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Driver Rankings For The Formula One 2010 Season: The Top Five

Matt HillContributor IIIDecember 28, 2010

This year was a titanic struggle for the title.

There were quality moments, controversial moments, crashes and even the odd moment of overtaking.

There were some great drives and some terrible ones.

Overall, the 2010 season was a good one.

This piece celebrates my personal choices for the Top Five drivers of the 2010 Formula 1 season.

I ranked these drivers on four factors—

How well they did?

How well they did compared to expectations?

How many mistakes they made?

Did they maximise what they had?

Before I begin, I would like to give an honorable mention to Nico Rosberg who was No. Six and had a great season.

These are my choices—

At Number five—Lewis Hamilton

Despite being English, I am not a fan of Lewis Hamilton by any stretch of the imagination, but will admit Hamilton had a good season.

In Canada and Belgium he was the best driver by a long way. I think he will be the first to admit he was a little lucky to get the win in Turkey but picked up the pieces after Red Bull made a right mess of it.

In the rest of the season he tried his utmost in his Mclaren which wasn't quite as good as the Red Bull's and five second places is testimony to his consistency.

In Hungary he looked on for another strong finish before a car failure let him down and in Spain, a tire failure cruelly denied him another well deserved second place finish.

The reason he doesn't come higher on the list is due to his two mistakes in Italy and Singapore that really damaged his chance for the title.

At Monza, he was far too ambitious and his move was never going to work.

In Singapore, he should of known Webber wasn't going to give up that easily considering the title situation. Saying that Webber did have a little bit of room, so overall even though the blame belongs mostly with Hamilton, it wasn't his fault entirely like in Monza.

In practice in Japan it was obvious he was still rattled when he crashed in practice, but he got himself sorted and his drive in Abu Dhabi was of high quality.

I expect him—as long as Mclaren gives him a good car—to be right up there again in 2011.

In at four is Mark Webber

He was the man who a lot of people wanted to win the world title. The Aussie is a popular man, even here in England where Australians don't always get liked too much—just ask Ricky Ponting—and I know some where gutted when he didn't make it.

He did, though, have a fantastic season.

He took advantage of the excellent Red Bull RB6, which was the class of the field, and had a very strong year. Finishing third in the title was an excellent effort.

 In Spain he totally dominated, taking pole and leading all the laps and in Monaco we has excellent as well.

He, like Hamilton, was consistent scoring four second positions and two thirds to go with his four wins.

He was caught up though in a lot off the track posturing.

He used the anger that he and some others perceived to be bias towards Vettel by the Red Bull team to good effect to produce some great drives. In Britain the issue with the front wing spurred him to decimate the field and resulted in the infamous radio call.

After a while though all of the off the track stuff became a little dull and it did cloud some of his season. His mistake in Korea was costly and running out on the curbs in those conditions and then putting the power on even fractionally was a really big error.

In Valencia it was a racing incident.

Webber shouldn't have just expected the Lotus of Kovaleinen to just get out the way when he had the right to stay fight back. But Heikki should have known that he shouldn't be pushing it that close. It had no real effect on the championship though as Webber wasn't really going to challenge for big points there.

His year was a very good one but I am not sure about his chances in 2011. I hope he does brilliantly but some people are saying that he may have blown his big chance to be a champion.

I hope they are proven wrong.

Number three goes to Robert Kubica

Will one of the front three teams kindly sign this man?

Robert Kubica took that Renault places it never deserved to be. He drove the wheels of his car—quite literally in Suzuka—and produced strong drives all year.

His talent deserves a better car and given a strong machine I have every confidence that he could win a world championship. Kubica achieved consistent points finishes and only once did he finish outside the Top 10 in qualifying.

Robert earned three podiums finishing second in Australia and third in Monaco and Belgium.

He also made very few errors over the season with the incident with Adrian Sutil in the pits at Hungary being his only major error.

There was no real standout drive from Robert but he consistently stood out from the rest of the field for that ability to drive that Renault into the higher placings.

In other words there was no one real highlight of the season because the whole season was good.   

Number two is awarded to Sebastien Vettel

The new world champion is a very worthy one. His run at the end of the season was of the highest caliber and deserves 100 percent to be the No. 1 in Formula 1 in 2010.

He was helped by the excellence of the Red Bull RB6 which, as I said earlier, was the class of the field. His 10 pole positions showed dominance in qualifying that we haven't seen for a while. When Vettel was on form, he was pretty much unbeatable.

His five victories were races he dominated and deserved to win and if it wasn't for reliability issues he would of almost certainly won in Bahrain, Korea and Australia

The reason he doesn't take number one on this list is due to the fact that Vettel made his job far harder than it ever should of been. The amount of unforced errors by Sebastien was quite high with incidents in Turkey, Belgium and Hungary all being rather large blots on his season.

The team favouritism thing was rather sad on all fronts because apart from the front wing incident in Britain, there seemed no favouritism at all. What is great about Vettel is his young age means that we can look forward to him fighting for many more titles.

There is is still room for improvement with Sebastien.

His overtaking technique could still be improved as his judgement was poor. Comparisons with Michael Schumacher are silly because Schumacher in his prime was as near to unbeatable as there is.

His performances though—particularly under the huge pressure at the end of the season—further showed his great talent and his ability not to wilt under the spotlight.

But those unforced errors mean he doesn't quite get the number one place.

Number one is—Fernando Alonso

Alonso wins this purely via elimination.

The Ferrari wasn't by any means as strong as the Red Bull yet Alonso nearly took the title. He made the least errors and had the ability to dominate races despite having an inferior car.

In Singapore he was the class of the field by a long way and dominated the race.

In Italy he drove to his strategy perfectly to take the race victory.

He was there to pick up the pieces in Bahrain and Korea after the Red Bull broke.

He didn't have the best of luck with the safety car incident in Valencia costing him points, the penalty in Britain and the teams poor call in Abu Dhabi ruining his title bid.

He wasn't faultless by any stretch of the imagination.

His jump start in China pushed way down the field but his drive back up through the field to finish fourth was a very impressive one.

His error at Spa crashing his car out of a points finish. His inability to pass Vitaly Petrov in Abu Dhabi was a major surprise but full credit to Petrov for fighting hard and clean.

The whole saga in Germany was particularly annoying because of the stupidity of it. The team order was blatant but because they couldn't prove it 100 percent Ferrari survived. It was the logical thing to do and I am relieved that the stupid team order rule has been removed. 

He was miles better than his teammate all year and Massa never really looked like challenging for the title.

Alonso isn't the most popular driver and him as the number one won't be a popular choice.

I don't really worry about what kind of man he is off the track. A lot of people think he is arrogant, a moaner or whatever else. The truth is I am only worried about what he does on the track.

My next piece will be looking at the other end of the field—The five worst drivers of 2010.

Feel free to comment with your personal top five.

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