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Who were the Top Five Stars in Average cars this season?
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Who were the Top Five Stars in Average cars this season?
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Nov 2010   |  7:45 pm GMT  |  278 comments

We’ve had a lot of fun with the competition to draw up a list of the Top Five drivers of the season and the eight readers who picked the same five as me have been informed and will get their signed book shortly.

But inevitably these lists are dominated by the drivers who won races and I have received loads of messages from readers wanting to nominate the unsung heroes further down the field. It is time to answer that call.


So for a but of fun let’s have your list of the Top Five drivers who were driving a car which did not win a race this year (so for example, Massa isn’t eligible because the Ferrari won races).

This is where the Kobayashis mix it with the Kovalainens, the Sutils with the Hulkenbergs. It’s much more difficult to judge than the top five drivers of the season, partly because for a lot of these guys they are racing without the TV cameras on them, so fans have to drill down to find out how good a job they did!

There are no limits on this, if you think Glock did a better job in the Virgin car that Kubica in a Renault or Rosberg in a Mercedes, here’s the place to say it.

I’ll offer signed copies of the season review book to the five readers who send in the most entertaining lists. Deadline is Friday 12pm UK time.

Enjoy!

Photo: Darren Heath

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278 Comments
  1. Beau says:

    Here’s mine…

    1. Robert Kubica
    2. Nico Rosberg
    3. Kamui Kobayashi
    4. Adrian Sutil
    5. Rubens Barrichello

    1. ian says:

      Yes – but i would swap 4 and 5 around.

    2. Wayne says:

      Think that Kobayashi’s entertainment value is top notch but I also think that some people here are over estimating his overtaking skill. It’s easy to throw caution to the wind and send one up the inside when there is nothing to loose against drivers who are competeing for big points. The lead driver is usually presented with two options: get out of the way or crash – that’s not really race craft is it?

      1. DB says:

        Yes, it is.

        It stops being when the driver being overtaken is not given the option (i.e. gets hit and thrown out).

      2. Wayne says:

        Then why are there rules about weaving etc? The other driver still has the option whether to weave with the offender or not? F1 as a sport certainly does not consider ‘move out of my way or crash’ as an acceptable general outlook, as there are plenty of rules and agreements to negate the necessity of drivers having to make that exact decision. Kobayashi and Sutil were both guilty of forcing contact between cars in their overtaking manouvers more often than not. By your logic, a driver can throw the car into every corner and it is everyone elses responsibility to avoid them? i.e. move over or retire? I disagree.

    3. Rishi says:

      Yes – but I would swap 3 and 5 round!

    4. Grant says:

      I almost agree with you, Beau. My choices are;

      1 and 2 are Kubica and Kobayashi, both outperforming their cars, both inspiring their teams and both giving entertaining drives.

      3 is Rosberg who arrived at a new team the same time as a 7 times WC and out performed him.

      4 is Hulkenberg for his pole and mature race in Brazil.

      5 is Barrichello who, whilst not the best of drivers with a variable temperment, is still a world class performer.

  2. Neil says:

    1. Sakon Yamamoto – incredible performance in Japan holding off much faster cars.
    2. Timo Glock – consistent and drove well.
    3. Nico Hulkenberg – got pole position in a car that should never have been capable.
    4. Jaime Alguersuari – Drove well and overtook lots of people.
    5. Rubens Barrichello – like Glock, very consistent in a poor car.

    1. Kirk says:

      I’d have to rank Yamamoto the worst performer all year. Consistently slower than his rookie teammate (Senna), who was in turn generally slower than his rookie teammate (Chandhok) who had never really driven an F1 car before Bahrain. Hardly an impressive performance!

      1. Valens says:

        Actually Senna was shown to be slightly faster than Chandhok in pure terms, and Yamamoto wasn’t actually that far behind Senna, and indeed, he even outqualified the Brazilian on one occasion.
        He probably was the worst in the field this year, but as a couple of veteran commentators have pointed out, he actually did better than he’s ever going to be given credit for.

    2. Phil Bishop says:

      if holding up much faster cars was the criteria used I’d have to vote for Bernd Mayländer ;o)

      1. Peter C says:

        Excellent !

  3. Daniel Devine says:

    1 – Kubica (he’s going to be a star in the future!)
    2 – Rosberg (one-handedly out performed Schumacher)
    3 – Kobayashi (some stunning overtakes, think he’s got a strong future)
    4 – Barrichello (Still strong)
    5 – Hulkenberg (Another future star)

    Kovalinen deserves a mention too, consistently leading the new teams.

    What do you think James?

  4. Lewis Glover says:

    1 Kobayashi
    2 Kubica
    3 Rosberg
    4 Barrichello
    5 Hulkenburg

    (probably spelt some of the names wrong)

    1. Seán Craddock says:

      you actually spelt them all correctly

      1. Carlos E. Del Valle says:

        Actually it’s HulkenbErg, rather than “burg”. I presume both spellings sound similar in British English.

        Alonso’s pronounciation of his name was hilarious after Interlagos: UNKELBERG.

        My top five anyway:

        Kubica (future champion)

        Rosberg (future champion? what if Merc W02 is a killer?)

        Barrichello (lots of Q3 appearances, and that maneuver over Schu in a place where there is no overtaking)

        Kobayashi (Banzai! Alonso! Valencia!)

        Sutil (two fifth places with a Force India)

      2. Peter C says:

        British English ? We are all so sorry.

      3. Søren Kühle says:

        I think thats Hulkenberg ;)

  5. Abuelo Paul says:

    1, Hekki Kovalainen tried hard and was always just outside the points.
    2. Adrian Sutil excellent drive all year, luck was against him.
    3. Karun Chandhok did more for HRT and F1 all year than the rest of the team together
    4. Vitaly Petrov like a Jack Russell playing with dobermans Snappin at the heels.
    5. Niko Rosberg cos he’s prettier than Micheal. And worked hard all year of course

    1. Mark V. says:

      haha, I think Rosberg would really get more respect if he wasn’t so cute. He needs to grow a beard, shave his head and get some mean looking tattoos. Or just keep whupping Michael’s butt.

      1. Christos Pallis says:

        Nico Rosberg or Leonardo Decaprio when he was younger? He is a pretty boy even more so than Lewis. Think Nico needs to get into cage fiting and get some scars, chicks dig scars. He should get a tattoo of a shark fighting a lion or something! Still he and Kubica both share best of the chasing pack in my eyes!:)

  6. Phillip Horton says:

    Okay, so here goes:

    1. Kamui Kobayashi
    - The fact is that many Formula One races are a little bit dull. Add Kamui Kobayashi to the mix with his “small eyes” as he said, some fresh tyres and no fear, then you have a race. He thrilled in Valencia and he was amazing in Japan.

    2. Heikki Kovalainen
    - You’d expect a driver who got annihilated by Lewis Hamilton not to be high on confidence, but he was! He seemed to be on a happy pill all year long and put in some gutsy performances.

    3. Jaime Alguersuari
    - No-one expected anything from him yet here’s a fiesty racer who actually had a lot of bad luck. Definitely one to watch.

    4. Rubens Barrichello
    - Dragged the FW32 way higher than it belonged on occasion and deserves a medal for not backing out of that move in Hungary. Most people would have needed clean underwear soon after, yet he was shouting at Schumi on the radio!

    5. Karun Chandhok
    - Turned up in Bahrain without a lap in the car but did himself proud with his performances and was sadly replaced with someone with more Yen than his rupees. Although he was quite good at commentary!

    1. Rafael L says:

      Very well put, agreed.

    2. Thamashin says:

      Agreed, Great Comment.

    3. Ben Collins says:

      This list is almost perfect, but I’d whip crazy Rubes out and replace him with Timo Glock who dragged the best out of the useless Virgin package at times.

      Kobayashi is my hero and Karun Chandhok can count himself very unlucky if Force India still refuse to give him a chance…

  7. 1) Robert Kubica
    2) Nico Rosberg
    3) Kamui Kobayashi
    4) Heikki Kovalainen
    5) Nico Hulkenberg

  8. Rather than a simple top 5, I chose to go with 5 winners of different categories.

    Most Consistently A Headache To The Top Teams:
    Robert Kubica – Only 6 points shy of Rosberg in a Renault that wasn’t quite as strong as the Merc. Some brilliant drivers at places like Monaco really proved what everyone already knew, put Kubica in a top car and he will be brilliant.

    Most Amazingly Awesome:
    Kamui Kobayashi – Not much needs to be said about Kamui, everyone has seen the highlight reels. Suzuka was obviously his strongest race, but overall excitement was never far from Kobayashi, on or off track. The F1.com interview where Kamui said that his secret for overtaking was “I am Japanese I have small eyes – so I can’t see the others guys,” may have been the off track quote of the year.

    The New Rainmeister:
    Nico Hulkenberg – Ok, so maybe one qualifying session doesn’t make you a rain expert, but that lap in Brazil was magic. It may seem a stretch, but I would rank it as the 2nd greatest pole lap ever behind Senna’s mega lap in Monaco.

    The Driver That Would Be Impressive If He Could Just Stay On Track:
    Vitaly Petrov – Huh? What? I hear your confusion, stay with me here. Looking back, the rookie really showed speed at times, getting close or even equaling his highly regarded teammate at times. If Petrov would keep the car on track, we would be talking about him as the most impressive rookie of the season. I look past that small blemish since I don’t have to repair his damage and say that he is a guy to watch if he can retain his seat at Renault.

    The Driver Who Did The Most, With The Least:
    Karun Chandhok – Another baffling choice I am sure. However, Karun had two 14th place finished in his abbreviated season, granted they were heavily due to attrition. Let’s take a wider look at this accomplishment. HRT was the slowest car all season and not only did he put in a rather tremendous drive in Monaco only to have Jarno Trulli end up on his head, but he was a very consistent runner that was pulled from his seat far too early. Karun had virtually nothing to work with and outperformed many drivers with more.

  9. Anthony Smith says:

    Hi James,

    What a tough question… 5 stars in reasonably priced cars?!
    I’d say the easy call would be Rosberg. Made the 7 time world champ look ordinary and scored nearly twice as many points. Consistently outqualified and outraced Schumi, so he gets my vote as number 1.
    Second place goes to Heikki Kovalienen. Both he and Trulli outraced the other new teams on a consistent basis but Heikki’s best finishes were enough to secure Team Lotus the 10th place in the constructors. Also awesome fire fighting skills in Singapore, coupled with his radio message in Valencia after Webber flew over him ‘er I think he just hit me’!!!
    Thirdly, kobayashi in the Sauber. Drove some superb races and his banzai overtaking in Japan was a joy to behold! Saucer were not great at the start of the year, and with team mates changing but progress being consistent, you could argue he is a good car developer too.
    I’m tempted to say Hulkenberg, but I think the Brazil qualifying performance will be remembered rather too fondly and he didn’t really set the world alight all season. His race performance is Brazil was also a bit poor as her slipped back through the field a little too easily.
    4th pick is therefore Robert Kubica. Petrov was a tough yardstick but Robert dragged Renault into the news for the right reasons after the diasaster that was 2009. His stock rose immensely this year and it’s no suprise to hear him being linked with top teams for 2012 (potential Massa replacement). Many points finishes and the odd podium.
    Last driver I think should be Alguesuari. He was rubbished alot in 2009 and made steady if not spectacular progress this year. I don’t think the Torro Rosso was a very good car at all (red bull backing the main team plus scuderia having to do all their own design) yet he regulary seemed to get the car into a points or near points position. Tough final pick though.
    Honourable mentions to Klien and Chandock who seemed to get something out of the HRT.

    1. Wayne says:

      Alonso will put a stop to Kubic in a Ferrari – he doesn’t do well with competition and Kubica won’t be capitulating like Massa did. Look what Lewis did to him in his rookie year in the same machinery – totally destabilised Alonso who proceeded to ‘loose his mind’ half way through the season. I’m only surprised that Alosno didn’t end with his half of the garage being padded and equipped with straight jackets by the end of that year with McLaren.

  10. Seán Craddock says:

    5- Kamui Kobayashi: The best overtaker in the field

    4- Jaime Alguersuari: Got his first points this season in a car that wasn’t improving and he’s still only 20!

    3- Heikki Kovalainen: The best of the new team drivers deserves something. He had a tough time at McLaren, but he really seems at home at Lotus

    2- Nico Rosberg: The best driver in the field who’s never won a race. This season he consistently out-paced his team mate which is some achievement (especially when your team mate is the most successful F1 diver ever)

    1- Robert Kubica: Pushed his Renault to it’s limit and wanted more, he needs a competitive car! His qualifying lap in Monaco was unreal and his 3 podium finishes were well deserves. This guy stops at nothing. Watch this space!

  11. Danny says:

    1. Kobayashi (Did very well I thought for a rookie, in these no testing times)

    2. Glock (Strong, solid much the better driver at Virgin)

    3. Rosberg (Looked good and consistent got the most out of the Mercedes)

    4. Schumacher (Did very well I thought coming from back from three years out and in a new team, looking good for next year, far from past it)

    5. Klien (The races he did I thought he did brilliantly and certainly embarrassed Bruno Senna on that short stint more than worthy of a place in a HRT race seat)

  12. Pam Osburne says:

    1:Nico Hulkenberg/Williams. He got it on pole, enough said!!2:Kamui Kobayashi/Sauber. Overtook just about everyone at some point during the season! 3Nico Rosberg/Mercedes. Consistent and usually quicker than illustrious teammate. Looked set for great race/podium in Korea untill he got taken out.4Jaime Alguesauri for alawys being the first out in practise and quali, even when the track was undriveable.5 Heikki Kovalainen. Got driven over(Webber),set on fire(Singapore),built a boat(Japan), and looked genuinely happy through it all!!

  13. F-Lommens says:

    1) Kubica, For years i thought he was the most overrated driver of the field. He proved me wrong this year

    2) Rosberg, he would be destroyed by schumi, it never happened. was quick and made not much mistakes.

    3) Barrichello, he’s a part of the furniture of F1. Consistently faster than the hulk and into Q3. Well done.Plus with him in the team it looks like Williams is finaly heading back in the right direction.

    4) Kobayashi, he drives sometimes like he needed to take out his brains to get his helmet on, but he pulls it off. spectacular to watch, he proofs overtaking is possible in F1.

    5) Heidfeld, probably the most underestimated driver in F1. He would have done better than Schumi in the Merc.

  14. Steve W says:

    1. Kubica – Helped revive Renault’s fortunes on and off track. Consistently fast everywhere, sensational at the real drivers tracks like Monaco, Spa and Suzuka.

    2. Rosberg – Really upped his game in the face of the challenge of partnering Michael Schumacher. Cut out the mistakes from previous seasons, delivering conistently solidly performances all season to realise the potential he has shown since entering F1

    3. Kovalainen – Revised his career at Lotus after the confidence shattering experience at McLaren. Never seemed to lose motivation in a difficult car, and was easily the best of the drivers from the new teams this year. Occasionally mixed it with the established teams when circumstances allowed, like the rain affected Chinese GP. Like Rosberg looked like a top driver this year.

    Kobayashi – Struggled early on to match his 2009 Toyota performances, but by mid season started to deliver. His qualifying performances are his weak point, but his racecraft certainly is his strength, almost at the same level as Lewis Hamilton in terms of overtaking ability. The most entertaining driver on the grid without doubt, if he can start to deliver consistent results could be a top driver for years to come.

    5. Sutil – There’s never been any doubt that Sutil has a lot of talent, but his knack of getting involved in incidents has hampered his F1 career until this year. Korea apart, he has calmed down a lot in 2010 delivering consisent results when his Force India car has allowed it, and beaten his highly rated team mate, Luizzi. I think he will ultimately need to move up the grid to another team if we are able to judge just how far his talent can stretch.

    1. El shish says:

      Kubica being sensational at Suzuka is possibly a little over the top… He was out after two laps. Qualifying is only part of the game

  15. Robert says:

    Five best – Kubica, Rosberg, Kobayashi, Barrichello, and Chandok

    Five worst – Trulli, Sutil, Senna, Hulkenberg, and de la Rosa.

    Chandok finished races when his teammate didn’t, simple as that.
    Senna is a dismal driver, someone who will most likely tarnish the name.
    Trulli is a moving chicane and has been his entire career.
    Sutil has more bad races than he has had good or great drives.

  16. Tom Power says:

    Hi James, you might have missed my post on the top 5 of the season. it was 191 and I’m sure it matches your list. anyway this 5 is more interesting but starts easily enough with Kubica, Rosberg, Kobayashi, with Hulkenburg following. Klein gets my last place for blowing away Senna in qualifying with no testing. impressive.

  17. Jaime Borjas says:

    I think the top five drivers for me in average cars were:
    1.- Adrian Sutil, we saw the growth of the team but I think that his skills complemented the results.
    2.-Robert Kubica, always a great driver, we can see that he needs to be seated in a top scuderia.
    3.- Nico Rosberg, if Mercedes had a more reliable and faster car he would’ve been a tough competitor.
    4.- Nick Heidfeld, I always Think that quick Nick needs a chance to prove what he got.
    5.- Nico Hulkenberg – What he did in Brazil was excellent.

  18. newnhamlea1 says:

    Firstly, Kobayashi because he embraced the Taku spirit and was not afraid to have a go at people in far superior cars to his own, especially fernando alonso in valencia.

    Kovalainen deserves it for dragging around the lotus all year, whe he was used to far better, but also for that excellent 12th place finish in japan.

    Kubica and rosberg also deserve credit for performing well in two average cars and grabbing podiums at some races.

    And finally algesuari should be praised for proving the doubters wrong and showing he has potential for a future in formula one.

  19. Jon says:

    1) Kobayashi – never knew where he would pop up and who he would be overtaking, but you knew he would always be sideways.

    2) Petrov – when would his next spectacular shunt take place? Entertaining to watch.

    3) Glock – solid.

    4) Chandhok – I know he didn’t last long, but he did a more convincing job than any other HRT driver and he seems like a great, down-to-earth guy.

    5) Di Grassi – great shunt at Suzuka. Losing it massively on the parade lap takes sublime skill.

  20. malcolm.strachan says:

    1) Kobayashi – pushed hard, made alternate strategies work, and put on a hell of a show

    2) Kubica – The Renault wasn’t a dog, but it certainly wasn’t on par with the top four teams, yet he still managed a few podiums.

    3) Barrichello – He took a car that was performing poorly, and ended up with a great string of points finishes. Beyond that, he helped develop the car to allow him to get that much closer to the front. Stellar effort through the year.

    4) Rosberg – He beat Schumacher in equal cars. ‘Nuff said.

    5) Chandhok – Only contested half of the year, in easily the worst car, and pulled off three Top-15 finishes (Trulli tied him on that stat, and only Kovalainen beat him with seven Top-15′s, although they had 9 more races than Chandhok).

    His 14th place finish came in only his SIXTH on-track session, having never driven an F1 car beforehand (he only did the race in Bahrain with no practice or qualifying). The next race he pulled off a 15th, and then got 14th at Monaco (might have been 13th had he not been taken out).

    Stellar performances in the first half of the year when the car was barely even set up, let alone had any sniff of development. Who knows how well the latter half of the year would have gone for him if he wasn’t booted from the seat?!

  21. DC says:

    1. Kubica – he is up there with the best.

    2. Rosberg – surprised me, maybe I shouldn’t have been. he was very impressive against a living legend.

    3. Kobayashi – amazing driving spirit. better than Lewis maybe? hope he gets a car so we can see!

    4. Kovalainen- always rated him and thought that his McLaren days were more a good mark for Lewis rather than a bad mark for him. best of the new team runners.

    5. Barrichello – crappy car, old head and destroyed his young upstart team mate.

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      On Barrichello
      ***********

      I’ve seen many people putting Barrichello in their list and I’m very much against him being included and I’m sure that Allen with his wisdom won’t put him up there.

      If there were lists for :

      - drivers who cry the most
      - drivers who hate the most Schumacher

      he will be top the list but not for best midfield driver. I know he helped Williams and he’s excellent in setup but he’s been around almost since Fangio so he knows every trick in the book of improving a car.

      The guy has been beaten by Button in the same car I remind you.

      1. DC says:

        He also beat button on occasion too….quite convincingly in fact…but that was last year…and being beaten by button is not something to be ashamed of anyway.

        he deserves a spot because he not only held up against a rookie who was tipped to “do a Lewis” but he scrapped hard against Shumacher in a far worse car…

        I think you are being very harsh, and your arguments against had no substance. they sound quite personal in fact.Barrichello showed a lot of racing spirit in my opinion.

      2. Thamashin says:

        Well Said, Rubens all the way.

  22. TOM says:

    #1 KUBICA
    #2 ROSBERG
    #3 BARRICHELLO
    #4 KOBAYASHI
    #5 KOVALAINEN

  23. Marco Nolfi says:

    1. Nico Rosberg
    2. Robert Kubica
    3. Kamui Kobayashi
    4. Nico Hulkenberg
    5. Heikki Kovalainen

    1. Gold medalist says:

      Hi there

  24. Aaron James says:

    1. Kobayashi- a terrifying mix of Takuma Sato’s bravery and the racecraft of Ayrton Senna, Kobayashi has set this season’s F1 season alight (well it was his engine alight for the first few races!. I have no doubt if given a race winning car, He would be up there with them.

    2. Kovalianen- really proved his worth this season. The Chirpy Finnish Flyer was definately an A-Class driver in a B-Class car, and I cannot wait until his exploits in 2011.

    3. Bernd Maylander- his race performance at the Korean Grand Prix deserves huge recognition given the car wasn’t of a standard spec. Oh no…..wait…..

    4. Kubica- Sure he didnt win a race but Ive chosen Kubica for 4th because he was one of the A-Class in all but machinery. Wrung the renault car out completely.

    5. Barrichello- another steady performance from the brazilian veteran. The question is this- what will come sooner- F1 retirement or zimmer frame?

    1. Ian H says:

      Haha, excellent shout for Bernd Maylander! He led 88 laps this season which puts him sixth in the leader table, only seven laps behind Hamilton who won three races!

