Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen… Who’s the best F1 driver in the wet? (Poll)

Debates and pollsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Who is the best F1 driver in the wet? Vote below...
Who is the best F1 driver in the wet? Vote below...

When rain falls during a Grand Prix drivers find themselves robbed of their reference points. Their sensitivity to their car’s behaviour becomes even more important.

Patterns of braking, steering and accelerating have to be completely re-written – often from one lap to the next. To do that successfully they must rely on feel and raw skill. Whether their car is the fastest in the straight line or the most aerodynamically efficient is no longer as important as it once was.

Rain – the great leveller. So, which of today’s F1 drivers is the best on a wet track? Cast your vote below.

Here’s a look at the podiums in each of the rain-affected races that’s run during the brief lifetime of F1 Fanatic – and links to reports for each of those races:

2005 Belgium – Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button
2006 Hungary – Jenson Button, Pedro de la Rosa, Nick Heidfeld
2006 China – Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Nick Heidfeld
2007 Europe – Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Mark Webber
2007 Japan – Lewis Hamilton, Heikki Kovalainen, Kimi Raikkonen
2007 China – Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa
2008 Monaco – Lewis Hamilton, Robert Kubica, Felipe Massa
2008 Britain – Lewis Hamilton, Nick Heidfeld, Rubens Barrichello
2008 Belgium* – Felipe Massa, Nick Heidfeld, Lewis Hamilton
2008 Italy – Sebastian Vettel, Heikki Kovalainen, Robert Kubica

*Pending appeal

Who is the best wet weather driver in F1 today?

  • Lewis Hamilton (39%)
  • Felipe Massa (3%)
  • Robert Kubica (25%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (6%)
  • Nick Heidfeld (1%)
  • Heikki Kovalainen (0%)
  • Fernando Alonso (17%)
  • Jarno Trulli (0%)
  • Sebastian Vettel (5%)
  • Mark Webber (1%)
  • Timo Glock (0%)
  • Nelson Piquet Jnr (0%)
  • Rubens Barrichello (1%)
  • Nico Rosberg (0%)
  • Kazuki Nakajima (0%)
  • David Coulthard (0%)
  • Sebastien Bourdais (0%)
  • Jenson Button (1%)
  • Giancarlo Fisichella (0%)
  • Adrian Sutil (0%)

Total Voters: 1,076

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See more results of F1 Fanatic polls: F1 Fanatic polls archive

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87 comments on “Alonso, Hamilton, Raikkonen… Who’s the best F1 driver in the wet? (Poll)”

  1. I’ve been hearing all year about the problem Ferrari has heating up it’s tyres . Makes me wonder why they cannot solve the problem ? Sure I realise when a chassis is built to certain specifications , and developed during a year , it is not a simple matter to start changing things around to overcome a specific problem , but then Ferrari is not a “simple” team with limited resources and limited knowledge , they obviously have massive budget , technical resources , all kinds of track data available , not to mention probably the most experienced team regarding Bridgestone grooved and wet weather tyres. Basically all the ingredients to overcome the problem should be there , yet they have suffered greatly from it this year , and seem unable to solve it. In fact , that same problem was around from 2006 when MS lost it to Alonso. The other thing I cannot understand is they often seem to gamble against the odds with the weather , and this year , all it’s done so far is cost them. Until such problems can be resolved , and they have an equally competitive car to McLaren in the wet , Hamilton for sure looks to be the better wet weather driver currently , but I don’t believe a conclusion can be drawn for that reason.

  2. Jean, the bridgestone tyres used this year are similar to the 2003 spec tyres they had, which for the first half of the year, Ferrari did have problems with.

    It also explains why Massa is so quick on them, I’m pretty sure thats the year he tested for them, doing about 30,000 miles on them.

  3. Kimi currently has the most votes??? From the stats Lewis seem to be the better driver in the wet.

  4. It’s difficult to give an opiniona as between the surface and a driver is a car. One is better (ex. current Ferrari), another is worse (ex. current Force India). One is as good as other on dry and the same one seems to be better on wet (ex. current McLaren to Ferrari). One team, IMO, is devoloping the car for certain driving style (McLaren for Lewis) another not. Some drivers are very lucky (ex. Lewis – Monaco ’08) another not (Webber – Fuji ’07). However, I admit – Lewis has recently been very impressive on wet, but that’s Formula 1 – we don’t know what’s behind a driver.

