Who is better off? 2013 vs 2014 F1 points comparison

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After the first four rounds of the 2013 Formula 1 season, the stage appeared to be set for a tight championship battle. Sebastian Vettel led the way with two wins, but Kimi Raikkonen – who was the surprise victor in Australia – trailed by just 10 points. Fernando Alonso had also claimed a win and was waiting in the wings, whilst Lewis Hamilton had made a great start at Mercedes and sat third in the championship. Of course, we all know what happened from then on…

What a difference 12 months makes. The championship has been turned on its head, and we are now staring down the barrel of a season of Mercedes dominance that could make Red Bull’s exploits look tame.

In order to put how much has changed into perspective, let’s take a look at how the current scores stand up against the tallies from the first four rounds of the 2013 season.

2013 VS 2014 – POINTS COMPARISON AFTER FOUR RACES

THE WINNERS

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes
2013: 14 points. 2014: 79 points. Difference: +65
Of the entire grid, Rosberg has made the biggest gain over last season. One win and three second places has given him the championship lead, but his teammate is in hot pursuit.

Nico Hulkenberg, Force India
2013: 5 points. 2014: 36 points. Difference: +31
The other German Nico has also made a great start after leaving Sauber to return to Force India. He still inexplicably lacks that maiden podium, but surely this is the year for Hulkenberg. He finally looks at home with the Indian team.

Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes
2013: 50 points. 2014: 75 points. Difference: +25
His start to 2013 was by no means bad, it’s just this year has been better. Three imperious wins has given him 75 points, and had it not been for a DNF in Australia, it could easily have been the maximum 100.

Valtteri Bottas, Williams
2013: 0 points. 2014: 24 points. Difference: +24
What a difference a year makes. Bottas’ F1 career started in quiet fashion thanks to the lackluster FW35 car, but he has now proven just how good he is. In fact, 24 points actually short changes the Finn given his great races.

Daniel Ricciardo, Red Bull
2013: 6 points. 2014: 24 points. Difference: +18
Perhaps it’s unfair to compare Red Bull with Toro Rosso, but Ricciardo has still made a huge step up. Two fourth place finishes, like Bottas, leaves him short. Factor in the 30 points lost in Australia and Malaysia, and he’s got a very good return indeed.

Jenson Button, McLaren
2013: 13 points. 2014: 23 points. Difference: +10
JB struggled in 2013 with the troublesome MP4-28 car, but he has ran better so far this year. However, it’s not the seismic step forwards that many at McLaren expected, having scored just 8 points since Australia.

Sergio Perez, Force India
2013: 10 points. 2014: 18 points. Difference: +8
Same as Button. Rubbish car last year, a bit better this year. Was unfortunate to not start in Malaysia.

Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso
2013: 1 point. 2014: 4 points. Difference +3
A minimal increase for Vergne, who must be feeling worried with Carlos Sainz Jr. and Antonio Felix da Costa eyeing his seat.

THE LOSERS

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari
2013: 67 points. 2014: 11 points. Difference: -56
Probably the most surprising statistic from the first four races. The Finn appears to be struggling with the new regulations and the Ferrari F14 T; a far cry from his win and two second places at the start of last year.

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull
2013: 77 points. 2014: 33 points. Difference: -44
Frankly, 33 points is still a remarkable haul for Red Bull considering where the team was during pre-season. Still looking decidedly average, and sounded like a troublesome kid in kindergarten in China.

Romain Grosjean, Lotus
2013: 26 points. 2014: 0 points. Difference: -26
It’s a dire situation at Lotus, meaning Grosjean has stood little chance of scoring any points in the first four races as he did last year. Progress is being made, though, as he was set for points in China before retiring.

Felipe Massa, Williams
2013: 30 points. 2014: 12 points. Difference: -18
Another weird stat, given that he’s in a quicker car than before and also under less pressure. Some bad luck in Australia, Bahrain and China hasn’t helped, though. Probably deserves more.

Adrian Sutil, Sauber
2013: 6 points. 2014: 0 points. Difference: -6
Three straight retirements for Sutil, but it’s not like he would have made the top ten anyway.

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari
2013: 47 points. 2014: 41 points. Difference: -6
Not much in this one for Alonso. He scored 43 in the first four races of 2012, so it’s a pretty regular start. Similar story, too: car isn’t quick enough, but he still makes it work. Great result in China with P3.

ALL THE SAME

Esteban Gutierrez, Max Chilton, Jules Bianchi and Pastor Maldonado have all broken even. That said, they couldn’t lose any points. Zero in 2013, zero in 2014.

Here’s a full table of the comparison for all you F1 stat lovers out there. It’s not just me, right?

With 200 IndyCar wins in the books, Penske looks for No. 201 at Indy

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The history of Team Penske at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a storied one that features 16 Indy 500 wins, including a pair of four-time winners in Al Unser and Rick Mears, and number of utterly dominant performances.

