F1 Fanatic driver rankings 2011
- 30th November 2011, 16:12 at 4:12 pm #185340AntranikParticipant
26. Narain Karthikeyan
25. Jerome D’Ambrosio
24. Tonio Liuzzi
23. Jarno Trulli
22. Pastor Maldonado
21. Bruno Senna
20. Nick Heidfeld
19. Daniel Ricciardo
18. Timo Glock
17. Jaime Alguersuari
16. Rubens Barrichello
15. Sebastien Buemi
14. Sergio Perez
13. Vitaly Petrov
12. Paul Di Resta
11. Adrian Sutil
10. Kamui Kobayashi
9. Felipe Massa
8. Michael Schumacher
7. Mark Webber
6. Lewis Hamilton
5. Heikki Kovalainen
4. Nico Rosberg
3. Fernando Alonso
2. Jenson Button
1. Sebastian Vettel30th November 2011, 20:17 at 8:17 pm #185341ArrrangParticipant
1. Alonso- 10 podiums and a race win in a car that belongs max at P5!
2. Button- one of his best seasons to date, epic Canadian GP!
3. Vettel- did his job in a superb RB7, no doubt his a top driver but in my opinion for 2011 deserves “only” few driver of the weekend titles.
4. Weber- was outraced by Vettel this year, but he really is “not bad for a no.2 driver!”. If they had an equal machinery at RB from the start of the season it makes me feel that I must put Seb (and I do). Mark sorted his problem with Pirellis in the second half and was consisted but had few horrible race lunch procedures.
5. Hamilton- poor season by his standards. Made few expensive errors and for me didn’t pass the pressure test when he was often fighting for P4-P6. (with Massa for example)
6. Schumacher- had few races in a P7-P9 car when I really hoped he will get the podium he deserves (and I’m faaaaaaaaaaaar from being a Schumacher fan!). Solid season and maybe again a top driver awaking in him?
7. Rosberg- a solid Rosberg style season, but without highlights this year.
8. Perez- best of the rookies for me great driving from Australia to Brasil. Outraced and outquali Kamui good few times.
9. Petrov- for his Australian podium, solid races few great quali. Too bad that Renault didn’t improve their car properly. Still it’s a shame that got involved in few collisions and was trying to hard at times.
10. Di Resta – Great start to the season, and solid second half. Very good for a rookie!
11. Alguersuari few great drives and a superb quali in that Toro rosso. Finished on top this year and was driving in a very mature style despite the pressure from Buemi and hopes for a RB drive.
12. Kobayashi- showed great racing skills few times, and didn’t crack at Brasilian GP.
13. Buemi – solid season.
14. Sutil- I expected more from him this year. (at least dominating his rookie team mate Kubica style)
15. Kovalainen- too bad that he didn’t score the points he deserved..
16. Maldonado- for me he proved he deserves his F1 seat not only because of sponsorship money. Few good drives in a more of a pickup truck not an F1 car.