  25. Andy W says:

    1. Kobayashi – Without a doubt the breakout driver this season, yes he has made a few mistakes but his passion and skill have been a joy to behold this season. He had the entire pub I was in up and cheering with his overtaking at Valencia (including a few Ferrari fans). Time and time again he has proven the idea that there is no overtaking in F1 to be a fallacy.

    2. Rosberg – Yeah he may have been made to look like a child who just lost his candy in Oz when Lewis mugged him around the outside of turn 11, but he has shown real performance this season. In a season when there have been 3 teams all with great drivers and good reliability his podiums stand proud. Teaming up alongside the 7times world champion must have been daunting at the start of the season, but he kept his head down ignored the media and did his talking on the track. Still has to show the flair his father showed but I do feel he has moved firmly out from under his fathers shadow and is writing his own story, hopefully Mercedes and Ross can give him (and Schumi) a car capable of regular podiums and race wins next season, and we will start to see him carve his own legend.

    3. Rubens – He maybe the oldest driver on the grid (easily old enough to be the father of the new WDC) but he clearly still has all the passion drive and skill needed to cut it in this sport. I suspect he has played a far larger role in the resurgence of Williams than just the points he has scored and I really want to see what he and the team will be able to do next season. His infamous overtake on his old team mate and not so best friend showed his comitment and skill.

    4. Kovalainen – He finished last season looking like a whipped dog at McLaren, signed for the last team on the grid and I must admit I felt Lotus had made a mistake signing Heki, but he has proven me wrong with some really gutsy driving and by having a permanent smile plastered all over his face this season. He has been a great driver for Lotus both on and off the track with his constant good cheer and fire marshal abilities.

    5. Schumacher – Yeah I know he has taken a lot of flak this season, but he has stuck at it and has impressed me in some of the later races of this season. Give him a better car next season, one that suits his driving style and a level playing feild regarding the tyres and I expect he will add to his number of podiums and race wins, and who knows maybe even an 8th WDC (although I think that unlikely). Its remarkable given the amount of stick he has recieved this season to see him so relaxed and even having fun.

    1. Alias J says:

      ahem, barrichello isn’t the oldest driver on the grid. the oldest is schumacher.

      1. Michael says:

        Barichello is 3 yrs younger than Schumacher.. but they look opposite.

  26. Aaron says:

    1. Kubica – my candidate for best driver outright

    2. Kobayashi – outperformed de la Rosa and Heidfeld, most exciting driver to watch as well.

    3. Kovalainen – Consistently fastest of new boys. Seems to suit the more laid back atmosphere of Lotus.

    4. Barrichello – Especially at his age, fantastic motivation to drop back down the field after Brawn ’09. Good consistency.

    5. Hulkenberg – Started to look the real deal in the closing stages of season. Would have been higher had it not taken so long for him to settle. Stunning pace in Q3 in Brazil.

  27. Richard Bell says:

    1. Robert Kubica
    Surely no explanation needed

    2. Heikki Kovalainen
    Possibly been his strongest season. In 10 races he finished ahead of the drivers in the 3 new teams. Holding Petrov off in Canada was superb as was qualifying 15th in Malaysia and 13th in Spa.

    3. Kamui Kobayashi
    How does a guy finish just 16th in GP2 last year, with a highlight being one podium for 3rd, then come to F1 and performed wonders? Would’ve put him higher if he wasn’t out-qualified by Pedro more often than not.

    4. Nico Hulkenberg
    As quick as Rubens in his debut year, pole in Brazil was pure class, a bit inconsistent but most rookies are.

    5. Jaime Alguersuari
    In ’09 he took part in the last 8 races (with no F1 experience) almost exactly where he improved this year showing he’s learning. Out-qualified Buemi in final 5 races

  28. Maks says:

    Top Three are easy:
    Rosberg had impresive season.
    Kubica was the most consistent.
    Kovelainen was solid in Lotus.

    Next two are trickier.
    I would say Kobayashi for his ‘cautious’ approach to overtakeing.
    And finaly Rubens who enjoys his indian summer in F1 and seems to have found his home at Williams.

  29. Shane says:

    Mr. Kubica – Consistently out drove the Renault
    Mr. Rosberg – Consistently out drove Mr. Schumacher
    Mr. Kobayashi – Enthralling passing at Suzuka
    Mr. Glock – I think he has more to give
    Mr Chandok – Good driving, gained positions when he could, got the short end of the stick for not having enough money to pay for his seat.

  30. Divesh says:

    1. Robert Kubica – the defacto no.1 driver of the non-winning cars. His virtues have been extolled by virtually everyone. Carried Renault team on his back this season. Without him Renault would have been nowhere as positive about next season. Consider that he scored 136 points to Petrov’s 27. Now imagine if Renault had 2 drivers like Petrov and they may well have been pulling out of F1 at the end of 2010. So thank you Robert for saving the Renault team! Would dearly love to see him in one of the top 3 cars though, but those seats are all locked down for 2011.

    2. Kobayashi – I think without a doubt THE breakout star of 2010. Let’s not forget his strong drives in the Toyota in 2009 which got him into this year’s Sauber. Seemingly able to overtake anytime and anywhere he is already a cult hero with F1 fans. Visit any f1 forum and he is widely touted as F1′s most exciting prospect for many a year. Outperformed both his far more experienced teammates comfortably. Was it an indication of how good Koba is or how “journeyman” Quick Nick really is?

    3. Nico Rosberg- I know he was on the verge of most people’s top 5 drivers. An uber strong 2010. He was error free for most of the season and his consistency struck a strong chord with many fans and he was finally being compared to the top tier drivers. I think a real coming of age season for Nico, if anything Mercedes long term no.1 and the man they should be building the team around.

    4. Heikki Kovalainen – he beat the quick and vastly experienced Trulli in virtually every race this season. In a hastily designed and built new car he proved the class of the new boys this season. Seemed to have rediscovered the form which made him a real star at Renault. Lost his way a little at McLaren but I can see that he can really thrive at a smaller team without the spotlight of having a top car at his disposal and the expectations that go with it.

    5. Rubens Barichello – the most experienced man in the paddock he may be, but he showed just as much enthusiasm as many a rookie. He and Schumi had some epic battles this season, and consistently got the Williams into the top 10 in qualifying and the race. By all accounts his knowledge and experience helped push Williams development in the right direction and like Kubica at Renault, but for Rubens Williams may have been nowhere near as strong in 2010. Hulkenberg may have got the glory for the team with pole in Brazil, but it was Rubens that developed the car to get him there. Prone to have a moan, but you can see that he is more determined than ever to back down for no-one. Age just seems to be making Rubens more fiesty!

  31. Steven says:

    Kubica
    Nico R.
    Nico H.
    Heikki K.
    Kamui K.

  32. Tim says:

    1 Kobayashi
    Throughout the season he showed fighting spirit that was extremely entertaining to watch. From the dives up the inside at Suzuka to battles at Singapore. I thoroughly enjoyed his racing in an average car.

    2 Kubica
    The best of the rest. Early races such as Monaco he showed his true talent as a future F1 star given a competitive car. Beat his team mate in qualy and race all season and rarely made a mistake. It was always exciting to see if he could pinch points off the title contenders.

    3 Glock
    Best of the new teams. He showed it’s possible to finish races in a sub standard car and had the best pace of the new teams. Well done Timo!

    4 Rosberg
    Outpaced his 7 time world champ team mate for most of the season, and in a few races pushed the top 6 cars in qualy. A good season overall in a relatively poor performing car given the expectations.

    5 Barichello
    The squeezy pass on MSC against the pit wall showed that he’s still got the desire to race in F1. Not the greatest season but always giving 100% every race.

  33. Joe Szpara says:

    1)Robert Kubica – Monaco and Suzuka he was epic and was definately not in a car worth the front row of the grid.

    2)Kamui Koboyashi – He shone in a midfield car and his passes on Alonso and at Suzuka were magnificent.

    3)Heikki Kovalainen – He deserves this spot for being so motivational and upbeat despiting having a car that cant qualify past 18th position.

    4)Timo Glock – Same reason as above really plus he did well to hold off about 8 cars in Singapore until he was pushed over the Curb.

    5)Nico Hulkenburg – Was overshadowed by Rubens in the beginning of the season but in Monza and Q3 in Brazil his talent became more apparent.

    Thank you.

    This is one of my first posts. Just though id say Hey (:

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      His pass on Alonso happened in Valencia

      1. Joe Szpara says:

        Yeah you know what i mean.! His pass on Alonso was good AND his passes in Suzuka.

      2. Ben says:

        You might want to reread his sentence.

    2. adam h says:

      EXCELLENT PASS by kobayashi! and thats the man james claims is the most completer driver today! what nonsense!

      1. James Allen says:

        Which James are you referring to here – not me surely?

      2. AndyK says:

        Im not sure which James he’s referring to. But dont call him Shirly! :)

      3. adam h says:

        dont lie! iv’e lost count the amount of times youve referred to alonso as the most complete!

  34. S.J.M says:

    1) Kubica, did anyone really think he would be as good as this in this years Renault? We knew he was a good driver but questions over the Renaults competitiveness remain (even still when comparing to petrov) but he was class and im including in this list as his car wasnt a top fielder, in my opinion.

    2) Kamui “Leeroy Jenkins” Kobayashi. Started slowly with some DNFs but outshone his teammate and put some excellent individual drives with Japan being a highlight. Hope Sauber give him an improved car to see what he’s really capable of with such a car.

    3) Rubens Barrichello. 2nd top in the midfield drivers with 47 points (10th overal) Started the better at Williams at the beggining of the year and had some ‘interesting’ scraps with his ex-ferrari team mate but avoided a major shunt with some superb driving in Hungery. Although he was at times shown up later in the season by his team mate…

    4) Nico Hulkenburg. Unexpected Pole in Brazil stunned the Paddock, F1 fans and the entire world. Started slowly but his talent showed in the 2nd half of the season when he got to grips with the car and would be criminal not to have a car next year.

    5) Heikki Kovalainen. Best of the new teams drivers over the races and his & lotus’s best finish got them that much wanted 10th in the WCC. Few mistakes from him and got on with the job when his car wasnt on fire or having Aussie’s flying over him.

  35. pingu666 says:

    1)Kobayashi – He, and lewis make f1 WAY more exciting, and actully worth watching.

    2)jamie – had some great moments, and seems like he slides the car?

    3)kovalinan – seems reborn, was the cutting edge of the new teams

    4) rosberg quietly out performing his teammate, while still leaving us wondering how good he is :D

    5) kubica – some great performances, and has the most fanatical f1 forumers by far :x

    1. Miner says:

      Ad.5 “Kubica has most fanatical forumers by far” – usually I’m not posting, just reading, but I’m in that group. But I would say it differently, instead of “fanatical” I would use “committed”. Just as Robert is – you can always talk with him about racing. If not racing, he’s ready to talk about something different, like rallying. Eventually you can switch to karting. Racing is his life and he don’t sink in PR/glamour world, which is really refreshing. Once I tried to learn a little bit about his private life – not that easy – but I found that even his girlfriend is a sister of … rally driver :) I wish everybody here to have a job which we can be as committed to.

    2. Dr Prozac says:

      The most fanatical? You don’t know many LH or Kimi internet fans, do you? ;)

  36. Adil D says:

    Here are my thoughts:

    1. Kamui Kobayashi: because the dude is just entertaining and isn’t afraid to pass. If the field was full of drivers like Kobayashi, we wouldn’t spend so much time discussing technical regulations to increase overtaking in F1.

    2. Nico Rosberg: because he was deflated at the announcement of new teammate Michael Schumacher prior to winter testing, and then completely and utterly trounced him throughout the season.

    3. Nico Hulkenberg: because as rumours of Pastor Maldonado swirled around the paddock in Brazil, he stuck his car on pole in changeable conditions. But more importantly, he spent the first half of the year learning and the second half getting progressively and steadily quicker.

    4. Rubens Barrichello: because as the elder statesman in F1, who loves his family so much he flies home after every race, he still won’t lift while being driven into a wall by his former teammate. Sure, you’d expect him to be good, but Barrichello shows no signs of slowing down and has brought Williams a level of experience and technical competence that they haven’t had in a decade.

    5. Heikki Kovalainen: because he’s really the best of the new teams drivers. Didn’t let his head get done in by the demotion from McLaren to Lotus. Just put his head down and got on with it.

  37. Forzaminardi says:

    5) Heikki – dedicated his career (so far successfully) in paying homage to his great hero and former team mate Giancarlo Fisichella by being useless in a decent car but great in a useless one. Nice one Heikki!

    4) Kobayashi – A great first full year for the Japanese mentalist and we can see why Toyota felt they had to get rid of him – The Car in Front should be a Toyota, not Overtaken.

    3) Hulkenberg – In the end he came on strong but his main contribution to the season was making Rubens look even more awesome than usual – see number 1 below (damn, given it away).

    2) Schumacher – A really disappointing year for his rabid fans but manna from heaven for everyone else as we all rejoiced in his mediocrity. After all the years, thanks Michael for proving after all that no one is perfect.

    1) Rubens – a beautiful teddy bear of a man, a living legend and a 100% fantastic, awesome racing driver. 300 GPs not out, here’s to the next 300,000!

  38. KavB says:

    1. Kubica – Was able to drag the car to podiums when it didn’t deserve so many.

    2. Rosberg – Was the best of the rest usually, and he could have won the Korean grand prix if it weren’t for Webber crashing into him. His car was better than the Renault though, so he’s 2nd.

    3. Barrichello – Destroyed his highly rated teammate in the first half of the season, and still had him under control for the second half. This was a guy who was about to lose his drive 2 years ago because he was too old, and the sport needed “young blood”.

    4. Kobayashi – For some reason he has been branded as a “crasher” even though he hasn’t had many collisions. After a difficult start to the season (Mainly due to reliability), he was able to score points here or there. He also had a mature drive at Valencia where he saved his tyres for most of the race.

    5. Kovalainen – He wasn’t comfortable at McLaren, but he’s shining now. It’s a shame he didn’t score a point, but he was the leading driver out of the new teams and was able to stand out even in a poor car.

  39. Eerik says:

    I nominate Nico Rosberg for standing his ground against the greatest racing driver the world has ever known in a team that (let’s be honest here) builds and develops a car for his teammate. As for the remaining four I nominate Bruno Senna, Karun Chandok, Sakon Yamamoto and Christian Klien for pulling off the stunt of racing an average GP2 car in Formula 1.

  40. Dr Prozac says:

    Well, I don’t know what do you mean by “entertaining” so I’ll post my real top five.

    1. Kubica
    2. Rosberg
    3. Kobayashi
    4. Kovalainen
    5. Hulkenberg

    I think that Kubica’s, Rosberg’s and Kobayashi’s positions need no explaining. Especially that imho Robert and Nico were the two best drivers this season.

    Heikki for being (I think) the best driver from the rookie teams. Though it was close with Glock.
    Hulkenberg only for his pole position. The conditions were random and Williams admitted that they’ve managed to set ideal tire pressures, but still. The rest of his season wasn’t great (and the chicane cutting at Monza was awful)

    I also considered Nick for having a good return.

  41. Jesus says:

    Hey James, good question! I´ll go for:

    1-Alguersuari. He went better and better as the season progressed. Started with half a second deficit to Buemi in Qualy and ended beating him by a big margin.

    2-Kubica. I rate him pretty high, but with such a weak teammate we can´t be sure how good was that Renault.

    3-Kobayashi. Very good overtakings, but bearing in mind they were almost always with better tyres and that he was not faster than D la Rosa, I can´t put him better.

    4-Glock. Impressive with such a bad car. Two or three races where strategy put him between the big guys and he battled like a champ.

    5-Chandok. Better than expected. Close to Senna in qualy and aguably better than him in the races.

  42. Jay B says:

    Not really who I thought was the best, but the drivers who had the best ‘moments’ for me. In no particular order:

    1. Hulkenberg for getting a jaw-dropping pole position in Brazil and making the so-called ‘Top’ drivers look like they’d barely passed their tests. Sweet.

    2. Petrov for ruining Alonso’s day at Abu Dhabi. Completely unapologetic for doing so. Just find something so irritating about Alonso and it provoked an amusing display as he thoroughly emptied his pram of its contents. Oh and Petrov did qualify well ahead of Kubica in Hungary. Good smashes too.

    3. Kovalainen for helping to end the Singapore Grand Prix with smoke and flames. Fantastic fire-fighting and he helped Lotus secure its position as the top team in the WCC. Nice guy.

    4. Kobayashi for improving what was a fairly plain Japanese Grand Prix. Infront of his home crowd he ‘Kobaybashied’ his way past drivers around the turn 11 hairpin, some passes more graceful than others. Clever strategy in Valencia and a decent performance in Silverstone. Slightly disappointed after what we saw last year but still an enjoyment to watch most of the time. BANZAI!

    5. Speaking of disappointments…finally we have Schumacher. So much was expected from the 7-time WDC. Comprehensively beaten by his team-mate, Michael tried to over-compensate with some unorthodox driving. Squeezing his former team-mate against the wall in Hungary, the absolute disaster for him that was Singapore – ramming into driver after driver…The best moment though, has to be slipping past Alonso at the last corner in Monaco. Most commentators missed it as it happened but I caught it live and thoroughly applauded him for catching Alonso unawares and getting the position. Sadly it didn’t pay off in the end but it showed he hadn’t lost any of his spirit. Even if he didn’t have his previous speed, he managed to keep everyone talking about him, even if not always for the right reasons. True Legend.

  43. David says:

    Well, here’s my pick:

    1. Rosberg – destroyed Schumacher and proved himself yet again as a more than capable driver. He was superior to Michael at almost every meeting, and did hardly any mistakes.

    2. Kubica – great pace, also destroyed his teammate. However, just like Rosberg, it’s difficult to rate him because they haven’t had great benchmarks so far. But I believe that Nico is a better driver – no facts, just my gut feeling -, and that’s why I gave him 1st place.

    3. Barrichello – not many paid attention to him, but he’s driven well during the entire season. Even though some claimed that he does not belong in F1, I’d say he’s managed to silence his critics.

    4. Alguersuari – just like Barrichello, he hasn’t been given much attention, but he has driven really well this season. He has been improving steadily and, while not as fast nor skillfull as Hamilton, I believe he has proved that he deserves a seat. And I also think the best is yet to come for him.

    5. Kobayashi – I didn’t really know who to give fifth place, so I picked him. Even though I believe he is rather overrated (he’s usually seen as a very fast drivers, even when he was outqualified by PdlR and he wasn’t much better than Pedro in race pace), he’s delivered some of the best overtaking manoeuvres we’ve seen during the season. His driving wasn’t brilliant, but his overtaking was.

  44. Dr Prozac says:

    Less serious list would be:

    1. Kovalainen for being a great fireman.
    2. Di Grassi for his commitment on warm-up lap before the Japanese GP
    3. Hulkenberg for finding alternate (and faster!) routes at Autodromo Nazionale Monza. Got to support creativity.
    4. Chandhok for his commentary for BBC.
    5. Yamamoto for having not as disastrous pace as I thought he will have.

    Cheers :)

  45. Wayne says:

    In at number one, Christian Klien for his late entry in Colin Kolles’ $20 million dollar game of musical chairs and, less importantly, outperforming Senna.

    Heiki is my number 2 for securing the 12th place finish in Japan that will result in Branson being parachuted from Air Asia flight v1rg1n l005er5 somewhere over the Pacific in 2011.

    Barrichelo for surviving the miniscule gap between Schumi’s ego and the Hungarian pit wall.

    Kobayashi and Sutil for gamely going along with Bernie’s latest master (read loony) plan to give F1 mass market appeal in the USA by turning it into a full chassis contact sport.

    Schumacher for being game enough to accept Damon’s dare to make a come back.

  46. Jonty says:

    Kobayashi – entertainment value and driving skills! Pass on Alonso was great (with newer tyres but nevertheless impressive). My best of the average cars.

    Rosberg – some great passes. Fed on the old trusted Shumacher mind games! And thoroughly outperformed him.

    Kubica – mixing it up with the big teams. A force to be reckoned with in a faster car surely.

    Barrichello – made that move on Shumacher stick which took balls in it’s self! Significantly out performed his highly rated rookie team mate.

    Kovalainen – best of the new teams and very impressive with firefighting skills!

  47. Trent says:

    Barrichello – Was driving a Formula One car when I was still at high school (I’m 34!), and while it might be a stretch to say he’s still getting better, he mixed it with the younger guys on plenty of occassions, and left the fans with the impression he still has the fire and the speed. This guys has raced eighteen seasons of Formula One – amazing!

    Kubica – The guy is straight-out quick, and on several occasions got in amongst the top 3 teams when the Renault should have been mid-field. I was disappointed that, at times, promise in practice did not seem to convert into qualifying and race results – Korea definitely springs to mind

    Rosberg – Plenty of evidence of speed, but I’m yet to see the evidence of sublime wheel-to-wheel skills. Maybe he hasn’t had the opportunity. He can certainly deliver against the stopwatch, though it’s hard to know what to draw from comparisons to his team mate, who after three years out of the game is still something of an unknown quantity

    Kobayashi – While everyone was questioning what happened to Kamui over the winter, he was getting on with learning a new team and a new car. This was really bearing fruit by the end of the season, and at Suzuka (even at Valencia, earlier on), with the right set of circumstances, we were reminded of his extraordinary overtaking ability to the extent that you start to wonder, just like with Schumacher in his younger days, whether the conventional wisdom of overtaking being difficult in F1 is a touch exaggerated

    Schumacher – Yes, I’m serious. There are questions about his speed at the moment, and despite what I say above, the facts are that this is a 41 year old guy with not a single thing left to prove, who has put himself in a situation where he is really up against it. He is indeed risking his reputation, and in a sense his legacy too. Despite this, he looked calm and relaxed and showed steady improvement over the season. Plenty of negativity directed towards him, but he has not let it get to him. I have a feeling the Schumacher story is not quite over yet.

