Vote for your Japanese GP driver of the weekend

2012 Japanese Grand Prix

Which F1 driver had the best race weekend in Japan?

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

Japanese Grand Prix driver-by-driver

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2012Sebastian Vettel – Vettel was in imperious form at Suzuka. His qualifying effort was particularly special as he only needed one lap in each of the three parts to get the job done. However he was perhaps fortunate to only receive a reprimand after getting in Alonso’s way at the chicane. From pole he romped home to win by over 20 seconds and even enjoyed the luxury of being able to pit later than his closest rivals. He led every lap to complete the second perfect result of his career.

Mark Webber – Webber was not far off Vettel’s pace in qualifying and was unlucky to be taken out at turn two by Grosjean. Having reversed back onto the track he pitted for new tyres yet didn’t have time to join the safety car queue before the race restarted. In spite of this considerable setback he recovered to ninth, pitting just once more for tyres on the way.

McLaren

Jenson Button – Qualified third and was relegated to eighth by his gearbox change. But he started well and got past Alonso on the run to the first corner. Elevated to third by the chaos in front of him, he was unable to jump past Kobayashi after suffering gearbox problems around the time of his first stop, which also helped Massa get past him. He finished fourth.

Lewis Hamilton – Felt he’d gone the wrong way on set-up in qualifying and started ninth. But halfway through the race he felt the car improve. “It was a bit of a struggle in the first stint ?ǣ I had a lot of understeer ?ǣ but after a while the car started turning again,” he said. “From that moment on, it felt really good, and I was able to push but it was too late to have much of an effect on the result.” The improvement in his lap times in the middle of his second stint can be seen here. His new-found confidence in the car allied to a superbly quick McLaren pit stop helped him pass Raikkonen for fifth.

Ferrari

Start, Suzuka, 2012Fernando Alonso – Was unfortunate to be inconvenienced by Raikkonen’s spin in qualifying and possibly lost more time because of Vettel at the chicane. In between Button and Raikkonen on the run too hard he didn’t leave quite enough room for the Lotus which got onto the grass and spun into him, puncturing his tyre and ending his race.

Felipe Massa – Looked quick in qualifying but missed Q3 for the tenth time this year. The first-lap crashes meant he immediately moved up to fourth, and he jumped Kobayashi and Button at the first pit stop for second. That was enough for his first visit to the podium in 36 races.

Mercedes

Michael Schumacher – Had a crash during practice and started 23rd on the grid due to his penalty from Singapore. As he moved through the field he made an excellent pass on Di Resta but couldn’t find a way by Ricciardo to claim the final point.

Nico Rosberg – Qualified 15th which became 13th after penalties but he retired after being hit by Senna at the first corner.

Lotus

Kimi Raikkonen – Started seventh having spun during qualifying, delaying several drivers including Alonso. Then had contact with Ferrari at the first corner which put Alonso out. Raikkonen fended off an attack from Perez but had to surrender fifth place to Hamilton. Nonetheless extended his streak of points finished to 12 races.

Romain Grosjean – Out-qualifying Raikkonen on a drivers’ track like Suzuka was impressive. But another first-lap collision left him in the doghouse once again, and on the receiving end of a verbal dressing-down from Webber.

Force India

Paul di Resta – Developed a clutch problem on the formation lap which caused a poor start. He finished 12th.

Nico Hulkenberg – Had a minor crash during practice, as did his team mate. The team had to hurry to get his car ready for qualifying, but he repaid their efforts by reaching Q3. However a gearbox change penalty left him 15th on the grid. Moved up to eighth thanks to the first corner chaos, picked up another place from Perez and kept Maldonado at bay.

Sauber

Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Suzuka, 2012Kamui Kobayashi – With his place at Sauber rumoured to be under pressure, Kobayashi enjoyed a dream weekend on home ground. He claimed third on the grid and gained a place at the start despite having to run wide at turn two. Couldn’t prevent the faster Ferrari of Massa from jumping him in the pits, but Button was never able to try to make a move on him for third, and he duly claimed his first podium finish.

Sergio Perez – The focus of considerable attention following the announcement of his deal to drive for McLaren, Perez appeared to have vindicated the team’s decision when he passed Hamilton in fine style on lap six at the hairpin. But having lost the place in the pits he then threw his race away by spinning while trying to pass Hamilton again: “Lewis went quite late to the inside and I had only room on the outside,” he said. “But it certainly was my mistake.”

Toro Rosso

Daniel Ricciardo – Lost ninth place to the recovering Webber but held Schumacher off for his third points finish in four races. “I was really pleased to have won that battle,” he said. “It?s always tougher when you are the slower car in a duel, but with good advice from the pit wall on how to use the KERS to defend in the DRS zone, I managed it.”

Jean-Eric Vergne – Was penalised three places for holding up Senna in qualifying. Fell behind Kovalainen at the start as he had to avoid Rosberg’s spinning Mercedes. This cost him time in the first stint. He passed the Caterham in the second stint to finish 13th.

