During the void which sprang up between the intended and actual start of the 2020 season, Daniel Ricciardo announced he would leave Renault at the end of the year to join McLaren.
Although former transpired, to begin with it looked like being the latter. Renault didn’t start the season in great shape – Ocon and Ricciardo managed just three points scores each from the opening six races.
He ran outside the points in the opening stages of the season-opener and was out by lap 17 with a radiator problem. Minor points places were his reward in the next two rounds.
Fourth in the next race at Silverstone seemed to indicate progress, but it was aided by a spate of late tyre failures for some of his rivals. Ricciardo failed to score in the next two grands prix.
From the Belgian Grand Prix, however, Renault’s season came alive. Ricciardo led the charge brilliantly: He qualified in the top three rows eight times and led the midfield home on four occasions – this with a car which was the fifth-quickest on average. At Spa he took fourth on the grid, despite a brake-by-wire problem in qualifying. He finished there too, starting a run of points finishes which lasted until the end of the season.
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For a while it seemed his limit was fourth place. He took the position for the third time at Mugello having run as high as second following the final restart, but being unable to keep the quicker cars of Valtteri Bottas and Alexander Albon behind.
|Beat team mate in qualifying||15/17|
|Beat team mate in race||9/12|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||597/806|
Renault’s podium breakthrough came at the Nurburgring. Ricciardo patiently found his way past Charles Leclerc, then resisted Sergio Perez’s Racing Point to put the team back on the rostrum for the first time in almost a decade. He returned two races later at Imola, courtesy of a well-judged call not to pit during the final Safety Car period, this time with a fresh-tyred Daniil Kvyat chasing him hard.
Ricciardo was seldom troubled by team mate Esteban Ocon, who did score the team’s best result of the season in somewhat fortuitous circumstances at the Sakhir Grand Prix, but took until the final race of the year to out-qualify his team mate in a dry session.
Aside from a few errors – a crash in qualifying at Algarve and first-corner tangle with Ocon at Istanbul (which Valtteri Bottas also had a hand in) – this was another highly accomplishes season by Ricciardo, who demonstrated he still belongs in a front-running car. But the nagging question remains whether he’s just manoeuvred his way out of one.
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2020 F1 season review
- 2020 F1 driver rankings #1: Lewis Hamilton
- 2020 F1 driver rankings #2: Max Verstappen
- 2020 F1 driver rankings #3: Charles Leclerc
- 2020 F1 driver rankings #4: Carlos Sainz Jnr
- 2020 F1 driver rankings #6: Pierre Gasly
70 comments on “2020 F1 driver rankings #5: Daniel Ricciardo”
1st February 2021, 12:11
Wow Leclerc is overrated! Three self-made race ending crashes (styria, monza and sahkir) and still top 4, while drivers like Ricciardo, Perez and Gasly made fewer mistakes and were overall very quick aswell.
1st February 2021, 12:17
Well, the perception is that Ferrari was significantly slower. Hence, you have to account for that.
1st February 2021, 12:33
Not sure how the car being significantly slower should explain/offset the “self-made race ending crashes”.
Yes, you might have to try harder, but crashing is mostly the driver rather than the car.
1st February 2021, 20:03
no in monza the crash due to rear stepping out. That is an issue with 2020 ferrari car. you are right sakhir and styria were driver mistakes. the key thing to compare with ricciardo and perez is experience. leclerc was in his 3rd year in f1 with a bad car whereas both ricciardo and perez are far far senior. it is expected of them to make less mistakes with more experience. as for gasly he did very well but alpha tauri were almost equal to ferrari in car performance, still leclerc outscore him in points.
1st February 2021, 21:36
That’s the point. These ratings dont take experience in consideration. It’s only based on his performance in 2020, so should be lower rated than the likes of Per, Ric and possibly Gas if you ask me.
1st February 2021, 12:23
Generally I rate Leclerc very highly, but on the basis of the 2020 season I have to agree with this.
