Vote for your Japanese GP driver of the weekend

2013 Japanese Grand Prix

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

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

Japanese Grand Prix driver-by-driver

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel, Red Bull, Suzuka, 2013Sebastian Vettel – Didn’t take pole position for the first time at Suzuka but had his KERS been working he would probably have found more than the tenth of a second that separated him from Webber. From the outset he played the tyre management game to allow him to run a short, aggressive final stint. When the crunch time came he wasted no time passing Grosjean to clinch a satisfying win which puts the championship destiny almost beyond doubt.

Mark Webber – Webber hasn’t always been close enough to Vettel this year to take advantage when his team mate has a problem but he was at Suzuka and pushed his team mate hard for the victory. Said he was “surprised” to be switched to a three-stop strategy but was able to use his superior speed in the final stint to pass Grosjean. Had he done so more quickly he could have gone after his team mate.

Ferrari

Fernando Alonso – Held his hands up after being beaten by Massa in qualifying and admitted he hadn’t been quick enough. His race pace was better but he spent the first stint stuck behind Massa. He took advantage of traffic in the second stint to get past Massa, then later demoted Hulkenberg when the Sauber driver’s tyres began to drop off. That gave him fourth place, and he felt no more was possible under the circumstances.

Felipe Massa – Would Massa “drive for himself”, as he told Brazilian media after being dropped by Ferrari, or would he “definitely help” his team mate as Luca di Montezemolo insisted? That was answered in the first stint when Massa repeatedly ignored Ferrari’s instructions to let Alonso through, delivered through the radio code “Multifunction strategy A”. Hulkenberg took advantage of the situation to jump both Ferraris, then Alonso finally found a way past his team mate, after which Massa picked up a penalty for speeding in the pits and fell to tenth.

McLaren

Jenson Button – Set the same time to within a tenth of a second on three separate occasions in qualifying and felt he’d wrung all there was from the MP4-28. Driving to the grid he chose to reduce the front wing angle on the car but quickly regretted the decision, suffering understeer which wasn’t cured until the last stint. Held off Massa for ninth.

Sergio Perez – Crashed at Spoon during second practice, which he said was his mistake as he’d touched the artificial grass on entry to the corner. Narrowly missed Q3 but started well, only to lose time when Rosberg came out of the pits immediately in front of him. Like Button he had a slow pit stop as well. His left-rear tyre was punctured in slight contact with Rosberg, which killed his chances of scoring points.

Lotus

Romain Grosjean, Lotus, Suzuka, 2013Kimi Raikkonen – Crashed in Friday practice – for the second weekend in a row – missing valuable race simulation time. Raikkonen’s been unhappy in qualifying since the new tyres were introduced and although he made gains in Japan he remained in the lower reaches of the top ten. Had wheelspin at the start which cost him places but he made progress from there on. A weekend which started poorly ended up with a brilliantly-judged pass on Hulkenberg for fifth place on the outside at the chicane.

Romain Grosjean – Surely his best F1 performance to date with a solid qualifying effort followed by an outrageous start from which he emerged as an unlikely threat to Red Bull. Led comfortably for almost half of the race and did well to hold off Webber as long as he did before taking another podium finish.

Mercedes

Nico Rosberg – An unsafe release from the pits dropped him back into the pack where he ended up scrapping with Perez. Like his team mate in Korea he spent the latter part of the race stuck behind a Sauber, Gutierrez limiting him to eighth.

Lewis Hamilton – The merest touch of his right-rear tyre against Vettel’s front wing was enough to give him a puncture as he dived between the Red Bulls off the line. From looking likely to take second at the start he was soon out of the race.

Sauber

Esteban Gutierrez, Sauber, Suzuka, 2013Nico Hulkenberg – Beat Alonso and Raikkonen in qualifying but couldn’t keep them behind in the race. However he held them off as long as he could until his tyres began to give up.

Esteban Gutierrez – Points looked unlikely when he lined up 14th on the grid but a superb start, gaining five places, brought him into contention. Gave away a position to Raikkonen though it was one he was always going to struggle to keep.

Force India

Paul di Resta – Ended his strong of retirements and took 11th, unable to resist Button in the latter part of the race. Still he was happy with the improved balance of the Force India.

Adrian Sutil – A crash in final practice forced him to change his gearbox, and after failing to escape Q1 he started last. Up to 16th by lap one, he gained two more places by the end of the race despite being passed by both Toro Rossos in one lap later on.

Williams

Pastor Maldonado – Went off twice in practice, but the first spin in Q1 was due to a wheel which hadn’t been attached properly and fell off. The stand-out moment of Maldonado’s race was his desperate lunge down the inside of Bottas on his final lap, signalling his eagerness not to finish behind his team mate.

