27 – Sakon Yamamoto. Didn’t bring anything to a team already in trouble. Not bad in Spa or Hockenheim, but got his seat because of his money.
26 – Jarno Trulli. After strong efforts last year, couldn’t do anything against Heikki. Was only best of new teams a few times when I expected him to thrash Kovalainen.
25 – Bruno Senna. Biggest name but smallest results. Looked to be a decent driver but Klien and Chandhok seem to have more skill.
24 – Tonio Liuzzi. Thrashed by his team mate. Showed initial promise after a point at Bahrain, but fell apart from then on. Did well in Korea, and in Silverstone, where he held on despite Alonso behind him for a while.
23 – Pedro de La Rosa. Disappointing comeback but good drives at Valencia and Hungary. A good driver but won’t get another opportunity at a big team.
22 – Lucas Di Grassi. I quite simply expected more from him. As someone who was once a test driver for the Renault team, I thought he would have picked up tips from the guys there, including Alonso. However, he’s just been destroyed by Glock all season.
21 – Nick Heidfeld. Two points finishes in just five races was quite good. Unlucky Singapore but comfortably justified Sauber’s decision to biring him in in place of De La Rosa.
20 – Christian Klien. He comfortably defeated Senna in Singapore and Abu Dhabi, and looked all round better than the other three HRT’s.
19 – Karun Chandhok. A solid first ten races in a rotten car. Seems extremely knowledgeable about the sport and the situation at HRT. A nice guy who deserves another chance.
18 – Nico Hulkenberg. I expected so much of him, and yet he only delivered once, with his pole in Brazil. Overall was comprehensively beaten by Rubens. I seem to be the only one who thinks Williams made the right decision today.
17 – Vitaly Petrov. Constantly crashing but a good performance in Hungary, Belgium and dare I say it, Abu Dhabi? I’ve been impressed with pieces of his driving, including setting fastest lap at China.
16 – Sebastien Buemi. Extremely strong performance at Canada, but very average elsewhere. Particularly when Jaime got three consecutive 11th’s and he was crashing into Glock at Korea.
15 – Timo Glock. Wrestled his dire Virgin to some good results. Obviously he’s good enough for a Force India seat, Renault seat or Williams seat, but seems fairly happy at Virgin. Out qualified his team mate by the highest margin on the grid, 18-1.
14 – Heikki Kovalainen. Top of the new teams and got a 12th and two 13th’s. Usually been strong in qualifying and twice made it through to Q2. Just disappointing when higher up the gird, making poor start in Belgium. He seems to care more about Lotus and it’s long hard slog than Jarno.
13 – Adrian Sutil. I had him in 6th place in my half term rankings but has been very poor since then. I did rate him as a top class driver, but after his erratic performance at Yeongam, my opinion has changed. Sorry Sutil-M!
12 – Jaime Alguersuari. I thought he would be really poor, but in my opinon he totally crushed Buemi, and drove well in the last four races of the season. I think he’s one to watch for the future.
11 – Rubens Barrichello. After his amazing year last year, few expected him to challenge for the title again. However, I thik that he has been an interesting driver this year, and after some excellent performances at Valencia, Silverstone and Hungary, he’s been good this year. He’s not in the top ten after his mistakes in Monaco and Spa.
10 – Michael Schumacher. Probably the most eagerly-anticipated driver of 2010, and while his comeback overall has being poor, he’s being driving a Mercedes that isn’t a patch on last year’s Brawn, which is always hard. Strong performances at Bahrain, Spain, Monaco, Turkey, Japan, Korea and Brazil cemented his place as asn all time great, and in my eyes he will be champion next year.
9 – Kamui Kobayashi. A great driver who showed his promise after Brazil and Abu Dhabi last year and lived up to it this year, with a superb pass on Alonso in Valencia, and completely lightened up the race at Suzuka, with some powerful overtakes, all at the same hairpin!
8 – Nico Rosberg. Ok, he’s beaten the greatest of them all this season, and he’s got three podiums, but I think he’s being over rated. I know he drove very well at China, leading a lot of the race, but I don’t think he was exceptional in Malaysia or Silverstone, but he was good in Bahrain and Abu Dhabi. Would have got 2nd in Korea but for Webber’s error. I can’t help but feel that he’ll get murdered by Schumi next year though.
7 – Felipe Massa. “Fernando is faster than you.” That was the infamous Hockenheim message depriving Massa of a possible victory, but it’s also the story of Felipe’s season. Alonso has being faster than him, much faster. Massa got a great result in Bahrain, but Alonso passed him on Lap One. Good in Italy, Germany, Singapore, Spa, Korea and Hungary, but I expect a championship fight from the Brazilian next season, otherwise the man who’s up next will have his seat.
6 – Robert Kubica. As you probably guessed from my verdict on Massa, Robert’s next. This year for me he’s proved his class. He’s being out of the points only four times, the same as the World Champion. He’s only being out of Q3 once, and that was in the very last race. He out-qualified his team mate 17-2 also. A driver of the highest caliber.
5 – Lewis Hamilton. The first of the five title contender’s to appear. He managed to beat the defending world champion, which is hard enough without him as your team mate. A great drive in Turkey, as well as a electrifying battle with Alonso and Button in Canada were a great way to really kick-start his campaign. Before that race he was only 8th in the championship. A masterful drive in Belgium was followed by two schoolboy errors in Italy and Singapore helped write off his title hopes. Korea and Abu Dhabi were high points though.
4 – Jenson Button. Two early wins gave him the lead in the championship, but he didn’t win since then. Good calls in Melbourne and China gave him two memorable wins, which weren’t followed up until being a part in two consecutive one-two’s in Turkey and Canada. He had dreadful luck in Belgium, but called it right in Monza to take a well-deserved 2nd place. Good drive in Abu Dhabi capped off a strong debut season for the men in silver.
3 – Mark Webber. He probably will never get a better shot at the title than this year. He won 4 races, with an outstanding performance in Monaco. Horrible luck in Turkey with Vettel’s error, and drove stellar races until Korea, where he threw away his title. Sliding over the kerb and hitting the barrier has to be the lowest point of his career. Beaten and beaten well by Vettel in qualifying, and also in a lot of the race. I would have liked him to win the title, but I fear he will become another of F1’s nearly men.
2 – Fernando Alonso. It pains me to put him second, but that’s where he finished. He was incredible this year, with great drives in Bahrain, Monaco, Hungary, Italy, Singapore and Korea helping him to secure his status as one of the best. I was in a minority of one when after the British GP I tipped him to become champion, but he wasn’t far off. Some big mistakes cost him the championship though.
1 – Sebastian Vettel. It pains me even more to put him ahead of Alonso, as for me they have been neck and neck all season. Vettel has had some appalling luck with engines, spark plugs but has also made a lot of mistakes, but so has Alonso and Hamilton, and they still contended for the championship. I think that Turkey, Hungary and Belgium hurt him badly, but his five wins were nothing but excellent. He took ten poles, including superb laps in Bahrain, Germany and Abu Dhabi. A deserved champion.