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Posted By: James Allen  |  17 Aug 2012   |  9:18 am GMT  |  196 comments

This week we have been reviewing the performances of the first half of the season by the drivers, following a rating by influential Italian sports paper Gazzetta dello Sport.

To read their ratings click Here

We’ve had an interesting debate on the ratings, with over 300 comments left, many with fans posting their own version of the “pagelle”, or marks out of ten.

Gazzetta gave Alonso a perfect 10, which leaves no room for improvement.

Though he is having his best season in F1 to date, leading the championship with three wins without having the fastest car and has convinced many sceptics who doubted his ability, to say that the season has been perfect is to exaggerate. He’s been close to perfect and if he holds on to win the title it will be one of the most remarkable in the sport’s history.

The only season in my career I can compare it to is Ayrton Senna’s 1993 season where he managed to win five of the 16 races, including the legendary wet weather win at Donington, where I got soaked reporting from the pit lane for US TV network ESPN.

But the active suspension Williams of Prost and Hill was too strong that year and Prost duly won the title, with Senna second.

The main point of contention is how much should the bad things a driver has done pull him down when taken against his positive performances. Maldonado is of course the main question mark here, his sensational win in Spain meriting a 9.5, but some of his other antics and points thrown away pull him down even below drivers who haven’t really registered much.

Perez has had two outstanding races, but also should have got more points from the car he’s been driving. Button took a great win in Australia and fine podiums in China and Germany, but he’s had a struggle to perform when the McLaren has had imbalance in tyre temperatures. Rosberg was untouchable in China, but he’s also been outpaced a few times by his 43 year old team mate Schumacher, who in turn has been very unlucky with reliability otherwise his season would look a lot more positive.

Here are the JA on F1 “Pagelle”:

9.5: Alonso
8.5: Hamilton
8: Raikkonen
7.5: Vettel, Webber
7: Grosjean
6.5 Rosberg
6: Perez, Schumacher,
5.5: Kobayashi, Button, Di Resta, Hulkenberg,
5: Maldonado, Senna, Kovalainen, Petrov, Ricciardo, Glock, Pic, de la Rosa
4.5: Massa, Vergne
4: Karthikeyan

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196 Comments
  1. Arnie S says:

    Basically, this is the boiled-down concensus of what most agreed upon.

    I agree that there is always room for improvement (FA) and that Massa is not the “worst” driver (Karthikayan). Only doubt would be to put Kovi and Petrov at the same standing; I believe that Kovi has outperformed Petrov this year.

    1. Wayne says:

      I agree, sensible list indeed. Only thing I would change is the same thing I would change with the other list: Move Kovy up a bracket – can’t see how he has been outperformed by Button et all.

      1. Wayne says:

        P.S, when I first glanced at the picture I thought it was Alonso chilling in a bubble bath :-o

      2. kfzmeister says:

        Dude. Is that like some sort of homo-erotic Freudian slip??
        Come on. I mean i like the guy, too. But seriously?? Lol

      3. Wayne says:

        kfzmeister, It’s whatever you want it to be dude.

      4. Gareth Jenkins says:

        Could be the greatest comment of the year!

      5. Sam E says:

        I burst out laughing – best comment

      6. Sebee says:

        Only Alonso would have a Ferrari Red racing seat backrest in his tub!

    2. Pulkit Tripathi says:

      How can u say “worst” driver (Karthikayan)?…what do u know about him?…just because he’s in slow car!

      1. Peter C says:

        So is his team mate!

      2. brandon says:

        He’s been terrible every single time he’s been on the track. For years.

      3. Alex W says:

        He was good in India to be fair….. one race in a too long career….

      4. Jessapina says:

        Yes but his car seems to be quite alot slower than his teammate’s. Not just once in a while but at every race. He’s also the only driver to have finished last in every race that every car has finished. I seem to remember him finishing 4th at Indianapolis in a race of six cars and only finishing ahead of two very slow Minardi’s (and only because all the Michelin shod cars had retired in protest). So on merit he is infact not only the worst driver this year but quite possibly one of the lucky few who will make it on to f1rejects.com (which is quite a giggle) and become one of the worst of all time.
        He’s just awful.

      5. Niall O'Connell says:

        I concur.

        I have very little time or patience for “pay drivers”. The only reason this guy is on the grid is to bolster support for the Indian Grand Prix.

        I have nothing agains the slower back marking teams but when wasters like this get in the way of the front runners it really bothers me.

        I dream of the day when F1 is reserved exclusively for the most talented drivers in the world.

    3. pekko says:

      Petrov’s strength has always been his race pace, but he has still room for improvement in some areas. Kovy is a strong all-round performer. His average gap to Petrov in qualis has been 0.369s, and Kovy has made more first-lap position gains in 2012 than Petrov.

      These good performances have been mostly wasted because Caterham lacks the pace to really fight with the midfield teams. Caterham has also suffered from reliability gremlins in most races, and the fight between the Caterham drivers has usually been won by the one who has had less technical problems.

    4. Spinodontosaurus says:

      Although I fail to see how or why Schumacher is lower than Rosberg, given only Hungary was a better performance.

      There was the pole in China, but Schumacher retired early into the race and had not been pushing in the early stages, thus you can’t really rate that imo.

      As far as i’m concerned, Schumacher has been one of the best performers all year, easily up with Vettel and Webber, but has been let down by… pretty much everything possible to be honest.

  2. Jon Wilde says:

    James,

    I agree with the JA on F1 listing 100%!! A very fair review of the drivers. Going back to the point of the ranking, to me this means Massa is on his way out of Ferrari, I think Lewis, Kimi, or Heikki are in contention for the seat.

    Off topic but:

    I think your readers would dearly appreciate your sense of logic to help us understand what, if any, of the news coming out of Germany is true.

    • Mercedes to become a semi-works team from 2014 under the AMG brand?
    • Mercedes to supply only 1 team from 2014?
    • VW to enter with Sauber from 2015?

    Is it simply the less credible F1 sites trying to create traffic in the break or is there something more to the stories?

    I remember seeing an quote from Martin Whitmarsh saying that Renault have stated they would be capable of supplying 7 teams by 2014, which made no sense to me at the time, but with the comment about Mercedes only supplying 1 team, maybe it becomes logical. Then again, why would they be spending Millions developing an engine then dramatically reduce the potential return on investment by offering the engine to only one team and then not even brand that team as their own.

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      Volkswagen! That story turns up about this time every year for the last 20. There’s about as much chance aof that happening as me being Massa’s replacement for next year.

      1. Peter C says:

        OK then…….just sign this contract. It’s in Italian, but take no notice.

    2. Mo says:

      Dont know about Renault supplying 7 teams but the word is the Mercedes don’t want to manufacture the new V6s but VolksWagon are very keen on them. apparently they want to come in in 2014 under Audi or Lambourghini brand…

      1. Monza01 says:

        I can’t see the point in VW coming into F1 with the Audi brand.

        Audi has a fantastic racing reputation built at LeMans. Why would they want to risk the Audi name by going from being almost unbeatable in Sports Car racing to F1, a category that’s very difficult to get right ?

        Just ask Mercedes, Williams and Caterham at the moment !

        But who wouldn’t want to see the Lambourghini name in F1 ?

        Pity the name is too long to fit on a 3 cylinder camcover.

        Bring back V12s I say !

    3. Justin Bieber says:

      “I think Lewis, Kimi, or Heikki are in contention for the seat.”

      Come on man..

      Lewis will NEVER partner Alonso again. The media frenzy alone would destabilize the team.

      Kimi will not comeback to Ferrari. First he has a contract with Lotus for next year, Lotus is faster than Ferrari at the moment and Ferrari paid a big sum of money to get him out for 2010.

      Kovi is the only one in your list that is actually in contention. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in a Ferrari but I would be surprised if it happened.

    4. Elie says:

      Makes no sense to me Mercedes have spent something like €50M in development so far. I think they would want a return on there investment on the longer term.

  3. Andrew Dicker says:

    Only 4.5 for Massa… ouch. For someone in a front running car, thats clearly no where near good enough.