  5. Terry Fabulous
    18th September 2008, 8:08

    Mark Webber sure can punch above his weight when the rain falls!
    I have voted for Lewis though, he is terrific in the wet.
    Who voted for Felipe? I love him and even I think he struggles when it gets Slippery.

    sorry to go off topic, but the above link is for the Fernch grand prix, in sarcelles?

    bad idea, its the moss side of France, expect the BMW’s to get keyed and have some wheels missing.

  7. Hamilton is good, but Alonso is head and shoulders above the everybody out there.

    Check out his first lap in Hungary 2006 and his last lap in Spa 2008. If you get a chance to see these (youtube) you’ll be super impressed. Think of Senna in Donnington – but in Hungary Alonso passed more cars.

    Alonso’s ability is not so obvious this year due to the car, but he’s still fast and stable.

    By the way, the stats above are meaningless.

    1. Belgium 2008 is not appropriate. he was on wet tyres wile others were on dry. sure he would be much faster. on equal tyres nobody can be that much faster than the rest, its impossible. hamilton is good this year but his car is better than the ferrari in wet as well. Not sure about the decision

  8. I think Hamilton and Alonso are better than Raikkonen went the track is full of water but Kimi is better went it’s going to dry (China 07, Monaco 08, GB 08, Italy 08) because Kimi is clever than these two with his tyres who, he can’t manage to heat them under the rain and cold conditions but he don’t cooked them when the track is drying or very hot. This fact is the key point of the season for Kimi.

    Lewis and Fernando where very close with the same car last year in those conditions, Vettel looks very good, Sutil is better than his car, it’s very hard to say…

  9. @R2Driver

    In Spa 2008 Alonso could pass more cars, coz most of them were still on dry tyres. Alonso is good but Lewis is better.

  10. Lewis and Fred are very close, IMHO. But I agree with R2Driver. If Lewis can manage a first lap like Alonso did at Hunaroring 2006, then he will be the best on my ranking. At the moment that first lap is the most terrific performance I’ve ever seen under wet conditions, tied with Senna at Donnington.

  11. Hamilton is by far the best driver in the rain .Alonso , for me , is a better driver including all but not as good as Hamilton in wet conditions.This can be justified by the last year showing of Lewis’ and Nando’s performance in Fuji Shepang and Nurburgring(Lewis started the race with lots of truble and was very unlucky in order to be beaten by Alonso)


  12. Sush – Perhaps post that in the forum?

    R2Driver – Agreed on Alonso’s lap at Hungary: Three great first laps. And here’s his Spa lap.

    I don’t think the stats are meaningless though, and the articles they link to should give some useful extra information on who did best in recent wet races.

    Eddie – Live? Not likely. And please don’t shout!

  13. Terry , Massa blows a bit hot and cold , that’s why at times he appears to struggle (Silverstone 08) but can also give a great drive (Monaco 08) in the wet condition

  14. I think this has turned once again into the usual Lewis Hamilton vs Fernando Alonso dogfight.

    Anyway, Lewis is head and shoulders above everyone else in the wet. No-brainer really.

  15. I’m definately with Architrion on this one. Alonso at Hungary in 06 was really something else and I haven’t seen Hamilton achieve something like Alonso did in his first few laps of that race.

  16. Sorry Keith :(
    i’ll do that next, its just I had to get to work and I panicked!!!

    and now my boss is in front of me, go away boss, i’m slating France, much more important to chat F1 than make you money

  17. I think everyone will have to reserve judgement on Lewis this year. It’s obvious that his car is far easier to drive in the wet than the others. He breezed passed drivers easily at Monza, which is not real racing to me. He criticised Kimmi for braking early at Spa, but Webber, Massa and the rest of them braked early at Monza. It’s not driving style, it’s the confidence you have in the car. All these drivers are fearless. Lewis was okay last year. I would rate Alonso the best because he’s proved the most in different cars and situations. I watched replays of Alonso’s passing on Youtube. Excellent! Best I’ve seen in the last 5 years.

  18. Mick – I do think there’s a difference between the performance of the Ferrari and McLaren in wet conditions – I think the McLaren copes well on extreme wet tyres in heavy wet conditions, and the Ferrari does better on standard wets in drying conditions. The lap times from Monza illustrate that perfectly.

    But it’s not the whole story. If the McLaren is enormously faster in the wet, why didn’t Kovalainen win at Monza? And why did he finish so far behind Hamilton at Silverstone?

