Vote for your Chinese Grand Prix driver of the weekend

2012 Chinese Grand Prix

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Which driver had the best race weekend in China?

Compare all the drivers’ performances below and vote for who you think was the best driver of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend.

Driver notes

Sebastian Vettel – Reverting to the older-specification RB8 exhaust didn’t help Vettel’s cause. He had the sector times to get into Q3 but fell short by a few hundredths of a second. From 11th, he slipped back at the start as he took care to avoid the Williams pair. Much like last year, a two-stop strategy left him vulnerable at the end, as he dropped from second to fifth.
Mark Webber – Stuck with the newer exhausts and ended lap one in ninth after a customary sluggish getaway. Despite flying through the air after going off at turn 13, and running wide while trying to pass Raikkonen, he made an aggressive three-stop strategy work and passed his team mate for fourth with two laps to go.

Jenson Button – Couldn’t find grip in cool conditions during practice and was sixth in qualifying. Made a strong start to claim third, and made light work of traffic on his three-stop strategy. Was poised to attack Rosberg in the final stint when a slow pit stop dropped him back into traffic, and forced him to settle for second.
Lewis Hamilton – A gearbox change penalty turned second in qualifying into seventh on the grid. Nonetheless he moved up two places at the start and spent a busy race usually trying to find his way past another car. Seemed more circumspect in his approach, particularly with Massa and Perez, and lost some time which meant he was unable to capitalise on Button’s problem. But another third place gave him the championship lead.

Fernando Alonso – There was no opportunity for heroics this time. Alonso qualified ninth and finished there after going off while trying to pass Maldonado.
Felipe Massa – Started 12th and lost a place during the course of the race (despite Schumacher’s retirement). Massa viewed this as “a step forward compared to the first two races of the season”.

Michael Schumacher – Just as the W03 came good, the margin Schumacher had enjoyed over Rosberg in the first two races vanished. A 0.6s deficit in qualifying looked more like the situation last year. He lapped slower in the opening stint, but whether this was an act of tyre conservation that would have benefited him later on is something we’ll never know. He retired after his front-right wheel was not fitted correctly at his first pit stop.
Nico Rosberg – Led the Chinese Grand Prix for the third year in a row – only this time he won it. His pole position lap was superb, and he was confident enough to get out of his car before the end of the session, knowing pole was his. His team scrutinised his tyres after every pit stop for signs of the degradation they’d seen on Friday. As the race wore on it gradually became clear Rosberg had the car to win, and Button’s pit stop trouble sealed the deal.

Kimi Raikkonen – Didn’t complete any high-fuel running on Friday as Lotus struggled to get on top of the cool temperatures and their latest upgrade package, much of which was scrapped. Started fourth but ran into tyre trouble while two-stopping, plummeting ten places down the order in two laps and limping home 14th.
Romain Grosjean – A solid run to sixth was just the tonic he needed after completing only four laps in the first two races. Made his two-stopper work, and not just because his last stop was four laps’ later than Raikkonen’s. Time lost at that stop – and running wide at turn seven – showed he could have finished even higher.

Paul di Resta – A lowly 15th for the highest Force India on the grid shows how the team’s fortunes have changed. He couldn’t continue his points-scoring streak in the race, finishing behind the Saubers.
Nico Hulkenberg – Wheelspin at the start meant he slipped to 17th behind Kovalainen and damaged his nose. Lap ten repairs left him last, but a two-stop strategy allowed him to finish ahead of the Toro Rossos. However he couldn’t find a way past the struggling Raikkonen.

Kamui Kobayashi – Sauber went into the weekend looking for better qualifying performance and found it – Kobayashi started third. But did it come at the expense of their race pace? Both drivers finished lower than they started. Kobayashi lost four places on lap one and his three-stop strategy dropped him back further. He ended the race tenth after defending strongly from his team mate.
Sergio Perez – Mystified by the sudden onset of understeer in qualifying as the track temperatures fell. But he made a good start, moving up two places and passing his team mate. Sauber switched him to a two-stop strategy as they began to doubt whether Kobayashi’s three-stopper was working. But a clutch problem at his second stop dropped him back behind his team mate and, ultimately, out of the points.

Daniel Ricciardo – The Toro Rosso pair found themselves scrapping to reach Q2, and again it was Ricciardo who came out on top. He spent the opening stint being held up by Hulkenberg and dropped back during the race.
Jean-Eric Vergne – Elected to make wholesale set-up changes and start the race from the pits. It paid off, and he was the fastest driver on the track for 10 out of 11 laps towards the end of the race as he lapped on soft tyres. He overhauled his team mate and caught the Raikkonen-Hulkenberg battle by the end of the race.

Pastor Maldonado – Edged his team mate by a tiny margin in qualifying but lost two places at the start. Shadowed Senna throughout the race and finished a second behind, claiming his first points of the year.
Bruno Senna – Missing first practice turned out to be no great loss due to the rain. Made a good start but clipped Massa’s Ferrari, damaging his front wing. Like Maldonado, good pace on a two-stop strategy moved him up the order ahead of, among others, the two Ferraris. Passed the tyre-troubled Raikkonen but was demoted by Grosjean on the same lap for seventh.

