Sunday, 11 December 2011

My Top 10 F1 Drivers of 2011

Here is my personal top ten F1 drivers of the 2011 season, seeking to take into account their performance under the circumstances and the machinery they had access to. I hope that you find it interesting reading, and I appreciate that there are perfectly defensible reasons for an alternative top ten. It's a personal selection, as I said!

A run down of my views on the drivers who didn't make the top ten will follow in the next few days.
Credit: Morio / CC
1: Sebastian Vettel
The only candidate for top spot: 2011 was very much the year of the Seb.

The 2011 season witnessed the development of Sebastian Vettel into a complete F1 performer. The raw speed in clean air had been there for a while, but the impetuosity and mistakes, especially when in traffic or under pressure, as well as the occasional brattishness displayed in 2010 now seems like it was from someone else. Vettel was almost contemptuous in how he proved his doubters wrong this year. Indeed, the journey can be traced back even further, to the Belgian Grand Prix of 2010, after which it was open season on the young charger. But if the abuse was intended to destroy him then it backfired spectacularly. Since then he has barely looked back, delivering consistent copybook performances of dominating from the front when there and delivering solid points when not. Oh, and he's won two drivers' titles in that time as well. And with a championship in his pocket this season he got even better.

It was a season wherein Seb seemed to lead, and win, virtually everywhere. And the numbers back this up. Fifteen of the 19 pole positions were his, and it's impossible to think of an error on a pivotal qualifying lap this year, even though many were won under pressure. It's not exaggerating to say that Vettel's qualifying abilities are Senna-esque.

From then on the Vettel 'template' victory was seen repeatedly. Blast into the lead, be immediately on the maximum pace and several lengths clear after a few corners. Be out of the DRS zone before it kicks in, and then control the race from there, managing the limited grip resource from the Pirelli tyres perfectly. In Australia, Malaysia, Turkey, Valencia, Italy, Singapore, Korea and India the story was almost identical. This was the basis of his 11 victories, leading 739 of the 1133 laps, and totalling up 394 out of 475 possible points.

But it would be wrong to say that things were easy for Vettel in 2011. They weren't, and it was in such circumstances that he really showed his mettle. The wins at Spain, Monaco and Singapore were achieved under severe pressure for much of the way, and he never so much as put a wheel out of line. Nor did you ever expect him to. He could overtake decisively when required (though given he was usually at the front he didn't get many opportunities to demonstrate it): in Australia he passed Button around the outside of turn 4, in Spain he passed three cars in a lap after his first pitstop, at Spa he passed Nico Rosberg on the outside of Blanchimont at Spa, and most memorably he stuck his RB7 around the outside of Fernando Alonso with two wheels on the grass to take the lead in double-quick time at Monza. The whole 'Seb can't pass' idea received a dignified burial in 2011. He could also bring home good points when he didn't have the legs of the field, as he showed in China, Hungary, Japan and Brazil. Nursing his sick gearbox home to a comfortable second place in Brazil was arguably his best drive of the season. His ability to think through a race was unparalleled, and no one learned as well or as quickly what was required from the Pirellis. No one worked as hard at their game as he did. Only once did he have an off-day, unfortunately for him it was in his home race in Germany. And while the RB7 was clearly a mean set of wheels, it can't be denied that Seb personally brought a lot to the party. That his team mate Mark Webber, no slouch he, won only once in it demonstrates this.

The biggest compliment I can pay to how Vettel's performed in 2011 is that even if Alonso, Hamilton, Button or whoever had access to a Red Bull this season I'm not at all convinced they would have beaten Seb's points total. A truly top class F1 performer, who's only going to get even better.

Credit: / CC
2: Fernando Alonso
One win and fourth place in the drivers' table this season do not begin to do him justice. This was a magnificent season of fast, tenacious driving from Fernando Alonso. He once again looked every inch the man who won two titles magnificently for Renault in 2005 and 2006. It could be argued that he's now even better than then.

Consistent, relentless, almost permenantly at the outer edge of how quickly his recalcitrant Ferrari would go (and sometimes he was even faster than that it seemed) and yet, unlike in 2010, his was a season almost free of error. Only tagging the back of Lewis Hamilton's McLaren in Malaysia and a slightly scrappy run in the damp Hungarian race can be said to have fallen into that category.

