The 2013 midway point

This season/year has actually gone quite fast and I find myself getting more and more excited for the latter stages of the season. It’s still not clear as to who will win either championships, so it seems like a good time to do a post on the mid-season point. Instead of doing a report on each drivers and teams performances, I thought I’d engage the fans and ask them a bunch of questions:

I asked twitter 5 questions to answer –
1. Anything surprised you?
2. Best win?
3. Who has impressed you?
4. Best performing rookie?
5. Anything disappointing?
(Twitter has a character limit, so apologies to the short questions)

1. Has anything surprised you?
McLaren’s lack of pace –
I think I speak like several others when I say I get headaches trying to figure out what’s happened. The main question is, How do you go from arguably the quickest car in the previous season, to a team struggling to stay in the top 10 in the next? A lot of people have said perhaps it’s the departure of Lewis Hamilton, because Lewis seemed to score points where Jenson would sometimes struggle. You also have to take into account Jenson didn’t always get in to Q3 last year – though it’s unclear as to whether that was down to driver or car performance.

Mercedes –
After an appalling second half to last season, I wasn’t expecting much from Mercedes. In fact I thought they’d be the ones fighting for 5th place in the standings with Sauber, but turns out it’s McLaren and Force India fighting for that position (who are two other surprising performers, Sauber not so impressing but Force India finding some extra pace). Rosberg’s win in Monaco was stunning, as was Lewis’ win in Hungary, and if they keep this up I expect they’ll be strong contenders to jumble up both championships.

Result from the fans :
McLaren’s lack of pace: 15 votes
Mercedes pace: 8 votes
Williams lack of pace: 4 votes
Ferrari’s lack of pace: 3 votes
Force India’s pace: 2 votes
Toro Rosso’s pace: 1 vote
Pirelli tyres: 1 vote
Sauber’s lack of pace: 1 vote
Mercedes tyre wear: 1 vote
Grosjean’s performance: 1 vote
Ricciardo’s performance: 1 vote

2. Best win?
I was really surprised at Lewis’ win in Hungary, just because of how mature the drive was, and how competitive the Mercedes seemed to be. Kimi’s win in Melbourne was brilliant as was Sebastian’s first win in Germany, but I think Rosberg’s win in Monaco does it for me. The first father, son duo to win there, and despite the number of safety cars, Nico still managed to control the race from start to finish.

Result:
Hamilton in Hungary: 13 votes
Kimi in Australia: 12 votes
Rosberg in Monaco: 6 votes
Rosberg in Britain: 5 votes
Alonso in Spain: 5 votes
Vettel in Germany: 3 votes

3. Who has impressed you?
Paul Di Resta –
Despite his qualifying woe’s, Paul still managed to scrape some points by the end of the race. He came so close to his first podium finish in Bahrain, and had he done that, he would have put himself in the eyes of the top teams. After a disappointing end to last year (not moving up to a better team) Paul was determined to make his mark this year, and if he sorts out his qualifying performances, then he might just be en route.

Romain Grosjean –
I think he is just misunderstood. His past in Formula 1 is getting in the way of his real talent, and there are several people out there who won’t give him that second chance to prove himself. I felt his drive through penalty was a bit harsh from overtaking Massa during the Hungarian Grand Prix, as there may have been a few other drivers who could have gained an advantage by going out of the white lines – but rules are rules! Maybe the Frenchman will be able to achieve his first win very soon.

Result:
Ricciardo: 9 votes
Di Resta: 8 votes
Grosjean: 5 votes
Raikkonen: 5 votes
Rosberg: 5 votes
Bianchi: 4 votes
Force India: 2 votes
Button: 1 vote
Bottas: 1 vote
Hamilton: 1 vote
Vergne: 1 vote
Vettel: 1 vote
Mercedes: 1 vote

4. Best performing rookie?
In all honesty, It’s between Bianchi and Bottas. The other three have been satisfactory, and they haven’t done anything special for me to be saying them. Mind you, Van der Garde is slowly getting there, he put his Caterham into Q2 in Monaco and achieved a career best of 14th place during the Hungarian Grand Prix. But for me, Valtteri Bottas is the one that has stood out. He qualified the underperforming Williams on the second row for the Canadian Grand Prix and has shown a lot of potential through the season. I wonder what he could do with a more competitive car…

Result:
Bottas: 16 votes
Bianchi: 14 votes
Gutierrez: 2 votes
Van der Garde: 1 vote
Chilton: 0 votes

5. Has anything disappointed you?
Pirelli tyres –
Not so much the actual tyres themselves, because apart from the dangerous delaminations from the British GP, there hasn’t been anything wrong with them. The FIA told them to make them degrade faster than they did last season, and that’s what they did. But anyway, Pirelli have disappointed me with the way they handled each situation. Almost like they were being bullied into changing something that didn’t need changing. Because of all of that nonsense, the relationship between the FIA and Pirelli has become strained, and it won’t surprise me if we have a different tyre manufacturer next year.

Mark Webber’s retirement –
I don’t think it’s a mistake as such, but I do think he should have had stayed in the sport for perhaps another season – even if it wasn’t to be with Red Bull. Mark doesn’t care about what he says, because he says what he wants, when he wants to. His personality will be missed, but he will have some good memories to take from his time in Formula 1. I wish him the best of luck in the Porsche Sports car Programme.

Result:
McLaren’s lack of pace: 16 votes
Pirelli: 12 votes
Williams lack of pace: 4 votes
Webber’s retirement: 2 votes
Vettel winning: 2 votes
Lotus pit stop in Germany: 1 vote
Mercedes tyre issues: 1 vote
Gutierrez: 1 vote
Chilton: 1 vote
No-one being able to challenge Vettel: 1 vote
How Vettel handled Malaysia: 1 vote

Thank you to everyone who sent in their answers! Have a good summer break, and I’ll hear from you all soon!

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