My top five F1 drivers of the 2016 season
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F1 drivers photo 2016
Posted By: James Allen  |  24 Dec 2016   |  9:41 pm GMT  |  511 comments

It’s that time again when it is time to take a deep breath and pick the Top 5 Drivers of 2016.

This is a tradition on this site going back to 2009, when the site first took off and this year is by far the most difficult to choose of the eight seasons to date.

Why? Well because all the standout drivers had good and bad moments this season, we had two unusual scenarios as well. A supposedly number two driver beat his champion team-mate to the world championship which hasn’t happened too often in the F1 of the last 30 years.

Second we had a high profile switch of a top team driver mid-season, which brought Max Verstappen into Red Bull Racing and he won on debut. Verstappen was outstanding at times this season and rightly won the FIA Personality of the Year category at the Awards Gala, but at 19 years of age he is far from the fully developed Grand Prix driver and he had some significant low points too.

F1 drivers

Frankly you could make the argument for any of the top four below to be placed in any order, depending on what you focus on.

So, before we dive in to the choices I need to explain my decision making criteria. First I measure the driver’s peaks during the season, the quality of his standout moments. Second – and equally – I consider the consistency of the season – was the driver up and down or did they bring their A Game most weekends?

Third I always reward drivers who deliver under pressure and that generally means drivers going for the wins and the titles, where there is a lot at stake. That doesn’t mean we don’t recognise drivers of poor cars who have to drive the wheels off it to get into the top five, but it does mean that there is a weighting towards the front runners.

Another thing I mark highly is competitive spirit; I love drivers who make things happen and who really stir the passions of fans.

Finally I always heavily reward the world champion because winning a world championship is always tough and to win the longest ever F1 championship, against arguably the strongest driver of his generation therefore gives Nico Rosberg quite a boost.

Against that is the fact that the Mercedes was again an utterly dominant car this season, so it’s really hard to benchmark the drivers.

So with that in mind and with a deep breath, as this won’t please everyone, here is the JA on F1 Top Five drivers of 2016.

Daniel Ricciardo

1. Daniel Ricciardo

This was an excellent year for Ricciardo, who finished a clear third in the drivers’ championship for the second time in three years. With the car and engine package that he has had at his disposal relative to Mercedes, that is a great achievement and when you study the numbers on his season, his consistency at a high level really stands out.

He had 20 points finishes in the season – equal with Rosberg – and qualified very consistently in the top four or five with only a couple of exceptions. He won Malaysia, but should have also won Spain and Monaco, but for strategy calls and a botched tyre stop. He split the Mercedes in Germany, Belgium and Singapore.

His overtakes are sublime and he’s very hard to pass.

The only downsides for the Australian were that he seemed to have his hands full later in the season to contain team mate Verstappen and there were a few races where the Dutchman was simply faster all weekend. We have to put this in context: Verstappen is only 19 and in his second season in F1 cars with much still to learn.

Ricciardo is now at the peak of his career and is the complete F1 driver; the next few years should see him crowned world champion at some point, provided he can keep a lid on his ruthless team mate.

It will come down to which of them is the hardest and in that I slightly worry for him.

Nico Rosberg
2. Nico Rosberg

It seems that it’s fashionable to downrate Rosberg’s season and to chalk his world championship down to having lots of luck and the best car. That is perhaps to look at it through the prism of the last few races only, rather than the season as a whole.

Rosberg brushed off two years of hurt, raised his game in 2016, focussed on himself only, won his world title and then quit F1 on his own terms.

Some might say that was him running away from the sport, proving that he is not a a true champion. But having watched Nico up close this season, it was incredibly impressive how he kept on delivering his best time after time and doing what he needed to do when it came to a crunch moment. He met all the challenges and did what he had to do when he had to do it.

Winning in F1 is about getting all the details right and not giving anything away to the opposition. Rosberg certainly exemplified that more often than not this year.

Of course he didn’t have as many peaks as Hamilton’s, but the turning point race was Singapore, his best ever drive in F1 and then Japan. He was outclassed by Hamilton several times, for example in Monaco, arguably his only real ‘off day’ this season.

But even when he couldn’t match Hamilton, he often found a work-around. An example was in Monza; he was blown away in qualifying, but he didn’t give up and silenced Hamilton on race day with a better start; he didn’t give Lewis a sniff for the rest of the afternoon. Hamilton was utterly dejected after that race.

Australia and Bahrain also followed that script.

Lewis beat Nico in qualifying 12 times to seven, when there were no reliability issues, which doesn’t look great, but the margins were mostly tight. Rosberg dealt with it, worked to a plan, one race at a time.

When he needed to get the lap in qualifying in Brazil he did it and drove the tricky race to bag the 18 points he needed from a championship point of view in horrendous conditions. That was a banana skin dodged. Yes there were no heroics about it, but there was a lot at stake. Likewise when he had to pass Verstappen and then soak up the pressure at the end in Abu Dhabi, with a world championship at stake, he did both.

No-one else faced that level of pressure this year.

I like sports stars who carry on developing even after many years, proving that you never stop learning. Mercedes engineers say Rosberg was still improving when he retired.

Many will disagree with this choice, because Rosberg had the best car, but we are not picking the Top Five drivers in F1, rather the Top 5 performers of 2016. Having seen the battle up close this year, he deserves it.

Lewis Hamilton
3. Lewis Hamilton

History will show that Hamilton lost the world championship to his less talented teammate in 2016.

They say history is written by the victors, but Hamilton has managed to make the narrative about how Mercedes’ reliability was the reason why he didn’t make it three titles in a row in 2016.

It’s certainly true up to a point, but he also gave away plenty of points for a variety of reasons. One was poor starts using the new single clutch system; there were four races blighted by that, so arguably 24 points dropped. And he also had three race weekends where he seemed to be mentally elsewhere; Baku, Singapore and Japan, so arguably another 14 points there.

That makes six weekends of giving something away to the opposition and for that I can’t put him as the best driver of 2016, or ahead of Rosberg, even if some of his qualifying and race performances were best in class.

Pole in Monza was exquisite, his race in Brazil was also an illustration of his sumptuous gifts. His brilliant drive in Monaco, looking after the tyres to the point where he could skip the intermediate tyre stage was another standout.

Engineers tell me that of all the drivers he is the one who has been most held back by the problems Pirelli have had mastering the tyre technology for the regulation tyre size of the last few years and that with the new 2017 wide tyres he will be able to express himself fully. Time will tell.

I certainly expect him to come flying out of the blocks next season and it will take something special to beat him to the championship. He is also likely to get the record for most pole positions; he is eight behind Michael Schumacher after a career half the length of the German’s.

That would be an appropriate record for Hamilton to hold.

Max Verstappen

4. Max Verstappen

When a talent and a character like this comes along, as a professional working in the sport for almost 30 years, you just have to smile. He makes people remember why they fell in love with motor racing in the first place.

It’s not all pretty and some of his defensive driving caused the rule makers to issue clarifications on what is allowed. But that also shows the ruthlessness of the driver. He is not here merely to compete or even to try to win. He’s here to fight against all-comers, to get under their skin. And in that he reminds me of Michael Schumacher.

I was struck by his calmness in the press conference room after Ricciardo won Malaysia due to a Red Bull strategy call similar to Spain, but which reversed the drivers’ fortunes this time. He had matured a lot in just a few months and it was as if he felt that he would have many more chances to win in future so no need to get upset now.

His early-career defining drive in the rain in Brazil is up there with some of the greatest wet weather performances ever seen. He drove brilliantly to take Raikkonen and Rosberg early on but found himself 14th with 16 laps to go after Red Bull made a big call on strategy, trying for the win instead of the second place he was assured. He passed his way back up to third, including his own team mate who was also on fresh rubber, unlike most of the cars he passed.

It is true that he had an up and down season; he had some off days, for sure. He was 2-2 in qualifying against Carlos Sainz in the first four races of the season before he was moved up to Red Bull. He adapted quickly and Ricciardo ended up 11-6 against him in qualifying from there.

But when you bear in mind that this was only his second season in F1 and it took him until around June to fully understand how to bring a Pirelli front qualifying tyre in for optimum single lap performance, that’s not bad against one of the fastest guys in F1.

Verstappen has had an almost vertical learning curve so far and there is still so much more development to come. He has a great race engineer in Gianpiero Lambiase, who will continue to nurture this exceptional talent and many fans will admit that he is one of the main reasons to switch the TV on on a Sunday to watch the race. For that, and the fact that there is plenty of evidence that he is getting teenagers to watch the sport, F1 owes him a debt of gratitude.

Fernando Alonso
5. Fernando Alonso

One of the benefits of doing the in-depth UBS Race Strategy Report after every Grand Prix, is that I get to speak confidentially to many of the top strategists from the F1 teams, who contribute insights, to help fans understand better what goes on in races.

Time after time, they flag up Alonso and his latest heroics. The Spaniard may have been a footnote in the tale of the 2016 F1 season, but some of his race performances were of a similar peak level to anything we saw at the front of the field. He was simply astonishing in Spa, Singapore, Suzuka and Austin – and McLaren owe him a lot. The balance sheet would look far less favourable without these amazing drives. He ended up with more than twice the points of Jenson Button and that is despite a monster accident in Australia and sitting out Bahrain.

Other drivers deserved consideration including Carlos Sainz, who drove at a consistently high standard, Sergio Perez and Nico Hulkenberg, but Alonso makes the top five because of the sheer excellence of those four drives in particular.

Do you agree? Leave your top five drivers of 2016 in the Comments section below

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511 comments

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1

James i think you are wrong. Its has to be
Hamilton
Max
Daniel
Roseburg
Alonso
Hamilton we all know had some bad weekends but his strength of character came through when he was behind and eventually had a reliable car. Who in the field managed tires better than him? Who in the field consumed less fuel than him? Who controlled races better than him? You also said that Daniel overtakes better..... common on o think Max shades him there.

2

Hamilton needed to comeback from his bad weekends is exactly the reason why not number 1.

Number 1 goes to the most flawless, not the ones who make up best for their flaws.

3
Tornillo Amarillo

1. Max Verstappen, younger, winner, rebel, podium finisher...
2. Perez, podiums, put F.India in P4th, what else?
3. Kimi Raikkonen, true to himself, still a great driver being "old", in a difficult team.
4. Palmer, a disaster at the beginning, at the end put the right attitude to earn a new opportunity.
5. Ocon, young, just 6 month and promoted, more than one team wants Ocon, he will be just in a great car for his first full season.

- No Hamilton, he did not enough with the tactics at the end on Abu Dhabi, too little too late (10 wins are not enough). His best years were 2007-2008.
- No Rosberg, he did everything right, except not being willing to defend his crown. That crown has no head to be on...
- No Ricciardo, he was beaten on track and by the first win of Max, the Younger, putting the former in a shadow.
- No Alonso, wasting his best years as a racer with a crazy car and now talking about it like he is payed for it, no thanks.

4

My pick also;
Hamilton
Max
Rosberg
Ricciardo
Alonso
James said that Monaco, arguably was Nico's only real off day......Really. Rosberg showed how poorly he defended at Austria, especially when being attacked by Lewis.
I found it also interesting that James suggested Hamilton had developed a narrative, in which Mercedes reliability only caused him the championship. if Lewis's engine didn't self destruct at Malaysia, while leading on to a comfortable win, with only 16 laps to go. Nico going into the last race at Abu Dhabi would have been 16 points behind Hamilton. As Toto Wolff said, " This year, clearly, Malaysia cost Lewis the championship. It's clear."

5

You guys didn't watch the same 2016 season did you?

Rosberg also had troubles, why is it that it only counts for Hamilton, and as I said before, one race and he lost the WDC? what about the other races in total sum?

Rosberg was leading at halfway everyone seems to forget.

6

Marky mark, what troubles did Nico have again? Don't forget that Rosberg's lead at the halfway point was helped quite a bit by Lewis having to start last in China and Spa, and p10 in Russia.

7

Agree with you Felix and Malcolm. Reliability is the main culprit. If the engine at Malaysia hadn't blown then LH would clearly have won. (While Rosberg and Vettel had a dance at the start of the race). Very disappointing race gorgeous Mercedes to loose the victory . Funny how DR said it was payback for Monaco. Though it should be payback for his own pit forgetting how to change his tyres and the miscommunication. Max will usurp DR in 2017 and be no.1 driver. It's going to get tense at Red Bull. As the team owners back Max and keep him happy.
2016 F1 Team managers voted LH as Top Driver. I would rate Max above DR any day any time . Expect serious mood swings from DR in 2017 as they tangle.
Lewis 1
Max 2
Rosberg 3
Alonso 4
DR 5
The crazy inter team battle at Red Bull (The pro Max owners vs DR will end up getting ugly as the season goes on, which will play into the hands of the other teams).
Max will be unstoppable against DR in 2017. Red Bull may have to change the livery to Orange after mid summer break. That should put a smile on the Dutch fans faces.

8

"If the engine at Malaysia hadn't blown then LH would clearly have won."
It's naive to claim an unknowable outcome as known. Like suggesting a hypothetical is the truth. Ridiculous really. It casts a damning light upon your other predictions. They may well go down the same way your 2016 championship predictions did. As in, wrong. lol

9

Is it better to say that the odds of him winning Malaysia sans engine failure would've been prohibitively high?

I guess we can't know if Ricciardo would've won Monaco with a better pitstop then too?