  48. John T says:

    This is a toughie, as there were performances down through the field that merit a mention.

    Robert Kubica – It would be a crime not to include Kubica in this list, a top driver, he got 3 podiums in tank of a car, its only redeeming feature being that renault got the f duct working, so that the car went like a steaming hot pile of you know what, off an ice cold shovel, he was also a great racer (good traction too), in terms of racecraft, he was at the top fo his game, look at his skill in abu dhabi and singapore.

    Nico Rosberg – A man that everyone thought schumacher would wipe the floor of, it turned out the opposite, Nico kept his head down, and got on with the job, getting himself in the right places at the right times, to get a lot of good results, but i dont think he will be thinking too fondly about when had hamitlon overtake him around the outside of him in australia.

    Timo Glock – He had to drive, if effect, a turd of a car, but he comprehensively out qualified his team mate, done his best in a car that had practically got no testing. However, he has to get himself in something a bit better, or his career will stagnate.

    Kobayashi – Kobayashi is a bit like Glock, (good in a race, not a great qualifier) only a bit more of a showman, who doenst mince about, but instead grabs opportunities by the balls and goes for it. You cant question his commitment, but there are times when you have to step back, as although it makes for a good race, sometimes you have to weigh up the options, and it seems like he is a bit of a gung ho, kamikaze type of driver.

    Hulkenberg – I am torn between the two williams drivers, but i have to go with Hulkenberg, as he is a true rookie, not having had a single race before this season, he was really coming on towards the end of 2010, taking the fight to barrichello, a wily old charger, so give credit where credit is due.

  49. JEZ says:

    The best of the rest list
    #1 Kobyashi
    His car was a dog, yet he out shone “stars” several times, and showed that he is perhaps the best Asian driver ever (sorry Sato).

    #2 Rosberg
    A man in a new car, with a big challenge to face. Nico stared down Micheal without hardly blinking.

    #3 Kubica
    Srove the car beyond its expectations.

    #4 Barricello
    Without his experience the car would have remained undrivable and this is why he earnt his place in my top 5 and his drive next year.

    #5 Kovilienen
    Always cheerful and smiling, I wish him luck at getting to the front again.

  50. Adam Taylor says:

    1, Kubica
    2, Rosberg
    3, Kobayashi
    4, Barrichello
    5, Sutil

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      Did you see Sutil in KOREA ?

  51. manos says:

    Rubens
    Hulk
    Koba
    Sutil
    Kova

  52. Jo Torrent says:

    James,

    I’ll need all the data of all the races, lap time for each driver in each race plus qualifying. Otherwise, the task is impossible.

    I’ll keep my favourite BANZAYASHI near the top for sure. I’ll need to think for the others.

    1. Ian H says:

      If you’re interested in doing that, Keith Collantine records it for each race on F1 Fanatic and provides some excellent interactive graphs for ease of analysis.

      You can find the Bahrain one here:

      http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/2010/03/14/rosberg-stymies-hamilton-while-vettel-saves-fourth-bahrain-gp-analysis/

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        thanks

  53. Paulo Miranda says:

    Hi James,

    My list:

    1 – Kubica
    2 – Rosberg
    3 – Rubens
    4 – Kobayashi
    5 – Hulkenberg

    1st – He was alawys quicker than his team mate in the same car, and he took renault forward, being at times the 3rd best team in the weekend (sometimes better than Ferrari, others Maclaren).

    2nd – Very wise driving, almost always better than the 7th world champion in the same machine. Made almost the 4th place of Mercedez with his points alone and putting some podiums in his bag in a season with 5 contenders and Massa.

    3rd – Very experient in a car that wasn’t always the best but he nailed it almost everytime. A big error in Spa, but who didn’t failed this season?

    4th – He made this season more enjoyable in some boring races. His kamikaze style is very appreciated (now) and got him some fans. The susuka driving was superb.

    5th – Despite a couple of mistakes, he delivered or was very close to do it, in a car probably worst than the Force India, and against a very experienced team mate. I wonder if Schummi was in the same car who would got most points, because is ratio to Rubens was almost the same of Schumi to Rosberg, and Rosberg is not as experienced. In top of that he got a pole in hard coditions, and wasn’t only luck since he got 3 laps always getting better times while the world title contenders were still out there and still struggling.

    Poles:

    Vettel – 10
    Webber – 5
    Alonso – 2
    Hamilton – 1
    Hulkenberg – 1

  54. David Chubb says:

    I’d honestly say that Chandhok did a fantastic job at HRT. He outpaced all his teammates often and mixed it with the Virgins more often than Senna did in half the time.
    Alguersauri in the Toro Rosso was unlucky to score so few points; I think he was just as good and as exciting as Kobayashi or Hamilton when his car enabled him to do so
    This leads me onto Kobayashi. He has been one of the most tantalizing drivers for most of the season and was consistently battling for the points.
    Rubens Barrichello has also filled me with wonder as to ho someone not much younger than my parents can still be beating people 2/3 of his age. He wowed me last year and I still haven’t lost my respect for him.
    This is tricky then as to who to pick between Kovalainen and Petrov. They have both impressed and I love Petrov but I think Kovalainen has been the better driver overall and quite often we saw him battling it with the big guns during topsy-turvy races where all of a sudden this Lotus was holding up Lewis Hamilton and he was ahead in grid position.

    I discount Kubica from this list because I view him as being one of the best drivers out there and too good to be eligible for this list

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      Chandhok has a great and rare quality. He’s exceptional on the BBC. No driver has outpaced him in front of a microphone. DC might get pushed out because of him.

      As for his racing pace, he’s to driving what HRT is to the teams.

  55. pj says:

    Thanks for doing this James! As an American F1 fan, it can feel lonely without blogs/reporting like yours. Speed TV is the extent of our live coverage (with the awesome and enthusiastic Will B and his many ‘Megas’). Even if my post were any good (it isn’t), I wouldn’t want to learn the expense of postage from the Island to our western expanse. So, I’ve broken a rule or two due to missing out on the previous top-driver’s list (though none of these guys finished first), and come up with my picks and justifications. Sorry for any typos, misjudged grammar, or awkward phrasing:

    Kubica – Every year one driver, more than any other, allows a car to appear better than it is relative to the field. Kubica enabled Renault to be frequently spoken of in the same breath as RedBull, Ferrari, and McLaren. His second place qualifying in Monaco hid the deficits of the car while fully revealing how prodigious his talent. At those courses rewarding driver prowess over car ability, Kubica was always near the top. Every interview portrays Robert as a driver’s driver; with a better car, no way he doesn’t challenge for wins every weekend.

    Rosberg – Nico is included, not just because he bettered the seven-time Driver’s Champion, but due to his wringing three podiums from a chassis treated like an errant step-child not deserving of an allowance. Moreso, Nico almost always converted his position in qualifying to a higher finishing spot. Questions of whether Nico has the ineffable qualities of a champion seem misplaced. He withstood the pressures of a champion teammate and gave Mercedes results its chassis seemed loathe to win.

    Barrichello – Not so much given the results, but for how well he assisted in improving the Williams chassis over the season. Force India began the season clearly ahead of the mid-tier teams, but Barrichello’s experience brought them back from the brink of a cataclysmic season, finishing ahead of Sauber and FI. Picking Barrichello is not meant to take away from Hulkenburg’s accomplishment in Brazil, but to recognize the debt owed to Rubens by Williams.

    Everyone at Lotus – Lotus deserves enormous accolades: from Fernandes’s enthusiasm, to Gascoyne’s leadership, to the fantastic driving of Trulli and Kovalainen, and to the evident commitment of the team as a whole. The results of 2010 do not properly encompass the overall success of Lotus. We watched as they hoisted themselves from mention in the bottom three to nascent talk of becoming competitive with the middle pack. Heikki’s twelfth place finish in Japan should be regarded as the emergence (and proper return) of Lotus in F1. Get well Heikki!

    Kobayashi – Has to be included for Japan, alone. Each pass was exhilarating, displaying the fearlessness for which F1 drivers are renowned. Japan gave us the Kamui from the latter races of 2009; not the mistake prone Kamui of early season. After Suzuka, Kamui seemed especially revitalized. It’s not that he should be included solely for Japan, but because you could sense that at every venue Kamui had no doubt that he could win (when the Sauber clearly couldn’t). Sometimes this quality was to his detriment, but always entertaining.

    Honorable Mention:

    Nico Hulkenberg – Brazil qualifying, ‘nuff said. If The Hulk doesn’t find a good team in 2011, F1 will be the worse for it. A top team should continue his development; he seems one of the surest bets for future podiums in F1.

    Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna – Karun for his standing in the Driver’s Championship, even without the benefit of the car for the latter part of the season; Bruno for sticking around when he seemed more an inconvenience to the team than a participant. But especially to all of the HRT drivers, each of whom deserved better than the treatment they received. Back-markers are a part of the sport; someone has to be last. I enjoy watching their attempts to overcome the awesome and challenging environment of F1. It’s far more enjoyable, though, when it doesn’t come with the Machiavellian treatment of wide-eyed drivers and the ensuant mocking of fans.

  56. mats svensson says:

    Word up for Nick Heidfeld. With all things concidered, he did a fantastic job. Jumping into the car midseason and scoring in his second and third outing, thats really strong. If only he had ever got the chance to race for one of the big teams, he would do great. If Schumacher hadn’t come back this season, I really think he would been driving for Mercedes this season. My vote is on Quick Nick.

    1. Alias J says:

      yea i agree. not to mention he had only limited number of engines to use compared to kobayashi, as de la rosa had destroyed most of the ferrari engines already.

  57. David says:

    1. Rosberg
    2. Kubica
    3. Sutil
    4. Hulkenberg
    5. Kobayashi

  58. mats svensson says:

    After Nick I have to say: Rosberg, Barrichello, Kubica and Kobayashi. They all made strong performances.

  59. Toby Bushby says:

    1) Robert Kubica – Even though he only smashed a rookie, it was a right smashing all the same. Kept the car on the road whilst all four wheels were attached, drove flawlessly from lights to flag at almost every race and was always there to pick up the pieces left behind by the mistakes of top three teams.

    2) Nico Rosberg – Once again, he smashed his opponent. Never mind the 7 WDC’s, the handing over of Rosberg’s number, or even the love affair between Schu and Brawn – Rosberg just went out there and drove quickly in a car full of problems from day 1.

    3)Heikki Kovalainen – Yet another driver who picked up any pieces left by others by simply staying on the road and avoiding mistakes. Also, probably the only backmarker who knew when to let the lead cars through quickly!

    4) Kamui Kobayashi – Four syllables. O-ver-ta-king!

    5) Rubens Barrichello – If there were two of him in the Williams’, they might (I say might) have challenged Renault for 5th. That’s no insult to Hulkenberg (who did a good job), but Rubens did a great job. Finally, it’s good to see Williams give a driver a hug now and again!

  60. Baart says:

    1. Robert Kubica
    2. Nico Hulkenberg
    3. Nico Rosberg
    4. Jarno Trulli
    5. Michael Schumacher

  61. Andy C says:

    1.) kubica > (ugly but effective). Absolutely brilliant all year for me. Would have been in the wdc fight in one of the three top cars.
    2.) rosberg > really impressive this year, started incredibly well. Hope for a better car next season.
    3.) Hulkenburg > slow start but showed real potential as the year went on.
    4.) kobayashi > absolute lunatic on the track. Passing reminds me a bit of alesi. Brilliant overtaking, nice to see someone having a go. Recovered well from a shaky start.
    5.) Rubens > because he beat the stig! And bought everyone else who didn’t a t shirt.

    1. Jo Torrent says:

      Eventhough I don’t like Rubens, I think that he had a better season than the Hulk. The 1 2 is a no brainer. I put Kovalainen behind instead

  62. Mark V. says:

    1.Kubica
    2.Rosberg
    3.Kobayashi
    4.Hulkenberg
    5.Kovalainen

    Kubica was not really a surprise this year but Rosberg doesn’t even have a win and yet he managed to consistently beat the all time winningest driver in F1. Ouch, that smarts Michael.

    As James said, many of these midfield guys rarely have the camera on them but Kobayashi is a scene stealer the way he dices it up with far more experienced drivers in faster cars.

    These last two are tough.

    Even though he was regularly beaten by Barichello most of the year, simply for getting such an incredible pole position in his first year (one of the highlights of the season), fourth place goes to Hulkenberg.

    Kovalainen was the best driver of the new teams and it was fun rooting him on as he pushed hard to get his underdog car into Q2 each race.

    Honorable mention goes to Heidfeld who did a great job jumping in the deep end with no testing and being fast right away.

    1. mats svensson says:

      I agree on Heidfeld, I can’t believe he didn’t get more cred for his performances. Everyone talkes about Kobayashi’s “outstanding” performance in Japan, but who finished just behind him, only in his second outing in the car?
      That’s right – Heidfeld. Compare this to Badoer and Fisi then whey jumped into an even better car midseason, they were nowhere. He also outperformed Koba in Abu Dhabi.

  63. Bassmike says:

    My five:

    1) Robert Kubica
    Absolute star of the season for me, put in fantastic drives in an altogether average car. Consistent and brilliant, Kubica has shown his true colours this season as a future champion. Keeping a cool head in Melbourne to drive to second, a stunning qualifying and race in Monaco, and writing the book on defensive driving against Hamilton in Abu Dhabi were all standout moments. The best driving I saw all season however was a fearless drive to 7th in Singapore, where after a forced stop from 6th place late in the race with a puncture, Kubica comprehensively destroyed the opposition in the last quarter, passing Massa, Hulkenberg, Sutil, Petrov and both Torro Rosso’s along the way.

    2) Kamui Kobayashi
    Daft, but frequently brilliant Kamui regularly outpaced and outraced his more experienced team mates and provided some spectacularly exuberant driving in the process. At the start of the season I was dissapointed, but a mid season return to form of mad strategies and ballsy moves ensured he made my top five.

    3) Nico Rosberg
    Outpacing Schumacher and holding his own within the Mercedes team (as well as a fantastic podium finish drive in Malaysia) was enough to guarantee a place here.

    4) Nico Hulkenberg
    For one reason and one reason alone, THAT pole lap.

    5) Michael Schumacher
    I realise that this is a controversial decision, but I actually think Schumacher has had one of his best seasons yet. Lets face it, It was never going to be easy but he’s pulled out some cracking drives this year in a difficult car. Okay, Rosberg has outpaced him, but Schueys fighting spirit remains, he’ll be back with a vengeance in 2011.

  64. 1. Robert Kubica
    2. Nico Rosberg
    3. Heikki Kovalainen
    4. Kamui Kobayashi
    5. Timo Glock

  65. Kurt S. says:

    1. Kubica–As did Alonso in prior years, had a knack for putting the Renault a lot higher in the field than it deserved, with an outside shot at winning a couple of times. Nudges out Rosberg mostly because the latter never really looked in contention for a win.

    2. Rosberg–See previous. Had the bad luck to switch to a team that looked strong on paper but went into the season fairly spent due to the previous year’s championship challenge, yet he was very strong, consistent, and handled the threat/challenge of Schumi with poise. But if he doesn’t win a race in ’11, will he ever?

    3. Kobayashi–Proves that passing in F1 isn’t impossible. Maybe he went for it more than most drivers because he had less to lose, but one suspects if he’d been in Alonso’s shoes in Abu Dhabi, he would have at least ATTEMPTED a pass. And that’s got to be worth something.

    4. Kovalainen–Hard to tell about the drivers on the new teams with American TV coverage because we saw so little of their drives (except when they were being lapped or having incidents), but Kovy was consistent and doesn’t seem to merely be biding his time until retirement–or overstaying his welcome. (Guess what teammate of his I’m thinking of.) Deserves to have a more competitive seat again; if the Renault connection and team infrastructure gels, he may get a chance to shine. Reminds me a bit of Frentzen at Jordan after his disappointment at Williams–seems to be better as an underdog.

    5. Alguersuari–Because not much was expected of him as a relatively inexperienced, unheralded driver on what seems to be a lame-duck team. Outshone his teammate as the season progressed and was a consistent finisher. Gets the spot for holding off Massa in Abu Dhabi…yeah, I know Petrov did the same to Massa, but the Toro Rosso seemed a considerably lesser car at that point.

  66. grandy says:

    1. Robert Kubica
    2. Nico Rosberg
    3. Rubens Barrichello
    4. Kamui Kobayashi
    5. Nico Hulkenberg

  67. Jonathan says:

    1. Kubica. Mixed it with the big boys on many occasions, very impressive.
    2. Rosberg. Finally come of age, just in the wrong car. Made Schu look below average most of the time.
    3. KOBAYASHI! Wowee this guy knows how to race. Huge balls, great racecraft. If he were in a top car there is no doubt he’d be winning races.
    4. Barrichello. Fast, reliable, sensible. Better than most still, just not quite top tier (as he will never be).
    5. Petrov, purely for his speed under pressure in the final race. Drove like he’s been in the top flight for years.

  68. Jonathan says:

    Additionally, I’d like to say that from my point of view (on TV at least) there were a few “invisible” drivers:
    Buemi, Alguersari, De La Rosa, Hulkenberg (Brasil apart), Schumacher (what a shame).

    The Force India twins were fun to watch at times, and as we have said, Petrov provided lots of action even if it was falling off the track.

    The 3 tail end teams added nothing to F1 for me. It was an embarrassment to the sport. I understand that they tried to do their best which was ALWAYS going to fall short, but when getting lapped only once in a race distance (Kovalainen in AD) is a major victory worthy of celebration I think we can see there is something wrong. Lets hope these teams will be ON the pace next season (HRT apart, they have no hope/chassis now the Toyota sale is finished).

  69. Carlonso says:

    To answer the question – Top 5 drivers in average cars.

    1.Kubica – light years ahead with a pig of a car which he made look almost respectable.Petrov drove it like it should – like a Lada. Almost undeserving to be on this list, but thanks to Renault he wins it hands down.

    2.Kobayashi – Sauber were a joke in the first half of the season. Him and De La Rosa were like Cannon and Ball on the track. Kobaya my Lord didn’t he do well after however!

    3.Kovalainen – I can’t believe he didn’t continue his comedy roadshow with McLaren.He was driving it like an ice-cream van then. Totally wins the new team category with his verve and energy.

    4.Alguersuari – First full season and did a very decent job.Expect better things in 2011.

    5.Rosberg – Relatively speaking, he had the best car of the also rans hence this position. Putting Schumacher in the shade has certainly elevated his credentials as a top driver.

    Deserving a mention:

    1. Hulkenberg – very indifferent season and was outclassed by Rubens in every race bar one, and for that we must thank Patrick Head and his opportunistic strategy in placing Nico somewhere he won’t see for a long time to come…

    2. Barrichello – ambassadorial role for Williams deserves a mention, but too experienced a head to be in the top 5 of this particular category.

    3. Chandook – love his energy. If it could be converted to KERS he would propel the HRT even further. Shame it’s made out of a soap box with pram wheels…

    Sort it out!

    1. Bruno Senna – more like Frank Bruno the boxer than his legendary uncle on track – know what I mean James Allen?

    2. Lucas Di Grassi – very ordinary in a very ordinary car, proving that he’s very ordinary.A shame as Di Grassi Junior high proved exceptional and was on TV for years…

    3. Adrian Sutil – if there’s a whiff of a crash ahead he’ll be full steam ahead to try and get involved with it. Didn’t do anything of note with the Force India except crashing, although this year’s crash rate was significantly less than last year, only because Liuzzi conned him into thinking speed cameras were installed on the tracks this season.

    4. Schumacher – a menace and a bully, but failed miserably to stamp any authority on Nico. You can’t mix it with the kids old man!

  70. Kal says:

    …This should be fun :D

    Well, I only had one:

    Kobayashi has to take the cake here. A car that is a bit slower than the other mid teams yet managed to beat them in most races or at least give them a hard time. He had more points than Hulkenberg, Liuzzi and Petrov who are all in faster cars. If it wasn’t for the DNFs because of mechanical failures he would have even passed Sutil too in the standings.

    His overtakes were the most exciting this year, even Hamilton’s looked tame compared to his. He made lots of pure racing fans excited about F1 like no other has in years, nay a decade.

    Yes many overtakings were partly because of his different tyre strategy, but still you need guts and skill to stick it in between Alonso and a very tight corner and actually beat him.

    Also he grew as a driver visibly throughout the season, always upping himself each race, when the car didn’t let him down. Convincingly beating both his teammates De La Rosa and Heidfeld (who is held in very high esteem), I mean what more proof do you need. He should have been in the second Renault next year…mouth-watering.

    I know Rosberg and Kubica all did great too, but the latter 2 had a huge car advantage relatively speaking and of course Kovalainen too deserves a mention. The rest of the drivers in the non-race winning teams can be replaced by new talent, I wouldn’t miss them, sorry hehe.

    Banzai Koba-san!

  71. Ben says:

    I ranked Rosberg 3rd and Kubica 5th in the main competition, which would put them 1st annd 2nd by default in this competition, so for that reason I am going to ranked 3rd to 7th in this category instead.

    3rd – Kobayashi.
    The most exciting driver to enter F1 since Lewis Hamilton. Unfairly labelled as Kobay-bashy and Kamikazee by many, he has been surprisingly consistent and was the only rookie to outperform his seasoned team mates. Goes to show that performances in GP2 are no indicator of success in F1. Kobayashi finished 13th in the 2009 GP2 season, whereas Di Grassi, Petrov and Hulkenberg finished in the top 4. But which would top your shopping list and which is the only one with a confirmed 2011 seat?

    4. Kovalainen
    I thought Lewis Hamilton had put two shotgun holes in the head of Kovalainen’s future in F1, but evidently that is not the case. Heikki showed his dedication to the cause and found a way to bring the Lotus, the least developed car on the grid, home first out of all of the new teams. Lotus showed the benefit of having experienced drivers and an experienced technical head as they extracted more out of a less mature platform than their two competitors managed with twice the development time.

    Heikki almost deserves driver of the year for single handedly being responsible for making Richard Branson have to don an AirAsia stewardess outfit some time in the near future.

