that third place in the championship (of course he was a bit lucky that the Lotus was very reliable).

    2. Sebastian Vettel – a triple world champion, the first person ever to win his first three championships consecutively. I think many people, when comparing the Red Bull to the Ferrari, simply assume that the Red Bull is a brilliant car (Newey = genius, so RB8 = genius) and because Alonso and Domenicali said at testing that the Ferrari is awful, they assume the Ferrari is awful. Think what you want, but for sure Vettel’s performance this year is highly underrated by many.

    3. Fernando Alonso – I think he got the most out of his car this season: he simply could not beat Vettel on raw speed this year. More and more I get the feeling that he is Schumacher 2.0: he won two championships and then moved to Ferrari after they had a very poor year. So will he win the championship with Ferrari next year? Time will tell.

    4. Lewis Hamilton – overall Hamilton has had a good year, but there were some distractions from that. The McLaren’s reliability was beyond poor, which must have frustrated Hamilton. But he didn’t let that get to him and just focussed as soon as he put on his helmet. That’s admirable.

    5. Nico Hülkenberg – I put Hülkenberg so high up simply out of frustration. He has had a very good and consistent season, but the consequence of that is that there are no real spikes. This of course changed at the final grand prix, where he showed he has the mind-set of a GP winner. The guy has a remarkable talent, and I find it difficult to believe that no top-5 team has decided to hire him yet.

    6. Pastor Maldonado – he has pretty much annihilated his reputation of pay driver this year. He is incredibly good, but by far not consistent enough to drive for a top-5 team. If he can improve on that next year, like he has shown in the last few races of this season, then he could become one of the most exciting talents in F1.

    7. Jenson Button – not the best year for Button. Though the points don’t show, this was the first year that he was actually outclassed by Hamilton. But with three wins, one cannot deny that he is a good Formula 1 driver.

    8. Mark Webber – he is so unlucky to have Vettel as his teammate, as this prevents him from showing his true potential. The Monaco grand prix once again showed that he is a good driver.

    9. Sergio Pérez – he was very impressive this year. The podiums he had at the beginning of this year were a bit lucky, but you can’t argue that it was all down to good strategy by the team. Really looking forward to seeing him go head-to-head with Button.

    10. Michael Schumacher – like Hamilton, his season was hampered by poor reliability. His pole position in Monaco and the podium in Valencia were nice, but I think he and Rosberg were evenly matched throughout the season.

    11. Nico Rosberg – three years of driving next to seven times world champion Michael Schumacher, but in none of these years was he in the meister’s shadow when it comes to performance.

    12. Kamui Kobayashi – had a decent season, though probably not as exciting as his teammate’s. I kind of think he has had his chance to prove himself, but there simply is not more potential in him.

    13. Romain Grosjean – a bit of a first-lap nutcase. He has improved his starts in the last few races of 2012, but he simply wasn’t as good as Räikönnen was this year.

    14. Charles Pic – probably the best rookie of 2012, though many casual F1-fans will not have noticed that. He definitely deserves a seat for next year, too bad Caterham isn’t that much of an improvement for him.

    15. Felipe Massa – had an abominable start to the season and was in general way slower than his teammate. Though in the last 5 GPs he was pretty much on par with Alonso, probably even having the upper hand. But the amount of points he has scored in comparison to his teammate is unacceptable for a Ferrari driver, and I do not understand why Ferrari decided to retain him.

    16. Paul Di Resta – had a mediocre season.

    17. Heikki Kovalainen – difficult to judge the four backmarker teams, so I will skip the explanation for them.

    18. Timo Glock

    19. Jean-Éric Vergne

    20. Daniel Ricciardo

    21. Vitaly Petrov

    22. Pedro de la Rosa

    23. Bruno Senna – if it wasn’t for Maldonado’s inconsistency, he would have been miles behind the Venezuelan. I always felt that the only reason HRT, Lotus and Williams hired him was for his last name. And now that Bruno Senna has pretty much driven for every team that his uncle also drove for, it is time to acknowledge that he hasn’t got the exceptional talent of most other F1 drivers.

