2008 half-term driver rankings part 3

Posted on

| Written by

There was plenty of discussion yesterday about how to rank the top three drivers of 2008 so far.

Here’s how I rated Lewis Hamilton, Kimi Raikkonen and Robert Kubica’s performances so far this year. What’s your verdict?

3. Lewis Hamilton

2007 rating: 1

Lewis overachieved quite a bit last year I feel and he appears to be suffering a case of “second season syndrome” as known in football circles.He hasn’t lost any of his speed but he’s certainly lost his sang froid. – Francois in the forum

Inevitably Lewis Hamilton’s failures and fortunes have been exhaustively documented in the media. No other driver seems to attract as much scathing criticism for his mistakes and fawning adulation for his successes. Putting the hype and hate to one side, how has he actually done this year?

Compared to the first half of last year Hamilton has made an alarming number of mistakes. It’s been a trend among many drivers in the championship this year. But while Hamilton racked up podium finishes in his first nine Grands Prix in 2007, he’s been more ‘crash and win’ over the same events this year.

To reiterate: he was penalised in qualifying at Sepang and blew the start at Bahrain, after which he first nudged and later walloped the rear of Fernando Alonso’s Renault. At Istanbul his qualifying lap was messy, making his three-stop strategy all the more unrealistic. He didn’t see the red light in the pit lane at Montreal and crashed into Kimi Raikkonen, and picked up a drive-through penalty within the first half-lap at Many-Cours.

At Monte-Carlo he burst his rear tyre against the barrier?? and survived, winning the wet/dry race by a healthy margin. Indeed, he has thrived in adverse conditions, decimating the field in the rain at Silverstone, and cruising serenely to victory on a messy day in Melbourne. And he was well in charge of proceedings at Montreal before that fateful safety car intervention.

It was obvious from the rare snatch of McLaren’s radio broadcast we heard at Silverstone during qualifying what Hamilton’s problem is: "Don’t over-drive" was the clear message. He’s been too reluctant to settle for a comfortable points finish on the days when that’s all that’s available to him. Unless he tempers his aggression in the second half of this season one can quite easily see him losing the title for a second year to??

2. Kimi Raikkonen

2007 rating: 2

Disappointed to be honest, none of the brilliance I remember him producing in his McLaren days when he won races in terrible cars. Now he has – by quite a margin – the best car on the grid and has won twice in 8 races…I think he is slightly disillusioned with F1, will retire sooner rather that later. – Ben in the forum

Raikkonen invariably defies easy categorisation. On his day he is untouchably quick and Felipe Massa cannot live with him, as we saw quite plainly at Sepang. On other days he follows Massa around a few seconds adrift and no-one can quite tell why.

And some times he just goes to pot. His first race as world champion started as a spirited drive from the middle of the pack (due to a misfortune in qualifying) but was interrupted by two unforced spins on a dry day. He went off twice in the rain at Monaco as well.

Raikkonen is undoubtedly one of F1’s best drivers. These problems and Massa’s often superior qualifying performances have blunted his championship campaign this year but some poor fortune as at least as much to blame.

He was taken out of the race at Montreal when a victory was on the cards. A win looked a certainty at Magny-Cours until an exhaust problem let Massa through. And at Silverstone it seemed Ferrari’s decades of racing experience were discarded and the team instead relied on the toss of a coin to determine strategy, chucking a certain podium and possible victory away.

Even with these problems he’s still joint leader of the championship and, with better luck in the second half of the year and still with the quickest car in F1 underneath him, I’d bet on him being champion. But I don’t think he’s been the best driver so far this year.

1. Robert Kubica

2007 rating: 8

Driver of the year so far. – Omarky on the forum

After a shaky 2007 Kubica has been exceptional in 2008. Simply put, no other driver seems to have consistently got as close to the potential of his car while making so few mistakes.

The banning of traction control seemed to transform Kubica’s performance overnight. After often being behind Nick Heidfeld last year, Kubica has dominated him in qualifying. Heidfeld has only started ahead of his team mate once – when Kubica had a car problem at Silverstone last week.

In the races too Kubica has maintained his advantage over Heidfeld. Had he not been taken out of the first race by Kazuki Nakajima – in an incident where Kubica was clearly blameless – he would still be leading the world championship.

He scored his – and BMW’s – first pole position at Bahrain. He might have done it at the first race of the year at Melbourne but for running wide at one corner. Nevertheless the lap was still good enough for second on the grid.

Other mistakes from Kubica have been pretty rare. He was error-free in the wet at Monaco and finished second on a day when even the winner hit the barrier once. And at Montreal when the cards fell his way he was in the perfect place to capitalise, scoring his first Grand Prix win.

That put him in the lead of the championship and, despite his first major mistake of the season at Silverstone costing him several points, remains just two points off the leaders.

It’s still too much to expect he can win the championship with a BMW that’s up with the front runners often enough, and seems to be drifting off the ultimate pace as the year goes on. But I wouldn’t rule him out picking up one or more further wins as the year goes on, especially with two new street circuits coming up which should play to his strengths.

Kubica is in excellent form and if he keeps driving like this he would be a very worthy world champion.

