Vote for your Chinese Grand Prix driver of the weekend

2012 Chinese Grand Prix

Start, Shanghai, 2012Which driver had the best race weekend in China?

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

Driver notes

Sebastian Vettel – Reverting to the older-specification RB8 exhaust didn’t help Vettel’s cause. He had the sector times to get into Q3 but fell short by a few hundredths of a second. From 11th, he slipped back at the start as he took care to avoid the Williams pair. Much like last year, a two-stop strategy left him vulnerable at the end, as he dropped from second to fifth.
Mark Webber – Stuck with the newer exhausts and ended lap one in ninth after a customary sluggish getaway. Despite flying through the air after going off at turn 13, and running wide while trying to pass Raikkonen, he made an aggressive three-stop strategy work and passed his team mate for fourth with two laps to go.

Jenson Button – Couldn’t find grip in cool conditions during practice and was sixth in qualifying. Made a strong start to claim third, and made light work of traffic on his three-stop strategy. Was poised to attack Rosberg in the final stint when a slow pit stop dropped him back into traffic, and forced him to settle for second.
Lewis Hamilton – A gearbox change penalty turned second in qualifying into seventh on the grid. Nonetheless he moved up two places at the start and spent a busy race usually trying to find his way past another car. Seemed more circumspect in his approach, particularly with Massa and Perez, and lost some time which meant he was unable to capitalise on Button’s problem. But another third place gave him the championship lead.

Fernando Alonso – There was no opportunity for heroics this time. Alonso qualified ninth and finished there after going off while trying to pass Maldonado.
Felipe Massa – Started 12th and lost a place during the course of the race (despite Schumacher’s retirement). Massa viewed this as “a step forward compared to the first two races of the season”.

Nico Rosberg, Mercedes, Shanghai, 2012Michael Schumacher – Just as the W03 came good, the margin Schumacher had enjoyed over Rosberg in the first two races vanished. A 0.6s deficit in qualifying looked more like the situation last year. He lapped slower in the opening stint, but whether this was an act of tyre conservation that would have benefited him later on is something we’ll never know. He retired after his front-right wheel was not fitted correctly at his first pit stop.
Nico Rosberg – Led the Chinese Grand Prix for the third year in a row – only this time he won it. His pole position lap was superb, and he was confident enough to get out of his car before the end of the session, knowing pole was his. His team scrutinised his tyres after every pit stop for signs of the degradation they’d seen on Friday. As the race wore on it gradually became clear Rosberg had the car to win, and Button’s pit stop trouble sealed the deal.

Kimi Raikkonen – Didn’t complete any high-fuel running on Friday as Lotus struggled to get on top of the cool temperatures and their latest upgrade package, much of which was scrapped. Started fourth but ran into tyre trouble while two-stopping, plummeting ten places down the order in two laps and limping home 14th.
Romain Grosjean – A solid run to sixth was just the tonic he needed after completing only four laps in the first two races. Made his two-stopper work, and not just because his last stop was four laps’ later than Raikkonen’s. Time lost at that stop – and running wide at turn seven – showed he could have finished even higher.

Paul di Resta – A lowly 15th for the highest Force India on the grid shows how the team’s fortunes have changed. He couldn’t continue his points-scoring streak in the race, finishing behind the Saubers.
Nico Hulkenberg – Wheelspin at the start meant he slipped to 17th behind Kovalainen and damaged his nose. Lap ten repairs left him last, but a two-stop strategy allowed him to finish ahead of the Toro Rossos. However he couldn’t find a way past the struggling Raikkonen.

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Shanghai, 2012Kamui Kobayashi – Sauber went into the weekend looking for better qualifying performance and found it – Kobayashi started third. But did it come at the expense of their race pace? Both drivers finished lower than they started. Kobayashi lost four places on lap one and his three-stop strategy dropped him back further. He ended the race tenth after defending strongly from his team mate.
Sergio Perez – Mystified by the sudden onset of understeer in qualifying as the track temperatures fell. But he made a good start, moving up two places and passing his team mate. Sauber switched him to a two-stop strategy as they began to doubt whether Kobayashi’s three-stopper was working. But a clutch problem at his second stop dropped him back behind his team mate and, ultimately, out of the points.

