30th August 2011, 4:30 at 4:30 am #130008
I think it’s only fair to say that Sebastian Vettel has massively improved this year, after his title winning year last year. He’s not making mistakes (except for his klutzy race in Germany and the 10cm he went wide in Canada on the last lap); he’s nailing the qualifying sessions (though arguably he was always strong there) and he’s converting his poles to wins, something which was a bit of a problem for him last year. He’s changed his racing approach too. If you remember his victories in 2009, he has always seemed to feel the need to push each and every lap; now he’s just been putting it on pole, pull out of DRS range, pull out of undercut range, and just defending that lead; a Prost-like approach to his race. And as we saw in the race on Sunday, he’s starting to develop a wonderful racing nous. It’s almost scary to think he could come out of this season even stronger; having experienced the pressure of nursing a massive lead in the championship and leading the WDC from the start of the year.
We have seen this happen before, and we have also seen some WDCs who didn’t really improve much; what do you all think? I think Button improved due to his title with improved confidence; but I don’t think he’s gained much else. His speed still is good but not great, for example. We saw Schumi also improve quite a bit into taking his 1995 WDC didn’t he?
An example who I feel didn’t improve much was, interestingly, Hamilton. He entered the sport at such a high level of capability; but he seems to have stagnated since his excellent 2007 debut. In fact I think he’s better (especially at judging passes) in 2007 than this year. AND we also all know what happened to Kimi.
What do you all think? Who else did/didn’t show massive improvement after their respective first titles?30th August 2011, 7:06 at 7:06 am #177281
I have to give Vettel a lot of credit because he has become a world class driver. He has become consistent and cut out a lot of mistakes from 2009 and 2010. I know he has a great car to do it but he has comprehensively beaten his teammate this season in qualifying and races.
I think this is Button best season so far and not enough respect is given. He seems to judge when he needs to be aggressive at the right time and pulls off every passing manoeuvres cleanly. I really hope Hamilton can learn next season from him and not take unnecessary risks all the time. Button just needs to improve his qualifying positions.
Rosberg also seems to be underrated. He does not have to car to challenge and will fall back in the race against the top teams but he can qualify very well. He sometimes put he car where it should not be.30th August 2011, 8:41 at 8:41 am #177282
A few names who improved:
- James Hunt (1976>1977). Or he claimed he did, the poor results really don’t tell the whole story)
- Keke Rosberg (1982>1983). Fighting against those turbos became even more difficult in 1983, but he did some amazing driving that year.
- Alain Prost doesn’t really fit this list, but losing the championship by half a point in 1984 and dominating the championship in 1985 does count in my book.
- Michael Schumacher (1994>1995) definitely. He really didn’t have to do THAT much in ’94, but in 1995 some fantastic performances, especially after his crash at Imola he seemed to be invincible.
- Mika Häkkinen (1998>1999). I think he drove better in ’99 (apart from two mistakes), but the team failed him on multiple occasions. In 2000 he drove at times even better, but overall his best/fastest year might be 1999.
- Jenson Button (2009>2010/2011). I didn’t rate him very highly as a driver, but in the past two seasons he’s been brilliant. Definitely looks like a man who knows what he’s doing and what his strengths are, and uses them to good effect.30th August 2011, 8:59 at 8:59 am #177283
Sorry misread the question so disregard my point on Rosberg…30th August 2011, 13:56 at 1:56 pm #177284
I have to say with Vettel, I have been saying all season “it’s ok, the mistakes will come to open up the championship”, but credit where credits due, he’s had a brilliant year. Scary to think hes still got 10 years ahead of him at least! Even if mistakes do creep in now it wont matter, the championship is won. But Vettel is going up in my estimations. I still think on raw pace and as a racer Hamilton is the best out there, with Alonso being the most complete driver, but give Vettel a few years then we can really begin to judge him in the pecking order of WDC’s.
Button I agree up’ed his game after his championship, although the 2010/11 McLaren’s have been consistent challengers for race wins more than any car Button has driven throughout his whole career.
As for Hamilton, if he hadn’t of had accidents in Monza and Singapore last year and just settled for 4th in both races (big assumption there, he may not have finished 4th but lets say he did) then he’d be a double world champion already. Even this year if he kept himself out of trouble he’d probably only be around 50 points off of Vettel rather than 112 or whatever it is right now. Hamilton had the best rookie season ever, so was obviously already at a high level, but the biggest improvement he can make would be to stop being so erratic and learn to bank results. I love his style and I’m a big fan, but he needs to find a balance.
What about Alonso? His championship wins were similar to each other. Although he improved from 05>06, I see Alonso like a fine wine, keeps getting better with age, rather than a big improvement after his championship year(s).
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