Start, Suzuka, 2011

Vote for your Japanese Grand Prix driver of the weekend

2011 Japanese Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Start, Suzuka, 2011
Start, Suzuka, 2011

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

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

Jenson Button – Quick from the word go, thoroughly deserved victory.

Fernando Alonso – Just keeps on wringing the maximum out of the Ferrari.

Michael Schumacher – Good effort to bring the Mercedes home in front of one of the Ferraris.

Sergio Perez – Another very strong performance, bouncing back from a technical problem in qualifying to score points despite being ill.

Vitaly Petrov – Managed his opening stints on medium tyres well, then battled his way into the points at the end.

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: Bruno Senna 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: Daniel Ricciardo 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 Japanese Grand Prix weekend? Cast your vote below and have your say in the comments.

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

  • Sebastian Vettel (2%)
  • Mark Webber (0%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (2%)
  • Jenson Button (67%)
  • Fernando Alonso (13%)
  • Felipe Massa (0%)
  • Michael Schumacher (6%)
  • Nico Rosberg (1%)
  • Bruno Senna (0%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (0%)
  • Rubens Barrichello (0%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (0%)
  • Adrian Sutil (0%)
  • Paul di Resta (0%)
  • Kamui Kobayashi (0%)
  • Sergio Perez (5%)
  • Sebastien Buemi (0%)
  • Jaime Alguersuari (0%)
  • Heikki Kovalainen (1%)
  • Jarno Trulli (0%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (0%)
  • Vitantonio Liuzzi (0%)
  • Timo Glock (0%)
  • Jerome d'Ambrosio (1%)

Total Voters: 533

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Rate the Race: Japanese Grand Prix

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

2011 Japanese Grand Prix

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91 comments on “Vote for your Japanese Grand Prix driver of the weekend”

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  1. I don’t think there can be any dispute for this, fastest in all three practice, won the race, fastest lap and only 0.009 off the top spot in qualifying. It can only be Button.

    1. I guess you are right. Hadn’t Alonso been beaten by Massa in quali I would have considered him but overall I think Button really deserves it.

    2. Button’s become astonishing and my vote is his.

    3. Button is the best driver in Japan 2011

    4. And I am sure all the Vettel supporters voted for Button as well because they complained when Vettel had a similar weekend and did not win the poll.

      1. Well, yeah, Vettel’s been screwed out of several of these earlier in the season, but that doesn’t mean I’ll change my tack and not vote for the person who deserves it. Button deserves it.

      2. Of course I did. With pleasure ;)

      3. Ha! Judging by the 8 votes I’d say they have!

    5. And I add that Jenson preserved his tyres perfectly in the last stint and let Alonso get closer, but then he pushed ONLY in the last 3 laps to mantain a 1sec advantage otherwise Alonso would have been given the right to use DRS. Quite smart strategy from Jenson ;-)

    6. @Ady Couldn’t have put it better myself! Thoroughly deserved victory for Button, he was on it all weekend.

  2. Immediately after the race I was thinking about this poll and what a hard decision it was going to be.

    Alonso drove a brilliant race to hustle his Ferrari into an astonishing second place, and almost a win. Perez overcame the flu wonderfully to progress through the field and score solid points for 8th place. Schumacher did a great job to finish 6th for Mercedes, continuing he great recent form. Ricciardo brilliantly pushed the Virgin’s on a track where HRT appeared to be much slower.

    Then, I realised that it was a Driver of the Weekend poll, not a Driver of the Day poll, and on that basis it can only go to one man: Jenson Button. Fastest in all the practice sessions, denied pole position by a mere nine thousandths of a second and a brilliantly controlled win on Sunday. He put together the weekend wonderfully and never looked like making an error or letting a chance go. Top drawer stuff once again from Jenson.

