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Who were the Top Five Stars in Average cars this season?
Who were the Top Five Stars in Average cars this season?
Posted By: James Allen  |  30 Nov 2010   |  7:45 pm GMT  |  278 comments

We’ve had a lot of fun with the competition to draw up a list of the Top Five drivers of the season and the eight readers who picked the same five as me have been informed and will get their signed book shortly.

But inevitably these lists are dominated by the drivers who won races and I have received loads of messages from readers wanting to nominate the unsung heroes further down the field. It is time to answer that call.

So for a but of fun let’s have your list of the Top Five drivers who were driving a car which did not win a race this year (so for example, Massa isn’t eligible because the Ferrari won races).

This is where the Kobayashis mix it with the Kovalainens, the Sutils with the Hulkenbergs. It’s much more difficult to judge than the top five drivers of the season, partly because for a lot of these guys they are racing without the TV cameras on them, so fans have to drill down to find out how good a job they did!

There are no limits on this, if you think Glock did a better job in the Virgin car that Kubica in a Renault or Rosberg in a Mercedes, here’s the place to say it.

I’ll offer signed copies of the season review book to the five readers who send in the most entertaining lists. Deadline is Friday 12pm UK time.


Photo: Darren Heath

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1. Kubica- he put an average renault in places it really shouldn’t have been. seemed to lose momentum mid-season, but fought back brilliantly at singapore.

2. Kobayashi- above rosberg for entertainment value. he drove above the level of his car more often than rosberg, who was a bit conservative. plus his overtaking ability is relentless

3. Rosberg- consistently out-scoring and out qualifying schumacher. a bit of the invisible man of the season, but finished only 2 pts short of massa in an inferior car.

4. Barrichello- consistently out-scoring his highly touted teammate, and shaming schumacher with that scary/on the edge pass in hungary. his commitment can never be doubted.

5. Kovalainen- consistently out-qulified by his teammate but consistently outpaced him on the sundays. consistent, fast, patient, he seem right at home without the hamilton pressure or the alonso shadow. his stock has surely risen hugely after an uneventful time at mclaren.


1. Robert Kubica – he made that yellow & black drone of a car look twice as sharp and quick. He proved his exceptional talent throughout the season, especially on those tracks, where car potential can be overwhelmed by driver skills (Monaco, Spa and again in Suzuka at least as long as all four wheels were available!) being beaten only by Red Bull drivers on these occasions. He was able to stay focused (I couldn’t) despite all the dry humour behind the idea of sticking the Lada labels onto F1 car. I’m pretty sure all the Lada owners will order a repaint of their cars now…

2. Kamui Kobayashi – forget about a well-established Japanese F1 driver stereotype! Kamui simply passed it through colander in his father’s restaurant to strain all the bad factors from the pure bravery and tenacity! This guy means business… His ability to brake very late was brilliantly summed-up by Martin Brundle this season and indeed it does really seem as if Kamui confuse himself over and over again about which paddle to step on while approaching the braking point!

3. Nico Rosberg – I didn’t include him in my list of top five drivers of the season earlier simply because I wasn’t sure, if all the praises he has received wasn’t mainly because of who he was directly compared to and that is a seven time world champion. None the less he did a tremendous job this season outscoring the Old Fox. Maybe being a German in a German team make it easier to stay on level terms with the other German..?

4. Rubens Barrichello (& Michael Schumacher) – I cannot think of Rubens and not see Michael around… there is no love lost between them two, surely. It seemed to me that every time Rubens was involved in the battle on track it was against the German. Brazilian had yet another good season. His technical input helped to improve the car this year and Williams team may well gain from that in 2011 as well. Frank Williams’ decision to retain Barrichello over Hulkenberg for next season proves it I guess.

5. Christian Klien – After three year long brake from driving a F1 car during the racing weekend and after only two Friday’s free practice sessions all season long this year, he took over this dog of a car from ill Yamamoto in Singapore to out-qualified Hispania’s regular driver Senna by over a second! That says a lot. He should be driving a F1 car once again. As for Senna… here’s a tune for ya: “Oh No! Bruno!”


1 Kubica – for demonstrating that drivers do still make a difference by putting an average car near the top, and for retiring at just the right time at Silverstone to tip Alonso over the edge.

2 Rosberg – for being as relentless against Schumacher as the seven time champion has been against all his other team mates, and for compounding Alonso’s frustrations in Abu Dhabi and helping to tip him over the edge.

3 Kobayashi – for generally having no respect, and for tipping Alonso over the edge in Valencia

4 Barrichello – for the few milliseconds in Hungary against Schumacher that resolved decades of frustration, and for tipping Alonso over the edge in Spa.

5 Kovalainen – for taking a fire extinguisher to his own burning car in Singapore, just like Vettel did in Korea except Kovalainen’s was a Lotus so he deserves extra credit for bothering, and for probably getting in Alonso’s way at some point in the year.

