Formula One Driver Rankings for the 2010 Season: The Bottom Five

Matt HillContributor IIIJanuary 4, 2011

Earlier I looked at the best drivers from the 2010 Formula 1 season. Now its time for the other end of the field.

As before when I looked at the best drivers over the year I used these questions to help me order them.

How well they did?

How well they did compared to expectations?

How many mistakes they made?

Did they maximise what they had?

The Lucky man award goes to Michael Schumacher who would be No. 6. He was poor over the season but his slight up turn in form near the end of the season just managed to keep him out of the main five.

Those who expected him to return and produce the same sort of form as in 2000 to 2004 were dreaming and I firmly expected him to struggle in the new style of cars. His behaviour at Hungary was in my view the lowest moment of his career and he cannot have any defence for his actions there.

Strange, one Mercedes man just misses out being on the best list and the other just avoids being on the worst.

Number 5 is awarded to Vitaly Petrov

The truth is I hope Vitaly provided a lot of money for the team as he cost the team enough in broken bodywork. He did show improvement but he was very poor over the season. He was comprehensively outclassed by his team mate, Kubica and the gap between them at the end of the season was the largest between team mates, 109 points.

There was two excellent drives of note at Hungary and Abu Dhabi with Abu Dhabi in particular seeing a fantastically measured drive. Keeping Fernando Alonso behind him for as long as he did was truly a superb piece of driving. Turkey he drove well but a late incident with Alonso (theme growing here) meant he had to pit for new tyres.

Despite those flashes of excellence, he also showed flashes of real stupidity. At Spa checking to see how wet the curbs were and promptly spinning out of qualifying, wasn't really the smartest move that he has ever made. The moment of brain fade when he totally blocked one of the Virgins at Monza

During the season he clearly did enough to at least impress what was Renault in 2010 and will be called who knows what in 2011 to offer him a new two year deal. My view is that this is fair and I hope that with the stability of knowing he has a drive results in him calming down and showing more examples of his talent rather than his errors

I am surprised, however that it looks like Nico Hulkenburg could be out of a drive in 2011 and Petrov is still in. Money is one of the key reasons of course but to me if you gave me the choice between the two of them I wouldn't hesistate in awarding the place to Hulkenburg.

Number 4 is Sebastien Buemi

Looking at the raw statistics Buemi did beat Alugersuari his team mate so having him on this list and not Jaime my seem strange. The reason behind this choice was he never stood out and considering it was his second full season I was expecting more from him. Alguersuari was more consistent in trying to get the Toro Rosso in the points where as Sebastien wasn't quite as consistent.

Jaime also had some moments where he really stood out with his battle with Schumacher in Australia, made a lot of people sit up and take notice. Buemi had no stand out moment. He was Mr. Anonymous in 2010 apart from his spectacular accident at the Chinese Grand Prix, he never made a real impact throughout the season.

Buemi only seemed to be at 95% during the season far too often. He was someone who was on occasions the fall guy in Q1 along with the new teams near the end of the season along with his team mate and Liuzzi.

Head to head Buemi just out finished Alguersuari ten to nine but considering his experience edge Buemi should of beaten Alguersuari much more convincingly.

The highlight of Buemi's season was without doubt in Canada when finished the race in eighth and even led the race due to the fact nearly everyone had pitted and he hadn't.

He isn't safe in his seat by any means anymore with Daniel Ricciardo showing great pace in the young driver test at the end of the season. Buemi absolutly has to perform well in 2011 or he will very quickly find himself unemployed.

Number 3 falls to Pedro De La Rosa

I don't like having to put Pedro on this list as I do quite like him and he is a very capable driver. De La Rosa is a brilliant test driver and to include him on this list is a sad. He shouldn't of ever come back to being a full time race driver and his return was at least as ill advised as Schumacher's.

His return was even more surprising than that of Schumacher. Untill it was announced that De La Rosa would be back I would of put all my money it on being on Nick Heidfeld with Kobayashi in 2011. Hedifeld not being on the grid currently for 2011 is something that really annoys me. But back to De La Rosa.

