Who was the best driver of the Australian Grand Prix weekend?

2011 Australian Grand Prix

Start, Melbourne, 2011

Start, Melbourne, 2011

Who was the most impressive driver throughout the Australian Grand Prix weekend?

See below for my pick of the best drivers in the Australian Grand Prix.

Review each driver’s race weekend in detail below and vote for who you thought was the most impressive driver.

For your consideration

Here are some of the drivers who impressed me during the Australian Grand Prix weekend:

Sebastian Vettel – He may have the best car underneath him, but look at the gap to his team mate and you know he’s making the most of it.

Lewis Hamilton – Split the fastest cars on the track in qualifying and nursed his injured MP4-26 to the flag.

Vitaly Petrov – Quick in qualifying, opportunistic at the start, and looked after his tyres for a fully deserved podium finish.

Fernando Alonso – Fought back effectively with some good passes after being crowded out at the start.

Sergio Perez – A mature drive and a great debut performance – no-one else managed just one pit stop.

Compare all the drivers

You can review what happened to each driver over the race weekend and compare their performances with their team mates using the links below:

Red Bull: Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber
McLaren: Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton
Ferrari: Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa
Mercedes: Nico Rosberg and Michael Schumacher
Renault: Nick Heidfeld and Vitaly Petrov
Williams: Rubens Barrichello and Pastor Maldonado
Force India: Adrian Sutil and Paul di Resta
Sauber: Kamui Kobayashi and Sergio Perez
Toro Rosso: Sebastien Buemi and Jaime Alguersuari
Lotus: Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen
HRT: Narain Karthikeyan and Vitantonio Liuzzi
Virgin: Timo Glock and Jerome d’Ambrosio

Vote for your driver of the weekend

Which driver impressed you the most throughout the Australian Grand Prix weekend? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

Who was the best driver of the Australian Grand Prix weekend?

  • Sebastian Vettel (12%)
  • Mark Webber (0%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (11%)
  • Jenson Button (1%)
  • Fernando Alonso (5%)
  • Felipe Massa (0%)
  • Michael Schumacher (0%)
  • Nico Rosberg (0%)
  • Nick Heidfeld (0%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (33%)
  • Rubens Barrichello (0%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (0%)
  • Adrian Sutil (0%)
  • Paul di Resta (1%)
  • Kamui Kobayashi (0%)
  • Sergio Perez (36%)
  • Sebastien Buemi (0%)
  • Jaime Alguersuari (0%)
  • Heikki Kovalainen (0%)
  • Jarno Trulli (0%)
  • Narain Karthikeyan (1%)
  • Vitantonio Liuzzi (0%)
  • Timo Glock (0%)
  • Jerome d'Ambrosio (1%)

Total Voters: 799

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Rate the Race: Australian Grand Prix

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2011 Australian Grand Prix

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163 comments on Who was the best driver of the Australian Grand Prix weekend?

1 2 3 5
  1. Bernard (@bernard) said on 28th March 2011, 21:07

    Perez, superb.

    • UKfanatic (@) said on 28th March 2011, 21:22

      yes I would say perez but he raced with an illegal rear wing so I’ll have to pick Alonso for driving such a twitchy car to 4th place massa was far slower or Vettel cause of the lead to Webber anyway mclaren looks stronger than red bull believe in me

      • The wing may have been illegal but this has nothing to do with the driver? Especially since it has been widely reported that this was none performance enhancing. He still out performed Kobayashi in an identical car and didn’t make any rookie errors!

        • infy (@infy) said on 28th March 2011, 22:21

          As much as I enjoyed Parez’s drive and felt happy for him, I also could not vote for him, knowing he probably gained an advantage due to the wing. His team boss has said it was not performance enhancing, but of course he would say that! He is trying to win an appeal, and that is what he would base the appeal on.

          Considering they set the highest top speed, and the rear wing is the greatest factor when it comes to drag, I think it is evident that they had gained some sort of advantage.

