Who will win the battle of the team mates in 2012?

2012 F1 season preview

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The first person every driver wants to beat is his team mate.

Five teams have kept the same line-up for 2012 – while the rest have tweaked their driver pairings.

Who will come out on top in each? Cast your vote on all 12 below and have your say in the comments.

For drivers who have been team mates at the same team before, you also compare their championship scores.

Red Bull: Sebastian Vettel vs Mark Webber

Webber needs to strike back in 2012

Vettel and Webber are the longest-running partnership in F1 today – this will be their fourth season as team mates.

It was nip-and-tuck between the pair of them in their first two seasons together. But last year Vettel dominated his team mate, emphatically winning his second world championship.

The pressure is on Webber to raise his game and get back on terms with Vettel in 2012. But can he do it?

Sebastian VettelMark Webber

Which Red Bull driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Mark Webber (11%)
  • Sebastian Vettel (89%)

Total Voters: 701

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McLaren: Jenson Button vs Lewis Hamilton

Button turned the tables on Hamilton last year

It’s unusual to see two world champions sharing a team – so the pairing of Button and Hamilton gives McLaren the strongest driver line-up in F1.

Their two seasons together has shown up their contrasting strengths and weaknesses: Button kind to his tyres but weaker than his team mate in qualifying; Hamilton fast and combative but sometimes careless.

In terms of who’s finished ahead, they’re tied 1-1 as they embark on their third season together. Can Hamilton reassert himself in the team where he had never been beaten until Button came along?

Jenson ButtonLewis Hamilton

Which McLaren driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Lewis Hamilton (52%)
  • Jenson Button (48%)

Total Voters: 702

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Ferrari: Fernando Alonso vs Felipe Massa

Number five is number one at Ferrari

To say things are a little one-sided at Ferrari would be quite an understatement.

Alonso has easily had the beating of Massa since they paired up two years ago. In that time the twice-champion out-qualified Massa 29-7.

There’s no escaping the fact that Alonso has enjoyed the preference of his team. Never more clearly than when they forced Massa to hand over victory in Germany two years ago.

But the vast majority of the time Alonso has exerted a crushing superiority. Massa faces an enormous challenge to reverse that in 2012.

Fernando AlonsoFelipe Massa

Which Ferrari driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Felipe Massa (4%)
  • Fernando Alonso (96%)

Total Voters: 694

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Mercedes: Michael Schumacher vs Nico Rosberg

It was close between the Mercedes drivers in 2011

Schumacher spent his comeback season in the shadow of his younger team mate.

Last year Rosberg easily had the beating of his team mate on Saturday – out-qualifying him 15-2 – but in the races the pair were much more closely matched.

Will 2012 be the year the old master finally shows his young team mate how it’s done?

Michael SchumacherNico Rosberg

Which Mercedes driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Nico Rosberg (64%)
  • Michael Schumacher (36%)

Total Voters: 692

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Lotus: Kimi Raikkonen vs Romain Grosjean

Grosjean has a world champion for an F1 team mate - again

Lotus’s driver pairing both last started an F1 race in Abu Dhabi in 2009. But the similarities end there.

Raikkonen’s credentials are as good as anyone’s, but the 2007 world champion was not at the peak of his form when he slipped out of the sport two years ago. Will he, like Schumacher in 2010, take time to get back to his best in new surroundings?

Grosjean may not have capitalised on his fleeting F1 chance with this team in 2009 – but he made a strong case for a full-season drive by winning the GP2 championship comfortably. Can he give Raikkonen a surprise?

Which Lotus driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Romain Grosjean (9%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (91%)

Total Voters: 687

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Force India: Paul di Resta vs Nico Hulkenberg

Two of the top rookies of recent years team up at Force India

Force India have what is surely the most exciting driver line-up on the grid.

The VJM05 will be piloted by a pair of sophomore drivers who distinguished themselves with some excellent performance in their rookie campaigns.

Di Resta may have the advantage of having been racing last year, but Hulkenberg kept his eye in with several practice session appearances for Force India.

How this one unfolds could be the making – or breaking – of either driver.

Which Force India driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Nico Hulkenberg (40%)
  • Paul di Resta (60%)

Total Voters: 678

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Sauber: Kamui Kobayashi vs Sergio Perez

Perez got on terms with Kobayashi in his first season

Sauber’s preference for young, upcoming drivers served them well in 2011.

With a year’s more experience better things are expected of Kobayashi and Perez, and the competition between the two should be closer than before.

Kamui KobayashiSergio Perez

*Missed two races due to injury.

Which Sauber driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Sergio Perez (42%)
  • Kamui Kobayashi (58%)

Total Voters: 674

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Toro Rosso: Daniel Ricciardo vs Jean-Eric Vergne

Ricciardo and Vergne were team mates in 2008 in Formula Renault 2.0

An all-new and highly inexperienced driver pairing at Toro Rosso as they play another round of ‘Red Bull Idol’.

The pair have come up through the ranks with Vergne a year behind Ricciardo, emulating his wins in British Formula Three and rookie season runner-up placing in Formula Renault 3.5.

Ricciardo has some useful extra experience at this level over his team mate, but even so both face a steep learning curve in their first full seasons.

Which Toro Rosso driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Jean-Eric Vergne (26%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (74%)

Total Voters: 649

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Williams: Pastor Maldonado vs Bruno Senna

Senna is Maldonado's new team mate

Maldonado fared well alongside Barrichello in the uncompetitive FW33 last year, particularly in qualifying.

His new team mate Senna blew hot and cold in a brief stint at Renault.

Both have good reason to think they should be able to beat the other – but which one will?

Which Williams driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Bruno Senna (72%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (28%)

Total Voters: 669

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Caterham: Heikki Kovalainen vs Vitaly Petrov

Petrov goes up against Kovalainen at Caterham

Petrov was an 11th-hour addition to Caterham’s ranks alongside Kovalainen.

Kovalainen has had two solid years with the team, generally proving quicker than former team mate Jarno Trulli.

With the team striving to break into the midfield in 2012, which of their drivers is best equipped to get them there?

Which Caterham driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Vitaly Petrov (17%)
  • Heikki Kovalainen (83%)

Total Voters: 674

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HRT: Narain Karthikeyan vs Pedro de la Rosa

De la Rosa has sat in the F112 but is yet to drive it

HRT have gone for a decidedly mature driver line-up, pairing 35-year-old Karthikeyan with 41-year-old de la Rosa.

While former McLaren driver de la Rosa is undeniably more experienced, Karthikeyan had more seat time last year when he did half a season with the team.

That could stand him in good stead as the team feel their way with the new F112.

Which HRT driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Pedro de la Rosa (86%)
  • Narain Karthikeyan (14%)

Total Voters: 661

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Marussia: Timo Glock vs Charles Pic

Charles Pic is the lastest new face at Marussia

For the third year in a row Glock is sharing a team with a rookie driver.

Neither of Charles Pic’s predecessors – Lucas di Grassi and Jerome D’Ambrosio – are still racing in F1, which indicates the extent of the challenge he faces at Marussia.

Having had precious little pre-season running, Pic has a mountain to climb to get on terms with the experienced Glock.

Which Marussia driver will finish ahead in the championship?

  • Charles Pic (8%)
  • Timo Glock (92%)

Total Voters: 652

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Which drivers do you think will beat their team mates in 2012? Explain your choices in the comments.

2012 F1 season preview

Browse the 2012 F1 season preview

Images © Red Bull/Getty images, McLaren/Hoch Zwei, Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Mercedes, Lotus F1 Team/LAT, Fore India/Sutton, Sauber F1 Team, Red Bull/Getty images, Williams/LAT, Caterham/LAT, HRT F1 Team, GP2 Media Service

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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145 comments on “Who will win the battle of the team mates in 2012?”

  1. Vettel, Button, Alonso, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Kobayashi, Ricciardo, Senna, Petrov, De La Rosa and Glock for me

    1. Petrov ahead of Kovalainen??!!

      I wish there was a wager fuction on this site.. I would wager you a whole 50P that this doesn’t happen sir!

      1. I think Kovy will outperform him on the whole, but I wouldn’t put it past Petrov to score some lucky points and come ahead in the standings. I still went for Kovy though ;)

        1. Good point @george, since the 10th-11th spot likely will still be decided by positions at race finish, a lucky race by Petrov to score that first point for Caterham could put him ahead. Likewise, I think Narain might beat Pedro.

    2. Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Schumacher, Raikonnen, Di Resta, Perez, Ricciardo, Senna, Kovalainen, De La Rosa and Glock for me :)

      1. PhilEReid, exact same vote with only one difference, put Hulk above Di resta.

        1. Yes, I’d put Hulk above Paul too. In my humble opinio, Hulk is one of the best young drivers in F1.

          1. @philreid, @snowman, @jcost I put Di Resta above Hulk, despite thinking Hulk might in the end be the faster driver. Di Resta had a consistently strong season in 2011, in the same team. Hulk showed promise in 2010, but wasn’t so consistent and struggled earlier in the year. He also had a year on the side, so he may be hungrier, but has effectively less useful experience. One of the pairs to watch closely!

