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Top ten F1 drivers: Eighth place.

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 – Eighth place:

Name: Jarno Trulli
Team: Toyota
Car: Toyota TF108
Wins: 0
Podiums: 1
Pole positions: 0
Fastest laps: 0
Championship points: 31
Championship position: 9th

Just above his team-mate Timo Glock in Crash.net readers' top ten drivers of 2008 is Jarno Trulli, who enjoyed arguably one of the finest seasons of his twelve-year career in the top flight and – somewhat appropriately for a man with his own vineyard and wine-making business – seems only to get better with age.

At 34, Trulli may be one of Formula 1's elder statesmen now – and comfortably the oldest driver in your top ten – but his advancing years are clearly far from slowing him down as he drove with all the panache and enthusiasm of a young pup for much of the campaign, regularly confounding his critics by racing every bit as well as he qualified. And his qualifying form remained peerless.

Seventh-quickest on the aggregate 2008 grid with an average starting spot of 7.6, Trulli missed the final top ten shoot-out on just four occasions. Though the highlight was undoubtedly his superb effort to deliver Toyota its first front row slot in 55 races in the Brazilian Grand Prix season finale at Interlagos, there were also stand-out performances at Sepang, Magny-Cours and Hockenheim, on each occasion the man from Pescara putting his TF108 on the second row in amongst the sport's grandees.

Though traditionally recognised for his one-lap abilities, this year Trulli proved to be an impressively strong racer too, comfortably having the measure of young team-mate Glock for the opening half of the campaign, and then not letting it get to him when the German came on-form later on, the pair complementing each other to great effect at the Cologne-based outfit. At Spa-Francorchamps and in Shanghai in particular, the Abbruzzese deserved considerably better than he got, being harpooned in both races by the Scuderia Toro Rosso of late-season nemesis Sébastien Bourdais.

Following a string of solid points-scoring finishes from the early outings, Trulli was magnificent as he expertly held off the palpably faster McLaren-Mercedes of Heikki Kovalainen for the final rostrum position in the French Grand Prix, in so doing banishing the memories of having let a podium slip through his grasp in the final corner of the same race four years earlier – what had signalled a rapid deterioration in his relationship with former mentor and manager Flavio Briatore and, ultimately, the beginning of the end of his stint at Renault.

Now happily ensconced at Toyota, though, the 2004 Monaco Grand Prix winner is enjoying something of an Indian summer to his career – and should the big-budget Japanese concern take a further step forward again in 2009, there is no reason to suggest why Jarno Trulli's F1 career should not successfully continue for several more years to come.

Tomorrow: Who did you vote seventh in the Driver of the Year poll?

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Jarno Trulli (ITA) Toyota TF108, French F1 Grand Prix, Magny Cours, France, 20th-22nd, June, 2008
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Kowalski +

November 19, 2008 12:56 PM
Last Edited 789 days ago

I think Alonso attitude at McLaren last year shows Jarno in a better light. Alonso threw the toys out of the pram when he wasn''t the sole focus of the team. & That goes to show that was obviously the kind of treatment he had at Renault when Trulli was his teammate. Sacked after winning Monaco & beating the golden boy. Highly underrated, or maybe not after placing 8th.

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