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Who were the Top Five Drivers of the Year? A producer’s view
Who were the Top Five Drivers of the Year? A producer’s view
Posted By: James Allen  |  27 Nov 2010   |  10:22 am GMT  |  135 comments

I asked JA on F1 readers to name their top five drivers of the year by Monday 29th November, the prize for the first ten entries which match my choice of top five will win a signed copy of my 2010 season review book, “Five rivals, one Champion”.

We’ve had almost 700 entries so far; some very entertaining ones and some very well considered.

For a bit of fun I have also asked one or two friends in and around F1 for their Top Five and today is the turn of Manish Pandey, (left of picture) the writer and producer of the new Senna movie.

Here is his choice:

1. Fernando Alonso
Did not have the fastest car anywhere this year yet, had it not been for a poor strategy call, still almost took the title. Made a few mistakes (eg false start in China, Monaco qualifying shunt) but the ‘strongest head in F1’ fought back against the dominant Bulls and resurgent McLarens in a mighty way.

2. Sebastian Vettel
Could have won seven or eight races, had it not been for mechanical problems, and would have been my number one driver but he has still not overtaken anyone, other than off the start line, to win a race – and his incidents with Webber and Button still leave me wondering whether he can race for a win rather than dominate from pole.

3. Lewis Hamilton
Mightily fast, Lewis dominated the middle part of the season. But those accidents at Monza and Singapore and cooking his tyres twice in Brazil take the edge off his season for me.

4. Jenson Button
He was supposed to have been blown away by Lewis but, despite several engineer changes, was right there until Brazil despite his ill fortune in Monaco and Belgium. Might not have been as rapid as his teammate but those early strategy calls and that brilliant race in Abu Dhabi confirmed his class.

5. Mark Webber
Very fast all season but lucked into a couple victories and rather lost his head, when all about him people were keeping theirs – or was it the ultimate in Prost-like gamesmanship? Either way, the end of the season let down the first two thirds (he was neither on pole, nor did he win, any of the last six races).

Do you agree with Manish? If you haven’t already done so, put down your top five below.

The 2010 Season Review book is published on Monday and orders will be sent out early next week.

For any readers who would like to come along and have a chat about the season, I will be doing a book signing on Thursday December 9th at 5-30pm to 7pm at Motor Books, 13/15 Cecil Court London WC2N 4AN Phone +44 (0)20 7836 5376.

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In some sort of hazy perception of driver-to-car performance ratio less poor performance at times:

1. Kubica

2. Rosberg

3. Alonso

4. Hamilton

5. Vettel


my top five drivers:

1. Alonso: never gave up, and kept his changes of a third world title going with a strong second halve of the season.

2. Webber: Red Bull a Vettel team? that did not stop him from having a great season.

3. Vettel: world champion but as Manish Pandey says has not overtaken anyone!

4. Button: some good drives, great strategy calls and was not “blown away” by being new at mclaren

5. Rosberg: teammate to michael schumacher, but that only motivated him more!


1. Kubica

2. Rosberg

3. Hamilton

4. Vettel

5. Alonso

Based on this season performance.

Kubica 1st as it is plain simple that if he would be given Redbull, Mclaren or Ferrari car he would have secured championship very quickly.

Very similar situation with Rosberg.

3rd for Hamilton for becasue he made mistakes same as 4th and 5th places but at the same time he was pusing over the limit of the car putting his in competition with cars bettter then his.

4th – for Vettel as his mistakes are born from his inexperience.. he is going to fix them soonish or fail badly.

5th – Nando he is good but he is getting old or childish (not sure which is worse) by letting things to distract him enough to ruin his championship attempt. Too many mistakes without any good reason.

Hope that helps 😉 and I am open to discussion 🙂


1. Hamilton

2. Alonso

3. Kubika

4. Vettel

5. Rosberg


Can’t really argue with his selection there. Interesting to read his take on Vettel. Massa was always great at leading from pole but he seemed to fade away when he was in midfield.

Looking forward to seeing the Senna movie.


1. S Vettel

2. N Rosberg

3. F Alonso

4. M Webber

5. L Hamilton


Top 5:







My opinion:

1 Robert Kubica

2 Nico Rosberg

3 Fernando Alonso

4 Sebastian Vettel

5 Lewis Hamilton

The first two of my list we’re great this year but desperatly need a topcar that can help them win races.


