We complete our driver performance analysis for the European Grand Prix with a run through the backmarkers, better known at Badger as the Sleeping Dogs.
- Qualifying: Barrichello (13th) Maldonado (15th)
- Race: Barrichello (12th) Maldonado (18th)
After two successive points-paying finishes for Rubens Barrichello (albeit a pair of ninth places) Williams nightmare campaign resumed in Valencia. Barrichello was 13th on the grid, behind both Force Indias, and came home an unremarkable 12th. We’re sure the Brazilian is giving it his all, as are the team, but it’s not unfair to suggest that a change might be best for both come the end of the season.
Pastor Maldonado will still be onboard in 2012, we’re pretty certain of that, and after a few recent displays over superiority over Rubens that’s not a wholly bad thing. He was back in the shade in Valencia however, qualifying 15th and finishing down in 18th after a poor getaway dropped him to 22nd. Overall it was another one to forget for the Grove-based team.
Putting this in a wider context, Williams remain a lowly ninth in the constructors’ standings, eight points shy of Force India, 12 off Toro Rosso and a whopping 23 behind midfield kings Sauber. They’ve a long way to go if they’re to achieve the bare minimum target they’d have set pre-season: retaining sixth in the championship.
Badger’s Best: Barrichello
- Qualifying: Kovalainen (19th) Trulli (20th)
- Race: Kovalainen (19th) Trulli (20th)
There’s not too much to say about Team Lotus’ European Grand Prix. Heikki Kovalainen bossed qualifying, lapping six-tenths faster than Jarno Trulli to start 19th, one spot ahead of his team-mate. 57 largely meaningless laps later they finished in those same positions.
We’re almost tiring of saying it, but the team is stuck firmly in The Lotus Position; too fast for Virgin and Hispania, too slow for the midfield, they operate in a strange F1 limbo. It must be odd to have no one to race, being as they are a racing team.
On the driver front, the Trulli retirement rumours have gathered pace, not least after he took another pasting at the hands of a driver who – let’s be honest – is second tier at best. It is perhaps time for F1’s foremost wine lover to seek a new challenge beyond the grand prix scene.
Badger’s Best: Kovalainen
- Qualifying: Glock (21st) d’Ambrosio (23rd)
- Race: Glock (21st) d’Ambrosio (22nd)
It’s now all about rebuilding and recruiting at Virgin, with the 2011 campaign little more than an extended test of potential 2012 ideas.
Valencia was decent though. Glock was close to Trulli in qualy, snuck ahead of both Lotuses at the start (pretty sure Mr. Fernandes interest in the German increased that little bit more there) and held them off for a short while. He never had a chance of doing so in the long run, such is the pace deficit, but it was a nice reminder of what the German is capable of. We still believe in you, Timo!
D’Ambrosio meanwhile was once again out-qualified by Liuzzi’s Hispania but did get ahead of the Italian during the race. He was also over a second shy of Glock in qualy. Not much else to report on him really. Would a second-year Lucas di Grassi be doing a better job?
Badger’s Best: Glock
- Qualifying: Liuzzi (22nd) Karthikeyan (24th)
- Race: Liuzzi (23rd) Karthikeyan (24th)
After out-pacing Virgin in Canada Hispania fell back to earth in Valencia, but being as they’d only really climbed one rung up the ladder the landing can’t have been too painful. This team is used to talking knocks anyway.
That said Liuzzi did out-qualify d’Ambrosio (for the third time in four races) but you can put that down to a bad lap from the Belgian and a good ‘urn from Tonio. In the race order was resumed and the Hispanias ran around at the back, getting the odd friendly wave from the frontrunners as they zipped past them. We imagine Mark Webber’s hand gestures at Narain Karthikeyan were to encourage the Indian. Perhaps, as he waved his fist in friendship, Mark was shouting “c’mon Narain, mate – keep pushing for the line. I believe in you.” Or maybe not.
Back to reality, Liuzzi is enjoying total supremacy over his team-mate, but that’s what we all expected when he got this gig. Hats off to the crazy fool for trying.
Badger’s Best: Liuzzi