We’ve got eight drivers left to rank: so who has been the most impressive of 2009 so far?
Here’s my take on the best drivers in the first half of 2009 – share your pick of the best below.
8. Jarno Trulli
Started the season very strongly, racing from 19th to third at Melbourne – and surely would have done much better without Toyota’s post-qualifying penalty. A questionable strategy a Bahrain cost him a shot at victory from pole position.
Since then he’s suffered with the erratic performance of the TF109 – 18th on the grid at Monaco, then back in the top five at Istanbul.
Having a solid season, and was unlucky in Bahrain. Up until Hungary he has consistently outperformed Glock, who himself has had some very strong drives from the back of the pack.
7. Fernando Alonso
Radical light-fuel strategies at the Hungaroring and Shanghai suggest Alonso is going all-or-nothing for wins rather than consistent results. Unfortunately we didn’t get to see Alonso go head-to-head with Lewis Hamilton in Hungary as fuel problems and that notorious pit stop held him back.
Still capable of wringing a result out of the R29, but often looks like he’s marking time in the anticipation of better things to come at Ferrari next year.
Even though he didnt score many points I believe he has squeezed everything out of that car and understands how to work on the setup. However he has shown poor judgment of fuel strategy.
6. Lewis Hamilton
As always, a driver of extremes. Extreme skill at the Hungaroring, extreme misjudgement at Melbourne. The fine job he did dragging the MP4/24 from 18th on the grid to the podium in Australia will always be overlooked because of the thoughtless lie he repeatedly told the stewards having been caught in two minds about whether he’d passed Jarno Trulli fairly.
At Shanghai he struggled to keep the car under control in the rain and, unusually, finished behind his team mate. But he rose above the car in Bahrain to bring it home fourth and when it all came good in Hungary he delivered. Expect more wins before the year is out.
Everybody expected him to be useless in a poor car, but he has clearly shown that he’s even better than Alonso at extracting the best out of an even worse car. Even more important, Hamilton’s input seems to have improved the car a lot too.
5. Nico Rosberg
It’s not just the Red Bulls that are giving Jenson Button a headache at the moment – the number 16 Williams has been ahead of the number 22 Brawn for the last three races.
Rosberg has brought the car home in the points in seven of the nine races so far and completed more laps than anyone bar Button. It’s no surprise he’s being tipped to move to McLaren next year.
Has consistently brought the Williams home in solid points finishes and is best of the rest behind the Brawns and Red Bulls in the drivers’ championship. I’m sure he’ll get on the podium this year.
4. Felipe Massa
Massa was doing a sterling job with the F60 before his awful crash in Hungary. At Silverstone, with a heavy fuel load, he converted 11th on the grid into a podium finish.
That was the high point of five consecutive finished in the points in the troublesome F60 – a rather better record than his team mate managed at the same time. Hopefully he’ll be back on the same form when he finally makes his return.
Very consistent. Has made the most of a bad car. And he beat the double diffuser equipped Williams and Toyotas, good tyre management.
3. Sebastian Vettel
The balance of power at Red Bull is more finely balanced than at any other team. Vettel seemed to have the upper hand over Webber early in the season thanks to his win at Shanghai. But his propensity to get caught up in incidents has been his undoing.
First came the collision with Robert Kubica at Melbourne for which he took responsibility. At Monaco rear tyre wear got the better of him and at Istanbul he threw the lead away before the first lap was over.
This mixture of inspiration and desperation is par for the course for an inexperienced driver. Once Vettel gets them out of his system he could well be ahead of his team mate.
I didn’t see it coming. I thought that his last year win in Monza was just because of the rain, but this year he got to a higher level. He is one of the two driver this year that made through the Q3 all the times (the other one is Button, however, with the penalties he didn’t always started from the first five rows). If he could calm down a little bit and concentrate more, will be there for the title fight.
2. Mark Webber
It would be wrong to characterise Webber as Red Bull’s ‘safe pair of hands’ – because he’s been quick as well as dependable. Vettel – and everyone else – struggled to live with his pace at the Nurburgring. The fact that he has achieved so much having badly broken his leg over the winter makes his performance all the more impressive.
It is this combination which has made him the closest challenger to Jenson Button and, as the season enters its second half, the most likely man to keep the Brawn driver from the championship. But the difficulty of keeping Vettel behind him every weekend may blunt Webber’s charge. Vettel, of course, will see things the other way around.
The car came good and Mark has been the one to demonstrate it the best. There’s a real sense of someone that is just ‘on it’ right now. Has begun to overshadow the threat of his junior team mate.
1. Jenson Button
The fairytale story of the beginning of 2009 was how Button, after two years in the doldrums with Honda and facing the loss of his seat over the winter, had not only rescued his career but found himself in the best car on the grid.
That story soon gave way to a different narrative – one of people getting bored with Button’s dominance as he won six of the first seven races. Although some bemoaned the dominant BGP001 that made it all too easy for Button, I wasn’t convinced at the time, and their subsequent loss of form has gone some way to vindicating that view.
Button has had a strong hand to play, but he’s also excelled in making crucial race-winning moves when it matters most: particularly the passes on Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton at Bahrain.
The pressure’s on him as the season heads into the final seven races with Brawn suddenly struggling to get into the top five. Watching him try to cling to a rapidly diminishing lead should make for a gripping conclusion to the championship.
It’s all well and good having a good car, but Barrichello has proved that its not just about the car. Button has driven superbly this season, and completely outdone Barrichello in the same machinery.
Who do you think is the best driver of 2009 so far? Have your say in the comments.
110 comments on “2009 half-term F1 driver rankings part 2”
14th August 2009, 12:16
That’s my top 8 exactly. Bang on Keith. :)
14th August 2009, 12:25
Yep, Spot on!
14th August 2009, 12:26
Jenson can still be WDC this year!! He has driven very well this year!!
14th August 2009, 12:29
Pretty much what I had. Thanks for doing the article Keith :)
I wouldn’t have put Massa and Raikkonen so far apart though, Kimi drove the pants off his car in Hungary.
14th August 2009, 12:31
I’d put Rosberg up to third.
