Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton, Daniel Ricciardo, Hungaroring, 2014

2014 F1 Driver Rankings #2: Fernando Alonso

2014 F1 season review

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Key stat: Qualified ahead, spent more laps ahead and finished more races ahead of his team mate than any other driver

Fernando Alonso

Beat team mate in qualifying 16/19
Beat team mate in race 15/16
Races finished 17/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate 854/1009
Points 161
Fernando Alonso 2014 form guide

With the equipment he had, it’s hard to see where Fernando Alonso could have done much better during 2014. The Ferrari F14 T was not a potential race winner nor a regular podium contender – though there were times when Alonso made it look like one.

The same could not be said of his team mate. Alonso utterly dominated Kimi Raikkonen, who was not able to force a result out of the car the way Alonso could.

The gap between the two champions was embarrassing at times. When they faced each other on track there was only ever one result – Alonso came out on top when they went wheel-to-wheel in Spain, Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

Alonso has been toiling away in increasingly uncompetitive Ferraris for five years and he has done it so effectively that it’s become increasingly easy to take his efforts for granted. Whereas in previous seasons he could sneak a win here and there, the F14T wasn’t even up to that.

But he remains fiercely hungry for success, and although 18 months have passed since his last victory there was little indication Alonso gave any less than a full account of himself even when fighting for the minor positions this year. His dogged scrap at Silverstone with Sebastian Vettel – a rival he seems to have less regard for than others – was proof of that, even if Vettel did ultimately break through Alonso’s defences.

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Shanghai International Circuit, 2014Consistency remains the key weapon in Alonso’s armoury and week in, week out, he brought the Ferrari home in the top six at most venues besides those where its performance shortfall was the most acute. His two no-scores were both caused by technical failures.

On the few occasions when the track offered a chance of something better, Alonso invariably grabbed it. He led both the Red Bulls home in China, taking advantage of the pair being briefly delayed as they fought each other for position. It yielded a hugely deserved podium finish and at the time it seemed it might lead to several more, but the improving form of Williams put paid to that.

However in Hungary Alonso took advantage of the conditions and a little luck behind the Safety Car to go one better. Indeed, had Lewis Hamilton withstood Daniel Ricciardo a little longer Alonso might have pulled off a shock win. A superb restart and a long, 32-lap run on the soft tyres put him in the lead, but when Ricciardo appeared in his mirrors there was nothing he could do to stay ahead.

Slow, twisty tracks like the Hungaroring provided Alonso with the opportunity to take the fight to the Red Bulls. At Singapore he was just two-tenths of a second off the Mercedes in qualifying, and got ahead of the Red Bulls through the pit stops, but slipped back behind them after the Safety Car intervened. It’s doubtful he would have finished higher than the fourth he took in Monaco had he not had his ERS problem.

Results like this became scarcer towards the end of the season, prompting some to suggest Alonso’s commitment had diminished after his departure from the team was decided in the run-up to the Japanese Grand Prix. There wasn’t an awful lot to back this up, although a sluggish restart at the Circuit of the Americas did cost him a place to Daniel Ricciardo.

Problems at the team’s end were more often to blame for the drop in Alonso’s scoring rate – the retirements in Italy and Japan, the penalty after his mechanics lingered on the grid in Belgium and more time which was lost in the pits in Russia.

Alonso slipped to sixth in the championship this year, his worst position since 2009. But could he really have done much better in a car which even in the latter stages of the season finished a minute behind the Mercedes in the United States Grand Prix?

It’s not hard to understand why Alonso remarked earlier this year he would rather have more trophies and less praise for his driving. More of the former is certainly overdue.

Reader’s view

I still maintain he’s the best driver of the field by a long way. He gets everything out of every situation, and he destroyed Raikkonen, who looked even worse than Massa compared to Alonso, considering he’s a very fast guy and a world champion himself.

Thankfully, Alonso is moving away from Ferrari – Ferrari just doesn’t deserve him.

How the rankings are produced

All the data I refer to while producing the rankings can be found on the site. They include notes on each driver’s performance at each race weekend, compiled data on car performance, direct comparisons between team mates and each driver’s form guide.

2014 F1 season review

Browse all 2014 F1 season review articles

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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90 comments on “2014 F1 Driver Rankings #2: Fernando Alonso”

  1. This driver, who has spent the last five years in his team, is the second best of the season? Joke!

    Only three drivers claimed a victory this year, and two of them are not even in the top 2.

