2009 F1 driver rankings part 2: 15-6

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

How should we rate Massa, who only raced half the season?
How should we rate Massa, who only raced half the season?

We began the countdown of the top drivers of 2009 yesterday looking at the least impressive racers of the year.

Today we cover the other drivers who failed to make it into the top five – with more of your comments and ratings of the class of 2009.

15. Giancarlo Fisichella

Fisichella’s pole position for Force India at Spa was surely the great upset of the season. And he came oh-so-close to opening the team’s points account with a win. He had threatened to get the job done earlier in the season, finishing a ninth at Monaco with eighth-placed Sebastien Bourdais in his sights.

More would surely have followed had he stayed at Force India but the lure of Ferrari proved too great. However Fisichella struggled with the F60, particularly under braking as we saw when he crashed in practice at Monza. He failed to score a single point for the Scuderia.

So remember his season for that wonderful weekend in Spa, and not for the damp squib which was his switch to Ferrari.

He had the race of his life, then moved to Ferrari and reminded us all why he had ended up at Force India in the first place.
Ned Flanders

14. Timo Glock

As was widely expected, Glock was usually behind super-qualifier Trulli on Saturday. But on race day he often moved up the field – indeed he gained an average of almost four places per race.

He deserved much better at Malaysia where – just like at Brazil last year – he benefitted by going a different way to his rivals when the rain fell. He passed Nick Heidfeld for second on lap 32 when the red flags came out, but was dropped to third place by the count-back rule.

Glock did get a second place at Singapore by avoiding the kind of mistakes made by Nico Rosberg and Fernando Alonso.

If it wasn’t for Japan, he may have scored a few more points. Passed Trulli at Bahrain at the start. Should have won but the team put on the wrong tyre compound on his second stint and ruined his race.

13. Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki Kovalainen had a disappointing final year with McLaren
Heikki Kovalainen had a disappointing final year with McLaren

Rating Kovalainen is a tricky job because we know new parts at McLaren usually went to Hamilton. But how much was this a refection on Kovalainen’s driving, and how far was it the cause of he gulf between him and his team mate?

In truth, probably more the former than the latter. He rarely looked on a par with Hamilton with a notable exception at Shanghai where Kovalainen kept the car on the drenched track while his team mate had several spins.

He scored points steadily in the second half of the season when the MP4-24 came good, and it’s fair to say he wasn’t quite as cavalier about finishing races as his team mate could be. He never made it as far as the podium, though – something Hamilton managed five times.

He did have a few good races when the car was really at its worse in particular at China. But when the car improved Kovalainen really didn’t put in the performances. Perhaps the cars doesn’t really suit him, but he could have at least gotten it to the podium at particularly Valencia and Monza but he lost out to Raikkonen in a much slower Ferrari. He also did well in qualifying a few times during the year. It cant really be easy to be pared up with perhaps currently, the best driver in the field.

12. Jarno Trulli

Started the season brightly with top-four finishes in three of the first four races. With a better strategy at Bahrain and without a qualifying penalty at Melbourne it could have been even better.

Despite suffering more than team mate Glock did from the wild swings in performance of the TF109 from track to track, Trulli still amassed more points. Getting beaten by rookie Kamui Kobayashi in the final race was a blow, however.

Best wine-producing F1 driver again. A couple of very strong drives, and a couple of occasions when he had a winning car. Shame they didn’t coincide. Appears to have gone mad, I hope we haven’t seen the last of Jarno’s Photo Casebook.

Don’t you mean “whine?”
Penelope Pitstop

11. Nick Heidfeld

As ever, you get the fiercest arguments over whether a driver was better than his team mate when the two are very closely matched (think of Alonso and Hamilton in 2007, for example). It’s been pointed out by a lot of people on this site that although Kubica generally gets more column inches, Heidfeld out-scored him this year.

But if this list were a simple ranking of the drivers in order of how many points they’d scored it would be a rather lazy and simplistic one. Heidfeld might have scored more but for me Kubica showed more potential, and benefitted from a little less good fortune.

Heidfeld rode his luck to take a (half-points) second place at Sepang. Unlike Kubica he was able to use BMW’s KERS at the beginning of the season, but this was soon dropped entirely.

It was slim pickings from then on with the troublesome F1.09. His strong suit was his impressively consistent finishing – and a record run of 41 classified finishes on the trot which only ended when Sutil crashed into him.

Another season where he drove great while almost not being noticed at all.

10. Robert Kubica

Yes, Heidfeld scored two more points than he did. But Kubica had one more mechanical failure and was eliminated from a likely second place at Melbourne.

While it’s true Kubica often didn’t get as much out of the F1.09 as Heidfeld did when the car was at its worst, he could be relied upon to do better when the car was closer to the front.

He was especially impressive at Interlagos, where he got his BMW ahead of Rubens Barrichello’s Brawn on pure pace. It was one of the few occasions when he looked like the driver who topped this chart last year.

There were days when he couldn’t beat Heidfeld – and vice-versa. But on balance for me Kubica edges it as the better of the two BMW drivers this year.

Terrible car and terrible luck. Could have done a lot better.
Pedal to the Vettel

9. Kimi Raikkonen

Kimi Raikkonen hit a purple patch after Massa was injured
Kimi Raikkonen hit a purple patch after Massa was injured

The curious thing about Raikkonen’s season was how he came to life after Massa was injured in qualifying at Hungary. Suddenly Raikkonen was getting regular podiums – plus his customary victory at Spa.

Did Raikkonen up his game during Massa’s absence? Or was he flattered by comparison with less talented team mates – or, to put it another way, would an uninjured Massa have had the beating of him?

After Ferrari halted development on the F60 Raikkonen’s form dipped again at the end of the season, with a particularly disappointing final race at Yas Island.

The middle part of the season shows he still has the potential to be one of F1’s most formidable drivers, if someone can coax it out of him more regularly. Having him sat on the sidelines when there are plenty of F1 cars he could race is a waste of talent.

Was poor to begin with but had an incredible second half of the season in what was a very difficult and underdeveloped car, as demonstrated by Fisi and Badoer.

8. Felipe Massa

It was a tough start to the season for last year’s championship runner-up with no points in the first four races, partly thanks to a pair of car failures. But from then Massa’s results reflected the consistent progress he and Ferrari were making: sixth, fourth, sixth, fourth and then third at the Nurburgring.

Then came that sickening crash at the Hungaroring which brought his season to an abrupt end.

Early in his recovery he was told team mate Raikkonen had finished second at Hungary. Massa replied that meant he would have won if he’d raced. We are left to wonder what might have happened, and whether his injureis and enforced absence from the cockpit will have blunted his edge.

Was on course to finish fifth in the title race after out-performing his team mate.
David A

7. Nico Rosberg

In his fourth season of F1, Rosberg reached new heights of speed and consistency – for which he has already been rewarded with a promotion to the championship-winners for 2010.

Though he got some stick for frequently topping practice sessions yet never translating it into pole position or a win, Rosberg brought his car home in the points for eight races in a row and single-handedly scored enough points to put Williams seventh in the constructors’ championship.

Yet he managed to go the whole season without reaching the podium. His mistake coming out of the pits at Singapore cost him his best chance of a top-three finish, but that was one of few significant errors from Rosberg this year.

Pushed to the limits, outclassed his team mate.

6. Rubens Barrichello

Rubens Barrichello withstood pressure from Button to win at Monza
Rubens Barrichello withstood pressure from Button to win at Monza

Barrichello came on strong in the second part of the season but he’d already lost a lot of ground to Jenson Button.

He was fortunate to salvage second at Australia after a poor start and a collision with Mark Webber.

Further slow getaways at Istanbul (losing nine places) and Spa (ten) meant he squandered the hard work he did on Saturdays. He was usually stronger than Button in qualifying – managing an average starting position of 4.5 to Button’s 5.7.

But despite staying in contention for the championship until the penulimate race he only beat Button four times in the 15 occasions both drivers finished. Two of those were his victories in Valencia and Monza, both of which were impressive – particularly the latter where he withstood race-winning pressure from his team mate.

