Open Battle
Baku 2018
Azerbaijan Grand Prix
Who were the Top Five Drivers of the Year? An insider’s view
Who were the Top Five Drivers of the Year? An insider’s view
Posted By: James Allen  |  26 Nov 2010   |  10:04 am GMT  |  166 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 we have the veteran Williams, Benetton and Toyota engineer, Frank Dernie. Here is his choice:

1. Sebastian Vettel
Made some mistakes early on – what can we expect from someone so young and inexperienced, kept his head and kept learning to the end to win. Exceptional.

2. Nico Rosberg
Outperformed the car and Michael all year, very few mistakes. His performance deserved more but car not good enough.

3. Mark Webber
Nearly made it, unexpectedly great season.

4. Fernando Alonso
In my opinion Alonso has been the best driver for many years but this year he made too many errors.

5. Lewis Hamilton
Good effort but mistakes whilst trying a bit too hard to compensate a car which was never quite as good as the opposition.

If you haven’t already, give me your top five in the comments section below. Entries close on Monday 29 November at 12pm UK time.

The book is published on Monday and all orders will be sent out then. Every copy ordered through the JA on F1 site will be signed.

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.

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

Add comment

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

You entered an incorrect username or password

Sorry that something went wrong, repeat again!


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

1. Alonso

2. Hamilton

3. Kubica

4. Rosberg

5. Button







Vettel tottaly unproven driver. Would have to see him passing other drivers (including some on hard tracks like Monte Carlo – Alonso did a few or Abu Dabi – like Kubica and Roseberg DID), Would like to see him defending against oponent with better car – like Kubica does all the time , come back in a strong position after poor quali and many other things like coping with own team supporting his teammate not him. I cant even say if he belongs to first 10 without it. Weber I like him personally but this is not who do we like , but who has skills. Mark is at the end of his career when suddenly everybody call him one of the best when he drives Red Bull. Kobayashi has got 32 points in his rookie season in pretty hopeless car (excelent passing- much better than one day wander – Nico Hulk – that some call him one of the best already to my astonishment. Yes – 32 points in poor car in his rookie season – delivering some nice spectacle to fans , especially countryman during Suzuka.


I love these justifications for Vettel’s screw-ups, such as Frank Dernie’s:

“Made some mistakes early on – what can we expect from someone so young and inexperienced…”

Since at least 2 years ago, people have slated Lewis Hamilton for his mistakes, but today Vettel’s mistakes are excused because he is “so young and inexperienced.”

Hamilton has raced in 71 GPs, Vettel has raced in 62.


whos the best driver overall? who was the best driver in 2010? lets weigh it up with what car was fastest? who done the best job with inferior car? so many variables, heres my take, best driver overall, alonso. best 2010 driver, vettel, best car, red bull{by a mile}, who done best job in inferior car, alonso.for 2010 its vettel, alonso, hamilton, webber, kubica. best 5 drivers overall, alonso hamilton kubica vettel webber.



the mistake procedure is simple and clear. So according to no-mistakes:





5.Safety car

Vettel only managed to mantain his pole position in all races. Of course, there are others who fight to win races with bad cars and bad positions at starts.


My top 5 drivers. Alonso, Hamilton, Rosberg, Button & Kubica.

Simple reason being is they put their respective cars far further forward than expected. This seasons’ Red Bull was a class act with it’s raw speed and with both Vettel and Webber having such an advantage one would have thought that the championship would have been wrapped up long before the end of the season. Congratulations to both Vettel and Red Bull for pulling it off, but these drivers added the real spice to the season making it 4 drivers going into the final round with a decent shout of the title.


Discounting hamilton’s 30 + points lost due to mechanical issues when comparing to button seems a tad unfair don’t you think?


Cannot agree more!

1.Vettel is WDC apart from all the miserable affairs,no luck.

2.Rosberg outperformed Schumi,has overtaken Lewis Hamilton,and finished ahead consistently

3.Mark really threatened Seb well.

4.Fernando was perfect in the last part of the season.

5.Lewis was perfect in the middle part of the season


1) Hamilton

2) Alonso

3) Vettel

4) Webber

5) Kubica


1. Sebastien Vettel
Won, and deservedly so.
2. Mark Webber
So close, maybe surprisingly.
3. Robert Kubica
Great performances, despite a poor car.
4. Kamui Kobyashi
Most entertaining driver of the year.
5. Jenson Button
Didn’t think he’d push Lewis as hard as he did!


I think Alonso’s mistakes could be put down to two things:

(1) “Ring rust”, having not headlined Formula 1’s main event (i.e. fought for the championship) for 2 years.

(2) Overdriving and overcompensating for only having the 2nd fastest – sometimes 3rd fastest – car of the season.

Given those circumstances, the Spaniard was actually exceptional given how he still managed to put up one hell of a fight(back) and place the F10 higher than where it really should have been more often than not. The same could be said about Lewis Hamilton’s 2010 campaign.

As for Frank Dernie’s justification for making Vettel no.1, he’s right: Seb is just 23 years old and has only been in F1 for 3 1/2 seasons, so the rawness of his talent is, although frustrating, understandable.

