Russian fightback?
Sochi 2016
Russian Grand Prix
Name your top five drivers of 2011
News
Red Bull
Posted By: James Allen  |  01 Dec 2011   |  3:57 pm GMT  |  713 comments

It’s that time of year again, where we need to establish the Top Five drivers of the year, in descending order, with your Driver of the Season at the top.

This is the third year we’ve run this popular competition.

Once again the first ten entries which match my selection, will receive a free signed copy of our review book of the season; James Allen on F1 2011: Vettel Steals the Show, which is due to be published on December 13.

You have just under a week to give us your answers in the comments box below – the closing date for entries is Wednesday December 7th.

It was a pretty one sided championship, but how do you judge what Vettel did in comparison with others who had slower cars and still got great results?

There were some very strong performances this year from drivers throughout the field.

We want to hear what you think about the five drivers who you think did the business this year, with a line or two about them (please no 1,000 word treatises!!). Here’s a hint – if you want to match my selection you’ll need to take into consideration the whole grid, not just the front running guys who made the podium.

It was a different kind of racing year, with race strategy proving far more important than in recent years and that meant that it wasn’t all about the guys at the front – the midfield drivers had a chance to shine.

Please submit your answers in the comments section below.

The prize is a signed copy of my 2011 Review book, which is a limited edition, large format soft paperback. This is the third year we have done the book and it’s a cool collectible – a great way to look back on the behind the scenes stories and the races which made up the year. You’ll be surprised how much you’ve forgotten of the way the stories threaded along.

I’ve written loads of linking copy which gives a hindsight perspective on the key stories of the year like Kubica’s accident, Hamilton’s penalties, the horse trading over the blown diffuser ban, Button’s new contract, the takeovers of Virgin and HRT and much more.

I’m delighted that Red Bull Racing boss Christian Horner has written the Foreword, following on from Ross Brawn in 2009 and Mark Webber last year. Among other things, Horner writes about the state he found the team in when he joined soon after the team had been bought from Jaguar,

“F1 is a niche business you need to be fast responding and self-critical as you are judged every two weeks as you compete through the year. The team lacked technical leadership and that’s where the first focus was placed and who better to do that than Adrian Newey?”

If you can’t wait to find out if you’ve won or you just want to make sure you secure your copy before it sells out, as it did the last two years, you can order one here for £9-99 plus postage. Deliverable pretty much anywhere in the world. Click HERE

Featured News
Editor's Picks
Share This:
Posted by:
Category:

Add comment

E-mail is already registered on the site. Please use the login form or enter another.

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment.

713 comments

by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest
1

Sebastian Vettel

Jenson Button (I think a worthy mention goes to Fernando Alonso given his results with an uncompetitive car)

2

1. Vettel - consistency, control and speed throughout races and qualifying.

2. Button - Undoubtedly one of his if not his strongest year in formula1. Runner up in championship and 8 podiums in last 9races with 3 great victories.

3. Alonso - The Ferrari wasn't capable of winning a race but he stormed to victory at Silverstone. He outperformed the car in races and had good race pace in comparison to the front runners.

4. Di resta - Tricky one between Di resta and Sutil. Sutil had a sluggish start to the year but achieved some very good results towards the end and showed some strong qualifying performances. Di resta just takes it for me though, as its his first season in formula1 and his performance in singapore arguably one of the most mentally and physically demanding circuits was excellent - 6th place.

5. Kovalainen - Out-qualified his team-mate consistenly and out-performed his lotus car. He overall had good race pace and is moving his lotus team forward. It was hard choice between him and Perez for 5th spot.

3

vettel

button

Alonso

Di Resta

Rosberg

4

Button, Vettel, Rosberg, Di Restaurant & Webber. All for totally different reasons!!

5

Top 5 in my opinion

1. Vettel (Not a fan but he was unbelievable this year)

2. Alonso (won a couple of races, few podiums in a car that was slow and did not deserve a top 3 finish. Great job!)

3. Button (What a win and a great race in canada, very strong season)

4. Di Resta (Had to go with a Force India driver, great season for the team and are getting better. Even though Sutil scored more points. Di Resta in he rookie season just pips him.

5. Kovalainen (maybe not everyones choice.... but he's now one of the top drivers in F1. Was tempted to put him higher. Getting the Lotus-Renault into Q2 on 2/3 occassions. In a car that wasn't fast enough. Had good race pace and outperformed the car and his teammate.

6

Jenson Button

Sebastian Vettel

Mark Webber

Nico Rosberg

Michael Schumacher

Paul Di Resta

Adrian Sutil

Lewis Hamilton

Kamui Kaboyashi

Timo Glock

7

And Alonso?

8

Here you go:

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Kobayashi

5. Perez

9

1- Vettel

2- Button

3- Webber

4- Alonso

5- Shumacher

10

Vettel; is the greatest driver since Michael Shumacher, Button; is a great driver he just needs a better car, Webber; is fast but is no good at starting, Alonso; has the guts but the car needs to be faster, Shumacher; is simply the master but needs a faster car.

11

1 - Button

2 - Schumacher

3 - Vettel

4 - Kovalainen

5 - Rosberg

12
Antonio Palmiotto

Vettel

Button

Alonso

Perez

Alguersuari

13

1. Vettel. Won the championship, massacred his team mate and made very few mistakes.

2. Alonso. Made Massa look average and made a very ordinary car look good - including a win.

3. Button. The first person to beat Hamilton in equal machinery.

4. Di Resta. Rookie of the year, showed real class and enough potential to secure his future in F1.

5. Kovalainen. His contribution to Lotuses' 10th place was huge, out qualified the qualifying specialist and showed the confidence he so lacked at Mclaren.

14

An interesting choice in Di Resta - at what point do we disregard inexperience? He drove a lot of smart races and could have results similar to Button's. The 9-10 qualifying record against Sutil hides the edge that Adrian had in the second part of the season in particular. The lack of one lap pace relative to Sutil (who was smashed by Hamilton in the same F3 team, generally slower than Fisichella in qualifying) is something he will need to address in my view. Given that Paul had the best finishing record in the season and yet got less than 2/3s of Adrian's points, you clearly put a strong weighting on being a rookie.

Cheers

Martin

15

hi;

1. Vettel -

most of the drivers on the grid would love to have his bad days

2. Button

started the season well, dealt with the drama and circumstances like a true professional. i suspect he was the most watched pilot by the other drivers

3. Alonso

drove to expectations but not much sensational about his year

4. Kovalainen

his passing record on race starts is quite good and managed to finish a few races touching the glass ceiling

5. Rosberg

you don't beat your team mate and make the best post-race YouTube videos ever without something extraordinary.

honorable mention -

Barrichello. it will be a long time before another racer even touches his marks of laps completed, race participation and continued excitement.

DiResta. some fine moments.

Heidfeld. finished 11th in the season championship in half the races. good plan by Renault???

thanks again James!

regards,

Andrew C.

16

Andrew C.

Good to see that Heidfeld's 11th place held up. He would have taken that team to more points and hence more end-of- season euros. Offsets the money brought by Senna's backers.

17

Vettel

Vettel

Vettel

Vettel

Vettel

Almost a perfect season , not another single sole was even close to beating him.

And that hurts being a Webber supporter

18

Couldn't agree more, there's no way Alonso's a more solid and faster driver than Seb right now, the speed and consistency of this boy is a class above, also a mention to Jenson Button who came alive after his hugely impressive win at Montreal, a truly classy driver that far exceeded most expectations and completely humbled Lewis Hamilton. So here's the top 5:

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Rosberg

5. Webber

19

You raise an interesting question in my mind - often these lists only ended rating racing performance - or if you like a heavy bias to the race over qualifying.

The reason I mention this is that Red Bull worked out that the position in the first stint of the race was key to setting up the race, and therefore qualifying performance and performance on full tanks were key. (Normally, different things, but with DRS design, now possible). Anyway, Jenson was generally pretty average at getting to the end of the first lap well placed. Given that he had the second quickest car and that Webber had qualifying and starting issues, I think it is significant black mark against Button that he was only in the top two at the end of lap one in four of 19 races. That just isn't good enough when it is basically fundamental to winning. From there he drove excellent races, but fundamentally, he was shooting himself in the foot in a similar way to Webber.

20

1. Alonso

2. Vettel

3. Button

4. Schumacher

5. Webber

21

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Kovalainen

5. Alguersuari

22

Good shout, Andrew!

23

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Di Resta

4. Alonso

5. Schumacher

24

ups. here is the full list

Sebastian Vettel

Jenson Button

Fernando Alonso

Jamie Alguersari

A. Sutil

25

Vettel

Button

Alonso

Sutil

Heikki

In order from 1.5

26

The winner is simple, it can only go to one person, someone who has almost always beaten their teammate, thrashed them in qualifying and quite frankly has raised question marks over their teammates ability even though they have a contract for next year. KOVALIANEN

Kovalainen - Thrashed his teammate, raised doubts of Trulli's ability and hence contract. Thrashed Virgin and HRT, outraced a Williams in one race and a Renault another.
Button - Beat Hamilton, in McLaren. In 2009 you would have been called an insane fan for that kind of remark. Some great races and was consistantly on it. Sure Hamilton had the better when Hamilton focused, but that rarely happened. Button was consistant and strong.
Vettel. won the championship but had the best car, and with Webber at the well of the limping KERS-less, bad luck ridden number 2 car there wasn't really a match. Everything looks amazing out front, but had some bad spots in it, made mistakes when he was under pressure. Canada and Germany to name two. Was able to win through being the first in and drove away into clear air. Defending mostly limited to DRS being ineffective at races. Also had quite a bit of luck (see Monaco).
Alonso - Dragging the Ferrari around. 3rd best car by a long way. Won a Gran Prix in style. Always edging the car into the top few despite the car having problems. Lapped in Spain yet fought on to win a GP not that much later. Smashed his teammate.
Webber - 5th. Not consistant, but when he was on fire, he flew. Drive of the weekend in Malaysia, 10th in lap 1, finished the lap 9th, finished the race in 4th, on the back of 3rd! Agan in China, driver of the season IMO, from 18th (Q1 quali), to the podium. A few more laps and even Horner was saying that Webber was looking like winning the Gran Prix... from 18th! Move over Kimi in Suzuka 2005. Drive of the Season and hence gets a top 5.

Honourable mention - Sutil - some great drivers and even though the BBC think Di Resta is the greatest thing since sliced bread, Sutil thrashed him in the end and proved he is top midfield driver

I doubt yours (JA) will be similiar at all, I'm guessing from the title it will begin with Vettel, but hey I'm not a fan

27

I like your argument - it is unlikely to win you a boook though. The Kovalainnen-Trulli argument could also be made about Alonso and Massa as Felipe has been publicly told to improve.

Rating Button as second while noting that Hamilton should have beaten him only stacks up if you think Hamilton is on a completely different level to every other driver. If you look at Button's wins, if Vettel hadn't erred in Canada, Hamilton similarly in Hungary and then Hamilton getting a puncture in Suzuka, you end up with Button only winning with a bit of fortune.

Cheers,

Martin

28

@ legend465 - Hamilton did beat Alonso fair and square in 2007 (Hamilton 2nd on 109, Alonso 3rd).

Webber did not beat Vettel in 2010 (Vettel was champion, Webber was 3rd).

29

Good post APUNOC. Driver of the year has to go to Vettel though, getting the better of his awesome teammate. But totally agree - not a fan of Vettel either.

Also, James, APUNOC acknowledges Vettel in his Top 5, so there is some degree of objectivity. I say Vettel is my driver of the year, however I will never be a fan of his, after his behaviour after being beaten fair and square by Mark Webber last year. Exactly why I am not a fan of Alonso, after his behaviour after being beaten fair and square by Lewis Hamilton.

APUNOC correctly acknowledges some of Webber's drives through the field this year. China 2011, Webber's drive was arguably the greatest drive of all time. The guy was about 12th half way through the race about one minute behind the leaders, and finished on the podium, almost winning the race, with no safety cars, no weather intervention, and only one retirement on the grid (a Toro Rosso I think). Surely one of the greatest drives of all time, if not the greatest by far. Lapping about 3-4 seconds faster than the rest of the field at various stages in the GP.

My TOP 5 of 2011:

1. Seb Vettel

2. Fernando Alonso

3. Heikki Kovalainen

4. Jenson Button

5. Nico Rosberg

30

Doesn't matter whether you like a driver or not, surely it's about objective view of who did the best job? Or are you not capable of an objective view?

31

1. Vettel (grudgingly but he did finish first)

2. Alonso (showed again why he is such a great driver, the best currently)

3. Button (did much better than expected and overcame Lewis' "home court advantage")

4. Sutil (the best outside of the top four teams)

5. Webber (because he is such a likeable person and performed better than Lewis, a huge underachiever

32

1. Vettel

2. Alonso

3. Button

4. Rosberg

5. Di Resta

33

1. Vettel

2. Alonso

3. Button

4. Schumacher

5. Rosberg

34

Vettel

Alonso

button

alguesari

webber

35

1. Button

2. Alonso

3. Vettel

4. Alguersuari

5. Schumacher

36

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Kovalainen

5. di Resta

37
Dave In NZL (now Aus).

Fernando

Sebastian

Jenson

di Resta

Jamie

38

1. Alonso

2. Button

3. Vettel

4. Kovalainen

5. Webber

39

Vettel

Button

Alonso

Kobayasshi

Alguersuari

40

Vettel

Button

Alonso

Kovalainen

Rosberg

42
Michael Williamson

Vettel

Button

Alonso

Perez

Kovalainen

43

1. Alonso

2. Vettel

3. Button

4. Hamilton

5. Webber

44

1. Alonso

2. Vettel

3. Button

4. Rosberg

5. Hamilton

45

1. Sebastian Vettel

He may have had the best car, but he got into that Red Bull through hard work at Torro Rosso and in junior series. Scarily dominant on the track, nice guy off it.

