Has there been a better Formula 1 season in recent memory? In the last 10 years? In the last 20 years? Because if you can't think of one, put 2012 as your answer.
And the reasons are this: Australia wasn't boring, Bahrain wasn't boring (for once), Barcelona wasn't boring, and we have two first-time winners. You can't say we haven't had our fair share of excitement and surprises.
But my mind immediately turns to Pastor Maldonado. A man who was kept over Rubens Barrichello for monetary reasons. A man who showed he has the talent in GP2 and Formula Renault 3.5 with multiple race wins and a championship to show. A man who had many critics, saying he shouldn't be in F1 and he is too skittish behind the wheel. A race win is always a great silencers to the haters.
I wasn't a critic, I was a sceptic. I was not sure whether Maldonado's talent would ever shine through at Williams where they were sitting. But he proved everyone wrong and in doing so, I feel he may have 'pulled a Vettel'
And what I mean by that is: when Vettel took pole position at the 2008 Italian GP, he didn't win because it was raining, or because he was lucky, or because everyone else crashed into each other. He won it because he was the fastest driver. It shows class, it shows potential, it shows a champion in the making. And I believe Maldonado has the talent to move forward and take Massa's place in Ferrari next year.
But there have been those who have one race and never delivered on the promise of that win. My biggest fear is that Pastor could easily be one of these drivers:
JEAN ALESI: A man of over 200 grand prix with only one win to show for a career where there was always people faster and better equipped than him.
GIANCARLO BAGHETTI: He is the only man to win his first ever race, and immediately set an expectation for himself that would never ever materialise.
INNES IRELAND: A man who won a handful of events, but only one GP win, a loose cannon whose arrogance cost him a great career.
JOCHEN MASS: A great racing talent in sports cars, but in F1 never had the chance to become a multiple race winner.
A few there whose careers could have gone better. Pastor needs to improve his consistency to be able to follow Vettel to the top.
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