17. Heidfeld- not so quick anymore… he belongs in F1 but i hoped he will be a better replacement for Kubica
18. Barrichello- time to retire Rubens….
19. Liuzzi- hope he will stay at HRT and they will build a better car for him.
20. Glock- he belongs in a better team.
21. Senna- not bad but still not worthy to use the Senna name….
22. Trulli- a poor season by his standards.
23. D’Ambrosio- didn’t shine but who hoped he will?!?
24. Riccardo- nothing special this year. If he is such a talent let him have a seat at RB mister Marko.
25. Karthikeyan- seems like a nice person, good driver but hey it’s F1. He doesn’t fit here anymore.
26. Massa- that guy was driving an FERRARI F150 and he ended the season with 2 P5 finnishes and half of Alonsos points… I know that Ferrari had a truck not an F1 car but it can’t be bad luck all year long! Can it?1st December 2011, 11:02 at 11:02 am #185342magon4Participant
this is how it’s looking if we take all of your opinions together (average ranking):
1 – vettel 1,09 (only @Arrang didn’t put him on top, so far)
2 – button & alonso tied at 2,43
battle for 4th place
4- rosberg 6,26
5- hamilton 6,52
battle for 6th
6- sutil 7,67
7- kovalainen 7,73
battle for 8th
8- schumacher 8,91
9 – di resta 9,05
10 – webber 9,73
battle for 11th
11- alguersuari 10,43
12 – perez 11,05
13 – kobayashi 11,55
14 – buemi 13,35
15 – petrov 15,75
battle for 16th
16 – heidfeld 16,60
17 – glock 17,05
(all-brazilian) battle for 18th
18 – barrichello 18,15
19 – massa 18,74
20 – senna 19,05
21 – ricciardo 20,05
battle for 22nd
22 – d’ambrosio 21,35
23 – maldonado 21,70
battle for 24th (all italian)
24 – liuzzi 22,70
25 – trulli 22,85
26 – de la rosa 23,75
27 – karthikeyan 25,86
28 – chandhok 27,001st December 2011, 15:36 at 3:36 pm #185343LexBlairParticipant
26. Tonio Liuzzi
25. Jerome D’Ambrosio
24. Jarno Trulli
23. Pastor Maldonado
22. Narain Karthikeyan
21. Bruno Senna
20. Daniel Ricciardo
19. Rubens Barrichello
18. Felipe Massa
17. Nick Heidfeld
16. Timo Glock
15. Sebastien Buemi
14. Adrian Sutil
13. Kamui Kobayashi
12. Jaime Alguersuari
11. Vitaly Petrov
10. Paul Di Resta
9. Sergio Perez
8. Lewis Hamilton
7. Michael Schumacher
6. Mark Webber
5. Nico Rosberg
4. Fernando Alonso – see below
3. Heikki Kovalainen – he REALLY impressed me for some reason…
2. Jenson Button- ….let’s be honest here…this is not a ranking of the drivers in general but that of 2011…Button has 2nd place secured by a mile… and while Alonso tried his best in a car that usually showed to be only the 3rd fastest, I don´t think we should compensate him by giving him a 2nd place, just for his efforts and for some amazing overtakes he made this year…..fact is JB upped his game in the 2nd half of the season like no other (Seb already perfected his in the first half of the season:)
1. Sebastian Vettel –1st December 2011, 15:59 at 3:59 pm #185344AnonymousInactive
1. Sebastian Vettel
2. Fernando Alonso
3. Jenson Button
4. Lewis Hamilton
5. Heikki Kovalainen
6. Mark Webber
7. Adrian Sutil
8. Paul Di Resta
9. Sergio Perez
10. Michael Schumacher
11. Kamui Kobayashi
12. Nico Rosberg
13. Vitantonio Liuzzi
14. Nick Heidfeld
15. Sebastien Buemi
16. Jaime Alguersuari
17. Vitaly Petrov
18. Rubens Barrichello
19. Timo Glock
20. Daniel Ricciardo
21. Jerome D’Ambrosio
22. Felipe Massa
23. Bruno Senna
24. Jarno Trulli
25. Pastor Maldonado
26. Pedro De La Rosa
27. Karun Chandhok
28. Narain Karthikeyan1st December 2011, 17:08 at 5:08 pm #185345AnonymousInactive
Vettel was brilliant this year, without any questions.
But I think Button was the best driver. He hadn’t the quickest car, he wasn’t number 1 in the team, but he’s don an excellent job. His extraordinary wins in Canada, Hungary and Japan, and he seems so calm (maybe not the perfect word, but let it be so), he is so positive and he really enjoyed every race this year.
Massa didn’t do his best. Also Webber, who had the best car, but he also had a lot of problems especially during the starts, He had to fight a lot but it was usually because of his own poor starts. If we compare Massa and Alonso there are 139 points between them and after it somebody can say Massa’s performance was awful. But there are 134 points between Mark and Seb…
Luizzi’s performance was rather dissapointing this year. In 2010 he was as quick as Sutil, but in 2011 he, well he’d beaten Karthikeyan, but young Riccardo without any F1 experience (except young drivers test last year) looked much better than Tonio.
But the worst wasn’t a driver but the whole team – LRGP. They did a fantastic start of the season with two podiums in sequenceю They made innovative decisions in the design of their car, they were quicker than Mercedes and had practically the same speed as Ferrari, but couples races later they just stopped. It looks like they had a silly plan to get several podiums in 2011 and after it they were no interested in the season (of course it wasn’t so). It’s like the situation with BMW in 2008, their goal was to win their first race in that season, after it they started to work for the following season, they stopped fighting. Because it wasn’t their plan to try to win the Сhampionship.2nd December 2011, 1:59 at 1:59 am #185346GuilhermeParticipant
The sheer numbers of his season could be enough to put him in the number one spot. But to me, what really made him “the” driver this year is the way he dominated Webber. It is easy to say he was just doing his job with in the fastest car of the field, but the way his team mate looked ordinary in the same machinery tells me that Vettel really made the difference and maximized the potential of the car. His ability to learn from his mistakes is simply incredible, and he can only get better.
Proved again why he is considered one of the best drivers of the current era. Apart from China, where he seemed off pace, he always dragged that Ferrari to places it shouldn’t have been, like splitting the Red Bulls in Turkey and fighting for the victory in Suzuka. He completely obliterated Massa, and if only his car weren’t so hopeless on harder tyres, then I can say with almost certainty that he would be the runner up this year.