Heikki Kovalainen – New technical director Mark Smith’s first race on the pit wall didn’t go entirely according to plan – Kovalainen lost time with an unspecified problem at the back of the car which left him last.
Vitaly Petrov – Was pleased to finish on the same lap as the leaders in a race that didn’t feature a safety car.

Pedro de la Rosa – 107% rule fears now look to be a thing of the past, but de la Rosa was still around a second per lap off the Marussias in the race.
Narain Karthikeyan – Was around 40 seconds behind de la Rosa before falling further back when he was lapped for the second time.

Timo Glock – Briefly held 18th at the start before being demoted by Petrov and the two Toro Rossos. Avoided being lapped until the very end of the race – when he lost so much time he was almost passed by Pic.
Charles Pic – The team took the canny decision to call Pic to drive through the pits on lap 48 without stopping, allowing the leaders to pass without costing him too much time. Until that point he had been around ten seconds behind Glock – he crossed the line less than half a second behind his team mate.

Qualifying and race results summary

StartedGap to team mateLaps leading team matePittedFinishedGap to team mate
Sebastian Vettel11th+0.331s32/5625th+2.559s
Mark Webber6th-0.331s24/5634th-2.559s
Jenson Button5th+0.565s56/5632nd-5.386s
Lewis Hamilton7th-0.565s0/5633rd+5.386s
Fernando Alonso9th-0.273s44/5639th-5.523s
Felipe Massa12th+0.273s12/56213th+5.523s
Michael Schumacher2nd+0.57s0/121
Nico Rosberg1st-0.57s12/1221st
Kimi Raikkonen4th+0.018s43/56214th+19.082s
Romain Grosjean10th-0.018s13/5626th-19.082s
Paul di Resta15th-0.428s56/56212th-8.94s
Nico Hulkenberg16th+0.428s0/56215th+8.94s
Kamui Kobayashi3rd-0.74s19/56310th-2.346s
Sergio Perez8th+0.74s37/56211th+2.346s
Daniel Ricciardo17th-0.781s27/56217th+11.4s
Jean-Eric Vergne18th+0.781s29/56316th-11.4s
Pastor Maldonado13th-0.006s6/5628th+1.046s
Bruno Senna14th+0.006s50/5627th-1.046s
Heikki Kovalainen19th-0.214s27/53423rdNot on same lap
Vitaly Petrov20th+0.214s26/53218thNot on same lap
Pedro de la Rosa23rd-0.589s54/54221stNot on same lap
Narain Karthikeyan24th+0.589s0/54222ndNot on same lap
Timo Glock21st-0.435s51/55219th-0.398s
Charles Pic22nd+0.435s4/55220th+0.398s

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 Chinese Grand Prix weekend?

  • Charles Pic (0%)
  • Timo Glock (0%)
  • Pedro de la Rosa (0%)
  • Narain Karthikeyan (0%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (0%)
  • Heikki Kovalainen (0%)
  • Bruno Senna (2%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (0%)
  • Jean-Eric Vergne (0%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (0%)
  • Sergio Perez (0%)
  • Kamui Kobayashi (1%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (1%)
  • Paul di Resta (0%)
  • Romain Grosjean (2%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (1%)
  • Nico Rosberg (69%)
  • Michael Schumacher (1%)
  • Felipe Massa (0%)
  • Fernando Alonso (2%)
  • Jenson Button (6%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (10%)
  • Mark Webber (2%)
  • Sebastian Vettel (1%)

Total Voters: 636

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2012 Chinese Grand Prix

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Image © Ferrari spa/Ercole Colombo, Daimler/Hoch Zwei, Sauber F1 Team, Williams/LAT

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Keith Collantine
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101 comments on “Vote for your Chinese Grand Prix driver of the weekend”

  1. Nico stamped his authority on the weekend.

    1. Rosberg deserves the recognition, but I’m increasingly aware of how a driver’s profile is directly related to the success of his car.

      Look at Di Resta. He outqualified Hulkengerg by almost half a second, and lead him for every lap of the GP. He finished only 22 seconds off 2nd place, ahead of clearly faster cars (Ferrari + Lotus). He’s probably doing the best job possible in that car, yet, because the Force India is not a realistic challenger, he is rarly mentioned at the moment. (Similarly, I think Vergne has been very impressive, but is likewise rarely mentioned.)

      I’m hoping that Force India can take a step forwards in the European season. A young F1 driver’s prospects are inextricably linked to the momentum of their team.

      1. Di Resta is impressively consistent

    2. Simple, Rosberg is driver of the weekend (for me)

  2. I can’t even contemplate voting for anyone other than Nico.

    His qualifying lap is simply mesmerising to watch. Absolutely perfect, and a strong hit back after his previous mistakes in Q3

    and of course he won the race. Strategy was right and off the top of my head, I can’t think of one mistake he made the whole weekend.

