Vote for your Abu Dhabi GP driver of the weekend

2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Which F1 driver had the best race weekend in Abu Dhabi?

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

Abu Dhabi Grand Prix driver-by-driver

Red Bull

Sebastian Vettel – Quickest on Friday, then qualified third despite being delayed by a technical problem in final practice. But was sent to the back of the grid after the stewards couldn’t get enough fuel out of his car.

Changed his set-up, started from the pits and was 11th when the safety car came out. Swerving to avoid Ricciardo he damaged his front wing for a second time and had to pit. Quickly passed Grosjean (twice), Di Resta, Senna, Ricciardo, Schumacher and others and ran second after the leaders pitted. Needed a second pit stop but the fortunate reappearance of the safety car brought him back within range of Button, who he passed for third.

Mark Webber – Joined Hamilton on the front row of the grid but made a poor start and fell to fourth, then was passed by Alonso. Tangled with Maldonado while trying to pass the Williams for third, losing three places. Went off the track while overtaking Massa, who then spun, but the stewards decided against a penalty. Got ahead of Maldonado through the pits but was caught up in the Di Resta/Perez/Grosjean collision and retired with damage.


Jenson Button – Was surprised at the gap to Hamilton in qualifying, most of which came in the last sector (half a second). Was passed by Alonso at the start and although he later overtook Maldonado he couldn’t keep Vettel behind at the end and slipped to fourth.

Lewis Hamilton – Planted his car on pole position for the sixth time this year – more than any other driver (and not counting the one he lost in Spain). Made a clean start but almost lost his lead with an error at turn eight on lap two. From there he pulled away again, including after the safety car period, until a fuel pressure problem forced him to retire from the lead on lap 20.


Fernando Alonso – Ferrari’s failure to improve its car’s pace was clear as he lined up behind a Williams and a Lotus.

He started well, gaining two places, but a mistake after the first safety car meant he was fending off Webber when he should have been pressing Maldonado, whose KERS had just failed. He eventually passed the Williams and closed on Raikkonen in the dying stages of the race, but time ran out for him to launch an attack.

Felipe Massa – Massa began to slip back towards the end of his first stint and was passed by Perez, but the team decided to keep him out. His race took a turn for the worst when he spun at turn 13 while racing Webber for position. “He cut the chicane and came back across the track, forcing me to spin to avoid hitting him,” Massa complained, but the stewards decided it was a racing incident. He held off Senna and Di Resta for seventh.


Michael Schumacher – Schumacher made an error with his KERS in Q2 which left him 13th on the grid. He got into the top ten at the start and was in the hunt for points until a puncture dropped him out of seventh place.

Nico Rosberg – Rosberg’s third first-lap incident in four races damaged his front wing and forced him to pit. While recovering he crashed into Kartyhikeyan when the HRT driver suddenly slowed: “There was no time for me to react and I’m very thankful that we are both fine,” he said.


Kimi Raikkonen – Said the car felt at its best in qualifying and took fourth place, his highest starting position since Belgium. Translated that into second when Webber made a poor start, then took over the lead when Hamilton retired.

Had to ward off a serious attack from Alonso in the closing laps, and had just enough in hand to pull clear of the DRS zone on the final tour. “I’m happy, but there’s nothing to jump around about,” he said in typically laconic style. “We still have a few races to go, I’ll try to do the same again.”

Romain Grosjean – Not for the first time this year he came limping back into the pits at the end of lap one with damage – in this case, a puncture. But there were no penalties this time and even Rosberg, who he tangled with, considered it a racing incident.

Having fallen to last, Lotus elected to pit him again during the first safety car period. After 28 laps his soft tyres were beginning to wilt and he came under simultaneous pressure from Di Resta and Perez. The two passed him with DRS heading to turn 11, then both went off the track and Grosjean collided with Perez as the Sauber came back on. Webber clipped the Lotus as well, ending Grosjean’s race for good.

Force India

Paul di Resta – Made a rapid start and got past his team mate but squeezed Hulkenberg too much, putting the other Force India out and picking up a puncture himself. Like Grosjean he pitted under the first safety car but he switched to the more durable medium tyres. Pitting again under the second safety car dropped him from fifth to eleventh, but he made up two places to claim some points.

Nico Hulkenberg – Out-qualified Di Resta for the fourth race in a row but was pushed into Senna at the start and crashed out.


Kamui Kobayashi – Started 15th after struggling with brake locking but avoided the first-lap collisions to holds eighth at the start of lap two. Perez passed him shortly afterwards, but Kobayashi stayed out of trouble to finish sixth, despite a gearshift problem limiting his ability to use KERS. He is now just eight points behind Perez in the drivers’ championship.

Sergio Perez – Looked on course for another good result after running a 30-lap first stint on soft tyres which included a pass on Massa. Briefly second, he emerged from his pit stop behind Grosjean and Di Resta. But an ill-judged move in returning to the track in front of Grosjean triggered a multi-car crash and earned him a costly ten-second stop-go penalty.

Toro Rosso

Daniel Ricciardo – Was running 11th when Vettel appeared behind him and nearly ran into him during the first safety car period. “I looked in my mirrors and saw him go through one of the polystyrene boards, but I have no idea what happened,” he said. Was jumped by Di Resta and Senna during his pit stop, falling to tenth.

Jean-Eric Vergne – Went out in Q1 for the eighth time this year after spinning at the penultimate corner. He switched to medium tyres during the first safety car period but had to pit for fresh tyres later on, eradicating the potential advantage and leaving him 12th at the end.


Pastor Maldonado – Qualified an excellent third and held the place until his KERS failed. After that he came under attack and was passed by Alonso and Button. Webber also tried a move but the pair tangled – the Red Bull driver not leaving enough space for Maldonado. Still had enough speed to come home fifth.

Bruno Senna – Delayed by Hulkenberg’s Force India going off at turn one, he fell to 19th on the first lap and began a trek back into the points. Ran a long, 32-lap stint on medium tyres which brought him out of the pits behind the delayed Massa. He wasn’t able to pass the Ferrari, but kept Di Resta at bay for eighth.


Heikki Kovalainen – Spent six laps occupying the 12th place craved by Caterham, which would put them back in front of Marussia in the constructors’ championship. The recovering Schumacher dropped him back to 13th, Kovalainen’s cause not helped by a KERS fault.

Vitaly Petrov – Not wishing to do a Di Resta on his team mate at the start, Petrov backed out of a move on Kovalainen as they headed to turn one. It didn’t look like he had the pace to stay ahead of him anyway, finishing 17 seconds behind the other Caterham.


Pedro de la Rosa – Had to start from the pit lane after his team failed to get the tyre warmer off his right-rear wheel quickly enough. Aided by the late safety car, he was seven seconds behind Petrov at the flag.

Narain Karthikeyan – Another race, another worrying incident involving an HRT. This time it was Karthikeyan’s, whose car suffered a hydraulic failure in turn 15, locking his steering solid. “I had to lift my foot off the accelerator. Unfortunately, Rosberg was coming from behind and couldn’t avoid me.” The Mercedes crashed over the top off Karthikeyan and was fortunate not to seriously injure either driver.


Timo Glock – Out-qualified by Pic but raced well, splitting the Caterhams, despite clipping his team mate on the first lap and damaging his front wing. He was particularly pleased to hold off the recovering Perez on the last lap despite the Sauber being within the DRS zone.

Charles Pic – A superb qualifying lap saw him beat Glock and Petrov – he was only a tenth of a second off the other Caterham, too. A mistake on the first lap allowed his two rivals past, and he was still embroiled in a tight battle with Petrov when his engine failed on lap 42.

Qualifying and race results summary

StartedGap to team mateLaps leading team matePittedFinishedGap to team mate
Sebastian Vettel24th+0.095s8/3723rd
Mark Webber2nd-0.095s29/371
Jenson Button5th+0.66s0/1914th
Lewis Hamilton1st-0.66s19/190
Fernando Alonso6th-0.141s55/5512nd-22.044s
Felipe Massa8th+0.141s0/5517th+22.044s
Michael Schumacher13th+0.591s7/7211th
Nico Rosberg7th-0.591s0/71
Kimi Raikkonen4th-0.518s37/3711st
Romain Grosjean9th+0.518s0/372
Paul di Resta12th+0.199s0/039th
Nico Hulkenberg10th-0.199s0/00
Kamui Kobayashi15th+0.522s21/5516th-36.692s
Sergio Perez11th-0.522s34/55215th+36.692s
Daniel Ricciardo16th-0.778s37/55210th-7.443s
Jean-Eric Vergne17th+0.778s18/55212th+7.443s
Pastor Maldonado3rd-0.423s52/5515th-10.535s
Bruno Senna14th+0.423s3/5518th+10.535s
Heikki Kovalainen18th-0.195s55/55113th-16.831s
Vitaly Petrov20th+0.195s0/55116th+16.831s
Pedro de la Rosa22nd-0.616s0/7117th
Narain Karthikeyan23rd+0.616s7/70
Timo Glock21st+0.337s41/41114th
Charles Pic19th-0.337s0/411

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 Abu Dhabi 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 (1%)
  • Pastor Maldonado (2%)
  • Jean-Eric Vergne (0%)
  • Daniel Ricciardo (0%)
  • Sergio Perez (0%)
  • Kamui Kobayashi (1%)
  • Nico Hulkenberg (0%)
  • Paul di Resta (0%)
  • Romain Grosjean (0%)
  • Kimi Raikkonen (37%)
  • Nico Rosberg (0%)
  • Michael Schumacher (0%)
  • Felipe Massa (0%)
  • Fernando Alonso (8%)
  • Jenson Button (0%)
  • Lewis Hamilton (21%)
  • Mark Webber (0%)
  • Sebastian Vettel (27%)

Total Voters: 815

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2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Images © Red Bull/Getty images, Ferrari/Ercole Colombo, Lotus F1 Team/LAT, Sauber F1 Team, Williams/LAT, Marussia

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206 comments on “Vote for your Abu Dhabi GP driver of the weekend”

  1. Kimi because he had a great start, consistency and took advantage of every opportunity he was given and managed to defend from Fernando towards the end.