Who do you think has been the driver of the year so far?

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

80 comments on “2008 half-term driver rankings part 3”

  1. Rubbish, Kubica wouldn’t be a worthy world champion. He is a charisma-free robot without style. Let’s hope Lewis trounces everyone in the final half of the season as he deserves it the most for being a real racer and exciting to watch, as well as being the best personality on the circuit.

  2. ^ Personally, I don’t understand why personality should even come into it. The world champion should be the person who drove best that season, it’s as simple as that.

  3. Kubica is strong in street circuits but Lewis is stronger. And I would bet on Lewis winning on the two new tracks as 3 out for 4 races Lewis won last year were on tracks he never raced before.

    Kubica has been strong like Lewis last year but will soon get his own fair share of mistakes just like Lewis. Heidfeld is only 10 points behind Kubica and with his improved qualifying pace and better racecraft I wouldn’t be surprised if Heifeld beat Kubica at the end of the year.

  4. I agree wholeheartedly. Had Kubica been racing in the same equipment as Hammy or Iceman he’d be top dog, no question about it. A real class act.

  5. @Sebastian: No one can say for sure. This year he has absolutely no pressure because no one expects much from him. How would be handle himself when the pressure is on? Look at what happened to Webber, been driving flawlessly all year, gets his car into a position where he could win the race at Silverstone and then blew it on the first lap when the pressure was on.

    Likewise, if it was Hammy or Iceman on the BMW they would most likely still be leading the WDC by not crashing out at Silverstone.

  6. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr
    11th July 2008, 13:22

    hamiltons problems is that last year he was team mate to alonso, a double world champion and highly regarded as the most complete driver in f1. if hamilton beat him on occasion then superb but if he didnt people would say well hes a rookie and alonso is a double champion.

    that said he was remarkable last year, people can whine that hes stepped into one of the best cars on the grid, but surley that has just raised expectations?? he was never going to be able to match last years perfromance but he hasnt done bad. like keith said he is just too aggressive at times he needs to play the percentage game at tracks he cant win.

    Good drivers at melbourne, istanbul, monaco and awesome at silverstone (which i had the pleasure of watching from becketts)

    the trend im noticing with hamilton is when hes put on the back foot, malaysia, bahrain mangy cours, he does over drive.

    raikkonen has been up and down just really confuses me because when he wants to be he is nigh on unbeatable and great to watch.

    kubica has just done nothing wrong and got the maximum out of every opportunity that came his way and definitley been the best this year

  7. If you look at Lewis’ performance in the rain at Silverstone , and going by the fact that most previous multiple champions have excelled in wet weather conditions , on driver skill alone , I would say Lewis is the best driver . Man , he made that McLaren look as though it had traction control even though we know they no longer do. But as it is , this is a look at the overall performance of the year to date. It turns out Lewis , Kimi and Felipe’ have all had up and down races so far . while Robert has been more consistent , so I must agree with the order of Keiths rating , possibly if I were to change anything , it would be dropping Kimi to fourth , Lewis to second and Massa to third.


  9. I will absolutelygo by Keith, this first half of this year has to be Kubica’s. He has every bit potential to be amongst the winners. He had such a horrible crash at Canada last year, and this year in wet condition he stood first in the podium there!
    Kimi’s story has really been a mystery to explain. And his misfortune (like that broken exhaust), poor strategy(not changing tyres at silverstone) add to his misery. I think he needs to be a bit more down the leaderboard so that he can stage yet another comeback!(Like he did last year!!!)
    As far as lewis is concerned, apart from wet Silverstone, there is not much to write about, I think, (Obviously I am talking about race only!)
    My guess is he’ll loose more in the second half if he does not control himself. May be Dennis should tell him how can one does not get carried away ;)

  10. TommyBellingham
    11th July 2008, 14:30

    I agree with you completely. Kubica has done the best this season. To be in the championship hunt with a car thats still not really competitive enough to be up there is amazing.

  11. Keith,

    In terms of consistency, I think you´re right, Kubitza deserves the first place.

    But looking back to Lewis and Kimi´s mistakes I would consider that is shame a World champion lost the control of the car as Kimi did twice in Australia, twice at Monaco (crashing Sutil!) and twice at Silverstone. This is absolutely driving flaws. I think we´re still forgetting that Lewis has under his belt only 27 races (and Kimi more than 160 races) but the guy can drive as veteran trouncing everyone as he did at Silverstone.

    In this case, the Veteran Kimi´s mistake has more importance than Lewis´s on the equation. Another matter about Kimi is how boring a race could be when this guy wins. He´s bored and bores everyone around him…

    I would put Lewis above Kimi.

  12. This is an interesting fact:

    “This season so far Lewis has led for most laps compared to the competition, 179 from 571 in total that is 31 percent, a little less than one third of all laps and kilometres that have been completed.”

    From Mclaren’s Germany preview press release.

  13. “I think we´re still forgetting that Lewis has under his belt only 27 races (and Kimi more than 160 races) but the guy can drive as veteran trouncing everyone as he did at Silverstone.”

    Not everyone gets to start their careers in a silver car.

