2019 mid-season driver rankings part one: 3-1

Driver rankings

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You already know who’s in our top three drivers of the year so far, but what order are they in? Read on to find out.

3. Carlos Sainz Jnr

Carlos Sainz Jnr

Beat team mate in qualifying4/12
Beat team mate in race6/8
Races finished10/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate383/561
Qualifying margin+0.99s
(Adjusted: +0.09s)

Surely it’s preposterous to rank a driver who’s been out-qualified by his rookie team mate as high as third on the list? Not necessarily: Sainz didn’t set a representative time in Austria because of an engine change and in Azerbaijan yellow flags ruined his final run on an improving track. Had those flipped in his favour, the scoreline would be a tie.

More importantly, Sainz has consistently got the job done on Sundays since coming through a largely unlucky opening three races. His engine failed in Australia and he was hit by Daniil Kvyat on the first lap in China. Only in Bahrain, where he paid a high price for wheel-banging with Max Verstappen, could Sainz be held responsible for failing to score.

Since then he used the steadily improving McLaren to great effect, drawing away from the midfield fight. He’s done so despite committing parts of his race weekend practice to evaluating more unorthodox set-ups in an attempt to push forward the development of the MCL34.

The upshot is Sainz has been the ‘Formula 1.5’ class winner more times than anyone else. He led the midfield home in Monaco, France, Britain and Hungary. His last two outings produced fifth-place finishes, the former despite spinning off early in the rain in Germany. But for all this, perhaps his best result came at the Red Bull Ring, where he rose from a penalty-enforced 19th on the grid to take a superb eighth.

It cannot have escaped Red Bull’s notice that he was the next car behind their man Pierre Gasly at the flag. Heading into the summer break, Sainz was just five points behind the now ex-Red Bull driver. Red Bull must surely be wondering how close they would be to Mercedes if they’d promoted Sainz when they had the chance.

2. Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton

Beat team mate in qualifying7/12
Beat team mate in race8/11
Races finished11/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate525/737
Qualifying margin-0.08s

The only F1 driver to win six world championships – Michael Schumacher – may not have faced much opposition from his team mate, but the same can’t be said of Lewis Hamilton. Though he is well on his way to taking his sixth title, Hamilton has been kept honest by Valtteri Bottas, whose championship bid only stumbled in the last two races.

Hamilton began the season trailing Bottas in the points having surprisingly finished 20 seconds behind his team mate in Melbourne. He swiftly hit back: Though his Bahrain win owed something to fortune, in China he simply beat Bottas off the line and took the win. Although he couldn’t repeat the trick in Azerbaijan, since the championship returned to Europe, Hamilton has asserted himself.

By the time the championship left Monaco he’d led every lap in three of the preceding four races. In Canada he hounded Sebastian Vettel until the Ferrari driver cracked, and in France he led all the way again. That was his fourth win in a row.

Following Mercedes’ off-colour weekend in Austria, Hamilton was in irrepressible form at home, swarming all over Bottas in the early laps and on course to beat his team mate even without the help of the Safety Car.

Germany was his poorest showing of the year so far, and even then it was a somewhat unfortunate tyre call which triggered the errors which left him a lowly ninth. He swiftly banished that weekend in Hungary, where from third on the grid he dodged his way past Bottas at the start, then hunted down Verstappen for a superb win. Hopefully the pair will cross swords a few more times before the season is over, but Hamilton’s eight wins from the opening 12 rounds makes it hard to see anyone keeping him from the championship silverware.

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1. Max Verstappen

Max Verstappen

Beat team mate in qualifying11/12
Beat team mate in race10/11
Races finished11/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate691/725
Qualifying margin-0.33s
(Adjusted: -0.39s)

We can’t discount the possibility Verstappen’s star has shone brightly this year because Pierre Gasly has had such a poor campaign. But it’s hard to pinpoint many opportunities for Verstappen to have increased his points haul above a tally which stands at almost three times that of his now ex-team mate.

Despite a car which has been, on average, slower than the Ferrari over the season so far, Verstappen is comfortably ahead of the two red cars in the points standings and just seven behind Bottas. Had Vettel not rammed him at Silverstone, Verstappen’s Red Bull-Honda could very realistically be second in the championship.

Even in the early races, before the Red Bull-Honda package had truly gelled, Verstappen was turning in great results when he could and bagging solid points when he couldn’t. He began the season on the podium and returned to it in Spain. Only in Monaco can he reasonably be said to have come away with less than what was on offer, picking up a penalty for his wheel-banging incident with Bottas.

As his desperate lunge at Hamilton in Monaco demonstrated, there is no one like Verstappen for putting everything on the line when he has the faintest sniff of a victory. It’s a trait which has won him legions of fans and, more importantly, two top-drawer victories so far this year, in the rain in Germany and wrenched from Charles Leclerc’s grasp in Austria. Could he have added a third in Hungary? Given the hand he was dealt, no.

Everything we’ve seen from Verstappen so far this year indicates the raw talent which was obvious before he came into F1 has matured into a formidable competitor who is ready to challenge for the championship.

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NB. ‘Adjusted’ figures ignore lap times which were deemed unrepresentative, e.g. due to technical problems

2019 F1 season

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Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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136 comments on “2019 mid-season driver rankings part one: 3-1”

  1. There is definitely too much emphasis on winning “F1.5” on Sainz’s rating, as McLaren has often seems to be the best car in the midfield. He has had a good season, but certainly doesn’t belong in TOP-3.

    1. @huhhii it’s just that the top 2 are so far ahead of everyone else… I think that from 3 to about 11 or 12 it’s really quite close, and small things make the difference.

    2. @huhhii

      I’m fine with an F1.5 driver being in the top 3, as a lot of the top team drivers underperformed (Vettel, Bottas and Leclerc), but .. Sainz is being out qualified by his rookie teammate.. and honestly, Norris has had more bad luck when it comes to reliability and poor strategy than Sainz. Norris has impressed me far more than Sainz.

