The complete F1 Fanatic 2010 season review

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Abu Dhabi, 2010
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Abu Dhabi, 2010

As 2010 draws to a close here is every article from F1 Fanatic’s review of this year’s F1 season.

It includes a review of every team, the complete driver rankings, pictures galleries, statistics and more.

Plus all 19 race weekend round-ups from 2010.

Driver rankings

2010 F1 driver rankings part one: 27-18
2010 F1 driver rankings part two: 17-9
2010 F1 driver rankings part three: 8-4
2010 F1 driver rankings part four: the top three
Vote for the best F1 driver of 2010
Best F1 pass of 2010: make your nominations
Vote for the best F1 pass of 2010
Lewis Hamilton voted best driver of 2010

Team reviews

Red Bull: Red Bull and Vettel triumph in spite of themselves
McLaren: Two champions but no titles for McLaren in 2010
Ferrari: Third title eludes Alonso in first year with Ferrari
Mercedes: Schumacher struggles in Mercedes return
Renault: Renault lose interest in F1 despite strong season
Williams: Losing H???lkenberg is a sign of the times at Williams
Force India: Force India enjoy best season yet in 2010
Sauber: Kobayashi stars as Sauber recover in 2010
Toro Rosso: Toro Rosso beat new teams in first year with own car
Lotus: Lotus do justice to historic name in first season back
HRT: HRT spend the year bringing up the rear
Virgin: Poor reliability leaves Virgin last in championship


The 2010 F1 season in 100 pictures
Picture gallery: Bridgestone in F1, 1976-2010
Red Bull?s journey to the title in 100 pictures
Vettel?s path to the title in 100 pictures


2010 in stats part one: records and races
2010 in stats part two: Vettel and other champions
2010 in stats part three: car performance

The year in review

The six ingredients of F1’s classic 2010 season
The four best moments of a thrilling 2010
No prizes for guessing the worst moment of 2010
Did 2010 meet our expectations? Pre- season predictions revisited
What F1 fans really thought about the 2010 season
Tell us about your F1 race experiences in 2010
F1 Fanatic?s 50 best articles of 2010
The best guest contributions of 2010
Canadian Grand Prix voted best race of 2010

Complete race weekend reviews

2010 Bahrain Grand Prix – the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
2010 Australian Grand Prix – the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
2010 Malaysian Grand Prix – the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
2010 Chinese Grand Prix – the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
2010 Spanish Grand Prix – the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
2010 Monaco Grand Prix – the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
2010 Turkish Grand Prix – the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
2010 Canadian Grand Prix – the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
2010 European Grand Prix – the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
2010 British Grand Prix – the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
2010 German Grand Prix – the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
2010 Hungarian Grand Prix – the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
2010 Belgian Grand Prix – the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
2010 Italian Grand Prix – the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
2010 Singapore Grand Prix – the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
2010 Japanese Grand Prix: the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
2010 Korean Grand Prix: the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
2010 Brazilian Grand Prix: the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review
2010 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix: the complete F1 Fanatic race weekend review

More on the 2010 F1 season

2010 F1 statistics
2010 F1 driver form guides
2010 F1 season information

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images

Lewis Hamilton voted best driver of 2010

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010

F1 Fanatic readers have voted Lewis Hamilton the best driver of 2010.

Hamilton, who finished fourth in this year’s world championship, finished ahead of Fernando Alonso, with Robert Kubica a close third.

World champion Sebastian Vettel was voted the fourth best driver of the year.

Here are the “Driver of the Year” poll results in full:

F1 Fanatic Driver of the Year 2010 votes
F1 Fanatic Driver of the Year 2010 votes

Read the comments on the poll here.

Pass of the year: Kubica on Button

Robert Kubica’s pass on Jenson Button in the European Grand Prix was voted the best pass of the year. Watch the pass here.

It was picked as the best pass from a short-list of ten. The runner-up was Rubens Barrichello’s on Michael Schumacher at the Hungaroring.

Here are the ‘Pass of the Year” poll results in full:

F1 Fanatic Pass of the Year 2010 votes
F1 Fanatic Pass of the Year 2010 votes

Read the comments on the poll here.

Best overtaker of the year: Kamui Kobayashi

F1 Fanatic fans voted for Kamui Kobayashi as the driver who did the best overtaking moves in 2010.

Hamilton was runner-up with Kubica in third.

Here are the ‘Overtaker of the Year’ polls results in full:

F1 Fanatic Overtaker of the Year 2010 votes
F1 Fanatic Overtaker of the Year 2010 votes

2010 F1 season review

Browse all 2010 F1 season review articles

Image ??

The best guest contributions of 2010

Guest contributors have provided dozens of F1 Fanatic articles in 2010.

Among them are the popular “top ten” and “Why you should watch…” series, plus reports from fans who were at races this year.

Read on for more from this year’s guest articles.

From the stands

The view from the fans in the stands at this year’s races.

F1 Fanatics at the Australian Grand Prix by Mark Young

Sunday in Shanghai ?ǣ a fans? view of the 2010 Chinese Grand Prix by Jeremy Sedley

From the stands: David Entrican watches the Monaco Grand Prix at Monte-Carlo by David Entrican

Ten F1 fans? stories from Silverstone by multiple contributors

Tommy B and Katy watch the German GP at Hockenheim by Tommy B and Katy

From the stands: Nikolai Vogler watches two races in one week by Nikolai Vogler

Carol Treurnicht watches the Belgian GP at Spa by Carol Treurnicht

Jamey Price watches the Italian Grand Prix at Monza by Jamey Price

Tom Hitchings watches the Japanese GP at Suzuka by Tom Hitchings

Steven?s view of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix by Steven Smith

Why you should watch…

Shining the spotlight on other forms of motor sport:

Why you should watch?? Superleague Formula by Andy and LJH

Why you should watch?? the Isle of Man TT by Adam Corlett

Why you should watch?? TC2000 by Fer No. 65

Why you should watch?? GT1 by Stephen Prater

Why you should watch?? British Touring Cars by Allan Mooney

Top tens

Top ten topics:

Top ten?? Team radio moments by Tim Ferrone

Top ten?? First lap crashes by Ned Flanders

Top ten?? Hermann Tilke corners by Ned Flanders

Top ten?? Underdog triumphs by Ned Flanders

Technical reviews

John Beamer wrote a series of his technical reviews throughout 2010. You can find them all here and read his latest review below:

Technical review: End of season

More guest articles

Inside Renault: ??Race Days? and the Hungarian Grand Prix by Cari Jones

Why F1 needs a feeder series for teams by Duncan Stephen

30 years today: The death of Depailler by Cari Jones

??Senna?? movie: an F1 Fanatic?s opinion by Robert York

Behind the scenes with a track marshal at the Singapore Grand Prix by Wei Jian

If you want to write a guest article for F1 Fanatic you can find all the information you need here.

2010 F1 season review

Browse all 2010 F1 season review articles

The image is a caricature by Neil Davies of the Caricature Club which originally appeared on the article “The problems with a two-tier championship”. See more of Neil’s work on his blog.

F1 Fanatic?s 50 best articles of 2010

Anthony Davidson, Keith Collantine, 2010
Anthony Davidson, Keith Collantine, 2010

F1 Fanatic enjoyed its busiest ever year in 2010 with twice as many visitors as last year reading thousands of articles.

After much thought I’ve hand-picked a selection of my favourite interviews, features, comment pieces and more from the past 12 months.

Here’s my 50 favourites – plus a couple of bonus extras.


Driving the F1 simulator which gives teams ??the best way to cheat??

“Racing drivers are very sensitive to car behaviour, and if we set the simulator up to be as realistic as possible the average person wouldn?t feel an awful lot of movement.”

Top ten?? Ways to finish an F1 race

“In all 13 of the classified finishers crashed in the downpour, including the occupants of second, third, fourth and fifth places: Carlos Pace, Jody Scheckter, James Hunt and Mark Donohue.”


Going to an F1 race in 2010? Read these top tips from F1 fans first

“Bring an umbrella and raincoat ?ǣ even if you?re in the covered stands. The covered stands leak now (and you?ll need the raincoat for that). And you?ll need the umbrella to get to the bus or cab that will bring you home.”

Are F1 ticket prices really too high?

“Tickets for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa this year peak at ??576 ($900) for the final. Assuming the match finishes without extra time, that?s ??6.40 per minute.”


Schumacher?s return: what?s changed?

“In 2006 F1 drivers still enjoyed the benefit of traction control. That was banned in F1 in 2008. The good news for fans is that we?ll now get to see the most successful driver of all time manipulating the car?s throttle all on his own, without a computer cutting in to help him out. And that?s exactly the way it should be.”

Why F1 doesn?t need the 107% rule

“The 107% rule is a bad rule. It harms the sport and it harms small teams like HRT for which every minute of track running and every second of television exposure they can get is precious. Throwing them out of a race weekend when they?ve already gone to the huge expense of flying to Bahrain or Malaysia only makes it even harder for them to compete in the future.”


Why low profile tyres make sense for F1

“Tyre warm-up would be quicker, allowing the governing body to finally get rid of tyre warmers, something other single-seater categories did a long time ago to put more emphasis on driver skill.”

While F1 dithers over KERS, road car hybrid technology leaves it behind

“Even if the teams took advantage of the F1 rules allowing KERS they would only be allowed to develop 80bhp and use it for 6.7 seconds per lap. It?s a graphic illustration of how F1 now lags behind the sort of technological development it used to lead.”

25 years since Ayrton Senna?s first F1 win: 1985 Portuguese GP flashback

“His maiden victory could not have been more emphatic. He took pole position, set fastest lap, led every lap and won the race. Alboreto was the only other driver to complete the race distance of 67 laps ?ǣ shortened from 70 under the two-hour time limit ?ǣ and even Mansell in fifth place was two laps behind.”

The rise and fall of Williams

“If you tuned into an F1 race for the first time this year you wouldn?t suspect the blue-and-white cars mired in the midfield once were the sport?s most feared competitors.”

Silverstone boss explains why they didn?t use Tilke for Arena track upgrades

“We?ve had good, solid input from riders and drivers ?ǣ people who are not going to wreck what is already a fantastic circuit. If we had gone a more traditional route we may not have got the best result.”

Silverstone opens new Arena circuit, expects cars to hit 185mph at Abbey

“Red Bull estimate F1 cars will hit 185mph through the two fast corners which direct them off the old track.”


Lucas di Grassi says Virgin can catch the midfield teams (Interview)

“I think sometimes they should not always go very safe and only do slow corners, they should do more fast corners.”

Glock says turn eight is ??nothing special?? and blue flags need to stay (Interview)

“By the time Toyota pulled out we had already homologated our chassis. So there was not even a chance to buy it. Because they pulled out so late, for us it was not possible to use their car.”

Should Tilke be kept away from Austin?

“If Bernie Ecclestone points at an industrial estate in Valencia and says ??put a track there?, there?s very little Tilke can do within the constraint of his brief and the rules to create the next Spa-Francorchamps or even an Istanbul Park.”

Hopefully the 2010 Turkish Grand Prix won?t be the last one

“While there?s little to commend the dreary circuits built for F1 in Abu Dhabi and Valencia in recent years, losing Istanbul Park from the F1 calendar would be a genuine shame.”

The FIA?s badly-written rules leave Formula 1 looking stupid once again

“[Damon] Hill is too obvious and too easy a scapegoat. The rules are at fault, and not for the first time.”