Valtteri Bottas – Impressively out-qualified Maldonado on his first race at a real drivers’ circuit. But his tyres went off badly in the final stint, losing four places in the last three laps.

Toro Rosso

Start, Suzuka, 2013Jean-Eric Vergne – Knocked out in Q1 after a bizarre incident when he left the pits with both rear brakes locked – he thought his engine was down on power – which then caught fire. An early pit stop in the race didn’t work out for him as he became stuck in traffic. But three-stopping gave him the benefit of fresher tyres later in the race, allowing him to pass the Williams drivers and Sutil.

Daniel Ricciardo – Tried to make an alternative strategy work, starting on the hard tyres. But he became the latest driver to be penalised for completing a pass by going off the track on the outside of the corner, which he was deeply unimpressed with. His drive-through penalty confined him to 13th place.

Caterham

Charles Pic – Already carrying a ten-place penalty into the race weekend, Pic committed much the same infraction he had in Korea – passing a red light without stopping – and earned an unprecedented drive-through penalty which was declared before the race had begun. Despite that he was quick enough to beat the sole surviving Marussia home.

Giedo van der Garde – Collided with Bianchi at the start, putting both out. “I was squeezed between both the Marussia cars and had nowhere to go,” he said. “I lost my front wing in contact with Bianchi and then the car went straight off and into the wall.”

Marussia

Jules Bianchi – Hit the barrier at Degner 2 in first practice when his arm got caught against the side of the cockpit. Unfortunately that ruled him out of second practice as well. Beaten in a straight fight by his team mate in qualifying for the first time, he was taken out on lap one of the race. “As I turned into the first corner on the opening lap, van der Garde hit my rear wing which pushed me off track and into the gravel.” A wasted weekend in which he completed just 32 laps, most of which in Saturday’s hour of practice.

Max Chilton – Out-qualified Bianchi on merit for the first time the year. But despite Pic having a drive-through penalty he was caught and passed by the Marussia seven laps from home after his tyres began to go off.

Qualifying and race results summary

Driver Started Gap to team mate Laps leading team mate Pitted Finished Gap to team mate
Sebastian Vettel 2nd +0.174s 27/53 2 1st -7.129s
Mark Webber 1st -0.174s 26/53 3 2nd +7.129s
Fernando Alonso 8th +0.287s 37/53 2 4th -43.658s
Felipe Massa 5th -0.287s 16/53 2 10th +43.658s
Jenson Button 10th -0.151s 21/52 3 9th Not on same lap
Sergio Perez 11th +0.151s 31/52 3 15th Not on same lap
Kimi Raikkonen 9th +0.319s 0/53 2 5th +37.415s
Romain Grosjean 4th -0.319s 53/53 2 3rd -37.415s
Nico Rosberg 6th +0.144s 7/7 3 8th
Lewis Hamilton 3rd -0.144s 0/7 1
Nico Hulkenberg 7th -0.215s 52/53 2 6th -20.015s
Esteban Gutierrez 14th +0.215s 1/53 2 7th +20.015s
Paul di Resta 12th -0.604s 51/52 2 11th Not on same lap
Adrian Sutil 22nd +0.604s 1/52 2 14th Not on same lap
Pastor Maldonado 15th +0.08s 4/52 2 16th -0.582s
Valtteri Bottas 13th -0.08s 48/52 2 17th +0.582s
Jean-Eric Vergne 17th +0.553s 14/52 3 12th -2.188s
Daniel Ricciardo 16th -0.553s 38/52 2 13th +2.188s
Charles Pic 20th -0.323s 0/0 2 18th
Giedo van der Garde 19th +0.323s 0/0 0
Jules Bianchi 21st +0.638s 0/0 0
Max Chilton 18th -0.638s 0/0 2 19th

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 Japanese Grand Prix weekend?

