After three years of fighting ‘the enemy within’, Lewis Hamilton seemed to thrive on battling for a championship against a rival from another team. Although for the first half of the year his own team mate ran him close.
Heading into the summer break Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas were tied five-all on race results. Hamilton’s decision to allow Bottas back through into third place in Hungary prompted many to question whether those three lost points might cost him the championship.
|Beat team mate in qualifying||13/19|
|Beat team mate in race||11/19|
|Laps spent ahead of team mate||676/1167|
In retrospect, this looks like the wise move of a driver with phenomenal self-belief and ability to see the bigger picture. Souring relations within his own team and with his then very competitive team mate was not a price worth paying for three championship points.
Life with a competitive team mate can be harder but it also brings benefits. Few were the days Sebastian Vettel could count on Kimi Raikkonen taking points off Hamilton.
Hamilton came back from the summer break on a confidence high which translated into his driving. He resisted a surprisingly competitive Ferrari at Spa and calmly converted a clear pace advantage at Monza for two wins in a row. That became three after Singapore where Sebastian Vettel’s title hopes suffered a hammer blow.
In Malaysia he played a wise game, backing off from a confrontation with Max Verstappen to secure second place and another coup on a weekend where Ferrari were stronger than Mercedes. The contrast with Vettel’s tactics in Singapore could hardly have been more obvious.
He romped to victory in Japan and brushed Vettel aside for another win at Austin. From then on the championship was a formality.
That crushing second half of the season seemed unlikely earlier in the year when Hamilton had a much tougher fight on his hands. The Mercedes was a particularly fickle beast to begin with, good for one lap but weaker in a race stint, which Vettel could exploit at times. But Hamilton dominated in China and scored a satisfying win by passing Vettel in Spain. On home ground at Silverstone he was in devastating form.
Monaco was an alarming dip early in the season but it proved a one-off. And though he had his now traditional ‘post-title slump’ the real story was how he’d won the championship with two rounds to spare when for much of the year it had looked set to go down to the final round.
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Over to you
Showed crushing form in the races leading up to Mexico where he wrapped up the title. Consistently winning race after race and cleverly accepting 2nd when Verstappen charged at him in Malaysia. With a few exceptions he has well and truly shown Bottas the way this year, while also playing the team game in Hungary. His most impressive title win to date.
What’s your verdict on Lewis Hamilton’s 2017 season? Which drivers do you feel he performed better or worse than him? Have your say in the comments.
Add your views on the other drivers here:
2017 F1 season review
- The complete F1 Fanatic 2017 Formula One season review
- 2017 F1 season in stats: The 68th season in context
- Essential reads 2017: The best articles and your favourite features
- Take the F1 Fanatic 2017 end-of-season quiz
- F1 Fanatic’s top Tweets of 2017
85 comments on “2017 F1 driver rankings #1: Hamilton”
19th December 2017, 12:04
Hamilton was a deserved champion yet to me oddly enough the ‘worst’ of the best three drivers of the season. Which only goes to show how highly I ranked the performances of Verstappen in the third-best car and Vettel in the first half of the season. But I totally understand Hamilton romping to all the victories in all the polls, he was phenomenal.
Although, fun caveat, for a pole-position monster, his 13-7 score with Bottas is the same as Verstappen with Ricciardo and worse than Vettel’s 15-5 with Kimi. Hamilton still has an element of inconsistency people tend to ignore.
19th December 2017, 12:17
I think it is also a result of:
– people tending to weigh the second half of the season heavier (VET was better)
– and disregarding the races after a driver clinches the title (Brazil quali anyone)
19th December 2017, 12:22
‘worst of the top 3 drivers’ – have to counter your clenched teeth compliment I guess
It kinda counts for more if you get pole rather than 5th over your team mates 7th. Factoring in who the team mate is, is also quite important else Hulk is the most consistent qualifier in f1.
19th December 2017, 18:01
Yes, my clenched teeth, which all along (see the forum) have pointed out that to me, this season knows an ex aequo top three, and then the rest of the field ranked. But even so we must rank the top three, and the other two were to me more impressive than Hamilton. Which I think is a perfectly fine conclusion which you may well disagree with.
19th December 2017, 12:59
@hahostolze did you forget the races where Lewis passed Seb on track for the lead. I guess so. As far as your rating Max higher than Lewis, complete joke. Max can’t even beat his own teammate, let alone Lewis.