His best year by far. He is one of the most intelligent drivers in the field, and it became his biggest weapon this year, always knowing when to push, when to save the equipment, when to relinquish and when to attack. He won over Hamilton convincingly with two mechanical retirements to his team-mate’s none, and could have been a serious contender if the car was a bit faster.2nd December 2011, 4:49 at 4:49 am #185347SilverkegParticipant
28 Karun Chandhok
Was a stunt to put him in the car. Although a difficult situation for him, was thouroughly beaten by practically everyone
27 Pedro de la Rosa
Hard to judge off of one race. Did what was expected of him
26 Jarno Trulli
Never looked a match for Heikki. Was always well behind Heikki and well ahead of the Virgins and HRTs
25 Pastor Maldonado
Although impressive in qualifying, he was distinctly unimpressive in races. Too often he fell back or made silly mistakes which would be acceptable for a rookie if it weren’t for his attitude and actions at Spa
24 Narain Karthikeyen
I don’t think he did as badly as his reputation would suggest. Put in some ok performances but still doesn’t deserve a seat in F1
23 Jerome D’Ambrosio
Better than Di Grassi. Wasn’t too far off of Glock’s pace and beat him in the championship, but never stood out and was quite inconsistent relative to Glock. Sometimes close other times well off. Was an acceptable debut and a harsh end to be replaced.
22 Tonio Liuzzi
Thought he did what he could in the HRT. 13th in Canada a result of both luck but also an impressive drive. Secured 11th for HRT, once again beating Virgin which is very good job
21 Daniel Ricciardo
Favoured well against Liuzzi. Didn’t take too long to adjust and was usually ahead of Liuzzi towards the end of the season. Earnt his stay I feel.
20 Bruno Senna
Didn’t earn his stay. Had some good quali performances but racecraft was scrappy at best. constantly fell back, made a lot of silly mistakes. Wasn’t a good car at his tenure but he still failed to match it’s potential
19 Timo Glock
Is really talented and deserves a much better car, but his season was quite anonymous and had to deal with a lot of Virgin’s reliability and strategy issues/mistakes.
18 Rubens Barrichello
Comprehensively beaten in quali by rookie teammate. Made up for it with his experiance in the races, but felt he was only lucky to outscore Maldonado. Not a great send off. Felt he failed to lead Williams the way they needed.
17 Felipe Massa
Quite a low ranking but failed to do anything with the Ferrari. Could never hold a torch to Alonso and just fell further and further behind as races went on. A best of fifth is not good enough when looking at Alonso’s mass of poium finishes
16 Nick Heidfeld
Certainly did not deserve to be dropped. Performed consistently and had that brilliant podium at Malaysia. Big mistake by Renault to drop him. Still finished eleventh in the championship speaks volumes.
15 Paul di Resta
An impressive rookie season. Started very fast and importantly for a rookie, he was consistent. Made a few of the expected mistakes and fell back behind his teammate but definately earnt his metal.
14 Kamui Kobayashi
Remarkably consistent anf fast at the beginning of the season and absolutely fanatstic at Canada. Faded with Sauber towards the end and didn’t stand out as much as last year but probably a better all rounf performance. Last few races boosted him again.
13 Sergio Perez
Had that spectacular drive in Australia. Always made the best of an alternate startegy and was close if not faster than Kobayshi in Quali. Overcame his BIG crash at monaco exceedingly well, was back up to pace after just a few races. Rookie of the year for me, should only get better
=12 Jaime Alguersuari/Sebastien Buemi
I still find it impossible to split these two. Buemi was more impressive at the beginning of the season and put in some really solid performances when the car wasn’t as capable of getting points. Alguersuari once again improved as the season went on and scored more points because the car was more capable. Buemi had some torrid luck in the back half of the season and when combined with Alguarsuari improvements makes me fear for Buemi, who still deserves a seat.
10 Mark Webber
One win in that car isn’t good enough. His starts were appaling and it took him a while to recognise that it was an issue. Was beaten by Button in the championship and only just overcame Alonso. Was demolished by his teammate, out raced and out qualifyed. But he was still consistent and demonstrated some brilliant racecraft, most notably with Alonso.
9 Vitaly Petrov
Improved massively since last year. Gained a lot of consistency. His podium in Australia was incredibly impressive and he was matching it if not beating Heidfeld throughout the beginning of the season. He faded a little at the end but couldn’t really help when the Renault fell so far behind. Never felt he was beaten by his teammates and raised his stocks to more than simply a pay driver.
8 Michael Schumacher
The season was looking like it would be a repeat of his messy 2010 return and at times it was, but throughout the season he popped up and you could have sworn it was the old Schumi. Canada was exceedingly impressive and if it weren’t for DRS, he probably would have snatched a podium in that Mercedes which wasn’t as fast as expected.
7 Lewis Hamilton
Still put in some traditionally brilliant performance and race wins, but as the season went on, he increasingly lost his way. Made too many mistakes for his fifth season, got involved in the tussle with Massa, rubbed many people the wrong way and couldn’t back it up track. For the first time, he was beaten by his teammate, which despite his claims, is significant.
6 Nico Rosberg
Only had a few stand out drives, Abu Dhabi and China were impressive but never seemed to shine as he did in 2010. Could be due to the car but he didn’t stamp his authority over Schumacher this time.