  • Sebastian Vettel (25%)
  • Mark Webber (4%)
  • Fernando Alonso (2%)
  • Felipe Massa (0%)
  • Jenson Button (0%)
  • Sergio Perez (0%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (1%)
  • Romain Grosjean (58%)
  • Nico Rosberg (0%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (1%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (4%)
  • Esteban Gutierrez (6%)
  • Paul di Resta (0%)
  • Adrian Sutil (0%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (0%)
  • Valtteri Bottas (0%)
  • Jean-Eric Vergne (0%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (0%)
  • Charles Pic (0%)
  • Giedo van der Garde (0%)
  • Jules Bianchi (0%)
  • Max Chilton (0%)

Total Voters: 616

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2013 Japanese Grand Prix

Browse all 2013 Japanese Grand Prix articles

Images ?? Red Bull/Getty, Lotus/LAT, Sauber

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112 comments on Vote for your Japanese GP driver of the weekend

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  1. Now people respects Grosjean..Now Crashjean no more.. This is big achievement from young fekka

    • sorry…typo… Fella*

    • “Young” fellow? He is older than a certain quadruple triple world champion and right in the middle in terms of age in comparison to the other 21 drivers.
      It’s a solid result, but he didn’t win! If he had done that, he would have been my driver of the weekend

    • spoutnik (@spoutnik) said on 15th October 2013, 9:19

      @vivek I’m happy with his attitude and performance but Spa 2012 is still a vivid memory. I will need more time as he almost killed someone. I gave him my vote as his weekend was superb, he outperformed RAI, took a tremendous start and held both redbulls until the end. That was racing :)

      • Nick (@nick101) said on 15th October 2013, 12:59

        Your memory of Spa 2012 is as ridiculous as the reactions it received at the time. Yes, it was a big accident, but the size of the accident was not proportionate the the ‘move’ of Romain.

        If everyone just calms the hysterics down a bit and ACTUALLY looks at the move that caused the accident you will see that it was in fact only the SLIGHTEST of touches. It was PURE BAD LUCK that resulted – nothing more nothing less!

        In fact, it was one of the slightest touches that I have seen that has lead to any form of accident. Others have done FAR worse, but pure luck has meant that their accidents were not as severe.

        Just look at this – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQifEREYBwk

        Alonso is a double world champion and basically barged Grosjean out of the way at Monaco the same year. The contact was FAR heavier in this instance but the only outcome was Grosjean being punted into Schumacher (which he was also unfairly blamed for) and Grosjean being put out of the race.

        Was there calls for Alonso’s head after this incident??? Of course not, but it was a FAR WORSE move that the one Grosjean put on Hamilton at Spa. And talking of accidents and stupid moves – you need look no further than Hamilton for all the examples you need! Has he ever been banned for a race? Has Schumacher ever been banned from a race despite SEVERAL occasions where he has basically ploughed straight through back of other cars in his 2nd career?

        The reaction and despicable treatment Grosjean received after Spa was a complete joke!

        • matt90 (@matt90) said on 15th October 2013, 14:06

          There’s a big difference between that and squeezing somebody off the race track, on a straight, with nobody of your other side. Alonso did no squeezing there. All he did was try to weave his way through, which there appeared to be space to do so. It is certainly not Alonso’s fault that Grosjean sat in such a silly position. Had Grosjean not gotten so unreasonably close to Alonso in the first place (by reacting as soon as he saw Alonso coming through and moving left), Schumacher wouldn’t have had room to be on his other side in the first place. Grosjean left a space for Schumacher and stayed far too close to Alonso on the narrowest start line when he shouldn’t have. Due to how fast it all happened I’d be inclined to forgive it as a racing incident, but using that as evidence of Alonso’s poor driving strikes of desperation.

          Also, you ignore that Grosjean’s race ban was partly the result of all the other incidents he’d been in that year.

          • Nick (@nick101) said on 15th October 2013, 14:45

            All he did was try to weave his way through, which there appeared to be space to do so. It is certainly not Alonso’s fault that Grosjean sat in such a silly position.

            Are you on crack? Did you actually watch the video? Grosjean moved over to defend on Alonso coming through, something he’s entitled to do. The door was already shut before Alonso decided to barge through. That accident was Alonso’s fault plain and simple.

            It is certainly not Alonso’s fault that Grosjean sat in such a silly position.

            Why is moving his car into a defensive position silly exactly? Grosjean moved his car into position before Alonso tried to barge through. The reason they had an accident was because Alonso was silly enough to forget that he had another pedal other than an accelerator!

            The door was closed before Alonso got there and he shouldn’t have tried to barge through! The only way that accident was in any way Grosjean’s fault was simply because he was on the race track!

            Due to how fast it all happened I’d be inclined to forgive it as a racing incident, but using that as evidence of Alonso’s poor driving strikes of desperation.

            Where exactly did I use that as ‘evidence’ of Alonso’s bad driving?? Seeing what you want to see…again.

            And if Grosjean being involved in multiple incidents was the reason he was banned, then explain to me how Hamilton was not banned at least once in 2011????

