With the F1 season having ended quite some time ago, and all the drivers resting in their homes enjoying the winter break, Essentially Sports took to contemplating the best racers while recapping the brilliant season that was. Factoring in each drivers’ championship points, his performance, consistency, and a variety of other criteria, ES presents the top 5 F1 racers of 2014!
Do leave your opinions on the list – where we hit it, and where we missed it – in the comments section below!
1) LEWIS HAMILTON
Hands down, Lewis Hamilton trumps every other driver. Not only because he won the championship, but also for his overall performance the entire year, he deserves to be called the number one driver of 2014. With all podium finishes, barring three retirements, he sure had a glamorous season. With 11 wins this season, 7 pole positions and 7 fastest laps, the second world championship of Hamilton was well justified. His rivalry with fellow Mercedes team mate Nico Rosber was palpably intense throughout the season. The most memorable performance of his was in Hungary where amidst tricky situations, he started from the pitlane and finished third. His aggressive driving earned him laurels from F1 pandits throughout the season, and he was also awarded the BBC Sports Personality of the Year.
2) DANIEL RICCIARDO
The ever smiling Aussie not only won the hearts of everyone, but also reverance from everyone thanks to three wins this season, and by being the only non-Mercedes race winner. All of his three wins were remarkable in their own right. He finished third in the championship with total a total of 238 points in his belt. He thrashed his teammate Sebastien Vettel, a four time world champion, leading 10-9 in qualifying finishes and 11-3 in race finishes. He won his first race in Canada with some very risque and brave overtaking manuvers. His second and most memorable of the three wins came in Hungary where, despite tricky conditions, he jumped from third to first in the last two laps. His third and final win came in Belgium. Throughout the season, he surprised everyone with some very daring moves and sheer dominance over his four-time world champion team-mate, earning him deep respect from everyone in the F1 fraternity.
3) VALTTERI BOTTAS
This 25 year old Finnish racer was another big surprise this year. He finished fourth in the championship with a total of 186 points. Having been handed a strong car this year which was closest to Mercedes in terms of raw pace, he finished with 6 podium positions this year, and only a single retirement, even completing the fastest lap of the season at the debutante Russian Grand Prix. He started 12 times from the first two grids this season, thus indicating his pace during the qualifying as well. He finished with higher points than Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen, all former world champions. He showed consistent performances throughout the year, even beating his teammate Felipe Massa, the highly experienced ex-Ferrari driver, in terms of both championship points and finishes. His most memorable performance of the season was at British Grand Prix where he finished at his season and career best 2nd position after starting 14th.
4) NICO ROSBERG
The other Mercedes driver also had a very memorable season, finishing 2nd in the Championship with only a single retirement and two finishes outside the top 2. The other 16 times, he finished in the top two itself, thus displaying tremendous consistency. He had a total of 11 Pole Positions this season, the maximum by any other driver this season, winning a total of 5 races with 5 fastest laps under his belt. Only on 4 occasions did he start outside the first grid but never outside the second grid. He faced a lot of criticism for his alleged deliberate collision with his team mate at Belgium. His most memorable drive was definitely his victory race at the legendary Monaco circuit where he flawlessly led from start to finish.
5) FERNANDO ALONSO
There was a lot of dispute as to who should be accredited with the fifth place, but finally we settled for Fernando Alonso, the Spaniard in the red scarlet Ferrari. Many people may disagree as he didn’t even win any race this season and finished a mere 6th in the championship too. He finished with just two podiums, and no pole positions or flying laps under his belt. He finished the season with a total of 161 points while his team mate, former world champion Kimi Raikkonen finished with a mere 55 points. Alonso outpaced his teammate by nearly three times his points tally. This shows just how poor the Ferrari was this year and it was only Alonso’s skill that helped the team achieve as much as they did. His most memorable drive of the season shall be the Hungarian Grand Prix where he finished with a season best 2nd position where he was involved in an epic 3 way battle for the lead with Riccardio and Hamilton in some really wet and tricky situations. He drove amazingly well with immensely good defensive skills that helped him keep Hamilton at bay.