2011 half season driver rankings part 1: 26-16

2011 F1 season

Start, Silverstone, 2011

Start, Silverstone, 2011

With half the season done, there is still half the season left to run.

Well, not quite, but with nine out of 19 races in the books it’s time to see how the drivers are getting on.

Here’s the first part of my mid-season driver rankings plus some of your views on the drivers from the forum.

Share your view on the drivers rated below in the comments.

26. Narain Karthikeyan

Beat team mate in qualifying 0/7
Beat team mate in race 1/5
Races finished 6/7
Laps spent ahead of team mate 125/346

It was much more of a surprise to see Narain Karthikeyan being handed an F1 return with HRT than it was to see him dropped from the team halfway through the year.

Even so, the team should have done him the courtesy of letting him know he was being replaced before he read about it online.

Narain is constantly raising the bar for the pay driver stereotype: slow, back-marking rich guys whose sponsors earn them drive with the Formula One minnows. His performances against Liuzzi are evocative of pay driver Ricardo Rosset and Vincenzo Sospiri in the MasterCard Lola car, respectively.
PortuGoose

Narain Karthikeyan 2011 form guide

Daniel Ricciardo, HRT, Silverstone, 2011

Daniel Ricciardo, HRT, Silverstone, 2011

25. Daniel Ricciardo

Beat team mate in qualifying 0/1
Beat team mate in race 0/1
Races finished 1/1
Laps spent ahead of team mate 1/49

Making a race debut with a back-of-the-grid team brings particular difficulties. As new drivers having so few opportunities to test F1 cars today compared to four or five years ago, we should adjust our expectations accordingly.

The only benchmark Ricciardo can be measured against in his single F1 start to date is his team mate. He was slightly closer to Liuzzi in qualifying and the race than Karthikeyan had been, which is a good start.

Can’t say we’ve seen much, perhaps see him in a Toro Rosso next year.
James_mc

Daniel Ricciardo 2011 form guide

24. Jerome d’Ambrosio

Beat team mate in qualifying 2/9
Beat team mate in race 2/5
Races finished 8/9
Laps spent ahead of team mate 85/411

Nine races into Jerome d’Ambrosio’s career he’s shown himself to be a safe pair of hands.

Missing the 107% cut in Montreal was a moot point, and he’s lost out to Liuzzi’s HRT on a couple of occasions. But he’s not been completely blown into the weeds by Timo Glock.

Seems to be holding his own as a rookie slightly better than his predecessor Di Grassi, but nothing amazing so far.
Electrolite

Jerome d’Ambrosio 2011 form guide

23. Jarno Trulli

Beat team mate in qualifying 1/9
Beat team mate in race 2/4
Races finished 7/9
Laps spent ahead of team mate 176/369

Clearly unhappy with the handling of the new Lotus, particularly its steering. After nine races it’s surprising this veteran of 243 Grands Prix hasn’t got the car working to his liking yet.

The qualifying scoreline makes particularly grim reading for a driver once regarded as a one-lap specialist.

Too big of a gap from his team mate and only escaping the last position for obvious reasons. Don’t believe he should leave since I enjoy seeing old blood racing against young blood.
dpod

Jarno Trulli 2011 form guide

22. Vitantonio Liuzzi

Beat team mate in qualifying 8/8
Beat team mate in race 5/6
Races finished 6/8
Laps spent ahead of team mate 269/395

Not too proud to turn down a drive in the slowest car in F1 to keep his career going, it’s thanks to Liuzzi the team finds itself ahead of Virgin in the constructors’ championship.

He’s kept Glock and D’Ambrosio honest in qualifying and even claimed the odd scalp on Sunday.

I’ve defended Liuzzi before and i’ve slated him before. This year though, as a team leader, he’s doing a great job. However, for the vast majority of the season he’s been compared to Karthikeyan which may explain this.
sw6569

Vitantonio Liuzzi 2011 form guide

Pedro de la Rosa, Sauber, Montreal, 2011

Pedro de la Rosa, Sauber, Montreal, 2011

21. Pedro de la Rosa

Beat team mate in qualifying 0/1
Beat team mate in race 0/1
Races finished 1/1
Laps spent ahead of team mate 0/70

Parachuted in for one race with the team that dropped him last year, de la Rosa did about as well as could be expected in difficult circumstances.

Did okay under the circumstances in Canada.
slr

Pedro de la Rosa 2011 form guide

20. Pastor Maldonado

Beat team mate in qualifying 5/9
Beat team mate in race 1/6
Races finished 6/9
Laps spent ahead of team mate 186/434

Maldonado’s arrival at Williams, usurping Nico H???lkenberg and wielding a thick wedge of PDVSA cash, attracted much negative comment before he’d as much as turned a wheel.

