Vote for your European GP Driver of the Weekend

2012 European Grand Prix

Which F1 driver had the best race weekend in Valencia?

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

Driver notes

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Valencia, 2012Sebastian Vettel – On top form right up until the moment his car let him down. Produced a superb lap to claim pole position by over three-tenths of a second – a feat which seemed impossible after Q2. Scorched off into the lead and was 20 seconds ahead of the field after 22 laps. The safety car removed that margin, but it was alternator failure which denied him what looked set to be an emphatic victory.
Mark Webber – Had his share of Red Bull’s technical maladies in final practice and qualifying, leaving him 19th on the grid. A patient recovery drive and several cool passes saw him recover to fourth place in the race.

Jenson Button – Looked much more convincing in practice but stumbled in qualifying, falling to ninth. Still didn’t quite have it together in the race but was at least able to take eighth after passing Perez on the final tour.
Lewis Hamilton – Was surprised to put the McLaren second on the grid and it showed from the word go as it plainly lacked the pace to compete with Red Bull. Nonetheless it was a slow McLaren pit stop (yet again) which dropped him behind Alonso, costing him a shot at victory. Quickly passed Raikkonen and Ricciardo and the restart but his tyres went off badly in the final laps and Raikkonen took second place off him. Was blameless in the incident with Maldonado which knocked him out of the points.

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Valencia, 2012Fernando Alonso – Wrote off Ferrari’s chances of finishing on the podium after failing to make Q3 on Saturday. But he drove superbly from 11th to get in position to take advantage of Vettel’s retirement. This included a brilliant string of passes on Webber, Schumacher and Senna followed by the coup de grace – a fabulous opportunistic move on Grosjean which, by the end of the lap, put him in the lead of the race. Held his nerve as the tyres began to wilt in the closing laps for a richly deserved win.
Felipe Massa – Mimicked Alonso’s good start, gaining three places to hold tenth. But thereafter didn’t make the same progress through traffic as his team mate. Perhaps didn’t expect Kobayashi to make a passing attempt at turn ten where the pair tangled, leaving Massa with damage that ruined his race.

Michael Schumacher – Things finally came right for Schumacher in Valencia, though it didn’t seem like they were going to when he qualified 12th. Made strong progress through the field after his final pit stop and the Maldonado-Hamilton collision handed him a podium that was some recompense for his poor fortune earlier this year.
Nico Rosberg – Also had a strong run at the end of the race but left it even later than his team mate. Having been 11th with two laps to go he finished an excellent sixth.

Kimi Raikkonen – Out-qualified by Grosjean again and dropped back a place at the start despite getting off the line well. Passed Maldonado in the first stint but a slow getaway in his first pit stop cost him a further place to Alonso. Hamilton passed him at the restart but Raikkonen took the place back in the dying stages for second. Said the car lacked the pace to win.
Romain Grosjean – Didn’t get off the line well on the slippery side of the grid but made a bold move on Maldonado at turn two to take third. A few laps later he was past Hamilton for second but seemed unable to challenge Vettel. Should have been more alert to the threat from Alonso at the restart but in the end it only meant his alternator failure cost him second place instead of a win.

Paul di Resta – Got the most out of a questionable one-stop strategy. The safety car probably helped him more than it hurt as he lost fewer places than he might have and had chance to preserve his tyres. Demoted to seventh on the final lap.
Nico Hulkenberg – Qualified and raced strongly, taking his best career result so far with fifth place. Had his KERS been working, he might have stood a better chance of holding off Schumacher and Webber to claim the final podium spot.

Start, Valencia, 2012Kamui Kobayashi – Translated seventh on the grid into fourth by the end of lap one, but a slow first pit stop robbed him of much of that progress. Made a rather optimistic attempt to pass Senna on lap 20 which resulted in the pair tangling. His move on Massa later on was similarly ambitious and earned him a five-place penalty for the next race.
Sergio Perez – Soundly beaten by Kobayashi in qualifying but expected to have better pace in the race. Started on mediums but got stuck behind Senna so made an early pit stop. Didn’t have the same fiery pace seen in Canada and ended up ninth, struggling with tyre degradation.

Daniel Ricciardo – Briefly held third after the safety car period, and attempted a late second pit stop in the same vein as Schumacher and Webber. Although he didn’t have the pace of the Red Bull it might still have worked out well for him, but he clipped Petrov while passing the Caterham, losing time.
Jean-Eric Vergne – Beaten by Kovalainen in qualifying, he weaved towards the Caterham while passing it during the race, causing a completely avoidable collision. Justifiably handed a ten-place grid drop and ?óÔÇÜ?Ľ25,000 fine.

Pastor Maldonado – Demonstrated his best and worst qualities in a single weekend. Having cheered the team with an excellent qualifying lap for third on the grid, he slipped back during the opening stages but was within a shout of a podium at the end. He undid that good work by barging into Hamilton having gone off trying to pass the McLaren, ruining both their races and picking up a penalty. Topped it off by hypocritically blaming Hamilton’s defensive driving, which was no different to the tactics Maldonado himself employed during the race.
Bruno Senna – Well off Maldonado’s pace and fortunate to pick up a point after his team mate’s penalty. Perhaps hard done by with his drive-through penalty for the tangle with Kobayashi, which the Sauber driver could have done at least as much as him to avoid.

Heikki Kovalainen – Shone in qualifying but his race was ruined by Vergne’s impetuousness.
Vitaly Petrov – Finished in front of his delayed team mate after four pit stops, one of which to replace the front wing he lost colliding with Ricciardo.

Pedro de la Rosa – Out-qualified his team mate – and the sole Marussia – and finished ahead of Karthikeyan as well.
Narain Karthikeyan – Might have beaten his team mate had he not received a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pits.

