Vote for your United States GP driver of the weekend

2012 United States Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Start, Circuit of the Americas, 2012Which F1 driver had the best race weekend at the Circuit of the Americas?

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

United States Grand Prix driver-by-driver

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel – Led the way in practice but Hamilton kept Vettel honest in qualifying. He was unable to draw clear of the McLaren in the race but his poor straight-line speed left him vulnerable to catching a lapped car in the twisty section before the main straight. When Hamilton seized his chance Vettel defended as firmly as he could before giving best to the McLaren, and crossed the finishing line still right on his tail.

Mark Webber – Unhappy with the lack of grip offered by circuit and tyres, Webber was well off Vettel’s pace in practice and qualifying. He briefly ran second before Hamilton demoted him to third, and then suffered another of Red Bull’s alternator failures. Remarkably for a driver whose name was once synonymous with this sort of misfortune, this was his first mechanically-included retirement since Singapore 2009.


Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, Circuit of the Americas, 2012Jenson Button – It was Button’s turn to have the share of McLaren’s technical problems in America. A throttle pedal problem caused his elimination in Q2 and he lined up on the dirty side of the grid in 12th. His recovery drive to fifth included gritty passes on Schumacher and Raikkonen, but he was unable to use maximum KERS in the closing stages as he tried to gain on Massa.

Lewis Hamilton – Picked up where he left off when his car broke down in Abu Dhabi, splitting the Red Bulls to start on the front row of the grid with Vettel. He was predictably passed by Webber from the clean side of the grid at the start, but soon re-passed that Red Bull and went after the other one. His lap times dropped sharply at the end of the first stint but he came on strong in the second. When Karthikeyan presented the opportunity for him to pass Vettel he didn’t waste it, and was alert to Vettel’s firm-but-fair defending.


Fernando Alonso – A curious performance from Alonso who looked in good shape during practice then slumped to ninth in qualifying, beaten on merit by Massa for the first time since Korea last year. Grosjean’s gearbox penalty meant he would start eighth but Ferrari opted to sacrifice Massa to move Alonso further forward again and onto the clean side of the grid. That netted him fourth by turn one which became third when Webber retired.

Felipe Massa – Had it not been for Ferrari’s ‘Alonso first’ tactics it’s likely Massa would have had the beating of him here. He was quicker in qualifying and his race pace was better too. Ferrari made a better job of his pit stop than Alonso’s which briefly got him ahead of Raikkonen, and although the Lotus later passed Massa he was eventually able to claim the place back.


Michael Schumacher – Fifth on the grid was a promising starting place for his penultimate Grand Prix. But he struggled with his tyres from the moment the lights went out and dropped like a stone: by lap ten he was 13th. Pitted twice and finished 16th, behind his team mate who had started six rows behind him.

Nico Rosberg – Mercedes seemed to treat the weekend as an extended test session with Rosberg switching back to their pre-Coanda exhaust layout. He was last in Q2 and only moved up to 13th during the race as Mercedes extended their point-less streak to five races. “We have learned some important lessons for next year and that’s what counts at the moment,” he said.


Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Circuit of the Americas, 2012Kimi Raikkonen – Both Lotuses started on the dirty side of the grid, Raikkonen inheriting Grosjean’s fourth place thanks to his team mate’s gearbox change penalty. Having lost three places at the start Raikkonen made a steady recovery in the opening stint, passing Schumacher and Hulkenberg. He closed on Alonso but a slow pit stop by his team cost him a chance to get past. He said a fall in ambient temperatures during the second half of the race caused a loss of pace on his hard tyres and after that he fell prey to Massa and Button, ending up sixth.

Romain Grosjean – Out-qualified Raikkonen and although he was demoted by a gearbox change penalty he was back in front by lap two, opportunistically passing his team mate and Schumacher. But he spun while chasing Hulkenberg and dropped to 13th before making an early pit stop. A strong stint on hard tyres allowed him to recover seventh place.

Force India

Paul di Resta – Di Resta was curiously reluctant to share his debriefs over the intra-team radio but it didn’t help him stop Hulkenberg from out-qualifying him for the fifth race in a row. He made it up to fifth before a spin forced him to make an extra pit stop and killed any hope of a points finish.

Nico Hulkenberg – Hulkenberg was ‘relegated’ from seventh and the clean side of the grid to sixth and the dirty side by Massa’s team-inflicted penalty. He held his position at the start before passing Schumacher, but he couldn’t keep the Lotuses behind and was passed by both of them, finishing eighth.