    Fernando is the overall best driver on the grid, but this year he was far from his best level.

    1. @jayfreese knight – what exactly are you basing that on…? (i don’t accept that winning races in a car miles ahead of anything else is reason to be no 1)..

    2. Irrelevant, this is driver of the year not driver of the race winning cars of the year. I also don’t know how anyone can state Alonso could have done better. Where was this potential that the FI4T had?

    3. Sometimes i think that people think that championship place = there performance ranking in a year…

    4. Remember at Hungary he out-raced both Mercedes in merit, even Hamilton cannot overtake him despite having a slower car

      1. Wasn’t Hamilton also struggling with tyres and also having some small engine problems?

        1. He shouldn’t have been considering he was driving a car that was well over a second faster. There has been no news regarding engine issues during that GP either, plus it is one of the least stressful GPs on engines.

    5. Should I add: “Just my personal opinion” at the end of each post?

      Alonso was undoubtedly, once again, impressive this season, but I’d have placed Hamilton ahead; though I respect F1 Fanatic drivers ranking.

      1. petebaldwin (@)
        18th December 2014, 13:21

        @jeff1s – I think both drivers deserve to be in the top 3 but I would agree with you simply because Hamilton had massive pressure on him this year and Alonso had absolutely none.

        Ricciardo had more pressure than Alonso as well as he was trying to prove himself in a new team whereas Alonso has absolutely nothing left to prove to anyone.

        1. Hamilton was under massive pressure? He had one and only one car to be concerned with this year and it was against a team mate who Hamilton has beaten his entire career – a mid-tier driver at that.
          Massive pressure would have occurred if Alonso or Ricarrdo were his team mate – they can actually pass unlike Rosberg! Hamilton wouldn’t be a WDC if that were the case and that is one reason why Keith got it right and gave Hamilton got 3rd place.

      2. @jeff1s

        Sorry… But I highly doubt you actually respect F1F’s driver ranking after you call it a “Joke”…

      3. @jeff1s, it should not be necessary to declare ” IMO” as this entire conversation is entirely a matter of opinion even though some people seem to think their opinion should be accepted as fact.

  2. Sebastian Vettel – a rival he seems to have less regard for than others

    Interesting thing to say. Why, @keithcollantine ? I never noticed any odd comment or behaviour towards Seb.

    1. Had it been some other rival say ricciardo or bottas he would not fought tooth and nail for that place.

      1. If so, explain me why Alonso fought tooth and nail with Ricciardo at Hockenheim…

        I’ve never seen Alonso taking it easy no matter who’s alongside him.

        1. I think the comment below summarises it much better. I meant that had it been some other rival, he would have fought but not that aggressively reminiscent of his imola battle with Schumi.

    2. Maybe when he said that putting Sebastian in a rubbish car would show a more accurate picture of his performance?

      1. You could actually argue that is what happened this year.

    3. Alonso mad3e a comment about how 4 WDC’s would be impressive in different teams or how well will he do in a sub-par car. Fairly astute comment for 2014, I’d say…

  3. the more that gets revealed about how much of a mess ferrari are in, and how truly atrocious this year’s car was, makes me think alonso has had one of his best seasons. the one easy objective measure is how you beat your team-mate – he did, and how!

  4. I never understand these “He gets everything out of his car” comments. How can we possibly know what the best of the car was? Was there another tenth in it that Alonso has lost over the years? There is obviously no doubt he destroyed Kimi who didn’t like the car at all.

    The only yardstick for the speed of the cars is how quickly the drivers drive it and just because one struggles and the other doesn’t I don’t see how that is automatic proof the quick one is getting the best out of it.

      1. I agree. For Hamilton and Rosberg, a tenth can be the difference between first and second. For Fernando, a tenth is the difference between being far ahead or just ahead of Räikkönen.

    1. @weeniebeenie How do we know that there wasn’t more out of the Mercedes car?

      1. Exactly!

    2. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      18th December 2014, 13:36

      I agree with you Simon, though Alonso is the closest driver to old Schumi that we have now (but Schumacher was miles ahead of Alonso in every way) and he is probably the most consistent out there in current times. He is probably closer to the maximum a car is capable of than the other drivers. Button is I believe on par or even ahead of Alonso talent wise, but the need Jenson has for a spot on handling car just mean it is not as apparent on as much of a frequent basis.