2. Jenson Button

Beat one of the fastest drivers on the grid, Lewis Hamilton, using a mix of patience and raw speed. A superb race in Canada and great overtakes in other races.

3. Fernando Alonso

Ruthless, aggressive, cunning and always fast. Managed to get podiums even when the car was way off the pace.

4. Heikki Kovalainen

Great attitude and still fastest of all the "new" teams. Motivated and fast enough to get the car closer to the midfield than any other backmarker.

5. Paul di Resta

A fantastic race in Singapore and a great qualifying in Silverstone were the highlights of his season. Extremely mature on and off the track. Often outshone his experienced team mate, Adrian Sutil, in his rooky season.

Honourable mention: Sergio Perez, who was quick in qualifying. A future star, which is confirmed by Ferrari’s interest in him.

46

I agree with this top 5.

Vettel had a very good car, but so did Mark, and the Mclarens were faster than they appeared in a good few races. Winning at Monza with one of the overtakes of the season on Alonso with pretty much the slowest car in the speed traps was amazing - as was his qually lap. Other highlights would be the Suzuka qually lap, getting pole in a slower car that day.

JB, great to see him do so well, I backed him to be comparable with Lewis when he moved to McLaren. Nice to see that my insitincts about a drivers talent and pace aren't totally shot! Great drives in mixed conditions, the real master of wet wether races in F1.

Alonso, beating both Webber and Hamilton in a Ferrari which wasn't as good is an amazing feat. Part of me questions if he should be 2nd in this list, but JB, I'll say not as Jenson hasn't had an entire team focused around him. Pound for pound the best driver on the grid IMO.

Heikki - Absolutely brilliant from him. After his McLaren years where he was always given 2nd best and a poorer strategy (his opinion not hearsay!) it's great to see him doing so well. I hope they have a good car next term so he can make use of it.

Di Resta, Paul has had a sensational first year in F1. Sutil is no mug, to come in and beat this guy on the track as often as he has done is impressive. Fingers crossed his experience from this season will result in an improvement next season.

47

Hi Paul,

Personally, I find it interesting that Button is second on so many lists. If we start with your statement on Alonso - pound for pound the best driver on the grid (often made by people with more expertise than me, such as team engineers that James speaks to) - and we consider his season, there were few qualifying sessions or race where he didn't maximise his results (Sepang comes to mind). If the team gives him 100%, that is part of the package he brings, just like Lewis' emotional swings. In my view he sets a very high benchmark this year.

How does Button compare to the best pound-for-pound driver? The immediate reference point if Hamilton, who when focussed about Fernando's level depending on who's arguing. Hamilton was usually faster in qualifying - there is almost surprise when Button is quicker. There were occasions where Hamilton had significantly better races than Button, which by nature means that Button was below what could be achieved.

There is a further point that I'm not sure is entirely McLaren's fault. Jenson often gained a lot of ground late in the race. In terms of winning races, the positioning prior to the first stops is usually critical. If you are at the front, you can control the race, stopping early to get a gap, or stopping later to cover tyre wear scenarios later in the race. Button was generally pretty poor at being well placed at the first stop (1st once, 2nd three times in 19 races - I think I'm excluding Japan due to Hamilton's puncture). To me that wasn't good enough when it was basically fundamental to beating Button.

Compared to Kovalainnen, who dominated his teammate in qualifying and then started well, I don't think Button quite matches that standard or Alonso or Vettel. Still in my top five, but not the top three.

Cheers,

Martin

48

Alonso finished behind Webber.

49

vettel

button

alonso

di resta

kovalinen

but not in that order

51

Button

Alonso

Vettel

Kovalinen

Di Resta

52

The winning order ... ie. your selection 🙂

53

Random 🙂

54
Alistair McDonald

Ooh, James, is this a hint? Is your choice a permutation of these five?

😉 (I've already voted...)

55

Vettel - for raceday consistency, and qualifying brilliance

Alonso - for demolition of his team mate, and race day performances

Button - for his nous, for out scoring Hamilton, and even showing greater speed on occasion

Hamilton - still the most exciting driver out there. Shame about the mid season drop off though.

Di Resta - as the rookie of the year. Consistently performances throughout. Could have done even better but for some strange strategy calls.

56

Top: Fernando Alonso

2. Michael Schumacher

3. Sebastian Vettel

4. Heiki Kovalainen

5. Jerome D'Ambrosio

57

Schumacher ahead of Vettel?? Surely not!

58

1) Sebastian Vettel

Had the best car (just), but made full use of it to dominate the season.

2) Jenson Button

Consistent, mighty in changeable conditions (as always) & won a fully dry race too.

3) Fernando Alonso

Always challenging McLarens & Webber despite slightly inferior car.

4) Nico Rosberg

Comprehensively beat (a much-improved) Schumacher again.

5) Heikki Kovalainen

Delivered everything that could be expected, given the car at his disposal.

59

Rosberg beat schumacher! What!! Only because of schu's 4 dnf....

60

Thanks for yet another great competition James!

My five:

5. Paul Di Resta

4. Jaime Algusauri

3. Fernando Alonso

2. Jenson Button

1. Sebastian Vettel

61

1. Vettle

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Webber

5. Kovalinen

62

Alguersuari... It was just his season (considering he was driving a TR). Great season by the Spaniard.

Button... Even thou I still believe Alonso is a more talented driver, JB showed that his driving style was superb. That Canadian GP was a blast. He had just a great season.

Kovalainen... Sadly this folk didn't picked up points this season, but what a job he did many times showing how behind was JT.

Sutil... He was just incredible in that slow SFI, he did a great job through the season, considering the high pressure he had with all the media talking wonders about PdR.

Vettel... Just did the job as it should be every time you have a winning car.

I'll give a special mention to Alonso... superb driver and to the rookie Perez... watch out for this kid.

63

I agree with you about Perez and don't forget another Mexican who likes me the most: Esteban Gutierrez. Mexico has 2 very talented drivers.

64

Gutierrez is a better driver than Perez in my opinion, no doubt about that. I hope EG gets waaay more testing done, because even as a reserve driver his hands haven't been behind the steering wheel. EG was in Mexico when SP had that bad crash in Monaco, How is this possible?

It will be great seeing driving Boltas, Vergne and Gutierrez in a near future.

65

This will take some analysis! To me Vettel, Button and Alonso are in the top 5, but choosing the other two is really going to be hard. I hate dropping Mark, but he wasn't at that level this year IMHO, and Lewis was too inconsistent (I'm approaching this as based on this year's performances, not whom I think are the best 5 drivers out there). Maybe it's easier to work through the obvious drop offs and see who is left? This will have to be a more thoughts later exercise for me.

66

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Kovalainen

5. Alguesuari

67

In that order:

1. Sebastian Vettel. Dominant, record-breaking year, hardly a fault all season long, demolished his team-mate and the entire field. Demorilizing performance for the opposition...

2. Jenson Button. His performance in 2011 validated his 2009 championship and gave it credibility. Out-performed Hamilton (something that not even Alonso in Hamilton's rookie year had achieved). His racing throughout the year was aggressive and calculative, in measured doses. Excellent job.

3. Fernando Alonso. He got the best out of the car and comfortably beat his team-mate. His determination and skill has never been in doubt - however, his car developping skills will come into focus in 2012 if Ferrari fail yet again to improve their performance and properly develop the car throughout the season.

4. Adrian Sutil. Came back from a difficult start of the season, having problems adapting to the Pirelli tyres and also having to endure the constant over-hyping of Di Resta by the British media. He managed to turn it around, produced two 6th place finishes and helped the team to their best ever finish, scoring double the points of Di Resta. He was also the highest placed finisher outside the top eight. Although there have been questionmarks on his technical ability to develop a car, the fact that the team has been improving season by season steadily is a testament to the opposite.

5. Heikki Kovaleinen. He utterly destroyed poor Jarno, who was often left fighting with the HRT's and Virgins while Heikki took the fight to Williams and Sauber. He helped the team secure the valuable 10th place in the championship and, most important of all, he never lost his determination and drive despite fighting at the back of the grid. Deserves a better drive, and I hope Catterham reward his loyalty with an improved technical package next year

Honourable mention: Perez, very good rookie season - Alguersuari, impressive race performances but quali pace lacking a little bit

68

Top 10 Drivers 2011

1) Vettel - Simply on another level compared to the rest of the grid. Only driver to visit Pirelli HQ, was pounding around Abu Dhabi within days of 2010 title triumph so he could understand 2011 tyres. Reads races superlatively, has the right equipment but makes 110%use of it and seemingly never makes a mistake.

2) Button - Workmanlike start to the season before growing further in confidence post - Canada and delivering superlatively in second half of season. Superb victory in Suzuka but highlights were arguably through the field drive at Spa and making Hamilton and Schumacher look like they were driving in a lower formulae in Monza.

3) Heikki Kovalinen - Team Lotus package didn't quite live up to the pre season expectation, but Heikki routinely dragged the Team ahead of much better funded and grounded rivals thanks to some stunning starts and early laps, taking Team Lotus to places it had no business being. Destroyed Trulli who is supposedly a better qualifier who sought refuge in power steering issues. SOle reason why Team Lotus are now benefitting from being 10th for second year running.

4)Paul Di Resta - Overshadowed his much more experienced team mate for much of the season. Given testing is at such a premium and he was learing tracks for the first time he was remarkably self assured in both qualifying and races, hence his likelihood of being retained for 2012 and perhaps moving on to Mercedes in the future such is his high stock.

5) Jaime Algusuari

Almost Joint last position as impossible to separate from his team mate as they were all season and reason why Torro Rosso don't know which to retain for 2012. Routinely ran clever strategies to drag car up from a Q3 exit on Saturday to a strong points finish on a Sunday. Algusuari edges it for slightly better finishes and more race action on Sunday afternoons.

Great work in 2011 James, thanks very much

69
Beth Weatherhead

Vettel, Webber, Button, Alonso, Kobayashi

70

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Jenson Button

3. Jaime Alguersuari

4. Fernadno Alonso

5. Nico Rosberg

71

1. Vettel
2. Kovalinen
3. Button
4. Sutil
5. Perez

72

My top 5 drivers

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Jenson Button

3. Lewis Hamilton

4. Fernando Alonso

5. Nico Rosberg

Regards from holland.

73

Di Resta

Button

Vettel

Rosberg

Senna

74

Glad to see I'm not alone in honestly wanting to include Senna in my own list. For a team that's basically been developing backwards (not to mention managing both their cars and their press abominably), I think he's shown a lot of promise.

75

5. Alguersuari

4. Perez

3. Alonso-made miracles with a bad Ferrari, deserved third place instead of Webber

2. Button-very consistent, great decisions and a bit of luck

1. Vettel-trashed the oposition with a superb car

76

My top 5 for 2011 would be:

(1) Sebastian Vettel - Yes, he had a superior car advantage, but he gave nothing away and maximized all opportunities. Last year, if many thought (including myself) he was somewhat lucky to steal the championship in 2010, this year he was simply on another level. He is a worthy double world champion, and surely this is only the beginning! At 24, he's already a great. "The people's champ!"

(2) Jenson Button - It's pretty tight for me between Button and Alonso, but I'll give it to Jenson since he had more points, more wins and he beat the other Red Bull. This year, Jenson really stepped up his game and proved that he's the real deal. He may not be "mega-quick" nor is he the best qualifier, but he is one hell of a fine racing driver, always making the most of race day.

(3) Fernando Alonso - He made the most out of a dodgy car, and there's no denying his heart. Fernando was outstanding this year, dragging his slow Ferrari into grid positions and podium/points finishes that it didn't deserve. His drives in Spain, Italy, UK and Abu Dhabi (to name a few) were exceptional. Here's to hoping Ferrari can give him a title challenger for next year.

(4) Sergio Perez/Paul di Resta - Solid 1st season from these two: they are talents to look out for. Here's to hoping they continue to get better and get the opportunities they deserve down the road.

(5) Michael Schumacher - It was great to see flashes of the old Schumi in a lot of races this year, and it looks like the "old man" is getting his touch back. He didn't quite finish ahead of Rosberg (another great performer of 2011) in the standings, and he was thoroughly beaten in qualifying, but it's simply outstanding to see Michael put up a fight. I do hope he gets all of his old magic back, in what could be his final (take 2!) season, next year!

77

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Fernando Alonso

3. Jenson Button

4. Nico Rosberg

5. Lewis Hamilton

78

Lewis Hamilton

Sebastian Vettle

Jenson Button

Paul Di Resta

Heikki Kovalainen

79

Hamilton fist? This is a wind up isn't it? 🙂

80

Vettel

Button

Alonso

Hamilton

Webber

81

1) Button

2) Vettel

3) Sutil

4) Alonso

5) Rosberg

82

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Jenson Button

3. Fernando Alonso

4. Lewis Hamilton

5. Paul di Resta

83

1. Vettel - Not much of an explanation needed. Quick and intelligent, able to go faster than his rivals and manage his tyres better.

2. Alonso - Possibly his best season in F1. Able to fight McLarens and Red Bulls in an inferior Ferrari. 4th in the championship was not justice for his brilliant driving.

3. Button - Fantastic consistency in the second half of the season with all those podiums.

4. Kovalainen - Get this man a better car. Rebuilding his reputation after poor time at McLaren, destroyed Trulli and towards the end was challenging drivers from established teams.

5. Sutil - Considered Rosberg, but he was closely challenged by Schumacher. Then I thought Sutil. He came alive towards the end of the season when his seat was under threat. 6th places in Germany and Brazil were the highlights, 9th in the championship a strong showing. Despite being the higher Force India driver, I'd still go for di Resta and Hulkenburg next season as they have poor potential and wouldn't take long to regularly beat him IMO. Hope Sutil gets a seat at Williams though.

84

my top 5 would have to be.

