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Old 25 Apr 2013, 13:19 (Ref:3239263)   #1
ottostreet
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Team Mate Battles - Bahrain GP

External link to my latest Team Mate Battles is here.

Marussia

No changes here just yet, with Bianchi still comfortably quicker than Max Chilton through the weekend, despite losing out on FP1 to Rodolfo Gonzalez. On his first outing in an F1 car, Gonzalez lapped only seven tenths of a second off Chilton’s pace, and while Max may have been quicker in FP2, he had an extra hour and a half to acclimatise to the circuit. Bianchi maintained a speed advantage through the rest of the weekend, despite his car catching fire at random intervals on Saturday, but Chilton has reason to be applauded for upping his game. The gulf between them is now merely a gap. More worryingly for Marussia, there is now also a gap in front of them…to Caterham. While both cars suffered with tyre wear, necessitating an extra pit stop towards race end, Bianchi unlocked good pace at the end to put in a stonking personal best lap, faster than Hulkenberg’s Sauber, and Felipe Massa’s Ferrari.

Fastest lap: 1-0 to Jules Bianchi
Qualifying: 1-0 to Jules Bianchi
Race: 1-0 to Jules Bianchi

Caterham

Caterham looked much improved this weekend, looking like they had more inherent pace at the Sakhir circuit than their nearest rivals at Marussia. Pic was the only car with the updates, and he put them to good use, beating home the Sauber of the lacklustre Gutierrez, as well as harrying the Toro Rosso of Ricciardo all the way. After the race, Pic said the car felt well-balanced, which was interesting to note, as reserve driver Heikki Kovalainen made an observation stating the exact opposite after his run in Friday practise. Caterham make a leap forward the minute they get an experienced driver to drive their car? Could be coincidence…

Fastest lap: 1-0 to Giedo Van Der Garde
Qualifying: 1-0 to Charles Pic
Race: 1-0 to Charles Pic

Toro Rosso:

A disastrous weekend for the Toros in Rosso. It was very much hero to zero for Ricciardo, after his fantastic drive in Shanghai, he was battling with the Caterham of Pic in sixteenth place during the race in Bahrain. Vergne got tagged by Bottas on Lap 1 (an incident we really needed to see more of) which put the STR driver in the path of Van Der Garde. While the Dutchman continued, Verge was ultimately retired by the team after a few laps. A particularly weak showing from Ricciardo with the slowest race lap of the cars that finished, so I have awarded the two STR drivers equal half points for their race performances.

Fastest Lap: 0.5-0.5 to each
Qualifying: 1-0 to Daniel Ricciardo
Race: 0.5-0.5 to each

Sauber:

Gutierrez continued on his quest to be the Worst Driver in F1. While the Mexican is capable of the co-ordinated movements required to drive the car at this point, and even quite quickly on occasion, his race pace is very poor at the moment. It is too early to write off the young man just yet, but while fellow debutantes Van Der Garde and Chilton are showing signs of learning and adaptation already, Gutierrez still looks ill at ease in an F1 car. Let’s hope he can improve soon, but at the moment, it is easy stuff for Hulkenberg, even if he himself won’t be happy with finishing thirty seconds outside the points.
Fastest Lap: 1-0 to Esteban Gutierrez
Qualifying: 1-0 to Nico Hulkenberg
Race: 1-0 to Nico Hulkenberg

Williams:

Dear, oh dear. But perhaps not quite as dear, oh dear as the opening three rounds. Qualifying was dreadful for the Grove team, with Maldonado getting knocked out in Q1, even if he was just as fast as his team-mate (to the thousandth). The race was marginally better for Pastor, running out a clean race to beat Hulkenberg home. Bottas blotted his copybook by causing a collision between Vergne & Van Der Garde, but escaped serious damage himself and had an anonymous race. Both drivers will be desperate for some speed in Spain.

Fastest Lap: 1-0 to Valterri Bottas
Qualifying: 1-0 to Valterri Bottas (hard luck Pastor)
Race: 1-0 to Pastor Maldonado

Force India:

Paul Di Resta has risen magnificently to the gauntlet thrown down in emphatic fashion by Adrian Sutil in Melbourne. Both drivers were on a mission on Saturday, but it was Paul who ran the quicker Q1, Q2 and Q3 laps, and Paul who avoided turning in on a Ferrari at Turn 3 on the first lap. It would have been interesting to see what Sutil could have done with a clearly quite fast Force India, but Di Resta put in a good combative race early on to put himself in the hunt for the podium, even if he was unable to fend off the Lotuses. He may have fancied his chances at holding off Grosjean at another track where DRS isn’t quite as effective, but he was never ever going to be able to fend off the Flying Frenchman. Sutil put in the second fastest lap of the race towards the end, on a time much much faster than what his team-mate could manage, but that’s about the only positive he can take away from Sunday. The pressure is now on Sutil to put in a race that hogs the limelight.