Daniel Ricciardo – The Toro Rosso pair found themselves scrapping to reach Q2, and again it was Ricciardo who came out on top. He spent the opening stint being held up by Hulkenberg and dropped back during the race.
Jean-Eric Vergne – Elected to make wholesale set-up changes and start the race from the pits. It paid off, and he was the fastest driver on the track for 10 out of 11 laps towards the end of the race as he lapped on soft tyres. He overhauled his team mate and caught the Raikkonen-Hulkenberg battle by the end of the race.

Bruno Senna, Williams, Shanghai, 2012Pastor Maldonado – Edged his team mate by a tiny margin in qualifying but lost two places at the start. Shadowed Senna throughout the race and finished a second behind, claiming his first points of the year.
Bruno Senna – Missing first practice turned out to be no great loss due to the rain. Made a good start but clipped Massa’s Ferrari, damaging his front wing. Like Maldonado, good pace on a two-stop strategy moved him up the order ahead of, among others, the two Ferraris. Passed the tyre-troubled Raikkonen but was demoted by Grosjean on the same lap for seventh.

Heikki Kovalainen – New technical director Mark Smith’s first race on the pit wall didn’t go entirely according to plan – Kovalainen lost time with an unspecified problem at the back of the car which left him last.
Vitaly Petrov – Was pleased to finish on the same lap as the leaders in a race that didn’t feature a safety car.

Pedro de la Rosa – 107% rule fears now look to be a thing of the past, but de la Rosa was still around a second per lap off the Marussias in the race.
Narain Karthikeyan – Was around 40 seconds behind de la Rosa before falling further back when he was lapped for the second time.

Timo Glock – Briefly held 18th at the start before being demoted by Petrov and the two Toro Rossos. Avoided being lapped until the very end of the race – when he lost so much time he was almost passed by Pic.
Charles Pic – The team took the canny decision to call Pic to drive through the pits on lap 48 without stopping, allowing the leaders to pass without costing him too much time. Until that point he had been around ten seconds behind Glock – he crossed the line less than half a second behind his team mate.

Qualifying and race results summary

Started Gap to team mate Laps leading team mate Pitted Finished Gap to team mate
Sebastian Vettel 11th +0.331s 32/56 2 5th +2.559s
Mark Webber 6th -0.331s 24/56 3 4th -2.559s
Jenson Button 5th +0.565s 56/56 3 2nd -5.386s
Lewis Hamilton 7th -0.565s 0/56 3 3rd +5.386s
Fernando Alonso 9th -0.273s 44/56 3 9th -5.523s
Felipe Massa 12th +0.273s 12/56 2 13th +5.523s
Michael Schumacher 2nd +0.57s 0/12 1
Nico Rosberg 1st -0.57s 12/12 2 1st
Kimi Raikkonen 4th +0.018s 43/56 2 14th +19.082s
Romain Grosjean 10th -0.018s 13/56 2 6th -19.082s
Paul di Resta 15th -0.428s 56/56 2 12th -8.94s
Nico Hulkenberg 16th +0.428s 0/56 2 15th +8.94s
Kamui Kobayashi 3rd -0.74s 19/56 3 10th -2.346s
Sergio Perez 8th +0.74s 37/56 2 11th +2.346s
Daniel Ricciardo 17th -0.781s 27/56 2 17th +11.4s
Jean-Eric Vergne 18th +0.781s 29/56 3 16th -11.4s
Pastor Maldonado 13th -0.006s 6/56 2 8th +1.046s
Bruno Senna 14th +0.006s 50/56 2 7th -1.046s
Heikki Kovalainen 19th -0.214s 27/53 4 23rd Not on same lap
Vitaly Petrov 20th +0.214s 26/53 2 18th Not on same lap
Pedro de la Rosa 23rd -0.589s 54/54 2 21st Not on same lap
Narain Karthikeyan 24th +0.589s 0/54 2 22nd Not on same lap
Timo Glock 21st -0.435s 51/55 2 19th -0.398s
Charles Pic 22nd +0.435s 4/55 2 20th +0.398s

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 Chinese Grand Prix weekend?

