2017 Bahrain Grand Prix Team Mate Wars/Winners & Losers

In F1 the first driver you must beat is your team-mate.

FERRARI

Sebastian Vettel (P1) 3-0 DRIVER OF THE DAY

Brilliant performance. Pitted on lap 11 to avoid losing more time behind a sedate Valtteri Bottas and never relinquished for his second win of 2017. WINNER 10/10

Kimi Raikkonen (P4) 0-3

With persistent understeer issues and a poor start, it was always going to be another uphill battle. For a second consecutive week, Ferrari refused to pit him sooner for his second pitstop. P4 was the best Kimi could hope for (again). LOSER 7/10

MERCEDES

Lewis Hamilton (P2) 3-0

Lost too much time behind Bottas. WINNER 8/10

Valtteri Bottas (P3) 0-3

Won his first pole and lead the first stint, but struggled with constant overheating issues. LOSER 7/10

RED BULL

Daniel Ricciardo (P5) 2-1

Did well to recover from his earlier tyre issues, despite seeing his team-mate crash with brake failure. WINNER 7/10

Max Verstappen (RET, Brakes) 1-2

Did well to launch himself into P4 before brake failure. WINNER 7/10

FORCE INDIA

Sergio Perez (P7) 3-0

A great drive from his lowly starting slot of P18 WINNER 8/10

Esteban Ocon (P10) 0-3

Progressing well. At least he’s doing better than other youngsters in the field. WINNER 7/10

WILLIAMS

Felipe Massa (P6) 3-0

Great performance. Did well to hold off Kimi in the earlier stages. WINNER 8/10

Lance Stroll (RET, Collision) 0-3

Not at fault for the Turn 1 collision between himself and Carlos Sainz. LOSER 5/10

MCLAREN

Fernando Alonso (P14, Power Unit) 3-0

Difficult to gauge his performance with once again more issues with Honda. WINNER 7/10

Stoffel Vandoorne (RET, Power Unit) 0-3

LOL. N/A

TORO ROSSO

Carlos Sainz (RET, Collision) 2-2 REJECT OF THE DAY

Unlucky to break down in qualifying. Exacerbated his woes with a foolish divebomb on Lance Stroll on lap 13, which was 100% avoidable on the Spaniard’s part. LOSER 2/10

Daniil Kvyat (P12) 2-2

A rather average display, where the Russian struggled to dispose of Jolyon Palmer’s Renault & Fernando Alonso’s McLaren. LOSER 5/10

HAAS

Romain Grosjean (P8) 2-1

A return to form. WINNER 7/10

Kevin Magnussen (RET, Electrics)

A return to mediocrity. LOSER 3/10

RENAULT

Nico Hulkenberg (P9) 3-0

A strong performance all-weekend, but it’s tough to gauge how well the German is doing against his shambles of a team-mate. WINNER 7/10

Jolyon Palmer (P13) 0-3

Consistently a second slower per lap than his illustrious team-mate. Yes, his fastest lap was just two-tenths slower than Hulkenberg’s, but it remains a mystery how the Briton was retained for a second season at Enstone. LOSER 4/10

SAUBER

Marcus Ericsson (RET, Gearbox) 0-1

A steady race ended by mechanical failure. LOSER 5/10

Pascal Wehrlein (P11) 1-0

In a backdrop of speculation over his mindset relating his injury-related absence, the 22-year-old German silenced his critics. WINNER 7/10

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2017 Chinese Grand Prix Review: Kimi Raikkonen & Ferrari

Shanghai was the scene of the second round of 2017 FIA Formula One World Championship. The major talking points were:

  • Sebastian Vettel’s questionable starting position
  • The first ever implementation of the standing start procedure after circulating for a few laps behind the safety car in damp conditions
  • Kimi Raikkonen and his relationship with Ferrari, with his team’s refusal to pit him at least five laps earlier for his second tyre stop. It almost certainly costed him P3 and the sight of Sergio Marchionne and Maurizio Arrivabene calling for talks over his form was extremely unpalatable
  • Valtteri Bottas’ laughable spin behind the second safety car
  • Antonio Giovinazzi crashing twice: first in Q1 and second on lap 4 in the race
  • Ferrari SF70H’s optimum operating range clearly being in hotter, sunny conditions
  • FIA succeeding in their criterion of implementing racing which consisted of higher quality, instead of higher quantity, of overtakes, particularly in the non-DRS zone around Turn 6
  • The late race Red Bull battle between hard-chargers Max Verstappen & Daniel Ricciardo
  • A dominant, composed drive from Lewis Hamilton
  • Kevin Magnussen’s surprise result of P8.

2017 Chinese Grand Prix Team-Mates Wars/ Winners & Losers

In F1 the first driver you must beat is your team-mate.

