2008 F1 driver rankings part 2

Who was the star of the midfield in 2008?

Who was the star of the midfield in 2008?

Part two of the 2008 F1 driver rankings looks at numbers ten to five, plus more of your verdicts on the drivers of 2008.

Don’t miss the final four tomorrow!

10. Mark Webber

Mid-season ranking: 8

In the first half of the year Webber was a regular fixture in Q3, and consistently made it into the lower reaches of the points. But as the season progressed and Renault and Toro Rosso found their feet, Red Bull seemed unable to match their progress.

Unfortunately for Webber he spoiled his best qualifying result ?ǣ second at Silverstone ?ǣ by spinning on the first lap of the wet race. Aside from that he usually got out of the RB4 everything it had to offer.

Read Andrew Tsvyk’s comprehensive analysis of Webber’s season: Mark Webber?s 2008 season: an analysis

9. Jarno Trulli

Mid-season ranking: 7

His best season since Briatore fired him.
- Filipe

In 2008 Trulli returned to the kind of exceptional qualifying form we expect of him, and backed it up with some excellent points-grabbing drives. The best of which was his podium finish at Magny-Cours which brought some cheer to the team at the first Grand Prix following the death of team founder Ove Andersson.

Toyota faded late in the year but Trulli interrupted the championship battle in Interlagos by taking second on the grid. But his junior team mate Timo Glock out-raced him to the flag, suggesting Trulli might have a tougher time in 2009.

8. Nick Heidfeld

Heidfeld out-qualified Kubica on merit for the first time in 2008 at Spa

Heidfeld out-qualified Kubica on merit for the first time in 2008 at Spa

Mid-season ranking: 10

Robert Kubica scored BMW?s maiden win at Montreal with Heidfeld second. On the podium the German seemed conflicted between delight for his team and disappointment for himself, as he had led Kubica earlier in the race.

Both BMW drivers were models of consistency in a year when the title contenders threw points away at every other race. But Heidfeld was the most dependable of all: he finished every race, surpassing Michael Schumacher?s record for consistency in the process. Lack of qualifying speed was his Achilles Heel this year, with his elimination in Q1 at the Hungaroring a low point. By the end of the season he had the problem sorted, and matched Kubica more closely on race performance.

7. Heikki Kovalainen

Mid-season ranking: 6

Biggest disappointment has to be Kovalainen
- Sam

Early in the season it seemed misfortune was the only thing holding Kovalainen back from taking on Lewis Hamilton at McLaren. The safety car ruined his race at Melbourne, he suffered a puncture at Istanbul, and then came his bruising shunt at the Circuit de Catalunya. That bad luck was sustained over the course of the year ?ǣ he suffered three race-ending car failures, Hamilton none.

But he usually struggled to match Hamilton?s race pace, and often failed to take up the challenge when Hamilton was out of the picture, as at Fuji. Hungary was the exception, where he snatched a win which, though fortunate, was just recompense for his earlier misfortune.

6. Kimi Raikkonen

Mid-season ranking: 2

When was the last time we saw a driver win the championship one year and then, at the same team and with the same team mate, fail to uphold his position as the team?s leading driver the following season? Even the Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo joked that we did not see the real Raikkonen in 2008.

It?s hard to draw a line between how far Raikkonen?s problems were his own doing, and how much of it was the car’s fault. Failures that robbed him of points at Melbourne and Valencia, and the broken exhaust that hindered him at Magny-Cours were clearly not his fault.

But the driving errors at Melbourne, Monte-Carlo, Silverstone, Spa and Singapore, these all were. Compounding those problems was an often mystifying lack of pace in qualifying, especially in the middle part of the season at the Hungaroring and Hockenheimring.

He fared better in the final rounds, comfortably out-pacing Felipe Massa at Shanghai, for example. But scoring only two wins to Massa?s six it?s impossible to avoid the conclusion Raikkonen simply didn?t get enough out of his car this year.

5. Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel showed Toro Rosso's pace by lapping fastest in Q2 at Valencia

Sebastian Vettel showed Toro Rosso's pace by lapping fastest in Q2 at Valencia

Mid-season ranking: 9

Great win at Monza. Nice performance at Interlagos too. A bit of a bad start to the season, but form halfway through he really started to show his potential
- Patrickl

The opening races were disastrous for Vettel. He was eliminated on the first lap at Melbourne, Bahrain and Catalunya, and at Sepang his Ferrari engine blew.

At the sixth race, Monaco, the new STR3 chassis arrived and his season was transformed. Vettel finished an excellent fifth on his first appearance at the Monte-Carlo track – in the rain. When a more potent version of the Ferrari engine was added later in the year, Vettel stretched his wings. He frequently appeared in the final part of qualifying and began scoring points regularly.

The Italian Grand Prix was one of those races where the conditions were so unusual that almost every driver on the grid had a realistic shot at winning the race. It?s significant, then, that the man who did was Vettel. Yes, getting the strategy right was down to luck as much as judgement, but you can?t argue against how fine his driving was all weekend.

