I think that we need to consider his car too. From top 6 car to get P9 is not bad. If he drive top 3 car , I would agree with you. But,this is not the case. He drove well today. 2011 will be another development year for the team.
I think what Fender was saying is that MS in no longer that driver who, by virtue of being on a team, simply elevates the performance of the team beyond that of a "good" driver. And that Mercedes should be looking for a driver who has that special spark.
No doubt MS used to be one of those. No more.
Problem is, there can be no guarantee that those types of drivers are around at any given time. The talent reveals itself in the very early stages of their career, reaches a plateau quickly, sustains itself for a period, and then declines. They are a once-in-a-generation type of talent. And, obviously, as I said, it's a talent that dissipates over time. It happened to all the great ones who had the "it" factor (if they lived long enough for people to witness it). It's not just pure speed. There have been a lot more of those. Its something a little extra.
People are going to have their own opinions about who of the current bunch have those qualities. Personally, I see only one of those (at this particular time) who is demonstrably of that type out there. Possibly two; although in this latter case, because of the team, it's hard to tell if the driver has that talent. Both are taken and firmly ensconced in their respective teams.
So while I kinda agree with Fender, what is MBZ to do? They can try to get someone who is almost of that type, but he also is taken. And unfortunately the team is just not of the stature to be exceptional without having that superstar to drive it (unless you happen upon an unintended loophole in the regulations; a temporary and unsustainable advantage). Brawn is a manager and a steady presence, not a brilliant designer.
It's hard for this discussion to go forward in a meaningful way, because of the immaturity of many of the posters who fix on a favorite or disliked driver/team and are just incapable of taking a balanced or dispassionate view of things. There are plenty those mature observers here, but they seem to get swallowed up by the chaff.