Vote for your Japanese GP driver of the weekend

2012 Japanese Grand Prix

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Which F1 driver had the best race weekend in Japan?

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

Japanese Grand Prix driver-by-driver

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel – Vettel was in imperious form at Suzuka. His qualifying effort was particularly special as he only needed one lap in each of the three parts to get the job done. However he was perhaps fortunate to only receive a reprimand after getting in Alonso’s way at the chicane. From pole he romped home to win by over 20 seconds and even enjoyed the luxury of being able to pit later than his closest rivals. He led every lap to complete the second perfect result of his career.

Mark Webber – Webber was not far off Vettel’s pace in qualifying and was unlucky to be taken out at turn two by Grosjean. Having reversed back onto the track he pitted for new tyres yet didn’t have time to join the safety car queue before the race restarted. In spite of this considerable setback he recovered to ninth, pitting just once more for tyres on the way.


Jenson Button – Qualified third and was relegated to eighth by his gearbox change. But he started well and got past Alonso on the run to the first corner. Elevated to third by the chaos in front of him, he was unable to jump past Kobayashi after suffering gearbox problems around the time of his first stop, which also helped Massa get past him. He finished fourth.

Lewis Hamilton – Felt he’d gone the wrong way on set-up in qualifying and started ninth. But halfway through the race he felt the car improve. “It was a bit of a struggle in the first stint – I had a lot of understeer – but after a while the car started turning again,” he said. “From that moment on, it felt really good, and I was able to push but it was too late to have much of an effect on the result.” The improvement in his lap times in the middle of his second stint can be seen here. His new-found confidence in the car allied to a superbly quick McLaren pit stop helped him pass Raikkonen for fifth.


Fernando Alonso – Was unfortunate to be inconvenienced by Raikkonen’s spin in qualifying and possibly lost more time because of Vettel at the chicane. In between Button and Raikkonen on the run too hard he didn’t leave quite enough room for the Lotus which got onto the grass and spun into him, puncturing his tyre and ending his race.

Felipe Massa – Looked quick in qualifying but missed Q3 for the tenth time this year. The first-lap crashes meant he immediately moved up to fourth, and he jumped Kobayashi and Button at the first pit stop for second. That was enough for his first visit to the podium in 36 races.


Michael Schumacher – Had a crash during practice and started 23rd on the grid due to his penalty from Singapore. As he moved through the field he made an excellent pass on Di Resta but couldn’t find a way by Ricciardo to claim the final point.

Nico Rosberg – Qualified 15th which became 13th after penalties but he retired after being hit by Senna at the first corner.


Kimi Raikkonen – Started seventh having spun during qualifying, delaying several drivers including Alonso. Then had contact with Ferrari at the first corner which put Alonso out. Raikkonen fended off an attack from Perez but had to surrender fifth place to Hamilton. Nonetheless extended his streak of points finished to 12 races.

Romain Grosjean – Out-qualifying Raikkonen on a drivers’ track like Suzuka was impressive. But another first-lap collision left him in the doghouse once again, and on the receiving end of a verbal dressing-down from Webber.

Force India

Paul di Resta – Developed a clutch problem on the formation lap which caused a poor start. He finished 12th.

Nico Hulkenberg – Had a minor crash during practice, as did his team mate. The team had to hurry to get his car ready for qualifying, but he repaid their efforts by reaching Q3. However a gearbox change penalty left him 15th on the grid. Moved up to eighth thanks to the first corner chaos, picked up another place from Perez and kept Maldonado at bay.


Kamui Kobayashi – With his place at Sauber rumoured to be under pressure, Kobayashi enjoyed a dream weekend on home ground. He claimed third on the grid and gained a place at the start despite having to run wide at turn two. Couldn’t prevent the faster Ferrari of Massa from jumping him in the pits, but Button was never able to try to make a move on him for third, and he duly claimed his first podium finish.

Sergio Perez – The focus of considerable attention following the announcement of his deal to drive for McLaren, Perez appeared to have vindicated the team’s decision when he passed Hamilton in fine style on lap six at the hairpin. But having lost the place in the pits he then threw his race away by spinning while trying to pass Hamilton again: “Lewis went quite late to the inside and I had only room on the outside,” he said. “But it certainly was my mistake.”

Toro Rosso

Daniel Ricciardo – Lost ninth place to the recovering Webber but held Schumacher off for his third points finish in four races. “I was really pleased to have won that battle,” he said. “It’s always tougher when you are the slower car in a duel, but with good advice from the pit wall on how to use the KERS to defend in the DRS zone, I managed it.”

Jean-Eric Vergne – Was penalised three places for holding up Senna in qualifying. Fell behind Kovalainen at the start as he had to avoid Rosberg’s spinning Mercedes. This cost him time in the first stint. He passed the Caterham in the second stint to finish 13th.


Pastor Maldonado – Kept his nose clean again and finally scored his first points since winning in Spain with eighth place.

Bruno Senna – As the field braked to avoid the Webber/Grosjean collision at the start Senna ran into the back of Rosberg, for which he was given a drive-through penalty. Passed Grosjean in fine style on the outside at the approach to 130R as he recovered to 14th pace.


Heikki Kovalainen – Passed Glock for 11th at the restart and briefly appeared in ninth place during the first pit stops. However he lost places to Vergne and Senna in the middle stint and finished 15th.

Vitaly Petrov – Finished behind Glock’s Marussia after his KERS developed a fault. He also got a drive-through penalty for failing to obey blue flags. “I also had a problem with the radio and couldn’t hear the blue flag calls and that ended up with the drive-through penalty,” he said.


Pedro de la Rosa – Impressively out-qualified Pic’s Marussia and Petrov’s Caterham. But couldn’t sustain the advantage over a race distance and was the last running car when the chequered flag came out.

