The Formula One season headed into its summer break with
Sebastian Vettel still firmly in control - but with 11 of the 19 races done, who
are the winners and losers up and down the grid?
Last week we looked at the battle between Mercedes and
Renault - but further down the grid there are still plenty of teams and
potentially future star drivers desperately fighting to make their names...
THE MIDFIELD PACK
It's a tight-fought battle in the middle of the pack,
with Sauber, Force India and Toro Rosso split by just 13 points - and the fact
that Williams, with a miserable four points, are not even mentioned there must
be worrying for a team with 101 wins to their name.
Sauber are ahead in the trio thanks to Kamui Kobayashi's
consistent scoring and his fifth place in Monaco, pushing his average race
finish up to 9.4 and placing him ahead of Renault driver Petrov.
In such a close fight, scoring points with both drivers
can make a big difference - not only by gaining points but by preventing
another team from collecting them - yet Torro Rosso has only managed that twice
and Sauber and Force India just once. Kobayashi has seven points finishes, Buemi
is next with five then Adrian Sutil and Jaime Alguersuari on four, Paul di
Resta three and Sergio Perez two.
At Sauber, Kobayashi has collected 27 points with Perez
on just eight, but that paints a bit of an unfair picture.
In qualifying, Perez and Kobayashi have the same average
grid spot at 13.4 (although Kobayashi's improves if his 24th place
start in Turkey is ignored) while in the races, Perez missed two due to a crash
in Monaco and it was in those two that Kobayashi scored his best positions of
fifth and seventh. In the six races in which they have both finished, Kobayashi
has out-performed Perez 4-2 but in terms of points that reflects at just 5
points to Perez's 2.
Force India has seen an interesting battle, with Di Resta
rattling Sutil, a driver once thought of as an equal to Lewis Hamilton. Di
Resta has out-qualified Sutil on seven occasions and although he has shown some
strong performances in races, that is not reflected in the points, with Sutil
on 18 compared to Di Resta's eight.
At Toro Rosso, meanwhile, Buemi has the edge with a 7-4
advantage in both qualifying and race results (or 5-3 in the races they have
both finished). Despite this, however, Buemi has only out-scored his team-mate
by two points - something that reflects how important even a 10th
place finish can be these days.
The balance between these three teams and the drivers
within them will likely be determined by one or two freak results, but an
increase in double scoring and the ability to pick up the scraps more often
than the rest could also tip the balance.
Williams, meanwhile, have just two ninth place finishes
to show for their season after starting the year promising great things with a
tiny gearbox and radical rear-end aerodynamics on their car.
Rubens Barrichello has been terrible in qualifying, not
once making it into the top-ten shootout while Maldonado has made it on three
occasions. Starting low on the grid has ruined Barrichello's chances of good
race results, but on the other side Pastor Maldonado has not yet been able to
turn some of his promising grid positions into points.
THE TAIL GUARD
Lotus expected to shake free of their 'new team' rivals
and break into the established pack this year and on occasion they have managed
to do just that. However, while they certainly now firmly lead this group, they
are still well and truly within it.
In qualifying, while the four midfield teams have an
average grid position of 13.6, Lotus are averaging 18.7 between their two cars,
still some way back although significantly better than Virgin's 21.5 average
and HRT's 22.6.
In terms of race results, it's a similar story with only
Williams driver Maldonado in the midfield having any concerns over the best
Lotus average position of 16.5, but here Virgin are much closer to Lotus with
Timo Glock averaging 17.8 while Daniel Ricciardo is the best of the HRT drivers
with an average finish of 18.7 from his three races.
Within Lotus, Italian Jarno Trulli has come under
pressure from Heikki Kovalainen this year - and the man who was once renowned
for his pace on a single flying lap has been out-qualified by his Finnish
team-mate on 10 occasions so far.
Finishing rate has been a big issue at Lotus, with
Kovalainen dropping out five times and Trulli three, but in the races which has
seen them both go the distance, Trulli's saving grace is that it's 2-2 in terms
of finishing positions.
At Virgin, it is a similar scenario, with Glock bettering
Jerome D'Ambrosio 10-1 in qualifying but in races Glock also has the upper
hand, ending up higher on five of the seven times they both made it to the
Likewise at HRT, Liuzzi has had the upper hand on his
team-mates, out-qualifying Narain Karthikeyan 6-1 then beating the Indian
driver's replacement Ricciardo 2-1 so far. But the arrival of the Australian
could spell trouble for Liuzzi, as the newcomer currently has a marginally
better finishing record despite his inexperience.
The important thing to note back here, however, is that
none of these teams has scored a point yet. All were hoping, perhaps even
expecting, to at least get a couple of 10th places on the board, but
unless the reliability record of the teams ahead dramatically drops, it looks
like points will remain out of reach for another year.