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 managed to outqualify a Virgin car in the wet. Small progress, but progress nevertheless, especially in the light of the team’s technical consultant, Geoff Willis, saying that the car’s basic technology doesn’t comply with modern F1 standards.
11 (-) Virgin – Still slower than the Lotus cars, but quicker than the HRTs. Their next big movement will presumably be after a bigger fuel tank is installed in the car.
10 (-) Lotus – Got a car into Q2 thanks to the rain at Sepang, but still a way behind the other, more established teams. Holding position as the best of the new teams is probably what they’d have settled for at the beginning of the season.
9 (↓1) Toro Rosso – This may seem like a strange weekend to demote the Toro Rossos a place, especially considering their strong race performance. However, such is the mercurial beauty of the RPLT. Just because the team did a better job than the Saubers doesn’t mean they have any more raw pace, hence their demotion.
8 (↑1) Sauber – Their punishment is over for flattering to deceive in pre-season testing and they move up.
7 (-) Williams – Their lack of race pace is probably a concern, but they’re clearly ahead of the two behind them and not as fast as the Renault or Force India.
5 (↑1) Renault – Joint fifth for the French team, meaning a one place gain. Another strong performance from Kubica and some life from Petrov before his car gave out. Force India need to watch out, Renault are coming…
5 (-) Force India – Again, the team didn’t do anything wrong this weekend, so fifth place it is. Sutil’s impressive handling of Hamilton in the later stages of the race indicate that the car’s got real pace, although you sense he was just quick enough to keep Hamilton behind him rather than pull away.
4 (-) Mercedes – Another really solid performance from the team; not really in any danger of slipping downwards but, by the same token, the car doesn’t look quick enough to quite compete with the top three…yet.
2 (↑1) McLaren – Another joint placing puts the McLaren team level with Ferrari. It’s a bit hard to tell whether this is right, given the nature of qualifying and the race for both teams, but we’re going with it. The car certainly looks a lot more competitive than it did in Bahrain.
2 (-) Ferrari – Not helped by rain in qualifying, a slow Massa and a compromised Alonso, the car didn’t really get to show its true pace this weekend. Certainly have the potential to pull away from the McLarens again in fairly short order.
1 (-) Red Bull – Holding onto the top spot with ease for the third race in a row. The car is an absolute beast, driven by one very good and one great driver. Their one-two finish is just reward for the domination the car has over the rest of the field. Unlikely to slip off top spot any time soon.
Discuss, disagree and dissect; just get involved and let us know what you think.