F1 »

Top ten F1 drivers: Seventh 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 – Seventh place:

Name: Sébastien Bourdais
Team: Scuderia Toro Rosso
Car: Scuderia Toro Rosso-Ferrari STR2B/STR3
Wins: 0
Podiums: 0
Pole positions: 0
Fastest laps: 0
Championship points: 4
Championship position: 17th

He may have finished a lowly 17th in the 2008 Formula 1 Drivers' World Championship standings with just four points to his name, but Sébastien Bourdais still did enough to be chosen by Crash.net readers as the seventh-best driver of the year – and deservedly so.

Coming off the back of a record-breaking four consecutive Champ Car crowns across the Pond, Bourdais entered the top flight with a sizeable reputation – and, during the first half of the season, that reputation fell to pieces.

Over the first seven races, the Frenchman failed to qualify better than 15th place – on four occasions indeed falling foul of the dreaded Q1 hurdle – and it wasn't until his home grand prix at Magny-Cours in late June that he seemed to somewhat overcome his qualifying jinx in placing 14th on the grid, right alongside his highly-rated team-mate Sebastian Vettel.

Though initially struggling to get to grips with Scuderia Toro Rosso's new STR3 introduced in Monaco and admitting to not being a fan of grooved tyres, during the second part of the campaign Bourdais gradually came alive, as his confidence improved and so – dramatically – did his form on-track.

Making the top ten on the grid for the first time for the European Grand Prix in Valencia in August, from then onwards the 29-year-old far more often made it through to Q3 than not, peaking with a superb fourth place at Monza but also shining in Belgium, China and Brazil, as he all-but matched Vettel and even out-qualified the German at Spa-Francorchamps, widely acknowledged as being the greatest drivers' track the world over.

Even more significantly still, there were increasing flashes of the Sébastien Bourdais of his Champ Car days, as the man from Le Mans injected his racing with a feistier, grittier edge, not afraid to run wheel-to-wheel with his adversaries and not one to back down readily in a fight.

That he lost fourth place to an engine failure in the season-opener in Melbourne, and third place – following a superb performance – on the very last lap of the Belgian Grand Prix when a late rain shower struck was cruel fortune indeed; that he was stripped of sixth position when Felipe Massa drove into him at Fuji was perplexing beyond belief.

Regardless of the points taken away from him beyond his control, though, Bourdais improved immeasurably as a Formula 1 driver as the season progressed, and the return to slick rubber and new aerodynamic regulations scheduled for introduction in 2009 should suit him down to the ground. The former International F3000 Champion has an awful lot still to give in F1, and it would surely be an error should STR not give him the opportunity of a second chance to show what he can really do.

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

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastien Bourdais (FRA), Toro Rosso STRO3, Chinese F1 Grand Prix, Shanghai, 17th-19th October 2008
Nobuharu Matsushita, ART Grand Prix, Sauber, F1 [Credit: Honda Racing]
Sebastien Ogier, Red Bull, RB7, F1 test [Credit: Red Bull Content Pool]
Singapore Grand Prix
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H
Sebastian Vettel (GER) Ferrari SF70H

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.

Patrick O'Brien - Unregistered

November 20, 2008 12:42 PM

I agree with this high rating but as I recall Bourdais was at least as fast as Vettel until they went to the new car. When you look at their performances and eliminate bad luck not of their own making, Bourdais was Vettel''s equal in qualifying and his better in the race. Vettel came into the season with lots more time in an F1 car and on grooved tires so that he was not clearly faster was a surprise. His ability to adapt to the new car more quickly than Bourdais gives him the clear edge in comparing their seasons and in their value to a team but there are a lot of drivers who are fast in one kind of car and not in another. This kid is good and deserves another chance.

© 1999 - 2017 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.