14th August 2009, 12:47
what trulli, rosberg, massa, alonso did better than kimi????
kimi gave first points, first podium, first second place to ferrari and massa still better??!!!!
bad strategies in silverstone, malasia and turkey…spain, malasia and australia dnf. china race with engine problems after 3 laps…on germany massa had upgrades on is f60, kimi had upgrades only on hungary…lost the first pole by 0,025 sg for button…
alonso took one pole with light car!!!
rosberg with top car didn’t take brilliant results…trulli too.
14th August 2009, 14:11
Kimi is partly responsible for these bad stratergies you know. That’s part of a driver’s skill too.
14th August 2009, 17:40
massa has only scored points on a strategy. Kimi has more dnfs. Also, Massa has been outqualified by Kimi…which was a HUGE thing last year. Also, Kimi actually has made passes during the races whereas massa just drives and collects.
Kimi even had 2nd at monaco qualifying, which is a drivers track…once again Kimi gets all the hate while Massa gets praise for doing nothing really.
14th August 2009, 17:55
15th August 2009, 7:09
sorry nick i just have to say you misjudged a lot.in australia kimi made a terrible mistake,for massa it was transmission failure from a strong position.in malaysia both had a very bad strategy,for kimi it was worse i accept.in bahrain kimi got points but massa was looking good then he had a problem with his engine and KERS.in shanghai massa overtook kimi in same car and tyre,i hope you saw that,ferrari told that there was no problems with his car during the race itself,massa once again got an engine failure when he was running third.in all the remainig races as you tell kimi qualified in front of massa,but in race massa was the best even in monaco.kimi had just one retirement this year in spain when his car stopped bcoz of some problems.other than that he was sleeping in all the races except i hope in 2 races.and you have to note that although massa din drive in hungary,kimi is short of 4 points to massa.may be you are a fan of kimi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
15th August 2009, 20:34
in shangai, on lap nº 3, kimi comunication to pit: “engine problems”…kimi menage the situation to try save the engine…kimi lost many positions on the next laps, not only massa!!! on qualify kimi gave him a lesson..
massa didn’t drive in hungary, but kimi had more dnf’s…
kimi dnf: spain, germany, malasia…china finished with engine problems…
silverstone bad strategy(8), turkey broke the front wing in the start(9), germany drove with less aerodinamics evolutions than massa(dnf)…
australia is the big mistake this season…but who didn’t make mistakes????
how many mistakes ferrari made on f60 nº4??? tyre choices, bad strategies, engine and KERS problems…
14th August 2009, 12:52
Mainly I agree, but I still think Vettel has been more impressive than Webber. Remember, before this season, some people probably considered Webber as quickest man over one lap in F1, but Vettel has destroyed him in qualifying this year, regardless of fuel loads.
Also, other than Bahrain, Webber hasn’t suffered any of his usual bad luck this season(although hed did have to recover from his broken leg). Vettel, on the other hand, has been hit by a harsh grid penalty in Malaysia, stuck behind slower cars for ages at Bahrain, Spain and Germany, and involved in collisions where he was only partly to blame in Australia and Hungary (and China, though he still won).
I hope this doesn’t come across as a rant against Mark Webber, I think he’s a good driver and he seems like a nice person. I just think that Vettel has proved to be quicker than him this year.
14th August 2009, 14:52
don’t forget vettel’s mistakes though (which webber simply doesn’t make). turkey and monaco mainly. i think vettel will be unstoppable in a couple of years, but for now, webber’s got the measure on him simply due to his consistency. in terms of pace, their pretty well identical, easily the best combination on the grid so it’s really hard to say one’s better than the other.
16th August 2009, 6:36
I agree Tom, Webber has seen it all and his experience and maturity has put him ahead of Vettel for this year at least
14th August 2009, 12:55
Bang on Button Number one. I did not understand the people who said that Button’s dominance early this season was boring. Yes he won 6 out of 7 races but each of these could have gone to somebody else as well. This was no Schumacher 2002/4
Australia: the car was dominant but Vettel hung onto his tail throughout and he could very well have struggled to keep Kubica behind him at the end but for his crash.
Malaysia: Bogged down off the start and only took the lead thanks to a crucial pass on Alonso and a two Schumacher-esque in-laps. Had the race not been red-flagged he was under pressure from Glock and Webber.
Bahrain: Won thanks to another crucial pass on Hamilton, a poor tyre choice by Trulli and Vettel’s inability to pass the aforementioned two drivers on track. Remember that Brawn were not at all confident that the car would make it to the chequered flag.
Spain: Slower than Barrichello all weekend until the crucial lap in qualifying. He then lost out to Rubens off the line and needed some (questionale) strategy calls to take the win.
Monaco: Again behind rubens all wekend except when it counted. Rubens blistered his tyres in the first stint, holding up the pack and giving Button a lead he could manage until the end.
Turkey: out-qualified by Vettel on an aggressive strategy but gifted the win through a Vettel mistake.
Of those, only Turkey was truly dominant in terms of race pace. We rarely see a classic at Monaco – with the poleman often taking a lights-to-flag win.
Button is on top of the championship because he has a competitive car and took all of his chances when he had to. He has driven flawlessly.
14th August 2009, 13:05
Apart from the last 3 races IMO
14th August 2009, 14:13
On paper Button is #1.
But good tyre management seems to be the main reason for him leading the championship, and to me, that does not the best driver make. Something niggles me about making Button #1.
It’s all subjective though so don’t bash me!
Max should resign now!!!
15th August 2009, 4:25
I agree, also don’t they depend (Brawn GP) on Barrichello to set up the car?
14th August 2009, 17:44
14th August 2009, 12:57
Webber should be number 1. Even as a Vettel fan I think he should be lower, he has made too many mistakes this year and poor starts have cost him the race. I’d swop him with Rosberg
14th August 2009, 14:22
Due to the legs and the consistent performace I’d be inclined to agree. The only races he didn’t finish in the top 6 were Melbourne (crocked on lap 1 I think) and Bahrain (block by Sutil in Quali).
