Posted 05 August 2019 - 01:12
Hard to fault. Has led the team brilliantly, destroyed his team-mate in virtually every session across the season so far, raced with confidence and when the car hasn’t been capable of winning he’s banked the maximum points - every sniff he’s had of victory, he’s delivered - aside, arguably, yesterday in Hungary. He’s edged Hamilton this season by a distance, for me. He’s brilliant.
For me, impressive but not his best season. He’s found himself with a virtual free pass for a sixth WDC from the start, found life tough from Bottas early on in the season, has delivered some absolute virtuoso performances (Monaco, Hungary), but also got extremely lucky at times and made hay while Ferrari have offered such a weak challenge. Strong but not at the heights of 2018 quite yet.
Given the tough job of replacing Fernando Alonso, has slotted straight into his seat and excelled by doing a very passable impersonation of Fernando Alonso. By that I mean that he’s willed results out of the car, absolutely maximised his score weekend after weekend (after a highly unlucky run at the start) and won Class B on days where he really shouldn’t have. In qualifying he’s been run very close by Lando Norris, but over the race he’s tended to be the stronger and he’s showing a level of performance that makes me wish he was in a Red Bull instead.
Seriously. He’s leading the team, he’s adjusted very quickly to his new surroundings and similar to above he’s maximising his results with a relentless consistency. If the car’s struggling, he’s banking a point or two, if it’s having a good weekend he’s up there fighting right at the sharp end of Class B. Reckon the Alfa is maybe seventh or eighth best car and so far he’s second best in midfield, and he’s really giving Giovinazzi a bit of a lesson too, which when you consider how decent Giovinazzi is (not to mention 15 years younger than him), is pretty good.
Unflashy results, still no win (though he obviously won on the road in Canada), being pushed by Leclerc and not always the clear fastest Ferrari this year, but actually on the quiet he’s driven very well. Still the odd high profile blunder but actually I reckon the error rate has gone down quite a bit this season and he’s handling Leclerc’s pace well. Will surely stand a good chance at Spa and Monza.
Impressed with his speed, some weekends (Bahrain, Baku) he’s just looked superb, able to pull speed out of that wet fart of a Ferrari where Vettel can’t, and Ferrari’s clear victory threat on those weekends. Bahrain was heartbreaking and completely not his fault, but otherwise I think he’s made too many mistakes, particularly in qualifying, and lost two or three potential wins. Clear potential, but uneven so far.
Absolutely destroyed his team-mate on raw speed and even moreso on race pace, dragging some really credible performances out of a car that seems to have the speed only for the back row of the grid. Hasn’t complained, kept his head down and produced some quality drives like Monaco and Hungary. Seems to struggle off the line and usually behind Kubica in the early laps, but has routinely got ahead and then just left him standing. Completely wasted driving such a slow car.
Started the season looking great, Melbourne performance was supreme and over the first four or five races it looked like he might be able to do a Rosberg on Lewis with a following wind. But nah. He’s slipped back into his usual stuff, not forceful enough in the races, pace fluctuating too much losing crucial time around pit stops and getting jumped, plodding round with none of the fire you’re getting from Hamilton. I think he’s quite possibly about to lose his drive for 2020 and I don’t think you can say he hasn’t been given a fair crack.
Has dropped into a new team and found that they’re struggling rather more than people expected, are no longer the strongest midfield team and are having all kinds of mechanical issues..,.and he’s had some truly rotten weekends. But he’s shown his quality too, outpacing his team-mate and maybe finally putting an end to the Hulkenberg legend “would be winning races in the right car”. It’s an unpromising situation and I’m sure he’s properly fed up about it, but he’s driving well.
Probably deserves to be higher, actually. His qualifying performances have been really, really good and he’s shown himself capable of one-lap speed not even Sainz can match up to which is impressive for someone so young. Loses points because his races, so far, just haven’t quite matched up to that, and he’s usually second best McLaren by a distance on a Sunday.
11. Kvyat - redemption
12. Albon - quietly promising
13. Hulkenberg - myth busted a bit
14. Perez - falling flat
15. Magnussen - fluctuating wildly
16. Giovinazzi - better that his results
17. Grosjean - mr 6/10
18. Stroll - waste of that seat
19. Gasly - pathetic
20. Kubica - still not up to scratch.