    1. Iker Gernika says:

      only? his season is pathetic.
      Massa deserves 2.0 points, no more.

  4. Honyian says:

    Great job Lewis!

    1. Justin Bieber says:

      I concur, he is a great number 2 ;-)

  5. Mo says:

    I agree with the top three, but not much else. Vettel should be lower as he’s made several mistakes and has only 1 win and 2 other podiums in arguably the fastest all-round car.
    Also, I would have given 6s and 6.5s to Kovalainen, and Pic as they have at times made their tea-mates look like amateurs.
    Senna deserves a 6 for his great consistency in my opinion, and Perez a 7 for showing genuine flashes of brilliance at Sepang/Montreal.
    Finally in comparison to LH, JB has had an absolute shocker and 5.5 is just a tab generous.

    1. JF says:

      Vettel does not have the fastest all round car. That honour would go to Lotus or Mclaren, not sure which. Mclaren/Hamilton would be better off in the points if it weren’t for all the early season pit lane mishaps, and I think Lotus has made some tire strategy errors and has qualifying issues that holds them back. Ferrari and Red Bull are about on par now that Ferrari has caught up, but both are behind on pure pace compared to Mclaren/Lotus. Red Bull and Ferrari have been much sharper in terms of strategy and tire usage giving them the edge so far.

      1. mayberth says:

        all round car = fast in quali and race

        is either mclaren or rbr~~

        i wonder why you claim lotus as the fastest all round car!!

    2. Elie says:

      Spot on Mo

  6. SENNA QLD says:

    SOUNDS CLOSE ENOUGH .TOP 6 ANYWAY

  7. Kieran says:

    I agree with most of this list but why do you rate Hamilton’s performance so high? He’s only fourth in the championship behind Vettel and Webber. I would put Hamilton at 7.5. I think Webber’s consistency earns him another half point too. He hasn’t had a spectacular season but he’s still 2nd in the championship.

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      Hamilton is probably rated so high because the only race all year that I can think of where he didn’t get the most out of his car was Australia. McLaren have thrown away a lot of points for him but Lewis himself hasn’t done much wrong at all.

    2. Andrew M says:

      Hamilton has lost a hatful of points through no fault of his own or his driving, mainly due to operational errors (loads of slow pitstops costing him time and positions, the fuelling error in Spain, the puncture in Germany). James (as most people have) has taken these into account when making his rankings, otherwise the rankings would just be the Championship table.

    3. Mo says:

      @keiran it’s not about championship position, it’s about personal performance and Hamilton has driven very well. He’d be within touching distance of Alonso had his team not messed up in Bahrain, Spain, and Valencia (and if Maldonado hadn’t rammed him ofthe road). Fact is Hamilton has made very few, very minor mistakes this season.

    4. Carlo_Carrera says:

      I agree, Hamilton should be lower. Bad pit stops aside he still under performed when the McLaren was a good car at the begining of the season.

      1. W Johnson says:

        Nonsense. The McLaren only had a minor edge over the teams at the start. Somewhat proven when that edge was eroded within a couple of races…..McLaren were told to change their floor after China.

      2. Carlo_Carrera says:

        A “minor edge” is all great drivers need to win. Lewis didn’t win with a minor edge.

    5. Justin Bieber says:

      Lewis made mistakes but also got a few poles.. that’s worth something.

      1. Peter C says:

        Poles used to be worth Championship points (one).

        Perhaps they still should be.

      2. Martin says:

        No that was fastest lap from 1950 to 1959. For some reason the British GP fastest lap timing was only done to the nearest second so there was a seven way tie. Jean Behra scored 0.14 of a point that season for his share in that fastest lap.

        Cheers,

        Martin

      3. Peter C says:

        Oh, yes! Thanks for putting me straight.

        Perhaps a point for Pole – anyway something to encourage completion in ALL quali. sessions.

        Then a point for fastest lap as well.

        I think the reason fastest lap timing was done to the nearest second was because somebody had to press the button on a stopwatch.

    6. JF says:

      I would put Hamilton, Raikonnen, Webber and Vettel at equal levels, around 8.
      Hamilton has been driving very well, very fast car but team has had some operational issues. Same for Raikonnen. Webber and Vettel have been doing well with slower machinery. Alonso is at his best.

    7. Wheels says:

      What up, Kieran?

      There’s no way Hamilton rates a [7.5] when his team has been struggling (early season) to get him back on the race track (in a competitive time) after routine pit stops. Not to mention some chassis set-up problems (rain) and up grades that, just simply, failed to produce results.

      Hamilton’s lost at least 35 points due to McLaren Team cock-ups. Take a look at what his Teammate (an ex-World Champ) has done with the same car.

      No way Homes! Hamilton deserves an easy (9)…. Maybe, even, a (9.5)rating.

  8. Qiang says:

    Thank you James for pointing out those important facts that can be easily forgotten by many fans like me. One off topic question to you. Do you think Nico Rosberg can join Ferrari? I think he will be a perfect fit.

    1. Justin Bieber says:

      Daddy Rosberg told his son not to go anywhere Ferrari and stick with Merc. Its not a bad advice if you ask me..

    2. Sri says:

      I also thought the same. He is fast but not threatening enough – suits Ferrari’s concept of 2nd driver. I think only contract with Mercedes is the issue here.

  9. AdrianMorse says:

    A 5.5 for Di Resta and Hulkenberg, isn’t that a little harsh? It’s difficult to shine in a mediocre car, but their performances so far this year have sufficiently convinced me that they might still be stars of the future.

    Senna and Maldonado have clearly left a lot on the table, but can the same be said for Kovalainen? I don’t think many of the commenters here would rate his performances as ‘insufficient’ (if that is what you mean by a 5).

  10. Sascha says:

    @James Allen, what are your reasons to put Hamilton 1,0 behind Alonso?
    He did not make any mistakes this season, but suffered from team mistakes and poor tyre managment of his car especially in wet conditions, where Alonsos Ferrari has an advantage, as from Ferrari confirmed.
    The McLaren was as bas at some races as Ferrari was at the start of the season, and Hamilton beats Button as convincingly as Alonso beats Massa, the reason it’s not manifested in the WDC table or the points difference between LH & JB is not as big as it should be is due to the team mistakes, wich cost Lewis Hamilton about 45 points so far.
    Alonso did a very good job so far, but he has a error free teamperformance behind him and also was lucky at some points, where Lewis lost out because of pure bad luck like at germanGP, where the DNF was absoultely not his fault.

    1. AlexD says:

      try to think beyond what you see on track. Alonso was the one to give confidence back to people he was the one to always motivate them when they lost their faith.

      He has shown the team that one can never give up and that there is always hope, you just have to give your absolute maximum and see beyond existing difficulties.

      So the reason why Ferrari did not make pit stop mistakes and why Ferrari deployed good strategies was Alonso himself.

      He wanted this results to be what it is today and he made is all happen by putting all pieces of the jigsaw together himself.

      1. Andrew M says:

        I think Alonso has driven better than Hamilton, but to credit Alonso for the operational advantage Ferrari have had over McLaren at pitstops is going too far…

      2. AlexD says:

        It is called harmony and going beyond limits. It happens to every human being, even you or me. Some people have incredible impact on us and so we are surprised ourselves that we can go beyond known limits in achieving certain goals.

        I honestly think that Alonso is the extra motivation for the entire Ferrari team, he is the only hope they have and the fact that he was winning races when he should not be and also the fact that he is leading the driver’s standings is giving an extra boost to people in Ferrari to try and win the title.

        Otherwise they would have simply switched to 2013….

      3. Scott D says:

        I think you are overstating Alonso’s contribution somewhat…

      4. Sascha says:

        IMO nonsense. Pit stop mistakes and bad strategys happen. It’s not down to the driver it’s a organisation and management thing.
        Was Alonsos 2010 strategy at Abu Dhabi also his jigshaw pice to lose the title?

      5. AlexD says:

        It was his first year with the team, now it is his 3rd. He is changing and maturing. I know that a driver is not changing tires or is developing a strategy, but he is the reason why Pat Fry and other people can have an extra motivation and power to do it right.

