The second part of our look at the grid lands us firmly in the midfield teams – known in these parts as the Chasing Dogs.
- Adrian Sutil: Quali – 9th, Race – 8th
- Paul di Resta: Quali – 10th, Race – 9th
Solid and unspectacular. That’s Force India right now. The team is delivering point after point and who can blame them for feeling like they’ve turned a corner (sorry, poor pun). Splitting their strategies each week is also proving a stroke of genius.
Sutil had a decent battle with Schumacher at the tail of the top 10, and would’ve beaten his elder compatriot if he knew how to manage his tyres better. And while Paul still looks good, Adrian now has the measure of him and is beating him more often – indeed, it’s four out of the last six in the German’s favour.
Badger’s Best: Adrian Sutil
- Kamui Kobayashi: Quali – 16th, Race – 10th
- Sergio Perez: Quali – 11th, Race – 11th
Is Kamui back in the groove? Seeing as he sliced his way past two cars at once, and beat his better placed teammate, we’d like to say “yes”.
Perez was better placed than his Japanese colleague – he’d ended up further up the grid and knows how to make his tyres last – but thanks to a brief contact with the rear of Sutil’s Force India he required a nose change and fell down the field. Kamui on the other hand took five places on the first lap.
Perez did make his tyres last, but Kamui was better placed thanks to his mega first lap heroics, and sliced past for that last point. It was the first scoring position since Germany in July for the Japanese racer, giving Sauber some breathing space in the constructors’ championship and regaining a bit of self respect. Job done.
Badger’s Best: Kamui Kobayashi
- Rubens Barrichello: Quali – 24th, Race – 12th
- Pastor Maldonado: Quali – 17th*, Race – 14th
With both cars starting on the back row of the grid Williams’ race ended up being quiet decent. Okay, they scored no points, and Pastor Maldonado received more than one penalty for ignoring blue flags, but by 2011 standards that’s pretty good. Says it all really.
But on the bright side Barrichello was on it this weekend, climbing the order to end up 12th, a performance he reckons displays his worth to the team.
“I think I showed them that behind the wheel I am still a boy today, so I hope that gets through to them,” the veteran Brazilian told Autosport. Whether that was a touch muddled in translation or there are actual gender confusion issues at Williams we can’t say, but what’s certain is that Rubens is determined to hang on to his drive. He probably won’t, but at least he’s going out fighting.
Badger’s Best: Rubens Barrichello
- Vitaly Petrov: Quali – 12th, Race – 13th
- Bruno Senna: Quali – 14th, Race – 16th
Let’s face it, 2011 is over for Renault. They spent Friday testing next year’s parts on Petrov’s car and had Roman Grosjean (hotly tipped to race in 2012) sitting in Bruno’s. They know they’re safe in 5th place in the constructors race, so it’s time to experiement.
We wish they’d done the same in the race. Not even an off from Petrov – bringing him within touching distance of rival Schumacher – could liven things up. Bruno pottered around and then forgot what colour blue looked like and undid all his hard work moving up the grid, having to serve a drive through for apparently ignoring warnings to let the leaders through. Really, this season can’t end soon enough for the squad.
Badger’s Best: Vitaly Petrov
* Took a ten-place grid penalty for using his ninth engine of the season