Prior to the Singapore Grand Prix there may of been a post appear on the blog highlighting which drivers are possibly on the “chopping block” and facing a 2014 filled with simulators and sportscars. Well it would appear they might of all been reading:
Our current leader of the chopping block recorded his first on track (rather than through retirement – although Jules had to stop again to change steering wheel) finish ahead of his team mate in Formula 1. The Marussia team struggled round the Marina Bay circuit and qualified last with Max only a tenth behind Jules to take up the back of the grid. Come Sunday he faired better beating two stopping Charles Pic and Jules Bianchi home over the 61 laps round Marina Bay. While its not enough to save his career by any means but Jules having gremlins in the race helped him out here, a deficit of only 0.1 seconds over the long qualifying lap of marina bay is a marked improvement.
Esteban has looked out of his depth all season and with the Sauber coming on song at low downforce tracks of the season it looked like Esteban’s career in the top flight would be short lived. However Sauber showed their car was not a flash in the pan and Esteban pulled out a belter to reach his first ever Q3 (where the team unfortunately elected not to run). Further strategic gambles didn’t pay off and Esteban was left to rue what might of been his first points in F1. But in an interview with the BBC after qualifying he said he had sat down with the team to find out what was wrong and had made good progress but was not expecting this sort of step.
It could point to Esteban being somewhat of a confidence driver and the team listening to his issues rather than giving him the hurry up gives him that extra bit of bite. Needs some points this season but on the evidence of this weekend they may not be too far away.
Romain was back on form in the confines of the walls after Lotus suffered with the low drag tracks of Spa and Monza, with Kimi neutralised with a bad back the beleaguered Frenchman rang the neck of his race car to qualify 3rd and after an error free start was set to follow it up with a podium finish ahead of his Finnish counterpart. However it wasn’t to be as the engine lost air pressure leading to a cry of “noooo” on the radio. A cry we all slightly felt inside.
Terrible luck but as long as he composes himself when the rub of the green doesn’t go his way it wont count against him too much.
A new entry to the Chopping Block started on Friday when the BBC claimed Fernando Alonso was being eyed up by McLaren to drive for the team next year, however after an average qualifying (never the Mexicans strong suit) a spirited and clean race showing coming in 8th behind his team mate was music to the ears of the bosses at Woking. These types of a performances in difficult years are key for drivers being retained and the blame for the lack of pace not falling at their feet.
While his ever impressive team mate drove off to race with Williams and Toro Rosso in the race, Charles Pic had to settle for most of the race in a Marussia sandwich. A two stop race strategy didn’t work out and it was another completely anonymous race for the French man.
Paul Di Resta
With most of the top seats now sowen up Paul has had a terrible time of it just as it matters for contracts for next season. While his 2012 team mates Monza heroics look set to put him in the pilots seat at Lotus, Paul is really scrapping to make sure he’s retained at Force India who have a heap of good drivers to pick from next year. Yet another inexplicable Q1 exit lead to a good race start but he failed to make the corner at turn 10 and that ended his race and any chance of points.