5 Heikki Kovaleinen
Really impressive. Demolished Trulli even more comprehensively than last year. Drove supremely, placing the Lotus where it had no right to be. If there was any opportunity to get into Q2, he snatched it. His race pace was so close to the back of the midfield and he was at times genuinely competitive with a Williams. Was always positive and looked happy in his environment which can go a long way.
4 Adrian Sutil
If he looses his seat it will be aboslutely disgraceful. Was easily best of the midfield, frequently able to get the Force India in front of the Mercedes. Started ok, but he got to grips with the tyres, the car and his teammate as the season progressed and led the team to an impressive second half. Scored best of the rest in the championship with ninth a got FI to within four points of the dual podium Renault. Stood out especially for me in Brazil, Germany and Monaco.
3 Jenson Button
Vanquished any doubt, he is a star. didn’t always have the raw pace in quali but racecraft is phenomenal. Beating Hamilton at just his second year at McLaren is a great achievement. His wins were always spectacular and he was always fighting. Vettel’s biggest threat by far.
2 Fernando Alonso
Outperformed the Ferrari in dramatic style, made sure he claimed the win when the oppurtunity (rule changes) presented. Had brilliant starts, and only ever went backwards on the hard tyre. Was a battler al year and showed true spirit. Another great year for Alonso.
1 Sebastien Vettel
There is simply no argument2nd December 2011, 11:49 at 11:49 am #185348TodfodParticipant
26. Narain Karthikeyan – Tried his best to beat a mediocre driver and failed miserably. He might have been worthy of entering the sport in 2005, but definitely didn’t belong in this sport in 2011. He does get a notable mention for his performance at the Indian GP though.
25. Jarno Trulli – Was incredibly poor this season. Constantly complaining about a power steering issue, that even after was fixed, didn’t Jarno much. He made Heikki look much better than he actually performed this season. Its a shame to see one of the most exciting drivers from a few years ago perform so poorly.
24. Rubens Barrichello – A huge dip in form from the 2010 season. In his 20th season, Rubens isn’t going anywhere with his mediocre talent in a mediocre team. Its time he threw in the towel
23. Jerome D’Ambrosio – Almost invisible for the entire season. He did well against his accomplished teammate for the 1st half of the season, but then just trailed off into obscurity. Not a great rookie season.
22. Pastor Maldonado – Looked much better than his teammate in qualfying, but often trailed in races. He really hasn’t shown enough to secure a seat on talent next year, but the money should definitely help keep him around for atleast another year. Its a shame that his race got ruined in Monaco, as that was his strongest performance to date. That 6th place would have given Williams more than double the points they scored all year.
21. Daniel Ricciardo – I had much higher hopes for this young Aussie, and while he did have his moments competing against Liuzzi, he barely showed that he has the potential to be a Red Bull driver. Ricciardo also finished behind Karthikeyan at the Indian GP. A moment any driver should be ashamed of
20. Timo Glock – TImo didn’t look motivated to drive all year, and I cannot see him sticking around with a team that finished last 2 years in a row.
19. Felipe Massa – Amongst the poorest drivers on the grid currently. His teammate took 10 podiums, including a win, in the same machinery. Massa on the other hand, was incredibly proud of a 5th place finish, and called it a return to form. The only reason Massa isn’t placed dead last is because he made it to Q3 regularly, and the fact that he had a lot of bad luck with Hamilton slamming into him and taking points away
18. Vitaly Petrov – Despite a strong start to the season, Petrov didn’t take it much further. He showed us that Australia was just a fluke in his mediocre season, and he really is at Renault because he is a pay driver. The fact that he only managed to outscore Heidfeld by 2 points after racing 8 races more than him shows what a poor team leader and poor performer he really is.
17. Toni Liuzzi – Did a solid job for a disastrous team. He was outqualified by the mid season rookie on a few occassions, additionally, Tonio was made to look better than he was by having Karthikeyan as a teammate. Tonio deserves a notable mention for putting HRT in front of Virgin again.
16. Bruno Senna – I was hoping to see more motivation from Senna when he got an opportunity to race for Renault. While he did well to outqualify his teammate regularly, he didn’t capitalise on a lot of chances due to silly mistakes. I was really hoping to see him finish strong in Spa and Interlagos.
15. Sebastian Buemi – Has shown impressive qualfiying pace, but was just outclassed by his teammate on several sundays. I expected more out of Buemi in his 3rd season
14. Heikki Kovalainen – He did have some amazing moments this season by putting the Lotus ahead of the Williams. He was always strong in quali and tried his hardest on Sundays. Unfortunately, its hard to put him any higher as he was compared to a slow teammate, as well as opponents in cars that were either significantly quicker or significantly slower.
13. Mark Webber – Its amazing how a driver with the best car on the grid only managed to take only one win in the entire season.. that too due to an immense amount of luck. The only reason Mark hasn’t been rated lower is because he never performed poorly enough to finish out of the top 5. He did have some highs when he took 3 poles, but was nowhere near to his teammate all season long.