  19. I really don’t rate Heiki, so I may be the wrong person to ask. I’m not saying it’s all McLaren and no Hamilton – but in my opinion, he is allowed to drive better with his current equipment. I think he will prove detractors wrong in the future, but I haven’t seen enough minus good equipment to make a real judgement on Hammy.

  20. Not really fair to include the Mclaren drivers in this poll, is it?

  21. So i’m in the minority that voted Heidfield and Sutil?


    as Keith pointed out Kimi is stunning on drying conditions, probably from the sudden aggressive front end response you would get in those conditions, which Kimi loves.

    Hamilton is amazing in the COMPLETE wet, but in drying conditions his driving style rips his tyres to shreds, for proof;
    see Spa – at the start of the race, the track started to dry up, Kimi pounced
    see monza quali – went through one set of tyres in Q1
    see monza race – almost being beaten by a red bull
    China last year – went playing in the sand in drying conditions while Kimi romped home in same conditions

  22. I’ve also heard that Heikki has had problems adapting to driving with those extra paddles. Just an afterthought.

  23. That’s a good question Keith. Kovalainen wasn’t so bad in qualifing, 1.2 second ahead of Massa’s car in Q3 with the same load of fuel. In the opening stage of the race Heikki wasn’t so bad too, his pace was about 1.35 until Lap 10 and then he brutally looses 1 sec until the end of his first stint when all other drivers was able to improve. That’s why I said, Heikki’s curve looks very strange in Monza.

    Heikki’s pace wasn’t so bad at Silverstone in the first stint but he did lots of mistakes when Hamilton did a perfect job.

  24. We should only compare the drivers based on their current form. Lewis wasn’t driving in 06 but all were driving in 07 and also this current year. The amount of water on the track and the track characteristics, will always provide different results.
    And no car is ever designed to run in the wet. Its all about driver confidence and nothing more. Alonso finds it easier to keep his Renault on the track, than does. Piquet. Like wise, Lewis, puts in faster lap times in the rain, compared to Heikki.

    The Ferrari drivers have both not been very consistent when its wet. although apart from Silverston, Massa has shown a better consistency when its wet. Like his drive in Monaco and even in Monza, Massa drove a cleaner race when it was wet.

  25. What about Robert Kubica?
    In his debut he was 7th in Hungary 2006! Than came not so good races:
    *in Chine someone collided with him on the start what ruined his race,
    *in Europe 2007 Nick destroyed Kubica’s race,
    *in Japan 2007 he drive prefect! When he touched with Hamilton(what I think it was Hamilton mistake..) he get penalty (btw that was very funny:/) and ruined his race too…
    *in China 2007 when Kubica was on the lead of the race(!) came hydraulic problem.
    After this races came Monaco 2008 which I think he could win, if hamilton didn’t change his strategy after his problem with the tire, but at the end beautiful race by Robert. Britain 2008 was a bad one, but in Monza he finished 3rd from 11th positoin.
    I think he is very good in wet!

  26. Mick I think you are making that paddle stuff up. Those paddles work as a single lever and its very easy to use. Besides anyone who thinks the paddles acts as traction control, should actually listen and hear the wheels spinning as hey change gears.

  27. Sutil all the way. Give him a McLaren and he will show Lewis what wet weather driving can be…
    *Puts on Hamilton-fans-flame-proof suit :)

  28. Sutil’s an interesting case: he was excellent at Fuji last year and Monaco this year – but what happened to him at Monza?

  29. The F1 Crown is based on points, so we can do the same with the wet races. 3points for the winner, 2points for 2nd and 1point for3rd. Then we have total and average points stands to please some. the result is: Alonso is the best with Hamilton really close and Massa tied with Kimi, how about that?
    Driver Absolut Average
    Kimi 7 0.7
    Button 4 0.4
    Alonso 11 1.1
    Nick 6 0.6
    Massa 7 0.7
    Webber 1 0.1
    Hamilton 7 1
    Heikki 4 0.571428571
    Kubica 3 0.428571429

  30. Yeah, the paddles are a figment of my imagination, Oliver.

  31. The post is a little messy but i believe you can understand it. The decimal number is the average for each driver.

  32. Thanks Fergus. Interesting. I still think that Alonso and Vettel are up there. Hammy could prove to be better in the next few years.