    1. I was thinking in voting for Sergio, until i saw weekend driver too.
      So this is easy: JB

      Jenson is driving this season better than when he was the 2009 f1 champion, and was nice to see Nico’s 10th from last row of the grid.
      But in race Perez was “the man”
      And yes, i know Nico started from last row, and perez from 17th place,
      but to able to pass HRT and Vigin cars is no deal for a Mercedes,
      on lap 4 the were 18th and 19th in less than 2 secs.
      Sergio’s Sauber WAS NOT the fastest car at the end of the race (and just 0.001 slower than JB record)
      but that day Sergio WAS the fastest driver on track, even being sick on his first time on suzuka.

      1. better than in 2009!! I would say at that level.
        In 2009, he was driving very well at the first half of the season, after that he stumbled a little.
        He is the type of driver that is very good when the pressure is low. When the stakes are very high, and he sees the chance of a title close, he gets nervous, and drives worse. Alonso is way much better under those circumstances.

        1. Totally agree with JB as driver of the weekend but disagree with the comments about his ability to maintain focus under pressure.

          In 2009 Jenson had a wobble mid season but by Monza he pulled himself together to score enough during the remaining races to take the title with a race to spare. I think he can be forgiven for the nerves because after such a long hard journey in F1 the fear that you could lose your best opportunity to take the title must be incredibly hard to shoulder.

          Rather than showing weakness I would counter that under the most intense pressure Jenson was able to dig deep and find the performance he needed to clinch the title in a car that was increasingly falling away from the Red Bulls.

          A few months earlier he was considering the possibility of never racing in F1 again then he’s suddenly handed a quick car. He and the team knew the results had to come early on in the season because there was no money to develop the car, once the other teams were on song it was a case of fighting a rear guard action and it has to be said that it was a big ask of a driver that had never been in title contention before.

          The first opportunity he had to win the WDC he took successfully. It was a great WDC win despite what the detractors say. Button has plenty of haters, usually Hamilton fans who like to remember Button having it easy with the BGP001 but its total nonsense. The Red bulls were right with Brawn from the start of the season. Anybody remember Vettel chasing Button down at Melbourne before having a spin in turn 4?

          The Red Bulls could have won several races early in the season but for driver/operational errors, Jenson just kept his head better in the early part of the season. The BGP001 advantage is commonly perceived as being greater than it actually was, the Red Bull advantage was far greater last year but Vettel never lead the championship until the last race whereas JB lead from start to finish because save for the mid season wobble, he kept his head whilst all around were losing theirs.

          At Mclaren things are different. They are a powerhouse team and JB and LH both know that if the car is quick from the off it will remain quick all year. The pressure is still there to perform but it’s easier when you’re confident in our machinery, it’s a different kind of pressure. They are safe in the knowledge that the cars will yield wins year in year out so if not this year there’s always next year for the title shot. Also, they know that the team has the resources to tailor the car to suit them so they are in a different place mentally to drivers in less well funded teams with difficult cars.

          Jenson has had his detractors for a long time because he has appeared to struggle at times in difficult machinery but you don’t get to show what you can really do until you’re in a good car. By that I mean a car that is correctly conceived to operate well in all circumstances. Only the top teams can provide this kind of quality to their drivers and this in turn allows the drivers to express themselves more fully behind the wheel. This is why we have seen Jenson able to raise his game since joining Mclaren. Ironing out your own weaknesses is impossible in a car that has lots of problems because its hard to tell if it’s you or the car that’s making life difficult but in something predictable like an MP4-26 you can begin to work on your technique as the car becomes the known quantity because you know that when you strap in 9 times out of 10 the car will go like you expected. This is why Jenson has managed to get on terms with Lewis, the guy who many expected to put him out to stud.

          As the detractors like to say, he certainly is the best No.2 driver in F1. So good in fact that he’s 32 points ahead of the de facto No.1 driver at Mclaren in the championship. Not bad for an undeserving 2009 WDC who only won because of the Double Diffuser.

