July 9th, 2012 (F1plus / Grace Cunningham).- The British Grand Prix weekend certainly gave the F1 drivers a lesson or two on how to spin, save and how to consistently perform in continually changing weather conditions and as with every lesson each driver learnt as much as they put in.
Each driver is out there to prove they are the best in the world and each performance throughout the year totals to create their overall evaluation much like a school exam in which several modules create the final result which brings us on to create this format for a race weekend review: the RACE GRADE REPORT.
Driver's score ranges from A+ to D- and they relate more to their driving and a bit less to the support of their vehicles. For us driving for a Toro Rosso and having a great race might give the driver a A score while driving for poorly in a McLaren my render a C-.
Drivers are listed as they finished the German Grand Prix (race result in parenthesis).
Alonso (1st) | A
The ever supreme Alonso, faultless race and incredible qualifying lap for pole position deserves an A grade. For the elusive A+ there needed to be a little bit more show for me, almost too dominant.
Button (2nd) | A-
An impressive showing from the Brit who started 6th on the grid but yet again his qualifying position put the Briton on the back foot and so for that he gets an A-.
Raikkonen (3rd) | B
Raikkonen and the Lotus team appeared to struggle in the wet conditions of qualifying but as the track temperatures rose so did the heartbeats of the Lotus fans as Raikkonen began to impress with the speed of the Lotus. A technically gifted podium due to Vettel’s penalty but yet again consistency is proving key for the Finn who moves ahead of Lewis Hamilton in the championship standings.
Kobayashi (4th) | B+
A strong race performance for Kobayashi after qualifying far back in the field but with a stronger car in the dry conditions the Saubers impressed on race day.
Vettel (5th) | C
Vettel threw away his podium points after a controversial manoeuvre on Jenson Button in the dying laps of the GP and was handed a 20 second penalty from the stewards as a result. Despite the German appearing to have strong reasons as to why he did what he did the stewards decided rules are rules and handed him the penalty.
Perez (6th) | B+
Perez once again impressed with his raw pace on race day after a tough qualifying in the wet and showed to many that he is certainly one to watch after climbing 11 places from where he qualified and including a 5 grid drop for a gearbox change.
Schumacher (7th) | B-
After a silly incident in FP3 in which the German admitted he just lost concentration Schumacher rewarded the team for their quick recovery of the car with P3 for the race. However Schumacher could not maintain his position at the front but still came home as the highest placed Mercedes GP driver.
Webber (8th) | B
It was a difficult weekend for Webber who qualified 3rd but dropped back down to 8th after a gearbox change. On race day he quite simply said he just did not have the pace and hopes that it will be rectified ahead of the upcoming Hungarian GP.
Hulkenberg (9th) | B+
A fantastic qualifying performance from the young German saw him qualify 4th but the car did not quite match up to the pace in the dry conditions leaving Hulkenberg 5 places lower than he qualified.
Nico Rosberg (10th) | B
Rosberg had a tough weekend after the wet qualifying and a gearbox penalty saw him start 21st on the grid, however the German enjoyed the challenge and was happy to come away with a point at the end of the race.
Paul Di Resta (11th) | C+
Di Resta made Q3 on Saturday but his pace was not strong enough in the race and he felt he and the team were a little too conservative on tyre strategy due to the lack of knowledge of dry running on the Pirelli tyres at Hockenheim.
Felipe Massa (12th) | C
Qualifying was difficult for Felipe who qualified 14th but started 13th on the grid due to other driver’s penalties. Lap 1 was a tough lap for the Brazilian who lost his wing due to colliding with the rear of a Lotus into the first corner causing him to pit at the end of the first lap. From there on in it was damage limitation for Massa who eventually ended up outside of the points.
Daniel Ricciardo (13th) | C+
Ricciardo yet again missed out on the points after he suffered with under steer throughout the race and therefore couldn’t compete with the likes of Force India, Williams and Sauber.
Jean-Eric Vergne (14th) | C+
Jean Eric Vergne was once again the victim of the 7th driver to miss Q2 and failed to make an impression in the race after suffering a puncture in the first stint of the race. He is however feeling optimistic of the cars performance in the lead up to the Hungarian GP.
Pastor Maldonado (15th) | C+
An impressive qualifying of 6th was not followed up with a good result for the Venezuelan as he was left with a lack of race pace especially in the 2nd stint of the race after collecting damage on the first lap but is looking to improve for the next race.
Vitaly Petrov (16th) | B
A strong display from the Russian who is looking to prove his worth at the Caterham team as he beat Bruno Senna and his team mate to the checkered flag after being happy with the performance of his car for the entire race.
Bruno Senna (17th) | C
Senna was involved in a first lap incident which sent him straight to the pits which was an elongated stop as something on the car began to smoke. From there on in Senna battled his way up the grid but after such a time deficit in the first lap could make no higher than 17th.
Romain Grosjean (18th) | C
A disappointing race weekend for Grosjean after a grid penalty post-qualifying, a shunt at the behind from Massa and an incident which caused him to lose his front wing and pick up a puncture effectively ended the Frenchman’s race despite his efforts to gain places coming in 18th under the checkered flag.
Heikki Kovalainen (19th) | C+
Kovalainen celebrated his 100th race weekend (not race start) but it was not a lucky race for him as he suffered front graining causing him to pit for a new nose which put him back into 19th.
Charles Pic (20th) | C+
Rookie driver Pic finished ahead of his team mate in the race but failed to improve on his starting position of 20th but felt his team coped well with a tough weekend.
Pedro De La Rosa (21st) | C+
De La Rosa managed to split the Marussia’s in the race after hunting down Timo Glock throughout the race but was still 7 tenths off of their pace in qualifying.
Timo Glock (22nd) | C
It was a tough weekend for the lowest finishing home driver Timo Glock who struggled from Lap 10 onwards in the race and is looking to forget this weekend quickly and move on and hope for a better result at the Hungarian GP.
Narain Karthikeyan (23rd) | C
Karthikeyan managed to keep up with Marussia’s throughout the race but lost too much time under blue flag conditions at the end of the race but felt he may have been able to challenge the Marussia ahead.
Lewis Hamilton (DNF) | C+
His 100th GP for McLaren didn’t bring Hamilton the race he was looking for after a strategical error in qualifying left him in 7th and on the 2nd lap into the race a rear puncture ended his hopes of point scoring as the time deficit was just too large. A great effort to unlap himself was greatly received by most of those watching but in the end the damage to the rear of his car from lapping with a rear puncture at the beginning of the race was deemed too dangerous and the Briton ended as the only race retirement.