My reading from JA’s mind:

1 Alonso

2 Vettel

3 Webber

4 Hamilton

5 Rosberg (Kubica & Button are close in this pos)


My top 5:

1 Vettel – he was the fastest all year and he would have won the title much earlier if his car hadn’t kept falling to bits. It’s true that he didn’t manage to overtake many people without bumping into them but this season no one has been perfect. He won the title on Saturdays.

2 Alonso – people say he’s the best, and he is annoyingly good, but he made silly mistakes.

3 Kubica – consistently strong performaces in a car which he and Renault pushed up the grid race by race. He seemed to lead the team forward, a bit like Hamilton last year.

4 Webber – excellent in the middle of the season, he would have been world champion if he hadn’t had such a quick qualifier for a team mate, yet he managed to finish third in the fastest car.

5 Hamilton – he’s still the most exciting driver and was stunning at times but couldn’t quite put the full season together.



James, great blog, been reading it all year, great information and very insightful.


Thank you


Hii My order is

1. Alonso

2. Vettel

3. Webber

4. Kubica

5. Hamilton


I think if the season had been turned around and the results were in reverse (i.e. Dubai last race of the season), we would all be saying a lot of different things right now. Alonso has made some bad mistakes this year but peoples memories seem a lot more forgiving (and possibly forgetful) than when it comes to Hamilton for instance where he “threw away the title” with his mistakes as they were much later in the year.


1. Vettel

2. Alonso

3. Rosberg

4. Hamilton

5. Webber


Vettel: from 1st half funk to 2nd half redemption. thought after Spa his WDC dreams were done.

Kubica: carried the team on his back with his steady mid pack placings.

Rosberg: didn’t let the Schumacher “legend” affect him one bit. if the Mercedes were a better car……..

Alonso: from the “gift” that was Germany through Brazil, Alonso had a perfect run in a not so perfect car.

Hamilton: if not for his and Mclaren’s brain fade at times, he might well been champion.


I think none of title contenders was the best this year.






I think Alonso doing better than anyone on final rounds is weighting too much for some people with short memory, regarding the whole year he wasn´t as good as Seb or Lewis, and WDC standings would have reflected that if he has had the same mechanical reliability than them.


its easy to be fast when the car is working very well.







I almost completely agree. Maybe Hamilton a little higher but the drivers you have chosen showed real class, specially when compared to their team mates. Vettel should have won by miles with that car, even with mechanical issues







On a completely unrelated note James, I’m interested about the re-introduction of KERS next season and particularly the McLaren version. Do you know who owns/distributes the unit that was in use for McLaren during 2009? I am under the impression it was developed by Zytec but who decides which teams can and cannot use the system (or updated version)??


It was a mercedes unit. I saw a webcast with norbert haug last season.

I believe mercedes, mclaren and force india will use the same unit.


This is tough, there are ups and downs for every drivers in the field. I have to agree every post here have their strong and insightful points. Nonetheless, i’m gonna give it a shot and see who stands out more this season.

1. Sebastian Vettel – Reminds me of Kimi Raikkonen where mechanical reliabilities play a part but without a doubt, a very quick driver on raw pace. Facing his more experienced counterparts, he kept his cool and deliver in the end.

2. Robert Kubica – He practically brought Renault back to contention after an appalling last season from them. Best of the rest from RedBull, McLaren and Ferrari, often taking the fight to them. But his stunning consistency record of challenging the top teams with an average car has really boost his ranking.

3. Fernando Alonso – One of the best packaged driver out there today. Though the car and the team has a part to play for his end result, his mistakes earlier this season are just not his usual character. Eventually put his head down and show what people has expected of him, but it’s a little too late.

4. Mark Webber – Surprisingly quick and consistent this season, at least for the first part. But when everything is working fine for the teammate, he simply does not have the edge.

5. Nico Rosberg – Both him and Michael Schumacher are in a new car this season, but he manages to adapt and bring out the most of the car. His adaptability and keeping Michael in check has given him a profound confidence.

Although I’m a McLaren Fan, both Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button did not make the cut for the top 5 ranking. Lewis breaks when the pressure mount. Jenson just seems comfortable running 2nd to Lewis.

All in all, an exciting season to the end and I can’t wait for the next one!

