Now that the 2013 Formula One season has been finished for a month, with Sebastian Vettel comfortably ensconced as a four-time champion, we can look back with a bit of perspective. This ranking is designed to evaluate the drivers aside from their point totals (although not completely, as wins and points are the ultimate barometer of success in F1).
Vettel won the championship in the least-dramatic way possible—a nine-race winning streak to end the season—but who else stood out? Fernando Alonso finished second in the Drivers' Championship (again), Nico Rosberg won twice for Mercedes, and Kimi Raikkonen continued the successful second act of his career.
Or maybe someone from one of the mid-field or back-marking teams did enough to get noticed.
This ranking is inherently subjective, but it is not without defined criteria:
- A big gap between teammates is a sign that one performed extraordinarily well or poorly. Since only teammates race in identical cars, this is one of the best measures for whether a driver has over- or underachieved.
- A premium is placed on victories, especially when differentiating between closely placed teammates.
- One or more particularly noteworthy performances can vault a driver up the list.
- The season as a whole is being evaluated, not just the last five races (i.e., the "Romain Grosjean effect"). A win in the first race is worth the same as one in the last. (Note: This is no longer true next season.)
One other note: Heikki Kovalainen, who filled in for Raikkonen at the final two races, is not included in these rankings. If he was, he would be ranked last—in the official standings, he finished behind a Marussia and a Caterham (and two Williams!).