Drivers’ half-term rankings 2010

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    Keith Collantine

    I’ll be doing the drivers’ half-term rankings after the European Grand Prix, which is round nine of 19.

    How do you rate the performance of the drivers so far? Have your say below and I’ll use some of your quotes in the finished article.

    In the links below you can compare all the drivers with their team mates so far this year:

    Jenson Button form guide

    Lewis Hamilton form guide

    Michael Schumacher form guide

    Nico Rosberg form guide

    Sebastian Vettel form guide

    Mark Webber form guide

    Felipe Massa form guide

    Fernando Alonso form guide

    Rubens Barrichello form guide

    Nico Hulkenberg form guide

    Robert Kubica form guide

    Vitaly Petrov forum guide

    Adrian Sutil form guide

    Vitantonio Liuzzi form guide

    Sebastien Buemi form guide

    Jaime Alguersuari form guide

    Jarno Trulli form guide

    Heikki Kovalainen form guide

    Karun Chandhok form guide

    Bruno Senna form guide

    Pedro de la Rosa form guide

    Kamui Kobayashi form guide

    Timo Glock form guide

    Lucas di Grassi form guide


    Ned Flanders

    + Jenson Button: I must admit I never thought he’d win another race again in his career, never mind 2 in his first 4 races at McLaren. OK, so Hamilton has the edge on him in raw pace, but there’s no shame in that.

    + Robert Kubica: My man of the season so far. He’s dragged what is a pretty ordinary (albeit improving) car up into regular points and even podium contention. Kubica has well and truly restored his reputation after a mediocre 2009 with BMW.

    + Adrian Sutil: Sutil and consistency- two things I never thought I’d link! He seems to have cut out the sloppy spins and collisions which have blighted his F1 career so far, without losing his speed.

    + Heikki Kovalainen: Kovalainen is proving it is possible to impress in a poor car. It will take a long time to repair the damage two years at McLaren did to his repuation, but this is a good start.

    +/- Michael Schumacher: He may have improved a lot after a shaky start, but could a 7 time World Champion possibly be happy with a couple of 4th places?…

    +/- Sebastian Vettel: As usual he’s been quick, but he really ought to have won more than just a single GP by now. Of course, Red Bull’s reliability is partly to blame, but I never thought his own team mate could cause him so much trouble

    – Sebastien Buemi: Has Buemi even been driving this season? I’ve hardly noticed him. He seems to be suffering from Second Season Syndrome; the symptoms, not enough speed and too many crashes

    – Tonio Liuzzi: What exactly has Liuzzi done in his 12 (at the time of writing) races for Force India to deserve a place in F1? Or, for that matter, in his entire F1 career? His time is running out fast

    – Nico Hulkeneberg. I expected so much more of Hulkenberg. Fingers crossed he’ll come good eventually- he certainly has time on his side, but F1 is not known for its patience…




    Awwww don’t blame poor Buemi for his poor season! He’s been taken out most times by someone else when it’s not been his fault at all :( such a shame.

    Also, why hasn’t Jaime gone up in your estimations? :-P

    I agree with you about the Hulk, I expected a lot from him, probably too much really considering he’s a rookie. Hopefully once he gets used to the car and being in F1 he might improve :)

    Kubica would be my driver of the year so far too.


    Ned Flanders

    Yeah Alguersuari is doing a much better job, but I’m too lazy to assess each driver! And I suppose Buemi has been a bit unlucky- though I found it quite funny how he was taken out by an out of control car at Turn 4 on the first lap at two seperate races!



    The obvious ones first

    + Kubica: agree with Ned mostly, massivley impressive, though the cars a definate contender, by which I mean, when it’s not in Q3, someones doing it wrong. Still he is driving out of his skin, an outperforming the car. Would certainly put him in F1 top 3 drivers.

    + Hamilton: Now it’s know I’m a fan, but the reason I’ve put him here is the consitency has come back in my opinion. In his rookie season what was most impressive to me was the 9 consecutive podiums. By the time he was winning he was already championship leader, an if you award him podiums lost by his team (at least third in Aus and second in Spain) you can see he is consitently the best championship contender, in what was often the third fastest car.