12. Jaime Alguersuari – Jaime had his strongest season yet. If he had started off the season as strongly as he finished it, I would have rated him much higher.
11. Nick Heidfeld – Nick was his consistent self for the only 11 races he participated in next year. Hos podium in Malaysia was a strong performance that got overshadowed by a couple of poor qualifying performances and some bad luck in Canada. He still finished only 2 points behind his teammate having raced 8 races lesser than him.
10. Kamui Kobayashi – After a strong start to the season and the usual Kobayashi entertainment on Sundays, we were disappointed to see his poor qualifying performances and mediocre sundays as well. Although Kamui did have his highlights this year, he also had some very bland performances
9. Paul Di Resta – Started the season off very strong by reguarly out qualifying a quick and accomplished teammate. But once Sutil found his footing, Paul didn’t quite look like had an answer on Sundays. Nonetheless, Paul had a very impressive rookies season and I only expect him to get better.
8. Sergio Perez – Made a lot of errors on Sundays, and got into many sticky situations on Sundays. He showed that he is still a rookie that needs to mature in the sport, but on the bright side he showed an immense amount of talent and skill with his qualifying and race tyre strategies. He definitely has the potential to be a Ferrari driver soon.
7. Michael Schumacher – Definitely a stronger year than the last one. Schumi didn’t quite find his footing during qualifying but put in some strong performances on Sundays by beating his teammate and nearly taking a podium in Canada
6. Adrian Sutil – Had a slow start to the year, and was outqualified by his rookie teammate once too often. But when Sutil found his sweet spot, he was absolutely awesome on Sundays, and he also showed an amazing amount of consistency all year long, and has shown that he does atleast deserve a shot at testing for one of the top teams
5. Nico Rosberg – Nico put in some strong performances this year, both in qualifying and in the race. He did not have the car to put him on the podium this year, but he has definitely shown that if he has the car, he will be able to deliver.
4. Lewis Hamilton – 2011 has been Lewis’s poorest season to date. He was beaten by his teammate for the first time and has also finished the season in P5, something you wouldn’t expect from him ion the 2nd fastest car on the grid. He did however, destroy his teammate in quali and was also responsible for some of the best driving this season (china and Nurburgring). If he had kept his composure and raced intelligently he would have fared much better
3. Jenson Button – Jenson’s strongest season to date. If there was one driver who capitalised on the new Pirrelli tyres, it was Jenson. He took his tyre management skills to the he level and raced with a cool head throughout the season. He had his best win to date this year (Canada), and proved many critics (such as myself), that he does deserve that seat at Mclaren.
2.Fernando Alonso – Another stellar year from the double world champ. Jenson & Lewis might have put the car roughly where it belonged, but Fernando consistently put the car ahead of where it should have been. To manage 10 podiums and a win with the 3rd fastest car on the grid was spectacular. He had some of the best starts (Barcelona and Monza), I have seen in a while, and was absolutely determined every Sunday.
1. Sebastian Vettel – Vettel probably made the Red Bull look faster than it actually was this year. I didn’t even know that was possible! The 15 poles and amazing composure in stressful situations has put Sebastian as a force to be reckoned with. With the exception of his last lap in Canada, and off day at the Nurburgring, Sebastian was flawless all season.3rd December 2011, 20:38 at 8:38 pm #185349AndrewTannerParticipant
I’m not going to analyse every driver, but I will pick 3 of the best and 3 of the worst. I’m picking 3 so this will cover the top, middle and bottom of the grid.
1. Vettel – So, so many reasons. Great results from the start. Convincing domination over his team-mate. Fantastic starts, so crucial to him being out of that 1s DRS zone. Putting hope in peoples minds that he might be caught when leading at times, only to turn it up a notch to casually defend. THAT moment between himself and Alonso in Monza. Sticking himself firmly in the record books on so many occasions for so many reasons.
2. Di Resta – Rookie of the season without a doubt. He strikes me as being incredibly mature and talented and i’m certain he’s destined for great things. He strikes me as an intelligent racer with the technical know-how to drive the team in the right direction. Fast and a great adversary for Sutil.
3. D’Ambrosio – A close call between him and Kovalainen. I picked the Belgian as I think he’s been pretty much flawless all season. No real opportunity to stand out but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, considering the clumsy rookie drives Petrov and Di Grassi had last year.
3 – Karthikeyan – He had a great race in India, but that’s it. Pretty much stuffed by his team mate all year.
2 – Kobayashi – Pains me to say it, even more so than my top worst driver. I expected so much more from him. We saw some brilliant audacious moves last year from him and I really hope he’s not peaked. I know the car didn’t perform as expected but I just wanted some crazy over-takes and I didn’t really get them!
