The Frontstretch: Formula 1 Friday: Mid-Season Grades by Andy Hollis -- Thursday August 2, 2012

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Formula 1 Friday: Mid-Season Grades

F1 Friday · Andy Hollis · Thursday August 2, 2012

 

Yes, I know that I promised to write the second installment of the “Great Brits” this week, but with it being the school holidays and the “mid-season break” in F1, I thought it would make more sense to write up a half term report for the teams / drivers thus far.

So in true British boarding-school style (and apologies for likely squeezing the last drop out of the metaphor) I present you with the good, the bad and the…..well……rather indifferent…

Ferrari – Grade C+

Ferrari joined us with a very impressive history, but I must be honest in saying that we were a little disappointed with their start this term. However, they have continued to work diligently and have shown steady improvement.

Fernando Alonso – Grade A+

Fernando has been an exceptional student so far this term. He has made use of limited resources in an exemplary fashion and is a real inspiration to all of us. If he keeps this up throughout, we can see a stellar future for him. Excellent. Top of the class.

Felipe Massa – Grade D

Felipe has rather underperformed this year, particularly in contrast with some of his classmates. He seems too easily distracted by other pupils and has let his head drop. He will need to show serious improvement in the second half of term if we are to consider his application for next year.

Red Bull – Grade B+

Red Bull have managed to continue on from their recent good work by once again performing at a consistently high level this year. Although other classmates have pulled themselves up to challenge their dominance in the school, we are very happy to see that Red Bull have learned to share their various gifts more fairly amongst their friends.

Sebastian Vettel – Grade B

Sebastian has been Head Boy at the school for the past two years so a great deal is expected of him year-in year-out now. His performance so far, in comparison to the high levels he sets himself, has been relatively average. However we are fully aware of his capability and expect him to continue challenging across the year.

Mark Webber – Grade B+

Mark has performed at a consistently high level so far, following a difficult period last year. Especially impressive has been his ability to maintain focus despite continued speculation over his future at the school, though thankfully this has now been resolved. If Mark continues improving at this level, there is every chance he could challenge the likes of Fernando to be Head Boy next year.

McLaren – Grade B

McLaren have had what can only be termed an up and down year so far. Having started superbly they rather lost their focus in the mid-part of this first half of the term. However, in the last couple of weeks, their innate strength has begun to shine through and we expect them to lead the way over the second half of term.

Lewis Hamilton – Grade B

Lewis Hamilton has had a bit of an up and down year in the first half of the season.

Lewis, much like McLaren, has had something of an up and down season, though he has improved his focus and concentration considerably over last year. When he dedicates himself fully, he really is one of the strongest students in class and if he keeps his head down he has a genuine chance of really dominating his classmates.

Jenson Button – Grade C-

Despite a strong start to the year, Jenson has really struggled in class so far, particularly with some of the more technical aspects. We are all confident in Jenson’s dedication though, so with some further hard study we’re sure he will continue to improve.

Lotus – A-

We have been very impressed with Lotus this year – although they have come into the term without the more lavish resources of some of the other competitors, they have really maximized their performance level. However, they must concentrate on grasping opportunities when the present themselves to take that next step on.

Kimi Raikkonen – B+

Although Kimi has been outperformed in certain tests by his feisty young teammate, his experience has shone through and, though not coming top in any test as yet, has consistently put himself in the top four in class. He has a genuine, if slightly surprising, opportunity to become Head Boy once more on his return to the school.

Romain Grosjean – B

Romain has shown glimpses of what a special talent he possesses throughout the first half of this year, but has also frustrated by throwing away great opportunities. If he could harness the consistency of his friend Kimi, he would genuinely threaten the top performers across the year.

Mercedes – Grade C

I’m afraid that despite coming top of the class in China, Mercedes have flattered to deceive a little and, despite having great resources, have fallen behind in their studies recently. Must try harder.

Nico Rosberg – Grade C

Much like Mercedes, Nico has had moments of excellence (China) interspersed with moments of obscurity at best. He must work with his teammate and team hard over the rest of the season to improve matters.