Yet, they’ll head to this year’s 102nd Running of the Indianapolis 500 looking to avenge a pair of relatively subpar performances in each of the last two years.

Power was the only Penske driver to finish in the Top 10 in 2016, with Helio Castroneves and Simon Pagenaud finishing 11th and 19th after fuel strategy intervened late in the race. And last year, all the Penske cars were somewhat down on pace compared to other teams, notably the Honda cars.

Power was the only Penske driver to qualify for the Fast Nine Pole Shootout last year – he qualified ninth. Juan Pablo Montoya and Helio Castroneves were 18th and 19th in the grid, while Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud were 22nd and 23rd.

And only Castroneves was in winning contention in the final laps as he battled eventual winner Takuma Sato – Montoya was sixth, while Pagenaud was 14th and the only other Penske running at the end. Both Newgarden and Power crashed out on Lap 183.

This year, however, could see a return to the dominant form we’re used to seeing from the Penske outfit. All four cars entered – Pagenaud, Power, Newgarden, and Castroneves – qualified inside the top nine, with Pagenaud and Power on the front row.

They have all been near the front of the time sheets, especially in laps without a tow from another car, and the indication is that the Penske cars may be the fastest ones in the field.

All told, it leads to very high expectations for a team that already expects highly of itself.

Leading the way for Penske is current points leader and defending IndyCar champion Josef Newgarden. Newgarden’s best Indy 500 finish is third in 2016, but he only has one other Top 10 there – ninth in 2015.

But, with an IndyCar title now under his belt, Newgarden has his eyes set on an Indy 500 win.

Josef Newgarden looks to add an Indy 500 crown to his 2017 championship. Photo: IndyCar

“I think Indianapolis…is certainly next on the list for me,” he detailed in a press conference ahead of qualifying. “It’s not next on the list for the team, they’ve won it many times. The good thing is we have four great opportunities, especially having Helio back. I think we have one of the best opportunities in the entire field to win this race.”

Pagenaud, like Newgarden, is also looking for his first Indy triumph, though his record there isn’t quite as good. He has been fast at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, but only has two Top 10s to show for it – eighth in 2013 with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports and tenth in 2015 in his first year with Penske.

And a Pagenaud win would be somewhat historic – it would be only the fourth time a French driver has won the “500,” and the first since 1920 (Gaston Chevrolet).

Pagenaud explained that this race always holds a place as a top priority, and that success at Indy is all about preparation.

Simon Pagenaud looks to become only the first French driver to win an Indy 500 since Gaston Chevrolet in 1920. Photo: IndyCar

“It really is our number one goal. In Roger and Tim’s heart, it’s the most important one,” Pagenaud declared. “We prepare really hard. The team does a fantastic job at just understanding every bit and component of this new aero kit, trying to extract the best out of the equipment.”

Pagenaud added, “On the driver side, there’s a lot you can do obviously to review the past races, try to focus yourself, try to put yourself into the race before it happens, try to just improve. That’s what we try to do every day. That’s the goal. That’s why this group is so good. We push each other so hard that you always try to push the limits away.”

Power, the man who delivered Penske his 200th IndyCar win, is no stranger to success at IMS, having won the Grand Prix on the IMS Road Course three times. But, he is yet to find Victory Lane on the oval, and that leaves a void in an otherwise stellar career.

Will Power has won the INDYCAR Grand Prix three times, and looks for his first win at the “500” this weekend. Photo: IndyCar

Power spotlighted the opportunity in front of him, and detailed that running in traffic has been a strength thus far through practice.

“It’s fantastic to have that opportunity. Obviously very focused on (trying to win),” he revealed. “I feel like we have a really good opportunity to win this year. I mean, I think Chevrolet has brought a really good engine. I feel like we’re really fast. Running in traffic and such, I felt like we’ve been pretty strong, especially when you get to the front.”

Castroneves is the only Penske driver with Indy 500 wins on his resume. But, with three wins to his name, Castroneves is more than familiar with IMS glory.

Now a part-time IndyCar driver who races full-time in the IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship with the Acura Team Penske outfit, Castroneves’ sole focus is on getting that elusive fourth win.

Helio Castroneves looks to join the four-time winners club at the Indy 500. Photo: IndyCar

And he has momentum on his side too, coming off a debut IMSA win for the Acura Penske outfit at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. A fourth Indy 500 win would put an exclamation point on the month for Castroneves.

“I think about it every day,” he said when asked about how often he ponders getting that fourth win. “It was one of those incredible ones, I have phenomenal car, the Pennzoil car was really strong last year. Obviously coming back here, first of all, I want to thank Roger and (team president Tim Cindric) for giving me the opportunity to be back at the Indy 500. It’s such a special place for so many people. Just to be back and able to continue our goal and pursue for the number four, it’s incredible.”

Pagenaud and Power will flank pole sitter Ed Carpenter on the front, starting second and third respectively. Newgarden starts fourth, while Castroneves will start eighth.

Follow@KyleMLavigne