Mid-season analyze of the 2012 F1 season

1 Red Bull Racing-Renault 216 points
The 2012 constructors champions. Question is just if they will also grab the driver’s title?

I just wrote a tweet on ( http://twitter.com/f1john ) saying “So next year, Red Bull will have two world champions driving for them in F1. yes, Mark Webber has signed for 2013.” So I think they can do it. Will Mark be able to pull away from Vettel enough to be the number one driver in the team when season is coming towards the end  though?

2 Ferrari 152 points
Fantastic in-season development and good driving from Alonso. As for Massa, I want to see more than one good race (Silverstone) before I say he is back in the game. Had he been able to be faster, Ferrari could have challenged Red Bull for the constructors title.

Possible driver champion in Alonso. There just can’t be enough positive words for how he has driven this year. Despite having a car that was well below expected standard, he drove the wheels off it to gather points in every race so far. Ferraris upgrades from the Spanish GP has brought him up to be favorite for the title.

3 Lotus-Renault 144 points
Lotus gets stronger for each race and will be fighting for race wins.

Great driving from Räikkönen in most of the races. He is up there and may be fighting for the title next year.

Grosjean is still quick but erratic. I seldom place him in my predictions for races, even when he qualifies well, because its max 50% chance he will do well. 50% chance he will crash. Probably on the first lap. He still drives according to “in or bust”. If he would manage to tone that down (some day) I think he could be fighting for the title. Still some years off though. He is quite an expensive driver to have in your team. Lots of overtime hours for mechanics and in the factory.

4 McLaren-Mercedes 142 points
The team that are usually best on in-season development has really failed on that bit this year. They started the season really good with Button winning and Hamilton third in Australia and then silently drifting backwards. I hope they come back on top soon, but I wouldn’t place them on the podium   for the upcoming 2-3 races. But as I said, they are usually fantastic with development so I hope I am proven wrong.

Button has taken 7 points in the last six races. He complains about having no grip. It can’t just be “feedback for the engineers”, can it? He seems both clueless and uninterested at the moment. Something weird is happening there.

Hamilton took pole in the two first races of the season and were on the podium for the three first. Then something happened. He has qualified well in six of nine races but after the three first races only finished on the podium in Canada, which he won.

5 Mercedes 98 points
Mercedes struggled more than anyone expected during the first half but in the last races seem to be much more comfortable. Especially Schumacher has found something in his car that he lacked earlier and when he is on it, he is fun to watch.

Rosberg is a guy that picks up his points and occasionally does something great. He hasn’t really surprised me at all this season.

6 Sauber-Ferrari 60 points
Sauber is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you will get. Looking at their statistics you would say they are a midfield team, which technically is true, but Perez has managed to do some really good drives and has taken the car to podium twice. In Canada he came from P15 to third. They understand the tyres well and can be creative in their strategies. Kobayashi has done some remarkable overtakings, but his results have been mediocre. Best results a P3 in qualifying in China and a P5 finish in Spain. He needs to step up his qualifying or he won’t be in F1 for much longer, which would be a shame since he is always fun to watch.

7 Williams-Renault 47 points
Williams has the great test driver Valtteri Bottas waiting on the sidelines. He will probably get a drive for next year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets to do a race or two instead of Senna already this season. Senna seems to not really understand the car. Or the tyres. When compared to the speed Maldonado has, it’s obvious he has work to do.

Maldonado on the other hand has looked at too many Senna videos.Using the classic “scare your opponents to leave room” drive may work in lower categories, here it starting to look a bit ridiculous. His speed though, that is without question. His sponsorship for the team is also vital so if he race a bit safer, he could be on the podium again this season, but I wouldn’t bet on him winning more races this year.

8 Force India-Mercedes 44 points
Force India is as much midfielder as you can get. It takes a lot of effort to get that performance hike needed to mix with the big names. They often finish the races around where they qualify so they need to get into Q3 a bit more often.

Di Resta is doing a solid job and has taken points in five races so far. Hulkenberg is learning and his fifth place at the European GP was well needed for his confidence.

9 STR-Ferrari 6 points
Toro Rosso is the big negative surprise of the season. Here we may see the downside of the tough “win or go home” style Red Bull has initiated for Toro Rosso. There really isn’t much to say except that it must be quite depressing in the team now. Will both Vergne and Ricciardo finish the season?

10 Caterham-Renault 0 points
Kovalainen has really driven the Caterham beyond its limits this season. It’s fantastic to see and I hope he gets a good car for next year. Unfortunately Kovalainen doesn’t make Petrov look particularly good. Would be good to see Petrov do a couple of good qualifyings and races in the second half.

11 Marussia-Cosworth 0 points
Positive words for Marussia is “they are stable”. Negative side of the same thing is “they are really bad”. Pic has managed P15 as best on two occasions. Otherwise he has been useless. Glock has used his experience to do well in the races, but the qualifying pace is horrible.

12 HRT-Cosworth 0 points
HRT has no budget, no performance and no drivers. Well, de la Rosa does what he can and it’s great that he gets to race some after all these years as test and reserve driver, but it can’t be fun, can it? Karthikeyan? Oh, come on.

The second half of 2012
We might see things settle now as we are at the midpoint of the season, but there will be surprises and we will hopefully get a fight until the finish for the drivers champion crown. At the moment Webber and Alonso seems to be the best bets, but we have seen things turn around quickly in the last races. I will be watching this year closely.

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