As for Rosberg, I’m not so sure… He was good, but he went up against a “rusty” and somewhat aged Michael Schumacher. I think Kubica deserves the top 5 honors more than he (Rosberg) does, to be honest.


1) Vettel – blindingly quick and consistent qualifying, and strong end of season performance when it mattered most (lack of reliability aside)

2) Alonso – 2nd half of season was brilliant in a car not up to snuff compared to Red Bull. Blew his team mate (what’s his name?) away. Would’ve been WDC but for a poor team strategy call. Made a few too many mistakes this year, but still sneaks past my number 3.

3) Webber – lifted his game remarkably compared to what it had been in years past. Was a bonafide contender. Can’t help but feel he let team politics get to him too much, and that he ran out of steam a bit at the end.

And now it gets tough: Hamilton? Rosberg? Kubica? Kobayashi? But four doesn’t go into 2 unless you’re driving a Minardi 2-seater so here goes:

4) Hamilton – wrung the most out of a relatively poor McLaren, which never did come on song. Made a couple of silly mistakes which didn’t help, but the real test was the consistent way he outperformed Button (a stiffer test then what Kubica had to contend with). Hauled that car up the grid and race results table with what has become his trademark style.

5) Rosberg – his full weekend consistency and relatively error-free driving over the whole season edges him out over the other two. Having a Schumacher comeback going on in the garage next door could’ve unsettled him but it didn’t, and he got on with his job, and totally eclipsing MS in the process. That kind of consistency, coupled with a competitive car will earn him a WDC.

Honourable mention:

Kubica – he did do some magic with that Renault didn’t he? Hard to tell his relative pace as Petrov was hardly a good benchmark. One also wonders how much of what we saw was just him putting to good use some stunning developments by the Renault team.

Kobayashi – if the list were down to generating excitment during a GP event due to over-taking, he’d be at or very near the top. Very fun to watch, but he needs more consistency over the whole weekend and less errors, to get into the top 5. Hopefully, Sauber can provide him a better car too.


1. Hamilton

2. Vettel

3. Alonso

4. Webber

5. Kubica


1) Vettel. Overshadowed by his teammate for a period during the middle of the season. Supreme in the last few races

2) Alonso, supreme speed and determination. Public persona could do with sone work.

3) Webber, massively improved. Real fighter

4) Hamilton, electrifying to watch as always.

5) Rosberg, got his head down and just delivered the speed.


Alonso best driver of the last few years? He might well of been on paper but he didn’t show it in 2007, 2008 or 2009. At least Schumacher was developing the Ferrari during his barren years.








So Webber gets a 3rd-place vote from the Williams engineer, essentially for achieving over low initial expectations ? I would counter that he actually under-achieved considerably, having had the fastest car for the whole season, having had a considerable points lead in the late rounds (even though that lead was more due to lack/circumstance than skill), and ultimately (and as I predicted on this site 4 races before the end) blowing it ? Come on people, just get around to the fact that the likeable Aussie just doesn’t have it.


I think a lot of people miss the point of these lists. The idea is to give your top 5 drivers based on their performances for the 2010 season, there is no ‘wrong’ answer.

Realistically there are 5 drivers who had a decent dig at the 2010 WDC and all of them, including Sebastian, have moments they can look back on and see they probably ‘blew it’.


Top 5

1. Alonso

2. Vettel

3. Hamilton

4. Webber

5. Kubica

Mike from Medellin, Colombia

With the exception of Rosberg, Frank Dernie’s rankings seem to be based on performances in the second half of the season.

It seems that these rankings are always formed on weighting bias on the last 6 races. I remember the way in which Button’s first half of 2009 seemed to have been forgotten when it came to assess last year’s overall performances.

I think that Kubica has made that Renault finish in positions much higher that it deserves. He should surely be in the top 5.

Kubica seems a wasted talent and it’s a shame that his friendship with Alonso may ultimately prevent him from being at Ferrari.

In terms of PERFORMANCES for 2010 it has to be:

1) Vettel

2) Alonso

3) Hamilton

4) Rosberg

5) Webber

In terms of speed and talent it should be:

1) Hamilton

2) Alonso

3) Kubica

4) Rosberg

5) Vettel


I agree with you here.

but it really is hard to see past the fact that someone has a good car.

personally I don’t think Button deserves to be world champion. He has little raw pace and isn’t that amazing at overtaking. His beat asset seems to be ‘taking it easy’.

Webber isn’t that great either.

I also don’t think vettel is much other than in qualifying. Put Hamilton or koby behind him in a fast car and see what happens.

Alonso is pretty special but his personality ruins it for me.

I really want to see kubica, Lewis, kobayashi, Rosberg in the best cars. would be very interesting.


1. Sebastian Vettel. He went on quite the roller coaster ride this year. Three utterly dominant races ruined by mechanical failure. He cracked a bit under the pressure of playing catch up during the European tour, but he put it all back together after his scrap at Spa. He take the championship in spectacular fashion at the final, nail-biting race.

