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My 2019 Season Driver Review

20 George Russell:

Sometimes in life as in sport justice seems to be not quite what it is supposed to be. The 2019 Formula 1 season was that for Russell.  He was the only driver not to score a single point.  Even though he beat his team mate 21-0 in qualifying his team mate Kubica managed a point to finish above him in the standings that is an injustice!  I thought he did excellent this season considering he was driving a formula 2 car he did all he could and a little more.

Down the Road:  I think he has already proven he belongs in F1 his future will like all depend on what openings he gets in the future. I think there is a reasonable chance he will be driving for Mercedes in 3/4 years time but even if that is not the case I am sure he will have more opportunities other than Williams.

19. Robert Kubica

Regardless of his season I think all fans will appreciate the effort and bravery the man showed by even getting back into F1.  That is where I think it ends. Kubica simply does not have what it takes anymore to be in F1.  Whether that is down to his injuries, time, age or all three is a pointless debate. With his F1 career It will always be a case of what could have been which is a sad on many levels.

Down the Road: His F1 racing days are over. I think he will latch on to an F1 team in some capacity, I am sure he has a future in motor racing somewhere. Will he shift his focus to a different form of motor racing?  Maybe.

18. Romain Grosjean

What a disastrous season for Grosjean. Yes sure the Haas team had many issues this season but to finish this far down is unacceptable for a driver with Grosjeans experience. Personally his F1 bubble has burst, some will say it burst a long time ago but the floodgates are wide open now. I cannot believe Haas are keeping him for next season he must have some compromising photographs up his sleeve!

Down the Road:  Surely he is at the last chance saloon...AGAIN!!!! I think this is it he will be done and dusted after 2020.

17. Antonio Giovinazzi

Hard to really know what to say about this guy. Yes he improved as the season went on whilst at the same time the car seems to fall behind others after a promising start.  To me the bottom line is a comparison with his team mate and obviously Raikkonen is clearly a better driver but he more than tripled the points output of Giovinazzi. I do not think he belongs in F1.

Down the Road: I think 2020 will be his last in F1. I see no spark, no promise other than being what he already is. I think young Schumacher will take his place in 2021.

16. Kevin Magnussen

Like his team mate he will be returning to Haas next season (maybe he has the same photos as Grosjean!!!) but for the life of me I do not know why. This is another driver who I think has peaked and is now at best staying level but probably declining in performance. His aggression is liked by many but it is more often than not ill advised and ends up in tears for someone not always himself.. I guess he is a solid driver in the eyes of Haas but I have to think they could have done better.

Down The Road: See Grosjean.

15. Lance Stroll

Another poor performance year for Stroll which will only make those who think he is only there because of Daddy’s Money shout it all the louder. On his day he is a decent enough driver for the F1 but sadly those days happen so infrequently its like Plutos trip around the sun... few and far between. Comparing him to his team mate Perez he was outscored 52-21 that is a pretty comprehensive beating in anyones eyes. A likeable guy but lets be frank here he is not fit for F1.

Down the Road: It will be hard for the team to move on from Lance whilst his Dad owns the team. One would have to think he is a fixture for the foreseeable future.

14. Nico Hulkenberg.

At the start of the year many of us were interested to see how Ricciardo stacked up against Hulkenberg or how Hulkenberg stacked up against Ricciardo depending on your point of view or fan loyalty. I think that question has been answered. I feel sad he is no longer in F1 and I have to think it is unlikely he will be back unless someone like Haas grabs him for 2021. It is somewhat tragic (and I use the word light heartedly) he never finished on a podium once in his entire career in F1.

Down the Road: I am sure we will see Nico in some form of racing next year he is simply too good not to be. As above hopefully he will find a way back in 2021 but that is questionable in my eyes. Haas should take a close look for 2021.

13. Daniil Kvyat.

A pretty solid year by Daniil. I have all the respect in the world for his achievements this season. Coming back after and lets be honest here being suffering the indignation of being demoted from the Red Bull team and dropped shows remarkable toughness. He has become a solid driver I am pretty sure he will never get a better drive that where he is at right now but as with Hulkenburg Haas should take a close look at him.

Down the Road: I think this will be his last year at Toro Rosso, it is after all a junior team with the principal objective of getting drivers ready for the senior team. I think he will have options in 2021.

12. Kimi Raikonnen.

A good start to the season followed by a decent middle of the season but a big fade away towards the end. In truth that mirrored the Alfa cars performance as much as anything else. Great result in Brazil (4th). I think Kimi probably had as good a season as he could give the performance of the car. Again I would pont out the differential with his team mate in points which Kimi won handily 43-14.

