2010 Driver Review

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
This review won't be the best on the market, and its all from my memory, but here are my thoughts on the 2010 drivers in Championship reverse order.

27. Christian Klien (HRT)
Raced three times and finished only twice, and last. Faster than Senna in Singapore and Brazil, but not Abu Dhabi; still likely a better option for HRT than...

26. Sakon Yamamoto (HRT)
Out of his 7 races, outqualified Senna in Korea, giving him the only time he beat anyone on pace. Solidly finished without ever threatening to do anything interesting, wonder how much he paid for his seat?

25. Timo Glock (Virgin)
In general, the Virgin driver that challenged Lotus, and unlucky to be behind his young team-mate in the Championship. Punished for Virgin's unlikelihood to finish any given race, but tended not to do anything too stupid. A long way short of leading the Bahrain GP this year...

24. Lucas di Grassi (Virgin)
He rarely threatened Glock in qualifying and was even less likely to take on Lotus, and hence more often than not he qualified 22nd, although he did fail to qualify ahead of Senna in Turkey and Canada. Seemed error prone, but just about finished more races than Glock, although his crash in attempting to get the car to the grid in Japan was just stupid. Will be lucky to maintain a place.

23. Bruno Senna (HRT)
For a HRT driver, surprisingly competed in most races, outqualifying Yamamoto comprehensively and Chandhok narrowly. However, he tended not to finish in the first half of the season when Chandhok was consistently bringing the car home, which suggests a lack of mechanical sympathy or a tendency to crash. Either way, did a difficult job reasonably well.

22. Karun Chandhok (HRT)
In his 10 races, he rarely outqualified Senna, but seemed more able to take the car to the end of the race, and thus gathered the two 14th place finishes (Australia/Monaco) that put HRT above Virgin in the WCC. Considering he sat in the car first for practice at Bahrain, a decent start and an excellent record commentating in the second half of the season.

21. Jarno Trulli (Lotus)
Outqualified Kovalainen, but tended to fall behind him in races which was unsurprising given his career to date. The key race for his championship was the attritional Japanese GP where he finished behind his team-mate, but unfortuanately for Jarno, this was no fluke. Had far more retirements than Heikki too. Maybe time to return to the vinyard.

20. Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus)
As even Fernando Alonso found out, beating Fisichella and Trulli is a much different challenge to beating Lewis Hamilton. Kovalainen came nowhere near the latter, but was able to rebuild his reputation by consistently finishing the races as winner of the 'B' class. He scored 5 top 14 finishes, with the other 'new' entrants scoring 6 between them, and deserves to win the New Car Trophy. :1st: Although he was outqualified, he was competing with the Saturday specialist, and he was classified in the last 8 races, showing a mechanical sympathy as well as Lotus' relative reliability. He was also commendably willing to fight with out-of-position frontrunners such as Alonso in Monaco, and less happily Webber in Valencia!

19. Jaime Alguersuari (Toro Rosso)
Although he only scored 5 points, looked like a Formula One driver this season, making few mistakes to finish almost all of the Grand Prix in the 9th-13th range. His duel with Schumacher in Australia was memorable, and his keeping Massa behind him for 9th in Abu Dhabi is overlooked. Extremely consistent from the extremely young Spaniard.

18. Nick Heidfeld (Sauber)
In his 5 races only finished ahead of Kobayashi once and outqualified him only once, but did what F1's vulture usually does, and took solid points where possible. Should have had a drive.

17. Pedro de la Rosa (Sauber)
In 14 races scored as many points as Heidfeld, although this was partly due to Sauber's early-season brittleness. However, he only beat Kobayashi once in a race they both finished, and Sauber probably got what they wanted as the car improved with the tester on board. Good 7th in Hungary!

16. Sebastien Buemi (Toro Rosso)
Outqualified Alguersuari 11-8 despite a late surge from the Spaniard at the end of the season. Great composed drives to points in Turkey and Canada, but in general declining to the end of the season compared to his team-mate. Still, it is difficult to work out what Toro Rosso are doing, but is in danger of being outcompeted by Alguersuari for Webber's seat when he retires.

15. Vitantonio Liuzzi (Force India)
Started the season well with a 9th and a 7th in the first two races and got a composed 6th in Korea. However, he was battered in qualification by Sutil, and was often the fall guy in Q1 even before Force India's pace started dropping off. He was also over-keen to have accidents on his own, and too often qualified too far behind his team-mate. Probably not worthy of another chance, and my Chump of the Year.

