My JA on F1 top five F1 drivers of 2017
Posted By: James Allen  |  25 Dec 2017   |  7:45 am GMT  |  1,113 comments

It is that time of the year again to crystallise all that happened during the F1 season and commit to a top five of drivers for 2017.

It’s always a tough decision and sometimes controversial; fans don’t agree or don’t like the reasons for the positions. That’s all part of the fun of the exercise, to encourage debate.

This year the Number One is not really a question for debate as Lewis Hamilton was truly outstanding, making few mistakes and raising his driving to another level.

But the other four – and the order to put them in – is more of a challenge as there are many factors at play beyond the obvious.

Lewis Hamilton
1. Lewis Hamilton
This was Hamilton’s best season in F1 and it came at the right time, after the anguish of the Rosberg championship in 2016, which he simply could not cope with.

For a champion it is very hard to accept a lesser driver beating you over a season in the same car and Hamilton dealt with it badly.

I bet he wishes he could go back and do 2016 all over again, knowing what he knows now about himself and about Mercedes. But it’s consigned to history and all he can do is win outstandingly for the rest of his career and let those records speak for themselves.

It is very appropriate that he should take the all-time record for pole positions from Michael Schumacher this year, as he is one of the fastest drivers ever in F1.

Mark Webber told me in Sepang that he believes we can now say that Hamilton is the best driver since Senna; better in other words, than Schumacher, who had many advantages in winning his seven titles.

Who knows? But Hamilton is in a good place, especially having worked to overcome difficulties with the set up of the Mercedes in the first half of the season. And with a team-mate whose inconsistency will always undermine a title campaign, he has another exciting year ahead of fighting against Ferrari and Red Bull.

I think he may find the 2018 title harder to win.

2. Max Verstappen
One of the best things about working in F1 for many years is seeing the young talents come into the sport, spotting what they have that marks them out and then watching them develop. As I get older and more experienced I find this arguably the most exciting part of my job.

When Verstappen came in I saw a driver who reminded me of Schumacher in his aggression and self belief. It has taken only three seasons to see that he is a world-beater; afraid of no-one, exceptionally fast, but also exceptionally good at racing.

He will not want to remember 2017 because his car let him down, especially the engine, so many times that it meant he couldn’t compete for the championship.

I think that will turn out to be a blessing in disguise, because he still had a rawness to his risk-taking instinct in close combat situations, which needed some refinement for when he does find himself in a title battle.

He’s a very fast learner and with nothing to lose in races like Sepang and Mexico, he put himself in a position to force the issue and got some useful experience of what the Vettels and Hamiltons of this world will do under pressure.

So while his results don’t justify P2 in any Top 5 of 2017, I have picked him because of what I think he has become this year – look at the way he crushed Ricciardo (one of the fastest F1 drivers) in qualifying – and now we look forward to him putting it all together in the next few years.

3.Sebastian Vettel
A very good season for Sebastian, but not a great one, as he and Ferrari let slip a world championship lead. Five victories and four pole positions was a decent haul after the traumas of the 2016 season, where he seemed to have lost his way with the team.

Vettel will reflect on 2017 as a year where he let his emotions get in the way on a few high profile occasions and it cost him; Baku and Singapore, arguably Mexico as well. Against that, he showed admirable sang froid when things went wrong in Monza and Ferrari were embarrassed not only by Mercedes, but by the Mercedes powered teams.

While other senior figures at Ferrari were throwing colleagues under the bus, Vettel played a strong leadership role. Later in the season when the updated engine let them down, throwing more valuable points away he was calm and statesmanlike, not emotional.

So it’s that lack of calmness at the wheel at times, especially at starts, that Vettel needs to conquer to become world champion again. Jackie Stewart won most of his races in the first few laps of a race during F1’s most dangerous time, because he learned to calm his emotions, while other drivers were wound up at the start. A bit more Jackie would help a lot.

4. Daniel Ricciardo
Daniel always has a ready smile around his lips, which is one of his most endearing features, but it became a bit more strained as this year went on.

Outstanding in 2016, from Spain onwards he found himself being out qualified consistently by his team-mate Verstappen. It was made more bearable by the fact that Verstappen’s car kept letting him down in races, so Daniel had a comfortable margin in the points table. But he is a racer and he knew that the true picture was something else.

It’s hard to fault his performances this season, he drove very well and almost always got the maximum result possible with the equipment at his disposal. He has become expert at taking his chances, both in overtakes and in race management.

But he wants to be world champion and there is a massive road block in his way in the form of the Dutchman, who is still developing and who has signed a massively lucrative contract with the team to the end of 2020, a huge sign of faith from Red Bull in its prodigy.

Daniel’s next moves will define his career, both on and off the track.

5. Esteban Ocon
This may seem a bit controversial to some readers, but Ocon’s performance this year was magnificent. As I said above with regard to Verstappen, it’s wonderful to observe the young talents coming through (Leclerc is another for next season) and with a reliable benchmark in Sergio Perez, we could see the development of a really exciting young Grand Prix driver, who will surely have a say in championships in the future.

With only half a season in a Manor behind him when he started the year, he quickly got onto Perez’ pace and by Montreal was ready to beat him. The summer was traumatic as Force India didn’t get on top of the race management quickly enough and many points were dropped in Baku and Spa in particular as tensions flared. But it was a nice problem to have for the Silverstone team, who revelled in the excitement of turning up every week knowing that they were going to be talked about, going to compete strongly and to enjoy their racing.

By the second half of the season Ocon was beating Perez regularly, which is bang on target for the development you would expect from a really special talent, as we saw with Verstappen for example. Ocon is different driver from Verstappen; he’s more cerebral and has a remarkable finishing record, which speaks of consistency and emotional management.

He probably doesn’t have that very special extra half-a-tenth of pace ultimately, that unique talents like Verstappen have, but he has total self belief and a bulletproof mentality – in the right car I think he will prove capable of being a champion in future.

But let’s wait and see whether he continues that impressive development curve in 2018.

I suspect that if he does, he could find himself in a Mercedes in 2019.

What did you make of these rankings? Do you have a different order, or different drivers? Leave your comments below

Season’s Greetings to all readers of JA on F1. Thanks for your support during 2017 and I look forward to engaging with you all in 2018.

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Hi James,

I have enjoyed and admired your journalism for many years but feel it necessary to comment on this top 5 list which I feel undermines your standing at the forefront of f1 journalism.

I am a big fan of Esteban Ocon and hope he builds in his promise next year. There is plenty of scope for disagreements with your top 4 and how they might move around and who else could squeeze in but feel your inclusion of Ocon is so misguided as to cause question to any other opinion you are currently offering on f1.

This list is of who drove best this year I presume (anything else merits an explicitly alternatively titled article) and nothing else. Not potential for the future etc. Your analysis on Ocon is largely correct but does not in any way justify his place on the list. Over the course of the season he was (extremely marginally but nonetheless clearly) outqualified, outraced and outscored by his teammate Perez. On any objective basis there is no way he should be ahead of Perez as luck did not play a part, just performance.

Without laboring I wish just to make one further point. Is there any rational person in f1 who does not believe Fernando Alonso would’ve beaten Perez this season? I find it incomprehensible that you would place Ocon ahead of Alonso. I believe there are 5 drivers in total who are more deserving.

I understand a motivation for including Ocon is building interest in the future but given your standing as an eminent journalist of f1 and not a cheerleader you play a historical role in understanding performance.

P.S. I suggest you read the fantastic blog F1 metrics which gives a brilliant statistical analysis with which to build into an analysis.

Also I find your comment that ‘number one was not really up for debate’ as unbecoming of a journalist as while I would give it to Hamilton by a shade I do believe it was close.