I can’t believe he is still so hungry after so many years. Let down by his race pace a few too many times.

Read the first part of the list here: 2009 F1 driver rankings part 1: 25-16

161 comments on “2009 F1 driver rankings part 2: 15-6”

  1. Kimi was top-5, at least, in 09. 2nd only to Lewis in a car that saw zero development for the last 6 races at least. Of the other drivers you rate higher than Kimi (places up to 6) show me one who actually won a race, let alone in a very mediocre car.

    1. Just one word about the ranking of Kimi’s year. Distressing.

    2. Terry Fabulous
      26th November 2009, 8:51

      Gday F1Fan.

      Cmon!!!! He was being beaten by Massa and only got his act together later in the season to beat two guys totally out of their depth.

      A top 5 effort?

      Also, Vettel, Button, Webber and Hamilton all won races and Alonso completely smashed his teammates and drove the wheels off his car, neither of which Kimi managed.

      1. Alonso smashed Piquet.Jr and Grosjean. Outstanding!

        Kimi has got 4 car failures in the 9 opening GP. Scored the first point for Ferrari, scored the first podium, drove with full wet tyres on a bone dry race track, drove with a dry set-up on a wet track in China


        Cmon Kimi!!! Stop sleeping!!!

        1. Very interesting difference in speed trap data between Filipe and Kimi there. Looks like Ferrari hedged their bets between the two cars.

          Thank you for that, I hope you will comment here more often.

          1. The problem is that my english is very poor.

            But I’ve got an other one :


            Remember how Kimi struggled in the rain and how fast he was in the dry on sunday.

      2. Kimi’s teammates were “guys totally out of their depths” and Alonso “smashed his teammates”!!
        Please remind me who were Alonso’s teammates? Oh, a crasher and a rookie…

        Alonso did no better than Kimi this year and anyone should be able to see that.

        1. Terry Fabulous
          26th November 2009, 20:08

          Hi NomadIndian

          I have to disagree completely.
          Alonso’s teammates were both very highly ranked before they arrived in F1, only to get blown aside.

          If Kimi was doing such a great job he wouldn’t have lost his job. The guys who see the telemetry and actually have to WORK with him day to day, are paying NOT to drive for them rather then have him drive for them.

          He has gone from World Champion to driveless in two years and has no-one to blame but himself.

      3. Soumya Banerjee
        17th May 2010, 14:44

        Hey TerryFab, atleast Massa saw development.And he was ahead of Raikkonen mostly bcoz of reliability failures of raikkonen. What can kimi do abt it? frankly if we listen 2 people like you, we can just abolish the championship and just see how teammates fare relative to each other

  2. Agreed….
    I was surprised to see Kimi ranked 9th!
    I was anyday faster than Massa and the victory at spa shows it

  3. i mean He(Kimi)

    1. Don’t need to apologise. Your comment itself means ‘ignore this idiotic post’. Did you even watch the first part of the season, where Felipe constantly outperformed Kimi and managed Ferrari’s best finish (3rd) before the accident?

      By the way, Felipe’s comment that he would have won in Hungaroring is not far fetched. Ferrari showed excellent pace there, and if 2008 is anything to go by Felipe showed a thing or two about racing that Sunday. Had he finished that race (three more laps, hell!) people would have remembered Felipe very well for that awesome overtaking manouvre on Lewis and possibly the title itself.

  4. So your final Top Five are (in no particular order) :-)


    I will miss Kimi in that list.

    Did Raikkonen up his game during Massa’s absence? Or was he flattered by comparison with less talented team mates – or, to put it another way, would an uninjured Massa have had the beating of him?

    I think Raikkonen up his game just because the team focused their efforts in set up the car according to Kimi needs, not Massa’s ones.

    1. Was Lewis flattered by comparison with less talented team mate or what?

    2. Oh yeah – that is what Ferrari did: They sabotaged Kimi’s setup, hid his vodka, broke his right toe with a hammer… whatever it took to make Massa come on top…gee

  5. Perhaps if Kimi hadn’t spent half the season not giving a ****, then he would be higher. That kind of lack of motivation doesn’t deserve respect.

  6. The curious thing about Raikkonen’s season was how he came to life after Massa was injured in qualifying at Hungary.

    It’s simple. From the start of the season Ferrari wanted Kimi out and the Santander money in. But then Massa’s accident happened and for a while it was even uncertain if Massa would ever race again.

    1. Terry Fabulous
      26th November 2009, 8:52


      That is a good conspiracy theory! I like it!

  7. Keith, you have this under Ruben’s photograph and section as well:

    Heikki Kovalainen had a disappointing final year with McLaren

    1. Thanks Hakka have fixed it.

  8. I agree Kimi is under-ranked.

    1. Kimi’s story is a man vs. machine battle for supremacy. Remember 2005, when he was at the best of his ability but the unreliable McLaren-Mercedes machine let the man down. Though I’m a big Alonso fan, I have to say that Alonso would never have won the 2005 title had not the fast but unreliable McLaren-Mercedes package not let Kimi Raikkonen down. The Renault R25 was nowhere near in pace.

      Once Kimi joined Ferrari (after his first title there), it was as if the man became unreliable while the machine was willing.

  9. Terry Fabulous
    26th November 2009, 8:54

    My Pic for the final Rankings

    5 Alonso
    4 Webber
    3 Vettel
    2 Button
    1 Hamilton

    1. Yep, can’t say any fairer than that. But I would put Vettel above Button.

      I very much doubt this will be the final ranking though.

      1. I’m going with
        5 Alonso
        4 Webber
        3 Hamilton
        2 Vettel
        1 Button

        Hamilton and Vettel may be the other way round.

        1. Close, but..
          5 Alonso
          4 Webber
          3 Vettel
          2 Hamilton
          1 Button

  10. IMO Kimi hit his purple patch after Massa’s unfortunate accident because the car was then setup more to his liking. Who/What was to blame for it not to be setup to his needs from the start is something we cannot know. In any case, he dragged that car to heights it was never going to reach.

    Sad to see Kimi just get 9th place for his efforts.

  11. Judging by the comments about Raikkonen in recent articles, I think a lot will say Raikkonen should be higher on the list than ninth. I would initially have put him higher than that as well but then I think of all the over drivers and Raikkonen’s performance before Massa was injured, I wouldn’t be so sure I would put him that much higher, so its one of those decisions I would have most trouble with.

  12. Its Hammer Time
    26th November 2009, 9:07

    Im sorry what? How are kimi and rubens lower than fernando. Both lifted their game from the start of the year and took commanding race wins/ pole positions. What did the Spaniard do?

    1. Well, neither Kimi nor Rubens were driving a semi around the track like Nando was. IMO, just shows how bad the Renault was this year, when even Nando couldn’t do much with it.

      You have made a rookie mistake of mixing up results vs. actual driving & talent. This article is not about who got the best results – otherwise Jense would be a shoo in – but about who gave the best drives over the course of the season. And if you missed Nando in the midfield wrestling with his car like he was Crocodile Dundee, then I suggest you pay a bit more attention in future. Hard work & talent doesn’t always equal results.

      As for my thoughts on Keith’s assessment, I’d swap Trulli & Fisi around – too many Trulli trains & tantrums over the season for me to rank Trulli any higher than 15th. At least Fisi came close to winning & gave us something to cheer about as the underdog did good. I’d also swap Jense & Rubens around, I still think that Jense is overrated and I’d only have him in my top ten for the fact that he made hay while the sun shone.

      1. You are begging the question.

  13. kimi 9º????
    alonso, massa, rosberg and webber, what they did better than kimi????
    a shame, a little objective analysis!!!
    the fear you have of him conditionable your mind!
    alonso = 1 pole / half fuel than the others – fantastic season????
    massa = 2 podiuns / benefit the kimi dnf’s to passe him
    rosberg = with the fastest cars on the begin, no wins!!!
    webber = with the best car, after few races, 2 wins was bad!!
    kimi loose the 5 place on wdc by one point to hamilton…with a museum piece, hadn’t developments since July!!!

