2010 half-term driver rankings (Part 2)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Shanghai, 2010

The second part of the driver rankings covers positions 12 to six.

Read on to find out how I ranked drivers including Heikki Kovalainen, Adrian Sutil and Felipe Massa, long with more of your comments from the forum.

And share your thoughts on the best drivers of 2010 so far in the comments.

12. Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Istanbul, 2010

After a bruising couple of seasons at McLaren, Kovalainen seems much happier at Lotus and has been the stand-out driver among the new teams over the first half of the season.

When there’s been a scalp to claim – be it Nico H???lkenberg at Shanghai or Vitaly Petrov in Montreal – Kovalainen was the man who took it.

And a terrific effort in qualifying at Canada brought him within two tenths of out-qualifying Kamui Kobayashi.

Lotus are gradually getting closer to their rivals – they were 3.15% off the fastest time of the weekend in Valencia, which was their best so far this year. Look to Kovalainen to take the fight to the likes of Williams, Toro Rosso and Sauber.

It’s a joy to watch him having such a great time at Lotus. No one expected much from the new teams but Heikki is really delivering. On paper, his results don’t look like much but I think that’s more to do with the car than his driving. The smart money’s on Kovalainen to score the new teams’ first point.

Compare Heikki Kovalainen?s form against his team mate in 2010

11. Rubens Barrichello

Rubens Barrichello, Williams, Valencia, 2010

Barrichello has been largely dependable for Williams and sniffed out points whenever they came his way – particularly at Valencia, where he finished fourth despite a lot of pressure from Robert Kubica.

But he seems to have continued his habit of making poor starts, a problem which was also evident on several occasions last year.

He had H???lkenberg comfortably handled in the opening races but his young team mate is beginning to put him under more pressure, especially in qualifying. It could be an interesting second half of the season at Williams.

Has had a average start to the season and, barring a drain cover, would have finished every race. His experience though will help Williams out of this.
Ciaran Walsh

Compare Rubens Barrichello?s form against his team mate in 2010

10. Sebastien Buemi

Buemi passed Schumacher for eighth place

Buemi has driven well despite having some utterly horrendous luck. The worst of which was his weekend in Shanghai, where he first suffered the fright of both front wheels coming off his car at full speed during practice, then was rammed out of the race by an out-of-control Vitantonio Liuzzi.

Buemi was also hit by Kobayashi on the first lap in Melbourne and Pedro de la Rosa on lap one in Barcelona.

In the last two races he finally showed what he was capable of. He led briefly in Montreal, carefully defending his position from Fernando Alonso, and later passed Michael Schumacher with a firm, clean move that few others managed to replicate. He picked up points for eighth place and more came his way at Valencia.

Looked good last season and has been unfortunate with reliability. Another who needs to have a bit of luck and could have a good second half to the season.

Compare Sebastien Buemi?s form against his team mate in 2010

9. Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Shanghai, 2010

Up until his crash last year, Massa’s form was on a clear, upward trajectory. For some reason he has not had the same sparkle in his driving this year – whether it be because of his injury, the length of his time out of the cockpit, the arrival of a new team mate, the car or something else.

He’s done a competent job, usually staying out of trouble and collecting points in all of the first seven rounds. And there’s been some fine passes to, taking on Jenson Button at Sepang and springing a surprise attack on Adrian Sutil in Montreal.

But he’s rarely had anything to trouble Alonso with, out-qualifying his team mate just twice on merit.

At Australia and Malaysia it often seemed Massa was holding his team mate up as Alonso recovered from earlier problems. In China Alonso barged past his team mate on the way into the pits rather than get stuck behind him again.

That told the story of the balance of power at Ferrari this year.

What happened to the man that has beaten the then-world champion by 22 points in the same machinery? Given how he matched R??ikk??nen, I expected him to be around Alonso at least, but he can’t get closer to him on qualifying. He has some problems with tyres, yes, but I believe he should have gotten around it as his team mate do not suffer from the same problem.
Guilherme Teixeira

Compare Felipe Massa?s form against his team mate in 2010

8. Adrian Sutil

Adrian Sutil, Force India, Melbourne, 2010

Too often scrappy last year, there’s a new maturity evident in Sutil’s driving and he’s often been both quick and aggressive.

He’s finished in the points in the last five races and put an excellent pass on Buemi in Valencia which eventually allowed him to finish sixth.

At Sepang he held off a charging Lewis Hamilton for his best result of the season so far – fifth.

Team mate Liuzzi has rarely had a look-in in qualifying – Sutil holds the upper hand by seven to two.

Sutil and consistency – two things I never thought I’d link! He seems to have cut out the sloppy spins and collisions which have blighted his F1 career so far, without losing his speed.
Ned Flanders

Compare Adrian Sutil?s form against his team mate in 2010

7. Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Istanbul, 2010

Despite the W01’s problems seeming to get worse rather than better, Rosberg has scored points consistently and leads the better-equipped Massa in the points standings. Five top-five finishes and a pair of podiums are more than his car deserve.

He only failed to finish in the top ten in Spain, where he struggled to get to grips with the longer-wheelbase W01. He now seems to have got over that problem and is back in front of Michael Schumacher once again.

But as Renault and Force India put the team under ever more pressure, life may only get tougher for Rosberg this year.

The key positive for Nico is that he is soundly beating Schumacher. However, it seems that this isn’t doing as much for his reputation as previously expected. He will need to do better than two podiums if he is to emerge as Mercedes’ leader and true long-term bet, rather than Vettel or Kubica.

