Best after 7 races?

Which team has been the best so far and will win the WCC?

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World Champion
I pose the question: Which constructor would you call the 'best' after 7 races? You could also answer: Which team is best poised to win the championship?

If we look only at points, we would see:

Red Bull: 164​
McLaren: 133​
Lotus: 108​
Ferrari: 97​
Mercedes: 69​
Sauber: 58​
Williams: 44​

I will do a brief synopsis of my own opinions of the team thus far. Please remember I haven't seen all of the GP's.. So feel free to constructively criticize and fill in any gaps.

Red Bull: Leading the constructors due to consistency from both drivers, a la: the re-emergence of Webber. The enormous gap between Vettel and Webber is much narrower for 2012. And thus I feel this is the reason for leading the standings right now. Their drivers have been the most consistent throughout the championship. As for the car: the RB8 was touted by everyone under the sun to be the runaway favourite for 2012. Their pace looked promising in pre-season testing. But the gaps seemed much closer than pre-season testing in 2011. The car looked 'planted' according to most F1 experts in the pre-season. But Australia gave us a different picture than we became accustomed to seeing through 2011. McLaren 1-3, with Seb splitting the McLaren duo. What was even more damning to RB was their qualifying ace, Vettel, qualifying only P6. Had the man touted to see 'air passing over the cars' made an error? Or was the EBD that important to the RB6 and RB7 and its success? We may never know the true answer. But Red Bull have proved competitive at just about every grand prix. And in terms of development, are only second to Ferrari IMO.

McLaren-Mercedes: Could the team which was 'the best of the rest' in 2011 make that leap forward in 2012 to deliver another championship to either of their WDC pilots? Would Jenson become the leader of the McLaren team? Would Lewis decide to leave his 'racing home' for another team after the season? Would Lewis re-emerge as the 'leader' of the McLaren team? Could McLaren tidy up costly mistakes for the season? The list of questions could go on and on. But a lot of questions were put to rest when the fuel came out of the cars for the first time in 2012. McLaren locked out the front row. And if not for Petrov's Caterham being parked along the start-finish straight: likely would have came home 1-2 in the race. A near perfect start to making the step forward. But what we have seen since has been anything but perfect. Excluding Hamilton's drive in Canada where he looked the best pilot. Many were questioning McLaren's development prior to Canada. But Hamilton showed that a car which normally excels in cooler weather, could get the job done in a variety of conditions. It is hard to currently judge just how good this 2012 challenger really is with the vastly underperforming Jenson Button. I'm sure he can't wait for Valencia to put the last two races behind him. McLaren need to tidy up pit mistakes and poor calls from the pit wall. But a very good argument could be made that they indeed have a car and driver ready and willing to take the title.

Lotus-Renault: For me, the surprise of 2012. Who would have thought that a team aiming for 5th place in the constructors could be disappointed with 3rd place? Lotus have looked strong since the E20 started testing in Jerez. Despite having to sit out 4 days of pre-season testing in Barcelona: the E20 is delivering consistent podiums. One only wonders how many more points this team could have if not for Grosjean crashing out 3 / 7 races. Despite all of the positives surrounding this resurgent team: one question looms large. Can Lotus improve their qualifying? Especially for the Finn who has struggled to match the pace of his teammate in qualifying? Lotus could very well have won three races this year (Bahrain, Barcelona & Canada) if their qualifying was stronger. Their pace on Sunday's has been enough to claim the top step of the podium. But their starting positions have kept them from achieving this result, along with strategies, three missed oppurtunities for the team now. Their development seems to be strong enough to continue to fight for more podiums. And Lotus now claim they have found a solution to their qualifying woes. Let's wait and see. If they stay consistent: they could surprise the F1 world with a world title...

Ferrari: What a turn-around. My mind can not shed the sight of the poorly balanced Ferrari in FP in Australia. The car looked nearly un-driveable when approaching the limit. Their pace was easily 1s / lap off that of the front runners. And 6 races later Ferrari had a very realistic chance to claim victory in the dry. The true indicator, at least for me, that this car has improved immensely is the pace of Massa. Felipe failed to make it to Q3 in any of the first 5 GP's. He has qualified P7 (Monaco) and P6 (Canada), respectively, in the last two races. Ferrari have clearly figured out the most about their car since inception. Is this down to understanding the balance of the car? Or more down to upgrades? It's a mixture of both in my opinion due to the creation of such a radical design and starting from scratch. But give Tombazis credit for taking such a risk. If this risk failed, surely his flesh and bones would have been left to the wolves. But he is looking more like a genius day by day. Ferrari have easily improved their car the most. But I still do not think it is worthy of a championship. But if any man is up to the task of winning the WDC without the best car: it's Alonso.

