Technically, he was a contender last year. Ruben's problem is that he lacks the killer instinct. I think talent wise, he is right there. Beyond a certain point it becomes more about mental make up than raw talent. See how Webber reacted to team orders this year. That is how I would expect someone who had the potential to be WDC to act. Can you imagine Prost, Senna, Mansell, Mika, MS (1999 does not count as he was out of contention when he moved over for Irvine), Alonso, Lewis etc to move over when it is obvious they had the best car and they would be contenders for the WDC?
Never would happen. There are probably many little similar concessions that he has made throughout his career that resulted in his current position.
That said, it would not have hurt MS to show some class to another competitor...but then he realy has never done so without it benefiting him in the end. Not that this is abnormal for F1 drivers.
That´s exactly what I wanted to say with the words "Rubens is not a WDC calibre", but he does have excellent other qualities, which is overlooked by many, including Buttoneer.
As you say, the WDC calibre is very clearly a matter of mental and psychological make-up, we know that from sports psychology and from other sports as well.
Yet Rubens overall qualities are certainly there.
Why do you think Rubens is still finding cockpits year after year? The people in the know are aware of these qualities, that´s why Rubens is still on the grid.
Funny coincidence, Rubens qualified 7th at his 300th Grand Prix, exactly where Michael qualified at his first GP - 7th here in Spa in 1991.
Very clearly their fates are intermingled, and Michael was just setting up the stage with his move on Rubens in Hungary. In which Rubens showed the killer instinct you described, finally.
And exactly here, at his 300th GP, at Michael´s "home GP" (as Michael himself calls Spa, as it is the closest to Kerpen), it becomes evident that the way Rubens is leading Williams is showing results that the way Michael is leading Mercedes is not able to show. At the track at which Michael always used to excel - he used to be called the "King of Spa" before Kimi´s advent.
Edited by aditya-now, 28 August 2010 - 17:19.