F1 Summer Break 2015
Vettel vs Alonso: Who has done the better job this season?
Scuderia Ferrari
Posted By: James Allen  |  15 Nov 2012   |  3:07 pm GMT  |  376 comments

And so it comes to this: Two races in eight days to decide the outcome of the 2012 world championship. It’s been a long road to this point, but which of the two drivers has done a better job? Here we present an analysis of what has led us to this point.

The margin between them is small at 10 points. But it will be all over this weekend if Vettel wins with Alonso 5th or lower. It can also be settled if Vettel is 2nd with Alonso 9th or lower or if Vettel is 3rd and Alonso is out of the points.

Experience this season with Red Bull’s alternator problems and the two start line accidents in Spa and Suzuka which cost Alonso so dearly, tell us that there are no foregone conclusions. This is motor racing and anything can happen.

A few weeks ago we looked at the battle between Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel for the right to be the only three times world champion in the field next season.

There’s a good, comprehensive piece this week by Andrew Benson on the BBC F1 Website looking at which of the two drivers in contention for the world championship this weekend is the more deserving of the crown and that is worth some consideration at this stage.

Today 1978 world champion Mario Andretti, who serves as an ambassador of the new US Grand Prix at Austin, has commented on both Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel

“I have a very high opinion of Fernando and I often send him messages. He is a driver to appreciate for his determination and intelligence. For Ferrari he’s been doing the impossible. It will not be easy for him to take points off Vettel, but I’m not giving up.”

Meanwhile of Vettel he says, I’ve met him, he’s a great kid and a top class driver. He will be one of the greats.”

Ferrari has not won a race or been on pole since Germany in July. It may be too little too late, but Ferrari has been straight line aero testing this week with Jules Bianchi in Spain, trying out revised versions of solutions which were seen in Abu Dhabi as well as other new ideas, no doubt.

Ferrari’s development has been its Achilles Heel this season; the car has been through some positive development stages, but the team was unable to sustain the rapid growth which Red Bull managed to bring through, largely due to inefficiencies in the wind tunnel at Maranello, following its upgrade from 50% to 60%. This painful infrastructure upgrade is one which has also cost Mercedes this season, although they hope that the pain is now behind them as they seek to build Lewis Hamilton a winning car for next year.

No doubt if Red Bull wins both titles there will be dark murmurings in the aftermath about them spending far more money than the others to achieve it. And it is a great shame for the sport that the teams have failed to police a cost controls.

Both men have driven superbly – as have Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen – but we should consider two areas in particular: car pace relative to the fastest qualifier and results relative to qualifying position.

Who had the faster car this year?
In terms of pure car pace, if we look at the fastest lap from both drivers in qualifying at the 18 rounds so far, Vettel has had the faster car on 12 occasions.

Taking an average of the gap to pole for the 18 races, Vettel has been 0.43s off pole while Alonso has been 0.6s off. So the big picture is that the Red Bull hasn’t been that much faster a car this year.

However, in the five races since Monza, Vettel has had an average qualifying advantage over Alonso of 0.5 secs.

Looking at the season as a whole, Vettel has had an advantage of 0.26 secs, factoring in the days when Alonso was faster.

Breaking that down further; of the races that Vettel has had the faster car he has been on average 0.57secs faster in qualifying.

Of the six races where Alonso had the faster car he has qualified 0.358 secs faster than Vettel.

Who has done a better job in races?
Looking next at how they converted their qualifying positions into results, Vettel converted pole into a win on three out of five occasions. He made up places from his grid slot on eight occasions, gaining a total of 22 places from his grid slot in races where he started behind pole. (Plus in Abu Dhabi he made up another 22 places after being forced to start from the pit lane).

He lost places from his grid slot on two occasions (3 places in Canada and Germany), then had two technical retirements and a collision in Malaysia.

Alonso, in contrast, made up places on 12 occasions, gaining a total of 48 places in races where he started behind pole. He also had two DNFs and two races (Canada and GB) where he lost places from his starting slot. He had two poles and converted one to a win.

Alonso’s average gain of four places compared to Vettel’s 2.75 places gained is one of the main reasons why Alonso is even in the championship hunt today.

For all the latest news from Austin ahead of this weekend’s US Grand Prix click here http://connect.jamesallenonf1.com/f1-website-news/

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  1. Jeff Pappone says:

    Somehow I get the feeling James knew what the result would be here right after composing the headline!!

    1. James Allen says:

      Not necessarily, Jeff. I was hoping that we’d get some items of news from around the US, this is worse than I expected.

      1. **Paul** says:

        Interesting article James. It’s worth noting that in pure performance terms the McLaren was up until recently (3 or 4 races back) the fastest car this year overall (and they’re no where!). A mixture of reliability; strategy and driver errors have cost them dearly. That speaks volumes about Ferrari and Red Bull organisationally.

        You also have to thrown Lotus into the mix; a team who’s pace put them ahead of both Ferrari and Red Bull earlier in the season. That further highlights what a fantastic job Ferrari and Red Bull have achieved.

        I think that people assume Vettel isn’t putting in the same quality of drive when he comes in 5th or 6th as he does when he disappears off at the front. That’s just not the case, and like Fernando I think he’s put in some stunning drives when his car was far from optimal this year.

        I think Vettel will take the title this year; and Fernando is unfortunate his car wasn’t a little faster as he’s put in some great drives and also had more luck than any other top driver this season (look at non-fault retirements and ALO has only 1 IIRC). In addition to that it’s also worth noting that Fernando isn’t a good qualifier, Vettel excels at it. That distorts the stats a little about places gained etc.

        So I’d probably say Fernando has done the best job driving wise this year but it’s heck of a lot closer than most part-time F1 fans would give credit for.

      2. Martin says:

        Hi Paul,

        I agree with your general thrust, but so suggest Alonso isn’t a good qualifier is a bit of a stretch. He’s now 17-2 against Massa for the year and that included Monza’s roll bar failure. It is pretty rare that he underachieves on what Ferrari expects – Austin being one of them however.

        I think Vettel has had fewer opportunities to show anything special this year due largely to the nature of the car. Alonso gets maximum wet weather points, while Vettel was similar to Webber. Spain and Spa were two races where Vettel was able to make up ground, and helped by the car’s characteristics, he’s probably made some of the overtakes of the year.

        What does stand out to me though is the very early season performance in qualifying when both had inconsistent cars. Vettel was often out qualified by Webber, if rarely out raced., but Alonso was still able to get time out of the car.

        Hamilton’s season is similar in some ways to Vettel’s in that the car has been fast in qualifying, and so the likely result is that you go backwards in the races. Therefore the races don’t look that impressive even if the average lap times are better than his team mate’s at a given race.



      3. TobyS says:

        I’m surprised that nobody has pulled you up on this. I saw your post asking for feedback from American fans and it sounds pretty bad. Has Bernie said anything about it, or do you think he’ll wait till it all settles down rather than upset potential future TV right holders?


    2. Miha Bevc says:

      I think we all knew the result at the moment we read the headline. I sure did!

      Although I’m a Vettel fan I have to admit that Alonso made less mistakes this year – he is driving a near perfect season. But after reading this post, Alonso’s season doesn’t seem much better than Vettel’s (at least according to data provided by James). Yes, Vettel has a better car but not by much, if you are looking season as a whole.

      1. Mingojo says:

        I disagree. Vettel had a better car than Alonso the whole season. Alonso’s driving has disguised many of the weakness of that car.

      2. For sure says:

        That’s what I think, but how do you know? I mean really?
        None of us, not even the drivers themselves truly know how much of that is the driver and the car.
        If you look at Mark Webber or Massa, we can all agree that it’s not just the car obviously.

      3. Wayne says:

        Hamilton too has been faultless this year. If we forget for a moment what the scoreboard says in relation to Button (because you absolutely HAVE to this year if you have any sense what-so-ever)he has anhiliated his world champion team mate (Vetter and Alosno do not have WDC’s for team mates do they?)and would be right up there with ALO and VET were it not for his shambles of a team.

        IF (and it is IF) we agree that Hamilton’s team mate poses him a greater challenge than either ALO’s or VET’s, his performance has been even better.

        100 points lost via the team is the figure that has become roundly accepted across the media – that would put him 120 points ahead of Jenson Button Former World Champion (more, as JB’s points will have benefitted from the team destroying Hamilton’s season).

      4. Carlo_Carrera says:


        What does Lewis Hamilton have to do with this subject?

      5. Scott D says:

        Wayne, are you taking into account Button’s DNF’s and team-related points losses/ penalties? I think the gap is considerably smaller that you state. The fact remains that over three seasons they have scored a near identical amount of points and I think this is a far more accurate indicator of their relative abilities, admittedly with Hamilton just getting the nod.

      6. Hiten says:

        I never see anyone pointing out in any article that in two races Massa had to obey team orders which has led Alonso to close the gap. Is that fair?

      7. Wayne says:

        I disagree, Vettel’s car has been better than Alonso’s and by a fair bit on occasion in my opinion. The difference is actually visible on exit and mid-corner corner – for it to be visibly better it cannot be a marginal difference.

        Vettel has made his fair share of mistakes this year as well as acting like an entitled child on occasion, Alonso has made either one or no mistakes depending on how you view the ALO/RAI start incident.

        For me this debate is not even a close call (and my fav driver is not Alonso).

        Is anyone really going to argue that Vettel has driven better than Alonso this year?

        Will sport writers have the courage to actually award their ‘driver of the year’ choice to someone other than the winner of the WDC – which they almost all do yera in and year out hiding behind the old (garbage)banal platitude: ‘whoever wins the WDC has driven best and is mnost deserving’?

      8. Miha Bevc says:

        Of course Vettel’s car was better than Alonso’s, but it’s not like 2011 when RB7 was really untouchable. McLaren was actually the best car of the season – it was by far the best at the start of the season, then again before season break and it’s still just as good as RB.

        I think reporters will vote Alonso for the driver of the year. Team bosses too. Let’s wait and see what James top 5 list will be after the season. I guess ALO, VET, HAM, RAI and god knows who.

      9. Sebee says:

        Alonso matches Webber today – best he could do. That Ferrari isn’t slow.

        Vettel in class of his own. All car? I think not Wayne.

        I hope Hamilton squeezes in there and puts on a show, gets one of the 3 podium steps.

        The discussion here and point I think most are getting to is quality of work vs. results of work. Let’s not begrudge Vettel his results – he delivers. And I really don’t think it’s a fluke or luck. You still have to get the task done. No one ever gives him the recognition of delivering repeated perfection weekend after weekend. In fact, they hold it against him. As I said, they don’t hand out WDCs in cracker jacks boxes. You have to deliver to get it. And you sure as heck have to work for it.

      10. Wayne says:

        Sebee, nope definitey not all car. Some good performances from Vettel, many solid performances, a couple of poor ones but have there been any great ones?

        Overall, Vettel has driven well this year, no doubt, but Alonso has driven with greatness at times.

      11. danny11 says:

        What do you mean when you say ‘not much faster’. Whole year they have been faster than Ferrari by at least half a second per qualy lap except at Monza where broken anti-roll bar cost Alonso pole and a win. On every other occasion RBR has been faster package than SF and that is the only reason why Vettel is leading and will win WDC. Give him thta Ferrari and he wold be about same place where Massa is! Alonso is at the moment the best driver on the grid, period!!!

    3. Tank says:

      Well, what more could Vettel do? There are only so many places to make up when you start near the front.

      1. Luca says:

        yeah but at the start of the season he wasnt always on pole.

        i think the general impression is that FA can outdrive a car and score almost at will, whereas SV needs a decent car to lead from the front and win.

        Its a bit like the Button vs Lewis dicsussions.

        There will always be good points for and against in any driver debates but this pole (thus far with Alonso getting 86% of the votes) is pretty telling on how people view FA driving this season – its less about SV’s speed but consistency.

    4. KGBVD says:

      It’s a loaded question.

      Alonso has OBVIOUSLY done a better job in comparison to Seb because he has had inferior tools at his disposal. Regardless of luck (in my view, FA has been just as lucky as Seb, e.g. Sepang and Valencia), someone starting on pole, winning as he should, doesn’t compare to someone else lifting an entire team over his head.

      Seb is vilified for driving the fastest car. Because of this, there’s nothing he can do to sway the detractors because he never HAD to fight back. (Except that one time he did, from the pitlane to the podium, but that’s not good enough for some reason).

      Thing is, all of this is moot, as Seb will win. And everyone knows it doesn’t really matter who finishes 2nd (just ask Massa circa ’08), or why (ask Lewis or Alonso, circa ’07). Who finished 2nd to Schumi in the Ferrari years? More aptly, who cares? No one says, “6 WDCs competing –oh and Massa was really close that one time.”

      The books will read that Seb was a back to back to back WDC, the youngest ever. No one will look back and say “Oh yea, but he really didn’t deserve his third title, Alonso tried harder that year”.

      The idea of ‘deserving’ has been argued to death, but I have never seen such a asinine debate.

      Beyond it all, Fernando may be ‘deserving’, but, Ferrari deserves jack squat for all of their effots this year.

    5. Nicky Santoro says:

      If I am not mistaken, for a journalist it is more important to keep open to other’s opinions and to news, and in this case opinions are news, than to further his own. Even if he has them.

      So, even if James thinks Alonso has been superior, if he does at all, he’d be more interested in what fans at large think than in trying to convince others, for a simple reason: What others think is a fact he can report on. What he thinks is just his own personal opinion.

  2. Mike from Colombia says:

    Alonso best driver of the season, followed by Hamilton..who has not put a foot wrong and has been let down by team errors.

    Vettel has to wait until Newey gets his magic right and then sail off into the distance.

    Think about it this way. If you put Alonso and Vettel in a car that consistently qualifies P8 to P10…who would you put your money on in terms of coming out on top over a season?

    Vettel has made hay from Newey’s car. Alonso has driven the whole team forward and embodies the Ferrari effort at the moment.

    1. MrExasperated says:

      I think to answer the question of whether Vettel would be a deserving world champion would be to look at it from a team principals point of view.

      If you were Christian Horner and you were told you could only keep Newey or Vettel on the team, who would you choose??

      This is a question that goes out to everyone out there!!

      1. Colin B says:

        Interesting question, but what if Red Bull (or any other top team) had to pick one of Alonso or Newey, or one of Hamilton or Newey. Would not Newey come out on top?

      2. Andre says:

        Probably not since Webber reminds them most weekends where they’d be wothout a top class driver.

      3. MrExasperated says:

        Maybe this would be a good 3 part survey to put out to the readers,

        a) Vettel or Newey
        b) Hamilton or Newey
        c) Alonso or Newey

      4. KRB says:

        Newey would (should) come out top every time, no matter the driver you put up against him. It’s the way F1 is and has been for some time now.

        Even if you say Driver A is better than B, the relative difference will never be as big as the difference that a Newey can make in general with the car.

      5. Colin says:

        @ MrExasperated. I would personally go for the drivers (Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso). No doubt Newey is great, but at the end of the day he will still need an excellent team of engineers around him.