FERRARI

Sebastian Vettel (P2) 2-0

Drove as well as ever, although might have had a realistic chance to win if Ferrari had called Kimi to pull over earlier. WINNER 9/10

Kimi Raikkonen (P5) 0-2 DRIVER OF THE DAY

Screwed over by his strategists, who should have pitted him at least five laps earlier for his 2nd pit stop. Drove valiantly under the circumstances. WINNER 9/10

MERCEDES

Lewis Hamilton (P1) 2-0

Won pole and won the race easily. WINNER 9/10

Valtteri Bottas (P6) 0-2 REJECT OF THE DAY

A poor start was exacerbated by the Finn embarrassingly spinning during a safety car period. His fightback was staunch, but his race was one of damage limitation. LOSER 3/10

RED BULL

Daniel Ricciardo (P4) 2-0

After two tricky initial stints, a tweak to his front wing allowed the Aussie to catch his young team-mate, but to no avail. WINNER 7/10

Max Verstappen (P3) 0-2

A wet start saw the Dutchman fly through the field in the opening laps, so his starting spot of P16 proved irrelevant. WINNER 7/10

FORCE INDIA

Sergio Perez (P9) 2-0 WINNER 7/10

Esteban Ocon (P10) 0-2 WINNER 7/10

WILLIAMS

Felipe Massa (P14) 2-0

In spite of a strong qualifying position of P6, the veteran struggled for pace. Williams appear to have a chassis that has raw pace, but is lacking drivability. LOSER 4/10

Lance Stroll (RET, Collision) 0-2

The young French-Canadian has a lot to learn in F1 and it showed on lap 1, when he collided with Sergio Perez. His immediate retirement left him plenty to reflect on weekend where despite breaking Q3 for the first time, his qualifying pace eroded over the hour paradoxically. Remains half a second slower than Massa. LOSER 3/10

MCLAREN

Fernando Alonso (RET, Driveshaft) 2-0

Retaining a sunny disposition, the grizzled Spaniard drove in his words, “Even better than Melbourne”, but once again his tools failed him. WINNER 9/10

Stoffel Vandoorne (RET, Fuel Pressure) 0-2

Wasn’t able to show his full potential with an early departure from the race. With an ill-handling chassis and unresponsive power unit, the young Belgian still trails Alonso half a second per lap. LOSER 4/10

TORO ROSSO

Carlos Sainz (P7) 2-1

A dodgy start on slicks was exacerbated by a spin, where his recovery saw him tag the outer barrier. Luckily his suspension remained intact, so his determined drive to P7 proved his status as a star of the future. WINNER 8/10

Daniil Kvyat (RET, Hydraulics) 1-2

Early retirement meant the Russian had no chance. Outqualifying Sainz and breaking Q3 is move in the right direction. LOSER 5/10

HAAS

Romain Grosjean (P11) 1-1

Never looked comfortable all weekend. LOSER 4.5/10

Kevin Magnussen (P8) 1-1

An exemplary performance from the mercurial Dane. WINNER 7.5/10

RENAULT

Nico Hulkenberg (P12) 2-0

A brilliant performance in qualifying was scuppered by poor strategy. LOSER 5/10

Jolyon Palmer (P13) 0-2

Considering the fact that the Briton is almost a second slower per lap than Hulkenberg, it can be viewed as a positive he finished one positioned behind the German. LOSER 5/10

SAUBER

Marcus Ericsson (P15) (1-1 vs. GIO)

Meh. LOSER 4/10

Antonio Giovinazzi (RET, Crash) (1-1 vs. ERI)

Crash once and you’ve made a mistake, but crash twice and you’re careless. Not a good way to entice opportunities for a race seat in the coming future. LOSER 3/10

2017 Australian GP Winners & Losers/Team Mate Wars

In F1 the first driver you must beat is your team-mate.

FERRARI 

*Sebastian Vettel (P1) DRIVER OF THE DAY 1-0

Drove brilliantly all weekend to silence his critics, who denigrated him severely during his disappointing 2016. A definite championship contender. WINNER 10/10

Kimi Raikkonen (P4) 0-1

A tough weekend, where he blamed set-up and understeer issues. The Finn will hurting over his lacklustre showing, where familiar foe Max Verstappen threatened to pounce in the closing stages. LOSER 6/10

MERCEDES

Lewis Hamilton (P2) 1-0

Like last year, the Englishman stormed to pole (his 62nd of his career), but again race day saw his hopes of a winning start thwarted. Whilst last year was lost through a poor start, this year was lost due to his Mercedes pit crew committing a blunder in the timing of his only pit stop. With a car which still suffers in the wake of leading opposition, Hamilton openly admitted the race was lost there and then. LOSER 8/10

Valtteri Bottas (P3) 0-1

The Finn proved steady, if not spectacular. His opening stint was rather sedate, but his second stint proved he was capable of being more dynamic, if not rather obedient. WINNER 7.5/10

RED BULL

Daniel Ricciardo (Ret, Fuel Pressure) 0-1

Did anything go right? Crashed on his first flying lap in Q3, broke down on the formation lap with a jammed sensor and parked up adjacent to Turn 4 on lap 26. Although it’s not clear whether his qualifying crash affected any surrounding hardware within his chassis, Ricciardo is already ten points behind his highly-regarded Dutch team-mate. LOSER 4/10