Kamui Kobayashi – The combination of the tyre-kind Sauber and the gripless surface proved a challenge Kobayashi could not overcome. “For the entire weekend here I had warm up problems and didn?t get the tyres to work,” he said after finishing 14th. “We have to find out why this was.”

Sergio Perez – A huge Mexican contingent was present to cheer Perez on, though for the fifth time this year he finished one place outside of the points. He reckoned a top ten finish would have been possible had his brake pedal not gone long: “I had big difficulties before every corner,” he said.

Toro Rosso

Daniel Ricciardo, Toro Rosso, Circuit of the Americas, 2012Daniel Ricciardo – Ricciardo passed car after car at the start, taking the likes of Kobayashi, Rosberg, Vergne, Maldonado and Schumacher. He said if he had expected the hard tyre to work as well as it did he would have changed to it sooner. Having held fifth for three laps, racing with the likes of Raikkonen and Massa, his pit stop dropped him back to 12th, out of the points.

Jean-Eric Vergne – Made it into Q2 at the expense of his team mate. A lunge up the inside of turn one at the start didn’t pay off – he lost two places on the first lap – and a suspension problem ended his race early on.


Pastor Maldonado – The Williams pair shared row five but surprisingly Maldonado ended lap one behind his team mate, who had started on the unfavourable side. After losing a lengthy tussle with Button he was also passed by Ricciardo, but a well-timed pit stop pulled him back into contention and a muscular pass on his team mate put him back where he started at the chequered flag.

Bruno Senna – Started tenth and finished there after being passed by his team mate with five laps to go. “Unfortunately we came out of the pits behind Hulkenberg which was frustrating as he was just quick enough exiting turn 11 each lap and we couldn?t overtake him which damaged my tyres allowing Pastor to catch us both,” he said. “I knew Pastor would make a move and I wasn?t going to close the door as we needed the points for the team.”


Vitaly Petrov, Caterham, Circuit of the Americas, 2012Heikki Kovalainen – Battled with Pic at the start but he eventually overcame both KERS-less Marussias. The stewards examined his pass on Glock but decided the move was fair. “I?ve had issues all weekend with getting heat into the front tyres and it was the same again today for the first few laps,” said Kovalainen.

Vitaly Petrov – Got ahead of both Marussias at the start which was vital as they had decent pace – Glock eventually finished just eight seconds behind him.


Pedro de la Rosa – It was the usual story for HRT, albeit it with slightly less running than usual in practice. These were euphemistically referred to as “short programs” but the reappearance of Ma Qing Hua in Karthikeyan’s car indicates that the up-for-sale team is seriously strapped for cash. De la Rosa brought the car home, albeit almost a full minute behind the next runner.

Narain Karthikeyan – Having missed first practice and had little running the second, Karthikeyan looked like he mist be at risk of not qualifying. He made it onto the grid, though much to Vettel’s chagrin after a delay behind the HRT on lap 42 cost him the lead. But Karthikeyan’s driving was within the rules.


Timo Glock – Marussia were very pleased to have both cars in front of the Caterhams in qualifying, led by Glock. But Petrov was soon past them at the start: “The first lap was a bit all over the place; I lost the car twice,” said Glock. Kovalainen later passed him too and the team’s attempt to re-pass him via the pits was thwarted when Kovalainen came in on the same lap.

Charles Pic – Picked up front wing damage on the first lap and slipped out of contention in the team’s battle with Caterham.

Qualifying and race results summary

Started Gap to team mate Laps leading team mate Pitted Finished Gap to team mate
Sebastian Vettel 1st -0.517s 16/16 1 2nd
Mark Webber 3rd +0.517s 0/16 0
Jenson Button 12th +0.821s 0/56 1 5th +56.432s
Lewis Hamilton 2nd -0.821s 56/56 1 1st -56.432s
Fernando Alonso 7th +0.363s 50/56 1 3rd -6.784s
Felipe Massa 11th -0.363s 6/56 1 4th +6.784s
Michael Schumacher 5th -1.399s 14/55 2 16th Not on same lap
Nico Rosberg 17th +1.399s 41/55 1 13th Not on same lap
Kimi Raikkonen 4th +0.121s 52/56 1 6th -5.888s
Romain Grosjean 8th -0.121s 4/56 1 7th +5.888s
Paul di Resta 13th +0.599s 4/55 2 15th Not on same lap
Nico Hulkenberg 6th -0.599s 51/55 1 8th Not on same lap
Kamui Kobayashi 16th +0.231s 0/55 1 14th Not on same lap
Sergio Perez 15th -0.231s 55/55 1 11th Not on same lap
Daniel Ricciardo 18th +0.68s 9/14 1 12th
Jean-Eric Vergne 14th -0.68s 5/14 0
Pastor Maldonado 9th -0.593s 6/56 1 9th -0.608s
Bruno Senna 10th +0.593s 50/56 1 10th +0.608s
Heikki Kovalainen 22nd +0.357s 0/55 1 18th +7.651s
Vitaly Petrov 21st -0.357s 55/55 1 17th -7.651s
Pedro de la Rosa 23rd -0.729s 53/54 1 21st -11.879s
Narain Karthikeyan 24th +0.729s 1/54 1 22nd +11.879s
Timo Glock 19th -0.608s 49/54 1 19th Not on same lap
Charles Pic 20th +0.608s 5/54 1 20th Not on same lap

