Australian GP- Qualifying Ratings

15 Mar

So, F1 has finally returned, and what a qualifying session that was! Heavy rain, high speed slides and an unpredictable set of results, what more could you want?

Well, this year i’ve decided to do something different. Usually i’d just give my own biased report of the session, but considering how much fun I had doing the end of season driver ratings, i’ve decided i’m going to do rating for each and every quali and race this season for every driver. I know that the only thing this will achieve is to make me even more biased, but at the end of the season I will calculate an average rating for each driver, to see which one has performed the best.

Also, with this being a new season, i’ve tried my best to give every driver a clean slate. Any people which I may or may not have liked for any reason (*Cough* Chilton *Cough*) i’ve forgotten everything- or at least i’ve tried- from last season.

So, now that it’s all introduced, shall we begin?

1. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes). Rating: 10/10

So the first ever 10 goes to Lewis Hamilton, 2014’s first pole sitter (This may become a bit of a ritual, giving 10 to the pole sitter). In a session where nobody really had any idea who was going to do what, Lewis managed to get 3 tenths on 2nd place man Daniel Ricciardo. With a good car underneath him, this is exactly the start Hamilton would have wanted.

2. Daniel Ricciardo  (Red Bull). Rating: 10/10

If you saw my pre-season season predictions, you’ll know I put Daniel Ricciardo 9th in the championship. After today’s performance, he might have just shown why I should never do predictions. A fantastic quali at his home race and his debut drive for Red Bull, not to mention the fact he obliterated 4-time world champion teammate Sebastian Vettel

3. Nico Rosberg (Mercedes). Rating: 8/10

Nico was my tip for the championship, and still is, but he’ll look back on this and think what could have been. No doubt he had a very good qualifying, but you can’t help but feel hat pole was there for the taking. 3rd is a position he can work with, but if you compare to his teammate, and pole sitter, Hamilton, then he can only deserve an 8.

4. Kevin Magnussen (Mclaren). Rating: 10/10

Judging from qualifying, you wouldn’t think that Kevin Magnussen was a rookie entering his first season in F1. He looked at ease driving the Mclaren, and managed to get it 4th on the grid despite it not being the fastest car around, beating his more experienced teammate along the way (Even if JB had bad luck with Yellow flags). He’s really impressed me so far, and I can’t wait to see what he can do in the race.

5. Fernando Alonso (Ferrari). Rating: 7.5/10

Fernando Alonso can call this a session to be pleased with. Fighting in the Ferrari which isn’t quite at the pace of the very front runners just yet, 5th is a decent position in which to start the race. I just wonder, however, that with the changing conditions and heightened number of variable he might have been able to use them to hsi advantage and get higher up the grid. Still solid none-the-less.

6. Jean-Eric Vergne (Toro Rosso). Rating: 9/10

Who would have thought it, two Toro Rosso drivers inside the top 10! I honestly didn’t see that coming, but fair play to both drivers for what was an impressive performance. I said before that this is going to be JEV’s best opportunity to show everyone what he can do now he’s the lead driver of the team, and this is certainly a good way of starting off.

7. Nico Hulkenberg (Force India). Rating: 8/10

Force India are an interesting case. They looked very good during pre-season, yet come Friday  they seemed to have lost some of that pace they had shown. Even Q1 didn’t look particularly impressive, with Hulk and Perez coming 14th and 15th. In that respect, it’s a credit to Hulkenberg’s driving that he got it into the top 10, let alone 7th. Good driving.

8. Daniil Kvyat (Toro Rosso). Rating: 8/10

Well this is a qualifying debut to remember for young Russian Daniil Kvyat (I still have no idea how you’re supposed to pronounce his name). Admittedly I didn’t give him much of a chance before today, but he’s shown that he ha the speed to cope with the pressure. Might help if he keeps it out of the wall next time

9. Felipe Massa (Williams). Rating: 7/10

I don’t know what happened to Williams. They looked so good, Jenson Button even claimed they were 2 seconds faster than the rest (Well, not Mercedes). It would just seem that they got caught out by the changing conditions in Australia, but the lack of pace is still worrying for Williams. 9th, however, isn’t the worst place on the grid to be.

10. Valtteri Bottas (Williams). Rating: 6.5/10

Much the same as what I said for Massa applies to Bottas, although bear in mind our flying Finn is actually goign to be startign 15th because of a gearbox change, so the last bit doesn’t apply (Hence knocking 0.5 off his score)

11. Jenson Button (Mclaren). Rating: 6/10

On the surface 6 seems a harsh score for what was in essence extreme bad luck. It is entirely possible that Jenson would have made it into the top 10 shootout had Kimi Raikkonen not decided it was a good idea to put it in the wall, but the point I want to make here is that Jenson should never have been in that posiiton in the first place- if he had gone out earlier/already done more quicker laps, then this situation wouldn’t have arisen. Poor planning.

12. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari). Rating: 5/10

It wasn’t really the qualifying session Kimi Raikkonen would have wanted. Back at Ferrari, you would have thought he would be able to have a real go at the top of the grid in a team he knows quite well. Unfortunately, he decided it would be a better idea to ‘fiddle with some switches’ and put the car into the wall. Nice one Kimi.

13. Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull). Rating: (1)3/10

First weekend back and our reigning world champion can only make it unlucky 13 onto the grid. Now, a rating of 3 may seem harsh considering that Vettel had engine troubles (Renault lol), but I wrote these ratings before I knew that and I really can’t be bothered to change it. I mean, trouble or not, his teammate did qualify second, I can’t give Vettel that much. 13 Black could probably have driven faster than him!

14. Adrian Sutil (Sauber). Rating: 6/10

Adrian Sutil was probably the most average person out there on the race track. Fair play to him, the Sauber doesn’t look the most competitive car on the track and 14th is a fairly decent position, especially considering where Esteban Gutierrez finished. You could hardly call it an inspiring performance though

15. Kamui Kobayashi (Caterham). Rating: 10/10

RETURN OF THE SUPER KAMUI SMILE TRAIN. Yes, Kamui is back, and what a performance! Caterham usually spend their days right at the back of the grid, but on his first appearance Kobayashi showed everyone why he should never have left F1, placing it all the way up in 15th, and practically shoving his teammate’s face into the mud in the process. Now let’s see what he can do in the race.

16. Sergio Perez (Force India). Rating: 5/10

What happened to Sergio Perez? After getting the Force India drive it all looked so promising. This was supposed to be his revenge drive, and opportunity to show Mclaren why they were wrong to ditch him. Qualifying 16th behind the Super Kamui Smile Train is not a good way to do that. It may be early, but this is not a good start.

17. Max Chilton (Marussia). Rating: 8/10

MAX CHILTON ISN’T LAST! Now, you should know that Max Chilton’s exploits have been a running joke for this blog in the past season, but I actually quite like the guy. OK he was slower than a 3 legged tortoise, but as a guy he’s pretty cool, and I’m really quite glad that he’s got the car up to 17th, beating his teammate, a Sauber, a Caterham and both Lotus cars. Not bad indeed.

18. Jules Bianchi (Marussia). Rating: 7/10

Jules Bianchi didn’t do too badly either, and 18th is not a bad result for Marussia in these early stages. Sure, he lost out to his teammate, hence the rating only being 7, but if he can keep it on the track come Sunday, who knows what could happen?

19. Esteban Gutierrez (Sauber). Rating: 4/10

If Adrian Sutil was decidedly average, then Esteban Gutierrez was awful. 19th is bad enough as it is, especially if you look at who’s around him, but this was just dire. There was no real attack, no push to really try and get the car out of Q1. Yes, there was traffic, but you have 18 minutes to set a fast lap. It was, quite frankly, abysmal. Unfortunately, I expect this is what his season is going to continue like all year.

20. Marcus Ericsson (Caterham). Rating: 2/10

Something tells me this wasn’t the debut Marcus Ericsson was looking for. Whilst fellow debutantes Kevin Magnussen and Daniil Kvyat were busy impressing everyone, Ericsson slowly made his way round the track, assuming a clean but uninspiring 20th place, 4.382s behind Ricciardo who topped Q1 and 5 places behind his teammate. There was one bit of hope though, he wasn’t that far behind Gutierrez….

21. Romain Grosjean (Lotus). Rating: 0/10

When Lotus said they were behind schedule, I didn’t quite think they were going to be this bad. I mean, this is a team that spent most of last season fighting for podium finishes, and now they’re struggling just to make the 107% rule. Romian Grosjean is a great driver, but I doubt there’s anything he can do. At least he completed a lap!

22. Pastor Maldonado (Lotus). Rating: -2/10 (And that’s being nice)

At the start of the season, Pastor Maldonado said that leaving Williams to move to Lotus was the best career move he’d ever made, and that he went to Lotus to win races. Now he has to sit and watch as the team he left, and disrespected, fights for top 10 finishes whilst he sits at the back of the grid in a car that was so bad he couldn’t even set a time in it.

Nice one Pastor, you’ve really outdone yourself this time my friend.

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