F1 writers rank the 2010s and predict the 2020s

Hamilton, Rossi complete F1/ Moto GP ride swap (1:42)

World champions Lewis Hamilton and Valentino Rossi tried out each other's sports on a track in Valencia. (1:42)

We assembled an international team of Formula One journalists to give their opinions on the biggest questions about the 2010s and to predict which drivers might help shape the next decade of racing.

Who was better at his peak -- dominant Sebastian Vettel (2010-13) or dominant Lewis Hamilton (2014-19)?

Laurence Edmondson, ESPN: It's easy to forget how good Sebastian Vettel was at the start of the decade, but if I was picking a driver line-up I'd still want Lewis Hamilton at his peak before any other driver this decade. Hamilton has faced tougher teammates than Vettel (who only had to deal with Mark Webber during that period) and he has made less errors than Vettel did in 2010 and 2012.

Christian Menath, Motorsport-Magazin: Hamilton. Vettel was fantastic when he had the package he needed, he was absolutely invincible. But when the car wasn't fantastic in 2010 and 2012, he made too many mistakes. Hamilton's strength is that he has no weakness anymore.

Lawrence Barretto, F1.com: Vettel. What Hamilton has achieved in the last six years has been extraordinary, but he's done so with a car that has for much of that period been miles clear of the rest. Vettel's Red Bull wasn't as dominant and I'd argue he faced stiffer competition, on average, so the German gets my vote here.

Julianne Cerasoli, UOL Esporte: Hamilton was much more consistent than Vettel and also had a mix of great commanding drives from pole -- as Seb did many times -- and some amazing comebacks. Lewis is a more complete driver than Seb, who needs to feel more confidence in the car to perform at his best.

Chris Medland, RACER: Dominant Hamilton for me. While Vettel was part of an extremely formidable partnership with Red Bull, everything clicked around him including the way the car worked. At times in 2011 and 2013 it was almost perfection as a combination. But Hamilton has had to deal with more variables, changes in regulations and in recent years a not always dominant car.

Julien Billotte, AUTOhebdo: Although Vettel holds the record for most wins in a season, there's little doubt in my mind that Hamilton is better. In my opinion, he did not have the most dominant car over the past three years and still comfortably claimed the title. Hamilton's racecraft is quite superior, as Vettel seemed only able to win when starting at the front. And I just can't see peak Hamilton struggling against Mark Webber like Vettel did at times in 2010 and 2012.

Nate Saunders, ESPN: Vettel in 2013 was as good as any driver performed in the decade, winning a string of races in what was still a very competitive field. Hamilton has been sublime in recent years and comfortably been better over the two respective spells in full, but even he hasn't reached that peak in this era.

Which race sticks out to you as the most memorable of the decade?

Laurence Edmondson, ESPN: Brazil 2012. I will never forget the tension and energy in the paddock that weekend. Back then, hospitality units were small prefabricated huts and Red Bull would host its press conferences in the catering area. Vettel sat there answering questions about a potential third title with the sound of pans clattering in the kitchen behind him. The chaos of the paddock was reflected by the action on track and Vettel's first lap collision with Bruno Senna set up a thrilling showdown. Add to that the iconic image of Fernando Alonso's thousand-yard stare when he realised he'd lost the title and Michael Schumacher's emotional farewell and it stands out above the rest.

Christian Menath, Motorsport-Magazin: Bahrain 2014 and Silverstone 2019 come to my mind. Both races saw epic on track battles. And being German, of course Hockenheim 2018 and Hockenheim 2019. Sebastian Vettel going from hero to zero in one, and from zero to hero in the other -- that's how our sport should be.

Lawrence Barretto, F1.com: The 2010 title-deciding Abu Dhabi GP. As Fernando Alonso and Mark Webber -- the two leading contenders for the title -- focused on each other, Sebastian Vettel came out of the bushes to win the race and take the crown, having never led the title race at any other point that year. Scenes.