    24. Narain Karthikeyan – seriously, what is he doing in Formula 1? He has now raced 46 GPs: how on earth is that possible!? There are many other good drivers (in GP2 and Formula Renault for instance) that deserve the HRT joker seat a whole lot more than him.



    24. Narain Karthikeyan – Just there to give a cheap team a cheap drive.
    23. Pedro De La Rosa – Whilst he’s so much better than Narain, I do find it hard to rate him any higher, even though he is a class above Narain, it doesn’t say that much really.
    22. Timo Glock – I’m a big fan of Timo, however, he was out driven too many times by his rookie team mate, and that says a lot. I still rate Timo higher than Pic overall, but that’s not really a fair comparison, but this season he was a major let down
    21. Heikki Kovalienen – Whilst he was good this year, I think he had too many days where he was beaten by Petrov, which being the more experienced team mate, and quite highly rated as a driver, is not a very good show.
    20. – Charles Pic – As said before, he out classed Glock this season, and he did put in some very impressive drives over the year where people were giving him deserved praise.
    19. Jean Eric Vergne – Really lacklustre this season. He has a couple of good races, but his qualifying performances were woefully bad, and that’s unacceptable. Had he been on par with Ricciardo on qualifying over the season, he’d be rated slightly higher, but otherwise, it was really disheartening to see, although I still thinks he deserves to stay so very happy to see he’s been taken up again by Toro Rosso.
    18. Bruno Senna – With only a drip-feed of points and no real outstanding drives, it’s hard to rate Senna this season. Yes he was consistent, and that’s why he’s made it this high, but he was slow, and in a car that was capable of winning as shown by his team mate, it’s hard to go any further for Senna.
    17. Daniel Ricciardo – Whilst this guy has pace, and speed, he also failed to deliver most of the time in the races, as shown at the end where he was outscored by Vergne. However, it’s not really a fair comparrison in a car like the Toro Rosso, but I believe he has more potential to score more points in a better car than what Vergne would.
    16. Vitaly Petrov – The absolute class of the backfield teams this season. He had some really good races, he out performed Kovalainen in the last half of the season, and when he was needed to be there, he did what he needed to to get Caterham that necessary 10th place in the constructors.
    15/14. Paul Di Resta – Just looked really lacklustre this season, not exciting anywhere, other than Singapore where he seems to be quick. Other than that, completely outshone by his team mate.
    15/14. Sergio Perez – Whilst he had a few podiums this season, most of them came from good strategy, and other that the podium races, he scored only 15 points. Whilst one of them came from a fantastic drive (Malaysia) It’s hard to see how he was any better than any driver below him. His championship after his Italian Podium was absolutely woeful. If this was a last half of the season rating, he’d be in the 20’s.
    13. Kamui Koboyashi – Some great races he had this year, some memorable drives, one of them for me was Spain, and the others are Japan, Germany and Abu Dhabi. Whilst Perez also had a similar tally of good races, the race in between, for me, put Koboyashi ahead of Perez.
    12. Romain Grosjean – Whilst he has speed, he’s also had too many incidents, and that’s really all there is to say.
    11. Michael Schumacher – Whilst he has had his best driving year of his 3 year return, he’s again failed to outshine Nico. However, it’s hard to rate him because he has lost a lot of points due to the team, but also, vitally, lost a lot of points from his own mistakes too. It’s these mistakes that’s cost him so dearly this year.
    10. Pastor Maldonado – I think he deservadly makes it into the top 10 this year as he’s been phenomenal this year in comparison to last. He had his fantastic win, and, whilst he had his fair share of incidents (he’d be higher otherwise), he’s had his fantastic races, and is clearly one of the most talented drivers on the grid. He just needs to clear that red mist, but, since Spa, he really seems to have done that.
    9/8. Felipe Massa – He’d be one of the top drivers for the last half year, but, because he’s had a very woeful first half, it’s hard to rate him any higher really.
    9/8. Nico Rosberg – In the (what I would call) 5th fastest car on the grid, he’s finished exactly where it could have been expected. His supreme win in China, and his fundamentally consistent driving (Rosbot), gives his this position in the championship, and, whilst he had a fairly poor final stint to the season, I think that was more the car (Mercedes’s possible start of development for Hamilton next year rather than for this year). He gave Mercedes their position in the constructors championship, which they must be grateful for.
    7. Jenson Button – Granted, whilst the car was good, he was good, the car seemed to be bad for him quite a lot. I don’t see that just being the car. I feel that he was just slow this season, and, even though he finished far more races than Hamilton as his car was far more reliable, he still finished lower in the points. That’s not good, and in-fact, rather embarrassing for a world champion, to be so slow compared to his team mate.
    6. Mark Webber – Equal machinery to the world champion, yet finished 6th in the championship, and whilst he had two good wins, it’s hard to see any other stand out drives, and, he only finished on the podium 4 times the entire season. Rather disappointing.
    5. Nico Hulkenburg – Has had a fantastic season this year. Absolutely outclassed his team mate, had some really memorable drives (include Brazil, just a shame about how it finished), and split the Sauber’s, which I think was a car which was faster than the Force India. There’s also no doubting his raw speed, and, he drove consistently well really, and so that is why he is so much higher than Di Resta. A great driver.
    4. Kimi Raikonnen – (But only just). I think Kimi has been absolutely spectacular, and has been a stand out driver this year. It’s like he was never away from the sport. He, however, ‘only’ gets fourth behind Vettel for the fact that he did have a few slow points at the start of the championship where he was a little slow, and not aggressive enough in wheel to wheel combat (Which we later saw remedied).
    3. Sebastian Vettel – Whilst he is the world champion, I don’t think he was as good as the top two. His first half of the season (maybe all the way up to Italy) was really not massively impressive, however, he did score the vital points he needed. He gets third though because of his ridiculous dominant performance in the four in row wins. A sheer display of dominance, and, whilst he was gifted a win at Singapore, he still did exactly what he needed, and that’s where he won the title, in my view.
    2. Lewis Hamilton – Was plagued by McLaren this season. Without a doubt in my mind he would have been fighting for the championship this year, maybe even won it, of this I have no doubt. It was a season of real improvement of 2011, and one of, if not the, best season of his life. His move to Mercedes I really love and I cannot wait to see how he does there. I think he will develop himself more as a person, and, like Alonso did after returning to Renault, I see him being an even better driver. He was super quick this season, probably the quickest really, and he was a fantastic racer too, and he showed he can race differently if he needs to (Spain springs to mind). Overall a great drive. The only two mistakes he made all season were driving over the astroturf in Korea (which is unfair as he was wrestling with a damaged car), and Australia, where he let Button first into turn one.
    1. Fernando Alonso – There really isn’t anything bad to say about Alonso’s season. He hasn’t put a foot wrong all season, and the only reason he missed out on the championship was a slow car at the start of the year. He’s had some phenomenal drives this year, and he did everything he could to try to win. I think the championship was lost when he pushed too hard at the start in Japan and caused himself to crash out. But that was the one and only mistake of the entire season for him, and he’s proved without a doubt to be the overall best driver this season.