      6. Wayne says:

        This makes sense to me, I agree. Plus Hamilton is lacking a stand out ‘Valencia type’ drive, in my opinion.

      7. Elie says:

        What do you think Hungary Wayne

      8. Mav says:

        Give Alonso 12.5 if he’s also making the pit stops go smoothly.

        Although if he’s also responsible for the strategies we might have to move that down to 7.5 after Canada.

      9. Rich B says:

        you give alonso too much credit. he’s certainly been the best driver and gives good guidence , but pat fry and the team are responsible for their duties

      10. AlexD says:

        And I do not say they are not. Think about it this way….you go to work, every day and you try to perform well but you do not operate at your peak every single day. Sometimes somebody finds the way to unlock extra potential in you and this is going to make you reach for new limits.

        I think Alonso is the catalyst……..for Ferrari resurgence this year.

      11. Elie says:

        Absolute gibberish Alex- Fernando doesnt change the wheels.,He does not make the strategy calls and he has the Whole team working for him – Not the other way round. Yes he is doing an excellent job. But when you have the whole team waiting on you hand & foot and get paid €30m your expected to be be outstanding.

      12. W Johnson says:

        Alonso mania?? How on earth can a driver motivate the team with 5th place positions in several races at the start of the season?

        Luca di Montezemola reading the riot act is a far more credible answer….especially with the threat of losing their jobs.

      13. KRB says:

        I agree with your second paragraph when it comes to saying that Alonso motivating those back at the factory to keep plowing ahead, even when the task looked daunting.

        Can’t agree that it had any effect on their pit stops, b/c Ferrari’s pit stops have been solid the whole year through! To say Alonso had anything to do with them is pure nonsense. There’s no need to ascribe superhuman powers to Alonso; he’s a very good driver, no more needs to be said.

    2. Justin Bieber says:

      Lewis has had a good first half of the season but he did make some mistakes.

      The biggest one is when he crashed with Maldonado. Considering the state of his tires and his history with Maldonado, he should have conceded the place.

      Lewis attitude improved a lot from last year but he is not in the same league as Alonso at the moment. Time will tell if he ever will.

    3. f1_fan says:

      no surprise that you missed his DNF in valencia, which some might argue is not his fault, but he lost points din’t he, IMO more mature driver might have done different thing. Also i dont call some one lucky for not making mistakes and driving well. fact is fernando is just better.

    4. Carlos says:

      I suspect Alonso would not have crashed with Maldonado. Hamilton’s also been a bit sulky – fair enough, anyone would be, but it doesn’t have the same effect on the team as Alonso’s behavior.

      1.0 might be a bit much, and I’d personally give Alonso a 9.5 because he did have some weaker races (no obvious mistakes, but he wasn’t always able to pull the car further up than it belonged).

    5. Ridwan says:

      Team errors also cost Alonso some points at silverstone.

      1. KRB says:

        Elaborate. I don’t recall any big strategy error, like say in Canada.

      2. PaulL says:

        Correct, Canada too.

    6. CJ says:

      I disagree that all Hamilton’s problem have been due to the team.

      He put himself in that situation with Maldo that lost him points. That was his choice to put himself in that position and his mistake even if Maldo caused the contact.

      You will see a different approach to a similar situation by Alonso in Canada. He knew he was off the pace but just tried to bring as many points that he could without putting his finish in jeopardy.

      1. Andrew M says:

        The team put him in that position by messing up his pitstop (yet again), putting him in the reach of cars on different strategies.

        And I disagree that it was his mistake, Maldonado punted him off the road with all four wheels off the track. The stewards agreed.

        Alonso in Canada isn’t a valid comparison, he had such poor pace that cars were able to overtake him on the straights, he was powerless to stop it. Lewis wasn’t powerless to fight, he held Maldonado off in the braking zone.

      2. CJ says:

        [mod] Both situations were due to tires going off because of their teams strategy. It was up to the driver’s to deal with that situation and gain as many points as they could with the tires going off by the lap.

        LH made the decision to fight off Maldonado when it was a lost cause. I don’t think anyone but you thinks that Lewis had the tires to hold off Maldonado until the flag.

        You can blame the team for the strategy but it was Lewis who chose to fight the inevitable pass from Maldonado which resulted in the contact.

        Lewis showed a poor judgement, plain and simple. It takes two to tango and he volunteered to dance with Maldonado when the smart move was to let him pass.

      3. KRB says:

        CJ, I don’t think for a moment that LH thought he could hold back Maldonado for the rest of the race. But he did think he could hold him off in that corner and then he probably would’ve been ok until the last corner on that lap. It wasn’t just Maldonado that was closing rapidly, but Hulkenberg as well.

        If you think that LH would’ve tried fighting if he were in Alonso’s seat in Canada, you’re nuts. Alonso was being caught early in the straight by those behind, even before the DRS line, so of course there was no point in defending the position. In Valencia, Pastor only caught up to LH right at the very end of the straight, heading into the corner. The difference is crucial.

        LH has to drive expecting that Maldonado wouldn’t want to ruin his own race, and would pull back instead of plowing headlong into the side of him! It’s not as though Hamilton defended previous passes to the point of stupidity. Both Grosjean and Raikkonen were able to get by him, Grosjean through that very same corner. When Kimi got past, it was after LH had done the same ‘hang-out’ manoeuvre to him, that LH did to PM. Kimi, smarter driver that he is, pulled out, attacked again and passed relatively easily.

        If anything, PM’s move on LH was a marker for future benefit (i.e. “defend like that on me, and I’ll punt ya again”).

      4. Andrew M says:

        “I don’t think anyone but you thinks that Lewis had the tires to hold off Maldonado until the flag.”

        Congratulations for knowing what everyone in the world thinks about the issue.

        And I still think Lewis did the right thing, you can’t give in to people because they’ve got a reputation for being a dangerous driver and ramming people off the road.

      5. Doobs says:

        He’s also a Pom, so automatic +3pts >;)

  11. Adelaide says:

    The pic says it all…

  12. goferet says:

    Meanwhile, I have this theory I have been mulling over.

    You see, the first half of the season has been very unpredictable with Mclaren winning the first race but since everybody was struggling to understand the tyres, we didn’t have a two time race winner till around Valencia —> The 7th race.

    Now here’s my theory, whoever failed to win a race within that grace period (i.e. Between Australia and Canada), won’t be able to win a race this season because now everybody has got to grips with the tyres more so Mclaren after their Germany upgrades.

    So yeah, the title fight seems will be between the Sebi, Webber, Lewis & Alonso with this further boiling down to a no holds barred race to the finish between Lewis and Fred.

    1. Andrew Carter says:

      When Kimi and/or Grosjean wins, I hope your ready to eat those words;)

    2. Elie says:

      Goferet – you forget both Sauber and Lotus have been good on tyres since day 1. With the Lotus finding some speed at Germany and Hungary, you could be in for a surprise very soon!! Stop digging for coincidence and judge on form-Your funny !. I do think the Mclaren will be the fastest package from now on.with only six points ) think)separating 2-5 in drivers I think it’s anyone’s title despite Fernandos big lead.

    3. Martin says:

      Hey, where are the “statistics” that prove this? :-)

      I feel your logic of your theory is a little out. If we take Spain as an example where the colder temperatures in latter part of qualifying caught a few teams out and contributed to Maldonado starting on pole, then as the season goes on the teams will learn more about this and jumbled up grids will be rarer. Therefore wins for the rest of the season are more likely to come from the design shop than the race engineering side, so the chances of another Maldonado victory are small unless Williams makes a bit aerodynamic step.

      Lotus is looking to make a step with its new DRS wing, and it might pay big dividends at either Spa or Monza with their long straights. This could be the performance edge it needs to get the win, either with even better race pace or improved qualifying.

      There will always be a case of one team getting the tyres slightly better than another at a given race and individual variations between the tyres creating problems too.

