Wednesday , 19 December 2018
Haas F1 Media
Haas F1 Media

F1 2018 mid-season team-mate statistical comparisons and analysis – Part II

With 10 of the 21 races down, arguably more questions have been raised than answers over which direction both Formula 1 championships are swinging. Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull all have potentially title-winning cars. Behind, Haas and Renault have taken the march at the front of the midfield, ahead of McLaren and Force India. Sauber is arguably punching above its weight, while Toro Rosso and Williams are at the wrong end of the table.

One thing which can be easier to identify, is the winners and losers of the respective intra-team battles. While the statistics do not always tell the story, as is the case in this year, there are a lot of stories to be taken from the races so far. In addition to wins, podiums, points, laps ahead, qualifying and race finishes, each driver is also given a (of just one opinion) average rating out of 10 given at the end of each grand prix weekend.

Here is the front-end of the field.

Ferrari

5 Sebastian Vettel

Highest rating – 10/10 (Bahrain)
Lowest rating – 5/10 (France)

Narrowly the driver of the season so far. Vettel’s performance at Bahrain – making what should have been a two-stop race into a one-stop race was among the most stunning of his half-century plus one race victories. He has also consistently delivered in qualifying, and despite a couple of errors in France and Azerbaijan – leads the way as it stands. The Ferrari is working well, and even Mercedes has been suffering from reliability issues. Therefore, at this stage, Vettel must be the favourite.

7 Kimi Raikkonen

Highest rating – 8/10 (Australia, Bahrain, China, Azerbaijan)
Lowest rating – 6/10 (Canada)

Is Raikkonen out of this title fight? It might sound mad, but 55 points to the championship leader considering two mechanical DNFs is not an unassailable amount, especially for a driver who has beaten his team-mate in races as often than not. Silly season rumours that he will be replaced mid-season seem barmy when Raikkonen is arguably driving his best season since he returned to Ferrari. Like Bottas, however, he has squandered chance of victory on a few occasions, and that hurts him in the ratings and in the championship standings.

Mercedes

44 Lewis Hamilton

Highest rating – 9/10 (Bahrain, Spain, France)
Lowest rating – 6/10 (China, Canada)

Hamilton at his absolute best is quite simply unbeatable, as was evident in two of his three race wins this season. However, on more than one occasion he has looked completely beaten pretty much before qualifying had even begun. This is reflected in the intra-team stats. He has without question been the quicker of the two Mercedes drivers, but has also lost a large number of points by simply not turning up to a weekend. He sits second in the championship, but could well be leading it despite arguably not having the best car for the first time in this era.

77 Valtteri Bottas

Highest rating – 9/10 (China)
Lowest rating – 5/10 (Australia)

Unfortunately, his team-mate Valtteri Bottas, be it through sheer luck or otherwise, has been unable to minimalise the points loss for Hamilton or himself through a weekend. Bottas has been unbelievably unlucky this season but has also lacked that little bit of killer instinct that the absolute top drivers have. Those two reasons are why Bottas enter the second half of the season win-less, but still has a shout at the championship. The Finn should have added multiple victories to his tally this season, but things just have not panned out that way for him so far.

Red Bull Racing-TAG Heuer

3 Daniel Ricciardo

Highest rating – 10/10 (Monaco)
Lowest rating – 5/10 (Spain)

Ricciardo has been far from the fastest driver this season, but he has often been crafty. He and Red Bull committed daylight robbery by stealing the Chinese Grand Prix from the opposition. Monaco, where he nursed a wounded car home to victory was an unbelievable drive and one of the all-time great performances. However, such performances have not always been the case, and there have been weekends where Ricciardo has simply had to pick up what points he could because the pace from his and the team’s side has not been there. Two retirements through mechanical issues and a further one through a controversial collision with his team-mate has somewhat derailed his title challenge, but he’s still in the hunt.

33 Max Verstappen

Highest rating – 10/10 (Austria)
Lowest rating – 3/10 (Bahrain)

From being told by the media to ‘change his approach’ after a run of dismal results to a sensationally-managed race in Austria which fell into his hands, 2018 has been the ultimate rollercoaster ride for young Verstappen already. Blisteringly quick-yet-frustratingly erratic is the way to sum up his season. His qualifying performances have sometimes gone under the radar. The statistics look pretty good compared to his team-mate, but they do not reflect his Monaco qualifying crash, the Azerbaijan crash, the Bahrain race crash, or the fact he has had one less mechanical DNF to Ricciardo. He should have many, many more points than he does, and the vast majority of that ultimately comes down to the driver.

Renault

27 Nico Hulkenberg

Highest rating – 9/10 (China, Canada, Britain)
Lowest rating – 4/10 (Azerbaijan)

Hulkenberg has established himself as the leader of the so-called ‘Class B’ championship, with the most points of all drivers aside from those from the top three teams. His performances have gone somewhat under the radar this season, which is perhaps why the average rating does not do his performances justice. He threw away a potential podium yet again by crashing in Azerbaijan, but ultimately, he is in the fourth-best car and is seventh in the championship. Little more could be asked of him.

55 Carlos Sainz Jr

Highest rating – 9/10 (Azerbaijan, France)
Lowest rating – 5/10 (Bahrain, China)

It hasn’t quite happened for Sainz in 2018 so far. It took a long time for his season to really get going and once it did he has not always got the best out of the car. He has spent far too long behind his team-mate in 2018, which is why his average score is fractionally less. The gap on track is often very small, however. There have also been times where Sainz has simply been unlucky, usually in qualifying, or through an unfortunate collision, but a strong run of points finishes in the middle of the first half of the season helped vault him up the championship.

Haas-Ferrari

8 Romain Grosjean

Highest rating – 10/10 (Austria)
Lowest rating – 3/10 (Spain)

Grosjean at his very best is unbeatable, but this has occurred far too infrequently this season. His Austria performance was sensational – outqualifying a Red Bull and crushingly taking Haas’s best result to date in F1 with fourth. However, he’s simply crashing too frequently. Many of the crashes often have very little in them, but the results do not read well. The Haas is a car which should be a regular points-scorer yet Grosjean has scored on just one occasion this season. This hasn’t always been his own doing however – take starting last in Canada after a spectacular engine failure, or the infamous pitstop troubles in Australia for example.

20 Kevin Magnussen

Highest rating – 9/10 (Bahrain, Spain, France)
Lowest rating – 5/10 (Azerbaijan)

The real Magnussen has finally arrived in F1 after several years in limbo. He finds himself just three points behind Hulkenberg in the championship and has a realistic chance of finishing on top. He has frequently been among the top drivers in ‘Class B’ and despite performing some defensive manoeuvres that does not impress everybody, he regularly brings the car home and in the points. His one failure to finish this season came after the wheel famously came off in Australia. The same cannot be said of his team-mate.

About Craig Woollard

Craig Woollard is an avid motor racing fan and freelance journalist and writer. A mathematics graduate from the University of Essex in 2013, Woollard has ambitions to work within motor racing. He is a member of Autosport's academy programme. In his spare time, he listens to music, sim races, wears hats and drinks cranberry juice.

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