Following on from last week’s article, here’s a look at how the top five teams have fared so far:
Lotus have done everything but win a race so far. The E20 was quick out-of-the-box and the team went into the August break on a high after their drivers finished second and third in Hungary – as they also did in Bahrain.
A lack of pace in qualifying has been their weakness so far and is the main reason why they haven’t won a race yet. But their car’s excellent pace over a race stint makes them a strong candidate for a win in the upcoming races at Spa and Monza.
Kimi Raikkonen’s comeback has gone superbly well and he is a credible outside contender for the championship. He’s priced at 12.0 to win it.
After a promising start to the season Mercedes seem to have lost their way. Nico Rosberg won from pole position in China and Michael Schumacher might have done the same in Monaco had he not lost pole there due to a penalty from the previous race.
When the season began there was much talk of how their novel ‘Double DRS’ (Drag Reduction System) might be their secret weapon. But it hasn’t worked out that way.
On pure performance they are closer to the front-runners than they were last year, but the F1 field has closed up and Mercedes increasingly have a fight on their hands to keep the likes of Williams, Force India and Sauber at bay.
McLaren started the year with a quick car but failed to get the most out of it, largely due to ‘operational errors’ – problems in the pits and tactical mistakes. The question now is whether either of their drivers can claw their way back into the championship fight.
Hamilton’s second win of the year in Hungary put him on the right track. He’s 47 points behind Fernando Alonso with nine races to go and a maximum of 225 points available.
If you think he can do it, you’ll get odds of 5.5 on him right now. But note that Raikkonen’s odds are more than twice as long, and he’s just one point behind Hamilton.
Jenson Button has pulled himself out of an alarming dip in form he suffered earlier in the year. But his points tally of 76 is less than half that of Alonso.
When Sebastian Vettel’s RB8 failed on lap 34 of the European Grand Prix it robbed him of 25 points – and handed an extra seven to Alonso. That 32-point swing accounts for much of the gap between them in the standings.
But Vettel is not out of this yet, even with the FIA not passing up any chance to ban Red Bull’s more controversial innovations.
Nor, for that matter, is his team mate Mark Webber, who remains two points ahead of him in the championship but has had a couple of weak races since signing a new Red Bull deal last month.
Alonso holds a 40-point lead over his closest title rival and is priced at 2.0 to claim his third world championship. But is he really such a sure thing?
His driving has been nothing short of masterful this year. He’s barely put a wheel out of line or left a position unclaimed his car was capable of taking.
But Hungary showed Ferrari’s rivals still have the edge on pure performance. That he finished in front of a McLaren and a Red Bull owed a lot to those two teams making questionable strategic calls.
If he can do it, those who bet on him when he was tipped by this column with odds of 15.0 at the start, will be laughing.
Keith Collantine is the editor of Formula One blog F1 Fanatic
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