Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2012

Vote for your Abu Dhabi GP driver of the weekend

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Which F1 driver had the best race weekend in Abu Dhabi?

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

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix driver-by-driver

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Yas Marina, 2012Sebastian Vettel – Quickest on Friday, then qualified third despite being delayed by a technical problem in final practice. But was sent to the back of the grid after the stewards couldn’t get enough fuel out of his car.

Changed his set-up, started from the pits and was 11th when the safety car came out. Swerving to avoid Ricciardo he damaged his front wing for a second time and had to pit. Quickly passed Grosjean (twice), Di Resta, Senna, Ricciardo, Schumacher and others and ran second after the leaders pitted. Needed a second pit stop but the fortunate reappearance of the safety car brought him back within range of Button, who he passed for third.

Mark Webber – Joined Hamilton on the front row of the grid but made a poor start and fell to fourth, then was passed by Alonso. Tangled with Maldonado while trying to pass the Williams for third, losing three places. Went off the track while overtaking Massa, who then spun, but the stewards decided against a penalty. Got ahead of Maldonado through the pits but was caught up in the Di Resta/Perez/Grosjean collision and retired with damage.


Jenson Button – Was surprised at the gap to Hamilton in qualifying, most of which came in the last sector (half a second). Was passed by Alonso at the start and although he later overtook Maldonado he couldn’t keep Vettel behind at the end and slipped to fourth.

Lewis Hamilton – Planted his car on pole position for the sixth time this year – more than any other driver (and not counting the one he lost in Spain). Made a clean start but almost lost his lead with an error at turn eight on lap two. From there he pulled away again, including after the safety car period, until a fuel pressure problem forced him to retire from the lead on lap 20.


Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2012Fernando Alonso – Ferrari’s failure to improve its car’s pace was clear as he lined up behind a Williams and a Lotus.

He started well, gaining two places, but a mistake after the first safety car meant he was fending off Webber when he should have been pressing Maldonado, whose KERS had just failed. He eventually passed the Williams and closed on Raikkonen in the dying stages of the race, but time ran out for him to launch an attack.

Felipe Massa – Massa began to slip back towards the end of his first stint and was passed by Perez, but the team decided to keep him out. His race took a turn for the worst when he spun at turn 13 while racing Webber for position. “He cut the chicane and came back across the track, forcing me to spin to avoid hitting him,” Massa complained, but the stewards decided it was a racing incident. He held off Senna and Di Resta for seventh.


Michael Schumacher – Schumacher made an error with his KERS in Q2 which left him 13th on the grid. He got into the top ten at the start and was in the hunt for points until a puncture dropped him out of seventh place.

Nico Rosberg – Rosberg’s third first-lap incident in four races damaged his front wing and forced him to pit. While recovering he crashed into Kartyhikeyan when the HRT driver suddenly slowed: “There was no time for me to react and I’m very thankful that we are both fine,” he said.


Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Yas Marina, 2012Kimi Raikkonen – Said the car felt at its best in qualifying and took fourth place, his highest starting position since Belgium. Translated that into second when Webber made a poor start, then took over the lead when Hamilton retired.

Had to ward off a serious attack from Alonso in the closing laps, and had just enough in hand to pull clear of the DRS zone on the final tour. “I?m happy, but there?s nothing to jump around about,” he said in typically laconic style. “We still have a few races to go, I?ll try to do the same again.”

Romain Grosjean – Not for the first time this year he came limping back into the pits at the end of lap one with damage – in this case, a puncture. But there were no penalties this time and even Rosberg, who he tangled with, considered it a racing incident.

Having fallen to last, Lotus elected to pit him again during the first safety car period. After 28 laps his soft tyres were beginning to wilt and he came under simultaneous pressure from Di Resta and Perez. The two passed him with DRS heading to turn 11, then both went off the track and Grosjean collided with Perez as the Sauber came back on. Webber clipped the Lotus as well, ending Grosjean’s race for good.

Force India

Paul di Resta – Made a rapid start and got past his team mate but squeezed Hulkenberg too much, putting the other Force India out and picking up a puncture himself. Like Grosjean he pitted under the first safety car but he switched to the more durable medium tyres. Pitting again under the second safety car dropped him from fifth to eleventh, but he made up two places to claim some points.

Nico Hulkenberg – Out-qualified Di Resta for the fourth race in a row but was pushed into Senna at the start and crashed out.


Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Yas Marina, 2012Kamui Kobayashi – Started 15th after struggling with brake locking but avoided the first-lap collisions to holds eighth at the start of lap two. Perez passed him shortly afterwards, but Kobayashi stayed out of trouble to finish sixth, despite a gearshift problem limiting his ability to use KERS. He is now just eight points behind Perez in the drivers’ championship.

Sergio Perez – Looked on course for another good result after running a 30-lap first stint on soft tyres which included a pass on Massa. Briefly second, he emerged from his pit stop behind Grosjean and Di Resta. But an ill-judged move in returning to the track in front of Grosjean triggered a multi-car crash and earned him a costly ten-second stop-go penalty.

Toro Rosso

Daniel Ricciardo – Was running 11th when Vettel appeared behind him and nearly ran into him during the first safety car period. “I looked in my mirrors and saw him go through one of the polystyrene boards, but I have no idea what happened,” he said. Was jumped by Di Resta and Senna during his pit stop, falling to tenth.

Jean-Eric Vergne – Went out in Q1 for the eighth time this year after spinning at the penultimate corner. He switched to medium tyres during the first safety car period but had to pit for fresh tyres later on, eradicating the potential advantage and leaving him 12th at the end.


Pastor Maldonado, Williams, Yas Marina, 2012Pastor Maldonado – Qualified an excellent third and held the place until his KERS failed. After that he came under attack and was passed by Alonso and Button. Webber also tried a move but the pair tangled – the Red Bull driver not leaving enough space for Maldonado. Still had enough speed to come home fifth.

Bruno Senna – Delayed by Hulkenberg’s Force India going off at turn one, he fell to 19th on the first lap and began a trek back into the points. Ran a long, 32-lap stint on medium tyres which brought him out of the pits behind the delayed Massa. He wasn’t able to pass the Ferrari, but kept Di Resta at bay for eighth.


Heikki Kovalainen – Spent six laps occupying the 12th place craved by Caterham, which would put them back in front of Marussia in the constructors’ championship. The recovering Schumacher dropped him back to 13th, Kovalainen’s cause not helped by a KERS fault.

Vitaly Petrov – Not wishing to do a Di Resta on his team mate at the start, Petrov backed out of a move on Kovalainen as they headed to turn one. It didn’t look like he had the pace to stay ahead of him anyway, finishing 17 seconds behind the other Caterham.


Pedro de la Rosa – Had to start from the pit lane after his team failed to get the tyre warmer off his right-rear wheel quickly enough. Aided by the late safety car, he was seven seconds behind Petrov at the flag.

Charles Pic, Marussia, Yas Marina, 2012Narain Karthikeyan – Another race, another worrying incident involving an HRT. This time it was Karthikeyan’s, whose car suffered a hydraulic failure in turn 15, locking his steering solid. “I had to lift my foot off the accelerator. Unfortunately, Rosberg was coming from behind and couldn?t avoid me.” The Mercedes crashed over the top off Karthikeyan and was fortunate not to seriously injure either driver.


Timo Glock – Out-qualified by Pic but raced well, splitting the Caterhams, despite clipping his team mate on the first lap and damaging his front wing. He was particularly pleased to hold off the recovering Perez on the last lap despite the Sauber being within the DRS zone.

Charles Pic – A superb qualifying lap saw him beat Glock and Petrov – he was only a tenth of a second off the other Caterham, too. A mistake on the first lap allowed his two rivals past, and he was still embroiled in a tight battle with Petrov when his engine failed on lap 42.

Qualifying and race results summary

Started Gap to team mate Laps leading team mate Pitted Finished Gap to team mate
Sebastian Vettel 24th +0.095s 8/37 2 3rd
Mark Webber 2nd -0.095s 29/37 1
Jenson Button 5th +0.66s 0/19 1 4th
Lewis Hamilton 1st -0.66s 19/19 0
Fernando Alonso 6th -0.141s 55/55 1 2nd -22.044s
Felipe Massa 8th +0.141s 0/55 1 7th +22.044s
Michael Schumacher 13th +0.591s 7/7 2 11th
Nico Rosberg 7th -0.591s 0/7 1
Kimi Raikkonen 4th -0.518s 37/37 1 1st
Romain Grosjean 9th +0.518s 0/37 2
Paul di Resta 12th +0.199s 0/0 3 9th
Nico Hulkenberg 10th -0.199s 0/0 0
Kamui Kobayashi 15th +0.522s 21/55 1 6th -36.692s
Sergio Perez 11th -0.522s 34/55 2 15th +36.692s
Daniel Ricciardo 16th -0.778s 37/55 2 10th -7.443s
Jean-Eric Vergne 17th +0.778s 18/55 2 12th +7.443s
Pastor Maldonado 3rd -0.423s 52/55 1 5th -10.535s
Bruno Senna 14th +0.423s 3/55 1 8th +10.535s
Heikki Kovalainen 18th -0.195s 55/55 1 13th -16.831s
Vitaly Petrov 20th +0.195s 0/55 1 16th +16.831s
Pedro de la Rosa 22nd -0.616s 0/7 1 17th
Narain Karthikeyan 23rd +0.616s 7/7 0
Timo Glock 21st +0.337s 41/41 1 14th
Charles Pic 19th -0.337s 0/41 1