Compare Nico Rosberg?s form against his team mate in 2010

6. Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Valencia, 2010

For Alonso the wilderness years are over and he’s finally back with a top team. Bahrain ran according to plan, with a debut victory for his ne team. But it’s not gone quite so well since then.

That’s partly been down to some poor luck. He wrestled with a damaged gearbox in the punishing heat of Sepang, yet was cruelly robbed of a points finish by an engine failure while he was busy finding a way past Button. Valencia was the most extreme example of Alonso’s misfortune, losing a likely podium finish due to the deployment of the safety car.

But, while his speed and race-craft make him as formidable a presence on the track as ever, he’s made too many costly mistakes.

The collision with Button at Melbourne, the jump start at Shanghai, and the oh-so-costly crash in final practice in Monaco have kept him from points with which he might be leading the world championship.

The drive in Malaysia was very special, an there have been flashed of brilliance. But Alonso is a double world champion at what should be the very height of his powers. The age is at is often when a driver is at their very fastest they’ll ever be, he should not be making so many mistakes. His comeback drives are special, but he shouldn’t be making them so often.

Compare Fernando Alonso?s form against his team mate in 2010

The top five drivers of 2010 so far will be published tomorrow. To make sure you don’t miss it you can subscribe to F1 Fanatic for free via Tiwtter, RSS or our email subscription service. Click here for more information.

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119 comments on “2010 half-term driver rankings (Part 2)”

  1. So, the Top 5 are Button, Hamilton, Vettel, Webber and Kubica? I would agree with that, my ranking being 1. Hamilton, 2. Kubica, 3. Webber, 4. Button and 5. Vettel.

    Its hard to disagree with your order for 12-6 Keith, though I’d be tempted to have Rubens in front of Buemi.

    I agree that Kovalainen is looking good this year and certainly deserves to be in the top half of the rankings, but I can’t help wonder if he is another Fisichella or perhaps Frentzen in the making – performing near miracles in a midfield or uncompetitive car, but for whatever reason can’t cut it when he is in a top car and pushed into the spotlight.

    1. To be honest I would put Sutil in front of both Alonso and Rosberg. Other than that its pretty spot on.

      Im guessing the rest of the order is:

      #5.Mark Webber
      #4.Sebastian Vettel
      #3. Jenson Button
      #2. Robert Kubica
      #1. lewis Hamilton

      1. For me, I would swap Webber and Vettel, mainly because of who I consider to be mostly to blame for the Turkey incident.

        The other three are a trickier proposition. Kubica has had some great drives to get points his car shouldn’t really allow him to get. Button showed how smart, driver-led strategy can get you wins. And Hamilton, in addition to having some great drives through the field, was the one who broke RBR pole streak.

        So, I think I would rank them (from 1-5): Hamilton, Button, Kubica, Webber, Vettel.

        1. Thats pretty similar to me then. I mainly marked Button down because his qualifying has been pretty poor on the whole, and I don’t think he can win the championship before he sorts that, even though he has been impressive in the races.

      2. I agree about Sutil, but I think Webber has shown more than Vettel this year.

      3. miguelF1O (@)
        7th July 2010, 21:30

        i think both mclaren drivers werent that good specially cause of the controversy

      4. miguelF1O (@)
        7th July 2010, 21:33

        nobody remembers the cheating yes but shouldnt be someone on a poor car to be 1st

      5. I’d put Button behind Vettel and Webber. Other than two good and fortuitous strategy calls, he hasn’t been all that impressive in the cockpit. Hamilton has soundly beat him on pace so far, especially in qualifying. While Hamilton’s able to qualify the car in the top-3, Button has yet to put it there. His race pace has been quite good, though.

        Hamilton and Kubica are definitely 1-2 right now. They’ve been far and away the best drivers this year, considering the car their each driving.

        1. miguelF1O (@)
          8th July 2010, 0:42

          yes i agree with you but…last weekend looked very bad but your classification is completly fair

      6. Considering the expectations from the start of the year I would have it as this:

        #5. Sebastian Vettel
        #4. Mark Webber
        #3. Lewis Hamilton
        #2. Jenson Button
        #1. Robert Kubica

        1. With a possibility of Mark being above the McLarens.

  2. I realize Kubica is in inferior machinery, but still his performances have not been as stand-out as Alonso’s. Respectfully disagree…

    1. Fernando has been unconsistent this year. Blame the car, blame luck, blame him for those costly mistakes, but Kubica has been brilliant so far, and he has scored just 13 points less than FA. On an inferior car.

    2. But I think Keith’s point is that if Alonso was driving as well as we have seen him do in the past, he wouldn’t have to make so many stand-out drives.

      The other four drivers in the top five have each won two races, but Kubica got a couple of well-deserved podiums in a car that should not be anywhere near the sharp end of the grid.

      And Alonso has made too many mistakes, which have cost him dearly. That’s why I think Keith is right to rank him 6th.

      1. Kubica also didn’t make so many mistakes.
        Alonso was poor to date. That’s a fact.
        Or maybe Nicholas was thinking about Lewis?
        In that case a agree.

    3. miguelF1O (@)
      8th July 2010, 0:43

      i understand what you are saying cause alonso won a couple of races with bad renault machines

  3. bets on Mark and Kubica to top the ranking?