Well we are all entitled to our opinions

That’s what’s Beautiful about living in a free world (well some parts of it)


Very true. I may have been over zealous in making my point, just frustrated in general with some people’s intuitive estimations of driver performance when I believe it requires much deeper digging than most people do. Thanks


If Mark Webber truly believes Hamilton is better than Schumacher, then he is about as good at being a pundit as he was at being an F1 driver. Schumacher had good teammates and destroyed them – although Johnny Herbert still tries to pretend otherwise. In three seasons together Hamilton was outscored by Jenson Button. Hamilton is brilliant but he’s no Schumacher, Senna, Prost, Stewart, Clark or Fangio.


Schumacher had good teammates?!? Like who? He destroyed them because he had no. 1 treatment built into his contracts. There’s a reason why Eddie Irvine’s only wins were in 1999 when either Schumacher was not competing (AUT99, GER99), or when he had to start from the back (AUS99), or when Irvine was their only remaining hope for the title, and so was given no. 1 treatment (MAL99). If Schumacher was able to take the victory, Ferrari ensured it would happen (see Austria 2002).

The Button outscored Hamilton argument is the silliest argument going … Hamilton beat Button 2 seasons to 1, which is all that matters.

Schumacher had a WDC-calibre teammate (Nico Rosberg) only once in his career, and he got spanked by him 3 seasons straight.


…we can now say that Hamilton is the best driver since Senna; better in other words, than Schumacher, who had many advantages in winning his seven titles….

My God I can’t stand the rubbish spurted about Hamilton!

Schumacher had many advantages in winning his titles? What, as opposed to Hamilton who’s had the most dominant car on the grid for the last 3 of his 4 titles and the some of the, if not the, most dominant cars in F1 history in 2014, 2015 and 2016!

Give me a break with this nonsense!

If Ricciardo, Alonso, Verstappen or Vettel were in any one of those cars as his team mate you are DREAMING if you think Hamilton would have been a 4 x WDC today – DREAMING!

Just look at his previous results in the championship prior to landing in UTTER DOMINATION LAND of Mercedes –

2013 – 4th

2012 – 4th

2011 – 5th

2010 – 4th

2009 – 5th

Competitive cars in EVERY one of those seasons bar 2009, and he couldn’t do better than 4th, but then all of a sudden he’s the next best thing to Senna?? Give me a break!

Hamilton is undoubtedly a fantastic driver and clearly one of the best drivers in the world, but anyone who thinks he’s the best on the grid by any margin based on any results since 2014 is utterly delusional!


Tell us what you really think Nick (sarcasm). Along with the previous couple of blown diffuser years, it has mostly been a rather sad decade thus far, even after it got off to a good start. Let us hope that this past season was just the appetizer for a good season/s ahead.


Some food for thought …

Senna’s results in the championship between his rookie year, and the McLaren domination years (’88-’91):

1985 – 4th
1986 – 4th
1987 – 3rd

There’s the iconic pic of the title contenders from 1986 here:

Hamilton’s teammate’s results in those same years:

2013 – 6th
2012 – 5th
2011 – 2nd
2010 – 5th
2009 – 12th

His teammate was of course a WDC, or a future WDC, in 4 of those years. Only in 2011 – Hamilton’s worst season in F1 – was he bested by his teammate.

It’s no secret that the Merc’s in 2014-16 were hugely dominant. Of course they weren’t so dominant that a driver gets awarded 1.5 titles because of them … there’s still only 1 title awarded at the end of the season. A lot of people act like Lewis was awarded 2 titles every year, b/c of the car.

As for being a 4x WDC, who knows? We do know that Hamilton beat Alonso in their year together, and Vettel could’ve won this year with that Ferrari. If there was the same sort of uneven reliability as 2016, then of course any of those four would beat Hamilton, just as Rosberg did. And it would be the same, vice versa.

I’m not saying anything would be a slam dunk – there’s not many of those in F1 – but that there is a distinct possibility that Lewis could win 3 of 4 titles, paired with any of those drivers. Guess I’m just an utterly delusional dreamer!


Nick, you realise it was Mark Webber who said that Lewis is the best since Senna? I will probably set more store in his opiion than yours.


Did you read your link? It’s the opinion of some guy called Sam Hall. Who is he? He could be a poster on here, for all we know.

TimW was saying Webber’s opinion – that is, someone who’s driven in the series – is worth more to him than yours.

I doubt Sam Hall’s opinion will sway him:


We can all pick and choose who we set store by and who we chose to ignore. I personally ignore everything from Villeneuve even if it agrees with me. On the Hamilton is better than Senna there is a lot of expert opinion that says he is not and I choose to agree with them


I think Hamilton would have beaten Alonso, Vettel, Verstappen and/or Ricciardo in 2014, 2015 and 2017. So, yes, I still think he would have been a 4 time world champion.

And virtually no Hamilton fan thinks he’s the best on the grid based on post-2014 results alone. 2011 I’ll grant you was a poor year, all the other times he finished roughly where the car would be expected to finish, and beat his teammate in every season.

Just out of interest, who do you think is the best on the grid?


Andrew M that is the problem ..define “best” Hamilton got the most points this season but that definition of best is very narrow and not accepted by many of his fans in 2016.
Your standard that he beat his team mate and put the car where it was expected is valid but perhaps a true champion should put the car higher than expected.
Hamilton detractors will try to say he would never beat driver x or y in the same car and give all sorts of examples to “prove” their point.
We can go round in circles for ever. So for me Hamilton is this seasons champion and not an unworthy on but not my favourite driver.


Of course it’s subjective, but I also don’t believe “subjective” means “anything goes”.

The main thing I objected to in the original post was using his “low” finishing positions from 2009-13 as evidence he wasn’t an all time great, without any context whatsoever. If you think those cars were capable of more, then fine, but at least make the point. That’s like pointing out Alonso’s finishing positions for the last 4 years as evidence that he’s a rubbish driver.


Nick, I sort of 90% agree with you.
1) A lot of Hamilton’s success is the car and having said that I expect to get severely attacked by his worshipers. Of course if you listen to Massa conspiritalists then 2008 was rigged but I’m sure we can ignore this along with all other rigged racing theories.

2) You can not say that Max ( or any other driver ) would beat him in the same car. We do not have the data and we do not know how the inter team dynamic would work. What we can say is the he was beaten by Nico in 2016 and whist Hamilton fans will blame reliability etc. They will also ignore the fact that he lost the title because he was not good enough to back Nico into the chasing pack.

3) The Hamlton of today is not the Hamilton of 2009. He has developed over the years. So using past performance as a marker for today is not really valid. Of course by that logic he has not always had the God like driving skills his fans would have us believe.

So as you say a fantastic driver but I think it only fair that I comment on where I see errors in your argument in the spirit of being fair to Lewis


They will also ignore the fact that he lost the title because he was not good enough to back Nico into the chasing pack.

I think that’s my favourite quote about 2016 yet.


Andrew, it is right up there isn’t it?!


Fair shout on the numbers James. I still think that until Merc recognise Bottas as a No2 driver they will struggle to maintain the gap to Ferrari. It just does not make sense in a sport measured by 1000th /sec. If Ham suffers reliability or other issues then fine, but until then it has to be no1 and no2.


Like it or not hamilton is the best, i feel sorry for the hatters as they see ham win so much, alot of people talk about about max in brazil but what about the master class that won the race.. and monza this year 2 secs faster than all in quali

Get used to it ham is the only driver that has won a race in every season he has competed in, even alonso and vettle could not win a title in a ferrari, but ham would have won this year in a ferrari as it was a better car

And finally i think hams the only driver on the grid to win in 2 diff teams…oh yeah thats because hes a poor driver …haha


And your data that the Ferrari was a better car this year. Have you not read James on the upgrades made to the Merc? Evidence please not random statetements


Did you watch the season ?……the merc in hams hands was quick but that ferrari was quick everywhere more or less, i really think ham would have won in that ferrari


I watched but you have stated a fact that the Ferrari was faster. Data please ,are you saying the Ferrari power plant was better than the Merc? Or are you saying the chassis design was better in which case I once again refer you to James’ article on the upgrades at spain and how they reignited the championship campaign
Or are you just randomly making statements to try and reinforce your opinion of how good Hamilton is?


