In this edition of Hot Rod or Hot Dog we take a look at those teams in the very congested midfield, known in these parts as The Chasing Dogs.

Mercedes

  • Qualifying: Rosberg (7th), Schumacher (9th)
  • Race: Rosberg (9th), Schumacher (DNF)

rosbergSome things are certain in life. Birth, death, taxes and that if a Mercedes is going to qualify well, it’ll only be 7th on the grid. OK, maybe the last one might not be 100% true, but I know I’m spot on with the others.

Nico 100th race start was a solid afternoon that was punctuated by a poor decision of going to inters late in the race, which put him behind Di Resta and Buemi. Without that, he would’ve finished where he started his Mercedes and on a day where it was a complete lottery where you could end up in the midfield. Yep, Mercedes and midfield mentioned in the same sentence. Again. Didn’t this team win a World Title not so long ago?

Michael was punchy with the Ferraris at the start in the damp, channeling Spain ’96, Monaco ’97, or maybe another wet race he dominated years ago. Yet, as soon as the track dried him and his car were cruelly reminded that it’s 2011, first with the man making a mistake and spinning and then the machine packing up with a broken gearbox. A nice cameo Michael, better luck next time out.

Badger’s Best: Rosberg

Toro Rosso

  • Qualifying: Alguersuari (16th), Buemi (23rd, after penalty)
  • Race: Buemi (8th), Alguersuari (10th)

buemiThey are coy on a Saturday at Toro Rosso, aren’t they? The little Italian squad has definitely hit upon a winning strategy for them; take the Q3 elimination on the chin and then use all the shiny new tyres to make some places up. Buemi’s drive was a stonker, not only for bringing home a couple of points in 8th, but passing 10 cars on the lap alone!

Jaime’s drive would probably had more press time if it hadn’t been for the fact that he teammate made such impressive progress up the grid. The Spaniard should be very happy indeed with moving up from 16th to a snatch a point. It would’ve been more if he’d been a little bit patient in passing an ailing Kobayashi, as well as an off before that which allowed Buemi and Di Resta to jump him.

Sebastian was cool, calm and assured in the conditions, while Jaime was at times ragged and a little impatient. For that, he has nudged ahead in the race for the sack.

Badger’s Best: Buemi

Sauber

  • Qualifying: Perez (10th), Kobayashi (13th)
  • Race: Kobayashi (11th), Perez (15th)

kobayashiNow, this one isn’t on qualifying speed or race pace; KK wins this for bringing a bit of interest through becoming a mobile chicane late in the race. It was quality to watch. Of course, the fact he was there was down to trying a bold strategy of putting the primes on early and making them last to the end. Which didn’t work, but like we said, bold and created a lot of entertainment.

To be honest, Kamui wins by default as Sergio left the track on lap one and dropped right to the back of the field. He spent the rest of the afternoon looking at the behind of Heikki’s Lotus, which we can only imagine is a sorry site when you not in a Virgin or Hispania. When the Mexican did pass, it was under the yellow caused by Heidfeld’s inferno, so he as immediately slapped on the wrists. Bit of a rookie mistake on your part Sergio.

Badger’s Best: Kobayashi

Renault

  • Qualifying: Petrov (12th), Heidfeld (14th)
  • Race: Petrov (12th), Heidfeld (DNF)

petrovAnother solid race from Petrov – seriously, what is going on? If you qualify in the bulk of the midfield the main target is to finish where you started , and that’s what the Russian did. Out-qualifying your teammate too helps. Like we said after Germany, it’s hard to tell out of him and Nick has had only one season or over 100 races. Mind-blowing.

Speaking of blowing, Heidfeld was unlucky to have such a catastrophic failure like the one he did. The long pitstop caused by a faulty wheelnut cooked the engine and it ignited. We feel sorry for the marshal that had the sidepod explode onto his leg. Considering he had fallen behind Kovalainen and Glock before that though, it was a more dignified way to end the race.

Nick can blame the fact that Bruno Senna was in his seat for Friday, but did he really need a Friday’s running to get ahead of Petrov? You’d think not, but the cracks are showing between the German and the team.

Badger’s Best: Petrov

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