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.

Renault

  • Qualifying:  Petrov (6th) Heidfeld (24th)
  • Race: Heidfeld (8th) Petrov (11th)

A game of two halves, to coin a football phrase.

Heidfeld didn’t make it onto the track in qualifying after his rather spectacular fire in practice. Note to Renault: thanks – we haven’t seen a good fire in F1 for quite a while and we at Badger enjoyed it.

Petrov had a very good session, equalling his highest starting position of sixth from Australia. Impressive.

heidfeldThe race was an entirely different matter. Heidfeld managed to fight his way up to eighth from last place, whereas Petrov sank from fifth place (that’s right, he actually ganied a place at the start) to eleventh. What’s going on this season? It’s almost an advantage to save your tyres and not qualify at all. Something that needs to be looked at.

Indeed, the general consensus in the Renault team seemed to be that had Heidfeld had another couple of laps, he would have got past both Mercedes cars.

On a more general note, it appears to be much more equal at Renault this year. Petrov has definitely moved up a level and Heidfeld, while a steady pair of hands, isn’t at Kubica’s level. He’s not far away, but far enough to make a difference.

Badger’s best: Heidfeld


Sauber

  • Qualifying: Perez (12th) Kobayashi (14th)
  • Race: Perez (9th) Kobayashi (10th)

After being teased with his first points in Australia and then being subsequently disqualified, Perez finally broke his duck in Spain.

 

perezHe had the measure of his more experienced team mate all weekend, after besting him in qualifying by a couple of places and then finishing above him in the race.

Kobayashi, it must be said, had a difficult start, after being pushed wide and suffering a left rear puncture. This season, it’s not only the time delay that’s a pain, it’s also the fact that he lost a set of the soft tyres, all of which makes his eventual comeback particularly impressive.

Let’s hope this is the moment the young Mexican needed and that he can now push on. He’s definitely one for the future, but beating your team mate regularly is one of the only ways to get noticed, get on, and drive for a better team. Or have stacks of cash. You know, either one.

Badger’s Best: Perez

 

Force India

  • Qualifying: di Resta (16th) Sutil (17th)
  • Race: di Resta (12th) Sutil (13th)

Another race, another weekend in which the young Scot beat his more experienced team mate. He’s only been outqualified once this season and out raced twice. Not a bad start for a rookie.

 

direstaJust from listening to him talk on the grid, it’s clear that he’s at home in F1, knows his stuff and is carrying that performance onto the track.

This weekend, neither driver had the core performance to get much further than where they finished. As Robert Fernley, the deputy team principal said after the race “Sauber, Williams and Toro Rosso are all very closely matched at the moment and we need to establish our position at the head of that group and pushing the top ten.”

Advantage Scotland. What price di Resta in a Mercedes by the end of the season. That’s definitely what our esteemed editor thinks…

Badger’s Best: di Resta


Toro Rosso

  • Qualifying: Buemi (11th)Alguersuari (13th)
  • Race: Buemi (14th) Alguersuari (16th)

 

buemiAfter Alguersuari’s run of form at the end of last season (or at least that’s how we remember it), Buemi’s back in business and has, in all honestly, beaten his team mate into a cocked hat this season.

Comfortably ahead of his team mate in both qualifying and the race, it was unfortunate for both drivers that they were in a car that wasn’t quick enough to have a decent shot at the points.

Not much more going on here to be honest, apart from to say that Alguersuari is hard on his tyres. The little scamp.

Badger’s Best: Buemi

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