As some of you may be aware, after every race there is a feature on Badger entitled “Hot Rod or Hot Dog: Top Dog!”
This is where we pick the driver we think has done the best job over the course of the weekend and, it has to be said, we don’t often like to pick the winner. If there’s a driver who’s done a great job, but hasn’t finished at the top then we like to give it to him. We’re just contrary like that.
Now, the purpose of this article is to amalgamate all of the knowledge we gained across the course of the season and produce one driver who we think was the best.
There are any number of worthy candidates. The most obvious one is, of course, the young German, the new World Champion, Sebastian Vettel. He did a fine job throughout the season, but he had the best car and a very good team behind him. Also, we didn’t (in one of our long running themes) get to see him scrap. Top Dog? Not this year.
Coming in next is Mark Webber, the veteran Australian. A fantastic performance in Monaco and another one in Britain mean it’s tempting to give it to him. Tempting, but not enough. Goodness, what cruel people we are.
There’s also Fernando Alonso hanging around. He of the ‘perma-smile’ and generally sunny outlook. You know the one. He got very close, very close indeed. Dragging a car round faster than it wanted to go? Check. Comprehensively beating your teammate? Check. Being in the title race until right at the end? Check. Badger’s Top Dog of 2010? Nope.
Both of the McLaren drivers also deserve an honourable mention. Hamilton for beating Button reasonably soundly and Jenson for settling in quite so well (as well as making some brilliantly brave strategy decisions). To be honest, we’re tempted to give it to one of them because we like them and they seem to get on quite well, but no! That’s not the Badger way.
We also considered Nico Rosberg. Written off at the start of the season (by yours truly) as a man with everything to lose and nothing to gain, he managed to make 2010 a very good year. Being consistently quick and consistently beating your team mate (in this case a seven time world champion) is never easy. He made it look it, so deserves a place on the Top Dog 2010 shortlist. Sadly, however, his time has yet to come.
Really (and we’re sure most of you are right with us now), there’s only one place this award can go. That’s right – cue drum roll – Vitaly Petrov.
Have you going there? Not even a little?
In fact, the driver we’ve selected is his team mate, the quickest Pole on the grid (and the only Pole on the grid if you want to get technical), Robert Kubica.
We at Badger were impressed throughout the season by his pace, his consistency and his general ability to drag the Renault round and make it competitive.
His record of qualifying in the top ten was unbroken until the final race of the season and, apart from his three retirements, he finished in the top ten in every race bar the first. That’s some achievement.
We know that he didn’t really have much competition from his young, inexperienced and not terribly consistent Russian team mate, but we still think he did a cracking job and is worthy of a seat in one of the top teams.
Well done Robert – you deserve it!