  14. @Sav22

    Another couple of intresting facts:

    Australian GP Heikki Kovalainen 1:27.418
    Malaysian GP Nick Heidfeld 1:35.366
    Bahrain GP Heikki Kovalainen 1:33.193
    Spanish GP Kimi Räikkönen 1:21.670
    Turkish GP Kimi Räikkönen 1:26.506
    Monaco GP Kimi Räikkönen 1:16.689
    Canadian GP Kimi Räikkönen 1:17.387
    French GP Kimi Räikkönen 1:16.630
    British GP Kimi Räikkönen 1:32.150

  15. ^ fastest laps

  16. I’m with Keith. Those rankings were spot on. In fact, if it weren’t for Silverstone (where Hamilton put in a stirling drive and Massa drove like a muppett), I’d almost have been inclined to switch Hamilton’s and Massa’s rankings.

    But I can’t forget Silverstone. Hamilton really did shine and Massa really did drive like a muppett……so yeah……I agree with the rankings.

  17. @Zebra: Kimi started in Sauber. Got beaten by Heidfeld and still ended up in McLaren. Kimi has had more years in a top car than most people on the grid today and has only 1 WDC to show for it.

  18. Scott Joslin
    11th July 2008, 15:28

    I think Robert Kubica has really pushed his value through the roof this season. His consistency and maturity has demonstrated to the top teams that if he had a top car, he could run away with it like Schumacher used too. If he can work the BMW team around him he could be very formidable in 2009.

    I agree win your number 1 Keith, but would swap Kimi and Lewis round. As mentioned earlier in the discussion, Lewis has only raced in handful of races compared to Kimi, who should be dominating this season and showing his class as champion. Where we should allow Lewis a tiny piece of slack after only 1.5 season in F1( but not too much slack hey!)

  19. Fastest laps aren’t that important, for example Heikki’s fastest lap in Bahrain, yet the Mclaren wasn’t very compeitive compared to their rivals in that race.

    Lewis has the most wins equal with Massa, and has lead the most laps this season. That’s more significant to be.

  20. He also raced most of that time during the Ferrari/Schumy years.

  21. @Internet

    How reliable was the McLaren Kimi drove back in the day versus what Hamilton drove last year?

  22. That’s not the point. Kimi virtually started his career in a silver car, except he got it by getting beaten by Heidfeld at Sauber while Lewis got it by winning all the lower formulas.

  23. Well you are right in that Hamilton had way more races in him when coming into F1.

  24. Kimi´s luck about Ferrari reliability is that the guys from Maranello use to build a tank as a car. Mario Ellen, the ex-McLaren man, says that Ferrari would have a tough job to build a car like that. He said:

    “No one drives the machine harder, no one bangs it so hard lap after lap into the kerb,”

    Even Withmarsh said that he should change his driving style in Ferrari. That could be another reason why he is struggling against Felipe. We always heard about Lewis been hard on his tyres but I still think that Kimi is hard on an entire car…

    About fastest laps, Oliver, in part 2 of the rankings made the best comment ever:

    “Fastest laps are often a useless statistic unless it is backed up by a win or good placing. Its possible for a driver to drive a second off the pace for 65 laps, then set the fastest lap on the 66th, and still finish 1 minute behind and almost lapped.

    Not saying Kimi has often lapped so far back behind the pace, but if u observe closely his fastest laps have been set after many mediocre performance during the races, Silverstone inclusive. Where he was consistenly behind in pace all through the races but for 3 or four laps when the tract was drying up.

    He is not very organized is my summation.”

  25. I agree with Dorian, if it weren’t for Massa torrid drive at Silverstone, I would have switched Hamilton and Massa in the rankings.

    Hamilton has made an alarming amount of errors this season so far, and appears to be over-driving for big results like Alonso, whereas in 2007, he didn’t rush it and just stacked up the podiums.

    Spot on with the rankings, Keith. Kubica is certainly my driver of the year so far. He has been nearly error-free all season – other than spinning in Silverstone – and has been extracting the maximum from his car and the team have backed up with good pitwork and strategy.

    Although now, the BMWs pace has dropped in relation to the Ferraris and McLarens, and Kubica is so close to the top three by their mistakes as well as his consistency. I can’t realistically see him winning the championship with BMWs drop in pace, probably only one or two more wins at best, but if he did win, he would certainly deserve the title!

  26. C’mon brits, forget about Hamilton. If he is ahead on points at the end of the season he will press neutral again! :P

    For me, it’s between Kimi and Massa. And if the title win falls on Massa’s hands, I bet he will cross the line spinning!

  27. @Dizzy: Why do you assume all Brits support Hamilton? If you go to various forums there are a lot of Brits that dislike and even hate Hamilton. That’s one thing that I find weird about the Brits cos I haven’t seen a single Pole who dislikes Kubica, Australian that dislikes Webber or a Spaniard that hates Alonso.