    1. Meanwhile Vettel was involved in not one, but two incidents.

      1. And still managed to salvage third from the pit lane.

        1. Because of two SC periods and his second incident bringing him in earlier so he was on better tyres than everyone else.

          I was ready to be impressed by him today. I wasn’t.

          1. then needing to make a second pitstop to change tires again, when everyone else only 1 stopped.

          2. @paulipedia
            Yes because its no penalty to go from 12th to 21st under safetycar. No no. Yes it gave him a tyre advantage for the rest of the race, but he had to give up 9 places to get that advantage. Everyone else could just have pitted twice as well if it was so brilliant…
            And the last safety car only gave him the chance to gain one place. It also gained Alonso the chance of getting 1st place. Or Button to tke 2nd. Neither of them did that. Vettel did. Arguably because of his better tyres, but its not like it was all handed to him on a plate. I don’t think so anyway.

          3. I Love the Pope
            5th November 2012, 20:43

            Please. Kimi made one pass and that was it for the race. He was what Vettel is always accused of – a front runner. Seb is driver of the race.

          4. Vettel never won from forth position. ;)

          5. Seb is not a driver of the race for sure. Whome he overtook really??
            Apart from Marussia HRT and Caterham it was:
            Senna for first time (lost front wing)
            di Resta
            Grosjean (twice, as first was illegal so he had to give it back)
            Vergne (no fight, Vergne just let him go)
            then Senna again
            Ricciardo (same situation as Vergne)
            and finally Button
            Before first SC gap to Hamilton was almost 25 sec before 2nd 24 sec to Raikkonen…
            So he got extremly lucky, all thanks to SC in right moment for him.

            I voted for Kimi, well deserved win.

        2. @dirgegirl yes, the result was fantastic for him. his drive? no. anyone voting for Vettel after:
          -third in qualifying, behind his teammate
          -damaging twice his front wing
          -an illegal overtake which he then had to give back
          -being gifted 2 free pitstops with the safety cars

          is seriously kidding themselves. Vettel has had better drives, but this wasnt it.

          1. Well, over here in Lala-land I still think it was a very impressive drive under pressure.

          2. Jensen Button was voted driver of the race in Montreal last season. He held every position on the track, was given a drive through penalty, and took out his team mate. And he received help from a restart and safety car. How is that any different then Vettel this weekend. If its okay for Button, why not Vettel.

          3. @irejag you’re not doing yourself favours there, you’re basically admitting it was a faulty drive.

          4. @andrewf1
            Two free pitstops? Oh my.
            Didn’t you notice him go from 12th to… 21st after his first stop? That is 9 places. Hardly free if you ask me.
            1 free pistop? I could probably agree to that. But two? No way.

          5. To be very honest; without the safety cars he would’ve been no where near. Considering that the front wing damage occurred before the SC and his set up was optimised after starting in the pit lane.

          6. Incorrect: the front wing damage that forced him in occured behind the SC.
            After Senna they said “we are not worried about the front wing, we’ll change it during the [planned] stop”.
            If that SC had not happened, the incident with RIC would not have forced him in.

          7. @andrewf1 I am not taking sides lol, I am just saying that if Button is allowed to have a similar drive and get driver of the weekend, then why can’t Vettel…

          8. Let’s get the SC issues right:
            Without the 1st SC, he wouldn’t have fallen back (although he was at least partly to blame for that), and without the 2nd SC, he would still have finished fourth! So CMON!!!

          9. Well, the difference is that Button won, after forcing Vettel into an error on the last lap. Having said that, a great drive by Seb this weekend.

          10. Lost places from 12 to 21 and fall back behind who? 6 of those guys he overtook on 1st lap after restart, please dobt make me laugh even more… both pistops were for free…
            Fair play to that he had to change front wing which he damaged more under 1st SC but without that his balance was compromised anyway, causing possible locking up or other stuff…

      2. Really tough choice, Kimi or Seb, but in the end I think Seb’s F-Bomb trumps Kimi’s ****.

        1. @Mads

          You must have forgotten that Vettel managed to change his damaged front wing during the first SC period allowing him to lose minimum time.

          Vettel’s car was also geared to overtake, he over took much slower cars in two DRS zones. That’s not hard for a driver of his quality in the car he was driving.

          1. @paulipedia
            But without the first SC then Vettel wouldn’t have needed to change his front wing. It had a little damage, but evidently it was fine to continue and just change it when they had to stop for options anyway. But under the first SC they were forced to change it, pit for options about 20 laps too early to allow a 1 stop strategy. And they took that pistop in the WORST possible moment. Its an advantage to make a pistop right as the SC comes out, but Vettel had to pit when all the cars were bunched up together therefore he lost a massive number of places.
            He did loose plenty of time as a result of the first SC, as he had to negotiate 9 cars to get up to where he was before the SC.

    2. sounds like a normal Vettel race; and he never wins!

  2. Got to give it to Hamilton. He did nothing wrong this weekend. Was miles ahead on his team-mate in qualifying and on race-pace.

    1. @me4me Every single one of those things apply to Kimi too. Why did you choose Hamilton?

      1. Raikkonen won. But Hamilton could have won dominantly. I simply think he was more impressive this weekend. He had massive pace, and would probably have finished 10 or even 20 sec ahead of the field.

        1. @me4me
          But I do think that it is fair to assume that the McLaren was a fair bit quicker then the Lotus. Well, a fair bit quicker then any car I should say.

          1. @ME4ME
            I am 97% percent certain that you didn’t vote Vettel as driver of the weekend last week.

          2. Why should he have voted for Vettel last weekend lol. It was obvious he was driving the best car, like the rest of the last 4 races before ABD, as evidenced by the upturn of form from not only Vettel, but also Webber. It was completely different this weekend with Lewis. Button was nowhere near and this is one of the tracks where Lewis goes really well. One could easily say it was Lewis making the difference this race. Hence the vote goes to him.

          3. Yes, Hamilton and Alonso outdrove their horrible cars once again. Those cars would have finished back with the Marussias but their supreme skills dragged the sorry machines up the grid through sheer skill and determination. The absolute maximum was achieved, nay, beyond the maximum by these epic heroes. Meanwhile a retarded chimp could lap the field three times if it was in the Red Bull last weekend.

          4. @tigen. Thank you Sir. You just made my day! ( yes I understood your sarcasm and it put a smile on my face)

          5. @shrieker – Just because Button’s pace was useless doesn’t mean Mclaren didn’t have a car that was as fast as Red Bull had in India.

    2. Could not agree more with Hamilton. Everyone expected a Vettel waltz, but Hamilton was fastest when it mattered in qualifying and would have won the race by the length of the Melbourne Cup had it not been for a faulty McLaren AGAIN! Raikkonen was close, but it was great to see the Iceman back where he belongs. Vettel made amateur mistakes, but still it was a mega drive to third.

    3. completely agree. without the car failing, hamilton was the best driver of the weekend. took the required pole and was very comfortable for the race win. the car let him down.

      kimi had a fine race and his radio messages were pure class, but this wasn’t enough to wrest DoTW from lewis.

      vettel, whilst doing a good job at coming from the back of the field made too many mistakes. the 2nd safety car was the only reason he managed to get past jenson and even then took his time doing it, despite being on better rubber and a car geared for a higher top speed.

    4. If that one goes to HAM, then Vettel should have cruised through Valencia! If you voted Vettel for Valencia, you may vote Hamilton this time around!

  3. Voted for Lewis Hamilton. Hamilton and Raikkonen both drove brilliantly this weekend and I could have given it to either to be honest but I guess the fact that Hamilton would surely have won the race had he not had his problem. When people like Hamilton and Raikkonen put in flawless drives I can’t vote for Vettel considering he was out qualified by his team mate and crashed twice in the race, however good the rest of his race may have been.