1 - Vettel - hardly put a foot wrong all season. Very impressive

2 - Button - only other to really challenge Vettel all year and drove to some great wins and keeping calm under pressure. Canada is a prime example of that.

3 - Di Resta - For a first year I think he did brilliantly and helped prove that Force India are stronger then ever before.

4 - Sutil - Again a strong drive to finish in the top 10 in the driver standings.

5 - Webber - overshadowed by Vettel but he never gives up!

85

Vettel

Alonso

Button

Di Resta

Kovalainen

86

Vettel - for a near faultless season, with some astonishing qualifying performances.

Alonso - for dragging a recalcitrant Ferrari into finishing positions his teammate came nowhere near achieving.

Button - for a season that mirrored his metronomic 2004 campaign, for shading his illustrious teammate and of course, Canada.

Di Resta - for looking like a driver that has been in F1 for years, not months.

Kovalainen - for making Team Lotus more serious than they deserved and getting them the coveted 10th spot. Deserves a drive for a top four team again.

87

My top 5

1) Vettel. If he isnt the top man on everybody's list, then they have to have been living under a rock for the enterity of the season! He hasnt really put a foot wrong all year, has dominated from the front for much of the season, worst classified result was better than Felipe Massa achieved all season, 4th. It's a domination on par with the likes of Schumacher in 2002. Driver and car in sync.

2) Button. Probably will feature as many other people's number 2 as well. He's got on top of the car, tyres, DRS and all the other gubins this season to comprehensively beat his team on the race day and come second. He has won some of the finest races this year, and 2011 is argueably his beat season yet. He got the better Hamilton overall, who got overly frustrated. Could be an outside bet for championship contender next year?

3) Alonso. He got the clear maximum out of the car. Given that his most frequented qualifying spot was 5th, it's fair to say he couldnt get any more out of the car. Mclaren and Red Bull were that little bit to far out of reach in qualifying trim. Only a mistake from the four in front gifted a higher qualifying place. He out qualified his team mate quite convincingly. Also, his pace on race day has been excellent. Vettel didnt really have an answer to his pace in Silverstone, and his starts have been amongst the best this year.

4) Heidfield. A suprising one here, but I think he deserves more credit than he is given. He was parachuted into Renault after Kubica's awful rallying accident and started very well. However, once he started falling down the points positions, Renault quickly fell out of love with him. The thing is, Renault gave him a dog of a car, one that caught fire twice with him at the helm! F1 is a harsh business, but I dont feel that Kubica would have been able to have got any more out of the car than he did. I think we'll always remember Nick as the Unlucky German. A champion that never was perhaps

5) I've got to put a rookie in the top 5, and for me Perez edges di Resta. Sure, Paul has been impressive this year and has sized up quite well against his team mate. However, I feel that many Brits and commentators look at him with rose tinted glasses and give him more credit than he's worth. He'll probably win races one day, but he hasnt impressed me this year tbh. Perez, however, didnt pretty well! Scored quite often, and came back from his accident in Monaco quite strongly, even though he himself felt that he probably wasnt race fit for 4 or 5 races after. Top marks to him, he's got the pace, he's got the tallent and will most likely be in a Ferrari one day.

88

Same order as mine only I have Kovalein were you have Heidfield and I 100% agree with the Di Resta comments "I feel that many Brits and commentators look at him with rose tinted glasses and give him more credit than he’s worth." The BBC is getting a bit of a joke were Paul is concerned.

89

Vettel

Button

Alonso

Hamilton

Rosberg

90

5. Heiki Kovalainen

- Managed to get into Q3 several times and really helped Lotus to show they are improving.

4. Nico Rosberg

- A solid unassuming season, occasionally punched above his weight.

3. Paul Di Resta

- Amazing rookie season, even managed to stay in the race after being forced to evade Hamilton. Solid performances and very few rookie errors.

2. Sebastian Vettel

- Simply untouchable, but not really put under much pressure on track.

1. Jenson Button

- Was solid, calm, the only guy to make Vettel make a mistake. Handled pressure well and was just sublime in changeable conditions.

91
Daniel Petherbridge

1: Vettel

2: Button

3: Di Resta

4: Alonso

5: Rosberg

92

1.Alonso

2.Button

3.Vettel

4.Schumacher

5.Perez

93

Vettel was great, but Vettel drove the perfect car. Button won three races in a not-so-perfect car and beat his worshipped-like-jesus teammate.

I can't in all honesty put Webber on this list, he was a shadow of his previous year's self, like the fight had gone out of him (unless he got a good jump on the start.)

So...

1. Button (did the best with what he had, also had more competitive passes all season than anyone except maybe Schumacher.)

2. Vettel (champ)

3. Alonso (car was crap but put it places it had no right to be in)

4. Hamilton (when he wasn't an erratic bonehead, he was brilliant)

5. Rosberg (again out-scored and out-ran a 7-time world champion in equal equipment--even if Schumacher passed a zillion cars this year.)

94
Stephen Richardson

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Schumacher

5. Kovalainen

95

1 Vettel

2 Button

3 Alonso

4 di Resta

5 Kovalainen

96

5.Michael Schumacher

4.Seb Vettel

3.Nico Rosberg

2.Mark Webber

1.Jenson Button

97

what? webber 2nd¬ what season were you watching!

98

Webber and Rosberg ahead of Vettel? You'll have to justify that choice...

99
Andrea Richardson

Vettel

Button

Alonso

Di Resta

Kovalainen

100

Top 5 drivers of the season.

1) Sebastian Vettel. Outstanding in all areas. His record this season speaks for itself.

2) Jenson Button. Completely outperformed Lewis Hamilton and had some outstanding drives, Canada and Monaco stand out.

3) Fernando Alonso. Outdriving his car. His victory at the British GP was an outstanding effort and his starts have been awesome. Compared to Massa's performance in the same car, He's been excellent.

4) Paul Di Resta. Rookie of the year no question.Very professional and very quick. Consistently in the top 10 shootout and consistently beating his more experienced team-mate.

5) Heikki Kovaleinen. While not the fastest, I think his performances in qualifying compared to Trulli and his very good race-pace has to see him counted up there. Mixing it with the midfield on occasions too, I think he has to be in the top 5.

101

1. Seb Vettel

Self explanatory

2. Jenson Button

Well deserved

3. Nico Rosberg

Outscores Schu, and shows he is a top driver

4. Adrian Sutil

Has made FI to a midfield team

5. Heikki Kovalainen

Has lifted Team Lotus from the backmarkers to a lower midfield

Sorry Webber, Alonso and Hamilton, but regardless of that you are driving outstanding cars, you have not had outstanding performance

102

In no particular order

Vettel

Yes he was in a uber dominant car, but the way he went about taking control of the season deserves respect.

Alonso

Often dragged the car higher up than what it should've been.

Di Resta

Fast from the off, though not consistent enough. But given how little these guys test I'd have to say I was impressed.

Kovalainen

Consistent, fast and ready to pounce. Seems a lot more relaxed than ever before.

Glock

Deserves a better seat to prove himself as the potential winner he is.

103

From both drivers and constructors final standings, it must be Vettel, Button, Alonso, Sutil and... then it gets tough to pick out out one of the Perezs, Di Restas or Algersuaris for they all have hade highlights mixed up too often with very intranscendent performances (proving those highlights to be highly due to race circumstances i.e. tyre and strategy choices). It is also hard to say on the grid's lower end. Heikki sure did well, but would that have been different with an Alonso or a Kobaysashi (just to name two) in such a car? Does this really qualify for the season's top five? At the end the best were in front for a reason other than the car only (as their team mates results show...)

104

1) Sebastian Vettel

- Second world title in a row and totally dominated the season. What more can you say!

2) Jenson Button

- First team mate to beat Hamilton. He didn't try to compete with Lewis on pure speed and drove to his strengths. Great racing and overtaking displayed all year

3) Fernando Alonso

- Outpaced Massa all year, got the best out of a clearly slower car and often wedged himself in-between the McLarens and Red Bulls. Made some cracking starts and raced well

4) Nico Rosberg

- Got the better of Michael again. Went wheel to wheel with the maestro and often came off better. Definitely got the best out of the car.

5) Adrian Sutil

- Shaky start to the season, being out qualified by rookie Paul, but then came back very strong in the second half. Drove some great races and showed a good turn of speed in qualifying. Finished best of the rest outside the top 4 teams.

A special mention goes to Heikki Kovalainen. Constantly blew Trulli away again. Made some awesome starts and raced brilliantly to get himself amongst drivers in much better equipment. Looking forward to seeing what he can do next year in a hopefully much improved

Caterham.

105

1. KOB

2. PER

3. HAM

3. WEB

4. BUT

5. MAS

107

lol.. massa was meant sarcastic 😉

108

Massa is your biggest problem with that list?!

How about the fact there is #3 twice, and the Vettel doesn't even make the top 6!

I could go on...

109
Christopher Lewis

1. Sebastian Vettel- I kind of speaks for itself, it was a season of supreme domination with Schumacher/Senna like driving..record poles, numerous victories, and robotic efficiency coupled with pure aggression and skill (please see move on Alonso in Monza)

2. Jenson Button- Jenson's driving this year would have been worthy of a world title in any other season..cool, calm and collected throughout the year. Stand out performance obviously Canada, drive of the year (maybe decade). Another stand out is Abu Dhabi, to show the pace he did and finish as well as he did with that KERS problem shows the measure of the man. (ps, he beat lewis)

3.Fernando Alonso- Considering the car was clearly well off the pace for the majority of the year, compared to McLaren and Red Bull, he consistantly preformed, keeping up with the front runners, finishing on the podium in half the seasons races, and taking a great win (some what fortuitous as Red Bull slipped up in pits) at Silverstone, shows hes still the top man when the cars on song

4. Heikki Kovalainen - I have went with Heikki in 4th Place this season for the simple fact that he was brilliantly consistant and streaks ahead of those around him in the slower paced cars. He absolutely trounced Trulli in the same car, showing time and time again that he could mix it with the midfield. I expect a very strong season from him in the new improved Catherham team next year.

5. Paul Di Resta - It was a toss up between the Force India drivers for my 5th place. Sutil had an extremely good season finishing in 9th in the championship, with some great end of season results; however Paul, in his rookie year, was the stand out. He took to F1 like a duck to water, consistently fast in race pace, and showing in silverstone, that he could nail quali when the car was on tune. For a guy to come from DTM ito F1 and perform as he did is nothing but brilliant. #FUTUREWORLDCHAMPION

P.S. a thank you to the Sauber drivers for some of the more exciting driving this year.

Chris

110

Pretty much my list, although I would be temnpted to put Rosberg in for Di Resta.

111

1 - Sebastien Vettel - yes he had the best car, but unlike 2010 his season was almost faultless. You can count his mistakes on one hand: Germany, Canada, Abu Dhabi (not even his fault!). He was in another league to his team mate.

2 - Fernando Alonso - to finish ahead of Hamilton and just 1 point behind the Red Bull in an obviously sub-standard car is one hell of an achievement.

3 - Nick Heidfeld - Came into the team very late and went into the summer break as team leader. Unlucky to have been dropped. Highlights include last to 8th at Spain!

4 - Jenson Button - Canada was his greatest win of his career and he finished ahead of Hamilton. Enough said.

5 - Paul Di Resta - There or thereabouts all year round in his rookie season.

112

Heidfeld ahead of Button - seriously?

114

Vettel and Button are the two drivers that stand out for me this season. Vettel for obvious reasons. Button because he did what nobody expected, beating his overrated team-mate with brains and mature driving. Reminds me of Prost and Lauda.

And Maldonado and Petrov have proven that 'pay drivers' can actually drive.

115
Vince Warrington

1) Button - Looked comfortable all year, compared to his ragged team mate. Consistently put the McLaren in places it had no right to be in, and seemed to be unflappable.

2) Vettel - Yes, he had far and away the best car, but he made Webber look distinctly average. Put him anywhere near the front of a race and he'll invariably win it.

3) Kobayashi - Matured, but kept his raw pace and overtaking flair and drove some sparkling races in a very average car. Less 'wild man' this year allowed Sauber to beat Torro Rosso.

4) Senna - Yes, Senna. He got into the car after it was at its early-season best, but always pushed on with it and made Petrov look average in comparison.

5) Kovalainen - Proved he's still worthy of a big team by being far and away the best Lotus driver, indeed the best driver in any of the 'new' teams.

116

1. Sebastian Vettel - Without a doubt an utterly dominant season. Anyone who thinks it's all down to the car need only look at Webber's tally of wins this year.

2. Jenson Button - Managing to get the best out of a poor design and to overcome the alladged star of the team has been highly impressive. Almost needless to say Montreal was the most impressive drive of the year.

3. Fernando Alonso - Almost silently managing to finish consistanly in the worst Ferrari in years. One win hints at the lack of competitiveness but this supposed prima donna just got on with scoring good points regardless.

4. Adrian Sutil - Finishing way ahead of the also impressive di Resta, a solid season that looks like being not quite enough to save his seat. It would have been nice to make use of the Q3 time though.

5. Bruno Senna - After Renault gave Heidfeld the heave ho the detractors were quick to point out what a bad decision putting Senna in the car but his performances in qualifying have been mighty impressive. I'm sure a second year in a good car would see firm improvements but that looks unlikely to happen.

117

1.Vettel

2.Alonso

3.Button

4.Paul Diresta

5. Jaime Alguersuari

118

Vettel

Button

Alonso

Rosberg

Hamilton

119
Rupert Richardson

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Sutil

5. Kovalainen

120

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. J Button

3. F Alonso

4. M Webber

5. Paul Di Resta

121

1. Vettel

Yes he had the best car but his performance in qualifying was superb, world champion and beat his team mate by 134 points.

2. Button

Not the best at qualifying but his race craft was, in my opinion, the best of anyone on the grid. Canada was incredible.

3. Alonso

The car was not the best, but I think he got more out of it than anyone else would have. Always gave it 100% and more.