When backmarkers strike in Monaco

“This year for the first time since 1995 there are 24 F1 cars on the streets of Monaco. Drivers ?ǣ especially the leaders ?ǣ will have to have their wits about them not to get caught up in accidents or lose time in qualifying. It?s all part of the great challenge of Monaco. Those drivers and teams who have been complaining about it this year should remember F1 is racing, not just driving as fast as possible in isolation from your competitors.”

Michael Schumacher still refuses to explain 2006 Rascasse controversy

In his first Monaco Grand Prix since the notorious Rascasse episode in 2006, Michael Schumacher was still reluctant to explain what he had done. Lewis Hamilton offered his thoughts on Schumacher’s reputation:

To be potentially tainted by something like that would be really devastating for me. That is definitely something I don?t want to be remembered for.
Lewis Hamiton


A brilliant race in Turkey shows F1 is on the right track

“The great strength of the refuelling ban is it forces drivers to to fight for their wins on the track.”

The track they should build in Austin

“Gimmicks like pit tunnels and hotel bridges won?t be good enough. F1 in America needs something truly special and different.”

1993 South African Grand Prix flashback

“On the day after the 1993 race its promoter Mervyn Key was arrested.”

Did running low on fuel give Lewis Hamilton pole position? No.

“Hamilton?s missing kilo would have cost him 0.025 seconds. Hamilton beat Webber to pole position by 0.268 seconds, so it doesn?t look like the missing fuel had much of an effect at all.”

If Montezemolo is that offended by ??slow? cars, why didn?t he complain in 2006?

“Kovalainen was 2.3 seconds slower than the fastest car in Q1 on Sunday. Go back to the same race four years ago and the two Super Aguris were 3.7 seconds off the pace. Yet Montezemolo didn?t get quite so worked up about them.”

Helmet-cam video lap of Fiorano with Fernando Alonso in the Ferrari F10

“If only we saw pictures like this during races instead of the flat and unexciting onboard footage we?re used to.”

Did Hamilton try to stop Alonso getting in front of the safety car? (Video)

“Perhaps Hamilton hesitated because he wasn?t sure whether he was allowed to pass the safety car as it was in the pit lane. But given his words in the press conference, it seems he was aware of the rule concerning the safety car line. Alternatively, perhaps he was fully aware of his obligations under the rules and chose to slow down to hold up the Ferraris, hoping he could get ahead of the safety car but they could not. If that was his plan, it backfired, because he failed to get over the safety car line before the safety car did.”

FIA must learn from Valencia shambles

“There?s no reason to believe Ferrari’s claim that the European Grand Prix was somehow ‘manipulated’.”


Goodwood Festival of Speed 2010 ?ǣ massive 300-picture gallery

“Over 300 pictures of F1 cars in our comprehensive galleries featuring Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, Mika Hakkinen, Emerson Fittipaldi, John Sutrees and more in over 50 different Formula 1 cars.”

Why Grosjean deserves another F1 shot

“Over his seven appearances Grosjean was, on average, 0.667% slower than Alonso on their fastest laps. In his ten appearances to date Petrov has been 1.013% slower than Kubica.”

25 years today: Rosberg?s record lap

“In the days before electronic timing and video walls at every corner of the circuit, there was a pause after Rosberg crossed the line before confirmation came that the 160 miles per hour barrier had been broken.”


A move too far: Schumacher forces stewards to take a stand

“There was only one thing more shocking than Michael Schumacher?s move on Rubens Barrichello in the closing stages of the Hungarian Grand Prix. It was the announcement a few hours later that he was being punished for it.”

The drivers who defied team orders

“Here are three drivers who refused to let their team mates pass ?ǣ or overtook them when they weren?t supposed to. Food for thought for Felipe Massa?”

??We need to make Abbey quicker?? ?ǣ how Populous redesigned Silverstone (Part 1)
Silverstone?s architects on making F1 circuits challenging but safe (Part 2)

“And then there?s encouraging overtaking ?ǣ the Holy Grail! That means allowing a differential in speeds and creating alternative lines.”

??Formula 1 is a closed book in my mind?? ?ǣ Anthony Davidson (Interview)

“I think you do see [technical diversity] in Formula 1 still, it?s just in a very clever way and a secretive way. It?s not as apparent as in sports cars ?ǣ F1 cars all look similar and sound similar, because they?re all governed by the rules very heavily.”


Barrichello?s 300 races: interactive stats

Rubens Barrichello reached a landmark 300 F1 races at the Belgian Grand Prix last weekend.”

40 years today: Rindt killed at Monza

“These were the early days of wings in Formula 1 and teams often removed them at Monza to ensure maximum straight-line speed. Rindt was running his 72 in such a configuration when he crashed at Parabolica.”

??F1 2010???: The Formula 1 game made by F1 fanatics (Interview, Part 1)
??F1 2010???: The Formula 1 game made by F1 fanatics (Interview, Part 2)

“I?ve always felt that, certainly in the past few years, F1 games have been made by people that were just tasked with getting an F1 game out. Whereas Paul and I ?ǣ we love watching Formula 1 and we understand the things that I love about Formula 1 and why people get into it.”

10 reasons why more than 10,000 people follow F1 Fanatic on Twitter

F1 Fanatic broke the 10,000 followers mark on Twitter in September and now has over 12,000.


Mercedes admit missed opportunity to keep Schumacher in front of Rosberg

“It?s obviously much easier to work out what should have been done after the race with the benefit of all the knowledge available than to get the decision right in the heat of the moment. As it turned out, Buemi did not pit until five laps after Schumacher came in, and the strategists did not know that at the time.”

He?s 14 points behind but Vettel should be leading the championship by 59

“Vettel has had the worst of both worlds. Car failures in the first two races alone cost him 35 points and two wins. But he has made some high-profile mistakes as well.”

20 years since Senna took out Prost at Suzuka

“What drove Senna to commit one of the most outrageous acts ever witnessed in Formula 1? His frustration with the sport?s governing body ?ǣ Balestre the focus of his fury ?ǣ combined with a growing sense of desperation that the championship was slipping away from him.”

Jackie Stewart interview: ??I was fortunate to race in my era??
Jackie Stewart interview: ??Drivers of today are best since my day??

“In 1968 we had four consecutive months where someone died, in the same weekend of each month. Jim Clark in April, Mike Spence in May, Ludovico Scarfiotti in June and Jo Schlesser in July. The Nurburgring race that year was on the same weekend in August. And the first question I asked Ken [Tyrrell] when I got out of the car was ??Is everybody alright???


The problems with a two-tier championship

“The teams may spend the money and build the cars, but it?s the drivers who take the risk of driving them. Felipe Massa knows this all too well ?ǣ the German Grand Prix was the first anniversary of his horror crash at the Hungaroring. Why, one might reasonably ask, should a driver like Massa be expected to risk his life to help Alonso win a world championship?”

Nico H???lkenberg has arrived

“[Pastor] Maldonado certainly impressed in GP2 this year, his fourth season in the category, with six consecutive feature race wins. But when he and H???lkenberg were team mates last year H???lkenberg romped to the title in his rookie season while Maldonado amassed barely one-third of his team mate?s points total.”

Sebastian Vettel becomes youngest ever F1 champion

“At 23 years and 134 days old he has broken the record set by Lewis Hamilton in 2008, who won the title aged 23 years, 301 days.”

How Yas Marina could be changed to aid overtaking

“This exclusive image produced for F1 Fanatic by the architects who designed Silverstone?s ??Arena? extension show how a revised Yas Marina track could look.”


2010 F1 season DVD ??Sebastian?s coming of age?? reviewed

“What?s offered here is all good quality material and the package is pretty good value. The lack of an HD version is a major weakness, however ?ǣ hopefully that will finally be addressed in 2011.”

??Senna?? ?ǣ the Ayrton Senna movie reviewed

“Quite simply it?s the greatest film about motor racing I have ever seen.”

More from F1 Fanatic

“What about guest articles?” I hear you ask. They’ll be covered in another article tomorrow.

Have you got a favourite F1 Fanatic article from this year that’s not mentioned above? What would you like to see more of in 2011? Have your say in the comments.

2010 F1 season review

Browse all 2010 F1 season review articles

The 2010 F1 season in 100 pictures

What was the defining image of the 2010 season?

Barrichello and Schumacher wheel-to-wheel at the Hungaroring? Kovalainen’s Lotus ablaze in Singapore?

Here’s a selection of 100 pictures that tell the story of the 2010 season.

2010 F1 season review

Browse all 2010 F1 season review articles

Images ?? Ferrari spa, Renault/LAT, Williams/LAT, Bridgestone/Ercole Colombo,, Getty Images/Red Bull, Force India F1 Team, Lotus F1, Virgin Racing, Cosworth

2010 F1 driver rankings part four: the top three

It’s time to name the top three drivers of 2010.

Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso are the final three drivers in the 2010 rankings – but which one comes out on top?

Read on to find out.

3. Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Valencia, 2010
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Valencia, 2010

Half-term ranking: 3

Vettel’s late-season chase to the crown was the stuff of script-writers.

In Korea, after yet another car failure, it looked like it was all over. But by winning three of the final four races – and thanks to Ferrari being preoccupied by his team mate – Vettel pulled it off.

He was cursed with unreliability in 2010. Vettel was leading in Bahrain, Australia and Korea when his RB6 faltered, leaving him with 12 points instead of 75 from those three races.

That wasn’t the end of it. More car trouble in Canada, Spain and Turkey (qualifying) held him back. Earlier this year I calculated he’d lost 48 points due to unreliability – and that was before Korea.

To his credit, he never let his frustration get the better of him in the form of outbursts directed at the team. It was just as well, because he made a two major blunders of his own, colliding with Webber in Istanbul and Button at Spa.

Both these mistakes were born from overtaking attempts which went wrong. Even with a world championship under his belt, Vettel has not yet shaken off the impression that although he can win from the front with aplomb, racing for position is not his thing. His fight back through the field at Silverstone was scrappy at times.

Vettel’s raw speed has never been in doubt and, armed with an RB6, he was a fearsome proposition in qualifying, taking ten pole positions.

The stark fact that he scored half that number of wins leaves the nagging feeling that he made hard work of this world championship.

However his performance under pressure can’t be faulted. Whether in the rain at Korea, or after being pipped to pole by Nico H???lkenberg in Brazil, it seemed nothing could faze Vettel in the crucial final four races.

He got the job done in a clinical fashion that was supremely impressive for someone earning the title of youngest ever world champion.

You can’t argue with ten poles, five wins and the championship. Very unlucky with reliability, but lots of silly errors meant he snatched the championship rather than dominate it as he perhaps should have done.
Dan Thorn

Sebastian Vettel 2010 form guide

2. Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Singapore, 2010
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Singapore, 2010

Half-term ranking: 6

The best driver of the second half of the season? Unquestionably.

Alonso went on the hunt for a third world championship having asserted his supremacy within the team at Hockenheim. His F10 became a much more competitive car after the addition of an exhaust-blown diffuser in Valencia.

Over the final nine races we saw him back at his 2006-vintage best. Singapore was an undoubted high point, stealing a win from the faster Red Bulls with a brilliant qualifying lap and a faultless drive under pressure.

He won at Korea having managed his tyres to perfection. It was a shame we never got to see whether it would have been enough for him to take on Vettel had the Red Bull driver’s engine not failed.

In Brazil he delivered a masterclass in restrained aggression, patiently wearing down Nico H???lkenberg to make a critical pass.

