I dont believe there is a thread about this so i’ll go ahead and ask:
Who are your Predictions for the Dark Horse driver(s) and team(s) of this upcoming season?
-I believe many drivers have something to prove this year, most notably for me is Paul Di-resta. He has completed his F1 Career so far to a degree of satisfaction. However this is the man who beat now 3 times Formula World Champion Sebastian Vettel in the 2006 F3 series. Obviously he has something he has to prove in order to get up to the seats in which he can compete for the Championship. So long as Force India can supply a relatively improved car I think he can definitely show his true potential.
Team-wise however I am stumped. Last year was so competitive, for me it is a difficult area to comment on as it could be one of many teams that can surprise us.
Watch out for Lotus. They ended last year with a bang (literally in Grosjean’s case) and I fully expect them to be right up there. I can’t see Mercedes doing well, despite the fact that moving there has suddenly become the thing to do.
I also expect Hülkenberg and Sauber to do really well.
Kimi Raikkonen performed above most people’s expectations last year, and if Lotus can keep up in the development race, I would expect more of the same this year – some strong podium performances, and being in contention for the odd victory. 2012 was a good season for Sauber, and Nico Hulkenberg is a driver with great potential, so I’d be paying attention to them as well.
Not sure if he qualifies as a true dark horse now that he’s a race winner, but Pastor Maldonado should be another driver to watch. He has front-running pace, and hopefully, has learned to temper his over-agressive tendencies. How Valtteri Bottas and the Williams team in general will perform is more difficult to predict.
Hulkenberg. If tyres are similar to last year and Sauber produce a similarly fast car, they could again have chances for wins. I think he’s more consistent than Perez and Kobayashi were, so with a bit of luck I think they’re capable of a few podiums, possibly a win.
Don’t know if he counts as an underdog any more, but nobody’s talking about Nico Rosberg.
I’ll be keeping an eye on Toro Rosso too. They’ve had James Key running technical things for months now (and maybe creating an all-new car too – we’ll see whether it looks like a Sauber!). The drivers have a year’s F1 behind them, and chances are they won’t get a 3rd year at that team… so they could pick off any newcomers and strugglers in the midfield. But like everyone from Lotus and Mercedes backwards, it’s all about the car.
Two drivers to watch: Hamilton and Grojean.
Im expecting Mercedes do be right at the top, maybe even a victory for Hamilton already in the first race. Grosjean had a terrible season last year, but he showed flashes of decent driving and good quali-speed. Most other top 10 drivers are already expected to win, so they’re no real underdogs
Antonio Felix da Costa and Toro Rosso making strong points finnish in the 2nd half of the season ;)
Going out on a limb here to say that Charles Pic will score Caterham’s first points in 2013.
I expect Hulkenberg could do rather well in 2013, and I also think Perez will go on to prove his doubters wrong and rack up a decent number of podium visits
Valterri Bottas and Williams.
Williams had a strong car last year but between Senna’s lack of quality and Maldonado’s abundance of collisions, they underperformed. Bottas may just be able to make the car work.
The two Mexicans on the grid are both good underdogs as well.
Sauber and both their drivers. Maybe Bottas too.
I’m hoping for good things from Bottas and Williams and I’m also keen to see what Hulkenberg can do at Sauber. Sauber at Force India may have been direct competitors in 2012 but I do consider Sauber to be a step up for Hulkenberg.
They may be quite a big team and he may be a world champion, but I think that Hamilton and Mercedes qualify as underdogs in 2013.
Really excited to see what Hülkenberg can do this year!
I would agree with you guys and say Hülkenberg is definitely one to watch. I remember him destroying A1 gp in the Germany car a few years ago now and I’ve always been excited to see what he can do in F1. Bottas and Williams is also a good shout, he showed some genuine pace on the Friday sessions and is an exciting prospect.
@geemac I would say so myself, the Mercedes car went terribly wayward towards the end of the season, struggling to be even the 5th best car out there. Hamilton coming in for me brings a certain freshness that Mercedes needs to kick start their Championship hunt.
Felipe’s Massa, He’s ready now.
Oh and Nico Hulkenberg, always rated him highly.
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