  33. Keith “Sutil’s an interesting case: he was excellent at Fuji last year and Monaco this year – but what happened to him at Monza?” – the same can be said about Hamilton (until the track was drying)…

    This season so far, Hamilton’s been better in the wet (bar Monza), but overall I’d rather have Alonso in wet only because he’s more experienced.

  34. It´s very hard to know for sure who the best is in the wet, but the two that have stood out for me (and so far in this poll) are Hamilton and Alonso.

    This year, it´s not really worth comparing their performances in the wet as the Renault is a bit of a pig to drive so Alonso doesn´t have much chance of putting in a Lewis type performance at Monza.

    However last year they drove the same car so we can make fair comparisons from that.

    Firstly Europe, where Alonso drove a tidy race and was far quicker than Massa in the final part. However Hamilton was handicapped by the crash in qualifying and was never really in contention in the race and did make some errors.

    Secondly (not going in order of when the races took place) there is China, now granted Hamilton/Mclaren made an error in not bringing him in earlier but the first stint of the race was dominated by Hamilton, Alonso had a poor race by his standards and was never able to match the pace of Hamilton early on. It´s fair to say that whats the point in flying round early on if you´re going to cook the tyres, but this was an insight at the speed o Hamilton in the wet and his ability to find the grip thats out there quicker than the rest.

    lastly, an probably most significantly, was Fuji, where the two drivers in question, in identical cars, lead the field from the start. This is the best we´re going to get to a fair comparison, and on this ocasion Hamilton left Alonso standing in the worst conditions i´ve seen for an F1 race in a long time. I believe Alonso was really surprised at Hamiltons pace and this is what led to his accident, due to over driving the car in an effort to match the pace set but Hamilton.

    So there you have it, my conclusion is that Alonso is obviously very strong in the rain, but the “rain master” title has to go to Hamilton.

    Anyone agree/disagree with this???


  35. Massa…JOKE

    Hamilton he proved it at Silverstone, he nearly lapped the whole field

  36. KIMI always the best…..Remember FUJI 2007.Started 22 finished 3rd.Anyone remember any other driver doing that.or HAM doing that kind of stuff??.

  37. Great topic, this one has sparked heated debate over this way. I can see many points of view and it is hard to see light between some of the drivers but for me Alonso edges out everyone simply on breadth of wet driving experience. He’s been around longer so we have some astounding wet weather drives of his to watch over the years.

    Lewis has produced some equally astounding wet weather drives and if he can keep it up over 2009 I might have to adge him in front of Fred, or at least put him equal.

    Raikkonen doesn’t get a look in for me, he’s done a few incredible drives in drying conditions but he’s just not consistently good at it like Ham or Fred.

    None of the others are worhty of consideration. Kubica was poor at Silverstone this year.

  38. Thank Fergus for doing the maths but I think it is a hard survey question to answer, I’d say Alonso was the best as he has changed teams during the years of this poll and still done well, so it may be his driver skills play a greater part than car’s technology. But really it is hard to compare across years, as rules regarding tyres have changed during the poll years, now all on one brand, and with stricter (?) rules as to when & how you can change. Really too many variables. At the moment though, Ferrari has major weakness in the wet, no secret there

  39. HAM won in SILVERSTONE and MONACO as circumstances favoured him.Had KIMI changed his tires at first pit stop he would have won it in silverstone.No argument for this plzzz…It is fact that KIMI was taking times out of HAM at time of first pit stops…..

  40. Although I’ve just said above for the best overall is likely to be Alonso, perhaps really the real winner has to be Lady Luck and which ever drivers she chooses to bestow her charms on. If you look at some of the races, luck can play a huge part, the timing of the arrival of bad weather, and especially influential when the safety car is employed or not, the chances of a safety & incidents would increase proportionally with the rain.

  41. Hmm, I’d like to vote: Hamilton, Heidfeld, Alonso, Raikkonen, Sutil. these to me are the top five in wet.

    and my top five overall, regardless of weather: Hamilton, Alonso, Raikkonen, Kubica, Vettel.

    I still think Massa is a lucky MoFo and doesn’t deserve his seat at Ferrari, there are much better drivers. Even Sato ;)

  42. Hamilton has put in the most stunning rain performances in the past 15 years, but given the technical advantages of the car he has, as Jean cited at the outset, I think its too early to crown him rain king. For performance over time and in different cars, I have to grudgingly name Alonso as the best.

