2011 F1 driver rankings part two: 15-6

2011 F1 season review

The second part of F1 Fanatic’s 2011 driver rankings include the ten drivers to sixth place.

The list includes Felipe Massa, Michael Schumacher and Mark Webber.

Read on for the next part of the 2011 F1 driver rankings including F1 Fanatic readers’ views.

15. Timo Glock

Timo Glock, Virgin, Monaco, 2011

Timo Glock, Virgin, Monaco, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 14/19
Beat team mate in race 7/10
Races finished 13/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate 534/731

After languishing at the back of the field in 2010, Glock must have been expecting better things from his second season at Virgin.

Instead the MVR-02 proved little quicker than its predecessor, and as Lotus made strides towards the midfield Glock was left with little to do other than circulate ahead of the HRTs and his team mate.

He accomplished this, regularly brought the car home and on the rare occasions there was any kind of showcase for his abilities – Monaco qualifying, for example – produced the goods.

After two seasons at Virgin you have to be impressed by Glock’s faith in the team to have opted to stick with them. On the strength of this season there’s little reason to doubt he’ll deliver when the time comes.

Fast drive in a very slow car and looked like he was struggling to keep it on track. Is unlucky in some races not to do better but the car wasn?t fast enough for him. Slowed down towards end of the season but good drive none the less.
Rdpunk

Timo Glock 2011 form guide

14. Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Montreal, 2011

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Montreal, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 4/19
Beat team mate in race 2/15
Races finished 16/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate 169/1016

The statistics of Massa’s sixth season with Ferrari make for grim reading. While team mate Fernando Alonso notched up ten podiums including a win, Massa was never higher than fifth.

Given that, ranking him even as high as this could seem a tad generous. But Massa’s season was not an irredeemable disaster: he was in fine form in Canada and made some good defensive drives – including a steely resistance against Jenson Button in the season-opener, until DRS ended the contest.

Button’s team mate responded less well to Massa’s defensive style – his season featured several collisions with Lewis Hamilton in which Massa was usually the victim. Under the circumstances you have to wonder whether it was wise for his race engineer to be issuing messages to “destroy Hamilton’s race”.

Ferrari’s continued faith in Massa invites differing interpretations. Certainly they’ve had no qualms about dropping drivers mid-contract, as Kimi Raikkonen can attest. Is Massa being kept on as a sop to Alonso, or on his own merit? On the strength of the last two years the former is an increasingly persuasive explanation.

Massa scored 118 points, 139 behind Alonso and only 27 in front of Rosberg. Best finish was 5th I think, not even a podium. It won?t happen of course but I wish Ferrari buy out his contract in the winter, he?s a waste of space in the Ferrari.
TommoTHFC

Felipe Massa 2011 form guide

13. Sebastien Buemi

Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, Silverstone, 2011

Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, Silverstone, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 13/19
Beat team mate in race 6/12
Races finished 14/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate 461/874

It was nip-and-tuck between the two Toro Rosso drivers, each vying with the other to hold onto a place in F1. In the end Jaime Alguersuari was narrowly ahead on points and, despite Buemi’s late-season misfortunes, that’s probably a fair reflection of their performances.

Buemi hit the ground running at the start of the season and made the first contributions to the teams’ points tally. He initially enjoyed better one-lap performance and better durability from the tyres during the races, meaning he had Alguersuari completely out-flanked.

But as the season went on the balance of power increasingly tipped in favour of his team mate. Buemi did his cause no favours with a careless collision with Nick Heidfeld in Germany.

Buemi served the team well with his dependable performances and good start to the year. But it remains to be seen whether that will be enough to safeguard his seat from Toro Rosso’s roster of young talent.

Sure, Buemi retired three times in four races (through no fault of his own). But in India, he was overtaken by Alguersuari and remained behind when he retired. In Abu Dhabi he qualified in 13th and didn?t appear to be running any quicker than his team-mate. The only chance he missed to score points was in Japan, when he was running 11th and might perhaps have edged into 9th or 10th. That would hardly him transformed his position in the standings.