    1. I’m sure Hamilton not only would have won the race, but he would have set fastest lap, he would have crushed the previous lap record, he would have lapped the field and possibly been Knighted for being the best driver ever.

    2. Bernd Maylander hasn’t made a mistake aswell for the whole weekend, but gave this one for my Mclaren mucked up boys (Kimi Raïkkonen & Lewis Hamilton).

  4. Hamilton. Once again Mclaren let him down, that’s it. He didn’t set a foot wrong all weekend, just the car did. Vettel really did well, but a lot of what he achieved was down to luck with those safety cars, but at the end of it he knew he had to capitialise it to succeed, Alonso’s obviously rubbing off on someone. Kimi yes he won the race, but that effort was a long time coming, just this time Lotus got the break they needed.

    1. I’m not a fan of Hamilton, but he didn’t put a foot wrong this weekend. Would have won had the car not let him down. Betwen him and Raikonen, this time I had to put Kimi second best driver of the weekend.

      1. Exactly my thoughts (including the no-Hamilton-fan clause)

    2. Actually, Lewis made a small mistake in the opening laps, allowing Kimi to have a go at him. But he retained the lead despite Kimi getting alongside, so it wasn’t a big issue. I still voted for Lewis.

  5. Love that whenever Vettel delivered perfect weekends, he didn’t get driver of the weekend because he was “boring”. Meanwhile today, Hamilton and Kimi, who both didn’t pass a single car after after turn 1 on lap 1 are leading.

    1. 59 votes is not exactly statistically significant! I wouldn’t buy a hair product on that few opinions.

      1. In Abu Dhabi 2011, Vettel comfortably outqualified his team mate, got pole and was stopped by a technical malfunction while in the lead. He got 3% of the vote.

        1. and was stopped by a technical malfunction while in the lead

          It’s hard to vote for somebody who hasn’t done more than a few corners though. At least Vettel in Valencia, and Hamilton here and in Singapore demonstrated that they could maintain a lead.

          1. Vettel doesn’t win this with perfect weekends, and he doesn’t win it with flawed, but nontheless impressive and courageous performances. No chance for Seb around here!

  6. Expecting Vettel to easily win this, but I really have no clue who to vote for.

    Sure, Vettel came from 24th (Well, 23rd) to 3rd, but would have been nowhere if it wasn’t for a lot of luck, in both timings of safety cars and competitors taking each other out (With the help of his team mate on Massa as well). He made a few good passes, but made them look harder than they should’ve been (fresh soft tyres vs worn medium tyres, Button wasn’t driving that well!). He also made some pretty stupid passes, crashing into Senna and quite obviously taking Grosjean off the track. Can maybe forgive him do trying to remove the DRS zone with his front wing, but maybe not.

    On the other hand, Kimi had an excellent start, and held station from there, managing his race perfectly with enough pace to keep everyone at bay, after inheriting the lead with some luck of his own thanks to Hamilton’s retirement.

    Hamilton had a great weekend, drove well in practice, out-qualified everyone with ease and put Button to shame (I’m a Button fan) by completely outclassing him in Qualifying. Unfortunately his car was unable to stay running (as usual for Mclaren this season) so it’s hard to vote for someone that didn’t even finish the race.

    Think I’ll give it to Kimi, not sure though.

  7. Mark Webber… no, ofc, I’m kidding.

    I’ll go with Alonso. His overtake on Webber at the start was crucial, and he was close to victory. Even if he was “lucky” too to get where he ended up, just like Vettel to some extent, I think he did the best.

  8. Hamilton – a good example of a driver making the difference. He just looked way quicker than Button round the mickey-mouse corners at the end of the lap. Very tempted to give it to Kimi – he led and controlled the race beautifully – but would never have got there if Lewis’s car had kept going. Vettel had an amazing result but his weekend overall was a bit messy.

    1. It is easy to be 0.5s faster than your teammate, if you just change to a smaller brakes, smaller radiator, or playing with the engine or electronics…but you might not finish the race.

  9. some say, that he was seen sleeping walking the circuit at 3 am, the day before the race and he learned his english alphabets by spelling mumm champagne… all we know is, he is called the iceman

    1. “yes yes yes yes, I’m doing all of that, you don’t have to remind me every second!” $:)

  10. I voted for Vettel at Valencia and for Hamilton at Singapore. I will vote for him here as well. Guess I am a sucker for unlucky drives.

  11. Driver of the WEEKEND? Lewis Hamilton. Absolutely DOMINATING.

  12. While all of their fans will bicker amongst each other, I must say that Hamilton, Raikkonen, Alonso and Vettel all drove absolutely superb races, it was an amazing spectacle to watch those guys race.

    While the other drivers seemed to be acting like GP2 drivers, those four showed why they are absolute world class. They all deserve massive respect for their drives.

    By the way, I voted for Hamilton.

    1. Agree. All four you mentioned were DOTD. Best race of the year.

    2. I went for Raikkonen, but I agree with you post, they all drove great.

  13. Credit where credit’s due – Vettel had some luck, but also drove well, minus the couple of silly incidents. Hamilton did an incredible job in qualifying, but there you go, I probably do have a bit of a bias towards attacking drives rather than controlling from the front, and while he looked sure to win, we’ll never know. As for Raikkonen, great start, good race but he still does seem a little bit overly conservative with overtaking (vs. Hamilton I think after the re-start when his tyres were cold).

  14. Voted for Raikkonen. He drove perfect race, didn’t make mistakes, contrary to Vettel and wrang out everything from far from 4th fastest car on the grid – E20.

    1. I’d reckon the Lotus was the 3rd fastest car, ahead of the Ferrari, which is why I voted for Alonso.

      1. If you look at sector times, you’ll find that Ferrari was considerably faster in sector two and three and marginaly slower in sector one. Jenson and Kimi were flying in sector one. The issue for Ferrari was Fernando, left it too late to make a charge and he was not nearly as consistent as Kimi prior to charge, though he already got two chances when the 10 second gap was cut by safety car.

        Kimi delivered when it mattered, his drive was the definition of why he is Iceman. Getting purple sectors right off the restart (after the epic-radio messages), no wonder Martin Brundle was most impressed.

  15. I surprised myself and ended up going for Maldonado.. Other drivers and the reasons for not choosing them would be;
    Vettel; great battle through the field but did make two unforced errors IMO and got very lucky.
    Kimi; pretty much flawless weekend, plus great radio banter but he didn’t have to work very hard for it i.e not tested
    Hamilton, obviously he was hooked up completely and on for the Grand Chelem but who knows what would have happened.
    Maldonado showed fantastic pace to snatch 3rd and then composed himself in his many battles, showing more controlled aggression. He held his line when Webber tried to close him off. 5th was the absolute best that Williams could achieve.

    1. @mw thought about Maldonado aswell. His Q lap was impressive, and he’d have finished on podium without that KERS failure.

    2. @MW I voted for Maldonado exactly because of the reasons you mentioned. He reminded everyone why he’s more than just-another-pay-driver. A superb qualifying lap, very mature drive, well-judged moves, careful but strong defense. I believe he really deserved a podium finish.

    3. Yeah he did a really good job. He seems to be swapping with Perez for the driver everyone should watch their mirrors for :P. I’m not sure you can turn around such a hot-headed character so quickly, but I’d be happy to be proven wrong.

    4. and then composed himself in his many battles, showing more controlled aggression.

      @MW, perfect sum-up of his race. Voted for Kimi but thought exactly same here on Pastor, and a very good comparison to Checko. Seems Pastor is truly un-honed gem fast and learning quickly.

    5. Yup, voted Maldonado too

  16. Very tough decision between Hamilton and Vettel. Completely undecided at the moment. One dominated, particularly in qualifying, whereas the other delivered a great, if very lucky, recovery drive.

  17. Hamilton at 27% He is loved around here a lot !

  18. I had no doubts over this one. Hamilton for me. He beat two Red Bulls to pole, whilst Button was further behind, and led comfortably before and after the first SC. He was favourite to win and was very unlucky to have a failure, but although Kimi took advantage of the other drivers’ problems Lewis was perfect all weekend.

  19. I voted for Hamilton as he was quick and did everything right all weekend up to his retirement which was cruel on him.

  20. This was a real tough one. First of all Hamilton: he should have won this one comfortably, but he didn’t because of that fuel issue. He made an error on lap two, and didn’t really dominate this race I think. Therefore I am not voting for Hamilton this time.

    Then Raikkonen, our winner. He did very well, kept his head cool all weekend. Definitely a good candidate. Alonso finished second again, but couldn’t quite match Raikkonen, who usually has the upperhand. So therefore, no Alonso vote.

    Sebastian Vettel did very well. His race effectively began after the first safety car period, and had a bit of good fortune to be in the position to attack Button at the end. But he messed up the first part of his race, and him swearing on the podium kind of ruined it for me.