    Nonetheless, I think we can’t totally let Kimi off the hook for this years poor wet performance. Raikkonen prefers a tight car. JPM complained that the MP4-21 was tight—to Kimi’s taste. JPM (and Hamilton) like a loose car. And remember how, accordingly, those cars could not heat the tires and had the same qualifying issues Ferrari has now? Today, the McLaren is the opposite extreme in this regard. I believe Kimi’s possible unwillingness to drive a loose car hinders mechanical fixes for the current problems.

    I would also not discount McLaren’s many paddles. No they are not traction control. They allow the driver to change engine maps from braking through exit to improve the effect of engine braking and move the torque peak for accelleration. Its what has been done with a knob before, but this allows changes mid corner and together with gear-shifting. This has to help in the rain.

  43. Lewis for sure. Silverstone & Monza proving the point.

  44. Absent equal cars, there’s no way to tell. All this is speculation—but somewhat interesting.

  45. Alonso, Alonso! Remember Hungary 2006, never seen anything like it. He is but the best driver in the wet!

  46. Oh no!..not again…another topic special made for the God Hamilton

  47. 1. Lewis
    2. Alonso
    3. Vettel

    19. Kimi
    20. Massa

    :) That says it all :)

  48. Dmw:-

    If those paddles help in the rain, obviously Heikki should be doing amazing stuff when it rains. But we don’t see that happening.

  49. Keith,
    The comments here makes me laugh really hard. The visitors of this site don’t even understand what you write. So i’ll reply your words from the text above:

    2005 Belgium – Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button
    2006 Hungary – Jenson Button, Pedro de la Rosa, Nick Heidfeld
    2006 China – Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Nick Heidfeld
    2007 Europe – Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Mark Webber
    2007 Japan – Lewis Hamilton, Heikki Kovalainen, Kimi Raikkonen
    2007 China – Kimi Raikkonen, Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa
    2008 Monaco – Lewis Hamilton, Robert Kubica, Felipe Massa
    2008 Britain – Lewis Hamilton, Nick Heidfeld, Rubens Barrichello
    2008 Belgium* – Felipe Massa, Nick Heidfeld, Lewis Hamilton
    2008 Italy – Sebastian Vettel, Heikki Kovalainen, Robert Kubica

    How can you all rate Massa as a “Bad-wet-driver”?
    No other driver on these standings has finished more races than him on the top three position.
    On the other hand, be a so called “good-wet-driver” means nothing, there’s plenty of them that never made it to the tittle. And i’ve seen a bunch, as i am a F1 fan since Andretti/1978, that were water freak and are multiple tittle holders.

  50. Vroom – Agreed. A rare occasion when the term ‘Sennaesque’ would have been appropriate.

    Alex-ctba – Or Alonso, or Kubica, or Raikkonen… depends on your point of view. Who did you vote for?

    Fergus – True but don’t forget that list only covers the last four years. The likes of David Coulthard and Rubens Barrichello would probably do a lot better if you extended it further back.

    We’ll have to repeat this exercise with all-time drivers sometime. One for the off-season, I reckon.

  51. Can I remind everyone of the comment policy – insulting comments will be deleted and have been on this post. Opinions are always welcome but there’s no need to insult other people.

    F1Fanatic Comment Policy
    Rules on commenting (Forum)

  52. Alex-Ctba – Thank you. Keep cool…

    Keith – That’s exactly what i mean. From the time period mentioned by you, Massa isn’t bad at all.

    Would be nice to have topics like this to warm the off-season for a change.

  53. Keith, my apologies…I was joking. I love this blog!!!There’s no similar here in my country. I’m brazilian by the way. ( sorry for my poor english, I’m still learning )

  54. …and Hamilton’s fan too…

  55. when you watch an f1 race with live timing you can only vote for Lewis. At some points he is 2seconds+ faster then his rivals…

    He could have won all rain races this year.
    At Spa he did win and Monza he could have won if it wasn’t for the extra stop.

  56. Solid – And he wouldn’t have won Monaco if Ferrari didn’t scr***ed their drivers race.

  57. This is a very fickle and difficult subject to compare. A friend and myself were just doing this Monday. The problem is, no one is ever without mistakes. Hamilton has two non-points finishes in the wet and Alonso has Fuji. Hell, the problem works the other way too: Massa looked like God in Monaco this year and that scared the crap out of me into Silverstone.

