2011 F1 driver rankings no.2: Fernando Alonso

2011 F1 season review

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Silverstone, 2011

Alonso celebrates his single win of 2011

Fernando Alonso’s second year with Ferrari was a fascinating case study in what a world class driver can achieve with a sub-par car.

Rare were the occasions when Alonso did not qualify and race the 150??? Italia close to the limit of what appeared to be its potential.

When either of the Red Bulls or McLarens slipped up, Alonso was almost always the first to capitalise.

Last year with (narrowly) the second-quickest car at his disposal, Alonso came within a strategic blunder of winning the world championship. This year the Ferrari was emphatically the third-quickest car out there, so the best he could usually aim for was the podium.

Beat team mate in qualifying 15/19
Beat team mate in race 13/15
Races finished 18/19
Laps spent ahead of team mate 847/1016

He duly brought the car home in the top three in more than half of this year’s races, while his team mate never placed higher than fifth.

A single victory came at Silverstone, and this was rather opportunistic, for it came in the middle of a row over the technical rules which temporarily removed part of Ferrari’s disadvantage. Alonso romped home to win by 16 seconds in slippery conditions.

But on ordinary Sundays Alonso had to make inroads into the top four as best he could. At Catalunya and Monza he achieved this with spectacular starts, squeezing through impossibly narrow gaps to claim the inside line for the first corner and take the lead.

It was a testament to Alonso’s impressive form that he often found himself battling for position with Mark Webber in the much faster Red Bull. They crossed swords several times in 2011, Alonso coming out on top at Valencia and the Nurburgring.

His domination of Felipe Massa was near-total, though this was scarcely a surprise after last year. Massa occasionally pipped him in qualifying but Alonso’s supremacy was never in serious doubt.

Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, Spa-Francorchamps, 2011

Wheel-to-wheel with the world champion in Spa

The Ferrari made its sole appearance on the front row in Canada, in Alonso’s hands. But he produced an oddly indifferent performance, being shadowed by Massa before dropping out in a needless tangle with Jenson Button.

He had a run-in with the other McLaren at Sepang, breaking his front wing. This was especially unfortunate for Alonso as Lewis Hamilton ultimately received a penalty for his over-zealous defending earlier on in their tussle.

Remarkably, Alonso remained in the hunt for the runner-up place in the championship until the final race, thanks to some particularly strong drives in the closing stages of the season. He beat Sebastian Vettel to second place in Japan and when the Red Bull driver failed to finish in Abu Dhabi, Alonso pressed Hamilton hard for the win.

Alonso only slipped to fourth in the standings when Mark Webber scored an improbable win in the final round.

Nonetheless Alonso ended up just 13 points shy of second-placed Button. He deserves the lion’s share of the credit for that achievement having seldom left a point on the table all season long.

Who do you think was the best F1 driver of 2011? Cast your vote here

F1 Fanatics on Fernando Alonso

The only driver to consistently squeeze so much out of their car aside from Vettel, often beating the faster Mclarens and Mark Webber to the podium.
David A

Pushed as hard as he possibly can and looked like he treated every lap as a qualifying lap. All he needed is a better car to battle for the WDC.
Dpod

Start, Barcelona, 2011

Alonso snatched the lead in spectacular fashion at home

I also think this was the best Alonso has ever driven. The 150??? Italia isn?t anywhere as good as the F10 of last year, yet he scored more points. He only had one win, but most of his wins last year were inherited after Vettel had to retire or Massa moved over.
Adam Tate

Always got the most out of his car. Made excellent starts, qualified consistently well, made some beautiful overtakes and gave Red Bull and McLaren something to worry about on occasions when Ferrari didn?t look at all competitive.

His win at Silverstone was no doubt aided by the rule changes, but that shouldn?t detract from what was a fantastic drive.
Dan Thorn

Fernando Alonso 2011 form guide

2011 F1 season review

Browse all 2011 F1 season review articles

Images ?? Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo

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91 comments on 2011 F1 driver rankings no.2: Fernando Alonso

  1. I always love to say that Alonso is the most “complete” driver on the F1 Grid. He’s relatively consistent, he’s fast, and he seem to have an unwavering sense of self-belief.
    2011 has been an average season by Alonso’s standards, but a top quality year compared to the other Front Runners (Webber, Hamilton, Massa, Button, etc)

    • OEL F1 (@oel-f1) said on 16th December 2011, 12:50

      Why do you think it’s been average for Alonso? I mean the car he drove wasn’t nearly as competetive as the Red Bull or the McLaren, yet he always, always dragged it near the front.

