2012s qualifying kings - which team mates are on top? 28 Jun 2012
The championship table might be the most important judge of team mates relative performance, but it rarely tells the whole story. If you want to know whos ultimately quickest, qualifying stats will cast a brighter light on the form book. Eight rounds into 2012 and only one teams drivers are level-pegging, three men have whitewashed their team mate, and three former champions are losing the qualifying contest. Heres our team-by-team review - note, statistics are based on actual qualifying performance, not final grid positions
Sebastian Vettel 4
Mark Webber 4
Its perhaps telling that the only team on the grid with a dead heat between its drivers is the world championship leaders. Webber had the edge in the early rounds, the Australian seemingly quicker to adapt to the absence of the exhaust-blown diffuser, but Vettel gradually found his feet and has now scored three of Red Bulls four 2012 poles to date.
Jenson Button 0
Lewis Hamilton 8
Its commonly acknowledged that Lewis Hamilton is usually the faster McLaren driver over a single lap, but few pundits would have predicted such dominance by the 2008 champion. After front-row starts at the first two rounds, Buttons struggle with set-up and tyres has seen his Saturday form fade away, the Briton even failing to make Q3 on a couple of occasions.
Fernando Alonso 8
Felipe Massa 0
Another whitewash here, this one arguably less surprising. Massa had a nightmare start to the season, and though his pace has improved of late, the Brazilian has yet to get the better of his esteemed team mate on a Saturday afternoon. Its no secret that the F2012 has not been the easiest of cars to drive or set-up and Alonso has simply been making a far better fist of it.
Michael Schumacher 3
Nico Rosberg 5
Schumacher is still being overshadowed by his younger compatriot, but compare things to this time last year, when the score was 7-1 in Rosbergs favour, and you get a sense of the seven-time champions ever-improving form. Yes, it was Rosberg who put Mercedes on pole in China, but Schumacher would have done the same in Monaco but for a five-place grid penalty. This fight can surely only get closer.
Kimi Raikkonen 2
Romain Grosjean 6
At the start of the year, all eyes at Lotus were on returning ex-champion Kimi Raikkonen. But while the Iceman was getting the attention, his team mate - fellow F1 returnee Romain Grosjean - was getting the job done. Some might argue Raikkonen has focused his efforts on race strategy - he leads Grosjean by 20 points in the standings - but theres no doubt its the Frenchman who has impressed most in terms of single-lap speed.
Paul di Resta 5
Nico Hulkenberg 3
Two highly-rated young drivers, both in their second year of competitive F1, and both in their second season with the team. Perhaps no surprise, then, that this has been a pretty tight contest. Di Resta may be ahead, but Hulkenberg spent the first few rounds getting back up to speed (after 2011 on the bench as a tester) and should now be pushing his team mate all the way.
Kamui Kobayashi 5
Sergio Perez 3
Kobayashi is well known for his searing pace, Perez more for his tactical nous and ability to make one set of tyres last a lifetime. Cliched stereotypes perhaps, but they fit the qualifying pattern, with the Japanese driver generally putting his C31 in front on a Saturday (only to find the Mexicans ahead come Sunday evening).
Daniel Ricciardo 7
Jean-Eric Vergne 1
At the start of 2012, both drivers in Toro Rossos all-new line-up were being heralded as rising stars. Eight races in and it seems one star continues to rise, while the other is falling rapidly back to earth. Ricciardo may have had the advantage of 11 race outings with HRT in 2011, but rookie team mate Vergne wouldnt have expected to be this far behind in qualifyings junior bull fight.
Pastor Maldonado 6
Bruno Senna 2
Theres no disputing the number-one driver at Williams this season, be it in qualifying or race. Maldonado may still have his rough edges, but when it comes to hooking up the teams impressive FW34, the Venezuelan has made the most of his machinery. And while his team mate has highlighted the cars potential, Senna has tended to overdrive it trying to match him.
Heikki Kovalainen 7
Vitaly Petrov 1
Former race winner Kovalainen may not currently be in a front-running (or even a midfield) car, but that hasnt stopped him showing what a class act he is. Petrov is no slouch, but at the back of the grid where the tiniest of margins can make such a difference, it is the Finn who has excelled, twice putting Tony Fernandes team through to Q2, and out-qualifying both Toro Rossos in Valencia.
Timo Glock 5
Charles Pic 3
Theres no substitute for experience. Thats the pretty simple lesson in evidence at Marussia. Rookie Pic has far from disgraced himself, but Glock has been the man to beat - and the score could have been 6-2 in the Germans favour had he not missed the European round through illness.
Pedro de la Rosa 8
Narain Karthikeyan 0
Karthikeyan is no rookie - hed racked up 27 Grand Prix starts prior to 2012 - but in difficult times at a fledgling team, it was perhaps predictable that one of the sports most experienced hands would have a clear edge - and so it has proved. De la Rosa is yet to be bested on a Saturday, even if his Indian team mate does lead the way on race form.
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