Julianne Cerasoli, UOL Esporte: While it's very tempting to choose rain-affected races, I'll go with the 2012 European GP, in Valencia. Even with no rain, the race had everything: it was arguably Alonso's best drive ever, there was some stewards' drama, crashes, the leading car breaking down... a series of unexpected events on a track where nobody would have expected it.

Chris Medland, RACER: Brazil 2012. There have been better races overall, but the tension around the drivers' championship was incredible. Alonso produced one of the most complete seasons I think a driver ever has, and it was so close to falling his way despite not having the best car, but Vettel drove brilliantly and the emotion at the end from both was what sport is all about.

Julien Billotte, AUTOhebdo: Abu Dhabi 2016 probably was the most tension-filled in my book. I really enjoyed the script whereby a faster Lewis Hamilton slowed down Nico Rosberg, who still managed to claim the title against a superior team-mate in equal machinery. Honorable mention goes for Brazil 2019 and the redemption podium for Pierre Gasly.

Nate Saunders, ESPN: This year's German Grand Prix had all the ingredients of a perfect grand prix in terms of drama -- a huge rainstorm, drivers crashing out of the lead, the championship leader not having things go his way at all, little Toro Rosso claiming a podium... you name it. There was a spell towards the end of that race which was absolute bedlam.

Which Ferrari season was the most frustrating to watch?

Laurence Edmondson, ESPN: I would say the 2018 season. Sure, Ferrari's had worse seasons, but in 2018 the team had a winning car and lost the championship due to a mixture of driver mistakes and operational errors. It was all the more frustrating as it would have been the perfect antidote for those complaining about Mercedes' recent dominance in F1.

Christian Menath, Motorsport-Magazin: 2014 was desolate and embarrassing. But 2019 was more frustrating. Everyone expected Ferrari to fight for the title and then they were nowhere. Every time they had a chance there was a mistake from a driver, the team or something broke. The fight between Vettel and Charles Leclerc spiced it up even more.

Lawrence Barretto, F1.com: 2016. Having been comprehensively beaten by Mercedes in the hybrid engine stakes, they improved enough in 2015 to suggest they would be a genuine challenger to the Silver Arrows the following year. But they weren't. They were worse, failing to win a race and ending up behind Red Bull in the standings. A major letdown.

Julianne Cerasoli, UOL Esporte: I have to go with 2014: it was an engine-based rule change and first they are Ferrari, so they are historically entitled to have F1's best engine. And mainly they make their engine under the same roof as the car. Yet they underestimated the change and were painfully slower than Mercedes that year.

Chris Medland, RACER: I'm actually going to say this year. The car was so good in pre-season testing, and has been at times during this year that it just feels really frustrating that once again it hasn't resulted in a serious challenge to Mercedes. 2014 was really poor, and certain mistakes from Vettel were frustrating over the past few years, but this year was just so inconsistent as a team.

Julien Billotte, AUTOhebdo: The fact that you have the luxury to pick one campaign just shows how maddening the whole decade has been for the Scuderia. Vettel's shortcomings since 2017 have been quite unfathomable but I have to go for Fernando Alonso's 2012 heroics with a dog of a car that ended up with a 3-point title loss in typically painful fashion.

Nate Saunders, ESPN: Almost impossible to pick just one, as there has been so many. While this year was frustrating, 2018 was even worse as Ferrari genuinely should have won the championship but you could see it slowly slipping away from the German Grand Prix onwards.

Which driver most exceeded your expectations?

Laurence Edmondson, ESPN: Nico Rosberg. That might sound odd, but I honestly didn't expect him to beat Lewis Hamilton while they were in the same team. There were elements of luck in his 2016 title year, but you can't say he didn't work incredibly hard and exceed expectations to earn it.

Christian Menath, Motorsport-Magazin: Sergio Perez. After a difficult year with McLaren he recovered more than well and proofed to be much more than a pay driver. I still think he deserves a proper chance at a real top team.

Lawrence Barretto, F1.com: Felipe Massa. The Brazilian looked like a broken man in those final few years at Ferrari, but he was reborn at Williams and delivered a series of results neither he nor the team will have thought possible in 2014 and 2015. That was some reinvention.

