Start, Melbourne, 2012

Vote for your Australian Grand Prix driver of the weekend

2012 Australian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Start, Melbourne, 2012Which F1 driver had the best race weekend in Melbourne?

Compare all the drivers’ performances below and vote for who you think was the best driver of the Australian Grand Prix weekend.

Driver notes

Sebastian Vettel – Superb lap-two pass on Rosberg, rode his luck to claim second from Hamilton.
Mark Webber – Pipped his team mate in qualifying despite not having KERS, lost ground at the start but rallied to take best-ever home result.

Jenson Button – Beat Hamilton off the line and never looked back.
Lewis Hamilton – Brilliant pole lap but couldn’t match Button’s race pace. Unlucky to lose second.

Fernando Alonso – Qualifying mistake cost him a better grid spot but wrung every last hundredth from the car in the race to take fifth.
Felipe Massa – “This has been a really poor weekend for me,” said Massa, and he wasn’t kidding: Several spins in practice, well off Alonso in qualifying, poor race pace.

Michael Schumacher – Qualified and raced well before gearbox problems put him off and forced his retirement.
Nico Rosberg – Blew his only new-tyre lap in Q3, started well but was shuffled back into the pack with weak race pace.

Kimi Raikkonen – Looked a little race-rusty as a mistake and poorly-timed final run saw him go out in Q1. But pulled off some good passes in the race – especially when he gained three places in the last-lap scramble.
Romain Grosjean – In contrast to Raikkonen, starred in qualifying with a superb lap for third in his eighth F1 appearance, but lost ground at the start and went out in a needless collision with Maldonado on lap two.

Paul di Resta – Said he failed to get his tyres warmed up adequately for his qualifying lap but stole a point on the final lap of the race by saving KERS until the last corner.
Nico Hulkenberg – Qualified well but was unlucky to go out on lap one at Melbourne – again.

Kamui Kobayashi – His Q1 lap would have been good enough to get him in the final ten had he done it in Q2. Put a superb pass on Raikkonen during the race which put him in a position to claim sixth when Maldonado crashed.
Sergio Perez – Relegated to last on the grid by a gearbox change penalty but gained ten places on the first lap. Ran a customary long first stint to briefly hold second. Safety car probably cost him track position to Maldonado, suggesting sixth place was on the cards.

Daniel Ricciardo – Squeezed off at the first corner and spent the race making up for lost time. Passed his team mate on the final lap en route to snatching two points for ninth place.
Jean-Eric Vergne – Narrowly missed out on Q3 on his Grand Prix debut. Had an off during the race and lost out in the last-lap scramble for the final points places.

Pastor Maldonado – Qualified well and raced strongly for 57 laps. The final 58th tour was where it all went wrong – he nearly rear-ended Alonso at turn three, then shunted heavily at turn eight.
Bruno Senna – Poor qualifying left him vulnerable to midfield mayhem – which duly claimed him at the first corner. Fell to the back of the field and was fighting his way through when he made contact with Massa.

Heikki Kovalainen – Lost KERS at the start and was without DRS for the first few laps. Retired with suspension problems but not before incurring the wrath of the stewards by passing cars during the safety car period.
Vitaly Petrov – Out-qualified by Kovalainen but enjoyed a more straightforward race until his CT01 also failed.

Pedro de la Rosa – Beat his team mate in qualifying despite only setting his first lap in the car during final practice.
Narain Karthikeyan – Almost matched de la Rosa in qualifying but both were well outside the 107% time and were not allowed to start.

Timo Glock – Brought the car which hadn’t run in pre-season testing home in 14th place.
Charles Pic – A classified finisher on his F1 debut, despite having to stop a few laps from home having lost oil pressure.

Qualifying and race results summary

Started Gap to team mate Laps leading team mate Pitted Finished Gap to team mate
Sebastian Vettel 6th +0.017s 58/58 2 2nd -2.408s
Mark Webber 5th -0.017s 0/58 2 4th +2.408s
Jenson Button 2nd +0.152s 57/58 2 1st -4.075s
Lewis Hamilton 1st -0.152s 1/58 2 3rd +4.075s
Fernando Alonso 12th -1.003s 46/46 2 5th
Felipe Massa 16th +1.003s 0/46 3
Michael Schumacher 4th -0.35s 10/10 0
Nico Rosberg 7th +0.35s 0/10 2 12th
Kimi Raikkonen 17th +1.26s 0/1 2 7th
Romain Grosjean 3rd -1.26s 1/1 0
Paul di Resta 15th +0.772s 0/0 2 10th
Nico Hulkenberg 9th -0.772s 0/0 0
Kamui Kobayashi 13th -0.414s 18/58 2 6th -2.692s
Sergio Perez 22nd +0.414s 40/58 1 8th +2.692s
Daniel Ricciardo 10th -0.11s 1/58 3 9th -0.292s
Jean-Eric Vergne 11th +0.11s 57/58 2 11th +0.292s
Pastor Maldonado 8th -0.457s 52/52 2 13th Didn’t finish on same lap
Bruno Senna 14th +0.457s 0/52 3 16th Didn’t finish on same lap
Heikki Kovalainen 18th -0.339s 13/34 3
Vitaly Petrov 19th +0.339s 21/34 1
Pedro de la Rosa -0.148s 0/0
Narain Karthikeyan +0.148s 0/0
Timo Glock 20th -0.747s 52/53 2 14th Didn’t finish on same lap
Charles Pic 21st +0.747s 1/53 2 15th Didn’t finish on same lap

Review the race data

Vote for your driver of the weekend

Which driver do you think did the best job this weekend?

Cast your vote below and explain your choice in the comments.

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2012 Australian Grand Prix


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181 comments on “Vote for your Australian Grand Prix driver of the weekend”

  1. I feel Alonso did an incredible job in the race to drag his car in to a race finish it was clearly not deserving of, but Button had been flawless for most of the weekend and fully deserving of his win.

    1. I agree. Button was in a (self created) comfortable position. But Alonso really dragged that car to 5th.

      Would have voted for Maldonado if he didn’t crash on the last lap.

      1. If I had to choose either button or alonso it has to go to Button, no doubt. Because of Alonso’s mistake in quallifying cost him a better grid slot. (it’s driver of the WEEKEND, not just the race).

        1. What he said.

    2. Same here, I loved Jenson all around performance, but Alonso IMHO did an outstanding job taming that car into submission. Just take a look at Massa’s performance on the same car. Worst spirited driver award in my book goes to Lewis, he looked like a spoiled brat on the interview. Just look at how Jenson celebrates and congratulate Lewis when he wins…

      1. Lewis congratulated both Jenson and the team in multiple interviews. Looked a bit disappointed he didn’t win, couldn’t match Jenson’s pace, had to wait so long for his first pit stop losing seconds cause the tyres were finished, and then lost second to Vettel at the next pit stop. Had every right to look disappointed, but spoiled brat? No.

        1. Lewis has to take off the boxing gloves and stand his ground. Button has a smug look now that he has Lewis cornered and has Witmarsh on his side. Three yrs ago on another site I said Lewis would never win a DWC under Witmarsh and I stand by it. They might both be British but in Wits view he most probably sees JB as more British!
          Lewis has nowhere to go and so he will have to fight. Teams can mess with drivers in minute ways and it shows how JB is being favoured against LH. Lewis should have been brought in before JB. Lewis pace on the graph shows that he pretty much matched JB. I just do not see the fair play at McLaren at the moment. Wish Ron was back but then beggars would ride!