    5. Rubens Barrichello
    Now Formula One’s wise old sage, everyone forgets Rubens was once the super young new talent on the grid. Rather ironically he may have shot down the career of another super doing new talent in the form of Nico Hulkenberg. Nico was supposed to he Williams’ Lewis Hamilton, but where Hamilton matched Formula 1′s eminent driver Hulkenberg was shaded by Formula 1′s favourite grandad; but then he is faster than the Stig so maybe it isn’t so bad.

    Beating the Stig this year is reason enough to be included this high up on the list.

    6. Glock
    Glock’s performance is the most difficult to judge of any of the non rookie drivers this year, but I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt. I think the Virgin was a more shocking car than he made it appear. It finished last in the standings, it performed its first few races with the emergency fuel light on from the start, and the team seemed to struggle to get to grips with the F1 level of discipline making some eye opening errors.

    Yet Glock was always there, and occasionally outqualified the Lotus duo who had the benefit of a fully oiled, up to F1 standards, organization structure behind them. it was never ‘Virgin’ challenging the Lotuses (or should that be Loti?) it was always ‘Glock’

    7. Petrov
    Shocker, I know. But bear with me. Force India were underwhelming; Torro Rosso were just road blocks for Schumacher when he forgot which end of the field he was meant to be fighting at; Hulkenberg pulled a pole out of somewhere and reminded us he was on the grid, but prior to that had been invisible; Hispania went through more drivers than McLaren went through front wing designs and Trulli couldn’t demonstrate his talents because his Lotus didn’t like spending too long outdoors – so Petrov kind of ges this by default?

    Oh yeah, Schumacher… well I think that finishing 7th on a ‘best of the rest’ list is not something Michael wants adding to his CV so yeah, it looks like Petrov by default.

    Except, no. Yes, Petrov pulled some outstanding moments of incompetence this season, some real corkers, but let’s remember some of the good stuff. He twice got past Lewis Hamilton, and even frustrated Formula 1′s best overtake into his controversial weaving manoeuvre in Malaysia. He outqualified Kubica twice, one of Formula 1′s most meticulous drivers. And last, but definitely not least, he stunned the entire world with his ‘thou shalt not pass’ demonstration in Abu Dhabi.

    That moment was epic enough in Lord of the Rings, but in the most expensive Formula 1 setting ever built, in the desert twilight with the most intense championship battle the sport has seen it set new standards for unpredictability in the greatest show on earth.

    1. Ben says:

      Apologies for the typos, I had to write that on my phone and there are a few curious Android auto corrections in there.

  72. Rui Vale says:

    1.Kubica
    Who else? Monaco and some other races have shown how good Kubica can be! Some more tenths, or less ;-), and we could had another championship contender.

    2.Barrichelo
    The hungaroring ‘move’ puts him in front of the others. Yes, he made some mistakes, mainly Spa, but when You hear Williams people talking about Rubens the way they do, it makes you wonder …

    3 – Rosberg
    For me, he’s not the first because, before the season start, I had the feeling that Nico was going to ‘smash’ the seven time world champion. But, nevertheless, he made some strong races.

    4 – Hulkenberg
    The Brazilian pole is worth an entire season. Sad to see him leave Williams, but lets hope he can continue in F1.

    5 – Kobayashi
    Can I say that I ‘love’ this guy? Give him a better car and we may see him do marvelous things! And if a Japanese driver becomes a F1 expert, which sincerely I believe he can, we may see some Japanese car makers returning to F1.

  73. unoc says:

    So many drivers to choose from.

    Firstly though, James, official list says TBA for both Torro Rosso drivers let they were both mentioned to have contracts early in the season and ricciardo has been made test/3rd driver recently. Is this just a slip on the FIAs part or something more sinister? I believe the team have made in official through the press earlier this year.

    Secondly….

    Kobayashi – Less consistant that Kubica (below), BUT this is his first year! First year rookie, ROOKIE! first year, best start since hamilton. Some great performances in a car that really shouldn’t even be in the top 10. Q3 several times. Held off faster drivers, overtook much faster cars with crazy stratergies, pulled off overtakes into hairpins at suzuka. Saw off a much more experienced teammate. Horrible car, brilliant quali at times, also brilliant races at times.
    Kubica – several great drivers, but lost top spot due to losing momentum late in the season and being an experienced driver. Put the renault were it shouldn’t have been. Grabbed the momentum and ran with it. Side note: F1 seems very much in the head, once you believe you can put the car were it doesn’t belong it seems easier to do it, while earlier in the season with Ferrari when they felt flat there quali also was. Anyway, Kubica very solid and some great performances.
    Rosberg – When you know you going up against the statistically best f1 driver ever to have lived it must have played hard on him. For him to them go and consistantly do well is even better. Rarely falling behind schumacher, and being 2nd in the WDC near the start. Solid podium performances and some good drives. Outclassed schumacher completely
    Barrichello – hulkenberg will end barrichellos career many said. How wrong they were. Yes Hulkenberg was catching barichello occasionally at the end, but barichello has shown his knowledge of the car as well as him still be incredibly quick makes for a lethal combination. Going for the overtakes (against schumacher in paticular), and even when his teammate scored a pole, he was positive and congratulated. Top notch from a guy who might not have had a seat for next season!
    Alguersuari – More faults than vettel, more badluck than most, and a score card that doesn’t say half of what he did. He had problems that cut his performances in spain and in singapore amognst others. He solidly smashed his teammate in singapore. Went solidly in many other gp’s. Gaining momentum, and the team think highly of him. Not to forget though, that this is his first full year, a rookie, and he was in the worst car besides lotus, virgin and hrt.

    Special Mentions to
    Kovalainen – best of the new drivers, would have been easy just to plod around since you can’t get anywhere and you had the fastest car, but he was fast… and consistant. If only he had managed to do that in 08 at mclaren…
    Senna – His car was not up to par, even compared to his teammate (slower gearbox, heavier chassis led to worse weight distribution etc…). He eneded up only just outdriving chandhok despite easily beating him in the exact same car in GP2 year before last. He was also the only HRT (If I remember correctly) to have beaten a Virgin in qualifying. He was fast when testing for honda, and stayed with it despite the hateful slow team.

    1. mats svensson says:

      When you say: “Saw off a much more experienced teammate” you forgot to mention that is was De La Rosa you had in mind.

  74. Adrian Setterfield says:

    Hi James,

    My top five are:

    1. Nico Rosberg – outperformed schumacher and was incredible consistent. Guaranteed fourth in the constructors standings.

    2. Robert Kubica – Performed very well in first half of season. Came close to winning in Australia and Monaco. Clearly out-performed his team-mate.

    3. Reubens Barrichello – Consistent throughout the year. Brought significant technical capacity to the team. Was kept for next year over his seemingly comparable (and cheaper) team-mate.

    4. Kobayashi – Faster than his highly rated team-mate(s) all year. Made bold overtaking manouveres. Matured throughout the year – hopefully his maturity won’t stop his overtaking.

    5. Hulkenberg – For keeping up with Barrichello and for his pole position in Brasil.

    Thanks again for a great blog

  75. DJ says:

    1.Jaime Alguersuari
    10 years from now F1 forums will meltdown because of endless debates about wether Jaime or Ayrton are the best ever.Overtaking Schumi in Australia was just the start of a great year.

    2.Kamui Kobayashi
    A Kamakaze pilot that knows how to survive! One hell of a trick that’s impossible to beat! He makes the current crop of great drivers look like Sissies with his overtaking prowess.With proven speed aswell he’ll be the greatest driver ever.

    3.Nico Hulkenberg
    He’ll stop Kimi Raikkonen fans that don’t like WRC from jumping off bridges and buildings!Why? because he looks like Kimi and even proved that he can put in an extremely fast single fast lap like Kimi even though the end results of the weekend are somewhat of a let down.

    4.Schumacher.
    Because he came back and he can finish last and still be a legend!Overtaking Button in Korea was an overacheivement by Schumi!

    5.Barrichello.
    As good as ever!
    and for Motivating Schumi to come back to F1 racing after the Brazilian GP in 2008 at an end of season party where Rubens got drunk and started singing loudly “Schumi is a Homo!”

  76. Kishan says:

    Here’s mine…

    1. Robert Kubica
    2. Nico Rosberg
    3. Kamui Kobayashi
    4. Hulkenburg
    5. Rubens Barrichello

    Sutil just missed out after his out of character performance at Korea.

  77. pedro says:

    to me the best way to determine how driver did it, it´s first comparing to his team mate, and then comparing with the cars which the were actually competing against, so …, i´d said.
    kubica did good, but petrov is not an acceptable competitor to determine how good the renault was.
    5. kubica
    barrichello, he demonstrate how to keep at bay the young champion.
    4. barrichello.
    rosberg, outpaced an old champion.
    3. rosberg
    alonso, he is a natural born leader. massa is going to suffer again.
    2. alonso
    the champion,
    1. vettel

    1. pedro says:

      One more thing,it´s true we must take into consideration the difference between cars, but i doubt the men in a slower cars were going to do a better job than the guys on the better cars seats at the present, simple: if you´re good you´ll drive a good car.

      thank you

  78. Sebastian says:

    1. Kubica
    2. Kobayashi
    3. Alguersauri
    4. Glock
    5. Rosberg

  79. Seth Williams says:

    1. Rosberg
    2. Kubica
    3. Kobayashi
    4. Hulkenberg
    5. Petrov

  80. 1. Kubica – Put the Renault in places in had no right to be. Monaco performance was impressive, similarly, the surge in Singapore after bolting on soft tyres at the end.

    2. Rosberg – Scored almost twice as many points in the same car as Herr Schumacher. Korea should’ve been his first and long overdue win.

    3. Kobayashi – Showed us what racing is all about. Best overtaker apart from Hamilton this year, and best rookie overall.

    4. Kovalainen – His Mclaren career may have been dull, but Kov gave it everything in Lotus. His attempts to get into Q2 were impressive, along with his no-holds-barred race performances.

    5. Hulkenberg – Initially seemed to struggle, but got his eye in, and got the better of the most experienced man in F1 history, culminating in strong performances in the second half of the season. Interlagos pole was phenomenal.

  81. Munaf says:

    1. Kubica
    2. Kobayashi
    3. Barrichello
    4. Hulkenberg
    5. Alguesuari / Petrov (sorry :P)

  82. Jordan says:

    1. Rosberg-He overcame crushing psychological pressure before the season started to outperform Schumacher. People perhaps forget the implications of being Schumacher’s teammate after his seemingly dismal comeback, but this was no small feat. Rosberg put in some very strong performances, managing to finish just two points shy of Massa in the superior Ferrari.

    2. Kubica-He put in some stunning performances, and his aggressive style solidified his reputation as a top driver. It is fair to say that Renault’s resurgent fan-base this year has been due to Kubica’s driving. They’ve come a long way since Crashgate!

    3. Barrichello-He has managed to reinvigorate his reputation by highlighting the developmental advantages that a highly experienced and technically-sensitive driver brings to a team. Williams heaped praise upon the Brasilian, giving him plenty of credit for the team’s turnaround in the second half of the season which saw Williams leapfrog Force India and mix it up with the Renaults and Mercedes in qualifying and race pace.

    4. Kovalainen-He rebounded from a terrible year at Mclaren, which makes his resurgence at Lotus all the more compelling. He was usually responsible for Lotus’ high moments and strong results, at times racing that car in positions it had no place being. Kovalainen often outraced Trulli, and proved to be Trulli’s strongest teammate in qualifying since Alonso (even out-qualifying Trulli at Monaco!).

    5. Kobayashi-He overcame a lackluster start to fulfill the potential he showed in his debut at the end of 2009. In addition to providing excitement on the track with some gutsy overtaking maneuvers, he demonstrated enough restraint and speed to score some solid results in the latter half of 2010 and generally fighting his way into points contention.

  83. Racergil says:

    1) Robert Kubica (He took a very average Renault and made it look like a contender at times)
    2) Nico Rosberg (came of age and showed good poise and calm consistently through the year)
    3) Kamui Kobayashi (nobody told him that you can’t pass in F1 today)
    4)Michael Schumacher (after 3 years off he did not embarrass himself. He really started to get it together as the season drew to a close. He is still a fighter)
    5)Reubens Barichello (gutsy performance and showed great abilities with car setups)

  84. Waqas says:

    Mine…

    1. Robert Kubica
    2. Nico Rosberg
    3. Kamui Kobayashi
    4. Adrian Sutil
    5. Hulk

  85. DK says:

    1. Kubica – no doubt, the champion of non race winning teams. Challenge the leading teams in some races. Got into Q3 during quali in all races except Abu Dhabi

    2. Rosberg – out performed the car and his high profile teammate in most of the races.

    3. Kobayashi – need to say more? He has been one of the few drivers that entertain the audiences with exciting passing moves. Proved that you can overtake in Valencia without flying over the car in front.

    4. Kovalainen – champion of the new teams, with excellent fire fighting skills.

    5. Hulkenberg – being the only unexpected pole sitter in the seasonm.

  86. Till Manecke says:

    Best of the rest:

    1. Robert Kubica
    drove the wheels off the car and wasn’t too far away from winning a race. Killed his team mate.

    2. Nico Rosberg
    Almost as good as Kubica, but didnt come as close to winning a race. Also dominated his team mate, even though it started becoming more of a contest in the latter races.

    3. Heikki Kovalainen
    Outdrove the car & best of the new teams by a country mile.

    4. Kamui Kobayashi
    Wasnt ahead of Sutil in the points & didnt dominate his team mates as impressively, but was a joy to watch. And then there was that overtaking…

    5. Nico Hulkenberg
    Didnt beat his team mate, but got stronger as the year progressed, which is ok for a rookie. Only driver to mix it with the big boys by scoring pole in Brazil.
    [Reply]

  87. Timo says:

    To a large extent the level of car performance in F1 determines the performance of drivers. With that basic premise in mind, perhaps the most reliable indicators of a driver’s performance over a season are (A) his performance relative to that of his team-mate (in terms of (i) qualifying performance and (ii) final points tally); and (B) final championship position compared to average grid position. In addition, we need to allow for situations where it is difficult to establish the teammate as a reliable reference point because such teammate is a rookie (Petrov and Hulkenberg), or out of competitive F1 action for an extended period of time (Schumacher and de la Rosa).

    I have used the above factors in developing my list of top five drivers in a non-race winning car.

    1. Kobayashi (12th)

    - Kobayashi outqualified his teammates 11 to 8 (7-7 with de la Rosa and 4-1 with Heidfeld)

    - Kobayashi scored 32 points compared to a combined 12 points by de la Rosa (6 points from 14 races) and Heidfeld (6 points from 5 races)

    - Kobayashi’s average grid position was 13.79, but he finished the championship 12th ahead of drivers with better average grid positions: Petrov and Hulkenberg, both of whom had comparable experience but with significantly better performance cars in Renault and Williams, respectively

    - Kobayashi finished the year 12th in a car that was only 15th quickest in the field (Sauber was 8th in the constructors championship)

    - Kobayashi comprehensively outscored his teammates in terms of overall championship points despite being a rookie and being pitted against experienced drivers, particularly Heidfeld who was more than a match for Robert Kubica in recent seasons

    - Kobayashi demonstrating an ability to make rather improbable overtaking moves stick. In terms of pure on-track entertainment value, perhaps Kobayashi was the star of the entire F1 class of 2010

    2. Rosberg (7th)

    - Rosberg outqualified Schumacher 15 to 4

    - Rosberg scored 142 points compared to 72 points by Schumacher

    - Rosberg’s average grid position was 7.32, but he finished the Championship 7th ahead of Kubica who had a better average grid position

    - Rosberg finished the year 7th in a car that was 7th quickest in the field (Mercedes was 4th in the constructors championship). However, the performance of Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren relative to Mercedes was so superior that it was practically impossible for Rosberg to have finished any higher, particularly considering Mercedes stopped developing the 2010 after the summer break

    - Rosberg thrashed a seven time world champion and racing legend in similar equipment. While Schumacher after a three year break was a shadow of his former self, this achievement alone puts Rosberg ahead of Kubica

    3. Kubica (8th)

    - Kubica outqualified his teammate 17 to 2

    - Kubica scored 136 points compared to 27 points by Petrov

    - Kubica’s average grid position was 7, but he finished the Championship 8th

    - Kubica finished the year 8th in a car that was 9th quickest in the field (Renault was 5th in the constructors championship)

    - Kubica destroyed Petrov in terms of overall championship points and qualifying performance but Petrov is a poor benchmark

    4. Sutil (11th – equal 10th on points)

    - Sutil outqualified his teammate 16 to 3

    - Sutil scored 47 points compared to 21 points by Liuzzi

    - Sutil’s average grid position was 11.74, but he finished the championship equal 10th on points ahead of Hulkenberg who had a better average grid position

    - Sutil finished the year equal 10th on points in a car that was 13th quickest in the field (Force India was 7th in the constructors championship)

    - Sutil comprehensively outperformed Liuzzi in terms of overall championship points and qualifying performance. Sutil compares favorably against Kubica when the following factors are considered: Sutil’s teammate is an experienced campaigner, and he achieved relatively better results from a lower average grid position. However, in my opinion Sutil comes out as the 4th best driver in this list considering the outright points tally advantage for Kubica and Sutil’s patchy performance in Korea (brake problems notwithstanding).

    5. Barrichello (10th)

    - Barrichello outqualified his teammate 13 to 6

    - Barrichello scored 47 points compared to 22 points by Hulkenberg

    - Barrichello’s average grid position was 9.53, and he finished the Championship 10th

    - Barrichello finished the year 10th in a car that was 11th quickest in the field (Williams was 6th in the constructors championship)

    - Barrichello outperformed Hulkenberg in terms of overall championship points and qualifying performance (except for Hulkenberg’s blinder in Brazil). It was really close between Sutil and Barrichello on all parameters: they were equal on points, their teammates were one point apart and the Williams and Force India were not too far apart on car performance. Sutil clinches 4th for me because of his relatively better results from a lower average grid position, and also considering Sutil’s overall better performance (qualifying and opints difference) over an experienced teammate, compared to Barrichello’s performance relative to a rookie teammate

    1. malcolm.strachan says:

      Well laid out. I liked that.

      James, I think this is the only site where even a healthy number of the comments are above the level of some rival blogs articles!

      1. Timo says:

        Thank you.

  88. For Sure says:

    1. Schumacher, I know it sounds funny but according to Prost he reached a point where no could after 3 years break.And Prost knew what he was talking about, he took a year off.
    “”What he has done is already very good – almost exceptional. The target to be world champion in his comeback was really impossible. What he has done, I think only he could have done it. But maybe the target was a little bit too high.”

    2. Rosberg, I wouldn’t be suprised if he is as fast as Vettel in the same car.

    3. Kobi, the best overtaker of the season

    4. The Hulk, with very limited testing, he outfoxed five world champions with an inferior car to claim his first career pole position.

    5. Petrov. If it wasn’t for his good defensive driving, Alonso would have taken the title.

  89. David Walker says:

    1. Kubica – Pushed the renault to its limits, bested his team-mate and pushed the front-runners. I will never forget Monaco qualifying where he pushed the Red Bulls, I lept for joy when he was on provisional pole

    2. Rosberg – very much like Kubica in all fairness whereby he outperformed the car and his teammate and mixed it with the front-runners.

    3. Kobayashi – banzai overtakes and great entertainment in a car that you would never think was capable of mixing it with the Alonsos of this world (albeit at one GP). He is a delight and would love the McLarens/Ferraris of this world to take a chance on him

    4. Barrichello – his experience and good race pace brought good strong points finishes for the Williams team in a car that continued to develop well as the season progressed.

    5. Kovalainen – the best of the new team drivers in my opinion, seems happy at Lotus and his enthusiasm showed in his performances (particularly in Singapore with his firefighter skills!)

  90. JamtriX says:

    1. Kubica – needless to say more

    2. Rosberg – same as above; can’t wait for 2011. :D

    3. Kobayashi – this guy is awesome, perhaps he should be teamed up with Hamilton. lol

    4. Hulkenberg – gotta give ‘em the credit for that out of this world pole in brazil

    5. Barrichello – Almost died this season! lol

  91. Ben N says:

    To start with, and not to discount it any way, I don’t think Hulkenberg deserves a place on the list purely because he gained a pole position. He was in the right place at the right time (although it was a good lap!), and qualified in 15th at the next GP.

    I think the first two will inevitably be the same, in some order, on most lists. Rosberg and Kubica.

    Personally i’m going thus:

    1) Kubica – podiums in a car that his team mate rarely took out of Q2.

    2) Rosberg – looking at the track record of Michael Schumacher’s team mate’s pre-season, Rosberg didn’t stand a hope in hell, but, he was invariably on top at Mercedes. (I expect it to be different next year, and a shout to Schumacher whose final races, bar Singapore, were actually very good indeed.)

    3) Kobayashi – his drives at Valencia and Japan if nothing else, but Kobayashi gave storming drives through the field, and his best result at Silverstone was thoroughly deserved. He has brushed aside all 3 team-mates (Trulli, de la Rosa and Heidfeld) that have been presented to him, and deservedly takes 3rd on my list.

    4) Barrichello – after deliberating between Rubens, Heikki, Alguersuari and Sutil, I settled on Rubens. Some brilliant drives and a balls out overtake on Schumacher on Hungary which added to the history between them, I think Rubens has had a very good season, glad he’ll still be around in 2011. What a career, let alone season!

    5) Chandhok – this will surprise most people, but I think that Karun raced and waited equally well. He matched and even beat Senna on many occassions and had the best track record of all the 6 new team drivers before his removal. BUT, and this is why he scrapes on to my list, his composure off the track was fantastic, not once did we hear him complain and he was happy to help out the BBC with his inside knowledge. Top man, and I hope, on the basis of his race performance this year, he can find a 2011 drive.