    25. Jerome D’Ambrosio – for being really average on his one race return.



    Well, here is the first part of my rankings. I’ll upload the remaning parts soon.

    25. Jérome D’Ambrosio – It’s near impossible to judge D’Ambrosio’s performance in his single race this year. He didn’t set the world on fire, but did what could be asked of him on the track where you really don’t want to have a KERS failure.

    24. Narain Karthikeyan – Consistently at the back of the pack, outqualified and outpaced by the not-so-great Pedro de la Rosa tells much about Karthikeyan’s ability. Will likely be out of F1 next year along his team.

    23. Pedro de la Rosa – More than half a second ahead of Karthikeyan in qualifying on average and finished in front of his team mate in all races they both reached the chequered flag, but was still invisible throught the year.

    22. Bruno Senna – I really hoped this would be the season Senna flourished, being the first on which he was able to do the pre-season testing, but unfortunately his consistency wasn’t matched by his pace. The only memorable performance from Bruno was his race in Sepang, but something that happened back in March is just too long ago in a world where, in the eyes of most, you are only as good as your last race.

    21. Heikki Kovalainen – I simply wasn’t impressed by Kovalainen this year like I was in 2010 and 2011. Petrov has never been regarded as a future world champion, and given that he had the measure of Trulli, I expected much of the same against Vitaly. However, as the season progressed the balance of power in the team began to swing to the other side of the garage. His place in F1 looks threatened.

