F1 Team-mate Comparisons Part Two: Who’s currently claiming intra-team honours?
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Posted By: Editor   |  02 Jun 2018   |  4:46 pm GMT  |  90 comments

The dynamics of a driver’s relationship with his team-mate really hit the spotlight as you go higher up the grid. Establishing dominance in your camp can be the difference between being granted a championship challenge and a having to bow down as a loyal number two driver.

Given some predictions about which team holds the pace advantage after pre-season testing, some may be surprised that Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull all have two wins each. What may be more surprising is that the six wins are shared between only three drivers; Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo.

In turn, this means that those three drivers now occupy the top three positions in the drivers’ championship. Would it be too early for any of the top three teams to back just one horse on the off-chance of claiming a title?

What about the sleeping giants Renault and McLaren? Whilst both teams remain in a transitional period, their drivers will still seek to finish ahead of their respective team-mates in order to keep their seats if the team can make the final leaps forward in performance.

McLaren

With Stoffel Vandoorne having a full season of Formula One under his belt, many would’ve expected the Belgian to press on and take the fight to team-mate Fernando Alonso a little bit more this season. Instead, the 2015 GP2 champion has been out-qualified in every race – the worst qualifying record vs a team-mate so far this season – and beaten in every race in which they’ve both finished.

For a driver who almost won the GP2 Series in his first season, before emphatically taking the title (by almost double the points of the second-placed driver) the following season, the outcome has been slightly perplexing.

There’s no denying Alonso’s still one of the quickest drivers in the sport, but that won’t be helping Vandoorne’s case. As long as there’s a sizeable deficit to his team-mate, then it always opens the door to being replaced, especially with McLaren’s junior hot-shot Lando Norris leading the Formula Two championship in his first season.

Like he did to a certain degree in the back-end of 2017, Vandoorne will be keen to provide more examples of him being the ‘real deal’ as this season progresses.

Renault

Both drivers have started the season with something to prove at Renault.

With every passing podium-less season Nico Hulkenberg’s stock is falling, and being able to beat his highly-coveted team-mate would only serve to validate Renault’s decision to bring him on board as a potential team leader.

For Carlos Sainz, he was perhaps a bit unlucky to be overlooked for the second Red Bull seat alongside Daniel Ricciardo back in 2016, considering many believed him to be roughly on par with Max Verstappen, who got the nod from Red Bull. Beating an established driver in Hulkenberg would be a timely reminder for the top teams, who could well be on the market for a new driver at the end of the year.

Hulkenberg has definitely had the stronger start to the season; he leads the qualifying battle by four races to two, and is ahead in their battle in the drivers’ standings.

However, Hulkenberg’s form when presented with an outside chance of a podium remains patchy. He crashed out of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix, which eventually saw a podium go to midfield rival Sergio Perez. Carlos Sainz picked up Renault’s best result of the season so far with a fifth place in that very race.

There’s certainly evidence that Sainz is stopping the rot and competing stronger against his team-mate as the start of the season has progressed. He’s taken qualifying honours for the last two races (albeit with a problematic Spanish Grand Prix qualifying session for Hulkenberg), and was only denied a solid Monaco result by an ineffective tyre strategy. Another intriguing team-mate contest on the cards here.

Red Bull

If a footballing analogy was to be used to summarise the Max Verstappen vs Daniel Ricciardo battle at Red Bull, you could say that Verstappen is scoring a couple of own goals right now. The early own goals don’t necessarily define the entire match (or, in this case, the whole season), but they certainly give your opponent the early advantage in the game. To Ricciardo’s credit, in order for the ‘own goal’ mistakes to have happened, you need to have been putting your opponent under pressure in the first place.

Interestingly, the qualifying battle is three races apiece, with two of the Ricciardo’s qualifying wins coming as a result of Verstappen’s errors.

Of the three races where Verstappen has qualified ahead of Ricciardo (Australia, China and Spain), he’s thrown two of these races away. He made a mistake early on in Australia whilst a couple of places ahead of Ricciardo (who was recovering from a grid penalty), and he took out Sebastian Vettel when he was leading Red Bull’s charge through the field in China.

Whilst the Baku collision caused a lot of debate amongst fans, at the worst case, this can be Ricciardo’s only real mistake of the season, significantly less than the errors accumulated by Verstappen.

Nobody is denying the high level of Verstappen’s ability, but the Dutchman will be desperately seeking a clean weekend in Montreal.

Ferrari

There are two sides to Kimi Raikkonen’s start to the season; On the one hand, he’s probably had the worse luck compared to team-mate Sebastian Vettel. Conversely, he hasn’t been able to maximise the opportunities that have come his way when luck has been around.

First, the bad luck. He was ahead of Vettel in Australia when the virtual safety car altered the race, demoting him from second to third. In Bahrain, he was on course for a third place prior to the Ferrari pit stop error, and in Spain he lost out on a haul of points with power unit issues.