Timo Glock – Practiced but did not compete due to illness.
Charles Pic – Held the fort against HRT in Glock’s absence.

Qualifying and race results summary

Started Gap to team mate Laps leading team mate Pitted Finished Gap to team mate
Sebastian Vettel 1st -0.769s 33/33 2
Mark Webber 19th +0.769s 0/33 2 4th
Jenson Button 9th +0.391s 0/55 2 8th Didn’t finish on same laps
Lewis Hamilton 2nd -0.391s 55/55 2 19th Didn’t finish on same laps
Fernando Alonso 11th -0.073s 56/56 2 1st Didn’t finish on same laps
Felipe Massa 13th +0.073s 0/56 4 16th Didn’t finish on same laps
Michael Schumacher 12th +0.266s 20/57 2 3rd -8.537s
Nico Rosberg 6th -0.266s 37/57 2 6th +8.537s
Kimi Raikkonen 5th +0.008s 0/40 2 2nd
Romain Grosjean 4th -0.008s 40/40 2
Paul di Resta 10th +0.24s 9/57 1 7th +2.873s
Nico Hulkenberg 8th -0.24s 48/57 2 5th -2.873s
Kamui Kobayashi 7th -0.655s 28/33 2
Sergio Perez 15th +0.655s 5/33 2 9th
Daniel Ricciardo 17th -0.279s 23/26 2 11th
Jean-Eric Vergne 18th +0.279s 3/26 1
Pastor Maldonado 3rd -0.637s 51/57 2 12th +18.669s
Bruno Senna 14th +0.637s 6/57 1 10th -18.669s
Heikki Kovalainen 16th -0.37s 18/57 2 14th +18.783s
Vitaly Petrov 20th +0.37s 39/57 4 13th -18.783s
Pedro de la Rosa 21st -0.356s 54/56 2 17th -9.267s
Narain Karthikeyan 22nd +0.356s 2/56 2 18th +9.267s
Timo Glock 0/0
Charles Pic 23rd 0/0 2 15th

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 European Grand Prix weekend?

  • Sebastian Vettel (18%)
  • Mark Webber (5%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (2%)
  • Jenson Button (0%)
  • Fernando Alonso (52%)
  • Felipe Massa (0%)
  • Michael Schumacher (9%)
  • Nico Rosberg (0%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (2%)
  • Romain Grosjean (5%)
  • Paul di Resta (0%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (2%)
  • Kamui Kobayashi (0%)
  • Sergio Perez (0%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (0%)
  • Jean-Eric Vergne (0%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (1%)
  • Bruno Senna (1%)
  • Heikki Kovalainen (1%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (1%)
  • Narain Karthikeyan (0%)
  • Pedro de la Rosa (0%)
  • Charles Pic (1%)

Total Voters: 738

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222 comments on Vote for your European GP Driver of the Weekend

1 2 3 5
  1. Slr (@slr) said on 25th June 2012, 13:03

    I voted for Nico Hulkenberg. He was strong in qualifying; during the race he kept his head whilst others were losing theirs and brought the car home to a strong finish. The fact he raced 50 laps without KERS was also very impressive.

    • dam00r (@dam00r) said on 25th June 2012, 13:29

      I also voted for the HULK.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 26th June 2012, 0:33

      An opportunity for me to vote for Webber in the year of the tyre, reliability problems ruined his practice with what is virtually a “new” car and left him in 19th place on the grid. By adapting his style to this years tyre reality he made 15 places up during the race, notably, having attempted and failed to pass MS he gave MS the room to drive fast rather than defensively and they progressed through the field together without unnecessary tyre wear. Luck played its part but everyone on the podium benefited as well.

  2. necrodethmortem (@necrodethmortem) said on 25th June 2012, 13:05

    Has to be Vettel, would have won it with ease if it weren’t for that pesky alternator and what a qualifying lap! Great race from Alonso as well, obviously, but he couldn’t have won it without his rival(s) breaking down.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 25th June 2012, 13:45

      @necrodethmortem Agree. Vettel, clearly.

      He was on top of everyone and by a long way. There was no way Alonso would’ve catched him. His qualifying lap was incredible, considering how tight it was, to pull out more than 3 tenths over the rest of the field was superb.

      Alonso’s weekend wasn’t that good until he put himself third at the restart, so my vote goes to Vettel. Could’ve been Grosjean too, but Vettel was in the way.

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 25th June 2012, 14:55

        I think I have to agree with both of you. In a season that has been so close between the cars, and so varied as to it’s winners, SV managed to dominate quali and run away with the lead. Not that I was thrilled to see him do that time and time again last year, but this year has been obviously way different so kudos to him for being so strong in a very close season up until now. I’m thrilled for FA too, but he did benefit from the attrition of others and that is racing but if I can only pick one then to me is has to be SV for showing clear domination while his car was working.

      • Arrrang (@arrrang) said on 25th June 2012, 16:47

        I disagree. We actually had a chance to might see a fight for the lead after the SC. Sure VET was far gone in the first part, but after SC came out it was a 3 car race (or 4 if HAM didn’t fall back). Who knows how fast Seb could have gone? I believe that 20s lead he created must have costed him some fuel… and that was the chance ALO and GRO had.

        • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 25th June 2012, 19:18

          It is driver of the WEEKEND
          Alonso fluffed up his Saturday

        • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 25th June 2012, 22:35

          I believe that 20s lead he created must have costed him some fuel… and that was the chance ALO and GRO had.

          @arrrang I belive recovering from 11th to score a win would also cost Alonso fuel. Yet he pulled away from the rest of the guys.

          Vettel had a trouble free race. He was way ahead to control the race and take care of the car, as he’s always done in Valencia, and would’ve won easily had the alternator kept going.

