If you asked who are top six drivers on the grid, you'd mention the WDC's, Rosberg, Webber and maybe-maybe Hulkenberg could be close to them as well, others aren't even in contention. Back then each of those midfield blokes could easily be a top six driver on the grid on a good year.
There is no secret even a 40-year-old Barrichello would have done much better than either Maldonado or Senna last year in the Williams. Tells it all really. Think about, what he and his peers were like in their primes then!
If a Villeneuve, Panis, Irvine, Trulli, Frentzen, Ralf Schumacher, Coulthard, Barrichello vol2002 was paired in a team-mate battle with a 2013 version of Ricciardo, Perez, Maldonado, Bottas, etc, I have no doubt the old-era guys would all come out on top. The only newer drivers on the current grid to give some competition would be Hulkenberg and di Resta.
The only thing current grid has is the depth at the top. Four WDC's all performing very well and in title hunt. Granted, this is what we did not have in early 2000's. But the midfield is opposite case. So back then the gap between the skills of top and midfield drivers was small, now it is a lot larger.
Edited by sopa, 05 August 2013 - 18:15.