Max Verstappen (P5) 1-0

A very solid drive from the prodigy hailing from Maaseik. WINNER 7.5/10

FORCE INDIA

Sergio Perez (P7) 1-0

A good performance considering the weight issues affecting the chassis. WINNER 8/10

Esteban Ocon (P10) 0-1

A decent debut outing, topped by his marvellous manoeuvre on Fernando Alonso, which saw him three-wide alongside Hulkenberg. WINNER 7/10 

WILLIAMS

Felipe Massa (P6) 1-0

After what appeared to be unremarkable final season in 2016, the returning Brazilian proved he’s still as good as ever, albeit assisted by the higher downforce levels he thrives upon. WINNER 7.5/10

Lance Stroll (Ret, Brakes) 0-1

An arduous introduction to the top tier of motorsport. Many believe he should be preparing for a season in Formula 2 and the 18-year-old French-Canadian did nothing prove his doubters wrong. A heavy crash during practice was followed by a cautious performance in qualifying, where his aim thereafter was to complete the race distance. If there is solace, former world champion Jenson Button qualified in the penultimate grid position on his debut for the Grove-based team. It’s a long journey to the top. LOSER 3/10

MCLAREN

Fernando Alonso (Ret, Broken Floor) 1-0

The wily Spaniard made no secret of his disgruntlement of the apparent decline in the team’s progress over the winter, but his race pace was as phenomenal as ever. P10 was looming until damage to his suspension saw him swamped by Ocon & Hulkenberg. WINNER 9/10

Stoffel Vandoorne (P13) 0-1

Finishing last was not what the 2015 GP2 champion had in mind for his full-time F1 debut. Appears to be unable to invoke enough temperature in this year’s Pirelli compounds, allied by a defective MCL32 chassis and oscillating Honda power unit. A laborious season awaits. LOSER 4/10 

TORO ROSSO

Carlos Sainz (P8) 1-1

Another promising drive of the Spaniard’s blossoming career. WINNER 7/10

Daniil Kvyat (P9) 1-1

Easily his beat drive since returning to the Faenza-based outfit. WINNER 7/10

HAAS

Romain Grosjean (Ret, Water Leak) 1-0

Decimated his new team-mate for pace and consistency all weekend, pulled off a fabulous qualifying result (P6), but saw his car crippled by all-too-commonly occurring mechanical gremlins. LOSER 6/10

Kevin Magnussen (Ret, Suspension) 0-1

Gunther Steiner signed the 24-year-old Dane because he felt K-Mag would be a more reliable bet for points than the heavily-maligned Esteban Gutierrez. However, Magnussen spent the weekend still learning how to adapt to VF-17’s brakes. His collision with Marcus Ericsson saw him lucky to escape a penalty in the race, before his failing suspension truncate a disappointing outing in the Dane’s debut for Haas. LOSER 2/10

RENAULT

Nico Hulkenberg (P11) 1-0

With an extremely weak team-mate, it will be excruciatingly tough to track the German’s progress this season (unless Palmer beats him, then it will be clear that Hulkenberg is struggling). A solid debut for his new Renault, he will be disappointed that the thick turbulence in the wake of Ocon’s Force India prevented a points finish. WINNER 7/10

*Jolyon Palmer REJECT OF THE DAY 0-1

Palmer is clearly only in F1 because Magnussen accepted Haas’ offer to join them for 2017. Crashed in practice, blamed anyone but himself for an abysmal qualifying display and overheating brakes was the tale of the Briton’s sorry Melbourne weekend. LOSER 1/10

SAUBER

Marcus Ericsson (Ret, Hydraulics) (0-1 vs. GIO)

A reasonable qualifying result of P14 was scuppered when Kevin Magnussen smashed into Ericsson’s right sidepod at Turn 3 on lap 1. The consequent hydraulics-related damage meant the Swede retired on lap 21. LOSER 4/10

Antonio Giovinazzi (P12) (1-0 vs. ERI)

A sensational debut GP2 season, where the Italian narrowly missed the title to Pierre Gasly, was richly rewarded with a stand-in drive for the stricken Pascal Wehrlein. It was a performance where he proved his selection was richly deserved. WINNER 7/10

2017 Australian Grand Prix: A Measured Response

The new regulations presented themselves with a few pros, but some deeply stark cons. It was great to see the drivers enjoying the grip and sensation of pushing every lap, but agonisingly discouraging to see the cars struggle in dirty air once they reached within 2.5 seconds of cars in front of them. The new, wider, harder tyre compounds witnessed cars on the limit through every corner on every lap, but it meant the race was restricted to one stoppers, so strategy was indistinguishable throughout the field. Fernando Alonso stated the drivers had to be incredibly sharp in their responses to any tank slappers or slides, “So you have half a tenth of a second to react. Last year you had four seconds – in the corner you could take a coffee in those cars!”