          Besides, as the others say, it’s Driver of the Weekend. Vettel was on top form during the whole weekend, and something completely out of his control forced him to retire.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 25th June 2012, 22:54

          If Alo and Gro only had a chance because of a safety car, then they weren’t better, were they?

        • Pamphlet (@pamphlet) said on 25th June 2012, 23:19

          I’d sooner chalk that up to misfortune. Grave misfortune, in fact. Even if Vettel hadn’t lost his alternator, the safety car would’ve still screwed him over. Doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have gone on to win the race. We all saw what Button did in Australia, and I’m sure he would’ve still gotten the award had his car failed the way Vettel’s did yesterday.

      • Theo1 said on 25th June 2012, 22:39

        Third at the restart? He was running 4th behind Hamilton when the safety car was introduced! The safety car only helped him catch Vettel, not everyone else.

        But my driver of the weekend goes to Grosjean – He got overtaken at the restart for 2nd and was around 1 second adrift of Alonso for almost 20 laps… he could’ve won! Wait.. could’ve? That doesn’t sound too convincing… err…

        Vettel… Vettel is my driver of the weekend! Made a solid lead in the open air at the start, and took full advantage of a slow Lewis Hamilton who kept Raikkonen and Grosjean at bay. He sure knows how to bolt off in an open track!

        Although my DOTW is definitely not Alonso! Very little overtaking from him, almost none! Lucked his way to second, and got lucky to keep the lead. Adverse conditions always give him luck! He’s pretty lucky to even be in the championship hunt let alone leading it! 20 consecutive point finished… ahh… lucky!!! Man, how can he have so much luck? He should be fighting the Caterhams like Massa!

        • avegaille (@avegaille) said on 25th June 2012, 22:55

          are you kidding me? have you watched the race? and have you watched f1 at all? alonso=very little overtaking?

          • Pamphlet (@pamphlet) said on 25th June 2012, 23:23

            Vettel. Alonso was easily the second best, but anyone that says he wasn’t lucky with the safety car and Vettel&Grosjean’s retirements deserves to be laughed at.

            Grosjean had poor pace compared to Vettel and, following the restart, was struggling to keep up with Alonso, so no chance for him. Although, if anything, that only serves to put Raikkonen in an even worse light.

          • Pamphlet (@pamphlet) said on 25th June 2012, 23:24

            And that reply is in the wrong place. But yeah, the post you replied to was sarcastic.

        • Aditya Banerjee (@) said on 26th June 2012, 7:16

          Alonso made passes on Huelkenberg, Maldonado, Webber, Senna, Schumacher, di Resta and Grosjean. That adds up to 7, and the only behind the hard-charging, late-pitting duo of Schumi and Webber. Alonso was also the only finisher(apart from Karthikeyan), to not be overtaken throughout the race. Savvy?

        • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 26th June 2012, 15:38

          The safety car allowed him to jump Hamilton and then mount his attack on Grosjean, who he overtook after the restart.

          He got there by merit, but the SC allowed him to win.

          I’m not saying Alonso doesn’t deserve it. His driving was superb, and he did the usual job: put himself in a position in which he can win. Regardless of what others do, he’s always up there ready to pick up “gifts” if you want to call them like that.

          All I’m saying is that Vettel’s weekend was much stronger, except for the alternator that broke. It’s the first time this year we see a 2011/2010 kind of domination and you have to give him credit for it. He pulled out a magnificient lap at qualifying, and his first stint was just electric! over a second a lap faster than anyone else, he got himself a whole stop ahead of everyone else.

          To me, he’s the DOTW. Alonso deserves it if he wins it, ofc, but it’s not MY opinion.

    • plushpile (@plushpile) said on 25th June 2012, 14:53

      Agreed.
      Shades of last year, Seb walking it while the rest behind him go crazy.
      Hard not to vote for Alonso, who drove a super impressive race but it it weren’t for the alternator Seb had this one in the bag.
      Honorable mentions also to Grosjean and Webber who both drove great races as well.

      • frood19 (@frood19) said on 25th June 2012, 16:02

        These names would be my top 4, with an honourable mention to hamilton who drove a fine race with what was clearly a tricky car in race setup. he is having some dreadful luck this season, despite driving wonderfully (for the most part).

      • Aditya Banerjee (@) said on 26th June 2012, 6:08

        I would have voted for Alonso even if Seb had won it. Any fool can win if he has a car that is several seconds faster than the next fastest one;only legends win from the back and with inferior equipment

        • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 26th June 2012, 21:41

          Hear hear. Then to add to that, that the teammate with the only car that could challenge him had his car crippled al weekend again.

        • David-A (@david-a) said on 26th June 2012, 22:55

          @adibanf1 – Several seconds faster? Putting in a near perfect lap that is 0.3 seconds ahead of 2nd place is totally different than the scenario you’re describing.

          • Aditya Banerjee (@) said on 1st July 2012, 6:45

            It wasn’t a perfect lap, he flunked up the last sector.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 3rd July 2012, 5:20

            @adibanf1 – Nonsense. He nails pretty much every apex, and was fastest by 3 tenths. Where’s your evidence for “several seconds faster”, when it was 0.3?

          • Aditya Banerjee (@) said on 3rd July 2012, 14:17

            @David-A : He was 0.51 seconds up on Maldonado’s time in the second sector, but ended up 0.37 ahead.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 3rd July 2012, 16:15

            @adibanf1 – I didn’t say it was a perfect lap in the first place (I said “near-perfect”), but you seem so sure that he only took pole because of his car, when the field is incredibly close. There are no cars that are “several seconds faster than the next one”, and even last year’s RB7 was on pole by 0.9 only once.