Whilst he can’t control the misfortunes, a couple of chances have gone begging. He was narrowly out-qualified by Vettel in Bahrain and China, which ensured that he played second fiddle to Vettel in those race scenarios, and he threw away another pole position chance in Baku at the final corner, which exposed him to being on the fringes of the hectic midfield mix.

Vettel has enjoyed the lion’s share of the qualifying results, winning that particular battle by five races to one, which has given him the priority in the strategies in the race, and therefore allowed him to execute the maximum results.

Mercedes

In his first season in the Mercedes team, Valtteri Bottas performed ably. Three wins and four pole positions showed that he can, sometimes, take the fight to world champion team-mate Lewis Hamilton. It earned him a one-year extension to his contract, but he’s well aware that his performances will need to step up if he’s to force another contract from team boss Toto Wolff.

A crash in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix set him up for a poor start to the season, but he responded in Bahrain by challenging for the lead of the race, but ultimately falling short.

Another candidate for having the most bad luck in the first half of the season, Bottas probably would’ve won in China without the introduction of the safety car, and he looked set to profit from another safety car by winning in Baku, before a cruel puncture eliminated him from the race.

Since then, Hamilton appears to have re-established the dominance in the team by comfortably out-performing Bottas in Spain (where he won) and Monaco. Can Bottas prove that his quicker races were genuine examples of top-driver pace, or will they be noted down as ‘races where Hamilton was off-form’?

By: Luke Murphy

All images: Motorsport Images

Which drivers in the top teams do you think are winning their respective team-mate battles? Leave your comments below.

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1

Sorry Allan but the Baku incident between Dan and Max to me doesn’t count as Dan’s mistake in the same sense you were talking about. His only mistake was expecting Max to abide by the rules in not moving a second time and giving him at least a cars width of space. Dan gave Max space when being passed and made every effort to cleanly pass Max one of which Max nearly put him into the outside wall for.

Regardless of Dan being behind Max, this is racing not on a public road where the person behind accepts all responsibility. He’d tried everything else so his last option was to trick Max into defending the outside in returning to his racing line for the corner AFTER already defending the inside line. How could Ricciardo anticipate Max (his own team mate) would break the rules to defend so hard against him, that he would move twice (thrice if you include the return to racing line move which is only allowed due to rules but everyone knows it’s a “free” 2nd defensive move) and give him absolutely no where to go except into the rear of Max (who I don’t think had thought that far ahead before blindly defending AGAIN).

2

Completely agree!

3

Stoffel Vandoorne becomes the last victim of Alonso’s politics. what a young talent got extinguished.

4

Or Alonso is a very good race driver and a tough teammate to go up against.

Button said that Alonso was the toughest teammate he ever had. He said (more or less) “when he has his best day you can’t catch him, and when you have your best day he’s all over you and you can’t figure out how he’s staying with you.”

5

He’s the toughest he’s ever had, sure, but it doesn’t add up. Stoffel is way too good to be so soundly beaten by anyone. Remember Fernando is not unbeatable. Jenson did it a few times, Lewis did it as well when they were teammates.

6

At start of the season my view was that if Riccirado matches Max he would have done extremely well given Max”s potential and RB giving him preferred treatment.

A third of the season is gone and Ricciardo is leading the way while in the 4th year Max rides the young and inexperience card and having an incident at every race (laughable).

A question I would ask is if Vettel does not win/come close winning championship (Vettel us not oerfect this year ).. what will Ferrari do??? Bring Daniel, sack Vettel ??

7

Ricciardo has what used to be called “big match temperament”. He always takes the chance when it comes his way and makes it count, he’s an ace overtaker, and he’s mentally tough.

Think back on his first season at Red Bull. He got three wins that year. All of them involved some luck, but every time he took the chance and finished the job off.

Very good race driver.

8

Verstappen caused the crash in Baku by changing direction in the braking zone, thereby reducing the load on Ricciardo’s front wing and impairing his braking ability. No question.

Red Bull this year has been very one sided this year so far, a case of Verstappen being “schooled” by every sense of the phrase.

As for Raikonnen and Bottas; same old story. When the chips are down they can’t cut it. You can moan all you like about bad luck and what ifs but at the end of the day you can remove nearly all that by being in front of your team mate consistently and at the crucial times.

Vandoorne. Average at the moment and was last year, needs to up his speed or he will be out very quickly.

Hulkenburg has done well, but he just seemed destined not to go any further than that.

9

The Baku crash was 50-50. Max defended according to the rules, Dan was bullying Max all race and the drs and long straight made Max a sitting duck. Max didnt really change directions twice he made one changeand continuex in to that direction untill the crash. If Max was really to blame for the crash, he would have gotten a penalty.

Vandoorne is a difficult driver to rate, as Indont believe he gets equal status/treatment in the team. He has often been very close to Alonso in qualify and race. Until Mclaren changed strategy to benifit Alonso.

Kimi is one of my favorites, but you are right, he is not good enough anymore.

10

Faster than Carlos again in Canada this w/e, with time lost in FP1. He’s as good as ever. If he was in Bottas’s seat, he would be doing the same top job.