I’m not understanding the logic of Leclerc being above Gasly and Perez who had higher highs without such low lows, and Ricciardo who had similar highs (if slightly less frequent) without many glaring errors.
Yes they might say he trashed Vettel, but as these rankings have made quite clear already, Vettel was not of anything close to his usual calibre.
1st February 2021, 17:18
@hammerheadgb To be honest his 2020 campaign was also littered with incidents and poor performances. For instance a car fast enough to take 7 poles and then win only 2 of those races.
1st February 2021, 12:57
I agree. Leclec had too many bad days to be this high.
If I had to sign a driver and pick between Leclerc and Ricciardo it would be an easy choice. Ricciardo, no hesitation.
F1 frog (@f1frog)
1st February 2021, 14:07
Interesting. I also rated Ricciardo above Leclerc, but if I had to sign a driver and pick between Leclerc and Ricciardo, I would choose Leclerc, no hesitation. Whilst Ricciardo was better overall than Leclerc this year, it was only because he made fewer mistakes; Leclerc is a much faster driver than Ricciardo. Leclerc is also more inexperienced, so has far more potential, and I think he will cut out the mistakes in the next few years. When Leclerc reaches his peak, I think he will be as good as Verstappen.
1st February 2021, 16:11
@f1frog Not sure what good CL being a faster driver than DR is when he takes his alleged greater speed and makes mistakes with it. Speed isn’t everything and many here seem to think DR should be ranked ahead of CL due to his fewer mistakes.
But as to CL eventually peaking and being as good as Max? It begs the question, which Max? I don’t rate CL nearly on Max’s level, but ok let’s give CL time to gain experience, make fewer mistakes, and peak. Meanwhile isn’t Max doing the same with his time? If CL ever gets to the point of being as good as Max is now, by that time Max will have moved on exponentially imho. I’d say CL will never be as good as Max because Max has much more to come yet too. And that should be and no doubt is daunting for the rest of the grid.
F1 frog (@f1frog)
1st February 2021, 16:47
I think that Ricciardo should be ranked ahead of Leclerc for 2020, but I think Leclerc will be better in the future, because he will most likely stop making so many mistakes in the future and will become a much cleaner race. Hamilton got involved in too many incidents in his early years in F1, but has almost entirely cut out the mistakes by now, and I think Leclerc will be the same. That’s why I would sign him over Ricciardo if I was a team boss.
While Max Verstappen is still very young, he will be in his seventh season next year, so I think that he is probably very near his peak now, whereas Leclerc will improve a lot more in years to come. I could be wrong about this, as there has never been a driver as young as Max when they started before, but I think improvement comes more with experience than it does with age.
1st February 2021, 17:59
@f1frog Fair comment but I think moreso about CL vs DR due to their age difference and the room CL has to grow that one would think DR has already done.
But with Max and Charles, for one thing they are only two weeks apart in age, CL born 16 days after Max, and yeah Max started in F1 in 2015 whereas for CL it was in 2018. I think that in itself says something about Max. So I think I can agree with you that in this case age is not the decider and it is more about experience. In that sense Max already has a three year jump, and it is because I disagree with you and think Max is nowhere near his peak that I think he will only continue to gain from his experience as will CL, except that Max already started out a better driver and I just don’t see CL ever catching up.
Of course we will only know when we know, lol, when their careers continue to play out before our eyes. And for me, I cannot ignore their age and only think in terms of experience, for when you speak of peaking I don’t think that Max at 23, just because he’s about to start his 7th season, is as you say anywhere near a peak.
There’s also situations where you can have a driver like LH who has been there and done it all (not done yet) and yet claims to have found new motivation from the BLM movement etc, so who is to say he has peaked or when he peaked, and yet Max at 23 has already nearly done so? Nah I just can’t go along with that. In ten years Max will still only be 33, with potentially a decade more if he wants it, so no, there’s much much more to come from Max…and Charles of course. Same argument for him about how much career he has yet ahead of him, but as I say for me I just don’t think he has started off as strongly as Max, and I don’t see him catching up to an ever growing Max who to me is far from peaking.
