The 2013 Formula 1 drivers' half-term report

Ten down, nine to go, Sky Sports Online assess how all 22 drivers have fared so far as the sport breaks for the summer

By Mike Wise, James Galloway & William Esler.   Last Updated: 06/08/13 11:10am

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So, in current Drivers' Championship order as of the end of the Hungarian Grand Prix, here's how 2013 has been so far for Sebastian Vettel through to Max Chilton...

Sebastian Vettel

Points - 172; Championship position - 1st; Best Result - 1st (x4)
Despite his title-winning run, this is only actually the second time that Sebastian Vettel has reached the summer break at the summit of the points standings. That position - and particularly his commanding 38-point lead - highlights what, even by the German's already well-established standards, has been an unerringly consistent title defence thus far. Four wins, two more than anyone else, is the headline statistic but it's the fact Vettel has yet to finish outside the top four in a race (his technical DNF while leading at Silverstone being the one blemish on his half-season record) that suggests he's going to be a hard man to usurp from here on in even if the balance of competitive power were to swing definitively away from Red Bull - and that's some ask. Of course, there have been some inescapable darker shades to his season too and the fact he has been booed by fans at three separate grands prix since the infamous 'Multi-21' controversy of Malaysia shows that in some quarters respect towards F1's current standard-bearer remains more grudging than his dazzling record alone would suggest might be the case. JG

Kimi Raikkonen

Points - 134; Championship position - 2nd; Best result - 1st
Everyone's favourite Finnish monotone maverick is a man in demand. Placed second in the Championship and winner in Melbourne, Kimi Raikkonen has been bringing home the points ever since. In fact, he's scored points in all but one race since his F1 comeback, which says everything about his blend of speed and sympathy - and helps explain why Red Bull are interested in signing him. The chances of a 2013 world title do, let's face it, appear on the remote side despite his lofty position in the standings but don't rule out at least another win. Right now, though, Kimi has other things on his mind. Should I stay or should I go? MW

Fernando Alonso

Points - 133; Championship position - 3rd; Best Result - 1st (x2)
Third in the championship, a point behind second-placed Kimi Raikkonen and two race victories would be a good half season for most drivers - but then Fernando Alonso is not most drivers. The Spaniard expects to be challenging for victories at every race and that is something he has been unable to do since his home race in May. Given the tail off in team-mate Felipe Massa's performances as well, it would suggest the problem lies with the F138 and Ferrari's faltering development rather than Alonso. If the Spaniard's "someone else's car" remark in Hungary has served to increase internal tension between team and star driver then his hopes of that elusive third world title are only likely to be compromised still further. WE

Lewis Hamilton

Points - 124; Championship position - 4th; Best result - 1st
His first half-season at Mercedes has been far from straightforward at times, and not without the now long-standing scrutiny over his life away from the track, but it's fair to say that no one - least of all the man himself - thought Lewis Hamilton would be even the remotest of title contention. Despite some encouraging early indicators - including the first of now four 2013 poles in China - Hamilton by his own admission "struggled" to adapt to the braking system on the W04. But since a strong drive to third in Canada, an intra-team pendulum that had been swinging team-mate Nico Rosberg's way has come back towards Hamilton with the Briton's brilliantly-judged first victory for his new employers in Hungary suggesting there is plenty more to come yet. There have seen several false dawns since Hamilton's sole title win some five years ago now, and the driver does have still quite some ground to make up on Vettel, but on the form of last weekend it could be fun watching him try. JG

Mark Webber

Points - 105; Championship position - 5th; Best result - 2nd (x2)
Fifth place in the drivers' standings after ten races is Mark Webber's poorest return since 2008 - the year Red Bull before turned themselves into title contenders and, alas for the Aussie, his nemesis was also drafted in. Webber has undoubtedly suffered bad luck on occasion this year and yet he's otherwise failed to match Sebastian Vettel's pace and consistency. Malaysia was a different matter, of course, and with Webber having since announced his departure from F1 at season's end, the main interest now is in whether he'll support Vettel's title bid. But then one also wonders whether Vettel would actually need his help? MW