Buemi should savour a season where he improved greatly, and indeed led the team for the first few races. But ultimately, the best driver won.
Alex

Sebastien Buemi 2011 form guide

12. Paul di Resta

Paul di Resta, Force India, Singapore, 2011

Paul di Resta, Force India, Singapore, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 9/19
Beat team mate in race 6/16
Races finished 18/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate 479/1041

Di Resta looked accomplished and confident in F1 from his very first race weekend. He went on to have an excellent debut season and in many other years would have easily been top rookie.

Most impressively for a new driver, he completed more racing laps than anyone in 2011 – 1,106 out of 1,133.

But he wasn’t just a safe pair of hands. Di Resta frequently out-qualified his team mate early in the year including an excellent sixth at his home race.

Later in the season the team tended to split strategies between their cars, di Resta using the less conservative approach. This served him well at times, such as in Singapore where he finished sixth. But more often he found himself on an inferior strategy, as in India.

Points finishes in six of the final nine races underlined a wholly credible first season in F1 for di Resta.

Definitely a star of the future but just couldn’t keep Adrian behind.
Dpod

Paul di Resta 2011 form guide

11. Jaime Alguersuari

Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, Buddh International Circuit

Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, Buddh International Circuit

Beat team mate in qualifying 6/19
Beat team mate in race 6/12
Races finished 16/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate 413/874

Alguersuari’s season didn’t really start until he’d figured out how to make the 2011-spec tyres work well with the STR6. Once he did that, he gave Toro Rosso their best results of the season with a pair of seventh places in Italy and Korea.

He might have done even better from sixth on the grid at Spa – his best-ever qualifying position – had he not been shunted by Bruno Senna at the first corner.

Alguersuari had a tough lesson in the politics of Red Bull when he received a dressing-down from Helmut Marko having failed to get out of Sebastian Vettel’s way during practice in Korea. He did nothing wrong besides mildly inconvenience Marko’s favourite son, and hopefully it won’t compromise his future in the sport.

Took his time to get with it this year but when he did, he did so with a bang. Excellent second half of the season and looks to be maturing into a very solid all around package.

Better than Buemi? I?m not sure, but I think he has brighter future. Just a hunch.
Dan Thorn

Jaime Alguersuari 2011 form guide

10. Sergio Perez

Sergio Perez, Sauber, Suzuka, 2011

Sergio Perez, Sauber, Suzuka, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 11/18
Beat team mate in race 4/11
Races finished 13/17
Laps spent ahead of team mate 353/802

Perez got his F1 career off to a bright start and it might have been an ever better year for him but for his crash in Monaco.

He had just reached Q3 for the first time in his career when he lost control of his car heading into the harbour chicane and made sickeningly heavy side-on contact with the barrier

Although he was unharmed, he missed the next two races and said it took him until the Hungarian Grand Prix to be back at his best. Arguably, this deprived him of some of the best opportunities to make use of the C30, which declined in performance later in the season.

There were a few typical rookie mistakes along the way – not least in China, where he picked up a pair of penalties – but these were largely eclipsed by some singularly impressive performances.

He should have scored points in his first race, where he led his team mate home, only for both to be disqualified on a technicality. He had a season-best finish of seventh at Silverstone and shrugged off illness to take eighth at Suzuka. Sauber snapped him up for another season early in the year and he is already being tipped as a future Ferrari driver.

Great start to the season, shown great qualifying pace, a real shame about the Monaco crash putting him back when the car was at its strongest.
Jake

Sergio Perez 2011 form guide

9. Adrian Sutil

Adrian Sutil, Force India, Nurburgring, 2011

Adrian Sutil, Force India, Nurburgring, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 10/19
Beat team mate in race 10/16
Races finished 17/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate 562/1041

Sutil’s performances at Force India this year seemed to improve as doubts over his future at the team grew. His rookie team mate gave him more than a few problems early in the season, particularly in qualifying.

The more mature, less crash-prone Sutil we saw in 2010 was still much in evidence. His best results were a pair of sixth-placed finishes at home and – in timely fashion – in the final race of the season.

The latter was enough to put him ahead of Vitaly Petrov in the drivers’ championship. The question now is whether he’s done enough to convince Vijay Mallya to keep him on for a sixth year at the same address.