He’s only won one race though, and that isn’t great. Perhaps Webber and Button should be tied!
15th August 2009, 2:01
I agree with you. Webber is showing his ability and experience, while Vettel is throwing away some of his chances for good results.
Also, I don’t think it is appropriate to put Button in first, because when he had the best car he won the races, but when he stopped having the absolute best car, he stopped winning races. It’s like rating not only the driver, but the car too.
Moo Point: Like a cow's opinion, it's Moo!!
14th August 2009, 13:04
What about 9 & 10 in your rankings???
14th August 2009, 21:13
They were in part 1.
14th August 2009, 13:04
I don’t really know about Button being number 1. I guess he can’t be anywhere else really. He did a good job when his car was the best, but when it’s not been performing perfectly he hasn’t done much with it. Maybe Webber number 1?
I agree with Tom that Vettel has made mistakes, but some of those have been due to team mistakes too, so I think he deserves to be ranked 3rd.
I think the list is pretty much spot on though :)
14th August 2009, 13:52
You could kinda say the same about Webber though – he has had one of the best cars for the last few races so why place him 1st on the list? Im sure the order may change a bit at the end of the season! :)
Its a tricky list to compile I think and the top three for this season where always going to be hard to place!
Still, with Button going backwards and Webber on a charge, its going to be a good second half of the season! :)
14th August 2009, 13:09
I’m not a Hamilton fan, but I’d have had him higher. The Australia thing was crazy, and he’s developed a worrying tendency to bin the car (in Monaco qualifying and Turn 1 at the Nring) when McLarne have just rolled out an upgrade (perhaps overdriving in an attempt to prove he’s still a great driver?). However, as you say, the car has been a dog and yet he’s up there fighting anyway.
Rosberg also very good. Vettel need to learn to overtake: he gets becalmed behind people too often and unless he sorts that out, a career of mediocrity (think Fisi/Trulli) awaits.
14th August 2009, 16:53
What? are you blaming him for punctured tire? dont be stupid. Puting Rosberg above hamilton is also silly, the guy who hasnt won anything or even a podium when we know that car should have won by now. Same with Kimi and Massa, Kimi has been on podium twice now and that isnt doesnt count? or you just feel sorry for Felipe now.
14th August 2009, 18:10
I don’t think any world champion needs to prove anything. But yes, I’d have put him higher too, maybe 6-Massa, 5-Rosberg, 4-Hamilton.
14th August 2009, 13:15
simply cannot agree that Button is the best driver this season, I think Webber should take the No. 1 spot even tho’ I’m not a fan.
Vettel should be further down the list, he’s not responded that well to the pressure even tho’ he can drive well.
Raikkonen should be above Trulli.
Hamilton & Alonso should be above Rosberg. If either of them had the Williams car, they’d have done a better job than Nico!
I’ve used the word “should” but I mean all of the above as IMO.
14th August 2009, 13:25
I don’t agree with Massa. He’s great and a nice guy but I think he’s been placed higher in sympathy for his accident.
I didn’t think Button would be first, thought it would be the same as Hamilton not being placed first because people are scared of being on a bandwagon
14th August 2009, 14:14
At first I thought Massa was getting the sympathy vote, but then I considered he has some good races this year and he probably belongs quite high up. But it’s easy to forget how rubbish his start to the season was, just like it’s easy to forget how impressive Button has been this season now that he hasn’t won for a while. People have short memories
14th August 2009, 13:36
Agree with Tommy B Webber should be no1 hes more consistent than his younger team mate and has delivered results when mattered. Vettel has more talent and is quicker but his mistakes have really let him down.
Pretty much agree with rankings though feel bad for Toyota and Jarno being at 8 now after promising start I would have loved it to see them take a win this year.
14th August 2009, 13:44
Nice article, as always.
But I would differ ranking the top 8 though. Here we are discussing the driving abilities (which is why the post title is Driver Ranking IMO) of the drivers, not about the cars, I guess? And the drivers are as good as his car is. Time and again we have seen that. 9 months back, Button was at no 15. Has Button’s driving ability/quality changed so much in these 9 months? The answer is NO. Simply because he was in a dog last year, this year for the first seven races at least, his car was an absolute monster. And as far as his overtakings on Alonso and Hamilton are concerned, those happened in race 2 and 3 respectively, when Renault and McLaren were more than a second per lap slower than Brawn. It was more like race leader lapping the back of the pack. No doubt Button has done an extremely fantastic job for his team, which, of course Rubens could not do for whatsoever reasons, but I bet at least half the grid would have done the same job, if not better, with the car. So, I would like to put my top 8 (rather top 9) as:
1. Webber (He hung on and on and on..)
3. Vetel (Too many mistakes dropped him here)
4. Massa (No need to say anything)
5. Rosberg (Automatic choice for no 5?)
6. Hamilton (Too many mistakes when the car was not good)
9. Trulli (Did not really capitalize whwn got the opportunity)
14th August 2009, 16:40
that is very blunt way of looking at it. It is also the drivers job to understand the mechanics of his car, and to understand how to maximize the setup of his car with his engineers. Even though Kimi is excellent driver I believe that is one of his weaknesses, compared to maybe some of the other drivers..
14th August 2009, 18:02
Why do you believe that?
16th August 2009, 8:21
hehe I do indeed, Don’t you?
14th August 2009, 13:48
I agree with that. Vettel has too many mistakes, binning it in Monaco for example. Button has outclassed Rubens although he has struggled for the last few races.
Be interesting to see if your top 20(ish) has changed by the end of the season! :)
14th August 2009, 14:04
To people wondering why Button is top of the list, he has 6 wins, which is 4 more than anyone else. Yes, the car was dominant but he beat Barrichello every time and made the most of it. Webber has been consistent but he has wasted chances (Britain qualifying, for example) and hasn’t shown the raw pace that Button has over the season.
14th August 2009, 16:01
Webber was on a very good lap in Silverstone qualifying, but was blocked by Raikkonen and had to take an odd line into a corner – not fair to call that effort “wasted.”
