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Power Ranking the Formula 1 Teams After 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix

Neil JamesFeatured ColumnistJuly 31, 2014

Power Ranking the Formula 1 Teams After 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix

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    Petr David Josek/Associated Press

    Mercedes were defeated for the second time in the 2014 Formula One season at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

    Nico Rosberg had started from pole, but an inconvenient safety car appearance put him on the back foot. Even then he should have won, but a couple of poor laps opened the door for Daniel Ricciardo to seize the initiative for his second win of the year.

    Elsewhere, Ferrari scored only their second podium of 2014, while Williams appeared to take a step back in race pace.

    And the less said about Force India, the better.

    Looking at reliability, qualifying and race pace, here's how the teams currently rank.

    All position changes are relative to those from the last set of rankings published after Germany, which are available here.

11. Caterham

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    Darko Vojinovic/Associated Press

    No Change

    Caterham's new owners have yet to turn the team around, and it's looking increasingly likely they won't manage it at all.

    Not this year, anyway.

    Kamui Kobayashi was the lead CT04 in qualifying, setting the 18th-fastest time. His time was four-tenths of a second slower than Jules Bianchi's best for Marussia. Marcus Ericsson was slowest by a substantial margin.

    And if Saturday was bad, Sunday was appalling. Ericsson crashed on Lap 8, while Kobayashi retired with a fuel-system problem 16 laps later.

    All in all a miserable weekend, as Caterham remain 11th.

10. Marussia

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    Drew Gibson/Getty Images

    No Change

    Marussia's weekend got off to a flying start.

    Jules Bianchi put in a great lap at the end of Q1 to knock out Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen. He ended up 16th-fastest; team-mate Max Chilton was over a second slower in 19th.

    That's about as far as we got, as far as ascertaining Marussia's pace is concerned.

    Pastor Maldonado's ill-advised overtaking effort damaged Bianchi's car and left him unable to set representative times. He fell a long way off the pace and finished 15th, just ahead of Chilton.

    Marussia remain 10th.

9. Lotus

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    Zsolt Czegledi/Associated Press

    Down One

    Teams rarely go from race winners one year to distant also-rans the next, but Lotus have pulled it off.

    Pastor Maldonado must be crying into his PDVSA-branded pillow. He failed to set a time in qualifying, and his E22 suffering an energy-store issue which put him out of the session. Romain Grosjean could only manage 15th.

    Their race was even worse.

    Grosjean added his name to the short list of drivers who have crashed behind the safety car, putting himself out on Lap 10. Maldonado dropped to the rear of the field after hitting Jules Bianchi's Marussia soon after. The safety car let him catch up to the pack, but he never looked likely to score points, coming home in 13th.

    Lotus drop one spot to ninth.

8. Sauber

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    Drew Gibson/Getty Images

    Up One

    The improvements continue at Sauber.

    Both cars made it out of Q1 for only the second time in 2014. Adrian Sutil qualified an impressive 12th, with Esteban Gutierrez close behind in 14th.

    It could be argued they were even better on Sunday, racing against McLarens, Toro Rossos andbrieflyKimi Raikkonen's Ferrari.

    Gutierrez was forced to retire on the 32nd lap with an ERS problem, but Sutil showed good pace right to the chequered flag. He was quick enough for a top-10 finish, only missing out because overtaking proved very difficult for the Ferrari-powered C33.

    A few races ago, Sauber looked far from ready to score their first points of the year. Now, it seems like it'll only be a matter of time.

    Sauber rise one spot to eighth.

7. Toro Rosso

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    Drew Gibson/Getty Images

    No Change

    Toro Rosso got far more TV time than usual in Hungary.

    Jean-Eric Vergne qualified a fine eighth after his seventh Q3 appearance of the year. Daniil Kvyat could have joined him in the final part of qualifying, but a spin on his last Q2 lap left him 11th.

    But he didn't start there. His engine refused to play ball at the start of the formation lap, forcing the Russian to start from the pits. Trying to play catch-up, he ended up on a two-stopper involving a huge 39-lap final stint on the mediums. Unsurprisingly, he finished way out of the points.

    Vergne finished ninth, but his performance deserved better. His defending against Nico Rosberg in the first half of the race was top-notch, and though he dropped back later on he ended up just 18 seconds behind Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.

    Toro Rosso remain seventh.

6. Force India

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    Darko Bandic/Associated Press

    No Change

    Force India won't have fond memories of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

    Qualifying was distinctly average for the team. Nico Hulkenberg again qualified in the lower reaches of the top 10, securing ninth. Sergio Perez was, as usual, a few places behind. He qualified 13th.