    Finally Pastor Maldonado: no KERS, and still finish fifth, way better than what he usually does. And uncharacteristically, in a race where everyone seemed to crash into everyone, he was the one that came through it all unscaved, even though Webber tried desperately to end his and Maldo’s race.

    So either Maldonado or Raikkonen. When I looked at whether these drivers did something incredible, or just put the car where it belonged, I kind of thought that Maldonado did something incredible, whereas Raikkonen’s win was more of a consequence of Hamilton’s and Vettel’s misfortune. So, I voted Maldonado.

    1. But he messed up the first part of his race, and him swearing on the podium kind of ruined it for me.

      Dangit. Never noticed him swearing on the podium. It was pretty hard to choose between him and Hamilton, and I went with Hamilton at the end.

      Had I known that Vettel had the balls to actually swear on the podium, I’d gone with him. Anybody that gives the finger to correctness is a hero in my book.

      1. – OTOH, now I think about it, I’m still glad I went with Hamilton. Being able to change the car setup to a pure racing setup probably gave Vettel a huge boost, which is completely undeserved in my mind.

        I hope they outlaw it for next season, and only allow true repairs, not any kind of setup changes that doesn’t have a reallygood reason (of course, racing teams are experts at inventing good reasons).

  21. It’s difficult to choose between Räikkönen, Alonso, Vettel and Hamilton. All four drove well enough to deserve the title of driver of the weekend, which is fitting, as they are the four best drivers in the sport right now.

    Hamilton was pretty much flawless, claiming pole position, retaining his lead at the start – even after making a small mistake – and then building up a considerable lead before being forced into retirement. Normally I would vote for a driver in that situation, as I voted for him in Singapore and Vettel in Valencia. But… I have to give it to Räikkönen this time. He deserves it after a fantastic comeback season in which he has been the very definition of consistency, including in Abu Dhabi, where he never put a foot wrong, even after his lead was wiped out by the Safety Car. That’s not to mention his classic radio messages and podium interview. Welcome back, Kimi!

  22. I find this difficult. Immediately after the race I would have said Vettel, but now I have had chance to think about it I am not sure.

    Vettel did a fantastic job getting from the back of the pack (twice) up to 3rd. However, the start of his race was very scrappy, and he had a lot of help getting there from incidents. This has to count against him.

    On the other hand, there were several others who did a great job without the mistakes.

    First off there’s Hamilton. As this is driver of the weekend, you cannot take away from his incredible performance top to bottom. In qualifying he decimated his opposition, then dominated the field in the race until his car let him down. Had this not happened, I can’t see how he would not have lost the race.

    Kimi also has to be up there. He does not have the best car, yet he was on form today, pushing at every step. He stayed out of trouble, had a very clean drive… In fact I barely noticed him most of the race. A solid performance, made even better by keeping Alonso behind him in the closing stages and his legendary radio messages.

    Alonso impressed, too. Again, he out drove the car, made some great passes, and put himself on the second step of the podium.

    There are several others who impressed me in this race. So much so, that I cannot vote for one driver of the weekend. I just can’t decide on one driver which deserves it more than the others.

  23. Can’t give it to Vettel as I’m irked the rules allowed Red Bull to reconfigure the car completely and create an ‘overtaking machine’ that mitigated the penalty issued by the FIA – it was exciting to watch and maybe McLaren should’ve have done something similar when Jenson qualified outside the top 10.

    Think Kimi handled the pressure well when Alosno was catching him in the closing stages – when he could have baulked remembering his final few laps going from 2nd to 14th in no time in China

  24. Its either kimi, lewis or fernando this time. no one else is in contention.

    Hard to split them. lewis did nothing wrong, but it was a great performance from kimi showing you never forget how to win. reminded me of Fuji 08.

    And fernando was at his brilliant best. Got the max out of everything.

    Vettel closely follows them, but his errors of judgement cant be ignored in terms of driver of the weekend. but a great recovery result from himself and the team.

  25. Maldonado. Impressive qualifying and he managed to keep up with the leaders quite well in the opening laps. I honestly think that without that KERS problem he would have finished on the podium. And he finished fifth, which was not bad, all things considered.

  26. So this will be one of the tighest battle of the year between the obvious DOTW podium contenders, Vettel, Raikkonen and Hamilton.

    Vettel drove superbly all weekend and still performed when things began to fall apart for him from FP3 on. Little mistakes when colliding with Senna, passing Grosjean illegally and probably when behind Ricciardo during the SC period. He had many things to disrupt his flow, which is an alleviating circumstance. Though passed a countless times, he really didn’t have to push hard, things came to him.

    …Unlike Raikkonen. He had to wrung every last hundedth of a second from his Lotus after Alonso gave chase. Alonso himself pushed himself to the absolute limit in the dying stages for that elusive victory, nearly hitting the wall on the penultimate lap, which Vettel brushed during qualifying. He was visibly exhausted, more than Raikkonen and Vettel at the end. I’m not surprised he is way off the mentioned three drivers, because his was not a fireworks performance, but I’d include him among them as well, because he did just as well as them IMO.

    Finally, Hamilton. Poor guy. Out from the most secure of leads for the second time in five races. It is scary to think he lost 71 points due to team blunders this year. And I only took into account the most disastrous errors: the underfuelling in Barcelona, where he would have most likely led off into the distance from P1, the Singapore and the Abu Dhabi early exits. Not to mention the crash with Maldonado in Valencia, his retirement with the fastest car in Germany, etc. More points have lost. He is 90 points off the pace in the championship currently.

    I cannot decide between these four.

    1. alonso performace was fireworks. he overtook button, webber and Pastor. and held off webber and then button both of who are in quicker cars.

      in terms of racing. proper racing (not passing a marussia) he did more again than anyone out there. and did it without error. i bet he winced when he passed the williams!

    2. Fernando got out raced by Kimi. I’m not sure if Ferrari were hoping for Lotus tyres to go off, he got a perfect help with second saftey, but frankly did not deliver when it really mattered and let Kimi get away again. Ferrari did have the pace as Fernando showed in dying lap, he just wasn’t able to produce it as consistent as Kimi.

      1. He was allegedly 1.03 secs behind Kimi at the first DRS detection point on the penultimate lap. 0.03 sec simply cannot be considered as down to lower intentional driving skill put into practice at that moment.

        He then made the slightest of mistakes, an oversteer at ‘Vettel’s wall’ on the outside of T19 on the same lap. I believe that cost him the victory, because he couldn’t slash the gap in S3 as he did during the laps before. That can be considered a mistake, which resulted in going the slightest bit over the edge after pumping through the whole race. I generally believe, he was on the edge the most during the race (and season, frankly), that’s why he finally made a mistake, a small, but crucial one. He was visibly the most exhausted after the race. Also, one has to consider the dirty air he was getting behind Kimi – that disrupted a lot of passing by others in the first half of the race when the guys were bunched up; no wonder it might did so again.

  27. Even though im a Alonso fan, i really waited for Vettel impress me. He didn’t.
    This one has to go to Raikkonen!

  28. The composition of that picture of Maldonado is simply stunning. It really encapsulates the speed of the cars, yet it somehow illustrates the many quick, but cagey direction changes of the last section of the Abu Dhabi circuit.

  29. The Iceman without a doubt. His post-race attitude was almost more impressive than his driving.

  30. I voted for Jev. If it wasn’t for that 2nd pit stop he surely could have finished higher.

  31. Ooh, there’s something, did we get an Indian GP DOTW poll?

  32. I went for Vettel. OK, so he had some lucky breaks, but he still had to have the speed and presence of mind to benefit from the luck. The fact that he had a couple of little incidents on the way actually made it somehow even more amazing that he kept it together (despite squealing like a proper stroperella about Ricciardo) and got to third.

    I was really hoping Hamilton would win – he had a great weekend altogether but I do find it hard to vote for someone who only raced 20 laps, no matter how dominating he was during practice and quali.

  33. Vettel. From last in the grid to 3º place is amazing. Also Raikkonen and Kobayashi did well.

    1. and Maldonado.

  34. Raikkonen – credit to a long overdue victory. He’s shown strong pace all weekend in a car that was clearly not the fastest on the grid. Brilliant start. Good management over the course of the race. Has to be.

    Notable mentions, in order: Alonso, Hamilton, Vettel, Maldonado.

  35. It is a tough call this time, because there were some pretty impressive drivings out there, but at the end I went for Vettel. Of course he got lucky on race day, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t perform at the level the situation required. Hamilton did very well, but he is getting all the bad luck he can this championship, and I really hope it ends here for him. Raikkonen and Alonso both challenged each other like true champions they are. That message radio to Kimi was funny: “Kimi, we need to look after the temperatures of the four tires”, answer: “Yes, yes, yes, I know, what do you think I’m doing”. Something along those lines :).

