Tag Archives: Toro Rosso

Pastor Maldonado crashes out, again.

9 Jul

Driver Ratings, GB 12, Pt.4, Sauber, Toro Rosso and Williams.

Kamui Kobayashi: 7/10 Q12 S17 F11

Kamui has been under the radar so far this season, but he been one of the strongest drivers of the year, despite having less points than his younger team mate. Kamui started his race spectacularly  and was running 12th after just 3 laps (which made up for his 5 place grid penalty he was given after causing a collision in Valencia. During the second stint Kobayashi was running up in 9th, but he came out of the second pit session worse off in 12th and if Hulkenburg hadn’t spun on the final lap he wouldn’t have finished 11th. If Kobayashi hadn’t had the penalty and had started 12th he’d have definitely have finished in the points.

Sergio Perez: 8/10 Q17 S15 F ret.

In my opinion there is no doubt that Sergio would have finished in the points had his race not ended prematurely when Maldonado hit him. Sergio was unlucky on saturday in qualifying, a big error saw him not go out after the red flags and Sergio dramatically drop from 1st to 17th. But this singled Sergio out as the F1F man to watch. It was an astonishing start for Sergio, in the first lap alone he flew to 9th place and then overtook Senna for 8th position, but Pastor Maldonado then struck, colliding with Perez to end Sergio’s race. Full marks for Sergio to speaking his mind after the race as apposed to preaching the PR.

Daniel Ricciardo: 6/10 Q14 S12 F13

Daniel has fallen back since his early season successes, but in recent weeks the Toro Rosso has fallen to the back of the midfield. Ricciardo had a very slow start, falling from 12th to 17th on the first lap alone but he stuck at it and he finished off his race by overtaking team mate Vergne in the final laps.

Jean-Eric Vergne: 6/10 Q16 S23 F14

This year’s Toro Rosso line up is widely regarded to decide who will replace Mark Webber when he leaves, and if the first nine race of this season are anything to go by it will be Daniel not Jean-Eric joining Red Bull. Despite qualifying in 16th Jean-Eric had to start from 23rd after a 10 place grid penalty for causing a collision at the European GP but he didn’t stay there long, ,moving back up to 16th on the first lap. It was the timing of the second pit stop that let Vergne finish 14th, his pit stop was earlier than most which helped him to 13th before a he was overtaken by Ricciardo late on.

Pastor Maldonado: 2/10 Q7 S7 F16

Maldonado received the hatred of the public again this weekend for colliding with Sergio Perez, this is one of many collisions Pastor has caused this year with many fans calling for him to have his license recalled.

Bruno Senna: 7/10 Q15 S13 F9

Bruno has struggled in the Williams car so far this season and it was a disappointing qualifying for the young Brazilian, but Senna threw himself into points contention at the start of the race, running 9th early on. But he didn’t have a good first pit stop session coming out back in 11th, but by going for a short second stint Senna was able to move back to 10th and in the points and it was because of the pressure Bruno applied that Nico Hulkenburg span out of the points on the last lap.


Bruno Senna was down, but not out.

25 Jun

Picture courtesy of formulaone.com

Driver Ratings Europe 12, Pt. 4, Sauber, Toro Rosso and Williams

Kamui Kobayashi: 7/10 Q7 F ret.

It was a promising weekend for Kobayashi, reaching Q3 and starting 7th, and Kamui performed well from the start to run in 4th. But unlucky timing saw Kamui having to pit twice before the safety car car came out, despite this Kobayashi looked like he could still pick up a good points finish before Kobayashi collided with Massa forcing Kobayashi to retire and meaning Kamui has a 5 place grid penalty for the British GP.

Sergio Perez: 7/10 Q15 F9

Couldn’t match Kobayashi’s pace in qualifying starting four rows further back on the grid, and things didn’t go well from the start. Sergio was running on the same strategy as Kamui Kobayashi with two pit stops before the safety car came out, but unlike Kamui Perez managed to finish the race, finishing in 9th after a late charge.

