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Crash.net Top Ten F1 Drivers of 2008 (1st-5th).

It was a tough decision knowing whether to place Hamilton or Alonso first, but ultimately the latter got the nod as though he triumphed only twice, he did so in a car that should on its own merits never even have won at all – and one that, in the early stages of the season, had languished woefully off the pace.

Renault began 2008 in poor shape, and it was only Alonso's canny nous in keeping out of trouble in Australia that earned the Spaniard fourth place. That there would not be a similar result until the Hungarian Grand Prix almost five months later was proof of just how much the Régie was struggling, and the former double F1 World Champion's stunning and wholly unexpected front row grid slot on home turf in Barcelona owed practically nothing to the car and everything to the sheer brilliance and talent of the driver sitting inside its cockpit.

Come season's end, however, the R28 was the third-quickest machine on the grid, having leapfrogged not only Williams, Red Bull Racing, Scuderia Toro Rosso and Toyota, but even BMW-Sauber – and that, in large part, was thanks to Alonso's tireless efforts in motivating the team to keep working hard and developing. It is little coincidence that he was also the only driver on the grid to out-qualify his team-mate on every single occasion.

Yes, there were errors along the way, with mistakes in Monaco and Canada that cost him points and potentially even podiums, but they were symptomatic of a man trying to push his car faster than it wanted to go. Hockenheim too was a rare 'off' day for the 27-year-old, but the fact remains that over the second half of the year Alonso was the highest-scoring driver of anyone in the field, and his victories in Singapore and Japan – the former from all the way down in 15th position on the grid – were as fine as any from his world championship-challenging years.

Not finishing lower than fourth in any of the final six outings enabled Alonso to vault both McLaren successor Heikki Kovalainen and BMW's Heidfeld into fifth in the overall standings, and if Renault can begin the 2009 campaign in the same manner as that in which it concluded 2008, the man from Oviedo could just go another four spots higher still next year. Have no doubt – Fernando Alonso remains very much a class act.

Happy Christmas!

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R28, Japanese F1, Fuji, 10th-12th, October, 2008
Antonio Giovinazzi - Sauber F1 Team
McLaren - Honda MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32 F1 launch, [Credit: McLaren]
McLaren MCL32, McLaren-Honda, [Credit: McLaren]
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF70H
Fernando Alonso - McLaren MCL32
McLaren MCL32

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Lamarck - Unregistered

December 24, 2008 12:54 PM

So, um, Kimi Raikkonen isn''t in the top-10. Sorry, but by anyone''s standards, and biases, that''s simply nuts. Granted, he had a very poor season by his standards, but c''mon. You''re saying the hideously under-performing Kovalainen, the (maybe above-) average Glock, and several others were better, or did a better job, than Raikkonen? Even though he''s got the excuse of being in the best car on the grid, that''s still nonsense.

borg_ - Unregistered

December 25, 2008 12:02 AM

WDC won by the driver, team, car combination, this thread is about just the best driver. 8 races represent 45% of the season, and over last 8 races one driver scored more points than anybody else, in the car that has never been better than 3rd fastest, that driver is FA, end of story.

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