Start, Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona, 2011

Vote for the best driver of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend

Debates and pollsPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Start, Barcelona, 2011
Start, Barcelona, 2011

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

See below for my pick of the best drivers in the Spanish 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 Spanish Grand Prix weekend:

Sebastian Vettel – Was made to work a bit harder for this one and rebuffed some serious pressure from Lewis Hamilton.

Lewis Hamilton – Dogged in his pursuit of Vettel but never really had a chance to make a move.

Fernando Alonso – Excellent qualifying lap, brilliant start, lacked the car to do much else.

Nick Heidfeld – Started last after a fire in practice, but finished ahead of his team mate, who had started sixth.

Kamui Kobayashi – Another driver who made an impressive recovery, after picking up a puncture on the first lap.

Compare all the drivers

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 Spanish Grand Prix weekend? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

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

  • Sebastian Vettel (24%)
  • Mark Webber (0%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (40%)
  • Jenson Button (6%)
  • Fernando Alonso (13%)
  • Felipe Massa (0%)
  • Michael Schumacher (2%)
  • Nico Rosberg (0%)
  • Nick Heidfeld (9%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (0%)
  • Rubens Barrichello (0%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (0%)
  • Adrian Sutil (0%)
  • Paul di Resta (0%)
  • Kamui Kobayashi (4%)
  • Sergio Perez (1%)
  • Sebastien Buemi (0%)
  • Jaime Alguersuari (0%)
  • Heikki Kovalainen (0%)
  • Jarno Trulli (0%)
  • Narain Karthikeyan (0%)
  • Vitantonio Liuzzi (0%)
  • Timo Glock (0%)
  • Jerome d'Ambrosio (0%)

Total Voters: 482

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Turkish Grand Prix result

Fernando Alonso was voted the best driver of the Turkish Grand Prix weekend:

1. Fernando Alonso – 37.8%
2. Kamui Kobayashi – 25.8%
3. Sebastian Vettel – 22.1%

Rate the Race: Spanish Grand Prix

Don’t forget to cast your vote in the ‘rate the race’ poll as well:

Image ?? Pirelli

130 comments on “Vote for the best driver of the Spanish Grand Prix weekend”

    1. Two words: Lewis Hamilton!
      He kept the pace of a clearly faster Vettel, an incredible job in earning those seconds that separated them.
      Alonso was awesome, with a great qualifying, a great start, but the car was poor and the result plays a significant part in my judgement. Not much he could do, but he still was lapped.

      1. your bias is astounding. vettel won the race in a slower car. LH couldn’t get the job done in a faster car.

        1. Vettel winning in a slower car is debatable.

        2. you saw qualifying right??

          1. Are you suggesting Vettel’s car was a second a lap quicker than Hamilton’s in the race, yet Hamilton was still faster in the latter stages? One-lap pace is not race pace and Red Bull is clearly not as fast (relative performance to others) in races as it is in qualy. There’s a chance Vettel had a slightly faster car and Hamilton drove better, or the other way around. There’s no way to know, but you can be sure that both cars had similar race pace.

          2. Indeed, RBR very quick there, but I don’t think they had such a car advantage in race trim.

          3. lewis had better race pace, he said so in the post race interview.

          4. Actually I think the cars were just about matched in the race, with differing strenghts.
            Vettel did have superb pitstops, helping him get back in front and keep ahead though.

        3. Except the RB7 wasnt the slower car where it mattered. It was WAY faster in Q, meaning Vettel had track position advantage. It was slightly faster, it seemed, on the softs. It was only on the hard tires that the MP4-26 was faster, and even still the downforce advantage of the RB7 prevented Hamilton from getting within striking distance. I think its safe to say that Vettel had the faster car, all things considered.

          1. Well both are correct. The RBR was much faster on softs and Hamilton was a bit faster than the RBR on Hards. Vettel should of really cleared Alonso though, the fact he didn’t kept Hamilton in with a shout once they got onto hards. Great drive by both, the clock nor me could hardly separate them.

        4. I support Massa. In 2008 Hamilton was Massa’s enemy, so you can call me biased towards anyone apart from Hamilton.

          1. I support Massa too and I think Hamilton did a slightly better job.

        5. And the 3rd comment is already someone shouting bias! they never learn…

      2. @Fixy

        The car shouldn’t matter, this is all about the driver.

        1. I know, but I felt a driver, ended 5th and lapped, could not be voted best driver against someone who superbly kept Vettel’s pace throughout the race and earned positions.

        2. Too hard to call. I can’t remember a race where it was so hard to choose a driver of the day.

          Vettel drove arguably one of his best races. He didn’t win from pole, had to overtake several cars after his pitstop and resist the huge pressure from Hamilton.

          Hamilton drove an incredible race to finish 0.6 seconds off an unbeatable Red Bull on a Red Bull favoured track

          Alonso did amazingly well to keep Webber behind him for so long. His incredible start led to him leading many laps in an average car.

          Heidfeld, while not making as many places up as Webber in China, drove a great race. He started from last on the grid and remember the Renault isn’t nearly as quick as the Red Bull.

          Other shout-outs to Button, Schumacher and the Sauber guys.

          All I know is that it definitely wasn’t Felipe Massa.