Julianne Cerasoli, UOL Esporte: If somebody told me at the end of 2012 that Sergio Perez would become the midfield driver with most podiums in the decade, I wouldn't believe it. He has grown a lot since throwing away the McLaren opportunity and has consistently being there to take the chances whenever they appear.

Chris Medland, RACER: Sergio Perez. Failed to win in his first GP2 season, was runner-up to Pastor Maldonado in his second and when he moved up to Sauber he had at least part of a pay driver label to shake off. Did it very impressively, and then bounced back from the disappointment of his year at McLaren to raise his stock again with regular impressive performances for Force India/Racing Point.

Julien Billotte, AUTOhebdo: Nico Rosberg, who looked like a decent driver coming out of Williams but not a superstar. He first outshone Michael Schumacher quite comprehensively before giving Lewis Hamilton a much harder time than I thought he would. His 2016 title cost him all his mojo and prompted the end of his career, but that was totally worth it.

Nate Saunders, ESPN: Daniel Ricciardo. I don't think many expected him to be as good as he was after being promoted to Red Bull in 2014, but he almost instantly became one of the best performers on the grid and remained so in the years since.

Which driver fell most short of your expectations?

Laurence Edmondson, ESPN: Fernando Alonso. After his performance in the 2000s and his move to Ferrari, few would have bet against him taking a third title before 2020 but somehow it failed to materialise. On pure talent he deserved more, but his tendency to turn relationships toxic left him without the championship victories he deserved.

Christian Menath, Motorsport-Magazin: Romain Grosjean. Showed exceptional pace from time to time but with time the periods between 'time to time' have grown bigger and bigger since. He's gone from a promising driver to a running gag.

Lawrence Barretto: Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard entered the decade as a two-time world champion, and leaves it as a two-time world champion. He should have won more, given his talent. Yes, he came close -- and did so often with machinery which had no right to be in the hunt. But the record books won't recognise 'close'.

Julianne Cerasoli, UOL Esporte: He has taken everything out of the car consistently, but the fact is Fernando Alonso had a team working for him twice in the decade and failed to lead those two projects to winning championships. He was close twice, but instead of making Ferrari, and later McLaren, move forwards, both teams improved once they got rid of him.

Chris Medland, RACER: Sebastian Vettel. It's not nice to say, because his four world titles were fully deserved but they also increased the exceptions of him. I'd hoped if Leclerc was strong then it would help Vettel raise his game given his experience, but he underperformed and made far too many basic errors in the second half of the decade.

Julien Billotte, AUTOhebdo: I've got to go with the other Nico -- Hülkenberg looked like a grand prix winner, if not more, after his 2010 rookie season at Williams, capped with a brilliant pole in Brazil, but ended up stuck in the midfield forever. He should have scored more than one podium, like Force India team-mate Sergio Pérez did, but always faltered when it mattered most.

Nate Saunders, ESPN: Like a lot of racing fans from my generation, my childhood hero was Michael Schumacher, so watching him struggle in the midfield during his comeback with Mercedes between 2010 and 2012 was difficult to stomach.

Which driver never got the break they deserved?

Laurence Edmondson, ESPN: The driver who I most missed after he left F1 was Kamui Kobayashi. He may not have been a world champion in waiting, but he deserved a longer run in F1 than he got and it would have been fun to see him in more competitive machinery.

Christian Menath, Motorsport-Magazin: Fernando Alonso and Pascal Wehrlein. Probably for the same reason -- exceptional racing drivers, but difficult to handle. Alonso should have won at least one title with Ferrari. There was nothing he could have done more in 2010 and 2012. But his political games prevented him for being in the shot for a top team after his Ferrari period.

Lawrence Barretto, F1.com: Sergio Perez. Had Hamilton not signed for Mercedes, there's a very good chance Checo would have been in that seat. Instead he went to McLaren in 2013, which was a disaster. He's rescued his reputation at Force India/Racing Point, but we were robbed of seeing what he could do in a top team. Sadly, he likely never will get that opportunity.