      I have absolutely no idea how Norris can be ranked at #9 and Sainz at #3. There is zero logic put to the rankings this year.

      1. @todfod Totally. I don’t think Bottas has underperformed (he’s being just unlucky lately), but Ferrari drivers and Gasly have underperformed so a midfield driver has to be promoted to TOP-3. Kimi would’ve been my choice, but I’d be alright with Norris in 3rd place.

        1. That wouldn’t make sense. Norris had his share of bad luck, but Sainz seems to be smarter during the races. Always gaining positions at the start, keeping the car out of trouble and bringing home the points. Norris often drops a bit back after the start, getting into the crowded midfield and losing the connection with Sainz during the races. You can see him learning, but Sainz clearly beats him.

          It remind me a bit of Sainz vs Verstappen in 2015. Sainz was stronger in qualifying the first half of the season, but Verstappen erased that edge at the start of every GP. Sainz was stuck in the middle, and Verstappen was just spot on during the races. It looks like Sainz learned from that, because that’s what’s giving him the edge over Norris.

    3. Ludacrous. Talk about bias, I guess the ranking was compiled in Ibiza.. rookie team mate is far quicker in qualifying, solution? let me neutralize 2 Q where both drivers can’t be compared and flip the results around, as if he would’nt be beaten anyway.
      Only dnf 2 races and mclaren as seen by Norris have the quicker car in the midfiels, so where is the surprise, mclaren have given him good strategies and he hasn’t crashed this season.
      Sainz jr is so expert at tooting his own horn that people actually believe he is a good driver. He was gifted by RB and let go by Renault for a reason. Team principals know he is slow, Zak hired sainz jr because mclaren were in no position to shop for a quicker driver.

      1. @peartree yep. let make the argument even more clear. If would have won in qualifying on the other 6, he would be 12-0 ahead, ergo thats why he ranks 3. Twisting arguments to get favorites ranked higher is easy.

  2. Got a minor heart attack when I saw the images in the order: Lewis, Carlos, Max.

    But even with Carlos Sainz Jr in 3rd, it doesn’t feel right.
    My overall feeling is not that he was the 3rd best performer over the first 12 races. But I also struggle to define who was better than him. Maybe Raikkonen (imagine Kimi 3rd), and probably Charles (if I net out the ups and downs so far this season).
    Of course, Bottas and Vettel had some considerable highs as well this season, but also very visible lows. Maybe we see the lows of these top teams more than the lows of the F1.5 teams (except for the mediocre qualifying record of Carlos).

    1. I think Vettel and Leclerc are generally faster than Sainz (if only by a little bit) but their lows have been lower than those of Sainz this season. If they get their shit together they’re both absolutely top tier drivers. For this first half of the year, however, I feel like Sainz’s position is well deserved.

    2. It’s not the best drivers on the first half of 2019 rating, it’s a rating on who did the best job so far… at least that would explain some more logic. Sainz is not better than Vettel, but given the car he had his performance has been better so far

      1. You lost me Mate with’n’n‘; seems semantics to me.
        I’m just struggling with judging Sainz as the 3rd best performer so far this year.

        1. I think he’s saying, look at how many points vettel threw away, give sainz a ferrari and he would be ahead of both ferrari drivers in the championship, and considering how dominating he’s been in the midfield I’d agree.

  3. I fail to see how a desperate and amateurish lunge that could have taken out the race leader in Monaco could be inferred as a plus for Verstappen. Fortunately, Lewis had the mind to predict Max’s madness and made allowances for it.

    On that basis alone, he should second in the rankings.

    1. “I fail to see how a desperate and amateurish lunge that could have taken out the race leader in Monaco”

      You mean that very controlled attempt, that didn’t startle Lewis one bit? (It was Lewis who closed the door and initiated contact so he was able to cut the chicane btw.)


      But how about Lewis barging into Valterri at Hungary…….does that mean he should be third in the rankings?

      1. Are you for real?

        Valtteri driving the first sector in Hungary as if he was drunk has now been turned in to Hamilton barging him?

        What am I reading?

        1. It was Lewis who hit Vallteri out of turn 3…regardless of Vallteri being drunk; that’s what you’re reading as a reply to the (equally preposterous) claim about Max his “desperate lunge”.

          1. As the rules go, Bottas should have yielded the racing line when Hamilton got ahead. If anything, it was Bottas who hit Hamilton.

        2. Gav, you will find from his posting history that Oconomo is a hardcore Verstappen fan, and of the type that also feels it necessary to denigrate the performances of other drivers with sniping at their performances.

          Therefore, even when Verstappen has stated that the move that he made in Monaco was an optimistic one, you will find that Oconomo will always put the blame onto Hamilton for that collision, because it is easier for him to accept that explanation than to accept the possibility that Verstappen’s move was flawed in some way.

    2. The article does not describe it at a plus?
      But there was a lot at stake. Max had a pace advantage and would have easily created a 5 second gap if it succeeded. It wasn’t just for the win; it was first or fourth, it made a 20 points difference in the championship compared to Lewis.
      So it is understandable that Max was willing to try a risky pass.

      1. “Hamilton has been kept honest by Valtteri Bottas”

        By kept honest, he means Lewis romping Bottas 8-2 in wins.

    3. @kbdavies on the basis of one move alone he should be second? You mean the one move that was controlled enough that it cost neither party anything?
      By that logic, Lewis should be down in fifth or sixth for throwing away a race win in Germany, with that uncontrolled crash that cost him…

      1. @hahostolze No problems with Max in first (before you ask) but Hamilton’s crash in Germany was after being put on the wrong tyres. Max also spun round. And Lewis was not really in a fit state to drive, almost being ‘subbed’ before the race. I’m not sure why this isn’t taken seriously. A tennis star loses a match with flu and its taken as obvious and understandable. Racing at 300kmh+, constant G-forces for 1 and a half hours, complete concentration required – a driver misjudges adherence into one corner for a split second and it’s ‘throwing away a race’! :O) Maybe. Or maybe you could cut him a little bit of slack.
        But Lewis second to Max is right, I’ve enjoyed his hounding down of Vettel, Bottas and Verstappen in various races this season, but that also slightly gives away the fact his qualifying so far has been subpar – even if Bottas is focusing more on pole in his setup.

