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 ??25,000 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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2012 European Grand Prix

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

  1. caci99 (@caci99) said on 25th June 2012, 13:44

    I went for Alonso. Obviously there are Vettel, Grosjean, Schumacher and Webber worth mentioning. The passes that Alonso completed on the Schumacher train were for me the crucial point of his race, his team did well once more to put him ahead of Hamilton, while McLaren failed, and his pass on Grosjean was perfect. Because of all that he found himself in the position to benefit from the misfortune of Vettel.

  2. andae23 (@andae23) said on 25th June 2012, 13:47

    Vettel without a doubt: together with the Chinese GP, this was a weekend dominated by 1 driver. The only difference was the result: Vettel didn’t win the race because of some electrical fault. He was clearly the best driver.

    I’m surprised to see how many people are viting for Alonso: I guess people are blinded by the fact that Alonso won from 11th on the grid, but in fact he should have finished third behind Vettel and Grosjean. He was very lucky that the safety car came out and that the competition had issues, else he would not have got close to winning this one. And for some reason, people seem to be forgetting that he qualified in 11th, which is a pretty embarrassing result (for sure when Montezemelo is there to see!).

    • Julian (@julian) said on 25th June 2012, 14:58

      Even though I’m an Alonso fan my head tells me to vote for Vettel. He was flawless all weekend, his car was not.
      But i disagree with you on one thing. If Alonso qualified 11th with a 1+ second gap to 1st then sure its embarrassing, but when the gap from 1st to 11th is 0.2something seconds, that’s more unfortunate than embarrassing.

    • Gill (@gill) said on 25th June 2012, 14:58

      @andae23 “I’m surprised to see how many people are viting for Alonso: I guess people are blinded by the fact that Alonso won from 11th on the grid“… Thts the great thing about the win , isnt it…?

      Anyone would love a guy who comes thru the field and wins and not someone who has noone in front of him. Vettel was brilliant but it takes guts to start from 11th, make crucial passes most of them on the outside of corner in a season where every single point is vital for the championship. People are often blinded by their hatred towards one driver and the above comment is nothing but that. Moreover, ifs and buts and qualifying dont earn you points, its the finishing position in the RACE.

      • andae23 (@andae23) said on 25th June 2012, 15:14

        @gill hatred? Seriously? I regard Alonso as the quickest, the most mature and most complete driver on the grid, but you have to say that even though Alonso’s win was great and exciting (don’t get me wrong on this one), Vettel was by far the quickest driver this weekend.

        • Pedro Costa (@pnunocosta) said on 25th June 2012, 16:10

          @gill “Vettel was by far the quickest driver this weekend.”

          Vettel had by far the quickest car this weekend, but Alonso with the car he had was the fastest driver.
          It´s not the winning that makes a driver DOTW, it´s the drive itself.
          It´s doing so much with less than many others.

          • andae23 (@andae23) said on 25th June 2012, 16:18

            @pnunocosta If you take your criteria, then everyone should be the best driver of the weekend: I believe that every race driver tries to get the maximum out of the car in every race, but each race just a few of them get credit for that.
            I would say that Vettel was the best driver this weekend because he didn’t put a foot wrong this weekend and thus should have won this race easily.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 25th June 2012, 17:23

            I think everyone had less than SV this weekend, and aside from that I’m not sure FA still has less than many others with his current Ferrari vs. the Ferrari he and FM started pre-season testing with.

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 26th June 2012, 0:42

            @pnunocosta – How are you so sure that Alonso’s pace was due to him, but Vettel’s was down to the car?

          • Pedro Costa (@pnunocosta) said on 26th June 2012, 9:38

            (@david-a)

            It´s pretty evident that RB made a significant step forward with their upgrade. Next races will confirm that. Vettel did a good job, he was fast and did no mistakes and was very unlucky as he had the race win on his pocket.
            Ferrari was maybe the 3rd or 4th fastest team, behind RB, Lotus and maybe at same level as Mclaren (just Hamilton).
            But for better anwering your question – when was the last time we saw a driver charge from 11th and win a race in the dry doing a dozen passings (ok, Kimi almost did it in Bahrain and if he had the Alonso´s luck we would have nail it :))?

