Judging the season as a whole is much more difficult than the first half, things are not nearly so clear-cut.
1: Alonso. Didn’t win the championship, but certainly deserved to. Vettel overcame many obstacles, but he was working with his car more often than not. Alonso had to fight his every step of the way.
2: Hamilton. Would have been the third double champion this year if McLaren had not let him down. Made no mistakes and was faster than his teammate most of the year. He was also entertaining off-track, although not intentionally.
2. Vettel No point splitting hairs between the two runners up. Vettel had some stonking races this year, and proved his mettle more than once. Alonso was just up against it in worse machinery, that’s pretty much all the difference.
3. Raikkonen. Proved in wheel-to-wheel racing he’s still got it, and deserves his place in the sun again. Needs to improve his qualifying form, otherwise impeccable.
4. Kovalainen. Still outshone his machinery, although towards the end you got the impression even he’d run out of energy for dragging the Caterham team around behind him.
5. Perez. Did all he could to justify the McLaren drive, then promptly fell to pieces trying to prove himself all over again. Worrying, but the rest of his year was good enough that he doesn’t lose too much cred over it.
6. Hulkenberg. Was touch and go with DiResta in the first half of the year, and beat him more often than not at the end. A class act, and a clever move out of the possibly foundering Force India team into Sauber. Sauber lack the technical depth that FI have proved over the last few years, but they’re a more stable option that a team backed by two bankrupt businessmen.
After this it gets very very difficult to choose, until we get down to the end of the rankings, where there are no surprises.
7. Button. Some standout performances during the year, and still one of my favourite drivers. Deserves a nod for his brilliant comeback to Jake Humphrey at the last race, but his woeful dip in form when the tyres weren’t working drags him down the order.
7. Webber. Some good performances, but as time goes on he is becoming more and more the genuine #2 driver to Vettel whether he wants it or not.
8. Di Resta, Rosberg, Kobayashi. Fairly anonymous seasons for all three, but they’re all reliable, solid drivers. It will be sad to lose Kobayashi after his home podium, but realistically he should have been on par or beating Perez this year. He wasn’t. Rosberg had that stunning win, but for the rest of the season he may as well not have been on the grid as his grey drab mercedes lolloped round the field. DiResta’s season was almost as exciting as one of his interviews.
9. Vergne, Ricciardo, Glock, Pic. Two teams, 4 drivers, not always a lot to choose between them. I get the impression Glock wants someone to just shoot him and end the pain of being in the Marussia.
10. Senna. Crap qualifying, mediocre race pace. Not his uncle’s reincarnation by any stretch of the imagination, but he won’t sully the man’s memory like Jacques did with his father’s.
11. Petrov. Pulled it out of the bag at the last race, but as usual was otherwise well off the pace of his teammate.
12. DeLa Rosa. Just take back the tester’s job at McLaren. We understand the urge to race, but this was always a bad idea….
13. Karthakeyan. Even paying for a drive doesn’t make it worth it.
14. Grosjean. I hated his driving, then he converted me into an almost believer. Then he set about his old ways, using his car like a battering ram to no good purpose, proving incapable of doing two things at once. His hideous move across the track which almost killed Hamilton and Alonso was inexcusable in a professional driver.
–. Maldonado. Almost killed a marshall in Monaco, bought his way out of the penalty, still a scumbag, still doesn’t deserve to be in a car, still using it as a weapon in Barcelona. Worthless toerag.