If he’d driven like that all year then he would have been champion. But for whatever reason he did not seem to be firing on all cylinders in the first half of the season.

His Ferrari career got off to a dream start with a win at Bahrain. But several of the following races were marred by costly errors.

Bizarrely, he jumped the start of the race in Shanghai. At Monaco he was fortunate to salvage sixth after crashing in practice.

Clearly, he was very unlucky in Valencia. But he was the architect of his own demise in the next race at Silverstone, failing to yield position to Robert Kubica having gone off the track to overtake the Renault driver.

To win races you need to do more than just be fast – sometimes you have to overtake people as well. There were times in 2010, such as at Silverstone, when Alonso’s racing savvy appeared to have deserted him.

Similarly, the Hockenheim debacle might have been avoided had he capitalised on a chance to pass Massa earlier in the race.

These were blips in an otherwise very impressive season which included a quite remarkable performance in Sepang where he coped with a transmission glitch throughout the race before the car failed a few laps from home.

In the end he came within a bad strategy call of winning a third championship title. If he can carry his late-2010 form into 2011 his opponents have a lot to worry about.

Like Hamilton (who I’d say he shares the title for the best overall driver on the grid today) he didn’t always have the fastest car but he pushed it to the absolute limit.

His first half of the year was fraught with mistakes but after the controversial German victory, he cleaned up and virtually dominated the last half.

Fernando Alonso 2010 form guide

1. Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Montreal, 2010
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Montreal, 2010

Half-term ranking: 1

Having led the drivers’ championship in the middle of the year Hamilton hung on grimly despite having a car that patently wasn’t up to the job in several races in the second half of the season.

The arrival of the reigning world champion in the second car fazed him not one bit. He was usually the quicker of the two by a few tenths and sometimes in qualifying his car was half-a-dozen places or more ahead of the McLaren with the number one on its nose.

On the rare occasions he did start behind Button it usually didn’t last long, like at Melbourne where he passed Button soon after the safety car came in on a damp track.

Hamilton remains the most combative driver on the grid, the one most likely to a take on a rival instead of getting stuck behind them.

He won in excellent fashion at Canada, taking advantage of Alonso being boxed in behind leader Sebastien Buemi to pass him for the lead.

A fine drive at Shanghai yielded second place after a string of passes, taking Vettel along the way. But similar drives at Melbourne and Sepang were less well rewarded.

More points were lost with car failures at Spain and Hungary, plus his gearbox gremlins in Suzuka.

Back-to-back wins at Istanbul and Montreal, plus second places behind the Red Bull drivers at Valencia and Silverstone, marked the high point of his season. But as McLaren fell behind Red Bull and Ferrari in the development race there were times when Hamilton could only watch the other championship contenders drive away.

At times he tried to grab a bit too much. There were minor errors in Korea and Interlagos that were plainly born of over-driving. He flirted with disaster at Spa on his way to an excellent wet-weather win.

More seriously at Monza he threw away a vital opportunity to take points off the Red Bull drivers by tangling with Felipe Massa on the first lap.

Still on other occasions he was downright unlucky – particularly whenever Mark Webber was involved, as at Melbourne and Singapore.

This year’s world championship was remarkable in that drivers from three different teams had cars that were good enough to win races. Picking the best driver – the fastest, the best racer, the one who beat a strong team mate, the most dependable – is inevitably subjective. The margins between the very best are razor-thin.

Lewis Hamilton gets the nod this year because whatever state the track or his car was in, he was unrelenting in his pursuit of success and was always the driver who wrung the maximum – and sometimes a bit more – out of his car.

I hate to admit it but Hamilton was pretty impressive this season, his best by far, regardless of the result.

Unfortunately for him the car lagged behind in the later stages of the season. After Silverstone it was quite clear for me that he was favourite for the title, but McLaren struggled with development on the EBD front, and its new rear wing came too late to make any difference.

As expected he has beaten Jenson, while maturing more and more with every race (with the exception of Monza, but I guess that everyone has the right to make a silly error once) and getting more complete as a driver. If McLaren gets the MP4-26 right, expect him to be a contender, as he always have been.
Guilherme Teixeira

Complete F1 Fanatic 2010 driver rankings

27. Sakon Yamamoto
26. Lucas di Grassi
25. Karun Chandhok
24. Bruno Senna
23. Vitaly Petrov
22. Christian Klien
21. Vitantonio Liuzzi
20. Sebastien Buemi
19. Pedro de la Rosa
18. Jarno Trulli
17. Nick Heidfeld
16. Felipe Massa
15. Nico H???lkenberg
14. Heikki Kovalainen
13. Michael Schumacher
12. Jaime Alguersuari
11. Timo Glock
10. Kamui Kobayashi
9. Adrian Sutil
8. Rubens Barrichello
7. Jenson Button
6. Mark Webber
5. Nico Rosberg
4. Robert Kubica
3. Sebastian Vettel
2. Fernando Alonso
1. Lewis Hamilton

Who do you think was the best driver of the year? Have your say below and vote for the best F1 driver of 2010 here.

Lewis Hamilton 2010 form guide

Images ?? Red Bull/Getty images, Ferrari spa,

Vote for the best F1 driver of 2010

Drivers, Abu Dhabi, 2010
Drivers, Abu Dhabi, 2010

Over the past four days F1 Fanatic has ranked the drivers of 2010.

Now it’s your turn to vote for the best driver of this year.

Which driver did the best job throughout the whole of 2010? Cast your vote below and explain who you voted for and why in the comments.

Who was the best F1 driver of 2010?

  • Sakon Yamamoto (0%)
  • Pedro de la Rosa (0%)
  • Karun Chandhok (0%)
  • Lucas di Grassi (0%)
  • Timo Glock (0%)
  • Kamui Kobayashi (3%)
  • Nick Heidfeld (0%)
  • Bruno Senna (0%)
  • Christian Klien (0%)
  • Heikki Kovalainen (1%)
  • Jarno Trulli (0%)
  • Jaime Alguersuari (0%)
  • Sebastien Buemi (0%)
  • Vitantonio Liuzzi (0%)
  • Adrian Sutil (1%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (0%)
  • Robert Kubica (20%)
  • Nico H???lkenberg (0%)
  • Rubens Barrichello (0%)
  • Fernando Alonso (21%)
  • Felipe Massa (0%)
  • Mark Webber (6%)
  • Sebastian Vettel (11%)
  • Nico Rosberg (3%)
  • Michael Schumacher (1%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (31%)
  • Jenson Button (2%)

Total Voters: 518

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2010 F1 driver rankings part three: 8-4

The 2010 F1 driver rankings continue with the next five drivers in the list.

This part includes Mark Webber and Jenson Button among others.

Read on for the next part of the driver rankings.

8. Rubens Barrichello

Rubens Barrichello, Williams, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010
Rubens Barrichello, Williams, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010

Half-term ranking: 11

Barrichello had a consistently positive season which, though short on headline-grabbing moments, showed he is still a force to be reckoned with even after 300 starts.

Starting afresh with a new team, he helped push Williams in the right direction and they made clear progress throughout the season. He took particular pleasure in helping them snatch sixth in the constructors’ championship after scrapping with Adrian Sutil in the final race.

His landmark 300th start at Spa was a bit of a disaster. He ended his race by harpooning Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari.

But one race earlier he proved his mettle by going wheel-to-wheel with Michael Schumacher, scraping past the Mercedes while avoiding what could have been a horrendous accident.

A surprise of the season. Gutsy battles with Schumacher and some really good performances in a midfield car. He’s breaking longevity records for a reason.

Rubens Barrichello 2010 form guide

7. Jenson Button

Jenson Button, McLaren, Shanghai, 2010
Jenson Button, McLaren, Shanghai, 2010

Half-term ranking: 5

Button could have made it a five-way fight for the title in the final race. But hopes of retaining his championship fizzled out in Korea as he floundered in the tricky conditions and finished out of the points.

He excelled in similar circumstances earlier in the season, grabbing opportunistic wins at Melbourne and Shanghai to lead the championship.

But he was consistently a couple of tenths off team mate Lewis Hamilton in qualifying. Worse, he failed to reach Q3 in Britain, Hungary and Brazil.

He responded to these problems by taking a different tactical approach at some races. It paid off magnificently in Monza, where he came close to winning in a car with a quite unorthodox set-up. But risking the hard tyres in qualifying at Suzuka did little to help his cause.

As ever, his driving style was clean and he kept errors to a minimum, in stark contrast to some of his championship rivals. But it wasn’t enough to retain his 2009 crown.

Has generally been slower than Lewis. Often disappointed by dropping out of Q2 or by moaning on the radio: practice without ‘lack of grip’ or ‘massive front locking’ just would not be the same. Where he lacks in outright pace, he makes up with sensibility – he was the only contender who could not be blamed for having thrown away points.

Jenson Button 2010 form guide

6. Mark Webber

Mark Webber, Red Bull, Monte-Carlo, 2010
Mark Webber, Red Bull, Monte-Carlo, 2010

Half-term ranking: 4

Webber seriously rattled his team mate in the middle part of the season with wins at Spain and Monaco. He was leading the next race at Istanbul before that infamous clash, and kept up the momentum with another win in Silverstone.

This was the bedrock of his championship campaign. He kept the pressure on Vettel by winning again in Hungary.

But when Vettel hit back Webber could do nothing to respond. Over the final five races of the year he trailed Vettel for all but three laps – and those were only when Vettel pitted before him.

Webber enjoyed markedly better reliability than Vettel during 2010 – the conspiracy theorists would have howled had it been the other way around – but although Vettel had the label “crash kid” attached to him, Webber was no less error-prone.

He tangled with Lewis Hamilton at Melbourne and Singapore and had a monumental accident when he misjudged Heikki Kovalainen’s braking point at Valencia.

We now know Webber was nursing an injured shoulder when he crashed out of second place in Korea. This was the moment when the championship slipped through his fingers.

With four wins it was undoubtedly a strong season for Webber. His pole position at Sepang, using intermediate tyres while his rivals stuck with full wets, was one of the best of the year. But Vettel ultimately had enough of an edge over him.

I never expected him to push Vettel as hard as he did. Ultimately succumbed to the pressure of the title fight, but probably came out of this season as a much more highly rated driver.

Mark Webber 2010 form guide

5. Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Shanghai, 2010
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Shanghai, 2010

Half-term ranking: 7

Rosberg was the unsung hero of 2010. With all the attention focussed on the occupant of the other Mercedes it was easy to overlook what Rosberg was doing.

He consistently got the best out of the W01 and took it to some great results early in the season when the car was at its best relative to the opposition.

He led convincingly at Shanghai and beat Vettel in the wet qualifying session at Sepang. Rosberg brought the car home on the podium in both races.

At the end of the year he was just two points behind Massa in the championship – and little more than misfortune kept him from scoring more.

Wheels came off his car in Hungary and Japan. In Korea he passed Hamilton and was running fourth behind Alonso when he was taken out by Webber. Another podium finish or possibly even a win was on the cards.

Other than running wide in China and losing the lead I’m struggling to think of any other major errors he made. Ever consistent, even when the Mercedes was at its worst mid-season, he also has the pleasure of being the first person to have beaten Michael Schumacher over the course of a season.

He beat Kubica in the championship and he nearly beat Massa. Driver of the season without a doubt for me.
Dan Thorn

Nico Rosberg 2010 form guide

4. Robert Kubica

Robert Kubica, Renault, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010
Robert Kubica, Renault, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010

Half-term ranking: 2

Monte-Carlo, Spa-Francorchamps, Suzuka: the three tracks on the F1 calendar where a driver can really make their presence felt, and the three tracks where Kubica excelled in the Renault R30.