          1. Rubbish. At most teams, the leading driver gets the first chooise for pitstops. There is nothing wrong with what Mclaren did. Instead, is was Lewis himself who couldn’t match Button this weekend. No excuses. That said, it was only the first race and he might improve over Button in Malaysia.

          2. That would be a dangerous approach. Lewis just didn’t get all he could from his car and failed to keep P1 after turn 1. Jenson did a better job but I don’t read much into it, Jenson must step his qualy game up because he will not have perfect starts all season long. Lewis should not panic, it’s the first GP and he has a good car.

          3. I think we are all getting ahead of ourselves after the first race. Button had a better day than Lewis, and that is it.

            Hamilton has shown in 2010 that he can outqualify and outrace Jenson nearly every weekend of the year. 2011 was Hamilton’s poorest season to date.. while 2011 was Jenson’s strongest season to date. They both ended the season on the same number of wins.

            That just goes to show that once Hamilton finds his form and rhythm again, there is absolutely no competition between them. I think Button should enjoy his moment in the sun, as there is no way this feeling is going to last forever. Soon Jenson will be back to talking about the ‘lack of grip’ , ‘not finding the right balance’ and his usual bunch of excuses for not matching his teammate.

          4. i hope you are not going on the coulour of lewis skin when you say he is not as british as JB,if you are tut tut

          5. Button was quicker than Lewis all race, in fact, he was quicker than anybody all race. He got to pit first because that’s how teams have taken to doing it, the lead driver makes the call.

            Anyone trying to say that one driver or the other is being given and advantage from Mclaren is doing a disservice to the driver they support, and is insulting Mclaren, one of the teams who absolutely shines in having two top drivers, giving them equal support and making it work.

        2. he had to wait long in pit stop because he was second, and button got priority for being first. tyres were finished because of his driving style, and because he was second in line for pit stop because button beat him. lost second to vettel because he couldnt drive as fast as button, so put himself in that position when a safety car came, like it does often in australia. he did look like a spoilt brat, not just dissapointed, he should realise a podium is a priviledge many drivers in f1 never get to experience. his attitude is pathetic. if he thinks he is the best, he should start driving like the best, which he hasnt done since his performances in 2007/08. his driving has got worse since 2008, maybe he was lucky those tyres didnt require as much management as they do now. its clear he thinks he has this sense of entitlement, he still thinks he is the next senna. he is getting further and further from being the next senna. his podium performance at melbourne was really pathetic.

          1. You sound angry…

          2. Wow abit over the top. I know why he had to wait, all I said was it was a negative factor to his race that was bound to get him down. That said Mclaren knew Jenson wasn’t comin in for a while, what was wrong with bringin Lewis in abit earlier so he didn’t lose more time and as a team that would be the best choice. Actually the statistics show his degredation was no worse than Jensons. He was just out a lap longer and Mclaren let it a little too late for both cars. He just couldn’t match button on pace, which to be fair, is a very rare occurence. He lost second to Vettel because of the timing of the safety car, nothing more. He had to complete a whole lap at safe pace, Vettel didn’t and jumped ahead. Get your facts before you comment.
            No disappointed was all he was, he wasn’t happy with himself, but still managed a smile and congratulated the team and Jenson. How is that acting spoilt? He does drive like the best very often, but can’t do it all the time.
            His driving in 2009 was hampered by a car that was actually three wheeling through corners yet when it improved, he dragged i to victory. 2010 he was superb, the most consistent driver, in the third fastest car, topping the championship untill Monza, where the troubles that affected him in 2011 started. 2011 was a bad year, yet he still managed three brilliant wins, which says alot about the talent he has.

          3. more likely he was disappointed that he had not been allowed to race Vettel due to having to stay in fuel saving mode. I think I’d be a bit miffed in those circumstances.

          4. “his podium performance at melbourne was really pathetic”

            Hahahahahahahaha! :lol:
            What a weird thing to say!

            “Sorry Lewis, your Podium Performances are really below par. Now, sort it out, or you’ll be driving for HRT next year”

        3. Sure he has the right to look dissapointed, but you will never see Jenson arriving third to Lewis and looking like a kid that just lost his dog.

          Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not a hater. I love Lewis… when he is on the track. His attitude outside the car is something else, every time something doesn’t go as he wants, he acts not only dissapointed but as if somebody took something out of him. I think that attitude is costing his career dearly.

          1. No Jenson probably wouldn’t, but that’s more down to the fact he has experienced years where he got bad results constantly cause of bad cars.
            I don’t think Lewis was disappointed at anyone but himself, he wanted to start the season in command, but Jenson was the faster car in the dry for the second time and quite abit faster. I think he’s wondering what he has to do to beat him after that and it’s not gonna be easy. I think he has to just stay out of trouble and get a nice string of podiums and build the confidence he seems to have lost since 2011.
            I don’t think it’s a bad attitude, although Monaco 2011 was, but he wears his heart on his sleeve. He congratulated Jenson and the team and it seemed genuine, he just couldn’t figure out why Jenson was so much faster.

    3. Alonso was clearly the driver of the race. Just looking at him sliding around the car in practice, qualy and race shows the phenomenal work he did. I still mantain he’s the most complete driver in the grid…

      BUT, as it’s the Driver of the Weekend award, I think it should go to Button. He was on it since friday and just missed pole. Then in the race, he was faultless.

    4. For driver of the race, I easily would pick Fernando Alonso but his awful qualifying performance would make it unfair. I loved Kimi’s race but again, he was not that impressive on Saturday. Lewis was terrific on Saturday but failed to materialize his pole position on the “money day” so all I’m left with is Button and Vettel, once the Briton was reasonably fast on Saturday and Sunday I pick him as weekend’s Best.

      1. I agree with Alonso. Considering what he had to drag round the track and where he ended up his performance was phenomenal. As much as I dislike Alonso the person, Alonso the driver is possibly the best on the grid.

    5. Alonso was a miracle worker.

  2. If not Jenson I would vote for Sergio. Great drive by both of them.

    1. Interesting that everyone is talking about Perez and not Kobayashi.

      I agree that Perez drove a great race on his usual one-stopper, but surely the driver that finishes ahead in the team performed better, assuming there were no major incidents, which there weren’t yesterday.

      Both Sauber drivers performed brilliantly, but i’m surprised about the fuss around Perez in particular.

      Bright futures for the both.

      1. I beg to differ, I chose him as my top driver. Not in a majority though :D

      2. All the fuss is valid. Perez started last, and was up to 7th (then 6th as Maldonado crashed) in the very last lap.

        1. I may be wrong, but isn’t the reason why Perez was ahead of Kobayashi at the last stint because of the Safety Car? It was deployed just after Kamui made his stop, and it played perfectly into Perez’s hands.

      3. Yes he did drive a great race and you’re right Kobayashi did too – I just love that line-up. But Sergio out-performed Kamui in the race (and wasn’t as bad in qually as his position suggested), though Kamui made for some spectacular viewing as usual. There was a major incident in the race, which specifically affected the positions of that group of 4 including the Sauber drivers, otherwise SP would have led KK home. But kudos to them both. SP got my vote.

    2. Jenson Button. He wasn’t far from Lewis in quali and found speed at will compared to Seb and Lewis during the race. How did he manage a 2 second gap in one lap after the safety car? Clearly he had his eyes on Seb last year.

  3. there were some drivers that had a great race day, namely Alonso, Perez and Webber, but Button was absolutely untouchable…

    1. Webber? Really?!

      I went for Alonso. A great race performance.