Narain Karthikeyan – Retired when the team discovered a problem with the floor which was deemed a safety risk.


Timo Glock – Had a pre-race drama when he hit a wheel nut in the pits on his way to the grid and thought something had broken on his car. He was 11th during the safety car period having squeezed past Kovalainen in the Esses on the first lap. “I knew that would be short-lived because we were struggling a bit with traction out of the last corner and obviously they have KERS and we don’t,” he said. Kovalainen duly passed him, as did several others, nonetheless he finished just eight-and-a-half seconds behind the Caterham.

Charles Pic – Further off Glock’s pace than usual on a tough track for a rookie. Was in front of Petrov and the Marussias but lost time when he failed to stop properly in his pit box. Retired shortly afterwards with an engine failure.

Qualifying and race results summary

StartedGap to team mateLaps leading team matePittedFinishedGap to team mate
Sebastian Vettel1st-0.251s53/5321st-54.675s
Mark Webber2nd+0.251s0/5329th+54.675s
Jenson Button8th-1.037s50/5324th-21.392s
Lewis Hamilton9th+1.037s3/5325th+21.392s
Fernando Alonso6th-0.46s0/00
Felipe Massa10th+0.46s0/022nd
Michael Schumacher23rd-0.156s0/0211th
Nico Rosberg13th+0.156s0/00
Kimi Raikkonen7th+0.31s51/5126thNot on same lap
Romain Grosjean4th-0.31s0/51219thNot on same lap
Paul di Resta11th+0.055s0/53212th+32.301s
Nico Hulkenberg15th-0.055s53/5327th-32.301s
Kamui Kobayashi3rd-0.322s17/1823rd
Sergio Perez5th+0.322s1/181
Daniel Ricciardo14th-0.414s52/53210th-21.726s
Jean-Eric Vergne19th+0.414s1/53213th+21.726s
Pastor Maldonado12th-0.571s53/5328th-36.345s
Bruno Senna16th+0.571s0/53314th+36.345s
Heikki Kovalainen17th-0.775s52/52215th-49.258s
Vitaly Petrov22nd+0.775s0/52217th+49.258s
Pedro de la Rosa20th-1.349s27/32218th
Narain Karthikeyan24th+1.349s5/321
Timo Glock18th-0.216s37/37216th
Charles Pic21st+0.216s0/372

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 Japanese Grand Prix weekend?

  • Charles Pic (0%)
  • Timo Glock (0%)
  • Pedro de la Rosa (0%)
  • Narain Karthikeyan (0%)
  • Vitaly Petrov (0%)
  • Heikki Kovalainen (1%)
  • Bruno Senna (1%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (0%)
  • Jean-Eric Vergne (0%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (1%)
  • Sergio Perez (0%)
  • Kamui Kobayashi (39%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (0%)
  • Paul di Resta (0%)
  • Romain Grosjean (1%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (1%)
  • Nico Rosberg (0%)
  • Michael Schumacher (1%)
  • Felipe Massa (17%)
  • Fernando Alonso (0%)
  • Jenson Button (1%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (1%)
  • Mark Webber (3%)
  • Sebastian Vettel (33%)

Total Voters: 583

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2012 Japanese Grand Prix

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    Image © Red Bull/Getty images, Red Bull/Getty images, Sauber F1 Team, Williams/LAT

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    Keith Collantine
    Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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

    1. The stats tell me I should vote for Vettel with his fast practice sessions, qualifying on pole, getting the fastest lap and winning the race, but I’m going to vote for Kamui Kobayashi because he drove exceptionally well in a merely decent car and withstood the pressure from the very quick McLaren of Jenson Button to keep the podium position he so deserved.

      1. I absolutely agree with you. But I want to add one more thing. Not only the resistance to Button’s preasure, but also the preasue from the media(events), his incredibly busy week with the craziest fans around him. He was friendly to everybody even when he couldn’t even eat breakfast without being mobbed by the fans.

        1. Yeap..Agree. My mind was telling me Vettel but my heart was telling me Koby!

          It was a great drive from KK. Very measured and a concise. No mistakes, everything was perfect. He made a great pass on Vergne into the hair pin as well. I was impressed by how he left enough in the car for the final laps when the pressure was really on from Button.

          Wish KK all the best for next year. I really hope he is retained..or he gets a drive with a better car!

      2. To claim his maiden podium finish despite the pressure of the home crowd, with his future at Sauber in doubt and Jenson Button closing in on him late on required a drive of the highest calibre from Kobayashi

        1. Well said,. My heart was pounding hard during those last few laps.

          1. I voted, then scrolled down to comment and could not agree more with everything said about why he deserves the vote. I was standing up – sitting down – pounding there table – yelling when the camera’s went away to other drivers in those last few laps, cringing when DRS was enabled, “NO’s!” & “YES’s” when I saw lock-up smoke depending on who’s it was. When they came around the corner on the last lap for a moment I thought Button had gotten by because of the perspective “ARRGGH!!!” to “OH, WOOHOO!”. suffice it to say, very happy for the man. I’ve always cheered him on since his first year. Oddly enough, his passing verve always kinda reminded me of Alesi (a favorite) when he was starting out and I was quite pleased to see him on the podium giving the interviews. Also, kudos to Massa for a fine drive as well, ’bout time. As for Vettel, I have no opinion. I’d like to see him driving Rosberg’s car next year with my other “no comment” driver as a team mate.

    2. Very difficult to select between the 3 podium men plus Webber, but this has to go to Kamui Kobayashi. Outstanding pace throughout the weekend, with a car unable to match the pace of the Red Bull, and pressure from his team. He could actually be second but after his first stop he was unlucky to rejoin in traffic. His first podium is securing his place in the team I believe.