        1. @hahostolze

          Yep.In Germany Max botched his start, spun & a couple of iffy moments with Bottas. Hamilton was ill in Germany, so that can atleast go some way in explaining his subpar performance. Seems like Keith has totally ignored this and not taken it into account when assessing Hamilton’s German performance

          1. A M… get a live, you’re a person stuck in his own mind who keeps repeating the same thing over and over

          2. @ Matn
            What would you prefer? Pretend Hamilton wasn’t ill in Germay? Pretend Max didn’t botch his start, spin 360 & have near contact with Bottas?

          3. @david-br

            Yep.In Germany Max botched his start, spun & a couple of iffy moments with Bottas.

            None of these things matter because he won at the end.

            At Germany 2018, both Vettel and Hamilton ran wide only once. Hamilton ran wide at turn 6, Vettel at the Sachs curve. The difference is that Hamilton found tarmac while Vettel found gravel. Should they be rated equal for that race on that basis?

        2. @david-br My point being that, as errors go, crashing into a wall of a race you were leading, right tyres or not, is worse than whatever Verstappen did to try and win the Monaco GP (or indeed than his spin in Germany). So, we’re not in disagreement, just that the comparison is farcical.

          1. @hahostolze Fair enough, and to be honest that Verstappen-Bottas incident in Monaco was really more down to the team releasing him too early – on purpose or not. I think he benefited more than the penalty made up, given it damaged Bottas’s car and cost him the place, but it doesn’t really count as an error.

          2. (@david-br)

            Of course it’s an error. Max hit Bottas in the pitlane. That’s got nothing to do with his team.

          3. @amam Well, he claimed not to have seen Bottas, which would make it a team error. Or he was lying and blocked Bottas deliberately after seeing him, so still not an error.

          4. (@david-br)

            He saw Bottas & made contact with Bottas and earned himself a penalty. That’s an error.

          5. @amam …an ‘error’ that saw him move up a place, not down.

        3. @hahostolze well said, though I think mostly Keith has in the past ranked (or attempted to) drivers in these articles for what they showed on track, with off-track excuses and explanations (like being a rookie, or ill) mostly being left to other discussions of how good an effort that was from them.

    4. It is what it says about his determination and calculation in the car. As said above. First of fourth, 20 points. I would be *** as his team manager if he didn’t at least give it an attempt once (ref: the overtaking hesitance of Gasly)

    5. Why do drivers right at the top always ‘attract’ this kind of fan. Lewis got it, Max is getting it and when Seb was good, he got it. Must be some kind of weird thing that happened when they were young.

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        23rd August 2019, 10:16

        People take this like it’s football.

        1. People take this like it’s Social Media ;)
          And we haven’t invented a keyboard yet which can present a counter argument or talk sense into people.

    6. Ever competed in anything?

  4. It doesn’t matter how you rank Hamilton here- he is still number 1 in the championship. He is dominating his team mate and driving consistently to finish in the podium if not winning the race. He literally can’t do any better than having the most points in the championship. So even though I agree with Max Verstappen having a stellar of a season; Hamilton is the best driver out there so far this season according to the stats. You can’t disadvantage him because he drives the best car in the grid.

    1. Hamilton-Mercedes is the best driver-car-combination out there so far this season according to the stats. FTFY

      1. The 2nd best driver this year in the best car, by a landslide, this year = championship.

        It’s not rocket science and it doesn’t take anything away from Lewis. Over his entire career Lewis is miles ahead of Max ( comparable experience of 5 seasons in F1 Max isn’t in the same ball park even, imho) and Lewis’ in say the 2018 season is better than Max’ 2019 season. But just looking at this year so far, Max has been better than Lewis imho

        1. @jeffreyj that’s a pretty good way to put it, indeed.

          Anyway, even if one is convinced Hamilton is better, it seems hard to deny Verstappen is leaving very little, if anything, on the table. With Hamilton, there’s more to argue that way.

          1. @bosyber yeah, this year that is.

            Lewis, in his rookie season, went toe-to-toe with the reigning double world champion of that time and almost won it in a pressure situation that would rival anything I have ever seen in F1. He then won it in his second year in the final corner of the final lap of the final race…. mesmerizing really. After that, he didn’t have the car to win the title, but he showed us time and time again how special he was. His wheel-to-wheel skill and charges through the field were epic. He was masterful in the rain and his qualifying speed unquestionable.

            Max has been very, very good in his first 5 years, but in truth, he has nothing on Hamilton’s first 5 imho. Over his next 6 Lewis has won 4 more titles and is going to win another this year. A pure case of what the best driver can do once he gets in the absolute best car (bar 2013). Max is the real deal, but he does have all that still to prove.

          2. @jeffreyj, yep only talking about the 2019 season. Going back to 2007 and then to today, many will say Hamilton often had a car advantage, whilst others will argue he had multiple WDC teammates who he often bested, etc.

            I wanted to leave that argument for another day. There already are too many Lewis/Max fans here who seem to have trouble admitting any greatness in others than their guy, to go there!

          3. @jeffreyi
            You clearly haven’t seen the 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons, else you wouldn’t make such laughable claims. lol.

        2. @jeffreyj

          Over his entire career Lewis is miles ahead of Max ( comparable experience of 5 seasons in F1 Max isn’t in the same ball park even, imho)

          It should be noted that right now, Max is still younger than Lewis was when he entered Formula 1.

    2. Couldn’t agree more.

    3. What stats? Points are – and I am amazed that this has to be restated – not stats. If Bottas had led every lap and retired on the final lap of each race, Hamilton would have perfect points, yet horribly bad stats. And that’s not even taking into account the relative pace of each car.
      What total nonsense.