      1. Agree :)

      2. lol, sorry i meant Vettel…

        1. i voted for Massa,
          because i reckon i will then be able to see where my one vote is.

          1. hahaha, nice

      3. If you look at the timings, Webber put in a lot of very fast laps and fastest laps too. He ultimately lost out to his poor start. He would have finished P2 or even challenged for the win imo if he’d started better.

        1. This is the thing with Webber though. It’s all “would have”, “could have” and “should have”. His starts have been consistently terrible, in fact, I can’t remember his last really good start.

          If he can get that sorted he’ll save himself a mountain of time stuck behind other cars and challenge for wins. But, at the moment, it’s just not going to happen.

  4. Button made it look easy, he had Hamilton & Vettel chasing him at different times of the race… but neither of the two could come close to challenge him for the lead. Good qualifying, great start & brilliant race control. If anyone has any doubts about Button being the biggest threat to Vettel’s retaining the championship needs to look at this performance.

    1. I couldn’t agree more!

    2. Alex (@smallvizier)
      19th March 2012, 19:12

      Button is my favourite driver for all sorts of reasons and I think he did everything that could have been expected of him last weekend.

      But that’s the thing – it is expected of him. We all know that Jenson can display supreme consistency and focus in a race. When I was talking on the ‘phone the day before, I predicted Jenson’s race from the first corner to the last one.

      Alonso’s, I didn’t even consider. I thought he’d be behind both the Mercedes; I thought, given Grosjean’s pace, that even Raikkonen might catch him. What had we seen this winter to suggest that the Ferrari was the third-best car? I’m still not sure that it is, in fact, but that’s where he put it.

      Ultimately if one driver performs serenely, but simply does what I already know he can do; whereas another driver blows my socks off; I’ll vote for the second. Even if Button is still my favourite.

  5. Plenty of good drives to choose from, but I will vote after reading all the team-by-team analysis articles. I think that was a good feature last year, to force readers to look at the whole field before voting. I often ended up voting for Glock that way, instead of one of the front-runners.

  6. Button’s and Alonso’s were the two most impeccable driving on race day; Button nicks it for me with Alonso making a mistake in Q2.

    1. I voted Fernando, Buttons was a clean race but other than the restart behind the safety car the race held few challenges for him. Alonso simply outperformed his Ferrari by miles, he was fighting the car all the way, and as Martin Brundell said on Sky, “That boy could drive a one wheeled wheely bin fast” Not a fan of the man Alonso but you have to respect race craft like that.

      1. Completely agree about Alonso, I’m far from what you could call a fan of his, but with performances like he had yesterday you really can’t knock the guy’s abilities.

        1. Same here. What a driver.

  7. A tough choice between Maldonado, Massa and Karthikeyan.

    Seriously, I considered Maldonado as one of the candidates until the final lap, even despite his controversial clash with Grosjean. That was a strong performance but he spoiled it in the end.

    Congratulations to Vitaly Petrov, I didn’t expect him to be that strong in his first race for Caterham. Should Kovalainen start to worry? Let’s see if Vitaly’s able to outperform his team mate once Heikki’s DRS and KERS work. Timo Glock deserves a big thumbs up for bringing the virgin Marussia home and scoring a possibly important 14th place for the team.

    But the DOTW award goes to Button. There was no rain, no lucky circumstances and Hamilton made no silly mistakes. Button beat everyone fair and square and even the safety car that deleted the gap over his rivals couldn’t do anything to hamper Jenson’s triumph. I still refuse to believe that Button really has what it takes to be McLaren’s de facto number one driver but this parade was a serious blow to my scepticism.

    In the other news, I prefer the new F1F’s weekend review format over the old one.

  8. I gave it to Kobayashi. For once he did not grace us with huge passes (I didn’t see the one on Raikonen) but he ended up scoring very decent points in a difficult mid field with a very mature race. Looks like a more than decent experienced driver. Happy to see how far he has gone since 2010. (and seriously, who to give it to ? Alonso ? Button ? Vettel ? Perez ? Probably any one of them, but really, today was a good Koba day.)

    1. I’d like to add Keith, that I really like the new format for your DOTW run duown (all drivers + additionnal data). Great stuff.

      In the same vein, I’d like to say how happy I am of the quality of the field this year.
      Grosjean will be one to watch. Raikkonen isn’t as rusted as I feared, Maldonado showed why he became GP2 champion (and also why it took him some time to achieve it) .Vergne raced well despite losing it in the last lap, not a bad start for a first F1 race. Pic did what was expected from him. The Sauber drivers are both young, exciting and fast. And obviously we have our established drivers who do not disappoint. I only have a problem with Senna and Massa really (and obviously, the HRTs, but since they haven’t raced…). If the field remains as tight as it was yesterday, this year’s world champion will be able to say he won in one of the most difficult years ever (a bad start, a bad strategy call, and even a top car ends up in a midfield where any car is fast enough to be a real pain to overtake).

      1. Yep, the new format for this is a great improvement. The last system of individual posts for each team got a bit spammy by the end of the weekend. Still looking forward to some great analysis though.

        1. @hairs I wish I could still commit the time and effort into going through every driver’s race in the same detail as I did last year. Rather dejected to see my efforts described as “spammy”.

          1. @keithcollantine Ah well I hope you understand that in this context I mean “providing a lot of information in rapid sequence” rather than “providing information of no value”. As always, I think F1 Fanatic provides among the best analysis of F1 anywhere on the net, and puts most of the professional print/tv media to shame. But if you didn’t keep up during the weekend last year sometimes there could be quite a bit to catch up on! We all appreciate your efforts, don’t worry!

  9. Ham. Claimed pole and did the best he could under the circumstances during the race.

    1. I don’t see how good is he yesterday. At all.

    2. Circumstances? What, like starting from pole in the same car as the eventual winner? Yep, tough break.

    3. @mattynotwo – Hamilton was outpaced by his teammate during the race.

    4. I’m a massive Hamilton fan, but I can’t see how he was driver of the day unfortunately. Lacked some of his usual fire in the race.

      1. I’m not sure what the issue is ? Ham was 2nd in P1, 1st in P3, 1st in Qual, 3rd in the race. Thier is in fact, very few driver’s, who had a better weekend than that. Ham is a perfectly acceptable choice for driver of the weekend.

        1. I agree it was a solid weekend for him, but he wasn’t faster than Button in the race, which he usually is and he needs to ask himself why. He should have been second, if not for the safety car, but that’s racing and luck swings in roundabouts. I think for driver of the weekend, it has to be someone who was outstanding. Alonso for me was outperforming his car by miles and so gets it, even with the spin in quali. Lewis, you have to say, was underperforming in the race unfortunately.

          1. It’s still not clear what your issue is.

            It’s obvious that Ham had a better weekend than Alo – that is the question, driver of the weekend, not, driver of the race.

            Alo made a massive mistake in Qual, while Ham was on Pole, Ham was on the podium in the race, while Alo, finished down the order.

            When reflecting upon these facts, it becomes obvious, it’s a massive mistake to vote Alo, driver of the weekend.

          2. @mattynotwo – Ham was better in qualifying than Alo, but Alonso was far better in the race, considering that he did not have a car as good as Hamilton’s. In the most important session of the weekend (the race) Hamilton was outpaced by his teammate and struggled to stay ahead of Vettel in a slower Red Bull prior to the safety car.

            It’s definitely no bigger a mistake to vote for Alonso as DOTW than it is to vote for Hamilton.