    1. Very poor odds. Kubics will be 2 or 3, Webber below that.

      1. Webber suffers a bit too much from the “red mist” to be rated in the top three, I’d put Kubica as first, followed by Hamilton and Button.

        Vettel and Webber are joint 4th because of the several instances of brain fade both RBR drivers suffered from this season…

  4. zarathustra
    7th July 2010, 17:50

    You must be joking Nicholas. Kubica is the man of the year alongside with Hamilton (I would put them both in 1st place).

    1. What’s so great about Kubica then? The Renault is faster than expected maybe, but he qualifies that car on P7 to P9 and depending on how many cars ahead of him crash or break down, he finishes slightly higher.

      He just does his laps and that’s it. No fantastic drives or great overtaking. It’s like he was contaminated by the Nick Heidfeld virus and now can only just “bring the car home”.

      1. marius van listt
        8th July 2010, 12:41

        …well. TV does not show all. Last race KUB was side by side with Jenson for more than half lap and he overtook Mark and jens at same time. That was grant! And many other fights within top drivers. They know he is stubborn and very precise. Quali… he often gamble. Poker boy. Still… respect to your opinion.
        P.S. Excuse my English. It is not my language.

      2. But who is there for Kubica to overtake?
        He’s always just behind the RBRs and McLarens that are way faster.

  5. miguelF1O (@)
    7th July 2010, 17:52

    top 5
    of course this would be a fair rank but im guessing dont know why although the scams and the obvious handicap ham will be 1st dont think he would need such advantages that are provided to them but mclaren wants to win no matter what

  6. If I rank the drivers based on the tone of the reviews listed here, I come up with


    There was nothing negative said about my top three here, but still they come in below those who get stick for mistakes and anonymous performance. Alonso is alone in getting a read out a list of errors, and he tops the list. I can’t understand that.

    Judging from these reviews I am surprised that Rosberg and Kovailainen did not make the top 5, because I’m fairly certain that the two RBR drivers, Hamilton and Button will not come away with a clean sheet. The bottom line is that there is absoutely nothing to shade the performance of Kovalainen and Rosberg.

    1. And Kubica will be on top, deservedly so. From Australia to Valencia, he has been relentless and clean. The fact that he keeps his trap shut post race instead of either beating his chest or letting fly some ridiculous whinge about what other people did to him shouldn’t detract from that.

      1. Kubica or Hamilton. Hamilton has been driving really rather better than his points give him credit for, consider that he was robbed of two podiums. An for much of the season his car has been third fastest.

        Regardless, one or the other. My order would be


  7. You’ve got the top 5 spot there Keith.

    5. Vettel – Typical German driver, really fast driver, not a very good racer, which is why he’s at number 5. A bit controversial perhaps ;)
    4. Kubica – My man of the season so far. A win would’ve budged him up to number 3 ;)
    3. Webber (I still think he’ll win the world championship this year)

    Hamilton and Button – too close to call. I’ll give to Button. Even though he’s as quick as Hamilton at best, he’s easily been the most intelligent driver this year.

    1. Josh1999.94
      7th July 2010, 19:30

      I would agree that Vettel is not a very good racer. Can’t really think of an overtaking move he has made so far this year apart from trying to get past mark in turkey and failing!
      I put kubica 2nd, but you’re right, he could have and perhaps should have done better in monaco race, but you can’t overtake there so…

    2. Button has been nowhere near Hamilton’s pace. Hamilton has killed him in qualifying, and he’s shown to be unquestionably the quicker driver in races when his strategy isn’t compromised or he’s not in conservation mode.

      Button’s qualifying pace has left MUCH to be desired. His race pace has been good, but not outstanding.

      1. You can’t rely on speed alone to win the championship, you need to use your head in the races. Its how Alain Prost won the championship in 1986.

      2. Hamilton has killed him in qualifying

        Actually when we last looked at qualifying data, Button and Hamilton were the most closely-matched drivers on the grid in terms of qualifying lap times:


        I haven’t got the exact bang-up-to-date figure to hand but I believe they are still the most closely matched pair in qualifying and the average difference is around three-hundredths of a second. That’s far less than, for example, the gap between Alonso and Massa.

        1. miguelF1O (@)
          8th July 2010, 0:51

          yes i acknowledge that the mclaren team is one of the most balanced on qually pairing with redbull but ham is always a couple of hundreds faster

        2. Brickles speaks the truth.

          Keith, your methodology on qualifying has its merits of capturing overall relative performance, but it masks the actual race by race advantage or disadvantage. Further, the total at your link was only after six races. If you examine the deltas, race by race, up to now, it is clear that Hamilton is dusting Button on Saturdays to the tune of about .241s in the last five races. That is real money this year—when that may be the gap between Hamilton and the slower RedBull:

          Hamilton minus Button — Qualifying Times
          Bahrain: -.455
          Australia: excluded
          Malaysia: + .652 (should be excluded, but whatever)
          China: +.055
          Spain: -.162
          Monaco: -.205
          Turkey: -.348
          Canada: -.415
          Valencia -.241

          1. I mean, Paige. Paige speaks

          2. Mr. Zing Zang
            8th July 2010, 3:14

            The point is though: if Button were an elite driver he would be within hundredths of Hamilton ALL the time and quite frankly, He is NOT. He had only beat Hamilton when Hamilton cocked up on three occasions; Australia, China and Malaysia.
            Simply put, Button’s true speed cannot beat Hamilton’s true speed.

