Vote for your 2013 Australian Grand Prix driver of the weekend

2013 Australian Grand Prix

Start, Melbourne, 2013Which F1 driver was the best performer during the Australian Grand Prix weekend?

Review how each driver got on below and vote for who impressed you the most during the last race weekend.

Australian Grand Prix driver-by-driver

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel – Topped both Friday practice sessions, delayed by glitch on Saturday but stormed to pole position. Couldn’t get same tyre life over a stint as Lotus and Ferrari and was jumped by Raikkonen and Alonso – the latter was potentially avoidable.

Mark Webber – Had a chance to beat Vettel to pole but lost it with an error in the penultimate corner. A problem with his ECU left him without KERS for the first 20 laps including the start, where he slipped to seventh. Finished sixth after passing Di Resta.

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso – Out-qualified by Massa for the third race in a row, but by a mere 0.003s. Made a great start and picked off Hamilton at turn three, then had a go at his team mate as well. A savvy early second pit stop allowed him to jump Vettel and get a run on Sutil on the track. Closed on Raikkonen in the final stint but the Lotus was just too quick.

Felipe Massa – According to race engineer Rob Smedley Massa thought a few points was the best he’d get from this weekend on a track he doesn’t like. But he was on Alonso’s pace from the off and ended up fourth. Had he emulated his team mate’s strategy gamble a podium was possible.

McLaren

Jenson Button – McLaren find themselves in the situation Ferrari were in 12 months ago. Button drove with verve in the wet parts of qualifying, ending Q2 fourth, but when the track dried in the top ten shootout the car’s inferiority showed. Moved up to ninth at the start and clung on to it until the end with three cars on his tail at the chequered flag.

Sergio Perez – Went out in Q2 after gambling on super-soft tyres, then suffered a puncture which forced him to put on another set, losing precious time. Started 15th on the medium tyres but the kind of alternative strategy that served him so well last year wasn’t enough to drag the car into the points.

Lotus

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Melbourne, 2013Kimi Raikkonen – Disappointed to only qualify seventh but made up two places at the start, then overtook Hamilton around the outside of turn 13. Ran a long second stint on medium tyres to make a two-stop strategy work, which elevated him into the lead once the three-stoppers had come in. A late burst of pace secured his second win in four races.

Romain Grosjean – Qualified alongside his team mate but although he stayed out of trouble at the start he lost three places. Never seemed to have his team mate’s pace and was convinced there was something wrong with his car.

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg – Showed great potential in the wet parts of qualifying but slipped back to sixth when the track dried out. Kept Hamilton in sight during the race before retiring with an electrical problem.

Lewis Hamilton – Had a lucky escape in the sodden Q1 when he spun and glanced a barrier, but bounced back to qualify ‘best of the rest’ behind the Red Bulls. Fell behind the Ferraris and Raikkonen at the start but was clearly aiming to get through the race on just two stops, putting up with the super-softs until lap 12. However a lock-up while battling Alonso ruined that plan and left him fifth.

Sauber

Nico Hulkenberg – Didn’t make it into Q3 and didn’t make it into the race either due to a fault with his fuel system.

Esteban Gutierrez – Crashed in the rain-hit Q1 and lined up 18th on the grid. Was one of few drivers to use a two-stopper and got to the finish on his debut, albeit well out of the points.

Force India

Adrian Sutil, Force India, Melbourne, 2013Paul di Resta – Beat Sutil by over a second in Q2 to claim a place in the final ten. Force India were the only team to run two-stoppers for both drivers and Di Resta had to start his race on super-softs after qualifying on them. He was reeling in his team mate at the end of the race until he was told to back off and finish behind him.

Adrian Sutil – One of four drivers to start on medium tyres, he took the lead of the race on lap 14 after those in front had pitted. He led again at the end of his second stint before being caught and passed by Raikkonen and Alonso. His final stint on super-softs was a disaster, however, and he slumped to seventh place.

Williams

Pastor Maldonado – Very unhappy with a car he’d been enthusiastic about in pre-season testing. Having failed to make it through Q1 he dropped behind Gutierrez and Bianchi on lap two. He began a recovery, passing the Marussia and getting on the tail of his team mate before spinning out.

Valtteri Bottas – Kept his chin up on a tough weekend for the team, claiming a place in Q2, passing three cars at the start and bringing the car home. By his own admission it wasn’t an error-free race, which cost him some places. An instruction to let his team mate pass at one point appeared to go unheeded.

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne – Showed the STR8′s potential with the second-fastest lap of the race but a late error cost him a place to Perez when he was fighting to get into the points.

Daniel Ricciardo – Said “it felt like I was driving on ice” as he struggled to get heat into the medium tyres early on. Switched to super-softs on lap 30 but didn’t last much longer as an exhaust fault forced him out.

Caterham

Charles Pic – Hampered by a KERS failure during the race, he nonetheless finished in front of one of the Marussias.

Giedo van der Garde – A puncture forced an early second pit stop on lap 16 and left him out of sync with his rivals. Pressured Chilton in his final stint before his tyres dropped off.

Marussia

Jules Bianchi, Marussia, Melbourne, 2013Jules Bianchi – Looked quick in practice and qualifying, easily ahead of the Caterhams and threatening to exploit any slip-up by the midfield runners. Climbed as high as 12th in the early stages and beat Pic by 20 seconds.

Max Chilton – Brought the car home on his debut but was almost a minute behind his team mate.

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.

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2013 Australian Grand Prix

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144 comments on Vote for your 2013 Australian Grand Prix driver of the weekend

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  1. 23kennyboy23 said on 19th March 2013, 11:32

    Interesting to see the votes given that Vettel and Hamilton were the only top drivers to qualify and finish infront of their teammates. though I guess Alonso and Kimi were just behind theirs.

  2. PJA (@pja) said on 21st March 2013, 17:52

    Probably the obvious choice but I voted for Raikkonen, looked after his tyres and pushed when he need to, I also felt he could have gone quicker if needed.

    Second choice would be Bianchi who put in an impressive debut.

    Third would be Sutil, an eye catching performance after a year out. There were a few areas you would mark him down, which is why he wasn’t my driver of the weekend, such as being beaten in qualifying by his teammate and the fact that missing out on Q3 meant he had the opportunity to go with the strategy he did, and of course if it hadn’t have been his teammate behind him in the closing stages he would have lost a place.

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