10

You won't find a bookie who'll give you odds on conjecture. (Not one that will pay out)

Your second point is correct.

11

Should anyone trust your advice regarding bookies, considering your past experiences?

You wouldn't find a bookie anywhere who would've given you odds for an LH win at lap 39 of the Malaysian GP.

12

KRB. Ha ha, yes Dan might have been overwhelmed with emotion at leading, and driven into the harbour! As silly as pretending that Lewis couldn't have reeled off the last 15 laps of the Malaysian GP without incident while under no pressure, having driven brilliantly all weekend....

13

If Sir Tease's post between ours is anything to go by, he wants have his cake, and eat it too! It's always lovely debating with people who maintain two mutually exclusive positions at the same time.

14

How do you come to this conclusion?
And what are my mutually exclusive positions?

15

Thank you. His very wrong.

16

In my opinion, to have Rosberg as high as #2, it takes grading the drivers against their individual personal bests, and not the performances themselves. For example, a 95% Hamilton performance could beat a 100% Rosberg performance, but Hamilton is still copping the 5% markdown in the rating here.

The 'New Rosberg' narrative coming out of MB themselves started pretty much from the start of the season, so if you get message tracked for that long, it will have an effect. Most will always believe that they are impervious to being affected; they'd be wrong.

Lastly, just heard about George Michael ... seems like a slew of big names exiting this world in 2016.

17

Don't you think a driver operating at 100% deserves a better mark than one operating at 95% ?
Especially when the 100% one won the championship?
BTW... (and separate I my point above) I don't think Ham could beat Rosberrg this year when he was at 95%

18

Sir Tease, do you really think Rosberg operated at 100%?

19

TW, yes I do. I think he had to in order to win the championship. Sure he made mistakes but I think that was only a consequence of his talent. Nico was pushing hard, maximum attack all year. Keke coached him on that, every race. Textual motivation, pedal to the medal (sic) kind of stuff. Monaco he was no good. But I'm pretty sure, even then he was pushing hard. The yellow-flag pole. Hamilton lifted, (please don't take that as a criticism, just an objective obversation) Nico micro lifted and got the pole because he's been 100% at all times chasing this championship. Some people call me silly but after cap gate it was clear that Hamilton's domineering mental tactics would cease being an advantage and actually backfire on him. Nicos been on it since then. But like I say, he's made mistakes and sometimes been slow but he's always been pushing.
Hamilton is held to a higher standard because he's better. Unfortunately he went missing at times during the year. But that's another story.
Yes I think Nico was at 100% That's why he was so spent afterwards. You did watch the whole presser right? Raw emotion. That's what we want to see! Hamilton was completely composed. Hardly perturbed by the events in the race. 'Means he still had some in reserve right?? (remarkably)
How would you grade Hamilton's year? Does he get 100%?

20

Sir Tease. Lewis doesn't get 100%, nobody does. This is why these lists are so difficult to compile, and why nobody can ever agree! Maybe Alonso or Nasr were closer to 100% than any of our top fives, but we didn't notice because they are down the order. What do we mean when we say 100% anyway? 100% of what is possible in that car? Or 100% of what that driver is capable of? Lewis won more races than Nico, but as you say he is better, so how many more should he win? I see the point you are making about Nico digging deep etc, but to be honest I think that he didn't do anything that much different to the other years. In my opinion Nico has good qualifying speed, can lead from the front and is capable of beating Lewis fair and square if everything goes to plan. Singapore was impressive this year, but so was Monaco 2013 and many other races since, he always has those days when he is excellent, but he also has days when he isnt. His lower level wet weather skills caused the poor performance in Monaco, and his clumsiness in close quarter combat led to points lost in Canada, and penalties in Austria, Germany and Malaysia. Do we hold these poor races against him? Or forgive him because we don't think he can do any better? Lewis had his off days, he always does, but he was still third in Singapore and Japan, and would probably have scraped a podium out of Baku if his engine was properly programmed. His troughs were not as deep as Nico's the P7 in China was a result of the damage caused in the contact with Nasr at the start, the P5 in Baku was aided by mechanical trauma, Nico doesn't have these (valid) excuses, and I think he should be marked down for it. Sport is a test of talent and application, you say that despite his lower talent level, Nico scored so much higher on application that he should be placed above Lewis, I don't agree, but can see why you say that. Nico deserves his title, but Lewis was still the better driver in my view.

21

I believe the performances should be based on their own effectiveness. If a 100% Hamilton performance would yield a performance score of 100 say, then a 95% one would yield a 95. Then if a 100% Rosberg performance yielded a 94, then 95 beats 94, and that is all that should matter.

Whenever Rosberg and Hamilton raced where both could legitimately compete with each other, and both finished, Hamilton scored on average 21.31 pts, and Rosberg 18.44. THAT was their performance differential, when they were both in the fight, and able to finish. Their DRIVING performance. It's beyond silly to reward Rosberg for having less mechanical issues in the season ... a bit of double dipping there.

22

"I believe the performances should be based on their own effectiveness."
By your own admission... Nico is No.1
Lewis is No.2
About time...

23

Sir Tease, but wasn't Lewis more effective in more races than Nico?

24

What? You've been acting really silly for the last week or so. Not sure why. How you get that from what I wrote, well ...

I'll keep it simple. Lewis outdrove Nico this year, when you only look at their driving performances. Non-driving circumstances saw Nico nick the title ahead of Lewis. It took a lot of them this season, in order for Nico to win, but it happens.

25

I'm over this. We're not going to convince each other of our opinions. Any other year Hamilton would have got driver of the year for his effort this year. But when all the intangibles are considered, mainly the history between the two and the pressure he was under, Rosberg (for me) wins driver of the year.
Here is my concession to you. Hamilton lost the championship because of reliability. Rosberg wins DOTY because of his strength of character.

I look forward to our season 2017 discussions.

26

It's not advice mate, it's just an assessment. My advice regarding bookies would be stay away.
But if you want to question my credibility and call me silly, let me ask you this... Who else on these pages picked and put money on Nico for the championship during pre-season and then doubled down on better odds just prior to the summer break?
I lost out for sure. But I'm a gambling addict and that extends to my choice of bookie.

27

" Non-driving circumstances saw Nico nick the title ahead of Lewis. It took a lot of them this season, in order for Nico to win, but it happens."

You see this is how you see it. Whereas I see Nico's 100% focus and commitment compared to Ham's 95% allowed him to steal it.

NOTE!! I agree with the notion of a theft taking place. Reliability left a window open but Ham was in the building the whole time. Maybe he was snoozing or listening to loud music or watching GOT with headphones on. (Season 6 was pretty enthralling)

28

Did I say that Hamilton was at 95% and Rosberg was at 100% this year? I said "if ...". Malaysia was a 100% performance from Hamilton that netted exactly 0 points. Reliability can nullify even the best performance.

Lewis outdrove Nico this year. On driving performances, which is what we're discussing here, Lewis was better. He out-qualified Nico 12-6 when reliability is factored in. He won more races, had more podiums, led more laps. That's never been done before, for anyone not finishing top.

Reliability cost Lewis 51 pts to Nico this year. Show me any set of teammates, in the entire history of F1, in an equal opportunity team, where one has been compromised to such an extent, and still finished ahead.

29

I'll keep it simple. Reliability cost Hamilton some points. But not so many that if he'd done a better job in unaffected races he could have won the championship.
Draw your own conclusions and make your own excuses from there.

30

Sir Tease, Reliability cost Lewis somewhere in the region of 40 points, and being spread over four race weekends meant that his opportunity to overcome this head start for Nico was limited. He nearly managed it, but not quite. Was this because of a lack of focus? I don't know, neither do you, neither does anyone. Let's stick to the facts, 17 races unaffected by reliability, Lewis won ten of those and Nico six. For reference Dan and Max were together for 17 races and Dan is ahead 9,7 so do we need to question Dan's focus as well?

31

Apparently it's 51 points Tim.

32

Sir Tease, how many do you think it was? 25 in Malaysia is the easy one, but what about Spa, China, Russia and Baku? Starting with Baku, he wouldn't have won without the engine programming issue, but maybe third instead of fifth? Another five points but the others aren't as easy are they? Russia he was second and maybe he would have been anyway. Spa and China netted a third and seventh, 3 minimum at Spa and perhaps I would have said a pretty solid 12 in China. These are minimum numbers that assume Nico would have beaten him in those races anyway, so does 45sound fair? I still think spreading these failures over so many weekends was more damaging than concentrating them in fewer events. What are your thoughts if you had to guess?

33

LH.
DR.
NR.
FA.
MV.

34

Felix - I'm a massive Hammy fan, but I do think he could have won WDC regardless of how lucky Rosberg was. Baku...he was 0.7 up on everyone before he took a corner off. Japan he was in a strop. I don't blame him....I would have been as well.

There you have another 20 odd points.....and a dagger through Rosberg's aspirations.

Have to laugh at the people who say Hamilton gained in Spain. Dodgy clutch start and then gets run off the road by his team mate. If Rosberg had have been a clean driver.....7 more points to Hammy....and another championship.

35

Ah, Baku. Hamilton laughed off at those driver who walked and biked the new circuit prior to FP1. "The simulator is enough", he said. But it wasn't: he crashed during practice and that ruined his qualy and his race.

36

Very true

37

Who in the field complained more than him? Who in the field was more petulant than him? Who in the field spouted more baseless blame on their team/employer for their misfortune? Look, when Lewis is "on", and his back's against the wall, and he's wringing the neck of the car, he's amazing to watch - no doubt. Last couple of years has shown a strong character alright - but the nature of that character is pretty unpleasant.

38

I think there’s been a fair bit of unpleasant behaviour by various different drivers over the last year or two. I think it’s a little narrow-minded to focus on just Hamilton’s… especially considering the media and team-radio focus will bring his comments to the fore in a way that wouldn’t apply to all other drivers.

Let’s consider the other examples:

Vettel - spouting off at anyone or anything around him.
Alonso - calling out his team and engine partner over the last couple of years (not to mention track record at previous teams)
Verstappen - refusing to obey team orders (Toro Ross) and borderline-dangerous defending.

Looking at the list above, plus Hamilton, you have three multiple word champions and a driver who will almost certainly go on to win several championships. I think it’s safe to say there’s probably a correlation between having a bit of an edgy character and being one of the very best in your sport. It’s what separates these guys from the Webbers, Rosbergs, etc.

Looking at the comments for this article and many other sites that have done driver reviews for 2016, it’s safe to say that most rank Hamilton’s performance over the year as superior to his teammates. Rosberg successfully made the case that a nice guy can win the championship against a ‘meaner’, ‘less pleasant’ rival. But it’s still the exception, rather than the rule, and – had he decided (had the mettle) to stick around – would anybody really fancy him to win the championship again?

Experience tells us the better drivers tend to also be the more-controversial drivers, and possibly less pleasant. Still, judging by the decisions of team principals, almost anything is forgiven when you’re proven to be one of the very best and fastest.

39

No different to the other contenders for 'bests'.

Vettel - whining at everyone and everything.
Alonso - calling out the team and engine partner (15) and a lot worse in the past.
Verstappen - refusing to obey team orders when asked to move aside for his teammate (Toro Rosso) and borderline-dangerous defending.

A lot of what these guys do isn't always pleasant, but I think most would still put the three above, plus Hamilton in the top 5 of current drivers.

Maybe that's what separates them from the Webbers, Rosbergs, etc. of the world. Rosberg has made a case that the nice guy can become champion... but, reading a lot of the comments here and 'top 5s or 10s' on other sites, few rate his performance this season as even being as good as his teammate's. If you're building a race-winning team, you still get the best driver you can and see if you can manage egos and behaviour later. At least that's what history shows us.

40

And that makes him a lesser driver? Let's judge them on their actions on the track

41

'Who in the field complained more than him? Who in the field was more petulant than him?'
Vettel on the radio.

43

Grosjean was also pretty bad... and we probably only heard about 5% of what he might have said because his car's position in the races was largely irrelevant, whereas we probably heard pretty much any hint of griping that came out of Hamilton's car.

Some perspective should be applied to comments.

44

Quite different though as Vettel's was always in the heat of battle whereas Lewis was premeditated talking about the swapping of the mechanics in the press and talking about someone doesn't want him to win etc..

45

When your car is constantly breaking and experiencing problems, while the car on the other side of the garage continues to work beautifully, I guess it'd be quite difficult to continue to remain sanguine about it over the course of an entire season. Especially when its your WDC at stake.

46

Ozoner.
Ehh....have you been watching Vettel with all his moaning. Don't get me wrong I was totally indifferent to him until he called for the race to be red flagged in the rain in Brazil. Totally lost all respect lol.....At least Hamilton wants to race.

47

It's easy to make a case that any of the drivers are unpleasant. Vettel, Alonso, Rosberg even Button have had their moments through the years. Who cares about their personality when the question at hand is how they performed in the car?

48

Ozoner, who in the field complained more than him? Vettel. Who in the field was more petulant than him? Grosjean. Who in the field spouted more blame on the team? Alonso.
They all have unpleasant sides to their characters, it is the nature of the beast.