    1. I don’t understand AT ALL the people saying RBR had the best car. Brawn were the best for probably 6 of the first 7 races. Just because Vettel got a pole doesn’t mean he had the better car. Also, don’t forget Barichello drove the Brawn fast enough for 2 wins and a pole in the latter half of the season when Button was crawling around in the midfield.

      1. In Silverstone RBR was the fastest car. Also in Germany. They were the fastest in Hungary, lost due to choosing wrong tyres the wrong time. Only in Valencia and Monza they were slower than Brawn. They were the fastest in Spa on race day, but failed in qualifying. RBR was the fastest car in Suzuka, Brazil as well. In Singapore and Abu Dhabi they were neck and neck with Mclaren.

        So yes, overall RBR was the fastest car in the second half.

      2. Button was in P2 for one of those wins and in Valencia he was pushed off by Vettel. Otherwise he would have been right behind Barrichello there too.

        In fact, Button finished in FRONT of Barrichello more often in the latter half of the season.

        The RBR perhaps wasn’t fastest in the first 7 races, but they sure were the last 10 races.

        They (Vettel) lost because they failed to keep up with Button during the first 7 races (crashed into Kubica, spun off in Malaysia, hit barrier in Monaco, flew off in Turkey, unable to overtake in Bahrain and Spain) not because their car was bad.

    2. Kimi fan much?

  14. Kimi should be in the top 6. He drove better than Alonso, who did nothing special. He carried the team after Massa was injured.

  15. Nice list, I largely agree. The only one that should be much higher is Timo Glock. In my opinion he was much more impressive than people like Kovalainen and Kubica.

  16. And for the final 5, I think Vettel/Hamitlon should be at the front. Then Button or Webber, Webber was more consistent than Button and suffered far more bad luck. Alonso should be well off the top 6.

  17. I agree with most of the 15 – 6 placings, but I’m jumping on the “Nick Heidfeld is very underrated” bandwagon and suggesting he should have been placed above Kubica. He had a solid season in a dog of a car. Had Kubica lived up to his reputation he would have pulled a few more drives out of the bag like the one he managed in Brazil.

    Thinking about it Kubuca and Alonso were in similar positions this year. Both are undeniably quick drivers in useless cars. But, while Alonso managed to squeeze his way into Keith’s top 5 (and win a bit of my respect which isn’t worth much in the grand scheme of things ;-)), Kubica’s star waned a wee bit. We often went through race weekends without even mentioning him!

  18. I think, the top 5 are
    1. Vettel
    2. Hamilton
    3. Button
    4. Webber
    5. Alonso (I am surprised how he made into the top 5)

    1. I don’t like Alonso, but I have to accept that he’s one of the best drivers in the circuit and this year he was driving a truck… so, I would put him in the top 5 too

  19. I couldn’t explain it clearly, but for sheer entertainment value, I’d put Hamilton first. I loved it when he had to push it to get somewhere!

    As far as “best driver of the year” goes, it would be a close tie for me between the two brits. I believe Button has actually done less errors and…. Well… He IS the world champion isn’t he?

    Afterwards, I’ll put Vettel/Webber, and kick Fernando out of top 5. Come on! OK the car was bad, but he didn’t do ANYTHING about it either. Had Hamilton been at Renault he would have been bashed for not being able to develop the car!

    1. One of the most unfair things about F1 and its armchair “experts” is how they give credit to people like Alonso for being a great team leader and helping to develop the car, and yet when a team like McLaren go from being 2.5 seconds off the pace to GP winners in the course of one season, the credit never touches Lewis, but goes to Whitmarsh or the rest of the team. I agree wholeheartedly that the whole McLaren team were exceptional at getting that car developed and Whitmarsh was brilliant at turning a nightmare season into an inspirational one, but why are the criteria for judging a driver and his input so different when it comes to Hamilton as opposed to someone like Alonso? Well, I do know but it gets so boring.

      1. Alonso is definitely not top 5 this season.

        Kimi is much higher than 9th, too.

      2. Whingey whinger…

        You haven’t even seen the top-5 list, I’m pretty confident Keith won’t put Alonso ahead of Hamilton.

        As for Button x Hamilton… is that even an issue? Button drove a fantastic season, winning at the beginning and then driving extremely sensibly to retain points (aggressive just at the right times!). It’s a no-brainer, Button is a more than deserving champion.

  20. Alonso ABOVE Raikkonen? This a joke man, or you took a pill too many today? Even BARRICHELO? You mean the guy that did almost nothing with a field-trouncing car for half the season?

    Get serious!

  21. Alonso really doesnt deserve to be in the top 5. Great racer, yes and got great performances out of what was almost definitely the worst car on the grid BUT the fact is, he didnt get many results.

    Raikkonen at very most should be fifth, or even Barrichello, but not Alonso

  22. I disagree completely!!!!

    Kimi as 9th is WRONG!!! He was better than the 7th rank Rosberg at the very least. He was better than Massa (but that is because Massa missed half the season.

    And please, Kubika better than Heidfeld, no way, no way.

    Heidfeld was way way better than Kubika in that crap BMW. At some races, the gap between the two seemed as much as the gap between Rosberg and Nakajima.

    And I fail to fathom how you don’t count the non-finish at Australia against Kubika!! It is after all his mistake. Okay, he went all out for the 2nd place. But his motives were ambitious, but could he achieve them? NO!!

    Heidfeld was much better than Kubika!! Period!

      1. Heidfeld could win the world championship and still go unnoticed.

        Again with Alonso, Kubica has the reputation of being a top driver and even if they have a poor season in a poor car people will still think they have done amazingly well

    1. I like Kimi but he shouldn’t be placed above Massa because he simply couldn’t beat him when he was there. Kimi was astonishing but when the two were together for whatever reason he couldn’t beat his teammate.
      Agree than quick Nick should be ranked higher than Robert in my view but generally I think it is spot on.

      1. I might give my acquiescence to Kimi below Massa.

        But Heidfeld below Kubika is just not done. I am actually tired of people under-rating Heidfeld all his life. He is a really good driver. And if Jenson Button could come good after 9 whole seasons in Formula One, so can Heifeld.

        @Keith: You made the mistake of under-rating Massa at the start of 2008 (I read in the Planet-F1 predictions ;-) ), don’t make that same mistake with Heidfeld. He is due for a solid result soon. If the Mercedez move happens, be sure that he will give us a true assessment of not just himself, but also of Rosberg.

  23. Rankings look right so far, but I would have ranked Barrichello to be better than Hamilton and Alonso. Both had OK results but with teams full support and they both had poor team mate(s) to make them look better.

    1. Maybe Hamilton’s teammate wasn’t that bad but Lewis’ brilliance made Heikki look bad. As for Alonso, don’t think he deserves to be in the top 5. There seems to be a lot of mythological rubbish written about him, and you can hardly judge his teammates as you had either a rookie who was not given any support or equal equipment, or Piquet Jr who was bullied, not given any support and not given equal treatment. Any driver would be flattered by those circumstances.

  24. Keith, you’ve made my day by quoting me for Raikkonen :)

    1. likewise for Rosberg! love it!

  25. I wouldn’t have put Kimi 9th at first, but the more I think about it the more I agree with Keith. At most I’d put him 7th, ahead of Massa and Rosberg, but that’s it. I personally would not have put Alonso in the Top 5 instead of Barrichello, but Nando did do a good job with a pile of junk.

    I would have put Heidfeld ahead of Kubica too. Bit surprised at how high Trulli’s ranking is as well.

  26. Your top five is a little different to mine, Keith. I actually found it quite hard to rank the drivers this year because I value consistency quite highly. As a result I could think of several drivers who didn’t deserve a top-five spot, but finding those who did was more difficult!

    In the end my top five is 1) Button, 2) Barrichello, 3) Vettel, 4) Glock, 5) Heidfeld. Hamilton, Webber and Raikkonen were all too inconsistent in my view.

    1. Red Andy

      When Hamilton’s car was back at the front, he scored more points than any other driver. That to me makes him no. 1. Shame you cannot see that.

      1. I agree. A highlight was Bahrain. In probably the worst car on the grid he fought for a podium

      2. Hamilton did well when the car was at its best, but he was very inconsistent towards the beginning of the season. I prefer to look at the year as a whole rather than picking and choosing the bits that make my preferred drivers look good.