Down the Road:  Kimi enters his last contract season with Alfa and I think it will be his final year. He has nothing left to prove and realistically has no chance of challenging for a leading team seat.

11. Lando Norris

I think Lando had a sensational season 49 points with SIX retirements is a great return for a rookie driver.  Norris was helped by McLarens huge turn around in fortune. His relationship with Sainz seems to be working for both of them, quite how long that will last remains to be seen. Its easy for him to be overshadowed by Leclerc, Albon and to a lesser degree because he has been around so long Verstappen. I am NOT saying he is in Verstappens league but clearly he has a lot of potential.

Down the Road:  I see a great future for Lando Norris, drivers usually make a leap in ability with a year experience behind them and he is still so young. I would not be shocked to see him in a leading car in the 3/4 years time.

10. Sergio Perez

If I am being fair he did a decent job especially from the middle to end of season. When comparing him to his team mate he doubled up the points total but then we are talking Lance Stroll here. Not sure what to make of Racing Point as a team at this stage they are certainly not punching above their weight as the old Force India past team did. Not sure where this team is heading next season, my gut instinct tells me downward but we shall see.

Down the Road: For the last few seasons I have thought it was the end of the road for Perez but I will give him his due he is a feisty driver and although his opportunities have been limited he has taken them when the chance was offered. He belongs in F1 I am just not sure for how much longer.

9.Daniel Ricciardo

Its hard for me to watch this guy drive for anything less than a top team.  Yes he chose to leave but lets be brutally honest here he was always going to be a number 2 to Max regardless of what Red Bulls hierarchy would have you believe. Hulkenberg vs Ricciardo was much discussed before the season started as if it was a barometer of how good each driver was. Ricciardo won and won well in my book although I am sad we have for now lost Nico Hulkenberg. I still think he could be a contender for WDC in the right car. I so badly wanted to see him in a Mercedes with Hamilton and that is ironic because to my mind if Hamilton does leave for Ferrari we could well see him in that Mercedes seat.

Down The Road: Will he ever get the chance to challenge in a top car? If anyone does its Danny he is a refreshing breathe of air and super talented the big question is will ne get another opportunity to prove it.

8. Alex Albon.

I guess I was in a very small minority on the board in thinking this guy has that ‘something’. To me at least he has gone some way to proving that although many F1 sages prefer to concentrate on the ‘he must close the gap to Verstappen’ train. I think he will next season, his first FULL one with the team, and car. Will he be as good or better than Max next season at this stage you would have to say no but that is also comparing Apples to Oranges but next year will give us a better insight on his possibilities and its going to be exciting to watch his development.

Down The Road; Not going to label him its way to early in his career but he shows immense promise in my eyes. Possibly over shadowed by other young drivers last season next season we will have a better idea.

7. Pierre Gasly

Failed to deliver in the Red Bull main car and one could forgive him for losing all his confidence but he fought back when demoted and in the process gave his F1 career a big boost. No question he was promoted way too early I put that down to a dearth of Red Bull juniors being available and ready for F1 big time. I am impressed with his resolution. Not sure he has what it takes to be a top driver anyway he has never shown that to me the way some other young drivers have coming into F1.

Down the Road: I personally believe his chances of ever getting back to the top Red Bull team are close to zero. I think he is driving next year to prove himself to other suitors.

6. Carlos Sainz

A fantastic season by Carlos given the car he drives. To finish best of the rest is no small achievement. I am convinced he could deliver in a top car and I hope McLaren can be up there to give him and indeed Norris that opportunity. I think 2021 with a  Mercedes engine could be very interesting. Like so many of us its great to see McLaren back to being relevant question is can they take the next step. I think next season is a consolidation for both drivers and team.

Down the Road: In my eyes another driver whose talent deserves an opportunity with a top team. Will he get it? I think its possible either with McLaren if they can progress or maybe he too could be a candidate to replace Hamilton if he goes to Ferrari in 2021. 

5.Sebastian Vettel

I could write a book on this guy, but as each year goes by his four world titles both fade into memory and some question was it the car and not him. Not me, it takes both and on his day he is as fast as anyone Hamilton included but its impossible to argue that he has become increasingly more error prone. The big question in my eyes is why. Is it the pressure of driving for Ferrari, has he lost an edge, is it physical or mental. I just do not know. I was confident Leclerc would beat him this season I don't know why I just saw enough at the end of 2018 to make me question his abilities.

