Having just past the 8th race out of 20, it seems appropriate to take a moment and do a team by team look at where everyone stands and how theyve managed to get there. Here goes
Having started the season with a car off the pace of the McLaren, Red Bull must leave Valencia with confidence. Vettel’s dominant lead (up to 20 seconds) is hugely encouraging. The fact that Webber was off the podium is of no concern as he started 19th. The team makes few operational or strategic errors and are comfortably in the lead of the constructors championship. This also marks the second race in a row where Vettel has separated himself by a real margin in qualifying. As much as Vettel is the clear number 1 of the team, Webber finds himself in 2nd in the championship on the back of some very consistent results and a win at Monaco. Perhaps he is recalling 2010 but with a different ending.
From the drivers perspective, this is quite a reversal from last year. Button seems lost and Hamilton stable as a rock. How he managed to get his temper under control is a mystery to me but is no doubt successful. He was on track for a podium at Valencia despite a 20 second pit stop calamity (again) until Maldonado turned his Williams into a battering ram. From a team perspective, McLaren is in shambles. They are incapable of putting a decent set of pit stops together and their development has been seriously lacking. They were the fastest car on the grid. That is no longer the case. They have to turn things around, fast.
If nothing else, Ferrari has shown just how important and central a driver can be if he chooses. Alonso has single handedly fought his way to the top of the championship standings in a car that is fourth fastest now and was sixth or seventh fastest at the start of the season. Kudos to the team for buying in and delivering the car that he needs. If they can keep up the pace of development, they will be a force come Monza. Massa on the other hand is hard to fathom. A new set up direction has seemed to work wonders but the spin in Canada did him no favors. Where once there was no potential, there now is. He just needs to realize it.