The only problem for Fernando in 2011 was that, despite seeming to be top of the 'pre-season testing championship', his Ferrari proved to be a lemon as soon as things got competitive. A wind tunnel correlation problem was discovered eventually, but by this time the Scuderia were firmly on the back foot. That their blown diffuser was never as good as those of their rivals, and the car invariably had problems getting heat into its tyres for qualifying and into the harder tyres generally (which usually left it a sitting duck in that stint of the race), compounded things. The 150° Italia was rarely anything other than clearly the third best car out there. Indeed, Alonso only qualified in the top three twice in 2011.

That Alonso claimed 10 podium finishes (in a year wherein his team mate never finished higher than fifth) and was still in contention for second place in the championship table in the final race underlines just how he consistently outperformed his wheels, and left almost nothing out on the track. Like Vettel, he only had one off-day (his was in China). Elsewhere, the canvas was magnificent. The win at Silverstone, appropriately on the 60th anniversary of Ferrari's first F1 win, was wonderful, but so was the desperate clinging to the coat tails of the front runners in Turkey, Valencia, Belgium, Italy, India, Abu Dhabi and Brazil, and equally so were the tigerish, battling drives in Monaco, Germany and Japan, each of which he could have won with some of the playing cards falling in his favour. Indeed, virtually every race weekend the story was the same. Nando could be fully expected by the Red Bull and McLaren pilots to make a thorough pest of himself.

Fernando Alonso is clearly in a happy place at Ferrari, and this new found equilibrium has had a positive impact on his driving. Not that the Scuderia would be advised to test his patience waiting for a competitive car further. They can be content though that if they provide Alonso with a machine that's half as good as he deserves it to be then championships will follow.

Credit: / CC
3: Jenson Button
There were three stand out drivers in F1 in 2011, and among them Jenson Button was absolutely on the top of his game this year. It was a desperately close call between him and Alonso for second spot in this list, and Jenson's supporters may be disappointed with some justification that he's listed only in third spot. But as is the case in F1 someone's got to come first and last, no matter how competitive things are!

Few at the start of 2010 thought Button's move to McLaren to partner Lewis Hamilton sounded like a good move. Fewer still expected him to get the upper hand within that intra-team battle in 2011. But that's precisely what happened. It can, in some part, be attributed to Lewis's struggles, but Jenson's consistently polished and rapid performances also played their part absolutely.

Button's race drives was invariably classy, controlled, and characterised by crisp aggression in moving through the field. He didn't really come any closer to getting on top of his qualifying troubles (he only qualified ahead of Lewis Hamilton six times out of 19, and it's getting on for three years since his last pole position) but Button demonstrated in 2011 that the real business is done on a Sunday. He was by far Vettel's consistently closest challenger and solidly McLaren's race day pace setter. His wins in Canada and Hungary showed his aggression and almost sixth sense judgement in wet to dry conditions. The former win after chasing down Vettel, having been in last place at mid-distance, and forcing an error from the leader on the final tour, was arguably the drive, and race, of the season. But his dominant victory at Suzuka when it was bone dry showed that he's not just a wet weather specialist.

Aside from the wins there was a consistent series of fine performances from Button. His first race was slightly iffy, getting a drive through penalty after passing Felipe Massa off the track, but from then on he almost never let his high standards slip. His intelligence in managing tyre performance and decisiveness when wheel to wheel allowed him to ghost into good finishes in Malaysia, Spain, Belgium and Italy. He chased in leader Vettel's wake relentlessly in Singapore and India, and was magnificent around Monaco, often the pace setter and only missed out on a potential win via a less than optimum multi stop strategy and an inopportune red flag late on. As in 2010, it's hard to cite errors on his part that cost him points. And it was all despite having back to back retirements, through no fault of his, mid season, which left will rather adrift of the Vettel-chasing pack in the table. From Hungary onwards he didn't look back.

Button's second place in the drivers' table was fitting reward for his stylish and rapid driving in 2011. Next year's tete-a-tete with a presumably rejuvinated Hamilton will be fascinating. In many ways, McLaren's driver line up must be the envy of the pitlane.

Credit: / CC
4: Lewis Hamilton
Very much an annus horribilis for Lewis Hamilton this year. His travails are well-documented: to sum up he finished 43 points behind his team mate Button in the championship table, made contact with other cars frequently (and usually with Felipe Massa) meaning many trips to the stewards' room, and often cut a haunted, frustrated figure out of the car.