      Past performance is only a weak indicator as to what is going to happen next in something as human influenced as F1, particularly as we are dealing with the exceptional rather than people near the average. Still, your theories give us something to think about :-)

      cheers,

      Martin

  13. Pete says:

    Great analysis on the pagelle James but why is raikonnen third not second? And why is kovalainen so low down? I would put him with vettel and Webber. I’m not Finnish. Just saying :)

  14. Mitchel says:

    What’s your formula, James?

    Show the working….

    I haven’t concocted my formula yet, but I’d include the following sub-ratings to give the overall score:

    CQPF (Car Qualifying Performance Factor)
    CRPF (Car Race Performance Factor)
    CRF (Car Reliability Factor)
    TSF (Team/Strategy Factor)
    HTHF (Head to Head with teamate Factor)
    RCF (Race Craft Factor)
    LF (Luck Factor)

    The benchmark here has to be Alonso, who gets full marks for everything apart from Car Qualifying performance, which has sometimes been negated or actually favoured Ferrari in the wet.

    I only actually rate the driver performance against that of his team-mate and his race craft. Which may seem counter intuitive, but when you take everything into account the driver maybe has 10% input to the package.

    I wonder if anyone agrees..

    1. James Allen says:

      Gut feeling and experience!

    2. Carrier says:

      No offence Mitchel, but you obviously have too much time on your hands.. Gut feel wins every time for me..

    3. Martin says:

      Hi Mitchel,

      Since this is a driver rating process, I would consider the following once in the season.

      1. ability to work with the race engineers to set the car up and drive with limitations of the car.
      2. avoid crashing/breaking car in practice/requesting changes that take away from the team’s time.
      3. qaulifying performance – how close to the theoretical maximum has the driver got, and how much damage to tyres occured in the process.
      4. Start performance on average (sets up expectations for race strategy).
      5. Race pace on all stints, including tyre and fuel management and in and out when pitting.
      6. Overtaking, defending, general decision making in racing other cars
      7. Contribution to strategic calls.
      8. Contribution to team morale and leadership

      To me things such as luck or absolute results are not relevant. Alonso’s drive in Valencia would be no less meritorious if Vettel’s car hadn’t failed. Similarly, if you believed it, you could rate de la Rosa the driver of the seaon so far even though he is last on the table.

      Since we don’t have the teams’ data to assess most of this, we are making subjective judgements on how good a performance each driver is making in each session. Trying to apply maths to subjective judgements by multiplying categories together is a flawed process.

      Cheers,

      Martin

  15. Trent says:

    I think we were fortunate to see Senna in 1992-3, a time when he overwhelming did not have the best car. To me, these against-the-odds drives provide the most amazing memories of all; this is the special part of F1.

    As you rightly point out, we are seeing the same with Alonso this year. I loved the team radio in Malaysia, Stefano Domenicalli describing (as only Italians can) the ‘most beautiful win’. That’s a feeling we only get when someone has delivered as the underdog. How great it is to witness such moments!

    1. Martin says:

      I agree with you in general, but I do feel that there were some small contributing factors. The McLaren was a great chassis that year with a second best Ford engine, step behind the Benetton version. The Williams active suspension wasn’t known for its great feel, and this contributed to a fair bit of the performance advantage in the dry going away and making the first laps in the race and new tyres quite tricky.

      Monaco would have been Schumacher’s win quite quite easily if reliability hadn’t got in the way. The car-engine-driver combo were a step ahead of Senna all weekend. It was a bit like 87 when Mansell should have won.

      I think 93 was generally a step up in peformance from Senna. Beating Prost probably meant more to him than Mansell and as the car was closer than in 92, he was able to make a difference. In 92, Berger was closer than in 90 or 91 if I remember correctly.

      Personally, I think the standard is higher now than in Piquet-Prost-Senna-Mansell era. As the cars are much closer in performance and passing is more difficult I believe the standards are greater. While Sennas’qualifying record is impressive compared to drivers since, the outcome was much less important. The refueling era and the high reliability gave an era where the drivers had to be at maximum concetration for the entire race, rather than conserving resources. The current cars have too much grip relative to their power, but the error rate is much reduced from Senna’s time. I remember working out that Senna had significant off-track moment/spin, car contact or crash in more than a quarter of his races.

      Based on that, you wouldn’t be surprised to read that I rate Alonso ahead of Senna. I think the current level of the sport has pushed the current drivers to be the best we’ve ever seen – they need to be more skilled. I believe the guys at the top now would have coped with the power:grip of the 1980s turbos and pretty much everything else is at a greater level except the gear changing.

      Cheers,

      Martin

      1. Trent says:

        Very hard to compare drivers of different eras, so I won’t enter in to that one!

        My point is simply that it’s wonderful to see a great driver in a car that is not the best – it’s what delivers inspirational performances.

        Anecdotally, I would suggest the cars today are much easier to drive. There are far less mistakes now, and I think that’s a function of the cars rather than driver skill. We regularly see practice and qualifying sessions where not a single driver spins off. That was never the case in the 1980′s and early 1990′s.

      2. Trent says:

        Well done Martin, it seems you now have you’re own article!

  16. Kay says:

    No mentions for other drivers? Or they gonna come up in the next report? :D
    Thanks for this article James!

  17. goferet says:

    Fred has convinced many sceptics who
    doubted his ability
    ————————————————-

    Alright I have finally cracked the Alonso~Lewis riddle and it’s really quite simple.

    According to my calculations, Alonso and Lewis are equally matched in talent with the former having consistency as his strong point while the latter — speed as shown below;

    a) In 2007, both Alonso and Hammy finished equal on points both bagging 4 wins a piece

    b) But since Lewis finished ahead in 2007, he went ahead to finish in front of Fred in the next two season i.e. 2008
    & 2009.

    c) In the seasons 2010 & 2011, Alonso repaid the favour by finishing ahead of his former teammate in the championship.

    d) And yes, in 2012 & 2013, it will swing back Lewis’ way and this is why I say Alonso & Lewis are equally matched talent wise.

    Also if one looks back at Senna and Prost, both won 1 title during their time at Mclaren.

    But for arguments sake, if one is to give Aryton, Prost’s 1989 title (which many believe was won through politics) then both Senna and Prost would have ended their careers with 3 world titles a piece.

    1. KRB says:

      Uh, if 1989 goes to Senna then he’d be a 4x DWC (’88-’91), while Prost would be a 3x DWC (’85,’86,’93). Prost also missed out in ’84 by the smallest margin ever, 0.5 pts.

  18. Bill Nuttall says:

    I can’t find fault in any of your ratings.
    It’s a shame that there aren’t more drivers in the 7+ category, but that says more about how difficult F1 is, and how unbelievably talented the top drivers are.

  19. Mitchel says:

    Ok, I’ve filled in the blanks now, so I’m comparing FA to LH, who I think have been the best two drivers:

    Fernando (marks out of five for each bit)
    CQPF, 2.5
    CRPF, 3
    CRF, 5
    TSF, 5
    HTHF, 5
    RCF, 5
    LF, 5
    Total= 30.5 out of 35. Or 8.7 out of 10

    Lewis
    CQPF, 4
    CRPF, 3.5
    CRF, 4
    TSF, 2
    HTHF, 4.5
    RCF, 5
    LF, 0
    Total= 23 out of 35. Or 6.7 out of 10

    1. MISTER says:

      You telling us that Alonso had luck 5 and Lewis had 0? Come on!

    2. hal says:

      I do like your LF. If you take it away FA only just edges LH. Which I agree with. If you include LF then FA is miles ahead as reflected by the championship points.

      Interesting breakdown anyway. Cheers.

    3. IJW says:

      I would of thought you would only include stuff that is within the drivers control.
      So, I would suggest excluding CRF & LF.
      The WDC table factors in Reliability and Luck, as these two aspects affects where the driver finishes (e.g. DNF, dodgy pitstops).

    4. JF says:

      Not sure I understand your luck factor or the team factor. Hamilton has definitely had some “bad luck” related to overall team mistakes but this is independent of his own skill so doesn’t affect his personal performance rating. On the other hand, does giving Alonso LF=5 call him lucky rather than skillful. For example, I don’t consider weather a luck factor like some do as it applies to the whole field and doesnt’ specifically favour an individual, just enables personal performance to shine when mechanical performance is reduced in the equation.