Drive of the year was Alonso, adapting and nailing the Indy 500 qually and race.

Other than that it’s harder to imaging a time in F1 where the gaps between the teams are so great that it really is impossible to directly compare drivers.

Is it a brilliant drive to lead and manage a race in clean air or is it an easy pole and win without needing much racecraft, no overtaking and running with plenty left in reserve just incase, though this is no fault of the winning team and driver who still beat his teammate…

so, of pushed:
Category 1 F1 winner – Lewis
Category 2 F1 winner – Seb
Category 3 F1 winner – Max, Dan a close second
Category 4 (the midfield) F1 winner – Sainz, Ocon/Perez tied a close second
Category 5 F1 winner – Alonso.


“… it’s harder to imaging a time in F1 where the gaps between the teams are so great that it really is impossible to directly compare drivers.”

Romantic notions of F1 being incredibly tight in the past are incorrect. See these graphs & table:

Here is another stat that shows that things weren’t tight in bygone days.

In the Winner’s Lap:

This counts how many cars finish on the same lap as the race winner. Now the percentage column there uses total GP’s as the denominator. Per race finish would be a better help, but we can check a few years out. In 2017, there were 165x where a car finished on the same lap as the race winner. That stat also includes the race winners, so it’s 145 other cars finished on the same lap behind the race winner.

In 1992, there were only 68x where that happened, and with 16 races, 52x where other cars finished behind the race winner.

As a shout out to your handle, let’s check out Clark’s dominant ’63 season. There were 28x a car finished on the lead lap, and only 18x that other cars did. This, even with the German GP being run on the full Nurburgring circuit (22.8 kms), Belgium on the long Spa course (14.1 kms), and France at Reims (8.3 kms).

This should make it clear that things have not been tight at all in other seasons in F1’s history. Don’t need to imagine it … it’s right there in the data.


Seasons like 2007 – 2008 is what I’d love to see again. IMO those seasons were great because there wasn’t a mystery with the engines , it was taken for granted that Ferrari and Mercedes engines were near as damn it pretty much the same give or take a few horsepower. Form swung depending on the characteristics of the car.

I find during F1 weekends these days there is an awful lot of ‘PU talk’ about modes and how long one team can run a certain mode etc.. and it is all kind of pointless because none of the journos / presenters / commentators really know what the teams are doing anyway.

I believe going forward transparency is key and IMO the complexity of the engines do little for the sport.


The PU era had been nothing other than a complete farce with it’s tokens and manufacturers in control. Waaaaaay too much emphasis on software as well.


I think as fans we all got treated to a disproportionate amount of close title battles from the mid-90s onwards, and in the last 5-10 years or so we’ve reverted to the mean.

Also, plenty of people don’t count 14 or 16 as close title battles in spite of them going down to the last race…


Romantic notions of F1 being incredibly tight in the past are incorrect

I made a similar point on another thread – I have been watching some old re-runs that Sky have been showing of classic GP’s over the festive period and Canada 91 is a perfect example. Mansell broke down/switched off on the final lap but was still classified 6th – because everyone else was so far behind. Lot’s of people wearing rose tinted spec’s methinks.


I agree with James on the list as far as 2017 is concerned.
Lewis is the Champion of 2017. Can’t take anything away from his performance.

If I was to rank the current top 5 drivers in general terms outside of the seasons’ performance it would go something like this…

1. Max
2. Seb
3. Lewis
4. Esteban
5. Carlos


These are among the JAonF1 forum rules:
“Please don’t seek to ‘own’ the comments space, leave many comments on a single story or endlessly reply to other posters like you own the place. … This is JA’s site, if you want to lord it with other posters, get your own site!”

So howcome is one poster allowed to post 60+ messages so far on this topic alone?
And same behavior repeated likewise on other topics.


Good points Charlie….stay with the regs.


I think I know which poster you are alluding to and would say he may have even passed the century mark this time around. I don’t know whether it will be moderated, but I posted to ask him to have a look at his collective posts on this thread and decide whether he may need to reconsider his general approach to this forum, whilst I am also doing the same.


Some topics just get the pro / anti Hamilton teams going and unfortunately they behave like kids in a schoolyard. Shouting last is far better than any facts. Sadly they have ruined some other once good F1 forums and now seem to be infesting this one. Let’s hope your 60+ comment is taken on board by the moderators.


Certainly seems to be more multi pronged and consistent attacks than I can recall over the years and whilst some of it can be entertaining, it has dragged this site down for mine.


Well said.

I don’t know about being allowed but I’m sure he and a few others are getting paid to do so.


Hi Hello, that in itself is a hard accusation as its then about the whole integrity about this F1 website and its forum!

Sometimes one can of course be tempted to believe that such aggressive posters as e.g. TimW are allowed such abusive behavior because they represent the owner’s/moderator’s own belief. I trust that JA and his crew will come forward with a proper answer and corrective action to this.

Just made the count, and TimW has indeed posted now more than 100 (hundred!!! =8-!) times to this single subject thread alone.


Cyber, aggressive and abusive? Strong words, could you give a few examples please. I appreciate that I have left a large number of replies on this article, and although I think this has a lot more to do with me being off work this week than any attempt by me to dominate the site, they are not all me arguing with people, and certainly not all about Lewis. I asked Kenneth if he thinks that Lewis deserves the amount of stick he has received on this comments section, he of course wont respond, so maybe you could.


@ Cyber…As i said earlier, i have done some counts and they are as follows, make of it what you will. Total posts at time of count 876.
Pro Hamilton camp.
Tim W 106 12.1% of total
KRB 72
Aveli 64
C63 35
Total 277 31.6% of total.

Non Hamilton camp.

Kenneth 64
Sars 27
Total 91 10.3% of total

There are many others who are on the fringe of both camps but by observation generally they balance out. What that shows is that the ‘Hamilton’ fans dominate the posting with almost a third of the total posts. This is, IMO, disproportionate and is swamping the site from a very one sided approach. I’m sure that they will come back with their own analysis. In my own defence i am accused of being a ‘hater’ or a ‘basher’…both terms i vigorously deny. I just have a rather benign attitude to the deification of one driver above all others. I do support Ricciardo and their is no denying this fact but i also support Alonso/Ocon/Saintz and a few others as well.


@ Cyber…the next two largest non Hamilton posters were Formula Z and Cheesy adding 29 and 11 respectively. That takes the total of the top four posters [ by volume ] to 131 or 14.9% a mere 50% of the ‘unlovables’!!! The others both for and against are more than likely a balance by the look of it. So therefore hangs a tale and i expect to be harangued by them all as per usual. The facts though are quite obvious and are self explanatory.


Kenneth, you forgot to tell Cyber that Jimothy has over30 comments.


I don’t count as the pro-Hamilton camp?!?!? Jesus, what’s a fanboy got to do to get some recognition around here 😕


If we were allowed to include you Andrew we could be known as the ‘famous five’ – then we could go on jolly japes together with lashings of ginger beer 🙂


Given how interchangeable people seem to think all Lewis fans are, they probably think we all live in the same house already…


How ’bout “The 5 Neat Guys”?

Some serious comedic heft there, and I don’t mean Candy’s weight! Gawd I miss him … a comic genius.


I share your views on John Candy – Uncle Buck and Planes Trains and Automobiles are two of my all time favourites.


@ Andrew M…Up your count mon ami. happy new year.


100% with you. Hamilton is a god with some people and just saying “ are you sure” gets you personal attacks and a stream of totally random examples to prove their point. Just mention Rosberg and 2016 and they will melt their keyboards demanding you are burnt at the stake as a non believer. The joke is look at other threads and some of the same die hards are stating they will stop watching F1 if Halo comes in, engine noise is not put back up etc. etc.