    I’m sure others drove a good race too but I can’t see them in Rosberg’s shadows :P

    1. He did run wide in turn 6 at some point during the race, even if it didn’t cost him much.

    2. I’m also struggling to think of anyone who deserves it more than Rosberg, so he gets my vote as well. Hamilton would have been my second pick but he was some way off.

  3. I’m going to vote for Grosjean. Rosberg is the obvious choice, but he really benefitted from Button’s botched stop. Grosjean, however, produced the kind of drive that he should have shown in Australia and Malaysia. It’s a little overdue, but he finally demonstrated the kind of potential that he has hinted at in the past. And he handled his strategy much better than Raikkonen did.

    Second palce goes to Charles Pic. He managed to stay within range of Glock with admirable consistency. The team may have finally made a decent choice for their second driver.

    1. Button only lost 5-10 seconds with that stop. Nico finished with a lead of more then 20 sec, even after losing a couple of seconds by slowing down for his team at the finish. It’s true that the pitstop dropped Button in the middle of traffic, but I don’t the it had any impact on the result in the end.

      1. Button’s slow stop meant he came out of the pits behind several cars he would otherwise have cleared, and he lost more time getting past them.

        Rosberg was about 7 seconds down on Button when the McLaren stopped for the final time. Allowing 21 seconds for a stop, that should have put Button back out about 14 seconds behind with (I think) 18 laps to go. Button should have been able to close the gap but, of course, we’ll never know whether he’d have been able to make the pass stick. Stranger things have happened.

      2. Incidentally… I would’ve voted for Rosberg even if Button had taken the win; a great performance.

    2. Ridiculous. I can accept strange choices in some circumstances, but surely it’s impossible to pick anyone but Rosberg in this scenario.

      He dominated qualifying with half a second to Schumacher, in the same car. Waltzed from lights to flag to take his first, and well-deserved, victory with no errors along the way.

      You can’t possibly claim that Grosjean is worthier of the title than Nico.

      You just like to spark arguments, and… well… I know I’ve taken the bait!

      1. You just like to spark arguments, and… well… I know I’ve taken the bait!

        I’d like to think he’s sparking debates rather than arguements, even if his opinions do seem strange at times.

        1. That’s what I meant @slr! It wasn’t meant to be a dig and the word ‘debate’ is certainly kinder!

          1. Ah okay :)

      2. I can accept strange choices in some circumstances, but surely it’s impossible to pick anyone but Rosberg in this scenario.

        That’s me. I’ve been doing the impossible since 1986.

        1. It seems 24% of the voters have also done the impossible today… as far as the impossible goes, that’s a pretty good percentage :P

          1. To add to that account, Button for me.

        2. PM, making F1Fanatic comment section passionate since… (since when BTW?)

    3. It’s not as if D’Ambrosio was blown away last year.

    4. So you voted for Grosjean who didn’t make much of an impression in qualifying, and who did an “Alonso” in the race? Or are you not voting for Rosberg because of the anticipated voting behaviour of the other F1Fanatics (for example, Rosberg is going to win this anyway, so I don’t need to vote for him, or, I don’t like voting for popular choices)?

      I suspect that by placing Pic over Rosberg, you are just being contrary.

    5. In this case, “showing his potential” translates to “Managed to stay on the track”. Hardly a ringing endorsement, nor an achievement of exceptional skill. It’s very much like Massa finishing miles behind his teammate and claiming an improvement because it wasn’t quite as embarrassing as it was during the last race.

      Equally “He could have finished higher” because of running wide at turn 7 is another way of saying “he made a balls of it”. Alonso made the same balls of it, but nonetheless. So far, he’s 3/3 on showing his supporters he’s quick (good qualifying results) and 2/1 on showing his detractors he’s still not up to the big time (two unnecessary crashes in races where only one other driver made an error).

      1. +1. Grosjean seems to be the worst rookie of the year to me. But maybe its because it is more difficult to be a rookie in a car as high on the grid as the Lotus? No, thinking of Hamilton’s rookie year, Grosjean falls through somehow.

    6. Rosberg is the obvious choice

      Exactly. So why would you vote for another driver then? Just trying to be different?

      1. I think PM is just pointing out that in his opinion a few other drivers did something great that day too. I think it goes to the same kind of thinking that went on last year where SV didn’t always get DotW around here in spite of achieving pole and the win because he made it look too easy, and the nod went instead to someone who did something more unexpected with lesser equipment.

        For me NR is the obvious choice, full stop. I think it is questionable how much he benefitted from JB’s botched stop, so I would have left it at NR being the obvious choice, with runner up choices getting an honourable mention. But thank goodness we don’t all think alike or wouldn’t life be boring. PM has proved it is not ‘impossible’ to pick someone other than NR for DotW.

  4. Britney is one of my least favorite drivers to say the least, but this weekend he was dominant. My vote goes to Rosberg.

    1. @pejte Why don’t you like him?

    2. @pejte Why don’t you like her? :)

  5. Can’t be anyone else but Rosberg. There were other drivers who had a good weekend, but no one but Rosberg deserves to win this poll. Rosberg put in a superb qualifying lap and was almost faultless in the race. He did have a bit of luck, but every Grand Prix victory has luck involved. Button may not have won in Australia if Hamilton had a better start, and Alonso would not have won a dry Malaysian GP.