  92. Jeremy J says:

    1> Kobayashi – most exciting driver, every GP should have its Kamui Time
    2> Kubica – in a car that could win races he’d be awesome
    3> Rosberg – watching him stick it to Schumy all year was a constant delight
    4> Glock – outperformed the car by miles all season
    5> The Hulk – just for Brazil Quali really, although he got better and better as the season went on (in contrast to Sutil)

  93. Alec C says:

    Top 5…

    1) Rosberg – not only did he believe in himself, he seemed upset he didn’t get pole at times. The car was designed for Button yet he was ahead of it in terms of control and on occasion, masterful.

    2) Kubica – we all know he’s quick but he’s had off days, especially at BMW Sauber where he faded into the pack seemingly randomly. This year he’s been Mr Consistent.

    3) Kovalainen – Upbeat in a new team and uncompetitive car. He had the time of his life without pressure and regularly got on the limit and loved it there.

    4) Barrichello – raced hard and regularly got into Q3. Performance wise, he certainly rivalled Kubica.

    5) Kobayashi – I think he underperformed relative to his potential in quali but he seemed to forget the down-force problems inherent in overtaking and despite his risky moves, rarely smashed it up. His overtake to incident ratio must be pretty good.

    It’s worth mentioning the bravery of the HRT and Virgin drivers. The Lotus car was put together by experienced hands. HRT particularly had the most public shake down and to get in that car and find the limit is braver than any headline grabbing Kobi move.

    PS. James – could you do a series on the underrated drivers of F1? I’m curious as to how good Senna is, given the car being allegedly inferior to his team mates etc. And what about Rosberg – why is he so quick? Chandhok – not exactly the star of GP2 yet he did a solid job up in F1, similar to Kobi’s performance (something of a surprise on paper?).

    My final request is what driving style or skills are necessary to make it in F1 and is there some kind of formula as to why some drivers come in and succeed like Kobi and others fall flat (like Di Grassi)? Or is it simply more challenging and some can raise their game and some cannot?

    Thanks

  94. Stevie P says:

    1, Britney (Rosberg) – I wasn’t too sure about this chap, but 2010 proved to me that he’s got tons of ability. Pips Kubica to 1st in my list by virtue of being up against Schumi – not from a driving perspective, but more of a psychological one.

    2, Bobby K (Kubica) – this guy has got it! Inter-team battle versus Petrov – no competition – although I have been reasonably impressed with Petrov (as a rookie) WHEN he’s kept it on the track.

    3, Mr Smiley (Kovalainen) – consistently the best of the new teams’ drivers. Job done. No moaning and no complaining – that I can recall.

    4, Mr Blah, Blah, Blah (Barrichello) – has brought some much needed development skills and knowledge (from a driver perspective) to Williams AND they’ve needed it. I thought Hulkenberg would be closer to Rubens, but (generally) he wasn’t.

    5, Kamikaze Koba-San (Kobayashi) – well, he does like to race\over-take, doesn’t he? :-) Few too many errors for my liking – trying too hard maybe – but he’s still learning.

    I feel I must give an honourable mention to Karun Chandok – in Bahrain he hadn’t even been in the car, before qualifying – quasibonco! Has remained truly diplomatic and patient as his seat was given to someone else… and then someone else… and then… etc, etc. He gets my vote for best driver NOT in a car!

    I also thought that Glock and Alguersuari did well; consistent and improving respectively.

  95. Philippe Zacca says:

    1. Kubica
    2. Rosberg
    3. Kobayashi
    4. Barrichello
    5. Hulkenberg

  96. Milton says:

    1. Kubica
    2. Barrichello
    3. Rosberg
    4. Kobayashi
    5. Hulkenberg

  97. Siddharth says:

    My take…

    1. Robert Kubica
    2. Nico Rosberg
    3. Kamui Kobayashi
    4. Adrian Sutil
    5. Karun Chandhok

  98. Mightyquin says:

    1. Barrichello
    Outstanding lap of the season in an average, and reasonably priced car. Clocking 1m 44.28s in a Suzuki Liana to beat Hamilton, Webber, Button, Hill, Mansell and most impressively, The Stig – most people his age have a bus pass, not a super license, yet he will be back on the track again next season.

    2. Vettel
    How he kept that car on the road with such a flimsy and flexible front wing, I just don’t know – who can forget seeing it almost twist 45 degrees at Spa, where if it hadn’t been for Button’s help in nudging him back onto the track, he would have crashed.

    3. Kovalainen
    Got way more out of his Lotus than should have been possible. Also showed potential for several new careers after formula 1, either as a fireman or a red bull aerobatic display co-ordinator.

    4. Bernd Maylander
    Definite unsung hero of the season, how he must wish there were points for laps lead like in some of the North American series. Held off the pack numerous times, only overtaken on track once all season, and controversially just missed out crossing the line first at Monaco.

    5. Hamilton
    Another car racked with problems – tyres exploding in Spain, and steering faults at Monza and Singapore, yet we never heard him complain. Disappointed to lose his “youngest ever F1 champion” status to Vettel, and is rumoured to be keen to win that accolade back again next year.

    1. Pionir says:

      Very good. First I thought you’d missed the point of the article… then I read it properly :)

  99. Robert says:

    Great idea James.

    1. Kubica, out performed the car, and would have been top two for Monaco alone

    2. Barrichello – more than double the points of the highly rated Hulk. consistent and still an asset to any F1 team

    3. Kovalainen, beat team mate, beat all the new companies and was mixing it with the backend of the old teams by the end. Recovered brilliantly from Maclaren nightmare

    4. Kobayashi – overtakes, lots of points, and even beat Heidfield at the end of the season. Class act

    5. Rosberg, virtually destroyed MSC.

  100. TimeShift says:

    My top five:

    1. Rosberg
    2. Kubica
    3. Barrichelo
    4. Kobayashi
    5. Hulkenberg

  101. Pionir says:

    1. Kobayashi – a stand out star even in a dog of a Sauber
    2. Kubica – outperformed his teammate by a significant margin, but I think how poor the Renault was has been exaggerated in some quarters. It clearly had plenty of straight line speed and the same engine that won both titles
    3. Rosberg – Showed a clean pair of heels to Schuie. The End
    4. Barricello – Brought big development gains to Williams and was a regular in Q3.
    5. Hulkenberg – Pole in Brazil! ALthough not as consistent through the season as Barricello and benefitted from Ruben’s experience, he made a very good case for being in F1 next year and it’s a shame he didn’t secure the Williams seat for another season.

  102. Charlie B says:

    1. Kobayashi – Just spectacular. Never a dull moment.

    2. Kubica – Dragged the Renault along but no real benchmark with Petrov no.2. Still, amazing performances in Monaco, Spa and Suzuka (while it lasted)

    3. Rosberg – Outclassed (an admittedly poor) Schumacher, couldn’t do any better standing wise.

    4. Hulkenberg – One great pole, decent season, wasn’t outclassed by his experienced team mate.

    5. Kovalainen – Gave it his all in the Lotus, and acted faster than marshals in Singapore.

  103. Richard D says:

    1. Robert Kubica for driving a wasp and putting a bee in the championship contenders bonnet once in a while.
    2. Nico Rosberg for getting the most points to lack of screen time ratio.
    3. Rubens Barrichello for not letting a little thing like a concrete wall bother him.
    4. Nico Hulkenberg for carrying on Williams’ German Nico tradition with aplomb.
    5. Heikki Kovalainen for showing us he could easily find work as a fireman if Lotus release him.

  104. Dave Aston says:

    1 – Kubica
    2 – Kobayashi
    3 – Sutil
    4 – Barrichello
    5 – Chandok

    I think Kobayashi gets a lot of attention for his passing, but I think there’s a lot more to him. The drive in Valencia was excellent, making an odd strategy work; he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, and seems to slowly move up the timesheets all weekend. In cars that didn’t win a race, Kubica and Kobayashi were the standouts. Special mention should go to Chandok. His first lap in the car was also his installation lap, aka his first qualifying lap in Bahrain, yet he was faster than his (once) reasonably highly rated teammate. What impressed me was that he never bitched about the team, or his situation, to the media. He’s seemingly a smart guy with talent, and from what I’ve read a good knowledge of the sport’s history. I hope he gets a chance in a good car one day.

  105. james says:

    1. Kubica. Fast, relentless, makes few mistakes. Doesn’t throw his toys out the pram when things go wrong either.

    2. Rosberg. Not really a fan but cant deny like kubica made few mistakes and seemed to get the best out of the car.

    3. Kobayashi. Great 2nd half to the season, great overtaking, particularly good race pace for a rookie.

    4. Kovalainen. Has to be in the top 5 for managing to be the cheeriest driver in formula 1 despite the lack of performance.

    5. Heidfeld. Has 5 races to learn new tyres, new car, driving on full tanks, f-duct. To add to that has to use the same tired engine. Scores points on his second race back. As ever this goes completely unnoticed by our friends the bbc.

    Chandhok almost makes it in the top 5 purely for coming across as the nicest guy in formula 1.

  106. Ben says:

    1. Rosberg, consistently faster than his more highly rated team mate, made the most of the car.
    2. Kubica, fast, often in among the front runners, kept his head most of the time.
    3. Kobayashi, often managed to out perform expectations, a fighter worth watching.
    4. Klien, fast straight out of the box compared to his team mate mid season, professional drive.
    5. Hulkenburg, who can forget that pole position, quietly made progress (too quietly??).

  107. Richard M says:

    Bruno Senna because people on here are bashing him unfairly. He outqualified Chandhok 6-3, constantly out drove Yamamoto apart from Yamamoto’s immense quali lap in Korea, he outpaced Klein apart from quali in Singapore due to car problems, he was the only HRT driver to outqualify another driver in normal conditions, equalled the teams best position near the end of the season where the gap between the cars was greater, put up with the worst reliabilty of any driver, made only one mistake all season at Barcelona. He also did this when he was driving a HRT with a heavier chassis and a slower gearbox than his teammates.
    Big shout out to Bernd Maylander as well who almost lead more laps than Lewis Hamilton this season.

    1. Jaco says:

      Anyone who watched Bruno Senna LIVE would agree that he is the worst driver in F1 at the moment. He was absolutely shocking when being lapped. Consistently refuses to get off the racing line and gets in the way of the leaders.

      1. Richard M says:

        Yes and thats really a quality you want in a F1 driver, one who can get out of the way well and readily lets cars past.

      2. Jaco says:

        You don’t think there’s anything wrong with a backmarker staying on the racing line and refusing to get out of the way… every single time he gets lapped? By the way – getting lapped – is THAT the quality you want in a F1 driver?

      3. Richard M says:

        My point is that it is not a good criteria for saying how good a driver is, plus most of the drivers in the new teams did not really do a good job of getting out of the way, there were loads of examples last season of them holding up the front runners. And he got lapped because he was driving a HRT not because he is a bad driver.

      4. Richard M says:

        Yes and being good at getting out of the way and readily letting cars past you are just the qualities you want in a F1 driver.

      5. Richard M says:

        Damn my reply did not show up so I wrote it again and now it has shown up. Feel free to take down the second one and then this one mods.

  108. Mattij says:

    Hi James,

    I understand the request for dig-deep-analysis. That would probably be the fair way to do this.

    But on the other hand, Formula 1 is also just about passion, exhilaration and lasting memories. We have objective points system to choose the winners, so do we really need to be so objective about these guys? Let the guys in teams go through data and telemetry and all that to judge.

    Doesn’t is matter more to reflect on just what those other guys gave us fans – as a crucial spice in the beautiful championship battle?

    For example, sure Rosberg was great, but do I have video clips of his moves him rolling before my eyes? No.

    So, I’ll just close my eyes and see which mid-and-low-field guys really stayed in the memory:

    1. Kubica, for giving shivers on Monaco practise sessions. And for last laps of Singapore. Amazing. This is why we watch this sport.

    2. Barrichello, for being happy again, and of course for Hungary pass. That’s all you need to stay on Youtube and newssites for days after the race.

    3. Kobayashi, for owning Suzuka.

    4. Hulkenberg, for spectacular loss of control in Bahrain which reminded us that it is difficult to drive those cars. And then doing that Interlagos quali.

    5. Kovalainen, for just creating an attitude and atmosphere which recharged his career, and for making a backmarker team something interesting to follow. And sure gave them more TV time too, and not only by fire marshalling I think.

    1. James Allen says:

      Of course, thanks for that

  109. Gaspar says:

    I think to judge fairly we need to have reference point . For example , in GP2 DiGrassi and Petrov were teammates , and Lucas easily outpaced Petrov . So Kubica relative performance doesn’t look that good against let’s be honest a poor driver (who’s only achievement was that he did not make a mistake in front of Alonso. That’s something :) )So the top 5 are :
    1. Nico Rosberg – very consistent performance under pressure , with a rookie teammate called Shumacher
    2. Kamui Kobayashi – great overtaking skills , mature driving , uncaracteristic from a japanese driver
    3. Robert Kubica – he was always close to the “big boys” , but failed to capitalise when they made mistakes , and wow , they did a lot . But as i sad we can’t appreciate his performance against a driver like Petrov .
    4.Cristian Klien – he had 2 opportunities and in average was much better than Bruno Senna , who had all the time to familiarize with that rubbish .
    5.Timo Glock – he did great qualifying laps , considering his car , although he wasn’t so great in race days , specially using his mirrors . But that imply for every 6 driver in the new teams . You just can not use you’re mirror in every second . That’s because you’re not a woman :) , and because it helps your laptime if sometimes you’re look ahead also .

  110. Chancey Gardener says:

    James,

    My choices and reasons would be:

    1) Nico Hulkenberg
    Pole in Brazil by over a second to Vettel – who was the pole king of 2010.

    2) Kamui Kobayashi
    Always entertaining to watch and prepared to try something, even if it doesn’t always work.

    2) Rubens Barrichello
    For not backing out of that overtake in Hungary

    3) Vitaly Petrov
    At times a difficult learning year in the no testing era but a good defensive drive in Abu Dharbi – earning an immediate emphatic congratulations from Alonso for his efforts

    5) Bert Mylander
    The only driver who appeared to understand the new safety car rules this year

    1. kerek says:

      ad Bert Mylander

      He also had the slowest car on the grid and yet our new WDC couldn’t keep his pace on one occasion…

  111. adam h says:

    any driver who comes back after 3 years on tyres he’s not used to and a car that is MILES away from his style and beat the reigning world champion in his 1st race (and many others too) deserves the driver of the year! let alone midfielder of the year! and you haters know it!!

  112. kashif says:

    1.Kubica
    2.Kobayashi
    3.Rosberg
    4.Kovalainen
    5.Barichello

  113. Dan says:

    1. Kubica
    2. Rosberg
    3. Kobiyasha
    4. Barrichello
    5. Sutil

  114. ArunasNesvarbu says:

    1. N. Rosberg – no misstakes, few podiums in early phase of the seoson, strong perfomance. I think lucky Hamilton that Nico didn’t go to McLaren.

    2. A. Sutil – very strong in wet, cruisicaly outpaced his teammate, still need to have cool head.

    3. K. Kobayashi – very fast driver, his overtaking skils similar as Hamilton, agresive, but without accidents.

    4. N. Hulkenberg – rookie of the year, learning step by step, reminds me Kimi.
    Outstandig qualify in Interlagos, his second last lap was still quicker the Seb’s 0,037s.

    5. M. Schumacher – new car, new tyres 3 years out of F1 car, still I see that old man can drive and he can do it better than this season show.

  115. JohnBt says:

    1.Kobayashi
    2.Kubica
    3.Rosberg
    4.Barichello
    5.Hulkenberg

  116. MIKE LEA says:

    midfield stars of 2010 in my view were….

    1. Kubica. He was very consistent this year and always seemed to bag plenty of points in the Renault. Some of his qualifying performances were particularly good, esp. Monaco front row. I’m pretty sure he could win a championship in the right car……

    2. Rosberg. Not many people expected to see him thrash Schumacher, but he did! He was very quick in qualifying and quickly established himself as the Mercedes de facto team leader. Schumacher was starting to match him at the end of the season, but Rosberg had double the points. He was clearly gutted that the Merc wasn’t a winning car, though, and I’d like to see how he performs in a truly top-rank motor.

    3. Barrichello. He seems to have been racing in F1 since time began, but still gets the job done. It must have been a bit of a letdown trading a winning Brawn for a midfield Williams, but he kept his foot to the floor all season. And he beat the Stig! ‘Nuff said!

    4. Kobayashi. Without this bloke, some of the races would have been absolute snoozefests! He really goes for it and that’s what we want to see. He’s a bit wild, but for a man with so little experience, he was brilliant in the second half of the season. Maybe Japan’s best ever F1 driver?

    5. Hulkenberg. He started off a bit slowly and didn’t seem to handle F1 very well. Williams probably read him the riot act and spurred him into action. He then developed into a consistent performer and that pole in Brazil was spectacular. It says a lot about Williams’ fall from grace that the team have had to sack him to chase a pay driver. If they had the dollars in the bank, they would surely have snapped him up for a second year.

    I think Glock did the best job of the new teams’ drivers. How he kept his composure together when Virgin gave him a car with an insufficient fuel tank……mind you, after all the pain and hassle I’ve suffered thanks to Virgin Trains in the UK, it did bring a smile to my face!

  117. Phil says:

    1. Nico Rosberg
    2. Robert Kubica
    3. Kamui Kobayashi
    4. Jenson Button – controversial, I know :-)
    5. Rubens Barrichello

    1. Ben N says:

      Not controversial but slightly foolish! As Jenson Button was driving a race winning car… :)

      1. Phil says:

        Doh, I missed that bit. Bit late to change but if I can I’ll substitute him for Adrian Sutil mainly on the grounds he survived the year despite crashing into everything.

      2. Ben N says:

        Excellent! I think Korea has tainted people’s view of Sutil, he had a good(-ish) season barring the stinker he had in Korea, I think Lee McKenzie mentioned that he had a grid penalty for Brazil for “hitting just about everything he could”!!

  118. Jake says:

    1. Robert Kubica
    Not an original or particularly interesting choice, but it’s impossible to ignore Kubica. His podiums at Monaco and Spa, and running second at Suzuka – circuits where the driver can make a real difference – say it all.

    2. Kamui Kobayashi
    Suzuka was the obvious highlight, when he was so concerned about making his home race entertaining that he kindly overtook what seemed like half the field twice. Not forgetting that he outscored both his more experienced team mates, despite more than his fair share of retirements.

    3. Rubens Barrichello
    It’s hard to decide between Hulkenberg and Barrichello. Perhaps the younger Williams driver is the more obvious choice, what with that pole position and all. But Barrichello’s skill at developing the car, consistent scoring, and general attitude win it for me. After the Schumacher incident, his emotions might have got away from a touch, but at least he still gives a damn – and after so many years, that’s admirable.

    4. Karun Chandhok
    He finished top of the HRT drivers, after no testing, no practice sessions in Bahrain, and losing his race seat half way through the season. The good grace – publically, at least – with which he took the team’s decision was remarkable. His appearances on BBC TV and 5 Live were full of enthusiasm for, and astonishing knowledge of the sport, and admirable – perhaps unfathomable – respect for HRT. Is there a better ambassador for F1?

    5. Jaime Alguersuari
    His season really tailed off, and he was beaten in the final standings by his team mate. But his early performances were fantastic: giving Schumacher a hard time in Australia, moves on Petrov and Hulkenberg in Malaysia, and pretty much the whole of the Spanish Grand Prix – making up about six places at the start, and another move on Hulkenberg later in the race. If he’d continued like that, he would have rivalled Kobayashi for most entertaining driver of the year.

  119. Chris says:

    1 – Kubica
    2 – Kovalainen
    3 – Kobayashi
    4 – Heidfeld
    5 – Alguersuari

  120. 1) Robert Kubica
    2) Nico Rosberg
    3) Kamui Kobayashi
    4) Nico Hulkenberg
    5) Heikki Kovalainen

    :)

  121. Jaco says:

    Very interesting question. Here’s mine.

    1. Robert Kubica. He was simply amazing – lived up to all the hype and then some. Particularly on the street circuits he managed to show his true class. He might look like the oldest 25-year-old on earth, but he can drive like hell.

    2. Nico Rosberg. For being the hottest woman in F1. Need I say more? Really solid season. Became the first driver in F1 history to destroy Schumacher as his teammate.

    3. Kamui Kobayashi. Very much a ‘wet-and-wild’ season, but managed to pick up decent points and keep his head while producing some exciting drives. Suzuka was an obvious highlight – showed everyone else how it’s done.

    4. Adrian Sutil. Also managed to live up to the hype surrounding him to a certain extent. A bit inconsistent, but managed to crank out some decent drives – especially in the middle part of the season. Unfortunately his stint as a destruction derby driver in Korea pushes him down the list and probably kept him out of a top drive for a while longer.

    5. Nico Hulkenberg. Just gets the nod ahead of Barrichello due to his pole in Brazil and because I don’t like Barrichello. Rookies always seem to take half a season to get used to F1 and Hulkenberg was no exception. The second half of his season was solid and his pole in Brazil proved that he’s destined for great things.

  122. 1. Barrichello – shows no signs of going stale!

    2. Kubica – When this guy gets his hands on a top car i think will be the cherry on top of this golden era.

    3. Rosberg – Undenyably a race winner. Just keeps his head down and gets on with it.

    4. Sutil – obviously quick and did a solid job, but always seems to be involved in collisions as both innocent and guilty party!

    5. Kovalainen – Best driver in the new team class by far and showed it.

  123. Paul du Maitre says:

    1) Kubica !
    2) Kobayashi
    3) Rosberg
    4) Algersuari
    5) Barrichello

    Fascinating season, anyway! Let’s hope for many more!

  124. John Butcher says:

    Here’s my List.

    Number 1: Best of the Rest
    Robert Kubica – Everyone was already aware of the talent of this guy, being in the running up untill the last couple of races in 2008 in the BMW was quite an achievement, but i think what he has achieved this year surpasses that! The Renault was a car that was top 10 at best, yet he managed podiums, front row qualifying, and mixed it with the big guns! has possibly kept Renault in F1 for 2011!

