F1 2014 Driver Ratings: Part Two

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In case you missed it, check out part one of this two-part article. But for now, here is part two of my F1 2014 Driver Ratings.

Some incredible characters rocketed to fame in this Formula One season, whilst big names struggled to fend off their team mates. Those who performed well this year will be hoping to continue that form into 2015 whilst others will be looking to perform far better next year. Some drivers will not be on the grid in 2015, whilst we are still unsure about one or two names. Here is who outdrove their machinery and who simply failed to deliver in 2014.

Remember that this article and the one following it is nothing more than my own personal opinion. I would like to hear your views in the comments below!

Mercedes

What a season it has been for the team based in Brackley. 16 race victories, 18 pole positions, 11 one-two finishes, 701 points, the Drivers’ Championship, the Constructors’ Championship. The W05 Hybrid will go down as one of the most dominant machines in Formula One history, a remarkable achievement. I fear that this domination will continue into 2015, but I hope with a title fight even more thrilling.

No. 6 Nico Rosberg (GER)

Nico Rosberg has received a lot of respect this year by keeping in touch with his team mate Lewis Hamilton all season long. It cannot be denied that Rosberg has been the better driver on the Saturday this year, even if Hamilton didn’t have his woes at Germany and Hungary and outqualified Rosberg on both occasions, the German would still have won that battle. Rosberg admitted that Hamilton was the better driver on the Sunday, and I think that the absolutely awesome duel in Bahrain highlighted that. Some claimed that Rosberg was cheating to get his results at times, but I do not see it that way, they looked to be genuine mistakes from me. I think that if Rosberg was to beat Hamilton next year, he will need to find that extra little bit of racing savvy, he left it far too late in the season to firmly beat Hamilton in a fair fight as he did at Brazil. Rosberg can hold his head up high however, only Fernando Alonso can also claim that they took the championship to the wire with Lewis Hamilton as a team mate.

Rating: 8/10

No. 44 Lewis Hamilton (GBR)

Lewis Hamilton managed to secure his second World Championship by taking 11 victories in the all-conquering Mercedes. Whilst he has had some bad luck at times, notably at Germany and Hungary, he has only beaten his team mate by the skin of his teeth. At the end of the day though, Hamilton was the better driver on the Sundays, although there often wasn’t much to choose between the two. Some of Hamilton’s wins, such as the ones at Malaysia and at China, were done in such a dominant fashion that it looked as if this season was going to be a procession. However, it didn’t end up being like that. Notable mistakes on Saturday cost him on Sunday, despite having more speed, and there were a few occasions where he made mistakes on Sunday too, costing him a number of points. There was hundredths between the two so often this year, so that is why they are rated so closely, but Hamilton just edged it on the Sundays, and that’s what gave him the title at the end of the day. That and the incredible W05 Hybrid.

Rating: 8.5/10

Red Bull-Renault

For the first time since 2009, Red Bull failed to secure any championships. Whilst they have beaten Williams by a huge margin in the championship, I feel that that was partly down to the phenomenal performances by Daniel Ricciardo. With two Dans and no Adrian Newey or Sebastian Vettel at the team next year, it will be very interesting to see where Red Bull end up.

No. 1 Sebastian Vettel (GER)

The fact that this has been Sebastian Vettel’s worst season in Formula One but I give him this rating shows just how good the four-time World Champion is. I think this season has shown that Vettel is indeed a fantastic racer, as we have seen with his wheel-to-wheel battles with the likes of Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button. Whilst it was Vettel that suffered the brunt of the reliability issues in the first half of the season, he bounced back with some impressive drives at Spain, Singapore and at Japan, where he beat his team mate on merit. Whilst I do not think that this season has been a great one for Vettel, he has provided a lot of entertainment. It will be interesting to see what he brings to Ferrari next year.

Rating: 7.5/10

No. 3 Daniel Ricciardo (AUS)

Daniel Ricciardo is the driver of the season. I do not see how anybody could question this. Nobody could have predicted that Ricciardo would walk into Sebastian Vettel’s team, and not just beat him, but beat him by the sort of margin that he did. Whenever Mercedes tripped up, Ricciardo was always there to pounce, and he delivered three absolutely epic wins this year. He also had a further five podiums, and another taken away from him. Ricciardo was the absolute standout driver for me, his speed, overtaking prowess, ability to look after the tyres, likability and results were all exceptional this year, he is certainly a star of the future.

Rating: 9/10

Williams-Mercedes

What a turnaround for Williams. With the most points that they have ever scored in a season, more points than the previous eight seasons combined, more podiums than the previous nine seasons combined and finishing ahead of Ferrari in the Constructors’ Championship for the first time since 1997, the first year with Mercedes power has been phenomenal. The Mercedes power-unit and the brilliant driver pairing of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas proved to be one of the strongest and most popular pairs this year.

No. 19 Felipe Massa (BRA)

Massa’s first half of the season was rather erratic. Despite taking pole position at Austria, he was not picking up the sort of points that his team mate was picking up. Whilst Massa was trounced in qualifying, he outraced Bottas more times than not, but at the end of the day, Massa did not pick up the sort of results as frequently that his team mate picked up. This season has, however, seen a revitalised Massa, one that escaped the Alonso stranglehold at Ferrari, and we have seen Massa’s best on a fair few occasions this year.