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 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix weekend?

  • Sebastian Vettel (27%)
  • Mark Webber (0%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (21%)
  • Jenson Button (0%)
  • Fernando Alonso (8%)
  • Felipe Massa (0%)
  • Michael Schumacher (0%)
  • Nico Rosberg (0%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (37%)
  • Romain Grosjean (0%)
  • Paul di Resta (0%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (0%)
  • Kamui Kobayashi (1%)
  • Sergio Perez (0%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (0%)
  • Jean-Eric Vergne (0%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (2%)
  • Bruno Senna (1%)
  • Heikki Kovalainen (0%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (0%)
  • Narain Karthikeyan (0%)
  • Pedro de la Rosa (0%)
  • Timo Glock (0%)
  • Charles Pic (0%)

Total Voters: 815

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2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Browse all 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix articles

Images ?? Red Bull/Getty images, Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, Lotus F1 Team/LAT, Sauber F1 Team, Williams/LAT, Marussia

206 comments on “Vote for your Abu Dhabi GP driver of the weekend”

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  1. It’s difficult to choose between Räikkönen, Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton. All four drove well enough to deserve the title of driver of the weekend, which is fitting, as they are the four best drivers in the sport right now.

    Hamilton was pretty much flawless, claiming pole position, retaining his lead at the start – even after making a small mistake – and then building up a considerable lead before being forced into retirement. Normally I would vote for a driver in that situation, as I voted for him in Singapore and Vettel in Valencia. But… I have to give it to Räikkönen this time. He deserves it after a fantastic comeback season in which he has been the very definition of consistency, including in Abu Dhabi, where he never put a foot wrong, even after his lead was wiped out by the Safety Car. That’s not to mention his classic radio messages and podium interview. Welcome back, Kimi!

  2. I find this difficult. Immediately after the race I would have said Vettel, but now I have had chance to think about it I am not sure.

    Vettel did a fantastic job getting from the back of the pack (twice) up to 3rd. However, the start of his race was very scrappy, and he had a lot of help getting there from incidents. This has to count against him.

    On the other hand, there were several others who did a great job without the mistakes.

    First off there’s Hamilton. As this is driver of the weekend, you cannot take away from his incredible performance top to bottom. In qualifying he decimated his opposition, then dominated the field in the race until his car let him down. Had this not happened, I can’t see how he would not have lost the race.

    Kimi also has to be up there. He does not have the best car, yet he was on form today, pushing at every step. He stayed out of trouble, had a very clean drive… In fact I barely noticed him most of the race. A solid performance, made even better by keeping Alonso behind him in the closing stages and his legendary radio messages.

    Alonso impressed, too. Again, he out drove the car, made some great passes, and put himself on the second step of the podium.

    There are several others who impressed me in this race. So much so, that I cannot vote for one driver of the weekend. I just can’t decide on one driver which deserves it more than the others.

  3. Can’t give it to Vettel as I’m irked the rules allowed Red Bull to reconfigure the car completely and create an ‘overtaking machine’ that mitigated the penalty issued by the FIA – it was exciting to watch and maybe McLaren should’ve have done something similar when Jenson qualified outside the top 10.

    Think Kimi handled the pressure well when Alosno was catching him in the closing stages – when he could have baulked remembering his final few laps going from 2nd to 14th in no time in China

  4. Its either kimi, lewis or fernando this time. no one else is in contention.

    Hard to split them. lewis did nothing wrong, but it was a great performance from kimi showing you never forget how to win. reminded me of Fuji 08.

    And fernando was at his brilliant best. Got the max out of everything.