    The only other driver who possibly deserves consideration is Hamilton who qualified well, and put in a solid race performance. Kobayashi might have been considered if the car was as economical with the tyres yesterday like it was in the first two races, the same goes for Raikkonen. If Button was better in qualifying, I would considered him also.

    1. @Slr : Totally agree that other drivers could have been considered IF … But for Rosberg it was as close as it could be to the perfect WE. Very impressive during quali and nothing to say about his race, he was all by himself (and we didn’t see him a lot on the footage, it’s maybe why people tend to forget about him and it wasn’t a great show as he didn’t have to pass anyone … but still the best drive of the week end for sure)

  6. has to be nico. his quali lap was just superb and followed it up by not putting a foot wrong in the race.
    vettel did well finishing in 5th after a poor quali, but not enough to wrest the DotW from nico
    lewis put in a good strong drive, doing well to make up for most of the grid penalty, but the honours must go to nico.

  7. Doh I just votted for button, face palm! I meant to vote for Nico, supreme Lap, supreme race pace, awesome job. Barely put a foot wrong that Quali with that perfect lap to put him on poll to.

    1. @sketchyterry I was going to vote for Button so I’ll for Nico for you to even it out

  8. This is a no-brainer: Nico Rosberg. 0.5 second quicker in qualifying and 15s or so ahead of the McLarens. He was dominant this weekend.

    It has to be said that numerous other drivers would have been candidates for best driver if Rosberg wouldn’t have showed up. Both Red Bulls recovered from a bad qualifying and a worse start. Raikkonen did a fine job for someone who hasn’t raced open-wheel in two years. And how about the to Williams-drivers? Almost collided in turn one, but both climbed their ways up to 7th and 8th!

    1. I am sure Nico deserves first choice ,but I think as good as it was if Hamilton had been out on a new set of tyres on his first lap the pole gap would have been much closer.

    2. Voted for Hamilton, but I’m especially happy for Maldonado. He’s an entertaining driver to watch and has had his share of bad luck. Hopefully he will improve his consistency from here and maybe give us some surprise in Monaco.

  9. Charles Pic – The team took the canny decision to call Pic to drive through the pits on lap 48 without stopping, allowing the leaders to pass without costing him too much time.

    I hadn’t realised that. Canny indeed, but if I was the FIA, I would regulate this before it becomes a popular option for backmarkers. Unnecessary traffic in the pitlane seems like asking for mishaps.

    1. @Maciek Well, on the track, we have seen collisions between backmarkers and those who lap them. So that ain’t entirely safe either. And Pirelli tyres have created much more additional traffic in the pitlane so I believe that FIA would look there first if they were concerned about too many cars in the pits.

      I think that having the current pitlane speed limit is enough to prevent teams from doing like Marussia too often. Normally that shouldn’t be the quickest option. Anyway, as long as nothing better is implemented to resolve the ‘problem’ of backmarkers (like getting rid of the blue flags, longer circuits, shorter races etc.), I believe that the situation of the slowest teams shouldn’t be weakened further.

    2. Nah, it hardly ever happens, it’s not a big deal. And do we really want yet more rules?

      1. No, sure, certainly there are enough rules as it is – but if it does become a popular option, it will be a matter of time before stuff hits the fan when a backmarker forces a front-runner to wait for a safe release or worse is involved in some incident in the pitlane. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the backmarkers and I’ll be first to tell you that lapping cars is a lost skill in today’s F1, but cars driving through the pitlane without good reason seems like bad precedent.

        1. The only reason Marussia did that is because behind Raikkonen there was a train of 12 cars all covered by 15 seconds or so. Leaving Pic out to get lapped by 13 cars in succession in one lap would have cost him far more than the 17 seconds it takes to drive through the pits.

          Honestly, when was the last time we saw that many cars following each other so closely and so late in the race? I don’t think this is an issue that needs to be regulated just yet.

  10. I can’t be anyone other than Nico. Majestic quali lap and a solid, mature race performance mean that he would have gotten my vote even if Button hadn’t had his pitstop issued and had managed to catch and pass him.

  11. In my opinion Button, had it not been for the Botched Pit stop would have been in clear air and bullied Rosberg into a mistake like he did with Vettel in Canadian GP. The laptimes might not support my theory but in my opinion Button would have been at least 0.5 sec quicker per lap in clear air and is able to save his tyres better than anyone when hes out doing consistent laps. For me Rosberg is a bit to obvious a choice and Button performed the best under considerably more pressure. Being in a train of 7 – 8 reasonably competitive cars didn’t help any of the front runners lap times and massively Flattered Rosbergs performance. Not that he wasn’t very impressive because he was and i am a fan.

    1. Just a few thoughts in response…NR may have also been able to dial it up a notch and keep the gap to JB…his lead was such that he/his team may have been playing conservatively because they could afford to…also, who’s to say NR didn’t feel pressure? Methinks he likely was well aware that a mistake might cost him his first win. He may have also wondered if at some point his tires would fall off the cliff, such has his experience been in the first two races.