14. Nico Hulkenburg (Williams)
A season with one great moment, it has to be said. Outqualified by Barrichello, often narrowly on track (including once with the same time, although Nico "won" that one) but comprehensively overall. His good moments (Italy, for example) were sullied by Schumacheresque chicane-ignoring, but some decent form to the second half of the season, and one day in Brazil that may be looked back on as Nico's "Monza 2008". Lost the Williams drive but deserves another F1 season. (We said that about a young driver 10 years ago!)

13. Vitaly Petrov (Renault)
On the negative side, Petrov was the pay-driver humiliated by his team-mate who made numerous stupid errors, with particular reference to checking if the curb was wet in Belgium qualifying and being answered in the affirmative. He only outqualified Kubica twice (Abu Dhabi/Hungaroring). He never finished ahead of Kubica when both finished. His charge sheet is long, but his catalogue of errors is much shorter than his two predecessors (Piquet, Grosjean) and he showed flashes of brilliance, battling with Alonso in Istanbul and Abu Dhabi and finishing 5th in Hungary. If Renault need the roubles, they could do much worse.

12. Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber)
Apart from a point at Turkey, Sauber were pretty poor up to Europe, and Kobayashi was the nearest to being beaten on pace by a Lotus. An audacious strategy in Valencia lit the blue touch paper for Kobayashi's season and standing well back would have been advisable. In addition to the mad late-breaking moves, such as on Alonso in Valencia or half the field in Suzuka, Kobayashi showed a maturity to come in the late points with almost every finish from Turkey onwards. Although there were moments of madness in Canada and Singapore, I don't think anyone is more of a fans' favourite at the moment, and he's the most refreshing, entertaining and surprising young driver to enter Formula One for some time. He even found out how to overtake... in Valencia!

11. Adrian Sutil (Force India)
In the German driver style, Sutil was accused of being a bit 'Ralf' in his previous years; the common denominator in all of his crashes. This year he made all his mistakes in the Korean GP, allowing a positively 'Heidfeldian' season otherwise. He took points in 6 consecutive races from Spain to Britain, as he struck with the Indian iron hot at the start of the season. He dominated Liuzzi, and looked like a mature F1 driver. Maybe the fear of hitting Kimi Raikkonen had been holding him back...

10. Rubens Barrichello (Williams)
A surprise top 10 finisher, and held off the years well to score reasonably consistently. Best couple of performances were in Europe and Britain for 4th and 5th, scenes of Nico Rosberg doing similar in 2009. He did well to survive his overtaking manoeuver on Schumacher in Hungary as the spat between those two reignited, and became F1's first triple centurion. Either way, it gives me much punny pleasure to call him this year's Star in a Reasonably Priced Car

9. Michael Schumacher (Mercedes)
Oh dear! With his mid-life crisis not yet complete, Schumacher continues to take up someone else's seat in Formula One. He was outqualified 14-5 by Rosberg, and failed to reach the podium despite 3 fourth places. He had a decent run of form from Spain to Turkey when he scored two fourths, but even his excellent performances in Korea and Japan only beat Rosberg by dint of the latter's retirement. His move on Barrichello in Hungary and his general behaviour in Canada were dispicable, although he was unlucky to be penalised in Monaco. He topped off his season by spinning alone at the Abu Dhabi start. All in all, did not enhance his reputation.

8. Robert Kubica (Renault)
My Driver of the Year for his excellent performances, particularly in Melbourne and the drivers' tracks of Spa, Monaco and Suzuka. He scored points in all the races he finished bar Bahrain, and his retirements were either mechanical or moments of team stupidity in the pitstops. In a car worse than the Mercedes, Kubica beat Schumacher by 64 points, although who this says more about is questionable. It is difficult to think of a mistake he made, save for signing a contract with Renault if there were higher seats available. If there were not better seats available, then the top teams made the mistake! He qualified top 10 for all bar Abu Dhabi, and took Renault into places they didn't deserve to go more consistently than Alonso last year. A brilliant performance!

7. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)
Its hard to place Rosberg in the F1 hierarchy. He didn't beat Webber in his rookie season, which is understandable. Since then, he's faced Wurz, Nakajima and Schumacher, all of whom he beat easily, but all of whom showed signs of being too old or not having any demonstrable talent. On the face of it though, we must commend him for being the face of Mercedes' success, and nearly scoring double his team-mate's points. Maybe sometime he'll have a measuring stick of his quality.

