2010 F1 driver rankings part three: 8-4

2010 F1 season review

The 2010 F1 driver rankings continue with the next five drivers in the list.

This part includes Mark Webber and Jenson Button among others.

Read on for the next part of the driver rankings.

8. Rubens Barrichello

Rubens Barrichello, Williams, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010

Rubens Barrichello, Williams, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010

Half-term ranking: 11

Barrichello had a consistently positive season which, though short on headline-grabbing moments, showed he is still a force to be reckoned with even after 300 starts.

Starting afresh with a new team, he helped push Williams in the right direction and they made clear progress throughout the season. He took particular pleasure in helping them snatch sixth in the constructors’ championship after scrapping with Adrian Sutil in the final race.

His landmark 300th start at Spa was a bit of a disaster. He ended his race by harpooning Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari.

But one race earlier he proved his mettle by going wheel-to-wheel with Michael Schumacher, scraping past the Mercedes while avoiding what could have been a horrendous accident.

A surprise of the season. Gutsy battles with Schumacher and some really good performances in a midfield car. He’s breaking longevity records for a reason.

Rubens Barrichello 2010 form guide

7. Jenson Button

Jenson Button, McLaren, Shanghai, 2010

Jenson Button, McLaren, Shanghai, 2010

Half-term ranking: 5

Button could have made it a five-way fight for the title in the final race. But hopes of retaining his championship fizzled out in Korea as he floundered in the tricky conditions and finished out of the points.

He excelled in similar circumstances earlier in the season, grabbing opportunistic wins at Melbourne and Shanghai to lead the championship.

But he was consistently a couple of tenths off team mate Lewis Hamilton in qualifying. Worse, he failed to reach Q3 in Britain, Hungary and Brazil.

He responded to these problems by taking a different tactical approach at some races. It paid off magnificently in Monza, where he came close to winning in a car with a quite unorthodox set-up. But risking the hard tyres in qualifying at Suzuka did little to help his cause.

As ever, his driving style was clean and he kept errors to a minimum, in stark contrast to some of his championship rivals. But it wasn’t enough to retain his 2009 crown.

Has generally been slower than Lewis. Often disappointed by dropping out of Q2 or by moaning on the radio: practice without ‘lack of grip’ or ‘massive front locking’ just would not be the same. Where he lacks in outright pace, he makes up with sensibility – he was the only contender who could not be blamed for having thrown away points.

Jenson Button 2010 form guide

6. Mark Webber

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Monte-Carlo, 2010

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Monte-Carlo, 2010

Half-term ranking: 4

Webber seriously rattled his team mate in the middle part of the season with wins at Spain and Monaco. He was leading the next race at Istanbul before that infamous clash, and kept up the momentum with another win in Silverstone.

This was the bedrock of his championship campaign. He kept the pressure on Vettel by winning again in Hungary.

But when Vettel hit back Webber could do nothing to respond. Over the final five races of the year he trailed Vettel for all but three laps – and those were only when Vettel pitted before him.

Webber enjoyed markedly better reliability than Vettel during 2010 – the conspiracy theorists would have howled had it been the other way around – but although Vettel had the label “crash kid” attached to him, Webber was no less error-prone.

He tangled with Lewis Hamilton at Melbourne and Singapore and had a monumental accident when he misjudged Heikki Kovalainen’s braking point at Valencia.

We now know Webber was nursing an injured shoulder when he crashed out of second place in Korea. This was the moment when the championship slipped through his fingers.

With four wins it was undoubtedly a strong season for Webber. His pole position at Sepang, using intermediate tyres while his rivals stuck with full wets, was one of the best of the year. But Vettel ultimately had enough of an edge over him.

I never expected him to push Vettel as hard as he did. Ultimately succumbed to the pressure of the title fight, but probably came out of this season as a much more highly rated driver.

Mark Webber 2010 form guide

5. Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Shanghai, 2010

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Shanghai, 2010

Half-term ranking: 7

Rosberg was the unsung hero of 2010. With all the attention focussed on the occupant of the other Mercedes it was easy to overlook what Rosberg was doing.

He consistently got the best out of the W01 and took it to some great results early in the season when the car was at its best relative to the opposition.

He led convincingly at Shanghai and beat Vettel in the wet qualifying session at Sepang. Rosberg brought the car home on the podium in both races.

At the end of the year he was just two points behind Massa in the championship – and little more than misfortune kept him from scoring more.

Wheels came off his car in Hungary and Japan. In Korea he passed Hamilton and was running fourth behind Alonso when he was taken out by Webber. Another podium finish or possibly even a win was on the cards.

