2010 half-term driver rankings (Part 3)

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Montreal, 2010

Who’s been the best driver over the first half of 2010?

It’s time to reveal the final top five in the 2010 half-term driver rankings. Find out where I ranked Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Robert Kubica below – and share your thoughts in the comments.

5. Jenson Button

Jenson Button, McLaren, Melbourne, 2010

Some expected the reigning world champion to suffer at the hands of Lewis Hamilton in 2010. Button hasn’t been quite on his team mate’s pace, but the gap is quite small and he helped himself to a pair of opportunistic wins at the start of the season.

At Melbourne he was helped by Sebastian Vettel’s wheel failure, but not before he gained a load of places with a well-timed switch to slick tyres.

At Shanghai he (and a few other drivers) avoided the trap changing to intermediate tyres too early, and managed heavy wear on the tyres late in the race to claim win number two.

Shanghai was the last time Button out-qualified Hamilton. But the pair remain the most closely-matched team mates on the grid – Button just 0.031s slower than Hamilton in qualifying on average.

He’s been very consistent, with points finishes in all the races except Monaco, where a cover left on one of his radiators cooked his engine. And he’s raced well, passing Michael Schumacher on the first lap at Istanbul and nabbing second off Fernando Alonso in Montreal.

Against expectations Button’s had a strong start to his McLaren career, one which would look even better if the guy in the other car wasn’t Lewis Hamilton.

I must admit I never thought he’d win another race again in his career, never mind two in his first four races at McLaren. OK, so Hamilton has the edge on him in raw pace, but there’s no shame in that.
Ned Flanders

Compare Jenson Button?s form against his team mate in 2010

4. Mark Webber

Webber won a incident-filled race in Monaco

Webber’s domination of the Spanish and Monaco Grands Prix – and a good portion of the Turkish Grand Prix, too – demonstrated what he’s capable of and made Red Bull’s decision to extend his contract a no-brainer.

Vettel had little response in those races, and it was clear from their notorious collision at Istanbul the frustration Vettel felt as he strived to stop Webber extending his championship lead even further.

Webber’s pole position lap at Sepang – gambling on intermediates while everyone else sought the security of full wets – was exceptional. And he looked good in the rain in Shanghai too before being bumped off the track during a restart.

Unfortunately Webber’s also hit some duff notes. He was scrappy at home in Melbourne, with several wild moments and an unnecessary collision with Hamilton. And he made a truly horrendous start at Valencia.

But when he’s been on top form this year Webber has proved too simply much for Vettel. Hopefully there will be no after-effects from his shocking Valencia crash to prevent him doing more of the same.

A hell of a improvement over 2009, when he only out-qualified Vettel twice. I wonder how much was down to his leg injury. He was flawless from Spain to Turkey and had some bad luck at Canada. But his mistakes at Bahrain, Sepang, Australia and Valencia were costly to him, as Vettel now has a somewhat good advantage over him. He is not as good over his team mate as everyone says – if he was, he wouldn’t be 12 points behind Vettel.
Guilherme Teixeira

Compare Mark Webber?s form against his team mate in 2010

3. Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber, Red Bull, Sepang, 2010

In the aftermath of Istanbul Vettel was rightly blamed by most of the portion of the world’s population not employed by Red Bull. His unnecessary move into the path of Webber ruined both their races.

But putting the incident – which will surely prove the nadir of his season – to one side, he’s otherwise driven quickly, consistently and is unlucky not to be leading the world championship.

Exhaust failure in Bahrain. Wheel failures in Melbourne and Barcelona. His anti-roll bar in Istanbul and his gearbox in Montreal. One could conservatively estimate the points Vettel’s lost to car trouble this year running as at least 40, enough to put him comfortably in the lead of the championship.

Vettel has continued to prove this year that he can scorch the opposition in qualifying and romp away to victory from the front row of the grid.

What we’ve not seen enough of from him yet is his ability to fight his way past rivals. Too much dithering behind Adrian Sutil in Shanghai allowed Hamilton to mug the pair of them.

That may ultimately prove the difference between whether he win the world championship this year or not.

Started off the season looking like he was going to get pole and win every race… if his car would actually finish. Since Webber started to beat him he looks worried and seems that it’s gone to his head a bit.

Compare Sebastian Vettel?s form against his team mate in 2010

2. Robert Kubica

Robert Kubica, Renault, Monte-Carlo, 2010

After an uninspiring 2009 the real Robert Kubica is back.

At the start of the season the Renault was the fifth-best car on the grid. Now, with Mercedes’ difficulties, it’s usually fourth. And Kubica has often exceeded the R30’s capabilities.

He’s done it partly by avoiding some of mistakes made by the front runners – like the McLarens and Ferraris that failed to progress beyond Q1 at Sepang, or the many drivers who blinked and pitted too soon for intermediates at Shanghai.

He’s done it with a breathtaking turn of speed, putting him second on the grid in Monaco and beating the Ferraris in Turkey. The gap between him and rookie team mate Vitaly Petrov in qualifying makes painful reading – 9-0 to Kubica, 0.957s faster on average (compare that to Rubens Barrichello’s 0.222s margin over Nico H???lkenberg).