4. Di Resta

Was beaten by Sutil towards the end of the season, but for a rookie year, a great job being only 15 points behind his team mate.

5. Maldonado

Another rookie, in a poor car. He only scored one point but his team mate only scored four.

122

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Sutil

5. Alguersuari

123

1. Seb Vettel, Finger wagging aside, imperious this season, not a fan but credit where it's due.

2.Jenson Button, First team-mate to beat Hamilton at Mclaren, even made Flav eat his words, which is no mean feat.!!.

3.Alonso. Constantly over achieving in the 2011 Ferrari,which will remain forever forgetable.

4.Paul Di Resta, Outstanding in his rookie F1 sseason.

5. Bert Myllander, His performance at the Canadian GP was only beaton by Button in a McLaren...!!!!

124

OK, I laughed, thx.

125

1. Alonso

2. Vettel

3. Button

4. Hamilton

5. Oh, it's a tough one,... the best of the rest. I say Rosberg.

126

1- Jensen Button: In my opinion a better season than his championship winning year. In a car that was not the best for the most part, he delivered great results, ahead of Hamilton, and some cracking races with Canada being a highlight.

2- Paul Di Resta: Rookie of the year, points at his first Grand Prix, and got better results than the experienced Sutil.

3- Daniel Ricciardo: Unfortunately didn't get much media attention driving a HRT, but he had some good results. Finished ahead of Lotus, Virgin, and his experienced teammate a few times. I also don't recall him making a driver error

4- Adrian Sutil: The other Fi driver I know, but he had a good season especially in Brazil with great overtakes. Finishing ahead of all 3 Lotus Renault GP drivers in 9th place in the standings.

5- Rubens Barichello: A very tough season for the Brazilian but he kept his spirit, very consistent and shows real passion. Hope he gets a seat next season

127

Vettel

Button

Alonso

Di Resta

Hamilton - a dreadful season by his standard but every win was a superlative drive.

128

1. Alonso - still for my money, perhaps slightly begrudgingly, the all-round best driver on the grid - he did amazingly well to secure 10 podiums in clearly the third best car this season. Don't know how he does it, and if Ferrari deliver him a better car for 2012 he'll be hard to stop.

2. Vettel - what is there to say that hasn't already been said? Over one lap or over a whole race, this guy knows when to turn it on and how to drive to win. Proved he can overtake and deservedly a two-times champion.

3. Di Resta - for a first season in F1, to end up finishing with the most completed race laps should be highly commended and he clearly has the temperament to be successful. May well end up at a top four team before long.

4. Alguersuari - for a man that may have considered himself lucky to still have an F1 seat at the start of 2011 and after the first few races, a good handful of points finishes in a difficult car to drive showed fantastic commitment and effort.

5. Button - nearly went for Sutil here but JB nicks it as he was the one who managed to get closest to Vettel as well as achieving where Alonso and Kovalainen failed in being able to beat Lewis Hamilton in the same car; next to his incredibly consistent race guile and tyre management.

129

What a myopic comment about Alonso how is he the all round best driver in F1,when the race is on pls follow live timing and you would have a different opinion i hear people say this am always amazed this season for majority of the races only @ drivers standout Vettel and Button Alonso the development driver could not help Ferrari with there problems on the hard tyres for an entire season so how is he the best all rounder, the last time Alonso a championship Hamilton had not even stepped into an F1 car I think people like webber and hamilton made alonso appear better than he his this season

130

I wonder why Lewis has finished the last two years behind Fernando.By the way, drivers give feedback to the engineers, Alonso doensn't caliber wind tunnels, etc...

131

1.Fernando Alonso

2.Sebastian Vetel

3.Jenson Button

4.Jaime Alguersuari

5.Nico Rosberg

132

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Kovalainen

5. Alguersuari

133

I reckon James may well agree with you although I went with my own choices.

134

1.Vettel, a class on his own

2.Button, constant and efective

3.Alonso

4.Webber

5.Heiki

135

1) Vettel: his qualifying abilities are amazing. He hasn't let fame and glory get to him and he will still get better with age and maturity.

2) Alonso: out performed his car more often than not and my guess is that he had the biggest performance gap of anyone on their team mate.

3) Kobayashi: Controlled aggression and put his car in the right place to overtake rather than using bully tactics which more often than not end up in a crash.

4) Button: there is no doubt he has rattled Hamilton and is consistently surprising his critics.

5) Sutil: Out performed his team mate and it's a pity more ex-champs are coming back into the sport as it's reducing the chance of drivers like Sutil and Kobayashi to show their worth..

136

1. Vettel

2. Alonso

3. Button

4. Di Resta

5. Perez

137

1 - vettel

2 - button

no 3rd

joint 4 - alonso, hamilton

joint 5 - kobayashi, di resta

138

sorry I misprinted:

- vettel

- button

- alonso

- kobayashi

- schumacher

139

1. Vettel

2. Alonso

3. Schumacher

4. Button

5. Alguersuari

140

1 Vettel

2 Button

3 Sutil

4 Kobayashi

5 Schumacher

141

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Di Resta

5. Hamilton

142

Vettel - Simply the best of 2011

Button - Outscored Hamiliton - who'd guessed?

Alonso - Another driver wringing out the car

Sutil - Top 10, better than expected

Di Resta - Great rookie season

143

Same here:

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Sutil

5. Di Resta

The top 3 were easy, the last 2 were not, until I stopped forcing myself to choose which of the Force India drivers to include.

Close 6,7,8: Rosberg, Senna, Kovalainen

144

Vettel - Taken the preperation of an F1 driver to another level. Results reflect this.

Button - Proved he is one of the best drivers on the grid and the Brawn year was not just the car. Beat Hamilton fair and square.

Alonso - Drove above the cars capabilites and got results to prove it.

Kovalainen - In a pretty average car managed to duke it out at times with established teams when the opportunity was there. Beat Trulli at Monaco (no mean feat).Got some confidence and speed back after a tough time at McLaren.

Sutil - Tough one for the final place. Last drive of the year was a blinder managing to beat Rosberg. Pulling a decent move in the process. Finally got some much needed consistancy after seasons of breaking wings and wheels. He is quick and deserves a drive, just a shame he can not set up a car if what is written is to be beleived.

Also mentions to Alguersuari, Glock, and Webber. Webber was alright this year and deserces a mention for pulling off some great moves. Alonso at Eau Rouge has to be the move of the year. Shame DRS played a part the next lap...

145

1. Vettel - The complete package

2. Button - The lucky driver

3. di Resta - The best new comer

4. Kobayashi - The entertainer

5. Kovalainen - The best of the rest

146

Hi James,

Enjoy reading your website.

My Top 5 drivers are:

1. S Vettel 2. J Button 3. F Alonso 4. H Kovalainen 5. L Hamilton.

Hamilton had his Top 5 moments and some Bottom 5 moments but overall its hard to ignore the excitement he brought to the races. He generates more excitement than any other driver both while he overtakes or with the failed overtakes. Take him away this season will be a Yawn. I would say he has generated more fan interest in the sport since Shummi did.

I couldnt put Mark Webber there since he had a car that should have challenged Seb for the title but constantly failed to be a factor in the races at the top. He totally underachieved in the best car. Maybe he was deflated after losing 2010 title.

Ravi

147

They were obviously two different cars. Appalling pit stops, appalling strategies, appalling reliability etc. etc. I don't think it was Weber who underachieved.

148

Even then it shouldn't have taken him till the last race to win his first of season aided by dubious gearbox issues to vettel.

149

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Sutil

5. Rosberg

150

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Rosberg

5. DiResta

151

Vettel - Simply the best

Alonso - Gave it everything pretty much every weekend

Button - A couple of off-the-pace weekends but his best season

Sutil - 'Best of the rest' behind the big 4 teams

Kobayashi - A bad patch in the middle of the season let him down

152

Vettel - top of his game all season

Alonso - just awesome in any car and never gives up

Button - smooth and determined when the going gets tough

Hamilton - he did win 3 races this season and if he had stayed out of trouble, how many more??

Rosberg - he beat Schumacher again this season and certainly had pace if not overall results. Interesting potential, maybe another Button in the making.

This is a top 5 competition but if it was Rookie of the Year would say Di Resta shades it over Perez.

153

Vettel

Button

Alonso

Di Resta

Kovalainen

154

James, would it be possible to tally all of the votes for each of the drivers of the day, and then come up with a total sum for the year?

That would be interesting to see.

Even though Vettel dominated, I would bet that his total sum of votes would not top the list.

155

Vettel was never driver of the day

156

Couldn't wait for the reply.

1) Button - 21522

2) Hamilton - 13065

3) Alonso - 12975

4) Schumacher - 9532

5) Vettel - 8514

6) Webber - 6531

7) Kobayashi - 3512

8) Alguersuari - 3107

9) Heidfeld - 2561

10) di Resta - 1893

11) Sutil - 1271

12) Perez - 776

13) Kovalainen - 764

14) Maldonado - 573

15) Buemi - 357

16) Rosberg - 244

17) Massa - 183

18) Petrov - 47

Note 1: there was no vote for the Australian GP, so a few drivers, notably Petrov (podium) and Perez (6th before DQ) missed out on many potential votes. Hamilton and Vettel would have also likely received more votes for this race.

Note 2: There was an "Other" option for Malaysia with 668 votes, and many comments below for Webber deserving a nomination.

Now, calculated with points instead of votes (most votes gets 25 points, second-most gets 18 points, etc, using the F1 system):

1) Button - 238

2) Alonso - 235

3) Vettel - 200

4) Hamilton - 155

5) Schumacher - 133

6) Webber - 121

7) Kobayashi - 87

8) Alguersuari - 86

9) Sutil - 66

10) Perez - 53

11) di Resta - 40

12) Rosberg - 40

13) Heidfeld - 33

14) Buemi - 26

15) Kovalainen - 25

16) Massa - 12

17) Maldonado - 10

18) Petrov - 6

Number of nominations:

1) Vettel - 16

2) Alonso - 14

3) Button - 12

4) Webber - 9

5) Hamilton - 8

6) Schumacher - 7

7) Kobayashi - 7

8) Alguersuari - 7

9) Sutil - 5

10) Perez - 5

11) Rosberg - 5

12) Buemi - 3

13) di Resta - 2

14) Heidfeld - 2

15) Kovalainen - 2

16) Massa - 1

17) Maldonado - 1

18) Petrov - 1

From all of these breakdowns, it's obvious that the fans preferred Button's under-dog performances this year. Vettel showed that he was consistent all year in terms of impressing James enough for nominations. Alonso was also surprisingly close to Hamilton, given that this is an English-speaking blog (a bit of sample-bias, perhaps, but also a testament to the objectivity of the fans that frequent the site). It's a shame there was no vote for Australia, although it wouldn't have changed the top end of the field much.

So congrats to Button... the people's champion!

157

Wow! Thanks for doing that! As you say it's in English but a fully international audience from the main F1 countries

158

Yes we're planning to do that

159

If you want, I can email you my spreadsheet...

160

1 vettel

2 alonso

3 button

4 kovalainen

5 sutil

161

1. Vettel

2. Alonso

3. Button

4. Rosberg

5. Sutil

162

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Jenson Button

3. Fernando Alonso

4. Lewis Hamilton

5. Paul di Resta

163

1 vettel

2 button

3 di Resta

4 alonso

5 rosberg

164

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Fernando Alonso

3. Jenson Button

4. Heikki Kovalainen

5. Adrian Sutil

165

1. Sebastian Vettel - Even though he was in the fastest car he was able to make a respectably quick team mate look average. He also made quick laps in qualifying where it matter (Abu Dhabi & Brazil from recent memory)

2. Fernando Alonso - Drove his Ferrari to the maximum and beyond. Even though most races he wasn't fast enough for victory he was always THERE to give the Mclarens & Red Bulls something extra to think about.

3. Jenson Button - Drove as good as his championship year and beat a quality team mate.

4. Heikki Kovalainen - Performed much like Alonso but the other end of the grid.

5. Paul Di Resta - Very consistent for first year and often matched team mate Sutil. Rookie of the year.

166

1 Sebastian Vettel

Had easily the best car as 5 or 6 fastest laps from team mate Webber also shows but Vettel was flawless pretty much the entire season.

2 Jenson Button

A hard call between him and Alonso but I went for Button because the team isn't built around him unlike the Spaniard. Button's best performance in F1 and along the way beat a team mate Alonso didn't. Some great performances particularly Canada.

3 Fernando Alonso

Punched above his weight and had battles with cars that should have been well ahead of him. (Webber) Like Vettel he dominated his team mate.

4 Heiki Kovalien

Great efforts in a rubbish car and has a new lease of life since leaving McLaren, something I think Massa could have if he left Ferrari.

5 Sergio Perez

Very very tough last one but I gave to Perez on being easily the best rookie, although Riccardo was handicapped by not starting at the beginning of season.

167

My list is based on achievement over the year rather than who would be the best if they were in the same car which would look very different!

168

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Hamilton

5. Sutil

169

1. (Best): Vettel: has to be, after that season, he may have had the top car, but the points margin (122 - almost 5 race victories) equals domination.

2. Button: A better season arguably than his championship year, and the drive of the season in Canada. Ended up comfortably beating Hamilton, an achievement few predicted 2 years ago.

3. Alonso: Close to beating Button (I can easily see it argued the other way round), and certainly outperformed the car: you just look at the domination over Massa all year.

4. Kovalainen: In all but two races (excluding retirements) he was the best of the new teams, and even starting beating some of the back end of the midfield towards the back end of the season. Nearly always the fastest in qualifying too - I look forward to what Caterham can achieve next year ... points?

5. Sutil: Can't really remember the start of the season very well, but was certainly impressive recently - especially Brazil. Beat the Renaults (Petrov & Heidfeld+Senna) into the top 10 in the drivers, despite two early podiums for them, and even beat Mercedes in the odd race.