    5. Would be interested in how the rest of the field stacks up with your system — just the totals to save space.

      1. Mitchel says:

        Ok, here goes- marks out of 35, then scaled mark out of 10 in brackets:

        Romain: 23.5 (6.7)
        Nico: 22 (6.3)
        Kimi: 23 (6.2)
        Pastor: 20 (5.7)
        Mark: 18.5 (5.3)
        Seb: 18 (5.1)
        Bruno: 16.5 (4.7)
        Jenson: 15.5 (4.4)
        Michael: 11.5 (3.2)

        This is as many as I could be bothered to do- plus it means nothing without the breakdown! My brain is only able to assess the teams that won, and Lotus. Excluding Massa, who would be bottom. I’m probably more surprised than anyone with what the end result is…

        In reply to ‘MISTER’- I couldn’t think of one instance when Lewis has been lucky, whilst I think Alonso has had no bad luck, coupled with car advantage in the wet and DNFs from his main rivals….I’d be the first to suggest my system is flawed though!

  20. Craig says:

    Agree with your ratings completely James apart from petrov and kovalainen. I think he should be bumped up to a 6.5 or maybe even a 7 as hes regularly at least a few tenths even half a second up on petrov

  21. Harsha says:

    James, Why is Webber rated lower than Hamilton? Considering that he’s won two races?
    Also, I wonder why pundits are not considering him as a contender. Like Lauda, Barrichello have said its between Vettel and Alonso, with Raikkonen and Hamilton thrown in most of the time.
    Contrastingly, do you thing being off the limelight will reduce the external pressures of him and let him get on with the job and keep him much more at ease than in 2010?
    I personally think he’s driven the best he has, even though the results since Silverstone have not been that great. Opportunity stands in front of him and its up to him to grab it with both hands

    1. **Paul** says:

      I can understand this, Lewis has had some poor luck with pit stops, Mark really hasn’t had much back luck at all has he?

      I believe the title will ultimatley become a race between Alonso and Vettel. Neither of their cars is normally fastest in qualifying, and rarely is one of them fastest in race trim. Yes it has happend at points (Alonso fastest in the wet Malaysia race, Vettel fasted in Valencia race) but more often than not neither is ‘fastest’ in either discipline with McLaren and Lotus dominating these (something I’d expect to see again in Spa!)

      It’s no surprise that, removing external events like engine blow ups/post race penalites, that these two drivers virtually never finish in a position lower than they qualified. It says much for their abilities on race day. Ironically one of the few days when they did go backwards they were both on the same strategy in Canada. When taking that into account I struggle to put Webber (who as mentioned appears to have had the lions share of luck at RBR this season) above Vettel, and equally I struggle to see quite how Lewis (even allowing for the odd second or two dropped in pit stops) is ranked so much higher than all other drivers bar Fernando.

      1. JF says:

        Agree completely.

      2. Elie says:

        That’s because you don’t understand F1 racing Paul.
        - The RB8 has been one of the fastest cars in Quali and
        And obviously won races in both drivers hands.
        - Many drivers have finished higher than they qualified often. For starters Both Lotuses, Both Saubers,
        Caterham and yep you guessed it Alonso!
        - Hamilton lost 9 sec in one pit stop alone and a few seconds in at least two more. He also lost his pole qualifying because of low fuelling by his team.; and was taken out by Maldonado .He has not put a foot wrong and most people are acknowledging he is driving a very solid ,faultless season so far.
        - both Red Bull drivers have made mistakes during the race. Sebastian’s Hockenheim pass on Button and subsequent penalties come to mind and Webber definitely went backwards in a few races earlier on he got passed by lower placed cars.
        When both drivers win GPs an quails in the same car – you know it’ has to be one of the fastest cars. But right now Mclaren looks dominant and Lotus is on the ascendency but it just takes a team a few tents increase and it changes all over again!

    2. Mav says:

      Webber’s two wins are also his only two podium finishes.

    3. Robb says:

      Yes, Mark and Lewis have both won twice, with Mark slightly ahead on points, but simple results aren’t the best way to evaluate the job a driver has actually done behind the wheel. There are too many other factors that affect results.
      Mark has driven well, but as far as these other factors go, there is no question that had Mark and Lewis had similar fortunes, Lewis would be well ahead of Mark in points.
      I think anyone really paying attention to all the race weekends, and not just at the results would have to agree that of all the drivers on the grid, Lewis has the greatest discrepancy between his points tally, and the quality of his performances.

  22. AdrianP says:

    As always with these things, it’s very difficult to give due value to drivers whose good performances have been disguised by poor cars. Relative performances in the same car, by contrast are easy to make and I think James has it mainly spot on here.

    (1) Alonso v Massa – yes! An extraordinary difference in performance in the same car. I’d even give Alonso a 10 rather than a 9.5 – what could he have done better!

    (2) Hamilton v Button – the points table supports James, but perhaps a bit harsh on Button who was good at the beginning of the season, is perhaps back on form now but had a serious trough, maybe not all of attributable to himself. A few mistakes from Maclaren have also contributed to Button’s mire. Cf. Rosberg v Schumacher below.

    (3) Vettel / Webber obviously nip and tuck. So yes.

    (4) Raikkonen / Grosjean – interesting. Has Raikkonen really performed significantly better than Grosjean. Grosjean has had a very good season for a near-rookie. Raikkonen’s comeback has been a good one: far from a disaster, but no race win yet in what might be the fastest racecar?

    (5) Rosberg / Schumacher – only 0.5 point separating them in James’ list, but the points standings tell a remarkably different story 77-29 in Rosberg’s favour. A more comprehensive team-mate beating than any other apart from Alonso-Massa. Yet, I see the sense in James’ analysis – Schumacher’s had rotten luck and has shown flashes of the old brilliance.

    (6) Only 5 points for Maldonado, after his race win. It seems strange, but again totally justified – apart from the race win, he’s been an embarrassment! Senna’s been OK but pretty anonymous. There’s a quick car there which is not being put to good use.

    (7) I’d put Kovalainen, Pic and Ricciardo a little higher. Some very solid performances from all of these marred by slow cars.

    1. mayberth says:

      who told you that lotus is the fastest race car??? And is winning indicating anything??? Jenson won a race where is he now??? Webber won two races and been a flop in last two races!! Consistency is the key!! There aint fastest race cars this season, every car perform relatively well in different races~~

      1. mayberth says:

        has kimi perform well than grosjean?? Whoever aint blind will not even bother questioning!!

    2. Elie says:

      Read some more posts and comments as clearly you are missing some things. Same applies to many people making throw away comments then asking silly questions.

      James perhaps you can provide a quick analysis behind your scoring ( few words for each classification) . I think it would answer a few peoples questions.

  23. goferet says:

    *Edited*

    Having thought about it, JA on F1 and other posters are right in that no driver can ever have a perfect score of 10 and in Alonso’s case, he’s made a few mistakes in qualifying (e.g. Australia & Valencia) plus that move on
    Maldonado in China (that would have
    guaranteed him at least P5) left him down in P9 — his worst finish in 2012.

    Anyway apart from that, totally agree with the above rankings with the exception of Vettel & Webber.

    In my view Sebi should be ahead of Webber both in the rankings & points for he has just had some bad luck this season whereas Webber has been blowing hot and cold.

    P.s.

    Though Alonso is having his best season in F1 to date, leading the championship with three wins without having the fastest car
    ————————————————-

    Say, what is it about the age of 31? Maybe F1 drivers really pick at 31.

    —> Schumi & Senna won their 3rd titles at that age

    —> Prost won his second title at that age

    —> Jens had his best season (to date) at that age

    —> Mika won his 2nd title at 31 etc

    1. Irish con says:

      I don’t often agree with you mate but I totally agree that the early 30s are the best for a f1 driver. At that age it seems like the perfect blend between ability and experience and that is what alonso has shown this year. Be interesting to see the improvements in Lewis and seb between now and there early 30s.

      1. D17MO.D says:

        I also think this is a great point. Seb has a few more years to go but Lewis is approaching his 30s and has started to show signs of real maturity.