    • Bumfez (@bumfez) said on 16th December 2011, 13:02

      Absolutely agree with you. The fact that he almost won his third championship (and should have imo) last year in a car that wasn’t dominant and the fantastic performances he’s put together this year, again in under performing car, show me that Alonso is without a doubt one of the best drivers on the grid.
      Hopefully next year Ferrari’s “extreme” car can take him to more glory because if they can’t provide him a winning package then they are just wasting his talent.

      • Kiril Varbanov (@kiril-varbanov) said on 16th December 2011, 14:24

        I just beg to differ about the “extreme” – I haven’t seen anyone from Ferrari making such statements.
        Surely, they are brave enough, but their reports have been rather cautious – things like “new way”, etc, but not necessarily an “extreme” development. As usual, we will have to wait and see how the new 2012 will perform.

        One thing is for sure – again, as this year, it seems that Alonso is going to extract any single point of performance from that car – looks like that has been the overall verdict about his run this year, and I have to agree, too.

        I was also impressed by the maturity of his behavior and comments in general – he’s grown a lot.

        • coefficient (@coefficient) said on 16th December 2011, 14:54

          I’ve read reports that Rory Byrne has returned to maranello and conceived a revolutionary floor for next years car that uses extreme side pod shapes to channel air through the diffuser.

          Also Ferrari were clearly attempting to figure out flexible wings later in the season so I think they will have something pretty interesting on their car next year.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 20th December 2011, 19:21

            I am looking forward to seeing all the tech-watchers have an intense look at that @coefficient, sounds interesting!

            As for the flex wings, personally I rather think that was more to do with Ferrari pushing their point, that its ridiculous these wings are withing the rules, as they pass the static tests.

            It was surely part of what convinced the FIA to announce changed tests for wing height complacency next year. And rightly so.

      • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 16th December 2011, 23:43

        @bumfez There’s just something so appealing about an Alonso/Ferrari WDC. To see a beautiful red car clinch the championship with a driver of his calibre will be brilliant. I know it will happen.

        • Bumfez (@bumfez) said on 17th December 2011, 16:05

          Beautiful red car indeed! In 2010 and 2011 the Ferrari was easily the best looking car on the grid, can’t wait for the next one :) Really do hope yur right tho, a championship for them has to happen really but if it doesn’t… well, that would be such a severe disappointment.

    • steco (@steco) said on 18th December 2011, 9:53

      Alonso is absolutely the best. Having as good car as Vettel has he will beat ‘ze German’ easily…

  2. steveo said on 16th December 2011, 12:39

    Great site as always Keith but these driver rankings are consistently ridiculous. All year these guys race to be the best & where they end up is usually exactly where they belong. After 19/20 GP’s it tends to sort it self out. Alonso missed Jenson for 2nd place by 13 points. Close but no cigar as they say. Jenson won 4 GP’s as to Alonso’s 1. Winning is the only thing that matters. Don’t care about the rubbish about the better car , blah blah. Alonso didn’t produce a victory like Montreal ( though Silverstone was slippery but not the same. ) If that was Alonso winning in Canada over Vettel we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    • Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 16th December 2011, 12:50

      where they end up is usually exactly where they belong. [...] Don’t care about the rubbish about the better car

      The difference between the cars is fundamental to Formula 1. Of course a driver with a quicker and/or more reliable car is more likely to win than one who doesn’t. I don’t know how to put it more clearly than that.

      • Otherwise Liuzzi would have around 5 titles in his pocket by now, wouldn’t he @keithcollantine!

      • I eagerly look forward to the rankings because, I believe, they truly measure a driver’s worth with regard to the circumstances and machine at his displosal – these may not be factors in athletics, soccer or sports like that, but are a vital ingredient of motor racing. The points table is so superficial that it hardly matters. Why would Sir Stirling Moss and Gilles Villeneuve be rated reigher than many championship-winning drivers in history then?

        Like it or not, circumstances are everything in motor racing, particularly Formula 1 and rally raids such as the Dakar, and the machine is the major element of these circumstances.

    • OEL F1 (@oel-f1) said on 16th December 2011, 12:53

      Oh but the problem was, Alonso wasn’t at the back of the pack in Silverstone because he managed to avoid that trouble. Had he been 15 seconds slower during the first stints of that race and then made a similar fightback as Button did in Canada you’d probably rate it as high. So Alonso’s drive was worse, because he drove better in the beginning, interesting point…

    • BradFerrari (@brad-ferrari) said on 16th December 2011, 12:54

      It’s not always about the results. It’s how the driver optimises the car throughout the entire season.

