The best of the rest (drivers)

20 Jan

The other drivers and my view on their performances! Some of these were written a while ago, and so some of the infomation about drivers hoping to get drives may be wrong.

Jenson Button:                   Not Jensen’s greatest season, but for it being his first season with McLaren – a team currently built around Hamilton – he did a good job. He got two victories, in Australia and China, and at the start of the season was looking better then Hamilton at McLaren, was weaker near the end of the year especially in qualifying where his performances were poor. Button won’t got down as on of the all time greats, as it took him 6 years to win a race and 9 to win a championship, but some strong races this year means that he’ll be a contender next year.

Felipe Massa:                     Probably Massa’s least successful season ever, finishing in a dismal 6th in the standings, in the first races he looked competitive, but as soon as the performances started to drop he never looked like having any good results. Couldn’t match Alonso all year, especially in qualifying where he couldn’t get the tyres war enough quickly enough so he’ll be hoping the pirellis are much more to his style and after the tyre testing recently I’d say they were. There was only one race he could have won this year, and he had to concede that one to Alonso. He’ll be proud to have got a 4th at Hungary – the track which almost killed him and everyone thought was going to be his last -. Unless he does better next year he may not have any more seasons at Ferrari, but I hope not because I love his driving style and rate him higher than all but a couple of drivers (who are only above him because of Massa’s poor performances last year).

Michael Schumacher:           Made his biggest mistake coming back and almost managing to tarnish the legends name. Was clearly struggling at the start of the season, but by the end was starting to look like he will do better than 9th next year he finished 4th three times, but never managed to get a podium, but if he drives like he was at the end of last season, he may get on the podium very soon. He always looked quite week in qualifying, but in the races he performed well, hopefully he’ll be competitive next year.

Vitaly Petrov:                          He was the least consistent driver of the year, and his regular crashes managed to almost ruin his chances of getting a drive next year, but that’s now looking likely. He had some good races this year to get the fastest lap in one race, and held off Alonso in Abu Dhabi. He was the highest finisher rookie this year, but Hulkenburg deserved that honour more. He’ll need to be much more consistent next year if he wants to get a third year in the Renault car.

Adrian Sutil:                            Unlucky to finish 11th in the standings, deserved to finish at least in the top 8, but couldn’t perform as well as he could have done all too often. He finished in the points 9 times, and at the end of the day that wasn’t enough. Apparently  around Spa Ferrari were looking at him as a possibility to replace Massa, but after Spa not only did Massa start to finish much better Sutil could only get one 9th and they were his only points, that was what messed up his top 10 finish. He may be replaced next season with four drivers on the shortlist to drive for Force India, with him Di Resta and Hulkenburg the favourites to get a driver next year.

Vitantonio Liuzzi:                If you look at all of his performances you’d think he has one of the worst drivers of the year, but if you look at his four great drives – Bahrain, Australia, Canada and Korea – he was one of the best drivers of the year. He had some amazing qualifying sessions though, and they would merit him a place next year, but on the whole he will be the least likely to be driving for Force India. He regrettably may have had his last race in F1.

Pedro De La Rosa:            Having not driven in F1 since 2006 De La Rosa was a strong driver, he helped Sauber to finish races, but of the 14 races before he was swapped for Heidfeld he only managed 7 finishes picking up 6 points, not enough. In the same amount of time his team mate Kobayashi picked up 21 points from 7 finishes. Was unlucky to be swapped after Monza, as he’d finished the last 4 races picking up all of his 6 points in Hungary.

Nick Heidfeld:                    Nick managed to extend his record as the driver with the most points to have not won a race adding 6 points to the record in the last five races of the season. Was a good decision to bring him instead of De La Rosa, but really should have been with them from the start for his 3rd stint with Sauber. He finished with some good results, which will remind everybody that he’s still worth signing especially for one of the new teams, who could do with his technical brain.