Potential reasons mooted for this are almost as well-trodden. They included variously claims that he was frustrated generally at McLaren's continuing inability to give him the tools to challenge Vettel and Red Bull, that he had too many off track problems and distractions, mainly related to what some viewed as too much of a celebrity lifestyle, that he wasn't demonstrating the restraint that the limited-lifespan Pirellis required, that he was put out by Jenson Button's burgeoning upper hand within McLaren, as well as that DRS and the like had taken away his overtaking 'trump card'. In truth, his struggles were probably explained by an inter-connected combination of all of these.

Like Vettel, his performances were a continuation of the latter part of last year, but unlike Seb this was definitely not a good thing for him. While established as F1's best and most willing overtaker, he had actually very rarely made contact with others for the measure of his F1 career, certainly not when it was unequivocally his fault. But at Monza last year he tagged Felipe Massa's rear wheel, putting him out, and since it seems he's barely been able to to stop showing errors of judgement when around others cars. The culpability of the incidents varied and in many cases could be shared with the other guy. But, rather like the kid in the school grounds who gets into a fight with every other kid and each time claims it was the other kid's fault, it stretches credulity to suggest that he's not contributing to the situation.

Nevertheless, in among all of this the peak performances from Lewis were as good as we saw from anyone this year and showed that the towering talent still remains. And these are also enough to give him fourth place in this list. His three wins were among his best ever as well as among the most formidable drivers by anyone this year. In China he was aggressive and spectacular, winning after taking the lead from Vettel in the final laps with a wonderful, unorthodox, move. In Germany he faced down the challenges of Alonso and Webber to triumph under pressure. But in many ways his drive of the season was in Abu Dhabi, as it demonstrated a new understanding of what was required in the Pirelli-shod formula, as he controlled the pace at the front and carefully used the limited resource from his tyres. And, moreover, around this weekend he out of the car expressed an appreciation of where his performances had been compromised this year, confirming that the problems were 'personal'. But it wasn't just about the three wins: nursing a McLaren with a loose floor to a comfortable second place in Australia was a fine effort, as was his aggressive chasing down of Vettel in Spain, which nearly bagged him a fourth win.

These, backed by a minor mental re-calibration this winter, will presumably result in Lewis Hamilton being back to his best in 2012. In which case his rivals should watch out, and the rest of us can look forward to the return of one of F1's best, and most extravagant, performers. Remember, form is temporary and class is permanent.

Credit: Morio / CC
5: Mark Webber
All in all, it was a rather disappointing season for the popular Australian. The guy who challenged for the championship in 2010, and on more than one occasion plain beat team mate Vettel to a point that left Seb bewildered, seemed a million miles away. Instead, and despite having access to an RB7 in which his team mate triumphed eleven times, he didn't win a race until the last round (and that owed something to gearbox problems for Vettel) and before that had almost never looked like winning one. Only three times did Webber qualify ahead of Vettel and only once, in Germany, did he clearly out race him. Over the piece, he was rarely near Vettel on a Sunday. This fact was brought home in Valencia, which Webber reckoned was his best drive of the year up until that point, yet he still completed the distance 27 seconds after his team mate.

And even striking the dominant Vettel from the records would only have resulted in three wins out of 19 for Webber in 2011. As with Hamilton, many reasons have been suggested for his relatively poor form, and also as with Hamilton it's likely to be a combination of little things, all adding up. It's clear that Webber didn't have Seb's knack of getting the most out of the Pirelli tyres, either in qualifying or the race (looking back through Webber's F1 career his pace has often been rather vulnerable to the suitability of the tyres). The reintroduction of KERS, bad news for taller, heavier drivers of which Webber is one, didn't help. But the main thing is likely to be that Vettel, championship in pocket and one year older, found a new level this year and gave Webber far fewer opportunities to get one over him. And it seemed Webber was unable to respond.

In among all of this, Webber avoided conspicuous rages or sulks, continued to be a good team player and brought the car home consistently to score points. He finished 18 out of the 19 races, all of these in the top five and all but two in the top four (though the one retirement, at Monza, was unequivocally his fault after driving into Felipe Massa). This meant he accumulated 258 points, in a year that his team won the constructors' title by 153. His drive through the field in China, starting 18th and finishing third after a spectacular late race charge, was arguably the stand out drive from anyone this season, and he could have won had the race been a few laps longer. His racer's edge remained as sharp as anyone's. Over and above his China charge he provided some of the year's most decisive overtakes and impassioned dicing, such as with Alonso in Turkey and Singapore and with Hamilton in Korea. His seat-of-the-pants pass on Alonso into Eau Rouge is one I'll take to my grave with me.

