Midseason driver rankings 2015


Points Scorer
Well now, we are in the mid-season summer break, and driver rankings for the first half is all the rage around this time of the season! So, what do you think of the drivers for the first part, who did a better job despite the results in the standing, whose points and stats don't reflect their shortcomings enough, and so on ?
I have compiled some data from f1matrix.it into few tables with "duel of teammates":


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Current WDC standings:

1. Lewis Hamilton - Mercedes : 202
2. Nico Rosberg - Mercedes : 181
3. Sebastian Vettel - Ferrari : 160
4. Valtteri Bottas - Williams : 77
5. Kimi Raikkonen - Ferrari : 76
6. Felipe Massa - Williams : 74
7. Daniel Ricciardo - Red Bull : 51
8. Daniil Kvyat - Red Bull : 45
9. Nico Hulkenberg - Force India : 24
10. Romain Grosjean - Lotus : 23
11. Max Verstappen - Toro Rosso : 22
12. Felipe Nasr - Sauber : 16
13. Sergio Perez - Force India : 15
14. Pastor Maldonado - Lotus : 12
15. Fernando Alonso - McLaren : 11
16. Carlos Sainz Jr. - Toro Rosso : 9
17. Jenson Button - McLaren : 6
18. Marcus Ericsson - Sauber : 6
19. Roberto Merhi - Marussia : 0
20. Will Stevens - Marussia : 0

Current WCC standings:

1. Mercedes : 383
2. Ferrari : 236
3. Williams-Mercedes : 151
4. Red Bull-Renault : 96
5. Force India-Mercedes : 39
6. Lotus-Mercedes : 35
7. Toro Rosso-Renault : 31
8. Sauber-Ferrari : 22
9. McLaren-Honda : 17
10. Marussia-Ferrari : 0
In my opinion:

1. Vettel
2. Hamilton
3. Hulkenberg
4. Alonso
5. Bottas
6. Massa
7. Rosberg
8. Ricciardo
9. Kvyat
10. Grosjean
11. Button
12. Raikkonen
13. Verstappen
14. Sainz
15. Nasr
16. Perez
17. Ericsson
18. Merhi
19. Stevens
20. Maldonado

Some of them are really close. For example, I couldn't easily choose between Verstappen-Sainz-Nasr; but, this is the way I decided to rank them. There is also gap between some of them despite close ranking, like Perez and Ericsson. I didn't just put Alonso there. None of the rankings are based on previous seasons. I just believe he got close to maximum of out that car. It was also hard to place Rosberg somewhere. He might have been right ahead of Bottas too, I couldn't decide that actually. Raikkonen could have also been ahead of Ricciardo if he didn't lose control of the car in Canada and Austria. And, I also had a hard time placing Grosjean.

1 Vettel on the basis his Ferrari move has galvanised him and made a seamless transitition from Red Bull to Ferrari
2 Hamilton on his day unstoppable
3. Hulkenberg - with the new Force India he is able to prove he deserves a top drive

4. Verstappen - so much hype around the kid and proving
Massa has been much closer to Bottas than expected and vindicating he should not have been dropped by Ferrari
5 Kyvat - getting better each race after a torrid start to his Red Bull career
6 Massa - rejuvenated at Williams and showing why he should not have been sacked by Ferrari
7 Rosberg - has not been on Hamilton's pace and is struggling to find ways to beat him barring misfortune apart from a few races

8 Ricciardo - the car is limiting his true ability although Kyvat is beginning to get the better of him

9 Bottas - not convincingly beating Massa and proving a case he deserves a Ferrari drive

10 Sainz - has shown his ability in F1 but overshadowed by the hype around his teammate

11 Perez - gets the car the points and can look after the tyres enable to match his teammate when it comes to race pace
12 Grosjean - better than Maldonado but career is stagnating due to financial problems in the team
13 Nasr - outshowing Ericsson
14 Raikkonen - with the car he has he should be up with his teammate challenging Mercedes consistently
15 Alonso - impossible to rank given the dire machinery he has although able to show his class on none power reliant tracks
16 Button - see Alonso
17 Ericsson - better than last year but being outshone by Nasr
18 Merhi - can't do more than beat his teammate with the car he has
19 Stevens - ditto as Merhi
20. Maldonado - money he brings wasted by the no of accidents and silly penalties he keeps getting each race
This ended up a lot longer than anticipated.

I partially utilised driver head-to-heads, the rest is intuition:

1. Alonso
Alonso has, in my opinion, been far and away the strongest driver on the grid every season since 2005, with the exception of 2007 where he was matched by Hamilton. I don't see why that would suddenly change now, so he is up there kind of by default. His advantage over Button has been quite large when the car hasn't broken down on him, which reinforces my placement.

