my top ten drivers in f1 2010

it’s the end of the year, time to remember the season. i’ll do that by defining my top ten drivers of the 2010 season. but first, the main disappointment: felipe massa had a horrible season, was almost never even close to his team mate’s pace, lost his credibility with his home fans after hockenheim – and today wasn’t even capeable of passing jaime alguesuari. a season to forget for the brazilian. but here the top ten.

10. adrian sutil (force india)

the german had a wonderful first third of the season. when force india continued its surprising run to the points, it was mostly lewis hamilton’s friend who would take the points for the team. at the end, he carried 47 out of 68 team points, one of the clearest winners of the season; if he continues his good form (since last season), he might land a great driving seat for 2011 or 2012.

9. rubens barrichello (williams)

williams was the best of the rest in the second half of the season, sometimes even getting better results than mercedes gp. barichello wasn’t the guy on the pole in his home grand prix, but he did beat hülkenberg most of the time; 47 out of 69 points for the team came from the veteran brazilian.

jenson button, without a chance this year.

8. jenson button (mclaren)

he had a pretty good beginning of the season, being the best driver when conditions got tough. the “tyre whisperer” won two races by doing exactly that – being better than everyone else in the handling of the tyres. but at the end, it became painfully clear most of the time that his team mate is simply the better driver – tough for the 2009 world champ.

7. kamui kobayashi (sauber)

his career starting promising at the end of the 2009 season, subbing for timo glock at toyota. kamui showed talent, but mostly he showed a very agressive attitude, very refreshing. this was observable when the car started to get better in the second half of this season, when kamui scored most of his 32 points – out of the 44 team points! thats more than 75%. this might just become the best japonese driver ever.

6. mark webber (red bull)

he won two races  brilliantly. barcelona and monaco were webber’s highlights of the season. but they were races number five and six. webber won in britain (needing some luck) and inherited a victory in hungary. after that, he tried to become world champion by scoring points constantely. it’s just not enough! not only his horrible mistake in korea or his horrible weekend in abu dhabi, but his inability to really challenge vettel in brazil, japan, italy and even hungary. for one of two men with he best car, it was just not enough. even more if you consider that he had no mechanical failures during the year, and still finished third after the turkey crash. still, his best season to date.

5. robert kubica (renault)

the pole had an incredible start of season, driving with the big dogs and taking part in the initial championship race. his car shouldn’t even be at a level with mercedes gp, so ninth place would have been realistic goals. he did end up in eighth place, but scoring only 6 points less than the best mercedes, and 8 points behind felipe massa’s ferrari. he had a pretty weak second half of the season, but a strong last race in abu dhabi.

lewis was sometimes fantastic, sometimes infantile.

4. lewis hamilton (mclaren)

the brit was the most spectacular driver of the year, and is clearly one of the most talented.  but mistakes in two consecutive races cost him a very probable championship in the middle of the season. he did show his pace once again at the end, and clearly a favorite for next year, too.

3. nico rosberg (mercedes)

it almost seemed that he didn’t really exist anymore. even with his fantastic season 2009, rosberg seemed to be completely overshadowed by schumacher’s comeback. at the end, though, he beat the veteran seven-time champ in almost every qualifying session (or every practise session at all) and scored 142 points – only two shy of massa and almost exactly twice as many as michael. to be clear: he humiliated one of the greatest of all time. it’s a shame the car wasn’t a winning car, but it might be next year. look out for rosberg 2011!

fernando had a great first season at ferrari...

2. fernando alonso (ferrari)

okay, his last race was disappointing. okay, he did take advantage of an ugly team order when he seemed out of the title race. but fernando alonso is maybe the best driver in formula one, and he showed it by leading the championship coming into the last race, but only having the fifth best car on the grid for most of the year. and he completely humiliated felipe massa, a very talented driver. demoralized him. alonso showed that he’s still got it, and ferrari will try even more, next year.

1. sebastian vettel (red bull)

in a season where things were always close, vettel showed what he’s made of in these last four races. red bull had the best car, but only slightly. and in the race, mclaren and sometimes alonso were able to match red bull’s pace. but vettel completely dominated the last four races, showing that he’s matured a lot over he year. he was very unlucky in the beginning of the season (when he was also dominating), lost himself a little in the middle, but never stopped believing and showed incredible concentration, focus and just talent. he’s still 23. he’s won 10 races.  and he passed the final test today!

a deserving champion: seb vettel

vettel, hamilton and alonso should dominate formula one for years to come, maybe joined by rosberg. button, webber and schumacher might still hope, sutil and kubica might also become important in future. maybe eben massa can come back from this season. still a lot to happen in 2011! only 4 months to go until bahrain!!!