    + Button: Again in my supported team but, he’s single handedly proving the worth of the refueling ban, the thinking driver is finally back. With a mind like Buttons championships can again be won through tactics. The best cerebral driver on track is finally back in an era that suits his style. An it’s working out rather well, more than that he’s getting faster an faster in the McLaren.

    + Kamui Kobayashi. WAIT here me out. Two Q3’s some awful luck, an matching his way more experianced teamate. Kamui seems to be every bit the driver he was last year, an I hope he can remain in the sport. The critiscm he gets is deeply unfair, an dismissivley ignorant. Outperforming car and teamate if you ask me.

    -/+ Vitaly Petrov: not sold. I realise there’s no testing, I realise he’s a rookie. But he has not get anywhere near enough points finishes for the car he’s driving. It’s a regular visiter to Q3 he should be scoring more points. Too much of a prang magnet to be driving that car.

    – Luizzi, again agree, time he went really, especially as they’ve got Di Resta in the wings. He’s distressingly slower than his teamate, in modern F1 1 second is too much of a gap, especially with tech on his car not on his teamate.

    – Massa: I feel that once a tyre problem has been spoted, a driver of his calibure should be able to get round it, especially as it’s not apparent in his teamates car. Negatived because he’s clearly way off the standard he was at after his title charge in 2008 and at the begining of 09.

    – Truli: His hearts clearly not in it. He vears from giving disconsolate interveiws to making ridiculous racing mooves. Monaco the clear nadir, it wasn’t Rasscasse that got me it was the rolling over for Alonso that irritaited me the most. Best qualifier on the grid is being outqualified, panic.




    Robert Kubica – Realistically he shouldn’t be able to get into the top 8 (RB, Mc, Fer, Merc) but not only has he done that he has even ended up on the podium a few times and is often found in the top 5. Driver of the year without doubt.

    Mark Webber: Start off the season poorly but now looks hot favourite to take the title and beating his team mate in the past three races.

    Jaime Alguersuari – From zero to hero. Putting in impressive overtaking moves and had some great ontrack battles including one with Mr. Schumacher. Has also been challenging for points in most races.

    Adrian Sutil: He’s always been superbly quick but tends to be inconsistent and crash happy. Now it looks like he’s maturing well and putting in solid results.

    Lewis Hamilton: Would be leading the championship if it wasn’t for his unlucky failure in Spain, he drove brilliantly and managed to split the Red Bull’s when no one else could get anywhere near their pace.


    Jenson Button: Like Ned said I didn’t think Button would ever win another race in his career but he has managed to win two. Both races he made a gamble on tyres and it paid off nicely. In dry weather, until the last race, he has been no where in terms of pace and is often down between 5th-8th place struggling to match Hamilton.

    Sebastian Vettel: Start off the season looking like he was going to get pole and win every race… if his car would actually finish. Since Mark Webber started to beat him he looks worried and seems that it’s gone to his head a bit.

    Michael Schumacher: Started poorly but has got into the swing of things and is starting to match Rosberg and finish ahead of him in races.

    Fernando Alonso: Started off the season superbly well, really impressive and one of the drivers of 2010. Putting in die hard moves which has given him so many extra points. However just recently he’s struggled in a Ferrari that is losing pace, Crashing in Monaco and not making Q2 in Turkey is very un-Alonso like.


    Tonio Liuzzi: Mmmm well his Qualifying has let him down compared to his team mate and can never make it back in the races, looks like he’s this years Nelson Piquet Jnr.

    Nico Hulkenberg: So much promise, hasn’t delivered anything at all. Yes the Williams isn’t great but he hasn’t stood out when he had the chance like Petrov or Alguersuari.

    Pedro De La Rosa: Personally I don’t see why he’s even racing, he hasn’t done anything and you wouldn’t even noticed if he retired right now.



    I think there is quite a consensus between most of us for a lot of drivers.