Exclusions:

Hamilton: Some great races, but over the season, his worst so far. Big fan, and hopefully he's firing next year.

Webber: Too big a gap between him and Vettel. But deserved the win he got last week

Di Resta: Quite hard to choose between him and Sutil. A good debut season - and Force India have quite the nice problem with drivers! Its a little odd, as I'd probably pick the Hulk and DiResta next year, despite putting Sutil in my top 5!

170

Alonso, Vettel, Button, Hamilton, Rosberg

171

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Kovalainen

5. Sutil

172

1) Vettel

Was supper consistent, paced himself while ahead & never made any big mistakes + destroyed his teammate's self belief!

2) Alonso

Out performed his car, got all the podiums for the team & was close to clinching 2nd in the championship

3) Jenson

Beat his highly rated teammate, took the fight to Sebastian in some races but some of his podiums are hollow in my view

4) Heikki

Out qualified & out performed Truilli but since we haven't seen much of him, can't say much about him

5) Sutil

When his career was on the line, raised his game in the second half of the season & gave the team it's best finishes (6th) twice

6) Riccardo

The Rookie came in and in a couple of races was matching & beating the veteran Luizi

7) Hammy

For despite the fact he has had a bad season, he still managed to win 3 races & never gave up even the times he found himself out of position

173

1) Vettel - Dominant force throughout the year

2) Button - 3 magnificent wins, beat Hamilton in the standings on merit

3) Alonso - Coaxed far more out of the poor Ferrari than anyone thought was possible

4) Kovalainen - Another excellently consistent season as he dragged the Lotus around rather quicker than anyone else could manage

5) Di Resta - Highly impressive debut season, could've been even better but for some questionable strategies from his team.

174

Button - Canada! WDC but for Newey

Alonso - even though he gave up publicly

Di Resta - rookie deserves a better car

Sutil - for pulling his socks up

Weber - for putting up with being so obviously stuffed.

176

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Sutil

5. Alguersuari

177
Charles Littlewood

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Jenson Button

3. Fernando Alonso

4. Nico Rosberg

5. Paul di Resta

178

Vettel

Alonso

Button

Di Resta

Rosberg

179

VET

BUT

ALO

DIR

KOV

180

1 - Sebastian Vettel: Near flawless drives from Melbourne to Brazil.

2 - Fernando Alonso: Close to Vettel, did more with less but the WDC tips #1 to Vettel

3 - Jenson Button: Finished 2nd overall with some great drives, really close to being #2 on this list. Vettel is WDC and I am a long time fan of Alonso.

4. Kamui Kobayashi: Finished 12th, car deserved 14th & 15th, while prone to making mistakes he also has moments of brilliance.

5. Adrian Sutil: Kept his nose clean and finished above the car's natural order despite all the machinations of Mr. Mallya.

The important thing for me in measuring a driver over a season is to see, at the end of the day, if the driver was able to drive above the capability of the car he was given.

181

Vettel

Kovalainen

Button

Trulli

Webber

182

1. sebastian vettel

2.nico rosberg

3. sergio perez

4.Jaime Alguersuari

5. mark webber

183

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Kovaleinen

5. Alguesuari

184

1) Sebastian Vettel

2) Jenson Button

3) Fernando Alonso

4) Lewis Hamilton

5) Heikki Kovalainen

185

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Di Resta

4. Alguersari

5. Sutil

186

1. Vettel

2. Alonso

3. Button

4. Rosberg

5. Kovalainen

187

Vettel

Button

Kobayashi (position improvements in races)

D'Ambrosio (reliability)

Kovaleinen (overachieved in under peforming car)

188

1. Vettel

2. Alonso

3. Kovalainin

4. Button

5. Barrichello

These are the guys who really consistently got the most out of their respective cars, whereas for the most part, their team mates did not.

189
Vladimir Grebennikov

1. Vettel. This one is quite obvious

2. Button. 'Want to succeed in a wet race? Then follow Button'

3. Alonso. Struggling with the not-so-good Ferrari and still reaching top spots.

4. Kovalainen. Best of the last. I think with a bit better car he would beat all the middle group.

5. Schumacher. I'm rooting for Michael since 1994. This year he looks much more like the Red Baron than he did last year.

190

Button

Vettel

Alonso

Schumacher

Sutil

191

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Di Resta

4. Alonso

5. Kovalainen

192

1. Vettel

2. Kovalainen

3. Button

4. Alguersuari

5. Kobayashi

193
Alistair McDonald

1: Vettel (I mean . . he whipped Mark)

2: Button (Some really great drives, just needs to nail qually)

3: Alonso (driving the wheels off that dog of a Ferarri)

4: Rosberg (Maturing nicely, still ahead of MS)

5: Di Resta (A great start to his career, I believe FI were sandbagging him towards the end of the season)

194

My top five:

1. Sebastian Vettel

Undoubtedly the best performance by a driver-team combination in the last decade since Schumacher-Ferrari domination in 2002/04. Unfair to attribute his domination just on the car and Adrian Newey. Interesting to read reports on how he travelled to the Pirelli factory, identifying the need to adapt to the tires before any top driver thought of doing so. (I remember Lewis was fitness training in the mountains and Jenson in Hawaii during winter last year while Vettel must have been strategizing on the best way forward with Pirelli)

2. Jenson Button

Has to be his best season, even better than championship winning '09. To finish ahead of a driver of top calibre like Webber in the 2nd best car is top performance. Also, finishing ahead of Hamilton earns him an extra point. Win in Canada stands out head and shoulders above, probably the best win of the season across all races. Also, is a good team player.

3. Fernando Alonso

The best driver on the grid on current form, wanted to put him above Vettel and Jenson, but those two did an incredibly good job and warrant a higher position (as indicated even by the points table). My favorite for next season as long as Ferrari are less than 0.3-0.5 sec off Mclaren's/Red Bull's pace.

4. Kamui Kobayashi

Deserves 5th place only for ensuring 2 points in the last race to ensure Sauber finish ahead on STR in 7th place. Oh, how many millions of dollars are those 2 points worth. Imagine him crashing out of Brazil GP, Alguersuari would have finished 10th and the two teams would have been locked on points. Also, pulled of some scintillating overtaking moves with the exception of Canada (Massa) and Spa (Hamilton).

5. Adrian Sutil

Unfortunately "woke" up only in the second half of the season. But decent, error free drives ensured his TEAM finished in 6th comfortably, almost finishing 5th.

195
Alessandro Forconi

1. Hamilton

2. Button

3. Kovalainen

4. Di Resta

5. Rosberg

196

1) Sebastian Vettel - easy choice. Thrashed the whole field time and again. I was at Monza and it was a privilege to watch him overtake Alonso and then pull away from the field at an extraordinary rate.

2) Jenson Button - Vettel's most consistent challenger. Took three fantastic victories and on most occasions extracted the most he could have from each race. But for back to back mechanical failures would have finished an easy, rather than close, second in the championship.

3) Fernando Alonso - Regularly put a car on the podium that had very little business being there. Made many outstanding starts and kept with the pace in the early stages of races, but was often let down by the Ferrari's hatred of hard tyres.

4) Heikki Kovalainen - Destroyed Trulli in qualifying and the races, regularly finishing half a lap ahead of him, even if only one place ahead. Even managed to dice with the occassional Sauber or Williams. He was the most overtaken driver in 2011, what's extraordinary is that he managed to find himself in a position to be overtaken.

5) Adrian Sutil - Struggled at the beginning of the season, but came into his own with two sixth place and two seventh place finishes, not to mention four elevenths. His drive in Brazil in particular was outstanding. Deserves to find a seat somewhere next year

197

Vettel

Button

Alonso

Perez

Kovalainen

198

1 - Sebastien Vettel - pretty much faultless throughout the year.

2 - Fernando Alonso - almost always on the limit of his car and occasionally outperforming it.

3 - Jenson Button - smooth and collected and beat his highly-rated teammate.

4 - Paul di Resta - did well in his rookie year and performed admirably against a more experienced Sutil

5 - Heikki Kovalainen - did his magic in the Lotus and held his own convincingly against the tail end of the midfield in the race, especially at the last few events

199

1. S Vettel

2. F Alonso

3. J Button

4. A Sutil

5. Paul Di Resta

200

1 - Vettel. Outgrew the erratic performances of 2010 to dominate with racecraft and unbelievable statistical dominance over his team-mate. Although he had all the cards, he rarely failed to play them perfectly.

2 - Button. So-so beginning, but the stellar drive in Canada was a catalyst for a second half where he dominated the rest of the field (and regularly challenged Vettel) with confidence and remarkable consistency.

3 - Alguersuari. A very lacklustre first half saw immense pressure on the 21 year-old from his team. Superb drives in Valencia, Italy and Korea saw him ultimately dominate his team-mate and prove himself against previous inconsistency. At 21!

4 - Sutil. Pressured by team rivalry and reputation for poor development skills, he nonetheless drove the team's points haul and finished 9th. More than any other mid-pack driver made the most of the car on offer again and again.

5 - Alonso. Difficult to judge: did he outperform the car, or Massa underperform? Nonetheless, hugely consistent and few mistakes compared to those drivers around him and regularly throwing a spanner in Mclaren/Webber strategy calls.

201

Vettel

Button

Alonso

Sutil

Kovalainen

202

1/ Vettel - Unstoppable, no one could touch him

2/ Button - Only person to really pressure Vettel in the races on a consistant basis.

3/ Rosberg - Outclassed Schumacher, no mean feat.

4/ Kovalainen - Consistantly outperformed the car

5/ Alonso - Dragged the car with him kicking and screaming, great result at Silverstone.

203

Vettel

Alonso

Button

Rosberg

Sutil

204

1. Alonso

2. Button

3. Vettel

4. Kobayashi

5. Kovalainen

205

1. Sebastian Vettel

Vettel has driven at a different level to anyone, getting 110% out of his car, driving smoothly and cleanly, while breaking records and being very cooperative with the press.

2. Jenson Button

Canada saw a new era for Jenson Button. Like Vettel, he has been driving smoothly, avoiding trouble while scoring points and podiums consistantly. Lewis Hamilton has also admitted that Jenson has been doing a fantastic job.

3. Fernando Alonso

Alonso has been very consitant, very realistic, very fair and has scored around double the points that Felipe Massa has, while having driven a car that hasn't been particularly good to Ferrari's standards.

4. Heikki Kovalainen

Since The beginning of the season, Kovalainen has outpaced Jarno Trulli in qualifying and most of the races where he had no mechanical problems. As Kovalainen himself explained, he is a lot happier with Team Lotus (to be Caterham from 2012) than with Renault and McLaren. Kovalainen has made it to Q2 or gotten within under a second behind other midfield teams on several occasions in qualifying, while also making brilliant starts and finishing ahead of established teams such as Williams and Sauber, something which started in China and triumphed in Korea. He will be a big threat to the mid-fielders providing Caterham build him a competitive car for 2012.

5. Jaime Algersuari

Algersuari didn't have the greatest start to the season, but when his seat was under threat, he picked his game up, scoring many high points positions since Valencia, while also having beaten Sebastien Buemi in the points standings. Algersuari entered Formula One too early, but now, he is just right for the Formula. Very big improvement.

206

1- Sebastian Vettel

2- Jenson Button

3- Fernando Alonso

4- Kamui Kobayashi

5- Michael Schumacher

207

1.Sebastian Vettel

2. Jenson Button

3. Fernando Alonso

4. Jamie Alguseri

5. Paul di resta

208

1 - Vettel. Even the most hardened cynics can't argue with statistics and facts.

2 - di Resta. Rookie of the year. Kept his head down and wrestled the best out of the car and did what he was asked. A future champion.

3 - Butto. Outshone Hamilton with consistancy, maturity and focus throughout the season to the extent it was easy to question often if they were in the same team/car.

4 - Rosberg. Personality wise, he annoys me. But this is not a popularity contest after all. He's constantly outshone Michael and that could never be regarded as an easy feat.

5 - Toughie. A split decision really. Alonso for his ontrack manouevres and getting the best from an underperforming car that has struggled throughout the year with grip issues and lack of compatibility. Senna for the enthusiasm hs brings to the grid and, of coursd, the namd.

209

For me

1 JB - OK I am a Fan of his since the Williams days and was therefore not worried about his entering the "lions den" but sublime driving, control and strategy - should have won Monaco as well.

2 SV - Had the best car, but certainly exploited it unlike MW, great chap and comes over very well in interviews, BUT if i hear "that is what I am talking about" "ring a ding ding" or see that F*****g finger one more time I may not be able to restrain myself

3 FA really great drives and has the ability to get more out of mediocre car than any one else

4 PdR Great Rookie Season - I predict great things for him - and yes I am a Brit - so sue me.

5 Now this the tricky one - NH got the points in the early races but did not impress - BS did impress once he took over but did not get the points and HK did a great job for lotus. For me BS gets my 5th Vote..

