Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Montreal, 2010

2010 F1 driver rankings part four: the top three

2010 F1 season review

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It’s time to name the top three drivers of 2010.

Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso are the final three drivers in the 2010 rankings – but which one comes out on top?

Read on to find out.

3. Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Valencia, 2010
Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Valencia, 2010

Half-term ranking: 3

Vettel’s late-season chase to the crown was the stuff of script-writers.

In Korea, after yet another car failure, it looked like it was all over. But by winning three of the final four races – and thanks to Ferrari being preoccupied by his team mate – Vettel pulled it off.

He was cursed with unreliability in 2010. Vettel was leading in Bahrain, Australia and Korea when his RB6 faltered, leaving him with 12 points instead of 75 from those three races.

That wasn’t the end of it. More car trouble in Canada, Spain and Turkey (qualifying) held him back. Earlier this year I calculated he’d lost 48 points due to unreliability – and that was before Korea.

To his credit, he never let his frustration get the better of him in the form of outbursts directed at the team. It was just as well, because he made a two major blunders of his own, colliding with Webber in Istanbul and Button at Spa.

Both these mistakes were born from overtaking attempts which went wrong. Even with a world championship under his belt, Vettel has not yet shaken off the impression that although he can win from the front with aplomb, racing for position is not his thing. His fight back through the field at Silverstone was scrappy at times.

Vettel’s raw speed has never been in doubt and, armed with an RB6, he was a fearsome proposition in qualifying, taking ten pole positions.

The stark fact that he scored half that number of wins leaves the nagging feeling that he made hard work of this world championship.

However his performance under pressure can’t be faulted. Whether in the rain at Korea, or after being pipped to pole by Nico H???lkenberg in Brazil, it seemed nothing could faze Vettel in the crucial final four races.

He got the job done in a clinical fashion that was supremely impressive for someone earning the title of youngest ever world champion.

You can’t argue with ten poles, five wins and the championship. Very unlucky with reliability, but lots of silly errors meant he snatched the championship rather than dominate it as he perhaps should have done.
Dan Thorn

Sebastian Vettel 2010 form guide

2. Fernando Alonso

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Singapore, 2010
Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Singapore, 2010

Half-term ranking: 6

The best driver of the second half of the season? Unquestionably.

Alonso went on the hunt for a third world championship having asserted his supremacy within the team at Hockenheim. His F10 became a much more competitive car after the addition of an exhaust-blown diffuser in Valencia.

Over the final nine races we saw him back at his 2006-vintage best. Singapore was an undoubted high point, stealing a win from the faster Red Bulls with a brilliant qualifying lap and a faultless drive under pressure.

He won at Korea having managed his tyres to perfection. It was a shame we never got to see whether it would have been enough for him to take on Vettel had the Red Bull driver’s engine not failed.

In Brazil he delivered a masterclass in restrained aggression, patiently wearing down Nico H???lkenberg to make a critical pass.

If he’d driven like that all year then he would have been champion. But for whatever reason he did not seem to be firing on all cylinders in the first half of the season.

His Ferrari career got off to a dream start with a win at Bahrain. But several of the following races were marred by costly errors.

Bizarrely, he jumped the start of the race in Shanghai. At Monaco he was fortunate to salvage sixth after crashing in practice.

Clearly, he was very unlucky in Valencia. But he was the architect of his own demise in the next race at Silverstone, failing to yield position to Robert Kubica having gone off the track to overtake the Renault driver.

To win races you need to do more than just be fast – sometimes you have to overtake people as well. There were times in 2010, such as at Silverstone, when Alonso’s racing savvy appeared to have deserted him.

Similarly, the Hockenheim debacle might have been avoided had he capitalised on a chance to pass Massa earlier in the race.

These were blips in an otherwise very impressive season which included a quite remarkable performance in Sepang where he coped with a transmission glitch throughout the race before the car failed a few laps from home.

In the end he came within a bad strategy call of winning a third championship title. If he can carry his late-2010 form into 2011 his opponents have a lot to worry about.

Like Hamilton (who I’d say he shares the title for the best overall driver on the grid today) he didn’t always have the fastest car but he pushed it to the absolute limit.

His first half of the year was fraught with mistakes but after the controversial German victory, he cleaned up and virtually dominated the last half.

Fernando Alonso 2010 form guide

1. Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Montreal, 2010
Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Montreal, 2010

Half-term ranking: 1

Having led the drivers’ championship in the middle of the year Hamilton hung on grimly despite having a car that patently wasn’t up to the job in several races in the second half of the season.

The arrival of the reigning world champion in the second car fazed him not one bit. He was usually the quicker of the two by a few tenths and sometimes in qualifying his car was half-a-dozen places or more ahead of the McLaren with the number one on its nose.

On the rare occasions he did start behind Button it usually didn’t last long, like at Melbourne where he passed Button soon after the safety car came in on a damp track.

Hamilton remains the most combative driver on the grid, the one most likely to a take on a rival instead of getting stuck behind them.

He won in excellent fashion at Canada, taking advantage of Alonso being boxed in behind leader Sebastien Buemi to pass him for the lead.

A fine drive at Shanghai yielded second place after a string of passes, taking Vettel along the way. But similar drives at Melbourne and Sepang were less well rewarded.

More points were lost with car failures at Spain and Hungary, plus his gearbox gremlins in Suzuka.

