Rookie of the Year & Young Gun of the Year

Jean Eric Vergne

Rookie of the Year: Jean Eric Vergne

Dec.23 (Grand Prix 247) There were only two real Formula One rookies on the grid this year – Jean Eric Vergne and fellow Frenchman Charles Pic, and the latter edged the former, in our ratings.

It was no walk in the park for the 22 year old who was fast tracked into the Toro Rosso team straight from Formula Renault 3.5, thus bypassing the traditional GP2 route. At first he was out of his depth, but as the season progressed he started to outshine his slightly more experienced teammate Daniel Ricciardo, and in the end out scored him 16 to 10.

Vergne summed up his season, “I had four eighth places during the year and scored 16 points. For my first year in F1, and given that we didn’t have the best car in the world, I don’t feel too bad about that record. For sure, it could have been better and I certainly expect better of myself next year, but all in all I’d mark it down as a successful first season.”

“Ultimately, I think this year was all about learning and the points are not the most significant thing. The important thing for me is that I think I have learned a hell of a lot about F1 this year,” concluded the Frenchman who stays with the team for 2013.

Subbed by AJN.

Nico Hulkenberg (GER) Force India F1 VJM05. Formula One World Championship, Rd4, Bahrain Grand Prix Qualifying, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Saturday 21 April 2012.

Young Gun of the Year: Nico Hulkenberg

Nico Hulkenberg returned to Formula 1 after a year on the sidelines and with Force India did enough to convince everyone that he is the real deal. Paired with highly rated Paul di Resta, Hulkenberg took a few races to adapt and was generally beaten by Di Resta for most of the early races.

By mid-season he started to get the upper hand in the team and towards the end of the year was clearly out performing his teammate and ended the season with 63 points to Di Resta’s haul of 46. As a Williams driver Hulkenberg impressed, as a Force India driver he must have made the big guns sit up and take notice. For now he moves to Ferrari powered Sauber for 2013 prompting speculation that the German’s future ultimately lies with the Maranello squad. Time will tell.

Hulkenberg said after his final race with Force India, “I think we can be proud of the results we achieved together. That’s why it was not an easy decision to leave, but I’m happy to be leaving with good memories. The task now is to end the year in style with a great result.”

He added, “It has been very positive. We had some good results in the first half too, but I think we found our consistency after the summer break. I think some of my best races were Japan and Korea where we didn’t necessarily expect to do so well. To score points there was very satisfying. Also, races such as Austin, where I was under so much pressure towards the end are the moments I will remember from the second part of the year. These were races where we maximised everything.”

  • Leen

    I dont agree that Vergne performed better then Pic, only looking at results in not fair. Pic performed really well in Marrusia which as a whole team was struggling in the beginning of the year (did not even make it to the pre season tests) but the more the season progressed the better the results. Pic was compared to Glock margenally slower, but Glock is a very experience and good driver. Vergne made many “rookie” mistakes and causes a few collisions this season and Pic did not .
    Vergne was also outperformed in qualifying by Ricciardo whom is more or less a rookie himself.
    Therefore I rate Pic higher as a driver this year then Vergne.

  • Jam3

    I agree with Leen on this one!

  • Esther Chavarin

    Appreciating the time and energy you put into your blog and detailed information you present. It’s good to come across a blog every once in a while that isn’t the same outdated rehashed information. Wonderful read! I’ve saved your site and I’m adding your RSS feeds to my Google account.