Team mates compared: the balance of power after four races

2011 F1 season

In Formula 1, your biggest rival is your team mate.

How are the drivers doing up against each other after the first four races of the season?

Compare their performances so far below.

Red Bull

Mark Webber was more than able to keep Sebastian Vettel honest last year, but there’s been little sign of that so far in 2011.

Granted, Webber’s had his share of misfortune, mainly with the Kinetic Energy Recovery System. But nor can you say he’s made anything like as much of his opportunities as Vettel has.

Not only is Vettel quicker over a single lap, but he’s able to make his tyres last longer as well. Istanbul was the first race where Webber didn’t make one more stop than his team mate, but Vettel admitted afterwards he didn’t need to make that fourth stop.

Telling stat: Vettel is the only driver to have spent every lap of every race this year in front of his team mate.

McLaren

Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, McLaren, Istanbul, 2011

Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button, McLaren, Istanbul, 2011

As last year, Lewis Hamilton has the upper hand in qualifying to the tune of a few tenths of a second, but Button isn’t far behind in the races.

As was expected before the season began, Button has been able to do fewer pit stops than Hamilton in some races. It paid off in Malaysia, but not in Turkey.

Telling stat: Button has made one pit stop fewer than Hamilton in two of the four races so far.

Ferrari

Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Istanbul, 2011

Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Istanbul, 2011

Fernando Alonso has consistently out-qualified Felipe Massa this year. But good starts by Massa saw him pass his team mate on the first lap in the first three races.

Massa was expecting the switch from Bridgestone to Pirelli tyres to suit his driving style better this year. Although he’s not been on Alonso’s pace there are signs of progress.

Following speculation he might not see out his Ferrari contract in 2012, Luca di Montezemolo voiced his confidence in Massa this week.

Telling stat: Massa is a third of a second slower than Alonso on average this year and hasn’t out-qualified him for ten races.

Mercedes

The competition between Michael Schumacher and Nico Rosberg was the subject of an article here earlier this week.

So far in 2011, Rosberg is maintaining the advantage he had over Schumacher last year.

Telling stat: Rosberg has spent 84 laps inside the top five, Schumacher just one.

Renault

Vitaly Petrov, Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Istanbul, 2011

Vitaly Petrov, Nick Heidfeld, Renault, Istanbul, 2011

Last year Vitaly Petrov lagged further behind his team mate than almost any other driver.

But with a year’s experience and Nick Heidfeld having taken the place of Robert Kubica, Petrov is fairing rather better.

There’s not much in it, though: they’ve taken a podium each and banged wheels while fighting for position in Istanbul.

Telling stat: Petrov?s average start position is 7.75 to Heidfeld?s 12.25

Williams

Pastor Maldonado’s qualifying performance against Rubens Barrichello is respectable so far for a rookie up against the most experienced driver of all time.

Barrichello has an edge in the races, though, and Maldonado has found the chasing Lotuses too close for comfort at times.

Telling stat: Maldonado is yet to complete a racing lap inside the top ten.

Force India

Paul di Resta, Force India, Shanghai, 2011

Paul di Resta, Force India, Shanghai, 2011

Adrian Sutil was seldom troubled by Vitantonio Liuzzi last year. But rookie team mate Paul di Resta is looking a very different proposition.

It took Sutil until the fourth race to out-qualify Di Resta for the first time. The pair have been more closely-matched in the races and this looks like being one of the more interesting inter-team contests of the year.

Telling stat: Di Resta?s average lap time advantage of 1.1 seconds is flattered by Sutil?s spin in Melbourne. But the rookie is still 3-1 up in qualifying.

Sauber

Sauber have by far the least experienced driver pairing in F1 this year. Kamui Kobayashi, now in his second year, has finished in the top ten in all three races so far, though the team’s disqualification left him point-less there.

That hit rookie team mate Sergio Perez even harder as he had gambled on a one-stop strategy – in a race where others made three – to finish seventh.

But he hasn’t been able to finish in the top ten since then.

Telling stat: Both drivers have used different pit-stop strategies in each race.

Toro Rosso

The pressure is on Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari as Daniel Ricciardo is waiting in the wings to grab a seat at the team – either next year or sooner.

Last year the balance of power shifted from Buemi to Alguersuari over the course of the season but so far this year it has shifted back to Buemi. He mounted a strong run to ninth in Istanbul, while Alguersuari has had trouble making his tyres last.