      1. agree…. unlucky to loose 2nd place due to traffic

      2. Many of us hope his first podium secures his future, but I don’t think we will find out until the last 2 or 3 races. My hope is this wont be his first and last podium in F1. Non of the other teams seem bothered about him, but if he had started his career in a McLaren they’d probably be raving about him.

    3. Sounds controversial, but I’ll stick my neck out for my main man….’s teammate. Felipe’s been properly on form, in my eyes, throughout the weekend. He was ahead of Fernando (no easy feat) in the first and third practice session, and (apparently Star Sports F1 commentator Steve Slater agrees with me on this) only missed out on Q3 due to bad luck.

      And with his drive to second place need I say more?

      1. Yep, Felipe went pretty under the radar because of Kobayashi, any other race and him driving from 10th to 2nd would have been highly lauded I think.

        Having said that I voted for Vettel, he made it look easy as usual.

      2. Being a big Hamilton fan, I haven’t had a lot of nice things to say about Massa the last year or two LOL But I have to say that even though Kamui deserves a big shout out for what he did, I had to put my vote to Massa. He either had to make this drive or it was almost certain his career was over.

        It will be interesting to see if this race gives him back the confidence he needs to be quick again. I think the “Alonso is faster than you” episode was even more damaging to him mentally/emotionally than the near fatal crash in Hungary.

        I was happy for him to see him back on top.

        1. Agreed I think Germany 2010 was far more damaging to his speed than the accident a year before. Crucially I think a 2nd place return to the podium, on a day when no one could have stopped Vettel, will be even more of a confidence boost.

    4. Sorry Vettel – Kobayashi needs this. You can have the championship

      1. Yes, if Kobayashi wins this poll then he will retain his Sauber drive I think…

        1. I didn’t know F1Fanatic polls have so much influence on Peter Sauber’s willingness to sign Kobayashi :P

          1. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
            8th October 2012, 14:21

            Have ever seen Keith Collantine and Peter Sauber in the same room together?
            Just thought I’d throw that out there :-)

      2. how would i vote cause om new

      3. Oh my, Vettel takes it for me. Pole + Fastest Lap + Win.

        But Kamui was brilliant.

        1. and led every lap

    5. The ‘best’ driver of the weekend is Sebastian Vettel. His qualifying performance was stunning, and after the restart he led comfortably, winning with the biggest margin this year. So let’s not get silly and vote for anyone else.

      As for the ‘complete package’: Kamui Kobayashi on the podium in front of his home crowd, under immense pressure from Button. It was great to witness that, and see the interaction between the ecstatic Japanese crowd and the modest Sauber driver on the podium. But I don’t think he is the driver of the weekend: Perez has done what Kobi did many times this season.

      A similar thing holds for Massa: this was the first race he drove up to Alonso-standards, which was great to see. It was his best race of the year so far (that’s for sure), but that tells more about his bad season than about his performance at Suzuka.

      Special mention to Pastor Maldonado: not only did he score his first points in eight races or so, but his pace was far better than most drivers in front of him. Unfortunately he got stuck behind Hulkenberg, which caused him to not score the point amount he deserved.

      1. Perez has put his car on the podium 3 times, correct.. Yes. However he never qualified in the top 10, ran the same strategy as the front runners, or had to drive on used tires on every one of his podiums. He drove well, but had the best strategy every time.

        Kamui qualfied in P4, Started P3, held P2 during the race for the first stint and only because Sauber were worried about Button pitting, he lost that place to Massa. Otherwise he might have had P2. The podium position came down to his ability, not some strategy.

        Lastly, if Perez continues to suck at Qualiifying @ McLaren he will never win a championship or really be in the championship race. I’m interested to see how next season pans out now. I just hope Kamui stays in F1 and has a chance to win. He is very capable.

        1. LJ explained perfectly how Perez has never done what Kobayashi did this weekend. With which I do not imply Kobayashi is the better driver per se, but this podium is much more impressive than Perez’, except Malaysia which was impressive for a different reason altogether.

      2. summed it up nicely. I know that Vettel deserves this one thoroughly, but really Kobayashi didn’t put a foot wrong either and to do it for the first time in front of this amazing crowd was what made it special (and fighting to keep his seat even more).

        So there goes Kamui.

    6. Voted for Seb. Cannot imagine who else. Kobayashi did very well, but you just can’t beat the grand slam (of course majority will be thinking otherwise)

      1. Sebastian Vettel will yet again be out-voted when he was overall the best driver. Kamui without doubt performed superbly, but Vettel dominated this weekend to an extent not seen since last year, not to mention the grand chelem.

        1. Yep, Kamui did brilliantly and I’m delighted for him, but you can’t say that trumps Vettel’s pole and grand chelem. He completely dominated the entire weekend. Kamui looks like winning it cos of that feel good factor he created.

          1. @colossal-squid exactly, Vettel isn’t a very popular driver amongst many (especially when he wins in that fashion) and people are quick to dismiss his dominance as being “because of the car”.
            Quite frankly, Vettel utilised his car to devastating effect; Massa started catching him by a few tenths a lap after the second stop then Vettel decided to set the fastest lap of the race to maintain the gap; that’s dominance.

            1. @vettel1 Bang on. I’ll never understand how people can’t grasp how rare and special it is to see car and driver working so well together. I’m a Ferrari/Alonso man myself, but when you crush everyone so thoroughly as Vettel did, you can’t help but appreciate it.
              People do say ‘it’s all the car’ but I’ve yet to see Mark Webber dominate in such fashion (although his Monaco performance in 2010 was close).

          2. jsw11984 (@jarred-walmsley)
            9th October 2012, 2:59

            Personally, I don’t look at these polls as who was the overall best driver because normally thats whoever wins, I vote for who ever I feel managed to perform to their best, or do something surprising. I.e Perform beyond their normal expectations, and for me, given 2010 & 2011, a grand chlem for Vettel doesn’t rate higher than a 2nd for Massa, or 3rd for Kamui, its all relative to expected performance in my opinon.

