2010 F1 driver rankings part one: 27-18

2010 F1 season review

Who was the best F1 driver of 2010?

The annual F1 Fanatic driver rankings are upon us and all 27 drivers who started a race in 2010 will be ranked in this series of four articles.

Read the rankings here and have your say on who was the best driver of the year.

While writing the final driver rankings for 2010 I consulted the F1 Fanatic driver form guides and statistics, re-watched the races and qualifying sessions and read your remarks in the 2010 driver rankings forum thread.

A selection of your comments from the thread are included below.

27. Sakon Yamamoto

Sakon Yamamoto, HRT, Hungaroring, 2010

Sakon Yamamoto, HRT, Hungaroring, 2010

Half-term ranking: n/a

Did better than many people expected him to after being parachuted in at HRT mid-season, but that isn’t saying very much.

Tellingly, Yamamoto has never started a season with a team. Nor did he see this one out, getting the boot shortly after his home race.

Didn’t bring anything to a team already in trouble. Not bad in Spa or Hockenheim, but got his seat because of his money.
Daykind

Sakon Yamamoto 2010 form guide

26. Lucas di Grassi

Lucas di Grassi, Virgin, Monza, 2010

Lucas di Grassi, Virgin, Monza, 2010

Half-term ranking: 23

With testing opportunities as limited as they are, it’s never been tougher for new drivers in Formula 1. That goes for all of them, including di Grassi.

It wasn’t until Istanbul that he got an updated VR-01 with a larger fuel tank enabling him to reach the end of races without having to slow down to save fuel.

Even so, he lagged some way off team mate Timo Glock’s pace. Then late in the season he had to hand over his first practice running to Jerome d’Ambrosio, suggesting the team had already made a decision about whether di Grassi would be driving for them next year.

Crashes at Suzuka (on the way to the grid, missing the race) and Korea late in the season underlined a very tough first season for di Grassi.

His bizarre Suzuka warm up lap shunt was the icing on the cake of a pretty mediocre season. He never looked capable of consistently matching his team mate all year.

Of course, it didn’t help that he was driving a dog of a car, and that his team undermined him somewhat by bringing in Jerome d’Ambrosio as a Friday driver.
Ned Flanders

Lucas di Grassi 2010 form guide

25. Karun Chandhok

Karun Chandhok, HRT, Istanbul, 2010

Karun Chandhok, HRT, Istanbul, 2010

Half-term ranking: 24

The likeable Chandhok won over legions of fans. But that didn’t help him much in a team so under-resourced he hadn’t even driven the car before qualifying began in Bahrain.

Out-qualified Yamamoto in their one race together as team mates, but was still dropped in favour of the Japanese driver.

Nice guy, but people overlook he was beaten by Senna more often than not, and only placed highest from races of attrition.
Portugoose

Karun Chandhok 2010 form guide

24. Bruno Senna

Bruno Senna, HRT, Interlagos, 2010

Bruno Senna, HRT, Interlagos, 2010

Half-term ranking: 22

Usually – though by no means always – beat Chandhok in qualifying, but was held back by dreadful unreliability, especially in the first half of the season.

Yamamoto rarely troubled him but Christian Klien proved a trickier proposition and the more experienced driver usually came out on top.

It’s hard to draw meaningful conclusions about any of these drivers who spent their rookie seasons driving such uncompetitive cars. But there was little about Senna’s maiden campaign that really stood out.

He looked like a good driver when he was racing Chandok and Yamamoto. But then came Klien (who is average at best and hadn’t raced an F1 car since the 2006 Italian Grand Prix) and outqualifies him by 1.228 seconds!
Guilherme Teixeira

Bruno Senna 2010 form guide

23. Vitaly Petrov

Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Korea, 2010

Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Korea, 2010

Half-term ranking: 20

There were too few highlights in a season where Petrov had ample opportunity to impress. Those that stood out were his spirited defence from Lewis Hamilton in Malaysia and the two occasions when he beat Robert Kubica in qualifying.

Otherwise 2010 saw far too many crashes and spins for Petrov and the gap between him and Kubica in qualifying was often over a second.

Would be out of a seat if he came with fewer dollars or a different passport. Showed improvement throughout the year, but still dropped it too many times to really impress.

Perhaps a year or two at a lower midfield team would help him to develop further, but I don?t see him on the grid at the first Russian Grand Prix in four years time.
Plushpile

Vitaly Petrov 2010 form guide

22. Christian Klien

Christian Klien, HRT, Interlagos, 2010

Christian Klien, HRT, Interlagos, 2010

Half-term ranking: n/a

A surprise comeback for Klien late in the year saw the Austrian make three stars for HRT.

Inevitably, given the team he was driving for, there was little to show for it, though he proved a safe pair of hands that was as least as quick as any of their other drivers.

Not many chances to prove himself, his performance in Singapore showed us that he was the one that deserved the seat more then Yamamoto.
polishboy808

Christian Klien 2010 form guide

21. Vitantonio Liuzzi

Vitantontio Liuzzi, Force India, Singapore, 2010

Vitantontio Liuzzi, Force India, Singapore, 2010

Half-term ranking: 21

Started the season worryingly far off team mate Adrian Sutil’s pace. The gap came down in the second half of the season but by this time the VJM03 had dropped further off the pace and Liuzzi sometimes failed to make it through Q1.

There were a couple of good days – at Canada (despite his first-lap tangle with Felipe Massa) and Korea – but they were few and far between.