It won't get any easier for Webber next year. Vettel, if anything, will be even stronger and it's little secret that Red Bull are minded to replace Webber with a younger model for 2013. But remember that Webber has surprised us before. No one will be more determined than he to bounce back.

Credit: Mark McArdle / CC
6: Nico Rosberg
I've always found Nico Rosberg to be one of the most enigmatic presences in modern F1. I don't mean that in the sense of being inconsistent or infuriating, because he is clearly one of the sport's most reliable performers. I mean it in that I've always found it difficult to judge just how good he is.

There are many with the paddock, I'm told, as well as many who follow the sport who rate Rosberg very highly. They consider him to be the real deal, who is only waiting for a competitive car to become available to allow him to demonstrate his top-drawer talent, much as was the case for Jenson Button for years. Others instead, while granting that he is certainly reliable and consistent, wonder if he can deliver the final vital tenths that separate the very good drivers from the great ones. Is he simply a better version of Nick Heidfeld, in other words?

This year, unfortunately, didn't offer us many more definitive clues. This was, in part, due to Mercedes being somewhat isolated on pace - usually far behind the 'big three' teams (more so than in 2010) but at the same time not often troubled by the next teams up in midfield. This tended to mean a similar result no matter what their drivers did.

Like last year, Rosberg dominated team mate Michael Schumacher in qualifying; outqualifying him 16 times to three. But, unlike last year, race day was much closer, and he outscored Schumi only by 89 to 76 (compare this to the 142 vs. 72 in 2010).

The early part of the season was encouraging for Rosberg. After a difficult opening two rounds he qualified fourth in China and led much of the way, only to be unlucky to end up down in fifth in the final shake out. Then he qualified third in Turkey, behind only the Red Bulls and it seemed then that Mercedes, and Rosberg, would make a stride this year. The frustrating race there was to be a foretaste of his season however, wherein he tended to qualify as highly as could reasonably be expected only to fall away on race day. Fifth place would remain as his highest finish of the year. The characteristics of the Mercedes, with a too high fuel tank meaning poor handling on full tanks, could explain a lot of this problem. Robserg's consistency remained though, only twice did he fail to finish and both times it was down to someone else's accident, and his drives through the pack in Silverstone and Suzuka were strong. The frustration at the general run of things seemed to show a little in the third quarter of the season however, and Schumacher started to get the upper hand on results. This was also shown by un-Rosberg like banging of wheels with Perez in Singapore and the flat spotting of a tyre in Korea. He nevertheless firmly reasserted himself as the leader of the intra-Merdeces battle in the final two races.

So, is he the real deal or a better Nick Heidfeld? Next year, with Mercedes having no excuses left for not delivering, should provide us with a clearer answer.

Credit: Ferrarifan1956 of Michael Schumacher / CC
7: Michael Schumacher
Is Michael Schumacher the driver he once was? Probably not. Did he perform respectably in 2011? Absolutely.

For most of 2010, the seven times champion's much trumpeted return year to the sport, Schumi was frankly egregious. But in the final four rounds that year he appeared to be getting the hang of things to at least show himself worthy of a place on the grid. And in 2011 this continued.

He's not the driver he once was, as mentioned. The main factor is that he doesn't have is what Niki Lauda calls 'ground speed', the raw pace when at the limit, that once set him apart. But Schumi was smart enough to put the things that were as sharp as ever, mainly the brain power and ability to plan a race, to good use in 2011. He invariably came alive on race day, and was better than most in managing the Pirelli tyre performance and ghosting up the field throughout a race. Moreover, he more than anyone made progress on an opening lap, making a net 27 places, more than anyone else (including those who usually started at the back), on the opening tour alone. This served to negate his iffy qualifying and then some. But his racer's guile was seen to best effect in the wet-dry Canadian race, where he moved up to second place, including a double pass on Massa and Kobayashi, just like it was old times. Only the drying track and DRS deprived him of a deserved podium place that day.

There were still a few too many errors of judgment when in the pack: such as hitting Petrov in Turkey (and losing out in several other dices that day), damaging his nose against Hamilton in Monaco, hitting Kobayashi in Silverstone, riding over the back of Perez in Singapore as well as spins in Germany and Hungary.