He split the Red Bulls on the grid at Monaco, was in contention for victory at Spa, and had got up to second at the start at Suzuka when he lost a wheel.

Naturally, he had his team mate comfortably handled – often out-qualifying Vitaly Petrov by more than a second.

It’s a testament to Kubica’s performance that he was often a thorn in the side of the championship contenders – notably Alonso (at Silverstone) and Hamilton (at Abu Dhabi). Will he finally get a car he can challenge regularly for wins with in 2011?

Took the Renault to positions it didn’t deserve to be and made almost no mistakes. He was majestic in Monaco. I believe he will be fighting for the title next year.

Robert Kubica 2010 form guide

Don’t miss the final part of the 2010 F1 Fanatic driver rankings on the site tomorrow. Get the latest articles from F1 Fanatic for free via Twitter, RSS or our email subscription service. Click here for more information.

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2010 F1 driver rankings part two: 17-9

Read on for part two of the 2010 F1 Fanatic driver rankings.

While writing the final driver rankings for 2010 I consulted the F1 Fanatic driver form guides and statistics, re-watched the races and qualifying sessions and read your remarks in the 2010 driver rankings forum thread.

A selection of your comments from the thread are included below.

17. Nick Heidfeld

Nick Heidfeld, Sauber, Suzuka, 2010
Nick Heidfeld, Sauber, Suzuka, 2010

Half-term ranking: n/a

Heidfeld’s 2010 season started very late – he was only drafted in at Sauber for the final five races.

He got up to speed quickly, finishing within a couple of seconds of Kobayashi in Suzuka and Korea. He scored as many points in his five races as Pedro de la Rosa had in 14.

Was always close to Kobayashi despite joining late in the season. Not an easy thing to do! Remember Fisichella last year?
M Sakr

Nick Heidfeld 2010 form guide

16. Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Singapore, 2010
Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Singapore, 2010

Half-term ranking: 9

Being Fernando Alonso’s team mate must be one of the toughest jobs in Formula 1. Alonso may have been the new recruit, but from day one he out-drove Massa in the car and out-flanked him within the team – the latter becoming brutally clear at Hockenheim.

It’s easy to overlook the few highlights in Massa’s season. He did beat Alonso in four of the first seven races, though this was often down to Alonso making life difficult for himself. And Alonso didn’t completely rout him in qualifying.

But by the end of the season Massa’s function within the team had been reduced to supporting Alonso, and he couldn’t even offer much in that capacity.

Suzuka was the nadir, failing to reach Q3 then smashing into Vitantonio Liuzzi at the first turn. I was surprised the stewards didn’t give him a penalty for that. Maybe they felt sorry for him too.

I was so disappointed (and worried) last year when Massa had his accident, as I am a large fan and I think he may well have had the measure on Kimi R??ikk??nen.

But pre-season I was worried that Alonso would make mincemeat of him, and that?s how it seemed to go this season. He didn?t start off badly, nabbing a podium in Bahrain and finishing ahead of Alonso in a few of the first races (like Australia). But as the season got underway and Mr Eyebrows began his domination of the team (China, anyone?) the Brazilian faltered.

And when it finally looked as if he had regained some 2008 form in Germany ??it?? happened, and that was about it. Very disappointed for him and hope he comes back stronger next year.
Joe King

Felipe Massa 2010 form guide

15. Nico H???lkenberg

Nico H???lkenberg, Interlagos, 2010

Half-term ranking: 19

The highest-placed ‘true’ rookie of 2010 on this list doesn’t have a drive for 2011 yet. But it’s clear that’s a reflection not on his ability but his lack of sponsorship compared to Pastor Maldonado, who has taken his place at Williams.

H???lkenberg’s maiden season was scrappy at times, especially in the opening races of the season and that lifeless final appearance at Abu Dhabi, by which time he must have known he wouldn’t be returning for Williams in 2011.

But glimpses of his potential weren’t confined to that shock pole position at Interlagos and the mature way he handled racing with the championship contenders in the race. He was fifth on the grid in the rain-hit qualifying session at Sepang and had a great weekend at Monza.

It would reflect badly on F1 if a promising talent such as this cannot find a race seat for a second season.

Best of the rookies, he started to find his feet at the end of the year, caught up with Rubens (which isn’t as easy as Ruben’s detractors might like you to believe) and pulled that stormer of a lap in Brazil. If you can leave Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso looking baffled as to where you’ve found the speed on a qualifying lap, then you’re a rare talent.

Nico H???lkenberg 2010 form guide

14. Heikki Kovalainen

Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Singapore, 2010
Heikki Kovalainen, Lotus, Singapore, 2010

Half-term ranking: 12

Kovalainen was the only driver from the new teams to finish ahead of a car run by one of the established outfits.

He did it to H???lkenberg at Shanghai as the Williams driver made about two pit stops too many, and he somehow kept Vitaly Petrov’s Renault behind at Montreal as well.

He was regularly the highest-placed of the new teams’ drivers, and that wasn’t just down to having better reliability than his team mate.

Kovalainen had a strong season, revelling in his role in developing a new team. Having fewer mechanical retirements than Trulli helped, but Kovalainen generally seemed to be punching above his weight, even after the Lotus stopped developing their 2010 car. Like Glock, he took advantage of his opportunities and made it to Q2 in Malaysia and Belgium.

Heikki Kovalainen 2010 form guide

13. Michael Schumacher

Michael Schumacher. Mercedes, Shanghai, 2010
Michael Schumacher. Mercedes, Shanghai, 2010

Half-term ranking: 13

A few races into Schumacher’s comeback several people were wondering what his exit strategy was going to be. It’s to his credit that he stuck it out.

Schumacher’s problem was rooted in the tyres, particularly the fronts, which wouldn’t allow him to throw the car into the corners in his customary style. Mixed weather conditions, so often his forte in years past, exposed the problem even more.

He was often seen slipping back down the field and at times his defensive strategies clearly went too far – as at the Hungaroring.

But there was light at the end of the tunnel. As Mercedes made progress with the car, Schumacher’s performances correspondingly improved – notably in Korea.

He never looked like beating his team mate, and when he had the chance to in Interlagos he let Rosberg by, even though Rosberg had not done the same for him in Suzuka.

On whose standards are we to judge his year? The standard he set in his dominant years, or the standard we would expect of a 41-year-old who?s been out of the sport for three years?

Schumacher was pretty disappointing this year, the first year he completed a full season without winning at least one race. Two fourth place finishes and little more than half of the points scored by his team mate shows he doesn?t have the touch he did before.

A terrifying smash at the last race of the year is probably another tick in the ??retire again? column. If 2011 is the same as 2010 I can see him pulling out half way through next year and handing the reins over to probable test driver H???lkenburg.

Michael Schumacher 2010 form guide

12. Jaime Alguersuari

Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, Bahrain, 2010

Half-term ranking: 15

Alguersuari made solid progress throughout his first full season of F1. By the end of the year he had gone from being the junior partner at Toro Rosso to regularly out-qualifying and out-racing Sebastien Buemi.

There are still some rough edges on this young talent – he ran into his team mate at Hockenheim and picked up a penalties at Spa and Monza.

I thought he would be really poor, but in my opinon he totally crushed Buemi, and drove well in the last four races of the season. I think he?s one to watch for the future.

Jaime Alguersuari 2010 form guide

11. Timo Glock

Timo Glock, Virgin, Singapore, 2010
Timo Glock, Virgin, Singapore, 2010

Half-term ranking: 14

Glock took the fight to Lotus beyond what the VR-01 should have been capable of. As usual, he stood out in wet races and might have caused a late upset in the new teams’ championship battle if he hadn’t been taken out by Sebastien Buemi in Korea.

He was impressive in Singapore too, defending his position from a string of faster cars before his race was ruined by the safety car intervention. Clearly a talent that deserves better machinery.

“Impressive” is not enough to describe Glock’s work this year. He has always been on the gearboxes of the Lotuses, and sometimes even coming home in front of them, in a car that was arguably not capable of such feat. Worthy of note was his defence from Sutil at Singapore – pure class, he didn’t even need to put a wheel off the racing line!
Guilherme Teixeira

Timo Glock 2010 form guide

10. Kamui Kobayashi

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Valencia, 2010
Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Valencia, 2010

Half-term ranking: 16

Kobayashi looked like a loose cannon at the start of the season, particularly in Melbourne where he was rarely seen with a front wing attached to his Sauber.

But, much like his car, he came good as the season went on and the team put his overtaking prowess to good use with some daring strategies. He grabbed seventh at Valencia after springing a surprise attack on Fernando Alonso, then passing Buemi within sight of the flag.

More heroics followed at his home race in Suzuka. But he wasn’t just a one-trick pony – a more conventional strategy yielded his best result of the season – sixth place at Silverstone. There’s still room for improvement, particularly in qualifying, but otherwise a very impressive season.

Provided a lot of entertainment this year, especially towards the end once Sauber became more reliable. Every time the camera cuts to a Kobayashi replay I get excited because you know something amazing is about to happen!

Kamui Kobayashi 2010 form guide

9. Adrian Sutil

Adrian Sutil, Force India, Silverstone, 2010
Adrian Sutil, Force India, Silverstone, 2010

Half-term ranking: 8

Started the season brightly but found it increasingly difficult to impress in the Force India as the team fell behind in the midfield battle.

What marked Sutil’s season out as such an improvement over previous campaigned was that, by and large, he cut out the mistakes and accidents – Korea being a notable exception.

His natural talent shone through more often and he pulled off some excellent overtaking moves, particularly on Buemi in Valencia and Schumacher at Silverstone. In fact, he and Schumacher crossed swords several times in 2010 and Sutil often came out on top.

Even as the car’s performance waned Sutil was seldom troubled by team mate Liuzzi.

People have been quick to slate Adrian Sutil after a disapointing second half of the season, but that just typifies how short people’s memories are.

He managed to drag a car that was average at best to points in almost half of the races this season, including superb fifths at Malaysia and Spa. His excellent points haul very nearly helped Force India to pip Williams to sixth in the constructors’ championship.
Ned Flanders

Adrian Sutil 2010 form guide

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2010 F1 driver rankings part one: 27-18

Who was the best F1 driver of 2010?

The annual F1 Fanatic driver rankings are upon us and all 27 drivers who started a race in 2010 will be ranked in this series of four articles.

Read the rankings here and have your say on who was the best driver of the year.

While writing the final driver rankings for 2010 I consulted the F1 Fanatic driver form guides and statistics, re-watched the races and qualifying sessions and read your remarks in the 2010 driver rankings forum thread.

A selection of your comments from the thread are included below.

27. Sakon Yamamoto

Sakon Yamamoto, HRT, Hungaroring, 2010
Sakon Yamamoto, HRT, Hungaroring, 2010

Half-term ranking: n/a

Did better than many people expected him to after being parachuted in at HRT mid-season, but that isn’t saying very much.

Tellingly, Yamamoto has never started a season with a team. Nor did he see this one out, getting the boot shortly after his home race.

Didn’t bring anything to a team already in trouble. Not bad in Spa or Hockenheim, but got his seat because of his money.