    The fact is this. That while wet F1 races put so much into the driver’s hands, it is hard for us not to love it. We all love it and it is a great equaliser. But in so many ways, there are untold and unseen settings that take the race out of the drivers hands. Aquaplaning. Missed lugnuts. Team errors. Someone running into the back of you in a SC queue. Anything and everything can ruin your great race.

    To come up with the best wet weather racer in the sport is meaningless unless there is a CLEAR dominant force, the likes of which we have not seen in some years. We can have the great, the good, and the rest. Even that is muddled, but it’s the best we have.

    Alonso has team errors at Budapest 2006, Shanghai 2006, Silverstone 2008.
    Hamilton has a very bad race at Nurburgring 2007 (with steward assistance), and team errors/retirement at Shanghai 2007. He also had the weather go against him at Monza in 2008. That is another key factor that is simply not stated enough.

    I don’t think my answer is avoiding the question. It’s far from definitive and to argue is purely subjective and will only lead to who you think is the better driver anyway.

  58. michael counsell
    18th September 2008, 21:04

    Why is Vettel so low and Kubica so high?

    In the really wet Vettel is faster than Hamilton, see Fuji and Monza for proof.

    In moderately wet conditions Hamilton is fastest by some margin see Silverstone in particular. I rate Sutil very highly in these conditions but maybe not in the ultra wet.

    Personally I don’t believe there is one driver that stands out as the best.

    On some tracks slight setup can make the difference between a great drive and a slow drive, while at some tracks it really doesn’t matter very much.

    I don’t know of any driver who hasn’t had an amazing drive in the wet and an equally awful drive in another.

  59. michael counsell
    18th September 2008, 21:06

    I appear to be contracting myself but I agree with teh second half of my last post and with Paul.

  60. I don’t see a single driver who is outright the best in all conditions of wet, there is no Senna, Bellof, Villeneuve amongst this group of drivers when it starts to drop lightly or heavily. Overall Alonso is the best, in extreme conditions I find it’s Vettel, on a drying track it’s Kimi, moderately wet is Hamilton. Having said that there are four other drivers I can think of who are as good as any of the others mentioned and they are Heidfeld, Barichello, Button and Sutil. Also Bourdais seems handy in the wet weather.

  61. I have to say Alonso. I think some might have forgotten exactly how good he is, because he hasn’t got a good car this year (although he is punching well above it’s weight, make no mistake).

    I also give honourable mentions to Hamilton, Kubica, Vettel, Sutil and Webber for doing a good job in the rain.

    Should I pray for rain in Singapore or not? Only five more sleeps until I leave……

  62. Marco Aurélio
    19th September 2008, 1:04

    OK but Barrichello in HOCKENHEIM 2000
    He started 18th on the grid, ran the last 10 laps on dry-weather tires in rain.

  63. The Formula one World will never have again a man like senna. “a pure attakant!”

  64. At first I thought the same as Alex-ctba regarding the tone of this thread but realised that the affectionately dubbed Hammy isn’t rated by too many.
    Then I came across the post @20 by Alastair and it all makes sense. McLaren have found a loophole, plain and simple. Those paddles are an advantage, not saying it’s an unfair advantage but an advantage none the less. This would then suggest that McLaren’s recent crop can’t be compared to “post-paddlers” like Alonso and even Massa as for Kimi he was blowing up engines in McLaren’s not that long ago, let’s not forget. So then we have the also ran’s in Webber and now the undisputed king of the wet in Vettel. Some don’t rate Massa or Kimi but looking at Fergus’ analysis it’s too close to call at this stage. Will be interested to see what happens when Kimi and Massa have the extra paddles at their disposal. I wonder also if Lewis’s bad quali in Monza had something to do with him not being able to dial up the correct mapping for the conditions and tyres? One other point that needs to be mentioned is in defence of Kovy, Vettel had that race won at quali and even Lewis with his paddles couldn’t have stopped him, even though he “paddled” his way through the bunch he couldn’t get past Massa, probably thought better of it after that dodgy bit of driving to take Webber out!

    PS: Have we had an open debate about the pseudo traction control being used by McLaren, Keith?

  65. “KIMI always the best…..Remember FUJI 2007.Started 22 finished 3rd.Anyone remember any other driver doing that.or HAM doing that kind of stuff??.”

    John Watson won from 22nd place and he didn’t have a Ferrari.

