Top 10 F1 Drivers of the Year 2013:4:
10th2012 Driver of the Year position:
On the face of it, Nico Hulkenberg's decision to join Sauber for 2013 appeared to be a good one given the Swiss team's form last season but, for the first half of the year at least, the German may well have been wishing he'd stayed at Force India.
While Sauber struggled to get its C32 working early on, its Silverstone rival was enjoying life on the 2013 Pirelli. That all changed after Silverstone and, with Sauber bringing effective updates to its car, Hulkenberg eventually became more of a factor.
Although it took until Monza for the German to make an impact, fifth place in Italy was followed by fourth in Korea, and sixth in Japan and the USA as he made a late play for tenth overall.
His performances again placed Hulkenberg in the frame for a Ferrari
drive in 2014, only for Kimi Raikkonen
to get the nod from Maranello, while replacing the Finn at Lotus remained a possibility amid talk of Quantum Motorsports' investment in the Enstone team.
With delays over that deal, however, Lotus plumped for Pastor Maldonado's oil millions, leaving Hulkenberg with the familiar choice of Sauber or Force India, eventually opting for a return to the latter despite its late season loss of performance.
Revealing that he had been discussing a potential return to Vijay Mallya's team since Sepang, Hulkenberg will form half of Force India's strongest line-up in years after it was announced that McLaren
refugee Sergio Perez will be joining him at Silverstone. While it is not necessarily the front-running drive that the German craves - and many feel he now deserves - it may provide yet another yardstick with which to measure his ability.Crash.net
's 2013 F1 Driver of the Year – top ten to date:
5. Romain Grosjean
6. Nico Rosberg
7. Mark Webber
8. Lewis Hamilton
9. Valtteri Bottas
10. Daniel Ricciardo