Sakon Yamamoto 2010 form guide

26. Lucas di Grassi

Lucas di Grassi, Virgin, Monza, 2010
Lucas di Grassi, Virgin, Monza, 2010

Half-term ranking: 23

With testing opportunities as limited as they are, it’s never been tougher for new drivers in Formula 1. That goes for all of them, including di Grassi.

It wasn’t until Istanbul that he got an updated VR-01 with a larger fuel tank enabling him to reach the end of races without having to slow down to save fuel.

Even so, he lagged some way off team mate Timo Glock’s pace. Then late in the season he had to hand over his first practice running to Jerome d’Ambrosio, suggesting the team had already made a decision about whether di Grassi would be driving for them next year.

Crashes at Suzuka (on the way to the grid, missing the race) and Korea late in the season underlined a very tough first season for di Grassi.

His bizarre Suzuka warm up lap shunt was the icing on the cake of a pretty mediocre season. He never looked capable of consistently matching his team mate all year.

Of course, it didn’t help that he was driving a dog of a car, and that his team undermined him somewhat by bringing in Jerome d’Ambrosio as a Friday driver.
Ned Flanders

Lucas di Grassi 2010 form guide

25. Karun Chandhok

Karun Chandhok, HRT, Istanbul, 2010
Karun Chandhok, HRT, Istanbul, 2010

Half-term ranking: 24

The likeable Chandhok won over legions of fans. But that didn’t help him much in a team so under-resourced he hadn’t even driven the car before qualifying began in Bahrain.

Out-qualified Yamamoto in their one race together as team mates, but was still dropped in favour of the Japanese driver.

Nice guy, but people overlook he was beaten by Senna more often than not, and only placed highest from races of attrition.

Karun Chandhok 2010 form guide

24. Bruno Senna

Bruno Senna, HRT, Interlagos, 2010
Bruno Senna, HRT, Interlagos, 2010

Half-term ranking: 22

Usually – though by no means always – beat Chandhok in qualifying, but was held back by dreadful unreliability, especially in the first half of the season.

Yamamoto rarely troubled him but Christian Klien proved a trickier proposition and the more experienced driver usually came out on top.

It’s hard to draw meaningful conclusions about any of these drivers who spent their rookie seasons driving such uncompetitive cars. But there was little about Senna’s maiden campaign that really stood out.

He looked like a good driver when he was racing Chandok and Yamamoto. But then came Klien (who is average at best and hadn’t raced an F1 car since the 2006 Italian Grand Prix) and outqualifies him by 1.228 seconds!
Guilherme Teixeira

Bruno Senna 2010 form guide

23. Vitaly Petrov

Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Korea, 2010
Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Korea, 2010

Half-term ranking: 20

There were too few highlights in a season where Petrov had ample opportunity to impress. Those that stood out were his spirited defence from Lewis Hamilton in Malaysia and the two occasions when he beat Robert Kubica in qualifying.

Otherwise 2010 saw far too many crashes and spins for Petrov and the gap between him and Kubica in qualifying was often over a second.

Would be out of a seat if he came with fewer dollars or a different passport. Showed improvement throughout the year, but still dropped it too many times to really impress.

Perhaps a year or two at a lower midfield team would help him to develop further, but I don?t see him on the grid at the first Russian Grand Prix in four years time.

Vitaly Petrov 2010 form guide

22. Christian Klien

Christian Klien, HRT, Interlagos, 2010
Christian Klien, HRT, Interlagos, 2010

Half-term ranking: n/a

A surprise comeback for Klien late in the year saw the Austrian make three stars for HRT.

Inevitably, given the team he was driving for, there was little to show for it, though he proved a safe pair of hands that was as least as quick as any of their other drivers.

Not many chances to prove himself, his performance in Singapore showed us that he was the one that deserved the seat more then Yamamoto.

Christian Klien 2010 form guide

21. Vitantonio Liuzzi

Vitantontio Liuzzi, Force India, Singapore, 2010
Vitantontio Liuzzi, Force India, Singapore, 2010

Half-term ranking: 21

Started the season worryingly far off team mate Adrian Sutil’s pace. The gap came down in the second half of the season but by this time the VJM03 had dropped further off the pace and Liuzzi sometimes failed to make it through Q1.

There were a couple of good days – at Canada (despite his first-lap tangle with Felipe Massa) and Korea – but they were few and far between.

Last year I defended Liuzzi. His performances this year however cannot be excused. His incredible pre F1 record, like H???lkenberg’s just shows that F1 is a whole new ball game when it comes to talent.

Vitantonio Liuzzi 2010 form guide

20. Sebastien Buemi

Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, Interlagos, 2010
Sebastien Buemi, Toro Rosso, Interlagos, 2010

Half-term ranking: 10

Buemi had a strange second season in Formula 1. He showed a lot of promise in the early races, leading at Montreal and putting an excellent pass on Michael Schumacher.

What held him back more than anything was an unfortunate propensity for getting caught up in first-lap accidents. Often he was utterly blameless – as at Melbourne, Shanghai and Hockenheim, for example.

In the second half of the season the balance of power at Toro Rosso shifted decisively in favour of Jaime Alguersuari. Buemi slipped further behind his team mate and even in the rain at Korea – conditions in which he has excelled in the past – he crashed out.

The car can’t be that flattering but I feel his team mate had more pace over the course of the year and, despite many rookie mistakes at the start of the year, was actually more consistent, despite Buemi scoring more points.
Joe King

Sebastien Buemi 2010 form guide

19. Pedro de la Rosa

Pedro de la Rosa, Sauber, Hungaroring, 2010
Pedro de la Rosa, Sauber, Hungaroring, 2010

Half-term ranking: 18

De la Rosa was hard done by on his return to F1 after a three-year absence.

He bore the brunt of Sauber’s early-season unreliability with four mechanical failures in the first six races. He was on course for a significant points haul in China when his engine let go.

At Hungary he qualified ninth and finished seventh. But two races later he was dropped for Nick Heidfeld, the team saying they wanted a driver they were familiar with for comparison.

Suffered with unreliable machinery, but still could have done better.
David A

Pedro de la Rosa 2010 form guide

18. Jarno Trulli

Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Jerez, 2010
Jarno Trulli, Lotus, Jerez, 2010

Half-term ranking: 17

You couldn’t blame Jarno Trulli for looking disinterested at times in a season when he wasn’t classified because his car broke down seven times – as many as anyone else. On top of that, several times the T127 failed him and he still made it to the flag.

He usually qualified quickest of the new teams’ drivers but tended to fall behind his team mate in the races.

In the twilight of his career. Solidly out-qualified his team mate for the first half of the season, then they have been very evenly matched through the second half.

He is an OK driver, and can perform. But I can’t see him staying in F1 for much longer, if at all.

Jarno Trulli 2010 form guide

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Did 2010 meet our expectations? Pre- season predictions revisited

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Bahrain, 2010
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Bahrain, 2010

Before the 2010 season began F1 Fanatic readers were invited to make 20 predictions about the year ahead.

Who fared best in this test of our clairvoyant skills? Well, it certainly wasn’t me!

Read on for the results.

1. What will be the best surprise?

I said: Lotus getting on the pace by the end of the season
You said: Lots of different suggestions for this one, quite a few tips for Williams and Lotus to do well

2. What will be the worst surprise?

I said: HRT not making it to the end of the season
You said: Again, lots of suggestions and a few people tipped HRT not to make it to the end of the year. Several suggestions that Schumacher wouldn’t see the season out too

3. Which driver will be replaced first?

Karun Chandhok, HRT, Monte-Carlo, 2010
Karun Chandhok, HRT, Monte-Carlo, 2010

I said: Jaime Alguersuari
You said: Jaime Alguersuari

The first driver out was Karun Chandhok, as picked by 11 people.

4. Who will he be replaced by?

I said: Daniel Ricciardo
You said: Nick Heidfeld and Paul di Resta were the most popular picks

Nobody picked the right answer, which was Sakon Yamamoto.

5. What will be the biggest political story?

I said: Plans for a new engine specification
You said: Budget caps and the 13th team were among the top picks

6. Jenson Button vs Lewis Hamilton

I said: Lewis Hamilton
You said: Lewis Hamilton

And Hamilton indeed had the upper hand – though how many would have guessed he would still be behind Jenson Button in the championship after seven races?

7. Felipe Massa vs Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Hockenheim, 2010
Fernando Alonso, Felipe Massa, Ferrari, Hockenheim, 2010

I said: Fernando Alonso
You said: Fernando Alonso

No question over this one either.

8. How many races will Michael Schumacher win?

I said: Six
You said: Two

The most popular pick for how many races Schumacher would win was two – only 12 people thought he’d end the year win-less.

9. Will Kimi R??ikk??nen announce a return to F1 in 2011?

I said: No
You said: No

And sure enough, Kimi R??ikk??nen isn’t coming back. But just what will he be doing in 2011?

10. Who will have the worst reliability?

I said: HRT
You said: HRT

HRT was the most popular choice, picked by 60 people. But Virgin, who were a close second with 54 votes, had the least reliable car.

11. Who will be the most impressive rookie?

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Suzuka, 2010
Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Suzuka, 2010

I said: Nico H???lkenberg
You said: Nico H???lkenberg

H???lkenberg may have had that stunning pole position at Interlagos but it was Kamui Kobayashi – the second most popular choice – who amassed the most points in 2010 out of the newcomers (including himself and Jaime Alguersuari).

12. Which will be the most entertaining race?

I said: Canada
You said: Brazil

Before the season began Canada was the third most popular pick behind Brazil and Belgium. But it was voted the best race of the year during the season.

13. Who will set the most pole positions?

I said: Lewis Hamilton
You said: Lewis Hamilton

Sebastian Vettel set the most pole positions in 2010. He was the third most popular pick before the season began, behind Hamilton and Alonso.

14. Who will win the Monaco Grand Prix?

I said: Fernando Alonso
You said: Lewis Hamilton

Just two people correctly picked Mark Webber. If Alonso hadn’t shunted in third practice I bet I’d’ve got this one right…

15. Who will be the first retirement at Bahrain?

I said: Karun Chandhok
You said: Karun Chandhok

Poor Chandhok only made it as far as lap two in the Bahrain Grand Prix. By the end of the race he’d still done less than ten laps in the HRT all year.

16. Which will be the best new team?

I said: Lotus
You said: Lotus

Sure enough, Lotus were the best of the new teams.

17. At which race will the drivers? title be won?

I said: Brazil
You said: Abu Dhabi

Most people thought the drivers’ title would go down to the wire – pity I didn’t ask how many drivers would be in contention at that race!

18. Who will win the constructors? championship?

I said: Mercedes
You said: Ferrari

Eventual champions Red Bull were ranked a distant third behind Ferrari and McLaren.

19. Who will win the drivers? championship?

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2010
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2010

I said: Michael Schumacher
You said: Fernando Alonso

Alonso certainly came close, but the less said about my prediction the better.

Vettel was the third choice behind Hamilton.

20. How many points will the winning driver score?

I said: 308
You said: 275 (average)

A particularly tricky question due to the new points system. Vettel scored 256 out of a potential maximum of 475. Only one person guessed this correctly – well done Ajokay!

Who got the most predictions right?

Unlike the F1 Fanatic Predictions Championship there are no prizes for this one, it’s just a bit of fun.

Still, congratulations to Angus who got ten answers right, more than anyone else! I managed a far less impressive five out of ten.

The questions Angus answered correctly were 6, 7, 9, 10, 11, 13, 16, 17, 18 and 19.

How did your 2010 predictions match up to the results? Check the original article here and have your say in the comments.