11

I agree about Raikkonen, who I think is a pretty good driver and who I like as a character. But when he’s been up against a truly top class teammate, he’s come off second best.

12
Kenny Carwash

My take, part two:

McLaren – really no contest here, with Alonso once again putting Vandoorne in the shade. The question is, is Vandoorne actually struggling or are Alonso’s performances superhuman? Last year I felt it was the latter, this year I’m starting to wonder. Stoffel himself appears to be feeling the pressure – the way he hit out at the team after Monaco suggests to me he’s fearful of losing his seat to Lando Norris. However, it’s not all been bad. I thought his late charge from last to 9th in Baku was most impressive – not too many drivers would’ve successfully pulled that off.

Renault – Like Force India, little to choose between the drivers, here. Hulkenberg looks like the reliable old hand who’ll extract whatever points are in the car but no more. Sainz looks capable of more than that, but he’s perhaps not quite settled in to team and car. I think Sainz will edge this one, then may well be recalled to Red Bull if they lose Ricciardo.

Red Bull – One of the grid’s more one-sided contests. Ricciardo is on top form, while Max has made a pig’s ear of the year to date. Max has all the talent, but has more to learn than he seems willing to admit. He’s up against a very fast teammate with no weaknesses and a canny ability to grasp any opportunities that come his way. It’s going to be a learning year for Max and Dan will win this comfortably.

Ferrari – To stick or to twist, that is the question. Kimi has driven well so far, well enough for Ferrari to consider extending his contract. What they’ll be wondering is whether they’d benefit from a driver who can push Vettel a little harder and, by virtue of being closer to him in races, give them more strategic options. Vettel has lost some momentum after a strong start to the season, but mostly through no fault of his own. He’ll get back on it, but I’m unsure Ferrari are going to have the car to challenge Mercedes and Hamilton.

Mercedes – Bottas has had a decent season and some awful luck. I think he’s doing slightly better than last year, but Hamilton clearly has him in his pocket. They may elect to maintain the harmony and keep him on or they may choose to bring in Ricciardo, in part to push Hamilton harder, in part to stop him joining on of their rivals.

13

Max is happy with Ric as team mate also and vice-versa. What are they really going to say, just a stupid question really.

14

@ MartinW

Indeed, GP2 started in 2005 which means champions from the past were lucky not to have partaken in the series

15

Alonso showed his phenomenal skills behind a steering wheel and that he still got the speed to be a winner at this year’s first WEC race at Spa. And now yesterday he again proved he still is the real deal, as he posted fastest lap time during last testing for this year’s Le Mans. He was like 0.5 sec faster than second fastest, so expectations for a win on Sunday with Toyota are getting real. I applaud his quest to win the triple crown and if winning it he deserves the title of being the most complete and versatile racing driver of current generation. I for one look more forward to watching next weekend’s Le Mans with drivers making the difference compared to the predictable and boring processional F1 where qualification, pitstop under/overcuts and fuel/tire savings are king.

16

Fernando is indeed just as amazing as ever, but “the most complete and versatile racing driver of current generation”? Why? If he was in a Red Bull, Mercedes or Ferrari, you can bet he wouldn’t have gone for the triple crown.

F1 is where his greatest competitors are. Just because they don’t do those types of races doesn’t mean they wouldn’t achieve similar results.

17

Again and again and again … it’s such a crying shame that the negative story(s) always win out over the positive ones in today’s media!
What the hell is fundamentally wrong with the human race when negative press and sensational headlines attract our perverted eyes like moths to a flame and ALWAYS outweigh a positive, heart warming story?
Dan has had a stellar season to date, yet there’s absolutely toss all about how good he’s been, it’s all about “Clickbait Max”!!!
Nothing about the car failing him again, nothing about sublime driving skills, nothing about his incredibly calm and positive attitude. The one thing there was in the story about Dan was apportioning some blame for Baku. A negative!
Anyone who blames Dan for even a small percentage of the Baku crash is not a motor racing person at all .. in fact … they’re daft and simply joining the blinded masses who unrelentingly afford the Kamikaze Kid a second, third, fourth … >88th chance for being petulant and always blaming it on being young!
Baku was extremely simple … Max was allowed to be a selfish dik by Horner for half of the race and they paid the ultimate price for it. Adrian Newey looked like he wanted to shake the kid senseless and foot him fair in the crack! That said reams enough for me!

If the headline of the story is “F1 Team-mate Comparisons” … it might be a good idea to be fair and write about BOTH drivers and their feats … not just the one constantly crashes and attracts 1 million “clicks” when the millions of mindless, uninterested teenage website sheep open their phone screens 100 times per day to check their 500 social media alerts which they can’t possibly live without -regardless of whether the subject is important enough to actually read or not!!!
What’s next – alerts to ensure they remember to “brush your teeth”, “eat breakfast” and “don’t forget your school bag”?

18

Fully agree mate. The sheer imbalance is appalling in how Max gets talked up despite causing 8 incidents after 6 races, one of them taking both their cars out of the race (which was fully Max’s fault and I guess partly Horner’s as well for not issuing a coded team order to “GTFO of the way Max!”)

