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
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.
7. Jenson Button
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.
6. Mark Webber
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.
5. Nico Rosberg
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.
4. Robert Kubica
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.
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
- The complete F1 Fanatic 2010 season review
- Lewis Hamilton voted best driver of 2010
- The best guest contributions of 2010
- F1 Fanatic’s 50 best articles of 2010
- The 2010 F1 season in 100 pictures
- 2010 F1 driver rankings part four: the top three
- Vote for the best F1 driver of 2010
- 2010 F1 driver rankings part three: 8-4
- 2010 F1 driver rankings part two: 17-9
- 2010 F1 driver rankings part one: 27-18
Image © Williams/LAT, www.mclaren.com, Red Bull/Getty images, Mercedes GP, Renault/LAT