Your top 10 drivers of the season


Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
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Always controversial and always subjective but how do you see the top 10 drivers this year?

Here's my list:

1) Daniel Ricciardo - Rarely put a foot wrong all season. Let down by his own team twice when he could have won and had to contend with the arrival of F1's hottest talent his new teammate. Coped admirably.

2) Lewis Hamilton - Ten wins and clearly the fastest driver in the fastest car. Yes mechanical issues played their part but their were a number of mistakes this season which kept him off the top of the Championship and, I'm sure he'll be devastated to learn, my list. On most Sundays he remained unbeatable.

3) Max Verstappen - Got the call to join the big team and marked his debut with a win. Spent the remainder of the season putting some real fizz into race weekends. Would have placed higher on my list but he was kept honest by his team mate and still needs to calm down a bit.

4) Nico Rosberg - History will tell us that Hamilton lost the title with 10 wins but it will fail to mention Rosberg took 9. Add to that his 5 second places (two more than his teammate) and we have our world champion. Why is he 4th on my list? Because he's not been as quick as his teammate when all things are equal.

5) Sergio Perez - Another strong season from a consistently under rated driver. 16 top ten finishes including two podiums helped Force India to their best ever finish. Faster than his teammate, Perez will almost certainly never get another drive with one of the top teams but is good enough.

6) Carlos Sainz - Another driver who will almost certainly be overlooked but he has had a strong season in a car that was hampered by an old engine and under development as the season progressed. Got more points in that situation than his team deserved.

7) Sebastian Vettel - At times he was his brilliant self at others he was let down by poor strategy. At lot of the time his head wasn't in the game. Still class when on form though.

8) Fernando Alonso - No doubt the motorsport press will have him near the top of their lists. I don't see it quite like that but there's no doubt he has lifted the performance of the car at times this year.

9) Kimi Raikkonen - There's life in the old dog yet and for those who said he should have been put out to pasture he showed he still had the race craft to get the job done. Nowhere near the pace of those around him at the front of the grid but still a clever racer.

10) Romain Grosjean - Slips onto the list for that incredible start for Haas and then getting on with it for the rest of the season. A fine job all round.
A great list but I think I would have swapped Max and Ricciardo because Max had every opportunity to cock it up but he impressed at almost every turn. He is inexperienced, was dropped into an unfamiliar team and car seemingly overnight and was under immense scrutiny from all of us and the drivers he blocked/passed but somehow he was able to rise above it all.
1. Nico Rosberg: World Champion 2016!

2. Max Verstappen: He did not fall into a second season slump as many other drivers do and he has proven to withstood enormous pressure from outside due to his controversial but also spectacular moves.

3. Lewis Hamilton: Horrifically bad starts and mechanical failures cost him the World Championship in the end, although he was the faster driver.

4. Sergio Perez: The fastest Mexican on the grid achieving 101 points - including two podiums - and consistently beating his team-mate in qualifying and in the race.

5. Daniel Ricciardo: Consistent, fast and entertaining, he was not over-shadowed from the uprising talent within his own team.

6. Carlos Sainz: Pushed that dog of a car to astonishing positions in the races.

7. Fernando Alonso: The jockey makes the difference. He could ride a pony in a horse race and still win.

8. Kimi Raikkonen: Bwoah. Not much to say really is there.

9. Sebastian Vettel: Honestly, what was he doing this year?

10. Esteban Ocon: Despite joining the team half-way into the season and his car being riddled with problems in his first three races, he really put a challenge up to his team-mate later on.
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1. Young Max - Dominated the headlines with good reason. The year of the Max.

2. Max Verstappen - He's such good entertainment I scored him twice.

3. Nico Roschops - Gotta hand it to the lad, he held it together, deserved champ.

4. Daniel Ricciardo - I've gone from liking him to thinking he's inane and weird to liking him again, entertaining and consistently good.

