Worst driver ever to win a championship?
23rd July 2012, 22:38 at 10:38 pm #135223
Of course, the worst driver to win a world championship, is Vettel. His championships were built soley on the principle of winning from pole.
Without that phenomenon, he would have been just another average joe, picking up the odd win here and there. He is a 2 x WDC only because of Alonso’s misfortune in 2010, and his qualifying dominance in 2011.23rd July 2012, 23:11 at 11:11 pm #135224
@scuderiaferrarifanatic – No, if anything, Vettel was the unlucky one in 2010.
As for winning from pole in 2011, that is no real reason to downplay someone’s title. Grid order isn’t determined by a random draw, you know.23rd July 2012, 23:26 at 11:26 pm #135225
What misfortune did Alonso even have in 2010? I recall him being gifted points by his team mate, but I don’t recall him losing any through bad luck. A poor strategy call by his team maybe, but no more than that. And Vettel proved last year several times that he does more than only win from pole.23rd July 2012, 23:28 at 11:28 pm #135226
@scuderiaferrarifanatic You make me ashamed to be a tifosi. Alonso was easily the luckiest top 6 driver that year, and at the end of the year his car was not only bulletproof, but matching the RB6. At the very least, Vettel and Hamilton outclassed him that year.
My nomination goes to Damon Hill. He was destroyed by Schumacher when the latter’s car was one full tier below his, and in 1996 he barely beat a rookie Villeneuve (who is also one of the worst champions.)
I can think of quite a few drivers that did not deserve their championships (Hamilton in 2008 comes to mind), but at least most of them have made up for it (2007/2010 in Lewis’ case.)24th July 2012, 0:01 at 12:01 am #135227
Just because Vettel wins from pole doesnt mean that it wasnt a deserved victory. He had terrible misfortune in some of his races – punctures, engine failures etc.
Its so stupid to think that he didnt deserve to win the WDC in 2010. You seem to think that getting pole is the race win – but it isnt. Getting a good start, conserving your tyres, knowing when to push etc. – there is so much more to winning a race than getting pole you know.24th July 2012, 0:41 at 12:41 am #135228
You make me ashamed to be a tifosi. Alonso was easily the luckiest top 6 driver that year, and at the end of the year his car was not only bulletproof, but matching the RB6. At the very least, Vettel and Hamilton outclassed him that year
In 2010 Alonso wasn’t luckier than Button nor Webber. Frankly, you made me laugh out loud when you said the Ferrari was as good as the Red Bull that season. Apart from Bahrain, Italy, Canada and Germany Red Bull were at least half a second faster than Ferrari all season long. Alonso and Hamilton definitely performed much better than Vettel than season.
Not saying Vettel didn’t deserve his championship, but he certainly wasn’t the best driver in 2010 and he can thank his 2 WDC’s to dominant cars.24th July 2012, 4:51 at 4:51 am #135229
I think in 2010 Alonso was indeed quite lucky. Not lucki-est, but lucky nonetheless. Several of his victories came out of Vettel’s poor reliability that year, and he almost lost the victory in Monza too. With a pitstop some 0.8s faster than Button, he was just about level under braking for T1 as Alonso exited the pits and Button headed into T1 on his first flying lap (since the pitstop).
Alonso in 2010 wasn’t really driving very well in the first half. It was only after Felipe gave way to him in Hockenheim that he started being the man on the move.
Without talking about the worthiness of Vettel’s 2010 title, I don’t think we can really rule out that Hamilton and Vettel were probably both drivers who were unluckier. Some situations are debatable here and there, but they were both let down by several instances of reliability that could’ve cost them the title, such as Hamilton’s wheel failure in Barcelona, or Vettel’s Korean engine blowout.
Was Vettel the best driver in 2010? No, I daresay not. Hamilton and Alonso were better in 2010, but in my view, not by much, as this is also balanced out by several silly mistakes on their parts. (for example, Monaco/Australia for Alonso, Singapore/Italy – though somewhat debatable – for Hamilton)
In terms of car speed, I don’t think anyone can deny that (other than Monza) Red Bull were the quickest. Yes, that includes Canada, where they only were outqualified by 2.5 tenths despite being on a slower tyre. But we also cannot deny it was the least reliable, at least Vettel’s Red Bull anyways. When we take into account that the RB6 was similar to Kimi’s 2005 car in that it kept breaking despite being the fastest, I don’t consider the RB6 to be that dominant. It was probably, on the balance of being more unreliable, only slightly better than the McLaren or Ferrari, at best.24th July 2012, 4:55 at 4:55 am #135230
I still think that (from those that I watched) it’s Jacques V – though Jenson Button comes close. I know he performed well in 2011, and performed better than I expected him to in 2010.
But I think that was post-title JB, who improved because of said title. Point being, if we put 2010-2012 JB into that 2009 Brawn, as teammate to the 2009-spec JB, 2009-spec JB would not have been world champion, but 2010-2012 spec JB would have been.
If you had put 2009-spec JB in the 2010-2012 McLarens, would he be performing as he is now? I doubt it24th July 2012, 5:46 at 5:46 am #135231
I wouldn’t say that necessarily makes Button the worst driver to be a champion. When he won the title in 2009, he’d spent two years driving cars that were so uncompetitive he might as well have been towing a caravan at every race. He showed a lot of promise in 2004, when he was the highest-placed non-Ferrari driver at the end of the season, and again in 2006 when he scored more points than anyone else in the second half of the season.
