2016 mid-season driver rankings part two: 12-6 | Driver rankings

Posted on Aug 19, 2016

Part two of F1 Fanatic?s mid-season driver rankings features seven drivers who?ve impressed in more ways than one ? but not enough to gain a place in the top five.

12. Jenson Button

Jenson Button, McLaren, Red Bull Ring, 2016Button ran second in Austria

Jenson Button

Beat team mate in qualifying 3/12
Beat team mate in race 3/6
Races finished 9/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate 239/544
Points 17

Button has been a more regular visitor to the points than his fellow world champion team mate but Fernando Alonso has managed to drag the McLaren further up the top ten when he been in the points.

This is partly down to the car?s patchy reliability letting its drivers down: Button was in good shape early on in Bahrain before suffering a power unit problem and another ended his race in Canada. A curious strategy choice by the team in Australia squandered a potentially very good points scoring opportunity.

When the car has held together Button has produced some excellent drives, Austria being by far the best as he claimed sixth place having lined up an improbable third on the grid. But on other occasions Alonso has shown him the way, notably in Russia.

Over to you

Has shown he is still a safe pair of hands, but needs to be a match to Alonso.

What?s your verdict on Jenson Button?s 2016 season so far? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments.

11. Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean, Haas, Bahrain International Circuit, 2016After sixth in Australia, Grosjean went one better in Bahrain

Romain Grosjean

Beat team mate in qualifying 8/12
Beat team mate in race 3/8
Races finished 10/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate 318/604
Points 28

Haas and Grosjean peaked early with top six finishes in the first two races of the year. At the time it seemed they had sussed F1?s fickle Pirelli tyres beautifully: Grosjean cannily one-stopped thanks to his team mate?s crash in Austria, then employed an aggressive three-stop to take big points in Bahrain.

A first-lap error in China which damaged his car marked the beginning of a downturn and the team haven?t been able to hit those highs since, which is only partly to do with other teams getting their act together and developing more quickly since the opening rounds. Grosjean?s radio frustrations have revealed his bemusement about how the team appears to have lost its way with tyre performance, and he?s had confidence-sapping brake and front wing problems too.

However Grosjean?s flair for qualifying has still been apparent ? he almost eliminated in Lewis Hamilton during Q2 in Hungary. And he?s responsible for all four of Haas?s points finishes so far.

Over to you

Been a bit off as of late, but still done magic in that Haas.

What?s your verdict on Romain Grosjean?s 2016 season so far? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments.

10. Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India, Monte-Carlo, 2016Hulkenberg qualified a strong fifth in Monaco

Nico Hulkenberg

Beat team mate in qualifying 7/12
Beat team mate in race 5/10
Races finished 10/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate 294/637
Points 33

In terms of sheer results Hulkenberg appears to have been eclipsed by Sergio Perez but you don?t need to look far beneath the surface to discover that?s not entirely fair. Both have managed seven points scores.

Perez being two-nil up on podiums gives an impression he is performing at a higher level. But in Monaco Hulkenberg did a superior job in qualifying to start fifth only to luck out with his strategy, dropping behind Perez. Without that the pair would be level on podiums too.

It?s been an often-frustrating half-season for Hulkenberg at times having twice been hit by Esteban Gutierrez on the first lap. But at times he?s let himself down, and never more conspicuously so than in Baku where a spin meant he failed to reach Q3 while his team mate did and set the second-fastest time.

Over to you

Has come out on the wrong end of strategy calls a lot, most notably in Monaco and at Silverstone. Still one of the quickest out there.

What?s your verdict on Nico Hulkenberg?s 2016 season so far? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments.

9. Valtteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas, Williams, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, 2016Just one podium for Williams so far in 2016 thanks to Bottas in Canada

Valtteri Bottas

Beat team mate in qualifying 10/12
Beat team mate in race 5/10
Races finished 12/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate 378/669
Points 58

Williams clearly haven?t got as competitive a car as they enjoyed over the last two seasons and consequently it can appear as though their drivers aren?t performing as well as they should be. So while Bottas has reasserted himself over Felipe Massa this year that isn?t always readily apparent.