6. Felipe Massa (Ferrari)
Portents looked good for Massa when he outqualified Alonso in Bahrain, and when he led the Championship after Australia. However, and despite a good performance in Monaco as Alonso made a mess of FP3, he was often caught up in incidents, leading to his poor finishes in Canada, Valencia and Britain. Certainly the middle race was not his fault, but his performance up to that point had only been marginally worse than Alonso, even if his results were disproportionately worse. All the times he beat Alonso in a race were before Britain.
A lot has been said about Hockenheim, but it seems like Massa being tripped up by his own team during his best performance (a trademark controlled race from the front) knocked him for six for the rest of the season. I find it difficult to be critical for this reason, and although he ended the season poorly aside from an excellent result at Spa (with Alonso out of the picture) his season can be summed up with the words: "Fernando. Is. Faster. Than. You". However, there is more than one way to understand my message.

5. Jenson Button (McLaren)
After two race wins in Australia and China, Button lead the Championship. However, he was outqualified by his team-mate 14-5, and his poor Saturday performance was, this year, punished by a driver of the top level. He beat Hamilton 3 times when both finished, although twice through great tyre calls and once with Hamilton struggling. He was, however, typically consistent, and never made a serious mistake, but had a horrible race in Korea. His set-up at Monza was inspired. I have no idea how he lasted to Interlagos in the title race, but he showed that he is certainly comfortably in F1's second tier, but also that he cannot challenge drivers of Hamilton's quality on a consistent basis.

4. Lewis Hamilton (McLaren)
Ignore everything else, and the misfortunes of Vettel in particular. If his car hadn't failed in the Spanish GP and cost him a certain 2nd place, Lewis Hamilton would be the 2010 Drivers' Champion, in a car that was arguably only the fastest car at the Canadian GP in June, and was third fastest for some time. He beat the reigning World Champion 14-5 in qualifying and would have surely scored more points if not tagged by Webber in Australia and Singapore. His only real (marginal) mistake was in Italy, and in Britain he managed to pressure a car that was three-quarters of a second quicker in qualification. A lot has been said about this guy, so scrape the barrel for a criticism if you must, but the statistics show that he is top quality.

3. Mark Webber (Red Bull)
Strewth! Not bad for a number 2 driver, but at the end of the day, obviously a number 2 driver. Apart from his time-of-his-life run of form (which was excellent) from Spain to Canada and a brief renaissance at the high speed tracks, he didn't really ever have the pace of Vettel in qualifying, and he needed to capitalise on Vettel's mid-season malaise to lead the Championship. However, when the wick was turned up at the end of the season, the tank was dry. His error in Korea and his no-show in Abu Dhabi showed he couldn't handle the pressure as his team-mate drove the last 4 races to perfection. He may be the people's champion, but the actual champion he is not.

2. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari)
OK, lets get the positivity out of the way first. He did well to come only 4 points behind Vettel in a faster car, and his performances in Italy and Singapore were excellent. He demoralised Massa (note choice of words) and in truth was faster at Hockenheim but was baulked by Vettel off the line. However, the 2007 Alonso was still clearly in evidence, as was the 2005 model in that even more than McLaren he benefited from inherited positions in Bahrain (from Vettel), Spain (from Hamilton), Germany (from Massa) and Korea (from Vettel). His carping in Valencia was a disgrace, he clearly knew he had to give his position back at the British Grand Prix to Kubica so his penalty gains him no sympathy here, he threw away valuable points in Belgium, and he was the only driver all season to push so hard in FP3 that he crashed and missed qualifying. Words cannot describe how bad his post-race behaviour in Abu Dhabi was. He also got lucky his second bonkers loss of concentration in Monaco saw Schumacher unjustly punished. He has all the talent and his record on track stands up to the most rigourous analysis, but his behaviour and lack of respect mean I feel the need to criticise, and to say he'll be right at home at Ferrari.

[bg=#FFAA00]1. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull)
On the end of a raft of criticism, Sebastian Vettel touched the barrier in Singapore GP qualifying on 25th September, and lost pole by 0.067s to Fernando Alonso. I mention this, because it is the last minute mini-mistake he made. OK, there was some right-turning at the start of the season, culminating in a kamikaze move on Webber in Turkey. Yes, there was his slip in the wet in Belgium. And there were the mistakes in Britain, Germany and Hungary that were amplified. Having said that, he lost no fewer than 3 Grands Prix (Bahrain, Australia, Korea) through no fault of his own, in addition to a podium in Spain. He hit the pole in 10 races, a stunning amount, and finished the season as he started it - perfectly. That he had 7 errors (team or driver), 4 of which cost all points from top positions and still won the title shows he (and Red Bull) had outstanding speed. He is the World Champion, and he deserves to be. I hope he doesn't improve his duelling because we could be in for a boring few years if he does![/bg]
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
Dear oh dear. Tough on Mark there, his wins in Spain and particularly at Monaco were outstanding. Agree absolutely re: Hamilton and Kubica, patently the drivers of the season.

