2011 F1 driver rankings part one: 28-16

2011 F1 season review

Who were the best drivers of 2011?

The full F1 Fanatic driver rankings will be published throughout the rest of the week and at the end of it you will have your chance to vote for Driver of the Year.

Here’s the first half of the list including some of your thoughts on the drivers of 2011.

28. Karun Chandhok

Karun Chandhok, Lotus, Nurburgring, 2011

Karun Chandhok, Lotus, Nurburgring, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 0/1
Beat team mate in race 0/1
Races finished 1/1
Laps spent ahead of team mate 0/56

Chandhok’s season didn’t get off to a great start: driving in first practice for Lotus in Melbourne, he made it as far as turn three before hitting the barrier.

He made a few more appearances for Lotus in practice sessions but more often than not was frustrated by the weather or car problems.

When he finally got into the car for a one-off race at the Nurburgring, it didn’t go well. A series of spins left him last, two laps behind his team mate.

That Lotus opted not to put him in the car for his home race, the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, spoke volumes.

One race, awful performance. He wasn?t even in the car in India, which says something.
Cristian

Karun Chandhok 2011 form guide

27. Narain Karthikeyan

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT, Buddh International Circuit, 2011

Narain Karthikeyan, HRT, Buddh International Circuit, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 0/8
Beat team mate in race 2/6
Races finished 7/8
Laps spent ahead of team mate 151/403

It was a surprise to see Karthikeyan return to F1 five years after he first drove for Jordan.

It was less surprising to see him moved aside halfway through the season, and entirely predictable to see him parachuted back in for the Indian Grand Prix weekend to please HRT’s local sponsors.

Karthikeyan made less of an impression against Vitantonio Liuzzi than the vastly less experienced Daniel Ricciardo did. Nor was he able to beat HRT’s key rivals Virgin, and in eight starts he was beaten by his team mate every time.

No chance against Liuzzi, who, as it turned out, wasn?t doing that well himself.
Marcio Goncalves

Narain Karthikeyan 2011 form guide

26. Jerome d’Ambrosio

Jerome D'Ambrosio, Virgin, Suzuka, 2011

Jerome D'Ambrosio, Virgin, Suzuka, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 5/19
Beat team mate in race 3/10
Races finished 16/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate 197/731

In an uncompetitive car and with an experienced team mate, d’Ambrosio was always going to struggle to impress in his first season. Even so, his ousting from the team mere moments after the final race seems harsh, particularly as his place is being taken by yet another rookie.

There were some notable high points for d’Ambrosio in his first season of F1, particularly in Suzuka and Interlagos.

But along with those strong showings were weekends where he never really got on terms with his team mate and ended up being beaten by an HRT. The nadir of his season was undoubtedly Hungary, where he spun in front of his crew in a damp pit lane.

Almost invisible for the entire season. He did well against his accomplished teammate for the 1st half of the season, but then just trailed off into obscurity. Not a great rookie season.
Todfod

Jerome d’Ambrosio 2011 form guide

25. Jarno Trulli

Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Monaco, 2011

Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Monaco, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 2/18
Beat team mate in race 3/11
Races finished 14/18
Laps spent ahead of team mate 244/811

Aside from a flash of performance at Monaco, Trulli endured a forgettable season.

Though unlucky at times, on many occasions he was simply too far off his team mate’s pace, usualy blaming the power steering for his troubles.

Despite having extended his contract to next year, there are rumours he could still be replaced.

I just cannot see a reason for him to stay in Formula One. Trounced by Kovalainen for the second season running.
daykind

Jarno Trulli 2011 form guide

24. Vitantonio Liuzzi

Vitantonio Liuzzi, HRT, Montreal, 2011

Vitantonio Liuzzi, HRT, Montreal, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 12/15
Beat team mate in race 5/10
Races finished 12/17
Laps spent ahead of team mate 437/778

Liuzzi’s F1 future hung in the balance over the winter as he was forced out at Force India in favour of Paul di Resta.

He landed a seat at HRT on the eve of the new season and found himself at the wheel of the least competitive car on the grid.

In one of the few occasions where he had a chance to show his worth he collected a vital 13th for the team in Canada, allowing them to end the season in front of Virgin.

He wasn?t as much in front of his rookie team mate as he should have been. In fact, he was beaten by him quite often. He seems content only to be in F1. And let?s not forget Monza, where he made the biggest mistake I have seen in Formula 1! It seems unlikely we?ll see him again next year.
Cristian

Vitantonio Liuzzi 2011 form guide

23. Daniel Ricciardo

Daniel Ricciardo, HRT, Interlagos, 2011

Daniel Ricciardo, HRT, Interlagos, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 4/9
Beat team mate in race 4/6
Races finished 8/11
Laps spent ahead of team mate 247/489

After making a few appearances in practice for Toro Rosso early in the season, Ricciardo was given a race seat at HRT, which he continued to dovetail with his Formula Renault 3.5 commitments.

He quickly got on terms with Liuzzi and fared well against his team mate over the second half of the year, even mixing it with the Virgins on occasion.

The early signs are Red Bull’s faith in Ricciardo is not misplaced.