        With all the pay drivers coming into F1, and the lack of any new Hamilton’s entering F1 at the moment, I think a top driver would be higher on a teams shopping list

      6. Alessandro says:

        Good comment! I agree with you.
        as far as red Bull is concerned it is too easy to answer: Newey!!
        In teh case of Ferrari: keep Alonso and boot out Domenicali.

      7. [MISTER] says:

        Very very good question. I wonder if any reporter would have the guts to ask Christian Horner that!

      8. mharker says:

        If Horner had just Newey and no star driver to take the car where it can go, Red Bull will not be winning. Look at Webber’s performance.

        Also Vettel (or any driver for that matter) needs a car capable of winning the championship in order to win it.

        Red Bull’s strength is their team: a combination of a top car and a top driver.

      9. Hansb says:

        Webbers performance 1st half year was equal or almost equal to Vettels. Only after RB changed their car into best of the field it seemed Vettel came out on top. To me it is RB putting all efforts behind their nr. 1 driver.

      10. Satish says:

        Alonso has said many times before this season that he doesn’t need the best car to fight for / win the championship, but just a good enough car. Seeing what he has achieved over this ENTIRE season, anyone can see that’s true.

        Vettel on the other hand started dominating only after the RB8 came alive from Singapore onwards.

        Both drivers have done great jobs, with Vettel showing he’s more of a racer than given credit for. But to think that he as the driver has done a better job than Alonso, is hilarious to me.

      11. Hulk says:

        I agree with Hansb. Look at Eddie Irvine in 1999. He was an average driver, but once SCHMI broke his leg and the team was behind Irvine, then he improved drastically and almost won the title.

      12. Anne says:

        I think the questions to be answered is if Vettel can win without Newey. We don´t know that. Alonso did it when he won 2 champioships with Renault. Anyway I take Newey because he has shown he could win without Vettel. Anywhere he went he built a winner car

      13. Dave Aston says:

        2000 – 2009, no championships for Newey…

      14. Miguel Angel says:

        Hi Dave, dont you think maybe Newey did not won any championship because off FIA,s rules? I mean now he is the best in aerodynamic and in that time all teams could performe the car whenever they wanted. Eg Ferrari at his own circuit at Manarello could be testing the car everyday and now it is forbbiden.

      15. Optimaximal says:


        I don’t think anyone could challenge Ferrari during the early 00′s. It was simple a case of testing and resources.

        By comparison, before the Schumacher/Ferrari machine hit its peak, Newey’s machines delivered Hakkinen two consecutive titles.

        The dearth in 2005-2008 was because he was instrumental in bringing the Red Bull team up to speed following the Jaguar purchase.

      16. Chris says:

        Anyone would think Red Bull employed CH, AN, SV, MW and a pit crew!!

        If thats the case, they are doing the best job in the history of F1!!!

      17. akinkoba says:

        he won without newey in a torro rosso!!!!

      18. James Allen says:

        That was Newey designed….

      19. JF says:

        easy: Newey. There is no driver who has ever lived that one would give up Newey for.

      20. RW says:

        Except M Schumacher in his time not his come back. but again he had a strong team around him. Newey is the best person to have in F1 as he is not working to a drivers age limits

      21. only1halen says:

        James, biggest differentiator in F1 history?

        A) Ferrari’s relationship with Bridgestone.

        B) Adrian Newey


        C) Tad Czapski – Benetton B194/Ferrari electronics engineer.

      22. James Allen says:

        Brilliant question.

        1992 Active suspension on Williams?

        Probably one that goes back further in history than that to the 1950s. The gaps were enormous then e.g. Mercedes 1955 1-2 at Spa by almost 3 mins

      23. PK says:

        There was a great article in F1 Racing in 1998 (from memory) that argued whether it was more valuable to have Newey or Michael.

        In my opinion, Newey is quite overrated. Not to say that he’s most likely not the best out there, but his strike rate is not as great when taken into account his whole body of work.
        Having said that, he potentially plays the most significant role in the most successful team at the moment.

        And RW, I agree. Michael over Newey any day of the week in Michael’s first career. Michael won the driver’s title in ’94 and ’95 with inferior cars. He just missed out on ’98 and would have won ’99 if not for the accident. The championships are certainly on Michael’s side of the ledger.

      24. Wade Parmino says:

        So Newey earns as much as a top driver? Red Bull really ARE pouring in grotesque amounts of money!

      25. rey cruz says:


      26. Nick Hipkin says:

        Never knew Ferrari had the same electronics engineer as the infamous Benetton B194! Would like to hear more about that as there were always suspicions about Ferrari then!

      27. Nesto says:

        Never thought of that, nice one !

      28. zx6dude says:

        No doubt: Newey!

      29. Heinzman says:

        Newey is no doubt great, but he has form slumps like everyone. Look at the dog mclarens he built before leaving to RB.

        Newey is no panacea, whereas we know what Alonso can do with a dog of a car.

      30. Optimaximal says:

        They weren’t ‘dogs’. They were fast and competitive. They just weren’t reliable and were trying to compete with just that – supremely reliable and heavily tested machinery.

        You could also argue that Ferrari’s wingman policy served them well.

      31. Heinzman says:

        MP4-18: never raced
        MP4-19: won one race
        MP4-21: won zero races

        These are the dogs I’m talking about.

      32. GideanYates says:

        There isn’t a driver alive who’s won in a dog of a car. Funny, how this is an issue now that Vettel is dominating the sport. F1 is an engineering/driver sport. 90% of the results are on account of the quality of the car.

        While it seems (at least in the English media) that Alonso is considered the best driver, I’m not as sure. In equal cars he’s likely the slowest of the 3 (Vettel/Hammy/Alonso). The odd’s of winning a GP are in favour of whomever qualifies at the front.

      33. yugin says:

        You mean Vettel is quicker than Alonso? Which would imply that this season’s Ferrari is quicker than the Red Bull since they’re (nearly) level on points? You might want to check again…

      34. Wayne says:

        Brilliant hypothetical – Well thought up!

        You’d keep Newey of course!!

    2. powderhounder says:

      If Vettel’s performance is based solely on Newey then why hasn’t Webber performed as well? Alonso doesn’t always race clean and has more than once pushed his competitors to the grass.

      Looking forward to a clean drive from both of them in the last two races. Don’t want to see a Schumacher/Villeneuve or Prost/Senna bumper car finish.

      1. Nesto says:

        Because Vettel is the #1 driver (he is superior) and the car is designed for him while Webber has to make due with a car suited to his teammate. Look at their early years together before the championships. Then early-mid 2010, early 2012 when they were still getting to grips with the new regs and tires. They are near equal and Webber can finish ahead of Vettel many a time. But when the car is dominant, Vettel takes off with it.

        Alonso doesn’t race clean ? Hes about the cleanest racer there for many years now. His off-track politics can be criticized but not so much when hes in the car. Hard but fair. How many collisions has he been in that were his fault in his entire career ?

      2. Brad says:

        “Because Vettel is the #1 driver (he is superior) and the car is designed for him” Strange, thats what I think about Alonso in the Ferrari team, so it should’nt apply to Vettel????? and it also explains the gap to Massa then, only it’s worse in this case!!!

      3. Erik says:

        Not trying to de-value Vettels talent, he is a gun, no question. Too petulant for me but a talent no doubt. But as far we Webber goes, perhaps he struggles against Vetel because Newey cant build a car suited for both driving styles. Which if Red Bull do indeed have an equal driver policy would explain their season. At the beginning of the year they were close on points, Webber even lead Vetel for a time. But perhaps it became clear at seasons mid point that they have to back one driver or the other if they were going to challenge for the championships, and hence develop the car in that persons driving style. Vetel has thrived since mid season whereas Weber has made silly errors and some average performances. I’ll let you guess who Red Bull backed.

        Not making excuses for Weber, as I personally I think his best is behind him. He really missed his opportunity in 2010 to stamp his authority on the teak.

        Just a thought on why Vettel and Red Bull are doing so good.

      4. John says:

        Simple, Redbull want to make historic data and facts, like youngest world champion, youngest triple world champion Webber isn’t allowed to win, he is only allowed to win in the first 6 races, then he signs a new contract!!! Bang car problems, goes backwards, it’s all for the German I’m afraid. But FIA must get on top of the money spent in F1, redbull spending double of some very close championship rivals and that’s not right!!

        PS/ take Newey out and Vettel won’t win, and for me he is the most undeserving proposed triple world champion in the history of the sport, bit like Sterling Moss never winning a WDC, CRIMINAL

      5. Martijn says:

        So if we take Lotus and Chapman out of the Clark equation, does that make him an undeserving double world champion?

      6. Satish says:

        For those comparing Webber with Vettel’s better performances to justify that it’s not just the RB8 but also Vettel who is required for winning, why compare Vettel with someone like Webber who is never considered in the same tier as Vettel, Hamilton & Alonso? He would obviously come out on top.

      7. MDS says:

        So we can’t compare to Webber to justify that it’s not just the RB8, but when comparing Alonso to Massa he’s “outdriving the car”? This is ridiculous.

      8. Satish says:

        Massa is not THE reason why Alonso is considered a driver that squeezes every bit out of the car, even a bad car. 2008 is a good example.

        And while the F2012 is by no means a bad car, it’s a widely accepted fact that it has never been class of the field anytime this season.

      9. MDS says:

        Massa is the only point of comparison as far as the F2012 is concerned, and so when people are saying Alonso is “outdriving the car” or “putting it in places it shouldn’t be”, those opinions can only be based on what Massa is doing with it.

        Put Button in the RB8 instead of Vettel and it’s possible nobody would be talking about “Newey winning”.

        The F2012 hasn’t been the class of the field as far as speed is concerned, true. But it does have good (sometimes great) race pace and it is bulletproof (something that can’t be said of the RB and Mclaren).

  3. Type056 says:


    1. [MISTER] says:

      I wouldn’t put Rai ahead of Ham.
      I might be biased because I dislike Rai, but Ham did not mistakes that I remember and 2 wins were taken from him by car breaking down.
      Ham will be way above Rai on points if his car wouldn’t break down. I don’t even want to think of the pit stops from earlier in the year that cost Ham many points.


      This would be my rating

    2. Elie says:

      Great answer I agree. Both Fernando and Raikkonen have driven near perfect races all year and only Kimi has finished every lap of every race.

  4. AlexD says:

    I do not want to come with a one side view ( I am a Ferrari fan), but it has been reported many times by different people that Alonso never had a dominant or best car this year and yet he was always there, giving hope, driving like an absolute champ, the best of the best.

    I want to quote what JV said and I agree with this:

    Villeneuve, however, reckons Vettel is nearly invincible when he can lead a race from the front.

    “I have no doubts: Fernando Alonso is the best, that’s why I root for him,” Villeneuve told Autosprint magazine.

    “Seb is super quick, but there is a difference with Fernando that emerges in case of an unfavourable situation.

    “Alonso remains calm, cool, and rational, while Vettel most times gets upset, angry, screams and flicks the middle finger. He reacts like a child.

    “These behaviours indicate two different states of maturity but, let’s be clear, Sebastian is an ace too; however, he struggles more in critical situations.

    “He looks almost unbeatable when he leads, but if he needs to catch up he becomes vulnerable.”

    Villeneuve downplayed Vettel’s performance in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, where the Red Bull driver finished in third position despite starting from the back.

    And the Canadian thinks Alonso deserves to win this year’s title.

    “For me, it has confirmed what I think about Vettel,” he added. “These are facts: while recovering from the back, he first got in contact with Senna who was ahead of him and damaged his front wing.

    “Then he lost control of his car and crashed under the safety car. A very serious error that had light consequences. As for the rest, he has shown to be super quick, but he was lucky and I’m not changing my mind: Alonso deserves the 2012 title more.”

    1. Anil says:

      Very true about Sebs Abu Dhabi race. the best result of his career but not the best drive by a long way.

    2. Jon says:

      He’s (SV) unbeatable from the front (only) when the car is unbeatable. If he was in the same/equal car and team as FA,LH or KR he would lose by a margin.

      1. JF says:

        That applies to anyone starting at the front. Not sure he would lose against any of those mentioned.

      2. Jon says:

        Absolutely. So his main ‘good point’ is he can lead from the front given the fastest car which probably the majority of the grid could do in an equal car…
        In my opinion there are a few more drivers on the grid and off who would beat (and have beaten) SV on equal terms. DIR, BUT, KUB to name a few.

    3. Jane Kay says:

      I read this article. And I strongly disagree. I think it’s very biased. Of course JV has the right to express his opinion, but I believe it is not fair. Look at some facts: Alonso is 31 now, Vettel is 25 – 6 year difference, quite a lot for an F1 driver if you ask me. Alonso is more composed, while Vettel is more cheerful. Alonso started racing in F1 in 2001 as one of the main drivers, Vettel in 2006 as the third driver. That gives Alonso an advantage of 5-6 years experience. I believe that Vettel has still a lot to learn, of which Alonso has already learnt (because of his longer experince). Both have different personalities too.
      I think the problem is they both deserve their thrid championship, but for different reasons. Alonso for maximising the car’s performance, Vettel for using every opportunity he had to score the best. Vettel does better in qualy, Alonso is usually better during the race.
      Lastly, I think that this year Ferrari let Alonso down.

      but this in my point of view and you may disagree :)
      Sorry for a long post.

      1. Tim says:

        You raise a valid point even though I have to admit Alonso stands alone this season for his driving skills. We’re seeing him at the peak of his powers now. You have to wonder what Vettel will be like in 6 years time when he’s seasoned a bit. Many attribute his success to Newey and that’s true in part. But so what? In the history of F!, the best drivers always find their way into the best cars, no matter what you may think of them. I think one of Vettel’s biggest advantages has been Christian Horner who has had his hands full guiding this kid through F1 the past 4 seasons. No champ is an island. Schumacher had Todt, Brawn and Byrne.

      2. Tim says:

        Hey Tim,
        don’t forget about Bridgestone. Bespoke rubber gives you more than wings. BTW, I like the name you use to post. Same I’ve been using for ~2yrs. Want me to stop using it? This could be confusing. Please let me know what you think. Thanks for your understanding in this matter.


      3. AuraF1 says:

        To be fair though Alonso was more mature 6 years ago than Vettel is. I’m not sure it’s age specific, just very different personality types. Some drivers get better with age, others get worse – it’s not remotely accurate to say drivers have a linear arc of speed and experience – I think great drivers can be very different people with a few skill sets that cross over.

        Just to put some things in perspective though – Alonso, despite these comments and his brilliant mind management hasn’t exactly been tantrum free in his career – he was screaming at petrov in 2010 (understandably so from his POV but still he was hardly mr cool) and we’ve heard Alonso freak out when Hamilton hasn’t been penalized before. Alonso also binned his car a lot in 2010 as the pressure of Ferrari hit him.

        I think Vettel clearly has less experience with overtaking and gets into a lot of scrapes – but then to be fair he tends to have started much of his short F1 career near the front and has had a lot less chance to overtake.

      4. Anop says:

        “Alonso started racing in F1 in 2001 as one of the main drivers”

        Fernando started in a Minardi which in 2001 was today’s HRT. Sebastian started in a Torro Rosso.