Michael Schumacher – Grade C

Michael has endured a run of bad luck recently that has really impacted his year so far, but for someone with his experience has also made a number of what could be termed “rookie” mistakes. He must try and decided whether this is still for him and then focus from thereon in.

Williams – Grade B

Following on from the recent past, we haven’t been expecting a great deal from Williams. However they have really made an impact and even came top of one of the tests. Very popular within the school, we hope this curve of improvement continues.

Pastor Maldonado – Work – Grade B – Behaviour – Grade E

Pastor is a talented student and has really impressed us with his flamboyant style, but he MUST learn to curb his aggression towards other pupils. He has a big future here if he learns how to keep what some see as a rather bullying nature under wraps. In terms of his work though, surprisingly very good.

Bruno Senna – Grade C

Bruno has always struggled to live up to his uncle’s achievements in the school and has this year also failed to make a great impression on Pastor. However, in the last test the green shoots of recovery were clear. We’d love to keep Bruno here last year, but sadly he cannot rely on sentiment for that to happen.

Sauber – Grade B

Much like Williams, Sauber have performed above expectations this year. They are very easy going and a pleasure to watch. Long may this continue.

Sergio Perez – Grade B

Sergio has impressed both us and his fellow pupils throughout this season with his easy style and ability. Another pupil with a big future here, we expect him to move on to bigger and greater things next year.

Kamui Kobayashi – Grade B-

Kamui is a hugely popular pupil due to his eccentric but often effective style. His performance this year has been good if not exceptional, but we hope to see further improvement across the year.

Force India – Grade C+

Force India have had some external distractions this year, and with this taken into account they have performed at a good level. They must try and maintain their focus now on schoolwork for the rest of the year.

Paul di Resta – Grade B-

Paul doesn’t perhaps have the charisma of a lot of his classmates, but his talent is without doubt and he has made steady progress across the year.

Nico Hulkenburg – Grade B-

Like Paul, Nico has had a steady, if not spectacular, half of the term. Again, his talent is not in doubt and we have been impressed with him.

Toro Rosso – Grade D

Toro Rosso are hard to work out – there are the occasional flashes of real promise, and with the backing they have the performances should really be better. However they too often find themselves stranded at the back of the class. Must improve.

Daniel Ricciardo – Grade C

Daniel has talent and style, but must continue to deliver under quite trying circumstances. Universally liked, we hope he will continue in class next year.

Jean-Eric Vergne – Grade C-

Jean-Eric is finding himself at the back of the class too often for comfort really, and in a school that prides itself on high performance he will have to seriously improve to continue.

Caterham – Grade C

We were hoping for more from Caterham this year, although they continue to be the most impressive performers amongst the newer pupils. However they must aim to be in amongst the meat of the class soon.

Heikki Kovalainen – Grade B

Heikki has been a consistently excellent pupil over the past few years and continues to impress this year. Again, another who we expect may move on to greater things next year.

Vitaly Petrov – Grade C+

Vitaly has performed well in a new environment and seems to be proving his worth as a decent, if not exceptional, member of the school. We are sure that the money he brings in will assure him of a future, alongside this talent.

Marussia – Grade C

Marussia have had a difficult time both on and away from the main core of the term. The unfortunate accident to Maria di Villota will certainly have shaken them, but even so, improvements must be made.

Charles Pic/Timo Glock – Grade C

Charles and Timo have made a valiant attempt with their limited equipment. As such, it is difficult to genuinely judge their real capability.

HRT – Grade E

With the best will in the world, there’s not much point is there……

Pedro De La Rosa – Grade C

Pedro has done as good a job as can be expected.

Narain Karthikeyan – Grade E

Again, lovely chap….but really, there’s not much point.

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Don
08/03/2012 07:09 AM
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Excellent analysis, Andrew. It’s very clear that Fernando is the class of the field this year and could garner the championship with an inferior car.

Andy Hollis
08/03/2012 06:53 PM
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Thank you Don – it was a mildly ridiculous take on the school report, but I think there’s some sense there somewhere….if you look really hard! Back to normal writing next time, for sure!