Telling stat: Alguersuari has needed one more pit stop than Buemi in two of the three races he has finished.

Lotus

It’s at least as one-sided between Heikki Kovalainen and Jarno Trulli as it was last year – possibly even more so.

Kovalainen is comfortably ahead, although Trulli has been beset by power steering problems which, despite improvement, he does not think the team have yet got fully on top of.

Telling stat: Kovalainen in four-nil up in qualifying over the acclaimed one-lap specialist.

HRT

No surprises here: Vitantonio Liuzzi has Narain Karthikeyan easily handled, the Indian driver having been out of F1 for five years prior to his return,

Telling stat: Karthikeyan has been the slowest driver in Q1 in every session this year.

Virgin

Lumbered with an uncompetitive car for the second year in a row, the last thing Timo Glock needed was a competitive young team mate snapping at his heels.

But Jerome d’Ambrosio has out-qualified Glock twice so far and looked as least as handy as the MVR-02 will allow in the races.

Telling stat: The most closely-matched team mates in qualifying, setting times within a tenth of a second of each other on average.

2011 F1 season


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95 comments on Team mates compared: the balance of power after four races

  1. slr said on 14th May 2011, 13:12

    It’s still early, though most of the teams have one driver clearly ahead. Renault and Force India seem to have the closest matched team mates.

    • Tango said on 14th May 2011, 13:38

      And that in itself is telling. It shouldn’t really be the case. Isn’t Sutil a genius who hasn’t had the chance of having a great car before? Isn’t Heidfield at least as good as Kubica?
      I would have rather thought that an ever too old F1 driver would be soundly beaten by a newly crowned GP2 champion. That a 7 time world champion would have the measure of the n°1 underachieving German.

      Really disturbing ;)

      • slr said on 14th May 2011, 14:05

        I’m not sure Kubica would have done that much better than Heidfeld and Petrov, he’d possibly have more points but I doubt would have won or finished 2nd. Heidfeld hasn’t had the best luck, though it’s up to him to make his own luck, he can get it done in the race, but his qualifying pace needs to improve.

        As for Force India, Sutil was good during the first half of 2010, but in the second half he was lackluster. I’ve never seen Sutil as a great driver who just needs a good car, he is decent but not spectacular.

        • Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 14th May 2011, 14:53

          I’m not sure Kubica would have done that much better than Heidfeld and Petrov

          Neither. Vitaly Petrov has made leaps and bounds this year; not only has he scored his maiden podium, but he has qualified in Q3 at all four races and finished in the points at the three he made it to the end of. Yet people still claim that somehow, Robert Kubica would be winning races in the car. Which he would have if everything had remained constant and the gap between himself and Petrov would have been the same in 2011 as it was in 2010, assuming Petrov kept up his 2011 performances. But that’s not the way the world works, and claiming that Kubica would have done better takes away from a driver who has demonstrated one of the most dramatic turn-arounds in form in the sport’s history.

          • RIISE (@riise) said on 14th May 2011, 18:19

            He has’t improved that much, for a start the Renault is a much stronger package than last year and now there is no need to push it too hard like he was last year.

            There is no doubt Kubica would be performing better than Petrov, it’s just the way it is. Petrov isn’t destined for anything other than being a solid 2nd driver, what you think performances against Heidfeld can be an accurate guide to the results Kubica would get?

          • butterdori (@butterdori) said on 14th May 2011, 19:12

            I feel Renault has been somewhat held up by their drivers. Despite showing strong potential after the first two races, I cannot but think that a better driver would have led the team to more points. Yes, they have so far stayed in the top 10. But they are fighting more with the midfield teams than the top teams during the races.

          • Prisoner Monkeys said on 15th May 2011, 7:11

            There is no doubt Kubica would be performing better than Petrov, it’s just the way it is.

            I’m not disagreeing with that. I’m just saying that the difference between Petrov and Kubica would not be what it was last year. When Petrov came third in Melbourne, people claimed that Kubica could have won the race – but the truth is that Kubica probably only would have finished third. Sure, he would have been closer to Hamilton and Vettel than Petrov was, but he would not have been any higher.

        • Icthyes said on 14th May 2011, 16:16

          I have to agree with this too.