Other than running wide in China and losing the lead I’m struggling to think of any other major errors he made. Ever consistent, even when the Mercedes was at its worst mid-season, he also has the pleasure of being the first person to have beaten Michael Schumacher over the course of a season.

He beat Kubica in the championship and he nearly beat Massa. Driver of the season without a doubt for me.
Dan Thorn

Nico Rosberg 2010 form guide

4. Robert Kubica

Robert Kubica, Renault, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010

Robert Kubica, Renault, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010

Half-term ranking: 2

Monte-Carlo, Spa-Francorchamps, Suzuka: the three tracks on the F1 calendar where a driver can really make their presence felt, and the three tracks where Kubica excelled in the Renault R30.

He split the Red Bulls on the grid at Monaco, was in contention for victory at Spa, and had got up to second at the start at Suzuka when he lost a wheel.

Naturally, he had his team mate comfortably handled – often out-qualifying Vitaly Petrov by more than a second.

It’s a testament to Kubica’s performance that he was often a thorn in the side of the championship contenders – notably Alonso (at Silverstone) and Hamilton (at Abu Dhabi). Will he finally get a car he can challenge regularly for wins with in 2011?

Took the Renault to positions it didn’t deserve to be and made almost no mistakes. He was majestic in Monaco. I believe he will be fighting for the title next year.

Robert Kubica 2010 form guide

Don’t miss the final part of the 2010 F1 Fanatic driver rankings on the site tomorrow. Get the latest articles from F1 Fanatic for free via Twitter, RSS or our email subscription service. Click here for more information.

2010 F1 season review

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129 comments on 2010 F1 driver rankings part three: 8-4

  1. McLarenFanJamm said on 21st December 2010, 17:25

    The top 3 are all so closely matched. Alonso and Hamilton are like polar opposites, when Lewis was on his strong run in mid season, Alonso fell away, and then as Lewis fell away toward the end Alonso hit his best form. Vettel was strong throughout the season, always fast and had it not been for reliability and racing incidents (Istanbul, Silverstone, Spa) would have won many more races.

    Out of the 3, whoever gets #1 is worthy of it.

    As a side note, my personal ranking would be:
    1. Ham
    2. Vet
    3. Alo

    But I am biased towards Lewis ;)

  2. Button drove a fine race at Monza praise where deserved. But I’m afraid the 2 wins in Australia and China were just luck other than out-right pace.

    Why Does Webber have a lower ranking than Button Webber was fighting till the end and won more races.

    • with a car as about half a second faster the whole season. Plus webber is above Button anyway!

      • Well even if they had the same car I rank Webber higher than Button. I think Mark would have him.

        • well it appears keith agrees so i dont get ur original question. i happen to think button would win

        • sid90 said on 22nd December 2010, 9:59

          Button had a similar car to the RBR in terms of pace last year. Actually it fell away towards the end of the year, and he still managed to wrap up his WDC, whereas Webber couldn’t.

  3. Very fair ranking.

  4. I think Nico should be ahead of Kubica personally. Nico and Robert both had a great advantage over their team mates with the lack of testing and they both put in a fine job so it’s hard to really pick between the two and judge where exactly their pace is.

    However, Kubica made a silly pit error in Spa and threw away second place, was outqualified by Petrov in A. Dhabi and made an error in Brazil qualifying. I know it doesn’t sound like much but Kubica did really suit the R30 (usually he moans a lot but he barely complained this year) while Nico made less mistakes and worked so hard in a car that didn’t suit him so I’d place him higher than Robert.

    Button’s about right but I really think he had a good season. In Monza his set up wasn’t just bang on but he was genuinely quick and gave a great drive, in Brazil his race was utterly magnificent, he made the wrong strategy choice at Suzuka but his qualifying lap was great on the prime tyres (a big shame he couldn’t sort out his qualifying speed more often), at Spa he was driving very well and was taken out through no fault of his own and arguably his campaign could have limped on a little longer without that incident and his two wins early in the season were very classy. His race pace was usually fine against Lewis but I hope he sorts out his qualifying for next year.

  5. driftin said on 21st December 2010, 18:10

    I’m going to guess it goes…

    3. Vettel
    2. Hamilton
    1. Alonso

    • yea, crusing around collecting DNF wins should get a number 1 rank. WOW.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 21st December 2010, 22:21

        In both Bahrain and Korea, Alonso was catching Vettel even before anything afflicted his car.

        You simply cannot deny that unlike Massa, Alonso extracted the maximum from the F10. That’s how he took excellent wins from pole at Monza and Marina Bay. That’s why he was up there with the much faster Red Bulls, ready to pounce.