      1. Schumacher ahead of Alonso? Maybe in suspicious tactics you mean… I’ve never seen a driver as tough as Alonso. His only downside could be qualifying. Also, he never had the best-of-the-year car available, as Schumacher did.

      2. “Schumacher was miles ahead of Alonso in every way”

        Miles ahead?? Alonso is the only driver other than Senna who was able to beat Schumacher in a straight fight in relatively equal (or worse) machinery. His defence at Imola 2005 was extraordinary – Schumacher had made mincemeat of Button within a few corners after catching him up, but couldn’t get past Alonso, 2 seconds a lap slower, who was nursing an engine. If that wasn’t evidence enough of Alonso’s brilliance, then surely his whole 2006 campaign would be. Overall, the Renault was, at best, equal to the Ferrari – compare how the relatively inexperienced Massa faired relative to more experienced Fisichella as a gauge. Yet Alonso triumphed. Even Massa himself recently considered Alonso to be more complete than Schumacher in terms of extracting the maximum out of a race weekend.
        Truth is, both Alonso And Schumacher have different strengths. And both fully deserve to be placed amongst the top 5 drivers of all time. Who is higher up is really a matter of opinion, but both continuously proved themselves to be a class above their contemporaries.

        1. well said my freind, people forget that it was the great fernando that brought schmaucher to an end, with not quit the same team, budget, and car. in modern times its only alonso that could be compared to the great senna

    3. There is plenty of evidence for this assumption. He’s not only regularly faster than whoever is struggling with the team’s other car, he’s also extremely consistent in doing so. The qualifying in Monza was a perfect example for that. Although Ferrari were far from competitive, he put in 3 nearly identical lap times in Q2 and Q3 (1.25.525, 1.25.491, 1.25.430), which probably indicate that he was nearing 100%, with the track still showing some evolution. Meanwhile, Räikkönen’s best lap times were fluctuating by more than half a second per lap, 0.6 to 1.1 seconds behind Alonso.

    4. “How can we possibly know what the best of the car was? ”

      Let us ask Raikkonen engineer, he may know what’s really going on …

    5. Maths suggests this was Alonso’s best season. I also seem to be the only one to think that this is a fair ranking. It’s indeed easy to take Alonso’s performances for granted – I personally think Hungary was a crazy good performance. Raikkonen didn’t like the car, I agree, but that’s not an excuse. When Alonso didn’t like his car he equalled Hamilton in a team that hardly supported him.

      1. You are not the only one, I also consider this season Alonso has been at his best. In fact it makes very little difference with the previous ones. After the slump in the first half of 2007 when he seemed average (having failed to adapt to the new car, team and -specially- tyres), his form has been extremely consistent.

        Now that you mention the math, the way f1metrics ranks Alonso in the cloned car/team model is unbelievable even for fans like myself. After his rookie year (2001) in which he was good but not earthshaking (he ranked 3rd in the virtual championship) he has been very consistently the best out there, only dropping from top form in 2004 (3rd after Schu and Kimi) and 2007 (2nd after Ham). Which means he has won now 10 virtual championships: 03, 05, 06, 08, 09, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14 equalling Schu’s record (yes, he also got 10).

  5. I personally would have ranked Alonso 3rd behind Hamilton. Having read the whole of the driver rankings, I think the main reason for differing opinions lays in how one ranks the teammates of the top 3, directly affecting the opinion held on the main driver. In my opinion, RAI and VET, were less impressive than Keith has ranked them.

    One reason to rank them as high as Keith has is due to there previous credentials, and therefore thinking “well they are WCs, they can’t be that bad, it must be that there teammates were brilliant”. But I disagree with this point of view. In my opinion you can’t take past performances into account when ranking a driver, particularly when, as RAI and VET were this year, they are having specific troubles with their cars.

    To highlight this, yesterday I stated that if one does consider the fact that VET and RAI have 5 world championships between them, ranking them slightly higher than a rookie would have been ranked with the same performance because of that, one then also has to rank ROS considerably higher taking into account he dominated a man with 7 world titles.

