Drivers, Melbourne, 2011

2011 F1 driver rankings part one: 28-16

2011 F1 season reviewPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Nick Heidfeld 2011 form guide

2011 F1 season review

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

  1. 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.

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

      1. 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.

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

          1. 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.

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

            @Keith Collantine
            Yep! :D

        2. 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.

          1. 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!

          2. 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.

          3. 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.

        3. 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).

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

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

          1. 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.

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

      1. 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.

        1. “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.

    1. 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.

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

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

      1. 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).

        1. 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.

      2. I had Massa behind Kobayashi in my rankings.

        1. @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.

          1. 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.

          2. @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.

      3. 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.

    1. @slr

      he had better traction, and there much he could have done to avoid Kobayashi.

      He drove into the back of another car. The accident was entirely his fault.

      1. Really…. Kobi was very slow, not a brake test but in such close quarters just as effective, I’d call it 50-50.

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

    And NK did finish ahead of Ricciardo at India.

      1. Still… he wasn’t quite as bad as you seemed to suggest. I mean, he was usually reasonably close to Liuzzi and was very close to Ricciardo. I don’t remember him doing anything completely stuoid either.

  6. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. 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.

    2. 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

      1. @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!?

        1. 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.

          1. Agreed Mike.

          2. 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?

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

    2. 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.

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

          1. 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.

          2. 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.

          3. 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?

          4. 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.

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

  8. 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.

    1. 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?

      1. 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.

        1. 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.

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

          2. 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.

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

          4. 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. Really don’t understand KOB’s ranking here

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

      2. 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.

      3. 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?

        1. @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.

          1. 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. @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.

    1. @andyredden-on-f1 Nah, I think that position for De La Rosa is justified. You could have expected him to finish last but he delivered when he needed to.

  11. 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!

    1. Yes, Trullis only ace was Qualy, now he has nothing but weak biceps.

  12. 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.


    1. @Estesark You made me laugh :D

      But the best is yet to come, just wait until the discussion over Hamilton’s performance this season. Btw I expect him to be #4.

      1. He will be #4. And MSC Top 10, at the most. Curious about WEB and MAS. And about DIR vs PER

    2. Ha, good one!

      It’s nice that we all have our own opinions though. Who knows, sometimes we could learn from others’ points of view.

      What else are we going to do until next season!?

    3. Quit your whining. Look at X’s performance at Z. Clearly, this puts him way above Y. If you don’t agree you can A your B whilst C.

  13. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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?)

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

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

          1. 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.

        2. 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.

          1. 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.

        3. who we voted 28th

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

      2. 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. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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?

        1. 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.

        2. @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.

      2. 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. De resta will probably rank first.

    1. 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…

  16. This is about opinion as well. For all we know Rosberg, Kovalainen and Alguersuari might have done a better job than Vettel this year. It’s very difficult to compare drivers in different cars and whatever order Keith came up with, there’d be people disagreeing.

    I think it’s more or less okay, obviously I disagree with a few parts but that’s how it is. I don’t think there’s anyone in the 28-16 that deserves to be in the top 10.

    Though I’m pretty certain who’s going to be in the top 3 and in what order. From 4th to 10th I have no idea.

    1. @Enigma

      Vettel, Button, Alonso?

      1. @Mike Those three, but with Alonso ahead of Button.

        Top 7 last year I only got Rosberg and Kubica (4th and 5th, 5th and 4th) wrong, got the top 3, 6th and 7th correct :)

  17. I’m very surprised Kobayashi’s so far down the list and not Felipe Massa, for example, or even Buemi or Glock who were frankly even more anonymous. He was brilliant in the first 7 races, scoring points (bar Australia) in every race.

    He was a little unlucky during his 7-race point-scoring drought to be honest. Usually was down to Sauber being stubborn in continuing with their long run strategies. And besides you can’t ignore he came back to have 2 consecutive points scoring finishes at the end which was crucial to Sauber finishing 7th in the Constructors’.

    OK qualifying wasn’t brilliant (he managed to get into Q3 4 times compared with Perez’s 2), but neither was Alguesuari? All the plaudits Alguesuari and Sutil are getting stem from the fact they’ve had good 2nd half of the season, which seem to be all that matters when ranking these drivers.

    At the end of the day he had scored the bulk of Sauber’s points for the second year running, and finishing 12th again ahead of PDR and ALG, which was probably the best that could be done in a car that had stopped developing their diffusers post-Silverstone.

  18. Some surprises there for me – such as Kobayashi, and perhaps Senna/Petrov. I can see why the list has rattled a few cages, and a few decisions are quite brave, but that’s F1F and I love that.

