Red Five: Bahrain GP – Top 5 Drivers

This race was not my favourite and personally I’d rather forget it and never revisit it.

5. Sergio Perez

Sergio really needed to do this for his McLaren future and he delivered. He may have been a bit too overly aggressive but,regardless, it was a great drive for Checo and he is beginning to put his doubters in their place. If he can just get his qualifying record against Jenson to be a bit more respectable and have a few more drives like this he should be safe at McLaren for another year.

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The Italian Driver Jobs

Italy loves Formula One and Formula One loves Italy!  Motorsport and Italy are joined at the hip. In fact,  have a look at the Gazetto del Sport website and you’ll notice two main links – football and Motorsport. That says it all, really.

The connection between Italy and MotoGP is clear. Ducati is strong and the country is extremely well represented by Italian riders. Two of the greatest riders in history, Agostoni and Rossi, are Italian and currently the likes of Dovizioso and Iannone are representing  Italy splendidly in the sport along with Rossi.

The problem with Formula One is the distinct lack of Italian drivers. And then we come to the other anomoly, why have there been so few great Italian drivers over the years?

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Red Five: Spanish Motorcycle GP – Top 5 Riders

Now that was a bit better than Austin, wasn’t it? A great race all in all, pretty exciting at the start, very exciting at the end and pretty entertaining throughout.

5. Valentino Rossi

The Doctor must have rushed to surgery because I hardly saw him on track the entire race. Again, I’m being a bit harsh on him there but that’s only because he is the great Rossi. Why does he deserve to be in this top 5 then? Well, even though he had no chance challenging the top 3 he stamped his authority by not letting Crutchlow or Bautista past. A solid race if not spectacular.

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Red Five: Motorcycle GP of the Amercias – Top 5 Riders

Well, it wasn’t the most interesting race but it was certainly a historic and significant one. Let’s see who the best riders were.

5. Stefan Bradl

I really rate Bradl highly having seen his Moto2 career, as well as his first year in MotoGP. It must be tough for Bradl to see his old rival Marquez in the main Honda team but he can take some comfort from his fantastic race at Austin. Although it was a rather dull race,  it was a very good race for Bradl who needs more results like this if he hopes to move up the ranks of the sport.

4. Jorge Lorenzo

People may think I’m being a bit harsh on Lorenzo having put him 2nd and 4th in Red Five when he finished 1st and 3rd in the races. However the Yamaha-Lorenzo partnership was unable to match the the Respol Hondas on the day and so we cannot put him above them. Similarly, although it was a near faultless performance he finished only slightly ahead of his good friend Cal Cruthlow but given the difference in the bikes he probably should have been a bit further up. Still, a great performance from him just not at the amazingly high standard we are used to from him.

3. Cal Cruthlow

As a Brit, I’ve always loved Cal and thought he had a lot of potential. I must say, though, his 3rd season is turning out to be his most impressive yet in my eyes. His pace was brilliant, finishing 3 seconds behind Lorenzo and only 6 seconds off the lead. He must be frustrated to be missing out on another potential podium but fear not Cal there are plenty more opportunities out there.

2. Dani Pedrosa

Ahh,  I can really sympathize with Dani. He has seen this story unravel so many times. Jump into turn 1, as per usual, lead for a long period of the race but then lose out at the end. This story is more in line with the Dani we saw before last year and he’ll be more annoyed than usual at losing because it came at the hands of his young ‘upstart’ teammate. It was still a great race from Dani who didn’t make it easy for Marquez but he really needs to show Marc who’s the boss if he hopes to win his first championship.

1. Marc Marquez

There was no chance at all that anyone else would be put at number one, I mean how can you ignore the achievement of this man. He lost out early on in the race to his teammate and it would have been so easy to get frustrated and lose concentration. Instead, he kept his cool, cleanly passed his teammate and took a historic victory. What a star and what a victory.

Those who missed out…

I’d say, this week, the only other man I considered putting in the top 5 is Dovizioso who is really showing what he’s made of on that Ducati. Apart from Andrea no-one else stood out enough to challenge a place on the list, I suppose that sums up what kind of race this was.

Dani Pedrosa is still my bet for the title

I was so pleased with the result of the race at Jerez this weekend. When Casey Stoner announced his retirement at Le Mans last year I was worried. I thought Lorenzo would clean up the rest of the field.

I’ve always rated Dani but it looked, at one point, that he might not ever win the world championship. I think, though, at Germany last year the tide turned. He played second fiddle to Casey Stoner since he joined Honda, Stoner fell off his bike trying to chase down his teammate, from there on followed dominant victories from Pedrosa such as Indianapolis and countless others, plus some amazing battles for the win like at Brno.

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Red Five: Chinese GP – Top 5 Drivers

ALONNNSSOOOO!!!!! All of Italy probably cheered the performance from our favourite Spaniard and you can probably guess who is at number one on this list. Regardless let’s look at the rest of the field.

5. Daniel Ricciardo

Yep that’s right in the top 5! Why you may ask? Well he’s above Massa because he finished only two seconds behind him and above Vettel because he did a better job with the car he had. A few more races like this from Daniel and he may just find himself in a Red Bull next year, very impressive.

4. Lewis Hamilton

I felt Lewis was always going to go backwards in the race, considering the Mercedes performance quirks. He quickly got past by both Ferraris and then later had a great battle with Raikkonen. Overall, his car probably didn’t deserve to be in third but that’s where he put it, a fantastic race from Lewis.

3. Jenson Button

It makes me sad to see Jenson in such a bad car but at least it gives him a chance  to prove his worth to all the doubters, even though he has already done so on several occasions.  The strategy was clever and clearly it paid off. It’s sad to see racers of his calibre not racing well but Jenson did what he had to do to bring home the points and that is what’s most important here.

2. Kimi Raikkonen

Mr Consistent strikes again. An impressive qualifying performance made me think Kimi would win the race. It was not to be, however, as Alonso bettered him on race day. Despite a collision with Perez , by the way how cool was Kimi’s drift after avoiding him, Kimi did very well to get another podium in the bag. Anyone who doubted his return to F1 must be ordering a plate of their words and eating it right now.

1. Fernando Alonso

Well it had to be Fernando, didn’t it? Given the amount of time he won by and how he just pulled away from the field, it was never really going to  be anyone else. If this drive came from most drivers on the grid we’d hail it as legendary. As it happens it was vintage Alonso, simply the best.

Those who missed out…

Well, Vettel was the highest finisher not to be in this list but honestly that’s where his car should have been and others gave more convincing performances in lesser cars. Massa missed out because he wasn’t massively impressive, once again, despite having good speed. Di Resta did a good job but not the best and most of the other performances were forgettable, sorry.

The French Connection – France and Formula One

In my mind,  there are four European countries that are inseparable from Formula One, motorsport and Grand Prix Racing. No bias intended but Britain is the country I associate most with the sport. There are many reasons for this ranging from the fact that most of the teams are based in Britain and the success of those teams, to the success of British drivers and even the fact that the first ever Formula One race was held in Britain. Another country heavily associated with racing is Germany. As the inventors of the car, the Germans deserve a huge amount of credit for motorsport.  As well as having  the most successful driver of all time, the country has produced many other successful drivers, although only one other World Champion, German teams such as Mercedes and BMW have been prevalent in the sport over the years. Italy would be another country in the top flight and the biggest reason for this is obvious – Ferrari. There are other reasons besides the Prancing Horse such as the high number of Italian drivers over the years, although few very successful ones, plus many of the early Grand Prix teams were Italian – Alfa Romeo, Maserati.

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