Vote for your Malaysian GP driver of the weekend

2013 Malaysian Grand PrixPosted on | Author Keith Collantine

Which F1 driver was the best performer during the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend?

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

Malaysian Grand Prix driver-by-driver

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Sepang, 2013Sebastian Vettel – Spot-on tyre tactics in qualifying helped him claim another pole position, but getting a similar call wrong at the start of the race cost him the lead to Webber. Came very close to passing his team mate using the ‘undercut’ at the final round of pit stops. Ignored Red Bull’s arrangement for the drivers not to race each other in the final stint and passed Webber for the win.

Mark Webber – Got his timing wrong in Q3 and missed a chance to improve his lap time. But started well to claim second place and made the correct call to delay his switch to intermediate tyres. His race pace was a touch slower than Vettel’s, but he got to the last stint in the lead and expected team orders would guarantee him the win.


Fernando Alonso – Massa out-qualified him again (that’s four in a row now) and he damaged his wing on Vettel’s car at the start. He chose not to pit but it failed and put him out almost immediately afterwards. You don’t need hindsight to see staying out with a damaged front wing was a huge risk – this was a surprising call from a driver who usually plays a good long game.

Felipe Massa – A poor start compromised his race: he was beaten off the line by Alonso then held up in the opening corners and lost more time by pitting too early for intermediate tyres. Ferrari’s pace didn’t seem as strong here and he never looked like to challenge the Mercedes pair for a top-four finish.


Jenson Button – Ran fifth for much of his race and seemed to have the measure of Massa until a catastrophic pit stop halted his progress. Having made some improvements to the problematic MP4-28 it must have been especially frustrating to have his race spoiled by a recurrence of last year’s operational problems.

Sergio Perez – Unable to make a three-stopper work, he had to pit on the penultimate lap for fresh rubber. By this point he had already fallen behind the Lotuses and Hulkenberg, but held on for his first points with McLaren.


Start, Sepang, 2013Kimi Raikkonen – Raikkonen put a second set of intermediates on in Q3 but could only manage seventh on the grid. That became tenth after a penalty for holding up Rosberg. Both Lotus drivers were passed by Hulkenberg and Ricciardo at the start, and Raikkonen dropped behind Grosjean when he went off at turn 12 on lap five – a mistake he repeated later. Despite slight front wing damage from the first lap and what he believed was unfair driving by Hulkenberg, Raikkonen passed the Sauber and finished seventh behind his team mate.

Romain Grosjean – Began the weekend without Lotus’s latest upgrades again. He started Q2 on used tyres, Lotus unaware of the incoming rain due to a radar problem, so he failed to set a time quick enough for the final ten. He used a three-stop strategy and was fifth with five laps to go, but Massa easily took the place off him.


Nico Rosberg – In a reversal of Australia, Rosberg looked strong in the dry parts of qualifying then dropped back when the rain came. Lost a place at the start but quickly passed Massa and Button to take up fourth behind his team mate. The pair swapped positions using DRS after their final pit stops, but Ross Brawn intervened to call off the battle. Rosberg was unhappy at the instruction to stay behind Hamilton but complied, telling Brawn to “remember this” at the end of the race.

Lewis Hamilton – Of those who didn’t take a second set of intermediate tyres in Q3, Hamilton was the highest on the grid in fourth. He split the Red Bulls during the race but dropped back when he had to use the hard tyres. Mercedes also repeatedly told him to save fuel, beginning early in the race, but with Rosberg holding station he collected his first podium for his new team.


Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber, Sepang, 2013Nico Hulkenberg – Showed his flair for damp conditions early in the race, climbing from twelfth to sixth. But he dropped behind Grosjean at the second round of stops and was passed by the other Lotus later. Took advantage of Perez’s struggles to claim eighth in the dying stages.

Esteban Gutierrez – A disrupted build-up included an exhaust fault and a fire extinguisher going off in his cockpit during practice. A second behind his team mate in qualifying, he tried to run a three-stop strategy but had to make a final stop with four laps to go, dropping out of the top ten.

Force India

Paul di Resta – Di Resta was left vexed by his team after qualifying and the race. He missed a chance to reach Q3 after he was told to abort a lap on slicks before the rain arrived. In the race a problem with Force India’s new wheel nuts forced him to retire.

Adrian Sutil – Looked in great shape in qualifying when it was dry, but fell to ninth in the rain-hit final session. Was passed by Hulkenberg early on before succumbing to the same pit stop problems as his team mate.


