Best of the new drivers

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Not my cup of cake
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Six races into the season I thought it worth asking what you all thought of the crop of new drivers for the 2010 season. Here are my own personal thoughts:

Vitaly Petrov - has shown moments of class but is, perhaps, being overshadowed by his far more experienced team mate but a good, solid start.

Nico Hulkenberg - seems to be struggling a bit with F1. Some flashes of his GP2 skills but is perhaps overdriving in an effort not to look out classed by Barrichello. Needs to calm down and do what comes naturally.

Karun Chandhok - For me, of the newbies, the star of the season so far. Always smiling despite being given a car that drives like Theodore the Tugboat and having to give up his car every Friday practice. Keeps out of the way in the races (Trulli excepted) and doesn't seem phased or overawed by the whole experience.

Lucas di Grassi - A shame the Virgin is so bad as both he and Timo Glock have just been anonymous all season.

Bruno Senna - what a weight to carry, the name of Senna in a Formula 1 car. The HRT is a dog but I'm not sure Senna is getting the best out of it. I originally made a comment about no living up to the Senna name but then thought that was bit unfair as that is probably almost impossible so perhaps we need to judge him on his own merits. Must try harder.

Your thoughts welcomed.

btw - anyone know where I can get a Louis Vitton handbag?
I find your analysis spot on. Chandhok is pretty impressive.

In regards to Senna having the weight of his famous name in F1, I doubt that he would even BE in F1 without it. He chose to run under the name, knowing that it would open doors that were, perhaps, closed to him otherwise, but would also bring additional pressure. He chose the tradeoff, so it is up to him to deliver.

I would also include Kobayashi as a newbie. He too has shown occasional flashes of brilliance, but not as many as I had hoped for.

For the most part, it will be difficult for them to prove themselves, as most are saddled with cars of dubious speed and reliabilty. Not only is this a severe handicap in and of itself, it also means that they are routinely starting from the tail end of the grid, where shunts are more likely.
Petrov - Difficult one. His performance in China was very solid having crashed in practice. He's had some bad luck, too, with mechanical DNFs in Malaysia and Bahrain from promising positions. I think the talent is there and the car is decent, so with a bit of luck and some experience in hand, he can get more points on a fairly regular basis this year. Was unfortunate in Spain practice, where water on a rumblestrip hurt didn't help things, especially with the likes of Legard blaming him for the crash. 6.25/10.

Hulkenberg - I have a theory about Hulkenberg. I don't think he's quite got used to the pressure of F1. In a recent interview he mentioned his greatest fear was losing his job in F1. That seems, to me, to be quite a remark, so early into his F1 career. I'm not sure Williams is the team that will help take that pressure off his shoulders. Overall he has been disappointing, there is no getting past that. I expected him to be a bit more racy, not perhaps to the hype-levels of Lewis Hamilton, since he doesn't have the equipment, but I thought we'd have seen more race craft from his side by now. Too early to tell, but I'm far from convinced so far. 5/10.

Chandhok - A really, really nice guy, seems genuine and very composed about his position in F1. Ultimately I think he is in F1 not because of talent but a helping hand from Bernie, who as we all know wants an F1 race in India. Still, he has adapted quickly to F1 and the terrible situation his car is in, and that's worth an awful lot. Seems solid in races and hasn't made very many mistakes, he's not overdriving that car, which is both good and bad. Extremely difficult to tell, but I wonder if, in a better team, he would be able to perform to it's level. 7/10.

Di Grassi - I thought about him during the Monaco GP. In some ways Virgin have been very disappointing, having come from the Manor motorsport team. They've also been quite under the radar, save their catastrophic error in the fuel department. It's a pretty awful car, like the HRT, but Di Grassi, like Chandhok, has acquitted himself well to the situation and actually isn't making stupid mistakes that cost in pieces of bodywork coming off. He's doing his own thing, and when presented with the chance to defend from Alonso, performed admirably, even if David 'You won't receive any favours for defending a Ferrari' Coulthard thinks it was the wrong thing to do. Good for you, Lucas. 7.5/10.

Bruno Senna - Has gone largely unnoticed, but like Petrov, I feel the talent is there. He seems less comfortable with the situation of the car than Chandhok, but he will accept it and try to keep pushing. His name hasn't so far come as burden in F1, since no-one's taking significant notice to his performance in a car that isn't heading into the top 18 any time soon. A solid character, probably a decent driver, but impossible to tell whether he's got what it takes. If he gets a shot at a better Hispania car, or at another team, that's when people will take notice and measure him up to his uncle. 6/10.
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