Thanks very much to Robert Boismier for counting up the predictions!

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Images ?? Red Bull/Getty images, Motioncompany, Ferrari spa, BMW Sauber F1 Team, Red Bull/Getty images

Picture gallery: Bridgestone in F1, 1976-2010

1996: Suzuki tests Bridgestone's F1 tyres
1996: Suzuki tests Bridgestone's F1 tyres

Bridgestone have bowed out of Formula 1 having supplied tyres to teams since 1997.

But their first appearance in the sport was over 20 years before that. They also supplied tyres in the first Japanese Grands Prix at Fuji in the 1970s.

While the 1976 Japanese Grand Prix is remembered mainly for the dramatic conclusion of the world championship, this was also the first F1 race featuring a car which used Bridgestone tyres.

Kazuyoshi Hoshino’s Tyrrell, entered by Heros Racing, was the sole Bridgestone runner at Fuji. The following year he and Noritake Takahara raced a pair of Kojimas at the same race, also on Bridgestones.

But the Japanese Grand Prix was dropped after that year and Bridgestone did not return to the sport until 1997. This time they weren’t just dipping a toe in the water: five teams arranged to use their tyres, though that number was cut to four when Lola disappeared after a single race.

Goodyear, who had enjoyed a monopoly on F1 tyre supply since Pirelli left in 1991, now found themselves back in competition with another tyre manufacturer.

Bridgestone enjoyed early success with the Prost team, Olivier Panis scoring their first podium in their second race at Interlagos. Later that year at the Hungaroring Damon Hill came within a lap of winning in his Bridgestone-shod Arrows.

That enticed McLaren to join the Bridgestone camp for 1998 and together they won both championships that year. Meanwhile the arrival of regulations requiring cars to use grooved tyres prompted Goodyear to leave.

In 1999 and 2000 Bridgestone were the only tyre supplier in F1. But in 2001 Michelin returned to the sport and the tyre war was reignited.

Top teams including Williams (2001) and McLaren (2002) were among the early defectors to the French tyre company. After being trounced by Bridgestone in 2002 Michelin hit back hard in 2003, only for a controversial late-season change in the rules which played into Bridgestone’s hands.

By 2004 the Bridgestone-Ferrari alliance had claimed six consecutive constructors’ titles and five consecutive drivers’ titles. But the number of other teams using Bridgestones shrunk to a small minority, as the tyre supplier increasingly focussed their efforts solely on the Scuderia.

Another rules tweak in 2005, this time banning tyre changes during races, turned the status quo on its head. Suddenly Michelins were the thing to have – except at Indianapolis.

A spate of tyre failures caused their teams to retire en masse before the start of the United States Grand Prix, resulting in a farcical race contested by just the three Bridgestone-shod teams.

Renault and Michelin broke Bridgestone’s stranglehold on championship success that year and repeated it in 2006 as tyre changes returned to the sport. But it was Felipe Massa’s Ferrari, running on Bridgestones, that won the final contest between the two at Interlagos, before Michelin quit.

Since then Bridgestone have been F1’s only tyre supplier. They have increasingly used the sport to promote the environmental credentials of their tyres, which is why since 2008 the ‘option’ tyres have been distinguished by green stripes.

But at the end of last year they announced 2010 would be their final season in Formula 1. A two-day test following the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix last month marked F1’s the final appearance of Bridgestone tyres and the end of an era as Pirelli arrived to take their place.

Here’s a look back on Bridgestone’s involvement in F1 since that tentative first run at Fuji in 1976:

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Images ?? Bridgestone Corporation, Red Bull/Getty images, Red Bull/GEPA, Daimler, Ferrari spa, Williams/Sutton, Williams/LAT,, Brawn GP, Force India F1 Team, (see individual images for further details)

Red Bull and Vettel triumph in spite of themselves

Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2010
Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Silverstone, 2010

Red Bull had the fastest car of 2010 – but they made life difficult for themselves.

The domination of the RB6 often made Saturday qualifying sessions a foregone conclusion. But the team only won half the races.

Still, despite several crashes for Sebastian Vettel – including one catastrophic intra-team smash – the Milton Keynes-based team captured both titles.

Red Bull team stats 2010

Best race result (number)1st (9)
Best grid position (number)1st (15)
Non-finishes (mechanical/other)5 (2/3)
Laps completed (% of total)2109 (93.4%)
Laps led (% of total)699 (61.91%)
Championship position (2009)1st (2nd)
Championship points (2009*)498 (376)
*using 2010 system

Having ended 2009 as the team to beat, Red Bull skipped the first week of testing while Adrian Newey put the finishing touches to his latest brainchild.

Once it hit the track the RB6 quickly proved a worthy successor to his greatest cars, such as the Williams FW14B and McLaren MP4-13.

Its qualifying performances particularly frustrated the team’s rivals. At first suspicion surrounded a claimed ride height-lowering device, but none was found.

Later in the season the team’s front wing was seen to be dipping at some circuits to produce extra downforce. The FIA increased the severity of its chassis tests but this only seemed to lessen, not eradicate, the suspicious flexing.

While the RB6 shared the performance characteristics of previous Newey creations, it also bore another family hallmark – dubious reliability.

Although Red Bull’s race-finishing rate was no worse than McLaren’s, for Vettel the car chose the least opportune moments to break down. It robbed him of wins at Melbourne and Korea and on several other occasions Vettel had to drag a faltering car to the flag.

At the beginning of the season the balance of power was tipped in Vettel’s favour. Even at Sepang, where Mark Webber took a brilliant pole position by gambling on intermediate tyres on a drying track, Vettel nabbed the lead at the start and took the win.

Webber hit back with a pair of pole-to-flag victories in Spain and Monaco. He started at the front of the grid again at Istanbul after Vettel suffered a roll bar failure in qualifying.

This put the pair on a collision course and all hell broke loose when Vettel tried to pass his team mate for the lead on lap 40. Vettel edged towards Webber, triggering a crash that ended Vettel’s race and left Webber on a damage-limiting run to third.

Now the gloves were off, and Webber wasted no time in calling the team’s decision to hand a new specification front wing to Vettel in Silverstone a sign of their favouritism.

Webber, who had survived a terrifying crash at Valencia two weeks earlier, won the day, while Vettel made a scrappy recovery drive to seventh.

Vettel’s perceived weakness in overtaking was underlined when he crashed into Jenson Button while trying to overtake the McLaren driver at Spa. But this marked a late turning point in his season – from then on he was never headed by Webber again.

Monza was one of the few tracks at which the RB6 did not excel. Vettel overcame an engine problem during the race to take a useful fourth on a day when he couldn’t challenge Fernando Alonso’s Ferrari.

A mistake on his qualifying lap at Singapore proved costly as it allowed Alonso in for another win, Vettel chasing him home. But at Suzuka – a circuit he has developed great fondness for – nobody could touch Vettel.

Webber, meanwhile, saw Alonso move ahead of him in the drivers’ championship. He lobbied Christian Horner to impose team orders and have Vettel play a supporting role as Felipe Massa had been ordered to at Ferrari.

As I pointed out at the time, Red Bull could have taken the World Motor Sport Council’s decision not to enforce the team orders rule in an effective fashion as their cue to back Webber, and ordered Vettel to let him by whenever he was running directly in front of his team mate over the final six races.

Had they done that, Webber would have been champion. To their credit, they did not do this, as it would have involved Vettel pulling over at Singapore, Japan and Brazil.

Smart race strategy was an under-rated strength of the team’s in 2010. It saved Webber’s race in Singapore, allowing him to salvage third, thanks also to some pin-sharp overtaking and a huge slice of luck when he survived contact with Lewis Hamilton.

At Interlagos Webber re-stated his claim that the team were secretly favouring Vettel. But he had a secret of his own – he revealed after the season that he had picked up a shoulder injury ahead of the final four races. He denied it affected his driving, but at this crucial point in the season his form clearly dipped.

He carried the blame for crashing out in the rain in Korea and was off the pace in the final round at Yas Marina. In a season where the gap between him and Vettel in qualifying was often just hundredths of a second, he was over half a second adrift at the final race, and slumped to eighth on Sunday.

While Alonso and Ferrari took themselves out of contention, the way was clear for Vettel to grab his fifth win of the year and the title along with it.

He had never led the championship at any point previously in the season, though arguably he should have been ahead from round one. If Red Bull can marry speed and reliability in 2011, and Vettel can replicate his late-2010 form across all 20 races, this will be the first of many titles for team and driver.

Red Bull’s 2010 season in pictures

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Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images, Bridgestone/Ercole Colombo

Canadian Grand Prix voted best race of 2010

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Montreal, 2010
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Montreal, 2010

F1 Fanatic readers named the Canadian Grand Prix the best race of the 2010 season.

The race, which returned to the calendar this year, received the second-highest rating of all races since the start of the 2008 season.

Only the 2008 Brazilian Grand Prix, where the world championship was decided on the final lap, out-ranked it.

The German Grand Prix was rated the worst race of the season, after Ferrari ordered Felipe Massa to hand victory over to Fernando Alonso.

Overall the exciting F1 season was reflected in the voting. Four of the five highest-rated races of the last three years were in this season:

RaceAverage rating out of ten
1.2008 Brazil8.756
2.2010 Canada8.668
3.2010 Australia8.638
4.2010 Belgium8.368
5.2010 China8.326
6.2009 Brazil8.309
7.2008 Monaco8.177
8.2008 Britain8.164
9.2008 Italy8.153
10.2010 Turkey7.984

For more on how this year’s races compared to previous seasons see this article: F1 Fanatic readers rate the last 50 races

F1 Fanatic 2010 race ratings

2010 F1 Fanatic race ratings
2010 F1 Fanatic race ratings
RaceAverage rating out of ten
Abu Dhabi6.602

F1 Fanatic readers are invited to rate each Grand Prix out of ten immediately after each race. This year over 56,000 votes were cast. More information: Where F1 Fanatic readers are from

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Two champions but no titles for McLaren in 2010

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Spa-Francorchamps, 2010

McLaren’s decision to pair the two most recent world champions provoked pre-season speculation about whether they might fall out.

But while the Lewis Hamilton-Jenson Button pairing worked well, McLaren faced other difficulties during 2010.

Not least in terms of car development, as they ran into trouble trying to keep pace with Red Bull and Ferrari.

McLaren team stats 2010

Best race result (number)1st (5)
Best grid position (number)1st (1)
Non-finishes (mechanical/other)5 (2/3)
Laps completed (% of total)2024 (89.64%)
Laps led (% of total)245 (21.7%)
Championship position (2009)2nd (3rd)
Championship points (2009*)454 (181)
*using 2010 system

McLaren stole a march on their rivals at the start of the season with their innovation dubbed the ‘F-duct’ – known internally as the RW80.

Simple in concept but difficult to execute, it allowed their drivers to stall the rear wing on straights, reducing downforce and drag while it was not needed in order to reach a higher top speed.

It took a while for their rivals to successfully implement their own versions of the F-duct. In the meantime McLaren enjoyed a strong first half of the season, with four wins shared between their two drivers.

Those who expected Button to show Hamilton the way were in the minority. But he grabbed two opportunistic wins in the first four races, partly thanks to spot-on tyre calls in wet conditions.

Hamilton suffered setbacks which left him to rely on the MP4-25’s straight-line speed (thanks in part to that F-duct) and his overtaking prowess to make up places at Melbourne, Sepang and Shanghai.