With di Resta?s impressive first races against his troubled start, I was concerned for him. But he grew stronger race after race and now I have to admit that Vijay Mallya and not Luca di Montezemolo should want three cars for each team!
Cristian

Adrian Sutil 2011 form guide

8. Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Istanbul, 2011

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Istanbul, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 17/19
Beat team mate in race 9/12
Races finished 14/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate 623/867

Which driver dominated his team mate most completely in 2011? You could make strong cases for Fernando Alonso or Sebastian Vettel. Kovalainen certainly deserves a mention in the same breath, having routed Jarno Trulli this year.

A 16-2 margin of superiority in qualifying (Trulli missed one race) is only the beginning of the story. Kovalainen usually finished ahead of his team mate in the races and often by half a minute or more.

Kovalainen was the only one of the two to make it into Q2, which he did on three occasions. Perhaps most impressively, he beat Vitaly Petrov’s Renault in a straight fight in Singapore.

On this form, Kovalainen looks best-placed to bring the team into the midfield in 2012.

Really impressive. Demolished Trulli even more comprehensively than last year. Drove supremely, placing the Lotus where it had no right to be. If there was any opportunity to get into Q2, he snatched it.

His race pace was so close to the back of the midfield and he was at times genuinely competitive with a Williams. Was always positive and looked happy in his environment which can go a long way.
Silverkeg

Heikki Kovalainen 2011 form guide

7. Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 2/17
Beat team mate in race 6/13
Races finished 14/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate 258/873

Schumacher’s second season back in F1 was a marked improvement over the first – at least on race days.

Qualifying remained a weakness – he only started ahead of Rosberg twice, and on one occasion that was because Rosberg’s car had failed in qualifying.

But Schumacher made up for that with some meteoric starts. He made a net gain of 27 places on the first lap during the course of the season, more than any other driver.

Starting further back meant he was more prone to midfield scraps: he collided with Petrov in Turkey and Valencia. But as he got closer to the front he started to look more like the Schumacher of old.

In Canada he was in contention for the podium before Jenson Button and Mark Webber used DRS to demote him. He claimed from 24th to fifth in Belgium – aided, it must be said, by the safety car and a first-lap crash – and fended off Hamilton brilliantly for lap after lap at Monza.

This is what we expected when Schumacher began his comeback. Some disappointing mistakes and still not as quick as he used to be ?ǣ but great racecraft in Canada and at Monza, and an amazing ability to spot gaps off the starting line.

I’d love to see him with a podium or two next year, but I fear we may already have seen the best of his comeback.
Alex

Michael Schumacher 2011 form guide

6. Mark Webber

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2011

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Interlagos, 2011

Beat team mate in qualifying 3/19
Beat team mate in race 2/17
Races finished 18/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate 112/1030

Having spent the last few races of 2010 in Vettel’s shadow, that trend continued for most of 2011 for Webber.

He seemed to have the worst of both worlds when it came to tyre management: he couldn’t extract enough performance over a single lap in qualifying and tended to take too much life out of the tyre in longer stints. His starts were also a considerable weakness.

Webber managed a trio of pole positions in the middle of the season and had the upper hand over Vettel at the Nurburgring, but otherwise his team mate ran away with things.

Webber’s racecraft remained a strong suit of his, despite having a car that often lacked the straight-line speed necessary to make many passes. His move on Alonso at Spa was breathtakingly brave and he battled through from 18th to third in China.

But ultimately he fell too far short of making the most of what was available to him. But for an inherited win in Brazil he would have ended the year fourth.

Did nothing special all year but was still constantly up there in the points without being race winner until Brazil. Struggled a lot with the tyres and then the de-motivation of seeing his team mate dominate many Grands Prix. Good drive at Brazil and I felt he could have taken Vettel if there wasn?t a gearbox problem.
Rdpunk

Mark Webber 2011 form guide

2011 F1 season review

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Images (C) Virgin Racing, Ferrari spa, Red Bull/Getty images, Force India/Sutton, Red Bull/Getty images, Sauber, Force India/Sutton, Team Lotus, Mercedes, Red Bull/Getty images

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152 comments on 2011 F1 driver rankings part two: 15-6

  1. L_A_Munro said on 12th December 2011, 17:17

    PDR behind Checo?!

  2. tyresmoke (@tyresmoke) said on 12th December 2011, 17:21

    I think you meant to say Kovalainen managed to get into Q2 three times, not Q3

  3. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 12th December 2011, 17:32

    Typo, Keith.