        1. Well you put Button first and he was the most inconsistent driver on the grid lol

          1. He scored points in all races but one, despite the competitiveness of the car varying from race to race. That’s pretty much as consistent as you can get.

          2. I think Hamilton should be top 5 but perhaps the lower part of top 5. He did some stunning races but at times made errors too.

        2. Wrong, he outdrove a poor car and never stopped pushing. Your view must be clouded.

          1. There’s pushing, and there’s spinning multiple times (China), binning it in qualifying (Monaco) or on the last lap of a GP (Italy). Those are mistakes that should not be handwaved away.

          2. And yet you DO put Vettel rather high in your silly list.

            4 crashes/spins and many more driving errors and a persevering lack of overtaking when it matters. All while driving a car that SHOULD have won the championship.

        3. Yeah, and Button only won because of a monster of a car in the first half of the season. Your reasoning is inconsistent.

          1. One that Barrichello wasn’t much use in, but otherwise you are right, that guy’s reasoning that Hamilton and Raikkonen were “too inconsistent” simply doesn’t hold up. Nor does his belief that Webber was inconsistent when compared to the other three Brawn/Bull drivers.

      3. I agree with you, when Hamilton had his car sorted he outpreformed everyone on the grid. Also I think jenson should only just be in the top 2. because to be honest from the start he had the best car and eventually fell over the winning line.
        5.Alonso(how he got in Ill never know)

        1. I think Alonso deserves top 5 as the car was basically a dog and he beat his teammates and fought just for the odd point.
          I have felt very sorry for him it’s not good for the sport when the driver widely regarded as the best is stuck in a rubbish car for the best part of 2 seasons.

  27. Its hard to beleive Alonso isnt in this list. Im a die-hard Alonso fan, and I have to admit this was his worse season ever. Just because he outpaced two terrible drivers throughout the year doesnt mean he did a great job this year.

    Raikkonen should be ranked higher than ninth? How is Trulli ranked higher than Glock? This ranking system of yours is terrible.

    1. That there’s fightin’ talk

    2. Raikkonen should be ranked higher than ninth? How is Trulli ranked higher than Glock?

      I can’t really respond to your comment if you don’t tell me why you think I should have rated them differently.

      1. Soumya Banerjee
        17th May 2010, 14:57

        So Keith,it was kimi’s fault that he suffered all those mechanical problems at Sepang,Catalunya and China? With an engine whose only 90% he could use? All these teammate comparisions are crap. If they count for so much then we could just abolish the rankings system and base the championship on the difference of points between teammates.

  28. What was Heikki’s best results? I don’t remember him even getting a podium… and in a car that won 2 races with Lewis.

    Fissi and Glock got a 2nd place with Force India and Toyota. I’d put Heikki behind these guys.

    I don’t think Alonso has been that good this year, I’m a huge fan but I think he’s given up a bit as he knows he is off to Ferrari. I guess he just has that reputation of being the best on the grid at the moment.

    1. Heikki had no podiums in 2009, best result 4th at Valencia.

  29. I put Kimi lower than 9th, his results were better than drivers above him but I expected much more from a Ferrari-driving world champion.
    Everyone has their own ranking system.

    …if someone can coax it out of him more regularly.

    That’s why I’m still hoping he signs up to drive for Ross Brawn. Mercedes may change the culture but all the same guys will still be there who got the best out of Rubens and JB.

    1. I put Kimi lower than 9th, his results were better than drivers above him but I expected much more from a Ferrari-driving world champion.

      But the Ferrari wasn’t that fast?

  30. Surely the only one that we cannot push aside as we rewrite the season to praise our favourite driver is Jenson Button. He is the World Champion, No 1.
    He is also the only driver who has decided to pit himself against the toughest competition that he can find for next year – though I wonder what did go on at Brawn to send Rubens to Williams and cause Jenson to leave without a backward glance.

  31. That is rubbish, how is massa ahead of kimi

    Load of junk man

    1. Because over the nine races they did together Massa was the better driver. And I don’t think anyone doubts Massa is a better driver than Fisichella or Badoer.

      Raikkonen and Massa fared similarly in qualifying and their finishing rate was the same. But Massa generally finished higher, reflected in the fact he scored more than twice as many points as Raikkonen.

      1. Keith you miss the fact that Kimi’s retirements (Spain, Nurburgring) occurred by and large after the introduction of the double diffuser (after Barcelona), when the car was half way capable of scoring points. Massa may have missed a few with retirements in China and Australia, but we’re talking minor points not podiums. Kimi suffered from bad strategy – in Malaysia with the unsuitable tyres, in silverstone where he got to Q3 (unlike Massa) but got stuck behind Nakajima for two stints whilst Massa waltzed to fourth with no traffic to perterb him. Turkey he got a bad start from the dirty side of the grid despite outqualifying Massa on his ‘home’ circuit with more fuel.
        I really don’t think there was much between them, despite what the points tally suggests. The fact is Raikkonen had the lion’s share of the bad luck and suffered from mechanical failures when the car was competitive.

        1. Indeed.

          His car broke down so often it just wasn’t funny.

          He was keeping up with Massa in Germany even though the engine wasn’t running properly and then Sutil rammed into him.

          First two races the cars failure was masked by an untimely end of the race, but Raikkonen ended up in the pits instead of the finish line.

          The thing is. You don’t see Kimi fuming about it on TV. So the uneducated fans think it’s ridiculous that Raikkonen is eating ice cream.

          Indeed maybe that is ridiculous. He should have been throwing stuff around and cursing at everybody for messing up his car yet again.

          I guess that what Italians call detached personality. They expect you to freak out when something goes wrong.

        2. Roland,

          That is rubbish, Massa was on course for a podium finish in Australia when his engine failed. Actually you should watch the start of that race again, just brilliant opening few laps for Felipe (unlike 2008).

          And to say that he ‘waltzed’ to fourth in Silverstone from 11th on the grid is just laughable. You presumably see no merit in Felipe outpacing Kimi in the first stint with more fuel on board either.

          It is true that Kimi beat Felipe in Q3 with 2 extra laps fuel in Turkey, but why the hell did he finish the race ninth while Felipe finished sixth? I’ll tell you why, just watch the start of that race again.

          Kimi’s victory in Spa was most impressive – no one disputes that – but I think it’s only fair to judge two competing pilots when they’re racing together. Who knows what Felipe would have done in the second half of the season when Ferrari clearly improved?

      2. not really true, Taking into account mechanical failure and monaco, you are wrong. They were pretty equal, plus the strategy massa had on most races was significantly better. I doubt whether massa was in line for a victory this year also.
        As for the likes of Hamilton and Alonso in the top five, Alonso was next to no-where all year all be it in a dog of car. But the ferrari was also pretty rubbish. However we all know how bad the ferrari was to drive and kimi hauled it onto the podium many times. Lets not forget Hungary, Spa, Valencia, monza, monaco and if it wern’t for webbers move at brazil he could of had another podium.
        Lets remember Australia where Hamilton CHEATED! Monza where he through it in the wall and the many spins at malaysia. Lets be fair the Mclaren was the best car arguable for the later half of the season.
        I think your opinions are really bias and based on selective memory.

        1. Hamilton didn’t cheat in Australia. He lied to keep his rightful place.

          It was bizarre that he managed to get on the podium with that car. Credit were credit is due.

      3. Soumya Banerjee
        17th May 2010, 14:59

        How was Massa the better driver if Ferrari’s wrong choice of tyres for Kimi in Sepang and all those unreliabilities did him in? Load of crap.

  32. Keith, again, what do you have against Kimi?..and I think Heidfeld should be ahead of Kubica..

  33. Kimi should have been above Massa I agree but no way Kimi did anything better than Alonso. Kimi had a good car in the middle of the season which allowed him for good results. Alonso had a terrible, dreadfull renault from the start ’till the finish of the season and still managed to get that dog of a car in Q3 most of the time, so he didn’t just smash his teammates but he put a car that’s worth place 14 or lower in the top 10 multiple times. Also Singapore, where he finished third in the underdevelloped renault? I mean come on. Kimi didn’t do anything special ad besides Massa his teammates were probably even worse than the ones Alonso had.

