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. 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.

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

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

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

  8. 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”

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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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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