    In the lead it reads ‘The list includes Felipe Massa, Michael Schumacher and Fernando Alonso.’

    I was in quite a shock reading this, thinking you wouldn’t include Alonso not even in the top 5.

    My prediction is

    1. Vettel
    2. Button
    3. Alonso
    4. Rosberg
    5. Hamilton

  4. UKFan (@) said on 12th December 2011, 17:33

    This rankings reflect Keith opinion about the Drivers performances of 2011 this aint an official rank or something similar despite having good parametres still its impossible to be a little carried about, but basically I agree with the choices, in the end the drivers that delivered points and outperformed their cars are the ones that are going to continue driving in F1.

    My criticism is just about the point were the potential results werent counted some drivers would have scored good points if they werent so unlucky and I can give a couple of examples Maldonado and Buemi. Maldonado may be a paid driver but he did well and he could have scored good points for Williams in Monaco, Buemi outpaced Alguersuari till the midway point but after Toro Rossos updates he seem to be the only struck with unreliability.

  5. The Mouth said on 12th December 2011, 17:41

    Here’s my list.

    1. Alonso (wins first prize for driving terrible car by massively underfunded and handicapped team, and being called ‘Fernando’)
    2. Alonso (also wins econd prize because he’s so good he’s competing with himself)
    3. Massa (for services to making Alonso look great)
    4. Vettel (loses places for cheating Alonso of his destiny)
    …(fill in blanks in any order)
    91. Bloke who crahed is Volvo leaving British GP
    92. Flatulent old man in crowd
    93. Dog with mange
    94. Hamilton

  6. Marco_ferrari said on 12th December 2011, 17:49

    To be honest, I liked James Allen s top 5 list (VET, BUT, ALO, KOV, ALG) at most… It was very close to mine with only 2 minor differences… I can t really understand the view that Webber was better then Sutil, Kova or Alguersuari, but 100 people 100 opinions… Mark was maybe good at overtaking, but overall he looked very average compared to his teammate… With Webbo behind the wheel, the RB didn t look so dominant as it was in case of Vettel…

  7. katederby (@katederby) said on 12th December 2011, 18:11

    I don’t have a problem with either Massa or Webber’s ranking… compare points scored against team mates;

    Vettel 392 Webber 258
    Alonso 257 Massa 118

    Both suffered against their team mates for a number of reasons no one wants to hear about now but whereas Massa didn’t get half of Alonso’s points, Webber got well over half of Vettel’s.

  8. LHFANATIC said on 12th December 2011, 18:13

    Can someone please provide clarity on what people mean whem they say ‘he put a car where it didnt belong’ this is especially said of Alonso and his ferrari. It seems like Alonso is moving mountains by coming in 4th because his looser team mate is coming in 8th so by compafison, 4th is a miracle. Look at RBR. if the team had 2 mediocre drivers with talent levels similar to Webbers, would we all still say the RB7 is such a superior machine? In the hands of Webber it seems like such an average machine. So please stop using such statements and making people seem like Gods, just because he drove 100 times better than his useless teammate

    • Alex (@smallvizier) said on 12th December 2011, 18:33

      It’s not just based on team-mates. Here are some other factors:

      – consistency during races: can you string together quick laps in succession?
      – performance under pressure: for example, last-gasp qualifying laps
      – ability to overtake swiftly, or (arguably even more impressive this year) defend against a faster car, as Schumacher did at Monza
      – ability to pass other drivers without losing too much time, without risking a crash, and without relying on DRS
      – whether they push a car to its limits (using the full width of the track on a qualifying lap, signs of barely-restrained oversteer)

      A lot of these can’t be got from the stats, you have to watch the races. And so it’s very important when you’re looking at Alonso’s points vs Massa’s to remember that that’s only starting you looking – the full story will include every corner they took in every pressure situation of the race.

      Alonso does most of these things so, so well… which is why he’s respected even by those who don’t much care for his personality.

