Who was the best driver of 2010? F1 Fanatic 2010 driver rankings
15th November 2010, 9:28 at 9:28 am #128510
It’s that time of year again! I’m preparing the series of articles that usually provoke the biggest argument of the season: the end-of-year driver rankings.
As ever, I’m keen to get your views on the drivers to use in the article. (Tip: don’t just cover the championship contenders – I need quotes on all the drivers!)
How do you rate the performance of the drivers so far? Leave a comment below.
2010 driver form guides
2010 half-term rankings
All previous driver rankings: http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/category/regular-features/driver-rankings/15th November 2010, 10:10 at 10:10 am #150967
This is gonna be my longest post
27. Yamamoto – Any doubts?
26. Chandhok – Got HRT in front of Virgin, but was outqualified by Senna too often
23. De La Rosa
22. Klein – Barely got any time in the HRT, but gave Senna a hard time.
20. Luizzi – Unimpressive. Finishing in front of Sutil only on a couple of times.
17. Buemi – Disappointing and unlucky this year
16. Kovalainen – Was better in the 1st half of the season
15. Petrov – His Abu Dhabi and Hungary moved him up a few places in my book
13. Massa – Absolutely dismal in that Ferrari.. but did put in a few solid races.
12. Hulkenberg – Brazil quali saved his season
11. Heidfeld – Was impressive considering how late in the season he got the drive
10. Sutil – Started the season brilliantly,finished with below average performances
9. Kobayashi – The most impressive of the rookies, without a doubt.
8. Barichello -Drove the wheels off that Williams to secure 6th in the WCC
7. Webber – Was stellar till Britain, and then ran out of steam after Belgium
6. Button – Drove the best he could all season.. but just lacked raw pace
5. Rosberg – Drove consistently and maximised the potential of the Mercedes
4. Kubica – Other than a couple of races, was absolutely flawless all season
3. Hamilton – If it wasn’t for his two slip ups in Korea and Brazil, he would be ranked at #2
2. Alonso – If it wasn’t for a a few driver errors at the start of the season, he would have been #1
1. Vettel – 10 poles.. and despite losing more points than anyone due to mechanical issues, he sealed the deal in the last 6 races of the season. Congrats!15th November 2010, 10:53 at 10:53 am #150968
Kobayashi – Easily provided the most entertainment with his dedication to getting past anyone and everyone in front of him.
Hamilton – Without the couple of incidents he had could easily have been in with a shot at another title.15th November 2010, 11:13 at 11:13 am #150969
I’ll just do the top ten due to time constraints!
Has, in general, been great. But if I am honest, the first part of the season stick more in my head than the second. Still, it’s easy to underrate what a stellar job drivers in slow cars do, and hence Heikki deserves a top ten spot.
Has impressed. Has problems keeping the car on track, but when he does, he is incredibly strong in duels. One of the more aggressive drivers on the grid, and I for one appreciate that. Suzuka epitomised his driving style.
Has been incredible. His car broke down more often than not, but if there was a driver that managed to get into Q2 or get up the midfield during the race, it was the likable German. Singapore and Korea were exceptional drives. I hope to see him in Renault next year, although I know that is highly unlikely.
Was cringeworthy at the beginning of the season, especially at his home Grand Prix, was fantastic (bar Valencia) during the second third winning most races and having the most podiums (I think), but from Singapore on he has been outperformed by his teammate every single race. He obviously could not handle the pressure. In general, though, he put up a fight against one of the biggest talents in F1, and considering that I do not consider him to be one of the quickest drivers on the grid, that is quite an achievement. However, before the Abu Dhabi GP I asked myself who would be the worthiest champion, and Webber was on the bottom of my list.
Has generally been slower than Lewis. Often disappointed by dropping out of Q2 or by moaning on the radio: practice without ‘lack of grip’ or ‘massive front locking’ just would not be the same. Where he lacks in outright pace, he makes up with sensibility – he was the only contender who could not be blamed for having thrown away points. Generally though, although he has surprised this year by winning, F1 is not just about the tyres and he should work on his pace, especially on Saturdays.