Whilst last year’s narrow track chassis combined with fragile Pirelli compounds proved monotonous and frustrating for the drivers, at least spectators were treated to close racing with opportunity for passes albeit at corner speeds adjacent to Formula 2. This cars have not only seen dramatic rise in corner speeds, but also drastically reduced braking distances, much more aggressive steering lock approaches, earlier re-application of throttle responses on corner exits, increased acceleration out of braking zones and heavily multiplied drag levels.

So what is the solution? It would be egregious to return to last year’s slower regulations, that was dismissed by fans, drivers and personnel alike as mickey mouse-like and regressive. However, a number of options for 2018 need to be considered and these include:

  • An increased power unit capacity, with a switch to either 2.0L- 2.4L V6/V8 turbo hybrids or 3.5L- 4.0L V10 naturally-aspirated internal combustion engines (although the latter option has been ruled void by FIA president Jean Todt)
  • A removal of the multiple elements on the front wings, with a rule mandating that only two separate elements with a single slot gap separating them. This is highly recommended, as this is a probable solution to the issue of the dramatically increased turbulence the cars have been suffering in the 2017 specs
  • A narrowing of the chassis from 2 metres to 1.8 metres, in order to decrease drag and force the size of the wings to be reduced by 10%.

Some fans heavily bemoaned the durable tyre compounds reducing the number of pit stops to just one during this year’s Australian GP, but the sight of Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg having confidence in their tyres to endure moving offline to overtake an ailing Fernando Alonso without last year’s worries of regular flat-spotting was very promising.

However, there also needs to be a technical change which can adversely affect the balance of the cars. Of course, some may argue that the sight of drivers losing the rear end of the cars may occur more commonly, as seen by Jolyon Palmer’s and Daniel Ricciardo’s crashes last weekend. However, others have argued drivers will eventually become familiarised with the handling and the limits in which they can extend the boundaries of their machinery. With that in mind, it is highly likely the necessity for the drivers to attack to maximum will see the margins between the top drivers and the merely good extend to much wider in comparison to last year: the time gaps between Haas’ Romain Grosjean and Kevin Magnussen, Renault’s Hulkenberg and Jolyon Palmer & Williams’ Felipe Massa and rookie Lance Stroll are proof of how much talent and experience will count this year. This is something that will be welcomed by certain fans, who have admonished cars of the past five years as little better than souped up GP2 cars.

The sight of at least a dozen elements on the front wings has had some fans criticising the technical aspect of the sport having become esoteric. Former prominent F1 supremos such as Flavio Briatore have been openly scathing in their criticisms about these issues, stating clearly that the sport should prioritise entertainment for viewers over what he saw as a self-indulgent pet project for engineers. The loss of downforce through the removal of elements and narrowing of cars and wings could be compensated with the return of ground-effects, albeit with a FIA-standardised venturi-shaped floor which every team must fit to the underneath of their chassis.

Practice on Friday saw Mercedes domination, which many saw as sad harbinger of what may follow this season. Non-Mercedes fans’ worst fears of a fourth consecutive seasons appeared depressingly real, but Saturday displayed the hallmarks of a Ferrari challenge. Although Lewis Hamilton grabbed the 62nd pole position in his 189th attempt, Sebastian Vettel hauled his scarlet Ferrari within 0.268 seconds of the Mercedes. It proved to be a miracle as qualifying was ran in mild conditions, with a sprinkle of rain appearing in the early minutes of Q3, which had threatened to kill off competition for pole ten minutes early.

Sunday saw Daniel Ricciardo ominously break down in front of his home crowd on a warm-up lap, thanks to an electronic sensor locking his transmission in sixth gear. He was fortunate the rescue crew extricated his stricken Red Bull and returned it back to the pits, but when he re-ignited his Renault power unit, his car had already been lapped twice. Toro Rosso stablemate Daniil Kvyat faced the threat of an extraordinary third consecutive DNS in-as-many-events at Melbourne due to a fire extinguisher emptying itself, but his mechanics saved his bacon in prompt manner. Nico Hulkenberg embarrassingly parking his Renault two inches ahead of his demarcated grid slot, enforcing a second formation lap, which may have frayed a few anticipatory nerves. The race start was clean, but the collision between Magnussen and Marcus Ericsson at Turn 3 was the result of the Dane clipping his rear right tyre over the kerb, causing a sudden tank-slapper that left him nowhere to go but clobber the startled Sauber driver.

The race for the lead was a cat-and-mouse affair between Hamilton and Vettel. Taking a cue out of the 2016 strategy book, the Briton pitted early on lap 17, as the Mercedes tacticians naively believed the undercut would work like last year despite Hamilton still having 30% tread remaining on his first stint compounds. With clean air to scythe through, Vettel duly capitalised, whilst Hamilton emerged behind a beguiled Max Verstappen, who made his struggling Red Bull as wide as possible for five laps before the Briton inevitably used DRS to speed past. Unfortunately for Mercedes, Vettel pulled enough of a margin so that when he cleared a confused Lance Stroll and pitted, he had a comfortable enough margin which he never relinquished. Hamilton would spend the remainder of the race complaining of dirty air, something which his Mercedes cars of previous years undoubtedly proved inferior in terms of dealing with in comparison to the opposition (but rarely mattered due to its absolute domination). With the improvements Ferrari have made intertwined with the new regulations, this is an issue which will provide many headaches at Brackley during breaks between races.