Back-to-back wins at Istanbul and Montreal, plus second places behind the Red Bull drivers at Valencia and Silverstone, marked the high point of his season. But as McLaren fell behind Red Bull and Ferrari in the development race there were times when Hamilton could only watch the other championship contenders drive away.

At times he tried to grab a bit too much. There were minor errors in Korea and Interlagos that were plainly born of over-driving. He flirted with disaster at Spa on his way to an excellent wet-weather win.

More seriously at Monza he threw away a vital opportunity to take points off the Red Bull drivers by tangling with Felipe Massa on the first lap.

Still on other occasions he was downright unlucky – particularly whenever Mark Webber was involved, as at Melbourne and Singapore.

This year’s world championship was remarkable in that drivers from three different teams had cars that were good enough to win races. Picking the best driver – the fastest, the best racer, the one who beat a strong team mate, the most dependable – is inevitably subjective. The margins between the very best are razor-thin.

Lewis Hamilton gets the nod this year because whatever state the track or his car was in, he was unrelenting in his pursuit of success and was always the driver who wrung the maximum – and sometimes a bit more – out of his car.

I hate to admit it but Hamilton was pretty impressive this season, his best by far, regardless of the result.

Unfortunately for him the car lagged behind in the later stages of the season. After Silverstone it was quite clear for me that he was favourite for the title, but McLaren struggled with development on the EBD front, and its new rear wing came too late to make any difference.

As expected he has beaten Jenson, while maturing more and more with every race (with the exception of Monza, but I guess that everyone has the right to make a silly error once) and getting more complete as a driver. If McLaren gets the MP4-26 right, expect him to be a contender, as he always have been.
Guilherme Teixeira

Complete F1 Fanatic 2010 driver rankings

27. Sakon Yamamoto
26. Lucas di Grassi
25. Karun Chandhok
24. Bruno Senna
23. Vitaly Petrov
22. Christian Klien
21. Vitantonio Liuzzi
20. Sebastien Buemi
19. Pedro de la Rosa
18. Jarno Trulli
17. Nick Heidfeld
16. Felipe Massa
15. Nico H???lkenberg
14. Heikki Kovalainen
13. Michael Schumacher
12. Jaime Alguersuari
11. Timo Glock
10. Kamui Kobayashi
9. Adrian Sutil
8. Rubens Barrichello
7. Jenson Button
6. Mark Webber
5. Nico Rosberg
4. Robert Kubica
3. Sebastian Vettel
2. Fernando Alonso
1. Lewis Hamilton

Who do you think was the best driver of the year? Have your say below and vote for the best F1 driver of 2010 here.

Lewis Hamilton 2010 form guide

Images ?? Red Bull/Getty images, Ferrari spa, www.mclaren.com

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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424 comments on “2010 F1 driver rankings part four: the top three”

  1. I wondered when i saw Lewis on first pole, however I think it’s quite a good example to have him on “pole position” :)
    but my mind are focus on Kubica :)
    great job Keith.

    1. Not exactly going a great distance to get rid of that ‘British bias’ tag keith!

      1. What bias can there be when in true fact Hamilton was indeed the most menacing of the top drivers.

        1. I didn’t realize this was rating of the most menacing drivers! jk

          No really, this article and the comments show how close of a season this was. There was no true stand out dominant driver the whole year like we’ve seen in some of the past seasons. It makes for a more interesting season for sure, but it also leads to more debate of who was the best…I don’t think there was a ‘best’ this season and all of these guys (+ maybe, Webber, Buttn, & Kubica) were phenomenal and all of these guys made mistakes.

          I disagree with Keith’s rankings, but I also think his rankings are fair and that it really comes down to many factors and some personal opinion to say who is best and what even qualifies for best. Who cares even if Keith is a little biased, it’s his blog and his opinion.

        2. Vettels the most menacing, as take 1 look at him and you will be off the track :)

      2. Not exactly going a great distance to get rid of that ‘British bias’ tag keith!

        I write what I think.

        1. I agree with you Keith – Hamilton was the one driver you could reply on to get 100% fromo the car over the course of the weekend and the “mistakes” he made, Monza and Singapore for example, were from trying to pass people , exactly what we want! Lsistening to him plead to start the race in Korea was great. Alonso for the record was also fantastic – his 2nd half of the year was amazing but for me as well Hamilton just edges it.

        2. As much as I would like to think that this decision was made without a bit of bias, I can’t. Why? Well, this is a British website, and there have been articles on here before that were heavily biased towards Hamilton. I would definitely put Hamilton 3rd, Vettle 2nd, and Alonso 3rd, as thats where they really belong.

          1. And I can’t be biased as I’m a pole that lives in America so there are no favorites here.

          2. this is a British website, and there have been articles on here before that were heavily biased towards Hamilton.

            Such as?

            The thing is, some people are inclined to scream “bias” whenever they read something they don’t agree with. I remember people complaining I was ‘anti-Hamilton’ for writing this after Valencia:

            Did Hamilton try to stop Alonso getting in front of the safety car?

          3. jimscreechy (@)
            22nd December 2010, 21:00

            I tend to ignore the posts that shout ‘bias’ as they tend to surface from individuals whoose fan focus have not emerged on the top step. Still, quite a good article, and pretty fair assesment. On half the days in the year there is but a hare’s whisker between the top three, and you could rotate the places on the podium between all without losing a dime. One thing I do have to agree with ‘Our Nige’ about is Hamilton’s ability to wring the neck of nearly any machine he’s given which isn’t so true of the other two. He fairly consistently punches above the weight of the machinery he’s given and just gets on with driving it on the limit… or past it on some occasions. The guy could drive the wheels of a shopping trolley.