Why isn’t the new WDC higher up? Turkey, Spa and Hungary. Incredibly quick, but also incredibly prone to rookie mistakes. Seems to have calmed down at the end of the season and performed brilliantly at the very end. Deserving champion, although he should have won it earlier. With a car as dominant as the RB6, it would be a disaster if he didn’t win. Admittedly, he had his share of bad luck: Australia, Bahrain and Korea. Performances such as Suzuka or Valencia were great. Nonetheless, a more consistent driver would have cashed the championship at Spa.
Has been incredibly consistent in his Mercedes. Has outperformed his highly rated teammate and has come within two points of a Ferrari. Made mistakes in qualifying sometimes, but Brawn ensured he still finished well. Had a lot of bad luck in Korea, but should not have made a mistake in China. But altogether there isn’t much to say about Rosberg – he was either following quicker cars or the Renault of Kubica. Fantastic season (not to brag, I knew he would outperfom Schumacher and how many people predicted that?)
I still maintain that Kubica was a notch better than Rosberg, simply because the Renault as a whole was slower than the Mercedes. Sure, there were occasions were the Mercedes were worse, such as Spa or Monaco, but if it were not for Kubica, Renault would not have any chance of even thinking about fourth in the WCC. The first part of the season was perfect and I would have put him at number one at the half-term report, but the second was much worse. As already said elsewhere, he had a bigger share of bad luck, such as Japan, which might have been his best race this season, but even that doesn’t justify getting beaten by one’s teammate in Hungary and losing out to Hulkenberg in Italy. Less exciting performances, such as Korea, can be considered lucky, but to be fair, that performance showed his consistency and sense for the limit and Renault’s inferiority to Mercedes.
Great second part of the season, but not so good first part and succumbed under pressure in Abu Dhabi. Has made quite a lot of mistakes, such as in Monaco and Silverstone. He has, however, outperformed his Ferrari, and Singapore was ridiculously good. His gesture to Petrov shows that he is a bit of a pig, but a quick and consistent one nonetheless.
Controversial, I know. But I sincerely think that bar Monza, he hasn’t put a foot wrong. He has done mistakes like losing a place to Alonso in Korea and Brazil, but he was much slower anyway. He was fantastic in the first part of the season, and I cannot see why he was worse in the second. Singapore was down to bad luck, just like Hungary. Let us not forget Spain. Considering all that, he might have won the WDC with a car that was seriously off the pace later in the season. In general, he has matured a lot and is a much better driver than he was in his championship winning year. A big plus for him.
Edit: The names should be in bold, you get the idea. And I’m late now (hence the shorter descriptions at the end)! Thanks f1fanatic for ruining my life :(15th November 2010, 12:05 at 12:05 pm #150970
26. Di Grassi
21. Petrov – Abysmal all year. His Abu Dhabi doesn’t make up for his teammate scoring 5 times as many points as him. Only seems to wake up when Alonso is behind him.
20. De La Rosa – Suffered with unreliable machinery, but still could have done better.
17. Liuzzi – Outpermed badly by Sutil, but did sometimes perform well.
16. Alguersuari – Not better than Buemi, as Croft seemed to think (IIRC from Brazil practice).
15. Buemi – Sometimes produced good performances, out-performed his teammate.
14. Hulkenberg – Brazil qualifying was a highlight, but generally behind Barrichello.
13. Massa – Good in the first three races, but did not make any progress after that. Needs to up his game seriously and significantly next year.
12. Barrichello – Did a solid job throughout the season as the car got better.
11. Heidfeld – Did rather well, despite missing the first half of the season.
10. Schumacher – Patchy season, occasionally excellent, often average.
9. Sutil – Very good all round, bar Korea.
8. Kobayashi – One of the stars of the season. Not excellent in qualifying, but often more than makes up for it in the races, getting the better of his teammates.