Daniel Ricciardo: 6/10 Q17 F11

Ricciardo was one of the more aggressive drivers  of the race, colliding with Petrov, and although Ricciardo was largely unaffected Petrov really struggled. Most impressively about Ricciardo was that he was running 4th when the safety car came out. Ricciardo was set for 12th until Maldonado received a 20 second penalty to promote Daniel to 11th.

Jean-Eric Vergne: 6/10 Q18 F ret.

It was a short lived race for Jean-Eric, before a collision with Heikki Kovalainen forced Vergne to retire and brought out the safety car. Vergne was later punished with a 10 place grid penalty for the British GP for this collision.

Pastor Maldonado: 4/10 Q3 F12

I was amazed when Maldonado went 3rd fastest in Q3, but Maldonado struggled at the start of the race he lost two places early on, and it looked like he’d struggle. But he charged forwards near the end before hitting Hamilton whilst rejoining the track. Pastor was given a 20 second penalty for this, demoting him from 10th to 12th.

Bruno Senna: 7/10 Q14 F10

Again Senna was disappointing in qualifying, and started the race extremely unlucky, first he collided with Kobayashi forcing him to pit for a new front wing, and then the stewards – wrongly (in my opinion) – found him guilty for the accident and gave him a drive thru penalty, this left Senna a distant last. But once the safety car returned to the pits Bruno drove exceptionally to rise to 11th, this was promoted to 10th when Maldonado was given a 20 second penalty.

Picture courtesy of formulaone.com


Driver Ratings, Monaco 12, Pt.4 Sauber, Toro Rosso and Williams

27 May

Sergio Perez: 6/10 Q24 S23 F11

He was unlucky in qualifying to not manage a lap after a broken steering system gave him a close encounter with the wall. But he did Sauber proud in the race to finish only 1 place off the points. He moved up 8 places in his first stint and then another 7 in the second stint. A good performance by Checo.

Kamui Kobayashi: 5/10 Q12 S11 F ret.

It was a good performance in qualifying but his race was a disaster, would you believe it he pitted twice in the 5 laps he was competing before retiring with damage from an accident at the first corner which saw the Sauber almost entering space.

Daniel Ricciardo: 5/10 Q16 S15 F ret.

Toro Rosso have fallen a long way since they’re competitive streak at the start of the season. He started the race well and was 7th before his pit stop. But Daniel had fallen after that and was only 14th when disaster struck and the steering failed on lap 65.

Jean-Eric Vergne: 7/10 Q17 S16 F12

Jean-Eric should have picked up 6 points today, but a disastrous decision to bring him in for wet tyres put an end to that and ruined what was set to be Vergne’s best weekend.

Pastor Maldonado: 3/10 Q9 S24 F ret.

It’s very easy to forget how Pastor won in Spain when he puts in performances like he did this weekend. He was way too aggressive in FP3 and was luck not to get more than his 10 place grid penalty, and then he got another 5 place grid penalty for a gearbox change. If he thought the race was going to be a better story he was wrong, retiring on lap 1 due to an accident.

Bruno Senna: 7/10 Q14 S13 F10

Maybe not the 7th Senna victory in Monaco but it was a good effort by Bruno to pick up another point. Bruno will no doubt be delighted that Toro Rosso ruined Vergne’s race as his pit stop was the act that moved Senna from 11th to a points position.

Monaco, what F1 dreams are made of!

22 May

The track is regularly referred to as the jewel in the F1 crown and is a circuit like no other.

Ask any driver which Grand Prix they’d most like to win and most of them would say Monaco. Every corner has a history and every year we get a new chapter to the tale of the glitziest grand prix, there’s every chance this year could be one of the best yet. We come into this race in a great position, 5 different constructors winning the first 5 races and there are at least 10 drivers who could be a winner and if a bit of Monaco magic occurs anything is possible.

Monaco is a track full of some of the most famous corners, Tabac, where in 1950 a freak tidal wave caused a 9 car pile up; La Rascasse, where in 2006 Michael Schumacher famously parked his car to stop anyone going faster than him in qualifying; the Loews Hairpin, the slowest corner in F1; Casino, the site of the famous Grand Casino and the corner simply known as a tunnel, the only place on an F1 circuit where the use of DRS is banned, and there are more!

The Lowes Hairpin a site of much controversy for Lewis Hamilton last year.