49

Well Ham left around 38 points on the table do to bad starts and not knowing how to use the switches on his steering wheel (Baku). Japan wasnt a great race for him either as well as Singapore. Ham very much needed to win in Malaysia. When it went pear shaped on him his true colors came out. Ham is all about himself not the team. You guys cant ignore his poor performances and say it was because of one dnf in Malaysia. A dnf is a dnf regardless of who you are and Formula 1 history is littered with untimely dnf's (Schumacher vs Alonso in Japan comes to mind). Did Schumacher create conspiracy theorys afterwards? Hell no he didnt because Schuey is a true team player. Mercedes pays Ham 50 mill a year why would they sabotage his engines? Rosberg beat him this year so get over it everybody because the season is over and it is 2017. And dont even mention Spain- that was on Ham and he knows it. #1 rule in F1- DO NOT TAKE OUT YOUR TEAMMATE.

50

Tim, you are well and truly smart enough to know what I mean. He has one of, if not the highest of ceilings, but performed proportionally below many of his contemporaries. I would not even have him in the top five with the weight of his sub personal par driving alone, before even considering other factors such as the collective of those in your above post. If you think Lewis left less in the bag than that which would have overcome his hurdles to keep the WDC, then you must have a lesser opinion of his ability than I.

51

Bryce, we aren't getting anywhere here. Tell me the races where you think that Lewis was so "sub par" and give me the names of the five drivers you think didn't have as many poor performances.

52

Tim, once again don't have the time to find the reply post, but anyhow, I give up. Lewis is in your mind the best driver and as per others opinions on here, regardless of his performance or lack thereof, he should be crowned as such for each and every year.

53

Bryce, I feel he was the best driver last season, I wouldn't have put him in that slot every year however. I have also stated why I think that he was the best, perhaps you could say why you don't agree? you keep talking about his lack of performance, but don't say who you think performed better. They all made errors, they all had poor races, they all got a few bad starts, they all got beat by their team mates now and again, but apparently you think this should only count against Lewis? like I said, if you came up with a few reasons and facts now and again rather than just a catch all "Lewis was poor" or "you are all just the LHFC" then I think this discussion could actually go somewhere.

54

Alonso spouted more blame on the team? Seriously? If you look back over the last two years you will see it has been Hamilton who has done that more often... of course it's pointless to say it because no matter what he says or does some will always stick to an image that is at least dubious

55

I don't think anything comes close to Alonso calling out his team and engine partner at the latter's home race.

56

Rafa, I don't remember Lewis saying his car had a GP2 engine or that it was a "joke"!

57

Why on earth would you say that Lewis spouted baseless blame. Mercedes ability to give Lewis a working car this year has been nothing short of abysmal, particularly since the other car was running smooth as clockwork (with the exception of the time Nico broke the gearbox through a driving error).
Imagine how much fuss you would name if you had a brand new car and it failed 4 times in a year - you keep taking it into the dealership and it keeps breaking Darren again! Honestly now, imagine what you would be saying to those engineers if those failures were damaging your career by masking you miss client meetings or making you late for work. Now multiply that by 10 because this is the F1 world championship and people ask you how you are feeling immediately after each breakdown.
I'd say Lewis was pretty chilled!

58

Oh my god, everyone in the educated world, that is the world outside the LHFC, knows that Lewis is best of all drivers in damaging tyres at overbraking. And i doubt that he created good vibrations by doing this. Some of the car failures are probably self-inflicted. A F1 car is a prima-ballerina. You have to handle it with care, even talking bad about it may cause an error.
If Lewis would have the choice: A Mercedes with an error-rate of 20% or an absolute error-free Manor. What would he choose? I hope he goes for the Manor. Sutil and Pascal at Mercedes in 2017 would be great.
If i need to reach work in time: a Lada Niva or a Mercedes Unimog 😉 The more complex the car and the more at the limit the higher the probability of a failure. Not to forget that at the country-road to my work a sports car would loose its front spoiler or even damage the bottom 😉

59

LOL, do you even see what's on your screen when you're watching? Do you remember Austria, where Hamilton took ultrasofts (being one of only 5 in the top 10 there to start on them, and that were expected by the FOM graphic to only go to lap 10) to lap 21. During the race, Brundle was going on about how Kimi would be at a great advantage if he could stay close to Hamilton, with his SS tires to Lewis' US.

"And it's beginning to look very nice indeed for Ferrari, they're now 2nd and 6th, 4 and 7 seconds off the lead, on tires we think will go twice as far as the ultrasofts of Hamilton out front"

The first pitstops started on lap 8:

HUL US 8
BUT US 9
BOT US 9
ROS US 10

After this (on lap 13) Brundle said:

"I think it's significant that Hamilton can still match those around him, despite being on the ultrasoft, that's a nice little phase for him"

WEH US 13
RIC SS 14
VES SS 15

MB: "So Ricciardo and Verstappen have not managed to get the supersofts as far as Hamilton has (with the ultrasofts)"

Ted Kravitz: "Tell you what, Hamilton has done a brilliant job keeping those tires, as you say Martin, the red stripe supersoft, everyone said they were going to last double the life of those purple ones, and Hamilton's STILL OUT THERE! He's outlasted them. He did say yesterday that he was going to change his driving style to make these ultrasoft tires last longer than anyone thought ... that's exactly what Hamilton has done. Nice work."

Adaptability, gotta love it.

On lap 17, the order was (secs behind):

HAM (--), RAI (3.3), VET (9.1), ROS (26.2), VES (27.6)

Really, this is when MB should've pit Hamilton, to keep him ahead of Rosberg (22 secs pit loss at AUT). Ferrari should've pit Kimi then too, to stay ahead of Nico, but missed their chance.

By the end of lap 19, only the first 3 were yet to pit of the leading cars. David Croft could see what was going on, but MB couldn't?

Crofty: "The gap to Rosberg - between Hamilton and Rosberg - is now 23.4 seconds. Now, if Mercedes don't get Hamilton in now, Rosberg could be ahead of him at the end of the first pit stop."

On lap 21, it was already too late ... Hamilton was ahead of Rosberg by 21.7 secs.

HAM US 21 (slow stop)
RAI SS 22 (jumped by both MB & RBR cars, more brilliant strategy from Ferrari)
HUL SS 24 (2nd stop, from P12 after starting P2)
VET SS 27 (tire blowout on start/finish straight)

Hmm, so tell me, who's the tire whisperer again? 😉

You can add this to Monaco, where Hamilton kept out on used wets, setting decent enough times so as to skip the inter phase. All while setting strong times while using less fuel than others.

So while I present facts, all you have is supposition ... e.g. "some of the car failures are probably self-inflicted".

The lengths that some will go, even when at serious risk of looking silly, is mind-boggling.

60

haha well said and well backed up, I'll just add where did he found the term prima ballerina to use as F1 car is everything but ballerina. O and I'm not even Hami fan but 2k16 I and everyone else will remember by contrasting Performance from Mercedes's crew, where one side was almost perfect and don't forget it was Hamilton's crew season before. IMO Mercedes went to a great length to ensure NR would be a champ and I'm Kimi fan previously Sumi's fan. Can not take NR seriously as his nick name was embedded in my memory as Mr Friday from Williams namely as he was quick only on Friday and then just dropped off the cliff.

61

Selfenkistler, you mean everyone in the self educated world. Educated people amass knowledge from reference books and reputable sources of information. Perhaps you could educate us on how Lewis' driving style damaged the insulation on the MGUH unit on an out lap, or damaged a big end bearing on a brand new engine while cruising to victory. All properly referenced of course...

62

'Who in the field complained more than him? Who in the field was more petulant than him? Who in the field spouted more baseless blame on their team/employer for their misfortune?'
What has that got to do with DRIVER of the year. This isn't a personality competition it is about who drives best.

63

Can't dispute anybody's opinion really, but James you have managed to highlight all of Lewis's bad points while highlighting all of Nico's good points. From this you would never know that Nico too had bad starts for example.

64

My top driver not only for the last season but for the last 10yrs has been Lewis. Even his bad year in 2011 yielded 3 wins. He has at least 1 more championship in him and I look forward to the experience of watching him build towards it. What a driver!

65

i'm a lewis fan but driver of the year in 2011? that's too much favouritism kicking in. his teammate got 3 wins and over 40 points more

66

Merry Christmas to the team at JAonF1.

I like your picks. One eyed Aussie so very happy to see that you chose Daniel Ricciardo as number 1. As you mentioned, difficult to pick and is subjective depending on each individuals perspective. Look forward tto 2017 and continued excellent coverage of the sport on your site.

67

I enjoy almost every article on this website, but I can't help but think that media-friendliness has played some part in Ricciardo and Rosberg's ratings. Though Ricciardo shaded the battle in points, he was outclassed on a couple of occasions by a rookie (to the car) teammate. Considering that Verstappen stepped into a new car, having had no pre-season testing in it, and was on Ricciardo's level pretty much straight away, I honestly can't understand how somebody could rank Ricciardo as having performed better.

Enough has been said about Rosberg vs. Hamilton elsewhere.

I don't mean to get at James in any way, but I can't help but think that media friendliness has a big part to play in the way drivers are rated by the media. In my opinion, being a nice guy helped guys like Webber, Massa and Barichello avoid a lot of the criticism that they probably should have received over the years. I think the same applies to ranking Ricciardo and Rosberg as the best two drivers of 2016.

68

Ditto ! And, thank you to the JA team as noted above.

Particularly for your effort to put form to the selections. Others are quick to overlook the efforts at outlining and applying the criteria. Please stay on course and continue to be objective as possible in a subjective atmosphere.

Happy New Year and nothing but the best moving forward !

69

Well, not quite what i expected but a very well balanced and motivated list.
The only two questions marks are Alonso ( nice but not great and he made several amateur mistakes along the way) and Ricciardo: he was less consistent, look at russia and Brazil. So not a number one.
But as said every list is as personal and open for debate.

70

Ricciardo was punted off at turn 1 at Russia by Vettel/Kvyat, and finished just out of the points with a damaged car. It was the only non-points finish this year. He was also a whole 7sec behind Verstappen in Brazil, which is not one of his preferred tracks. How can you say inconsistent based on 2/21 races?

71

BigHaydo, people have no problem saying Hamilton was inconsistent because of Singapore and Baku. No driver on the grid delivered the perfect season, how many bad starts did Ricciardo have? He certainly got a stinker at Spa, how many more were there?

72

If Lewis was supposed to be the superior Merc driver he spent a fair few races behind Rosberg this year. That's the inconsistent part.

Red Bulls have not traditionally been good starting cars. Max had a shocker as well and tried a dive on the Ferraris, which worked out well...

73

Bighaydo, doesn't that happen to every driver, didn't Nico spend rather more time behind Lewis than the other way around? How much time did Ricciardo spend behind Verstappen? No driver finished the season 21,0 up against his team mate in the races, an unrealistic level of expectation?

74

My driver of the year is Fernando Alonso, his season was a match for anyone - and then some. Despite being in his mid 30s, having a beard (which adds an extra tenth) and driving a relatively unpowered car, his talent, motivation, focus and determination even after 15 odd years is truly extraordinary. Weekend in, weekend out he got more consistently out of his package underneath him then any other driver on the grid - even both Merc and RB drivers.

He is an incredibly abrasive, gnarly personality, but I'm not sure to judge persona, more performances. Every time he climbed into the McHonda cockpit, his relentlessness in driving flat out every corner of every lap and getting the absolute maximum from his equipment was unequalled by any other driver. The fact he is able to to muster the skill, determination and focus to do that in his 14th consecutive Formula 1 season speaks volume of his genius. Beardius Relentius is still one of the greatest drivers on the Formula 1 grid - and to this author he was THE best driver out of anyone, quite an achievement for a man who has been racing in the top flight for 15 odd years.

Put it like this: if can you imagine in 2020 for Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Riccairdo in 2025, or Max in 2028 are still driving to the absolute best consistently throughout the season in their 14th consecutive year in their mid 30s, you'll understand why El Beardo gets my vote!

75

@Gaz Boy- Given his amateur mistake in Melb and missing Bahrain as a result hes already 10% down before he starts. Sure he did come back strong and determined but being a road block in the aspirations of true title contenders does not make him great- quite the opposite imo.

76

It's hard for me to judge Hamilton or Rosberg as they are in such superior race cars and have little competition but HAM is an obvious choice.

I look at the rest of the field and the drivers who had to fight tooth and nail with others in equal machinery. These two stand out in no particular order.
RIC and ALO..

HAM, VES and ROS to follow.

77

+1..... It's so sad he has been driving around in a crap heap for 2 years and the future looks bleak. F1 caused it with their silly token regulations amongst many others.
I hope he walks away before the season starts if McHonda are several seconds behind the leaders when testing begins. What a pity!

78

He gets my vote for his "yeha" at the USGP.

79

Good shout. I think everything you stated makes him a great candidate for top 3, but I think the simple fact that we never saw him apply those skills at the sharpest end prevent him from being ranked more highly. He did everything he did (blindingly well) but will almost no pressure on him. Contract in the bag, not much media focus, not much difference between finishing 8th and 10th... Just saying that it's not comparable from a competitiveness and pressure perspective to what the other guys on the list experienced.

80

Gazboy, I can see why you choose Fernando, his continued ability to motivate himself is incredibly impressive. Can I imagine Lewis continuing to deliver top drawer performance after 3 winless years and 10 without a title? No frankly.

81

"Can I imagine Lewis continuing to deliver top drawer performance after 3 winless years and 10 without a title? No"
That's no surprise - there's not many that can imagine Lewis ever having to! Lewis has never gone a season without winning a race and had a chance of winning half the WDCs he's entered.

82

In my view what sets Alonso above every other current driver, is that no matter what car he's in, no matter what position he's in, he drives as if the race is a championship decider.

