If you were putting together a team with unlimited finance and a time machine who would you pick as the “number 2″ in the team? Someone who would support the star driver, pick up the odd win when necessary and take team orders!
From recent memory the ones who spring to mind would be Rubens Barrichello or Gerhard Berger. Clay Regazzoni and Riccardo Patrese were also good but accident prone early in their careers. Also does Ronnie Petersen count as a “number 2″ driver for his time with Mario Andretti?
Rubens Barrichello would indeed be a good pick, Felipe wouldn’t be bad either. I think about this quite a lot sometimes, it’s fairly hard to find someone quick enough to win races when needed but also comply with what the team want when it comes to team orders.
My top 3 from the current grid:
1. Felipe Massa – Although a bit inconsistent at times, he is usually at or near the front, the best position to help out a lead driver. He will also obey team orders (if grudgingly).
2. Nico Rosberg – While he has showed a great turn of speed lately, I still think he’d be a better #2 driver. Malaysia also showed he will follow orders if needed.
3. Adrian Sutil – If you gave him an “Eddie Irvine” contract saying he’d get a race-winning seat but would have to be a firm #2, I’m sure he’d take it with both hands.
Nico Rosberg would definitely be my pick. He is fast, I mean, he makes Hamilton look slow, although Hamilton right now has trouble it is still very impressive. Hamilton is after all one of the fastest guys out there.
So, plenty of speed, and he has shown that he is easily capable of winning races if he is given the right car. That is incredibly useful if the lead driver fails for some reason.
I think he has showed an incredibly good consistency all around. He doesn’t seem to be able to deliver above the expectations, but for a number 2 driver, I think, that it’s more important to not deliver below the expectations. And he certainly doesn’t do that very often.
He also showed in Malaysia that he will hold position when needed, and unlike Massa, his performance didn’t suffer noticeably form it.
He is also quite young, which means there isn’t a need to look for a replacement any time soon.
My second pick would be Adrian Sutil. He seems pretty fast and consistent, but just how good he is at the front is hard to say at this point.
Kimi Raikkonnen of course. I have a fantasy team in Hilton Honours which is just too competitive now, and Kimi is in my team from day 1 and he hasn’t disappointed. He is the guy who scored the most points, surpassing Vettel, who is a close second. Seb or Alonso will be my no 1 guy, so could be Kimi of course, but since you asked for “safest pair of hands” ‘ll go for Kimi.