      Yes Jenson on occasion produced the goods, however these rankings are based on their performance during every race weekend.

      Don’t forget we should respect Keith’s personal opinion.

    • as I remember Button took out Alonso in Canada…

    • I agree completely, steveo. These ‘rankings’ just descend into subjectivity and hypotheticals, with completely different criterea applied to different drivers, according to generic ideas about which cars are ‘better’ and what relative expectations are. So Alonso wins one race and gets to no 2, whereas Hamilton wins three times as many races and comes fifth, behind a driver, Rosberg, without a single podium or fourth place to his name. Eh? If Button and won one race, and Alonso three, would they swapped round in this order? No. An therein lies the problem.

      I’ll just stick with the table. It shows the best driver/car combinations in order. It’s also objective.

      • matt90 (@matt90) said on 16th December 2011, 13:35

        I’ll just stick with the table. It shows the best driver/car combinations in order. It’s also objective.

        Exactly, the best combination. I really can’t understand someone not just disagreeing with Keith’s rankings but actively challenging the point. The point is that it is meant to be subjective, it is meant to look at just the drivers to see who did best given their circumstances, and it is meant to prompt debate.

        These ‘rankings’ just descend into subjectivity and hypotheticals, with completely different criterea applied to different drivers, according to generic ideas about which cars are ‘better’ and what relative expectations are

        That’s the point. How else can anybody rank solely the drivers?

        • Don’t get me wrong. Keith’s analysis of each driver is interesting and fair. It’s just the whole exercise is made controversial by the need to give everyone rankings. This artificially separates out the driver/car combination which is the core of the sport. It’s trying to separate the inseparable. It’s like trying to distinguish between the performance of the engine and the chassis, when it’s the combination that defines the car.

          In any case it all depends on perspective. Everyone’s bought the line that the Ferrari was terrible and Alonso dragged it to the front. But maybe it only looks that way because Massa was so weak. Maybe the car was actually pretty good, and that’s why Alonso’s results were consistent. In other words, maybe the issue wasn’t Alonso’s greatness, but Massa’s weakness. Maybe Red Bull’s dominance wasn’t down to the car – after all Webber was close to the others in points. Maybe it was Vettel’s superior skills that won the day. In other words, maybe he was much better than we give him credit for: it wasn’t the car, it was him.

          The trouble with all this is that it’s just speculation. We can’t separate the car from the man, so why bother? The table tells us all we need to know about the driver/car combination, and when direct comparisons are possible, it doesn’t lie: Vettel was far superior to Webber; Button to Hamilton; Alonso dominated Massa; Rosberg edged out Schumacher, but it was close. Everything else is wishful thinking.

          • Dobin1000 (@dobin1000) said on 16th December 2011, 15:40

            We can’t separate the car from the man, so why bother?

            Because humans are curious; we love to talk about “what ifs”. If you don’t care then that is fine, but other people want to try and work out what would happen if you could separate them.

            The trouble with all this is that it’s just speculation.

            I think that is the brilliance of it – there is no right answer. If it was pure scientific fact then there would be no debate or discussion and that is what the championship table is for – pure numbers with no emotion or subjectivity to determine who takes the grand prize.

            If F1 was only about the winner then why are there 16 or so drivers bothering to compete who have an infinitesimally small chance of winning unless something extremely unlikely happens? Because F1 is first of all about the sport: drivers racing.

          • OmarR-Pepper (@omarr-pepper) said on 16th December 2011, 17:00

            @Dobin1000 yes, I like your point, about the IFs, I understand this ranking as something like, IF all pilots had had the opportunity to race the RB (not only the champion car but the most reliable) for the complete season, this might have been the most possible and precise ranking that could have been.
            Having 24 Red Bulls on the grid is impossible of course but, except from 1 or 2 pilots I would have placed o na different place on this ranking, I agree and understand how Keith did it.

        • @Glump – maybe it would be improved if some drivers were ranked equally. for example, massa and webber both got destroyed by their team-mates, so they could be ranked equally.

          however, i’m sure lots of people could provide lots of subjective evidence to say webber did a better job than massa (maybe not the other way round, but this is just an example).

          you’re right, it is an impossible task to ‘fairly’ rank all the drivers. but it’s provided a lot of discussion and that’s the whole point of the site.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 16th December 2011, 13:35

        Last year, Hamilton controversially outranked Vettel and Alonso who won 2 more races each. The rankings take into account the car performance, which is why Alonso is said to be 2nd, on what is supposed to be a blog, not an official publication.

        • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 16th December 2011, 15:51

          @David-A

          The rankings take into account the car performance, which is why Alonso is said to be 2nd, on what is supposed to be a blog, not an official publication.

          Exactly. While Keith produces sound articles which I’ve never detected even a single word that could be misconstrued as bias, it is, at the end of the day, opinion. It’s a blog as much as it is a news-source and if you think it’s bias, you can go and read the boring articles on F1.com.

          • matt90 (@matt90) said on 16th December 2011, 16:44

            I love the accuracy and non-baised nature of the news articles, but generally, in terms of what I enjoy reading, the opinion pieces are the most interesting.

    • dkpoot said on 16th December 2011, 14:59

      i think steveo is completely wrong on this. its people like him that often contradict themselves on these forums, first saying things like he said “Winning is the only thing that matters. Don’t care about the rubbish about the better car , blah blah” and then go and slam someone like Vettel and say he isnt the best because he has the best car

    • AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 16th December 2011, 23:48

      Winning really is not the only thing that matters. Everything is relative, in any form of sport, but that applies particularly in motorsport. If you’re car is capable of performance it is your responsibility to extract that performance as much as you possibly can. Vettel did it, Button did it, Alonso did it, hell, even Kovalainen did it.

      Please, don’t underestimate the competitiveness of this formula. It’s crucial to the sport.

  3. BradFerrari (@brad-ferrari) said on 16th December 2011, 12:41

    Agree completely with your comments.

  4. UncleBob said on 16th December 2011, 12:46

    Sorry, JB should have been No.2.. Look no further than Canada for proof. He actually made Vettel make a mistake, not many can say that!!!

    • BradFerrari (@brad-ferrari) said on 16th December 2011, 12:57

      Again these rankings are based on their performance during EVERY race weekend.

      • Yeah. Alonso was superb always, although he wasn’t 100% in form in the first races (Malaysia and China spring to mind). But from then on it’s hard to find an occasion when he didn’t drive the car to over 99% of it’s potential. Button was relatively kept behind by Hamilton in the first races, but both he and Alonso have been so outstanding it’s hard to pick between the two: I think Keith chose correctly.

        • Alonso performed better in qualy all year as compared to button. He got eveything he could out of the car in majority of the qualy sessions this year while button did not. That’s y in my opinion alonso should be rated higher than button.

  5. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 16th December 2011, 12:47

    I was very impressed and constantly entertained by Alonso this year. He really brought the best out of himself and the car. Good to see he’s still a force to be reckoned with!

  6. steveo said on 16th December 2011, 12:48

    OK my bad three wins for Button not four. Still Alonso finished fourth in points behind Webber. Oh well… He tried , as do they all.

    We don’t have to have “Driver Rankings” because the FIA does it for us all season! How Convenient !

    • OEL F1 (@oel-f1) said on 16th December 2011, 12:54

      You don’t need to read it if it doesn’t suit you.

    • You seem irritated by the idea of doing some analysis of how well the drivers did by trying to exclude the influence of the car on their position. As is said above, if that’s really getting to you, don’t read an F1 fanatic discussion blog.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 17th December 2011, 7:25

      Sounds like you’re not happy with how one of your drivers are ranked. So I guess its better to accuse the whole concept of driver performance ranking being futile

  7. Enigma (@enigma) said on 16th December 2011, 12:55

    Kudos, Keith. Many lists I’ve read (from Autosport journalists, for example), put Button ahead of Alonso which I found ridiculous. Alonso did nearly as good a job as Button in a much slower car. I’m glad to completely agree with your top three for the second year in a row.

    • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 16th December 2011, 14:36

      Alonso did nearly as good a job as Button

      Which is why Button should be listed as number 2 for 2011, he simply did a better job.

      • Enigma (@enigma) said on 16th December 2011, 15:49

        I meant ‘nearly as good a job’ as results, achievements. He wasn’t much behind Button despite being in a slower car. These rankings aren’t championship standings, these rankings are about how good a job one does given their car’s performance.

  8. Fernando… is… faster… than… you ! No, really, he is. :)

    On a serious side, well deserved second place.

  9. Becken Lima (@becken-lima) said on 16th December 2011, 13:05

    Sorry, Keith. This time you’ve got it wrong.