There has been many a great GP at Monaco: 1984 when Ayrton Senna famously drove the wheels off his Toleman F1 car to come so close to a victory; 1982 when no one really had a clue who the winner was, 1992 when Ayrton had to do everything he could to stop Nigel Mansell overtaking; 1970 when it came down to Jack Brabham crashing at the very last corner. In more recent years 2010 was a year when only 12 drivers crossed the finishing line (the record though is 3 when Olivier Panis won in 1996) and last year it felt like every driver went in front of the stewards especially Lewis Hamilton.

This year we have 7 previous Monaco winners on the grid and it could go to anyone of them.

McLaren have been the team to beat this season but problems have meant they’ve only got 1 race victory under their belt. Due to the nature of overtaking at Monaco this circuit could be won or lost in the pit stops, one of the things McLaren haven’t done so well at this year. As well as this Jenson Button has said that this years McLaren won’t suit Monaco so don’t count on them winning but Lewis and Jenson are desperate for a win and should never be ruled out. Chances of victory = 6/10 Definitely contenders but may struggle.

Red Bull started the season slowly but are now very close to being the pace setters. Since Bahrain the car has looked like the Red Bulls we’ve been used to and I believe that their poor performance at Spain two weeks ago was an anomaly and if they perform well very few drivers will be able to take the fight to them. Chances of victory = 8/10 they’ve won the last two Monaco GPs, is there anyone who can stop them taking a third?

If you go to Monaco and don’t see a Ferrari then you’re doing something wrong.

Ferrari may not have the most competitive car but when Fernando Alonso is behind the wheel anything is possible. Despite this the Ferrari has been particularly poor in qualifying – which is generally where the race is won or lost. On current form there is a greater chance of pigs flying than Felipe Massa winning a race and although he’s long been one of my favourite drivers I can’t see him changing his luck for Monaco. Chances of victory = 5/10, probably won’t happen but don’t rule them out.

Mercedes are in a good position for the Monaco GP, they perform better in qualifying in qualifying then in the race and Monaco is a circuit where qualifying on pole can win the race. Of the two drivers Rosberg has the better chance of winning and if he does he’ll effectively have won his home GP as he’s spent much of his life living there. Chances of winning = 7/10 if the car is set up properly and can qualify high up then they are serious contenders.

The history is everywhere!

Lotus have twice come close to winning a GP this year but in both of them the race was just a few laps too short. If any team is going to make it 6 different constructors on the top step in 6 races Lotus are the team to do that, the car is quick, the drivers are quick and all it would take for this team to become a race winner is a little bit of luck. Chance of winning = 7/10 they’ve been the unluckiest team so far, can their luck change in time for a Monaco victory?

Williams have been the surprise this season and the car is clearly capable of winning after what we saw at Spain two weeks ago. As well as that Maldonado’s best track is Monaco and Senna needs to pull his socks up so don’t rule him out of big points. Will Maldonado become a serious championship contender or will it be a Senna on the top of the podium for the 7th time. Chances of victory = 6/10 Even last year in a slow Williams Maldonado came close to finishing 6th.

Even when Formula 1 isn’t in town there are still signs of the link.

Sauber have performed well this year and have pulled some stunning results out of the bag but I wonder how confident Sergio will be after his crash last year and this isn’t a circuit that suits Kamui’s overtaking style. Having said that though last year Kamui did finish 5th. Chances of winning = 4/10 Stranger things have happened at Monaco.

Toro Rosso are in the awkward position neither of it’s drivers competing in the Monaco GP before. Not only that but their performances this year have been inconsistent to say the least and despite qualifying 6th at Bahrain the weekends have been more disappointing than special. Chances of victory = 2/10 Not this year.

Force India haven’t lived up to their hype this year and although they have had good days they’ve had too many bad ones. Nico Hulkenburg has never completed a race lap at Monaco because in 2010 he crashed in the tunnel and last year Paul Di Resta lost many a nose at the Lowes Hairpin. Chances of victory = 2/10 maybe pointsworthy.

Caterham, Marussia and HRT can only hope that enough drivers retire for them to finish in the points or that they suddenly get some divine help. Chances of winning = 1/10 If every other driver retires then they are in with a chance.