  28. Hamiltomania is makin me wanna choke myself. Anyways, Kubica all the way..

  29. Internet, I think I assume that because I moved to London last year, in the middle of the Hamilton frenzy! Also, I’ve been watching F1 through ITV broadcast since then… That may explain a lot.
    It reminds me a lot of the feeling about Senna in Brazil. It was really annoying to see how protected he was, how the media wanted to give him an image of perfection. And Senna, for those who don’t know, always was a boring politically correct type of guy. After his death it became impossible to speak anything bad about him.
    I think the only brazilian driver that I really enjoyed off the track was Piquet Sr.

    By the way, take a look at this:


  30. William Wilgus
    11th July 2008, 17:06

    Without knowing the legitimate problems that a driver might have had during a race, all of this is pure speculation. However, Lewis #1 last year? No way—especially if you look at the last two races of ’07!

  31. I think the ranking is fair, but hamilton is not the top ranking driver is f1 right now, i believe kubica and raikkonen are better than him. Anyway is just my opinion.

  32. @William Wilgus, so you are saying Kubica shouldn’t be at #1 because he spun out at Silverstone?

  33. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr
    11th July 2008, 17:14

    i agree with dizzy about senna.

    Alot of people say that the bad things schumacher did during his career like driving into villeneuve in 97 taint his reputation and devalues him as a driver. but what about senna?? he deliberatley took prost out in 1990, and sopme of his driving at times was stupid. everyone seems to forget that because of his death, tragic as it was, i dont think it should mean people can forget about what he did to prost.

    Hamilton is the victim of the british press, like they do to any celebrity, 1 minute theyr the best thing since sliced bread the next they are no one. its sad really hes only 23 and hes either a hero or a villain depending on how good he races. at the moment hes the hero for winning at silverstone, two weeks ago he was no one. i can see why people dont like him hes hyped up soo much on itv its pathetic. im saying this and im a hamilton fan, i want him to win the tittle.

    i think its clear that hamilton is the best british driver for years, hes awesomely talented and yes he has made a few msitakes this year, but in time he should make less, every driver does make mistakes why should hamilton be any different because hes driving a mclaren??

    @ zebra. what point are you trying to make with the fatsest laps?? raikkonen is already 3rd in the all time rankings for fastest laps, but you dont get points for fastest laps. theres only 1 time when having the fatsest lap means anything and thats in Q3. if anything it shows his inconsistency, the fact he can set the fastest lap but finnish a distand 3rd would infuriate me if i was his team manager.

    also note that raikkonen got beaten by coulthard in his 1st season at mclaren. hamilton beat a double world champion, no matter what you say about hamilton he may have been given a better start than most rookies but he took his opportunity.

  34. Correct me if I’m wrong but didn’t Hamilton and Alonso finish with equal wins and equal points last year??

  35. Yes they did, but Hamilton was ahead in the WDC by virtue of 1 more 5th place I think.

  36. I agree with the rankings!

    Kubica has been a revelation this year, he has done very well so far and he has certainly been the most impressive.

    Kimi had made mistakes but in the last three races he has actually done very well, if only he had some better luck.

    Lewis has had some very good races like Siverstone and Monaco, but he seems to balance the good with the bad.

  37. @Internet: That’s because Hamilton comes off as a 23 year old virgin with his father constantly in tow.

  38. If Kubica didn´t made his only mistake this year (I think) he would be the leader. He is only 2 points behind, with the fifth car in the grid.

    Hamilton is the fastest. I don´t remember the last time a driver arrived with 1min gap advantage to the second (Senna in Portugal?) (Schumacher where?).

    Kimi remains the favourite title contender (But with a little bit of disapointment taste). While Hamilton and Kubica have a clear second driver, Massa is still a contender and that´s is the problem for Kimi.

  39. @Sebastian: That’s because his dad is also his manager. Please try to distinguish the two relationships.

  40. Alonso follower
    11th July 2008, 20:20

    Sorry, I feel the need to take this point

    “hamilton beat a double world champion, no matter what you say”

    as some kind of joke. I do not want to open the debate again, but you should try to look at the facts with some objectivity before claiming that. At least, “beat” cannot be put on the context of the track and the driving. Yes, he “beat” a double world champion in PR skills, yes, he “beat” a double world champion by copying his car setup, yes he beat a double world champion by having him penalized for things that he didn’t. All of this to a team mate and in the end to “beat” him, by a single point!!!!

    Is that “beat” a double world champion? I’d say, it’s “cheat” a double world champion.

  41. @Alonso follower: I know Alonso is having a bad year and you’re frustrated but let’s look at it this way.

    If Lewis can copy Alonso’s setup and actually be faster than Alonso in the same car and same setup, what does it say about Alonso? Where did this Lewis copying Alonso’s come from in the first place? I saw it on the forums and it seems everyone latched onto it. This year has proven that Lewis is no setup slouch himself and the car is being developed nicely due to his help.

    Secondly, Hamilton wasn’t the one that penalized Alonso, it was the FIA. What Alonso did was violation of the rules. Had it been any other driver he blocked in the pits, I doubt any one would be arguing about the punishment. It just happens to be that he blocked his own team mate.

    Third, Hamilton was a rookie. Alonso is a 2xWDC. Hamilton never had the supposed preferential treatment at the start of the year and yet Alonso was unable to consistently beat Hamilton.