And he’s done it with remarkable consistency, finishing every race in the points, except at Bahrain where he was delayed by a first-lap collision with Sutil.

Canada was his least impressive race, going off while battling with Schumacher and being fortunate to escape without a penalty for impatiently swerving around and hitting Sutil on his way to the pits.

Not being in one of the absolute front-running cars, he doesn’t face the kind of pressure to bring home maximum points without risk that the championship contenders do.

But if he was driving for one of the top teams, on this form there’s reason to believe he’d do better than several of their drivers.

Massively impressive, though the cars a definite contender – by which I mean when it’s not in Q3, someone’s doing it wrong. Still, he is driving out of his skin, and outperforming the car. Would certainly put him in the top three drivers.

Compare Robert Kubica?s form against his team mate in 2010

1. Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Montreal, 2010

In his first three seasons you could take it for granted that Hamilton would be on or very near the pace of his car, and he would fight hard for any advantage on the track.

The difference this year is how he’s tempered his speed and aggression with a little more caution than before. It’s made him a more complete racing driver.

His battles through the field in Melbourne, Sepang and Shanghai were not only some of the most entertaining moments of the year so far, they were among the most impressive performances of any driver.

At Barcelona he was on course to split the Red Bulls – something that looked unthinkable when they’d out-qualified the field by nearly a second – before a wheel failure caused by an inadequately secured nut.

His first win of the season was just reward for his dogged pursuit of the Red Bulls, spending lap after lap within a few tenths of Webber or Vettel at Istanbul. In years past perhaps a careless move for position or one too many locked wheels would have scuppered his run. But he kept it clean and capitalised when they self-destructed.

Montreal was a tour de force – an excellent pole position (the only non-Red Bull driver to claim one so far) and a pair of careful passes in high-pressure situations gave him his best dry-weather win to date.

Aside from his mystifying qualifying performance in Melbourne, and occasionally sailing close to the wind with the stewards, Hamilton is in first-class form this year. He’s not always had the faster car underneath him, but he’s leading the world championship.

He had a slow start, but it seems he now has the measure of Jenson. His recent consistency has also helped him take the championship lead. He might want to avoid courting controversy, though.

Compare Lewis Hamilton?s form against his team mate in 2010

Full 2010 half-term driver rankings

See below for links to the first two parts.

24. Karun Chandhok
23. Lucas di Grassi
22. Bruno Senna
21. Vitantonio Liuzzi
20. Vitaly Petrov
19. Nico H???lkenberg
18. Pedro de la Rosa
17. Jarno Trulli
16. Kamui Kobayashi
15. Jaime Alguersuari
14. Timo Glock
13. Michael Schumacher
12. Heikki Kovalainen
11. Rubens Barrichello
10. Sebastien Buemi
9. Felipe Massa
8. Adrian Sutil
7. Nico Rosberg
6. Fernando Alonso
5. Jenson Button
4. Mark Webber
3. Sebastian Vettel
2. Robert Kubica
1. Lewis Hamilton

F1 Fanatic Driver Rankings

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Image (C) www.mclaren.com

95 comments on “2010 half-term driver rankings (Part 3)”

  1. Hmm, not quite what I expected to be honest. I wouldn’t have Button that low, and I would probably have Webber ahead of Vettel.

    Top two I’d agree with though.

    1. That’s exactly my thought.

      1. I know looking at the standings this view point is a bit irrational, so I’d better justify it. I was more impressed with Button and Webber’s wins that Vettel’s, and at this point everyone has lost at least some points due to bad luck so I didn’t factor that in too heavily.

        Also, I feel that Vettel has underperformed on the whole this season while Button and Webber have exceeded expectations, so that probably influences my view, whether it should or shouldn’t in such a ranking.

        1. And this is exactly what I’m thinking again. Cheers!

        2. I tend to agree with you, although Vettel has a knack for producing pole positions from nowhere to show for his speed.

    2. If it wasn’t for his mechanic’s error in Monaco, Button could quite well be leading the championship. He’s made next to no mistakes.

      1. svingoville
        9th July 2010, 0:55

        wat about the wheel coming off for L.H due to a loose nut wat about when hamilton waas called into the pits 4 an extra pit stop?

        1. true. Although Jenson’s was through sheer imcompetance on the part of the mechanic, it simply shouldn’t have happened.

          The wheel nut debacle happens much more often, and is a result of racing under pessure.

          I think Jenson was a little more hard done by techinally, but Lewis certainly more hard done by for loosing the postion. I couldn’t see Jenson getting as many points in Monaco.

    3. miguelF1O (@)
      9th July 2010, 0:41

      since the first part i said it was going to be lewis but thats wrong not because of the overtakes that cars has all of the ingredients to overtake fast car fast driver but this season is painted in chrome all adversaries feel that the fia is getting out of shape in terms of racing rules if red bull doesnt wins this year its because of the cheating

      1. lettucefolk
        9th July 2010, 7:54

        If you have nothing useful to say other than ridiculous blabber, please shut up.

