Fernando Alonso declared Castrol EDGE Performer of the Month for July 2012

Spanish Formula 1 racing driver Fernando Alonso has been declared as Castrol EDGE Performer of the Month for July. It was his performance throughout the month that resulted in this title as the Spaniard surged ahead from the very start of July with his claim of pole position for the British GP a position which he held throughout till Mark Webber sped past to claim victory.

Later in the month of July at the race in Germany, Alonso completed a pole position and race win double despite challenging conditions at the Hockenheim circuit. It is this that projected his performance in the drivers’ championship which was accentuated at his performance in Hungary when he finished fifth which ensured his nomination as Performer of the Month for July.

Antonio Pizzonia was one of the biggest movers in the Castrol EDGE Race in 2012. He is currently participating at the V8 championships. Daniel Juncadella is one other racer whose performance needs to be commended. This Spaniard has claimed the F3 Masters crown at Zandvoort which has got him up 68 place to 134 in Rankings. Kimi Raikkonen’s performance may not be on par with either Pizzonia or Juncadella but he too increased his rankings by 15 points and is now 6th overall ahead of Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button.

News release: ALONSO STORMS TO CASTROL EDGE RANKINGS PERFORMER OF THE MONTH TITLE

LOEB’S WINNING STREAK SET TO END AT RALLY FINLAND ACCORDING TO CASTROL EDGE RANKINGS

Which driver has been the star performer in the Castrol EDGE Rankings in July – why did they score so strongly?

Fernando Alonso (2nd) was the Castrol EDGE Performer of the Month for July, the Spaniard finishing well clear of the field thanks to his superlative form in recent grands prix. The Ferrari man began the month in the best possible style by claiming pole position for the British Grand Prix, which he then led until the closing stages when Mark Webber was able to jump him to claim victory. Alonso went one better at the following race in Germany, completing a pole position/race win double in difficult, changeable conditions on the Hockenheim circuit. That sequence lent him a healthy advantage in the drivers’ championship, which he duly extended with another strong performance one week later in Hungary, where he finished fifth – and in the process comfortably sealed the July Performer of the Month award.

Who was July’s biggest mover in the Castrol EDGE Race for 2012?

Looking purely at Rankings movement, ex-F1 driver Antonio Pizzonia was one of the biggest movers in the Castrol EDGE Race for 2012. The Brazilian, currently competing in his native V8 championship, played a starring role in two guest drives in Auto GP during July. He ended up victorious in both races at Curitiba, leading to a massive jump of 242 spots in the Race.

Daniel Juncadella was another who made massive gains following a one-off appearance, as the Spaniard claimed the F3 Masters crown with a dominant performance at Zandvoort. That win, which echoed the achievements of past luminaries such as David Coulthard and Lewis Hamilton, was enough to send Juncadella soaring 68 places up to 134th in the Rankings.

Kimi Raikkonen meanwhile didn’t match the magnitude of either Pizzonia or Juncadella’s gains, but did also enjoy a significant rise in the Race for 2012. The Finn rose 15 spots up the order on the back of two podium finishes in the past two F1 grands prix, and now sits sixth overall, ahead of F1 rivals like Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button.

After winning his last three rallies, is Sebastian Loeb all but certain of victory in this week’s Rally Finland?
It’s always tempting to declare Sebastian Loeb (6th) winner-elect in the build up to any rally, particularly in 2012 given his return of five wins from seven rallies. Leaving aside the truism that anything can happen in motorsport, there is evidence that the Frenchman could yet miss out on victory in Finland however. Over the past two years, for example, it is Jari-Matti Latvala (23rd) rather than Loeb who has scored the highest Castrol EDGE Rankings total in Finland. Mikko Hirvonen (14th) too has scored strongly, and outdid Loeb in the Rankings across the 2008 and ’09 events. Indeed Finland is one of the few rallies where Loeb has claimed just one win in the past three years, meaning that if his seemingly inexorable drive to a ninth straight WRC crown is to be stopped, Finland might be the most likely place for it to happen.

F1 enters the summer break with Fernando Alonso 40 points clear in the drivers’ championship. Is this the best he has ever driven?

Looking at the Castrol EDGE Rankings, Fernando Alonso has actually accumulated fewer points over the first half of this season than in 2010/11. However, what has changed this year is the level of competition. For example, where last year Sebastian Vettel had a massive 18,000 Rankings points going into the summer break, now he has almost half. While Vettel has fallen back, the victim of such an unpredictable F1 season with multiple winners and a seemingly ever-changing order, Alonso has actually progressed, scoring more Rankings points this year than last. Not only that, but his consistency too has improved, the Spaniard having only once finished outside the top seven, and never outside the points, this year. That, combined with topping the Castrol EDGE Race for 2012, suggest Alonso is indeed driving better than he ever has before.

Is there a chance Sebastian Vettel could also slip from his current No.1 Ranking?

There is a chance Vettel could slip from his current No.1 Ranking, simply because it is proving so much more difficult for anyone – not just Vettel – to dominate this season.

It is not impossible, however, for Vettel to hang on to top spot. Currently he lies a close second to Alonso in the Castrol EDGE race for 2012, meaning he has still outscored the likes of Lewis Hamilton and team-mate Mark Webber this season in the Rankings. While it is therefore likely Vettel’s advantage will continue to be trimmed, he has done enough to suggest he is capable of holding onto the top spot at least until the final stages of 2012, and possibly beyond.