      1. Huh? Stats are statistics. Just like points they are data; scientific, not opinions which is what is under discussion. In your scenario Hamilton would get 25 points for the win. So the stats would also say 25 points. A bad stat would say anything but 25 points. Stats are nothing to do with how he got the points, how fast the car is, or what colour his helmet is.

        1. @riptide and as my point is, points as stats are a totally irrelevant form of data if you ignore all the other stats, such as laps led, qualifying results, out-qualified team-mate, out-qualified a faster car, out-raced a faster car, qualifying difference, etc. Points are the tally after 300+ km, but they don’t represent the above, and as in my comment, they can be totally meaningless. Saying Hamilton had the best season because *one* datapoint, points, are in his advantage, is a flawed argument, and don’t represent form and actual performance.

          1. Which is not what you said is it?

            Points are nor stats is what you said. You were wrong. Points are stats.

    4. I tend to agree with this, despite being a Verstappen fan. I mean.. Lewis.. he will be a 6 times WDC at the end of the year. That is just incredible!

    5. Next week. Hey kids Santa doesn’t exist.

      This is a subjective opinion of driver skill, its what the sport is built on. Fangio or Clark. Prost or Senna and so on. Arguments about various drivers merits have gone on long into the night since the dawn of the motor car and it was rarely won by the guy stating the won with the most points is the best.

      Get it now?

    6. He literally can’t do any better than having the most points in the championship

      Ignoring the weird conflation of points and stats, he obviously can do better than having the most points, by having even more points.

    7. Using the “points” as the principal metric would mean that drivers like Alonso have been rubbish for a long time now, and Williams know nothing about building racecars.

      1. Sounds about right :)

    8. Highly illogical comment.
      If you want to rank drivers by their points, just look at the WDC standings. Keith isn’t disadvantaging Hamilton, he is trying to take away the advantage/disadvantage all drivers have due to their car/reliability/luck.

      1. All i am saying is if you win 8 of 12 races and be in the podium 10 times, I think you are doing the best job out of everyone in that season. Verstappen is also doing amazing, but Hamilton is not in a situation to be the underdog due to Mercedes. This should not take away from the fact Hamilton is having a near perfect season.

        1. Going by this season’s Racefans rankings, Hamilton could have been only 1st if he won all the races and scored a point for FL every race.

          1. ^^ Exactly. This is why I feel like this ranking is biased towards Max. He doesn’t have to achieve as much as Hamilton to be the best of season.

          2. @knightameer and Robert, If Hamilton wins, it’s because “he has the fastest car”. If Verstappen performs even simply average it’s “he’s got the best result possible despite the car”. With Gasly as his team mate, no one ever knows how well or poorly he actually performed.

            We can’t actually measure Verstappen against Ferrari since the Ferrari drivers and the team keep blundering.

            Realistically I would say they both deserve the top spot. They are clearly a cut well above the rest. Bothj had poor races this season and both have had exceptional races.

            I mean for instance Verstappen had his Austria where he hunted down Leclerc and Hamilton did the same in Hungary with Verstappen.

        2. Ham vs Ver… it already absurd we have this discussion at all since Ver is beating one equal and two better cars, while Ham has only his (mediocre) team mate to beat. Ham can put is way less effort for the next pole, with the next poles comes the advantage of track position for the next win… People talk about pressure of a WDC, with a car being this domiant and a team mate being this mediocre Ham has little pressure…his 6th title was already a ‘sure’ think after 4-5 races.

          Tha cars make it difficult to compare drivers, different team mates doesn’t help either…
          Though maximizing results, minimizing mistakes is a very good indication… Lewis finished lower than started in some races, Ver only finished lower in Hungary (leaving out Silverstone for the obvious reasons) and this was cause Mercedes had superior pace… Ham ruined his Saturday, made up on Sunday… In Germany it was the other way round… perfect on Saturday ruined it on Sunday… Lewis has simply been less consistant… still good enough for the title, but given the car it would be a disgrace if he wasn’t leading the championship.

          1. ^^ Very well observed. However, having the underdog mindset helps Max Verstappen to push his limits to finish better than where he started, his fight is against a superior team. Hamilton’s mindset lies in managing a superior car to finish the championship in the first place. Him doing enough to leading the championship doesn’t make him a less worthy driver but a smart one. They are both doing as well as they must to be in the position where they should be. Also, Max is benefiting from a missing team mate. Even though it wouldn’t have been much different but everyone is well aware that if a Bottas caliber driver was driving the other Redbull Max might have had less points than how much he has now.

          2. ” Ver only finished lower in Hungary (leaving out Silverstone for the obvious reasons)”

            And Monaco…

    9. Hamilton en Verstappen are on another level to the rest.
      Lewis’ German GP sealed his second place here.

      Let’s hope for many battles between them in the second part of the season!

  5. Feels slightly high for Sainz but as the ersartz team leader and a decent team mate, aside from his consistent driving I think on balance its about right. No arguments on the top 2. its going to be potentially a fabulous few years as the master and the apprentice go toe to toe. Lewis is way to interested in winning the war rather than the battle but I hope we do see some dicing along the way.

  6. People most of the time tend to hate on things for the sake of it,HATE! Max V arguably has been performing at a level very few on the grid can attain let alone sustain, same as LH44. There’s a reason Max V, LH44, SV, are all driving for the three best teams on the grid rather than the Saubers,Racing points and the like. That’s because the best teams hire the best drivers possible. Anyone arguing these three guys,esp LH44 are only good because of the car completely miss the whole point, otherwise they would have been beaten thoroughly by their team mates over the course of their careers. Currently Max V and LH44 are the stand out performers, with nothing to separate both. I dont know what’s happening with SV but he really needs to reinvent himself if he’s to be considered anywhere near these two currently and in the near future. As for Carlos Sainz, for third spot, I think based on consistency,yes.