Jon, could you give us some examples of the kind of comments you refer to please?


Kenneth. You have compared the total number of posts of four members of what you call ‘the Hamilton camp’ with two members of the none Hamilton camp, sound fair to you? Since when have Jimothy and Formula Zero been on the fringes of the Lewis debate? Add in their comments to your totals and what do you get? Surely the biggest question is, why are there any anti Lewis comments on this article at all? What has he done that’s so terrible? The article is about a season where Hamilton won the championship in fine style, making remarkably few errors along the way, and delivering some excellent pertormances to win his fourth WDC. If you really want to get the gist of which camp is dragging this site down, you need to look at the original comments rather than the responses, I have only left one, it was very brief and insulted no one, and didn’t seek to belittle the accomplishments of any driver, neither did the original comments from C63, or KRB. You of course will say that you are just offering a counterpoint to the waves of pro Lewis sentiment expressed, the problem with that is, you guys don’t wait for someone to say something positive about the guy before putting the boot in. Ask yourself if Lewis really deserves the amount of criticism he receives on here, surely you can see that he gets far more stick than any other driver,and for what? Being successful?


Timw. You probably will not see it but just by diving in here with the comments you make you are reinforcing Kenneth’s point.
By all means go toe to toe with out right Hamilton haters ( i too have had cause to defend him) but not every comment that challenges his absolute supremacy whilst giving no credit to the car or any comment that reminds people of some of his failings is hate mail. The ammount of balance that some people try to post is usually instigated by the excessive amount deity worship posted by a few others. I know that one man’s balance is another’s bias and asking for a top five is click bait but this thread has had an excessive ( and imho damaging) amount of one sided comment.
Too many good f1 sites have decended into a morass of tit for tat postings about Hamilton with excessively long threads caused by each side trying to get the last word. Let’s not let this site go the same way and in that spirit of good will i will not reply if you feel the need to comment and have the last word
Happy new year and looking forward to 2018 season, might even bump into you track side and we can discuss this over a beer.


@ Jon…a very good post, and hopefully some will take it on board although i have a pessimistic view on whether that will happen. Here’s to a better balanced site this year.


Serious question Kenneth, is there anything you could do to make this site better balanced?


Jon. I see the point you are making, and looking back through this comments section I can see that I have got involved in long arguments that were on reflection, pointless. I would take issue with the “absoloute supremacy” and “giving no credit to the car” parts of your comment however, If someone says that they think Seb or Fernando is better than Lewis, then I’m not going to argue with them, unless they come up with incorrect information to back up their position. Does anyone really deny the superiority of the Mercs? I don’t see anyone doing that, plenty saying that this years wasn’t that dominant, but I haven’t seen anyone claim that the 14, 15 and 16 cars weren’t the best out there. What I have seen on this article however is the suggestion that Lewis lucked into his first championship, and that none of the others count, that Lewis only beat Bottas because of team orders and that the reason he list the title last year is partly because he caused the Mercedes to keep breaking down, but mostly because he lacked commitment. I don’t think any of these things are true, and see no problem in pointing that out. I also see a much smaller number of digs at Daniel Ricciardo, and the inevitable retaliatory responses from the people currently criticising me for doing the same thing. Surely it is ineitable that any kind of attack on any driver will draw defensive responses from that driver’s supporters? And surely it is equally true that the only reason we see so many comments from Lewis fans, is he draws the most criticism?
Personally I think the site would be a better place if people waited for their least favourite driver actually did something wrong before putting the boot in!
Feel free to respond if you want, I always welcome discussion.



“I can see that I have got involved in long arguments that were on reflection, pointless.” Wouldn’t be Jimbo Jimothy would it? C63 and myself ceased interacting with him because it was like a conversation that was going absolutely nowhere, a conversation with no resolution or part thereof insight. Most of us know where we stand with aveli, and he’s harmless despite his over the top bias, but with Jimothy very difficult to explain. Something is not quite right!!


Adrian, yes those circular arguments with Jimothy will cease to be a part of my commenting habits! This whole thread seems to have descended into a bad tempered slanging match between the “anti and pro Hamilton” camps, (nobody seems to question the need for an anti camp!). It would appear that a lot of people are getting upset at the level of bickering going on between the two sides, so my new years resoloution is to not say anything positive at all about Lewis. Any comments I make about him will be entirely factual and dispassionate. I feel sure that the removal of the over zealously positive comments from me (as the most prolific commenter) will usher in a new era of moderate posting and peace and harmony will reign…….



“Any comments I make about him (Hamilton) will be entirely factual and dispassionate.” Goodness me Tim aren’t they already! I don’t have an issue with you responding to comments that are clearly not factual or just biased against Lewis. I do the same, more so last year when responding to comments about Ricciardo by the Verstappen Crowd who have largely disappeared from JA’s Forum. It’s only natural to post in support of “your guy”. However, I did think you were wasting your time with Jimothy. Personally I don’t get the anti-Hamilton sentiment that runs through the Forum. I noticed it as soon as I joined. Some of it is mild and just banter while some is extreme, as exampled by cheesyproof. If his sole purpose is to come on here and bash Lewis for any reason he can conjure up then he’s leading a pretty sad life.

All this talk about Lewis winning 3 WDCs with Mercedes primarily or only because of the machinery at his disposal completely ignores the fact it takes someone with the requisite skills to maximise the potential of the car. Hamilton does have that rare combination of blinding pace, race craft and confidence. Despite having the same machinery Bottas is nowhere near him and Vettel, despite having a very good car, couldn’t compete mentally with Lewis last year. Ok Lewis has been blessed with a wonderful car but so what? For 3 years Mercedes did a remarkable job in building a dominant car pursuant to what the regulations allowed – although not as dominant last season – but Lewis made the most of what he was contracted to do so give him credit for that.

There is a certain double standard here. People who get on Lewis’ case for having a dominant car conveniently forget that Vettel similarly had a dominant car and won 4 WDCs on the trot. But where are the incessant comments from people shouting “unfair” in relation to this? Why aren’t the cheesyproofs of this world bringing this up? Because it doesn’t sit with their anti-Hamilton narrative. They can’t bring themselves to consider that F1 “dominance” is sometimes cyclical and with the new regulations coming on board in 2021 Merc’s domination may considerably diminish. Actually because the regulations will be largely static for the next 3 years other teams should considerably close the gap to Mercedes – Ferrari have done that already – and Lewis should have a much tougher fight on his hands.

Mate, don’t contradict yourself! Any “factual” comments you make about Lewis will be “positive”. By the way I acknowledge the objective and positive things you say about Danny Ricc.


Thanks Adrian, I appreciate your kind words.
I specifically remember leaving a comment on here in 2013 about Vettel in which I said that if a driver gets a dominant car, then all he can do is deliver, it shouldn’t be a black mark against his name. Same goes for Lewis, attempting to belittle his achievements by constantly banging on about the pace advantage the Merc has, while ignoring the fact that Merc are very happy with his performance, and are in the process of signing him for a third contract, is completely pointless. I will be trying to ignore the extreme edges of the sites residents, it is s total waste of time conversing with people uninterested in facts and evidence, although I might just make the odd exception……


I’d just like to echo the words of Adrian, Tim. Keep on keeping on 🙂
My belief is that if someone doesn’t like a particular poster they can just ignore them – I do it with a number and I am sure plenty do it with me.


Well said Kenneth. I feel exactly the same. Its even gotten to the point where I cop comments from those you mentioned trying to denigrate me even when I post on topics non related to either Hamilton or Mercedes. Pathectic…


@Bryce…I have just done some figures and i will post later tonight. They are quite interesting.