      1. I agree that NR may not have been giving it the “full beans” but to be fair thats probably what kept him on the black stuff. I disagree that he could have improved his pace without further degrading his tyres. He’s not renound for good tyre conservation where as JB is. Its difficult to say for sure what would have happened had we not been robbed of the ultimate chase by an unusually poor mclaren pitstop. its just my gut feeling we would have seen him real him in lap after lap. I’m more disapointed that MS had to retire from the race though, would have loved to see that silver arrows battle. My feeling was that MS was cleverly saving his tyres to pound some quick laps in and do nico on the second stop undercut.

        1. Fair enough…you might be right…the only thing I can say in defence of NR here is that he is not known for tire conservation but then again he is not known to have found himself in a race-winning/WDC level car whereas JB has had much more practice with cars that ‘work better’ and therefore might inherantly be easier on tires. JB is good at it too with his driving style but it helps when you are in top cars. I’ll give NR some time yet in a car that is capable of winning before I can say either way how good he is at having pace and conserving tires at the same time. I think the fact that he/they finally got this car to not hit the cliff of tire fallout means he might have been able to push more without killing his tires. There’s also a chance that JB might have had to push his tires into submission in spite of his reputation for being easy on them. We’ll never know.

          1. I don’t get all this “that MS was cleverly saving his tyres to pound some quick laps in and do nico on the second stop undercut” talk. How is that possible? The tyres that he was supposedly saving were taken off in the first pitstop. He then retired at around turn 6 on his outlap….He surely would have pushed his original set to his limit – he did after all pit the lap prior to Rosberg.

            Anyways, Nico for me. He deserves it after all these years and drove a great weekend bar one slight off.

            Would he have won if Hamilton hadn’t got a penalty and Button didn’t have issues with his final stop?

            In the first case I think not. In the second; it would have made for a very interesting race.

  12. The big boys were their usual good.The podium was well owned by all present, and DoTw goes to the one sitting on top. Webber gave it all and Vettel was fast albeit well helped by flawless strategy. Alonso did his best, and it wasn’t enough, but not for lack of talent or trying.

    The three Frenchmen at last all had a very descent race, and for once the heaps of nationalistic praises from the TF1 presentor were well deserved.

    If I had to really point fingers, it would be to Karthikeyan and Massa. I am sorry to put Massa in there but being the only driver bar the bottom three cars not to have scored is scandalous. With a really tight midfield with young and hungry talent, the Massa we have been seeing for the last year is taking the seat from another.He spent the whole race slowing others down. Great for the spectacle, but as for raising the bar high, there’s work left to do ! As for Karthikeyan, being outclassed by PDLR in a dry race can not be defended.

  13. I voted for Rosberg for his superb performance, but I really want to give some credits to Hamilton and Webber. Both of them raced all the way trough the train without clashing with anyone, and that very lap featuring the battle between them was epic. They might not have the best result as Rosberg’s, but they do deserve some credits.

  14. OmarR-Pepper (@)
    16th April 2012, 14:01

    Button. Because if it weren’t for the it problems he could have attacked Nico (and make sure he would have passed him eventually). Well deserved win by Rosberg anyway

    1. But does the race winner have to be the BEST driver? Look at how Button performed in qualifying: 3rd row in a car that is capable of being on pole (He got outqualified by his teammate by half a second!). Thanks to this lack of performance in qualifying, he ended up in the situations that you describe as problems and meant he didn’t get the race win he could have had. So why would anyone vote for Button ???

      1. Exactly!
        I think one of the most impressive things about Nico’s drive was how he handled the two stop strategy to perfection.
        Having secured pole with a blistering pace he hit the sweet spot between good pace and good tyre management.
        Button had a great drive but Nico’s was the perfect drive.

      2. I agree, and that’s what Button did for most of last year too. Nico Rosberg was the best driver of this weekend.

        1. And the year before. That’s why it annoys me when people say Button never makes mistakes. He does, not having the pace in qualifying can cost you alot in the race and it happens to him alot.

    2. @omarr-pepper…I’m of the belief that NR spent the last third of his race not nearly pushing the car like he could have…ie. saying would-coulda-shoulda on behalf of JB, as we could all do with all drivers who aren’t the winner on any given day, is one thing, but let’s not forget how in control NR was of this race, especially after his final stop. Methinks he ‘coulda’ dialed it up a notch if he had to and ‘woulda’ made it look even easier if he had to.

  15. I’m a fan of Nico’s but didn’t vote for him. He just applied the model that has been defined over the last few seasons. Do a very good quali lap, start the race in Quali mode and get clear of the DRS 1s problem. But then he was gifted the race because his team mate and Jenson had bad pit stops, and Lewis had his 5 place drop. Mark and Fernado did the best they could in the machinery supplied, as did many others. Seb is going to have to learn how to drive the same type of car as Mark.