Valtteri Bottas fell progressively behind in the initial stint, but his second stint proved more productive, where he eventually finished less than 1.5 seconds behind his illustrious team-mate. Kimi Raikkonen, sadly, seemed to flounder as the race progressed, as fifteen laps from the race’s end his arch-nemesis of last year, Max Verstappen, closed in ominously, but could not even attempt to facilitate a consideration to overtake the embattled Finn due to the excessive turbulence in following the wake of the rejuvenated Ferrari package. The Iceman’s P4 is a solid start, but already his critics were condemning his performance, slamming it as half-arsed, lazy and other slurs which have become all-too-commonly aimed at the 2007 world champion.

An “un-retired” Felipe Massa drove as if he’d never retired, as he brought home a vital 8 points. Motivation will be key for the 35-year-old Brazilian, as Williams cannot be sure his dilettante team-mate Lance Stroll is capable of scoring points whatsoever judging by his underwhelming Grand Prix debut. Running 13th, the young French-Canadian eventually parked his car in the pits with failing brakes, but whether this was a genuine mechanical gremlin or a result of his inexperience with handling carbon F1 brake discs remains to be seen.

Despite an overweight new VJM10 chassis, where drivers Sergio Perez and Esteban Ocon were forced to lose weight before the race, they respectively finished 7th & 10th, proving the Silverstone squad had not regressed on last year’s remarkable results. Toro Rosso debuted their STR11s with drivers Carlos Sainz & Daniil Kvyat finishing eighth & ninth, however both questioned the handling and balance of their chassis throughout the weekend, so tweaks could be forthcoming.

Stand-in Antonio Giovinazzi drove an impressive Grand Prix debut, admitting he had pace to spare after finishing P12 due to lack of experience with this year’s durable Pirelli compounds. Hulkenberg tried to overtake Ocon in the closing laps, but yet proved an umpteenth driver unimpressed with the dirty air produced in the wake of a fellow competitor. Stoffel Vandoorne finished P13 and last, clearly unable to adapt to his MCL32’s dreadful package, as his far smoother driving style could not correct the understeering tendencies which his illustrious team-mate Alonso has famously combated with stunning success thanks to an infamously aggressive initial turn-in. The Spaniard had been running an awe-inspiring P10 before debris caught under his car’s floor would leave him as a sitting duck for the advances of Ocon & Hulkenberg. A resultant broken floor would force an unsurprising retirement from Alonso, who made no secret of his frustration at McLaren & Honda’s apparent regression in development over the winter.

The Turn 3 incident between Magnussen & Ericsson would see the Dane retire 11 laps from the end with suspension damage, whilst the Swede would soldier on with hydraulics damaged in the incident that failed after 21 laps. Daniel Ricciardo would see his car retire after 25 laps, thanks to a fuel pressure issue unrelated to his pre-race electronic sensor failure or his crash in qualifying the previous day.

Jolyon Palmer, who had the weekend from hell, retired with his brake-by-wire system failing to register his car’s electronics and hydraulics together properly after 15 laps. Star of qualifying Grosjean saw a water leak end his day with just 13 laps completed, having started 6th, an all-time best for Haas.

The Verstappen effect: feeder series obsolete – Money talks — thejudge13

READ PART 1 More than meets the eye How much would it actually cost to get in Formula One these days? We all see the reports of how much some drivers, allegedly, bring as backing once they’re on the verge of becoming a Formula One driver. And for some we see a number alongside their […]

via The Verstappen effect: feeder series obsolete – Money talks — thejudge13

2016 F1 Driver Review of the Season: 5-8: What-Ifs & Maybes

5. Lewis Hamilton (2nd, 380 points- Mercedes) 8.0

In a season of fine margins, Hamilton excelled on his best days, but struggled persistently with his Mercedes F1 W07’s clutch. This meant his slow starts at Australia, Bahrain, Italy, & Japan costed him any chance of victory at those races, but his hampered start at Spain lead to one of the sport’s most infamous collisions in its history. His relationship with embattled team-mate Nico Rosberg had already plummeted to point zero long before, though, so conspiracy theories escalated when the German waived Hamilton past en route to his Monaco victory, the Briton’s first of the season. Debate over whether whom benefited from favouritism swung continuously throughout 2016, but throughout the four-year partnership of Rosberg & Hamilton at Mercedes, mechanical failures and poor starts were incredibly close statistically. In addition, his abysmal performance at Singapore, where Daniel Ricciardo outqualified him and Kimi Raikkonen overtook him and would have beaten if it was not for an unnecessary third stop, and his crash at Baku followed by radio restrictions compounding software issues, meant Lewis did not come even remotely close to driving a flawless season. His fans may point to his qualifying record (12-9),  superior win count (10-9) and total of podiums (17-16), as well as his engine failure whilst leading at Malaysia, but Hamilton’s WDCs in 2014 & 2015 contained fewer driver errors and his annihilation of Rosberg on his best days was much more devastating than this season.

