F1 Fanatic driver rankings 2011

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    Who was the best driver of the year?

    I’ll be ranking all the drivers as usual in the post-season review. Share your verdicts and comments here and I’ll use a selection of them in the finished series.

    Here’s the rankings from halfway through the season:

    2011 half season driver rankings part 1: 26-16
    2011 half season driver rankings part 2: 15-6
    2011 half season driver rankings part 3: 5-1

    Andy Redden

    Best Driver: Vettel – as much as I don’t like him or his finger their is no denying his superiority this year.

    Worst Driver: Massa – At no point this year has he looked like even matching Alonso, scored less than half than his points and (as of writing this) the first Ferrari driver since 1981 to not stand on the podium after completing a full season.

    Tommo N7

    Vettel is the best driver without a question for obvious reasons. Honourable mentions to Button & Alonso. Rest of the field were pretty much forgettable.

    Worst driver was either Massa or/and Maldonado. Massa scored 118 points, 139 behind Alonso and only 27 in front of Rosberg. Best finish was 5th I think, not even a podium. It won’t happen of course but I wish Ferrari buy out his contract in the winter, he’s a waste of space in the Ferrari. Onto Maldonado, only 1 point in a dog of a car, but his performances haven’t exactly been inspiring. Hope Williams can get enough money to displace Maldonado, because he isn’t worthy of an F1 seat.


    26. Narain Karthikeyan
    25. Jerome D’Ambrosio
    24. Tonio Liuzzi
    23. Jarno Trulli
    22. Vitaly Petrov
    21. Rubens Barrichello
    20. Bruno Senna
    19. Pastor Maldonado
    18. Daniel Ricciardo
    17. Felipe Massa
    16. Sebastien Buemi
    15. Timo Glock
    14. Sergio Perez
    13. Heikki Kovelainen
    12. Nick Heidfeld
    11. Mark Webber
    10. Kamui Kobayashi
    9. Jaime Alguersauri
    8. Michael Schumacher
    7. Paul di Resta
    6. Lewis Hamilton
    5. Adrian Sutil
    4. Nico Rosberg
    3. Jenson Button
    2. Fernando Alonso
    1. Sebastian Vettel


    1. Vettel – He won the world championship, making the best use of his machinery all season. Sebastian showed that his racecraft has improved significantly (like passing Alonso at Curva Grande and Rosberg at Blanchimont), and he is capable of taking wins under huge pressure as well (Monaco and Spain). Asserted himself as one of the best qualifiers in the history of the sport. And still only 24.

    2. Alonso – The only driver to consistently squeeze so much out of their car aside from Vettel, often beating the faster Mclarens and Mark Webber to the podium.

    3. Button – Took three wins, his best season to date, with the superb win in Canada being the highlight. Often found wanting in qualifying, but made up for it by regularly beating his teammate in the races, and pulling some nice moves.

    4. Hamilton – A poor season by his standards, but still fourth because of the various highlights of his year, and the lack of proper standouts in the midfield. Won in China and Germany, showing off the racecraft he’s renowned for. But of course, his numerous mistakes, in both qualifying and the races have cost him dearly.

    5. Rosberg – A dissapointing year for Mercedes, with them slipping further behind the top three teams. But Rosberg outqualified Schumacher 16-3, and delivered more points. Very rarely made mistakes, and often seen dicing with the front runners, like in China and Belgium, where he led.

    6. Schuamcher – Poor qualifying pace, but often seen with better race pace than his teammate. A big improvement from him in a car less competitive than it was in 2010. Almost had a podium in Canada, and marked his 20th anniversary with an excellent 19 place gain from his grid position in Belgium. Had more stand out races than Rosberg, but got caught up in incidents that cost him 7th in the championship and 5th on this ranking.

