The Hits and The Misses Of The Chinese Grand Prix

Billy SextonAnalyst IApril 19, 2009

SHANGHAI, CHINA - APRIL 19:  Sebastien Buemi of Switzerland and Scuderia Toro Rosso drives during the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix at the Shanghai International Circuit on April 19, 2009 in Shanghai, China.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)

After an amazing race at Shanghai earlier today, I have decided to pick out three drivers who have impressed me over the course of the weekend, from first practice to the chequered flag. I'm also going to name and shame drivers that really should do, and in some cases, can do, a lot better.

Starting off on a positive note, my first and best performing driver, has to be Sebastian Vettel. First and foremost, what a great drive from the young German to take victory. A mesmerising performance from start to finish which saw the Red Bull driver show true class in treacherous conditions.

Crossing the line 10 seconds before your teammate is some feat, but to annihilate the Brawn team by over 40 seconds and most of the (more experienced) field by over a minute is really spectacular.

A star well and truly in the making, Sebastian Vettel earns my choice of driver of the day.

A second driver who impressed me, particularly in qualifying, is the only rookie of 2009: Sebastian Buemi.

The Swiss managed to get his Toro Rosso into the final part of qualifying, and although he ended up tenth on the grid, nobody can knock his efforts...especially since his teammate fell at the first hurdle.

In the race it looked like Buemi wasn't going to get into the points despite a strong start, however, he kept his head down and his powder dry and snatched a single point and finished ahead of two former world champions; Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen.

I'm really pleased Buemi is having some early success in Formula One. Being the only rookie must be really difficult and scoring points in a car that, to be honest, isn't really expected to is a real lift for both himself and the team.

My final 'Hero' of Shanghai is McLaren driver Heikki Kovalainen.

After not completing a single lap in the first two Grand Prix of 2009, many pondered whether or not the Finn should be privileged enough to have a seat in a team like McLaren.

I must admit, I was beginning to doubt Heikki, especially after qualifying where he failed to get into the top 10 alongside his teammate.

But I think he's proved me wrong for the time being after climbing seven places throughout the race to score some decent points, and beating Lewis Hamilton in the process...we must remember Kovy wasn't carrying the same updates on his car that Lewis was.

I would really like to see Heikki do well this season, score a few more podiums and wins when McLaren get back to the sharp end of the grid and provide a real challenge to his team mate.

Now for the three drivers that really should be doing better.

Robert Kubica is the first on my hit list, after a dismal performance in qualifying and an equally poor showing in the race. He knows he has what it takes to do better and for a driver of his quality, he should be wringing the neck of that BMW and challenging for points...not driving up the back side of Jarno Trulli and finishing a lowly 13th.

Nelson Piquet is second to be slated, this kid really disappoints me in terms of performance. I'll accept that having Fernando Alonso as a team mate could be fairly difficult, but to qualify in 17th whilst he's on the front row is plain unsatisfactory.

If he carries on like he is doing, I wouldn't be surprised if Flavio brings in a replacement young driver, Lucas di Grassi for example.

Another regular non-scorer, Sebastian Bourdais, also put in a second rate performance this weekend. Out qualified and out scored by rookie team mate shows that Bourdais is really not up to scratch.

Again, I doubt he'll keep his drive for 2010, especially now that Nico Hulkenburg and Co. are competing in GP2 and have a real chance of getting a seat in Formula One.