          In Australia, Heidfeld’s KERS failed. Probably would have happened to Kubica too since it’s “his” car.

          In Malaysia, Heidfeld got a slightly lucky podium. Hard to see Kubica beating Button.

          In the last two races, Kubica would have got a better points haul, but that’s it.

          • butterdori (@butterdori) said on 14th May 2011, 19:14

            In the first two races, it’s no doubt that it would have been difficult for Kubica to do better. But on the last two races, I’m not so sure.

      • Randy (@randy) said on 14th May 2011, 15:19

        Isn’t Sutil a genius who hasn’t had the chance of having a great car before?

        I know i’m at risk of getting a glass cut through my neck, but i just don’t get it. Can anyone please show me one example of Sutil’s amazing genius in past two years? Or his genius is that he is a crash magnet?

        Sutil fans, please respond. All three of you.

        • HxCas (@hxcas) said on 14th May 2011, 15:42

          He has had a few good races (Monaco 2008 springs to mind) but I think you can say that about most drivers who have been around as long as him

          • RIISE (@riise) said on 14th May 2011, 18:21

            You can’t base Sutil’s potential on Monaco, after the incident with Kimi a lot of people jumped on the Sutil band wagon about him being blindingly quick. In my eyes considering the time he has had in the sport he is the worst performer.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 14th May 2011, 19:30

            Sutil isn’t really a “top” driver IMO, but in fairness, he did very well almost every weekend in 2010 apart from Korea. Belgium and Malaysia being his highlights.

          • HxCas (@hxcas) said on 15th May 2011, 4:30

            I’m using his race in Monaco as an example not because he was taken out by Kimi, but because he was 4th in a Force India (a car that didn’t score points at all that season) with roughly 10 laps to go before he was taken out by Kimi. That has to count for something.

          • ed24f1 (@ed24f1) said on 15th May 2011, 17:18

            @HxCas – Sutil only got as high as 4th because he passed at least one car under yellow flags.

        • Icthyes said on 14th May 2011, 16:20

          Sutil was highly-rated by his former team-mates in lower formulae. I haven’t seen much of the same in F1 though.

          • RIISE (@riise) said on 14th May 2011, 18:22

            So was Liuzzi.

          • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 14th May 2011, 21:16

            So was Liuzzi.

            Hahaha! Maybe Sutil and Liuzzi was in reality one of the best driver pairings ever, and the Force India is just a total dog of a car that they were both driving beyond its potential. After all, DiResta beat our currently unbeatable world champion as team mates, and didn’t he beat Hamilton and Kubica on occasion in the lower formulae as well?

          • Randy (@randy) said on 14th May 2011, 23:23

            So was Liuzzi

            Well apparently Liuzzi was and is godlike in Karts, so i guess their reputation must come from lower formulae. F1 seems to be different in that respect.

            Kobayashi wasn’t godlike in anything (as far as i know) before he got into F1 on the other hand, but it helps him that he is utterly mental, that’s why we all love him.

          • TFLB said on 15th May 2011, 7:11

            @Randy: as far as I remember Kobayashi was quite godlike in Formula Renault 2.0.

        • Todfod (@todfod) said on 15th May 2011, 8:15

          Sutil put a force India into Q3 on a fairly regular basis in 2010. That car had no potential to really challlenge for points race in race out, yet Sutil was consistently taking points of the Mercedes amd Renaults. Sutil’s defensive driving against Lewis in his Mclaren last year in Malaysia (I think) was really good. His performances in the post spa races in 2009 were pretty good too… including a front row quali performance at Monza. Monaco 2008 was solid too.

          Unfortunately people remember his brain fade moments too much, and times he screws up when he is trying to push that FI beyond its limits.

          I’m not a Sutil fan, and I do not consider him to be in the top 5 to 6 drivers on the grid, but he definitely is better than half the drivers on the current grid.

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 15th May 2011, 18:33

            Actually I think Sutil is a very solid driver and belongs in F1. He was pretty good in 2009 and in 2010 did a great job at times.

            What really gets me is how some people have their best of moments when they can talk any driver down for!

        • dau said on 15th May 2011, 12:19

          Nobody claims he is an “amazing genius”, but he’s definitely not as crap as many people want to make him – he’s pretty decent most of the time and sometimes brings brilliant performances, Monaco 2008 being an example.

