Vote for your Malaysian GP driver of the weekend

2013 Malaysian Grand Prix

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

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

  1. David Tyrrell (@davidtyrrell) said on 25th March 2013, 14:36

    Nico Rosberg! Kept his cool even though a podium was up for grabs.

  2. Traverse (@) said on 25th March 2013, 14:39

    I voted for the Vet. He took the bull by the horns and displayed the killer instinct needed to achieve greatness.

    • Misteryoso said on 25th March 2013, 15:02

      He forgot to thank Newey for the wonderful machinery at his disposal. He owes 50% of his achievement to that man. Until he drives a car like the F2012 (which is more than second off the pace at the start of 2012 season) and performs like Alonso last year), for me he’s just a champion being carried on a shoulder by Newey.

  3. The Next Pope said on 25th March 2013, 14:43

    I can’t vote but Rosberg, Hamilton and Button for me.
    Honorable mentions Hulkenberg and Grosjean.

  4. f1azzer (@f1azzer) said on 25th March 2013, 14:43

    Not only is Vettel a selfish brat, but he is a liar to boot! When asked why he did what he did, he said “I don’t know, I messed up”. Lies! he did it because he wanted to win regardless of orders and sportsmanship toward his team mate. Webber had adjusted his settings according to team orders so was unable to respond to Vettel’s crass behaviour. Furthermore, Webber’s restrained comments showed his maturity and control, something I cannot imagine Vettel ever developing.

  5. f1azzer (@f1azzer) said on 25th March 2013, 14:44

    Just want to add, for anyone who has not seen the comment by another person:
    It’s easier to seek forgiveness than it is to seek permission. Vettel took the coward’s way out.

  6. Ahmed Alhojairat (@) said on 25th March 2013, 14:47

    Am a Ferrari Fan.. but voted for Nico Rosberg

  7. andae23 (@andae23) said on 25th March 2013, 14:47

    This was very tough, because there weren’t many drivers I feel deserved my vote. First the Red Bull drivers: they both did very well, but the nonsense post-race is what stopped me from voting either of them. Both drivers showed a lack of respect and therefore I cannot appreciate either of them this weekend. So definitely no Red Bull vote.

    Then the Mercedes drivers: similar pace, both very strong yesterday. But they did lose out to the Red Bull guys in front with a car that might have been able to win the race.

    My vote eventually went to Jenson Button: the car is not as competitive, but his pace during the first dry stint and more notably the second stint was almost matching Red Bull’s and Mercedes’s pace. He was just so unlucky that McLaren once again screwed up and ruined his race. Maybe as a bit of consolation, he gets my vote for driver of the GP.

    Final note on Jules Bianchi: people are looking at the results from the previous two races and see that Bianchi finished ahead of two Caterhams and the other Marussia by quite some margin. But in fact, the reason for this is that the other cars have had issues in both races. In the Malaysian GP, Pic was actually faster than Bianchi for a great portion of the race, but his collision with Ricciardo ruined his race and therefore he finished so far behind Bianchi, arguably in a slower car. So after two races, I’m actually more impressed with Pic than with Bianchi.

    • wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 25th March 2013, 15:01

      @andae23 Are you forgetting that Bianchi is a rookie, whereas Pic has a year’s worth of experience already?
      You’re also probably forgetting that Bianchi had less mileage than anyone in pre-season testing. Also, he had never driven at this circuit before Friday.

      • andae23 (@andae23) said on 25th March 2013, 15:06

        @wsrgo I’m not saying Bianchi isn’t doing very well (he is the best rookie of 2013 so far, no doubt), but I think that a lot of people are exaggerating his performances.

        • wsrgo (@wsrgo) said on 25th March 2013, 16:27

          @andae23 You completely sidestepped what I said. Care to expound on why you think so?

          • andae23 (@andae23) said on 25th March 2013, 17:20

            @wsrgo Hehe, I should become a politician :P

            The only point of reference we have for how good Bianchi really is are the three other backmarkers, and they have been having some miserable races so far. Chilton and vd Garde hit each other in Melbourne, which saw Chilton have front wing damage and vd Garde had a puncture. Pic had a KERS failure. Yesterday, Pic collided with Ricciardo in the pit lane, Chilton was got stuck behind the Caterhams after a bad start and vd Garde is just vd Garde. So all 6 of their appearances have been pretty miserable so far, while Bianchi has had a chance to spread his wings a little.