    • dyslexicbunny (@dyslexicbunny) said on 21st December 2010, 21:21

      I think that’s what it might be. But then again, I don’t think Vettel really belongs in the top 3. I’d put Kubica up on him simply because I think anyone could have been that level of competitive in such a dominant car.

      And I attribute his Saturday dominance to his car because let’s face it, many Saturdays Mark wasn’t that far off either. And if Webber’s 6th, well then that says something about Vettel.

  6. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 21st December 2010, 18:52

    Expecting a little controversy at relegating Kubica from the Top 3 but I agree. His second half wasn’t like his first. I think Singapore summed up his season well: capable of doing great things, but the circumstances behind them shed a lot of light on the truth of the matter (on superior tyres in Singapore to do all that overtaking, crazy races in Melbourne and Shanghai, lost a gifted second in Belgium)

    • Agree 100% Icthyes especially with ” I think Singapore summed up his season well: capable of doing great things, but the circumstances behind them shed a lot of light on the truth of the matter”.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 22nd December 2010, 8:19

      I agree with you as well. Kubica is a great driver and he has it in him to be WDC, if the team give him a car to do it with.
      But he does need the circumstances to be right to do it, not like Hamilton, Alonso and the Schumacher of old who are able to get there or therebout despite the equipment.

    • I don’t agree one bit with you. Well, I do about you saying the first part of the season wasn’t like the second, but this would be because of development slowing down on the R30, in favour of the R31.

      And you do know why he was on fresh tyres for the last few laps of the Singapore GP, right? It’s because he got a puncture; he actually lost out on a place. Before his puncture, he was 6th. He finished 7th.

      Talking of these crazy races, howcome Hamilton breezed past Massa and Rosberg, but not Kubica? Them two have superior cars, as well.

      And in Belgium, he was on the pace with the top runners. His position wasn’t gifter, however, and so what he made a mistake? Everyone else did, too, which shows how hard it was to drive in them conditions.


  7. F1silverarrow said on 21st December 2010, 18:58

    Not sure about the last 3 places all three of them deserve/don’t deserve in certain respect for the number 1 driver of the year.

    Hamilton done well with Jenson to get the maximum out of the car to match the red bulls across the season, more so than what vettel and webber did with the RB6. When people were saying at the start of the European circuit campaign that Lewis would surely fade away from red bull he defied them and was showing really good form shown from last season, he was looking to take control of the season after winning at spa. But sadly for him his nerves got the better of him and had horrible luck at monza, Suzuka and of course Singapore by his best friend webber… He did try to claw back his chances of another world title with a bit of luck in Korea and a solid 2nd in Abu dhabi pushing vettel most of the way.

    Alonso showed he was already number 1 in Ferrari winning Bahrain with vettel’s engine going in front, he was already out shining both Kimi and Schumi from the past and putting massa into the history books unable to answer back. He showed what ever Lewis could overtake on the circuit, he could overtake just as many even at the most impossible overtaking circuit of Monaco, seeing Alonso do that showed that he wouldn’t roll over, not without a fight. Yes the team orders at Hockenheim dented his chances for the number 1 driver slightly but don’t deny the fact that he is the most complete driver on the grid and took the title to the wire with vettel and webber.

    Yes vettel had the best car, yes he made silly mistakes and yes he should of nailed the title sooner than what we saw this season. But we saw the youngest world champion ever out perform a driver who had 10 years more experience than him and still beat him to the title in the same car, 2 British world champions working together gunning for the title with a good overtaking car and a double world champion who knows what it takes to win a world title more than once… he still beat them when it counted.

    Nerves of steel vettel had to win at the final race, go back 3 seasons ago Hamilton chocked under the pressure and lost the world title to Kimi, next season he nearly does it again. For vettel’s age he did a damn sight better than most other drivers in the past. Forget talking about when Kubica gets into a better team and when Rosberg gets a title winning car, when this young German has another 2-3 seasons in F1, nobody will be able to stop him not even a 3 driver team of Kubica, Lewis and Alonso I believe won’t be able to keep up with him. Vettel is like the Lionel Messi of F1, how good will this kid get?

    If vettel is judged because of his overtaking ability in this verdict, then Hamilton should be judged on his nerves, just like jenson should be judged on his qualifying skills and Alonso’s temper problems when something doesn’t go his way.

    My verdict:

  8. brum55 said on 21st December 2010, 19:04

    For me Vettel is third and Alonso pips Hamilton mainly due to Singapore. Producing a Grand Schlem is special but in the second fastest car is unheard of. Also no one thought he would dominate Massa the way he did.