            The third sector is supposed to be the most downforce intensive of the three. Maldonado’s Williams was even faster than Hamilton’s Mclaren in that sector, but he was 3rd overall behind Hamilton as well, since he was purely outdriven over the course of the lap. I’ve rewatched SV’s lap and he more or less gets the most out of his car, as he does so often.

          • Aditya Banerjee (@) said on 4th July 2012, 7:38

            @David-A – I admit I was only trying to say he had the fastest car, and I got a bit carried away. I was a big fan of Vettel till last season, until I saw the first two races this season and saw that when the car wasn’t working perfectly, Vettel was not being able to beat his teammate(in quali). Plus, I refrained from voting him DOTW, because there remains a question mark on the last 23 laps. It is too big a number to assume what “could” have happened(compared to, say, Massa’s 3 laps at Hungary 2008).

    • JCost (@jcost) said on 25th June 2012, 16:29

      I wanted to pick Bernd Maylander (SC driver) but there’s no box with his name.

    • favomodo (@favomodo) said on 25th June 2012, 16:34

      There no doubt that Vettel is a world class driver, especially good when he is 100% in control, like in qualifying doing that one perfect lap. And also in front of the pack, when there is just one job to do: drive concentrated in clean air (like in qualifying). Then he is on his best and better than the rest.

      But, he is not the best overall driver (I mean in different circumstances) and he is helped a lot by Newey. There is no doubt that Newey did it again: some kind of (legal?) blown diffuser is embedded in that car. We will see a lot of Red Bull in the coming races.

    • Estesark (@estesark) said on 25th June 2012, 18:39

      +1. Vettel was utterly dominant for as long as his car allowed him to be. Can’t ask for much more than that.

    • DVC (@dvc) said on 26th June 2012, 7:06

      I agree. If you aren’t to be coloured by the final result, and you take the whole weekend into account, it can only be Vettel.

      • Sviatoslav Andrushko (@) said on 26th June 2012, 9:13

        It’s easy to win with the best car. I haven’t seen Vettel winning from P6, or P9. His statistic says that he has won 18 GP from 1-st position. Obviously, he had the best car. Once he won a race from 3-d (Malaysia, better start), and 4 times from 2-nd, but that was because his rivals were failing in the race. Vettel is one of the best in Q3, that’s no doubt, but he win with the best car only.

        • Sviatoslav Andrushko (@) said on 26th June 2012, 9:14

          “but he winS”

        • F1fanNL (@) said on 26th June 2012, 10:22

          Or he puts the car at or beyond where it should be in qualifying and than has to fight off faster cars in the race. Like Canada last time out or, for example, Spain and Monaco last year.
          The only reason Vettel has won so much from the front is because he almost always qualifies at the front with spectacular Q3 laps whereas Alonso only rarely pulls a Q3 stunner out of the bag and then starts behind slower cars. Also, this year (as previous years) the Ferrari is much better in race pace than in qualifying. Everybody knows this. Alonso has said it many times so it should be expected that, when he qualifies just 2 tenths off the fastest man in Q2, he should be able to overtake or at least challenge the cars in front.

          Unfortunately many will still say that when Alonso wins it’s because he’s (by far) the best driver and when Vettel wins it’s because he’s got (by far) the fastest car. Even if Vettel wins from the back of the grid someday you’ll still say it’s because he’s got the fastest car.

        • JerseyF1 (@jerseyf1) said on 26th June 2012, 11:17

          I haven’t seen Vettel winning from P6, or P9

          Isn’t he just so overated, just like that Ayrton Senna guy? Senna also never won a race from P6 or P9.

          Once he won a race from 3-d (Malaysia, better start), and 4 times from 2-nd

          Indeed in Senna’s first 5 seasons in F1 his record is very similar to Vettel’s (slightly worse having won fewer races and only four of them not from pole). His lowest career grid to win position was 5th I believe and his average qualifying position to win over his career was 1.5.

          but that was because his rivals were failing in the race

          Senna plyed his trade during one of the worst periods for reliability and car failure, he should really have been able to win races from way back on the grid.

          he win with the best car only

          And that’s exactly why Senna never went down in history as a very good driver either.

          When will people stop criticising Vettel for being good at qualifying? How can being on pole position make a driver less deserving of a ‘driver of the weekend’ award?

          • tasimana said on 26th June 2012, 12:28

            Totally agree. Vettel is a class driver and the best way to win is from pole and he does that better than anyone. If Redbull have as it seems delivered a car with similar aero characteristics to last years then he could dominate like last year. Next race will tell. Bad news for Webber. Go Daniel.

  3. Mclarengal (@mclarengal) said on 25th June 2012, 13:05

    I voted Grosjean – phenomenal racing before his car sadly packed up. Ballsy moves whilst considering and respecting his fellow drivers (take note, Pastor).

  4. mayhemfunkster (@mayhemfunkster) said on 25th June 2012, 13:11

    Went for Alonso in the end because he’s *always* there. He benefitted from others’ bad luck for sure, but he was there when the others hit trouble..and rose to the occasion once in the lead. His main rivals that were running weren’t able to challenge him. I’m not what you’d call an Alonso fan, but I can see the excellence in this performance, even if it was a little fortunate.

    • Pink Peril (@pink-peril) said on 25th June 2012, 22:47

      Alonso is the class of the field. Someone like Vettel or Button only perform well when everything goes their way, others like Webber perform best when their back is to the wall. Alonso is just on top of his game all the time, no matter what else is going on. Sunday was a supreme example of that – to benefit from others misfortune (as some as have sugested) you have to first be in the mix to do so, and Alonso is always there, ready to maximise any opportunity. And that is why he is my DOTW.

      • Dorian said on 26th June 2012, 2:54

        Wonderfully said!!!!!