. I just can't figure this team out. Their season started in a very secretive manner. With the team making the decision to skip Jerez testing to 'finish' their 2012 challenger. Were they trying to hide a special trick for 2012? We have since found out that they were indeed: the D-DRS (double). Their expectation was to solidify themselves as third best in the constructors and fight for race wins. They have checked one of the two boxes. Out of the gate: their pace looked very promising. But Australia also revealed a theme that Schumacher can not seem to shed: bad-luck. Their goal of achieving race victory came early. By the third GP. With Rosberg dominating the field. And many crediting their DDRS for the pace advantage. I don't know what conclusion to draw on this team. Rosberg is scoring consistent points. Has two podiums to his name. But Schumacher can not find any luck. This team should clearly have more points than it currently does. The pace seems to be there. I can only conclude that Mercedes failed to deliver on their promise to be consistent with the Pirelli tires. Of all the cars that seem temperature sensitive for its tires: the Mercedes could take the award.. And because of this, I don't think they will finish 3rd in the constructors let alone fight for a championship..

My tip at the beginning of the season was McLaren. Now it's Red Bull, their drivers have been the most consistent by far, and both are in the championship hunt being only 3 and 9 point behind the leader Lewis Hamilton.
With Button being so out of form at the moment and not looking like he'll get it back in the next couple of races I can't see anyone other than Red Bull winning the WCC. Both drivers are consistent and I doubt they'll have any difficulty with keeping up the development pace.
Good article Sly,

I went for Red Bull because they have 2 drivers who even on their bad days have a habbit of still popping in the top ten. Even last year when off form Webber was still scoring points and thats why they've kept him. If Ferrari had a decent team-mate for Alonso I would have said they'd have it easy but at the moment he's fighting the battle on their own. Mclaren I feel should win this one but I just see both drivers as all or nothing types when they're on it they'll get you results but when they make mistakes it usually results in none finishes.

So Red Bull for me.
By the way, if Button doesn't find his form back soon there's a chance Lotus will overtake Mclaren in the standings. Mclaren could even go down as far as fourth if Massa gets back in form (and it looks like he is getting back into form). The latter would require some bad luck or monumental screw-ups though, I think.

EDIT: but this might be more appropriate for a different thread, maybe.
Picking McLaren because Button is a great driver and a smart, strong-minded individual who will definitely sort things out soon. They will sort out the pitstops as well and I think they're starting to figure out how to strategise so that the tires don't go over the cliff.
Lotus. Whilst they haven't won a race yet, they should have won in Bahrain, had a small chance in Monaco and Raikkonen was chasing Maldonado down in Spain. In my opinion, they have the best car, but unfortunate circumstances (such as Grosjean's 1st lap retirements) and a blip in Monaco prevented them from leading the WCC. They have good top speed and good aerodynamic efficiency. As the field is so close, half a second can be the difference between 1st and 11th - but I feel Lotus are the most capable team of pulling away from the rest of the field.
Against my better judgement and results and scores so far I think it'll be Ferrari, because they show the most promise of the greatest improvement, not only in the car alone, but also now that they've persuaded Massa that having a crack at a race is not entirely a bad thing.
It's quite possible that there are two different answers to the initial question:
Who has been best so far is not necessarily the same as who is now most likely to go on and win the title.

I would say that so far Red Bull have been the best and most consistent, certainly in terms of both drivers picking up points. And they have steadily improved their qualifying positions.

One could hardly say that Mclaren have been consistent, given their trackside errors in earlier races, and Button has not contributed significantly with team points for a while. But somehow I feel that the momentum gained at Montreal (for Hamilton at least), and the fact that surely Jenson will sooner or later get to grips with his problems, gives them a good chance of opening up a gap to the other teams in the next few races; so they get my vote for the team most likely to win the championship.