    Fernando was immense this year, but what kind of stick you’re using to measure his performance, letting alone the performance of his car? His team mate?

    Massa never pressured Fernando this year or even in 2010, but, man, Hamilton is Hamilton and he cracked under Jensons pressure in some races.

    …And Canada was one of the best performances in F1 history. You can’ t fight against that fact.

    I always agree with your rankings, but Jenson is the second best in every F1 news site a find in the web.

    I’m just waiting to read some accusing you of bias.

    Good luck.

    • Enigma (@enigma) said on 16th December 2011, 21:44

      @becken-lima

      Massa never pressured Fernando this year or even in 2010

      Doesn’t this prove Alonso is doing a good job rather than prove he’s not? And Hamilton was faster than Button on many occasions this year, Button was just more consistent and opportunistic.

      Not taking anything away from Button, he’s had a phenomenal year, but I agree with Keith, Alonso had a better season.

    • Alex W said on 17th December 2011, 10:39

      The same jenson that blew a race victory this year by pulling into the wrong pit box????? Alonso is #2 and close to Vettel.

  10. matt90 (@matt90) said on 16th December 2011, 13:17

    Not sure if I’d have put Alonso or Button second. Heart says Button, but Alonso did incredible to keep up.

  11. ScuderiaVincero (@scuderiavincero) said on 16th December 2011, 13:24

    Alonso’s performance this year, make no mistake, was one set for the history books. I feel he was never on the limit of that Ferrari, just constantly beyond it.

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 16th December 2011, 13:33

      +1

      • You cannot go beyond the limit of the car, you will crash.

        I wish some people would stop saying this, Alonso got the maximum out of the car but he’s not superhuman he can’t make the car do things it is not capable of.

        • That is true, but then it becomes a question of what % did you get out of the car. Alonso got 100% in many peoples eyes. Vettel did the same. The other drivers were not quite at this limit.

          • I’m not disputing that; Vettel, Alonso and Button were all superb this season, and I would put Alonso 2nd behind Vettel if I were doing a personal ranking.

            It just irritates me slightly when fans of the driver make out they’re capable of defying the laws of physics in an attempt to make them sound better.

  12. GameR_K (@gamer_k) said on 16th December 2011, 13:33

    Top drive from Alonso this season, only to be let down by the car. Hard to understand his reason for getting a contract till 2016 with Ferrari, but he must have known something better than us for that kind of commitment. Hopefully, next year he can make further inroads

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 16th December 2011, 13:41

      “Hard to understand his reason for getting a contract till 2016 with Ferrari ”
      it’s very simple he want to win the title with the Italian team
      he managed to get 20 podiums in 38 races with ferrari with slower cars if the team can provide him a decent car then there would be no doubt about his ability to win the championship

    • Why is this hard to believe?

      He petulantly burned his bridge at McLaren. He could only get Webber’s seat if Vettel says it’s okay. (I really don’t think RBR would risk losing Seb—if he said he didn’t want ALO—just to get Fernando.) That’s it. There are no other seats worth chasing.

      • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 16th December 2011, 18:29

        “I really don’t think RBR would risk losing Seb—if he said he didn’t want ALO—just to get Fernando”
        please correct your information alonso had an offer in 2010 to drive for the red bulls instead of ferrari but he rejected that offer he preferred to drive for ferrari
        FERRARI is FERRARI it’s difficult to put in words but there’s nothing more special for an F1 driver more than driving for the prancing horse !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        if you don’t belive me chek this link

        • I was stating opinion, but I feel it has solid basis.

          More importantly, the offer was made prior to Vettel winning a championship, let alone two. Red Bull did not know how big of a winner Vettel would be. And I believe any rumors of or offers for him going to Red Bull were prior to 2010 (first paragraph – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fernando_Alonso#2008.E2.80.932009:_Return_to_Renault). If he did get an offer in 2010, Vettel was still only one year on the team and did not have the clout that a double-world champ does.

          And of course Fernando is going to say that there is something special about Ferrari once he is on the team. He would be stupid not to.

          I’m not anti-Ferrari, nor am I anti-Fernando (they used to be my favorite team before they booted out both MSC and RAI – world champs so that they could keep Massa around). But Fernando signed a contract extension at Ferrari because he has no where else to go. That was my only point. It’s great if he says he likes the team, but if Ferrari started getting worse and a better seat opened up, be sure that he would take it.