19th December 2017, 15:01
13-7 in qualifying and 5-2 in the races isn’t beating him? Verstappen was quicker than Ricciardo this season, quite hard to beat your team mate when you get engine issues every time you’re ahead… He lost vastly more points through retirements than Ricciardo did, and to be within 32 is very impressive, as were his 2 wins and his qualifying performances particularly in the 2nd half of the season.
19th December 2017, 15:24
Which season did you watch?
19th December 2017, 20:56
The actuall driver able to beat Hamilton on track was Verstappen….. the only driver who overtook Hamilton…twice
Simply simply lovely
20th December 2017, 10:17
19th December 2017, 16:18
Well every driver on the grid is guilty of this throughout the course of the season.
If you would like, let’s start with Vettel at the British GP….
Or Max in Brazil….
Or Bottas’ mid season slump.
I struggle to think of a driver who is devoid of imperfections throughout the course of a season. What matters is delivering when it counts and on that note Hamilton did it in style post summer break.
19th December 2017, 18:03
Right, but your last sentence could justifiably be: Vettel did it in style pre summer break, and as the Mercedes was both faster and more reliable, that can give me reason to think his ‘doing it in style’ holds more weight in the end?
19th December 2017, 19:22
Which is why the championship isn’t won “pre-summer break” and over the course of a season.
Vettel as well as Ferrari threw away this championship.
– Canada (tangling with Max)
– Belgium (could have won that with faster tyres)
– Mexico (another red mist moment)
So I say, Hamilton took full advantage when Vettel AND Ferrari imploded, “doing it in style”.
19th December 2017, 20:13
Belgium, he pulled alongside Hamilton on the restart but then the Mercedes engine pulled Hamilton back ahead, and once you’re behind, in that dirty air, you can’t get ahead unless you are a second a lap or so quicker.
Singapore, we have established wasn’t his fault. Every single time the guy on pole gets a mediocre start he covers across the guy on 2nd, Hamilton did it multiple times this year too (Monza as 1 example), just on this occasion they guy in 4th got a mega start and was alongside out of Vettel’s view.
Mexico, was not a red mist moment at all. He tried a move, it didn’t work out, and as he was correcting oversteer he hit Hamilton who was slightly slower off the corner due to his battle with Verstappen. Baku is red mist, this was a lap 1 racing incident.
19th December 2017, 20:40
@hugh11 You need to read what Hamilton did to keep that place. Vettel was too close to Hamilton and Hamilton capitalized on that mistake.
Singapore, we have stablished WAS Vettel’s fault.
Mexico clearly WAS a red mist moment. He kept his foot full on the trottle in a lost position. Which meant he also lost control of the car and drifted into Hamilton. Either Vettel is a very poor driver who just drifts into other cars at random or he lost his cool. You pick.
19th December 2017, 21:27
Yes, Hamilton did well in that, but Vettel was still in the slipstream, pulled alongside, but the Mercedes engine pulled away once Vettel was no long in the slipstream. Hamilton kept the position, but you can’t hold that against Vettel in any way.
Singapore clearly wasn’t anyones fault, it was a racing incident, the majority of people know that. Saying it was his fault is a poor observation
And your observation of Mexico is poor too. Of course he’s going to put his foot down, to get the best exit possible to try and get the run down into turn 4, and I think he was expecting Hamilton to be quicker out of the corner, and by the time he wasn’t, no reflexes in the world could stop the contact.
19th December 2017, 22:54
@ Hugh- I always find your views rather interesting, if not amusing, because most of the time they are outliers. But what would the forums be without different points of view?
If you are going to use the Merc engine argument- how come BOT didn’t blast past RIC and Kimi with the “superior engine” then in Spa? Ultimately I think it all came down to positioning and racecraft which is what made the difference IMO.
Singapore- well Vettel was the aggressor who chopped across the track and not Kimi or VERS. So if you have to apportion blame it is largely on Vettel’s door.
Quite if you are in clean air. If you are behind another car surely spacial awareness comes into play.
Disagree. He could have avoided contact if he wanted- could have backed out but in my eyes he chose not to. I watched the replays from all sorts of angles and it is quite conclusive.
20th December 2017, 7:53
@hugh11 I don’t know how long you have been on this forum but it’s wise to learn some usernames, some don’t deserve your attention.
19th December 2017, 19:26
“Mercedes was faster”
I would also disagree with you here. Faster over one lap, maybe, but even then you could also argue that wasn’t the case as BOT didn’t beat Vettel more often than not.