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 United States Grand Prix weekend?

  • Sebastian Vettel (6%)
  • Mark Webber (0%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (63%)
  • Jenson Button (3%)
  • Fernando Alonso (4%)
  • Felipe Massa (20%)
  • Michael Schumacher (1%)
  • Nico Rosberg (0%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (0%)
  • Romain Grosjean (0%)
  • Paul di Resta (0%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (0%)
  • Kamui Kobayashi (0%)
  • Sergio Perez (0%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (1%)
  • Jean-Eric Vergne (0%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (0%)
  • Bruno Senna (0%)
  • Heikki Kovalainen (0%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (0%)
  • Narain Karthikeyan (0%)
  • Pedro de la Rosa (0%)
  • Timo Glock (0%)
  • Charles Pic (0%)

Total Voters: 704

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2012 United States Grand Prix

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Image ?? COTA/LAT, COTA/LAT, Lotus F1 Team/LAT, Red Bull/Getty images, Caterham/LAT

129 comments on “Vote for your United States GP driver of the weekend”

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  1. I went for Massa. He outqualified the driver who supposedly drives beyond the limit of his car, then he took a sucker punch with the grid penalty to advantage Alonso only to drive through the field and back up to Alonso. He clearly had plenty of more pace than he was allowed to use as well and I think in a straight race could well have beaten Alonso despite the 5 place grid drop. I see that 2 people (so far) have voted for Alonso, suspiciously absent are any comments backing this up – I’d love to hear the justification.

    Hamilton and Button also deserve a mention, Button’s poor grid slot wasn’t his own fault for a change this time.

    1. +1 I was on the fence between Hamilton and Massa, but this swayed me towards Massa

    2. @jerseyf1

      I see that 2 people have voted for Alonso, suspiciously absent are any comments backing this up

      I think they have forgotten to back up the point, probably because those 2 people have likely voted for Alonso in every race! I don’t think Alonso did anything worthy of DOTW (after all he finished nearly 40s back from the leading pair and probably only because of Webber’s retirement was he on the podium)!

  2. Lots of worthy drives this weekend.

    Hamilton and Vettel. Class of their own. Both nailed everything and it was great to see a race won at the front, on the track.

    Massa and Button. Both had their misfortunes – Button on Saturday and Massa due to the Ferrari team decision, but drove quickly, consistently and decisively to make their way through the field to 4th and 5th respectively.

    Kimi had a quiet race, but still managed to make it shiine with some great wheel to wheel moments with Hulkenburg and Button.

    Overall I gave it to Massa for his strength of character to hit back from the controversy with such a strong drive. He’s on a good run at the moment, and starting to look like the old Massa again.

  3. I went for Hamilton. Red Bull looked effortlessly quick all weekend, and indeed after Friday it looked like we were in for an un-threatened lights-to-flag victory for Sebastian Vettel, but Hamilton managed to extract the speed from his car when it mattered and passed both Red Bull cars on his way to a deserved victory.

    But I also seriously considered voting for Massa. Amid all the superlatives for Alonso’s performances, Felipe has been putting in some very decent performances, now and then, to match and this weekend beat his team mate, only to be called back by the most outrageous team order/strategy since…well, all those other controversial team orders involving Ferrari ;-) It would not surprise me in the least if next weekend Massa is the form man once again at Ferrari.

    Other performances of note: Romain Grosjean delivered a very similar performance to his race in Silverstone, where he also had to run long due to an early-race incident. He still managed to catch Raikkonen again, as in Silverstone, and even if this was not a faultless weekend, at least the speed, which had been missing now and then since the summer break, was back again.

    Daniel Ricciardo: although he didn’t have a good qualifying this time, he also showed that the early-season wisdom of “quicker in qualifying, slower in the race (than team mate Vergne)” is no longer true, as the second half of the season had many strong race performances, including this one.