83

Good list if Raikkonen would be put there instead of Rosberg

84

I am the biggest Raikkonen fan going but I would be the first to admit he has no place in the top 5 drivers of the season.

85

Js99, I thought Kimi had a great season! Out qualifying Seb is no mean feat, and he came damn close to out scoring him as well.

86

@TimW true - but I think you would agree Sebastian had a poor season anyway. Kimi was ok this season but he wasn't doing anything extraordinary.

87

JS99, yes Vettel was poor on occasion, but I still think kimi drove a lot better than 2015, no more clumsy collisions with Bottas, and fewer times when he had no answer for Seb's pace.

88

An excellent decision and a well reasoned analysis. I fully agree with you. Similarly Autosport gave Ricciardo their DOTY as well. Merry xmas to all at JAonF1 and hopefully we'll have a more exciting year in 2017. Thanks also for a great site. The very best.

89

Lewis lost to Nico primarily because of reliability. He won more races, if this is about performance he should be ahead. If it's about who didn't get the dicky engines then I'll let Nico stay second.

Other than that little to disagree with. Dan deserves first place for his antics with his boots alone. Providing entertainment deserves to be part of the mix too.

Merry christmas all.

90

Almost agree with you, just one thing, You remember that Max was 2-2 eoth Sainz on Qualy on Qualyfing, but on points was 13 to 4 , if you compare how many points score Sainz against Max was 22 to 62 points since Melbourne 2015 to Rusian GP 2016, Max always on race pace was better than Sainz, That's were real racers show his talent, and sundays Max not only won to Carlos, he destroy him!

91

You are very right! And in 2016 Max was 3-1 in quali against Carlos, not 2-2. And yes, on Sunday he always destroyed Carlos where Carlos was able to often come close on one lap pace!

92

On a faster car...

93

Faster Car? When they were teammates???

94

James, there's one small mistake in this piece. Verstappen was 3-1 up on Sainz in qualifying during the first four races before he switched to Red Bull, instead of 2-2. I can largely agree on your top 5, although I wouldn't put Ricciardo on top. His first half of the season wasn't particularly good, with only one podium (Monaco). His second half was very impressive though.
My top 5:
Rosberg
Ricciardo
Hamilton
Verstappen
Alonso

95

I know you note that you give a boost to the world champion, but Rosberg was not the better driver this season. Don't get me wrong, he drove very well, and he was significantly closer to Hamilton than most people give him credit for (Hamilton ahead 422-402 and 11-9 in races after correcting for bad luck), but no mater which way you cut it Hamilton was the slightly better driver.

Personally my list would be as follows:

1. Ricciardo
2. Alonso
3. Verstappen
4. Sainz
5. Hamilton
6. Vettel
7. Rosberg

I don't think Perez and especially Hulkenberg were anywhere near the Top 5; I would consider Perez for 10th place, alongside Bottas, with Hulkenberg in the mid-low teens.

96

Comical and Hilarious all the way.
Nothing else . No logic Spondo

97

Your list is laughable! 😂

98

Hamilton ahead 422-402 and 11-9 in races after correcting for bad luck,

Does that include Ricciardo's bad luck robbing him of the win in Monaco, or Rosberg's bad luck with brake problems in Austria?

Does it also include Rosberg targeting 2nd's in the last 4 races rather than wins to guarantee the WDC?

99

Wasn't bad luck. It was just pit crew messing up and his own fault for coming in. Nothing bad about it.
Malaysia was an easy win after Lewis engine blew. That was bad . But Monaco was his own mess up.
Max will be winning in 2017 and DR will be sulking all the way to another team come 2018 (Mclaren).

100

DR will be sulking

Like Lewis has all this year and his fans non-stop since the final race ?

101

" his own fault for coming in ", serious?

102

Rosberg's bad luck with brake problems in Austria? He made a mistake on the last lap coming out of turn 1 ... he then went straight on at turn 2, instead of trying to make the corner. Finishing 4th when 2nd was the worst that he should've had, was all on him. That was the race where MB stitched up Lewis, to Nico's benefit, by not pitting him when they could've ensured he would have stayed out in front of Nico after the first stops. They delayed his stop by several laps, allowing Nico to undercut him. Although I guess then it would've been a straightforward 1-2 with Lewis winning.

I would like to know Spino's determination of evening out the bad luck ... only a 20 pts gap seems far too small. Even just Malaysia is a 28 pts turnaround.

103

JB123, well put!
You can make an argument for anything once you start cherry picking stats!

104

LkFE, and making up stats is even more effective than cherry picking....

105

Jb123. If Nico wanted to guarantee the championship, then targeting wins rather than seconds would have been a much better idea! He lost those races fair and square, he would not have wanted to go into the last race with the points as close as they were if he had any choice in the matter.

106

Going for the first in these last races would have meant to be a target for a cheap shot. Lewis is not shy from running Rosberg off the road, we have see that plenty of times (without getting punished for it I might add, the stewards being pretty English). Going for 2nd has been the safest option and not getting too greedy when it matters is a character trait that made him the champion this year.

107

Manonwheels, what absolute nonsense, Nico said quite clearly he was trying to win all those races, but he wasn't quick enough. If he had managed to win just one of them then he would have wrapped up the championship with a race to spare!

108

Haha. The WDC in 7. Do you understand sport at all?

109

Perez had a great season. Definitely much better than Vettel

110

Vettel has no business being in the top 10 IMO!

111

Come on. There was only one driver who lost WDC because of a bad car: Vettel. Statistics said he was hardest to overtake even in a mediocre Ferrari. If he had a car that would have allowed poles he would have been WDC.
You can talk about bad luck, sabotage, stupid stewards, ...
Mathematics and statistics never lie. That is as sure as 1+1=10

112

Uhh, even Vettel said that Ferrari should've beat Red Bull to 2nd in the WCC. He and they didn't get it done. Vettel had some bad luck with reliability and getting Kvyatted, but he also had a number of desperate first corner moves (China, Spa, Malaysia) that took out Kimi twice and Rosberg once.

Vettel needs a car that's the best by a margin, and needs to start from the front (only 3/42 wins off the front row) to be WDC.

113

Well, the best F1 car in history wasn't even good enough for Hamilton to get it off the front row several times in 2016. The tone was set in race one back in Melbourne, which is to some extent why Hamilton only has 3 and Vettel 4 WDC.

All the best.

114

Fedor, so far....

115

Why Perez so low? He scored 100 plus points!

116

James - difficult to argue with either your top five or the rationale used, but!

There's always a but, yiu don't appear to give any consideration to Nico, as well as he did, doing on the back of his teammates setup. Yes that was his smart game this year, but to be asking on parade lap his teammates brake bias is taken the tread a bit. For that reason maybe I would flip 2&3.

Am I a HAM fan?

Yes, but a bigger fan of the whole sport.

117

Hi James
2 words. Nailed it.
Merry Christmas everyone

118

No, he didn't! 😎

119

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays.

Lewis #3, below Nico. Let the fireworks begin!

120

1. Daniel Ricciardo
2. Nico Rosberg = Lewis Hamilton
4. Max Verstappen
5. Fernando Alonso

121

1) Lewis
2) Max
3) Sainz Jnr
4) DR
5) Alonso

122

Btw a correction.. VES came back in 16the place in Brazil. Not 14 the.. It's a mistake everyone seems to copy.

123

Merry Christmas James!

This article would've ruined some of the LHFC Christmas celebrations though. The top 5 in their head in no particular order should be:
1. Lewis
2. Lewis
3. Lewis
4. Yes he's that good, Lewis
5. Lewis

124

Rock man, I assume your list reads.
1, not Lewis.
2, someone else who isn't Lewis.
3, anyone but Lewis.
4, that guy who isn't Lewis.
5, Perez.

125

I didn't think about until now that you asked. But I wouldn't change what James has already listed. I guess you don't agree?

126

Rock man, I guess it depends on what criteria you use to judge who was the better driver. If you are just looking at who scored the most points, then that's easy just reprint the championship standings. If (as I think James has done) you are compiling a list of the drivers that have impressed you the most, then that is subjective and can't be argued with. If you are looking at the comparative performance between team mates, picking a winner for each team, and then looking for the driver who delivered closest to the maximum possible with the equipment available, then you would have Hamilton ahead of Rosberg, and Ricciardo ahead of Verstappen etc. My list of drivers who have impressed me the most this year is.
1. Verstappen. His first year in the big team, only his second in total, and capable of producing performances like Brazil? Impressive.
2, Hamilton. To come back from a sizeable reliability caused points deficit once was impressive, to come so close to doing it again was seriously impressive. Monaco and Brazil were drives unavailable to his team mate.
3. Raikkonen. After a couple of flat seasons when I thought he should retire, Kimi came back and out qualified Seb, and very nearly out scored him too.
4. Sainz. Dominated his new team mate, and was doing a good job against the old one! Dealt with the disappointment of being leap frogged brilliantly.
5, Ricciardo. Out scored the wunderkid, grabbed that win in Malaysia, kept smiling. Continues to do a great job for Red Bull, but will have his hands full next year.
No Rosberg? No frankly, poor driving in Canada, Monaco and Silverstone. Belligerent driving in Austria, chickened out of the fight for next year and left his team in the brown stuff. Not impressive in my view.

127

Tim,
I agree that the criteria James has used is effectively "who impressed", which he then categorised into his defined criteria.
What i don't get is how you mark Riccardo at 5 -bigging him up for outscoring the guy you marked at No.1, but then seemingly marking him down because he may have his hands full next year? Surely your criteria should be based on the present and not the future?

I make this point to highlight the Vestappen Juggernaut/bandwagon -journalists (like JA-and many others) use hyperbole to describe the new young gun because it ultimately attracts new fans and new readers.
A handful of good performances doesn't make a season.

He may well be a handful next season and even a WDC -but where will you rank him then??

128

LKFE. I think that while Dan was the better Red Bull driver last year, Max impressed me more. Dan we know about, he is top drawer, and so top drawer performances are to be expected, but when Max does it with his low experience level, then it is more surprising and therefore more impressive. I would have had Dan as the "most impressive" in 2014 for the same reason.
I think Max is a great talent, and I don't think that journalists big him up to try and attract new fans, I think they see that talent. Dan has his hands full next year, and I think he is capable of beating Max, but he can't slip up.

129

What is the point of your post. I mean every sportsperson or sports team has got fans right. It's just that Lewis is better supported than most other drivers. Hardly a crime me thinks. Why the need to have a go at people for their preference. How boring the world and life would be if we all had the same taste.

130

I think it's ruined nobodies Christmas.
James is entitled to his choice. As are you. Regarding your 5 choices . It's hilarious to think that "you" speak for a broad spectrum of F1 aficionados.
Your comments are just comments framed by dislike of a certain driver.
I disagree with the choice of DR as the top driver of 2016.
Why would the F1 Team Heads choose to vote LH as their top driver ?
But they did. They voted LH as Top Driver of 2016, MV in 2nd and DR in 3rd. Rather than anyone else's choice, "they (Team Heads) are more informative and know more about speed talent and racing in general.
Unlike those who blindly choose to either go towards one specific driver over their personal feelings , it's based on their emotional feelings on how the driver fits in their subjective world. Emotional feelings can influence on both sides of the spectrum. Absolute hate will mask and select only specific clips from 2016 that are imprinted in our minds. These are then automatically placed from our short term memory into our long term memory under a label. If the label is 'dislike' then whenever you see that racer , even if they are excelling on the track the specific clip will be processed by the memory as "dislike" . This process after a while becomes automatic on a chemical physiological level. With your comment you are clearly showing a 'chemical processing of information' & labelling it as 'dislike' without any objectivity. A realm clearly underlined in the book "The Manchuarian Candidate".
Happy Christmas .

131

You tried hard to cover it initially but the LHFC mantra showed itself anyway. It's ok, Lewis will win it next year and you and the other club members can have a nicer end of year celebration. Have a good New Year!

132

Rockman, you got owned!

133

Rock man sadly you fell into the 'hole with a opened mouth' without reading it thoroughly and using your grey matter. You just reinforced the whole point Prof G was making about The Manchuarian Candidate . Point Aim Press The Trigger Regardless . Involuntary process purely mechanical. No LHFC in the post just a point of view regarding the top drivers in 2016. You are seeing things that ain't there man 😄 You've been played man by A Brain 👾👏

134

With you all the way on that one James . Ricciardo has shone out for me this year with his consistency . Verstappen is going to be a fearsome team mate in 2017 . Alonso always seemed to be mentioned in the races allowing Mclarens existence to be noticed . I'm hoping the wider rubber brings Alonso and Hamilton back to racing terms but I fear Honda may not be up to it. Happy Christmas to all from a far to warm U.K.

135

I'm confused by the comment of Rosberg "raising his game". Didn't the stats prove that there was no real change in Nico's performances relative to Lewis, when both cars were fully functioning?

136

Yes, pretty much. When both had normal race weekends - that is, when neither was unduly advantaged or disadvantaged - then their points-per-finish (PPF) values were Lewis 21.31 to Nico's 18.44 ... pretty much a carbon copy to their PPF's from 2014 and 2015.

137

Exactly, it's just a rationalising narrative because there's a great desire to defend the legitimacy of the sport and the championship. It's the same way people tried to defend Vettel as an all time great driver when he won 4 titles when it's very doubtful he's even the best driver on the grid.

138

Many people refuse to accept that external factors play a part, even when it is glaringly obvious.

