AUTOSPORT’S TOP 10 DRIVERS
1 Budget was confirmed relatively late so he missed a lot of the crucial pre-christmas testing. Once up to speed he was outstanding, and wasn’t fazed by the Schumacher blitz. Fab car control and a massive Red Bull-bound talent.
GUAN YU ZHOU
Ferrari junior vied with Ticktum for much of the year for quickest driver on supertimes (average of best lap of weekend), but title challenge fell apart with run of mid-season incidents that usually weren’t his fault. Quick, but a bit inconsistent.
Red Bull Junior carried a lot of pressure and there were slip-ups, but also fantastic performances – his Silverstone defeat of Fenestraz was superb. But he was outshone by team-mate Vips late on and his last two weekends were nightmares.
Looked fantastic on first three weekends but midseason dramas seemed to take the wind out of his sails, and his engineer went on paternity leave. Showed enough to remind why he beat Schumacher and Ticktum in Junior karting.
Kiwi Ferrari protege was most impressive of the Prema quintet for the longest period of the season before it all went wrong from September on. A classy, intelligent, methodical and smooth driver who has the talent to go a long way.
Force India protege’s first season of F3 was one where he probably drove too conservatively. This year, he utterly ragged it from mid-season on to take Carlin machinery into places others couldn’t. Fascinating to watch his development.
Looked nothing special until summer, before he got a couple of wins under his belt and floodgates opened for late-season spree and title. But the manner of this raised sufficient paddock doubts that it was all down to his driving.
The same late-season murmurs about Schumacher also applied to this Ferrari prospect so he’s difficult to evaluate. Spent much of year as fifth best Prema driver until that late form. He’s good, but let’s wait to judge properly.
Tally of four wins was eclipsed only by Schumacher. Made the most of his chances, but got overshadowed by fellow Estonian Vips, had doubts over engine and didn’t enjoy himself – and fell out with Vips after a run of incidents.
A good driver who’d been around the third tier of racing for a long time without doing a Euro F3 season. Hitech gave him a chance and he looked strong early on, but with his experience he should have won races, as Ahmed did.