With the teams sorted, I'm moving on to the personalities of the sport. The supposedly best drivers in the world in 2012 (and a well funded Venezuelan) are headed by Sebastian Vettel, who took his third championship. He may have taken the title but the story isn't quite that simple. So, here goes my top 24 drivers of 2012 split across three blogs.
Note: Jerome D'Ambrosio stood in for Romain Grosjean at Monza, Italy. For this ranking, I have not included him, but championship positions are listed first to 25th.
The statistics listed on each are numerical data of the following:
Championship position / Championship points / Best result / Non-finishes
24. Narain Karthikeyan (HRT)
Narain's best result will remain a fourth-placed finish at the US Grand prix in 2005 racing for Jordan-Toyota. A race that only had six cars in. Anyway, spent all year at the back fighting a car that shouldn't have passed health and safety. His days are numbered and 2012 was probably the last time we will see him in F1.
24th / 0 / 15th / 8
2013 prediction: Off to the Job Centre.
23. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro-Rosso)
Statistically he has had a better year than his teammate, outscoring him by six points. The reality is that Vergne has struggled to get out of the first part of qualifying all year - a clear goal for 2013. When he is on it, there are flashes of genius, but it's all too rare. Quite fortunate to be in F1 next year.
17th / 16 / 8th (x4) / 4
2013 Prediction: A below average year, resulting in no offer of a Red Bull seat in 2014.
22. Pedro de la Rosa (HRT)
Similar to his teammate, a year of results at the back of the grid, but in every race where both HRT's finished, de la Rosa finished ahead of Karthikeyan. His F1 career has been quite long and varied, but very little success along the way - time for the Spaniard to look at pastures new, away from F1.
25th / 0 / 17th / 5
2013 Prediction: Time to go on a permanent siesta.
21. Vitaly Petrov (Caterham)
The immediate comparison is always with the teammate, and Vitaly did have a star result of 11th in the final race of the year, which meant he finished 19th. However he was outpaced more times than not and never really threatened his competitors. He has good financial backers, but talent isn't consistently there.
19th / 0 / 11th / 3
2013 Prediction: Vitaly's Russian money unlikely to be spent in F1.
20. Charles Pic (Marussia)
Another driver who has good financial backing, but a season rooted to the back of the pack. Comprehensively outpaced all year by Timo Glock although finished in a strong 12th place in Brazil - had that result not come in, a couple of 15th places and a string of 16th was all he could manage.
21st / 0 / 12th / 5
2013 Prediction: Surprised with a move to Caterham, but expect a below average year.
19. Paul Di Resta (Force India)
Every time he is interviewed he is moans about the car, the conditions or other competitors. He carries a very dour demeanour and when 2013 driver contracts were up for review he was overlooked. He doesn't come across as one who bonds to sponsors or new teams. He needs to define himself or he could start putting in some better performances - like his teammate did.
14th / 46 / 4th / 1
2013 Prediction: Make or break year - needs to prove his worth (with a smile?).
18. Timo Glock (Marussia)
Glock deserves to be given a try in a better team, but the goal of scoring the team's first point in F1 remains for 2013. He finished the year strongly and with Marussia starting to gain some momentum, I think 2013 could be a defining year for the popular German driver.
20th / 0 / 12th / 1
2013 Prediction: Will beat Caterham to score their first World Championship point.
17. Hekki Kovalainen (Caterham)
Kovalainen brings credibility to the Caterham outfit - he is a race winner after all, and his results all year were solid and often threatened the pace of the more established teams. Replace him at your peril Caterham... but I hope Heikki is on the grid with them in 2013.
22nd / 0 / 13th (x2) / 1
2013 Prediction: Deserves to be in F1 and doesn't need to provide money to drive. If there in 2013, he will thrive.
16. Daniel Ricciardo (Toro-Rosso)
Ricciardo is the strongest of all the Toro-Rosso drivers of recent years, and when it mattered in the second half of the year, scored strongly and finished races. If he can use 2012 as a benchmark, then maybe, we may have a potential substitute for one of the Red Bull drivers for 2014.
18th / 10 / 9th (x4) / 1
2013 Prediction: Very regular points scorer - maybe even a sneaky podium.
15. Bruno Senna (WilliamsF1)
2012 was a brilliant year for the nephew of three time world champion Uncle, Ayrton Senna. He finished in the points in ten races and only retired twice. His teammate finished in the points five times and retired in as many. Senna's area for development is his qualifying pace - must do better. But in the race he is reliable, mature and takes calculated risks. Someone needs to keep this boy in F1 - and not just because of his famous surname.
16th / 31 / 6th / 2
2013 Prediction: Sadly looking likely to not be in F1... but will position well for a strong 2014 comeback.
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