1st February 2021, 19:11
@robbie with regards to driver development, there have been quite a few studies over the decades that suggest that the rate of development of most drivers slows quite noticeably at around the five year mark.
I would say that it is actually very unlikely that you are going to see the sort of exponential growth that you seem to think that Max might exhibit. There have been studies across a wide spectrum of sporting fields that does actually back up the idea that, after around 4-5 years, most athletes make relatively little gains in performance after that point.
Now, I know you are talking about Max’s age, but it’s also been shown that trend is not actually that age sensitive – there is a stronger correlation between the amount of experience and performance than there is with age. At the younger end of the spectrum, age tends to be more of an indirect measurement of experience, as most of those who take up a professional sports career tend to start at a similar initial age – age itself is not quite as dominant a factor as you think it is in that part of their career.
With that in mind, it is actually more realistic that Max has already passed the point where his form would have been rapidly improving and that any improvements in form from here on in are more likely to be incremental than exponential. What his comparatively young starting age is more likely to do is to have the effect of lengthening the period over which he is theoretically capable of operating at or near to his peak performance, rather than pushing the overall window higher (with aspects such as motivations for competing influencing the psychological aspects that influence how much of that potential an individual might then be capable of accessing).
It’s not to say that no improvement can occur, but it’s much more likely to be at a far slower pace than you think it might – I expect this might gain some criticism, but I think that Max’s performance this season did show some signs that he is transitioning into that more incremental development phase, where the improvements come more from knowing how to apply that experience, rather than from the underlying process of building up those knowledge banks.
As for Leclerc, I would say that, at this point in his career, he is in that phase of development where improvements in form are still relatively rapid, though I would expect those improvements to start slowing down over the next couple of years as his development curve begins flattening out. Where that may put him in terms of overall potential is something that I expect will be debated for some time yet.
1st February 2021, 19:35
anon Fair comment and it will be interesting to see. Of course much as always will depend on their cars, for drivers are coloured by their cars. Perhaps exponential growth is overstating it, but my intention was that I believe in the case of Max vs Charles, Max will continue to outstrip him in terms of what he can do with the experience he gains. In general I just can’t see CL catching up and becoming as good as Max just by putting in a few more years experience towards a theoretical peak, as opined by f1frog, while Max theoretically levels off.
David BR (@david-br)
2nd February 2021, 11:38
Agree with you on this one @robbie. I just don’t see Leclerc having the same level of car control and feel as MV (or LH), as shown by his so-so performance in the rain. That’s not something he can learn now, I think that’s something acquired very early on. He does have excellent driving style and speed, as shown by a couple of outstanding qualifying performances this year, and did have a fairly good head for races, but seemed to have gone awry last season and also a few times in 2019. Comparing to Ricciardo, I’m not sure. @f1frog is probably right that Leclerc is faster, also right that Ricciardo had a better year. I’d place him higher than CL in 2020 too.
1st February 2021, 21:10
I’m also of the belief that leclerc might be a verstappen 2, he just needs more experience, I think we have 4 very fast drivers in this grid and experience makes a huge difference in the amount of mistakes they make, in order hamilton, verstappen, leclerc and russel, you see that verstappen still makes some mistakes more than hamilton but far less than leclerc and you also see how many mistakes russel made at williams. I think ricciardo doesn’t have that level of raw speed, based on his comparison with verstappen, but is also far more experienced and mistakes-wise on the same car would probably be a hamilton, so for now he should be better than russel and leclerc, who made several mistakes this season, but I don’t expect that to last more than a year max.
3rd February 2021, 7:03
Oddly I agree to Leclerc being ahead of Perez, Sainz and Ricciardo.
Leclerc got more out of the car than the drivers mentioned above, he has better pace, better race craft.
Driving a poor car and still be on the podium a couple of times does acquire a great deal of risk… some of it was clumsy indeed, but overall Charles is a proven better driver than the three.
Sainz is solid, Ricciardo maybe even abit more solid, Perez imo mediocre..