          4. @ Polishboy.

            I am a Texan, living in America, and all bias aside I found Hamilton the most impressive driver of the season by far. Had he been in an RB6 he would have dominated the entire field. He had a worse car and more DNF’s than any of the other title contenders by season’s end yet was still there giving it his all, because he still had an outside chance. He wasn’t favored by his team, didn’t have to rely on team orders and didn’t loose his head under pressure with Monza being a sole exception to that.

            I really get tired of everyone assuming the British media is biased to British drivers and teams. I have many British friends(yes even though I live in Texas) and feel that this is not the case. It isn’t the nationalistic, jingoistic, hail Britannia days of the Victorian Era any longer. Cut the Brits some slack.

        3. Then why bothering receiving our comments.

          1. What’s one got to do with the other?

        4. I think everyone pretty much knew who you were going to place as top driver. Not at all surprising, and actually quite humorous.

          1. Well said.

          2. Very well said, i should read every comment more often, its quite entertaining. :)

        5. i agree.
          Let’s not forget, that he chose schumacher to win this year’s title.
          Do you think the kaiser would be able to get it in 2011?

          1. Guys, do you like this site? Because if you don’t you are welcome to leave. Personally, I’d have put Hamilton 2nd, but regardless, he’s a fair contender for driver of the year. He was way better than Vettle who simply put the fastest car on pole and the flag. Put a car that was clear third on pace in contention all year.

        6. Keith, you are so biased. I mean come on, Hamilton!? How dare you put him as the number one driver in your opinion. You should have picked my favourite driver. And lets not forget the fact that you are British!
          Shame on you Keith.

          (winking face indicates I’m being sarcastic for those poor souls who can’t tell) :)

          But on a more serious note, when you cry bias, the only bias you are showing is your own.

          Keep the articles coming Keith, I need something to read over the holidays :)

        7. Really you think Hamilton deserves first place after so much mistakes.McLaren clearly enjoyed the advantage of having fully working F-duct unlike Alonso.He too made mistake. You left guys who took 5 victories? Too British :(

      3. Biased is an understatement! Hamilton shouldn’t even be in the top 5 this year. Once again he showed absolutely no composure at the tail end of the season.

        FYI, my number one would be Alonso. Taking the third fastest car (not surprising that the British media rarely acknowledges this) to within a whisker of the championship. His achievement is all the greater for it being his first year with the team. And his so called “early season mistakes” don’t compare to Hamiltons:

        He messed up in Monza, terrible qualifying and DNF.

        He messed up in Singapore, DNF.

        He messed up in Valencia, safety car, and should have been punished.

        He messed up in Silverstone, puncturing Vettel’s rear right, and should have been punished.

        He messed up in Korea, running wide and letting Alonso through.

        He messed up in Brazil, running wide and letting Alonso through (again!).

        He messed up in Belgium, was only luck that saved him from that wall!

        Entirely predictable that you’d put him No.1 but totally wrong.

        1. Taking the third fastest car (not surprising that the British media rarely acknowledges this)

          I don’t agree it was the third-fastest car as I explained earlier: 2010 in stats part three: car performance

          1. laird, i think your biased against Hamilton. Why? are you Spanish (my experience shows they hate Hamilton)

          2. Ah each to their own. I can respect it especially given you probably knew the reaction it was going to get. Thing is guys, it isn’t that black and white, its merely Keiths opinion.

            I personally would have chosen Kubica, but thats simply my opinion.

          3. Why? are you Spanish (my experience shows they hate Hamilton)

            Really? Congratulations on adding stupid fuel to the fire.

        2. About half of those examples were in any way fair. Singapore was a racing incident if not Webber’s fault in my opinion. Valencia is debatable. The Silverstone accusation is ridiculous. In Belgium he wasn’t the only one to make mistakes, but it was clearly more than luck that saved him- he controlled the car well enough to keep it out of the wall and had built up enough of a lead to come out still in 1st.

        3. i’m going to have to disagree
          but i’ll agree that the mistake in monza was avoidable.

          Singapore was just unlucky (look at webbers wheel at the end of the race ;)

          In valencia he was punished-drive through and yet still got a 2nd place i think.

          The incident at silverstone was so unbelievably small, it’s not possible the contact caused the puncture-it was a racing incident.

          Brazil and korea were minor mistakes

          and while everybody fell off at belgium, only he recovered to finish 1st after pulling a gap enough to keep him in front when he went off

          He made a few mistakes, as everybody else did, but minimised some of them with good driving and skill.

          Oh and by the way keith-great set of articles

          1. punished in Valencia? hahahaha

            They let him race for 20+ laps to make sure he got a 20+ seconds lead and then they “punish” him ;)

        4. Well, he did a better job at keeping it out of the wall at Spa than Alonso did.

          I agree with the other replies, I believe you’re being too biased against Hamilton. Needless to say Lewis did make mistakes, Monza being one of the more obvious ones.

        5. Alonso equally messed up many times as well using your criteria.

          He messed up in Spa, terrible qualifying and DNF.

          He messed up in Silverstone with a rallycross overtake of Kubica.

          He messed up in Brazil and Abu Dhabi when his car was second fastest by qualifying behind Lewis and taking himself out of contention to jump the Red Bulls at the start.

