The F1 points scoreboard at Hungary, 2014 versus 2013

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Formula One is through the 2014 Hungarian Grand Prix, the 11th round of the season, and now hits the three-week summer break.

The Hungarian GP sent the 2013 season into its summer break a year ago as the 10th round of the year – Austria was added for 2014 to add the extra round.

Anyway that in mind, this offers a golden opportunity to see who’s either gone up or down in terms of points scored through the first half of the season.

Here’s the breakdown:

BIG GAINS (50-PLUS POINTS UP)

  • Daniel Ricciardo, +120 (131 2014, 11 2013)
  • Nico Rosberg, +118 (202, 84)
  • Valtteri Bottas, +95 (95, 0)
  • Lewis Hamilton, +67 (191, 124)
  • Nico Hulkenberg, +62 (69, 7)

Three young stars and the pair of Mercedes teammates headline this group; all but Ricciardo have a Mercedes power unit in the back of the car this year as well. Bottas hadn’t scored at all last year – he only did so once, in fact, at the 2013 United States Grand Prix in Austin – while Ricciardo’s jump from Toro Rosso to Red Bull and Hulkenberg’s from Sauber to Force India have also paid dividends.

Ricciardo compares favorably to his predecessor at Red Bull, Mark Webber, at this time frame last year. While Webber had 105 points and was winless through Hungary last year, Ricciardo is on 131 with a pair of victories. That number could be higher too, had it not been for the 18 points lost following his Australian Grand Prix disqualification from second place.

HOLDING STEADY (WITHIN 25 POINTS OF 2013 TOTALS)

  • Jenson Button, +21 (60, 39)
  • Sergio Perez, +11 (29, 18)
  • Jules Bianchi, +2 (2, 0)
  • Pastor Maldonado, -1 (0, 1)
  • Jean-Eric Vergne, -2 (11, 13)
  • Fernando Alonso, -18 (115, 133)
  • Felipe Massa, -21 (40, 61)
  • Adrian Sutil, -23 (0, 23)

Button and Perez have improved upon where they were as teammates with McLaren a year ago. While Bianchi’s gotten on the scoreboard, Maldonado and Sutil have dropped off – although neither has had a car worth much of anything this year. Vergne went scoreless after Hungary a year ago so looks to improve upon that in the second half. Meanwhile ex-Ferrari teammates Alonso and Massa have driven even better, most of the time, than their results would indicate. The fact Alonso hasn’t sustained a massive points loss given the machinery at his disposal is nothing short of miraculous. 

NEW YEAR, BIG POINTS LOSSES (DOWN 40 OR MORE)

  • Romain Grosjean, -41 (8, 49)
  • Sebastian Vettel, -84 (88, 172)
  • Kimi Raikkonen, -107 (27, 134)

In a word, ouch. While Vettel has still scored regularly and Grosjean at least has the excuse the Lotus-Renault has been a rough package this season, Raikkonen has been made to look awful in his return to Ferrari. Lotus was at 183 points combined through 10 races a year ago with Raikkonen and Grosjean – a year later and that number is 8. Williams, by contrast, now has 135 points whereas a year ago at this time they had 1. Shows the value of a good power unit.

NO YEAR-ON-YEAR COMPARISON

  • Esteban Gutierrez, Max Chilton (both scoreless)
  • Kamui Kobayashi (wasn’t in F1 in 2013)
  • Kevin Magnussen (37 2014, no 2013)
  • Daniil Kvyat (6 2014, no 2013)
  • Marcus Ericsson (0 2014, no 2013) 

Gutierrez and Chilton have a combined 60 starts between them (30 apiece) and a single score in their F1 careers – Gutierrez’s seventh at Suzuka last October. Kobayashi was highly unlikely to score in his Caterham this season while the three rookies have generally impressed this season.

New Chip Ganassi driver Marcus Armstrong will team with boyhood idol Scott Dixon

Marcus Armstrong Scott Dixon
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Marcus Armstrong was a Scott Dixon fan his entire life, and when he was 8, the aspiring young racer asked his fellow New Zealander to autograph a helmet visor that he hung on his bedroom wall.