  6. I believe if RIC hadn’t won those 3 races you would have put ALO #1 then

    1. And we all know how much luck was involved in those three wins. That being said, luck is needed to win on occasion.

    2. Especially when you consider that it would have given the Hungary win to Alonso.

  7. No mention of Alonso’s spun during Q1 in British GP? Very typical Alonso article it seems.

    1. If his worst mistake in a whole season was spinning in a Q1, he deserves #2 well enough.

      1. What about missing his grid spot in the same grand prix and getting a penalty off the start?

        1. Then he drove a fantastic race making an incredible pass on Vettel and then battled with him for many laps on older tires. He was the most impressive pilot of the day even though Hamilton won.

    2. @huhhii Barely any mention of Hamilton’s spin in Austria Q3 as well in his ranking.

    3. Hate to make an ad hominem statement, but this kind of whimsical criticism of Alonso is sadly very typical of a fan of Räikkönen’s. He spun in Q1 while desperately trying to improve his time under increasing rain, but still managed to out-qualify his team mate by 7 tenths of a second? How dare he.

      1. @nase It’s quite difficult for Kimi to improve his time when his teammate has caused yellow flags in sector 1, don’t you think?

        Alonso did better job than Kimi this season, do doubt about it. But I don’t think Alonso did better than Hamilton or possibly even Bottas.

        1. *no doubt about it

  8. The main thing several people seem to take as granted is that when a driver struggle, it’s because of his own and not due to a rubbish car. The F14T was by far the worst ferrari built in so many years I can’t recall how much. Reliability was the only vague asset they could count on.
    Worst engine, bad chassis, inexperienced team principal, a sinking team which went in total restructuration by the end of the year. I doubt Raikkonen was that bad, nor Vettel. Their engine was rubbish. Still, Alonso managed to make everyone think he just had a less shiny year but I don’t buy it, he was just great, as was Ricciardo.
    In the end I would have been satisfied with this top three in any order, they each have shown better things than every other driver.

  9. Sweet bitter comments, grow up, is the owner of this place opinion and he is not the only journalist thinking that Alonso had an amazing season, not worst than 3rd best driver for most of the media.

  10. I see what you did there Keith…..
    I see what you did by putting Hamilton 3rd and Alonso 2nd. You know “Hamlonso” were the best this year but you just wanted to give Daniel a try at the top didn’t you? Trying to keep things fresh and all…. Yerp I aint even enraged at you anymore. I understand where you are coming from. No need to reply to me though. The rest of the world doesn’t need to know. Let this be our little secret…

    1. Davidnotcoulthard2 (if you want to send a PM please do so to the @davidnotcoulthard account instead as this one's intended to be temporary) (@)
      18th December 2014, 15:09


      The rest of the world doesn’t need to know. Let this be our little secret…

      I see what you did there. You know you’re being a buttockshole but you wanted to try to look like an objective human being, huh? No need to reply, though………..just use THE BLOODY PERSONAL MESSAGING THING it you want to “let this be our little secret”, for starters.

      Which isn’t the case, anyway. You might as well accuse Adam Smith as left-wing and communist and Lenin-style revolutionary and it’d not be too much less accurate than your post.

      Either that, or your post was sarcasm (in which case I didn’t see what you did)

  11. Its difficult to compare Alonso to his team mates, especially at Ferrari because Ferrari tended to create the car for Alonso and not for the teammate, so obviously, unless the other driver likes the same things as Alonso they are going to struggle with the car. The car Kimi got was not designed for him so he was always going to struggle, just like Schumy struggled in his first season with Merc, and Lewis couldn’t quite get into his stride in his first season. With other teams at least the team tries to find a solution to help the teammate, with Ferrari, at least until now, I feel that they would only change something to help the other driver if the change also benefited Alonso.

    1. Menuda chorrada como un templo. Massa y Alonso tenían una conducción parecida y desarrollaban el coche juntos en la misma dirección, la de paridas que hay que leer, madre mía.

      1. ¿Alonso y Massa tenían una conducción parecida? Vaya chorrada…

    2. Christ! more “creates the car for such and such a driver” bollox! I expect it on the forums of more mainstream websites but not on a forum where we supposedly understand F1!