    3. Vettel, Button, Alonso, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, perez, Vergne, Maldonado, Petrov, Pedro (if he keeps his seat), Timo

  2. I hope the Hulk beats Di Resta so the kid can learn some humility. Hamiltons biggest fight will be with himself. If he can overcome that he will thrash Button. Sauber should be a good battle with two good drivers. Williams should be a good battle with two bad drivers.

    1. I don’t think di Resta comes across as particularly arrogant. It’s the British press that make him out to be that way, because they love getting stuck into the British drivers.

      1. Exactly. He comes across as a very grounded and humble chap (for F1 standards anyway) who is confident in his own abilities. It’s the press who take his statements out of context and give him a bad name.

      2. mission accomplished

      3. I dunno, I’m not exposed to the British press being Australian.

        I think it’s more of how so many people on here go on about how good he was, when really, I think he has a lot of room to improve yet.

        For me at least.

    2. @xaviex I think if you go looking for humility in most F1 drivers you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

      1. Hello hello, Vettel and Barrichello. (And arguably Kamui and Felipe.)

        1. Humility does seem to have abandoned Vettel’s index finger though.

      2. Yeah…. As humility goes, Kamui is pretty far up the list.

    3. Di Resta isn’t arrogant – heck, he’s probably the most modest Brit in F1 since Damon Hill.

      Well, that’s how he comes across anyway. In reality, every F1 driver needs to believe he is the best, regardless of the hand he’s dealt, to improve.

      1. I feel i’ve missed something! Di Resta is a confident young guy but no means arrogant, I’ve been impressed with his interviews and handling of the press, not sure where that comment comes from.

    4. don’t think di Resta is arrogant, he simply has upper hand this year. Hulkenberg should beat him next year though

    5. Di Resta IS a humble guy man!! And he proved his talent this past season…
      I agree about Hamilton. Sauber, Kobayashi is better and Williams…. it´s a tough call. Maldonado can sometimes deliver some exciting overtakes but lacks a brain sometimes and SENNA, well, he just hasn´t done anything out of this world!
      It´ll be an interesting season.

      1. Don’t think Di Resta is arrogant, feel he is incredibly over rated though and wish his PR training wasn’t along the lines of trying to make him the most boring man alive.

        1. i think he means some comments made by Di Resta a while ago that Vettel’s performance last year wasn’t something that special, because of the car, and that he could have done the same thing. or something along those lines.

          1. Well Di Resta did beat Vettel in a lower formula, when they were team mates in the same car. I guess it makes him one of the only people qualified to even attempt that statement.

    6. I agree for the Williams comment … For me they probably have the worst line up of the whole grid, but their drivers bring money, that’s sad for the sport.
      Hulk and Di Resta is a great line up, hope they will puch each other forward, could give great battle (let’s hope it stays only on tracks ^^)

    7. I’d be extremely surprised if Hulkenberg beats di Resta. di Resta drove extremely well on his first season and did very well against Suti who is very good driver as well. Hulkenberg on the other hand had serious trouble matching Barrichello at Williams as far as I can remember. And against driver like di Resta he needs to improve a TON if he wants to come on top.

      Hulkenberg may have great resume but the guy who drives the other car of the team did beat Vettel earlier in his career. Make what you wish from that but to me di Resta is clearly better driver of the two.

      1. Yes, di Resta did beat Vettel earlier in his career, and he hasn’t shut up about it since. Meanwhile, Hulkenberg had just as great of a run in the lower formulas, and humbly put a Williams on Pole just a season and a half ago. It’s not that I have anything against di Resta, just that I rate Hulkenberg slightly higher.

  3. @sam3110

    We almost coincide in every pick.
    mine are: Webber, Hamilton, Alonso, Schumacher, Raikkonen, Di Resta, Kobayashi, JE Vergne, Senna, Petrov, De La Rosa and Glock.

  4. My predictions:

    Vettel: Hard to see Webber bridging the gulf between them in a single season
    Button: A very close call but I think Button is better-equipped to cope with the new-generation tyres
    Alonso: Obviously
    Schumacher: Another close call, but I sense Schumacher has momentum
    Raikkonen: Champion vs rookie, a no-brainer
    Hulkenberg: Really looking forward to this contest. I think di Resta will be ahead to begin with but Hulkenberg will move ahead by the end of the year
    Perez: Was capable of beating Kobayashi last year, another year’s experience should tip the balance
    Ricciardo: Very hard to predict – guesswork, really. I’m giving it to Ricciardo because Vergne looked a little hot-headed in F3
    Senna: Maldonado will have his days but I think Senna will edge it
    Kovalainen: Petrov will run him close but team familiarity is Kovalainen’s trump card
    De la Rosa: Vast experience will count – Karthikeyan will do better than some people expect, though
    Glock: If Pic can keep him in sight he’ll be doing well

    1. I had pretty much the same answers as you.. I really want to see Schumacher win a race this year, I think if he does we can see some real momentum from him… Especially as Merc seem like the dark horse this year!!

    2. i feel di Resta will stay ahead of Hulknberg for this year… next year could be another story though.

    3. Snap with the Di Resta exception I think he will pip Hulkenburg but that may be one of the great battles to watch this year. I agree that Schumacher will get the better of Rosberg, probably because he has more influence over engineering direction, and his relationship with Ross Brawn swings things his way. I hope Senna comes good this year Petrov still to impress me yet.

    4. I’m having a slight feeling that hamilton will edge button this year. Cause he seems to have realised his own issues and he has accepted that the result last year was of his own doing and not because of the stewards or other racers or his color. I think thats a major step forward. Also, with the new manager(manager right?) he should perform better. Hopefully I wont be horribly wrong.

      1. Hamilton overcomes his own issues during every Winter lol

      2. Button has an advantage with tyre management. Hamilton likes (has an advantage in?) a low downforce car. Could be quite evenly matched this year, and we appear to be voting about 50:50 so far.

        Remember, in 2009 Hamilton ended up 5th in the championship with only two wins. Last year was 5th on three wins. Car quality aside, he’s been here before. Let’s hope he really is building his experience.

        I want to see more magic on the track.

    5. I find it funny that the most one sided vote is between Alonso and Massa. Is that all about talent or Ferrari’s number one driver policy? I’d say both but I find it sad that it’s a question I’m asking myself…

      1. Germany aside, Alonso destroyed Massa on track without the help from the team.

    6. I had exactly the same driver picks, apart from choosing Di Resta being ahead of Hulkenberg. I mainly say this because Paul had a decent first season, in which he showed pace, and going into his second season with the team, I think he’ll have more confidence in himself, and in the car and will make fewer mistakes and produce more results closer to that of Singapore.

    7. Same as Keith apart for McLaren, only as much as I dislike Hamilton and like Button I just think Hamilton had his worst year possible against Button’s best and still wasn’t that far behind.

      1. @snowman – A very common response here in f1fanatic but it is only as true as in 2010 hamilton had his best year(was voted best driver by this forum) and yet was only 20 odd points ahead of button. So even at his fastest and his head in place, he is not really superior to button on race results.

        1. @Balu

          Very very good point!!

      2. it s Keith the one who runs this web page? Also for Keith and all the other people that complaint about Ferrari and red bull using team order. Mclaren has done it too. Or you have short memories, do you remember about the ” save fuel” when button was faster and trying to pass Hamilton in at least two races in 2010, and Hamilton saying ” but if I save fuel button will not pass me , right?” stop being hypocrital the most hypocrital and cheating team in f1 has and will alway be mclaren . Just remember about the ferrar’s design in mclRen’s possesion and the fine they had to pay.

        1. is Keith the one who runs this web page?

          The very same.

          You ask why I didn’t mention McLaren (in the comments about team orders further down the page). You might as well ask why I didn’t mention any other team that has used team orders.

          The simple answer is I was replying to @jack22‘s comment about incidents involving Red Bull and Ferrari. I saw no need to widen the scope of my answer beyond those two and refer to McLaren – or for that matter Williams or Renault or any other team that has used team orders.

          In your eagerness to stick the boot into McLaren you missed the point of the discussion completely. It was about whether team orders are acceptable, not which team has or hasn’t used them. See the quote from his comment I used at the start of my initial answer.

    8. Would change Schumacher, Hulk, Perez and Senna in that list.

      2012 is the season where Hulk and and Senna – two highly rated drivers – one due to his name one due to the circumstances of sacking by the second oldest team on the grid – are going to be found out.

      Kobayashi will be upping his qualifying, I am sure. That should help him keep Perez in check. I am a Schumi fan but let’s face it, Rosberg has the measure of the old man.

      1. Shumi Fan?? lol, No you’re not. You are a hater bro. :)

    9. Identical to me, except I put Hamilton over Button. If Hamilton can another year more like 2010, with only 1 real obvious error, then I think he will beat Button, although it might be tight, and reliability luck might play a hand in the final result.

    10. Except for Perez, I am with you. Kobayashi has more racecraftand I think that gives him the upper hand. Poor Felipe though, the voters estimate
      that even Kartikeyan has more chance to beat his teammate!

