F1

F1 driver power rankings: Hamilton takes the 2017 RealSport title

As this season’s power rankings draw to a close, it’s the 2017 world champions who sits on top of the pile.

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(Photo credit: Jake Archibald)

1. Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton bounced back from missing out on the title last year to, in the end, win his fourth world championship with two rounds to spare. He became the most successful British driver of all time and now tops the pole position chart in the sport. 

With exceptional performances in China, Spain, Canada, Britain and Brazil to name a few, he’s the driver of the year in my opinion. (George Howson)

2. Max Verstappen

After a frustrating start to the season it has been an extremely successful finish to the year for the young Dutchman. He won the season-long qualifying battle with Daniel Ricciardo and seems to be Red Bull’s number one man moving into the future. (Toby Durant)

3. Sebastian Vettel

Despite a few costly mistakes, Sebastian Vettel was back to his best this year, extracting the most from his Ferrari for large chunks of the season. He was unfortunate to miss out on a real shot at the title, but still a very strong season for the German. (Shwuaib Malik)

4. Daniel Ricciardo

There isn’t another racer like Ricciardo on the grid. He has given us the most amazing overtakes all year, with his drives from the back being a treat every time. 

Whether it be hanging in there for corner after corner or making a perfectly timed lunge up the inside, he is the best passer on the planet right now, as well as the most entertaining in the Thursday press conferences. (Toby Durant)

5= Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas ruled Abu Dhabi this year, marking the first time the Finn performed a Hamilton(ish) domination of a grand prix. Pole by over a tenth, fully controlled race victory and fastest lap. This was no doubt his best weekend of 2017. (Mikael Kataja)

5=  Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso had a dog of a McLaren to drive this year, with the Honda power unit again letting the Woking team down throughout the season. The Spaniard, though, showed exactly why he’s a double world champion with sensational performances, particularly in qualifying. 

One can only hope the Renault engine is reliable and competitive in 2018. Give him a car that is capable of getting on the podium and he’ll guarantee you wins.  (George Howson)

7. Esteban Ocon

Ocon’s season has been one of supreme consistency (or Oconcistency) that has seen the young Frenchman become one of the standout performers of the 2017 season. In what is technically his rookie season (or at least first full season) in F1, he has only finished outside the points once and retired once, in Brazil, where it wasn’t really his fault as he was collected by Romain Grosjean on the opening lap.



Although he was ultimately beaten over the course of the season by his more experienced teammate Sergio Perez, his ability to go toe to toe with his highly-rated stablemate and often come out on top marks him out for future greatness without a doubt. (Nick Brown)



8. Carlos Sainz

Carlos Sainz is a talent to reckon with. He has an innate capability to extract a car’s full potential and is yet able to manage it to perfection to ensure it crosses the finish line on race day. Sainz scored 48 championship points with Toro Rosso while his teammate Daniil Kvyat managed only five in 2017. 

After switching to Renault he scored valuable points in his first race with the team to help ensure the works team finished in sixth position in the constructors’ standings. 2018 will be an interesting season for the Red Bull development driver as he looks to secure a seat in a top tier team. (Ansh
Sanyal
)

9. Nico Hulkenberg

It’s been a season of ups and downs for Nico Hulkenberg. He has had great races (Britain, Spain, and even as recently as Abu Dhabi), but has also made his share of errors, such as his crash in Baku. He has also been the unfortunate recipient of Renault’s rotten reliability this year, which has further hampered his progress.

His inconsistencies often went under the radar when his teammate was Jolyon Palmer, as next to him, most drivers would look good. With the arrival of Carlos Sainz though, you got the feeling that Nico has upped his game to secure his position within the team. Long may it continue! (Nick Brown)

10. Kimi Raikkonen

Though Raikkonen safely secured fourth position in the drivers’ championship, his season has been altogether rather cold, and not in the way that the “Iceman” would have liked. Putting full blame on Kimi would be unfair as he has had reliability issues plague him throughout the season but it must be noted that his teammate, Vettel, was able to extract way more from his car. 

If Ferrari are to have a championship year in 2018 Raikkonen will need to maximise his performance as there are several strong contenders to take his spot in 2019. If Monaco 2017 is any evidence though, Kimi on his day can still punch with the heavyweights. (Ansh Sanyal)

11. Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez’s season was a great one in numbers but not as much in the feeling it left everyone with after the experienced Mexican was teamed up with Esteban Ocon, Mercedes’ protégé. 