14th August 2009, 20:04
It’s a good job that we didn’t get that stupid medals system, otherwise Red Bull would have had to have chosen a driver to back already, and we wouldn’t be looking at an exciting championship battle
14th August 2009, 14:12
You’re right button is no. one, the rest of the field is hard though, all have had a rollercoaster seasons filled with triumph and defeat. You need to give it to button right now 6 wins to vettels 2 (i think)come on. The season would already be over if who had the most wins wins the championship. Barrichello will all put it together by seasons end and surprize many. (Fingers crossed)
14th August 2009, 14:27
agree with the top 8 except massa shouldn’t be 4th… i think raikkonen makes him look good, both this season and last, because raikkonen has clearly not been the same driver since he won the championship in 2007. and if his heavy fuel drive in silverstone made him deserving of 4th place, then timo glock (who is the king of heavy fuel drives) should be ranked higher up too!
14th August 2009, 14:35
I’d have Vettel lower, and Rosberg higher. Not sure if I would have placed Massa quite so high either.
14th August 2009, 15:33
I pretty much agree with that whole top ten – I think I would swap only Rosberg and Massa.
I dont agree with the Massa sympathy ranking comments though – he was doing a pretty decent job before the crash – and is still, even after Hamilton’s win, the highest placed from the Ferrari and Mclaren guys, and was slowly creeping up the table (I have him fourth in my championship predictions on another site, and he is my joker driver – double points – I was feeling pretty confident on that). He has been unlucky a couple of times, but he has impressed me this year – the car hasnt been up to much until recently, and I agree he deserves to be ahead of Hamilton, Alonso and Trulli, but maybe not Rosberg.
Absolutely right that Button is number 1 – the last few races may not have been as good, but he has still finished in the points, and only actually dropped a handful of points in the title. The idea of someone who has won four more races than anyone else not being top in the rankings at the mid point is absurd. The non wins havent been bad drives, they have been the limit of the car. If Hamilton or Massa or anyone is allowed lesser results because their car hasnt been up to it, then why isnt Button? Its just the Red Bull, and even the Williams have been a little better as the season has progressed. Anyone could have predicted that Mclaren and Ferrari would join the fun up the front in Hungary, just like they did in Monaco – which put even more drivers fighting near the front – which makes his points finish actually pretty good.
Do have to admit though that Webber is a close second, he has really impressed me this year – I thought Vettel would have the measure of him, but he’s kept himself in the title hunt, and prevent any preference to Vettel in the title being justified.
14th August 2009, 16:02
Thats just about spot on Button’s start was amazing even though i didn’t like it one bit. Webber at the start wasn’t just showing it but now his coming into his own. Vettel only if he didn’t have all those incidents and mistakes he’d be so much closer to Jenson and causing him a big headache but hey there’s still 7 races to go who knows what can happen in that period of time. And the rest of them are just about right :)
14th August 2009, 16:21
Lewis should be no: 1, every season he’s entered. He’s the only driver, of the current grid, who has any hope of being remembered as one of the all-time legends: along with Senna and Schumi. Lewis won his first WDC before Schumi won his first race (considering their age alone); so Lewis has plenty of time to become a legend. What he’s done already, in fact, is legendary. In his very first corner in F1, Lewis overtook Kubica and Alonso, both around the outside. In his second start, he overtook both Ferraris in the first corner. (No KERS in 07.) He finished in the WDC ahead of his team-mate, the reigning and double F1 world champ, at close to or at the peak of his power, when Lewis was just a rookie! Please tell me the last time that happened in F1. And none of this has anything to do with the absolute performance of Lewis’s car. Lewis is phenomenal. His overtakes. His wet-weather driving. His defensive driving. It’s second to none.
Despite all this, people said he was erratic, error prone, couldn’t drive a bad car, and couldn’t develop a car. It’s all nonsense. Lewis has made fewer total race-ending mistakes than Schumi had at this stage of his career. Lewis has had the pressure of a championship winning car from the start; and the pressure of the FIA seemingly determined for him not to be champion: Lewis has the record of the most penalties in a season, ever, thanks to the 2008 season. As for not being able to drive a bad car, Lewis has done a splendid job this year. At Australia and Bahrain, Lewis flattered his car; by getting a result that it shouldn’t really have got. And, at Silverstone, we saw him fighting for every position; we saw the commitment in not lifting when taking a car at over 150 mph. (We also saw him entertain the fans.) What about supposedly not being able to develop a car? Well, the McLaren was 2.5 sec slower than the front-runners, at the birth of the season; now it’s a race winner. This is down to the hard work of the McLaren technical staff. But it was Lewis’s feedback that told them what was wrong with the car; and it was he who evaluated the upgrades on the Fridays. I want to know where the 6 tenths that Alonso supposedly brings have gone. Renault has made hardly any progress with Alonso. His wins last year were a fluky result of the safety car rules: they almost made Piquet a race winner! (He ended up second: to Lewis.)
Who else is there, apart from Lewis? There’s always talk about Alonso going to Ferrari. That we’ll see Lewis and Alonso reignite their rivalry. This has little to no appeal to me. Lewis beat Alonso, in the same car, when Alonso was the reigning and double world champ; and Lewis was a rookie. The only challenge for Lewis would be if Alonso were given a quicker car than he. And, apart from Alonso, there’s nobody anywhere near Lewis. Kimi has no motivation. Massa is inconsistent, apart from when he’s in the wet: when he’s consistently awful. Kubica is being beaten by ‘Quick (!?) Nick’ once more. Jenson hasn’t suddenly become a great driver. He’s still the same guy who was beaten by Fisi and Ralf and who barely matched Trulli. Barichello is old and slow. Vettel is probably the most overrated driver on the grid. Vettel is far from a rookie now; but Mark Webber is beating him. And Vettel is still making silly mistakes. None of the greats would have suffered this fate.
14th August 2009, 16:55
err dude,… I couldn’t find the strength to read past the first paragraph of your post.
First of all, Have you actually been watching F1 this year? Or are you just watching one driver?
Secondly, these are the rankings of driver performances for this season alone, the first half of the season at least. It does not include what they did in previous years. If you take that into consideration and you paid attention to every race and every driver this year, then these rankings I would say are almost spot on.
