The final part of our driver analysis looks at the back end of the grid, known in these parts as the Sleeping Dogs. This week the regular cast are joined by special guest stars Renault. How exciting!
- Heikki Kovalainen: Quali – 19th, Race – 16th
- Jarno Trulli: Quali – 20th, Race – DNF
A great display for the leading “new” team who, on Sunday, actually had the measure of their bigger, better funded counterparts Renault. Even though they were a good second off the closest car in qualifying – which happened to be Petrov – some steady driving from Kovalainen, who undercut the Russian in the first round of stops, allowed him to finish 15 seconds down the road. Eric Boullier must’ve been going mental.
Trulli put in an even better performance on a track he admitted isn’t his favourite. He got to within a tenth of a second of Kovalainen in qualifying and, during the race, managed to sneak ahead of both Petrov and Alguersuari to be 17th after the first lap. Even better, he was still in front after the first round of stops. Alguersuari obviously took offence at this and punted the Italian soon after, getting a penalty and forcing the Italian out. Shame on you, Jaime.
Badger’s Best: Kovalainen
- Bruno Senna: Quali – 15th, Race – 15th
- Vitaly Petrov: Quali – 18th, Race – 17th
If you were to look up the phrase “weekend to forget” in the dictionary there might just be a picture of a black-and-gold F1 car under floodlights. Both drivers had car problems – Senna hit the wall while mired in traffic but limped home and Petrov couldn’t get the KERS to work – but the big issue was the fact that first practice was wasted on an upgrade that simply didn’t work.
Bruno Senna gets the nod for us this weekend. Although he didn’t set the world on fire, he outqualified and outraced his teammate even with an unforced error. That said, this award comes with the proviso that he wasthe best of a bad pair, especially considering the fact that Petrov spent most of the race behind a Lotus and a Virgin.
However you look at it, this weekend would have made disturbing viewing for Renault fans; in the last five races the team have only scored 5 points, while their nearest rivals Force India have scored 36. Sobering stuff.
Badger’s Best: Senna
- Timo Glock – Quali – 21st, Race – DNF
- Jerome D’Ambrosio: Quali – 22nd, Race – 18th
Remember back in 2009 when Timo Glock finished 2nd at Marina Bay? Seems like an age away now, doesn’t it? Not happy with his set-up from the start, he managed to fall a whole second behind the Lotuses in qualifying. He then tried his hardest to hold position on the first lap, but then Riccardio ran into him and pretty much ruined his race. A spin on worn tyres then eliminated him from the race.
If you were looking for a tiny bright spot then look no further than Virgin’s resident Belgian, Jerome D’Ambrosio, who ran ahead of Petrov for a while before succumbing to the Renault driver’s superior machinery. Running a two-stop strategy meant D’Ambrosio was off the pace, but he stayed ahead of the Hispanias, which we suppose is something.
Badger’s Best: D’Ambrosio
- Tonio Luizzi: Quali – 24th, Race – 20th
- Daniel Ricciardo: Quali – 23rd, Race – 19th
Not a good day at the office for the plucky Spanish squad.
Ricciardio’s race was effectively over after ten corners after crashing into Timo Glock’s Virgin. After limping into the pits, it transpired he’d already been lapped. On lap 2. That’s slow even by HRT standards.
That said, he still managed to finish in front of his more experienced teammate Luizzi. Already the proud owner of an irrelevant five-place grid penalty from Monza, he then damaged his own front wing when his car decided to eat through the tyres faster than any Mercedes ever could. Finishing a minute behind his teammate meant that it’s the first time the Italian has been soundly beaten. The taste of things to come?
Badger’s Best: Ricciardo