  36. I see the Alonso brigade are at it again…7% of votes for another poor qualifying…finished the race where he could have started it. Hamilton and Raikkonen made no mistakes, not proper ones anyway…I know Hamilton briefly went off but that wasn’t major. Vettel was good but he did ruin his first front wing and only got away with replacing it because of the safety car.
    Worst of the weekend has to be Webber, seemed determined not to take his chance to make the most of Vettel at the back and made one mistake after another.

  37. I was split between Vettel and Hamilton. Hamilton was quickest over the one lap undoubtably (although I do believe Vettel’s qualifying speed was hindered by the brake problems on Saturday). Hamilton was looking set to control the race, but then obviously the car failure stopped him in his tracks.

    Vettel was under a huge amount of pressure in qualifying with his lack of preparation and was still very close to Webber (I think for sure if he had been able to do the qualifying simulations on Saturday he would have beaten Webber to the front row pre-penalty).

    Then obviously he was sent to the back of the grid, which much have been a huge blow to him mentally. You could sense his frustration with his reaction to Ricciardo. To be able to recover in the way he did (from pit lane to podium) is a remarkable feat. Sure, luck played a part, but he had to fight his way into a position to capitalise on others misfortune. He was the driver of the race in my opinion, so I voted for Vettel.

    Räikkönen did well to resist intense pressure from Alonso, but personally I think the fact he was under pressure from Alonso in the first place shows he just didn’t have the pace of Hamilton earlier or Vettel. He was 3rd best during the weekend in my opinion.

    Also, worth mentioning Di Resta for recovering form the first corners incident to score points.

    1. “Räikkönen did well to resist intense pressure from Alonso, but personally I think the fact he was under pressure from Alonso in the first place shows he just didn’t have the pace of Hamilton earlier or Vettel. He was 3rd best during the weekend in my opinion.”

      Kimi should nvr had been faster than the top 3, but he did. Its funny how you regard kimi not having the pace when the above all have superior car than kimi.

  38. Voted Vettel; he didn’t have the most polished of races, but he got the job done.
    I say that it wasn’t down to luck; he was presented opportunities, and he grasped them with both hands; I really don’t buy the opinion that the safety cars were the only reason he finished in P3, as at the end of the first safety car, he was in P21 (I think)

    1. @xjr15jaaag – exactly, the first safety car was of almost no help (in actual fact I think it hindered him with the DRS board collision). The second definitely close the pack up though, but what’s to say with the pace he had in free air (he was significantly quicker than the leaders) he wouldn’t have closed the gap anyway?

      To confirm your last point; yes, he was dead last (a.k.a 21st). This is the point I have made before: it is no good having a safety car if he isn’t up there with the leaders to be able to capitalise upon it. Sure, he was lucky, but the reason he was so is because he was able to grab the oppurtunity when it presented itself.

      1. My first statement isn’t really true come to think of it, he was faster but not by enough to make up the deficit in time to score a podium. He would’ve secured 4th place anyway though.

  39. Top 3 performer deserve it but I voted Vettel

  40. Voted Kimi just so that Vettel didn’t get it

    Vettel cracked under pressure this weekend and for a driver who makes very little mistakes he made so many this weekend. He was very lucky with the 2 SC periods which gave him free pit stops & I’m not surprised he made his way through the field with the car he has & on fresh tires. If you really look into he made many mistakes & was helped with drivers DNF & crashing into each other in front of him.

    Webber has to be the slowest off the grid this year. His starts are consistently terrable!!!

    Hamilton dominated this weekend & I have no doubt he would have won the race but was nice to see Kimi on the top spot & he deserves the win with his radio comments to the team. Legend

    Come on Alonso crush the finger boy

  41. There were plenty of drivers who applied fot this title, Vettel for coming from back of the field to the podium, Hamilton because he had the race perfectly and easly dominated, Alonso for another great race, but this time my heart won and I gave it to Raikkonen, who with some luck inherited the lead but made a perfect control of the race and made me laugh like no one else in F1 does, he trully has an unique character.

  42. Definitely Kimi for me.
    He said the car felt good and he did everything he needed to put it in the right place at the right time and then control the race. Great victory for him and the team.

    Special mentions to:
    Hamilton who didn’t put a foot wrong, Maldonado who looked good all weekend & Vettel who took the luck when it came and even with his mistakes still somehow got himself onto the podium!

  43. Might have voted for Vettel, but all his over-takes where with the DRS, and yet he still managed to crash twice.
    Almost voted for Kimmi becasue of his team radio, but had to vote for the guy who had the perfect weekend, only to have it ruined once again by McLaren.

    1. @baldgye
      How would you suggest overtaking on that circuit without DRS?

      1. I wouldn’t… its just such a shame that all the new modern F1 tracks are so poor for conventional over-taking that the only way to get over-taking to happen is on a long DRS straight… its not difficult, or fun to watch becasue each driver can only make one move…

  44. I would like to vote for Kimi’s Race Engineer, who took a barrage of abuse over the radio when trying to give his driver information and still kept it classy.

    You’d think he’d have learned at this point in the season what kind of information Kimi wants/needs and what he finds obvious. (“Keep working all four tires” really? does anyone need to be reminded of that?)

    1. Haha!

      Sometimes I wonder, do any of the drivers ask for music to be played on their radio? Especially if the race is boring? When I play racing games on my computer, I like to have some songs playing as well. Will any team allow that?

      1. I would have to believe the audio quality would be pretty bad, but if I was driving for Ferrari I would totally want someone singing to me in Italian.

        Heck, just sing everything that would normally be said. “Felipe, baby/you’re too close/too close to Fernandooooooo.”

    2. I wonder if the drivers would have the option of having an iPod in the car?! They use earphones for the radio anyway so I don’t see why not! I bet some drivers would love that/already have it.

      1. When I’m driving a kart, apart from when I’m in a tight fight, I start singing to myself; particurlarly when I’m closing up on someone, as it helps to focus myself, and it calms me down a bit and helps to revive my morale if I’ve just been passed or whatever.

        1. When I’m driving, I tend to find music helps me concentrate, which seems to be counter-intuitive (music should be a distraction). A friend put to me a theory which I think fits well.

          When you are driving, the majority of the time it doesn’t require absolute, 100% concentration. It probably takes somewhere over 90%. The remaining few percent of your brainpower doesn’t just switch off. It tries to do something. This leads to, in my case, thinking about projects I have on the go, code which needs debugging, and similar stray thoughts.

          As these stray thoughts are present, they can easily grow to take away from your concentration. Also, these thoughts can be difficult to push out when you suddenly need the extra brainpower, causing slower reactions and hindering your performance in an emergency.

          If you have music on, it is something that fills the little bit of concentration left in your brain, but is easily masked in the event you need all your grey matter. It “takes the edge off” without slowing your reactions, and will not take more concentration that you have available.

          When I’m on my motorbike, however, only motorway riding leaves any spare brainpower: I’m totally focused on keeping myself alive. I actually find it very cleansing. On the bike, I have no stray thoughts about anything. It’s almost meditation. I would think that being in an F1 car is similar most of the time.

          1. This is less counter-intuitive than you think. I forget where exactly, but in college I came across a study showing that classical music aids in concentration (and in the case at the time, retention of new learning). It is for almost the exact reason you describe: concentration and maintaining both conscious and sub-conscious activity.

            While never having raced cars, I grew up swimming and playing golf competitively and the biggest hurdle was always removing the conscious mind’s input so that you could react instinctively on impulse—let all your training do the work for you.

          2. I don’t listen to an iPod for instance; I just start singing, and it’s mostly to calm myself down and try not to think about a stupid move someone did on me; it helps me to regain my concentration if anything, and I don’t when I’m in a dogfight or doing a quali lap for instance. (I like endurance races)

    3. Ted (SkySport) mentioned this during the race. This was actually Chief Engineer and not Mark Slade, Kimi’s Race Engineer.

      Mark Slade told the Chief Engineer, Kimi is not gonna like it, but he went on transmitting those messages any way :)

      1. Man, I wish I could get the British coverage here in the US. It seems so clearly better. Next year it moves to NBC Sports, which will require me to pay more for cable, but hopefully it will result in more comprehensive coverage.

  45. This is gonna be very close between VET and RAI.

  46. What about Kamui Kobayashi? 15th to 6th is very good for the Sauber. I know Vettel was outstanding from pit lane to podium but still. Koba?

    1. I Love the Pope
      5th November 2012, 20:46

      You’re right. I think Kamui was more impressive than Kimi.

      Look, I love Kimi, but there were better drives on Sunday.

  47. I Love the Pope
    5th November 2012, 20:44

    Kimi made a pass and drove the whole race in the front. It was not that impressive. He was what Vettel is lambasted for constantly – being a front runner.

    Vettel had the drive the day/year.

