To be honest, this week’s Top Dog award could have gone to any number of drivers.
– Fernando Alonso drove a fantastic race – calm under pressure, blindingly fast in places and able to drag an uncompetitive Ferrari round the track far faster than it deserved to go.
– Bruno Senna did a cracking job to finish sixth, especially after being last at the restart.
– Jean-Eric Vergne proved, while in the process of moving from eighteenth at the start to eighth at the chequered flag, that it’s not only Daniel Ricciardo we need to watch at Toro Rosso. His ability to keep his intermediate-shod car on the track in the initial downpour was very impressive.
However, it’s clear that the Top Dog award needs to go to Sergio Perez, the young Mexican who could and possibly should have won the grand prix. In ‘normal’ races he only seems to pit once in a blue moon, so it was a bit of a shock to all of us at Badger to see him in and out of the pits three times for various combinations of slick, intermediate and full wet tyres.
Such aversion to the pits has obviously taught him how to manage his tyres and so it was, when chasing down Alonso in the final part of the race, that he was able to take large chunks of time out of the Ferrari driver’s seven second lead. There was even a point when it appeared that he was going to pass Alonso and romp home to a famous victory.
However, you don’t get to be a double world champion without being a half decent racer and, after Alonso had defended a very light attack from Perez, the young Mexican managed to run wide and completely ruin his chance of passing the experienced Spaniard. It was a mistake, and a costly one, but his overall performance deserves the reward of a Tog Dog award.
Who knows, he could be driving the same car as Alonso next season – or perhaps even sooner.