His first half-season hasn’t been the disaster some expected, but nor has he covered himself in glory all that often. A stand-out exception was Monaco, where he was on course for a points finish before colliding with Lewis Hamilton.

Three appearances in Q3 after a bad start to his rookie season were very welcome by Williams. He has been unlucky in those races where he was strong (Monaco) and in the others has been not fast enough to grant him his first points.
Fixy

19. Vitaly Petrov

Beat team mate in qualifying 6/9
Beat team mate in race 2/7
Races finished 8/9
Laps spent ahead of team mate 282/518

Got the year off to a fine start with a podium finish at Melbourne.

Since then there hasn’t been much to celebrate. Petrov has found himself increasingly out-classed by Nick Heidfeld on race day and although he retains a slight edge in qualifying, Heidfeld is eroding that as well.

Seems do handle qualifying in a decent manner with blistering quick starts. Race pace has not been as good as it should.
Dpod

Vitaly Petrov 2011 form guide

18. Jaime Alguersuari

Beat team mate in qualifying 2/9
Beat team mate in race 2/6
Races finished 7/9
Laps spent ahead of team mate 153/459

At the beginning of the year Alguersuari could find neither performance nor durability from the Pirelli tyres, and struggled relative to his team mate.

He has turned that around in recent races, however, and finished the last three in the points. It raises the prospect of a fascinating battle between him and Sebastien Buemi over the remainder of the season, while Ricciardo covetously eyes their places in the team.

Needed some time but now he’s up to speed he’s had some great races and he needs to keep that up if he wants to stay at the Red Bull family, as some other drivers are knocking on that door.
Enigma

Jaime Alguersuari 2011 form guide

17. Rubens Barrichello

Beat team mate in qualifying 4/9
Beat team mate in race 5/6
Races finished 7/9
Laps spent ahead of team mate 248/434

Barrichello has come under some pressure from his new team mate in qualifying. But in the races the vast benefit of over 300 races and nearly two decades in F1 is telling.

He’s accounted for all the team’s points this year and shown some great touches when the car has allowed him to, such as his opportunistic pass on Michael Schumacher at Monaco.

Still has the talent, but not being done any favours by the utterly disappointing FW33.
xxiinophobia

Rubens Barrichello 2011 form guide

16. Adrian Sutil

Beat team mate in qualifying 2/9
Beat team mate in race 4/7
Races finished 8/9
Laps spent ahead of team mate 228/509

The qualifying scoreline makes grim reading for Sutil up against his new team mate.

Di Resta has proven capable of racing at his team mate’s level right from the off, even on tracks he hasn’t seen before.

Sutil may have the points advantage but on the evidence of their form so far he’ll have to up his game to stay ahead in the second half of the year.

Has been thrashed by his rookie team mate on Saturdays but has looked pretty strong on Sundays. He still makes way too many mistakes though, and hasn’t matured as much as people expected him to. He was having a much stronger and consistent season last year.
Todfod

Adrian Sutil 2011 form guide

2011 F1 season


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162 comments on 2011 half season driver rankings part 1: 26-16

  1. Tom said on 15th July 2011, 17:04

    “He was slightly closer to Liuzzi in qualifying and the race than Karthikeyan had been, which is a good start.”

    Absolutely false. He may have been slightly closer in qualifying, but he was hardly closer during the race. More unjustified hype.

  2. dpod (@dpod) said on 15th July 2011, 19:37

    Very interesting list there Keith. It is quite different than my list but I dont necessarily disagree with anything you have put up there yet. Very nice of you to post your opinion on such matters.

    Is their going to be a chance for the readers to vote just like at the end of last year (if I remember correctly)?

    dpod

  3. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 16th July 2011, 2:52

    Why is Vitaly Petrov so down the order? I do agree that he didn’t keep the promise that he showed in the Asian part of the season but I think he had done enough good job to be ahead of Barrichello & Sutil.

    • Mads (@mads) said on 16th July 2011, 13:26

      Agreed. At least Petrov have showed us something amazing. It might only have been on a couple of occasions, but i don’t think that Barrichello have done anything special, and the only thing i remember about Sutil’s performance, is that he might be more consistent then Di Resta, but in the end, not nearly as fast.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th July 2011, 8:29

      I agree that he would deserve to be a bit higher.

      In Monaco he was doing quite fine before getting hit in that accident that was not his mistake.

  4. brum55 said on 16th July 2011, 13:53

    Great work as ever Keith. However I think Maldonado should be higher. In his first season and being largely seen as a pay driver, being able to out qualify Barrichello over 50% of the races commands more respect imo. He has improved greatly as the season has worn on.

  5. shadow13 (@shadow13) said on 16th July 2011, 18:00

    I agree pretty much with one exception – Petrov, he has beaten Heidfeld in qualifying consistently and has performed decently in races, and after all Heidfeld is a good driver. Personally I think I would find it hard to decide which of the 2 had done better.

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