Fastest Lap: 1-0 to Adrian Sutil
Qualifying: 1-0 to Paul Di Resta
Race: 1-0 to Paul Di Resta

McLaren:

The latest instalment in the ‘Narky Team-Mates’ squabbles we’ve seen nearly every race so far this year, the McLaren boys have had to have ‘clear the air’ talks after the race in Bahrain. Hopefully, all this meeting entailed was some setting of ground rules for future dicing, as opposed to Jenson trying to lay down the law. Pride was very much at stake for Button on Sunday, as Perez was clearly faster, and clearly feeling very very racey in front of his sponsors. McLaren have to be applauded for their fair attitude towards their drivers, even when it could be very costly, as nearly evidenced by Perez’s extremely sharp carbon fibre bladed wing glancing off the soft, delicate skin of Button’s right rear Pirelli. It may be dramatic to suggest so, but was Jenson’s whining more than a request to tone the battle down, or was it the desperate cry of a man who feels his grip on the leadership of the team slipping? Time will tell, but the jokey, jovial Jenson that interrupted Martin Whitmarsh on live TV after the race was a good way of attempting to elevate himself to that of a man of equal status within the team as the boss. An interesting display of passive aggression from Button, a man who, right now, is feeling very threatened as king of the castle.

Fastest Lap: 1-0 to Jenson Button
Qualifying: 1-0 to Jenson Button
Race: 1-0 to Sergio Perez

Lotus:

Finally, we have seen Romain’s Return. The Frenchman was given a new chassis for Bahrain, but he was honest enough to admit on Friday that the chassis was not the cause of all his troubles. Whether it was or not, Romain looked a rejuvenated man, until Q2 came and rained on his parade completely. He was quick to point out that the team made an error in only sending him out for one run at the end of Q2, but Raikkonen delivered under high pressure on his final lap in Q2 to get into the final shootout. While Grosjean is not being mistreated at Lotus, the Frenchman appears rattled by the shift in focus to Raikkonen. This time last year, the pair appeared on an equal footing, and this is no longer the case. It looked like Kimi screwed up in Q3 (not for the first time), and he would usually own up to doing so, but he felt that he had gotten all he could out of the car. In the race, both ran excellent races, even if not blisteringly fast on single lap pace. Lotus are, at the moment, one trick strategic ponies, and will need to figure out some raw pace if they are serious about championships.

Fastest Lap: 1-0 to Romain Grosjean
Qualifying: 1-0 to Kimi Raikkonen
Race: 1-0 to Kimi Raikkonen

Mercedes:

Nico started off so well this weekend, looking faster than Lewis throughout practise and qualifying, even snatching an impossible looking pole position on Saturday. That was as good as it got though, with the Merc freefalling back through the pack on raceway. The impossibility of predicting what type of Mercedes are going to show up on Sundays continued, with Nico getting the freefaller, and Lewis getting the impossible…two cars in one race! Lewis kept in the lower points positions quite easily, but said the car vastly improved at the halfway point, at which point he started moving forwards again, despite being at a loss to explain where the pace came from. His battle with Mark Webber was a joy to watch, but the inconsistent Mercs may just get on Lewis’s nerves sooner than he expects.

Fastest Lap: 1-0 to Nico Rosberg
Qualifying: 1-0 to Nico Rosberg
Race: 1-0 to Lewis Hamilton

Ferrari:

It all looked quite good for Felipe Massa on Saturday, qualifying well behind his team-mate on the harder tyre, but Ferrari’s nightmare day started almost immediately. Fernando’s DRS failure left him helpless, although it was admirable how he kept up a good speed without losing positions while recovering to the pits. The real question mark is why Ferrari pitted Felipe so early on his first stint. The benefit of running the harder tyre was surely to pit after the medium tyre runners, but Massa pitted on Lap 10, the same time as medium runners Perez & Hamilton, and a massive 6 laps before Kimi Raikkonen, also on the mediums. Felipe’s pace was very poor throughout the race, setting one of the slowest race fastest laps, although, to be fair, it is very difficult to push hard in a car that keeps exploding its tyres at random intervals. Fernando finished 37 seconds down, which was a great effort considering his issues, but surely, after the first DRS failure, the smart thing to do would be to have waited the 12-14 laps until his next stop and tested the DRS on his inlap? If it failed then, it would have only been a few corners without proper downforce, but a scheduled pitstop to fix it.

Fastest Lap: 1-0 to Fernando Alonso
Qualifying: 1-0 to Fernando Alonso
Race: 1-0 to Fernando Alonso

Red Bull:

The Red Bull drivers looked like they were driving for different teams this weekend. Vettel was near faultless on raceday, while Webber was clumsy, looked somewhat drunken in some of his defensive lunges across the track, and plain slow compared to Sebastian. Webber admits he dislikes the Bahrain circuit, but there is no room for bogey circuits for a driver in modern F1. Mark was beaten by cars that shouldn’t have had a look in at the Red Bull, based on Vettel’s pace. Helmut Marko may not be the most likeable character on the Red Bull payroll, but his comments over the winter with regards to Webber do ring true: When Webber is on it, on maybe three to four races a year, he is unstoppable, the rest of the time, he’s distinctly average. Vettel was anything but on Sunday, getting jumped at the start but catching Fernando out within four corners to reclaim second, and then toying with Rosberg for the next two laps before passing him, all without using DRS. Sublime from the three time world champion.