Next year, Armstrong will be Dixon’s teammate.

Armstrong was named Friday as the fourth IndyCar driver in the Chip Ganassi Racing lineup and will pilot the No. 11 next season on road and street courses.

A driver for the five oval races on the 17-race schedule will be named later.

The No. 11 is essentially the No. 48 that seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson drove the last two seasons, with Chip Ganassi making the change to run four cars numbered in sequential order. Indianapolis 500 winner Marcus Ericsson drives the No. 8, six-time champion Dixon drives the No. 9, and 2020 IndyCar champion Alex Palou drives the No. 10.

So just who is the second Kiwi in the Ganassi lineup?

A 22-year-old who spent the past three seasons in Formula One feeder series F2, a Ferrari development driver in 2021, and former roommate of Callum Illot and former teammate of Christian Lundgaard – both of whom just completed their rookie IndyCar seasons.

“I’ve always been attracted to the IndyCar championship because it’s one of those championships that’s been really well televised in New Zealand since I was young, mainly because of Scott and his success,” Armstrong told The Associated Press. “As time progressed, as I got closer to F1 and single-seaters, the attraction to IndyCar grew just because of how competitive the championship is – I like to challenge myself and the level of competition in IndyCar is remarkably high.”

Armstrong, from Christchurch, New Zealand, was set to travel from his current home in London to Indianapolis this weekend to meet his new team. He won’t need an introduction to Dixon, the 42-year-old considered the best IndyCar driver of his generation and Armstrong’s unequivocal childhood hero.

Last season, Dixon earned his 53rd career victory to pass Mario Andretti for second on the all-time list. Dixon has driven for Ganassi in all but 23 of his 345 career starts.

“For a long time I’ve been a Scott Dixon fan. I don’t want to make him cringe with our age difference,” Armstrong told the AP.

Despite the two-decade age difference, Armstrong never considered someday racing with Dixon a fantasy.

He convinced his father after winning five national karting championships to allow him to leave New Zealand for Italy at age 14, where he moved by himself to pursue a racing career. Armstrong said as soon as he’d received parental permission, he’d never look back.

Armstrong was in Formula 4 two years after his move to Italy and won that title in his first season. He won four races and four poles in F3 in the 2018 and 2019 seasons, then collected four wins and eight podiums in three seasons of F2.

“Maybe it’s a strength, or maybe it’s a weakness, but I always thought I was capable of doing great in the sport,” Armstrong told the AP. “I think you probably have to succeed in the sport, you need to believe in yourself. I always pictured myself being in IndyCar.

“As Scott’s teammate? I can’t specifically say I saw that. It’s an extraordinary chain of events.”

Armstrong becomes just the latest driver to leave Europe, where F1 is the pinnacle but has only 20 seats each year. Alexander Rossi began the trend in 2016 when the American left F1 and won the Indianapolis 500 as a rookie. He’s been followed by Ericsson, last season’s Indy 500 winner, Romain Grosjean, Illot, Lundgaard, and on Thursday three-time W Series champion and Williams F1 reserve driver Jamie Chadwick was announced as driver for Andretti Autosport in IndyCar’s second-tier development series.

Armstrong said he could have remained in F2 for a fourth season, but he’d been watching IndyCar for so long, and after conversations with Illot and Lundgaard, he decided to make the move to what he believes is the most balanced racing series in the world. He tested for Dale Coyne Racing at Sebring in October.

He doesn’t know if European racing is done for good, just that he wants to be in IndyCar right now.

“I don’t want to think too far into the future, I’m just grateful for this opportunity that is standing right in front of me,” Armstrong said. “I want to perform as well as I can in the near future and just consolidate myself in the fantastic chance that is IndyCar and just do my best.

“I’m not looking at F1 as a landing spot – I am looking at IndyCar, and that’s exactly why I am here.”