  42. @Alonso Follower
    Thanx that you raised it again… Just a little correction, Lewis didnot score more than that of Alonso, only managed to win the second spot by virtue of one more 5th place finish.
    Anyway.. lets hope Fernando either shifts to a better constructor or Renaults start making some unbeleivable improvement in their cars(seems impossible though!!)
    so that we can have a five way battle(Kimi,Massa,Lewis,Alonso,Kubica) for the top next year!!
    How interesting is that going to be? guys..what do u say?

  43. I believe it will still be Kimi vs Massa vs Lewis next year. Alonso won’t have a competitive car and the BMW won’t be as fast as the top two. But we might see Honda and RBR come into play.

  44. @Internet
    Honda and RBR are preety good as midfield cars but not as the frontrunners, i guess. I am keeping my fingers crossed for an improved version of R28 though!
    And if Alonso joins HONDA (as they are very keen on getting him), i might change the first line!! :P

  45. I am just guessing since Newey might have something up his sleeve with the new regulations and Brawn too.

  46. @ Internet

    Don’t get me wrong, nothing against to you, but your posts look very biased. I have a feeling that no matter what, Lewis will always be the best driver for you.

    Most of the other users’ posts seem balanced.

    About Hamilton beating Alonso. Hamilton was impressive last year and to be clear, I think he is one of the best, but I, as many people who followed 2007 season, cannot say Lewis was better than Alonso.

    The pitstop issue: I would like to remind you that all the dispute was caused by Hamilton who didn’t act fair on the track and didn’t let Alonso past him to give Fernando clean air to do his quick lap – this is why Alonso blocked hi in the pits. I must say that IMO that was internal issue and should be dealt within a team and a 5 grid penalty was a bit harsh.

    Many tend to forget something very unusual, something what happend at Nuerburgring last year – why Hamilton’s car, the only one from many, was put back onto track I will never know – I know thar regulations allow that – but….isn’t that cheating?

    Fuji – the other example of dodgy FIA’s decisions. Why Kubica was served “drive trouhg” I don’t know – for me, and as I saw also for many, the Kubica/ Hamilton incident was a pure racing incident with no blame on anyone. Moreover, in similar accidents, such things as whether it was racing incident or an avoidable accident had many times been decided after the race.

    That is, why IMO, people, incuding some Brits, started calling Lewis Mr Fiamilton.

    I really like Lewis, despite his “self PR” problems this year, but I don’t like him enough to be saying that he beat Alonso in 2007 – no, the fact is that they finished with the same amount of points and hadn’t some actions, like mentioned by me above, been made in favour to Hamilton, it would actually have been Fernando who beat Lewis.

  47. I agree with the rankings 100%, and thanks for the great site Keith.

    On a sidenote, to anyone complaining about ITV bias – you should hear the kind of commentary we get here in Poland. The worship for Kubica who can do no wrong, the love for Alonso (as supposedly Robert’s friend), the ironic comments about Hamilton. I myself am a Kubica fan, but it actually makes it more difficult to support him. I’m actually impressed by the comments of Brits complaining about ITV’s fixation. I heard nothing like that from the fans here in Poland.

  48. @koper: If I thought no matter what Lewis was the best driver, I would have put him #1 in my rankings. I am the first to admit he has made a lot of stupid mistakes and that his punishments are totally justified. I am just sick of people trying to play down his performance against Alonso.

  49. PS: Blocking a fellow driver in the pits is NOT an internal matter. Otherwise drivers would be blocking each other all the time. Like I said it just happened between two team mates. Had it happened between Alonso and Kimi, would be arguing against the penalty?

  50. (a) Internet,

    where in the world do you get your facts from ? First you are telling us that a 12-2 fastest-lap edge for Kimi vs Lewis doesn’t say anything, now you are saying Kimi got beat by Heidfeld at Sauber. Go look at some videos from Kimi’s years with Sauber and that will set you straight. You are obviously a Lewis fan and so your opinions are skewed. The facts are facts and statistics do mean something.

    (b) Based on pure performance this year, I agree that Kubica deserves the #1 spot. Almost error-free, in a car far slower than the top 2 teams, and yet only 2 points away from leading the standings (which he actually led for one weekend). I would put Lewis at #2 rather than Kimi, as he has won more races. Kimi is the fastest but has made mistakes, especially in Q.

  51. Kubica #1, Kimi #2, Hamilton #3. If not for the Nakajima incident in Australia and a technical defect in Q at Silverstone Robert would have been leading the championship even without the help of Lewis/Kimi pit lane collision in Montreal.
    He’s been driving flawlessly this season.
    On the Hamilton subject, regretably this guy is not immune to the crazy media attention focused on him and seems affected by it big time. How can one explain stupid mistakes that he’s been making lately. Too much praise and too much condemnation is hurting his image and clouds his true value. The canadian TSN coverage of F1 is the best example – Lewis centered commentary makes you feel like you are watching some 3rd rate UK channel.

  52. I just found this – seems appropriate to this thread..

    Kubica statistically best driver of 2008

  53. I hadn’t put it all together until now, but I can see – Kimi’s not coming back. He loves the cars, he loves racing, but he hates everything else: the PR appearances, the press conferences, the photographers… It would be a shame not to see Raikkonen complete what could be a brilliant career, but we can all see his heart just isn’t in it this year.

