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 European Grand Prix (race result in parenthesis).
Mark Webber (1st) - A
A fantastic 2nd place in qualifying saw Mark Webber head into the race with great prospects for the win but after Alonso’s fantastic start it began to look less likely for the Aussie. However it all came back to him as his perseverance paid off with 7 laps to go as he took the lead and came home to his 2nd win in 3 years at Silverstone.
Fernando Alonso (2nd) - A – Also wins the Save of the day for his crucial spin save in Qualifying 2.
If it hadn’t been for losing the lead to Webber Alonso would’ve been on for an A+ but his strategy let him down. His breath taking pole position lap in the damp/drying conditions was incredible to watch as he wrung everything out of his car and then to pull out the lead that he did on the rest of the pack showed real raw pace.
Sebastian Vettel (3rd) - B
Current world champion kept a calm and collected head throughout a fairly quiet weekend for the German who helped RBR achieve their first double driver podium of the year.
Felipe Massa (4th) - B
A strong race for the Brazilian who has finally shown a flicker of his former driving self earns him his grade today. His highest position since Spa 2010 and the promise of a podium return seems to be on track for Felipe and his team.
Kimi Raikkonen (5th) - B
A brave effort in qualifying after lugging around KERS batteries which weren’t working was the main moment of Kimi’s weekend after a fairly uneventful 5th place.
Romain Grosjean (6th) - A
After a pure racing incident on Lap 1 Grosjean drove fantastically to make it into the top 6 of the point scorers after being as far down the grid as 22nd ! Some great overtaking manoeuvres driven with pure guts contributed to Romain’s second A grade in a row.
Michael Schumacher (7th) - B-
Michael Schumacher miraculously held it together after several slides in the wet of qualifying eventually qualifying in 3rd but felt that he could’ve place higher in the race had it continued to race.
Lewis Hamilton (8th) - B
Hamilton was the highest place Brit of the weekend but after gaining no places throughout the race can achieve no higher than a B grade. He was saved from a B- due to his pitlane walkabout and track invasion during the red flag to entertain the crowd showing that he cares about the fans.
Bruno Senna (9th) - B+
After a 4 race no points haul and one point from Last Time Out Bruno Senna impressed at the Silverstone weekend after a battle between Nico Hulkenberg and Jenson Button in the dying laps saw him claim 2 valuable points.
Jenson Button (10th) - B-
Jenson Button failed to impress at his home grand prix after missing out on Q2 thanks to the rain and a spinning Timo Glock on the pit straight and despite making it up to 10th to claim a point from 18th it was a race for the Brit to forget.
Kamui Kobayashi (11th) - C-
It was an average showing from Kamui Kobayashi who appears to be playing a smaller part in the championship this year in comparison to his team mate. His big moment of the grand prix occurred as he effectively knocked down half of his right hand side of his pit crew after misjudging his braking into his pit, an honest mistake after a lack of dry pit stop practice but means he can score no higher than C.
Nico Hulkenberg (12th) - C
Nico impressed in qualifying making it into Q3 but his degrading tyres towards the end of the GP literally saw him slip out of the points scoring positions ending up 12th.
Daniel Ricciardo (13th) - C
After qualifying in 14th during the mixed weather conditions of Q2 Daniel had a poor start at the beginning of the race which effectively saw his race end in 13th.
Jean Eric Vergne (14th) - B-
Jean Eric Vergne proved that he too can battle through the field after starting the race in 23rd (ahead of Charles Pic) and ending up 14th shows Jean’s promise.
Nico Rosberg (15th) - C
After qualifying 13th Rosberg started 10 places behind his team mate and his race performance was not much better after a slow pit stop and a slow first phase of the grand prix.
Pastor Maldonado (16th) - D
Another high profile moment for the Venezulan meant he effectively ended another driver’s race in an incident that cost him more championship points and 10,000 Euros.
Heikki Kovalainen (17th) - C+
Heikki drove well throughout the race but his Caterham was just too off of the pace to battle with the cars in front.
Timo Glock (18th) - C
The Marussia driver returned to the cockpit after missing the European GP with a stomach bug and performed well under the mixed conditions of the weekend which he felt hampered his chances of finishing further up the grid.
Charles Pic (19th) - C
Charles had a run of bad luck after two stops out on track in FP3 and a wet qualifying session but despite getting stuck behind the HRT’s it was a credible performance.
Pedro De La Rosa (20th) - C+
Pedro felt he had made improvements with his car but made the wrong strategy choice which meant he couldn’t battle with the Marussia’s up front.
Narain Karthikeyan (21th) - C
Karthikeyan had a relatively low profile race as he came in as the last car still running and failed to finish ahead of the Marussia after struggling with rear tyre degradation.
Sergio Perez (RET) - C+
Sergio’s race was ended after an incident with Pastor Maldonado and it was fair to say he was pretty angry about the incident. His opinions are his own but for actually saying what he thought and not the typical speech he gets a C+.
Paul Di Resta (RET) - C
A weekend to forget for the Brit after missing the third qualifying session due to yellow flags didn’t get any better as he was the victim of a first lap incident as he swiped across the front of Romain Grosjean and suffered a rear puncture that ended his race.
Vitaly Petrov (RET) - C
The Russian’s race was ended with a mechanical failure on his out lap but his efforts to out qualify his team mate earned him a C grade despite not racing.