          Also, he’s not a crash magnet anymore, even though neither the commentators nor some of the fans seem to notice.

          • Don Mateo said on 15th May 2011, 19:20

            Sutil isn’t a bad driver, but I think the amount of time he’s been with the same team is rather telling. Yes, Force India are a much better prospect now than they were bsck in 2008, but they’re still far from being front-runners, and if Sutil was really hot stuff then I think he’d have been signed up by one of the other teams by now. If I recall correctly, there’s been little more than rumours linking him to other teams that have amounted to nothing.

    • JUGNU (@jugnu) said on 14th May 2011, 17:51

      Agree completely

      I too think in the top 4 teams it is pretty much established now that there is a clear better driver and i don’t see it changing.

      Redbull – Vettel
      Mclaren – Hamilton
      Ferrari – Alonso
      Mercedes – Rosberg

      Than in some teams it looks like there won’t be much competiton between the teammates like in Team Lotus, Kov is just better than awful Trulli(should be his last season) and Rubens better than Maldonado.

      • RIISE (@riise) said on 14th May 2011, 18:24

        Mclaren – Hamilton

        It’s very chop and change between Hamilton and Button though, have no doubt Lewis has that extra tenth but over a race there’s not much in it.

        I wouldn’t say a clear better driver for the McLaren situation.

        • jake said on 14th May 2011, 19:30

          Im not convinced its as “chop and change” as people are making out. 3-1 in both qualy and race, would be 4-0 in race if not for an odd strange strategy call. I think the fact that Button is often out-pacing Hamilton in practice is giving a false impression, but we all know practice times mean nothing.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 14th May 2011, 19:46

            Indeed, where it counts it’s 3-1 in quali and 3-1 in races.

          • Oliver said on 15th May 2011, 21:38

            A team can run 2 different configurations on their cars during free practice. So those times don’t mean anything.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th May 2011, 19:40

      Don’t forget Virgin. They seem to be pretty close and both getting the most out of the car. Shame there is not that much in it in the first place.

      • slr said on 14th May 2011, 19:49

        I think D’Ambrosio has the edge currently, Glock’s struggling a bit for me.

        • RIISE (@riise) said on 14th May 2011, 19:55

          Glock is probably losing he will to live in that team. He deserves so much better.

          Possible Mercedes switch when Schumacher retires? I’d rather see him there than Di Resta or Hulk.

          • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 14th May 2011, 21:18

            Hadn’t thought of that before, but a Rosberg/Glock pairing would be very fun to watch.

          • Baron said on 15th May 2011, 3:57

            PREDICTION:

            Look for Di Resta replacing Schumacher “SOON”
            possibly before Spain…..

          • HxCas (@hxcas) said on 15th May 2011, 4:33

            You mean before next week? Not gonna happen, Di Resta needs more experience and Merc won’t kick Shumacher out mid-season

          • HxCas (@hxcas) said on 15th May 2011, 4:35

            Also my hope with Glock is that Lotus makes the leap into the midfield by the end of this year and he replaces Trulli for 2012

      • verstappen (@verstappen) said on 14th May 2011, 21:46

        I’ve heard the dutch commenter say that if a car is really bad, but you have good drivers, they will drive within a few tenths or less of eachother.

        Following that logic, the Glock – d’Ambrosio battle should be more ‘pronounced’ in a better car.

        The same logic applies also the other way around: the results of Karthikeyan vs. Liuzzi really show that Liuzzie is far, far ahead.

    • TommyB said on 16th May 2011, 12:16

      Fair play to D’Ambrosio. Everyone thinks Glock deserves a much better car (me included) and to beat him a couple of times as a rookie at the start of the season is impressive.

  2. US Williams Fan said on 14th May 2011, 13:15

    shouldn’t the sauber article read “alas” and not “ahas”?

    either way, very interesting read Keith!

  3. Adrian Morse said on 14th May 2011, 13:32

    I am pleasantly surprised by d’Ambrosio. He didn’t have a particularly impressive track record prior to F1, as far as I know, but so far he is matching the respected Glock. Unfortunately for both of them, in this year’s Virgin beating each other is the only useful thing they can do.