    More to follow…


    1: Vettel. You can’t argue with domination.
    2: Button. Who expected him to beat Hamilton by almost two race wins worth of points? Exceptional race pace.
    3: Alonso. Always there or thereabouts in what was a pretty poor car. Great starts.
    4: Sutil. Shaky start but exceptional in the second half of the season.
    5: Perez. A slightly odd choice but I just feel like he has something special. He was much faster than Kobayashi at times. Too many silly incidents though.
    6: Alguersuari. Drove some great races but was also anonymous at times.
    7: Rosberg. Ditto what I said about Alguersuari.
    8: Hamilton. Fast at times but too incident prone and his attitude grates.
    9: Kobayashi. Some very strong race performances but lacking in qualifying pace and sometimes a little wild.
    10: Schumacher. Much improved over last year but still a liability in close racing and poor in qualifying.
    11: Buemi. Epically unlucky but fast and consistent. Doesn’t deserve to be dropped.
    12: Di Resta. Flattered by his teammate’s struggles at the beggining, but a good rookie season. Too many silly incidents and the BBC hype was annoying.
    13: Kovalainen. Drove well in a poor car but had a lot of luck.
    14: Webber. Destroyed by his teammate but given Vettel’s talent, I’ll be generous to Webber.
    15: Maldonado. Inconsistent and sometimes a bit silly but had some great qualifying and race performances. Compared much better to Barrichello than Hulkenberg did.
    16: Petrov. The car tailed off badly in the secon half but he was outpaced by Senna, which isn’t a good sign.
    17: Senna. Looked quicker than Petrov in qualifying but made too many mistakes in the races.
    18: Barrichello. Did nothing of note all season. When the car could get into Q3 it was Maldonado who did it, and Barrichello would also have been outscored if it hadn’t been for Hamilton’s antics in Monaco.
    19: Massa. Did nothing all year to show he deserves his seat. Too many mistakes and often just slow.
    20: Trulli. I feel sorry for him as he had so much bad luck but unlike last year, when he was clearly the faster of the two, he often didn’t look capable of keeping up with Kovalainen.
    21: D’ambrosio. Always difficult to rate rookies in rubbish cars but he sometimes beat his teammate and usually stayed out of trouble.
    =21: Ricciardo. Ditto.
    23: Glock. Seems to have lost all motivation, and to a certain extent you can’t blame him. Needs a better season next year to keep himself in the shop window for better teams.
    24: Liuzzi. The only memorable thing he did all year was take out several drivers at Monza. Not very far ahead of Karthikeyan and often beaten by Ricciardo.

    I didn’t rate the replaced or replacement drivers because it was too complicated.


    1. Vettel – As reliable and quick as the RB7 itself.
    2. Alonso – Pushed as hard as he possibly can and looked like he treated every lap as a qualifying lap. All he needed is a better car to battle for the WDC.
    3. Button – Kept his cool throughout the season and gave everything he had without putting a foot wrong but needs a tad more raw pace to be the best.
    4. Sutil – May have started the season struggling but completely blew my expectations away in the second half. Definitely a spectacular driver, but maybe its time for a different team to keep him on a knife edge and push him further.
    5. Webber – Should have done much better considering Vettel’s pace but did his job of securing the constructors for the team.
    6. Hamilton – Not the Lewis many people remember but its challenging when personal problems get in the way and has had spectacular races to keep the hope alive.
    7. Rosberg – Consistently good, but needs to be more aggressive.
    8. DiResta – Rookie of the season and definitely a star of the future but just couldnt keep Adrian behind.
    9. Kovalainen – Gave all he had despite having a slow car.
    10. Glock – Not a very lucky driver but definitely deserving of something better.
    11. Buemi
    12. Alguersuari
    13. Schumacher
    14. Kobayashi
    15. Perez
    16. Massa
    17. Petrov
    18. Barichello
    19. Senna
    20. Maldonado
    21. Ricciardo
    22. Liuzzi
    23. D’ Ambrosio
    24. Trulli