The Automobile Club of Monaco

The photos are from my summer holiday, despite there being no racing on at the time it was an amazing experience and I thoroughly recommend walking the track to any F1 enthusiast.

Driver Ratings, Spain 12, Pt.4 Sauber, Toro Rosso and Williams

13 May

Kamui Kobayashi: 8/10 Q10 S9 F5

We had a return of the old overtaking Kobayashi today as he put in some textbook overtaking manoeuvres, especially over Nico Rosberg. Kobayashi did a great job today, profiting on the mistakes of the teams around him to keep Sauber in the hunt for a top 4 finish this year.

Sergio Perez: 7/10 Q6 S5 ret.

Sergio set a new record for his highest grid place today as he gets closer and closer to joining a big team. Sadly the race didn’t go well, he suffered a puncture on the first lap and was soon setting fastest laps on his new tyres, but sadly during the pit stops the rear right mechanic seemed to be putting more concentration into not falling over as apposed to tightening the wheel nut and this meant that he had to retire.

Daniel Ricciardo: 7/10 Q16 S15 F13

Ricciardo put another good race in today and he put in a no-nonesence performance to make the best of a car that is moving backwards. The Toro Rosso car has started the season strongly but in this weekend it hasn’t been a good week for them as they’ve performed poorly this weekend.

Jean-Eric Vergne: 7/10 Q15 S14 F12

Managed to out qualify team mate for the first time this season and put in a very strong race having tussles with both Massa and Hamilton. All the french drivers did well today and could be in for a great season.

Pastor Maldonado: 10/10 Q2 S1 F1 #DriverOfTheDay

What a weekend for Pastor to claim his first pole and win and to get Williams’ first victory since 2004. Pastor has at last managed to through away the veil of him being just a pay driver.

Bruno Senna: 6/10 Q18 S17 ret.

Bruno didn’t do well in qualifying but he was performing well in the race before he was taken out of the race by Schumacher.

After the race there was a big fire in the Williams garage rumoured to be caused by a KERS explosion injuring up to 7 mechanics. My thoughts are with the teams and their families at the moment.

What teams will be aiming to do at Mugello testing!

1 May

Today sees the return of in-season testing as the Formula 1 circus makes it’s way to Mugello in Italy, a track owned by Ferrari. Many teams will see it as a way to bring upgrades to their cars to make themselves more competitive. Here’s the teams and what I think their aims will be:

Caterham: They’ve made a bright start to the season and despite still not having made it to the midfield there is still the belief that this could be the year. Caterham are likely to use this opportunity to try and close the gap on the midfield and to let Vitaly Petrov try and get more use to the car because I believe that so far we haven’t seen Vitaly’s potential fully unleashed.

Day 1: Gonzalez (test driver) Day 2: Petrov Day 3: Kovalainen

Ferrari: Ferrari have made a dismal start to the season and have been defending their position by saying that they’ll be much more competitive once the upgrades scheduled for Mugello and Barcelona have been added to the car. Therefore Ferrari’s aim in their back yard will be to see just how much they’ve closed the gap and to evaluate wether these upgrades are effective or not.

Day 1: Massa Day 2: Massa and Alonso Day 3: Alonso

Force India: Despite receiving a lot of pre-season hype Force India haven’t fulfilled their potential and are still down in 8th in the constructors championship. Because of this I imagine Force India will spend the three days at Mugello upgrading the car and solving the problems on the car.

Day 1: Bianchi (test driver) Day 2: Di Resta Day 3: Hulkenburg

HRT: HRT have decided not to run at Mugello due to lack of funding and they are currently moving their team head-quaters.

Lotus: Lotus have started the year brightly and already look like they could challenge for the constructors championship. Lotus therefore will be aiming to build on their earlier successes and find those few tenths of a second that make the difference between winning and losing.

Day 1: d’Ambrosio Day 2: Raikkonen Day 3: Grosjean

Marussia: Not the start to the year Marussia were looking for so they’re likely to be trying to close down Caterham and leave HRT far behind by trying different set ups on the car and collecting more tyre data as well as maybe a few upgrades.