An impressive first half season, he didn?t seem to make any major mistakes in races and managed to settle into the team and match/beat Liuzzi very early on. I was impressed by Ricciardo although it is difficult to make a conclusive judgement given the amount of technical issues his team are prone to.
adzz36

Daniel Ricciardo 2011 form guide

22. Pastor Maldonado

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Buddh International Circuit, 2011

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Buddh International Circuit, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 8/18
Beat team mate in race 5/12
Races finished 13/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate 367/848

Maldonado regularly kept Barrichello honest in qualifying. Unlike his team mate, he made it into Q3 on three occasions.

Barrichello tended to out-perform him in the races and there were a few costly mistakes, not least his five race penalties.

He should have scored his first career points at Monaco, a circuit he excelled at in junior categories, only to go out in a collision with Lewis Hamilton.

The pair had another run-in at Spa-Franchorchamps where Maldonado was fortunately to only receive a five-place grid penalty after confronting Hamilton on-track, the pair colliding. He will remain at Williams next year.

Although impressive in qualifying, he was distinctly unimpressive in races. Too often he fell back or made silly mistakes which would be acceptable for a rookie if it weren?t for his attitude and actions at Spa
Silverkeg

Pastor Maldonado 2011 form guide

21. Pedro de la Rosa

Pedro de la Rosa, Sauber, Montreal, 2011

Pedro de la Rosa, Sauber, Montreal, 2011

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

A one-off appearance in Canada is too little to develop a complete picture of de la Rosa’s form in 2011. He did a competent job in difficult circumstances.

Hard to judge off of one race. Did what was expected of him.
Silverkeg

Pedro de la Rosa 2011 form guide

20. Bruno Senna

Bruno Senna, Renault, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Bruno Senna, Renault, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 4/8
Beat team mate in race 1/6
Races finished 8/8
Laps spent ahead of team mate 91/354

Senna’s half-season with Renault was a mixed bag, particularly as the R31 was becoming ever more uncompetitive and unreliable.

To his credit he qualified well – he was fractionally faster than Vitaly Petrov on average – and brought the car home in every race despite various KERS failures and other glitches.

He had just two points to show for his efforts, though that was only three fewer than Petrov scored in the same period. There were clear signs of progress, though, and his last drive for the team in his home race would have been his best, had he not spoiled it by colliding with Michael Schumacher.

A fine qualifying performance in his first appearance for the team at Spa was also squandered when he crashed into Jaime Alguersuari at the first corner.

Did an excellent job in qualifying, but too many blunders in the race. Still impressed he got a couple of points though.
Daykind

Bruno Senna 2011 form guide

19. Rubens Barrichello

Rubens Barrichello, Williams, Interlagos, 2011

Rubens Barrichello, Williams, Interlagos, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 10/18
Beat team mate in race 7/12
Races finished 16/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate 481/848

Barrichello’s 19th season in Formula 1 added little to his achievements beyond stretching his records for career longevity even further.

He was clearly frustrated by Williams’ disastrous slump in form over the winter, and the prospect of taking them to better things was largely out of his hands.

That said, a veteran of 300 races should have defeated a rookie team mate more comprehensively than Barrichello did. His final appearance at home – where he qualified an excellent 12th – may have been his last start.

A so-so year for Rubens. He?s had the odd moment of magic but often struggled against his team mate and made a few silly errors. He?s still got the fire, but whether that?s enough for him to have a 20th year in the sport I don?t know. I?ve got a feeling we?ve seen his last race.
Dan Thorn

Rubens Barrichello 2011 form guide

18. Vitaly Petrov

Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Melbourne, 2011

Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Melbourne, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 12/19
Beat team mate in race 7/13
Races finished 16/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate 576/904

Viewed from the end of the season, it seems difficult to believe Petrov stood on the podium at the first race in Melbourne. Such was the deterioration in performance of the Renault with its unorthodox front exit exhausts.

Petrov was a fixture in Q3 in the opening races but gradually slipped back. He found new team mate Senna a tougher prospect than Nick Heidfeld on Saturdays.

In the races there wasn’t much evidence of progress from last year. He had several run-ins with Schumacher in which he was usually blameless – with the conspicuous exception of Korea, where he was distracted by his battle with Fernando Alonso and harpooned the Mercedes, receiving a penalty.

Despite having a year left on his two-year contract with Renault, Petrov has been dropped for next year and replaced by Romain Grosjean.

The car tailed off badly in the second half but he was outpaced by Senna, which isn?t a good sign.
Tflb1

Vitaly Petrov 2011 form guide

17. Kamui Kobayashi

Kamui Kobayashi, Nico Rosberg, Istanbul, 2011

Kamui Kobayashi, Nico Rosberg, Istanbul, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 8/19
Beat team mate in race 8/12
Races finished 15/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate 519/872

Kobayashi made the most of Sauber’s early-season form to score the bulk of his points, enjoying seven consecutive top ten finishes (although he lost the first due to a technical infringement).

However he matched this with a seven-race points drought later in the season, while his rookie team mate Sergio Perez increasingly enjoyed the upper hand. Indeed, over the course of the season, Kobayashi started behind Perez more often than not.