At Melbourne Hamilton was infuriated by being summoned for an extra pit stop which ultimately cost him places before he was hit by Mark Webber. He was at odds with his strategists again at Istanbul when he was told Button was holding station behind him – only for Button to pass him for the lead.

Hamilton reversed the move and went on to win, then made it back-to-back victories with a top-drawer performance at Canada. Second places at Valencia (despite a penalty for overtaking the safety car) and Silverstone propelled him into the lead of the drivers’ championship.

A combination of setbacks kept him and McLaren from the titles. Not least of which was uncharacteristic unreliability.

While Hamilton had enjoyed excellent reliability in his first three seasons, he retired from the top four positions with car problems twice in 2010 and had a double-whammy of gearbox glitches in Suzuka.

Button fared better: his sole race-ending mechanical failure of the year at Monte-Carlo was the result of a mechanic leaving a cover on an air intake. He was frustrated by a faulty dashboard in Spain as well.

On top of that the team’s development path led them into trouble. The plan to add an exhaust-blown diffuser at Silverstone was aborted and in the later races they simply couldn’t match the race pace of Red Bull and Ferrari. A new rear wing seemed to solve their problems in the final round but it was too little too late.

Hamilton also rued a costly clash with Felipe Massa at Monza, blowing a chance to take points off the Red Bulls.

Two weeks later in Singapore he was rather luckless when contact with Webber caused another retirement. Still, if he had a Get Out Of Jail Free Card he played it at Spa when he disappeared into a gravel trap while leading and dragged his car out again, still in first place.

Button rallied at Monza by gambling on an unusual high-downforce set-up which, allied to the F-duct, nearly won him the race.

But, as in 2009, qualifying was again a weakness and he started outside the top ten in Britain, Hungary and Brazil. His hopes of retaining his title were finally extinguished after a disastrous race in Korea.

Hamilton stayed in the running until the final round and although he ended the year fourth he was just 16 points behind winner Sebastian Vettel at the end of a remarkably close season.

In their first season having regained independent status McLaren comfortably beat Mercedes. But this battle between the Mercedes factory outfit and the top Mercedes-powered team will be one to watch in 2011.

McLaren’s 2010 season in pictures

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Image ??, Bridgestone/Ercole Colombo

2010 in stats part three: car performance


There’s no question which team had the fastest car of 2010. With 15 pole positions in 19 races Red Bull were clearly the team to beat.

But which was the second-fastest car of 2010? McLaren recently argued it was their MP4-25 but a look at the data suggests a Ferrari F10 was the thing to have if you couldn’t get your hands on an RB6.

Car performance

Here’s how McLaren made the case in a blog post two weeks ago that the MP4-25 was the second-fastest car of 2010:

Over the course of the 2010 season, said Tim [Goss, chief engineer of the MP4-25], our qualifying pace was just 0.001s per lap slower than third-placed Ferrari – negligible. On race pace alone, he asserted, the MP4-25 was actually 0.136s per lap quicker than the Ferrari.

Overall, then, this means our car was 0.074s per lap faster than the Ferrari.

McLaren haven’t shown how they worked this out so pulling their numbers apart is a little tricky.

To get a clear picture of the relative differences between all the cars, the chart below compares the fastest lap time of every car at every race weekend – including practice, qualifying and the Grand Prix.

That is converted into a percentage to give a simple and reasonable accurate view of who had the quickest car at each stage of the season:

BahrainAustraliaMalaysiaChinaSpainMonacoTurkeyCanadaEuropeBritainGermanyHungaryBelgiumItalySingaporeJapanKoreaBrazilAbu Dhabi
Red Bull00000000.36000000.570.060000
Force India1.171.911.161.491.941.821.430.720.941.992.273.480.831.513.332.062.32.461.53
Toro Rosso1.

Some trends are easy to spot (use the select none/all and teams buttons to compare different lines). For example, Force India and Toro Rosso gradually lost ground to the leaders whereas Williams generally reduced their deficit.

As for Ferrari and McLaren, the pendulum swung back and forth between the two all year. But, more often than not, it was Ferrari who were ahead.

This simple graph shows the difference in the best lap times set by the two cars at each race weekend:

Gap between Ferrari and McLaren's fastest laps in 2010
Gap between Ferrari and McLaren’s fastest laps in 2010

To illustrate how dominant Red Bull were, here’s how many laps each team led in 2010:

Laps led by team, 2010
Laps led by team, 2010

Car reliability

A car’s performance is only one part of the story. And when it comes to reliability, Ferrari were the best of all the teams.

Had it not been for Fernando Alonso’s crash at Spa and Massa’s at Suzuka, Ferrari would have had both cars classified in every race this year.

Alonso’s engine failure in Sepang was the only instance of a Ferrari breaking down during a Grand Prix, but he was still a classified finisher.

Here are all the teams’ non-classifications, broken down into mechanical failures and other problems:

Reliability: race finishes by team, 2010
Reliability: race finishes by team, 2010

This data can’t tell us about occasions where drivers nursed a car problem to the end of a race. This happened to Red Bull on several occasions – Sebastian Vettel was hampered by such problems at Bahrain, Spain and Canada to name a few.

Sauber struggled with reliability the most and completed the fewest racing laps of any team:

Laps completed by team, 2010
Laps completed by team, 2010

Got any observations on the performance of the different cars in 2010? Any other data you’d like to see? Have your say in the comments.

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Third title eludes Alonso in first year with Ferrari

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Monza, 2010
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Monza, 2010

Ferrari may not have won either championship in 2010, but by the end of the year they looked more purposeful and convincing than they had at any time since Michael Schumacher left the team.

Fernando Alonso and Ferrari proved a perfect match for each other and came within a strategic blunder of grabbing the drivers’ title.

But it was a year to forget for Felipe Massa who must question his future with the team after being put firmly in Alonso’s shadow.

Ferrari team stats 2010

Best race result (number)1st (5)
Best grid position (number)1st (2)
Non-finishes (mechanical/other)2 (0/2)
Laps completed (% of total)2194 (97.17%)
Laps led (% of total)168 (14.88%)
Championship position (2009)3rd (4th)
Championship points (2009*)396 (183)
*using 2010 system

The first race of the year was Ferrari’s season in microcosm. Alonso brushed Massa aside and profited from Red Bull’s problems to grab a maiden victory for the team.

But is was also something of a false dawn, as it took the team ten races to add a second victory.

There were a few missed opportunities along the way, particularly at Monaco. Alonso topped both Friday practice session but crashed ahead of qualifying, leaving him at the back of the grid and ruining his weekend.

Engine reliability was another early setback. The team had to switch V8s ahead of the first race at Bahrain, and Alonso suffered failures at Sepang (in the race) and Shanghai (in practice). The FIA later permitted them to tweak their engines to improve reliability.

But on the whole Alonso and Massa enjoyed a more reliable car than any other pair of team mates in 2010. Alonso grappled with a clutch problem before his retirement in Malaysia, and Massa’s qualifying in Singapore was ruined by a technical fault, but otherwise the F10 served them well in qualifying and races.

While Red Bull and McLaren stole a march on Ferrari in the opening races, the Scuderia stumbled as it hastily upgraded its F10 with the F-duct and exhaust-blown diffuser. After a controversial test at Fiorano – described by the team as being for “filming purposes” – they had mastered the new configuration and were much quicker at Valencia.

Alonso’s race was ruined but the unfortunately-timed arrival of the safety car. Ferrari denounced the Grand Prix as a “scandal” and a “false race”.

Those words might equally have been used to describe Ferrari’s handling of the German Grand Prix, when Massa was ordered to give up victory to Alonso, who had tried and failed to overtake his team mate.

Ferrari’s decision to test the rules forbidding team orders to breaking point may have been cynical but it was vindicated as the FIA chose not to strip them or their drivers of any points.

Over the second half of the season there were few occasions when Alonso failed to get the most out of the F10. He soaked up race-long pressure from Sebastian Vettel to snatch a win at Singapore and took the lead in the drivers’ championship after Red Bull hit trouble in Korea.

With Ferrari focussing their efforts on a single car as Red Bull continued to support both Vettel and Mark Webber, Alonso looked poised to snatch the title in Prost ’86/R??ikk??nen ’07 style.

But there was an astonishing twist in the tale. At Abu Dhabi the team were preoccupied with keeping Alonso ahead of Webber (radio messages made it clear this was Alonso’s priority too) which ultimately led to a fatal misjudgement in their race strategy. Alonso came home seventh and lost the title to Vettel.

Alonso may have failed to emulate Kimi R??ikk??nen by winning the championship in his first year with Ferrari. But everything about the Alonso-Ferrari relationship suggests their alliance is built to last and much more success will come their way.

The same cannot be said for Massa. Perhaps he struggled more with hard tyre warm-up than Alonso did, perhaps he’s not the driver he was after his horrible crash last year. Either way, it’s hard to envisage his future with the team unless his form improves considerably in 2011.

Ferrari’s 2010 season in pictures

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Images ?? Ferrari spa, Bridgestone/Ercole Colombo, Red Bull/Getty Images

Schumacher struggles in Mercedes return

Nico Rosberg, Michael Schumacher, Mercedes, Interlagos, 2010
Nico Rosberg was usually ahead of Michael Schumacher in 2010

Last year’s world champions seldom saw the podium in 2010 following their change of identity from Brawn to Mercedes.

The fundamental shortcomings of the W01 couldn’t be remedied by in-season updates, leaving the team fourth in the championship.

The hugely anticipated comeback of Michael Schumacher couldn’t have been more of a let-down as he struggled with the and car its tyres.

Mercedes team stats 2010

Best race result (number)3rd (3)
Best grid position (number)2nd (1)
Non-finishes (mechanical/other)4 (2/2)
Laps completed (% of total)2052 (90.88%)
Laps led (% of total)16 (1.42%)
Championship position (2009)4th (1st)
Championship points (2009*)214 (430.5)
*using 2010 system

The team started the season as comfortably the fourth-fastest outfit, but as the year went on they came under increased threat from the likes of Renault and Williams.

Their saving grace in the respect was their driver line-up: the star of which was undoubtedly Nico Rosberg.

He made the most of the car in the early races and led at Shanghai having got his tyre strategy every bit as right as Jenson Button had. That netted Rosberg his second consecutive podium finish.

A third, at Silverstone, was the sum total of Mercedes’ visits to the rostrum in 2010.

His fine drive at Shanghai (one off-track excursion notwithstanding) was contrasted by a truly awful weekend for Schumacher. Four years after scoring his last win at the same circuit in similar conditions he was entire seconds off Rosberg’s pace.

A long-wheelbase version of the W01 was introduced for the following race, the Spanish Grand Prix. Schumacher enjoyed his best race of the season, holding back Jenson Button for fourth, but it proved a false dawn and there were more difficult races to come.

Mercedes’ radical split airbox was also made its first appearance at the Circuit de Catalunya. We shouldn’t gauge its usefulness on the fact that no other team copied it – given the changes to the chassis this would likely have required, it may not have been possible for many of them.

It also presented complications for integrating one of 2010’s must-have gizmos: the F-duct. Not having a shark fin meant Mercedes’ blown rear wing was a more complicated affair that they didn’t crack until the end of the season. Schumacher later revealed it was activating when it shouldn’t have been.

Integrating an exhaust-blown diffuser onto the W01 also proved problematic. Early versions of the design caused problems with melting bodywork.

In the meantime Schumacher had a year of mixed fortunes – and performances. At Monaco he was unwittingly mis-informed about the rules on overtaking at restarts and was handed a penalty that dropped him out of the points.

