Start, Suzuka, 2013

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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

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

  1. Grosjean, easily.

    The other candidate could have been Vettel if it was not for his whining in the closing stages of the race (something like ‘keep him [Webber?] away from me’) and his numerous minor errors in the braking zones, primarily on his quali laps (both).

    Otherwise, so many error-strewn performances for once. Usually there are a lot of praiseworthy, impeccable drives in the field, but this time, a lot of driver made error(s) somewhere during the weekend.

    Hulkenberg also pops into my mind as one, who made almost zero. He should have been my second choice, had there been such, with Vettel third.

  2. Grosjean for me. I don’t think he did a single thing wrong all weekend. Trounced Raikkonen in qualifying, had a fantastic start, and was able to hold that for a rather long time, until the superior Red Bull’s came hunting. I think he drove a better race than Webber, who in-turn drove a slightly better, but marginally so, race than Vettel.

    On Guttierez, finally scoring points for rookies, and made the most of penalties ahead of him. He did however flop at the one moment coming out of Spoon where he demonstrated a lack of race-craft, and also his ‘push to almost pass’ on Massa at the hairpin. So really, he had a good finishing result, but by no means the greatest race.
    Another strong result for Hulkenburg again, only really hampered at the end by possibly pushing too early on the tyres on his final stint, but still proving he’s worthy of a top drive.
    And again, both Raikkonen and Alonso had good races, but such poor qualifying’s, with a very similar margin behind their team-mates.

  3. Wanted to give it to Grosjean for a classy and fast drive, but Vettel made such short work of him at the end (and did it so much better than Webber) that I have to vote for him. It still seems…convenient that Grosjean’s doing better now Kimi’s announced he’s leaving – I’d like to see him repeat this kind of performance more consistently.

    1. Well Gutierrez scored his first points in F1, while Hulkenberg has been very consistent with these results, especially in the recent races. Also, considering this season for the rookie drivers only, scoring points is a big thing if you ask me

    2. @andae23 fully agreed: unless it’s highly exceptional circumstances (came back from a crash to finish just behind or something akin to that) I never vote a losing teammate above the winning one, as they therefore cannot possibly have achieved the best result possible and clearly their teammate was a better driver over the weekend.

      I don’t understand the x3 margin, either.

  4. Grosjean is my driver of the weekend. The fact that Bruno Senna managed to beat him at Suzuka last year in race pace – even overtaking him on the outside at 130 R – just reminds me about what the brazilian could do in a second full season with a good F1 car. In the WEC he has already 4 poles and 2 wins in his class, while Kobayashi has 0 poles and 0 wins. The japanese has more points (72 to 71) just because Bruno was very unlucky at Le Mans. He deserved the win but his team mate crashed while in the lead, at the 19th hour. He lost 50 points there, otherwise he would be leading the GTE Pro class and probably would be world champion at the end of the year.

  5. A little bit of a dilemma between Gutierrez and Grosjean but i went for the Mexican. First rookie this season to score points. It’s a big think and that battle with Rosberg at the end was very cool. As for Vettel, didn’t feel like he deserved to win the race. It looked like Red Bull planned it all to give Vettel the win with Webber’s strategy :/

        1. Yeah i know, i read that but it just doesn’t seem fair for Webber and yes i checked all the data in the article as well. He used his tires much more than Vettel and either one of them had to go on a 3-stopper. Red Bull opted for Webber because he was using his tires more than Vettel.

  6. Went for Vettel because he called for the tyre strategy himself for the last stint. It shows that he knows his thing well.

    Follow closely behind is Gutierrez for his stellar drive which earned him 6 well deserved points.

  7. Vettel for me. Very good effort in qualifying. Even without KERS, he was really close to his team mate.
    His race was quite clever as well. He had a terrible start, but he carefully prepared his last stint after the first few laps. Some minor mistakes here and there, but in the end he had a better pace and better tyre management.

  8. Romain Grosjean for out-qualifying , out racing his celebrated teammate and for having a terrific race . He had a fantastic start , perfect first stint . Tried his best to fight the mighty bulls and ended up a well deserved podium . Most notably for silencing his critics ( including myself ) to such an extent as to deliver a perfect drive .

    Vettel was second best for me . Managed the tyres extremely well , made sure he won after that bad start and also out raced his hungry team mate . He made some slight errors compared to his near flawless drives this year .

  9. Kind of difficult week to choose for a stand up performance, every body was here and there. So why not Vettel? He missed the pole position, but that was also down to KERS problem, then he missed a good start. But the others that gained from his misses failed to materialize on them, and Vettel wins again.

  10. It has to be Grosjean.

    The Red Bulls were mighty this weekend and were always going to get a 1-2 if it was a clean race and they had no mechanical issues.
    Romain was the only driver to keep up with the Red Bulls. Alonso was 35 seconds behind him.

    A brilliant drive from Grosjean.

  11. Grosjean was taking the fight to a soon-to-be 4 time WDC and racing on par with the best cars on the grid when no one else seemed able to. Even Vettel was praising him in the press conference, which says a lot. Easy pick.

  12. I chose Grosjean without blinking, but now… I am actually not so sure.
    He qualified brilliantly, had a MASSIVE start and had by any standard a good race.
    But should I have given Vettel the vote instead? To get that close to Webber in qualifying, without KERS, was quite brilliant. His start was poor though. But in the race, his pace, tyre management an the crucially a swift and perfectly executed overtake on Grosjean made him come out on top. He actually did perform really, really well.

    So Grosjean or Vettel? I stand by my vote. Not so much because he was better, I felt they both were excellent in their own slightly different areas, but more so because of where Grosjean has come from.
    He has been an actual risk on track, clumsy starts, clumsy overtakes, a race ban resulting in a massive lack of confidence.
    He has been called all sorts of names by fans, drivers, journalists. The lot.
    He has been forced to be the number two driver to Kimi on several occasions, and here he is.
    Performing at a level where it is hard to choose between him, and a driver who is on the verge to win his fourth title in what is proving to be one of his best seasons yet, on track where he is at his absolute best.
    Fair play Grosjean. Well done.

  13. Chilton as if I read correctly was running without car ahead of Pic then Pic pass him, fortunately chilton was catch by his own Marussia but unfortunately was to late to catch Pic again.

    If I missread then Grosjean is really showing he deserves a seat in a top team Mercedes or Redbull can use this guys speed, no doubt Grosjean can do a Vettel in the RB9 and leading the pack there is no one to crash with ever again, seriously Grosjean is as fast as Vettel and Hamilton but has much better race pace.

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