Day 1: Pic Day 2: Pic and Glock Day 3: Glock

McLaren: Despite not having won a race since the first race McLaren are not taking testing next week as a serious exercise to bring improvements to the car and are instead using it to give their test drivers more track time. Despite this Lewis Hamilton has been trying to drive during the test after his lacklustre finish in Bahrain.

Day 1: Turvey and Paffett (both test drivers) Day 2: Paffet Day 3: Turvey

Mercedes: Mercedes will need to do radical work on the car if they are to challenge for the championship this season, they’re race pace has been poor in comparison to their qualifying pace. What Mercedes need to do to improve their race pace is to collect tyre data and bring improvements to the car that will improve their race pace.

Day 1: Rosberg and Schumacher Day 2: Schumacher Day 3: Rosberg

Red Bull: Despite starting the year slow Red Bull have really upped their game and this led to them winning the Bahrain Grand Prix. But even so Red Bull won’t be lazing around in Mugello as they know that you have to evolve the car over the season if you want to win. So far Red Bull haven’t announced their driver line up.

Sauber: Sauber have been one of the best teams so far this year and have already picked up big points. But with two relatively inexperienced drivers there was always going to be a lack of development in the car. Therefore I imagine Sauber will be spending their time trying to develop the car and get the drivers more miles.

Day 1: Kobayashi Day 2: Kobayashi Day 3: Perez

Toro Rosso: Despite starting brightly Toro Rosso have had a miserable last two races and their qualifying has been very inconsistent, I imagine then that Toro Rosso will try and bring some stability to their performances and to get the car further up the midfield.

Day 1: Vergne Day 2: Vergne and Ricciardo Day 3: Ricciardo

Williams: Williams have been the team who have impressed the most this year and have really turned last years performances around but even so both cars retired from the Bahrain GP and so they’re likely to try and improve the cars reliability.

Day 1: Bottas (test driver) Day 2: Maldonado Day 3: Senna

Driver Ratings Bahrain Pt.4, Sauber, Toro Rosso and Williams

22 Apr

Kamui Kobayashi: 7/10 Q12 F13

Took a risky strategy starting on the medium tyres and sadly on this occasion it didn’t pay off his first stint wasn’t any longer than drivers who started on softs and after that point he was always on the back foot. In Kamui’s defence though the last 8 laps were by far his best, he rose from 17th to 13th to save some dignity today.

Sergio Perez: 6/10 Q8 F11

Yet again the young Mexican made it to Q3 and out-qualified his slightly more experienced team mate. But the race wasn’t up to the same scratch he fell to 11th before the first pit stop and although he did move up the order before having to pit again he wasn’t good enough to pick up any points.

Daniel Ricciardo: 6/10 Q6 F15

A-Ma-Zing in qualifying and to take a Toro Rosso to 6th on the grid is a super human effort. Sadly points aren’t given for qualifying and he started the race particularly poorly, after colliding with Kovalainen he was running 17th after only 1 lap. I believe that Daniel should have seriously considered pitting for a new wing at this point because he was never on the pace afterwards and it was probably the damage from that incident that caused that loss of speed.

Jean-Eric Vergne: 7/10 Q19 (S17) F14

Jean-Eric has come out of the weekend again looking better than Daniel but really Jean-Eric was just lucky for Daniel to have had his problems at the start. More importantly for J.E. he’s going to have to seriously improve on his qualifying pace as this was the second weekend in a row where he was knocked out in Q1.

Pastor Maldonado: 7/10 Q17 (S21) DNF

Pastor was unlucky not to finish but can I just say his spin that cause his retirement showed fantastic skill. To do a spin that is exactly 360 degrees with a wheel that’s punctured is an amazing feet of driver ability, and although it was the resultant puncture that caused his retirement the execution of the spin was equal to Torville and Dean. Pastor had had an amazing race up to that point he rose 6 places on the first lap and was probably a serious contender for points before the retirement.

Bruno Senna: 6/10 Q15 DNF

Not a good weekend for Williams, neither car was good enough to make Q3 and neither car made it to the end of the race. Bruno had a very strong start rising from 15th to 11th on the first lap but things didn’t carry on that well and before the retirement he was only expected to finish 14th.