Would either RacingPoint driver be around 0.3 sec faster in quali they would have made RP the 2nd best team… but we all know both Perez and Stroll or not near Leclerc or Verstappens level…they have much better pace.
Sainz will compete with Leclerc, so we’ll have an answer soon who’s better, it would not surprise me Charles would beat Ricciardo as well. Dan often is solid, but hardly even spectacualir which Charles is
1st February 2021, 12:13
He is definitely trading for a faster car for next year. Only question is is that faster car a winning car. At 31, he is older than Checo whose move to a race winning car (while thoroughly deserved) has come amid fortuitous circumstances.
Not sure if Daniel will get another chance. Ferrari have 2 younger drivers, Merc already has Russel waiting in the wings and Max is bedded in the Red Bull.
1st February 2021, 12:34
Why do you think he has traded a faster car for next year? Under the regs McLaren would be using their tokens to input the Merc power unit into their car, and this has been the source of many of McLaren’s struggles in the past. This also limits improvements in other areas.
3rd February 2021, 12:56
Yeah. I think McLaren already said that they don’t expect their first year with the Mercedes engine to be brilliant.
They fully expect their to be teething issues and the season to be a bit of a seesaw. Which, really, is normal.
I imagine RIC had multiple reasons for moving to McLaren. Honestly, I hope it turns out well for him. For me, the attitude of McLaren does appear to better fit RIC’s overall public persona (who knows what his private one is like), so its possible he’ll just simply enjoy it more being with McLaren.
Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
1st February 2021, 12:25
Agree with the first comment. Leclerc has made just too many huge mistakes this year to be rated this high. Admittedly along with some of the best performances from any driver, but that doesn’t make up for his mistakes.
He’s caused his own retirement 3 times as @jesperfey13 mentions along with Vettel in one of them and Verstappen in another. Then he also took out Stroll in Russia.
He caused 6 retirements in one season which I think can be said is more than any other driver in a number of years.
Ricciardo’s only poor race was when he spun and finished well behind Ocon and many others in 14th at the 70th anniversary grand prix. I can’t really see any reason for leclerc to be rated ahead of him.
I also think the gap between Sainz and Norris is ridiculous now. Sainz to me didn’t look as good this year compared to last and he made 2 big mistakes on lap 1 in Tuscany and Russia. Surely Leclerc has to be next but then if Sainz is 3rd, that is just too high. Norris who IMO pretty much matched him is all the way down in 10th. I would say both of them were in the lower end of the top 10 this season.
F1 frog (@f1frog)
1st February 2021, 12:44
I also think Sainz is way too far ahead of Norris. I had them seventh and eighth, and I think they were extremely closely matched this year.
Keith Campbell (@keithedin)
1st February 2021, 12:27
I’m a little surprised that Sainz has made the top 4, especially with Norris down at 10. I agree Sainz was the better of the McLaren drivers but it didn’t seem to be by a huge margin. I understand to an extent Leclerc being ranked above because despite his errors he was devastatingly fast at times in a Ferrari that probably wasn’t worthy of a podium or even best of the rest slot at any circuit apart from maybe Turkey. I’d have ranked Ricciardo above both of them because to me he got closer to maximising the points potential of his car. He was fast and consistent and didn’t seem to have any particularly off weekends.
1st February 2021, 12:28
I still would rate Ricciardo ahead of Sainz and Leclerc in 2020.
Sainz had probable the same highs as Ricciardo, but Sainz had more mediocre and below average weekends. The only thing that he had in his favour is that many not expected the 2020 performance (I hope that did not impact the rating though).
Also Leclerc I would rate below Ricciardo. A few stellar races, which confirmed the talent he has and heights he can achieve, but there were at least as many big mistakes, which by themselves could have caused Leclerc’s 2020 season to be rated much worse.
1st February 2021, 12:32
Am I right just Hamilton, Verstappen Sainz and Leclerc left?
Leclerc seems ‘generous’ and Sainz, extremely so. Since he is so gifted he didn’t do so much better than his relative rookie teammate. Gasly has been massively overlooked I think, he has the look of a top runner once he gets freed of the Marko talent killing death stare.