  54. As expected, Hamilton’s performance in the last GP has encouraged all the hype around him.
    I have to agree with your brave analysis Keith. Kubica has made the impossible: winning a a race with a Sauber and having Champ options (less and less every day, but options nonetheless). That’s enough to justify your decision.

  55. Alonso follower
    12th July 2008, 11:32

    “About Hamilton beating Alonso. Hamilton was impressive last year and to be clear, I think he is one of the best, but I, as many people who followed 2007 season, cannot say Lewis was better than Alonso.

    The pitstop issue: I would like to remind you that all the dispute was caused by Hamilton who didn’t act fair on the track and didn’t let Alonso past him to give Fernando clean air to do his quick lap – this is why Alonso blocked hi in the pits. I must say that IMO that was internal issue and should be dealt within a team and a 5 grid penalty was a bit harsh.”

    I would go even further to say that it was more than just a bit harsh. The issue was created by Hamilton while Alonso did obey at all times the team orders. Then Hamilton raises the issue and, instead of penalizing the whole team or both drivers, only Alonso gets penalized.

    Anyway, thanks for demonstrating that this is a place that is not yet conquered by the Hamilton fanboyism. Lewis is a good driver, but please be aware that is not by any means better than the others by the huge margin that the media is pretending (at least this week) to be.

  56. Like I said. Blocking a fellow driver in the pits is NOT an internal issue. Had Alonso blocked Kimi in the pits, he would have got the same punishment.

    As for Hamilton fanboyism. Go to this article

    to see just how many of the readers here hate Hamilton. Btw, the spanish media treats Alonso worse than the britih media treats Hamilton.

  57. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr
    12th July 2008, 11:41

    sorry f1 fan i can see where your coming from yes statistics do mean something, but dont you think that shows kimis inconsitency more that hes had 6 fastest laps in a row but hes only won 2 races out of 9?? also he did get beaten by heidfeld at suaber look at the standings.

    it just seems to me that people are not willing to except the blatingly obvious. your saying internets opinion is skewed because hes a hamilton fan then you are claiming kimi didnt get beaten by hedifled at sauber, but he did so really i want to know where do you get your facts from???

    yes hamilton has walked staright into 1 of the top cars in f1 but he is making the most of it, yes hes made a few mistakes but he is only in his 2nd season.

    your opinion is the 1 that is skewed by trying to say that the fact that kimi can set these fastest laps makes him the best driver. what is the point in getting the fastest lap to finnish 3rd and drift around most of the race?? you dont get points for fastest laps.

    i think kimi is a great driver when he wants to be but when he doesn’t hes pretty ordinairy

  58. Well said, schumacherthegreatestever. Kimi walked straight into a top car too after getting beaten by Heidfeld at Sauber.

  59. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr
    12th July 2008, 11:56

    further more kimi also got beaten by coulthard in his 1st year at mclaren

  60. Spot on, as a Lewis fan id love for him to win and still am puzzled as to how he didn’t win it last year. A mixture of being a rookie and stupid tatics by Dennis in Shanghai when he shud’ve brought him in several laps b4 he did eventually make the call cost him that years title. Im not buying in2 Brazil as he shud’ve won it b4 then.

    But i think Kimi will come good when it matters most and thats in the 2nd half of the championship. I think he’d be gutted to lose his title and if he does so perhaps 2009 will be his last year – which wud be a shame.

  61. -I think that Alonso has done till now a great job on the relatively slow Renault…Piquet on the other side is a complete failure…several mistakes (twice in e.g. spain) put him in a really weak position.Other drivers with the same car would have achieved definetly better results.
    -For me Kimi is still my favorite driver….he knows how to score even under the worst circumstances.He even knows how to handle pressure on the circuit.
    The latter is a point I completely miss when I remember his team mate Massa who easily loses concentration-even when he is not under pressure- (spinnng in Sepang,drift in Monaco) and usually wins only when he starts from the front row.Once leading ,the result of the race is almost determined!The F1 racing magazine made a statistic about the 2007 season saying that he is the driver who did the most overtaking maneuvers.Still missing great results!
    -Kubica is the underdog…but he only won when all of his main contenders where out! (Montreal).But I expect much more from him!!
    -Lewis Hamilton was very lucky in Monaco.The French GP was a disaster..But he proved in Silverstone to be a 1st league driver.But still I do not think that he will win the championship this year.When the Scuderia Ferrari is working excellent in terms of startegy and absence of technical failure,no one can beat them.And this is definetly something one has to keep in mind!

  62. I’ve been away at Goodwood so I’ve just come to this after the first 61 comments! Here are some of my thoughts:

    S Hughes (1) – You might not like his personality but this is really about how well they’ve driven, like Nathan says.

    Zebra (13) – Is your point about the fastest laps that Raikkonen is very quick, or he’s not scoring enough points with a car that’s obviously competitive (as Becken says in comment 24)?

    Dorian (16) – Great minds think alike! When I was drafting this before the British Grand Prix I had Hamilton behind Massa.