    Vettel closely follows them, but his errors of judgement cant be ignored in terms of driver of the weekend. but a great recovery result from himself and the team.

  5. Maldonado. Impressive qualifying and he managed to keep up with the leaders quite well in the opening laps. I honestly think that without that KERS problem he would have finished on the podium. And he finished fifth, which was not bad, all things considered.

  6. So this will be one of the tighest battle of the year between the obvious DOTW podium contenders, Vettel, Raikkonen and Hamilton.

    Vettel drove superbly all weekend and still performed when things began to fall apart for him from FP3 on. Little mistakes when colliding with Senna, passing Grosjean illegally and probably when behind Ricciardo during the SC period. He had many things to disrupt his flow, which is an alleviating circumstance. Though passed a countless times, he really didn’t have to push hard, things came to him.

    …Unlike Raikkonen. He had to wrung every last hundedth of a second from his Lotus after Alonso gave chase. Alonso himself pushed himself to the absolute limit in the dying stages for that elusive victory, nearly hitting the wall on the penultimate lap, which Vettel brushed during qualifying. He was visibly exhausted, more than Raikkonen and Vettel at the end. I’m not surprised he is way off the mentioned three drivers, because his was not a fireworks performance, but I’d include him among them as well, because he did just as well as them IMO.

    Finally, Hamilton. Poor guy. Out from the most secure of leads for the second time in five races. It is scary to think he lost 71 points due to team blunders this year. And I only took into account the most disastrous errors: the underfuelling in Barcelona, where he would have most likely led off into the distance from P1, the Singapore and the Abu Dhabi early exits. Not to mention the crash with Maldonado in Valencia, his retirement with the fastest car in Germany, etc. More points have lost. He is 90 points off the pace in the championship currently.

    I cannot decide between these four.

    1. alonso performace was fireworks. he overtook button, webber and Pastor. and held off webber and then button both of who are in quicker cars.

      in terms of racing. proper racing (not passing a marussia) he did more again than anyone out there. and did it without error. i bet he winced when he passed the williams!

    2. Fernando got out raced by Kimi. I’m not sure if Ferrari were hoping for Lotus tyres to go off, he got a perfect help with second saftey, but frankly did not deliver when it really mattered and let Kimi get away again. Ferrari did have the pace as Fernando showed in dying lap, he just wasn’t able to produce it as consistent as Kimi.

      1. He was allegedly 1.03 secs behind Kimi at the first DRS detection point on the penultimate lap. 0.03 sec simply cannot be considered as down to lower intentional driving skill put into practice at that moment.

        He then made the slightest of mistakes, an oversteer at ‘Vettel’s wall’ on the outside of T19 on the same lap. I believe that cost him the victory, because he couldn’t slash the gap in S3 as he did during the laps before. That can be considered a mistake, which resulted in going the slightest bit over the edge after pumping through the whole race. I generally believe, he was on the edge the most during the race (and season, frankly), that’s why he finally made a mistake, a small, but crucial one. He was visibly the most exhausted after the race. Also, one has to consider the dirty air he was getting behind Kimi – that disrupted a lot of passing by others in the first half of the race when the guys were bunched up; no wonder it might did so again.

  7. Even though im a Alonso fan, i really waited for Vettel impress me. He didn’t.
    This one has to go to Raikkonen!

  8. The composition of that picture of Maldonado is simply stunning. It really encapsulates the speed of the cars, yet it somehow illustrates the many quick, but cagey direction changes of the last section of the Abu Dhabi circuit.

  9. The Iceman without a doubt. His post-race attitude was almost more impressive than his driving.

  10. I voted for Jev. If it wasn’t for that 2nd pit stop he surely could have finished higher.

  11. Ooh, there’s something, did we get an Indian GP DOTW poll?

  12. I went for Vettel. OK, so he had some lucky breaks, but he still had to have the speed and presence of mind to benefit from the luck. The fact that he had a couple of little incidents on the way actually made it somehow even more amazing that he kept it together (despite squealing like a proper stroperella about Ricciardo) and got to third.

    I was really hoping Hamilton would win – he had a great weekend altogether but I do find it hard to vote for someone who only raced 20 laps, no matter how dominating he was during practice and quali.

  13. Vettel. From last in the grid to 3º place is amazing. Also Raikkonen and Kobayashi did well.

    1. and Maldonado.