      5. Shane says:

        Seb’s first race was in a BMW (replacing an injured Kubica) @ Indianapolis in which he scored points (2007). First full season was with Toro Rosso (where he scored their only race win @ Monza).

        That said, Alonso has delivered in spades this season.

      6. Miha Bevc says:

        I fully agree with everything you say. And imagine Vettel at 31 years of age!

      7. db4tim says:

        Only if he continues to have a great car, he has not proven anything EXCEPT with a good car….food for thought

      8. Sebee says:

        EXTREMELY well summerized. I really like your highlighting of experience, which is constantly overlooked and dismissed.

        It’s like asking who is a better brain surgeon, the 48 year old doctor with 15 years of brain surgery under his belt or the 32 year old one on his second year. Obviously the more experienced one will have a cooler head and steady hand.

      9. JF says:

        Agree: People forget how young Vettel still is. He will continue to get better. Alonso is still getting better every year after all.

      10. Hansb says:

        True… but this is all about best driver of 2012 and only facts count…
        Its not about who will be the best driver at the age of 31.

      11. KRB says:

        Alonso’s first year was 2001, then he had a year as a reserve driver, then back in a race seat for 2003. Vettel gained a race seat midway through 2007. So say four-and-a-half seasons’ advantage.

    4. Jon Egerton says:

      Actually I agree with JV – that’s a reasonable assessment right now of where the two men are at.

      But I also think back 5 years to how Alonso was back then as a mid 20s year old, and in a lot of cases you could make the same comments about him.

      The truth (IMHO) is that, in the last number of years at Ferrari, Alonso has really matured into a real Pro and one of the great drivers. Sure Vettel still has a way to go on that, but what 30+ year old would honestly say they were grown up and mature (and not impulsive) when they were 25.

      1. Sebee says:

        I think we should have this coversation in 5 years. Freezing current achievements of Alonso at end of this season, and giving Vettel the 5 seasons he deserves to be same age as Alonso. I think it will be a much different result if we did compare them at same age and experience level – apples to apples.

      2. Hansb says:

        Wrong. This is about the best driver of 2012 not the best driver at the age of 31.

      3. Sebee says:


        If you insist, the answer for 2012 will be the driver who has most points after the flag in Brazil.

      4. Hansb says:

        No… most points go to the team/driver combination that has been doing the best job…. not necessarily to the best driver

    5. Onko says:

      Alex D well put. Alonso by far better driver
      in fact with no hesitation Alonso have to be
      grade it top five altime great F1 drivers
      Vetel has the top car and the pit-wall to
      match bar none under those circumstance one
      can’t rate him as a great,let us wait and see
      perhaps soon we will have an opportunity to see
      them on equal playing field.
      I have a gut feeling as on whom will the money.

      1. Sebee says:

        I think many fans here conveniently forget the Alonso of 5 years ago when he was same age as Vettel is today. Need I remind you that he was at Vettel’s age just as able to display youthful indiscretions for which many here conveniently crucify Vettel. I also like Vettel’s abresive unpolitically correct ways. I’m tired of drivers saying pre-programed lines. I’m also tired of hearing fans hand Vettel out to dry for the swearing incident when Kimi set the standard first. It’s as if this Vettel kid can’t win just because he’s Vettel. I hope he get a dog and keeps at it, because his success sure doesn’t seem to be making him any friends or fans for some reason.

        Bottom line:

        Alonso won his 2 with a faster/better car.

        Vettel has achieved as much by younger age, and will achieve more than Alonso.

        Vettel has not achieved success by accident or luck. You can be lucky once, you won’t be lucky thrice. in his case likey many more.

        I’m not saying by the way that Alonso is rubish. I’m just going to repeat my view that very little seperates the two. And without doubt Alonso at 25 years of age would be beaten by Vettel at 25 years of age.

      2. Wade Parmino says:

        With regards to the swearing on the podium; if those words were on a swear jar, Raikennen’s would be 50c and Vettel’s would be $2. ;)

        I think there is a limit to what one can get away with. David Coulthard didn’t appear impressed with Vettel’s behaviour (I’m sure DC would be fine with that sort of horsing around off camera of an international broadcast and not in front of super rich ultra conservative royalty). Vettel showed a lack of professionalism and respect. If it was Jackie Stewart conducting the interviews I don’t think Vettel would have behaved the way he did.

        Also, am I the only one who hates the way the post race interviews are done now. The traditional way, used for decades was perfect.

      3. Richard says:

        Alonso won two WDC without the best car, in 2005 was, ironicly, up against a Newey car too, and in 2006 he dismantled Ferrari when they had the best car, on both occasions, Alonso had the best car at the start of the season (and not for that long in 2005).

      4. Sam says:

        The post-race interviews on the podium are absolutely awful.

      5. NickSilv08 says:

        @ Richard. In 2005 Rai would have walked the championship if his Macca engine didn’t blow up almost every race.. Hence he won autosport driver of the year even without winning the chamionship. Arguably Alonso did have the best car in 2005 because his Renault was bullet-proof.

      6. Sebee says:


        2005 Newly car was fast but fragile. Newly was still perfecting his theories.

      7. Sebee says:


        Vettel did take it up a notch and your jar assessment is spot on.

        I don’t want to seem like I’m defending the guy all the time. But all we need to judge him on is what he does in the car. Everything else, I’m willing to let it all slide if he’s getting the job done. Which he sure is.

        If you have a sales guy and he closes all the deals and hits record sales for you year after year, are you going to give him a hard time for being late a few times or calling in sick a few days? At the end of the day I think we examine the drivers more closely now than ever before. If he’s winning and brining home the WDCs, I’m going to let other things slide. It appears that it is not the case with many fans. They don’t let it slide, with the finger constantly brought up. What no one realizes is that for the average casual fan that photo of him with his finger communicates the message in every language in every news outlet. You’re seeing me in this photo because I just won an F1 Grand Prix!

      8. Sebee says:

        By the way Wade, you sure as heck wouldn’t fire the guy who works hard, is on time, stays overtime, calls customers on his lunch break, etc. But as much as you may like that guy and his work ethic, if he’s not bringing home the WDC, well – truth be told, he may not be your favorite guy.

    6. AlexD says:

      I see that there are many messages here stating that Alonso did nothing impressive this year and that Ferrari is a great car. It is a great car, just not the greatest.

      Also…please read and think why Aonso’s life is not really very easy. In fact, he makes it seem a bit easier then it really is:


    7. NickIce says:

      Why listen to anything Jacques says.. did he deserve his championship? In a dominant newey car he only just beat Schumacher who was in a much slower car. He loves getting attention for himself by bashing the current drivers. Before this season, he actually wrote in F1 Magazine that it was a BIG MISTAKE of Lotus to take back Raikonnen.. How wise he is…

    8. Wahida says:

      Why is everyone comparing Vettel’s maturity level to an OLD MAN who had many years experience in F1??? Come on people, is this how we treat our future generation drivers??? Be nice people!!!! Please show some support, if not respect, for Vettel. Not all 25 year old can do what he do. Sure he’s got the best car, but that car will be useless without a good driver to drive it to victories. It can’t paddle itself to the finish line!!!!

      Everyone seems to be pining and clinging to the last night’s dream of Ferrari’s glory when a there’s a new sun rising in the horizon, the rise of Red Bull. Truth is, Alonso may not have another chance at this ever again and that’s why everyone is wishing and praying for it to happen.

      As for Vettel, it doesn’t really matter if he wins this year or if he’s the best driver, it is the results that counts. If he could win 2 championships at the age of 24 with only 4 years experience in F1 plus having so many WDC champions on the grid racing with him, I can’t wait to see how many more he will win in 20 years. Schumie’s records will be blown away!!!!

      1. puffing says:

        Gosh, do you really outcry that a 31-y-o man is an old man? How young are you? Still teenager?

  5. Veena says:

    I like to vote to vettel, but I dont like him due to his childish behaviour and stupid rants. He doesn’t behave like a champion he behaves like a school kid. I dont want to vote to Alonso as I dont like Ferrari and not a fan of Alonso but seeing the season I think Alonso had done a nice job than Vettel.

    It would have been nice it Kimi was there in the race, a three way race..

    1. John says:

      +1 about Iceman…2 years away, saunters back to finish in 3rd place overall, in a lesser car, what a stud. Priceless :)

      1. NickIce says:

        +1 Kimi is the best man in the paddock..no BS

    2. Gordon Q says:

      Baseless accusations. You realize most of the “rants” are blown out of proportion from the media? Raikkonen “rants” all the time, but everyone loves it when he does it because he does it with the “i-dont-give-a-damn” attitude.

      1. NickSilv08 says:

        “Raikkonen rants all the time” You must be watching a different sport to the rest of us. Vettel is always complaining about other drivers, Eg. Ricciardo in Abu Dhabi, which is fairly rich coming from Vettel cos we all know about his dodgy driving behind safety cars. Kimi is never complaining about other drivers… even when he has reason to like when Maldonado chopped him at the start in Valencia.

      2. Alex Y says:

        If my memory is correct, vettel said over the ricciardo incident after the race that he was caught out and should have been paying more attention.

        If he said something to the contrary over the radio during the race, i think that can be more put down to a heat of the moment reaction (e.g. alonso at abu dhabi 2010).

      3. Aaron Noronha says:

        If memory serves me right in 2010 silverstone gp Alonso was forced off the circuit and recovered to take the second half of Club corner, but passed Kubica in the process for which he was given a drive through penalty. But after overtaking off track Alonso too complained that he wouldnt give the position back. In fact there are many instances where Alonso has complained too. Against Hamilton when they were teammate I think at the US GP and against Massa in the German Gp, against Ralph Schumacher in Cananda in 2005. So Nick either you are deaf to Alonso’s rants just like most of the people on this blog are or you seem to be too much of a Vettel hater to realize that in the heat of the moment most drivers lose their cool

      4. NickSilv08 says:

        @ Aaron, I never mentioned Alo? I was talking about Kimi..if I am deaf maybe you are blind? But anyway, yes, I agree with you, Alonso rants just as much as anyone or probably the most. PS I am not a Vettel hater, quite like the guy and he’s bloody quick. Not a fan of the finger though

  6. Mitchel says:

    Alonso, no doubt.

    However, I’d be really interested in what goes into making a good start- how big a contribution does the driver have? Can’t remember if we have launch control now….

    Surely this should be a factor in car performance assessment?

    1. Anop says:

      Driver has to release the clutch initially and can make a difference. Fernando tweeted about this once. He said his average reaction time is 0.2 seconds and his best is 0.14 seconds.

      Ferrari sure have aced this area of their car. Fernando’s start is one of the things I look forward too in the race. Ferrari comes into its own in that 2nd phase of the start.

      1. Mitchel says:

        Thanks, that’s interesting stuff.

        Of course, I’d love to know what the other driver’s reaction times are- and a relative comparison of how their cars react.

        Maldonado managed a -0.5s reaction time at Spa!

        ….and of course Fernando has been guilty of that too..

  7. Stephen Hill says:

    Surely the answer is Adrian Newey!

    1. Jon says:


    2. Rob Newman says:

      Then why no one is talking about Webber? Is he a bad driver?

      1. Alberto says:

        He is not bad, is just that Vettel is better and Webber does not like Pirellis, it doesnt suit his driving style.

      2. Mitchel says:

        I would say he’s not bad….for a number 2 driver!

        Boom! Boom!

        Had to be said :)

  8. Lynn says:

    Whoever wins it does the better job.

    1. CanadaGP says:

      Whoever wins it has had the better team and factory. In F1 the driver is less than 50% of the equation. It is quite clear that RBR has bested Ferrari this year (and since 2009) on the team and factory sides.

      1. Sebee says:

        It is a team sport. Vettel is the “captain”.

        I agree with Lynn. Numbers don’t lie. Let’s look at the numbers in 2 races.

    2. CarlH says:

      Not really.

      I think if you consider the driver & team together then whoever wins has obviously done the better job, but that isn’t necessarily the case when narrowing it down to the drivers themselves.

      For instance, Jean-Eric Vergne and Bruno Senna will finish ahead of Heikki Kovalainen this season, but does that mean they have done a better job? Not by a long shot.

    3. CanadaGP says:

      Addendum: I pay more attention to the WDC than the WCC but in reality the WCC is a better indicator of who has done the better for the season. One can say that in some years there is a points champion in the WDC and a qualitative WDC champion by acclaim. Unless we see Seb and Fernando in a dream one-to-one on-track fight in the last 2 races, Vettel might end up points champion but Alonso might well be acclaimed as the best driver.

    4. Chromatic says:

      + 1

      Both ALO and VET have been superb this year, and both have also shown they are vulnerable in different respects. Whoever has the most points next sunday has done the best job.

    5. Kay says:

      What a lazy way of giving an assessment.

  9. aadil says:

    Hi James

    Whats your honest opinion on Ferrari?
    I would love to know!

    Yes upgrading windtunnels is a huge operation but Lotus did it last year and look at their car and how good it is!If they had the money and resources Ferrari did u cant help wonder if they would be seriously challenging Red Bull!

    Ferrari spend most part of 2011 working on this year and at Round 18 Abu Dabi they were slower then even Lotus even with Fernando Alonso sitting in the car!

    For me thats just un acceptable with the team of Ferrari’s size, their resources and money to be slower then a team with half of everything Ferrari have is just not on!

    Without Fernando performing the way he did you wonder just how many people @ Ferrari would still be in there current jobs!

    2013 seems to be a bleak year for Ferrari!

    Alonso’s motivation and determination is absolutely amazing but at the rate Ferrari are at they will kill even that off!

    Should Alonso loose the title im going 2 love seeing his reaction towards Ferrari!

    Theres only so much patients a man can have!

    1. James Allen says:

      There’s always next year!

      Red Bull has a fantastic technical group at the moment, as Ferrari had in 1997-2006. Ferrari’s isn’t at the same level. It’s cyclical.

      That’s it really.

      1. Masood says:

        james , it is more than cyclical. I mean how come Ferrari let Brawn go when you know what he along with others did for Ferrari. Stefano……ah over rated.

      2. John says:

        the cycle is caused by ferrari’s need to feel Italian! They can only be hopeless for so long then they bring in the foreigners. The likes of Brawn (English) and Todt (French) bring them back to the front and after a while the need to have Italians in the top job returns… until they fade again. The same applies to drivers sometimes.

      3. aadil says:

        Totally agree Masood!Ferrari thought they were too clever for their own good and letting Brawn go! 5 or 6 yrs down the line they still lack any direction!

        Luca will never admit he made a momumental error letting Brawn go!

        I feel desperately sorry for Alonso if he loses the title but as for Ferrari il be over joyed if they lose it! Its time the Alarm Bells start ringing in Maranello!

        The mess they in is completely self inflicted.

      4. Kay says:

        Maybe it’s the other way round that Brawn wished to leave and Ferrari couldn’t hold on even though they tried?

      5. aadil says:

        I totally agree James no team can continue winning titles forever dips in form are natural however lets not kid ourself’s its been already 5 years since they last won a title.