      2. Not sure if it’s popularity as much as the perception that Vettel doesn’t necessarily what people call “outperform the car”, but rather just has a superior car.

        I agree with you though, that Vettel was the outstanding performer this weekend.

        1. I hate the term outperform the car; it’s physically impossible to do so.
          You can extract more performance from the car, but you can’tmake a car go faster around a race track than it will allow

      3. I voted Vettel, but that was not my initial plan. But looking into the stats of the Grand Chelem, I couldn’t vote for Kobi.

        Having said that, I entirely agree when Kobi becomes DOTW. If your home crowd chants Kah-Mu-Ih Kah-Mu-Ih for you, you also deserve it!

    7. It was touching to see Massa and Kobayashi on the podium and I have no doubts that they both more than deserved it and that their performances were outstanding. But Vettel gets my vote as his performance this weekend, including pushing until the very end of the race, was exceptional even by his standards.

    8. Vettel… pole, fastest lap and the win… he totally dominated the whole race and even after the pace car wasn’t under any kind of threat.

    9. Sebastian Vettel (22%)

      I think this poll shows how great driver Sebastian Vettel is. He drove brilliantly, dominating all weekend and achieving a grand slam – and yet most of voters aren’t impressed. Any other driver with a similar weekend would be up to 70%.

      1. Haven’t you heard, though? It’s all about the car! In fact, all he had to do was get in, push the “win pole”/”win race” button, depending on which day it was, and sit back and enjoy the ride. (Note: that button has not been installed in Webber’s car, and please don’t mention its existence to him. He’d probably be pretty put out.)

        1. LOL!

          I believe Lotus have a similar if slightly more crude device in their car, it’s a brick that Grosjean places on his pedal, it’s also handy if an angry Australian is running after you :)

          I had to go for Vettel, I can understand why people went for Kobayashi, a great drive with so much on the line, but really Grand Chellems are rare no matter what car you’re driving, that deserves respect!

          1. Lotus haven’t ever use that device in any qualifying or race. Only in FP1 in Germany, Hungary and Japan.

      2. Zantkiller (@)
        8th October 2012, 14:17

        Yeah but most weekends don’t have the other 2 podium spots taken up by underdogs and one of the most loved drivers on the grid.

        1. I’m slightly confused now. Are we voting for the Japanese Grand Prix driver of the weekend or the underdog of the weekend?

          Sure, Kobayashi was impressive and he’s one of my favorite divers. Massa was finally driving like a Ferrari driver and that’s great too. But when it comes to the best it should be no contest. Vettel absolutely dominated this weekend and he gets my vote, even though I’m not a fan of him.

          1. Zantkiller (@)
            8th October 2012, 15:01

            Yes but all internet polls are glorified popularity polls.

            And Vettel is not popular.

            1. Which says more about the voters than it does about the drivers.

            2. All polls are popularity polls, that is exactly what polls measure. :)

              Unless I missed the official F1Fanatic decree which lists quantitative methods to drive for a specific driver, I’m voting for whoever left the best impression over the weekend. It’s never been my impression that whoever has the best stats should be voted driver of the weekend. Yes, Vettel was once again magnificent around this amazing track, but there are plenty of reasons to judge other drivers otherwise. It’d be boring if it’s just a statistical representation of the results – keith could do that without input.

              Kobayashi’s seat is being questioned, drives an inferior car with the additional pressure of a home crowd and in spite of all that drives a great race while fending off Button for 10 laps to his first ever podium.

              Aside from sentiment, there is plenty of rationale to vote for a driver with less than statistical dominance over a weekend. I voted for Kobayashi, and I am an admirer of Vettel including this performance. :)

          2. hello, it s been said a many times that you choose who YOU think performed the best over the W/E not who is the obvious winner, otherwise it wouldnt be a poll but just a simple statment.
            Moreover performance and being the best driver is also about what a driver accomplishes compared to its usual perfs. For example if you saw NARAIN KARTHIKEYAN going into Q2 and then making into the points you would go WOOOW that was the drive of his life and he would get high ratings in DOTW.
            thats what happens here with Kobayashi and to a lesser extent Massa.

            1. @ben
              We are told to “[c]ompare all the drivers’ performances below and vote for who you think was the best driver of the Japanese Grand Prix weekend.”

              It doesn’t say anything about comparing drivers’ performance to what they usually achieve. It’s about who was the best driver of the weekend, which isn’t the same as who won the race, but grand slams are very rare and Vettel was untouchable this weekend.

              If Karthikeyan would go to Q2 and make into the points, he’d surely be DOTW. But not because he usually performs badly, but because making into points is remarkable achievement with HRT car. Any Lotus, Marussia or HRT driver classifying in top 10 would most likely be DOTW.

              Of course everyone has their opinions, but I think almost every active F1Fanatic would agree with the statement that any other driver achieving what Vettel did this weekend (including Mark Webber) would’ve recieved up to 70% of votes. Does anyone disagree with that?

            2. Oups, I meant @dubaemon

      3. I kniow, right? I had to go back and check the DVR, to make sure I watched the same race as everyone else.

    10. I vote for massa he did a great job

    11. Grosjean 2% !? Seriously?

      1. @andae23 At the moment it says 1% from 97 votes, so this is one person.

        1. Still, it’s shocking someone actually thinks that of all 24 drivers, Grosjean was the best!

          1. @andae23 I think you missed Spa DOTW, he got 2% from ~500 odd votes as far as I remember.

            1. @vickyy – I think that’d be due to the fact he took out Alonso more than anything!

          2. exactly what I was thinking

          3. One Italian publication recently ran a pole and Massa was rated 24/24 drivers this year – even behind the Kart!

            You could argue Grosjean qualified superbly – ahead of his experienced team mate and may have won the race had Webber not turned in on him.