@ Cyber…The particular poster you are referring to is, in my opinion, indicative of the reasons that this site is becoming difficult to navigate sensibly. Yes we all have opinions but the overwhelming put downs are becoming tedious. Any, and i mean any, alternate viewpoints taken about Hamilton are immediately pounced on and the posters are viciously labelled as ‘bashers’ or ‘haters’ !!! That is just plain bullying and aimed at closing down dissenting viewpoints. Sad really….


I unfortunately have to agree with you Kenneth, as this is indeed sad for any F1 website that wants to remain ‘neutral’ with regards to brands, teams, drivers, etc. Personally I am a technology guy and obsessed with numbers and statistics. But have repeatedly experienced being mobbed (my own personal impression of course) by said fan base.
I am fairly new to this forum, so don’t know if such mob mentality also was present when you had previous periods with a dominant car/driver or if this is a unique trait of the Hamilton tribe? What about Ferrari/Schumacher or the Red Bull/Vettel years?

As a singular narrow minded ‘fan’, I have only some old love still for Kimi Raikonnen, but that does not make me vicious towards others naming him e.g. ‘past due’ and pursue them further in other unrelated postings they make. And I hope as well that my own postings are not colored too much by this. ;o)


What about Ferrari/Schumacher or the Red Bull/Vettel years?

The site only started in 2009 so it missed the Ferrari/MSC years. As for Vettel, for sure there was always a lot of back and forth between the two sides. What is really quite funny actually is that one of the most vociferous anti Vettel posters is now a supporter of his because he is a rival to Hamilton 🙂 I won’t name names….


Cyber, have a read through of your conversation with ‘Hello’ where you describe Lewis as having a ‘brain fart’ and Hello calls him an ‘idiot’. Do you think that this exchange raises, or lowers the standard of the comments section?


No, I’m not saying James’s team is allowing or is apart of this. But I am saying people are paid to post retorts of anything “Anti” Hamilton.


Hello, that really is a ridiculous suggestion.


But actually a great idea TimW if you don’t already, for you to make some good money on the side! ;o)
You are good at it and the subject is your passion.
Online reputation management is a recognized profession and the teams/stars do already have permanent employed staff for this.


Yeah and it’s going on here on this site.


You have to realize Hello, that it’s the post-Christmas time period, and the credit card bill just came in. So please keep posting stuff, that I can then reply to, to help a brutha out!

Just scored me a c-note for this … yeah, baby, yeah! 💰💰💰


To be fair, large corporations do pay people to do this. I doubt Lewis makes the cut off. And also (no disrespect to JAonF1…) they do so in the largest websites in the world like Twitter, Facebook.


Andrew, I’m sure that’s true, but an individual? Doesn’t really matter though, as much as I would Ike to get paid for commenting, it remains a service I happily provide gratis!


These days if you can afford to own and run a private jet you can afford to pay for online posters.

Look at how they post. Check the times/dates when they post and you will see who are paid. Their job is to get in a retort to every post, so you will see from the time posted that they have just sat down and went down the list of posts countering anything that is anti Hamilton. No one with a life or mental stability would bother replying to all the posts unless it was their job. You do see the genuine Lewis fans but they never reply to each and all the posts.

Anyway, if Lewis wants to spend his money on online posters that’s his choice. Maybe if he wasn’t constantly back tracking with online posts and things he said he wouldn’t need to.

“Boys don’t wear dresses”.
“The team aren’t giving me the same car as my teammate”.
“I will never talk to the media again”.

Please Lewis stick to your promise from Japan 2016.

The Snapchat meltdown, (whispered).


Hello, I’m sure you have managed to convince yourself that nobody would respond to you calling their favourite driver an “idiot” for free, but believe it or not I believe that posts like that deserve response.


Hey that’s just my opinion. I think that people who think boys should not wear dresses (if they want to) are idiots. But they are what every is worst than an idiot, when they apologise because they fear their “brand” getting damaged. Then they go higher again when they childishly react and just close down their social media accounts.

Wheeling out Billy Munger after the London no show as a “Brand” damage limitation excise was disgusting.

Like I said, he keeps giving and that’s why I love him.


Two big (negative) assumptions you’ve made there … that Lewis only apologized to protect his “brand”, and that Lewis used Billy Monger as a prop, to change the story from his London Live absence.

For you, there’s just no way he could have done either for noble reasons, is there?

Have you never done something out of character, and then immediately regret it, and wish you could take it back? No one is perfect. Lewis’ primary mistake was putting a private moment up for public consumption. I think the whole thing has been overblown, but it’s a needless distraction.


I’ll bet that Billy was only emailed after the London no show.


Hamilton closed down his Instagram account last Friday as result of this brain fart he made. All previous posts have been deleted, including his ‘excuse’.


Why the quotes around “excuse”? I thought his mea culpa tweets were exactly what was needed then. It’s not everyday that I agree with Boy George, but I agree that people make mistakes, and that’s how they learn. It’s beyond ridiculous to want to crucify, or render an outcast, anyone who makes a mistake. That’s not how you get people on your side long-term.

Cyber, I’d be interested to know in which posts you believe you “got your head chopped off” for offering your opinion?


All good KRB, the quotes around was that I saw it more as a response/explanation from Hamilton and not as a direct excuse as it was referred to in media. I found it right as well that he posted that. His first comments to the boy and then even publishing them to the big world I found unfortunate. The little boy never asked for that and it will surely follow him for years to come. No matter his sexual orientation.



That’s why I love him. He’s the idiot that keeps giving. His ego keeps cashing cheques unrelated to driving and it’s fall down hilarious to watch.

Did I mention he plays the piano like Les Dawson. Adding bum notes for comic affect.


Comic effect.

Just saw your lovely New Years message to me, that couldn’t be published. Couldn’t think of anything else, aside from Magnussen’s retort to Hulk (sans the ‘honey’ tag-on) this year? Really? That’s our Hello, a total Mr. Original.

Saw Hamilton on that Italian TV show, playing Adele … he did great. I wish I could play the piano like that!

Lastly, an example of a creative, original retort (this one to your earlier message to me):

“WHAT? And interrupt your dog’s fun?!” 😀


Hello. Good to see you doing your bit to raise the standard of commenting on the site. Good work!!



No, no, no Timothy , you miss understand my post. I’m all for boys wearing dresses if they want to. That quote about boys wearing dresses isn’t from me.


Hello, is it acceptable to call the drivers names like that? Do you feel any sense of conflict in criticising others commenting habits when you then leave stuff like that lying around? How would you react if someone insulted your favourite driver in the same way? Who is your favourite driver by the way? I don’t think I have ever seen you comment on anyone other than Lewis, or indeed discuss any aspect of F1 other than how terrible Hamilton is….


That people with a “brand” to protect pay people to post online for them? As you know, it’s an industry.


Care to name names Hello? As I’ve said previously, I can only wish that I was paid to comment on here. I watch other sports, but with nothing like the same commitment I have for F1. It is one of only a few indulgences that I have. The wife doesn’t get how I can watch “cars go ’round in circles” for nearly 5 hours on a Grand Prix raceday, but she knows it’s a passion, so it’s all good. Besides, she just spent an entire month watching every Christmas B-movie ever made, on the W (Woman’s) Network, so we’re even. 😀

Most of my buddies will religiously spend hours watching football (college and/or NFL, on Saturdays and/or Sundays), so it could be worse. That’s what I tell her at least. 😉

Hello, to think that there are people on here being paid, is I believe because you simply can’t imagine that there are as many people as there are, that support Lewis. Sars said in another thread that Lewis and his supporters are “so universally disliked” … that is a frankly ridiculous statement, that has zero basis in reality. There’s no question that Lewis has many supporters (as well as detractors), so the statement is clearly false. Just because you can’t comprehend why people would like Lewis, doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.