We saw less of Kobayashi’s famed overtaking verve as the C30 leant itself to more conservative strategies with fewer pit stops. A notable exception was Turkey, where he started from the back row due to a fuel pump problem in qualifying, but recovered to finish in tenth.

After a strong start to the season and the usual Kobayashi entertainment on Sundays, we were disappointed to see his poor qualifying performances and mediocre Sundays as well. Although Kamui did have his highlights this year, he also had some very bland performances.
Todfod

Kamui Kobayashi 2011 form guide

16. Nick Heidfeld

Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Sepang, 2011

Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Sepang, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 3/11
Beat team mate in race 5/7
Races finished 8/11
Laps spent ahead of team mate 237/550

Following Robert Kubica’s crash in February, Heidfeld was given a test with the R31 then confirmed as Kubica’s replacement. But he was replaced by Senna halfway through the year.

Heidfeld did his usual safe-pair-of-hands job at Renault, bringing the car home when it didn’t catch fire or get hit by another driver. The major exception was Canada, where he crashed out after contact with Kobayashi, losing what could have been a very good result.

But it was in qualifying that he was really found wanting, usually starting far behind Petrov. He tended to overhaul his team mate on race day, but it can only have left the team wondering what might have been achieved with a driver who could marry qualifying and race performance.

Even so, by the end of the season Petrov had only amassed three more points than Heidfeld had.

I was keen to see Heidfeld do well, but he failed to lead the team and made too many errors. While he was unlucky in Hungary and had some good races like Malaysia, he was out-qualified by Petrov too frequently for a driver of his experience.
Adzz36

Nick Heidfeld 2011 form guide

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143 comments on 2011 F1 driver rankings part one: 28-16

1 2 3
  1. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th December 2011, 12:31

    The car tailed off badly in the second half but he was outpaced by Senna, which isn’t a good sign.

    How exactly was Petrov out-paced by Senna? This is still a mystery to me. In the eight races the had together, Petrov out-qualified Senna five to three. In the six races they both finished, Petrov out-performed Senna five to one (Singapore was the only time Senna beat him, and also the only time Senna out-qualified and out-raced him). And Petrov scored five points between Belgium and Brazil, while Senna only scored two. Everything that I’m seeing says that Vitaly Petrov was a much stronger driver than Bruno Senna, but for some reason, people insist that Bruno Senna is the better driver and I simply don’t get it. Of the eight races they were team-mates, Singapore was arguably the only time that Senna had the upper hand all weekend. When Senna out-performed him in qualifying in Belgium and Brazil, he went on to make stupid mistakes that cost him dearly, while Petrov took points from both races. And even though Petrov hit Schumacher in Korea, he was still having a better weekend than Senna. So will someone please explain to me where all the love for Senna is coming from? Is it because he is a Senna?

    In the races there wasn’t much evidence of progress from last year.

    Did you noticed all the times he didn’t crash? Petrov crashed twice this year (crashes that were his fault – Alguersuari hit him in Monaco and Liuzzi took him out in Italy). At one point last year, he was averaging two crashes per weekend.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 11th December 2011, 12:56

      @prisoner-monkeys Last time I checked 18 is lower than 20.

      • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th December 2011, 12:59

        Well, your rankings are certainly representative, Keith – I’m more interested in why users keep insisting that Senna is better than Petrov when Petrov clearly out-performed him. even Renault evidently didn’t think that much of him: they gave Petrov the final say in whether he wanted to go or stay for 2012 – an unprecedented move; I’ve never heard of a team doing that – but they didn’t extend the same courtesy to Bruno Senna. When Petrov left, Grosjean was picked up in an instant.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 11th December 2011, 13:02

          We’re not pretending Petrov doesn’t have a seat for next year out of his own choosing, are we?

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th December 2011, 13:14

            Nope. Not pretending. Eric Boullier might not be an effective manager, but there is no way he would be dumb enough to publicly give Petrov the choice of leaving or staying – which he himself said – and then deciding to fire him or signing Grosjean behind his back. All Petrov would have to do is point it out, and Boullier’s reputation and credibility would be ruined. No driver in their right mind would sign with Renault after that.

          • there is no way he would be dumb enough to publicly give Petrov the choice of leaving or staying

            @Keith Collantine
            Yep! :D

        • matt90 (@matt90) said on 11th December 2011, 16:41

          I keep hearing that people in the team were impressed by Senna. He seemed unfortunate- questionable strategies, an ailing car and poor reliability. I think these things made him look worse than he was. It is probably bias, but I still think Senna has potential- if he cleans up his races a bit, and actually gets a year or two driving in a stable team. That is Petrov’s trouble. In his second full year in a stable, if worsening, team he was troubled by Senna enough and didn’t produce enough stand-out performances across those 2 years.

          • John H (@john-h) said on 11th December 2011, 19:55

            even when my comments accuse myself of it

            Hehe! Indeed, until wordpress passes the Turing Test I think you’re going to have to be extra careful!

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 12th December 2011, 2:52

            I believe it was added to the naughty list because people started accusing Keith of unfairly favouring the British drivers and making them out to be better than they really were – largely because they didn’t agree with Keith’s analysis of the races, kind of like the way people were very quick to accuse USF1 of fraud when they failed to make the 2010 grid, despite there being no evidence of it.

