2011 Drivers Rankings Pt 2.

1 Sebastian Vettel – Red Bull Renault – WDC: 1st
Only off the podium twice, most poles ever, only one word for it: Domination.

2 Jenson Button – McLaren Mercedes – WDC: 2nd
Had a stormer of a season taking some of the best drives EVER for race wins including Canada and Hungary. He won his first dry race for the Woking team and beat his team mate after loosing out last year with some pretty rotten luck. Jenson may have arrived properly in 2009 with that Brawn year, but he showed us this year that he is truely top drawer. Next few season will be seeing where he ranks in the all time greats not if he belongs there. He could however still sort out his qualifying.

3 Fernando Alonso – Ferrari – WDC: 4th
The Ferrari this year was not the Scuderia’s finest hour in car development – plagued by wind tunnel issues and a failure to get the blown diffuser working properly killed off the prancing horse. Fernando however shook ever drop from that carcass and even brough home a victory in Britian with that bizzare one weekend only rule change thing. You’ve got to wonder when Fernando will bring the title home to Marranello not if. But he also seemed to keep getting overtaken by the best overtakes of the year which edged him down to 3rd – just about.

4 Heikki Kovalainen – Team Lotus Renault – WDC: 22nd
Its hard to argue that anyone else outdrove their car more this year. Getting into Q2 and mixing it with Williams’s and Renaults all season Heikki has really rebuilt his reputation. If Lotus (Caterham in 2012) provide another step we’d hop down the bookies and bet your house on Heikki scoring the first ever points for the 2010 new teams next year.

5 Nico Rosberg – Mercedes – WDC: 7th
He won the Mercedes inter-team battle again and brought the car home consistantly as well as lead a race. Could of used a podium to really tick all the boxes but the second half of the season was pure points with the exception of Monza. Was always the quicker in quali and handed the safe strategy so was occasionally beaten by a schumi gamble but we really want to see the car up their with the big 3 next year to see how really good Nico is.

6 Lewis Hamilton – McLaren Mercedes – WDC: 5th
While he managed to win 3 races he kept ploughing through the sidepods of Felipe Massa all season and was beaten for the first time ever by his team mate. He was still quick in qualifying as always but embaressed constantly come race day. He’d be wise picking up a few lessons from a certain young scot about how to handle media around the grid however when the old Lewis showed up, boy did he show up in a Kimi Raikkonen esque performance swing race to race. Needs to improve because he knows he can do better.

7 Adrain Sutil – Force India Mercedes – WDC: 9th
Its a cruel irony that after racing every season for Force India the year he finally gets a christmas present from the spare parts department and gets into the top 10 in the championship he loses his seat. There have been some great drives, especially in the second half of the season. His team mate kept him honest but he prevailed and probably out-drove the car here and there. Unfortunatly he is famous for being fast but not technical at all so needs a good team mate, im not sure anywhere left would suit him. Maybe Caterham?

8 Mark Webber – Red Bull Renault – WDC:3rd
Mark Webber finishes 3rd for the second season in a row, but this year he managed only one win as he struggled with the tires and converting poles to wins. Great race craft including some stunning overtakes means he gets another crack next year boyed by that win in Brazil. But it was decimation in the inner team battle with a car that cruised to the championship.

9 Michael Schumacher – Mercedes – WDC: 8th
Kept his team mate much more honest this year but is still struggling to find some raw qualifying pace but has proved this year he still has some great race craft now he’s blown the cobwebs off. Both drivers from Mercedes are screaming out for a better car, if Schumi could get it right on Saturdays and Mercedes get the downforce numbers in tunnel we could see the old miester on the steps come sunday! A great race in Canada almost saw him on the podium if it were not for DRS, also some great battles up and down the field this year.

10 Paul Di Resta – Force India Mercedes – WDC: 13th
Opening his career with 2 points finishes will do no driver any harm, but Britain Paul Di Resta has had a sterling rookie year. He had some learning to do but despite people raving about Adrian Sutil (me included) Paul actually matched him for points in the second half of the season. Happy to play the team game he usually took the more adventerous tactics and generally has been a credit to himself. There are good things to come, and its looking like he may be a team leader next year as the man with the most recent experience.

11 Vitantonio Luizzi – HRT Cosworth – WDC: 23rd
Chucked by Force India he found himself at the back of the gird with the slowest car. The car failed to make pre-season testing and then promptly failed to qualify for the first race as it was outside the 107% rule all weekend. From then on the team was on the up and up, new fangled with things like developments (!) and an improving technical team pushed Luizzi along to finish above both team mates and both Virgins leaving HRT 11th in the Constructors championship. A stunning result and its hard to know what more the team could of wanted.

12 Kamui Kobayashi – Sauber Ferrari – WDC: 12th
It was a great start for the Japanese superstars second full season in the top flight, however the car was suited to more conservative strategies that dont play to Kamui’s strengths and then there was a bizzare slump in form which left him without points for 7 races. But the team turned it around and a 10th and 9th place in the last two races saw off the threat of STR in the constructors. I’d love to see him pilot a works Ferrari, surely a great partner to Alonso???

13 Jamie Alguesuari – Scuderia Toro Rosso Ferrari – WDC: 14th
A better 2nd full season from the spanish youngester saw him really bring home the beef for the team in the second half of the season. He struggled with the tires at the start of the campaign and didn’t score any points until Canada in round 7. Since then the young bull lead his team mate 26 points to 15. Unfortunatly it wasn’t enough to impress Helmut Marko and he has been dumped for next year along with his team mate.

14. Nick Heidfeld – Renault – WDC: 11th
A last minute call up for the German journeyman saw him take the seat of former team mate Robert Kubica at Renault ahead of Bruno Senna. Like some other returnees his pace in qualifying left a lot to be desired but he used his experience to bring home a podium as well as a haul of points. He was only out-scored by 3 points by his team mate, however he collected all his points in 11 races and then was booted out from the team rather publically. After this the car balance went and the team may rue the day they opted for some cash and youth over experience with such an unsual car.

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