After talking about the big stories and ranking our Top 10 drivers from the 2013 FIA Formula One World Championship season, my colleague Chris Estrada and I are taking a look back on how each of the 23 Formula One drivers who took to the grid fared this past year.
Showing some good potential while finishing 17th in points was Valtteri Bottas…
No. 17 Williams-Renault
2013 Stats: 17th Place, 0 Wins, 0 Podiums, 0 Top-5, 1 Top-10s, 0 Laps Led
Average Start: 14.9
Average Finish: 14.4
DiZinno says: Quiet, dependable and focused, Bottas was the measure of consistency at Williams over his rookie season. The few opportunities where the car or weather created the potential to put up a big result, Bottas maximized. It was nice to see his hard work end with him ahead of teammate Pastor Maldonado in the points standings, and he’ll continue to grow with Felipe Massa next year.
Estrada says: With limited chances to go beyond the capabilities of the FW35, Bottas still managed to raise his stock. There was a brilliant qualifying run on a damp track in Canada, placing third behind just Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton. And toward the end of the year, Bottas finally got on the scoreboard with an eighth-place run at Austin. Having veteran Felipe Massa as a teammate next year will help further, but one hopes that Williams can deliver better equipment so the Finn can make bigger strides in his evolution.
Car No.: 27
Best Finish: P6 (Spain, Great Britain, Belgium, Abu Dhabi)
Pole Positions: 0
Fastest Laps: 0
Championship Position: 10th
Expectations were hard to peg for Renault heading into its second full season back in F1 with a factory team, but Nico Hulkenberg was surely expected to be the man spearheading its charge.
With teammate Jolyon Palmer severely underperforming, Hulkenberg did exactly that, bringing home all but 14 of the team’s points in the final standings. However, consistency was never something he truly found.
Many of Renault’s issues were down to reliability issues, sidelining Hulkenberg for six races – four coming in a five-race stint from Singapore to Mexico – yet he only scored points in consecutive races on three occasions.
When Hulkenberg and Renault were on form, they proved to be a potent combination, often topping the midfield fight and even looking faster than Force India come the end of the season. His run to sixth at the final race in Abu Dhabi was crucial for the constructors’ championship as Renault jumped Toro Rosso, securing an extra slice of prize money in the process.
But for a driver who was so often tipped as being a future star in F1, Hulkenberg still has a lot to prove. Renault is set to offer a good platform for the German moving forward with factory support, yet if he cannot beat new teammate Carlos Sainz Jr. through 2018, concerns will surely be raised.
Season High: Charging to sixth in Abu Dhabi despite a penalty.
Season Low: A tough run to 16th in Malaysia.