I think it’s almost impossible for us as outsiders to know if someone like Rosberg is going to be great. Even if we were given all the telemetry that the teams have we probably wouldn’t know how to read it correctly. So, our predictions are more guesses based on the little information that we have more than anything else…
Nonetheless, I have a feeling that determination is a key factor in making a champion. Every driver on the grid, except the pay-as-you-go ones, are exceptionally talented. What separates them, I believe, is that quiet, but fundamental, determination both that they are the best, and that they will show everyone they are the best. I think it’s a strange combination of humility and belief, honesty and delusion, that makes Alonso and Schumacher great – at times one or the other element will eclipse the other, but it is the balance that is important (and that’s what Webber doesn’t get right).
Like Stew says it’s normally the best car that wins, but I think great drivers also have an ability to motivate a whole team, and thus make the car better. This is where I think Raikkonen fails. I’ve always liked him, but have in the last year or so begun to doubt his greatness – and it’s this ability to motivate I think he lacks.
Maybe all of our theories added together expain what makes a driver great, but even more interestingly what makes a great sportsman foul up, like Zidane in Berlin, and Schumacher at Monaco?