    Note to Ferrari drivers; the excuse you could of done better if there hadn’t been so much traffic is not acceptable, everybody except Nico had to deal with traffic.

    1. I think you are over-simplifying. Not all the time does your ‘model’ apply, but for sure in a dominant car like SV had last year running away from the field from pole can work very well. But the Merc is yet to be established as a dominant car, so NR found himself in somewhat unfamiliar territory compared to some drivers in the last few seasons. He had every reason, and it would be understandable, to think througout the race that his tires might fall off a cliff at any point in time, like the first two races. So that may have added pressure for him that we wouldn’t see or know about.

      He wasn’t ‘gifted’ anything. MS was losing half a second a lap to NR while he was still in the race. JB had a bad pit stop but not enough to account for the gap NR had already earned by running away from the field with a perfect start. And NR could have dialed it up a notch for all we know. I think you are playing woulda-coulda-shoulda a little much here.

      To say he ‘just applied the model’ and ‘he was gifted the race’ downgrades NR even though you say you are a fan. Fans like you NR doesn’t need. ‘Do a very good quali lap’…like a driver can just snap his fingers and do the perfect lap and blow away an otherwise very tight field.

  16. Assuming Button would have been 1 second faster in clear air (an overestimation I guess), Button would still not have won. If he couldn’t pass Vettel for quite some time who was also on a two stopper, do you think he’d have blazed past Rosberg just like that?

    Also, Rosberg surely had plenty in reserve, at least 0.3 secs a lap. Frankly, it’d have been better if Button was in clear air, and Rosberg won. That would give Rosberg’s win so much more credibility.

    1. I voted Rosberg, also, but I don’t agree with your reasoning that Button wouldn’t have had a chance. First of all, he lost a lot of time with the pit stop and subsequently being stuck in traffic; with a normal pit stop, he would ‘only’ have had to make up around 12-13 seconds.

      Second, the reason Button couldn’t make it passed Vettel was that Sebastian had his DRS open every lap on the back straight. Rosberg would not have had the ‘benefit’ of having a Raikkonen in front to enable the DRS.

      I’m not saying Rosberg couldn’t have gone faster or that he would have been easy to pass, but I think there would have been a battle.

  17. I voted Hamilton for the first time this season. Good qualifying performance to stick it in second. Wasn’t his fault he got the penalty, but didn’t let it stop him from getting another podium. He was always in more traffic than Button, so didn’t really have much of a chance to pass him. When he did get clear air behind JB he started slowly closing, but then had to pit and was behind more traffic. Fantastic performance that had me on the edge of my seat.
    Rosberg second. Fantastic performance in Qualifying and the race, but wasn’t really challenged for his lead much.
    JB poor qualifying performance, but pretty handy in the race. If LH hadn’t had his penalty, he would have finished second for sure and have a bigger points lead.
    Another great performance from Senna too. Ahead of Pastor and firmly in the points well done.

  18. I really liked the way nico took to his first win. You can tell he was over the moon but at the same time he was really calm and cool about it. That mix of reaction usually comes off as arrogance but Nico pulled it off with class. Really happy for him :)

    1. Agreed…I’m sure he still can’t wipe the grin off his face.

  19. Yep, Nico for me too. He had a flawless quali and GP. I sense that this will spur him on to more wins this season.

  20. There was space for good performances by many drivers over the course of the weekens, but only one excelled: Rosberg. It’s not a coincidence if he obtained his first pole and win.

  21. I’m not really a fan of Rosberg, I think that he’s over-rated and really hasn’t shown anything really special over his years in F1. I accept that he is absolutely F1 standard and deserves to be there, but doesn’t have that extra which is needed to be a champion. For the first time in a while I had a really good read of all of Keith’s driver summaries to find another driver who I could justify voting for, but in the end I have to agree that Rosberg’s qualifying and race were fully deserving of my vote.

    Would Button or Schumacher have beaten him without their pit-stop woes? Maybe or maybe not but we can’t vote on the basis of what might have been, and if Button had been on the peerless form which we have seen on occasion from him then he would have been far enough ahead to win with or without a bad stop. But we’re voting on what actually happened. I’m not voting for Rosberg because he won the race, I’m voting for him because the evidence suggests that regardless of who your favourite team/driver is, he really was the best driver on both Saturday and Sunday.

    1. Fair comment…and now let’s see if he can take that win, with the confidence that can come from a proven race winner, not to mention he obviously has a car that can be great on some days, and let’s see if he can prove he has ‘that extra’ as you say. All WDC’s needed the car to succeed, and it is only just now that NR has it. And he didn’t squander it.

  22. Thanks a lot Keith for highlighting something nice for all (almost all) drivers, the race had just so many really nice performances in it.
    I think Vergne did a good job to show he does not shy away from taking a bit of risk, good job and interesting choice by Marussia with Pic (will we be seeing that one more often now?). Vettel did well on Sunday, but he knows the exhaust was not the right thing. His defensive driving when Hamilton and Webber had a go at him was one of the bigger highlights for me.
    Webber – amazing to how he finished after that wheely.

