Drivers whose championship year wasn’t their best

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    Had an interesting thought. For me Jenson Button had his best season in F1 last year and was driving much better than in his championship year.

    Another one that springs to mind is Kimi, his peformances at McLaren stood out for me way more than his time at Ferrari.

    So I was wondering if you can think of any other drivers who weren’t their best in their championship year?


    Yep, Kimi and Jenson are the obvious examples, and of the recent ones, I’d like to add Hamilton – I think he might’ve been better in 2007 and 2010, but of course it’s hard to say and compare.


    Kimi; Hamilton; Button. I’d argue Alonso too; and I’d argue (if we hadthis thread last year, pre F1 2011) Vettel. (Yes; every driver since 2005 to win the title :P)

    People say how 2011 proves 2009 wasn’t all car, but I say it still was. Jenson improved AFTER his title; not during 2009

    Possibly Dhill?

    Fer no.65

    Schumacher had it tough with Ferrari in the 90s, yet he got very close to winning the championship.

    For me, 1997 was just his year, though it’s hard to see how difficult it was for him during the early 2000’s, but he such dominant cars that it looked easy.


    From what I’ve read and heard, I think Mansell might be another one. It’s hard to say how good he was in 1992 as the Williams FW14B was in a different class to the rest and Patrese wasn’t a match for Mansell. His performance in, let’s say, 1986 was probably more impressive.


    Good question.

    I’d probably agree with Mansell and probably in both 86 and 87 given the level of competition he faced from teammate Piquet, Prost in McLaren and Senna in the Renault Benetton Caterham Lotus and even the Ferraris on their day

    Prisoner Monkeys

    I’d argue for Button, on a certain level, largely because he beat Hamilton in 2011. But at the same time, Brawn ran out of money in the middle of 2009, so the second half of his season required a massive effort to hold onto the title.


    Hamilton’s best season for me is still 2007. That year he looked flawless and was possibly driver of the year in 2007. Since then including his championship year 2008, he has occasionally been very poor. Last year he was poor a bit more often than just occasionally I’d say.

    Button for me was better in 2011 than 2009. He was the only driver who could consistently hold on to Vettel for most of the year. Before 2011, for Button to be at his best, his car had to be at its best, that changed last year.

    I’d argue that 2007 was Raikkonen’s best year. For much of the season, especially in the final third he was on top form. His performances in Melbourne, Spa and Fuji were prime examples of Raikkonen at his best. His years at McLaren were similar, most of the time he was great, however occasionally he would show his flaws.


    @PrisonerMonkeys Funny thing is that this was supposedly Buttons best year and Hamilton won exactly the same amount of races as him in his worst year. Plus button was gifted all his race wins this year.


    @realracer Don’t quite understand your logic… Button had his best YEAR, not by number of wins, but by the standard of his driving.
    Also, look at Button this year, he was catching Vettel at 2-3 seconds a LAP in the final few laps in Canada, and would have had him at the DRS zone if Vettel hadn’t slipped (in many ways, Vettel slipping made that race 10/10 rather than 8/10 for me…) Admittedly, Hungary might have been a case of being in the right place at the right time, but Japan and Canada certainly weren’t…

    Button in 2011 (obviously)
    I’m not as sure about Raikkonen, but I’ll definitely say Alonso in 2010… He drove some brilliant races that year, and only narrowly missed out on the championship..
    And although I’m too young to remember this, I’ve done research and often thought Mansell in ’86 was a good year, and Senna in ’93 (the same view shared by one of the ‘talking heads’ in the film I believe..)


    @realracer – Explain how Button was “gifted” his race wins.


    @david-a At Montreal, I guess since Vettel went off and Button just so happened to be in second, the race was given to him. Even though the race was like 3 times longer than normal. And he came from the back of the grid. Pretty obvious how it was “gifted”… :D


    @prisoner-monkeys While it’s certainly true Brawn didn’t have much money left; and all the developments they were throwing onto the car weren’t working, Button was being outqualified by Barrichello willy nilly


    I would have to go with Button in 2009. Jenson has performed consistently better in 2010 and 2011 than he did in 2009

    Hamilton was better in 2007 and 2010 than he was in his championship winning 2008 season

    I would also have to say that Vettel was better in 2008 than he was in 2010.


    I thought Kimi was great in his title year. I don’t get why so few rate it! :P

    Ones from the last decade would be JB as he looked really shaky at times especially compared to how he is at the moment and Hamilton who made more errors in 08 than 07 and 2010 and in a way Mclaren really helped him by having such a reliable car compared to the Ferraris (not saying that JB or Ham didn’t deserve it).

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