  7. ”Red Bull must surely be wondering how close they would be to Mercedes if they’d promoted Sainz when they had the chance.”
    – More like ‘could.’ We, of course, will never get to know for sure how the points-standings would look now had Sainz being in the other RB-car for the last twelve races instead, but ‘would’ is a bit too strong word here, as it isn’t an automatic guarantee that RB indeed would’ve been better off with him in the other car, just a ‘possibility.’

    1. ‘should’
      @jerejj ;)

    2. Would is the right word in context. Subjunctive. There’s an ‘if’ preceding it which conveys the uncertainty you are trying to stress.

  8. Jose Lopes da Silva
    23rd August 2019, 10:22

    This comment section is bubbling with Hamilton’s fans asserting the importance of points. A very nice show. It also implies that they are finally recognizing justice in Rosberg’s title. The man got more points. Points are stats.

    The article also reveals that even die-hard F1 fans don’t care much about what’s happening in the midfield.

    1. I always think its revealing that poster like you always consider than anyone siding with Hamilton on any subject is automatically a ‘Hamilton fan’. Its like you can’t comprehend anyone other than a fan doing so.

      1. Jose Lopes da Silva
        25th August 2019, 11:13

        It’s because I wish that Tony Mansell and Keith Collantine would be right, and F1 shouldn’t be football. But the vast majority of feedback regarding, for instance, Rosberg’s title, was along these lines. If someone says that Rosberg’s title was due to a broken engine, it’s probably a die hard tribal fan.
        Same goes for Max’s Dutch fans, yes.

    2. Most die hards are f1 fans first. Drivers come and go as do teams. Guys at the sharp end always attract more attention, its what its about. The winners, not who finished 17th.

      I quite like all the Dutch in F1 at the moment and a decade or more ago it was full of excitable Spanish fans, largely all gone. As will a lot of the Dutch once Max’s time is done. The one constant is die hards and die hards can still enjoy a driver at the top of his game, like Lewis, without being dismissively called ‘Lewis fans.

      I remember making a comment on here many years ago where I suggested that ‘f1 is not football’. Keith replied saying he had considered putting that as a banner across the top of the home page. Its not football dude. its f1. its not tribal like football, we come to watch drivers do something we wish we could do. Not feel part of a gang.

      1. @Tony Mansell
        Although I get your point, the reality is that every sport is tribal and every news outlet is nationalistic.
        F1 is no execption; we just gotta live with it.

      2. Jose Lopes da Silva
        25th August 2019, 10:33

        Agreed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. British, Italian and Ferrari fans are ready to boo. It was appalling to see german fans cheering when Hamilton and Bottas went out at Hockenheim.

    3. This reminds me of last season when RIC fans only argument left was that he bettered VER as he had gathered more points, thus must be the better driver. When even that argument fell away, they grasped at his pole at Mexico as being a single data point that proved he was better. Just sad. Lewis is good this year, but I have seen better years/periods from him, especially as the MERC is by far the best car this year on the grid and you’d expect an even more perfect performance. Still very very good, but not stellar. That can only be reserved for Max this first half of the season when you analyse all data points: points, race stats, errors, on track actions, car vs. performance ratio etc.

      1. And once having analysed all that; surprise , surprise , we all can ‘prove’ the driver we thought of as being the best turns out to be the best.

    4. Oddly enough I see only one post talking about Hamilton’s points before your rant. With some responses to it of people who disagree.

      How does one post deserve the term “bubbling”?

  9. I really like Hamilton and Verstappen. And I’m very happy that they manage to keep the car on the track while also never shying away from hunting down or wearing down whichever car happens to be in front of them. It’s great that they happen to be the best drivers on the grid right now. Let’s just hope their cars carry on being closer to one another, because I really like seeing them duking it out.

    Some of you know I am a fan of RoGro (yes, we exist. He has a good heart, is fast on one lap…. And interesting to say the least) but I believe that as of today, there are only two correct answers to “who is the best driver F1 driver on the grid”, and they are top 2 on this ranking. (I don’t know whom I’ll put in 3rd).

    1. Yeah. I’d say it doesn’t really matter who’s 1st or 2nd, but those 2 guys have been miles ahead of the field this season.

      1. Leclerc has good potential too, something like verstappen, but being vettel’s team mate is not helping him, he’s learning to make a lot of mistakes from him, vettel is a bad example!

  10. The top two have been a class above anyone else, though I personally would struggle to separate them. Couldn’t argue with either of them as a #1, and Verstappen definitely deserves it. Just wish he’d had a more competitive team-mate for a comparison – a Bottas, rather than a Gasly.

    Sainz at P3… the top end of the rankings, minus the top two, are very close in my mind. I think drivers like Leclerc, Raikkonen or Bottas would have been equally deserving as best of the rest, but I have no major issues with seeing Sainz there. Although I do have slight reservations, because I feel the McLaren car is actually quite good and part of me sees Sainz and Norris as merely putting the car where it’s meant to be, rather than doing anything special.

    1. Then again…I feel Ricciardo was better than Bottas and Verstappen beat him 14 races in a row.

      1. That’s a bit unfair given Riccardo had 6 DNFs in that period. Max being faster is undeniable but Ricciardo would have taken some points off of Max in the final points tally.

        1. Well.. to complete the theory, all but one of Ricciardo’s DNF’s occured when he was behind his team mate… only at Bahrain he was in front…though both DNF-ed within a couple of laps. So… no, Dan would have lost either way.
          In 2017 tables where turned, Verstappen had 6 DNF’s, in all but one he was ahead of Dan, it cost him dearly….

          Some have a hard time accepting things as they are, though Max was utterly dominant over Ricciardo in the last two seasons… firmly beaten on Saturdays, firmly beaten on Sundays… In their 58 races as team mates they suffered from 27 DNF’s together… that has a enormous impact on the results ofcourse… though Verstappen leading 1609 laps over Dan 854 sums it up quite easily.

