Formula One season for 2012 has ended with Sebastian Vettel winning the title, but is he the No. 1 driver on NDTV's F1 expert Karun Chandhok's list?
New Delhi: 1: Fernando Alonso
Story first published on: Tuesday, 04 December 2012 08:29
The numero uno tag on Karun's list goes to Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard made sure the title race went down to the wire and that too in a Ferrari that was nowhere near the Red Bull in terms of power. Alonso won just 3 races in 2012, but finished on the podium as many as 13 times. Come 2013 and you can bet his rivalry with Vettel will once again take centrestage.
2. Lewis Hamilton
The 2008 World Champion comes in at Number 2 on Karun's list. With 8 podium finishes and 4 race wins Lewis Hamilton could have been a major contender for the World title, if not for some really bad luck. Hamilton had to retire in as many as 5 races this season, including the Singapore GP where he was leading. Next season Hamilton will be in Mercedes colours and even though the car is not a great one, his driving skills could be enough to take him back to the podium.
3. Kimi Raikkonen
At Number 3 is the Iceman. Kimi Raikkonen's return to Formula One has been hailed as a more successful comeback than that of Michael Schumacher's. Seven podium finishes, including a win in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, showcased his consistency in the Lotus car. He might be known to never let his emotions get the better of him. But he couldn't hold back during the Abu Dhabi race.
And how's this for a sense of humour? Kimi gave the entire Lotus team T shirts with the words "Leave me alone, I know what I'm doing" to apologise for his outburst.
4. Sebastian Vettel
Sebastian Vettel might have ended a third straight season as Number 1, but he comes in at Number 4 on Karun's list. That's because the Red Bull car was by far the strongest on the circuit once again, especially in the second half of the season, which saw Vettel win four races on the trot. But this season also exposed the fragile side of the German. His ugly run in with Narain Karthikeyan in the Malaysian GP and his use of unparliamentary language didn't do his reputation any good.
5. Nico Hulkenberg
At number 5 is Nico Hulkenberg, who made the Force India car sing in 2012, registering 3 top 5 finishes. The second half of the season especially was fantastic for the 25-year-old German. In the last 10 races, the Hulk finished in the top 10 seven times to end in 11th place in the Drivers' Championship. No wonder then that Sauber snapped him up for the 2013 season.