      2. @miguelF1O,

        You clearly know nothing about F1 and simply like to see your words on screen? Unless you have something more intelligent to write then I suggest you stop posting.

  2. Not the order I would have chosen (I would have put Button and Webber ahead of Vettel, and uncharitably ahead of Kubica too), but you’ve argued your choices very well.

    But you know, you’ve missed out Kimi Raikkonen!

    1. Agree, I would’ve had Vettle below Webber and Button ahead of the pair of them, but the way the seasons gone it’s mostly subjective between these five. Great reasoning too Keith, certainly tops Sawards bizzare an unbalanced pop.

      If they were all in even cars I’d put the championsip order as
      Reason I put Kubica below Hamilton is that I’m not sure he’d be so flawless is the preassure of a title was upon him, something he’s not realistically experianced yet. However in even cars Alonso would be well up there.

      an yay, got quoted on all three parts, go the F1F fourum!

      1. Jhonnie Siggie
        9th July 2010, 1:17

        Good order in your scenario. I would, however, always have Button ahead of Webber. Button makes very few mistakes compared to Webber and he is also more of an opportunist IMHO. Also, Webber seems to go into the back of people when the heat is on – HAM in Australia and KOV in Europe to name a couple.

  3. I agree with the top 3, but not the top 6.
    Alonso is, and has been, better than the erratic Webber and slightly slow Button who is only now regarded as something slightly more than a journeyman by dint of some very large luck in recent races and getting his butt into two cars (in the last couple of seasons) which are/were arguably above his talent level.
    I still see Button at the same level as people like Ralf/Fisi/Trulli/Kovalainen, etc, and not a true wdc.
    Come seasons end it will be Alonso v Vettel and Hamilton with Kubica as the man who most performed his machinery and Webber and Button out of the picture.

    1. No driver should be be compared to Ralf. And I’d say about the same of Trulli. He’s performed considerably better next to Hamilton than Kovalainen did as well. I think one reason that people rate Button so low is because he didn’t stand out in 07 and 08, despite the fact he had a shocking car and performed well against Barrichello.

      1. People always pick on Ralf, Along with EJ. But go back a few years and both driver and team were hot prospects.

        It’s easy to say things after it’s happened.

    2. Kovalainen was not as consistently close to Hamilton as Button has been in the same car, I think people seem to find it annoying that a not so fast consistent intelligent driver can some times get the better of the driver with the greater natural talent (Hamilton)

  4. I think I would have put Vettel in 5th and Kubica in first. Otherwise, I agree with the rest of your rankings!

  5. Have to agree with the comments, that i dont agree with the top 5. The previous countdowns have been bang on, but Id too have webber & Button ahead of Vettel (Hamilton, Kubica, Webber, Button, Vettel). Sure, Vettels won races, but he still has only proven that he needs a front row slot to win the race, where as the others have battled for positions.

    Cant argue with #1 though, Hamilton hasnt had it easy at the start of the year (his fault or otherwise) but he’s the guy whose made the most overtakes this year, been consistant and controlled, and deserves to be top of the pile at this stage.

    1. Vettle,s early season form was electric though, Tommys bang on, it looked like if Vettles car held no one would get a look in, I do rank him down for the subsequent wobbles though, although the preassure getting to him is understandable.

      1. Vettel is a very very fast driver when he is on form and things are going well. However he does seem to fall apart a bit when the pressure is on. I would also say that there a a few drivers that are much better when it comes to actual racing rather than banging out fast laps. Hamilton, Alonso seem to be the best while Button has impressed me this season as too has Webber. The biggest surprise for me though has been Kubica as I had pretty much decided in my head that he was all hype after last season. He certainly has made me take that back though this season, showing that he is a very well rounded driver. Hamilton though just amazes me, he is getting better and better each season and if he keeps this going could be world champion quite a few more times. I fear Alonso is his own worst enemy. He is clearly a very talented driver but seems to let little things get to him in a very big way. I also have heard quite a few insider stories about his arrival at Ferrari that do not show him in a good light, I do however think he is an excellent driver.

  6. zarathustra
    8th July 2010, 17:33

    1. Hamilton / Kubica
    2. …
    3. … <— (unlucky Alonso should be here)
    4. Button / Webber
    5. Vettel

    1. I dont think a jump start, a colision with button and an crashing in monaco is bad luck… I call it mistakes!

  7. The two first are no-brainers really. Have to agree. I’d step Button before Webber and Vettel though : He is really close to Hamilton and while slightly less agressive, still manages to stay a few seconds behind Lewis come the end of the race(and seems quite happy to stay so)

    1. Jhonnie Siggie
      9th July 2010, 1:53

      He is happy because he is close to Lewis and is banking on Lewis screwing up and earning some DNFs. He is also praying for some wet races as his gambles in those have paid off so far.

      He knows that LEW will clean his clock in normal circumstances.

  8. I agree with the top 5 definitely. Still don’t like Chandhock being right at the bottom though :( he’s the best of the new teams!

    Just a heads up there’s a typo on Jaime’s name in the full list of rankings.