5. Carlos Sainz - Another high-quality driver - his day in the sun will surely come.

6. Lewis Hamilton - Fast.

I'm bored now, and probably boring you. 6 will do from me.
Top 10:

1. Daniel Ricciardo

Despite all the hype around his young team mate it was Ricciardo who came out ahead, beating Verstappen 11-6 in qualifying, 9-7 in races and 220-191 in points. Statistics aside Ricciardo was still very impressive, excelling in race craft, qualifying and tyre management. He also dominated Kvyat in the early stages of the season despite losing around 14 points to bad luck (puncture in China, Kvyat in Russia). Another crash-free season means Ricciardo is now statistically the least crash-prone driver in history, averaging 1 driver-related DNF every 54.5 starts.

2. Fernando Alonso
It was business as usual for Alonso this year, beating Button 15-4 in qualifying, 9-5 in races and 54-21 in points. He outscored Massa in the significantly faster Williams and regularly dragged the car into places it had no right being in. It was not a perfect season, however. In some races during the middle of the season Alonso was just inexplicably slow, losing 8 seconds to Button in 16 laps during the middle stint of the Italian GP is perhaps the greatest example of this. Spins at the British and Brazilian Grands Prix, as well as a strategy error in the latter also cost him dearly.

3. Max Verstappen
Ricciardo may have had the upper hand in their team mate battle, but Verstappen still had an exceptionally good season and got progressively closer to Ricciardo as the season wore on. Outscoring Sainz 13-4 in the early stage of the season only adds to his achievements after being promoted to Red Bull. Somehow how though he consistently found ways to not capitalise on the opportunities presented to him, usually through small but costly mistakes. He was also very lucky to escape punishment for a multitude of ridiculous defensive moves during the middle of the season.

4. Carlos Sainz
Sainz had a difficult start to the season and looked unable to match Verstappen. His domination of Kvyat though was one of the most impressive performances of the season; 11-6 in qualifying, 10-2 in races and 42-4 in points. Another way of looking at Sainz's season is that Alonso only outscored him 54-46 in cars that seemed, at least on paper, to be closely matched (although Alonso suffered more mechanical DNFs). The median percentage time gap between the fastest Toro Rosso qualifying lap and the fastest Mercedes was 2.22%, while the gap between McLaren/Mercedes was 2.27%.

5. Lewis Hamilton
While claims that Hamilton lost the championship this year through unreliability are largely correct, his advantage over Rosberg was nevertheless smaller than at any point during their time together, perhaps bar 2013. His 12-7 advantage in qualifying is his biggest over Rosberg to date (tied with 2015), however, in races he only beat Rosberg 10-9 which is one of his worst performances to date. Even looking past the statistics it was clear that Hamilton did not have his usual edge over Rosberg, there were some weekends where he was bizarrely poor and that is without mentioning his awful starts for much of the season. He should have been able to overcome the relatively small net points deficit caused by unreliability but, as much as it upset the BBC, he was unable to do so.

6. Sebastian Vettel
Last year Vettel was contender for driver of the season; this year the main thing people will likely remember is that he was outqualified by Raikkonen. I actually get a 10-10 record in qualifying, since I exclude Singapore due to mechanical failure (most of my quali stats exclude at least 1 session for similar reasons). He also beat Raikkonen 12-5 in races and 212-186 in points despite suffering worse at the hands of bad luck and unreliability. 2016 was undoubtedly a disappointing season for Vettel, even if it was perhaps not as bad as people make it out to be.

7. Nico Rosberg
Much has been made about Hamilton losing many points through unreliability and bad luck, but nothing has really been said about Rosberg's own problems across the season. A puncture in Canada, a gearbox problem in Britain, a nonsensical penalty in Germany and a Vettel-induced spin in Malaysia resulted in Rosberg losing almost 20 points. My own corrected points tally yields a 422-402 points advantage to Hamilton, and 11-9 in races. Whilst I struggle to see how anyone could argue Rosberg was the better of the two Mercedes drivers this season, I think most are exaggerating the gap that actually existed between them.