      1. Then that means I picked almost exactly the same as you, with the exception of Vergne, which was really a wild guess.

    11. Very close to my picks Keith but I did pick Rosberg, hearing some of the interviews he has done he seems in a fierce mood to prove his doubters wring and up his game, and I do expect ewis to be stronger this year and reclaim some of the high ground in the Mclaren team, I just think he will be fired up for it but for his sake I hope that determination doesn’t move to anger and frustration because he could replicate some of the GP’s he had last year particularly monaco if that happens then JB will beat him. The midfiled will be more fascinating than ever with 4 close driver pairings and FI, Sauber, STR and Williams. It should a classic season im just hoping that alonso wins more but could be tough in the 4 gp’s they may have to wait till europe.

    12. I’d put Kobayashi ahead of Perez, provided Sauber will let him race this year instead of trying to do the whole race on 2 sets of tyres. Di Resta and Hulkenberg will likely be close, but I think Di Resta will come out on top. Maldonado gave the very experienced Barrichello a good run for his money and I think will be more settled this year, I think he’ll outperform Senna.

      So my picks would be:

      Vettel, Button, Alonso, Schumacher, Raikonnen, Di Resta, Kobayashi, Ricciardo, Maldonado, Kovalainen, De La Rosa and Glock.

    13. Agree, except for Button /Hamilton. Tires won’t be the determining factor in their duel. It will be qualifying and speed and race craft consistency for the entire season. With the same car, Hamilton controls the first two and at the very least, will
      match Button on race craft. It could be the closest duel of teammates this year. Toss in the Fleet Street crowd and it will be good drama off the track as well.

    14. Very close to my own picks, with the exceptions being Kobayashi (wishful thinking) and Vergne (wild guess).

    15. Very interesting about MS…while I understand the concept that many people feel MS has momentum from some of his late season race days (as opposed to quali days of course) and should give NR a good run for his money, the pole stats give the nod to NR by quite a margin. Helped by me I will add, as I love what NR has done as MS’s teammate. I think that if MS doesn’t sort out his Saturdays, and Brawn has already said not to expect him to, then I think that in a closer field MS will by much more hurt than last year by poor quali spots. ie. in a closer field he will have a much harder time reeling NR in by the end of Sunday’s races.

  5. The only sure shots for me are Vettel, Alonso, Kovalainen and, though just a tad less confidently, Raikkonen. The rest is pure guessing.

    1. Agree, but I wouldn’t even be that sure about Kimi or Kov. With them two, I would think it just a bit better than a coin flip.

    2. What about Glock? That seems like another sure thing, and judging by the vote percentages, most agree.

      1. Agreed about Glock. I was surprised at the Kimi over Grosjean being the third most decisive of the poll.

        A poll of this type would have been very interesting during the Schumacher-Barrichello pairing at Ferrari. I imagine it may have hit 100%. Even though that same number 1 driver mentality persists at the Scuderia, if Massa can get his act together I feel he is much more of a match for Alonso than Rubens could have been for Michael.

  6. I agree with the majority for everyone bar three : I believe Perez will be the better at Sauber, that Maldonado will be ahead of Senna (not that it matters) and that Grosjean will beat Raikkonen (yep, I know, wild guess and more hope than facts behinf that one).

    And at the mo, Ham is the majority choice (close, only real close match of the poll BTW. Poor Massa had 0%)

    1. even if Massa is faster at certain tracks, he will be told to make way for the almighty Alonso.

      1. Get over that! Why is it bad to favour the top driver??? RBR seems to do it constantly and I don´t hear you bashing on them! Vettel told the pit wall to “be wise” when Webber was about to ram his nose up the kid´s bum. Also, there have been “sly” team orders from RBR for some time now…. so get over the fact that Ferrari favours Alonso over Massa. Massa just isn´t up to Alonso´s pace and that´s a fact!

        1. Except Red Bull is one of the most hated teams on the grid right now for that very reason. (And possibly Helmut Marko.)

        2. @jack22

          Why is it bad to favour the top driver?

          Well, for one thing, when Ferrari told Massa to let Alonso past in Germany they broke the rules.

          You can make all the insinuations about Red Bull you like – they haven’t gone so far as to force one of their drivers to surrender a victory he had, up until that point, earned.

          But if you want a big-picture answer, teams should be forbidden from favouring one driver over another because in a season where one car is dominant it means there is no contest for the drivers’ championship. For example, 2002 was a wretchedly dull and one-sided season, but 1988 wasn’t.

          Teams already have the constructors’ championship to win, they should not be allowed to interfere in the drivers’ championship by giving one driver preferential treatment. Scrapping the team orders ban at the beginning of last year was a disastrous mistake for Formula 1, and it’s only a matter of time until it blows up into another huge row.

          1. @Keith Collantine
            Keith, with all due respect, team orders are as old as F1, everybody has used them one time or another. Even RBR has used them and more so in 2010 than 2011. The only difference is that in 2010 they were ilegal and now that they are legal, they just don´t sugar coat them…
            With regards to teams not having the ability to favour a driver, well in a “perfect” world, that´s the way it should be but, we don´t live in a perfect world. RBR favours Vettel over Webber, fact! Ferrari favours Alonso over Massa, fact! I guess that if you look at things from a BUSINESS point of view… who´s sponsor brings more money in for the team?? Vettel is backed by RB so it´s logical… Alonso is backed by Santander… it´s also logical! It sucks for US the real fans but it´s what it is… F1 is a business, where millions and millions of €, $ and pounds are involved… It might have been a sport in the past… but one man´s ambition to make F1 into something professional (which it now is and he did good for F1 in that point of view) has now become into a cash machine (which sucks for us because NOW his only interest is making the “show” more appealing to the viewers which is where he sees his biggest proffit). It sucks… I know, but hey, it´s business, it´s nothing personal…
            I urge you especially to read “I´m no angel” if you haven´t yet done so! It´ll certainly shed some light into this man´s head and reveal some things that you might not have been aware of!
            Good day to you sir!

          2. @jack22 Just because something is old doesn’t mean that it’s right (history graduate talking, by the way!). To use an extreme comparison, F1 used to see drivers killed regularly, but no-one is saying that’s how the sport should be today.

            When the world championship started there was no constructors’ title and cars were woefully unreliable. Team managers were allowed to swap drivers between cars during the races, elbowing aside wealthy amateurs to get the genuine talent behind the wheel, to score points and win the title.

            None of this is the case any more. The drivers are athletes, the teams have their own championship, the cars basically never break down and driver-swapping isn’t allowed any more. F1 is a professional competition and not the sole preserve of a wealthy elite.

            Team orders are a hangover for a bygone era that have no place in professional sport and should have been outlawed years ago. (And they were, until the current FIA president – who repeatedly used team orders in the most crass fashion during his time as a team principal at Ferrari and Peugeot – lifted the ban.)

          3. @Keith Collantine +1 To your suggestion “Teams already have the constructors’ championship to win, they should not be allowed to interfere in the drivers’ championship by giving one driver preferential treatment”

          4. @Keith…love what you are saying here about team orders and how crass they can be…love your comparison of 2002 to 1988…I’ve used it many times myself.

            Just a couple of thougts on this topic…I thought the FIA did a lot to stir the pot by allowing us to hear the radio communication for FM to allow FA past…without allowing us to hear that team order the situation wouldn’t have been so magnified. Sounds hypocritical for me to say it, but lets face it there are a thousand ways a team can hide a team order, illegal or not. They all should instinctively be making efforts to not make them so blatant whenever possible. I actually thought that Ferrari did not start that day intending to favour FA, but I thought they were probably within a few races of having to make that call and it’s just that that day the opportunity presented itself for FA to make a big points stride toward the Red Bulls.

            I love the concept you present of no team orders ever, but I don’t see it ever happening, and I thought we all generally agreed that in a 2-car format, and when one driver just hasn’t had the WDC potential winning season that his teammate has had, that a team order would be understood as the prudent thing for a team to do. And as long as both drivers have had a truly equal opportunity on the team, and it just hasn’t worked out for one of them, it is only good team play to not take points away from the driver who does have the WDC shot. In fact to the point where imho a team order shouldn’t be needed. If a driver can look himself in the mirror and say the team gave him every opportunity that his teammate had but it just didn’t work out for him, then it is his duty to the team and the sponsors to, if not help his teammate, at least not hinder him in his effort to achieve the WDC.

            That said…if they could ever get away from team orders completely, even when the math dictates that it is the prudent thing to do as you are suggesting, I would love that, but I’m not holding my breath.

            I think the only way to completely eliminate team orders is to go to single car teams, or at least let the teams paint their two cars differently with two of their major sponsors like BAR wanted to do with Lucky Strike on one car and 555 on the other, but that was disallowed and hence they used the ‘zipper’ paint scheme. The idea being, surely a team wouldn’t hang one side of the garage ie. one major sponsor out to dry in favour of the other.

            I also don’t think F1 wants to eliminate the controversy and thus the story and the headlines that team orders brings. They know they can never police for them, and in fact will go so far as to select the radio communications we get to here, so that we end up debating it ad infinitum as we are doing on this blog.

            Team orders might as well be legal, they are that easy to hide and difficult to police, but the BLATANT use of team orders should be banned, as I believe was the FIA’s intention after Austria 02. Yet they blatantly allowed us to hear the radio comm between the pit and FM of all the radio comm that we didn’t hear that day.

        3. Jack, if you was on this site in 2010 after the German Grand Prix you would know better than to even go there about team orders. A vast majority of comments decried what happen to Massa. The majority who defended Ferrari’s actions were Ferrari fans. To see something that obvious at a race undermines what racing is all about.
          People pay good money to see racing not rolling team politics. It was like Ferrari telling racing fans screw you, we are Ferrari.