2. Hamilton
Across 2013-2014 he and Rosberg were two of the closest matched drivers on the history of the sport. Now this season Hamilton is 9-1 up in qualifying and 7-3 up in races and is really making Rosberg look foolish. Although he lost a net 17 points to Rosberg with the pit stop nonsense in Monaco, Ricciardo's antics in Hungary lost Rosberg a net 16 points back to Hamilton.
This is surely one of Hamilton's strongest seasons yet, although his race in Hungary was atrocious.

3. Vettel
Vettel is miles ahead of Raikkonen in qualifying, about as far ahead as Alonso was last season (both just over half a second), and also holds a consistent advantage in races too. However, his race in Bahrain was rubbish, and that advantage he holds in races is significantly smaller than the advantage Alonso held over Raikkonen last season, with Vettel's mean advantage being ~18 seconds compared to ~33 seconds for Alonso.
Raikkonen currently has 47.5% of Vettel's points tally, but last season he held just 34% of Alonso's points tally overall and only 23.5% after Hungary. It has still been a very strong season for Vettel, and boy did he need it after 2014.

4. Kvyat
Despite his strong rookie season I didn't anticipate him being this close to Ricciardo, yet after 10 rounds the points tally is a very closely matched 51 - 45 in Ricciardo's favour. However, Kvyat is actually 4-3 up in races and if you exclude the points Ricciardo scored in Australia (where Kvyat didn't even make the start) then the points tally becomes a 45 - 43 in Kvyat's favour. Thus he is rated just above of Ricciardo.

5. Ricciardo
Although he holds a 6-4 advantage in qualifying over Kvyat and was very impressive in the opening rounds, Kvyat has come back at him in recent times to the point it is now Kvyat who has a small edge in races (as discussed above). Ricciardo has also been much scrappier and less consistent compared to last season and is still hopeless off the line.

6. Button
Solid as ever, pushed Alonso in the first few qualifying sessions, but has been consistently slower in race trim.

7. Rosberg
His race pace is much improved compared to last year, but his qualifying pace has vanished. He is only 21 points behind Hamilton, but only 21 points ahead of Vettel despite a significantly faster car. Too many mistakes.

8. Bottas
Has a small edge over Massa, leading him 5-4 in races and 77-74 in points despite not taking the start in Australia. But a small edge is not enough, Massa scored just 48% of Alonso points over their time together so if Bottas was the next big thing he should be sweeping the floor with Massa.

9. Massa
Although he is down in races and points relative to his team mate, Massa holds an impressive 6-3 advantage in qualifying (excluding Canada). Having to start from the pitlane in Bahrain and from 15th in Canada has hampered his points scoring potential, but he and Bottas are clearly extremely closely matched.

10. Raikkonen
Despite being humbled by Alonso and now Vettel I still consider Raikkonen to be one of the stronger drivers on the grid, with his poor performances against them serving as proof that the skill gap between even the top drivers is much larger than many fans and pundits would like to think. A couple of mechanical DNF's have also exaggerated the points gap between him and Vettel.

11. Grosjean
Was surprisingly matched 5-5 by Maldonado in races last year, but is a long way ahead this year.

12. Hulkenberg
Impressive qualifying pace, but a 4-4 race record vs. Perez is not good enough.

13. Nasr
Making Ericsson look foolish once again. Rookie of the year.

14. Perez
Decent, but unspectacular.

15. Sainz
Suffered badly at the hands of mechanical DNF's, but 9 points with what is allegedly the second best chassis on the grid is simply not good enough. In the 4 races where none of the 4 Red Bull drivers had a mechanical DNF, Ricciardo and Kvyat both accumulated 17 points whilst Sainz accumulated just 7 and Verstappen got 6.

16. Verstappen
Is behind Sainz 6-7 in terms of points scored per 'counting' race (I.e. races where neither had a mechanical DNF), and has been impetuous at times. Only his second season of car racing though, so impressive in that sense.

17. Maldonado
His speed has completely deserted him, but his recklessness on track hasn't.

18. Ericsson

19. Stevens
As above.

20. Merhi
In the overweight Manor chassis his weight has been a huge handicap compared to the diminutive Stevens, and the car itself looks terrifying to drive. How much impact this has had can only be speculated on, but even with that in mind Merhi's season has not been good.

I consider the Top 13 to be worthy of staying in F1 on merit, and Verstappen too considering how inexperienced he is. Perez and Sainz are ok, but their seats would be better served by any number of talented junior drivers, or by Vergne. The rest shouldn't be on the grid at all.
I usually do my percentage of points team mate comparrison thingy so I thought I'd put it here to give an idea how a driver is doing compare to his team mate:

Rosberg has 89.6% of the points Hamilton has

Raikkonen has 47.5% of the points Vettel has

Massa has 96.1% of the points Bottas has

Kvyat has 88.2% of the points Ricciardo has

Perez has 62.5% of the points Hulkenberg has

Maldonado has 52.1% of the points Grosjean has

Sainz has 40.9% of the points Verstappen has

Button has 54.5% of the points Alonso has

Ericsson has 37.5% of the points Nasr has

Ideally as a team manger you'd be wanting your second driver to be scoring at least 85% of your lead driver to get value for money and I think a 15% gap suggest the driver is getting the most out of the equiptment they've been given. Its Rosberg, Kvyat and Massa that are hitting that target. Kimi is looking poor yet again. I feel a bit sorry for Sainz as if these stats had been done one race earlier he'd have been pretty much level but its Ericsson who is really getting the pounding by his team mate.

