So the 2014 season is over. All in all it was a good season, with a good fight for the championship and the best driver (in my opinion) winning. Here is my overview of the drivers of 2014:
Hamilton is the driver of the season. He came from behind in the points and won 11 races in the season to take the title. Many people thought he had made a huge mistake moving from McLaren to the then underperforming Mercedes, but it seems to have been the thing he needed to reignite his career.
Rosberg showed his talent this season. Before he drive for Mercedes there was a feeling that Rosberg was a number 2 driver. Dependable, could win some races, but not a great. This season has shown that he could win a championship, and if Mercedes continue dominating his time may come. While he made some silly rookie style mistakes, he has shown he has the ability to win a title.
Vettel has been a disappointment this season. After dominating for sport for 4 years, this year was his time to show he was a great driver, not just an ok driver in a great car. Unfortunately this was not the case. He struggled all season, standing on the podium 3 times and recording his worst finish since he joined Red Bull. Perhaps the move to Ferrari will be the change he needs, but this year is one to forget.
Ricciardo has been the surprise of the season. After 2 years at Torro Rosso, recording ok results, he took the place of fellow Aussie Webber. Ricciardo’s 2nd place in the Australian GP (even if he was disqualified on a technicality later) got people talking. It was Ricciardo that was always there to pounce if Mercedes fell to pieces. In Canada he took his first win, and finished the season with 3 wins to his name. There is more to come from this ever smiling Aussie, and it should be only good from now on!
Bottas has been quietly why he was given such backing from Sir Frank Williams. With some solid point’s performances at the start of the season, he finished on the podium in a third of the races and only finished out of the point once. It can’t be long before he gets his first win, especially with Williams back with the frontrunners.
Massa took a step back down the grid this year. Leaving Ferrari after 8 years he joined Williams, and while he didn’t enjoy the same results as his team mate he had a more successful year that expected. This including finishing ahead of his Ferrari replacement in the standings and being back on the podium at his home grand prix in Sao Paolo. Massa has more to give, and hopeful his Williams can help him deliver.
Alonso had somewhat a season to forget, on and off the track. With only 2 top 3 finishes Alonso had his worst season with the team in red. Add to this his issues with management and his desire to win more titles, Alonso has moved away from Ferrari (his future undecided at this point). It is likely he will go to McLaren, but will they be able to deliver where Ferrari have not.
Raikkonen was invisible this season. He rejoined the Italian team from Lotus, and his results have slipped. He recorded no podiums, and finished the season in 12th place. Ferrari have put their trust in him, and perhaps the iceman will improve now that he is used to the new cars. However, from this season, I wouldn’t hold my breath for good results.
Button may have raced his final race in Abu Dhabi, but he had a good year with a difficult car. McLaren again struggled in 2014, and Button worked hard to get the best out of the car, something made even harder for him with the loss of his father. Unfortunately it may not have been enough. He only had one top 3 finish, and that was through another drivers disqualification. If this is the last we have seen of Button in F1 it would be a huge loss. 2014 was not the season for Button, but he showed why he is a World Champion.
Magnussen made a strong rookie season. The first half of the season saw some great results, he finished second in his first race. However by the end of the season he seemed to fade into the background. It remains to be seen if he will be back next season, but one season is not enough to see his talent. Especially in a season of such big technical changes, where even experienced drivers struggled.
Perez has a reputation in Formula One. He is seen as reckless, and to some dangerous. I disagree, and feel that many examples of his dangerous driving is on others. Perez had a good year, and helped Force India to their second ever podium finish. It may take time before others see him in a better light, but his year was stong.
Hulkenberg was overlooked again at the start of the season due to money (also known as Maldonado). 2013 was seen as a great season for Hulkenberg, but it didn’t carry over for 2014. It was a quiet year, and Hulkenberg had some solid points finishes. Hopefully he will be more visible for the right reasons next year.
Vergne was overlooked for the open Red Bull seat this season, and he has been given the boot from Torro Roso. After racing for the for 3 seasons he has gotten “too old” for the team, his own words. 2014 was his best season for the team, taking 13th place in the championship. It is a shame to see him go, and I hope he is replaced by someone deserving and with talent, rather than someone with money.
Kvyat has been a surprise this season. I was skeptical of him at first, given his youth and him coming straight from GP3. While he was beaten by his team mate over the season, he showed real pace, giving him the space left by Vettel at Red Bull. I hope it isn’t too much too soon for Kvyat, as he seems to be one for the future.
Grosjean had a season to forget. After fighting for wins at the end of 2013 he found himself fighting for points in 2014. Grosjean had been improving after his issues in his rookie season, and hopefully Lotus can get him back to the front where his talent and speed belongs.
Maldonado joined Lotus after an acrimonious split with Williams, which included accusations of sabotage. Unfortunately the move did not put him nearer the front, but rather left him where he had been on the grid. He was again causing crashes, and only scored 2 points in the 3rd to last race of the season.
Bianchi is difficult to review. The thoughts and prayers of all in F1 are with him as he continues to fight. The news that he is now in France and breathing unaided is wonderful, but there is still a long way for him to go. 2014 saw him win his first points, taking 9th in Monaco, showing the world why he was in the Ferrari drivers program and that he was one to watch for the future. Now we hope and pray that his survives his new fight.
Chilton had a rough season. He ended his consecutive finishing streak by crashing into his team mate in Canada, he lost and then regained his seat in Belgium, he struggled on as his team mate and friend was injured, and then lost his seat completely as Marussia went into administration and then folded completely. It is sad to see a career potentially end like this, but who knows what 2015 might bring for Chilton. Hopefully it is just better than this year
Sutil had his worst season in 2014. After swapping seat with Hulkenberg, and a good 2013 for Sauber, Sutil found himself struggling at the back of the grid. He failed to score any points in 2014, and has lost his seat, although this is up for debate at this time. His season was unremarkable.
Guttierez had a worse season than Sutil, again failing to score points. He was also on the receiving end of a few Maldonado moments too. Like Sutil, Guttierez has lost his seat for 2015, but seems to be leaving with a little more dignity.
Kobayashi is a fan favourite. So much so that his 2014 season was part funded by fans (perhaps this was where Catherham got their crowd funding idea from). He lost his seat in Belgium, and talked of the team mysteriously retiring him in Russia. It remains to be seen if he will be back next year, but I think many would like to see him on the grid again.
Ericsson had a quiet year for a rookie. He tended to be at the back, and was pretty much invisible. When Catherham were in administration he took the initiative and found himself a new team, signing for Sauber for 2015. Hopefully he will be a bit more visible than this season, for the right reasons of course.
Lotterer and Stevens only took part in one race each, and to be honest they didn’t make much of an impact. Lotterer retired and Stevens managed 17th. Who knows if we will see them next year, but there isn’t much else to say about them.