  19. This list is a bit weird. Koba was not perfect this year, but he did good considering he had several unlucky situations in the second part of the year. So why so low and worse than the invisible heidi? And glock, we didn’t see him much more than his teammate but he’s so high? And Massa, he was patetic! Petrov who did better than last year overall, isn’t he a bit too low?

  20. What the Ferrari was maximally capable of was pretty much what Alonso achieved, the same goes for Vettel in the Red Bull. This idea of drivers ‘outperforming’ the car is lazy in my opinion.

    Webber and Massa drove below the car’s capabilities all season, I mean come on Alonso got 10 podiums including a win and Massa couldn’t finish higher than 5th all season. Webber gets one win and Vettel 11.

    Hamilton had a poor season compared to previous years but he still won three races the same as Button and was the quicker driver in qualifying all year.

    Top three will be Vettel, Alonso, Button in that order if I were choosing. Hamilton 4th and Massa definitely in the group posted now by Keith. Webber somewhere around 8 or 9 probably.

    1. I don’t think it’s lazy, but a different point of view. You choose to sit Senna, Fangio, Clark in the car to state that 100%. Other people choose an average driver. None is correct really, but they might be enough to allow some geek chat.

  21. Kobayashi should also be higher in my opinion, above Massa, Buemi, Glock, Perez and Trulli should be bottom with the exception of Chandhok. I ‘m not sure people like Chandhok and Pedro de la Rosa should be rated

    I know Heikki’s driving well but to beat him just twice in qualifying all season is embarrassing. I would even put Karthikeyan ahead of him.

    1. *should be rated given they only started one race.

  22. Get in, mentioned twice!

  23. Maldonado, D’Ambrosio and Kobayashi should probably be higher. Webber, Massa and Glock should be in this section.

  24. Alonso_McLaren
    11th December 2011, 16:53

    Too harsh on Kobayashi and Petrov. At least one of Massa and Glock should be belong to this category.

    1. I would agree with Kobayashi being ranked too low. I guess because his 2nd half of the season wasn’t as strong as the 1st, the memory of just recent races lingers while ranking them.

      Petrov on the other hand is rated a little higher than I thought. I would place Bruno higher than him.

      1. @Todfod

        I’m rather insulted by that comment. I took all the races into account, not just the last few.

        Even early on in the season there were clear signs Perez had the measure of him.

        1. I agree that India was a low point for KOB. Singapore, Suzuka and Monza were also pretty poor, and so was Valencia, by the way. But his performances in Malaysia, China, Turkey, Spain, Monaco, Britain, Germany and finally Brazil were all well above average. I have rated drivers for every single race, also after reading your race reviews. And only the obvious top 3 have had more 7,5s or more than Koba.
          It is also true that only three drivers in my ranking had more poor performances (4,5s or less), MAS, MAL and DAM. This means that Koba has been very inconsistent, but I to think his highlights outshine his poor performances enough for him not to bve Top 10, but at least in the top half.
          At the end, he averaged 6,39 with me, which is 0,14 above the total average of grades I have given over the full season (6,25).
          Yes, it is an opinion issue. These are just a few points I noticed. By the way, I think the list looks very good, just didn’t quite get either why Massa is Top 15 – looking forward to your arguments!

        2. I think, it’s fair to say that Kamui will have to work very hard to get the better of Perez next year.

          However… I kinda feel that Kamui still was on the whole… ahead of Perez this year. True, Perez didn’t have the greatest luck, far from it. And his qualifying was marginally better. But I think Kamui performed well in the races. Well enough for grab some good points and generally lead his team mate.

          Having said that. For every pro-Kamui argument there is a pro-Perez one and vice versa. Which is why you (Kieth) can’t possibly please everyone.

        3. Didn’t mean any offense Keith.

          But KOB didn’t finish the season strongly, and a lot of people, including myself, have a tendency to rate drivers with a slight bias towards finishing form than starting.

          I agree Perez was better than him, but I would not think he was weaker than Buemi and Alguersuari, atc.

  25. I don’t see the logic of putting d’Ambrosio so far behind his team mate, even though we don’t know where he ended up yet. Compared to other drivers with more experience in better machinery (Massa, Trulli, Hamilton) his season was fairly good. He did what he was expected to do and Timo Glock didn’t have it all his own way this season. Having him 26th is far too low.

    1. Hmmm, not so sure on this one. Yes he had a few good races but looking at the form guide I can see why he’s so far behind Glock on this list:

      I suppose when you factor in he’s only had one year he’s not been too bad, but in F1 you need to grab your chance by the horns these days it seems, and unfortunately I’m not sure he quite cuts the mustard.

