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Kovalainen Begins to Hunt Down Trulli

European Grand Prix

Yeah, about my next update for the New Teams being after Italy, I’m a terrible liar.

So, what did we have in Valencia? A poor, slightly dull race which was a let down after such a terrific start to the season. Heikki Kovalainen was once again quicker than Jarno Trulli in qualifying, Timo Glock was quicker than Jerome D’Ambrosio and Vitantonio Liuzzi was quicker than Narain Karthikeyan. No surprises there.

And apart from a stunning start from Glock, in which he jumped both Lotus cars at the start, very little else happened. The German fell below both Kovalainen and Trulli in the next 20 laps, just making sure that the remaining laps were dull for the new teams.

The only real incidents of note were the Hispania drivers reaction to the blue flags, critisced by Virgin for failing to see them and their unique way of dealing with the leading cars.

  Driver Team Race Pos. Points
1 Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus 19th 10
2 Jarno Trulli Team Lotus 20th 6
3 Timo Glock Marussia Virgin 21st 4
4 Jerome D’Ambrosio Marussia Virgin 22nd 3
5 Vitantonio Liuzzi Hispania 23rd 2
6 Narain Karthikeyan Hispania 24th 1


Standings

Drivers Championship

Things have got a bit tighter in the standings. The gap from Kovalainen to Trulli has been reduced to 13 points. The Virgin boys have also closed up on themselves, the gap between the two of them is just 8 points, while the Hispania drivers are slowly making up the numbers once more after an impressive Canada.

  Driver Team Points
1 Jarno Trulli Team Lotus 55
2 Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus 42
3 Jerome D’Ambrosio Marussia Virgin 31
4 Timo Glock Marussia Virgin 23
5 Vitantonio Liuzzi Hispania 19
6 Narain Karthikeyan Hispania 12

Teams Championship

The Lotus domination continues. Virgin pull away from Hispania and there is really nothing more which can be said

    Team Points
1 Lotus Racing 97
2   Marussia Virgin 54
3   Hispania 33


Next Race

It’s another two week gap to Silverstone, which has had another renovation and has a new start line for 2011. The last two races at Silverstone haven’t been the best, so after Canada, I’m not expecting much more entertainment.

Last year Hispania made much controversy by replacing Bruno Senna with Sakon Yamamoto at the last moment. Unsurprisingly he finished last, while at the front, Jarno Trulli had one of his few moments that season where he finished in front of his team mate Heikki Kovalainen.

Kovalainen has possibly the best history at the circuit, starting on pole in 2008, although failed to make much of the opportunity.

I believe its a further chance to see Lotus move away from the other two, although the new rules could make things closer. Could. (Probably won’t.)

Whatever Happened to The New Teams?

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A year ago I was updating my blog on the fortunes of the three new teams, Lotus Racing, Virgin Racing and Hispania. In the end, Heikki Kovalainen romped away with the Drivers Championship, a long way ahead of the battling trio of Lucas di Grassi, Timo Glock and Jarno Trulli. It was a similar story in the Teams Championship, glory for Lotus, in a dull battle with Virgin clearly in second and Hispania clearly last.

For this year I thought to step away, safe in the assurances that they may have actually improved and be nearly caught up with the midfield teams.

If anything, they have got worse.

So, I thought to take a look at what the tables would be looking like if I had kept on doing it. It takes some interesting reading and makes me wish I had bothered to carry on. (Don’t worry, I’ll continue to look at this at thirdly intervals.)

What’s New for 2011?

Only three drivers from 2010 remain, the two Lotus cars of Kovalainen and Trulli, as well as Glock. F1 veterans Narain Karthikeyan and Vitantonio Liuzzi joined Hispania, while the only rookie of the six was Jerome D’Ambrosio in the Virgin.

Apart from that, everything was the same. Apart from Marussia buying into Virgin and Lotus Racing now being called Team Lotus, and nothing else. But that was just trivial stuff.

Drivers Championship

After Round 7 of 19

  Driver Team Points
1 Jarno Trulli Team Lotus 49
2 Heikki Kovalainen Team Lotus 32
3 Jerome D’Ambrosio Marussia Virgin 28
4 Timo Glock Marussia Virgin 19
5 Vitantonio Liuzzi Hispania 17
6 Narain Karthikeyan Hispania 11

 

Jarno Trulli
1st – 49 points
Despite being beaten 6-1 in terms of qualifying against Heikki Kovalainen, Trulli is slaughtering the opposition in his Team Lotus this season. Five times he has beaten Kovalainen in the race, including four ‘New Teams Championship’ wins, and don’t think its down to the Finn’s poor reliability either, in the occasion both cars have finished, Trulli has finished ahead both times. This guy still has it by the looks of things.