Show the FW38 a track with long straights and it flies, with Bottas usually taking the most from it. He gave Williams their only podium of the year so far at Montreal, a track where he reliably excels, and was on it in Russia too. His luck deserted him in Baku, where having been quick throughout Friday his Saturday preparations were wrecked by a loose drain. Even so he came away with more points for sixth place.

Only two other drivers have been classified in every race so far this year, and only on his off-weekends at Monte-Carlo and Silverstone did Bottas fail to score. That tendency to be a safe pair of hands usually extends to starts, where he has lost out in the past. An attempt to be more aggressive cost him in Bahrain, where he tangled with Lewis Hamilton and collected a penalty.

Over to you

Has coped with the decline in Williams? performance much better than Massa and beat him comfortably both in qualifying and in races. Still somehow underrated but in my opinion ready for next step.

What?s your verdict on Valtteri Bottas?s 2016 season so far? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments.

8. Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Sochi Autodrom, 2016Rosberg?s Sochi win was his fourth in a row at the beginning of the year

Nico Rosberg

Beat team mate in qualifying 5/11
Beat team mate in race 5/11
Races finished 11/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate 337/682
Points 198

Eighth may seem a very harsh verdict on a driver who?s won five of the twelve races so far. But with a car which is still substantially quicker than the opposition and a team mate who has hit trouble several times, there has been more than one occasion where Rosberg has had to do little more than show up on time to collect maximum points.

This is not to say there aren?t several points Rosberg deserves credit for: he susses the new start procedure more quickly than Lewis Hamilton and that won him some races early on. He drove superbly in Baku and his most recent two pole positions were from the top drawer, however controversial the one in Hungary might have been.

But he?s been found wanting in wet weather: notably in Monaco where he went backwards and at Silverstone where he was humbled by Max Verstappen. And as Hamilton has closed in Rosberg?s defensive driving has gone from desperate to cynical and started getting him in trouble.

Over to you

Great first four races before he has completely bottled a 43 point lead to 19 point deficit

What?s your verdict on Nico Rosberg?s 2016 season so far? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments.

7. Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez, Force India, Baku City Circuit, 2016Perez passed Raikkonen on his way to his second podium of the year

Sergio Perez

Beat team mate in qualifying 5/12
Beat team mate in race 5/10
Races finished 12/12
Laps spent ahead of team mate 343/637
Points 48

Podiums in Monaco and Baku were the obvious highlight of the first half of the season for both Perez and his team. But third place in Baku might have been even higher had he started from second place, where he qualified, instead of seventh. The penalty resulted from a gearbox change due to a crash in practice.

Although Perez hasn?t yet got the measure of his team mate in qualifying, he has been more convincing compared to Hulkenberg this year. However there?s still room for improvement.

Those two podiums are his only top-five finishes so far, yet another was on the cards at Silverstone until he spun. A poor start in Germany left him well behind Hulkenberg at the chequered flag, so while the best results have gone Perez?s way he and Hulkenberg have finished in front of each other the same number of times.

Over to you

Took two well earned podiums this season and has been outperforming his teammate in most races.

What?s your verdict on Sergio Perez?s 2016 season so far? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments.

6. Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Monte-Carlo, 2016Alonso shone at a wet Monaco

Fernando Alonso

Beat team mate in qualifying 8/11
Beat team mate in race 3/6
Races finished 8/11
Laps spent ahead of team mate 305/538
Points 24

Given a more competitive McLaren to wield we?ve seen more of Alonso?s ferocious commitment this year. Taking fifth at a wet Monaco ahead of Nico Rosberg?s Mercedes was a highlight.

Russia brought a fine sixth place having started eight places back and took advantage of the first-lap incidents. And seventh-to-seventh in Hungary was the limit of what the McLaren could get on a day when the Mercedes, Ferraris and Red Bulls all finished.

However at time he?s arguably pushed a bit too far. At Silverstone he queried McLaren?s strategy on a day when their choices were limited, then spun away a potentially better result than he achieved.

Over to you

Starting to seem a bit more Alonso-like. Had some really good runs such as Hungary.

What?s your verdict on Fernando Alonso?s 2016 season so far? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than? Have your say in the comments.

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Posted on Categories 2016 F1 season, Driver rankingsTags f1, formula one

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