          • lordhesketh (@lordhesketh) said on 12th December 2011, 3:44

            Haha yeah. I’ve never been extremely active here (finally got a user name about 2 weeks ago), but been following the site for years now. I’ve made the odd comment regarding the “b” word and been shredded for it. My frustration was always with a lot of the discussion, not with the articles.
            Anyway, agree with most of these rankings. A real shame about Sauber’s pit strategies. No doubt robbed us of some entertainment from an aggressive driver. I suppose you can’t blame them.

        • matt90 (@matt90) said on 11th December 2011, 17:01

          And they didn’t extend Senna the same courtesy of whether to stay or go because he never had a contract for next year anyway…

          I do wonder though if they might have chosen him over Petrov had Raikkonen not effectively taken Grosjean’s original seat. I like Senna, but can’t disagree with them picking Grosjean and Raikkonen over him (or Petrov).

    • tflb1 (@) said on 11th December 2011, 14:35

      I didn’t necessarily mean that Senna was faster all the time. But when he beat Petrov by over a second in Spa and Singapore, and by eight tenths in Brazil, that raises questions about Petrov’s speed.

      • To be honest it was a wet qualifying session in Spa and that gap was not really representative – it was more down to timing and who could cope better. I mean, Michael Schumacher qualified around a second behind Nico on a few occasions.

        • tflb1 (@) said on 11th December 2011, 16:10

          But how do you explain Singapore and Brazil then? And as it happens, I wasn’t too impressed by Schumacher either.

          • geminict said on 12th December 2011, 19:06

            Just remember at Singapore during qualifying Petrov was having big KERs problems. So you only have Brazil to explain. Qualifying is not really hugely valuable when it is better for teams do sit out rather than run their cars. The cars run very little of the race under the same conditions as they qualify under – so better set your car up to run optimally with about half to three-quarter filled fuel tanks. I am of the opinion that Senna was fairly mediocre, like last year at HRT his team mate dominated him under race conditions (1-6 in position when the both finished and by 91/354 laps ahead of his team mate. I also need to point out that Senna’s only points scored were at Monza which had a higher number of cars that normally finish ahead not finishing (Webber, Rosberg and Petrov). The Monza circuit also suits the Lotus Renault GPs which were significantly the fastest cars down the straights.

    • zimkazimka (@zimkazimka) said on 11th December 2011, 16:27

      going by recent articles its fairly easy to see that Petrov is hated here for some inexplicable reason. damn shame too.

      • GT_Racer said on 13th December 2011, 13:21

        Something to remember is that you can’t really simply look at finishing position & use that as the judge of which driver was better.

        Speaking to people at Renault they all say that they see Senna as the better driver when compared to Petrov. They say that Senna was able to give better feedback about the car & do a better job with setups (Petrov apparently ran Sennas setup a couple times). They also tell me that data showed that Senna would have finished ahead of Petrov 3-4 more times if it were not for various problems with the car which we don’t always appreciate just watching the Tv feed.

        Its the engineering staff who have all the data avaliable who are usually the best judge of how good a driver really is & everyone thats ever worked with Bruno that I’ve spoken to have all rated him very highly.
        I spoke to the guy who was his chief engineer at iSport in GP2 & he told me that he thinks Bruno is the best driver he’s ever worked with, He says that all Bruno needs is a proper opportunity in a decent car through a full season.

        • geminict said on 13th December 2011, 14:22

          “Something to remember is that you can’t really simply look at finishing position & use that as the judge of which driver was better.”

          Unfortunately points is the criteria in which the sport is assessed and prize money given out. It is as if a socccer team you are very stylish and technically good as a team but don’t score goals you won’t stay in the top league. At HRT Senna had a full season and at no point did he demonstrate that he was significantly better than his team mate – in fact Karun got better overall results and was dumped mid season. This year it is the same – Brunno is often good at qualifying but that could be at the expense of a good racing strategy. The rest of your argument is sentiment – I met an engineer who said that Heidfeld was potentially faster than Schumacher and others still that Jarno was absolutely the fastest F1 driver when the mood takes him. Even journalists evoke special pleading when it comes to their favourite driver (Joe Saward and Liuzzi) – it does not change the results.

  2. I’m struggling to get my head around how you came up with this order. I think you’re being generous to Trulli, de la Rosa and Barrichello. Trulli was terrible this year and was completely destroyed by Kovalainen. Barrichello was also off colour, he struggled to take his car any further than it normally was. And de la Rosa did just okay in Canada, Maldonado had a few high points which should at least put him ahead of de la Rosa, and possibly Barrichello.

    D’Ambrosio most definitely shouldn’t be behind Trulli, he did struggle occasionally, but he was a hell of a lot closer to his team-mate. Also Kobayashi had a superb start to the season, and he seemed to rediscover that form at the end of the season. Kobayashi did struggle in the second half of the season, but I don’t so much that it puts him all the way back to 17th, I think he was very unlucky in some races.

    • dam00r (@dam00r) said on 11th December 2011, 12:50

      Barrichello:
      Beat team mate in qualifying 10/18
      Beat team mate in race 7/12

      This is actually in my opinion still pretty good performance from him and should’ve let Barrichello race next year. The car has been rubbish, that’s why people are saying that he should retire.. I’m against that. He should stay for his last year in F1.

