The Frontstretch: Formula 1 Friday: Half-Term Report Continued! by Andy Hollis -- Friday August 16, 2013

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Formula 1 Friday: Half-Term Report Continued!

Andy Hollis · Friday August 16, 2013


So continuing with last week’s theme and the somewhat painful band comparisons, here we go with the bottom 11 in the championship so far….

Sergio Perez may be a driver to watch next season as he’s quietly been impressive this year.

Sergio Perez – McLaren
A tricky to judge B-
If he were a band – Sigur Ros – probably good, but hard to understand.

Difficult one this. It’s probably a little harsh to award him a marginally higher grade than Jenson, but this is an opinions game….so….I’ve been quietly impressed by Sergio this season. Sure, there’s been none of the surges to the podium that we saw from his Sauber days that so appealed to the McLaren leadership, but he’s certainly put the frighteners on Jenson, and that means he must be doing at least a reasonable job. A few other drivers have had a go about his over-aggressiveness, but all power to his elbow I say. He’s not ‘dangerous’ in the manner of Grosjean, and what’s wrong with shaking people up a bit. Next season will be telling for the young Mexican.

Jean-Eric Vergne – Toro Rosso
A consistent B
If he were a band – Elbow – reliable and steady.

JEV’s another funny one. Much of the noise about who is going to take over Mark Webber’s seat at RBR next year has centered around a choice between Raikkonen and Vergne’s team mate Ricciardo (with an unlikely splash of Alonso thrown in). As a result it’s something of a surprise to see that JEV is ahead of the more heralded Aussie in the standings. He feels like a steady-eddy though rather than a talent demanding not to be ignored, whereas Ricciardo has caught the eye in the more showcase-esque environment on the Saturdays. Slightly unfortunate, but a grade B may make him feel more loved. Maybe.

Daniel Ricciardo – Toro Rosso
A nearly but not quite B
If he were a band – Crowded House – ever chirpy Antipodean

Daniel is one of the most liked, friendly and approachable characters in the paddock – perhaps down to his somewhat ‘rags to riches’ story of getting into F1. He rather reminds me of a footballer in England, Rickie Lambert, who at the age of 31 gained his first cap for England on Wednesday, scoring the winner with his first touch. Previously he’d been working at a beetroot factory. He too is much loved but nobody his quite sure where this takes him now. Given a choice of Ricciardo and Raikkonen, in reality, as a team looking for the best driver, it has to go to Kimi…..for Ricciardo, read Rickie Lambert.

Nico Hulkenburg – Sauber
Good job in a poor car – B
If he were a band – David Bowie’s Tin Machine. Talent exists within a bad package.

Poor Nico must be regretting his move across to Sauber. Sadly the C32 isn’t a patch on it’s forerunner and is a much slower car than the Force India he stepped out of. Nevertheless, he’s done a stellar job pulling the car around behind him, whilst continuously outperforming his (admittedly rookie) team mate. Now if Red Bull want to avoid the reticence of Raikkonen whilst getting on board a quality driver……well……

Pastor Maldonado – Williams
An average season to date – C
If he were a band – Slipknot – aggressive and has been faceless….

Fifteen months after his dramatic Spanish Grand Prix victory, Pastor Maldonado has cut a rather more subdued figure this season, driving the terribly recalcitrant Williams offering. Being outqualified by his richly talented rookie team mate was never in the script, and it seems Pastor’s naturally aggressive style doesn’t suit the Pirelli tyres. With the new rubber kicking in, perhaps the second half of the season will prove more rewarding.

Valtteri Bottas – Williams
A tough baptism, but a decent job – B
If he were a band – Robyn – yet another talented Scandinavian

If the expression ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ is a truth, Bottas is certainly experiencing a debut season and car that will make him unstoppable should he live up to the expectations on his young shoulders. It’s been a tough, tough start for the Finn but he’s shown more than a few glimpses of speed.

Esteban Gutierrez – Sauber
Needs to catch up with his team mate – C
If he were a band – Julio Iglesias – did well in Spain

Estaban’s a decent driver going by his record in the junior series, but much like Bottas has been dealt a raw deal with the car this season. Unlike Bottas though, he also needs to shake the rather unfair label of ‘pay driver’ and get an awful lot closer to his team mate before he can be considered a real player in the field.

Jules Bianchi – Marussia
As good a job as he could do – B
If he were a band – Haim – new, making a noise, and pretty good.

With the equipment at his disposal, Bianchi has been doing extremely well. Clearly the de facto team leader (though up against the poor Chilton) he’s also brought the car home in every race bar two mechanical faliures. Destined for better things, for sure.

Charles Pic – Caterham
Hmmm….okay. Nothing more – C
If he were a band – Rick Wakeman – okay in a group, but not as a leader.

Pic has done as well as can be expected really, without lighting any fires to make you sit up and notice. He’s beaten his team mate Van de Garde, but then that’s to be expected with a year’s more experience under his belt. However, were Kovalainen still in the team, there’s no doubt Pic would be following him home (whilst also learning his trade). An unfortunate position, but too early for him to be heading the charge for a young team.

Guido van der Garde – Caterham
Doing just fine. Just. – C
If he were a band – Blondie – took a long time to get the opportunity.

Van der Garde has finally got his break in F1 at the comparatively ripe age of 27. He’s done a decent job with it too. Nothing spectacular, but keeping in the wheel tracks of Pic.

Max Chilton – Marussia
Not a lot of point, or points – D
If he were a band – One Direction – British, boyish, and not very good.

Max seems a perfectly genial chap, and has had to fight the reputation that his appearance in F1 is more to do with family backing then talent. In his defence he’s kept his nose clean and finished all the races. But then when you’re pottering around at the back, it may not be that tough. Sorry Max, but I think this might be a short career for you.

So that’s it for the half term report, you’ll be relieved to know! Just the one more F1-less week to get through before we make our way to every purists favourite race, the ever unpredictable Spa Francorchamps in Belgium.

I for one cannot wait……

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