1 – Hamilton – I feel bad for saying it, but I do think he’s been pretty bad this year, by his own standards. Silly, costly mistakes. I do think he matured a lot over the last few races, but too much too late. Don’t get me wrong, I like the guy, but relatively, it’s difficult to see how anyone else could have made so many mistakes.4th December 2011, 15:14 at 3:14 pm #185350AlexParticipant
Here are my thoughts on the drivers from the top six teams. Below that, I don’t think I paid enough attention to be a well-qualified judge (apologies to Algersuari, Buemi, Kobayashi and the others).
Last-gasp qualifying heroics, and great overtakes when he needed them. You said in the half-time review that there was a question mark over his overtaking; Monza answered that.
2. Alonso (just!):
Continued to compete with the front-runners in an inferior car. For me he was last year’s best driver; this year Vettel has just been amazing, but I’d still make Alonso the best of the rest.
3. Button (nearly 2nd):
Button surprised a lot of people by competing with Hamilton in 2010. He surprised even more by outperforming him in 2011… finishing 2nd in the championship, providing the best drive by any driver (in Canada), and showing conclusively that his world championship wasn’t a fluke (they never are).
It’s a strange world when you’re the top scorer for the midfield teams, but the readers of F1 Fanatic reckon you should lose your seat and be replaced by a rookie (Hulkenberg). For my money, Sutil made the most of his opportunities, poaching a lot of the 6-8 finishes which ‘should’ have gone to the front-runners.
In winning the midfield battle, Sutil has surely outdone all the targets he was set at the beginning of the year (when his car was 6th- or 7th-fastest). He may not have produced any ‘astonishing’ drivers or blown us away like the three drivers above him, but I sincerely hope he’s proud of what he accomplished this season.
Hamilton is an excellent qualifier and a daring overtaker. But this year, his judgement has been poor and he has attempted many moves which were neither sensible, nor necessary. With DRS and disintegrating tyres, many moves which were once ‘brave’ and now ‘foolish’ – and Hamilton hasn’t had the nous to adjust his strategy.
Behind all that Hamilton remains fast, and won three races (albeit Abu Dhabi was almost uncontested). Almost any team on the grid would love to have him.
For me, Rosberg’s stock has fallen a little this year. We all know Schumacher has lost his edge, and last year Rosberg demonstrated that by beating him handily. But this year Schumacher outraced him for large chunks of the season – Rosberg needs to show more consistency if he ever wants to race for a top team.
This is what we expected when Schumacher began his comeback. Some disappointing mistakes and still not as quick as he used to be – but great racecraft in Canada and at Monza, and an amazing ability to spot gaps off the starting line. I’d love to see him win a podium or two next year, but I fear we may already have seen the best of his comeback.
8. Di Resta
Performed well throughout an impressive debut season, and came close to matching his team-mate’s performance. If he improves next year, and Force India retains its current driver line-up, we should see a really good battle for leadership within this team.
However this thread is about who drove the best, not who surprised us most. As such it was really hard to decide whether Di Resta belongs above or below the Mercedes drivers. I settled for ‘below,’ as he didn’t hit the highs of Rosberg’s qualifying or Schumacher’s racecraft.
To judge by his points total, this is the year Petrov came of age and proved he could be Renault’s long-term team leader. But in reality, without his third place in the opening race, Petrov would have finished behind di Resta and Alguersuari, only twice placing higher than 8th. He was matched by Heidfeld, and only just outperformed the raw Senna who joined halfway through the season.
In his brief time at Renault, Heidfeld was a match for Petrov (which is why I have called this a tie). Sadly it would appear he wasn’t a team player, and he was jetissoned halfway through the season.
Webber’s team-mate won 11 races. But Webber only managed to come 2nd in 2 of those races. Six times he drove a race-winning car, but failed to put it on the podium.
On the bright side, dropping into such low terrain with the fastest car gave Webber plenty of chances to overtake, and he did so well, being one of the most effective overtakers of the year, including ‘that one’ at Spa.
Lacking in experience, Senna couldn’t quite match Petrov in his first tilt at Formula One. But he outdid expectations and did well in qualifying despite only appearing midway through the season. He could do well next year, if he still has a seat.
The gulf in points between Alonso and Massa is stunning – and it’s not just because Alonso is an excellent driver. Massa never finished higher than 5th, even in the 3rd-fastest car on the grid. He just isn’t the racer who came within a point of the championship a few years ago.4th December 2011, 16:24 at 4:24 pm #185351MadsParticipant
My top 3 is as follows.
1st – Vettel.
He has been right on the money every single weekend, except his off day in Germany.
He beat McLaren to pole position a lot of times, when the MP4-26 was clearly the quicker car, and he kept calm under huge pressure around Monaco and Barcelona.
He didn’t let anything get in his way of the championship, and he just made the best of every single weekend.
2nd – Alonso.
Clearly super quick in a car that wasn’t really up to the job. He has been solid all year. Not more to say really.
3rd – Button.