    I will start with the negatives, for a change:

    – Hlkenberg: up to now he has not shown great qualifying, no excellent rain skills nor amazing passes. Instead mediocre qualifying and racing as well as a lot of damage. The car does not give much opportunities, but he is clearly on the backfoot next to Baricello.

    – Buemi: OK mostly it was not his mistake that took him out, but as with Sutil in the past, he was there and was not able to avoid them.

    – Baricello: Nobody expected him to win, nor be a regular points scorer with the car he has. But he did not show a very cool head in Monaco with the steering wheel and these clutch problems always kick in when he is feeling on the wrong foot. He is a great developer and his setup should be good, but we haven’t seen much of that.

    – Liuzzi: I did not expect him to be a revalation, maybe his best time has passed already unused! He is way to far behind Sutil for a pretty experienced driver. The team will give him another few races, but only him picking up some points in the first races gives him some credit.

    – Pedro de la Rosa: Hard to tell, maybe the Sauber is really a badly handling car, but Pedro has proven that he is not the best of racers with crashes when the car was not falling apart.

    – Trulli: Regularly outqualified by his team mate and making stupid moves on track (had me change view of the Sutil crash last year). He had a lot of technical gremlins, but from his behaviour he looks like he lost hope of improving the package.

    +/- Petrov: I did not expect much from him, but so far he is managing better than expected. His racing craft is pretty nice, as shown several times on track and he is not miles away from Kubica. On the other hand he is the rookie with the best car to drive and does make mistakes.

    +/- Kobayashi: he is quick and a good racer, but does make rookie mistakes sometimes. Still i tend to go to a more positive here as he is showing promise and developing.

    +/- Schumacher: Sure, he was 3 years away from competative driving and the Mercedes was not much suited to his driving style. But for a 3 times champ coming back to the titel winning outfit that can hardly be enough. Clearly Schumi took a long time to get back into it and only picking up now. His improvement over the last 2 races and his cheeky move in Monaco show there is still a lot in his driving, so all hope is not lost

    +/- Massa: He is showing that he did not lose it after his crash last year, and he is pretty close to Alonso at times, although his reliably picking up points is good for Ferrari at this point, it can hardly be what he expected of it.

    +/- Alonso: A lot of respect for him admitting to going on to learn from 2007 as well as some brilliant driving and solid team effort, blocking for Massa in Australia. But he is making a lot of mistakes from being under pressure to make it WDC in the first year with a not up to spec car. I do like his driving, but he needs some good results and weekend without mistakes.

    +/- Rosberg: he looks like making it into a race winner. His driving has often been very impressive this year without the mistakes often made at Williams. But he is losing momentum after Schumacher got the new chassis and the car was updated and has to get it back quickly

    +/- Vettel: He has been amazingly quick in qualifying and still has the gift to get a lap out of nowhere. But those mechanical defects and driver errors show his weaknesses and Mark being a real competitor is getting at him. Boo for his behaviour after Turkey.

    +/- Glock: at times he was quick this year, but not impressive. The car was part of that, so i will give him a chance to show something. His move on Schumacher in Australia shows there is a racer in there.

    +/- Lucas Di Grassi: a nice guy, but his car has not really enabled him to show anything so far.

    +/- Bruno Senna: the name brings huge expectation with it. So far he has not made any rookie mistakes, but that is about all to be said as driving the HRT car around out there is at least as hard as it was at Minardy before they had power sterring and a quick shift gearbox.

    +/- Chandhok: So far he is doing pretty good, when taking in account he got into an F1 car first time in qualifying at Bahrain. When the car does not break or hit by a flying Trulli, he has a knack for getting the car pretty far in the races, so he might be the first of the new team guys getting a (very) lucky point, and he seems a really nice guy. But nothing special so far.

    + Hamilton: he is relying on the team too much for now and seems a little bit taken aback by not clearly beating Button. But he is getting into it the last 3 races and his move to take back position in Turkey was very nice. So thumbs up for him so far and let’s hope he goes on overtaking like in Melbourne or China.

    + Alguersuari: this guy actually looks like he might get close to Vettel in the future. He probably does not have the outright pace, but seems to have good race craft to compensate and makes an exiting driver to follow. Only mistakes were in Spain where he should not have cut into Chandhok.