    Vitaly Petrov: Jarno Trulli was the man that almost made Kovalainen’s career, and Petrov could be the one that ends it. More and more, I feel it’s a common occurrence for Petrov to be ahead of his team mate, who has had very little to boast about this season, especially since the summer.

    1. Vitaly Petrov: Jarno Trulli was the man that almost made Kovalainen’s career, and Petrov could be the one that ends it. More and more, I feel it’s a common occurrence for Petrov to be ahead of his team mate, who has had very little to boast about this season, especially since the summer.

      Indeed! I think Petrov has always been an underrated driver, as he was destroyed by Kubica, but he’s become a much more complete driver since then. I don’t think Kovalainen’s performances at McLaren truly reflected his potential, but he was certainly flattered last year by Trulli’s unmotivated driving. Maybe he’s losing his motivation too, being a backmarker for the third consecutive year without much hope for improvement.

      1. Being destroyed by Kubica is a bit like being destroyed by Alonso, you could actually draw the conclusion that he’s a pretty decent driver for not being destroyed completely! Kovalainen started our well at Caterham but sadly he hadn’t really impressed since Valencia in my opinion. Sadly there are worthier drivers of top-end race seats.

  4. Hamilton is going to win this and deservedly so but my vote is going to Massa. He was true team player, didn’t complain but proved to be faster Ferrari throughout whole weekend. Faster in all qualifyings and in the race than teammate who is fighting for the title and says he is extracting 150% out of the car. Felipe must be getting 200% then.

    Maybe its just another one off but being faster than Alonso at this stage of the season proves something, which doesn’t mean that Alonso would be any worse than is believed. Just that Massa is probably faster than most admit.

    1. Good drives from Button, Raikkonen, Grosjean and Alonso too.

  5. Hamilton. He was so perfect and pushed Vettel every lap. Although he had used his tyres too much during the first stint and lost ground from Vettel, he pushed again and stayed on him like a shadow and passed him brilliantly. The Red Bull was quicker through the twisty part, but Hamilton’s form lately has been so impressive I can expect anything from him.

  6. With a lot of pundits talking about how this impacts Massa’s state of mind… Am I the only one who wouldn’t be grinning ear to ear every time he has to make a concession to Alonso? If the Ferrari really is still as inferior today as the Tifosi claim (and it’s just not, but lets pretend), is there a team out there who wouldn’t want to pay Massa a boatload of money to come drive for them in the future? He’s clearly got pace, he’s clearly willing to put the team first, and every time he has to sacrifice his position to Alonso it reminds the world that “the best driver on the grid” can’t do his own dirty work unless he complies. If I were Massa, I’d go home every night with the world’s biggest **** eating grin.

    Felipe Baby may just be my driver of the year…

    1. @hwkii

      is there a team out there who wouldn’t want to pay Massa a boatload of money to come drive for them in the future?

      They probably don’t want to pay “a boatload of money” a driver who’s scored a substantially smaller proportion of his team mate’s points tally than any other driver in a top team has over the last three years.

    2. Don’t forget that the reason they “use” Massa like that is because the first half of his season was so bad he didn’t stand a chance of finishing high up in the driver’s championship. Ferrari decided to stick with Massa when everyone in Italy and their momma wanted him out, so now he has to pay back for that trust. Win-win.

    3. I think that’s an interesting Chicken and Egg argument actually, what’s to say that the first half of his season wasn’t caused by Ferrari’s clear desire to “use” Massa? Because while the car was dreadful at the beginning of the year, it certainly appeared to be far more dreadful on the ‘other’ side of the garage. Now, maybe Felipe can’t wrangle a car around the track by the neck the way that Fernando (thought honestly, compare them physically, this is not surprising) but neither can a lot of drivers.

      Fact remains, when the car is there, there’s very little between them. When the car isn’t there, is there anyone on the grid other than (by popular consensus) Lewis and Fernando? Considering the cries for his head at the midpoint in the season (justifiably, sure), if not Driver of the Year, certainly Comeback of the Year. Just… 2 years on.

      1. I have to admit here, I am no fan of Ferrari, and that’s all due to the way that they use Massa. So, full disclosure. I’m just a bored Williams fan because the best driver on “my” team is also the very, very worst.

  7. Vettel. Fastest in all the sessions.

    1. Sterling Archer
      19th November 2012, 19:29

      Except for the session that counts, of course.

    2. @kaiie – I was close to voting Vettel but I was just swayed for Hamilton. I agree though, he was definitely the DOTW on a single lap!

  8. Looks like Alonso gets automatic points here just for showing up for the race. Can’t believe Button is behind him in this poll, I think Jenson drove a good recovery race to finish 5th, and would very likely be 4th had his KERS not failed, while Alonso did a good start nothing else.