          1. Great comment – I agree with everything you have said.

            If Jenson needed to prove himself any more to his detractors after his 2009 WDC, he has certainly done it this season.

          2. wow, just to let you know, i didn’t even read that ;)…

          3. Good post, though:

            the Red Bull advantage was far greater last year but Vettel never lead the championship until the last race

            It’s hard to lead the championship from the start when your car breaks down in each of the first two races.

          4. button’ DNF’s were not his fault , without those failures the WDC would still be alive
            hamilton hasn’t had any mechanical failures that I remember

          5. lebesset – That’s because Hamilton has retired before any problems surface! Hahaha!

          6. I like Button for his great character/driver mix. But to prove himself to the “dictators” that his 2009 WDC was not due to double diffusser he would need to win it again with out it, don’t you think.

          7. Lets remember that 3 teams had the double diffuser at the start of the season, half had it after a couple of races and by barcelona most had it and certainly all the teams that matter in the title fight. Also, the RB5 was just as quick without it and when they fitted it they were miles ahead.

            Jenson won fair and square in 2009 and has proven his quality these last 2 years. 2010 to get up to speed with Mclaren and paw through Lewis’s telemetry data. 2011 to get on terms with Lewis and possibly beat him. Check.

  3. Gotta say JB. Clean sweep of practises, only in qualy did Hamilton get near him and Vettel beat him. Kept the pace up and kept the tyresin shape whilst doing a great inlap to beat Vettel at the 2nd stops.

  4. Jenson Button without a doubt. His race victory on Sunday demonstrated several of his abilities – He was calm, collected, preserved his tyres in the second stint, aggressive in the last stint though running out of fuel.

    1. @icemangrins I just learned from that Ted kravitz vid that he really had only 2 kg of fuel left in the car, had it gone a lap further, or without the SC, he would not have made it to the finish!

      1. @BasCB, that was close and it shows how these guys would push everything to the limit to get to the top step. In a way, Sebastian playing it safe also aided his position.. but I wont get this away from him… Stunning drive from JB and Fernando.

      2. That’s not correct. Firstly you wouldn’t want to finish the race with much more than 2 KG of fuel on board as that would mean you’d been carrying unnecessary weight around throughout the race. Also, it wasn’t just Jenson that had the Safety car to content with, everybody did so everybody was able to lean out the fuel mixture for a few laps to save some fuel for a last hurrah at the end of the race which is what happened. I doubt any car had more than 2 KG of fuel left at then end of the race, Kravitz means well but he does tend to overly dramatise the very ordinary

  5. Easy: Jenson. But a close second for Alonso. It’s the driver of the weekend, and yes, he was aided by the safety car but to bring the car 2 seconds behind Button was supreme.

  6. No love for Rosberg eh? Ah well, it’s JB anyway, undeniably. :)

  7. Voted Alonso, but realised it was actaully Driver of the Weekend not the day, however Fernando was driver of the day for me, Massa behind a Mercedes, Alonso ahead of a McLareb and two Red Bulls, great driver

    1. Agree. Schumacher also had a good drive but I voted for Button for the weekend and the win.

  8. JB had a weekend drivers dream about and few get. FA had a great race and brought a 3rd rated car to the finish line in 2nd. At the rate things are going next year will be one of the best.

  9. JB, of course!

  10. Hard decision this one, but went for Button. As was mentioned above, Button topped all three practices and was unlucky not to secure pole position. Should have led into turn one (was touch and go, but I think Vettel should have been penalised. If that was Michael or Lewis they surely would have had drive-thru’s?) But anyway, Jenson ignored that, got his head down and produced probably the best drive of his career, definitely his best dry race.

    I said at the top of my post that this was a close run vote for me. The other contenders were Alonso, who continues to drag his Ferrari into places that it probably shouldn’t be, and Schumacher. To beat one Ferrari and come home not far behind Hamilton (however off form he was) was a great achievement, proof if any was still needed that while not at his absoloute peak, Michael can still cut it on his day.