            Extending; as two team mates they are not even close. Button should have never allowed Hamilton to beat him so soundly in qualifying. That alone puts him a spot similar to Massa In my opinion.

          3. your methodology on qualifying has its merits of capturing overall relative performance, but it masks the actual race by race advantage or disadvantage.

            I also consider the time gaps as well, I referred to them in the first part of this series as well as in this article:

            Robert Kubica and Adrian Sutil giving team mates a hard time in qualifying

          4. Why are you saying excluded and should be excluded RE Button’s two best qualifying performances against Hamilton?

          5. Matt, Keith excluded Australia because they were not both in Q3. Malaysia was the rain situation where they were both way down the order thanks to idiotic strategy.

        3. Keith, Whilst what you say is correct, closely matched or not, it 7-2 to Hamilton – Now thats a big margin; between 2 WDC’s!
          Comparing Alonso to Massa is NOT the same.
          Remember, the whole point is that most people think there is not a lot between Jenson and Lewis. That same cannot be said of Alo and Massa.

          Imagine if Lewis had beat Alonso 7-2 in qualifying halfway through 2007? What would we be saying about that this time in 2007?
          What exactly is the point in looking at the qualifying margin? We might as well start comparing Vettel’s to Hamilton’s.

          Based on this, and the fact that Jenson ahs been approx 2/10th – 4/10ths down on his team mate on race pace, i think Paige is justified in using the term “kill”.

          1. My thoughts on that are in part three which will be up shortly.

          2. Qualifying is just not everything… Senna beated Prost in year 1989 14:2 !!! in qualifing, but still Alain won the title…

    3. You contradict yourself mate…

      You say Kubica is your man of the season so far…and you don’t rank him with no. 1

      Think about this…

      1. I wanted to put Kubica at number one, he’s been brilliant this season. But he needed the car to REALLY perform to take advantage of his driving talents.

        Perhaps the second half of the season will see a different story

    4. Yeah, he is so intelligent, his brain only works in wet weather…right??

  8. Can’t agree with Nico better than Alonso.

    Rosberg has been simply stellar this year. If not for the mistake at turn 13(I think) at Shanghai, he could have won there. Whereas Alonso has made plenty mistakes, like you mentioned.

    I would also put Rubens ahead of Buemi, but it is marginal between the 2.

    For the top 5, I predict
    1. Hamilton
    2. Kubica
    3. Webber
    4. Button
    5. Vettel

    Webber and Button have been pretty even this year IMO. Could swap them. Vettel should be 5th based on first half alone, but I am sure he is going to be the biggest threat to the Mclarens for the remainder of this season.

  9. As for the top 5…

    5. Vettel, very fast yet very immature, without some stupid mistakes and technical failures a sure bet for WDC
    4. Webber, the guy who many have sent to retirement showed he can beat everyone. Some sloppy starts, some flying.
    3. Button, for the very fact that he wasn’t devoured by Hamilton as many, including myself, suspected and for great racing intelligence which his partner lacks.
    2. Hamilton, with some SUPERB drives, the kind of “best of the best” racing, pretty much same stuff Alonso did however with less sour grapes along the way. Not number one, because of his rants, childish behavior and frequent lack of race brain.
    1. Kubica, extreme consistency, EVERY time top 10 in Q, worse result 11 and just because he got himself tangled with Sutil, his average race result is actually higher than his average grid position. Exceeding the potential of R30, completely thrashing his teammate, successfully defending from likes of Hamilton and Schumacher, above both Mercedes drivers, one Ferrari and If Alonso doesn’t come with something special, soon above both Ferrari’s. Want to bet that he will almost singlehandedly beat MGP in constructors championship/?

    Final remark, Yes, I am a Pole. At least I gave some justification, unlike some people who just randomly put the name of their favorite/native driver at the top just for the sake of it.

    1. Josh1999.94
      7th July 2010, 19:34

      Kubica has been fantastic. He’s just signed for renault for another few years hasn’t he? I think it’s a big mistake – if he was in a better car this year, he would have blitzed the rest of the field.

      1. I’d have to agree that Kubica hasn’t suffered any brain fades like the others, kept his nose clean and has hauled the car far further up the grid that it has a right to be. So Kubica at #1 would be ok with me. I’d then go Webber, Hamilton, Button & Vettel.

    2. Mr. Zing Zang
      8th July 2010, 3:17

      Put Heidfeld in the Renault and the picture would look quite different.

      1. marius van listt
        8th July 2010, 12:46

        continue please…

  10. Regarding Massa, I’d feel betrayed if I were him.

    He sacrificed an year, put himself on hold for a season early in his career, in order to drive for Ferrari.

    He went on, humble, to be the teammate of his master Michael Schumacher, from whom he learnt a lot.

    In 2007 he struggled, alone, for fourth place.

    2008, after a foul start, he grew up to the level of fighting for championship.

    Ferrari took that 2008 championship away from him, with stupid mistakes like the ones in singapore, the blew engines and reliability issues.

    He deserved it, and he proved to be mature enought to fight for it.

    2009 came. He retained his form up until the accident, just as you said, Keith.

    But Italians are easy to forget, so easy to put aside those who helped the team and gave his heart. (mind yoy, that’s not racism. I’m Italian, and I see how everybody here forgot all the good Schumacher did for the team.)

    They brought in Alonso, implicitly relegating Felipe Massa to be the second driver, once again.

    In his place, I would have lost all the faith and the trust in the “scuderia”. I’d feel betrayed.