      • Aditya Banerjee (@) said on 26th June 2012, 6:09

        +1

      • F1fanNL (@) said on 26th June 2012, 10:25

        Someone like Vettel or Button only perform well when everything goes their way

        You mean just like how everything went Alonso’s way on Sunday.
        Need I remind you what happened 2 years ago when it didn’t go Alonso’s way?

  5. Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 25th June 2012, 13:12

    This is strange feeling: it’s the first time I voted for driver which didn’t finish – Vettel. He was untouchable not only in the race but also in qualifying and really deserved victory. Alonso was also fantastic in the race, but he didn’t shine in qualifying.

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 25th June 2012, 14:14

      but he didn’t shine in qualifying

      i’m not discussing your choice but Fernando shined in the race when it counts there’s a big difference between qualifying & race i’m not ignoring Vettel’s grate ability & talent to get it in a single lap but i know also that the huge gap in qualifying & at the beginning of the race has a lot to do with his car’s supremacy otherwise why he wasn’t “untouchable” in Spain Malaysia Monaco China ……
      Alonso demonstrated that he’s the best in race condition’s always attacking from 1st lap until the end & squeezing the car until its limits

      • favomodo (@favomodo) said on 25th June 2012, 16:37

        Exactly! That’s I was trying to express in the above post.

      • Osvaldas31 (@osvaldas31) said on 25th June 2012, 17:22

        Well, yes, but the poll is about “Driver of the weekend”, so you have to take qualifying into account.

      • xjr15jaaag (@xjr15jaaag) said on 25th June 2012, 19:22

        But ti’s driver of the WEEKEND, not Driver of Sunday

        • Alex (@smallvizier) said on 25th June 2012, 20:41

          I often see this argument, but I think it misses our responsibility to judge which parts of the weekend are most important.

          Most of us will happily ignore Saturday practice, for example. We don’t normally take into account drivers’ performances at press conferences. We acknowledge that what matters is how drivers perform in their cars, when points are at stake.

          This weekend qualifying was very unusual because Q2 was so competitive. So much so that Alonso, Schumacher and Massa actually beat some of the Q3 times, being just 0.3s off the Q2 leader, and still didn’t make it through. In these circumstances I think it’s fair to say that actually, their performances were decent, but it was clear that consistency, strategy and luck over a full race distance would have a bigger effect than qualifying position.

          In general I think qualifying performance should be seen as a nice bonus, but no more important than other key single laps such as lap 1, a pitstop in-lap, or the first lap after a safety car. They’re all situations where a driver goes flat-out for one lap with points on the line.

          • suka (@suka) said on 25th June 2012, 22:02

            EXACTLY…most of us weigh the race more than the quli to give the final verdict…I surely do so. Nobody would even mention Alonso if he had qualified on pole and finished the race outside the podium.

          • suka (@suka) said on 25th June 2012, 22:07

            If I were taking in consideration 50/50% race and quali, then Hamilton did the best in a slower machine than Newey’s(Vettel’s).

          • DVC (@dvc) said on 26th June 2012, 7:16

            Except in this case, it was Vettel’s Saturday performance that allowed him to build a lead early on Sunday. Qualifying was extremely tight as you note, so the slightest slip would have seen Vettel start from behind drivers like Maldonado, and it’s debatable whether he would have shone then.

            The car failed on Sunday in a mysterious way, no fault of the driver, when he was well in the lead. The fact that he was so commandingly in the lead early in the race was due to his fine performance up until that point, not just in the race but in qualifying and practice it has to be said.

            What many are overlooking is that Red Bull only had Vettel for much of practice to provide feedback on a significantly revised car. Webber was struggling with technical issues. So, Vettel’s performance in practice early in the weekend was also key to getting him to the front on Sunday. Thus, this race is a good example of where we are not paying enough attention to practice in determining the driver of the weekend, not the other way around.

            I don’t often vote for Vettel, but I gave it to him this time. His performance over the whole weekend was impressive.

          • F1fanNL (@) said on 26th June 2012, 10:28

            @DVC,

            +1.

            Also, this is just another case of people not wanting to vote for Vettel.

          • JCost (@jcost) said on 26th June 2012, 10:31

            Indeed. Regulations approach follows the same line of thinking, there’s not points scored on Saturdays…

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 27th June 2012, 0:03

            @suka

            If I were taking in consideration 50/50% race and quali, then Hamilton did the best in a slower machine than Newey’s(Vettel’s).

            LH didn’t actually get any closer to Vettel than you would expect (being 3 tenths behind), so Hamilton was equal at best, and at worst, plainly inferior in terms of what he did with his machine.

      • Jay Menon (@jaymenon10) said on 26th June 2012, 2:14

        Its got to be Alonso. Forget Qualifying, if we have anything to go by, it suggests pole doesnt necessarily mean you’re gonna win. Its all about the race pace.

        Alonso drove a fantastic race, he passes 3 cars in as many laps, which was outstanding!

        • necrodethmortem (@necrodethmortem) said on 26th June 2012, 4:34

          If it’s all about race pace, then Vettel should win ;)

          • Aditya Banerjee (@) said on 26th June 2012, 6:12

            @above: You would do well to rephrase your sentence as “Newey would win”. I think even NK could have won had he been driving for Red Bull in Valencia,such was their dominance yesterday.

          • DVC (@dvc) said on 26th June 2012, 7:19

            @adibanf1: Neither Vettel nor Webber won. What would NK have done differently?

          • necrodethmortem (@necrodethmortem) said on 26th June 2012, 14:30

            @adibanf1 Like Hamilton stormed the field in his faster McLaren in the first races, right? I’m not a Vettel fan, but it’s about time people start recognizing that he does a whole lot more than bringing a superior car to the finishline.

    • Aditya Banerjee (@) said on 25th June 2012, 18:01

      Neither did Raikkonen at Bahrain, but he was Dotw there.

