Le Grand Retour
Paul Ricard 2018
French Grand Prix
My Festive Top Ten
My Festive Top Ten
Posted By:   |  24 Dec 2008   |  9:09 am GMT  |  12 comments

Apologies for the radio silence in the last week, a combination of a short holiday and a few technical problems while I was away.

I’ve enjoyed this season of racing as much as any I can recall. There were many fantastic races and some strong performances. As always there are more drivers disappointed with their season than delighted but we had some breakthrough performances and a new elite has been established. Here is my choice for the Top ten of the year

1. Fernando Alonso – never gave up even when the Renault wasn’t working well. Always wrung the maximum from the car and his mistakes were through trying hard, rather than sloppiness. He’s a class act.
2. Robert Kubica – only one mistake I can think of, in the rain at Silverstone. Hurt by BMW working hard to save his team mate’s season. Some sublime performances throughout the year, dropped off a bit at the end.
3. Lewis Hamilton – deserved his drivers title because his best performances this year were better than anyone else’s and he is set to be the best out there. He’s not quite there yet, though.
4.Felipe Massa – OK, hands up, I admit it, he’s better than I thought he was and he’s still improving. Only poor luck robbed him of the title he would have deserved. Showed great sporting dignity in Brazil. Respect.
5. Sebastian Vettel – what a year for the young man. Stunning win from pole at soggy Monza and was always quick once Toro Rosso got the car going fast in July.
6. Mark Webber – some great drives earlier in the year, he found consistency and showed that he’s got the credentials, but the Red Bull package went off the boil after Silverstone. Fingers crossed for the broken leg.
7. Timo Glock – his performance in Hungary was brilliant. Showed very well against Jarno Trulli this year.
8. Kimi Raikkonen – not one of his better years, in fact probably his worst in F1, but his standards are so high. The car went away from him as it developed. Needs a big year next year.
9. Sebastien Bourdais – he was overshadowed by his team mate pretty much all year and poor luck robbed him of some big results. Finsished the season well.
10. Heikki Kovalainen – A difficult first year at McLaren, where he was often quite close to Lewis in qualifying pace but not in race pace, which meant not enough podiums.

I hope you all have a great Christmas. Thanks for reading the blogs and please be sure to spread the word. I’ve got some exciting plans for this space in 2009.

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Happy New Year to ALL!

Tough Top Ten….but I agree at 80% overall.


Compliments of the season.

We can only hope that next year can be half as good as last year, which had everything and then some. All we need now is for someone to invent a (cost-affordable, naturally) rain-generating machine…


Hi James, I hope you and your family had a great christmas.

I was surprised to see Alonso as your number one but I have to agree with you. It was fantastic to see him win 2 races this year especially with the way Renault had been performing. It just goes to show the massive talent that Alonso has not only as a driver but also in helping a team improve and develop a car to winning ways again. I hope we get to see more wins and visits to the podium next season from Alonso.

Vettel would be my number two. He’s a lovely young man with a welath of talent who thoroughly deserved pole and the win at Monza. It’s great to see a driver smile and he certainly has the biggest smile in F1. I think there’s a lot more to come from Vettel and it will be a pleasure to watch him grow and be world champion one day.

I also enjoyed Kubica’s performances. He is another extremely talented driver who I would like to see winning a world championship.

I’m really looking forward to the 2009 season.

Sebastian Holguin

Hi James,

I don’t know how long you are going to continue defending Fernando Alonso, now you talk about him (only making mistakes for trying to hard?) A driver can only show his true ability by driving an inferior car in the rain and in difficult conditions and he had plenty of opportunities this year.
In the past he was often beaten by Trulli in the same car, and later by a rocky Hamilton, and only won his titles in a 10,8,6,5 points system and with a supremely reliable car, I’m sorry but I don’t think he should be considered No 1 this year or any year at all.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year James..


Interesting list James, but i’ve got to say neither Kimi nor Kovy deserve to be anywhere near. Both had disappointing seasons and in a worse car, they’d have been nowhere. By virtue of their cars were they noticeable this season. Kovy probably did well to get pole at Silverstone and potentially Turkey too but by the season’s end he was nowhere. Lewis was fifth in Brazil… where was Kovy? I don’t even remember but he was not supportive even when Hamilton was not up front, fighting for the lead of the race. Good to see Bourdais get some credit, though, good luck to him!

My top five would have to be something along the lines of: Vettel, Alonso, Kubica, Hamilton and Massa with Button sadly last of the 20 drivers. He was letting himself be outclassed by Rubens all year, which was sad to see. He may be British but delivered the least all year I think.

