There's quite a lot of young talent in F1 at the moment, in particular with far more experienced team mates. So we're ending up with a lot of these young guys fighting each other in the mid/back field. I find it very interesting watching these guys, because in 5-10 years time some of them could be at the front of the field battling the likes of Ricciardo, Verstappen (who's still almost a youngster himself) etc. So I thought I'd make up a thread so we can discuss their performances post-race.
Ocon: paired with Perez who's really come on strong the last two years and become a bit of Frentzen in being able to outperform mid-field machinery. So to have three consecutive 10th place finishes and really not that far behind Perez in each race is very good so far. He even beat him in qualifying at Bahrain, although I think Perez might have not got his fast lap in. Certainly best of the new guys so far, which is surprising as he only had 3 starts last year and F3 to GP3 to DTM is a unique way to enter F1. I thought DTM would spell the end of his F1 hopes especially when he was sitting dead plum last in points before his F1 call-up. But good job so far.
Vandoorne: paired with Alonso it's going to be easy to see how good he is if he can get anywhere close to Alonso regularly. Unfortunately last in round one (I think he had some car issues), retirement in round two and then DNS in round three. We've hardly had a chance to see his skill thus far. But if qualifying is anything to go by, he's getting closer: 1 second, 0.5s, 0.3s. I hope the paddock don't forget his skill level because of the dud McLaren.
Palmer: paired with Hulk, very equal in talent with Perez so against another good comparison, especially as Hulk has been very good so far this year. Palmer looked terrible at Australia, but they fixed the issue for round two although it still only saw him 18th on the grid ahead of Max with issues and Ocon. Meanwhile Hulk is up in 7th. But Hulk had a terrible race and they finished 12-13, not so bad. Come China he finally starts showing some promise by making the top 10, although 1.2sec down on Hulkenburg 7th to 10th. I guess Palmer must have used all his good tyres up just getting there. But in the race he spent all day battling Kyvat, Ericsson, Alonso, maybe even Ocon and Wehrlein had featured around the mid-field battle. But ultimately they all somehow passed him and he ended up dead last. Hulkenburg in 9th. He did have front wing damage, don't know if they ever changed it (probably not) so it could have effected performance, but it was his own fault in mis-judging a pass. I still haven't given up on Palmer on being a good solid driver, his GP2 championship was strong and DAMS haven't been real contenders since. Even Rowland probably won't do what Palmer did in that team.
Magnussen: paired with Grosjean. Does anyone want to take a stab on who's best between Perez, Hulk and Grosjean? They're all great drivers. Magnussen and Palmer didn't stand out at Renault last year and the car was unreliable so hard to compare them. But now we can with Magnussen up against Grosjean. Qualifying, 1.4sec in Australia to Grosjean, but Magnussen actually out-qualified him in round two, but it was back to the rear at Bahrain while Grosjean was up in 9th. Apparently Kev didn't get his fast lap in because of the flags caused by Sainz. In terms of race results, they both DNF'd Australia, Magnussen was a standout at China taking 8th with Grosjean back in 11th, Magnussen again DNF'd Bahrain so it's hard to judge his performances so far based on one good result. I still think he's a good driver.
Stroll: paired with the "old retiree" as the commentators love to call him. Completely out of his league at Australia, over 2sec down on Massa and crashing in the race if I remember rightly (and qualifying or practise, much to everyones amusement). Started 10th in China, 1.2sec down on Massa, but another DNF. He looked okay again Bahrain, qualifying 12th although that ended up being 1.1 down on Massa's final lap. This time his crash in the race was 100% Sainz Jr's fault. Getting better for the pay driver but Williams is the fourth best car so he should be doing what Ocon is doing.
Wehrlein: well we're not spoilt with pairing him with Ericsson, in my opinion the weakest driver in the field. If Wehrlein can't beat him, he shouldn't be in F1. And after pulling out of the first two rounds he's probably lost some fans. 0.6s faster than Ericsson in quali, 11th in the race beating Kyvat, Palmer, Alonso. He was ahead of Ericsson before his teammate retired. Decent result for his first race of the season. Sauber only managed two finishes better than that in 2016 - 9th for Nasr, 11th for Ericsson.
Giovanazzi: his race one performance was great, but I think he pretty much ended his F1 career in China with multiple crashes. Poor Gio, but hey he's got more experience than Stroll who came straight from F3, same goes for Verstappen, Kyvat, Bottas when they first entered F1. Giovanazzi was nearly GP2 champion last year. He'll be lost in the WEC classes now.
Those are my thoughts on the first 3 races. Ocon standing out the most just from consistency, although he hasn't beaten his team mate yet. All the others have had to deal with DNFs.