        I dont have a problem with them loosing form!its part of sport but what really annoys me is that Ferrari’s issues go beyond the windtunnel and they unwilling accept they have more fundemental issues and seem to be in complete denial!

        At the start of 1996 Ferrari were far worse off then they are now!But even back then there was sense of energy coming from the team a sense that they were working towards something greater!Jean Todt was a man with a master plan he knew what he needed to do to make Ferrari great and he went and did it!he had a vision!

        Stefano on the other hand just seems like a guy who’s trying to win a title for Ferrari because his under preasure too!With this team you dont get the feeling that theres a drive towards something greater!

        When you look @ Lotus you can feel they gaining real momentum theres a sense of energy a sense that they going somewhere!sumthing completely lacking from Ferrari!

        Take Williams for example they struggled for years and then last yr they made major technical changes and the team transformed over night which lead them 2 win a race this yr!

        What I am saying is in the same way Ferrari need new blood fresh ppl with new motivation new idea’s!it’s time they accept the current group of ppl bar Alonso dont cut it!

        Stefano as team manager has won nothing!
        Fry as a technical has won nothing!
        Tombazis as cheif designer has built Zero title winning cars!

        Fact is they a group of have nots.

        as for next year I am will to bet every last cent I have come the first pre season test in 2013 Ferrari will be off the pace!

        Unlike last year theres no ban on EBD’s to slow Red Bull down!

      6. Kay says:

        Williams’ tech change this year wasn’t down to ‘fresh ppl’, Mike Coughlan is an ex-McLaren man.

      7. aadil says:

        When I meant fresh ppl I meant ppl fresh to the team not new to F1.

        Mike maybe ex Mclaren but he was someone new @ Williams.

        The point is Williams appointments brought change to the team.

        When you have an old car and it keeps breaking down you can fix it 100 times but its still going 2 breakdown and therefore the best thing to do is replace the engine.

        Likewise certain ppl @ Ferrari have run their course their times up its time to make way for other ppl to be given a chance.

    2. Rob Newman says:

      When Todt and Brawn were in-charge at Ferrari, there was discipline. When Schumi parked his car in Monacao, A journalist asked Todt what happened and the answer came promptly ‘You ask him …!!’. They didn’t defend their drivers always.

      The situation now at Ferrari is, Alonso is God and he is the best and nothing bad should be told about him. They have painted a picture as if the car is bad and Alonso is over performing. The team hardly gets any credit or praise for what they are doing. There is lot of unhappiness within Ferrari because of this. There are some people grinding their teeth and waiting … the truth will be out one day…

      1. Elie says:

        Great Post Rob I agree completely.

      2. For Sure says:

        Wait what?? Ferrari were not happy? I thought they think they are lucky to have Alonso. No?? Pls ask Massa

  10. Vinto says:

    Should you include the start performance of the Ferrari vs the Red Bull – Alonso is making up an average of something like 1.5 places per start (Massa is higher), whereas the Red Bull seems worse than average (for both Seb and Mark).

    Also, average length of tyre stints or numbers of pitstops for tyres would give a measure of how good each car was for tyre life.

    Also, surely if Seb started further up the grid, then it was much harder to gain places. Especially in a slow-starting Red Bull vs a fast-starting Ferrari.

    And Seb tends to go for the fastest lap at the end of the race, something Fernando is less likely to do, so fastest laps are not ideal comparison – better to take the average of the 2nd through the 5th fastest.

    It seems to me that the cars are similar in race pace, the Red Bull is better in qualifying (especially recently) and the Ferrari starts better. Other than that it is very hard to say anything meaningful…

    1. GideanYates says:

      The Ferrari slow qualy speed and great launch control makes Alonso look great as his car is out of it’s natural race pace position.

    2. Aaron Noronha says:

      Your comments make sense. Ferrari cant get one or two laps performance out of their tyres which causes them to qualify lower(sometimes lower than teams like williams) but over the course of the race they tend to have less wear compared to the rest that is why Alonso is so strong in the race once 5 or 10 laps have passed. Only other two Drivers i can see extracting the most out of their tyres this year are Vettel and Kimi. No wonder they stand in the top 3 positions

  11. azac21 says:

    Fernando Alonso is clearly the better driver of the two. The BBC on-line guys somehow managed to make a nonsense of their greatest drivers countdown and place Vettel above Alonso (???!!!). A farce really!

    I am sure that Fernando the Great has been the stand-out driver this seasons for almost all of the fans. Vettel has been great but he is still a “kid” as Mr Andretti says…

  12. All the time you have to leave the space! says:

    Pat Fry has done the better job as he has had to listen all season about how bad his car was from Alonso when in fact he was the problem by not qualifying high enough…

    1. Anil says:

      Well someone is clearly too opinionated to try and have a balanced view.

      Alonso has pretty much always got the most out of the car in qualifying (bar Australia). The main problem is that the car’s DRS system firstly isn’t the most efficient but also it creates heavy instability under breaking.

      A quick onboard of ANY of Alonso’s low fuel laps will show that to you.

  13. Anil says:

    Out of interest james, what’s your personal view regarding this?

    Both have had terrific seasons, but Alonso has just been consistent week in week out (including some stunning performances). Since Spa 2010 he’s been near perfect in his driving.

    1. Brad says:

      well, he caused the collison with Kimi, so you’re right…near perfect

      1. yugin says:

        Not to encourage an argument on this but… personally, I don’t think it was Alonso’s fault.

  14. CarlH says:

    Put it this way, if they swapped cars at the start of this season Alonso would have the championship in the bag already.

    He’s the best driver on the grid (something that even Hamilton concedes) and he’s had probably his best season performance-wise.

    1. Kay says:


      Vettel hasn’t proved himself the ability to win with a bad car.

      Just too many Vettel fans and Alonso haters out there unwilling to accept this.

      1. rey cruz says:

        he won in a toro rosso in monza

      2. Kay says:

        Yeah yeah, that 2008 Monza again. Just that ONE race, ONE only, AND it was in the rain. Even a Virgin or Caterham have a chance to win in the rain.

        Look at Alonso, consistently bagging in maximum points possible from that car, race after race.

        Vettel hasn’t shown that.

      3. James Allen says:

        Go back and look at the first half of the season when the RBR wasn’t that good, also Spa. He’s “done an Alonso” on several occasions and that’s why he’s where he is now, as much as the 4 x 25 points since Singapore

      4. CarlH says:

        Honestly, how many times do Vettel fans bring up that one race?

        One race proves absolutely nothing. Olivier Panis once won Monaco, does that mean he was one of the best drivers in the field?

      5. CarlH says:


        How exactly was he “doing an Alonso” at the start of the season? The Red Bull he was driving was in no way as bad as the Ferrari Alonso had to deal with.

        Frankly at the start of the season it looked like Webber was dealing with the car slightly better than Vettel. In the first 10 races the score from finishing positions was 5/5. How many times did Massa finish ahead of Alonso?

  15. Kay says:

    It don’t matter even if Vettel wins it again this year, I think to the majority, Alonso is the 2013 champion, simply for achieving the impossible in the dog of a Ferrari.

    Whereas Vettel, like I said before, if he wins it, the topic of whether it’s him or the car that got him the title will forever haunt him.

    1. MrExasperated says:

      See the question I pose in response to comment 2 (after its comes out of moderation purgatory!!)

    2. Rockie says:

      I’m sure he would not lose sleep over that as all that matter is the record books not biased fans

  16. JFRM says:

    Vettel can be as good or better driver than Alonso, but compare his job this year with Alonso is an insult to the intelligence

  17. Mohammed Riaz says:

    yes for sure alonso is the superior driver, this years drive i liken to that of senna’s in 1993 where he won 5races in a non performing mclaren. he was sublime in the wet similarly alonso this year.

  18. Veena says:

    James, Can I know why you didnt mention Kimi while mentioning Hamilton? I think he has done a wonderful job than Alonso and Vettel.

    1. Kay says:

      Kimi’s having a shit. :D

      1. Brad says:

        a cannot fathom a response like this to a meaningful question asked…

      2. Brad says:

        I meant….I cannot….

      3. Peter C says:

        Did the smiley face mean that was funny?

      4. Veena says:

        :), might be James want to leave him alone

  19. Racyboy says:

    I voted Alonso and figured he’d win this poll,but not by that much…expected closer to 60/40.
    Vettel is a great driver, but there never seems to be much love from the fans.

    1. Msta says:

      I think Vettel has alienated himself from the fans by deliberately shoving his index finger in our face every time he takes pole or wins. Fair enough to be happy for being first but when he does it right into the camera lens its a very offensive gesture which translates as ‘I’m the best here and just in case you didn’t notice I’m better than you as well.’ No one likes a tall poppy and that’s why he has little love from the fans.

      It’s a shame really because every time I’ve seen him do some sort of media event such as Top gear, awards ceremonies, letterman etc, he comes across as a very likeable young man.

      1. Jake says:

        The team should get him race gloves that don’t have individual fingers, his popularity will increase considerably. :-)

      2. Kay says:

        Totally agree with you, Msta.

        Seriously think about it, what kind of people do you expect to see to do that sort of finger gesture? Footballers? Professionals? Bankers? Sports teachers? Nooo but 10 year old kids on winning the games they play.

        Like you said, I agree that fine doing that on winning the first time or so maybe. But consistently doing it just makes himself look childish. This is men’s sport, not kids.

        I’d definitely learn to like him better if he’s more mature, much like how I used to hate Alonso and now I like him for his professionalism. Vettel has only himself to blame for being unpopular.

      3. Sebee says:

        You know, we used to talk about this point since in a while. I think we forget that these are younger guys. Vettel in particular. And so you will have behaviour test is perhaps childish. This is always going to be a rubbing point. We just have to accept that as older fans and men we are not as impressed with these young dudes and that F1 is not a place where we can find role models anymore. Just sportsmen who do something we think is cool. And Vettel has the coolest toys, does the coolest things and probably works for the coolest brand. Red Bull marketing effort is like a guy’s dream from F1 to planes to crushed ice to skydiving from space. If we were kids we would all want to come over to Vettel’s house.

  20. Dave Aston says:

    Vettel. I think he’s done the best job since 2009. He seems to make the most of how they develop the package over the year. With so little testing, feedback from practice sessions must be crucial, compared to simulations.

    I think Ferrari need a stronger number 2 to bring a different perspective on how to make the car work over the weekend.

    On track, they’re both great, but I think Vettel has the edge. He’s young, and he never seems to quit.

    I don’t think anyone over 18 thinks it’s simply Newey; if it was, he wouldn’t have gone ten years without designing a title winning car. I think Vettel is the unfair advantage, and if he was at Ferrari, he’d be on top too.

    1. Tone says:

      “He’s young, and he never seems to quit.”

      Can’t recall Alonso quitting much this year.

      1. Sam says:

        +1 to Tone.

        His determination to catch Kimi at the end of the Race in Abu Dhabi was but one example of how hard Alonso pushes! Didn’t you see how drained he looked in the Podium anteroom??

        Alonso gives it absolutely everything in every race.

        I think this is a silly thing to try and split them on.

    2. Kay says:

      Plenty of GP2 or lower formula drivers who never quit.

  21. All revved-up says:

    Just to be clear, I love the sport, this website with all the knowledgeable fans commenting and James for his tremendous contribution to our enjoyment as fans.

    I just want to be straight forward to say honestly that I am disappointed with such a topic. I seldom am disappointed with this website.

    As an F1 fan I find it so disrespectful to the F1 drivers who have dedicated their careers to try to win the WDC. Performing under tremendous pressure of a race weekend.

    We could say that Senna and Prost had the dominant McLaren, Mansell and Piquet had the dominant Williams turbo Renault engines, Schumacher had a dominant Ferrari Bridgestone for a stint, button had a dominant Brawn double diffuser, Villenueve and Hill a dominant Williams etc

    Perhaps Kovalainen is the more worthy WDC if we adjust for his slow Caterham. Who really knows?

    To me this sort of “fun” debate at the expense of fellow human beings who have strived so hard to be an F1 champ, is just plain disrespectful.

    Had to get it off my chest. Thanks for indulging me.

    1. JPS says:

      well said. agree 100%.

    2. Tornillo Amarillo says:

      I disagree. IMO if the driver is good, he will be head-hunted by the best teams in F1 if the opportunity araise, and the combination will give him WDC (exemple maybe Perez now?).

      And it is more than driving, it is also talking with the boss, please the key managers, talk with engineers, to the press, in PR events, etc., the whole package (exemple Vettel?).

    3. TitanRacer says:

      all 24 drivers are pretty incredible along with a number on the sidelines and some hopeful new talents, so, well said analysis, but I do not agree about the disrectful part. this is a narrowly crafted article about the only two left in the Championship

    4. Bismarck says:

      +1. Sometimes all this if, should, could, and would debates are a bit much.

    5. Rob Newman says:

      Agree. This topic shouldn’t have come at all.

      1. Tone says:

        The original post mentioned that Senna, Prost, Mansell, Schuey etc had dominant cars but none of them were pushed by a driver in a clearly inferior car hence why this debate exists.

        Nearest I can think was Schu V Kimmi in 2003 but MS scored 7 victories to 1 if memory serves so no such debate.

        With 2 races to go, Alonso can make a pig of it and the whole year’s effort would be a distant memory.

        As it stands, I believe Alonso has been/is the better driver and deserves it more.

    6. Andrew says:

      The difference is that we had comparisons between the drivers because Prost and Berger swapped cars in 1990. Lo and behold it was still them fighting for the title in 1990. Prost was also faster than Lauda and Rosberg previously. Mansell was faster than Piquet.

      Kovalainen had his chance with Renault and then especially with Mclaren and wasn’t up to it.

      We know that Alonso is very good because of comparisons with his previous teammates, many of them fast drivers like Fisichella, Trulli, Hamilton, Massa. Similarly, we know more or less where Hamilton and Button sit.

      All we know about Vettel is that he is better than Webber, particularly at making his tyres last in the race. Furthermore, Vettel wasn’t outstanding in the lower formulas and was beaten one year by Di Resta. Senna and Hamilton in particular dominated in the lower formulas.

      Also, when the Red Bull hasn’t been the best car he has tended to be slower than Webber in qualifying.

      We need to see Vettel against another driver. If not Hamilton, Alonso or Raikkonen then someone like Maldonado would be good.

      1. Andrew says:

        Senna and Prost fighting for the title in 1990

      2. Rockie says:

        The year Diresta beat him Vettel was racing in two other series and was fri driver for BMW-Sauber also look at the previous season and how Vettel beat him also in lower formular Vettel won 18 racces in a season that dont come from luck also success in lower formulas dont guarantee success after all Schumacher was beaten in lower formula alsso Diresta has not beaten a team mate in F1 andd you have the nerve to compare him to Vettel he could not get a seat in a top team.

      3. Andrew says:

        I’m not saying Di Resta is a top driver.

        But if you look at the records of Senna/Prost/Hamilton/Raikkonen or even people like Montoya, pre formula one you will find that they are much more impressive than Vettel’s. Nobody ever beat Senna.

        Yet, Vettel will be a triple world champion, probably quadruple this time next year. Just because he has the best car.