Hey I’m guilty of such behaviour at times, particularly on this thread, although recall my intial comment was directed at James, presented with facts and garnered many posters in agreeance.
The problems and particularly the pettiness stem from a few fans of a cwrtain driver that attack, ridicule and hound those that don’t share the same views. Its hard not to slink into the gutter with them and sling insults though especially when they make it personal.
You just need to look at Dean’s reply to a new poster not far above and its little wonder the same old faces are arguing about the same old shit when people get on her for the first time and are treated in such a disgusting manner.
So to James himself, I apologize.


Nice self reflection and assessment of ‘state of the forum’ Sars!

I just miss to see more appropriate moderation executed by James and his central team, as it should be in their interest that this forum is inclusive and not dictated by a narrow band of a certain fan base.
I do agree with some posts above, that such behavior and its allowance has been the death of other otherwise great F1 forums over the past 4-6 years that were not company/driver specific.


I was going to reply to the rather rude reply that stated the great drivers of yesterday wouldn’t stand a chance today but just couldn’t be bothered to get in a debate with someone who could not understand the true bravery and skill of those guys.


I certainly got my head chopped off by even suggesting such. ;o)


Second half of the year belongs to Robert Kubica.


Hard to disagree with these. I’d have been tempted to find a place for Alonso, who frequently did astonishing things with his recalcitrant McLaren Honda, but who to drop? The top three, really, are untouchable and I’d definitely want Ocon in there after such an impressive first full season. Ricciardo did all that was asked of him and more, so I don’t think I could reasonably leave him out for Alonso’s might-have-beens.

So Fernando would get an honourable mention, along with Perez, Wehrlein and Sainz. I think this was also the year Kevin Magnussen showed he definitely has something to offer, though he needs to find more consistency and a cooler head.


Great list !!!


Hamilton is the clear #1in F1. The rest are interchangeable. Just saying !!!


Swap Ocon and Verstappen and its pretty much my list spot on


One stat that surprised me was Most overtakes on the first lap of races…….36 by Lance Stroll. For a rookie year he did pretty damn good, but he gets slammed for having a rich Dad. Besides Lewis, I think Ocon was pretty amazing for a full rookie year.


The most awaited top 5 driver ratings, and it’s a great one. Possibly the first year there’ll be a consensus James!

Thanks for the content again this year, and best wishes for 2018.


Hardly so. have you read all the comments?


Good point Kenneth, hardly as if any list with Lewis at the top would go unchallenged is it?


Geez James, I thought you were the last unbiased British journo in F1, but this article just proved me wrong. [moderated]

You speak about Schumacher having advantages in his winning years, but you never once mention the fact that Lewis has a car AND ENGINE that’s miles quicker than the other 18 cars on the grid since 2014. Even this year the Mercedes engine was at least 0,5secs quicker than the Ferrari engine. So if you only have to beat one “lesser” driver (he failed in 2016) to become WDC then that is a HUGE advantage and one that Schumacher never had!

I’m not saying that Schumacher didn’t have the fastest car, but he never once had an engine that was so much faster than the rest of the field. Every one of the current drivers in F1 (and maybe even Maldonado) would’ve become champion in a Mercedes F1 car in the hybrid era. So if Hamilton would go to Williams in 2019 and become champion in a car that is not 2secs per lap faster on the straights (slight exaggeration) then I’ll be the first to say he’s better than Schumacher. But all Hamilton has proven in his career is that he’s had the faster car in all of his championship years.


Klaas. The FIA did an extensive investigationinto the lap time difference between the engines, and found the Merc unit to be worth three tenths of a second over the Renault, with yhe Ferrari being closer still. I believe James was referring to the Ferrari team revolving around Michael, and the Bridgestone tyres being designed especially for him.


Mercedes was the best and most reliable car, Vettel the best driver. My top three are:

1. Vettel
2. Verstappen
3. Hamilton

If not for Verstappen and Ferrari reliability Vettel would have been the deserving 2017 champion. Hamilton underperformed in the first half but overall had the better luck and after Hungary Bottas played second fiddle to get a new contract for 2018. Next year with Hamilton once again being # 1 driver in the fastest car with 100 % media backing plus halo introduction and the prospect of the Walt Disney Co. being the owner of SKY soon is another step away from core F1 that we all (used to) love. I will watch the first 3 races before i give up for good, maybe Ferrari keeps word and starts a rivial series in the 2020´s as F1 resembles the WWE too much for my taste.


If you really think that Vettel was the best driver, then I suggest that you seek help.


Did Hamilton underperform in the first half of the season or was it the car? Major upgrades at Spain made the car a lot better on fast tracks. Did Vettel throw away the championship or was he unlucky? That is all part of why I will try to watch as much of the next season as I can.


Fair asessment me thinks.
However I need to chuck something into the mix. The Red Bull drivers had nothing to lose in their overtaking manouvers. This made them look spectacular but in a WDC they would be stupid not brave. Alonso is the same but different. Sure he rung the car dry. But when he had no fuel worries(knew the car wouldn,t make the chequered flag) what else/options did he have. Judging by the cash Maclaren were paying I happen to think he did ok. No more.
LH for the 2018 WDC. In a James Allison design I think we may see the first 100% season!!!


Let the debate begin. Thanks for the compilation – thoughtful and logical, as always. Personally, I’d have gone for Ricciardo 3rd, Carlos Sainz 4th and Vettel 5th. I know people knock Sainz for his mistakes but he was really Toro Rosso’s go-to guy for points, and has been for a season-and-a-half. Some of his performances have been really strong in my view.

Vettel is lower because I really don’t think Baku, Singapore or Mexico reflected well on him at all. Also, although he was consistent elsewhere I can’t think of too many races where he genuinely “exceeded the car” like Hamilton did at Singapore, Malaysia and Japan. Only really at Spa I would say, and even then he didn’t win. High standards…but he is a four-time world champion.

My 6-10 would be Esteban Ocon (I think he did very well but I do think he is being overhyped in some quarters), Fernando Alonso (difficult to judge how he did when the McLaren Honda package was so poor), Valtteri Bottas (drops down after that difficult mid-season), Nico Hulkenberg (similar to Bottas) and in 10th place Sergio Perez (he still had a good season and beat Ocon over the campaign, even if he didn’t match his own level from 2016 or even second half of 2015).


Its really wierd how hamilton gets slated!!!…..if journalists rate him, every driver respects and rates him( legends think hes awesome even ever f1 boss………who are you you guys?????

What these professionals missed something that you guys have seen????

Absolute bull, he is the best in any weather. He found a trick this year…..he will be even better next year


He is a brilliant driver but it was he himself who told Seb he was only champion because of the car ( I paraphrase) So the question is about how good he would be in the same car against the other top drivers. The next question is How good was Nico ? He beat Hamilton in the same car and you can argue over relative reliability and how much of that was down to the drivers styleand use of engine modes. So yes he is the best in the Merc but is he the best ?


Stop this Jon, you’re embarrassing yourself. In this day and age, driving styles do not influence reliability. As much as you’d like to believe Nico somehow out performed lewis, that simply isn’t true.

As for this car comment, lets see. Only driver to win a race in EVERY year of competition, across two constructors. A pole too. Two ways to interpret that fact.
A. He’s as good as the stats say.
B. He’s bar none, the luckiest driver to have ever lived.

Finally, have you seen 2007? Are you not aware, he was teammates with alonso… The then 2x defending world champion. Sorry if my responses come off as pretentious, you might be new to the sport.


Oblah. yes you are being pretentious, so good of you to recognise it. I repeat my self. Hamilton is brilliant. However is he the best?

1) Drivers style…Canada 2014 a classic case of car management between Nico and Lewis and I believe makes my point . Please don’t embarrass yourself by trying to deny it
2) Nico out performed Lewis that’s why he won the championship
3) yes I am old enough to remember 2007. Hamilton beat Alonso to second place based on number of second places as they both had the same points. By your logic of Nico v Hamilton then Alonso should have won because he was forced to pit when the pit lane was closed or because Hamilton disobeyed team orders.