        2. Robert,
          All but one of Ricciardo’s DNF’s occured when he was behind Verstappen… in the one he was ahead both DNF within the first few laps (Bahrain), so…. no, Dan’s DNF’s didn’t result in Max taking free points.

        3. I grant you those dnf, s
          Then he crushed ric in 8 clean circuits. Does that sounds better?

    2. My thoughts exactly. At least Hamilton has a tougher team mate keeping him honest. Not to take anything away from Max as he has been outstanding all through, but it’s eveident his team mate hasn’t even by the slightest of intent been able to challenge him.

    3. @neilosjames
      So you are ok with Bottas or Leclerc in third for failing to put their car where it belongs but you are unsure about Sainz in third because he actually put his car where it belongs? :)

      1. He probably means leclerc and bottas have been exceptional but not always, and sometimes they blundered, sainz made less mistakes but wasn’t as impressive I think.

        Anyway he dominated the midfield, so I like him 3rd overall.

  11. “Verstappen is comfortably ahead of the two red cars in the points standings and just seven behind Bottas.”

    Some of this is becasue there are 2 good drivers in both Merc & Ferrari taking points off each other. Verstappen might as well have been racing with no teammate, Gasly has been so utterly useless.
    Put a more competitive teammate next to Verstappen. He’s having too easier a ride with no pressure from anywhere. No teammate pressure. No title pressure.

    1. If, then, else….

      1. And If/the/else@amam conveniently forgets that a better RBR teammate would have taken points away from Ferrari and Mercedes drivers as well. @pietkoster

        1. We will never know, is there a better teammate somewhere? Gasly didn’t fix it and you cannot turn back the clock. It is a wild guess, so I rather stick to the facts and WDC and CC ranks for this season untill now. No more no less.

          1. Imo there’s no worse team mate in f1 this season for verstappen than gasly, except maybe kubica, who I actually like but I think lost too much pace, 2 factors that definitely contribute heavily are the injury and the too many years away from the sport, even the latter of these will take a while to recover.

            So just put any non-injured drivers and they’ll do better; albon? Why not!

  12. The only F1 driver to win six world championships – Michael Schumacher – may not have faced much opposition from his team mate

    Ahem… 7 world championships

    1. @pastaman can’t win seven without winning six ;-)

  13. “No teammate pressure. No title pressure.”

    Nail, head.

    1. 19 drivers with no pressure then… Bottas knows he can’t win, the rest don’t have the cars to win…what pressure was there for Hamilton again…?

      1. @ Martin
        Hamilton knows he has a teammate who can usually capitalise if he makes a mistake or isn’t on top of his game.. That’s pressure, to know that if he doesn’t perform 100% perfect, his teammate has the ability to capitalise. Verstappen could perform really terrible & he knows his teammate isn’t good enough to capitalise. Zero pressure from Gasly. And you have spoken like a true Max fan, no idea of the pressure & scrutiny that comes with being in a title fight, simply because your driver has never been in one.

        1. @amam Obviously it is inaccurate to say LH has to be 100% perfect or Bottas will capitalize. Not only has LH not been 100% perfect, nor has had to be, and still leads the WDC chase, VB has helped LH by not being there to capitalize all that often, and is under threat to be surpassed by Max.

          Meanwhile I don’t think Max was ever going to feel much pressure from even a Gasly that might have performed better. Max rallied massively under the pressure of cleaning up his act post-2018 Monaco. DR outpointing Max in those seasons that he did, didn’t stop Max from improving and altering that situation. Max may now have some pressure to try to vault RBR past Ferrari and keep second in the WCC standings by season’s end. However, it just doesn’t feel to me like Max can’t or won’t be able to handle the pressure of a title fight once he has the capable car. He has certainly proven he is a race winner. Give him the necessary WCC car and the same time in it that LH has enjoyed in his fits-like-a-glove Mercedes, and I highly doubt Max will be pressured for title wins or if challenged, will have the pressure get to him. Cracking under pressure just doesn’t seem to fit Max’s profile, and in a WCC car I think he’ll be unstoppable.

          1. @Obviously it is inaccurate to say LH has to be 100% perfect or Bottas will capitalize. Not only has LH not been 100% perfect, nor has had to be, and still leads the WDC

            It’s accurate in terms of ratings like these. For example,if Hamilton doesn’t absolutely nail his start or quali, Bottas has been there to capitalise e.g. Australia (poor start), or Baku (quali etc). Let’s face it, Verstappen could be nearly half a second off his best effort & Gasly would be nowhere near outqualifying him. Verstappen could/did botch some of his starts, and again, gasly is nowhere near to punish him for it. Verstappen is getting an easy ride with Gasly,

            As for pressure, let’s not fotget Max was crashing all over the place at the start of 2018 when Ric was performing well. Max only started to ease off with the mistakes when there was no pressure coming from Ric because (1) Ricciardo’s car kept falling to bits (2) Marko & Horner started to publically favour Max by saying they were building the team around him..
            But when Ric was able to pressure him (when the car held up) we often saw mistakes from Verstappen

          2. @amam Let’s talk post-2018 Monaco wrt Max as he has obviously risen from that pressure of making those mistakes that he did, and has come around to being ranked number 1 here.

            Max consistently outperformed DR just as he has done Gasly and neither driver was ever going to keep Max from doing his own thing.

          3. @robbie Verstappen only started to outperform Ricciardo after the Renault contract was signed. Since then Ricciardo barely finished a race or even had a trouble free quali.

            Ricciardo did get a pole with that a Red Bull well before Verstappen ever did, won two races and was well ahead on points before he signed that Renault contract.

    2. “No teammate pressure. No title pressure.”