We all know Hamilton is great, but you have to take all matters into consideration on his performance this year.
14th August 2009, 16:57
Goodness me and i thought i was bad over Ralf!!
14th August 2009, 17:20
speak English please
did i say anything bad about Lewis? No. In fact I think Lewis is an exceptional driver, and amongst one of the drivers that I support. But clearly he does not deserve #1 for first half of the season.
14th August 2009, 17:25
That was in response to Alistair, sorry. In reference to the incredibly biased opinion of Hamilton’s ranking – worse than me and my thinking Ralf was the best! :P
Believe me i dont think for one second that Lewis deserves number 1 this year!
14th August 2009, 17:30
oh ok then ;)
14th August 2009, 21:07
You mean Ralf Schumacher? You’d have had to have had it bad for him to have mentioned him in a list of best drivers even back when he was still racing. :P
14th August 2009, 21:12
Hamilton’s individual performance has been as great as it ever was. Why would it change?! You just don’t realise it because you are basing your opinions of driver ability on how good their cars happen to be.
21st August 2009, 1:45
Same could be said for last years ranking, and the year before.
I think Keith’s rankings for THIS YEAR are on the money.
14th August 2009, 20:08
I’d agree that Hamilton is possibly the best f1 driver, but he clearly hasn’t been the best driver in 2009. These rankings are based on 2009 alone.
14th August 2009, 21:00
Does anyone here (except Alistair) understand that we’re ranking drivers….not cars? Webber & Jenson suddenly go to the top of your rankings for drivers just when their cars happen to improve? Coincidence – or has everyone forgotten that we’re supposed to be talking about the drivers?
Seems to me whenever F1 fans discuss drivers a few misconceptions cloud the debate. Teams can swap places from year to year, but the drivers rarely all change places dramatically, overnight. The people saying Webber and Vettel are both in the top 3 are the same people saying saying Kubica was there last season.
It is surely far more plausible that the change in race results is down to the cars’ relative performances changing, since eg Webber and Vettel both drive the same car. Kubica, Hamilton and Alonso have been driving duds and Jenson has benefited from an entire year’s worth of Honda development.
If you want a meaningful ranking of drivers it should be independent of the cars they all drive, otherwise we’d just look at the points table – which seems to be what most of you do.
Lewis will come top of any table worth making.
15th August 2009, 1:52
Hear bleeding hear!
14th August 2009, 22:53
Well, Alistair, the guys are right, your comment is in the wrong place, but (there´s always a BUT) you should use some results if you want to convince someone. Besides the entertainment that Lewis brought to F1 — something that was missing since Senna — none scored more points and wins than Lewis since he step into F1:
I think Lewis´s position in Keith´s ranking is very good, but I have some doubts regard Rosberg´s, mainly because of some criticism that he received from his own boss some races ago:
Lewis has a win in his pocket and I would put him in fourth position just behind Sebastian. The top 3 is nice for me.
14th August 2009, 22:54
I and many many others are right with you Alistair :)
I am a Lewis Hamilton nut job. I am aware my fanaticism blinds me from the truth at times. But I don’t care.
A few mistakes don’t detract from the inevitable conclusion of the arc. Lewis is one of the all time greats in the making. I could on but I’ll save it for the next time (bet u can’t wait!?)
15th August 2009, 1:49
Alistair, I LIKE YOU. And I agree with you 100%. Lewis is undoubtedly No. 1 ever since he entered F1. Your arguments are water tight, but don’t expect many to agree with you. When Schumacher was about to return, who was the driver everyone was eager to see him compete against – no, not the “championship leader” ol’ lucky to be in a monster of a car at the start of the season Button, but Lewis. It was Lewis everyone wanted to see pitted against Schumacher, even though he is only 8th in the championship. Because Lewis is the benchmark, the new Senna, the new Schumacher. We all know it, but it sticks in too many craws to admit it.
15th August 2009, 19:19
Enzoman – cars will always play a part in the rankings though – Hamilton may well have topped lists last year and the year before, but the car played a part – he would never have topped a rankings list if he had been in a Minardi or Force India or something, no matter how well he drove.
This isnt a ranking overall though – this is performance in the first half of this season. It isnt saying that Webber and Vettel are in the top three generally, but they are in the top three so far this season – which i beleive is true. Just as i beleived Kubica was in the top three last year – but should be nearer the bottom three this year.
Lol and yes I do mean Ralf Schumacher – dedicated fan of his since 1997 – still dont have a true favourite since he left!
As for the rankings, Hamilton has made mistakes this year – just as a win was always possible at Hungary, so it was at Monaco, but he got too friendly with the barriers. The win in Hungary, whilst was great driving – was also not completely Hamilton outdriving the car – many predicted before the race that the Mclaren would do well at the Hungaroring because of its twisty nature.
S Hughes – I agree, it was Hamilton that most were excited about seeing Schumacher race against, myself included, but part of that is because I have seen Schumi race Raikkonen and Alonso and Button etc, but never against Hamilton – not just because it was Hamilton.
Button has driven fantastically well this year and so fully deserves the top spot. I cannot think of any major mistakes from him this season, whereas I could think of at least one for almost all of the others.
All championship leaders/contenders have the best cars – this season is no different to any other that Hamilton or Raikkonen or Alonso or even Schumacher has lead – its just more obvious about the car because it was such a contrast to last year, and there has been such a shift in ‘power’ so to speak. The Brawn has never been fields ahead of the Red Bull either, its just taken the RBR pair a bit longer to get that consistency flowing. Button got it spot on straight out of the box.
15th August 2009, 22:10
Some good points Alistair, but few will want to agree when you start bashing all the other drivers, i.e. drivers that some other people do support.
14th August 2009, 16:41
From the comments below each entry.
Nothing offered to substantiate or support said belief. How can the person making the comment possibly know this? Or that the effort was beyond what other drivers are putting in?
How do we know it isn’t Kovy, or if the improvement was due to a talented designer at McLaren. It could well be Hamilton, but how can one make an assertion without knowing?