    1: Vettel : Everytime I watch his onboard lap, breathing stops for a moment, he also found some grace this year.
    2: Button: Really exceeded my expectations, exemplary performance.
    3: Alonso: Wasn’t his fan till last year, but boy o boy, beating 2 drivers in far superior car, that deserves standing ovation.
    4: Sutil: Clearly best of the rest, still puzzled by his relatively less popularity.
    5: Hamilton: Winning 3 GPs in what is considered to be his worst year, speaks volume of his talent.
    6: Rosberg : Not a perfect year as everybody expected from him, but he has his share of moments, his start in Spa and race lead in China
    7: Di Resta: Standout rookie of the year
    8: Schumacher: Again exceeded my expectation, but I still reckon THAT schumi is long gone.
    9: Perez: Beating Kobayashi in qualy and no words to define his Albert Park drive but sometimes looked very silly, even by rookies standards.
    10: Kovalainen: Impressive, but Trulli was so horribly poor that we even don’t know whether he extracted maximum from the car.
    11: Alguersuari: My personal opinion is always too hard towards him but I tend to forget how young he is, definitely deserve a seat in 12.
    12: Kobayashi: Although stellar at times, I still find him very overrated.
    13: Webber
    14: Buemi
    15: Petrov
    16: Senna
    17: Barrichello
    18: Maldonado
    19: Ricciardo
    20: Glock
    21: Massa
    22: D’ambrosio
    23: Liuzzi
    24: Trulli


    1. Vettel – Completely dominated
    2. Button – Often Vettel’s closest challenger
    3. Alonso – Put that Ferrari in places it shouldn’t be
    4. Kovalainen – Put that Lotus in places it shouldn’t be
    5. Sutil – Superb second half of season
    6. Hamilton – Some great drives, some poor drives
    7. Kobayashi – Superb start to the season, seems to have rediscovered early form now
    8. Rosberg – Looked great sometimes, dissapointed in other times
    9. Perez – Matched up well to Kobayashi
    10. Di Resta – An okay start to the season, better in the second half
    11. Schumacher – Inconsistent, but when good he was really good
    12. Heidfeld – Solid job for a team who didn’t seem to really want him
    13. Alguersuari – Poor qualifying, good race pace
    14. Buemi – Good race pace, lady luck deserted him too often
    15. Webber – Destroyed by Vettel in every way, often struggled to beat McLaren and Ferrari
    16. Glock – Solid if unspectacular
    17. D’Ambrosio – Did much better than Di Grassi, didn’t deserve to lose seat
    18. Massa – Never got any more than the minimum out of that Ferrari
    19. Maldonado – Matched up well against Barrichello
    20. Petrov – Good on Saturday, not so great on Sunday
    21. Liuzzi – Solid for HRT
    22. Barrichello – Dissapointing
    23. Riccardo – Did okay
    24. Senna – Generally poor
    25. Karthikeyan – Not great, but not disgraceful
    26. Trulli – Comprehensively beaten by Kovalainen
    27. de la Rosa – Okay in Canada
    28. Chandhok – Not great in Germany


    1. Vettel: Just in a class of his own. You only have to look at the difference between him and Webber (who is no slouch) over qualifying and the race. It proves to me that it is not just the car that is quick. What impresses me the most about Vettel is his qualifying speed and how he just turns it on when he needs to. Also the first few laps of the race he manages to pull out a gap of over a second normally which is just crazy.

    2. Button: One of the best seasons by Button. In the second half of the season he almost beat Vettel in terms of points. If it wasn’t for the British and German GP’s then he would have been a lot closer. The first driver to beat Hamilton and everyone betted against him. He shown some real pace in the races and actually attacked a lot more than he used to. Shame his qualifying lets him down but he more than makes up for it in the races.

    3. Alonso: Like Vettel you only have to look at his team mate Massa to see how good Alonso has been. He achieved 10 podiums this year whilst Massa didn’t even get one. He out drove that car all season and lucked in on a mid season rule change at Silverstone. You have to believe he can win championships with Ferrari with signing such a long term deal and I hope we see him up there at the front again.

    I won’t rank all the other drivers as that would take too long however drivers that have impressed me this year are:

    Adrian Sutil: Best of the rest finishing 9th overall. Started off badly but really got it together towards the end of the season and out qualifying his quick team mate Di Resta.

    Di Resta: great debut year and got some solid points.

    Alguersuari: beat his team mate and had a good middle part of the season. Hope to see him next year.


    Best : Vettel – Hands down and by a mile.
    Worst : Maldonado or Massa, i’d prefer Massa to go as it’s a competitive seat were missing out on some fine racing due to his lack of pace.