        … With all that natural raw speed that everyone bar none is aware of, I just hope that he does marry that with the early 30s calmness, wisdom, intelligence etc that Alonso and JB possess.

        If that happens, i think we could then see a great driver become one of the legends.

        I mean heck, we all know about JBs playboy days and look what he ended up turning into. Now imagine tieing that up with Lewis’ speed?!

        Seb on the other hand is the scary one. I don’t actually think he is as good as Lewis at driving an OK car amazingly fast however, he is rediculously amazing at driving a good to great car extremely well.

        We all know about the high levels of maturity he can demonstrate whilst winning in a good car. We also are aware of the childishness he can demonstrate when things arent going as good as can be. IMO he is more mature than Lewis and that is why I say Seb is the ‘scary’ unknown. If he was to be given a high quality car in his ‘mature 30s’ for a few years, I fear he could easily repeat the Schumacher domination years. The car would have to be the class of the field though… IMO

    2. j says:

      in germany webber had a gearbox penalty that put him well on the back foot. and in hungary, he had a diff problem…and the barcelona incident where the team only had him do one run….and some other odd team decisions.

      that’s bad luck of a different kind, not really down to him being hot or cold.

      1. mbraz says:

        100% agree

    3. Elie says:

      Kimi is 32 and he hit the ground running from day 1 back .. Fair point

  24. Richard says:

    Thanks Mitchel

  25. FFC says:

    I agree with the rating, it´s preety similar to mine.
    Let´s keep our ratings to the end of the year and see how much will change until the end of the year.

  26. MISTER says:

    Good rating James.
    I would have put Heikki higher and maybe Seb and Mark a bit lower like a 7. The RedBull guys had marginally a better car overall than the rest but haven’t made the most of it. but in the same time Seb’s unlucky DNF in Valencia levels things.

    I am still looking for news on Ferrari’s second seat. My thought is that Ferrari don’t need Vettel for 2014. They have Alonso. They need a driver who is hungry for points and podiums. Perez, Alguersuari, di Resta and Kovalainen are perfect for this.

    How about Robert Kubica? Any news on that James? It is strange that very very little news have been around since his accident. Is this because media lost interest in Robert because the extent of his injuries and everybody is rulling him out?
    Or is Robert avoiding being exposed?

    1. JF says:

      Red Bull is about the third fastest car. Vettel and Webber have been doing well to keep Red Bull in front. I would assume Kubica is done without a miracle, which is vey sad.

      1. KRB says:

        Yeah, right! Overall RBR has been the fastest car over the season so far. You might have gotten away with calling it the 2nd fastest car, but 3rd?! Pull the other one!

  27. Sebastian says:

    The general trend is interesting. Bad cars give bad ratings. Hamilton and Räikkönen are on the rise, Vettel on the fall. Can’t wait for Spa!

  28. Sebee says:

    Great Picture. Alonso doing his best Tom Cruise in Risky Business impression. Sometimes you just have to say what the “heck” – and stay out a few extra laps.

  29. Baghetti says:

    I agree on the 1993 Senna comparison, although I think that Michael came pretty close during some of his earlier Ferrari years, but I for one feel that Maldonado is too low in the ranking, he has been making some major mistakes but not all of the crashes/contacts he was involved in were that clear cut (only Monaco was 100% his fault) but for a ‘pay driver’ with only some 30 races under his belt I think he has shown more goods than bads, so for that reason I would rather rank him in the Rosberg/Perez/Shumi area. I understand that the ranking is only looking at current year performance and not at driver potential, but I think that your 1993 guy at the beginning of his career made a lot of similar mistakes/received a lot of similar criticism as Maldonado is now making/receiving…

    1. Mitchel says:

      Slightly off topic, but spa still seems a long way off…

      ’93 is my favourite year of F1, as it was the first full year I really started to get into F1.

      And I’m sure anyone who likes F1 will love this snippet from the BBC documentary that followed McLaren in ’93:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vuFZ3QybQSo&feature=relmfu

      Could only find parts 1 and 4. Great to see Dennis, Senna, Hakkinen and all the Engineers talking in private.

      Does anyone out there know of any other amazing footage out there? The BBC should release a DVD of this. The extras would be mind-blowing!

    2. Iker Gernika says:

      Valencia, his fault.
      Hungary, his fault.
      Silverstone, his fault.
      Australia, his fault.
      And, you are right, Monaco, also, was his fault.

      1. Baghetti says:

        I did not mention Australia as there it was a clear mistake (after an impressive race up to that point) but no contact with another driver. The other three you mention were racing incidents, partially caused by his lack of experience but none of them his mistake only…

        Again, I’m not saying he has been faultless, he has been very far from that, but he has also shown signs of brilliance, and my only point is that for such an unexperienced driver that is quite an achievement that imho deserves better than 5 out of 10

  30. Wade Parmino says:

    Lewis Hamilton should not be above Mark Webber. Both have two wins.

    Hamilton has finished below his own qualifying positions in every race except Canada where he made up one place to win. Hungary he held first. However, in Spain he did come from the back of the grid to finish eighth.

    Webber has made up places in every race except Bahrain and Canada. In Valencia he came from nineteenth to finish fourth.

    MW has been the better driver than LH this season and this is reflected in the points table. Hamilton should be above Vettel possibly though.

  31. Pulkit Tripathi says:

    1.James What’s ur sources from Lotusf1 saying, Kimi’s their no.1 driver-full support form team.

    2. Do you think this year is acid test for Vettel(Hamilton failed to pass it after 2008 he’s never been in top3) as he’s to prove that in not so superior car he can win many races?

    3. DO you think Webber has done right thing by signing to bull’s as on why they will give him support when Vettel is their 2time WDC(who can be on the way to Ferrari?)

    1. James Allen says:

      1. Not number 1, but going along well

      2. I don’t think Vettel has much to prove. He’s far better than his detractors would have it

      3. Probably.

      1. Lisa Thomas says:

        “Not number 1″
        James I am astounded to hear that.
        What does he have to do to be number 1? and is this in spite of Eric declaring Kimi to be No1 at Lotus just before Hungary?

        Presumably they are happy with his massive points total compared to the teammate!

      2. James Allen says:

        They don’t seem to have number 1 and number 2 feeling that is demotivating to number 2

        If it comes to a championship fight the rules change of course as with many teams

      3. quest says:

        Hmmm .. Interesting. Last year they wanted a last minute replacement to be the leader of the team.

        This year they have a former World champion who was signed well in advance and they want equality.

      4. JF says:

        So true on number 2. So many people seem to think Vettel is no more than a chimp strapped to a rocket. Completely unfair. He is one of the best. He and Webber are keeping Red Bull in the lead with only about the third fastest car (tied with Ferrari at least currently)

      5. Peter C says:

        No, the Ferrari is the seventh fastest car.

        I read it on a well-respected site.

      6. KRB says:

        I agree that Vettel is a very good driver, I put him 3rd best from the current grid (FA & LH just above).

        What’s your evidence for 3rd fastest car? You can’t just go by the last race. Over the season they’ve had the best overall car. Not dominant in any way, but the best overall car.

  32. Tim says:

    James,
    you’re ratings appear fair/measured and I can’t find fault. Re: Kovalainen – seems like a genuinely nice fellow, however, early on in his career he flattered to deceive. He seems to perform better as an underdog in inferior machinery. As a previous poster pointed out, your choice of the photo in the headline is fraught with meaning. That’s not just any photo of Alonso. Brilliant!

  33. Neil Jenney says:

    James

    I think Nigel Tufnel would disagree with you that there’s nowhere to go after ten.

    1. Martin says:

      I initially thought of Phil Tufnel – another 11 :-)

  34. Oliver says:

    Unfair to put kartikeyan so far down, he may have been out qualified, but has been very respectable compared to Delarosa in the races. Certainly no worse than Massa compared to Alonso…who is above him..