    They owed him.

    That feeling might only have increased when, in china, Alonso “bullyed” him in the “pit stop entrance accident”. Ferrari say nothing wrong in that maneuver, and it was yet another shot to take from the young Felipe.

    1. Personally I think Massa should feel downright grateful to Ferrari.

      In 2006 they gave him a seat when pretty much no-one thought he was deserving of a seat at that team.

      In 2007 there were some errors and let downs but Felipe made mistakes too like at Malaysia and there were times when Kimi simply outpaced him.

      In 2008 there were mistakles and failures both sides of the garages. Felipe had a disaster at Australia, Silverstone and wasn’t great at Malaysia. I always felt that he drove the best that year but you can easily say if he hadn’t made those mistakes he would have been champion. It’s easy to go through the failures on ferrari’s part where Felipe was not to blame but all in all it wasn’t a perfect campaign and you have to make the best of what you’re given.

      2009 he was strong as ever. Then that crash. Ferrari could have shown him the door but they gave him a chance.

      2010. A new Ferrari contract. Equal status and opportunity. China – Alonso seized the initiative it wasn’t illegal or against the rules. It may not have been polite but taking the iniative is what makes champions. Felipe could have defended better.

      1. Agree with Steph.

        Massa is easily the most improved driver on the grid among all those who have raced since 2007.

        But to say that he was ready to be team-leader in 2010 is wrong. His 2010 would have been very very different if not for that crash. Remember, from the 3rd race of 2008 till his crash, he was the best overall driver on the grid. (Hamilton was handicapped by a terrible Mclaren).

        And if not Alonso, who could Ferrari have got then? Kubica didn’t set the world alight in 2009. Vettel was contracted to Red Bull till end of 2011. Kimi was more than willing to leave F1 after being beaten by his team-mate for the very first time in his career. Who was left then?

      2. Summs it up pretty well on Massa’s case Steph. I know you like him, but your pretty tough on him and don’t give him undue credit.

        I do think he might still improve this year, or pop up again next year.

        1. Thank you BasCB. I expect or hope even that with a bit more time he’ll get better but it’s just a waiting game. I find the prospect of watching him up against Alonso for two and a half years absolutely fascinating though but I am a fan!

          To DaveW now

          “Massa should take some pages from Hamilton’s book, regarding how to handle Alonso, and take his opportunities to undermine and annoy him as the incumbent driver. Alonso’s achilles heel is his ego and his related paranoia, which can be exploited with only passive measures. But Massa strikes me as too much of a nice guy. We know where they finish.”

          Maybe you’re right and it isn’t part of his character. He doesn’t play games, if he’s unhappy he’ll sulk a little while then cool down lol
          However, I don’t think there’s much Massa could do with mind games. He’s been mostly slower than Alonso, his behind in the championship, Alonso seems (although frustrated) at ease with himself and we’re also making asssumptions that Alonso has learnt anything at all from 2007 when actually, he’s probably more mature now or at least clever enough not to fall into the same trac. Plus, even if Alonso did lose his temper (slim) he isn’t going anywhere. He is a breath of fresh air and to some extent, their future for a while. Massa may be quick enough to compete with him but they need a champion and someone who knows how to get titles and can work them hard.

    2. That is a compelling case for Massa. However, they gave him a new contract. So they must like what they have.

      Perhaps they like that he causes no trouble. Massa should take some pages from Hamilton’s book, regarding how to handle Alonso, and take his opportunities to undermine and annoy him as the incumbent driver. Alonso’s achilles heel is his ego and his related paranoia, which can be exploited with only passive measures. But Massa strikes me as too much of a nice guy. We know where they finish.

      1. Massa is like Vettel. Give him the fastest car of the field and he can get pole and win from there.

        If the car is not (by far) the fastest you need drivers like Hamilton, Alonso (and Raikkonen) to wring some more out of it and overtake cars on track.

        Makes perfect sense for Ferrari to keep Massa since obviously they feel they can build the fastest car again. Just as they did in 2008. If not they have Alonso to at least stay in the hunt and not look completely silly.

        1. True to some extent Patrickl. His time in 09 and sometimes at Sauber showed he doesn’t always need the best car although Alo is certainly getting that bit extra out of the F10 this year.
          Massa isn’t on the level of Alo or Ham for overtaking but he’s shown in races like Aus 07, Can 09, Silv 07 etc that he can fight back. I’m not saying Vettel can’t overtake but that he needs a bit of work on that area.

  11. Have I read well? Alonso’s collision with Button at Melbourne was his fault? Button hit Alonso from behind and it’s Alonso’s fault? Then why Jenson (still a gentleman) waited for Alonso after the race to apologize to him?

    1. I think you need to watch the incident again…… Button was not far off alongside Alonso and Alonso steered into him. I do not think he did it on purpose though but he should have given more space.

      1. I really think you need to watch it again. Button is not alongside Alonso. Schumacher and Alonso are alongside each other. Button is more than half of a car behind Alonso. He’s in an impossible line, Alonso isn’t invisible you know? He has Schumacher on his left, he has just one possible route. Button should have lifted and that’s all.

        Anyway I think it was racing. But to blame Alonso for that is just too much. If there was anyone to blame that should’ve been Button.