8. Jenson Button
In his final season of Formula 1 Button put in a solid if unspectacular performance, being consistently outperformed by Alonso while still keeping the Spaniard within touching distance. Button had a run of races in the middle of the season where he was beating Alonso on a pretty consistent basis, but he was unable to maintain this level of performance across the whole season.

9. Kimi Raikkonen
Raikkonen was much improved this year relative to his underwhelming 2014 and 2015 season, but he was still clearly outperformed by teammate Vettel. It is difficult to find anything to say about Raikkonen's season really - like Button he was solid but unspectacular, with the only notable things being his qualifying record against Vettel and his continued mediocrity in wet weather.

10. Sergio Perez

Perez had another good season, he was beaten 12-8 in qualifying by Hulkenberg but beat him 11-8 in races and 101-72 in points, and finished best of the rest behind the big 3 teams.

Rookie Cup:

1. Stoffel Vandoorne
It may seem strange to rank Vandoorne best rookie despite only participating in a single race, but his performance in that single race was very impressive. He outqualified Button and scored a point at a time when the McLaren was still not hugely competitive. His points per race score of 1 is actually 81% of Button's (1.24) and 31% of Alonso's (3.18), despite the fact that both Alonso and Button drove the car later in the season when it was more competitive.

2. Esteban Ocon
Ocon faced a tough challenge jumping into the Manor half way through the season, which makes his performance alongside Wehrlein all the more impressive. Wehrlein was ahead 6-2 in qualifying, but Ocon was ahead 5-3 in races and earned himself a promotion up to Force India.

3. Pascal Wehrlein
Some were unimpressed by Wehrlein's failure to beat Haryanto all that convincingly early in the season, but honestly I don't know what races they were watching. Wehrlein was only ahead 7-5 in qualifying, but he dominated 9-1 in races and 1-0 in points. The point he scored in Austria very nearly secured 10th in the Constructors for Manor were it not for a timely 9th place by Nasr in Brazil.

4. Jolyon Palmer
Magnussen beat Palmer 11-9 in qualifying, 9-7 in race and 7-1 in points, which is much closer than I expected it to be. Palmer also gained relative to Magnussen in the second half of the season, outqualifying him and matching his race results in the final 10 races. It is difficult to say how good Palmer was because it is difficult to say how good Magnussen is. The Renault car seemed, at least on paper, closely matched with the Sauber and both Magnussen and Palmer consistently outperformed Ericsson and Nasr.

5. Rio Haryanto
The only possibly notable thing I can say about Haryanto is that he is the most crash-prone driver to have participated in a race this season, averaging 1 driver-related DNF every 6 starts. Even then, Palmer and Wehrlein both average 1 in 7 races, so Haryanto isn't actually particularly noteworthy there either.
The team bosses name Lewis Hamilton the best driver of 2016 which some could dispute given both Verstappen and Ricciardo would have got consideration
Team Boss's Top 10

I would switch Nico and Daniel, move Sainz one up and instead of Bottas, I'd have Ocon.


1 Lewis Hamilton, 234 points (No change)
2 Max Verstappen, 183 (Up two places)
3 Nico Rosberg, 176 (No change)
4 Daniel Ricciardo, 133 (Up five)
5 Sebastian Vettel, 90 (Down three)
6 Fernando Alonso, 67 (No change)
7 Kimi Raikkonen, 61 (Up three)
8 Sergio Perez, 52 (No change)
9 Valtteri Bottas, 26 (Down two)
10 Carlos Sainz Jr, 25 (New entry)
I swear the team bosses confuse 'who was the best driver this season?' with 'which driver would you have liked in your car this season?'
I'm not good at this stuff, but here's my list:

