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2010 half-term report: Part II

Here is the second half to the Crash.net mid-season report on the class of F1 2010 - so read on to find out who has achieved top marks and who needs to buck up their ideas a notch or two...
With the annual mid-summer break now upon us, what better a time to run the rule over the F1 2010 World Championship campaign thus far, with a school report-style rundown of the 'hot-or-not' of the season to-date. Here is Part II, and if you don't agree – or even if you do – feel free to post your own comments by following the link at the bottom of the story...

Part I can be found here

14. Vitantonio Liuzzi – Force India F1 (12 points): C
Vitantonio Liuzzi's form this season has been somewhat difficult to assess, with the Italian bidding to rebuild his F1 career off the back of a somewhat stop-start nature since making his debut in the top flight with Red Bull Racing back in 2005. Whilst a brilliant fifth on the grid in Canada and an impressive seventh at the chequered flag in Australia have hinted at more potential yet to be unlocked, on too many other occasions the 29-year-old has flattered only to ultimately deceive, only making Q3 on three occasions from the opening twelve outings and trailing team-mate Adrian Sutil ten-two in the qualifying stakes and by 12 points to 30. With FIF1 appearing an increasingly attractive midfield proposition for potential suitors, you would have to say that thus far at least, Liuzzi's erratically inconsistent form in F1 2010 has left him in the firing line...

15. Nico Hülkenberg – Williams F1 (10 points): C+
Solid if unspectacular would probably sum up Nico Hülkenberg's fledgling F1 career to-date, with slow-but-steady progress rather than the bolt of lightning that many had expected from the former GP2 Series and F3 Euroseries Champion. Benefitting a great deal from having an experienced tutor alongside him at Williams in the shape of the evergreen Rubens Barrichello, the young German's excellent sixth place at the Hungaroring last time out was perhaps an indication that a corner has now been turned – and outstanding qualifying performances in Sepang and Valencia ably demonstrated that raw pace is palpably not a problem. The eight-four qualifying advantage and 30-10 points situation in the Brazilian's favour is arguably more a sign of the Paulista's continued fierce competitiveness even at the grand old age of 38, than it is of his team-mate not making the grade. Williams are keen to hang onto their very own 'Incredible Hulk' into 2011, and with good reason, you would have to say.

16. Sébastien Buemi – Scuderia Toro Rosso (7 points): C-
He might be ahead of his team-mate Jaime Alguersuari on points and comfortably ahead ten-two in the qualifying stakes, but if anything Sébastien Buemi has been the less impressive of the Scuderia Toro Rosso pair this year. Whilst the lack of pace of the Ferrari-powered STR5 has likely masked the young duo's true potential – with only really the three new teams proving to be slower – moments such as leading in Canada and going on to finish a strong eighth after getting the better of Michael Schumacher have been countered by the likes of Valencia, when the Swiss ace somehow managed to lose a position to Kamui Kobayashi into the very last corner. Some way short of the form he needs to be demonstrating to achieve his stated ambition of securing a Red Bull Racing seat in the near future, Buemi's report card reads 'must try harder'.

17. Pedro de la Rosa – Sauber (6 points): C
Many had questioned the wisdom of Peter Sauber recruiting a driver who had not raced full-time at the highest level in eight years to compete for his eponymously-named Hinwil-based outfit in F1 2010, but despite a shaky start that saw him for a time battling off rumours about the safety of his seat, Spanish 'super-sub' Pedro de la Rosa has gradually come to prove his worth one year short of his 40th birthday, and aside from playing a major role in helping to develop the underperforming C29 – a car Sauber himself denigrated as 'an unpleasant parting gift' from former owners BMW – the Barcelona native perhaps surprisingly also leads the qualifying battle with upcoming young team-mate Kamui Kobayashi seven-five. An impressive seventh place in Hungary proved that Pedro can still turn it on when required to.

18. Jaime Alguersuari – Scuderia Toro Rosso (3 points): C
As mentioned with team-mate Sébastien Buemi, there has really been little to choose between the Scuderia Toro Rosso duo thus far this season, but in this writer's opinion at least, Jaime Alguersuari just edges it by dint of his feisty race day efforts that have at times seen the young Spaniard outperform the machinery at his disposal. Keeping the legendary Michael Schumacher behind for more than 20 laps in Melbourne was no mean feat at all, and a strong drive in Malaysia a week later justifiably yielded the 20-year-old's maiden points in F1, making him the second-youngest points-scorer in the sport's long history. Should he successfully improve his qualifying form – the former British F3 Champion's chief Achilles' heel – there may be more points where they came from, too.

19. Heikki Kovalainen – Lotus Racing (0 points): B+
Having seen his reputation – carefully built up through a title challenge in GP2 and an impressive maiden campaign in the top flight with Renault in 2007 – gradually eroded during the two seasons he spent alongside Lewis Hamilton at McLaren-Mercedes, Heikki Kovalainen has been reborn this year, and is deservedly the best of the new team representatives in the drivers' standings. Down-and-out at the end of 2009, the Finn immediately knuckled down and set to work to re-establish himself as a leading competitor, and his work ethic, ever-sunny and positive demeanour and not least his performances have been a real tonic for F1 2010 newcomer Lotus. It is Kovalainen who has notched up the best qualifying position amongst the seven new team drivers so far, with 15th in Malaysia and five new team 'pole positions'; it is Kovalainen who has achieved the best finish to-boot, taking the chequered flag 13th in Australia; and it is Kovalainen, beyond doubt, who if justice is served will become the first to break into the points too. A real asset to Lotus, the Anglo/Malaysian outfit will do well to hang onto the man from Suomussalmi.

20. Karun Chandhok – Hispania Racing (0 points): C+
The one thing that you can never, ever fault about Karun Chandhok is his positive attitude. Put in an impossible situation this year, by being quite literally thrown in at the deep end after signing up to compete for Hispania Racing at the eleventh hour and then not even getting to drive the car prior to qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix curtain-raiser at Sakhir, the affable and popular Indian has dealt with every obstacle – and there have been no shortage – with impressive stoicism and maturity. A travesty that he was temporarily 'rested' by HRT post-Silverstone, the move says more about the struggling Spanish outfit's financial plight than anything else, but either way, Chandhok has indisputably earned his place on the grand prix grid.

21. Lucas Di Grassi – Virgin Racing (0 points): C-
Lucas Di Grassi is talented – towards the end of his GP2 career, he was arguably the most complete driver in the field, even if he never ultimately lifted the laurels – but that has yet to truly be seen in F1 as the likeable Brazilian has been largely anonymous throughout the opening half of his maiden season at the highest level with Virgin Racing. Granted, the car he has been provided with has hardly given the 26-year-old much opportunity to shine, but still he has been out-qualified by team-mate Timo Glock 11-1, and even by Hispania Racing rival Bruno Senna on four occasions. Better will be expected if the Paulista is to be given a second crack of the whip in 2011.

by Russell Atkins

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14.03.2010 Sakhir, Bahrain,  Drivers 2010 - Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 1, Bahrain Grand Prix, Sunday
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Greg - Unregistered

August 13, 2010 3:41 PM

Game Over for F1. Let's face it, it's all over. Just a bunch of spoiled rich kids circulating the track for 70 something times usually in the same order they started the race. It's Bullshit.

JP - Unregistered

August 13, 2010 8:27 PM

Greg, I think you're absolutely right. There's something BADLY missing from F1. There's just no passion in it these days. It's more like a hobby for rich kids than actual motor sports. I've noticed for myself that I don't even care who wins anymore.

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