Let sleeping dogs lie, or so the phrase goes. Not in this Sett and not on our watch – this is the final part of our Spanish Grand Prix driver analysis.

Williams

  • Qualifying:  Maldonado (9th) Barrichello (19th)
  • Race: Maldonado (17th) Barrichello (19th)

maldano

What’s blue and white and goes backwards on a Sunday? A Williams-Cosworth, that’s what.

Sorry about that. We at Badger love Williams, but they’re becoming like an aging lothario who used to do little more than doff his cap to make the girls come running; now that cap is hideously out of fashion, and doffing it causes unbearable pain in his joints.

Weird metaphors aside, it’s just getting worse, isn’t it? Pastor did a super job in qualy, and from what we saw he didn’t do a whole lot wrong in the race – the speed just wasn’t in the car. Okay, he crashed in practice, again, but that’s Maldonado – he’s either fast, on the brink of losing control or in a gravel trap. A few more top ten results on a Saturday afternoon will go a long way to vindicating his place in F1, and it will then be up to the team to give him a car that can fight on a Sunday afternoon.

Barrichello meanwhile suffered technical problems in qualifying and ended up 19th on the grid. Now, with two cars that started in front of him retiring and a few beatable rivals in his vicinity (Force Indias, Toro Rossos etc) you’d have thought he’d have climbed to at least, oh say P12. But no, an extended pitstop and a general lack of pace left him 17th of 21 finishers. It’s little surprise that the Brazilian is already making noises about finding a new home for 2012.

Badger’s best: Maldonado – who’d have thought it?!

Lotus

  • Qualifying: Kovalainen (15th) Trulli (18th)
  • Race: Trulli (18th) Kovalainen (ret)

trulliKovalainen was the star of qualy, sneaking through to Q2 (with a little help from a fire-damaged Renault and a sick Williams) and then out-qualifying both Force Indias. Okay, he wasted a set of tyres in doing so, but tech boss Mike Gascoyne came up with a very tidy explanation for this, telling the BBC that Lotus “can’t beat a faster car from behind, so why not try to be in front.” Good old fashion Norfolk sense there from Mr. G.

Obviously they then dropped behind Mallya’s cars in the race, and Kovalainen subsequently binned it 47 laps in, though thankfully this wasn’t as big as the monster shunt he suffered in Spain three years ago. Still, a good effort (and great for press attention).

Jarno Trulli meanwhile qualified a respectable 18th and then shot up the order early on. Obviously he dropped back, but he did manage to bring the car home and was, as has been standard this season, a country mile clear of the Virgin and Hispania cars. It’s perhaps a tad controversial given Heikki’s qualifying heroics, but Jarno gets top dog for setting a solid time  on Saturday and then not sticking it in the wall during the race. It was a close run thing, but the Italian’s nabbed it.

Badger’s Best: Trulli

Virgin

  • Qualifying: Glock (20th) d’Ambrosio (23rd)
  • Race: Glock (19th) d’Ambrosio (20th)

glockAnother largely disappointing weekend for Virgin, who are now firmly locked in a battle with Hispania to avoid being called the slowest team in F1. They edged that in Spain, as Timo Glock recovered his form – which had mysteriously vanished in the past two races – to qualify 20th, beating Liuzzi’s Hispania by half a second. That Glock is back on song will bring some cheer to the team. Timo subsequently had a steady race, eventually finishing one whole place ahead of where he started in 19th. This is a man who was taking podiums in a Toyota just 18 months ago.

Team-mate d’Amborsio meanwhile didn’t have a good qualifying session, ending up the slowest man to complete a lap and thus behind both Hispanias. He was in fact a full seven tenths shy of Narain Karthikeyan and just two tenths faster than the 107% cutoff time. Phew! His race was fine as he got ahead of Karthikeyan to finish 20th, so no complaints there. Jerome has been pretty impressive in the previous two races, so we’re not criticising him at the minute. He needs to be close-ish to Glock again in Monaco though.

Badger’s Best: Glock

Hispania

karthikeyanIt’s kind of hard not to root for Hispania just a little bit. That’s how I feel anyway. After all, their car looks like a half-baked attempt at colouring in by a small child who had none of the crayons he thought would make it look good. They are F1’s ultimate underdogs in 2011, so when they get both cars ahead of a rival it’s hard not to be a bit chuffed (with no disrespect whatsoever meant to that rival). That happened in Spain (their home race, no less) as Liuzzi and Karthikeyan ended Q1 close to a second faster than d’Ambrosio’s Virgin.

Liuzzi in particular is doing a tremendous – if ultimately pointless – job at the team, and is clearly basking in the position of lead driver. It’s a shame that his car seems to break down more than Karthikeyan’s, though being as the India brings cash for his seat and Tonio doesn’t perhaps that’s fair.

Narain did well to be within a tenth of Liuzzi in Spain but remains one of the few drivers to qualify behind his team-mate at every race this season. He takes ‘Badger’s Best’ by dint of being reasonably close to Tonio and completing the race distance, which in a car that handles like this one must have been an absolute nightmare. Poor lad only has a few days to rest his arms before Monaco, too.

Badger’s Best: Karthikeyan