But the errors were less frequent than they were last year, and some of Schumi's race drives in 2011 were excellent. This included a run from the back at his Spa fiefdom to finish fifth and a dogged run among the leaders at Monza, eventually finishing fifth again. His tactics in defence divided opinion that day, but it can't take away from the fact that he was doing something special to be up there in the first place. He was also strong in Japan and India.

Next year will be fascinating for Schumi. He'll be a small matter of 43 years old, and Mercedes simply must deliver the machinery to allow race wins. If they do, a win or two for Schumi in ideal circumstances isn't out of the question. But it's also a double-edged sword, as some of the deficiencies on display this year, such as the poor qualifying and relative lack of consistency, if repeated may be exposed more ruthlessly in those circumstances. Plenty for him to think about.

Credit: Crosa / CC
8: Paul Di Resta
It's hard for rookies in modern F1. Gone are the days when debutants would often have thousands of testing miles under their belt before even their first race weekend. For Paul Di Resta, the difficulties were especially acute, despite getting a few Friday testing runs in 2010. He came in from DTM, not the classic route, having not raced a single seater in five years.

Yet you'd hardly know it. Paul Di Resta took to the sport like a veteran this year, showing an assurance, calmness and class in and out of the car of someone with several years in F1 to call on. Using this he took eight points finishes and, amazingly, completed more racing laps in 2011 than anyone else on the grid. Astonishing for a rookie in a midfield car.

His best two results came with a seventh place in Hungary and sixth in Singapore. In both rounds he put a long strategy into perfect practice, in each staying out of trouble even though Hungary was run in tricky conditions and Singapore is arguably the most challenging circuit on the calendar. There was also nothing wrong his his raw pace. He qualified in a stellar sixth place in Silverstone, and showed team mate Adrian Sutil, himself no tugger, the way in qualifying in the first part of the year, leading him 7-2 come Silverstone.

There were a couple of areas of his which could be marked 'could do better'. He went through a phase in the second quarter of the year of making contact with other cars much too often, such as losing is nose against Alguersuari in Monaco and repeating the manoeuver against Heidfeld in Canada, in both cases going for optimistic moves (though in Canada he'd performed brilliantly to get up into fifth at that point). He also had a scrape with Buemi at Silverstone. Di Resta's performances also tailed off a little towards the end of the season (indeed, this was the case for many of the rookies, suggesting that sustaining sharpness for a whole 19 race season was a challenge for the new boys), which was a pity at it was the precise point at which the Force India was at its most competitive, and it helped Sutil get the upper hand on him both in terms of points and in their qualifying head-to-head.

But Di Resta did enough in 2011 to demonstrate that, with the best will in the world, he has a an x-factor and polish that Sutil probably lacks. Watching where his F1 career takes him from here will be engrossing.

Credit: Nic Redhead / CC
9: Adrian Sutil
Adrian Sutil has improved markedly in each of his years in F1. This year was his best yet, and the ninth place in the table with 42 points seems a long way from the raw, unpredictable presence he was in his early days.

Yet it was a season of two halves for Sutil. In the first half of the year he was below par, continuing his slightly subdued performances in the latter part of 2010, and was struggling to get on terms with Di Resta. Despite points in the first round his first segment of the year was peppered with errors, such as breaking his front wing against Barrichello in Malaysia, tagging the barrier on worn tyres in Monaco, and clashing with Rosberg under the safety car in Canada before sliding out later.

But he succeeded in turning his season around. His run to ninth place in Valencia was good, but things really got going at home in Germany where he finished sixth ahead of both Mercedes. He took five more points finishes before the season was out, including in each of the final three rounds where his performances were particularly strong. Indeed, his weekend in Brazil, rewarded with sixth place, was one of the most impressive showings of anyone all season, arguably. If you're being ultra-critical though, you'd ask where exactly those performances came from and why they coincided with him driving for his future.

Sutil proved in 2011 beyond any doubt that he's a worthy and safe F1 pilot. It's not clear where his future lies for next year, given compatriot Nico Hulkenberg is knocking on the door at Force India (though that team's delays in naming their 2012 line up may indicate they're looking for a way of retaining Sutil after all). There are also some doubts over his ability to lead a team either motivationally or technically. But it would be a travesty if he hasn't found a spot on the grid come next March. If Force India does fall though Williams seems his most probable destination.