Pedro and Kamui were hampered in the early season by severe reliability issues which at the start of the season saw Sauber as the most unreliable team on the grid. But once the reliability was sorted we saw Kamui pushing hard at the heels of the top team where as Pedro never really pushed on.

Pedro seemed happy to trundle along where as Kobayashi was determined to move on up the field. In  qualifying they were even, seven all, but De La Rosa didn't use his qualifying as a springboard up the field.

De La Rosa did have one excellent race though in Hungary and seventh place there was very much warranted. Outside of that there he was very quiet for 14 races.

In the end Sauber saw sense and gave the drive to Nick Heidfeld for the final few races of the season. i don't see where Pedro will go in 2011 but there are rumours that he could go to the Hispania team. I have my doubts about that, due to his lack of sponsership but he may get enough together.

Part of me hopes he doesn't get the Hispania drive as it will not do his reputation any good. His reputation of a hard working test driver could be damaged by going to the Hispania team.

Number 2 is Lucas Di Grassi

He was even more anonymous than Buemi and has since disappeared. Di Grassi was the only man who ended up competing with the Hispanias on a semi regular basis and that is a damning way to start this. In Turkey he qualified behind Bruno Senna in the Hispania in a dry, normal qualifying session and the same happened at Montreal.

In races as well he is too often competing with the Hispanias rather than pushing up and fighting with the Lotus cars. The Virgin could just about compete with the Lotus machines in the hands of Timo Glock but in the hands of Di Grassi that wasn't often the case.

A measure of his lack of success comes from the fact he outqualified his team mate the sum total of twice throughout the season. He ended up behind Sakon Yamamoto on occasions and even crashed trying to overtake him in Korea.

By the way Yamamoto would have been on this list had he competed in more races. I made a cut off of 50% of the season or more had to be competed in to be considered. Sakon only competed in 7 races out of the 19 so isn't considered for this.

He will be remembered though in one way as having something in common with Alain Prost. Prost spun off the track on the parade lap of the 1991 San Marino Grand Prix in appallingly wet conditions. Gerhard Berger also spun but managed to keep going where as Prost stalled and was out.

Di Grassi didn't even make the parade lap at Suzuka instead crashing spectacularly at 130R on the installation lap on the way to the grid. So, he can say, like the great Alain Prost he qualified but never took the start of a race.

Di Grassi only has two saving graces which prevents him from taking number one on this list. The first being that little was expected from him due to the fact it was his first season. Also being at one of the new teams meant that expectation was even lower.

He did nothing really to demonstrate that he could really cut it in the world of Formula 1. He may come back one day in another team but at the moment he needs to go somewhere else and keep refining his craft.

Number 1 goes to Vitantonio Liuzzi 

Liuzzi beats Di Grassi due to the fact he had previous Formula 1 experience and was still incredibly poor. Liuzzi was an incredible disappointment and seemed to get worse as the season went on. His start to the season was strong too but all too often we saw something poor from Liuzzi.

His high point of the season was without doubt the performance at Korea finishing sixth in the appalling conditions was a great performance. Another high point was qualifying in fifth position at Montreal. But those were the highlights of a poor year.  

His qualifying performances, in general, were not up to standard and 12 times during the season he qualified 15th or lower. In a car that was should of be fighting to try and make it into Q3, Vitantonio was out in Q1 five times over the season.

The Force India wasn't a car that should of been that far down the order. Liuzzi wasn't able to get much out of his machinery on several occasions.

During the middle of the season he finished once in the points out of 8 races. In China he spun out on lap one and far too often we saw Vitantonio steeping out of his car due to an accident. In Canada him and Massa decided to have a go at bumper cars and considering how high Liuzzi was up the field why he was trying that I don't know.

In his defence, he wasn't always the man at fault for the accidents being hit by Massa and Suzuka and having nowhere to go in the frightening Schumacher incident at Abu Dhabi.

Liuzzi should consider himself very lucky if he is retained in 2011. Di Resta and Hulkenburg would seem much more sensible options to me. If he does remain than he has to improve on 2010 and cut out the incidents that he was involved in,


These are my choices but there are other options. Many would have had Schumacher in the list and Trulli admitted he had the worst season of his life. The options are there.

This is just one guys opinion.


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