  48. A number of excellent performances. In the end, I decided to go with Kimi. He got as much out of the car in quali as could be expected, had a cracking start, drove superbly after inheriting the lead from Hamilton and held off Alonso at the end for his first win for 3 years. And while it shouldn’t matter, I love the fact that in addition he yelled at his engineer, cussed on stage and gave the answer of the year in the post race press conference –

    “Q: Kimi Raikkonen, how and with whom and how many days will you celebrate this win?
    KR: I have almost two weeks. As long as I manage to get myself to the next race I think the team is happy. I try to get home at some point.”

    Kimi, the closest thing to the James Hunt of our times.

  49. For me there was no one else but Lewis. Had pace to burn, absolutely obliterated the opposition in qualifying, was running away with the race victory before his car let him down.
    Honourable mentions to Kimi, took his chance well, very consistent and calm to bring it home in the last few laps, Maldonado very quick in both qualifying (again) and the race and Kamui very solid performance while his superstar team mate was tripping over other cars…

  50. Michael Brown (@)
    5th November 2012, 21:12

    Vettel, it’s easy.

    If Raikkonen gets voted driver of the day for inheriting the lead due to a retirement then how come Vettel doesn’t get it for doing the same thing?

    1. Well, to an extent, Alonso got it at Valencia for the same thing…

    2. Kimmi. At the right place the right time.
      VET….well, great drive but not that great.

    3. It’s not quite the same as Vettel though in that Vettel does normally have pace in hand when he’s driving at the front. I don’t think you can argue Raikkonen purposely had the gap at the penultimate DRS detection point at 1s exactly. He was just going as fast as he could.

    4. Because nobody on here likes Vettel. Simple as

      1. @bobby-balboa – He actally has something like the 7th-8th highest number of fans on this site. But still, the way DOTW votes go usually say more about the voters than the drivers, which might be the point @lite992 is getting across.

  51. A good one this week. Whoever would have thought that Abu Dhabi would give us a decent race? It’s telling, however, that the decent race was largely down to drivers making mistakes, and a couple of technical problems. Vettel vs. Button and Button vs. Alonso at the front of the grid was far more like this track’s natural state of being than the off-track barging and chaos further down the grid from drivers who frankly should have managed their racing better.

    Vettel was referred to as “the luckiest driver in F1” by Lewis and I think that’s worth having another look at. As always, two comments apply to luck in any sport, particularly F1.
    1) “You make your own luck”.
    2) “Some things are out of your hands”

    Sunday’s race was the exemplification (if that’s a word, which it isn’t, but I like it anyway) of both those statements. Handed a slot at the back of the grid by something that was out of his hands (engineering problem) would have reduced most drivers to a weekend hunting 6th. Instead, the team pulled the car out of parc ferme, and changed it so he’d have a better chance. That’s making your own luck. That feeds in to my next point.

    Vettel is derided because his record shows he’s had the benefit of dominant cars and some believe he wouldn’t be where he is without one. He’s certainly had a run of luck on that front. His 2008 Torro Rosso was occasionally competitive when normally they’d be at the back of the grid. He then stepped into the RB5, and was given the second fastest car for the first few races, and the undeniably fastest car on the grid almost every race every year since then. (nitpickers: note the italics on almost, yes I am aware that the odd race they struggled at). Think what his win ratio would be like if he’d started in the RB1, or 2 instead. Think 3 years in the wilderness, not 3 years boring the public leading from the front.

    He’s had some bad luck, and some engineering failures. But if you compare Hamilton’s retirements to Vettel’s, then you have to say Vettel’s had the better of it. In that way, he’s certainly “luckier” in bad luck terms than Lewis.

    On the other hand, Vettel clearly isn’t a thicko. He got himself into a competitive car by showing from weekend to weekend that he was the fastest driver on Friday practices by some margin. The paddock is a small place, and a young driver with a professional attitude and bleeding speed is the best way to get noticed. Getting more out of the car than would be expected, and putting the race drivers under pressure only adds to it. Yes he had help from Red Bull’s development programme, but as the fruits of that have shown, it’s a case of “all run of the mill misses, one hit”. I’d argue he did more for himself getting into F1 by driving the BMW than Helmut Marko ever did. How much Marko has helped him since then is another matter.

    Lewis had a similar introduction, blazing speed, professional attitude, keen to learn, raised interest all over the paddock and not just from his own committed team. Since then, their paths have diverged. He’s just signed up for Mercedes, where he’s pretty much guaranteed at least a year, probably more, in a team which won’t give him a competitive car. Looking at McLaren throwing both championships away this year, it’s possible to argue that he’s no worse off. But it’s very difficult to believe that a driver who can’t work out when to modify his own race strategy calls has the necessary nous to sort out a team with 4 Technical Directors hanging around and a 10 year history of underperforming. It took Newey, Horner, and a boatload of Red Bull cash to do that for Jaguar.

    Vettel, by contrast, knows what makes a successful team. He knows how to get people on his side, something Lewis has completely lost the knack of. He knows he is in the best, most professional, and most hard-working team in the paddock. Red Bull bring crates of updates to a flyaway race like Korea when most teams sit around waiting for the next “deployment window” which suits the logistics people rather than the championship fight. All the talk of Vettel to Ferrari made no sense at all. It assumed that Ferrari were a better option than Red Bull (they clearly aren’t), and that Vettel was too thick or too blinded by the “pull of Ferrari” to see that for himself (he clearly isn’t, and didn’t.) I think it’s no surprise that most of these stories about the “inked secret option” came from the Italian media whose reluctance to ever acknowledge to the public at home and the Tifosi in general that Ferrari as a team are losing their power and prestige in the paddock would colour their reporting.

    Vettel has benefited from luck, and when he’s had bad luck, it generally hasn’t completely derailed his championships, unlike Webber in Korea, or Alonso in Abu Dhabi, or Hamilton in 2012. But he’s also made sure that he knew where to put himself to benefit all the time. Alonso, widely regarded as the smartest cookie in the paddock, hasn’t managed to do that, with a disasterous spell at McLaren, and years trying to drag 4th-row cars in Renault or Ferrari up to the top step.

    Dominant performance of the weekend? Hamilton, obviously. But historically, we tend not to vote for that category. Fighter of the weekend? Alonso, who frankly should have LdM and Domenicali spit shining his race boots and prostrating themselves as footstools every weekend. “Warm feeling” winner would be Raikkonen for getting the win he deserved races ago. That’s not what we’re voting for.

    Vettel had a lot of knocks this weekend which would have cost another driver 18 points to his rival. But because he’s ensured he’s in a team as determined, clever and focussed on detail as he is, his weekend was saved. Yes he benefited from safety cars at exactly the right moments. Yes, having a completely changed setup means his drive from the back wasn’t as impressive as Button’s in Canada. But you cannot honestly tell me that his drive this weekend wasn’t fantastic, and that he wouldn’t be a worthy winner.

    1. Thumbs up for an amazingly well-written and well-balanced post.

    2. Well if Vettel was that fantastic, how come he was out-qualified by his team mate and made three pretty big mistakes during the race? So his race pace was good with a race-built car yeah and sure that move on Button was good but better than Alonso, Räikkönen and Hamilton overall? I’d say no.

      1. Because despite those mistakes, he had the pace, and the luck to finish 3rd. And he once again crushed his teammate on race pace.

      2. @oel-f1 Good points. Certainly, Vettel made a mistake twice with his front wing and chanced his arm with Grosjean. But when he damaged his front wing, he didn’t crease it completely, and that makes a difference. When drivers can’t see the front wing, there’s a possibility for misjudgement, and I’d categorise it as that. Compared to Perez, diresta, webber, Massa and the rest it was minor stuff.

        Button made mistakes in Canada but I still rate that as one of the greatest drives I’ve ever seen.

        Besides, everyone complains it’s boring when he is faultless on every lap and wins. At least this one was interesting!

        1. Well if you vote for him simply because his massively strong pace, then I suppose you voted for him in the 3 previous races as well? Which I suppose is fair given that you can’t do much else than being the fastest. But avoiding mistakes is just so important, and I actually fear that had he not done these mistakes in Abu Dhabi he might’ve been able to finish in front of Alonso and Räikkönen.

          1. @oel-f1

            you’re probably right, without the second mistake of hitting the DRS board he may have actually benefitted from the 1st SC and gone on to challenge and even win the race.

            But hitting the DRS board was totally bad luck. Sure Vettel made the mistake, but in Singapore, Button made a similar mistake (and whined that it was Vettel’s fault), only there wasn’t anything on track where he made it. Hamilton had a huge lock up on lap 2 in Abu Dhabi and if Kimi were closer, could have passed him. But that was a huge mistake and no bad luck. So Vettel hits one of 4 boards on a 5km long track-that is bad luck.

            As for the brush with Senna, if you watch it Senna comes up and past Vettel as they were getting to the corner, and Senna took the corner tighter than normal because of the HRT on the outside.

            Overall, any of the top drivers, including Hamilton, Kimi and Alonso would look a little ragged if they were needing to charge from the back of the field. So a 5 g deceleration from 200 mph into a slow corner and he taps Senna? (and doesn’t lock his brakes and doesn’t fly into him taking them both out). That’s pretty darn good.