  66. I think we should reserve judgement until we see all the Drivers in equal cars and tyres in the wet… which if Mosely has his way, we might just see in a few years time!! Too many variables right now to decide on 1 driver as the best in the wet.

  67. No fan of Lewis am I, but the guy can make hay in the rain! Consistently brakes later, drifts the car in the slower corners, and is quicker on the gas at turn exit.

    He would be superior in the wet regardless of which top 3 cars he was given.

  68. Oh yeah, he also isn’t afraid to put his car next to others in close quarters, just ask all the whiner drivers after Monza who complained about his “rough” driving.

  69. REAL DATA (not Poll)
    2008 Formula One season

    Pos Driver Points= MON FRA BRI BEL* ITA
    01 F. Massa 29= 6 10 0 10 3
    02 L. Hamilton 28= 10 0 10 6 2
    03 R. Kubica 21= 8 4 0 3 6
    04 N. Heidfeld 20= 0 0 8 8 4
    05 H. Kovalainen 18= 1 5 4 0 8
    06 S. Vettel 18= 4 0 0 4 10
    07 F. Alonso 14= 0 1 3 5 5
    08 K. Räikkönen 13= 0 8 5 0 0
    09 M. Webber 10= 5 3 0 1 1
    10 R. Barrichello 9= 3 0 6 0 0
    11 J. Trulli 8= 0 6 2 0 0
    12 K. Nakajima 3= 2 0 1 0 0
    13 N. Piquet jr 2= 0 2 0 0 0
    14 S. Bourdais 2= 0 0 0 2 0

    2008 Monaco MON
    2008 France FRA
    2008 Britain BRI
    2008 Belgium* BEL *Pending appeal
    2008 Italy ITA
    Source: Live Timing Wet/Dry 1

  70. Henry – I think calling France a wet race is stretching things a bit! It drizzled for, what, half a lap?

  71. Hi Keith,

    My criterion:

    Source Live Timing

  72. To partly answer my own question about Kovalainen, here’s a quote from Mark Hughes’ Monza race report in Autosport:

    Unlike team mate Hamilton, [Kovalainen] had decided not to have part of the front brake duct taped up, and was having difficulty getting the brakes up to temperature, giving him a few snatchy moments that were anything but confidence-boosting in the treacherous conditions.

  73. I voted for Hamilton but have to point out that, judging by all the statistics supplied by the commenters, another driver stands out as the great all-rounder in wet conditions – and he has never had the best car either. I really don’t understand why Nick Heidfeld is always overlooked in these debates.

  74. Clive – I agree with you. Nick is overlooked and counting Monza on, he has finished the last 25 races, if i’m not mistaken, he’s head and shoulders with Schumi on this matter. Maybe if someone compute the last 25 races points would be interesting to see how he would do on the charts.

  75. Fergus – If Heidfeld finishes the next race it’ll be his 25th in a row, beating Schumacher’s record.

    More here: 2008 Italian GP facts and stats

    I did think when I was going through those podiums he’s had a decent number of seconds and thirds. His first was in wet conditions at Brazil in 2001. Perhaps when he finally wins one it’ll be in the rain?

    1. I think you’re wrong. Last year Heidfield didn’t finish one race, I think it was singapore. Somebody hit him, braking his record.

  76. Mmmmm…Clive and his wisdom… This man is always right…

    Is interesting how some can judge Alonso´s wet skills looking back only to Hungary 2005, or to the last stint of Nurburgring in 2007, (until that he doesn’t show nothing special in the race and Felipe were handicapped with some vibrations on his front tyres), and can’t remember the recent Nick´s works at Silverstone…

    I was watching China 2007 and Alonso again doesn’t showed anything that we can judge him in the same level than Lewis at Fuji, Silverstone or Monza this year. Lewis is the better one and we can see clearly this when we understand that the only treat to Vettel in Monza Sunday were Lewis, who were handicapped at 15th place…

    About McLaren paddles, Ferrari already has their system and I think that Mass damper were more crucial device in wet conditions than those paddles. Another point is: this year we have the cars WITHOUT TRACTION CONTROL and this in fact shows how drivers deal with wet without this apparatus. So I don’t need to say that the performance judgment this year is more important than in the past.

    So what we have so far? Monza, Silverstone, Spa, Monaco showed who is the best one.