        • spoutnik (@spoutnik) said on 15th October 2013, 14:26

          @nick101 oh come on he almost beheaded the guy what are you talking about seriously… The Monaco incident is a stupid greedy move from Alonso but it is completely unrelated… And there is no need to SHOUT dude :) I can hear you correctly :)

  2. Ivan (@wpinrui) said on 14th October 2013, 15:22

    This is a tricky one. We saw Sebastian make more mistakes than he usually does – locking up his brakes and running wide – but when under massive pressure from one of the Red Bulls, Grosjean did the same. Mark Webber, on the other hand, did not have the pace to pass Grosjean quickly enough at the end. I’d put that more down to car setup though, as he couldn’t exit the final corner fast enough to get to Grosjean and pass him, so Webber it is! But as I said, it’s a close one.

  3. tmax (@tmax) said on 14th October 2013, 15:23

    Voted Vettel I thought He had the best across the weekend.

    Webber failed to convert his Pole into a an early race lead which lost him the DOTW

    A good show from ROman….. had he held his position in the final stint it would have been great.

  4. Nick (@npf1) said on 14th October 2013, 15:25

    Went with Romain Grosjean. He got the most out of his Lotus in Qualifying, made one of the best starts I’ve seen in a while, led the race early on like it was business as usual and was the only one in the race to keep up with the might of the Red Bulls.

    Vettel lost out in qualifying (mechanical, but didn’t look unbeatable in other sessions either) and was given a bone by Webber eating his tyres and needing an extra stop, which is why I’m not voting for the pole-man either.

    • @npf1 KERS is worth 4 tenths, possibly more in the Red Bull if the rumours are to be believed. Also, his Q2 (where he had KERS) was impressive, so I have no doubts his qualifying is up to scratch.

      The race is debatable though. I don’t think he was “thrown a bone” at all – he is just better at conserving his tyres, which is a skill, not a fluke – but he did make a couple of mistakes. When he needed to overtake it was done swiftly however, so he was better than Webber in that respect.

      But Grosjean was very good too. It’s a tough choice, and I’m not suitably convinced by either yet to vote.

      • Nick (@npf1) said on 14th October 2013, 21:28

        @vettel1 While I know KERS cost Vettel some time, I generally don’t do much of ‘what if’ in F1. His Q2 lap was impressive, but during Q1 and Q2 I had the idea Alonso might do reasonably well too, I don’t judge Q1 and Q2 for the people in the top 10, personally.

        I’m not dismissing Vettel’s ability to maximize the Pirelli tyres, but I would have rated his race higher if he had more trouble with Webber. He put in a race as I expected of him, Webber did disappoint a little, but I found Grosjean to be relatively more impressive. I take these things quite relatively, which is why I don’t always vote for Vettel as race winner; I’ve come to expect that from him. I think I’ve voted for him for most of his race wins this year, though.

  5. Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 14th October 2013, 15:25

    Maybe we should be allowed to select 2 drivers every time…

    I’ll go for Grosjean. Very impressive form. He’s been doing very well since Germany, outqualifying his team mate, putting the car in the first 2 rows. A very matured drive.

    It took a while for this year to come to him, but the wait has done him well.

  6. andae23 (@andae23) said on 14th October 2013, 15:27

    By some distance, Romain Grosjean: outqualified Raikkonen by at least five positions on the grid for the third race in a row and had a fantastic start. The strategy was perfect – in the end he was simply outwitted by Red Bull, nothing he could do about stopping the Red Bulls from overtaking him. Well-deserved podium.

    • It cannot be called out-qualify if your teammate doesn’t really care anymore. Off-course, you can be fast with easy car, but where were you when the car still difficult to drive?
      I am not against Grosjean, but what makes a champion is no single-lap Jarno Trulli, but 1 second slower in qualify but race consistent Alain Prost. He was OK with medium tire, but RBR setup their car for harder tire anyway, so nothing great, yet.

      • andae23 (@andae23) said on 15th October 2013, 14:34

        It cannot be called out-qualify if your teammate doesn’t really care anymore.

        So Raikkonen has just stopped putting in effort?

        Off-course, you can be fast with easy car, but where were you when the car still difficult to drive?

        Where was Hulkenberg when the tyres were still 2013 spec?

        I am not against Grosjean, but what makes a champion is no single-lap Jarno Trulli, but 1 second slower in qualify but race consistent Alain Prost.

        I agree, you can be a champion by being a

        • andae23 (@andae23) said on 15th October 2013, 14:36

          … poor qualifier – it certainly helps though (*cough Vettel). But you just can’t deny that qualifying is meaningless. Besides, I have given some more reasoning behind my decision to vote for Grosjean.

  7. Grosjean as he was the only man on par with the Red Bull machines on Sunday – very impressive, even though Vettel hasn’t lost a race since the summerbreak.