139

And what "stats" might those be that you refer to? The dozen or so stats that like qualifying position, finishing order, fastest lap, etc, that an average fan like you has access to; or the hundreds upon hundreds of stats that engineers and F1 insiders have access to.

Please, tell us more about your facts which "prove" that nothing about Nico changed.

140

The fact he'd have beaten rosberg pretty much as bad as he did in '15 if not for reliability issues, makes it rather glaringly obvious that the performance gap between the two drivers was still there.

141

I'm pretty sure Nico did change - he was much more aggressive and steely minded. He seemed happier to push people wide and close the door for example - even to his own detriment. Does that equate to raising his game? Yes, in a manner. But aside from Singapore he didn't show any improvement in overall speed and the wet races showed he was not a patch on Hamilton - or some of the others - from a pure driving perspective. Versus Hamilton the win ratios, poles and fastest laps bear that out. And also remember who the team bosses - who have access to much more data than we the plebs do - voted as their driver of the year. However F1 - as in every sport - is a mental game and from a mental perspective Rosberg was definitely stronger this year than in the previous 2 seasons.

142

Twitch, the people with all those hundreds of stats, ie the team bosses, voted Hamilton as number one.....

143

Tim, where the hell did I say anything about which one is number one.

The original bloody comment was that "there is PROOF that Nico did change AT ALL" for the 2016 season. I'm simply questioning this "proof" and the idea that someone on the Internet can "know for a fact" that nothing about Nico changed in 2016.

C'mon Tim, let's try to step up our reading comprehension for 2017.

144

Unless you intend on seeing the circus revolve around poor old, hard done by Lewis Twitch, Tim and others will only see and read what they want to see.
I don't bother coming in here to these threads as much anymore because the salty tears evident in their comments are tiresome and quite the reflection on the man they all blindly defend.

145

Twitch/Sarsippious. Chill out you two, no salty tears here! Just a throwaway comment regarding the opinion of those in the know.....

146

those in the know.....

Why is it still so hard to comprehend then?

147

Tim, a throw away comment that had nothing to do with this particular point. At no point was this about either Lewis or Nico being number 1.

According to leading arctic scientist, polar bears are #1. Cool, but what does that tell us regarding whether or not Nico improved in any aspect this year.

148

Twitch? Sars. the article is about ranking the drivers, you brought up the fact that the team bosses have way more data to asses the drivers than we do, so I reminded what those team bosses learned from that data. Ok it doesn't directly relate to Nico's supposed "higher level" performance this year, but is still relevant to the article as a whole. Now go and have a lie down!

149

Ah, where have I brought up such things Tim? You talk about having a lie down......

150

SARS, it was a joint reply to you and Twitch, he brought it up. So that bit was for him. The lie down bit was for both of you....

151

I agree with the pick of the drivers, and I also agree that they could be placed in any order.

152

I can't say I disagree with you James. Well written and well explained.
On outright performance over the whole season, I think you got it spot on.
Merry Christmas 👏

153

Totally agree with this list, James. Now if you will allow me:

Top 5 Commentators of 2016:

1. James Allen filling in for Will Buxton. Superb analysis with the added bonus of a memorable comment about Dan Ricciardo having a scarab between his teeth!
2. Steve Machett for making the technical make sense. And being a foil to Hobo.
3. Will Buxton for bringing youth and passion to the team. And with Jason Swales great Off the Grid moments.
4. David Hobbs. Still bringing it after all these years. And always good for a laugh.
5. Leigh Diffey. I admit that I miss Bob Varsha, but Diffey is connected and with an Australian coming to the fore, access will more important.

Cheers for a fantastic 2016. Happy Christmas!

154

Personally I'd put Karun Chandock and Ant Davidson ahead of anyone on that list (no offense James). Both are usually spot on with their analysis, they explain things in a way which makes sense, they're young, and they have ACTUAL REAL WORLD KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE OF RACING A HIGH DOWNFORCE CAR IN THE 21st CENTURY!!!

(Sorry for the caps...I don't know how else to emphasize a sentence in this format without being able to use bold or italic text...does HTML scripting work? [b]bold test[/b]

155

I would put Anthony D higher than Chandock. In fact I'd put anyone above the Chandock. I mean he isn't exactly the best racing driver. Spent more times off track than on. Less than a mediocre racer. His pit lane comments tend to fall flat and are usually proven incorrect. Ant D is miles better. I started to mute his comments in the last 2 races of the season at the live races on Channel 4. I then watched the highlights prog ooh Demand and funny how most of his pit lane comments had been taken out. Because what he summarised hadn't actually happened in the pit strategy.

156

James, regarding Alonso, do you mean Monaco, instead of Suzuka? As I remember, Suzuka was a disaster for McLaren, both drivers. Alonso described it as a "nasty surprise". He finished well outside the points.

157

For once, our top 5 drivers of the season are the same!

Maybe I'm totally biased because I read this site on a daily basis and allow you to form my opinion somehow (along with the Roebucks, Nobles and Sawards of this world).

Dan Ricciardo, wow!... what a standout year. Admittedly, it took until China to show his true colours, but after seeing his new team mate win in Spain and the botched pit stop taking the win away from his Monaco weekend (great pole by the way), he responded to the challenges thrown at him. He needed a few races to recover his smile after Monaco and from Hungary to Mexico he was the RBR man. I'm not convinced he'll keep the upper hand with Max still developping, but fingers crossed for 2017.

Whilst Ricciardo seems to be the stand out driver in most polls, many will disagree with having Rosberg in second place (remember James, on even nuumbered days, you're a Hamilton naysayer 🙂 ). I think you've got it spot on: getting the details right and doing what you need to do to bag the driver's championship. Rosberg's race-by-race approach was boring from a media perspective, but you could see this was no longer the case after Japan when the WDC became his to lose. When he needed to win, he did so. When he needed to settle for second or third, he ended up grabbing a podium. I am convinced that the last four races would have been different had he not had the points advantage that early on. There were many highlights this year and I would pick his race in Singapore as 'awesome' to use this own lingo, THAT pass on Raikkonen in Malaysia (how the hell did he get penalised for this?!) and the Verstappen overtake in Abu Dhabi. Well done to him. I was never a fan of Rosberg up until this year (the Britney nickname stuck to my mind) but I will miss him next year as I think he would have raced better without the weight of expectations on his shoulder.

Hamilton had many peaks (Monaco, Canada, GB, Hungary, Germany and the last four races), but as you rightly pointed out, he also had his weekends off.
Rosberg admitted to Webber on C4 that Hamilton had not practiced the starts as much as he should have and that cost him dearly for most of the season, up to the Japan GP really. The points swing in Malaysia was unfortunate, but it could not undo the races were he was blown away by Rosberg (the first four races, Baku, Monza, Singapore and Japan). There was also the unnecessary crash in Spain where he was the main benefactor championship wise as he did not lose another 7 points to his teammate. I'm hoping Bottas or RBR can prove a real challenge next year. Otherwise, winning a fourth title for having the best car and a second fiddle as team mate is going to alienate people away from the sport. He's too divisive a figure to bring masses to the sport, despite what his many fans may say.

There's not much to add on what you said on Max. Clearly a multiple world champion in waiting. Hopefully he won't end up like Alonso as 'just' a two-time world champion. The level of confidence he displays are beyond belief for someone that age.

And thanks for pointing out Alonso. From the outside he looked on his A-game, but it's nice to see it's more than just an impression.

Wishing you a fab Christmas James!

158

'There was also the unnecessary crash in Spain where he was the main benefactor championship wise as he did not lose another 7 points to his teammate.' Errrr had they not crashed Hamilton would have passed Nico and gone on to the win +7 points in his favour and WDC number 4 would have been his.

159

They could have not crashed if Lewis had lifted off and then Nico would have won.

160

NickH. And if Nico had left the cars width at the edge of the track as demanded by the rules, then they would not have crashed and Lewis would have won.....

161

Agree.

Only point I don't agree on is "it will come down to who is the hardest.."

If only that was the case, I would be too worried about DR's chances against MV. It will come down to who has the favoured status, is the more likely RBR WDC. Should DR ever win a WDC with RBR against MV, it will be the sweetest championship he will ever win.

162

Well the owners favour MV all the way.
They do not want to loose him. He is the new star. DR is old in the Red Bull youth product advertising. So MV will be favourite for anything. DR will be in Webber territory for remainder of his time at Red Bull. Dr.Marko DM want Dutch The Orange Army support. They travel everywhere. While DR will feel rather unloved by the end of the season. You won't see many Flip flop Aussie backpackers paying for high price F1 tickets around the world.

163

Wow such Calimero behaviour...already! This should be fun to watch! If you have the opinion Max was favored by RBR last year...well I wonder what you have been watching since it has clearly been the other way around! Baku, Germany, Maleisia to name a few...

164

Merry Christmas all.

Agree with much of this. It is true Nico R did out drive Lewis on several occasions. If he had worked a bit harder (even tho he did try hard), Lewis could probably have got on top of the starts sooner..
I do hope Daniel R keeps up this form and challenges Lewis next year, with MV also...
Alonso? Well - we all pray for McLaren...such a shame...who knows maybe he will have the desire for 2018...maybe they will manage to win a race next year?! Who knows...

165

James... Again i love your writing style. A pleasure to read. My spine tingled when i read the part about the past pirelli tyres holding Hamilton back and thinking ahead to the 2017 season. Will we really get a return to Hamilton's true driving style? I can't wsit to find out..

166

I´d probable had Verstappen on first place and either Ricciardo or Rosberg second. Why ? Put in context his young age & inexperience and what he has done in the second half to Ricciardo, who many seem to think is the most complete driver at prime age right now in F1. Also i think Sergio Perez contributed immensely to Force India´s fourth place in WCC which might just trump Alonso´s very good year against a declining Button. Hamilton was too up and down and lost to his team mate after all but raw speed is still his biggest asset.

1. Verstappen
2. Rosberg
3. Ricciardo
4. Hamilton
5. Perez

167

Ricciardo is not the most complete driver of his age. He's made tons of mistakes with his fish tailing last minute lunges. Fell short alot of times. In Brazil Max blew him away. The only one Max said was using the same slippery lines on track was Lewis. So Max said there was no way of catching him. Max and Lewis are way ahead of Ricciardo.

168

So looking forward to 2017. Here's hoping that RedBull and Ferrari close the gap on the Mercs and we have a 3 team battle for constructors title and Dan brings home the drivers title. Merry Christmas everyone!

169

"as this won’t please everyone"

It pleased at least one reader James 🙂

It can be extremely difficult to pick the best five out of these guys, but all good calls I think 🙂

170

Figured you'd like that list.

I had Christmas turkey. Who had a Christmas HAM?

171

ham! ham! ham! please don't say those words! I'm a musician and did 22 Christmas shows in 16 days...and survived on countless ham sandwiches! next time I hear "ham" I want to be Lewis's
"HAMMY!". I'd like to give you all holiday salutations but I've plum run out of Merry-you-know-whats and have once again switched to the old standby...."Have a Happy Day!" cheers!

172

I had duck 🙂

173

An excellent selection, I could not agree more , also with the comment that the exact order could be debated.

A very good article and joy to read, thanks James

174

not having Perez in the top 5 is just wrong... Its almost discriminate.

175

Almost discriminate?

The top five included an Australian, a German, an Englishman, a Monacite (or is that Monacoan?), a Dutchman, a Finn, and a Spaniard.

Just how is that discriminate?

176

They are call Monegasques. At least in French. Cheers. Marc

177

A Monégasque according to uncle google.

178

Good list James, but if Lewis drops down the order for giving something away to the opposition six times, then shouldn't Nico be below him for doing that more than six times? No matter, Happy Christmas to James, Alex, all the mods and all the commenters!

179

Lewis, ripped off again! Shame on you James!

180

SARS. That doesn't make sense.

181

Lol..Sure it doesn't!

182

Sars, neither does that?! Seriously, what are you getting at?

183

First: L.Hamilton
Second: Max Versteppen
Third: Daniel Ricciardo
Forth: Nico Rosberg
Fifth: Sainz

184

You have Lewis and Nico backwards, just on the basis that there are many things Lewis could have done to not allow Nico so many Lewis whopping Grand Prix. If Nico really is what LHFC would have us believe, what do those Lewis whoppings say about Lewis?

186

Whopping as a noun? Ok Sebee, let's have your list of Lewis whopping's at the hands of Nico. I count Singapore as the only race weekend where Nico dominated Lewis throughout. I would count Monaco, Canada, Austria, Silverstone, Germany, and the last four races as ones where Rosberg couldn't live with Lewis. To my mind, Button and Alonso both beat Hamilton on race day pace far more frequently than Nico ever managed. Rosberg's overall performance in the three wet races ranged from the pathetic (MCO) to merely adequate (BRA). In the end, he was good enough to win when opportunity rang, in the form of Hamilton's unreliability issues.

187

He has Max and Daniel backwards, too.

189

So many being 1 out of 21...

190

Sebee, every driver gets "whopped" by his team mate now and again, the usual rule of thumb in deciding which of them is the better driver is to count up all the whopping a they gave each other, and the bigger whopper wins!
Merry Christmas by the way.

191

Obviously a topic that everyone has an opinion on that could be argued many ways, but these are good selections with good logic.
I think you've cut through a lot of noise and made worthy choices.
Daniel is the full package, I hope he (and others like Alonso) has the car bring it to them next year.