According to most of the critics, Massa has apparently been given the second half of the season off. So I'm going to say: he's not good enough. If that radio message totally demolished his confidence then that is proof positive in itself.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Galahad said:
Dear oh dear. Tough on Mark there, his wins in Spain and particularly at Monaco were outstanding. Agree absolutely re: Hamilton and Kubica, patently the drivers of the season.

According to most of the critics, Massa has apparently been given the second half of the season off. So I'm going to say: he's not good enough. If that radio message totally demolished his confidence then that is proof positive in itself.
On Mark, I agree, I described it as a time-of-his-life run and I believe that it was excellent, but to win Championships you need to finish off and he just choked, I'm afraid.

As for Massa, I'm not entirely sure whether it was confidence or motivation was affected, but I think you start by accepting that he needed to be mind managed - and done properly he can be a threat (see 2008). I just don't think he'd say "I would die for this team" over the radio. He was emotionally invested in the team and they've kicked him in the nuts, I think thats hard for anyone, especially when you've just returned from a massive injury and need the confidence boost that a win would be.

Sport is all about confidence, but I believe it did not demolish his confidence; more it robbed him of a big confidence boost and gave him less reason to actually want to fight knowing he wouldn't be allowed to win. Miniscule things like that have a big effect.
 

siffert_fan

Too old to watch the Asian races live.
Contributor
I can't necessarily agree that Webber "choked". Given his position of inferiority within the team, I will always wonder whether his efforts weren't sabotaged to some extent at the behest of Horner. His pit strategy in the last race certainly smacks of favouratism towards Vettel.

And, as I stated in making Button my choice for driver of the year, I think the results as the season progressed clearly indicate that the modifications made to the McLaren benefitted Hamilton more. Whether this was intentional or not is open to conjecture. It may have been that the team, being more familiar with what it takes to make Hamilton go faster naturally concentrated their efforts along those lines. It also pointed out that, official pronouncements notwithstanding, McLaren is Hamilton's team, just as RBR is Vettel's.
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
A great review of the drivers right there 10/10

Can't really argue with any of that :D
 

Enja

isn't dead.
Valued Member
Brogan said:
Number 8 : Massa.

:crazy:



In America they often give "Power Rankings" to teams/individuals which is a simple, straightforward worst-to-best list. Let me try something similar.

27. Sakon Yamamoto - Nothing to be said here really. Poor pace and one or two mistakes that should not be made at this level (See : Fire extinguisher incident, pit lane limiter incident).

26. Karun Chandhok - On a very similar level to Bruno Senna a lot of the time, and not able to prove/disprove his worth. Jolly nice chap though, and a good commentator.

25. Bruno Senna - Above Chandhok solely for the merit of staying in the car longer, abysmal driver when being lapped.

24. Lucas di Grassi - Like Senna, quite poor in traffic and save from defending against Alonso at Monaco and crashing on his way to the grid at Japan, largely anonymous. Which, in some ways, is a good thing.

23. Christian Klien - Seemed quicker than Senna most of the time, despite the limited running.

22. Timo Glock - Generally seen as a competent driver and 2010 will go along with that. Could end up being Nick Heidfeld's replacement in the role of... Nick Heidfeld.

21. Jarno Trulli - Not given the car to show his speed, and while I've never been a fan of Trulli he's done nothing to be embarrassed about.

20. Heikki Kovalainen - See Jarno Trulli. Makes a good firefighter.

19. Pedro de la Rosa - Generally unable to 'get the job done' and his time is surely up. Probably got rid of a bit too early.

18. Sebastian Buemi - Does not deserve the 2011 STR seat, a very anonymous driver for the most part, unless you count his bizarre crash in China during practice.

17. Vitantonio Liuzzi - Another one of those drivers that goes unnoticed for long periods of time until he crashes out of a race. Has reasonable speed at times and shocking inconsistency at others ; epitomises Force India.

16. Jaime Alguesuari - Given his lack of experience, is doing a solid job and hopefully will show further signs of improvement. Overbearing STR bosses might not let him, mind.