7. Webber – Unable to win the title, or finish runner-up in a 100% reliable car. Lacked the consistency of Button, or the raw pace of Vettel.
6. Button – Lacked Hamilton’s raw pace, but had the season Massa wishes he had.
5. Kubica – Very solid season, particularly in the first half
4. Rosberg – Incredibly consistent all year. Without Red Bulls hitting him or wheels flying off, he woul have finished every race this year.
3. Hamilton – Often didn’t put a foot wrong. Shame the Mclaren wasn’t fast enough.
2. Alonso – Excellent in the second half of the season, but his inability to get past Petrov cost him the title, and the number 1 spot.
1. Vettel – Fully deserving world champion, lightning fast and could have easily wrapped it up ages ago if not for mechanical problems15th November 2010, 12:27 at 12:27 pm #150971
Here’s my top ten:
10. Glock. Did a great job despite the teams difficulties at the beginning of the season, deserves much better than Virgin.
9. Kobayashi. Brilliant first full season. Showed that he is not only aggressive and exciting, but consistant too. Definately one to watch.
8. Barrichello. A massive asset to Williams, brilliant drives in the second half of the season helped them overhaul Force India as they dropped off the pace.
7. Webber. Brilliant middle part of the season and did well in races he shouldn’t have done, but not so well in races he was expected to as Vettel usually outclassed him.
6. Kubica. Throughly consistant with some impressive drives at Melbourne, Monaco, Spa and Suzuka but without a representative team mate for me he’s still a bit of a question mark.
5. Button. Faultless driving for most of the season and usually on Hamilton’s pace in races, but couldn’t get it together on a saturday which hurt him.
4. Vettel. You can’t argue with ten poles, five wins and the championship. Very unlucky with reliability, but lots of silly errors meant he snatched the championship rather than dominate it as he perhaps should have done.
3. Hamilton. Stellar for the first two thirds of the season, but a major error in Monza, a 50/50 in Singapore and two minor but costly errors at Korea and Brazil marred the end of his season.
2. Alonso. Costly errors in Australia, China and Monaco led to brilliant but unnecessary drives. Second half of the season was near faultless, dominant wins in Monza and Singapore were a return to Alonso’s form in his title winning years and could be ominous for 2011. That he nearly won the title in what was often only the second or third fastest car should not be underestimated.
1. Rosberg. Controversial I know, but other than running wide in China and losing the lead I’m struggling to think of any other major errors he made. Ever consistant, even when the Mercedes was at its worst mid season, he also has the pleasure of being the first person to have beaten Michael Schumacher over the course of a season. He beat Kubica in the championship and he nearly beat Massa. Driver of the season without a doubt for me.15th November 2010, 12:35 at 12:35 pm #150972
Forgive me if I only go for my Top 10:
10: Heikki Kovalainen. Consistently beat the other drivers in the new teams and bounced back well from his McLaren nadir.
9: Michael Schumacher. Often put in some howlers, but did we expect too much of him? Saved his best for the end of the season, which is where you’d want it to be. Will we see the old Schumacher back next year?
8: Kamui Kobayashi. Once Sauber sorted out their reliability troubles, Kobayashi put in many impressive drives, more often than not having to make his tyre strategy work in order to get points. 12 old points for a rookie who was nowhere in GP2 is very impressive.
7: Nico Rosberg. Also faded towards the end but had a very consistent year, finishing in the top 6 an impressive 12 times. Not bad when you only have the 4th best car.
6: Robert Kubica. Early season flashes of brilliance were sadly more of a rarity in the second half. Scored a few podiums but also put in some very ordinary performances. Poor team-mate makes it difficult to measure him properly. Only a top seat drive will determine if he truly is champion material.
5: Fernando Alonso. Almost defied the odds when he lost the championship only in the last round, which he went into leading. But crucial mistakes and sometimes letting emotion get in the way of his driving let him down when he was already behind and gave him a bigger mountain to climb. Ironically after proclaiming 5 podiums would get him the championship, he needs to be more consistent to challenge next year.