6. Daniel Ricciardo (3rd, 256 points- Red Bull-TAG Heuer) 7.5

All-in-all, a topsy-turvy year for the Honey Badger. He defeated new team-mate Max Verstappen 11-6 in qualifying, but the Dutch prodigy improved swiftly throughout 2016. The Australian will not be needed to be reminded, but he faces by far the toughest winter of his career. In his first two weekends at Spain & Monaco with Verstappen as his team-mate, he lost his chances due to pit strategy and then slow pit reactions in the latter, where his post-race demeanour was that of an uncharacteristically ashen-faced loser. His performances in the first three Grands Prix at Australia, China & Bahrain displayed exemplary consistency, clocking three consecutive fourth places. If it was not for an early puncture in China, where he had been leading, the Australian could have claimed four victories in 2016. Sadly, Ricciardo began to appear staid and ordinary, as Max increasingly grabbed the headlines with stellar drives.

7. Sebastian Vettel (4th, 212 points- Ferrari) 7.5

By the quadruple world champion’s standards, 2016 was a mediocre, unfulfilling season. He suffered his fair share of bad luck (engine failure on the formation lap at Bahrain, clobbered by Daniil Kvyat at Russia, a sudden tyre blowout at Austria and countless times he lost positions due to Ferrari’s pit strategy), but his racecraft came under scrutiny thanks to squeezing Raikkonen at Shanghai and Spa, where Red Bull’s Kvyat and Max Verstappen were involved in collisions with the Ferrari pair at these respective races. In addition, his outlandish dive bomb on Rosberg at Malaysia was absurd to say the least, adding weight to his critics’ belief that his once potent mojo is terminally waning. His flagrant criticism of the driving of Kvyat and Verstappen became major talking points, so rival fans sneered in amusement at the 29 year old’s radio rants, especially during his meltdown in the closing laps of Mexico. These messages became a regular nuisance for his Ferrari pit crew to hear, as his apparent annoyance at the slightest hesitation from backmarkers to yield when blue flags were being signalled, went viral on social media. There is no doubting the German’s passion, but his patience and concentration is becoming a source of concern, as some would not be surprised if he was to follow compatriot Rosberg into an early retirement from F1. He lost the qualifying battle 11-10 to his ageing team-mate Kimi Raikkonen, so it appears Vettel will need to up his game if he wants a fifth world championship.

8. Kimi Raikkonen (6th, 186 points- Ferrari) 7.5

The Iceman enjoyed a remarkable resurgence during 2016, where the Ferrari SF16-H provided better handling characteristics with the design team reverting to a traditional pushrod suspension design. His season began ominously with a fiery turbo failure at Australia, as viewers were stunned to see flames smoke from the Finn’s airbox as he exited his vehicle. From thereafter, Raikkonen was able to enjoy a season that was not marred by mechanical failures, but poor luck remained a perennial headache. He was twice squeezed excessively at the first corner by Vettel at the start of races at Shanghai and Spa, leading to compromised races with a damaged car and Ferrari’s discombobulated pit crew did Kimi no favours with pit strategy. Despite a general reversal fortunes, the lack of progress and ingenuity in the development of Ferrari’s chassis meant the 2007 world champion was restricted to just four podium finishes, which should have been five if it was not for an unnecessary stop to fit used supersofts at Singapore. At the age of 37, it remains to be seen if the Iceman has the energy left to muster one last championship fight in 2017. For Kimi to challenge, he will probably need a deterioration in the relations between best friend and team-mate Vettel and the Ferrari hierarchy, as well as a refreshed car design and team structure. His taciturn, apolitical, yet endearing, personality could help him in the notoriously intense political turmoil at Maranello to reach his goal of a second WDC.

Pole and fastest lap records per decade

POLE POSITIONS

2010s poles (until 2016)

1) Lewis Hamilton 44
2) Sebastian Vettel 41
3) Nico Rosberg 30
4) Mark Webber 12
5) Fernando Alonso 4
6) Jenson Button 1
= Nico Hulkenberg 1
= Felipe Massa 1
= Pastor Maldonado 1
= Daniel Ricciardo 1

2000s poles

1) Michael Schumacher 45
2) Fernando Alonso 18
3) Lewis Hamilton 17
4) Kimi Raikkonen 16
5) Felipe Massa 15
6) Juan Pablo Montoya 13
7) Rubens Barrichello 12
8) Jenson Button 7
9) Ralf Schumacher 6
10) Mika Hakkinen 5
= Sebastian Vettel 5
12) David Coulthard 4
= Jarno Trulli 4
14) Giancarlo Fisichella 3
15) Nick Heidfeld 1
= Mark Webber 1
= Robert Kubica 1
= Heikki Kovalainen 1