  12. Josh1999.94
    7th July 2010, 19:24

    I really can’t disagree much with 6-24 so far, although I might say that Kovalainen deserves to be a little higher – he has been truly marvellous! I would say the top 5 are

    1. Lewis Hamilton – You can’t not put a guy who has made 32 overtakes in the first four races at number 1!
    2. Robert Kubica – He has certainly been ‘the best of the rest’, and is light years ahead of his team mate.
    3. Mark Webber – His 2 back-to-back wins in Spain and Monaco were quite brilliant drives, and he would have won in Turkey if it wasn’t for Vettel running him off the road (I know there are lots of opinions about this, but I believe Vettel was in the wrong). Certainly performing above expectations.
    4. Jenson Button – He’s made a few decent strategic decision and gambles in terms of tyres (most notably in Melbourne), but I don’t really think he’s been blisteringly fast. I like to see drivers win races on track, not in the pits…
    5. Sebastien Vettel – He’s made too many mistakes (such as running into Webber), but the wins he’s had have been pretty good…

    Anybody disagree with that?

    1. miguelF1O (@)
      7th July 2010, 21:33

      ham is a great driver but its not only the driver he has a fantastic car on straight line that gives him this overtakes button is not a good team mate to compare cause he isnt as aggresive as the normal drivers

    2. how about the overtake on Bernd Maylander?

      Hamilton overtake, but kills his tires…

      He is a very good driver, but dirty driver – for me he is the luckiest of them – he avoided so many penalties he should have got.

      1. Those guys are hilarious…

      2. Josh1999.94
        8th July 2010, 18:44

        Can’t really think of a time this year when Hamilton has killed his tyres. He certainly used to, but he has matured as a driver, and like all the best drivers do, adapted to new conditions and rules.
        I don’t think he is that dirty – yes, there was confusion about the safety car overtake, and he was punished fairly and squarely for that, but he hasn’t really don much else wrong. Weaving in Malaysia was a little naughty, but you could see that he definitely didn’t do it to block Petrov, just to break the tow, and that was obvious because Petrov was nowhere near close enough to overtake.

        And by the way, in this context, it is spelt tyres, not tires ;)

  13. You put a lot of suspense in it Keith!

    i am not sure about Buemi being in front of Rubens, on the other hand Rubens went back to having these stress-induced? start problems where Buemi only had problems with outside factors and had 2 good races in a row now.

  14. 5 – Vettel
    4 – Button
    3 – Hamilton
    2 – Webber
    1 – Kubica

  15. I spotted this quote in the Felipe Massa review: “springing a surprise attack”. Bit of an unfortunate use of language given what happened a year ago!

  16. 1. Hamilton- Unquestionably the best driver so far this year. His race pace and performances have been on a completely different level from everyone else. His qualifying pace has put the McLaren in places where Button just hasn’t been able to put it. Take away the cocked up strategy at Oz and the rim failure at Spain, and he would be pretty far ahead in the Driver’s Championship right now, which is quite a feat considering he doesn’t have the best car. There have been no mistakes from his end this year, either; all of the mistakes have come from the team either through compromised strategy or poor technical instructions (i.e. Australia qualifying).

    2. Kubica- Undoubtedly the second best driver this year behind Hamilton. He’s single-handedly made a leaner Renault a meaner and more legitimate team this year. He’s made no mistakes, he’s driven beautifully in races, and his qualifying pace has been outstanding.

    3. Vettel, Webber- Not much separates these two for me so far this year. They’ve both had the best car and perhaps not gotten the most out of it on the balance. Both have made some mistakes, both have suffered from reliability (and bad luck), and both have had moments of brilliance.

    5. Button- Had two intelligent strategy calls early in the year that led to wins, but not without a healthy dose of good fortune. Has kept his car out of trouble and benefited greatly from good luck and the pitfalls of others. Besides that, his pace has been unspectacular, at best, although he’s shown some good race pace at times. Still, he belongs in the top-5 because of his consistency.

    1. miguelF1O (@)
      8th July 2010, 0:55

      weres mark this ranks are hard to do but “His race pace and performances have been on a completely different level from everyone else.” dont know why but sure he is on a completely different level just check the decisions pending his team maybe isnt lewis fault all drivers have to able to take advantage of everything anyway he seems not to fight with the same weapons

  17. I’d perhaps jiggle Massa, Sutil and Rosberg around but because I don’t know how I would then I can’t complain!

    Rosberg – fast undoubtedly but Schumi has been out for 3 years. I still cannot judge him.

    Sutil – only has Liuzzi. Been consistent but not sure how much he’s getting out of the car. Definitely better than last season.

    Massa- in two minds how to deal with him. Whether to take in the context which has probably/possibly affected him slightly perhaps more early season when he wasn’t as race sharp (might explain why he went a bit mad early on in Bahrain no excuse mind) or just to judge him purely on speed. I’ll judge him just on speed and performance and say there’s still a way to go. I can’t make excuses for him even if I feel I’m defending the rookies, Schumi and Dlr in their circumstances, because results matter and he’s in the hardest job in the world.
    He’s earned respect for coming back and being consistent. Clearly missing an edge. Performance wise he’s dropped since the beginning to mid 09 but for the human side he’s doing ok. I’d stick him above Sutil maybe as he has the Alonso as teammate and isn’t doing that disasterously. Very close though so if we can rank you Keith I’d say so far this ranking has been your best although that could change tomorrow when we see the top guys but it seems you’re pretty much spot on for me anyway.

  18. I have been reading this site for quite some time now,
    and as far as I know Keith from his previous half term/ annual rankings I am having a feeling that he is going to put Kubica as no1.

