What makes a great driver stand up from the rest of well talented drivers in F1? This is a question that many of motorsport fans ask themselves from time to time and certainly it is a bit tricky trying to answer it. However there are certain conditions that let you determine if a driver has the skills to make a difference or not regardless of race winnings, pole positions or podium finishes. In formula one as in many other motorsport series you race against competition and also against your “teammate”. This last fact lets you determine many times who is the driver who wants to win so badly that will do anything to mentally subjugate their teammates to the number two drivers spot within the team and that there is a sign of a driver who has the determination to win.
Although it is important to have the determination there is a set of driving skills that needs to be in place to convince the team that you should own that mystical number one driver spot in the team. To be an outstanding racing driver not only you should have the speed in hands in a combination of machine and driver but also knowing when to go fast and when to not, understanding your car and managing your resources to take the best result in any occasion.
Fernando Alonso for instance is a driver that could well fit this description due to several factors:
- Has beat his teammate on every occasion (except when he was teammate with Lewis Hamilton they finished equal in points but the Briton finished ahead due to podium finishes)
- Has been on several team throughout his f1 career
- Takes the maximum of the car and knows how to manage his resources.
- Have win races even though he hasn’t had the best car in the grid.
These are just a few facts of what makes a great driver stand from the competition even (as said before) if he doesn’t win a race or championship.
There are other names on the grid with a proven talent that needs to pass through several tests before being considered as one of the greatest drivers in the category. For instance Sebastian Vettel, who has won the last 4 years championship (2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013), is expected to be the next driver to beat Michael Schumacher in championships, but first he will have to prove he can be fast as well in a different car other than a Red Bull designed by Adrian Newey. Is not that he is not talented enough, what happen is that when you see a driver like Mark Webber winning races and out pasting more talented drivers in a RBR you know that the car is very good. Vettel has already proven that he is fast, c’mon he took his 1st championship point in his first race in a midfielder car in 2007 and also won a wet race in a Toro Rosso in 2008, the thing here is that the championships he had won have been on a superior car and fans from all over wants to see him do the same on another car, I even think he wants to do so, to silence many fans out there, including me :P.
On the other hand there is also Lewis Hamilton who came to Formula One with the champion stamp all over him, finishing on the podium in 9 of his first 10 races but in a very superior car which haven’t being the case for the rest of the driver who made their way up to the top teams. He almost won the championship his first year, but the pressure forced him to several silly errors on the last gp of 2007 finishing 2ndo in the points and losing to Raikkonen by a single point. Last year made the move from Mclaren to an inferior team but with a big potential to be within the top teams if not the best, so he have chosen the path that will allow him to demonstrate what he is capable of regardless of the car or engineer designing it.