1990s poles

1) Ayrton Senna 23
= Michael Schumacher 23
3) Mika Hakkinen 21
4) Nigel Mansell 20
= Damon Hill 20
6) Alain Prost 13
= Jacques Villeneuve 13
8) Gerhard Berger 8
= David Coulthard 8
10) Riccardo Patrese 5
11) Jean Alesi 2
= Rubens Barrichello 2
= Heinz-Harald Frentzen 2
14) Thierry Boutsen 1
= Giancarlo Fisichella 1

1980s poles

1) Ayrton Senna 42
2) Nelson Piquet 24
3) Alain Prost 20
4) Rene Arnoux 16
5) Nigel Mansell 12
6) Keke Rosberg 5
= Patrick Tambay 5
8) Didier Pironi 4
= Gerhard Berger 4
10) Alan Jones 3
= Riccardo Patrese 3
= Elio de Angelis 3
= Teo Fabi 3
14) Jean-Pierre Jabouille 2
= Jacques Laffite 2
= Carlos Reutemann 2
= Michele Alboreto 2
18) Bruno Giacomelli 1
= Gilles Villeneuve 1
= Andrea de Cesaris 1
= Mario Andretti 1

1970s poles

1) Niki Lauda 24
2) Mario Andretti 16
3) Jackie Stewart 15
4) Ronnie Peterson 14
= James Hunt 14
6) Jacky Ickx 10
7) Emerson Fittipaldi 6
8) Clay Regazzoni 5
= Jacques Laffite 5
10) Carlos Reutemann 4
= Jean-Pierre Jabouille 4
12) Jochen Rindt 3
= Jean-Pierre Jarier 3
= Jody Scheckter 3
= Alan Jones 3
16) Chris Amon 2
= Rene Arnoux 2
18) Jo Siffert 1
= Peter Revson 1
= Denny Hulme 1
= Patrick Depailler 1
= Tom Pryce 1
= Vittorio Brambilla 1
= Carlos Pace 1
= John Watson 1
= Gilles Villeneuve 1
= Jack Brabham 1

1960s poles

1) Jim Clark 33
2) Graham Hill 13
3) Jack Brabham 12
4) John Surtees 8
5) Jochen Rindt 7
6) Phil Hill 6
7) Stirling Moss 5
8) Dan Gurney 3
= Chris Amon 3
= Jacky Ickx 3
11) Jackie Stewart 2
12) Mike Parkes 1
= Wolfgang von Trips 1
= Lorenzo Bandini 1
= Jo Siffert 1
= Mario Andretti 1
= Eddie Sachs 1 (INDY 500)

1950s poles

1) Juan Manuel Fangio 29
2) Alberto Ascari 14
3) Stirling Moss 11
4) Giuseppe Farina 5
5) Mike Hawthorn 4
6) Jose Froilan Gonzalez 3
= Tony Brooks 3
8) Eugenio Castellotti 1
= Stuart Lewis-Evans 1
= Joakim Bonner 1

INDY 500 poles
1950- Walt Faulkner
1951- Duke Nalon
1952- Fred Agabashian
1953- Bill Vukovich
1954- Jack McGrath
1955- Jerry Hoyt
1956- Pat Flaherty
1957- Pat O’Connor
1958- Dick Rathmann
1959- Johnny Thomson

FASTEST LAPS

2010s F1 fastest laps (until 2016)

1) Lewis Hamilton 28
2) Sebastian Vettel 25
3) Nico Rosberg 18
4) Mark Webber 16
5) Fernando Alonso 9
6) Kimi Raikkonen 8
= Daniel Ricciardo 8
8) Jenson Button 6
9) Felipe Massa 3
= Sergio Perez 3
11) Nico Hulkenberg 2
12) Bruno Senna 1
= Romain Grosjean 1
= Kamui Kobayashi 1
= Robert Kubica 1
= Vitaly Petrov 1
= Esteban Gutierrez 1
= Valtteri Bottas 1
= Daniil Kvyat 1
= Max Verstappen 1
= Michael Schumacher 1

2000s F1 fastest laps

1) M. Schumacher 37
2) Kimi Raikkonen 35
3) Rubens Barrichello 17
4) Fernando Alonso 13
5) Mika Hakkinen 12
= Juan Pablo Montoya 12
= Felipe Massa 12
8) Ralf Schumacher 7
= David Coulthard 7
10) Lewis Hamilton 3
= Sebastian Vettel 3
= Mark Webber 3
13) Giancarlo Fisichella 2
= Jenson Button 2
= Nico Rosberg 2
= Heikki Kovalainen 2
= Nick Heidfeld 2
18) Jarno Trulli 1
= Pedro de la Rosa 1
= Adrian Sutil 1
= Timo Glock 1

1990s F1 fastest laps

1) M. Schumacher 39
2) Damon Hill 19
3) Nigel Mansell 17
4) Mika Hakkinen 13
5) Gerhard Berger 12
6) David Coulthard 11
7) Alain Prost 9
= Riccardo Patrese 9
= Jacques Villeneuve 9
10) Ayrton Senna 6
= Heinz-Harald Frentzen 6
12) Jean Alesi 4
13) Thierry Boutsen 1
= Roberto Moreno 1
= Bertrand Gachot 1
= Giancarlo Fisichella 1
= Eddie Irvine 1
= Alex Wurz 1
= Alessandro Nannini 1