          3. @david-a
            ‘he did not have a car as good as Hamilton’s.’
            Well, who’s faults that!
            The cars not designed for me, is it?
            The cars not designed for you, is it?
            The cars designed for Alo, with input from Alo, is’nt it?.

            Like I said, it’s obvious, that Ham had a better weekend than Alo, & that is what the question is, not driver of the race.

          4. @mattynotwo – Well, if you’re going to highlight driver input as the key to how fast a car will be, you’d better have been giving Vettel every last drop of credit for winning 11 races last year.

            And no, it isn’t obvious who had the better weekend. Hamilton had a good qualifying session, but had a poor race where he was outpaced by his teammate. Alonso had a poor qualifying session, and a very good race, since he moved forward and finished ahead of several faster cars.

  10. Got to be Button. Many drivers who raced well, didn’t get it together in qualifying including Alonso, Raikkonen and Kobayashi. Many who qualified well didn’t have a good race including Hamilton, Grosjean and Schumacher.

    Button was on a short list of drivers who remained solid throughout the weekend. He showed his doubters that 2011 wasn’t just a good year for him because Hamilton was poor, Button truly has upped his game. I can’t wait to see how the battle between Hamilton and Button transpires over the year.

    Maldonado also deserves a mention, I would have likely voted for him if he didn’t put it in the wall on the last lap. He qualified very well, a looked strong for the majority of the race. The incident with Grosjean was unfortunate, but a racing incident in my view. He also went of the track early on in the race and of course he crashed at the end. If Maldonado can maintain his pace over the season, and cut out the mistakes, he could have a great future in Formula One.

  11. Maldonado for me.He outperformed Senna all weekend and he was so close to that 6th place.Even Alonso said he deserved it.

  12. I’m a Vettel fan. But my vote gave it to Jenson Button. Totally flawless just like Vettel last year. No doubt, Vettel will be my 2nd.

  13. I’m picking Kimi because of where he started and the car he has to work with.

    1. I agree. His race pace was amazing considering it was his first race after 2 years of absence! Perez would be my second candidate.

    2. But that car qualified 3rd.

      1. I don’t believe it was that fast. Schumacher could have beaten Grosjean with a better lap in the qualifying, and Rosberg would have surely beat him without the mistake he did. And Grosjean lost drastically positions right at the start. So I’d say Lotus was 4th-5th quickest car. Probably 4th.

        1. @huhhii The mistakes of others just highlight how well Grosjean did in Q3. Kimi still made an error which meant he qualified 18th, a very poor effort, and finished 7th, which is roughly where the car should have been in the first place, according to your estimation of 4th fastest. He did well on Sunday, but for me isn’t a DOTW candidate for this weekend.

          1. True. But I was heavily leaning on fact that it was his comeback race after 2 years of absence, and that made him a worthy of DOTW.

  14. Just missed the hat trick pole fastest lap and race win, there can only be one choice this time.
    Would have loved to see Grosjean race for a bit longer, then he might have been a candidate.

  15. Went for Ricciardo, after a contact at the first corner and his pit stop he almost managed to match the pace of the front runners during his first stint. After the safety car came in he was dead last in the train of cars (15th I think) and during those 17 finishing laps, he was able to beat his teammate and get into the points. Also great drives by Jenson and Seb.

    1. @tomand95 He did have a cracking end to the race. Toro Rosso are looking pretty good this year.

  16. For me it is the race that I weigh upon to decide the driver of the Weekend. Honestly, there are quite a few serious candidates: Button, Vettel, Alonso, Maldonado, Perez, Raikonen… so since I can’t vote for all of them I picked Alonso for having the worst car of them all but still delivering.

  17. I voted for Perez only because I don’t vote for GP winner.

    But in all honesty, Button deserved it.

    1. @skodarap I have to ask… why not vote for the driver you think deserved it, just because they won the race?

      1. @keithcollantine

        In this case pure Sauber bias, but I do tend to vote for drivers that improve the most throughout the race from “no so good” qualifying.

  18. Button, no contest. Almost pulled it out of the bag in qualifying and actually knew exactly where he’d lost time, down to a tenth. And obviously did the business in immaculate fashion on race day.
    Alonso had a storming race, but with that crappy car had to push too hard and made a mistake in qualifying.
    Hamilton had a storming qualifying, but gave up after the first corner, partly due to apparently the team miscalculating the fuel load.
    Vettel’s weekend was a bit patchy and he did rather luck into his 2nd place finish.
    Webber’s start messed up his race, in a similar fashion to Hamilton’s. I hope he can stay on top of his car this same way for the rest of the season and I think he can beat Vettel.

    In all, I have to say though a very good case could be made for pretty much everyone in the midfield who made it to the finish. It really is so tight there that even after the race, still pretty much all of them said “we could have had a better result” and it was hard to really contest that.
    Obviously Maldonado lost his result on the very last lap and his pace shows Senna might have done better if he hadn’t had the problems he did. Both Saubers might have done better if they’d qualified where they were able to. Grosjean was set for a good race until (inexperience?) he decided not to get out of the corner Maldonado had forcibly taken for himself and obviously Raikkonen might have done better if he’d qualified where he should have. And then both Toro Rosso drivers had really decent races given their inexperience at this level, pressuring the people in front of them to the very end.

    Bring on the rest of the season, I say :D

  19. Button all the way. Alonso gets a mention but so should Pastor despite his mistake.

    I’m feel for Schumacher because I think a top five place was at least on the cards for him, I think he’d have gotton many votes should his car have lasted.

  20. Maldonado’s performances in qualifying and the race completely shook off his ‘pay-driver’ tag and probably would have made him, at least one of, the drivers of the weekend. But then he binned it on the last lap when he was in a position to score more points in the first race than the entire team did in the entire season last year.

    On race day Alonso (as always), Vettel, Raikkonen and Perez all delivered great performances, but they didn’t do the business on Satday.

    Plenty of other ‘nearly’ stories to add here but for me driver of the weekend is Button. It was a stunning performance and if you want proof how much so, just look at Hamilton’s body language post-race.

  21. This is a difficult one for me to pick: I was most impressed by Sergio Perez, Jean-Eric Vergne and Pastor Maldonado.

    Maldonado was very strong, and if he can replicate his feats (except maybe the crash) in Malaysia, I think it will go a long way towards silencing critics who claim he has no place in the sport, least of all because he obliterated Senna. I’ve spent some time saying that Maldonado might be a Williams driver, but he is not a Williams driver. What he produced this weekend was exactly the kind of drive one associates with a Williams driver, so I’m happy to be proven wrong. But it was still a bit of a scrappy Grand Prix, so Maldonado just misses out on my vote.

    Like Maldonado, Vergne misses out because of his mistakes. He went off once or twice, and there was a slide at Turn 13 on the final lap that cost him a points finish. Still, he did make Q2 and qualify eleventh on his debut, and I cannot think of a harder race for that to happen at than Australia – Daniel Ricciardo has been receiving a lot of attention from the media and the public of late, so Vergne really needed to stop it up a notch to deliver, and I think he did an admirable job. If it weren’t for that error on the final lap, he probably would have beaten Ricciardo home and earned a point for his efforts.

    Ultimately, I have to give it to Perez. I am amazed at his ability to produce laps that are as fast as the leaders, even when he is on the harder compound. Not even Jenson Button can do that. Just for once, I’d love to see Sauber put Perez on a two-stop strategy, and tell him to go bananas with the lap times, but I suspect they won’t, because they value the conservative strategy that nets points. Still, I think someone needs to give Perez a top-line drive, and soon.

