August 12th, 2013 (F1plus/R Baillie).- The first half of the season is over and Formula One has broken up for the summer, so it’s time to see how our five rookies have done so far.
Valtteri Bottas - Williams
After 10 races it’s fair to say the young Finn is managing to match teammate Pastor Maldonado’s performance; having out qualified him six times and outperforming him during a race five times.
Thankfully, unlike his teammate, he has had a clean first half of the season avoiding causing numerous incidents.
Before the start of the season there was quite a lot of hype surrounding Bottas, and his season best finish of 11th place in Malaysia shows he clearly is capable of putting in a good performance and getting the best out of their car.
Impressively, Bottas very nearly managed to make it to the summer break without a retirement but was forced to retire from the Hungarian Grand Prix with a hydraulic issue.
Highlight: Qualifying third in the wet in Canada. Nevertheless, he could do nothing to finish in the points.
Esteban Gutierrez - Sauber
The young Mexican has had a very quiet year so far in a car, which the team are struggling to get on top of.
It must be hard enough to come into F1, let alone to hop into a car, which your more experienced teammate is struggling with and is frustrated with. Gutierrez may have been unable to out qualify his teammate, however he has shown some promise by finishing above him three times.
An 11th place finish in Spain shows that a points finish isn’t impossible for him, hopefully as he gains more experience during the second half of the season, the Mexican will be able to gain his first F1 points.
Highlight: Again the Barcelona drive, but that will not be enough to keep his seat.
Giedo van der Garde - Caterham
The Dutchman hasn’t had an easy year since Caterham invited Heikki Kovalainen back on board as reserve driver, sparking rumours that Giedo van der Garde may be replaced by the Finn.
In reality his performance hasn’t been awful; he is generally very strong at the start of the race and is able to gain a couple of places during the opening laps. Unfortunately tyre management appears to be his achilles heel, meaning he drops back towards the end of the race.
His best finish of the year was a 14th place in Hungary, suggesting that perhaps the new tyres are better suited to the Dutchman.
Highlight: Besides that Hungary result, he surprised us all with 15th in qualifying at Monaco.
Jules Bianchi - Marussia
Out of all five rookies Jules Bianchi seems to be the driver who has impressed the most. The Frenchman has outperformed his teammate at every race he has finished and has contributed significantly to Marussia taking 10th place in the constructor’s standings.
A season best finish of 13th place in Malaysia showed just how talented he is and hints to his ability for him to get the best out of the car.
His brilliant performance hasn’t gone unnoticed with the head of the Ferrari Driver Academy praising Bianchi for his performance.
Highlight: all the above. He is in the immediate radar for bigger team.
Max Chilton - Marussia
The Brit has been unable to out-qualify his teammate so far this season and has only been able to outperform him at races that Bianchi has been unable to finish.
On the positive side though, we’ve only really seen one slip up from the Brit throughout the year, which came in Monaco when he collided with Maldonado. His clean driving combined with the cars reliability mean that he has managed to finish every race so far.
We’ve seen some great racing from these five rookies, who have proven that not all young drivers are untalented or a liability.
Highlight: hum...we are still waiting for him to mesmerize us.