Pastor Maldonado – Another driver who was caught out by the rain in Q2. Damaged his front wing early in the race and had a couple of excursions off the track. He was running 15th in the closing stages when, for the third year in a row in Malaysia, he suffered an engine failure, this time relating to his KERS.

Valtteri Bottas – Missed Q1 and fell to last at the start but was less than one-and-a-half seconds outside the points at the chequered flag after a battling drive.

Toro Rosso

Jean-Eric Vergne, Toro Rosso, Sepang, 2013Jean-Eric Vergne – Having gone out in Q1 his start to the race was compromised when his team released him into the side of Charles Pic’s Caterham in the pits. The stewards confined their punishment to the team rather than the driver and Vergne set about recovering from 20th. His team mate’s retirement and Gutierrez’s tyre problems helped him claim a point.

Daniel Ricciardo – Was one of several drivers who went off at the flooded turn three on his way to the grid (Webber, Gutierrez, Chilton and both Williams drivers did likewise) but picked up floor damage. “That probably played a part in my problem at the end,” he admitted after retiring with an exhaust failure for the second race running, “the damage on that opening lap affected my overall performance all race long”.


Charles Pic – After being mauled by Vergne he did well to recover and finished ahead of his team mate and Chilton’s Marussia. “It’s such a shame that incident happened as we could definitely have finished better if it hadn?t happened,” he said.

Giedo van der Garde – A puncture early in the race was of little consequence as he was pitting at the time anyway. Was out-raced by Pic but praised his team for their quick pit stops after the race.


Jules Bianchi – Qualified within three-tenths of Vergne and Bottas but fell behind both Caterhams at the start. He recovered to finish ahead of them and kept Maldonado behind for ten laps in the second half of the race.

Max Chilton – Continued to struggle with tyre locking as in Melbourne, and was some way off his team mate’s pace. Was racing with the Caterhans until he dropped back in the final stint.

Qualifying and race results summary

Started Gap to team mate Laps leading team mate Pitted Finished Gap to team mate
Sebastian Vettel 1st -2.57s 21/56 4 1st -4.298s
Mark Webber 5th +2.57s 35/56 4 2nd +4.298s
Fernando Alonso 3rd +0.14s 1/1 0
Felipe Massa 2nd -0.14s 0/1 4 5th
Jenson Button 8th -0.961s 35/53 3 17th Not on same lap
Sergio Perez 10th +0.961s 18/53 4 9th Not on same lap
Kimi Raikkonen 7th -0.996s 5/56 3 7th +12.915s
Romain Grosjean 11th +0.996s 51/56 3 6th -12.915s
Nico Rosberg 6th +0.82s 9/56 4 4th +0.459s
Lewis Hamilton 4th -0.82s 47/56 4 3rd -0.459s
Nico Hulkenberg 12th -1.096s 55/55 4 8th Not on same lap
Esteban Gutierrez 14th +1.096s 0/55 4 12th Not on same lap
Paul di Resta 15th +7.675s 10/22 2
Adrian Sutil 9th -7.675s 12/22 2
Pastor Maldonado 16th -0.34s 12/45 3
Valtteri Bottas 18th +0.34s 33/45 3 11th
Jean-Eric Vergne 17th +0.435s 16/51 3 10th Not on same lap
Daniel Ricciardo 13th -0.435s 35/51 3 18th Not on same lap
Charles Pic 20th -0.618s 27/55 4 14th -8.984s
Giedo van der Garde 22nd +0.618s 28/55 4 15th +8.984s
Jules Bianchi 19th -1.238s 52/54 4 13th Not on same lap
Max Chilton 21st +1.238s 2/54 4 16th 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 2013 Malaysian Grand Prix weekend?

  • Sebastian Vettel (17%)
  • Mark Webber (34%)
  • Fernando Alonso (1%)
  • Felipe Massa (1%)
  • Jenson Button (6%)
  • Sergio Perez (0%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (1%)
  • Romain Grosjean (2%)
  • Nico Rosberg (14%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (4%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (5%)
  • Esteban Gutierrez (0%)
  • Paul di Resta (0%)
  • Adrian Sutil (1%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (0%)
  • Valtteri Bottas (0%)
  • Jean-Eric Vergne (1%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (0%)
  • Charles Pic (0%)
  • Giedo van der Garde (0%)
  • Jules Bianchi (12%)
  • Max Chilton (0%)

Total Voters: 862

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2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

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Images ?? Red Bull/Getty, Sauber

149 comments on “Vote for your Malaysian GP driver of the weekend”

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  1. Mark Webber for me. Played the team game and didn’t take it too far even when his team mate was being an idiot, he knew when the battle was lost. He’s rightfully annoyed, and was doing a good solid job. The team and Seb Vettel owe him big time.