    But, at the end of the day, I’m going to be watching these three very intently this year.

    1. I agree about Pastor. If he can do that more often (minus the crash), he will haved proved the doubters wrong. I didn’t like him last year because of his attitude in Spa and some of the anger issues he has had in past formula, but if he can calm down abit and continue to drive like that through the season, I will definately start supporting him. Perez? Definately a favourite for the Ferrari seat next year.

    2. Same three-way choice by me but with different outcome. It would be Maldonado if he didn’t do a Hamilton (@ Monza ’09), so I went for Vergne. Very good qualifying, consistent race pace, FLAP at some point of the race, just unlucky at the end.

  22. Fellipe Massa is the best driver without any question.
    I bet if the HRT were running they would have been ahead of MAS

  23. Alonso, obviously.

  24. Button did a great job. I think it’s too early to say he is the favourite for the championship as this race and Japan have been the only two races in the dry where he has been unbeatable, since joining Mclaren. I was glad we didn’t have to see the finger, but now we have the “W”, god help us lol. I was hoping for a Lewis win, but he drove a solid race with a great pole lap and was slightly unlucky to lose second, but ah well that’s racing. I’m sure he’ll get his confidence back slowly over the first part of the year with some solid podium finishes and then we’ll see the fiery Hamilton that didn’t seem to be there on Sunday. I plumped for Fernando, you can always count on him to drag the absoloute maximum from a car, but that was something else indeed. Brilliant drive and I hope Ferrari improve fast, so we can have him in the title fight and hopefully at some point, Fernando Vs. Lewis for a race win ;)

  25. Guys….. It is more than 4 months since I contributed last in this forum. I had to travel back to India last month to address a personal situation. Missed the prediction championshiop too :-(

    WOW.. new site layout. Great job @keithcollantine

    Watched the race yesterday… shame for Michael and Lewis. Voted for Jenson and had to agree with Steve Slater (Star Sports commentator)… he may win this years WDC as per the stats.

    1. @icemangrins Four months? You’ve got some catching up to do…

      Glad you like the changes.

  26. It can only be Jenson Button. Pretty much perfect from start to finish.

  27. There were several contenders for this in my mind, but consideration of qualifying performance along with the race narrowed the field to Button and Perez. Had to go with Button in the end.

  28. If I had 3 votes I would go with:

    1. Button
    2. Alonso
    3. Perez

    Button drove a flawless race after overtaking Hamilton at the start. Alonso, just like last season, was able to seemingly push his Ferrari past its capabilities. Perez did a great job of fighting trough the field to finish 8th after starting in last place.

    1. through*

  29. Funny how Button is winning DOTD yet Vettel rarely won last year despite performances identical to Button’s on Sunday.

    My vote goes to Alonso but special mention to Kimi, I’d forgotten how exciting he can be when he has the bit between his teeth, especially with those blue flags distracting him. =)

    1. Funny how Button is winning DOTD yet Vettel rarely won last year despite performances identical to Button’s on Sunday.

      Yeah, I was just about to say the same thing: So many people are citing Button’s “Vettelesque” drive (and even using that word) as their reason for voting for him — and I have to wonder how many of them voted for Vettel after those drives in the past…

      1. Yeah that’s true…last year it seemed it was the ones who qualified poorly and worked their way up the field during the race that got all the accolodes.

        I think with this race the difference is that most were thinking SV would be the one to beat on both days, and most were thinking LH would start out fresh and have a better year, and sure enough, got pole, so I think JB gets the nod because he did something that wasn’t entirely expected.

    2. I think it is because there is still a perception generally (I guess I still believe it too ) that Hamilton is a better (or should that be faster) racing driver than Button, whereas it is generally accepted Vettel is a stronger driver than Webber so it is not as impressive. Button was quicker than Hamilton yesterday on race pace, and even last year that still wasn’t the case that often

    3. I think that difference is partly due to the fact that last year the RB6 was massively more dominant than the rest of the field. When the guy on pole has a car which sometimes has a second or more advantage over the rest of the field, it’s difficult to hand him credit for winning.

      McLaren had a car advantage today, but not a massive one. Furthermore, the “Slower” teammate beat the “faster” one, so as @debaser91 said above, Button did something we didn’t expect him to do. I think the McLaren drivers are far more evenly matched nowadays than they were in previous years, and the perception that Button is slower is as much down to the fact that he takes longer to get in the groove, and the historical “years of underachievement” than their respective pace this year.

      1. Durr wrong RB codenames there. Sorry.

      2. Very true @hairs…I think JB is doing tons to errode this perception that he is the slower driver…and true enough, JB didn’t always have top 3 cars, whereas LH has. And this after everyone’s perception for quite a while now has been that the team is LH’s.

        I also take into account that JB is not the same JB he was before his WDC, and I think after last year he is probably better now than he has ever been, something that I don’t think many of us are taking into account when we assume LH is the faster driver. He wasn’t yesterday. The rest of the season will be fascinating.

        1. Its a good point. I think the current regulations suit Button’s smooth style a lot more than Hamilton’s aggressive approach. But throughout last year though Button has been getting the better of Hamilton, so it shouldn’t be a surprise.

      3. @hairs

        blockquote>When the guy on pole has a car which sometimes has a second or more advantage over the rest of the field, it’s difficult to hand him credit for winning.

        Except the margin usually was half a second or less in 2011.

        1. @David-a hence the use of the word “sometimes” rather than “always”

  30. We all know Alonso can drive, but what’s not to say Felipe is driving poor rather than the car being so bad?

    1. Because you could see how hard Alonso had to fight with the car to get that speed out of it.

      Felipe is at best a solid driver; far from the best, but not the worst. He hasn’t got that ability to get the most out of a poorly performing car, so in a sense he shows the cars true pace.

      I say true as in ‘this is the best the car can do’ because Felipe doesn’t have that ability to extract more from the car then it is capable (like Alonso does), he can take it to its limit but not beyond it.

      So, yeah, he shows its true pace.

      1. Now I am hoping that Ferrari get rid of Massa and pair Alonso with a decent driver, just so I don’t have to read any more of this nonsensical ‘extracting more from the car than it is capable’.

        And I don’t think Alonso’s weekend was that spectacular. A rookie mistake in Q2, and his fifth-place finish has to be seen in the light of most of the cars around him running into some kind of trouble (Hulkenberg, Schumacher, Grosjean, both Toro Rosso drivers, Kobayashi).

        1. Succeeding not to run into “some kind of trouble”, could count as a skill. Also Kimi showed the similar trait.

        2. @adrianmorse I read a few nonsense comments yesterday from some people about how Alonso could have won the race in a Lotus or Mercedes. Therefore, I agree, Massa really was ludicrously out of his depth on Friday, Saturday and Sunday and is making Alonso’s weekend look better than it was.

  31. I voted for Button. The reason being he put in a great second qualifying lap to get within 2 tenths to Hamilton and we all know qualifying isn’t where Button excels. He got a great start and lead in a pretty dominant fashion. The safety car flattered the performance of the other drivers as I feel he would have been at least 10 seconds down the road without it.

    An honourable mention must go to Sergio Perez for his performance in the race and especially Pastor Maldonado. I’m really glad to see that these teams were running near the front of the field and to see a Williams hussling a Ferrari made my weekend.

    1. +1 for every sentiment expressed herein!

  32. Kobyashi, he got a great result for his team. It would have been maldonado, had he not crashed on the last lap of the Grand Prix.

