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

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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. I voted for Alonso. His overtake toward Webber was awesome and his defends toward Webber and Button. Lewis and Kimi also deserved.

    Vettel made a big mistake 2 times. If there were not safety cars… He was so lucky as always as many says.

    1. Lucky to be moved to 24th from 3rd on the grid.

  2. Perez for me. ;) He was driving very well but he got too excited trying a spectacular-two-pass end he got it all wrong. Oh well, he needs to mature…fast!!!

  3. safety car for me, dissapointed that it was not on the list

  4. Gotta go with the Iceman. Flawless all weekend.

  5. Absolutely have no idea who to vote for. Ended up voting for Maldonado.
    Did a great job to qualify on the second row, could’ve finished higher than fifth if not for the KERS failure.

    There are a lot of great performances here, especially from the top three and Hamilton, but I feel Maldonado’s performance have been slightly overlooked, which is why I voted for him.

  6. Has to be Hamilton for me. I’m not a big fan of him TBH (I’m a huge Webber fan), but you have to admit what he did on Saturday and the first laps on Sunday (especially on the restart) was amazing, such a shame that he broke down, I felt gutted for him. Vettel a close second for his drive from the back.

  7. Kimi for making my day :) ! Not only did he score his comeback win, but has entertained all of us in the process. I don’t buy arguments stating Lewis would have won by a large margin had he finished the race. Did not buy it in Singapore, do not buy it now. Could’ve Should’ve Would’ve and yet Kimi stood on the top step of the podium.

  8. Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen and Maldonado all deserve it.

    Alonso, on the other hand, didn’t just have one of the fastest cars in a straight line on race day, no, he had the outright best car. And before you ask about Massa, he didn’t even have Alonso’s India updates, let alone the Abu Dhabi ones.

    And no, the car being poor in quali is not an excuse. Raikkonen outqualified both Ferraris, and he said a week ago that the team needs to improve their quali performance by 2013. Plus, the F2012 is especially good at the start, as proven throughout the year by both drivers.

    1. Ferrari having the fastest car??? You gotta be kidding me!

    2. And in case you haven’t noticed, the start advantage they had earlier is long gone.

  9. first safety car +20 sec for Vettel
    second safety car +20 sec for Vettel
    give me 40 secs + softer tyres + the fastest car geared specifically for the track and the race and let me start from the pit lane any day.

    1. How on earth did the first safety car give Vettel 20 seconds?
      It send him from 12th to 21st for crying out loud!

      1. when you drive the fastest car on the grid your problem is not the position but the absolute distance to the first car
        6 out of 10 drivers who entered Q3 DNF’ed or had problems…
        technically Button’s state of mind during races might also be considered as problem, he wakes up only if he sees Hamilton in his mirrors.

    2. @mads Vettel gained 12 seconds on the leader during the first safety car period – I don’t know where Tfc’s figure of 20 for both came from – he clearly gained 26 under the second safety car (see same link).

      As you say he did lose nine places during that time as well but whether to blame the safety car, Vettel, or Daniel Ricciardo for that is debatable. I’d say Vettel is mostly to blame.

      1. @keithcollantine
        Yeah I agree that Vettel was mostly to blame for his incident with the DRS board.
        But my point is that it was a result of the SC. Without it, then that wouldn’t have been a problem.
        But I don’t agree that he gained 12 seconds on the leaders doing the first SC.
        Yes he was just 12 seconds behind (as opposed to 24 before) when the SC pulled in, but by the time he was back in 12th place (lap 20) as before the SC he was just over 21 seconds behind the leaders, and I assume that due to his fresh softs he would be able to at least match the pace of leader at that point. Which means that the time he lost was a result of the traffic from the lost places under the safety car. That would equal a gain of roughly 4 seconds from the 1st SC.

      2. it was an approximation, thanx for shorting this out, it was a total of 38 secs not 40…i ‘ve watched every single race the last 35 years, i really can’t recall any other driver having so much luck with SC’s as had Vettel the last 3 years…whenever he need’s one he get’s it.