    Also I disagree with Heidfeld below Kubica. Heidfeld is a different racer, he’s not the spectacular superfast driver Kubica is, he’s the consistent driver who you don’t see all race and still finished 5-3rd and since consistency is definetly a key, I’d put him above Kubica this year.

    As for the driving this year: 1 Vettel 2 Hamilton 3 Button 4 Alonso and 5 Webber. Just my 2 cents. He won 4 races, a feat Red Bull didn’t accomplish once before he joined and he’s shown great potential and speed. Consistency is still a bit lacking but so is Hamilton’s (crashing in the final lap and some other mistakes he shouldn’t have made) so I’d put Vettel above Hamilton this year, especially since he destroyed Webber most of the time (and Webber is way better than Kovalainen). Also Vettel has shown great progress, most mistakes were in the first half of the season, the second half he was unbelievable. Button was pheanominal the first half of the season. He didn’t make any mistakes and the fluent driving style he has is really great. Alonso, as I said above, respect for the way he’s been pushing. Webber was OK but good outclassed by Vettel almost all the time in Qualifying and in scoring/racing as well. Also note the way he trashed his RBR into the wall when they were suffering from bad breaks whilst Vettel finished with the same car and the same problem.

    1. Destroyed Webber?Webber was quite close to Vettel… Certainly closer than Heikki was from Lewis

  34. Fisichella is an odd one isn’t he? When he first started out he was absolutely one of the fastest and most exciting young drivers out there but he just never followed through on that promise with real success.

    I was discussing with a friend drivers greatest wins, each driver has his day of days and I think it says a lot about Fisichella that his days of days have not been wins, Spa 97 and 09 spring to mind (and all at Spa – never noticed that before)

  35. Wow. Well, this is probably unnecessary to say because 40-something people have already pointed it out but I also think Kimi has been ranked rather bizarrely low.

  36. You mention Hamilton who managed to score 5 podiums. Yet Kimi is ranked 9th while he also managed to score 5 podiums in a much slower car. Kimi managed to outscore Webber, Button and Barrichello in the second half of the season in a much slower car. That should perhaps tell something even if Massa wasn’t there. Ferrari’s last update on that car was in Germany, throughout the year the car was about the 4th to 6th fastest, Kimi did a remarkable job with that car. It is incorrect to say that he wasn’t so good in the last races. Kimi did a remarkable job in qualifying at Brazil, and could even perhaps have scored a podium if Webber didn’t drive into him and if his car wasn’t set on fire, but still he managed 6th. At Abu Dhabi it was clear from free practice that Ferrari and Renault were properly the slowest cars.

    Kimi also wasn’t so bad in the first part of the season he had engine problems in China. He retired from the Spanish and German Gp, while he suffered from Ferrari strategy more then once but perhaps more notably in Malaysia and Silverstone. At Turkey kimi broke his front wing at the start of the race, so he lost too much time. In Bahrain and Monaco where Kimi didn’t have any problems he did a very good job, he also outqualified Felipe throughout the year. He didn’t do nearly as bad in the first half of the season as some people seem to imply. Perhaps it should also be noted that Kimi was fuelled heavier then Felipe ever single time they both made it to Q3 (just like Heikki), while at the same time he also always pitted fist, this makes the strategy of going heavier virtually redundant. It seems to point to the fact that Kimi’s car was most likely over the minimum weight, especially in the first half of the season.
    So for me personally Kimi was one of the best during the season, the Ferrari engineers even praised him a lot for many of his drives, and they should know what constitutes an exceptional performance in the F60, better then most.

    Timo Glock surely deserves to be higher then Heikki in the very least. He scored more then one Podium while Heikki wasn’t able too, with a good car in the end.

    It is also difficult to really rank Rosberg, he was very consistent but he often had quite a good car during the season, yet he wasn’t able to score one podium, while Kimi scored 5 for example.
    The same principal also applies to Alonso, his car was very slow in the last races, but during the year the Renault was often just as fast as the Ferrari’s. It wasn’t one of Alonso’s best seasons by his high standards.

    Wasn’t Kimi ranked higher in the first half of the season rankings? How could he now be ranked lower after some of his performance in the second half of the season?

    Oh well, I guess it is always very difficult to do these rankings, and people will never really agree on the rankings. :)

    1. keith read this (comment by melanie) and then tell us how you based your ranking on kimi??

  37. Pedel to the Vettel
    26th November 2009, 14:17

    Thanks keith for quoting me my ego has grown 1000x now and my dad just keeps telling me to shut up :p

    1. Pedel to the Vettel
      26th November 2009, 15:00

      I agree with these picks you have keith i would of rated Roseberg higher, maybe in the top 5 only because he always was able to overtake other cars and get into the points with a half decent car all season.

      but rank 7 is a good place none the less.

      IMO with the top 5 left i would have this:

      5th:Hamilton-He only started to do well when his car was sorted, at the start of the season he was as good as Luca Badoer. He also lied in Australia to gain points so he doesnt deserve to be in the top 3 let alone the top 5. He should be DSQ like Piquet jnr because the only difference here is Hamilton kept on driving after he lied Piquet jnr didn’t. A cheats a cheat nothing else.
      “If this was a entertainment top 25 i would put Hamilton number 1 without a doubt for pushing alot, nothing else.”

      4th:Alonso-Was performing better then Hamilton at the start-middle of the season until the Mclaren was finally sorted. Alonso still managed to get a podium and points with the 5th worst car on the grid for the overall season. And the only driver to get his car to the maximum (Jackie Stewart said that.)

      3rd:Vettel-Outperformed Webber 80% of the time but his lack of experience being at the front didnt help his season with the mistakes and cracking under pressure. it didnt help with all the cars to take over for him were 99% of the time KERS powered aka impossible to overtake.

      2nd:Webber-Could of done better then Vettel but kept on getting in trouble with the stewards ruining good chances to get on the podium. Should of been second this season not Vettel.

      1st:Button-Solid all season how can he not win this? he was calm and controlled 85% of the season, he had his chances took them all the time. Both Red Bulls failed at doing this when it mattered, thats why he won the season, and not with the help of the double decker diffuser “period”.

      1. should have => should’ve

      2. Hamilton-He only started to do well when his car was sorted, at the start of the season he was as good as Luca Badoer

        Hmmmm. How can I put this… No.

  38. The problem is it’s very easy to slag Button off for a poor second half of the season despite being excellent in the first half, and likewise it’s very easy to note how Raikkonen was excellent for the last third of the season but was mediocre for most of the first half.

  39. Massa was in a good shape, but his crash in Hungria…

  40. Kubica I still believe should be lower than Heidfeld. Yes, he did when the car was up to it, but that was only a few occasions. I would describe Kubica’s year as lazy. And Rosberg should be ahead of Barrichello.

    1. Agree with describing Kubica’s year as lazy. He wasn’t even frustrated with performance of his team which was completely opposite to previous season when he was trying to pull up whole team to fight for highest prize (and we know what BMW did). It wasn’t spectacular year of him but I’m convinced he will be back in 2010 only if he’ll get decent car (not necessarily the fastest). I hope that Renault will not reach the bottom next year.

  41. Fair enough, Hamilton smashed his team-mate and scored some good results in the second half of the season, but its a shame that he has made it into the top 5 in a way, some drivers such as Raikkonen, BMWs, Rosberg had poor cars at some races and this has dragged their rank down, and although yes Hamilton was indeed blindingly quick in the second half of the season compared to his team-mate, lets remember Australia – liegate, Shanghai – 3 or 4 spins, Silverstone – another spin in a poor performance, Germany – all or nothing at the first corner lunge, Italy – crashed away a podium.

    If Button, Barrichello, Webber, Kimi had made this many errors, we would be lining up to complain about how they deserve to be put down the list against drivers like Kubica and Heidfeld!!