His best season yet, but he is still not a very good qualifier and have had a few times where he should have been ahead of Vettel, yet he wasn’t. Suzuka for instance. That is why he slips to 3rd behind Alonso.4th December 2011, 17:27 at 5:27 pm #185352longfinger1Participant
1-Vettel is in a class of his own. He is becoming a fine young man too.
2-Alonso was 2nd in my opinion. His car just would not perform.
3-Button was so smooth this year, as always.
4-heres my surprise pick… Paul Di Resta! For a rookie to get in an F1 car and do what he did is remarkable!!! He was Superb!
The rest in my opinion were great, but forgettable.4th December 2011, 20:27 at 8:27 pm #185353AlexParticipant
Following on from my post above, I’ve added the rest of the midfield drivers.
10. Di Resta
Kobayashi started the season well with six consecutive points finishes (seven counting Melbourne). As the Force Indias and Torro Rossos grew stronger over the course of the season, he found himself finishing a little lower, but remained a consistent finisher who generally beat his team-mate, and never had a truly bad race.
This is all the more impressive give his flamboyant style and eye for overtaking. You have to wonder what he could achieve in one of the top cars.
Like his car, Alguersuari improved over the course of the season, finishing in the points over half the time from Canada onwards. Crucially, this allowed him to beat his team-mate and retain his position as lead driver. He also outperformed ‘rookie of the year’ Di Resta, despite having a generally slower car.
Buemi was dreadfully unfortunate to receive five DNFs in the second half of the season. Many have said that this is why he fell behind Alguersuari in the standings. However I believe it is because Alguersuari improved: from Canada onwards, Alguersuari finished in the points 58% of the time to Buemi’s 50% (from finished races only).
Sure, Buemi retired three times in four races (through no fault of his own). But in India, he was overtaken by Alguersuari and remained behind when he retired. In Abu Dhabi he qualified in 13th and didn’t appear to be running any quicker than his team-mate. The only chance he missed to score points was in Japan, when he was running 11th and might perhaps have edged into 9th or 10th. That would hardly him transformed his position in the standings.
Buemi should savour a season where he improved greatly, and indeed led the team for the first few races. But ultimately, the best driver won.
Barrichello finally bowed to the inevitable this year, and generally looked a yard short of his pace of old. Of course, the sluggish Williams didn’t help him. Yet even with a poor car, he still managed some impressive drives, and I bet he’ll savour his overtake of Schumacher in Monaco for a long, long time to come.
Perez entertained – his debut drive was a great way to open the season – but struggled for consistency. He improved throughout the year and showed good pace to nick three points finishes towards its end. I hope he’s still around next year, because if he picks up where he left off, he should be able to keep Kobayashi honest and help Sauber fight for 5th-7th in the championship.
Barrichello may have slowed down, but Maldonado still couldn’t keep up with him, rarely finishing ahead of his team-mate. Given that the tail-end teams actually employ some quite accomplished drivers (Trulli, Kovalainen, d’Ambrosio), Maldonado is probably racing in the least intense portion of the entire grid – the easiest for a rookie to make an impression. He still didn’t deliver, and that’s why I’ve placed him last.
That said, Maldonado is still one of the quickest racing drivers in the whole world. We shouldn’t lose sight of that.4th December 2011, 21:03 at 9:03 pm #185354AnonymousInactive
26. Narain Karthikeyan
This isn’t too be harsh on Narain it’s just because he had so little racing but in India I was massively impressed. I didn’t expect much from him but he completely delivered and then some and even though it was only one performance I started to wonder whether I’d been to harsh just dismissing him before.
25. Jerome D’Ambrosio
I thought he deserved another year at Virgin tbh despite this low ranking. He’s a rookie and part of the reason why he’s down here isn’t just about him but because the car is so rubbish it’s hard to really rate him. He was surprisingly good early on and outqualified Timo but seemed to dip midseason. I like him though and think he has potential.
24. Tonio Liuzzi
Solid job in a bad car so he’s basically doing what his ex team mate Sutil did last year.
23. Jarno Trulli
I like Trulli and he’s had a hell of the time with the power steering. It would be so easy to make a joke about it but driving an F1 car without a steering system he’s used to must be a hell of a job. I think he did a good job for the most part it’s just that Heikki beat him.
22. Rubens Barrichello. Should have trounced Pastor but didn’t. His season started off on the wrong foot with that idiotic crash with Rosberg at Australia but it didn’t get much better from there. It’ll be sad if his last season was so dismal when he’s been a very competitive driver throughout his years in F1.
21. Timo Glock. He’s only this high because the others weren’t as good more than him being better than them. I can’t really remember anything about Timo this year except his rant over the radio at Germany which pretty much sums up his season for me. Heikki’s in a bad car too but he gets bonus points just for being happy all of the time :P JK as I know Lotus are making massive progress in comparison.
20. Daniel Ricciardo. Probably too high but I didn’t think he deserved to be any lower than the others already listed and that’s basically it.