    20. Charles Pic – It was a very positive rookie season for Pic, faring much better than his predecessors di Grassi and D’Ambrosio against the experienced Timo Glock. Fully deserves his second season in F1.

    19. Vitaly Petrov – Petrov began the year behind Kovalainen, but improved a lot once his new race engineer began working with him, and makes me wonder if he could have won the interteam battle had he raced the whole year with Tim Wright on the pitwall. His race in Brazil was the highlight of his season, giving Caterham the 10th place they deserved.

    18. Timo Glock – Once again brought the fight to the KERS-equipped Caterhams, although he faced much tougher opposition from the other side of the garage this year. At times he looked uninterested in racing at the back of the pack, but his 12th place in Singapore seems to have brought the fire back on him. If his car does have KERS next year, we could be in to a pretty good fight between him and the Caterhams.

    17. Jean-Eric Vergne – Analysing Vergne’s season is very hard. In fact, his performace is probably the hardest to read, given that his team mate was also a (semi-)rookie, so it’s difficult to measure how much they were performing, or if they were underperforming the car. That said, Vergne was weak in qualifying and also finished behind his team-mate more often than not. He has more points on the standings, yes, but Ricciardo was the more consistent point-scorer.



    1. Alonso didn’t have the best car but it was reliable and his consistent ability to have great starts meant he more than salvaged his season, so I think he deserves to be driver of the year.

    Difficult one, how on Earth do you pick from Hamilton, Raikkonen, and Vettel?

    2. Hamilton. Had a strong season, far better than last year. When the car was reliable he won races, not to blame when the car broke or the team did poor pitstops. His driving was fantastic this year.

    I’m finding it is so difficult to decide whether Kimi’s consistency, race win and string of podiums is better than Seb’s title, string of four race wins. But one edges it for me….

    3. Vettel.

    4. Raikkonen.



    I will just start off with my top 3 for now:

    1. This one’s easy for me… Lewis Hamilton. Didn’t make a single driving error all season, the only driver on the grid to do so. Was only out-qualified once by his team-mate in a fair fight (Belgium…in Germany Jenson had a new set of wets and in Japan Lewis had a suspension problem), less than any other driver on the grid. Would probably have won the title at a canter if it weren’t for team errors and mechanical problems.

    2. Fernando Alonso. Another brilliant season, with only the odd little mistake (China and Japan). Took a less competitive car than the Red Bull to within 3 points of the title and generally drove superbly in the 1st half of the season. However, he did seem to drop off a little towards the end (or maybe Massa was just brilliant).

    3. Sebastien Vettel. He won the title so obviously did a good job, however, was out-qualified and out-raced by his teammate a little too often at the start of the year to break into the top 2. He put in a few great drives (Australia, Abu Dhabi etc.) and made the most of a dominant car when he had one.



    24 – Narain Karthikeyan. Did nothing other than trundle around at the back of the grid all year, solidly outperformed by his teammate.
    First half 4/10, second half 4/10.

    23 – Bruno Senna. Massively underperformed in qualifying in relation to Maldonado throughout the year.
    First half 4/10, second half 4/10.

    22 – Charles Pic. Invisible in 2012.
    First half 5/10, second half 5/10.

    21 – Timo Glock. Beat his teammate, almost got Marussia the p10 spot in constructors.
    First half 6/10, second half 6/10.

    20 – Jean-Eric Vergne. Beaten 14/5 in qualifying by Ricciardo though he finished ahead in points.
    Pretty invisible in races. 5/10 first half, 5/10 second half.

    19 – Romain Grosjean. Far too many incidents throughout the season, has raw pace as demonstrated by
    matching or exceeding Raikkonen in qualifying but far too ambitious in wheel to wheel racing.
    7/10 first half, 2/10 second half.

    18 – Pastor Maldonado. Destroyed his teammate in qualifying but threw away solid points finishes in
    Australia and Europe. Should have scored much more than he did throughout the season.
    6/10 first half, 5/10 second half.

    17 – Pedro de la Rosa. Convincingly beat his teammate in a car not capable of doing anything other
    than taking up the last two slots on the grid. Beat the Marussia’s a few times in qualifying
    as well.
    First half 6/10, second half 6/10.