192

Finally, a well balanced piece on this topic after all the other ones I've read lauding Max as the best driver in 2016.

Yes, he was the most entertaining driver, but not the best one.

Even as a big Lewis Hamilton fan, I have to admit after reading this article that he wasn't at his best at times this year.
Probably last year he was, until Austin perhaps.
I have to agree that even with his reliability problems, he would've won the championship at a canter had he simply turned up at some of the races he didn't.

I also have to finally admit, having read articles, watched videos, and listened to podcasts, a lot, over the past few days, that Rosberg really did worked as hard as he could for this championship and probably deserved to win it and go out on a high.

As for 2017, I'm really excited. If rumours about the Pirelli tyres are true then we might see a charging Lewis, a sight which could be made even better by an in form Red Bull.

193

Working hard isn't really that important a factor. I'm sure plenty of people in the world can work harder than Nico, but they wouldn't deserve it unless they actually outperformed Lewis. And it's hard to make a case that Nico really did.

194

I would suggest to F1 fans and Lewis fans in particular (and please, this is just in the spirit of fun!) go read Edward Thayres (sp?) epic poem "Casey At The Bat". again, please no hate-mail!! for those less inclined to move their eyeballs left-to-right for a few minutes you can always watch the excellent Disney short....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erfSed2MUsA

195

Good to see a rare balanced approach from a HAM fan, though the emerging VES brigade are generally no better. Probably the most naturally gifted pair, but that alone doesn't always make them the best as this year has again shown.

196

Generally agreed if not totally with the order they appeared in. I support Hamilton; his performance on his day is as good as anyone out there. I think he had too many off days to be placed as high as he was. He showed his mental vulnerability this season; it was reminiscent of 2011 where clearly more was happening outside the cockpit than in. For all the talk of reliability, he was less consistent than his team mate over the season and when it went against him, he never seemed to knuckle down and really dig deep in the areas Rosberg found strength from. Expecting better from him for 2017 no doubt but I'm not sure he was third best in the whole field.

197

@jont
I Agree with James. Lewis has been excellent, and he's been average during the season. Nico has just been there all through the season. And at the end of the day, you can't take that away from him. Call it luck or whatever, he still got 5 more points than Lewis. Even with the bad luck, if Lewis had gotten on top of his start problems a little earlier, he would most probably have won another WDC. But I think Lewis has learnt a lot this year, and we will hopefully see him bounce back next year with avengence.

198

JK,
I said earlier in the season (after Nico had reeled off 7 straight), that there seemed to be a complacency that had come into Lewis' approach to GP driving. The combination of wrapping 2015 up so early and his waning motivation in early 2016 made it look like Lewis was trying to give himself a challenge to chase down. It seemed like he would only perform when his back was to the wall. This approach was also thwarted by the mechanical gremlins he experienced that broke up the momentum that he started building mid-season, as well as by his inability to get off the line on some occassions.
In the end he didn't get the barn-storming finish that he and his fans were hoping for.
Some of the more honest appraisals from Lewis fans have acknowledged this is various ways, but the real truth of it is that Hamilton underperformed his own benchmarks and potential, and for that he isn't in my top 4.
This list isn't "who's the best", or "who's my favourite", it's who performed the best, measured against their teammate and there own potential.
I'm a massive Danny Ric fan, and I think he had a really consistent season and has answered every challenge thrown at him, but i still rate what Rosberg did as a higher achievement...he was even more consistent and clearly lifted his level of agression and resolve, particularly when he knew Lewis was coming. His drive in Brazil and in Abu Dhabi confirmed that he is a deserving WDC.
1.Rosberg
2.Ricciardo
3.Verstappen
4.Alonso
5.Hamilton

199

@lkfe
I think for once we can agree on this😄👍
And I suppose at the end of the day, you could see how much effort Nico put into it. Because that was really the reason he retired. It drained him.
When I reflect over the last season, one can find reasons for why Lewis lost, bad starts, reliability and so on. But that's racing I suppose. One could also say it was just his engine failure in Malaysia that lost it for him, and on top of all the other problems, I would say Lewis done extremely well to come within 5 points of Nico.
Now let's hope that 2017 is a better year with some great racing between the top teams, and the best drivers in the world👍
Happy new year🍻

200

JK, Cheers!
The fact that Lewis got so close is no doubt a testament to his talent and his competitive spirit. But still reckon he seems like he has trouble getting up in the morning without that competitve pressure. There must be a stage where driving around unchallenged at the front becomes boring for a racer, and it wouldn't feel like really winning. (I think with would apply to any of them if it happened enough). P1,P2,P3, Q1,Q2,Q3 leads, followed by a lights to flag victory might be something you eventually dread as much as the fans (of racing) have come to.
I read an article or two suggesting that Lewis will end up back at Mclaren. His knack for jumping ship at the right time is unsurpassed, but I wonder if he wouldn't cherish a bit of "racing" in the same way than Nando and JB have in the past few years (minus the disasterous first 2 seasons)? If he were offered a top 6 car that he could outperform, I wonder if he'd take it?

201

He wasn't less consistent than Rosberg at all when you normalise for Hamilton's reliability issues, it's just people gloss over Rosberg's inconsistencies. He had poor starts in Canada, Hungary and Germany, was 7th in the wet in Monaco and got penalised for incidents/crashes 3 (?) times, 3 times more than Hamilton.

202

Reading a couple of balanced views in a row from HAM supporters, is truly a good surprise.

203

Bruce, now it's your turn....

204

I don't know how much more balanced I could be. I state that he is one of and/or the most naturally gifted driver and him not performing near his ceiling for a large part of the year cost him dearly. Simple and balanced.

205

Bryce, does any driver perform at their ceiling at every race? I assume you have no problem with Ricciardo being number one? Max beat him seven times in 17 races, that's seven times Dan didn't perform near his ceiling isn't it? Did Nico perform at his ceiling in Canada, Silverstone, Monaco or Germany? No he did not, but apparently this doesn't matter either.

206

Carlos Sainz had a brilliant season. Yes, Kvyat floundered, but with a year old Ferrari engine, Sainz maximised everything the package provided him. Seeing Max go to Red Bull definitely helped, but Sainz would do a good job in a top car come 2018 (not 2017).

Seeing Ricciardo as no.1 surprised me. Good driver, but his overtakes can lack firmness, as many times I've seen him chuck the car into corners and lock his tyres a la Takuma Sato style. As the season grew, he seemed to have no answer for Max. If Ricciardo challenges for the title next year, it'll most likely stem from Max overdriving and making mistakes, paving the way for Ricciardo to lead Red Bull. Come 2018, Max will definitely be no.1.

My no. 1 driver was Max. Can't stand him at all, but his drives at Brazil, Abu Dhabi, Austria, Britain, Canada, Spain & Japan were jaw-dropping.

207

"His overtakes lack firmness". Lol wut????? Because he locks his brakes sometimes???

You think his overtake on Bottas at Monza wasn't "firm". Man, that's about as massive and firm of an overtake as you can possibly do (and anyone who doesn't see that doesn't understand exactly from how far back he initiated that move, and what that all entails)

RIC is one of bravest overtakers on the grid. You ever stop and think that maybe the reason he locks up a wheel here and there is because he is trying moves tbat others wouldn't even attempt.

208

Agreed. The Bottas overtake was massively underrated: this was one of the quickest cars down the chute, driven by a highly rated driver - at Monza - getting totally outfoxed by a bloke driving a high drag car with a wheezing Renault power unit. Ricciardo came from a mile back,Bottas didn't see it coming. Pure class.

But then again, some don't respect the top drawer when they see it, particularly if it's not their driver.

209

Twitch, Dan's Monza move on Bottas was one of the best overtakes of the season, a technically extremely difficult move that may not have looked that spectacular, but certainly had Brundle in raptures. I didn't think he was going to get it turned in with that much carried speed, but in it went!

210

Good list, nice explanations.

I agree that Rosberg deserves more credit than he generally gets. Yes, Lewis would likely have beaten him with a little less bad luck, but Rosberg put himself in a position to benefit from Lewis's problems, and withstood a lot of pressure all year. To keep on performing at his best - let alone to keep improving - after being beaten to the championship two years running is very impressive. Just contrast with Mark Webber, who after 2010 did not look like the same driver.

Verstappen has a lot of talent, and clearly is working hard to maximise it. You would imagine he will get a little quicker, and a lot more consistent, with more experience. I wish I could like him, but as with Senna and Schumacher before him, I find his "do whatever it takes" attitude distasteful. One of the great challenges of high level sport is to be competitive and still retain a sporting spirit and attitude. Forget that, and it's a very slippery slope - at the extreme you have Lance Armstrong. Not saying that's where Verstappen will end up, but that's the logical (if extreme) conclusion that a mentality of "I deserve to win and will do anything to make it so" can lead to.

211

That's a good comparison with Webber. Binned it under pressure in a very wet Korea - Rosberg kept it on the island in a very wet Brazil. One is a WDC one is not.

212

i thought kimi would be there but then his downs are not from race to race but rather session to session so makes sense.

213

1- LH
2-MV
3-NR
4-DR
5-FA

214

Props to you James for not catering to the Hamilton guppies on here. And there are tons of em constantly touting how he was so badly wronged. Agree with your list though I'd have dropped Max to fifth. And I agree with Daniel being top but I don't think his overtaking is sublime, I think too often he just dives down the inside late and expects no one to close the door like Kobayashi.. except Kamui did it in a much worse car. I think most of the top drivers could use that tactic and if they all did there would be far more accidents.

215

I doubt if Lewis, one of the most charismatic and magnetic sporting personalities out there,reads comments on any F1 site. But if he does,it will be the James Allen site, as there is less of what he dismiss as ' smack ', on this site.So what will he think of James's choice. Well,like he said in a video I watched of him responding to criticism from sir Jackie Stewart : ' everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and I am entitled to mine.I do not try to stop anyone from having their own opinions,nor should anyone,
I '. There are those who believe in spouting all kinds of tales of fiction about him,while they seem to think he is not entitled to his own views or take a stand on certain matters ; or else they start hurling invective.

216

Or maybe they don't use the tactic because they know they can't execute the way Dan does.

This arguement that "he just chucks the car up the inside, it's easy, anyone could do it," is insane!!

217

Twitch
Arms chair F1 coach and Walter mitty with a small m .
Next week the art of sliding on a garden slide 😂

218

I said I believed most of the top drivers could do it, nothing like your quote, which I've no idea where you pulled from. You'd be insane to think Daniel is the only one capable of diving down the inside.

219

Paraphrasing? Apologies for using the quotes, didn't mean to confuse you lol.

So tell me, where do you draw the line between "top driver" and "not top driver." Furthermore, of the "top drivers", who exactly are the "most" that you "believe" are capable, and perhaps a better question, who are the "top drivers" you "believe" are incapable of making these types of moves?

It'd be preferable if you can back up you opinion with anything resembling a fact, as opposed to your feelings and beliefs lol.

220

@Twitch are you butthurt and pretending not to be or something? You now want me to back my statement up with 'fact', rather than feelings? I already backed it up in my original post. I gave an example of a driver who used this tactic, kamui. If you can't comprehend that fact don't go laughing and insinuating otherwise. And if he could do it many others at the top level could, certainly all the world champions could. Daniel just throws his car down the inside, and to me its obvious if everyone did that there would be a lot of accidents and penalties. I ddon't view this as sublime at all...just a tactic and a poor one imo. Eventually drivers will close the door early and it'll be nullified or he'll take damage and not be able to risk it. It's purely because he's not fighting for a title that he can afford to do so. Next.

221

Ah well, if it's "obvious" to you that "Dan just chucks it up the inside," that changes everything.

Again, you're dodging the question. I agree with you about Kobayashi...but you went on to say, and I quote, "most of the top drivers could do it."

1. On what factors are you basising this analysis that "most could do it."

2. Who are the "top drivers", and who are not?

3. Of these "top drivers", who are the "most" you believe can do this?

4. Who are the top drivers you believe to be incapable of a move like this?

And yes, I'd prefer facts over feelings and beliefs lol.

Seriously, look at what you just wrote. Because Kobayashi could do it, you make the massive, massive assumption that "many others at the top level could do it." Based on what evidence? According to you, CERTAINLY all WDC can do it.

But again, you've moved the goal post. First, you said "most top drivers could do it," now you're saying "certainly all WDC." Do you not get that these are ambiguous statements, based on nothing but your imagination?

Like, I'm really curious who the "top drivers" that fall outside of the "most" you speak of are. Is it Perez, Hulk, Sainz?

You realize that by you using an example of 1 or 2 people being able to do something, and then using that as evidence that pretty much anyone can do it; is not any different than me saying, "Well, some humans can drive an F1 car very well, so obviously most humans can do it."

You need a reality check man.

222

@Twitch I can only assume you get tired of debating with the 4 walls you're surrounded by and come here hoping for some live company. You prattle on and on, your quotes of my comments arent even accurate, and you expect me to dignify it with repeatedly narrow answers. Here's a tip, don't use quotes if you can't place them correctly. And I'm the one that needs a reality check?

I ignored your lopsided judgements of my comments, bordering on insults, and said certainly any world champion could do the same. And that's not specific enough of an answer for you? Should I dumb things down even further so I can win your approval?

I could give specific examples but the given your tone I dont give a f... what you think. I rather let you enjoy barking this argument onwards with your four walls. Enjoy the intellectual battle.

