Nov.19 (GMM/ A journalist for a leading British newspaper has dealt a heavy critique of some of F1’s so-called ‘pay drivers’.

As he ranked the performance of the field of 2014, Telegraph correspondent Daniel Johnson said Lotus’ Pastor Maldonado deserved to be dead last.

“How many Friday practice sessions passed without Maldonado crashing?” he wondered. “Around $43 million of sponsorship money ensures he’ll be there next year.”

Next in the firing line was Swedish rookie Marcus Ericsson, who according to Johnson “was so poor that an F1 novice (Andre Lotterer) came in for one race in Belgium and was around a second a lap quicker. Explain that,” he said.

The correspondent said Ericsson is now switching from Caterham to Sauber “due to money, with his credentials slim at best”.

The driver Ericsson is replacing at Sauber is Esteban Gutierrez, who according to Johnson was “utterly anonymous all season”.

Another well-backed driver struggling to find an alternate seat for 2015 is Marussia’s Max Chilton, who while “solid and likeable” is “not quick enough for formula one” according to Johnson.

Also critiqued in his 2014 ranking was the outgoing world champion Sebastian Vettel, who was listed as just the 13th best driver of the year.

“Has this been the worst title defence ever?” he asked. “Unreliability has not helped, but he’s failed to quickly adapt to the new cars.”