Julianne Cerasoli, UOL Esporte: It was for the worst reason possible and not for any of the usual F1 unfairness, but it's impossible not to imagine what could have been if Jules Bianchi had not lost control of his Marussia at the Dunlop corner at the 2014 Japanese Grand Prix. His path to Ferrari was quite obvious and his passing left a clear void in the sport.

Chris Medland, RACER: Fernando Alonso. Joining Ferrari in 2010 you'd have been sure he was going to add to his tally of two world championships, and even though he made the wrong move to McLaren it was a gamble worth taking given five seasons of frustration and the lack of an available Mercedes seat. He might not have helped himself at times, but he deserved more from F1.

Julien Billotte, AUTOhebdo: This is quite close between Hülkenberg and Pérez in my opinion, although the Mexican did get the call from McLaren, albeit at the start of their slump. I would have liked to see Nico go to Ferrari as I'm sure the confidence boost would have helped him get over the hump.

Nate Saunders, ESPN: Stoffel Vandoorne got a raw deal in F1. Not only did he have to partner the demanding Fernando Alonso for his entire F1 career, he also had the misfortune of spending all of it with McLaren during its worst ever spell in the championship. At the very least he deserved a car to show what he was really made of.

Did F1 make a mistake switching to turbo-hybrid engines in 2014?

Laurence Edmondson, ESPN: Mercedes' dominance ever since would suggest it ripped the competitive element from the sport -- and there's no doubt the turbo-hybrids contributed to widening the gap between the top teams and the midfield. But had F1 not switched to greener technology, it would now be hard to justify the sport's existence (and certainly the participation of major manufacturers) in a world that is increasingly aware of the effects of climate change. So it wasn't a mistake to switch to turbo-hybrids, but the way in which the rules were implemented could have been better.

Christian Menath, Motorsport-Magazin: Yes. Costs, weight, complexity and the missing noise vs. a fantastic piece of engineering. The problem is we can't go back. F1 is now more dependent on manufactures than ever before. And manufacturers can't go back for political reasons.

Lawrence Barretto, F1.com: No. It was the right thing to do. The current power unit are an incredible feat of engineering and have road relevance. Yes, they aren't as noisy but contrary to most people's view, I don't think that's a bad thing.

Julianne Cerasoli, UOL Esporte: It's likely we wouldn't have Mercedes or Honda on board if it wasn't for that change. Although I do think the UP is overcomplicated and overpriced, I guess the biggest mistake was (and still is) not to advertise it properly. These are the most thermo-efficient engines in the world and just a handful of people know it.

Chris Medland, RACER: No. Looking at where the world is going now and where the focus of engine manufacturers is, it was a necessary step. It could have been better don't believe the ability for Mercedes to become so dominant was a good thing for F1 -- the token system was perhaps a mistake locking in an advantage -- but the move itself wasn't one.

Julien Billotte, AUTOhebdo: I think so. Not so much because of the lack of noise, though I understand why fans can feel short-changed. It's more that it has cemented a two-tier system in F1 whereby factory teams cannot be beaten by their customers (unless you're Renault, but that's another story).

Nate Saunders, ESPN: No, but they've botched the messaging around the engines and allowed costs to spiral out of control, all while allowing engines to be a key political battleground between the major manufacturers.

Best new addition to the calendar?

Laurence Edmondson, ESPN: Strictly speaking it's not a new venue, but the reintroduction of the Austrian Grand Prix has been a breath of fresh air (pun intended) for F1. It's simultaneously a classic European circuit and a vision of how a slick modern F1 facility should be. Add to that a unique location in the Austrian mountains and you have a venue unlike any other in F1.

Christian Menath, Motorsport-Magazin: Austin and Mexico. The Circuit of the Americas is a fantastic track, Mexico a fantastic venue. Together they're the perfect double header.