        • ftgtt said on 29th March 2011, 0:59

          kobayashi made one stop mor than perez,and still was cloe behind him ,so perez in overrated right now. Alonso was the best ,passed cars, was 9-11 in the first lap and almost got into the podium even though he made one more stop than hamiltn,vettel and petrov. last but not least he has 3-of the 5 fastest laps of the rae with the hard tires.

          • BBT (@bbt) said on 29th March 2011, 8:32

            @ftgtt I agree over rated, rose coloured specs for a lot of people, its the good story / emotional aspect getting in the way of sound judgement (just like people saving they should not be DSQ, how anyone can say that it beyond me), I but it was still one of the best Rookie performances in recent times, respect to him for that.

          • Mike said on 29th March 2011, 11:07

            You do realise the whole idea of a 2 stopper is to be able to make up the time by driving faster right?

            Perez made one stop, and made it work!

      • Andy W (@andy-w) said on 28th March 2011, 23:20

        Sorry but Perez still drove a brilliant race and is deserving of praise, whether his car was illegal or not. I am sure we will find out if the illegality was performance enhancing or not by whether Sauber appeals or not… and how that appeal is treated if it is lodged.

        For me its joint honours for Perez and Petrov for driver of the day, both drove superb races and gave themselves high benchmarks to live up to this season. I think Petrov was my driver of the weekend, he set about practice and honed his car well enough to get 6th in qualifying and then made a great start and worked his way to third and then held of the attentions of both Alonso and Webber who were running fresher rubber than him. I was impressed by the way he talked to Martin on the grid and his obvious joy at his podium felt real… I would imagine that he is probably still no more than 5 foot away from that trophy at any time… thats if he has let go at all…

        Petrov has given himself a perfect start to the season and we will just have to see if he can carry on this form… Renault have a tendency to develop their cars quickly and effectively… if Petrov can maintain this form who knows he might find himself racing for race wins on occasion before the season is out, oh and before anyone talks about his rookie season, he did well… when he wasn’t making rookie mistakes. We have seen plenty of world champions make mistakes in their rookie seasons… not sure if Petrov is world champion material or not but he might be a Rubens or DC….

        • Michel S. (@hircus) said on 29th March 2011, 12:36

          I’m in complete agreement. If the illegality is not found to be performance-enhancing, the least they could do is reinstate the drivers’ points and either give the team zero points, or fine them instead.

          If the team gets zero points, though, I wonder — do the other teams get moved up in the constructor championship? That’d be a headache to keep track of — for Sauber and every team behind them that gets constructor points in Australia, it’d no longer be the case that the sum of all driver points = team points.

    • Gambit said on 28th March 2011, 21:34

      Perez of course!

    • ftgtt said on 29th March 2011, 1:09

      perez is overrated, he wouldn’t have finished in the poitns if it wasn’t becuase there were at least 8 cars that had dnf’s ,the williams,the mercedez,the badly injured renault driven by heidfield,etc,etc,etc. Perez did only one stop while everybody else did at least 2 and kobayashi was just a few seconds behind him.also he gained an unfairadvantage over everybody by driving with an illegal rear wing.

      • unoc said on 29th March 2011, 2:21

        Perez is slightly overrated currently, but since many saw him as a bit of pay driver he is bloody quick for that. A real driver.

        D’Ambrosio wasn’t mentioned because he was in a back car doing nothing, but for a first race he kept it all together, no stupid mistakes, we don’t know about pace but he hasn’t far off

        But anyway…

        In Russia, Car drive you… to the podium… so Petrov

        • Hatebreeder (@hatebreeder) said on 29th March 2011, 3:42

          i voted for petrov n then read perez did just 1 stop! :O
          my vote for perez tho i voted for vitaly.
          tho an awesome 3rd place drive by petrov!

          • BasCB (@bascb) said on 29th March 2011, 7:53

            LOL, I guess that evens up for me voting for Perez but feeling it might have gone to Petrov just as well.