            1. and may have one the race had Webber not turned in on him

              There are two things wrong with that statement: first, Webber didn’t turn in on him, he crashed into Webber. Two, he didn’t win the race, in actual fact he finished well back (and had no realistic chance even without the 10 second stop-go penalty which he thoroughly deserved).

            2. There is a third thing wrong too: spelling – it should be ‘won’ not ‘one’.

    12. The result should be:

      1. Vettel: Grand chelem
      2. Massa: impressive all weekend except for Q2. 2nd from 10th
      3. Kobayashi: 3rd in quali, 3rd in the race. At home.

      I voted for Massa ‘cos he’s my fav driver.

      1. I dont always vote for Massa. It’s perhaps the 2nd time this season. But I want to see him in the top three, he deserves it now,

        1. One Italian publication recently ran a pole and Massa was rated 24/24 drivers this year – even behind the Kart!

          You could argue he qualified superbly – ahead of his experienced team mate and may have won the race had Webber not turned in on him.

          1. Massa qualified behind Alonso, and how would he have won if Webber didn’t turn in on him?

            1. this has ended up in the wrong link.

              Sentence 2 was re:Grosjean

    13. You really can’t get any better over the race weekend. So, Seb for me!

    14. Traverse Mark Senior (@)
      8th October 2012, 14:25

      I voted for Kobayashi. Seeing as it’s his final year in F1, we may as well throw him a carrot.

      1. Pffft. Final year my ass. He’s outscored Maldonado and Senna who have had a car capable of winning races. I think this media rumour about his seat being insecure is started by the media and fueled by the media. Monisha has hinted many times shes very happy with Kobayashi, I think they are just playing motivational and mind games with him to get the best out of him. They’ve set the goal to get 5th in constructors, if he helps them achieve that his seat is guaranteed, even if they miss out I think they’ll offer him another contract as he has helped develop the car and they will want that continuity.

    15. I’m voting for Vettel (Grand Chelem and all that), but this is a very tough one. Apart from Alonso’s move at the start at Perez’s somewhat inexperienced move(s), there weren’t bad performances in this race: plenty of drivers either did a nice job of getting through the field (Massa, Webber) or had a solid drive all the way (Koba).

    16. Am I right in saying that Vettel has not won a driver of the weekend poll all year even though he has won 3 races now?????

      Put that in your pipe & smoke it finger boy

    17. my vote goes to Felipe

    18. Heart says Kamui, head says Vettel. Voted Vettel, it pains me to say it but he was magnificent this weekend. With the RB8 going like it is at the moment he’s all but won the title now.

      1. @GeeMac Yes, the last weekend very much reminded me of the 2011 season. On the other hand, Red Bull looked unbeatable in Valencia as well but, a race later, it was a completely different story. So it’s as always – hoping for the best but expecting the worst :)

        1. Pretty much what I’m doing! Resigned to the fact that he’ll win it, but hoping like he’ll he won’t!

    19. Unfortunately, there’s only 1 driver this can go to in my opinion, and that’s Vettel.
      Massa didn’t get a good Quali, and while drove a brilliant start and first stint, was completely absent for most of the weekend..
      Kobayashi is the other obvious contender, but I feel that Vettel was obviously up there on Friday aswell as great performances in Quali (and obviously the race). Kobayashi drove a great weekend and he’d have got my vote without a doubt if Vettel hadn’t seemed so in control from the start.

    20. Seb’s been there, done that, do it again next weekend…

      It was Kamui’s first podium in a race where he could show not just his speed, but defensive and tire management skills, under the expectant eyes of his Japanese fans.
      He withstood the pressure and got the podium he deserves, and my vote.

    21. Vettel deserves this but, as perfect as his weekend was, it just doesn’t weigh as much as Koba’s performance: great quali, great race, survived direct pressure from Button, podium at his home GP and a result that might just get him a new contract with Sauber.

      Vettel and Massa are both serious contenders for DoTW here, but Koba just looks more deserving of winning this one…that’s all.

    22. @keithcollantine I think people are confused by the title of this article.
      Kobayashi certainly was the best “Japanese GP driver of the weekend” but Vettel was the best “Driver in the Japanese GP this weekend”
      Might need some clarification there ;)

      1. haha, nice catch

      2. In that case, Button should have received a bit more than 0% of votes, he’s got a Japanese girlfriend after all…

        1. No no no @girts!! It’s Japanese GP not Japanese GF!! Good God the confusion!!

          Although a driver Girlfriend Poll would be a good addition ;)

          1. +1,
            We want a driver Girl-/boyfriend Poll;-)

      3. @mw Another reason why you should never just read the headline and nothing else :-)

    23. It’s very difficult not to go with Vettel on this one. Kobayashi and Massa were emotionnal welcome feats but the man of the week end definitively was Vettel. He was running in a league of his own and was very reminiscent of 2011 Super-Vettel we never really liked voting for ! And now as then, I have to acknowledge utter dominance when I see it.

    24. As there is only one Japanese driver in F1 the answer to the pole “Vote for your Japanese GP driver of the weekend” has to be Kamui Kobayashi.

      1. +1, I thought the same, then reading the headline twice to grasp it.

    25. Filipe Massa

    26. I had it in mind whenever Vettel would win, I would vote him, but again I voted other, here Kamui.
      I suppose it is due to his 2011 dominance that we take his wins for granted.

    27. Massa was brilliant all the race. Comparing what he has done till now, I was surprised. If he deserves a place in Ferrari for the next season?…complicated.

    28. Has to be Kamui. The poduim ceremony was one of the most amazing I’ve seen and he got there by putting his car above the McLarens, Ferraris, & Lotuses in qualifying and managed to stay there. Hope he’ll stick around next year.

