The BBC pundit and former team owner gives his verdict for the rest of the season
Lewis Hamilton GB
McLaren 1st 127pts Wins 2 Podium 5
Strengths Lap by lap he is undoubtedly the fastest driver around at the moment. Lewis is starting to show his class at the right time, and that is particularly impressive given the difficulties he experienced in Australia at the start of the season.
Weaknesses The issue surrounding his father has been a curious one. Lewis says he ditched his dad because he wanted to employ proper management to look after him, but why not keep his father around until that happened? As much as he has achieved, Lewis is still a young man and he needs his family around him. To act the way he has shows flaws in his thinking.
Fortitude The arrest in Australia highlighted his youthful naivety but, overall, he came out of it well and no longer looks burdened by the tag of being the next big thing. Has been a champion and can definitely be so again.
Prediction Starting to get in his stride and drive the way he did in 2007. Leading the pack and my pick to win the championship.
Jenson Button GB
McLaren 2nd 121pts Wins 2 Podium 5
Strengths The epitome of a fine world champion; carrying himself fantastically during the course of the season, speaking well and, more importantly, winning races. For Jenson to have two wins under his belt already is very encouraging, particularly as he changed teams at the start of the season.
Weaknesses Appears to have lost the mental upper hand to Lewis Hamilton at McLaren. The pair started off as equals but Lewis is starting to shine more now and as much as the pair insist that they are team-mates, they are also massive rivals too. Jenson needs to start showing his ruthless side.
Fortitude Sensational how he has adapted to life as a champion and as a driver at a new team. Jenson’s naturally calm and relaxed demeanour is serving him well on and off the track.
Prediction I didn’t think he would do as well as he has and with a touch more ruthlessness, there is no reason why Jenson cannot win more races. Definite top-three finish.
Sebastian Vettel Ger
Red Bull 3rd 115pts Wins 2 Podium 4
Strengths Incredibly quick and, in terms of natural talent, the genuine heir to Michael Schumacher. He is less obsessed with engineers and designers than Schumacher and far more approachable. A lovely guy who has shown already this season that he has what it takes to win the championship.
Weaknesses The crash with Mark Webber in Turkey showed a real misjudgment. I saw nothing wrong in what Webber did and plenty in how Vettel tried and spectacularly failed to overtake him. It was a big error and any more could ruin his chances of winning the championship.
Fortitude A great mentality: ambitious but not obsessive, and nice to go with it. We are lucky to have someone like Vettel in Formula One and I feel sure he will win the title sooner rather than later.
Prediction Will remain competitive but I see him just missing out to Hamilton. Second.
Mark Webber Aus
Red Bull 4th 103pts Wins 2 Podium 4
Strengths Pure Aussie grit. A really determined guy who has done brilliantly this season. In my opinion, he is F1’s second most improved driver behind Robert Kubica.
Weaknesses Like his team-mate, has shown an alarming moment of misjudgment in recent weeks. I still do not understand why Webber did not move out of Heikki Kovalainen’s slipsteam at the European grand prix, he must have known he was going to brake earlier and subsequently force a crash. Thankfully Webber survived it. Like Vettel, he must eradicate such errors.
Fortitude The desire to win combined with a grounded personality makes Webber a popular as well as respected driver in F1. He will not stop trying to win this championship until it is mathematically impossible.
Prediction Has been up there from the start but doesn’t quite have enough to go all the way. Should, though, finish in the top six.
Fernando Alonso Sp
Ferrari 5th 98pts Wins 1 Podium 3
Strengths Impossible to dispute the talents of anyone who has twice been crowned world champion and is shining with a third F1 team. Alonso is arguably the most consistent driver around and for that reason cannot be discounted from any race.
Weaknesses The flare-up at the European grand prix shows he still has an issue with Hamilton, which is pretty remarkable considering how long ago now they were team-mates at McLaren. It also shows a lack of focus; that single-mindedness any driver needs if they are to finish the season as No1.
Fortitude In my opinion he has not fully got over what happened with Nelson Piquet Jr at Renault last season. That may explain the rant he had at the FIA officials in Valencia. Alonso undoubtedly has a brittle personality.
Prediction Hard to see him making a real challenge for the title given the nine-point gap with Hamilton. Should, however, finish in the top-six.
Felipe Massa Br
Ferrari 8th 67pts Wins 0 Podium 2
Strengths Looks quick and, given this is his return from a life-threatening head injury, has done very well. The car has been a problem all season and, again, he has dealt with that admirably. Massa deserves a lot of credit whatever happens this season.
Weaknesses Simply cannot compete with the tools he has been given. Ferrari have improved the F10 since their early season nightmares but it remains uncompetitive. Alonso can make up the difference but his team-mate cannot.
Fortitude Mentally, Massa must still be feeling the effects of that crash in Hungary. It shows in the sense that he has happily allowed Alonso to come in and become the main man at Ferrari. That real ambition and hunger seems to have gone a bit, which is understandable, but unfortunate considering what potential Massa has.
Prediction Too far back to win the title and unlikely to make a massive impact anyway given the car issues. Should just about creep in to the top six.
Eddie Jordan is a BBC expert pundit and founding owner of the Jordan team
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