  8. Krichelle (@krichelle) said on 14th October 2013, 15:29

    I voted for Grosjean. Ever since Singapore, he’s been outqualifying Raikkonen, which is necessary for Lotus. Second, he had an unbelievable start, and lead the race. It’s a shame for him to lose out to the navy blue cars.
    Third, he kept his head cool. Improved a lot since last year. By the way, I hear and read rumours that Massa is going to Lotus and that Hulkenberg is going to Force India.

    Honorable mentions to: Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber and Nico Hulkenberg.

  9. Bosley (@bosley) said on 14th October 2013, 15:37

    I personally feel like it should be Grosjean, Vettel and Guttierez but knowing fans it’ll be the first two and either Fernando and Raikkonen. (Voted Grosjean)
    No disrespect to the last 2 but for once I feel like their performance wasn’t driver of the weekend worthy.

    • I’m between Hülkenberg, Vettel, Gorsjean, Perez and actually Chilton. It’s a tough choice this weekend though @bosley I think!

      • Eventually gone for Nico Hülkenberg: he was solid throughout the weekend, no mistakes yet again, great qualifying and has helped Sauber come ever closer to Force India.

        • Dino Quadro said on 14th October 2013, 21:12

          Curiously today in the printed version of the Gazzetto dello sport they have already put Hulkenberg in the Lotus. They have stated that Massa is no longer in contention and nor is Maldonado due to a conflict with Grosjean’s sponsor. I mean the article just flat out said Hulkenberg was at Lotus. Odd?

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 15th October 2013, 14:12

      I don’t see why it should be Gutierrez when he was beaten by his team mate.

      • uan (@uan) said on 15th October 2013, 15:38

        Isn’t Gutierrez the first rookie to score points this year? To be right behind Hulkenberg is a solid drive, especially starting from 14th. In terms of driving above his own standards, he nailed it and is definitely worth a DOTD look.

  10. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1) said on 14th October 2013, 15:40

    I see Max Chilton is voting for himself again…

  11. stefano (@alfa145) said on 14th October 2013, 15:42

    What is it with everybody ignoring Mark Webber?? He got pole and was going to win the race until his team decided against it…
    Usually the driver I vote turns up to be the one voted by majority, so this time I don’t get this 4%..

    • mnmracer (@mnmracer) said on 14th October 2013, 16:07

      He got his pole… only because Vettel’s KERS failed.
      His “team decided against it”… only because he was unable to make the tires last.

      Context is a valuable thing ;-)

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 14th October 2013, 18:57

      @alfa145 Vettel got the better of him yet again. And he’d not have got pole had it been for Vettel’s KERS issue.

      While Mark suffered plenty of KERS failures, and it’s not as “hollow” as he put it, he did fail to get off the line quickly, he failed to make the tyres last, he failed to build a gap big enough in the middle stint, and he failed to overtake Grosjean on much faster, and much newer, tyres.

      I don’t think why anyone would vote Mark. And this is from a MW fan, btw…

      • Todd (@foxxx) said on 15th October 2013, 3:30

        I didn’t get to see the race live, i had already read who won and how, just bits and pieces and i saw that webber was stuck too long behind Grosjean which cost him a chance to take on vettel.

        So i was thinking it was like 1-2 laps, maybe a 3rd, that’s enough to kill your tires and loose you a lot of time.

        But after watching the race, he was just stuck there for what seemed forever, barely was able to challenge or get close, lap after lap it looked like he was just going to stay there.

        Vettel was aggressive, pushed hard and got the job done. Vettel won it by driving better. As much as i wanted webber to get the win on a track he likes, he didnt deserve it at all after that performance.

  12. the_sigman (@sigman1998) said on 14th October 2013, 15:42

    I am going a bit different, Esteban Gutierrez. He took his first points by finishing in 7th! Amazing start from him, and great pace throught the race and under pressure, after many thought he wasn’t delivering at all. A great comeback from Sauber, and more so for Gutierrez who has reduced his gap to Hulkenberg in the last races :)

  13. Diceman (@diceman) said on 14th October 2013, 15:45

    Grosjean gets my vote. The way he has improved since Germany has really impressed me. I hope Lotus build good car next year too.

  14. Dragon (@dragon88) said on 14th October 2013, 15:46

    Romain Grosjean for sure. He’s finally found his pace again (and now he doesn’t crash into anything that moves!)

  15. Ron (@rcorporon) said on 14th October 2013, 15:53

    Toss up between Seb & Grosjean… went with Grosjean for that stunning start.

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