- Hamilton the fastest driver on 2013 grid – analysis
- Perez admits McLaren has made progress in 2013
- Hulkenberg urges Red Bull to sign Ricciardo
Hamilton the fastest driver on 2013 grid – analysis
(GMM) Lewis Hamilton is the fastest driver on the 2013 grid, the German magazine Auto Motor und Sport reports in a mid-season analysis.
Although the Mercedes driver only broke through for his first win of the year in Hungary, correspondent Michael Schmidt revealed Hamilton's average qualifying position so far in 2013 is a field-best of 2.36.
Red Bull's championship leader Sebastian Vettel's average grid position is 2.45, ahead of Hamilton's Mercedes teammate, Nico Rosberg, at 4.00.
The strongest driver in the crucial races, of course, is Vettel, with the German having held P1 during grands prix for a total of 1278 kilometers, compared to Fernando Alonso's mere 424.
Lotus and Kimi Raikkonen, and Mercedes and Hamilton, are the most technically reliable packages of 2013, with 3,022 kilometers apiece, followed by the uncompetitive McLaren driven by Jenson Button.
But Finn Raikkonen is the only one of them who has scored points in every race.
The most crash, spin and incident-prone driver has been Williams' Pastor Maldonado, followed by the under-pressure Caterham rookie Giedo van der Garde.
Toro Rosso has been the team with the most technical problems, while Red Bull has the fastest pitstop crew, with struggling Williams' crew coming in slowest.
Perez admits McLaren has made progress in 2013
(GMM) McLaren's 2013 car is "much better" now than it was at the very start of the season, team newcomer Sergio Perez has revealed.
"Driving this car was a real challenge, but it's not the same now as it was in Jerez (for winter testing)," he told the Diario de Mexico newspaper.
"It is much better now than it was."
Perez, 23, was speaking during F1's summer break at the former Mexican grand prix venue in Mexico City, where his older brother Antonio was racing in Mexico's Nascar series.
Despite his comments that the troubled MP4-28 is performing better now, however, Perez is not expecting an easy second half of the season.
"I am motivated to attack in the next nine races," he said, "but it will be very difficult, because we know that we still do not have a competitive car."
Perez's target, therefore, is simply to attack his benchmark teammate, the highly experienced world champion of 2009, Jenson Button.
"The goal is to beat Jenson, as I have the good luck that he (Button's performance) is a guarantee; a world champion," he said.
"That will be the goal in the remaining races, as I know the potential of the car is difficult."
Perez acknowledged, however, that he is unlikely to be able to challenge Button's actual position in the drivers' championship, as he trails the Briton by 3 places and 21 points.
"I'm about 20 points away," he said, "which is hard with this car.
"It has been a very difficult year, but this is formula one, where my teammate won (in 2009) with the fastest car.
"This is a difficult and inconsistent car, it has not been the year I expected and I do not expect miracles now," he added.
Hulkenberg urges Red Bull to sign Ricciardo
(GMM) With famous alternatives looming large, Daniel Ricciardo has received a vote of confidence as he pushes to secure the Red Bull seat.
As Mark Webber prepares to switch to Le Mans, world champions Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso are reportedly the big-name candidates for the 2014 vacancy alongside Sebastian Vettel.
But also right in the running is Daniel Ricciardo, the in-house candidate who, like Vettel before him, would win his place after serving time at Red Bull's junior team Toro Rosso.
Nico Hulkenberg, the Sauber driver who might be first in line to replace Raikkonen should the famous Finn leave Lotus, actually thinks the rising Ricciardo should get the nod.
"I would pick him," the German is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.
"Daniel is a fast guy, and finally a young driver would get the chance to prove himself."
Meanwhile, Toro Rosso team boss Franz Tost insists Ricciardo's candidature for the plum Red Bull seat should not reflect badly on Jean-Eric Vergne.
"Jean-Eric is a driver who is very good and has a lot of skill," he told Brazil's Totalrace.
"The only reason Daniel is being tipped for the job and not him is just the question of experience — he has done 13 races more than Vergne, which is practically a season," Tost insisted.