10 May 2009

Drivers in trouble

The main metric of performance for a driver in F1 is how you match up with your teammate. Some battles (BMW, Toyota) are closer than others, but here are the drivers you might hear rumours about.

Kovaleinen: Simply didn't have the pace to get out of Q1, which should ring alarm bells. As with his countryman Raikkonen, car problems brought him to an early halt, but at the time he was ahead of his teammate. Reputation: no harm done.

Raikkonen: Clearly not the man he was. Claimed responsibility for Q1 error, although realistically that was a team decision. Had a good first lap today, but car troubles brought him to a halt early on. Reputation: unharmed, but unimproved.

Piquet jnr: Outqualified again (but his best performance yet in 12th) . Survived first lap, unlike some, and ended up ahead of Hamilton. Couldn't keep that up, which on a track like this is a black mark. Stopped earlier than pre-race weight would indicate, probably because Alonso had come out just behind him. Reputation: unimproved, which will soon be a problem.

Bourdais: out on lap 1, like his teammate. Not much to say, really.

Webber: outqualified by his teammate, again (used to be his speciality) but with a better strategy, managed to be best of the rest behind the Brawns. Reputation: restored, still adrift of Vettel though.

Nakajima: Broke his front wing on lap one, but had already lost out in qualifying to his teammate. Got stuck behind Fisichella (but if Hamilton can overtake Piquet, surely Nakajima could overtake a Force India). Lost time when Heidfeld came out in front of him after a stop, but was nowhere near Rosberg's pace again. Reputation: sinking, needs to do something soon to justify his place.

Fisichella: Qualified last, and much slower than Sutil (19th). Survived first lap incident, which is a plus. Had some problems mid-race, making 4 put stops, but on his final stint was the fastest car on the track, 8th on the overall fastest laps ranking (why not for the rest of the race).

Barrichello: Outdone in qualifying, recovered on lap one. Blamed the tyres in stints 2 and 3 for his failure to capitalise on 3 stop strategy. Should have been fuelled longer for penultimate stint, but at least he came second. Will have to tow the line behind Button, if he can't win before Ferrari et al catch up.

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