    1. Also, I’d like to add that I think it’s really hard separating Webber and Vettel. They’ve both had bad luck, both made mistakes and both had some great races. They’re pretty much even I’d say. I’d put them joint 3rd probably.

  9. Mine personally would have been:

    5/ Vettel – consistent and let down by his car mostly (but as he’s had all the failures I can’t help but wonder if he rides the car too hard but as that is speculation I’ve kept that out of why I’ve placed him 5th). However, he’s three times tried something dangerous mostly trying to intimidate/drive into people. The China pits with Lewis, Turkey with Lewis and then Turkey with Mark. Worse still, he says he would do it again. His speed is undoubtedly impressive but his race craft needs work.

    I was very close to putting Alo in Vettel’s place but decided against it.

    4/ Jenson Button. Lewis probably beats him on raw speed but he’s read the conditions brilliants and beat Lewis on the odd occassion in quali. He lacks pace sometimes but no real blunders.

    3/ Mark Webber. Only counting Bahrain quali and the Aus rampage really against him. Besides that he has been magnificient with his form. He finished only pone placve behind Vettel at Canada despite that gearbox penalty. Valencia he went backwards and was more at fault than Kovy for what happened but he’s really shown he can be a champion this year.

    2/ Robert Kubica. Not number one and considered putting him 3rd because although he has made virtually no mistakes (which is what got him in the top 5) except maybe Canada with Schumi and that ridiculously daft dive in the pits infront of Sutil, I can’t judge his pace when he has Petrov plus that car fits him like a glove. I also think Renault deserve much more credit then they’re getting for the car, strategy and development as well as moulding the team around Robert.

    1/ Hasn’t always been on top of his game in quali. He wasn’t exactly wise publically critising the team in Aus either nor was his weaving in Mal that smart but compared to some of the goings on this year they were minor. Keith mentioned before he sometimes stays in slipstreams too long and clips cars such as Massa this year at Aus but apart from that he’s been exceptional.

    Someone once said it takes 3 years for a driver to settle into F1. This is Hamilton’s 4th and it’s by far been his best. As a Ferrari fan, he’s the one I’ve been watching every session and for a while now.

    1. Yeah, that would be my order too.

    2. “I was very close to putting Alo in Vettel’s place but decided against it.”

      I dont believe it Steph, surely your Ferrari fangirlism isn’t waning?

      I think Webber deserves to be above Vettel, he’s showing that Germany last year wasn’t a one-off.

      1. Definitely not waning but Alonso’s really pushed the car compared to Massa but has made far too many crucial mistakes. His recovery drives have generally been great but he’s made them far too often and mostly if not always, from his own doing. I like Ferrari but I can’t ignore that :P

    3. This is the order I would have gone for. Vettel’s racecraft still leaves something to be desired, enough to lower him down a few spots.

    4. felipe massa fan
      9th July 2010, 11:58

      i completely agree with you
      but this year there has been too many mistakes bye alonzo, vettel, webber and button is to unaggresive

      in 2008 it was hamilton vs massa which was so exiting and they didnt make mistakes
      i am begging to wonder if alonzo is any good

      last year kimi raikinnon was doing better in a car which was rubbish with 4 or 5 consecutive podiums than alonzo is doing now
      Redbull have just taken the exitement out of f1 The days of pure rivalry between mclaren and ferrari were much better like in 2008

  10. I think that would probably be my top five except I would put Vettel lower possibly below Alonso.

  11. swap vitaly petrov and michael schumacher and i completely agree (:

  12. Will disagree with comments and agree with Keith.

    Viewers have a short memory, and thus the only 2 memories most prominent of Vettel are of him colliding with Webber and him asking on the radio, if he should pass the cars ahead on-track or not. Both clearly wrong things.

    We tend to forget the start of the season which Keith has rightly reminded us of. He lost 2 wins in the first 2 races through no fault of his own. Somehow, in this topsy-turvy and exciting 2010 season, this fact was lost in obscurity, but Keith has rightly reminded us of it.

    Similarly we tend to forget Webber’s ordinary start of the season. He was nowhere in Bahrain and made a complete mess of himself at Melbourne. In Canada as well, he foolishly tried an unrealistic strategy. And got overtaken by 7 cars on the first lap at Valencia – which can be pinned down only on his own terrible riving.

    But somehow, all we remember of Webber is him being publicly reprimanded by Helmut Marko and rest of the Red Bull. He has become the ‘hero’ for the fans only because of that one incident.

    Fully agree with your rankings, Keith. A very honest and comprehensive assessment of the top 5.

    1. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head.

      I’m surprised that so many people would place Webber ahead of Vettel. Whilst Webber was outstanding in a few races, he has made many more errors than Vettel as already pointed out and he also went wide at turn one in Malaysia gifting Vettel the lead and ultimately the victory. I think we’re placing too much emphasis on Turkey and forgetting what happened in the earlier races.

      I completely agree with Keith’s rankings and I’m glad he took everything into consideration rather than being swayed by a few incidents.

    2. You might be right on Vettel but Webber had his race busted by team error (pit stop tactics) in Australia as well as a pit stop problem in Valencia.
      His error seems to be more about losing his cool and getting impatient in that situation (hitting Hamilton, flying over Heikki).