2nd February 2021, 7:24
I have Ricciardo in 3rd ahead of Perez, Leclerc, Gasly, Bottas, Sainz and Norris. Ricciardo was fast, and consistent all season and very effective at overtaking.
1st February 2021, 12:53
Ricciardo was a definite third place for me. He almost came 4th in the championship with the 5th quickest card (which should mean he was 9th or 10th). I will read Leclerc and Sainz with an open mind but I will take some convincing.
1st February 2021, 13:11
Wow this is really controversial. No way Leclerc and Sainz are above Riccardo especially with all the errors Leclerc made and Sainz had some shockers also.
Riccardo 3rd for sure and I’d say most here would agree.
Do you want a rethink Keith?
1st February 2021, 13:44
I think though that we should come up with an ‘or else’, @homerlovesbeer.
Maybe pretend on Wednesday that the 3rd place review is about Ricciardo, and comment based on that. ;)
Vishal Trivedi (@nomadindian)
1st February 2021, 14:57
Jimmi Cynic (@jimmi-cynic)
1st February 2021, 20:40
This sort of subjective driver ranking process helps fill pages in the off season and generates reader consternation/comments.
It might be better settled if F1 instituted some sort of driver’s championship rather than the obsessive focus on the constructor’s championship.
1st February 2021, 23:20
and make the cars equal in performance…. we’d know for sure then :-)
What about a few laps of the Top Gear track to settle it?
1st February 2021, 21:53
Ahah, that would be fun.
1st February 2021, 13:54
Another miss, I’m afraid @keithcollantine. There’s absolutely nothing to suggest Sainz performed better than Ricciardo this year. Leclerc I can see an argument for, if you give him more points for his highs than taking them away for his lows.
Also it looks like the rankings will be done being published by the end of the first week of February, which is significantly later than usual, even taking into account the slightly delayed season end. Is it possible that the writers on this site were disagreeing with each other on the rankings?
1st February 2021, 14:06
I feel this year’s rankings are way off the mark on many levels. First of all, I don’t understand how Sainz and Leclerc are ranked higher than Ricciardo.
Ricciardo finished in the points in 14 out of 17 races this season, in a car that was 5th best overall. That shows incredible consistency. He also bagged two podium finishes, which is one more than Sainz, who drove the 4th quickest car. Not to mention, Dan finished the season 14 points ahead of Sainz, who had a better car underneath him all season long.
I also don’t understand how Ricciardo is ranked behind Leclerc. Sure, Leclerc showed some incredible pace in a slow Ferrari, but he overdrove the car on multiple occasions. He crashed in to his teammate in Styria, he crashed out of a possible podium finish in Monza. He threw away a podium with a failed dive bomb in Turkey. He took himself out of the Sakhir GP with another failed dive-bomb. I feel Leclerc is also flattered greatly by a struggling and demotivated Vettel. I’m a fan of Leclerc, but I wouldn’t rate him any higher than Gasly this season.
There’s also little logic in how Sainz is ranked in the top 4 and Norris is ranked at #10. There was very little to choose between them all season long. The same way I don’t understand how Grosjean is ranked at #17 and Magnussen at #11.
Just seems like there isn’t a lot of logic applied to some of these rankings this year.
1st February 2021, 20:06
1st February 2021, 20:15
the key thing for leclerc is that ferrari was worse than mclaren/renault/racing point and on par with alpha tauri. you can argue about errors made by him but ask this question, if ricciardo/perez or others were in that car in a political environment like ferrari would they have scored more points than leclerc’s total. they might have been better in race making way fewer mistakes but would have qualified lower. a good bearing will be how well sainz performs in this team and this 2021 car
1st February 2021, 21:59
I think this is a good point, mohit: leclerc might’ve made many mistakes but his points were hard to beat for anyone in the same car that isn’t ranked ahead of him.
2nd February 2021, 4:11
I guess that’s where we’ll have to disagree… I feel Ricciardo would have been able to pull off the same points total if not more driving that Ferrari.