      To quote some of the less logical comments here. So, how do you think that works? Verstappen’s only ambition in life is to be paid and to beat his teammate?
      The rule in F1 isn’t ‘you only have to beat your teammate’, it is ‘first you have to beat your teammate, then anyone else’. And the anyone else, if your car is not the fastest in the field, IS FAR MORE IMPORTANT, doink. Verstappen regularly beating Ferrari (even besting them in the points standings, and as we’ve learned, points are the most important thing (STAT!) in the world), and regularly beating Bottas, is far more important to him, to his performance, and to his drive as a person, than beating Gasly. Failing at that would make him a far more human, average driver. He doesn’t want to be. He wants to win races, get poles, show the world what he can do. If you think easily beating Gasly takes the pressure away, you’re wrong. Nevermind that winning the extra prize money of being second in the WCC is now solely on his shoulders, which is no pressure at all, of course.
      You want a teammate to push you, but you don’t need it remotely when you’re on this form. Verstappen is being pushed by beating a faster car.
      But sure, enjoy your little fantasy world where his season has been carefree and simple. It sure takes the sheen of any win Hamilton pulls over on him, that’s for sure.

      1. @hahostolze
        Max isn’t beating the Merc or regularly beating Bottas. I can only think of Germany & Hungary where he legitimately beat Bottas on merit. In Austria, Mercs were taken out of the game due to extreme cooling issues. And he’s mainly beating Ferrari because of :

        1)Both Ferrari drivers have lost quite a few points to reliability.
        2) Both Ferrari drivers are good enough to take points off each other.
        3)RB have far more efficient operations than Ferrari (strategy etc)

        And the RB is so comfortably ahead of midfield, he has no competition from them.In fact, many experts are now saying RB have the 2nd best car.

      2. No, @hahostolze.
        What I think he (and others with similar comments) means is that Verstappen would have performed even better if he had a stronger teammate. So a cruising Verstappen has been better so far than a constantly-challenged top-of-his-game Hamilton.
        Not sure if I agree (I think both guys bring their A-game), but a big accolade from a typical Lewis fan :P

        1. @coldfly)
          “What I think he (and others with similar comments) means is that Verstappen would have performed even better if he had a stronger teammate”

          The opposite. Pressure can cause some drivers to make mistakes. Pressure can crack some drivers. Perhaps Max would be performing worse if he had pressure on his shoulders. At the moment, he’s carefree.

          1. Ah…confirming what I was thinking in my post below.

          2. @amam I think you are wrong about Max. I don’t sense pressure to be an issue for him. Of course he hasn’t been in a WDC fight as he hasn’t yet had the necessary WCC car, but nothing we have seen from Max would indicate he’d be phased under the ultimate pressure of a WDC fight. I think the opposite. Give him a WCC car that fits him like a glove and they’ll be eating his dust. But, if he happens upon a strong teammate in the same car…same thing. I don’t think he’ll do anything but revel in the challenge.

            What have you seen of Max, particularly post-Monaco 2018, that would make you question his ability to handle pressure at it’s greatest?

          3. A M, your quite firmly and focused on taking down Verstappens potential in each and every post…if he’s such a slough why even bother…?
            As for Gasly not putting any pressure on him…have you ever thought of Gasly not helping to collect important data, not challenging Verstappen at all, not being able to give any input to the team… .
            Max and Dan have always been quite positive about each other, they pushed each other getting the absolute most out of the car… in one way they reallly helped each other to great heights….

            I remember the Russian quali… even though Max had to take gridpenalties and had to start from the back, he still was focused on beating his team mate in quali… that’s how competitive he is.

            Maybe be open on things he’s done right… he not rated best performer on the grid for no reasons…

        2. Yeah I don’t think Max has cruised at any point. I don’t think he cares who his teammate is unless that teammate is hurting the team in the WCC chase. I’m not sure I’m sensing complimentary speak from amam towards Max for doing better if he had more pressure, but rather less regard for him because he has no pressure from a teammate or from the teams behind RBR in the standings. Amam seems to be crediting Max’s standings as more from Ferrari faltering and RBR being a better support to Max than Ferrari has been to their two drivers, while ignoring Max’s stellar drives all on their own, no matter the circumstances. He has Max only beating Bottas on merit in two races.

          1. It was a tongue-in-cheek comment towards @amam/N/LEMS/others, hence the ‘:P’, @robbie.
            It’s obvious that they will only accept their hero to lead the ranking, and are desperately seeking proof to mitigate the performance of others.

          2. (@coldfly)

            If Verstappen was achieving these results with a half decent teammate in the other Red Bull, i’d be first in line to rank him number 1. But his life is being made far too easy with the complete failure of Gasly. Look what Hamilton didd in 2010. He was leading the championship at the halfway stage in what many experts (including Keith Collatine) stated was the 3rd best car. Yet he did it with a peak WDC in the other McLaren. Gasly just doesn’t cut it. I’m sure my grandma would look like a driving God next to Gasly….he’s been rubbish and it’s flattering Max

          3. @amam Disagree completely. Max’s performances stand on their own, regardless of Gasly. Put another way, if Gasly was performing better, and let’s face it as the newbie on the team and not a proven top level driver yet, was never likely going to surpass Max, that would not add to Max’s achievements. Was anybody ever going to end up saying this season…oooohhhh and let’s not forget Max beat Gasly. How awesome is Max for that. Pretty sure that was fairly expected.

            Don’t get me wrong I do get the concept of pressure coming from teammates, but ultimately every driver is out there to win the whole thing which means beating all comers not just one’s teammate. As I said earlier I don’t think Max was ever going to be phased by Gasly, so any lack of pressure Gasly provided to me has not made Max’s life any easier. Max was still going to be Max with his eye far past Gasly and looking straight at the two Ferraris and the two Mercs.

            And…the reality is we cannot have two WDCs on the top teams season after season providing maximum pressure on each other. Nico pressured LH and LH pressured Nico. VB has barely and only fleetingly done that to LH. Prior to this year LH was even calling on VB to step it up as he would need him to perform well and disrupt the Ferraris that had become more competitive in 2017 and 2018.

  14. MB (@muralibhats)
    23rd August 2019, 14:12

    Cant understand the rationale behind the 3rd rank. For example, for Kimi its said he could had improved qualifying and ranked lower. For Sainz, you are literally overlooking it.