    Vettel’s mistakes when Webber was winning and ahead in the WDC was what puts him in 3rd. Despite his mechanical problems this was still his title to lose and he just scraped home.

  9. I think Webber deserved a higher spot. He kept super quick Vettel in check at certain parts of the season and was beating him nearly the whole season on points. This was despite Vettel being the favourite within the RBR team. I know it’s a tough call considering how well Rosberg and Kubica did. I would probably put Webber at least above Hamilton. Alonso definitely has to be put ahead of Vettel, even for the simple fact that he had a slower car throughout the year and almost beat him. Not easy to rank them though…

  10. Calum (@calum) said on 21st December 2010, 19:37

    I think it’s been great for Nico that MS has overshadowed his work – and to come out of the season on top is surpeising, given all the mind games the older German was playing…

    However, I wonder how hhe will cope in the pressures of a championship battle – when all eyes are on him. Hopefully quite well. ;)

  11. Sorry to say but this ranking is and never will be objective.
    Keith, if you were not English I don’t see you setting HAM in top three.
    Similarly being Polish I can’t agree that KUB has not deserved to be within top three.

    Just stick to Season Driver Standings. As simple as this.

    • I take your point, but it makes for an interesting read. And even if you don’t agree with the order, he at least tries to justify his decision.

    • Maciek said on 21st December 2010, 22:11

      Correction: any ranking of individual performance isn’t and never will be objective, but that’s not really the point anyways. Too many people confuse differing opinion with ‘objectivity vs bias’.

    • David-A (@david-a) said on 21st December 2010, 23:26

      Hamilton is in Keith’s top three because he watched the 19 races of the 2010 F1 season.

  12. halifaxf1fan said on 21st December 2010, 20:56

    Disappointing that Kubica and Rosberg are rated so low. One of them should be in the top three instead of Hamilton who underdrove the McLaren this season.

    • don’t you love it when people make up completely unrational “facts”

      • Wobblebottom said on 22nd December 2010, 1:01

        I think the word you’re looking for is ‘irrational’

      • halifaxf1fan said on 22nd December 2010, 3:05

        Alonso in a lesser car dominated Lewis in the second half of the season and finished the season in second place. Lewis finished a faaster car poorly in fourth and shouldn’t be rewarded with a top three ranking.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 22nd December 2010, 3:55

          But the Mclaren clearly lost its way in terms of development after Silverstone. If anyone was underdriving, it was Button. Hamilton absolutley was one of the top three, along with Vettel and Alonso.

          • halifaxf1fan said on 22nd December 2010, 14:29

            Yes but Hamilton was a key part in the development process testing and giving feedback. His practice crash also cannot be over looked as it prevented key updates from being used.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 22nd December 2010, 14:58

            You can’t use that to claim he wasn’t in the top three drivers, as the rankings are clearly based on what happened in qualifying and races. And Alonso wasn’t above crashing in practice either.

            Hamilton did as good a job as Alonso throughout the season.

  13. Hamish said on 21st December 2010, 21:06

    I think the biggest compliment you can give to Nico Rosberg is that he has made a name for himself as Nico Rosberg, not the son on the immensely popular former World Champion from the 1980’s.

  14. Webber and Button are where they should be. Rosberg is not. I used to think he was overrated, but he was excellent this year. He had the pace, the dealt with a difficult and radically changing car. He had a supposendly decent teammate.

    The comparison between the remaining three will come down to who had the least daft errors, because they were are all pretty brilliant on their days. They all had cars that were excellent at some point.

    For this reason I think there was a good case to put Rosberg at the top. He was very quick, he didn’t complain about the weight balance, or whatever, he dealt with his teammate. He didn’t make significant gaffes. As proof, he finished right behind Massa in the Ferrari in the tables. So put him in a Ferrari, and think of what would have occured.

  15. One thing makes it difficult to compare Kubica/Rosberg to Hamilton/Alonso/Vettel. First two had undoubtedly great seasons, but they were not really in title fight. OK, Nico was second after Chinese Grand Prix ahead of top four of final standings, but at that point of the season it was very difficult to judge who’s fighting for the title. Kubica was sixth at best. It was around Canada when top five started to build a lead to the rest of the pack.

    My point being that when you are in the title fight the pressure is so much bigger than when you are not, and that’s why the top guys of the standings should be top of the rankings. Therefore I agree about Alonso, Hamilton and Vettel, listed in alphabetical order, being in top 3.

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