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Published in: on November 14, 2010 at 20:35  Leave a Comment  
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the f1 season in review – in the old points system!

schumacher, here still in retirement, helped vettel win the title today...

we all know what happened today. without really intending it, schumacher’s mistake and webber’s not feeling to well were the decisive key to vettel’s happy day. and of course renault’s strength on the straights.

today, vettel was simply perfect. he did everything he had to do. get 2 seconds away from a really fast hamilton, stay on the track longer and coming back right in front of kobayashi (who was in front of kubica and hamilton), and then pressuring button, who still stayed out. vettel was perfect. but he needed help. and he got it.

from schumacher. he lost control of his car, luizzi crashed into him, and the safety car came out, prompting petrov and rosberg to switch tyres. then webber wasn’t feeling well at all on the option tyres and put it an early pit stop. alonso had to react, to stay in front of him – if the spaniard had waited one more lap, who would have come back behind the aussie; little did he know that he should’ve stayed on the track for as long as possible, since it became impossible to pass petrov. and he still needed to pass rosberg and kubica, with his late stop strategy.

 

comeback of the year... and quite disappointing. less than half of his team mate's points!

we all know that it was a pretty unique formula one season. not only because it ended with the youngest f1 world champion of all time, but because so many drivers were fighting for the title in different phases of the season. even with the new point system, it became clear. but let’s relive parts of the championship as if the old system was still in place.

after the third race, vettel and alonso would have led with 15 points each, equaling massa’s 15 points, but having scored a victory each. rosberg would have 14 points, kubica 13, button 12 and hamilton 11. can you imagine this? seven drivers within only four points – and webber would’ve had only 9 points at the time, in eight place. aftet china, button (then sixth) jumped into the lead, at 22 points. alonso and rosberg with 20 were trailing only by 2 points, hamilton in 4th (19) and vettel in 5th (18) and kubica in sixth (17) still close; massa fell from second to seventh, but still 5 points ahead of webber.

 

mark webber wins monaco. he also won another glamour races, the british grand prix being one of them.

but webber won the next two races in europe, and look what that did to the standings, now after six races; and here is  difference, because vettel would have been the leader before that turkish grand prix, with 32 points, one more than alonso, and two more than webber, now in third. button, with 26, and kubica (24) would still be relatively close, hamilton and massa would be at 23 (still less than a victory away from the lead), and rosberg with impressive 22 points, but in eight. the eight place in the championship only 10 points behind the leader, it hasn’t even been close to this interesting in any f1 season before. after the turkish crash, webber still took over the lead in the championship (would have taken), two points clear of button (34 points) and three of hamilton. vettel and alonso followed with 32, with the top five within 4 points. this is incredible. kubica (27, 9 points behind), massa (26) and rosberg (25) already seemed a little out of the picture, even though all of them were still pretty close. one race later, the second mclaren 1-2, and things changed a little more. hamilton was now in front of the pack, with 43 points – only one more than his team mate jenson button. webber had 40 points, alonso 38, and vettel 37. at this point, kubica, rosberg and massa were officially out of the championship race.

vettel won the next race and moved up to third place at 47 points, one behind button and four behind leader hamilton. webber, at 40 points, seemed out of the race, and alonso at 39 points was already 12 behind. it seemed to be a trio now. but, as always in the season, things changed pretty fast. webber won in silverstone, and alonso in hockenheim – both were back in the race! by the way, after the british grand prix, hamilton had 6 points of advantage over his toughest opponent, team mate button. this was, at that point, the biggest lead of any championship leader! and he extended that lead to seven points after the german grand prix. 64 points for hamilton, 57 for button, 55 for vettel, 53 for webber and 49 for alonso. it still didn’t seem likely that the ferrari driver could get into the fight between mclaren and red bull. but that’s what he did.