223

Go back and Reread. You started the downward spiral with "butthurt". In an arguement, any time one party reverts to calling the other "butthurt", it's basically saying that you have nothing of substance to back up your point of view.

Show me my "lopsided comments boardering on insults" are. Pretty sure you were the one throwing around "butthurt" and insinuating I'm alone in a 4 walled room lol.

This is the farthest thing from an intellectual battle, as you clearly have none. You have completelu failed to provide anything resembling evidence or facts to back up your point of view, and have reverted to insulting me and trying to paint me as a crazy person (the 4 walls comment). The fact that you actually think you are some how taking the moral or intellectual high ground here is an extremely sad reflection of your intellectual capacity.

Seriously, you should go down to your local middle school and ask if you can join the debate club...you might learn a thing or two.

224

@twitch
On the other side twitch, it just proves how good he is, when he makes it look so easy😊

225

Or maybe because He has less to lose? Let's see him do that when there's a real possibility of a championship. Pressure changes things - and we will see that with Max too as expectation grows.

226

Or maybe his car lacks stright line speed, so the only opportunity he has to make a pass stick is under braking. Just because he is making use of his car's strengths doesn't mean he is a one trick pony. You could equally call out any driver with a Merc donk for making boring mid-straight passes under DRS.

227

Sorry, James! But, you are way off! Not may people are going to agree with you I'm afraid!

228

I agree with James

229

@michael
I'm a fan of Lewis, but I can't fault James"s choices and reasoning when taken on performance over the whole season.
Merry Christmas

230

It doesn't matter. I just don't think Riccardo belongs in the #1 spot and I'm a fan of Dan! 😎

231

Says you and most other biased HAM fans, but close for many others.

232

This forum needs a down-vote button.

233

I hope Michael reads these comments and sees quite the opposite lol. I'd love to see the look on his face as he gets that sinking feeling as he begins to realize "wait, most other people see things differently than I do??? What what what!?!?!"

234

I'm sure that if Michael has visited this site before, then he will be under no illusions about how many people will always take a critical view of Lewis....

235

Is claiming N1CO was better than Lewis this year being critical of Lewis?

236

Sir Tease. Of course not, but I would be interested in hearing how that opinion was formed.

237

Just because someone agrees with Jame's list doesn't mean they do so specifically because they have a "critical viewpoint" of Lewis.

Tim, c'mon man. You can take of the LHFC suit of defensive armor for now, we're on holidays.

238

Twitch. and if someone doesn't agree it doesn't mean that they only do so because they love Lewis so much. Perhaps an explanation of why you think Nico did a better job than Lewis last season would be a useful thing for you to deliver at this point.

239

Totally agree with this order!

240
Guybrush Threepwood

Completely agree with the selections and reasoning behind them, although I possibly would have swapped Alonso and Verstappen.

241

Ricciardo had a stunning season, to bounce back after the challenges of spain and monaco was exemplary. The driver battle between RIC and VES next year will be excellent viewing. Can't wait.

242

Thanks James. I enjoyed this assessment

Don't underestimate the Australian grit from RIC (with Italian flair/ charisma). He is one of the hardest & ruthless out there - he will continue to surprise all who underestimate him. Max has it all ahead of him - talented, but has to deliver over a season & career. Time will tell.

243

Yep. I think Ricciardo is much harder than he lets on outside of the car. Once that visor is down he will race as hard as anyone, but at least goes about it in a fair way.

244

I'm glad you gave an explanation for your reasoning and I have to agree that championship contending pressure should always be factored in but I think it's laughable to put Rosberg ahead of Hamilton. For starters the championship was rigged and this was proven beyond any doubt in that final title deciding race when Mercedes inexplicably ordered Hamilton to hand Rosberg the title. You can't erase that fact, nobody can erase it and nobody can argue that a 1-2 is more important than letting your drivers fight it out when the constructors title is already won. And don't even bother mentioning Monaco. Rosberg had a 43 point lead going into that race and for whatever reason was 2s slower than the guys around him plus it was the race after the double DNF loss to Red Bull in Spain. Nico left Monaco still 24 points ahead. This is in no way shape or form the same as what happened in Abu Dhabi in the title deciding race when the constructors was already won, it just isn't. Mercedes made another inexplicable call in Austria when Hamilton managed his tyres perfectly in the first stint, buying himself one less pitstop just like in Canada and Monaco yet Mercedes completely screwed him over by getting Nico ahead of him then ordering him to pit when he didn't need to. Verstappen did about 56 laps or something, Hamilton needed about 49 and they told him to pit while Rosberg was on about his 45 lap. Then they put Rosberg on faster tyres in the last stint when Hamilton had a set of ultras he could have got to the end. The softs were not the best tyres for such a short stint. His pitstops were slower than Rosbergs as well and even with the error on his outlap he wouldn't have jumped Rosberg with that undercut. He lost about 1s which is proven by the time Ricciardo catches up from the pit exit line to where Hamilton goes wide. I have done the math, something like 1.2s maximum if I remember correctly. Rosberg had about a 10 lap undercut, Hamilton had 1.

And Reliability? Hamilton had a wear rate on all his engine elements that meant he was in the red 2/3 into the season when every other Merc powered car had the reliability predicted after another tremendous display in pre-season testing. They 100% nobbled Hamilton this year to have a German champion in a German car representing them next year but hilariously Rosberg has ripped up that 2 year contract and left Mercedes in the lurch. Does anybody really think Mercedes would have given Nico so much support if they knew he was going to leave? It would have been a completely different story had that happened.

As for the starts? James, you need to give more context and explain when a bad start was put down to the faulty clutch like in Monza despite Hamilton initially taking blame and when you really look at the starts Hamilton only had two diabolical launches off the line, Monza and Japan. In Australia he was 3rd before slight contact with Rosberg dropped him further and in Bahrain he was 2nd before Bottas hit him. In Spain he only lost one place to Rosberg and in China he was fine before Nasr crashed into him. There's a difference between a diabolical launch off the line and getting hit by other drivers or in the case of Australia simply being unlucky to lose out to Rosberg as much as he did in a racing situation same way Rosberg lost out to Hamilton in Canada. I mean if he gets through t1 in 3rd behind Rosberg in Australia he fights for the win doesn't he? Same goes for Spain and Bahrain. In China he gets a podium if Nasr doesn't damage his car.

Anyway, whatever. The truth will come out in 10-20 years. Hamilton quitting after Spain, the disproportionate reliability, crystal clear team favouritism in Austria and Abu Dhabi and Hamilton's comments "Someone doesn't want me to win". Hopefully you'll be the first to report on it James if you're still around.

Can't argue with Ricciardo being the best. Wouldn't have been the case if Hamilton wasn't sabotaged this year though.

245

In all the instances you've outlined, a very comprehensive account it must be said, there is one common thread.... It wasn't Hamiton's fault!

246

Austria was a serious stitch up ... if that had happened to Rosberg, people would still be talking about it 10 years from now. Yes, Rosberg pitted on lap 10, and Hamilton on lap 21. From lap 16 on Mercedes could have pit Hamilton into a ton of clean air and ahead of Rosberg. It was inexplicable that they didn't. Then they sent Vowles the strategist up to the podium!

247

Thank you Jim.

Saved me a comment.

Frankly I am stunned at James. WDC or not. To put Rosberg above Hamilton given the formers record of driving standard penalties this season and failing even acknowledge such suggests some fancy click bait at work. For someone with more F1 races under his belt than his team mate?

Come on James, Nico had more penalties for bad driving than any other driver this year. Rookie, notorious Verstappen, anyone out there.

That and the complete failure to drive in the wet, race his team mate in any way whatsoever all year and while not an active support (until the final race) from Medcedes, a huge help due to reliability issues and a bullet proof car does not make 'a better driver' just because Hamilton had a couple of off weekends. Everyone, even your number one did! In fact he had more off weekends.

In other words you like others are holding Lewis to a different and far higher standard.

Only a perfect season regardless of say the gut wrench of racing a week after Malaysia will seemingly suffice. And I doubt even that would be enough.

The fact he came back time and time again from as far as 43 points down, in a month? Nope sorry not worth much here. Getting to within 5 points despite all the woes you point out? Nope not that either. Racing from the back time and time again for podiums. Nope sorry starting at the front is much more impressive. Even when you somehow lose...

He must of really upset the journalists by suggesting the press conferences are boring it would seem.

I expected better.

248

Are we in danger of losing your contributions to a forum that better reinforces your own opinion?

249

From the Dr Eng. to the racing driver ace.......you really don't get it do you? I expected something better.

250

James gave his reasoning as to why he selected them in that order and yet you still are salty because poor old Lewis wasn't given the number one position.
Ultimately its one man's opinion and here you are crying about the injustice of it all and implying its due to something personal.
Smh, the wounds of a Rosberg WDC are still raw it would appear.

251

SirTease/Kenneth/SARS. All the usual suspects all in one place! You are all so quick to criticise DRG for his point of view, but I can't help noticing that none of you have any answers to the points he raised.

252

Tim, DRG is implying in his comment the author has a personal bias against Lewis when he states,

"He must of really upset the journalists by suggesting the press conferences are boring it would seem."

I hardly need to source or link anything to express my dismay that someone could think James to be so petty and childish as to have that as a defining reason as to why he has ranked this years drivers in the order he did.

Now, if you've read the other comments on this thread aside from your own, you'd realise in my initial post I was of the opinion James made a very good case for the rankings he chose and therefore my link, source or retort if I REALLY need to provide one is right in front of you in the above article.

I understand and frankly expect you come at me for my views because I'm not a proud member of your club however it's laughable when JA professionalism is called into question ( I mean, you have seen his F1 CV haven't you- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Allen_(journalist) ) all because he doesn't put Lewis on top of his own personal list.

Spare us all for 2 minutes please..

253

Sarsippious. I don't agree with DRG's claim about James' professional standards, and I find it interesting that this is the only point he raised that you choose to address. What about the others? Does it matter to you that Nico's driving standards were so poor? Or have you decided that all the penalties he received were invalid? What about the fact that he didn't race Lewis all year? I take it you agree that Lewis deserves to finish below Nico because of all the off weekends he had? How many did he have? How many did Nico and Dan have?
I'm not coming at you for your views because you don't belong to my club, I just want to know what they are, and why you have reached those views. DRG told us what his views are, it's your turn.

254

What about the other's? What is it exactly you seem unable to comprehend?

This is a list defined by how each individual weighs up the events of the past season in a highly subjective manner unique to themselves.
There is no need to breakdown or address anything DRG has said to justify my own personal opinion or that off anyone else. Lists such as these are not quantified by individual stats or metrics.

Everyone here that has put forth a drivers ranking is right in his or her own way and thats the guilty pleasure of 'our opinion' in cases like these as everyone is right in their own mind.

Now recall, I didn't question DRG's reasoning for his conclusion however I did call into focus his implications of childish bias on the authors part. That's completetely different and if you still are unable to comprehend where I'm coming from so be it.

If I'm honest though Tim, you seemed to have gone 'Full Aveli' on this thread and mate you never go 'Full Aveli'.

Have a Happy New Year and try not to think about Nico Rosberg, the 2016 WDC too much!

255

Sars, the point I'm making is, it's easy to sit in the front row and flick peanuts. I see a lot people on here just replying to long comments with a simple "you are wrong" or "that's nonsense" without saying why, or addressing points raised. We all have our opinions, including DRG, if we disagree with them, we should say why. Accusations of journalistic bias are commonly directed at the Sky reporter said, the Ch4 team, everyone who says something we don't agree with, we either agree with none of these accusations or all of them in my view.
I don't think about Nico's victory, it doesn't bother me at all, that's sport, sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don't. I don't however see any point in pretending that reliability wasn't the major factor in Nico winning. He still deserves his title, it wasn't his fault that Lewis' car kept breaking down, and he drove well enough to just get over the line ahead, but I still think Lewis was the better driver.
Have a good New Year Sars, I don't doubt we will speak again!

256

Huh?

257

Sars, you know explanations, facts, answers to points raised! it is very easy to criticise others comments, but if you don't say why you think they are wrong, then it is a pointless exercise.

258

So many words so much stupidity

259

Hamilton's comments "Someone doesn't want me to win".

Not forgetting Hamiltons comments in Singapore:

“If you gauge my season, then the championship could be lost by starts, From a lot of pole positions, I’ve lost the race from the start.

260

Really hard to fathom that you still can't see past that blurred number forty four car.

261

'Engine wear rate' is directly proportional to accelerator pedal pressure.
Heavy Foot Syndrome is a competitive affliction.

262

Ermmm....no. It just isn't.

263

There's plenty of onboard footage available. Please do pinpoint the exact moments that heavy footed Hamilton breaks his car and please do explain how he is harder on his equipment compared to other drivers?

F1 teams have hundreds of engineers hunched over computer screens every practice, qualifying and race session analysing data. Please do point to Hamilton getting persistent radio messages telling him to be kinder on the car or instructions telling him how to drive compared to other drivers?

Where are the F1 insiders backing up your empty claims? Wouldn't Hamilton lose stock value if he is a car breaker? Funny that because he was voted as the best driver by the team bosses. Would this have happened if rival team engineers noticed Hamilton being at fault for breaking his car which they would know since f1 teams analyse all drivers every race, not just their own drivers.

You have plenty of ways to prove Hamilton is a car breaker if indeed that is the case. Please do show me this proof?

264

'onboard footage' - of what?
Car slows down, car goes faster, car turns corner?
If you've got inside access to engineers' data please post it.