15. Nick Heidfeld - Acquitted himself with the C29 very quickly and despite old engines managed to stay with Kobayashi pretty well. Still a fantastic No. 2, never will be anything more.

14. Vitaly Petrov - Renault's new Nelson Piquet. Not particularly quick, tends to have a celebratory crash every weekend, but occasionally shows glimpses of a tough spirit (it's not vodka).

13. Nico Hulkenberg - A fantastic pole position but generally a let down given his fantastic pedigree. Never seemed comfortable, 'out of the box'. Unfortunate not to receive a second chance at Williams but may have been asking for too much from them. Likewise, they asked too much of him.

12. Adrian Sutil - I sense his best chance may have come and gone, especially now that he's signed up for another year of mediocrity at Force India. A very talented driver at core I feel, but he could be another Jenson Button - best hope he gets a similar career turnaround.

11. Felipe Massa - Was never able to recover from Germany, or indeed, Hungary last year. I don't see the same hustle as I did in '08 or even '09. Not particularly quick either. On a downward spiral I feel.

10. Michael Schumacher - Comeback has not been a success so far, and I doubt next year's tyres will be to his liking. Still, fundamentally I think that given a more competitive car next year, he can do a consistent job.

9. Rubens Barrichello - Williams' best driver since Montoya. Has been very consistent, but largely anonymous like his teammate.

8. Kamui Kobayashi - Often overlooked, he had an unfortunate start to the season rather than a poor one. Showed one or two moments of silliness but has steadily matured into a hard but fair racer. Good prospects.

7. Nico Rosberg - Comfortably beating Schumacher, but I still feel that he is not in the elite drivers with Hamilton, Vettel, Alonso and Kubica. Very solid, but can he really fight for a championship? I'm not sure.

6. Jenson Button - Had a good 1st year at McLaren, but not able to deliver when it really counted. Some bizarre qualifying performances and a few very good races. Not in that aforementioned 'elite' class.

5. Robert Kubica - Needs a championship challenging car. Has the ability and the mentality to mount a challenge. Doesn't make mistakes, and is probably the hardest man to overtake in F1.

4. Mark Webber - Not a fan of his skill or his personality but he's done a good job for RBR. Don't think he will win the WDC next year either, and showed some downright stupidity in some races this year.

3. Lewis Hamilton - Some thrilling overtaking and consistency at the start of the season, let down by that mistake in Monza. The car was not quick enough to win it, but he is still the 2nd best all-rounder in the field.

2. Fernando Alonso - Brilliant consistency at times, and some desperate mistakes early on in the season. Calm and calculating once in the hunt, another crack in a slightly more competitive car and the WDC is his.

1. Sebastian Vettel - Extremely quick driver, in all honesty he should've wrapped the title up way before Abu Dhabi even with his own mistakes included. A more reliable car next year and a deflated Mark Webber should see him be the dominant RBR driver for years to come.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
siffert_fan said:
I can't necessarily agree that Webber "choked". Given his position of inferiority within the team, I will always wonder whether his efforts weren't sabotaged to some extent at the behest of Horner. His pit strategy in the last race certainly smacks of favouratism towards Vettel.

And, as I stated in making Button my choice for driver of the year, I think the results as the season progressed clearly indicate that the modifications made to the McLaren benefitted Hamilton more. Whether this was intentional or not is open to conjecture. It may have been that the team, being more familiar with what it takes to make Hamilton go faster naturally concentrated their efforts along those lines. It also pointed out that, official pronouncements notwithstanding, McLaren is Hamilton's team, just as RBR is Vettel's.
I'm sorry, but you seem over paranoid about team-orders in this post. It is unwise to rule out the quality of drivers such as Hamilton/Vettel based on the fact they enjoyed a tiny advantage over Button/Vettel. (I hope my review does not seem to do the same for Massa & Alonso; if it does my only defence is I don't like the latter).

To make a claim that "the results as the season progressed clearly indicate that the modifications made to the McLaren benefitted Hamilton more" simply overestimates Button's advantage in his two wins (largely based on good tyre calls - Hamilton passed him in Australia, for example). I don't think, looking at the stats, that it can be claimed that Button ever had a significant advantage over Hamilton, hence I don't think you can claim that there was a developmental move towards Hamilton.

As for RBR, I'm not sure you can say the same, but it seemed through most of the time Webber was leading Vettel, Vettel was more likely to be making mistakes than Webber was beating him!
 
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