          1. I basically agree with this. And Jack can’t exactly complain about there being double standards like he did below- a lot of the same people were unhappy about what happened at Silverstone, too.

      2. So what if Massa is (hypothetical situation) leading a race, and Alonso is in 7th? Will Ferrari instruct Massa to drop down and get overtaken by the other drivers only to give 6th place to Alonso?
        The answer is no.
        And I hardly think that a difference of 108 points(first season) and 139 points(second season) has occurred only due to Alonso’s preferential treatment in the team.

        1. @Aditya
          Very well said!!! Alonso is just better and more complete than Massa… Massa is, has been and always be a number 2 driver! Was second to Michael, second to Kimmi and now second to Alonso… If he wants to change that, then just buck up and bring it, otherwise… he should just call it a day and head home!

          1. @jack22
            Ummm massa wasnt second to kimi. they were both given the same status in the team. if you remember, massa almost won the championship the year lewis won. I’m not massa fan, but I’m not an alonso fan either. Alonso is a text-book cry baby. True, he is a talented driver, but as soon as he realises he cannot pass a driver he does his signature hand gestures like he owns the track and then he asks the pit to ask the guy in front to move aside. True, Massa isnt as good as fernando, but he completely deserved the victory that year at germany. If fernando could have, he wouldve gotten past massa. he couldnt and thats the fact. Later he couldnt get past the renault of petrov during the last race, and he lost the championship. ofcourse he did his signature hand gesture after that. IF he is a good driver, why cant he get past people? Isn’t that the whole point for racing? that you get past the guy infront and win?

          2. @Keith Collantine

            With al due respect again Keith, thanks for the history lecture by a history graduate but, you are still missing the point… I agree that for the spectators, team orders SHOULD be banned but, the fact remains that it is a business!!! It´s hard from a fan´s point of view to understand that it IS a business and that teams are interested in winning… not just for the title but for what we don´t get to see… It doesn´t matter WHO lifted the bann on them… at least he´s not being hypocritical about it…
            I much rather have someone be straight forward about stuff rather than sugar coat a message… it´s hard to accept as a fan but you have to put yourself in the team´s position.
            A lot of money is involved…. and the higher up in the constructor´s title you are, the more money the team will get.. and if 1 of your drivers has a chance or is quicker than your other driver and can finish higher up at the end of the race… the more points he brings in therefore the higher the team will end up in the constructor fight.
            Try to put passion aside and look at it from the business point of view!

          3. @jack22 I think you’re exaggerating the importance of money in this. I’m not saying it doesn’t play a role, or that teams don’t see a value in having one of their drivers win the drivers’ championship. But let’s not forget that it’s the constructors’ championship which dictates the teams’ prize money, and swapping the order of a teams’ drivers in a one-two finish (e.g. Hockenheim 2010) makes no difference to that.

            At any rate your “business” argument is a red herring. The FIA set the rules, they’ve banned team orders before and they could do it again tomorrow. And they should, for the reason I outlined in my earlier comment.

          4. @Keith Collantine

            they’ve banned team orders before and they could do it again tomorrow.

            And if they do….. then we´ll go back to “sugar coated” messages… I guess RBR wouldn´t mind since they got the lines down real good!!
            As for saying that swapping drivers position does not influece the result of the constructor´s title… well yes… you are correct BUT, in all honesty… Just winning the constructors and not the Drivers or vice versa, must leave the team with an empty feeling…
            Most of the time, the team that wins the WDC also gets the WCC… in very rare ocassions the team fails to get both…
            You might think that my business argument is a red herring… it´s your opinion and I respect it but from my point of view… it isn´t. Do you really think that the people that take part in the “show” are there just to entertain?? I think not… They are working… working to earn a living by doing what they love.

            Everybody brings up hockenheim…. and blames Fernando for Massa not getting his win…. what about Webber not being permitted to end up a step above his teammate in Silverstone 2011?? or having Webber lose his font wing in Silverstone 2010 because the “golden boy” broke his ?? Nobody is squeaky clean in this “sport”/business, and what is wrong in the “sport”/business are the double standards that some refuse to see and accept maybe because they favour the reigning champion.
            I can understand why people hated Ferrari for being dominant from 2000-2004, and I agree, it wasn´t an entertaining era for non-ferrari fans but, they had their car set perfectly and only after rule changes did Ferrari lose. Rule changes might be interpreted in 1 of 2 ways. Either to even things up OR to favour some other team (This being my personal opinion on rule changes). And what I´m trying to get at with this last comment is that dominance is not entertaining… and now, as a Ferrari fan, I understand how others must´ve felt!!


          5. “what about Webber not being permitted to end up a step above his teammate in Silverstone 2011??”

            That’s entirely the opposite of 2010.
            Vettel was already in front. And were it not for that dreadful second pit stop Webber wouldn’t even have gotten close to Vettel. What’s more is that Webber completely ignored the team so who cares (besides Red Bull). He just couldn’t get past.

            The way I see it there’s a major difference between a team taking a deserved victory away from a driver and a team telling their driver to play it safe. The first is the reason a ban on team orders came to be, the second has and always will be an accepted practice of running a team. I don’t see you screaming foul play at McLaren for telling Button not to attack Hamilton in Turkey 2010.

        2. Adi.. very well said… I just dont understand why some people instead of looking at the entire season, they just pick up 1 GP (Germany) and say Massa was forced.. to me if Ferrari would not have come on the radio to Massa.. Alonso would have for sure overtaken him on track… what happened in 2011 did Ferrari ordered Massa to be slow in quali… so that Alonso beats him all the time… this is just a truck load of b…….T…

          1. if Ferrari would not have come on the radio to Massa.. Alonso would have for sure overtaken him on track…

            Well then why didn’t he?

            The fact is Massa had beaten Alonso up until the point Ferrari told him to pull over. Perhaps Alonso could have beaten him fair and square, but we’ll never know now.

          2. @F1fan NL

            The way I see it there’s a major difference between a team taking a deserved victory away from a driver and a team telling their driver to play it safe.

            That is a double standard right there…. So it´s ok for RBR to keep Webber behind Vettel even though Webber was a lot quicker than “golden boy”?
            And why is it wrong to keep Fernando behind Massa if Massa is driving like a snail??? I don´t see a difference in any of the cases… And if you noticed on the quote, I highlited the deserved…. since when deserving something came into play in F1 RACING?? It´s racing…. anything can happen…. nobody deserves anything until you cross the line and see the chekered flag.
            I just find it hillarious that RBR had this “policy” about letting their drivers race… and all of a sudden… they forget about their “policy”?? You say:

            were it not for that dreadful second pit stop Webber wouldn’t even have gotten close to Vettel

            …. Well $h!t happens!!! For whatever the reason may be that Webber got close… He, as a racing driver, has the right to try and get to first place… tough luck for golden boy… he should´ve just behaved like a real man and accept that his teammate was faster in that point in time… and then you get people saying Webber underperforms… it´s hard to perform better when you are not allowed to! And you might say it´s the same case for Massa… and it´s not even the same thing… because Massa was just ahead of Alonso that ONE time!! He never was ahead of Alonso…. basically because he´s just not up to his pace! And if you still doubt that Alonso is unable to pass anybody, and more specifically, his teammate… well, just go back to Suzuka 2011 going into the first corner… He out braked Massa and went through the inside line! So yeah… I´m done!

          3. @jack22

            He, as a racing driver, has the right to try and get to first place…

            But you’re applying a double standard yourself. You’re stating that Webber “as a racing driver, has the right to try to get first place”, but apparently, Massa, who legitimately had the position and was maintaining a lead of a few seconds with 20 laps to go, doesn’t have the right to defend his lead, so it’s fine for Ferrari to ask him to move over? You either agree with the second driver being asked not to race his teammate or you don’t.

            You get people saying Webber underperforms… it´s hard to perform better when you are not allowed to! And you might say it´s the same case for Massa… and it´s not even the same thing… because Massa was just ahead of Alonso that ONE time!! He never was ahead of Alonso…. basically because he´s just not up to his pace!

            Look at Vettel’s results in the first eight races of 2011:


            Look at Webber’s:


            Vettel was on 186 points to Webber’s 109, and on 7 poles to Webber’s 1. It’s perfectly reasonable to state that Webber was not up to the pace of his teammate, much like Massa wasn’t up to the task of matching Alonso, because Silverstone was a rare occasion (the first in the entire season in fact) that Webber was near Vettel on track.

