The Driver’s Seat- Rating F1’s drivers: McLaren

The Driver's Seat
McLaren

A decent season for McLaren who were kept in the game for longer than their pace should’ve allowed due to some good luck, great drives and errors by their rivals. The F-duct gave them a great jump to the season but when the other teams caught up, their competitiveness went a little flat. Some times they could be right on the button (pardon the pun) and then again at other times it was obvious that Red Bull & Ferrari had the upper hand.

It’s tough to rely on straight-line speed as a championship winning strategy (I’m exaggerating of course) but this became a lesser advantage once everyone encompassed the crowd pleasing F-Duct, not for it’s spicing up the racing of course, just for all the great jokes that can be made from the name. Even if over a couple of laps you can make it work, eventually the tyres are going to suffer. Pace seemed to come and go, even during the races, which seems to say that the car was very changeable, be it by fuel load, tyre degradation or something else, both Lewis and Jenson seemed to have to learn the car again and again to get the most out of it. The two drivers seem to be very different in style, so it may be difficult in the data sharing, but they both work well together, and I think this could lean to a stronger car for next year.

Lewis Hamilton

When you watch Lewis in the car, even if his helmet wasn’t painted yellow, you can see he is a Senna fan because he’s aggressive, unafraid of a little opposite lock—anywhere—but especially on the precarious corner entry. He looks like he is overdriving a bit, but the clock doesn’t lie and he somehow doesn’t lose speed because of it. When the chips are down he can seem to find that little bit extra over his team mate, and that little bit makes a big difference with the team, and over a season of points scoring.

A couple of errors near the end of the season really hurt him, hopefully McLaren will beef up the front suspension for him next year, because I don’t think he’s going to change his style, nor should he. I think he carried this car a little further up the grid than it should have been sometimes, and his adaptability to squeeze more speed out, no matter how the car was performing was impressive. What’s not impressive is the whining and complaining, but maybe he’s a fan of Mansell as well (sorry Mark)

Speed-10, Racecraft-9
*Gold Medal

Jenson Button

The Prost to Hamilton’s Senna, Sometimes I love to ride on that in car camera and just watch his fingertip precision, it’s not all in the steering of course, he must have ballet shoes on as well to make that all work. Doesn’t seem to enjoy the second halves of the season for some reason, as, just as last year he struggled a bit near the end. As I stated previously he was just a tick off of Lewis in the end, but I think he was closer than I had imagined. He can drive very fast sometimes when the conditions are right, and his tyre management really got him some results. With Lewis as a comparison I think his stock has risen higher than last year, and McLaren have the strongest line up on the grid, which nearly won them a championship. Still has a shot I think of winning another championship. I think he and Lewis can make the whole team stronger, and he’s close enough right now, that if Lewis stubs his toe, he could jump right in there. He played his cards perfectly at his new team, didn’t upset the apple cart or Lewis, and proved his worth.

Speed-8, Racecraft-9
*Silver Medal

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