The Rise of The Rookies In Hungary
Amongst flying wheels, pit lane crashes, a Williams being squeezed into a wall and Mark Webber's fourth win of the season in Hungary, it was not lost on the most observant eyes that some of F1's new boys did themselves very proud today.
None more so than Renault rookie Vitaly Petrov.
Taking huge confidence from qualifying on the clean side of the grid and ahead of Robert Kubica for the first time, the Russian drove his most assured race so far.
He may have let Lewis Hamilton through a bit easily early on in the race. From then on it was smooth sailing for Petrov, who knew that Rubens Barrichello had to pit and therefore did well not to force a silly move on the Brazilian.
Fifth place is his best finish so far and he finally looks like he is thriving. Renault's encouragement has spurred him on and he looks a lot closer to that 2011 seat than he did just two weeks ago.
The man who followed him home, Nico Hulkenberg, must be given great credit too.
Hulkenberg did well to squeeze into Q3 on Saturday and like Petrov, he stayed out of trouble while mayhem ensued around him.
Make no mistake, he needed this result.
Outpaced by his more experienced team-mate in the early part of the season, the big expectation on the young German seemed to be weighing on his shoulders far too much.
Time has gone by and Hulkenberg is now matching Barrichello's pace consistently.
And of course, we cannot forget a comeback from Kamui Kobayashi.
An unlucky meeting with Bruno Senna on Saturday combined with a silly mistake to miss the call for scrutineering made for a very miserable day for the Japanese starlet.
Starting from 23rd, he would expect to pass the Virgins and Lotuses but progress from there would surely be limited. Or maybe not.
Kobayashi made a lightning getaway to end the first lap in 16th and by the time the mayhem of the safety car had passed, he was in 12th and looking like a possible points scorer.
Hamilton's retirement and Barrichello's pit stop eventually promoted Kobayashi to an almost unthinkable 9th, given Saturday's events. He is finally showing us why we got so excited after Abu Dhabi '09 once more.
The new testing rules have certainly made life hard for rookies. These three have proven today that given half a season, they should make the jump.
Petrov, Hulkenberg and Kobayashi now look 99% of the way to 2011. I, for one, look forward to seeing them continue to progress.
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