        I repeat, we need to see him against another fast driver to be able to judge how good he is.

    7. Craig in Manila says:


  22. Jon says:

    I’m a massive F1 fan but the problem with the sport is there are so many variables.
    And how good a driver is is not proportional to the number of WDCs won.
    Lady luck plays a huge part. Being at the right place at the right time.

    1. Rockie says:

      Being at the right place at the right time is what makes a driver great.
      Also what James and all F1 journalists and commentators have forgotten is Raikkonen was let go by Ferrari for Alonso who they said then would lead the team forward with his developmental skills which has not happened and commentators and journalists are quiet about this now he voices out that he’s racing Newey, when he said he brought six tenths to Mclaren he forgot they had engineers but now he has a relentless competitor he remembers Newey, and to all the people saying he deserves the title would they be saying this if Hamilton was still in the title fight?

      1. snailtrail says:

        Its a team sport people.

        You could have the:

        Best driver
        Best designer
        Best budget
        Best whatever

        -these do not make you win. Varying decrees of the above contents of a team will help you win – along with some luck.

        Place Newey and his team of designers at HRT and see what he could do with no money = nothing.

  23. Best driver = Alonso. Best team = Red Bull.

    1. zx6dude says:


      James you should put like/dislike options on people’s comments

      1. James Clayton says:

        I don’t think so, if the comment your basing your suggestion is anything to go by. All you’d have then is a load of one liner comments like Gareth’s, which don’t offer any real debate or insight and hence don’t add any real value, being voted up

  24. Michael says:

    Alonso then Hamilton. It’s all about the car at Redbull. I would even choose Raikkonen over Vettel.

    1. Anne says:

      I also choose Raikkonen over Vettel. This year Kimi has been driven better than when he won the championship

      1. James Clayton says:

        How do you know? What are you basing this on? He’s doing better than Grosjean but for all we know, Grosjeaun may be a really, really poor driver and Kimi not doing particularly well. Perhaps Alonso, Vettel, or Hamiltom may have wrapped the championship up by now in that car?

        I’m not saying that’s my opinion, because it isn’t, but the fact is we just don’t know how well Kimi is doing in that car.

      2. Anne says:

        Kimi is 3rd place in the WDC and he has been there for a while before winning his first race. He is driving a car that had a lot of ups and downs, included the DDRS that never worked. Kimi has been the most consistant driver along with Alonso. He is always out there trying to win as many points as he can. Keep in mind he was out of F1 for the last 2 years and it doesn´t look like he has been gone

      3. NickSilv08 says:

        Well James Clayton on that basis how do we know ANYTHING about any of the drivers?! Absurd thing to say. Maybe Alonso is really slow as he’s only been up against post accident Massa? Perhaps Kimi or Hamilton would have wrapped up the championship in the Ferrari??

  25. Irish con says:

    In my opinion they are the best 2 drivers on the grid with Hamilton and kimi 3rd and 4th. Both will go into the record books as all time greats. Both stood out from a early age. Both are great team leaders and there respective teams love the 2 of them. Vettel gets a hard time from people who don’t like that he stepped into the best car from the start basically. In my opinion seb is the best on Saturday but alonso is the best on Sundays but only just. James if u was a team boss who would you take.

    1. JF says:

      Don’t forget Vettel started in Toro Rosso.

      1. Sam says:

        A Toro Rosso isn’t exactly an HRT, which is where Alonso started with Mindardi.

      2. JF says:

        Funny you should say that. Torro Rosso was a Minardi once.

      3. Sam says:

        Slightly different bank account though!

      4. Martijn says:

        The only cars faster than the STR2 were Super Aguri and Spyker. You can’t compare early Toro Rosso to Toro Rosso today.

  26. Chromatic says:

    James, may I ask a slightly off topic question, in a way relevant to the safety of whoever is champ next year..
    do you know why Bernie [or Todt} has sacked the current FIA doctor?

    1. Doohan says:

      A car that at the time was regarded as being better then the RedBull

  27. olivier says:

    It is a choice between History and Fairy tale.

    History: Vettel will be the youngest (and probably first ever) back to back to back triple World Champion.

    Fairy Tale: Alonso will be World Champion in what appears to be an inferior car.

    My heart says Alonso, but Vettel deserves the title as well. At the end Vettel did survive the gruesome mind games of both Alonso and Hamilton. Not? :)

    1. Baghetti says:

      I think there was someone that took 5 consecutive driver championships…

      1. Miha Bevc says:

        yes, but they were not his first titles, he won his first two before that…

    2. Dave Aston says:

      Probably first ever?

    3. Kay says:

      Ain’t like as if mind-games can kill you.
      If mind-games is what makes a driver more deserving than the other, might as well call it Formula Mind Games.

      1. Brad says:

        Olivier was just referring to the extra pressure that Alonso (and Hamilton in sounding very bitter) tried to exert on Vettel, which did’nt seem to work and borne out of hopelessness…and which has absolutely nothing to do with the actual competitiveness on track, hence the word gruesome.

        Once again I can’t fathom a response like this…..

  28. Jon Egerton says:

    I note that this and the Andrew Benson BBC article are cross linked. Very incestuous!

    I thought Andrew Benson’s article was a little (actually quite a lot) biased:

    He has penalised Vettel for incidents that were reviewed, and had no action taken.

    Then rather scraped the barrel when looking for reasons why Alonso has lost opportunities for points – all those strategy “fails” could be found on any of the teams if you look hard enough – I’m sure there were enough at Red Bull too.

    1. Msta says:

      Yes but I wouldn’t be surprised if 90% of the Red Bull strategy fails just happened to affect Webber as opposed to SV.

      1. Doohan says:

        As the poorly timed stop
        In Abu Dhabi is anything to go by

  29. Luke Potter says:

    Sorry to be off topic, but do you have any background on the Gary Hartstein story, James? It seems unfathomable to me that the FIA would not want to renew his contract.

  30. abashrawi says:

    I would have known, and therefore voted, if I know which car is better. Truth is we don’t know. We are using drivers’ qualification and race performance to judge which car is better, and therefore which driver is better? Mathematically that doesn’t work.

    What if Ferrari was overall the better car, and Alonso is underperforming? What if RB is massively better and Vettel is just edging ahead with his mediocre performance?

    You could say that using the second driver will reveal the better driver, but again, how do we know if Webber is performing better than Massa this year (as a driver)? What if Massa was psychologically destroyed this year, and Alonso is just doing ok but way ahead because his teammate isn’t near as good as he should be? What if that was the case with Webber?

    So many ifs that I can’t make my mind, but I will say that whoever wins the title will be a worthy WDC.

    1. James Allen says:

      I think they are both benchmark drivers. There might be the odd tenth here or there that goes missing over a season but their fastest time in qualifying is a pretty accurate picture of which car is faster race to race

      1. GideanYates says:

        Perhaps another way of looking at this is if your Ferrari/McLaren/Red Bull which of Alonso/Hammy/Vettel would you want as your number 1 driver (ignoring any Marketing angles and assuming they will all sign for the same amount). I would take Vettel as he’s the youngest and likely needs the least management.

      2. Kay says:

        Vettel always needs slaps on his backs after he is out of races.

        Others? They just get on with life.

        Looks like the kid needs more management issues than others.

    2. ferggsa says:

      RBR is 422 points to Ferrari’s 340, or 20% more
      If Vettel is driving as good as Alonso, and Webber as poorly as Massa, RB is the fastes car

      I posted this before, but if you consider their car number, last year’s cars performance(and mostly this year as well) and driver status in the team you get this standings:

      SV is #1 and currently in 1st, even
      FA is #5 and 2nd, so he is up 3 slots
      KR is #9 and 3rd, up 6 (although Lotus is faster than MB this year, so really up 4)
      MW is #2 and 4th, down 2
      LH is #3 and 5th, down 2
      JB is #4 and 6th, down 2
      FM is #6 and 7th, down 1
      NR is #8 and 8th, but if Lotus and Sauber have been faster than MB, he is up 4, not to mention has the most slots (7)between team mates with none other than MS himself

      So best effort of the season, sorry Kimi fans you were close but I am voting for Nico

      To be honest I do thimk Seb has what it takes, but as with Schumi in the past it is no fun to see a good driver in the best car run away from everybody else, and that is why Alonso is being voted so higly, getting the best from a so so car

      1. KRB says:

        JB’s in the #3 car this year, owing to scoring more points last year.

      2. Sam says:

        I think it’s a bit rough to equate Webber’s performance to Massa’s. Massa has come good since Singapore, but I think Webbers consistent start to the season and pair of wins might have something to say about it.

    1. KRB says:

      He’s driven really well this year. Only driver to not miss out on Q3 this year.

  31. CCC4321 says:

    I voted Alonso, if he wasn’t taken out twice he would still be leading the Championship. Send Alonso to ROC.

    1. TitanRacer says:

      YES!! I have a whole bunch of respect for most drivers in a whole host of racing/rally/dirt short track/offroad series. I long for the days when it was easy to argue who the best of the best were because most raced and won in nearly every bad-ass car they wheeled around the track. too many sponsors and attorneys and more extensive seasons involved today for that to ever happen again, but sure would luv to see the ROC expanded to a mini-series somewhat like the original years of the IROC.

      1. James Clayton says:

        ” I long for the days when it was easy to argue who the best of the best were because most raced and won in nearly every bad-ass car they wheeled around the track.”

        Hmm. When was that?

    2. Dex says:

      He wasn’t taken out in Suzuka.

    3. abashrawi says:

      He almost took someone with him in Suzuka.

  32. Honkhonk says:

    Alonso obviously has done the better job, anyone who can look at the year objectively and has average intelligence should know this. Some people here are still raving about Ferrari’s starts…have you watched the last few races? Alonso hasn’t started well in fact in the two recent ones he was slow but his decision making and skill after have him making places early. Frankly, we’ve already seen Alonso polled as the best driver in F1 by both team bosses and drivers alike, even during Vettel’s championship year. It’s not even a question… It’s obvious. If Ferrari gave him a Mclaren or Red Bull to drive I believe he’d be the champion already…

    It’s over though for this year. The difference between the Ferrari and Red Bull is significant, and the sheer luck Vettel got in the last race despite crashing into 2 things twice tells me destiny has Alonso losing this year. I’m going to spend the next 2 races focusing on 2 great names that are leaving the sport, Senna and Schumacher. Hopefully they get into a fierce battle to give us a glimmer of what may have been. The battle at the front has been won by team Newey, so I’ll be focusing on the midfield rather than Vettel in his fast car with fully functioning KErs. If I wanted to watch a blonde princess squeal with abhorrent delight, I’ll watch Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

  33. Lojen says:

    As good a driver as Seb is, I think it’s no coincidence that his improvement over the second half of the season has coincided with the development of the car to make it handle more like the 2011 RBR. It’s also not a coincidence that Webber has dipped in form during the same period as Webber struggled a bit with the 2011 characteristics with the off throttle exhaust blowing.

    Alonso on the other hand has maintained a high level all season long with a car that is not quite as good for the most part as the McLaren and Red Bull (though it’s not as bad as some may have you believe I think).

    1. KRB says:

      Well, it’s 2nd in the WCC, and there on merit. The McLaren has been faster thru the season, but nowhere near as reliable. Don’t get any points if you don’t cross the line.

      If Alonso wins the DWC, it will likely be with Ferrari 2nd in the WCC, and his teammate 7th in the DWC. Same as Hamilton and McLaren in 2008.

  34. McLaren78 says:

    Everything is relative and subject to perception. And of course I sympathise with those who may say that such discussions are fruitless at best and insulting to drivers at worst. But in any case, F1 fans are intelligent and knowledgable. When we see the results of this poll, won’t be just about perception. It will be about what each driver has achieved over their career so far and this season. Stats only tell half the story. Watching each race weekend in, weekend out, that’s what forms an opinion for a driver. Senna is not the greatest driver because he won 3 titles in a dominant car, but because of the way he did and what he did the years in non-dominant cars. It’s one story winning titles in a dominant car, and winning races and titles in a capable of winning races car.
    Best drivers of the year, Hamilton and Kimi, flawless. Closely followed by Alonso and after these, Vettel.

  35. Dave Deacon says:

    Vettel remains unconvincing given Newey’s huge input to his success. Obviously luck is a part of everything we do. Some people, however, seem to have more than their fair share… SV has lucked into the best car on grid. There’s no doubt that any one of the top drivers would win the WDC if he was in that car and many likely before now.

    I think SV has a certain charm with the right people and as such is liked and promoted.

    Alonso has grit and determination even without the best car. He’s been very impressive this year. Consistently taking the best point he can get and often more than the car deserves.

    I think people will think Alonso won even if Vettel wins.

    To be honest, I don’t like either of them. I’d rather see JB or LH in the RBR car. Had they been, then the title would have long gone.

  36. Malcolm says:

    Fernando without question, and I believe that also Lewis has done a better job than Vettel.

  37. Nuno says:


    For me there is something that differenciate both drivers apart from the car. Alonso didnt put a foot wrong all year and Seb did in more than one ocassion…example Malaysia.
    As someone mentioned before, if Alonso was on a Red Bull or even a Mac he had the championship on his bag (it hurts me saying this since Im a Ferrari Fan but it is the truth)

    1. Rob Newman says:

      According to my cousin who’s name happens to be James, you have been reading too much tabloid and listening to journalists who have had too much Chianti from Marenello. Alonso has put his foot wrong many times; both in qualifying and in the race.

      Also, he had a winning McLaren but couldn’t win; be was beaten well and truly by a rookie. So putting him in a better car will not give him the championship unless he has Massa beside him to move over or stay behind him.

      1. Nuno says:

        It’s your opinion and I respect that. Btw say hello to your cousin and learn to watch F1.

      2. Kay says:

        I don’t read much from tabloids and listening to journalists other than James here. I watch F1 races and these races tell me Alonso didn’t do much wrong other than maybe Suzuka. If driving a bad car lead to bad starting slot is being wrong, then driving with the best car there is to win is a sin.

        McLaren years, do you seriously think it helps when the team publicly tells the world they are behind the other driver and against you? See what happens if your boss tells the whole company publicly that they are all working but against you.

      3. Rob Newman says:

        You don’t blackmail your manager to get number one status, do you?

      4. KRB says:

        That line has been so OVERBLOWN, just as Smedley’s “destroy Hamilton’s race!” radio message to Massa last year in Singapore was totally overblown. It’s how the teams talk.

        In Hungary this year, when Lotus were telling both Kimi and Grosjean that they were racing each other, were they actively working against either driver?! NO! They were being a proper racing team! Race as hard as you can, even against your teammate (just don’t come together!).

        If McLaren was actively working against Alonso in the latter stages of 2007, he never would’ve made it past 5 laps in any of those races, before having a mechanical breakdown.

        I’m pretty sure that Alonso himself has accepted that yeah, Hamilton is very fast (if not the fastest over a single lap), and that perhaps he might’ve let his paranoia get the better of him in 2007.

      5. Peter C says:

        So they built a specially bad car for Alonso, is that what you’re saying?

