One of the things I enjoy most about the 606 forums are the fanboys and WUMS, who will fiercely defend their man, and attack his closest rival.
Reading the comments on Andrew Benson's blogs can give great examples of this. The Lewis fanboys get insulted if Lewis isn't portrayed as been the greatest racer ever, the Alonso fanboys think that itís terrible the BBC only ever talks about McLaren.
This means asking who the best driver of 2010 (so far) a particularly entertaining topic.
Iíll start my arguments in WDC order. DNFs include results where driver was classified but did not finish.
Mark Webber Ė 4 wins, 9 podiums, 1 DNF, lowest finish 9th. Has had his most impressive season in F1. In my mind his greatest drive is still his debut race. Fellow Australian Paul Stoddart gave Webber his F1 shot, and straight away he paid him back by getting 5th place (and 2 points for Minardi) in his debut GP at Melbourne. Itís surprising that it has taken him so long to find himself in title contending race seat.
The only negative side to his season, in my opinion, is being outshone by his team mate in qualifying. So considering heís leading the WDC he hasnít done bad for a number 2 driver.
Fernando Alonso Ė 4 wins, 8 podiums, 2 DNFs, lowest finish 8th. Was favourite before the season started, but despite a Ferrari 1-2 in the opening race, many felt he was lucky with Vettelís spark plug issue. It quickly became clear that the Red Bulls had better pace. His first half of the season was riddled with errors, and it largely appeared that he was overdriving the car. It wasnít the cool headed Alonso that had twice won the WDC. Ever since Ferrari added the new aero package at Silverstone he has been getting back to his best.
The man himself has claimed not to be the fastest driver (which you can easily argue against, even if his title winning Renault was light years ahead of his title challengers), but he has claimed to be the most consistent (which again, given some of his errors this season you can also argue against). But heís come back to the boil at the right time.
Sebastian Vettel Ė 3 wins, 8 podiums, 2 DNFs, lowest finish 15th. Despite blowing everyone away in qualifying, he has let himself down in the races, failing to convert his poles into wins on too many occasions. A combination of bad luck and errors may eventually cost him the title. His clash with Webber in Turkey, along with the front wing debacle, lost him many fans he gained when he won the Italian GP in 2008 in a Torro Rosso. Started to lose his head in mid-season, but after Ferrariís recent success he looks to have been brought back down to Earth. The smiling, easy-going Vettel that won so many fans seems to have come back.
Lewis Hamilton Ė 3 wins in 2010, 7 podiums, 4 DNFs, lowest finish 6th. As good a season as any for Lewis Hamilton. When he entered F1, he already had the pace and racing ability, and he was learnt and tweaked his style as he has gone along. Perhaps his most notable improvement has been in his maturity out of the car, and certain character building (see Lewisí interview with the BBC from the Japanese Grand Prix) events over the past few seasons. Has seen his fair share of controversy, but after a poor start last season and struggling to do the best with a bad car, knuckled down and gave McLaren momentum going into this season. There is a feeling he gets more out of the car than anyone. He has generally outqualified his world champion teammate, and a couple of aggressive overtakes may cost him a shot at the title this year.
As an F1 fan I believe the sport needs people like Hamilton (and Vettel) who are willing to risk their race to go for a move when the chance presents itself.
Jenson Button Ė 2 wins, 6 podiums, 2 DNF, lowest finish 8th. Was widely expected to be annihilated by Hamilton this season, but has held his own. His 2 wins have come from a mixture of fortune and good tactical calls. The McLaren seems to suit both driversí styles. May have an opportunity with new tyres coming into F1 next season, as tyre wear hasnít had a huge impact this season. He excels at certain circuits and is poor at others, much like Massa.
Other drivers worth a mention Ė Robert Kubica has again shown that he has the potential to be a champion. He has destroyed his team mate this season, and dragged the Renault up the grid with some great race performances. Nico Rosberg has dominated his 7 times WDC teammate this season. Could be a rusty ageing Schuey, or he could be the real deal. Hopefully the Mercedes will be good enough for these 2 to compete next season (Although despite it being the team that delivered a World Championship car, we mustnít forget itís the same team who produced years of terrible Hondas). Kamui Kobayashi showed at the Japanese GP why he is an exciting prospect. Would be great for F1 to have a top Asian GP driver . . . continued below