Autosport F1 driver ratings - Ben Anderson answers reader questions

Autosport's Grand Prix Editor Ben Anderson dropped into the Autosport Forums to answer Formula 1 fans' questions about his driver ratings collated after every grand prix

Autosport F1 driver ratings - Ben Anderson answers reader questions

Anderson answered questions including how close he came to awarding a driver a one out of 10 and whether he has even been confronted over his marking.

Below is a selection of questions and answers from the Autosport Forums:

SophieB: Have you ever wished you'd given a different score for a driver or been tempted to change the score you've given?

BA: The honest answer is yes, but usually not by more than one mark either way. Sometimes I look back later and think I have been a bit harsh, or too generous, but I always try to be fair to every driver.

Marklar: Two questions: How much worth are you putting into ratings and do you think that it is fair to judge a driver's season based on ratings? On reflection, do you think that you are overrating top drivers compared to the others?

BA: I think rating the drivers is a worthy way to judge their seasons - the average across the year is usually a pretty fair indicator of relative performance I find. I take the job very seriously and put a lot of work into them, but of course, they are subjective and based on limited data, so they are not gospel. I wouldn't say I overrate the top drivers but, by nature of being top drivers, they do tend to get higher scores because they make fewer mistakes and/or are generally better at recovering from their mistakes.

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sopa: If a driver has to retire in the beginning of a race (through no fault of his own), or has to go through both qualifying and race with technical problems, is it fair to give him any rating at all? Or leave it N/A?

BA: Sometimes I do decide not to rate a driver's performance if their weekend has been so blighted by technical problems I feel it becomes impossible to accurately make a fair assessment. Qualifying and the race are what counts, so if both sessions are badly affected I will award an N/A score. Jolyon Palmer was unrated at Baku for this reason, as was Pascal Wehrlein at Spa.

SophieB: Has a driver ever challenged their score to you?

BA: Yes, many times!

SenorSjon: Why is the baseline for pole and win a 10 while the effort is much less? It is a driver rating after all. Especially the last few years it rained Lewis 10's while he was just bringing the car home. Midfielders have way more to cope with in dirty air and harder to handle, slower cars and usually got a 6-7 for perhaps a better performance.

BA: The baseline for pole and a win is not always 10 - it depends on the circumstances and the individual performance. Results are a factor, but the ratings are based on relative performance - not only to the rest of the field but also to themselves - whether they are repeating past errors or overcoming adversity and showing progress etc.

There are many factors at play, all of which are constantly shifting. DNFs sometimes make it impossible to rate a driver, but often you can glean enough from the laps they do complete to make a fair judgement. For example, [Daniel] Ricciardo in Abu Dhabi was nailed on to beat [Kimi] Raikkonen's Ferrari and possibly challenge [Sebastian] Vettel for the podium before his breakdown.

That hydraulic problem did not make it impossible to judge his performance. But if a driver suffers constant technical problems before they've had a chance to show what they can do, I will forgo rating them.

f1paul: What's the closest you've ever got to giving a 1?

BA: Pretty close! I think Pastor Maldonado came the closest - 2/10 for his woeful drive in the 2015 Hungarian Grand Prix. My predecessor Edd Straw awarded 0.5/10 to Luca Badoer during his ill-fated spell subbing for Felipe Massa at Ferrari in 2009.

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