Over a race distance well most “experts” said the Ferrari was better in race trim overall but that there was nothing to choose between the Merc and Ferrari in race pace.
Where will agree however is the reliability bit.
19th December 2017, 18:36
Alonso comes to mind.
19th December 2017, 19:18
Laughable. Alonso had his fair share of mistakes. Even over the years as well. Of course having an unreliable car helps to hide these mistakes.
19th December 2017, 12:08
Well the rankings here are almost close as the team bosses rankings on autosport.. at least the top 4… I don’t know how the bosses voted Kimi higher than Valterri because that means that there are things we do not see… Here, Valterri is way higher than Kimi. Also, Ocon is one place below Perez while the bosses voted him as #5 and Sergio out of the top ten.
19th December 2017, 14:07
Perez must be fuming over the team bosses ranking, as is Valtteri I’m sure. If he considered Ocon a threat before, he’s now practically turned Perez unhirable.
19th December 2017, 15:27
Team bosses ranked Raikkonen 7th and Bottas 10th… So I’m not sure if they know something we don’t, or Ferrari told Haas and Sauber to vote for him or what
19th December 2017, 20:42
I think Raikkonen was hindered more by technical issues and poor strategy choices made by Ferrari. Also being the #2 driver already in Hungary (and by the looks of things even earlier) meant that Raikkonen was held back by that too.
The team bosses probably know more about this and weighed that in their ratings too.
John H (@john-h)
19th December 2017, 23:43
More excuses for Kimi. Now into year 5 at least. Awful.
20th December 2017, 11:36
When they arrived in Hungary, Vettel was leading with 177 points, Hamilton had 176 and Bottas 154. Kimi had 98. Both Hamilton and Vettel could’ve skipped the next three races and Kimi would still be behind them. You can barely blame anyone in Ferrari for deciding that Vettel was the safest bet for the WDC
Michael Brown (@)
19th December 2017, 12:19
The best driver won the championship, so it is fully deserved. The low points of Hamilton’s season were being off the pace in Monaco and Russia, as well as his qualifying crash in Brazil. Those pale in comparison to Vettel’s mistakes which destroyed his championship chances. Hamilton was exceptional after the summer break.
I’m a Vettel fan, by the way. I’d rather not preface the statement with that, but if it matters, there it is.
19th December 2017, 12:31
It’s unfortunate that we feel the need to add these disclaimers just to pre-empt an inevitable backlash from those who’s immediate reactions are “oh it’s just a biased Seb hater/fanboy Lewis hater/fanboy” rather than taking the comment at face value. I’ve criticised Lewis many a time and have been accused as a Lewis hater even though I’m a Lewis fan haha.
Michael Brown (@)
19th December 2017, 19:38
@ninjenius Yeah, it was my attempt to show that I can be objective, but thinking back on it now, that won’t please everybody. Most people are mature enough to not accuse others of bias without good reason.
On this site at least. The F1 Facebook page’s comments are toxic.
19th December 2017, 13:10
19th December 2017, 12:25
Hamilton became the ‘complete’ driver. No ‘red mist’ moments, is calm enough to know when not to fight for the win, knows how to keep his team mate on side. Ferrari must wish they had not renewed Seb’s contract, they would have fought off Mercedes for such a complete driver at the top of his game. Lewis would be the final piece in the jigsaw to get Ferrari back to the top!
19th December 2017, 12:31
Up until Hungary, i wouldn’t agree with this, but his performances on Spa, holding Vettel with slower tyres, the pole lap at Monza a second ahead of everybody else, the race at Singapore, the pole on Malaysia with a not so good car, was the guy doing everything he need to be WDC, and he could even pull a “Rosberg” at COTA and play safe, but didn’t and won the race anyway.
19th December 2017, 16:52
Good analysis. Spa was a real highlight.
19th December 2017, 13:06
19th December 2017, 13:09
19th December 2017, 13:10
19th December 2017, 13:14
For me yeah Hamilton was phenomenal. But Vettel was awfully close. I would totally rate Vettel higher than Max Verstappen. I would put both the Red Bull drivers as a tie in 3rd place honestly. What stood out for me was that the Merc was a harder car to set up and get it in the zone but Hamilton was in a league of his own despite that ‘handicap’. The Ferrari seemed to be the better car throughout the year with being so compliant and Vettel being able to get the most out of it. That’s why I rate Hamilton higher.
