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Season 14 In Review: The Drivers

KillerBlue195

Premium Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2017
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Location
United Kingdom
Season 14 in Review: The Drivers

KillerBlue195 takes us on a tour of Season 14's championship players with his personal review of each driver's performance in a chaotic season and offers his rating of each.

(Note: Average ratings for each driver as voted for by other players will be updated on to this review in due course)

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Michemery, Season 14 Drivers' Champion
                Ever since Michemery joined PRL late Season 13, debuting as a reserve driver at Japan with an eighth-place finish and picking up a further fifty-five points in the final four races, including two podiums, he had been touted as a potential contender for Season 14.​
                And boy did he deliver.​
                Michemery was slow to get going in Season 14, after a tangle with Cantera at the opening race in Baku saw him throw away a podium but since then his performances strengthened and the mistakes and recklessness once associated with his driving were eliminated. With the exception of a retirement in DNF, Michemery hit a purple patch taking a long overdue first victory at Round 4 at Canada after an inspired late switch to dry tyres. His imperious form persisted into the second half of the season with a trio of victories coming in Abu Dhabi, an inspired drive in the wet at Monaco which saw him romp away in the early stages at over a second a lap, and Australia. The run of victories ended at Singapore but three more podiums followed, with a third placed finish under the city lights, a second place at Monza and a fifth victory of the season at Spa in the season’s only full distance race, where he overcame a strong challenge from Deki. Fourth in Germany allowed Michemery to wrap up the championship with two races to spare and ultimately the expected challenge from his rivals never materialised as other drivers were blighted by problems.​
                After an unspectacular start to the season with a ninth and fifth place finish at Azerbaijan and Bahrain, the title may have been far from expected, but the turnaround in form Michemery displayed was nothing short of remarkable and saw everyone else left trailing in his wake, as he romped to his PRL title, in his first full season.​
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The Verdict: Ruthlessly efficient victories were tempered by DNFs in Austria and Britain with a disappointing start to the season and the criticism attracted for his actions in Malaysia. 9/10
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Ne-yo1993
                As the defending champion, who claimed seven victories in Season 13 and a PRL stalwart, Neyo was a firm favourite for the Season 14 title, and his season began in dominant fashion with that early expectation apparently justified. Neyo strolled to victory in a lacklustre season-opener in Baku, taking the lead after an early Safety Car and stayed clear of shenanigans beyond to seize an early lead in the title fight. This was followed up by a second place in Bahrain in a race he was unlikely not to win, as a second Safety Car threw the race wide open. Neyo maintained his impressive start to the season with two podiums in the next three races with third in Canada and second in Austria and open up a twenty-eight-point lead in the drivers’ championship. A fourth title seemed inevitable.​
                But then came a mid-season lull and Neyo was struck by misfortune. An early collision with Carre and Spain resulted in recovery drive as Neyo clawed his way back to an impressive fifth, while a penalty at Abu Dhabi set Neyo back to fourth and he failed reach the podium in consecutive finishes for the first time on PS4. A disconnection in the early stages of the Monaco Grand Prix whilst running second compounded his struggles. A solitary fifth place in Australia after opting for the wrong strategy was succeeded by a DNS in Singapore and a race-ending collision with Cantera at Spa either side of a fourth place in Monza. Despite impressive second places in Germany and Great Britain at the climax of the season, it was ultimately a case of too little too late as Neyo had long since relinquished his championship lead to Michemery thanks to his mid-season connection troubles.​
                Despite not exceeding on qualifying pace, Neyo’s consistent race pace and smooth and clean driving style a top five finish in every race where he saw the chequered flag and a tally of six podiums, second only to the champion.​
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The Verdict: A strong start could not be capitalised on for one reason or another and a solitary victory at the season opener captions a difficult season for the three-time champion who is now without a win in his last thirteen races. 7/10
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XxCarrexX06
                Like Michemery, Carre stepped into PRL as Season 13 drew to a close and made an immediate and lasting impression with podiums in Japan and Brazil and was touted as a title contender. However, absences at the first two races immediately put a damper on those expectations and from then on Carre’s season was an immediate uphill struggle. A first PRL win came in the controversial Malaysian Grand Prix and further victories came in Austria and Singapore. Remarkable inconsistencies in results though denied Carre the chance to mount a serious title challenge.​
                Carre came in for considerable criticism for his corner cutting antics in qualifying at Spain and Australia but managed to beat them away, avoiding severe punishment. The Australian Grand Prix encapsulated the difficulties Carre faced in Season 14, as the legality of his qualifying lap was questioned and the resulting pole position was converted into a meagre twelfth place. The obvious flashes of brilliance Carre displayed throughout the season failed to materialise often enough and perhaps the title challenge that should have emerged didn’t. A remarkable climb through the field from the bottom of the grid to the podium in Germany was a season highlight, though admittedly from his own blunder as he failed to anticipate rain in qualifying.​
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The Verdict: Three absences and erratic results throughout the season has left Carre fending off those behind to cling on to third, a hundred points down on Michemery, when he should have been fighting for the championship. 6/10
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SSmithy_v
                Another touted title contender with a scrappy start to the season, Smithy entered Season 14, his first full season in PRL expected to be regularly fighting for victories. Smithy had two fourth places, a sixth and two absences to show for the first third of the season. But, clean racing, and strong pace saw a positive turnaround with the Brit claiming his first and, to date, only victory of the season so far in a tightly fought race in Spain. Further podiums came in Australia and Italy with masterful one-stop strategies used to put himself in contention for victories. A difficult British Grand Prix though in an incident-strewn race was a reminder of his frustrations when up against slower drivers.​
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The Verdict: Clearly has the speed but, like Carre, was let down by a lack of consistency. The promise is there though to launch a title challenge in Season 15 after achieving a first PRL win. 7/10
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Deki106
                A late comer to the party, but in the five races Deki has competed in, he has managed to register two second places and three straight victories, equalling a PRL record in the process which has seen him shoot to fourth in the standings. His remarkable 100% top two record will inevitably come to an end soon, but if his current for is any indication, Deki is a certain title favourite for next season. His efficient combination of speed, cleanliness and an uncanny ability to look after his tyres make him the complete package. Had he raced from the outset, a title challenge would have been a certainty, and while his luck will run out sooner or later, his brief season has been one to cherish.​
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The Verdict: The combination of speed and intellect that has seen Deki romp to three consecutive victories and surge up the championship is a sure-fire sign that greatness awaits in Season 15 10/10
 