Last year I defended Liuzzi. His performances this year however cannot be excused. His incredible pre F1 record, like H???lkenberg’s just shows that F1 is a whole new ball game when it comes to talent.
sw6569

Vitantonio Liuzzi 2010 form guide

20. Sebastien Buemi

Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, Interlagos, 2010

Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, Interlagos, 2010

Half-term ranking: 10

Buemi had a strange second season in Formula 1. He showed a lot of promise in the early races, leading at Montreal and putting an excellent pass on Michael Schumacher.

What held him back more than anything was an unfortunate propensity for getting caught up in first-lap accidents. Often he was utterly blameless – as at Melbourne, Shanghai and Hockenheim, for example.

In the second half of the season the balance of power at Toro Rosso shifted decisively in favour of Jaime Alguersuari. Buemi slipped further behind his team mate and even in the rain at Korea – conditions in which he has excelled in the past – he crashed out.

The car can’t be that flattering but I feel his team mate had more pace over the course of the year and, despite many rookie mistakes at the start of the year, was actually more consistent, despite Buemi scoring more points.
Joe King

Sebastien Buemi 2010 form guide

19. Pedro de la Rosa

Pedro de la Rosa, Sauber, Hungaroring, 2010

Pedro de la Rosa, Sauber, Hungaroring, 2010

Half-term ranking: 18

De la Rosa was hard done by on his return to F1 after a three-year absence.

He bore the brunt of Sauber’s early-season unreliability with four mechanical failures in the first six races. He was on course for a significant points haul in China when his engine let go.

At Hungary he qualified ninth and finished seventh. But two races later he was dropped for Nick Heidfeld, the team saying they wanted a driver they were familiar with for comparison.

Suffered with unreliable machinery, but still could have done better.
David A

Pedro de la Rosa 2010 form guide

18. Jarno Trulli

Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Jerez, 2010

Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Jerez, 2010

Half-term ranking: 17

You couldn’t blame Jarno Trulli for looking disinterested at times in a season when he wasn’t classified because his car broke down seven times – as many as anyone else. On top of that, several times the T127 failed him and he still made it to the flag.

He usually qualified quickest of the new teams’ drivers but tended to fall behind his team mate in the races.

In the twilight of his career. Solidly out-qualified his team mate for the first half of the season, then they have been very evenly matched through the second half.

He is an OK driver, and can perform. But I can’t see him staying in F1 for much longer, if at all.
AUS_Steve

Jarno Trulli 2010 form guide

2010 F1 season review

Browse all 2010 F1 season review articles

Images ?? Motioncompany, Virgin Racing, Motioncompany, Motioncompany, Renault/LAT, Motioncompany, , Force India F1 Team, Red Bull/Getty images, BMW Sauber F1 Team, Lotus Racing

Advert | Go Ad-free

58 comments on 2010 F1 driver rankings part one: 27-18

  1. Chippie said on 20th December 2010, 1:15

    At the risk of stirring up mass hatred, I’m afraid to say that I think Massa should be in the bottom nine. I certainly think he performed worse this season than Trulli. He started off with a spring in his step but after the Germany incident he failed to show anything special, benefiting only through the misfortune of others. Don’t get me wrong I like Massa a lot and he think he is still WDC material, but this season was a real stinker for him.

    • Marco said on 20th December 2010, 8:36

      I totally agree… I also like Felipe, but he clearly should be in this last group as it was a very bad season for him… Schumi also maybe somewhere near 16th place?

    • ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 20th December 2010, 9:44

      Compared to Fernando he wasn’t brilliant after Germany, but he wasn’t THAT bad.

      4, 4, 3, 8, DNF, 3, 15, 10

      And three of the worst results were due to team mistakes: mechanical failure in Singapore qualifying, bad pitstop in Brazil (was on track for 5th before that) and bad strategy in Abu Dhabi.

  2. i think the rankings should also take into account the car performance difference. in my ratings Liuzzi & Pedro will come after Sakon Yamamoto.

    27. Sakon Yamamoto
    26. Vitantonio Liuzzi
    25. Pedro de la Rosa
    24. Lucas di Grassi
    23. Karun Chandhok
    22. Bruno Senna
    21. Vitaly Petrov
    20. Sebastien Buemi
    19. Christian Klien
    18. Jarno Trulli

    I feel in limited time & despite being rusty Klien did enuff to be ranked better than Petrov & Buemi.

  3. halifaxf1fan said on 20th December 2010, 4:43

    Top 7 should be :

    Vettel, Alonso, Kubica, Rosberg, Hamilton, Webber, Button

  4. ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 20th December 2010, 10:02

    I’m going to stick up for Yamamoto.

    Firstly, Germany was awful, I have no idea what race Daykind was watching. He was outqualified by 1.3s. Then, he started the race with the pit limiter on, and then retired because he activated the in-car fire extinguisher.

    But after that, he wasn’t too bad, much to my surprise. He was never more than 0.35s behind Senna in qualifying, was within 0.1s twice, and outqualified Senna once.

    At Monza, his fastest lap was only 7 tenths slower than Di Grassi, and just over 1 second slower than Kovalainen and Glock, despite the HRT being in Monaco-spec trim.

    At Japan and Korea, two of the only three in this period where both HRT drivers made it to the end, Yamamoto had a better fastest lap than Senna – and with a gap of 1s and 0.5s respectively, to his team-mate.

    I’m not arguing for him to be in the Top 20, but I think he should be above Di Grassi at least, and maybe even Senna as well.

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments must abide by the comment policy. Comments may be moderated.
Want to post off-topic? Head to the forum.
See the FAQ for more information.