    Number 2. Best Novice
    Karun Chandhok – Without doubt HRT’s driver of the season, and theres quite a few of them! Entered qualifying without turning a wheel, and then starteda race with onl3 3 laps in possibly the worst car F1 has ever seen! Outperformed Senna and was unlucky to lose his seat. He made the 5 Live commentary on a friday much better and was always chipper and didnt seem to let the fact he lost his seat get him down!

    Number 3. Class ‘B’ Champion
    Heikki Kovaleinen – After 2 years at Mclaren in which he seemed a shadow of the man we saw at Renault, the Finn has his smile back, and back with style! he seems to fit into the Lotus team as if he had been there for many years! consistantly the fastest of the B-class and seems very excited about what the future holds for undoubtably the most popular of the new teams on the block!

    Number 4. Most Entertaining
    Kamui Kobyashi – Dubbed Kobycrashi at the beggining of the season, he took a few races to get to grips with a tricky sauber, and when his front wing kept falling off, this didnt help his job at all! He really showed that overtaking is possible when everyone else in the top teams says they cant keep there front tyres in order when following someone! Kamui has a definate knack for overtaking and brilliant bravery!

    Number 5. Most Improved
    Michael Schumacher – CONTROVERSIAL! Ok, at the beggining of the year he struggled. But so did the Rookies! He has had 3 seasons out and came back to a formula of racing which has changed Drastically!! Long front wings, F-Ducts, Double Diffusers, Slick Tyres, Narrow Front Tyres, Moving Front Flaps to name a few! he was essentially a rookie! Rookies come from different formula’s and often struggle, and thats when there 23 having raced in juniour formula consistantly untill there big break (Petrov, Kobyashi, Hulk et al). Schumi did what could REALISTACLLY be expected, and no more! He was unfairly criticesed for ‘That Move’ in hungary, however when schumi was at the height of his dominance, such a move would hhave been seen as excellent, skillful, precision driving by both parties. After this incident, we saw a different shumi. He had some Great races towards the end of the season. Japan he drove brilliantly and in Korea was possibly the best driver that day! behind the safety car whilst most were complaining, he was finding the grip. then when the green flag dropped, he immediatly got the better of Kubica and then drove brilliantly to fourth place. Again drove well in Brazil and qualified well in Abu Dhabi but was unlucky in the race.

    1. MR says:

      Agree that Chandock did well in the commentary but how did he outperform Senna?

      1. MR says:

        *Chandhok

      2. John Butcher says:

        Chandhok finished 14th in Australia and drove superbly,
        In malaysia he out qualified and finished ahead of Senna
        Out qualified Senna in spain, neither finished the race
        Drove superbly around Monaco, unlucky to be classified 14th when 13th could have been on the cards if trulli didnt mount him!
        Finished ahead of Senna AND glock in a virgin in Valencia AND Canada, and out qualified Senna in Valencia.

        Senna Came into F1 with a big reputationa and was expected to do well, but Chandhok was definatley the more impressive

      3. Richard M says:

        Senna outqualified Chandock 6-3, was driving a slower car than Chandock and would of finished ahead in more races if he did not have the worst realibilty on the grid.

  125. Ben says:

    Ignoring the obvious, what about:

    1. Klien. Stepped in and did a great job when many others have struggled with the lack of available testing.

    2. Yamamoto. Whatever else he does in F1, that drive in Japan was pretty strong and deserves recognition.

    3. Petrov. Lopez should make a decision about Petrov’s 2011 drive and quit discussing it in this very public, quite disrespectful way. Petrov did okay against Kubica, and should improve next year. Would love it if Petrov made Lopez’s decision for him and quit Renault for another team.

    4. Chandhok. Looked very good and would only have got better. Deserves to be in F1, hopefully won’t slip off the radar.

    5. Di Grassi. Got very few column inches for doing a decent job. I can’t remember ever reading less about an F1 driver.

  126. Enigma says:

    1) Rosberg
    2) Kubica
    3) Barrichello
    4) Hulkenberg
    5) Kobayashi

  127. William Wallace says:

    Got to be:

    1: Kovalainen – The best of the ‘B’ class drivers by far. He consistently out-drove his teammate as well.
    2: Rosberg – Was leagues ahead of his teammate all year. Had some clever drives that put him into positions where the car wasn’t really capable.
    3: Sutil – A pretty ‘sensible’ year from Sutil (with a few exceptions) saw him consistently picking up points whilst his teammate consistently faltered.
    4: Heidfeld – The Sauber was miles off the pace and looked like a handful to drive, but he still managed to the same amount of points in his 4 races with Sauber than de la Rosa managed to get in the rest of the season.
    5: Barrichello – He rarely got more from the Williams than it could provide, but it certainly seemed that he managed to extract exactly 100% of its performance at pretty much every race.

  128. Eanna McClean says:

    1 Kobayashi
    2 Rosberg
    3 Kubica
    4 Barrichello
    5 Kovalainen

  129. DMyers says:

    1. Kubica
    2. Rosberg
    3. Kobayashi
    4. Kovalainen
    5. Glock

  130. kostre says:

    1) Robert Kubica
    2) Kamui Kobayashi
    3) Nico Rosberg
    4) Heikki Kovalainen
    5) rubens barichelo

  131. John S says:

    1. Nico Rosberg – almost always there or thereabouts in a car that was less than stellar. Out-qualified and out-drove Schumi consistently. He’s looked good previously, but this season added consistency.

    2. Kamui Kobayashi – a very poor car made exciting by a very committed driver. Fearless and thoroughly entertaining.

    3. Robert Kubica – no surprises from the Pole. He’s shown previously that he has the talent and determination to be WDC, all he needs is the car. That the Renault was one of the best of the rest counts slightly against him.

    4. Jaime Alguersuari – came on in leaps and bounds this year. Really seems to have matured into a proper F1 driver.

    5. Karun Chandok – Despite losing his drive very early on, he showed a great deal of promise. But most of all his humility and composure in the face of great challenge is what gets him 5th for me. He went out on track to qualify in a car that he’d never sat in before without complaint. After he lost his drive, he offered insight and analysis to the TV and radio coverage. He is (like Anthony Davidson before him) the perfect antidote to the oft-stroppy, self-obsessed F1 drivers.

    Honourable mentions to Kovaleinen, Rubens and Vitaly Petrov, who all ran my 5 nominees close.

  132. Christos Pallis says:

    1. Robert Kubica or when he moves to Ferrari “Roberto Kubicinio” he has showed again this year that he has the same level of raw speed and talent as the Hamilton’s Vettel’s and Alonso’s (and Rosberg’s) of this world, but he so flinging flanging consistent to boot! Why the bigger teams haven’t signed him i don’t know?!?!

    2. Nico Rosberg, for un ashamadly wiping the floor with the most succesful F1 driver of all time. Rosberg did amazing things in the Williams, he did amazing things in the Mercedes, He’ll do amazing things in the future. I honnestly think Rosberg is one of the top five best drivers on the grid this year and he hasn’t even won a race, thats down to machinary though. If the Mercedes 2011 challanger is on song he’ll show what he’s capable of, and he’ll look cute in the process!

    3. Kamui Kobayashi, it gives me great pleasure in putting Kamui in this list. If anyone on this forum omits Kobayashi they should be taken outside in the snow and have their pajamas forcably removed by armed guards and forced to do 50 push ups. He is a LEGEND, best thing to happen to F1 this year. He could have so easily slipped into this year after his superb performance in the last 2 races of 2009 and achived nothing, we’d all have waved him good bye come end of 2010 season but he didn’t. He came in and after the Sauber was sorted out he gave us the most exciting racing in the last 10 years of F1 ( Montoya the monster style ) gotta love him.

    Such a gap from 3rd below, the 3 mentioned should be marked out as super special. Just a point:)

    4. Karun Chandhok for what he did in Bahrain, never turned a wheel in an F1 car before Quali and he did so well not to bin it. He outpaced his team mate and was just so likeable. Even when HRT dumped him he only had postive things to say about them. His comentary on 5 live was brill. I’d love to see him back in a race seat next year, much more so than a great deal of other drivers!

    5. Bert Mylander, as somebody has already mentioned he seemed to be the only driver who understood what the safty car rule was. Vettel really showed his age in Hungary and again in Abu Dhabi, he was very lucky to not be given a penalty by the stewards for the sharp braking he did on Hamilton causin Lewis’s McLaren to go off track in avoidance. Could have and arguably should have cost him the champoinship! ooh ooh ooh contrevesial

    I couldn’t include Sutil as he helped Force India loose out to Williams in remarkable fashion!!!

    Both Rubens and Nico H should have done much more than they did throughout the season, merley average performances with few moments to highlight.

    Kovelinen might have crept into this list instead of Bert Mylander had he not just crashed in the Race Of Champions and nearly killed his HOT girlfriend who was his co driver/pasanger. Just when we started to think Heiki was actually a great driver again he imidiatley responeded with a high profile crash! well done Kovy, atleast he’s ok!

    All a good bit of fun! :)

    Q to James Allen – Did i not win a book? i had put down the order of your top five and i’m sure i was one of the first 3 or 4 to put that order down???

    Thanks

    1. James Allen says:

      Yes you did. Well done! We emailed you last night. Did you not get it? Please email your address to james@jamesallenonf1.com

      1. Christos Pallis says:

        Ah ha, can’t access my googlemail from work!

        James can you tell us if you are getting back onto our TV screens next season? Surley the BBC have come after you?

        Thanks so much James, for the book and this site, it is the best!

        Cheers

  133. Andy Bird says:

    1) Robert Kubica
    Was more impressive than most of the chamionship contenders.
    2) Kamui Kobayashi
    Along with Hamilton, provided the vast majority of on-track overtaking during the year.
    3) Nico Rosberg
    Fast, consistent & blow Herr Schumacher away.
    4) Heikki Kovalainen
    Retained his motivation, despite his massive step down from McLaren to Lotus.
    5) Karun Chandhok
    Out-drove his more highly-rated team-mate on a regular basis, and he made a good BBC “expert” commentator later.

  134. azac21 says:

    James,
    don’t want a book. Already ordered one. Here is my best of the rest F1 drivers for 2010:

    5. K Chandhok – he desrves an other chance in F1 hopefully in a better car. Well if he gets his drive the chances that he will be in a better car are pretty good i.e 10/12=83.3%

    4. K Kobayashi – Can’t wait to see this guy in a faster car… which will result in bigger crashes, missing breaking the points by a mile and proving that F1 cars today are really safe even for the suicidal amongst us.

    3. R Baricello – Good to see him getting his revenge over his old team mate. Good drives and obviously the old dog can still bite.

    2. J Button – a driver that needs the car to be 100% balanced to compete for a win? F1 Utopia!!!!

    1. M Schumacher – it was luvely seeing the old champ racing this year…. getting beat by Rosberg and other young ones, sliding off-track at low speeds, been punished left and right for breaking rules and generally behaving in an unsporting manner as the good old Shumie used to do.

  135. Michael T says:

    Kobayashi – I hope those overalls that were auctioned were washed as even Kamui must have terrified himself with those late lunges! Great entertainment (Some races the only entertainment!)
    Kovaleinen – Quietly getting on with being the best of the new boys and getting his confidence back after leaving McLaren.
    Barrichello – Despite a bit of whingeing he scored well, especially compared to his team mate and gave me one of those hand over the eyes moments with the Schumi – Hungary pass waiting for the crunch!
    Chandhok – make him an official ambassador! Well spoken and great effort when given the chance… should have been given more though!
    Bernd Maylander – Led for more laps than most of the field in a car that was well behind in development, in particular lacking an F-duct and also he had a passenger in there providing extra weight and small talk as a distraction!

    1. Michael T says:

      Long time reader, first time poster by the way! Thought it time to get involved.

      Love the site James. Thanks for the hard work!

  136. Glen says:

    1 KUBICA
    2 ROSBERG
    3 BARRICHELLO
    4 KOBAYASHI
    5 KOVALAINEN

  137. Carl Michael says:

    1) Kubica – out drove the car the most of the season

    2) Rosberg – out performed Michael Schumacher
    3) Kobayashi – performed well and offered entertaining overtakes

    4) Barrichello – as consistent as ever and a good yardstick for the Williams team

    5) Chandhok – first time he drove the car was in qualifying for Bahrain gp. Performed as well as could be expected. Was absolutely excellent in the Radio 5 live commentary booth for free practice sessions.

  138. Steveceve says:

    1: Kamui Kobayashi – always a pleasure to watch!
    2: Karun Chandhok – The best HRT driver by far, an idiotic decision to pull him out.
    3: Robert Kubica – some good drives
    4: Nico Rosberg- (although it pains me to say it, as a Schumi fan since 1992)
    5: Rubens Barrichello – some solid drives and outperformed his teammate.

  139. Pawel says:

    1. Kubica – no doubt
    2. Rosberg – outperformed teammate
    3. Kobayashi – many overtakings
    4. Barichello – consistency
    5. Hulkenberg – pole position

  140. Jo Torrent says:

    1 Kubica

    2 Rosberg

    3 Kovalainen

    4 Kobayashi

    5 Hulk ( I needed to put a name on the 5th spot)

    Kubica & Rosberg are evident choices

    Kovalainen impressed me with his commitment and his joy. He looked happier than with McLaren and delivered all the way in a very bad car.

    Kobayashi because we need BANZAI racers

    Hulk because the others were so bad I feel I had to put him there. Rubens was probably better than him but I don’t like the ever crying Brazilian.

    1. Michael T says:

      Kovaleinen definitely comes across as the new Fisi! He seems happier without the pressure of expectation.

      1. Jo Torrent says:

        good point

  141. Peter Santamaria-Woods says:

    1) Robert Kubica – Very consistent and solid in the Renault, fantastic.

    2) Nico Rosberg – Regular points scorer, and overhauled the legend Michael Schumacher, great job!

    3) Kamui Kobayashi – Wonderful overtaking monouvers all season, he finds opportunity where other drivers wouldn’t, great to watch!

    4) Karun Chandhok – Consistently faster than Bruno Senna (when his car was reliable), deserves a drive next year!

    5) Adrian Sutil – Has come along way since last season and has eliminated his silly accicdents, a good season for him.
    4. Adrian Sutil

  142. Robert Gunning says:

    1. Robert Kubica
    2. Nico Rosberg
    3. Kamui Kobayashi
    4. Rubens Barrichello
    5. Nico Hulkenberg

  143. Toby says:

    Can I nominate Karun Chandhock? Not so much for his driving (though he did do well in his first qualifying having barely sat in the car), but for coming across as a thoroughly nice person and giving interesting commentary during the practice sessions.

    Other than that I got too caught up in the top 4 race and missed the mid class. Kubica had some good moments. Rosberg quietly got on with it while the focus was on Schumacher. Kobayashi was entertaining in Japan and I liked the way he tried to re-pass people in far better cars (hope that was him). Kovalainen is another “nice” driver. He’ll never be world champion with his attitude, but it was good to watch him avoid the pits and put the car out beside Red-Bull on the pit straight.

    TobyS

    1. Michael T says:

      If Chandhok can’t get a drive let’s hope the BBC give him a job (and replace a certain commentator also while they are at it)!

  144. dren says:

    1. Rosberg is one of my top 5 of the year in any car. He is the only one of those top 5 whose team didn’t win a race. He consistently spanked Herr Schumacher all over the tarmac. He was consistent and netted a few podiums while committing very few mistakes. What could have been if the team didn’t screw up his Q3 qualifying session at Monaco??? I fully expect Rosberg to be champion one day. He also gave some of the pit girls a run for their money. I swear it looks like he wears make-up.
    2. Kovalainen is my number two pick for many reasons. He did wonders with the Lotus in race trim and was close with the masterful Trulli in qualifying. After his embarrassing stint with Mclaren, I didn’t expect much at all. He was easily the best of the drivers in the 3 new teams. Not only did he serve the Lotus name well, he also was entertaining to watch when building boats and putting out chassis fires. There is a reason why he won the Race of Champions in 2004.
    3. Kubica had a terrific season with Renault. He seems to meld well with the team. It is hard to exactly judge his performances against his exceptionally un-stellar teammate though. Kubica put the car in good positions when the track allowed it. I was pulling for a win in Monaco, but it was just outside of reach! I expect good things to come from him in a Renault/”New” Lotus/whatever the team will be called. If there ever was another straight forward monotonous drone in the likes of Kimi, it’s good old Bob Kubica.
    4. Kobayashi gets my number 4 spot. Is this kid the reincarnate of Takuma Sato? Crash prone, check! Force overtaking maneuvers, check! Exciting and a great personality, check! This guy overtook just about everyone in F1 at one point or another this year. He may have finished higher up on the list if it wasn’t for the reliability issues the Sauber had for half of the season, oh and his crashes. Kobayashi is an exciting guy to watch when behind the wheel, but is he winning material?
    5. Hulkenberg comes in at number 5 on my list. His steady improvement over the season culminated in an unlikely but strong qualifying pole lap at Interlagos. Though his race can be easily forgotten, he put it on pole when given the chance. Barichello served as a good benchmark to gauge the German’s steady improvement. The Hulk has potential, but will he get a race seat to improve even more next year? I’d like to see him as a third driver at Mercedes to slot in once Schumacher leaves.

    Honorable mention to Karun Chandhok for his short lived but impressive year on and his wonderful commentary off the track. He easily stuck it to his higher rated teammate. I’d like to see him in a seat next year, but will it happen?

  145. Raj Sharma says:

    1. Kobayashi
    2. Rosberg
    3. Kubica
    4. Barachello
    5. Algersuari

  146. Daniel says:

    1) Kubica
    Consistently strong all year. I believe he qualified 18 times in the top 10, with Abu Dhabi the only exception, and simply put the car where it didn’t deserve to be. His calming influence and non-confrontational style is exactly what Renault need to rebuild themselves after the turbulance of Flavio and Crashgate.

    2) Rosberg
    Good performances at the start of the year, with solid drives in Bahrain, Malaysia and China. While people will argue that Schumacher was a shadow of his former self, Rosberg destroyed him nonetheless, and finished just behind an experienced and proven driver in Felipe Massa in the championship. Should be a real contender in 2011.

    3) Kobayashi
    While Sauber didn’t quite live up to their pre-season hype, Kobayashi was sublime, and his drives towards the latter part of the season were among some of the most entertaining in recent years. His bravery in Valencia and Suzuka paid off, and when paired with two of the most experienced drivers in F1, he made them look like amateurs.

    4) Sutil
    I picked Adrian over Barrichello because I feel he has improved as a driver greatly since 2009. He strolled on to the grid in Bahrain a completely different man from the one that began in Australia 12 months before. He’s gone from a backmarker to an established team leader and consistent best-of-the-rest challenger. He was often in the points, and his strong showing in the middle of the year more than make up for his reckless end to the season.

    5) Kovalainen
    While Kovalainen was disappointing at McLaren, he seemed refreshed and rejuvinated in 2010, finishing as the best of the new teams mroe often than not, and frequently showing up Jarno. While Lotus look like the more likely of the new teams to score points next year, Kovalainen definitely looks like the driver who will likely achieve it for them.

  147. Mouse_Nightshirt says:

    It’s important to define “best” in this situation. Obviously the best drivers tend to vie for the championship. Although the other drivers down the field may not have the machinery to do so, that to me is as much of an indication of their “bestness” so to speak – how to secure a good drive.

    So in that vein, best for me means best for the fans, which makes the list very much simpler for me!

    5) Hulkenberg – someone who I viewed as a steady eddie at the start of the season slowly developed into one of my surprises of the season. His pole in Brazil I rate as a combination of “Wow!” and utter comedy gold considering everything else that was going on at that late stage in the season. It’s a shame he’s gone for now but I expect to see him in the not too distant future.

    4) Chandhok – although it’s hard to say how good his driving *really* is, that cheeky little smile that was usually pasted over his face, his general overall pleasantness he provided out of the car and the fact that

    £) – erm, I mean 3) Petrov – OK, so not the most skilled driver on the grid, and has plenty of Russian money to thank for his seat, but in terms of entertainment value, I always trusted Petrov to either drive pretty well on his day or make horrendously embarrassing mistakes, Spa’s wet kerb springs to mind. The suspense he provided in Abu Dhabi, by keeping Alonso behind him, was one of the race’s only saving graces. I shall enjoy watching him next season.

    2) Kovalainen – Steely grit and determination marks the Finnish man out for my number two slot on the list. From the hilarious pre-season Heikki ad on Finnish TV (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hqOkvMD4VzM) to some super solid underdog drives, this man, in my eyes, erased a lot of my doubts about him. Plus he was the launchpad for F1′s most jaw dropping accident of the season at Valencia.

    1) Kobayashi – the Japanese wunderkid was just something else in terms of entertainment this season. You always knew he’d try something banzai, and unlike his previous countrymen, he tended to make banzais more about passing than crashing. His passing of Alonso in the dying moments of Valencia and of Alguesuari in Japan spring to mind as moments of the season and his general inability to take the easy option put him squarely on top of my list!

  148. Grabyrdy says:

    Rosberg just shades
    Kubica, but it’s very very close.
    then
    Barrichello (he’s still got it)
    Hulkenberg (that pole in Brazil was astounding)
    Kovalainen

    Honourable mentions for Alguersauri, Chandhok, Glock and Klein

    Kobayashi is fun to watch – but is that a criterion ?

    Not impressed this year by
    Sutil
    Senna
    Trulli
    de Grassi
    Schumacher (!)

  149. Jonathan Barker says:

    Here is my top 5, although in many ways I’m tempted to put Kobayashi top of the list just because of his daring and dash all season long.