      1. Don’t forget that Webber can actually race and overtake, skills that Vettel seems sadly lacking. Weren’t 2 out of the top 10 overtakes Keith wrote on last year Webber passes?

    3. Yep, definitely agree with everything you’ve written.

  13. A pretty good list. Mainly because this one seems to take into account the performance of the car more than previous lists did. I.e., we need to consider not only what a driver did do but what could have been done with the machinery he had. So a driver, such as Kubica or Button, can never be no: 1 on the list if, given the same machinery, teammate, opportunity, etc., another driver would have done better than he did.

    I wouldn’t have ranked Kubica in the top three; let alone second. Just as Button has the apparent disadvantage of having Lewis as a teammate, Kubica has the apparent advantage of having Petrov as a teammate. Kubica is the only driver among the top 5 teams to have a rookie teammate. Moreover, perhaps the reason that Kubica seems to make few mistakes is that he’s not being pressurised from a being in a top team, with a top-class teammate, being in the media spot-light, etc. In fact, I’m very dubious of his talent, since his record against the less than stellar Heidfeld over several years wasn’t too impressive.

    I would have ranked Button higher. A major factor in his success, however, has been his luck. Many people talk about his great judgement of the weather. But a driver, whether Senna, Schumacher, Button, or whomever, is just gambling when he makes a decision in the cockpit like that. A driver should know what tyres are called for in the present circumstances. But he’s gambling when he makes a judgement on one lap for the next; all the more so, for the next few laps or the next stint. And Button’s calls would have either won him the race or put him well out of the points: hardly a sensible gamble for a championship contender to make. And Button is further lucky in that Lewis has been unlucky: his strategy calls (the team’s strategy calls) haven’t paid off; and that tyre problem cost him many more points than Button’s Monaco mishap. We saw Button’s luck, again, with the safety car at the last race.

  14. Expected Webber and Button to be ahead of Vettel. Lewis and Robert have put up a performance that makes it very hard to choose B/W them for top spot.

  15. vettel in 3rd??? LOOOOOOOOL
    vettel is the driver with more laps on front of the grid!!! have 2 wins but he could win more races, but had problems with the car!!! (barhain, australia)

    rosberg out of the top 5????

    wath win of both mclarens was clean and without problems, rain, tyres issues???

    1. Sorry but you lose big points for shunting your own team mate off the road and taking yourself out the race.

  16. Pretty accurate list, Keith.

    My personal one:

    5 VET
    4 BUT
    3 WEB
    2 KUB
    1 HAM

    Maybe my reasons are just based on what I was expecting from those drivers compared to what they have achieved up to now. My favorite drivers, ALO and VET are the guys who had performed much worse than expected (by me).

  17. I too wonder about placing Vettel at 3. Granted he has put in some superb qualifying runs and is quick from the front row but, as others have noted, we have yet to see him star otherwise. But my main issue with him is his aggressive chopping across other drivers. His conviction that he was clearly past Webber in Turkey is a worry and his subsequent refusal to believe he did anything wrong even more so. It almost seems that he doesn’t know the length of his car! Add to that his rewriting of the pitlane squabble so that, in his version, it was Hamilton who swerved and hit him. The ratings may be based on achievements in the season, fair enough, but as an all round driver he has still a lot to learn and unfortunately does not seem to realise or accept it.

  18. This is great to see the facts laid out and Keith does a good job with it. (Keith, I see you got your ears lowered. Nice new picture and website.)

    As I said before, Keith, your qualification metric is misleading. Button is actually getting killed by Hamilton in qualifying, since China. It’s not close, overall or otherwise. Button’s slowness is masked by the no-refueling situation, which means there is less flat out running until the final stages, but the data are clear. Last year Kovalainen was about .3 off of Hamilton overall in raw pace and we see the same now. If you take away his lucky-slash-strategic wins, he appears to be now just Hamilton’s understudy. One of the drivers ont this list should be demoted in favor of Rosberg and Button is a good candidate.

    Another might be Webber. Sumedh accurately points out that we should stop sending him flowers about Turkey. True to form, Webber has mixed occaisional shocking pace with disasterous mental errors. You even left out his Valencia crash and his ridiculous attempts to pin it on Kovalainen. That is not good enough for a WDC and he will not win one this year.

    I would have to give Kubica and Hamilton the lead in a tie. Kubica has driven the wheels off of a decent car. Hamilton has been simply brilliant in a great one most of the time but his strategic errors early in the season must count against him.

    1. Kubica
    1. Hamilton
    3. Rosberg
    4. Vettel
    5. Kovalainen

    1. The problem with your comments about Button is the what if thing.

      If we take those in account, everyone would have won more.
      – what if Alonso had not 1. jump started, 2. lost the car in monaco, 3. been stuck behind the SC and not to forget Ferrari would have sent him out on time in Malaysia and the engine would not have blown up.
      – what if Vettel’s car would not have broken down so much and he wouldn’t have thrown away Turkey
      – Webber: What if RBR had not messed up strategy in Melbourne, Vettel had not crashed into him in Turkey, the tyres would have lasted a bit better in Montreal and he would not have had the slow pitstop in Valencia
      – Same thing for Hamilton (wheel rim, Malaysia misjudgement, SC in Valencia), Button (display in Spain, leftover cover in Monaco), Rosberg (Monaco qualifying timing), Schumacher (Malaysia wheel nut, Montreal cut tyre, Valencia power steering and bad SC strategy) and the whole grid.