          4. @David-A

            But you’re applying a double standard yourself. You’re stating that Webber “as a racing driver, has the right to try to get first place”,

            I know David… The only difference is that Ferrari isn´t hypocritical about it… There has never been a “let them race” policy as Horner shouted out loud that RBR was proud of!
            And BTW… you always keep bringing up “wonder boy´s” numbers like I care… He may be above his team mate… so what??? He is above everybody else…. so what??? He has to thank Newey for that one BTW…
            All I´m saying, and i think you missed the point of my statements is that people in general, sorry if you got offended and jumped, are QUICK to critizice Ferrari for everything they do… and basically they should take a look at themselves and see that their record isn´t squeaky clean so they should just keep their opinions to themselves… Let Ferrari run their team however they want… At one point or another everybody, including RBR has used team orders in one way or the other…

            Do these ring a bell?:
            “Okay Mark, we need to save fuel”
            “Okay Sebastian, we have gearbox problems”
            “Mark, we believe you have a slow puncture”
            and my favorite…. “Mark, MAINTAIN THE GAP”…

            The save fuel bit is getting old…. They design these cars KNOWING the distances and the fuel loads they need in order to finish a race… so THAT is just absurd…
            Gear box problems??? Either it breaks or it doesn´t… you can´t do anything about that one… but since they think viewers are dumb… his gearbox fixed itself in Brazil 2011!!! hahahha
            Slow puncture…. Why would the wall say it? Wouldn´t the driver be the first to notice something like this in the car´s behaviour?? Seriously! That´s just so he can get jumped by someone else…
            The gap one is just EPIC! no explanation needed….

          5. Gosh… I think Webber really didn´t have a chance to pass “golden boy”

          6. @jack22

            I actually agree that sometimes people criticise Ferrari too often. We have seen other teams (including Mclaren) use team orders as well. But what I thought was that you were justifying Ferrari’s team orders by saying that Massa wasn’t good enough, but saying that Red Bull shouldn’t use them. If all you’re asking is for Red Bull to be more transparent about favouring their superior driver (and let’s be honest, it’s clear who is the better Red Bull driver is), I have no problem with that.

          7. @David-A
            Finally we agree in something. People are just cynical when they talk about Ferrari… in the end, it´s like peeing against the wind….
            And no… RBR doesn´t have to do that… I would much rather they cut the crap and never, EVER mention that “let them race” policy because they end up looking like hypocrites… Especially Horner which had a particularly strong opinion about Hockenheim… and see…. later he ended up looking like a real hypocrite and a chump in Silverstone……
            Bottom line…. it´s obvious that RBR favours the “golden boy” and everybody seems to be fine with that but when Ferrari does it… it looks bad?? ***!!! Really!!! Hypocrites!!!

        3. I strongly agree Massa is not as good as when he returned to F1. Alonso is definetly dominating. But Ferrari always are onesided towards their no1 driver. You cant refuse this

    2. I voted with the majority in all the polls except one. I think Pérez is going to have a strong year, having been unlucky on a couple of occasions last time (debut points taken away from him, the crash at Monaco that affected him for a long time) and as much as I like Kobayashi, it seems like he hasn’t improved that much since first entering the sport.

      1. @Keith Collantine

        Although it´s not nice… Eddie Jordan said it!


        1. @Keith Collantine

          if Ferrari would not have come on the radio to Massa.. Alonso would have for sure overtaken him on track…

          Well then why didn’t he?

          The fact is Massa had beaten Alonso up until the point Ferrari told him to pull over. Perhaps Alonso could have beaten him fair and square, but we’ll never know now.

          For the same reason that Webber was not allowed to pass Vettel in Silverstone 2011… What is it that they say? They where playing it safe?… I guess Vettel wouldn´t have allowed, or better yet, his EGO wouldn´t have allowed his teammate to pass him and he would´ve done a “Turkey” on Webber… I guess if Alonso would´ve tried to pass Massa, Massa or Massa´s ego would not have let his teammate pass… so you might think he couldn´t pass him… but why is it impossible to think that the team was playing it safe?! See the double standard?? I guess a non-ferrari fan´s hatred is so big that they can´t see it maybe because it´s a red car and not any other car!
          Alonso has proven he is able to pass… some that come to mind…. Catalunya´s start… 4th-1st… Monaco 2010, made quite a few coming out of the tunnel… Suzuka 2011 on MASSA in turn 1… Brazil 2011 on Button the long way around!…. Monza 2011, the start…. and I could go on and on…
          Sometimes what people interpret as his “inability” to pass…. is just a smart and thinking driver that always tries to win yet thinking of what´s best for his team…. Some may not like it but, it is what it is….

  7. Vettel, Button, Alonso, Schumacher, Raikkonen, di Resta, Perez, Jean-Eric Vergne, Senna, Petrov,Narain Karthikeyan and Glock for me.

  8. Vettel: Though I’m sure it’s going to be close.. Vettel will edge it out
    Hamilton: He had a tough season in 2011, but I expect him to return to form and edge out button
    Alonso: Massa’s got to get his head together first..
    Rosberg: #1 Underrated driver.. hopefully he can get on the pace (maybe a win!)
    Grosjean: 50/50 about this one, but I hope Grosjean can take it. GP2 Champion v ex-F1 Champion. It’ll be good!
    Hulkenberg: Hulkenburg is another great driver. Di Resta is good, but i’m not sure if he’s champion material
    Kobayashi: Going off a hunch in this one.. 1 stoppers may be a little hard this year!
    Ricciardo: I think that 6 months of F1 training will help push Dan over the line. 2 ultra talented drivers though
    Senna: Sennas pace in spa last year was telling. I expect him to be up there
    Kovalainen: Kovalainen is another one of the underrated drivers. He’s good enough to be up in a better team
    De la Rosa: Karthikeyan.. just don’t think he has the talent!
    Pic: Another hunch.. I think the rookies may show their worth this year!

    1. Karthikeyan beat your ultra talented Dan… in the 1 of Indian grand prix and just to add Dan was racing in the HRT team for the last 6 or 7GPs … I am not saying he is better than him.. but without talent he would have been there…

  9. I want to know witch 3% of jokers really thing Massa will beat Alonso? I can’t believe Massa has kept his seat this year, I don’t really think he deserves it.

    1. Why can’t you edit/delete comments here? I hate noticing stupid mistakes I’ve made and being stuck with them! Obviously should be……
      I want to know which 3% of jokers really think Massa will beat Alonso? I can’t believe Massa has kept his seat this year, I don’t really think he deserves it.

      1. I think you only need to put an Asterisk. e.g. *which

        Instead of re-writing all sentences. just an opinion I might be wrong. :)

  10. sid_prasher (@)
    13th March 2012, 10:31

    My predictions:

    Vettel: I think he is supremely confident…even a late win for Webber in 2011 won’t shift the momentum
    Button: This one was the toughest…but I think Button has really settled down well..and might pull out enough lead at the start to stay ahead.
    Alonso: Massa will do well to just stay close.
    Rosberg: just a feeling…Schumacher crashed too often
    Raikkonen: This is tough…simply because Kimi has been away too long. But still think he can do better…
    Hulkenberg: I think Hulk is better…heck i would have kept Sutil ahead of di Resta.
    Perez: Will do better in year 2 and should win this one…but this will be very tight i think.
    Ricciardo: going with experience
    Senna: Maldonado will do well only in Europe and crash everywhere else
    Kovalainen: Petrov will not be motivated enough
    De la Rosa: Karthikeyan is even slower
    Glock: He is just better and more experienced.

  11. {Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Hulkenberg, Perez, Ricciardo, Senna, Kovalainen, de la Rosa, Glock}

    Looking forward to coming back here next November ;)

  12. [b]Vettel[/b]: He’ll be over-flowing with confidence this year, and although I think Webber will be closer than he was last season, I still think Vettel is the more talented and will edge him out.
    [b]Button[/b]: Again, another driver with momentum going into this season, and will use his vast experience and talent for keeping calm to edge out Hamilton again, but it will definitely be close.
    [b]Alonso[/b]: He is just simply a better driver.
    [b]Schumacher:[/b] This was another close call. Schumacher has been getting closer to Rosberg, and might just sneak ahead of him this season, but again, it will be very close, and will be interesting if the Merc is quick.
    [b]Raikkonen[/b]: I think his cool, calm head will see him right through the chaos that may ensue in the first few races, and will be as quick as he was in previous years.
    [b]Di Resta[/b]: He’ll benefit from a full season with the team, and will have confidence in himself and his own ability to produce more consistent results.
    [b]Perez[/b]: Same as Di Resta really. He’s quick, and it’ll be tough to beat Kobayashi, but if his head is in the right place, he’ll be able to achieve some good results.
    [b]Ricciardo[/b]: Another beneficiary of driving last year, even though it was only half a season. He’ll be quicker at the start, and might be able to get the best out of the car for a while.
    [b]Kovaleinen[/b]: He’s more well-integrated in the team, and I think it will be close, but I think he’ll be able to work with the car better for a while.
    [b]De la Rosa[/b]: A more experienced driver, and I think he’s just quicker than Karthikeyan.
    [b]Glock[/b]: A more experienced driver again, and will be faster before Pic can get to grips with the car and Formula 1.

