Hamilton reigns as Alonso shines
Following every Grand Prix, the F1 team of experts assess each driver and score them according to their performance across the weekend. The combination of scores create an overall ranking which reflects driver form. The mid-season power rankings take the three most recent races into account; the British, German and Hungarian Grand Prix – all of which took place in July.
With F1 now on its summer break, F1 tallied in their scores to announce a one-off ranking prior to the 12 races to come.
The British Mercedes driver has been the undisputed top performer of the season to date. He hasn’t had a stellar performance throughout as he was outperformed on more than one occasion by his teammate Valtteri Bottas. Nonetheless, in the second half of the first part of the season, Hamilton excelled – even when Ferrari were believed to have taken the lead from a technical and competitive standpoint. Hamilton has over exceeded expectations.
Fernando Alonso, the Spanish driver for McLaren is regarded as one of the greatest F1 drivers in the history of the sport. Expectations were high for Alonso in 2018, but before the season began a campaign claiming McLaren had the best chassis in the sport was miserably let-down by Honda. Yet, somehow Alonso managed to fight his way in for a good spot. The two-time world champion exceeded expectations at almost every turn, and has been one of the most consistently high-scoring driver during the first part of the season.
Sebastian Vettel, a four-time F1 Champion driving for Ferrari is placed in third. He has made some small mistakes this season which led to bigger consequences. Baku and Paul Ricard cost him dearly. But Hockenheim may be the mistake he rues the most. F1 reported that his stance is just a few mere ‘negligible’ points over the 12 races, where hundreds have been notes and amassed by the experts. However, his mistakes made him just a bit shy of first place.
Valtteri Bottas, the Finnish driver racing for Mercedes is without question one of the unluckiest drivers in the field. He has outshone his teammate Hamilton, but when push comes to shove there is uncertainty around whether he handle the pressure. Mercedes have faith in him nonetheless as he is consistent and has shown his driving speaks louder than words.
2018 has been Magnussen’s year. He has been sensational from the first race until the most recent. His teammate Romain Grosjean slipped into a negative spiral while Magnussen on the contrary was going to the max. While the Dane still has a tendency to let it slip – such as his Baku moment with Pierre Gasly, Magnussen is one of the only few drivers who have been as routinely impressive in F1 2018.
Raikkonen, appropriately nicknamed ‘Iceman’ is a Finnish racing driver for Ferrari. His performance this year has been arguably the most frustrating yet. Raikkonen has racked up a number of silly mistakes, most of which he shouldn’t be doing at this point in his career. The number of avoidable mistakes in Q3 defy belief. Raikkonen was established as the ‘able deputy’ F1 reports, rather than the ‘glory hunter’. Without his mistakes, he would have track position for the start and results we know he can still achieve. Raikkonen is aware of his room for improvement and some reports go so far as suggesting Ferrari are set to drop him in favour of Charles Leclerc.
Calm and level-headed Ricciardo was able to carry the beacon for Red Bull in Monaco, and his win in China showed everyone the kind of result a driver like Ricciardo can get when never giving up. His consistently high performances have become his benchmark, but since that weekend of jubilation, his performances have declined. Ricciardo was outclassed and outraced by his teammate at every turn. Ricciardo has dropped the ball lately, will he be able to turn things around?
The German Hulkenberg, currently driving for Renault in F1, has had a one off this year. It has quite possibly been the most impressive season of his career, as he has addressed the challenges from Carlos Sainz head on and been able to deliver consistently outstanding results – paving the way for him to excel at GP2, A1, and F3. In Silverstone, he was able to make an alternate, almost impossible, strategy work like a charm. However, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing as he has had a few moments that have cost him, and frighteners put on him by Sainz on more than one occasion, that’s why he currently sits at no.8.
The Toro Rosso driver Pierre Gasly’s performance looks promising, as he is confident Honda are moving in the right direction. Few had high expectations of the Toro Rossa-Honda partnership but it has proved to be an opportunity for Gasly to shine. So much so, Red Bull now have a serious question about whether they replace the departing Ricciardo with Carlos Sainz or Gasly for 2019.
Charles Leclerc has gotten the better of his more experienced teammate Marcus Ericsson this year by a pretty hefty margin. Leclerc’s performance in qualifying for the French Grand Prix was his most impressive moment in F1. On the other hand, Leclerc was outpaced and outraced by Marcus Ericsson, which left many to ponder where the man who dominated GP3 and F2 had gone. And in Baku, his performance reminded every one of the driver he can be. He’s now a consistent top 10 qualifier in a car few believed to be truly capable of the feat.
His path to a race seat at the Scuderia was already set but now it looks it will be taken sooner rather than later. In his eight-race career, he has already proven himself worthy of a 2019 Ferrari seat alongside four-time champion Sebastian Vettel. The ability to learn, to adapt and to change, and to do so after just three races, shows the incredible talent that exists within Leclerc. One that many expect to be a force in the coming years.