    But the vote goes to Rosberg for doing a perfect qualifying lap. He knew it, Schumacher immediately knew it and from the smile on Ross’ face he knew it as well. And he did not mess up in the race, but made it work the distance. Did we just see the birth of a real champion this weekend?

    1. “Did we just see the birth of a real champion this weekend?”

      I’d like to think so. And I could see Keith asking that question in the form of a headline and a well written (as usual) article.

      As easy as he made it seem he was no doubt dealing with the pressure of not knowing whether his tires might fall off the cliff, and the pressure earlier on of potentially coming out in traffic and having that affect his race, and the pressure eventually of not making a mistake and throwing away what was looking more and more as the day went along like what might be his first win… his to lose. Even his perfect quali lap came off having made errors in his first two Saturdays of the season, making some wonder if MS’s newfound form and obvious greater comfort in this car had NR rattled a bit compared to his domination of MS on Saturdays for the last two seasons.

      We know he can drive, we know he’s never had the equipment until this weekend…now we know he can hold it together under some pressure. All we need to see now to know if we have seen the birth of a real champion is if he has the mental game when the pressure is at it’s apex…fighting for wins and the WDC with another driver or two (or three as this season is shaping up) with a small number of races to go in the season.

      1. After writing my comment, I though about how this win reminded me of Vettel’s first win. He really was almost untouchable that weekend in Monza as well. Same goes pretty much for the amazing race Webber had for his first win, just nothing could hold him back that day!

  23. So many to choose from. Nico Rosberg deserves all the kudos for his performance over the whole weekend, theb McLaren boys were both on it and made so nice passes, Mark Webber was a threat, Schumacher was fast before that ill fated stop. Very hard to nail down this one. Yet again, Williams showed signs of improvement with two good drives from Maldonado and Senna. I felt sorry for Jenson as what happened in the pits really screwed up his chances of victory. I really, really enjoyed this race as it had everything a no ‘dirty’ driving or penalties to spoil it. Poor old Raikkonen looked like he was on a conveyor belt at the end, 2nd to 12th in just two laps!! I loved every minute of this race and I feel it bodes well for the championship as there appears so many drivers are in a position to win races. You can see it in Schumacher, Raikkonen, Webber and many others. They all have quick cars, this should be a good year for us F1 fanatics.

    1. Agree very much with what you have said…I’ll only correct one thing on behalf of LH fans…some would say his 5 spot penalty for the gearbox change spoiled it for him/them. That said I believe your point was about no dirty driving and/or incidents worthy of penalties during the race itself. I too loved every minute of this race, and agree wholeheartedly that it bodes well for the championship.

  24. Has to be Rosberg for not doing a “Coulthard” after getting his first pole. He stayed calm even if not put under pressure.
    Webber and Hamilton a joint second. They could have achieved more, but they were in traffic all race long.

  25. Obviously Rosberg is the man this week, but there is also Bruno Senna.
    He showed again that even without driving in the FP1, he can edge quite easely his teammate in race, with a strong start, good pace and great tyres managing (the last pit was on lap 29, he managed to mantain the pace till the 56th lap).

    1. It’s been really encouraging to see not only how close he managed to get to Maldonado in qualifying despite still having less time in the car (I think it was only .006s between them!), and then keep up that pace during such a tight and eventful race. Watching the sector times, I was assuming the team would go for a three-stopper, but they just kept right on going to the end. I hope the Williams team continues to develop the car well, things look nicely steady and positive right now.

  26. sid_prasher (@)
    16th April 2012, 17:59

    Voted Nico. This has potential to be the most dominant drive of the year…

  27. Best driver from Quali – Kobayashi

    Best driver from Race – Rosberg

    Overall verdict – Senna

  28. easy vote today! I couldn’t have chosen anyone else. Pefect Pole lap, Perfect race. Seems like a lot of people think Button could have had him if he didn’t have that horrible pit-stop. I can’t agree because Rosberg at the front was clearly managing the gap before the stop and cleary managing it after so Button had no chance but you can’t deny he was best of the rest (in your face lewis). Buttons my title hope for this year.

  29. Has to be Rosberg, a steller lap in qualifying to take pole and then dominated the race looking after his tyres well enough to make a two stopper work even thought everyone thought the Mercedes would be too hard on it’s tyres.

  30. Unlucky Raikkonen the team made a bad job at the box and chose all the wrong moments to pit, the Mclaren had the wrong strategy but they were samrt enough to not let their cars over cars that were incredibly slow, Mercedes seemed the coolest with the track conditions this time they were realistic rather than trusting old experiences they gambled well and gave this championship alot more colour, more teams at the top very important after last seasons record about least drivers at the podium

  31. Hard to find fault with a faultless weekend for Rosberg.

    Also worth a mention; both Mclarens, both Williams, Grosjean (great to finally get the chance to see his GP2 form) Webber and Vergne.

  32. I can´t understand why some people vote for Alonso in this race!!! It not make sense at all.

    1. Or Ricciardo.

  33. Shirleen Riffe
    16th April 2012, 23:16

    Nico Rosberg. Duh!

