Which F1 driver was the best performer during the United States Grand Prix weekend?
Review how each driver got on below and vote for who impressed you the most during the last race weekend.
United States Grand Prix driver-by-driver
Sebastian Vettel – Webber’s early runs in Q3 were so strong it briefly seemed a serious possibility Vettel was about to be denied pole for the third time in four races. The final sectors made the difference: Webber’s was scruffy, Vettel’s flawless, and he took his eighth pole position of the season. He easily held off Webber and Grosjean at the start and therafter only had his tyres to worry about. This was not entirely straightforward – he pitted earlier than some of his pursuers after wearing his first set out quickly – but after easing his pace in the closing stages he took his 12th win of the season.
Mark Webber – The sector times from qualifying said it all – Webber had pole position in his hands but let it slipped away. The start was a predictable affair – both Grosjean and Hamilton demoted him. He was able to pass the Mercedes later on, but by the end of the race he was gaining too little from the DRS effect to do the same to Grosjean.
Fernando Alonso – Race engineer Andrea Stella praised Alonso’s effort in getting the car as high as sixth on the grid after the team ended practice outside the top ten. Starting from the dirty side of the grid he was unable to keep Perez behind but he jumped the McLaren at the pit stops. He passed Hulkenberg in the final stint but was unable to catch Hamilton as his tyres began to fade. Hulkenberg re-passed him as the final lap began but Alonso used all his savvy to reclaim fifth.
Felipe Massa – Massa was one of several drivers to be perplexed by his car’s handling in the changing conditions of qualifying. Had Maldonado and Sutil not had their problems with traffic he likely would have gone out in Q1. Matters did not improve in the race where he was forced to make a second pit stop and finished out of the points.
Jenson Button – Baffled by the “weird” qualifying conditions and found himself in the middle of the grid again, demoted a further three places by a needless penalty after passing a car under red flags during practice. An excellent pass on Ricciardo recovered a single point.
Sergio Perez – Faced a tough weekend after McLaren confirmed he will lose his place at the team next year. Nonetheless qualified a strong seventh, bringing his score against Button level at 9-9. Passing Alonso at the start was a bonus, though as his team admitted it was always going to be unlikely they could keep the Ferrari behind. Sure enough Alonso jumped him, leaving the McLaren driver seventh.
Heikki Kovalainen – Got the call to replace Raikkonen three days before practice began. He qualified eighth which was on par with his predecessor’s average qualifying position. But a cautious start cost him four places, and a front wing problem and KERS glitch consigned him to finishing well out of the points.
Romain Grosjean – Made it through Q1 without having to use the softer medium tyres – a “nice surprise”, he said – and despite having grappled with his car’s set-up at times qualified ‘best of the rest’ behind the Red Bulls. An excellent start split the two RB9s and an error-free race allowed him to stay there, claiming his fourth podium finish in five races.
Nico Rosberg – Baffled by how the changing temperatures affected the tyres in qualifying and produced his worst performance of the year – 14th before being promoted two places due to penalties. Passes on Kovalainen and Di Resta helped undo some of the damage in the race, where he finished ninth.
Lewis Hamilton – Heading into the weekend Mercedes revealed they had discovered damage on Hamilton’s chassis which they believed contributed to his problems in previous races. He took fifth on the grid: “I had a good balance but we just couldn’t get the tyres to work,” he said. Passed Webber at the start but had to let the Red Bull driver go in the first stint as he looked after his tyres. But his caution paid off at the end of the race where he had enough in hand to keep Alonso at bay.
Nico Hulkenberg – Was concerned by the change in his car’s handling as qualifying began but after a few set-up tweaks he put the Sauber on row two for the second time this year. Slipped back to fifth at the start but ran convincingly among the front-runners, only losing out to Alonso in the final stint. Had a chance to pass him on the final lap and arguably should have made it stick.