    1. Sebastian says:

      When de la Rosa drove with Kimi at Ferrari he was a couple of seconds slower per lap. So with that as a yard stick Karthekeyan isn’t doing such a great job…

  35. Sebee says:

    Anyone been to the Apple TV page lately at apple.com? Seems we have some F1 and Senna fans at Apple web design.

    http://www.apple.com/appletv/

  36. Mav says:

    Alonso 9.5
    Massa 4.5

    I have a bit of an issue with this. Alonso is considered to be having a good season on the basis of the car being poor, in which case Massa isn’t that bad. On the other hand, maybe Massa is that bad which means we’re being harsh on the car and overgenerous to Alonso. Whatever, we’re guessing the strength of the car based on how the drivers have performed with it. And then taking that to estimate how the drivers have performed – something you’ve already assumed.

  37. Andrew M says:

    This was my list:

    10: Alonso
    9: Hamilton
    8: Vettel, Webber, Raikkonen
    7: Grosjean, Rosberg, Perez
    6: Di Resta, Hulkenberg, Kobayashi, Schumacher, Kovalainen
    5. Button, Maldonado, Petrov, Ricciardo, Glock, de la Rosa
    4. Pic, Petrov
    3. Massa
    2. Vergne
    1. Karthikeyan

    Very similar to James, in rankings if not overall score.

  38. val from montreal says:

    In the 11 Grand Prix’s in 2012 , Schumacher has upped the ante alot …. He qualified on the first 2 rows 6 times … Twice I think he had technical issues in qualifying like in Canada and Bahrain …

    Australia = 4th
    Malaysia = 3rd
    China = 2nd
    Monaco = Pole Position
    Germany = 3rd ( wet )
    Britain = 3rd ( wet )

    Nevermind all the DNF’s and technical problems Michael endured while the sister Mercedes driven by Rosberg has been pretty much bullet proof …

    Schumacher is the driver who has improved the most since 2011 …

    He deserves a ”9 ” without question !

    Go Michael !!

    1. OzoneF1 says:

      A 9 for crashing into Senna
      A 9 for crashing twice in back to back Friday Practice
      A 9 forstopping on the wrong grid slot, then shutting down the engine by misinterpreting the lights and then speeding again in the pit lane

      Definately a 9 without question

      1. Elie says:

        Ha YES!

    2. Rayz says:

      No chance mate. He goes backwards every time he qualifies well. Plus, there is only so many times you can put t-boning Senna’s car down as bad luck.

      He still only has 20 odd points and with the car he has, that is terrible. He is doing no better a job than Massa in the Ferrari. If Schumi was up against a driver like Alonso/Hamilton/Raikkonen, I reckon he would be blown away. He just doesnt have it anymore.

      Button goes down as my most disappointing. I knew Massa would be bad but didnt think Button would spend an hour and a half behind Heikki in Monte Carlo. What a joke of a drive that was

      1. Spinodontosaurus says:

        Except that the Mercedes has no race pace.
        And bad rear tyre wear. And can barely hold together for a race weekend.
        When it comes to Schumacher, some people only see what they want to, and are convinced he must be doing bad.
        Be objective.

      2. Hahnsolo says:

        Someone hasn’t gotten over the years 2000-2004…Be objective!

  39. David B says:

    As usual James you are as near to the mark as makes no difference. Great Analysis and 2 interesting articles (incl the Italian one).

    As a Button fan, his marks are a tad harsh considering where he was in the first 3 races, but he has struggled since then. I can’t really argue the point very strongly though, and he is about where he should be relative to the other drivers.

    I just hope that the tyre lottery will even out in the 2nd half, and next year they are a little bit more stable. I can’t say that this season is enthralling me, like the last few.

    Highlights TV doesn’t help, but I’m not hanging on the edge of my seat, or arranging my schedule around the races this season.

  40. Elie says:

    Principally I agree.For me the both mid pack & those on 4/5 deserve slightly higher -in particular Kovalienan and Perez.

    Please explain to some people here why Grosjean is not quite a Kimi yet.Great talent though he is.

    I think the last few are slightly harsh. You must be suggesting Massa, Vergne, Karthekayan are “Already Gone” as a top level rookie can be better than 4 in half a season! It’s the next 20% that takes seasons to attain.!
    Those on 5 must also “be on Notice” for the second half of the season.?? We shall watch this space with itchy fingers. Cheers !

  41. Wu says:

    There is a problem with rankings like that in F1. There will always be a teammate whose car suits his teammate more, or some kind of specific trouble that stops him achieving his maximum. The two drivers in mind here for me are Raikkonen and Schumacher – Schumi still has to deal with understeer and Raikkonen can’t get the feel he needs from his power steering. If those two drivers were on top of their machinery they would be much higher up.

    Those are two drivers whose plights I’m wll aware of, but there have to be others around. Massa couldn’t work out his car for most of the season, Senna seems to have consistant problems in qualifying, etc etc.

    That’s the nature of F1 though. I think the best ranking system is the one that has always been used – the points table. Everything else is subjective.

  42. Lisa Thomas says:

    James you have it exactly right.
    Alonso, Hamilton.
    Last time these 2 contested a title followed at some distance by Raikkonen, as here, Raikkonen snatched it from them. history may be about to repeat itself… Only Vettel can be the spanner in the works

    James, do you think Lotus are well placed for Spa?
    Lotus have been shouting from the rooftops about their DDRS and how it will give them a real advantage. Surely Ferrari and McLaren have been hard at it producing their own version for Spa and Monza?

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes especially if the get their DRS booster working for qualifying. Both drivers are fast there

  43. madmax says:

    Isn’t Kimi in his comeback and Grosjean some what of an unknown quality?

    There is no way to really judge apart from the fact a rookie Grosjean got hammered by Alonso and Kimi was been marginally beaten by Massa before Felipe got hit on the head.

    Villenvue said something like that and he has got a valid point especially when everybody seems to be rating the likeable Lotus drivers extremely highly.

    1. Andrew M says:

      That’s why comparing drivers against each other across multiple years and teams doesn’t work out. Massa 2008 clearly isn’t the same driver as Massa 2012, and Grosjean 2009 isn’t the same as Grosjean 2012.

      Villeneuve himself was beaten by Damon Hill, but easily outperformed Frentzen. When Frentzen joined Jordan, Frentzen beat Hill comfortably, when past results suggest Hill should have had the upper hand. Drivers’ careers ebb and flow depending on many factors, you can only judge what you see before you.

      1. Elie says:

        I lost any respect for Villeneauve after his antics in the press last year . Raikkonen is 3 times the driver he ever will be!. He can sit at the back of V8 supercar grid and just marvel at Kimis comeback now.

      2. Andrew M says:

        Yes, I was a Villeneuve fan back in the 90s but him saying anyone is being flattered by a good car is a severe case of the pot calling the kettle black.

      3. madmax says:

        We know Massa isn’t the same as 2008 but the point I am making is can we really believe the hype that Grosjean is that much quicker and better than 2009?

        To me it just seems a bit far fetched that comeback Kimi and Grosjean are now in the top 7 drivers.

        Villeneuve was joining Hill’s team as a rookie and if they spent another year together I would be surprised if Hill beat him again. And after all it was Hill who was dropped by Williams and not Villeneuve

      4. Andrew M says:

        I don’t think it’s too far fetched that Grosjean has developed into a decent driver, many of his results suggest he has what it takes apart from his half season when he was parachuted in with no testing against Alonso in a very difficult car to drive.

        And while it’s a little irrelevant, there were other reasons why Hill was dropped by Williams apart from performance, mainly Damon’s wage demands. Also, while Villeneuve was a rookie in F1 terms, he had a significant amount of open wheel racing compared to most other rookies.

  44. suzuka steve says:

    I think most if not all are agreed on the top four and on Webber taking 5, ie
    - Alonso
    -Hamilton Raikkonen Vettel
    - Webber

    But come year’s end I expect [imho] Vettel to be stronger.

    Hamilton is better than he has ever been at error-free races like Hungary, but mistakes may still emerge to spoil the party

    Warning to Raikkonen diehards:
    cool showery weather has just left the north canadian ice fields and is plotting a course of S by SE and is scheduled to arrive at Spa dead on 1.30 pm on race day, just when Kimi would be looking to consolidate a solid lead on his opponents. ….