I also think Button takes a lot of criticism for the second half of 2009. A lot of people think he simply coasted to the title after his last win in Turkey, but Brawn actually ran out of money. They brought an upgrade for the BGP-001 to Silverstone that didn’t work, and then spent the rest of their development budget trying to fix it. By the time the final flyaway leg came around, they were relying on race-by-race sponsorship deals with Ricahrd Branson and local sponsors just to make it to the next round of the championsihp. The fact that Button managed to hold on long enough to win the title is a testament to his skill – and it’s even more impressive when you consider that the chassis he was driving when he won the title in Brazil had taken part in every single test, practice session, qualifying session and race from the first test in Barcelona. Most teams build about eight cars over the course of the season. Brawn only had enough money for three: one for Button, one for Barrichello, and a spare (that Barrichello used in Singapore after crashing in qualifying, so if Button crashed in any of the next three races, his championship was literally over because he would not be able to race).
Yes, Button has gotten better since he moved to McLaren. And yes, the Button of 2010-2012 would probably beat the Button of 2009 in the Brawn. But that doesn’t make him any less of a driver. By rights, Brawn GP should not have made it to Melbourne in 2009. The fact that Button won the championship with them against all the odds, development blunders and monetary problems means that his title should be remembered as one of the greatest achievements in sport.
As for who I think would be the worst champion, I would actually say Lewis Hamilton. Don’t get me wrong; I think he’ll go down as one of the sport’s all-time greats. But when he won the title in 2008, he had never driven a bad car in Formula 1 (when everyone who had won a title else had driven a bad car), and as exciting as the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix was, Hamilton’s title was decided by Timo Glock’s pit strategy. If Toyota had gotten it right, Hamilton wouldn’t have been champion at all. He made up for it in 2009 when McLaren built a bad car and he rallied the team onwards, with the end result being a late-season resurgence that saw him take two wins, and thereby demonstrating that he really was a deserving champion, but at the time, I felt Hamilton hadn’t really worked for his title and kind of lucked into it at the last corner in Brazil.24th July 2012, 5:58 at 5:58 am #135232
@prisoner-monkeys I stand by my opinion. Button was still often beaten by teammates who you don’t generally think of as WDC material.
The Brawn car was quick enough to win in Valencia and Monza – Button didn’t feature much there. He was 2nd in Monza but I don’t remember even once seeing him feature as a contender for the win. The car was good enough for pole in Brazil – and again Button didn’t feature. Suddenly he became WDC, and the pressure was gone – and suddenly the car was fighting at the front again, and were it not for the layout of Abu Dhabi being overtake-unfriendly, he would’ve gotten 2nd place. Despite both circuits requiring similar strengths of mechanical grip and traction, and no updates for the Brawn into Abu Dhabi. Button I don’t think was cruising to the title – he was cracking under pressure. I mean, he practically never outraced/outqualified Barichello at any time since Turkey. At BEST – Barichello would make mistakes and gift Button the spot, but Button never really featured
My point is not that Button improved – but rather that the Button of 2009 was still a bad driver – and had the field had equal cars, then he wouldn’t have won the title.
Also, (I’m replying in specific to Glock Brazil 2008) I don’t think that’s correct. HAD Toyota got it right, Glock would’ve gone in the pits – and exited – behind Hamilton. Glock NOT getting it right at least gave Glock a chance of staying ahead of Hamilton, if he could keep it on the road and through defensive racecraft. If anything Glock getting it “right” in terms of strategy would have helped Hamilton to the title.24th July 2012, 6:13 at 6:13 am #135233
Button IMO displays a very weird trend. He tends to not like close fields. If he has a clear disadvantage and/or clear advantage, he seems to come alive. But otherwise, he seems to not really be able to do much as such.
I mean – think about it. 2004 – the car was probably in that clear of nothingness between Ferrari and the rest of the field, sort of like Caterham are now. Button drove well. 2009 – the field was generally too far behind the Brawn. When the field did start to catch them up and close the grid up – Button started to fade into the back. 2011 – the Ferrari was clearly slower than the McLaren, and the Red Bull was ahead.
It’s almost as if he knows – say in 2011 – that given his car is clear 2nd quickest, he should target 3rd, and possibly nab one off Webber into 2nd, and so is fantastic at working to that. In 2009 (early) he was clear first, and he targetted that and delivered.
When the grid is close – and mistakes can mean the difference of several finishing positions, it’s almost as if that Button doesn’t know where to aim in terms of finishing order, and is sort of lost.
I don’t know why this is – but it’s a phenomenon I’ve noticed for quite a bit now.24th July 2012, 10:23 at 10:23 am #135234
I agree with PM. 2004 for Button is often overlooked for evidence of his talent.24th July 2012, 11:00 at 11:00 am #135235
On 2010; Alonso had quite a lot of bad luck, although probably not as much as Vettel in terms of mechanical failures during the mid season he had some horrendous luck. Canada he was twice badly blocked by back markers at critical moments when he was fighting for the win. In Valencia the SC coming out between him and Hamilton was ridiculously unlucky, and then in Silverstone he had a SC come out just before he was due to take a drive-through. Yes his championship predicament mid-season was largely due to blunders on his part but there was also a significant chunk of bad luck as well.
Hamilton was the best driver that season, but as we all know championships are about finding the best driver team combination rather than the just the best driver, and the best driver/team combination will always come out on top in any given year.24th July 2012, 12:10 at 12:10 pm #135236
Alan Jones! Definitely the luckiest anyhow.24th July 2012, 12:23 at 12:23 pm #135237
Juan Pablo HeidfeldParticipant
Senna in 1988, I didn’t watch that season, but I believe he is the only driver to win a championship but not have the most points (Prost had more). Obviously there’s no denying Senna deserved his titles, and you would argue he was one of the greatest, but that year, statistically he didn’t deserve it.
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