At this time, the ranking of teams is well defined, especially regarding Qualifying, with two Mercedes, two Red Bull, two Ferrari and two Toro Rosso, along with some “interferences” such as McLaren and Force India. This situation is repeated in the race too: last Sunday, it was a little less defined (two Mercedes, Red Bull, Ferrari, Force India, Williams, Lotus, McLaren and Marussia), also because of the heavy debacle of Renault engines and for the particularity of the track. With the return to Europe it will be better highlighted again.
The difference will be made – beyond the technical values – also by the available budgets. The situation is quite critical for different teams, with bells ringing for the dead. This factor will definitely have an influence on the starting grid.
That said, let’s go with the votes:
Nico Rosberg – 9 He did very well all weekend, “hiding” in free practice, since he has never completed what I call the “filotto”, that is the best time in all sectors – something that, on the other hand, he achieved in Qualifying. I do not see any cheating from his side. He would even deserve a 10, but I do not approve his behaviour at the restart after the safety-car, even though he had the right to do what he did. A 10 is also deserved by Mercedes: with Nico and Lewis, they did not yield anything.
Jules Bianchi – 8.5 He took home an “encyclopedic” result. Two points (which could have been more without the questionable penalty) that are the life for a small team. I identify with their situation. Two points that mean survival and almost certainly a permanence in the Top 10, therefore television rights.
Daniel Ricciardo – 8 Great race for the Australian. In the end, he tried to attack a Hamilton with some physical problems, giving all out.
Lewis Hamilton – 7.5 He tried to trouble his team-mate, proving its limits of character and of inability to withstand the pressure. A pilot can not and do not have to act like he did both on the podium and in the moments before and after the race, evidently trying to annoy his team-mate.
Felipe Massa – 7 He was the author of an amazing race, penalized by Ericsson in Qualifying. In the first step he made a number of turns like on one, proving to manage well the tyres. A good seventh place for him and for the team.
Nico Hulkenberg – 7 Started from the sixth row, he ended with an outstanding fifth place among the steep streets of the Principality, bringing to the team precious points for retaining the fourth place in the Constructors’ Championship.
Kimi Raikkonen – 7 Although he made the mistake at the Loews, he was the author of a great start. Unfortunately the contact with Chilton has compromised his best day since he’s been back in Red.
Fernando Alonso – 7 He accused some technical problems, in particular with a loss of power at start. He fought for fourth place, the actual position of Ferrari.
Daniil Kvyat – 6 of encouragement. Despite the incident in practice – which might happen – he brought the car into the Top Ten, together with Vergne. Both he and his team-mate have been victims of the black day for the Renault power-unit.
All other pilots: insufficient, including Sebastian Vettel, who is suffering the team-mate. Within the team there’s a situation of great irritability, that could lead Adrian Newey to take a gap year (read more here), returning in the Circus in 2016. The talented engineer might not be the only one to change air… A hot half and end of the season is taking shape, especially if the teams will not be able to put the pieces in place in order to bother the supremacy of Mercedes.