  • Sebastian Vettel (1%)
  • Mark Webber (2%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (10%)
  • Jenson Button (6%)
  • Fernando Alonso (2%)
  • Felipe Massa (0%)
  • Michael Schumacher (1%)
  • Nico Rosberg (69%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (1%)
  • Romain Grosjean (2%)
  • Paul di Resta (0%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (1%)
  • Kamui Kobayashi (1%)
  • Sergio Perez (0%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (0%)
  • Jean-Eric Vergne (0%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (0%)
  • Bruno Senna (2%)
  • Heikki Kovalainen (0%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (0%)
  • Narain Karthikeyan (0%)
  • Pedro de la Rosa (0%)
  • Timo Glock (0%)
  • Charles Pic (2%)

Total Voters: 636

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2012 Chinese Grand Prix

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101 comments on Vote for your Chinese Grand Prix driver of the weekend

  1. W-K (@w-k) said on 16th April 2012, 14:02

    I’m a fan of Nico’s but didn’t vote for him. He just applied the model that has been defined over the last few seasons. Do a very good quali lap, start the race in Quali mode and get clear of the DRS 1s problem. But then he was gifted the race because his team mate and Jenson had bad pit stops, and Lewis had his 5 place drop. Mark and Fernado did the best they could in the machinery supplied, as did many others. Seb is going to have to learn how to drive the same type of car as Mark.

    Note to Ferrari drivers; the excuse you could of done better if there hadn’t been so much traffic is not acceptable, everybody except Nico had to deal with traffic.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 16th April 2012, 16:20

      I think you are over-simplifying. Not all the time does your ‘model’ apply, but for sure in a dominant car like SV had last year running away from the field from pole can work very well. But the Merc is yet to be established as a dominant car, so NR found himself in somewhat unfamiliar territory compared to some drivers in the last few seasons. He had every reason, and it would be understandable, to think througout the race that his tires might fall off a cliff at any point in time, like the first two races. So that may have added pressure for him that we wouldn’t see or know about.

      He wasn’t ‘gifted’ anything. MS was losing half a second a lap to NR while he was still in the race. JB had a bad pit stop but not enough to account for the gap NR had already earned by running away from the field with a perfect start. And NR could have dialed it up a notch for all we know. I think you are playing woulda-coulda-shoulda a little much here.

      To say he ‘just applied the model’ and ‘he was gifted the race’ downgrades NR even though you say you are a fan. Fans like you NR doesn’t need. ‘Do a very good quali lap’…like a driver can just snap his fingers and do the perfect lap and blow away an otherwise very tight field.

  2. himmatsj (@himmatsj) said on 16th April 2012, 14:14

    Assuming Button would have been 1 second faster in clear air (an overestimation I guess), Button would still not have won. If he couldn’t pass Vettel for quite some time who was also on a two stopper, do you think he’d have blazed past Rosberg just like that?

    Also, Rosberg surely had plenty in reserve, at least 0.3 secs a lap. Frankly, it’d have been better if Button was in clear air, and Rosberg won. That would give Rosberg’s win so much more credibility.

    • AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 16th April 2012, 15:32

      I voted Rosberg, also, but I don’t agree with your reasoning that Button wouldn’t have had a chance. First of all, he lost a lot of time with the pit stop and subsequently being stuck in traffic; with a normal pit stop, he would ‘only’ have had to make up around 12-13 seconds.

      Second, the reason Button couldn’t make it passed Vettel was that Sebastian had his DRS open every lap on the back straight. Rosberg would not have had the ‘benefit’ of having a Raikkonen in front to enable the DRS.

      I’m not saying Rosberg couldn’t have gone faster or that he would have been easy to pass, but I think there would have been a battle.

