The 2008 Formula 1 driver rankings continue with part 3 – ranks 10 to 6. I did not have too difficult time to select the five drivers for this post but giving them their ranks was a bit different story. Here is how I settled it:
10th Kimi Raikkonen
Ferrari had bad start to the season in Australia but few races later, after Spanish GP, it looked like Kimi may be the man to beat in 2008. Unfortunately for him, that was the high point of his season. The mid season slump took him out of contention and by the time his form returned all he could do was to support Felipe Massa. He was outqualified by his team mate 12:6 and that says something about the roots of his problems. At the end Raikkonen managed to reclaim the 3rd place in drivers championship but only because the second McLaren driver was nowhere near the top and the BMW Sauber and Kubica lost the plot in the final 2 races. He made my top 10, but only just.
9th Jarno Trulli
This was typical Trulli season. Great qualifying not always followed by great performance on Sunday. Thanks to his qualifying and his ability to keep a train of cars behind him he finished regularly in points. It looks to me that it does not matter what kind of car Trulli has, he always does the same .
8th Mark Webber
Sure bet for top 8 finish in the early stages of the season. He however suffered from the slump of the Red Bull car performance in the later stages of the season and ended the year only 2 points better than Nelson Piquet. His place in my top 10 is result of his dominance over his team mate suggesting that Webber did rather good job with no so good car in hand.
7th Timo Glock
Timo Glock’s famous moment came on that last lap of the last race but that is a topic of another post . This was Glock’s sort of rookie season and he did much better than the other too newcomers – Nakajima and Piquet. I may be placing him a bit too high here but I have my reasons. He improved as the season progressed and in the second half he even gained upper hand over his experienced team mate (after Hungary he finished only once behind Trulli). And although Trulli outqualified him 14:4 Glock made it to Q3 9 times this season and on another 3 ocassions only just missed out (P11).
6th Nick Heidfeld
Nick Heidfeld was getting lots of stick this season and even Mario Theissen took his time before deciding to keep him for another season. His qualifying woes cost him dearly in races for better part of the season but he still managed 4 podium finishes and 60 points in the championship table. And judging from the fact that the highly rated Robert Kubica ran into same sort of trouble in the final 2 races it looks like the problems might have more to do with the car than with the driver. He was also the Mr. Reliable finishing all 18 races and has one fastest lap to his name (German GP). The main reason why I have him 6th however is that I had no other candidate for this position .
Photo: Shell Motorsports