    16 – Vitaly Petrov. Suprised to see him so close to Kovalinen as the year progressed, got his team p10
    in the constructors, would probably have outscored Grosjeans tally if Lotus had kept him.
    First half 6/10, second half 6/10.

    15 – Heikki Kovalainen. Beat teammate in qualifying and made Q2 a couple of times.
    First half 6/10, second half 6/10.

    14 – Daniel Ricciardo. Beat teammate in qualifying, car didn’t allow him to do much in races.
    First half 6/10, second half 6/10.

    13 – Felipe Massa. A strong second half of the season, but nowhere in the first half. Hopefully his
    current pace marks a full time return to his pre-accident form.
    First half 3/10, second half 7/10.

    12 – Paul Di Resta. Outshone by teammate over season, appears to be a solid driver but has not
    displayed any outstanding pace over the season.
    First half 5/10, second half 5/10.

    11 – Kamui Kobayashi. Put the Sauber at the sharp end of the grid in China, Belgium and Japan but only
    finished there once. Underperformed over the season and should have beaten Perez.
    First half 6/10, second half 6/10.

    10 – Nico Hulkenberg. Would of been much higher if he hadn’t crashed into Hamilton and thrown away a
    chance for the victory of the season. Outscored Di Resta by 17 points in the 8th best car.
    First half 5/10, second half 7/10.

    9 – Michael Schumacher. Sad to see so many failures on his car when it was good, very unfortunate
    throughout the season. Some silly mistakes in Spain, Hungary and Singapore so hardly flawless.
    First half 7/10, second half 5/10.

    8 – Nico Rosberg. Scored most of the points his car was capable of when the Mercedes was reasonably
    good in the first 7 races of the season.
    First half 7/10, second half 5/10.

    7 – Sergio Perez. Benefited from alternate strategies, but underperformed the cars potential.
    First half 7/10, second half 5/10.

    6 – Jenson Button. MIA from Bahrain to Great Britain, hammered by Hamilton in qualifying and is
    fortunate that most of the bad luck/incompetence throughout the season by Mclaren fell on the
    other side of the garage. Still won three races though, and Mclaren presumably won’t stuff up
    this badly for a few years again.
    First half 5/10, second half 7/10.

    5 – Mark Webber. After a solid season up to the British GP, had almost everything go wrong for him
    on-track. However the return of his poor starts and a shocker in Abu-Dhabi as well as poor
    races in Italy and Singapore were his fault.
    First half 8/10, second half 6/10.

    4 – Kimi Raikkonen. Excellent return to F1, did not max out the car in qualifying but had excellent
    race pace and stayed out of trouble. If given a car capable of winning a championship next year
    I would back him to deliver.
    First half 8/10, second half 8/10.

    3 – Sebastian Vettel. Had some luck throughout the season but delivered when it mattered in the
    second half and was backed up well by his team( take notes Mclaren ). Still required the car to
    be tailored towards his driving style but delivered when he had the car in the second half of
    the season.
    First half 8/10, second half 9/10.

    2 – Fernando Alonso. Dropped slightly from his superb first half season form in the last races of
    2012, in the end the only significant mistake of his season in Suzuka probably cost him
    the championship.
    9/10 first half, 8/10 second half.

    1 – Lewis Hamilton. Has been the best over the full 2012 season. Won the season on my adjusted
    rankings for good/bad luck. Hammered Button in qualifying and races and should have finished
    ahead by over a hundred points instead of two.
    9/10 first half, 9/10 second half.


    Juan Pablo Heidfeld

    1. Alonso – Arguably had the best season ever seen in F1, put the Ferrari where it had no right to be. Performances in Valencia were just icing on the cake. For me the fact it was unremarkable that he was scoring podiums at Abu Dhabi, USA and Brazil shows how brilliant he has been.

    2. Hamilton – Drove beautifully, we were denied potentially the best finishes to a season due to his McLaren’s reliability. Brilliant.

    3. Sebastian Vettel – Seemed a bit below par early in the season, with Webber having the upper hand, however give him a race-winning car and he delivers time after time.