      • I agree.

        I think maybe, for de la Rosa, it is very hard to place him on just one race. But in the race he did do it went quite well. So you can’t rate him lower because he simply performed at least quite well.

  3. ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 11th December 2011, 12:41

    I think that’s mostly fair enough, although a little harsh on Kobayashi.

    • Magnificent Geoffrey (@magnificent-geoffrey) said on 11th December 2011, 12:53

      How Kobayashi is any lower than someone like Massa leaves me puzzled, if I’m honest.

      • bananarama (@bananarama) said on 11th December 2011, 15:22

        How come tgat doesn’t surprise me? :-D
        But I must admit I was a little surprised to see him this low. I would have put Perez ahead of him but not by very much, keeping in mind how strongly Kobayashi started the season. However I’m content the Kobayashi hype is fading a little, I never really thought he was as good as people made him (but I’d be happy to see him prove me wrong).

        • In my opinion KOB is a good racer who will likely remain in the midfield at best. He does deliver stand out performances from time to time which cannot be said about a few of the other drivers out there. Consistency in qualifying does appear his Achilles’ heel but his overtakes can be pretty special. In some ways reminding me of Heidfeld.

      • I had Massa behind Kobayashi in my rankings.

        • bananarama (@bananarama) said on 11th December 2011, 23:04

          @Fixy I think against most teammates Massa would just look averagely, not particularly aweful. He had some races ahead of Alonso in the beginning of the season but its really difficult to look good against Alonso and me personally, I think Alonso is probably at the peak of his abilities in the last 1,5 years. Its a shame the last Ferraris weren’t good enough.

          • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 12th December 2011, 5:44

            Agreed. If you truly analyze the careers of all the established drivers, you will find that only Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton and perhaps Button have performed better than Massa has. He’s had a couple off seasons, in extraordinarily difficult circumstances, but that does not make him a bad driver.

          • @Adam-Tate, @bananarama I’m not saying Massa’s a bad driver – he’s my favourite – just that he hasn’t performed well this season. This is the 2011 driver rankings and shouldn’t put into account the career of the driver but simply his season: in 2010 Massa had some excellent performances, coupled with many bad ones. This year he has been consistent but average. His classic finish of 5th place demonstrates this. As a Ferrari driver, you would expect him to finish on the podium sometimes, but he didn’t. According to what you could expect from Kobayashi, I think Kamui has done quite well. Massa, on the other hand, has failed to impress, despite sometimes being very close to Alonso, and sometimes beating him. Massa shouldn’t be last, but in my opinion Kobayashi wasn’t much (if at all) worse.

      • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 12th December 2011, 21:57

        I must admit, Kobayashi was the only one I thought twice about. Pretty much agree with @keithcollantine on all the above.

        Kobayashi has been very quiet for the best part of the season. I don’t know whether or not that’s a good thing sometimes!

  4. I wouldn’t exactly call Heidfeld’s accident in Canada a major exception, he had better traction, and there much he could have done to avoid Kobayashi.

  5. sumedh said on 11th December 2011, 12:46

    Some clarifications Keith:
    …where Maldonado was fortunately to only receive a five.. (should be fortunate)

    And NK did finish ahead of Ricciardo at India.

  6. John H (@john-h) said on 11th December 2011, 12:55

    I can’t quite believe that Massa is ahead of Heidfeld, Petrov & Ricciardo but there you go, I guess everyone’s opinion is different.

    Heidfeld and Petrov in particular were pretty much ok in what was a dog of a car. Massa was poor all season.

    • SupaSix-1 said on 11th December 2011, 14:58

      heidfeld got a podium…massa in a ferrari didnt get any podium finishes all year!

      this list is bound to be floored & littered with silly views.

      I’d still place hamilton in top 3 considering:
      – he got 3 race wins (equalling jenson) AND a pole position which no other driver (inc his teammate who’s had his best ever season) apart from redbull achieved – this from a driver who has had his worst season ever.
      -And considering all the continual ott pressure, hatred & scrutiny hes been under inc the media intruding into his personal life which is way out of order.

      …his perserverence has been inspiring as many others wouldve buckled bigtime.

      Many of his incidents hasnt been his fault – in monaco Hamilton and schumacher showed how cleanly 2 racers can race.
      Its obvious many seem to resent lewis (especially from the brit media), so used any opportunity to blame him. Many pros have backed lewis – brundle changed his mind after seeing more footage (maldonado vs hamilton in monaco) – Anthony davidson blamed massa for the hairpin incident – DC blamed kobayashi for spa – many blamed massa for suzuka.

      So yes hamilton has made some mistakes..but nothing to the deluded levels that some silly people think and credit has to be given for the way hes handled himself under this emmense pressure.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 11th December 2011, 16:53

        He had some of the best drives of the year, but generally he had a poor season for him. Top 5 maybe, but Vettel, Alonso and Button (in no particular order) should definitely occupy the top 3, or at least be ahead of Hamilton.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 11th December 2011, 17:59

        this list is bound to be floored & littered with silly views.