          1. Not so hard for me, it was easily Vettel. Peter Windsor said it best I think:

            No, the Seb-Lewis duel in Spain was a classic example of brilliant motor racing without the passing; as a spectacle it far surpassed the wholesale place-changing in Turkey, and before that in China. Both drivers were superb in every way – were stunning to watch either as individuals or as a pair. Lewis extracted all there was to extract from a McLaren at Barcelona; and Seb Vettel, the World Champion, was exemplary in both attack, defence and mechanical sympathy. This, in my view, was his best win to date: he never allowed Lewis the room he needed at T16 – and he was faultless, as I say, under heaving braking into T1.

            For me Vettel was the driver of the weekend for his defense alone. The McLaren has faster straight line speed, the best KERS, and had the DRS advantage behind Vettel. It was also performing better on the hard tires, and Vettel’s KERS was intermittent at best. If you add all those things up, Hamilton should’ve gotten by considering he’s supposedly F1’s best overtaker. The driver who actually made overtaking moves that stuck wheit mattered? Vettel, and those moves weren’t DRS assisted.

          2. @US_Peter – it’s easy to turn things around though. Vettel made his over takes on vastly superior tyres. He rarely had to defend too hard against Hamilton, due to having a superior car in the high speed corners and a last corner configuration that nullified any advantage Hamilton might have gained from KERS / DRS. Being F1’s best over taker doesn’t help in such circumstances.

            Both guys did everything they could, and without a mistake from the one in front things were never likely to change.

          3. AGree with Simon. Lets not forget, despite the action we saw today, all the overtaking was done on vastly superior tyres, an Spain has been traditionaly hell for the overtaker.

          4. vettel was faster in the corners and whatever gap he made through the corners, he lost with hamilton’s pace aided by kers and DRS. and I think no matter how many more laps the 2 wouldve never swapped positions. and anyway DRS has never really aided overtaking. it’s just a way of gettin closer to position your car to pass. so it’s really difficult to choose anyone of the 2. one defended really well, anticipating lewis’s every move and the other attacked really well without going wide or making any mistakes keeping the pressure on throughout till the end of the race. i chose lewis. favoritism.

          5. @Simon, again it is easy to turn everything around again. Vettel withstood massive pressure from Hamilton in the last 10 laps. He was forced to turn of his KERS, and then turn it on again. He only had to make 1 mistake and Hamilton would pass. So imagine how hard the last 10 laps were and what a massive effort this race win was.

          6. @US_Peter – brilliantly put, especially underscoring Vettel’s great overtakings (a Ferrari and a McLaren, anyone?) on a circuit where people say you can’t overtake. He was the man of the weekend, albeit not flawless – just to mention qualifying stumble and letting Alonso go past during the start.

            Lewis was only second best this time.

          7. The top two both did a good job, but I have to say I think the effort of defense is being overstated. Ham was probably faster overall at the end, but not through the last corner, and not by all that much anyway (given that he didn’t catch Vettel particularly quickly).

            The redbulls followed a comparatively much slower Alonso early in the race, *and* had their pace advantage in the final corner, and still couldn’t get in position to overtake.

            It looked tense for a while, but without a big mistake, I didn’t expect anything to happen.

            I don’t concur with the quote saying that it surpassed China given such little chance of a change of position.

  1. I say Seb. He fought for it, from the beginning, and showed once again that he can win under pressure.

    1. Surely you mean that for the first time this season he can win under pressure? He is hugely rapid and undoubtedly talented, I am not arguing that, but I do not think he has hed to do anything apart from cruise for the majority of the last GPs.

    2. Agreed, he withstood Hamilton and overtook some guys outsiode the DRS zone. Maybe his overtakes were on fresh tyres, but they were clean, immediate and without contact. Not bad for a crash kid.

      It really looks as if he has got that little extra confidence which seems to come with winning a championship.

      Although Alonso came very close for me. That qualifying lap and start were history.

    3. I vote D’Ambrosio, I didn’t see him once he was going so fast!

  2. vettel and hamilton continually show their team-mates how to set the tone for the race from the start. its beautiful.
    my vote is for hamilton, for biding his time and continually pumping out good lap times one after the other. although, vettel’s drive was also a good one, his overtakes were astoundingly average, not too much great about having a faster car, DRS and fresh tyres, but still a very good race by him aswell.

    1. *i think it was only actually 1 or 2 of the 4 overtakes he made using the DRS, so my criticism is slightly reduced in magnitude

  3. also, keith, could the drivers be placed in a list as it’s just a lot easier to see the names. (it might just be me being overly pedantic)

  4. oh and before anyone votes for button.. driving a recovery drive from 10th to 3rd isn’t all that great seeing as it was his error that put him down in 10th..

    1. Exactly and he was pretty slow on the hard tyres compare to his team mate. If people are voting based on place driver makes, Heidfeld should be driver of the race then.

    2. Doesn’t mean that it wasn’t impressive anyway! You saw what happened to Webber and Alonso on the hard tyres: Alonso certainly is one of the most talented drivers on the grid. yet button made a three-stop strategy work. Who else in the top five managed to do that, and actually hang on to their position in the last ten laps?!