    Other notes:

    Grosjean – Very fast, but a bit inconsistent, potential race winner in my eyes
    Maldonado – Seems to have ironed out his crashing and delivered consistently at the end of the season. A great qualifier and took a brilliant win in Spain.


    Younger Hamii

    Fernando Alonso – My admiration for Alonso is just constantly growing: his ability to consistently extract the maximum out of whatever tools he has been given is something inspiring but controversial, examples of the latter being his acts of gamesmanship on the team radio in Bahrain & Monza. To the positives again, his philosophy in working with the numbers & odds created from the events of previous races as well as persevering to compensate for the fact that the F2012 arguably hasn’t been the quickest package on a single race weekend (with the probable exception of Silverstone & perhaps Monza as well) is somewhat extraordinary. He’s been almost immaculate & I say almost because he has frankly made a few mistakes, most recently during the race in Interlagos when he ran wide at Turn 1 & one will remember Q2 in Australia, triggered by that diligence of his of trying to get the most out of his machinery, with his reaction when getting out of the cockpit being understandably one of annoyance. Unquestionably, this has been Alonso’s best season yet as he approaches the end of his prime years although having mentioned that & witnessed his brilliance throughout the season, you wonder when that 3rd world title of his will come & how long will it keep eluding him because personally – once Alonso gets his 3rd world title, he’ll edge Lauda in terms of the all-time greats.

    Lewis Hamilton – Hamilton’s driving this season has been akin to Alonso’s in the sense that his performances have been incredibly consistent & almost flawless, I can’t honestly think of any on-track mistakes he’s made, it’s queer how that can be said for Hamilton but not Alonso. I remember Lewis saying earlier in the year how he wanted to implement consistency into his approach to racing but that should naturally come from the very best drivers on the grid, that including Lewis & I think that’s what he acknowledged after Valencia at least, when that elusive run of scoring in every race was broken by his incident with Maldonado. I was a bit concerned when his qualifying pace that was instantly demonstrated in Australia & Malaysia didn’t quite translate to race winning pace, being outclassed by Button in Australia & having a subdued drive to 3rd in Malaysia but ultimately it showed up in Canada & could have become apparent earlier in Spain had the human error from his team of under-fuelling the car, not happened. A notable mention is his win in Austin, from my perspective it showed that out of him & Vettel, he was the better driver, given that the McLaren & Red Bull were on-par on both qualifying & race pace & to immediately get back pass Webber after losing out to him at the start, hunt down Vettel, stay glued to the Red Bull until backmarkers presented him with the opportunity he determinedly took, was a demonstration of cunning & calculated race-craft. His composed victories were in the form of Hungary & Monza.

    All in all, what could’ve been a 2nd world title wasn’t to be: due to a number of operational errors involving pit-stops, virtue to his team as well as misfortune in the form of being involved in first-lap incidents such as Hockenheim & Spa that were through no fault of his own all losing him vital points & compounding it all is his car cruelly costing him likely victories at Singapore & Abu Dhabi. His continuation of succeeding wins with DNFs is just a symbol of what has partly been the story of Hamilton’s career so far, I hope the fresh perception & breathing space he hopefully gets at Mercedes will reward his talent deservedly, through Alonso-esque performances in consistently getting that Merc to places it shouldn’t be in as well as excelling gracefully when they produce a great package, which is likely in 2014.

    Both of those drivers have really consistent & taintless in regards to what they can do in their machinery, one main thing they have scared in common this season: they haven’t been matched with the machinery they truly deserve. I can’t rank them separately, they’re both #1 quite frankly.

    Notable mentions:

    Pastor Maldonado – Putting his hysterical antics aside, he is blindingly fast over one-lap, as the season progressed & the occasions where the Williams have had a package that was ‘best of the rest’, my anticipation of his final Q3 runs increased, I don’t know if they thought he put the car in places where they wouldn’t consider it to be, Barcelona, Valencia & Singapore to name a few, but that’s what I think & I liken it to Vettel’s ability to dig that bit deeper for extra time on that final lap. Although, his race-craft pretty much needs to be nurtured for next season. That is all. If he was to channel his race-craft effectively coupled with his evident raw speed, I think Maldonado, along with Hulkenberg & Perez, is going to be a future protagonist in the sport.