            Both did a great job to show there is hope for the rookies of the last generation.

          • unoc said on 29th March 2011, 9:10

            SO you’re voting on the best driver in a race you didn’t watch…. oookay

    • ALONSO4EVER (@alonso4ever) said on 2nd April 2011, 21:27

      i would say perez but alonso is the one that was doing a lot of overtakes and gained a lot of places during the race

  2. DaveF1 (@davef1) said on 28th March 2011, 21:07

    It was a toss up between Petrov and Perez for me but in the end I went for Sergio.

    • kaddison (@kaddison) said on 28th March 2011, 21:09

      I had the same dilemma, but went with Petrov

      • Fixy (@fixy) said on 28th March 2011, 22:03

        Me too because he was exceptionally good in front of fast cars and especially for him it’s an important result. Perez was perfect but was anyway behind, obviously slower than others.

        • Ral (@ral) said on 28th March 2011, 22:43

          Me too, but because I thought Perez would win in the end and thought Petrov deserved a good mention at least. ;)

          Both really impressed this weekend. Perez for obvious reasons, but I think Petrov really stepped up to the plate and a little soundbite from Ted Kravitz in his “Australia from the pitlane” video on the BBC website, is really why I voted for Petrov. In a conversation/interview with Kravitz, apparently Petrov quoted Webber and said “not bad for a number 2 driver”.

          Webber said it just to make a point, but Petrov really is just a second driver. Even Kubica’s replacement was brought in very specifically as Kubica’s replacement and Renault’s hope to stay in the running to compete at the front. And I think it shows Petrov’s mental strength to come out with the all-weekend performance he did, because remember he had been faster than Heidfeld every single session before the race as well.

          It was only after the race that Boullier finally made it a point to say “let’s just forget about what-ifs from now on and focus on Petrov and the job he did and we expect him to continue to do”. Again, to perform the way he did, while being treated very publicly as a second driver, to me really proves that Petrov has “grown up” and is, in the very best possible way, telling Renault “look here, look at me, I’m your driver too you know”. And to his credit, I think Boullier was listening.

      • Jarred Walmsley (@jarred-walmsley) said on 29th March 2011, 3:24

        Same here, if we could pick our top three then Sergio would definitely have made it, but I felt that Petrov drove a very controlled race, good strategy and ended up on the podium and caused Renault to be 4th in Constructors

    • US_Peter (@us_peter) said on 29th March 2011, 0:09

      Same dilemma for me. I went with Petrov just for his fantastic start and double pass into turn 1. Still neck and neck though, looks like my vote tied Petrov and Perez both at 93.

  3. James (@jamesf1) said on 28th March 2011, 21:09

    It was close between Perez and Petrov, but Perez gets my vote. Drove a solid race, beat his team mate, scored points and had good pace, all in his debut race.

    Massa should be looking over his shoulder, because the bloke driving that in the Sauber could be in his seat next year if he maintains such excellent pace

  4. Obviously Vettel and Petrov.

    • bob80 said on 28th March 2011, 21:25

      Agree, although I’m not sure what happened to Webber. He was beating Vettel last year and when he lost it was often below 0.2 or even 0.1 s

      • F1iLike said on 29th March 2011, 9:52

        Just the first race.. I’m sure Webber will be closer and sometimes beat him. Vettel has the upperhand but Webber shouldn’t be this far off.. No one should to his team mate.

  5. irishlad (@irishlad) said on 28th March 2011, 21:10

    Cant really look past Vettel, he has beeen unreal this weekend, putting Webber to shame, in Quali and in the race too.

    Big mention to Petrov and Perez also.

  6. James (@jamesf1) said on 28th March 2011, 21:11

    Also, do Karthikeyan and Liuzzi qualify for this vote, as they didnt even qualify for the race? Or are these polls judged on the whole weekend? =s

  7. newnhamlea1 (@newnhamlea1) said on 28th March 2011, 21:11

    had to be Petrov for me, what a way to prove the doubters!