    • Even Whitmarsh thinks that Alonso could have been handled better should also speak volumes about who was being petulant, Ron Dennis and co., or Alonso.

      • AndresM (@andresm) said on 17th December 2011, 22:36

        I can only agree with you. If Ron Dennis had managed the situation. Mac Laren would have won three championships in a row (2007 ALO, 2008 HAM, 2009 HAM) but he preferred to play daddy Anthony’s game…

  13. Although Button had a great season, his performances were flattered by Hamilton’s failings. That McLaren was a car which could win more races than it actually did, and I believe in the hands of either Alonso or Vettel, the McLaren would have had more victories.

    Alonso was fantastic for the vast majority of the season. A couple of silly mistakes at the start had me worried, but he once again showed what an all-rounder he was.

    Credit to Button, great driver, great bloke, but let’s not get carried away because he had a good season and Hamilton had a bad one (thus making Button look better than is necessarily warranted).

  14. Maciek (@maciek) said on 16th December 2011, 13:45

    Yup, taking the season on the whole, it’s very difficult to rate Vettel and Alonso anywhere but 1 and 2. Vettel’s car was the class of the field, but you just have to look at Webber to see that it takes more than a car to do well. Alonso – fantastic! So many times this year I watched him exit corners absolutely on the edge, working overtime to keep it facing forward. Button’s performance was solid and at times inspired, but Alonso basically took the Ferrari by the throat at nearly every single race – scratch that: every single lap. Could have been a better season for competition, but a very interesting one to watch individual performances.

    • Yeah, that’s exactly what I was thinking too. I wouldn’t want people to think I’m a Button Basher (lol) or anything, but in relative terms, Button had a superior car and only finished 13pts ahead of Alonso. Can you imagine what Alonso could have done if the car was on a par with the McLaren, or even the Red Bull?

      I’m hoping all three teams are close in terms of performance next year – would be great to see five (I say five because Massa is totally lost at the moment) fight it out!

      • smokinjoe (@smokinjoe) said on 16th December 2011, 14:10

        well in 2010 he probably has the second fastest car but he still blew it in last race

        • EternalRookie said on 16th December 2011, 14:45

          I’d say the Ferrari wall (not Alonso) blew it in the last race by ordering him an untimely early pitstop. OK, maybe Alonso should have gone gonzo and ignore the direct order, but he didn’t have all the info the guys at the wall had. So maybe it was a little bit Alonso’s fault also, but by no means 100%.

    • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 16th December 2011, 14:54

      So many comments about how well Alonso did with less than the fastest car and about how he is such an amazing driver. I can’t help thinking about what Shumacher did with inferior cars in his first career (pre-2000) and I have to say that makes me struggle to see how Alonso gets so much credit for his driving.

      Alonso’s fourth place in 2011 with one win is equal placed with Schumacher’s worst complete (i.e. excluding ’97 and ’99) F1 season in his original 15 year career and he was in considerably worse cars for much of that period.

      I think Alonso was a truly great driver from 2003 to 2007, even beating Shumacher fair and square. He showed some flashes of speed when back at Renault after that, but it seems to me his best years were over when Hamilton arrived as his team mate. Despite having all the resources of one of the biggest and most successful teams (including its second driver) behind him he is no longer a serious contender but rather it is always his car which gets the blame.

      • sultanofhyd (@sultanofhyd) said on 16th December 2011, 16:15

        If you say so.

      • marmad said on 16th December 2011, 16:34

        Any opinion is respectable.

        Considering what I’ve seen during the last two years, It could be said that Alonso is a better driver now than he was in 2007.

        He hasn´t lost any of his skills. The man continues being an extremely fast and intelligent driver; constant; completely agressive when it is needed; hard defender when it is needed/useful; able to reduce mistakes to the minimum and extract the maximum from his car; has the ability to drag his team (that seems to work around him)…but the more significative thing to me is that Alonso seems to have matured, being much more sensible and focused.

        I really think that Alonso is more relentless now than he was some years ago.

      • SundarF1 (@sundarf1) said on 23rd December 2011, 13:54

        @marmad

        Back then, the driver’s skills made more of a difference in the races.

  15. I really enjoy reading Keith’s articles and the following comments because it’s good entertainment. The reason I watch F1 and the reason I read F1Fanatic is because they are both entertainment. There would be no fun if I agreed with everything said but it’s nice to read the arguments for and against.

    Personally, I’m no fan of Alonso or Vettel but what a boring season it would have been without them!

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