    Kimi Raikkonen – The ultra-consistent, on par with the consistency Alonso & Hamilton, if anything superior. His tentative & scrupulous race-craft overall has been served with benefits rather than hindrance & it was great to see many viewing him as a title-contender at the middle of the season. Liking the dynamics he’s providing in regards to personalities in the sport, take him being the team-radio in Abu Dhabi as a primary example. In summary, superb comeback season from him.

    Romain Grosjean – Like Maldonado, that raw speed is evident through performances at Bahrain & Valencia, his overtakes on Hamilton in both of those races shows his overtaking ability is good too but ‘RoGro’ needs to use the winter-break to go back to the drawing board & fully evaluate his approach to race-starts & potentially his race-craft as well because given that he’s very much likely to be confirmed for next season at Lotus, I honestly believe that at least at Lotus, he has one final chance to show what he’s made of.

    Felipe Massa – That first half of the season; astonishingly woeful. The times when many were calling for Perez to replace him mid-season…

    Particularly in the latter stages of the season, since that podium in Suzuka, I think he has returned to form likened to one visible prior to 2010 I must say, his race-pace in Korea, being quicker than his Alonso, was a true demonstration of that as well as his qualifying performances since Suzuka, either matching or out-qualifying Alonso. But even before Suzuka, the signs were a bit visible: keeping up with the leading pack in Monaco, finishing just 6 seconds behind race winner Webber, the latter who Massa was catching in Canada before his spin, again an encouraging performance in Silverstone, finishing not far behind Alonso in 2nd & matching Vettel’s pace for a good portion of the race along with some others. There’s no denying, along with other drivers, he’s had misfortune also: caught up in the first-lap incident in Hockenheim, I believe afterwards he was matching the pace of Alonso, who was leading out in front, losing out & being stuck behind Senna in Hungary.

    It was nice to see Felipe take an emotional podium in Interlagos, hope it serves as a potent positive to carry over his strong end to the season & really come strong next season. Looking forward!


    Younger Hamii

    Paul Di Resta. Outshone by teammate over season, appears to be a solid driver but has not
    displayed any outstanding pace over the season.
    First half 5/10, second half 5/10.

    I’m sure Di Resta & Hulkenberg were a match for each other both on-track & statistically, up until the point where the Hulkenberg to Sauber was announced, Hulkenberg seemingly upped his game & comprehensively out-performed Di Resta in every department, with the latter having no apparent answer. A reverse effect to Perez’s to say the least, after his move to McLaren was announced. Differences in maturity & mentality?



    25 – Jerome d’Ambrosio – Was unlucky in some ways that his race in what was the form car at that point of the season, came at Monza, meaning the Renault engines power shortfall hid whatever true pace he had.

    24 – Narain Karthikeyan – Although not quite as slow as some people think, only out qualified his teammate 3 times, and was almost always the 1st person to be lapped, add to that a number questionable not looking in mirrors moments, he really can’t be higher.

    23 – Pedro de la Rosa – Consistently had the upper hand on Karthikeyan but I can’t help but feel it would be a better use of his time to be a McLaren test driver and do a sports car program, instead of qualifying on the back two rows and being lapped a 5th of the way into the race.

    22 – Vitaly Petrov – His last race signed off an impressive resurgence in the second half of the season, but the first half looked like he wasn’t interested he tended to qualify behind Kovalianen and usually finished ahead when the Finn had car troubles.

    21 – Charles Pic – Impressed as he was very quickly a match for Glock in Quali, the race pace tended to slip a little but he disserves his place with the, ever so slightly, faster team next year.

    20 – Timo Glock – Did the job we’ve come to expect of him, Qualified just behind the Caterhams and chased them home to the finish.

    19 – Jean Eric Vergne – Was the driver to lose out in Q1 a few too many times, and whilst he did tend to get the better points scores of the Toro Rossos, Ricciardo narrowly won the Race results.

    18 – Heikki Kovalianen – If anyone was going to escape the ‘usual suspects’ of Q1 elimination, it was Heikki, he tended to race well, but was hit by more of the Caterham KERs issues. It will be a pity if he’s dropped for next season.