 

alonso wins monza and is back in the race!

in hungary, vettel made his first big mistake, and webber won his fourth race, twice as many as anyone else. that was webber’s last win, which he only inherited from vettel’s mistake. hamilton would have still been in the lead, with 64 points, but webber had 63, vettel 61 and button, 58. alonso was back in he game, at 57, only 7 points behind the leader. interesting that, at that time, all drivers had been in the points in 10 out of the 12 races. only seven to go!

after the belgian grand prix and vettel’s accident with button, the title fight seemed to be between only two drivers: lewis hamilton (74 points) and mark webber (71). vettel was already 13 points behind the music, button had 58 and alonso 57. none of them really out, but all three in clear disadvantage. but then came monza and singapure, changing everything. mistakes by hamilton, and everyone seemed to be back in the race; mostly fernando alonso, who won both races and stormed up the ranks. this is when lewis hamilton lost the title; his two dnfs dropped him to third, 6 points behind the leader, mark webber. alonso had passed him, too (77 points), and vettel also had 74 points, in 4th place. even button was now only nine points behind, at 71.

 

before japan, these five drivers still had a shot at the title!

then came japan. everything still looking good for webber, even losing to his team mate sebastian vettel. the red bulls celebrated a 1-2 with no team orders. the duo now led the title race, with webber four points ahead of vettel (88×84 points). alonso was third (83), and the mclarens were starting to look worse and worse. they had led with both drivers right into the middle of the season, and now they were in 4th (hamilton, 78) and 5th (button, 76). it seemed like a race between the red bulls and alonso now, and that is precisely what would happen.

after the red bull disaster (webber’s mistake, vettel’s engine blowing up), alonso inherited the race victory and topped the f1 standings for the first time since his win in the first race of the season. 93 points, five over webber, seven over hamilton and nine over vettel. it seemed that vettel’s dreams were now gone, and he would have to help webber win the title. hamilton was back!

but in brazil, red bull decided not to use team order, and vettel lead a 1-2 red bull victory, but alonso’s third place meant he who be the favorite for the title. 99 points in the old system would mean that a second place in abu dhabi would be enough for the title. vettel would have to win and hope for a fourth place for alonso. not impossible.

vettel became the champ by 4 points in the new system. here the final standings of the championship in the old point system:

 

he's the number one. here in japan, but also in the world. youngest champ ever, sebastian vettel!

1. vettel 104

2. alonso 101

3. hamilton 99

4. webber 97

5. button 86

6. massa 56

7. rosberg 55

8. kubica 52

9. schumacher 25

10. barichello 15

11. sutil 14

12. petrov 9

13. kobayashi 9

14. hülkenberg 6

15. luizzi 5

16. de la rosa 2

17. buemi & heidfeld 1

 

 

Published in: on November 14, 2010 at 19:39  Leave a Comment  
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2010’s best player: who is it?

some might think: wait, 2010 is not over yet! why should we discuss this topic already?

i’ll tell you why: for the selection of football’s greatest player in 2010, the season is already over. traditionally, the national and european club competitions decide the trophy, it is the spring form that really counts, the time where trophies are handed out and stars or born or transformed into myths. and, of course, if there is summer football (this year it was more winter than summer), then that will decide the race even more.

so who is it? who has left their mark, and who has lifted those trophies? here a quick look of a possible top ten for the season.

xavi & iniesta, the dream duo in barcelona, and also at the world cup.

xavi

ok, fc barcelona lost to internazionale in the semifinal of he champions league, and we still have no defending champions in the champions league era. but xavi had a pretty good season and once again lead fc barcelona to the spanish title – and he was the maestro of a great spanish side, the true captain and boss in midfield. with his elegance and intelligence, he was one of the stars of the last world cup, and as world champion, he has a shot on the biggest price in individual football glory.

andrés iniesta

how long have we known him now? as a very young player always getting some playing time at barcelona, and showing his technical ability. iniesta was only a super-sub, now he’s the heart of barcelona and the spanish national football team. raul wanted to play, but iniesta took away that position – and he scored the decisive goal in extra time, to give spain their first world cup title. iniesta had a really good world cup, but was injured in the decisive phase of the champions league – a reason why barca didn’t defend their title?

messi tries to do his best against germany... wasn't his day.

lionel messi

he was already the best. there was no-one really near him before this historical night in april. fc messi 4×0 arsenal fc, maybe the best ever performance of any football player in a match of that magnitude, ever. am i exaggerating? then try to remember a counter-example. not even maradona against england in 86 played the kind of game that we saw from lionel. and until argentina’s 0x4 against germany, he was on his way to become the world cup star – somewhat surprinsingly, since his performances for argentina had never been impressive. no title this year, but messi was the main goal scorer in the uefa champions league season – and there was this incredible game against arsenal. enough for the 2010 best player title?