Esteban Gutierrez – Should have started tenth on the grid but was relegated to 20th by a penalty for dangerous driving during qualifying. Damage forced a pit stop behind the Safety Car and a two-stop strategy was unlikely to lift him back into the points. Had put a fair move on Vergne for 12th on the last lap when the Toro Rosso driver caused contact between them, dropping Gutierrez behind Massa.
Paul di Resta – “This is a track that does not particularly suit my driving style,” said Di Resta after qualifying 12th, missing the cut for Q3 by less than a tenth of a second. Was forced to make a second pit stop in the race and was the last driver on the lead lap when the chequered flag fell.
Adrian Sutil – Sutil’s car problem during qualifying was originally suspected to be a puncture turned out to be a broken brake disc. It left him 16th on the grid. Laid the blame for his lap one exit at Maldonado’s feet, but both deserved a share of the blame for managing to tangle on such a wide straight.
Pastor Maldonado – Was quick not only to blame his team for his qualifying problems but also to suggest there was a sinister motive behind it, as they are parting ways after the next race. Traffic was a particular problem for him during the session, with both Chilton and Gutierrez holding him up. After a a very early pit stop he ran a huge 47-lap stint to the end, unsurprisingly losing a couple of places in the latter stages.
Valtteri Bottas – Maldonado’s frustrations stemmed in part from the gap to his team mate – it was a surprising one-and-a-half seconds in Q1. Bottas held the upper hand throughout practice as well, but made mistakes on his best lap in Q3 and lined up ninth. He took a place off Kovalainen at the start and, remarkably, held the resulting eighth place until the end for his first F1 points.
Jean-Eric Vergne – Found a huge lap time improvement when he put the mediums on in Q1, but not in Q2. Still penalties helped him to 14th on the grid. The only driver to start on hard tyres, he switched the “Plan C” during the race to go to the end on a one-stop. Had his team mate in sight on the last lap but made a mistake while under attack by Gutierrez and hit the Sauber, which earned him a penalty.
Daniel Ricciardo – Was generally on the fringes of the top ten he didn’t make it into Q3, though the margins were very slight, and lost the final points place to Button two laps from home.
Charles Pic – A gearbox change penalty left him last on the grid. He kept pace with Giedo van der Garde but a drive-through penalty for holding up Hamilton dropped him out of contention.
Giedo van der Garde – Was very pleased with the overnight changes to his car on Friday and was quickest of the tail-enders during qualifying. But Bianchi passed him at the start and although he felt he could go quicker Van der Garde was unable to pass. “Obviously for us we need a bit of a crazy race to be in with a chance of reclaiming tenth in the championship, so now it goes down to the wire in Brazil,” he said.
Jules Bianchi – Gonzalez drove in first practice, meaning he had to begin his familiarisation on a new track with high-fuel running. He was unhappy with the car’s balance and the team made several changes. However he managed to get ahead of both Caterhams at the start and held them off until the end.
Max Chilton – A brake disc failure limited his running on Friday. During qualifying he held up Sutil and Maldonado, earning a five-place grid penalty for the race. That left him well out of contention, though his race pace suggested he wouldn’t have been in the running anyway.
Qualifying and race results summary
|Driver||Started||Gap to team mate||Laps leading team mate||Pitted||Finished||Gap to team mate|
|Paul di Resta||11th||-0.356s||0/0||2||15th|
|Pastor Maldonado||17th||+1.53s||0/55||1||17th||Not on same lap|
|Valtteri Bottas||9th||-1.53s||55/55||1||8th||Not on same lap|
|Giedo van der Garde||18th||-0.105s||55/55||1||19th||-30.255s|
|Jules Bianchi||19th||-0.873s||54/54||1||18th||Not on same lap|
|Max Chilton||21st||+0.873s||0/54||1||21st||Not on same lap|
Review the race data
- 2013 United States GP lap times and fastest laps
- 2013 United States GP tyre strategies and pit stops
- 2013 United States Grand Prix lap charts
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.
2013 United States Grand Prix
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- 2013 United States Grand Prix team radio transcript
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Images ?é?® Red Bull/Getty, Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, Lotus/LAT, Sauber, Williams/LAT