        And this “silly” comment is littered with as many “floor”s as the Empire State Building.

      • plushpile (@plushpile) said on 11th December 2011, 22:42

        Seriously? Hamilton in Top 3?

        Of the top 5 from the last two seasons he’s finished 5th.
        Sure once you include car performance Webber probably drops behind him, and Hamilton had some impressive drives.
        But Vettel, Button and Alonso were clearly a cut above Hamilton throughout the season as a whole.

    • In Massa’s defense. He did consistently score points. Decent points usually, and on high fuel he often compared not too badly on pace compared with Alonso.

      He wasn’t great. But he wasn’t that bad either.

      Also @SupaSix-1

      Calling Keiths views silly… is a bit silly.

      Especially when you are defending Lewis for Spa. :D

      • John H (@john-h) said on 11th December 2011, 19:25

        @Mike Good point well made. I guess he wasn’t too bad when you put it like that. However not getting a podium when your team mate gets 10 surely means a pretty poor season, regardless of picking up 5th and 6th places. It’s the comparison to the team mate that’s quite telling I think.

        Come to think of it in a way Webber perhaps should be down this end too!?

        • Mike (@mike) said on 12th December 2011, 3:02

          Personally, I think Massa has compared at least as well to Alonso as Webber has to Vettel. But that one is always going to be impossible to argue.

          So I agree.

          • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 12th December 2011, 5:48

            Agreed Mike.

          • magon4 (@magon4) said on 12th December 2011, 10:34

            This is why in my personal list I had Webber in 15th in Massa in 21st. Massa wasn’t able to pull off one really good full weekend. I’d argue that Kobayashi would’ve done more with the Ferrari this year than Felipe, who was the second most crushed driver in relation to his team mate in the whole field. The most crushed one, Webber, at least had quite a few good moments.

  7. Somewhere near how I would of listed them.
    I’m assuming Massa is 14th or 15th ;-)

    Will Hamilton make the top 8?

    • sato113 (@sato113) said on 11th December 2011, 13:17

      he wons a few impressive gps. top 8 for sure. I hope Schumi is in top 6!

    • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 11th December 2011, 13:18

      Pretty sure Hamilton will make the top 8. Any driver who can have a disappointing season and still win 3 races is deserving of a top 8 ranking.

      • tflb1 (@) said on 11th December 2011, 16:34

        No, he doesn’t deserve a top 8 ranking. He only got the wins because of the car. If he had been driving for a midfield team and had had so many incidents then everyone would be calling for his head.

        • matt90 (@matt90) said on 11th December 2011, 17:05

          The only reason just about anybody get’s a win is because of the car. The driver often makes the difference between the few best cars, but obviously he wouldn’t have won those races in a Sauber. And as a driver he clearly did make the difference in China and Germany in particular, so I don’t see your point, as you could make that statement of every single grand prix ever.

          • tflb1 (@) said on 11th December 2011, 17:51

            What I mean is that there is a tendency to rate drivers in the front-running teams higher than those in the midfield when in fact the midfield driver is doing a better job without the results to show for it. If the Mclaren had been a midfield car like the Williams for example and Hamilton had been in as many incidents as he was people would be saying he was one of the worst drivers of the year.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 11th December 2011, 18:17

            Perhaps you’re right. If he’d been in a Williams making the same moves as in China and Germany but in the mid-filed people would care less. But he wasn’t- he was at the front, doing what he needed to to get the best possible result. They were 2 great drives, among the best of the last ten years. Other drivers might have put in the same quality drive and finished 10th, but we don’t really notice or know at all about those, so the only choice is to rate drivers at the front as higher. It’s a shame, but action at the front is so much more inspirational than the midfield that it’s only inevitable those performances are rated higher, to the extent that those great drives take the edge off the mistakes.

          • tflb1 (@) said on 11th December 2011, 18:27

            No, it’s not that the midfield is less inspirational. It’s just that people like supporting anyone who is at the front, even subconciously. I personally don’t really care about the front-runners and concentrate on the midfield. When you say ‘the only choice is to rate drivers at the front as higher’, that is not logical. Surely you should just rate them equally?

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 12th December 2011, 2:21

            Well yes, but you cut the first part of my sentence off. If you don’t notice or know about, or have the context to understand how good a drive it was, them it is logical not to rate it as high as a drive you saw, analysed and are able to appreciate the magnitude of. And the midfield may not be any less inspirational to you, but it is to a lot of people. That includes me. I love good performances all through the pack, but if I have to choose I prefer the action to be at the front.

    • magon4 (@magon4) said on 12th December 2011, 10:35

      HAM will be Top 4, I’m betting on it.
      MSC will be Top 10, at the very best!

  8. sato113 (@sato113) said on 11th December 2011, 13:10

    interesting list. Such a shame KOB is down this end of the list. His dip in form coincided with the whole exhaust saga where Sauber lost out heavily.

    two renault drivers down here on the list and they dont have their drives next year. seems justified!

    and a lesson to rookies- don’t join virgin.

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th December 2011, 13:16

      two renault drivers down here on the list and they dont have their drives next year. seems justified!

      You don’t think that’s a cautionary tale to anyone who might have recently joined the team?