    3. I’m sorry, but was the 2010 Ferrari (F10?) designed for Alonso? He won the first GP (Bahrain) of the season. One may argue that the incumbent driver could or had more opportunities to contribute to the car, but to argue that the car was “created” to suit a particular driver is absurd.
      Could you please explain what had happened to Vettel this year then? He had 4 years to help “create” a car to his liking, but… we all know what had happened.

  12. I am NOT going to let my disagreement affect my admiration for this blog and for the awesome job that Keith does all year round.
    But to put Alonso as the second best driver of the season TO ME just makes no sense. I can understand the choice of Riccardo as #1, as he was the only driver to capitalize problems at Mercedes and grabs wins. But Alonso had never the pressure that Vettel or Hamilton or Rosberg carried around all season. He didn’t develop the car at all (something that happened at every of his seasons at Ferrari) and in 2014 beat a bored teammate who was clearly unhappy and uncomfortable with the car. To suggest that somehow he had a better year than a guy with 11 wins and who spent the whole season under pressure from his own teammate, for me is a big jump.
    I already expressed my opinion that I consider Alonso a *very* good driver, but also that the overrating is almost out of control.
    As I said, this is just my opinion on facts, and I respect Keith’s choice.
    Also, reading the comments and some of Keith’s notes, it seems to me that we are sometimes crossing the line pointing small mistakes and making them appear as fundamentals. Oh, jeezz, that driver spun in P1, gosh, and that one missed the apex on one lap, god forbid, but THAT ONE missed the braking zone and lost a couple of hundredths… Come on! It seems that we are expecting clinical driving at the very top of the sport, when those guys there are at the track to race, and to take risks to improve. Personally, I would be unable to care less if that driver made a “mistake” and instead of being first or second is second or third. 20 years from now, nobody will remember who spun where, but that Hamilton grabbed 11 wins and was champ.
    Just my $0.02

    1. Yeah, if only Alonso had spent more time in Italy designing new front wings, he could have developed the car much better. No doubt it was all a brilliant plot to keep the front loose, just so he could humiliate Raikkonen.

      1. Thank you for this very adequate daily dose of sarcasm.

      2. WOW, Breno, what an input you brought to the table! So you do indeed believe that the only one to develop a car is the guy who designs the front wing? That guy develops a new front wing FOLLOWING the drivers’ impressions on a new direction to improve, not the other way round. That’s what Ferrari did with Schumacher and what it failed to do with Alonso.
        I’ve seen better uses of sarcasm, to be honest. You could say, for example, that you don’t agree. That’s what grown-ups do, normally. Cheers.

        1. But Alonso had never the pressure that Vettel or Hamilton or Rosberg carried around all season.

          What pressure did Vettel carry? Also, Alonso was under plenty of pressure in 2006. He didn’t make a single mistake that season. Championship pressure is not a valid reason for underperformance.

          He didn’t develop the car at all (something that happened at every of his seasons at Ferrari) and in 2014 beat a bored teammate who was clearly unhappy and uncomfortable with the car.

          So now it’s Alonso’s fault that Ferrari can’t fix their wind-tunnel?

          Are you going to blame him for Ferrari’s underpowered engine too?

        2. Did it occur to anyone that perhaps development of cars today has become a tad more complicated then say 14 years ago?

          All the driver can do is let the team know where the car is lacking. Im sure Alonso, like Vettel, would have loved a tight rear end (no pun intented), but did the team manage to produce it? No. You cant expect the driver to the tell the engineers how to fix a problem, thats not his job!!…he can tell them what the problem is and what needs to be done…and I cant imagine any driver on the grid not doing that on regular basis!! Which driver on the grid wouldn’t like a car that turns in the way he wants it to?

          These days at least, due to the way the formula has evolved, a driver’s direct influence or car development has probably diminished a little. Remember that Vettel didnt ask Newey to design a blown diffuser, he just learned how to exploit it’s capability to maximum effect. The drivers have full authority over the setup of the car, this is how the team mate battles are won I suppose. If one driver can get the perfect setup to extract maximum out of the car, then he’s done a great job…and thats what Alonso has done more often than not.

          So why has @keithcollantine put Alonso ahead of Hamilton? Simple. Any of drivers at the sharp end of the grid could have won the WDC this year in the W05 (even Kimi!), but how many of them could have finished 6th in the championship in a F14T?

          1. @jaymenon10 If history is a good indicator then Hamilton