          He messed up in Canada, tripping up over Buemi (who was actually in 1st place) allowing Hamilton to pass. For good measure, he then tripped up over Karun to allow Jenson to nail him.

          Whenever his amazing overtaking skills wouldn’t suffice, he resorted to conducting traffic with his right hand (or fist).

          You talk of no penalty for Lewis at Valencia (where he received a drive through), whilst neglecting to mention no sporting penalty for flagrant team orders.

          He ran with a de facto number 2 driver for half the season whereas Lewis was up against a reigning WDC.

          Take off the blinders!

        6. The problem with the argument against LH on the basis of errors is that all his rivals made at least as many serious ones as he did.

          I just re-watched Melbourne and realized that Alonso was mostly culpable for his turn 1 collision with Button, he just crowded him out and paid the price. His unforced Spa crash was shocking, he dropped it in Monaco, jumped the start in China, got so overwrought about the news of Hamilton’s P2 in Valencia that he allowed himself to get passed by a Sauber, was the architect of his own downfall at Silverstone, and the radio transcripts showed he was a key part of the brain trust that got it so horribly wrong in Abu Dhabi.

          Vettel had high-profile mistakes at Spa, Turkey and Hungary, but had even more bad luck with mechanicals, was clearly the fastest package of the year and clearly deserved the WDC.

          Webber was shocking in Melbourne, not only did he hoof LH off from behind near the end, he also completely outbraked himself at turn 3 fighting with LH and took them both off, letting Massa through, he was not completely blameless for his collision in Turkey (not for blocking in the first place, which was fine, but for keeping Vettel pinned so hard to the white line even when he was 80% through…GP2 stuff), dropped it completely in Korea, simply hoofed LH off again in Singapore, and of course ran into Kovalainen in Valencia. Webber was actually very lucky to survive his collisions in Melbourne, Turkey and Singapore, and go on to score points on all 3 occasions.

          Of the drivers in the top 3 teams, only Button made fewer errors than LH or Vettel, but his final result is a perfect demonstration of where LH would have been if he had not been serially taking risks in trying to keep up with a vastly quicker car from RBR.

          In this regard, Hamilton and Alonso both have mitigating circumstances for the errors they did make, in the sense that they were chasing a blue thing that was 10mph (not kph!) quicker in corners like the new Abbey sweep. In that situation, you have to take risks all the time just to compete. LH had mechanical failures in Spain, Japan and Hungary and still finished ahead of Button on wins and points even though Button can only point to Monaco for a mechanical DNF.

          If you have to resort to pointing at Singapore as an example of a Hamilton error, or claiming that his running wide at Korea was a serious mistake (when his team mate wasn’t even running in the points and was also flying off the road – clearly the McLaren was simply outclassed that day), then you are vastly overstating your case. As for Valencia, where LH missed the SC cut-off by something like 2m from the aerial view, well. You might as well start criticizing his choice of girlfriend (and I do).

          Hamilton and Alonso are both candidates for #1 because they both outperformed their rides in many races. Vettel deserved the WDC but arguably should have made fewer errors given that he did have the fastest car by a mile. The clincher for me between Hamilton and Alonso is that (a) LH is clearly inside FA’s head, as we saw from, for example, FA’s radio transmissions in Melbourne, and his entitlement-based meltdown in Valencia, (b) on balance, Alonso’s errors were more egregious than Hamilton’s, as described above, (c) drives like Canada, Spa, Melbourne, Sepang and China from LH were at least as impressive to be as drives like Korea, Brazil and Monza from Alonso, both of them being serially brilliant in any case, and (d) one of Alonso’s wins was simply gifted to him by his team-mate.

          It’s a close call, both were incandescent at times, and both made errors, but for me, Keith’s analysis is spot on and Hamilton was the class act of the year. The fact that it’s a close call in the first place is the reason I watch F1.

          1. Very well said. I’m glad to have seen Alonso back at his best in the last part of the season and hope he continues driving like that (minus team orders though), but before that he just wasn’t as good.

          2. @Sean, and it’s well written and considered comments such as yours that help me get through the drivel that can be posted.

            Great analysis Keith, of all the drivers and I’d have to say spot on. Thanks for sharing with us!

            All the best in the new year…

          3. Yeah, my coment of the day Sean, very nice analysis.

          4. Seriously well put, Sean. I tip my hat to you sir:)

          5. Alonsos win at Korea was also given to him by vettels engine failure

          6. So when people point to mistakes made by Hamilton they are overstating their case which is what you are doing blaming Alonso for:

            1) Being squeezed in Aus by Button and Schumacher,

            2)Not being able to control a car that had been smashed into by Barrichello in lap 1 for a whole race in Spa

            3) Not knowing the strategies of Petrov and Rosberg whilst racing the Red-Bulls and McLarens and not knowing the tyres would ‘come back’ despite no evidence suggesting so.

            Also your reasons:
            a) Hamilton is in Alonso’s head, Korea and Brazil would show that maybe you got that the wrong way round.
            b) In China and Monaco, where Alonso made his two biggest errors he scored 12 pts in both. In Italy, Singapore Hamilton scored 0 pts in both. I.e. Hamilton’s mistakes were more costly
            c) Matter of opinion. But the big difference was at the start of the season McLaren were the only team with an F-duct. At the end of the season we saw Hamilton struggling against Hulkenburg and Kubica despite an engine advantage.

            I agree with d) Germany was embarrassing.