MGB

210

1. Sebastian - simply flawless

2. Jenson - beating Lewis must feel sooo good...

3. Fernando - for never giving up

4. Heikki - hunger and consistency

5. Paul Di Resta - Championship material

211

1.Button-first team-mate to beat Hamilton

2.Alonso-Showed his pure talent in a pretty poor car

3.Vettel-Best car and fully extracted it's speed

4.Di Resta-great rookie year,showed his potential

5.Kovalainen-put Trulli to shame and out performed his car pretty much every race

212

1 Vettel

2 Alonso

3 Button

4 Kovalainen

5 Kobayashi

213

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Kovalainen

5. Rosberg

214
Roger Carballo AKA Architrion

1. Vettel

2. Alonso

3. Button

4. Rosberg

5. Kovalainen

215

1 button 2 alonso 3 vettel 4 di resta 5 kovalainen

216

Vettel

Button

Alonso

di Resta

Kobayashi

217

By offering a prize for matching your selections you're skewing the results, somewhat. My top 5 are:

Button

Vettel

Alonso

DiResta

Rosberg

I think your selection will be more like:

Vettel

Alonso

Button

Kovalainen

Sutil

218

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Kobayashi

5. Kovalainen

219

For me, it has to be

1. Sebastian Vettel

2. Jenson Button

3. Fernando Alonso

4. Adrian Sutil

5. Paul di Resta

220

Vettel

Button

Alonso

Suti

Rosberg

221
Ritesh Tendulkar

1. Vettel: Had a string car but look what Webber did with it.

2. Button: Made best use of the car and conditions. +1 for Canada

3. Alonso: Out-performed the car. very strong drives despite tyre heating problems of the Ferrari

4. Kova: lifted Lotus/ Caterham /whatever it is called now from new backmarkers to a midfield team

5. Jamie Alguersari

Special mention; Kobayashi

222

1. Vettel - Absolutely unmatched

2. Button - Cooler heads often do prevail

3. di Resta - Rookie unequalled.

4. Kobayashi - Matured and worth millions in points to Sauber.

5. Alonso, - Brilliant on his day, in a Ferrari truck.

223

1. Sebastian Vettel - RB7 was at the sharo edge every race, but it was him that made the difference when it was needed, so he won some race which he "shoulnt" have (like spain or monaco).

2. Fernando Alonso - he just never stops. I dont like him as a person, but you gotta admire him as a driver. I know Button had very good season, but Ferrari was weaker car, and Alonso still managed to be quite close.

3. Jenson Button - I found this season to be his best since 2004. While watching races, he something looks just smarter than rest. He drove smart whole season.

4. Heikki Kovalainen - After those 2 bad seasons with McLaren, Kov is driving that Lotus (Caterham) really good. Also managed to outqualify a Williams!

5. Adrian Sutil - mr. Sutil had a slow start to a season, had some trouble with broken glasses and human necks, but he drove really really good in 2nd half.

So thats my top 5, but that being said, the standard of driving is really high in most teams. On the whole, Torro Rosso, Sauber and Force India have got really good drivers. Ill be sad if Jaime or Seb have to go from TR...they drove really good, a shame that mr. Buemi didnt have much luck lately.

224

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Hamilton

5. Webber

225

vettel

alonso

button

sutil

alguersari

226

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Perez

5. Di Resta

227

1. Sebastian Vettel - Had the best car, but was consistently fast and made the fewest mistakes.

2. Jenson Button - Made some mistakes in qualification, but more than made up for it during the races. A very impressive season.

3. Fernando Alonso - Made very few mistakes and pushed the car to 100%. Did some amazing starts.

4. Lewis Hamilton - Had a slump during the latter half of the season, but also won 3 races and ended the season on a high.

5. Nico Rosberg - Did what he could in this year's Mercedes and drove solidly. Sometimes slower than Schumi but made fewer mistakes.

Honorary mention - Heikki Kovalainen. Crushed his team mate during qualification and drove impressively during the races.

228
mohamed south africa

1.vettel

2.button

3.alonso

4.di resta

5.hamilton

229

Vettel

Button

Alonso

Di Resta

Kovalainen

230

1. Vettel - Fantastically consistent and exceptionally fast driving - the best car alone doesn't tell the story as he destroyed Webber

2. Button - Seems to have reached a happy place with his driving. Not as quick on a single lap as Hamilton (generally) but race pace has been very good.

3. Alonso - Outperformed an under par car

4. Di Resta - Good rookie season

5. Kovalainen - Showed his quality, hope he gets a car capable of pushing on next year

231

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Sutil

5. Alguesuari

232

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Kovalainen

5. Di Resta

233

1) Sebstian Vettel

2) Fernando Alonso

3) Jenson Button

4) Nico Rosberg

5) Adrian Sutil

234

1. Jenson Button

Beat a better car (Webber's Red Bull) and supposedly better driver (Hamilton). Classy, consistent, and surprisingly quick all season.

2. Sebastien Vettel

Even with the best car, you cannot ignore the dominance over his team mate, and his qualifying performances.

5. Fernando Alonso

Beat a better car (Hamilton's McLaren) and dominated his team mate.

4. Paul Di Resta

Rookie of the year. Sutil scored more points, but Paul was on the pace from the start and got some great results.

5. Heikki Kovalainen

Dominated his experienced team mate and impressed with his energy and enthusiasm at the back of the grid.

Special mentions also for Perez, d'Ambrosio, Sutil, Alguersuari.

235

1. Vettel - didn't put a foot wrong, proved he could race as well as drive very fast. A truly magnificent season.

2. Button - super consistent and improved his qualifying pace over last year. Always making up positions in the race with some exceptional overtaking. His wins Canada, Hungry and Japan show he is part of the elite in F1.

3. Alonso - again so consistent always getting the most from his car. Beat Massa comprehensively and made the most of the opportunities given, and less errors than last year.

4. Kovalainen - although we didn't see much from Heikki I think he always got the most out of his lotus beating Jarno (a qualifying master) 15-2 in qualifying and making some superb starts.

5. Hamilton - Some of his wins, (china, germany) were amazing and always fast in qualifying. But some unlucky collisions (some were his fault) and lack of attention on track let his mid-season down. Think he will come back stronger next year.

Mentions to Sutil for a great end to the season to finish 9th, if only his early season was so good. Also Kobayashi for a superb start to the season but faded near the end. I think we also found two great rookies in Di resta and Perez who showed they have very bright futures in F1. Cant wait for next year!

236

seb vettel

jenson button

fernando alonso

paul di resta

Nico Rosberg

237

1) Vettel

2) Alonso

3) Button

4) Hamilton

5) Webber

238

Vettel, Alonso, Button, Kobayashi, Sutil and Alguesuari.

Rest did nothing spectacular.

239

1. Sutil

2. Button

3. Vettel

4. Rosberg

5. Alonso

241

Hoping against hope I think. I really hope he can do well in F1 and not just be a middle fielder. I mean the man plays classical piano and very well I have seen!

242

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Alguersuari

5. Kovalainen

243

1) Button (consistent , a thinking driver , stepped up his game )

2) Vettel (totally dominated in the best car on the grid)

3)Alonso (made ferrari look faster than it was)

4) sutil(though not good in the first half of the season, but got around 40 odd points in the last 10 races , nearly caught renault)

5) Schumi (bad in qualifying but still one of the best racers out there)

244

1. Button

2. Vettel

3. Alonso

4. Schumacher

5. Sutil

245

Top three is easy. The other two drivers are much more difficult to pick IMHO.

1. Vettel

2. Alonso

3. Button

4. di Resta

5. Kovalainen

246

Vettel

Button

Rosberg

Alguersuari

Kovalainen

247

Top three are clear but the order is very difficult: top three VET, BUT, ALO. All of them got the maximum out of the car, were consistent and trounced their teammates in terms of points.

How to separate them. VET slipped up under pressure in Canada. BUT made almost no mistakes. I don't remember any mistakes from ALO. BUT transcended the car in Canada. VET invariably awesome in qualifying (still convinced the Red Bull have some special Q3 trick). BUT below par in qualifying. ALO always there or thereabouts. I'm going to go for

1. BUT (flawless season, with some real stand-out moments and basically the best wet dry/wet driver out there)

2. ALO (again flawless season, sometimes transcended the car, always gets the maximum day-in-day-out)

3. VET (superb qualifying and made the best of the best car, consistent, but rarely pressured)

For the last two slots:

4. SUT

and

5. KOV

248

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

5. DiResta

6. Schumacher

249

Button

Webber

Schumacher

Di resta

Hekki

250

in a season where it was even more about the car (few people finished more than 1-2 places away from where they should, given the constructors order), i'd have to say:

1. vettel - made it look way too easy, when it absolutely is not

2. alonso - to score 4th or better in 15 races, driving the 3rd best car is incredible

3. button - made the most of his teammate's misfortunes

4. kobayashi - scrappy, but some amazing racing at times

5. alguesuari - nice consistency in races to slowly gather points

251

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Rosberg

5. Kovalainen

252

Vettel

Button

Alonso

Sutil

Di Resta

253

1. Vettel

2. Alonso

3. Button

4. Di Resta

5. Senna

254

1 Vettel

2 Button

3 Alonso

4 Alguersuari

5 Ricciardo

I admire Ricciardo and Senna for coming in half way through and being able to perform in a situation where many others have failed.

I think Sutil and Di Resta did well but the Force India was quite quick by the end and they weren't spectacular. Alguersuari, on the other hand, pulled out some extraordinary races. Alonso was consistently quality, Button surpassed himself, but no one can deny Vettel's dominance.

255

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Hamilton

5. Kobayashi

256

1) Vettel

2) Button

3) Alonso

4) Kovalainen

5) Di Resta

257

1 - Button

adapted to new Pirellis in 2 minutes after tests start, gorgeous mind, great overtaker, smooth driver, critic-conditions-master. The one who could overwhelm that team-mate. No way, he's been number one this year. MIND.

2- Vettel

Almost Perfect. On an aeromobile. In the History now for having cracked Monza again. In that way. KYNKY.

3- Alonso

Things change, tyre change, rules change, style of driving HAS to change.

And even with a bad-born car he's always there. MAN-OVER-MACHINE.

4- Perez Mendoza

Is not easy go so faster in qualyfing more than that team-mate and at same time be gentle on tyres so to plan 1pit strategy. Monaco could have been very interesting with checo in. FUTURE.

5- Alguersuari

For beeing with his tororosso the mirror of a Season in which a race-pace-setup could overturn everything you see in qualyfing. DIDACTIC

258

1.- Alonso. McLaren had the second best car. If you know about F1 and you can imagine the Spaniard, not in a RB but in a Mp4-26b, you can bet that Vettel "walk in the park season" would be another story. Something like "Running and sweating in the park".

2.- Vettel. Excellent season. Everything under control and no mistakes at all. Germanic precision. However I m one of those people who thinks Webber has been deactivated by Marko & Horner.

3.- Button. The perfect measure of a team. You get all that you have.

4.- Kovalainen. If Kovy had 10% of "sex appeal" of Kimi Raikkonenn, probably he would be fighting for the top. His Macca season with a clear n1 as a team mate ruined his career.

5.- Alguersuari. He is 21 and he has proven to withstand the pressure better than more experienced drivers. Jaime has had more pressure this year than the World Champion...and he has beaten Buemi.

259

Vettel

Button

Alonso

Di Resta

Kovalinan

260

1. VETTEL - Who else?? What a fantastic year from a fantastic driver. Best car or not, he has been outstanding this year. One of the best single lap qualifiers of all time, IMO. And a top top guy.

2. BUTTON - He may lack the speed over one lap and he is very sensitive to car setup but as a racer, he is brilliant especially in change-able conditions. No-one thought he'd out score and out perform Lewis.

3. ALGUERSUARI - Next 3 places could go either way! Everyone doubted him when he made his debut at Suzuka in 2009, but he has shown this year he's the real deal. A slightly shaky start where he was out-performed by Buemi, but an awesome end to the season. A future driver at Red Bull IMO.

4. ALONSO - Mr Consistency. Give Alonso any car, he'll perform to a consistantly high level. Came very close last year doing just that. Outperformed Massa comprehensively in almost every race. He looks at home with the Scuderia. As a Vettel fan, I think Fernando is the one who can spoil a treble next year!!

5. DI RESTA - Extremely difficult to choose a 5th driver as there are several candidates! I've given the place to Paul, due to his very mature 1st year in the sport. Sutil is definitely no push over and even although he finished behind him in the standings, he's proven to be a very tough test all year for his more experienced team mate. And, Paul and I are from the same town in Scotland!!

261

1. Vettel

2. Alonso

3. Button

4. Sutil

5. Webber

262

1. Sebastian Vettel. Almost certainly the best car, but superb controlled aggression to deliver an almost unblemished season.

2. Jenson Button. Came out a convincing winner in the Mclaren garage and surprised a few people this year with his pace and consistency to be considered a genuine top tier driver.

3. Fernando Alonso. Always there, even with a car disadvantage. Super quick and solid.

4. Paul di Resta. Quick and solid rookie season.

5. Adrian Sutil. Responded well to the serious threat of Di Resta to come on strong and prove his worth in the second half of the season.

263

1. Vettel - anyone who didn't put him here is kidding themselves

2. Alonso

3. Button

4. Rosberg

5. Hamilton

264

Vettel

Alonso

Button

Rosberg

Di Resta

265

Sebastian Vettel

Jenson Button

Fernando Alonso

Paul di Resta

Heikki Kovalainen

266

1 - Vettel - Just for his near complete dominance. Had huge luck at points, but he always put himself in the right place at the right time to get that luck with his near endless stream of pole positions.

2 - Button - As the only person to really give Vettel a consistent challenge in the second half of the season. If he can sort out qualifying next year, he could be a big contender for a 2nd WDC.

3 - Alonso - Consistently out drove his car, race in race out. To be regularly battling with Webber in a much slower car just shows.

4 - Kovalainen - As with Alonso, he out did his car. Breaking into Q2 a couple of times, and also getting some great starts before the lack of pace saw him drop back. If Caterham can give him a decent car, I expect points in 2012.

5 - Di Resta - Possibly the best rookie from the last two seasons. Had a dry patch after the first two races, but aside from that matched up quite well to Sutil, and helped to chase and very nearly catch Renault.

267

1. Vettel - At first I had a hard time liking him this year since he was so unbeatable but when the dust settled I have to tip my hat to a truly gifted and dedicated driver

2. Button - Consistent and persistent. He is always able to make the best of any driving condition or car malfunctions. He has a controlled attitude and is just a really likable guy

3. Alonso - Will always push to get more out of himself and his car even when the odds seem impossible

4. di Resta - Great rookie year showing dedication and building consistency.

5. Schumacher - After all the pre-season talk he arrived with a fizzle but managed to come roaring back showing that despite his advancing years he is still competitive. He made for some very interesting races this year.