* I actually quite like Alonso. He smiles when he lies.


-Paul di Resta- For winning the DTM championship while still taking the time out to not go to in season testing and having to deal with the fact that his job (along with every other 3rd driver) is frustratingly pointless, but getting on with that job all the same

-Jaime Algersuari- For becoming one of Spain’s biggest DJ’s, maintaining the helm of the baby of F1 and managing to make a great salary despite his homeland’s Godawful economic state over the course of the year

-Lucas di Grassi- Simply for getting the least mentions by a commentator over the course of a season probably ever.

-Christian Klien- For performing the amazing magic trick of making the HRT look slightly somewhat competitive.

-Nico Hulkenberg- For driving a lap around a track better than anybody (especially his jinxed team mate) the one time when it counted.

Obviously the likes of Kubica, Rosberg and Kobayashi are far more realistic unsung heroes. Hell, even Petrov (I don’t care what people say, he impressed me) is worth a mention. But they aren’t as fun to mention as my 5.


kubica – definitive superstar

kobayashi – exciting exciting exciting

rosberg – very clean lines, consistent

barrichello – like a whining version of the energizer bunny, keeps on ticking

schumacher – the reason ALL of us watched.. might not have excelled but the fire still burns.. that monte carlo pass on fernando was vintage Michael.


1. Kubica

2. Kobayashi

3. Rosberg

4. Sutil

5. Hulkenberg


1. Schumacher 2. Schumi 3. Michael 4. Msc 5. Button and Barrichello’s bunny. 3years out and comes back at 40+ the guy for me gets no credit. Just watch next year 😉








1. Kubica – Got in among the top 3 teams with a car that shouldn’t

2. Rosberg – Outclassed 7 x w/c

3. Kobayashi – Great to watch

4. Hulkenberg – Great second half of the season

5. Kovalainen – Best performer of the new teams

Not 100% on the order of 4 & 5


1. Rosberg – coped with MSC and an average car well

2. Kubica – lots of speed but a question mark over consistency compared to Rosberg?

3. Kobayashi – pure pure fun especially as the Sauber improved

4. Kovalainen – what can you say when all you have is a washing machine to drive around in – did what he could and did it well

5. Hulkenburg – took a while but showed some real speed at the end of the season. Too little too late to save his seat though


1. Kubica – inferior car at his disposal, still scored points more often than not, and had

opportunities to win races on several occassions.

2. Rosberg – Underrated, quietly went about his business with a clearly underwhelming package, always there or thereabouts in top 5.

3. Kobayashi – Reckless, but gave the fans what they want, racing, willing to put himself on the line to move up the field in a car which shouldn’t really be mixing it with the Renault’s and the Mercedes’

4. Barrichello – Nearly always in the points, seemed to extract the most from his car’s limited ability and got Williams over the line in constructors battle with Force India.

5. Kovalainen – got his car into the top fifteen on several occassions, most often outqualified all of the new teams drivers and secured Lotus tenth in the standings as a result.














There is a constant talking about overtaking, or lack of it in F1, so I decided to take a look at this “Xfactor” of racing and have it in mind while preparing my list:

1. Kubica – not just because he is my hero, as he is, but also because he can overtake like no other even on tracks where everybody says overtaking is impossible. Also, he often plays by the rules when other drivers attempt to overtake him by leaving them space. Apart from he is simply a hell of a talent.

2. Kobayashi – people say he is a bit of a kamikaze when it comes to overtaking. From my observations, however he’s moves are calculated, brave but not crazy. He would not attempt to make a move when he knows he has no chance. Same thing with defending position.

eeeeer… there is no one else on my list, I am afraid. Rosberg was a whisker away from making it. If he only was a wee bit more adventurous, he would have taken third spot.

Fourth would go to Kovalainen – forever in a good mood – he is certainly enjoying it.

Fifth would be Petrov’s for trying to do his best with overwhelming pressure from Renault, his mistakes were a consequence of that I believe. A memorable drive in the last race of the season.


1. Kubica

2. Rosberg

3. Barichello

4. Sutil

5. Kobayashi


My choice:

1- Kubica

2- Kobayashi

3- Rosberg

4- Barrichello

5- Chandhok


1. kubica – pretty much dragged car round even tho it got the better of him towards the end.

2. barichello – steady but solid – also, took the team out karting at his track in sao paulo.

3. kobayashi – more than kamikazi

4. schumacher – got there in the end

5. petrov – was occasionally on the pace of kubica for a lap or two. and kept alonso behind to allow vettel to take the championship


1 – Kubica. Drove the pants off the car all year, and took some scalps that the renault was not expecting to take.