  8. Zadak (@thezadak) said on 28th March 2011, 21:12

    someone is going to vote for Karthikeyan just to be funny, just wait.

    Petrov for me

  9. Cole (@cole) said on 28th March 2011, 21:12

    As the question was who was the best I had no doubt:

    Vettel. Superp quali, good start (remember with no kers) and flawless drive.

    If the question would have been who impressed me the most, would have probably gone for Perez and Petrov.

  10. Harry Palmer (@harry-palmer) said on 28th March 2011, 21:12

    I was tempted to vote for Karthikeyan, but in the end Perez just nicked it!

    • TommyB (@tommyb89) said on 28th March 2011, 21:48

      Karthikeyan was pretty bad. As for worst drive of the race I have no idea what Rubens Barrichello was playing at.

      For a guy who’s been in 36% of all F1 races, he drove like a rookie all weekend.

      • Worst driver was, I agree, Rubens Barrichello… mistake in Qualifying and 2 huge clangers in the race – he deserved his penalty and I hope he had a long hard think… and i’m a big fan of his!

        BUT – Mark Webber runs him close… my prediction pre-season of him being destroyed by Vettel is coming true very quickly.

        • John H said on 28th March 2011, 23:44

          Rubens may just be passed the tipping point now. Let’s see how the season unfolds, but he drove a little like my grandad on Sunday, destroying sidepods left right and centre.

          • Hare (@hare) said on 29th March 2011, 1:55

            Past the tipping point? No chance.. that’s one race. he needs to have 10 bad races to merit that accusation.

          • Mike said on 29th March 2011, 11:34

            Blimey you guys are quick off the mark, if he’d have made the pass you’d all be saying how great he is!

            It’s like Kobayashi only the opposite!

          • Michel S. (@hircus) said on 29th March 2011, 12:41

            Well it’s not the first time Rubens was involved in controversial overtaking maneuvers. Sometimes he’s at the receiving end (e.g. almost getting shoved to the wall by Schumacher last year) but more often he’s the one attempting irresponsible passes.

            Remember his early races with Brawn in 2009? When he was using his car like a tractor, shoving everyone out of the way?

          • John H said on 29th March 2011, 13:03

            Hare, re-read this please:

            “may just be passed the tipping point now. Let’s see how the season unfolds”

            note the word ‘may’. There is no accusation here.

  11. dennis (@dennis) said on 28th March 2011, 21:14

    Hard between Vettel’s flawless drive and Petrov’s “underdog” podium. Went for Vettel, still.

    And completely disagree on Alonso… Yes, he was indeed unlucky at the start, but he only “fought” back after Button eliminated himself and Massa would have moved over eventually, anyway. Not to mention Webber’s bad day. He inherited a lot of points this weekend again. Definitely not driver of the race material.

    • infy (@infy) said on 28th March 2011, 22:27

      Compared to Vettel who had a second a lap quickest car on the grid, who started first and cruised to win. Compared to Lewis, who started second and cruised to second, in the second quickest car?

      Also, its the start of a new year with new tyres. Ferrari has not yet decided on which driver to throw their weight behind. It is a well known fact that they will wait until a certain part of the season before deciding who to support. They would have let the two race it out, because at this point it is any ones season to win, and eliminating one of their drivers from contention in the first race makes very, very little tactical sense.

      • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 28th March 2011, 22:38

        It is a well known fact that they will wait until a certain part of the season before deciding who to support

        The first race?

      • dennis (@dennis) said on 28th March 2011, 23:51

        Ferrari generally makes very little tactical sense.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 29th March 2011, 7:58

        Personally I think Alonso already has the upper hand on his team mate.

        Massa was really good from the startline and a great defence from Button. But after that he just slowed, let Alonso past (to do a good inlap) and never really saw his teammate again until after the race.

  12. alonsodz said on 28th March 2011, 21:15

    Perez first race outstanding 8)
    Alonso fight legendary ;)

    • John H said on 28th March 2011, 23:49

      Perez was indeed outstanding, but Alonso ‘legendary’ is perhaps a little strong.

