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. Massa for me. I’ve been a big critic of him as he has been hopeless over the last few years and I was astonished when he was given another year. Why give someone you know is hopeless a seat when you’d have nothing to lose trying a promising youngster I thought.

    However, he was brilliant and had he not taken the 5 place hit at the start, he could have been genuinely involved near the front. Massa showed what he can do but he also showed why he deserved all the crap he got for being so slow. He is capable of winning championships and he needs to start putting in performances that he’s capable of.

  2. I voted Vettel. He set the lap record

  3. Hamilton, for the sheer exuberance of that performance. Forget the helmet nonsense and his anti-social media antics, when he’s on form like that it’s a delight to watch and you’ve got to grin to see him so happy afterwards too.

  4. I could not vote for Hamilton. He had the fastest car. Button’s pace proved that. He should have had pole and if not that then he should have been able to overtake Vettel much earlier than lap 43. He was on his tail since lap 30. Most people just like to believe that Red Bull is fastest because then it is easier to say that Vettel is not a great driver.

    I ended up voting for Massa. For sentimental reasons of course. When he got the psychological blow in Germany 2010, he could not recover from it for very long. But this time, he did! Let’s hope he can take the fight to Alonso next season.

    1. Button was on a different strategy so his pace relative to others isn’t really relevant when comparing cars speeds. Pretty difficult to logically argue that the car that set the fastest lap in every single session of the weekend (including the race) isn’t the fastest car. Also, If you were watching the live timing throughout the weekend you would have noticed that the Red Bull was quicker through S2 and S3 all weekend quite comfortably and Hamilton was the only one able to match or beat them through S1. Hamilton took a different line to most through sector 1 (it was noticable how different it was to Vettel’s during the race), all of which suggests to me that the Red Bull was the faster car if either was. Of course, it’s an incredibly difficult thing to judge, but after observing the live timing all weekend I believe the Red Bull was probabaly the slightly faster package.

  5. Button for me,though Massa deserve it equally,both proved that they are far away from been number 2 drivers!

  6. The drivers of the RACE were Hamilton and Massa, the driver of the WEEKEND was Vettel. I voted accordingly.

  7. Lewis Hamilton had one his best races in Austin. I was simply amazed the way he could keep the pressure on Vettel for such a large duration of the race and then overtake him eventually. He did not get flustered even once when he was just 0.5 -1 second and in the DRS zone of Vettel but could not pass him. I have rarely seen Vettel lock up his wheels when he is in the lead and LH forced him to do that which says a lot of the pressure Lewis was applying on him.

    Alonso and Massa had very good drives as well. Massa better than Fernando I would say. He was strong on pace and made some good overtakes as well. He has turned his season around and I look forward to seeing how he does in 2013.

  8. Kiambu SubChief
    20th November 2012, 6:10

    I am a Massa fan and that guy drove a splendid race. One can only wonder what if he started from 6th? iIn 2013 I look forward to a rejuvenated Massa and who knows Andrea Stella on the radion “… Alonso, Massa is faster than you do you understand?”

    Hamilton was also super too, I really wish the points difference between Vettel and Alonso would have been like 5 points to Brazil. I think all year round Alonso has arguably been the guy who has been the most consistent, but as they say whoever finishes with the most points…

    1. There are some question marks: Will Massa be able to handle the new spec tyres from the start? Will he be allowed to use his own setup, just like he’s been doing since Monaco? Will he be allowed to beat Alonso?
      My biggest fear is the answer to my last question…

  9. Hamilton for me. Great qualifying lap to get close to Vettel’s time and a perfect drive to take the win. He just looked to be in tune with the car this weekend and was driving like he really really wanted the win.

  10. Karthikeyan 1% wonder why…

  11. Hamilton! no doubt.

  12. Just sparing a thought for a couple of guys who will, most likely, never get any votes for Driver of the Weekend…. I was actually pretty impressed by the HRT boys this weekend. Given the state of the team at the moment, morale can’t be too high, and then they had such limited running in practice – particularly Karthikeyan, who didn’t even participate in FP1 as he had to make way for Ma Qing Hua once again.
    OK, so they finished last – but they finished. I think that for both Karthikeyan and De La Rosa to drag those cars across the finish line on Sunday was quite an achievement, and should be recognised as such.

  13. I find it really funny how ppl were after LDM, SD and almost the entire Ferrari for sticking to Massa and not giving Perez a drive. When LDM said that Perez was too inexperienced to drive a ferrari, how many comments did it draw here? 200+ may be? 300? Almost everyone shared the same view that Ferrari should have sacked Massa lot earlier!
    Not exactly a comparison in term of points scored given performance diff between Ferrari and Sauber, but looking into both these two’s driving from that point onwards, do ppl still think Perez will do significantly better in that car?

  14. It was perhaps one of the best races of Hamilton’s career.

    But much like Suzuka, it was a race that showed Massa has still got it.

    They are my driver’s of the day for sure.

  15. Hamilton, Vettel, Massa and Button all drove very well this weekend.
    If i saw only the race without knowing what the championship standings are then probably i would vote for Hamilton.
    I vote for Vettel because he toped all free practices and Quallify and although he get passed by Hamilton (with some help from Karthikeyan) he kept the fight until the end taking many risk’s (mostly reliability-alternator etc) despite the pressure for the championship title.
    Hamilton drove very fast and took a deserving victory but he had nothing to lose and had therefore no pressure.
    Massa was bitterly disappointed from his team decision and wanted to prove his value and he did it driving his best race of the year.
    if i could give 4 vote’s i’l voted all of them , since i have only one then this is for Vettel.

  16. Voted for Lewis, don’t really need to say why… but can you really compare Massa and Alonso at this point?

    Arn’t they driving vastly diffrent cars (due to upgrades Alonso gets that Massa dsnt etc etc)?

  17. Massa for me. He not only did better than Alonso but he did very good by his own standards. He didn’t let the gearbox situation knock his eagerness to race and perform and it was a pleasure to see him back on form. Keep it up!

  18. I voted for Hamilton as driver of the weekend.

    Vettel had the edge in qualifying but Hamilton had the edge in the race.

    Should also mention Massa, his return to form continues, he out-qualified Alonso, took one for the team with his gearbox change and then had a great race.

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