    • S.J.M (@sjm) said on 14th May 2011, 16:03

      Yeah, perhaps because theres been so much action happening all over the place which all the attention is on (and rightly so ofc) but theres not been much in the way of recognition for him from many. He’s done nothing wrong in races, has kept the improved-HRTs behind him in races, and is just getting on with it in a car thats not quick whilst putting in the good shifts. Its hard to gauge how good he is ofc as he’s had little chance to have a scrap or race anyone properly, but he’s (so far) not been swamped by Glock (whose not a bad driver himself)

      I like d’Ambrosio, and maybe he’l be able to show more later.

      • Ral said on 14th May 2011, 21:14

        Perhaps the car is just so slow that d’Ambrosio is able to extract near enough the maximum out of it, almost as well as Glock is. Ie. he’s so close because the car simply isn’t capable of doing better.

        Take for example the Top Gear Star in a Reasonably Priced Car laps. The Stig was a BTCC driver. No offense to them, but I don’t think any of them would be anywhere near any of the F1 drivers in an F1 car. Yet he was faster than pretty much all the F1 drivers in the reasonably priced cars. In other words, the car was the limitation, not the drivers.

        • TFLB said on 15th May 2011, 7:13

          A touring car driver isn’t necessarily worse than an F1 driver. They just specialize in different things.

  4. DavidS (@davids) said on 14th May 2011, 13:42

    Not only is Vettel quicker over a single lap, but he’s able to make his tyres last longer as well

    It would be wrong to conclude that Vettel is able to make his tyres last longer because of strategy differences. Webber choosing aggressive strategies and attacking other cars doesn’t mean that Vettel has the advantage in terms of tyre preservation.

    • timi said on 14th May 2011, 14:34

      you have a point. after the first 5/6 laps, vettel just chills for the race. its impossible to say whether or not he can take care of his tyres while RACING, as opposed to driving a car to the finish…

      • HxCas (@hxcas) said on 14th May 2011, 15:16

        I’m getting so tired of people saying that Vettel isn’t a racer, he has no race skill etc.
        What is he meant to do? Mess up qualy so he can do some ‘racing’? The fact is he is one of the very fastest men on the grid with the fastest car and he is putting the car where it’s capable of week after week, unlike his team-mate. So let us ask the question: What is the sign of a better racer? A slightly slower driver who qualifies below where he is capable of and makes his way up the field or a driver who gets things perfect over a race weekend and doesn’t need to take any risks to get the job done? Whilst the former is certainly more entertaining I’m not sure it is a sign of a better ‘racer’.
        btw this ain’t a tirade against you, it’s aimed at all the anti-Vettel bandwagon

        • Icthyes said on 14th May 2011, 16:24

          Fact is that when he hasn’t been at the front he hasn’t been nearly as impressive. Having to barge past a Force India last year amongst the more infamous incidents.

          I don’t think it’s necessarily a weakness. He just doesn’t have the same experience as others, being thrust straight into Red Bull after a good season with Toro Rosso. He’s certainly not a natural racer, but he hasn’t been given many chances to learn either.

        • unnnooocc said on 14th May 2011, 16:29

          a huh….

          Firstly, I agree and was going to make DavidS’ and Timi’s point myself.

          Australia: Webbers car has a problem and he is 1 second a lap slower and estroys tyres. CAN”T BASE RESULTS ON THAT

          Malaysia: Vettel did his pole and sit out infront doing the time he needed and nothing more to keep the buffer for victory. Webber fell back and had to racer against others, brake hard, go off line etc… needing another stop

          China: Vettel similiar, Webber had to fight through and went completely different in stratergy.

          Turkey: Vettel similiar. Webber had no problem and no crazy stratergy. Dirty side put him beihind Rosberg but managed to get it all done and finished 2nd.

          2NDLY) I ahven’t said that Vettel isn’ta racer, I just think that Vettel can’t overtake (as we have seen in Turkey, Belgium, GrBr, etc.) He wins his races from being infront and just controlling the time differences as opposed to Webber/Hamilton who have been known to drive through the field on numerous occasions.

          Sure Vettel can’t disprove the theory next race because he’ll probably be out near the front, but some race where he isn’t and due to a puncture or a bad quali, or a great lap by Webber and a dirty side of the grid to start he will have to overtake and if it’s anything like last year, he wont be able to (Canada, Singapore, etc…) or will crash (as above).