    1. Clearly, F1F has different codes to other sites I use :P

  13. I can’t exactly vote while at work for some reason, so I’ll just leave my predictions here.

    Vettel: Webber doesn’t stand a chance, even with the improved tyres. IMO the most lopsided team battle of 2012, even worse than Alonso vs Massa.
    Button: Button has the upper hand here. I very much doubt that Hamilton’s cleared his head yet, and we all know that speed is no longer everything.
    Alonso: Seriously hoping for a miracle here, but post-GER2010 Massa is simply no match for his teammate. He needs to do something, and fast.
    Schumacher: Rosberg has shown signs of cracking recently, and Michael is almost certain to gain the upper hand on him with the new tyres.
    Raikkonen: GGGGRRRRSSSSJJJJNNNN will be stronger in the first couple of races, but Kimi will easily be able to outmatch him after that.
    Hulkenberg: They have equal experience, but consistent mediocrity isn’t going to cut it this time. I do, however, have some good cash on Paul, so I’m hoping he wins this one.
    Perez: The Monaco crash really scared him, and even then he seemed to be a match for Kamui. It’s almost a no-brainer.
    Ricciardo: Vergne will have to pull out all the stops in order to beat his teammate, and I just don’t think it’s going to happen.
    Maldonado: Williams has the worst 2012 lineup, that’s for sure. Regardless, not even Maldonado should have much of a problem disposing of Bruno.
    Kovalainen: Petrov has improved by a LOT since 2010, but Heikki is simply unbeatable at Gatorham Caterham.
    De la Rosa: Narain does not belong in F1.
    Pic: Marussia is way too bad to get anywhere near the points, but you have to remember that d’Ambrosio actually beat Timo last year. Glock has been slowly declining, and I don’t think it’s going to stop. Doesn’t help that he’s growing even more frustrated with his team, either.

  14. Vettel: He’s clearly the superior driver and I can’t see Webber closing the gap at all.
    Hamilton: If he’s on form more often than not, then he should beat Button convincingly. Hamilton has better raw speed in my opinion.
    Alonso: Similar situation to the Reb Bull drivers, though I get the sense that Massa will be more determined to close the gap.
    Rosberg: It will be very close, but Rosberg I feel will edge it.
    Raikkonen: I think we’ll see Raikkonen on form straight from the get go.
    Hulkenberg: Comparing the rookie seasons of Di Resta and Hulkenberg, I think Hulkenberg was stronger and I expect to see him follow that through by beating his team mate.
    Kobayashi: Kobayashi-san seemed to have regained the form he lost last year, I think he will just beat Perez.
    Vergne: To be honest, I really have no idea about this one. Vergne just seems to be the better driver to me for some reason.
    Maldonado: Senna was poor at Renault and shouldn’t have his seat over drivers like Buemi, Alguersuari and Barrichello. Maldonado is inconsistent, but I still expect him to beat Senna this year.
    Kovalainen: Kovalainen is consistent, Petrov isn’t, easy win for Heikki.
    de la Rosa: Whoever wins this battle will come down to whoever finishes ahead in a race of attrition.
    Glock: Just like HRT, Glock was actually beaten by both Di Grassi and D’Ambrosio in the championship in 2010 and 2011 respectively. But I’ll say Glock anyway because if his car doesn’t break down, he should be there to finish ahead of Pic in the races of attrition.

    1. I agree with you on almost all points, except I think Senna is (just) a little better than Maldonado. I also hope like you that Vergne will show true skills and won’t make it too easy for Ricciardo. And I don’t think it will be close in Mercedes – I suspect Rosberg will beast Schumacher fair and square.

    2. Agree in almost everything, except Senna. I think he’ll beat Maldonado.

  15. Personally i think Maldonado will do better than Senna this year. As a Williams fan i dont care who does better but Pastor looked strong in Pre Season i think and he has a seasons experience now which will help him a lot. He has his stupid moments on the track sometimes but im really looking forward to seeing how he does this season.
    As far as my other predictions it was exactly as everyone else voted it seems.

  16. Wow! 96% plays 4% at the time of my voting on the Alonso/Massa battle! I’m sure @steph is in that 4%. :)

    1. It was 100%-0% before.

  17. Vettel – it was interesting to see that Mark actually scored more points in 2011 than he did in 2010, but Vettel was just on another level. Gap will be closer but Vettel is the best driver in Formula One at the moment.
    Hamilton – This is based on Lewis saying he has sorted the problems from last year; I think he is just inherently faster than Button. Also if there are other teams closer (I know you can’t tell from testing but it does look closer than last year) to Red Bull and Mclaren I feel Jenson’s poorer qualifying could have a bigger effect than in 2011.
    Alonso – we all know Massa has no chance.
    Rosberg – Schumacher’s one lap pace is still holding him back so I think Rosberg will win overall due to his better consistency in qualifying putting him further up the grid. However I would not be surprised in the slightest that if Mercedes have a sniff of a win it will be Schumacher challenging for it (i.e. Canada last year)
    Raikkonen – Kimi is back, can’t see him being beaten by Grosjean even with two years out
    Hulkenberg – I don’t think either of these drivers are actually that good, will pick Hulkenberg as he will have a point to prove after a year out.
    Kobayashi – I was surprised Kobayashi was rated so low in the overall rankings by Keith at the end of last season, I thought he was stronger than Perez and think he will beat him again this season.
    Ricciardo – flip a coin to decide this. Ricciardo purely because he has raced last season.
    Senna – think Bruno will edge Maldonado.
    Kovalainen – Heikki has been outstanding the last two seasons, whether he looked better than he was because Trulli was terrible we shall now see. Petrov is an inconsistent driver who is new to the team so I think Heikki has the edge
    Karthikeyan – I’ll go for a wildcard and say Narain will beat Pedro.
    Glock – Timo should really win this easily.

  18. Vettel – Can’t see how Vettel could lose this battle.
    Button – He’s confident, does well on new tires, never make mistakes… Hamilton will probably improve from catastrophic last season, but that won’t be good enough to beat JB.
    Alonso – As obvious as RB’s case.
    Rosberg – Rosberg has given a beating to overrated grumpy Schumacher for 2 years in a row. And this’ll be 3rd year! Hoping Rosberg to finally win a race this season.
    Räikkönen – Grosjean will be able to see Räikkönen in his sight… if he’s having a good day.
    Di Resta – Hülkenberg will score Force India’s sporadic best result(s), but Di Resta will win the battle by constantly scoring points.
    Perez – Left a huge impression after his debut season. Kobayashi will get close, but I think Perez will win the battle this year.
    Ricciardo – He has more racing experience in F1.
    Senna – I think he will win it with quite a margin actually.
    Kovalainen – Petrov will challenge him more than Trulli ever did, but Kovalainen is already familiar with the team, and that gives him an upper hand.
    De la Rosa – Though I bet at some point of the season both De la Rosa and Karthikeyan will lose their driving seats to Liuzzi and Clos.
    Glock – Glock will be superior in this battle thanks to his experience.

  19. I’ve noticed a distinct change in the ‘friendship’ between Lewis and Jenson, don’t know if anyone else has. Lewis is implying Jenson used a lot of mind games last year that put him of his game and Jenson is pretty dismissive of any question about Lewis. I predict fireworks between those too.

    1. Where does he do that? I have only seen Hamilton praise Button for his approach (what Hammy has called Button’s “happy bubble”).

      1. Tom Haxley (@)
        13th March 2012, 14:42

        I’m a Hamilton fan and I was under this impression too. I was quite shocked (and pleased) that Lewis was able to say that in an interview. It showed that he respected Button and that he was jealous of the structure he had around him. Definate progress in the right direction to recreate that.

        He could have turned around and said, JB does it his way, I do it mine – in a true racer im always right fashion. But he didnt..

        1. I’ve seen a few interviews and Lewis said something along the lines of ‘there was a lot going on last year people don’t know about, psychological warfare you could say’ Not saying this was directed at Jenson but it’s the impression i got. Also Jens was asked about Lewis and if he had his support he needed this year to which Jenson replied with something like ‘I don’t know, it has no effect on me so i don’t really care’

          I can’t remember the exact words but the jist is the same and to me that’s a distinct difference to last year.

  20. Most of them pick themselves. The best battles will be at Mclaren and Force India and potentially Mercedes.

    I went for Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Di Resta, Perez, Senna, Ricciardo, Kovalainen, De la Rosa, Glock

  21. I personally feel that Vergne is a real exiting pospect and i do believe he will out shine Riccardio. Hopefully soon enough we will see him the possibly vacant red bull seat, and be measured against the best

    A interesting prospect lies ahead for the 2 new Torro Rosso driver. Beat your team mate and possibly move on to greater and grander things with the world champions, or lose and have to stay behind to likely be replaced shortly by another dewey-eyed driver that Helmut Marco has a man-chrush on.