19th December 2017, 19:19
I think this “harder to set-up” aspect is blown out of proportions and not that relevant. Yeah, maybe the Mercedes may have been harder to set-up than the Ferrari, we cannot know for sure, but never was a real issue on-track tho. “Somehow” they (Mercedes engineers) managed to get it “right” in time always for Quali and Race… and also find like the best set-up… keeping their cars in the front battle and the title hopes alive too. Quite “funny” if we take for granted this theory, it was actually Ferrari (the so-called easier to set-up and more responsive car!!!) that didn’t look very good and had issues related to the set-up at Silverstone… and not the Mercedes. Then, the car’s “behaviour” is completely monitorised by computers in real-time these days, so I do not think it’s so hard to set it up as it was before. Nowadays we see the engineers telling drivers if drive as fast as the car can go or not… and not viceversa… as it was back in the day.
19th December 2017, 20:47
Hamilton had poor performances in Monaco, Russia and Brazil.
Vettel had poor performances in Spain, Canada, Baku, Silverstone, Spa, Singapore and Mexico. Notably Baku and Singapore were needlessly dumb incidents that basically killed his WDC aspirations.
So, I don’t think it’s “awfully close”.
20th December 2017, 7:59
@patrickl *rolls eyes*
20th December 2017, 9:17
@flatsix. The truth hurts huh?
20th December 2017, 12:27
@patrickl I’m surprised you know that considering you seem to go extraordinary lengths to post anything else. Saying Vettel had bad races at Spain, Spa, Silverstone or Canada is just laughable, it’s still allowed to be beaten by an exceptional driver in the better car, especially if all he had to do was push a button to open DRS. Even Mexico was a very common thing to happen in racing. Baku surely was stupid, and Singapore was not his fault unlike you continue to pretend. Every single driver would have defended that way.
21st December 2017, 18:13
He got played in Spain.
Messed up the start in Canada and failed to yield in a clearly lost position causing a crash
Messed up the start in Silverstone, got caught by Verstappen and couldn’t pas back even though he clearly had a much faster car. Tried a long stint and kept driving like he was on a short stint. With the inevitable blown tyre as a consequence (again! He really never learns)
Ferrari had by far the fastest car in Spa. Vettel assume he would get pole and lead from the start. He didn;t perform as well in Q3 as he anticipated and ended up on the wrong setup (which he should have been on to begin with at Spa). Then he got played by Hamilton at the restart and even then he couldn’t get past.
These are all clear poor results for Vettel where he could/should have done better. None of these had anything to do with being passed in a DRS zone.
Singapore was clearly Vettel’s fault. Not a single driver defends like that after they have a poor start. Some move over yes, but they don’t keep pushing the other driver all the way off track like Vettel did. And most certainly not at the speed with which Vettel made that swoop. The whole thing was just his red mist acting up. He deserved to lose the title with those red mist moments.
Mexico was perhaps even more embarrassing than Singapore and/or another red mist moment how he lost control and half spun into Hamilton. It does happen more often, but not to people who are in the running for WDC.
Just stop grasping at straws trying to defend Vettel’s poor race craft. It’s ridiculous. Sure people like Maldonado or Grosjean make dumb mistakes like that, but that doesn’t mean it’s OK.
22nd December 2017, 0:19
It’s a bit sad, really, how you try to bring Vettel down. He did not have the perfect season, but you try to make him out as a bad driver, while he was just fantastic the first half of the season. Funny part is, you keep defending Raikkonen for doing exactly the same things in the past.
As you said yourself, Vettel got played in Spain. Had nothing to do with slow pace or even a bad weekend, he just fell in a Mercedes-trap, which is not something a driver has control over. Not being able to pass a Mercedes at Catalunya doesn’t prove anything. I can’t see how you can make Canada like a bad race. Sure, he had a slide collision with Verstappen at the start while fighting Bottas, but he actually drove back brilliantly. In Silverstone he had a bad weekend, but the for some reason you miss the point that Vettel managed to drive longer on his tyres than his teammate, while Raikkonen also had a tyrefaillure. Was it a Ferrari-problem or a driverproblem? Seeing how they didn’t have any punctures anywhere else in the season, I don’t think it was Vettel.
Vettel didn’t manage to get pole at Spa, yet outqualified Raikkonen by half a second. Al your setup-nonsense is just something you are making up, the Mercedes was just faster in quali and he couldn’t make his only chance on a pass work. Again, that is not a bad weekend.