    I started the year in utter contempt for Seb who I thought did not deserve to be a world champion. But as each qualifying session went by contempt turned into disbelief and disbelief into awe as each time he pulled something out of the bag to stand on pole and on the winners spot. Seb takes 1st place from me.

    What amazed me about Button this year was the way he went about his drives. A general trend that I noted was that he would keep pace till about halfway through and then find some hidden performance in his car. Canada was the best example of that. Button gets 2nd Place for being the only man I felt to be able to challenge Seb.

    Alonso and Sutil get honorable mentions for their performances throughout the year. Alonso making the Ferrari look much better than it really was and Sutil for powering FI in the second half of the season to take 6th in constructors and only 4 points behind Renault.

    Di Resta and Perez impressed as rookies with Di Resta being slightly higher.

    Worst driver in the top 10 being Felipe Massa, who I felt was all at sea in that Ferrari. Although I wont go as far as to say that he should quit, he needs to pick himself up and think only about 2012. Same goes for Hamilton.

    To the drivers ill also add the worst team and that goes to Williams for a horrendous season where nothing went right for them and their lacklustre performance was matched only by Renault in the second half.


    1. Vettel – different class
    2. Alonso – drove the wheels off his car all year
    3. Button – remarkably consistent and quicker than he has ever been
    4. Sutil – really stood up in the second half of the year, with his seat under pressure
    5. Alguersuari – same as Sutil
    6. Kovalainen – consistent in a slow car
    7. Schumacher – his better performances would put him at No 4, but several mistakes cost him beating his team mate
    8. Di Resta – solid, if constantly over-hyped by the beeb
    9. Rosberg – Solid, but didn’t shine as much as last year
    10. Ricciardo – Did all he could in a HRT
    11. Buemi – solid performances but some bad luck with his car
    12. Glock – did as much as he could
    13. Petrov – better than last year, pretty good in quali, but some indents in races that let him down (ie Korea)
    14. Senna – not bad, not spectaular
    15. Heidfeld – too slow in quali, although harshly ousted by Renault
    16. D’ambrosio – an ok first year, i mean what can you do in his car though
    17. Hamilton – crash bang wallop! some good drives but there’s no way he should lose to Button
    18. Barrichello – meh, please retire
    19. Kobayashi – started ok, faded away
    20. Perez – Monaco knocked him a bit i feel
    21. Webber – one gifted win in a supercar, not good
    22. Trulli – no match for Kova
    23. Liuzzi
    24. de la Rosa
    25. Massa – on borrowed time
    26. Karthikeyan
    27. Maldonado – should not be on the grid
    28. Chandok