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 26th June 2012, 15:17

            @pnunocosta

            At the same time, Ferrari have some pretty handy race pace nowadays too. As much as FA was the fastest out of the finishers, and drove a great race from 11th, SV was indeed the fastest driver overall, considering how close the top 6 or more teams are.

        • Pedro Costa (@pnunocosta) said on 25th June 2012, 17:57

          (@andae23) – I say the same as you, many drivers don´t put a foot wrong during the weekend, but very few do that almost perfect race, where luck, skill and heart combine so graciously. The win was just the cherry on top of the cake.
          Vettel wasn´t the best he was the fastest.

          • Kingshark (@kingshark) said on 25th June 2012, 20:03

            Can you prove Vettel has been the quickest driver of the weekend? That Red Bull was clearly the best car. Could Vettel have done what Alonso did in a Ferrari? I doubt it.

          • @kingshark At least the assertion that Vettel was quickest can be supported with actual facts, like his qualifying lap time and the massive lead he opened up at the start of the race. The assertion that Vettel couldn’t have done what Alonso did in a Ferrari, though — can you prove that?

          • David-A (@david-a) said on 26th June 2012, 0:45

            @kingshark

            Can you prove Vettel has been the quickest driver of the weekend? That Red Bull was clearly the best car. Could Vettel have done what Alonso did in a Ferrari? I doubt it.

            We could easily twist it around and say “Can you prove that Alonso could have done what Vettel did?”

            Given that Vettel took pole and had a 20 second lead, he was the fastest driver of the weekend, until his alternator failed.

    • parrela (@parrela) said on 26th June 2012, 18:31

      You shouldn´t be so surprised. People are not blind by someone who took 3 positions in the first corners and afterwards passed 6 or 7 pilots ahead (some of those passes were simply great, specially Grosjean´s). People are just able to see that Alonso can take every circunstance in a race and keep it in his pocket. That´s what he normally does. And that´s why even not having the fastest car, he is nearly always in points, and fighting for the championship till the last race.

  3. Bullfrog (@bullfrog) said on 25th June 2012, 13:48

    Surprisingly tough choice, I guess it comes down to what “driver of the weekend” means for you. It was one of the best qualifying sessions for years, and then different drivers stood out on race day. Vettel was impressive both days, but he was parked and throwing his gloves at the wall with just over half the race gone. Same for Grosjean.

    But I’m going for a guy who qualified a Ferrari 11th – because it’s the race that matters, and Alonso earned his victory by racing.

  4. HUHHII (@huhhii) said on 25th June 2012, 13:48

    Sebastian Vettel was clearly the best driver in Valencia. Amazing lap in Q3 and superb domination in race.

  5. bosyber (@bosyber) said on 25th June 2012, 13:52

    I guess Grosjean only had a single error, Raikkonen wasn’t far of him and luckier. Schumacher didn’t get it done on Saturday but finally finished again and drove to a great podium. More or less same for Webber (though he probably did the best possible in qualy too, sans DRS). The whole Force India team did great this weekend, though it might have been even better. And Rosberg finally had a comeback instead of a last lap lack of tyres to make it a good weekend.

    I think Alonso probably got the best out of this weekend on Saturday and on Sunday that he could. HAM too seemed to get everything he could out of it, until MAL struck, but that wasn’t a win. But Vettel was without error and showing great speed the whole weekend until the car gave up on him or he would have won this easily, have to give it to him.

  6. the_sigman (@sigman1998) said on 25th June 2012, 13:54

    I voted Alonso. He was out of Q3 but he was only 0.218 seconds off the pace in Q2 and 0.004 seconds off Kobayashi’s time, so we can’t say that it was his fault. Also, the fact that he won the race maybe was helped by exiting Q3. In the race he was extraordinary. He made 12 overtakes in and (mostly) outside the DRS zone. Of the 12 overtakes the 6 were very difficult. In the final stint he pushed when he wanted to and it’s a shame that many say that he was lucky to win. His best victory by far in his career and it was on home soil.