Nico Rosberg

Points - 84; Championship position - 6th; Best Result - 1st (x2)
Many expected Nico Rosberg to be blown away by Lewis Hamilton this season, but the German is proving to be the 'real deal' with two victories and three pole positions. He may have scored 40 points fewer than new team-mate Lewis Hamilton - but then he has failed to finish on three occasions, none of which have been caused by driver error. However, Hamilton has conclusively held the upper hand since Canada and that's a trend Nico must look to buck when the season resumes at Spa. WE

Felipe Massa

Points - 61; Championship position - 7th; Best result - 3rd
Felipe Massa's eighth campaign at Ferrari has proved the ultimate half-season of two halves - and, as far as the Brazilian's F1 future is concerned, the trend isn't going in the right direction. From opening the season with successive qualifying defeats of Fernando Alonso, more recent months have seen Massa became something of a crash magnet with five incidents across four race weekends up to and including Germany. His steadier, albeit hardly eye-catching, Hungaroring weekend was thus overdue but having scored only 46% of Alonso's points - the fourth-worst percentage gap between team-mates on the grid - Ferrari are only third in the Constructors' Championship. Speculation over his future has nonetheless been less frenzied than it was 12 months ago - although how could it not have been? - and Ferrari's loyalty to the Brazilian has been total up until now, but both the team and driver himself really need him to rediscover his pace and poise from the early rounds. JG

Romain Grosjean

Points - 49; Championship position - 8th; Best result - 3rd (x2)
The Hungarian Grand Prix told us plenty about Romain Grosjean's development. Fearsomely quick, the overtaking manoeuvre he made on Felipe Massa was, in terms of balls-out chutzpah, the best of the season so far and, in that sense, it was a real shame he was punished for it. Even Massa thought so. But Grosjean had already made a complete pig's breakfast of a simpler move on Jenson Button and having started the afternoon being talked of as a potential race winner, he ended it once more looking like a boy amongst men. Last season's excesses have been curbed, but they had to be - Romain probably wouldn't have a drive otherwise. It appears that pieces in the jigsaw are still missing. MW

Jenson Button

Points - 39; Championship position - 9th; Best Result - 5th
It would be easy to write 2013 off as a disaster for the former World Champion, but that would be too simplistic. Jenson Button is a driver known to like his car to be perfectly balanced if he is to be at his smooth best. And that is something McLaren are struggling to do with the MP4-28. Yet the 33-year-old has managed to score twice as many points as his team-mate Sergio Perez, proving what a good job he is doing despite a difficult car. But achieving a race victory - something he has done in every season since 2008 - remains a long shot. WE

Paul Di Resta

Points - 36; Championship position - 10th; Best result - 4th
The fact that Paul Di Resta is already within ten points of his entire total from last season underlines what an impressive year it has been for the Scot thus far. But for all that there's certainly still a feeling that the tally is at the lower end of what could have been achieved given the pace displayed by the driver and car combination. That was certainly the case across the swing of races from Monaco to Silverstone when Di Resta collected only ten points owing to a succession of strategic/operational blunders on Saturdays. Still, the 27-year-old's six-race points finishing streak around that same time didn't go unnoticed and has served to again see him linked with prospective moves up the grid. But, with Force India experiencing a mini slump since the introduction of Pirelli's revised tyres, has decision time in the driver market come at just the wrong time for the former DTM champion? JG

Adrian Sutil

Points - 23; Championship position - 11th; Best result - 5th
Returning to his spiritual F1 home - his only F1 home - after one year on the sidelines, Adrian Sutil said he used the time away to reflect on life, the universe and everything and it seems to have helped. Not that's he's suddenly been transformed into a contender for a top seat, but the way the German hopped into the Force India pre-season and immediately started setting competitive times still came as a surprise to some. For Sutil to find himself within reach of team-mate Paul Di Resta midway through the season is, in the circumstances, a good performance. But Force India's own performance has taken a marked dip in recent races, so it remains to be seen whether he can close the gap. MW