    + Heikki Kovalainen: he is making up for the disapointments at McLaren now. If any of the new teams can battle for Q2 or points on track without an enormous dose of attrition and luck i expect it to be him. Great fighting spirit and clearly enjoying the ride!

    + Button: Yes, i also expected Lewis to beat him, at least in the first races. He has shown that being Champ has given him the self confidence to grow as a driver and good calls at the right time have brought him the rewards. This guy is really among the greats and has a fair shot at making it back to back titles.

    + Kubica: He has shown what he can do with a reasonable car and the team behind it to improve the car. If he goes on like this a race win might be in it this year, and a championship challenge maybe next year.

    + Webber: what would he have done last year, without the accident in the winter? He might have been championship leader a year ago. Now keep up the momentum, show that Dr. Marko to keep his mouth shut and Seb to learn overtaking before having a try at you.



    I forgot Sutil – impressive drives, although nothing astonishing. But if he can keep finishing races, i see him getting onto the podium this year.


    Ned Flanders

    I should point out with my comment that the drivers I mentioned aren’t necessarily the best/ worst of the season so far, they’re just drivers I chose to mention



    My ranking of the top ten so far.

    1. Lewis Hamilton – With the performances he’s pulled out of the bag this year the results show how good the Red Bull car has been. Needs to take a leaf out of his team mate’s book and make calls on his own race or stop complaining when, in hindsight, his team gets it wrong.

    2. Robert Kubica – With two particularly unpredictable podiums he’s seemingly punching far above his car’s weight. If only it were Glock and not a rookie that joined him at Renault to show us how much by.

    3. Mark Webber – Should have two more race wins under his belt courtesy of his reliability-stricken team mate at Bahrain and Australia and another from Malaysia, but Spain and Monaco were statements of intent for this year’s title.

    4. Sebastian Vettel – Unlucky with reliability but couldn’t match his team mate in Spain or Monaco, while the Turkey incident and apparent lack of overtakes are rather worrying.

    5. Jenson Button – Made the right decisions at the right time and got a little lucky, needs to improve his pace if he wants to keep tabs on his team mate throughout this year’s championship.

    6. Fernando Alonso – Probably equal with Hamilton on outstanding race drives but really shouldn’t be putting himself in the position where he needs to recover from the back with his amount of experience.

    7. Nico Rosberg – While his team mate’s return to form is ominous, he has to remember he has already got himself up to the podium twice this year and regain the momentum.

    8. Felipe Massa – While consistently scoring points is great, he needs to improve his speed before Alonso stops making mistakes to prevent becoming the Ferrari no. 2 la Irvine/Barrichello again.

    9. Michael Schumacher – Took a little too long to catch up with his team mate considering his pedigree, but after a three-year hiatus it looks like Schumi is back.

    10. Adrian Sutil – Taking advantage of his team’s vast progress and the inflated points system, but will need to claim some ‘Big Four’ scalps in a fair fight to make his way up the F1 pecking order.


    Fer no.65

    My top 3 (not enough time to do them all :P)

    1.- Mark Webber: like it or not, he has raised his game more than anyone else on the grid. His back to back wins were utterly dominant and he has scored 4 poles, 1 more than his highly-rated team mate. The Istambul problem happened for a reason. Had Webber not improved his pace, Vettel (and Webber) would’ve completed the move without much carbon fiber wasted. But because Mark was dominating his team mate for the 3rd race in a row despite what we all thought (Mark playing 2nd driver), the Seb felt the pressure on him and went for it. And remember it’s just a year and a half since he suffered that horrible accident. He’s very strong. And he’s proving to be a great contender.

    2.- Jenson Button: another driver the majority of us got wrong last year. “Hamilton will kill him completely”. Not a chance! Not only he won 2 races already (showing great skills strategy-wise), he has matched Lewis speed at qualy more often than we initially thought. Remember he’s still proving himself because of the amount of people saying his title was just a matter of luck, being in the right place at the right time. A strong championship so far for him.