  33. Fernando, Jenson, Kimi, Sergio… difficult choice for me. @keithcollantine: it would be interesting if you could split your vote, or even better, to distribute a number of points among different drivers. From a total of 10 points I would give 4 to Button, 3 to Alonso, 2 to PĂ©rez and 1 to Raikkonen

  34. Easily Button for me – Vettelesque control of the race, and just the man for an unknown situation with a new car and tyres, which he seemed to make last better than Hamilton.

    Classy, clean passing from Raikkonen. Kobayashi got him back, in style, but he showed those kids how it’s done on the last lap! I suspect it was a great race by Alonso too, it reminded me of some of his damage-limitation drives in Renaults in 2008-9. But no prizes for binning it on Saturday.

    Bit underwhelmed by all the Maldonado praise. People are talking as if he was still driving last year’s Williams. He went off twice on his own and appeared to sideswipe Grosjean. Williams may have 30-odd million reasons not to criticise him, but it’s time he proved he can get results, even more so than Petrov last year.

    1. It was a great weekend for Maldonado, just look where Senna was in comparison; absolutely nowhere.

  35. Jenson Button. As Vettel pointed out – JB was untouchable!

  36. Was a close one between Button and Perez, Button dominated from the front but went with Perez in the end his tyre management was immense, i would love to see him in a quicker car, or to sort out Saubers quali pass and see how well he does

  37. Gotta be Jenson, the only way he couldve had a better race weekend was to get the Pole on Saturday, but that’s a big ask considering the form Lewis was in on that day. Jenson was on it from the word go in the first practice session.

    Honourable mention to Alonso for dragging the Ferrari up there, and holding off Maldonado, Perez for making the 1 stopper work and to Marussia for finishing on basically one of their first testing sessions! I’m a sucker for that logo, reminds me of Buzz Lightyear for some reason

  38. I would have voted Maldonado, but his crash was a very amateur mistake. Alonso gets my vote for dragging that Ferrari where it never should have been.

  39. I’m not particularly a fan of Alonso but to drag that car into 5th place was an amazing job so he gets my vote even though Jenson drove a perfect race.

  40. Button is clearly deserving of the ‘driver of the day’ title. I mean, he pulled a Vettel. On Vettel.

    Honorable mention: Maldonado. He made some bad moves early in the race and crashed out due to his own mistake at the end, but barring those he drove incredibly well, keeping Alonso on his toes.

  41. Pastor Maldonado for me. I think we at last saw a glimpse of his true potential. Absolutely gutted for him and Williams when he went off on the last lap

  42. Lewis Hamilton – Brilliant pole lap but couldn’t match Button’s pace pace. <– I guess it should be race pace. Typo here?

    Driver of the weekend for me is either Button, who simply had perfect race and close to perfect qualy, or Alonso who again put the Ferrari where it didn't deserve to be.

    1. Changed it, thanks.

  43. JB for me, absolutely controlled the race. Plus his attitude was fantastic. He wasn’t dejected when he qualified second he just took in his stride and even knew where he got it wrong, he congratulated Hamilton on his pole with sincerity and was happy with only being half a tenth off the pole.

    Some noteworthy mentions have to go to Pastor Maldonado for his almost brilliant race and Fernando for his brilliant recovery drive. Right now I don’t know why Felipe Massa has a seat.

    Lewis Hamilton really disappointed me today, and not in the car either. He was unlucky to finish 3rd, but his attitude after the race stunk. He sulked thought the podium and the press conferences and said what he needed to say. When he said congratulations to JB and the team, he really didn’t mean it. He was unlucky today but the result wasn’t a disaster. He needs to improve his attitude or I really am going to start taking a dislike to my favourite driver. He’s supposed to be a professional world-class racing driver, not a little boy!

    1. Actually he was one and a half tenths of pole ;)

      1. Whatever it was lol it was close!

  44. Felipe Massa gets my vote, as he’s saving me the 30 odd pounds a month by not having sky. As a fan of his -his performance yesterday just confirmed I made the right choice!!

  45. I think it has to be JB.
    He wasn’t that good in qualifying, but not bad either. In the race though he was just a step above everyone else.
    Hamilton looked good in qualifying, but he was horribly slow in the race.
    Vettel was IMO even better then Button in the race. Pulled out great overtakes and really got some pace out of the car, but again a trip off the track and making a mistake in qualifying puts him out right there.
    Alonso was brilliant in the race and really dragged a dog of a car into a place very few could have done, but he was the only to blame for his mistake in qualifying which saw him miss out on Q3.
    Raikönnen was also very good in the race, but again, mistake in qualifying..
    Maldonardo was actually close to getting my vote, just until he lost the car on the last lap and threw away everything. Great race despite that though, but no. Just no.

  46. Being a Button fan and not an Alonso fan, I still have to give it to Alonso. Alonso never ceases to amaze me with his abilty to get the most of out of a car. I mean the car was slower than the Williams of Maldanado and he still came in 5th.

  47. Sergio Perez! From 22nd to 8th place in Sauber!

  48. Fernando dragged every last ounce of speed from his underdone Ferrari. He certainly earned his euros in Australia. Maybe he should consider being paid in Aussie Dollars ;)

    It’s great to see Williams and Lotus competitive again! What a great start to the season. Bring on Rd2

  49. Vettel. His race-craft was questioned in 2010 and even after 2011 there were still some doubters. The fact of the matter is that in 2011, Seb took risks but the cost of failure was not too high as he had often almost secured his championship. But this weekend, when it was all on the line he was able to recover from a poor qualifying to show some brilliant passing and split the McLarens who were looking dominant.

    1. Very true, however his mistake in the qualifying cost him quite a lot. And maybe he would have been able to challenge Button a bit more (Just maybe) if he didn’t get stuck behind Michael Schumacher for so long.
      His race however indeed was really good.

  50. I voted for Perez – 14 places gain is impressive for me. ( If Maldonado hadn`t crashed, I would vote for him. )

    And wait? Why Button has 44% of the votes. He did the same Vettel was doing last year and yet he won only 3 DoTW.

    1. Very true… Except that SV started from pole more often than not. But that’s a good point.

    2. @eaiorloc Yeah, it would have been a tougher decision for me if Maldonado hadn’t of crashed. Valiant effort though!

      I went for Perez as well.

    3. @eaiorloc It’s Vettel. Of course he isn’t going to get anything.

  51. Tough call this time, if you actually think about it. Ricciardo had a brilliant race, Maldonado would have been a great pick if he didn’t manage to throw it all away so close to the end, Alonso’s drive was brilliant, allthough if it wasn’t for the early retirements of Grosjean and Schumacher he’d look as mediocre as the Ferrari. Vettel managed to go cleanly from 6th to second with a brilliant move on Rosberg early on, catching more than 4 seconds on Button and Hamilton during the race (even though they apparently were on fuel-saving mode according to Whitmarsh).
    Hamilton’s qualifying lap was stunning, but his race performance was lackluster.

    The only flaw on Button’s weekend was that he didn’t take the pole when Lewis posted an amazing lap. But during the race he was untouchable. Before the safety car came out Vettel was closing in on both McLarens, so I was hoping for an exciting finish, but Button simply walked away. Not a single mistake, well deserved victory.

  52. Might, mighty impressed with Sauber this weekend. My vote goes to Perez.

    I knew he had the capability to have a good race starting from the back with fresher tyres. Like @keithcollantine said it was a customary display of how to look after your tyres that he executed well and he ultimately ended up comfortably in the top 10.