4: Sebastian Vettel. It might seem strange to put the champion in 4th, but I don’t mean it as a criticism. Although it would be ludicrous to ask of him to shun having a dominant car, the fact is he did have it and this was what won him the championship. Nevertheless, given the best equipment he often qualified and/or ran 1st and could have had 8 victories instead of 5. His mistakes almost cost him the championship, but he produced a flawless final four race weekends. Needs to improve when not in front and fighting for position, but he has all the time in the world.
3: Jenson Button. Came into a team where he was expected to be dominated by his team-mate – and he was. On pace, he could beat his team-mate only three times out of 19. However, that same driving style that contributed to that massive gap also ensured he made zero significant mistakes and lost less points than his team-mate because of them; that 16-3 defeat on pace was turned into 12-7 on results. He also lost more points than all his rivals from being a victim of an incident. His strategy choice in Australia was forced and a similar one backfired in the next race, but his pace in Australia was remarkable and may have challenged for victory anyway. Not the only one to choose correctly in China and nearly lost it at the end by going off and being unable to put heat back into the tyres, but still an impressive drive in poor conditions.
2: Mark Webber. Maybe a controversial choice because he clearly isn’t the second best driver in the field. For this year however, he punched well above his weight. Over 19 races, his total deficit in qualifying to his one-lap specialist team-mate was less than a second. Won the Monaco Grand Prix convincingly. Took it to the last race in a team which clearly favoured his team-mate emotionally, having to pull himself through the wing-swap controversy and having to give his chassis to his team-mate in exchange for a fixed broken one, working with an EBD tuned more to his team-mate’s liking. Sad that he couldn’t be champion but he let himself down too many times.
1: Lewis Hamilton. Never had the out-and-out best car on race day but still managed 3 victories in a field of 5 race winners. At times took the car to places his world-champion team-mate couldn’t dream of. Pulled off overtake after overtake, including several gutsy moves and defences on his own title rivals. Made the least significant mistakes of the Top 4 and maybe could have been champion were it not for sheer (i.e. non-mechanical) bad luck.15th November 2010, 14:05 at 2:05 pm #150973
Shouldn’t be doing this as I have tons of work to do, but here goes, and upwards:
#1 Lewis Hamilton : I’m a fan, but here’s why : He did one BIG mistake at Monza. Appart from that, he is the very fast guy who gets the job done and wins even if his car isn’t up for it. He has grown a lot recently and I believe if ever McLaren was to give him a title contender car, we might have a boring 2011 year.
# 2 Fernando Alonso : Not a fan. He’s quick, has been faultless in the second half of the season. His car wasn’t the best either, and he did a great job. However, I am baffled by how poor his first half of the season was. He is probably the best opponent Hamilton can have in the top team.
# 3 Vettel : He is fast. If ever he manages to win by actually doing some overtaking and in a lesser car, I’ll grant him an “equal to Hamilton and Alonso” status in a blink.
# 4 : Rosberg : Incidently, it seems he has mostly been 5th on the finishing line. That’s 2 to 4 places higher than what his car theoretically should have given him.I for one don’t believe the Mercedes was vastly superior to the Renault. He is one very solid driver and I can’t wait for Mercedes to up their show so we can see him tusle with the other top cars as an equal.
#5 Kubica : A shame his team mate was Petrov, we might have been able to better see were he stands had he got a real push by his number two. Great moves and a very decent season from him. Here’s to Renault being a title contender next year
#6 Webber : He was so good up to Silverstone. Whatever happened to him in the last 4 races is baffling. Overall, a great year, but then again, it is easy to have great results in a Newey RB in 2010.
#7 Kovalainen : Great year. He was a joy to watch. I hope Lotus steps up next year
#8 Button : I can’t stand the racer : he has too often seem content with letting Hamilton push the RBs-Ferraris while he kept after his tyres. But it did bring him solid points. He has shown he is a very good driver. But he is a world champion : he should be a great driver. Good and reliable isn’t enough. Prost managed to outpace his team mates while using the same tactics.