    1. OzFormula says:

      Webber has been stronger than Vettel this year. With all his mechanical problems he should be well ahead.

  45. NotGood says:

    Do resta has got much closer to the full capabilities of his car than button has

  46. Glen Parker says:

    In theory where do you think jaime alguersuari and buemi would be in your list?
    Cheers.

    1. James Allen says:

      Who knows how they would perform ?

      1. Glen says:

        Only based on their 2011 performances in theory I would give alguersuari 7 and buemi 6.5. Maybe they would have extracted more from the car than the current torro rosso drivers. But it impossible to say. I would have put alguersuari in the car for 2012.

  47. Lanza81 says:

    James,
    On a different note.
    Can I ask why we have a “summer break”?
    You obviously dont get a holiday.
    Do the teams lock up there garages and go on holidays through August?
    With so many races in the season why cant we do away the the break and continue to have races every second weekend. We could still finish the season at the same time and do away with some of the races on back to back weekends.
    Wouldnt that make things a bit easier for the teams as well?

    1. James Allen says:

      Because its exhausting for mechanics etc so this way they get 2weeks off mid season

      It was introduced though as part of the cost saving plans – factory closed = money saved

    2. KRB says:

      It’s a good measure … it’s only two weeks. Not sure how it’s enforced though.

      The second half, after the next two races, consists of all flyaway races. That’s why they back-to-back those ones, so that the mechanics aren’t away from their families for 3 weeks at a time.

      The first 11 races were contested over 20 weekends. The next 9 will run over 13 weekends. It sort of makes sense to back-load the race calendar, so that teams can do most of the development on their car in the first half. Then, while the development doesn’t stop, the sheer pace at which the races come means that any big updates after Spa won’t have the same payoff.

      Of course it’s easy to get wrapped up in F1, but there are of course more important things in life, such as seeing your spouse and kids, and getting away together while school’s out, etc.

  48. Andrew Kirk says:

    Hi James which race so far has been your favourite and summed up 2012 for you? Been a super season with different drivers mixing up and different teams getting it right on the day and others stumbling. The next few races should be brilliant in regards of working out who are main players for the title.

  49. For sure says:

    I think one of things people didn’t mention about Alonso is that he is the ultimate opportunist. He doesn’t take risky moves.
    Every-time he saw an opportunity, he took it, I think he never missed one in fact.
    I can’t remember the last time he had an accident while trying to overtake.
    That makes him very dangerous for his opponents.

  50. olivier says:

    The Team score (= the combined score of the individual team mates) would thus look like this:

    Lotus, Red Bull : 15/20
    Ferrari, McLaren : 14/20
    Mercedes : 12,5/20
    Sauber : 11,5/20
    Force India : 11/20
    Caterham, Marussia, Williams : 10/20
    Torro Rosso : 9,5/20
    HRT : 9/20

    The usual suspects at the top. With the exception of Ferrari who have clearly outsmarted their competitors. Without Alonso they would’ve been in the anonymous midfield. I wonder if Mercedes would’ve been further down without Rosberg & Schumacher? Their car seems to be worse in race trim than Williams and Sauber. Yet they are ahead in the combined Team score.


    Team scare based upon;
    9.5: Alonso
    8.5: Hamilton
    8: Raikkonen
    7.5: Vettel, Webber
    7: Grosjean
    6.5 Rosberg
    6: Perez, Schumacher,
    5.5: Kobayashi, Button, Di Resta, Hulkenberg,
    5: Maldonado, Senna, Kovalainen, Petrov, Ricciardo, Glock, Pic, de la Rosa
    4.5: Massa, Vergne
    4: Karthikeyan

  51. Geee says:

    Since I’m unable to read all the comments on my lunch, I apologise if someone has mentioned this already…

    Is it wrong to be showering Alonzo with so much praise when his team mate has been (sorry Felipe) awful for most of the season?

    The way I see it is, we’ll never know just how amazing, or good, Alonzo has been this season with his team mate performing so poorly. I agree he’s been the most impressive driver this season, however I wonder how good he’d look if Kimi was his team mate or Rosberg- I’m not saying their better than him or as good, but there performing better than Massa this season!

    1. KRB says:

      Yeah, it’s hard to tell. Linear comparisons are very hard to do in F1, even though it’s often boiled down to that, even by team principals.

      Twice you were going for “they’re” in that last sentence, and used both of its homonyms. I think it’s been too long a break, everyone’s going stir crazy! :-)

      1. Gee says:

        I’ll just go & stand in the corner…

    2. puffing says:

      Effort to write properly a person’s name will be always appreciated (think about reading your own name wrongly written): Fernando’s family name is AlonSo, not Alonzo.

      1. Gee says:

        Point taken, not my best day. However there were no posts below me when I attempted to post my original comment.

    3. puffing says:

      As for the core matter of your comment, you may as well see below post #55.

      1. Gee says:

        Thanks Puffing, I’ll make a point of spelling Alonso as Alonzo in future & yes I know I just wrote Alonzo! Jesus this isn’t a playground, people make mistakes get over it.

  52. Andy says:

    James, it appears there are lots of contrasting views. Any chance you could create a mini questionaire, like driver of the day, where we can all vote and average out the results.

    Thanks for keeping up the f1 news, I need it during this break!

  53. J. S. says:

    The average score is 5.896 then, meaning

    Perez, Schumacher >~ average
    Kob, Button, Di Resta, Hulk <~ average

    I agree with most of it, except I would give Raikkonen and Grosjean the same score (7.5), and Rosberg and Schumacher a little lower (6.0 and 5.5).

  54. goferet says:

    @ Elie

    you forget both Sauber and Lotus
    have been good on tyres since day 1
    ————————————————-

    No I didn’t forget and that’s why come the end of the season, Sauber & Lotus may rue the missed opportunities in Malaysia and Bahrain respectively.

  55. Anop says:

    James, Lotus are bringing major upgrades to Spa but what about Ferrari?

    Have you heard about their upgrades? Surely they must have couple of them in the pipeline as they did not bring anything major after Valencia.

    1. James Allen says:

      Ferrari will certainly have an upgrade for Spa, they will have been working hard on it before the break and they could see McLaren, Red Bull and Lotus getting very strong in the last weeks before the break.

      No idea what it will be but certainly will be aimed at aero efficiency on high speed tracks coming up like Spa

  56. Nick4 says:

    FA’s principal competitors are the likes of SV, KR and LH not Felipe. They are driving cars that are better than the Ferrari, especially the Lotus and RB, and FA has outdriven them all. I don’t believe that either of these drivers need to be in a Ferrari to truly validate FA’s performance. FM is not performing; it’s as simple as that, and that should not detract from FA’s amazing season thus far.

  57. Tom in adelaide says:

    Maldonado displaying all his talent:

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kTbOcIvTvko

  58. F1fan4life says:

    I’m sorry but I think Grosjean is overrated here. I believe he had first corner incidents in the first 4 or 5 races and was lucky to make it through after the incidents in a couple. He’s driving decently… but I feel in some of the first corner incidents he hit cars in front of him even without anyone close to pressuring him. Don’t believe he should be rated over Perez.

  59. Henry says:

    Hi James,

    Interesting article but Gazzetta marked Alonso at a 10 but you marked him at 9.5. You mention that his season has been “close to perfect”, what would he have to have done to achieve the perfect 10 in your eyes?

  60. Hahnsolo says:

    Bravo James! I see it almost exactely the same.

  61. Liam in Sydney says:

    You can’t rate a driver out of ten without stopping and applying a race-by-race rating, then adding them all up and averaging them over the total number of races. Then you can’t accidentally miss out on a driver’s excellent or poor performance on any particular race. Alonso should not be 10/10, but a 9.5. As you say James, he needs “somewhere else to go” (i.e. up).

  62. Karim says:

    I do not agree with Grosjean’s rating- too high in my opinion. He has been involved in too many incidents this season and has squandered a lot of points for Renault. Whilst his qualifying pace has been impressive he has been more of a disappointment than a revelation

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