2 – Rosberg. To dominate MSC, and stop him from becoming second fiddle in a Brawn / Schumy camp takes some doing, both on and off track. He’s also been great in interviews, and comes accross really well.

3 – Heidfld. MSC, De la Rosa et all proved it’s very hard to be away, then jump in a seat and be right on it. Heidfeld did this with style, and more people would have noticed if his bansai tactic’d teammate hadn’t been hogging the limelight!

4 – Barrichello. At the start of the season, the williams was clearly struggling. At the end, they took pole. I belive that Rubens’ experience and fedback as a driver would have helped Williams immencely this year. Plus, Rubens is without doubt one of the most likeable blokes in interviws – a great ambassador for the sport.

5 – This is the hardest one to pick. Do you go for the ppular vote, and opt for the entertaining, but irratic Kobayashi? You could, but his season has been full of errors, and a lot of his later moves were no doubt facilitated by the drivers ahead wanting to finish the race.

How about Alguashuari? Some brilliant performances, but again he has made some mistakes and had a patchy season.

For my no. 5, I’m going for Kovalinen. He has barely made a mistake all year, consistantly beanten his team mate, and in effect “won” the battle at the back. Hopefully, next yearrs car will be stronger, and we can see him having a battle with Torro Rosso as well.


Difficult one James. I had a top three, but it wasn’t easy to put two other names in the two remaining spots as I had a few candidates (for various reasons). I’m neither funny nor witty, but this is my reasoning:

1. Robert Kubica. He’s probably one of the least attractive drivers in terms of PR and marketing potential and he’s probably the nightmare of some F1 journalists – the way he answers simple questions, as if he couldn’t bother and as if he wanted to get rid of the interlocutor isn’t really tempting for anybody making interviews (Some of Kubica’s converstations with Polish journalists are epic:

Journalist: “Robert, the weather is quite unpredictable! What do you expect from it tommorow?”

Kubica: “It’s difficult to predict anything if it’s unpredictable”.

Journalist: “Robert, how does a Pole starting from pole position feel?”

Kubica: “The same as a Pole starting from any other position”.

Journalist: “Robert, wouldn’t it be great to stand on the podium here in Monaco? Look – there’s this special place over there for the top three drivers”.

Kubica: “There’s a place like this on every single track, you know…”.)

However, these are appearances, because if you ask him a more specific question and not necessarily the one concerning the comfort of the hotel he’s staying in, he becomes quite talkative. And when he gets into the car, everything else doesn’t matter. So Kubica is my “the best of the rest” choice for his devotion to racing, his flawless driving (what are a few minor mistakes compared to all the mistakes the title contenders were making?) and taking the car were it didn’t belong. I also love his attitude – in the times when talent alone seems not to be enough as you have to have marketing potential (e.g. so widely discussed marketing case of Vettel vs. Webber), Kubica proves that it doesn’t have to be so. I don’t think he cares even a bit about the glamourous life of celebrities that many drivers are leading. He’s there for racing and he does it brilliantly. I only hope he gets a better car before he retires, so we can see what he’s realy made of.

2. Nico Rosberg. I remember before the season many people were saying that Nico would be playing second fiddle to Schumacher. Then, when the season started, I’ve heard voices saying that Schumacher will soon become himself (as soon as he gets used to driving again) and that Nico should be happy about being faster than Michael, because it wouldn’t last long. Everybody knew that; everybody except Rosberg, who just didn’t seem to care what a great driver his team mate was and was beating him shamelessly race after race. I think he’s one of the best (if not the best) drivers without a win now and I think he deserves at least one. Plus – he gave us all some laugh when he was voted one of the prettiest girls in F1.

3. Kamui Kobayashi. Before he came to F1, I thought that the samurai Japanese drivers are there to crash into everything that moves (and sometimes things that don’t move as well) thus, bringing the unpredictability factor into racing. Kobayashi definitely changed that impression with his attitude “If I feel I can overtake, I just do it”. Maybe he is sometimes too emotional and feels it a bit too much as he still had some crashes and off-track excursions this year, but it doesn’t change the fact that he brought us all some great entertainment this year and showed some great driving.

4. Heikki Kovalainen. This Kovalainen seemed to me a different person than the Kovalainen we saw in 2008-09. When playing second fiddle to Lewis Hamilton in McLaren, he was almost invisible, while this year he seemed a driving force for Lotus. And I absolutely loved his actions in Singapore. Vettel had his car on fire in Korea and he was putting the fire down, but he just jumped out of it so fast and then he was acting very rapidly (as if he was nervous! 😉 ). Kovalainen on the other hand, showed that Finnish people are really ice cold when it comes to emotions. The way he calmly drove away from the pit lane in order not to cause more danger for the people in the garages, took out the steering wheel and patiently went to get a fire-extinguisher was something I’ve never seen before – as if he was playing chess and not putting down a fire on an F1 track. Coming back to race performances – I guess his results gave Lotus the desired 10 place in the WCC.

