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Stitch's mid-season driver reports (Part 1) // A roundup of the 2011 season so far

Published by Stitch

As part of VivaF1's Summer Swap Shop, Stitch has written a mid-season review for each of the drivers, marking them with a grade from A-F, plus a quick word about the highlights and lowlights of their racing so far. Here are the first six of the class of 2011.

Sebastian Vettel

Sebastian Vettel takes on Spain 2011
Sebastian Vettel takes on Spain 2011Credit: Vladimir Rys/Getty Images

2011 Mid-Season Grade: A*

I’ll admit I’m quite biased towards Seb as I’m a fan, but no-one can say that he isn’t talented; he may have the same amount of wins as Jenson when it was Jenson’s year, but the difference is that Sebastian has a comfortable lead – he doesn’t have to race until Japan and he would still be in the lead of the championship!

You could say “it’s the car” but you could say that about the Brawn in 2009, or Schumacher’s Ferrari years.

  • Sum up in a word: Perfect
  • Season highlight: Winning in Turkey
  • Season lowlight: German GP. All of it.

Mark Webber

2011 Mid-Season Grade: B-

I like Mark Webber, which – as a Seb fan – can be hard to say. He’s funny, he’s straight-talking and the Canberra Milk advert is (as we young ’uns say) LEGEND. That’s why I feel sorry for him and I’m amazed at the same time. I feel sorry that he hasn’t won so far this year in an amazing car and I’m also amazed that he’s second in the world championship!

I’m still in awe from that drive in China when he went 18-3. However, I’m not sure if he’s going to be able to challenge for Best of the Rest like last year; he just needs a race win.

  • Sum up in a word: mixed
  • Season highlight: 18th to 3rd in China
  • Season lowlight: Pole to 4th in Spain

Lewis Hamilton

Lewis Hamilton sprays the champagne
Lewis Hamilton sprays the champagneCredit: Pirelli & C S.p.A.

2011 Mid-Season Grade: B-

I’m not keen on Lewis Hamilton this season; the poor jokes which are always going to be lost in translation abroad, his behaviour in Canada and his disregard for when Niki Lauda said he needed to calm down (Lewis remarked: “I don’t care what he said”).

But (and this is a big But) his form has returned to a high; although he was handed that penalty in Hungary, that drive in Britain was exactly what he need to pull himself together (see Sebastian Vettel at Monza 2010). I think he might be to easily frustrated to win Best of the Rest.

  • Sum up in one word: controversial
  • Season highlight: Winning in Germany
  • Season lowlight: Post-Monaco comments

Fernando Alonso

2011 Mid-Season Grade: A

It’s hard being a Vettel fan because my whole family (literally) are Ferrari supporters. I don’t really like Fernando Alonso because of the way Felipe Massa got screwed by Ferrari (I’m a hypocrite, I know) but I do respect him as a driver. He can drive the wheels off the car which isn’t really that great. If I were still a Ferrari fan like in the Schuey days, I think I’d be proud. He’s my favourite to win Best of the Rest.

  • Sum up in one word: Almostamazing
  • Season highlight: Winning in Britain
  • Season lowlight: Being out-qualified by Massa

Jenson Button

2011 Mid-Season Grade: B+

Jenson Button is a nice guy (even if he did blank me at the Autosport Car Show 2010, 30cm from my face - I almost threw my notepad at him in anger) and he certainly has his moments in the car. He has quite a lot. It has confused me before at why he's 100 points behind Seb but then I remember how unlucky he was at Silverstone and the Nürburgring. It's a shame because I think - had he not had those retirements - dare I say he would've been closer to Sebastian than Webber?

  • Sum up in a word: (Un)lucky
  • Season highlight: Winning in Canada
  • Season lowlight: The loose wheel nut at Silverstone

Felipe Massa

Felipe Massa, could do better
Felipe Massa, could do betterCredit: Pirelli & C S.p.A.

2011 Mid-Season Grade: D+

Oh Felipe, Baby, how I wish I could give you more! Three years ago I cried (genuinely) when Hamilton beat you to the championship. Then I had my heart in my mouth at the crash in Hungary just over two years ago. I always respected you as a driver and a person. Then you let Ferrari screw you over.

I want to defend you and say it was unacceptable for them to do that but it's difficult to; you don't have the form anymore and you've not got long. Ferrari are about the team, not the drivers. And Felipe needs to remember who he's driving for if he wants to stay in F1; Ferrari won't keep him if he's not earning the place. The plus comes because he managed to out-qualify Alonso in Hungary.

  • Sum up in a word: fruitless
  • Season highlight: Out-qualifying Alonso in Hungary
  • Season lowlight: Most of the season

Stay tuned for the second part of Stitch's mid-season review, with six more drivers up for grading for their 2011 efforts.

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