Right, yes, sorry. I made mention of a half term review and ... well I didn’t get round to writing one I'm afraid. So this will have to do.
So far then...
Seb has got: 3 poles, 3 fastest laps and 4 wins
Lewis has got: 4 poles, no fastest laps and 1 win
Nico has got: 3 poles, no fastest laps and 2 wins
Kimi has: no poles, 1 fastest lap and 1 win
Alonso has: no poles, 1 fastest lap and 2 wins.
The rest of the fastest laps are Perez - 1, Gutierrez - 1 and Webber - 3.
Which all adds up to:
Vettel : 172
So then... well from those stats you have to wonder how Vettel leading and Kimi chasing him hard. And the answer as ever is consistency and lady Luck and her Chum Miss Reliability.
Vettel has had 1 retirement this year and never been lower than fourth whilst Kimi has had no retirements with just the one win, 5 second places and a bunch of top ten finishes. Fernando 5 podiums one retirement and the rest are some top ten finishes. Lewis has had 4 podiums one 12th and the rest top 5 finishes. Webber and Nico have had a lot of bad luck and bounced around the top ten.
So Vettel and Kimi have kept the points ticking over, not tangled their cars against any other drivers or trackside distractions.
But the momentum is with Mercedes, they have made pole position virtually theirs this season, apart from the first two races and Canada, no one other than a Merc driver has started from pole. Only Vettel seems to be able to live with the Merc on Saturday afternoon. But come the race and the German cars are struggling to stay in front of the Redbull cars. And generally, one or other of them will be the one that finds the sweet spot. What I mean is if Lewis is on the podium Nico retires or scrapes into the top ten. Whilst a good weekend for Nico sees Lewis off the podium but with top fives to his name. Lewis is more consistent, and seems to have really got his mind around the way the car handles. Nico is either on tuned into the circuit or struggling to make the tyres work for him.
The Lotus, meanwhile has struggled on cold circuits with fast corners. They need a melting track to really get the car working for them. The win in Australia is always a bit of a lottery so we can sort of discount that one as luck; the seventh on Malaysia a week later would tend to confirm that. Then three straight seconds in China, Bahrain and Spain suggested a fast car on the silly twisty bland circuits, but a 10th in Monaco followed by a 9th in Canada and a 5th as Silverstone indicated they had lost their way a little bit, maybe the car wasn’t quite as sorted as the earlier podiums suggested. Then the tyres got changed and low and behold two more 2nds in Germany and Hungary which they could have won with a smidgen more luck, and maybe they aren’t dead and buried just yet.
What might distract Lotus and Kimi from the title hunt is “where is Kimi going to be next year”? It looks like the Redbull seat is going to go to Ricciardo now, I guess the amount of PR he was willing to do compared to the ever ebullient Fin was too much of a no brainer for Mr Marko and friends. Suddenly Kimi is being linked with the soon to be vacant seat at Ferrari ... or maybe he’ll stay with Lotus ... but a return to Ferrari would be cool wouldn’t it ... but Lotus have had more success recently... or not... in fact both have been a bit rubbish at times. ..... But Ferrari is, well ... it’s FERRARI. Remember last year, when Hamilton was humming and erring about his signature on a new McLaren contract? Yeah, remember how many races he won whilst the media was blowing that all out of proportion? The sum total of none at all. Personally I think he’d be a fool to go back to Ferrari, I'm pretty sure there are elements of the team that remember how enthusiastic he was the last time the car wasn’t all that, and how much development effort he put in to get it up to snuff.
But what of Ferrari... Fernando is once again trying very, very hard to salvage something; but it’s a losing battle. Merc have over taken them, Lotus is ahead and Redbull are just too far ahead now. Well yeah, sure Vettel could have a really bad run of retirements or something, but it’s not in Redbulls nature to have reliability issues is it. They’re car just keeps working. Even the Alternator works reliably now. No I think Ferrari are going to look for a face saving win in Monza and maybe something in Abu Dhabi, and meanwhile start testing bits for next year’s car.
The fact that Monty has slapped Fernando down for daring to criticise the teams direction and commitment, means only one thing, “Shut up son and get on with your job, we’ll do our”. Ferrari is never going to admit in public that they don’t stand a chance and they take great exception to driver questioning their motives and direction. Prost a 3 times world champion got fired for daring to say they didn’t know what they were doing. The driver is paid to drive, not tell the media how bad things are.
Well I think they’re going to keep trying to make something of the season, but not too hard.
What about the rest of them then? Let’s see
Vettel – difficult to stop now I think.
Kimi – how much of a distraction will his future be?
Alonso – flogging yet another dead horse
Lewis – got the bit between his teeth again and no distractions anymore.