    29. Can’t understand the Massa votes. His performance was adequate nothing more. He did well to keep out of the first corner trouble but thats about it he was consistently average. This does however stand out from his terrible performances this year but surely doesn’t surpase the heroics and dogged determination of Kobayashi defence? I can even see the merit in voting for vettel but the massa votes must come from die hard narrow minded ferrari fans.

    30. The top three were all amazing: Vettel’s Grand Chelem was impressive but he had no pressure during the race as Alonso and Webber spun out and the McLarens were slow. Despite the great result, perhaps we are more used to it.
      Massa was very fast in qualifying but unlucky in Q2. He avoided everyone and became fourth on lap 1, and by pushing very hard he overtook two cars in the pits. Then he kept going for most of the time on Vettel’s laptimes despite an inferior car. The result is great as it comes after a long period of bad luck/results, not because of te result itself. Massa was great but if he drove like this every race my vote would go to Vettel.
      Kobayashi had a great result in qualifying and kept going all race long. Despite Sauber being on a high-note this weekend he had to push to keep Button behind, and he did so. My vote goes to him because his car wasn’t fast enough to deserve a podium but he drove brilliantly and took his first podium after two-and-a-half years in F1.

    31. It’s gonna be close!

    32. Voted massa
      But it should be vettel i voted massa because he has the same base as vettel in some times and we all know vettel was in another planet

    33. Voted for Vettel. The Pole, The Win and The Fastest Lap. Massa did well too – a decent result finally. Kobayashi also worthy of a mention. He’s finally had some luck go his way.

    34. Webber gets my vote for his mega catch-up drive

    35. I would have voted for Vettel, but it just had to be Kobayashi.

      Outqualified his teammate by a pretty decent margin at a track like Suzuka, and in the race dealt with the pressure of Button incredibly well.

      Nonetheless it was two very good drives by both Vettel and Massa also. Also, who swapped the Williams drivers around?

      1. Oh, and Webber and Schumacher too, very solid drive by them from the back

    36. As much as I want to vote for Kamui, and as ecstatic as I was that he finished on the podium, Vettel was untouchable. Even with the Red Bull being as good as it is, his weekend was absolutely perfect. No one could touch him. Even after pit stops he led because of how far into the lead he was.

    37. I’m normally tempted to vote for a surprise podium finisher as opposed to the ‘standard’ winner on the the top step of the podium. What’s more, Felipe’s and Kamui’s podiums were both great stories after very strong weekends from both drivers.

      This time, however, I will vote for Sebastian Vettel. He was simply in a different league all of Saturday and Sunday.

    38. A lot of people are writing: I voted Massa/Kobayashi, but Vettel should win this poll. Come on people: you vote for the driver that deserves to win this poll, and if you think that’s Vettel, then vote for him!

      Secondly: Vettel’s performance can’t get any better than he has shown this weekend. Now, if you still don’t think Vettel was the best driver of the weekend (like 64% does), then: what else can Vettel do to win your vote? I mean: come on people!

      1. Leading every lap while starting from the back? ;-)

        1. davidnotcoulthard
          9th October 2012, 0:08

          Winning in a P34?

      2. Well, some would say…
        When he wins, “it’s because of the car”
        When he doesn’t win, “it’s because he’s an average driver”

    39. Voted for Kamui. Was tempted to vote Vettel but in my opinion Kamui drove a better weekend outperforming his McLaren bound team mate Sergio Perez.

      I’d like to like Vettel actually but while he insists to wave his finger in an arrogant style, I cannot find myself to give him any support.

    40. I can see arguments being made for Vettel, Massa, and Kobayashi, but 2% for Hamilton, the same as Webber (who qualified P2 and came back from dead last to 9th?). I know there are people who can see no wrong with Hamilton, but Jenson has 0% and he had a better qualifying session and result than Hamilton.


      1. I couldnt agree more. By his own admission, he made the wrong call on crucial set-up decisions. Im pretty sure even Hamilton himself wouldnt even claim to be driver of the weekend!

    41. I’m voting for Kobayashi over Vettel for the same reason that I voted for Perez over Hamilton: One driver turned up in the best car and did a thoroughly professional job all weekend, and the other driver maximised his performance from the car for the entire race and held is own excellently in the field. Plus Kamui did a good job in qualifying to boot.

    42. While I wont begrudge those who’ve voted for Vettel – I mean, come on, he really made it look easy all weekend – I think there are more compelling reasons to vote for Kobayashi, even aside from the sentimental aspect.

      Obviously the Red Bull was looking quite formidable this weekend, as evidenced by the front row lockout in qualifying, where Vettel out-paced Webber by 0.251 seconds. On top of that, Webber was taken out by Grosjean, which meant that nobody had the equipment to challenge or even threaten Vettel during the race.

      Meanwhile Kamui out-qualified his (deservedly) highly-rated, McLaren-bound teammate by an even larger margin, and even nabbed second place with a very quick start. He couldnt do anything about the superior race pace of Massa’s Ferrari, but he matched or bettered Button’s McLaren for the first two stints and gave it all he had to stay in front in the final few laps.

      I’m not saying Vettel had room for improvement, but he wasnt challenged at all on Sunday, whereas Kamui truly shined under immense pressure.

    43. Timo Glock… again… the most underrated driver in F1. Seriously, 1%?… and that was me!

    44. Hard to choose between the top three, but on cold facts alone, I’ll give it to Vettel. Thankfully all three of them are miles ahead of everyone else in the poll, so it doesn’t matter too much.

    45. There were lots of good performances over the weekend, Kobayashi and Massa in particular.
      I’ve voted Vettel because he really did dominate, there wasn’t really anything more he could have done to be any better!