Down the Road: I am very confident its his last season (2020) with Ferrari unless he can win the World Championship or come VERY close.  Hard to know where goes from Ferrari I do not think he has a future with Mercedes despite the obvious connections many pundits are making. I equally do not seeing him drive for a none contender team. The Red Bull door could conceivable to slightly ajar given their uncertainty over Max for 2021 but I highly doubt it is a reality.

4.Charles Leclerc

An outstanding season that could have been so much better. The team screwed him over many times whether that was intentional to defer to Vettel or incompetence I do not know. He is the number 1 driver in this team make no mistake. Ferrari will not admit that but it is nevertheless the reality. No doubt in my mind he is a future World Champion driver and he may well get there ahead of Max Verstappen and it could come as fast as 2020.  Ferrari have a Golden ticket with this guy lets not forget it was only his first season with the team and both he and the team can only get better in 2020.

Down The Road. Future world champion material there is no doubt in my mind. Ferrari better make sure they hang on to him for 2021. If was in charge I would be talking to him right now about a contract extension I am not letting it get to the end of the next season and any uncertainty come into play.

3. Max Verstappen

Considering all things it is a great achievement to finish 3rd in the drivers championship. Much talk of him maturing a lot this year. In my eyes he got better but is still prone to making too many rash moves and poor decisions,  Lack of experience and age is no longer a valid argument. I still think he is another World Champion driver in waiting but now he has a lot more young competition. If he drives for Red Bull in 2021 I don't know. If he drives for Ferrari or Mercedes I think its just a matter of time. He must improve more aspects of his driving.

Down the Road: Probably with Hamilton this is the driver to potentially make the 2021 driver line ups one of the most exciting events of 2021. Will he stay with Red Bull or move to Ferrari or Mercedes. He and Hamilton will decide the fate of a lot of seats. He is a World Champion of the future I just hope for his sake we are not saying this same thing in 4 years time.

2. Valtteri Bottas

Lets be open and honest here he did in finishing second in the drivers championship the best he could possibly do and in reality all he could do. He is not in the same league as Hamilton. Yes on his day he is fast but he is terribly inconsistent especially in races. He is in my opinion a better qualifying driver than race driver. Like Vettel 2020 is his last year in his current team there is simply too much competition for that Mercedes seat for him to hang on to it.  He has had his chance and has not taken it. However that does not make him a bad driver, far from it. He is a very solid number 2 in a top team just not quite there for a number one or equal status. Super likeable person and has done a great job for Mercedes in his time there.

Down The Road: I believe 2020 is his last at Mercedes and indeed any top team. He has a place in F1 for the future but who knows where. Maybe Haas, Racing Point or Renault will take him on.

1. Lewis Hamilton

Like him or loathe him there can be no doubting his talent and he deservedly is the Champion driver of 2019. Its not fair to compare eras but anyway you choose to paint it he is one of the greatest drivers of all time. He seems to improve year on year. Not going to say much more as I am a huge fan of his and I know he rubs a lot of people up the wrong way.

Down the Road: Its going to be fascinating to watch him take on the up and coming drivers in the next few seasons. The big question is where will he be in 2021. Personally I think its quite simple. If Wolff stays with Mercedes I think Hamilton will too. If Wolff leaves I think he goes to Ferrari. One thing that is for certain is he divides fans which in my eyes is ironic because he is far and away the best driver FOR F1. He promotes it, he fan engages more than all the other drivers and is always humble in that he credits the whole Mercedes team.
[+] 8 users Like NeilP's post

Nice write up Neil

"You live more for 5 minutes going fast on a bike than other people do in all of their life"....Marco Simoncelli
[+] 2 users Like forzaferrari's post

Yup nice read mate.

"When a man holds you round the throat, I don't think he has come to apologise" 
Ayrton Senna on Nigel Mansell, SPA 1987.   Angel  
[+] 1 user Likes PapaofGags's post

Cheers for posting that up Neil, I don't know where you find the time but always enjoy reading your reviews.

Agree with a lot of the thoughts in there, but can I ask, is that list in driver performance order? If so (off the top of my head) I wouldn't have George last and I'd put Lando closer to Carlos (in fact even above Alex Albon). Would need to carefully consider my order which I will try to do at some point.
[+] 3 users Like morini's post

Pretty sure that is the position they finished in the standings

"You live more for 5 minutes going fast on a bike than other people do in all of their life"....Marco Simoncelli
[+] 3 users Like forzaferrari's post

(18-12-2019, 11:08 AM)forzaferrari Wrote:  Pretty sure that is the position they finished in the standings

Yep, of course it is! Should have realised, but it was early when I posted that.

Now, putting them in "performance over the season" order would be an interesting argument generator  Angel
[+] 4 users Like morini's post

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