  42. I don’t completely agree with the top 5 Keith has picked but in my opinion they should be in the following order:

    1) Button
    2) Vettel
    3) Webber
    4) Hamilton
    5) Alonso

    As I’ve said many times before, I think Button is a second-rate driver, but this season – I must admit – nobody else Keith has picked to top 5 was better than Button. I still can’t believe Alonso made it to top 5 and Barrichello didn’t.

    1. I don’t think anyone would have got 26 points out of the R29 other than Alonso. He has been on form every race of the year. Its only because he has had a very bad car is why some are not noticing him.

    2. If Alonso was driving for Brawn this season, he would have more than 1 pole, 2 wins and 3rd in the championship to his name, almost certainly. Likewise, in the Renault Rubens would still have beaten Piquet and Grosjean, and perhaps bagged a podium, but not as many points as Alonso over the season.

      1. And your comments are based on the following facts: (fill in here)?

        Alonso is like Rosberg. They both seemed very good this season but no one really knows if they were, because they didn’t have good team mates to compare with. Piquet and Nakajima are disasters and Grosjean didn’t get any testing. Also, Alonso had his teams full support, Grosjean and Piquet didn’t get that kind of luxury.

        1. Where are your facts then my friend?

          I was just stating my opinion, which I’m sure is the purpose of this section :)

      2. If Alonso was driving for Brawn this season, he would have more than 1 pole, 2 wins and 3rd in the championship to his name

        If Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Kimi, were driving for Brawn this season, they would have more than Button, and if Webber, Kubica, Heidfeld and maybe Rosberg, were driving for Brawn this season, they would have at least the same than Button.

  43. Lol, Keith really hates Raikkonen. Bizarre to put one of the top 5 performers of 2009 on 9.

    1. I’m sorry, but it does look like that. How can a driver who scored 1 point less than Hamilton in a much slower car in the second half of the season and by virtue of this outscored every other driver on the grid, be classed so much lower than the same Hamilton? That reeks of bias, either for Hamilton or against Raikkonen, or a bit of both. Similarly, while Alonso may have driven to better results than his car should have allowed, so did Raikkonen (and equally perhaps Massa of course).

    2. Well I’ve put my reasons for not rating him as highly as you do about as plainly as I can. When he had a decent team mate (Massa) he was usually not as impressive as him. He did have a patch of good results but not having Massa there to compare him against makes it difficult to rate him much higher. The drivers that are ahead of him impressed me more and/or in different ways.

      I don’t hate Kimi Raikkonen, but if you believe I do there’s not much I can do to persuade you otherwise other than point out I have been sympathetic about him in the past as well as critical: http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2009/05/07/being-kimi-raikkonen/

      1. “After Ferrari halted development on the F60 Raikkonen’s form dipped again at the end of the season, with a particularly disappointing final race at Yas Island.”..what?Ferrari had halted development since Germany, in July..he had the same car since July, yet he managed podiums and a win, at one of the most driver-skill oriented circuits in the world, and the best on the calendar..it’s not like he had the fastest car in a drag race..HE was the one who got the first points and podium for Ferrari this season, not Massa (not bashing Massa, I think he’s a hell of a driver)..in Brazil the guy had high-concentration petrol in his eyes for most of the race, yet he raced to the finish, and in the points, again, with one of the least developed cars at that stage..I’m not saying he should be at the top of the list, but I am saying that you do have a grudge against him, and for what it’s worth I think you should at least come clean (“come clean” is too harsh, but you get the point) and say why you dislike him so much instead of making weak and irrelevant (and at some level, pathetic) arguments against him..you saw Fisico have that blinder of a race at Spa, how many points has he racked up in the subsequent races at Ferrari?..anyway, if you put Kimi so far back why is Alonso in the top 5?because he kept his mouth shut this season, not having bad-mouthed Hamilton, Britain’s national hero?..I’m sorry for not being too impassible and objective, but some of your ranking criteria is a bit odd to say the least..and I’m not the only one saying it

      2. I’d expect you to see the difference between a failing car and a failing driver, but from your rank I can only assume that you made up your ranking looking only at the race results.

        There was a reason why Kimi was performing poorly during the first half of the season (car failures, strategy failures).

        Kimi outqualified Massa during the races they were together and seeing how qualifying is Massa’s real forte I’d say that says a lot already.

        In the races where both cars made it across the finish, Raikkonen was ahead of Massa twice (Bahrain, Monaco) and Massa ahead of Raikkonen twice (Turkey, Silverstone).

        I wouldn’t know where to rate Massa cause he simply didn’t do enough races. He made some pretty stupid mistakes, but also had some nice drives. He also suffered from several car and strategy failures. The whole first half of the Ferrari season was a mess. Hardly something you can rate the drivers on.

        Either way, when the car and the strategy finally did start working, Kimi took a whole slew of podium places and even a win. Often fighting against several faster cars all through the race.

      3. Fernando and lewis had decent team mates? Did they had 4 car failures?

  44. “…his customary victory at Spa”…???? (this sounds like a clue to finishing a bit higher than 9th)

    General Comment: Don’t remember a season with such inconsistent performances, especially Button, but also Barrichello, the above mentioned Kimi, even Vettel had some very “off” races. Nico never lived up to his Friday/Saturday pace (though that was always suspect of course). Even Fisi was at the front in a “poor car”, and then at the back in a “good car”, all explainable to some extent…but still unexpected. (And for me, I always thought Jarno displayed a generous amount of equanimity, over his career, and then there was Brazil…what was that all about? (job insecurity?)

    And if you talk about overall team performance, which we aren’t I know, BMW gets to ride-the-donkey-into-the-sunset. WOW, at the end of last year they were going to challenge for the championship, and at the end of this year they were out the door…even managing to lock it after leaving…no return possible even under a new name. Ignominious exit.

    So, Keith, kick Nico, a favorite driver of mine, down a bit, and Kimi up a touch. (Looking forward to the top 5.)

  45. I was disproportionately excited when Keith quoted me in the memorable moments article, and now another one! Thanks Keith, you have now made my day twice this week!

    No one is ever going to agree on these rankings; personally I just enjoy reading other people’s opinions if they are well thought out and eloquent, which the majority here are :)

    1. He quoted me in both of these rankings bits too! :)

      1. wow you were quoted by someone who doesn’t know how to be fair, excellent, great news!

        1. I take it you don’t agree with Keith’s rankings then theo? Kimi fan by any chance? I don’t agree with them all either, but I don’t feel the need to call Keith’s character into question just because we have a difference of opinion about F1 drivers’ performances over the last season.

          1. I don’t agree with them all either, but I don’t feel the need to call Keith’s character into question just because we have a difference of opinion about F1 drivers’ performances over the last season.

            Totally agree. I find some comments above rather offensive.

        2. wow you were quoted by someone who doesn’t know how to be fair, excellent, great news!

          Look, I don’t agree with Keith ranking Kimi down at number 9 either, but give the hard-working Keith Collantine a break, since he’s entitled to his own opinion.

          1. Keith is in no way claiming that this article is stating facts, merely that this is his opinion as to how the drivers ranked this season. Several commentators on this site would do well to learn the difference between facts and opinion.

  46. Kimi fans won’t be happy unless he is number 1 as they see him as the best F1 driver ever to exist. In my opinion he is very over rated

    1. Terry Fabulous
      27th November 2009, 4:38

      Indeed TommyB

      If Kimi were actually as good as his fans see him… then he wouldn’t have been sacked.