          I also don’t agree with calling Trulli a one lap specialist anymore, he clearly isn’t.

          I don’t think we can call it on Webber vs Vettel yet as until Turkey we haven’t seen them do the same stratergy. If after Spain and Monaco we are seeing differences then we can call on that, but given that the first 3 were not comparing apples with apples and the only race were we can (Turkey) showed that they were similiar in pit sotps I don’t think we can call it.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 14th May 2011, 17:31

            Webber developed his problems in Australia well after Vettel and Hamilton had dropped him. And in Turkey, he started on the dirty side why? Because he had the fastest car but Vettel outqualified him.

            Vettel has outqualifed Webber 32-9 in their seasons together, and won twice as many races. Vettel outscored Webber’s Red Bull not only in his own RB but even in a Toro Rosso. IMO it is safe to call it on those two, unless Webber not only resurrects his Spain/Monaco/Turkey ’10 form, but produces it on a regular & consistent basis.

            On the other hand, yes, it would be entertaining for Vettel to win from the midfield (not through screwing up in quali, but if he has a problem).

        • timi said on 14th May 2011, 16:30

          i never said he wasnt a racer. merely saying that we dont actually know the full extent to which he can make his tyres last while actually racing.. a fair enough statement i think.

          but to add insult to injury, i dont think he can race. (p.s. you brought it up not me)
          :)

          • HxCas (@hxcas) said on 15th May 2011, 4:41

            My point is that dominating a race from pole from start to finish is still racing and in my view just as impressive (but not as exciting) as coming back up through the field.
            I agree that Vettel’s overtaking could do with a bit of work but at the moment he’s doing just fine without it

          • Icthyes said on 15th May 2011, 14:07

            I think timi’s point is racing as in going wheel-to-wheel, not racing as in get to the line first. When you make the distinction his point has great merit; you don’t wear your tyres out as much with a safe lead.

        • Jean said on 16th May 2011, 12:05

          Take a look at the past results of the ROC (maybe a fun event , but given the variety of the challenges and that they all have identical equipment , AND WITHOUT MUCH TIME TO PRACTICE , says a lot), and names of some “natural racers” pop up more than once , viz. Schumacher , VETTEL , Loeb , Ekstrom . Any driver who wins too much (unless of British descent , of course) , comes under a barrage of criticism on this site.

  5. Captain Sorbet (@captain-sorbet) said on 14th May 2011, 14:00

    In the Force India bit, you say “inter-team battles” shouldn’t that be “intra-team battles”? I thought inter is between two different things, and intra is inside one (like internet and intranet).

    But I’m not a journalist.

  6. Kazuki (@formula-1) said on 14th May 2011, 14:40

    Glad Trulli’s struggling. Time to retire. Modern age to much for him.

  7. sid_prasher (@) said on 14th May 2011, 15:44

    Great article…I think McLaren have probably the best team mates right now – the team is not losing on any potential because of poor drives….unlike almost all the other teams.

    • S.J.M (@sjm) said on 14th May 2011, 16:17

      I think they have the better, dare i say balanced, lineup. Both a excellent drivers with different styles and ways of going about the race. They have proven they can go racing (against each other and not ruin each others race (examples being Turkey ’10 & ’11, China ’11).

    • Icthyes said on 14th May 2011, 16:27

      I would agree with this also. Despite the balance being in Hamilton’s favour, Button has gone about his job, picked up his own points and been there to clean up any messy races from Hamilton.

      If the MP4-26 was as good as the RB7, the WCC would be a shoe-in for McLaren.

      • timi said on 14th May 2011, 16:35

        yeah, hamilton and button understand theres a team championship aswell. it’s not always about the driver.
        it also appears that even if it was just about the driver, that they understand that bringing the cars home is more important than over-defending, and crashing out.

        both very wise drivers, driving for themselves, eachother and the team. great dynamic!!
        alonson, massa and ferrari could learn alot from it…

        • Damon said on 15th May 2011, 11:48

          Give over lol do you think Hamilton and button really do care that much about the constructors title? Sure it’s nice to have on your c.v but these guys will have one thing and one thing only on there minds, and that is winning the drivers world championship

          • timi said on 15th May 2011, 12:40

            im not saying they care solely about the WCC but it’s clear they’re more level headed and open minded than the red bull drivers were last season.. racing eachother with just millimetres in it, resulting in one, or maybe even both cars going out, does nothing for the driver, nor the team.
            i doubt either of them wants a DNF, and then a big telling off in the debrief..