Strange definition of out performance; lost in quali head to head. less race wins, less podium while enjoying near perfect reliability. Nico also was also one of the most penalized driver. Maybe, we’re in a parallel universe where inferior is somehow seen as better.

You’re right, nico’s driving style in monza 2015 is the sole reason his engine detonated. Clearly he was in an incorrect engine mode trying to catch vettel. Had he slowed, he would have finished the race and possibly won the championship. See how stupid your logic is. It’s been proven for some time now, driving style, which there are many, doesn’t affect reliability. Maybe in the older days but not in modern f1.


I admit I started my engineering degree back when we still had steam engines in major uk factories and I’m sure that your much more recent degree in engineering deals with new fangled stuff like piston engines but one thing has not changed. All machines are affected by the user.
Hence a highly stressed F1 engine whilst closely managed by engineers will be impacted differently by subtly different inputs. Bouncing off the kerbs, later on the brakes and earlier on the throttle, running in dirtier air longer. Subtle things that in fact a faster driver may well do to get a faster lap. So yes in my olden days dropping the the clutch had an instant result modern drivers can have a more subtle impact. So Hamilton being the faster driver may well have stressed his car more. However as you have to finish to win then this may not always be the best strategy and it is best strategy that can win championships. This may be stupid logic to you but I’ll let others decide on sound engineering versus biased pro Hamilton opinion.


1. Virtually everyone that I’ve heard of from Formula 1 teams of a technical persuasion states that drivers have virtually no impact on modern F1 cars. Recent analysis confirms that from a statistical perspective drivers don’t have any impact on reliability (apart possibly from one or two edge cases, of which Hamilton nor Rosberg is one).

2. Hamilton and Rosberg had virtually equal reliability over their four years together, so this idea that Hamilton was somehow harder on his cars is nonsense. Hamilton didn’t have a mechanical DNF in his career until Abu Dhabi 2010 – nearly 3 years into his career.

3. Even if you overlook that, the actual failures in 2016 are totally inconsistent with being damaged through driving style. China and Russia qualifying were brand spanking new engines, Malaysia was also a brand new engine for that weekend, and Hamilton was cruising to victory with everything turned down. The idea that he somehow over stressed that engine in the face of all the monitoring and telemetry that the team have is unthinkable.

People generally only claim that drivers affect reliability when they have a partisan axe to grind – plenty of people were saying Verstappen was harder on the car to justify him being behind Ricciardo; by the end of he season Ricciardo had more
failures than him.

Oh, and I know that people are very touchy about people “attacking” each other at the moment and making the site a friendlier place, so please let me say congratulations on your engineering degree.


please let me say congratulations on your engineering degree.

Absolutely superb – made me laugh out loud 🙂


I’m saying better drivers can be harder on the car and in this era of an engineer controlling everything fron the pit lane you can argue that he will compensate around the lap. But to say the driver does not impact on the engine by keeping his pedal to the metal longer than the next guy is fanciful. So let me quote an F1 engineer rather than just say something like. “ most technical guys” (A cut and paste from the
“The driver will spend more time with his right foot flat, which means it is a greater period of time that the engine is at full power. That puts a greater durability challenge on the engine. So our challenge for 2017 is to continue improving our performance, but increase our durability considerably.”

Andy Cowell: “Some of the existing corners will now be straights, because the grip of the car is so large. The driver will spend more time with his right foot flat, which means it is a greater period of time that the engine is at full power. That puts a greater durability challenge on the engine”


I can’t read the full context of the comments as the site is in French and I can’t find the quote you’re saying, but from the context he says nothing that challenges my point – that drivers have any discernible impact on car reliability; Cowell is clearly talking about the increased stresses on the engine from the new aero regs, not that Lewis will be driving so much faster than his teammate he’ll break the car.

Not to mention my other two points stand – (i) there’s no statistical evidence either in the specific case of Hamilton vs Rosberg (or Hamilton vs all his other teammates) or indeed other “faster” drivers vs their teammates that they have a statistically significant higher (or lower) failure rate than their teammates; and (ii) the nature of the failures Hamilton had in 2016 were totally incompatible with them being caused by driving style.


I think maybe what he was trying to say is the better drivers, or the best drivers, will square their car up quicker through corners and therefore get on the throttle sooner. Thus being on the throttle for longer of the lap. I do agree however that a drivers style cannot directly affect reliability.


Of course, but even if you assume that is true, we’re talking fractions of a second of engine stress over engines that have to run for 4 races, plus practice/qualifying sessions. The idea that this difference (if it exists) accounts for such a difference in reliability is laughable.

Plus, he even undermined his own point himself – Hamilton was miles ahead in several races (including Malaysia) where he could have comfortably lifted and coasted, protecting the engine.


Ok Andy Cowell is wrong I am obviously debating with experts who know more than him. Sorry you don’t speak French It was something I had to learn it along with my engineering degree you are so sarcastic of. Hows your latin ….Age quod agis. ..


You are misrepresenting what Cowell is saying. That’s what Andrew M was saying, and he’s right.

Look at the p-value chart in that piece. While Prost is the only driver where it can be said that he had an influence over reliability (i.e. he had the only statistically significant result), Hamilton is the next of the champions listed, in terms of lowest p-value having had less mechanical failures than his teammates.

It’s well known that Hamilton’s driving style in the hybrid era means that he uses less fuel than others, because he is able to carry more speed through corners than most, such that he does not need to accelerate as much as others. That would naturally mean less strain on the engine.

Finish percentage:

Go to that link, click on the Current Drivers button, then sort on the %/NB GP column. You will see that Hamilton has the highest finishing percentage of all drivers with over 100 GP’s to their name.

One would expect to see heightened strain through driving style manifest itself in this stat … it says the opposite to what you’re suggesting.

Paddy Lowe: “We let Lewis down in a big way”

Cowell talking about improvements to the 2017 engine, to avoid failures like the one in Sepang 2016:


Jon, Cowell clearly is talking about the increased stresses on the engine from the new aero regs though isn’t he? Surely you can see that?


I’m not saying he’s wrong, just that the quote you provided isn’t relevant to the discussion; if Andy Cowell turned up and said “Lewis caused all the failures in 2016 through his driving style, which he persisted in throughout the year despite the whole team telling him to change it” I would volte face* quickly. But he isn’t. So I’m not.

Anyway, with such cherry picked evidence and straw man arguments you’ll fit in right in around here.

*My Latin is reasonable, having learnt it at school, unlike French, which I didn’t.


Go back to my origional post where I was effectively asking how you can compare drivers in different cars. I went on to say that you can argue over relative reliability being down to driver style. I did not catagoricly say Hamilton blew up his engines However certain contributers saw fit to jump in with personal attacks, denying an engineering fact and denyining the words of a top F1 engineer. Apparently the fact the site was in French and they can not even use google translate gives them the right to carry on with the their argument.
I did not believe the conspiracy theory that some people are payed to flood these sites with pro Hamilton propaganda and to stiffle any discussion that might in any way deny he is the best driver of all time. But some of the recent posts are starting to make me wonder.


I don’t care whether you think Hamilton isn’t the best driver. As I’ve said, I think you can make a reasonable argument that Hamilton, Vettel, Ricciardo, Verstappen or Alonso is the best driver on the grid, and as long as people are reasonable in their assertions I don’t have a problem. I do have a problem with things like this:

So Hamilton being the faster driver may well have stressed his car more. However as you have to finish to win then this may not always be the best strategy and it is best strategy that can win championships.

That is what you said, as if somehow Hamilton could have affected the failures that he had, and it was a case of “strategy” that he lost to Rosberg. That is not the case. All the evidence, both macro (there being no statistical evidence that drivers in modern F1 can influence reliability) and micro (the specific nature of the engine failures that he suffered) shows that is was random chance.

