June 27th, 2013 (F1plus/J. Polychronis).- The Pressure Gauge is a segment conducted before every race weekend of 2013. It is designed to predominately assess the big name drivers in F1 and how their pressure mounts or diffuses, depending on their situation.
Jenson Button: Medium ↗ High
Four British drivers will take to the track this weekend at Silverstone. It is the third highest ranked driver though, who arguably holds the greatest potential to fulfil Britain’s hopes. This being, Jenson Button.
I’m sure initial thoughts would have shot to Lewis Hamilton who currently possesses 52 more championship points than Button. Indeed, it is Hamilton who is the most likely to claim victory in his home Grand Prix. Would this result be a fulfilment of British hopes however? Arguably not. A Hamilton victory this Sunday would ironically represent the conquering of an ex-RAF base by German machinery. While this may seem overly dramatic, the symbolism of the situation is present as many Britons will be aware. Therefore, Britain’s hopes are likely to be invested in Button, who said:
“I’m optimistic that we’ll fare better (than Montreal). Of course, I don’t want to raise everyone’s expectations: I think the fans know what to expect. For me, my goal will be to get the maximum from the package and to race as hard as I can”
A high finish is unlikely, as Button is sure to remind his home-town fans. Nonetheless, a Briton driving for a British label represents a far purer and favourable home-town result.
Mark Webber: Ice Cold ↗ Low
After analysing Webber twice previously in The Pressure Gauge, we have revealed that the Australian is likely under the least pressure in F1. Reasons for this have been absent expectations for his success, as well as his probable imminent departure from F1. It is believable however, that a slight potential increase in pressure may occur in the coming weeks. Uncontracted at season’s end, Webber must maintain a respectable points tally. The reason for this is bargaining power.
On the topic of a new contract, Webber recently stated "The ball is pretty firmly in my court, which is nice.” With the ball in Webber’s court, another season and another pay cheque is available at his discretion. Although, should results begin to go astray, the situation will change as Webber admits:
“I have to, of course, continue to keep driving well obviously then that ball will go out of your court and other people will roll in to that seat because they're probably going to be more attractive to a team like Red Bull.”
Many suggest that another season in F1 is probably undesired by Webber. Nonetheless, should the decision to leave F1 be made on his own terms, the legacy of Webber will bolster.
Sebastian Vettel: Extreme ↓ Medium
When reviewed after the Malaysian Grand Prix, we deemed Sebastian Vettel’s pressure situation to be polarised to Webber’s. The F1 world was fixated on Vettel and his defiance of team orders, surmounting an immense amount of pressure on the German. To justify his actions, results were necessary. After two further race victories and no lower finishes than fourth, it seems Vettel has indeed achieved this justification.
Speaking ahead of the race on Sunday, Vettel said: “The British Grand Prix at Silverstone is a highlight of the season and one of my favourite tracks. It’s located only 30km from our factory in Milton Keynes and the circuit’s a real challenge.”
The Red Bull driver heads into the race with an impressive 36 point lead after 7 races. Not only this, but a recent contract extension will have Vettel feeling quite comfortable at the moment. There is still a great sense of expectation on Vettel to win the title, leaving him in the ‘medium’ bracket.
Nico Hulkenberg is enduring a disappointing start to life at Sauber. 5 championship points from 7 races has seen Hulkenberg begin to contemplate his decision to leave Force India. Speaking of the lacklustre start to the season, he said: "It is tough - It didn't work as expected but, that's life.
We just have to keep our heads down and focus on the current situation trying to improve the car, make it faster. - how much of a step and how much we can transform this season it’s still to be seen."
Hulkenberg’s former team, Force India, have proven to be the best of the rest season. The Silverstone based team currently sits on 51 constructors points. Sauber meanwhile, have only accumulated a measly 5. Feelings of regret are arguably brewing within Hulkenberg. It is plausible that the German looks at the likes of di Resta with a certain amount of jealousy. Pressure is on Hulkenberg to amass a respectable points tally, even if it is just to secure some piece of mind.