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 Toro Rosso. 

Toro Rosso

  • Sebastien Buemi: Quali – 13th, Race – DNF
  • Jaime Alguersuari: Quali – 15th, Race – 15th

alguersuari

An unusually bad weekend for Toro Rosso, who have been in pretty mighty form of late. They qualified poorly – Buemi 13th and Alguersuari 15th – and made up little ground in the race. The Swiss, who looks likely to exit the team after the Brazilian GP, retired on lap 19 with hydraulic issues; Jaime made little progress and took a 20 second post-race penalty for ignoring blue flags. All in all not a great performance in front of sponsor/investor Aabar.

But all is not lost! They head to Brazil a single point behind Sauber in the battle for seventh in the standings. It may not sound all that important, but money-wise it makes a real difference, and both will be going flat-out in pursuit of it. In the absence of a title battle we’ll have an eye on that midfield scrap.

Badger’s Best: Alguersuari

Lotus

  • Heikki Kovalainen: Quali – 17th, Race – 17th
  • Jarno Trulli: Quali – 18th, Race – 18th
kovalainen

About the most interesting thing to happen to Lotus/Caterham over the Abu Dhabi weekend was the unveiling of a Queens Park Rangers Football Club badge on their car. We believe it to be the first time a club managed by Neil Warnock has had their emblem on a Formula One car, unless some cheeky mechanic stuck a Sheffield United badge on a car some years back. Unlikely.

As for the team, who we’re now at a total loss as to the name, they did what they always do, so rather than write it all down again we’d suggest referring to almost every other edition of Sleeping Dogs for the past two years. Kovalainen trounced Trulli.

Badger’s Best: Kovalainen

Virgin

  • Timo Glock – Quali – 19th, Race – 19th
  • Jerome D’Ambrosio: Quali – 21st, Race – DNF

glockPersonally, I can’t see why people are making such a fuss about Jerome d’Ambrosio losing his seat. Yeah, so Charles Pic is buying his way in, but JdA didn’t get the gig because Virgin were wowed by his three distinctly average seasons in GP2. Pic on the other hand – whilst stupidly wealthy – has won plenty of races in Formula Renault 3.5 and GP2, both of which are competitive series. His junior record makes d’Ambrosio’s look totally naff and he’s got more money. It’s a no-brainer.

Chances are they’ll still be Q1 drop-outs next year, so what does it matter anyway? They may as continue this revolving door of half-decent, well-funded GP2 graduates until the car’s capable of the midfield, and that’s likely to be 2013 at the earliest. Enjoy it Charles: as Lucas and Jerome will both tell you, it’s over before you know it.

Badger’s Best: Timo Glock, probably

HRT

  • Tonio Luizzi: Quali – 22nd, Race – 20th
  • Daniel Ricciardo: Quali – 20th, Race – DNF

A decent weekend for HRT, who got Garth Tander on to the podium with a third place finish in race two, though the continuing struggles of reigning champion James Courtney must remain a source of concern. Ultimately that the works Holden team are being so badly hammered by Triple Eight isn’t good enough, but what can you do about a team comprised of such engineering quality and the driver talents of Whincup and Lowndes?

What do you mean wrong HRT?

Badger’s Best: Garth Tander (actually Ricciardo was mega in Abu Dhabi – give him the Toro Rosso seat)