Summer day 27 – Mirko Bortolotti

Mirko Bortolotti – 1
It’s not quite been a Sebastian Vettel domination, but Mirko Bortolotti has taken podiums in all but two races. Four of those have been wins. But Christopher Zanella is close behind, and with six races left it could be a tough championship to win. He starts ahead of Zanella today but not on pole – which he has surprisingly only attained twice.

Points: 187
Best qualifying: 1
Worst qualifing: 7
Best finish: 1 (Four times)
Worst finish: 6 (Magny-Cours race 1)
Retirements: 0

Summer day 27 – Valteri Bottas

Valtteri Bottas – 1
You can’t say that Finn Valtteri Bottas will win the GP3 championship this year, but he has a good chance. The first driver to win two races, he also has three other podiums. He also managed to pick up the fastest lap in the Barcelona feature, finishing tenth overall. With four podiums in the last four races, he’s also got Williams’ support behind him. Chance of winning? Good. But it’s still wide open. He starts 2nd today.

Points: 40
Best qualifying: 1
Worst qualifing: 11
Best finish: 1 (Nurburgring sprint, Hungaroring feature)
Worst finish: 15 (Silverstone feature)
Retirements: 0

Summer day 27 – Romain Grosjean

Romain Grosjean – 1
He’s on target for the GP2 championship this season, but there are question marks over whether he will get an F1 seat next year due to Renault’s complicated situation. Though he didn’t take pole yesterday, he starts seventh, and he has an amazing ability to overtake that could see him take the championship today.
So how’s he been doing? Well, it was pole and win on the first race, but only fastest lap on the second. Disqualified from the Barcelona feature race, he fought his way back to ninth. At Monaco, he had a bad qualifying and was forced to start from the back of the grid, but played the strategy well to finish fourth before taking third in the sprint. It was now very close at the top of the table. Romain hasn’t had a pole since the start of the season but he has had four more wins. He missed out on the podium at the Silverstone feature but still took the fastest lap. He’s definitely got incredible talent at overtaking which means he ought to win.

Points: 74
Best qualifying: 1
Worst qualifying: 26
Best finish: 1 (Barcelona, Valencia, Hungaroring features, Silverstone, Germany sprints)
Worst finish: 10 (Barcelona sprint)
Retirements: 1

Summer day 27 – Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel – 1
Six wins, four second places, one fourth. Seb Vettel’s incredible record thus far in the season has made him almost unbeatable, and the Red Bull’s incredible reliability is a great help. When he’s gone into the lead on the first corner, he has almost always been unbeatable. In China he wasn’t first into the corner so he was unable to dominate, and lost out to Hamilton in the final laps as his tyres were wearing out. In Canada, he was going 2s a lap slower than Jenson Button and made his first mistake of the season.
His next loss was at Britain, when the rule changes allowed Fernando Alonso to be faster. A pit error by Red Bull helped the Spaniard, but he probably would have overtaken anyway. Then Germany, and not only was Seb Vettel not first into the first corner, but he was behind his teammate and two other cars. People say that Sebastian can’t overtake, and perhaps this was shown at his home race when the German flag was not flown on the podium for the first time.
At Hungary, he again missed out on the win thanks to the McLarens. Both were in the lead before Hamilton pitted for inters, and rain master Jenson once again held his own. Of course, he still came second so it’s not like there’s anything to worry about.
He’s missed out on three wins in the last three races, and Spa and Monza are not Red Bull tracks. Can the gap be closed? Will Red Bull finally face unreliability issues? Or can Sebastian maintain his lead to become the youngest double champion?

Points: 234
Worst qualifying: 3
Best qualifying: 1
Worst finish: 4 (Germany)
Best finish: 1 (Australia, Malaysia, Turkey, Spain, Monaco, Valencia)
Average difference: -0.27
Laps completed: 681/681 (100%)
Average race position: 1.77 (Best: 1.0 Turkey, Valencia; Worst: 4.7 Germany)

Summer day 26 – Christopher Zanella

Christopher Zanella – 2
Before Brands Hatch, Christopher Zanella had only missed out on one podium in the F2 season, with two wins, two seconds and three thirds. Despite that, he has only had one pole position and one fastest lap. The Swiss driver led the championship after Magny-Cours, but since then has fallen to Mirko Bortolotti.
But he still has managed points in every race, which is why he is the closest challenger to Bortolotti, and he has always done better in the race than qualifying, only failing to gain a position when he took pole. Even if he misses out this year, the championship could easily be his in 2012.

Points: 151
Best qualifying: 1
Worst qualifing: 10
Best finish: 1 (Magny Cours both races)
Worst finish: 7 (Silverstone race 1, Brands Hatch race 2)
Retirements: 0

Summer day 26 – Alex Sims

Alex Sims – 2
One of GP3’s oldest drivers, Alex had a great start to the season by winning the sprint race at Istanbul from reversed pole. He also took the fastest lap. Immediately he went downhill at Barcelona, retiring from both races. Valencia was a return to form with sixth and second, before at Silverstone he came second and third to claim the championship lead. That lasted throughout the Nurburgring round, when despite not picking up points in the feature race he came second in the sprint. At Hungary, he was disqualified from the first race, but pushed back in the sprint to come ninth. By missing out on the points, however, he gave up the championship lead to Valtteri Bottas. He should continue to do well in the remaining races and is a strong challenger for the lead.