not his day, either... cristiano ronaldo after the match against spain.

cristiano ronaldo

maybe he has not shined the way he used to for manchester united, but cristiano ronaldo has been bery effective for real madrid, and one can speak of a all in all succesful first season. but he wasn’t able to avoid another real madrid waterloo in the champions league; in the league, even a record amount of points wasn’t enough to end barcelona’s reign. and the world cup will not be one of his fondest life memories, either.

wesley sneijder

what a season for the short dutchman! sent away from real madrid in humiliating fashion, sneijder went to the international looser team of internazionale. and he ended the season as a winner, saving inter from the embarrassment of group elimination in the last minute (ok, that was december of 2009), leading them to the title (and eliminating top favorites chelsea fc and fc barcelona) in the uefa champions league. with holland, he threw brazil out of the competition with this two goals and reached the nation’s third final; but he wasn’t able to avoid the third defeat…

sneijder & robben celebrate the victory over brazil, with kuyt.

arjen robben

he was a bit of an mvp, maybe even more than his compatriot. for bayern munich, which he joined after also being dismissed by spanish giants real. robben scored the decisive goals in the win-losses at fiorentina and manchester (both 2-3, but qualifying goals), and they were beautiful. even after injury in not in top form, he played a pretty good world cup and threw away the chance to be the star of the final, almost giving the netherlands an unjust victory in two occasions. but he did win the internationally growing bundesliga and the german cup (scoring another impressive goal in the semis), and he did reach the final with bayern munich.

quite a match for schweinsteiger against mascherano & co...

bastian schweinsteiger

what a change, from “schweini” of world cup 2006 and euro 2008 to schweinsteiger in 2010. louis van gaal, his dutch coach at bayern, has finally given him his favorite position in he center of the defensive midfield, and schweinsteiger payed it back – for bayern and for germany, who without doubt played the most impressive football in this year’s world cup. as robben, schweinsteiger almost achieved the treble, and he ended up bronze medal inner at the world cup. but he did have a memorable game, when germany beat argentina 4×0. surely, that was one of he best performances of a single player in a big match, this year.

forlan scores a goal against host south africa; that country will be a fond memory for he uruguain.

diego forlan

that was a pretty impressive season by the aging uruguaian superstar. he’s had some pretty good seasons before, but the europa league title with atletico madrid finally gave him some silverware to hold. to win a european title with such a traditional team is already big, and scoring both goals in the final, one of them the winning goal in extra-time, is even bigger. can that be topped? yes it can, by 5 goals in the world cup, a semi-final spot for uruguay (doing better than continental opponents brazil and argentina) and the golden ball as the best player of the tournament; the first one of the kind to leave the competition without medal. respect, diego!

hasn't scored for england in a year... but he had some great months earlier in 2010.

wayne rooney

up to the first quarterfinal match in the uefa champions league in munich, it seemed like a simple question. who is better, lionel messi or wayne rooney? the argentinian, current holder, was having another great season, but rooney seemed to make people in northwest england forget about “cr7” with great performances and a whole lot of goals, some of them spectacular and important. and in the beginning of he match in munich, he scored the first goal and seemed to move on into the direction of best player in the world. but in the last minute, he was injured, bayern scored the 2-1 winning goal, fergie let him back to early, and he has not reached his top form since. the world cup was his personal waterloo, not only the 1-4 loss to germany in the round of 16. but he was having a good season, and he was the number two man at the time.

two goals in the champions league final, decisive in all titles, historical treble with inter - that's diego milito.

diego milito

it’s possible that some people knew his brother gabriel, defender at barcelona, better than him, although he has always been a pretty prolific goal scorer. but he hadn’t played at a top team yet, until “the special one” mourinho called him to inter duty at age 31. diego answered with goals, quite a few, and many very decisive. diego milito scored the decisive goal that gave inter their fith scudetto in a row, he scored the decisive goal in the coppa italia final against roma, and he scored both goals against bayern in the uefa champions league final, making the difference in that match. unfortunately for him, higuain was the starter for argentina in the world cup, but it was still an impressive season for diego milito.

so, who is it? answer the poll, choosing up to four who you think would deserve to be called the best of 2010, at the end of the year. my votes go to diego forlan, diego milito, andres iniesta and lionel messi, any of these would have the merits to deserve the price…

who would deserve the best player award in 2010 (you may choose up to four)?

(polls)