  15. The rank seriously penalised drivers who out perform their cars or are in any way adventurous. I’m sure RB would rather see their driver win races and dnf all the other races than finish 3, where the car is, 12 times.
    The rank is gifting 3rd to a driver that is underperforming the car’s potential, admitedly keeping himself out of trouble and following the teams good strategy and reliability. Utterly unremarkable. To perform slightly lower than what you should gives you 3rd place in the rankings, that spaniard bias. Isn’t it the whole point of the driver ranking to establish who has delivered? Sainz hasn’t, there’s more speed in it.

  16. “In Monaco he hounded Sebastian Vettel until the Ferrari driver cracked…”

    @keithcollantine, you meant to say Canada

  17. No problem with Hamilton second or first, he’s really dominating this year. I think his only real issues have had more to do with the car (Austria) than him.

    My issue is with the description:

    Hamilton has been kept honest by Valtteri Bottas, whose championship bid only stumbled in the last two races.

    If my maths are correct, even taking away the last two races BOT was still trailing by 40pts. Yes, that’s less than it is now but that’s still 6 wins if HAM is second. And most of the time HAM will be second if he’s not first.

    Considering that HAM has 8 of 12 wins, and is 8-2 on BOT, I don’t see how BOT had a realistic chance that has only just been dashed. Even if the last two races were a wash—and that is a huge IF, given that 5 prior races were deficits to HAM—BOT would have needed 6 of 9 wins and to basically be ahead in the other 3 races when he’s only done that 3/12 times so far. Or he needed HAM to have DNFs or errors.

    Hamilton has had no real pressure from BOT since race 5, and has walked away from him since. BOT has had some good poles but HAM can catch his teammates, they rarely can catch him. And it says something when BOT’s best start to a year still leaves him 62pts adrift at the summer break.

    1. @hobo Of course Hamilton has pressure from Bottas. He needs to be ahead of Bottas after lap 1, or otherwise Mercedes won’t let him go past Bottas.

      So Hamilton needs to make sure he ends up in front of Bottas in Q3 (even though Bottas seems to focus his setup mostly on qualifying) while Hamilton also needs to setup his own car for the race to be able to fight Verstappen and the Ferrari’s.

      Verstappen gets full support of the team and even if he drops half a second in Q3, he will know his team mate won’t be in front (for long).

      1. @f1osaurus – I don’t know if this is sarcasm or not, but Hamilton has taken the win on 3 of Bottas’ 4 poles. Hamilton is not being pressured by Bottas.

        1. @hobo Well as opposed to you, I actually thought it through. So that’s probably why you fail to understand yet again.

          Hamilton would otherwise have won Australia and Baku as well and he wouldn’t have had to risk it all in Austria with a damaged car as a result.

          So indeed Hamilton might know he’s better than Bottas and that he might still win a race if Q3 doesn’t go perfect, but he still has the pressure that he needs to perform at his top all the time to beat Bottas.

          Verstappen has no team mate pressure at all and always complete freedom of strategy. Huge difference.

  18. These lists are comedy gold.

  19. If Lewis had Max as his partner, he would have a really bad time. He will win a championship without real merit again

    1. Verstappen would have a really bad time too. The question is who would have the worse time and it’s by no means sure who that would be. Hamilton has actually demonstrated that he is able to cope with it. Verstappen has shown over and over that he couldn’t. Although he does appear “more mature” recently, but it’s been incredibly easy going for him too.

  20. At the end of the season, this list (and others like it) become nothing more than a ranking of the ‘also ran’.

  21. Races finished 11/12

    I saw that the Stats section for both Lewis and Max say they completed 11 out of 12 races, but when I look at a championship table I don’t see any retirements, meaning they’ve finished 12 out of 12 races. However in both cases their “other driver” has officially had one retirement (Pierre was classified as finishing at the German GP even though he did in fact retire).
    As I understand it, both drivers have completed 746 laps this season, which is the more than anyone else, again suggesting they didn’t have any retirements.
    I think the title for this statistic is misleading or the methodology for the figure is wrong. Either the title should be “Races both drivers finished” (although I’m not sure what the point of that statistic is) or the results for both drivers should be “12/12” (which is a statistic that does have meaning).
    Interestingly, four other drivers have completed 12/12 races: Sebastian Vettel (stats table says “11/12”), Kimi Raikkonen (“12/12”), George Russell (“12/12”), and Robert Kubica (“12/12”). Since Sebastian’s statistic is shown the same as Lewis’s and Max’s, while the others are shown correctly that suggests the methodology used to determine that value changed.

  22. I dont rank Hamilton and Sainz that high but otherwise great list ;)

    1. Lewis is one of the best drivers on the grid, so anyone above him has to be really good. Max fits that criteria.

  23. imo without Leclerc’s quite bad previous races and some unlucky ones even before Sainz wont be in top3
    i’m suprised seeing his picture in today’s article, despite of reading the top 4-20 ones :)
    Norris been quite unlucky yet and not really taking risks
    altough it’s definitely one of the best seasons of Sainz, and this is what he needs currently, because seeing
    Norris outqualifying him so many times, i just thought, Sainz even might will be dropped from F1
    altough i like and respect him, he looks a funny and decent guy, but i highly doubt in him as a WDC material. Maybe later he can have one title like Button had. I liked Jenson too, he did very well after an unlucky and bit declining career because of being released by Williams.
    But now with this run i think he secured some further chances in F1 for himself.

  24. These lists scream of tabloid sensation, all about the headlines with little based on reality. The only real judge of anything is how one driver is dealing with their teammate.

  25. Verstappen – 1?
    Just no.

    1. Absolutely! He’s the guy in the inferior car taking it to the rocket ship Mercs! If anything Louey should not even be in the top five…

    2. He made less mistakes than hamilton, maximized the potential better, I totally agree with the top 3, there’s ofc disagreements in the other ranks.

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