  14. Raikkonen – credit to a long overdue victory. He’s shown strong pace all weekend in a car that was clearly not the fastest on the grid. Brilliant start. Good management over the course of the race. Has to be.

    Notable mentions, in order: Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel, Maldonado.

  15. It is a tough call this time, because there were some pretty impressive drivings out there, but at the end I went for Vettel. Of course he got lucky on race day, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t perform at the level the situation required. Hamilton did very well, but he is getting all the bad luck he can this championship, and I really hope it ends here for him. Raikkonen and Alonso both challenged each other like true champions they are. That message radio to Kimi was funny: “Kimi, we need to look after the temperatures of the four tires”, answer: “Yes, yes, yes, I know, what do you think I’m doing”. Something along those lines :).

  16. matthewf1 (@)
    5th November 2012, 18:37

    I see the Alonso brigade are at it again…7% of votes for another poor qualifying…finished the race where he could have started it. Hamilton and Raikkonen made no mistakes, not proper ones anyway…I know Hamilton briefly went off but that wasn’t major. Vettel was good but he did ruin his first front wing and only got away with replacing it because of the safety car.
    Worst of the weekend has to be Webber, seemed determined not to take his chance to make the most of Vettel at the back and made one mistake after another.

  17. I was split between Vettel and Hamilton. Hamilton was quickest over the one lap undoubtably (although I do believe Vettel’s qualifying speed was hindered by the brake problems on Saturday). Hamilton was looking set to control the race, but then obviously the car failure stopped him in his tracks.

    Vettel was under a huge amount of pressure in qualifying with his lack of preparation and was still very close to Webber (I think for sure if he had been able to do the qualifying simulations on Saturday he would have beaten Webber to the front row pre-penalty).

    Then obviously he was sent to the back of the grid, which much have been a huge blow to him mentally. You could sense his frustration with his reaction to Ricciardo. To be able to recover in the way he did (from pit lane to podium) is a remarkable feat. Sure, luck played a part, but he had to fight his way into a position to capitalise on others misfortune. He was the driver of the race in my opinion, so I voted for Vettel.

    Räikkönen did well to resist intense pressure from Alonso, but personally I think the fact he was under pressure from Alonso in the first place shows he just didn’t have the pace of Hamilton earlier or Vettel. He was 3rd best during the weekend in my opinion.

    Also, worth mentioning Di Resta for recovering form the first corners incident to score points.

    1. “Räikkönen did well to resist intense pressure from Alonso, but personally I think the fact he was under pressure from Alonso in the first place shows he just didn’t have the pace of Hamilton earlier or Vettel. He was 3rd best during the weekend in my opinion.”

      Kimi should nvr had been faster than the top 3, but he did. Its funny how you regard kimi not having the pace when the above all have superior car than kimi.

  18. Voted Vettel; he didn’t have the most polished of races, but he got the job done.
    I say that it wasn’t down to luck; he was presented opportunities, and he grasped them with both hands; I really don’t buy the opinion that the safety cars were the only reason he finished in P3, as at the end of the first safety car, he was in P21 (I think)

    1. @xjr15jaaag – exactly, the first safety car was of almost no help (in actual fact I think it hindered him with the DRS board collision). The second definitely close the pack up though, but what’s to say with the pace he had in free air (he was significantly quicker than the leaders) he wouldn’t have closed the gap anyway?

      To confirm your last point; yes, he was dead last (a.k.a 21st). This is the point I have made before: it is no good having a safety car if he isn’t up there with the leaders to be able to capitalise upon it. Sure, he was lucky, but the reason he was so is because he was able to grab the oppurtunity when it presented itself.

      1. My first statement isn’t really true come to think of it, he was faster but not by enough to make up the deficit in time to score a podium. He would’ve secured 4th place anyway though.

  19. Top 3 performer deserve it but I voted Vettel

  20. Voted Kimi just so that Vettel didn’t get it

    Vettel cracked under pressure this weekend and for a driver who makes very little mistakes he made so many this weekend. He was very lucky with the 2 SC periods which gave him free pit stops & I’m not surprised he made his way through the field with the car he has & on fresh tires. If you really look into he made many mistakes & was helped with drivers DNF & crashing into each other in front of him.

    Webber has to be the slowest off the grid this year. His starts are consistently terrable!!!

    Hamilton dominated this weekend & I have no doubt he would have won the race but was nice to see Kimi on the top spot & he deserves the win with his radio comments to the team. Legend

    Come on Alonso crush the finger boy

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