      So what if does not make sense too much.

    2. DaveW…. I’m not sure I’m 100% your top5, but definitely closer to my feelings. Kovalainen and Kubica definitely need a special mention for their contribution to F1 this year. I very much have mixed feelings on Hamilton. Personally, I still think he didn’t win 2008, although his performance in Silverstone that year was simply sublime. But there was another driver in 2008 that deserved the World Championship more.

      But this year? Some brilliant passing! Leading the world championship! However…. Points gifting reliability over performance once again? A lucky break or two, along with some poor decisions on his part? Still, he’s better than he was. But over a season?

      I wonder if we’re still waiting for the likes of Hamilton and Vettel to grow up and become the world champions that their raw speed suggests.

      1. hamilton has grown up and alredy is a WDC, i think he is better siuted to the most complete driver title than alonso is!

      2. @mitchibob,

        Although I did think Massa was great in 2008 I can’t agree with you that he deserved it more than Hamilton. If massa had not been awarded all those points in the infamous stewarding debacle in spa (while hamilton lost points) then he would not have been anywhere near winning. There were quite a few strange stewarding decisions that year mostly attributed to Donnelly that fell well for Massa. I am not taking anything away from him as I think he performed brilliantly but it almost seemed like Donnelly was trying to stop Maclaren winning (although we may never really know what was going on).

  19. Kieth, I completely agree with your list and analysis. However I will be a bit more blunt about Vettel’s race craft.
    I understand that he is still a young driver but he has been in the game long enough to get beyond some of the antics (Turkey and Montreal being the most recent)that have plagued him since coming into formula 1.
    Speed in Qualifying and running in clean air from the pole defines him as a good driver in an exceptional car, not a racer.

    1. “His speed is undoubtedly impressive but his race craft needs work.”
      This poster (and tharris 19) have it – he has indeed NOT developed as a racer, and has blown opportunities as much as he’s been robbed of them. Lacks wit to go with his pole-to-pole-watch-my-finger dash. With a different teammate, he’d be missing a tooth.

      1. Thank you for quoting me. To be fair, in the past Brazil 08 and 09 he did overtake. I agree he has some way to go as a racer and that has been clear at times this season which is why I personally feel I’d put him 5th. I’m not forgetting Webber’s carnage in Aus either.

        1. I think Vettel is one of, if not the most overrated driver on the grid. He is no Alonso or Hamilton. His speed is awesome but I agree that his racecraft is not particularly good. He also lacks judgement. Whenever he’s at the front on his own he’s brilliant but whenever he is mixed with other cars he gets flustered and makes mistakes. Especially when overtaking. Webber is quite similar although Vettel is quicker.

          He’s only had nine fewer races than Lewis Hamilton and Hamilton has developed hugely as a driver whereas Vettel hasn’t developed that much at all throughout his F1 career. Yeah, Vettel was in a much more inferior car than Hamilton for his first few years but I don’t think that makes a huge difference.

          And his comments after Turkey are worrying. If he truly believes he did nothing wrong then he hasn’t learned much.

          However, I still think he should be ranked third (for the reasons outlined by Keith) and his raw pace has been excellent at times. And he hasn’t made as many mistakes as Webber although Turkey was catastrophic!!

  20. HounslowBusGarage
    8th July 2010, 21:05

    Keith, Keith! What are you playing at? What is this word “strived”? It should be STROVE lad, s-t-r-o-v-e.
    As a consumate wielder of the English language, I thought you’d have that one off pat. I’m disappointed in you.
    Actually, I’m not. Silly word with daft remnants of Anglo-Saxon word endings and tenses.
    Anglo-Saxon; mix it with Norman French and then add non-codified spelling and grammar, and what do you get? The English Language!

    1. Hounslow – I think you mean “comsummate”; you should have striven to spell check. :p

      1. It’s coNsummate!!!

        1. actually, it’s consummate, there’s no need for the capital…

          (YES I’m aware why you did it, I just love needling people :D)

      2. d’oh – serves me right for pointing out others’ mistakes

        1. HounslowBusGarage
          9th July 2010, 8:32

          Yes, but I was intoxicated when I wrote it!

  21. Agree wholeheartedly, Keith. Exactly my top-5.

  22. I would of put Alonso down one, made so many mistakes, you can’t praise a great fight back when his mistakes put him there, IMO.
    Rosberg up one, driven well, as has the pressure of Schumi in the team (although maybe that has helped.) The car isn’t that good.
    Swap Vettel and Webber but move Button up one (so Vettel down to 5th.)
    Although maybe Vettel was compromised by the chassis problem, seems on it now, still doesn’t have the race craft though.