  22. Voted for,
    Vettel – No-brainer
    Hamilton – Car performance is better than last year, so lesser chance for messing with Massa
    Alonso – No-brainer
    Rosberg – Same as last year
    Raikkonen – World champion versus Someone-who-won-Gp2
    Hulkenberg – DiResta makes too many half-hearted passes
    Perez – Running anonymous but in points
    Ricciardo -Prior experience in a F1 team
    Senna – Will edge Maldonado by the smallest of margins, 0.5 points. Now we have a rain-affected race that’s not going to 75% race distance
    Kovalainen – Well, he didn’t get replaced
    de la Rosa – Old WarHorse
    Glock – Well Pic wopn’t be in F1 next year no matter the result

  23. Vettel: Webber will be closer than last year but Seb will have too much…if as predicted its closer at the front I’m looking forward to seeing how Vettel copes under a bit more pressure, remember Canada last year.
    Hamilton: I think he’s more determined than ever after last season being beaten by Button…just hope his head is clear
    Alonso: no brainer
    Schumacher: Improved last year and not much in it on race days, has momentum from last year
    Raikkonen: Cant see Grosjean matching Kimi and if Lotus just let him get on with the driving of the car he cpuld thrive
    Di Resta: Year out for Hulkenberg will hurt him, just think Di Resta will edge it.
    Kobayashi: Be clsoe…just think Kobayashi can make more happen if the car struggles
    Ricciardo: Experience from last year will help him
    Senna: Looked good at Spa, seems to have some pace…dont really rate Maldonado
    Kovalainen: Kovi is solid..slightly scarred his repuation next to Hamilton but he is a good driver
    De la Rosa: Karthikeyan is pants, lets be honest
    Glock: Glock was unlucky to end up at a backmarker, always did well at Toyota, cant see Pic getting close to him

  24. Vettel – No doubt Vettel will win this battle. Webber will hopefully be closer though.
    Hamilton – Completely 50/50 on this one. Just sided with Hamilton, think he will hit back strongly
    Alonso – Yeah
    Rosberg – 2011 wasn’t great in terms of results for him. The margin will remain very similiar.
    Raikkonen – He should have a handy margin over Grosjean, even with a few years out of the sport.
    Hulkenburg – I just feel Hulk has more to give than Di Resta. Will be great to watch this battle. Hulk will start behind but quickly tip the scales his way.
    Perez – Another battle I’m looking forward to. Perez looked faster at times last year. I feel he will soon surpass a stagnating Kobayashi and finish with more points.
    Ricciardo – Once again a battle I’m looking forward too. This vote is more what I want to happen as they are too close to split any other way.
    Maldonado – Have never rated Senna too highly. Maldonado is disliked, and I feel that leads to people underestimating his talent. While I certainly don’t think he is champion material, I feel he has it over Bruno.
    Kovalainen – Should be close. But Kova’s experience will help him keep ahead
    Karthikeyen– Neither will score points, so will most likely come down to luck. Which Pedro doesn’t seem to have much of.
    Glock – Should be faster than Pic easily. Deserves a better seat. Hopefully he will have a luckier year this time around.

    The intra-team battles in the midfield this year are going to be enthralling. Force India, Sauber and Toro Rosso all have extremely talented and young drivers who will be striving to beat the guy next to them. Can’t wait.

  25. My predictions:
    Vettel – Webber will be considerably closer than last year and will manage a race win or two on merit, but I can’t see him beating Vettel over the whole season.
    Button – Hamilton will be back to his usual speed, but he’ll still make an error here and there. Because of tyre conservation, tactical thinking and consistency, Button will be slightly ahead, but only by a handful of points.
    Alonso – Massa will improve over last year and will be able to beat Fernando on merit a few times, but he’ll still be far behind in the standings.
    Rosberg – Schumacher will be at his best since his comeback, but the closeness of the field will mean qualifying will be as important as ever. That’s where Rosberg will win the battle.
    Raikkonen – Kimi will prevail in the battle but Romain will be far from humiliated.
    Di Resta – The hardest one to predict, but I think Paul will be slightly better – but both will do a fantastic job and push each other in what will be the most exciting team-mate battle of the year.
    Perez – Far from sure here, but I think Sergio will be quicker. Kobayashi will put in some formidable performances, but, overall, Checo will be the one to consistently pick up points when possible.
    Vergne – Ricciardo is the more experienced one, but I consider Jev the more talented of the two and I think he’ll be the better driver this year, but it’ll be mighty close.
    Senna – Maldonado seems to be an under-rated drivers, but so is Senna – he’ll finally have a full season in a solid car and he’ll prove his worth. Even though the car seems to struggle in slow corners, I still expect Maldonado to impress in Monaco.
    Kovalainen – Petrov did a good job compared to Kubica and Heidfeld, but I think Heikki will be slightly faster all year long and will be the one to get the team’s first point.
    de la Rosa – Easily the least exciting driver line-up, I think Pedro will outperform Narain, but it might be quite close.
    Glock – Timo will once again beat the rookie team-mate, but I have a feeling Charles will be his toughest competitior yet.

  26. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    13th March 2012, 13:17

    An all-new and highly inexperienced driver pairing at Toro Rosso as they play another round of ‘Red Bull Idol’.

    Hey @keithcollantine I still don’t see the avatars and this is a different PC . Problems with IE9

  27. Anything can happen Irvine beat Schumacher in 1999. I wouldn’t put my money on anything especially the Mclaren pairing.

    1. As I was only 4 was irvine beating the shumacher before the injury or are you saying overall for the season even though he missed a chunk of the season.

      1. After the accident but anything can happen.

  28. I’ve gone with the majority on most but a few made me scratch my head.

    Di Resta or The Hulk. I went for Di Resta, based on purely on having the most recent experience in F1.

    Button or Hamilton. I went with Button. A really close one but I think he’s a bit of a silent assassin when it comes to over-taking. I think he was voted the best over-taker last by this site so that’s what I’m basing my thoughts on. Arguably Hamilton is quicker on the Saturday though.

    Perez or Kobayashi. From memory I think Perez was the better qualifier last year. Plus, it seems that Kobayashi’s primary skill of over-taking has been somewhat diluted by the introduction of DRS.

    Good article, @keithcollantine

    Be interesting to bring this back to our attention come the end of November!

  29. For me it’s quite clear. Vettel; Hamilton(just!); Alonso; Schumacher; Raikkonen; Hulkenberg; Perez; Vergne; Senna; Kovalainen; dela Rosa; Glock.

    I don’t agree with the winning votes on Findia; Sauber and STR.

    Findia – I honestly am not convinced by Di Resta, who I feel is overrated.
    Sauber – I have never been convinced by Kobayashi tbh. Other than his Monaco drive he was fairly unspectacular. Even in 2009/2010 all he did was pass. He was a very bad qualifier.
    STR – I feel Ricciardo is overrated; and in their time together as teammates in FR3.5 (I think?) Vergne outscored him in their races together; though Vergne popped in at mid-season; though Ricciardo had been there since the start.

  30. Vettel – likely he will dominate Webber like last year.
    Hamilton – He will bounce back after a tough season last year.
    Alonso – Massa should not be in the second Ferrari seat.
    Rosberg – close call but Rosberg will edge it.
    Hulkenberg – as much as I rate di Resta, I have a feeling Hulkenberg is the better of the two.
    Kobayashi – another close battle but Kamui’s better race pace should play into his hands.
    Ricciardo – purely due to little F1 experience compared to Vergne.
    Senna – decent driver who looks more consistent than erratic Maldonado.
    Kovalainen – Consistent and more experienced with team knowledge.

    de la Rosa

    – Neither driver here is particularly good but de la Rosa’s experience as a tester should benefit HRT.
    Glock – No brainer

  31. Vettel – by a lot
    Hamilton – by little, but I expect him to be back to form
    Alonso – by a lot
    Rosberg – b
    Grosjean – by little, as I expect Kimi to have a harder time in the first races
    Hulkenberg – by little
    Ricciardo – by very little

  32. Michael Brown (@)
    13th March 2012, 14:48

    Vettel: Webber might be able to close the gap, but Vettel’s still miles ahead.
    Hamilton: Was only beaten by Button because of all of his incidents. But if he can’t clean those up, McLaren would be justified in replacing him.
    Alonso: Everyone knows Fernando is faster than Felipe.
    Raikkonen: I don’t think he’s lost as much speed as Schumacher did. He should be able to outrace his teammate at every Grand Prix.
    Schumacher: Because he closed the gap to Rosberg in 2011 and had a chance of beating him. I think he can pull ahead this year.
    Hulkenberg: Tough one, because Force India’s got an exciting lineup.
    Perez: This guy’s exciting. One stopping like a boss and giving Kobayashi a run for his money.
    Toro Rosso: Heart says Vergne. Head says Ricciardo.
    Senna: It will be close, but he will come out on top.
    Kovalainen: Petrov doesn’t stand a chance.
    de la Rosa: More experience will help.
    Pic: Because I think he has something.

  33. Anyone who thinks Red Bull does not use team orders obviously missed last years Silverstone grands prix inwhich Mark Webber was quite delibrately told not to pass Sebastien Vettel. Cristian Horner had to tell Webber to maintain ‘the gap’ to Vettel several times before the Australian finally obeyed with a ‘right o mate’! over the radio. Being told not to pass is no different from being told to let someone pass, its a fix and nothing more. Its just the same as a boxer taking a dive, and that certainly does not do the sport any good at all. We all know this has gone on since racing began, and Keith was right in that its wrong, but every team has to an extent ‘tested’ the rule book and are lying through their teeth by suggesting otherwise.
    As for team mates, I agree with the consensus. The one thing I like about DRS is that a bad grid position for a driver now does not always mean the same driver having a bad race. This certainly aided Jenson Button in 2011 and Fernando Alonso in instances when they had bad grid spots. Obviously there are exceptions, such as Monaco, but in that reason alone I like DRS.
    Where Vettel was supreme last year was in his knack of gapping the following cars in such a way in that they could not use their DRS, making it as good as useless. He also was very good at getting away from the grid at the start aswell, which only made things easier. Those that criticise DRS should remember that, and in my mind, that strategy is key to whoever wins this years championship.
    I think we will see improvements from Webber, Hamilton, and Massa. Of the three, I feel that Felipe is under the most pressure. Ferrari have made no secret of the fact that Massa’s seat is under threat, and that they except more from him. He really needs a good season more than anybody.