    And from most of the responses above I have a feeling that I am not the only one predicting Keith’s choice of no1 – in many responses I see putting Hamilton as no1 as some kind of trying to influence Keith decision…

    But…, that’s only my feeling and I may be wrong of course.

    1. in many responses I see putting Hamilton as no1 as some kind of trying to influence Keith decision

      No joy there I’m afraid – the list was finished over the weekend!

  19. Welsh Chris
    7th July 2010, 22:30

    Ahem, in your write up of Rubens’ year so far you say ‘his young team mate is beginning to out him’… I sure hope Rubens doesn’t take offence at being outed so publicly!

    1. Sorry, ‘put’. Fixed it.

  20. Taking their machines into consideration and leaving my heart out of it:


    1. chaostheory
      8th July 2010, 8:10

      Thats mine top five too. A win could put Kubica on first in my ranking.

      1. Yes I would agree with that but I would have Kubica #1 and Hamilton #2 as his machinery is clerly inferior to Hamiltons.

  21. the truth is regardless of who you think is best the results as they stand at the moment are.
    you cant argue with these.

    1st Hamilton 127
    2nd Button 121
    3rd Vettel 115
    4th Webber 103
    5th Alonso 98

    no matter who you like, its the points on the board at the end of the day that say how good you are.
    regardless of how they got those points, they are the only ones that count. its a no contest regardless of what you think.
    they will only advance from here on how there luck on the day swings.

    1. its the points on the board at the end of the day that say how good you are.

      That’s wrong for several reasons including differences in the performance of the cars, luck, and the points system only covering the top ten finishers.

      1. true Keith, but i like the way there are at the moment, plus i hope they finish like this.
        now that would prove my point as well, dont you think?

        if McLaren get this up date running as it should within the next couple of races, look out Red Bull, even if they dont and the cars are still competitive, then Lewis will pass them i have no doubt about that.

        check these two Video’s out Lewis the King on overtaking.



    2. Come on… There’s something more in the nature than only digits.

  22. @Keith – Love this article theme, very subjective but overall solid work!

  23. Guilherme Teixeira
    8th July 2010, 3:26

    Funny to see how people talk more about the probable-top 5 here rather than the drivers actually ranked on THIS article…

    I just don’t agree with Rosberg being in front of Sutil – I think Rosberg seized the most of the opportunities he had in his car but he hasn’t been the same since the Barcelona upgrade. While he takes what the car offers to him, Sutil is actually doing more than his car seems capable of.

    1. Perhaps but Rosberg had some very good drives earlier in the year, particularly in Shanghai where the gap between him and Schumacher was huge.

  24. I have to say, Alonso should be in the top five, he has been unlucky a lot of the races, I think he’s been doing a better job than Webber. With the machine Webber has, he has made a lot more mistakes than Alonso.

    Kubica definitly number 1, Vettel 2, Button and Hamilton would be a tie for me at 3.

    1. Actually I was expecting a lot of people to tell me Alonso should be in the top five – I spent a while on that one.

      But, as I said in the article, those mistakes have been costly. He’s not yet back at that peak he hit in 2005/6.

      1. Yeah I think Alonso should have been in the top 5. Either Kubica or Webber should have been on P6.

        Webber is in (by far) the fastest car and yet he’s only marginally ahead of Alonso on points. Webber made some catastrophic errors compared to which the mistakes that Alonso made are much smaller.

        Kubica hasn’t made mistakes (Bahrain maybe), but he hasn’t show anything extraordinary either. He had a good pit call in Australia and in Malaysia. Other than that he simply finished. He’s driving the fourth fastest car and he’s only ahead of Massa.

        1. Kubica is impressively reliable. And very quick of course. That’s why he’s ranked so high and this is more attractive to teams than unstable drivers with sparkles from time to time. It’s impossible but it would be VERY interesting to swap him with ie. Vettel or Lewis and put him into RBR or McL. He never had an occasion to show his potential in a top car.

  25. Keith, I’ve just gotten off the phone with Ferrari – they want me to tell you they’re appealing your judgement and are requesting a five-place penalty each for Hamilton, Button, Kubica, Vettel and Webber because they expected Alonso to be competing for the title of “Driver of the Year” and he clearly isn’t.

    1. An appeal, you say? I feel a $100m fine coming on…

      1. martin bell
        8th July 2010, 9:55

        Time for you to borrow Ross Brawn’s special ‘barge board’ ruler perhaps?

        1. Maybe you should talk with Lewis. He’ll made a new rule for you in cooperation with Whiting and you’ll not be sanctioned.

  26. I’d agree with your Top 5 Keith. Myself, I’d say:

    #5 Vettel – has so much talent and has suffered from bad luck but has often been his worst enemy
    #4 Kubica – has had some great drives, yes, but has had some very ordinary ones too
    #3 Button – has kept Hamilton honest; how many drivers can say that?
    #2 Webber – hasn’t always been good but has beaten Vettel on merit many a time; some great drives too
    #1 Hamilton – alternating some great drives with conservative ones when he had to, showing he can fight from behind but also save himself for another day when there’s little hope of anything more on the day

  27. I think Massa is having a little bit of everything (his injury, the length of his time out of the cockpit, the arrival of a new team mate, the car or something else as Keith mentioned)

    To me Sutil is the man who surprises me the most, he is the surprising star this season.