      • sato113 (@sato113) said on 11th December 2011, 13:19

        nah Kimi won’t get booted out next year. he’s got so much natural talent to unlock. and I cant wait to see how grojean performs. he’s better than petrov or senna i’m sure.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th December 2011, 13:20

          nah Kimi won’t get booted out next year

          Of course not. If the WRC is anything to go by, he’ll quite the minute things get difficult.

          • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 11th December 2011, 13:32

            Or he’ll look at the map and see how many frequent flyer miles he’ll rack up this year and have a coronary…

          • tflb1 (@) said on 11th December 2011, 16:37

            I personally feel that Raikkonen will be absolutely thrashed by Grosjean (with his fans still making excuses) and will leave by mid-season. Then all his fans will say how cool he is just for doing that.

          • gwenouille (@gwenouille) said on 11th December 2011, 19:40

            @tflb1: oh, how much I’d love that to happen !

          • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th December 2011, 21:41

            Mission accomplished, then. As I’ve said elsewhere, I think one of the major reasons why Grosjean was promoted was because Raikkonen would be his team mate. Any strong performances alongside Raikkonen would look very good for Grosjean, and I think it is Renault’s/Eric Boullier’s intention to make him look good.

  9. tyngdekraft (@tyngdekraft) said on 11th December 2011, 13:16

    Really don’t understand KOB’s ranking here

    • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th December 2011, 13:19

      Seven races – Hungary to India – without points might have had something to do with it. Especially since he started the season with seven straight points finishes (yes, he was disqualified in Australia, but he finished eight on the road). Sergio Perez picking up a handful of points in Singapore, Japan and India probably didn’t help Kobayashi’s cause, either.

      And just because he’s Kamui Koabyashi, it doesn’t guarnatee him a high place on the list.

      • King Six (@kingsix) said on 11th December 2011, 13:25

        Di Resta went 8 races in a row without a point, although he had a strong latter season. This just proves Sutil right when he said it doesn’t matter how well you do at the beginning of the season, people will only judge you from the recent races.

      • GeeMac (@geemac) said on 11th December 2011, 13:26

        Agreed. The season is 18 races long, to get higher up in the rankings you have to perform consistently well for the whole season and for many reasons, he didn’t.

      • Estesark (@estesark) said on 11th December 2011, 13:31

        Going back to your first post about Petrov’s low ranking:

        Kobayashi scored points in nine races (ten including the disqualification). Petrov scored points at only eight races, despite having a better car.

        It seems like they had very similar performances. If you expected one to be ranked higher, wouldn’t you have expected the other to be ranked higher too?

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 11th December 2011, 21:30

          @estesark – My issue was not Petrov’s low ranking. My issue was the way a lot of people seem to think that Bruno Senna was somehow consistently faster than Petrov despite everything pointing to Petrov being a much stronger, much more consistent driver.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 12th December 2011, 8:22

            But does it really matter to Senna, or to Petrov, what some people seem to think or say on the internet. The only one who seems to car about that seems to be you yourself here @prisoner-monkeys.

            Now personally I would probably rate Petrov a bit better, as a podium should count for more, even if the rest of the season is a bit bland.

  10. Andy Redden (@andyredden-on-f1) said on 11th December 2011, 13:19

    @Keith Collantine agree with it all, De La Rosa is rather generous though and in my opinion Ricciardo should be above both DLR and MAL. Rest agree with but that stuck out.

  11. GeeMac (@geemac) said on 11th December 2011, 13:24

    You have been very nice to Trulli there Keith. Frankly, he should be embarrassed that he only managed to beat his team mate in qualifying twice in 18 attempts. Let’s not forget a few seasons ago Trulli was considered a qualifying specialist!

  12. Estesark (@estesark) said on 11th December 2011, 13:25

    I can’t believe you put X driver ahead of Y driver. Y was miles better. This list is rubbish and you clearly don’t know anything about F1. I’m never visiting this website again. In fact I’m never using the internet again. I hope you’re happy, “Keith”, if that is your real name; you’ve ruined my life.

    Waaaaaaa.

  13. Cristian (@cristian) said on 11th December 2011, 13:54

    I strongly believe that Massa belongs in the 28-16 interval. De la ROsa being 21st, when he has driven just one race where he wasn’t great/bad (neutral) means that anybody below place 21 was more a liability, I really think Pedro should be above just of the drivers who were really,really bad.

    • electrolite (@electrolite) said on 11th December 2011, 16:04

      I happen to be someone who also put Massa in my bottom half of drivers this year. But with further thought, I can see why Keith has placed him higher.

      Massa’s default position has been about 6th. Behind the other drivers in the top 6, but in front of everyone else, minus Rosberg occasionally. Now the top 3 teams, RBR, McLaren and Ferrari, take up the top 6 positions. Ferrari being the slowest out of those three teams, assigns them to roughly 5 and 6th place. So really, all Felipe has done is what the car is capable of. I think it’s more a case of Alonso having driven brilliantly.

      However I do expect to see Massa pretty low down on the next half of the list to come, and this is would be mainly down to various avoidable incidents throughout the season.

      • Alex (@smallvizier) said on 11th December 2011, 19:16

        Let’s put it this way. Massa was ‘meant’ to finish 5th/6th. How many times did he do better than that? Never.