  47. overall good rankings for most drivers. there are a few i would switch around, as would everyone else. but your explanations are spot on in my opinion. forget the conspiracy theorists (ie. kimi fans)

  48. The whole ranking system is highly subjective, and I disagreed with most of the rankings so far. This is what I would think its like, but I think we will have people arguing with this one as well

    25. Nelson Piquet – (No explanation for the cry baby)
    24. Luca Badoer – (He was never worthy of a drive in 2009)
    23. Nakajima – (Started all the races.. yet zero points)
    22. Sebastian Bourdais – (Was creamed by rookie Buemi)
    21. Romain Grosjean – (little credit due to no testing)
    20. Jaime Alguesari – (same as Grosjean)
    19. Heikki Kovalainen – (Never impressed even with a quick mclaren)
    18. Vitantonio Liuzzi – (Did good for coming in mid-season, but never made it to the points)
    17. Adrian Sutil – (Showed promise but always managed to screw things up)
    16. Kamui Kobayashi – (Exciting, but two races was too early to rank him higher)
    15. Giancarlo Fisichella – (His Spa performance was great, but he should have stuck it out with Force India)
    14. Sebastian Buemi – (Was impressive everytime his car was competitive, but not as consistent)
    13. Robert Kubica – (BMW did not live up to the hype .. nor did Robert with Brazil being his only saving grace)
    12. Nick Heidfeld – (Was consistent and made no mistakes)
    11. Jarno Trulli – (Toyota gave him a competitive car for many races, yet was not able to capitalise during the race)
    10. Timo Glock – (Didn’t qualify as well as his teammate , but put in solid race performances)
    9. Fernando Alonso – (Its easy to look good when you have terrible teammates, but Alonso just did not race up to his regular high standards)
    8. Felipe Massa – (Pushed the Ferrari hard to get the most out of it, wish he was around till the end of the season)
    7. Rubens Barrichello – (Could have done more with a Brawn. Too many screw ups in the first half of the season)
    6. Nico Rosberg – (The most consistent driver on the grid. Always ended up gaining places during the race, but still hasn’t been able to show pace in qualifying)
    5. Mark Webber – (Quick yet unlucky)
    4. Kimi Raikkonen – (Super impressive although the Ferrari wasnt updated, but came to life a little too late)
    3. Jenson Button – (He is the champ, and did well for the first 6 races, but slacked for the last 10 races)
    2. Lewis Hamilton – (Never gave up even when Mclaren’s pace wasnt there. As soon as Mclaren got the pace, he was on the ball)
    1. Sebastian Vettel – (Engine failures, bad luck and small mistakes ruined a WDC for F1’s youngest superstar)

    1. Yeah, I guess everybody sees it differently.

      For instance, there is no way I will agree with you on the Vettel pick for first. 4 races where he crashed into opponents or the barrier or spun out costing him effectively the championship. I’d hardly call that “small mistakes”.

      Besides that, indeed he made several “small mistakes” like flying off in Turkey (thus losing the race to Button and Webber) and cutting the pitlane in Singapore (landing himself a pitlane speeding penalty).

      The rest of the list looks pretty much ok though :)

  49. You are wrong with Barrichello. He lost the second place in the championship at the last race because of the small accident at the beginning of Yas Marina circuit. Also don’t forget the fact that he was the second driver on his team as Webber on Red Bull but Mark finished fourth instead. A great achievement for a pilot of his age! Rubens is still number one and he should be the champion right now, we all know that! Accelera Rubinio!!

    1. He should have been well clear in 2nd place, just like Button should have been well clear in 1st.

      It wasn’t just to do with a ‘small accident at the beginning of the Yas Marina circuit.’

  50. Nikos, you might disagree with me, but I thought Brawn was by far the superior car this season (speed, consistency and reliability wise). I think if Vettel and Webber were driving for Brawn, they both would have fared better than Barrichello. But I guess thats just my opinion and thats why I couldnt rank him higher than seventh.

  51. finally a fair assessment of how horribly average a driver raikkonen has become since his fluke of a championship win thank you Keith. just wait for Alonso to get a couple grand prix under his belt in the 2010 season for Ferrari then they can look back and say ya we used to have that crap driver his name was…. rai………………….um well can’t remember his last name but he had a females first name and he was finish well screw that guy we have Alonso

    1. good for you jason, welcome to f1. when are you going to watch your first race?

  52. What’s Alonso doing in 5th (or wherever he ended up in the Top 5)? While it’s folly to compare him to his teammates, he went nowhere fast this season, and his vaunted 6 tenths didn’t show up.

    I would’ve ranked it as such:
    5. Barrichello
    6. Raikkonen
    7. Massa
    8. Alonso
    9. Rosberg

    Anyhow, my guess for Keith’s Top Five is:
    5. Alonso
    4. Webber
    3. Hamilton
    2. Vettel
    1. Button

    I agree with #1-#4.

  53. I can’t really respond to your comment if you don’t tell me why you think I should have rated them differently.

    Because over the nine races they did together Massa was the better driver. And I don’t think anyone doubts Massa is a better driver than Fisichella or Badoer.

    Raikkonen and Massa fared similarly in qualifying and their finishing rate was the same. But Massa generally finished higher, reflected in the fact he scored more than twice as many points as Raikkonen.

    Well I’ve put my reasons for not rating him as highly as you do about as plainly as I can. When he had a decent team mate (Massa) he was usually not as impressive as him. He did have a patch of good results but not having Massa there to compare him against makes it difficult to rate him much higher. The drivers that are ahead of him impressed me more and/or in different ways.

    Unfortunatly, it isn’t always so simple, Kimi didn’t do so badly in the first half of the season as the points suggests or as some people seem to think.

    Lets look at it a bit more closely:

    In Australia Kimi crashed out in a good position, according to the official FIA documents it was a retirement, but Kimi said it was his own mistake, so lets say it was his mistake. Felipe retired from the race, he was behind Kimi. But generally it was a very messy race for Ferrari, and they had problems with their tyres and graining.

    In Malaysia the team made a mistake with the calculations for qualifying and Felipe was therefore out in Q1, and as a result his race was compromised. Kimi was running very well, until, Ferrari placed him on dry tyres, in the end he had to change his tyres three times and as a result ended up last.

    At China Felipe was running very well, and he was up to 4th place until he had to retire. Kimi reported problems with his engine very early on in the race, and he subsequently finished in 10th place.

    Bahrain was Ferrari’s first trouble free race for both Kimi and Felipe. Kimi did well and ended up in 6th place, while Felipe ended up in 14th place. At this stage Ferrari still didn’t have their updates so there were a few teams who were faster.

    In Spain Ferrari finally received their updates, so they were finally a bit faster. Felipe did really well in the race and was going for a 4th place until the fuel incident, and the team told him to slow down, in the end he lost two point, but at least he still managed to score some points. Kimi on the other hand had the same problem as Felipe had earlier in the season, the team miss calculated the times in qualifying and Kimi was out in Q1. In the race he retired due to hydraulics failure.

    Monaco was the second race in the season were Ferrari didn’t have any problems for both drivers at the same time. Both Kimi and Felipe did very well during the race Kimi ended up in 3rd and Felipe in 4th. Kimi also received the lighter chassis first for this race, as he is heavier then Felipe.

    In Turkey, Kimi and Alonso had a racing indecent at the start of the race, as a result Kimi broke his front wing and as a result he had to change his front wing, he lost too much time and his race was compromised. In the end Felipe did well and ended up in 6th place, while Kimi ended up in 9th place. Felipe also received the lighter chassis for this race.

    At Silverstone Kimi qualified in the top ten, but as a result he had to go with lower fuel. Felipe didn’t make it into Q3 so he could fill up. It has always been the best strategy at Silverstone to run for longer with more fuel. The exact same thing also happened to Alonso in this race, and even Piquet was able to beat Alonso by just going for longer with more fuel. The fact that Kimi ended up in 8th place while Felipe ended up in 4th place wasn’t so much because of anything that Kimi did or didn’t do, it was more or less decided by the strategy of each driver. But at least it was another trouble free race for both Ferrari drivers!

    For the German GP Felipe received a suspension and rear wing update, and Kimi had to wait for it this time. Felipe had an extremely good race, scoring his first podium of the year. While Kimi was up in 4th place but he had to retire due to debris stuck in the radiator. It was also in Germany were Ferrari had their last real updates.

    At Hungary Kimi received the same updates as Felipe had for the German GP. Felipe was struggling a bit in all of the free practices. But yes of course, Felipe also had his very unfortunate accident at that time.

    If you really look at the results of Kimi and Felipe’s time together in the first half of the season, you will see that they only had three races together, that was actually trouble free for both drivers.
    Bahrain, Monaco and Silverstone, in Bahrain and Monaco Kimi ended up in front of Felipe, and in Silverstone Felipe ended up in front of Kimi.