  28. soulmonkey
    8th July 2010, 5:29

    5. Button
    4. Vettel
    3. Kubica
    2. Webber
    1. Hamilton

  29. I would rank Kovalainen so far this year ahead of Massa, on a par with Sutil and Rosberg. Nothing against Massa, but Kovalainen has been much more visible. As for Alonso, although I’ve always enjoyed his brand of driving, I’m not sure he deserves to be that high; though that may be an overly negative impression left by his utter helplessness with Kobayashi in Valencia.

  30. Despite what you might say Keith from your righteous perch, this is a very anglocentric top 5. To actually rate Button higher than Alonso demonstrates poor judgment.

    And to correct you – Button was responsible for the crash in Melbourne.

    1. this is a very anglocentric top 5

      If you look at the top two in the championship you’ll find that’s very “anglocentric” too. Are you going to tell me the points system is biased in favour of British drivers?

      To actually rate Button higher than Alonso demonstrates poor judgment.

      You haven’t even read what I have to say about Button yet.

      Button was responsible for the crash in Melbourne.

      Button was alongside Alonso and Alonso turned in on him. It may well have been the case that Alonso couldn’t see Button because of the high cockpit sides and the placement of his mirrors. But I don’t see how you can blame Button.

      1. Button was too far down on Alonso. That crash really was caused by Button.

        You cannot just dive on the inside of a driver and expect them to move out of the way.

        Especially not when there is a third car on the outside.

      2. Button waited for Alonso after the race to apologize to him. He just drove into Alonso’s car, that’s all. He was too optimistic.

        1. Also, he was not alongside Alonso. He was behind him, he touched Alonso’s rear right wheel with his front left wheel. Anyway, like I said, Button felt responsible of that and that should be enough.

        2. Have you got a link on that? I’d like to see what he said, don’t remember reading about it at the time.

          1. Very hard to find it now. I read it in a couple of sites. He waited until Alonso finished his post-race briefing with his engineers to apologize to him.

          2. Patrickl – I think I did pretty much the exact same search, but I didn’t turn up any reports I’d take seriously at face value. If it was just something that was put about in the Spanish press then regurgitated by some indiscriminating news aggregators then I wouldn’t place much faith in it.

            There’s no report of Button apologising in the footage of the incident.

  31. 5)Vettel: Been quick but not a very good racer, cant overtake for example when he failed to succesfully pass Webber in Yurkey.

    4) Button: Took two wins in Aus and China, both in rain and alot of it down to strategy. Has been quite close to Hamilton in quali and have exeeded expectaions.

    3) Hamilton: A brilliant drive in Canada, done some very impressive overtakes and split the RedBulls in Turkey and beating them in Canada.

    2) Webber: Many thought he wld retire and be ‘destroyed’ by Vettel. Qualified on front row in every race apart from Bahrain. Could have won three in a row if not the Turkey incident, Spain and Monaco were dominate showing he is a challenger for the championship.

    1) Kubica: Has been very consistent, proberly would have scored in Bahrain if not for incident at first corner. Two podiums in Australia and Monaco, Monaco splitted the RedBulls in quali. Dfiently my driver of the year so far!

    1. @Robocat – Webber in front of Hamilton????What did you smoke??

      Remember, Hamilton would be leading the WDC ranking by a much larger margin if not for Webber.
      Webber has the fastest car. He has lost the lead to Lewis twice before the first corner this year. Also, he has been overtaken by Lewis in the race twice this year – in a car that is overall slower than his!
      He has made some stupendous mistakes – and yes, i count Turkey as one of his mistakes, though not his fault. And please dont start on Valencia! Webber should be 4th at best!

  32. Craig Woollard
    8th July 2010, 9:37

    5. Vettel
    4. Kubica
    3. Button
    2. Webber
    1. Hamilton.

  33. I predict Keiths list as Kubica, Button, Hamilton, Webber, Vettel.

    My opinion is Kubica and Hamilton share first due to kubicas consistancy and the fact his car isnt in the top 3. And hamilton due to his great drives through the field and overtakes and general less arrogant attitude and better handling of the media (probably learning from button)

    3 Webber zero to hero, 4 Button – has been great and i believe the mclaren drivers are pushing eachother, 5 Vettel – Admittedly im not a fan at all but i feel as though he is always very smug and the finger arrrrgggghhhhhh.

  34. I’m perfectly honest here, I see Barrichello in front of both Massa and Buemi, maybe even Sutil. The pre-upgrade Williams was, to put it in comparison, as good as the 2008 Honda, and he still forced the car into the points, even in point-paying positions.

  35. i too agree with macca kubica is making the most out of that comparatively weaker renault

  36. i agree with macca kubica is making the most out of that comparatively weaker renault

  37. The trouble is Mark Webber may not get over that stupendous crash as easily as people think he will.There will be niggling doubts in his minds for a lont ime and make him over cautious.Tough Aussie or not,you have to re boot your bodies reflexes,and that takes time.

    1. Webber now has a dud chassis to contend with.
      well the one that Vettel couldn’t do anything with.

      i cant see him up there again in a hurry, and i would love to see him do more of what he’s been doing. (not flying though)

      1. That chassis was not as bad at all, it did win Vettel the Malaysian GP!

        Maybe Webber will be able to jump ahead of Vettel in it again, that would be a major blow to him, being beaten by a Webber in a chassis he ditched!

        1. now that would be F1Fantastic BasCB, plus it would really stick it to him if he could.

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