  6. Girts (@girts) said on 25th June 2012, 13:21

    It’s really hard to choose between Vettel and Alonso as they both delivered fantastic performances. I’m gonna pick Alonso solely because I didn’t like how Vettel couldn’t accept the failure with enough maturity and whined about safety car being sent out deliberately to bring the field together.

    • Karthikeyan (@ridiculous) said on 25th June 2012, 17:23

      Funny that you blame Vettel for whining. Seems like you forgot 2010 already.

      • Girts (@girts) said on 25th June 2012, 19:22

        No I haven’t. But Vettel and Dr. Marko are now doing basically the same thing that Alonso and Ferrari did after the 2010 European Grand Prix, namely, they’re accusing FIA of manipulating the race, without providing any proof for it.

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 26th June 2012, 7:22

          I agree with that @girts, a real shame they turn to doing these kind of things. Its a bit like the constant complaining about the DDD being allowed from them in 2009 (we heard Horner, and sometimes Vettel say it in interviews at the time that it was an unfair competition)

          • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 26th June 2012, 21:48

            Or how they kept on going on an on how it was unfair that others had KERS when their car was obviously faster because of their deciscion not to go for KERS in the first place. Yet tactical errors kept putting them behind KERS cars as did Button, but he was perfectly capable of overtaking them.

        • F1fanNL (@) said on 26th June 2012, 10:34

          Before the SC Vettel had worked hard to built a 20 second lead. After the SC he had none. However way you twist that, it’s a manipulation of the race. Deliberate or not.

          I’ve never liked SC situations because they tend to turn races into lotteries. In recent years the SC rule has improved but you can’t honestly say it’s fair for a driver to lose a (decent) advantage he himself got through no fault of his own.

          • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 26th June 2012, 21:50

            manipulation implies that it was done to change things on purpose. However way you twist that, that’s not what happened.

  7. Atticus (@atticus-2) said on 25th June 2012, 13:21

    It is even harder to choose now than it was after the previous 2012 races. So so many faultless race.

    Hulkenberg during the whole weekend. (Mind you, di Resta only scuffed his Q3 lap, otherwise did just as well.)

    Grosjean, who out-qualified Raikkonen once again, found the gap to squeeze past him, after Maldonado had Kimi back off at Turn 1, magnificient move on Hamilton, and considering the Lotus’ tyre management potential versus that of the Ferrari’s, could be on course for being the eight winner in as many races. Only his reaction after the SC restart was questionable – this cost him a place.

    Raikkonen also drove brilliantly, only the mentioned Turn 1 half-incident held him back.

    Schumacher had a lot more decent start than Rosberg and then practically stole the show during the second half of the race picking off opponents in tandem with Webber.

    Alonso once again delivered 110%, the one-and-a-half lap on which he made up three places could be somewhere near the podium of the all-time greatest laps in F1 history. (We all know which was the best.) Faultless during the whole weekend and had his fair share of luck towards the end.

    Hamilton also drove superbly, he was helpless with the pit work for an umpteenth time, and I think he did not do anything wrong during his latest clash with Maldonado. Probably failing to nurture his tyres towards the end could have been his only fault.

    Webber was stronger than his result and lap chart shows. He clearly had not have time to configure a Q setup, but was impeccable after that, great drive chasing Schumacher through the field.

    Vettel’s was another faultless weekend, no luck with the car failure.

    I think it has to be one from the Vettel/Webber/Alonso/Schumacher/Grosjean/Hulkenberg pack. I’d go for Alonso, after all, he had to do it the hard way down from 11th.

    • Kimi4WC said on 25th June 2012, 23:57

      Vettel and Hamilton will be feeling these DNFs for quite a time.

      This is going to be so close. Despite Alonso’s amazing win, I don’t think they will be able to challenge for top spot, but Alonso is making sure to take most of every single race, and if others will keep missing out on points Ferrari might just do it.

      I just hope Lotus will push through whole season. They got two very fast drivers, that means less points for competition, Kimi can do it!!!!

  8. BasCB (@bascb) said on 25th June 2012, 13:24

    There’s a lot to say for many drivers to get it, makes it really hard! But after just reading Peter Windsor’s race analyses in GP Week(for Alonso haters – don’t go there, you will start to feel good about him!) also talking a bit about the mindset of the drivers (Grosjean, Alonso, Vettel a bit less, and off course Hamilton and Maldonado) I will vote for Alonso.

    In second and third come Grosjean and Vettel. Grosjean for really inching close to that first F1 win, it feels as if its all but inevitable, but there are little things missing. Vettel, what to say about half a second gap for pole and building up a 14 second lead in about 7 laps other than it does get a tad tedious to look at. But by no fault of his own, he never got to show how he could bring it home, so he cannot win.

    Hamilton – No. First time this year that he is back to being the Hamilton we know. Impulsive at times, not giving up, but lacking the wisdom/will to give in when its hopeless (defending). Kimi, good race, could have been better. Hulk – really nice effort, especially when we take in account having ran without KERS since lap 7.

    • James (@goodyear92) said on 25th June 2012, 16:07

      What was impulsive about it? He had 3rd with 2 laps to go, what should he just pull over because it’s nigh on impossible to defend the position? No! He was defending his position as he has every right to do, and doing a bloody good job of it as well. The fact that he managed to keep a much faster Pastor behind him for as long as he did, showed extreme skill in the placement of his car. It was Pastor that was totally to blame, and completely impulsive, actually bordering on moronic with his slam in to the side of Hamilton. I really do detest the notion that if someone is struggling to hold a position for whatever reason, should merely concede it to the faster person. I think people who truly believe that should go and look up what ‘racing’ actually means!

