26. Narain Karthikeyan – Tried his best to beat a mediocre driver and failed miserably. He might have been worthy of entering the sport in 2005, but definitely didn’t belong in this sport in 2011. He does get a notable mention for his performance at the Indian GP though.
25. Jarno Trulli – Was incredibly poor this season. Constantly complaining about a power steering issue, that even after was fixed, didn’t Jarno much. He made Heikki look much better than he actually performed this season. Its a shame to see one of the most exciting drivers from a few years ago perform so poorly.
24. Rubens Barrichello – A huge dip in form from the 2010 season. In his 20th season, Rubens isn’t going anywhere with his mediocre talent in a mediocre team. Its time he threw in the towel
23. Jerome D’Ambrosio – 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.
22. Pastor Maldonado – Looked much better than his teammate in qualfying, but often trailed in races. He really hasn’t shown enough to secure a seat on talent next year, but the money should definitely help keep him around for atleast another year. Its a shame that his race got ruined in Monaco, as that was his strongest performance to date. That 6th place would have given Williams more than double the points they scored all year.
21. Daniel Ricciardo – I had much higher hopes for this young Aussie, and while he did have his moments competing against Liuzzi, he barely showed that he has the potential to be a Red Bull driver. Ricciardo also finished behind Karthikeyan at the Indian GP. A moment any driver should be ashamed of
20. Timo Glock – TImo didn’t look motivated to drive all year, and I cannot see him sticking around with a team that finished last 2 years in a row.
19. Felipe Massa – Amongst the poorest drivers on the grid currently. His teammate took 10 podiums, including a win, in the same machinery. Massa on the other hand, was incredibly proud of a 5th place finish, and called it a return to form. The only reason Massa isn’t placed dead last is because he made it to Q3 regularly, and the fact that he had a lot of bad luck with Hamilton slamming into him and taking points away
18. Vitaly Petrov – Despite a strong start to the season, Petrov didn’t take it much further. He showed us that Australia was just a fluke in his mediocre season, and he really is at Renault because he is a pay driver. The fact that he only managed to outscore Heidfeld by 2 points after racing 8 races more than him shows what a poor team leader and poor performer he really is.
17. Toni Liuzzi – Did a solid job for a disastrous team. He was outqualified by the mid season rookie on a few occassions, additionally, Tonio was made to look better than he was by having Karthikeyan as a teammate. Tonio deserves a notable mention for putting HRT in front of Virgin again.
16. Bruno Senna – I was hoping to see more motivation from Senna when he got an opportunity to race for Renault. While he did well to outqualify his teammate regularly, he didn’t capitalise on a lot of chances due to silly mistakes. I was really hoping to see him finish strong in Spa and Interlagos.
15. Sebastian Buemi – Has shown impressive qualfiying pace, but was just outclassed by his teammate on several sundays. I expected more out of Buemi in his 3rd season
14. Heikki Kovalainen – He did have some amazing moments this season by putting the Lotus ahead of the Williams. He was always strong in quali and tried his hardest on Sundays. Unfortunately, its hard to put him any higher as he was compared to a slow teammate, as well as opponents in cars that were either significantly quicker or significantly slower.
13. Mark Webber – Its amazing how a driver with the best car on the grid only managed to take only one win in the entire season.. that too due to an immense amount of luck. The only reason Mark hasn’t been rated lower is because he never performed poorly enough to finish out of the top 5. He did have some highs when he took 3 poles, but was nowhere near to his teammate all season long.
12. Jaime Alguersuari – Jaime had his strongest season yet. If he had started off the season as strongly as he finished it, I would have rated him much higher.
11. Nick Heidfeld – Nick was his consistent self for the only 11 races he participated in next year. Hos podium in Malaysia was a strong performance that got overshadowed by a couple of poor qualifying performances and some bad luck in Canada. He still finished only 2 points behind his teammate having raced 8 races lesser than him.
10. Kamui Kobayashi – 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
9. Paul Di Resta – Started the season off very strong by reguarly out qualifying a quick and accomplished teammate. But once Sutil found his footing, Paul didn’t quite look like had an answer on Sundays. Nonetheless, Paul had a very impressive rookies season and I only expect him to get better.
8. Sergio Perez – Made a lot of errors on Sundays, and got into many sticky situations on Sundays. He showed that he is still a rookie that needs to mature in the sport, but on the bright side he showed an immense amount of talent and skill with his qualifying and race tyre strategies. He definitely has the potential to be a Ferrari driver soon.
7. Michael Schumacher – Definitely a stronger year than the last one. Schumi didn’t quite find his footing during qualifying but put in some strong performances on Sundays by beating his teammate and nearly taking a podium in Canada
6. Adrian Sutil – Had a slow start to the year, and was outqualified by his rookie teammate once too often. But when Sutil found his sweet spot, he was absolutely awesome on Sundays, and he also showed an amazing amount of consistency all year long, and has shown that he does atleast deserve a shot at testing for one of the top teams
5. Nico Rosberg – Nico put in some strong performances this year, both in qualifying and in the race. He did not have the car to put him on the podium this year, but he has definitely shown that if he has the car, he will be able to deliver.
4. Lewis Hamilton – 2011 has been Lewis’s poorest season to date. He was beaten by his teammate for the first time and has also finished the season in P5, something you wouldn’t expect from him ion the 2nd fastest car on the grid. He did however, destroy his teammate in quali and was also responsible for some of the best driving this season (china and Nurburgring). If he had kept his composure and raced intelligently he would have fared much better
3. Jenson Button – Jenson’s strongest season to date. If there was one driver who capitalised on the new Pirrelli tyres, it was Jenson. He took his tyre management skills to the he level and raced with a cool head throughout the season. He had his best win to date this year (Canada), and proved many critics (such as myself), that he does deserve that seat at Mclaren.
2.Fernando Alonso – Another stellar year from the double world champ. Jenson & Lewis might have put the car roughly where it belonged, but Fernando consistently put the car ahead of where it should have been. To manage 10 podiums and a win with the 3rd fastest car on the grid was spectacular. He had some of the best starts (Barcelona and Monza), I have seen in a while, and was absolutely determined every Sunday.
1. Sebastian Vettel – Vettel probably made the Red Bull look faster than it actually was this year. I didn’t even know that was possible! The 15 poles and amazing composure in stressful situations has put Sebastian as a force to be reckoned with. With the exception of his last lap in Canada, and off day at the Nurburgring, Sebastian was flawless all season.