            Despite the above I do rate Hamilton very highly and hope to see many battles between him and Alonso for years to come. They could well be their generation’s Senna/Prost.

          7. great post!

          8. Yeah Brum55, your post rather nicely highlights why I liked Seans so much.

            Yours contains a happy disregard for the concept of opinion, a blatant agenda and a one sided slant on events resulting in the outcome that you set out to get before you even started writing your post.

            At least his appeared a neutral analysis, an it’s amazing how people can be accusing Keith’s incredibly neutral analysis of bias.

          9. Very nice analysis, it perfectly desribes why I was swayed by the arguments to vote for Hamilton in the end, after first inclining to vote for Alonso.

        7. jimscreechy (@)
          22nd December 2010, 21:11

          Laird- “Third fastest car?” Are you sure you have been watching the 2010 season and not recordings from some previous era? I really think you need to look at the stats objectively and put your driver/team based prejudice to one side.

          The Ferrari was fairly conclusively the second fastest car of the 2010 season in spite of what that twit Tim… whatever his name from Mclaren said. Personally I think he was just trying to save face by making rediculous post season claims that didn’t amount to a hill of beans and that anyone with a passing grade in Kindergarten math could see through. Perhaps you have been influnced by his shoddy mathematics and politician-like doubletalk.

        8. Laird, you make me laugh dude, calm down.
          Alonso and Hamilton both did well. You don’t have to give a powerpoint presentation.

        9. I’m pretty sure Hamilton didn’t even touch Vettel at Silverstone, i think he just went wide and got a puncture. You must really hate Hamilton laird, and why? he’s just another good racer in F1, theres not exactly any bad ones. Anyway, this is Keiths website and he can write what he wants, if you don’t like the website then don’t bother posting a comment. There always someone who has to be anti-something.

          1. MGP W01, i think your biased against Alonso. Why? are you English(my experience shows they hate Alonso)

        10. Well said Bro. I doubt Keith will reply you.

          1. I already have replied to him.

        11. No insulting, but when you said ‘bias is understatement’ you didn’t need to say “FYI…” cuz it’s too clear to maybe all.

          One curious thing though is why Alonso fans are always saying Ferrari the 3rd best car when they can say 4th best car behind even Renault when Alonso was stuck behind a rookie driver and could not overtake hime only because Renault was too good a car for so called- forever, world best driver Alonso? Really wondering…

      4. so you’d rather he made Alonso no.1 simply to get rid of any bias doubt?

      5. It’s a blog, not a newspaper. If you don’t like what he writes, you don’t have to read it, y’know.

      6. We Want Turbos
        22nd December 2010, 22:29

        Just to make the point, the “british media” tend to be overly critical of their sports stars, however as I mentioned yesterday, what about how Keith reported the liegate scandal. Alonso was in my opinion 3rd best with Kubica 2nd and Hamilton 1st his only REAL mistakes where Monza and Suzuka. Singapore was a racing incident, unlucky.

      7. In 2008 Hamilton took a title. Do you remember who topped the F1fanatic’s ranking then? The guy who finished in 4th and no, he wasn’t British at all :)
        As for today’s order – personally I think there was no strong leader this season, it was very close between front guys but Hamilton in 1st place is not controversial for me. Mature, consistent. Very few errors but unfortunately the costly ones.

        1. exactly what I was going to say

      8. What bias, Lewis had to fight for the points he got more than any other driver. His car wasn’t the fastest, his team clearly tried to hamper him and help Jenson, plus all the other crap that he has to put up with from certain ‘fans’ and the media…

        Without Lewis, this season wouldn’t have as exciting as it has, and that goes for the last three seasons too.

        Fully deserves his No1 ranking, nice one Keith. I think Webber should have been higher up. I would have ranked him ahead of Vettel.

    2. How can you think about Pole position without thinking about Kubica?


      1. How CAN you think of Kubica for pole? Good driver, not got the car, He didnt even get the best out of that car. Period.

        This for alot of people is bias, everyone has they’re own opinion. I for one agree with Keith. Im British. Go on use the bias card, see if I care. If another driver HAD been better, i’d say. Vettel deserved the championship… Still Biased? I have my reasons for thinking that. But not always does the best driver win the championship.

        Give up crying to mama and suck it up.
        Watch the season back, again, and see who impresses you. Its hard to keep a complete opinion on the races when they are so spread out.

        1. You missed the joke.

          Kubica is Polish. So no matter where he is placed he is in Pole position. Get it?

          1. Ah i see what your getting at – Its hard to potray a joke through meansd of social networks! Sorry!
            And the rest wasnt directed at you…. To the rest

  2. Controversial!

    Personally I actually agree with you, although I think I would have swapped Seb and Fernando.

    The records say Fernando won 5 races… but in fairness he was gifted one by his team-mate (Germany) and two by Vettel’s misfortune (Bahrain and Korea).

    I admire his determination, stating in Britain that he’d win the WDC (so very nearly…).

    Although Hamilton went off the boil following Belgium, his start to the season was far better than his results show. He was immense in Australia and should have been at least second.

    A good ranking and all in all… give or take a few, I agree with you. Afterall, this is a personal ranking and you will never make a full ranking to suit everyone. Leaving out personal preference I think you’ve made a cracking effort!

    Cheers Keith.

    1. You’re welcome Ben, thanks!

      1. I knew this “it’s a British site” would come back if you put Hamilton number one.

        For me, it could have been any of these three in any order. Mistakes wise though I think Hamilton made the least.