    Plus, after being disqualified last year (although it of course has no bearing on his performance this year) I just thought it was extra special for him.

    1. Fully agree with you there Andrew.

    2. Comfortably in the top 10? He only just made it by .4 of a second…!!

  53. A lot of great driving; Vergne and Ricciardo both qualified well and had good races with a little contact. Grosjean’s Saturday, Perez race strategy, Raikkonen’s comeback, Button’s start, Webber’s qualifying without KERS ahead of Vettel and there’s still some confusion about where the start problem came from but to come back from that and 2011 shows character.
    Hard to pick but I’ll go for Alonso; that car is hideous in more than looks and he was only behind McLaren and RBR.

  54. This is quite a tough vote with a lot of great, or mixed, performances up and down the grid. Added to that I was watching over a dodgy connection instead of the TV, so my viewing of the last 10 laps or so was scraggy.

    Alonso proved why Ferrari made the right decision making him #1 driver. There’s never been any evidence that Massa is capable of putting in those sort of relentlessly determined performances, and as they killed his spirit, I’m sure he can’t rise to the challenge now. The Ferrari looked like an unpredictable dog of a car to drive all weekend, and for a large part of the race Alonso made it look stable. Maybe that’s due to high fuel making up for lack of downforce, though, because it got twitchy again towards the end.

    Massa … I don’t know. Perez should have had his seat this year, and will almost certainly do next year. Great performance from him, and as other people have commented, Sauber need to let us see what he can do with a less conservative strategy.

    Maldonado drove a strong race, but again showed a lack of judgement more than once, and needs to show a lot more maturity and sense.

    Raikkonnen did well, but making a mess of qualifying didn’t do him any favours. In contrary to years of “Kimi’s lazy and unmotivated” commentary, I got the impression we had a “Kimi’s manic and grabbing the whole thing by the throat” this weekend. Sounds like a fun combination for race fans.

    Grosjean did himself a massive amount of favours in qualifying, showing his detractors (like me) that he deserves the drive, but then losing places at the start and a fairly needless clash with Maldonado gave his detractors a lot of reassurance that he still has a way to go. As to the incident, I don’t have a very high opinion of either driver, so I’m not inclined to apportion blame either way. Both got too close unnecessarily and if either one of them were better at thinking things through, we probably wouldn’t have had the incident at all. Still, he deserved better than that as an end to his race.

    All in all, I think we had the same as last year: do you give the DOTW to the guy who never put a foot wrong, and dominated the whole race against a strong field, or to the guy who dragged a bad car where it didn’t belong, but has a few mistakes here and there? Tough one to call, but I went for Button because I’ve liked his attitude, and I voted for Seb in similar circumstances last year.

  55. Voting Button as the best at melbourne is a little over the top. He actually started from P2 and only drove past Hamilton. Of course he really did well and had a great race in winning. To be fair…Perez or Kimi R. would be a better choice, then again I of course am not being biast. My fav is Michel Schummacher and he didnt have such a great race.

  56. Im stunned very few people mention M.Schumacher. He did great in all of the practise sessions, constantly being at the top. Then he put in a good lap at Q3 and even outqualified Rosberg. Problem was that his car failed, he wasn’t really to blame.

    Still voted Button tho, he was mighty this weekend. But Schumacher for #2 for me. Vettel probably 3rd.

  57. It was Perez for me: unlucky in Q2 due to his gearbox and also had a penalty, but took revenge from last year running the same strategy and making it work again; he was unlucky to lose P7 on the final lap, but I still don’t know whose fault it was. P8 is still a very good result.
    Button was great: after leading FP1 he was in P2 in Q3 and won deservedly.
    Vettel’s qualy lap was slower than Webber’s.
    Webber’s best home result wasn’t enough unfortunately.
    Alonso’s low qualifying position was his fault.
    Vergne was very good.
    Grosjean was very good.

    1. Maldonado was amazing as well, unfortunate with his collision, but I’m looking forward to seeing him this season.

  58. Voted for Alonso – He really did drag that car up to 5th. Massa continues to show what a dog it is :)

  59. I went for Vettel, although I struggled to choose with Button, Alonso and Perez all being outstanding. In the race he really seemed to get the most out of the car, never gave up and was rewarded when the safety car helped him leapfrog Hamilton.

  60. The drivers who stood out for me were Button, Alonso and Perez, I was impressed by Maldonado until he crashed on the last lap.

    Button’s race was almost a copy of a number of Vettel’s races last year, leading after the first lap and quickly build up a cushion so DRS wasn’t an issue and then did the same after the restart.

    Alonso again outperformed the car, but he did make that mistake in qualifying, although on reflection I doubt he would have finished better in the race.

    Perez started from the back and managed to use his one-stop strategy to finish in the points.

    In the end I had to give it to Alonso even taking into account qualifying the race performance was just so impressive.

  61. Alex (@smallvizier)
    19th March 2012, 18:56

    For me it is between Vettel and Alonso.

    Vettel deserves more credit than he is getting for making it into second. He started well behind Hamilton (in a slower car!) but overtook the cars in between, and then drove faster than Hamilton to close the gap. He overtook Perez in 2-3 corners whereas Hamilton took 2-3 laps and that closed them right up to each other. When Hamilton pitted they were 1 second apart which is an achieveable difference given that Vettel was quicker and had warm tyres.

    Hamilton had to slow a little for the yellow flags at the end of his outlap whereas Vettel was in the pit. This may have made much of that 1s difference but it is hardly a ‘free pit stop.’ Vettel had sealed the overtake before either of them caught up with the safety car and so, in my mind, this is a standard pit-stop pass which Vettel achieved by closing right up and putting in one quick lap when it mattered. Overall a great race from Vettel in a car which on all evidence was inferior to the one he beat.

    Alonso, by that standard, drove even better – I’m still not sure whether the Ferrari is a front-runner which is impossible to drive, or a midfield car which shouldn’t even be fighting with Renault and Mercedes, let alone Red Bull. Either way, that he was challenging Webber at times was exceptional and it’s just a pity that one of the grid’s best drivers found himself in such a tough situation to begin with.

    An honourable mention goes to Perez, who confounded everyone by making a one-stopper. He was helped by the medium tyres being surprisingly good, and probably the better option when you balance performance with degredation. I don’t rate his drive at the very top because actually, most of the places he made came from not getting caught up in the first corner melee (which is often out of the driver’s control) – after that he performed in line with his team-mate.

    Another honourable mention is Button but, in a car which was comfortably the best all weekend, I can’t say he surprised me in the way Alonso or Vettel did.

    1. He overtook Perez in 2-3 corners whereas Hamilton took 2-3 laps and that closed them right up to each other. When Hamilton pitted they were 1 second apart which is an achieveable difference given that Vettel was quicker and had warm tyres.

      Just want to point out that Lewis caught Perez as the Sauber driver hit the end of his tyres life. Lewis was stuck to his gearbox for Lap 20 and sailed past on the straight. Once Lewis was past then Seb had him easily into T11 as Martin B put it “Pure traction”. Perez went backwards quickly from there, 2nd to 7th in 3 laps and then 13th while pitting.

      1. Alex (@smallvizier)
        20th March 2012, 7:57

        It wasn’t just lap 20. Hamilton came out alonside Perez at the start of lap 18. Perez’s tyres had gone whereas Hamilton’s were brand new, so it should have been possible to overtake him quickly. But Hamilton couldn’t find a way past on lap 18, or 19, or 20 – finally making it through in his 7th DRS zone at the start of lap 21.