Williams

Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Suzuka, 2012Pastor Maldonado – Kept his nose clean again and finally scored his first points since winning in Spain with eighth place.

Bruno Senna – As the field braked to avoid the Webber/Grosjean collision at the start Senna ran into the back of Rosberg, for which he was given a drive-through penalty. Passed Grosjean in fine style on the outside at the approach to 130R as he recovered to 14th pace.

Caterham

Heikki Kovalainen – Passed Glock for 11th at the restart and briefly appeared in ninth place during the first pit stops. However he lost places to Vergne and Senna in the middle stint and finished 15th.

Vitaly Petrov – Finished behind Glock’s Marussia after his KERS developed a fault. He also got a drive-through penalty for failing to obey blue flags. “I also had a problem with the radio and couldn?t hear the blue flag calls and that ended up with the drive-through penalty,” he said.

HRT

Pedro de la Rosa – Impressively out-qualified Pic’s Marussia and Petrov’s Caterham. But couldn’t sustain the advantage over a race distance and was the last running car when the chequered flag came out.

Narain Karthikeyan – Retired when the team discovered a problem with the floor which was deemed a safety risk.

Marussia

Timo Glock – Had a pre-race drama when he hit a wheel nut in the pits on his way to the grid and thought something had broken on his car. He was 11th during the safety car period having squeezed past Kovalainen in the Esses on the first lap. “I knew that would be short-lived because we were struggling a bit with traction out of the last corner and obviously they have KERS and we don?t,” he said. Kovalainen duly passed him, as did several others, nonetheless he finished just eight-and-a-half seconds behind the Caterham.

Charles Pic – Further off Glock’s pace than usual on a tough track for a rookie. Was in front of Petrov and the Marussias but lost time when he failed to stop properly in his pit box. Retired shortly afterwards with an engine failure.

Qualifying and race results summary

Started Gap to team mate Laps leading team mate Pitted Finished Gap to team mate
Sebastian Vettel 1st -0.251s 53/53 2 1st -54.675s
Mark Webber 2nd +0.251s 0/53 2 9th +54.675s
Jenson Button 8th -1.037s 50/53 2 4th -21.392s
Lewis Hamilton 9th +1.037s 3/53 2 5th +21.392s
Fernando Alonso 6th -0.46s 0/0 0
Felipe Massa 10th +0.46s 0/0 2 2nd
Michael Schumacher 23rd -0.156s 0/0 2 11th
Nico Rosberg 13th +0.156s 0/0 0
Kimi Raikkonen 7th +0.31s 51/51 2 6th Not on same lap
Romain Grosjean 4th -0.31s 0/51 2 19th Not on same lap
Paul di Resta 11th +0.055s 0/53 2 12th +32.301s
Nico Hulkenberg 15th -0.055s 53/53 2 7th -32.301s
Kamui Kobayashi 3rd -0.322s 17/18 2 3rd
Sergio Perez 5th +0.322s 1/18 1
Daniel Ricciardo 14th -0.414s 52/53 2 10th -21.726s
Jean-Eric Vergne 19th +0.414s 1/53 2 13th +21.726s
Pastor Maldonado 12th -0.571s 53/53 2 8th -36.345s
Bruno Senna 16th +0.571s 0/53 3 14th +36.345s
Heikki Kovalainen 17th -0.775s 52/52 2 15th -49.258s
Vitaly Petrov 22nd +0.775s 0/52 2 17th +49.258s
Pedro de la Rosa 20th -1.349s 27/32 2 18th
Narain Karthikeyan 24th +1.349s 5/32 1
Timo Glock 18th -0.216s 37/37 2 16th
Charles Pic 21st +0.216s 0/37 2

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 Japanese Grand Prix weekend?

  • Sebastian Vettel (33%)
  • Mark Webber (3%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (1%)
  • Jenson Button (1%)
  • Fernando Alonso (0%)
  • Felipe Massa (17%)
  • Michael Schumacher (1%)
  • Nico Rosberg (0%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (1%)
  • Romain Grosjean (1%)
  • Paul di Resta (0%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (0%)
  • Kamui Kobayashi (39%)
  • Sergio Perez (0%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (1%)
  • Jean-Eric Vergne (0%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (0%)
  • Bruno Senna (1%)
  • Heikki Kovalainen (1%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (0%)
  • Narain Karthikeyan (0%)
  • Pedro de la Rosa (0%)
  • Timo Glock (0%)
  • Charles Pic (0%)

Total Voters: 583

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2012 Japanese Grand Prix

Browse all 2012 Japanese Grand Prix articles

Image ?? Red Bull/Getty images, Red Bull/Getty images, Sauber F1 Team, Williams/LAT

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139 comments on Vote for your Japanese GP driver of the weekend

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  1. Sergio Perez (@sergio-perez) said on 9th October 2012, 8:50

    Had to vote for Kamui. He’s a top driver. Like I said in previous posts, I had the privilege of seeing these guys in lower formula racing here in Macau. Kamui has “it”. completely outclassed everyone in this demanding city circuit when he raced here, even though he didn’t won the Sunday’s race (Won the Saturday one, though). Back to Suzuka, Lets not forget he qualified in 4th but had to reduce pace due to yellow flags. He completely outclassed Sergio Perez (the guy with my name.) The race was flawless. Hope to see him in a bigger team. Would love to see him in a Ferrari or Red Bull. Also hope this result gives him a boost in sponsors. Again, Imagine him in a Red Bull… Would love to see Kamui with a car capable of challenging championships!