Maldonado has over 50% of the points Grosjean has which is a massive leap forward for him where these stats are concerned.
RasputinLives Your method does give a fair reflection of the interteam battle. The only one I would query is Rosberg because he's not really been on Hamilton's pace bar Austria. I know F1 is full of ifs and buts but would their position look like if they had finished 1st and 2nd in Monaco then before the pitstop botch
I don't think we can assess the Mclaren drivers because they are much better than the machinery they have

Bottas is the big ? to me if Ferrari were looking at these comparisons . Is he really worth £15m to buy out from Williams considering he has not trounced Massa who is considered on his last run in F1
RasputinLivesThe only one I would query is Rosberg because he's not really been on Hamilton's pace bar Austria.

Doesn't really matter if you're looking at it from the team point of view. Rosberg finishes on average one place behind Lewis so you have to conclude he is making the most of the machinary he's been given. The 10.4% difference in points is just Hamilton's superior driving. As a team boss you can't ask for more from a pairing really.

3 of the 4 top teams should be happy with their pairing and the chance it gives them in the constructors championship. The notable exception is of course Ferrari.
The only way to compare drivers is to compare them to their team mates, as they are the only ones who share the same car. So although the abundance of mechanical failures on the McLaren makes it a bit harder, it is still absolutely possible to compare Alonso and Button to each other.

We can then try to fit them into the rankings with the rest of the drivers based on performances in past seasons, which is how I ended up with Alonso on top.

RE: Monaco, if the pit stop blunder had not happened the points tally would be 212-174 in Hamilton's favour, meaning Rosberg would've had ~82% of Hamilton's points. However, Rosberg also lost a lot of points in Hungary thanks to Ricciardo. If we use my modified points tally just above, pretending Rosberg never got a puncture in Hungary would bring the points tally to 210-188 in Hamilton's favour, meaning Rosberg would've had ~89.5% of Hamilton's points.

I also agree about Bottas. I don't see him doing any better than Raikkonen is, or better than Massa would. But maybe that's what Ferrari want? A young gun they can get on the cheap with the potential to improve beyond the level Raikkonen is currently at for a fraction of the price. Enough to back Vettel up and score solid points, but not quite enough to make Vettel uncomfortable. Wouldn't be the first time Ferrari pulled that trick. If they are actually wanting a driver to push Vettel I'm not convinced Bottas is the right choice, but he is probably the best choice outside of the proven champions, Rosberg and the Red Bull juniors. Bianchi's accident really put a spanner in the works of Ferrari's driver succession plan.
Rosberg finishes on average one place behind Lewis
Hamilton avg finishing position: 2
Rosberg avg finishing position: 2.5

3 of the 4 top teams should be happy with their pairing and the chance it gives them in the constructors championship. The notable exception is of course Ferrari.
I agree with that. But at the same time the funny thing is Ferrari lead driver is the only one who has enough points on his own to secure his team's place in WCC anyway.
Not how I saw it.
Ricciardo punctured Rosberg's tyre by placing his car on a piece of track that he had no claim too, and failed to yield position when Rosberg rightfully and inevitably took the racing line.

There are countless examples of Driver A forcing Driver B wide on corner exit in recent years, and none of them had any lasting impact except for this one, which was because Ricciardo failed to yield.
Or Rosberg punctured his tyre by cutting across someones line and not giving another driver room. Again. Where was Ricciardo suppose to go exactly when he's commited to the move.

There are countless examples of driver a not giving driver b room and causing an unnecessary collision.

There are also countless examples of Ricciardo pulling off the exact same move at the exact same point of the track and not once did the same thing happen.

But hey if a driver is in front he can do what he likes right?
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Maybe Ferrari should go after Rosberg. They'd have a better shot at WCC. He's more consistent and better qualifier than Raikkonen imo, and Mercedes would struggle more without Rosberg.
Rosberg didn't have to give Ricciardo room, that's the point. Ricciardo should know this, and should act accordingly.

Ways of avoiding the contact include: Entering the run off area. Braking. Exhibit A, Exhibit B. That second video also highlights a situation where it is not okay to force a drive off the track - down straights. Magnussen was penalised for the move on the Kemmel Straight, the others moves were all perfectly fine. Notice how there is no contact between them, because the driver on the outside acts to avoid the contact as they should.
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