    Kimi also did quite well in qualifying, he out qualified Felipe even though he was always heavier then him.

    What I am saying is that it is actually quite hard to tell what was really going on in the first part of the season, the points certainly doesn’t tell the whole story in this case.
    And Ferrari made so many mistakes at that time, they rarely had any trouble free races together. Personally I feel that they were properly very equal, or in truth there is just to little to really judge their performances relative to each other.

    It is a bit unfair therefore to write off, all of Kimi’s good performances just because Felipe wasn’t there. Ferrari stopped development in Germany, while some of the other teams really kept up a strong pace of development. So the rest of the grid were still present, why not just use that as a comparison?

    It was quite obvious that Red Bull, Brawn, and Mclaren where faster then Ferrari from Hungary until Abu Dhabi. But during that period there were others who were also often faster then Ferrari, like Force India, Williams and Toyota.
    And yet Kimi was able to score only two points less then Hamilton, who was the best points scorer in the second half of the season, and Kimi also outscored others with faster cars like Button, Webber and Barrichello. So even if Felipe wasn’t there and even if Kimi’s teammates struggled because of the circumstances, it is still quite impressive that he often managed to beat others in faster cars.

    He finished 2nd in Hungary, 3rd in Valencia, 1st at Spa, 3rd at Monza, 10th at Singapore, 4th in Japan, 6th in Brazil and 12th in Abu Dhabi. That is quite an impressive record for someone who were driving the 4th – 6th fastest car for most of that time.

    It is also not entirely correct to say that Kimi didn’t do well at the end of the season. At Singapore Ferrari were really slow, Domenicali and Chris Dyer stated as much. Kimi did well in Japan again, as the track suited Ferrari better then in Singapore. In Brazil Ferrari looked quite lost in free practice, but Kimi did really well in qualifying, in the rain. He started 5th, but after Webber broke his front wing, and his car was set alight in the pits, he went back out in the last place. In the end he still did quite well to finish his race in 6th place despite all the incidents.
    Abu Dhabi was another difficult track for Ferrari and also for Renault it seemed like they were actually the slowest cars on the grid. This was already Fisi’s 5th race in that car, he should have at least gotten a little bit used to the car by that time. But Kimi still managed to out qualify him by one second.
    Grosjean who was obviously a rookie, qualified only three tenths slower then Alonso for example at Abu Dhabi after 5 races. So Kimi properly did quite a decent job in Abu Dhabi, even though he only ended up in 12th place.

    As for Kimi’s win at Spa; to imply that Kimi’s win at Spa is noting out of the ordinary, is also a bit unfair I think. Red Bull, Toyota, Force India and most likely also Brawn were faster then the Ferrari at that track. How often do we see drivers winning races in the 4th or 5th fastest car on the grid, and it is not like it was raining or something. Kimi was the only one this year who won a race in not one of the fastest cars on the grid.

    I do appreciate your rankings, it isn’t a easy job and some people will always disagree. :)

    1. At Silverstone Kimi qualified in the top ten, but as a result he had to go with lower fuel. Felipe didn’t make it into Q3 so he could fill up

      Even if a driver qualifies for Q3, he can choose his own fuel load. There is no upper limit on the fuel that can be carried by a driver in Q3.

      It was Kimi’s foolishness not to fuel himself heavily. It was clear that Ferrari was not going to be anywhere in top 5 unless it was on fumes. Kimi could have and should have chosen a more realistic race-day strategy, instead of trying for Saturday glory.

      1. you’re mistaking him with Alonso the 12-lap-fuel-load-so-I-could-at-least-take-a-pole guy

    2. Very good overview of the races.

      Hopefully this will help people realize that there is more to it than simply looking at the score boards.

  54. Barrichello could have finished the championship on second place if not he had those starting problem at the start of the race in Australia & Belgium.

  55. Why still Alonso didn’t showed up?Honestly Barrichello should be in the top 4 other than 6.The top 5 consists of Hamilton,Webber,Vettel,Button & Alonso.I do agree the fact that he is probably the best driver out there,on his performance in 2009 I will not have him in my list in the top 5. (APOLOGY IF I HURT ANY ALONSO FAN)

  56. Why still Alonso didn’t showed up?Honestly Barrichello should be in the top 4 other than 6.The top 5 consists of Hamilton,Webber,Vettel,Button & Alonso.I do agree the fact that he is probably the best driver out there,on his performance in 2009 I will not have him in my list in the top 5. (APOLOGY IF I HURT ANY ALONSO FAN)

  57. Sorry I posted the same thing twice.First it told me that I had an error,so I pasted it again.

  58. I am an Alonso fan, and I completely agree that his 2009 performance has been his worse so far. He just did not give a crap about Renault this season, and after he signed the Ferrari contract he wasn’t even giving it 90%. I agree that other Alonso fans, like myself, might say that he outpaced his teammates, but come on piquet is probably the worst driver I have seen in a long time, and Grosjean had no time to adapt to an F1 car. During a race, Alonso was not looking at closing the gap to the cars in front of him, instead he was rather content with just consolidating his position and going for a couple of points.
    I hope he gets his motivation back next year, and gets his third WDC.

    1. If Ferrari give him the right car then I too believe there will be no lack of motivation from him.

  59. HI, I am also an alonso fan.
    Regarding the “motivations “, in 2005 kimi fought for the WDC. In 2006, when mclaren wasn’t good, he dint deliver , he dint even push because he had already signed to race for Ferrari in 2007.

    Now consider Alonso, he fought for WDC in 2007,went to Renault in 2008,fought hard to garner 2 wins(singapore is his win despite the crash gate scandal), finished 5th overall. He thought that Renault would provide him with a good car for 2009. But they didn’t. He still fought hard taking a pole, a second row start in china and finishing in q3 more often than not. Even he is entitled to be somewhat indifferent when he knows that truck called Renault isn’t drivable.

    Regarding Lewis pushing hard, he knows he has a contract with mclaren till 2012. And he needs to continually exhibit to MClaren that he is still good. He had things to prove to Mclaren that’s y he pushed.

    We all need to keep one thing in mind that if the car isn’t good, no driver can do anything with it ,be it senna, shcumi, Alonso, kimi or ham..

    Alonso might not deserve to be in 5th but he still deserves to be ahead of barichelo, kimi should be 6th

  60. I expected Kimi to be in front of Nico.Funny thing is when there were speculation that he will be replaced by Alonso,he came to live.With wins in Spa around with some podiums,Ferrari didn’t gave him the car to challenge for the third place in the constructure.But Ferrari (if I am not wrong) were the first who started developing 2010 car,so cheers for them.

    1. Actually he came to live when Ferrari finally gave him a car that didn’t break down most of the time and when they stopped making strategic blunders.

  61. This rankig stinks!

  62. Gill. I agree the Renault was a bad car this year, but in 2003 and 2004 the Renault was not much better than it was this year. Yet Alonso went out there and was trying to win races and was driving aggressively. In 2009, although Alonso made it to Q3 consistently he wasnt looking at taking risks and pushing the cars in front like he always does. His Singapore podium this year was more to silence critics about last years performance, unfortunately he did not have that kind of motivation for the rest of the races during the season.

  63. Alonso 5th?? what a joke, he did not much special this season… kimi is better than 9th..

  64. Alonso did not a thing 2009
    1st December 2009, 14:26

    Kimi 9th?! F1 Noobs is better name for this site.

  65. Raikonnen’s ranking is quite bizarre. Have a look at the relevant details of every race in the first half of the season and you’ll find why he reached mid-season with fewer points under his belt than Massa.

    Plus, Hamilton has not had a comparable team mate in Heikki unfortunately – this complicates his ranking also, does it not?

    I certainly think Lewis’s first half was less than impressive and personally Kimi should be ahead of him in any case.

  66. If you want to see how the drivers should be ranked it’s easy just look at the championship standings. I find it kind of funny that everyone heaps praise on Hamilton but shoots down Raikkonen who scored only one less point than Lewis in an under-developed car as compared to the other drivers who had update after update to work with. By the way Massa only had one podium in Germany.

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