    Rosberg
    Kubica
    Kobayashi
    Kovalainen
    Hulkenberg

    Rosberg trouncing Schumacher (even an underperforming Schumi) is worthy of 1st in this little comp, although the lacklustre performance of the Mercedes for most of the year meant I had to think about it. His best performance was surely in Korea where he might have even lucked into the win if Webber hadn’t taken him out.
    Kubica has done brilliantly on track all season with Renault, but his real achievement this year has surely been helping Renault step back from the abyss of last year. I still want to see more from this guy, and more podiums and another win next year must surely be expected from him.
    Kobayashi is fantastic, and he’s my rookie/driver of the year. He’s fully lived up to his Toyota form last year and had some great results. Who would have expected him to overtake Alonso in Valencia on the last lap?! Kamui added fireworks and excitement to every race he stayed in beyond the first lap. I hope he sees the chequered flag more frequently in his second season, and was delighted when Peter Sauber confirmed him again for next year.
    And at the bottom of my list Kovy and the Hulk. Kovalainen single handedly made Lotus the best new entry in my opinion and put in a great effort all year to really help bring the team on. Whilst Hulkenberg was ourperformed a lot by his older team-mate he started to turn the tables towards the end of year and then set that sensational pole in Brazil. Also he did just enough for the team to help them to 6th place in the championship, which means as a fan of Williams, he also gets my vote.

  150. Tyler says:

    Maybe “average” is more midfield…given the back markers cars were awful… but given the equipment provided:

    Glock
    Kovalainen
    Kobayashi
    Alguersuari
    Kubica

    Kubica and Rosberg’s performance is much less dramatic considering the cars they had to drive… Given the title of “average” cars…I guess it fits… but still dont find it as compelling as Glock’s and Kovalainen’s efforts in their respective machines. Klien’s drive in the HRT was also fun to behold.

  151. don knowles says:

    1. Kubica
    2. Rosberg
    3. Kobayashi
    4. Petrov
    5. Hulkenberg

  152. Simon J says:

    My first thought when seeing this was Nico Rosberg. “Britney” has had a great season and was totally unintimidated by partnering such an iconic driver.
    Secondly, I think Kubica has been a consistently good driver for average teams. Surely he deserves a drive with a big team soon?
    Next, Jaime Alguesuari. He’s shown potential this year. To be able to hold off the great Michael Schumacher (an unknown quantity at the time) for 20 laps at Melbourne, and to finish in the points in Spain after a drive-through in a lesser car (albeit thanks to Lewis’ collision) takes some talent!
    A potentially controversial choice next in Vitaly Petrov. Though inconsistent, he had numerous good drives and seemed unfazed at having a frustrated two-time world champion under his rear wing for half a race! More consistency and we have a driver there.
    Finally Heikki Kovalainen. After a step down from a top team where he was massively overshadowed, he came out top of the new team drivers.

  153. Jey says:

    James,
    A lot of people appear to have been mighty impressed with Nico Rosberg becoz he did comparitively well to Michael.

    If we give due weightage to the fact that ,Michael was coming back after 3 years and also that the tyres now in F1 are not what they were when he last drove in a competitive F1 machine, how do they compare to each other

    Michael looked very strong in the last half.He even outqualified Nico.

    Does that indicate that perhaps we are not yet seeing the exact picture whilst going gaga over Nico

    Just as a side note,we all saw how much impact the switch from Michelin to Bridgestone had on Alonso & Kimi in 2007.I am still of the opinion that if not for that,the contest between Alonso and Lewis would not have been that close

  154. Jasper Spanjaart says:

    1: Rubens Barrichello – We all know Cosworth engines aren’t the best engines in the world, but Barrichello managed to have a very decent season this year, getting Williams the points they needed with some very neat top 10 finishes.

    2: Kamui Kobayashi. My god, did HE drive in Japan. Mainly based on Kobayashi’s performances in Japan and also on Silverstone, he is my number 2. At times absolutely brilliant, despite not having the greatest car.

    3: Nico Hulkenberg. THAT pole at Brazil, he has to be in anyone’s top 5 list, what a performance by the lad. Hope he’ll get a seat at a decent team this year, shame he’s gone at Williams. Future World Champion (mark my words)

    4: Nick Heidfeld. In 5 races he was able to get the same amount of points as Pedro De La Rosa had after 14 races. Well done Nick!

    5: Heikki Kovalainen. You just see he’s got the driving skills, but he just hasn’t got the car. He was (in my opinion) the best driver of all the ‘lower’ teams (Lotus, Virgin, Hispania), and Heikki was just such a cometitive driver, deserves to be in the top 5.

    (I would have placed Karun Chandhok in this list, but unfortunately for him – and for us – he only drove 10 races, I still can’t understand why Hispania picked Klien and Yamamoto over him)

  155. lmp8888 says:

    1. Kubica
    2. Rosberg
    3. Kobayashi
    4. Barrichello
    5. Sutil

  156. Christian says:

    1) Kubica
    Petrov wasn’t really a benchmark, but three podiums in that car just has to be impressive. Plus a front row start. Plus a fastest lap.

    2) Kobayashi
    Does this really need to be explained? Definetely rookie of the year. Decent speed in a crappy car and the most entertaining driver to watch, but also getting the results. Scored more points than Petrov, Hülkenberg and Liuzzi whose teams finished ahead of Sauber in the constructor’s championship.

    3) Glock
    Often let down by poor reliability, But sometimes outqualified the Lotus cars which were driven by qualifying experts (with an apparently slower car). His drives in Korea and especially in Singapore were simply amazing.

    4) Rosberg
    At the first glimpse, he hasn’t really done anything special this year. He and the team have definetely expected more, but the car was barely more competitive than the 2009 Williams car and so the results were just a little bit better. But then his teammate was a certain F1 legend and he just trashed him (As much as this hurts me as a big Schumacher fan!)

    5) Barrichello
    the old man just doesn’t slow down, does he? The press has announced the end of his F1 career almost every year since 2007, but he doesn’t seem to care. The highlight of his season for me was Hungary: Still fighting to the last inch for one point in a situation where many drivers over 30 would propably have done nothing (except for the guy driving next to him…)

    Honorable mention:
    Hülkenberg, Sutil, Kovalainen, Chandhok

  157. Vic says:

    My top 5:

    1.Kubica
    2.Rosberg
    3.Kobayashi
    4.Barichello
    5.Hulkenberg

  158. Ian Savell says:

    Hard to put these in order, but here we go!

    1. Karun Chandhok. There’s no a better ambassador for the sport, and getting in the HRT in Bahrain with no prior experience was a great job. And he arguably got the best out of the worst car.

    2. Robert Kubica. Nothing to say – the best of the rest and deserves a winning ride. Really should be no 1 but I like Chandhok better!

    3. Rubens Barrichello. Keep going Rubino! got the best out of the car and a did a better job than ex-teammate Schumacher.

    4. Nico Hulkenberg. A great rookie driver and that pole in Brazil was awesome.

    5. Kamui Kobayashi. Put the fun back into F1, and got some good results as well.

    So there you are. I’d rather watch some of these than some of the top 5 any day.

  159. Søren Kühle says:

    My choice would be
    1) Robert Kubica.
    His stunning drive at monaco for me describes his lethalness all season. Give this guy a competitive car.

    2) Rosberg. Constantly lurking just behind the main contenders, and yes he beat Schumacher.

    3) Kobayashi. Spirited drives, and great overtakes, and some great strategic moments (Valencia fx.).Higly entertaining driver.

    4) Michael Schumacher. I’d say he performed admirably. 72 points is not all bad for a “rookie” season. at least he fared better in comparison to fx. Barichello. He was beaten by his younger teammate. So what? It was a pleasure seeing a less edgy schumacher. He had moments where he actually looked like he was having fun. I can’t understand why pundits like Jordan and Irvine is after him. This is just a mega rich-nothing to prove 7 times WDC, paying of an old debt.. :)

    5) Heikki Kovaleinen. Heikki must have known that he would be a backmarker this season. And yet he stand up for the Lotus name. Keep Fighting!. I can’t wait till Fernandes and his boys get it together. Lotus was definately the most impressive of the newcomers this season.

  160. Annabelle Ng says:

    1. Kovalainen – due to his excellent firefighting skills (much more flair than s. vettel in Korea may i add), but his positivity throughout the season make me like him more as a driver and a person.
    2. Rosberg – although there are many people who say that michael had an unfair advanatge, which is true to some extent, Schumacher was still outclassed and let’s not forget how many tyre related incidents (it seems) that Mercedes was involved in! Poor Nico.
    3. Kobayashi – So exciting, he could’ve helped alonso in Abu Dhabi when in that one moment he could’ve tried one down the inside, but thought better of it. An opportunistic character, and i like him for that.
    4. Chandhok – Not only a ‘great guy’ as he always seems to say on the 5live commentary, but i feel a talented driver. Best HRT driver even though he wasn’t in the car half the season.
    5. Petrov – had some pretty (large) accidents and incidents this year, but has shown some real raw speed and racing ability, still feel he is wronged by Alonso at Abu Dhabi. And besides he could be an old James Bond villain; ‘Dr. Vital.’
    I would have included Kubica but feel he’s up there with the top 5 frontrunners. Roll on next season!

  161. Brian says:

    1. Kobayashi – doesn’t seem to understand that his overtaking is making everyone else look bad. Give it a rest…
    2. Klien – laughed in the face of (wealthier and slower) pay drivers from behind his dodgy Top Gun-era shades thanks to an absinthe-making sponsor…!
    3. Kubica – managed to keep his nose ahead (just) in the face of stiff competition from the other side of the garage.
    4. Glock – maintained his cheeriness in the face of an avalanche of Virgin-related jokes from his mates, also rumoured to have obtained an Astra petrol tank from Big Dave’s scrapyard in an attempt to help the team resolve its early-season design issues…
    5. Rosberg – proof positive that F1 teams’ widespread policy of selecting drivers who claim to be German and have a marketable surname is a sure-fire route to success.

  162. John Player says:

    1)Rosberg
    2)Kubica
    3)Barrichello
    4)Kobayashi
    5)Glock
    On a different day, fifth place might be some other guy as well,except Senna, Schumacher and Petrov.

  163. I keep expanding my website based on things that happen at jaf1.com, please stop giving me new ideas {:-)

    So anyway, there is now a page at

    http://www.ratef1.com/season3.php?season=2010

    which shows driver performance for the season. It calculates this based on expected performance, car performance, the ratings of who they beat in each race, their performance against their teammate, and how much they exceeded the expected performance of their car.

    The results are quite interesting, as Vettel is only down in 15th place, below Kovalainen and even Yamamoto.

    Because Vettels car was so good, statistically he didn’t do more than was expected as a driver, and so his rating was not as high, where Yamamoto for example, with what is to be frank a terrible record in F1, actually managed to not finish last a few times, in what was obviously the weakest car in the field, giving him quite a leg-up in the table.

  164. BurgerF1 says:

    James, it occured to me when I read this post that F1 still has a ways to go to improve the show. Out of 12 teams, only 3 had a chance of winning a race. Is that a normal ratio in other classes of motor-racing?

    But I digress:

    1) Rosberg: amazing consistency with maximum performance every weekend despite the distraction of Schumacher’s comeback. A full-on season-long effort that has him primed for a WDC if he gets the car.

    2) Kubica: wrung the hell out of that Renault, and really showed his stuff on the driver circuits. Needs a far better team mate to really understand what he brings to the table. Renault out-developed Mercedes but couldn’t catch them.

    3) Kovaleinen: helped Lotus to the top of the new-team rankings, and impressively out-raced AND out-qualified Trulli much of the time. A really good showing after the disappointing McLaren years.

    4) Kobayashi: his over-taking manouvers were great fun to watch. He really improved through the year along with the car and comprehensively out-performed his two more experienced team mates for the year.

    5) Barrichello: Williams would’ve been nowhere this year without him. Demonstrated fantastic capability in and out of the car. The pass on MS in Hungary showed he still has brass ones when necessary.

    Honourable mention:

    Hulkenberg: really improved well through the season culminating in that Brazil pole. Clearly, the team’s timing of his tire choice exaggerated the achievement, but still a great result. A real shame Williams dropped him.

    Schumacher: not too bad a comeback really save for that brutal move in Hungary. Will need to dominate Rosberg next year for sure. And if he says he is back in F1 for “fun” one more time, he’s off my Christmas list. He’d better be back to win!

    Glock: despite a woeful Virgin car (especially with no re-fuelling), he really put in some fantastic drives with it.

    Klein: came in from nowhere and BLEW away Senna.

    Worst drivers:

    Sutil: riding seriously good momentum from last year, he and the team started off well, but he had a dismal second half. Lost some focus along the way and in the process, let Williams nip ahead.

    de la Rosa: blew his chance to get back in it. Again. Please exit stage left.

    Liuzzi: don’t go away mad, Antonio, just go away. I really don’t see what a team would see in this driver. There must be something in the telemetry that continues to amaze the engineers enough to have had him stay in the game this long.

    Senna: Klein came in from nowhere and BLEW you away. ‘Nuff said.

  165. Adam Tate says:

    5. Who can take a car designed in a computer game, a car with a silly name, and keep it in front of a lot of faster cars with less silly names lap after lap in Singapore? Timo Glock! A cagey racer if ever there was one, Timo broke in the CFD only designed Virgin and on more than one occasion proved that it was an actual racecar and not just a pretty livery.

    4. Who can take on a 7 time World Champ in an intense battle and not look like a European playboy? Jaime Alguersuari! Schumacher, smoomacher, this 20 year old with only half a season under his belt held off F1′s equivalent of the Red Baron in a great scrap in Australia.

    3. Who can take a brand new backmarker car and legitimately try and stand up to the big boys? Who is a man with so little regard to fear he will park a flaming car next to 150 mph traffic and extinguish the blaze himself? The Finn for the win – Heikki Kovaleinen! Heikki more than regrouped and proved himself after his great season with Lotus. He has proven to be the heart of the small team with a big name, and they will return with a vengeance!

    2. Who shares a team with a guy who’s spent more time in an F1 car than anyone? Who shares a name with a pretty boy blond in a better car, yet topped him and everyone else to a pole position by over a second to help revive a once glorious team? Nico Hulkenberg! In Hulkenberg Williams finally found what they’d been looking for, the most outstanding lap of the year in Brazil confirmed the second coming of the Nico, and yet they have to give up the ghost in the endless pursuit of cash. A shame.

    1. Who is the most intense competitor on the track? Who doesn’t even know the meaning of the word mid-field? Who races for a team with the most mixed up name on the grid? Who has the tiniest eyes, yet the biggest balls in the sport? Kamui Kobayashi! The Japanese youngster thrilled all season, with kamikaze passes early on that matured into all out warfare, his take on Alonso was but a foreshadowing of his standout performance in Japan. He has lifted his team up from the ashes of BMW, and Peter Sauber himself calls Kobayashi an inspiration.

  166. Dominic J says:

    Entertaining, you say:

    1. Kobayashi

    Next 4 in “bottom 9″ teams:

    2. Kubica
    3. Rosberg
    4. Glock
    5. Kovaleinen

    Each made their teammate look worse than they probably are.

    Then again, for entertaining, did anything match Barrichello’s moment between Schumacher and a Hungarian pit wall?

  167. Ewan M says:

    My top 5 and reasons are as follows:

    1 – Robert Kubica.
    It seems weird including the Pole in such a list, given that he was constantly in the points all year. However he cleared outperformed in a car which shouldn’t have been in the positions it was.

    The fact that Kubica scored 136 out of Renault’s 163 points does not do his 2010 season justice.

    His podiums in Monaco and Belgium were far from luck, and the vast difference in layout demonstrates just how well equipped the Pole was throughout the year.

    Kubica was also not afraid to pass drivers – the most memorable being his recovery in Singapore.

    Although he had 3 DNFs, none of them were his fault and I believe he would have been able to add podium number 3 in Japan – had it not been for that pesky wheel.

    2010, for me, saw Kubica emerge out of the shadows of the likes of Hamilton and Alonso to become one of the sport’s top drivers.

    2 – Heikki Kovalainen

    Leaving one of the sport’s biggest teams was always going to be hard for any driver, but Kovalainen’s decision to join a new outfit like Lotus seemed rather monumental.

    At first I thought he would flounder under the pressure and be frustrated by the lack of pace and updates (like Jarno Trulli to an extent.) However, unlike his team-mate, the Finn rose to the occasion and re-established his battered reputation in the sport.

    Not only did he comfortably have the edge over Trulli, 2010 saw another side of the Finn emerge which wasn’t as noticeable at McLaren.

    Heikki provided a steady head for the team, and was clinical to moving it forward.

    Other factors aside – his drive in Singapore was electric, as was backed up completely by a similar finish weeks later in Japan.

    Without Kovalainen I believe Lotus would not have won the battle of the new teams, and set the team up for a much-improved 2011.

    3 – Rubens Barrichello

    Although the veteran Brazilian season was overshadowed by his team-mate’s pole in Brazil, it would be wrong to discount the wonderful job Barrichello did at Williams.

    After his exit from Brawn, he was the ideal man to steady the ship at Williams – a team that had lost its way, even before Rosberg had departed.

    His experience and knowledge were vital for Williams – especially with the switch to Cosworth power and the elevation of Hulkenberg to race seat.

    And he played his part perfectly – quietly scoring the points to keep Williams ticking over, while taking much of the pressure off his team-mate and allowing the team to take steps forward.

    There were a few disappointments along the way, but the Brazilian was not lost-at-sea surrounded by the young guns and fully justified Williams’ reasons to retain him for next year.

    4 – Nico Rosberg

    Moving to the reigning champions was always going to be a challenge, but I think Rosberg started the campaign in superb fashion.

    It was clear from early on that the Mercedes wasn’t on pace with the front-runners, nor did it work with Bridgestone’s last generation of tyres.

    So, as well as having to adjust his driving style, the German excelled himself in the early rounds and may well have won in China had he not had an off (while on worn tyres).

    However, Rosberg’s season did dip on a number of occasions, which is why he isn’t higher on my list.

    Conspiracy or not, the team’s updates did not seem to help him much, while they improved the competitiveness of his team-mate by quite a margin.

    However Rosberg soon got on top of these issues and recorded some impressive results – eclipsing anything the illustrious Schumacher could muster.

    5 – Kamui Kobayashi

    For large parts of 2010, the major talking point (bar the title race) was the driving of Kamui Kobayashi.

    As well as the rough n’ tumble in Japan – which underlined his no-nonsense approach to racing – we also saw a more conservative side of Kobayashi, culminating in the slick strategy in Valencia, where he managed his hard compound until the bitter end, then switched to softs for a late passing spree (finishing 7th).

    Such results went someway to confirm that Kobayashi could well become Japan’s greatest-ever F1 driver – one with all the flair and excitement of a Suzuki or Nakajima (snr), but also a calculated racing brain (much like many of his counterparts on the grid).

    However, his season was still littered with some memorable mistakes and that’s why he is last on my list.

    Going off in wet qualifying in Spa was a missed opportunity for the Sauber, as was his crash during the race in Singapore.

    Despite this, Kobayashi has all the potential to be a future-F1 star and could well achieve much more next season.

  168. Matt B says:

    1) Kubica

    2) Rosberg

    3) Kobayashi

    4) Barrichello

    5) kovaleinen

  169. Don Atkinson says:

    Having scrolled through everyone’s lists I’ve noticed the following:

    No one had a single good word for Sebastien Buemi, Pedro de la Rosa and Vitantonio Liuzzi.

    There is very little love for Yamamoto, di Grassi, Senna, Trulli, Petrov, Glock & Sutil.

    My list runs Kubica, Rosberg, Kovalainen, Chandhok and Hulkenberg.

  170. Alexander says:

    1. R.Kubica – Mixed in with the top 5 on a regular basis and brought the Renault to a higher level. Give him the RBR6 and we would have a new pole record, amazingly fast. Performance of the Year: Monaco 2nd Place.

    2. N.Rosberg – Consistently better than F1′s most winning driver. Very few mistakes and seems like he has settled and hungry for victories, lets see what 2011 brings for Nico.
    Perfomance of the Year: Silverstone 3rd Place.

    3. R.Barrichello – Consistently in the points, and seems happy and really racey. Really up there with the Kubica, Rosberg, Schumacher fighting for the positions behind the “Top 6″
    Performance of the Year: Valencia 4th Place.

    4. K.Kobayashi – We saw glimpses of it last year, and he really came through this year. He started pretty slow, thanks so slow and unreliable car. When the car became better and more reliable, we saw him regularly qualify in Q3 and score points.
    Performance of the Year: Suzuka and Valencia 7th Places.

    5. A.Sutil – If the season ended after Monza, I’d put him in 1st or 2nd. Really impressive and making it to Q3 and scoring points on a regular basis, many races on a row. Altough when we left Europe, and the downforce tracks showed up one after another, his perfomances faded.
    Performance of the Year: Spa 5th Place.

  171. CJH says:

    1. Kobayashi
    2. Hulkenberg
    3. Alguersuari
    4. Kovalainen
    5. Glock

  172. Nando says:

    1) Rosberg – top of my driver of the season list and still there, car developed counter to his preferences.
    2) Kubica – Close to Rosberg, but flattered by a poor teammate + had control on direction of development
    3) Kobayashi – Entertaining
    4) Barrichello – Didn’t back down from Schumacher and consistent in a poor car
    5) Heikki – Consummate pro
    6) Schumacher showed his class towards the end of the season, but seems an average driver without a car exactly tailored to his liking. If he’d stayed retired I’d never of known he wouldn’t top the time-sheets in an average car.

  173. Neal says:

    1. Nico Rosberg – started the season with more pressure than anyone, except for the title challengers, and excelled in an underperforming car. Made Schumacher look slower than he was, which is no mean feat.

    2. Robert Kubica – dragged the underperforming Renault to good results for most of the season. Did tail off towards the end, but this could have been more car-related.

    3. Heikki Kovalainen – by far the best driver from the new teams. Very unlucky not to score points and completely outclassed Trulli. Given the Lotus had less developing time than the other teams, Kovalainen was particularly impressive.

    4. Kamui Kobayashi – the man is a breath of fresh air. There can no longer be a boring race as long as he’s around. Quick, aggressive and committed. And willing to risk it all on one move – it reminds me of classic Formula 1.

    5. Karun Chandhok – ok, not for his driving, but his performances for BBC 5live were very impressive. His car was pretty poor as well.

