We’re midway through the 2020 Formula One season and it’s already clear that it belongs to Lewis Hamilton. But that’s not to say he is the only driver performing well this season and there are plenty of stories of success and defeat further down the grid.
So with the next race in Russia this weekend, we take a look at how the entire grid stacks up against each other in ESPN’s F1 Power Rankings.
In compiling these standings, we aim to take the performance of the car out of the equation and focus solely on driver performance. This is not a prediction for how the race will go this weekend. Nor is it a prediction for how things will look at the end of the season. Instead, read this as a gauge for who has the most influence over everything that lies ahead, who’s hot and who’s not ahead of the Russian Grand Prix.
Here’s how the order looks heading to Sochi:
1. Lewis Hamilton
Another week of Power Rankings, another week of Hamilton taking top spot. If it weren’t for Mercedes calling him into the pitlane when it was closed in Monza, Hamilton would be riding a four-race winning streak. As it stands he has a 55-point advantage in the drivers’ championship and is just one victory away from tying Michael Schumacher’s incredible 91-race win haul.
2. Max Verstappen
Yes, he’s had two consecutive DNFs, but he can’t be blamed for either. Verstappen still looms as the man most likely to win a race if Hamilton has any sort of problem, and that includes Valtteri Bottas. But as far as a championship challenge goes, he’ll have to wait at least one more year.
3. Pierre Gasly
Gasly finds himself in the top three for the second edition of Power Rankings running, but this time he’s there as a race winner. Red Bull has denied it is seriously considering promoting him back into its senior team, but the fact he has put that question back on people’s lips says an awful lot. Quite frankly, Gasly has rebuilt his reputation in 12 months.
On the podium fringe
4. Daniel Ricciardo
He’s licking stamps, sending them and getting tantalisingly close to a first podium for Renault. Not only that but he’s made highly touted Esteban Ocon look very second-rate. If Ricciardo takes this form to McLaren next season, the honey badger’s cheeky grin will almost certainly be back on the podium.
5. Carlos Sainz
As Maxwell Smart used to say, “missed it by that much.” Sainz’s first win was sooo close in Monza but his second place finish shouldn’t be overlooked. Unfortunately for him, that result was flanked by a DNS in Belgium and a DNF at Mugello, neither of which were his fault. Expect a strong second half of the season from the Spaniard as he looks to make the most of a competitive car.
6. Lance Stroll
It’s time for the narrative around Stroll to shift. He’s making the most of a strong Racing Point car and proving he has a place in Formula One. He was one late-race accident away from being fourth in the championship, behind the Mercedes pair and Verstappen.
7. George Russell
Is he the greatest driver to have never scored a point? The stats would suggest he is, certainly in the era of the top 10 scoring points. He continues to crush his Williams teammate and surely it’s only a matter of time before he secures that point.
8. Lando Norris
Some of the early season shine has worn off, but Norris hasn’t exactly fallen in a heap. The results are still coming but he ought to keep an eye on Sainz who looks to have lifted his game.
9. Kimi Raikkonen
Speaking of drivers who have upped their game… Kimi has really stepped up after a woeful opening to the year and the fact he is consistently outperforming the Ferraris shows he still has it, even at age 40.
10. Charles Leclerc
He’s making the most of Ferrari’s dreadful package, but the disappointing performance coming out of that car has to start weighing Leclerc down as we enter the back half of the season. Was that long-term deal he signed over the winter a mistake?
11. Alex Albon
Phew! You can breathe, Alex. At least Albon has a podium to his name, and for his sake, let’s hope it gives him the confidence to consistently fight at the front. At the moment it seems the only way he has a place in the top three is if something happens to his teammate or a Merc.
12. Antonio Giovinazzi
It’s been a solid season thus far for Giovinazzi but will he retain his seat beyond 2020? He’s going to have to produce one helluva run home to make that happen.
13. Esteban Ocon
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, what was all the hype for? There were many F1 pundits and fans who made out Ocon would return from a year off and be leading the Renault charge. Yeah, not sure about that…
14. Valtteri Bottas
He has to be doubting his ability after another lackluster half season. Hamilton is crushing him, particularly on Sundays, and when chances to win are offered up he fails to take them. All in all, Bottas is pretty lucky to have already secured another season at Mercedes.
15. Kevin Magnussen
The Haas is … well … dreadful, but we’re not seeing much from K-Mag. Like the Ferrari pair, motivation must be at an all-time low when you know a points finish would be a significant achievement.
16. Sergio Perez
Pretty unlucky to have lost his drive at Racing Point, particularly now that the car is as strong as it’s ever been. His performances have also fallen away when compared to teammate Stroll. If ever he needed a strong stretch of races, it’s now.
Back of the grid
17. Sebastian Vettel
Could very much be lower if not for the fact he just secured a seat at Racing Point. Vettel’s future is pretty bright, he just needs to navigate his way through the rest of 2020. But could this really be his first season in F1 without a top-five finish?
18. Romain Grosjean
He’s picked up his game since the last edition of the Power Rankings but there’s still far too many unforced errors for him to rise in this list.
19. Daniil Kvyat
Right now he’s the weakest of the four Red Bull drivers and in the most precarious position. Kvyat has had a poor season and few would be surprised if Japanese F2 driver Yuki Tsunoda took his place in 2021.
20. Nicholas Latifi
We’ve seen nothing to suggest Latifi will have a long-term future in F1 on merit. He has looked below average compared to teammate Russell and continues to make errors on track.