268

my top five ..

1 Sebastian Vettel

2 Jenson Button

3 Fernando Alonso

4 Paul Diresta

5 Nico Rosberg

269

1. Vettel (obvious)

2. Button (got the best possible result out of every situation)

3. Sutil (under-rated, most successful of the non-big-team drivers by a margin)

4. Perez (Quick out of the box for a rookie)

5. Alonso (always got on with the job with what he had and surprisingly in contention by great race-craft)

270

1. Vettel, world champion, complete domination.

2. Button, surprise of the year as far as front runners go, there weren't many who thought he would beat Hamilton. Ahead of Alonso because two more victories.

3. Alonso, was way ahead of his team mate, the first comparison point. Took everything out of his car.

4. Kovalainen, destroyed his team mate even more thoroughly than Alonso. The only driver for the new teams who was able to put at least some pressure to the more established teams.

5. Rosberg, still better than the 7xWDC, what better measure of skills is there.

271

1. Vettel (for utter domination, nobody else can possibly be put ahead of him, regardless of the machinery he was in)

2. Alonso (for being so close to Button and Webber, in an inferior car)

3. Button (for besting Hamilton, and Webber in a much better car)

4. Kovalainen (for being so far ahead of the other 'bottom 6' drivers, and consistently outstanding qualifying/starts)

5. Rosberg (for consistent qualifying performances, and regularly getting the car finishing as high as he could)

272

1) Vettel

2) Button

3) Alonso

4) Kovalainen

5) Di Resta

273

James which is your favorite race this season ?

274

Canada was great, Spain was very tense at the end, I think Japan was great too. Monza was pretty special

275

...um, China and Turkey?

276

1 - Vettel

2 - Button

3 - Alonso

4 - Di Resta

5 - Rosberg

277

5.- Kovalainen

As tony said "The team has brought out the best of him"

4.-Alguersuari

From Q1 to points finish

3.-Alonso

Extracting water out of stones (mexican proverb)

2.-Button

Beat Hamilton. positioned himself pretty well in Mclaren

1.-Vettel

Pole position record. 122 points cushion.

278

1. Vettel - best car yes by a mile but he still put Webber in the shade by a big margin

2. Alonso - third best car yet wrung the life out of it and made Massa look clumsy

3. Button - close call with Alonso but his tire management was extraordinary

4. Hamilton - should have done better with his car

5. Sutil - he proved his worth his worth in F1

6. Buemi - the pass master was exceptional albeit too far back to make a splash

7. Rosberg - made the most of his car and made Schumacher look his age

8. Webber - should have done much better, Vettel coped with the Pirellis, so should have he

9. Perez - quite the impression this rookie made at times

10. Kovy - earned his place at Lotus and really made Trulli look bad at times

279

1. Vettel - makes it look too easy. Would be good if he and Alonso's careers at Ferrari overlaped

2. Alonso - extremely good race pace from the Fezza.

3. Button - drove brilliantly all season - I didn't think he had it in him but I stand corrected. I still think each Mclaren driver showed up the others inconsistancy over the year and demonstrated why Vettel is so good but fair play to Jenson for beating Lewis fair and square.

4. Kovalainen - some brilliant races - reminded me of his pre-Mclaren form

5. Di Resta - rookie of the year.

Hon mention: Hamilton - brilliant on his day but there weren't all that many and so many incidents.

280

1.Vettel

2.Alonso

3.Button

4.Kovalainen

5.Alguersuari

281

1. Vettel

2. Alonso

3. Button

4. Rosberg

5. Kovalainen

282

1. Sebastian Vettel. Imperious all season and never looked likely to fail. Top car but utter dominance of team mate Webber showed true speed.

2. Fernando Alonso. Always on it and destroyed team mate Massa, adding further weight to the belief he out-performed a mediocre machine.

3. Jenson Button. Some great performances and much improved consistency latterly to shade the quicker but less thoughtful and more erratic Hamilton.

4. Jaime Alguersari. Several great drives from disadvantageous grid positions and a new-found maturity. The season's most improved driver.

5. Heikki Kovalainen. Emerged very much as team leader, showing top form in races and qualifying, significantly reducing Trulli's market value in the process. Great strength and team spirit from a driver in a tricky position.

283

1) Vettel

2) Button

3) Alonso

4) Sutil

5) Heikki

284

1. Lewis Hamilton

For sure I voted my hero Lewis for his non aggressive style of driving and for sure I will now win JA's signed book and next year the hearts of the tifosi when I for sure beat Alonso and for sure I don't know why I keep saying for sure.

285

You forgot "To be honest" ... among others.

😉

286

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Kovalainen

5. Hamilton

(for fun) 6. Heidfeld (points per race much higher than teammate)

287

The top three choose themselves: Vettel, Button, Alonso. The difficult part is the next two.

I don't know how to decide whether a driver is doing more than the car, we don't really know exactly how good or bad any car is. We tend to judge them on where they appear to be against their peers. Consequently, it's hard to judge Nico Rosberg properly. I feel that this is a driver with great potential but I can't tell if he has simply done a steady job this year, or risen above the car.

That's just one example, has Algersuari simply extracted the full performance from his car, as he is hired to do, or has he done something remarkable?

I think racers tend to drive or ride as hard as they can, they want to beat everybody in sight, so I'm going to assume that Adrian Sutil was driving a well developed car and getting the best out of it in the later races, rather than advertising his abilities. So, my pick is:

Vettel

Button

Alonso

Sutil

Kovaleinen

288

1. Button.

2. Alonso

3. Vettel

4. Sutil

5. Kovalainen

289

Seb Vettel

Jenson Button

Paul Di Resta

Heikki Kovalainen

Kamui Kobayashi

290

Vettle - Made others to know how worthy champion he was by dominating the entire season with Great WINS and RECORD POLE positions.

Jenson - Whenever there were opportunities arise he was there to pick those precious WINS

Alonso - Won race with an AVERAGE car which was no where had the performance of PODIUM finish

Sutil - He showed lot of maturity in his drive. Will be a good assest to the team and can be WORTHY CHAMPION if right package is given

Kovalanin - Consistent & Improving performance by this guy. Next year he will take the fight to Mid fielders

291

1. Vettel

2. Alonso

3. Button

4. Kovalainen

5. Webber

James, are you asking for our top 5, or to guess your top 5?

If it's the former, you might be unintentionally weighting the fan's preference, some of whom might be trying to second guess your preference.

292

As I said, tell us what you think - you can do both if your top five is different from what you think mine will be

293

1. VETTEL, near perfect, make best use of car and comfortably beat team mate.

2. ALONSO, outperformed car and team mate, if had got second in championship, one of the most incredible achievements I've seen in last 20 years of following F1.

3. BUTTON, outperformed Hamilton, no mean feat! Great calculating wins with second best car.

4. ROSBERG, very difficult to gauge, but did well against a truly formidable driver in same car.

5. KOVALAINEN, incredible desire and commitment to a near impossible job, but out qualifying trulli on so many occasions should not go unnoticed.

294

Vettel

Button

Alonso

Rosberg

Hamilton

295

1. Vettel

2. Alonso

3. Button

4. Rosberg

5. Sutil

296

1. Vettel

2. Alonso

3. Button

4. Sutil

5. Buemi

297

Vettel - magical ability to find crucial tenths on Saturday, bossed the majority of Sunday's races. Fast car or not displayed qualities of a champ time and time again.

Di Resta - rookie performance of the year. Closely matched his vastly more experienced team mate despite frequently running sub-optimal strategies.

Kovalainen - Applied real pressure to the midfield teams all season, pushing them in both races and qualifying. Relishing the responsibility of transforming Caterham to contending team.

Button - clearly in the form of his life. Able to match the still impressive single lap pace of Hamilton and was able to deliver the race pace of the McLaren more consistently.

Alguesuari - must've been under immense pressure half way through season yet maintained composure and delivered the goods on Sunday

298

I don't know what season you British fans are watching but Di Resta was anything but close to matching Sutil. He was easily beaten in most races.

People around the world say Perez was the rookie of the season and DI Resta was nothing special, especially considering having the best car out of the rookies.

299

100% agree Kal. Can people who voted Di Resta just take 5 minutes to look up how he did against Sutil over the season then compare how Perez or Riccardo did against their team mates.

300

Opinions are like iPhones; everyone's got one ;).

As I said in my initial assessment, Di Resta quite often was on a less than optimal tyre strategy compared to Sutil. Sutil has also been around for more than a few years and should be pretty comfortable driving that FI by now. I actually think Sutil had a decent season as he's flattered to deceive in recent years.

I also think Di Resta has had to deal with the pressure of expectation to a greater extent than Ricciardo and (less so) Perez. Force India were a contender team and results were expected from Di Resta from the off. In my eyes he delivered with a number of incredibly mature drives.

301

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Rosberg

5. Kovalainen

302

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Sutil

5. Hamilton

303

1. Button

2. Vettel

3. Alonso

4. DiResta

5. Perez

304

Vettel, Button, Alonso, Alguersuari, Sutil.

Top three are pretty self explanatory, Jaime did real well despite the pressure of racing for his job. Toss-up between Sutil and Kovalainen, went with Adrian for no particular reason. Kamui might be considered, but his mid-season was probably too mediocre to make the top 5.

305

1. Pedro de la Rosa (for his heroics in Canada)

2. Tonio Liuzzi (also for his heroics in Canada)

3. Jérôme D'Ambrosio (a cool customer)

4. Sergio Perez (not bad at all)

5. Rubens Barrichello (for trying hard, still, quitting in 2009 after a couple of wins would've been better; I remember how he said a few harsh words about Irvine back in 2002, at least Edmund finished his F1 adventure with a podium).

The rest I didn't follow.

306

1. vettel

2. button

3. alonso

4. perez

5. di resta

307

Wow, I don't envy you the task of collating all the entries! Good luck with that!

My top five drivers of 2011, chosen primarily for entertainment value and producing exciting racing.

1, Button - Had a fairly average start to the year but kept things clean with his team mate and drove some excellent races in the latter half of the year to prove 2009 wasn't just a flash in the pan.

2, Hamilton - Ever the entertainer, fighting for every scrap of tarmac, who started with a great season, pretty much the only driver to take the fight to Red Bull but suffered in tangles with Massa, but bounced back in the last few races.

3, Vettel - The man you love to hate! Drove a pretty much faultless season, but the lack of any serious competition leaves people in doubt over whether he can actually race if put amongst traffic.

4, Alonso - Some sublime starts from him in Spain and Italy helped flatter a car that was by no means a front runner; Alonso's pure driver ability put him where his car could not.

5, Alguersuari - Inconsistent, but often placed his car in the points after terrible qualifying sessions. Deserves honourable mention!

308

Hamilton ahead of Vettel and Alonso? Which season were you watching?

309

But it's impossible to say who was the best when they're not in equal machinery (or with the same team - I'm sure strategists and pit crew have noticeable impact on results).

The only way you can judge who is "best" is to give them all identical conditions to race in, which you're never going to get even taking turns on an empty track (wind conditions might change between two runs, or later runs get the benefit of the extra rubber put down).

So what it boils down to (for me anyway) is who is it that brings you back week after week to keep watching? For me, this year at least, the McLaren duo of Button and Hamilton produced far more entertainment than the rest of the field put together. All Vettel did for 95% of the seasons was "Start in front, stay in front, cross the line first" which is all very skilful but about as dull as watching paint dry.

This is a sport, derived (if you want to take it that far back) from Gladiatorial combats in ancient Rome, the purpose of which was to entertain the masses. Button and Hamilton were this year's best entertainers. Hence, best sportsmen. Hence, best drivers. QED.

This sport would be terminally dull if everyone finished the race in their starting positions, without any overtaking, any mistakes in the pit-stops, any mechanical failures. No-one would watch on Sunday as the race would be over on Saturday. So, why do we watch on Sunday? To see how the race unfolds - to see overtaking, to see people fighting for positions, pushing the car beyond the limits of mechanical and aerodynamic grip, to achieve what mere mortal spectator can only dream of. To be entertained. Vettel is not entertaining! His achievements this year rank him among the greatest drivers of all time (if not the best in terms of skill alone, this remains to be seen), but that doesn't make him entertaining. In fact, it harks back to the Schumacher era when I stopped watching F1 as the races became too predictable and the season was over halfway through. I really don't want to go back there, so I'm backing the two drivers who managed to take multiple victories off Vettel this year.

If Vettel is the best - then surely someone who can beat him in inferior technology is better?

Sorry, that got quite long 🙂

310

While I am aware of the entertainment factor of F1 and other sports, the other important factor is winning (or getting the best result possible). After all, they don't show up just to have a good time. Hence I still believe there is a big difference between being the "most entertaining" and being "the best".

In football for instance, Blackpool were considered an entertaining team in the Premier league. They entertained with plenty of high scoring games. But they finished 19th and got relegated. I considered them to be one of the most entertaining teams to watch, but not one of "the best". The two factors are separable.

Sure, the Mclaren drivers have been entertaining. Like Canada for instance. But a lot of people tune in with the question "who can stop Vettel?". I think that if you're so likely to win that people need to think like that, or celebrate when he gets a puncture, then you're the best. Which I think Vettel has been this year.

No need to apologise, debate is healthy" 🙂

311

As mentioned at the top of the piece, I ranked by entertainment value. We barely saw Vettel on the TV coverage other than the first and last laps of the race. To me, that's pretty much zero entertainment value whichever way you cut it. Hamilton, on the other hand, produced edge of the seat racing in just about every Grand Prix even with some questionable moves arising as a result.

If you want to rank by performance, then just go by the championship standings and there won't be any debate! But for me, regardless of Vettel's dominance of the season, he doesn't deserve as much credit as those who brought genuine joy to my F1 weekends, which this year was Hamilton and Button. They are the stand-out drivers of the season, pulling something out of the bag when you least expected it - Hamilton in China is one of the finest GP wins, I never cease tiring of watching that GP again. And Button in Canada produced one of the most nail-biting races in history. How can Vettel hope to top that? I'd argue he can't. Certainly not this season.

