Six races down and 14 to go and the 2012 F1 season could not be more open. So far, there have been six different winning drivers and five different winning cars from the first six races, a sequence of results which has given the F1 Standings a completely different look from 12 months ago, when Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel dominated the sport virtually all year.
Hamilton is the only driver in the Top 4 not to have won a race this year, but his three podium finishes have kept him amongst the early pace setters.
Before the season, many were predicting that the Red Bull team would once again dominate in 2012. That, of course, still might prove to be the case. They lead the Constructors' Standings with 146 points, a healthy 38 points clear of McLaren and their two drivers in the Top 3.
However, there were not too many predicting that Fernando Alonso would be at the top of affairs for Ferrari at this stage of the championship, with most believing that there was still much work to do on their cars. Should improvements on the Italian manufacturer's car still be forthcoming, then Alonso, who won the Malaysian Grand Prix, could be the driver everyone has to beat between now and the season's conclusion in November.
If Ferrari has a worry, it will concern the performances of their number two driver, Felipe Massa, who is down in 14th place in the Drivers' Standings with a mere 10 points.
It is not just Ferrari and Alonso who are surprising the F1 world either. The Lotus team of Kimi Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean have joined the battle. The two drivers sit in 6th and 8th place in the standings with 51 points and 35 points, respectively. Former world champion Raikkonen has been on the podium twice, which has helped get his Lotus team into 4th place in the Constructors' Standings.
There was also the brilliant strategic win by Pastor Maldonado for the Williams team over Ferrari in Spain, which gave one of the iconic teams of the sport its first F1 win since 2004. It was also a maiden win for Maldonado, who now sits in 9th place in the standings with 29 points.
It had been expected that the Mercedes team of Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher would be contesting for the top spot this year, but they continue to struggle.
The problem seems to be with Schumacher, who has scored only two points all season, whereas Rosberg has amassed 59 points and is in 5th place. Meanwhile, the team sits in 4th place in the Constructors' table, 25 points adrift of the Lotus and Ferrari teams.
It is surprising that there have been no wins for Hamilton, but his McLaren teammate, Jenson Button, won the opener in Australia. Button, however, has been largely disappointing. Hamilton has been far more consistent in both practice and in the races themselves. Button has 45 points and is in 7th place, while Hamilton is 18 points clear of him in 4th.
The 2012 Formula One World Championship is the most open it has been for many years, and it is refreshing that no one team or driver looks set to dominate. This should make for a thrilling final two thirds of the season.
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