  3. James (@goodyear92) said on 16th April 2012, 14:43

    I voted Hamilton for the first time this season. Good qualifying performance to stick it in second. Wasn’t his fault he got the penalty, but didn’t let it stop him from getting another podium. He was always in more traffic than Button, so didn’t really have much of a chance to pass him. When he did get clear air behind JB he started slowly closing, but then had to pit and was behind more traffic. Fantastic performance that had me on the edge of my seat.
    Rosberg second. Fantastic performance in Qualifying and the race, but wasn’t really challenged for his lead much.
    JB poor qualifying performance, but pretty handy in the race. If LH hadn’t had his penalty, he would have finished second for sure and have a bigger points lead.
    Another great performance from Senna too. Ahead of Pastor and firmly in the points well done.

  4. Mikeycool said on 16th April 2012, 14:50

    I really liked the way nico took to his first win. You can tell he was over the moon but at the same time he was really calm and cool about it. That mix of reaction usually comes off as arrogance but Nico pulled it off with class. Really happy for him :)

  5. Danksa (@danieljaksa) said on 16th April 2012, 14:54

    Yep, Nico for me too. He had a flawless quali and GP. I sense that this will spur him on to more wins this season.

  6. Fixy (@fixy) said on 16th April 2012, 15:12

    There was space for good performances by many drivers over the course of the weekens, but only one excelled: Rosberg. It’s not a coincidence if he obtained his first pole and win.

  7. JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 16th April 2012, 15:23

    I’m not really a fan of Rosberg, I think that he’s over-rated and really hasn’t shown anything really special over his years in F1. I accept that he is absolutely F1 standard and deserves to be there, but doesn’t have that extra which is needed to be a champion. For the first time in a while I had a really good read of all of Keith’s driver summaries to find another driver who I could justify voting for, but in the end I have to agree that Rosberg’s qualifying and race were fully deserving of my vote.

    Would Button or Schumacher have beaten him without their pit-stop woes? Maybe or maybe not but we can’t vote on the basis of what might have been, and if Button had been on the peerless form which we have seen on occasion from him then he would have been far enough ahead to win with or without a bad stop. But we’re voting on what actually happened. I’m not voting for Rosberg because he won the race, I’m voting for him because the evidence suggests that regardless of who your favourite team/driver is, he really was the best driver on both Saturday and Sunday.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 16th April 2012, 16:27

      Fair comment…and now let’s see if he can take that win, with the confidence that can come from a proven race winner, not to mention he obviously has a car that can be great on some days, and let’s see if he can prove he has ‘that extra’ as you say. All WDC’s needed the car to succeed, and it is only just now that NR has it. And he didn’t squander it.

  8. BasCB (@bascb) said on 16th April 2012, 16:25

    Thanks a lot Keith for highlighting something nice for all (almost all) drivers, the race had just so many really nice performances in it.
    I think Vergne did a good job to show he does not shy away from taking a bit of risk, good job and interesting choice by Marussia with Pic (will we be seeing that one more often now?). Vettel did well on Sunday, but he knows the exhaust was not the right thing. His defensive driving when Hamilton and Webber had a go at him was one of the bigger highlights for me.
    Webber – amazing to how he finished after that wheely.

    But the vote goes to Rosberg for doing a perfect qualifying lap. He knew it, Schumacher immediately knew it and from the smile on Ross’ face he knew it as well. And he did not mess up in the race, but made it work the distance. Did we just see the birth of a real champion this weekend?

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 16th April 2012, 16:45

      “Did we just see the birth of a real champion this weekend?”

      I’d like to think so. And I could see Keith asking that question in the form of a headline and a well written (as usual) article.

      As easy as he made it seem he was no doubt dealing with the pressure of not knowing whether his tires might fall off the cliff, and the pressure earlier on of potentially coming out in traffic and having that affect his race, and the pressure eventually of not making a mistake and throwing away what was looking more and more as the day went along like what might be his first win… his to lose. Even his perfect quali lap came off having made errors in his first two Saturdays of the season, making some wonder if MS’s newfound form and obvious greater comfort in this car had NR rattled a bit compared to his domination of MS on Saturdays for the last two seasons.