KillerBlue195
                Like Neyo, a former champion and runner up from Season 13, KillerBlue was tipped as one of the many contenders at the outset of the season and a strong run to second from pole at Baku, albeit aided by luck, seemed to support that view. A potential victory in Bahrain was lost through a woeful strategy call and a dismal outing in Malaysia saw Killer register consecutive finishes outside the points. There were brief flashes of the level of performance that had been expected of Killer with further second places in Canada and Abu Dhabi but clumsy errors at Spain, Monza, Singapore and Spa cost valuable points. Meanwhile, reliability issues resulting in an absence at Austria and a disconnection from a comfortable second at Monaco confirm this as a season to forget for KillerBlue.​
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The Verdict: Reliability issues and a string of costly errors confirm this as an underwhelming season for KillerBlue who would have expected far better 5/10
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Liamtsh96
                Something of a Mr Consistent in PRL, Liam, considered something of a dark horse for the title with his combination of silky driving and god-like tyre wear, has had a difficult season. Regular points finishes with the Mercedes driver landing outside of the top ten on only four occasions have cemented his position as a competitive driver. While there weren’t any wins this season four podiums have guided Mercedes towards a title challenge for the Constructors’ in Season 14. Despite fading in the second half of the season, Liam has offered up solid performances amidst a tightly-fought grid but nevertheless will be hoping for better next season.​
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The Verdict: As smooth as ever but without a huge result this season to mount a challenge after the top three, Liam has had a solid if unspectacular season 6/10