2nd February 2021, 16:06
@todfod Ricciardo scored 21 points more than Leclerc. Was the difference in performance between the two cars greater than that? In my opinion, it definitely was. Leclerc achieved as many top 4 finishes all season as Ricciardo managed, in a car that was definitely slower in qualifying, and even more so in the race. Ricciardo was not flawless all season either, he had a terrible race in the 70th anniversary GP, and was seriously underwhelming in the Turkish GP as well.
2nd February 2021, 16:08
@todfod I would still add though, that I rated Ricciardo slightly above Leclerc for this season, even though I believe Leclerc was the superior driver on pace. Would Ricciardo have achieved as many points in the Ferrari as Leclerc? I don’t believe so. But since he was probably cleaner, I’ll edge it for him slightly.
3rd February 2021, 4:23
I agree with you. I thought pace-wise Leclerc was quicker than Daniel. Heck, you could say Leclerc was quicker than Hamilton as well on pure performance extraction from the car. But, due to pushing so hard, he did make far too many mistakes. He made mistakes in the 4 races I mentioned above, plus he got away with another incident of punting Stroll off. So 5 mistakes in a 17 race calendar is quite high.
I don’t think Ricciardo would have made so many mistakes if he was driving that Ferrari… although I don’t think Ricciardo would have been able to match some of Leclerc’s high’s either. But over the season, I have a feeling Ricciardo would have been able to score more or less the same points total as Leclerc without punting off his teammate and other drivers.
Hard to say really.. because we don’t know the exact pace difference between Renault and Ferrari. But I would say that Renault at 5th quickest and Ferrari at 6th quickest is probably accurate.
1st February 2021, 14:08
For me Ricciardo might be the 2nd best on the grid, right after Max. He was very quick and made few serious mistakes. Fewer than Hamilton despite having to fight in the midfield. Fewer than Leclerc and Saintz. He beat Ocon handily too.
He had an excellent season, solid #2 overall.
1st February 2021, 17:19
@slotopen True, Ricciardo would be seconds after Hamilton. Just ahead of Verstappen. Or perhaps Russel still between Ricciardo and Verstappen
1st February 2021, 14:25
I would’ve had him a bit higher than 5th, but honestly, considering who’s in the top 3 to 6 it’s all semantics on who you value above the other as far as I’m concerned.
This was a great year for Ricciardo, he really elevated that Renault above its natural performance it feels like, and I imagine he’ll find even bigger success in a Mercedes powered McLaren given that environment is definitely more suitable for an outgoing Australian than the French-oriented Renault outfit would’ve been. I wouldn’t at all be surprised to see Ricky get a race win for McLaren this season.
1st February 2021, 14:56
I think that’s fair. I thought he had a solid season, but not spectacular bar a couple of races. He also had some anonymous weekends. I might have put him ahead of Leclerc though, given the sheer amount of carbon fibre Charles left strewn across several circuits.
I imagine some people won’t agree with Sainz being ranked so high; personally I don’t have a problem with it, but I think Norris should have been at least 8th. Looking at Sainz’s season, while he did make one major error in Russia, he also had an insane amount of bad luck in the first half of the season.
1st February 2021, 15:05
In a parallel universe, his Red Bull team-mate from 2018 suffered a downfall…
1st February 2021, 15:09
Wow. Okay. Several rankings, as others have pointed out; particularly disdended ranking gaps between Mag and Grosjean + Sainz and Norris; quite disagreeable.
But Sainz and Leclerc above Ricciardo over the 2020 season… well sorry… that is a premise of Ranking Credibility just gone South altogether right there.
1st February 2021, 15:21
This would have been my personal rankings. Leclerc did make some costly errors, but he also had some genuinely outstanding drives in both qualifying and races. Finishing on the podium in Austria and his races in Silverstone were outstanding, as were his qualifying laps in Mugello and Sakhir.