        Next year I think he will be champion.

        Great list as always Keith.

        1. Yep. As soon as I read Hamilton as number one I knew there was going to be trouble! :P But I admire you for writing what you think Keith, knowing all the trolls would snap you up for doing so. But I agree, Hamilton was probably the best driver of 2010 along with Alonso. Such a tough call between the two, although I’d probably have Kubica in at number 3. But you can’t argue with Vettel’s championship! If that didn’t win him 3rd place, nothing will!

          Even with a world championship under his belt, Vettel has not yet shaken off the impression that although he can win from the front with aplomb, racing for position is not his thing.

          Very well put, Keith! If F1 were like rally, he’d be untouchable. But it’s not. That’s why I don’t think he really deserved his championship this year. As much as I wanted a Red Bull to win (preferably Webber), they both made too many mistakes in what was by far the best car of 2010 to be champion. Webber learnt this the hard way, whilst all of Vettel’s ridiculous errors have gone unpunished. Actually he has been rewarded… From this, he will not learn. I can’t see how this will help a young driver in desperate need of a does of maturity, to actually mature. I expect to see the same, impetuous driver we saw this year, in 2011 again. Drivers like Hamilton and Alonso score consistently and their mistakes are forgiveable, but Vettel’s aren’t. Both of them have had tough seasons in the past to make them the drivers they are whilst Vettel hasn’t had a thing go wrong for him in his short career in F1. Surely that can’t be good for his development? It might take more than a single tough season to build Vettel into a multiple world champion, unfortunately.

    2. Yes Ben. Lewis Hamilton whould has parked his car if the front running car blew up.

      1. Yes Ben. Lewis Hamilton would have parked his car if the front running car blew up.

      2. I don’t believe I mentioned Hamilton at that point… although I see what you’re saying.

        My point was that Alonso’s record of 5 wins is, in purely my opinion, more flattering than reality. Not to say anything against Alonso, who drove very well this year.

        1. Thanks Ben.My point is atleast Alonso was in a position to take the top spot whenever the Red Bulls gave way. IMHO it should be Vettel or Alonso. I am no Alonso fan, and i like Lewis too for his peerless overtaking skills. :)

  3. While this is a good list, your bias towards Hamilton really shows here, no matter how good he was, he was definitely NOT better than Alonso or Seb.

    1. he was definitely NOT better than Alonso or Seb.

      I’ve explained why I think he was, why don’t you explain why you think he wasn’t?

      1. I have to shout subjectivism. You are clearly bias towards a British driver. Hamilton was not even close the best driver this year. Kubica and Nico were a lot better, as well as Fernando and Seb.
        You cannot name a driver that made so many mistakes this year the best driver in F1. You try to blame most of them on bad luck but that’s not true. Ham is not at all a calculated driver and that’s why he gets in so much trouble. And the safety car passing in Valencia was a rookie mistake.
        Outside of Great Britain, nobody thinks that Ham was the best driver this year and that is why I have to say that you are subjective.

        1. I don’t think Keith is biased – Hamilton completely deserves to be in 1st place. It could’ve been Alonso or Vettel, but they’ve both been great. And Hamilton made less mistakes than most people think.

          BTW Keith, looks like we agree very much – my top 7 rankings on the forum only differ from yours with Kubica and Rosberg: http://www.f1fanatic.co.uk/forum/topic.php?id=836&page=3#post-14031

          1. But they’ve ALL been great*

          2. yes, mistakes:
            HAM- Singapore, Monza, Korean restart
            ALO- Monaco practise-qualy, Spa, China, Britain (cutting corner)
            VET- Turkey, Spa

            so VET actually only had 2 obvious clumsy moments.

          3. @sato113:

            Don’t forget Hamilton’s practice crashes at Hockenheim and Suzuka – also parts of a clumsy second part of the season for him.

            Also, you can probably add Melbourne as a mistake for Alonso – I think the turn 1 crash was his fault.

          4. @ed24f1 It was the fault of the stupid mirrors in the place the drivers could barely see them.

            @sato113 Singapore wasn’t really Hamilton’s mistake – and you can’t compare Alonso’s jumped start and Hamilton’s Korean restart with Vettel’s crash in Turkey – it was way more costly. You can’t compare a mistake that cost someone a place or two with a mistake that cost someone a victory. So Vettel may have made less mistakes than, say, Alonso, but it cost him way more.

          5. @enigma well actually, if alonso hadn’t jump started at China he could have won.
            if he hadn’t crashed in monaco practice, he could have got p1 and won.
            HAM could have won Korea if he hadn’t gone wide at restart.
            so they were all very costly mistakes.

        2. Which Nico? There were two of them…

        3. I wish people would stop saying Brits are biased because of their nationality. We’re no more biased because of this than any other person of any other nationality. (I’m going out on a limb here; but I bet you’re either Spanish or Italian….oh, the bias you display)

          Kubica had a good car and a bad teammate; ergo, he looked good. He didn’t look so good, however, when he was beaten by Quick Nick in two of the three seasons they were teammates. Would one of the very best drivers in Formula One have suffered this fate. I don’t think so.