Rikkurich
                The most impressive of Season 14’s newcomers, Rikkurich has turned in consistent and efficient performances, threatening victory at times with particularly strong showings in Monaco, Spa and Singapore. Regularly challenging towards the sharp-end of the points, Rikkurich has the potential to fight for victories next season and despite three absences is a strong sixth in the championship. Pole position in a front-row lockout for Manor at Monza was the highlight of an excellent debut season.​
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The Verdict: Having improved as the season has progressed, the next step for Rikkurich is to be in regular contention for victories next season 8/10
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Garydonegan96
                Like his teammate, Rikkurich, Gary has had a superb debut season, notching thirty-eight points in his first five races. The form has faltered since then, registering half as many points in the seven races that have followed. Even so, as a clean racer, like his teammate, Gary must now make the next step with a first podium surely only just around the corner.​
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The Verdict: A solid debut season, supported by regular points finishes. A podium must now surely follow. 7/10
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xXCanTerAXx
                Another potential title contender who was forced to leave the league for four races, Cantera has struggled to regularly contest for victories this season. A spin at the castle at Baku cost a potential second place, while he courted controversy for a frightening collision with Neyo at Raidillon at Spa, an incident for which he was lucky to escape without punishment. In his eight starts since that third place at the opening round, Cantera managed only to secure a solitary fourth and fifth place with six DNFs to his name. A strong recovery drive from the foot of the grid at Germany however, and a return to the podium at Britain suggest Cantera’s luck may finally be turning around.​
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The Verdict: Beset by problems and retirements, Season 14 was nothing if not challenging for Cantera with more retirements and as many absences as finishes. 4/10
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F1Racer09
                Yet another rookie who proved his worth in PRL with a string of solid performances. Retirements and struggles perhaps prevented Racer from reaching his absolute potential this season but an excellent second-placed finish at Australia was confirmation of his speed. Like Gary, his target will inevitably be one of fighting regularly for podiums next season after giving himself a strong foundation on which to build.​
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The Verdict: A strong season but it could still have been better. A tally of five points finishes out of twelve starts must be improved upon next season 6/10
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Mcr92
                Perhaps not a title contender, but no one doubted Mcr’s speed heading into Season 14. A strong fourth-placed finish at the opening round after capitalising on Michemery’s seemed to suggest he would be there or there about this season. However, a stunning victory in a frantic Bahrain Grand Prix plunged him into championship contention. And yet, somewhat disappointingly that form could not be sustained, with only two points finishes following, eighth at Canada and fifth at Spa. A lowlight came as the red mist descended at Austria in a heated collision where RacingAtHome was wiped out by Mcr, an incident that led to the latter’s disqualification and receiving a five-point penalty.​
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The Verdict: The early promise of thirty-seven points in the opening two races quickly disappeared and a flashpoint at Austria encapsulated a difficult season for Mcr 4/10
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XDearagony92
                Another driver who failed to live up to his billing. A championship contender in his debut Season 13 with nine podiums and three race victories, Dearagony failed to reach the podium once in Season 14- six points finishes and three fifth-places at Austria, Monaco and Britain the best he could muster. Occasional divebombs have seen him draw criticism, as did a deliberate retirement at Germany while a lack-of-restart at Australia caused his frustrations to boil over.​
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The Verdict: Disappointing. Arguably the greatest underperformer of the season after a fourth-place finish in Season 13. Next season must be better. 2/10
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Yhyy123
[ltr]               Another debutant with an unspectacular season. Consistent points finishes saw Yhyy climb his way up the standings while a strong performance at Canada saw him earn a Driver of the Day nomination. With only one DNF, he has proven himself to be a clean and efficient driver, only twice failing to pick up a point when starting. Like those around him though, he will be hoping to make the step up to the next level next season.[/ltr]
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The Verdict: Whilst it could have been better, Yhyy has delivered some solid performances this season, but will need to make it a regular occurrence for Season 15 to support new teammate, Rikkurich. 6/10
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xM-A-C-C-Ax
