Sidepodcast // All for F1 and F1 for all

Lucas may be delicious, but he's not expeditious // A review of the Brazilian racer's recent performance

Published by Christine

The mid point of the season has come and gone and the summer break is upon us. Now is the time for everyone to look back on what they've done and to look forward to what is still to come. Driver reviews and mid-term reports are the name of the game at the moment, and who am I to do any different? There's only one driver I'm going to talk about though, and that is Lucas di Grassi.

Lucas Di Grassi and Timo Glock prepare for practice during the Hungarian GP weekend
Credit: Virgin Racing

I know I wasn't the only one to welcome di Grassi to F1 with open arms. It never hurts to have an extra bit of Brazilian charm on the grid, and he's doing quite well in Christine's Rankings so far. That may be the only place in which he is doing well, though.

A lot of the "new team" attention of late has fallen to HRT and their driver swapping policy. Yamamoto has seemed to be slower than slow and it's almost painful to watch. In the Hungarian GP this weekend, he was lapped by his teammate. A man in the same car, also several laps down on the leaders, but an entire circuit distance faster than Sakon.

I was feeling rather smug that at least the lovely Lucas wasn't that bad. That is, until I looked at the numbers. No, he is not that bad, but he's not that good either. We've had twelve races now, and di Grassi has failed to finish half of them. Six DNFs and all due to mechanical problems. Whilst that means he's not at fault - those pesky hydraulics just won't behave - it doesn't do his race statistics any favours.

Let's move on to more positive news, and the races that he has finished. His best result was his first result - 14th place in Malaysia, although let's not forget there were only 17 classified finishers. A similar story for the European Grand Prix recently - Lucas finished 17 of 21 and only one lap down. To me, these look like his best results.

Otherwise, he is far down the order, finishing 18th or 19th, only a driver or two behind him. This weekend, he was just one place ahead of Yamamoto, and we don't need to go over how poor Sakon has been again. Perhaps I am being too harsh on delicious, perhaps just because I want him to be better, but I get the overriding feeling that he's not making a case for himself in the sport.

Let's compare his results so far, with those of his teammate Timo Glock.

Grand PrixDi Grassi (Quali/Race)Glock (Quali/Race)
Bahrain22/DNF19/DNF
Australia24/DNF23/DNF
Malaysia24/1416/DNF
China22/DNF19/DNF
Spain23/1922/18
Monaco21/DNF20/DNF
Turkey23/1921/18
Canada23/1921/DNF
Europe21/1722/DNF
Great Britain22/DNF19/18
Germany24/DNF23/18
Hungary21/1818/16

It's not looking good. Lucas has outqualified Timo only once. Glock has one more DNF than Di Grassi, but of the races where they both finish, Timo always finishes ahead.

RG's New Team Championship make me feel slightly better because he's only two points behind Glock, but Timo's strong qualifying performances make him a more notable name in the paddock. It pains me to say it, but Lucas is easily forgettable.

Am I expecting too much too soon? Does the Virgin car need more time to catch up and get reliable? Or is it looking likely that I may have to find another delicious driver?