1. Ricciardo
2. Verstappen
3. Hamilton
4. Rosberg
5. Alonso
6. Sainz
7. Vettel
8. Perez
9. Raikkonen
10. Massa

Flipper's in there because he's just a classy bloke, and still gave it some at the end.
this was quite tough for me, as there are some good drivers that ive had to leave out Hulkenburg, Grosjean, Nasr & Ocon, then the was the top 10 placing, should see my piece of paper, alot of scribbling & crossing out :D

but ive finally settled on a top 10

1) Riccardio - tough choice for me but Riccardio is my top driver of the season, so reliable quality all season Mercedes main challenger won in malaysia after brilliant battle with max, shouldve won in monaco dominated but luck was out as the rain fell, took 8 podiums ( + 5 4th places), scored in every grand prix bar russia & comfortably the won the non mercedes championship with 2 races to go

2) Verstappen - what do say about this guy, his potential talent could be as good as greatest that have ever driven an F1 car, everytime people think its too early he smashes it, best to do GP2 in 2015 > does F1. 2015 driver of the yr, 2016 its too early for red bull let him learn at Toro Rosso, wins on his senior team debut. cant forget he was only a tenth of kyvat on his final qualifying for Toro rosso. Yes you have to take the rough with the smooth, like mexico when he let himself down but when its smooth my days that drive at brazil was of such Rare class, i havent witnessed such a faultless wet drive since lewis in 2008 silverstone

3) Rosberg - World Champion to use the analogy of prost senna time, he won in a very prost way not the quickest in a straight fight, but was focused took some great wins like Melbourne Russia Belgium Singapore Japan, took advantage lewis's problems mechanical & of his own making. them last 4 races was perfect tactically used the car advantage took no risk handled the pressure delivering the 4 2nd placed needed for world title

4) Perez - best of the rest out of the 3 rich teams, Force india always doing a fantastic job to come 4th beating Williams on much more substantial budget. Perez doing what he does best, brilliant opportunist 2 podiums Monaco & Baku great achievement. i would like to see him a big team as think he could challenge for title

5) Sainz - as the old guard Retiring he will certainly be part of the new Guard, to take on spanish legacy from Alonso, so talented beat Kyvat comfortably every week. who we cant forget only 2 years ago had won GP3 title & promoted to senior team within 12 months, some of the drives especially towards the back of the season with a yr old ferrari engine especially that 6th place in brazil

6) Wehrlein - in worse car of year i think he did an amazing job despite the competition 2nd half of the season, being overlooked by ocon. took a Manor that had never made it into Q2 in dry conditions into Q2 5 times, part of manor long waited jump into the midfield & i think austria was one of the drives of the season as his qualifying in 12th is unbelievable of in manor & then scored manor 2nd ever point (1st without need for survival of fittest race) that but for bad luck in wet at brazil could earn 30m

7) Hamilton - at times brilliant, at times sloppy. won 10 races including the closing 4 races where he no margin for error won all 4 comfortably, when he was focused he was untouchable but for every brilliant race like Monaco Canada Austria Britain Hungary there was China Bahrain Baku Monza Singapore Japan. F1 is won over 8 mths not in 2 1 month bursts

8) Alonso - Despite the worse Power Unit to come 9th in the championship is some feat beating massa with mercedes engine & more than doubled his teammate total, very astute tactically i thought this season. some brilliant results outperforming the car in Russia Hungary Beligium USA & Brazil

9) Raikkonen - i think this year was almost the revival of Kimi, i thought he was destined to join Massa & button in retirement because he had been poor comfortably outpaced by vettel in 2015 & 1st part of 2016 but then where it was upgrade on the ferrari or found a new thing on the set up but he ended up beating Vettel, fully deserves his 2017 drive which is something i couldnt say in 2015 or 2016

10) Vettel - he got 5 podiums & 4th in the world championship is a good season statically, but in reality compared to 2015 its been a very disappointing season he was gone from comfortably the 3rd best driver on the grid hoping for title battle in 2016 to getting beaten by kimi towards the end of the season happy to be top 5, let the pressure get to him & i very nearly replaced him for grosjean
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