        Or…..he didn’t get enough looove & McL “publically told the world” they were against him?

        That would make most people fight like hell to prove them wrong. Unless they had just built you a specially bad car.

  38. Tornillo Amarillo says:

    I’ve voted Alonso, but… If Vettel wins 1 or both remaining races, I will change for Vettel, the “year” is not finished yet!

    Vettel is not good enough, but the combinantion Vettel-RBR-Marko-Newey is a winning one, highly effective (however not entertaining).

  39. iceman saleh says:

    I voted for Vettel
    because he deserves it more than Alonso
    he got problems more than Alonso and he still fighting to wim
    while alonso with a good car can’t win unless by retirements of his rivals or by luck and cheating

    1. Kay says:

      Alonso with a good car? Has Alonso been participating in underground races with a Ferrari road car or something that the world knows nothing about??!

  40. sp says:

    a lot of mention about vettel only winning due to his car. however Mr webber has had the same machine and never really done the job, and he is rated as good driver. yes vettel has had best car but he has made the most of it.

    I ain’t even a fan of his,quite the opposite, but credit where its due.

    1. NickSilv08 says:

      +1 Webber is not on the same level as Ham/Alo/Rai/Vet

  41. Fireman says:

    Vettel has done better job this season by ten points so far. Everything else is just pointless speculation.

  42. Beatle Ed says:

    Alonso is a monster as a driver, even with an unbalanced Ferrari he could manage to be on top five for the whole season. Massa, with the very same car struggled like a rookie.
    But Ferrari failed in give him a better equipment on the last half of season.

    Vettel was also very consistent during all the championship.
    When RedBull had finally made RB8 a great car he became an invincible warrior. His race in Yas Marina was amazing!
    Webber, with the very same car couldn’t get even close enough.

    My Vote is for Vettel for getting the job done better.

  43. Simon says:

    Alonso has been a class act this year and has earned the vast majority of his points fighting cleanly with other cars. Once RBR had improved, SV did his usual (and honestly very boring trick) of doing an excellent pole lap and first few race laps before effectively cruising to victory. One can appreciate SV’s skill but it is the monotonous format of these victories that disappoints. It looks like SV will become champion again this year; this would be unfortunate for the sport and most fans.

    1. NickSilv08 says:

      Laughable… So what is Sebatian Vettel meant to do to impress? Maybe they should let him only have 3 wheels? Then when he wins through skill (look at webber in the same car) no-one (like you) will whinge constantly.

  44. iceman says:

    My impression is that over the course of the season, the Red Bull has been at worst, equal fastest car with the McLaren The McLaren was faster early on, the Red Bull’s faster now. The Ferrari has been the 3rd fastest car over the course of the season.

    If Vettel wins the title, it will be more of what we’ve seen the last two years – him becoming champion in the fastest car. If Alonso wins it, in the third fastest car, it will be one of the greatest championship wins ever.

    1. Dino says:

      I could not say better than you in my own words.

      By the way, your Iceman has been amazing this year too, really happy for him and for the sport.

      I feel for Hamilton, another year and another lost opportunity for the arguably most talented driver after Senna.

  45. Bismarck says:

    Alonso cant win a championship unless he is an underdog. 2005 he was and he won, 2006 he was going against Schumacher and was the underdog and won. Then 2007 he was the top dog and crumbled, 2010 he was the top dog and leading the championship and lost. This year he was able to create the ultimate underdog situtation for himself while racing for Ferrari of all teams. Unfortunately everyone continues to drink the kool aid that his car is not that good despite it being one of the most reliable and one of the quickest(in the race). Alonso is good no doubt but not what everyone is creating out of all this.

    1. AlexD says:

      Ferrari is one of the quickest and Red Bull is the quickest. In F1, one of the quickest is not relevant…really….only one can win and the quickest car is a massive advantage.

      1. Bismarck says:

        Massive advantage? We are talking about Formula 1 here. Red Bull and Ferrari are the top two teams right now and I would hate to think the performance between their cars are that far apart. If it was then Alonso would not still believe he could win the championship. It is not like Vettel is driving an invincible rocket like some like to believe, the Red Bull has had problems too and has not always been the fastest.

      2. Kay says:

        You are basing ‘top two teams’ on points.
        McLaren lost the #2 seat on WCC table due to tripping over themselves, but that does not make them #3 best after Ferrari.

      3. KRB says:

        How doesn’t it Kay? Ferrari has 33 race finishes vs. 27 for McLaren. That’s six less chances to score some points. Even if they only scooped up minor points (say 4pts each time), that would be enough to put McLaren ahead (just).

        The McLaren has been faster on Saturdays, and most Sundays when it’s finished. The last three words of that sentence are the keywords. No points for poles or forward grid slots on Saturday.

        It’s not like Ferrari have a better driver pairing that explains their #2 ranking. Alonso and Hamilton have been a saw-off this year – slight edge to Alonso – while Button (even in a bad year) is still better by some ways than Massa.

      4. Bismarck says:

        Why wouldn’t it? Ferrari has not tripped over themselves like mclaren so I would say that makes them a better team. Points are a pretty reliable judging system, otherwise you just start getting into the world of “if”.

      5. Bismarck says:

        Both drivers are really good and in my opinion both probably deserve the title, I just get a little fed up with the overhyped mythical status people are giving Alonso and the lack of credit vettel gets. I dont care who you are you don’t get two championships by not being a really good driver and that goes for both of them.

  46. Tim says:

    Which driver has done a better job this year?

    Alonso. He has punched above his weight by using his race-craft judiciously.

    Vettel has performed admirably (in an admirable car) from GP to GP. However, he has not felt the pressure to be inch perfect, race in and race out, as Alonso has.

    Alonso – Grade: A+
    Vettel – Grade: A


  47. Andy says:

    Based upon the equipment they have had, it’s Alonso, but not by much.
    Alonso has been super consistent and generally maximised his scoring opportunities.
    As for Vettel, it’s difficult to assess anyone who has had a relatively short career, predominantly in the best team. He’s on the verge of his third world title and the Red Bull hasn’t always been the best car this year.
    The only accurate benchmark for Vettel is Webber. If you rate Webber highly then Vettel is well up there, then you get into arguments about how Webber is treated in the team, equal equipment, reliability etc.
    If Alonso wins the championship, he’s done the best job by a margin. If Vettel wins, he gets it by a whisker.
    The only way you can make any accurate comparison is if they drove for the same team.If both Vettel and Alonso were to drive for Red Bull, even then I’d doubt they would be treated equally, not while Dr M is hovering in the background.

  48. Rob Newman says:

    First of all I am not surprised by the results. But for me, Vettel has done a better job. Red Bull may have had a faster car occasionally but their reliability record has been very poor where as Ferrari has been bullet proof. Webber is driving the same car but where is he? Why is he not first or second or third in the championship? So who is making the difference? Newey or Vettel?

    The media made it sound as if the Ferrari is a bad car but Alonso has done a great job. When Ferrari won in wet, none of the leading teams could catch them. You can’t win or get pole without a good car. Of course Alonso had profited more when Lewis and Vettel had mechanical failures. He has been very lucky and it has got nothing to do with skills.

    In the early days, Vettel explored different options with setup and parts and at times he failed which he acknowledged. But he helped to develop the car.

    But at Ferrari everything is Alonso focused and he got what he wanted but he is not good at developing a car. Alonso lacks confidence and has done mistakes but the media likes to downplay them. If something goes wrong at Ferrari, it is always the team and not Alonso.

    Vettel has done a tremendous job both on and off the track and I want him to walk away with the third crown this weekend.

    1. AlexD says:

      You have been just as brainwashed:-)

    2. iceman saleh says:

      I agree with you mate
      very convinced opinion

      Vettel has done a tremendous job both on and off the track and I want him to walk away with the third crown this weekend.

      I Hope So

    3. KRB says:

      RBR have had three retirements thru mechanical breakdowns.

      Ferrari have had none, it’s true, but I reckon RBR is 2nd best on that score.

  49. ciau says:

    I stopped reading when you referred to this “good piece” by BBC pal Andrew Benson.
    You can also spare us the voting system, as if the outcome isnt clear.

    After almost 10 months of brainwashing by the BBC (pro Alonso) and News Corp/Sky/Planet F1 (pro Hamilton) i am also convinced now that Sebastian Vettel is basically a german village idiot who shouldnt be driving on a public road let alone be in F1.

    I guess in sports Britain is only good in hyping its own underachievers and coming up with good excuses when things don`t turn out the way as planned by the british media itself.

    Good luck with Hamilton, Button, DiResta and Chilton (lol) in the future !

    1. regis says:

      I cannot watch BBC from where I live but I find it quite surprising that you mention the BBC as pro Alonso.

      Is this based on a particular journalist / commenter who likes Alonso?

      1. Anne says:

        The comment is about the BBC website. There is journalist Andrew Benson. He is chief writer. He is always accused of bias by fans. Some people say he is bias against Hamilton, others say he is pro Alonso, other say he is anti Vettel,etc. So it´s in the eye of the beholder I guess

    2. Bismarck says:

      +1. Brainwashing is a good way of putting it, I call it drinking the kool aid, and a lot of people think that kool aid tastes really good ;)

      1. NickSilv08 says:

        Benson absolutely adores Alonso…

    3. Kay says:

      I watch neither, I don’t live anywhere close to Europe and so my opinions aren’t affected by any media. Alonso still comes out top on my list just from watching races alone.

      1. JF says:

        Based on your comments I assumed you didn’t watch F1 period

      2. Peter C says:


    4. Hiten says:

      I 100% agree with your observation.

  50. Lost says:

    It is very easy. Alonso has done a better job, but I’m afraid he will lose. And that might well happen this weekend already.

    If Alonso would win, he would achieve something that Schuey failed to achieve in 1997. That would be good for F1.

    Vettel has driven well this year, a lot more convincingly than in 2010, so it would not be a disaster if he would win. But there is a problem. Politely said, it is difficult to like his behavior.

  51. Dex says:

    It is tough choice, really!
    But i don’t understand why everyone think that Ferrari sucks. It is probably the best car in wet conditions this year and at the start of season Ferrari was maybe even faster than Red Bull. Even in dry, Alonso was second in Spain, Vettel sixth. In Monte Carlo, Montreal, Silverstone, Budapest… they were evenly matched. And in Valencia, everyone was full of praise for Fernando’s drive and it was clear that Seb was in his own league, but he had a bad luck. In Monza, Ferrari was probably the fastest car, but nobody point to that fact. Yes, RB is dominant from Singapore, but that’s not the case in first 13 races. Seb make most out of his car all season long, just like Fernando. And when he has the fastest machine, he is almost unstoppable. Most people underestimate Vettel’s performance and that is why i vote for him.

    P. S.
    I am big fan of Kimi and really think that his performance this season, especially after two years absence, is fascinating too.

    1. Kay says:

      Ferrari best car in the wet? Did you forget about Malaysia where Perez in a Sauber was catching him at like 1-2 seconds per lap?
      You say most people underestimate Vettel’s performance, but you failed to state why. Alonso showed himself able to drive a dog of a car to win. Vettel? Haven’t proven that yet.

      1. nusratolla says:

        Ferrari being a dog of a car is just a propaganda and nothing more

      2. NickSilv08 says:

        Yes Ferrari is the best car in the wet..he wouldn’t have got into the lead if it wasn’t. Perez was catching when the track was dry. Did you also forget about Silverstone and Hockenheim soaking qualifying and the Ferrari was clearly the best in those conditions? He wouldnt have got pole at either of those events if it hadn’t been extremely wet.

  52. AlexD says:

    Alonso will be inspired to see results of this poll….

  53. Val from montreal says:

    Hey Allen , why cant you do a ” who was better analysis” of the years 1997 , 1998 , 1999 , 2005 & 2006 …?? Did you know that there is only 2 drivers in the sports history to have won 3 wdc’s in a row …. Fangio and Schumacher … Add soon Vettel to that list !!!

  54. colin grayson says:

    surely the ferrari is the best car !
    how many failures this season?
    to finish first etc

  55. F1 Bobby says:

    Hard to split Alonso and Hamilton this year, both have been virtually flawless.

    McLaren can only blame themselves for falling well short this year, Alonso was a passenger in both of his retirements and through it all Vettel is marching on to his third straight title. Crazy year.

  56. Alonso for me (i feel he has been more consistent) – but it is so close, hence the question

    We are lucky to have the opportunity to watch so many great drivers this year

    I hope it goes down to the last race and I hope it rains in Brazil

  57. Jon says:

    Currently 87% FA, 13% SV, 13% kidding themselves.

  58. Schumi says:


    I am loving it. If Vettel wins in Austin (which i think he will), I would love to see all these Telfonso fan sad and disappointed on sunday. A very worthy champ – Sebastian Vettel !

    1. iceman saleh says:

      me too

    2. AlexD says:

      I am a Ferrari fan, so I will not be jumping for joy if Alonso is not going to win. I honestly think that he is a better driver this year (I was never his fan, I supported Schumi).

      But…it is just sport…has nothing to do with my personal life, I do not really care. I do not like Vettel even though I met him in person. He might change…as did Alonso. Maybe then people will start liking him as a person. Right now he is too full of himself and it is not the behavior I can appreciate.

      1. nusratolla says:

        you ought to remember that Vettel is still a KID :) we must give him the leverage to grow up… still has won two WDCs… says an awful lot about him does it not?

  59. goober says:

    Oh James, this is a bit like taking a stick to a beehive :)

    Very close between these two drivers. Both cars were not there at the start of the year, and both teams have had development spurts. Red Bull seemed to have continued to improve their car, while Ferrari haven’t kept up.

    Both drivers have done well to stay in contention, and Vettel has certainly reaped the rewards in the past four or five races.

    Vettel for me, but very close.

  60. Jorge Gaviria says:

    People forgot that Alonso is a protege of Briatore. Did you forget the crash in Singapore in 2008?, do not tell me that Alonso knew nothing and we know what he can do. So thats what I do not like Alonso, also he is always complaining of the car and the car of Ferrari this year has Been as good of the RB. Vettel is better far away.

    1. Kay says:

      So do you like Vettel steering into his own teammate then blame him for the incident @ Turkey 2010?

      The same year, do you like Vettel with his newly branded nickname – crash kid – failing an overtake on Jenson and took him out?

      1. James Clayton says:

        To be fair theses a big difference in errors of judgement in the heat of the moment (no matter how bad you think those errors are) and pre-meditated planning.

        In both your examples Vettel was trying to pass, and screwed up – clearly not on purpose. In the the comment you responded to, {whoever was involved} planned a crash in advance specifically to benefit a member of the team.

      2. Nick H says:

        +1. The media rarely.. Sorry, NEVER mention this incident. Benson isn’t shy off bashing Schumi for his driving (hill & villeneuve crashes) or Lewis but he never mentions that his favourite driver knew and allowed his team to cheat so that he could win a race, not forgetting the fact Piquet Jr could have been seriously injured as a result.

      3. James Clayton says:


        I’m not laying blame at anyone’s doors. I’m just pointing out that Kay made a couple of poor comparisons.