    Cannot argue against JB this week though!

    1. Melbourne 2009? Bahrain 2009? Catalunya 2009? Monaco 2009? Turkey 2009?

  11. Driver of Saturday: Vettel
    Driver of Sunday: Alonso
    Driver of the Weekend: Button

    1. Nicely put David!

    2. I guess you’re right. Overall Button did the best job this weekend, although Alonso did the best job on Sunday and Vettel dominated Saturday

  12. Note enough to vote for him, but I thought Mark Webber drove a good race too. At the end of the race he was close to his team mate who started five places further up the grid. Too bad for him he couldn’t deliver a good time in Q3, otherwise he would have been mixing it at the front. Still, he is more deserving of a vote than Felipe Massa…(ok, hands up, whose vote was that :))

    1. Very generous Adrian, you area true believer even though you missed that Mark made 2 places in the race against McLaren and Ferrari while Vettel lost 2 places in the race against McLaren and Ferrari. Cheers.

  13. I voted for Perez. Not getting the opportunity to do a Q2 time, having a pretty bad case of the flu, but still ending 9 places in fron of where you started and 8 in front of his teammate who started 10 places in front. Setting the FLAP but for a 1thousend of a second as well. With one stop less than the rest. As a rookie.

    Not that I think Button did not deserve it, I think this really shows how good a run he is having. He took a big step with that WDC and never really looked back but kept growing (Vettel is doing the same thing really). The calm and composure of letting Alonso close up, then give that little bit extra and stop right after the line with only 2kg of fuel left in the car. WOW.

    Alonso was a bit messy in qualifying. But he showed why he is really worth the effort to have in a team again. He was that close to getting Button as well in the end.

  14. sid_prasher (@)
    10th October 2011, 21:07

    Alonso drove well but will have to go with Jenson.

  15. sid_prasher (@)
    10th October 2011, 21:08

    Somebody voted Liuzzi :)

    1. LOL…. an error…

      Poor guy, he has bad luck everytime he is partner for a young Red Bulll Driver Program… first Vettel and now Riccardo..

      1. Riccardo hasnt proved himself yet just because he beat a guy that only did 12 or 13 laps before race that doent mean much specially when considering that in q1 Riccardo must have done at least half of those laps.

  16. Button, easily. With topping every practice, winning the race AND setting the fastest lap, that’s plain astonishing at a track I really thought Red Bull would walk to the win. Stunning performance. If he’d got pole, he would’ve had the perfect weekend, and they don’t happen very often at all.

  17. One of Button’s best performances. Making Hamilton look so second hand now. Especially liked Button celebrating with the Japanese fans.

  18. I went for Button, I think he had the fastest car so no surprise he won, but he made the most of it, and qualifying was the only slip-up of the weekend.

    Second would be Alonso for his stealthy performance in the race (hardly saw him for the whole weekend), and third Perez with another solid drive up the field. Also an honourable mention for Sutil who was fast all weekend but it just didn’t come together for him.

  19. JB without a doubt. Did the job all weekend. He felt that Seb was unfair at the start but didn’t lose his head but instead calmly and strongly took the win. That said, Alonso was my driver of the day. The Ferrari is still the 3rd fastest car imo and he just picked off everyone who made mistakes. His pace was very strong at times too. It’s only being outqualified that loses him my vote as DOTW.

  20. DOTW has definitely got to be Jenson,Quick all round,His amazing ability of conserving the tyres with his Precision enabled to win the race.Ignoring the fact Seb got pole by the tiniest of margins,Jenson has more or less dominated a race weekend in my opinion for the first time since Monaco 2009 & also outperforming Lewis for the first time since being at McLaren.

    This is psychologically a massive & possibly even a turning point for him,maybe this might be the story from now on,Lewis will definitely pick himself up for certain but maybe the No.1 at McLaren wouuld be a different driver to the one everyone is used to seeing.

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