19

@ Jack….an excellent rant. I enjoyed that and i support your outlook 100%. Horner was back on the ‘youth’ bile again this week. How does Ricciardo take a trick? Earlier,on this site, people were dissing on Ricciardo saying of all things that it was a conspiracy and that it was an engineered setup. Now we all know that the poster who did that is prone to outlandish claims more often than not but others seemed to pick up on it as well. The fact is that according to Newey the ‘ store’ is a burnt fried up charred mess’. So is Newey lying as well? Now we are faced with seeing ricciardo taking a ten place grid drop as Renault again ruin any chance he has of closing in on the top two. Renault have really failed miserably. We are four and a half years into these PU’s and they still cannot build an engine of equal performance and reliability to either Ferrari and Mercedes. That fact alone has put the boot into Ricciardo’s chances.

20

Wow boy, I think you need to take a breath and reread the article again. The tone that he has used while referring to Dan and Verstappen is exactly the same as has been used for all other drivers. In fact nearly all of the comparisons have focused on how one team mate has made a load of mistakes/had bad luck

21

100% agree with everything you’ve written here in relation to Max and Daniel. It really gets tiresome and yes, Baku was 100% on Max, despite what the pathetic Stewards and RBR management claimed. Ask Adrian Newey his opinion and I’m fairly confident he’d fully concur.

As for Mercedes and Ferrari drivers, let’s just leave them out of this article. Two great teams structured around a couple of petulant overpaid prats and their subservient #2 team mates, neither of whom is deserving. At the rate Ferrari’s going, Raikonnen will be hobbling around with the aid of a walking frame before they finally give him the flick! As for Bottas, well Hamilton’s effusive praise for his current team mate says it all. No threat!

22

So because a driver is praising his teammate, he is the number 1 driver in the team, receiving preferential treatment? Sublime logic there mate!

Mercedes only ever employed no.1 status last year starting with the Belgian GP – because they feared Vettel would walk away with the championship. Hamilton was best placed at the time to fight him, so they backed him.

23

AussieF1, don’t forget who was supposed to be in the other Merc this year, he was hardly ‘subservient’ was he?

24

Great post. I also wrote a comment along similar lines however I was somewhat more critical of the approach to the comparison between the Bulls and thus my post seems to have been moderated out entirely.

25

@ Sars…The mods are getting somewhat high handed these days. I’ve lost quite a few posts lately. It seems as though constructive criticism, even well mannered, is a no no. Another question is, just who is the ‘editor’ as he doesn’t get a name these days.

26

It’s not quite like that

It’s more that I don’t like the tone adopted by some posters that they ‘own’ the site and have some kind of authority to dictate things here and set the tone

Constructive criticism has always been welcome

We provide a free service – it’s not always perfect but we’ll decide what is in the best interests of the site
Thanks

27

McLaren. Vandoorne doesn’t need to be in real contention with Alonso but he desperately needs one or two really spectacular results. The other young talents – Gasly, Leclerc, Ocon – have provided in this respect, Stoffel has not. As for Alonso, the beardman is a great driver but  his expectations of what McLaren is capable of are not realistic. Taking on RB just because they now have a Renault engine too, just not gonna happen. If the engine improves Renault and to a lesser degree RB are going to profit.  McLaren will still struggle. (I believe by the way Renault want to get rid of Red Bull. Suspect they have a by now quite spectacular and reliable upgrade available but instead they’ll come up with a disappointing one in Canada. They want to have a title shot themselves next year as a works team. Need to ditch the drinks team for that.)

Renault. This season will be evenly matched between Hulkenberg and Sainz. If Renault do indeed come up with a spectacularly improved engine later (or after) this season, I expect Hulkenberg to be replaced with Alonso. Or with – hold on – Ricciardo.

Red Bull. Once again, I do not expect a spectacular performance gain for the Renault-powered RB engine soon. HAM-VET-RIC 2 wins each is skewed for Red Bull by a freak win (China) and a very deviant circuit win (Monaco). All hopes of Ricciardo entering the title fight and even shouts he should be given 1st driver dibs are grossly exaggerated and premature. He and Verstappen remain locked in rearguard actions as far as the title goes. The only battle is between the two of them and that fight is not over yet. Verstappen however really needs to stand up now and show some maturity. The irritation with him displayed by Marko is worrying.

Ferrari/Mercedes. I’ll treat them in one go, as the team-mate ‘battles’ are very similar. They are not battles, the scenes at both Mercedes and Ferrari are dominated mentally by the two multiple world champions. The subservient Finns may do (very) well every now and then but that is of no consequence. Their only concern is, show and aid enough to secure next year’s seat. Both are OK in that department, although Raikkonen could do somewhat better in races.

28

Alonso’s expectations of taking on the Red Bulls were in line with the rest of Mclaren management. Eric was saying Mclaren have one of the best cars last year and it was simply Honda holding them back. Alonso has just been repeating what was told to him.

29

How was what Dan Ric did in Baku a mistake? That’s absolutely ridiculous.

