The Champions' No.2


Valued Member
Due to the retirement of David Coulthard, the apparent exit of Rubens Barrichello, and an opportunity to have a go at Fernando Alonso (joking) I think it is time to pay tribute to the unselfish drivers who sacrifice personal glory in order to win the Championship for their team (although usually don't have the option)!

Barrichello played the no.2 fantastically in the first five years of this century. Ferrari won even the 2003 Constructors' Championship due to his ability to take them points that were on the offing away from McLaren. David Coulthard did the same in 1998 for McLaren. Eddie Irvine was able to push Hakkinen close for the title when the team leader was injured and even "failures" such as Fisi and Kova were able to stay out of the way!

We've seen the advantages of having a definite no.2 over and over again. From Prost mugging Williams in 1986, from McLaren's two moments of stupidity in 1989(Japan) and 2007(Hungary). Competitive team-mates often lead to split points (Ferrari 2008) or frustration (JPM, McLaren, 2005).

If Robert Kubica launches himself for the title this year, BMW'll have the security of steady, dependable, point-grabber Nick Heidfeld in car no. 2 (or 6 as the case may be). Will this make all the difference. If Raikkonen has a good year, I doubt Massa will be back at no.2 after the heroics of last year.

But the worst no.2 in a team chasing the title ever has to be Mr. Alonso! Specifically because he thought that he was no.1 just because his nose cone said so! Anyways, opinions?
Two guys who played the number 2 game even though it was to their loss were the late greats, Ronnie Peterson and Gilles Villeneuve.

Ronnie in 1978 was more than good enough win the title that year. All though he was not as technically adept to the fine tuning of the Lotus 78 and 79 (he more than often used Andrettis settings on his car) once he was out on track he was every bit as fast as his team mate. The only things that held him back were the fact that more often than not he was using the type 78 where as Andretti had first use of the type 79 and there was a gentlemans agreement between Peterson, Andretti and Chapman that said that 78 was to be Marios year and Ronnie would play the number 2. Tragically Ronnie was killed at Monza in the very race that confirmed Mario as WDC but if you ever read an interview with Mario he never fails to mention how selfless Ronnie was that season and how they trusted each other.

Gilles played number two to Scheckter in the 1979 season and again it was a year in which either Ferrari driver could have taken the title. Perhaps this was another reason why Gilles felt so betrayed by Pironi at San Marino in 82.

It is such a shame that two of the greatest F1 drivers never to win the WDC gave their all to the team in their most competative seasons when they could have and if they were more ruthless, should have taken the title.

It puts the Alonso / Hamilton spat into a new light.
I would agree with the above; Peterson, and Villeneuve filled their No.2 role with grace and humility. I would put Coulthard and Barrichello in a different category as I don't believe either was sufficiently talented to win the WDC so perhaps they should have been more satisfied with their No.2 status; DC seemed to pick up Mansell's mantle as the driver who complained the most and Barrichello has been threatening a book to expose all the "dark secrets" of Maranello rather than just accepting he wasn't as good as MS.

On a similar subject but going off at a tangent, do you any of you feel that Piquet Jnr is up to the job of supporting Alonso in a title challenge? The importance of the 2nd driver in taking points off the lead drivers title rivals cannot be underestimated and I'm not sure if Nelsinho is up to the task. From memory, the last time a driver won the WDC with a poor subordinate was Nelson Piquet Snr in 1981 (Hector Rebaque was a rent-a-driver at Brabham) and Keke Rosberg in 1982 (Frank Williams, for some inexplicable reason, chose to hire Derek Daly to replace Carlos Reutemann rather than Derek Warwick), although 1982 was a very strange season. Perhaps if Senna hadn't vetoed Warwick's drive at Lotus in mid 80's he could have won more races and titles than he did as Dumfries and Nakajima certainly didn't help him a great deal?
I agree with you! I suppose Kovalainen didn't do too much of a great job - but Hamilton was helped indeed by the Massa=Raikkonen philosophy at the start of the season, Ferrari messing up in Canada, Japan, Italy and Singapore when Hamilton looked beat and BMW nicking Ferrari's points. And slowing Toyotas...

Barrichello may be writing crap about Ferrari now, but it's difficult to say that he wasn't shoddily treated with regard to equality! (see Austrian GP 2002) He played the part of no.2 fantastically, eg. in Suzuka in 2003 when it looked like Schumi might be out of the points, Barrichello got on with it and won him the title! In actual fact for him to not yell " :censored:, no" down the radio when Ferrari said "pull over"(Tirare su) at Austria in 2001/2 is quite a strength of commitment to the cause!

As you say about Senna, you can't say that his relationship with Prost was harmonious, but his WCs came with team-mates Prost and Burger rather than jokers such as Michael Andretti or Johnny Dumfries!

You could argue that Fisi's backup to Alonso is minimal and it seems Alonso thrives when the other driver is not great! I would say that Alonso's titles in 05/06 were built on his 2nd places, ability to defend a lead, Montoya throwing it in the wall at key moments[2005] and sheer luck
[Ferrari don't move Massa aside Turkey 06 - so Schumi gets trapped in 3rd by Alonso; Ferrari move Massa aside in Japan 06 - Schumi's engine goes and Massa is hence trapped behind Alonso! Button winning Hungary 06, the 05 USGP called off with Alonso 6th to Raikkonen's 2nd on grid and a whole range of exploding Mercedes]Funnily enough, Schumi showed his aptitude in 99, when he returned for the Far East only for Irvine to be too slow in Japan!

Its all about what type of person you are - Senna rose to the challenge of a level team-mate, whilst Alonso imploded under the pressure (although Hamilton was far less established than Prost!) Schumi never had a level team-mate; they're very difficult to find! The only reasonably level competitor he ever had was Hakkinen in 1998-2000!

As for DC moaning, well, moaning is necessary for the drivers; otherwise the FIA would just treat them like the expendable parts they were 'till F1's most marketable asset died in 1994! (Cynical view there, sorry!)

tbh, the retirements were probably just an excuse to spark a discussion, Fat Bloke (can I just call you fatty?)! I'm not expecting either to have won any awards which were predecessors to the Clip the Apex awards! Except David Couthard sparking yells of Sind Sie versuchen, um mich zu töten? in Spa in 1998, hence qualifying him for a nomination to Mistake of the Year, should the awards have existed =]!
Top Bottom