Sebastian Buemi:             Regularly out qualified his team mate throughout the year, but his race pace was just too slow to beat him regularly in the race. He’s still improving though and could be a driver for the future, just too often couldn’t get the 10th place with 5 finishes either 11th or 12th. Seb picked up Toro Rosso best finish of the year with an 8th in Canada, and got the rest of his points with one 9th and two 10ths. Buemi picked up two more points than he did last year, but with the extended points system and revised points given out, that’s a bit of a let down, all he needs to do next year to prove he’s a driver of the future is improve his race pace, as it was that, that let him down on most of the races this year.

Jaime Alguersuari:       Jaime is now 20, and easily one of the youngest drivers racing, had  a great start to the year with 3 points in the first 5 races, while his team mate Buemi only had 2 finishes and both were without points. He’s very consistent with 15 finishes between 9th and 13th (including), and as he only drove 8 races last year, and if he carries on improving he may be the next Fernando Alonso, and if he’s lucky they may promote him to Red Bull to partner Vettel once Webber’s retired. His qualifying got better too, out qualifying Buemi near the end of the year. Jaime is one of the drivers I’d watch for the future as he should go far.

Jarno Trulli:                   For the first time in his F1 career Jarno was out qualified at Monaco by his team mate, a feat not , managed by Fernando Alonso when he was his teammate at Renault. In total Jarno has driven for 6 teams over the course of 14 seasons, and will be the third most experienced driver starting next year (after Schumacher and Barrichello) and will be hoping to keep on going for more seasons, as he’s currently 36. Despite this he’s only managed to stand on the top of the podium once. He’ll be relieved to have only not finished 8 races, as he never went a weekend without any problems, but has been signed for another season so we’ll all be hoping he can get a car that won’t break down regularly.

Karum Chandhok:        Some may think that when he was dropped he was out performing his team mate (Bruno Senna) as he was dominating in the races -although Senna was rarely finishing them-. He was awful though in qualifying regularly  finishing lower down than his team mate and taking the 24th spot, and the lowest average of all the drivers in qualifying last year. Hopefully he’ll get another go in F1, but that may not be for a while, he may turn out to be the guy Force India are looking for.

Bruno Senna:                 Wasn’t too bad, but wasn’t the speed demon his uncle said he’d be -Ayrton Senna- when he famously said “if you think I’m quick you should see my nephew”. He was also not great at keeping the car in one piece, only managing to finish 10 races all year – including 3 in the first 9 races and 3 no finishes in a row between Belgium and Singapore. I think Hispania are being a bit harsh saying he defiantly won’t be driving for them again next year, as with a bit of work he could have the potential to be quite good.

Christian Klien:             Only got to drive in three races last year, which isn’t really enough to be able to tell if he’s still alright, but as in those three races he only finished two and never got higher than 20 it’s unlikely he’ll ever be coming back.

Sakon Yamamoto:        Awful. Sums up his seven races in one word. The only thing he managed to do was end his record for the longest time without not being the last classified driver to finish last – and that was only because Di Grassi had driven enough of the race before he crashed to be classified. All I can hope is he never drives in the Suzuka GP again, as that was the most drap race ever as the Japanese TV crews seemed to really want to film him driving.

Lucas Di Grassi:            Not bad for a rookie, beating his team mate, but he rarely looked as good as team mate in qualifying or the race. He pushed the car well though, although sometimes he pushed it too hard, especially in Suzuka where he didn’t even make it to the start of the race. He looked good at the technical side of racing and I think it’s likely that he’ll be a reserve driver for Virgin next year.

Timo Glock:                   Despite being classed as the lowest driver in the standings to have driven every race, Timo managed to work miracles with the Virgin car, which was really the second worst last year, he managed to equal both of the Lotus drivers some weekends despite them having the quicker car, showing why he was driving for Toyota and picking up points regularly in earlier seasons, he’ll be a vital part of Virgin again next year, as he’ll have to help them develop the car, and challenge other teams.

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