Merry Christmas James, keep up the blog!


Hmm, hard to put Glock at 7 and say he ‘showed up well against Trulli’ (suggesting that he was close but not better) and then not include Trulli at all?


Massa has to be no.1 this year. He pushed Hamilton to the last corner of the last race in an inferior car. I know the Ferrari was quick in certain conditions but the Mclaren this year was awsome in the wet, cool and normal tempratures. The Ferrari was only quicker when there where really high temparatures.

In addition to this the Mclaren was faster in quali and had far better reliability.

Mclaren should have won the title alot easier but a combination of hamilton making mistakes and Massa pushing the Ferrari to the limit pushed the title to the final race.

Massa deserves the driver of the year.


Cant see why Heikki should be in the top 10. The only consistently worse drivers this season would have been DC and Piquet. Not really feeling the love for Timo Glock either – I don’t think he really distinguished himself all that much throughout the season, and would say that Trulli, Barrichello and even Button all had better seasons.

Rupert Pilkington-Smythe

Very good list James. Good to see Bourdais getting some credit. For me, he was the unluckiest driver this year.

On the penultimate lap at Spa, he was in third place, having been ahead of Vettel all race long. At Monza too, I believe Martin and yourself pointed out that his race pace (after stalling and losing a lap at the start – having qualified 4th) would’ve been good enough for a podium at least. Again in Japan, he was running 6th having once again out raced Vettel, when Massa attempted a risky pass which resulted in Massa spinning and one of the most controversial penalties of the year demoting poor Seb from a well deserved 6th, to 9th.

Lap for lap, Bourdais wasn’t really that much slower than Vettel. WHen the car was capable, Bourdais became a regular feature in the top 10 shootout and was unlucky not to score a lot more points than he did. Vettel clearly had the edge over all, but I feel sorry for Bourdais that he is fighting for his seat while Vettel is being touted as the next Schumacher.


Happy Christmas one and all.

Although I’m not a fan, I agree with Alonso at number one and for the good of F1 I hope Renault’s development continues and its 2009 car is competitive.

I think Malcolm46 makes a very good point about Kimi and I’d suggest the same should apply to Heikki – he was in one of the best cars on the grid and got nowhere near for most of the season.

I take into account McLaren running him on a different strategy to Lewis but his pace was lacking throughout and think his poor season made life a lot harder for Hamilton who was given very little protection, especially at the start of races.

How about a prediction for 2009 James? I’m going for a resurgent Raikkonen to come back to the fore.

Reports I’ve heard suggest he’s showing a higher level of committment and hunger during testing, which harnessed with his undoubted speed, could see him seal another championship.

I think he realises it’s going to be a big season for him and he’s got to repay di Montezemolo’s faith in handing him a new contract when there must have been a strong temptation to go for Alonso.


Merry Christmas James, and all the best for 2009.

Another interesting read, although I’m surprised by a few choices, how is Kimi at 8?! He should of done so much better this season, he was a real disappointment of 08. And not sure if Bourdais should be 9, I think he’s a good guy but unfortunately for him he did too little too late.

I think Rosberg did well, being in the right place at the right time to get his podiums in a car that probably shouldn’t have had those podiums.

Otherwise I think the list is pretty spot on, Alonso was on fire at the end of the season, and you really got to wonder why he didn’t just get on and drive the car in 07 to win the title, we can only hope and wait for the autobiography!!!


Almost agree but my top five would be:

1 – Massa for defying the critics, building the Ferrari team around him and comprehensivly beating the “fastest” man on the grid in the same car.

2 – Vettal for sublime drive at Monza and the last half of the season in a Minardi. I’ve got 10 that sees him at Ferrari in the future with a fellow countryman behind him. As you pointed out James that German/Italian anthem on the podium at Monza seemed very familar.

3 – Alonso for all the same reasons as James. He’s a bit of an idiot but that’s just signs of the only real killer instinct on the grid and he is a class act.

4 – Lewis for winning the title just but I can’t help feeling that Alonso in the Mac would have wrapped it up much earlier.

5 – Nakajima for punching above his weight when he could easily have faded into the background this year. Almost had the better of Rosburg a couple of times and he really is good. Just hope he doesn’t follow Button, Montoya and the others who have been through Williams. Fingers crossed for a great car from a great Brit team next year.

6 – 20 – All equal really with some good days and some bad but they all provided some entertainment and lets face it who are we to judge from our comfy sofas really.

James hope you and your family have a really Happy Christmas and a Great New Year and I’m looking forward to reading this site in 2009.

A very merry Christmas to all other readers and motorsport fans everywhere!

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