This will be the complete ranking of each driver in 2011 based on their performances throughout the season. These rankings also contain clippings from previous reviews from 2011 and 2010. Without further delay, here are the first 10 drivers to be examined:
28th – Karun Chandhok
Chandhok had one chance for redemption and failed
Previous ranking: 25th (2010 final rankings)
Review from last ranking: He has not been given the car to prove himself in the races.” (2010 half-way review)
The popular Indian driver’s season got off to a miserable start in Melbourne, crashing three turns into his out lap.
He was drafted in for a one-off drive at the Nurburgring, and was completely off the pace, spinning several times and resulting in Chandhok finishing 2 laps behind his teammate.
He made no impact at all during his practice session runs during the season, and his rejected attempt to drive at the Indian Grand Prix was embarrassing to say the least.
27th – Jarno Trulli
Retirement is still knocking on Jarno's door
Previous ranking: 23rd
Review from last ranking: “Retirement may not be too far off the horizon for Trulli.”
After another season considerably out-paced by his teammate, its a wonder as to why Caterham will retain Trulli for next season.
Blaming most of his problems on a strange power steering issue, Jarno was still miles off the pace of Heikki Kovalainen after this had been fixed. The former one-lap master was out-qualified 16 times out of 19 this year.
He performed reasonably well in Monaco, but apart from this, it was a truly dismal season for Jarno. After Vitaly Petrov was ousted from his Renault seat, it makes you wonder will the Italian be seen in the paddock in 2012.
26th – Narain Karthikeyan
Karthikeyan impressed in India, but that was about it
Previous ranking: 24th
Review from last ranking: “With disappointing pace in a lacklustre car, a replacement driver was inevitable.”
Many were very surprised to see Narain return in Australia after a 5-year absence, but that was basically all the impact the Indian had all year.
He was ousted after 8 races, but I was rather impressed with his one-off return at the Indian Grand Prix. Karthikeyan performed reasonably well in a car he had to re-acquaint himself with, and finished ahead of his teammate.
However, this was the only shining moment in a dull and uninspired season for Narain.
25th – Pastor Maldonado
It has been a dreadful debut for Maldonado
Previous ranking: 22nd
Review from previous ranking: “If he is unable to turn this form into results, then there will be little future for Maldonado in Formula 1.”
The 2010 GP2 champion has given no reason as to why he deserves to be in Formula 1, relying solely on a substantial paycheck by his fellow Venezuelan backers.
Williams are known to be in trouble financially, and with their decision to float an IPO failing also, they turned to Maldonado to keep the team afloat. He may have done that, but Pastor hasn’t done much else. A single solitary point is all Maldonado has to offer at the end of 2011.
He performed well in Monaco, and was on course for a 6th-placed finish before clashing with Lewis Hamilton. However, he was less friendly with Lewis at Spa, deliberately trying to punt the McLaren off the track.
The last time a driver deliberately crashed in Formula 1, he was disgraced and essentially thrown out of the sport. I wouldn’t have minded if the same happened to Maldonado.
24th – Vitantonio Liuzzi
Liuzzi was well out-performed in the second half of 2011
Previous ranking: 20th
Review from previous ranking: “Vitantonio has done well to demonstrate his prowess in a dismal car.”
In the first half of the season, it appeared as if Liuzzi had driven well, comprehensively beating Karthikeyan and giving HRT their best ever finish in Canada.
But, once Daniel Ricciardo was ordered to replace Karthikeyan, Tonio’s lack of pace was revealed, and his season began to unravel. In the 6 times where both HRTs finished, Liuzzi only beat the rookie twice.
Even when he was in front of Ricciardo, he was never definitively faster than him, and causing a multiple-car crash in Monza was the low point of what could be the last season for Liuzzi.
23rd – Jerome D’Ambrosio
D'Ambrosio has not done badly, but not well enough
Previous ranking: 21st
Review from previous ranking: “A first foray into F1 has not gone disastrously just yet for Jerome D’Ambrosio.”
For a rookie, D’Ambrosio was unusually quiet – and that’s not a good thing.
He failed to make a considerable impact at Virgin, but never disgraced himself either. A pair of 14th place finishes kept him ahead of Timo Glock in the drivers’ standings. His worst moment was probably Hungary, where he spun in the pit lane, almost taking his mechanics out with him.
An oddly anonymous debut is not what a rookie driver needs, although I’m still surprised to see him replaced by another rookie. Jerome had the potential to do better, and it’s been disappointing to see him leave F1 so soon.
22nd – Timo Glock
Glock deserves better after 2 lacklustre Virgin cars
Previous ranking: 18th
Review from previous ranking: “He has consistently out-qualified D’Ambrosio, and is set to perform better as the season progresses.”
Another season languishing at the back is not what a talented driver like Timo Glock needs to progress his career.
He did his best to prove his worth – particularly in Monaco – but the lack of pace from the MVR-02 held him back.
While Lotus/Caterham continued their ascent to the midfield, all Glock could do was circulate ahead of D’Ambrosio and the HRT cars, and he generally did just that. We all know Timo deserves better, and with a move to a better team out of the question for 2011, next season looks like a similar struggle.
21st – Rubens Barrichello
Not much to talk about this year for Barrichello
Previous ranking: 17th
Review from previous ranking: “A horribly uncompetitive Williams is to blame for Barrichello’s slump, but being pushed by underperforming rookie Maldonado does not bode well for Rubens.”
Only two years ago the thought of placing Barrichello this far down the rankings would be unthinkable – the likable Brazilian has retained good pace throughout his 19-season career. However, 2011 was the indicator that Rubens’ career is on its last legs.
Two 9th places in a row was all that Rubens could manage for points. It was still better than teammate Maldonado, but Barrichello doesn’t come with financial backing, and that’s why he is most likely on the way out at Williams.
Uncharacteristic errors, most notably in Australia, marred Rubens’ season. It’s been a strange few years for the veteran, having experienced the highs of Ferrari and Brawn, contrasting with the lows of Honda and Williams. Unfortunately, I suspect that we may have seen the last of Rubens Barrichello.
20th – Daniel Ricciardo
Ricciardo excelled where others could not
Previous ranking: N/A
Review from previous ranking: N/A
Many rookie drivers deliberately avoid joining an F1 team halfway through the season, to avoid being thrown out of the sport mere months later. I highly doubt this will occur to Daniel Ricciardo.
Drafted in at Silverstone, Ricciardo was on the pace from the get-go, and was beating Vitantonio Liuzzi after only 3 races. Red Bull are well known for backing the Australian’s move into F1, and it seems that their decision has been justified.
Daniel made no catastrophic errors, and mixed it with the Virgins and Liuzzi throughout qualifying and the races. Racing for Toro Rosso next season, I feel he can succeed where Buemi and Alguersuari failed.
19th – Pedro de la Rosa
Pedro de la Rosa did what was expected of him
Previous ranking: 19th (2010 final ranking)
Review from previous ranking: “HRT are reported to be looking at the Spaniard for 2011, but despite this, his future is in serious doubt.”
It may have been a year late this time around, but I seem to have developed a knack for predicting De la Rosa’s future moves in these rankings!
Pedro had little to do this year, making a sole appearance in Canada, substituting for the injured Sergio Perez. He performed the job as expected, finishing a rather impressive 12th in difficult circumstances.
Considering he had never driven the Sauber C30 before, praise is certainly deserved for De la Rosa. He will drive for HRT next year, and it will be interesting to see how he performs there. To make an attempt at 3 correct predictions in a row, I believe that he won’t make much impact in such a poor car - and knowing HRT, he’ll likely get replaced halfway through the year.