    17 – Bruno Senna – Williams really should have got more from this season, Bruno raced well but usually should have been a lot higher up the grid, his pass on his teammate and Grosjean in India being a highlight.

    16 – Daniel Ricciardo – Generally had the measure of his teammate in Quali, and was a little more unlucky in the races, both drivers are good, but I think Daniel is the one Red Bull would go for.

    15 – Kamui Kobayashi – Generally out classed by Perez but he had another good season, but his mature drive to the Podium at home was a brilliant achievement.

    14 – Pastor Maldonado – His Win as a good as it was surprising, and his Quali speed really in no doubt, but his temperament is worrying, how many other drivers on the Grid would use their Car as a weapon.

    13 – Romain Grosjean – Very quick and matching well against a proven Champion, if he just stops the first lap incidents there is no reason he can’t be a real force in the future.

    12 – Paul di Resta – A good but unsensational season, he was unlucky not to go to Mercedes/Ferrari, and it seems to have knocked him a bit. His Singapore drive was a great demonstration of what he can do.

    11 – Nico Hulkenberg – Won probably the closest team mate battle on the grid, almost entirely because of the last two races of his Force India career, but how good were those races (with the exception of losing the rear of his car in Brazil).

    10 – Felipe Massa – Probably the worst driver on the grid in the first half of the season, then something changed and by the last two races he was arguably the best, the 2008 almost Champion was back and showing Ferrari’s faith in him was well placed (though I don’t think any of us, save Massa, saw this kind of form returning to him).

    9 – Sergio Perez – Hero to Zero and back again? His good drives were very good, but he could also go missing for a few races. As he knows and has said he will only be able to prove himself by getting into a McLaren and trying to beat a proven race winner and World Champion. Only time will see.

    8 – Nico Rosberg – A brilliant win in China was followed by pushing two drivers, one his new teammate, off the road in Bahrain. Nico Rosberg has survived his first major test by seeing off Michael Schumacher over 3 seasons, but the 3rd season will have been rather too close for comfort.

    7 – Michael Schumacher – It’s been a year of ‘What could have been…’ for Schumacher, the car was sporadically fast at the beginning of the season, usually breaking when he was in a good position, it’s a pity that he lost his Pole position in Monaco, but it was deserved for one of a few too many ‘brain fades’ during his final season.

    6 – Mark Webber – Had a slight edge over Vettel in the beginning / middle of the season whilst the car was not the best, once the car improved though he started to slip behind Vettel more and more, though as he only seemed to have KER’s for 1 in 2 races maybe it’s not that surprising.

    5 – Jenson Button – 3 great wins, his Spa win one of his best, but suffered greatly in the period when McLaren messed up its Tyre temperatures, also suffered from his fair share of reliability issues.

    4 – Kimi Raikkonen – So that’s how a comeback is done, turn up instantly fast, get some podiums, then rule out a Win on the eve of well another Grand Prix win. Admittedly he could/should have won 2 more races but you can’t knock how well he came back into this ultra-competitive season with one of the best grids ever assembled.

    3 – Sebastian Vettel – The now 3 time world Champion obviously deserves the title, he was fast, won more races than anyone else and got plenty of good results when he didn’t have the fastest car, but for me he wasn’t the best driver of the season, there were a few too many rookie errors. Almost crashing in to an Australian behind a safety car, reminds me of other times when he has been a bit too impetuous. That said, that safety car board, meant instead of 1 to 10 points he managed to get 15 and we all know how close the championship was.

    2 – Lewis Hamilton – Does anyone remember Lewis Hamilton having no Mechanical retirements in his first 50 odd races. In a season when he could barely do better (on the track, off the track he made plenty of mistakes), it must be annoying that the legendary McLaren reliability abandoned them. With the 2-3 lost wins, the countless early season pit stop failures and then a spate of broken roll bars etc he could easily have been fighting for the championship in Brazil.

    1 – Fernando Alonso – I’ve been trying to remember when the last time someone in a car that far off the pace at the start of the season, who has fought to the end and so arguably deserved the title. Ferrari has lost 3 Championships in the last round in the last 5 years and that’s got to hurt. In a season with 8 different winners from 6 different teams, Fernando had the almost perfect season, let’s hope we can see what he can do in a fast Ferrari.

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