    28: Narain Karthikeyan – Just nowhere. More often than not beaten by Liuzzi, and its no surprise he was replaced, and not Liuzzi.
    27: Jarno Trulli – I just cannot see a reason for him to stay in Formula One. Trounced by Kovalainen for the second season running.
    26: Karun Chandhok – He only raced once so its too difficult to judge, but seemed a long way off Kovalainen in the race.
    25: Daniel Ricciardo – Did nothing wrong, but equally did nothing right.
    24: Jerome D’Ambrosio I’m quite upset he’s been sacked, I reckon he’s been pretty decent this season, and often not far off Glock. Nice personable driver who hopefully has a future in Formula One.
    23: Tonio Liuzzi – Usually beat Karthikeyan, usually beat Ricciardo. We didn’t see anything of it, but he must have had a pretty special race in Canada to get 13th.
    22: Rubens Barrichello – Hugely disappointing year, and was very regularly beaten by Maldonado. Should quit while he’s ahead. I know the Williams car was dreadful, but apart from passing Schumi at Monaco, didn’t do anything.
    21: Pedro de la Rosa – Did very well considering the conditions in Canada.
    20: Pastor Maldonado – I think he’s done fine this season, and with that car, he couldn’t have done anything more. Was on for a sixth place in Monaco until Hamilton shunted him out. Got into Q3 a couple of times as well.
    19: Nick Heidfeld – Who?
    18: Felipe Massa – Awful season for Massa. A best finish of fifth, no podiums to his team mates 10. Outqualified 15-4. Outscored by over 130 points. He was nowhere, and never anywhere near where he should have been.
    17: Vitaly Petrov – Started so well, what happened? He was brilliant in Australia and Canada, but he just seemed invisible elsewhere. That was probably due to the lack of pace in the car.
    16: Bruno Senna – Did an excellent job in qualifying, but too many blunders in the race. Still impressed he got a couple of points though.
    15: Kamui Kobayashi – Flashes of brilliance, but a step down from 2010.
    14: Timo Glock – Just keeps getting everything out of that Virgin. Needs to go to a good team, he’s a talented guy.
    13: Sebastien Buemi – He’s had some awful luck this year, but I still don’t think he performed as well as Alguersuari.
    12: Sergio Perez – Really impressed. He’s had a great debut season, and I’ll never forget the Australian Grand Prix. Also Singapore, to have both Mercedes’ hitting him on the same lap and still get a point was brilliant.
    11: Heikki Kovalainen – He’s a million miles better than his team mate, and is pretty much always the top of the new(er) teams. Seems really commited and I hope for is sake Lotus are competitive in the midfield next year. If I were Williams right now, I’d be signing Kovalainen.
    10: Paul di Resta – A very good debut season. Afetr scoring in his first two races, he had an awful patch, but then came back and had a brilliant middle/end to the year. Highlight was either sixth at Hungary, or that great qualifying session at his home race.
    9: Adrian Sutil – I put him ahead of di Resta because he was more consistent, and I often felt Sutil was ignored. Many are saying Force India should get rid of him, but I think that would be a catastrophic mistake.
    8: Jaime Alguersuari – Drove fantastically after a very dry patch early in the season. Valencia and Korea were the highlights, both great drives. In last year’s driver rankings I said he would be something great in the future, no-one agreed with me, now everyone agrees with me :D
    7: Mark Webber – One win versus eleven wins. Three poles versus fifteen poles. 258 points versus 392 points. Webber was massively outclassed by Vettel this season. To be honest, I think its a bit disappointing he finished ahead of Alonso and Hamilton in the championship. He took a battering this year, and must improve next season.
    6: Nico Rosberg – I don’t get the obsession with Rosberg at all, I think he’s hugely overrated, but he had a consistent season I suppose.
    5: Michael Schumacher – What an improvement from 2010. Drove amazingly in Canada. Schumacher seemed to do particularly well at the more “traditional” circuits, like Canada, Germany, Belgium, Italy. He still has it, and those four performances will show you how he’s still got it. To keep Lewis Hamilton behind him for 27 laps, to drive from 24th to 5th, it takes a good driver.
    4: Lewis Hamilton – The main reason he’s in fourth is to do with Webber and Massa doing so badly, and therefore Hamilton is fourth. Another big reason is the German Grand Prix. One of the best single drives of the season, he was untouchable. Passing Webber on the pit straight was brilliant. Far too many mistakes and collisions for him to be any higher though.
    3: Jenson Button – A great season for Button, definitely his best yet. Don’t want to say too much as his brilliant performances have done it for me.
    2: Fernando Alonso – I know I’m an Alonso fan, but he drove superbly this season. He wrung everything out of a very average Ferrari car. For me, one of his best drives was Japan, defending from Vettel and then driving amazing laps to catch Jenson Button. However, lets not forget Silverstone, what a win.
    1: Sebastian Vettel – How can anyone say Vettel wasn’t the best? He’s been untouchable, and quite simply, sublime.


    1: Vettel – He had the best car, yes, but he certainly made the most of it and made his team mate look a bit silly.

    =2: Button and Alonso – Two top class drivers that completely dominated their team-mates and made them look like amateurs. They took their cars to places they really had no right to be. The three best drivers in F1 at the moment, in my opinion, are Vettel, Alonso and Button. All good for different reasons, so no-one is better than the other.

    4: Webber – Demoralised by his team-mate, but remarkably consistent apart from his silly crash in Monza. Some great overtaking, but his season was really let down by being outqualified by Seb and compounded by getting poor starts to nearly every Grand Prix.