            Let’s not forget how Fernando went out in Suzuka pushing Kimi wide than touching his wing. Talk about sloppy mistake (but it’s Alonso, so he was just giving it his maximum and was perfect lol).

    3. Hey soren, stop joking LOL. Alonso is the best obviously like Kimi

    4. Great post. But, I am not sure if Vettel to Ferrari is entirely false. I think it is only logical that he (and any driver) wants to drive at Ferrari. Driving for any other team is not special, they are all based in UK with owners outside of UK. With Ferrari, you have the support of the entire nation – Italy – and a chance to be remembered by the most passionate fans of F1.
      Just think of this – would we remember Luca Badoer or Fisichella if they hadn’t driven for Ferrari?
      Vettel is a very intelligent driver. All this will make an impact on him. He will one day drive a red car and hopefully win many championships with them. I, for one, would love to hear the German anthem followed by the Italian anthem on the podium any number of times.

    5. Well done, enjoying reading your comment. +++

  52. 50-50 between Kimi and Vettel, went for Kimi due to his radio messages.

  53. It is hard to know exactly how well the back of the field did, this time the FOM showed a lot of the action on track well into the midfield (but of course that might have been bc. VET was there or getting through there …), but not much else of those behind that apart from quick DRS overtakes on them, and the big ROS/KAR incident of course. I think Pic had a good weekend again, and Glock a great race, and I suspect Kovalainen too did a very good job, but don’t know.

    Do think Maldonado and Senna drove a good race, and MAL had a great Saturday too, so he’s a contender for this – I suppose both having good result says the car was fast today.

    Kobayashi quietly got up to sixth, which is actually pretty impressive I think. His qualifying wasn’t great, but the Sauber wasn’t so good for that here either I think.

    Alonso again did quite well, though that restart was an important mistake from him. Vettel did a lot not quite right, but had a great race nevertheless.

    Hamilton was unbeatable again, apart from his car giving up – feel for him, he had the cold breaks/tyres scare early on but weathered that, did good with SC and at restart. But well. he didn’t finish.

    Kimi might have been more aggressive, esp. at the restart, but apart from that, he drove very well all weekend. Here too, it was clear the car was there to do it, but he kept it together knowing what he was doing and won, having to keep the car in okay condition near the end with Alonso coming up behind him. Great effort. Guess I’ll give it to him bc. it is the first win of his return.

  54. Voted for Alonso. He did everything he could to score as many points as he can and he is the only one who’s truly FIGHTING for that championship title :). Lewis an Kimi did a great job as well. As for Vettel… Yes, if you look at the table of results that +21 places looks impressive, but he really did not do anything exceptional. He did what was expected from that Vettel-RBR combination. I think that if there would be a team of the weekend voting, Red Bull should score that title. Vettel’s third place was an excellent mixture of good luck and very well timed pitstops. Nothing more, nothing less.

  55. Alonso by a long shot. The amount he pushed his car beyond the limit was outstanding. Maybe it was not so obvious from the outside, but it was a stand out drive worthy of a triple world champion.

  56. It just has to be Hamilton.

  57. Kimi, solely because of his radio transmissions! I would love to hear other transmissions of his. A great race from him in all seriousness though. I think he could have challenged Hamilton though.

    Otherwise, driver of the weekend would be between Vettel, Alonso and Hamilton.

  58. Voted Kimi. If it’s for car of the weekend, would be Seb’s car. Credit to Red Bull for being able to counter his car problem in a short time

  59. Kimi it is, followed by Vettel, Hamilton and Alonso.

  60. Narain Karthikeyan

  61. I voted for Alonso. His overtake toward Webber was awesome and his defends toward Webber and Button. Lewis and Kimi also deserved.

    Vettel made a big mistake 2 times. If there were not safety cars… He was so lucky as always as many says.

    1. Lucky to be moved to 24th from 3rd on the grid.

  62. Perez for me. ;) He was driving very well but he got too excited trying a spectacular-two-pass end he got it all wrong. Oh well, he needs to mature…fast!!!

  63. safety car for me, dissapointed that it was not on the list

  64. Gotta go with the Iceman. Flawless all weekend.

  65. Fikri Harish (@)
    6th November 2012, 4:35

    Absolutely have no idea who to vote for. Ended up voting for Maldonado.
    Did a great job to qualify on the second row, could’ve finished higher than fifth if not for the KERS failure.

    There are a lot of great performances here, especially from the top three and Hamilton, but I feel Maldonado’s performance have been slightly overlooked, which is why I voted for him.

  66. Has to be Hamilton for me. I’m not a big fan of him TBH (I’m a huge Webber fan), but you have to admit what he did on Saturday and the first laps on Sunday (especially on the restart) was amazing, such a shame that he broke down, I felt gutted for him. Vettel a close second for his drive from the back.

  67. Kimi for making my day :) ! Not only did he score his comeback win, but has entertained all of us in the process. I don’t buy arguments stating Lewis would have won by a large margin had he finished the race. Did not buy it in Singapore, do not buy it now. Could’ve Should’ve Would’ve and yet Kimi stood on the top step of the podium.

  68. Vettel, Hamilton, Raikkonen and Maldonado all deserve it.

    Alonso, on the other hand, didn’t just have one of the fastest cars in a straight line on race day, no, he had the outright best car. And before you ask about Massa, he didn’t even have Alonso’s India updates, let alone the Abu Dhabi ones.

    And no, the car being poor in quali is not an excuse. Raikkonen outqualified both Ferraris, and he said a week ago that the team needs to improve their quali performance by 2013. Plus, the F2012 is especially good at the start, as proven throughout the year by both drivers.

    1. Ferrari having the fastest car??? You gotta be kidding me!

    2. And in case you haven’t noticed, the start advantage they had earlier is long gone.

  69. first safety car +20 sec for Vettel
    second safety car +20 sec for Vettel
    give me 40 secs + softer tyres + the fastest car geared specifically for the track and the race and let me start from the pit lane any day.

    1. How on earth did the first safety car give Vettel 20 seconds?
      It send him from 12th to 21st for crying out loud!

      1. when you drive the fastest car on the grid your problem is not the position but the absolute distance to the first car
        6 out of 10 drivers who entered Q3 DNF’ed or had problems…
        technically Button’s state of mind during races might also be considered as problem, he wakes up only if he sees Hamilton in his mirrors.

    2. @mads Vettel gained 12 seconds on the leader during the first safety car period – I don’t know where Tfc’s figure of 20 for both came from – he clearly gained 26 under the second safety car (see same link).

      As you say he did lose nine places during that time as well but whether to blame the safety car, Vettel, or Daniel Ricciardo for that is debatable. I’d say Vettel is mostly to blame.

      1. @keithcollantine
        Yeah I agree that Vettel was mostly to blame for his incident with the DRS board.
        But my point is that it was a result of the SC. Without it, then that wouldn’t have been a problem.
        But I don’t agree that he gained 12 seconds on the leaders doing the first SC.
        Yes he was just 12 seconds behind (as opposed to 24 before) when the SC pulled in, but by the time he was back in 12th place (lap 20) as before the SC he was just over 21 seconds behind the leaders, and I assume that due to his fresh softs he would be able to at least match the pace of leader at that point. Which means that the time he lost was a result of the traffic from the lost places under the safety car. That would equal a gain of roughly 4 seconds from the 1st SC.

      2. it was an approximation, thanx for shorting this out, it was a total of 38 secs not 40…i ‘ve watched every single race the last 35 years, i really can’t recall any other driver having so much luck with SC’s as had Vettel the last 3 years…whenever he need’s one he get’s it.

  70. Wow 30% for Vettel?
    That’s a surprise.. Ι didn’t expected him to be that high.
    He didn’t even won the race , he was not the faster in P1,P3 and Quallify.
    He should at least laping a couple times Raikkonen and Alonso.
    This was an average performance and can’t be compared with Button’s superb drive back in Canada 2011 where he won despite the 6 safety cars hindering his brilliant effort. Not taking into account that Canada as a low downforce track with his long straight is much harder for Overtaking than Abu dhabi high downforce track.
    I think he shouldn’t even be as option to choose in this poll…… i wonder how people voted for him …..haven’t you watched the race?
    Come on Vettel , you can do better…
    ps1 :My Vote goes to Karthikeyan because he has the unique ability to create spectacular incidents.
    ps4: despite all the above i really like Raikkonen and he deserved this victory

  71. I think it has to go to Vettel for me. He was on fine form throughout the weekend and this track is not meant to be suited to the Red Bull. He put it third on the grid after a set back in P3 and then put in an amazing drive to take back that P3 from the pits. A lot of people have said there was a lot of luck involved but then that is often the case in many stellar drives. He really proved his doubters wrong on Sunday and put in some amazingly daring overtakes. It was almost like watching a computer game the way he made moves from so far back and pulled them off.