Where did this come from? Where’s the indication that his tyre management was any better or worse than the rest of the drivers – anybody seen the data?
Oh we also have amateur psychologists on tap here. We could do with some more platitudes.
Sad. How hard is it to stick to the facts available?
14th August 2009, 17:01
LOOK at his post again, you picked 4 points where he didnt back his words with facts, what about the rest of the post where facts are clearly marked, talk about those, go on…
14th August 2009, 17:45
I wasn’t criticizing Keith’s points or his subjective rankings. I was only talking about the comments Keith put under each entry – which is why I quoted each one. I thought that was pretty clear.
14th August 2009, 18:00
Those comments aren’t Keith’s by the way, in case you are confused.
14th August 2009, 17:15
I will substantiate it just for you:
You can compare Alonso’s performance against his team mate, enough said. Additionally, Renault did not have the double diffuser for a large part of the fist half of the season and yet Alonso managed to qualify rather well with a car that was clearly garbage. He has shown great ability to setup the car to his liking not only this season but over the years.
so to answer your delicate question:
The person can know this from good observation, paying careful attention to each race and each driver, and performance of each car and equipment used in each car, at the time of each race. You may also note that these comments were made as per users opinion, and the use of word “I believe” clearly should have worked those ball bearings you have whizzing around in your brain.
14th August 2009, 17:42
Let me pick your points one by one:
All of a sudden Piquet is the benchmark to be compared against?
I think all of the drivers on the grid will like him as a team-mate then. What if the car was built around Alonso’s driving style from the get-go, while de-prioritizing his team-mates style?
Not to mention Piquet had equal machinery in less than half the races.
It says something that you had to rely on this point as your main argument.
That only indicates that the car-driver pair was able to qualify well. You seem to attribute it all to the driver. If you eliminate the possibility that the car was built around Alonso’s driving style from the beginning, you may have a point here. But again, without that data, you just can’t be confident.
Possibly. The burden rests on you to show that this ability is better than other winning drivers. Otherwise why does he deserve extra props? Should we credit him for using the steering wheel correctly as well? Or should we credit all drivers with the ability to setup well.
I know it is your personal opinion, I’m just saying it’s completely unsubstantiated. I’m not even saying you are wrong – just that you have no real way of knowing any of the things you asserted.
14th August 2009, 18:37
Well he was the team mate wasn’t he? Fact.
And you think that is substantiated? that could be the case according to Piquet but not according to the team. So that is total speculation to which you have no proof either.
Fair enough, that is why I said I believe, and I still do. From observation. I still believe Alonso is quite exceptional when it comes to understanding the behavior of his car and consequently the setup of his car. I ranked him as such due to this and his consistency.
says who? lol, I have given my opinion and my opinion stands. Did I say he was better than other wining driver? No. So DONT TALK #$%^.
lol we most certainly should, especially that!
That certainly is a very important contributing factor. so the answer is both of the above should be considered. The ability of a driver to work on the setup of their car is important to his success. The ability understand the mechanics of their cars is an integral part of determining overall driver quality. To me personally, I decide driver quality based on those elements and driver consistency. This is one area where, for example, schumacher was very successful.
That is once again, why the term “I believe” was used. I didn’t go out there saying this is 100% true and I know everything, so you are taking things out of its context and twisting them around. I am not even sure what the f you are doing. I don’t think you know even yourself.
I must say that actually you are the sad one.
14th August 2009, 19:06
No, I don’t think it is substantiated. I’m just saying you have no way of knowing that it’s not. It is indeed speculation, just like your own statements Re: Alonso. Neither is more factual than the other.
You conveniently chose not to address my point about inferior machinery that Piquet had (which is fact, check F1.com before each race).
Oh, you’re not saying he’s better at it than any other winning driver? Then why did you bring it up in the rankings? Again, it’s like saying he can steer the car so he should be ranked higher.
I didn’t go out there saying this is 100% true and I know everything,
14th August 2009, 19:09
Sorry, got the blockquotes wrong at the last part. Should read:
I’m trying to show that you, along with almost all casual fans of F1, know next to nothing about the inner workings of F1. Unfortunately this does not stop you from spouting off. Unless you have worked closely with Alonso and another top winning driver, you cannot run around saying that one is better at setup than the other. If you do, you’ll get called on it, like you just were. And you’ll end backpedaling, like you just did.
The sad part is, you’re reacting as if I said you were wrong, or that Alonso is bad at setup (I’m not saying that). I’m only saying you don’t know what you’re talking about – which doesn’t preclude you from being right.
15th August 2009, 7:17
All I can say its difference in opinion, and I still stand by my opinion, simply that is what I think about Alonso lol.
I didnt ask for my comments to be glued on the front page so you can take that up with Keith. You can be rest assured that i will poll again, and give my opinion again. And I will do so whichever way I like. Nothing you can do about that.
I still feel or believe Alonso has obtained everything out of that car this season, and yes I still “feel” he has great ability when setting up of his car is concerned, and he certainly showed that this YEAR! However one of the “more important” points there was that he had poor fuel strategy selection.
You asked how can the person know these things, haha well its an opinion, so my opinion was derived from observation.
So whichever way your twisted brain wants to take it that is your problem.
15th August 2009, 10:32
Yeah, I think we all figured by now that it was about “feel” rather anything based on reality or fact.
Didn’t mean to suggest that you stop posting, please feel free to share your warm and fuzzy “feelings,” we’ll know just how much to value them in the future.
16th August 2009, 8:16
who is we? you mean you? hehe.. you poor silly individual..
I certainly will, thanks! ;)
14th August 2009, 22:34
“Are you coming to bed?”
15th August 2009, 4:30
14th August 2009, 17:20
Oh, I love that because we can use it in Lewis´s case who turn the poor MP4/24 in a race winner this year… ;)
14th August 2009, 16:56
I always find it hard to rank the drivers, you have to take into account the car they have, their performance against their teammates and then any errors they have made, and trying to remember the previous races I usually only remember the highlights so to speak and sometimes forget reasons for a drivers poor result.
Personally I would have ranked Raikkonen and Massa closer, had Trulli further down and put Rosberg higher.
