Derek Warwick on that special something

From a really interesting interview with former Jenson Button-alike Derek Warwick: itv interview at the end there is a bit comparing the current drivers which I’ve clipped from the long interview. How do you rate today’s top drivers?

DW: Michael Schumacher was head and shoulders above all of them up until two years ago, and then Kimi and Alonso made a big jump on him.

I still think that Michael doesn’t get half the credit he deserves – 89 grand prix wins, seven-time world champion, 68 pole positions. Sure, we can all say that he controlled the team, but who else would you have put in there?

Barrichello was quick, Irvine was quick; they got the 50,000 laps that everybody else got. But even when they got the opportunity, which Irvine did the year Michael broke his leg here [1999], he still didn’t do it – Michael came back at the end of that year for the last two or three races and blew Irvine away.

And that’s not by accident, that’s because the guy is special. But, Kimi and Alonso have for sure made inroads on that, and they are the new breed.

I think that after them, there’s a massive drop. I’m the biggest Jenson Button fan out there, I mean I almost cried when he won last weekend – but he still hasn’t got the commitment, and the people around him, to make him the great driver he could be. I believe he could be one of the greatest drivers out there. Is that based on his driving style?

DW: Yeah. How he drives the car, the way he handles the press, his whole thing is very professional I think and very good.

People raved about Montoya, but I think he’s just an over-eager South American – with arguably the greatest talent in Formula 1.

I think he was arguably the greatest driver in Formula 1, but he doesn’t do the rest of it. He doesn’t do the testing, he doesn’t know how to test, he breaks cars, he spins off, he makes mistakes.

The way I always analyse the great drivers, like Mansell, Prost, Senna, Alonso, Kimi, Schumacher – all those guys – is that they use 95 per cent of their ability to drive the car at 110 per cent, so they’ve got five per cent always left to think about how to set up the car, what the tyres are doing, what’s happening to the track, what’s happening around them.

People like Jean Alesi, Montoya, they use 99.9 per cent of their ability to drive the car at 110 per cent, so they’ve only got 0.01 per cent to absorb – so if you throw two things at them, they crash.

And it’s as simple as that. Sure they’re quick, and you can say what you like about them, but they’re still not the greats. The greats are the three guys that are out there at the moment.

About Alex Andronov

Alex Andronov is a writer who lives in the UK. He is currently working on 7 novels, 5 film scripts, 2 plays, 2 TV series, 1 history of the United States, 1 travelogue and trying to find some focus.
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