          Nico (Rosberg) is good: certainly not great. Beating Michael Schumacher is not much of an achievement, any more, as I predicted at the start of the year. Schumi’s too old; he’s lost his speed. Many people, pundits even (perhaps for vanity) say that drivers don’t lose their speed; they lose the need for speed. If that’s the case, why don’t we wheel out Sir Stirling Moss or JYS? Formula One is a protean sport: it’s constantly changing. Drivers improve; a new generation always comes to replace the slower, older one. Schumi belongs to a past generation. He’s old enough to be Rosberg’s dad…

          ‘You cannot name a driver [Hamilton] that made so many mistakes this year the best driver in F1.’ And yet you suggest Alonso or Vettel who made many more mistakes than Hamilton.

          You don’t like subjective points. Ok. Try this. Lewis Hamilton beat the reigning-double world champion, Alonso, in his first ever season. Name one other driver, in Formula One history, who has achieved this. Lewis was leading the championship from his fourth race until the second to last race.

          It’s an objective fact that Lewis beat Alonso in his first year, as described. There’s an excellent objective fact for you to point at Lewis’s being better.

          1. No it’s very subjective. If you look at the results they tied on points.


            Saying he beat Alonso is a subjective viewpoint as the objective viewpoint shows they tied.

          2. Ham beat Alonso in his first season because he had THE HOLE TEAM supporting him, contrary to Alonso. It’s hard to fight against everyone, don’t you agree?
            I’m not saying Hamilton isn’t a great driver but he wasn’t the best this year.
            I believe Kubica was the best because he had an inferior car although some suggest that was not the case but it was. He made very few mistakes and at Monaco where the driver is more important than the car he had a brilliant drive.
            Just watch his driving technique. He is very fluid with very few corrections of the steering wheel. He is always in control and he is a very calm driver.
            And no, an not Italian nor Spanish nor German, but I still believe Seb and Fernando were better than Hamilton this year.

          3. I’d give Alonso number 2 because he learned to adapt this year. He (and probably Button) was by far the kindest to his tyres while also being very competitive. Plus at Sepang he drove the whole race without second gear.
            He is a great driver and the fact that he managed to overcome the points deficit to the Red Bulls and take the fight to the last race is a testament to his ability.

          4. Well, they were tied on points. But Alonso demonstrated in Valencia that he felt beaten by Hamilton and had let him get into his head, effecting a race two years later!

          5. Oh, stop this “HOLE TEAM” supporting Hamilton nonsense.

            They didn’t, and if there was any reason for you thinking so, then it was Alonso’s trademark childish, petulant behaviour at the Hungaroring that cost him support.

            No it’s very subjective. If you look at the results they tied on points.

            You don’t even know how F1 points work. If two drivers are tied on points, then countback is used to determine who is ahead of who. Using this, Hamilton was 2007 runner-up with Alonso 3rd. Therefore according to official F1 regulations, Hamilton DID beat Fernando Alonso in his rookie season.

        4. I think part of the reason Vettel is behind Hamilton is that when he did make an error it often ended up being costly for others- i.e. Button and Webber. Admittedly a couple of Hamilton’s moves could have gone the same way. But they didn’t. That meant Vettel became the target of several people’s frustrations, and that helps to make his mistakes more severe.

          People who use Hamilton’s error in Spa seem to forget the fact that he built up an impressive enough lead that he could afford such a mistake (in conditions where he was far from the only person making them).

          Unfortunately Hamilton’s fade in performance came towards the end (whereas Alonsos was at the start), when the other contenders were at their best, and that has made people forget his brilliance in the early and mid season

        5. Of course it’s subjective. So are all of our comments. Keith is ranking drivers based on who HE thinks did the best job. If any of us make that list it’s subjective too. Most of the blame for mistakes/crashes are subjective too, so there is no way to correctly put weight on one incident compared to another. The bottom line is that Seb is the World Champion and these lists are just opinion and to provide interesting reading during the off-season. I personally don’t agree with every driver position in this article, but I think the article and the facts were great to read and I think everyone should maybe kinda get off Keith’s back!

        6. Hey Amo, I’m in Texas. Yes Texas, and I think Hamilton was the best driver this year.
          Sorry dude.

        7. Im not british, Im from Latin America. And I think Hamilton is the best.
          Now your comment is void.

        8. Why can’t people just admit that everyone in F1 is a good driver. How would they get there in the first place. If your complaining about Alonso making mistakes your biased against him, if your complaining against Hamilton your biased against him. Everyone is saying everyone is biased against someone.

          Lets just face, they all made mistakes but they are all great drivers. Keith, you couldn’t exactly said that in pole/1st is Hamilton, Alonso and Vettel could you?

          It’s his opinion and just let him have it. All you people who complain about him can just leave the website.

          Just because its funny watching everyone argue, (joke) i completely disagree with everyone and i think that Sakon Yammamoto was the best driver!!!! he was better than everyone.

      2. I agree it must have been a close call ranking these 3.. but there is no way Lewis belongs at #1.

        So since you wanted reasons, instead of us just calling it bias.. here goes..

        “At times he tried to grab a bit too much. There were minor errors in Korea and Interlagos that were plainly born of over-driving.”

        They weren’t due to overdriving.. he went wide cause he couldn’t soak up the pressure from Fernando. He only went wide on those 2 corners when Alonso was close on his tail.. he never repeated those errors for the rest of the race. If it was overdriving, he would have gone off on those corners later on in the race when his tyres were in worse condition.

        “Lewis Hamilton gets the nod this year because whatever state the track or his car was in, he was unrelenting in his pursuit of success and was always the driver who wrung the maximum – and sometimes a bit more – out of his car.”

