What a difference a year makes! It's rare for a Formula 1™ driver to go from one season to the next with no change in performance. A driver’s mental state may have changed, his competitors and his car could be different (especially with the 2014 rule changes), and he could even be racing for another team.
Here, we will look at how each driver has performed thus far against his performances in 2013. There are three drivers who stand out as having a better season so far in 2014 and three drivers who…well, just are not. Mind you, luck usually plays a part as well, and some are luckier than others.
Without further ado, let’s meet our contenders!
Not every year can a driver perform at his best or even up to what was expected of him. The following drivers are slowly watching their hopes and dreams evaporate like a puddle of water on a hot summer’s day. Let’s take at the drivers whose 2014 season has been worse than their previous season –you may be shocked!
1. Sebastian Vettel: Yes, hard to believe right? The guy who became the youngest World Champion in 2010, along with achieving 10 pole positions and five victories. The guy who in 2011, completely dominated the season and won 11 GP’s, not to mention having a record of 15 poles and a second World Championship. What’s next for this guy?
Well, this reigning champ has fallen over the last few months and it’s not of the standard of someone who has dominated the sport for the last four years. Despite the difficulties endured by Red Bull and Renault, his racing this year isn’t horrible, but it’s not what we are used too. We wish Vettel luck as he hopes to take down powerhouse Mercedes.
2. Kimi Raikkonen: Flashing back to 2013, Raikkonen had started the season with two podium finishes in the opening three races, including a win in Australia. However, the start of the 2014 season was drastically different.
The 2007 World Champion suffered a collision in Malaysia that forced him into recovery-drive mode and placed him 12th overall. Shortly after in Bahrain, Raikkonen out-qualified teammate Fernando Alonso for the first time, but slumped to a 10th place finish. The struggle is real for the Ferrari driver, who is clearly having a worse season this year than his previous.
3. Fernando Alonso: It’s no consequence that both Ferrari drivers are having a bad year. As a whole, the organization is under-going a lot of changes, while Mercedes and Red Bull leave them in the shadows.
In the 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix, the Spaniard was actually closer to the top of the drivers’ standings after three races last year than he is in 2014, with Alonso currently trailing Nico Rosberg by 35 points. Still without a podium in 2014, and claiming two already by this time last season, Alonso’s title dreams are looking a little out of reach.
It’s always wise to end on a more positive note. With that being said, here’s the opposite – the three drivers whose current 2014 performance has made their 2013 season a thing of the past!
1. Nico Rosberg: For starters, Rosberg didn’t have a bad year in 2013. He scored three pole positions, won two races, was fifth in the championship, and 18 points behind his new teammate Lewis Hamilton. By all means, it was a good season, but this year he’s gotten even better –starting the season off with a win in Australia.
With his Mercedes team light-years ahead of anyone else, Rosberg has contributed to all the buzz in the Formula 1 world about why and how Mercedes is winning every race thus far, and how both drivers come in one-two finishes –every time! Teammate Lewis Hamilton better keep a close eye on his rearview mirror, Rosberg is right on his tail.
2. Daniel Ricciardo: The Aussie! Red Bull could have chosen any number of drivers to replace departing Mark Webber (they won’t tell you that now), but they went for a graduate of their junior team – Daniel Ricciardo.
Ricciardo qualified on the front row in Australia and drove one heck-of-a race to finish second. He was later disqualified for matters outside his control. In Malaysia, he ran close behind Vettel until he was forced to retire.
In Bahrain, we saw the young man from down-under wasn’t one to be reckoned with. Towards the end of the race, he raced past Vettel with a text book overtake. More importantly, Ricciardo claimed the first official podium of his career at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, finishing third behind the Mercedes drivers. Coming from a junior team in 2013, we’d say his 2014 season isn’t even comparable!
3. Lewis Hamilton: You all knew it was coming! How could Lewis Hamilton NOT be having a better season than his last? HE HAS WON EVERY RACE SO FAR, expect the season opener. He has made Formula 1 even more exciting this year, with every race possibly being the last of his winning streak or adding to the history books.
Neil James says it the best: “No one is mentioning his private life, dogs or showbiz buddies anymore. That probably says more than anything about the improvement he's made.”
Regardless, Hamilton is IT this year and everyone wants a part of him and Mercedes AMG Petronas.
For better or for worse, all these drivers have something to prove, which makes F1 one of the most unique sporting events in all the world, not to mention the lifestyle, the wine, the Paddock Club... we could go on and on. However, good, bad or indifferent, these drivers are all impressive and an experience to watch LIVE!
You can be there and you WILL be there to see just how remarkable these drivers are and if they will continue to be For Better or For Worse. Circuit of The Americas Experiences offers Official Ticket Packages to the 2014 Grand Prix in Austin, Texas! Get on the waiting list before it’s too late! You wouldn’t want to miss out on memories of a lifetime now would you?