    3. Too late! I already voted before reading your comment ;)

      I voted Button just because his impressive recovery wasn’t mentioned by Keith for our consideration (and I thought Hamilton would take the vote without my “help”)! High point of Button’s race was overtaking Webber and Alonso on the same lap, when they had been battling with each other for 40 laps, lol!

      1. Even Button admitted he was on better tires so i doubt he would be excited knowing his rubber was 2 seconds faster than what Alonso and Webber were on. Nonetheless, he still managed to hold onto his position despite having one lesser stop compared to the two and for that i think he was quite impressive … not as good a Hamilton but quite good ;)

      2. I voted Button simply because I thought his performance with a three stop strategy was fantastic. And while his recovery drive wasn’t amazing, he managed to overtake better cars and drivers with the strategy. I thought that was impressive enough.

        Vettel did quite well and it was actually a hard choice. He actually lost in a coin flip.

        What I don’t get is the Alonso love. The man leading the race finished a lapped fifth. I realize it was due to strategy but still. That’s awful.

  5. Taking in to account that he was under pressure from arguably the best overtaker in F1 right now and managing to stay ahead of a faster car (again, arguable but I have reason to believe that the race pace of the Mclaren is better than RBR) – I think Vettel.
    I doubt Vettel will win this though. He never seems to for some reason.

  6. Vettel or Hamilton. Vettel really worked hard for it and Hamilton was sublime on those hard tyres.

  7. I vote Vettel- he usually doesn’t win this poll because he wins by miles (often seen as “too easy”). Well with a hungry Lewis Hamilton breathing down his neck, that wasn’t easy.

    1. So he doesn’t deserve driver of the weekend when he’s so fast he has no competition, but when someone challenges him he deserves it? :)

      1. Yep, that’s the logic of a large portion of this site it seems, and I’m using that to vote for Vettel :)

      2. Victories by big margins are often associated with superior car performance (a reasonable assumption), whereas close fought victories are more likely to involve cars with similar levels of performance (another reasonable assumption).

        Therefore, it makes perfect sense that driver of the day is given to someone perceived as having taken on others with similar equipment and come out on top.

        If someone is miles ahead, but has a superior car, how do you judge his performance compared to others who did have to battle?

  8. Fernando Alonso got the most out his car this weekend and then some. His qualifying was absolutely inspired managing to splitting the much faster McLarens and out-qualifying his team mate by nearly a second. Fernando described his lap as “perfect” it was so impressive calling it perfect seems an understatement. Then his start was fantastic having the guts to keep his foot in it with the Red Bulls moving all over the place in front of him.

    The Ferrari never had the pace to win the race but he put in a valiant effort keeping the lead for 20 laps and then re-passing Webber whilst he was struggling on the hard tyres. Hamilton drove a great race as well, but his qualifying lap was merely good, Alonso’s was one of the best of his career and thats why Alonso should be driver of the weekend.

    1. I voted Alonso as well.. for the exact same reasons as you stated. He really didn’t have a car capable of fighting for the podium this weekend, yet he took more out of his machinery than any other driver did out of theirs.

      1. I also voted for Alonso for many of the same reasons.

        Hamilton and Vettel were great, but Alonso did the best start of them, and I think he also got the most out of his car in Q3, or those two would have been further ahead. I think all three of them did the best they could after that.

    2. Couldn’t agree more, exactly why I voted for him.

      1. If it was last year (with one pit stop only) I’m pretty sure Alonso would’ve won, which would surely go down as one of the best wins of his career.

        1. With the tools Alonso had that was an astonishing weekend. Gets my vote.

          Plus he’s moving from Switzerland back to Spain –

          “It’s great to go home. I’m happy to pay the money. I’m not poor – just a little bit less rich now,”

          Good for you son

          1. Considering Spain’s fiscal straits right now, Alonso’s tax receipts are much needed, but more so the sentiment of better off Spaniards not turnig their back on the country. (I’m not looking at you, Lewis Hamilton, not directly.) Funny though how this happens right after he inks his Ferrari deal!

          2. I voted alonso too, the roar of the crowd after the first corner was incredible.

            Brought a tear to my eye

        2. that’s what i was thinking when it became clear he wasn’t and couldn’t win; if this had been 2010, i think, given the difficulty to overtake, the need for only one stop and alonso’s defensive driving skills, he might’ve taken the win.

          and then he’d have been in a completely different position in the championship… well marginally better position anyway.

        3. You guys are making me feel guilty that I voted for Hamilton! :P

    3. **warning for total girl comment ahead**

      I might be a little in love with Alonso after this weekend — his q3 lap, and then his happiness to have driven so well, even after he was told it only placed him fourth; that incredible start and the reaction of the crowd; to lead so long and fight so hard in that car; the bewilderment of the other drivers at his performance. *swoons!!!*

      Anyway, I voted for him. I’m new to this, and I’ve found F1 entertaining and exciting so far, but Alonso this weekend made it seem strange and beautiful as well.

      (I’ll make an effort not to comment like this in the future. Apologies!)

      1. @ flowerdew
        absolutely beautiful
        ♥♥♥

    4. i only can say the same than you.

      alonso should be the driver of the weekend. because the fact of winning with a good car, is easy.. not being fighting all race with faster cars.

