This is a new and experimental feature to F1 Badger borne solely of your correspondent’s mind, so it remains to be seen how well it’ll go. Its purpose is to look at which cars are the fastest, regardless of reliability or driver skill and track their movements up (or down) the league table over the course of the season. Obviously this is somewhat subjective and will require readers to disregard quite a large portion of common sense, but hopefully that’ll all be part of the fun!
The team coming in last place is unlikely to surprise anyone. It seems clear that the HRT car is the slowest on the grid at the moment, which is perfectly understandable considering all the problems they faced in the off-season. It’ll be a surprise if they move from bottom place any time soon.
Although they nearly had two cars complete a full race distance, it seems that the Virgin might just have the edge in terms of raw pace. The fact the Lotus doesn’t fall apart and the Virgin car is seemingly tacked together with chewing gum doesn’t come into this particular decision-making process so, you know, welcome to the weird world of the Raw Pace League Table.
Broken nearly all the time and managed only a combined total of 18 laps in the race. Not great, but the fact that Glock out qualified both Kovalainen and Trulli will give some heart to Branson’s boys (and yes, di Grassi qualified below the two Lotuses, but we’re cutting him some slack as it was his first ever qualifying). The team will doubtless be cheered by their presence at number 10 in this league table. Maybe.
Perpetrators of a con, a swindle, a feint and a lie. It seemed the car was quick, but it simply wasn’t. Their position in ninth is about right, but could have been influenced negatively by how cheated your correspondent feels by them (indeed, such was the faith he had, they’re in his Fantasy F1 team). A (strong) case could be made for putting them above Toro Rosso, but they don’t deserve it. The anger runs deep.
8: Toro Rosso
As stated above, perhaps deserve to be one place lower. Alguersuari was, after all, the driver who went out in the first part of qualifying with all the new boys. All in all though, the first wholly Toro Rosso designed car doesn’t seem as bad as some feared it might be and they’ll be hoping to move up the league table as the season progresses.
A good car, hopefully with scope for more performance over the season. Sadly, in recent years, Williams haven’t been able to keep improving the car at the same rate as the other, more well financed teams, so don’t expect to see them move too far up the league table. Barrichello’s tenth place probably reflected his racecraft, his pace, and the car altogether, but he would have been hoping to move up a bit further given his eleventh place grid slot.
A surprisingly good car, it has to be said. Kubica drove it to ninth place in qualifying, but was derailed by a spin at the beginning of the race. Out-qualified Sutil’s Force India, but comes in a position below in the league table due to Kubica’s possible out driving of the car. His race pace wasn’t great either, so the ‘best of the rest’ has to go to Force India.
5: Force India
A remarkable achievement: after the pre-season hype they’ve managed to fulfil their potential. They’ve put together a car that qualifies and races well and, on current form, has to be regarded as top of the midfield. Sutil put in the second fastest lap of the race, albeit on the last lap, and Liuzzi finished ninth. Not a bad weekend, all in all.
There’s hardly anything in between Mercedes and McLaren (aptly, perhaps), but the German team just come in fourth. The best way to look at the top four is probably two groups of two, with Red Bull and Ferrari significantly ahead of those in third and fourth. Both Rosberg and Schumacher demonstrated the car was quick, although both were being caught by Button towards the end of the race.
Just ahead of Mercedes, even compensating for Hamilton’s excellent drive, in which you sense he got more out of the car than was there to be given. Certainly a better starting point than last season, and they’ll be hoping to move up the league table and compete with the two teams above them before long. Need to sort out the apparent lack of downforce in medium speed corners.
Possibly a controversial choice given the 1-2 they achieved over the weekend, Ferrari certainly seems to have built a very quick car. Described by Alonso as the best he’d ever driven, both drivers will be more than happy with it. With not much of a gap (if any) to Red Bull, the Ferrari team will be hoping to push past their rival sooner rather than later.
1: Red Bull
They’ve done it again. Vettel’s lap in qualifying and near race victory demonstrated that Red Bull have a car capable of winning a lot of races this year. Prior to his loss of power, Vettel looked comfortable even when the Ferraris were closing in on him. Expect Webber to be on a similar pace in Australia, although the slight worry for the team must have been his inability to pass Button for long stretches of the race.
Discuss, disagree and dissect; just get involved and let us know what you think.