Top of the team mates - part two 23 May 2006
Why same car and same tyres doesn't mean same results...
We take a look at which drivers have the upper hand over their respective team mates a third of the way into the 2006 Formula One season. Part two - BMW Sauber, Williams, Red Bull, Toro Rosso, Midland and Super Aguri.
BMW Sauber - Nick Heidfeld, Jacques Villeneuve
As the points tally indicates, there has been little to separate the two BMW Sauber drivers. Whatever BMWs reasons were for keeping Villeneuve, the former champion has surely done enough to justify his seat. He has matched the highly-regarded Heidfeld in qualifying and race. In fact, Villeneuves consistency has arguably been the greater, with three point-scoring finishes to Heidfelds two. Theirs is surely another battle unlikely to be resolved before the latter end of the season.
Points: Heidfeld 6, Villeneuve 6
Williams - Mark Webber, Nico Rosberg
Rosbergs has been one of the most talked about talents of the 2006 season to date. Take the overall picture, however, and more experienced team mate Webber has more than kept him in check. Despite three retirements to Rosbergs two, Webber has scored 50 percent more points and out-qualified the young German an all but one occasion. Thats not to say Rosberg hasnt been doing a fine job - quite the opposite in fact. Highlights have included fastest race lap on his Formula One debut in Bahrain, third on the grid in Malaysia, and a highly convincing drive at the Nurburgring from 22nd on the grid to seventh at the flag. He has also finished in the points twice - the same number of times as Webber. If any team mates on the grid are going to push each other to bigger and better things, it is surely the Williams duo.
Qualifying: 5-1 Webber
Race: 3-1 Webber (neither driver finished in Malaysia and Australia)
Points: Webber 6, Rosberg 4
Red Bull Racing - David Coulthard, Christian Klien
There has been plenty of talk in the paddock over Kliens future with Red Bull, even though his performance has at least matched that of veteran team mate Coulthard. The teams reliability has been poor (just five race finishes) and the drivers have taken just a single point apiece. Take a look at qualifying and the scores are again pretty much level. Klien started the season well, making the top-ten shootout (something Coulthard has yet to do) at the first two rounds, but in recent races, where the team have struggled for pace, the Scot has had the edge. Kliens problem is that if he is to assure himself of a Formula One future, then he really needs to do more than merely match his team mate. And just to add to the pressure he knows Red Bull have a whole stable of young drivers ready and waiting to take his place.
Race: 2-1 Klien (neither driver finished in Malaysia, San Marino and Europe)
Points: Coulthard 1, Klien 1
Toro Rosso - Vitantonio Liuzzi, Scott Speed
No points yet for the former Minardi team yet, though Speed did come home eighth in Australia only to lose the place for a yellow-flag infringement. He was subsequently classified ninth, which remains Toro Rossos best result to date. That doesnt mean Speed has had the edge over team mate Liuzzi though. In the two races that both have finished, it has been the Italian in front. Liuzzi has also dominated the qualifying battle, bettering the American rookie on five out of six occasions.
Qualifying: 5-1 Liuzzi
Race: 4-2 Liuzzi
Points: Liuzzi 0, Speed 0
Midland - Christijan Albers, Tiago Monteiro
Towards the rear of the grid it is often harder to distinguish between team mates form and at Midland there is no exception. On more than one occasion Albers and Monteiro have spent Sunday afternoon locked largely in a race of their own, often the result of a closely-contested qualifying hour the previous day. Albers has had the advantage on Saturdays, but race comparisons are harder, as only twice have both men made the flag. Albers finished one place up on Monteiro in Malaysia, while at the Nurburgring the order was reversed. The teams Johnny Herbert says his two drivers are very different in their approach to Formula One racing, but so far the results are remarkably similar.
Qualifying: 4-2 Albers
Race: 4-2 Monteiro
Points: Albers 0, Monteiro 0
Super Aguri - Takuma Sato, Yuji Ide/Franck Montagny
No surprises here, with Sato dominating newcomer Ide in the opening four races. As expected, the former BAR star comprehensively out-qualified and out-raced the Japanese rookie. Less expected was Ide losing his seat following FIA intervention over his driving standards. His stand-in at the European and Spanish rounds, former Renault tester Montagny, may not have beaten Sato yet, but has at least been pretty much on his pace. If he continues with the team, few will be surprised to see him occasionally upstage his more experienced partner.
Qualifying: 6-0 Sato
Race: 6-0 Sato
Points: Sato 0, Ide/Montagny 0
Back to Part One.