Singapore might have been his fault, I’m not going to say it wasn’t. In Mexico he did make a mistake, yet by then the championship was already almost over. When Raikkonen made his mistakes in 2008 you kept saying it was because he had to push it, because the championship was almost over, so his silly mistakes are ok, but with Vettel that doesn’t count in your book. Apart from the fact he actually gained 10 points on Hamilton, so it didn’t cost him anything, because he would have never gained more from winning this race, as Hamilton would’ve been 2nd or 3rd.
But if we do apply your logic, Hamilton had some very bad weekends as well. He was very poor at Russia, messed up and was poor in Monaco, “got played” in Melbourne, wasn’t able to pass Bottas in Bahrein, messed up qualifying in Austria, didn’t manage to get passed Raikkonen in Hungary and messed up qualifying in Brasil and Abu Dhabi.
19th December 2017, 13:52
Maybe for you @jerejj; I was still mentally evaluating the seasons of Gasly, Giovinazzi, Hartley, Button, and di Resta ;)
19th December 2017, 13:55
My bad! should be a reply.
Anybody else getting these messages when responding “You are posting comments too quickly. Slow down.” (Chrome OSX)
And when you click back and post again the comment ends up as a separate thread.
19th December 2017, 14:15
That I can live with.
It’s the snark comments when the reply ends up elsewhere that really annoys me!
Honestly some fans are amazing. It’s like they only look at the few comments that mention VER – then react!
19th December 2017, 13:56
Maybe for you; I was still mentally evaluating the seasons of Gasly, Giovinazzi, Hartley, Button, and di Resta ;)
19th December 2017, 13:57
and the same happened. I’ll stop :(
19th December 2017, 14:06
Some fun stats
Drivers ranked 1st: Alonso: 2005, 2006, 2012
Vettel: 2011, 2013, 2015
Hamilton: 2007, 2010, 2017
Ricciardo: 2014, 2016
1st place in the championship was ranked first 6 out 13 times. 2nd place was ranked 1st 3 out 13 times. 3rd place was ranked 1st 2 out of 13 times. 4th place was ranked 1st 2 out of 13 times.
No driver who got outscored by his teammate was ranked 1st. Hamilton is the only 1 ranked 1st while scoring the same amount of points as his teammate(was a position up in the championship)
Hamilton is the only driver to be ranked in the top 5 throughout his career. Alonso was 14th in 2015. Vettel was 14th in 2007 and 7th in 2014 and 2016.
Average ranking: 1. Hamilton: 2.45
2. Alonso: 3.38 (2.50 without 2015)
3. Vettel: 4.27 ( 3.39 if you count only full seasons)
Average championship position during their ranked years: 1. Hamilton: 2.73
2. Vettel: 3.91
3. Alonso: 5.92
Difference from ranking to championship position: 1. Alonso: 2.54
2. Hamilton: 0.27
3. Vettel: -0.36
19th December 2017, 14:08
Also, the lowest ranked champion was Rosberg 5th in 2016
19th December 2017, 14:13
@redi Great Stats! I had totally forgotten that Ricciardo was voted #1 last year over Hamilton :-)
19th December 2017, 14:20
Yep – work that out?
Ricciardo first in 2016.
It’s the only time I thought this site had lost its marbles. Looks like I may have been on the money.
19th December 2017, 14:32
I think it was due to others not really having great seasons. I would say he kind of deserved 1st. I would have put Verstappen 1st, but again he made some unforced errors and had a horrible weekend in Monaco where he crashed in most sessions. Hamilton was beaten to the title by Rosberg. And Rosberg was Rosberg. Finished 3rd in the championship. He was better than both Ferrari drivers. On par with Verstappen, drove better than Rosberg and made less mistakes than Hamilton. Who else was there to chose?
19th December 2017, 15:55
Madde fewer mistakes than Ricciardo – yet won more races and got more poles than the ‘winner’ along with fewer racing penalties than anyone in the top five.
No – I still maintain that Ricciardo and VER had claims on second but the run of wins despite Malaysia and prior made ham number one last year. I dispute he was beaten by Ros. He was beaten by his engine frankly.
But Ricciardo had great races – it’s just runs like Brazil that changed things in my mind.
19th December 2017, 19:52
Hamilton lost to his engine and to his awful starts.
It took the guy seventeen races to decide to go and do something about it.
After Monza, where he whiped the floor with Rosberg on qualy (half a second on a track like that on the same machine is a huge difference) and dropped to sixth on the start was when he decided to do something about it. And it didn’t happen again after that.