    46. I find it impossible not to vote for Sebastian. Flawless victory.

    47. I voted for Vettel because he was one league of his own. This was maybe the most dominant weekend ever for Vettel.
      Quallify : 1 run for each Quallify stage , and in all 3 first .bang – bang – bang ..pole
      race : never lost the lead , over 20 sec gap from second, fastest lap in the end of the race where he didn’t had to push anymore.
      What else should this guy do to win ONCE this poll ?
      I wanted to see Webber fighting in the top spots to see if he could match Vettels times.
      Red Bull was without doubt the best car of the weekend but this performance from Vettel wasn’t only due to the car, i think.
      The onboard video from his quallifying lap was amazing. Did anyone else drove through all the esses with 5th gear , first degner with 6th….??
      Massa drove his best race in the last 2 years , but except from the good result i didn’t see him do something special in the race. In the first stint he was behind kamui holding a steady gap an didn’t try even to close that gap.
      After the pits it was the opposite, with kamui this time to compromise with 3rd and didn’t wanna risk anything.
      The only substantial was his defense to Button in the 8 last laps. Which wasn’t too difficult in my opinion because the shortened DRS zone this year was totally useless.
      Another factor is that Sauber had a very quick car in this track , maybe even better than mclaren. Perez overtook one time Hamilton and probably would do it again if he didn’t done that mistake, breaking late.
      Kamui is a good driver and this was his first podium, and even more in his home soil. But even so i can’t compare his performance nor Massa’s performance by that of Vettel.

    48. Vettel had a perfect weekend, my vote is for him. It is without doubt the best modern world champion, after Schumacher.
      A normal race with Massa with a fast car and his best result in two years, but not much more than that.
      Kobayashi also had a very good race and was great to see him at the podium in his country.

    49. OmarR-Pepper (@)
      8th October 2012, 20:33

      HAHA!!!! Yes, I imagined that even when Sebastian Vettel has got EVERYTHING this weekend, the voters would find a way for not voting for him. Kobayashi drive was great but Vettel hass a GRANS SLAM! Your votes please…

    50. Vettel. As simple as that. Pole, fastest lap and victory.
      Quite surprised with Massa behind Kamui in the voting, he came from tenth to second in the race and Kamui was 3rd on the grid and 3rd at the finish, a good result, but not as good.

      1. Massa blew it in Q2 when he looked set to outqualify Alonso for once
        Kobayashi was on it all weekend

    51. My drivers of weekend would b in same order as they finished.
      1. Sebestian Vettel
      2. Felipe Massa
      3. Kamui Kobayashi

    52. Has to be Seb.

    53. Vettel did absolutely everything right – he made it look effortless. In fact, I suspect it virtually was effortless for him! But sorry Seb, I voted for Kamui, who under pressure for his drive next year, drove his heart out and came good in front of his home fans.

    54. This podium epitomizes what is great about F1. A case can be made for Vettel, Massa and Kobayashi, and each for such different, yet important reasons.

      It was a true champions drive for Vettel, with authority and perfection throughout.

      It was a career saving, confidence boosting, return to form for Massa.

      It was a Hometown hero, fight to finish for Kobayashi.

      It was hard for me to choose, but in the end I picked Massa, as I’m sure Kamui will most deservedly win this poll anyway :)

    55. Koboyashi getting his first podium was wonderful. I was cheering him to the end. And hearing the crowd chant Kamui at the podium ceremony was one of my favourite moments of the year.

      However, the vote is for driver of the weekend, not favourite moment. And DOTW simply has to go to Vettel, even though he had the fastest car. That advantage didn’t stop (for example) Button winning DOTW in Spa, and it shouldn’t stop Vettel here.

      Frankly, you can’t do any more than put the car on pole, lead every lap, set the fastest lap and cross the line first. So Vettel from me, because even though he is not my favourite driver, the poll is for what you do in the car, and I don’t see how his performance could have been any more perfect.

    56. I know Kamui drove really well at suzuka in front of his people with all the extra pressure but no way he can be ahead of Vettel in this poll. Seb destroyed all the other drivers on qualy and no one could match his pace at race.

    57. I feel only three drivers has mistake free weekends; Vettel, Kobayashi and Ricciardo.

      Massa drove a fantastic race and would be my vote for Driver of the Day but a mistake in Quali cost him a place in Q3 and DOTW

      Although Kobayashi’s podium was absolutely wonderful to see, I don’t think he got the most out of the Sauber, I was disappinted how fast he dropped behind both Vettel and Massa. He was lucky Alonso and Webber were taken out, because his pace wasn’t as impressive as I had expected.

      DOTW is down to Vettel and Ricciardo for me. Vettel was flawless all weekend and romped to victory, he deserves to win Driver of the Weekend, but I’m voting Ricciardo as I feel he is equally deserving but won’t get any recognition. The Toro Rosso is well behind the other cars but he qualified well and hauled the car into the points with superb defence from Schumacher at the end.

    58. One an average weekend, it would be Vettel. Fast in practice sessions, quickest in all 3 qualifying segments, led every single lap and a flap.

      But then again, Kamui, by Sauber’s above average standards, had an equally good weekend. Strong practice sessions, 4th in qualifying, made a lightning start, and finished third. In fact, he’d have finished 2nd if not for Sauber pitting him into traffic.

      PS: I know, many would say that Perez has done this before, but remember, in each of those occasions, Perez qualified poorly, and started on an alternate strategy that allowed him to progress. Here, Kamui took the bull by the horns, almost literally.

    59. Has to be Sebastian Vettel. And sadly it won’t be him… Again. I have no love for the guy myself, but the fact that in Singapore people voted Hamilton, who did not even finish half the race, on the premise that he would have won had his gearbox not failed and that he got pole. Here Seb has ticked not just one or 2 but ALL of the boxes. Kamui drove well sure, Massa benefitted like Nico Hulkenberg from the 1st corner melee, but Sebastian dominated. I will disagree with anyone who says Sauber is an inferior car and that makes Kamui’s podium special. The fact is that Sauber has been one of the strongest cars for most of the season. Thus I could argue that the podium was more the car than the driver.

