Hot Rod or Hot Dog is our regular post-grand prix column in which we review driver performances from the race. One driver is then declared as Badger’s “Top Dog” – and this week it’s…

sutil

Adrian Sutil

This particular Badger has never had any strong feelings about Adrian Sutil. He’s always been one of those identikit F1 drivers: quite quick, a bit crashy and driving for a perennially midfield team does not a strong impression make.

This season appeared to be following established norms. Sutil didn’t qualify in the top ten until Valencia (race 8 ) and, although he managed to finish seventh at Monaco (race 6), he interspersed some decent race performances with a lot of dross.

However, after the European Grand Prix, he qualifed and finished in the top ten for six out of the remaining eleven races. Not too shabby, especially when compared to the results of his seemingly more highly-rated team mate during the same period.

In Brazil he moved from eighth on the grid to sixth at the chequered flag. While one of those places was gained through Lewis Hamilton’s gearbox giving up the ghost, it’s always a significant achievement to finish within the domain of the “big three” teams. Beating the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg is pretty good as well, as it goes.

He drove beautifully all weekend and fully deserves his “Top Dog” award. Well done Adrian.

However, now the flip side – his performances as the season has progressed beg the question: why wasn’t he performing like this all season? Is he (and now comes a question only Leeds United or Newcastle United football fans will understand) the Mark Viduka of Formula 1? i.e. is he only any good when racing for his next contract?

That aside, it’s clear it’s been a cracking second half of the season for the now-not-so-young German. Will it be enough to keep him in F1? That, and the large amount of sponsorship he brings, should see him right. Or so we hope.