  34. No doubt in my mind that Nico Rosberg did a fantastic job. Not only did he get his first win, but he controlled his pace pretty good at the end too.

    Special mention to Mark Webber, who always manages some kind of acrobatics in a season. Great wheelie!

  35. I’ve voted for Nico R, as per many others because frankly his whole weekend was excellent.

    P1 2nd – P2 5th -P3 3rd – Q 1st – R 1st

    Yes, he had the quickest car in Qualifying and possibly the quickest in the race but he put it to good use and made his strategy work well.

    I must mention Lewis though, his record across the weekend was arguably better than Nico’s just not in the most important part. The race.

    P1 1st – P2 2nd -P3 1st – Q 2nd – R 3rd

    He appeared to take the grid penalty in his stride, he still drove an excellent Quali lap beating MSC to second place, pre drop, even though the Mercedes appeared to be blisteringly quick. He started his race well, made up places, kept out of trouble and wound up with another good result to lead the WDC. If it weren’t for the penalty it’s hard to see how he wouldn’t have been at least second if not right on Nico’s tail.

    There were some other great drives but at the pointy end of the field those guys stood out to me.

  36. Matt (@agentmulder)
    17th April 2012, 3:50

    I can’t vote for anyone other than Nico. Mesmerizing in qualifying, on top form in the race, and credit to the Mercedes engineers for sorting the tire woes for the weekend.

    What will be interesting is come Bahrain, will Mercedes be able to adapt for the much hotter conditions? I worry we might see them slip back.

  37. Nico, he won the race with his qualifying lap.

    I think Jenson is the reason why Rosberg had gap he had and why Hamilton and Raikkonen got in troubles.

    Jenson was slower that Kimi and Lewis before first pit stop, allowing Mercedes to get away and putting pressure on tires of cars behind. Luckily McLaren got him out just before all the traffic nightmare, this is why he was impressive all race after that, not so lucky for other two. Kimi was stuck behind Massa for 9-10 laps loosing 1 second a lap and further stressing tires.

    I think this race could have been epic fight for 1st if Lewis or Kimi could have gotten 3rd during that lap instead of Jenson.

  38. Now I know where the majority of F1Fanatic followers stand on the Merc F – Duct.

  39. Nico for me dispite all of the supurb driving going on behind him. On a side note if ever there is a comeback team of the year vote surely williams will take that all day long after a great turn around so far this season.

  40. For me not to vote for Rosberg would seem silly considering how impressed I was with him this weekend..
    The only sad thing about that race was Schumi’s retirement, he could have easily got it on the podium by the looks of it! Whether or not Button could’ve caught him is another matter, but he should have had a podium…

    Well, we can hope…

  41. All this talk about it can only be Rosberg as “Driver of the Weekend”, if every person voted in the same way, as some feel they should, there would be no point in a poll. Maybe we could all save time and let Keith decide.
    Anyway, Rosberg, great all weekend, but it was a rather Vettle-ish performance. He won the advantage in qualifying, kept the advantage from the “Lights-Out” and maintained that advantage. There will be others on other days that will shine.
    I believe there were many drivers out there in this race that had to work a lot harder than Rosberg for their final positions. The joys of racing , Hey.
    Enjoy Bahrain every one, hot track, maybe there are more surprises in store….

    1. Anyway, Rosberg, great all weekend, but it was a rather Vettle-ish performance.

      And that’s why Rosberg was the best last weekend. He put everyone behind him in qualifying, and was the fastest in the race.

      1. Precisely my point. “Vettle-ish” refering to the fact that he was strong all weekend, qualified 1st and drove off into the distance. He was not really challenged by the rest of the field, they had all the other cars to play with.
        For me he performed great on two occasions;
        1: in Q3
        2: at the start.
        the rest was a show of how to drive away when unchallenged, mostly, which F1 drivers should be able to do when the opportunity presents itself.

  42. Its got to be Nico really – dominant in both Quali & Race.

    Both McLaren drivers drove solid, sensible races (what you expect from Button, refreshingly unexpected from Hamilton), and could have challenged for a win with a bit more luck, but it wasn’t to be. Overall it was Nico’s weekend.

  43. The 2% for Alonso made me chuckle, and then made me LOL, and then made me sad.

  44. Rosberg, without a doubt. He drove a solid race and didn’t buckle under pressure.

    He drove almost flawlessly during the race and continued to set competitive times right to the very end which is a tribute to his ability to look after the tyres this weekend. His qualifying lap was very smooth so all in all he was the driver of the weekend for me.

  45. Can’t see how it could possibly be anyone other than Rosberg. Dominated qualifying and then went on to win the race with plenty still in his pocket if he needed it. Or maybe not… But whatever the case, he did very well to handle his tyres so well and still thrash everyone.

  46. Matt Pearson
    18th April 2012, 4:53

    Nico Rosberg has to be the driver of the weekend. He showed that the Mercedes, which hasn’t done particularly well in the races, has the performance to be at the top. He not only won, he easily won.

  47. Has to be Rosberg. Peerless this weekend.

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