2014 Formula 1 Driver Rankings: 19-16

Raikkonen Monaco

With the 2014 F1 season in the books we're rating the drivers' performances over the course of the year. Next up we look at 19 through 16.

19. Adrian Sutil

On the surface, Adrian Sutil seemed the perfect driver for Sauber. Both have on-track built reputations for being solid, professional and unspectacular. They may not set the world alight, but they could always be relied upon to get the job done. Or at least that was the case until this season.

As a veteran midfield driver with over 100 grands prix to his name, Sutil was supposed to lead the team. With the C33 and its Ferrari engine turning out to be serious disappointments his task was made all the more difficult, but his experience should have allowed him to lead the line and pick up the odd points finish.

But Sutil did not step up to the plate. He was the better of Sauber's drivers this term, but given how disappointing Gutierrez was that is hardly a badge of honour. Ultimately there were too many mistakes.

Sutil believes he has a valid contract for 2015 but, with Sauber signing Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr as race drivers for next term, the German's future appears extremely bleak. He may well extract compensation from the Swiss team for his early dismissal, but a spot on the grid next season appears highly unlikely.

18. Pastor Maldonado

When Pastor Maldonado elected to switch from Williams to Lotus it must have seemed like a very sensible decision. After all, the Grove-based squad registered just five points in 2013, while Lotus scored 315 - including a race win and 13 podiums.

Ad the move did bring about an improvement for Pastor: last term he scored just one point, but this year he doubled that and took two. Always look on the bright side…

In an uncompetitive car and with the under-performing Renault engine, Maldonado was largely out-performed by team-mate Romain Grosjean this season.

He also strengthened his reputation for shunts. Most impressively, the Venezuelan managed to make F1 look like Robot Wars when he flipped Esteban Guttierez's Sauber in Bahrain, and added a new line to his repertoire by reporting "I crash" over the radio after binning it in China.

There were encouraging signs late in the season, particularly his ninth-place finish in Singapore. A switch to Mercedes engines should improve the team's fortunes next term, though you feel Pastor will still be casting envious glances at his former employers in 2015.

17. Kimi Raikkonen

This was undoubtedly Kimi Raikkonen's worst season in Formula 1. The Finn has been beaten by team-mates before, but this was a an absolute mauling. He'll be happier than most at Ferrari to see the back of Fernando Alonso.

The statistics make for grim reading, with Alonso scoring 161 points to Kimi's 55 this season. The Spaniard took two podiums, while Raikkonen managed a best finish of P4 in Belgium, and comfortably won their qualifying battle 16-3.

Incredibly, Spa was the only race where the Finn beat Alonso on-track, and that was aided by a drive-through penalty for his team-mate. Their qualifying pace was often close, but in the races there was usually no comparison between the two, with Alonso sometimes finishing as much as a minute up the road.

There are a number of extenuating factors for Raikkonen's poor performance. It's parentally obvious that he did not get along with the F14 T car, and he was made to look worse by Alonso being on top form and having far more experience of the team.

However, for a former world champion - not to mention one of the best-paid men in the sport - to be so comprehensively beaten is embarrassing in the extreme. Next year he'll have Sebastian Vettel for company, but at 35 you would be forgiven for wondering if Kimi's time at the top is coming to an end and number two status beckons.

16. Kamui Kobayashi

After a year away from F1 competing in the World Endurance Championship, Kamui Kobayashi returned to the sport with Caterham and had what would best be described as a nightmare season.

As expected, his car was woefully uncompetitive, preventing the Japanese driver from repeating the sort of bold overtakes that made him so popular at Sauber. He was also booted out of his seat for the Belgian Grand Prix, had to deal with safety concerns on his CT05, and to top it off looks highly unlikely to return in 2015. He probably wishes he'd stayed in sportscars.

It is a shame that a driver of Kobayashi's talent cannot find a paid seat in F1. He was clearly superior to Marcus Ericsson this term, but the Swede's funds have landed him a seat at Kamui's old team. It's no surprise, but that doesn't mean we have to like it.

Kobayashi's future now lies in either a reserve role at an F1 team or in a return to sportscars. Given the lack of chances to break into a race seat, the latter seems a more sensible choice.