And no-one is denying the words of a top engineer, we’re saying that you’re presenting his words out of context when he’s talking about something else entirely; we’re saying you are wrong, not him.

As to your last paragraph, that’s how it goes – people post nonsense facts/opinions/analysis; people are called out on it; people complain “the other” is running the site. Like I said, you’ll fit in well here, I see five stars in your future definitely.


Come off it. You get a few replies, that mildly disagree with you, and you get all sensitive and believe you’re being stifled?! I don’t believe Andrw M personally attacked you in any way, nor do I believe that anyone denied the words of Andy Cowell.


I was a bit snarky 😀


I’d say Heidfeld would be a close #5 with Ocon. He put in a very solid season. Ocon improved over the season.


Even if he was in F1, I doubt it. HUL?, yeah nah.


All these comments about my driver is better than yours, I would like to put my old penny worth in as it’s Christmas. My drivers in the good old days when cars had a proper steering wheel, gear lever, clutch and brake pedals. I can remember standing at the side of the road and watched Moss and Fangio roar pass in their Mercedes just a few feet from where I was standing. So my drivers are Fangio, Moss, Hawthorn, Collins and Clark with Raymond Baxter the commentator and able to watch them on Black and White TV. Hey were proper drivers not these computer nerds in 4 wheeled computers going around tarmac sun dunes. Now I can only watch 10 races on some fancy advert channel. These were the days before JA was even thought about and BE was starting his second hand car sale man’s career.


Please don’t be put off by the totally disrespectful poster below and continue to share your thoughts, whilst also allowing for the favorable environment in which the younger generations have grown up in. It is not their fault that the driver has an ever decreasing say in the results of the modern F1 car


Ah Yes…and the tyres were made of a more rubbery rubber, the wheels were a more rounder shape of round. A time when men were men and sheep were scared. A time when you could leave your door unlocked at night and everything was perfect. Please!!!
There is a simple answer to your pain…..stop watching, reading and, more importantly, commenting about modern F1.
For the record…..those drivers you mention, whilst great in their era, would be nowhere today due to the vastly superior std of driving throughout the grid.
So……suffer no more. NOW is the time for action. Let nobody stand in your way. Leave F1 as befuddled, rose tinted memories in your faiding mind and spare us the historical lectures. All the best my good man.


Very poor post.

I imagine that you would not speak to your elder relatives in anything like that manner.


What a rude, arrogant and complete moronic reply to what was actually an interesting comment.
Probably the first comment the guy has posted on here and he cops that rubbish as his welcome.
You are a disgrace!


Not to mention almost totally wrong. A lot of the drivers of the modern grids would not be there to participate on the grids of the past, as instead of celebrating their successes, we would be mourning their deaths. That is if they were brave enough to compete in the first instance.

Six people at time of writing voting it up deserve calling out as well.


Ooooooh….Sars is cross with me. 😉
Glass, Houses, stones, pot, kettle, black. Still……Happy new year Sars. 2018 is going to be another doozy for you me thinks. 😆 xx


Lewis number one OK, Max number two fine, Sebastian number three, what? James better have Ocon in this list somewhere. Sweet relief Ocon number five, all is well in my universe, Happy Holidays, can’t wait for Testing to begin.

Tornillo Amarillo

In a footnote, I realize that MASSA finishes in the 2017 standings just 11, because Hulkenberg’s 6th race position in Abu Dhabi put the German in the final top 10 on the list, matching in 43 points each driver.

In consequence, Williams’ drivers stand together 11 and 12, which only could be good for teen Stroll, who is just 3 points behind Massa as a reference, but making a podium and a front row appearance in the wet as highlights of his rookie year.


James, I agree with you on the list and the order but I have a serious objection about your treatment of Rosberg.
“For a champion it is very hard to accept a lesser driver beating you over a season in the same car and Hamilton dealt with it badly.”
Has Lewis said that he feels Rosberg was a lesser driver than him or did not deserve to be a champion? He had frequently taken digs at him this year but that shows that he has not come to terms with the reality than anything else.
Is there any undeserving F1 champion?
Or Rosberg is the first and only one?
Don’t take me wrong. Lewis deserves this years title and all the applause. But last year he was beaten by Rosberg. One only remembers Malaysia engine blowout but forgets that he lost more than 5 positions at the start 7 times. He was able to recover only because of Mercedes engine and poor performing RBR, Ferrari and the rest. He should not have won that year or F1 would have looked farcical drama than a real sport. Rosberg did what he had to do and took the championship away.
Forget about endless debates on number of blogs about last year but Rosberg did deserve it last year. As a senior journalist, you of all know that reliability is a part of sport and why it affected Lewis is something God only knows. Only if Toto or Mercedes come out and declare that they sabotaged Lewis’s chances last year to prefer Rosberg would I agree that he was LESSER than Lewis. Please give Rosberg the respect he deserves.


It took him 18 odd years to beat Lewis once in all their time as team mates. Even Rosberg knew he got lucky and the stars aligned and as such took the title and ran. He is the lesser driver of the two all the numbers and history considered would suggest so that’s not to say he is a bad driver just not the same caliber hence the “lesser” usage.


18 years wait makes the win even more epic. True cinema style. David beat Goliath moment, underdog doing the unthinkable. And he retired on high, on his own terms. He answered his own question whether he can become F1 world champion like his father. He got the positive answer and beating Lewis was added bonus. No more questions to answer, at peace with life, he retired with nothing more to prove. We, F1 fans want to see him fight again with Lewis but he has no motivation left to continue. He has completed his objective with F1.


Sarang, it’s not just Malaysia 2016 we remember, it’s China and Belgium where Lewis had to start in last place, and Russia where he had to start tenth. One thing I don’t remember is Lewis dropping more than five positions at the start seven times. He lost five spots at the start in Australia, Bahrain and Italy and six in Japan. He also lost one position in Canada and Spain, so I make that six poor starts in total, with only one of those costing more than five positions.


I checked race reports and you are right. He lost 5 places in Australia & Italy, 6 in Suzuka and 7 in Bahrain after collision with Bottas. I don’t know why Ben Edwards who commentated on that part did so. F1 management should correct their mistake. You are not going to go back and check each comment for fact finding, every time. No hard feelings…


Sarang, no worries, I can see why you thought it was correct. To be honest I have got into the habit of checking everything people say, yours was a genuine mistake, but there are plenty of people on here who aren’t above simply making stuff up!


Please have a look at this official F1 season review film. You’ll find it commented at 17 minute mark.

Anyways, important point was not to devalue the achievements of champions by reasoning out loss of the vanquished. After few years time, it will be just a statistic figure and no one will put * on Rosberg’s achievement saying Conditions Apply.


Don’t know if you’ll notice Sarang but the only ones yapping at you on this are card carrying Hamfosi. That’s their methodology here… bark down any non-believers. Don’t let the noise distract you ☺ I agree with you…


Cheesypoof, maybe you should learn to check things, in the same way Sarang did?


Rosberg is a lesser driver. He knows, Lewis knows it and deep down I think you know it.

Regardless of the circumstances, your ilk will use 2016’s “lose” as proof lewis was bested by a “better” driver. Much like consolidating points across 3 seasons proving jenson out performed lewis.

No amount of mental gymnastics on my part or yours will change the fact that lewis lost the 2016 drivers championship to a lesser driver in Nico.


Lewis lost 2016 to a lesser driver. Some Ham fans can’t recover from that.


2016 started with Rosberg being a lesser driver as he was fighting with 3 time WDC. In your own words, he bested the better driver= become “even better”driver and retired with championship crown on his head. He will be remembered as WDC for the rest of his life and “even better” driver (he left F1 at that level). That’s realilty. Anyways, its pointless to convince anyone otherwise. We are prisoners of our own belief.

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