This is the second in a series of three articles previewing the 2008 Formula One season. Last time I discussed my thoughts on the teams. This time it is the drivers I take a look at.
- Kimi Raikonnen is the defending driver's champion. Driving a scarlet Ferrari will again help lift him to the driver's championship. Like last year, it will come down to the end of the season however this year it will only be a two driver race with Lewis Hamilton.
- Lewis Hamilton finished second last year in his rookie season for McLaren. This year he won't have the controversy of dealing with a temperamental team mate as he did last year with Fernando Alonso having moved to Renault. Unfortunately for Hamilton, he will still not be able to beat Raikkonen for the championship but will finish a close second.
- Felipe Massa will continue to pick up points as he did last year when he finished fourth in the championship. This year without Alonso at McLaren, the second Ferrari driver will find himself in third at the end of the season.
- Heikki Kovalainen is Hamilton's new team mate. Like Hamilton he is driving in his second season. Last year he had a successful rookie season as the second driver for Renault. This year with the reliability and power of the McLaren, Kovalainen will finish a strong fourth.
- Nick Heidfeld had his best season in Formula 1 last year with the much improved BMW team. Heidfeld will have another good year but will not be able to improve on his fifth place.
- Robert Kobica had a good rookie season last year finishing sixth for BMW. This year looks to be a season where he will be closer to team mate Heidfeld in the final standings however he will still finish sixth.
- Nico Rosberg had an up and down rookie season last year finishing ninth for Williams-Toyota. This season will be a good one for Rosberg with his Williams-Toyota being a more reliable drive. Look for Rosberg to finish seventh.
- Fernando Alonso finished tied with Hamilton last year but will find his season with Renault far from the success he had last time he was with them. Renault is not as strong as the front runners however the team will be good enough that Alonso will be able to pick up some good points and finish eighth.
The best of the rest:
- David Coulthard and Mark Webber will both enjoy some success with the improved Red Bull-Renault. I look for these two drivers to finish ninth and tenth.
- Jarno Trulli will be the best of the two Toyota drivers but the Toyota team will still let him down and eleventh is the best he can hope for.
- Jensen Button and Rubens Barrichello will both struggle in their Hondas. The Honda looks to be improved over last year but that would not be a hard thing to do. It was so bad last year that it wouldn't take much to be an improvement. This improvement won't translate into many points for either of the drivers.
- Sebastien Bourdais will probably be wondering why he left Champ Car. The four time defending champion in Champ Car will struggle in the Toro Rosso even with the Ferrari engine. He is a good driver and will get the best out of the car but it won't be enough to translate into many points.
- Giancarlo Fisichella is an experienced driver who will help the new Force India team but the team is under funded and will not be in contention for many points but they should do better than last place where they finished last year.
I look forward to a good racing season this year. The reduction in driver's aids should bring the best drivers to the top. If the rest of the season is to be anything like the first race, we are in for a dandy.