    Now it gets tricky…

    5: Rosberg – Challenged for the lead on several occasions throughout the year but was let down by yet another mediocre Formula 1 car. I’m hoping Mercedes can lift their game and provide him with something that allows him to show his talent.

    6: Kovalainen – Brilliant in qualifying and even better in the races. I’m not sure if Trulli’s making him look good, or if he’s genuinely that good. It’s a pity he couldn’t do more with his McLaren, but he’s far too good for that Lotus.

    7: Petrov – Silenced his critics and ironed out his rookie mistakes. He was incredibly consistent and worthy of his seat.

    8: Massa – Another disappointing season compared to his team-mate, but there were positives. He actually even outqualified Alonso! He was most impressive in China and Germany, but in Germany, he was let down by his mechanics when he was on course to beat Sebastian Vettel.

    He’s still recovering from his massive injury sustained two years ago, and really, he probably shouldn’t be driving again just yet. I missed him dearly when he was gone, but I think he could have done with a longer break. Sid Watkins said he should be fully (or as much as he ever will be) recovered by 2012 if I recall correctly, so if he’s not back to his best next year, I’m afraid he may never be. It’s so sad as it wasn’t his fault and I have a massive soft spot for him after all he’s been through. I’ll never really give up on him, but I can’t help but feel sorry for him. He’s not been amazing, but he deserves none of the criticism he gets. It’s really quite low. Some people are heartless.

    9: Hamilton – Showed remarkable pace and put lots of pressure on Seb at the start of the year, but he was also very inconsistent. He may be faster than his team-mate, but he’s certainly not a better F1 driver.

    10: Sutil – He had a slow start to the year, but somehow managed to turn it around and ended up outperforming his team-mate comprehensively in the second half of the year.

    11: Perez – Easily the best debutant. His first race was nothing short of stunning and he made very few mistakes for the rest of the season. He often outqualified his team-mate and scored a good haul of points, despite missing two races through injury. He’s a pay driver, but he’s a good pay driver and I hope he’s here to stay.

    12: Di Resta – The second best rookie. The only thing letting him down, really, was all of the mistakes and tangles he got himself into. I’m sure he’ll be much better next year and I can see he’d make a fine driver one day.

    13: Schumacher – He had a very quiet year and once again failed to make it onto the podium despite it looking likely in Montreal. He made some silly mistakes and caused some silly accidents (Turkey, Singapore) but overall, he was better than last year.

    14: Kobayashi – He wasn’t as exciting as last year, but I’d say he was an improved driver all round. His best performance was in Monaco, but he was robbed of his 6th in Montreal due to a technical fault, despite the fact he outraced Felipe.

    =15: Buemi/Alguersuari – They were both very evenly matched all season long, and Buemi’s awful luck this year stopped him from showing us his full potential. It would be so hard to drop either of them as they’re both solid drivers, but I think Buemi is gone and Vergne is in.

    17: Senna – He was thrusted into the seat at Spa with very little experience of driving the car, yet managed to make it into Q3 which was impressive. He was quite solid for the rest of the season and I think he could be a champion in the right car. I hope he is, anyway. (He’s also a terrific guy!)

    18: Heidfeld – Just mediocre. He was amazing in Sepang, but the rest of his season was quite uneventful. He’s worthy of a seat, but he’s never had any real luck. It’s a sad waste of talent, but I can’t see anything changing.

    The rest: Barrichello/de la Rosa/Trulli/Liuzzi/d’Ambrosio/Glock/Karthikeyan/Ricciardo/Chandhok – Impossible to judge. All had terrible cars and couldn’t do anything in them. I can’t even remember anything happening to Glock all year, and he’s not a bad driver!

    The worst: Maldonado – Should have been given a multiple race ban for his stunt in Spa. Deliberately causing a collision is the worst thing a driver can do, and it’s certainly not something we can tolerate in F1. NASCAR exists for that sort of stuff. ;)

    That was hard. It’s so difficult to judge drivers like that and I’ll doubtless disagree with myself completely by tomorrow. I’m not even sure that’s what I think now!

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