  10. Wow 30% for Vettel?
    That’s a surprise.. Ι didn’t expected him to be that high.
    He didn’t even won the race , he was not the faster in P1,P3 and Quallify.
    He should at least laping a couple times Raikkonen and Alonso.
    This was an average performance and can’t be compared with Button’s superb drive back in Canada 2011 where he won despite the 6 safety cars hindering his brilliant effort. Not taking into account that Canada as a low downforce track with his long straight is much harder for Overtaking than Abu dhabi high downforce track.
    I think he shouldn’t even be as option to choose in this poll…… i wonder how people voted for him …..haven’t you watched the race?
    Come on Vettel , you can do better…
    ps1 :My Vote goes to Karthikeyan because he has the unique ability to create spectacular incidents.
    ps4: despite all the above i really like Raikkonen and he deserved this victory

  11. I think it has to go to Vettel for me. He was on fine form throughout the weekend and this track is not meant to be suited to the Red Bull. He put it third on the grid after a set back in P3 and then put in an amazing drive to take back that P3 from the pits. A lot of people have said there was a lot of luck involved but then that is often the case in many stellar drives. He really proved his doubters wrong on Sunday and put in some amazingly daring overtakes. It was almost like watching a computer game the way he made moves from so far back and pulled them off.

    Honourable mention must go to Hamilton who was the class of the field I just can’t vote for him not knowing what might have happened if he hadn’t retired.

  12. I’m surprised Vettel is so high. Maybe he is beginning to get a core fanbase afterall. I believe he has had far more accomplished drives so far this season that didn’t result in such praise.

    I think Maldonado had a great race and still managed to finish 5th as everyone around him kept getting into trouble. Alonso and Raikkonnen were both great but this is what is to be expected of them.

    Hamilton was the star of the weekend imo and I’m sure he’d have won fairly comfortably if his car didn’t give up on him.

  13. I don’t get it sometimes. Sure people enjoyed the result – as a fan of Kimi during the McLaren days I did too. But isn’t it basically what Vettel did in Singapore? Good start, stayed in 2nd, inherited the win from Hamilton’s retirement. He didn’t win DotW then – Hamilton did.

    Going by that logic shouldn’t Hamilton win it again?

    Just curious really.

  14. Hamilton all the way …..Driver of the weekend easily .Even when he came back to the pits just totally respected him for the way he went and shock each team members hand and then even though gutted stayed to watch the race .It must have been heart breaking but he kept his poise …..supreme…..Easily Driver of the weekend and race…….

  15. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    6th November 2012, 11:19

    Sorry Kimi, as happy as I was to see you win, it’s not even a close contest on this one. It’s got to be Vettel.

    Vettel came from 24th to 3rd.
    I’ll just take a moment for that to sink in………………. 24th TO 3rd!!!
    He suffered a couple of front wing mishaps, then had to pit an extra time to get it fixed.
    Manned up for a close call pass on Maldonado, dropped behind him, and got him again. Then made a stellar pass on Button for 3rd.

    I’d say that ranks as one of the best drives of his career.

    Kimi wouldnt have won the race had Lewis’s car not crapped out on him again.

    1. Probably you want to change starting from P24 to starting from Pit-lane.

  16. I know how to solve Vettel getting the Driver of the Race.

    He just simply have to overtake the pack twice.

      1. @keithcollantine

        Exactly, that’s why he won the polls for India, Japan and Bahrein…

        Oh wait.

  17. Kimi of course, his radio answers won the whole weekend

  18. Seb is definetly driver of the weekend, due to the following factors:
    -Red Bull had one of its messiest weekend in recent memory.
    – after missing FP3, which basically determines how each driver will qualify, he still manages to get P3, just 0.05 off Webber.
    -After being disqualified from qualy, he started his race with a completely different car setup, yet he still managed to be very quick from the get go.
    – After damaging his wing he kept his cool and confidence to overtake half the field again.
    – as far as the “lucky” talk goes, i think its complete rubbish, the second safety car only helped him gain one position.

    And i am completely sure the if lewis had won, and without there being a single crash, everyone would be singing his praises and saying what a wonderful dominant victory, and no one will say it was boring.
    But god forbid seb should get such treatment, every time he wins, its down to luck and the car, never to his own brilliance.

    1. Totally said my piece.

    2. @mnm101 I really think voters on this pole are less biased than that.
      You’ve excused Vettel for being bettered by his team mate in Qualifying, but at the end of the day he was beaten in an equal car.
      Also, you’ve chosen to forget that Vettel caused the damage to his own front wing.
      I really think there were so many examples of flawless races out there that completely outshone a guy in a superior car tweaked specifically for the race and easier overtaking who committed two unforced errors, one of them behind the safety car.

      You’re intitled to your opinion but I think other people had good reason to differ with you.
      I voted for Maldonado myself and explained my reasons previously (without slagging off other voters) ;)

    3. Obviously what you , me and the rest of the 30% saw on Sunday was not apparent for the rest of the Voters.

      An old Greek motto-saying says :
      a wolf can change his fur but he never changes his habit’s

      so don’t expect that people here will change so easy their view on Vettel no matter what he does , at least as long as he drives for Redbull.

  19. Went for Charles Pic, simply because he surprised me the most all weekend.

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