Breaking with my tradition of leaving everything to the last minute here on backmarkersf1, I’m bringing this round of our alternate WDC standings early, with plenty time to spare for you to take it in ahead of the next GP. Partly because it was also very easy to compile this week since we saw only 2 changes of WDC position throughout the field.
The Top Dogs
1. Vettel 141
2. Button 75
3. Alonso 64
4. Webber 62
5. Hamilton 56
6. Massa 13
While most fans, teams and pundits alike were generally quite impressed with the new track in India, the top dogs made it a very boring spectacle at the front of the grid. We saw Vettel pulling his usual 5 second gap in the first few laps to then manage that gap for the rest of the race like a baws.
Button offered some excitement with a nice pass on Webber on lap 1, who despite making a fairly good start for once still did not manage to finish the first lap ahead or equal to where he started it. Button tried to keep Vettel honest and did well to hang on but it was soon clear Seb had more than enough in hand to stave off any serious challenge.
Alonso got by a disappointing Webber in the pits to close out the top 4 and drag that pos Ferrari on the podium yet again. Luckily we had good old friends Massa and Hamilton get up close and personal, resulting yet again in tears and whining from Felipe baby. To pretty much everyone’s astonishment – not least Rowan Atkinson who wins the prize for most epic reaction face in a GP ever- Massa got called off his high horse and slapped with a penalty.
While again ridiculously inconsistent, I for one have been screaming all year that the lead driver also have a responsibility to help avoid contact, and Massa just turned in knowing full well a car was there as he’d been spotting his mirrors quite obviously before the contact. You cannot just give carte blanche to a lead driver to turn into whoever he wants and still be in the right. For a more in depth discussion on this turn to the latest backmarkersf1 podcast. Massa then soon repeated his mistake from quali to break his butt on a hard sausage as he fails to score points in the alternate wdc yet again, remaining stuck at 13 points, a whopping 43 points behind his best friend Lewis. Button is very close to clinching second as he now leads Nando by 11 points with just 20 left up for grabs and chances are quite slim that Mr. Eyebrows will be able to clinch all of those.
1. Rosberg 257
2. Schumacher 218
3. Sutil 169
4. Di Resta 152
5. Petrov 142
6. Kobayashi 134
7. Alguersuari 131
8. Buemi 118
9. Perez 96
10. Barrichello 69
11. Maldonado 38
12. Senna 27
We saw some more jockeying for position going on in the midfield, with both Mercs profiting the most from the MAS-HAM love fest as they finish on yet another 1-2 in the midfield. Repeating his strong end of season form, Sutil comes best of the rest behind the Mercs, and these kinds of solid drives is exactly what he needs to save his drive at FI. With his teammate out of the high points scoring position, Sutil created a little bit of breathing space again after Di Resta started to put him under pressure with some solid drives of his own.
Di Resta and the Hulk may get a lot of man love, and while he’s been incredibly dumb to go glassing owners of other fF teams in the neck and I hate to admit it, Adrian is proving he’s deserving of a seat in F1, though it’s looking like it won’t be with FI so then with Williams perhaps if they judge the Raikkonnen move too risky. Di Resta had an aggressive tire strat backfire, starting on the hards and hoping for a safety car but I was happy to see FI get some points in their pseudo home race.
The hard tire gamble did not really pay off for any of the three drivers attempting it, namely Di Resta, Petrov and Perez, though Perez managed another gritty drive to take home 10 points but another very solid third place for Jaime makes it now impossible for Perez to catch up. Buemi’s run of bad luck continued as his engine blew, and this allowed Jaime to leapfrog him in the standings after trailing the whole season. Another DNF for Kobayashi – this time his own fault as he rejoined the track, cutting into the path of Glock’s Virgin and ruining the latter’s race as well- even sees the young Spaniard close up to a mere 3 points behind Kamikaze Kamui. Petrov managed some points in a fairly anonymous race but now trails Di Resta by 10, as Senna finally performed decently again in a car struggling with KERS gremlins to get his tally up to 27.
Rubinho did himself and his quest for a 2012 F1 seat no favors by ramming into the ass of his teammate at the start, but somehow managed to pick up the final point. Kobayashi’s misfortune was of course also triggered by a gung ho Barrichello missing his braking point and pushing Kamui wide. With Williams openly looking for a new driver, and Maldonado all but confirmed thanks to his petro dollars, times are getting tough for Rubinho. Maldonado for his part performed decently until a mechanical failure saw him retire from the race.
1. Kovalainen 108
2. Trulli 85
3. D’Ambrosio 66
4. Glock 64
5. Liuzzi 26
6. Ricciardo 24
7. Khartikeyan 15
Kovalainen continued his domination of the backmarkers field by snatching yet another pole and a win, now also mathematically clinching him the backmarkers WDC. During the first two stints he was even able to run as high as tenth, in part due to the hard tire strats and accidents of other guys, but also due to genuine pace.
For a long time I kept my eye on the live timing and he was definitely keeping Maldonado honest, hovering at around 4 secs behind for a whole stint. Karun Chandhok must have been raging to see himself denied the drive of his life by a guy who finished 5 laps down though granted, Trulli was not to blame. He got punted into a spin by that other Indian exiting turn three, suffering a puncture and some floor damage and did well to bring that crippled car home. Speaking of Narain, I must admit I was quite impressed with his performance – bar the Trulli punt.
After all, he had not raced the car for months yet despite his antics with Trulli he kept Ricciardo honest as the HRT duo spent most of the race ahead of a struggling D’Ambrosio. With Liuzzi not racing and Trulli’s DNF, Daniel picked up solid points for fourth after losing out to Narain with a bad pitstop and now only trails Vitantonio by 2 points, very impressive since he had about 7 races less to do get there.
Jerome managed to jump the HRTs in the final stint but for a while it was looking very bleak for the Belgian. Nonetheless, his second place here sees him leapfrog the unlucky Glock for third in the WDC, but with reports now surfacing that Frenchie rich kid – yet also quite talented I must admit- Charles Pic is eying the Marussia seat, and Wickens also waiting in the wings, Jerome will need to beat Timo fair and square in the next two races to retain any hope of a contract renewal.
In a late but fun addition to these posts I”l now start giving my driver of the race awards and invite you to do the same in the comments below!
my driver of the race…….Kovalainen. For racing the midfield in earnest with a car that’s getting better but is still a few tenths shy. He’s been posting one flawless weekend after another and deserves this one.