Sergio Perez

Points - 18; Championship position - 12th; Best Result - 6th
Sergio Perez has failed to deliver any of the stunning runs to the podium we saw last year as he continues to adapt to life at McLaren. In the last six races he has gained a net five positions and perhaps his renowned skill for progressing through the pack by looking after his tyres owed a lot of the characteristics of the 2012 Sauber. Undoubtedly the Mexican has ability, but he needs to deliver more constantly in the second half of the season. WE

Jean-Eric Vergne

Points - 13; Championship position - 13th; Best result - 6th
Overlooked - if ever really in the running at all - for the 2014 vacancy at Red Bull, Jean-Eric Vergne has continued to demonstrate that he's already a very reliable man to bring a car home in and around the points-paying places on a Sunday afternoon. Yet it's in the shop window of Saturdays where the Frenchman has failed to hit the heights of team-mate, and Red Bull contender, Daniel Ricciardo: while the Australian has reached Q3 five times, Vergne has only made the cut once. Still, like last season, it's the latter who can point to the higher intra-team points tally so far (13 to 11) while Vergne also delivered Toro Rosso's best result since the heady days of Vettel with sixth place in Canada. Team boss Franz Tost has already expressed his desire to retain him for a third season, and even if Ricciardo does get the big promotion, Vergne's reputation will only be enhanced if he can run the Australian close over the remainder of the year. JG

Daniel Ricciardo

Points - 11; Championship position - 14th; Best result - 7th
How best to sum up the situation Daniel Ricciardo currently finds himself in? 'Good things come to those who wait?' 'You get what you deserve in life?' Both might be applied to Ricciardo - one in reference to his slow climb up the Red Bull junior ladder, the other to his immense likeability - but both aphorisms are, let's face it, premature. Plenty of people hope it won't be a case of 'You can't always get what you want' for the Australian and that he can in fact make the jump to the World Champions. In F1 terms, it would be the feel good story of the summer. But might it happen? Ricciardo has certainly responded in recent weeks, although his strong qualifying performances have not been backed up in races. The decision appears far from clear cut but, according to Christian Horner, it should be announced by the Italian GP at the latest. MW

Nico Hulkenberg

Points - 7; Championship position - 15th; Best Result - 8th
How Nico Hulkenberg must be regretting his move to Sauber with the C32 proving to be a a pale shadow of its predecessor. Despite constant rumours about unpaid wages and his future with the team, the German has simply kept his head down and dragged the car as high up the grid as possible - even finishing in the points on four occasions. His team-mate may be a rookie, but Hulkenberg has comprehensively outperformed him, proving what a good job he is doing. WE

Pastor Maldonado

Points - 1; Championship position - 16th; Best result - 10th
Fifteen months on from his so-called 'breakthrough' victory in Barcelona, it has proved quite the sobering 2013 for Pastor Maldonado. Not only did the Venezulan's initially bold pre-season optimism soon fade once Williams took an early wrong development turn with the FW35, but being regularly outperformed by rookie stable-mate Valtteri Bottas in qualifying - an area in which Maldonado's has often excelled - was certainly not in the script either. His recent admission that the ill-handling car had "been driving me" explained his struggle to marry his aggressive style to the challenger. However the reintroduction of more durable Pirellis, along with a belated step forward with the FW35, appears to have put both team and driver on the right path and the hope will be that Maldonado's first point of the season in Hungary paves the way to a far more competitive second half to the year. JG

