FP1 and 2 for the German GP begins tomorrow and I wanted give a brief run down of where everyone stands and things to watch out for over the coming weekend.
Beware of Sebastian Vettel. With Webber having won his second race of the season (Vettel still on one) a surprising lack of podiums (before Britain, his last was in Bahrain) Vettel must be under some pressure. Webber on the other hand is on a roll and must be filled with confidence. Look for a good interteam battle at the pointy end of the grid. Red Bull is certainly at the pointy end of the grid and operationally they have been without fault.
Resurgent Massa, who is inching closer and closer to Alonso in qualifying. Look for a man eager to prove himself, maybe too eager. Alonso is on a tear with a points cushion. Look for a mature drive in a car that is more and more firmly established at the front end of the grid.
Consistent drives from decent starting positions saw Lotus take third in the constructors at Silverstone. Their race pace is good, it’s the qualifying that has kept them from the top step. Grosjean, however, has a gearbox penalty to deal with so it will fall to Raikkonen to qualify the car. Whatever happens in qualifying, look for them to be at the top come the end of the race.
Silverstone was bad, and I mean really bad for McLaren. Gary Anderson of the BBC says they are lost when it comes to the Pirelli tires and need to take a step back to go forward. McLaren says there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the car. Jenson in particular will be desperate for a good weekend and Lewis needs one to stay in the title hunt amidst contract negotiations (expect an answer over summer break).
Need a step up to keep up with Red Bull and Ferrari and McLaren. Schumacher seems to have finally found form to match Rosberg. I wonder when Mercedes brass are going to start getting on the line. Had Rosberg not won, this team would be in some serious trouble.
They have to get some consistent performances from their drivers. One of the rare cases where I do not think the driver tallent matches the car’s potential. Kobayashi has been inconsistent with his pace, showing why he is not a top flight driver, exciting as he is, and Perez, tire whisperer that he is, shares the same malady. Two podiums for Perez is a good sign but more important will be a good points haul above Mercedes to help keep Williams at bay.
I have made no secret of my feelings on Pastor Maldonado. Bruno Senna has been lack luster as well. Again, this is a team that lacks the drivers to match the car that they have developed. They need Maldonado out of the wars to haul consistent points. They need consistent points to have a hope of overtaking Sauber in the constructors.
Great driver talent in Di Resta and Hulkenberg means that this team is in the reverse position of its two nearest competitors. Most likely Di Resta and Hulkenberg are flattering the Force India chassis that does not have the performance potential of its nearest rivals. Development is sorely needed to allow these two top quality drivers ascend closer to the top.
Something went wrong here and Toro Rosso fell off the back of the midfield. My bet is the two new rookie drivers, neither of which has impressed. Then again, they were not put in a situation where they could impress. It is a mighty difficult thing to survive in the world of F1 without experienced support and while the team has that experience, the drivers do not. A mistake in my view that rests on the shoulders of Helmut Marko. Better to have some older journeyman like Glock who has experience and speed to teach a younger and faster driver.
Desperate to catch up to the midfield/ Toro Rosso. Moving headquarters after the German GP. Lacking in development as Heikki Kovaleinen has consistently impressed in his unimpressive material.
Not much to say here, back of the grid and seem destined to stay there.
I like HRT’s strategy, make a car that is really fast in a straight line. Reminds me of Force India when Giancarlo Fisichella ended up second at Spa. They seem to have a future planned but if they have the resources to match is questionable.