Eleven to watch – China 2011

So how did the ‘eleven’ do? For most of them it was a good week, with six finishing in the points and six finishing ahead of their teammate. A few were not so lucky…

11 – Pastor Maldonado Qualifying 17th, the rookie Williams driver really had the worst race of anyone. Though it’s the first time he’s finished a race this season, he finished behind a Lotus and only spent 13 laps ahead of Kovalainen. Considering this is the guy who won GP2 last season with a record 11 wins, he’s not exactly showing it this season. I’d say ‘bring back Nico Hulkenberg’, but the Hulk wouldn’t want to go back.

10 – Jaime Alguersuari An unlucky race after qualifying 7th, the Toro Rosso driver was ahead of his teammate until his pit stop and subsequent loss of tyre. It wasn’t his fault, and hopefully Toro Rosso will look kindly on his performance after a competitive weekend.

9 – Jarno Trulli Not finishing in the points, and well behind his teammate, puts Jarno Trulli down in 9th. He didn’t have a spectacular race, and despite a good pace in the final laps failed to catch up to Maldonado. By the way – he set a faster fastest lap than Alonso. The Lotus has great pace when the tyres are working.

8 – Vitaly Petrov The unlucky Russian finished in the points, but it was a mediocre race. Considering Renault have been on the podium in Australia and Malaysia, 9th is a disappointment. He will be happy to be ahead of Nick Heidfeld in the points.

7 – Paul di Resta An okay race, but Kobayashi beat him out of the points in the final laps. Much better than his teammate, however, and showing great promise.

6 – Jerome D’Ambrosio It was a great weekend for the Belgian, who fought well and beat his teammate in qualifying and the race. It’s a shame he’s not driving a better car. For me, he’s the rookie of the race.

5 – Michael Schumacher Unfortunately, he was overtaken by Fernando Alonso. He also finished behind his teammate. But a solid points finish to help Mercedes up to fifth place ahead of Sauber after a rough start to the season.

4 – Kamui Kobayashi A great overtake on di Resta gave him tenth place and another point for Sauber. He’s really showing that he can hold the team together, and getting the most out of the car.

3 – Felipe Massa For some people, beating Fernando Alonso is a must, and Massa did it in style. He had an absolutely brilliant start to the race, and was only hindered by the tyres going. He finished sixth, which is the same position he qualified in and also where he was for every practice session. But he’s shown the doubters that he can compete against Alonso without pit lane or accident troubles and win.

2 – Mark Webber What a drive, and a great call on the hard tyres to start the race. With three sets of softs and a fast car, he was guaranteed to do well. One more lap and he could have taken on his teammate for second. Brilliant!

1 – Lewis Hamilton For knocking Vettel down to second, and winning McLaren’s first race of the season, he deserves top spot. After making it out of the pit lane with 25 seconds to spare according to the BBC’s countdown clock, his race was set. Not having to drive up from 24th, he was able to run a three-stop strategy to perfection and has made a complete turnaround since the dismal Malaysia performance.


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