      1. Craig Packer
        31st March 2013, 4:35

        This is a little different, because Webber was significantly faster at that stage in the race, and the cars were running 3rd and 4th, and both still racing other teams and drivers, not running in ‘conservation mode.’ In Malaysian last weekend, RedBull was streets ahead and had called for tyre, engine, gearbox and risk management. Mark turned down and Seb didn’t; that’s a pretty big difference. Mark was honest about his disapproval and honest about his decision to ignore the order. Sebastian is lying about not understanding, or hearing the order. Furthermore, it was not for a GP win, which is a big prize compared to just a points collection. (Sebastian went on to win the championship with 10 races to go)

  2. Jules Bianchi! Again!
    Give that man a top drive. (Perhaps a Red Bull? :-p )

    1. Bianchi is going to be my default pick every weekend now, when there is no more notable effort up front!

    2. I also voted Bianchi, was not convinced about him at first having not really followed him but now he has impressed me with great drives, he is fast and needs a decent car ASAP !

    3. Yep I thought exactly the same. With all the drama team orders at the sharp end, I think it’s got to be Bianchi. He’s two races in and already people are starting to say he’s out peforming the car.
      If he carries on like this for another 3-4 months, people will start talking about who he’ll replace. Take note di Resta..!

    4. I wanted to vote Bianchi as well, but it is a bit of shame because the TV broadcast does not focus that much of backmarkers. I was eagerly waiting for some moments on the TV screen from him, and spotted it only a couple of times, in a flash. So all I know about him is after race position, which is very impressive.

    5. Yep, Bianchi or Bottas for me but it goes to Bianchi. He’s showing promise! Now if Robin Frijns could get a steady drive…

  3. Like it or not, naughty boy or utter greatness, Vettel deserves driver of the weekend: fautless at qualy, recovered very fast and team orders aside, he was faster than Mark in the end (due to strategy or whatever, but he just was).

    Had it been a rival leading, it’d have been an epic win and a great recovery.

    1. Had it been a rival leading, it would have ended somewhat different I guess…

    2. I totally disagree and I’ve lost all respect for Vattel for what he did.

      He’s a triple world champion who believes he has an image to uphold and must do everything in his power to preserve that image, which on Sunday meant disobeying pre-race rules, direct orders from the team principle out on track and disrespecting his team mate Mark Webber.

      He acted like a 6 year old child and yet people are voting him as the ‘best’. I don’t understand

      1. @phil18wales

        As people know, I’m a racing fan first, then Webber fan. I rather watch a brilliant race with Mark retiring than Mark winning from pole in 2011 Vettel-style.

        What I got from Sunday’s debacle is that… had the roles been reversed, people would’ve hailed Mark as a true racer and they’d have applauded him, as it happened in Silverstone 2011.

        But because Vettel’s in that thin line between great and naughty, he’s fitted the silly boy hat.
        Their past history is known already. They both race hard, there are shortcuts but fron 2009 till today, it’s been a fair battle that’s been won by Vettel most of the times.

        What happened on Sunday is a consecuence of Red Bull’s policy to let them race and don’t let them race. It’s that grey área which is perfectly understandable to happen. I mean, I doubt as a team they want both cars to race hard as if they were rivals at every single race, sometimes you got top lay it safe and not battle it out. It’s a hard compromise…

        That’s why sometimes they protect each other and sometimes they let them have a go. Maybe Sunday’s conditions in terms of tyre degradation and stuff like that needed careful decisions, which were not followed.

        But that’d would imply that Red Bull clearly decided to end the race like that, and coming from the team radio messages, they weren’t imposing orders, they were just commenting about it. Think about Ross Brawn’s introctions and compare them with “this is silly” from Horner… hard to draw a line with such comment, isn’t it? Not saying that means Vettel was free from guilt, but come on… had they really wanted to stay with Webber leading they’d have said it so and they’d have acted differently.

        What Sebastian did yesterday is debatable, but come the end of the day, he did what Mark Webber always asks: he raced hard until the end. I’m sure had Mark been behind, we’d be cheering him for being how he is: a no-joke, flat-out racer.

        Vettel might have lost respect, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t the fastest driver all weekend. His only mistake was pitting for slicks a lap too soon.

        1. @fer-no65 spot on. And before blaming Vettel I’d actually put some on the pit-wall first. if they never intended to have them battle for the win then why not pitting Mark first and avoid a clash all together.