14th August 2009, 17:27
that is why you should have taken part in the poll
14th August 2009, 19:38
Best comment in this thread. Not one other person has the humility to say something like this. Astounding. You sir, deserve a medal.
14th August 2009, 17:33
I would have to say I agree with the top 8. Man I would love to see Nico Rosberg at McLaren. Then we could see him head to head with Hamilton and watch them both go for wins. I can dream.
14th August 2009, 17:56
Now Button, Webber, Rosberg and Vettel are “new” fastest drivers: it’s ok, but if he has a top car, Nick Heidfeld can be fast and consistent as or more than the names sayed before.
14th August 2009, 23:26
Nick would do well in a top car,I agree.
14th August 2009, 18:13
I agree with the top-7, but I have a feeling Hamilton is going to be moving up the list as the year goes on. He’s made some errors, but this is mainly due to overdriving what has been a dog of a car (i.e. China, in which he burned the tires off in the wet by trying to get too much out of it) for the balance of the year. He has, as you said, had some brilliant performances in wringing good points out of a dog, and his input has surely played no small part in the development of the McLaren into a winner. His victory in Hungary was simply masterful and competes with Vettel’s win in China as the top driving performance of the year.
I think Glock should be rated ahead of Trulli. Sure, Glock has had poor qualifying performances, but he has delivered strongly in races and has had a number of performances in which he’s finished well ahead of his grid position. If Glock could get his qualifying down, he would be a really outstanding driver.
14th August 2009, 18:14
I would swap Button and Webber…
14th August 2009, 18:34
I’d shuffle most of the positions, dropping Button down a few places as I think he’s been very lacklustre since Brawn lost the edge – which makes you wonder just how much he had to do in the first races (though Barrichello is admittedly a bit of litmus test, showing how the Brawn could be driven badly). Webber, Rosberg and Massa are the only drivers who’ve really impressed me that much this season, though I expect Hamilton and maybe Raikonnen to improve from now on in. Vettel has faded too much to merit higher than 6th I think.
14th August 2009, 20:41
Very lacklustre? Well Button hasn’t been in contention for wins but he still scored a few points hasn’t he? Besides Kubica, who I’d rank below Fisichella, I think Keith’s rankings are pretty much spot-on.
16th August 2009, 20:06
Yes, he scored points but how many of the drivers on the grid could have driven the Brawn at the start of the season and not scored them? Some wouldn’t have, but not many. To pick your example, Kubica has had a disappointing season, but he’d have walked those points I’m sure. So I’d argue you have to look for something else to assess JB’s season so far – such as his performance when the Brawn lost its edge. 4th seems right to me, but just my opinion! Presumably the ranking should ignore the car factor, who the most talented drivers actually are (Raikonnen, Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel?) or who the best current drivers are going over the last season or two (Hamilton and Massa?), though that’s fairly difficult.
14th August 2009, 20:49
If ever there was an example of how blinkered prejudice can warp honest judgement surely these laughable votes are it…what a load of rubbish
14th August 2009, 21:13
Read my posts above. They are gold.
14th August 2009, 22:05
Kimi 8 jarno 9 imo
15th August 2009, 1:49
Being a Brit, Mr. Collantine, I think you may be biased towards your own countrymen – which is only natural, I should expect.
I do not think Hamilton deserves sixth place on this list. If Kimi Raikkonen or Rubens Barrichello are not even in the top 10, then neither should Lewis.
Also, Massa does not warrant such a high ranking. His two best results have merely been the fruit of two good calls by Rob Smedley, I think.
15th August 2009, 20:14
Neither of those two won a race though, and both have had generally superior cars to Hamilton throughout the season. I do agree about Massa though.
15th August 2009, 5:11
Rosberg should be lower or the list, he has had a very good car so far and has been one of the few who had the right diffuser for the whole year, better then Ferrari, yet he haven’t been able to score a podium.
Alonso haven’t really done anything too impressive so far, so Kimi should be above him. Both Alonso and Lewis has made more mistakes then Felipe and Kimi.
Vettel have had a few very good races but he has also made to many mistakes, he should rather be somewhere around Rosberg.
Buttton and Webber is alright on the top, I would put Felipe in 3rd with Kimi or Lewis in 4th then Vettel, Rosberg, Trulli then Alonso.
15th August 2009, 5:40
On the whole, a very good presentation of this seasons performances so far from the drivers. Jenson Button deserves to be rated highly, not so much for his outstanding driving in 2009 so far, but for his self belief and determination in the years that he was not succeeding.
Overall, the out and out best drivers in F1 at this time are Alonso and Hamilton. I would quite happily put them at the top of the ladder, above all the others. A few years ago I would have included Kimi Raikkonen but since 2007 he seems to have lost that ‘spark’ that Fernando and Lewis still possess. In this I am not talking about skill, or courage, but in motivation. Kimi just looks tired of what he is doing, a man who is not enjoying what he is doing, going through the motions if you will.
The race in Australia taught us that Hamilton, like many past champions before him, is capable of crossing the line between truth and untruth, fairness and deceit. His one redeeming quality, is that he confronted what he did by speaking openly about it to the press. An apology of sorts. I don’t think for one moment that the ‘lie’ Lewis told was ‘thoughtless’.
He knew the benefits he would gain by not telling the truth, and the potential damage to his relationship with McLaren if he did. Not one person on this site would risk the career Hamilton has at McLaren by ‘telling the truth’, so for me, it was a concious decision by Hamilton and McLaren.
What the sport needs is the best drivers, the drivers who will give their all, in the best cars. With Fernando Alonso almost certainly racing a Ferrari in 2010, we will have made a step in the right direction.
Another driver who is well on his way is Vettel. I was greatly impressed by him in 2008 and he has matured even more since then.
15th August 2009, 7:14
Keith nice ratings,,,for massa you wrote in silverstone he got a podium,i think he finished fourth in silverstone.in nurburing he was on the podium.
KEITH CHANGE IT.