2. Mark Webber. Proved that he could push not only himself and his car to the limit, but also his younger, quicker teammate. By the middle of the season Webber looked to be the favorite to take the championship after stringing together some magnificent races during the early European rounds.

3. Lewis Hamilton. A pure racer at heart, and no list is complete without him at or near the top. Hamilton always pushes his car to, and often beyond its limit. A few crucial mistakes, and bad luck with suspension failures after what looked like minor contact took him out of key races, and also realistically out of the hunt.

4. Robert Kubica. I made a deliberate effort to more closely watch to watch Kubica race this year, and I was quite simply amazed. His races are always so consistent, and almost entirely mistake free. Kubica did amazing work with the fifth, but in his hands often the fourth quickest car on the grid.

5. Jenson Button. Smooth, and consistent. By his own admission, his qualifying performance was lacking, but his races were very solid. His consistency kept him in the hunt, and was only outside of the points once (excluding accidents).


#1 Alonso – Only top driver to finish ahead of his teams constructors position. Also, only “top 4 team” driver to finish 4 positions in front of his teammate in the drivers champ. Team lost him the Drivers champ.

Teammates, in equal cars should be within a few points of each other, but they are not. Good bye Webber, Button, Massa, Schumacher. By eliminating drivers that finish behind teammates, Rosberg ends up 4th & equal the team, Kubica ends up 5th & equal the team and Barrichello 6th, again equal the team standing.

1)Alonso – betters team 1 position, 2nd driver, dog of a car early on, beaats teammate big time

2)Vettel – equals team, 1st driver, best car though

3)Rosberg – equals team – 4th driver if teammates eliminated, not the best car, good drive though

4)Kubica – equals team – 4th driver if teammates eliminated, great team

5)Barrichello – equals team – 5th driver if teammates eliminated, great gritty drive

6)Hamilton – 1 position behind team, 4th driver (actual)


Beating your team mate Massa by a large margin says far more about what happened to Massa than Alonso especially after the Hockeheim team orders. No wonder he didn’t bother performing after that.


I know Michael Schumacher is not expected to be in No 5 and I myself was disappointed with his performance.

But after all we are just fans who doesn’t know what he did.

But Prost comments surprised me.

“What he has done is already very good – almost exceptional. The target to be world champion [in his comeback] was really impossible”

“What he has done, I think only he could have done it. But maybe the target was a little bit too high.”

That is something may be the fans need to understand because we are talking about one of the greatest all time driver and I don’t think they are close friends.

So after all Michael did a solid season considering all the circumstances.


For me top five drivers are:

1. Vettel

2. Kubica

3. Alonso

4. Rosberg

5. Kobayashi


1. Vettel, he had the car but the gap wasn’t as huge as Brawn 2009, Jenson Lewis, Alonso all of them win a few races each. So the package wise, it would be unfair to just put it down to the car. And its a huge task to get the best out of the best car THAT consistently, just ask Mark Webber.

2. Nico, I am Schumacher fan but he has done enough to convince me that he is up there with the best.

3. Mark Webber, sometimes you may be not equipped with x amount of skills but if you have determination and work very hard you can match the best. He just demonstrated that in this season by overcoming the adversity.

4. Alonso – his performance in Malaysian GP reminded me that Schumacher’s 94 Spain where he stuck in 5th gear and finished second. I think he out-drove Vettel in Singapore with an inferior car. But the problem is that he made far too many mistakes. He was in the hunt for that long because of Red Bull reliability issues.

5. Lewis – he didn’t give us any “wow” factor which you would expect from a driver like him. Jenson was a lot closer then anticipated. It wasn’t his best season.


Opps I got the same list as James haha.


I’ve put my 5 already under the previous post on this topic, so I won’t do it again (especialy that after considering and reconsidering it, I would not change a single position, it’s still: 1.Alo, 2.Ham, 3.Vet, 4.Kub, 5.Web for me). But I don’t agree with the top 5 presented here. Considering the speed of the cars the drivers had, I don’t think either Webber or Rosberg did better than Alonso and Hamilton. Also Vettel made plenty of mistakes and whith such a fast car it’s “strange” that it took him 19 races to get to the lead of the WDC. He’s a deserving WDC, no doubt about it (great, mature couple of last races), but he should have sealed the title earlier (even with all those mechanical failures). IMO he still needs to grow up a bit and learn some racecraft.

Moreover, if Rosberg is on that list, I think Kubica should be even more. Renault was a worse car than the Mercedes and Kubica managed to snatch a few podium finishes. I think that Rosberg had a very good season and I think that given a fast car, he can pose a threat to others, but I don’t see him being better than Kubica, and for sure not better than Alonso, Webber and Hamilton.

Apart from that – can’t wait for your book, James. Hope it won’t get too long for it to get to my place of living!

Top Tags
JA ON F1 In association with...
Multi award winning Formula One photographer
Multi award winning Formula One photographer

Sign up to receive the latest F1 News & Updates direct to your inbox

You have Successfully Subscribed!