Inside Line: Barcelona GP Form Guide
13:45, 12 May 2012
1st: Sebastian Vettel Red Bull-Renault
Last four results: 1st, 5th, 11th, 2nd.
Heads to Europe leading the championship after a timely return to form three weeks ago in Bahrain. After a relatively underwhelming start to the season Vettel and Red Bull seem to have found what’s been missing, and will no doubt be in contention come lights out.
2: Lewis Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes
Last four results: 8th, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd.
Despite no wins and finishing no higher than second, Hamilton sits just a point behind Vettel – which just goes to show how the current points system flatters to deceive. McLaren and Hamilton bringing new aerodynamic upgrades to Barcelona after the Mugello tests; looking to forget Bahrain and claim a first win of the season.
3: Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault
Last four results: 4th, 4th, 4th, 4th.
With four consecutive fourth place finishes, the Australian has perhaps done all he can do with tools he’s been given thus far. Will be hoping new upgrades can help him push towards the podium as the current consistency shown may not be enough come the summer.
4: Jenson Button McLaren-Mercedes
Last four results: 18th, 2nd, 14th, 1st.
One win, one second and two anonymous showings inbetween. Problems in the pits have been nightmarish for the 2009 World Champion but with McLaren claiming to have addressed the problem over the three week break, Jenson should return to the fore this weekend. He could do with a strong weekend after Bahrain.
5: Fernando Alonso Ferrari
Last four results: 7th, 9th, 1st, 5th.
Given Ferrari’s woes in the opening four races Alonso’s position in the championship is rather miraculous considering the car he’s had to deal with. Brings the first of a few major upgrades to Barcelona which Ferrari are banking on to save their season. Interesting to see where this story goes.
6: Nico Rosberg Mercedes GP
Last four results: 5th, 1st, 13th, 12th.
Went from hero in China to questionable in Bahrain as poor tyre management from Mercedes hampered the young German yet again. Will also be looking to have a clean weekend in Catalunya after the overtaking controversy in Bahrain. Mercedes will need to address their tyre problems to have a chance here.
7: Kimi Raikkonen Lotus-Renault
Last four results: 2nd, 14th, 5th, 7th.
Arguably the driver of the day last time out. It’s been a more than satisfactory return for the Ice Man considering the learning curve he’s had to come back to. Lotus have the dark horse tag written all over them and will be aiming to continue their impressive start to the season.
8: Romain Grosjean Lotus-Renault
Last four results: 3rd, 6th, RET, RET.
Rather overshadowed at Lotus by team mate Kimi in the opening couple of rounds but he’s respectably picked up his game to deliver two strong points finishes since. A replication of his podium in Bahrain may be a step too far but another points finish will do no harm here.
9: Sergio Perez Sauber
Last four results: 11th, 11th, 2nd, 8th.
Gone slightly off the radar since his second place in Malaysia which sent tongues wagging of a potential mid-season swap to Ferrari. Brings a host of upgrades to his car and is confident of a return to the points.
10: Paul Di Resta Force India-Mercedes
Last four results: 6th, 12th, 7th, 10th.
Has managed to keep up the potential of last year by making an impressive start to the year and out-performing his just as young team-mate in the process. Oozing confidence after a career-best 6th in Bahrain, could well be in the thick of it again this weekend.
11: Bruno Senna Williams-Renault
Last four results: 22nd, 7th, 6th, 16th.
Disappointed with his performance in Bahrain but will have an A for effort after four rounds, bringing Williams back into the points after a year out in the cold. Will be looking to continue the impression this weekend.
12: Kamui Kobayashi Sauber
Last four results: 13th, 10th, RET, 6th.
The 6th place in Australia does seem quite a long time ago but like team mate Perez will be hoping the new aero package will reap its rewards over the next week.
13: Jean-Eric Vergne Toro Rosso-Ferrari
Last four results: 14th, 16th, 8th, 11th.
Currently is leading the intriguing Toro Rosso battle going on between himself and team mate Ricciardo – with many in the paddock believing that one of these two will one day partner Vettel at Red Bull. The talent is there without doubt. Will be simply looking for another solid weekend here.
14: Pastor Maldonado Williams-Renault
Last four results: RET, 8th, 19th, 13th.
Certainly looking better than he did this time last year - no thanks to an appalling Williams chassis. He is however being outdone by team mate Senna and will certainly needs to do something about it.
15: Daniel Ricciardo Toro Rosso-Ferrari
Last four results: 15th, 17th, 12th, 9th.
Claimed in his blog on the Red Bull website during the week that he’s more than happy with his start to 2012. The Australian is also full of hope that their new package for the European stint of the year will be able to push them further up the grid.
16: Nico Hulkenberg Force India-Mercedes
Last four results: 12th, 15th, 9th, RET.
Overshadowed by di Resta with doubt but after a year out he can be forgiven in some aspects. Could really do with a improved showing, particularly against his team mate however. The year out excuse won’t help him much longer.
17: Felipe Massa Ferrari
Last four results: 9th, 13th, 15th, RET.
Finally scored some points in Bahrain – albeit just. The Ferrari so far has been bad, but Alonso’s performances have really put poor Felipe in the shade. The Brazilian is perhaps under the biggest pressure of anyone in the top teams, and the expectation given by Ferrari’s new package will only add to that.
18: M. Schumacher Mercedes GP
Last four results: 10th, RET, 10th, RET.
Has the qualifying pace but sadly it’s not the same come race day. Has become an outspoken critic of Pirelli’s 2012 tyres over the break, likening them to driving on raw eggs. Needs a better weekend without question.
19: Timo Glock Marussia-Cosworth
Last four results: 19th, 19th, 17th, 14th.
Has lamented handling trouble with his Marussia for quite some time and after practice on Friday, things here don’t look to be changing. Glock is a driver who deserves a break after years of patience. Sadly, Marussia don’t look like making much headway anytime soon.
20: Charles Pic Marussia-Cosworth
Last four results: RET, 20th, 20th, 15th.
Still learning, will no doubt be content with another finish to add to the three he has already to gain valuable experience.
21: Vitaly Petrov Caterham-Renault
Last four results: 16th, 18th, 16th, RET.
Must be hard to go from Lotus at one end of the grid to Caterham at the other. Points will be hard to come by here to Vitaly. If there’s any consolation here, it’s that Caterham perhaps look the best of a bad bunch at the back to make that jump to the midfield.
22: Heikki Kovalainen Caterham-Renault
Last four results: 17th, 23rd, 18th, RET.
Made history for Caterham last time out by finally making it into Q2. Like Glock deserves a break after years of patience with their respective teams. With an upgrade in tow, the aim for Heikki here is to continue the momentum from Bahrain.
23: Pedro de la Rosa HRT-Cosworth
Last four results: 20th, 21st, 22nd, DNQ.
With such a tight budget, HRT were unable to participate in the Mugello tests over the break. In conclusion, there will be little or no improvements for the moment for the Spaniard at his home grand prix.
24: Narain Karthikeyan HRT-Cosworth
Last four results: 21st, 22nd, 21st, DNQ.
Finds himself in the same boat as his team mate. For both Karthikeyan and HRT, a solid finish will be considered a success.