      • boris the one-eyed gerbil said on 14th May 2011, 21:16

        If the MP4-26 was as good as the RB7, the WCC would be a shoe-in for McLaren.

        The MP4-26 is indeed a better car than the RB7. It’s just that Vettel and Webber are so much better drivers than Hamilton and Button that they make the McLaren look bad.
        Now prove otherwise.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 14th May 2011, 19:48

      I agree. The best team as they get along, both are fast enough to win and fight for wins given a car to do so. And they can both learn from the other to improve.

      Ferrari and Red Bull are both more one-sided with one driver clearly on top and winning, while the other is good for points but seems to need a lot of things coming together for a win currently.

  8. Icthyes said on 14th May 2011, 16:35

    So Vettel has made less stops than Vettel and is beating him, whereas Button has made less than Hamilton but it being beaten. Actually apart from Australia and his tyre management issues, you can see how extra-stop races were a good thing for Webber. This is a good thing, though: contrary strategies yielding similar results, unlike last year’s boring one-stoppers.

  9. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 14th May 2011, 18:06

    Looking interesting so far. I must admit I didn’t anticipate this level of domination from any driver so early on (i’m referring to RBR).

    I’m really pleased with Petrov so far, think he’s doing himself and team proud.

    Would like to hear a little more from Sauber. Kobayashi was brilliant in Turkey.

  10. VXR said on 14th May 2011, 20:20

    Out of the top four teams, it seems to be Button that’s giving his team mate a good run for his money. Not totally unexpected tbh. Only 13 points ahead after 4 races. And Buttons qualifying problem seems not to matter that much any more.

    Webber looks more like a man who just doesn’t understand how his team mate can get that much out the car. Alonso looks like a man on the move, as does Rosberg.

    • boris the one-eyed gerbil said on 15th May 2011, 3:30

      If Button is giving Hamilton a good run for his money again this season then Hamilton mustn’t be as good as we all thought.

    • Damon said on 15th May 2011, 11:53

      Is either webber or massa world champions like jenson button? Your statements are wrong yet again as massa as beat alonso more than buttons beat Hamilton. As for rosberg, he’s lost once to Schumacher exactly the same as Hamilton. Please get your facts right ;)

      • HxCas (@hxcas) said on 15th May 2011, 12:14

        Uh when you look at the points the McLaren drivers are indeed the closest with 13. Rosberg is 14 in front of Shumacher, Alonso is 17 in front of Massa and Vettel is 38 in front of Webber.
        And to be honest I wouldn’t class Button any higher than Massa or Webber. In terms of your world champion comment, remember just how close Massa was in 2008, and how near Webber was last year. Jenson won his championship with a car that was significantly faster than anything else for the first half of the season. He’s a deserving champion, don’t get me wrong but don’t get caught up with the fact that he has a title and Webber and Massa don’t, as that could have so easily been different and they seem very close on pace.

        • Damon said on 15th May 2011, 14:53

          Im talking about races nor points. Massa has beaten alonso twice, name me two races this year where button has beaten Hamilton. Schumachers beaten rosberg once this year the same as button with Hamilton. I dont think massa is in buttons league at all.

          • HxCas (@hxcas) said on 16th May 2011, 0:24

            I don’t think race victories (over your teammate) are the most accurate way to determine how well or close two drivers are doing. For example if Button had had 2 4ths and two 18ths and Hamilton 2 5ths and 2 1sts, on that system they would come off looking equal with two ‘wins’ each even though Hamilton had clearly been doing better. Overall points are a more reliable stat, or even better average finishing position.
            Hamilton 3.75 – Button 4.5
            Alonso 5 – Massa 7.25
            Rosberg 7.33 – Shumacher 9.6 (Not including aus where they both DNF’d)
            Vettel 1.25 – Webber 3.5

            The Mclaren drivers have clearly been the closest this year so far though Hamilton seems to have the same edge he had last year.
            And Massas form last year was bad I’ll give you that but Button wasn’t spectacular until he got the brawn either. I still maintain they are similar in pace.

    • Icthyes said on 15th May 2011, 14:03

      That’s the points system for you. Dropping to 8th with your team-mate finishing 2nd is practically like retiring from a race.