1st February 2021, 17:14
@mashiat I think his lap in Portimao was better, probably one of the best laps in recent years by any driver, up there with Hamilton’s 2018 Singapore pole. Mugello was good but he would have likely been beaten by at least one of the Racing Points had the late yellow flag not happened.
Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
1st February 2021, 17:55
Just a question given you have Leclerc this high, and mentioning a podium. Vettel also got a fully deserved podium this year. I know these drivers are not close, but vettel in fact has made significantly less big errers than he has the past few years (in fact none really). He’s just been very slow most races. But still, Leclerc has made a lot more mistakes than him. So just out of interest, if you rate Leclerc in the same area Keith will, where would you rank vettel? I don’t think the difference between them justifies 15+ places.
Leclerc IMO has had a very mixed season. He’s got the speed, but his mistakes have been incredibly clumsy and to me that counts against him as much as his outstanding drives. I would probably rate him between 6th and 8th. And I certainly think Albon should be behind Vettel, so that puts Vettel 18th or so, i could possibly have him a little higher.
1st February 2021, 18:10
@thegianthogweed Leclerc has made mistakes, but what he has done with that car was amazing. The Ferrari was (on a good day) the 6th fastest car, and he managed to finish inside the top 4 on five different occasions, which was beaten only by the trio of Hamilton, Bottas and Verstappen. Sure, he cost himself points with his errors in Styria, Monza and Sakhir, but the way I think about it is, how many drivers on the grid could have gotten 98 points out of that Ferrari? I don’t think Perez, Sainz or anyone potentially other than Verstappen and Hamilton could have done so. At the end of the day that’s the most important thing. Senna made plenty of stupid and avoidable errors over the years, but at the end of each season, his sheer speed usually meant that nobody could have gotten more from that car over a season.
As for Leclerc vs. Vettel, it was the most one-sided teammate battle in terms of points. Leclerc was in a different league to Vettel at most of the races, and he more than deserves to be 15 places or more above Vettel in the driver rankings for me. If all you look for in a driver was someone who doesn’t make mistakes, then Bottas would easily be in the top 3 in the rankings this season. I feel as if some people put too much weight on mistakes. Of course they should be counted, but if that driver is still able to deliver above what his peers are doing 90% of the time, then that doesn’t make him worse. Hamilton arguably made more mistakes than Bottas this season. Grid penalty in Austria, time penalty for a collision with Albon in the race, two separate penalties in Russia, and pitting when the pitlane was closed in Monza. And yet, despite then, he is a considerably superior driver to Bottas despite the mistakes, because over a season, he will still dominate him.
1st February 2021, 22:14
This really makes sense, it’s the only way I can justify leclerc being above ricciardo, and it’s true, if a driver is fast enough to get example 100 points despite making 5 race ending mistakes, while the other driver makes no mistakes and is slow enough to get 40 points, in that case (almost) no amount of mistakes will save the 2nd driver.
2nd February 2021, 0:59
yep, a guy who’s smashingly better than a four-time WDC should have about 12 WDCs by now. Not bad for 3 full seasons in F1
2nd February 2021, 16:11
Perhaps if you rewatch the season, you’ll see Vettel crashing into the back of Sainz and spinning in Austria, spinning by himself in Turn 1 in Silverstone, spinning by himself in the Eifel GP etc.
Ben Rowe (@thegianthogweed)
2nd February 2021, 16:59
Well, I certainly missed one or two. But I still think he made a lot more errors in previous years that were more costly to him or other drivers.
Kim Philby (@philby)
1st February 2021, 18:49
I believe people overestimate mistakes. Leclerc did a lot but they are irrelevant when you drive a painfully slow car on the straights. He was stellar in qualifying and then he was do or die. That approach is not good for a midfiled team but Ferrari isn’t that. Ferrari is a top team with a subpar car this year and thus a podium is far better than a few 7th or 8th places.
As for Ricciardo 5th for me is fair but besides Ham, Ver and Lec I would rate Perez above him.
