Driver reviews: Alfa Romeo, Haas, Williams

Date published: December 4 2019

F1 2019: Alfa, Haas, Williams

In the first of three parts, PlanetF1 delves into the performances of every driver, starting with the bottom three teams in the standings; Alfa Romeo, Haas and Williams.

All qualifying averages are calculated based on when both drivers competed free of issues or factors outside of their control.

Alfa Romeo

Kimi Raikkonen

Qualifying battle v team-mate: 13-8
Average gap in qualifying: -0.02s
Race battle v team-mate: 14-7
Best finish: P4 (Brazil)
Percentage of team’s Championship points: 75% (43 of 57 points)

Kimi_Raikkonen_smiling_PA

After largely dominating in the first half of the season against team-mate Antonio Giovinazzi, Raikkonen was made to work harder in the second part of 2019.

Nonetheless, it was Raikkonen who comfortably won the race head-to-head battle, beating his rookie team-mate 14-7, while his 43 Championship points accounted for 75% of Alfa Romeo’s total of 57 as they finished P8 in the Constructors’ Championship.

For Raikkonen though things didn’t go as well as he would have hoped after the summer break – he may well have secured P4 at a chaotic Brazilian GP, Alfa’s best result of the season, but the Finn endured a run of seven races without a point from the Belgian to the United States GP.

In fact, Brazil marked his only points finish after the break, and although it must be said that Alfa’s pace largely abandoned them from Belgium onwards, Raikkonen will look to get back on track in 2020 when he is set to take over from Rubens Barrichello as the most experienced F1 driver of all time.

Antonio Giovinazzi

Qualifying battle v team-mate: 8-13
Average gap in qualifying: +0.269s
Race battle v team-mate: 7-14
Best finish: P5 (Brazil)
Percentage of team’s Championship points: 25% (14 of 57 points)

Alfa applauds Antonio Giovinazzi's Monza reaction

Giovinazzi, armed with only a one-year contract, went into the second half of 2019 very much fighting for his F1 life, and he largely delivered.

The Ferrari prospect would prove much more of a match for his veteran team-mate and also picked up his best result of the season with P5 in Brazil.

A contract for 2020 is in the bag for Giovinazzi and he will go into his second season of F1 looking to use the clean slate to show he is a genuine threat to Raikkonen – it’s time for him to ensure the stats match up with the performances.

After all, there could be a seat going at Ferrari for 2021, and if the Scuderia are looking for a No.2 to Charles Leclerc, then Giovinazzi will want to prove he is their guy.

Haas

Kevin Magnussen

Qualifying battle v team-mate: 13-8
Average gap in qualifying: -0.13s
Race battle v team-mate: 12-8 (double retirement at British GP)
Best finish: P7 (Spain)
Percentage of team’s Championship points: 71% (20 of 28 points)

For Haas, 2019 will firmly go down as a write-off, and neither Magnussen or Romain Grosjean are likely to disagree.

The American outfit failed all season to get on top of their lack of race pace – blaming the tyres fizzled out into saying ‘we have no idea’ as Haas continued to master the art of going backwards.

Neither driver could do very little but defend, though Magnussen will be happy to come out of this dismal season with the inter-team bragging rights.

A better qualifier with a 0.13s average buffer over Grosjean to boot, the Dane has been Haas’ stand-out performer, scoring 20 points to Grosjean’s eight.

After finishing P5 in the Constructors’ last season Haas are bitterly disappointed to have slumped to P9 this year, but they and Magnussen will hope to turn their collective fortunes around in 2020.

Romain Grosjean

Qualifying battle v team-mate: 8-13
Average gap in qualifying: +0.13s
Race battle v team-mate: 8-12 (double retirement at British GP)
Best finish: P7 (Germany)
Percentage of team’s Championship points: 29% (8 of 28 points)

Romain Grosjean disappointed

Many thought that the clock was ticking on Grosjean’s Haas career – his contract was up after 2019 and Nico Hulkenberg was rumoured to be taking his place.

There was collective shock then when Haas announced that Grosjean would remain with the team for 2020, and it’s safe to say that even when considering Haas’ troubles, Grosjean has still done little to silence his critics.

His decision to punt George Russell into the wall in Singapore and his bizarre crash with Valtteri Bottas still make him the butt of many jokes (even if the latter wasn’t his fault)  and the argument was strongly made that Haas could do with some fresh blood in the team at Grosjean’s expense.

At least the clashes between Grosjean and Magnussen largely calmed down after Germany, but Grosjean was the clear loser this year against his team-mate and must step it up in 2020.

Williams

George Russell

Qualifying battle v team-mate: 21-0
Average gap in qualifying: -0.57s
Race battle v team-mate: 17-3 (double retirement at Russian GP)
Best finish: P11 (Germany)
Percentage of team’s Championship points: 0% (0 of 1 point)

George Russell pleased with "small victories"

If Haas think they had a year to forget, then maybe taking a glance at Williams will provide some crumb of comfort.

With the exception of Hungary where Russell came agonisingly close to making Q2, the Woking outfit have spent 2019 well adrift at the back with Russell and Robert Kubica left to fight among themselves.

But when it comes to that Russell has wiped the floor with Kubica. A perfect 21-0 record in qualifying and on average over half a second quicker – even when there was little to fight for, Russell has proven himself to be far superior than his experienced team-mate.

For 2020 Russell will have a new(ish) face in the other side of the garage, that being Nicholas Latifi, and it will be intriguing to see what threat he can pose to the Mercedes prospect, but let’s hope this time around they will be dueling for points, not P19 and P20.

Robert Kubica

Qualifying battle v team-mate: 0-21
Average gap in qualifying: +0.57s
Race battle v team-mate: 3-17 (double retirement at Russian GP)
Best finish: P10 (Germany)
Percentage of team’s Championship points: 100% (1 of 1 point)

Robert Kubica feeling no "emotion" after potentially last F1 race.

Kubica really couldn’t wait to get out of Williams and it may be the last we see of him in F1, though as he put it, 2019 has been “hard to call F1”.

His return eight years after the devastating injuries he suffered in a 2011 rally crash really is inspiring, but it’s impossible to ignore the fact that Russell has wiped the floor with him.

Yes the FW42 has been a truly shocking car, as Kubica regularly pointed out, but he and Russell had the same machinery and it’s a no contest as to who used it to better effect.

Still, Kubica will always have the fact of being the one who scored Williams’ only point of 2019, so the Drivers’ Championship now consigned to history will show Kubica was the better driver, but the brain will remember different.

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