        2. @fer-no65 +10.

          I am wondering Webber is getting More Votes for the Driver of the Weekend for “Obeying team Orders”, Qualifying 5th and was generally being slower than his team mate the whole weekend.

        3. Excellent answer.

          Pretty much my only problem with Vettel on Sunday was that he “apologized” like that. He just had to say the truth about it… this pseudo-apology just does not fit his usual style.

        4. Antonio (@antoniocorleone)
          25th March 2013, 19:21

          I was thinking about that.
          What if the team told Vettel to keep position while leading and Webber dissobeyed that?!?
          He would be a hero, a winner of this poll with 70% surely cause he was a racer and because we all hate team orders.
          I agree with you fer-65

        5. Well said , my vote goes to Vettel as well.

        6. The reason why this is considered in different light is that Webber was told that he would not be challenged twice, and had therefore turned his engine down. Back at Silverstone it was both of them at very different points in their tire strategy and Vettel was fully prepared to defend. Red Bull had also been making a fuss around that time about how they let their drivers race unlike Ferrari. If Vettel had been in another team and coming at Webber at the end there then there can be little doubt that Webber would have his engine up and would have successfully defended as he had done all throughout the previous 50 laps. Vettel was not doing any ‘proper racing’ when he launched his sneak attack. He also wasn’t ‘sticking it to the man’ he was betraying the trust of his team and all the guys in the garage and his swerving at the end of the race showed his supreme arrogance and ignorance to the situation.

      2. Webber has ignored instructions not to fight Vettel in the past, do you think the same about Webber then?

  4. MB (@muralibhats)
    25th March 2013, 13:25

    Webber… Finger for the Finger!

  5. i’d go for Hulkenberg, on practically his first race of the season, he’s already scores the same point as both McLaren drivers could pick up.

    1. Not really fair to give that comparison, as Button would have scored a fifth (or so it would seem), if the team didn’t do a McLaren in the Pits.

    2. I agree and also voted Hulkenberg. What a drive! Brilliant defensive drivining and superb overtakes, this race showed his talent. Unfortunately this year’s Sauber doesn’t seem as competitive as last season’s.

  6. Thought Jenson drove pretty well here, as did Bianchi; they both outdrove their cars.

    1. Had the same kind of reflexion. After that kind of race, difficult to pick one of the 4 guys up front and for the rest Button and Bianchi did the best job with the car they had (with a mention to Hulkenberg which did a great job as well).
      ForceIndia throw away a lot for the moment. It appears they have a great car and it’s time for them to take advantage of that as I don’t believe they will hold through development race.

  7. Went for Vettel – drama and politics aside – qualifying was brilliant and the move on Mark was great racing. nasty in hindsight but a great show nevertheless.

    1. Even with Webber’s engine turned down, and Vettel’s not, he had to fight to pass him. Great racing my a**.

      1. Can everyone stop going on about webber turning his engine down? It takes half a second to turn the fuel mix dial up which is exactly what he would’ve done when he noticed vettel having a go

  8. I guess I really should’ve voted for Vettel, I agree with @fer-no65 that had it been any other in front of him it would’ve been a truly epic drive.

    In the end I went for Jenson, which I think might be the first time I’ve voted for him! I was mega impressed with his pace in the damp and was really unlucky to miss out on some good points.

    Kudos to Bianchi again, I wonder if Webber does decide to walk this year he’d be a good bet for his replacement, really punching above his weight. And Rosberg, had he qualified better could’ve made quite the surprise, was consistently quick and good with his tires yesterday. Shame he missed out due to team orders.

  9. Nico Rosberb here. Honarable mentions, Nico Hulkenberg, Bianchi, Webber, Hamilton and Grosjean

    1. *Rosberg!

      1. Rosberg for me too.

        1. Me three…

  10. Hulkenberg for me. Qualified fairly well and battled all race long. Jules Bianchi also continues to impress.

  11. Possibly Mark – for not decking Seb on the podium.
    Maybe Jenson – for not decking the bloke on the front right.
    Definitely Bianchi – for getting more performance out of the Marussia that seemed possible.

    1. Shouldn’t Jenson be angry with the front-jack man since he dropped the car before the front-right wheel was attached?

  12. Not sure anyone deserves this from the sharp end of the grid. Maybe Rosberg.

  13. I voted Rosberg, but I actually think it was Vettel so wish I could change my vote.

    Whether or not you think he was a nice person, the guy mastered qualifying and put in a good race.