  26. This was the order of “best” 2011 drivers after 40 votes in f1fanatic forum section:

    01 Vettel
    02 Button
    03 Alonso
    04 Hamilton
    05 Sutil
    06 Rosberg
    07 Kovalainen
    08 Di Resta
    09 Schumacher
    10 Alguersuari

    This is mine top 10:

    01 Vettel
    02 Alonso
    03 Button
    04 Kovalainen
    05 Sutil
    06 Alguersuari
    07 Pérez
    08 Rosberg
    09 Schumacher
    10 Di Resta

  27. If D’Ambrosio is really that bad, where is Glock ?

  28. Why isn’t Massa here? Independent of the car performance, he has been awful this year.

  29. Very nice list here Keith! Although, my list is quite a bit different I think you more or less nailed it. Only thing bothering me on this list is Massa’s absence but overall very well done.

  30. I think Massa should be on this bottom-of-the-bunch list. Yes, he did score points, but any of the bottom eight drivers would have with a Ferrari (even a mediocre one). He fell behind his team-mate with alarming frequency in nearly every single race and was never in the picture with qualifying.

    Ferrari would do well to move on and get Perez in that seat.

  31. If Massa should be in the bottom tier, then Lewis Hamilton certainly should be here. Massa might have under-performed, but that was really his only sin. I don’t think anyone has ever had as bad a season as Hamilton has – between his frequent clashes with other drivers (Button, Kobayashi, Massa and Maldonado to name a few), inconsistent form, being beaten by his team-mate and a season rife with attitude problems, it has been a season to forget. He might have made up for it a little with the odd win and breaking Vettel’s stranglehold on pole position, but it doesn’t exonerate him from an embarrassing year.

    1. Yeah right Massa gets less than half the points of Alonso, 0 podiums compared to 10 for Alonso and 0 top 4 finishes compared to 14 for Alonso.

      Hamilton had a very disappointing season compared to previous years, but even so won three races which was the same as Button, was consistently quicker in qualifying than Jenson, and finished what 40 odd points behind him in this season he will want to forget, with Button by all accounts driving even better than he did when he won the world championship.

      Hamilton’s racecraft was very poor at times in 2011, he got involved in far too many unnecessary incidents but he showed on more than one occasion he can produce breathtaking performances that few others can achieve. That alone lifts him far above Massa into the top 8 at least.

      Massa on the other hand was consistent over the season, consistently mediocre.

      1. Agreed, but Hamiltons racecraft looked desperate rather than just poor. I’d knock a win off both Hamilton and Button because Of Vettles unforced errors in Abu and Canada, Vettle would (on the odds) have won both of those. Webber keeps his one win because of the “hold station” but only as a maybe. Alonso deserves everything he got, maybe more.

      2. Hamilton’s victories and pole position only serve to show just how poor the rest of his season was. In a year dominated by Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton showed that he had the nous to take Vettel on – but failed simply because he had such a horror year: mistakes, a bad attitude and constant clashes with other drivers.

        1. So are you rating Hamilton lowly on the basis he didn’t achieve the maximum potential he could have done, given the speed he displayed at times and the performance of the car?

          Even if Hamilton had a perfect year in terms of maximising what result he could have achieved at each weekend he still would not have beaten Vettel, I disagree with your opinion because despite all his mistakes Hamilton’s speed was always apparent. He was the quicker Mclaren driver at most tracks (although no denying it Button was much stronger over the season) and as fast as Vettel at more than a few.

          This in my opinion should be rewarded much more highly than Massa. Massa did not look like getting anywhere near Alonso all season on pace, let alone beating a driver in a faster car i.e. the Mclarens and the Red Bulls.

      3. Completely agree on Hamilton. His attitude this year was horrible, despite his wins. His racecraft was poor because of his desperation, which shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Sure, Massa was completely out of form, but his attitude was okay (unless Hamilton was involved)

        As for Webber, he had a good attitude, and consistently finished in the top 5, regardless of his problems with the car or with his own driving ability. Hamilton should have done what Webber did this season, as Button was beating him – he should’ve knuckled down like Webber and done his best, even if it was mostly not good enough- but he failed to do that, which led to pointless incidents and a bad attitude.

        So for me Massa and Hamilton were equally bad, purely due to Hamilton’s wins, where he showed what could’ve been.

        1. Hamilton should have been more like Webber this year?


          1. Only in that he didn’t lose his head when he was being beaten. If Hamilton had accepted that he wasn’t as fast as Button this year, he wouldn’t have made stupid mistakes and the results would have eventually come to him (which is what Webber did, regardless of what results he got).