    3.- Robert Kubica: surprisingly quickly with an underrated Renault. Quickly giving the original main contenders something to worry about. His performance at Monaco could’ve been a lot more impressive, but the Red Bulls got in the way. He needed a good year after the BMW F1.09 debacle. And he’s doing brilliantly.


    Dan Thorn

    + Robert Kubica. No-one expected him to be doing what he’s doing. If only he had a decent team mate to judge him against.

    + Jenson Button. If he was any more relaxed I think a doctor would declare him medically dead. Has proved the critics wrong with two brilliant victories and has shown that he can be a match for Hamilton.

    + Fernando Alonso. His drive in Malaysia is the most impressive I’ve seen in years. Coming from the back in Melbourne, Malaysia, China and Monaco shows a stunning race pace, but he needs to string a whole weekend together if he wants this title.

    + Mark Webber. After a difficult start to the season he’s really put Vettel on the back foot. Starting to show the brilliance we’ve seen flashes of right through his career, but on a more consistant basis. Also the only member of Red Bull who came away from Turkey with full dignity.

    + Ralf Schumacher. He hasn’t decided to return yet. Good.

    +/- Lewis Hamilton. You cant deny his brilliant Sundays, but I haven’t liked his attitude towards the team on occasions this year and it took him a while to get his head round qualifying at the start of the year.

    +/- Michael Schumacher. Disasterous start to the season, but every now and then you catch a glimpse of what makes the guy one of the greats and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching him this year.

    – Sebastian Vettel. The personality that made him so likeable at the start of his career now makes him come across as cocky and arrogant. Whenever he’s on the back foot he strops and moans. Needs to learn how to lose.

    – Felipe Massa. For someone who was on the crest of a wave til his accident last year it’s a shame to see Alonso walking all over him and I expected him to do better. Seems to have lost the fighting spirit that endeared him to so many.

    – Jarno Trulli. Time to retire old chap, the fire just isn’t there any more. Perhaps you could relight it with your Sutil folder…

    Honourable mentions:

    Pedro de la Rosa. Not too far off Kobayashi considering the three year break. Exactly what Sauber and Kamui need.

    Lucas di Grassi. Repassing Schumacher at Melbourne and a spirited defense of Alonso at Monaco was great to see.



    And some more.

    + Heikki Kovalainen I’ll join the love in on Heikki. Best new team driver by far, as well as matching the undisputed quali specialist on pace’ he’s also managing to do what he never could in Mclaren during races. Hold position, an moove forward.

    + Timo Glock The only other impressive new team driver is takling the fight to the now quicker Lotuses in fighting fashion. Can’t help but think either Renault or Lotus will want his services next year.

    + Mark Webber: Fantastic resurgence since Spain has made a title contender out of that special brand of championship car also ran. In Turkey Vettle seemed to reassert himself in qualifying but Webbers driving has forced us all to take him very seriously this season.

    + Rubens Barrichello seems to be in good form, dragging that car up further than it should be. Has bonded incredbily well with his team. His rookie teamate has failed to impress but he’s giving him the wash down neccassary to hold reputation.

    + Adrian Sutil after question marks over his future in F1 Sutil has thouroughly silenced all doubters by his efficient crushing of Liuzzi. The speeds still there, possibly greater than before, buthe’s finally brought the consistancy. Along with the nouse and the luck to stay out of trouble.

    +/-Michael Schumacher: He’s been getting better every race, an I never thought China was anything more than a blip. It just seems like he doesn’t have the hunger, he’s one of the greatest ever but he hasn’t outperformed his car. Schumacher should be capable of outdriving his machinery an he’s only been more and more competant this season. A highly polished driver but he’s probably not driving on instinct any longer.

    +/-Nico Rosberg Good start to the season and he’s had some bad luck since Spain, buthe does seem to have petered out a little bit. Possibly the new car really is built for Schumacher but he’s now started to loose the most important battle, an Schueys becoming the lead driver at the team

    -/+Sebastian Vettel Now obviously he’s looked fantastically dominant in the fly aways, loosing a huge number of points to bad luck. But it’s never been there since Spain. More bad luck stripped him of pole in Turkey, but I’d say it was right that he cracked under preassure making a needlesly agressive moove on Webber. His star has only sank since Spain.