    Dizzy (26) – He didn’t press neutral:

    Koper (46) – We did that argument to death last year: Alonso is not the victim of a McLaren conspiracy

    Gorivan (47) – You’re welcome! Thanks very much :)

    Charlie (51) – “Some 3rd rate UK channel”. It’s called ITV. Appropriately enough, it is actually channel three over here.

    Trig (52) – Nice find – I’ll write a piece on that later.

    Thanks to everyone for your comments I do read them all but as I frequently get over 100 a day I can’t respond to each one individually. Do continue to share your opinions and, of course, we’ll do the rankings again at the end of the year!

  63. William Wilgus
    12th July 2008, 16:37


    No, one spin does not a loser make. The only way to find the best driver would be to give them identical cars and start them all at the same time, but spaced out equally around the track. It would then be a game of who caught up with whom.

  64. Does anyone remeber what Mc Laren boss Mr Ron Dennis and Mercedes one Mr Norbert Haugh declared in press conference after Hungaroring-gate???? If memory doesn´t betray me they said Alonso just did what his team told him to do, he was in the pits waiting until the team told him to go, I think it was the team who punished Hamilton by retaining Alonso in the pits, it wasn´t Alonsos decision.
    Am I right in that?, just to check.

    That cost Alonso and Mc Laren, both, world championship, cos it went to Ferrari.

    About press in each country we can see how they talk about their HEROES, ITV for Hamilton, Tele 5 for Alonso and Polish tv for Kubica and so on, it may be disgusting and un-real but it is quite understandable. You can find may pro and anti driver fans in their (drivers) own country, lets just try to look to teh facts, race winnings and WC titles.

  65. Uk – “I think it was the team who punished Hamilton by retaining Alonso in the pits” – well that’s not what the stewards at the meeting thought and I see no reason to disagree with them as I explained here: The stewards’ full verdict on McLaren & Alonso

    But I think we’ve done that debate to death and it’s not really relevant to who’s been the best driver so far in 2008.

  66. Bear in mind Kimi has admitted before (Spa 2007?) that following cars and not being able to do anything can be very boring so he sets a fastest lap to make a (rather pointless imo) point.

    We even saw Massa do it at Brazil last year.

    I like both Kimi and Massa, but fastest laps that don’t translate into results, or help the bid for the WDC are just numbers and statistics. You can be the fastest guy out there and still not able to dice it out amongst the other 19 drivers to the front.

    Anyhow, I agree with the ratings – and I think McLaren/Ferrari should stop being non-chalent about Kubica because he is the number one man, outside the two biggest teams, to be taking points off them.

    I reckon Kubica could possibly finish 3rd by the end of the season, I just have a bad feeling about Massa/Raikonnen at the moment and that one of the Ferrari’s will slip down the rankings…if it rains more, Massa’s going to be out, and Raikonnen (as pointed out before) doesn’t really seem to have his heart in it anymore.

    Whatever happens, it’s looking like an interesting 2nd half of the season, and hopefully will come down to the wire yet again. :)

  67. Keith,

    I just posted the theme because I read several times about it and wanted to refresh memories, I can remember Ron and Norbert explaining the whole press what happened and that Alonsos delay were just team orders, not his decission, if stewards didn´t beleive them is another discussion, just to show that the whole thing was an internal problem in the team for which only Alonso paid.

    About post theme, I think Kubica should be nº1, he has done no mistakes and exprimed BMW Sauber to the limit, he is fighting for WC in middle season with an inferior car, both Kimi and Lewis (even more Massa)are doing too many mistakes for a world class driver. (but I also think some of their mistakes come from their own teams)

  68. @Keith Collantine:

    Both. Although the lack of points seem to be (for the most part) through no faults of his own. If I were a Ferrari strategist I’d be concerned.

  69. It’s hard to place Lewis, Kimi and Felipe.
    But for sure, Kubica has been the best driver this year!

    Very little mistakes and great driving.
    His Silverstone error wasn’t that bad either, he was racing and you can’t do anything about aquaplanning!

  70. @Gorivan
    I’m from Poland as well. I haven’t notice that much Kubica bias DURING GP commentary, however I admit that the guys in the pre- and postrace “studio” are unaccepted with their bias…IMO except Kubica’s father and Maurycy – Polish racing driver they have no clue what F1 is about – seems like they have started following F1 since Kubica’s race in Hungary or even Monza in 2006. Gorivan, I put “During GP” in capital to highlight that the guys who comments races are not that bad with the bias, unlike Allen, Ryder and…that woman which name I unfortunatelly have forgotten. However for pre- and postrace coverage I always switch to ITV.

    @Keith – At the beginning I would like to thank for your blog – IMO it’s really good – I found your thoughts very interesting.
    Regarding my post no.46 – I have never thought Alonso was a victim, anyway I think it does not matter now – My post was meant to be an opposition to the claim such: “hamilton beat a double world champion, no matter what you say” as I think that neither Hamilton beat Alonso nor Alonso beat Hamilton in 2007.

  71. 70 comments… oops sorry 71. Wow.