    Despite his efforts against the all out fastest driver in F1 Button is still under rated by most.

  23. I just don’t see the love for Kubica.

    I do have to agree that he is hampered by being in a single driver team. It’s like Rosberg in 2009. When you don’t have a useful team and you don’t get the setup right, you cannot just peek over at what your teammate is doing (like Vettel and Webber or Barrichello and Button).

    Other than that I think he’s simply performing at the level of the car. Renault are developing their car at a staggering rate while Force India and especially Mercedes seem to keep dropping further and further back.

    1. “It’s like Rosberg in 2009”
      No it’s not.
      Williams was 3rd car in first part of 2009 and Nico wasn’t able to make it work while Renault is now maybe 4rd and was 5/6 at the beginning.
      You don’t see it?
      Good for You.
      Haters gonna hate but that’s their problem.
      Don’t have a right setup? Or the driver was not capablle to set it right?
      I think Robert is not give a sh** about Your love lol
      Cheers hahah

      1. “Williams was 3rd car in first part of 2009”
        Actually, Toyota were well in the mix too at the beginning until slower speed tracks and then at Spain and Monaco suddenly Ferrari were in the mix with their upgrade.

        “Other than that I think he’s simply performing at the level of the car”

        I’ve thought that also but that’s just guess work from me. Again it comes down to it being very hard to judge as his teammate kis nowhere in comparison ala Nico and Kazuki in 09 also.

        1. Yeah, it’s just a feeling you have.

          1. None of us can really know how well or not he’s doing until we see a driver who’s a known quantity in the other car, but it seems to me that the unrelenting praise from his team boss can’t be that misinformed.

  24. There is nobody out there in the same class as Hamilton. He is the new Senna! He may not win the championship, or maybe he may, but watch him drive! Awesome….. and then some

  25. F1withMySon
    8th July 2010, 23:49

    I think we should give a special mention to Nico Rosberg, he’s doing a great job this year. At the start of the season we were mourning the end of his career as a serious F1 driver at the hands of The Return of the King. But so far he has driven the car well, minimized the mistakes that too often plague his races, and handled the pressure and the PR of having Michael as his teammate with respect and aplomb. I’m disappointed he hasn’t seen the podium more, or even a victory, but good on you Nico!

  26. Who still thinks this World Championship is going down to an Alonso – Hamilton showdown?

    Actually that’s an interesting point, the leader of the Championship throughout this season has yet to have anywhere near a 25 point lead, so the odds are that it could all come down to the last race. Come Abu Dhabi who will be left in contention?

    1. I think there is a strong chance of a three driver battle for WDC in Abu Dhabi. Hopefully, one driver from each of the three top teams.

  27. new found consistency? you say it like he’s never had it before. But in his first season he nearly won the championship by being the most consistent driver on the grid, finishing almost every race on the podium. He’s simply reclaimed this form.

  28. i’m still not convinced about hamilton.
    “His battles through the field in Melbourne, Sepang and Shanghai were not only some of the most entertaining moments of the year so far, they were among the most impressive performances of any driver.”
    maybe so, but only possible due to poor qualy. lately he has certainly been the best.

  29. Every now and again, one has to remind themselves that this is a British F1 site.

    1. For the comments, perhaps. But Keith is an F1 Fanatic.. don’t forget that!

  30. Charles Carroll
    9th July 2010, 1:18

    Nice work having Kubica in 2nd, Keith. I am completely on board with that. He has been very impressive with a car that is not to the level of those ahead of him in the points. He is driving the way Alonso should be, which is why he is where he is and Fernando is where he is.

  31. Jhonnie Siggie
    9th July 2010, 1:36

    I think Keith needs to be careful. Someone will call him bigoted for singling out Lewis :)

  32. I’d swap Vettel and Webber, but I’m a Webber fan… why wouldn’t I? :)

  33. The driver of that top 5 have to be Kubica because his is driving without any mistakes & I guess he is the only driver on that list who don’t have any pressure on him.

    What Button has done is truly impressive, it’s true Hamilton is better between them but he is keeping up the pace.

    If the Red Bulls were to loose the championship then they will be really have nightmares about the Turkish GP. Among the top 4 teams before the start of the season it looked liked that they will be a team that will have no trouble between their drivers but now they seems to have the trouble.

  34. Cunning Stunt 8
    9th July 2010, 3:42

    It all depends when you make this analysis. For example if this had have been before Turkey then Webber would probably be higher after his brilliant drives in Spain and Monaco and Hamilton may be a bit lower before his drive in Canada.

    There have been 5 different championship leaders, all not lasting for particularly long, and we’ve still got another half of the season to go.

    I think the fact that there is so much dissagreement on what the order should be shows how close this season is.

  35. I didn’t like Vettel before Turkey, and now personally I can’t stand him – but why is everyone ranking him fifth?

    He struggles to overtake, there’s no doubt about that. It’s not his strength. But there’s more than one way to win a race, and if his method is to blitz qualifying and proceed to be untouchable in the race – who are we to say he can’t drive as well?