Heikki Kovalainen
2nd – 32 points
It looks bad reading for Kovalainen compared to Trulli. He has a superior qualifying record but the Team Lotus car is letting him down badly. Heikki in fact has the most retirements (three) out of any of the six cars, only one down to his own fault (crashing in Spain). If he can get more reliability, it will be interesting to see if he can catch up to his team mate.

Jerome D’Ambrosio
3rd – 28 points
Marussia Virgin have looked dreadfully slow this season, and he should be far worse off compared to his experienced team mate Timo Glock. But the Belgian is constantly finishing and giving off impressive performances, and is even in reaching distance of the reigning champions.

Timo Glock
4th – 19 points
Glock is struggling. Whether he doesn’t want to be a part of Virgin anymore or the car does not suit him, he can’t seem to be anywhere near his inexperienced team mate, which looks embarrassing. Five times he has finished behind D’Ambrosio in a race, this is out of seven, its not looking good for the German.

Vitantonio Liuzzi
5th – 17 points
I think it is fair to say a Hispania shouldn’t be two points off a Virgin, but they are. The car looks and performs awfully, but Liuzzi, out of nowhere, finished 13th in Canada, ahead of everyone else. Lets repeat that, ahead of everyone else. In a Hispania. Madness. Credit must go out for managing to guide that car around the track in one piece nearly every single Sunday. It isn’t a job I would want to do.

Narain Karthikeyan
6th – 11 points
The Indian hasn’t embarrassed himself at all this season, again the car isn’t in his favour and he is managing to get it around a track in one piece every Sunday. OK job so far.

Teams Championship

    Team Points
1 Lotus Racing 81
2   Marussia Virgin 47
3   Hispania 30

 

Team Lotus
1st – 81 points
I’m not going to lie to you, I think Team Lotus can afford to open the champagne*, it looks easy and out of anyone they are probably the most likely to score an actual World Championship point (which is ironic considering they are the last team I want to do that). Easily the fastest in qualifying and the race. It is a walk in the park.

Marussia Virgin
2nd – 47 points
Oh dear. The performance of the Virgin has slid so far downhill that in Canada they hit rock bottom (being outqualified by a Hispania and being saved by the stewards in terms of 107%). The consequences have been harsh on Nick Wirth, sacked ahead of that race, and drastic change is needed to make sure they don’t finish last here, which is ever so possible if Hispania keep their pace up. With news attention is soon to focus on 2012, this could turn to humiliation.

Hispania
3rd – 30 points
They failed to qualify in Australia, lucky to just get in in Malaysia. The laughing stock of the grid, but they have went up the gentle incline of improvement. Not by long they have reached the pace of Virgin, upgrades have been made, the drivers aren’t doing too shoddy a job, things are actually looking up for once (even if they have the worst livery on the grid).

What Next?

I could probably guess, but the next seven races (next update will be after the Italian Grand Prix) will probably go like this: Team Lotus drivers to continue to swap wins, Hispania to become clear second best team, Marussia Virgin to flirt with 107% each qualifying session.

Though, as that is probably what is expected, it probably won’t happen.

Virgin Strike Back

Sports News - May 07, 2010

Spanish Grand Prix

It might have been a bit of a dull race, but the results have certainly spiced up the Championship being fought by the new teams. Virgin are back in the game and Hispania are struggling again.

It was a bad start to the race for current leader Heikki Kovalainen, who didn’t even start the race after his gearbox failed to work. It wasn’t much better for Bruno Senna, who was hit in the rear during the first lap and retired.

A solid race for the rest of the drivers followed, with the only over drama was when Jaime Alguesuari cut back onto Karun Chandhok too early, making Chandhok lose his front wing. A lap later, Chandhok was out of the race.

Despite a good battle between former Toyota team mates Trulli and Glock towards the end, it ended pretty much as it started in the first place.

Driver Team Race Pos. Points
1 Jarno Trulli Lotus 14th 10
2 Timo Glock Virgin Racing 16th 6
3 Lucas di Grassi Virgin Racing 17th 4
4 Karun Chandhok Hispania Ret. 0
5 Bruno Senna Hispania Ret. 0
6 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus DNS 0

Standings

Drivers

Driver Team Points
1 Heikki Kovalainen Lotus 30
2 Jarno Trulli Lotus 19
3 Karun Chandhok Hispania 16
4 Lucas di Grassi Virgin Racing 14
5 Bruno Senna Hispania 10
6 Timo Glock Virgin Racing 6

Teams

Team Points
1 Lotus 49
2 Hispania 26
3 Virgin Racing 20
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