    Honourable mention must go to Hamilton who was the class of the field I just can’t vote for him not knowing what might have happened if he hadn’t retired.

  72. I’m surprised Vettel is so high. Maybe he is beginning to get a core fanbase afterall. I believe he has had far more accomplished drives so far this season that didn’t result in such praise.

    I think Maldonado had a great race and still managed to finish 5th as everyone around him kept getting into trouble. Alonso and Raikkonnen were both great but this is what is to be expected of them.

    Hamilton was the star of the weekend imo and I’m sure he’d have won fairly comfortably if his car didn’t give up on him.

  73. I don’t get it sometimes. Sure people enjoyed the result – as a fan of Kimi during the McLaren days I did too. But isn’t it basically what Vettel did in Singapore? Good start, stayed in 2nd, inherited the win from Hamilton’s retirement. He didn’t win DotW then – Hamilton did.

    Going by that logic shouldn’t Hamilton win it again?

    Just curious really.

  74. Hamilton all the way …..Driver of the weekend easily .Even when he came back to the pits just totally respected him for the way he went and shock each team members hand and then even though gutted stayed to watch the race .It must have been heart breaking but he kept his poise …..supreme…..Easily Driver of the weekend and race…….

  75. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    6th November 2012, 11:19

    Sorry Kimi, as happy as I was to see you win, it’s not even a close contest on this one. It’s got to be Vettel.

    Vettel came from 24th to 3rd.
    I’ll just take a moment for that to sink in………………. 24th TO 3rd!!!
    He suffered a couple of front wing mishaps, then had to pit an extra time to get it fixed.
    Manned up for a close call pass on Maldonado, dropped behind him, and got him again. Then made a stellar pass on Button for 3rd.

    I’d say that ranks as one of the best drives of his career.

    Kimi wouldnt have won the race had Lewis’s car not crapped out on him again.

    1. Probably you want to change starting from P24 to starting from Pit-lane.

  76. I know how to solve Vettel getting the Driver of the Race.

    He just simply have to overtake the pack twice.

      1. @keithcollantine

        Exactly, that’s why he won the polls for India, Japan and Bahrein…

        Oh wait.

  77. Kimi of course, his radio answers won the whole weekend

  78. Seb is definetly driver of the weekend, due to the following factors:
    -Red Bull had one of its messiest weekend in recent memory.
    – after missing FP3, which basically determines how each driver will qualify, he still manages to get P3, just 0.05 off Webber.
    -After being disqualified from qualy, he started his race with a completely different car setup, yet he still managed to be very quick from the get go.
    – After damaging his wing he kept his cool and confidence to overtake half the field again.
    – as far as the “lucky” talk goes, i think its complete rubbish, the second safety car only helped him gain one position.

    And i am completely sure the if lewis had won, and without there being a single crash, everyone would be singing his praises and saying what a wonderful dominant victory, and no one will say it was boring.
    But god forbid seb should get such treatment, every time he wins, its down to luck and the car, never to his own brilliance.

    1. Totally said my piece.

    2. @mnm101 I really think voters on this pole are less biased than that.
      You’ve excused Vettel for being bettered by his team mate in Qualifying, but at the end of the day he was beaten in an equal car.
      Also, you’ve chosen to forget that Vettel caused the damage to his own front wing.
      I really think there were so many examples of flawless races out there that completely outshone a guy in a superior car tweaked specifically for the race and easier overtaking who committed two unforced errors, one of them behind the safety car.

      You’re intitled to your opinion but I think other people had good reason to differ with you.
      I voted for Maldonado myself and explained my reasons previously (without slagging off other voters) ;)

    3. Obviously what you , me and the rest of the 30% saw on Sunday was not apparent for the rest of the Voters.

      An old Greek motto-saying says :
      a wolf can change his fur but he never changes his habit’s

      so don’t expect that people here will change so easy their view on Vettel no matter what he does , at least as long as he drives for Redbull.

  79. Went for Charles Pic, simply because he surprised me the most all weekend.

  80. Surely it has to be Vettel. I’m no fan of his and often sit during a race hoping for his alternator to fail or something, but this week he came from the back of the grid not once but twice. Yes he made some mistakes but he was pushing the whole race which is refreshing compared to his normal cruise at the front.

    Kimi drove well but the only reason he won was Hamiltons misfortune, before the retirement he was well behind and showing no signs of retirement. Yes he did well to defend Alonso but its not enough to get driver of the weekend, radio message of the weekend on the other hand is definitely his. “Yes, yes, yes, yes, I’m doing all the tyres you don’t have to remind me every second!” made the SC period much more interesting.

  81. Hard to choose. I really thought that Ferrari were going to benefit from Vettel’s grid penalty. It didn’t work out that way for them. It must have been so soul destroying for Alonso to see Vettel on that podium, considering that the German started last and from the pitlane. Vettel for me is impressive, despite having clearly such a dominant car. There was alot of pressure on him following that penalty, and as he said, a chance to ‘#### it up’, and yet he and Red Bull got the result they needed. He deserves alot of credit, yet it was nice to see Kimi Raikkonen back on the top step after three long years away from it.
    At the beginning of the season, when we debated his return to F1 and if it would be successfull for him and Lotus, I said it would be aslong as Raikkonen’s heart was in it. Towards the end of his career with Ferrari I felt that Kimi lost interest with F1, but now he looks more like the Raikkonen of a decade ago thats hungry and determined to win.
    So my vote, by a hair, goes to Vettel. But I could very easily have switched to Raikkonen or Alonso, very very close. But Sebastien defied everybody and the circumstances he found himself in at the start. Ferrari and Alonso could be leading the championship today and are not largely to the determination of Vettel.

  82. That’s how u pass in AbuDhabi Mr Ferrrrnardo.

  83. Kimi’s 7th win outside the front three. I rest my case.

    1. yeah, but he was really starting from 3rd because Mark Webber was in front of him, and that’s not like a real position lol

      1. but, if, could’ve, should’ve

        load of cr*p…wasnt lewis start behind mark in India??? Did he gain any position?? Nope

  84. Back luck Sebastian: finishes 3rd from the pit lane, doesn’t win Driver of the Weekend at F1 Fanatic. Leads from lights to flag, doesn’t win DotW either.

    1. Maybe next time we can have Vettel starting from the pitlane on a go-kart. Maybe then he’ll be impressive enough.

      1. What are you talking about? he got driver of the weekend for Korea..

        He didnt get it in AbuDhabi because he wasnt driver of the weekend.

        He had a car optimised for overtaking, had multiple cars take themselves out, crashed into someone himself, overtook outside the circuit, nearly crashed under the Safty car, lucked into a very timly second safty car, then passed Button on much better tyres

        There were better drives as far as im concerned. Maldonado, as much as i dislike him, drove solid, qualified high given his machinery, and was keeping the pace until KERS failed.

        Hamilton would have got driver of the weekend had he finished though, from those who finished, i would say Alonso deserves it

  85. There were a few contenders for driver of the weekend for me, but in the end I voted for Hamilton, he dominated qualifying and looked set to dominate the race until his car broke, the gap to Button was probably what sealed it for me as I think Raikkonen got the most out his car also and didn’t make a mistake to achieve his first victory since his comeback.

    Raikkonen also provided some of the highlights of race with his team radio, but I didn’t include that in my decision.

    While Vettel put in a great recovery drive to get a podium I feel he also had a fair bit of luck which helped him, such as the safety cars and he did make a few mistakes, clipping his front wing early on, and then running into that polystyrene sign.

    And finally, as is the case at almost every race this season Alonso was top quality, and no matter how the Championship turns out I think he will be most fans driver of the season.

  86. I voted for Vettel. For years I have been told that he couldnt overtake. So since he overtook pretty much every team, he gets my vote.

  87. It’s the driver of the WEEKEND.
    Who has topped the lap time charts?

    Lewis Hamilton. He is the driver of the weekend. If you vote anything else, you are not voting right.

    1. By that logic, people didn’t vote right in Valencia, Bahrain, India or Japan this year, or around 5-6 times last year.

      1. Well, that’s because they were in a hype and not thinking from a whole perspective of the weekend.

  88. Even if Kimi had not won the race he should win this for keeping us all entertained the whole way through!

  89. Vettel; beaten by team mate in qualifying, broke own front wing under SC.
    Hamilton; destroyed team mate to take pole position, lead race easily until mechanical retirement.
    Raikkonen; inherited first place when Hamilton retired.

    Voted for Hamilton.

    1. the race should be terminated when Lewis retired so that we can stop all these stuff on “inherited the wins” bla bla bla

  90. Vettel, absolutely Vettel.

    Yes, his set-up was altered, yes, he benefited from Safety Cars but a midst all that he STILL finished on the podium. I doubt very many drivers could do that to the level of execution he did. His race was scrappy at times (DRS board and that move on Grosjean) but he recovered well from both situations, got his head down and did the best job he could. Outstanding performance.

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