25 – Jerome d’Ambrosio – Was unlucky in some ways that his race in what was the form car at that point of the season, came at Monza, meaning the Renault engines power shortfall hid whatever true pace he had.
24 – Narain Karthikeyan – Although not quite as slow as some people think, only out qualified his teammate 3 times, and was almost always the 1st person to be lapped, add to that a number questionable not looking in mirrors moments, he really can’t be higher.
23 – Pedro de la Rosa – Consistently had the upper hand on Karthikeyan but I can’t help but feel it would be a better use of his time to be a McLaren test driver and do a sports car program, instead of qualifying on the back two rows and being lapped a 5th of the way into the race.
22 – Vitaly Petrov – His last race signed off an impressive resurgence in the second half of the season, but the first half looked like he wasn’t interested he tended to qualify behind Kovalianen and usually finished ahead when the Finn had car troubles.
21 – Charles Pic – Impressed as he was very quickly a match for Glock in Quali, the race pace tended to slip a little but he disserves his place with the, ever so slightly, faster team next year.
20 – Timo Glock – Did the job we’ve come to expect of him, Qualified just behind the Caterhams and chased them home to the finish.
19 – Jean Eric Vergne – Was the driver to lose out in Q1 a few too many times, and whilst he did tend to get the better points scores of the Toro Rossos, Ricciardo narrowly won the Race results.
18 – Heikki Kovalianen – If anyone was going to escape the ‘usual suspects’ of Q1 elimination, it was Heikki, he tended to race well, but was hit by more of the Caterham KERs issues. It will be a pity if he’s dropped for next season.
17 – Bruno Senna – Williams really should have got more from this season, Bruno raced well but usually should have been a lot higher up the grid, his pass on his teammate and Grosjean in India being a highlight.
16 – Daniel Ricciardo – Generally had the measure of his teammate in Quali, and was a little more unlucky in the races, both drivers are good, but I think Daniel is the one Red Bull would go for.
15 – Kamui Kobayashi – Generally out classed by Perez but he had another good season, but his mature drive to the Podium at home was a brilliant achievement.
14 – Pastor Maldonado – His Win as a good as it was surprising, and his Quali speed really in no doubt, but his temperament is worrying, how many other drivers on the Grid would use their Car as a weapon.
13 – Romain Grosjean – Very quick and matching well against a proven Champion, if he just stops the first lap incidents there is no reason he can’t be a real force in the future.
12 – Paul di Resta – A good but unsensational season, he was unlucky not to go to Mercedes/Ferrari, and it seems to have knocked him a bit. His Singapore drive was a great demonstration of what he can do.
11 – Nico Hulkenberg – Won probably the closest team mate battle on the grid, almost entirely because of the last two races of his Force India career, but how good were those races (with the exception of losing the rear of his car in Brazil).
10 – Felipe Massa – Probably the worst driver on the grid in the first half of the season, then something changed and by the last two races he was arguably the best, the 2008 almost Champion was back and showing Ferrari’s faith in him was well placed (though I don’t think any of us, save Massa, saw this kind of form returning to him).
9 – Sergio Perez – Hero to Zero and back again? His good drives were very good, but he could also go missing for a few races. As he knows and has said he will only be able to prove himself by getting into a McLaren and trying to beat a proven race winner and World Champion. Only time will see.
8 – Nico Rosberg – A brilliant win in China was followed by pushing two drivers, one his new teammate, off the road in Bahrain. Nico Rosberg has survived his first major test by seeing off Michael Schumacher over 3 seasons, but the 3rd season will have been rather too close for comfort.
7 – Michael Schumacher – It’s been a year of ‘What could have been…’ for Schumacher, the car was sporadically fast at the beginning of the season, usually breaking when he was in a good position, it’s a pity that he lost his Pole position in Monaco, but it was deserved for one of a few too many ‘brain fades’ during his final season.
6 – Mark Webber – Had a slight edge over Vettel in the beginning / middle of the season whilst the car was not the best, once the car improved though he started to slip behind Vettel more and more, though as he only seemed to have KER’s for 1 in 2 races maybe it’s not that surprising.
5 – Jenson Button – 3 great wins, his Spa win one of his best, but suffered greatly in the period when McLaren messed up its Tyre temperatures, also suffered from his fair share of reliability issues.
4 – Kimi Raikkonen – So that’s how a comeback is done, turn up instantly fast, get some podiums, then rule out a Win on the eve of well another Grand Prix win. Admittedly he could/should have won 2 more races but you can’t knock how well he came back into this ultra-competitive season with one of the best grids ever assembled.
3 – Sebastian Vettel – The now 3 time world Champion obviously deserves the title, he was fast, won more races than anyone else and got plenty of good results when he didn’t have the fastest car, but for me he wasn’t the best driver of the season, there were a few too many rookie errors. Almost crashing in to an Australian behind a safety car, reminds me of other times when he has been a bit too impetuous. That said, that safety car board, meant instead of 1 to 10 points he managed to get 15 and we all know how close the championship was.
2 – Lewis Hamilton – Does anyone remember Lewis Hamilton having no Mechanical retirements in his first 50 odd races. In a season when he could barely do better (on the track, off the track he made plenty of mistakes), it must be annoying that the legendary McLaren reliability abandoned them. With the 2-3 lost wins, the countless early season pit stop failures and then a spate of broken roll bars etc he could easily have been fighting for the championship in Brazil.
1 – Fernando Alonso – I’ve been trying to remember when the last time someone in a car that far off the pace at the start of the season, who has fought to the end and so arguably deserved the title. Ferrari has lost 3 Championships in the last round in the last 5 years and that’s got to hurt. In a season with 8 different winners from 6 different teams, Fernando had the almost perfect season, let’s hope we can see what he can do in a fast Ferrari.