      I’d like to put a word in for Di Resta – a point on debut is a decent achievement.

    • Todfod (@todfod) said on 29th March 2011, 9:02

      ‘legendary’ is a bit much. If he caught upto Petrov and overtook him, then it would have been legendary.

  13. newnhamlea1 (@newnhamlea1) said on 28th March 2011, 21:16

    In fairness Karthikeyan never actually crashed.

  14. Sergio Perez by a country mile!

    • mateuss (@mateuss) said on 29th March 2011, 20:14

      This is very unfair, everyone is voting for Perez because most of the readers are Mexican and this is a Mexican site… No wait… ****, thats not right!

      But on a serious note – I was truly stunted by his performance, at one point he set purple S2 and I thought ‘his tyres are going, he must have cut the fast chicane’ but he kept replicating the times and was often on the pace with the leader, putting in lap times similar to people on three stops, I’am still amazed by this.

  15. Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 28th March 2011, 21:19

    Perez, Perez, Perez.

    No one else came close to putting in as remarkable a performance as he did.

  16. The_Pretender (@the_pretender) said on 28th March 2011, 21:20

    Some great drives all around. Vettel was in a race of his own, he was ominously perfect all weekend. Hamilton split the Bulls and managed the gap to Petrov to keep his car running. Perez did the unthinkable and one-stopped, but also showed real pace on a great debut. But man of the race has to be Petrov, who would have predicted this after Korea last year? He put in a great lap under the pressure of qualifying a single flying lap in Q3, made a superb start (seems to be his trademark doesn’t it), was consistent all race and completely deserved his podium finish.

  17. I put Petrov but he only really gets it because I’ve let my heart rule as my head can’t decide. It’s always a big achievement to bag a first podium and after last season his controlled display was really impressive. Vettel and Hamilton also did the maximum but they had a slightly easier time of it than Petrov given their cars and experience. Alonso’s fightback was brilliant but his bad start stops him from getting it for me. I really nearly went for Perez as he was mighty too especially as he chose a completely different strategy which most would have thought wasn’t possible.

    I was also impressed with Rubens move on Kobayashi he was driver of the moment when he pulled that off but then he completely wrecked it and had a fairly erratic weekend. Race craft wise I was impressed with Massa for holding off Button as usually his defending isn’t his greatest asset but his tyres were gone so he ditched them for a late stop which just seemed a daft strategy to me.

    • Maciek (@maciek) said on 28th March 2011, 22:15

      Nice analysis!

    • Adam Tate (@adam-tate) said on 29th March 2011, 5:53

      It seemed daft to me too Steph, shame out favorite driver didn’t try and stay out and fight with Perez the way he did with Button at the beginning of the race :(

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 29th March 2011, 8:02

      I think Petrov really showed just why it makes sense to keep rookies when they show promise but are mistake prone in their first season.

      He really stepped into the void at the team to grab his chance and show there is a very good driver in him.

      I agree on you about Massa. Very good start to the race, after that he did not battle Alonso (makes sense Alonso needed a good inlap to get past Webber) but strategy was not really their strong point. And they looked like they were really struggling on the tyres in Melbourne

      • Thanks Maciek!

        Adam I don’t think Massa could have stayed out as he would have lost more time given the condition of his tyres (no clue how Perez made it work). It all could have been planned better.

        Agree with you BasCB.

  18. HounslowBusGarage (@hounslowbusgarage) said on 28th March 2011, 21:21

    Either Perez or Petrov. I finally voted Petrov, but could have voted Perez.
    Funny; no one’s voted Heidfeld.

  19. f199player (@f199player) said on 28th March 2011, 21:22

    Other than Vettel it had to be Petrov. Fantastic drive

  20. MattHT (@mattht) said on 28th March 2011, 21:23

    I’m gonna say Petrov. Every drive is a pressure drive for him, and that was a cool display in Melbourne.

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