Our dissection of the F1 grid continues with the middle of the grid, collectively known as the Chasing Dogs.

Sauber

  • Kamui Kobayashi: Quali – 7th, Race – 13th
  • Sergio Perez: Quali – 17th, Race – 8th
perezA race of two halves for the Swiss squad this weekend. Kobayashi got 7th place thanks to the virtue of actually attempting a timed lap in Q3 – which the other cars behind failed to even try – and the home fans were even more up for a good finish for him. Alas, all the excitement got to him at the start and Kamui bogged down, and was surprisingly lacklustre in his attempt to cut back through the field. Rather odd, and for fans, pretty disappointing.
Perez was one of two drivers under the weather this weekend (di Resta was the other), but drove with a pretty impressive head on him to keep the Pirellis in good nick throughout his stints. No wonder Felipe Massa is getting a more agitated as the season wears on; more results like this for the young Mexican and he could be wearing Scuderia red in 2013.
Badger’s Best: Perez

Renault

  • Bruno Senna: Quali – 9th, Race – 16th
  • Vitaly Petrov: Quali – 10th, Race – 9th
petrovThe Senna name back at Suzuka. It’s a weak connection, but still gave us goosebumps. Luckily for Renault (and their sponsors), the R31 likes the fast corners and their general speed was much better than in comparison to Singapore. Both cars in Q3 was pretty good proof of that.
Bruno’s race was pretty much ended by being squeezed out by Vitaly at the second corner, losing places and then eating his tyres up like nobody’s business. Petrov fared better, keeping with the rest of the top 10 while on harder rubber and giving us a little bit of excitement by working his way up from 14th to 9th in his last stint. Ever so gradually, the Russian is looking more and more like an assured Formula One driver.
The smallest of breathing spaces moves them away from Force India by a single point too. Is it enough for 5th though?
Badger’s Best: Petrov

Force India

  • Adrian Sutil: Quali – 11th, Race – 11th
  • Paul Di Resta: Quali – 12th, Race – 12th
sutilThe joy of Singapore was quickly forgotten by the Indian outfit clutching on the coat-tails of the top 10. The change of track brought Renault ahead of them slightly, but not by a long way.
Both cars started and finished where they started. No incidents for either, and both were passed by the cars on options towards the end to drop out of the points.
The only other thing to mention is that Paul had a bad head cold that he didn’t make a big deal about, but we’ve tried to drive to work feeling like that and it wasn’t fun. Travelling at 180mph feeling the same must be a whole lot worse.
Badger’s Best: Sutil

Williams

  • Rubens Barrichello: Quali -13th, Race – 17th
  • Pastor Maldonado: Quali – 14th, Race – 14th
maldanoDon’t you just hate it when a team talks up a “significant upgrade” for their car, only for it to fall flat? Welcome to Williams circa 2011; all mouth and no trousers. Kimi Raikkonen must be clamouring to sign that 2012 contract.
Practice turned into a bit of a snigger for their rivals when the new, slightly improved Fw33s both broke down roughly 50 yards from each other. Rubens ran wide and crashed, Pastor’s engine gave up. Both put the Williams where is deserves to be, but once the red lights went out they were both buried in the midfield (as per usual) and were nowhere near the points. Again. Pastor shades is as he did have a turn of pace after the safety car, but was mired to far back to make it count.
Still fancy this in 2012 Kimi?
Badger’s Best: Maldonado