Lawrence Barretto, F1.com: I wasn't sure what to expect when Azerbaijan joined the calendar, but it's spectacular street circuit has proved it's capable of providing some sensational racing. The food is excellent, the people welcoming and the views of the circuit impressive for the fans. Well done, Baku!

Julianne Cerasoli, UOL Esporte: It's not by chance Mexico keeps winning the promoters' award as the best race of the year: it's a well thought and organised event. You do feel you are immersed in their culture at the same time F1 seems to have been embraced by the Mexicans. It's just a pity that the altitude means the races are not so exciting.

Chris Medland, RACER: Austin. I might seem biased writing for Racer but I've personally loved it since it joined the calendar. F1 needed a strong home in the U.S. and got it with Circuit of the Americas, which is a really good track and located right by an awesome city that makes for a great event.

Julien Billotte, AUTOhebdo: It's not really new but Mexico's return to the F1 calendar has been a great addition. The track is not very spectacular, but the incredible atmosphere around the event easily makes up for it. The best new layout in my opinion is the neighboring Circuit of the Americas in Texas.

Nate Saunders, ESPN: COTA. Great venue, great town, great racing. What more could you ask for?

Worst new addition to the calendar?

Laurence Edmondson, ESPN: It's bad for racing, it's bad for F1's image and above all it's utterly soulless. Racing around Sochi's decaying Olympic Park might bring a wedge of money into F1's coffers each year, but it's still a race the sport could do without.

Christian Menath, Motorsport-Magazin: France's Paul Ricard. Terrible racetrack and terrible infrastructure. It's good to see that new races are still possible in democratic countries and in Europe, but the whole event is just terrible.

Lawrence Barretto, F1.com: Korea. I remember seeing the plans, which put the track at the heart of a new super city, and being quite excited about the prospect. But the city never became reality and I can't say I know anyone who was sad when the race dropped off the calendar.

Julianne Cerasoli, UOL Esporte: Despite the organisers' efforts -- that should be highlighted -- there are two things that cannot be changed in Paul Ricard: the track is in the wrong place, with not enough access roads, and the layout mixed with the lack of punishment to reinforce track limits are the perfect recipe for a boring race.

Chris Medland, RACER: India. I only went once and wish it had worked out because it's an incredible country that could host an F1 race, but it was never set up to succeed. It had far more potential, but the track was in the wrong place, the organisers had no long-term plan and the government didn't back it.

Julien Billotte, AUTOhebdo: I never went to India, nor Korea, so I can't tell about these two. If I have to pick, I'd say Sochi. It's an odd place, not very easy to access, though it has its charms off track.

Nate Saunders, ESPN: I tell people the best part of covering a race in Sochi is the journey home. They always think I'm joking, but I'm not.

Who is the next world champion that isn't Lewis Hamilton, and when?

Laurence Edmondson, ESPN: Charles Leclerc in 2020. It may be wishful thinking, but I think we could have a genuine title battle on our hands next year and based on this year's performance, I would say Leclerc is best placed to take the fight to Hamilton.

Christian Menath, Motorsport-Magazin: Charles Leclerc. It's a close fight between Max Verstappen and Leclerc, but Leclerc is probably in the right team earlier. I'm optimistic and say it will happen in 2020.

Lawrence Barretto, F1.com: Charles Leclerc. This guy is the real deal. A debut campaign with Ferrari that yields two wins, seven poles -- more than anyone else -- and the defeat of his more decorated team mate - both in terms of points and the mental fight -- is extraordinary. Hamilton will win next year, but 2021 will be Leclerc's.

Julianne Cerasoli, UOL Esporte: It's a tough one because we don't know how the 2021 rules will impact the pecking order -- I don't think we have reasons to think someone will beat Lewis next year. He and the team are just too consistent. I assume it's between Max and Charles, so I'll go with Charles.

Chris Medland, RACER: Max Verstappen in 2021. I don't see Mercedes being stopped next year, but I do see Red Bull having the potential to get the new aero regs right, and that's where I think Verstappen will be if Hamilton stays put. If Hamilton moves to Ferrari, I think Verstappen could end up at Mercedes, so he'll have a good shot either way.