And thanks Allen, for keeping us on track with your insightful details. Great job!


Having followed F1 for 30-odd years, this season has contained many magic moments and to have 5 Championship contenders was fantastic.

Notwithstanding Seb’s excellent and deserved win, the jury is still out, for me. I think the real winner is Adrian Newey for producing the fastest cat, which gave Vettel the tool to run away from pole.

Lewis was undoubtedly fastest, in the not the fastest car. But Jenson, in “Lewis’s Team” and expected to be blown away, did a superb job.

Fernando is undoubtedly an excellent driver, but unfortunately is in danger of becoming a “Schumacher”, with Ferrari only capable of supporting one driver. If he had won the Championship, it would have been tainted because of Germany and Team Orders. His petulence is annoying and his attitude to Petrov summed it up for me.

Schumi, showed his fire hasnt gone, but it puts it into perspective that, without a car specifically tailored for him, he was unable to deliver. I hope that bothe he and Nico get cars built for them, next year.

Mark was disappointing, I so wanted him to win after all his hard work. The pressure got to him after his throw away in Korea, shame.

I therefore look further afield for my top 5 and include Kobyashi, Rosberg, Rubens, who all did fabulous jobs in developing and and dragging under-performing cars into decent finishing positions.

After much consideration, on balance, my top 5 are

1 Nico Rosberg

2 Sebastian Vettel

3 Jenson Button

4 Kobyashi

5 Rubens

Cant wait for next year.


I dont agree with him at all. The irony part is that a world champion is ranked no 4 because he is closer to his teammate than expected. It does sound funny doesn’t it.
And Alonso no1? He inherited 2 wins, Bahrain, Korea and everyone saw what happened in Germany.
He made more mistakes than Vettel and I dont see why some people think he did a better job than Vettel.


1. Alonso

2. Vettel

3. Kubica

4, Rosberg

5. Hamilton or Button (draw)


Think the criticism of Vettel not being able to overtake is a bit unfair, the red bull flexi-wing made the car unstable when it got close to another car. Webber managed a few overtakes but he also crashed a few times when attempting them.


I think the jurey will have to remain out on Vettel’s ability to overtake. However, the Redbull despite it’s pace advantage over the field would not be an easy car to overtake with. Look at the facts, all most all overtaking comes at the end of straights into braking zones and the Bull was not that fast down the straights, It’s strength of carrying speed through corners is not condusive to overtaking in modern F1. Chasing others through corners usually means that advantage is lost due to dirty air, we all used to hear about teams saying they would compromise their aero levels in Quali to give a better straight line speed for race conditions?!?! McLaren did most of the competative overtaking at the sharp end of the grid this year and that was down to their straight line speed advantage in the early part of the season. Vettel’s overtaking needs a bit of defending when you take into account the relative strengths of the RB6 but lets see what the future brings!


Not a bad assesment. I would say that the car however is the most predomenant factor. Its hard to judge drivers on equal grounds when they all have differnt machinery. At the bottom end of cars (basically Willams down), I would argue that the car is limiting so can’t really see much difference between drivers. I would argue that drivers such as Alonso, Hamilton, Kubica, Shumacher (alphatbetical order) maybe Rosberg extact a bit more from a car than others. Vettel is OK but got what the car deserved rather than exracting more.



Will you also do an award for the driver with the most number of ridiculous tantrums in 2010?

I guess we all know would win that award!


Yep – Lewis!

Big sulk in Australia, another one in Abu Dhabi – both complemented his behaviour in Hockenheim last year.


One can try to make slurs about Hamilton BUT most will remember Abu Dhabi for Ferrari’s abysmal race strategy and Alonso’s unsporting behaviour. Captain sulk strikes again! Perhaps Alonso thought he should be entitled to win the WDC because he drives in a red car?


Keep digging!


Those facts also include Alonso’s free gift of 7 points from Massa! And second is meaningless as history doesn’t record losers only winners! 2010 will only ever be associated with Redbull.


One can consistently choose to ignore facts, but the facts remain – Alonso finished second in the championship, whereas Hamilton could only manage fourth place.


Funny that could be Lewis, and i’m a fan. Both of the best two drivers on the grid are the two that do throw their toys out the pram on too many occasions – Lewis and Alonso – love em or hate em

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