    • Cacarella (@cacarella) said on 12th December 2011, 18:50

      for the sake of ‘clarity’…

      As we have all been watching the same 2011 Formula One season including pre-season testing a natural order has been established in terms of a cars performance rating. It is widely excepted that the top three cars in order are the Redbull, Mclaren, and Ferrari.
      If a Ferrari driver (Alonso) is able to Qualify or finish within the top 4 (meaning he is able to beat a competitor in a car which performs better), then he will be referred to as ‘one who can put the car where it doesn’t belong’ since the performance indicators would suggest that the highest he should achieve is 5th. This is evident in the highest position that Felipe Massa had achieved all season (5th) which would indicate that he was unable to ‘put the car where it didn’t belong’

      Since Alonso was able to score multiple podiums (meaning a first, second, or third place finish) and a race victory while driving a car that is widely viewed to be third fastest, and considering that in order to finish the championship where he did he would have had to have been better than either Vettel, Button, Hamilton, and Webber, he actually did quite a bit more than simply beating his useless teammate, he actually had to beat other useless drivers as well.

      if the team had 2 mediocre drivers with talent levels similar to Webbers, would we all still say the RB7 is such a superior machine?

      This did not happen, and I’m not sure that anyone would ever try and claim that the Renault (as an example) was actually the fastest car on the grid but was driven by two mediocre drivers, thus was relegated to 5th overall.

  9. alexf1man (@alexf1man) said on 12th December 2011, 19:33

    @KeithCollantine Q2 for Kovalainen, not Q3.

  10. Hotbottoms (@hotbottoms) said on 12th December 2011, 19:52

    I think top five will be:
    5) Hamilton
    4) Rosberg
    3) Button
    2) Alonso
    1) Vettel

    I think top five should be:
    5) Rosberg
    4) Hamilton
    3) Alonso
    2) Button
    1) Vettel

    Vettel has to be number one.

    Hamilton was bad this year, but I think every top driver apart from Button and Vettel were. Alonso did OK, but I think he’s overrated and Massa was just extremely lousy this year.

  11. KaIIe (@kaiie) said on 12th December 2011, 20:15

    Some interesting names on this list. Buemi, Alguersuari, di Resta and Sutil are still without a drive for 2012, even though all of them deserve one. Massa and Webber are in a top team, while both failed to make most of their cars this year. And guys like Kovalainen and Glock are still stuck with their back-of-the-grid machinery (hopefully mid-fielders in 2012).

  12. I couldn’t put Sutil that high as his rookie team mate who has barely raced open tops in years was far more impressive this year and surprisingly so it was early on in the season when Sutil was most rattled. I couldn’t put Heikki so high either. Yes, he’s fitting into Lotus well but it’s hard to judge the new teams because they’re so far back and Heikki is up against Jarno who I still rate but I don’t think it can justify Heikki being so high up when Massa’s against someone like Alonso, Webber against Seb etc.

    I don’t think the gap between Webber and Massa can be so high either. I’d say both have been soundly beaten by their team mates by roughly the same margin and Webber finally got a win largely thanks to Vettel’s problems. All wins are deserved but it doesn’t really boost Mark’s season for me when he’s mostly been so far behind Seb in a very good car. The fact that he wasn’t second in the title speaks volumes.

    • magon4 (@magon4) said on 13th December 2011, 7:50

      Sutil beat Di Resta fair and square, and even impressed more. Di Resta’s two best drives (Hungary & Singapore) were inferior to Sutil’s two best (Germany & Brazil).

      • di Resta is a rookie though and was massively impressive against Sutil’s fove years worth of F1 experience. Sutil should have had a handle on him all season but it seemed like he was barely keeping up.

        • magon4 (@magon4) said on 13th December 2011, 11:42

          That’s credit to Di Resta, who I put into my Top 10 – but certainly not above Sutil, who is just capable of more at the moment and did have a bad start to the season – he still recovered and passed the brit, though. And let’s not forget that at no point in the season Di Resta had more points than Sutil.
          42×27 is an advantage superior to 50%.

  13. Having taken a quick glance at the rankings, i agree with most of them, but Webber is too high, and Massa as well.

    They both had horrible seasons compared to their team mates and that is the best way to judge a driver, compare him with the person in the same car.

    Webber with the best car on the grid with as many wins as Alonso? and Massa with the third best team never finishing higher than 5th? They should both be down the back.

  14. matthewf1 (@) said on 12th December 2011, 23:00

    Why is Perez above Kobayashi?

  15. Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 12th December 2011, 23:04

    I actually quite like the order of the list thus far and would only swap a couple drivers around in the order. It shows the intelligence of the F1Fanatic community.

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