There haven’t been too many major changes, so this is just an update. In fact, the talking points are probably the lack of changes. A larger, more extended and generally better version will come after the first race of the European season at the beginning of May.
This is the Raw Race Pace League Table – where we rank all the teams on their raw pace, regardless of times, wins or what have you.
12 (-) HRT – Still the slowest, but a darn sight better than in Bahrain. Closer to the Virgins in qualifying than the team would have expected and with improvements to come as the drivers actually have some time in the car.
11 (↓1) Virgin – A significant move downwards for the Virgin team. It seems that not only is their car very unreliable (not that we take such things into account in the RPLT – yes, it has its own acronym) but it’s also getting slower than the Lotus cars. Not good.
10 (↑1) Lotus – They’ll be delighted I’m sure. Both cars comfortably ahead of the two Virgins and looking upward. Not that it’ll happen for a while, but by the end of the season it’d be nice to see them scrapping with the Toro Rossos and the Saubers.
9 (-) Sauber – Ninth place again for Sauber, who would doubtless have been hoping to leapfrog Toro Rosso. Neither de la Roso or Kobayashi covered themselves in glory – both drivers qualified within half a tenth of each other, indicating that’s probably all the car has to give.
8 (-) Toro Rosso – Buemi’s qualifying performance, comfortably beating both Saubers indicates the car isn’t too bad and probably has a bit more speed than those from the Swiss team. We’re sticking to our guns on this one.
7 (-) Williams – Nothing to see here. We have a feeling Hulkenberg should be getting more out of the car and Barrichello’s out driving it, but apart from that there’s not too much going on. Steady as she goes for Williams.
6 (-) Renault – Tricky. Tricky. Tricky. Two drivers – one whom we think is massively out driving his machinery and the other one underperforming. Where’s the middle ground? Nearly beat Force India to fifth in the table but, by virtue of a quick rewrite, they’re back in sixth. If Petrov gets close to the Force Indias the team’ll move up.
5 (-) Force India – Quite clearly the best of the rest in Bahrain, this one’s very tight. They don’t really deserve to be demoted a place as they haven’t done anything wrong, so they stay where they are…for the moment. The main question is whether the Renault is quicker – we think it’s too close to call, so we’re holding station for the time being.
4 (-) Mercedes – Quick, without ever really being fast. They hold station – the lowest of the top four, but ahead of the rest of the pack. When the season returns to Europe they’ll be hoping to ascend the league table rapidly.
3 (-) McLaren – Much better than last time, although the track probably helped a lot. It’s tempting to stick them in ahead of Ferrari, but that’s simply not justified – this table is (mostly) constructed with the head rather than the heart. Couple more decent races and they’ll be pushing Ferrari for second.
2 (-) Ferrari – Not much closer to the Red Bulls and out raced by the McLarens. Alonso showed he had pace through his very quick recovery after a first lap spin, but then was held up by Massa . They hold onto second place for the moment, although should be looking behind them with some trepidation.
1 (-) Red Bull – When do unfortunate events become a trend? Still the quickest car on the grid by a fair margin, both Vettel and Webber won’t be happy with their points haul after the first two races. As we can see, being quick doesn’t necessarily mean prizes.
Discuss, disagree and dissect; just get involved and let us know what you think.