Monday, 13 July 2009

F1 2009 Super Season Grid – post Germany catch-up

It’s been a while, but I thought it was time to get back on track with the Super Season Grid. Things have changed in the F1 world since the last grid update after Spain. For one, the balance of power seems to have shifted to Red Bull with Vettel and Webber taking wins at Silverstone and Nurburgring respectively as Brawn have fallen behind a bit in the development race, Adrian Newey introducing a raft of chassis changes for the British GP. Meanwhile, the likes of Toyota and BMW have slipped back even further while Williams, McLaren and Ferrari have made a few jumps up the order.

But in terms of the drivers, who is still class of the field on average? Well, I’ve filled in the gaps from Monaco to today’s race and here is how it stands as of now:

  1. Jenson Button – 1’28.319  +0.000  Non-mover
  2. Nico Rosberg – 1’28.378  +0.059  Non-mover
  3. Rubens Barrichello – 1’28.407  +0.088  Non-mover
  4. Mark Webber – 1’28.489  +0.170  Non-mover
  5. Sebastien Vettel – 1’28.568  +0.250  Non-mover
  6. Felipe Massa – 1’28.647  +0.328  +1 place
  7. Kazuki Nakajima – 1’28.764  +0.446 +4 places
  8. Kimi Raikkonen – 1’28.775  +0.457  Non-mover
  9. Fernando Alonso – 1’28.798  +0.479  +4 places
  10. Lewis Hamilton – 1’28.821  +0.502  Non-mover
  11. Jarno Trulli – 1’28.855  +0.536  +1 place
  12. Timo Glock – 1’28.906 +0.587  -6 places
  13. Robert Kubica – 1’29.115  +0.796  -4 places
  14. Nick Heidfeld – 1’29.123  +0.804  +1 place
  15. Heikki Kovalainen – 1’29.185 +0.866  -1 place
  16. Nelson Piquet – 1’29.298  +0.980  Non-mover
  17. Adrian Sutil – 1’29.451  +1.132  +3 places
  18. Sebastien Buemi – 1’29.573  +1.254  -1 place
  19. Sebastien Bourdais – 1’29.622  +1.303  Non-mover
  20. Giancarlo Fisichella – 1’29.709  +1.391  -2 places

So, despite the surge of pace from Milton Keynes, Button is still at the head of the Grid after wins in Monaco and Turkey helped his championship charge with a couple of dominant weekends. Contrast that with the less than successful he’s had in Britain and Germany. Brawn now seem to be putting more focus on development on the BGP001, which should hopefully mean a big update is just around the corner.

Rosberg stays second ahead of Barrichello and the Red Bulls. The first 5 have stayed in exactly the same order since Spain, but the gap has closed by just under a quarter of a second which shows just how tight it is at the top. Behind them, Massa has taken over from Glock as best of the rest with Ferrari seemingly starting to find a bit of pace. Timo, meanwhile, has suffered the most. He is the biggest faller with a drop of 6 places. Such has been the fall from grace for Toyota that they are now no longer one of the top teams, a far cry from the front row lockout back in Bahrain. Trulli does jump one place thanks to good free practice pace.

Other big movers are Nakajima, Alonso and Sutil. Kaz and Fernando have jumped 4 places as well, with definite improvements being shown in the Williams allowing the Japanese driver to show his worth. Some of this will have been down to the excellent 5th place he scored in qualifying at Silverstone, where the team brought a new specification of the rear diffuser. Alonso, meanwhile, seems to have found some pace from the Renault at last, although it needs a bit of running before it’s properly wound up and ready to challenge. A decent run this weekend at the Nurburgring will have helped him no end with decent free practice pace, good speed in Q1 and being able to come on strong in the race with the fastest lap.

Non-movers, apart from the top 5, are Raikkonen, Hamilton, Piquet and Bourdais. You could say that in terms of their careers, the latter two seem to be heading that way. Le Seb seems to be on his way out (there’ll be a blog post on that soon), while people are still amazed that Nelson is STILL in that Renault. I thought Silverstone would be the last straw, but then when have we ever believed or taken anything that Flavio’s said seriously? Lewis now looks like he has a car which is on the pace once again as his performance at the weekend showed. Topping 2 practice sessions, making Q3 and getting a rocket start thanks to his KERS system meant he could have been in contention for the win had he not cut his tyre on Webber’s front wing, effectively ending all chances of a good race. Still, the new diffuser seems to have done the trick, but it’s rather ironic that it’s Kovalainen who came away with the points and his car wasn’t fitted with said diffuser.

Finally, let’s look at Sutil. The Force India has suddenly received a injection of pace and it was clearly evident at the weekend as Adrian got as high as P2 in Q2 and to the same point in the race. But fate, and Raikkonen, interfered once again and for the 3rd time in his career the chance of a points finish was snatched from him. Contact with the Ferrari damaged his front wing and ruined his race. But it hasn’t disheartened him and I’m sure that in the races to come this season he’ll have more chances to shine. Still, a jump of 3 places has gotten him off the back row, which means progress is being made.

With Hungary next on the calendar, it will be intriguing to see if Button and co can stop the current Red Bull steamroller. With Webber now seemingly hitting peak form in the best car he’s ever driven and Vettel taking over 2nd place in the championship, the boys from Brackley need to do something quick. Otherwise, it’ll only be a matter of time before Jenson’s chance for the championship is gone. Let’s hope it doesn’t turn out that way.


Sean Golding said...

A shame to see Button still topping the list. ;)

Webber will be above him soon, both here and in the World Championship. ;)