  61. test driver says:


    Hamilton was beaten by Jamie Green in lower formula. The same Jamie Green who is now beaten by McLarens own test driver Gary Paffett in the DTM ! Food for thought ?

    You should look up the circumstances under which Vettel was beaten by 4 points by DiResta and that he also won the first 2 WSR races he competed in the same year until he had to abort the series. He also won 18 out of 20 races in Formula BMW, a record for a feeder series i think.

    As for Alonso i don´t know what he did before F1 but his record against Marquez, Trulli and Hamilton isnt so rosy, beaten by 2 of them. He was also beaten initially by Massa in the first races after Massa´s return … until someone had a word with Massa … which resulted in this Ferrari creation of the out of nowhere suddenly invincible Fernando Alonso.

    As for the question. Who knows, there are too many variables, from teammates to reliability, qualyfying vs race speed and so on. Vettel will probable win and Alonso will get a last chance together with his mate Massa next year. And if it still doesnt happen next year there might be a healthy shakeup at Ferrari. We´ll see what happens then.

    1. KRB says:

      When Jamie Green was with ASM (the best team), and Hamilton was with Manor, in 2004 Euro F3?!?! Hamilton did well to win a race with Manor that year.

      Green won 7 races with ASM in 2004. Then Hamilton moved to ASM for 2005, and proceeded to win 15 out of the 20 races that season (DQ’d from a 16th win as well).

      td, please why don’t you elaborate about what the circumstances were in the 2006 F3 Euro series that prevented Vettel from beating Di Resta (his teammate in the same car)?

      In 2006 Hamilton jumped to GP2 and won the series at the first asking.

    2. KRB says:

      Also forgot to mention that Vettel moved to ASM for the 2006 F3 Euro season, with Di Resta, Van der Garde, and rookie Kobayashi as teammates.

      For poles that year, both Di Resta (5) and Van der Garde (2) scored more than Vettel (1). If Vettel was always faster than both his teammates that year, he would’ve won the title with the pole position points.

      Moreover, Di Resta’s 5 wins were all in the feature race (10pts), while Vettel only won two of these (of his 4 wins in total). Esteban Guerrieri won two feature races that year as well, in a slower Manor.

      I know the party line is that Vettel was distracted in 2006 by his reserve driver duties for F1. I call BS on that. He was well and truly beaten by Di Resta that year, in equal machinery.

      I guess by your method I could say that Vettel was beaten by Di Resta (’06); Hamilton, Adrian Sutil, Lucas di Grassi and Franck Perera (all in ’05).

  62. JB says:

    I think it is better to compare Vettel vs Alonso under similar situation. i.e. when both of them didn’t have a perfect weekend. Vettel experience that in Abu Dhabi, and much of the first half season. Like Raikkonen, he made the most of it.

    Alonso arguably had to fight every weekend but I reckon if Vettel and Raikkonen were placed in Alonso shoes, they will performed equally admirably.

    So why do I made such conclusions? Just look at Alonso’s 2 world champion, he had THE championship winning car. When he was in Mclaren, he couldn’t work with Hamilton and lost a great chance to be 3rd time champ. Then at Renault, his team had to create a safety car situation for him to win. This year, Massa has been Alonso’s puppy all the way.

    I prefer Kimi and Seb simply because they are not political but straight racers. So Vettel FTW!

    1. nusratolla says:

      Excellent observation. A point to add is the under powered Renault Engine. And Seb came out of nowhere this year to lead the WDC. I still feel Ferrari is not as horrible of a car as Alonso claims it to be. I was never a fan of Seb till Abu Dhabi race…. He asserted he is better then anyone out there… I always use to rate Kimi and Hamilton as the fastest pair of hands on the current grid… Now I add Vettel to it and deservedly so :)

      Alonso is a chicken to block off Perez move to Ferrari…. what’s Ferrari’s loss is Mclaren’s gain…. I would like to see Perez humble Alonso next year.

      Alonso’s discrediting remarks that he’s fighting Adrian Newey for the Championship was rather cheap shot…. Vettel could easily turned around and said he was fighting not only with Alonso but Nick Fry and a superior Ferrari engine, but he didn’t…. This is how respect is earned.
      Well, all I can tell Alonso here is “Dude you are fighting with a KID for WDC and no one else” :)

  63. Erik says:

    We can call it how we like in these forums and it’s a good media piece for sure. But unfortunately it doesn’t change the fact that in F1 the most ‘deserving’ drivers will have nothing to do with the final result. Who outspends who will most likely determine it. A shame really.

  64. Yak says:

    One thing to point out to those who like to claim Vettel can’t win unless he starts at the front. The Red Bull tends to be set up with the intention of dominating Q3, with the idea of then getting away in the first couple of laps out of DRS range and then just staying there. Starting from the back at Abu Dhabi, they had to make significant changes to allow him to actually tear through the field. Webber on the other hand in his parc ferme’d car, not at all an incompetent driver, struggled to make progress, stuck behind cars without much chance to overtake. When their plans for Q3 domination don’t go to plan, the cars struggle to give the drivers any overtaking opportunities. Think of Alonso at the start in India. Imagine Alonso was in the Red Bull, and whether he’d have been able to fight with the McLarens like that, or if they’d have just powered by with straight line speed.

    When the RB’s have nothing in front of them and can run the full track width to make the most of their high downforce package, they excel. When they’re behind other cars, their straight line race speed is rubbish, their lines and aero are compromised by proximity to other drivers, they suffer.

    1. JF says:

      Good analysis: that is RB strategy exactly. The Ferrari is the better car to have in traffic during the race. It is difficult to compare the cars directly since Vettel is so good a capatilizing on the RB8s character, the two together make a great sprinter. Ferrari have historically focused on race pace over quali pace, this has hurt them in the current rules package while exaggerating RBs real advantage. I think the Mclaren is probably the best all round car, fast in Quali (esp Hamilton) and fast in the race. If it wasn’t for reliability, this would be a different season for Hamilton in particular (as has been said many times)

  65. Jorge Gaviria says:

    James, this is the second time you érase my comment, would you please tell me why?

    1. James Allen says:

      No idea. No sign of any other comments from you in Spam or Trash.

  66. dufus says:

    The funniest article of the year !
    Alonso of course…LMAO

  67. Elie says:

    I dislike Ferrari and certainly no Alonso fan, but credit where credit is due – they have converted race wins and podiums from 5 or worse consistently.

    Next I must say Raikkonen -he has converted wins and many podiums from 5 or worse -in a much smaller budget team & Kimi had finished every lap – exceptional.

    Hamilton would be fighting for or even leading the championship were it not for team errors – Mclaren lost 2012! . Lewis only made set up errors in Spa and one other race which cost him position.otherwise he had been outstanding all season.

    Vettel- I place him equal to Hamilton as he made a few errors (Valencia) and others that cost him position. He has probably made up for it – like last week at Abu Dhabi.

  68. Glennb says:

    Skimming over the usual (mostly) BS above, I say that Vettel has done the better job this year. A driver drives the car they give him. Sometimes it’s the fastest, more often it is not. Only the very best drivers get to drive the very best cars. Vettel is a 2 time (on the trot)WDC and soon the be 3 time. How the hell people can criticise this young mans performances to date is beyond me. This guy is comparable to the great Michael Schumacher who had his fair share of supreme machinery at his disposal over the years too.
    Fernando has been outstanding for many years and is arguably the ‘best’ all-round driver in the field. To argue that claim would be nonsense. Hamilton has been nothing less than sensational since bursting op the scene (other than 1 relatively bad season). Kimi’s just Kimi and will always do well. He deserves the strong fanbase he currently enjoys.
    Put them all up against a wall and I would pick Vettel as my No.1 driver. He’s young, fast, intelligent and extremely motivated to do well. Love him or hate him, this guy has been getting the job done for years and has earned my respect, fastest car or not.

    1. JF says:

      Agree: Lots of greats in the field this year. My personal bias is towards Vettel and Alonso as the best out there (for the reasons you list) with a slight edge to Alonso because of his years of experience. I think as Vettel matures he will eclipse Alonso. Others have a different bias obviously. We are fans after all. Logic and fact doesn’t always matter.

  69. Craig in Manila says:

    Seb has won more races than Fernando.
    He’s had more poles.
    He’s had more podiums.
    He’s had more fastest laps.
    He’s had less retirements.
    And, he has signed an ongoing contract with the team that builds the fastest cars in F1.
    Sounds like he has the whole thing pretty-much covered.

    1. KRB says:

      Well you have to be talking this season, b/c Vettel has not won more races than Alonso all-time.

      But even in 2012, Alonso has more podiums (11 v 9).

      They’ve both retired from races twice, but Vettel retired late enough at Monza to be classified.

      1. Craig in Manila says:

        Hi KRB,

        I’m Only talking about 2012 (as that’s the topic of JA’s article/post).

        My error on the podium count.

        Used Formula1.com to define retirements vs finishes as that’s the official results.

  70. Dan says:

    Come on James, is this really your level of analysis? Comparing fastest laps between Vettel and Alonso? That’s flawed enough without considering you are ignoring the weekends where Webber has been the benchmark for Redbull and there have been a number of them.

    Ferrari has only been faster than Redbull at Spa, and Monza and maybe Spain. That’s it, or you could throw in Malaysia if you are being generous although that was just down to Alonso.

    The redbull has been overwhelmingly the better car this season. The fact that Alonso is still within 10 points, proves how superior Alonso is as a driver against the overrated vettel.

  71. Panagiotis says:

    I shall try to put it in football perspective. I support ferrari say Real Madrid and I have Ronaldo say Alonso, and my rival is Barcelona say RedBull who has Messi say Sebastian. Do I want Messi on my club to replace Ronaldo? No..!!! Naive thinking due to the absence of other team members but hey, I support Ferrari and that thinking will always be bias.

    1. KRB says:

      I think the analogy would be a great player with a great supporting cast (Messi & the Barcelona squad) versus a great player fronting a crap squad (Alan Shearer & the Newcastle squads).

      People will naturally (but wrongly) over time view the great player with the great squad as even better than they perhaps are, and will progressively underrate the great player with the crap squad.

      This is not a commentary on Messi and Shearer … just two great players snagged to make an analogy.

  72. For sure says:

    I just realized that F1 fans are not that different from American Idol’s fans.
    Some commented stuff like Button and Paul can beat Vettel. If you don’t think that the youngest double world champion heading for the third title, isn’t one of the top 3, why would you wanna watch “the sport”? I mean, don’t you feel cheated by the sport, really.
    It’s almost as if, they are waiting to see their favorite driver win, rather than wanting to find out who really is the best. (Partly because they already knew the answer, if that’s the case why??)
    For the record, I personally think Alonso’s performance is legendary this season.

  73. Jake says:

    As a famous Scotsman once said “Ye cannae change the laws of physics” so can we please stop all the nonsense about Alonso giving 120% and outdriving the car. Neither is physically possible.
    There is no doubt he is one of the top drivers in the current line up, but and I accept this may upset some Alonso fans, capable of performing miracles he is not.
    The Ferrari is fast and very reliable and that is why Alonso is in the battle for the WDC.
    Put Alonso in the McLaren and he would be in the same position as Hamilton.
    Hamiltons position is largely due to circumstances out with his control, given the same “luck” I doubt Alonso could do any better, and he would have to contend with his team mate racing him which clearly he can’t handle.
    Put Alonso in the Red Bull and I’m sure he would be leading the WDC, as would Hamilton or any of the other top drivers. That should not detract from Vettel as a top driver which he clearly is.
    I guess what I am saying here is that as far as skill goes there is very little to choose between any of the top drivers. We should remember that F1 is a team sport. We can’t separate the driver from the car and perform direct comparisons therefore it can only be an opinion on who is the best.
    Who should win it?
    If not for that finger it would be Vettel by a mile (20 seconds).
    That leaves Alonso but I have this horrible memory “Fernando is faster than you” and the constant whining and playing mind games.
    On balance Vettel annoys me less so Vettel it is..

    1. rudyBB says:

      Redbull hypocrisy: toro rosso letting overtaking by vettel, vettel-webber changing damaged spolier issue, redbull call boxes webber when vettel approaches…
      What way you like more.
      of good cheer

      1. nusratolla says:

        Its better than “Feranando is faster than you”… is it not?

      2. Jon says:

        True, three drivers on the grid which have to move over for SV.

      3. puffing says:

        +1. Not only RB teammate but also other subsidiary-team drivers.

    2. puffing says:

      “Fernando is faster than you”

      Everyone is entitled to their opinion and feelings, but mines are different:

      The facts
      In that race Alonso was immediately behind Massa several times before letting him go at a distance of at least up to three seconds. Alonso did this no less than four times in my memory.
      Alonso then radioed to his team: I’m faster than him.
      Then Robert Smedley radioed to Massa: Felipe, Fernando is faster than you.
      Then Massa let Alonso overtake him.

      My opinion
      Inside Team Ferrari, agreement was in operation by which the slower driver in the race had to yield to the quicker, probably to avoid incidents like that happened before in other races to teams in the same season. Massa was in breach of the agreement. Alonso did see it to the team and the team reminded Massa. Without hypocrisy, not like others that had the orders encoded. Simple and clear, in the light of the world. Because it was not expected that such an agreement was breached during the race. Blame to Massa for it.

      1. NickSilv08 says:

        Yeah yeah yeah whatever, you believe all the brainwashing. Massa could have won his first race since his accident, he OUT-PERFORMED alonso the whole race, he was ahead. Do you really think Alonso would have been able to pass on merit? NO.

      2. puffing says:

        Yes, I believe Alonso could have been able to pass Massa on merit there and then. I do believe also that Massa could have been able to obstruct Alonso on all demerit. Or to take Alonso out of the track.

  74. Matt W says:

    For me the points reflect perfectly who has done the better job. Both are very close but over the course of the season Vettel has been slightly better so far.

    I don’t like the idea that when Vettel wins it is the car but when Alonso wins it is all down to him. Alonso has had the full resources of Ferrari behind him for 3 years now and the team have stayed at roughly the same level. Vettel has had long periods of dominance but this year he has proved his grit as at the mid-point of the season he looked unlikely to win the title.

    Yes the car has improved, but I don’t think you can write off Vettel’s involvement in that with the feedback he is giving the team. Alonso has Ferrari focused around him to a much greater extent but still hasn’t been able to influence development into the car that is perfect for his style.

    That isn’t to say Alonso hasn’t done a good job this year, he richly deserves his place in the standings.

    However, if you really want to get serious about which driver has done the better job, then you have to add Kimi into the mix who has been absolutely outstanding in a team without the resources of Red Bull and Ferrari, and after a two year lay off. Kimi has been much closer to his 2005 form and I firmly believe that if he was driving the Ferrari or the Red Bull then the championship would already be over at this point.

    I say that as a neutral, I was equally critical of Kimi over the ice cream incident and his 08/09 seasons.

  75. NickSilv08 says:

    I actually like Vettel more after he said this in response to the swearing incident, “If you are sensitive then you should watch some kids’ programme,” Vettel said. “You have the remote control in your hand. It was not intentional in the last race. It was unnecessary to create such a big fuss.”