  2. smifaye (@smifaye) said on 9th October 2012, 9:17

    I voted for Vettel, although I would have loved to have voted for Kobayashi. Vettel was just on stellar form and so was the Red Bull team. If it wasn’t for Grosjean Webber most definitely would have been up there in 2nd come the end of the race.

    Perfect result for Vettel at the perfect time. I can see him taking this momentum and the title too after this weekend. Alonso doesn’t have a chance unless Ferrari can provide some major upgrade.

    I am so happy for Kobayashi and the perfect place for him to get his 1st podium. I think it could have been better if they pitted him earlier to stop Massa getting out in front of him so that’s why I chose Vettel instead.

  3. bosyber (@bosyber) said on 9th October 2012, 9:26

    I think I am amongst many who found it a somewhat difficult choice between those guys on the podium for this race.

    Given that, despite an honourable mention, Massa won’t get it – he drove a great race (as he has done whenever Alonso isn’t in it …) and he’d have been in contention has he made it out of Q2, but he didn’t. A good effort, especially with his contract undoubtedly being under pressure, I hope he can show more of it this year – who knows Ferrari might even catch Mclaren in the WCC if he does!

    So that leaves Kobayashi and Vettel. Vettel did superb and got that 2nd “grand shlem”, amazing achievement and he was untouchable. It is unfair to his achievement really that I feel like giving it to Kobayashi, who hadn’t gotten a chance to show his worth before, but tried to in Spa where it was taken out of his hands. As other said, he is always great with fans, and showed it here too in his home country. And too, with his contract seemingly uncertain.

    Since he has a healthy lead over Vettel at this moment so that he’d come 2nd at the least, I think I’ll stick to the guy that really might have won a bit of the driver of the weekend this year and last, if we hadn’t been so used to his amazing performances already that it often seems nothing special from him, namely Vettel.

  4. spankythewondermonkey (@spankythewondermonkey) said on 9th October 2012, 9:40

    it can only be finger boy. perect race, perfect quali, so a no brainer for driver of the weekend.
    if we were voting on driver of the race, then i’d have probably gone for kobi, massa or webber.

  5. Sergio Perez (@sergio-perez) said on 9th October 2012, 10:29

    Sometimes people forget Kobayashi qualified 4th on a SAUBER, beating Ferrari, Mercedes, Mclaren, a Red Bull and a Lotus in the process, as well as his highly rated team mate, something he has been doing consistently. What would be a more perfect qualifying than this for someone on a midfield car with half or less than half the budget of the top teams? Yes, Pastor did some stelar performances on the Williams, but Williams is a legendary F1 team with a Championship winning infrastructure- its one of the most successful teams in the sport, they probably have a Championship contender of a car if it was not from their drivers inexperience. But Sauber? It has even less ressources than Williams. Should be a team close to the likes of Force India or Toro Rosso… They have a good, aerodynamically competent car, but nothing extraordinary. Kobayashi since he entered F1 has nothing but impressed. Remember his stellar performance on his debut at Toyota? He has been consistent ever since. His luck (and his nerves) have done him some harm this year, but I sense after this race we are going to see a different, more composed and capable Kobayashi. His morale and confidence should have risen. I sense 2 or 3 more podiums coming up for him, if the Frightening Red Bull form in Suzuka (so much quicker in the fastest lap at the end!) is here to stay!

  6. This poll is simply ridiculous… Registered just to vote, so that Keith can’t say that I complain but don’t vote. Voted for Vettel, because he left everyone else scratching their head.

  7. AndrewTanner (@andrewtanner) said on 9th October 2012, 13:58

    It’s very close between Vettel and Kobayashi at the moment.

    I went with Kobayashi. I think he did a solid job and coped well with the added pressure of a McLaren on his tail.

  8. ManjuBoy (@manjuboy) said on 9th October 2012, 19:14

    A case can be made each of the guys on the podium. But if I go by Keith’s headline and subsequent sentences, I see it this way.

    Vote for your Japanese GP driver of the weekend
    KOBAYASHI

    Which F1 driver had the best race weekend in Japan?
    KOBAYASHI

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

    I voted KOBAYASHI.

  9. PJA (@pja) said on 9th October 2012, 19:34

    I was tempted to vote for Kobayshi after he got his first podium at his home GP, but it has to be Vettel for me never, stuck it on pole and never looked troubled during the race.

    Although I am not really a fan of his it was nice to see Massa back on the podium, hopefully this return to form is permanent and not temporary.

  10. 72defender (@72defender) said on 9th October 2012, 21:48

    Grosjean. LOL!

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