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.

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

  • Sebastian Vettel (4%)
  • Mark Webber (0%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (2%)
  • Jenson Button (44%)
  • Fernando Alonso (21%)
  • Felipe Massa (0%)
  • Michael Schumacher (1%)
  • Nico Rosberg (0%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (7%)
  • Romain Grosjean (1%)
  • Paul di Resta (0%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (0%)
  • Kamui Kobayashi (3%)
  • Sergio Perez (8%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (2%)
  • Jean-Eric Vergne (0%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (6%)
  • Bruno Senna (0%)
  • Heikki Kovalainen (0%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (0%)
  • Narain Karthikeyan (0%)
  • Pedro de la Rosa (0%)
  • Timo Glock (0%)
  • Charles Pic (0%)

Total Voters: 861

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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”

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  1. 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.

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

  3. Alonso, obviously.

  4. 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 ;)

  5. 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.

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

  7. 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.

  8. 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*

  9. 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”

  10. 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.

  11. 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!

  12. 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.

  13. 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

  14. 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.

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

  16. 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

  17. 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

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

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