When one driver or one team is utterly dominant it isn't "fun" to watch as a partisan observer. What makes sport interesting is a close match - a slight mistake or flash of genius making the difference between winning and losing. For me, Hamilton provides a never-ending stream of both and that's why he ranks at the top of the list for me this year (and just about every year he's been in F1). Vettel on the other hand is just consistently good, which for me equates to consistently boring.

All IMHO 🙂

312

Ok, though there is a huge difference between being entertaining and being the best- which Hamilton certainly wasn't.

313

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Schumacher

5. Di Resta

314

1) Sebastian Vettel - Can't deny his record setting performance. He made the best car look better and destroyed his teammate by 134 points.

2) Fernando Alonso - Best combination of talent, aggression and brains in the third best car. Dominated his teammate by 139 points, even more then Vettel. Dragged his car to places it did not belong. Let down by poor Ferrari strategy and slow pit stops as well.

3) Jenson Button - His star has risen greatly this season. Smooth, cool and consistent. Beat his all star teammate.

4) Lewis Hamilton - Despite making some major mistakes during aggressive pass attempts he had 3 wins. 6 podiums. 2nd fastest in qualifying. If he gets his head back to together he could go straight back to #1.

5) Heikki Kovalainen - The World Champion of the new teams, dominated in that class as Vettel did with the established teams.

_____________________________

6) Nico Rosberg

7) Michael Schumacher

8) Adrian Sutil

9) Paul di Resta

10) Kamui Kobayashi

Sad to say but it is time to retire:

Webber, Massa, Trulli, Barrichello

315

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Di Resta

5. Alguersuari

316

1. Vettel

2. Alonso

3. Button

4. Nico

5. Alguesuari

317

1. Vettel - Barely put a foot wrong all season. Can't just be the car; look at Webber's results.

2. Di Resta - Good solid rookie performance.

3. Button - Not too hot on qualifying but has shown his skill at overtaking.

4. Algesari - Has brought the Torro Rosso home with some unexpected results.

5. Alonso - Has been up the front challenging despite the Ferrari being a bit of a dog.

318

1. Vettel.

2. Button.

3. Webber.

4. Alonso.

5. Hamilton.

319

1) Vettel

2) Button

3) Alonso

4) Sutil

5) Kovalainen

320

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Hamilton

5. Webber

321

1. Button

2. Alonso

3. Vettel

4. Di Resta

5. Kovalainen

322

1. Trulli

2. Trulli

3. Trulli

4. Trulli

5. Trulli

323

Okay this is really hard this season. Top three i think are a given and in that order also pretty much a no brainer but the rest of the few good drivers are all with very up and down seasons.

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

Then its not so simple

Hamilton although incoinsistent did win some races in a car not as good as a redbull and boy does he try.

Kovelinen had a great season but is in a back of the grid car so how much does that actually show us.

Rosberg was anonymous this year but always punching in results.

Derista and Sutil were both great at times in a car that justifed where they were performing i.e. not really outstanding.

Perez showed potential and some good performances.

Soooooo

4. Hamilton

5. Kovelinen

it's a real tuffy this year

Thanks James for all your articles this year, i love this site. Best and most well informed on the web. Plus thanks to the other people who comment, some really good insight and points raised through the season.

Thank you

324

1 Sebastien Vettel - He outdrove an already excellent car and made most races secure within the opening 5 laps. A deserved world champion.

2 Jenson Button - Outperforming Lewis Hamilton consistently in the same car is no mean feat, even if Lewis was poor. The only man who came close to halting Vettel's charge.

3 Fernando Alonso - Given the relative weakness of the 2011 Ferrari Alonso's 10 podiums and victory at Silverstone highlight his quality.

4 Nico Rosberg - Another strong campaign from Rosberg. Incredibly consistent only two retirements and two non-points finishes where he finishes (where he finished 12th and 11th twice).

5 Paul Di Resta - Easily the best rookie this season, he'll need to avoid a rocky mid-season next year if he gets a deserved second year with Force India though.

325

1. Vettel - thrashed a good team mate in the best car, bit like Mansell caning Patrese in 92, but better! His starts and opening laps were the stuff of legends, utterly soul destroying for his opposition.

2. Alonso - hardly ever had a bad moment or a lacklustre performance this year, always got the max out the car, constantly on it, amazing starts, impressive to the end.

3. Button - shaded by Alonso because although Button had a great year, he was still found wanting on a few occasions earlier in the year, unlike Alonso IMHO.

4. Kovalainen - never gave up, always fast in a slow car, beat the once great qualifier Trulli comprehensively. Despite being in a new team, he was always committed and delivered everything he could.

5 Hamilton - although some drivers had much more consistent seasons, Ham still won 3 races and his highs still set him apart from many of the rather merely good drivers.

326

1. Sebastian Vettel

He may have had the best car, particularly one designed to dominate in qualifying, but it takes a dominating performance to achieve 11/19 wins, and only one finish off of the podium.

In the same car, his competent team mate finished - on average - 2 places behind him and only beat him once. He had the second best performance of a driver against his team mate of the entire field, when judged by finishing position. When you consider the calibre of Webber, and the perforamce advantage their package had over the field, that statistic is mightily impressive.

Only the very best drivers in the history of the sport have achieved seasons like this, and as a result there is no contest for this position.

2. Fernando Alonso

I suspect the vast majority will award JB this position, however Alonso flattered the car he was driving. He achieved 10 podium finishes, one more than Webber who was driving a much faster car and only one less than Button who was driving a car that had better race pace in the majority of the races. His drive in Abu Dhabi stands out as one of the greatest of the season, he had no business finishing ahead of Button or Webber in that race much less preventing Hamilton from having an easy afternoon.

The other thing to consider is his performance against his team mate. Alonso obliterated Massa this year, yes, some of that is down to Massa's poor form but that oly accounts for half of it. Alonso finished an average of 3 places ahead of Massa, this is higher than any other driver pairing, for the majority of the field, it was less than a 1.5 place average difference. What is more significant is the gap beneath the Ferrari to Mercedes. Ferrari was the slowest of the three front running teams, yet the team behind they did not trouble them. This meant, to finish an average of 3 places ahead of Massa, Alonso routinely had to finish ahead of faster McLarens and/or Red Bulls.

3. Heikki Kovalainen

While Team Lotus were the only new team to make a significant step forward this year, the gap to the field - particularly in qualifying - was still significant, which only makes the qualifying achievements of Heikki Kovalainen. On several occasions he capitalised on the misfortune of the "column A" teams to put himself in Q2 and on one occasion even achieved it on merit.

Jarno Trulli is no slouch, particularly in qualifying where he made his name early in his career. For Heikki to have such a good record against him in qualifying speaks for itself - and while Jarno Trulli may mention the steering wheel, it should be pointed out that they both had the same equipment. Heikki finished an average more than one place higher than Trulli did. Given that they did not have the pace to challenge the teams in front, that is the maximum he could be expected to achieve.

4. Jensen Button

When I started to reflect on 2011, my initial reaction was to put Button 2nd, as I alluded to earlier.

Let me get it off the bat straight away that I think Button had an excellent season, I would even say his best season in Formula 1, because he kept the momentum up throughout the season, unlike his championship year where he faded once the Brawn lost his advantage against the rest of the field.

However, it should be pointed out despite his team mate having a bad season (by Hamilton's standards it was his worst performace over a season in the sport) he didn't actually obliterate him. I was shocked to find out that Button and Hamilton were the closest drivers when it was averaged "number of places team mate finished ahead" - when both drivers finsihed, Button was on average half a place ahead of Hamilton (both mean and median) only two driver pairings had a closer mean (Algersuari/Buemi and Barrichello/Maldonado), but no driver pairing had a closer median.

The reason for this is that Button had some races where he was off of the pace. He also put in some terrible qualifying performances, which usually accounted for the races where Hamilton finished significantly ahead. While Button's highs were as good as any of the driver's I have listed above him, they were not as consistent, and for that reason I have listed him fourth.

5. .....

At this point it becomes a little difficult. The four drivers stand head and shoulders above the rest of the field in terms of their performances this year.

None of the team mates of any of the drivers above can qualify as they did a significantly worse job with the same equipment.

Of the rest of the field, Alguersuari and Buemi were fairly evenly matched, both had up and down seasons and neither really stood out.

Kobayashi out performed Perez over the course of the season with one of the higher places-ahead-of-teammate, however Perez was in his rookie season and his Monaco accident impacted on his race fitness.

Rosberg also had a big margin in this regard over Schumacher, being on average 1.23 places ahead when both cars finished, however Schumacher finished, on average, half a place higher and did finish ahead of Rosberg roughly the same number of times he finished behind.

Heidfeld failed to perform enough against Petrov, who in turn was slower than Senna whose excellent qualifying performances were let down by rusty race craft.

Barrichello did not demonstrate the same performance against Maldonado that he had done against Hulkenberg, and Maldonado's performance was inconsistent as well as demonstrating road rage on more than one occasion.

I was going to go with Sutil for this position, as he had an excellent end to the season and was the only driver outside of those in the top 5 teams to have an average finishing position in the points, however the problem I have is that his performance only picked up when he realised his seat was on the line and needed to prove himself to his employer and/or potential other employers. I am not sure I feel it is right to award the 5th best driver of the year to someone who was coasting when he thought he race seat was safe.

So for 5th place, I find myself making an unexpected conclusion:

5. Daniel Ricciardo

Initially, I was not too impressed with his performance, as he was beaten by Narain Karthikeyan at the Indian Grand Prix, however I later found out this was due to a pit stop that put him over 40 seconds behind Karthikeyan which he managed to close to 1 second before making his second stop. Taking this into consideration I would say that Ricciardo put in the best performance of any of the rookies.

I know that many people will go for Di Resta, however Di Resta was firmly beaten by Sutil over the season, and while Di Resta was solid and consistent, he was not spectacular. He was also often outpaced by Hulkenberg in practice sessions.

Perez's season was blighted by his accident as it's possible without it he would have been closer to Kobayashi, however Kobayashi had a fairly poor season compared to what he achieved last year.

Ricciardo beat Liuzzi in the same car, and what is more impressive is that he stepped into it mid season. Liuzzi had more experience both of F1 and car specific knowledge of the Hispania. So for Ricciardo to take the fight to him and achieve better results (he beat him 4-1 when both finished, and finished ahead of one of the faster Virgins on two occasions) That is very impressive, and is a performance that will have been missed by most because of the fact it was in a Hispania.

In summary:

1. Vettel

2. Alonso

3. Kovalainen

4. Button

5. Ricciardo

327

Vettel

Alonso

Button

Kovalainen

Sutil

328

1. Vettel - The best in this season

2. Button - Surprisingly good

3. Kovalainen - Trashed his teammate, attitude that deserves faster car next year

4. Alonso - Better than his teammate

5. Schumacher - Surprised me with his improvement comparing to last year. Seemed faster than Nico in many races.

329

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Rosberg

5. Sutil

330

1. Vettel - trounced a team-mate who was not racing badly

2. Button - two years after everyone said he'd be destroyed at Mclaren, beat HAM by over 40 points!

3. Alonso - if not for his cars fatal weakness on Medium/Hard tyres, could have managed second.

4. Sutil - first few races were ragged but he rose to the challenge of his rookie team-mate to make him look very average by the end.

5. Kovalainen - the only one of the 'newer' teams to pop up amongst the mid field consistantly. Caterham should be scoring points next year.

331

1 - Vettel: He may have had the best car, but his consistency and focus was second to none. Deserved the championship in 2010, and certainly in 2011.

2- Alonso: Drove the wheels off of a poorly designed car. He is in my opinion the best driver on the grid, the whole package. His results this year relative to his teammate (who outperformed Raikkonen and Schumacher on occasion as teammates) given his car performance speak for themselves.

3 - Button: He has always struggled with a bit of a slower reputation, but Button’s flashes of brilliance this year show he has always been a world champion, just didtnt get the car he needed until 2009. Beating Hamilton is no small feat, especially in numerous cases this year where Button beat Hamilton strictly on pace.

The last two were the most difficult. I think most people have vettel, Alonso and button in their top three, but the other two is I think where most peoples opinions vary.

4 – Kovaleinen: Heikki showed this year that he deserves to be in a better car than any of the new teams can offer. While Trulli has made a joke of this year, Heikki has taken the fight to the mid-fielders on numerous occasions, the only driver with the new teams to really do so this year. I can see why Fernandez wants to keep him.

5 – Webber: Although Webber didn’t accomplish nearly as much as he should have this year, he was always one of the most exciting people to watch on track, often putting in some great drives due to poor starts or quali performances. The RB7 is not designed to race in a pack, it is essentially designed for qualifying laps. Webbers difficulties with the Pirellis (and his KERS) often caused him to be fighting in the pack, in a car not optimized to do so. I think Webber deserves a mention in the top 5 if for no other reason than his pass on Alonso at Eau Rouge. I have a picture of that pass in my cubicle at work. To me that is one of the greatest, ballsiest passes I have ever seen. The fact that he pulled it on Alonso makes it even more impressive. That kind of respect between drivers is something special.

Thanks James for all this years news, it has been great.

332

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Hamilton

5. Rosberg

333
Spinodontosaurus

1. Alonso

2. Kovalainen

3. Sutil

4. Button

5. Vettel

334

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Hamilton

5. Sutil

Rosberg is a very close sixth, but I don't think he proved himself significantly better than Schumacher this year.

335

1-Jenson Button

2-Lewis Hamilton

3-Paul Di Resta

4-Mark Webber

5-Heikki Kovalainen

336

1. Vettel

2. Button

3. Alonso

4. Kovalainen

5. Sutil