Friday, May 7, 2010

2010 Spanish GP: The fight for the Championship starts now

The European leg of the F1 has in the past traditionally separated the boys from the men. Last season though Williams and Toyota were close to Brawn during the Asian leg of the calendar, once the European season began, it was a straightforward battle between Brawn and Red Bull for the title. This season as many as four teams are in the race with Renault still in the mix. The hot favorites for the title Red Bull despite having the fastest car on the grid is only 3rd in the Championship while Jenson Button and McLaren have surprised one and all by leading both the championships.

Jenson Button has proved everyone wrong by going into Europe with 2 wins and a substantial lead over his much fancied teammate Hamilton. Though Hamilton can always bounce back but he has to deal with loads of both on-track and off-track antics while Button has solely focused on racing alone. If Button continues to maintain the form he showed in Asia, there is every chance that he may once again be the champion and prove to the world that he won not because of the car but also he is good enough to win it.

Ferrari like Red Bull were fancied towards the start of the season but reliability issues have hit them hard but now they seem to have sorted that out and if Alonso & Massa can work as a team Ferrari will be hard to beat but if the pair fails to get along then Ferrari may self destruct it chances of winning the titles. Though they are still not as fast as Red Bull, they can quickly catch up with McLaren and need to beat them fast.

Mercedes went into the season as defending champions and even got Schumacher out of retirement but then his comeback though has been pretty good but then everyone is so used to Schumacher dominating the field but now his teammate who is yet to win a race has beaten him in four straight races and this is something which the legend has never experienced before. Though the Mercedes is being set for Schumacher and everyone does expect a backlash from the German but he needs to prove in Barcelona that he still has it in him and the most important thing will be to dominate Rosberg who has had a dream start to the season.

Red Bull must be comfortably leading both the championships now but a mix of bad luck and reliability has cost them hard. If Vettel needs to win the title, RBR should provide him with a car which is not only fast but also can go the distance or else it will be a case of chasing the leader once again and then miss out in the end. Webber will be a man under pressure as there are talks of Kimi replacing him for 2011 but the Australian needs to bounce back strongly and needs to get back on podiums before winning races.

Renault and Kubica have been the surprise package and though they may not win the titles, they may yet win some races and if they continue their progress they can be a thorn in the path of the big 4 teams and even could beat a couple of them in the end. Vitaly Petrov, their rookie driver has been the best among the rookies so far and if he too continues to score points, it could be a great revival for the team which nearly closed shop last year.

Force India has had its best start ever and both Sutil and Liuzzi have been impressive but the team should now focus on trying to catch up with Renault rather then trying to beat Williams and STR. The team has beaten those 2 teams soundly so far and in order to reach the next level they should target Renault.

Williams are once again suffering from being a private team and though before the season started they did seem to have a decent package but now their car is not good as the rest of the field and they are fighting out with the likes of STR. Rubens Barrichello is a fast driver and it is disappointing to see him finish his career this way while Nico Hulkenberg has shown promise and he deserves something much better than this as of now.

Toro Rosso have had a typical start where they manage to score points but then lag behind bigger teams but they have 2 promising drivers and if the updates are as good as they are expect both Jaime Alguersuari and Sebastien Buemi to be in points and the team must beat Williams once again and also catch up with Force India.

Sauber has been the most disappointed team and if the team continues to go the same way they may not even finish the season. Both de la Rosa and Kobayashi have failed to impress though the car has not been too supportive as well. But the team has to turn around its fortunes quickly if it needs to survive this season and start the next one.

Among the new teams as expected Lotus have impressed everyone and they seem to be closing in on Sauber slowly as well. Though scoring points is still way off if they manage to catch up with Sauber and beat both HRT and Virgin on a regular basis, it would be a good debut season for the team. HRT after a horrible start seem to have caught up with Virgin but then the poor Dallara chassis may hurt them in the long run while Virgin after looking promising have taken a few steps back. The team needs to regroup and start challenging Lotus.

It should be a good Spanish GP and this race would possibly set the precedent on how the season may end but after a few rain interrupted races a dry race will be a welcome sign.

Spanish GP Top 10 Predictions

1. Sebastien Vettel
2. Fernando Alonso
3. Mark Webber
4. Felipe Massa
5. Michael Schumacher
6. Nico Rosberg
7. Jenson Button
8. Robert Kubica
9. Lewis Hamilton
10. Jaime Alguersuari

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