April 25th, 2012 (F1plus / Qasim Javed).- While the defending champions Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull Racing will be somewhat relieved at their Bahrain Grand Prix win, they know that they still have a lot to do in this three-week break before the Spanish Grand Prix takes place mid May.
Teammate of Vettel, Mark Webber has continuously challenged his younger world champion partner and has even outpaced him regularly. However, both of them need to focus more on the team’s chances of retaining their title in the ongoing campaign which are becoming increasingly unlikely with every race.
After the four races of the season so far, the team at the front of the grid which should be most satisfied with their performance will be McLaren as they have managed one win and four podium finishes. Jenson Button had a few problems in the last Bahrain Grand Prix but he is looking really fast along with his teammate Lewis Hamilton. Both the Brits are behaving quite maturely in the season so far which is helping McLaren to keep the pressure on Red Bull in the constructors’ championship.
Ferrari have had a poor start to the 2012 season if we take Fernando Alonso’s individual brilliance at the Malaysian Grand Prix. Other than that, their 2012 car lacks pace, is slow during the corners and is yet to show its true potential. Things are not going their way especially since Felipe Massa is also fighting it out with the midfielders of the sport. The Scarlet team will have to take some big decisions in order to salvage some pride.
Mercedes AMG F1 team have had a mixed start to the 2012 season. Nico Rosberg managed to put the Brackley-based team on the top stair of the podium in Shanghai with his maiden F1 win, but other than that, they have been unable to challenge for top positions during the races. Both Michael Schumacher and Rosberg have used their ‘double DRS’ effect to good use during the qualifiers of the season so far, but during the races, they have suffered from issues ranging from bad luck to tyre wear. They will be hoping to translate their qualifiers pace in the races to follow.
Lotus F1 team have hugely benefitted from the return of the Iceman. Kimi Raikkonen has shown that he still has the pace required to compete at the top of the grid while Romain Grosjean has also proven he has what it takes to be in Formula 1 when he stood on the last stair of the podium in Bahrain, just behind his teammate. Raikkonen could have won the race when he ran Vettel really close at one point, but with the form he is in, he can surely win races in the remainder of the season.
Sauber are still extremely pleased with their Malaysian Grand Prix result when Sergio Perez managed to finish second. However, other than that, they are pretty much just treading along with the other midfield teams of the sport. Both Perez and Kamui Kobayashi need to score regular points by finishing in the top 10 if they want to keep clear of Force India and Williams.
Bruno Senna and Pastor Maldonado did not get off to a great start in Melbourne, but a 6th place finish for Bruno Senna in Malaysia and a double points finish for the team in China means that they are already past their worst-ever season in the sport of 2011. Although the heat of Bahrain proved too much for the team, they will be looking to continue their good form from the beginning of the season to try and challenge the top runners of the sport.
Nico Hulkenberg and Paul di Resta have had a very good start to the season in the midfield for Sahara Force India. Both the drivers have managed to finish in points on a regular basis and have also troubled the top drivers of the sport on various occasions.
Sister concern of Red Bull Racing, Toro Rosso had a decent start to the season but has faltered in both China and Bahrain. They need to pull up their socks if they want to challenge the midfielders in the remainder of the season and have the talent to do so, too.
There is not much to write about Marussia, Caterham and Hispania Racing Team as they continue to finish at the bottom of the timesheets. Let’s hope the three-week break and Mugello test can change their fortunes.
By Qasim Javed.