  9. It’s easy to say Lewis or Sebastian, but they both had excellent cars, and while they didn’t do much wrong, you could argue that they were simply taking the credit their cars deserve.

    Meanwhile, Fernando Alonso does a super lap in qualifying, his best ever start (bar the Renault launch control days) and then successfully defends for many laps. There wasn’t much he could do as his car was so poor, but he still defended well and did everything he could while his teammate struggled to even control the same car. On the hard tyre, he kept Webber behind him, and even the final stint was impressive, making the “disastrous” tyre last so many laps.

  10. Im pleased to be able to vote for Lewis on this one.

    Fernando drove very well, particularly at the start, but after strapping on the hard tires he faded out of the picture completely. I have to admit that I enjoyed seeing Alonso get lapped at his home grand prix, as mean-spirited as that may be. Not really his fault, but also not driver of the race solely by virtue of getting that lightning start.

    Vettel also drove superbly, but started from the front row in the fastest car (all things considered) and the nature of the circuit really prohibited Hamilton (or anyone else) from seriously challenging him once he got into clean air. Not a slight against Vettel, just not quite driver of the race material as far as Im concerned.

    Hamilton really had no business being so quick, and he was able to take care of the soft tires to make his strategy work, even when following for long periods, and seemed faster than anybody on the new hard tires. Hope McLaren can close the gap and Lewis can keep up his determination in the meantime.

  11. Quick Nick

    1. I voted for Heidfeld too – you can only be measured against your teammate, and Heidfeld destroyed Petrov here, after Petrov qualified 6th and Nick didn’t qualify at all! Getting anything from the weekend after such a disruptive fire would have been impressive, but to perform how he did, storming through from the back and finishing right on the tail of the Mercs, gets him my vote without a doubt.

  12. Me and my friends had a very hard time identifying the “man of the race” of the Spanish GP, as there were so many outstanding performances.

    – Vettel? Easily one of them, outstarted his teammate, did some critical overtakes after joining back into pack after his first stop, and was able to resist Hamiltons attacks.

    – Hamilton? Also easily, basically the only one that could keep the pace of Vettel. He was close to repeat this fine performance in China, but Vettel didn’t make him a favour making a mistake. Very strong performance, though.

    – Button? His weekend and race didn’t started so, was knocked out of the first two rows that are literally reserved for Red Bull and McLaren, and a nightmareish start found him in P11, but fought back, proving for the very first time this year, that one less stop could also work, if you’re taking care of the tyres. And passed Webber and Alonso very convincingly on the track.

    – Alonso? Sure thing! His qualification was much more than his Ferrari would have allowed him to run. His start was one of the best (and cleanest) this year storming into the lead, keeping everyone behind himself for one third of the race (in the remaining two third he got lapped, but that’s just another question). It’s always an extra motivation for him to race at home, as we remember his second Renault era with a… erm… suboptimal car like this.

    – Schumacher? The “good” old times, when Michaels teammate wasn’t “able to” finish in front of him seem so far away, and Schumacher (kind of) outperformed Rosberg, taking home his best result this season so far (as he did also last year in Spain, with a 4. place that time)

    – Heidfeld? Starting from 24th, finishing 8th, these are only numbers. But if we saw his classic moves on the fellow drivers, we have to say that Spain must have been one of the highlights of his career.

    – Kobayashi? I can just pray that Kamui will never drive a Red Bull. Not because he doesn’t deserve it, only because with a superior car like that he won’t be forced to make those beautiful overtakes that make F1 to the “Kobaya-show”. Tyre failure and instant pit stop at the beginning, but a very valuable point at the end.

    – Kovalainen? Maybe it would sound strange, but I seriously think that Heikki is having the time of his career, and it’s visible for everyone even in a chanceless car like Lotus. The value of a starting position is not the same as last year, but his 15th place speaks for itself, constantly outperforming his 1-lap-specialist teammate Jarno Trulli, and he is the closest driver to the bottom of the midfield. Had a solid race, before ended up in the wall.

    Can you guys pick really just one of them? I seriously can’t, and that’s what I’m enjoying in this years F1!

    1. Nice summary Andrew! :)

    2. When I watch Button I have a feeling that he sleeps in the car the whole race and then the pitwall makes a good strategy and he wakes up on the podium.

      1. LMAO. I feel the exact same way.

    3. You can’t really say Kovalainen because he was trounced by Trulli in the race and then binned it under no pressure.

  13. wrong. the mclaren was faster in the race (hamilton said so himself in the post race interview) and LH still couldn’t get the job done. vettel drove one of, if not the best, race of his career, kers problems, brilliant strategy (didn’t just react to those around him like most others), critical overtakes, and running slower than the mclaren on the hard tyres. incredible drive.

    1. I’m also convinced Red Bull were absolutely no faster than the McLarens in the race pace. Button easily outperformed Webber despite coming from behind.

      The grow in consistency for Vettel in the last 10-12 races has been outstanding. Speed was always there, and this race showed it all.

    2. But all of this doesn’t matter, Vettel should be DOTW just for his team radio.

    3. vettel still had more downforce and was much quicker than mclaren in fast corners (hamilton said so himself in the post race interview lol).

