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

  1. Win7Golf (@win7golf) said on 15th October 2013, 0:07

    Are there any doubts ?

    Romain Grosjean

  2. Romain Grosjean of course, he drove much better than both RBR pilots, this was not a near-perfect race for Vettel as most, and certainly wouldn’t have won in equal machinery.

    Kimi and Fernando had an awful saturday but a pretty good sunday, both maximized their chances. Also good effort by the Hulk and Gutierrez.

    For the record, I don’t usually consider that Vettel wins “just because of the car”, the RBR is certainly the best car but usually Seb is also at the top of his game. But not in this race.

  3. ferrox glideh (@ferrox-glideh) said on 15th October 2013, 2:41

    I’m voting for Esteban, for getting in the points. Nothing flashy, but a very solid race for the rookie.

  4. David-A (@david-a) said on 15th October 2013, 4:14

    Grosjean, then Vettel, then Webber.

  5. Experience was the only thing lacking in Grosjean’s performance at Suzuka.
    I was hoping he could repeat what Alonso did in Germany last year, where he paced his slightly inferior car perfectly so that his two pursuers at the time (Vettel and Button) weren’t able to mount any serious attacks.
    It’s hard to overtake at Suzuka and I can’t help but think that with proper pace management and car positioning, Grosjean could’ve at least nabbed 2nd place or even a victory.

    That being said, it was quite a mature performance by the Frenchman, so my vote goes to him for this one.
    Props to the Red Bulls and the Saubers as well. Alonso and Kimi need to seriously sort out their qualifying issues, I don’t want to spend 2014 hoping that the Ferraris will somehow be able to fight their way through the pack all over again, I’ve had more than enough of those moments.

  6. Neil (@neilosjames) said on 15th October 2013, 5:07

    Grosjean for me. Great start after impressive qualifying, and lived with the Red Bulls like he was supposed to be there.

    Hard to believe this time last year he was the first lap nutcase in this very race.

  7. Neel Jani (@neelv27) said on 15th October 2013, 12:03

    It’s a close one between Seb and very proudly Romain (he’s come of age) but for me it’s Seb.

    It wasn’t a usual Sebastian bore-fest. He had the KERS problem in qualifying and yet qualified within 2 tenths of his pole sitting team mate. His quali lap was superior than Mark’s to some degree.

    The race wasn’t as easy as other weekends for him. Lost a place at the start but then strategically played the game very well. When the time was right, he jumped at the opportunity of passing Romain and create a gap. Although Mark was tougher against him than he has been all season he still couldn’t stop Seb from raising his finger.

    I generally hate it when he raises his finger as it adds fuel to the fire to the already dominating performance but this time I also raised my finger at the screen in applause of a great performance by a great driver in a great car.

  8. billbranch (@billbranch) said on 15th October 2013, 13:59

    Simply no contest: Grosjean. RBR are the superior chassis, anything less than a win for Vettel or Webber must indicate foul play. The Frenchman is a likeable guy, too, not obnoxious, not waving the finger about.

  9. oliveiraz33 (@oliveiraz33) said on 15th October 2013, 21:32

    For sure Grosjean…. Vettel had a poor start, made a lot of mistakes, and only was in fornt of webber, because the team choose the get webber in the worst strategy [again]

    Great race by Hulkenberg, and I got surprised by massa, wasn’t too bad either… but too bad that Ferrari teld to let Alonso pass… Alonso is not a contender for the championship for quite a few time

  10. PJA (@pja) said on 16th October 2013, 18:23

    I ended up voting for Grosjean, but there were a few drivers who put in a good performance which I could have chosen instead.

    Grosjean was good in qualifying and had a great start, but it was probably inevitable that he wouldn’t have been able to hold the Red Bulls back the whole race.

    Vettel put in another top class performance and if his car had been 100% in qualifying he probably would have been on pole, but he didn’t let it hold him back as he looked after his tyres then pushed when he needed to.

    Finally I thought both Sauber drivers put in a good showing, Hulkenberg continued his recent good form, but I would probably choose Gutierrz ahead of him this weekend after he managed to pick up the first points of his F1 career.

  11. Bobby Balboa (@bobby-balboa) said on 16th October 2013, 20:11

    Who is the phantom Max Chilton voter????? I love it

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