      We know he can drive, we know he’s never had the equipment until this weekend…now we know he can hold it together under some pressure. All we need to see now to know if we have seen the birth of a real champion is if he has the mental game when the pressure is at it’s apex…fighting for wins and the WDC with another driver or two (or three as this season is shaping up) with a small number of races to go in the season.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 17th April 2012, 8:17

        After writing my comment, I though about how this win reminded me of Vettel’s first win. He really was almost untouchable that weekend in Monza as well. Same goes pretty much for the amazing race Webber had for his first win, just nothing could hold him back that day!

  9. The Limit said on 16th April 2012, 17:12

    So many to choose from. Nico Rosberg deserves all the kudos for his performance over the whole weekend, theb McLaren boys were both on it and made so nice passes, Mark Webber was a threat, Schumacher was fast before that ill fated stop. Very hard to nail down this one. Yet again, Williams showed signs of improvement with two good drives from Maldonado and Senna. I felt sorry for Jenson as what happened in the pits really screwed up his chances of victory. I really, really enjoyed this race as it had everything a no ‘dirty’ driving or penalties to spoil it. Poor old Raikkonen looked like he was on a conveyor belt at the end, 2nd to 12th in just two laps!! I loved every minute of this race and I feel it bodes well for the championship as there appears so many drivers are in a position to win races. You can see it in Schumacher, Raikkonen, Webber and many others. They all have quick cars, this should be a good year for us F1 fanatics.

    • Robbie (@robbie) said on 16th April 2012, 17:31

      Agree very much with what you have said…I’ll only correct one thing on behalf of LH fans…some would say his 5 spot penalty for the gearbox change spoiled it for him/them. That said I believe your point was about no dirty driving and/or incidents worthy of penalties during the race itself. I too loved every minute of this race, and agree wholeheartedly that it bodes well for the championship.

  10. OOliver said on 16th April 2012, 17:27

    Has to be Rosberg for not doing a “Coulthard” after getting his first pole. He stayed calm even if not put under pressure.
    Webber and Hamilton a joint second. They could have achieved more, but they were in traffic all race long.

  11. Lorenzo (@thegamer23) said on 16th April 2012, 17:32

    Obviously Rosberg is the man this week, but there is also Bruno Senna.
    He showed again that even without driving in the FP1, he can edge quite easely his teammate in race, with a strong start, good pace and great tyres managing (the last pit was on lap 29, he managed to mantain the pace till the 56th lap).

    • Eleanore (@leucocrystal) said on 17th April 2012, 0:39

      It’s been really encouraging to see not only how close he managed to get to Maldonado in qualifying despite still having less time in the car (I think it was only .006s between them!), and then keep up that pace during such a tight and eventful race. Watching the sector times, I was assuming the team would go for a three-stopper, but they just kept right on going to the end. I hope the Williams team continues to develop the car well, things look nicely steady and positive right now.

  12. sid_prasher (@) said on 16th April 2012, 17:59

    Voted Nico. This has potential to be the most dominant drive of the year…

  13. Kamui Fan (@kamui-fan) said on 16th April 2012, 18:32

    Best driver from Quali – Kobayashi

    Best driver from Race – Rosberg

    Overall verdict – Senna

  14. Force Maikel (@force-maikel) said on 16th April 2012, 19:06

    easy vote today! I couldn’t have chosen anyone else. Pefect Pole lap, Perfect race. Seems like a lot of people think Button could have had him if he didn’t have that horrible pit-stop. I can’t agree because Rosberg at the front was clearly managing the gap before the stop and cleary managing it after so Button had no chance but you can’t deny he was best of the rest (in your face lewis). Buttons my title hope for this year.

  15. PJA (@pja) said on 16th April 2012, 19:21

    Has to be Rosberg, a steller lap in qualifying to take pole and then dominated the race looking after his tyres well enough to make a two stopper work even thought everyone thought the Mercedes would be too hard on it’s tyres.

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