              Like Yhyy, Macca has delivered a similarly solid season, building upon a respectable first season to accumulate more points in fewer races. With top ten finishes in nine out of fourteen races, he has cemented his status as a regular points finisher whilst also making a seamless transition to league organiser. A clean and friendly driver, Macca has certainly won the title as one of the friendliest drivers in the PRL paddock.​
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The Verdict: After a reasonable first season, Macca has done well to take step up to regular points finisher. A challenge for top six finishes should be next. 8/10
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Jume96
                After lobbying criticism towards the organisers after Round 1, Jume, yet another potential title challenge, opted to take a break from the league only to return, refreshed, at Australia. Despite his promise, a fourth place in his return is his strongest performance, after following up with a string of four retirements. Britain showed signs of the tide turning in Jume’s favour though, as he notched his first podium Suzuka Season 13.​
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The Verdict: Another title contender who failed to live up to their potential, despite his sabbatical. Jume must fine consistency next season to return to the top 3/10
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Light-e44
                After being hit with an early three-point penalty in Baku for causing a collision, the tone for Light’s season was set. The strong performances of Season 13 could not be built upon and instead a seventh-place finish in Spain is the best Light could manage, who has sadly failed to make progress up the grid this season. Early strong qualifying performances, including a front-row start at Canada, faded in the second half of the season.​
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The Verdict: Despite some early promise, particularly in qualifying, Light has struggled as the season has gone on, chalking up half as many points in the second half of the season, as the first. 5/10
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RacingAtHome
                Another driver who has drawn controversy, most notably at Austria for his collision with Mcr and at Silverstone, RacingAtHome capitalised on the early season struggles of other drivers to finish sixth and eighth at Bahrain and Malaysia respectively, and almost triple his points tally from Season 13 in fewer races. A difficult season for the former champion, but his early points look to have secured tenth place for Sauber in the Constructors’ over Haas.​
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The Verdict: While he has struggled for points, in taking full of advantage of other’s misfortune in Bahrain and Malaysia, he has made solid progress over Season 13. Regular points are next. 6/10
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DaveJaVu
                After a superb Season 13, with two fifth-place finishes and a ninth-place in the Drivers’ championship, Dave showed promise as a dark horse for podiums after battling through a race of attrition at Spa in pre-season to take third. However, that promise failed to manifest in Season 14. Seventh at the season-opener was the best he could manage with a solitary point the following week his only other point of the season. His famed one-stop strategies for Season 13 could not translate themselves into points finishes this time and it has been underwhelming to say the last​
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The Verdict: One of the most dramatic capitulations from Season 13, Dave has failed to match his impressive first season and must surely improve next time round 2/10
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xMIKExSI
                A returning driver from Season 12, Mike has not matched the regular points finishes from his last run in PRL and, like his teammate, has had a challenging season. Two early ninth-places mark his only points this season and since then he has not come close to the points, his best effort being an eleventh-place in Spain, a quarter of a second shy of the car ahead. It has been a season to forget for the Haas team.​
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The Verdict: The return to PRL has not gone as planned. A return to regular points finishes is a must to cement his place in the league as a full-time driver. 2/10
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Fab10Fitnessless and Ibbo1981
             So, the rivalry voted PRL’s biggest continues and this time it was just edged out by Fab who picked up a solitary point in the season-opening Azerbaijan Grand Prix. Both of these PRL stalwarts have been fierce competitors this season and no doubt it will continue into Season 15 and beyond.​
 
Switchblade2475
                After dropping out of Round 1 after qualifying, Switchblade was another to take a sabbatical from the league after having sat on the fence about his participation in Season 14 during its build-up. While he has shown flashes of speed, he was another not to live up to his performances last season with only retirements to show for his efforts this time round.​
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The Verdict: Despite the limited race time, it has been a dismal season for Switchblade, one to forget, with a failure to notch even a single point. It has to get better 1/10
 
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