  9. Hamilton, Massa, Vettel, Button, Hulkenberg… many drivers deserve it, but I have to give it to Hamilton. Brilliant qualifying (his last lap in Q3 was a joy to watch) and a dogged, relentless pursuit of Vettel that ended in deserved victory.

  10. 3% for Alonso, the same as Button?
    Have people even watched the GP?

    Fernando had a great start… and stayed ahead of Massa after Webber was late for his BBQ.
    Those 10 seconds are the easiest way anyone has ever earned DotW votes…

    1. DelendaEstAmbulando
      19th November 2012, 23:35

      Didn’t vote for Fernando (or for anybody else), he surely could have qualified better (not much better though) but his race was as good as could be, his start was superb and then there was no way he could match Vettel’s or Lewis’ pace, so a third place was the absolute best he could get, and he got it (helped by Webber’s DNF of course but it would have been an exciting fight to watch)

  11. I voted Hamilton because McLaren are going to miss him. Not even Alonso managed to get maximum performance from their cars, something he will be doing @ Merc next year. He was exceptional and finally got Vettel back for overtaking him in the 2008 Brazilian GP almost costing him the title.

  12. For me it was between Vettel and Hamilton. Both did amazing all weekend. Personally i don’t feel the assumption of the Mclaren being worse then the RB8 is correct. All year, the Mclaren has been faster then the Redbull in fast corners which require high downforce. Redbull got great qualifying speed cause of the double DRS, but that obviously doesn’t work in the race. This again got proven in sector 1, where Hamilton was faster then Vettel. The RB8 on the other hand might be a bit better in low-speed / traction corners, which combined with Vettels skill gave them an advantage in sector 3. So all in all, i think it was pretty much even between Vettel and Hamilton.
    My vote went for Vettel though, for two reasons: he was quick all weekend, even though he had a water leak and missed valueable track time, and secondly cause his qualifying lap was just a bit sharper then Hamiltons. Both did amazing though, way ahead of the field.

  13. I’m still not a Hamilton fan, I confess…but there’s no one else who deserves this DoTW more. The guy was absolutely stellar the whole weekend and managed to beat Vettel at his own game of level headedness and perfection on track. Well done! Perhaps the most well-deserved DoTW award so far this season.

    Notable mentions, in order:
    Massa – once again the fastest of the two Ferrari cars and all that in the midst of “the decision”. I can only wonder, what if the whole season was like this for him?
    Button – frankly, this was a completely different side of Button. Drove the wheels of that McLaren for the first time since Canada 2011, in my opinion.
    Vettel – did what he could do and has to come to terms with being the best of the rest this weekend. However, he secured the WCC for Red Bull and took another huge step towards his 3rd WDC.
    Hulkenberg – once again stood out as the best midfielder out there and compared to where his team mate finished we could say he put on one great performance here.

  14. So many strong drives this weekend- Jenson, Kimi, Alonso, even Vettel. But for me the 2 stand outs were Massa and Lewis. Lewis was VERY fast all weekend and won the race so he would be very deserving… but I had to give it to Massa. Faster than Alonso all weekend, gave up his start position for his teamate, had a strong aggressive race and was a solid wingman.

  15. Hamilton ust about from Vettel and Massa. The first 2 especially in a class of their own all weekend

  16. Lewis without a doubt.

  17. I voted for Massa.

    I’m not massively keen on Massa personally, however this is the first time in a long, long time that I can genuinely say that I was impressed with him.

    Out-qualified Alonso on merit and took his team-induced punishment stoically and professionally. And still managed to climb from 11th to 4th.

  18. Hamilton was the man to beat today, however Massa was the driver of the day. His team have treated him like garbage ever since Alonso joined the team. It must be hard for Ferrari to think back to when Massa was fighting Hamilton for the DWC. Now this weekend he deserved to be on the podium, but once again Ferrari jerked him around (even if it was ultimately the right decision). He drove fast and smooth for the whole weekend.

  19. Massa, for signing in with the most respectful, fair, open-minded team in F1. I’m sure that if Massa keeps this way next year Ferrari will ask Alonso to move back and let Massa win.
    No, seriously Massa was the best driv… impossible right? My vote has to go for Hamilton

    1. Fair you say? Hmmm….if the tables are reversed next year, will Ferrari get Alonso to squander his position to Massa in a race for example? If that happens, I will really respect Ferrari.

  20. Hamilton all the way. I had the live feed from Hamilton’s onbaord up on my PC from about lap 20 or so until the end. Fun to watch him with the expectation that he was going to catch Vettel.
    like the commercial says… WWLHD

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