30

I find it interesting this site continues to compare MV and DR only on qualifying results and continues to point out that if MV had not have made this error or that error or another error, he “could” be 6-0 in qualifying. Like, no other pairing is compared this way, so why is the Red Bull pairing compared this way?

31

Troy, qualifying head to heads have been used to judge team mates for as long as I can remember.

32

Because it suits interested parties to promote Verstappen at the expense of Ricciardo. There have been similar parallels in the past and i’m sure that there’ll be more in the future. The media, more than ever these days, are not prepared to, as we say here in Australia, ‘stir the possum’. The fans are more open than the media as witnessed. As an example, how many media sites saw the Baku incident as 100% down to Verstappen?

33

Seriously go and read the other comparisons for the other teams again, it is exactly the same style concentrating on how one driver isn’t doing as well and talking about all the mistake/bad luck they have had…

34

James, both you and Martin Brundle seem to have gotten your sequences wrong when talking about Verstappen’s race in China “He (Verstappen) made a mistake early on in Australia whilst a couple of places ahead of Ricciardo (who was recovering from a grid penalty), and he took out Sebastian Vettel when he was leading Red Bull’s charge through the field in China.” However, Ricciardo had passed him much earlier when Verstappen tried to go around the outside of Hamilton. Verstappen ran wide and Ricciardo was through. Ricciardo then passed Vettel and was chasing Bottas for the lead. It was after Ricciardo got pased both Hamilton and Vettel that Verstappen then ran into Vettel.

35

What has happened to bottas with lick is painful to watch.

36

Hulkenberg has impressed, Carlos is coming back at him now, but Nico clearly had an edge over him in the first races.

Seb has dominated Kimi as you would expect, but how impressive is that? Seb’s legacy will be damaged if he doesn’t go up against someone a bit quicker before he retires.

Lewis has got over his early season issues to put some distance between himself and Bottas, but Valterri has done a good job so far.

Fernando has been so far in front of Stoffel it is a bit embarrassing! We all know how good Alonso is, but Vandoorne is clearly no competition for him.

37

@TimW,

“Seb’s legacy will be damage… “

Right a four times WDC legacy will be judge over the teammates he raced against. The youngest, to date, WDC, youngest 2x, 3x, 4xWDC needs in your eyes to prove that he is the real thing? Pfffff. Haters really. Marc

38

Comet. Michael won 7, and in the eyes of many his reputation was damaged by his refusal to allow any competition from his team mates. Seb’s accomplishments will remain a matter of record, and I don’t hate him at all, but what would impress you more, Seb winning the wdc next year with Ricciardo in the other car, or Kimi?

39

Tim

There will be repercussions for Seb and Kimi if Seb loses the WDC to Lewis again. Marchionne will see to it because obsensibly Seb was brought to Ferrari and paid big bucks to win a championship.

40

Ostensibly? So what was the underlying/real reason he was brought to Ferrari?

41

CTP

“Ostensibly”, thankyou! I’m sure you can work out the rest.

42

Adrian, if Ferrari want to replace Kimi they need to decide now, maybe the decision has already been made?

43

Perhaps so. As much as I’m a Kimi fan (I still have a McLaren Kimi peaked cap as my daily wear) I’m sure that Ferrari is hoping to obtain Dan R .they will have no problems accommodating him given the way in which their drivers are paid. Their only problem will be Seb who has nothing but bad memories of being Dans teammate. Ferrari have always wanted their no 2 drivers to be strong and full of fight and certainly able to pick up the pieces if their no1 drops out. I’m sure that Ferrari would snap up Dan R if the chance arises. Seb has won 4 WDC but none of them for Ferrari. Dan would be a good fit at Ferrari. Modern day Ferrari would be a good fit for Dan too (what schoolboy doesn’t dream of scoring a drive with Ferrari ?) The problem for Ferrari is that ‘m sure that Mercedes has more pull in terms of guaranteed “equal machinery ” and less potential for political machinations (something that Dan doesn’t seem to favour) than Ferrari. So I expect that Mercedes would be Dans first preference. Only if a Merc drive becomes a mirage will Dan be “resigned” to a Ferrari drive. I don’t think that Dan will accept any of the blandishments that have been offered by RB. He only needs to look to the way in which the golden children were treated in both his and Mark Webbers case. As much as I don’t like to say it Kimi is likely to be gone if Dan is unable to take up a starring role at the three pointed star. Lewis I believe is less threatened by Dan but I’m sure that he would if at all possible retain VB as a teammate. The question is whether Merc wants an even stronger team and probably at a good price given Dans expressed wish for a car that will enable him to compete for the WDC. I’m not suggesting a zero dollar drivers fee (a la Senna 1993) but Merc will know that they each have what the other wants leaving a more or less even contractual bargaining field. They are assured of getting a star for a reasonable driver fee in exchange for Dan getting his shot at the WDC. Everyone wins and they deny Ferrari a superior “no2” who may add a psychological threat to Seb and put constructors championships for the red cars out of reach. Roll on 2019!

