After asking you to vote for your leading drivers from the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship season, the time has come to start the countdown to the driver you voted the top star of 2008.
Over the next ten weekdays, we will be revealing the top ten in reverse order, with the winner being revealed on Friday 28 November.
More than 45,000 votes were cast in the F1 poll, with each driver's average score out of ten then being calculated to decide the winner.
F1 Driver of the Year – Ninth place:
In many respects, Timo Glock's 2008 Formula 1 campaign was one of two halves. The Toyota star endured a high-speed crash in the season curtain-raiser 'down under' in Melbourne back in March, and failed to trouble the scorers at all for the opening six grands prix as whispers began to gather inside the paddock that perhaps the reigning GP2 Series champion wasn't everything he had been cracked up to be after all.
And then came Montreal. Whilst the Canadian Grand Prix may be best remembered for Robert Kubica and BMW-Sauber's breakthrough triumph, it also marked a breakthrough for Glock who, four years on from his points-scoring debut in the top flight at the same track, not only got the better of team-mate Jarno Trulli for the first time, but went on to doggedly hold off no less than the Ferrari of Felipe Massa to the chequered flag to finish fourth, and kick his 2008 challenge firmly into gear.
That result seemed to give the 26-year old just the confidence boost he had been looking for, as from there onwards he qualified inside the top ten more often than not and went on to out-score the highly-rated Trulli over the second half of the campaign to wind up inside the top ten in the final drivers standings at season's end, just six points shy of the experienced Italian and arguably having proven himself to be marginally the better racer
of the two.
The indisputable highlight of Glock's year came when he exploited Toyota's growing mid-season competitiveness to dazzling effect in Budapest, lining up a career-best fifth on the starting grid for the Hungarian Grand Prix and going on to take the chequered flag second to Heikki Kovalainen, having superbly resisted the late-race efforts of Kimi Raikkonen – in a patently faster Ferrari – to depose him.
Not only was it Glock's drive of the season, but it was also one of the
drives of the season, and proved once and for all that the man from Lindenfels was in Formula 1 to stay. In a competitive car, he and Trulli make for a potent pairing, and should Toyota come out of the blocks running again in 2009 as the squad did this year, both can be counted upon to produce the goods.
The forlorn Timo Glock who found no room at the F1 inn at the end of 2004 and was forced to slink away across the pond to Champ Cars is no more. This version is 2008-style – and this version is an entirely different proposition.
Tomorrow: Who did you vote eighth in the Driver of the Year poll?