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

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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. Fixy (@fixy) said on 25th June 2012, 15:42

    I picked Sebastian Vettel. He was dominating the race, again, after dominating qualifying, and had to retire through no fault of his own. The lead he had built on Hamilton, who isn’t certainly a bad driver, was amazing, 20 seconds in 20 laps is something I’ve only seen in videogames.
    Hamilton was excellent as well, but not to Vettel’s levels. I have no idea why he was so slow at the start of the race, nor why his tyres went off so suddenly at the end, but he’s the perfect racer for F1: he knew Maldonado would’ve passed him soon, but he still defended his position. Sadly Maldonado spoilt both’s races.
    Alonso was awesome during the race. Sure, luck was on his side, but overtaking at Valencia has never been easy and I think his passes during the Grand Prix add up to half of the total overtakes the circuit has ever seen.
    Grosjean was on good form as well and unlucky to retire; his only mistake was letting Vettel escape and being passed by Alonso after the restart.
    Massa continues to impress me for his bad luck. He had pitted just before the safety car, and was out of the points when Kobayashi hit him. He could’ve reached the top ten having seen the development of the race.
    Kobayashi was brilliant at the start and faultless with Senna, maybe a little careless. Definitely his fault with Massa’s crash, though.

    • Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 25th June 2012, 15:54

      Its funny how everyone is voting for Vettel because he blitz the field in Q3 and dominated the race, yet when he did that last year nobody gave him any credit. In fact, everyone used his dominance as an excuse NOT to vote for him.

      • spankythewondermonkey (@spankythewondermonkey) said on 25th June 2012, 16:12

        2012 is a little different to 2011. last year, it was a case of red bull being first, then a question over who was 2nd. we’ve not had that to the same extent this year, so there is more merit to the ‘same’ achievement. my 2p on it anyway.

        • Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 25th June 2012, 17:21

          I think it comes down to the fact that people don’t like his temperament. They mistake his confidence for arrogance and therefore are less likely to give him credit. Take Jenson for example, he is praised on a regular basis (even when he’s god awful) because he’s a ‘nice guy’.

          • Robbie (@robbie) said on 25th June 2012, 17:34

            I disagree…I think it is as spanky put it…last year it seemed ‘easy’ for SV due to the dominance of the car, and in general I think people gravitate to who did the unexpected, usually implying with lesser equipment, as to who should be DOTW. Who did more than his equipment should have allowed.

            This year no one driver/car has been dominant and the field has been much closer, so when SV dominated Valencia like he dominated most of last year that was something new and different this year, so I think that’s why he is getting the backing of so many.

            At least speaking for myself it has nothing to do with his temperment, nor do I find him arrogant. And I voted for SV. I think he had done plenty to stamp his authority on the weekend by the time his car failed him.

  2. melkurion (@melkurion) said on 25th June 2012, 15:50

    Had to be Alonso, but kudos to several drivers this weekend, standoputs were:

    Vettel, for that incredible qualifing lap and the running away with it in the first stint;
    Grosjean: great race, feel he could have taken Alonso for the lead late in the race;
    Hulkenberg: for getting the max out of what seems like a much improved FI;
    Schumacher: welcome back on the podium, mate :D

  3. MarcusAurelius (@marcusaurelius) said on 25th June 2012, 16:01

    Have to vote for Alonso. Sure, Vettel was 2 seconds a lap faster in the beginning but I think half the field could do that with a perfect car on a clear track.
    But Alonso had a lot of overtaking to do, being patience, attack when needed, conserve tires, etc. And doing it from halfway the field makes it more impressive.

  4. Max Jacobson (@vettel1) said on 25th June 2012, 16:20

    Easily Sebastian Vettel, Fernando was opportunistic in taking the victory for sure but it was just that; opportunistic. He hadn’t earned this victory, he merely capitalised when Grosjean & Vettel’s cars failed them.
    Vettel meanwhile built up a 20 second lead; that’s a huge margin considering the amount of time he did it in. He looked set to rebuild that after the restart but his car failed him. Also his pole position lap was almost perfect; only a minor loss of traction through a corner (can’t remember which one) stopped it from being perfect – he hit every apex.

    • OEL F1 (@oel-f1) said on 25th June 2012, 16:33

      He had earned 2nd place a with a car that shouldn’t quite be there, after the team made a strategic mistake forcing him to overtake almost half the field to get there on a circuit many say it’s impossible to overtake on. Sure Vettel was dominant and likely to win, but he did have the car to do so.

    • evolutionut (@evolutionut) said on 25th June 2012, 17:03

      alonso was ahead of grosjean when his car broke down
      vettel was unstopable however in terms of speed

    • parrela (@parrela) said on 26th June 2012, 18:47

      If you think that overtaking 10 positions in a race. Making 8 or 9 passes (some of them wonderful) is just a question of opportunity, you are not being objective. Vettel drove wonderfully till he could, and Alonso was just awesome. Taking advantage in every situation. That´s why he is the best driver by far. By really far.