44

Tim, all the press (which obviously can be unrealible) indicates that Ferrari haven’t entered into negotiatons with Kimi for next year and I think he’s said as much himself. I’m of the view, which has been mentioned by a number of F1 commentators – even James Allen – that how Vettel goes this year may determine who partners him next year. Ferrari know they have a good car and perhaps see their best shot of getting a WDC in the short term is during the current regulatory period which concludes in 2020. Given this and if Vettel fails again this year Marchionne may well move to replace Kimi with someone who can get the job done.

45

Adrian, I guess it depends on who they have in mind. If they are thinking about Dan, then that decision needs to be made sooner rather than later, if it’s Leclerc then they can wait until the end of the season. I still doubt they would go for Charles so soon though, as impressive as he is, he is too inexperienced for them.

46
Tornillo Amarillo

It’s calm at the front, no intra-team battle at Merc and Ferrari. The fact Hamilton and Vettel are happy with their teammates says a lot.

But in Red Bull Ric is being smart and Max distracted.

Curious a driver doesn’t want a Red Bull seat… like Sainz.

Curious also Hamilton want to have a challenge and a three-way-battle,

usually drivers just want to win everything alone.

47

Verstappen and Ricciardo are also happy with each other. Does that mean both of them have no.1 status?

This logic is completely absurd, I’m surprised to see it so much around here.

48

Silver Red Purple Yellow & Orange.

What a colourful conversation.

So, who do I think is winning each colour?

Silver; Lewis.

Simple, & no argument, from any corner.

Red; Ferrari.

Drivers are just another cog in the wheel. Ferrari always win.

Purple; Adrian Newey.

Ric might have Ver covered, but they’re just displaying Aidrian’s brilliance.

Yellow; Cyril Abiteboul.

Maclaren, Red Bull & Renault all work for Cyril’s World Championship. Just you wait.

Orange; Alonso.

Always Alonso.

“Flavio. I want . . .”. “Ron. Kneel & bark for me”. “Michael. I want to turn left 2000 times”.

Because of Alonso, I have watched in amazement, shed tears of joy, & turned the TV off & smashed the remote on the wall.

But because of this, Alonso will push, Abiteboul will build, & with the Newey brilliance added to the better Renault, Ricciardo will just about need Mercedes & Ferrari working together to stop him.

Go Danny Ric.

49

I’m starting to think that Merc now has their eye’s solely on the drivers champ. In their own mind I believe they still think they have the best car (for good reasons), especially for the whole season. Ferrari are not the strongest contender in that respect, the constructors, since they easily would sacrifice Kimi’s (or any other possible driver there) points, to maximize Seb’s. RBR not strong enough either, so Merc sits pretty comfortable. So this year after Bottas’s bad luck, the decisions could be going in the favour of Lewis, albeit not yet completely there. Last year though it was still even enough midterm, and concerns were raised from the team (Wolff ect.), wether they, need to change their approach on driver equality. Especially after, I don’t remember with race, maybe Hungary. Then shortly after the summer brake, the scene had completely changed. Lewis dominated the season until he had the championship secured, and then Bottas was back on form aagain. That kind of anomalies makes me think something might go on. But who knows. Maybe Lewis can so easily switch it on and off.

50

Ferrari have a better car.

51

Think you have it spot on James. Ric does need to improve his qualifying though and so does kimi. I think the Canada grand prix will highlight the true pecking order for the drivers in their respective teams and an opportunity for those who haven’t been delivering to shine.

52

@ Kurik…Like the following poster, why Canada? What specifically does Canada have that will be a standout in the manner intra/inter team competitiveness? Maybe it’s just that your specific driver hasn’t shone well and just one more race/opportunity will skew the results to date if he does improve.

53

Ken, I think he’s hoping it might be “7th time lucky” for his guy…

54

Why would Canada prove the pecking order if the previous 6 races haven’t?

Just asking… 🙂

55

I am not surprised one bit to see Alonso once again getting the better of his teammate. I don’t think too many drivers could beat him over a season even if he might have lost some of the raw speed he had with age. I hope he will stick around for at least another season after this one. Vandoorne must be affected somehow by this situation and his future in the sport my be in jeopardy.

Hulkenberg is a solid driver without a doubt but he seems to be missing that little something that makes team principal notice you, I see him having many more years at a wheel of a F1 car but he might never be given a top car unless Renault does a great vaulting act by next season. I was expecting more from Saintz honestly. Youth is on his side but so many other prospects are in or about to arrive that he might end up being overlooked.

Much has been said about Max’s season so far and he very needs to control his instincts better. I still think that he is the real deal and that he will beat his teammate this year at the end. Having said that, Ricciardo has never looked better and i

he is showing that he is ready to mount a challenge for a WDC. Will he get into a car that will be on par to make that challenge feasible? We should know soon now.