        On the other hand Vettel caught them at the start of lap 21, just as Hamilton was passing. He slipped down the inside on the very same lap in exactly the same way as he’d overtaken Vergne just a few laps before… no DRS involved.

        Overall the gap went from 5.5s when Hamilton exited the pits (and with Vergne in between) to 1.9s once Vettel had made his way past. That’s 3.6s in 3.6 laps, and it put Vettel close enough to take advantage in the next round of pit-stops… albeit helped by Hamilton passing through yellow flags and losing a second or so.

        On that I’d say, you make your own luck.

        1. But Sergio’s times weren’t too bad for laps 19 and 20, low 1:34’s which is what Lewis was doing at the end of his previous stint so I wouldn’t say his tyres were gone. Both of them were on hard tyres at this stage. Yes the Sauber was slower at the time but not enough that an easy pass was in order, then Perez’s times for 21, 22 and 23 were 1:36, 1:35 and 1:37 then he pitted. I just think he ‘fell off the cliff’ in tyre performance on lap 20/21 allowing all the cars through in short succession, had Sebastian come up against him a lap earlier he may have found it a little harder to pass him. The Red Bull had Soft tyres at the time though and he was a few more laps into his stint and would’ve been happier and quicker on them.

          I’m not saying Seb wasn’t quick at this stage of the race or that Lewis would have definitely been in front post pit stops without the Safety car influence, it’s just not as simple as Seb breezed past and Lewis was flailing around behind the Sauber because of some problem with his driving.

          The point is primarily against Seb as driver of the weekend. Yes he drove a good race, had a good start but he was lucky to have the safety car timed as it was and the fact he didn’t have to fight with Schumacher since the Merc’s gearbox broke made his journey a little easier. Seb also made that mistake at turn 1 and was just far enough ahead not to have the train behind him catch and pass him which would have totally ruined his race. He was scrappier than normal in Q3 and he crashed in FP3. Over the weekend I can’t see how you can compare him against Alonso. Or Button who regardless of the car being great didn’t put a foot wrong aside from being .2 off pole.

  62. I am the idiot that voted for Petrov, I wasnt paying attention, I meant to vote for Perez, whoops.

  63. Button had a stunning weekend, but you can’t not be impressed with Alonso dragging that dog of a car to 5th. His 11-tenths race performance of 58 qualifying laps will be one of the drives of the season. Bravo!

  64. Kieth, you have some faulty if not inconsistent journalism here. In your lap charts article it is obvious that Hamilton and Button had near identical race pace. How do you say Button has superior race pace above? Is that your opinion? What must we take from the rest of your articles then?

    1. @m30 Because Button pulled out a massive 11 second gap over Hamilton, then settled back and maintained it.

      1. look at the lap times. the initial 4 second gap was hamilton’s tyres coming into the working zone. After that they had the same lap times. The gap was brought on by Mclaren keeping hamilton out for to long and then releasing him into traffic. the race pace was the same for the two macca drivers. The gap is not the race pace.

  65. Voted for Kobayashi, truth be told, Jensen was offcourse beyond doubt the man of the day. But kobayashi drove a car with a rear wing whose endplate was vibrating so heavily it looked like a peace of cloth in a hurricane, and not only that , he drove it to sixth place!!!! kudos for that.

    Besides Button and KObayashi, I think alonso deserves credit for dragging that red brick ( and I’m a lifelong ferrari fan, but an alonso hater) into fifth

    And Maldonado proves to me once and for all he more then a pay driver, though I can’t help but wonder what rubens would have done with a car like the FW 34, which to me looks, along with the sauber very fast and only just a fraction off the pace of the four “top teams” right now (lotus, mercedes, red bull and mclaren)

    1. How can Button win this he had the best car. Vettel should have won loads of these votes last year or have most people changed their criteria again this season? Any of the best 3 drivers in F1 could of won this though Alonso, Vettel or Button. I would say Button but I would have picked Vettel for most last year. As for whoever was critical of someone saying Button had better race pace than Hamilton he did he started behind finished infront so he was faster over the race which equals faster race pace.

      1. The RedBull is the second quickest car with similar race pace to the macs. Not to mention Vettel got lucky with the safety car.

        1. F1fanNL (@)
          20th March 2012, 1:02

          And last year the McLaren was the second quickest car with similar race pace to the bulls. Vettel didn’t win that years poll either.

      2. F1fanNL (@)
        20th March 2012, 0:53

        “or have most people changed their criteria again this season”

        I don’t think so. Seems to me like most will still only vote for (one of) their favorite drivers.

  66. F1fanNL (@)
    20th March 2012, 0:48

    Button, who else.

    He’s the only one who had a faultless weekend.
    Alonso, Vettel and Raikkonen arguably had a better race but they had a poor qualifying.

    Good to see most commenters acknowledging a superb weekend too. I remember that wasn’t the case 12 months ago.

  67. Perez, 22nd to 8th nuff said :)

  68. Alonso, by a hair from Button. As great as Button’s race was he still lost in qualy to Lewis. And I’ll always go for the driver who puts the car higher than it belongs. I don’t like Alonso, but credit where it’s due. Same as an expert said about Senna in the film: “he’ll be ranked among the all time greats”

  69. Button both both Kobayashi & Alonso still deserve the applause from the crowd.

  70. Went with Fred on this one…Not because I’m an Alonso fan…but then again, who wouldn’t be his fan after that drive.

  71. Here’s another point about Massa that occurred to me:

    The new, written, rule this year states that the defending driver must make one move, then leave at least a car’s width between himself and the edge of the track. How does that square with Massa vs. Senna? Senna overtakes into the corner, and is clearly ahead by the apex. But Massa just continues on into the side of him, eventually pushing him all the way off the track, as though he thought he could continue on his normal line? Senna should have given himself more space to the Ferrari, knowing that such a thing might happen, but I have no idea why Massa didn’t give up the corner other than to speculate that it was blind frustration and rage. It looked like he thought the Ferrari was a forklift and he could just punt the Williams off the track. Admittedly it might handle like that, but even so….

    There certainly wasn’t a car’s width in it!

    1. @hairs The rule covers what happens when a driver moves off-line to defend their position. It states that a driver must leave room for another car in a situation where the defending driver has already come off-line to defend their position and is returning towards the racing line.

      That is not what was going on between Massa and Senna when they collided in Australia. Massa never had chance to make a defensive move against Senna – they went into the corner side-by-side. It was at that point they made contact, so the rule doesn’t apply here.

      More here: The 2012 rules changes at a glance

      1. @Keithcollantine interesting point. Does this seem like a gap in the rules to you, as in, If a driver hadn’t moved before, does he then have free reign? Seems to contradict the spirit of the “don’t move into the other guy” idea to me.

    2. I thought the same too, but after watching the replay just now (at 2am Melbourne time), it seemed like Massa had a puncture heading into the 4th corner and hence couldn’t avoid the collision with Senna. Perhaps that was the case and hence he wasn’t penalised.

  72. as a fairly new fan to F1, it’s racing like this weekend that i love. although my opinion might not mean much here in the states hopefully someone can agree. i felt like jenson and seb had a equally great race. jenson’s ability to gain the 10s gap then loose it cause of the safety car and regain back to 2s was superb! but seb’s race was just as good with some spectacular passes starting at p6 and finishing 2nd.

  73. Voted for Jenson. Lewis was close because of his qualifying but lost out due to poor race performance and given he started from pole. Top effort by Alonso as well.

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