  14. Vettel- Pole by almost a second and the win by overtaking 2 fast cars on the way. Only driving error was his early first stop

    1. @91jb12 You mean one car that was struggling on the hard tyres and saving fuel and one that was reassured he was under no threat and had tuned everything down. Vettel had a good weekend yes, but while the race was fair he was out-raced by Webber. Not that I would give it to Webber because he didn’t perform in quali. Neither of the Red Bull guys deserve it in my opinion, there were better performances out there from the likes of Hulkenburg, Bianchi, Button, Rosberg and even Hamilton.

  15. I don’t understand why anyone would vote for either Red Bull driver. The fact that they were so close together strongly suggests that neither man was particularly outperforming the car – and surely you have to do a bit more than just delivering on what the car’s capable of to be driver of the weekend?

    1. That said, it still makes more sense than the two people who voted for Alonso are making.

    2. I don’t understand why anyone would vote for either Red Bull driver. The fact that they were so close together strongly suggests that neither man was particularly outperforming the car – and surely you have to do a bit more than just delivering on what the car’s capable of to be driver of the weekend?

      @ilanin erm… so what if they didn’t outperform the car? if having a good car but failing to use it means you had a bad race, using the good tool you have and mastering a race and qualy (like both Red Bulls cars did) means you had a good one, doesn’t it?

      1. No, it means you had an average race – you did what would be expected under the circumstances. If Vettel had had a good race, no controversy would have arisen since Webber wouldn’t have been anywhere near him – we’ve seen it often enough over the last few years, haven’t we?

        There were definitely drivers who did outperform expectations – Bianchi, Button until his second pit stop, Rosberg inasmuch as he was at absolute worst level with his team-mate in the dry after being behind in Australia – so I don’t see why just meeting expectations makes you the best.

        1. The fact that they were so close together strongly suggests that neither man was particularly outperforming the car

          It doesn’t suggest that at all. All it tells us is that they were both performing similarly – either they were both underperforming, or both performing exactly at their expected level, or both overperforming – but we don’t know which. It’s not impossible for both team-mates to have a good race/weekend simultaneously, after all.

          1. True, it’s not impossible. But both drivers putting in a performance in the top quartile is substantially less probable than both drivers putting in a performance near their respective medians.

  16. I went with Webber, he drove a good race and screwed at the end by Seb.
    Bianchi was excellent and it continues to prove he is deserving of a better seat in future years I feel.
    Rosberg was good as well as Grosjean but not the best of the weekend.
    Seb did a good job with the pole, and in the race but to put himself first before the team, at the possible expense of the team overall, is not good sportsmanship and my overall respect for him has dropped quite a bit after this.

  17. It’s a tough choice between both Red Bull drivers but Vettel is my driver of the weekend.

    His pole position lap was very impressive, his start was great, he never gave up and his pass on Webber is most probably going to be one of the best passes of the whole season.

    I also appreciate how he apologised after the race and I believe that he really meant it. If he broke an agreement with Webber and the team, then it was not nice. Still, FIA and Red Bull should be the ones to blame – FIA for reallowing team orders in 2010 and RBR for unnecessary use of them.

    1. Yeah I agree. I chose Vettel as well – although what he did made me like him even less, I appreciate why he did it.

      Let’s put this in context. His move gained him 7 additional points. If you take 7 points off every season that Vettel has been in F1, he would have only won 1 WDC – 2011. He would have lost out to Alonso in both 2010 and 2012!

      That is why he took his chances and put the move on Webber. Schumacher would have done the same.

  18. Close between Bianchi, Hulkenberg and Button. Gave it to Bianchi, because he was a newcomer to Sepang..

  19. Almost no one was excellent from the whole grid. My vote was between Bianchi and Rosberg, but the first took it. Impressive once again.

  20. I’m voting for Nico. He had pace all weekend, was very strong when quali was dry, unfortunately he didn’t get the lap in Q3 but can hardly persecute him for that given the conditions.

    He had a measured and a (typically) understated drive. He held the pace of Hamilton, maintaining a gap early in the race, despite Hamilton (rightfully) getting the beneficial earlier stops. Then when Lewis slowed in the second half, Nico closed the gap. Had a clean battle before being told to settle behind Lewis.

    Nico deserved the podium, Hamilton even acknowledged it, but Rosberg showed a great amount of respect to both his team and Hamilton by obeying the orders. He wanted to race and justifiably argued the decision and although I would have loved for him to pull a Vettel and go for it, he acted in the best interests of the team and didn’t make a fuss.

    But most importantly, he showed he isn’t going to be thrashed by superstar Lewis and that he has the pace and brain.

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