The 2012 Chinese Grand Prix was an eye-opener for the entire field of cars, as Mercedes managed to lock out the front, albeit due to Hamilton´s penalty, but there cannot be any doubt the fact, that Mercedes has found gold.
The season has started without the ‘usual’ win for Vettel, and the young double world champion is struggling to find the right pace. Frerrari is also not where they want to be, but Alonso´s 9th place is probably where the team should expect to be the next few races. Of course no one can dismiss the idea that Mercedes is aided by their controversial, but legal, W-duct system, but after three races we still cannot be absolutely sure that one driver is stronger than the other. At least not for the moment.
So to the awards:
Driver of the day: Nico Rosberg
Who else could be the driver of the day? Nico Rosberg wins his first race, a long time coming after debuting in 2006. He started by being impressively fast in his first race, and did show some very good performances over the next couple of seasons. But it has always been a question of being ‘almost there’, and ‘good-effort-but-you-need-a-little-bit-more’. I am not saying that Rosberg is now the man to beat, by no means, but he has certainly showed that Mercedes are in a lot better shape than they were last year. Well done to Rosberg, a huge congratulations are in order, and we are all looking forward to seeing more from the poplar driver.
The That´s Actually Not So Bad Award: Romain Grosjean
When Lotus announced that they had secured the services of Romain Grosjean, a lot of pundits and fans thought that the team had seriously lost it. After a tough half season for Renault back in 2009, replacing Nelson Piquet after the Singapore Sling Scandal, sorry but that´s what I call it, no one thought that he could do much. But the Lotus is fast, it looks like they are in good shape to take some points from the top teams and Grosjean seems to be coping a lot better with the tyres. He has also proved that he really has talent, and I for one, and tipping my hat to the young driver,
The Oh Come On Award: Kimi Raikkonen
Kimi Raikkonen was running in second at one time in China, but ver the course of two laps he lost ten positions and ended up well outside the points, in a lonely 14th place. I understand that He is coming back after a two year hiatus and he needs to learn about the new tyres. But so does Grosjean, and he is managing it much better. Lotus could well have pitted Kimi a few laps earlier, sent him back out and he could have scored fourth perhaps. The tyres simply ran out of performance in the last ten laps, and the Finn couldn´t help the many drivers overtake him. A tough result to cope with, but at least now Lotus knows how Kimi uses his tyres. Next time….
The Back To The Drawing Board Award: Toro Rosso
I could easily give this one to HRT, on account of them being the slowest team. But Toro Rosso seems to have been taking a few steps backwards this season. Six points in the first three races, none from China, is disappointing. I would have hoped to see Verge and Ricciardo a bit further up on the standings. Back to the drawing board, guys.
The Thank You For Not Whining Anymore Award: Red Bull
Red Bull pointed fingers at Mercedes because of the wing system that were subsequently deemed legal, but has been whining about almost anything and everything since the first race. And they then decided to sneak out the side door when Lotus lodged the official protest against the wing system, and left Lotus with the losing arguments. Still, I see a team that has now realised that they themselves can change the performance, and I am looking forward to seeing it.