I don’t think you can just look at finishing results when rating Bruno as there were a few races where he got a much lower place than his actual performance during the race would have got him.
At Spa a lot was made of his qualifying position & turn 1 accident, However after he pitted for a new nose his race pace was actually fairly strong when compared to Petrov.
When he scored points at Monza its often overlooked that he was last at the end of lap 1 having driven through the gravel avoiding the turn 1 crash & had to pit for a new nose as a precaution due to going through the gravel.
He was faster than Petrov all weekend at Singapore a track which is one of the most physically demanding circuits on the calender.
He matched Petrov’s pace all weekend at Suzuka & outqualified Petrov despite having done no qualifying simulation during practice due to his crash.
From memory he was ahead of Petrov in India when his KERS failed & Got screwed by the team’s strategy at Abu-Dhabi when they pitted him at the end of lap 1 expecting a safety car, Then as he was coming back through the field he had another KERS failure.
He was also well ahead of Petrov at Brazil untill the incident with Schumacher which I still see as a racing incident undeserving of a penalty, Especially since the penalty was for the initial collision & not for the one which gave Schumi the puncture. Bruno’s pace was then very strong & he had made progress through the field before getting the 2nd penalty for ignoring blue flags.
Also its worth remembering that he was only 3 tenths of Button’s pace when he had the test with Honda at the end of 2008 & Ross Brawn spoke very highly of Bruno & did say that had Honda not pulled out & had they had more preperation before the start of the 2009 season he would have gone with Bruno rather than retained Barrichello.
From the Barcelona Test on 20/11/2008:
5 Jenson Button Honda 1m21.387 94
8 Bruno Senna Honda 1m21.676 107
From an earlier test at Barcelona in similar conditions:
7 Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:21.950 sec 122
Remember Button had a ton more experience in the Honda RA108 & that car round that track while it was Bruno’s 1st ever run in an F1 car.