#9 Sutil : great start of the year, degraded with the car in the end
#10 Kobayashi : I don’t know if I rate him high because he is enjoyable to watch or just good, but I for one am happy he stays.
#11 : Barrichelo : Should be higher really, but with Hulkenberg not delivering, it is difficult to judge. Solid year would be a good sum up.
#12 : Glock : Had a great year, always seemed the one to be able to bring a surprise result, only to suffer from his machine’s reliability. Would be ranked higher if he had completed more races without a glitch (yeah, the long debate on best driver vs best results…)
#13 : Massa : Ouch, very very bad second half. The last race was torture. I actually wondered if he had retired. When the car is not up for it, seems to struggle badly !
#14 : Hulkenberg : Disappointing. Great result in Brazil, but that’s not enough.
All the others have had either too bad cars or too bad years to be there. Petrov was my disappointment of the year. He was my tip for “first to retire” award. Good defensive moves and a good resurgence by the end of the year are not enough for him to justify his seat.
Schumacher will probably be way better next year as proven by the last races, but seriously, most of the year, he has been very disappointing.I am very happy for him though : He seems such a happy man now ! A joy to see in the paddock, still a bit of a let down on the track.15th November 2010, 15:04 at 3:04 pm #150974
Honestly I do not know how to rank the guys but a few comments on Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton
Jenson Button: Has an impressively smooth style of driving, is the best to preserve his tyres as seen at Abu Dhabi. So good that even Tom Kristensen (7-time Le Mans winner) praised his ability. The one thing Button lacks though is the ability to push his car a tiny bit over the limit to do a blistering lap.
Lewis Hamilton: If someone is opposite to his teammate it is Lewis Hamilton, often complaining his tyres were worn out also seen in Abu Dhabi. He is still able to push his car so far, and he has a god given talent of wheel to wheel racing.15th November 2010, 15:11 at 3:11 pm #150975
Liuzzi was often beaten by Sutil, but remember he qualified 6th in Canada, ended 6th in Korea while Sutil was crashing here and there.
Liuzzi beat Sutil in Bahrain, Australia (Engine problem for Sutil), Canada, Germany, Hungary (Crash for Sutil), Italy, Korea (Crash for Sutil).
Sutil beat Liuzzi in Malaysia (Throttle problem for Liuzzi), China (Crash for Liuzzi), Spain, Monaco, Turkey, Europe, Great Britain, Belgium, Singapore (Crash for Liuzzi), Japan (Crash for Liuzzi), Brazil (Crash for Liuzzi), Abu Dhabi (Crash for Liuzzi).
OK, this doesn’t help my opinion, but Massa has been beaten by Alonso often too, but you don’t say he’s a bad driver, do you?15th November 2010, 15:12 at 3:12 pm #150976
Hulkenberg has quite been close enough to Petrov, despite his car being worse than the Reanult.15th November 2010, 15:20 at 3:20 pm #150977
1. Vettel – the guy is just pure pace. You could criticise his overtaking ability and a couple of weird mistakes such as sliding into Button and turning into his own teammate but there’s absolutely no faulting how blindingly quick he is in raw pace and how determined he is.
2. Hamilton – he was basically in the third fastest car but pushed that car to the absolute limit all the time. Sometimes he pushed it too far such as Suzuka’s practice session or trying to overtake Webber in a space that simply wasn’t there but this guy is a true racer, qualifying in a time that the car couldn’t have done in the hands of somebody else, with the possible exception of…
3. Alonso – like Hamilton (who I’d say he shares the title for the best overall driver on the grid today) he didn’t always have the fastest car but he pushed it to the absolute limit. His first half of the year was wrought with mistakes but after the controversial German victory, he cleaned up and virtually dominated the last half.