  34. Just guessing, no logic here!

    Webber, Button, Alonso, Schumacher, Grosjean, Hulkenberg, Perez, Vergne, Petrov, Senna, PDLR, Pic

  35. matthewf1 (@)
    13th March 2012, 16:18

    Vettel – easy
    Hamilton – will prove that Button just had a one-off good year in 2011
    Alonso – faster than Felipe (confirmed by Scuderia Ferrari in 2010)
    Schumacher – well it’s now or never for MSC, hopefully he will get his act together
    Raikkonen – seems really up for it
    Hulkenberg – impressive career record, I think he is quicker than DIR
    Perez – will step up this year
    Vergne – Ricciardo wasn’t any better than Liuzzi in the HRT
    Williams – Senna just, although Frank in his wheelchair would probably beat both of them
    Caterham – Kova easy
    HRT – Dani Clos
    Marussia – Pic

  36. hamilton will beat button.i dont think hamilton really struggled with the tyres last season,he just got impatient and pushed too hard at times which really cost him.also these tyres seem to take longer to warm up which could really hurt button,we already know he struggles with that.
    anyway untill monaco lewis was the only driver staying close to vettel,then he had that bad luck in monaco during quali and became very impatient and frustrated.
    but he realizes now when to push hard and when not to push so hard,we saw that in his final win of last season, and he will also continue to outqualify jenson.button was at 100% last season,lewis only 60-70% but he still managed 3 wins and repeatedly outqualified jenson.

    1. matthewf1 (@)
      13th March 2012, 17:10

      Agreed – last year, widely viewed as Jenson’s best year, he won 3 times. Last year, widely viewed as Lewis’s worst year, he won 3 times. Shows how the maximum capabilities of each driver is viewed differently.

      Also agree about Monaco, Lewis was unlucky to miss pole due to Perez’s crash, and he tried to overcompensate because of that. Kind of started a downward spiral for the next few races after that.

      1. @matthewf1 – Hamilton had a chance at getting on the front row, but really he should’ve got out and done a banker lap like several of the other runners. There’s always a high risk of red flags at Monaco.

        1. @David-A,@matthewf1, since HAM says he reviewed his season, and re-watched some of it to see where it went wrong, I think he probably picked up on those things; knowing where you went wrong is a big step, if he can manage to also avoid making them again (you’d hope so, really), I see him beating Button, but not by a very big margin on Sunday.

  37. Didn’t vote for any of the HRT drivers. Historically, chances are very high that neither will see championship through.

  38. Vettel, Button, Alonso, Rosberg, Raikkonen, Di Resta, Kobayashi, Ricciardo, Senna, Kovalainen, De La Rosa, Glock.

  39. Vettel, Button, Alonso, Rosberg, Kimi, Hulk, Ricciardo, Perez, Senna, Kovalainen, de la Rosa, Glock

  40. Vettel – He’s been very convincing in the car, and seems to have the team behind him. That’s not to say that Webber doesnt have support, but I feel that Vettel will have the legs on Webber this year.

    Button – I’m suprised that so many people think Hamilton will beat Button? There’s no denying that Hamilton is quicker over one lap, but over a race distance he just cant manage the tyres as well, keeps his calm or read situations as well as Button. I hate drawing paralells with the past, but this really is like Senna and Prost. The out and out racer against the calculating Professor. Button got Mclaren’s first win of 2010 and convincingly out scored Hamilton last year. I expect more of the same this year.

    Alonso – Does this one need explaining?

    Rosberg – Begrudgingly I voted Rosberg. There’s no denying Schumacher’s brilliance, but I think Michael is only 90% of the race we once knew. In today’s racing field, that 10% makes a heck of a distance. There are now 5 teams which could win a race rather than the two or three which Michael was used to. I’m sure we’ll see some excellent racing from Michael this year, but will it contribute to a podium (at least?)? We’ll see

    Raikkonen – He’s still got it. He’s the dark horse for a race win (or two) this year. Grosjean will be better this year than in 2009, I’m sure of it. He’s had time to grow up, gain racing experience and develop his racing ability. However, there is no denying Raikkonen’s pace. His Top Gear lap was amazing last week, especially considering it was wet. Jezza used to say that a wet lap in the Lecetti is around 4 seconds a lap slower than a dry one. On that basis, Raikkonen would have been 0.1s slower than Vettel’s time.

    Di Resta – A team in which both driver’s are only in their second season, so theoretically they’d be evenly matched. But Di Resta hasnt had a year out and he’s had the advantage of integrating himself into the team over several years. I dont think the Hulk will out score Di Resta this year, although I expect him to get a few strong points finishes

    Perez – He’s sort of like Button, good with his tyres. I’m sure it’s written in the stars that he’ll be at Ferrari one day, perhaps as soon as 2013. Perhaps this year will be the year that his performances shall lead to him signing on the dotted line at Maranello.

    Ricciardo – His tenure at HRT will have done him no harm. Not a quick team, but at least he’s had a chance to learn some of the circuits, interact with engineers and gain some vital experience. If Verne does start challenging him, I reckon it will be towards the end of the European season, when he’s on top of the car and at home in the team. We shall see

    Senna – I’m not gonna talk about how much better Senna is than Maldanado. I’m gonna work it the other way around. The only purpose Maldonado is serving in F1 at the moment is keeping Williams alive with sponsership. He’s an appaling racer, poor standards and I do not rate him. We can talk about his GP2 and other feeder series wins, but that doesnt count for anything at the sharp end. The sooner he’s out, the better.

    Kovaleinen – He’s been with the team for some time now, and generally a good racer all round. Would be nice to see him in a top 5 team again sometime soon, but in the mean time making a name for himself in a very small, young team isnt doing him any harm. I tihnk results will go Kova’s way 60% of the time. Petrov isnt no slouch, but I think he’ll be the slower of the two ex-Renault recruits.

    De La Rosa – Dont think I need to explain myself on this one. Similar arguement to Senna/Maldanado I guess.

    Glock – If Pic beats Glock more than 50% of the time this year, I’ll be amazed.

  41. Vettel: Because i think Webber is not allowed to beat him. RBR essentially operate a team order in favour of wunder boy.
    Button: Because i think Hamilton is nearing his last days at McLaren. Too much water under the bridge. As talented as he is, he has only this year left on his contract. No team that values their top driver leave them without a contract until their last year while you have an over 30 driver on a new 3 year contract. Why is the pole so close between the Macca drivers? Because they are the only BIG team with no team orders. If Red Bull and Ferrari were to operate like Macca, there drivers would be similarly close.
    Alonso: Since Schumachers days, Ferrari operate a team order in favour of their preferred driver who this time is Alonso.
    Schumacher: If he doesn’t, then can’t see him staying on
    Kimi: For obvious reasons. He is a brand name and Lotus needs it for marketing. (not that Kimi would do any of it)
    Hulkenberg: I like Di Resta but I think Hulkenburg will edge it.
    Perez: Is a good driver. he should out-do Kobayashi this year. Kobby is a good overtaker but an ok racer.
    Ricciardo: I think. The other dude i dont know much about.
    Senna: big name for Williams.
    Kovalainen: Kovalainen as he has ample experience
    De la Rosa: Karthikeyan.. none. dont ask me why
    Glock: old hand!

  42. Hamilton To smash Button..Loving all this JensonHype.

  43. For me:

    De La Rosa

  44. My vote: Vettel, Button, Alonso, Schumacher, Räikkönen, di Resta, Pérez, Ricciardo, Senna, Kovalainen, De la Rosa, Glock.

  45. My choices were

    Vettel – Webber should hopefully improve on last year but I think Vettel will get a third straight title.

    Hamilton – Possibly the hardest pick for me, if Hamilton gets his act together he should beat Button but if it is 2011 Hamilton then Button will come out on top.

    Alonso – One of the easiest choices as I can’t see anyway Massa will beat Alonso.

    Rosberg – I don’t think Schumacher will reach his title winning peak again, and another season finishing behind Rosberg in the championship will probably mean he quits for good.

    Raikkonen – While I don’t think Raikkonen will be as good as he was before he left F1 I think he will be closer to his best than Schumacher was to his when he came back, add to that to the fact that Grosjean last raced in F1 in 2009 and hasn’t completed a full season in F1 means Raikkonen should come out on top.

    Di Resta – I think the fact that di Resta was racing for Force India last should tip the odds in his favour.

    Perez – With a season under his belt I think Perez will be the better of the two Sauber drivers over the course of the season.

    Ricciardo – I can’t say I know much about either drivers pre F1 careers so I chose Ricciardo as he already has some F1 race experience.

    Senna – This could be another close one, and I may have only gone with Senna in the end as I prefer him to Maldonado.

    Kovalainen – Although I think Petrov will provide more competition than Trulli did I still think Kovalainen will be the best Caterham driver.

    Karthikeyan – I don’t rate Karthikeyan and I like de la Rosa but the further down the grid you go the more chance that one freak result will mean a driver or team will finish higher in the table than their overall performances in the season would suggest, just look at HRT and Virgin in the last two years, and I just have a feeling that will be the case with Karthikeyan, assuming he gets to complete the full season.

    Glock – I think he will easily beat another rookie teammate for the third season in a row.

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