      I think this poll will only reflect how unpopular Vettel is. That many would want to find a reason not to vote for him. Everyone is entitled to their opinion as well and it is somewhat fair to vote for a driver you like or not vote for one you dislike. But taking Singapore into consideration I think Vettel should be DOTW.

    60. Vetel had the clear air, Massa benefited from the first lap drama and Traffic, KK race for his future in F1.

      My vote goes to KK.

      1. fair call, but Vettel was racing for the title. Is that not pressure?

        1. Since he already has 2 titles under his belt, and he had a relatively easy race from the front with no pressure on him, yes. It’s not to belittle his ability, but when Red Bull get their car right they seem to have a huge advantage over the rest and it doesn’t matter if it’s Webber or Vettel.. Usually Vettel is more consistent at getting everything out of the car.

          KK on the other hand, might not even be in F1 next year, people only look at his race results and ignore his qualifying and bad luck. Suzuka was the first weekend in his career where nothing went wrong for him. Great Quali, clean race. And he showed his quality by withstanding pressure from Button at the end. If he doesn’t get a drive next year while Perez is at Mclaren, I think I will be sick.

    61. Had to vote for Kamui. He’s a top driver. Like I said in previous posts, I had the privilege of seeing these guys in lower formula racing here in Macau. Kamui has “it”. completely outclassed everyone in this demanding city circuit when he raced here, even though he didn’t won the Sunday’s race (Won the Saturday one, though). Back to Suzuka, Lets not forget he qualified in 4th but had to reduce pace due to yellow flags. He completely outclassed Sergio Perez (the guy with my name.) The race was flawless. Hope to see him in a bigger team. Would love to see him in a Ferrari or Red Bull. Also hope this result gives him a boost in sponsors. Again, Imagine him in a Red Bull… Would love to see Kamui with a car capable of challenging championships!

    62. I voted for Vettel, although I would have loved to have voted for Kobayashi. Vettel was just on stellar form and so was the Red Bull team. If it wasn’t for Grosjean Webber most definitely would have been up there in 2nd come the end of the race.

      Perfect result for Vettel at the perfect time. I can see him taking this momentum and the title too after this weekend. Alonso doesn’t have a chance unless Ferrari can provide some major upgrade.

      I am so happy for Kobayashi and the perfect place for him to get his 1st podium. I think it could have been better if they pitted him earlier to stop Massa getting out in front of him so that’s why I chose Vettel instead.

    63. I think I am amongst many who found it a somewhat difficult choice between those guys on the podium for this race.

      Given that, despite an honourable mention, Massa won’t get it – he drove a great race (as he has done whenever Alonso isn’t in it …) and he’d have been in contention has he made it out of Q2, but he didn’t. A good effort, especially with his contract undoubtedly being under pressure, I hope he can show more of it this year – who knows Ferrari might even catch Mclaren in the WCC if he does!

      So that leaves Kobayashi and Vettel. Vettel did superb and got that 2nd “grand shlem”, amazing achievement and he was untouchable. It is unfair to his achievement really that I feel like giving it to Kobayashi, who hadn’t gotten a chance to show his worth before, but tried to in Spa where it was taken out of his hands. As other said, he is always great with fans, and showed it here too in his home country. And too, with his contract seemingly uncertain.

      Since he has a healthy lead over Vettel at this moment so that he’d come 2nd at the least, I think I’ll stick to the guy that really might have won a bit of the driver of the weekend this year and last, if we hadn’t been so used to his amazing performances already that it often seems nothing special from him, namely Vettel.

    64. it can only be finger boy. perect race, perfect quali, so a no brainer for driver of the weekend.
      if we were voting on driver of the race, then i’d have probably gone for kobi, massa or webber.

    65. Sometimes people forget Kobayashi qualified 4th on a SAUBER, beating Ferrari, Mercedes, Mclaren, a Red Bull and a Lotus in the process, as well as his highly rated team mate, something he has been doing consistently. What would be a more perfect qualifying than this for someone on a midfield car with half or less than half the budget of the top teams? Yes, Pastor did some stelar performances on the Williams, but Williams is a legendary F1 team with a Championship winning infrastructure- its one of the most successful teams in the sport, they probably have a Championship contender of a car if it was not from their drivers inexperience. But Sauber? It has even less ressources than Williams. Should be a team close to the likes of Force India or Toro Rosso… They have a good, aerodynamically competent car, but nothing extraordinary. Kobayashi since he entered F1 has nothing but impressed. Remember his stellar performance on his debut at Toyota? He has been consistent ever since. His luck (and his nerves) have done him some harm this year, but I sense after this race we are going to see a different, more composed and capable Kobayashi. His morale and confidence should have risen. I sense 2 or 3 more podiums coming up for him, if the Frightening Red Bull form in Suzuka (so much quicker in the fastest lap at the end!) is here to stay!

    66. This poll is simply ridiculous… Registered just to vote, so that Keith can’t say that I complain but don’t vote. Voted for Vettel, because he left everyone else scratching their head.

    67. It’s very close between Vettel and Kobayashi at the moment.

      I went with Kobayashi. I think he did a solid job and coped well with the added pressure of a McLaren on his tail.

    68. A case can be made each of the guys on the podium. But if I go by Keith’s headline and subsequent sentences, I see it this way.

      Vote for your Japanese GP driver of the weekend

      Which F1 driver had the best race weekend in Japan?

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

      I voted KOBAYASHI.

    69. I was tempted to vote for Kobayshi after he got his first podium at his home GP, but it has to be Vettel for me never, stuck it on pole and never looked troubled during the race.

      Although I am not really a fan of his it was nice to see Massa back on the podium, hopefully this return to form is permanent and not temporary.

    70. Grosjean. LOL!

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