        There were plenty of races when Button had a technical problem, or Hamilton crashed out, or Webber had KERS issues. But Massa couldn’t even take advantage once.

        In contrast, Alonso made the top 4 fourteen times, including a win. That’s 14-0… it’s easily the most comprehensive outclassing of a team-mate this year.

        (as a statistical curiosity, Massa is one of only two drivers to never beat their car’s ‘deserved’ position. The other one is Karun Chandok, who we voted 28th. What’s Massa done that he should be ranked a dozen places higher?)

        • John H (@john-h) said on 11th December 2011, 19:42

          it’s easily the most comprehensive outclassing of a team-mate this year.

          Apart from, and it has to be said, Vettel and Webber.

          • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 11th December 2011, 20:26

            Massa could’ve finished third in China, but he was screwed over by Ferrari’s two stop strategy.
            He would have been 2nd in Canada, but spun due no fault of his own. When he had to lap Karthiheyan, he was forced on the wet part of the track on slicks.
            He was legitimately quicker/better than Alonso in China and Canada (ironically, the two most exciting races of 2011)

            He did well in Malaysia, Korea and India, when he was keeping up with Alonso, if not quicker.

            Massa’s been unlucky, he hasn’t really underperformed, Alonso has just outperformed the Ferrari, which wasn’t much better than the Mercedes anyway.

        • electrolite (@electrolite) said on 11th December 2011, 20:26

          I’m not saying he’s been good this year by any means. I’m just trying to pinpoint a justification why he isn’t in the above list.

          • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 12th December 2011, 5:52

            Great comment by Kingshark.

            People just aren’t realizing how far Alonso pushed beyond that Ferrari’s limits. It is far more a season of Alonso being spectacular than it was of Massa being awful.

            That said, people don’t ever look at the bright side of things.

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th December 2011, 10:20

          who we voted 28th

          Again, to be clear, these rankings are my own and not the result of any poll.

      • magon4 (@magon4) said on 12th December 2011, 11:01

        MAS is only 6th because the Ferrari was so superior to the Mercedes & Renault. Everyone was fighting for second place, but MAS was miles away. I do think one can argue that most any driver would have obtained the same results MAS did, including MAL, PET and maybe even DAM!

  14. matthewf1 (@) said on 11th December 2011, 14:10

    Ricciardo is way too low..what did he need to be placed a higher, some points finishes?

    Also, Massa should be in this section, awful season, it seems these rankings are based too much on grid order.

    • snowman (@snowman) said on 11th December 2011, 18:27

      Daniel Ricciardo at 23

      I know it is easy to over look someone but in all honesty if Ricciardo was British and had Brundle & Coulthard singing his praises every GP like the over rated Di Resta, would he really be as low down?

      Ricciardo came into the team mid season and still out qualified Liuzzi 6 times out of 10. In races both cars finished Ricciardo was ahead of Liuzzi 4 times out of 5.

      Like matthew above I really can’t see what he needed to do, to be much more impressive as a rookie.

      • Alex (@smallvizier) said on 11th December 2011, 20:53

        To be fair, he beat Liuzzi, and he’s been placed above Liuzzi.

        We should also expect to see a bit of grid bias, because the competition was easier down there – if the gold standard is beating your team-mate, then Ricciardo had a much easier task than Schumacher or Perez.

        I also suspect Keith has struggled to try and make the rankings true to the posts in the driver rankings thread – where many people (including me) didn’t include the tail-end drivers in our rankings. Now, putting them all on the bottom of the list is hardly an ideal solution, but if we didn’t give any of our own input, how can we expect him to take our views into account?

        • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 12th December 2011, 10:19

          I also suspect Keith has struggled to try and make the rankings true to the posts in the driver rankings thread

          No, that was not a consideration at any stage. You guys have your own opinions and I’ll have mine.

        • snowman (@snowman) said on 12th December 2011, 11:05

          @Alex

          “if the gold standard is beating your team-mate”

          It has to be one of the main ingredients as that is the only true indication of level of performance. Seeing how the driver done against his team mate then balancing how his team mate done against other team mates in the past.

          I know its incredible difficult to compile a list and over all agree with it but just felt Riccardo in particular has been over looked. He has came in mid season as a rookie in a dog of a car and beat his team mate Luizzi.

          Last year Sutil beat Luizzi and this year Di Resta yet Di Resta is going to be really highly ranked where as Riccardo is at 23.

          I would bet if Riccardo and Di Resta were in the same car next year Riccardo would own him.

      • Mike (@mike) said on 12th December 2011, 7:07

        I think the reason you can’t put him that high is linked to two things. First, he didn’t always beat Liuzzi. Second, as you said, he only came in mid season.

  15. egsgeg said on 11th December 2011, 14:20

    De resta will probably rank first.

    • KeeleyObsessed (@keeleyobsessed) said on 12th December 2011, 10:40

      My money is on Vettel, if he can’t get driver of the season after the year he’s had (won the championship with 5 rounds left, most poles in a season) then it’s impossible for him ever to get it.

      Vettel/Button/Alonso/Rosberg/Hamilton for me this year…

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