    I’m happy with Button ranked where he is – good tyre management and smart racing calls have contributed massively towards his current championship position. Yes that ties in with what I said earlier, this is Button’s method as to how he goes about good results…but, at this point, it’s all been rather unspectacular. Still, he’s up there, so who am I to judge.

    And, each driver has had a hundred ‘what ifs’ so we don’t need to hear individual cases.

  36. I would move Schumacher a place or two. Other than that the list is spot on for me.

    on a side note, I would also like to see a similar ranking article for ‘The Most Entertaining Driver of 2010/09″.


  37. I think your rankings are spot on. I wouldn’t change anything

  38. 1. Hamilton – for his great overtaking moves
    2. Button – for his timely stategy & smooth driving
    3. Kubica – although he made some podium finishes, he may have maximised the limits of his car to his disposal.
    4. Alonso – still one the best in the grid, he struggles to prove himself that he’s worth it
    5. Vettel – a fast driver but sometimes gets careless.

  39. East Londoner
    9th July 2010, 11:17

    Disagree about Hamilton being top. I think Kubica and Button have been outstanding this seaason, whilst Hamilton is a lucky cheat.

  40. Kubica has always been one of the best in Keith’s rankings. If he will have a good car he might win a championship.

  41. Omar Roncal
    9th July 2010, 15:12

    My rank and my reasons
    5. Vettel (He’s under expectations, his skills are better than what he’s doing)
    4.Webber (ups and downs, needs more stable results throughout the season)
    3.Kubica (I agree he would have achieved at least a victory in another car)
    2. Hamilton (the spectacle man, but going out of the rules many times – and stewards doing nothing about it)
    1. Button (RESPECTS THE RULES and has won 2 times, when last year was going down, so he’s better than expected!)

  42. I think the ranking is too biased from the influence of the cars the drivers have at their disposal.
    If a rating like this should have any real value it should focus on the question: How would the drivers compare in the best car on the grid or the same car close to the front of the grid.
    It is also evident to someone outside of commonwealth that many from this region overrate Webber. He is not even within the 10 best drivers – too many totally unprovoked errors, bad temper and inability to be a team player. The only reason he has come within reach of Vettel, pointwise, is because of Vettels various technical problems and the issue with Vettels Chassis. From now on I think we will see Vettel draw away from Webber. But I also think that the conflict/no communication between the two drivers will cost RedBull the championship, which will probably go to McLaren/Lewis – a true racer, but still a little to wild, when testing the rules and punishments every now and then.
    Vettel is fast, but not mature enough to take this conflict, he will maybee cause more errors if pressurized by Webber again.
    The arguments for putting Alonso in no 7 is too many errors and that he was overtaken etc. But Webber has made more errors than Alonso, who clearly outperforms his teammate in the Ferrari. Webber would probably only match Massa if put in the Ferrari.
    Kubica seems to me to be the best compared to the equipment he has and makes no errors or break the rules like Hamilton. But it is correct that it is more difficult to evaluate him, because his teammate is a rookie. However Petrov is impressive, I think he will stay in F1 for some time.
    Schumi and Kobayashi is underrated due to too high expectations. You tend to forget Schumi’s ability to defend, and overtake Alonso, and jump 5 places on first lap in Valencia. Kobayashi would fare very well in a fast car at the front of the grid, not 16th.
    So my top 10 drivers, if they were all driving the McLaren, are:
    1. Kubica
    2. Lewis
    3. Alonso
    4. Vettel
    5. Rosberg
    6. Button
    7. Schumacher
    8. Sutil
    9. Kobayashi
    10. Massa
    But maybe Webber, Kovalainen, Alguersuari, Trulli, Barrichello or Buemi could also get within the 10 best if all were driving the McLaren…

  43. i think webber and vettel are so closely matched. webber was unlucky you could say in valencia and shanghai, but vettel was unlucky in bahrain, melbourne etc.

    i totally agree with no.1 – lewis has been a revelation this year. far more measured and clinical than he has ever been before.

    one a dispute completely is de la rosa’s placing – for me he has been a disaster. just so slow!

    also, sutil hasn’t shone enough to merit a top 10. kovalainen has driven immaculately (on the whole!) this year.

  44. i think hamilton should not be even in the top 5 of drivers in this year he is not deserving the 1st place at all.to be dramaticly honest he is the worst unpredictible driver i ever seen.doing a stupid mistakes on the circut and on road .for me 1st should be in this ranking wether mark webber or sebastian vettel and i can agree with second place for robert kubica not because i am polish but because he is doing a massive job for renault and i think with this team poland soon can expect a championship of formula 1 from him

  45. As I read down the page I see many comenting that Vettel doesn’t stand the pressure or Kubica not being under “championship pressure” to drive the way he’s doing.
    Does anyone remember the race Hamilton won his championship???
    Come on! Massa winning the race and Hamilton running a poor 6th?? only overtaking a guy who missed a tyre change and went wide on the LAST turn??
    Never seen a champion so afraid to win as Hamilton!
    I think Hamilton is extremely fast, but overestimated as a complete driver.

  46. Kubica would eat a Hamilton with a similar car …

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