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

Summer day 25 – Charles Pic

Charles Pic – 3
This GP2 season has really been France’s year, and one of the shining French drivers is Charles Pic. He’s had two pole positions this year – one at Valencia when he ended up retiring from both races – and one in Germany where he came second in the feature race but retired from the sprint. His best weekend probably came at Monaco, when he finished 8th in the feature race which gave him pole for the sprint. It’s so hard to overtake at the track that he won. He also won the Barcelona feature race, but finished 19th in the sprint. So ups and downs for Charles Pic, who has been a good qualifier. He and his teammate Giedo van der Garde have been keeping Addax ahead of DAMS since the beginning of the season – two good drivers is better than one brilliant driver.

Points: 42
Best qualifying: 1
Worst qualifying: 12
Best finish: 1 (Barcelona feature, Monaco sprint)
Worst finish: 19 (Barcelona sprint)
Retirements: 3

Summer day 25 – Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton – 3
The 2008 world champion’s two wins this season haven’t been enough for him to make second in the championship, despite the fact that Mark Webber is yet to make the top step of the podium. After the Chinese Grand Prix – spectacularly won by Lewis in the closing laps – there was hope that McLaren would be able to prevent Red Bull from dominating the season, but that hasn’t been the case.
He’s had his ups and his downs this season, though a second-place in Australia was a good start to things. Then he had a bad race in Malaysia, finishing only 8th. After his win in China it was back to fourth in Turkey before he took his third podium of the season – and the fastest lap – in Spain. Then came Monaco, and Lewis was unable to do much. His race will be remembered more for his outburst against the stewards at the end than for any particular skill he showed in driving. Indeed, he didn’t drive well there. He was at least partly responsible for both Felipe Massa and Pastor Maldonado’s retirements, resulting in two drive-through penalties.
Canada will be remembered for more rather stupid driving from Lewis, trying to overtake his teammate when Jenson couldn’t see properly due to the rain and was anyway closing the gap between himself and the wall. Since then, Lewis has had three fourth-place finishes and a win. He drove spectacularly in Britain, missing out on the podium because his car was running low on fuel but holding off Felipe Massa in the last moments of the last lap. Then Germany, and he battled with Alonso and Webber and came out on top. Also taking the fastest lap, it was a return to brilliance for the Brit.
Hungary didn’t go so well. Battling with Jenson for the lead on slick tyres while some rain was falling, he made the decision to switch to inters. He also caused Paul di Resta to take evasive action while trying to straighten his car after a spin (he was in the lead and didn’t want to be overtaken) which resulted in a drive-through. Though he gained some places back, it wasn’t enough.
Lewis is a young driver who’s known a lot of success in his short F1 career. Perhaps he needs to experience a much harder time in F1 in order to iron out some of his errors. If he did so, surely he could only have better results in the future?

Points: 146
Worst qualifying: 10
Best qualifying: 2
Worst finish: 8 (Malaysia)
Best finish: 1 (China, Germany)
Average difference: -1.36
Laps completed: 618/681 (91%)
Average race position: 3.79 (Best: 1.4 Germany; Worst: 8.8 Monaco)

Summer day 24 – Tobias Hegewald, Will Bratt

#Tobias Hegewald – 5
Tobias has had a great 2011 F2 season so far, only missing out on the points twice and taking two podiums as well. He’s been helped by Will Bratt’s absence at Brands Hatch, and is now only one point behind the Brit. It was at Brands Hatch that he took pole position for the first race, though a cunning move by Jack Clarke at the start saw him fall to third. His best finish came at Magny-Cours when he came second in the first race.
Qualifying-wise, he only missed out on the top ten at the Nurburgring. He should continue to do well in the rest of the season, and although he’s very unlikely to win, he could secure third or fourth at a pinch.

Points: 91
Best qualifying: 1
Worst qualifing: 11
Best finish: 2 (Magny-Cours race 1)
Worst finish: 12 (Nurburgring race 1)
Retirements: 1

Will Bratt – 4
Despite being fourth in the championship with a win, four podiums and a pole under his belt, Will Bratt had to miss his second home race of the season due to a lack of funding. He was disqualified from the second race at Silverstone having failed to obey a drive-through penalty and being black flagged – he had finished second. Magny-Cours was a bit quieter, but Spa saw a return to form as he took the win in the first race then pole and third in the second. The first race at the Nurburgring could have been better, but he still took some points and then second in the second race.
Apart from his disqualification, Will has finished in the points in every race. And if he’d been able to compete at Brands Hatch, he would have undoubtedly done well there as well. Watch out for Will in the rest of the season.

Points: 92
Best qualifying: 1
Worst qualifing: 8
Best finish: 1 (Spa race 1)
Worst finish: 8 (Magny-Cours race 1)
Retirements: 0

Summer day 24 – Lewis Williamson

Lewis Williamson – 4
Initially the second of Arden’s three drivers, Lewis Williamson finally overtook his teammate Mitch Evans at the Nurburgring with a second place finish. This came after his win at Silverstone in the sprint race.
His season began with some rather bad results, but he quickly got the hang of the GP3 car to take his first points with pole in Valencia, finishing the race second. Despite only taking three podiums and with only three other points finishes, the close season puts Lewis in easy contention for the championship.

Points: 31
Best qualifying: 1
Worst qualifing: 18
Best finish: 1 (Silverstone sprint)
Worst finish: 20 (Istanbul sprint)
Retirements: 2