            Also, the fastest lap in Melbourne (11th fastest or so?) was set on a brand new set of tyres. In Malaysia he finished in front of Maldo because he had a front wing change. So things are a bit out off perspective in my opinion, therefore I will draw my conclusions on his pace in 5 rounds time.

            The thing that just really annoys me is that a lot of people don’t take the effort to really study Bianchi’s race performance, like press releases, lap charts and lap time charts. They just look at the results and see that Bianchi – again – finishes way up ahead. As this is the second race in a row, people assume this is a trend and start worshiping Bianchi for outperforming his car. In my opinion, these conclusions are very preliminary: drawing conclusions on a matter you haven’t studied properly is an insult to journalism.

          • Ilanin (@ilanin) said on 25th March 2013, 22:15


            And what you in turn have missed is that Bianchi has twice qualified closer to the 18th placed runner than he was to the one behind him, that Bianchi would likely have beaten Pic without the latter having been hit by a Toro Rosso (Bianchi pitted on Lap 17; Pic and Riccardo on three laps later, Bianchi was only three and a half seconds behind Pic when he pitted) and, equally importantly, that Bianchi’s not having been involved in any of these problems is in large part racecraft (Pic is also blameless, but Pic’s got one more year of experience so might be expected to have decent racecraft by now).

            Bianchi’s good, of that I’m pretty much certain. How good is he? That’s where we get into insufficient data. Obviously massively better than Chilton, but Chilton’s probably pretty bad. I’d love to see somebody like Kovalainen in the other Marussia to get a better idea.

      • Hotbottoms (@hotbottoms) said on 25th March 2013, 16:51

        @wsrgo Pic has a year’s worth of experience, but he’s driving in a different team, so what does he have to do with anything? While Bianchi is without a doubt talented, his team mate is arguably the worst driver on the grid and thus Bianchi’s performances are easily exaggerated.

  8. Eggry (@eggry) said on 25th March 2013, 15:03

    By any mean, it’s Vettel.

  9. Bendanarama (@bendana) said on 25th March 2013, 15:04

    Looking at it completely dispassionately, I have to say Vettel. He made his chances count – however much I may disagree with parts of his decision.

    • Cant award it to a driver who overtook someone who wasnt aware there was going to be a battle, a kind of ‘sucker punch’

  10. It was a tough choice between Jenson Button and Romain Grosjean. The top 3 imo had no chance this week.

    Grosjean completely outclassed Raikkonen despite having inferior machinery, but failed to outqualify him, so my vote goes to Jenson.

    I don’t know what he managed to do to make the MP4-28 go from 2.5s off the pace to leading a race in the space of a week, but it’s a great job by him and the team! Outclassed (unsurprisingly) Perez yet again as well. Shame he had to retire but he looked much happier this weekend.

    Notable shoutouts to Massa who has been better than Alonso so far this season, Sutil who impressed again, Bottas for a strong race & Bianchi for simply dragging that Marussia into places it really shouldn’t belong!

  11. Rosberg for me. Webber, yeah maybe, but Rosberg definitely.

  12. Hotbottoms (@hotbottoms) said on 25th March 2013, 15:34

    It will be very interesting to see which driver wins this vote, since there were many great (and controversial) performances and in my opinion none of them stands out. I honestly can’t decide whom to vote.

  13. Lin1876 (@lin1876) said on 25th March 2013, 15:41

    I’m going with Bianci, partly because that was a genuinely impressive driver and party because I so nearly gave it to him for Melbourne. It’s difficult to stand out when you’re at the back of the grid, but Bianci is doing what Alonso and Webber did in the past by consistently punching above his weight and threatening to give the established teams a bloody nose. Could well nick a point in a future chaotic/wet race.

    This guy’s special, well worth keeping an eye on!

  14. Sebastain Vettel – brilliant tyre strategy in qualifying to steal pole by nearly a second, then a controversial but well-earned victory.

  15. medicine_man (@vettel81) said on 25th March 2013, 16:01

    I am asking myself how could it be Vettel?? He was asked to maintain an at least 3 seconds gap right after he was closing up to Webber after the first stops from lap 12, than the same after the second stop from lap 24 and than again from lap 35 or so. He was following orders until lap 43. Team decisions favoured Webber 4-0 against Vettel. It must be Webber he was excellent all weekend and that overtake… Ohh boy! Awesome! Wait, maybe I mixed them up. Was it Vettel after all ?

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