The re-uniting of the tactical team of Schumacher and Ross Brawn sometimes failed to live up to expectations. At Valencia the team out-smarted itself and Schumacher’s race was ruined as he got stuck at a red light in the pits. At Suzuka the team missed an opportunity to keep him from getting stuck behind his team mate by bringing him in too soon.

Inevitably there were times when Schumacher’s driving standards came in for criticism. His Canadian Grand Prix performance was condemned after run-ins with Robert Kubica and Felipe Massa. But in reality Schumacher hadn’t transgressed in any meaningful way.

This was clearly not the case in Hungary, where he repeated some of his most notorious tactics by almost causing a high-speed crash with Rubens Barrichello.

He has gone unpunished for such acts in the past – with Mika Hakkinen in 2000 and Fernando Alonso in 2003. But this time he was docked ten places on the grid for the following race – a further sign that having stewards informed by drivers is a positive step for the sport.

By the end of the year the team were making progress again. Schumacher raced to fourth in Korea but it was a story of what might have been for Rosberg.

He passed Lewis Hamilton early on in the wet race and was running fourth – behind three drivers who would all later hit trouble – when he was taken out by Mark Webber’s out-of-control Red Bull.

He ended the season with another strong showing at Yas Marina, making an early tyre change and finishing fourth.

Mercedes diverted resources to next year’s car early on in the season, leading many to predict they’ll turn the big three teams into a big four in 2011.

For the time being, Schumacher appears to be sticking with his comeback plan, which is commendable given the difficult season he’s had. But he’ll be hoping the next year’s Pirellis are a bit fit for his style than the 2010 tyres were.

Mercedes’ 2010 season in pictures

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Images ?? Mercedes, GP2 Media Service, Williams/LAT, Bridgestone/Ercole Colombo, Pirelli

Vote for the best F1 pass of 2010

Cast your vote for pass of the year
Cast your vote for pass of the year

F1 Fanatic readers made hundreds of nominations for the best overtaking move of 2010.

Now it’s time to vote for the winner from ten passes by Rubens Barrichello, Lewis Hamilton, Kamui Kobayashi, Fernando Alonso and Robert Kubica.

Plus cast your vote for the driver who did the best overtaking in 2010.

Lewis Hamilton on Nico Rosberg

Australian Grand Prix

A terrific pass by Lewis Hamilton with several exciting ingredients: a slippery track and a brave move on the outside of a very quick corner.

Unfortunately yellow flags before the following corner meant we didn’t get to see how Nico Rosberg’s counter-attack would have played out.

Kamui Kobayashi on Jaime Alguersuari

Japanese Grand Prix

Typically robust and gutsy stuff from Kamui Kobayashi. He launched this attack on Jaime Alguersuari from a fair distance back and didn’t back down even as Alguersuari banged wheels with him on the way out of the corner.

Robert Kubica on Adrian Sutil

Singapore Grand Prix

Making his way back through the field after an unscheduled extra pit stop, Robert Kubica picks off Adrian Sutil around the outside of Memorial corner at Singapore.

Fernando Alonso on Felipe Massa

Chinese Grand Prix

There were a few occasions in 2010 when Fernando Alonso needed to stick a move on his team mate. This unorthodox attempt at Shanghai certainly worked.

Rubens Barrichello on Michael Schumacher

Hungarian Grand Prix

The history between Michael Schumacher and former team mate Rubens Barrichello added an extra dimension to this hair-raising moment.

On new tyres, Barrichello had reeled in Schumacher very quickly. After several attempts to get past Schumacher seemed to have left the inside un-defended and Barrichello made his move. Astonishingly, Schumacher almost drove Barrichello into the pit wall in a desperate attempt to keep his rival behind.

Barrichello took the place and the stewards slapped Schumacher with a grid penalty for the following race as a punishment.

Timo Glock on Michael Schumacher

Australian Grand Prix

The ultimate cheeky re-pass?

Schumacher nipped past Timo Glock at Melbourne but went too deep into the corner, allowing Glock to reverse the move in this David and Goliath battle between Mercedes and Virgin.

Lewis Hamilton on Jenson Button

Turkish Grand Prix

The strange case of the McLaren drivers at Istanbul. Not long after being told Jenson Button wouldn’t overtake him, Hamilton lost the lead to his team mate.

But he didn’t waste any time taking the place back.

Kamui Kobayashi on Sebastien Buemi

European Grand Prix

Kobayashi’s charge in the final laps of the European Grand Prix, after leaving his mandatory tyre stop late in the race, saw him pick of Sebastien Buemi at the last corner of the final lap.

Fernando Alonso on Nico H???lkenberg

Brazilian Grand Prix

This one was all about the pressure of the championship. Alonso couldn’t afford to stay stuck behind Nico H???lkenberg – but nor could he afford to tangle with the Williams driver by making a risky move.

He patiently chipped away at H???lkenberg, eventually edging him off-line and completing an important pass.

Robert Kubica on Jenson Button

European Grand Prix

Kubica dived up the inside of Mark Webber on the first lap at Valencia – and kept Button behind too.

Vote for the best overtaking move of 2010

Which of these ten passes was the best of the year? Cast your vote and have your say below.

NB: This poll is being re-run following the changes to the voting system. See here for more information.

Vote for the best F1 pass of 2010

  • Robert Kubica on Jenson Button, Europe (29%)
  • Fernando Alonso on Nico H???lkenberg, Brazil (3%)
  • Kamui Kobayashi on Sebastien Buemi, Europe (7%)
  • Lewis Hamilton on Jenson Button, Turkey (9%)
  • Timo Glock on Michael Schumacher, Australia (2%)
  • Rubens Barrichello on Michael Schumacher, Hungary (17%)
  • Fernando Alonso on Felipe Massa, China (2%)
  • Robert Kubica on Adrian Sutil, Singapore (3%)
  • Kamui Kobayashi on Jaime Alguersuari, Japan (11%)
  • Lewis Hamilton on Nico Rosberg, Australia (16%)

Total Voters: 353

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Other nominations

Here are the other passes which received multiple nominations but didn’t get enough to make it onto the short-list:

Lewis Hamilton: on Alonso in Canada, on Vettel in Turkey, on Vettel and Sutil in China, on Petrov in Malaysia and on Kobayashi in Japan
Jenson Button: on Alonso in Malaysia, on Alonso in Canada, on Massa and Vettel in Belgium and on Hamilton in Turkey
Mark Webber: on Kobayashi in Singapore, on H???lkenberg in Brazil and on Massa in Belgium
Michael Schumacher: on Button in Korea and on Barrichello in Japan
Vitaly Petrov: on Hamilton in Malaysia and on Rosberg in Belgium
Jaime Alguersuari: on H???lkenberg in Malayasia
Kamui Kobayashi: on Alonso in Valencia
Nico Rosberg on Alguersuari in Britain
Vitantonio Liuzzi: on Schumacher in Canada
Robert Kubica: on Kobayashi in Abu Dhabi
Felipe Massa: on Sutil in Canada

Vote for the best overtaker of 2010

Which driver did the best passes of 2010? Again, vote and explain your choice below.

NB: This poll is being re-run following the changes to the voting system. See here for more information.

Which driver did the best overtaking in 2010?

  • Sakon Yamamoto (0%)
  • Pedro de la Rosa (0%)
  • Karun Chandhok (0%)
  • Lucas di Grassi (0%)
  • Timo Glock (0%)
  • Kamui Kobayashi (41%)
  • Nick Heidfeld (0%)
  • Bruno Senna (0%)
  • Christian Klien (0%)
  • Heikki Kovalainen (0%)
  • Jarno Trulli (0%)
  • Jaime Alguersuari (0%)
  • Sebastien Buemi (0%)
  • Vitantonio Liuzzi (0%)
  • Adrian Sutil (1%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (0%)
  • Robert Kubica (16%)
  • Nico H???lkenberg (0%)
  • Rubens Barrichello (1%)
  • Fernando Alonso (3%)
  • Felipe Massa (0%)
  • Mark Webber (1%)
  • Sebastian Vettel (0%)
  • Nico Rosberg (0%)
  • Michael Schumacher (1%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (35%)
  • Jenson Button (1%)

Total Voters: 278

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2010 F1 season review

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Renault lose interest in F1 despite strong season

Robert Kubica, Renault, Monte-Carlo, 2010
Robert Kubica, Renault, Monte-Carlo, 2010

Renault enjoyed a resurgence in form in 2010 – but it seems that wasn’t enough to keep its parent company interested.

Today’s news that Renault has sold its remaining shares in the team to Genii Capital and Group Lotus have bought into them, signals a further dilution of Renault’s Formula 1 activity.

What a pity, for the distinctive yellow-and-black cars enjoyed such a strong 2010.

Renault team stats 2010

Best race result (number)2nd (1)
Best grid position (number)2nd (1)
Non-finishes (mechanical/other)8 (5/3)
Laps completed (% of total)1934 (85.65%)
Laps led (% of total)0 (0%)
Championship position (2009)5th (8th)
Championship points (2009*)163 (74)
*using 2010 system

Question marks hung over Renault’s future at the end of last season as the team lost Fernando Alonso to Ferrari and saw Flavio Briatore and Pat Symonds depart over the Singapore 2008 affair.

A reorganisation saw Eric Boullier take over as team principal – he later became managing director in Bob Bell’s place as well.

While Robert Kubica was signed in October last year the identity of his team mate wasn’t confirmed until the R30 was launched at the end of January.

Having ended 2009 at or near the back of the grid, the new car propelled the team forward. They made huge strides in aerodynamic development, reflected in the seemingly endless stream of new front wing configurations. It’s F-duct and exhaust-blown diffuser executions were particularly effective, in marked contrast to the likes of Mercedes.

Armed with a much better car than he had the previous year, Kubica went giant-killing. He split the Red Bulls on the front row at Monte-Carlo and brought the car home on the podium.

He was up at the sharp end again at Spa as the car ran its new F-duct for the first time. A botched pit stop, caused by Kubica struggling to get his car stopped in the wet pit lane, cost them a shot at victory.

Kubica was quick at Suzuka too and worked his way up to second at the start. Unfortunately it soon transpired the team hadn’t sufficiently tightened his wheel nuts and he was fortunate to avoid a huge crash.

Even so he was pleased enough with the team’s progress to sign an extension on his contract in July, taking him up to 2012.

It was clear from pre-season testing that Renault’s eggs were in the Kubica basket, as they shuffled test dates around to get him as much dry running in the car as possible.

That made life more difficult for rookie team mate Vitaly Petrov, who had a season of mixed results.

Inevitably he was some way of Kubica’s pace – the gap between them in qualifying was up to a second even in the latter stages of the season. There were quite a few crashes as well, including Suzuka and Korea (race), Monaco (qualifying), Shanghai and Catalunya (practice).

But it all came good in the final round of the season as he out-qualified Kubica (for only the second time all year) and raced to a strong sixth, incurring Alonso’s wrath on the way.

With Kubica in fifth place Renault’s decision to hold a fresh set of engines back for the final race paid off with their best result of the year.

It should be onward and upward for Renault in 2011. But it remains to be seen is exactly what they’re going to be called, for at the time of writing they’re one of two teams that believe their name to be ‘Lotus’.

Renault’s 2010 season in pictures

2010 F1 season review

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Image ?? Renault/LAT, Bridgestone/Ercole Colombo, Pirelli