  5. callum (@095cal) said on 25th June 2012, 16:21

    How is Alonso winning this? Its driver of the weekend not race. Vettel was untouchable in qualifying and in the race. If it wasn’t for the retirement he would have won be miles. Very good race from Alonso but driver of the weekend? No chance in my opinion

  6. OEL F1 (@oel-f1) said on 25th June 2012, 16:26

    “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.”

    There was a problem with Massa’s car.

  7. baldgye (@baldgye) said on 25th June 2012, 16:29

    Sorry, but Alonso won the race almost by defult. For me without a doubt Vettel was the best driver for the whole weekend.

    Did a near perfect Q3 lap to put him on pole and controlled the entire race from a commanding lead, untill his car gave up on him. He should have won and was near on flawless all weekend.

  8. THOMF1S (@thomf1s) said on 25th June 2012, 16:59

    Whilst I am by no means going to vote for him as my DOTD, I think Bruno Senna deserves a bit of recognition, especially when compared to his looney team mate. Yes he qualified badly in comparison, but barring Pastor’s win in Spain he has been the more controlled, reliable and consistant driver this season. He seemed to be doing OK in Valencia until the Kobayashi incident (which I cannot beleive he was given a drive through for) and before all the attrition in the final few laps was running 14th, exactly where he started, which considering the race he had, wasn’t too bad. And then he managed to get a point out of it, whilst his “superior” team mate nerf’d his car into Hamilton’s McClaren.

    • Eleanore (@leucocrystal) said on 26th June 2012, 8:02

      Late to catching up with F1F this weekend, but I agree. I don’t think you’ll find many others who do, sadly, but just thought I’d throw that out there. A definite “never say die” race from him; the commentators (along with me, I must admit) assumed that hit from Kobayashi was probably a race-ending moment, but he controlled it through the spin and just kept going.

  9. Vettel was i a class of his own and was definitely driver of the week-end. He would undoubtedly have won easily despite the safety car.

    But F1 is a sport where both driver and car matter, and the Red Bull broke down. You cannot be driver of the weekend if you don`t finish the race. Alonso is driver of the weekend for me, he made the most of others misfortune and tokk the opportunity given to him. The key to his victory was passing Grosjean when he did, and that was a great move.

  10. IDR (@idr) said on 25th June 2012, 17:19

    I voted for Alonso because he made an extraordinary race, in every aspect, being conservative when necessary and very aggressive whet it counted.

    On the other hand, I would like to comment something about Vettel. In every Vettel win, I hear about how Newey has improved the car, how they are now understanding much better the new tires, or even how some reporters are commenting the sound of the RBR seems they have set a new throttle off some kind of invention as new secret weapon, blah blah blah… I seriously think the secret weapon of RBR is just Sebastian Vettel a “unique master piece” of driving.

    I’m an Alonso supporter but all my respect for this guy and his extraordinary talent. I think he is the most serious candidate for WDC this year. We will see, and I hope to be wrong, as I would love to see Alonso winning his well deserved 3rd WDC.

  11. Decisions, decisions. It has to be Alonso though. Even though he posted an average performance in qualifying, I feel he made up for it and more in the race!

    Vettel did indeed shine all the way through but, somehow he shined too brightly. I don’t want to take anything from him. He is indeed a brilliant driver and he’s one of the few that can really capitalize on a brilliant car but I’m afraid that makes the common viewer (myself included) a bit skeptical about how evenly split the merits are between him and the Red Bull.

    If it wasn’t for these two, other sensible options would have been, in order: Grosjean, Raikkonen, Schumacher, Webber, Hulkenberg, Di Resta, Petrov or Kovalainen.

    Oh, and who voted for Maldonado?! WHO?!

  12. Traverse Mark Senior (@) said on 25th June 2012, 18:00

    I was going to vote for Alonso, but changed my mind and voted for Kovalainan instead. Superb qualy to start p16, had a solid race and managed to finish p14 despite the collision with Jean-Eric Vergne.
    I think Heikki has matured as a driver and is far more consistent now than he was at McLaren. Its a shame he’s not in the No.3 car instead of Jenson.

  13. Dan Brown (@danbrown180) said on 25th June 2012, 18:02

    Maldonado for me. The man is fast as hell and managed to take out Lewis :D
    He’s absolutely battering Bruno in that Williams

    • Kimi4WC said on 26th June 2012, 0:16

      I have to agree to certain extend, beside this mans aggressive blunders he is extremely fast and I’d imagine Bottas is already looking forward to taking over Senna’s seat. Bruno really need to start scoring and be way further up through out whole weekend if he to have a chance to have any seat next year. This was good start for him, but he must be way further up, considering what Maldonado is able to get out of the car.

  14. Aditya Banerjee (@) said on 25th June 2012, 18:03

    Anyone else noticed Nick Heidfeld joining in with Ferrari’s celebrations during the podium?

  15. Proesterchen (@proesterchen) said on 25th June 2012, 18:04

    I’d like to vote for both MSC and WEB, who were a spectacular tandem to watch cut through the field after their final stops, all the while battling each other, too.

    Unfortunately, one can’t vote for two drivers, and so my vote goes to VET, who dominated Q3 and would’ve walked away with the race if not for the mechanical defect taking him out.

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