Fastest Lap: 1-0 to Sebastian Vettel
Qualifying: 1-0 to Sebastian Vettel
Race: 1-0 to Sebastian Vettel

Totals:
Marussia: 12-0 to Jules Bianchi
Caterham: 10-2 to Charles Pic
Toro Rosso: 7-5 to Jean-Eric Vergne
Sauber: 9-3 to Nico Hulkenberg
Williams: 9-3 to Valterri Bottas
Force India: 7-5 to Paul Di Resta
McLaren: 10-2 to Jenson Button
Lotus: 9-3 to Kimi Raikkonen
Mercedes: 8-4 to Lewis Hamilton
Ferrari: 8-4 to Fernando Alonso
Red Bull: 11-1 to Sebastian Vettel
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Old 25 Apr 2013, 15:19 (Ref:3239291)   #2
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Thanks for that ottostreet. Good writing and forthright and justified opinions.

Gutierrez has not yet shown he has been as good as he was talked up to be. Is he mentally strong enough? Maybe it's the religious thing, but he seems a bit meek and mild.

He's done nothing to make me think that Sauber were not wrong to get rid of Kobayashi (yeah, I know, money talks).

A good point about Lotus. You could easily fancy Raikkonen for the championship. Nice to see Grosjean back to form.

As for Fernando, that's two errors he's made this year.
1. Not pitting in Malaysia.
2. Continuing to try to use DRS.

This is not championship-winning thinking.

Meanwhile at the top, Vettel has been peerless.
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Old 25 Apr 2013, 15:40 (Ref:3239300)   #3
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Originally Posted by Born Racer View Post
He's done nothing to make me think that Sauber were not wrong to get rid of Kobayashi (yeah, I know, money talks).
but how well did Sauber spend that money?

im also starting to think Hulk made the wrong choice to leave FI for Sauber too, if it was in fact his choice but i sort of recall that it was.

agreed about Alonso and Ferrari, so far they have made things much harder than they need to be.
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Old 25 Apr 2013, 16:13 (Ref:3239316)   #4
ottostreet
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Originally Posted by Born Racer View Post
Thanks for that ottostreet. Good writing and forthright and justified opinions.

Gutierrez has not yet shown he has been as good as he was talked up to be. Is he mentally strong enough? Maybe it's the religious thing, but he seems a bit meek and mild.

He's done nothing to make me think that Sauber were not wrong to get rid of Kobayashi (yeah, I know, money talks).

A good point about Lotus. You could easily fancy Raikkonen for the championship. Nice to see Grosjean back to form.

As for Fernando, that's two errors he's made this year.
1. Not pitting in Malaysia.
2. Continuing to try to use DRS.

This is not championship-winning thinking.

Meanwhile at the top, Vettel has been peerless.
I'm curious, what religious thing? In my opinion, it'd be unlikely that religious beliefs would affect a driver's racing mentality, but it is somewhat unbelievable that Sauber took a punt on such an unknown, when Kobayashi was driving well in 2012.
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Old 26 Apr 2013, 21:28 (Ref:3239776)   #5
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Originally Posted by chillibowl View Post
but how well did Sauber spend that money?

im also starting to think Hulk made the wrong choice to leave FI for Sauber too, if it was in fact his choice but i sort of recall that it was.

agreed about Alonso and Ferrari, so far they have made things much harder than they need to be.
On Hulkenberg, I think he'll count himself really unlucky with his Sauber move. It looked like a logical one given that the C31 was easily fast enough to win a race last season, and if it was being driven by a top line driver would surely have been even more successful. Whereas Force India never quite showed the same pace and looked very shaky in terms of their finances.

I never guessed that Force India would look like a more competitive proposition than a Sauber this season and I guess neither did Nico.
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Old 30 Apr 2013, 13:54 (Ref:3240980)   #6
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Originally Posted by ottostreet View Post
I'm curious, what religious thing? In my opinion, it'd be unlikely that religious beliefs would affect a driver's racing mentality, but it is somewhat unbelievable that Sauber took a punt on such an unknown, when Kobayashi was driving well in 2012.
I'm not a big fan of religion and doubtful it plays a positive part in a racing driver's mentality.
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Old 1 May 2013, 03:57 (Ref:3241196)   #7
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Originally Posted by Born Racer View Post
I'm not a big fan of religion and doubtful it plays a positive part in a racing driver's mentality.
Me either and it does not...
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