    1. KRB says:

      I was watching F1 on TV when I was 9 yrs old … granted, I probably never watched the interviews then, but it’s not the best example to set. It was unnecessary, and embarrassing. He could have easily said “it was a chance to screw it up”, and he’d’ve been fine.

      As the FIA said, other sports professionals manage to keep it clean when interviewed moments after they’ve been competing.

      1. NickSilv08 says:

        Footballers swear constantly during matches, often coupled with anger and rage. I know not in interviews but it is still clearly view-able to the public, I think this is much worse than kimi and seb calmly letting out an expletive. People need to lighten up. I actually feel sorry for the people who lodged complaints with the BBC, do they really have nothing better to do.

      2. KRB says:

        Do you respect footballers when they do that? Remember when Rooney shouted some expletive at the camera during WC 2010? It just reinforced his image as a hothead with some football skills. You don’t see Messi or Ronaldo swearing and cussing.

        I almost think that Kimi throws the swearing in now b/c it’s in keeping with the image he’s crafted. If so, it’s contrived, something I doubt Kimi was going for.

  76. erik says:

    Ordinary spectators don`t get anything out of this Alonso hype. I have to think why it is happening. Why to push Alonso all the time against Vettel. This is the place of bad language…… . Well, having said that, this is very benefitial to media. They start the war so they can sell a lot of armory. You have to greate controversy to sell your magazines, tabloids, F1 trademark and so on. So, to all the people in medialand, keep commentating stories, whos better, because in one day maybe you will benefit too from all of that hype.

  77. erik says:

    If Alonso is spectacular then you have to create a new word to describe Vettel. I hope that one day people will just say this guy is just Vettel. ……….and there were others too.
    If HYPE would be kingdom, then Alonso would be king. Little Frodo with his ring.
    It should be very interesting to hear, what Hamilton and Alonso are talking if they are together, maybe: “Wow, you drive super, Alonso, you are the best”. “Thank you, Lewis, you are very good too. With that car you look like a driving god, you shine”. “I like your shoes,Alonso.” “Wow, really, you got very cool socks and shoes”.

  78. Cronies says:

    Ok, I was reading the Vettel – Newey comments and it got me thinking – when Vettel was at Torro Rosso they finished the season ahead of Redbul. Now the Torro Rosso and the Redbull where simliar cars however Newey’s attention would have been more focused on the Redbull – basically meaning Vettel plus his engineer beat Newey and his team! Taking it a step further it stands to be reasoned that Vettel may be making Newey look good and not the generally accepted view that it is Newey that makes Vettel look good….

    1. KRB says:

      The Toro Rosso that year was a Newey-designed chassis, with a (faster) Ferrari engine in it.

      So nope, it was still Newey.

      1. Cronies says:

        And in 2009? They also used the Ferrari engine but with Vettel now at Redbull guess which team came out on top? Anyway – You totally missing my point – while the basic car was the same Newey was focused on developing the Redbull throughout the seaon, not the Torro Rosso. It is accepted that when Vettel joined Toro Rosso in the middle of the 2007 season, Vettel got used to the team and the car and developed it very quickly – that had nothing to do with Newey.

      2. KRB says:

        He developed it very quickly? By retiring all the time? By testing its crash-worthiness against Webber’s rear wing? In 2007, of the three two-car finishes with the Liuzzi/Vettel pairing, Liuzzi finished ahead in two.

        As soon as the STR3 came on in 2008, it was clear it was to Vettel’s liking, and he instantly starting getting points finishes with it. It was a very decent car, like the Sauber this past season. But it doesn’t indicate any development of the car.

      3. Rockie says:

        I think you need to re-think that Newey designed Toro Rosso as it was the 2007 car but did it win in the redbull guise in 2007? because i dont get the Newey designed point

  79. ruthvin says:

    I think james has failed to mention some significant.
    1) red bulls car has been set up to lead from the front. hence even in qualifying their car flies. but ferraris car is more of a race car built for overtaking purposes. their kers unit is better that that of red bull.
    also alonso has not made too many overtakings as off such . he hasgained positions because of ferraris tactical expertise on many occasions and also at the the start where he more or less intimidates people.(pushing kimi out) and when the same happens to him he says that u must give space which is ….
    another thing is that alonso had superb luck in malaysia. if it were not for the rain i really dont think he would have won that race.
    also ferrari have overplayed thier car as a bad car. it is not great for qualifying but during the race alonso and (massa ) put flying laps.. . ferrari also started working on this car way back in 2011. they spend just as much money as red bull….

  80. Carlo_Carrera says:

    Vettel has done a better job because Vettel is leading the WDC.

    That is all that matters.

    1. JF says:

      I agree in principle with this type of comment, but its a team sport, can’t isolate the driver completely. Takes a good team to make the car and “orchestrate” the grand prix. Takes the driver to max out what they are given.

    2. db4tim says:

      Really……all that counts, hard to believe that is a correct statement.

    3. Jon says:

      I remember KAR from HRT saying that they would be doing the equal job to SV if they were in the red bull. I agree…
      All the drivers on the grid are very good. SV is a good driver and maybe in the top half of all the drivers on the grid.
      I personally don’t think he’s any higher than that. If he drives against one of the ‘really good drivers’ at the same team everyone will see how good he actually is..

      1. Rockie says:

        So KAR is saying hes betterr than Webber?

  81. Sebee says:

    Well, that’s an interesting result to the poll.

    The hardworking 10 years experienced driver without WDC for 6 years vs. the hot young kid on the way to his 3rd WDC.

    I guess Alonso will pick up all the conselation prizes while Vettel continues to steamroll the WDC charts.

  82. Scott says:

    Largely a waste of time these discussions, as everyone will support their man regardless of any “facts”. That’s what sport’s about.

    I am increasingly sad thinking about Hamilton at Mercedes next year. His natural enthusiasm seems to have been tempered already by events over the past couple of years; goodness knows what he’ll be like mid-way through next season. Mind you, with Button and Perez, McLaren will be equally downbeat I imagine.

  83. Robert N says:

    Is this really a fair evaluation? I thought I read somewhere (here or on the BBC) that Ferrari from the beginning designed a car that would be fast in races, not necessarily in qualifying.

    Hence it is not really surprising that FA makes up places in races etc.

    I think what we all can agree on is that both SV and FA are exceptionally good drivers who have made the best out of the material given to them by their teams.

  84. Robert N says:


    any insight from any of the engineers as to Vettel’s phenomenal lap time in FP1?

    He was 1.4s faster than Hamilton, 2.2s faster than Alonso and 2.5s faster than his team mate Webber.

    How on earth did he do that?

    1. NickSilv08 says:

      They said he set that time on new tyres, whereas the others didn’t. Still a cracking lap though

  85. Tim B says:

    Like the majority, I voted for Alonso. I think it’s clear by most measures you care to apply that he’s delivered more.

    However, as a number of posters have noted, that doesn’t mean Vettel has been poor or doesn’t deserve to be champion.

    The margins are very fine, Vettel is right up there, and we shouldn’t forget that he’s done as much as he needed to do to be leading the championship – in a weaker car he may have driven differently.

  86. Munchies says:

    The question asked is who’s done better between Vettel and Alonso. The answer is simple! Fernando Alonso by miles and miles and miles. I won’t even go into why, because everyone on this blog knows about motor racing. If the question had been between Redbull and Ferrari… Hmmm… No doubt whatsoever that Redbull Racing Team bears Scuderia Ferrari hands down this season.

    1. Dave Aston says:

      I know about motor racing. Went to my first race meeting in 1976. I reckon Vettel’s got the edge over Fernando.

  87. Simon Donald says:

    This season in terms of pure performance I would put Alonso at the top followed by Kimi Raikkonen. Then Hamiton and Vettel fourth. Vettel was nowhere in the championship until Singapore. He lucked into a podium in Spa when Grosjean took out most of the serious cars in front of him which leaves only really his podium in Australia and his win in Bahrain as standout peformances before Red Bull won the development race in the last quarter of the season.

    In contrast, Alonsp has been driving a terrible car all season and extracting more than what could be expected of him throughout the whole season. He has won races where he could, gotten podiums were he could and hasn’t put a foot wrong all season. Had it not been for his two retirements neither of which were his fault (tho possible 50:50 in Japan) he would likely still be somewhere between 15-30 points clear of Vettel still.

    As I have said before, I am not a fan of either Ferrari of Alonso but I can respect Alonso’s talent. He should undoubtedly win his season. An Alonso driver’s win and Red Bull constructor’s win would be the right and just result.

    1. Dave Aston says:

      A ‘terrible’ car? Good grief…

  88. Anne says:

    Please allow me to give you an hipothetical or a game if you wish. This is for everyone who wants to answer. Lets say you´re Sauber and you need to sign one driver. I mean the current Sauber, we don´t have Newey nor we have other factors in place. And you are so lucky that you have both Vettel and Alonso begging to be the chosen driver. Who would sign?

    1. tobler says:

      There is a statement out there somewhere from Peter Sauber where he compared Vettel to Alonso. Anyway, he´d pick Vettel.

    2. Craig in Manila says:

      Both, as rejecting either one would be crazy !

      If that’s not possible : sign Fernando as he brings a sponsor with him.

    3. Rob Newman says:

      When Alonso joined Ferrari, it was a championship winning car. Look what he has done to the car in the past three years.

      Now see what Vettel has done after joining Red Bull in the past three years. Three championships!

      It has to be Vettel.

      1. KRB says:

        The 2009 Ferrari was a dog, just as the 2009 McLaren was (at least in the first half of the season). Only KERS kept both McLaren and Ferrari respectable in 2009.

    4. Dave Aston says:


  89. bearforce1 says:

    Great to see so many positive comments for Vettel. It was getting beyond a joke specially after his awesome, truly awesome drive from Pits to podium in AD.

    The guy is massively talented.

  90. nusratolla says:

    Tell me who has ever won WDC without a reliable and a complete package behind him?

    Not even Ayrton Senna & Michael Schumacher could manage that.

    So, if Vettel is doing the same then why is he being discredited?

    Hasn’t Alonso won his WDC on Kimi’s car failures and penalties and what about his Mass Damper Advantage?

    To all you Ferrari fans out there…. Red is Passe… Black n’ Gold is En Vogue…. Go Kimi :)

  91. Senninha says:

    Digits do not tell the whole, real story.
    F1 racing is far too complex to just rely on such calculations only. Why ?

    Imagine for example how much a tyre quality spread of only 2 % will have influence on lap times ……

    And what abt. technical legality issues and its influence on car performance / results ?
    Non conformities should be penalised with a DSQ by the FIA …..

    Even a comparison of teammates has limited value since car ` specifications are usually not the same. Still Webber outperformed Vettel again first half of the season again. Now some insiders say it is due to inproper under-steering character of the RB8 initially, but Newey and RBR are to much experienced to make such a mistake (imho Vetll crashed Webber twice in Turkey 2010 …).

    Technical failures can not be compared to a DNF caused from “outside”. Reliability is directly a measure for the performance level and capability of the team to manage their car. It is here where RBR clearly has a large deficit since they take larger risks and were helped by two DNF and lucky safe in AD…..

    Then there is the BE factor ( Fernando is out since 2007, while Vetll is BE darling)and the fact that RBR runs 2 teams, and four teams are actually driving with Renault engines. Where is Petrov that manage to block Alonso in 2010 today ? I rest my case…..

    No. Personally I see many similarities to the times where Ayrton (RIP) had to battle the FW14 of Newey and a suspect Benetton ` ….
    In digits he lost both, but in fact he was miles above all other drivers. One legendary race in full wet Donington was enough to show it again. Digits are only for controllers….

  92. Frank says:

    How interesting…

    The season isn’t over…why such an article??

    Well, Alonso’s perfomance was just great today…

    In Monaco Felipe complained in the radio about the low speed of Fernando in front of him during the race. Same in Bahrain. Of course, he isn’t allowed to overtake Fernando since Hockenheim 2010…

    In Silverstone Felipe was much quicker (-0,7secs) than Fernando and Webber at the end of the race…

    Barcelona Alonso was quicker than Maldonado and Red Bull. In Valencia, a podium for Felipe was in range,
    but we all know, what Ferrari did to MAS at his pit stop… :D

    In Monza Fernando said on the podium, we had the fastet car. He finished third :p

    Felipe in Suzuka from P11 to P2…

    In Korea Felipe was quicker than Alonso AND Webber!

    In India, Ferrari complained over Alonsos bad qualifying speed….

    Abu Dhabi, Massa with an old Ferrari only 0,124 seconds behind Alonso in Q3…

    etc. pp. …

    Just imagine Ferrari… they put hundreds of millions into F1 and Alonso goes to journalists and says, it is all because of him :D

  93. Robert N says:


    what happened to Alonso in Q3 today?

    I wonder what the results of this poll would be if we started it today from scratch again. ;)

  94. kfzmeister says:

    This is what is so painful to watch. Another Championship slip away. 2007 with McLaren, 2010 with Ferrari and now again. What does this man have to do??

  95. Senninha says:

    So finally RBR grabbed their 3rd WCC with a pretty clear lead despite reliability issues.
    In other words the RB8 is the best car / tyre combination again over this season. A result of $$$$ and technical matters ….
    I might be wrong here, but this is my opinion following F1 for over 30 years now.

    Now the fact that neither Vettel nor Webber have bagged the WDC as well, imho is a clear indication that their driver performance is certainly not top of the bill.

    Looking at US GP race again it is very strange to see how performances rise and fall for several teams. Vetll lost one place, where Alonso made up 4 valuable places ! Massa and JB had bad luck, but did a great race since MGP and Williams were nowhere. Lotus was off pace.
    Scuderia once again had great troubles with getting the tyres working and lost valuable time here to RBR. But close to the end both Massa and Alsonso showed that a competitive pace in the car was actually there….??!!??

    Sao Paulo will be wet: Alonso last ace card.

  96. Walter says:

    Ok here we, go, I [mod] Alonso and I am a McLaren Fan, so not a Ferrari guy at ALL. But Fernando has done all he can, with that ugly car. Vettel has it served. So no much merit driving that car.

    Don’t really like any of them, and in the end I prefer anybody else but a Ferrari to win the Title. But I can’t deny how good Fernando is and how good his mentality towards the title is.

    But I [mod] the manipulations Ferrari makes ALL the time. WHat is going to ask Felipe to do next? Crash into Vettel?…. It wont surprise me.

  97. John says:

    I voted for Vettel. He has won five races and recovered well in Abu Dhabi. Alonso has won three and inherited two of them. They have both made mistakes. Vettel damaging his car in AD and cutting off Narain Khartekeyan in Malaysia. Alonso putting himself in harm’s way of Raikkonen in Japan and with his team screwing up his tyre strategy in Canada. As outsiders, we don’t really know how bad the Ferrari is. As for Newey’s super Red Bull design, it takes a great driver to unlock its full potential, and Vettel is doing a great job at it.

  98. Beatle Ed says:

    Vettel, no, Alonso!
    No, Vettel. Wait, Alonso!
    Hummmm… Whatever…


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