German Grand Prix: Team-Mate Battles

Red Bull LogoSebastian Vettel

Standings: Vettel 7, Webber 2

Sebastian came home with gold while Webber was forced to recover after yet another early-race setback. Whether or not the Lotus was faster than Vettel’s RB9 on the day is irrelevant – it was the German who came home ahead of his native crowd to extend his lead in the championship. A strong start jumped him from third to first and once Webber was knocked out of contention with a wandering wheel you could’ve been forgiven for thinking the race was going to be easily had for Seb. The resurgence of Lotus put him under great pressure, but he wasn’t about to give up a home win that easily. Webber’s recovery from a last (and a lap down before the safety car) was impressive, but the Australian is going to need a victory soon if he has any hope in leaving Formula One on a high.

 

SCUDERIA-FERRARI-20111Fernando Alonso

Standings: Alonso 8, Massa 1

Once again it was Massa who had the legs in qualifying, but an early race brain-fade by the Brazilian sent him spiralling out of the race. Felipe’s performances in relation to his team-mate is becoming a bit embarrassing for Ferrari. With a wealth of young drivers who’d not be too opposed to signing for the Italian marquee for the next year (or ten), it’s a wonder why Maranello stays on with a driver who’s never been particularly impressive. One of these days it’s going to cost the team a championship.

Alonso did all he could be expected to do in the Ferrari around the Nurburgring. It wasn’t a win – and he finished well behind the man he wants to beat – but fourth and 12 points will be some sort of consolidation for the Spaniard.

 

mcLaren logoJenson Button

Standings: Button 6, Perez 3

Jenson rose back to the top of his game in Germany, out-pacing his team-mate all weekend and finishing a solid fifth position at the chequered flag. It was an important return to (reasonable) form for McLaren, who have until now looked decidedly unimpressive. The team won out on strategy and their decision to run a two-stopper vaulted them much higher than their pace suggested they were capable of. Whether or not the team can build on this for the Hungarian Grand Prix onward is another matter. Perez has looked a match for Button in the last few races and he’ll be wanting to get on top again before the lengthy summer break.

 

Lotus F1 Team -  Official LogoKimi Raikkonen

Standings: Raikkonen 7, Grosjean 2

Though it was Grosjean who looked to have Raikkonen covered in the first stint, it was the latter who came to the fore late in the race. Indeed, it may have been the team’s reluctance to tell Romain to let his team-mate through that cost them their second victory of 2013. Germany was classic Kimi; strong pace, level-headed racing and calm delivery. Unfortunately for Raikkonen and the team, no matter how strong they come on it (almost) always seems to be too late to snatch victory from Sebastian Vettel. After the misery of Silverstone, perhaps the German Grand Prix was a sign of things to come from the Enstone squad. Maybe Grosjean can keep it in the points in future. Here’s hoping.

 

Mercedes_AMG_Petronas_logoLewis Hamilton

Standings: Rosberg 3, Hamilton 6

Lewis won out in qualifying while the team faltered with Nico’s timing. Though Lewis was vocal in his criticism of the tyre situation during the race, he still came out ahead of his team-mate at the end. Perhaps Hamilton’s complaints were exaggerated out of frustration – the last two events the team had looked to have sorted out the tyre issues. They returned in Germany, but perhaps the team will have learnt enough from the races past that they are able to come back in Hungary and fight for glory.

Nico started in 11th and struggled to catch the front-runners all race. Also struggling with issues, he came home ninth and four places behind his team-mate.

 

Teamlogo_SauberF1TeamNico Hulkenberg

Standings: Hulkenberg 8, Gutierrez 1

A rare point for Hulkenberg was the prize for one of his more impressive races of 2013. On a day when rivals Toro Rosso struggled to come to terms with the Nurburgring’s conditions (and the tyres supplied), Hulkenberg rose to the challenge and came home in tenth. Having cancelled his contract with the team, the German is looking for a new stable next year. He’ll look a bit silly if he’s not able to find a home though.

Gutierrez qualified behind and finished eleven seconds adrift of his team-mate. Not a terrible result, but one he’ll not remember with fond memories at the end of the year.

 

Sahara_Force_India_LogoPaul di Resta

Standings: di Resta 7, Sutil 2

Like Toro Rosso, Force India struggled at the Nurburgring. It’s no surprise then that both cars finished outside the points. Again it was di Resta who came home ahead of his team-mate, though a four second loss isn’t going to hurt Sutil’s confidence too much. If the next few races are like this, Paul is going to regret the issues he had during qualifying the last two races. Adrian will need a number of strong results in the next few events if he has any expectation of being re-signed by the ever-improving Force India.

 

williams-f1-logoPastor Maldonado

Standings: Maldonado 5, Bottas 4

Williams were robbed of points this weekend. It’s just their luck that in the one race they’re in a position for double points they have issues in the pit-lane late in the event that relegate them to the lowly mid-field. Maldonado showed his supremacy in Germany, though he fell a tenth short of beating Bottas in qualifying. It’s hard to criticise either driver for their performances as their car is obviously not capable of delivering results consistently (or results at all, to be fair). Valtteri entered 2013 with such high accolades it must be frustrating to be caught in the battle for 12th every race. They’re the type of debut years that can ruin promising careers – let’s just hope a strong team has an eye on him for 2014.

 

4218438_origDaniel Ricciardo

Standings: Vergne 3, Ricciardo 6

Ricciardo’s qualifying prowess came to the front yet again. Fifth in qualifying one weekend and then sixth the next isn’t going to do him any harm in his fight for that Red Bull seat. After Vergne’s dominating results in Monaco and Canada, the Frenchman looks to have fallen slightly to the wayside. He’s an aggressive character and you’d hope that the battle for Mark Webber’s seat would push him on. We’ll have to see how he goes from Hungary.

STR struggled with tyres all weekend and though Daniel was in eighth before the safety car, the team’s decision to pit him the lap before Maylander came out meant his closest rivals all scored a ‘free’ stop. The STR8 had been poor on the harder compound all weekend and losing five positions in the stops only compounded the issue. Hungary next and hopefully smoother sailing for the Australian and French pairing.

 

caterham-f1-team-logo-design-via-imjustcreative3Chales Pic

Standings: Pic 7, van der Garde 2

Charles came out of Saturday eight tenths ahead of his team-mate and came home ahead on Sunday. Despite Williams’s struggling, Caterham was 1.2 seconds adrift after Q1. It must be frustrating for Charles to see the team be making such little progress after three-and-a-half years in the sport, but if he has to be at one of the bottom teams then Caterham is the one he’d probably prefer to be at. Neither driver’s race was spectacular, but the point goes to the guy who was able to deliver the best result out of the machinery. Charles Pic: 1.

 

marussia-logo-2Jules Bianchi

Standings: Bianchi 8, Chilton 1

Despite an engine failure, Bianchi was well ahead of his team-mate before the incident. All I can think of when writing the Marussia segment each week is just how badly Max Chilton is doing this year. It makes no sense that there can be people like Stefano Coletti and Felipe Nasr in GP2 that aren’t being offered a position in the team. They could even give Tom Chilton a drive – you’d not even need to change the lettering on the #23 Marussia.

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