      • Alex (@smallvizier) said on 25th June 2012, 20:49

        While Pastor ultimately caused the accident by not slamming the steering wheel to the left, it’s unreasonable to absolve Hamilton completely.

        – Hamilton didn’t leave Maldonado room, even when they were alongside each other into the corner. In squeezing him off the track, Hamilton broke the rules. If he’d left him space, there would have been no accident.

        – Certainly this was less dangerous than forcing somebody onto grass or into a concrete wall. However, look at *where* Hamilton put Maldonado. He left him on top of one of the rumble strips. A modern F1 car has such low ground clearance that the strips are real obstacles… at those speeds it would have been quite reckless to try and clamber over the strip and may have resulted in loss of control and a spin. Ultimately Maldonado rode the strip forward like a railgun and was fired straight into Hamilton’s side as Hamilton clung to the inside.

        Just to make it clear, I didn’t see much of an effort from Maldonado to get off that strip or completely get out of the way. I believe that, having been forced off the track, that’s what he should have done (and he’d have gained the position when Hamilton was given a drive-through penalty). So the crash was ultimately Maldonado’s fault. But if Hamilton had followed the rules, he wouldn’t have been in that position to begin with.

        • andrewf1 (@andrewf1) said on 25th June 2012, 22:20

          Hamilton – a drive through penalty? you must be out of your mind. i’m seriously wondering what has happened to the fans’ perception of racing and fighting for position. Hamilton had EVERY right to plant his car and not leave Maldonado any room, he closed and defended the racing line perfectly within the rule -because he had the racing line. Maldonando was on the outside, there have been so so many situations like these in which the guy on the outside simply has to brake or cut the chicane – look at Hamilton vs Kimi in Spa 2008, or Alonso vs Kubica in Silverstone 2010. Seriously, just look at them, you can find them on Youtube and then have another say. In neither one of those situations did the guy on the outside T-bone the other opponent, even though they got squeezed to the edge of the track. Why? Because they are world-class drivers and fight within the rules, something which Malfunctionado is light years away from.

        • leotef (@leotef) said on 26th June 2012, 4:41

          Why on earth a driver already on the race line have to concede to whom from outside?
          HAM didn’t push Pastor out of track like he did to RAI at the start, he just kept his racing lines and what people talking about Ham’s red mist or that ol days’s immaturity things are totally biased and out of mind.

        • Thecollaroyboys (@thecollaroyboys) said on 26th June 2012, 8:21

          Have a look at the replay. The vision from inside Mals car shows him going full left lock but the car refused to turn. I’m not defending him and he was completely at fault but from what I see he did try to go left. It was probably slipping on the kerb paint as well as being stuck on Hams car but he gave it try.

        • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 26th June 2012, 13:04

          Hamilton didn’t “put” anybody anywhere. Maldonado put himself in that position. Lewis was holding his line and he was completely entitled to do so. Hamilton didn’t have to leave room and Maldonado knew that there wasn’t enough space for a passing move, yet he kept pushing, went off track and then he t-boned his opponent. Seriously, what did he expect to happen?

        • MaroonJack (@maroonjack) said on 26th June 2012, 13:15

          One more thing. Maldonado only started turning left when it was too late. Here is a shot from his car, he’s clearly off the track, he sees Lewis ahead and his steering wheel is turned fully to the right: IMAGE.

      • Kimi4WC said on 26th June 2012, 0:06

        I admire Hamilton’s attitude this season, and I fully understand his frustration in cockpit right after incident, it was long, close and tough race and being two laps to go did not help.

        But his interview right after amazed me even more, I’m starting to like the guy. I’m sure he would let Maldonado pass if he had another chance, cause after all the buzz he knows he would have hard time defending from Schumacher with the tyres he got, and it’s just a shame he did not get any points.

        Everything is for the better they say.

      • BasCB (@bascb) said on 26th June 2012, 7:29

        @goodyear92, I was not saying that Hamilton was being impulsive there. I think this was the first time this year where Hamilton let this side of him get the overhand though instead of looking at the big picture, and bringing the car home.
        That was what he did in the first couple of races and it impressed me to see him being more mature in his approach. Maybe it was him being carefull not to get into crashes and his win in Canada brought back the confidence not to do so. If so, hopefully he gets back to that new impressive style next race and get back the WDC lead!

        I do think that he would have/could have/should have been more carefully with Maldonado, not that he was doing anything that is not allowed, but rather something that in the end caused him to crash. I said the same about Maldonado in last year’s Monaco incident, where he was in the right to defend from Hamilton, but this determination lost him a very solid 6th in Monaco.

        • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 26th June 2012, 21:54

          Maldonado had no reason to ram Hamilton and simply waited for the next couple turns to make the pass. Just as Alonso, Webber, Schumacher, Hamilton etc etc etc did. It’s just pure arrogance and disrespect the way this loon is driving.

          You can’t blame someone for getting rammed by a drunk driver.

  9. sid_prasher (@) said on 25th June 2012, 13:28

    I think Alonso will win this…but for me Vettel was fantastic…33 poles already and was about a second lap faster during the race that too in a year where a few hundredth of a second can also make a difference….

    • Aditya Banerjee (@) said on 26th June 2012, 6:13

      Had Alonso been a red bull driver in 2010/2011/2012,he would have managed many more poles than the whining fingerboy

  10. Colossal Squid (@colossal-squid) said on 25th June 2012, 13:29

    I went for Vettel. The mechanical failure cost him what was surely going to be a leisurely Sunday drive to the chequered flag. His pole lap on Saturday was incredible too.

    Alonso even without winning would have been in contention after hustling his car up from P11 to 2nd. However, I believe that he should have been higher up the grid, and he himself has admitted that he has driven better races. Still a magnificent performance!