4th February 2021, 1:25
I would rate Ricciardo higher than Perez because Perez was driving a much better car than Ricciardo in the Renault. Also Ricciardo is the only driver at Red Bull who actually challenged Max. I doubt Perez will challenge Max in the drivers championship and my point will be proven after the 2021 season
The Edge (@the-edge)
1st February 2021, 18:50
I give up trying to rate drivers because I ever hard I try I can’t do it subjectively
How Ricardo can end up behind Sainz is simply unbelievable, especially given the fact 1 of them didn’t drive clear into a wall, or the pack
1 demolished his team mate, 1 used a car less capable and finished ahead in constructors and 1 scored more podiums
Yet the other comes out in top… because he’s off to Ferrari?
2nd February 2021, 4:15
I agree on all points. I don’t know how anyone can justify Sainz in front of Ricciardo.
1st February 2021, 19:55
I think a lot of people commenting on this rating versus Leclerc’s future (and as-yet unknown) rating are putting far too much emphasis on mistakes and making some seriously flawed assumptions about outright pace.
If Leclerc and Ricciardo were in the same car, it’s a near-certainty that Leclerc would beat Ricciardo. Some of the high points of his driving this year were frankly astonishing, particularly in qualifying. Ricciardo was fast as always, proving yet again that he deserves to be in the conversation as a top driver, but I don’t think you can say he looked more impressive simply because he made less mistakes. Nicholas Latifi made almost no mistakes, but no one’s putting him at the top.
And the idea of Gasly being ranked ahead of Leclerc is simply ridiculous. It’s amazing what some time away from a quick teammate, combined with a lucky win, can do.
1st February 2021, 21:41
I think that Ricciardo would have beaten Leclerc this year in points with the same car, because consistency tends to beat exceptional driving mixed with a lot of mistakes.
1st February 2021, 22:21
Let’s say I can understand leclerc being ahead of ricciardo in a way, though generally ricciardo made less mistakes and leclerc was faster, however what baffles me is sainz being that far ahead of norris, I think that and the haas drivers differences are what most stood out.
2nd February 2021, 0:27
People love to despise Sainz but he was a top 3 last year in scirtem1f (reversed, this is a censored word here) and a hairbreadth from a certain Hamilton (but both way lower than Max). Still waiting for this season’s analysis. Didn’t hope to see him in the top three here but he’s coming close.
I like both Charles and Carlos, but they are so very different. A driver with Charles’ speed and Carlos’ consistency would indeed be tough to beat. And well, Max has a bit of both.
2nd February 2021, 4:17
If Sainz is number #3… I wonder where you would place Norris. He’s out qualified him two years in a row and been pretty close to him on Sundays as well. He’s also only in his second season in F1.
2nd February 2021, 11:33
Top six probably. Carlos’ jinx’s is proverbial, without it I gather he would have outscored Lando by quite a margin
2nd February 2021, 11:38
However, in the Scuderia they do not seem too wary about his jettatura. Time will tell. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him losing a WDC due to a last-turn-of-the-race puncture or running out of gas in the last 50 yards.
2nd February 2021, 11:42
At the Scuderia they don’t seem to be too wary about his jettatura. But I wouldn’t be surprised to see him lose a WDC due to a last-turn-of-the-race puncture, or tuning out of gas 50 yards from the finish line.
2nd February 2021, 11:33
I think this ranking is designed to trigger comments… and it works.
Or it is based on the author pure arguable feelings. Indeed I cannot imagine any criteria in which Sainz 2020 season can be assessed better than Perez/Gasly. And btw I appreciate Sainz’s performance very much.
3rd February 2021, 5:26
Seriously Le Clerc #3????? – Whilst he had good drives this year, that was due to the might & $$’s of Ferrari.
Sainz #4????????? – So far ahead of Lando & he did have that absolutely dumb crash into the wall!!!!
Dan Ric has to be #3. The ratings are for the drivers and should not be penalised for the CR@P cars they drive. Some value should be incorporated for Dan being the reason the pig Reggie was transformed for him to be able to drive it to the later success. Must have been really painful for Cyril A. to confirm that.
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