        That is rubbish. I cant name one track where the Mclaren was the 2nd fastest car on the grid, and Lewis won. You might argue Turkey.. but we all know that was a gift. As compared to him, Alonso actually managed to put the Ferrari on pole and win in Singapore. This is something Lewis hasn’t accomplished this season.

        While Lewis made an error less than Fernando and Sebastian. There are a couple of errors that went unnoticed.. such as his inability to set the car up correctly for Monza (a circuit where Mclaren was the quickest, as proved by Jenson’s only front row quali). He also was rewarded for his error in Valencia. Just as Alonso’s FP3 shunt in Monaco was looked as like a mistake, similarly, Lewis crash in FP at Suzuka should be considered as a mistake as well.

        Its hard to chose the #1 driver for the season, but by no means was it Lewis.

        1. As compared to him, Alonso actually managed to put the Ferrari on pole and win in Singapore. This is something Lewis hasn’t accomplished this season.

          How about Canada?

          1. Mclaren was the fastest car in Canada. No doubt about that, you might argue that RBs were, but they screwed up their quali and race by going on hard tyres in Q3.

          2. Quite tricky to decide: RB should have been quickest in quali – but went awry on tyre strategy. You could also argue Alonso only lost out in the race due to mistakes in passing slower cars.

            In Singapore, RB would have been fastest, but Vettel clipped the wall in quali, and then trundled around and settled for 2nd in the race.

          3. McLaren bought poleposition there ;)

        2. Well it wasn’t Alonso. Any driver needing to phone in for help passing a team mate is *never* worthy of driver of the season. Can you seriously imagine Senna complaining on the radio because he lacked the skill to drive past Massa in the same car? Or Hamilton for that matter. Too much pride. Alonso also bottled the last race, kind of crucial. (You could say Ferrari helped lose it, but isn’t he supposed to completely run the garage, even down to the soft drink vending machine, from his cockpit, just one of his amazing plus points?)

          Vettel would get my vote, only he never proved he could pass a competitive car on track. Yet he finished in style under pressure, unlike Webber, so he gets my number two.

          Hamilton number one sounds reasonable in a season where no driver was anywhere near flawless. Ask non-national fans who the best drivers were (in Brazil for example), and you’d get two names: Hamilton and Kobayashi – the two who regularly provide a show when others are content to drive home safely. Also Hamilton and Button managed to compete without descending into on track mayhem or internal lobbying to gain advantage. Both came out of the season well for that reason alone.

        3. Spot on. I wrote something like this later on but this was better.
          There was no question about the mid year review Lewis was #1 but his performances after Spa were flat. If he were to out-drive his car, than he would have finished over a race win ahead of Button who was driving a car that wasn’t set-up to his liking all year in a new team.
          Of his 3 wins Button was 2nd twice and in Spa he was taken out of 2nd despite having the wrong set-up.
          In China Alonso was last due to jump starting but still finished ahead of both Red-Bulls. In Monza he was 8ths faster than Massa on their first runs in Q3 and generally had the biggest margin to his team-mate of the top 3 teams. In Singapore achieved a Grand Schlem despite only driving the 2nd fastest car. That was the clearest example of out driving your machinary for a whole weekend for a very long time.

        4. They weren’t due to overdriving.. he went wide cause he couldn’t soak up the pressure from Fernando. He only went wide on those 2 corners when Alonso was close on his tail.. he never repeated those errors for the rest of the race. If it was overdriving, he would have gone off on those corners later on in the race when his tyres were in worse condition.

          He went wide cause Lewis’s tyres were graining badly and after alonso passed him he slowed down and was like half a minute down on alonso?

          That is rubbish. I cant name one track where the Mclaren was the 2nd fastest car on the grid, and Lewis won.

          Canada? Well you might argue that mclaren were the fastest, so wasnt RBR the fastest overall in the season too ? vettel shouldnt get the #1 either. also remm alonso passed him while getting out of the pits and lewis got his position back. So it wasnt exactly a gifted victory.

          such as his inability to set the car up correctly for Monza

          Actually, it was as the speedtrap showed he was the fastest. He was in the turbulent air of Webber i think ( dont remember) which didnt let him get a pole, and a needless mistake which forced him to crash out which meant we never found out whether it was his inability or not.

          He also was rewarded for his error in Valencia.

          HE was given a drive through penalty. someone who was awarded was alonso who actually bought first place from massa for 100000$.

          Yes it is debatable and looks very biased as both the driver and the website is british. but again it was Lewis who passed both vettel and Sutil ( i think ) in China, passed alonso in canada, re-passed button when was passed by in Turkey. m taking all these names because they were title contenders.
          Yes, he has his share of mistakes, but there’s no denying he gave a solid performance throughout the season. He always has been a point of discussion in every race. Hence he qualifies to be #1. and not because he is british.

        5. @Todfod.You should thank Keith he did put Jenson Button on second spot.

          1. @Todfod.You should thank Keith he did put Jenson Button on second spot.

            @Todfod.You should thank Keith he did not put Jenson Button on second spot. Typo i guess.

      3. Soumya Banerjee
        22nd December 2010, 12:12

        I will..the way he got passed by Alonso on-track in the 2 out of the last 3 races says it all. Also with a massive car advantage,couldnt pass Hulkenberg in Brazil and Kubica in Abu Dhabi,despite having a tyre advantage as well. He is good,but not good when it counts…also those insipid qualifying performances in Australia,China and Italy.