4. Webber – Generally good all around and very consistent, at least until the last few races of the season. I feel Alonso and his teammate’s consecutive wins and poles knocked his confidence towards the end which is a shame because in the middle of the season he was flawless and remained cool under pressure.
5. Kubica – proving himself to be more than capable of hustling with the big boys in the big teams in a supposedly lesser car. The rumours of replacing Massa at Ferrari come as no surprise.
6. Button – despite outqualifying his teammate a couple of teams his overall Saturday performance has been quite disappointing but when it came to the race, he pushed and pushed. He may be a more conservative driver than Hamilton but when he’s good, he’s damn good.
7. Kobayashi – up there with Hamilton as the most entertaining driver to watch. The guy simply believes he can do it, despite who’s in front of him and despite what car he’s sitting in. He has made some of the boldest overtaking moves this year and sometimes they didn’t quite work but most of the time they did.
8. Rosberg – his reputable teammate might be the biggest name in the sport with the most world championships but Rosberg proved more than a match for him in just about every race of the year and even managed several podiums, something Schumacher was unable to do. When Schumacher was causing incidents and doing dangerous moves, Rosberg was staying cool and charging ahead.
Not sure who the last two would be. I’d like to mention Chandhok. Even though he was only in the car for half of the season he showed a lot of potential, particularly for the worst car and team, and I think it was a shame he didn’t get back into the car as he would’ve improved. He’s also just about the nicest guy in Formula 1, giving the most friendly, witty and informative interviews you could imagine and his commentary work on 5 Live with Anthony Davidson and David Croft was excellent.15th November 2010, 15:39 at 3:39 pm #150978
OK, this doesn’t help my opinion, but Massa has been beaten by Alonso often too, but you don’t say he’s a bad driver, do you?
True, but Massa has proven himself as a decent driver in the past. That’s why people want him to rediscover his form, while Liuzzi never really had any form.15th November 2010, 15:43 at 3:43 pm #150979
” OK, this doesn’t help my opinion, but Massa has been beaten by Alonso often too, but you don’t say he’s a bad driver, do you? ”
I didn’t rank Massa high based on this year form either15th November 2010, 16:39 at 4:39 pm #150980
27. Yamamoto – That’s a no brainer!
26. Chandhok – Got HRT to 11th
25. di Grassi
23. De La Rosa
22. Klein – Although he did have much runnings, but out-shined senna
20. Luizzi – Should not be in F1. Poor performances for an experienced F1 driver
19. Alguersuari – How many times he threw away a point-scoring position?!
18. Glock – He really impressed me in Singapore
16. Petrov – Too many mistakes, even for a rookie.
14. Kovalainen – This guy has the motive to push a new team to its very best
13. Massa – A season to forget for a once championship runner up! Needs more passion
12. Hulkenberg – Brazil’s pole position proved Hulk has true potential
11. Heidfeld – Was always close to Kobayashi despite joining late in the season. Not an easy thing to do! remember Fisichella last year??
10. Sutil – Sutil’s second half of the season was terrible
9. Barrichello – Despite poor starts, he captured points whenever they came his way
8. Kobayashi – Absolutely impressive! Best of the rookies by miles.
7. Webber – After Belgium, Webber substituted his stellar drives to useless whining
6. Button – He drove his heart out, but just lacked overall pace.
5. Rosberg – Squeezed every single point possible from his Mercedes
4. Kubica – Quoting Alan Permane: “Robert Kubica hasn’t put a foot wrong”
3. Vettel – Winning the WDC while having the fastest car is something expected, not a bonus! Did lots of mistakes and proved his overtaking skills are poor.
2. Alonso – Should be number 1 if it wasn’t for Hockenheim and his mistakes in the first half of the season
1. Hamilton – Having the 3rd fastest car, he really impressed. Probably did more overtaking than anyone and was in contention till the very end. If he replaced his mistake in Monza and his aggressiveness in Singapore with 2 4th-place finishes, he would’ve been WDC by now!
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