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.

Mario Andretti says Colton Herta could be next American star in F1

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Mario Andretti’s last Formula One victory is also the last by an American driver in more than 42 years on the international open-wheel road racing series.

If you had told Andretti that while he was celebrating on the Grand Prix of the Netherlands podium on Aug. 27, 1978 at the Vandzoort circuit, he wouldn’t have believed it.

“Absolutely not,” Andretti told Kyle Petty during the most recent “Coffee With Kyle” episode (video above). “It’s a shame. Somehow we have so much talent here, and either there’s no invitation or something there. But I think it’s time to give some of this young talent that, in my opinion, is absolutely capable.”

The Dutch GP was the last of Andretti’s 12 victories in F1 and came during his championship season. No one since has come close to matching his success in F1.

Mario Andretti drives his Lotus-Ford to victory in the 1978 Grand Prix of the Netherlands (Bernard Cahier/Getty Images).

Andretti’s son, Michael, took a full-time ride with McLaren in 1993 but left with three races remaining in a season marred by crashes and mechanical problems.

Scott Speed was the last American to run a full F1 season in 2006, and Alexander Rossi made the most recent F1 start by a U.S. driver in 2015. Rossi has said he has no desire to return to racing in Europe after winning the 2016 Indianapolis 500 and becoming an IndyCar championship contender.

But Mario Andretti believes Andretti Autosport has another rising star with F1-caliber ability.

“Colton Herta is one that comes to mind,” Mario Andretti said. “As a young lad, his dad sent him to Europe, he was doing Formula 3, and he knows most of the circuits there. He’s trained. He’s showed in his rookie season and won some premium races at COTA (and Laguna Seca), beat two of the very best Indy has to offer (in) Will Power and Scott Dixon.

“This is one kid I’d love to see him get a break over there to fly the U.S. colors again.”

Herta, 20, seems interested in exploring an F1 leap over the next few years. After winning Sept. 13 at Mid-Ohio from the pole position (his third career victory in the NTT IndyCar Series), the No. 88 Dallara-Honda driver is ranked fourth in the standings in his sophomore year and regarded as one of the series’ top prospects.

Herta recently told RACER.com “I’d love to give Formula 1 a crack” but said he also would be happy driving in IndyCar and IMSA.

A naturalized U.S. citizen who told Petty about spending several years with his family in an Italian refugee camp before coming to America, Mario Andretti said F1 brought an enormous sense of patriotic pride.

“Formula One is like the Olympics in a sense,” he said. “You’re in a different country, a different continent. When you earn that highest step of the podium, they play your national anthem. That’s when you take nothing for granted. You feel like I’m representing my country, and the proudest moments are those.

“I’d just like to see some other American drivers experience that. It’s time.”

Mario Andretti with four-time NASCAR champion Jeff Gordon and six-time Formula One champion Lewis Hamilton before the Nov. 22, 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway (Jared C. Tilton/NASCAR via Getty Images).

During the “Coffee With Kyle” conversation, Andretti also discussed:

–His versatility as a winner in IndyCar, sports cars, NASCAR and Formula One;

–His 1967 Daytona 500 victory and how he enjoyed racing with crew chief Jake Elder at the famed Holman-Moody team;

Mario Andretti Colton Herta
Mario Andretti and Kyle Petty saluted “The King” by wearing their Richard Petty-style hats during the latest “Coffee With Kyle” (NBCSN).

–Why he delayed his entry to F1 for a few years because of his earnings power in IndyCar. “I always say I’d race for free, but at the same time, you’re thinking of family and the future,” he said. “It was in the back of your mind that you can’t give up the earning power of IndyCar. That kept me from going full time in Formula One, but I always said that sometime in my career, I’d have to devote a period to Formula One.”

–On what it was like racing in an era when driver deaths were more prevalent. “If you’re going to do this, you’re not going to dwell on those negatives,” Andretti said. “There’s no way. You knew it was present. Especially in the ‘60s at the beginning of the season at the drivers meetings, you couldn’t help but look around and say, ‘I wonder who is not going to be here at the end of the season.’ We’d lose four to five guys. In ’64, we lost six guys.

“It’s something if you dwell on that, you’re going to take on a different profession. It’s a desire and love to want to drive that overcame all that and then the confidence it’s not going to happen to me. And then you pray.”

Watch the full “Coffee With Kyle” episode in the video above or by clicking here.

Mario Andretti looks on before the 103rd Indianapolis 500 on May 26, 2019 (Chris Graythen/Getty Images).