Julien Billotte, AUTOhebdo: I'll go bold and say Max Verstappen in 2020 with Red Bull. They just need to be fast right off the gate and put the pressure on Hamilton and Mercedes right away

Nate Saunders, ESPN: I'm going to buck the trend and say Daniel Ricciardo lands at the right place in 2021 and wins the championship. In equal machinery I'd have him beating Verstappen and Leclerc right now while they're both still maturing.

Who wins more titles in the 2020s, Charles Leclerc or Max Verstappen?

Laurence Edmondson, ESPN: Max Verstappen. Although I can see Leclerc getting a title before Verstappen (see above), I think the Dutchman's relentless determination will see him grind out more titles before the end of the next decade.

Christian Menath, Motorsport-Magazin: I'd put my money on Verstappen. I think he and his management are ruthless when it comes to leave Red Bull if they don't think it's the right team for him anymore. Eventually he will drive for the right team. Leclerc could be lost at Ferrari.

Lawrence Barretto, F1.com: I reckon Max Verstappen will end up at Mercedes sometime early in the coming decade and if that happens, I suspect the Silver Arrows will be able to deliver him title-contending car more consistently than Ferrari would for Charles Leclerc. So for that reason, I think Verstappen will edge it.

Julianne Cerasoli, UOL Esporte: The obvious answer would be "whoever has got the best car in the 2020s", but assuming they've got similar cars, my vote will go for Leclerc. Although Max made fewer mistakes than Charles in 2019, the Monegasque's learning curve seems to be much steeper and, if that trend continues, he will be more successful.

Chris Medland, RACER: Verstappen. I've been massively impressed by Leclerc this year, but Verstappen's experience will help him a little bit more and I've not quite got the faith in Ferrari to provide enough championship opportunities to Leclerc.

Julien Billotte, AUTOhebdo: I will double down on my previous prediction and pick Max Verstappen again. Charles Leclerc is a great talent but I'm not sure Ferrari, to whom he is tied on a long-term contract, has what it takes to win titles on a regular basis.

Nate Saunders, ESPN: I think Verstappen, assuming he makes the right career moves. Leclerc's ceiling is quite limited while he is at Ferrari as they seem to have forgotten what winning titles is all about.

Will the 2021 rule changes make racing better?

Laurence Edmondson, ESPN: Yes, but they won't solve all of F1's problems. The science behind the rule changes seems solid and that should facilitate closer racing, but I think there will still be a distinct gap between the top three teams and the midfield.

Christian Menath, Motorsport-Magazin: It depends on the definition of good racing. I'm not a huge fan of inflationary overtakes. If overtaking is too easy, it will harm racing, because the faster car gets past very quickly and will disappear. Overtaking must get easier, but not too easy. I think this target will be achieved.

Lawrence Barretto, F1.com: I'm an optimist, so I'll say yes. A lot of work has gone into ensuring the cars can follow each other more closely, and the data suggests that will be possible, thus increasing the opportunities for overtaking.

Julianne Cerasoli, UOL Esporte: Formula One has never had the amount of simulation work that was used to make these rules, so I can only assume racing will be better. The only risk -- as always with rule changes -- is that someone can find a loophole and take us back to 2009 all over again.

Chris Medland, RACER: Eventually, yes, but maybe not immediately. I think they will make the cars able to race better, but I think they will also lead to a bigger field spread initially and not such a close field. That will close down over time, and when cars are similarly matched the racing will be better, tyres permitting.

Julien Billotte, AUTOhebdo: We can only hope so. I'm not an engineer, nor a technical expert but it would be disappointing, albeit typical F1, to have a great 2020 season only for 2021 to be a letdown with big teams pulling further away thanks to their deeper pockets.

Nate Saunders, ESPN: The big teams have far too much resources now to make it a fair fight, and they're already finding ways around the budget cap. From a purely racing perspective, a mark of success would be if F1 can eventually get rid of the awful drag reduction system without dramatically cutting the average overtakes per year.