However, it's all conjecture of course. A case could be made for a number of teams at this point in the season, but one thing I am pretty sure of (surprise, surprise!) is that the title will eventually be fought out between Red Bull, Mclaren & Ferrari with the WDC going to either Vettel, Hamilton or Alonso.
RBR... the driver package has and will be the most consistent...

McLaren could give them a run for their money if JB conquers his set-up and breaks out from his inexplicable malaise...
Red Bull because they are the only team with two drivers contributing.

Schumacher has been unlucky and but even when bad luck has struck he has generally been behind Nico. Massa has been unlucky and useless in about equal measure while Button has completely lost the plot since they introduced the high nose McLaren in Spain.

Even Lotus also appear to be taking turns between their drivers over who is going to have a good race and who is going to crash on lap 1 / have steering issues (delete as applicable).
Red Bull as they have been fighting at the top more consistently than the other teams. It would have been Ferrari but the first few races (excluding Malaysia) rules that out. Who is going to win? I think one of the 'big three' of Red Bull, Ferrari or McLaren. Lotus will be comfortably ahead of Mercedes I reckon but lack that decisive edge to win consistently
At this point I have no idea who will win the WCC, but McLaren have clearly been the best package up to now.

Would you count the driver as part of the package? It's one thing having a potentially quick car and it's another setting it up and getting the most out of it on qualli and race day. Red Bull seem the best package for me this year, but even that is not "clear".
Purely answering the question that was asked which was "Best After 7 races" and is obviously a team question and not a driver one, then it has to be Ferrari they started with a dog and turned it into a race horse it may not be a Thoroughbred yet but it looks like it will be and they have done this very quickly they have now even turned their attention to changing one of the cars to suit one of their drivers giving him a softer front end and developing different parts especially for him and it is working.

Their pit stops are usually faultless and they get the best out of the car at each track they go to, I can see only one mistake they've made this year and that was not pitting Alonso at Canada.

So no contest Ferrari by a country mile.....

To be honest I find it slightly ironic that I've read a lot of stuff on here about how bad McLaren have been of late cocking up pit stops not putting enough fuel in, taking too long to change a gearbox and so on and yet now people are actually voting them as the best team out there..:thinking: oh well C'est la vie as they say in France..
Unfortunately i can't see past Red Bull. Webber and Vettel are finally working well as a team and I believe that unless Jenson vastly improves his performances again then this one is a no brainner. However when it comes to the WDC thats another thing!
Mephistopheles, the original question is a contradiction; it's actually two different questions. That's why, in my answer, I gave Red Bull as my pick for best so far, but went for Mclaren as most likely to go on and win.

I definitely wouldn't have picked Ferrari as the best to date; as you rightly say, it's a team question, yet only one of the red cars has scored any significant points so far this season, and those have been mainly down to one driver dragging it round to some results that flatter the team.
It shows the beauty and unpredictability of F1 that we are almost halfway into the season and it still isn't obvious who is in the best shape and no-one has a clue as to who is going to win the Championship!
hate to say it but Red Bull by a nose from Mclaren just no pun intended
reason being that Mclaren keep making mistakes or little teething problems so they don't seem to be maximising the weekend.. they ought to leading wcc

Red Bull have poor qualis but are getting away with points so a little bit of luck is still going for Seb

I don't think Lotus can sustain their pace due to less resources and Kimi is struggling more than people think Grosjean is going to be more of a team leader if he stops crashing...not what was in mind when they re-signed Kimi
Since Red Bull seem to be the only team that can relatively consistently get both cars into the top echelons of the field, then I would have to say they have been the best thus far.

McLaren have made too many mistakes costing points from both cars, and Button needs to score points at a rate of better than 3/7 if they're to have a chance. The same could be said for Ferrari, but they've excelled in damage limitation to the point where Alonso hasn't actually been damaged.

As for Lotus, they've been too inconsistent and too conservative too. Grosjean has been excellent in all the races that he has started Lap 10, Raikkonen has been his usual up-and-down self. Mercedes have of course run with only one car for the majority of finishes this season; in an age of only five or six retirements per race retiring from five out of seven on Schumacher's car is obviously very poor.

So the best have been Red Bull. So special credit goes to Mark Webber who's disembowelment by his team-mate last year has, as of yet, failed to be replicated. He's not beating Vettel in general, but he is beating him on occasion, which is much better than previously.
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