      Points mean prizes, but not pace. That’s been the case ever since Button stepped into McLaren.

      • Damon said on 15th May 2011, 15:56

        Lewis hasn’t got no 1 status in the team as he doesn’t need it. The same can’t be said for alonso and vettel for that matter

  11. Oliver said on 14th May 2011, 20:37

    As a former world champion and with 11years experience, if he wasn’t giving his team mate some competition, then he really would be in serious trouble. Anyway Mclaren has a policy of treating their drivers equally.

    But in other teams, the driver ahead gets first choice on strategy. But at Mclaren, they stick to the routine, which means they don’t always make use of the best race strategy.

    • VXR said on 14th May 2011, 20:43

      Letting the drivers have more say in their strategies wouldn’t go amiss either.

      • bosyber said on 15th May 2011, 11:01

        Well, Button staying out an extra lap and then his silly stop-at-RedBull-before-McLaren pitstop caused Hamilton to have to wait coming in, which dropped him way back and allowed Massa to pass him. Sure he then had a fast pitstop to get ahead of Massa immediately after, but he didn’t win back that time lost so easily. It didn’t do much for Button, it seemed (but hard to judge due to that pitstop not going as planned). I suppose for us viewers it was good, as otherwise Hamilton might have won with a greater ease, but still, not great from the team.

  12. John H said on 14th May 2011, 20:45

    “Kovalainen in four-nil up in qualifying over the acclaimed one-lap specialist.”

    Time for Trulli to bow out gracefully perhaps, but I’m not sure that’s his style… and I’ve got some photos to prove it ;)

  13. BROOKSY007 (@brooksy007) said on 14th May 2011, 23:03

    There are many factors that influence a drivers performance from one year to the next, especially new rule changes, car balance, tyres and a drivers size in relation to where ballast can be placed. Just to name a few! Cars differ greatly and some years will benefit one driver to the next.

    Yes vettel has had the qualy pace this year over webber, but webber has matched him in race pace. Webber has also showed true race craft where vettel has had the fortune of maintaining a lead.

    Remember last year where I think the car suited both drivers relatively well there was often hundredths if not thousands of a second between them!

    They are both great drivers, one of the best pair in f1 – the season is still in its early stages – let’s see what happens!!!

    Personally I think webber has been one of the most exciting drivers over the last 2 years, and that is great for the sport and the fans!!!

  14. Himmat S. said on 15th May 2011, 8:13

    I think considering how fast the Red Bull is, they should’ve been getting 1-2s all along. In effect, they’re the ones who have lost the most amount of ‘achievable’ points.

    As for Webber, he’s been awful. Of course,we have Hamilton and Alonso way ahead of him, but at this rate, even Button, Rosberg, Petrov, Massa and the likes are ahead of him.

    • Gill said on 16th May 2011, 4:53

      Well I wont say to this extent that Button, Petrov and Massa are ahead of him. Thats a wrong statement. He has been awful in the first 3 races but KERS malfunctioning was his undoing in first 2 races. Button has improved his qualifying, thanks to Pirrelli and sasme goes for Massa too but sadly his race craft needs a bit of impetus against their team mates who are head and shoulders above them.

  15. Robbie said on 16th May 2011, 15:54

    Last year Horner implied that the future of Red Bull had SV as their go-to guy…that has shown itself to be the case this year but I am glad to not be hearing Webber complaining of secondary treatment on the team. ie. seems like there is racing going on there, which is always good. I look for Webber to do better, but doubt he will get ahead of SV in time to secure ‘number 1 status’ on the team.

    Same with FM…he’s not complaining of secondary treatment either, in spite of last year’s decision to make FA their go-to guy mid-season, and it is most obvious at Mac, given the drivers’ closer points positions, that they too are allowed to race each other.

    At Merc, even if MS improves, it is obvious by now over last year and this year so far, that no matter what MS might do to improve he will be hard pressed to do anything by start to match NR…ie. MS is screwed again when it comes to besting NR. NR continues to get the most out of the car on the team, and I don’t see that changing. He seems to have a knack for staying one step ahead of MS, which no doubt is a great source of pride and inspiration for NR even in a non-race-winning-capable car. If he can’t win races he can still win by beating a 7-time WDC.

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