Kimi got off to a great start in 2018, but his lack of luck as caught up with him again. That plus the fact that Ferrari sees Vettel as the better horse to bet on means that securing even one win will not come easy for Kimi. Will he still be around next year? I guess this question is on many people’s lips. I somehow thing that he will be and it will be in the same team. Vettel’s season so far is very much sweet and sour is it not? He should be leading the championship right now and yet he is not. He has driven well overall but has had a bit of bad luck coming his way as well. It is still all to play for thankfully and given the way his Ferrari seem to be competitive on all circuits, I am very much hopeful that he will be a 5 time champion before the season is over.

But for his mistake in Australia I think Bottas has done great to date. I would even say that he has done better than Hamilton so far, which is by no means easily achieved. Lets see if he can maintain this level of competitiveness all through out the season now. Hamilton by his own high standards, hasn’t shine too bright up to now. It will be interesting to see if Mercedes have reach good enough of an understanding on how to maximized their tires use. Their season pretty much depends on this fact in my opinion. If they do Hamilton will be well placed to stop Vettel getting a 5th title first.

Anyways we have had a goos season to date and I hope that no team get too much of an advantage over the others so that we can be entertained all season long. Marc

56

Bottas was quicker in Bahrain and China, Lewis was quicker in Australia, Baku and Monaco.

57

On Vandoorne, he doesn’t get the tools to beat Alonso. Alonso is the n1 at McLaren. Alonso always gets the updates first. Like in Monaco. Better front wing for Alonso, even a spare. Nothing for Vandoorne. How can you beat your team mate like that?

58

Ferrari will keep their 2 driver partnership going as Vettel doesn’t want another Redemption Ricci vs Vettel fight.

Red Bull will end up with Redemption Ricci as driver 1 and Max as Driver 1 (with Red Bull owner siding with him always in a Vettel’esk way)

Mercedes will keep their 2 guys. Lewis Driver 1 and Bottas driver 2 (Ocon will be ready for his move to Mercedes in near future)

Mclaren Alonso may stay next season or leave maybe Haas? He is riding high while Stoffel will be ousted by Lando Norris next season. He has been flat lining and coasting for 2 seasons now.

Renault… Sainz lead driver and Hulks in 2nd driver mode. Whether they let Hulks go at the end of the season…who can say. Hulks is a solid mid pack driver.

59

Daniel was leading the Bulls charge in China when Max ran into Seb, not Max, who had already ran off the track when he got near Lewis.

60

More evidence of the media bias…the Max story could almost write itself, i swear!

61

To be honest I can’t see how anyone expected Vandoorne to even match Alonso let alone outperform him. Alonso has made mistakes that have cost him but as a driver he is still one of the best in this era.

I remember the ‘Hulk’ entering F1 with considerable fanfare back in 2010? He is now 30 and has not been able to live up to his potential so far. Sainz finished ahead of him last year and is only 6 points behind currently. If Sainz beats Hulk again this year I think he will struggle to get a seat next year. Sainz may end up at RB next year.

Ricciardo moved up to Red Bull in 2014 as no2 driver to Vettel. He comprehensively beat Vettel 5th 167 points to Ricciardos 3rd 238. Vettel left for Ferrari in 2015.

2015 Kvyat was brought in he finished ahead of Ricciardo by 3 points that year, Kvyat was dumped the next year after his accident in Russia. A bit harsh I thought but there you go.

2016 Verstappen was parachuted in as the next big thing, in my opinion to early. Since then the hype and drama surrounding Verstappen has to some extent over shadowed Ricciardos achievements.

2016 Ricciardo 3rd 256 points, Verstappen 5th 204.

2017 Ricciardo 5th 200 points, Verstappen 6th 168.

2018 to date Ricciardo 3rd 72 points, Verstappen 6th 35.

A lot is said about Verstappens qualifying. That does not amount to much if you can’t deliver on Sunday though does it. Before the start of this season I said Ricciardo needed to improve to keep Verstappen at bay…he has. In qualifying so far this year there is nearly nothing between them. On race day Ricciardo continues to outperform Verstappen. I did not foresee Verstappen starting to crack under the pressure. Verstappen has made many more mistakes than Kvyat and has not performed as well over given a season yet he is being kept on, something has to give.

This could end up a very expensive miscalculation on Red Bulls part. If they continue promote and run Red Bull as Verstappen as centric they will likely lose Ricciardo and their best chance of a WDC & WCC.

I’m sure Vettel is happy with Raikkonen as his no2 But is Ferrari happy with him? But the real question? Is Ferrari satisfied with Vettels performance so far this year…I doubt it.

Hamilton is easily the top dog at Merc, and he deserves that place. Bottas has been not so consistent.

Neither Hamiton nor Vettel would want Ricciardo as a team mate. According to Joe Saward neither driver has a veto over who their team mate is.

The silly season will be upon us soon it’s going to be very interesting this year I think.

62

@ johnh…Good post, very agreeable.

63

Good post, although to be honest there was never much in the Ricciardo v Verstappen qualifying battle anyway – the results may have looked lopsided last season, but there was very little between them. Ricciardo has the tendency to maximise the points finishes on Sunday though, and that is what really counts.

64

Great post John!