    -/+ Fernando Alonso The drive in Malaysia was very special, an there have been flashed of brilliance. But Alonso is a double world champion at what should be the very height of his powers. The age is at is often when a driver is at their very fastest they’ll ever be, he should not be making so many mistakes. His comeback drives are special, but he shouldn’t be making them so often.

    +/- Sebastien Buemi. Fairly invisible this season. Last years rookie of the year is being out driven by his team mate during races, he’s had some absolutley rotten luck as well though, on the other hand, he has been out qualified once.

    +/- Jaime Alguersuari. Went from invisible, to impressive, to overagressive in record quick time. I’m still not convinced he’s actually got the speed to be a true contender, his rce pace is better but the form guide shows you quite how big a deficit he’s got to his teamate in qualifiying. It is comming down though.

    – Nico Hlkenberg I don’t know if it’s the car or the change. But the man he beat in GP2 isn’t looking half as messy. He’ll stay in F1 for a while and he’s clearly a hugley exciting prospect but this is not a good debut. If he drives like this next year, in the Williams drive his probably sure to get, the bubble will be burst and he’ll be out.



    Mark Webber:Webber has done well in 2010.Has shown that his dip in form at the beginning of the season was nothing to worry about.

    Jenson Button:Before the season,most people wrote him off,arguing that against Lewis he would fail,become weak.But with two wins against Lewis’s one,he’s looking the stronger.

    Lewis Hamilton:After the first five races,Lewis was like a Lib Dem.He had done worse than expected,looked set for a coalition(i.e helping Button’s title charge).But with that win in Turkey,he is now in co-power like the Lib Dems.

    Fernando Alonso:I expected at the start of the season that this would be his year but he has let a lot of people down just one win and one other podium finish.

    Sebastian Vettel:Looked a good bet for the title after Bahrain qualifying,he has had some very bad luck after mechanical problems in Bahrain and Australia.But he let himself down with that crash in Turkey.Looking weak up against Webber

    Robert Kubica:One,if not the,of the drivers of the season.Has show consistently that he is up to the of bringing glory back to Renault.

    Felipe Massa:Despite scoring points in every race,Massa has been a let down.This might be a side effect of the crash last year.

    Nico Rosberg:More often than not he has beaten his teammate which is no mean feat.Continue this and he may be a race winner by Abu Dhabi.

    Michael Schumacher:When it was announced just before Christmas that the seven times world champion was returning,we dreamt of a return of Schumi fighting Alonso,along with the young chargers.But Michael was poor in the fly away races but has slowly improved as we got back into Europe.

    Adrian Sutil:Has done well,has left the reputation of tangling with other car in my judgement.

    Vitantonio Liuzzi:Has underacheived.I would be shocked if he lasted past his home race in September.

    Rubens Barrichello:Has had a average start to the season and barring a drain cover,would have finished every race.His expierence though will help Williams out of this.

    Will complete second half later today.



    Mark Webber: Has looked strong throughout the first 7 races, with few errors in the beginning. Surely one of the strongest in the title race.

    Jenson Button: I hadn’t thought of him as one of the top drivers even after he had won two races this year, but in Turkey he showed he was on Lewis’ pace and if he can keep racing like this he’ll convince me he’s a top driver.

    Jaime Alguersuari: Still looks a bit slower than Buemi, but he is very consistent and keeps improving.

    Nico Hlkenberg: Everyone expected too much from him, despite the GP2 title he is still a rookie and Barrichello isn’t an easy teammate. He’s getting experience and that’s very important.

    Robert Kubica: Flawless the whole season, the only mistake was the spin after contact with Sutil in Bahrain, which cost him 9th place. It seems like he’ll stay at Renault and will be fighting for the championship next year.

    Vitaly Petrov: Hasn’t shown anything special, but he keeps improving and learning and he’s getting experienced – just like Sebastien Buemi last year.

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