    • Pedro Costa (@pnunocosta) said on 25th June 2012, 14:45

      On Saturday I thought that Vettel had pulled sometihing special on Q3 but looking to his pace on Sunday it didn´t look so brilliant, he just had the fastest car by some margin.
      So even if he won and Alonso finished 2nd, Alonso would still be the driver of the weekend for me, he clearly hadn´t the fastest car but he took every opportunity, pit stop, overtaking to the limit and achieved a memorable result.
      I vote for Grosjean in 2nd because his race was very strong, he was the 2nd fastest on track and if it wasn´t that undeserved mechanical failure he was a serious contender for the top palce.

      • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 26th June 2012, 21:58

        Indeed. Vettel had been much faster than all of them all weekend. Maybe if Webber’s car had been working we could have seen how much faster that car was.

        In Q1 and Q2 all they need to do is get a lap in that’s not too bad to go through. It’s just one lap in Q3 that matters and that is when they all go for it (the other lap in Q3 is generally on old tyres). Vettel never need to put in even a banker lap because the car was so much faster.

  11. sumedhvidwans (@sumedhvidwans) said on 25th June 2012, 13:31

    Very very difficult to choose. Alonso was fearless throughout the race, but he got lucky. Vettel was brilliant but unlucky. RoGro was also brilliant till the alternator went kaput!

    Was impressed by Michael’s drive as well, but again he was lucky (it was due).

  12. Mads (@mads) said on 25th June 2012, 13:33

    Vettel was just in a different class compared to the others. His Q3 lap was astonishing, and his race pace was faultless. Even after Grosjean passed Lewis he wasn’t allowed to reel him in.
    Alonso drove brilliantly, no doubt, but he had quite some luck on his side, and wasn’t exactly brilliant in qualifying.
    So Vettel it is.

    • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 25th June 2012, 14:24

      Vettel was just in a different class compared to the others

      the different class=RB8

      • Mads (@mads) said on 25th June 2012, 17:44

        @tifoso1989
        Sure it helped, but what other driver was as faultless and in control as him all weekend?

        • Jake (@jleigh) said on 25th June 2012, 23:31

          @mads I would argue Hamilton. I know it’s not the obvious choice but lets look at the whole weekend.

          On Friday, Mclaren turned up with the wrong set-up, meaning Hamilton spent a lot of time trying to sort out his set-up, and didn’t get the oppurtunity to get a long-run simulation. This is a pretty big disadvantage this year, just look at Button in Canada. However, moving onto Saturday, he worked well to improve the car.

          Then we get to qualifying and Hamilton somehow drags his Mclaren, which had no updates, and appeared to be more like the 4th/5th fastest car, up to 2nd on the grid, despite struggling for pace throughout the session.

          In the race, Hamilton was again brilliant. He became the first driver from GP2, GP3 or F1 not to fall back from 2nd on the grid at the start. He then held off the much faster Lotus for a number of laps, and although he was eventually passed, he can’t really be blamed. He then made a number of very quick passes once he came out the pits, on Senna, Schumacher, Rosberg and Di Resta (possibly more). All the while, he was showing quicker pace than his teammate, who had been able to do a long run on Friday.

          Then came the disastrous pitstop, and crucially, the loss of the place to Alonso. Of course, there is no blame at all to be laid at Lewis’ door for this. If Hamilton was in the lead, after Vettel and Grosjean retired, you could argue that, being able to control the pace rather than trying to stick with Alonso, the tyres would have lasted longer, and he could’ve won the race.

          But back to what actually happened, Hamilton opportunistically passed the much faster Lotus of Raikkonen for fifth, then quickly passed Ricciardo for fourth. He then did a great job of holding off Raikkonen till almost the end of the race, but due to the fact he didn’t do a long run on Friday, and the Mclaren was hard on its tyres all weekend, it was inevitable his tyres would go. However, his defence of his position was truly brilliant defensive driving, despite being multiple seconds a lap slower than the cars behind. Then Maldonado hit him, through absolutely no fault of his own. Some have inexplicably claimed that Hamilton shouldn’t have defended, or that he was wrong to use all the track, leaving Maldonado nowhere to go, but quite simply, they are wrong.

          So in sum, Hamilton massively outperformed his car all weekend, qualifying above many faster cars, and staying ahead of most of them throughout most of the race, despite losing 14 seconds in the pits. He put in some great overtakes, and did so quickly and with conviction, and then drove brilliantly defensive, until he was rammed off through no fault of his own.

      • Hayho said on 26th June 2012, 9:55

        Oh really? Considering he was always half a second a lap faster than Webber!

        Keep kidding yourself Alonso is the difference when you got some guy like Massa on the other side lol. Even Pastor, Kamui would do a better job than Massa!

        • Tifoso1989 (@tifoso1989) said on 26th June 2012, 14:22

          Considering he was always half a second a lap faster than Webber!

          Webber who ????????????????

          Keep kidding yourself Alonso is the difference when you got some guy like Massa on the other side lol Even Pastor, Kamui would do a better job than Massa

          He finished the race ahead of all the drivers not only ahead of massa
          looooooooooool

        • Patrickl (@patrickl) said on 26th June 2012, 21:59

          Webber in a broken car you mean? Or when he was fighting all race to make up for the problems with his car on friday and saturday?

  13. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 25th June 2012, 13:38

    If he were to finish on the podium then for sure it would be Grosjean for me but starting from 11th then passing Romain on the out lap, & winning on the worst F1 circuit (not anymore for sure) it has to Alonso,but also gusty drive from Kimi & Schumi.

  14. Fernando Alonso the great, pilot knows, knows how to manage what you have, available to when,how and where

  15. Dimitris 1395 (@) said on 25th June 2012, 13:40

    My opinion is: You can’t look behind the winner…

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