Points: 34
Best qualifying: 5
Worst qualifing: 16
Best finish: 1 (Istanbul sprint)
Worst finish: 12 (Nurburgring feature)
Retirements: 2

Summer day 26 – Giedo van der Garde

Giedo van der Garde – 2
There’s one Dutch driver splitting the French, and that’s Giedo van der Garde. He’s had a good season, taking pole position in Barcelona and only having one bad qualifying session at Silverstone (but still finishing in the points). Racewise, he’s yet to win but has had a lot of good points finishes – second three times, third twice, and fourth three times. He’s also managed to retire three times, once in a feature race, but came back to finish ninth in the sprint. But overall he’s been consistent and deserves second at least. He ought to get a place in F1, but that’s looking unlikely for 2012.

Points: 49
Best qualifying: 1
Worst qualifying: 19
Best finish: 2 (Barcelona sprint, Istanbul, Valencia feature, Monaco sprint)
Worst finish: 9 (Monaco sprint)
Retirements: 3

Summer day 26 – Mark Webber

Mark Webber – 2
It’s been a tricky season for Mark Webber. On the one hand, he’s second in the championship and taken pole several times. On the other hand, his teammate is leading the championship by a long way. While Sebastian Vettel had led most of the laps this season, Mark hadn’t led a single one until the German Grand Prix.
It all began in Australia – his home venue, but one which he has always struggled on. Since his debut with Minardi he has never managed to improve from that fifth-place finish.
Next came Malaysia, and Mark qualified third for the second race in a row. Despite taking the fastest lap, he once again missed out on the podium while his teammate shone. Then China, and in a shocking qualifying session he became the ‘fall guy’ starting 18th on the grid. His race became a push, and he fought his way past almost everyone. In the final lap, he was closing on second-placed teammate Sebastian Vettel and probably would have beaten him too if the race had been a lap longer. Partly this was because he hadn’t used up any of his soft tyres in qualifying.
Turkey was a much better race. Starting second, he finished there too behind his teammate. In Spain, he took pole position for the first time, losing places to Vettel at the start. He missed out on the podium in Monaco as well, though he took his fourth fastest lap of the season, then in Canada and Valencia came third.
It was a much better day for Mark at the Silverstone Grand Prix. Taking pole position, he lost out on the start. But he was competitive throughout the race. In the final laps, he was closing in on his teammate, and battling bravely for second place while ignoring calls from his team to ‘maintain the gap’. Never enjoying being a ‘number two driver’, he was very annoyed after the race.
But in Germany, Mark was not a number two driver at all. In a three-way Red Bull-McLaren-Ferrari battle for victory, it was Mark rather than Vettel who was at the front. The German was trying to fight with Felipe Massa. At Hungary, he struggled again. No pole or podium for the Aussie. Despite the fact that he’s had no wins, it’s been a good season. But overcoming the gap to his teammate is going to be tough.

Points: 149
Worst qualifying: 18
Best qualifying: 1
Worst finish: 5 (Australia, Hungary)
Best finish: 2 (Turkey)
Average difference: 0.45
Laps completed: 681/681 (100%)
Average race position: 4.96 (Best: 2.2 Germany; Worst: 10.8 China)

Summer day 25 – Miki Monras

Miki Monras – 3
Three F2 drivers have scored points in every race this season, and unsurprisingly those are the top three in the championship. Spanish rookie Miki Monras began his season on a high by qualifying second in the first race at Silverstone before taking pole and winning in the second race. Always starting in the top ten, he had three eighth-places at Spa and the Nurburgring but has since improved again. He is hoping to win again and pick up some podiums in the remaining three races. Recently, Miki had a boost in his funding from Silver Lining, which means he’s definitely going to finish the season. He’s a championship contender – a long way back from Zanella and Bortolotti at the moment, but there are still 150 points up for grabs.

Points: 110
Best qualifying: 1
Worst qualifing: 8
Best finish: 1 (Silverstone race 2)
Worst finish: 9 (Spa race 1, Brands Hatch race 2)
Retirements: 0

Summer day 25 – Nigel Melker

Nigel Melker – 3
There’s no better way to start your GP3 season than by winning a race, and that was what Nigel Melker did. In the first two rounds he qualified well, but after that he had a severe drop in performance. After winning the Istanbul feature race he came third in the sprint, then came sixth in the feature at Barcelona and second in the sprint. After that, however, Nigel was on a points drought. He had retirements in both Valencia and Silverstone, though he came eighth from starting 27th in the Silverstone sprint. Finally he returned to form at the Nurburgring, coming tenth in the feature before sailing to third with the fastest lap in the sprint. At Hungary, he came eighth in the feature but dropped back in the next race to finish fourth with the fastest lap. Despite his struggle, however, he only dropped to fifth because of the close field, and is only eight points below championship leader Valtteri Bottas.

Points: 32
Best qualifying: 2
Worst qualifing: 27
Best finish: 1 (Istanbul feature)
Worst finish: 19 (Valencia sprint)
Retirements: 2