    4. I also remember Hamilton saying that the RB7 is massively quick through high speed corners. The Mclaren is not. Hamilton was never gonna pass that RB7 due to the fact that it has the best aero package on the grid. The only chance he had was waiting for Vettel to screw up. BTW, if the Mclaren was faster in the race he would have passed Vettel. Check your facts. The RB7 is the most dominant car on the grid because of its aero package. When the car has that superior downforce you can brake later and accelerate sooner. Just watching Vettel shoot out of the last corner onto the pit straight is enough proof for me that Vettel and his RB7 are not going to be challenged for the remainder of the season.

  14. Vettel. Did everything right and arguably would have had pole were it not for kers although that’s just speculation. I nearly picked Fernando -he always seems to be one to consider- but strategy seemed a let down but I don’t see what more he could have done, Lewis seemed to mess up some of his qualifying lap and I know Catalunya is massively hard to pass on but with DRS and kers he was given a better chance than if it had been any other year and Jenson’s strategy was wonderful but he lacks outright pace compared to Lewis so I couldn’t put him. Seb ticked all of the boxes so he gets it for me.

    1. Only black mark was not overtaking Alonso and not even getting close to having a go.

    2. Agreed. Alonso was a close second for me.

      1. I don’t think Vettel would have been on pole even if he did have KERS. In the lap comparison, we saw Vettel ran deep into a few corners.

        1. True and like I said it’s only speculation and Mark handled the chicane a lot better but the times were so close that one can only wonder…

          1. Even Webber’s lap was pretty average. He could have gone a lot faster. But I do agree, Vettel should have been on pole. I’m very lucky that Mark did sneak home in the end, as I had predicted it! :P

  15. Perhaps Hamilton was driver of the weekend if we take into account qualifying, but I’m saying Vettel this time because he didn’t win from the front, completely out drove his team mate and fought well in the remaining 10 laps to make no mistakes and keep Hamilton behind.

  16. Dan_the_McLaren_fan (@dan_the_mclaren_fan)
    23rd May 2011, 19:28

    Of course, Hamilton was quite impressive, and my heart tells me to vote for him, but I’ve decided to vote for Vettel, because he has shown that now he can overtake very well. It was impressive to see him after his first stop juste how easily he overtook the cars in front of him, which was a big pack of cars). And when you saw how Webber struggled, you just think that Vettel is just a winning machine…
    And I hope this situation won’t last!

  17. Vettel this time for me, he made some very ballsy passes through traffic to make his aggressive strategy work, bravo.

  18. A toss-up between Alonso and Hamilton. It’s certainly not the first weekend I’ve said that in the past 3 and a bit years. I just had to go with Alonso though because of THAT lap and THAT start

  19. Keith. Can you please make it clear to readers that its the best driver of the weekend not of the race. I’m fed up with situations like at turkey where people said vettel was the best driver of the weekend when he trashed his car doing pointless runs in the wet meaning he missed FP2. People need to think about the whole weekend not just Sunday afternoon.

    1. what matters is the points on the sunday so it is the race people will naturally judge on as it is most important and then on qualifying and then, if needs be, the insignificant mistakes in practice. I’m not a vettel fan but saying his practice mistake made his qualifying or race less impressive seems madness!

      1. Mark Hitchcock
        23rd May 2011, 22:08

        If anything, missing FP2 made his quali and race even more impressive. He stuck it on pole with less track time than his rivals.

    2. I think it’s pretty clear.

    3. Yes ladzep4pm, lets vote for Webber because he was fastest in practice and qualifying.

  20. Jenson Button. Did a solid job on Saturday and made up a lot of places after his start, made his strategy work beautifully with those passes on Webber and Alonso.

    1. @ Icthyes

      Agreed! And all the time he was asleep (according to our ‘experts’)

      That’s some driver….

      :) :) :)

      1. Dave Blanc
        24th May 2011, 4:11

        You guys must be kidding. Button finished over half a minute behind the leaders and it would have been more like 40 seconds if Hailton had got past Vettel such was his pace.

        No wonder people think Button is over rated if you’re going to put him as your driver of the weekend in this instance.

        I can’t stand Vettel or Alonso to be honest, but for me those two along with Hamilton were head and shoulders above the rest of the field today.

        Vettel and Hamilton will continue to battle it out at the front for the rest of the season, whilst Button will try and come up with some risky leftfield strategy to try and luck-in on a win as he did last year. Unfortunately he just doesn’t have the raw pace or racing ability to beat Hamilton.

        1. It’s a tough one. I could easily have voted for Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso or Button. @Dave Blanc I think you’re being a bit harsh there. Button did a superb job to get the most out of that strategy after being 10th at the start. But this has been the toughest vote for the driver of the weekend I can remember. Everyone was on top form.

          1. Don’t get me wrong – Button did very well to get 3rd place given his nightmare on the 1st lap. I’m just struggling to see how people can vote for Button as driver of the weekend given other people’s performances.

            I guess that’s why we are all different which can only be a good thing!

            But Button – really…? Come on now people!

          2. I see what you mean. Voting for Button is to suggest he drove better than the rest, when he didn’t. As I said, it’s almost impossible to single out one driver as the best of the weekend on this occasion.