19. Pastor Maldonado. If this was based on sporting conduct he should be DSQ for even being mentioned but performance wise I think I’ve underrated him; he’s had a better qualifying record against Rubens than the Hulk did and has had some good performances such as Monza but he’s generally scrappy and slow and a nightmare when it comes to the other drivers which is possibly ever bad quality a racer could have. For me, he’s just the future Sutil but with a worse attitude.
18. Heikki Kovelainen. Doing a good job in a good car even if he is only up against Trulli who has clearly struggled all season. No real criticisms but it’s hard to rate him higher when Trulli’s his team mate and Lotus aren’t really in league with most of the other teams even if they are getting closer.
17. Adrian Sutil. A rookie team mate who has been wasting his talent in sportscars has clearly outshone him already. Sutil had a better end to the season but it wasn’t enough. He’s finally been shown up as slow and inconsistent so the only real improvement he’s made is that he crashes less.
16. Kamui Kobayashi. He’s great at overtaking but that’s generally because he qualifies awfully. He hasn’t faired great against any of his team mates -Pedro, Nick who was pretty much on his pace despite lack of time in the Sauber last year and now Perez has clearly been the Sauber man this year. All style but very little substance.
15. Nick Heidfeld- he had some rotten luck starting with his kers failure at Aus but I don’t think he was as bad as most people rated him. He did a great job to get that podium when he was just chucked into the Renault last minute.
14. Jaime Alguesari- it’s close with him and Buemi but I think Buemi is the more solid driver on occasions and Jaime has qualified awfully at times this year making his life a lot harder than he needs to.
13. Sebastien Buemi- solid, very few mistakes and only just edges Jaime. He’s like the new Heidfeld in some ways- reliable but very quiet.
12. Bruno Senna- maybe I’m crazy for putting him this high but as soon as he came back he was bang on the pace despite lack of racing. His Sunday’s may have been a bit chaotic as he was rusty but pace is what really matters and he had it.
11. Vitaly Petrov. Great start to the year but everything seemed to go wrong from there. Hard to rate him when his team mates changed and he never clearly led the way for the team but he did an good job and had a lot fewer daft mistakes this season.
10. Sergio Perez. Only had Kobayashi and I’m still not convinced but for a first season he did great.
9. Paul di Resta. Easily best rookie for me. Up against an experienced team mate who was glowing after thrashing Liuzzi last year and well and truly showed him up despite wasting his time in DTM. Great job. The only thing I don’t like is that Merc have their hands on him! Please Paul come to Ferrari!
8. Webber = Massa. Webber may have won but that was only because Vettel failed. Both were off the pace of their team mates but Massa massively picked up his pace from last year and towards the end of the season had a good run outqualifying Alonso. Massa also lost a lot of places thanks to clashes with Ham and barely any of them were his fault, he was in contention for pole at Canada and in contention for podiums at China and Canada. Massa’s suffered a lot thanks top Ferrari’s woeful pits stops particularly earlier in the year and bad strategy where the leader of the team gets to pit first which meant that Felipe was often running around on tired rubber and going nowhere fast (see Silverstone as an example). Webber may have won but I still feel Felipe still challenged Alonso more than Mark ever challenged Seb but Mark had a more consistent season than the Brazilian.
6. Lewis Hamilton. Some races he was just off the pace (Valencia, India and Brazil although he had a problem at Brazil) and others he was just reckless/unfortunate. He may have been stellar in Germany and China but apart from that it was like someone else was driving the car. I never expected Lewis to have a season like this and I’m sure he’ll bounce back but few greats have such a woeful and distracted season when in good cars. He can’t afford another year like this.
5. Nico Rosberg. Did the job but often went backwards in the races.
4. Michael Schumacher. Petrov smashing into him pretty much ruined his chances of catching Nico’s points tally towards the end of the season but Michael impressed me a lot more than Nico with his races. I just wish he could find a tenth or two in qualifying.
3. JB- great year but he didn’t really blow Lewis away despite how bad Hamilton’s season was meant to be. He was far more consistently on the pace than Lewis and kept his nose clean but if JB was on such good form and Hamilton such bad form then there should have been a great difference in wins and points.
2. Fernando Alonso. Clearly third fastest car but he performed miracles. The fact that he nearly got 2nd in the WDC is shocking to all of his competitors. Early in the year in looked like Massa was turning the tables on him but he was generally brilliant. His starts and races at Monza and Spain in particular were incredible, at Silverstone he pulled out times which were just insane and rose to the occasion and even at Brazil he kept on fighting for that elusive podium. With the state Ferrari have been in this year they should be counting their blessings that they have him.
1. Vettel. Not as flawless as Alonso’s 06 season but very close and very nearly perfection.
8. Michael Schumacher
6. Lewis Hamilton
4. Nico Rosberg
3. Jenson Button
2. Fernando Alonso
1. Sebastian Vettel
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