265

Ritchie, sorry but that's nonsense. The two Mercs would have spent virtually exactly the same amount of time at full throttle. The only engine failure Lewis suffered this year was at Malaysia, it was a brand new unit.

266

Pilots as passengers, car A.I.-driven?

267

Ritchie, you made a claim, now it's time to back it up.

268

Tim. Without having to find the comment, we are all aware of Sepang, just as most agree that Lewis' failing to perform to his ability cost him in the WDC battle.

269

Bryce. You say most people think Lewis lost the championship because of his own failings, I think most people can see that Malaysia was the primary reason for that championship being lost. He certainly performed to his ability that weekend, he was further ahead of Nico than Nico was of Lewis at Singapore, but instead of scoring the 25 points he had done everything in his power to earn, he scored nothing. I really don't see how anyone could possibly not see this as a huge factor in Nico being WDC.
Final point Bryce, and really there is no point continuing until you actually answer this question, how many poor weekends did Lewis, Nico and Ricciardo have in 2016?

270

I'm still waiting for your link to the engineers' data.

271

ritchie, Like I said, you made the claim, the onus is on you to back it up. tell you what, no need for any engineers data, just give me your opinion on how a big end bearing on a brand new engine that is supposed to last 5 races failed due to Lewis pushing too hard while cruising to victory. Or perhaps you can explain how having your foot on the throttle too hard cause the insulation to fail on a MGUH unit on an out lap in qualifying.

272

Still waiting . . .
Perhaps James could provide you with an introduction to the people who might be willing to give you the necessary data?

273

Ritchie. You still don't get it do you? YOU made the claim, so YOU need to back it up!!!

274

James, please could you offer TimW some assistance?

275

Ritchie. Go back to the beginning, you said that "engine wear rate is directly proportionate to accelerator pressure". I think this is incorrect with regard to an F1 car. F1 cars have Rev limiters meaning that the drivers cannot over stress the engine, Lewis pressing harder on the pedal than Nico wouldn't make any difference. The other point is the difference between one car going a couple of tenths quicker than another around a three mile lap is going to be virtually nothing in terms of engine wear as the time gain is mostly made up through the corners. These are all good reasons why this whole "Lewis is to blame for his car breaking" narrative is incorrect, a better one is the Malaysia engine was brand new, less than 20% through its life cycle, and it still failed.

276

Give it a rest Tim would you..There is no rule on this site saying you have to back up any claim with links or sources. Now obviously if you can't you lose credibility and I admire your desire to see Ritchie maintain his but seriously. I recall saying the same thing to you in the past and I was left waiting.
Time to get down off your high horse mate as its not a good look.

277

Sars. When was this? I would never leave you hanging, whatever it was ask again and I will find the information you require. I don't really care about Richie, I know he isn't going to come up with anything to back up his claim, I just thought it quite amusing that he seems to think it is my job to prove his outlandish claims are incorrect, rather than the other way round.

278

Fair and extremely well balanced reasoning there James. Find it very difficult to disagree with anything you have to say.
Would love to see you write more opinion pieces next season as they're highly satisfying to read.
Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to all..

279

L Hamilton 1
Max 2
N Rosberg 3
Daniel R 4
Perez 5

280

great read. small note: verstappen was 3-1 against sainz in quali before the swap

281

I would choose the same top-5 drivers, but I'll do some modifications...

During the year I've been rating each driver's race, from 0 (disastrous) to 5 (legendary). These are the final results...

#5 Fernando Alonso: 2.3/5. In 2015, he wasn’t as quick as we expected. Jenson was quite close and even outscored Fernando. It wasn’t so real, but we wanted to see more from Fernando. And 2016 has been a great year for him. His only blot was Germany, but apart from that he was as consistent as always, and in the last races he completely beated Button. His comeback in Sepang, his fights and overtakes in Austin and his speed in qualifying in last races were all fantastic. Not his best year, but brilliant aswell.

#4 Nico Rosberg: 2.33/5. Oh my, this is a controversial one. I think that Nico hasn’t been the best driver of the year. He was consistent as rock, but I strongly believe that without the reliability woes in the other car he wouldn’t be champion. Of course, his season has been great and several drivers in the past has been crowned doing less merits than Nico. He was particularly quick in China and Europe, and Singapore was simply legendary, but that slowness in wet conditions (Monaco, Silverstone) and that poor traffic management in Canada and Germany weren’t too impressive, and it’s hard to disociate his wins from Lewis’ troubles.

#3 Daniel Ricciardo: 2.57/5. He was #1 in the mid 2016 ranking, but when the high speed corners arrived (Spa, Sepang, Suzuka), he struggled a bit. He’s been a late-braker with some troubles to maximise the superb traction of the RB12, and in that tracks with few long braking zones he couldn’t match the special ability of his teammate. Nevertheless, Daniel’s year has been brilliant because of his pure speed (he beated Max 11-6 in qualy and Kvyat 4-0) and his relentless wheel-to-wheel racing (Valtteri knows that!).

#2 Max Verstappen: 2.67/5. 2015 was promising, but in 2016 Verstappen has started to write his own pages in the F1 history. After 4 impressive races at the wheel of the STR11, Max was just legendary in Spain… but heavily fell in Monaco. He has steadily found pace in qualifying and has shown special skills in tyre management. Although he lost the win in Sepang, he was much quicker than Daniel this weekend and also in Suzuka, but Max’s year will be remembered for his move on Rosberg in Silverstone and, of course, his magical race in the wet in Interlagos.

#1 Lewis Hamilton: 2.86/5. In the first part of the year, Lewis seemed quick but erratic (that awful start in Sakhir apart from the crash with Bottas, that stupid move onto the grass in Barcelona, that childish crash with the wall in Baku…). But in Austria he showed the world that he had improved his driving style, admitting his troubles on fast, long corners, and of course defeating Nico in that crucial move. He was outstanding in home soil, in Hockenheim and he deserved to win in Italy (what a Q3!) and Sepang. And if this wasn’t enough, he was literally untouchable in the last 4 races. His management in Abu Dhabi (too slow in Sector 3 for packing the cars, too fast in Sector 1 for denying Rosberg to use DRS) will be remembered. In 2016, Lewis set a new level.

282

@Twitch_6, @Adrian

OK, clearly I find some troubles with the understanding of "struggle", and I apologize. I mean "Daniel was slower than Max", no matters the final result. Maybe I'm not getting the nuance of the word "struggle" because I don't understand some of your arguments, it's my fault.

@Twitch_6

No, man, we both know the same about F1 (unless you do work for a F1 team!), so I think my opinion deserves the same respect than yours. Am I asking you about your own consideration of "fan of motor racing"? No. So, please, don't do that.

@Adrian

About Sepang... I think, and I guess we all do, that if Lewis' engine hadn't blow up, Ricciardo would have finished P3, behind Max. If I "conveniently failed to mention" ('¬¬) that battle prior to the VSC and the soft tyres saved by RIC in Q1 it's because even considering that Daniel would aswell have finished behind Max (IMHO). There were almost 20 laps to go, hardly he could have kept VES at bay. Obviously, after the VSC Daniel gained advantage of the new set of S he brilliantly saved in Q1, but that was an advantage he couldn't have used if Lewis hadn't retired, so Dan was quite lucky. I suggest you to re-watch the final part of the race and you'll find why I say Max was quicker than Dan even with the 4-lap older tyres: Lap 43 (first after VSC): RIC - 2.102 - VES. Max goes quicker than Daniel 5 out of the next 6 laps and reduces the gap to 1.156.

There are a lot of data suggesting Verstappen was quicker than Ricciardo that weekend, as in Silverstone, Spa and Suzuka. And I can't understand why can you consider this sentence as "giving credit to Verstappen at the expense of Ricciardo when it’s not warranted". I'm not being unfair or biased: that's just my opinion.

283

Diez, ok, I'll admit my comment about race fans was uncalled for, especially in the context that English is not your first language. To be clear, it was a joke, not meant to be taken too serious. So I apologize for that if thing a got a bit lost in translation and things were taken the wrong way.

Next, not an English major, but as far as I know, struggle means to endure hardship, usually in a rather harsh or extreme manor. The phrase "the struggle is real" is commonly used as a joke to referring to even the slightest of hardships...but that's just another example of how muddled the English language is becoming, as we constantly change uses and meanings of words, and how sarcasm has taken over to the point were people don't say what they mean, or mean what they say. I'm certainly guilty of it myself, trying to work on it 🙂

You actually do seem to know your stuff, so props for that. Bear in mind that in my original comment here, I said yours was the 3rd comment regarding Dan that I was having a go at....my critism of "race fans" was actually more aimed at the other two posters who claimed Dan was a "soft overtaker", etc. So the comment wasn't directed entirely at you.

Lastly, as you kind of say, we're all just fans who basically have access to the same amount of limited info, and we base our opinions off of that. And certainly, my opinion, or your opinion, is not any more or less valid than anyone else's opinion.

That said, my personal approach to trying to understand a GP is rooted in the fact that I know I've never driven a race car of that caliber, and I've never sat on a pit wall. With that in mind, I constantly remind myself that whatever conclusions I can come to on my own, they're conclusions based on a fraction of the total amount of stats, and furthermore, that I have absolutely no clue at all what is going through a drivers head while in the cockpit (and I suggest anyone aside from another pro driver, or a sports psychologist, who claims they do know what is going through a driver's head, is full of beans).

284

diezcilindros:

We live in a world of reality not fantasy and we draw conclusions from things that have actually happened. Hamilton’s engine did blow, Ricciardo did win the race, Verstappen did come second, and Ricciardo and Verstappen both benefited from Hamilton’s retirement (and on an unrelated issue Hamilton’s chances of winning the title were severely dented). Is it worth pondering whether or not Ricciardo could have kept Verstappen at bay for 20 laps? Probably not because that scenario never played out. Respectfully, your post is full of ‘ifs’, ‘buts’ and ‘maybes’ on which we cannot base a logical argument. Ok, I did notice that Verstappen closed up on Ricciardo several times during the last stint but he was not quick enough to get within DRS range to effect a pass. Did it occur to you that perhaps Ricciardo was doing just enough to keep Verstappen at bay? I have said on a another post that in my opinion Ricciardo had the better of Verstappen this year and whether or not this continues in 2017 we will have to see. You seem to hold a contrary opinion and that’s fine.

285

Ricciardo struggled at Spa? The same Spa where he finished 2nd, splitting the Mercs. He struggled at Sepang....a race he won ffs??

This is the 3rd comment I've made regarding RIC, so I could see someone like TimW labelling me as either a [mod] or fanatic...but I'm just using logic to pick apart some of these comments.

So far, in summary of comments on this page, RIC is a "soft overtaker" who's only move is to "chuck it up the inside" (which anyone can do), and "struggles" at tracks where he wins or finishes 2nd.....

How do you even consider yourselves fans of motor racing? Seriously. Next, y'all be tellin' us how many innings there are in a hockey match lol.

"Lebron James is a soft basketball player. His only move is the slam-jam, and he doesn't perform well in NBA finals".......

286

Twitch, I don't agree with these comments, and while I see you taking a critical view of Lewis more often than not, I wouldn't have you down as a member of the Hamilton bashing fraternity.

287

Lol thanks Tim :). I actually mean that. I know I say some jerkish things on here at times (even on this page lol), I forget that sarcasm and tongue in cheek humor doesn't always translate well on the Internet.

Merry Xmas and happy new year Tim, all the best. I'm comin' for you in 2017 😛

288

Twitch. We all get carried away at times, except me of course, I'm perfect!
Have a great new year, looking forward to more frank discussions on corner cutting and the 2008 championship!!😜

289

Did you hear they're looking at redesigning the runoff area around turns 1, 2, and 3 in Mexico 😀

290

Twitch, they should redesign it, hopefully with a shark pool to punish errant drivers,,,

291

Obviously with laser beams attached to the shark's heads, right?

292

KRB, that would be ideal, or sea bass would do if you can't get sharks...

293

But only intemperate ones, in that case. 😉

294

Hey, hey now Tim, don't want Lewis getting caught up in any shark nets now. In saying that he would probably his own special hole in the middle that only he could drive through like at this years race.
Relax, I joke..or do I.............................

295

rules apply to everyone Sars, but it helps if you read the book....

296

First of all, I apologize for typos and grammatical errors, I'm not English :(.

Ricciardo finished P2 at Spa because VET, VES and RAI all crashed at first corner and HAM was at the back because of the penalties. I remember that RIC qualified P5, behind all of them bar Lewis, and VES beated him by more than 3 tenths. So yes, Ricciardo struggled at Spa.

The same in Malaysia. VES outqualified RIC and in the race the difference was even bigger. Max was pushed down to P5 at the first lap by Mad Seb, but with 20 laps to go he was ready to overtake Ricciardo by lapping almost 1 second per lap quicker with tyres only 6 laps younger... until the VSC caused by Lewis saved Daniel: both he and Max stopped. And even with Daniel fitting new S instead of Max's old ones, VES was quicker in that final phase of the race, but he couldn't make it stick. So yes, Ricciardo struggled at Sepang.

You don't even need to know about driving styles (Ricciardo masters in heavy braking zones and slow corners, Verstappen is more able at rotating the car in mid-speed corners and carrying more speed during the next straight): you just need to take a look not only at the final results, but also at the pace, the pure speed and the qualifying. So, please, avoid sentences as "How do you even consider yourselves fans of motor racing?".