            The wins for Hamilton were good, I give him that- but his inconsistency and mistakes soured his season. Webber made only one mistake, and I’d rather consistency over Hamilton’s “results” any day.

    2. You’re believing the media hype PM to think that Hamilton had as bad a season as Massa. I mean, please come on.

      Hamilton had a bad season by his standards (built up over the previous years), but he still won 3 races and had some stand out drives.

      1. @PM-777 and everyone else out there smashing HAM – take another look at the season!!! The brit only had two really bad races, in the rest he was a little reckless, but still almost always clearly faster than BUT. BUT was wiser this year, but by no means faster than HAM. Stick to he numbers!

  32. Bit harsh on Liuzzi, granted he is no super star but he did outqualify his team mates more often than not this season and got the team their best result of the season.

    I don’t really know what more he could have achieved.

  33. I don’t understand how drivers like Heidfeld and Maldonado can be ranked above Ricciardo.

    1. @infi24r It’s difficult to judge anyone by anything other than results. Ricciardo showed promise but he didn’t actually deliver that much. I don’t believe it’s his fault, but you can’t form an opinion on what could have been, only what was.

  34. I have also not understood why Senna is considered by so many to have done better (like the 91/354 laps ahead of team mate). At least Keith’s ranking had Petrov ahead but considering both Petrov and Heidfeld were ahead of Schumacher half way into the season it is obvious that Keith’s assessment only reflects the last few races. Not sure how Timo got so far ahead either of these guys. Too many people think qualifying is important (which Senna was better than Petrov), rather have a car better set-up for the race and sacrifice qualifying speed.

    @Keith you statistics should also show how many places a driver made up or lost from their starting position – this would give a better idea of race pace which is actually one of the more important parameters you should be including in your analysis.

  35. I guess the biggest surprise so far is Massa being on top15. I assume the reasoning for this is that his team mate made him look worse than he actually was, but on same grounds we could move Trulli to top20 or so. I’m just saying Alonso isn’t that good. He couldn’t even beat Hamilton on his rookie season.

    I don’t think a driver should be in top15 or even in top20 if he can’t gather even 50% of his team mate’s points. Heidfeld got almost as many points as Petrov even though he attended only half of the races and he won Petrov in 5 out of 7 races they both finished on. And he’s still 16th. Sure, Petrov and Alonso aren’t comparable but still Heidfeld beat his team mate while Massa was humiliated by his.

    The obvious rank 1 is Vettel, there’s no question about it.

  36. themagicofspeed (@)
    12th December 2011, 15:59

    Massa ought to be in this category i feel. His performance this year has been pathetic.

    He just doesnt have what it takes to be a top-four driver anymore. After 2008, it broke him. He will never be the same. He will quite rightly always be angry about it, but unfortunately it’s killed off the edge he once had, along with his accident in ’09.

  37. A good synopsis. Fairly balanced, concise and humorous (well, the bit about Heidfeld doing well when his car wasn’t on fire!). Made me chuckle.

    This sort of list is difficult to put together and while I agree with it on the whole, if I did one, no doubt mine would look a bit different.

    There is a certain romance associated with scoring a backmarker with a relatively high position, but I don’t think it can be justified too easily. D’Ambrosio, in my opinion, had a better season than say, Kobayashi or Massa. However, he was never really in a position, because of the car, to be able to challenge. You can only really go on results at the end of the day. ‘What if’ and ‘maybes’ gets you so far, but then it just gets silly.

    To be honest, I was hoping I would disagree with more, so I could have some debate, but there is really little to disagree with for myself!

    The biggest thing that sticks out is Kobayashi’s position. I think it’s hard to gauge his position due to the exhaust issues at Silverstone. They became really quiet really quickly and much like the Renault guys, I think his performance was diluted with the car.

  38. I understand this is all subjective, and I also admit I’m a bit of a Kobayashi fan myself, but having read the second part (and especially the verdict on Massa), I find KK’s placement absolutely illogical.

    With Massa, a “steely resistance” in the first race is a redeeming factor, but with Kamui, even a great first half of the season is not, just because then his performance dropped alongside the performance of the car. (And that’s before he delivered 7th place in the constructor championship for the team in the last two races…)

    Of the six midfield-team drivers (those of Force India, Sauber, Toro Rosso) he finished ahead of four, yet he got ranked behind all of them.

    Not often can you see such a bad case of *** on this site; that’s something more Planet-F1-ish.

    To me it seems a (probably not conscious) overcompensation for the Kobayashi-hype rather than an accurate reflection of his season.

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