Rating: 6.5/10

No. 77 Valtteri Bottas (FIN)

Bottas played a massive part in the Williams revival. His partnership with Felipe Massa started off slowly and controversially but produced the goods in the end. Bottas delivered six podiums in his second Formula One season, and finished ahead of four World Champions in the standings, with eight titles between them. He did seem rattled by Massa’s strong speed at times, and this hurt him on the circuit. However, at the end of the day, he walked away with over 185 points, two seconds and four thirds. Not bad.

Rating: 8/10

Ferrari

This has been Ferrari’s first winless season in over 20 years. With a shuffling of team principals and other key staff, this year has been a complete disaster for Formula One’s grandest team. A reported 60 staff will be starting new jobs at the Scuderia next year, one of them being none other than Sebastian Vettel.

No. 7 Kimi Räikkönen (FIN)

This season has been a complete write-off for the Iceman Kimi Räikkönen. He has been bettered by Alonso in virtually every area, and by a significant margin. There have been flashes of the talent that he has though, notably at Belgium, Brazil and at Hungary. It should also be noted that the Finn suffered a lot of problems on Friday, and that he absolutely hated the F14-T. No driver who competed in every race was ahead of his team mate for fewer laps than Räikkönen this season.

Rating: 5/10

No. 14 Fernando Alonso (ESP)

Whilst on paper this has been Alonso’s worst season with Ferrari, I feel that it has probably been one of his best. He has absolutely walked over Kimi Räikkönen, there’s no easy way to put it. The Ferrari this year has been both off the pace and unreliable, with the Spaniard suffering from the bad reliability in the races. He produced some absolutely phenomenal drives, most notably at Hungary, where he managed to beat a Mercedes on merit. No driver has led his team mate for more laps than Alonso, at more than 850, an incredible number. His partnership with Ferrari comes to an end however, and he is expected to re-join McLaren for 2015.

Rating: 9/10

McLaren-Mercedes

The final season with Mercedes power really didn’t amount to much for McLaren, as they edge ever nearer to the wrong end of the midfield. Whilst the team are set to return to Honda power next year, fans are a bit wary about the prospect of Fernando Alonso returning to the team as he is expected to. In an ideal world for a lot of McLaren fans, both drivers would be retained, but it doesn’t look to be like that. As a matter of fact, neither driver may be retained, with Stoffel Vandoorne waiting in the wings.

No. 20 Kevin Magnussen (DEN)

Magnussen arrived on the Formula One scene with that fantastic podium at Melbourne. Whilst results like that have been very far away since then, the young Dane has impressed many with his very robust defensive and attacking abilities, notably when duelling World Champions. Under no circumstances should a driver be ousted of Formula One after his rookie season, especially one who has shown the sort of speed that Magnussen has shown at times – I look to his weekend performances at Austria and Germany as prime examples.

Rating: 5/10

No. 22 Jenson Button (GBR)

One of Kevin Magnussen’s biggest problems was the form of this man – Jenson Button. It is crazy to think that the driver who has scored a significant majority of the points for McLaren this year is likely to be axed by the team. Button delivered some incredible performances at times when the car didn’t look capable of it: fourth at Silverstone, fourth at Interlagos, fifth at Abu Dhabi are just a number of examples. He outqualified his young team mate also, something he hasn’t achieved for a number of years now.

Rating: 7/10

Force India-Mercedes

Force India were on the verge of finishing fifth this year in the championship. An impressive podium early on in the year was paired with some incredibly consistent points scoring. Whilst they struggled in the second half of the season as they have done in recent years, they can hold their heads up high, as they delivered arguably their strongest season to date.

No. 11 Sergio Pérez (MEX)

It’s been a very mixed bag for Pérez in his first season at Force India, from the highs of scoring an excellent podium at Bahrain to the lows of causing stupid collisions with Felipe Massa and Adrian Sutil at Canada and Austin respectively. Despite this, he found an impressive run of form from Belgium onwards, scoring good points consistently. I felt that it was absolutely right that he was retained for 2015 by the team.

Rating: 5/10

No. 27 Nico Hülkenberg (GER)

Hülkenberg’s first half of the season was nothing short of extraordinary. He had scored points in every single race up until the Hungarian Grand Prix, where he decided that crashing into his team mate was a good idea. Since then, a combination of his team mate finding form and some really off-par performances by the German meant that he was very anonymous in the second half of the year. However, he managed to return to form for the last three rounds, delivering some very strong drives.

Rating: 7/10

Here is my ranking from 1 to 24 for each of the drivers this year:

  1. Ricciardo
  2. Alonso
  3. Hamilton
  4. Bottas
  5. Rosberg
  6. Vettel
  7. Button
  8. Hulkenberg
  9. Massa
  10. Vergne
  11. Grosjean
  12. Kvyat
  13. Perez
  14. Raikkonen
  15. Magnussen
  16. Bianchi
  17. Kobayashi
  18. Maldonado
  19. Sutil
  20. Gutierrez
  21. Chilton
  22. Ericsson
  23. Stevens
  24. Lotterer

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