I’m past being frustrated by those still extolling Max’s virtues as future champion….and now just find it amusing! It seems he was born with too many “get of of gaol” cards in his back pocket in the eyes of his adorers. His error rate saw Kvyat punted from the sport and Maldonado made a mockery of.

You have summed up their record together nicely…the only peg Max can (maybe) hang his hat on is qualifying…but his teammate is right there with him and not making the same mistakes. It is very arguable that Dan is pushing Max into the high risk and sometimes very ragged driving that we are seeing, as Max struggles to better his teammate under the weight of 20m euro’s worth of expectation.

I’m looking forward to seeing Dan in another colour, and will be keeping myself amused as Horner anf Marko sweep up all the carbon fibre as we see Verstappen/Sainz (Mk 2). And will they eat their words as they implement team orders as the only means of keeping Ver/Sai appart?

65

@LKFE…another good post. I just hope that DR gets to read some of his supporters comments from time to time and knowing that they see through the ‘flim flam’ being touted by the sympathetic media all too willing to go along with the hype.

66

Well, about Vandoorne. He rarely gets the same equipment as Alonso. Example: 2 new front wings for Monaco. Both for Alonso. Vandoorne wasnt allowed to use them. With this kind of disparity, how can you expect to beat his teammate?

67

@ veteran…maybe these ‘uber’ expensive items were not to be entrusted to anyone who might just destroy them quicker.

68

I believe all this “Vandoorne shouldn’t be expected to match Alonso” stuff is a bad argument. Yes Alonso has preferential treatment now but that’s because he comprehensively outperforms Vandoorne each weekend, so it wouldn’t be smart from a team perspective to give Vandoorne new parts which Alonso could end up needing. Quite frankly, Vandoorne inflicted this upon himself because of his early season poor performances relative to Alonso.

Hamilton was able to match Alonso as a rookie while Alonso was in his prime, and yes while McLaren did give Lewis preferential treatment towards the end of the year, they only did so because he showed that he could match Alonso at the start of the season, when they intially backed Alonso for the WDC (everyone seems to forget the McLaren team orders at Monaco 2007).

Therefore while I agree it may be hard for Vandoorne to beat Alonso over the course of a season, he should at least be able to beat him over the occasional weekend or two and be close the rest of the time.

If he retains his current form and is outpaced by Alonso every single weekend, he is just not good enough for F1 and should be out for the 2019 season.

69

JA,

I think it’s a bit too soon to make any big calls. I’ve been keeping some data on MV v’s DR this year, in comparison to some data from last year. I was going to save sending it for the summer break when a clearer picture might emerge. I was inspired to keep an eye on it when your site said something about MV (can’t remember the exact words) wiping the floor against DR in qualifying last year. I thought that was a bit steep and I really thought the true strength of MV last year was his starts. Compared to DR, they were fantastic and set him up for better results. Qualifying was overall to MV’s adavantage last year(12-8) but when results were stripped of car failure in qualifying last year, he only beat DR by 0.178 secs on average. Hardly destroying him.

To this year, so far it’s 3-3. From the same time last year MV went on a run of 8-1 qualifying wins v DR in the next 9 races, so I will be interesting to see if he goes on to repeat that. I’m speculating he will improve because he’s probably far more comfortable with the classic old style European tracks coming up this time of year.

On average DR is 0.268 secs quicker in qualifying this year over MV. If you were to strip out the two qualifying crashes for MV, he does have a better average qualifying time than DR. I’m not striping them out though as he crashed himself in those, they were not car related failures. However it does suggest when (big when) MV is on it, he is still a touch faster in qualifying. Average starting position overall in 2018 is 5th for DR and 9th for MV.

Measuring starts is fun. I’ve decided on comparing positions after one lap. And it’s best to measure it as a % of the cars in front that a driver has passed. This way, the numbers of cars passed from say 20th on the grid in a fast car, doesn’t scew the results pointing to a better overall starter. eg. To go from 3rd to 2nd means you’ve overtaken 50% of the field ahead of you, so you get a bigger reward in the stats for it, whereas overtaking 5 cars from 21st only gives you 25%. It’s also netted against going backwards at the start.

MV has a net 7 positions gained (8 passes and 1 loss of position) and is passing 9% of the field ahead of him on average.

DR has not gained or lost a single position in 2018 thus far. If he keeps that form up, it will be a better result than last year (haven’t kept the stats) where he did go backwards semi-regularly. The next stage of this season will be very interesting in this regard for DR.

If MV hits the same form from last year now, DR really wants to improve his starts to compete. Having said that, he maintained 1st in Monaco which can’t be bettered. If he can do that more often, then this statistic is meaningless.

70

I definitely agree about Ricciardo needing to improve his starts, Webber was a bit ordinary as well, maybe it’s an Aussie thing :).

What would be interesting see. Which of the two have the faster average lap times and who has the most fastest laps on race day E.t.c. I suspect they are close

71

Max is a good starter, but his numbers are inflated by having two races massively out of position.

72

G’day Luke! Didn’t think you had an unbiased comment in you, but very happy to be proven wrong 😜 Nicely constructed analysis.

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