    • Julian (@julian) said on 25th June 2012, 15:13

      and it’s a shame that many say that he was lucky to win

      In a sense he was quite lucky to win. I was watching in disbelief the whole race, everything went his way, you couldn’t have scripted it better. His major rivals DNF’ing, the only driver in a position to overtake him near the end DNFing. I was thinking to myself “who did he pay to make this happen and how much!?” It was incredible.
      That being said however, if Alonso hadn’t driven a fantastic race with so much agression, determination and at the same time patience, he wouldn’t have been in the position to benefit from that luck.
      There is that ol’ F1 cliche that says ‘You have to make your own luck’ and Alonso’s race truly was the perfect example of this.

  7. AdrianMorse (@adrianmorse) said on 25th June 2012, 14:00

    Vettel’s qualifying was superb, and his race pace was simply unbelievable, especially in the first stint. However, his race pace was so much better than the rest of the field that a large part of his advantage had to be down to the fact that his car/tyre combination worked far better than those of the competition. Vettel, in other words, had a fairly easy afternoon [note that I'm not saying anything like "Vettel is not that talented, he only has the best car"], and coupled with the fact that he didn’t finish, he doesn’t feel like the driver of the weekend to me.

    So I went for Alonso instead. He had to work very hard to get to the front, pulling some amazing passes, and I think his win was not only special for him, but also for his fans and, who knows, all of Spain too.

  8. Yobo01 (@yobo01) said on 25th June 2012, 14:00

    Vettel. He was competitive from the beginning. Fantastic Q3 lap, more than 3 tenths faster than anyone else, who would have thought.
    And he was perfect in the race. Such a shame that his car broke down, it was probably his best weekend of the year.

  9. snowman (@snowman) said on 25th June 2012, 14:03

    Vettel as he was in a league of his own until the car failed although prob the car upgrades made him look so good but he gets the benefit of the doubt.

    A lot of other drivers had really good performances especially Hulk with no KERS. Schumacher and Webber double charge at the end was great to watch although Red Bull didn’t do themselves any favours with the Schumacher DRS yellow flag accusations when they knew their own driver had gone way faster than Schumacher in that section.

  10. Wallbreaker (@wallbreaker) said on 25th June 2012, 14:03

    Has to be Alonso for me. Once more a truly staggering performance, pushing the car to the very limit, seizing every opportunity and managing the tyres at the end to drive home what was a brilliant victory from P11. Also great emotions after the race, shows that everyone of these individuals are still human.

    Also great driving by Vettel and Grosjean, both were really unlucky with their failures. I was disappointed to hear Vettel’s comments after the race, he seems to be a pretty bad loser…

    Also great to finally see Schumacher on the podium, he really deserved that after all of his bad luck this season.

  11. icemangrins (@icemangrins) said on 25th June 2012, 14:25

    As DC said, Fernando is the true example of a team leader and indeed, his drive was just unbelievable.

    But then, my heart went for Schumi in this poll. His second stop was very critical; managed to come ahead of Mark; kept him at bay in a track where he drove only on two occasions before (and both the time it was a disaster); managed several places at the end…

  12. Stephen Jones (@aus_steve) said on 25th June 2012, 14:32

    Definitely Vettel, without a doubt. He drove an absolutely flawless race

    Honourable mentions go to Alonso (for winning, obviously!), and Webber (19th to 4th is a great effort!)

  13. Valentino (@valentino) said on 25th June 2012, 14:40

    The best driver on the grid won on Sunday.

  14. suka (@suka) said on 25th June 2012, 14:57

    Alonso for me. There is no way Vettel would have done better if in Alonso’s Ferrari. Honourable mention for Hamilton who fought real hard ’till the end of the race with an exceptional qualifying effort in not so tuned Mclaren.

  15. spankythewondermonkey (@spankythewondermonkey) said on 25th June 2012, 15:08

    despite his DNF, finger boy was my choice. just. alonso pipped to the #1 by his not getting into q3.

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