15th August 2009, 8:51
what massa has done better than kimi?…i still cant get my head around this..massa 4th kimi 9th..keith…i think u shud look over it..
kimi has done a great job in 2009 if we compare it to 2008..read http://f1rollout.blogspot.com/2009/07/kimi-raikonnen-in-2009.html
15th August 2009, 9:23
The more i watch Vettel the more a really feel like Massa he is has a serious problem. Vettel wins when he is in clear air with no other cars around him.
I have seen very few convincing passing manouvers from him in the race which to me makes him not a very credible race driver. I do not consider Qualifying as a major consideration to how good a racer someone is as the competition is the clock not the other drivers.
Vettel is a fast driver, but a terrible race driver.
The best race driver can get the maximum out of his machine when it counts. They can manipulate the other divers and plan a passing move he can pressure the other drivers into a mistake eg Hakkinen vs Schumacher at Spa the best move every and one planned laps before. He does none of this.
Some compare him to MS, but he has nowhere near the the skill and cunning to be as good. His will to win is just not animal enough.
I would put him much lower down. Yes he is fast, but fast does not a great race driver make. It is so much more than that.
I would have Webber and Button first equal and Hamilton at 4th (Discount points due the Melbourne drama) Not sure about Massa but i don’t think he is as good as he thinks he is.
15th August 2009, 10:07
Glad to be quoted twice in your post :-)
Kimi and Jarno could swap places though.
15th August 2009, 11:15
i hope Brawn can bag the Constructors, and Button the Drivers, he deserves it. i would also be very pleased to see Webber seal his own WDC, i see that he and Button are very similar, Talented but stuck with the wrong team(s) for far too long, but ultimately this is what makes them deserving winners…
15th August 2009, 12:36
I’d put Hamilton a lot higher. He hasn’t made many mistakes and he even pushed the team, the car and himself to a much deserved win which no one would have expected.
Also, the fact that he lied doesn’t take away that he drove an amazing race in Melbourne.
On the other hand I would never put Vettel that high.. he drives by far the best car of the lot and he makes way too many mistakes. Wouldn’t put Webber that high either, but indeed he should be one spot ahead of Vettel.
I’d put Kimi a lot closer to Massa (if not ahead). Massa had some nice races (2 or so), but so did Kimi. They both suffered their fair share of bad strategy calls from the team and both made a big blunder.
15th August 2009, 18:42
I tend to think Hamilton is appropriately placed, he did finish behind Heikki in the wet, which is his forte. And has come good only in 1 race!!! Thats not enough to put him higher.
I dont know how you back up your Kimi vs massa comparision. Massa has double the number of points. He surely must be way higher than Kimi.
15th August 2009, 22:02
It’s the other way around. Hamilton has had maybe 1 poor race. The rest has been good. he has completely anihilated Kovalainen. People take that lightly, but Kovalainen really isn’t that bad a driver. He kicked Fisichella’s behind and Fisi is now killing Sutil (when people oddly still think Sutil is a great driver)
Kimi got points for Ferrari first. Kimi got a P2. He has outqualified Massa. Indeed, Kimi had most of the mechanical problems and strategy blunders and thus less points. But still.
The first 3 races or so he didn’t finish. For instance, when the ignorant where complaining that Kimi was eating ice cream his car was broken down in the garage. Even the races where he did finish more often than not something was broken on the car.
15th August 2009, 12:51
I’m really surprised that so many think Webber should be 1st. If you look at Webber’s results, he’s been about as consistant as Button, but whereas Button being consistent meant winning every race, Webber being consistent meant 2nd or 3rd mainly. Overall this season the Red Bull and Brawn seem to have been about as fast as each other, as proved by how little Barrichello was able to extract from the car. As seen in races Button won NOT from pole, he doesn’t always have necessarily the outright fastest car, yet he is still able to win. That is why Button is a clear first.
15th August 2009, 18:14
Yeah, great evaluation… better than last year’s half-season raking… totally agreed… congratulations!
17th August 2009, 8:06
There’s a lot of debate (and disagreement) about the subjective nature of the rankings and whether we’re rating the car or the driver. To try and avoid all of that, I’ve come up with my own rating based on the result a driver has achieved compared to the potential of their cars. So, the methodology is:
a) I have assumed that Qualifying 1 (Q2 would be better but I wanted all drivers)is the performance benchmark of the car.
b) Each driver is given a percentage based on their finishing position relative to their car’s performance, e.g. if they have the 5th fastest Q1 time but finish 10th, you’re performing at 50% of the car’s capability.
c) Each driver’s percentage is averaged across all races except for Malaysia (which I’ve removed from the results).
So the results:
1 Sebastian Vettel 221%
2 Timo Glock 207%
3 Jenson Button 187%
4 Rubens Barrichello 143%
5 Kimi Räikkönen 129%
6 Nick Heidfeld 123%
7 Jarno Trulli 122%
8 Giancarlo Fisichella 120%
9 Lewis Hamilton 115%
10 Fernando Alonso 111%
11 Mark Webber 111%
12 Heikki Kovalainen 102%
13 Nico Rosberg 97%
14 Sebastien Bourdais 96%
15 Nelsinho Piquet 91%
16 Robert Kubica 89%
17 Felipe Massa 85%
18 Adrian Sutil 78%
19 Sebastien Buemi 78%
20 Kazuki Nakajima 54%
As is the trick with all statistics, they’re nothing more than a benchmark on top of which to add your own interpretation – and if work’s boring tomorrow I’ll look at Q2.
17th August 2009, 8:54
Q2 would be a lot better yes or maybe even the fastest time of Q1 and Q2.
I don’t really get item b. If a driver qualified fastest, but finished second, that’s a 50% result? That sounds a bit harsh. The actual scoring system only loses about 20% of points per position (apart from the step between 7th and 8th of course).
How do you deal with qualifying extremes? Like top drivers who failed to make it into Q2 while their team mate goes to Q3? Their position in Q1 obviously doesn’t represent their cars potential. Maybe the “potential” should be the fastest time of both drivers in the same team?
17th August 2009, 12:37
If it was a top10, I would include Glock and Sutil!
17th August 2009, 13:12
Sutil is positioned rightly on number 18 in the first article:
Comments are closed.