Ocon proved to be a tough teammate and Perez had many fights with him, some even ending in collisions between the two. Even though Perez finished the higher of the two in the standings, I fear this season eradicated any chance of the Mexican moving up the grid to a top team. (Mikael Kataja)

12. Stoffel Vandoorne

This isn’t how things were meant to be for Belgium’s representative on the grid. Once again cursed with an exceptionally poor offering from Honda that only seemed to produce grid penalties for its drivers, it was all he could do bring the car home on the odd occasion it got that far early on in the year.

Upgrades from Honda eventually arrived and helped Vandoorne to exceptional finishes in Singapore and Malaysia, so we at least got a glimpse of what this rookie is capable of. Hopefully, the 2018 McLaren-Renault will be strides ahead of this year’s McLaren-Honda and Stoffel can finally start to have some fun. (Nick Brown)

13. Felipe Massa

A year on from his first retirement, Felipe Massa once again rides off into the sunset, and with his head held high. He was Williams’ leading points scorer for much of the season, and finished the year that way after a couple of sterling drives in Brazil and Abu Dhabi to round off his year. 

It’s clear he still has what it takes to compete at the highest level, exhibited by his robust fight with Fernando Alonso in Abu Dhabi, but clearly he feels it is time to move on. We will miss him. (Nick Brown)

14. Pascal Wehrlein

Pascal Wehrlein was in contention for the second Mercedes seat earlier this year and he proved why he was considered. The Sauber was comfortably the worst car on the 2017 grid, being slow in corners and underpowered on the straights. Despite this, though, he managed to score points on two occasions, something his teammate failed to do for the second season in a row. 

It’d be a crying shame if he’s not on the grid next year but that could well be a possibility with how things are shaking up. (George Howson)

15. Lance Stroll

After a dreadful start to the season, where he failed to score a point for the first six races, the Canadian rookie came alive in the middle of the season with a spectacular podium in Azerbaijan, and then followed it up with decent results in both Italy and Mexico. 

Stroll’s consistency is his greatest fault though, so no doubt he will be working overtime in improving this area of his game over the winter. (Nick Brown)

16. Kevin Magnussen

Kevin Magnussen established himself as the bad boy of Formula 1 this year with his rule-bending driving and snarky comments. Most will remember the exchange he had with Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg in Hungary, where he answered the German’s criticism with a suggestion to suck his balls. 

A lot of people give him a hard time, but personally I’m happy he’s staying around in 2018. (Mikael Kataja)

17. Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean had a tough second year with Haas. Although he had a sensational sixth place in Austria, this season will moslty be remembered for his whining about the car or other drivers. If the Frenchman is still aiming for a seat at Ferreri, he’ll have to get his act together in 2018. (Mikael Kataja)

18. Pierre Gasly

It’s hard to evaluate two rookies dropped into the contest at the end of the season, as the rest of the grid knows their cars, the tyres, and their limits. That being said, the new Toro Rosso pairing have acquitted themselves well under the circumstances, but were unable to prevent the team losing sixth in the constructors’ to Renault in the final race.

Out of the two, Pierre Gasly was the most impressive, and it will be good to see what he is capable of after a winter’s worth of work back at the factory. (Nick Brown).

19. Brendon Hartley

Brendon Hartley’s hiring came as a surprise to everyone ahead of the US grand prix, and at first it seemed like a fresh change in the grid. But looking back at the end of the season, it seems as an even bigger surprise that Toro Rosso were so eager to hire the Kiwi. 

Admittedly, he was badly hindered by engine penalties in every race, but he didn’t progress much in these races. If we go solely by record, surely Daniil Kvyat, however risky he may be, would have been a better choice to go with in 2018 than a 28-year-old rookie. (Mikael Kataja)

20. Marcus Ericsson

It says a lot that Marcus Ericsson was outvoted by a rookie who hasn’t achieved a massive amount so far in F1. The Swede was the only full-time driver in 2017 not to score a point, and will only remain in the sport due to his backers rather than any real desire to have the fastest driver in the car (that would be Wehrlein).

It does look likely though that he will retain his seat for 2018, although Ferrari are said to be pushing hard for Antonio Giovinazzi to take his place. (Nick Brown)

What are your thoughts on our final rankings of the season? Let us know in the comments below and watch out for your opportunity to vote for your driver of the year tomorrow!



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