Webber, okay, Webber then. Well after the shafting he got in Malaysia, he’s off to proper racing with Porsche in the WEC championship and I hope he has a long and successful career. I’ve never thought he was anything but a solid number two, but I think he’ll be great asset to Porsche and sports car racing. He needs a challenge and he can develop a car and he can be very fast when it all clicks for him. Porsche knows what they’re doing in Sports cars and the new car looks stunning, so with any luck he can go racing without all the politics and finally someone will beat Audi... I’d even take a different German team these days.
Nico, started badly, had a bit of resurgent, but it’s the same old problem, come Sunday and sometimes you struggle to remember if he even started. He’s got lots of poles, but not really done anything with them. And now Lewis has got his act together, and the team are starting to understand what he wants, things are starting to look a bit ... number two driver for poor old Nico. He blew a tired and jaded Schumacher away, but Lewis is proving a tougher nut to crack.
Massa, well he started alright with top fives, then 15th a third place podium then a retirement and the rest have been lower top 10 finishes. I think his fragile resurgence got a bit of a knock and he struggled to find a balance with the car and the results stopped coming. I'm pretty sure Ferrari has told him that there are no more life lines and this will be his last year with them. If it’s not Kimi then it’ll be the Hulk or maybe di Resta. But it won’t be the likable Brazilian in the red car next year. He’s had to put up with a world of abuse from the Media and the whole world it seems at times and you know what, you never see him complaining to the papers or bad mouthing anyone on TV, I think he deserves a bit of a break.
Grosjean, hmmm I still don’t know. Is he a danger to himself and everyone else on the track? Did he cop a lot of flak for some incidents last year that were 50/50 at worse? A couple of podiums and some top ten spots, suggest to me a solid number two in the mould of Webber or Massa. Good at things when the package suits him, but not a Hamilton or an Alonso that can make things happen and deliver results the car shouldn’t be getting. The jury is still out for Mr G.
Button... is it the car that is terrible or is Button phoning in his performance each race? Perez is making him look dull at times. We all though Lewis was mad for leaving for Mercedes; look who’s laughing now. Yeah the car is pretty terrible, it’s slow and the sweet spot is nigh on impossible to find at some track. But Button has been on the blower all year complaining about the handling and the tyres and the ugly spectators and the sun and his team mate and the tyres and the handling and this and that and just shut up already. I can’t see the rest of the season being any different either.
Di Resta has done alright with crappy pit wall work from his team and he’s whinged about it a LOT. Every damn week he’s standing there quietly fuming to the camera as the cars go out for Q2 and he’s at the back of the grid because the team didn’t tell him to driver faster. Maybe he should, oh I don’t know, driver faster before the chequered flag come out for the end of qualifying. A novel approach I know, but one that might get some results. Anyway. Yeah. He’s been a bit rubbish in qualifying, but then he’s gone on and delivered a few choice results from now where.... actually looking at the results a fourth in Bahrain is pretty much the only one of note. But it could have been better is the team had got its act together. Maybe if he quietly fumes at them BEFORE Q1 starts, he’ll get a better result.
Sutil, see above... with less quiet fuming and more floppy hand waving and pursed lips.
Perez. See.... he IS rubbish. Stop kidding yourselves that he’s got any talent. He’s all teeth and no trousers.
Vergne... he isn’t going to get the Redbull seat and his team mate is. How do you think that will make him feel? Do you care? Well you’re heartless than, right, but terrible heartless.
Ricciardo. No I have no idea why Redbull would want to put him in the best car on the grid after spending a gazillion dollars on him. Kimi would have been a better choice but there you go. He’s done alright and I imagine they think he’ll do as he’s told and not complain like Webber did when he was told to move over for Vettel. I’ve seen nothing to suggest he’s a champion yet.
Hulkenberg has done alright actually. The car is a dog, but he’s plugged away and the new tyres might suit it a bit more. The fact he hasn’t been paid until recently and the team are seconds away from financial ruin hasn’t helped, but the Hulk has got on with things and shown he can driver a bad car to good results. I think he’s in with a shout for that Ferrari seat.
Maldonado. I really, really dislike Maldonado. I think he’s irritating, he’s only there because of the money and I think he’s a liability. I think Suzie Wolff could do a better job than Pastor. I think if Williams had the balls to put her in the car she would get more points than this idiot. He’s got one top ten finish in 10 races; it’s just not good enough!
Bottas in the other Williams ... still don’t know about him. He driven the nuts off the car a couple of times, qualifying third in Canada, but the car isn’t there for him. Okay Maldonado has to drive the thing as well so it obviously not the drivers fault they’re so far back, it is a dog. But Bottas has at least shown flashes of talent and guts. I really hope he beats Maldonado by the end of the season. Really I do ... lots and lots.
Gutierrez is rubbish; he’s got more money than talent.
Bianchi is the pick or the rubbish cars bunch. Best finish was 13th in Malaysia and he’s comfortably beating Max.
Pic ... perhaps not
Van Der Garde... hopeless
Max ... is living the dream.
Right that’s the lot. Spa this weekend. My money is on Vettel... or maybe the Mercs. Or Kimi ... yeah one of them.