Valtteri Bottas

Points - 0; Championship position - 17th; Best result - 11th
That Valtteri Bottas' rookie season has so far been a baptism of fire is, if anything, an understatement. Rewind back to Melbourne and all it took was two Friday practice sessions for Williams' pre-season hopes to turn to mush; it almost felt cruel to contrast the countenances of Bottas and team-mate Pastor Maldonado with the optimistic faces seen just 24 hours earlier. Yet in spite of the hand he's been dealt, the young Finn has knuckled down and performed very well - frequently better than Maldonado, in fact, even though the Venezuelan picked up their first point of the season in Hungary. Valtteri has been forced to adjust to the harsh realities of F1 life, but it looks as though he'll only become stronger for the experience. MW

Esteban Gutierrez

Points - 0; Championship position - 18th; Best Result - 11th
A former GP3 Champion and third in GP2 in his debut season, Esteban Gutierrez's junior record suggests he should be delivering more than he is at present. He has lagged behind team-mate Nico Hulkenberg in qualifying in particular - the German's average grid slot being 11.8, the Mexican's 17.2 - and this is something he must work on if he does not want to be regarded as a 'pay-driver.' An eleventh-place finish in Barcelona, when he finished right on the tail of Daniel Ricciardo but was unable to make a move stick, is his best Sunday result so far. WE

Jules Bianchi

Points - 0; Championship position - 19th; Best result - 13th
There's a very strong case to make that Jules Bianchi is already the overwhelming candidate for rookie of the year honours given the results he has achieved with the equipment at his disposal. Unlike fellow new boys Gutierrez and Bottas for instance, the prospect of a first F1 point remains a very distant dream for Bianchi at Marussia but he has quickly established himself as the de-facto rookie team leader at the Banbury outfit and clearly a talented prospect for the future. Two car failures aside, he has made the chequered flag at every race and his strong 13th-place finish from Malaysia keeps Marussia on course for that all-important tenth place in the Constructors' standings, despite the team's subsequent slide back behind Caterham on the track. JG

Charles Pic

Points - 0; Championship position - 20th; Best result - 14th
With a year's F1 experience under his belt, it's no surprise that Charles Pic is outperforming team-mate Giedo van der Garde. But at the same time, one wonders whether leading Caterham's line is too burdensome a task for the 23-year-old. They pulled ahead of rivals Marussia fairly early in the season thanks to upgrades introduced around the time the European season started, but both the Bahrain and Spanish GPs also featured practice appearances by Heikki Kovalainen. The main reason why the Finn is not racing this season can easily be guessed at and, if he were, it's entirely reasonable to assume Pic would be playing second fiddle. Yet it's also reasonable to assume that Kovalainen's regular presence would also rub off on the youngster, giving him a better chance of building his career in the long term. MW

Giedo van der Garde

Points - 0; Championship position - 21st; Best Result - 14th
Five years after winning the Formula Renault 3.5 Championship, Giedo van der Garde finally got his F1 opportunity at the 'tender' age of 27. As the season has progressed and his experience increases, the Dutchman's performances have improved and there is rarely little to separate him and team-mate Charles Pic. Indeed, last time out in Hungary, van der Garde equalled the Frenchman's season-high finish with 14th. WE

Max Chilton

Points - 0; Championship position - 22nd; Best result - 14th
Having had to continue to contend with barbs about the backing his career has received on his route to the top level, Max Chilton has made a competent start to F1 life. While Bianchi has undoubtedly produced the more eye-catching drives, the Frenchman does have more experience and first tested an F1 car - and a Ferrari at that - as long ago as 2009, making the intra-team pecking order not that surprising. Saying that, Chilton will certainly be keen to run closer to the sister car more regularly from here on in. The plus points for the 22-year-old from Reigate are undoubtedly his 100% race finishing-record and useful ability to generally keep his nose clean, meaning that unlike some of his fellow drivers towards the back of the grid, Chilton - Maldonado in Monaco aside - hasn't regularly felt the wrath of some of the bigger beasts in the F1 jungle. JG

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