He was in excellent form at Interlagos as well, snatching fifth from Lewis Hamilton in the dying stages, which became fourth. Faced with performances like these it?s easy to forget Vettel hasn?t been in the sport very long. And it?s tempting to make comparisons with the last German driver to score his maiden win in his first full season: Michael Schumacher.

Don’t miss the final instalment of the 2008 F1 driver rankings. Get the latest articles from F1 Fanatic for free via RSS or our email subscription service. Click here for more information.

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23 comments on 2008 F1 driver rankings part 2

  1. Heikki better than Nick Heidfeld? Surely not.

    Agreed Heikki was left high and dry by Mclaren at the end of the season; but he was still fairly bad.

  2. Alex Cooper said on 20th November 2008, 11:22

    [Heikki Kovalainen] often failed to take up the challenge when Hamilton was out of the picture, as at Fuji.

    His Mercedes blew up at Fuji didn’t it?

  3. John Spencer said on 20th November 2008, 11:54

    When was the last time we saw a driver win the championship one year and then, at the same team and with the same team mate, fail to uphold his position as the team’s leading driver the following season?


    At Ferrari, Jody Scheckter beat Gilles Villeneuve to the title in 1979, but Villeneuve scored more points than Scheckter in 1980.

    Or, you could argue for 1989. At McLaren, Senna beat Prost to the title in 88, but the positions switched the following year.

  4. In order from worse to best of the mid-field and with my overall rating behind their name: 1. H Kovalainen(10) 2. M Webber(9) 3. J Trulli(8) 4. K Raikkonen(7) 5. N Heidfeld(6)

  5. John Spencer said on 20th November 2008, 12:38

    Keith – better not put your top 4 in exactly the same order as Autosport have this week, or we’ll accuse you of copying….

  6. Smitty said on 20th November 2008, 13:08

    Great review of the drivers so far.

    My ranking of the remaining four drivers:

    1. Hamilton
    2. Massa
    3. Alonso
    4. Kubica

  7. Remaining drivers:

    1. Alonso
    2. Kubika
    3. Hamilton
    4. Massa

  8. Chris Johnson said on 20th November 2008, 15:21

    I’d put Heidfeld in front of Kova, and maybe even Vettel in front of Kubica.

  9. Alex-Ctba said on 20th November 2008, 15:40

    Remaining drivers ( 2008 season ):


    My Preference


  10. Striay said on 20th November 2008, 16:05

    Remaining drivers:


    hamilton may have won the wdc but he made many mistakes under pressure in japan and even brazil.
    alonso did a fantastic end of season laping with the ferraris and mclarens.
    massa did a gr8 job in brazil though a few mistakes cost him the WDC.
    Kub gr8 start of the season but since belgium he was strugling with the car.

  11. Striay said on 20th November 2008, 16:08

    + Heikki b4 Heidfield????? suerly not he was outpaced in every single race by drivers with worse cars and only because Heidfield was strugling with his car did Heikki come b4 him in the races.

    give Heidfield a good car and i think he would come 5th or 6th lol

  12. bananaman said on 20th November 2008, 17:03

    Remaining four drivers – that is tough. Over the first half of the season, Kubica was the best, but by year end he was being outpaced by his own teammate; in the second half, Alonso was the best – having cut out the rashness characteristic of the earlier races.

    So neither of the two main contenders were the class of the field in either half of the season. Overall it’s probably fair to say Hamilton followed by Massa, though.

  13. Sebastian said on 20th November 2008, 18:23

    I’m going to come off as a vapid Raikkonen fanboy, but I’d like to point out that some of the driver errors later in the season were kind of desperate “all or nothing” bets in his bid to stay in the WDC fight.

    I’m thinking of Spa in particular, were he could have settled for second instead of racing at the razors edge against a (conditions being as they were) superior adversary.

    I’d put Kubica and Vettel on a shared sixth with Raikkonen in fifth place. Unless we’re judging them purely on expectations, that is, in which case I’d put Kimi lower, obviously.

    (point in case being Raikkonen could have easily outscored Kubica had he giving up on his WDC bid earlier)

  14. Terry Fabulous said on 20th November 2008, 21:06

    I too am stunned at where Heikki is. He was an ineffectual teammate in the Dumfries and Andretti Michael mould.

    Other then that I can’t find fault with this list.

    As for the top 4.
    4. Bob
    3. Phil
    2. Fred
    1. Lou

    You have to give Hamilton the number 1. Much as i dislike him he won the title singlehandedly despite no help from his teammate and an unfavourable governing body. Although his pit crew do know how to release a drivr though….

  15. Wesley said on 20th November 2008, 21:38

    I have to agree with most of the group,I would have Heikki much lower on the list than Heidfeld.I know he had a lot of bad luck this past season but,I was expecting much more from him…..he didn’t even pull his own weight.

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