  21. Do not understand people voting for Hamilton or Alonso.

    Alonso had a great start but that is all – he was only holding up the drivers because overtaking was not that easy.

    Hamilton to my knowledge did not actually overtake anyone on the track – yes he was quick and pushing Vettel but did not overtake just followed Vettel.

    There is only 1 that can be called best driver it must be Vettel – most because of his important overtakes just after his 1st pitstop and also keeping Hamilton behind with KERS problems he lapped all but top 4.

    1. Hi fellow Dutchy,

      Obviously, Hamilton didn’t need to overtake on track whereas Vettel had to (strategy-wise). And the overtakes were rather straight forward passes since both Button and Massa did already 10 laps on their softs, whereas Vettel just got fresh ones.

      By the way, it took Vettel 2 pitstops to pass Alonso. If he overtook him on track those first 19 laps (especially since Red Bull were much much faster dan Ferrari’s), then even I as a Hamilton fan, would rate Vettel as the driver of the weekend.

      And for those who claim that McLaren had better race pace, think again. In the first and second sector it was Red Bull who was the faster car. The third sector, with the long straight however, it was where Hamilton made up the losses of the first two sectors. And Barcelona was always Red Bull territory, so no way McLaren was quicker than the bulls.

      Vettel drove a great race and he definitely deserves the win, but he still had a faster car.

    2. Laranja Mecanica
      24th May 2011, 1:11

      Alonso had a great start

      I’m seriously surprised, you don’t say his start was rubbish

  22. Vettel for his brilliant Crazy Frog team radio!

  23. It was not easy at all this time for me. Most of it has been said already but here goes.

    Heidfeld got out of a burning car to make the most of it and do a Webber to get solid points. Kovalainen qualified 15th, helped a bit by technical problems and strategy choice at FI, but still. And his racing was great until he overdid it for his car.
    Kobayashi had to stop and then mirrored Nick to get solid points. Perez had a silent but error free race to get points. Schumacher (with some help) won from his team mate and actually finished better than where he started.
    Webber did a great lap in qualifying to give us some change. And he brought us the Webber used by Heidfeld to good effect here. Shame about the race really.
    Button had a very good qualifying and a great race after that horrible start.
    Alonso showed he is worth every penny of those 150 million by outdriving the car both on Saturday and from the start line. Thank you for making this a good race Fred. Now if only Ferrari had managed to make a car that works on these tyres. A stong choice for man of the race, but being lapped just doesn’t cut it for me. Better one next time then (and he got the vote in Turkey).
    Lewis Hamilton did a good job to nail 3rd on saturday and did everything he could to win the race. His crew did find him the right strategy (albeight the stops themselves could have been 0.5 faster) to make it possible and he needed only that slight glitch by Vettel to get past. Would be a deserved man of the match as well. But in the end he did not really do any passing at all.

    So we get to Vettel. Not the guy I normally rally for. But this weekend he got the car miles ahead in Q3, did get his teammate at the start and reacted good to make the undercut work.
    Those crucial passes were just what was needed as well, reminds me of Button passing exactly where needed in 2009. Good job by the team to do some top notch stops for him as well. And having Hamilton behind for over 10 laps in a car that was faster on the hards made it a great last 1/4th of the race.
    So Vettel it is this time, he even changed the lame victory cry (not that I liked his new one, but thanks for the change anyway Seb)

    1. The problem is with this vote, everyone is providing good examples and backing up their choices. I did vote for Hamilton, but there were 3 or 4 others that were just as good as him this weekend. And it wouldn’t matter who I chose – I’d still feel I’m neglecting the others.

      So Vettel it is this time, he even changed the lame victory cry (not that I liked his new one, but thanks for the change anyway Seb)

      I know his team radio after a victory can be annoying, and he seems to say the same thing a lot, but it must be hard to come up with something new every time in a foreign language, which to Seb, English is.

  24. Kobayashi is driving really well if he keeps it up all season who knows where he might be next season

  25. Best case is for Vettel. Looking at the weekend, he was shaded by Webber on Friday, but he finished a couple tenths behind Webber on Saturday with no KERS. He beat his teammate off the line and left him for dead in the race. Then he had Hamilton on his back the last 1/3rd and didn’t put a wheel wrong. All the while he also has to play flight engineer and turn the brake bias this way and that and fiddle with the KERS. If he so much as sneezed Hamilton would have been on top of him.

    My hand hovered over Alonso’s for a moment though, but couldn’t do it. On Friday, he was doing work when Massa was in the gravel. On Saturday he flattered that car to the extreme, and on Sunday, he did the start of the year. In all stages he beat Massa soundly. However, I can’t look past the horrendous swoon at the end. He finished precisely where the Ferrari is in the pecking order now, as the 3rd best car. So in the end, he really didnt ultimately “out-perform” the equipment. It’s also his job to set up the car, and I just cannot accept that the Ferrari is 1 minute behind the McLaren in ultimate capability. That was a really pathetic showing in the end for the team, which takes the glow off his work. As far as Massa, beating him is becoming increasingly faint praise.