  174. Fausto Cunha says:

    1.Kubica – Mighty all year! Podiums, very close to pole sometimes.

    2.Rosberg – Beated Schumacher almost all season, podiums, a good year.

    3.Kobayashi – An exciting driver, taking risks and attacking.

    4.Barrichello – A bad start like his team and a great finish.

    5.Yarno Trulli – The fastest of the slowest.

  175. Fausto Cunha says:

    just to ask the moderation to edit my previous post on 5 place is Kovalainen not Trulli.

    So:

    5.kovaleinen – The Fastest of the slowest.

  176. Baghetti says:

    MY TOP 5 OF STARS IN AVERAGE CARS

    #5 – Robert Kubica: for making the bravest pit entry of the year (Montreal, race)

    #4 – Heikki Kovalainen: for staying so cool despite setting things on fire (Singapore, race)

    #3 – Rubens Barichello: for making the closest escape from the wall (Hungary, race); teammate Nico Hulkenberg deserves a special mentioning for trying something similar… (Monaco, race)

    #2 – Nico Rosberg: for being able to avoid Webber while the latter was going backward into the Monaco pool; if only he could have done the same in the Korean pool… (Korea, race)

    #1 – Sebastien Buemi: for really driving the wheels off his car (China, free practice 1)

  177. Kenneth C says:

    1. Robert Kubica
    - undoubtedly talented, ability to drive a average car to an extraordinary position for example magnificent drive in Monaco 2010 to stick with Vettel in much faster car and able to leave Hamilton a long way back.
    2. Nico Rosberg
    - Mr.Consistency, able to deliver consistent results most of the year including 3 well deserved podiums, a feat made even more impressive as a certain M. Schumacher was in the other car was inconsistent and did not achieve even one podium. As we know consistency is key to a championship.
    3. Kamui Kobayashi
    - one of the most talked about driver when it comes to overtaking. We all know we need more of that in F1. Moves on Buemi and Alonso at closing stages of Valencia was superb. Japanese GP another good demonstration of controlled aggression. Perhaps if Alonso took a leaf out of Kobayashi’s overtaking manual in Abu Dhabi, he may have had half a chance to winning the title.
    4. Heikki Kovalainen
    - stint in McLaren made him an even better driver. Consistently best driver of the ‘new boys’. Not only was he top of the ‘new boys’, he consistently beat his more experienced team mate Jarno. Helps that he’s a nice guy and that he puts out his own fires, literally.
    5. Karun Chandok
    - Only had half a season, but that was all he needed to beat his team mate, and the Virgin drivers. In a car that is obviously the least drivable car, impressive.

  178. Canadian F1 Fan says:

    1. Kubica
    2. Rosberg
    3. Kobyashi
    4. Kovalainen
    5. Hulkenberg

    James: Really enjoy reading your articles. You’re the first web site that I check to read about any F1 news and look forward to each new article. This is my first post.

    1. James Allen says:

      Thank you. Plenty of good stuff lined up for the long winter months!

  179. Ricky Chan says:

    1. Kubica – Over-delivered in an under-delivered machinery
    2. Kovalainen – Always pleasant and ever give up, keep the team in harmony and drives the team forward
    3. Kobayashi – Gutsy yet intelligent drives, distinguished himself against stereotype Japanese drivers
    4. Rosberg – Got on quietly, action spoke better than words
    5. Barrichello – Technical input helped team not slumping in development race

  180. asd123 says:

    1. Kubica
    2. Rosberg
    3. Kobayashi
    4. Barichello
    5. Hulkenberg

  181. Henrik says:

    1. Kubica. Can be argued that he is the driver of the year among ALL drivers. Very consistent and fast and also – very calm with good nerves, which is vital in F1 environment.
    2. Rosberg. Beat Schumacher almost consistently. His reputation seems a bit iffy, but looking at the years and his constant improvement, he could well be a top driver in the making. No big fuss or hype – just year in, year out silently doing his competent job.
    3. Barrichello. Unlike many other drivers, he still seems to be at his best even in such age (38), he did to Hulkenberg the same as he did to Magnussen in 1997. Damaged the reputation of a very highly rated rookie driver.
    4. Kovalainen. Outraced Trulli almost on a consistent basis and performed like in the second half of 2007 at Renault – consistently well. Needs team support to perform at his best, but has finally got it at Lotus.
    5. Kobayashi. Still a bit inconsistent in qualifying sessions, but does the job done in races and has beaten (although narrowly) all of his competent team-mates so far – Trulli, de la Rosa, Heidfeld. Despite (stereotypic?) reputation of being reckless he has made very few mistakes for a rookie driver. I’d say you rarely see such a mature young driver in F1.

  182. David says:

    1.
    Nico Rosberg looked good for Mercedes-Benz,
    And at season’s end had many new friends.
    He was faster than Michael,
    And that is no trifle!
    He’ll be WC before his career ends.

    2.
    Robert Kubica had another fine year.
    He drove consistently without fear.
    He qualified well
    While the team started to gel –
    But next year is another frontier!

    3.
    Rubens is Rubens — Rubens is evergreen,
    To the fountain of youth: that’s where he’s been!
    He’s still got the passion
    To drive in a fashion
    That gives eye-popping moments on my screen!

    4.
    Kamui is crazy, but not like he was –
    He still has the skill to give us a buzz.
    With his ducking and diving
    and committed driving,
    We’re glad Sauber lets him do what he does!

    5.
    Karun Chandhok did not get to drive
    Every race, so why’s he my “five”?
    He was great with the mic,
    and James knows what that’s like –
    He was outstanding with Ant & Dave on 5-Live!

  183. Andrew Derlien says:

    1. Robert Kubica (Renault)

    2. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

    3. Rubens Barrichello (Williams)

    4. Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber)

    5.Taki Inoue (Footwork)

  184. Jon says:

    5. Barrichello – so entertaining to hear him always complaining about Michael
    4. Klien – Only time HRT makes real headlines during the season was when Klien humiliated his teammate.
    3. Kobayashi – The most entertaining to watch driver of the year.
    2. Kubica – Everyone know he’s good so there is no surprises here.
    1. Rosberg – Impressive how he dominated the Schu.

  185. Mile says:

    If I understood correctly, here we choose 5 stars from the rest, not 5 best drivers, and that is a reason why my list look like this:

    1. Kobayashi- simple he had most overtakeings in whole field, and he was bigest atraction in the second part of a season

    2. Kubica- I realy don’t like the guy, but he had some great drives, took 101% from the car, but one big minus is qualifazung in Hungary, and also, he often used just one try in Q3, like in Hungary,aprroch that is killing qualfaying, becose wualification shoudn’t be superpol, must be at least 2 fast laps, to driver has a chance to drive on the limit and beyond.

    3. Rosberg- simply because he defited Schumaher. Had some good results, but pretty unspectacular driving style.

    4. Barrichello- because of the duel with Schumaher in Hungary! For man in his age to do such a brave thing, moment to remember! He also was great leader of the team, and thanks to his expiriance they made great progress in the second half of the year.

    5. For final spot I was thing about Kovalainen, because of the fire (or fireman) in Korea :), but he was too many times beaten in qualifaying from Truli, so my final vote goes to Hulkenberg, because of the pol in Brazil, but he disapointed on that race, lost to many positons.

    I must mention biggest disappointment of the season, Adrian Sutil! I honestly belived that he would achive what Hulk did, pol in some wett or mixed condition, it didnt materialise.

  186. Lilla My says:

    Difficult one James. I had a top three, but it wasn’t easy to put two other names in the two remaining spots as I had a few candidates (for various reasons). I’m neither funny nor witty, but this is my reasoning:

    1. Robert Kubica. He’s probably one of the least attractive drivers in terms of PR and marketing potential and he’s probably the nightmare of some F1 journalists – the way he answers simple questions, as if he couldn’t bother and as if he wanted to get rid of the interlocutor isn’t really tempting for anybody making interviews (Some of Kubica’s converstations with Polish journalists are epic:
    Journalist: “Robert, the weather is quite unpredictable! What do you expect from it tommorow?”
    Kubica: “It’s difficult to predict anything if it’s unpredictable”.

    Journalist: “Robert, how does a Pole starting from pole position feel?”
    Kubica: “The same as a Pole starting from any other position”.

    Journalist: “Robert, wouldn’t it be great to stand on the podium here in Monaco? Look – there’s this special place over there for the top three drivers”.
    Kubica: “There’s a place like this on every single track, you know…”.)

    However, these are appearances, because if you ask him a more specific question and not necessarily the one concerning the comfort of the hotel he’s staying in, he becomes quite talkative. And when he gets into the car, everything else doesn’t matter. So Kubica is my “the best of the rest” choice for his devotion to racing, his flawless driving (what are a few minor mistakes compared to all the mistakes the title contenders were making?) and taking the car were it didn’t belong. I also love his attitude – in the times when talent alone seems not to be enough as you have to have marketing potential (e.g. so widely discussed marketing case of Vettel vs. Webber), Kubica proves that it doesn’t have to be so. I don’t think he cares even a bit about the glamourous life of celebrities that many drivers are leading. He’s there for racing and he does it brilliantly. I only hope he gets a better car before he retires, so we can see what he’s realy made of.

    2. Nico Rosberg. I remember before the season many people were saying that Nico would be playing second fiddle to Schumacher. Then, when the season started, I’ve heard voices saying that Schumacher will soon become himself (as soon as he gets used to driving again) and that Nico should be happy about being faster than Michael, because it wouldn’t last long. Everybody knew that; everybody except Rosberg, who just didn’t seem to care what a great driver his team mate was and was beating him shamelessly race after race. I think he’s one of the best (if not the best) drivers without a win now and I think he deserves at least one. Plus – he gave us all some laugh when he was voted one of the prettiest girls in F1.

    3. Kamui Kobayashi. Before he came to F1, I thought that the samurai Japanese drivers are there to crash into everything that moves (and sometimes things that don’t move as well) thus, bringing the unpredictability factor into racing. Kobayashi definitely changed that impression with his attitude “If I feel I can overtake, I just do it”. Maybe he is sometimes too emotional and feels it a bit too much as he still had some crashes and off-track excursions this year, but it doesn’t change the fact that he brought us all some great entertainment this year and showed some great driving.

    4. Heikki Kovalainen. This Kovalainen seemed to me a different person than the Kovalainen we saw in 2008-09. When playing second fiddle to Lewis Hamilton in McLaren, he was almost invisible, while this year he seemed a driving force for Lotus. And I absolutely loved his actions in Singapore. Vettel had his car on fire in Korea and he was putting the fire down, but he just jumped out of it so fast and then he was acting very rapidly (as if he was nervous! ;-) ). Kovalainen on the other hand, showed that Finnish people are really ice cold when it comes to emotions. The way he calmly drove away from the pit lane in order not to cause more danger for the people in the garages, took out the steering wheel and patiently went to get a fire-extinguisher was something I’ve never seen before – as if he was playing chess and not putting down a fire on an F1 track. Coming back to race performances – I guess his results gave Lotus the desired 10 place in the WCC.

    5. After long consideration: Rubens Barrichello. Because everybody has been sending him to retirement for such a long time and he’s still there. Michael managed to get the greatest number of titles in history, retire and come back, rules and cars have changed so many times, recordes have been beaten, new tracks appeared – all seems to be changing, but Barrichello is still racing. I sometimes think that he’ll always be there or that F1 will end once he retires. Anyway, I guess his experience is one of the most valuable things for Williams and it was IMO confirmed by the fact that having one seat left (the other one for Maldonado), the team decided to hire for the next season “good old” Barrichello and not Nico Hulkenberg, who was, after all, the author of one of the biggest (if not the biggest) sensations this season. People say that when a driver gets older and have kids, he becomes more rational and drives more carefully. Barrichello will probably never be a world champion, but his gutsy (and symbolic) move on Schumacher in Hungary proved that this assumption might be wrong.

  187. Graham says:

    1 – Kubica. Drove the pants off the car all year, and took some scalps that the renault was not expecting to take.
    2 – Rosberg. To dominate MSC, and stop him from becoming second fiddle in a Brawn / Schumy camp takes some doing, both on and off track. He’s also been great in interviews, and comes accross really well.
    3 – Heidfld. MSC, De la Rosa et all proved it’s very hard to be away, then jump in a seat and be right on it. Heidfeld did this with style, and more people would have noticed if his bansai tactic’d teammate hadn’t been hogging the limelight!
    4 – Barrichello. At the start of the season, the williams was clearly struggling. At the end, they took pole. I belive that Rubens’ experience and fedback as a driver would have helped Williams immencely this year. Plus, Rubens is without doubt one of the most likeable blokes in interviws – a great ambassador for the sport.
    5 – This is the hardest one to pick. Do you go for the ppular vote, and opt for the entertaining, but irratic Kobayashi? You could, but his season has been full of errors, and a lot of his later moves were no doubt facilitated by the drivers ahead wanting to finish the race.
    How about Alguashuari? Some brilliant performances, but again he has made some mistakes and had a patchy season.
    For my no. 5, I’m going for Kovalinen. He has barely made a mistake all year, consistantly beanten his team mate, and in effect “won” the battle at the back. Hopefully, next yearrs car will be stronger, and we can see him having a battle with Torro Rosso as well.

  188. john g says:

    1. kubica – pretty much dragged car round even tho it got the better of him towards the end.

    2. barichello – steady but solid – also, took the team out karting at his track in sao paulo.

    3. kobayashi – more than kamikazi

    4. schumacher – got there in the end

    5. petrov – was occasionally on the pace of kubica for a lap or two. and kept alonso behind to allow vettel to take the championship

  189. EGC says:

    My choice:

    1- Kubica
    2- Kobayashi
    3- Rosberg
    4- Barrichello
    5- Chandhok

  190. Carl 21 says:

    1. Kubica
    2. Rosberg
    3. Barichello
    4. Sutil
    5. Kobayashi

  191. Mario says:

    There is a constant talking about overtaking, or lack of it in F1, so I decided to take a look at this “Xfactor” of racing and have it in mind while preparing my list:

    1. Kubica – not just because he is my hero, as he is, but also because he can overtake like no other even on tracks where everybody says overtaking is impossible. Also, he often plays by the rules when other drivers attempt to overtake him by leaving them space. Apart from he is simply a hell of a talent.

    2. Kobayashi – people say he is a bit of a kamikaze when it comes to overtaking. From my observations, however he’s moves are calculated, brave but not crazy. He would not attempt to make a move when he knows he has no chance. Same thing with defending position.

    eeeeer… there is no one else on my list, I am afraid. Rosberg was a whisker away from making it. If he only was a wee bit more adventurous, he would have taken third spot.
    Fourth would go to Kovalainen – forever in a good mood – he is certainly enjoying it.
    Fifth would be Petrov’s for trying to do his best with overwhelming pressure from Renault, his mistakes were a consequence of that I believe. A memorable drive in the last race of the season.

  192. B.Ware says:

    1.Kubica
    2.Kobayashi
    3.Barrichello
    4.Rosberg
    5.Hulkenberg

  193. type056 says:

    1)Kubica
    2)Rosberg
    3)Kobayashi
    4)Barichello
    5)Algersuari

  194. Schuey_Webber says:

    1. Kubica – inferior car at his disposal, still scored points more often than not, and had
    opportunities to win races on several occassions.

    2. Rosberg – Underrated, quietly went about his business with a clearly underwhelming package, always there or thereabouts in top 5.

    3. Kobayashi – Reckless, but gave the fans what they want, racing, willing to put himself on the line to move up the field in a car which shouldn’t really be mixing it with the Renault’s and the Mercedes’

    4. Barrichello – Nearly always in the points, seemed to extract the most from his car’s limited ability and got Williams over the line in constructors battle with Force India.

    5. Kovalainen – got his car into the top fifteen on several occassions, most often outqualified all of the new teams drivers and secured Lotus tenth in the standings as a result.

  195. Arcturis says:

    1. Rosberg – coped with MSC and an average car well
    2. Kubica – lots of speed but a question mark over consistency compared to Rosberg?
    3. Kobayashi – pure pure fun especially as the Sauber improved
    4. Kovalainen – what can you say when all you have is a washing machine to drive around in – did what he could and did it well
    5. Hulkenburg – took a while but showed some real speed at the end of the season. Too little too late to save his seat though

  196. Mad Marz says:

    1. Kubica – Got in among the top 3 teams with a car that shouldn’t
    2. Rosberg – Outclassed 7 x w/c
    3. Kobayashi – Great to watch
    4. Hulkenberg – Great second half of the season
    5. Kovalainen – Best performer of the new teams

    Not 100% on the order of 4 & 5

  197. 1)Kubica
    2)Kovalainen
    3)Kobayashi
    4)Barrichello
    5)Rosberg

  198. james b says:

    1. Schumacher 2. Schumi 3. Michael 4. Msc 5. Button and Barrichello’s bunny. 3years out and comes back at 40+ the guy for me gets no credit. Just watch next year ;-)

  199. Seb G says:

    1. Kubica
    2. Kobayashi
    3. Rosberg
    4. Sutil
    5. Hulkenberg

  200. Raja Sen says:

    kubica – definitive superstar
    kobayashi – exciting exciting exciting
    rosberg – very clean lines, consistent
    barrichello – like a whining version of the energizer bunny, keeps on ticking
    schumacher – the reason ALL of us watched.. might not have excelled but the fire still burns.. that monte carlo pass on fernando was vintage Michael.

  201. Alex says:

    -Paul di Resta- For winning the DTM championship while still taking the time out to not go to in season testing and having to deal with the fact that his job (along with every other 3rd driver) is frustratingly pointless, but getting on with that job all the same

    -Jaime Algersuari- For becoming one of Spain’s biggest DJ’s, maintaining the helm of the baby of F1 and managing to make a great salary despite his homeland’s Godawful economic state over the course of the year

    -Lucas di Grassi- Simply for getting the least mentions by a commentator over the course of a season probably ever.

    -Christian Klien- For performing the amazing magic trick of making the HRT look slightly somewhat competitive.

    -Nico Hulkenberg- For driving a lap around a track better than anybody (especially his jinxed team mate) the one time when it counted.

    Obviously the likes of Kubica, Rosberg and Kobayashi are far more realistic unsung heroes. Hell, even Petrov (I don’t care what people say, he impressed me) is worth a mention. But they aren’t as fun to mention as my 5.

  202. Alexbookoo says:

    1 Kubica – for demonstrating that drivers do still make a difference by putting an average car near the top, and for retiring at just the right time at Silverstone to tip Alonso over the edge.

    2 Rosberg – for being as relentless against Schumacher as the seven time champion has been against all his other team mates, and for compounding Alonso’s frustrations in Abu Dhabi and helping to tip him over the edge.

    3 Kobayashi – for generally having no respect, and for tipping Alonso over the edge in Valencia

    4 Barrichello – for the few milliseconds in Hungary against Schumacher that resolved decades of frustration, and for tipping Alonso over the edge in Spa.

    5 Kovalainen – for taking a fire extinguisher to his own burning car in Singapore, just like Vettel did in Korea except Kovalainen’s was a Lotus so he deserves extra credit for bothering, and for probably getting in Alonso’s way at some point in the year.

    * I actually quite like Alonso. He smiles when he lies.

  203. ef jeden says:

    1. Robert Kubica – he made that yellow & black drone of a car look twice as sharp and quick. He proved his exceptional talent throughout the season, especially on those tracks, where car potential can be overwhelmed by driver skills (Monaco, Spa and again in Suzuka at least as long as all four wheels were available!) being beaten only by Red Bull drivers on these occasions. He was able to stay focused (I couldn’t) despite all the dry humour behind the idea of sticking the Lada labels onto F1 car. I’m pretty sure all the Lada owners will order a repaint of their cars now…

    2. Kamui Kobayashi – forget about a well-established Japanese F1 driver stereotype! Kamui simply passed it through colander in his father’s restaurant to strain all the bad factors from the pure bravery and tenacity! This guy means business… His ability to brake very late was brilliantly summed-up by Martin Brundle this season and indeed it does really seem as if Kamui confuse himself over and over again about which paddle to step on while approaching the braking point!

    3. Nico Rosberg – I didn’t include him in my list of top five drivers of the season earlier simply because I wasn’t sure, if all the praises he has received wasn’t mainly because of who he was directly compared to and that is a seven time world champion. None the less he did a tremendous job this season outscoring the Old Fox. Maybe being a German in a German team make it easier to stay on level terms with the other German..?

    4. Rubens Barrichello (& Michael Schumacher) – I cannot think of Rubens and not see Michael around… there is no love lost between them two, surely. It seemed to me that every time Rubens was involved in the battle on track it was against the German. Brazilian had yet another good season. His technical input helped to improve the car this year and Williams team may well gain from that in 2011 as well. Frank Williams’ decision to retain Barrichello over Hulkenberg for next season proves it I guess.

    5. Christian Klien – After three year long brake from driving a F1 car during the racing weekend and after only two Friday’s free practice sessions all season long this year, he took over this dog of a car from ill Yamamoto in Singapore to out-qualified Hispania’s regular driver Senna by over a second! That says a lot. He should be driving a F1 car once again. As for Senna… here’s a tune for ya: “Oh No! Bruno!”

  204. Hadi Nizami says:

    1. Kubica- he put an average renault in places it really shouldn’t have been. seemed to lose momentum mid-season, but fought back brilliantly at singapore.

    2. Kobayashi- above rosberg for entertainment value. he drove above the level of his car more often than rosberg, who was a bit conservative. plus his overtaking ability is relentless

    3. Rosberg- consistently out-scoring and out qualifying schumacher. a bit of the invisible man of the season, but finished only 2 pts short of massa in an inferior car.

    4. Barrichello- consistently out-scoring his highly touted teammate, and shaming schumacher with that scary/on the edge pass in hungary. his commitment can never be doubted.

    5. Kovalainen- consistently out-qulified by his teammate but consistently outpaced him on the sundays. consistent, fast, patient, he seem right at home without the hamilton pressure or the alonso shadow. his stock has surely risen hugely after an uneventful time at mclaren.

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