Thursday, 27 September 2012

Pit Board: 6 to go

With 6 races remaining in 2012 and with both the driver's and constructor's championships still up for grabs, there is still plenty to look forward to on track. Off track, the plans of Hamilton, Schumacher and Ferrari's decision on Massa have the potential to send the silly season into a frenzy at any time.

The driver's championship has been rewarding Alonso's consistency so far this season. Grosjean's squeeze on Hamilton at the start of the Belgian grand prix and the consequential ramming of Alonso's Ferrari brought Alonso's record seeking run of consecutive points finishes to an end. Alonso's 3 wins and 5 other podiums have rewarded a non-dominant car in a field of non-dominant cars.

Mark Webber was snapping at Fernando's heels for the first half of the season, again a result of consistency from Mr 4th Place. However, since signing a contract with Red Bull for 2013, Webber has disappeared into the midfield. In the fight to take his place, Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have ticked and tacked for 2nd place. This battle for 2nd place has allowed Alonso to creep further into the lead of the championship. Not so slow but steady may just win this race.

On the other hand there is an increasingly desperate Lewis Hamilton, frustrated by the lack of wins despite creating a Jensonesque bubble around him in 2012. Lewis' problems curently seem to be circling around his choice of team for 2013. Would he really walk away from a team that has provided wins for him each year he has been in F1 and go to a team that cannot sort out a win for the driver with the most wins in F1 history?

Then there is Sebastian Vettel. Keen to continue winning in a package that has been crippled by tightening loopholes in the technical regulations. However, the biggest concern and the thief of considerable points is a component as pedestrian in its concept, being a vital component of internal combustion engines since their invent, as an alternator. At least the fans are now aware that Magneti Marelli are still present in F1. Sebastian lost what looked like a certain 25 points at Valencia and stopped in the late stages of the Monza GP from 6th position, a further potential 8 points. But for losing these potential points he would be on 198 points and leading the championship. However, this is speculative and the points on the board show Fernando leading Vettel by 29 points.

Button started off the season with a win in Melbourne, but then quickly fell to the midfield. McLaren have found leading pace for the last 4 races and Jenson was dominant in Belgium. However, with McLaren's drivers battling each other for wins, Alonso is creeping ahead in the championship.

The other championship contender is Kimi Raikkonen who has been gathering points during the year with 6 podium finishes but more importantly, points in all races except China.  The Finn's consistency has landed him in 3rd place in the driver's championship although is 45 points behind Alonso. 

Alonso is looking good for his 3rd driver's championship at this stage, but it is far from a foregone conclusion. Vettel can win his 3rd championship with an average points finish of 5 more than Alonso over the remaining races, an achievable task provided Vettel, Red Bull, Renault and Magneti Marelli can together finish each race. Bring on the final 6 races of 2012!

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