    I find Hamilton a close second. He maximized qualifying, he kept it clean Friday. On Sunday, he ran his appointed strategy to perfection, he was flawless in his driving. His FLAP on 10-lap tires in stint two to get into 2nd, jumping an RB7, was amazing. Ultimately, it was his (and the team’s) opportunity to jump Vettel at the last stop. The car had the pace; they didn’t do it.

    Heidfeld gets an honorable mention here. If he starts from 6th, he would have been podium threat.

    Button, as he is coming up here. Weak sauce. Outqualified again. He loses 15 seconds at the start due to a poor start and finishes more than twice that behind in the end, and clearly Vettel was holding up the guy in the other McLaren. Why does he continue to get laurels for saving tires? Does the team sell the left-overs on Ebay after the race to raise funds? The point of the race is to win, or finish the distance in the least possible time, not to collect tires.

    Kobayashi is becoming a very solid driver with these recovery performances. But here I’m not sure he really separated himself from Perez.

    1. Astonished
      24th May 2011, 8:25

      The set up might heve been influenced by the “in breach of the spirit of the regulations” preventive ban of the rear wing. In these days of blown diffusers, fducts, flexible wings, you name it, a funny decission IMHO. I guess that all the innovation has come so far from breaching the spirit but adhering to the letter of the code.
      Well it was an inspired weekend for the FIA tech boss, anyhow. Not only because of this :-)

  26. I’m gonna go with Kobayashi. The guy was not just last but a whole pit-stop away from the rest after his incident in the start. So basically his position was even worse than the last time and in a track that doesn’t favor passing threw cars and traffic can kill you. Yet he still managed to finish in the points. The guy is driving a Sauber btw.

    He didn’t get much camera time but the achievement itself was not easy and yet he made it.

    1. Not to mention he effectively did 2 stops as he pitted in lap 1 for a puncture when they were new softs. Mind-boggling stuff!

  27. Vettel. This is the first win after the one in the Torro Rosso that I genuinely think he deserves full props for.

    He did everything right, including some excellently ballsy overtakes. If he’d left these overtakes much longer, his tyres would perhaps not have allowed him to make them any more and he would have lost more time than he had in hand at the finish line.

    Second driver of the day would have to be Lewis Hamilton, third Kobayashi.

  28. Fernando Alonso. The greatest driver of this era, hands down.

  29. Bob Littleroot
    23rd May 2011, 22:07

    Wow, Lewis, huh? I guess I should not have turned off the program after Alonso lost the lead in the pits

  30. In a clearly inferior car to Redbull, Hamilton almost won. Had it been any other track where overtaking is possible(in barcelona, hungry, valencia, abu dhabi..etc overtaking is close to impossible), Lewis would have passed Vettel. Still a very strong performance from Lewis and that’s why i voted him best driver of Spanish GP 11.

    What is most impressive is Lewis was in the dirty air of RBR and Vettel was in clean air, the trublence of RBR must have hurt MP4-26’s handling but Hamilton still chased Vettel so closely. This again proves that Hamilton unlike some other drivers example Button, can get a good laptime from a less than perfect balanced and stable car.

    BTW Webber and Massa were dissapointing.

  31. I think Karthikeyan deserves a mention purely for driving through the pain. In terms of performance, though, it has to be Heidfeld for me. Once luck and reliability starts going his way he’ll score several more podiums before the season’s end IMO.

  32. I understand its between LH and SV, but mine was Button with the bad start he had.

  33. Really can’t decide between Vettel, who for the first time had to seriously work for his win this season, Hamilton who did his best to catch Vettel, or Alonso who pipped everyone else at the start but was outpaced at the later stage of the race. I guess the winner takes it all so I vote Vettel.

  34. Jake (@kraemerson88)
    24th May 2011, 0:38

    Erm, Hamilton did not have an “inferior” car. His lap times were faster than both red bulls. Buttons were faster than webbers. In race trim it seems the McLaren is the equal or faster than the red bull. therefore vettel is the driver of the week. Sometimes bias is so obvious its redonkulous.

    1. Did you even look at sector times? Vettel was quicker in all sectors except 3. The Mclaren does not have an aero package even close to that of the Reb Bull. I’d say that is pretty close to inferior.

  35. Vettel get’s my vote, he won, Hamilton couldn’t make the pass with 10 laps left, but really only a mistake from Vettel would have let that happen.

    Great job to the mclaren mechanics, they are the stars this weekend, they gave Hamilton a car that he can fight with!

  36. Voted for Schumacher.

  37. I am surprise that you didn’t name Button there, as despite making a bad start he recovered well with his three stops & made some good moves early & in the middle of the race overtaking both Webber & Alonso when they were on prime & he was on option.Have he spend too much time behind them then he could have lost third place to Webber.But Vettel’s out lap after his seacond pit stop was awesome & no one can take away Alonso’s start.

  38. They both drove brilliantly. It’s very reminiscent of 2010, where the RB6’s qualifying pace was untouchable but McLaren could match them easily in race trim. This year, however, it takes a bit more effort to keep slightly faster cars behind you, and therefore my vote still goes to Vettel (and after all he DID win).