Credit: Morio / CC
10: Kamui Kobayashi
It was a close run thing between a number of drivers for the final spot in the top ten, and Kamui Kobayashi may not be everyone's first choice for that position.

Kobayashi's season was rather like Sutil's in reverse, a magnificent first half followed by a more difficult second half. But the top ten should take an entire season into account and in my view the first half was of sufficient quality from Kobayashi to merit his squeaking onto the list.

Kobayashi had developed beyond recognition as an F1 driver in the course of 2010, and in that time had distinguished himself especially with a series of dare devil overtakes. Nevertheless, many eyebrows were raised when it was announced that he'd be leading the Sauber squad this year, partnered by the rookie Sergio Perez.

His initial response was magnificent, and dare I say almost un-Kobayashi like. He put in a series of level-headed drives, making longer strategies work to perfection, usually involving fewer stops than those around him (the sort that Sauber have been practicing since the dawn of time it seems). In so doing he often displayed a necessary sympathetic touch with his Pirellis. He finished in the top ten in each of the first seven rounds (only a disqualification in Australia, no fault of his, stopped him scoring points in all of them). At Monaco he came in fifth, and indeed was running fourth in the late stages, and in Canada he ran second for a time, helped by Sauber's gamble to not pit, expecting a red flag. This all left him with 25 points and only a single point behind the Mercedes drivers in the table after the Canadian round.

Things were never this good for Kobayashi again though, and he only scored five more points by the season's end. The Sauber slid down the competitive pecking order as the year progressed (another time-honoured Sauber tradition), and Kobayashi's drives became a bit more scrappy. He was still unlucky on occasion: in Silverstone he qualified eighth but had his day ruined by an errant Michael Schumacher, he put in another good long-run race in Germany to finish ninth, at Spa he was also on for a good result only to not pit under the safety car, while at home in Japan he performed well to qualify seventh, but a poor start put him on the back foot for the race. But the Hungary run was rather messy (not helped by an unfathomably poor strategy which left him seconds off the pace on old tyres). In Singapore he had his famous flight over the kerbs into the wall in qualifying which brought a stoppage, and in Korea he reached his nadir, managing to damage two front wings in a single race.

Nevertheless, he managed to get it all back together in the last two races, with a ninth and eighth place, just enough to save Sauber's seventh place in the constructors' table. Kobayashi will be looking to add consistency to his new-found skills in 2012.


  1. I know you said it's a personal top 10 but.. Heikki deserves a spot in the top 10 surely?

  2. Thanks for your comment Jack. I did think long and hard about including Heikki Kovalainen in tenth place (he was one of the drivers in contention for the tenth spot that I mentioned). I didn't choose him for a couple of reasons, neither of which were Heikki's fault, so possibly I'm being totally unfair:

    One is, when I judge drivers I tend to think there has to be some premium on fighting at the front and for points, as the pressure situation etc is totally different there.

    For another, I found it a bit harder to judge Kovalainen than I did most drivers this year, as the Lotus was invariably far behind the midfield pack but far ahead of the Virgins and HRTs, so really the only yardstick for Heikki was Trulli. Yes, Heikki soundly thrashed him (and there were some good midfield cameos from him), which is all you could have asked of him, but the problem was it didn't provide as much of an evidence base as for the drivers further up the grid.

    But you're right, it's very hard to find fault with how Kovalainen went about his business this year.

  3. No Heikki? di Resta for sure, great rookie season for him, and Perez.

    For me, the top 10 of 2011 were:

    1. Vettel
    2. Button
    3. Alonso
    4. di Resta
    5. Hamilton
    6. Kovalainen
    7. Webber
    8. Sutil
    9. Petrov
    10. Perez

  4. Yes, I feel slightly ashamed of myself for not including Heikki. I give my reasons in an earlier comment, though I have a nagging suspicion I may be being harsh on him :)

    On the subject of being harsh, I notice you have neither Mercedes driver in your top ten. Not a fan of them?

    Anyway, if you're interested, my views on the drivers who didn't make it into the top ten (including Heikki) are here:

  5. I wouldn't say I'm not a fan of Mercedes at all, Rosberg especially, I just thought they had a fairly "meh" season last year; after 3 podiums in 2010, they didn't get any in 2011 and it was a bit of a step back, when really they were saying so much about race wins at the start of the year. Schumacher had a bad year I thought, Turkey and Singapore stood out as being really bad races for him.
    Good to see they've finally got it together now though!