1980s F1 fastest laps

1) Alain Prost 32
2) Nelson Piquet 22
3) Ayrton Senna 13
4) Nigel Mansell 13
5) Alan Jones 10
= Rene Arnoux 10
7) Gerhard Berger 9
8) Niki Lauda 8
9) Didier Pironi 5
= Michele Alboreto 5
11) Riccardo Patrese 4
12) Jacques Laffite 3
= Carlos Reutemann 3
= John Watson 3
= Keke Rosberg 3
16) Derek Warwick 2
= Patrick Tambay 2
= Teo Fabi 2
19) Gilles Villeneuve 1
= Marc Surer 1
= Brian Henton 1
= Andrea de Cesaris 1
= Alessandro Nannini 1
= Satoru Nakajima 1
= Mauricio Gugelmin 1
= Jonathan Palmer 1

1970s fastest laps

1) Niki Lauda 16
2) Clay Regazzoni 15
3) Jacky Ickx 10
= Mario Andretti 10
5) Ronnie Peterson 9
6) James Hunt 8
= Jackie Stewart 8
8) Gilles Villeneuve 7
9) Denny Hulme 6
= Emerson Fittipaldi 6
11) Carlos Pace 5
= Jody Scheckter 5
13) Jack Brabham 4
= Patrick Depailler 4
= Jacques Lafitte 4
16) Chris Amon 3
= Carlos Reutemann 3
= Jean-Pierre Jarier 3
= Alan Jones 3
20) Francois Cevert 2
= Jochen Mass 2
= John Watson 2
= Rene Arnoux 2
24) Henri Pescarolo 1
= Jo Siffert 1
= John Surtees 1
= Jochen Rindt 1
= Mike Hailwood 1
= Jean-Pierre Beltoise 1
= Gunnar Nilsson 1
= Vittorio Brambilla 1
= Nelson Piquet 1

1960s fastest laps

1) Jim Clark 28
2) Graham Hill 10
= John Surtees 10
4) Jack Brabham 7
= Jackie Stewart 7
6) Dan Gurney 6
7) Phil Hill 4
= Jacky Ickx 4
9) Richie Ginther 3
= Stirling Moss 3
= Denny Hulme 3
= Jean-Pierre Beltoise 3
= Jo Siffert 3
14) Bruce McLaren 2
= Lorenzo Bandini 2
= Jochen Rindt 2
17) Ludovico Scarfiotti 1
= Tony Brooks 1
= Giancarlo Baghetti 1
= Richard Attwood 1
= Pedro Rodriguez 1
= Jackie Oliver 1
= Jim Rathmann 1 (INDY 500)

1950s fastest laps

1) Juan Manuel Fangio 23
2) Stirling Moss 16
3) Alberto Ascari 12
4) Jose Frolian Gonzalez 6
= Mike Hawthorn 6
6) Giuseppe Farina 5
7) Bill Vukovich 3 (INDY 500)
8) Tony Brooks 2
= Phil Hill 2
10) Piero Taruffi 1
= Luigi Villoresi 1
= Hans Hermann 1
= Jean Behra 1
= Onofre Marimon 1
= Karl Kling 1
= Roberto Mieres 1
= Luigi Musso 1
= Bruce McLaren 1
= Maurice Trintignant 1

INDY 500:
Johnnie Parsons (1950)
Lee Wallard (1951)
Jack McGrath (1954)
Paul Russo (1956)
Jim Rathmann (1957)
Tony Bettenhausen (1958)
Johnny Thomson (1959)

2016 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix Review: NICO ROSBERG WORLD CHAMPION

DRIVER OF THE DAY

Sebastian Vettel (P3, Ferrari)

He hasn’t had the finest season in his career, but after a tricky start to the race, the quadruple world champion underlined his status with sterling overtakes on Raikkonen & Verstappen.

WINNERS

Nico Rosberg (P2, Mercedes)

World champion. ‘Nuff said.

Max Verstappen (P4, Red Bull)

Dumb move on Hulkenberg at the start, but recovered brilliantly after making his used supersofts last 21 laps, despite the damage sustained from spinning after contact with the Force India driver.

REJECT OF THE DAY

Jolyon Palmer (P17, Renault)

The final ROFD goes to Jolyon again. Hotheaded collision with Sainz resulted in a 10 second race time penalty and retirement for his Spanish rival. How Palmer has a contract with Renault for 2017 is comparable to one of the world’s great wonders.

LOSER

Lewis Hamilton (P1, Mercedes)

Never has a race winner succeeded in being placed in the losers section of any race review, but congratulations blessed one, you’ve made it. Yes, I understand Lewis played within the rules by holding Rosberg up, but the symbols of desperation were deeply etched on the Briton’s face within his helmet. Hahahahahahahahahahahaahahahahahahaha.