    When the first safety car came in during the race, Perez jumped ahead of Hulkenberg. The German attempted to retake the position on the following lap but misjudged the move. He collided with Perez in the final corner before hitting the wall, ending his 100 percent scoring record for the year.

    Perez lasted another eight laps before also making an error. He went wide on the damp kerb at the exit of the last corner, lost control and slammed into the pit wall.

    Two retirements, two driver errors and two broken cars.

    Force India remain sixth.

5. McLaren

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    Darko Vojinovic/Associated Press

    No Change

    McLaren's car continues to take steps forward, but the same can't be said for the team's weatherman.

    Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen both made it into Q3. Button's best time was a second-and-a-half shy of pole, and he lined up seventh.

    Magnussen was caught out by the slippery track and crashed heavily at Turn 1. He needed a new chassis and gearbox and thus started from the pits.

    Button made up places at the start and looked in a great position, but while everyone else stopped for slicks, McLaren went for more intermediates. Magnussen stayed out on his used set.

    They expected further rain, but when it didn't materialise another stop was needed, and they resumed last and second-last. Button recovered to 10th but never looked quick, while Magnussen finished 12th.

    McLaren remain fifth.

4. Ferrari

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    Petr David Josek/Associated Press

    No Change

    Ferrari scored their second podium of the year after a slightly better performance from the F14 T. It's more suited to downforce-heavy circuits like the Hungaroringbetter than the Williams, which is usually the better car.

    Fernando Alonso qualified fifth.

    Kimi Raikkonen had looked more capable of challenging his team-mate over a single lap than in recent races. But the team made a poor judgement call in believing he was safe in Q1 as the track dried. The Finn was sat in the pits as Jules Bianchi kicked him out at the first hurdle and ended up with the 17th-fastest time.

    Alonso drove brilliantly in the race, making key passes at crucial moments to give himself a chance of victory. Daniel Ricciardo spoiled his party with three laps to go, but the Spaniard still held on for second.

    Raikkonen had a good opening lap but struggled with traffic throughout. Sixth was his best finish of the season, and this was probably one of his better drives.

    Ferrari remain fourth.

3. Williams

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    Petr David Josek/Associated Press

    Down One

    Earlier in the season, the idea that Williams could be anywhere near Red Bull and Mercedes at a circuit like the Hungaroring would have been absurd.

    But close they were, at least over a single lap. Valtteri Bottas qualified in third, his lap a rather substantial six-tenths slower than pole-sitter Nico Rosberg's best.

    Unfortunately, Bottas lost out behind the safety car, and the FW36 just wasn't as well-suited to a race distance as it was to a single lap.

    Felipe Massa ended up as the lead Williams driver, but even he wasn't especially quick. Three teams had quicker cars on Sunday, and he did well to finish fifth.

    Bottas was 11th.

    Williams drop one place to third but may find themselves back in second at the next race.

2. Red Bull

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    Darko Vojinovic/Associated Press

    Up One

    Red Bull had a great weekend, but no one believes they won the race because they had the quickest car.

    Sebastian Vettel qualified on the front row, a half-second slower than Nico Rosberg. Daniel Ricciardo was a further two-tenths behind in fourth. They were third and sixth, respectively, after the opening lap.

    As the race panned out, Ricciardo got a little bit of luck with the safety car and took the lead. Poor strategy calls from Mercedes and a bit of magical driving secured him victory.

    Vettel didn't seem as quick and was lucky to escape without damage after spinning at the final corner.

    Red Bull edge ahead of Williams into second, but Spa doesn't look like their sort of track.

1. Mercedes

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    Drew Gibson/Getty Images

    No Change

    Mercedes were once again the class of the field in Hungary. Or at least the W05 was. The team overall had a stinker.

    Nico Rosberg qualified on pole, but a fuel leak put Lewis Hamilton out of the session before he'd set a representative lap time. One Mercedes would start first, the other last.

    The track was damp at the start of the race. Rain was once considered the great equaliser in F1, but in the modern era of extreme aerodynamic dependency it can more frequently magnify the advantage enjoyed by the best cars.

    So it proved. Rosberg built an early lead with a series of fastest laps, while Hamilton, making his way through traffic, had the second-quickest car on the circuit.

    They were the two quickest cars when it was dry too, but some poor strategy calls and excellent driving from Daniel Ricciardo and Fernando Alonso left the Mercs third and fourth at the end.

    And perhaps they were lucky to do that wellthe team later revealed both cars had seemed close to failure in the race.

    Their reliability stinks, but Mercedes remain on top because they have so much pace.

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