  77. Keith – You’re right. And There is another record over him – One hundred forty plus starts without a win on F1. And another – Tons of points without a Tittle.
    I consider him a nice driver though.

  78. It is appalling to see that Fisichella doesn’t have any votes and Barichello only 12. Don’t we have memory?

  79. Keith – A small note, SPA 2005 – Who was leading till final set of pitstops?? What did McLaren team to get Kimi in the lead. Well Orchestrated strategy to negate 30+second of clear lead Kimi’s team-mate had on him. But I won’t hold that against team or Kimi,as Kimi was driving to keep his WDC chances alive then and JPM was just playing support act. So please take that out of list :D

    About Hamilton being best driver in wet – I am not fan of any particular driver on the current grid and with that background – While it is not Hamilton’s mistake that he has landed in Best car on the grid in both dry and wet condition. but in 2008 Ferrari drivers have a clear handicap in Ferrari’s handling in wet condition. So we can’t really attribute it all to “Hamilton’s” Driver skills.
    On that Note My top10 rating for Wet race drivers on current grid

    4)Sutil – Hamilton (Tie)
    6)Webber – consistent drives
    7)Vettel,(that f***ing kid is again behind webber)
    9)Fisichella (Can anyone remember his Jordon win and also 2005 Oz race)

    PS – I won’t laugh at Massa and Kimi for Silverstone, Its Ferrari weather system that was expecting race to dry in Second half, hence they had dry setup which made them look stupid

  80. Alianora La Canta
    19th September 2008, 19:46

    There’s a very simple reason why Heidfeld is usually forgotten in these debates – we rarely remember what he did in the races in order to do the comparison. The fact that he’s often very good in the wet isn’t much use in a debate if the people doing the debating have forgotten. To a certain extent, Fisichella didn’t have any votes as of Underdog’s comment for a similar reason – in recent races, his performances in the rain have been largely forgotten because most of them, for whatever reason, ended in either a DNF or a low position.

  81. Slightly off-topic but which driver do you reckon is the WORST driver in the wet?

    My vote would have to go to Piquet, I can’t remember the exact race but the Renault lads put him on dry tyres with a damp track next thing we see is him sliding backwards off the track.

  82. Ratboy – And so did Kubica at the same race for the same reason. So i must assume that Piquet is in good company there. Few others did the same for that reason in that particular race.

  83. Oh my god…Ham the best driver on wet????

    Let’s see…..
    Ham last year in China. What happened? No brain and nerves to race (as he has shown so many times.)

    Ham in Fuji 07. Half race aborted and handcuffed with SC on starting. Ham said he was nearest to Senna. Bab, you was the ONLY driver with no spray in front of you. Did you realize that? Maybe he didn’t…

    Monaco 08. Ham was lucky to do the right tyre selection. That’s all. Alonso didn’t, Massa didn’t,…

    Silverstone 08. Same thing. Ham was lucky to do the right tyre selection. Kimi, Alonso and others didnt the right selection. Just see Barichello when he put the wet tyre.

    Spa 08. If you drive a F1 with no brakes……you can’t do the chicanes. Once again ,Ham didn’t have brain to keep the 2nd place. This guy must know that a WDC can be done doing 2nd places. Even Pedro de la Rosa said on a live commentary TV that people on boxes must tell him to relax and finish the race. De la rosa said” I do’t uderstand why he push so hard. Just keep 2nd place and get your points, Massa is behind. If you push you can be out of the track an get 0 points.” He was right.

    And Monza 08. People goes grazy about Ham in Monza. “Wow, from 15 th to….”

    Guys, how many overtakings did Alonso on 1st lap in Hungary 2006? From 15th to 4th. And he did more after that. ALL DRIVERS WITH SAME TYRES, NO SC STARTING, NO DIFFERENT STRATEGIES. And nobody says nothing.

    See these videos

  84. One more thing. I suppose than many of you don’t know this:

    Last year, in Hungary, Ham’s engineer sat him down TO SEE ALONSO’S FANTASTIC RACE IN HUNGARY 06 ON A VIDEO. Sounds like “that’s the way to race on wet. So pay attention and learn.”

    Maybe you won’t believe it but IT’S TRUE.

    I wouldn’t very confident with a driver that needs to see a video about how to race on wet conditions.

  85. Totally AGREE. Hamilton is the best F1 driver in the wet. No doubt. He also the best and fastest at cornering with
    his stering “vibrate” style(only race driver really know about this).

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