5. After long consideration: Rubens Barrichello. Because everybody has been sending him to retirement for such a long time and he’s still there. Michael managed to get the greatest number of titles in history, retire and come back, rules and cars have changed so many times, recordes have been beaten, new tracks appeared – all seems to be changing, but Barrichello is still racing. I sometimes think that he’ll always be there or that F1 will end once he retires. Anyway, I guess his experience is one of the most valuable things for Williams and it was IMO confirmed by the fact that having one seat left (the other one for Maldonado), the team decided to hire for the next season “good old” Barrichello and not Nico Hulkenberg, who was, after all, the author of one of the biggest (if not the biggest) sensations this season. People say that when a driver gets older and have kids, he becomes more rational and drives more carefully. Barrichello will probably never be a world champion, but his gutsy (and symbolic) move on Schumacher in Hungary proved that this assumption might be wrong.


If I understood correctly, here we choose 5 stars from the rest, not 5 best drivers, and that is a reason why my list look like this:

1. Kobayashi- simple he had most overtakeings in whole field, and he was bigest atraction in the second part of a season

2. Kubica- I realy don’t like the guy, but he had some great drives, took 101% from the car, but one big minus is qualifazung in Hungary, and also, he often used just one try in Q3, like in Hungary,aprroch that is killing qualfaying, becose wualification shoudn’t be superpol, must be at least 2 fast laps, to driver has a chance to drive on the limit and beyond.

3. Rosberg- simply because he defited Schumaher. Had some good results, but pretty unspectacular driving style.

4. Barrichello- because of the duel with Schumaher in Hungary! For man in his age to do such a brave thing, moment to remember! He also was great leader of the team, and thanks to his expiriance they made great progress in the second half of the year.

5. For final spot I was thing about Kovalainen, because of the fire (or fireman) in Korea :), but he was too many times beaten in qualifaying from Truli, so my final vote goes to Hulkenberg, because of the pol in Brazil, but he disapointed on that race, lost to many positons.

I must mention biggest disappointment of the season, Adrian Sutil! I honestly belived that he would achive what Hulk did, pol in some wett or mixed condition, it didnt materialise.


5. Barrichello – so entertaining to hear him always complaining about Michael

4. Klien – Only time HRT makes real headlines during the season was when Klien humiliated his teammate.

3. Kobayashi – The most entertaining to watch driver of the year.

2. Kubica – Everyone know he’s good so there is no surprises here.

1. Rosberg – Impressive how he dominated the Schu.


1. Robert Kubica (Renault)

2. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes)

3. Rubens Barrichello (Williams)

4. Kamui Kobayashi (Sauber)

5.Taki Inoue (Footwork)



Nico Rosberg looked good for Mercedes-Benz,

And at season’s end had many new friends.

He was faster than Michael,

And that is no trifle!

He’ll be WC before his career ends.


Robert Kubica had another fine year.

He drove consistently without fear.

He qualified well

While the team started to gel —

But next year is another frontier!


Rubens is Rubens — Rubens is evergreen,

To the fountain of youth: that’s where he’s been!

He’s still got the passion

To drive in a fashion

That gives eye-popping moments on my screen!


Kamui is crazy, but not like he was —

He still has the skill to give us a buzz.

With his ducking and diving

and committed driving,

We’re glad Sauber lets him do what he does!


Karun Chandhok did not get to drive

Every race, so why’s he my “five”?

He was great with the mic,

and James knows what that’s like —

He was outstanding with Ant & Dave on 5-Live!


1. Kubica. Can be argued that he is the driver of the year among ALL drivers. Very consistent and fast and also – very calm with good nerves, which is vital in F1 environment.

2. Rosberg. Beat Schumacher almost consistently. His reputation seems a bit iffy, but looking at the years and his constant improvement, he could well be a top driver in the making. No big fuss or hype – just year in, year out silently doing his competent job.

3. Barrichello. Unlike many other drivers, he still seems to be at his best even in such age (38), he did to Hulkenberg the same as he did to Magnussen in 1997. Damaged the reputation of a very highly rated rookie driver.

4. Kovalainen. Outraced Trulli almost on a consistent basis and performed like in the second half of 2007 at Renault – consistently well. Needs team support to perform at his best, but has finally got it at Lotus.

5. Kobayashi. Still a bit inconsistent in qualifying sessions, but does the job done in races and has beaten (although narrowly) all of his competent team-mates so far – Trulli, de la Rosa, Heidfeld. Despite (stereotypic?) reputation of being reckless he has made very few mistakes for a rookie driver. I’d say you rarely see such a mature young driver in F1.


1. Kubica

2. Rosberg

3. Kobayashi

4. Barichello

5. Hulkenberg

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