  72. I also agree with Keith’s top 3 order, but it’s just great that we have 4 drivers again fighting at the top. If only we could put Massa in there as well, but four into three won’t go!!.

  73. Internet —->

    Sorry to say that but you really seem not to understand F1 nor know much about F1. Looking only on numbers is good for TV infos but not for discussing which driver is better, especially on “F1fanatic” named site.

    You say that Kimi started carrier in Mclaren and so do Lewis – and you compare their achievements on that field. I think everyone knows here how huge difference is between this two periods and car’s performance so I will not explain it here – but put Lewis in early XX century Mclaren and he wouldn’t do nothing special – it would be gr8 for him if he could maintain let say 70% of Kimis pace, couse I remember Kimi going from 20th to 2nd in some races…

    You said that Lewis wouldn’t have made mistake on Silverstone in Kubica’s place – you figured it out after seeing him destroing his race with his steering wheel buttons (twice ;)), crashing Kimi on pitlane or maybe after not even making through the pit lane entrance last year??? And correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it Lewis who destroyed the most cars in testing???
    It’s really shameles that people like you underastimate such bralliant drivers like Kubica and their achievements.

    And I’m wondering how you can compare consistency and reliability of Kubica with a driver who has (or will have) special designed steering wheel on which buttons are hidden from the driver in a certain way????/ Yes, yes, your GOD LEWIS is going to have such nice gadget ;) That’s something special about Lewis I must admit ;)

    Ok, let’s stop irony, hope you don’t feel offended in any way couse it wasn’y my goal. Conclusion is – Kubica has done the best so far this season and anyone claiming differently is clearly blind…

  74. xxxyyy – You do realise this article is about 2008 not 2007 right?

    I remember Kimi going from 20th to 2nd in some races

    I don’t remember Raikkonen starting 20th and finishing second in an F1 race. He’s done 22nd to third and 17th to first though, both very impressive.

    I don’t understand any of the stuff about the steering wheel. Perhaps see this post about Interlagos ’07 though.

    And correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it Lewis who destroyed the most cars in testing?

    I’d like to see the stats on that if you have them…

  75. @xxxyyy: If you read my first post, I’ve put Kubica infront of everyone. And I’ve admitted Lewis has made mistakes and deserved the penalties. I don’t see why you are so offended. I will just you are from Poland and that any mention of Kubica making a mistake is sin. Perhaps you should have a closer look at yourself before accusing me of worshipping Hamilton as my God.

    Second of all, while Kimi’s car was unreliable, it was also in a class of it’s own when it did finish a race. That’s why he was able to be so much faster than anyone in 2005.

  76. Rating the cars; I’d say Ferrari #1, McLaren #2, BMW #3.

    Given RK is only 2 points behind, in a car that is clearly not within 2 points of the other 2, he gets my #1.

    Lewis #2.

    Kimi & Massa =#3.

    easy….. :)

  77. We have got to get some facts into perspective here. Saying some drivers go from last position to a podium place is fair, but using that as an indicator of driving ability is pointless. There are lots of reasons why this is the case.

    A driver has a greater, chance when in a competitive car, of making it to the front if he finds himself towards the back end during the early portions of a race but except for events like sudden rain or accidents and safety cars, its unlikely any driver can recover to a higher finishing position, if he finds himself at the rear end during the middle portions of a race.
    Also, because of the frequent changes of the regulations, its no longer sensible to compare last year’s racing with this present season. Last year all drivers qualified with the fuel they raced with. but this year, only the top 10 driver do so, thus a driver who for some reason after qualifying in the top 10 finds himself towards the back at the starts would almost never make it too far forward.

  78. Internet:

    Massa also got beaten by Heidfeld in Sauber AND Fisichella in Sauber. He only beat Villeneuve by 2 points…the only teammate he has beaten. A washed up villeneauve.
    Also, he lost his ride in 2003 to be a test driver for Ferrari.

    So, beaten 4 out of 5 years and he is in a Ferrari?

  79. Agree that Kimi’s performance defies easy categorisation. I feel it’s a pretty complex situation, in part in the eye of the beholder: 1st, when he donned red Kimi went from brilliant underdog (in a car sometimes as brittle as porcelain) to the man to beat overnight. The former casting – and car – seems to have suited him better, and was a more entertaining spectacle to behold. 2nd, perception was he got a vastly superior car in the Ferrari, but I believe this is an exaggeration: The Ferrari has not been an unequivocally dominant machine since 2004, and til Kimi, with difficulty, wrenched back the WDC to the red team in 2007 they had been beaten by Renault and McLaren.

    Yet Kimi himself is of course also part of the issue – his trouble sometimes keeping up with Massa the primary symptom he is not quite on top form.

  80. kubica as #1 is not justified, he only won 1 GP, yes he made less mistakes. He was not seriously challenged like Hamilton, Massa and Raikkonen. Raikkonen as #2 is also not justified the guy did not even score for 4 races in a raw. Hamilton has it all the speed, the skill, the fight spirit. Unlike other dull drivers. Yes he make mistakes, but shows that he is really fighting. do not forget Monza when he fought his way through from 15th on the grid to finish 7th.

    so my ranking


Comments are closed.