  39. My head says Vettel but come the vote my heart overruled and went with Alonso.

    To be honest though, there are so many drivers who had excellent weekends than any one of Vettel, Alonso, Hamilton, Button or even Heidfeld would deserve to win this poll.

    Quick shout out to Karthikeyan though, got very close to Liuzzi in qualifying and drove a sizable amount of the race in some pain. Good effort.

    1. How surprising… Dan Thorn votes for his favourite driver! :P But I wish I could have voted for Alonso, but a poor strategy coupled with an uncompetitive car made it impossible to tell if he really was the best out there. He was impressive, nonetheless.

  40. quite a few things to consider for both the ‘weekend’ and for the race itself. Some that stand out in my mind:

    Alonso – brilliant start. someone else said it best about the roar of the crowd almost bringing tears (my tears were for the bad starts from Webby and button…). Must have said ‘***’ as Vettel drove by…

    Vettel – he is obviously a machine sent back through time. He absolutely never gives up, EVER until you are de^H^H er i mean until he is in first. extra points for not saying “that’s what i’m talking about wooo…”

    Hamilton – faster when Vettel switched KERS to 6 and slower when switched back to 2. But still managed to close the gap and make us wonder what would have happened with 5 or 6 more laps.

    Button – great recovery from a crap start. Thanks for not complaining about balance.

    Kovaleinen – great weekend, up until the time he broke late and went into the kitty litter. Said it himself on twitter. btw Was that the same place he went off 2 years ago?!

    Heidfeld – great recovery from a flaming mess stuck at the back of the pack to finish strong 8th. Wasn’t he supposed to start from the pit? BTW would have got bonus points for fighting fire himself Kovaleinen-style

    Kamuikaze – held up by Liuzzi in q2, blew a brand new set of softs, stuck 30 odd seconds behind 23rd place on lap 2. made hards work well. finished in the points for the 5th time this year! someone give him a faster car next year!

    Webber – mate……

    hmmm – can i have two votes?!

  41. I’m sorry to state the obvious but the 2 fastest cars finished 1st and 2nd! why does that make Lewis or Seb the best drivers of the race? They drove well and out performed their team mates but so did half of the grid..

    compared to the majority of the cars the red bull and mclaren are on rails. Seb passed traffic like it was standing still that’s not really skilful passing it’s more like dodging cones!

    Alonso Drove and exceptional qualifying lap and had an exceptional start straight to the lead from p4???, kept at least 4 faster cars behind him for an impressive amount of time. He then battled that Ferrari to the finish after finding he had absolutely no pace on the hards. That is a flawless race.. not driving a superior car around the track with little serious problems to deal with.

    1. 1) Alonso was LAPPED. He’s a damned good driver though to be fair. However, HE WAS LAPPED and ultimately the dice with the front runners was just a false dawn and unfortunately his race was spent as soon as he strapped on another set of softs in Q1 on Saturday.

      2) There’s a reason why Vettel, Hamilton, Alonso et al drive for the best teams…They are the best drivers. If Algeusari or Kovalinen were so great they would be signed up by the big boys. It’s a bit like scoring a hat trick playing for your local pub team and then claiming you were player of the weekend when, in the same weekend, Gerard scores a screamer against Chelsea and wins the game. It’s a different league mate.

  42. Vettel won with the fastest car, Hamilton couldn’t pass him with an equal car.

    If Heidfeld was given more camera and commentator time on Sunday he would have won this hands down.

  43. Tough choice! If I could, I’d give it to both Vettel and Hamilton, but for the fact Hamilton was able to even get close to Vettel, I had to give it to him. ;)

  44. HounslowBusGarage (@hounslowbusgarage)
    24th May 2011, 9:10

    I’m certainly not a fan, but this weekend I think ALO outperformed both the car and his team.
    Apart from the decision to waste a set of softs in Q1 (aand I wonder whose decision that was), I thought ALO drove excellently. His Q3 lap was astonishing; quite literally half a second better than it should have been, advancing him three places further up the grid. “The perfect lap” he called it and that was the point – even on a perfect lap in that car, he could only get to fourth place. So watching his incredible start, I fully expected him to clip VET’s front wheel, or sail off into the gravel or for something else to go wrong. But it didn’t and he held the lead successfully; a brilliant start.
    But once again, the car, the tyres, the team started to let him down and he slipped back into the ignominious situation of being lapped by the eventual winner.
    I’m not a fan of Fenando, or of Ferrari. But this time, ALO drove out of his socks and deserved better.

    1. Agreed 100%. Now I wish I could undo my vote! :P

      1. I think I read somewhere that Fernando was the only driver in qualifying to make turn 3 flat out apart from the Red Bulls. If that’s true, that must’ve taken some muscling…

  45. Why is the Bar graph for Petrov’s 1 vote shorter than all the 0 vote bars?

  46. Its gotta be lewis hamilton best driver on the circuit by far its just vittel and webber have a better car at the moment.

  47. It was a tough one this week! Hence it’s taken me two days to come to a conclusion. It was a close one between Vettel for holding off Hamilton and Alonso for doing as well as he did given the circumstances.

    Alonso just pips it however. That first corner over-take was absolutely fantastic, really showed great talent.

  48. Schumacher , closely followed by Button . Heidfeld also had a good race

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