Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso, Nurburgring, 2011

New 2011 rules produced best racing of last four years

2011 F1 season reviewPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Lewis Hamilton, Mark Webber, Fernando Alonso, Nurburgring, 2011
Germany produced the third-best race of the year

The 2011 season may not have produced a close battle for the championship, but it did give us lots of exciting races.

With more challenging tyre compounds, the return of KERS and the controversial introduction of DRS, F1 saw much more overtaking this year.

Here’s what F1 Fanatics rated as the best and worst Grands Prix of the 2011 season – and how they compared to the previous three years of F1 races.

Rating the races of 2011

Race Rating
China 9.241
Canada 9.095
Germany 8.43
Hungary 8.344
Britain 7.96
Malaysia 7.775
Belgium 7.772
Monaco 7.684
Japan 7.57
Italy 7.494
Spain 7.319
Turkey 7.306
Korea 6.915
Australia 6.751
Singapore 6.39
Abu Dhabi 6.127
Brazil 5.771
India 5.555
Europe 3.871

Races which featured passes for the lead tended to receive the highest ratings.

Jenson Button passed Sebastian Vettel to win on the final lap of the Canadian Grand Prix, and passes for the lead featured in both the Chinese and German Grands Prix.

For only the second time in history the Hungarian Grand Prix was affected by rain. The Hungaroring may be renowned for producing dull races but this year it was fourth-highest.

At the other end of the scale were the processional races at Valencia and F1’s newest venue, Buddh International Circuit in India.

The Brazilian Grand Prix, which has produced some of the better races of recent seasons, was third-lowest this year. There was widespread scepticism after the race about Sebastian Vettel’s gearbox problem which led to team mate Mark Webber winning the race.

It is also clear that modern venues tend to produce less entertaining races. Six of the bottom eight races were at Hermann Tilke-designed circuits which have appeared on the calendar within the last six years.

Note also that lots of overtaking doesn’t automatically equal good racing. The Turkish Grand Prix ranks in the lower half of the races, proving you can have too much of a good thing.

Was the voting also swayed by driver or team allegiance? Participants are asked to rate races on merit, but you can check the results against this recent profile of who are the most popular competitors on F1 Fanatic here.

Comparing 2011 with the last three seasons


Australia Malaysia China Turkey Spain Monaco Canada Europe Britain Germany Hungary Belgium Italy Singapore Japan Korea India Abu Dhabi Brazil
2008 7.609 5.738 4.446 6.816 5.085 8.177 7.809 3.977 8.164 7.18 6.202 7.736 8.153 6.302 6.66 8.756
2009 7.937 5.284 6.69 5.276 5.33 5.504 5.355 5.755 7.096 6.808 7.852 7.049 5.336 5.58 5.794 8.309
2010 8.638 6.684 8.326 7.984 4.919 6.217 8.668 5.454 7.203 3.74 6.654 8.368 6.759 7.194 6.642 7.536 6.602 6.253
2011 6.751 7.775 9.241 7.306 7.319 7.684 9.095 3.871 7.96 8.43 8.344 7.772 7.494 6.39 7.57 6.915 5.555 6.127 5.771
Year Average rating
2008 6.651
2009 6.316
2010 6.759
2011 7.23

The chart above shows the historical ratings for the different races which featured in 2011. You can show and hide different years using the controls.

We now have four complete seasons’ worth of race ratings from F1 Fanatic readers. The average rating for this year was easily the highest of those three, reaching over seven out of ten. The 2009 season was rated lowest of the last four years.

Top ten races, 2008-2011

Rank Race Rating
1 2011 Chinese Grand Prix 9.241
2 2011 Canadian Grand Prix 9.095
3 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix 8.756
4 2010 Canadian Grand Prix 8.668
5 2010 Australian Grand Prix 8.638
6 2011 German Grand Prix 8.43
7 2010 Belgian Grand Prix 8.368
8 2011 Hungarian Grand Prix 8.344
9 2010 Chinese Grand Prix 8.326
10 2009 Brazilian Grand Prix 8.309

These are the top ten races of the last four years, according to F1 Fanatic readers.

Four of this year’s races have entered the top ten and the top two races are both Grands Prix which took place this season.

The 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, which produced two dramatic changes in the championship situation in the final laps, has been unseated as the most popular races.

The Chinese Grand Prix, which featured differing strategies between the front runners, several changes of the lead, and Mark Webber’s climb through the field from 18th to third, now has the highest average rating.

Last year’s German Grand Prix, in which Ferrari used team orders forcing Felipe Massa to surrender victory to Fernando Alonso, remains the lowest-rated race so far, with an average score of just 3.74.

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Image ?? McLaren